West End United Methodist Church was founded by the Von Canon family who moved to West End around 1903. At this time, there was no organized church of any denomination. In this small, thirty-five family town, Sunday morning services were multi-denominational, held in homes, stores, or the local school building and led by lay leaders or whatever circuit-riding preacher was available.
Reverend William H. Brown, a man from Louisburg, Franklin County, who was called into ministry at 21, was one of these circuit preachers. He had served at churches in Elizabeth City, Manteo, and Aberdeen before helping the people of West End charter their church. Reverend Brown served as the first minister of West End UMC from 1912 to 1915 and returned to pastor the church twice (1921-23 and 1942-45).
Eventually becoming successful owners of Von Canon Millwork Co. and the Sandhill Furniture Company, the Von Canon family made up nine of the original fifteen charter members of West End UMC. James Bobbit (J.B.) Von Canon and his wife Amanda Tysinger Von Canon, the patriarch and matriarch of the family, the church and, in many ways, the community, had a total of seven children, four of which were born in West End. Throughout their time at West End UMC, the Von Canons contributed extensive amounts of time and money for the development of the church. It was because of their generosity that the first sanctuary was built. Since that time, other buildings and property were added to West End UMC, some of which were dedicated to the Von Canons:
In addition to growing in physical size, the church has also added several new missions and ministries: Bread of Life, Christian Care, the Food Pantry, Shepherd’s Table, United Methodist Men, and United Methodist Women, and many others.