Daniel H. Zigler.

A history of the Brethren in Virginia online

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Fairfax County, in the vicinity where the greater part
of the members live.

" The present ministers are Eld. S. A. Sanger, Eld.
I. M. Nefif, J. M. Kline, B. F. Miller and Louis B.
Flohr. There are one hunderd and thirty-six mem-
bers in the Fairfax church. Four Sunday schools are
conducted with an enrollment of two hundred and
twenty-four, which makes an average attendance of
one hundred and twenty-five. The Christian Work-



ers' meeting has an average attendance of forty and
the Sisters' Aid Society has thirty members.

'' Eld. S. A. Sanger has charge of the church. Be-
sides the duties incident to his charge, he is zealously
engaged in missionary endeavor at various points in
East Virginia. He is a native of Rockingham County
and was called to the ministry by the Mill Creek
church in 1880.

" Elder Albert Hollinger, after serving the Wash-
ington City church for six years and where he was
ordained elder in 1898, labored some years in the
Fairfax church. His home now is at Laurel, Mary-

The first establishment of the church in Augusta
County is so closely connected with the Middle River
church that a history of this organization tells near
the whole story. Therefore a short history of the
Middle River Church by Eld. Levi Garber is here
given :

[Eld. Levi Garber is senior in office in the Middle
River church. He has long been a familiar figure in the
councils of the church and has served on important com-
mittees. Born August 21, 1828, united with the church
August, 1849; elected minister on December 21, 1860,
and was ordained to the eldership in 1875.]

Absence of early records makes it difficult to
definitely fix early dates. However, it was generally
conceded that Abraham Garber was the first minister.
According to the inscription on his tombstone, he was
was born on November 10, 1760, and died February
16, 1846. He moved from his father's home near
Flat Rock in 1790 and settled on Middle River. On



the gravestone of his eldest son, John, is the state-
ment that he was born July 14, 1792, and died July 16,
1854. This inscription states that he labored in the
ministry for more than thirty years, which would
place his election to that office in 1824, about the time
the first meetinghouse was erected. Peter Miller was
elected minister at the same time. It is known that
these brethren were advanced to the eldership to-
gether, and that they labored in the church in the most
cordial manner.

'' In 1823, the first love-feast was held in an upper
room of a private dwelling house. At this feast nine
members communed. The following year the first
churchhouse was erected as stated above.

" Some ten years later Daniel Brower was elected
minister and a few years later Jacob Brower and
Martin Garber were chosen ministers. Daniel Brower
was ordained elder on April 20, 1850. John Miller
was elected minister soon after this.

" The membership in Augusta County had now in-
creased to more than five hundred members. How-
ever, they were much scattered. This necessitated the
erection of two houses of worship. Therefore, in 1854
the Pleasant Valley churchhouse was built and the
Barren Ridge meetinghouse w^as erected two years
later. They were located with the view of dividing
the Middle River congregation in the near future.
In the year 1854, the two elders, John Garber and
Peter Miller, died ; the former in July and the latter
in August. Their service in the church is worthy of
special note. Elected at the same time, advanced to
the eldership together, lived in the closest Christian



fellowship, labored together in the ministry for more
than thirty years in harmony, and closed their earthly
conflict so near the same time. This is an example
worthy of our study as laborers for Christ and His

"On March 31, 1855, A. D. Garber and John
Brower were elected ministers.

'' E. L. Brower and Levi Garber were elected to
the ministry on December 21, 1860.

" Daniel Yount was called to the ministry in 1865.
In the same year the congregation was divided. John
Miller was ordained to the eldership and placed in
charge of the Valley congregation, the northern di-
vision. John Brower was ordained and placed in
charge of the southern division. Barren Ridge con-
gregation. Eld. Martin Garber remained in charge
of the old church.

"From 1865 to 1877, Brethren John A. Cline,
Joseph M. Cline and John W. Click were called to the

" In 1875, Levi Garber was ordained elder.

" W. B. Yount was chosen minister on August 21,

" J. M. Cline was ordained to the eldership on April
23, 1885.

" Daniel C. Flory and A. B. Early were elected
ministers on March 24, 1888.

" B. B. Garber was called to the ministry on
August 25, 1899.

" D. C. Flory and A. B. Early were ordained elders
in 1906.

