Chapter XX
The Churches in Jefferson County 

The Presbyterian Church First Gains a Foot-hold in the County - The Old Bethel Church - The Pioneer Preachers - The Different Congregations - The Membership, Statistics, and Incidents - The Associate Reformed Church - The Early Pastors and People - The United Presbyterian Church - The Organizations at Brookville and Jefferson - The Churches at Beaver Run and the Beech Woods - The Cumberland Presbyterian Church - Jefferson Congregation - The Other Organizations - Church Edifices and Membership

The early introduction of the gospel into this county was given in a former chapter, and as it was written before these sketches of the different church organizations were furnished the writer, there may be some repetition of some of the earliest history of these denominations.

To show the rapid advancement in this respect in the number of churches, church membership, and amount of church property, we give the church statistics, as published in the census reports for 1850 and 1870:


No. of Churches

Aggregate Accommodations

Church Property

















Total number of churches, 18; aggregate accommodations, 7,600; value of church property, $17,200.

1870. - Number of Baptist churches, 5; Evangelical Association, 5; Lutheran, 8; Methodist, 18; Presbyterian,* 21; Reformed German, 3; Roman Catholic, 3; total, 64. Sittings - Baptist, 1,950; Evangelical Association, 1,500; Lutheran, 1,500; Methodist, 5,350; Presbyterian, 6,685; Reformed German, 750; Catholic, 570; total, 18,705. Value of church property, $163,900.

A comparison with the history of the different denominations given below with these statistics, shows the rapid growth in the churches in Jefferson county in the last fifteen years.


The founder of Presbyterianism in America was the Rev. Francis Makemie, an Irishman, who organized at Snow Hill, in Maryland, in 1684, what was probably the first church purely Presbyterian, in the new western world.

The founder of the same denomination in Pennsylvania was the Rev. Jedediah Andrews, a native of New England, who organized, under exceedingly discouraging circumstances, the first church of this name in Philadelphia, in 1698.

The distinction of laying the foundation of the same church in Jefferson county belongs to the Rev. Robert McGarrough. He was born on the Yough River, near Cookstown, January 9, 1771; prepared for the ministry under the tuition of Revs. James Dunlap, pastor of Laurel Hill Church in the Presbytery of Redstone, David Smith in the "Forks of Yough," and the greatly influential and successful Dr. John McMillan, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Redstone in the church of Rehoboth, in Fayette county, Pa., October 19, 1803.

The following April he visited upon invitation the churches of New Rehoboth and Licking, in what is now Clarion county. These churches were under the care of Redstone Presbytery, and had, it is believed from traditions among old settlers in the neighborhood, been organized nominally by the Rev. John McPherrin in 1802. He is said to have preached the first sermon ever delivered in all that region.

These churches made out calls for Mr. McGarrough, and in June of the same year he removed his family, consisting of a wife and three children, to the bounds of his first parish.

The journey required seven or eight days and was made upon two pack-horses, the family and all the fixtures and furnishings for housekeeping being thus conveyed. The venerable John McGarrough, the oldest son, who is now serving as a ruling elder in the Church of Concord, in Clarion county, says that his mother and two of the children rode one of the horses, and he rode the other, called "Old Dick," mounted on the top of the kitchen furniture and all the household belongings, which had been sewed up in bed-ticks, and swung across the old beast’s back. The inference is that the preacher himself walked and led the horse. They were delayed a day each at Mahoning Creek and Redbank on account of high waters, and had to construct canoes before they could cross. Within a few miles of their destination they were met by a delegation of the parishioners, who escorted them the remainder of the journey. They went to housekeeping in a log cabin not more than sixteen feet square, the door made of chestnut bark, the bed constructed of poles and clapboards, an old trunk serving for a table, and blocks of wood for chairs.

And this was the man, and this was the manner of his coming and living, who performed the pioneer work of his denomination in this whole territory, and was for nineteen years the only Presbyterian minister laboring within the bounds now embraced in the Presbytery of Clarion.

He was an exceedingly slow preacher, but intensely in earnest, and wholly consecrated to the winning of souls to Christ, and the building up of the Lord’s kingdom. Concerning him it has been written, and all who knew of him and of his work say, truthfully,

"Sincere, soul-loving and God-fearing man,
He sought not wealth of earth, nor man’s applause,
But just to do his part in God’s great plan,
And work where God had sent him for His cause."

He worked for God; he walked with God; he waited upon God, and God has given him his reward.

Soon after Mr. McGarrough’s settlement at New Rehoboth and Licking he began to preach at several out stations. One of these points was at the house of Peter Jones at Port Barnett, where a communion service was held in 1809, and occasional services afterward for several years. This communion is believed to have been the first ever held in the bounds of Jefferson county.

Another station some years later, where occasional services were held, was at the house of Mr. Samuel Jones in Rose township, four or five miles southwest from Brookville.

As nearly as can be ascertained from tradition and old records, the first Presbyterian Church in the county was organized near the last-named point in an old log school-house on the hill above the present site of the U.P. Church of Jefferson. This was known as the Bethel Church, and was organized in 1824.

Not long after the organization a dispute arose as to where the proposed house of worship should be built, and Mr. McGarrough was sent for to help decide it. Religious services were held and the text was "See that ye fall not out by the way," Gen. xlv, 24. At the conclusion of the services Mr. McGarrough said that he had understood at the time of the organization that it was the wish of the people to build a church as soon as they could, at or somewhere near the Four-mile spring on the State road. Then picking up his staff he said as he walked out, "All in favor of going to the State road will follow me." The whole congregation except one of the elders followed, and the matter was decided. The location was definitely settled and the church erected just a few rods north of the Susquehanna and Waterford turnpike, and about three miles west of Brookville, in close proximity to the present site of the brick residence belonging to the Widow Cowan.

This church, the first I presume in the county, was constructed of logs, small and closely notched together, and was seated with slabs and blocks of wood, resting upon a genuine earthen floor. There was no provision made for heating, and the only pulpit was a board placed upon two posts. All traces of this primitive church have disappeared, but the old graveyard can still be seen as you pass along the pike. The number of members at the time of the organization is unknown, but the subsequent year the church is reported as having a membership of sixty-eight.

The first regular preaching that Bethel Church enjoyed was under the Rev. William Kennedy, who was a stated supply from October, 1825, to April, 1827, for one-half of his time, the other half being given to the now extinct church of Redbank, located somewhere between Millville and New Bethlehem.

When Brookville was incorporated in 1830, the place of worship of the Bethel Church was removed from the log cabin church to the second story of the jail, and there is no evidence of the old log cabin being used as a place of worship after that time. In 1832 the first court-house was built, and this became the place of worship till 1842, when the first Presbyterian Church of the place was completed and dedicated. That building was superseded by the more modern and commodious structure which was dedicated January 16, 1870, and the first cost of which was about $11,000. An addition has since been made to the building in the shape of a gallery back of the pulpit in which has been built a large and elegant pipe organ.

May 13, 1842, the church was incorporated and the name changed from Bethel to Brookville. Almost one thousand members have been connected with it since its organization, and the report for 1886 shows a present membership of two hundred and forty-four. It has an excellent Sabbath-school, a prayer-meeting, and three good missionary societies and has done a grand work for Christianity.

The pastors and stated supplies of this church have been as follows, viz.: Mr. John Shoap, stated supply for half time from October, 1834, to the time of his death in March, 1835. On account of his failing health he was never ordained and installed. Rev. Gara Bishop, M.D., stated supply a good part of the time from June, 1835, until the early part of 1840. Rev. David Polk, stated supply for half time from June, 1840, to April, 1841, and from the latter date pastor until December, 1845. Rev. C.P. Cummins, M.D., pastor for half time from June 15, 1847, to August 5, 1856. On this last date he was released and in just ten days from this date he, was recalled, and on September 26 was reinstalled. The final dissolution of the relation took place June 10, 1862. Dr. Cummins’s pastorate of fifteen years is the longest in the history of the church, and under his ministrations it grew to be self-supporting, his successors giving their whole time to the church. Rev. S.H. Holliday, pastor from June 16, 1863, to February 11, 1868. Rev. J.J. Marks, stated supply from August, 1868, to April, 1872, and from the latter date pastor until December of the same year. Rev. A.B. Fields, pastor from May, 1874, to April, 1880, having preached to the church one year regularly before being called and installed as pastor. Rev. T.J. Sherrard, pastor from November, 1880, to March, 1883. Rev. J.H. Stewart, pastor from June, 1883, to September, 1886. Rev. S.J. Glass took charge of the congregation April 1, 1887, preaching his first sermon as pastor April 4.

