An American Family History


The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia borders Maryland and Virginia. The first European settlers started arriving about 1730.


Elk Branch Presbyterian Church


West Virginia is located in the Appalachians and was originally part of Virginia. The capital and largest city is Charleston. It became a state during the Civil War and was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863.

Elk Branch Presbyterian Church is in Jefferson County, West Virginia. It was organized as early as 1745, but was first mentioned in the Donegal Presbytery records in 1769.

The first log church was at Link Springs.

In 1770, Moses Tullis, John Wright and Peter Burr, were named in a deed as trustees.

The Presbytery supplied circuit preachers to them: Philip Vickers Fithian, Robert Cooper, Hezekiah Balch, Cooper, Slemons, Hugh Vance, Craighead, Rhea, Lang, Moses Hoge, McKnight, Thompson, Hunter, McConnell until April, 1776, when they called for John McKnight to be the first pastor. John White, James McAllister and John Wright presented the call to the Presbytery.

In February, 1776, the Reverend Philip Vickers Fithian spent a night Peter Burr's house. He had come to preach to the Elk Branch congregation. He wrote that it was

. . . a Settlement of my Countrymen. Mr Burr, Tully, Conklin, Boyd, Sayre, Garrison, with their Families, and others. dined at Mr. Burr's. He is a good-Liver, as it is commonly said. Appears to be a modest, sensible Man, & is in high Repute (Albion and Dodson, p. 181).

In October, 1782, John McKnight resigned because his salary had not been paid.

After Mr. McKnight left, Donegal Presbytery continued to supply Elk Branch until 1792, when, by the consent of the people, at the house of Peter Martin. Elk Branch was partitioned, one part, with its Elders and people, going under the care of Rev. Moses Hoge at Shepherdstown, and the other part going under the care of Rev. William Hill, of Bullskin to unite in forming the new church in the new town of Charlestown, the county seat of Jefferson County, W.Va.

The New River flows through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia .In 1755, Mary Draper Ingles (1732-1815) was captured by Shawnee warriors near Blacksburg and taken to Ohio. She escaped and made her way home by following the Ohio, Kanawha, and New Rivers.

Bennett, Ruth C. d. 1833 buried at Elk Branch
Bennett, Sarah A. b. 1789 buried at Elk Branch
Boyd   dined with Fithian in 1776
Burr, Peter   named in 1770 deed
Clymer   from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family
Conklin, Jacob   dined with Fithian in 1776
Darke, Jane Rush   from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family
Darke, John   from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family
Darke, William   from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family
Drenner, John b. 1796  
Drenner, Mary d. 1817 buried at Elk Branch
Duke, Robert   from A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family
Garrison   dined with Fithian in 1776
Martin, Peter   1792 meeting at his house
McAllister, James   presented call to Presbytery in 1776
McKnight, John b. 1788 buried at Elk Branch
Sayre, William   dined with Fithian in 1776
Tullis, Moses   named in 1770 deed, Tully? dined with Fithian in 1776
White, John Jr.   presented call to Presbytery in 1776
White, John Sr.   presented call to Presbytery in 1776
Wright, John   named in 1770 deed









from A History of the Presbytery of Winchester, Synod of Virginia

The present Elk Branch church, near Duffields Station, was built in 1829.The deed dated April 6, 1830 -- Jefferson Deed Book 16, page 222 -- runs from John and Christina Snyder to John Snyder, Jr., James Burr, John Melvin, Jr., son of Thomas, Thomas Melvin, son of John, John William Duffield and Henry Snyder, and is for a place of public worship, a graveyard and a schoolhouse for use of the neighborhood, and for the use of any other religious congregation should the Presbyterians cease to use it.The edifice is built of native limestone with walls twenty inches thick, with a gallery over the entrance for colored folks now used for Sunday school class rooms.