Image of Reger Chapel

Reger Chapel, on Brushy Fork Road, southwest of Buckhannon, Upshur Co., WV
Picture taken by Dan Hyde, August 13, 1999
Other images of Reger Chapel

Remembering Reger Chapel's Spiritual Heritage and How It Began
By Mary Ellen Corder
Reger Chapel
United Methodish Church
Brushy Fork, Upshur Co., WV
--Heritage Program--
November 8, 1998

It began with a family named Reger, for which the Church got its name, and who made it possible to have a Church Cemetery. It also began with our dedicated forefathers. Some may have been your great great great grandparents, Uncles or Aunts.

The valley of Brushy Fork extends for a distance of approximately three miles. Settlements of this area were made between 1778 and 1812. The first settler to acquire land here was a man by the name of John Reger.

On September 12, 1833, twenty-three year old John Jackson Reger married eighteen year old Jemima Kessel. Their marriage was recorded in Lewis County of which Brushy Fork was a part of at that time.

On May 29th, 1839, one hundred-forty acres of land on Brushy Fork of Fink's Run was deeded to John J Reger by his father, Philip Reger.

John J and Jemima built their home just beyond Reger Chapel on the site where a "Bungalow" style house now stands. (This may have been the location of the present Earl Smith property or Gertie and Ordie Lantz property. One would have to check the deed records for the true location.)

On April 17,1854, a piece of ground was given by John Jackson Reger for the purpose of building a Church.

The logs were hauled by oxen by John Jackson [REGER]'s first cousin, Henry Reger, from the farm of Anthony Reger. The lumber was sawed at a saw-mill on Spruce Fork.(a picture of the saw-mill is on display)

The Reger Chapel Church was the first church built to completion in 1854. It was a Methodist Episcopal Church. The principal builders and contributors were Nimrod Reger, Elijah Hyre, Jonas Strader, Valentine Strader, John J Reger, Anthony Reger, all of whom lived on Brushy Fork, and Henry Reger, father of Anthony Reger, Goodman Reger, Martin Reger, William Reger, John Reger, all of whom lived on Finks Run or its tributaries. Note: Anthony Reger was the grandfather of Ruth Sutton Queen.

Note: by Mary Ellen Corder. I have learned that a Mr. Marcel West helped to build the original part of Reger Chapel Church. He and his wife, Ida, are buried in the Church Cemetery.

On March 12, 1890, additional land for one and a fourth (1 1/4) acres to the cemetery was given by John Jackson Reger and his wife Jemima Kessel Reger.

John Jackson Reger and his wife Jemima lived on Brushy Fork until his death in 1896. She died in 1902 and both are buried in the Reger Chapel Cemetery in back of the Church.

So you can understand more about this John Jackson [REGER] and Jemima Reger I have a picture of them to present to the church. (show the Reger picture for all to see) Note: the long beard he has and a broach she is wearing with John J's picture. I was able to get the picture and information from Gwen Reger, genealogist for the Reger Family.

Continuing with the history -

The first class meeting ever held in the Reger Chapel Church was organized by Henry Reger. He was the Class Leader until his death, then his son was chosen leader and held that position until his death.

The first funeral held at this church was Rev. L. D. Casto's in 1890. Anna (post) Greene remembered attending the funeral of a colored man who is buried in the Reger Chapel Cemetery, a former slave. His name is John Dean.

There was a Circuit Rider, the Rev. F. H. J. King, of Kingwood, WV who pastored at Reger Chapel, about (1903-04 or 5). One of his children died and was buried while he was away from home as there were no communication at that time. Information from Mrs E.C. Wereley.

Additional Church and Community History Notes

September 3, 1914 Brushy Fork Farm Women's Club organized. First in the State of West Virginia. All of their projects centered around this Church until the.....

Reger Chapel WSCS was formed in 1940 by Grace Queen-First President. Mrs Grace Fultz Queen collected contributions for the organ a short time before she married in March 17,1908. This date is inside the organ. It was restored March 19,1984 at a cost of $700.00.

Fourteen men of the Brushy Fork community built the paved road with the assistance of the County Court and a Road Bond during the time of 1927-28.

In 1956-The Bell Tower on the Church was completted and donated by Raymond Phillips.

In 1957 The Church supported a parsonage.

Harry C Summers remembered the two burnside stoves in this church. He remembered Mattie Phillip's very loud prayers. She could be heard down the road.

I (Mary Ellen Corder) remember Mr. Harry C Summers' prayers as being kind and gentle.

Every church needs to pass on it's spiritual history. I try to do something every year. We need to do it while there is people living to tell about it.

Arnett (Bill) Kidd, brother to Hattie Kidd, was a 4-H leader, and a 4-H camp was established after him in Tucker County. He was from this community.

We have many outstanding people from Brushy Fork community. Such as Judge Dowell Jennings, school teachers, bankers, Ministers, farmers, 4-h'ers etc.

