Source History of Jefferson County 1888 pages 260-262
The first Methodist class in Punxsutawney was organized in the year 1821 by Rev. Elijah Coleman, a local preacher of the Methodist Church. This class consisted of ten members and was then a part of the Mahoning Circuit, Baltimore Conference. There were forty-two appointments on the circuit, and it took six weeks to go around it.
In 1824 the membership consisted of Jacob Hoover and wife, Jesse Armstrong and wife, Parlan White and wife, Joel Stout and wife, Betsy Clawson, and John Corey. At that time Parlan White was class-leader, but he was soon followed by Jacob Hoover. Money must have been scarce in those early days since in the year 1825, Rev. Elijah Coleman is said to have received his pay in pine boards. In 1826-27 some two hundred were added to the membership of the circuit. There must have been an increase all along the years but it is difficult to tell how much. The ten members of the first class in Punxsutawney have increased to one hundred and eighty, and the limits of the early circuit must contain six thousand Methodists now.
About 1830 Punxsutawney was an appointment on the Ridgeway mission of the Pittsburgh Conference, and not until 1836 did it become identified with the Erie Conference. Punxsutawney prior to 1847 was for several years connected with the Red Bank Circuit. Then it was attached to the Mahoning Circuit, and finally gave name to the Punxsutawney Circuit in 1852. As late as 1876 four neighboring appointments were united with it, but now only Big Run is associated with it, and for two years it stood alone as a station (1883-84, and 1884-85). The present membership of the charge (1887) is about two hundred and ninety. None are now living who were members sixty-six years ago in Punxsutawney. Ephraim Bear and his wife Priscilla, are now the oldest members. Brother Bear was converted in 1840, during the ministration of George Reeser.
For some years the Methodists had no church in which to worship, but services were held in Jacob Hoover's grist mill. In 1833 the first church was erected, on the site of the present brick structure. About 1854 the old frame church was torn down to give place to the present commodious two-story brick building. Financial difficulties impeded the work, and the new church was not completed until 1858, when it was dedicated by Bishop Kingsley. In the interval, of four years, services were held in various places, such as Gaskill's shop, Father Hunt's store, and in the old school-house. During this period the new building, while not yet completed, was sold by the sheriff, but was saved, only to be sold again, in 1861 for the sum of $225, which James E. Mitchell, then not a member of the church, paid off for the struggling society.
Prior to 1844 the church had no parsonage, but Mrs. James Winslow, now deceased, had donated a lot for that purpose, and in 1844 the present parsonage building was erected thereon. It is now one of the old landmarks, standing among better and more recent buildings, but is to give place immediately to a commodious and modern structure.
The Big Run class has been in existence for some forty years, but the church building was erected in 1872. The society is strong and is about to entirely remodel the church. One hundred and twelve members are on the class-books. In no particular are the records of this charge complete. Two hundred and sixty-one baptisms are recorded, and eighty-two marriages; but for some whole years no record has been made.
Many preachers have labored on the charge. Rev. Elijah Coleman was here in 1821, and in 1825 with I.H. Sackett. An Elliott and a Godard are associated with these years. The following list is about complete:
- 1827 - James Babcock
- 1830 - Fleck and Day
- 1832 - Somerville
- 1833 - Bump
- 1834 - Kinnear
- 1835 - Butt
- 1836 - Elliott and Hawkins (somewhat doubtful)
- 1837 - S. Heard
- 1838 - J.P. Benn and R. Peck
- 1839 - M. Himebaugh and R. Peck
- 1840 - I. Mershon and George Reeser
- 1841 - John Graham and George Reeser
- 1842 - H.W. Monks and I. Schofield
- 1843 - D.H. Jack and H.W. Monks
- 1844 - R.M. Bear and S.C. Churchill
- 1845 - T. Bean
- 1846 - I.C.T. McClellan
- 1847 - J.W. Hill and J.R. Lyon
- 1848 - H.S. Winans and J.R. Lyon
- 1850 - J. Whippo
- 1851 - J.J. McArthur
- 1852-3 - George Reeser
- 1854 - N.G. Luke
- 1855 - J.M. Greene and P.W. Sherwood
- 1856 - J. Howe
- 1857 - James Shields and J.K. Shaffer
- 1858 - I.C.T. McClellan and James Shields
- 1859 - N.G. Luke and F. Vernon
- 1860 - B.M. Marsteller and J.L. Hayes
- 1861-2 - C.M. Heard
- 1863-5 - A.D. Davis and Colwell
- 1866-8 - David Latshaw
- 1869-70 - McVey Troy
- 1871 - Clinton Jones
- 1872 - John M Zeilie
- 1873-5 - M. Miller
- 1876-8 - Cyril Wilson
- 1879-81 - A.M. Lockwood
- 1882-3 - J.H. Keeley
- 1884-5 - H.V. Talbot
- 1886 - Levi Beers
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