The Church of the Brethren

Many of the pioneers of Morrison’s Cove were members of the church of the Brethren. they were largely an agricultural people and were attracted to the cove by the excellent soil and the many fine springs and streams. Among those who came were ministers who very early organized congregations of the people and established preaching places. Indeed, many of their houses were built in such fashion that a good sized congregation might assemble and be comfortably seated for the public service and worship.

Rev. James a. Sell writes in “History of the Church of the Brethren In the Middle District follows: “It is possible that our pioneers came from Franklin county, as large numbers trace their ancestry to that county. The first of this migration was in 1750-1760. In 1785 a tract of land containing 269 acres located on Three Spring Run, a branch of Yellow creek, was conveyed by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Samuel Ullery and Jacob Brumbaugh. The signature of Benjamin Franklin, “President of the Supreme Council of the Executive” is on this document. The consideration was six pounds, nineteen shillings and five pence.

Rev. Sell says: “So far as is known, this Samuel Ullery was the first minister in this church. Jacob Brumbaugh was also a minister. One hundred acres of this land was conveyed by Samuel Ullery to Jacob Brown in 1822 and 1841 title passed to Samuel Brown. In succession it passed from Samuel Brown to Daniel S. Snowberger, Christian Snowberger, Samuel Werking, Gilbert Werking and now is vested to A. P. Baker. The Yellow Creek congregation was organized in 1796 with a few members. They met for worship in the homes, and not until the year 1840 did they erect a house of worship.

This building was located where the present New enterprise church now stands. It was 40 by 65 feet with a kitchen 20 by 34 feet. Doubtless the congregations were large as the size of the building would indicate. In 1876 a division of the territory left the New Enterprise congregation--officially the Yellow Creek congregation--with ministers as follows: Daniel Snowberger, Leonard Furry and Joseph Z. Replogle. The deacons were: George Brumbaugh, Samuel Teeter, David L. Replogle, Isaac Replogle, Sr., Jacob Furry and Abram Sollenberger.

I am not an authority on church history and do not assume to define doctrines and polities, but from what I read I have concluded the Church of the Brethren is quite democratic in its attempts to determine the right course of procedure in questions that arise among its members. I see in their history many meetings were held and votes were taken on questions affecting the membership.

One question was: “Is it right for brethren to bail criminals out of prison?” The answer was formulated: “Brethren should not do this, at least, before consulting the church.” Another answer to a question of conduct was relative to a common practice of those days: “ It is wrong to take part in playing ring during intermission at spelling schools.” At the same meeting it was decided to “invite Daniel P. Saylor to come and preach for a week or ten days and to pay his expenses.”

For some reason unknown, the records of the congregation were consigned to the flames so that no record exists prior to May 9, 1875. Doubtless much of interest was thus destroyed.

From 1865-1882, or a little later, there were three elements in the church, each holding divergent views from the other. They are classified by one of their own historians as “Old Order,” “Progressive” and “Conservative.” the Progressives were said to be the disturbing factor, as progressives always are to the church or state. The Old Order and the Conservatives were anxious to maintain the status quo, but the progressives demanded many changes in policy and practice.

In the history of Methodism we can see the same thing. Once we were “the plain people,” and we still have a rule, now almost totally ignored, forbidding the “putting on of gold and costly apparel.”

The progressives wanted more freedom in dress, an educated ministry, church schools of higher grades of learning and other less important changes in polity and practice. They were led by intelligent, but I am afraid too impulsive brethren. Like most reformers they wanted these changes immediately. I believe all these changes have come in the mother church and the necessity for the Progressive movement has largely disappeared. I am not judging but stating facts as I gather them.

Some of the finest men I have known have gone out of the mother church in that movement, perhaps just a little too impatient for progress. I believe there never was any difference in doctrine, and now but little in any other important matter. I have said in another article, there ought to be one church in Loysburg. I now say: I wonder if there still exists any reason for more than one church in New Enterprise.

The present commodious church building was erected in 1878, and remodeled and divided into Sunday school rooms in 1915. Until 1918 this church had no paid minister, but in that year the congregation decided to have a supported pastor. Their first paid pastor was Rev. H. Stover Kulp, who remained but one year and then accepted a call to the First Church of the Brethren in Philadelphia. They then called Rev. George E. Yoder, who served successfully from 1919 until 1927. The present popular pastor is Rev. D. O. Cottrell, who serves the churches located at New Enterprise, Salemville, and Waterside. It is all called New Enterprise congregation.

The names of the bishops who have presided over the Yellow Creek congregation are Samuel Ullery, John M. Holsinger, Jacob Miller, Daniel Snowberger, Leonard Furry and Joseph Z. Replogle. Since 1899, when the name became “New Enterprise” the bishops have been Charles L. Buck, and David T. Detwiler. The last has been a minister for forty-six years, and a bishop for twenty-one years.

The following were called to the ministry in the local church: Samuel Ullery, John Holsinger, Isaac Ritchey, Sr., Jacob Snyder, Isaac Ritchey, Jr., Jacob Coughnour, Martin Miller, David Brumbaugh, John M. Holsinger, Andrew Snowberger, Jacob Miller, John Eshelman, Leonard Furry, Daniel Snowberger, Christian Holsinger, John B. Replogle, Joseph Z. Replogle, Samuel A. Moore, John L. Holsinger, Charles L. Buck, David M. Straley, Rhinehart Z. Replogle, Levi F. Holsinger, Levi T. Stuckey, George P. Myers and David Detwiler.

Those who have gone out to serve other congregations are Harvey S. Replogle, Edgar M. Detwiler, Edward Holsinger, Guy Beach, Kenneth Bechtel and Orville Holsinger.

Thus we see this church has sent forth six choice young men as ministers of the gospel. Certainly many splendid laymen have also gone out, and by their lives, their devotion to the church and their manifest interest in all good things, have helped to make this world a better place in which to live. The names we have here recorded are common throughout this part of Pennsylvania, and represent a considerable portion of the best people we have. The heritage of a good name is not to be despised.

Who can measure the influence of the multitude of good people who have received their religious training under these leaders! They are to be found in all walks of life. Many are in Blair county and adjoining counties. The community served by this church is not increasing, but decreasing in population, but the church has increased in membership, and there are really but few people in South Woodbury township that do not belong to some church. There is also a spirit of brotherliness that is indeed commendable.

The pastor of the Progressive church, Rev. E. S. Flora, lives at Riddlesburg and serves a church there. Adam Beech is secretary of the congregation. This church is sincerely trying to help in evangelizing the world at home and abroad. The proximity of the mother church with her large congregation hinders this smaller number as invariably the crowd goes with the stronger denomination. Nevertheless they are to be commended for their fidelity to their faith. They are good people laboring to help make the world better, out of their smaller number may come some great and good men and women.

Pictures are shown of both the churches at New Enterprise, The Church of the Brethren and Progressive Brethren Church, and Rev. D. O. Cottrell.

Source: Historical Sketches of Morrison’s cove, Rev. C. W. Karns, Mirror press, 1933, pp 163-6.

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