" George Early was elected to the ministry in 1907.



" The Middle River church has two Sunday schools
with an enrollment of one hundred and sixty-five,
which make an average attendance of one hundred
and thirty-five. There is one Christian Workers'
meeting with an average attendance of twenty and a
Sisters' Aid Society with thirty members. Two hun-
dred and fifty members live in the home church, with
seven ministers and two houses of worship.

'' There are twenty-three members, one minister,
and one house of worship in the mission territory in
Albemarle County."

The Pleasant Valley Congregation.
By Eld. Peter Garber.

[Eld. Peter Garber, son of Elder Levi Garber, rep-
resents the sixth generation of the Garber family in V^ir-
ginia and a direct line of ministers except one generation.
He is a direct descendant of John, who was the first
minister of the Brethren to settle in northern Virginia.
He united with the church, became a minister in 1881,
and was ordained elder in 1897. He serves the church
on the board of visitors for Bridgewater College and is
active in the oversight of the Pleasant Valley church.]

" The territory of which the Valley congregation is
comprised originally belonged to ^Middle River church.
In 1854, the Pleasant Valley meetinghouse was built
with a view of its being made a separate organization.
This, however, was not fully effected until 1865.
Then John Aliller was elder and Abraham Garber as-
sistant minister.

" In 1869, Daniel ]\Iiller was elected to the min-



" Samuel T. Miller was elected minister in 1874.
" J. W. Cline was called to the ministry in Sep-
tember, 1887.

Elder Peter Garber.

'' Daniel Miller was ordained to the eldership in

*' Peter Garber was chosen minister in 1881.

'' S. D. Miller was elected minister in 1897.

'' Peter Garber was ordained elder in 1897.

'' B. F. Miller was elected minister in 19C0.

''A. C. iMiller was chosen minister in 1902.

'' Perry J. Wenger was elected to the ministry in



" At present the Pleasant Valley congregation has
four hundred members, ten ministers, four meeting-
houses, four Sunday schools with an enrollment of
four hundred and nine scholars and an average at-
tendance of two hundred and seventy, three Chris-
tian Workers' meetings with an average attendance
of thirty, and a Sisters' Aid Society with thirty-one

" In the mission field in Albemarle County, there
are thirty-five members, one minister, one church-
house with three meetings per month, and three Sun-
day schools.

"At the present time, this church is presided over
by Elders Daniel Miller, Peter Garber and S. D. Mil-
ler, and, in addition to the ministry, have an active
corps of deacons. None of the ministers elected since
the organization have died. Moreover, A. D. Gar-
ber, who was elected on March 31, 1855, is the oldest
in office in the State. Bro. Garber is yet hale and

The Barren Ridge Church.

By N. W. Coffman.

[Bro. Coffman is an active minister and school-teacher
living in the Barren Ridge church. His life promises
to be a very useful one for the Lord.]

*' Barren Ridge organization was formed in 1865
from a part of the territory belonging to Middle
River. Nine years prior to this, a meetinghouse was
erected at this point with the above named object in
view. At the time of the organization, John Brower
was ordained to the eldership and placed in charge of



the new church. After this, Elder Martin Garber
moved into the Barren Ridge church, when he and
Eld. Brower jointly presided over the church until
1884, when Samuel Driver and E. L. Brower were
advanced to the eldership. Elders Driver and Brower
presided jointly until the death of the latter in 1897.
From that time Eld. Driver had sole charge until the
ordination of Eld. George A. Phillips in 1904. Eld.
Phillips now has the oversight of the church.

**' The following Brethren were elected to the min-
istry in the Barren Ridge church:

"H. C. Early, about 1879 or 1880.

'' ], C. Garber, on August 6, 1884.

" C. M. Driver and N. Walter Coffman, on August
12, 1898.

'' H. L. Alley, on February 2, 1907.

'' Four houses of worship have been erected, as fol-
lows : Barren Ridge second house in 1898, Jarman's
Gap in 1897, and Blue Ridge Chapel in 1907.

" The present membership is about three hundred
with the following ministers : Samuel Driver, George
Phillips, J. C. Garber, N. Walter Coffman and H. L.
Alley (at school). The first three named are or-
dained elders. In the home church there are eight
regular appointments at three different points, four
Sunday schools, one of which is evergreen, two Chris-
tian Workers' meetings, and one Sisters' Aid Society
with fifteen members.

