In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. The publication included the histories of 16 Hurricane area churches. This week’s selection is the 11th of the church histories which were published in 1988.
MT. MORIAH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
Submitted by Mairlis Johnson Edwards
Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church was organized on July 4, 1858. The first church was logs and stood a short distance from the present church location, just up on the hill where the old tall cedar trees are, and the oldest part of the church cemetery is, which I am told, was still the state of Virginia. There is still an old church pew, put together with wood pegs, kept from the original log church, in the present church.
Mt. Moriah sits high in the beautiful hills of Curry District, near the spot where Turkey Creek empties into Mud River, some call it Trace. It is about ten miles southeast of Hurricane. It is thought, by some members, that the name was given to the church in memory of Mary Moriah Burdette, who was the first person buried in the cemetery. She died in 1855, three years before the church was organized. The land on which the first cemetery was started was originally part of the Burdette farm. The name of the church, however, could have been derived from the Book of Genesis.
The first members of the church were W.J. Hayslette and wife. The old log church served the community for almost three decades, after which it was decided a new larger church was needed to serve the needs of the growing community. At a business meeting in July, 1885, a committee was appointed to see if enough money could be raised to construct the new church. The work began! The carpenters employed were William Keifer and Bill Watts. Timber was cut from surrounding countryside, nothing but poplar and oak was used. The lumber was hand dressed on the church lot by many helpful hands. The size was 54 x 40. It was completed in March, 1891.
The church has been served by forty-five pastors, the first, Rev. B.F. Perry, and the one that pastored the longest over a period of years was the now deceased Rev. Homer Curry, greatly loved by all who knew him. He married more people and preached more funerals than anyone else.
Those pictured in the old photograph just after the church was completed are, left to right: Frances Amos, Florence Elkins, Lorenza Griffith, Noah Allen, Tom Allen , William Hayslette, Mose Carpenter, Charlie Kinnison, William A. Burdette, Herbert E. Burdette, Willie Carpenter, Timmy Hayslett or Rev . Perry (it is not known). The small boy in the picture was Herb Burdette, who passed away a few years ago, at the age of near one hundred.
The church has held its annual homecoming since 1935. The church is surrounded by three well-kept cemeteries, with soldiers from all the wars buried there. The church has undergone extensive remodeling over the years. It is truly a sacred and beautiful place, a great light and asset to the community!