The “Roots” of the Elmwood tree run deep.
The roots or lineage of Elmwood Baptist Church can be traced back before 1776 when our nation was founded. Although there have always been Christians since the church began at Pentecost who held to “believer’s baptism,” it wasn’t until 1609 that the name “Baptist” was applied to them.
By 1639 the first Baptist arrived in the New World. Many of the Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving were Baptists. Baptists first settled in the Virginia colonies in 1661. After the Great Spiritual Awakening of 1720-1740, Baptist churches began a great missionary effort to reach the mountain folk of the Appalachian region with the Gospel and to plant churches. Churches were called “Missionary Baptist” churches because this area of the country at the time was, and still is a mission field.
Charles A. Love (then a member of Bloomingdale Salem Baptist Church), after returning from a trip to Missouri, conceived the idea of a new church closer to the Dusenburg Dam area. The population had grown over the past 30 years near the Iron Bridge across the Guyandotte River, and it was close to 3 miles from there to Bloomingdale Baptist Church. Mr. Love asked Charles E. Morris to donate a piece of land for the purpose of building a church.
On October 26, 1889, letters of dismissal were given by Bloomingdale Baptist church to members for the purpose of organizing the new church. On November 2, 1889, Elmwood Missionary Baptist Church was established. There were 30 founding members at the first meeting held at the Swamp Branch Schoolhouse. They were: the Love family (9), the Shomaker family (6), the Davidson family (6), the Morris family (2), the Morrison family (2), Wilson Rogers, Mary Ross, Nancy Purnell, Nancy Meadows, and Nancy Dick. Mr. C. Shomaker was the moderator of the first meeting where officers were elected, the articles of faith and church covenant were adopted, and the name of Elmwood Baptist Church was chosen because of the Elm trees on the land.
The following churches are part of Elmwood’s spiritual lineage, each planting the next:
1756 – Smith Creek Baptist
1757 – Lynville Creek Baptist
1768 – Mill Creek Baptist
1772 – Carter’s Mill Baptist
1781 – Old Greenbrier Baptist
1807 – Mud River Baptist
1855 – Bloomingdale Baptist
1889 – Elmwood Baptist
We thank God for the many faithful members of Elmwood Baptist Church, some of whom have been serving for 70+ years.