West St Clair Township
Organization of the Township- Pioneer Settlers- How Mrs. Bowen Secured a Supply of Meat- The Character and Achievements of the Early Settlers- Their Hardships- Representative Families - Pleasantville Borough- A Sketch of its Origin and Growth- Physicians- Church History.
ST. CLAIR township was organized in 1794. Subsequent organization of other townships reduced its size; and on September 18, 1875, the remaining territory was divided into East and West St. Clair.
Benjamin Bowen, a native of Ireland, settled near Pleasantville at a time when this entire region was exceedingly wild and very thinly peopled. He built a little brush camp, in which the family lived while he was preparing to erect a cabin. When all was in readiness he went to the neighborhood where Nelson's mill now stands, to get help to raise his cabin. The family were poor and their supplies consisted of a very little bread, but no meat.
In the evening, after invitations to the raising had been given, while Mrs.
Bowen was trying to solve the difficult problem of furnishing entertainment to her guests on the morrow, she heard the noise of wild geese which were flying over. Hastily kindling a fire, she awaited results. The geese saw the light and descended. Mrs. Bowen succeeded in killing several of them and thus providing a supply of meat for the "raising." The occurrence seemed almost providential. Benjamin Bowen's son, Benjamin, lived on the old homestead. His son, Isaac F., now residing in Pleasantville, is the only member of the family now living. The Bowens were Friends in religious belief.
The Davis family, of Welsh origin, moved from Adams county to this township quite early. Joshua Davis was then married and had a family of four sons:
Hiram, Reuben, Luther and Omar. Hiram was a blacksmith, and followed his trade a number of years. He died in 1869. He was elected poor director of the county in 1863, and served until 1865. In 1838 he married Mary, daughter of Benjamin Bowen. He was the father of eleven children, of whom nine are living.
Among the early settlers were John and James Hancock, John and Samuel Blackburn. Joseph Blackburn built the first mill at Spring Hope very early, probably before 1800.
George Gordon settled in this county as early as 1760, and received titles to his lands prior to the organization of Bedford county. He sowed the first wheat in this section, but before he could harvest it the Indians drove him away, and the grain went to waste.
As early as 1782, Ellis Rogers, from Eastern Pennsylvania, located in this township and built a house which is still standing near the present school-building in Pleasantville borough. The children of Ellis Rogers, Sr., were: Lewis, John, Eli, Abner and Ellis, Esther, Rachel, Elizabeth and Mary.
Ellis lived on the old homestead. John and Lewis went to Ohio, but the other members of the family lived and died in this vicinity.
The pioneers have passed away. The story of their hardships and difficulties is now remembered only by the oldest inhabitants. The early settlers used to delight in recounting their experiences and achievements, and what wonder?
Surely their pride in the work they accomplished was pardonable. Their lives were characterized by the same spirit which ever attends progressive civilization. They lived not alone for themselves. The results of their labor will long outlast them and he enjoyed by their children's children, and many generations yet unborn. Their heroism won for them independence, and secured unnumbered blessings to their posterity. Uncultured and rude in outward appearance the pioneers may have been and doubtless were, but their hearts were right, and their lives noble.
The first gristmill in West St. Clair township was built on Lick branch of Dunning's creek, near the foot of the Allegheny mountain, probably as early as 1800. It was of a primitive pattern and was run by a small undershot wheel.
William Willis was the owner of the mill in 1812. The first sawmill was built by James Clark as early as 1820. It stood at the point of Chestnut ridge.
George Burback, an Englishman, was an early settler in the southern part of this township. He removed to Missouri, became quite wealthy, then returned to this county, and died at Jesse Willis' house.
The Gordons, William Clark, William Willis, Joseph Whitaker and Thomas Callahan were among the early settlers.
Robert Adams was a pioneer settler near Bedford. He underwent many hardships, and during the Indian troubles was obliged to go to the fort every night to escape being murdered. He moved to St. Clair township, where he died about 1822. His children were John, James, Solomon, Thomas, Robert, Ruth A. (McAfee), Betsey (Jones), Margaret (Jones), and William. William was born in this township in 1785, and died here in 1855. His children were Robert, Solomon, George W., William, Betsey, Catharine (Fair), Linda, Mary (Dull), and Anna (Lamar). Solomon, George, Catharine and Anna are living.