The Second Presbyterian church organized in the county was the Beechwoods Church. The organization was effected December 3, 1832, in the house of Matthew Keys, with fourteen members. A Sabbath-school, consisting of two teachers and a dozen scholars, had been held from house to house in the neighborhood for several years previous; almost as soon, in fact, as the first settlement was made, which was not till 1823. These early settlers had not long been in the community until they were discovered by that faithful under-shepherd, Father McGarrough, and another devoted servant of God, the Rev. Cyrus Riggs, at that time pastor of the Scrubgrass church, in Butler county. These brethren, it seems, preached several times during the five or six years preceding the organization in the neighborhood, and they, along with ruling elders J. Wilson, Thomas Lucas, and W. Rodgers, of Bethel Church, constituted the committee of organization. The great majority of the members have been natives of Ireland, or the descendants of such, and a good, honest, willing, and warm-hearted people they are. The church has become self-supporting, and is well organized and equipped for church work. Its Ladies’ Missionary Society is abundant in labors.

Their present house of worship and the first one built by the congregation, was erected in 1841.

It appears that for a time after the formal organization, the church was supplied by Mr. John Shoap.

Rev. Gara Bishop began preaching to them as a stated supply in 1835, and for eleven years preached to them more or less of his time.

Rev. Alexander Boyd was stated supply for about three years, commencing with October, 1846.

The Rev. John Wray, a returned missionary from India, began his labors in the congregation in 1850, and for twenty-one years was the honored and efficient and successful pastor. Becoming entirely blind, he was compelled, much against his own will and to the great reluctance of a loving people, to ask for the dissolution of the pastoral relation, which was granted by Presbytery April 26, 1871. The remainder of his days was spent in the bounds of the congregation to which he had devoted so great a part of his life, and in which he continued to manifest the greatest interest, and by which he was remembered with many tokens of kindness and esteem to the day of his death. He died at his home in Brockwayville August 16, 1883, aged 89.

The next pastor was Rev, W.H. Filson, for half of his time from May, 1871, to April, 1875, and for all his time after that date until released, in May, 1883.

His successor and the present pastor is Rev. R.A. Hunter, who was ordained and installed pastor in June, 1884, and it is hoped his will be one of the longest pastorates in a church where he has been so heartily received.

Pisgah Church, located in the borough of Corsica, was the third organization. Pisgah is nominally a daughter of Bethel, and yet in reality would seem more like a twin sister, for she was organized not a great while after Bethel was removed from the log cabin, on the pike to Brookville, and her members principally consisted of the members of Bethel living west of the church, and the Bethel Church consisted of the members that lived east of the church, the old Bethel Church thus becoming two. So, on July 2, 1833, the members of the western division of the old Bethel, together with some from New Rehoboth, were organized into Pisgah Church, by a committee appointed by old Allegheny Presbytery. The Rev. Cyrus Riggs was chairman of this committee, and the meeting of organization was held in Mr. Philip Corbet’s house, the same one now occupied by his son, R.M. Corbet, a half mile west of Corsica. There were twenty-five original members, twelve men and their wives and a widower. The widower gave the men a majority of one, but at the present day the women generally have by far the largest majority on all church rolls.

Six of the thirteen men, viz.: William Corbet, William Douglass, Samuel Lucas, Samuel Davison, James Hindman, and John M. Fleming, were elected and there and then ordained and installed ruling elders.

From the old records of the church it is learned that a meeting preliminary to organization was held in the house of Robert Barr, sr., east of town, on the 22d of February of the same year, and another one on the 13th of April. At the first of these meetings it was resolved to unite as a congregation, to be known by the name of Pisgah, and that the place of worship be on the top of the hill south of McAnulty’s, near the Olean road, and a committee was appointed, vested with full power to select a site, purchase from five to ten acres of land on either side of the Olean road, and receive the deed in trust for said congregation; and a commissioner was appointed to present the petition of the congregation to Presbytery for an organization.

At the next meeting the committee reported that they had purchased ten acres of land on the west side of the Olean road, to extend back to the county line, for the sum of fifteen dollars, being less by one dollar per acre than the selling price, which donation of ten dollars Mr. White (the father of Judge Harry White) had given to the congregation, and that they had received the deed in trust, according to appointment. It was also resolved, at that time, that Mr. Philip Corbet’s barn be the place of meeting for worship that summer.

The first house of worship was finished in 1841, at a cost of $1,000, and was a five-sided building, located just south of the present structure, the pulpit being one of those old, elevated box affairs, and situated in the V formed by the two western sides of the edifice. That structure gave way to the present large building, which was dedicated at a meeting of Presbytery in April, 1859. Its first cost was about $5,000. The congregation is raising money at the present writing for extensive repairs. A valuable and convenient property was purchased in 1869 for a parsonage.

In all, about nine hundred members have been connected with this congregation, and at the present writing it is in a prosperous condition, harmony prevailing, and its members being cordial and unanimous in supporting the pastor in all good work. Three missionary organizations have made a record in that line, of which they need not be ashamed, and the good which they have wrought for the souls of the members, and for the church is far above all human calculations. In all they have sent away about $1,500. The sum total of the moneys raised by the congregation is estimated at not less than $40,000.

Pisgah was first regularly supplied by Mr. John Shoap, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Northumberland, who gave half time to Pisgah, in connection with Bethel, as a stated supply, in the winter of 1834 and 1835.

Rev. Gara Bishop, M.D., was stated supply for one-third time from May, 1835, to May, 1836.

For the next four years the church only had occasional supplies.

Rev. David Polk, alleged to have been a cousin of President James K. Polk, was the first regularly installed pastor that Pisgah ever had. His pastorate extended from December, 1840, for one-half of his time, to December, 1845.

Rev. C.P. Cummins, M.D., was pastor from June, 1847, for half of his time, the other half being given to Brookville, until September, 1862. He resigned once in that time, on August 5, 1856, but in ten days was recalled, and the next month was reinstalled. The work accomplished by this brother in his long pastorate in the charge where he was so greatly beloved, was without doubt a very great work, and the power for good that he has been to the church and to this county cannot be estimated.

Rev. J.S. Elder was pastor for one-half time from December, 1864, to February, 1868, the church of Greenville, in Clarion county, taking the other half of his time.

Rev. J.M. Hamilton was pastor from June, 1869, to April, 1871, his time being equally divided between Pisgah and Greenville.

Rev. Ross Stevenson, D.D., was pastor for two-thirds of his time, the one-third being given to the church of Troy, from November, 1871, to February, 1876.

Rev. Frank P. Britt, the present pastor for half time, was ordained and installed August 24, 1877, the other half of his time being divided between the churches of Greenville and New Rehoboth.

The fourth church on our roll is Perry, situated in Perry township, and about five miles north of Punxsutawney. It was organized September 4, 1836, by a committee appointed by the Presbytery of Blairsville. The early records of the church have been lost. A church building was put up at the time of the organization, which was superseded in 1879 by a very neat and substantial edifice, of which the people may be justly proud.

The church was incorporated in 1862, and in 1869 a comfortable parsonage, to which belongs several acres of ground, was provided for the pastor.

For the first four years after its organization, the church was without a pastor, but was statedly supplied a part of that time by the Rev. E.D. Barrett.

In June, 1840, Rev. John Carothers became pastor for half time, serving the church of Gilgal, now in Kittanning Presbytery, the other half. He was released in June, 1854.

Rev. John McKean was pastor from December, 1856, to September, 1860.

Rev. H.K. Hennigh was stated supply from the fall of 1861 to the spring of 1864.

Rev. James Caldwell, pastor from September, 1869, to April, 1877.

Mr. J.E. Leyda was ordained and installed pastor in November, 1877, and was released in February, 1880.

Rev. J.S. Helm, the present popular and successful pastor, was installed in October, 1883, and is accomplishing in the united charge of Perry and Punxsutawney a most excellent work. How could he be spared from that charge?

Mount Tabor stands as the fifth church organized, and is located on the Olean road, half a mile south-by-west from Sigel. The organization was effected in the latter part of 1840, the committee of Presbytery consisting of Revs. John Core and David Polk. There were only eleven original members. Messrs. William McNeil and James Summerville were elected, ordained and installed ruling elders. For the first seven years the congregation worshiped in an old log school-house. The first church was built in 1848 but was replaced in 1873 by the much more beautiful and substantial structure in which they now worship. Between three and four hundred members have been received into the church, and the change wrought in that whole community since its being established in it is simply marvelous. Its work in the interests of the temperance cause in the community deserves special mention and the highest commendation. In the beginning of the year 1866 there were as many as four licensed houses in the bounds of the congregation, fountains of iniquity and disturbers of the peace and prosperity of the whole community. The cautious and prudent pastor took his stand, laid his plans and went to work, and was ably assisted by the members of the church and a number of noble citizens outside. Organized and systematic work was quietly begun, and kept up until the whole available strength of the temperance element in the community was combined and concentrated against the evil, and the result was that all the applications for license were in due time successfully resisted; and from that time to the present there has not been a glass of intoxicating liquor legally sold in the entire bounds. All praise to the pastor and people who have wrought, by the blessing of God, so great a good for the community! Mount Tabor also has her Ladies’ Missionary Society, and her record in all benevolent work is most creditable. The following ministers have served the church: Rev. David Polk, stated supply the first two years after the organization; Rev. William Kennedy, stated supply from 1844 to the time of his death, November, 1850; Rev. David Polk, stated supply, a second time, from 1852 to 1856; Rev. William McMichael, stated supply in 1858 and 1859. The present earnest, faithful, hard-working pastor, Rev. Thomas S. Leason, was installed October 8, 1860. May he long be spared to serve a people among whom he has wrought so well!

