Thursday, April 24, 2014

Otterbein Church in Evans, WV

I've passed this little church many times, always meaning to go back and look more closely. Saturday was finally the day we made time.

Built in 1896, the current church replaced the original structure. Graves in the cemetery date to 1864, and there are several Civil War soldiers buried here,
 such as this one, the grave of Jacob Shaver who was about 41 when the war broke out. The graves we saw were of men who served in the Union forces; this county was divided between the two sides during the war so I expected some Confederate graves here too, but we did not see any.


 There were two graves I noticed that were ministers. This man died far too young for the inscription:



This is the stone of another preacher and his "relict." That sent me scurrying for the dictionary! Apparently relict is another word for widow. Some say that it means a widow who did not remarry. Others say it can be used for either sex. Interesting.
 Across a quiet field, cattle grazed in front of a beautiful farmhouse.


Windows in windows, and many orbs floating about.


I would love to see what this handle looked like under the many layers of paint.


The bell still resides in the steeple, although I don't know if it rings any more, or if the church is still in use. It did not appear to be.


The front of the church sports an unusual bay window; the pulpit is located inside this window on the inside. Note the two doors: one was for men and one for women. I wonder which was which? My gut tells me the men entered on the right, women on the left but I might be wrong about that.


The doors were locked but I learned some time back that by placing the camera lens right against the glass I could get pretty good photos of interiors.


The view from the bay window, looking at the back of the pulpit.


The floor of the church has a slight upward slope; what a great idea. That would help those in the back pews be able to see more easily.


A plaque on the front of the church notes that the building is now on the National Historic Register. You can read more about the church and its history on the application for this status.


Old woodlands border the east side of the church.


 I was surprised to see another church very like this one in the distance. I will need to return to see that one.


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

4 comments:

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

What a wonderful place, Sue. "Relict" ? Now that's a word I've never encountered before and one suspects it might have been disappeared due to being unpopular with surviving spouses!

Granny Sue said...

I thought it sounded much like "relic," John--and I don't think that would be a flattering thing to be called! I was intrigued too by how large his stone was compared to hers. But I suppose she much have had a hand in selecting his stone, and apparently thought a great deal of her husband.

The inscriptions on stones are often as interesting as the shapes and sculptures chosen.

JJM said...

"Relict" is an old term not much heard today but, as you already discovered, it does mean widow. (Very seldom widower.) Basically, someone left behind; from the past participle form of relinquo, which comes down in English in (among other words) relinquish.

As for the doors, I'm thinking men on the left and women on the right. Compare these two references, the first to a Methodist church, the second to a Shaker one. Not definitive, but suggestive.

http://www.damascusumc.org/worship/A_Brief_History.php

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/living-a-tradition-40616925/?no-ist

Lovely article, much enjoyed, thank you.

--Mario R.

Jenny said...

I love seeing old churches, especially WV churches. I think I remember my dad using the term relict this way - he was born in 1905 in Monroe county & never lived anywhere else his whole life.

The church I grew up in(& was married in) has a sloped floor like that. I remember learning to walk in heels & feeling like I was going to fall as I walked down the aisle. People used to joke that the floor was sloped so that gravity would speed your trip to the alter! I don't know how old the church is but it's still used & has a pretty full congregation from what I understand.

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