Establishing the Chapel at Seven Springs
The exact date of the summer gathering under an oak tree marking the beginning of the chapel work in the pass on Walker’s Mountain can not be determined. However, we can use the information that we have gathered to help establish the approximate time. Rev. H. M. White was the pastor of the Glade Spring work from January 1, 1866 until May 16, 1875 and is given credit for six accomplishments. Number five was: “Work at Seven Springs was begun. No part of the church’s work has been more fruitful.” This information comes from Rev. Gwinn’s 1897 “Brief History of Glade Spring Church.” We can conclude from this that the work had begun at least a year or two prior to 1875. Therefore, the work at Seven Springs is approximately 125 years old.
Additional information from session records helps to establish activity at the chapel at Seven Springs. The first reference we can find that uses the words “Seven Springs” is dated July 4, 1879. On that date the 2nd Quarter report lists under disbursements the following: “Paid for Seven Springs Sunday School $4.01.” November 6, 1879 is the next reference in the session minutes. It is recorded that the session met at Seven Springs Sunday School Room and after examination, received several members into the church. On February 23, 1883, a Sunday School report is recorded in the session minutes. It is reported that Seven Springs had seven teachers and forty members on the roll. According to session minutes of March 31, 1898, Seven Springs had eight teachers and eighty members on roll.
This information and additional information in session records indicate that the Seven Springs Chapel was very active and very effective in the Lord’s vineyard prior to 1900.
Erection of the Present Sanctuary
Prior to the erection of the sanctuary, the congregation met under an oak tree near the present Seven Springs Church. Session minutes and other sources seem to indicate that the congregation secured the use of an old house or the old Jones schoolhouse. Windows and doors had to be fitted in the old building to make it a suitable place to worship in the winter. This building seemed to be the place of worship from the early to mid 1870’s until about 1901 when the present sanctuary was constructed.
On July 15, 1898, at a joint meeting of the elders, deacons, and trustees, the Moderator, P.H. Gwinn, stated, “the purpose of the meeting was to devise some means of building a Chapel at Seven Springs, if the way be clear.” It was decided at this meeting to build a chapel at Seven Springs and that the people would be asked for a subscription of $800 to $1000 for building the Chapel. The Deacons were given the responsibility, with any additional appointees that they wished to make, to raise the needed money for the Chapel. At this meeting information was given that Mrs. Mary E. (Davidson) Jackson had given a lot on the corner of her farm near the Jones school house for the erection of the Chapel and wished to deed the property over to the trustees of the Glade Spring Presbyterian Church. M.W. Robinson, E. J. Hutton, and T.M. Porterfield were appointed as a committee to have charge of all matters pertaining to this lot and to arrange for the erection and completion of the building.
However, a mild setback was experienced. Just after the adjournment of said meeting some circumstances occurred which caused a modification of the plans decided upon by the officers of the Church. On August 9, 1898, the committee recommended a change in the location of the chapel to the fork of the road leading to Debusk’s Mill on the Glade Spring and Damacus road on a lot purchased from Robert Craig. The reasons for the change were first, “a more suitable and eligible location for a chapel,” and second, “the lot can be secured at a reasonable price and much outside aid can be secured.” An additional reason was given for the location change during the Ebbing Spring dedication service. The change in the location of this chapel was caused by a generous overture from the Debusk Brothers through Mr. Ernest Debusk.
On November 5, 1898, Mr. George A.C. Beattie was elected as a building committee of one to look after the building of the Seven Springs Chapel. J.D. Lester and his father were to be the builders on the land which was a part of the W.B. Dickenson farm, later the Martin Hendricks farm and now the T.L. Porterfield farm.
Both chapels, Ebbing Spring and Seven Springs, were to be constructed. However, priority was given to Ebbing Spring because finances were readily available. Ebbing Spring was dedicated on June 3, 1900. The session minutes of April 4, 1901 would seem to indicate that Seven Springs Chapel was completed and dedicated prior to April 4, 1901.
Mrs. Nancy McGlocklin died before the chapel at Seven Springs was completed. However, the decision to build the chapel was made while she was still living. Perhaps by God’s providence, she was able to see some of the construction taking place. Her labor in the Lord was not in vain.