Richardsville is found to be sixth on the list, and was organized in the fall of 1851 with a score of members, Revs. David Polk and C.P. Cummins, M.D., being the presbyterial committee. James Moorhead, sr., John Wakefield, and L.E. Bartlett, were ordained and installed at the organization as ruling elders, and D.W. Moorhead and John Slack as deacons. The name of the church at first was Pine Grove, but it was changed to Richardsville September 5, 1860. A school-house was used as a place of worship until 1858, when a comfortable church building was erected. The total membership of the church has amounted to about 150 and at the present writing is reported at 30. Rev. David Polk, stated supply the first five years; Rev. William McMichael, stated supply, for one year, from April, 1859; Rev. T.S. Leason, pastor from September, 1860, to April, 1863; Rev. W.H. Filson, pastor for one-fourth of his time from September, 1871, to April, 1875; Rev. A.B. Fields, stated supply from June, 1884, to April, 1886. Since that date to the present writing the church has had no regular preaching.

Mount Pleasant (Knoxdale post office) is the seventh organization effected. The services connected therewith were held by Revs. C.P. Cummins and John McKean, in the barn of Mr. D.S. Chitister, May 16, 1857, Twelve members constituted the original organization, and it has now a membership of twenty-eight. The church has had its trials. So many of its prominent members have removed from time to time to other places, and others have been called away by death; considerable difficulty was experienced in securing a suitable sanctuary. In 1862 the lot and little log church belonging to the Evangelical body were purchased, but this was a very inadequate building; so in 1867 an attempt was made to build a new church, but failed through the failure of the building committee to act. However, in 1869 the effort was renewed, and through the hard labor and persistence of pastor and the little band of people it was successful, and a neat and commodious house of worship was completed, at a cost of $2,800. Rev. John McKean was stated supply until September, 1860; Rev. John Wray during parts of 1862 and 1863. Rev. T.S. Leason was stated supply from September, 1864, to April, 1883. Rev. J.S. Helm was pastor from November, 1883, to April, 1885. Mr. A.T. Aller, a student, preached regularly for one-third time during the summer of 1885. No regular preaching since that time.

Reynoldsville, the eighth on the roll, was organized in the public-school building, with fifteen members, on the 12th of February, 1861, by Revs. John Wray and Joseph Mateer, D.D. Dr. William Reynolds was elected, ordained and installed as ruling elder. Its last report, that of 1886, shows a membership of eighty-three. It has become self-sustaining and the outlook for the future, under good pastoral work, is believed to be very encouraging. Rev. Z.B. Taylor resigned in June, 1885; it was without a pastor, although having been regularly supplied during a part of this time by a student from the seminary until June 29, 1887, when Rev. L.B. Shryock was installed pastor. In 1871 a house of worship was built, but from some cause it was found to be unsafe and was abandoned, and a new building begun in 1875 in a more desirable location. The work on it, however, progressed slowly, and it was not completed until the summer of 1881; but they now have as neat and attractive a sanctuary as could be desired. Old Father Wray, of Beechwoods was the stated supply of the church until the spring of 1869. Dr. Marks, of Brookville, frequently preached for them in 1871 and 1872. Rev. D.W. Cassat was pastor for all his time from March, 1874, to April, 1876. From 1876 to 1884, when Z.B. Taylor was installed as pastor, the church did not have a great deal of regular preaching.

Maysville Church (Hazen post office) stands as the ninth. Its organization was effected June 14, 1870, with ten members, Revs. John Wray and J.J. Marks, D.D., serving as the committee of Presbytery. J.R. Trimble and M.C. Hoffman were elected, ordained and installed ruling elders. Their membership has increased to forty, but they are not now and have not been for some time regularly supplied with the preaching of the gospel. A cosy and comfortable house of worship was erected in 1871 at a cost of $2,600. Rev. W.H. Filson was the first pastor, serving this church for one-fourth time from September, 1871, to April, 1875. Rev. A.B. Fields was stated supply from June, 1884, to June, 1885, since which the church has been without regular preaching.

The Troy Church (Summerville post office) is located on the Low Grade Division of the Allegheny Valley Railroad, and was the tenth in the order of organization. Revs. Elder and Leason were the committee and attended to the duties of their appointment August 22, 1871. Fifteen persons, all members of Pisgah with two exceptions, entered the organization. The meeting was held in the Methodist Episcopal Church and a memorable discourse was preached by the venerable Richard Lea, D.D., of Pittsburgh, the theme being the words found in Revelations xxii, 17, "The Spirit and the bride say, come." Their sanctuary, which cost them about $4,000, and which with some extensive repairs made in 1886, affords them an elegant place of worship, was completed in the fall of 1874, and dedicated January 15, 1875. The church has recently organized a ladies’ missionary society, is free of debt, has good officers, enrolls thirty-eight members, and is sanguine for the future. There is no reason, it is believed, why it should not become by and by a strong, self-sustaining organization. Rev. Ross Stevenson, D.D., was pastor from November, 1871, to February, 1876. Rev. J.M. McCurdy was stated supply from April, 1877, to April, 1885. Mr. A.T. Aller, a student from the seminary, preached regularly in the church for one-third time during the summer of 1885. Since that time the church has only had occasional supplies, but is very desirous of securing a pastor.

Worthville is eleventh in the date of organization, that date coming on the 25th of June, 1875. Revs. T.S. Leason, A.B. Fields, and James Caldwell officiated and constituted the church with thirty-six members. The first ruling elders were David Harl, J.C. McNutt, and John Lang, jr. The church has a half interest in connection with the German Reformed Church of the same place, in a very suitable house of worship. The first pastor was Rev. James Caldwell, who served them for one-fourth of his time from November, 1875, to April, 1877. The next pastor was Rev. J.E. Leyda, installed in November, 1877, and released in February, 1880. His successor was Rev. J.S. Helm, who was installed in October, 1883, and released in April, 1885. During the summer of 1885 it was supplied for one-third time by Mr. A.T. Aller. At present Mr. Helm is preaching to them until such time as they can secure a pastor.

Brockwayville is number twelve, and was organized by a committee of Presbytery consisting of Rev. J.H. Stewart and T.S. Negley, May 8, 1884. Eleven members constituted the original organization but at the last report made, that number had increased to twenty-eight. Mr. John Cochran was elected and installed ruling elder. They have a neat and comfortable place of worship in a rented hall, and contemplate building in the near future. Brockwayville ought to grow into a strong church. Rev. A.B. Fields was stated supply from June, 1884, until the time of his death in October, 1886, and was greatly beloved by his people. Brother Fields was defective in hearing, and was run over by a train, which rendered the amputation of his leg necessary, and finally resulted in his death. Rev. — - Carothers was installed pastor June 29, 1887.

No. 13 and the last on our roll is the church of Punxsutawney, which was organized September 4, 1884. The committee of organization was Revs. J.S. Helm and J.H. Stewart. Seventeen members entered the organization, and that number has now been trebled. There had been a Presbyterian Church organized in Punxsutawney in 1862, but for some reason unknown to the pastor it was dissolved in 1869. For the present wide-awake and growing congregation, great credit is due Rev. J.S. Helm, who began laboring at that point when he was installed pastor at Perry. He was installed as the first pastor of Punxsutawney Church and continues to sustain that relation. The church has been worshiping in the Baptist sanctuary, but expects to build a house of worship the coming summer of 1887.

These churches are all in the Presbytery of Clarion, which is a part of the Synod of Pennsylvania, which is a part of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.

They have an aggregate membership of 1,200, are teaching 1,300 children in their Sabbath-schools, own church property estimated to be worth $60,000, and contributed during the last fiscal year $10,000 for the support of the gospel and the benevolent work of the church at large.

The work done by this denomination since Father McGarrough began his labors in the bounds of the county cannot be computed; the influence and the fruits of the sermons preached, the Bible lessons taught, the prayers offered, the contributions made, the mission-work accomplished, the words of sympathy and counsel and invitation spoken, and the quiet, faithful, devoted Christian lives lived for Christ, never can be known upon earth; in heaven alone where the book of remembrance is being kept, is the record all written.

