Brethren Church, Snake Spring Twp.

Historical Account: The Snake Spring congregation of the Brethren church was organized in 1840 with one hundred members. The first meeting-house was built in 1861. Four meeting-houses and a membership of two hundred and eighteen now belong to this church. Minister: Jacob Koons, W. S. Ritchey, John S. Baker, John B. Fluck.

Concerning the German Baptist or Brethren church, the following sketch, prepared by a leading member of the denomination, may prove interesting:

About one hundred years ago there were a few scattered members in what now constitutes the congregations of Yellow Creek (New Enterprise), Woodberry, Hopewell and Snake Spring valley, and Samuel Ulrich was the first bishop. As far as it is now known, Jacob Snyder was the first member who resided in Snake Spring valley, on the farm now occupied by Rosie Snoeberger, Sr., and was the first deacon in the valley. Isaac Ritchey, Sr., was the first resident minister, chosen to that position about 1813. The first Love Feast was held at the stone house now occupied by Jacob Snyder, about the year 1807, and ministers from Morrison’s cove and the eastern counties officiated on that occasion. Part of the Morrison’s cove territory was subsequently separated from the Snake Spring congregation, and after the death of Isaac Ritchey, Sr., Jacob Snyder became the bishop of the Snake Spring congregation, and in the meantime Jacob Steel, Andrew Snoeberger and Isaac Ritchey, Jr., were chosen to the ministry. Steel became bishop after the death of Jacob Snyder, and Henry Clapper, Henry Hershberger, David Clapper and Jacob Koons were chosen to the ministry.

About 1872, what now constitutes Hopewell congregation was separated from Snake Spring congregation, leaving Andrew Snoeberger, Henry Hershberger and Jacob Koons as the ministers, and about a year afterward Andrew Snoeberger was made bishop. In 1873 William S. Ritchey was chosen to the ministry, in 1875 John S. Baker, in 1877 John Bennet, in 1880 John B. Fluck and on January 1, 1883, Christian Knisely was chosen to the ministry. The present deacons are John W. Snyder, Thomas Dibert, Daniel Hersberger, Israel Bennett, John Stayre, Soloman Hershberger and Daniel R. Snyder. The present membership of the Snake Spring congregation is about two hundred and fifteen.

(Source: The History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania, 1884, Waterman, Watkins & Co., pp. 273-4.)

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