" The mission territory embraces Basic City and
part of Albemarle County, which has a membership
of thirty-five or forty.



" The increase in the membership of the Barren
Ridge church during the year 1907 was fifty-three by
baptism and five restored.''

Eld. Samuel Driver has long been prominent in the
aflfairs of the church in Virginia. He was born April
22, 1834; united with the church in 1867 and was
elected to the ministry two years later at the private
home of Bro. Jacob Zigler, near Churchville, Augusta
County. The services were conducted by Elders Mar-
tin Miller and Daniel Thomas of Beaver Creek. In
1875, Bro. Driver moved to Barren Ridge congrega-
tion, where he was ordained elder in 1884. In 1904,
he, at his own request, was relieved from the oversight
of the church. In his younger days, he was closely
identified with Bridgewater College. He died Jan. 18,

The Mt. Vernon Church.

By E. D. Kendig and S. I. Flory.

[Brethren Kendig and Flory are both active ministers
in the Mt. Vernon church. Tne former, who served for
a number of years on the District ^Mission Board, is elder
in charge of the Staunton City church and associate in
the supervision of the ]Mt. Vernon congregation. The
latter is an enthusiastic missionary worker and is also
Sunday-school Secretary of the Second District of Vir-

'' In the year 1866, Eld. James R. Gish spent the
summer preaching in what is now known as the Mt.
Vernon congregation. When he left, there were
about sixty members. From this time monthly meet-
ings were held by Brethren from Barren Ridge church
until 1870, when Bro. Gish came back again. This


James R. and Barbara Gish.


time he preached, canvassed the territory and built a
house of worship. A church was then organized with
E. D. Kendig minister. Samuel Forrer and John
Forrer were chosen later. Other ministers were
elected as follows:

" J. R. Kendig, on August 27, 1883.

*' George B. Flory, elected in 1885.

" Samuel I. Flory and Justus H. Cline, on Septem-
ber 3, 1898.

'' The Mt. Vernon church has a large mission terri-
tory extending over Amherst, Rockbridge and Nelson
counties. From this territory the Buena Vista church
was organized in 1905, which at this time has eighty-
four members, one minister, two houses of worship,
two Sunday schools with an enrollment of eighty
scholars, and a Christian Workers' meeting.

*' In the remaining mission field there are sixty-
four members in Amherst, fifty-nine in Rockbridge,
and twenty-five in Nelson. In the Mt. Vernon church
there are ninety-six members with five ministers, four
churchhouses with ten appointments per month, four
Sunday schools, one Christian Workers' meeting, and
one Sisters' Aid Society."

The Staunton Church.

Various individual efforts were made to establish a
church in Staunton by the ministry of the adjacent
churches during the years from 1890 to 1895. Chief
among these were Elders Levi A. Wenger, Samuel
Driver, Enoch L. Brower and E. D. Kendig. From
this time, the work received the assistance of the Dis-



trict Mission Board and Eld. D. C. Flory, assisted by
Sister Sauble, was put in charge of the work.

On May 20, 1898, a church was organized with
thirty-nine members. Bro. Levi A. Wenger was
chosen elder in charge and Bro. J. C. Garber pastor.

On October 6, 1906, under the supervision of Eld.
E. D. Kendig, Eld. Noah Fisher took charge of the
work as pastor. Under his ministration, the work
has prospered. There are now seventy-five members,
a Sunday school with an average of seventy-five schol-
ars, one Christian Workers' meeting and a Sisters'
Aid Society.

In addition to the mission fields mentioned in con-
nection with the local churches there is a wide mission
territory which falls directly under the care of the
District Mission Board, which is noticed more in de-
tail in the succeeding chapter.




This history would be incomplete without some of
the lives of the ministers who so earnestly labored for
the development of the churches in Virginia. But
w4ien there are so many deserving names suggested,
it becomes a matter for much reflection which to
mention or where to draw the line. If the list grows
too long it will in itself defeat the purpose of such a
catalog. In addition to this, it is often the case and
for various reasons, the examples that would be most
helpful to us are little known. However, the follow-
ing biographies are given with the hope that the
reader may be inspired to more noble deeds for the
Master. Wherefore, they are given for ensamples
unto us.