The changes that have taken place within the church since its first organization in the county are considerable. The ridiculously elevated, boxed-up pulpits reached by a flight of stairs have been superseded by the common-sense ones of the present day; the "clerks" who stood at the front of the pulpit to lead the singing have given way to organs and choirs; the old psalm-books have been exchanged for the new hymnals; the old custom of having two sermons a day, and each one of them two or three times as long as the modern sermon, and a half hour’s intermission to eat the cakes and get a drink, has been discontinued; the use of "tokens" at the communion, which were small pieces of lead of various shapes, and without which no one was allowed to commune, has been abandoned; the holding of what we call "examines" when pastors would meet at stated times and places the young people of the congregation and question them on the Shorter Catechism and the Bible has also been given up. The habit which once prevailed of people getting up in their seats and stretching themselves or leaning against a wall or pillar of the building whenever they became tired is unknown by the present generation; and yet, perhaps it would be a better thing to do than to sleep during the sermon. The old members of Pisgah Church can remember, too, when it was no uncommon sight to see a well-known minister take his coat off in the pulpit when he got warmed up with his discourse, and finish his sermon in his shirt-sleeves. What a sensation such a proceeding would cause now-a-days.

What the changes may be in the years to come, it would be difficult to tell, but let it be hoped that the Church will prosper and that all the work done by all the Lord’s people within the bounds of the county and in all the land, may be blessed of God to whom for all that has been wrought in the past, be all blessing and praise.


Was organized in the Associate Reformed Church, and continued in that connection till the union of the Associate and Associate Reformed Church was consummated in the city of Pittsburgh, May, 1858.

Jefferson is perhaps the most recently settled of the counties in western Pennsylvania. The first of those who settled here and felt an interest in our cause, came about the year 1830; some earlier, some later. But no movement was made to have preaching here till 1836.

Isaac Temple, who was one of the first elders, went to Presbytery and solicited preaching for the place where he lived. Of course he was encouraged, hence a subscription was taken for service to be rendered during the year 1837.

The first name on the list is that of David McCormick. I think he was one of the elders of the congregation, but whether he was ordained here or in the place of his former residence, we have at present no means of knowing. Then follows, Thomas McCormick, Job McCreight, Job and W. Rodgers, Levi G. Clover, Benjamin McCreight, William Clark, C.A. Alexander, A. Vasbinder, Daniel Coder, Joseph Kerr, James M. Craig, Isaac Temple, Andrew Moor, John McClelland, William McCullough, David Dennison, William McDonald, Alexander Hutchison, John Hutchinson, Andrew McCormick, Charles Boner, Andrew Hunter.

This comes into my hands as the roll of honor. The first men who gave their names, and with their names their money, built up and sustain the Secession or Reformed Presbyterian cause in this county. Some of these were not then nor ever became members of the church which they chose to patronize. Some of them had perhaps little sympathy with Christianity at all, but I find them here signing their names and giving their support to a cause to which I have given the labor of my life. I honor them. Most of the names on that paper represent men of worth and weight of character. Known in the neighborhood in which they reside as such, and over all Jefferson county as it then was. It will be seen that the parties subscribing to this paper were widely scattered. From Brookville to the vicinity of Rockdale and Brockwayville. The amount of this first subscription is fifty-four dollars. The compensation agreed upon among these psalm-singing churches was six dollars per Sabbath.

This same paper upon which is the subscription, contains also the disbursement of the money. In this connection we find first of all the name of Joseph Osburn. With this brother I had no acquaintance. He belonged to the Associate Reformed branch of the United Presbyterian Church, and died several years before the union, while yet a young man.

The next name is that of Jonathan Fulton, of whom the same thing may be said. He died young. He is represented as gifted in a very high degree, both as a reasoner and a pulpit orator. Many of you well remember him. His ministrations here did much to give respectability to our cause. Joseph H. Pressly also ministered here at an early day and with much acceptance. This brother who has now gone to his rest, represented to me when in the act of moving to this place, that it was the place of all the others he ever visited, the one where he wished to live. But a Providence shapes our ends differently from our anticipations, and even wishes and efforts to the contrary. This brother performed all his life work in the city of Erie, and there he ended his life.

I find also among those who rendered acceptable service the name of M.H. Wilson. This brother labored in Jacksonville, Indiana county, Pa. The names of A.G. Wallace, Samuel Brown, William Jamison, and others. These services covered a space of about twenty years, and were the means of keeping the people together, and keeping up their sympathy with the cause.

Of the original signers of the subscription taken in 1837, only three are known to us as now living, viz.: William Rodgers and Benjamin McCreight. Mr. Andrew Hunter was long a member of this congregation; he died at his home in Knox township, at the beginning of the year 1875. David Dennison was a member of the Beechwoods congregation, and died some time during the winter of 1878.

William McCullough, the other survivor of these subscribers still lives, and has membership in the Beechwoods. His son, Boyd McCullough, entered the ministry in the Covenanter Church, and subsequently within the last year, by certificate, was received as a member of the U.P. Presbytery of Brookville.

Perhaps it is worthy of remark that he is the only one of the young men raised in the bounds of any of these congregations who entered the ministry in any connection.

The three McCormick brothers all died in this vicinity. Two daughters of Andrew McCormick live: one, Miss Mary, in Corsica; Sarah McCullough, in Jefferson.

Various supplies were sent, and at different times. As far as I have the means of judging, it appears that Rev. Joseph Osburn was the first Associate Reformed minister who visited this section of country, I suppose in 1837. After him the name of N.C. Weed occurs as dispensing the Lord’s Supper for the first time in this wilderness in 1842.

Shortly after this Rev. Alexander McCahan rendered service here as a stated supply for the space of four years.

The number of communing members at the first sacrament was thirteen. This communion was held in the barn of the elder before mentioned, Isaac Temple. David McCormick was also an elder officiating at the first communion, but whether either of these fathers, long since departed, was ordained here or had been in the exercise of that office previous to their coming here, does not appear from any record. Warsaw was the residence of these brethren, and the congregation up to this time went by that name. The place of worship was about eight miles to the northeast of Brookville.

In or about the year 1845 the congregation, in view of occupying a more central position and adding somewhat to their strength, removed the place of worship to the town of Brookville, and at once instituted measures for erecting a house of public worship. This was completed in 1849 or in 1850. The congregation then began to think of a regular pastoral settlement.

About the time that the congregation moved their place of worship to Brookville. Matthew Dickey, younger brother of Rev. John Dickey, of Rich Hill, Armstrong county, was chosen to the eldership in this congregation. This brother still lives, at this writing, advanced in years and superannuated. His son, William Dickey, is now an elder and an efficient member in this congregation.

About the same time with Mr. Dickey, Mr. James Cochran was also elected. He represented another district, about equally distant as Warsaw, but in a northwest direction. The place is known as Tabor, Haggerty, or Sigel. This brother was very useful in the church, raised a large family, and was publicly influential in other respects. He died suddenly of injuries received in escaping from a burning house on the bank of the Allegheny River in the year ——. Two of his daughters, Mrs. Euphema Smith and Mrs. Steven Oaks, are members of this congregation at this time.

In the year 1851 R.H. Graham and William Reed were elected elders. They both served with acceptance about the space of ten years, when Mr. Reed moved West. He has since died, and his family are not in the bounds of any of our congregations. Mr. Graham died in Brookville on the 27th of October, 1861. His widow still remains with us. His son and daughter are members in another branch of the church.

These brethren performed important service in keeping up the dispensation of ordinances under various discouragements. None of these original elders, save Mr. Dickey and Mr. Graham, lived to see a pastor settled in Brookville.

About the year 1863 Mr. Andrew Braden and Mr. George Trimble were elected to the eldership. They had both exercised this office before, Mr. Braden in Dr. Dale’s church in Philadelphia, and Mr. Trimble in Jefferson. Mr. Trimble died some time last winter in Paxton, Ill.

In 1863 John Thompson, John Kirker, and Joseph Galbraith were elected to the eldership. Mr. Kirker now resides in New Brighton, and is a member of the Covenanter Church.

In the year 1869 James Braden and M.A. Calvin were elected members of this session.

In July, 1875, William Dickey and Samuel H. Croyle were elected elders, and Thomas B. Galbraith, Samuel Chambers, and Joseph Vasbinder were elected deacons, and ordained solemnly, by the laying on of hands, to that office.


As was before stated, Rev. Alexander McCahan was settled here a stated supply from 1846 to 1850. He was an able minister of the New Testament, and the cause was fairly presented by his instrumentality.

In the year 1854 a call was made for J.L. Fairly to become the pastor of this congregation. This call was declined.

During the same year a call was made on Robert N. Dick, licentiate. This young brother died before the meeting of Presbytery at which the call was to have been sustained and presented.

