Community news from around the area
New Somerset UMC service
on Sunday to be final one
NEW SOMERSET — Come Sunday, New Somerset United Methodist Church, located at 4378 township Road 241, Toronto, will celebrate 184 years of serving the Lord.
But regrettably, it also will be hosting its final service, laments Cynthia Grafton Miller, who said she is one of eight remaining members attending the small country church founded in 1836.
A special service will begin at 9:15 a.m. at the church, which is one of about 80 in the Ohio Valley District UMC that takes in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and Belmont counties.
Pastor Greg Bush will lead the final service along with the Rev. Bruce Hitchcock, district superintendent of the Ohio Valley District.
Special music will be provided by Robert and Cheri Miller, and Rick Pittenger, a descendant of the Rev. William Pittenger, the church’s founder, also will be a speaker.
The service is open to the public, and Miller encouraged anyone with a connection to the church through the years to attend.
“William Pittenger was the founder, and his descendant is going to speak at the service so we’re trying to put a little history in with our spiritual service,” Miller explained.
William Pittenger was a native of the Knoxville area and one of the Union survivors of “the Great Locomotive Chase,” or “Andrew’s Raid,” a Civil War escapade that took place in April 1862. Pittenger mustered into the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry under a 90-day enlistment in 1861, fought at the first Battle of Bull Run and was the war correspondent for the Steubenville Herald predecessor, according to a 2014 article about a local monument dedication ceremony.
Upon re-enlistment, he participated in the ill-fated Andrews Raid of 1862, where attempting to disrupt enemy supply lines, 22 soldiers made their way through Southern lines to Marietta, Ga.
Dressed as civilians, their mission was to seize a train on the Western and Atlantic Railroad and racing north, destroying bridges and railroad equipment along the way. The mission failed, however, and the soldiers were captured. Eight were tried, found guilty and hanged. The rest were imprisoned, some, including Pittenger, for nearly a year before being exchanged.
While in prison, Pittenger began his recollections of the raid and the first edition of “Daring and Suffering: A History of the Great Railroad Adventure” appeared in 1863. Some of the raiders were the first to be awarded the Medal of Honor by Congress for their actions, including Pittenger.
Pittenger left the Army and became a minister, serving churches in his local area of New Somerset, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California, where he died in 1904.
As for the church shuttering its doors, Miller said she and her sister, Marilee Grafton Lewandoski, grew up in the church.
“Our grandmother started going there when she was 16,” Miller said of her grandmother, the late Grace Larkin.
“I can remember waking up for the first day of Vacation Bible School, and it was like Christmas,” she said. “Grandma taught Sunday school, mom played piano and dad was in the choir,” she said, adding the church was where she and her husband, John, were married. “We’re heartbroken. We hoped it would pick back up, and it didn’t,” Miller said, attributing the church’s closing to “a dwindling congregation and not a whole lot of money keeping it going.”
Cake and refreshments will be served after the service.
Cove Presbyterian Church to host flea market, mums sale
WEIRTON — Cove Presbyterian Church will host its annual flea market and mums sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It will be held in the fellowship hall of the church, located at 3404 Main St.
Car and bike show canceled
FOLLANSBEE — The annual Lyle Family Foundation Car and Bike Show scheduled for Sept. 27 at Lyle’s Auto in Follansbee, has been canceled.