Some years before the Civil War, Ephriam Wells built a frame building on the north side of Sycamore Street to be used as a church. Wells was a friend of Alexander Campbell, the founder of Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. Campbell preached in this building and baptized some converts; however, Wells sold his farm in 1866 and moved to t he General Early Farm in Putnam County. After the death of Wells, the frame building became a residence, and in 1936 the building was still being used for storage.
The Christian Church has been established in Ravenswood. Even without permanent quarters, the congregation continued to meet in halls and other churches. In the several decades following the Civil War, Ravenswood grew in size. Friends of the church wanted a new and up-to-date building to coincide with the growth the town was experiencing. Accordingly, a meet was called in March of 1895 at the Wells Opera House by Mr. J.A. Joyce, a student at Bethany College. Significantly, thirteen charter members formed a church at that meeting, organized a bible school on April 5, and resolved to build a new church on July 16.
Charter members included: H.B. Caldwell and wife, H.E. Heck and wife, Anthony Keller and wife, Esbia Wells and wife, William Milhoan and wife, Mrs. Mellisa McGugin, Isiola Saterfield, and Mrs. Agnes Devore. Caldwell was elected elder and Mrs. Devore secretary and treasurer.
Mr. and Mrs. Milhoan donated a lot. Mr. and Mrs. Esbia Wells gave money, Anthony and J.R. Keller provided bricks, and Mrs. Anna Brown contributed a large memorial window. On Dec. 29, 1895, a beautiful brick building was completed and dedicated. Thirty by fifty feet in size, the building had been completed in less than nine months from the organization of the church, and at a total cost of $3,300.
Keller served for over fifty years as elder of the congregation and superintendent of the bible school. His influence and memory still are a part of the heritage of the church. During much of the immediate past, the financial problems of the church were met with income provided for in the estate of C.E. Mason.
Faced with renewed opportunity and challenge in a growing community, the church decided to work together with the churches of the Disciples of Christ in West Virginia to better fulfill the work of the kingdom. As a result of the then resident pastor, B.J. Hannon, working with the congregation and foreseeing the needs of the community, a building program was proposed and undertaken. Joining the efforts of he local congregation with the support of other churches across the state, the present educational building was erected and decided on April 5, 1959.
The modern educational building and beautifully remodeled sanctuary parallel somewhat the accomplishments of a determined and purposeful congregation in 1895.
The “History of the Ravenswood Christian Church” was recently framed and hung in the museum at Washington’s Riverfront Park as an acknowledgement of the special place the church and it’s congregation hold in the history of Ravenswood.