A call was next made on Rev. J.C. Greer, which was declined. This brother is now settled in Lumber City, in this Presbytery.

Some time in the year 1859 a call was made on Rev. J.C. Truesdale, which was accepted. This brother was introduced here under favorable auspices, labored with marked diligence and success about four years. These were years of trouble in the country. The agitations which preceded the war were in some sense prejudicial to the success of our cause as an anti-slavery church as truly as was the open conflict of arms. In all our congregations were some whose political connections led them to sympathize with the cause of the Rebellion. They, of course, were very uncomfortable under the preaching of men true to our principles and loyal to the country. In 1863 Mr. Truesdale resigned his pastoral charge and entered the service of his country as chaplain of the One Hundred and Fifth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. After the close of the war he was several years pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Paxton, Ill. He is now in the Presbyterian Church, pastor of a congregation in Sharon, Mercer county. Mr. Truesdale’s was the first pastorate of the United Presbyterian Church of Brookville.

It would have been in place to mention previous to this pastorate a call made on Mr. A. Lowman, a licentiate. This call was accepted and the young brother, under circumstances which inspired large hopes on the part of the people, came to this place, with his youthful companion, to make it his home. God’s purpose proved to be otherwise than he and they all hoped. He was suddenly taken ill and died at the residence of Captain J.M. Steck in Brookville. Resolutions of sympathy and sorrow passed by the congregation are dated December 4, 1858.

In 1864 a call was made on Rev. J.L. Aten which was declined. He was subsequently settled at College Corners, Ohio, and within the last year called to Cleveland, where he is now rendering service.

About the year 1866 a call was made on Rev. A.Y. Houston which was also declined. This brother was settled some years in Palestine, Ohio; subsequently in Ryegate, Vt.

In the year 1868 a call was made on Rev. Samuel Taggart which was declined. His time has since been usefully employed as secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Commission of this State.

In 1869 a call was made for Mr. A.B. Struthers who accepted and was settled over this charge, comprising the congregations of Brookville, Jefferson, and Beaver Run. He resigned his pastorate about the close of the year 1871. I have heard many regrets on the part of the people for his hasty departure. His influence was salutary and his name is savory among the people of his charge. Some absentation and some dispersion took place during the war, and the work of this young brother was in part a work of reconstruction. To a certain extent he was successful. Some, however, left during these troublous times who have not since returned, nor found a home in any other society.

In June, 1872, they made a call for their present pastor, who accepted, and was installed in the autumn of the same year. The present incumbent has ministered here now just four years.

In 1871 the membership of Brookville congregation was reported fifty-two. This year, 1876, it is reported one hundred and twenty; to this number ten have since been added, making the number of communicants one hundred and thirty. A Sabbath-school of upwards of a hundred scholars is in successful operation.

The church officers as now constituted are: Rev. G.C. Vincent, D.D., pastor; elders - Andrew Braden, John Thompson, Joseph Galbraith, James Braden, M.A. Calvin, William Dickey, Samuel H. Croyle; deacons - Thomas B. Galbraith, Joseph Vasbinder, Samuel Chambers.

The congregation of Brookville was under the direction of the Presbytery of Blairsville, at the time of the union, and, it may be presumed, was organized by that Presbytery.

After the formation of the union there was a reconstruction of Presbyteries, and in most instances a change of Presbyterial lines. The Presbytery of Conemaugh was then organized. The southern boundary of this Presbytery was the Conemaugh River; south of that stream the Westmoreland Presbytery. The western boundary of Conemaugh seems to have been the Allegheny River, and no northern limit was marked, as we had no congregations north of Brookville till we come to Caledonia, in the State of New York.

At a meeting of the Synod of Pittsburgh at Indiana in the year 1872, an order was given for the organization of a new Presbytery, from the northern part of the territory included in the Presbytery of Conemaugh. Accordingly, the Presbytery of Brookville was organized November 26, 1872. The Presbytery was small. Three ministerial members became settled in their respective charges about the time of the organization of the Presbytery, viz.: Rev. J.C. Greer, at Lumber City; Rev. M.S. Telford, at Beaver Run and Beechwoods; and Rev. G.C. Vincent, D.D., at Brookville and Jefferson.

This congregation has had an existence as a place of worship since the year 1836, now forty years. The greater part of that time it has with difficulty maintained itself. No other branch has in whole or in part been formed from it. During these forty years there has been no young man educated liberally from this congregation. None have entered the ministry nor any other of the learned professions.

A prayer meeting has for some years been kept up here, sometimes tolerably well attended, sometimes intermittent. During the past winter some better interest has been awakened than usual, and a greater number connected themselves with the church than at any one time previously.


About the year 1820 a number of families of like faith settled in Jefferson county. These had most of them been settled in Huntingdon county, in this State, for a few years (some more, some less), but were originally from the same neighborhood in the north of Ireland. Drawn together by a common faith, as they had all been educated in the secession church, and stimulated by the laudable enterprise of securing homes for themselves and for their families, they struck for this country, then an almost unbroken wilderness covered mostly with pine forest.

The place selected for their settlement is north of the Redbank and southwest of what is now Brookville, the county seat. At that time justice for them was administered in Indiana, some forty-five miles south. This arrangement for the administration of justice continued for some ten years after their location here.

From the circumstance adverted to, of these people being emigrants from Ireland, the neighborhood was long known as the Irish Settlement.

The names of the founders were originally: John Kelso and Isabella, his wife; John Kennedy and Ann, his wife; James Shields and Elizabeth, his wife; William Morrison and Nancy, his wife; Samuel McGill and Margaret, his wife; James McGiffin and Sarah, his wife; Matthew Dickey and Elizabeth, his wife; James Ferguson and Margaret Bratton, his wife; Robert Andrews and Jane Lucas, his wife; Alexander Smith and Anne Knapp, his wife; Christopher Barr and Sarah Lucas, his wife; also, by subsequent marriage, Elizabeth McGiffin, widow of Joseph Thompson; Clement McGarey and Mary, his wife; Hugh Millen and Esther, his wife; Joseph Millen and Polly Brown, his wife. These last three settled south of Redbank, and constituted the nucleus of what became Beaver Run congregation.

Then there was Moses Knapp and Susanna, his wife; none of that name are now members of the United Presbyterian Church here.

There was also a William Ferguson and family south of Redbank; none of that family are now in the county or members of this church.

Organization. - As nearly as I can ascertain, the first dispensation of the Lord’s supper in this congregation, was in the autumn of 1828. The ministers officiating were Revs. Joseph Scroggs and Thomas Ferrier. James Fulton, an elder from Piney Congregation, which seems to have been organized some time previous, was present at this communion. He and James McGiffin were the officiating elders on that occasion. About that time John Kelso was elected and ordained to the eldership. These two, Kelso and McGiffin, were the only elders, as would appear, until after their first pastoral settlement.

Matthew Dickey and his family moved into these bounds in 1832, and the first recorded minutes of Jefferson Session which has come into my hands is dated August 31, 1833, and is said to be in the handwriting of Mr. Dickey. The session as then constituted consisted of Rev. James McCarrell, moderator; James McGiffin, John Kelso, Matthew Dickey, and John Shields.

The next minute of session is dated July 14, 1838. At this meeting the name of Solomon Chambers appears as a member of the court. It is probable he was elected at the same time with the others mentioned in the pastorate of Brother McCarrell.

The next recorded minute is dated July 3, 1842, and is in a different handwriting without any name subscribed. Changes had taken place which are not noticed in these records. Rev. McCarrell had left (when or for what cause does not appear), and Rev. John McAuley appears, who at that time examined three applicants for admission, viz.: John Thompson, Joseph Millen, and John Millen. These three men are elders in the church; one in Brookville, the others in Beaver Run. At the same time eight children were baptised - William T. Love, Mary A. Ferguson, Elizabeth Campbell, Martha Chambers, Margaret Lucas, Chambers Millen, Joseph K. Gibson, and Hugh McGill.

The next date in the minute book, May 16, 1843, states that Rev. John Hindman, upon the occasion of the moderation of a call, moderated the session and baptized two children, John Kelso Moore and Rebecca McGriffin. Rev. John McAuley disappears as unceremoniously as did his predecessor, and we are left to infer that the call moderated at this time by brother Hindman was for Mr. John Tod, as the next minute, dated October 15, 1843, represents the same Rev. Tod administering an admonition as the organ of a constituted court.

October 10, 1844, the name of William Morrison first appears as an elder. Nothing is known of either election or ordination, yet these certainly did take place.

On the 19th of the same month it would seem that a full board of elders met for the first time. Rev. John Tod, moderator; elders, John Kelso, Solomon Chambers, William Morrison, George Trimble, and Joseph McGiffin. For several years the minutes seem to be correctly kept; I think in the handwriting of Brother Tod. From 1848 to 1835, they are correctly kept and subscribed by Joseph McGiffin, clerk.

