On March 14, 1819, Rev. Henry Ruffner organized the Kanawha Presbyterian Church, which met alternately at the towns of Kanawha Salines (now Malden) and Charleston. The two congregations held alternate services until 1841 when it was thought expedient for the Malden people to have an organization of their own: thus Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church.
First services were held in homes, and later in a building known as “Colonel Ruffner’s Meeting House.” The main church edifice now in use was built in 1839-40, on a lot donated by Col. David Ruffner. The building (right) was dedicated December 13, 1840, Revs. James M. Brown and Henry Ruffner officiating, there being two elders and forty-eight communicants at that time. The original custom of receiving the offering in bags at the end of long poles has been retained.
On December 1, 1841, Rev. Stuart Robinson (later Moderator of the General Assembly) became Stated Supply, and was installed April 4, 1843 as the first resident pastor, serving until 1847. Through the ensuing years, several ministers have served the congregation, the longest pastorates being those of Rev. John Calvin Brown (1867-92), Rev. John W. Carpenter (1907-18), and Rev. J.E. Wayland (1930-44).
Kanawha Presbytery was organized in this church April 9, 1895; later New River Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (the denomination with which we are now affiliated) was organized here June 22, 1974. Putney Memorial and DuPont City Presbyterian Churches were organized through efforts initiated by our members.
A new Sunday school building was constructed in 1933 and dedicated January 28, 1934. In 1951-52, extensive renovation of the sanctuary became necessary to save the original building. Installation of supporting steel for the walls allowed the removal of a large center pillar directly in front of the pulpit, and the floor was replaced with a concrete base to strengthen the foundation. The choir loft and pulpit areas were enlarged, the lighting improved, and indoor shutters (similar to the original ones) were installed at the windows. On June 2, 1987, Kanawha Salines received the Martin property (east of the building), a gift of Alma Eastwood McConnell in loving memory of John Alexander and Amelia Hill Martin (both deceased), her grandparents and former members.
Rev. John Appleton had the idea for a “Malden Farmer’s Market” shortly before his death in 2013. His vision was implemented in the months following, and continues to bless the community through the summer months each year.
In this building, for the glory of God, we continue to teach the unsearchable riches of Christ, that there may be many who here learn of Him who died to save his people from sin and who lives in the lives of those who trust Him. This heritage is cherished by those who presently worship here, thankful for the gracious blessings of God upon His house.