SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Reverend Wilkinsons Gave More Than Fire And Brimstone


Revs. Charles and Ruby Wilkinson, pastor Mt. Olive Methodist
Church during World War II, shown with daughter Bonnie

By Bob Weaver

The Rev. Charles Wilkinson was a pastor at the Mt. Olive Methodist Church at Hur, coming to the community about 1939, serving multiple churches on the Mt. Zion Charge.

The country preacher was accompanied by his wife Ruby, also a minister, a double team.

They lived in a humble and tiny parsonage at the upper end of the village, with accompanying outhouse and cistern water.

He was a fire and brimstone preacher, whose sermons started slow, then reaching an ear-throbbing crescendo, to be concluded by quiet words of inspiration.

Much of the praying was for the hundreds of Calhoun soldiers fighting in World War II.

The duo had boundless energy and dedication in a time when church attendance was high with few distractions.

The church was the center of the universe.

Kids, parents, grandparents, would take out on foot, walking the dusty roads to the Mt. Olive Church two or three times a week, while others would fire up their Model T Ford.

My mother, Myrtle McCoy Weaver or Aunt Eleanor McCoy would scrub my face, clean my ears and take my hand for the walk to the church. They would give me a few pennies for the collection plate.

The preacher team would stand at the doorway and greet all comers. It made most everyone feel their attendance was important.

Wilkinson was a pastor for 42 years, beginning his ministry with his wife in 1939, coming to Calhoun and also serving Roane, Wirt, Jackson and Wood county churches.

He died in Wood County in 1998 at the age of 87.

Three churches were built during his tenure and several young men entered the ministry under his influence.

Rev. Ruby Wilkinson was the first woman clergy person to come to this area.

She died in Wood County at the age of 90, having served ministries in in Calhoun, Roane, Wirt, Wood and Jackson counties.

They were survived by two daughters, Bonnie Knapp of Parkersburg and Sandra Osgood of Moorefield.