At this meeting it was agreed to elect four additional elders. The election was held on the 8th of January, 1856, and James Shields, John Fitzsimons, John Thompson, and William Kennedy were elected. The former two accepted, the latter two declined serving.

On the 12th of June, 1869, thirteen years later an election was held and William Kennedy and John McGiffin were elected.

Numerous changes meanwhile had taken place which are written in this book. Rev. John Tod disappears, but where, why or whither, is not known, also Mr. Truesdale, who was pastor for several years, is gone too.

During the pastorate of Mr. Tod a Sabbath-school and a Bible-class were instituted. This by some of the old men who had not kept pace with the progress of the age, was considered an innovation, and as such opposed. Nevertheless it continued to flourish.

On the 28th of May, 1875, C.R. Corbet and J.T. Kelso, were elected elders, and Richard Fitzsimons, William Kelso, and Alexander Kennedy were elected elders.

We regard the church as now organized up to the scriptural standard. A full board of officers having charge both of the spiritual and temporal interests of the church.


No one with whom I have conversed in this vicinity is able to inform me who first ministered in preaching the gospel to these people of Jefferson. When last I met our aged father, Rev. David Blair, in 1872, he informed me that he, first of all his ministerial brethren, visited and preached to this people. Then as a result he supplied them to some extent, as he and they were long in the same Presbytery, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I am disposed to admit his claim. One circumstance, however, renders it doubtful. When the first of these people came here Rev. John Dickey was ministering as the settled pastor of Piney, Cherry Run, and Rich Hill; this last is where he spent most of his ministerial service, and ended his life. But Piney is so near, and the relations were so intimate, it seems improbable that they should enjoy a regular dispensation of gospel ordinances, and Jefferson not even have any supply.

The names of Thomas McClintock, Daniel McLean, Joseph Scroggs, David Blair, Thomas Ferrier, and some others have been mentioned to me as having preached here at an early day. Some before the congregation organized, and some afterward.

The first communion was held in 1828, as has been before mentioned, and it would seem that measures were taken soon afterward to call a pastor.

It is not possible from any data within my reach to determine the date of the settlement of the first pastor. There is no doubt but that the man was Rev. James McCarrell, and that his settlement was about 1830.

In the minute book of this session there are only two recorded minutes under his pastorate. The first, August 31, 1833, and the second, May 24, 1834.

I remember having seen Mr. McCarrell once when a probationer, about the year 1829. This was shortly before his settlement here.

Of Mr. McCarrell’s capabilities as a minister of the Word, or of his success as a pastor, I can form no judgment. His place of residence was Strattanville, so far out of the bounds of Jefferson congregation that few of these people had opportunity of becoming acquainted with him. He was a man of blameless life, exemplary in his deportment, and attentive, as much as his domestic cares would permit, to all pastoral duties.

The next date in the minute book of session, reveals the presence of Rev. John Hindman, and John McAuley. It seems to be the occasion of Mr. McAuley’s first communion here after his settlement. Mrs. McAuley, whose maiden name was Reed, and raised in the vicinity of South Hanover, in southern Indiana - raised in the Presbyterian Church, presented a certificate, and it is recorded that on this certificate and her "acceding to the principles of our church," she was received. It would seem that the pastorate of Brother McAuley in Jefferson lasted about four years. He must have left in 1842, as the next settlement was in the following year.

Rev. John Tod was installed pastor of Jefferson, Beaver Run, and Piney, on the 15th of August, 1843. His time was divided. One-half to Jefferson, one-third to Beaver Run, and one-sixth to Piney. This congregation was organized in the Associate Church, under the care of the Presbytery of Allegheny. During Mr. Todd’s pastorate it was the only pastoral charge in Jefferson county. Brother Tod’s services commenced auspiciously at the first communion held under his care. There was an accession of nine persons received on profession of their faith, and eleven children were baptized. This pastorate as it was the longest, was the most prosperous that this congregation has ever had. The last minute recorded is dated October 22, 1858, which gives Mr. Tod’s pastorate fifteen years. It may have been more or it may have been less.

It is not long since this brother visited among us and assisted at a communion. He is also appointed three months during the present year in this presbytery. The principal work of his life is here, and his heart is still toward this congregation and the people of Beaver Run.

I will not attempt to speak of his talents, nor his industry. You know more about him than I do. This much, however, you will allow me to say. He has the testimony of every man’s conscience that he did labor to promote the welfare and prosperity of this congregation, as also the spiritual edification of the people of his charge.

Mr. Tod married a Miss Thompson, from the vicinity of Cannonsburg, Washington county. His family consists of three daughters, two of whom are respectably connected in marriage. The third still remains with her parents.

Under the ministry of this brother two of his congregations grew and flourish still. The other, Piney, declined until it has ceased to be regarded as a congregation. There are reasons for this. The congregation is quite a distance from the other congregations and from the residence of the pastor. They seldom saw him except in the pulpit, and that, once in six weeks, without any other exercises to bring the people together, was rather a formality.

He preached sound doctrine and he kept his appointments punctually. But it is a mistake to think that preaching alone will build up a congregation. There must be life and motion as well as form. There was no Sabbath-school; there was no prayer-meeting. The good men of the congregation kept all they knew to themselves. They did not speak often one to another, and the lambs of the flock were neglected. They were not interested at home. There were no meetings in their own church, in which the children were specially interested and attracted. When this is the case they will find fun or frolic, or good elsewhere.

This doleful dirge is sung by the winds sweeping over that empty church, and that neglected church-yard. A want of interest, a lack of effort, the absence of that zeal which characterizes the advocates of a good cause, brought the results we see. If the life of that church is not effective, its death should teach a lesson never to be forgotten. The failure of this congregation, and the causes of its failure, should not be lost.

The next pastorate was that of Rev. J.C. Truesdale. About the year 1859 this brother took charge of Jefferson. His pastorate was short, covering a period of about four years, but it was interesting. The anti-slavery controversy grew warm. Civil war was inaugurated. They took sides as they were loyal or disloyal, and as this brother uttered no uncertain sounds, he was highly esteemed, and he was cordially hated. Some time during the year 1863 he resigned his pastoral charge and entered the army as a chaplain. In this he served to the close of the war.

Mr. Truesdale was subsequently settled in a United Presbyterian congregation, in Paxton, Ill., for several years. He is now in another church connection, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Sharon, Pa., serving with acceptance.

The next pastor was Rev. A.B. Struthers. His name first appears as moderator of sessions April 29, 1869, and disappears after October 7, 1871. His pastorate did not exceed three years. It seemed to have been peaceful and prosperous. There was a revival of Sabbath-school work. There was also some advance ground taken on the subject of temperance. Mr. Struthers left suddenly. Of this I have heard many regrets. By his prudence and piety, and natural goodness of heart, he endeared himself to his people. He also by his exemplary life secured respect to the cause represented. This brother I understand, is also, in another branch of the church.

During these years the minutes in the hands of John McGiffin, esq., are neatly and correctly kept except in the case of baptisms, the number is simply given without name of parents or children.

Our pastorate commences with the second Sabbath of July, 1872. This day, the first Sabbath of July, 1876, rounds up our four years of service. Of this pastorate I will say nothing. My settlement in this place was plainly providential, while the parties knew nothing of each other. Our Heavenly Father to whom our prayers were presented in common knew all the parties, their qualifications and their necessities, and by his providential direction brought us together.

This congregation was for many years under the care of the Presbytery of Allegheny Association. Subsequently about the year 1850 a new presbytery was organized in the north part of the old presbytery, called the Presbytery of Clarion. This was the connection of Jefferson congregation at the time of the union in 1858. After the union there was a reconstruction of Presbyteries, and what was then formed under the name and style of Conemaugh Presbytery, had the care of all the United Presbyterian Churches in this and adjoining counties.

At the uniting of the Presbytery of Pittsburgh in Indiana, in 1872, a petition was presented and acted upon, that the north part of the territory of said Presbytery, be constituted a Presbytery by itself by the name of the Presbytery of Brookville. This congregation has not furnished anything to the ministerial force of the church. As at present constituted Rev. G.C. Vincent, D.D., pastor; James Shields, John Fitzsimons, William Kennedy, John McGiffin, R.C. Corbet, J.T. Kelso, elders; Alexander Kennedy, Richard Fitzsimons, William Kelso, deacons.