Solomon was born in this township and still resides here. He has lived on his present farm forty-two years. He has served as justice of the peace several years.
Robert Allison, Sr., was an early settler in St. Clair township. His son James, born in this township in 1797, was a well-known and prominent citizen. He followed surveying and school-teaching. He taught school forty-five winters in succession. He also served as justice of the peace a number of years and performed nearly all the legal writing for his neighborhood. Mr. Allison was a self-educated man. He was one of the most zealous advocates of the free-school system, and contributed liberally, both of money and of labor, toward the advancement of the cause of education. He died in 1866. Mr. Allison was married in 1833, to Mary Ann Hewitt, of Napier township, and was the father of five children: Joseph, Mary E. (deceased), Robert, Martha E. (Washburn) and John H. Robert Allison, son of James, was reared in Napier township. He has resided in West St. Clair township since 1862. He has a well-improved farm and good buildings. Mr. Allison enlisted in Co. F, 61st regt. Penn. Vols., in 1864, and was honorably discharged in July, 1865.
John Ickes, from York county, settled at Dutch Corner, Bedford township, in 1787. He died in 1822. His youngest child, Adam, married Mary Haverstock and reared twelve children: Samuel, Lydia (Garn), Conrad, Margaret (Garn), Daniel, David, Isaac, Catharine (Arthur), Ann (Klutz), Adam, Leah (Moses) and George. Conrad Ickes came to St. Clair township in 1823. In 1836 he purchased of Samuel Blackburn a farm on George's creek, on which he resided until 1868. He then removed to Pleasantville, where he now resides. He married Elizabeth Lingenfelter. Their children were Mary A., Daniel, William, Adam, John C., Mandilla, Richard W. and Eliza V. (Whilt). Adam and Richard are living, the former a merchant in Pleasantville.
George Beckley was born in St. Clair township in 1794 and died in 1875. When young he followed shoemaking. In 1813 he married Elizabeth Righard. From
1818 to 1841 he lived on a farm leased from Thomas Vickroy. He then purchased a farm south of Oak Shade. Mr. Beckley's children were Samuel, Jacob, Mary (Berger), Eve (Finley), Esther (Evans), Elizabeth (Burns) and Catharine. The last two are dead. Samuel Beckley, the oldest child, has been a most industrious and successful farmer. In 1844 he purchased a farm of John Mock ("Whistler" Mock), upon which he lived until 1873, then sold out to his sons Samuel and James. Mr. Beckley made extensive improvements on the Mock place, erected good buildings, built and operated a distillery and a sawmill, and carried on a prosperous business. He now lives on the old Beckley homestead, which he purchased in 1871.
James Blackburn was born in Monallen township, Adams county, Pennsylvania, February 22, 1797. In 1803 he was removed to live with his uncle, Benjamin Bowen, just east of where the village of Pleasantville now stands.
Of his immediate family there were two sisters and four brothers. Being left orphans, they were scattered during their childhood, but finally all settled in the same neighborhood, married, and raised large families, averaging nine children each.
In the year 1820 James married Anne Penrose, daughter of Amos and Sophia Penrose. They had thirteen children. For many years he was the principal man in his neighborhood, who was called upon to write articles of agreement, deeds, wills, and very often letters, for those who could not write them for themselves. He often taught school during the winter season, frequently settled up estates, and was a practical surveyor. A nephew who has since been county surveyor was a student of his.
When the free-school system in Pennsylvania went into operation under the law of 1834, he was appointed a member of the first board of school directors and assisted in dividing the township into school districts and building schoolhouses. He subsequently served several terms as school director, and also as assessor, at different times.
In the Society of Friends, of which he was a lifelong member, he was often called upon to serve as clerk, both in the monthly and quarterly meetings, and he was an elder at the time of his death, which occurred in 1869.
