Category Archives: Cabell

Mud River Baptist Ch

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
January 27, 2000

West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, supplement Vol# 6, Hardesty’s
published by Jim Comstock, Richwood, WV 1974

The First Baptist Church. Everywhere in the settlement of the western
wilderness the Baptist missionary has been seen by the side of the Methodist
evangelist, and so it was in the territory now embraced within the present
limits of Cabell. Their first organization was perfected in 1807, and was
known as the Mud River Baptist Church.
Its founder was the celebrated John Lee, one of the earliest Baptist
ministers west of the Alleghenies. He was born and grew to manhood in the
southern part of Virginia, and near the close of the last century, like many
others, he crossed the mountains and sought a home in the then “Far West.”
Mr. Lee, before leaving the scenes of his childhood, had become a member of
the Baptist Church, and soon after he felt it to be his duty to call others
to repentance. He located in Teays Valley, and soon after began to proclaim
the glad tidings to those around him. At the time he began preaching he was
very illiterate, but by persevering industry he not only learned to read, but
became well acquainted with the scriptures. He was remarkably successful in
the ministry, and in him was verified the scriptural declaration that “God
hath chosen the weak to confound the mighty.”
By the year 1806, he had organized the Teays Valley Baptist Church, which
in that year was admitted into the Greenbrier Association with a membership
of fifty-two. Mr.Lee extended his field of labor and continued to gather in
the sheaves. At the meeting of the association in the year 1808, the Mud
River Church, organized entirely by his own labor, was admitted into the body
with thirty-two members. When we remember the sparsely settled condition of
the country at that time, we are astonished at the success that crowned the
labors of this extraordinary man, and at once recognize him one ordained of
God to proclaim the gospel of His Son to the inhabitants of the wilderness.
After a number of years’ residence in the valley, Mr. Lee left the two
monuments — the Teays Valley and Mud River Churches, raised by himself —
behind him, and removed beyond the Ohio River, where he continued to declare
the glad tidings of “Peace on earth and good will to men.” He died many years
ago, beloved and respected by all who were acquainted with his noble
character and consecrated labors.