The Rev. Edward Lewis Goodwin, in his, Recollections of My First Parish –1880-1885, states that Ascension Church was newly built in 1880, and dedicated by Bishop Francis McNeese Whittle, Diocese of Virginia, in 1881. The chapel served the Saunders and Hairston families and the surrounding area, although the Parish Record of Ascension Chapel begins with the baptism of Mr. Esom Sloan on October 17, 1894.

Emmanuel Chapel was completed and dedicated May 4, 1904 by Bishop R. M. Randolph, Diocese of Southern Virginia.

The Rev. William Thomas Roberts, the Rector of Trinity Church in Rocky Mount from 1902 until 1924, began a school for the mountain children, primarily for the purpose of religious education. This first school was known as Emmanuel School, later becoming Phoebe Needles and, finally, St. Peter’s School.

St. John’s was founded by Mr. Roberts in 1914. In 1926 the enrollment was estimated to be between seventy-five and one hundred twenty-five.

Miss Caryetta Davis, known as “Miss Etta,” devoted her efforts to St. Peter’s, serving there from 1907 until 1937, while Miss Ora Harrison served at St. John’s near Endicott for forty years, from 1914 until 1954. Dr. Franc Morrill and Nurse Ann Barlow provided medical care for the pupils and for the families in the area. Maude Beheler taught crafts at St. John’s from 1925 until 1956. Others who served for long periods of time include:Miss Mamie Montgomery and Miss Octavia Ulmer at St. Peter’s.

The school at St. Peter’s closed in 1957, St. John’s School in 1936, and St. John’s Mission in 1961.

These few lines do scant justice to lives filled with sacrifice and service, but a fuller recounting of the history of the Mountain Missions of Franklin County is not the primary purpose of this volume. For those who would like to read more about the area, the times and the people, we recommend, Miss Ora and Miss Etta, A Folk History, by Esther Fox Maxey, from which this background of the mountain missions was taken. This is a private publication, copies of which may be found at St. Peter’s, Episcopal Church, Callaway, VA, and at the Ferrum College Library, Ferrum, VA.

The following material is used with permission: Van T. Renick, Franklin County, Va., Parish Records 1858-1998 (Rocky Mount, Va. : 1998)