History:Franklin-Main Street

Church in early 1900’s

         Franklin United Methodist Church had its beginnings as a worshiping community during the early 1800s, although The Second West Virginia Circuit was established in 1784.   These first services were held in The Union Church, a one-room frame building located west across High Street from the present Walnut Street United Methodist Church. Circuit riders made irregular visits to The Union Church, but attendance would always be at capacity, regardless of the denomination of the preacher. The Union Church bell remains as a memorial in Franklin, and is located at the Pendleton Community Building.
       As the number of Methodists in Pendleton grew, Franklin was designated as the residence of the preacher for the Franklin Circuit.  In 1855, a log homestead standing on the site of the current church property was purchased for $850 to accommodate the Preacher in Charge.  Not until 1878 did plans develop to build the current church building on Main Street under the leadership of Thomas Bowman, Joseph Skidmore, Thomas Priest, I.H. Dice, and Pastor Leonidas Butt. Construction was completed in 1881, supervised by carpenter H.H. Smally of Lilly, Virginia.  To help offset financing difficulties, some members contributed to the building fund by donating birthday and anniversary gifts, typically gold pieces and jewelry.  The brick was burned on the site, while the lumber was sawed on Smith Creek and delivered after the church was under roof.  The pews, altar rail and pulpit were hand crafted in the church. Originally, there were three sections of pews—two with ends against the north and south walls, and another section in the center. This seating arrangement created two aisles, each leading from separate doorways out of the vestibule.  The windows were transparent glass with interior walnut shutters that could be adjusted to regulate lighting. From the center of the sanctuary ceiling hung an elaborate oil chandelier and the room was heated by two wood stoves. There was an organ to accompany singing, and the choir was seated at the rear of the church.  A joyous dedication was held in 1882, however Dr. Fred and Etta Mumaw were married there before the church was completed. The educational wing was added in 1929, but The Great Depression delayed finishing the interior, so it was unusable for several years.  


  The original log parsonage, with its brick front porch and outside kitchen, was eventually torn down to make way for the current charge residence.  The lumber was sawed from a tract of timber just west of town, near the bridge on Route 33.  James Keister of Brandywine finished his work on the new parsonage in 1895 during the pastorate of Rev. William M. Waters.