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Volume 7 History of Virginia Conferences of United Brethren December 26, 2013


Dr. W. F. Gruver, 1865-1950

The Rev. Dr. W. F. Gruver was born near Chambersburg, Pa., on July 9, 1865, a son of the late
Jacob I. and Anna M. Gruver, and he died in King’s Daughters Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va. on
November 30, 1950, at the age of 85.

In 1887, after having completed his educational preparation at Shenandoah College, he was
assigned to his first charge at Singers Glen. He served here for 1 year, followed by a year at Elkton and
3 years at Edinburg. From 1893 to 1897, he served the congregation in Dayton and was the College
pastor during this time. In 1897 he came to be the pastor of Martinsburg First Church, where he was to
remain for 20 years. He established St. Luke’s Church and served it as pastor for 1 year; he also
founded Blairton Church, where he served as pastor for 3 years. He was responsible for establishing
churches in Keyser, Cumberland, and Cherry Grove. During 1903-1906, he was Presiding Elder of
Winchester District, while Dr. A. S. Hammack was Presiding Elder of Shenandoah District. During
1906-1909, he was Superintendent of the entire Virginia Conference. Again, in 1922, he completed the
year that was unfinished by the previous Conference Superintendent and made the annual report to
Conference. I have read all of Dr. Gruver’s annual reports to Conference while Superintendent, and
they give evidence of a clear head, clean conscience, cool judgment, and steady hand, as well as
forthrightness, strong convictions, uncompromising principles, and far-reaching vision. During his
superintendency, there was established a minimum salary for ministers, and of this he says in one of his
reports to Conference: “Many a pastor’s heart will be made glad at this Conference.” Also during his
superintendency, the district parsonage was purchased on North Queen Street in Martinsburg. His last
regular pastorate was Harrisonburg, Va., where he served from 1921 to 1926. At the conclusion of the
Harrisonburg pastorate, he retired in Martinsburg at 634 North Queen Street, a short distance from First
Church where he was pastor for 20 years.

Dr. Gruver was married to Miss Nellie May Ruby in Mt. Jackson on Christmas Eve 1889. In
1939 he and Mrs. Gruver observed their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Mrs. Gruver preceded her
husband in death in February 1945, after 56 years of married life. To this union was born the following
children that survived: Dr. J. Paul Gruver, Pastor of Martinsburg First Church; his twin sister, Mrs.
Pauline Gaskill of Burlington, N.J.; and Joseph H. Gruver of Tampa, Fla.

Dr. Gruver was elected to seven general conferences over a 30-year period. For 62 consecutive
years, he faithfully answered the roll call in the Virginia Annual Conference. In 1910 Lebanon Valley
College conferred on him the Dr. of Divinity degree.

Funeral services were held from Martinsburg First Church on Saturday afternoon, December 2.
The Conference Superintendent Floyd L. Fulk conducted the services with the following ministerial
brethren participating: Dr. Carl W. Hiser, Rev. J. R. Collis, Dr. E. E. Miller, Rev. Luther P. Tederick,
and Dr. McCurdy, a close personal friend of Dr. Gruver and Rev. John E. Oliver.

“Now the laborer’s task is o’er; Now the battle day is past;
Now upon the farther shore Lands the voyager at last.”

“O noble Soul! O gentle heart! Hail and farewell!”—F. L. Fulk

Dedication iii
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