Brights Chapel Cemetery Preservation Fund

TYPE OF FUND:  Cemetery Preservation Sub-Fund / Field of Interest 

DATE ESTABLISHED:  September 27, 2001 

PURPOSE:  Maintenance and upkeep of Bright’s Chapel Cemetery located on Rt. 72 North West of Red Creek.

DISTRIBUTION:  Upon the recommendation of the Grants Committee, and approval by the Board of Directors of TCF. 

VARIANCE POWER:  If, in the judgment of the TCF Board of Directors, the restrictions and conditions of the fund become unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community, the TCF Board of Directors maintains the right to modify the terms of this fund.

FUNDING:  Initiated by Kensel E. Stephens (deceased Nov. 2003) with an initial donation of $1,000 and donations by the persons interested in perpetual funding for the cemetery. 

BACKGROUND:  This fund was initiated to provide perpetual funding for the upkeep of Bright’s Chapel Cemetery located on state route 72 about three and one half miles north west of Red Creek.  The late Kensel E. Stephens of Chesapeake, VA, author of Bright Cousins, a genealogy which was printed by McClain Printing Company of Parsons in 1994, opened the fund with a $1,000 donation given to TCEF on March 20, 2000 following the death of his wife, Ethel Bright Stephens, a great-great-granddaughter of the first minister of Bright’s chapel Church.

The church has a fascinating history with its original minister, Thomas Bright (1797-1873) carrying his mother’s maiden name, Bright.  His father’s name was Liptrap, but his arrival in America in l772 was not a future he chose for himself and his family.  Records show that Thomas’ parents, Isaac Liptrap and his wife, Mary Bright Liptrap, came to America abroad the ship Tayloe, after he had been reprieved from a prison in England.  He had been indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling house of Eliezar Pigot and stealing numerous items including silver spoons, iron spurs, leather boots and shoes, a woolen coat, a gown and a “powder-proof piece”.  He was released and “…his sentence commuted to transportation to America, considered by many to be a fate worse than hanging, in July 1772, according to The Liptrap Family in America, 1785-1985, a 1985 publication that was printed in Houston, TX.

Their son, then using his father’s last name, Thomas Liptrap, served as a private in Capt. John Dickson’s Company from Rockbridge County, VA, during the war of 1812.  It was this Thomas, later known as Thomas Bright, who was the first minister of the Bright’s Chapel Church and ancestor of many local residents.  Thomas and his second wife, the former Margaret Cox (1795-1879), raised a large family in what is now Tucker County.  They had been married more than 50 years at the time of his death.

The original building for Bright’s Chapel was constructed of logs, built on a one-acre plot of ground deeded to the church by Bright’s son –in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. James Carr.  The original trustees of the church, then Methodist Episcopal, were George Washington Bright, John W. Bright, his nephew Hanson Bright, his brother-in-law Joab Carr and nephew Enos G. Carr.  A second church building was constructed in 1914, but was destroyed by fire.  Over a period of years the church was rebuilt mostly with volunteer labor or members.  Until 1996, Ed Carpenter served as pastor.

Services were re-instituted in March 2000 with the Reverend Lonnie Daniels of Huttonsville, representing Union Mission Conference, serving as pastor for Sunday School, and both morning and evening worship services.