The deeds of the earliest ministers are so closely
interwoven with the records of the church that little
more need be said of them. Jacob Miller, Peter
Smith, John Bowman and John Garber have become
household words. In addition to them other names
are well known.

Eld. Benjamin Bowman, Sr., who lived near
Greenmount, Rockingham County, Virginia, came to
the State about 1785. He served the church north of
Harrisonburg as senior elder for a number of years.
His name appears repeatedly among the old records.
He was a well-known minister of unusual attainments






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Title Page of Book, " Points on Bap-
tism," etc., by Elder Peter Bowman.
The Only Known Copy is Owned by
Gen. John E. Roller, Harrisonburg, Va.,
by Whose Courtesy this Page is Pre-



for his time. He was born November 1, 1754, and
his death occurred in 1829.

Eld. Peter Bowman was a brother of Benjamin
and came to the State at the same time. His home
was south of Harrisonburg. Doubtless these two
took part in estabhshing the hne in 1788 running east
and west through that town. He was also a man of
strong character and attainments. Some of his writ-
ings are still extant. A photograph of the title page
of a book credited to his pen appears on page 217.

Eld. Martin Garber, son of John Garber, lived
near his father's home in Shenandoah County. He
was associated with Eld. Bowman in charge of the
church north of Harrisonburg. He was very active
in the ministry and served the church on Standing
Committee at different times. Like his father, he died
comparatively a young man. His death, which oc-
curred in 1814, was considered a great loss to the

John Click, who came with Martin Garber to
Virginia, was also an elder and served the church as
an assistant for a number of years with commendable
zeal. He survived Eld. Garber a number of years.

Mention has previously been made of Yohones
Kagey as " Kagey the Good Man,'' but it should be
remembered that his acts of benevolence in relieving
physical suffering was not his only great work. He
was a minister of unusual ability. With his high



sense of duty toward his fellow men and great lOve
for the church, he was a power for good in his com-
munity and in the surrounding churches. He served
the church during the first half of the nineteenth
century. Eld. Kagey was elected minister in 1800
and ordained elder in 1814.

Daniel Garber and Yohones Flory were distin-
guished elders in Upper Rockingham. They were
brothers-in-law and labored in much harmony for the
church. Associated with them were John Brower,
John Wine, Joseph Miller, Daniel Yount, and Isaac
Long, Sr. These Brethren laid the foundation for the
strong churches of Cooks Creek, Beaver Creek,
Bridgewater and Mill Creek.

Abraham Garber was born November 10, 1760,
and died February 16, 1848. Fifty-eight years of his
life were spent in Augusta County, Virginia. The
first of these years he spent as a pioneer preacher.
The latter years, he was the elder of the Middle River
church, of which he was the founder.

Among the Brethren who made early settlements in
southwest Virginia was Eld. Abraham Crumpacker,
He was born in Carroll County, Maryland, in the
month of November, 1767. His father was also a
minister and died while preaching. His widowed
mother moved to Rockingham County about the time
the Brethren first settled in that part of the State. Eld.
Crumpacker's opportunity for an education was lim-
ited. Yet he was able to read the Bible in both the
English and German languages. He united with the

' . 219


church when he was nineteen years old ; married Mary
Rife on December 25, 1792. To this union twelve
children, five boys and seven girls, were born. His
ministerial labors began soon after his marriage.
After serving the church for some years, he with two
of his brothers moved to Bedford County, Virginia.
Here he met with the misfortune of losing five of his
children. Three of them died in the month of Septem-
ber, 1802. In this church he was ordained elder. In
September, 1818, he moved to Botetourt County and
served the church here forty years. His unusually
clear memory, together with his thorough knowledge
of the Bible, made a concordance unnecessary. Much
of his time was devoted to the church. After the
death of his wife on May 25, 1851, he lived with his
sons-in-law, George Bair and Eld. Jonas Graybill. At
his request, B. F. Moomaw was ordained elder in

During his long life he never took medicine from
a doctor, but in his last illness he called for the elders,
to be anointed. He died on April 22, 1859, at the ripe
age of ninety-one years. The funeral services were
conducted by Elders Peter Nininger, B. F. Moomaw
and David Plaine. Two of his sons were ministers,
and four of his grandsons and nine of his great-grand-
sons fill that important ofiice at this time.

