Our Church History
Between 1928 and 1938 FBC of Grafton received by baptism, letter and experience 330 members. They lost 75 by death and 100 by letter or erasure. In October 1938 membership was 808. An 80th Anniversary homecoming program was held at the church. Miss Grace Whitescarver was appointed to write the history of church and compiled a brief history from the church records. She was a School Teacher, Music Teacher, Choir Director, Organist, Church Clerk, and Sunday School Officer and Teacher. She received her college degree from the Baptist College at Philippi. She was one of the most outstanding, best qualified workers in the Baptist Church and contributed heavily financially. She lived with her uncle George M. Whitescarver of Grafton. Her church history was published in October 1938 and every piece of information included in this history.
Main St. Looking East, 1940's
In June 1943 Rev. Withers ceased to serve as pastor, and shortly after in January 1944 Rev. Warner T Gifford took over. He was a native of Maine and was called a “down-Easter”. He graduated from Bates College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His pastorate ended in January 1950.
In 1950 a new parsonage was purchased and paid for in a short time in Blueville with Rev. John A. Holt as its first occupant. He served as FBC of Grafton's pastor beginning in July of this same year. He was from Huntington, with his home church being Fifth Avenue Baptist Church of Huntington. He graduated from both Marshall College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and served as a naval officer during World War II.
Before coming to Grafton Rev. Holt was Assistant Pastor of the FBC of Meridan, Mississippi. He also pastored Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., served as president of the D.C. Baptist Pastor's Conference, and trustee of the The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Rev. Warner T. Gifford
Further improvements to the church included a new roof, complete re-pointing of the building, and the strengthening and re-leading of the church windows.
In 1954 beautiful new sanctuary lights were added as a gift from the estate of Miss Grace Whitescarver. These were dedicated to Miss Whitescarver who passed away on January 27, 1953. Improvements were also made in the plumbing and wiring.
In March 1954 Rev. Holt left FBC of Grafton to eventually pastor Central Baptist Church in Palmyra, NJ.
Rev. Harry T. Rowe became Pastor on September 1, 1954. He was born in Alderson on Sept. 13, 1917 where he later attended the school that became in 1933 Alderson-Broaddus College. He graduated from Morris Harvey College in 1941 and Crozer Theological Seminary in 1944. He served as Chaplain and Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania Military College in Chester, PA from 1945 through 1951 and was pastor of two Pastorates before coming to Grafton.
Rev. John A. Holt
Rev. Harry T. Rowe belonged to the following clubs and associations: Tygart Valley development Ass., Tygart Valley Development Council, Chairman of the Red Cross in 1957, Member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Member and Past President of the Rotary Club, Secretary of the Taylor Co. Library Board, Member of the Executive Board of the WV Baptist Convention, and Member and past president of the Ministerial Assoc.
The Educational Building
(This building was formally the city building, and previous to that it was known as the McGraw Building which housed one of Grafton's banks.)
Rev. Harry T. Rowe
The Educational Building, conveniently located beside the church was purchased in 1955 for $7,000 and added 5,000 square feet of additional floor space. Approximately $20,000 was spent on the building and other improvements.
The Recreation Room served many in many ways for the community, and the space allowed for a fully-graded Sunday School. The church school was described as being organized along modern lines and was educational and evangelistic in its aim. The goal being to win every pupil to the Christian life and church membership before the intermediate age. Mrs. Rosalyn Heironimus began teaching the Fidelis Class in the early 1950's
In 1957 gifts of benevolences, for all purposes, were made, and were over the $7,000 mark. The total bugdet approached more than $30,000 for the year of 1957. The actual insurable value of the church property was over $200,000. Resident membership was 600.