Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a country church. My mother-in-law’s old photo album contains a couple pictures that we always assumed were of her home church in Mathias, West Virginia.
However, when I started comparing the architecture to more recent pictures, it became obvious that we were wrong. As it turns out, the church in this old photo is right next door to my husband’s homeplace in Timberville, Virginia. The photo must date to about 1948 when my in-laws bought the land and built their house.
The church is St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, known to locals as “the County Line Church.” Why? Because it sits on the county line between Rockingham and Shenandoah counties. In fact, my husband grew up in the last house in Rockingham County.
The satellite view shows that there are only 2 properties on Short Lane (appropriately named!): the Mathias property on the left and the church property on the right. In the triangle separating Short Lane and Mountain Road is the cemetery.
|Satellite view of the Mathias property and church next door|
The tombstones are slightly visible in the cemetery.
- One of the neighbors always drank too much on New Years Eve and would make his way to the church to ring the church bell at midnight.
- My husband’s brothers and sisters and friends used to play hide and seek in the cemetery in front of the church.
- My husband’s parents always feared the church would extend the cemetery in front of their property.
- Friends of my husband’s family own a peach orchard nearby. When the father died, the son had the funeral home deliver the casket to the farm and load it on a wagon that they used to haul peaches. He then drove the wagon to St. Luke’s County Line Church for the funeral.
- The congregation used to make apple butter to sell. All the neighbors, even those who did not attend County Line, came out to help peel the apples and take a turn stirring. As a little girl, our daughter even helped stir for a short while.
- The road between my husband’s home and the church goes slightly uphill, but to a little girl on a pink bicycle, it gave a thrill to go WHEEEE downhill.
- Going past the church the road goes downhill slightly, but enough so that a snow drift disguised that fact. Yes, we drove right into that trap and got our car stuck. Fortunately, it was just a short walk on Short Lane to get a shovel.
It is a pretty little country church.
For more stories of churches, please visit Sepia Saturday.
© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.