Eld. Austin Hylton was also one of the pioneer
preachers of the Brethren Church in southwestern
Virginia. He was called to the ministry in 1829 by
the " West Arm " of the Floyd County church and
was ordained to the eldership eight years later. At

220 • '


his request Chrisley Bowman was also ordained at the
same time. About 1850, he moved to east Tennessee
and located on Boones Creek in the Knob Creek con-
gregation. Soon after this his wife died. In a second
marriage he united with the widow Bowman, who was
the mother of the late Eld. George C. Bowman. Eld.
Hylton died in 1879, at the age of eighty-five years.
All of his children went with him to Tennessee, except
his oldest son, Hardin P., who remained in Virginia.
Eld. Austin Hylton was not a very fluent speaker, but
he lived an exemplary life.

The name Naflf appears very prominently among
the churches in southwest Virginia. Among them
were some of the most noted preachers in that part of
the State. Of this number, Eld. Abraham Naff was
very distinguished in his day. He was born on Feb-
ruary 25, 1806; married Hannah Peters, April 6,
1830; and died, February 6, 1873. In his time he trav-
eled and preached much. He attended a number of
Annual Meetings and served on important committees.
Much of his time was given to the welfare of the
church at home and also in outlying mission territory.

So much has already been written concerning Eld.
John Kline and so frequently does his name appear on
the pages of this volume, that it would seem almost
useless to make further mention of him. Yet the serv-
ice he rendered the Virginia church is of such unusual
character, and he was so widely known throughout
the Brotherhood, that at least a short biography of
him should appear here. At no time has any minister



appeared more prominently among the Virginia
churches than Eld. Kline, and it is a matter of doubt
if this statement does not equally apply to the entire
Brotherhood. And it was not only with the church
that his marked ability was recognized. Public men in
almost every position had much regard for his su-
perior judgment. Nothing that would tend to the
advancement of the public good seemed too inconsid-
erable for his attention. As a physician he was suc-
cessful, and he possessed the much coveted ability to
adapt himself to the conditions that surrounded him
and their needs. But it was for the church in much
humility and earnestness of spirit that he devoted his
powers, limited only by his endurance. On June 17,
1856, he wrote :

'' This day I am fifty-nine years of age. When I
was young my ambition led me to hope that I might
some day attain to distinction in the world, and leave
an imperishable name. I own with shame before my
God, that my heart was full of vanity. I now thank
him that he has led me to know and feel myself but a
poor sinner redeemed. I am wholly dependent upon
him for all that I am or ever shall be. Lord Jesus,
may I live to glorify thee, and thee only. I believe
thy truth. I trust thy love. May thy glory be the
end of all my efforts in life, and thy love the propel-
ling power in all I do. Hallowed be thy name, not my
name. Thy will be done, not my will. Give me grace
thus ever to pray and to walk humbly before thee.''
" Life of John Kline," page 374.

Eld. Kline was born in Dauphin County, Pennsyl-
v^ania, June 17, 1797. About fourteen years later he



came with his parents to Virginia. They settled in
Rockingham County, near where the Linville Creek
church now stands, and where he resided the remain-
der of his Hfe. He united with the church while he
was yet young as evidenced by old papers. On March
10, 1818, he was married to Anna Wampler. He was
elected deacon in 1827, chosen minister in 1830, and
ordained elder on April 13, 1848. In this office he
served faithfully until the tragic end came on June
15, 1864, as stated elsewhere in this volume. Eld.
Kline served the church under many important ap-
pointments. He was also moderator of Annual Meet-
ing a number of times. But it was among the Vir-
ginia churches and the outlying mission territory that
the greater part of his important work was done.
During the Civil War his service to the Brethren was
of an invaluable character and for whom he gave his
life. His death was that of a martyr if there ever was
one. However, these events are fully given in an-
other chapter.

Closely associated with the name of Eld. John Kline
is that of Eld. B. F. Moomaw. So intimately were
the acts of their lives interwoven for a number of
years, that to write the biography of the one would
be to relate many of the experiences of the other.

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Online LibraryDaniel H. ZiglerA history of the Brethren in Virginia → online text (page 12 of 16)