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Centennial History of Hurricane: Church Histories: Mount Olive Independent Missionary Baptist Church

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 12th of the church histories which were published in 1988.

Submitted by Madolyn Tincher

On November 26, 1909, William and Louisa Searls deeded a parcel of land, situated on the ridge between the headwaters of Buff Creek, Trace Creek, and Kelly’s Creek to A.M. Pullen, J.M. Searls, and W.J. Mitchell, trustees of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and their successors in office. One-half interest in this parcel of land was reserved for the use by the Methodist Church when it became organized. Then, on March 13, 1912, William Searls deeded to G.W. Roberts, Samuel Mercer, and William Searls and their successors in office, trustees of the Mount Olive Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the one-half interest that had been reserved in the deed of November 26, 1909. Each church organization was to share equally in all respects in regard to the said property.

The Mount Olive Missionary Baptist was organized on February 11, 1921. W.J. and W.R. Mitchell were the first deacons, C.A. Nicholas, clerk, and J.M. Searls, treasurer. Then, on July 21, 1921, Big Creek Baptist Church and Sycamore Baptist Church met in council for the purose of ordaining or recognizing the church. The charge was given to the church by Bro. M.F. Mitchell and to the deacons by Bro. W.H. Curry. Members of the council participating were as follows: Bros. W.H. Curry, minister; H.C. Fugate, pastor; M.F. Mitchell, minister; Damon Welch, deacon; A.L. Mitchell, deacon; Lum Fizer; councilman, and R.L. Campbell, deacon.

Both churches worshipped together and prospered for a few years, after which the Methodist Church became inactive. However, the Baptist continued to support the ministers sent by the Methodist conference. Finally, in 1947, the Baptist purchased the Methodist interest for five hundred dollars and the money was paid to the Hurricane Methodist Church to use on their church parsonage debt.

The church was affiliated with the Teays Valley Association and the American Baptist Convention from 1929-1953. Various changes and improvements have been made to the church through the years. In 1964, an addition to the back of the church provided four Sunday School rooms with a pulpit and choir loft. Also, a foyer was annexed to the front of the building in 1981. The present building is a red brick structure with a grey shingle roof.

An addition of real estate has resulted in fifty acres, adjoining the east side of the church, given by R.H. Adkins of Hamlin, West Virginia, and a plot on the west side, lying between the church and Buff Creek Road, given by Jay Taylor of Hurricane, West Virginia.

The church was reorganized in 1973 to become an Independent Missionary Baptist Church. A written constitution was adopted along with a church covenant and articles of faith. Since 1929, the church has had sixteen pastors. The longest pastorate was that of Bro. Homer Curry, Sr. who served at different times, for a total of thirteen years. The present pastor, Bro. Walter Wade, came to the church in May, 1987. Mount Olive Baptist has always been a small church. Membership was at its peak in 1936, with eighty-seven active members. Now, there are thirty active members. Bro. Russell Beckett has served as church treasurer since 1950, and Bro. J.W. (Bill) Tincher has served as deacon of the church since 1941.

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