Source History of Jefferson County 1888 pages 267-268
The first Methodist preaching in the vicinity BrockwayvilIe, Pa., by conference
direction, was during the latter half of 1833 at or near Mr. Brockway's home,
two and a half miles east of the present town. Rev Abner Jackson and Chester
Morrison made this point one of their twenty-nine preaching places on the two
hundred and fifty miles around BrookviI1e and Ridgeway circuit, which they
traveled in 1833-34. Though this neighborhood was regularly visited by the
itinerant minister, it was not until the year 1845, under the pastorate of Revs
J. K. Coxen and H M, Chamberlain, that a society was formed. This year Rev.
Chamberlain formed a class of three members at what was then called the "Beman
school-house." These three were a young man, Mr. Ray Giles, and Messrs.
McKenney and Crider. A Sunday prayer-meeting having been held upon the return of
Mr. Chamberlain, their number was increased to sixteen. That locality became and
continues a Methodist stronghold. It has been known under the various names of
Brockway's, Beman's, Balltown, Sibley's, and today as Clarion Mines or Crenshaw
from the post-office lately established there. The appointment has belonged to
the Pittsburgh, Erie, Baltimore, and now again the Erie Conferences.
In 1854 Revs. N Shaffer and N. W. Colburn, of the Baltimore Conference,
established another preaching place it the Frost school-house, one and a half
miles southwest of time town of today. A revival resulted in the formation of a
class composed of Jerome Woodbury, leader, Abiel R. Frost and wife, J.W. Green
and wife, John Johnson and wife, and Lewis Grant and wife. After various
fortunes, the meeting place of this class was changed in the spring of 1860 to
the old school-house formerly standing opposite the McLauglin Brothers wagon
shop, Brockwayville. The ministers at that time were Rev. J. K, Mendenhall and
Rev. R.W. Scott, of the Erie Conference. They were succeeded by Rev. 0. G.
McEntire, who served the class two years, the first year as a preacher in charge
of the Ridgeway circuit, the second year as Pastor of the now first formed
Brockwayville circuit. The membership of the society was rapidly increased by
revival efforts and through newcomers to town, who brought church letters so
that at the end of Mr. McEntire's second year they were able to undertake the
building of a church, having purchased a lot which was deeded to J.W. Green, A.
Matson, J. Woodbury, James McMinn, and William Tolbard in trust for the
Methodist Episcopal Church. The new pastor, Rev. G.W. Moore, was the first
minister to make his home in Brockwayville, and by his zeal and toil he was
permitted to see the building about completed during his stay of two years. It
was war time. A contract had been made with Captain A. H. Tracy to build this
church, but feeling that his country needed his services, he asked and was
granted a release from his contract, which, in connection with other
circumstances, delayed the completion of the edifice. In July, 1864, Rev. D.
Latshaw, in his army blouse, by appointment of the conference, preached in the
new church, as yet seated only with planks laid upon blocks. In September the
circuit purchased the present parsonage lot upon which was a little house, which
made a home for the itinerant. The class had twenty-five members at this time;
the circuit, including this class, one hundred and thirty members. At the end of
his second year Mr. Latshaw was succeeded by Rev. P. W. Schofield, who remained
with the people two years. His successor for two years was Rev. G. F. Reeser.
Under the labors of these faithful pastors there was a healthy growth. The two
years' pastorate of the Rev. J. L. Mechlin, who succeeded the above, was marked
by the erection of a new and commodious parsonage. This was in 1871. The Rev. L.
G. Merrill, in some respects the most popular pastor this church has ever had,
following Mr. Mechlin, remained three years. The membership of Brockwayville
class was at this time increased to seventy-five, and the church property much
improved. Rev. C. C. Hunt satisfactorily entered into the labors of Mr. Merrill,
remained two years and was compelled by feeble health to decline a third year as
pastor. Rev. J. W. Martin succeeded him and remained three years, having what
was considered a great revival, though the membership of the class was
only increased by a dozen. Rev. L. Wick became pastor in 188o and remained two
years, being succeeded by Rev. E. R. Knapp, during whose three years stay our
town obtained through railroads such communication with the outside world as is
proving helpful to every interest, secular and religious. Rev. Knapp was
succeeded in September, 1885, by the present pastor, Rev. C. W. Darrow. The
Brockwayville class now numbers ninety members. The pastor has also the care of
two country classes - one at Crenshaw post-office, numbering eighteen members,
and one at Lane's Mill, fifteen in number. From an early day the society has
maintained a Sunday-school, which numbers at the present time one hundred and
thirty members, under the care of Prof. J. G. Dailey, superintendent, assisted
by thirteen teachers.
During twenty-one years the pastors have married one hundred and two couples
and baptized two hundred and forty-eight persons, while in the same time twenty
members of the Brockwayville class have gone triumphantly home. During the same
time the circuit has contributed $1,823.00 to the cause of missions, and
one-fourth as much more to the other benevolences of the church.
Rev. C. F. Green and wife, children of members of this church, are in the
itinerant work of the church in Dakota.
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