Jacob Beckley, born at St. Clairsville, moved to Oak Shade with his parents in 1818. In 1844 he purchased his present farm. Mr. Beckley married Ann, daughter of William McDonald, Esq., and is the father of six children, all living but the third mentioned- Elizabeth (Moore), Thomas P., Mary M.
(Wright), Ellen C. (Potts), Samuel M. and John H. Thomas P. taught school in the township and in Pleasantville from 1862 to 1865, and was engaged in mercantile business at Oak Shade from 1865 to 1868. In 1868 he removed his goods to Pleasantville, and there continued business until 1870. In 1869 he built the store now occupied by Adam Ickes, and in 1870 sold out to Mr. Ickes. From 1870 to 1873 he was engaged in stock-dealing. He then purchased his present farm, and has since followed farming and the stock business.
James Barefoot came from Berks county in 1809. He settled at St. Clairsville, where he remained until 1813, then removed to a farm near Dunning's creek, on which he remained until 1817. He then purchased two hundred and twenty acres of wild land from David Riley, on Gordon's creek, settled upon it and began improving. Mr. Barefoot was married, in 1810, to Mary Sleek, of Frederick county, Maryland. Mrs. Barefoot is still living, at the age of ninety-two. The family had their full share of pioneer experiences and hardships. During their first year on their farm they lived in a cabin which had no doors or windows. Mrs. Barefoot, who has lived to see the fifth generation of her descendants, still resides in the old log house which her husband built in 1817. James Barefoot built a sawmill on Gordon's creek in 1842, which was the first mill in that neighborhood. He followed farming and the millwright's trade. He died in 1844. His children are Rebecca (Moore), Elizabeth (Hammer), Sarah (Reininger), deceased, William, Isabella (Taylor), James, Mary (Stanton), Margaret (Bowers), Samuel, Job, Charlotte and George.
James Barefoot, son of James, Sr., was reared on the old homestead. From 1844 to 1853 he farmed on the old place. In 1853 he purchased of Jacob Snyder the farm on which he now lives. He has good buildings and improvements.
The following statistics concerning the descendants of James Barefoot in this county furnish a remarkable illustration of the agency of one family in populating a township:
Number of children living, eleven; dead, one. Number of grandchildren living, seventy-one; dead, eighteen. Number of great-grandchildren living, one hundred and thirty-six; dead, eighteen. Number of great-great-grandchildren living, six; dead, one. Total number of descendants, two hundred and sixty-four, of whom two hundred and twenty-four are living.
Samuel Barefoot lives on the old homestead of the family. He learned the trade of carding and cloth-dressing in Somerset, in 1844-7, and followed that business several years.
George W. Barefoot, son of James Barefoot, was born and reared on the old homestead, and now lives in the Barefoot neighborhood. He owns a house and lot in Pleasantville. Mr. Barefoot is now leading a retired life.
Daniel A. Griffith followed blacksmithing in Fishertown from 1854 to 1857. He then moved to Oak Shade, where he died in 1862. He reared three children, Richard S., Fremont and Maggie, of whom only Richard is living. After Mr. Griffith's death, Mrs. Griffith and her son moved to Centre county for one year, then returned to Fishertown. Three years later Mrs. Griffith married Hugh E. Kinton, and removed to Schellsburg. She died in 1876. Richard S. Griffith married Rachel Corl, and engaged in blacksmithing at Oak Shade, where he is at present located.
J.M. Griffith, son of Joseph Griffith, was born and reared in East St. Clair. He moved to West St. Clair in 1878, where he now resides, and is engaged in farming.
Isaac A. Cuppett, Sr., moved from Lancaster county to Bedford township early, and followed the blacksmith's trade. Later he purchased a farm of Abraham Moore, and moved to Chestnut ridge, where he farmed and worked at his trade until his death, in 1862. He married Mary Albaugh in 1802, and was the father of eight children- Nancy M. (Adams), David A., Philip, Mary A. (Sloan), Isaac A., William W., Ellen E. (McVicker) and Charlotte (Mickle).
