History

THE HISTORY OF RHUMC

The Round Hill United Methodist Church is not one of the oldest churches in the County, but its history does cover the span of a lifetime. The land on which the present church building is situated was acquired from Klein Wright by deed dated September 30, 1887. The land was deeded to Joseph R. Hill, James M. Wynkoop, Thomas W. Wynkoop, C.W. Hammerly, and R.P.W. Jones, Trustees for M.E. Church, South, as a place of Divine Worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South at Round Hill, Loudoun County, Virginia, subject to the discipline, usage and ministerial appointments of said Church as from time to time authorized and declared by the General Conference of said Church, and the Annual Conference, within whose bounds the said premises are situated.

Though yellowed with age this original deed is still in the possession of the church and is in good condition. It is written in longhand, signed by Klein Wright with no witnesses to his signature, but is certified by the Clerk of the Loudoun County Court.

A word about the Trustees: Joseph R. Hill was a farmer from the Bluemont vicinity. He owned and resided on the large farm at the foothills of the Blue Ridge now owned and occupied by the James Brownell family (Whitehall). Charles W. Hammerly, who eventually built a Queen Anne Victorian adjacent to the church property, ran a store at Woodgrove. James and Thomas Wynkoop, brothers, were uncles of Misses Ruth, Ada, and Fannie Wynkoop.

The congregation of the Round Hill Methodist Church was not a new congregation, but was in reality a transfer to a newer location. This congregation had for many years worshiped in a church building in Woodgrove, located on the corner lot just west of the main residence on Woodgrove Farm.

The need for larger quarters at a more central location led to the acquisition of the Round Hill site.

Construction of the new church at Round Hill started very soon after acquiring deed to the land in 1887. T.N. Simpson & Son of Round Hill were the contractors; they also built the Old Bush Meeting Tabernacle (now a Skating Rink) in Purcellville and the home now owned and occupied by the Gene Cote family. The Wynkoop family, one of Loudoun’s oldest, played a prominent part in the construction of the church, from riding about the countryside soliciting contributions, to actually working on the building itself.

John Wynkoop and his brother James, a farmer, contributed the hauling and the work of his hired man. John Wynkoop furnished the logs for a great part of the lumber which, incidentally, was sawed at the old Poulsen Mill in Round Hill.

Many an ice cream festival and oyster supper went into the building of the Round Hill Methodist Church. Older residents of the community recall, among others, a strawberry festival held on the site of the present Round Hill National Bank (F&M). Long picnic tables were spread under shady apple trees – surely a very pleasant as well as lucrative method of raising funds for the new church. One particular oyster supper was staged upstairs at Ed Ballenger’s Blacksmith Shop across the street from the present fire house.

The construction of the new building at Round Hill was completed in the late summer of 1889 and dedicated in October of the same year.

Mrs. William Rogers, an aunt of J. Holmes Thomas, joined the Woodgrove Church as a child and had a part in raising the money for the new church. We quote from her memories of the dedication: “When it was dedicated, Jim Boyd, who grew up near there preached the sermon, he was high up in the Church, his wife was a Wynkoop, there was plenty of that name there then.”

This Dr. James Boyd came from Baltimore and was an uncle of Misses Ada, Fannie and Ruth Wynkoop.

The organization of the early church was not too dissimilar from its organization today. There was an organization called the “Aid Society of the Round Hill ME Church-Hillsboro Circuit.” This society came into being on May 2, 1894, and a constitution and by-laws were drawn up. Thirty-two names were enrolled, including both men and women. From this list it is interesting to note the following names: Walter Parks, Nannie Cross (Mrs. Nannie Ballenger), Mr. and Mrs Milford Parks, and Mrs. John Gill. I quote from the second meeting of this organization, “This registry gave a majority of ladies and by their vote they said, ‘Man shall no longer rule over us’; so they nominated and elected Mrs. John Gill, President, Mrs. H.K. Arthur, Secretary, and Mrs. Milford Parks, Treasurer.” From this time on it was known as the Ladies Aid Society until it became the Woman’s Society of Christian Services, and was changed to United Methodist Women in 1973.

Church records list names of many loyal laymen who have worked for the good of the church and community, including Wynkoop, James, Hammerly, Parks, Davis, Lynch, Poulsen, Gill, Simpson, and others.

In 1955 the church felt we could better serve and be served by having our preacher live in Round Hill. Therefore, the circuit was divided, and the Round Hill Methodist Church became one of a three-point charge, including Bluemont and Roszell Chapel Methodist Churches. A dwelling adjoining the church property was purchased from Mr. C.H. McDonough, and was furnished for the preacher and his family.

An Educational Building was constructed by R. D. McCauley and Son, at a cost of approximately $24,000. A large crowd was on hand for the dedication services on Sunday afternoon, August 9, 1959. The Rev. M.G. Wooten, the current pastor, presided, and District Superintendent, Rev. Roland Riddick, was the principal speaker.

The sanctuary was redecorated in 1962, under the leadership of Mrs. Howard Black and Mrs. Holmes Thomas. The floors were sanded, benches reconditioned, stained glass was put in the windows, walls painted, and the pulpit chairs recovered.

A new organ was purchased in 1964, under the direction of our music committee chaired by Mrs. Dennett Guthrie. An Allen organ was purchased at a cost of about $4500, and was first used and demonstrated at a musical presented by members and friends of the church under the direction of Mrs. Guthrie on Sunday afternoon, December 20, 1964.

The Sanctuary, Nave and Chancel were again renovated in 2005. The pews, altar rail, pulpit and chairs were were removed and shipped to Pennsylvania for refinishing. The lighting was replaced with earlier period fixtures. The speakers, drop down screen and projector, were relocated, in a manner that you would not see them. Rheostats were installed to be able to change the mood. The old tile ceiling was removed and the bead-board under it was reworked and painted, returning it to its original look. An arch boarder was installed. The drapes in the Sanctuary was removed. All of the upper-walls were repaired and repainted a flat color, while the chair rail, trim and doors were returned to a wood look. New carpet and seat cushions to match were installed and the pieces sent to Pennsylvania were returned. A baby grand piano was donated to the church, replacing an old upright one. The transformation was stunning.