Dr. Vincent’s history of the United Presbyterian Church brings the record down to the year 1876. He resigned the pastorate in 1877, and after being for several years president of Franklin College at Athens, Ohio, is now (1887) pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, of Latrobe, Pa. Two of his sons are also ministers of the United Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Vincent was succeeded by Rev. G.A.B. Robinson, who is the present pastor of Brookville and Jefferson churches. The present membership of these two congregations is, Brookville one hundred and thirty-six, Jefferson one hundred and fifty-three. Rev. J.H. May is pastor of the churches at Beaver Run and Beechwoods, the two other United Presbyterian congregations in the county. Since the close of Dr. Vincent’s pastorate many of those whom he mentions have exchanged the church militant for the church above. Among these are: Benjamin McCreight, Mrs. McCreight, Thomas Mabon, Mrs. Jane Mabon, Mathew and Mrs. Elizabeth Dickey, Mrs. R.H. Graham, John Thompson. Rev. John Todd, one of the old pastors, has also passed away. In the spring of 1885 the Brookville congregation purchased the old Methodist Episcopal church on Jefferson street for $2,000, getting possession in September of that year. They then went to work and remodeled the entire building. The repairs cost $3,500, making the entire cost of the edifice when completed $5,500. A new belfry and spire was one of the improvements, and the old windows were replaced by beautiful stained glass windows. Of these the large, brilliant, circular window above the pulpit was the gift of Mrs. T.K. Litch, and bears her name. Memorial windows were also put in by the children and friends of the following deceased members of the congregation: James and Elizabeth Cochran, William and Margaret B. Reid, Benjamin and Eliza McCreight, Thomas and Jane Mabon, Matthew and Elizabeth Dickey, Robert H. and Matilda C. Graham, John J.Y. Thompson and Paul Darling. The memorial to Paul Darling was given by the congregation, in recognition of his bequest of one thousand dollars to the church.

This remodeled and beautified structure, now one of the prettiest and most comfortable places of worship in the county, was dedicated by Rev. Dr. Read, of Pittsburgh, in December, 1885.


It was several years after the Presbyterian Church had gained a foot-hold in this region, before there is any record of the Methodist Episcopal Church having any ministers in the field.

Rev. G.W. Clark, of Meadville, one of the oldest ministers in the Erie Conference, having been admitted in 1836, and who has been a member ever since, for the greater part of the time being connected with Allegheny College, in giving us some facts concerning the early days of the church in Jefferson county says:

"The M.E. Church had considerable prosperity in other parts of the conference for several years before we accomplished anything in Clarion and Jefferson counties. That region had been pretty thoroughly occupied by the Calvinistic Churches, and the people were taught that Armenianism was another gospel, so that there was no encouragement to be given the Methodists as fellow-helpers of the truth. There were in those churches many devout Christians and excellent ministers, but most of them had little or no acquaintance with either our doctrine or usages, and, as the ‘sect was everywhere spoken against,’ their prejudices were strong, and their doors, for the most part, closed against us."

Rev. George F. Reeser has given a full account of his thirteen year’s work in the ministry in Jefferson county, which will be found in a preceding chapter; but since that time many gaps occur in the history of the church, as in most instances the church records have been so carelessly kept that much that was valuable in its history in the county, has been lost. Scarcely any record is had of these early pioneers of Methodism; those who with tears and prayers watered the seed that has now grown to be a large tree, with fruitful and far-reaching branches. A much needed reform is necessary in this matter of keeping church records. If every pastor was obliged to keep a full account of all that transpired during his pastorate, leaving it intelligently spread upon the church books, the history of the church would be very easily gotten at.

The pastors now in charge of the different churches and charges have done their best to aid us with the few records left for them, in giving this history of the Methodist Church. The different congregations are taken up in the order in which they appeared in the county.


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 1884-5). 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. Benn; 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; 1863-4-5, A.D. Davis and Colwell; 1866-7-8, David Latshaw; 1869-70, McVey Troy; 1871, Clinton Jones; 1872, John M. Zeilie; 1873-4-5, M. Miller; 1876-7-8, Cyril Wilson; 1879-80-81, A.M. Lockwood; 1882-3, J.H. Keeley; 1884-5, H.V. Talbot; 1886, Levi Beers.


Methodist ministers preached at or around Troy as early as 1822, and having no church building the neighbors, feeling friendly, invited these occasional gospel visitors to preach in their dwelling houses.

Mr. Darius Carrier informed the writer that his residence was opened for public service as early as 1825 and 1826, and so continued until a more commodious place of worship was obtained.

The first quarterly meeting was held by Elder Swayze, at the residence of Mr. Nathan Carrier, who was the leading man in getting the Methodist church organized at Troy.

Rev. Philip Clover, being now in the ninety-second year of his age, informed the writer that Revs. Job Wilson, Thomas M. Hodson, James Babcock, A. Jackson, Elder Mack, Elder Ayers, and Elder Swayze, were among the first Methodist preachers in this part of Jefferson county. The first class was organized by Elder Ayers in the summer of 1830. The members were Rev. Philip Clover, Abram Milliron, John Welsh, Nathan Carrier, Euphrastus Carrier, Hiram Carrier, James McElvain, and their wives, and the Widow McElvain. Rev. Philip Clover was chosen as their first class-leader. At that time Troy was within the bounds of the Pittsburgh Conference, and belonged to the Shippenville Circuit.

A church building was erected about the year 1843, during the pastorate of Rev. David Jack, which served the society as a place of worship for over forty years. In the year 1885, during the pastorate of Rev. H.A. Teats, a new house of worship was commenced, and finished during the pastorate of Rev. A.L. Brand, and dedicated by Rev. David Latshaw, presiding elder, February 28, 1886. The main building is thirty-six by fifty-six feet, one-story, built of wood, and costing $4,000. It has class or reception rooms on either side, opening into the auditorium by folding-doors. The building is thoroughly finished without and within by painting, graining, and frescoing. It is heated by furnace and lighted by the Baily chandelier. There is a first-class bell, and at this date all our church property is free from debt. In the years 1873 and 1874, during the pastorate of Rev. Cyril Wilson, a new two-story parsonage was built, costing $1,800.

The membership at Troy (now called Summerville) is at present ninety in full connection, and thirty-five on probation received during the past winter (1887) by the present pastor, L.G. Merrill.

Our church building at Pleasantville was built in 1885, during the pastorate of Rev. H.A. Teats and dedicated by Rev. I.C. Pershing, D.D., of Pittsburgh. This church building cost about twelve hundred dollars. The leading men in the erection of this church were Jonathan Horner and Thomas Edmonds.


The first class was formed in 1828, in an old barn, north of where Brookville now is, and David Butler appointed leader. A Sunday school was also started, with Cyrus Butler superintendent. These first members were David and Cyrus Butler, with their wives, and John Dixon.

In 1829 the following members were added to the little congregation: John Long and wife, John Monks and wife, William McKee, Elijah Heath, William Mendenhall, William Steel. Of those who composed the membership of the first class Mrs. David Butler and Mr. John Dixon alone survive; the former is now eighty-three years of age and the latter is in his eightieth year. The next place of worship is said to have been a school-house that stood near the site of the present jail. Mrs. A.J. Brady, who has been a member of this church for about — - years, says that her first recollection of attending service in Brookville, was in a house occupied by her uncle, William Robinson, which stood in the rear of the lot upon which is now the residence of T.L. Templeton. One lady says that shoes were in those days a luxury, to be cared for carefully, and she was wont to carry hers with her when she came to church from her father’s house in Pine Creek township until she came to the place now occupied by the grist mill of T.K. Litch & Sons, when she would put them on, and after the service, on her way home, she would again remove them. The members of this little congregation were obliged to come on foot for long distances to attend these meetings, and these incidents show the self-denial practiced by those who founded this church.

As soon as the old court-house was erected, the congregation took its turn with others in worshiping there, until in 1850, when through the exertions of Rev. G.F. Reeser, the pastor in charge of Brookville Mission, as it was then called, aided by Judge Heath, C. Fogle and others, the first church was built. The difficulties encountered in this first building enterprise have already been given by Mr. Reeser, in a former chapter.

In May, 1856, this church was destroyed in the disastrous fire that visited Brookville. It was a frame building, and in the list of losses published at the time, the loss to the congregation is given at $2,500. On this there was an insurance almost covering the loss, but owing to some technicality the insurance company, the Lycoming Mutual, refused to pay it, and though the matter was taken into the courts the church recovered nothing on the loss. The trustees immediately went to work and during the fall of 1856 and spring of 1857, the church was rebuilt. During the building of the new church services were held in the Lutheran Church and court-house until the basement was ready for use, and then services were held in the Sunday-school room until the audience room was completed. This church, the one now owned and occupied by the United Presbyterians, who purchased it from the Methodist congregation in 1885, was built at a cost of $6,000, D.S. Johnson being the builder. This church becoming inadequate to the wants of the congregation, a new building was begun in the summer of 1885, on Pickering street, on property purchased from Mrs. E.R. Brady and Dr. M.B. Lowry. The new church, which is of brick, built in Gothic style, was finished in the following spring, being dedicated April 4, 1886. The entire cost of the building, gas fixtures, furniture, etc., was $18,250. Of this $10,414.19 was realized from the estate of the late Paul Darling, who had in his will bequeathed to the church $4,000 towards the building of a new church and also named it as one of the residuary legatees. The balance of the cost of the building was raised by subscription and the church was dedicated free of debt. The building committee were J.E. Long, John Startzell, I.F. Steiner, David Eason, E.H. Darrah; treasurer of church fund, Frank X. Kreitler, secretary David Eason. The contractor and builder was Martin Sadler, of Brookville.

