2011-07-14 / Front Page

Wells Valley Church Bell Dedicated

Church members gather at oldest organized cemetery in Wells Valley
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER


Wells Valley Presbyterian Church members gather in their cemetery Sunday to dedicate a historical bell dating back to the 19th century. Donated by the late William "Bill" L. Mosebey Jr., the bell serves as a marker along Wells Valley Road for the church's cemetery, which is the oldest organized cemetery in the valley. Wells Valley Presbyterian Church members gather in their cemetery Sunday to dedicate a historical bell dating back to the 19th century. Donated by the late William "Bill" L. Mosebey Jr., the bell serves as a marker along Wells Valley Road for the church's cemetery, which is the oldest organized cemetery in the valley. Little historical information is readily available on the founding and early years of the Wells Valley Presbyterian Church. Erected prior to 1834, the original church was located on the same plot as the cemetery located along Wells Valley Road. At this time, the only surviving remnant of the original church is a bell that once tolled for its congregation.

On Sunday afternoon, however, around 20 members of the longstanding church gathered at their cemetery to return the bell to its home in what happens to be the oldest organized cemetery in the valley.

Leading the dedication service, Rev. Alfred Cross led his congregation through hymns of praise, scripture and responsive reading before sharing some historical tidbits gathered by church member Carolyn Mosebey regarding the church and cemetery. According to Cross, there are no records in existence that indicate exactly the church came under construction.

“Either none were kept or they have been lost in the intervening 171 plus years,” said Cross. “The original church was described as merely closed in, roofed and floored. The people sitting on rough benches without support for their backs. However, after some time when the means of the congregation warranted it, the church was pewed and lined in the inside, and later still it was weather-boarded and painted.”

The majority of the congregation at the time consisted of the descendants of Alexander Alexander, one of the original inhabitants in Wells Valley. Rev. Nathan G. White served as the church’s pastor between 1834 and 1864. White also shared his services with McConnellsburg and Green Hill and was recalled as saying when he first came to Wells Valley there were only two graves in the cemetery.

“The original church served the valley until 1896 when it was placed in a different presbytery, and another church was begun at Sherman’s Valley with the request that the congregation transfer to the Sherman’s Valley Church,” Cross noted. “This arrangement lasted until 1901 when the present day-church located in Wells Tannery was erected.”

Cross stated history is unclear as to what happened to the original church, but many believe the building was torn down and the materials were used in the construction of other structures. The bell found at the first Presbyterian church somehow made its way to the home of the late William Leslie Mosebey, who passed the historic item down through the generations. The most recent owner was great-grandson the late William “Bill” L. Mosebey Jr.

Just prior to his passing, Bill Mosebey along with fellow church member Ron Black reportedly joined forces in hopes of turning the bell into a historical marker to commemorate the original church and cemetery, which is currently overseen by President Harry “Fiddle” Johnson.”

Black told those in attendance at the special dedication service a tree on the Tim Mosebey property had grown around the bell. After much effort Bill Mosebey and Black were able to extricate the bell and place it in Black’s garage for its eventual restoration. Unfortunately, Bill Mosebey passed away shortly thereafter but was honored Sunday by his family and church members for his invaluable donation to the church.

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