Nancy, David and Ellen are dead. Isaac A., Jr., married Catharine Winand in 1839, and farmed on several places until 1856, when he purchased the farm on which he now lives. Mr. Cuppett has improved the buildings and has an excellent farm. The land on Chestnut ridge, which the early settlers considered worthless, is now among the best in the county.
George M. Holsinger, son of John Holsinger, an early settler in Morrison's cove, was born in the cove in 1804, and died in St. Clair township in 1862. He moved to this township in 1841, and purchased a farm of four hundred acres. He was elected a deacon in the Brethren church in 1849 and held that office many years. He was the first minister of that denomination in this township, and supplied the church here about thirteen years. He reared seven children,- Thomas S., John S., Joseph H., Levi (deceased), Samuel (deceased), Christian S. and Elizabeth (Rowser). Thomas S. Holsinger was engaged in sawing lumber and turning from 1852 until 1857. He then purchased the farm he now occupies. Mr. Holsinger has an excellent farm, and is a progressive farmer. He has a fine orchard of two and a half acres, from which he received five hundred and two dollars' profit in 1881. He has also quite an extensive apiary. He married Barbara Replogle in 1849. She died in 1863. In 1864 Mr. Holsinger married Elizabeth Snyder.
Thomas Wright, who died in 1865, came to St. Clair township from Adams county when he was a boy. This was about 1818. In 1828 he married Jane Gordon, who reared nine children- Lucinda (McGregor), Eleanor (Westman), Edwin, Albert, Austin, Mary (dead), Darwin, Lyman, Rufus. Austin Wright, Esq., of Pleasantville, is now engaged in the nursery business, which his father followed chiefly during his life. Austin followed school-teaching several years, and in 1873 established himself in his present business. In 1880 Mr. Wright was elected a justice of the peace.
William Oldham, a native of Adams county, came to Bedford county when a boy. At the age of twenty-five he married Elizabeth Callihan, and his father gave him the farm in East St. Clair which is now owned by Hiram Blackburn. After residing on the place fifteen years he sold and removed to Chestnut ridge.
In 1827 he removed to Shade township, in Somerset county, where he resided until his death, in 1854. He reared ten children: Thomas, Rebecca (Allison), Mary (Jones), Alice (Wilson), deceased, Nathan, Esther (Cardiff), William, Elizabeth (Miller), deceased, John and Jethro.
Nathan Oldham, son of William Oldham, came to West St. Clair in 1874, and purchased of Jacob Andrews the farm of two hundred and sixty-two acres on which he now lives. Mr. Oldham lived at home in Shade township until twenty-five years of age, assisting his father in building mills and an iron furnace. His school privileges were few, as Shade township, in those days, was a wild and sparsely settled region.
John Feaster came from Huntingdon county with his parents in 1823. He was then but eight years old. In 1832 his father died and John began life for himself. In 1845 he bought of Enos Ellis the farm on which he now lives. In
1841 Mr. Feaster married Margaret Wisegarver. They have one child, J.C.B. Feaster, who lives at home with his parents.
Jesse Conner moved from Allegheny county, Maryland, to Hyndman in 1856, and was engaged in blacksmithing in that place until 1862. He then moved to Oak Shade, West St. Clair township, where he is now following the business of blacksmith and wagon maker. Mr. Conner has been quite prominent in local politics. In 1878 he was elected county auditor, and in 1881 he was re-elected to the same office.
Theodore B. Potts was born in Bedford county and brought up in Shade township, Somerset county. His father, Jephtha Potts, came from Franklin county when young, and learned the blacksmith's trade in Schellsburg. In
1842 he moved to Shade township, Somerset county. Since his residence there he has been a minister of the United Brethren. He married Mary Horn, of Schellsburg, and is the father of eight children living. Theodore B. Potts served in the late war during two terms of enlistment. In 1871 he married C.
Ellen Beckley and settled near Oak Shade. For a number of years Mr. Potts has followed teaching during the winter with excellent success.
