THE EARLY YEARS
Spring Hill Presbyterian Church was founded over one hundred years ago, on November 7, 1915.
Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who lived in the village or vicinity of Spring Hill, Augusta County, had been traveling seven or eight miles to Augusta Stone Church for several generations. They were descendants of early pioneers who had migrated from Pennsylvania from the seventeen hundreds in search of fertile farm land. By 1885, the population of Spring Hill had grown considerably with an elementary school in the village, a post office known as the Long Glade, and numerous businesses. There was also a United Brethren Church and a Methodist Church. Apparently the Presbyterians of the community felt that they should have a Sunday School and church services of their own.
Found in the minutes at Augusta Stone Church is an entry dating back to the first concrete evidence of preaching in Spring Hill on July 3, 1887 by Rev. George Leese Bitzer, a pastor who served at Augusta Stone Church from 1885-1889. By 1889, there was a thriving Sunday School Organization at Spring Hill with 7 teachers and 70 "scholars." Both Sunday School and Preaching Services were held in various locations of the village including private residences, the elementary school, the Brethren church, and the Methodist church.
Rev. James Van Devanter began serving as pastor at Augusta Stone Church in 1891 and under his faithful and devoted guidance, the work at Spring Hill was continued and prospered. In 1893, efforts were made by the Presbyterians of the community to construct a building of their own. Found in the Session minutes from Augusta Stone Church, "Session agreed to pay one hundred dollars for the purchase of a lot in Spring Hill" for a congregation in connection with Augusta Stone. On July 19, 1894, a lot was purchased and a chapel was built in 1894-95.
By 1915, it was felt by many that the group of worshippers here was strong enough to sever its relationship as a chapel of Augusta Stone Church and become an independent congregation. When the Commission of Presbytery met at the Spring Hill Chapel for the act of organization, 105 persons were received as charter members. All of these individuals had been members of the Augusta Stone Church, and the session at the church acted that same day, November 7, 1915, to transfer their membership to the new church. Rev. Van Devanter was installed as the first minister of the Spring Hill Church.