HIstory of Lower Path Valley Presbyterian Church


Turn of the century

History of Lower Path Valley Presbyterian Church

     Native American' lived in the valley before the white man came.  They didn't want to give up their land, so they had Indian raids and burned the white settlers homes.  Despite that, the settlers still settled in the valley.  Then on October 23rd, 1758, a treaty was made with the Native Americans and the valley was opened to settlers.

     At first the settlers gathered in homes to worship; people would walk or ride horses over the mountain from Burnt Cabins to Fannettsburg to worship.  As the congregation grew, there was a house of worship built in 1770.  As the congregation continued to grow a dispute about where to build another house of worship.  That is when the Upper Path Valley Church and the Lower Path Valley Church began.  In 1774, they built a second house of worship.  Both the 1770 and the 1774 were made of logs without ceilings, floors or stoves.  They were also built near a spring.  The church of 1774 was located below the town of Fannettsburg, near the Lower Path Valley Cementery.

     The first pastor was Reverend Samual Dougall.  He was ordained and installed on October 9, 1775.  His successor was David Denny.  There are pictures of our ministers in the back of the church.  Also stained glass windows in our present church commenorate two early pastors.  David Denny who was  elected in 1793 and resigned in 1800, and Reverend A.A. McGinley, who was pastor from 1802 until his resignation in 1851.

     As the congregation kept grwoing,  they built another church in 1832 called the "White Church."  It was located below Fannettsburg at the foot of what we call "Church Hill."  They worshipped there until 1885.  By then, they needed still a bigger church, so our present day church was built in the center of Fannettsburg.  This two story brick building was dedicated February 3rd, 1886.  The pulpit in the Sunday school room downstairs is from the "White Church."

     In December 1940, the three Presbyterian churches, Lower Path Valley, Burnt Cabins, and McConnellsburg united until 1949.  Then in April 1962, the Lower Path Valley, Burnt Cabins, and Wells Valley united to become the "Foot Hill Parish."  This union ended in 1972.  At present, it's the Lower Path Valley and Burnt Cabins Churches.

     The women never had a say in our church until December 10, 1880, when the Ladies Missionary Association of Lower Path Valley Church was organized.  It's purpose was to promote home and foreign missions.  The Ladies Aid Society and the Women's Association were formed later.  In 1963, the Ladies Aid Society and the Women's Association merged into one organization called the Lower Path Valley Women's Association which Barbara Rhoads had a hand in organizing.  On February 4, 1976 we established a Building Fund, for the purpose of enhancing renovation and restoration and preservation of our church building.

Our church has been blessed in many ways, Many additions to the church were bought or donated in memory of their loved ones and some from our Memorial.  A few highlights of this generosity are:

  • The moller Pipe Organ of Hagerstown, M.P.Moller installed it for $2,500 in 1936.
  • The cable TV system was installed to probide our church service to community and shut-ins within the community.
  • The Magnebell Chimes, once chime at 12:00 noon and at 6:00 in the evening.
  • The Chairlift
  • Our Bell Tower
  • Ceiling fans
  • Stained glass windows
  • The Baptismal font
  • Displays cases in the Sunday school room for our memorablia
  • The kitchen which took the "Ladies" two years of serving meals to finish the project.
  • The picture of Jesus knocking at the door

Many people gave of their time, money, talents, and treasures to make our Church what it is today.  Remember, when Jesus knocks on the door it is up to us to let him in.

Compiled by:

Past President Janet McAllen

President, Marge Royer

Vice President, Pat Heckman