Isaiah Morris, who was born near Everett, removed to St. Clair township in 1855, and followed farming until 1872. He then engaged in the mercantile business at Oak Shade in partnership with Mary A. Sidney. In 1873 he purchased the entire stock and carried on the business alone. He has recently sold his stock to his son, J.F. Morris, who now carries on the business. J.F. Morris and his brother, B.C. Morris, are also engaged in general mercantile business at Cessna station, East St. Clair township. They are enterprising young men and are meeting with deserved success.
H.B. Mock was reared in St. Clair township. In 1862 he moved to Spring Meadow, where he remained until 1874, then removed to Fishertown, where he now resides. H.B. Mock is the father of five children: Lucretia (Penrose), Gideon M., Sarah E. (Ickes), Louie O. (Bowser) and William B. Gideon M. resided at home until 1874, then learned the carpenter's trade. Mr. Mock has since worked as a carpenter and contractor and builder, doing a good business.
The Beckley district is an enterprising and public-spirited community. In
1882 this district erected a school-building, 26x50 feet, at a cost of eight hundred dollars. The number of scholars in attendance is seventy-five. John M. Wade is principal, and Miss Jennie Conley, assistant. The new schoolhouse was built by Thomas S. Holsinger.
Benjamin Bowen and family were pioneer settlers, who located near Pleasantville and owned the greater portion of the land on which the town was laid out. At the time the town lots were laid off, Benjamin Bowen, son of Benjamin Bowen, Sr., owned the land. After the town plot had been made the land was sold to several parties, who subdivided the lots and sold them to purchasers. Nathan Wright plotted and sold lots in the southeast portion of the borough. Lands at the northwest of Mill street were sold in lots to different parties from 1845 to 1860. A large part of the town has been built up since the establishment A.L. Hench's tannery, in 1872. The first house in the borough was built, in 1824-5, by William Hancock, on the lot where Mr. Hench's new dwelling is located. It was the first frame building in the place. About the same date Benjamin Bowen built a house at the extreme eastern limit of the borough.
The first gristmill in the place was built by William Hancock, in 1833. It is now owned by David M. Prosser. The first merchant was Moses Dubbs, 1833-6. His store was kept in a building which stood where A.L. Hench's house now is. The first licensed hotel was kept by David Sleek, in 1858, in a house near the southeast corner of Mill street. It is at present the dwelling of George Marshall.
John Bateman had a tannery of a primitive kind on the place where Mrs. Wisegarver lives, near the borough, which was probably started as early as 1790. The first tannery in Pleasantville was started by Samuel Dubbs about 1840.
Hench's tannery, one of the important industries of the borough, was erected in 1872-3, and put in operation January 1, 1874. The size of the building is 40x176 feet. The works are run by a twenty horsepower steam engine. One thousand four hundred cords of bark are used, and twelve thousand sides of sole leather tanned annually. The product is shipped to Philadelphia. Mr. Hench gives employment to twelve men regularly.
Atcheson L. Hench is a son of George Hench, for over fifty years proprietor of the Centre tannery, in Perry county, and one of the leading business men of that county. A.L. Hench came to Pleasantville in 1872, and has ever since been prominently identified with the interests of the town.
Alum Bank is the name of a place in East St. Clair township, where natural deposits of pure alum are found. A postoffice was established at the bank about 1812, Thomas Vickroy, postmaster. It was then the only postoffice between Bedford and Johnstown. After Vickroy's death (about 1843) the postoffice was removed to the point of Chestnut ridge, and Joseph Sleek was postmaster. In 1855 the office was removed to Pleasantville; it still retains its original name, Alum Bank.
Pleasantville Foundry, S.W. Hann, proprietor, was established by its present owner in 1872. The building is 30x116 feet. Mr. Hann does general foundrywork and repairing.
Pleasantville was incorporated as a borough March 10, 1871. The first board of school directors elected in the borough consisted of Adam Ickes, A.J.
Kegg, I.F. Bowen, Amos Harbaugh, Daniel Price, J.B. Smith. The first teacher in the borough was T.B. Potts. In 1879 a two-story school-building, size 38x40 feet, was erected at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. The school directors for 1879 were: A.L. Hench, Morris Walker, D.W. Prosser, John Watkins, N. Walberg and Adam Ickes. Since the new house was erected Profs.
