Kadesh Chapel United Methodist Church, located in rural Brooke County about three miles from Beech Bottom, celebrated its 213th anniversary on Sep 20, 1998. Kadesh is the Hebrew name for Holy.
Kadesh Chapel labels itself as the oldest church in Northern West Virginia and the fifth oldest Methodist church building in West Virginia said church historian John C. McCord.
Methodism was brought across the Allegheny Mountains by Reason Pumphrey, who settled in Washington County, PA. Pumphrey held religious classes in 1772, 12 years before the Christmas Conference organized American Methodism in 1784, McCord said.
According to Dr. Raymond M. Bell of Washington, Pa., Pumphrey is the father of the Pittsburgh Conference. His second cousin, Richard Owings, founded the Redstone Circuit and with Wilson Lee attended the Christmas Conference, Bell said. In 1785 Lee came to Pumphreys' in Beech Bottom, following directions from Owings. Lee then went to West Liberty, Short Creek and Wheeling. Lee kept almost no records of his travel.
The fifth Methodist church building in West Virginia was an 18 by 20 foot log cabin built in 1788 on the Harrison Farm near Pettit Heights. The congregation ( Caleb Pumphrey, Nicholas Pumphrey and William Hamer as trustees of Ohio Circuit) bought an acre of land from Joseph Hedges in 1793. ( On this land Kadesh Chapel was built in 1793). The society at Kadesh Chapel was organized in 1785; the first church as built in 1788; the first church at the present location was built in 1793; replaced about 1820 and again 1852. John Spahr of Short Creek attended this new church, Kadesh Chapel and in 1805 gave land for the Short Creek Church, McCord said.
Rev. Thomas Haymond was buried at Kadesh Chapel in 1799. Joshua Monroe who preached there in 1811 said that it was built by the Pumphreys and others. Reason Pumphrey died at Beech Bottom in 1812, aged 77, leaving wife Ann , eight sons and one daughter.
Reason Pumphreys' son, Caleb established the West Liberty Methodist Church. In 1798, his brother William helped establish the First Ohio Methodist Church at Hopewell in Jefferson County.
The first Methodist circuit riders were appointed to Redstone Circuit in 1784. The circuit was extended into the Northern Panhandle in 1785 under the guidance of Lee. The first preaching point was at or near Pumphrey's at Beech Bottom.
In 1786, Robert Ayers was one of three preachers on Redstone Circuit. In his journal, he names three preaching points in what is now the Wheeling District; two miles from Pumphrey's' five miles north of Pumphrey's at William McMahon's just north of Wellsburg ( Mrs. McMahon was a Cox). Ayers stayed at Friend Cox's two miles north of McMahons preaching once; 12 miles north of Pumphrey's at William Greathouse's opposite Steubenville (Dr Johnston as a neighbor).
Ayers generally stayed at or near John Doddridge's near Independence, Pa, one night, at or near Pumphrey's the next, at Cox's the next and at James Holmes's near Florence, Pa the next. He found a large society at Pumphrey's, a class at Cox's and small congregation at McMahons and Greathouse's
In 1787 the western portion of Redstone was made into a new circuit called, Ohio. George Callauhan, one of the preachers for that year ( Western Christian Advocate) give a report of the first preaching in Ohio in September 1787. He spoke at Carpenters Station 1.5 miles across and down the river from Beech Bottom.
In 1788, a log meeting house was built on James Harrison's farm on the hill east of Pumphrey's. About this time, John Spahr became a Methodist and opened his house on Short Creek to preachers.
From Dr. Raymond Bell's church history, its reported that Spahr attended Kadesh Chapel prior to his land contribution for the Short Creek Church in 1809. Noah Zane gave land in 1818 for the Fourth Street Methodist Church. The Presbyterian Building started in 1793 and combined with the Methodist in 1922 in West Liberty.
John Smith, a colleague, tells in his Journal of crossing the Ohio River with Francis Asbury June 26, 1786. Asbury preached at Cox's Fort that day. Smith tells of being at Wheeling the spring of 1787, Oct 10 and May 11. McCord said that in his journal, Ayres says that the people along the Ohio (River) were afraid of Indians. On May 9 he notes that the trees were full of caterpillars