Comments by Visitors

Weddings at Reger Chapel

Oct 23, 1894 John W Reger and Appilona Clevenger
Before 1900 John Ed Cockerill and Alice Prichard
May 3, 1947 Calvin Shreve and Mary Avis Teter
August 28, 1965 Roy Edgar (Eddie) Canfield and Linda Teter
May 22, 1971 Alan Shreve and Connie Blankenship
April 30, 1983 Jerry Vaugh Corder and Connie Ware
September 20,1987 Marty Casto and Sharon Myers
June 6, 1989 Keith Charles Bennett and Stephanie Ann Dowell

Veterns buried in Reger Chapel Cemetery

Meyers Dowell
Freeman Lance
Guy Strader
Earl Fultz
Russell Reger
Arnett Kidd
Page Dowell
Johnson Dowell
Doyle West
Warren Burroughs
Muston Dowell
Earl (Bill ) Strader
Richard Lawson
Jos. A Powell
Joseph Liggett

Notes of Gwen Reger

Bob (her husband) and she have traced the Reger family back over 400 years to several villages neal Basel, Switzerland. The ancestor of all the Regers in our area was born in 1690 in Benken, Switzerland. His name was Antoni Ruger (John J , grandson of youngest son, Jemima-great grandaughter of eldest son). Benken is a small village in the Canton of Basel, about 10 miles southwest of the City of Basel. (She and Bob were there in 1985) The city had control of the whole Canton and kept its subjects in a state of serfdom unitl 1790. Times were hard as Antoni grew up. There was no religious freedom and higher taxes were levied. By 1736, he was having difficulty in providing for his large family. He tried to get permission from authorities in Basel to emigrate to America. His request was denied, but he was allowed to go to Germany where he was able to make the necessary arrangements. His family consisted of his family by his first marriage, a little girl from his second marriage, his four year old son, Hans Jacob, by his third wife, Barbara Wurtz, her children from her first marriage and her mother.

In May of 1737 they sailed from Rooterdam to Cowes, England then across the Alantic. Their ship, the "Virtuous Grace," captained by John Bull, arrived in Philadelphia on September 24, 1737. On the ship's roster Antoni signed his name Ruger, while his eldest son signed Reuger.

The family went to a German speaking community in what is now Berks County, PA -- Bob and Gwen found in the original records of the Bern Reformed Church in Leesport, PA, that Antoni and his wife were godparents of a child baptized there in 1745.

By the next year 1746, they were in what is now Hardy County, WV on the South Fork of the South Branch of the Potamac near Mooresfield. There Anthony (now spelled) Reager received two land grants from Lord Fairfax: 375 acres in 1748 and 498 acres in 1749.

According to the History of Hardy County "In Novemebr 1749 two Morovian Missionaries met an old Swiss Antoni Reager who occasionally read sermons for his neighbors and had baptized his own children since no minister had ever visited the settlement before the Morovians."

The family worked, worshipped and thrived. Antoni died in 1770 leaving all of his property to his eldest son, Antony, Jr. Jacob, the youngest son, had to look elsewhere for land.

In 1776, he established "tomahawk" rights to land in what is now Barbour County. In 1785, Patrick Henry, Governor of Virigina, granted him 400 acres including the orginal tract of land.

After the Revolution, he and his wife, Barbara Crites, brought their large family over the mountains to setle in the Volga area. They carried with them their large German language Bible weighing 16 pounds. Soon after their arrival, they established in their home a Sunday service of Bible reading, singing and prayer, for their own and neighboring families. That German Bible is now on display in the main entrance of Wesley Chapel. Bob, John Reger, Kyle Reger and Dean Johnson, a Reger descendant from Missouri, bought the Bible from Ben Teter and presented it to West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Philip Reger, the third son of Jacob and Barbara Crites Reger, served in the Revolution at age 15 before moving to this area.

When he married, he lived in what became Buckhannon, but he moved to the Brushy Fork area in 1795 after the danger from the indians subsided. He was one of the Trustees of the new town of Buckhannon, a trustee of the Carper Church, a justice of the peace for 40 years and the first sheriff of Lewis County, which included what is now Upshur County.

Philip Reger's first wife was Sara Jackson, a great aunt of "Stonewall" Jackson. His second wife was Mary Jane "Dorcas" Forenash. She had been a captive of the Indians. Their sixth child and fourth son was John Jackson Reger, born June 4, 1810. Philip died in 1846, left his home place to his youngest son, Nathan, near Spruce Fork. Nathan sold his 350 acres in 1859 for $10.00 an acre, bought 350 acres in Ireland, Lewis County for $8.00 an acre. Made a profit of $700.

Great Great grandaughter
Jemima--Mary Simon Kessel
Mary Reger Simon
Anthony Reager,Jr

Anthony Reger, Sr--great great grandfather?

Great grandson
John J, father Philip
Grandfather, Jacob
Great grandfather, Anthony Sr

Monroe Carter Reger, son of Riley---born 1837, died 1871, married 1863 Susannah Hommer Johnston, Ran away at age 16 in 1853 --Europe in 1854--Australia in 1855--Calfornia in 1856-

In 1857 entered service of Pres Castilla of Perce wounded in Revolution there. England in 1860---Charleston, SC in 1861. Entered Civil War on Southern side. Wounded, Beverly Oct 64 and captured. After the war went to Illinois. Because of ridicule moved to Staunton,Va.


Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the 18-century to the American Colonies, by Faust and Brumbaugh.

Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Strassburger, edited by Hinke.

Submitted by Donna Barnes given to her by her Aunt Kathy Queen Howes, who attended the Heritage Program.

Back to REGER Family History home page.
Page maintained by Dan Hyde, hyde at Last update August 29, 1999

Copyright © 1999
By Daniel C. Hyde