Harvey Grazier and C.J. Potts have served as principals. The total number of scholars in attendance, in 1883, was eighty-six.
Pleasantville is a very attractive small town, neat, orderly and thrifty.
The various industries are well represented, as will be seen by the following summary: 4 general stores, 2 groceries, 1 hotel, 1 gristmill, 1 steam tannery, 2 blacksmith-shops, 1 wagon-shop, 1 foundry with carriage and machine shop attached, 1 hardware and tin shop, 1 saddlery-shop, 1 cabinetmaking-shop and 1 shoe-shop.
For much valuable information included in this article we are indebted to Henry Whitaker, of Pleasantville, an old resident and a veteran school teacher. Mr. Whitaker began teaching in 1837, and continued until 1860. His wages were fifteen dollars per month.
Benjamin H. Walker, of Pleasantville, came from York county to St. Clair township in 1827, and has since followed farming and shoemaking. He was postmaster of Alum Bank from 1869 to 1882. Mr. Walker was a strong anti-slavery man in the days when the word abolitionist was a term of reproach. Preceding the war he was an indefatigable worker in behalf of the slaves and one of the leading operators of the underground railway. He has assisted fully five hundred fugitives to gain their liberty, often keeping several of them concealed about his premises for weeks together. When he considered the opportunity favorable, he would fill bags with straw, load his sleigh or wagon with them, and, concealing the negroes beneath, the bags, take the load across the mountains, as if going to market. He delivered the fugitives into the hands of other friends, who assisted them further on their way toward freedom. For many years a standing reward of five hundred dollars was offered for the apprehension of Mr. Walker, and his life was often in danger.
Adam Ickes, son of Conrad Ickes, was born in West St. Clair township. From 1861 to 1864 he was engaged in teaching. In the spring of 1864 he enlisted in Co. I, 91st regt. Penn. Vols., and was discharged July 6, 1865. From July, 1865, to April, 1867, he engaged in teaching. In April, 1867, he went into the mercantile business in partnership with N.H. Wright. In October, 1868, Mr. Ickes bought Mr. Wright's interest in the business and continued until 1870, when he sold out to Conrad Ickes. He then purchased T.P. Beckley's stock and has since been dealing in general merchandise and ready-made clothing.
Capt. H. Hammer is a native of Union township, where he was brought up. As will be seen from the military record in another part of this volume, Capt. Hammer served in the army throughout the late war. Entering as a private, he was promoted through all the grades to captain. After his promotion to the command of his company (Co. K, 55th Penn.), the soldiers of his company presented him with an elegant sword and belt valued at one hundred dollars.
April 2, 1864, he received a gunshot wound which necessitated the amputation of his left arm. February 1, 1873, Capt. Hammer was appointed United States storekeeper and gauger in the sixteenth Pennsylvania district; recommissioned December 30, 1876, he is still discharging the duties of that office.
Prof. Cyrus J. Potts is a native of Shade township, Somerset county. He was educated in the schools of Somerset and Schellsburg, and was engaged in teaching at New Paris from 1873 until 1877. He next taught one year in Woodberry, then entered the California State Normal School of Washington, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1880. In 1880 he became principal of the Pleasantville schools, a position which he has since filled very acceptably. In 1881 Prof. Potts married Miss Josephine Beaver, of Schellsburg.
John H. Beckley, merchant, is a native of West St. Clair township. He came to this borough in 1874, and clerked one year for Thomas P. Beckley. In 1875 he kept a confectionery store. In 1876 J.H. and S.M. Beckley formed a partnership and engaged in general mercantile business. In 1880 this partnership was dissolved and the business has since been conducted by John H. Beckley, who is doing a good business.
Morgan Prosser was born in this county. In 1859 he came to Pleasantville, where he learned the blacksmith's trade under Samuel Whitaker. In 1870 he commenced business for himself, and is now engaged in wagonmaking, blacksmithing and general repairing.
D.W. Prosser was born in Bedford. In early life he followed farming. He was a soldier in the late war, serving in Co. D, 55th regt. Penn. Vols., from
1861 to May, 1865. He was in the rebel prisons at Andersonville and Camp Lawton from May 16, 1864, to April 28, 1865. Since the war he has been engaged in milling principally. In 1875 he purchased the gristmill at Pleasantville, which he now owns and runs.
Pleasantville Lodge, No. 868, I.O.O.F., was chartered February 21, 1874, and instituted the 19th of the following March. The charter members were as follows: Israel Davis, N.G.; Thos. J. Croyle, V.G.; Adam Ickes, Secy.; S.A. Mock, Asst. Secy.; S.B. Mock, Treas.; Wm. A. McGregor, M.M. Roudabush, Jas. M. Allison, Gabriel Burket, Michael Feather, Gabriel Dively, Joseph H. Griffith, Jas. V. Smith, T.B. Weyant. The present membership is forty-nine; total assets, one thousand three hundred and twenty-five dollars.
Methodist Episcopal.- There has been Methodist preaching in this township almost from the earliest settlement. One of the pioneer preachers was Rev. Wilson Lee. In 1800, Presiding Elder Christopher Spry preached here on the Huntingdon circuit. Revs. Gideon Draper and N.B. Mills were also early preachers. The church-building near Pleasantville was built in 1852. Its size is 30x40 feet. The building committee were Samuel Clark, John Chillcote and George Carrel. The congregation belongs to Pleasantville circuit. The present membership of the church is fifty-five, and of the sabbath school one hundred and four.
The Methodist Episcopal church in the Beckley district was first organized in the year 1867, by Rev. A.E. Taylor, with three members. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse, until the United Brethren church was erected in 1870. The church has eighteen members and thirty sabbath-school scholars. It is a part of Schellsburg circuit.
Reformed Church.- From 1866 to 1869, meetings were held in the Lutheran church by the Reformed congregation. In 1868-9, during the pastorate of Rev. C.U. Heilman, a frame church, 34x40 feet, was erected at a cost of eighteen hundred dollars. Rev. William M. Deatrick preached the dedicatory sermon.
Thomas Allison and A.J. Kegg were the building committee; the same and Josiah Claycomb were elected trustees. The church is a part of the St. Clairsville charge. The membership when organized was sixteen; present membership, thirty.
Lutheran.- The first preaching of this denomination was by Rev. Ruthroff, of the Schellsburg charge, in 1848-9, when services were held in a schoolhouse near Pleasantville. In 1852, under the pastorate of Rev. Kopp, a congregation was organized with thirteen members, and a church, 30x40 feet, erected. The house cost seven hundred dollars. The first church officers were: Conrad Ickes and N.H. Wright, elders; John Leighty and J.H. Wright, deacons. The present membership of the church is sixty-five, and of the sabbath school, one hundred and ten. The church belongs to the Schellsburg charge. The sabbath school was organized, in 1852, with forty scholars. N.H. Wright, the first superintendent, held the position seventeen years. Since 1872, Adam Ickes has filled the office.
Brethren.- The German Baptists began holding meetings in St. Clair township about 1841, under the preaching of Levi Roberts and Peter Lutz, of Johnstown. In 1842-3 a log church, 26x32 feet, was erected at a cost of five hundred dollars. It is still used by the congregation. The bishops of this church have been: George M. Holsinger, 1841-62; Moses Rogers and John S. Holsinger, the latter being now in charge. The present ministers are Gideon Rogers and John B. Miller. In 1870, a second meeting-house was erected in West St. Clair township, at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. These branches form the Dunning's Creek church, which was organized in 1871, with a membership of fifty. The church now has ninety members, and sixty sabbath-school scholars.
United Brethren.- Meetings were held in the Beckley schoolhouse prior to 1870, when a meeting-house was erected at a cost of twelve hundred dollars. It was dedicated with a sermon by Rev. Raber, of Baltimore. Building committee: Isaiah Morris, Jacob Miller and Isaac Cuppett; trustees, I.A. Cuppett, Enos Davis and Thomas McGregor. The church is a part of the New Paris pastorate, and has a fair membership.
SOURCE: Page(s) 282-287, History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties
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