The bell, the deep tones of which call the people to worship in the new church, was the gift of E.H. Darrah, and his wife Jane Darrah, and F.X. Kreitler, and cost $500. The magnificent front window of the church was put in as a memorial to Paul Darling, by the trustees. The beautiful circular window, back of the minister’s pulpit, was the gift of James E. Long as a memorial to his parents, John and Jane Long, two of the first members of the Brookville congregation.

This church is the largest and handsomest church edifice in Jefferson county. It is so constructed that the Sunday-school room and class rooms can be thrown into the auditorium. While all worked with a will to erect this fine new church, much of the praise is due to the hard-working pastor, at the time, Rev. P.W. Scofield, on whom much of the burden fell, he not only aiding in soliciting, but in collecting subscriptions. He was only able to enjoy the new church a short time as his allotted term of three years expired with the end of the conference year in September. To Mr. Scofield was also due the arranging for and maintaining of the Erie Conference, which was held in the new church in September, 1887. The Church Furnishing Society, which was started when the church was building, raised over $1,100, which was applied to the furnishing of the edifice. During the present year the trustees have purchased at a cost of $2,850 the property of John Matson, sr., on the corner of Jefferson and Pickering streets, to be used as a parsonage.

The present organization of the church is Rev. John Lusher, preacher in charge, (appointed at last conference), David Eason, local preacher. Trustees, E.H. Darrah, A.C. White, David Eason, J.E. Long, Frank X. Kreitler, Andrew Craig, H.H. Brocius, S.H. Whitehill, John Startzell. Stewards, C.C. Benscoter, W.A. Thompson, William L. Sansom, M.H. Hall, John Startzell, J.A. Scott, Frank Rankin, Jonathan Harp, Lafayette Schnell, Laurence Snyder. Class Leaders, William L. Sansom, Edward Blakeney, Dr. J.E. Hall, Frank Rankin, W.P. Steele, M.B. Lowry, Mrs. David Eason, Miss Amelia Clark.

The membership of the church, including probationers, is three hundred and twelve. A large, well-conducted and flourishing Sunday-school is attached to this church; S.H. Whitehill being the present superintendent.

David Butler, Cyrus and Nathaniel Butler with their wives, John Long and wife, William Mendenhall and wife, William Steel, Christopher Fogle and wife, James C. Matson and wife, D.S. Johnson and wife, all pioneers of Methodism in Brookville, have left the church militant.

The Brookville Church has been on three occasions honored by having the Erie Conference meet within its walls. The first session held in Brookville was in June, 1859, at which Bishop Mathew Simpson presided, and on Sunday, the people having gathered from "far and wide" to hear that most eminent exponent of Methodism, the church was far too small to hold the crowd in attendance, and the services were held in the grove on Church street, the papers of the day giving the number assembled as fully five thousand. The next conference held here was in September, 1872, Bishop Gilbert Haven presiding, and the last session was held in the new church September, 1886, Bishop E.G. Andrews presiding.

The Brookville charge was first attached to the Shippenville Circuit, in the Erie District, Pittsburgh Conference,[6*] and in 1828 Rev. Wilder B. Mack was presiding elder and Nathaniel Callender, preacher in charge. Brookville is now the most prominent appointment in the Clarion District of the Erie Conference. Since 1828 the following ministers have been appointed by conference to this church: 1829, John Johnson, John C. Ayers; 1830-31, Job Wilson; 1832, Abner Jackson, A.C. Barnes; 1833 (Brookville and Ridgeway Mission), Abner Jackson; 1834, A. Kellar; 1835, John Scott, Charles C. Best; 1836, J.A. Hallock, J.R. Locke; 1837, J.A. Hallock; 1838, L. Whipple; 1839, H.S. Hitchcock; 1840, D. Pritchard; 1844, T. Benn; from 1844 to 1847 there is no record of the ministers who supplied Brookville mission; 1847, I.C.T. McClelland; 1848-49, Dean C. Wright; 1850, George F. Reeser, J.J. McArthur; 1851, George F. Reeser; 1852, John R. Lyon; 1853-54, J.T. Boyle; 1855, John Crum; 1856-57, Thomas Graham; 1858-59, E.H. Yingling; 1860-61, D.S. Steadman. In October, 1861, Mr. Steadman resigned as pastor to accept the appointment of chaplain of the One Hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, and David Eason filled the balance of the time until the next Conference. 1862, A.M. Coons; 1863-65, J.C. Scofleld; 1866, W. Hollister; 1867-68, J.A. Starrett; 1869-71, David Latshaw; 1872, B.F. Delo; 1873-75, R.B. Boyd. Mr. Boyd died during the last year of his pastorate, and J.M. Zeile filled the unexpired time. 1876, A.L. Kellogg; 1877-79, John O’Neil; 1881-81, O.G. McIntyre; 1882, R.S. Borland; 1883-85, P.W. Scofield; 1886, John Lasher.

The following ministers have occupied the position of presiding elder in this (now the Clarion District): 1828-31, Wilder B. Mack; 1832, Joseph S. Barns; 1833-4, Zerah P. Coston; 1835, Joshua Monroe; 1836, Joseph S. Barris; 1837-39, William Carroll; 1840-2, John Bain; 1843-44, John Robinson; 1845-46, Horatio N. Stearns; 1847, William H. Hunter; 1848-49, E.J.L. Baker; 1850-51, William F. Wilson; 1852-54, Moses Hill; 1855-57, Joseph Flower; 1858-59, J.E. Chapin; 1860-63, R.A. Carruthers; 1864-67, R.H. Hurlburt; 1868-71, O.L. Mead; 1872-75, J.R. Lyon; 1876-79, B.F. Delo; 1880-83, P.P. Piney; 1884-87, David Latshaw.

The local preachers of the Brookville Church have been Christopher Fogle, J.K. Mendenhall, William P. Steele, and David Eason.

Quite a number of those who have ministered to the Brookville Church have been called hence by the Master they served; Rev. Robert Boyd being the only one to fall while in the service here. He was an able and godly man, and his death was deeply mourned by his people and all who knew him. The next to obey the summons was that noble man of God, Rev. John O’Neil, who died just after he had gone from a successful pastorate of three years to a new charge at Fredonia, N.Y. No one who has filled this pulpit was ever more beloved by the citizens of Brookville. Closely following him was Rev. J.R. Lyon. Mr. Lyon had been closely identified with the church both as pastor and elder. An able minister, and an excellent man, he had won a deep place in the affections of the people.

Rev. Thomas Graham, one of the oldest ministers in the Erie Conference, which he entered in 1834, and one of the ablest and strongest in argument within the bounds of the church, has also been called away. Mr. Graham helped to build up the church in Brookville, when it had just emerged from a baptism of fire, and he was endeared to the people both spiritually and socially.

Of the local preachers, no one was so closely identified with the Brookville church as Rev. Christopher Fogle. He had passed through its most trying days with it, and proved a pillar of strength, both spiritually and financially. He died "full of years" in 18——. Many of those who have ministered unto the Brookville Church have become prominent in this and other conferences.

John R. Lyon and B.F. Delo, were presiding elders, and J.C. Scofield, R.S. Borland, and D. Latshaw, are now serving in the same capacity. When the Erie Conference was divided a few years ago a number of its members were transferred to the East Ohio Conference, among whom were E.H. Yingling, and J.A. Starrett.


The first Methodist preaching in the vicinity of Brockwayville, 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. Revs. Abner Jackson and Chester Morrison made this point one of their twenty-nine preaching places on the two hundred and fifty miles around Brookville and Ridgway 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 to-day 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 at the Frost school-house, one and a half miles southwest of the town of to-day. 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 McLaughlin Brothers’ wagon shop, Brockwayville. The ministers at that time were Rev. J.K. Mendenhall and R.W. Scott, of the Erie Conference. They were succeeded by Rev. O.G. McEntire, who served the class two years, the first year as a preacher in charge of the Ridgway 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 1880 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.


About fifty years ago, Salem church, on the Holt farm, in Beaver township, was the only Methodist church in that section of the county, but from the influence of the work done there, much good has been effected, and the result has been the erection of four elegant church edifices, while the church in the county has been benefited and strengthened. During that early time the little church on the Beaver Run was the center toward which all the true Methodists in that section looked for the dispensation of the gospel.

In the fall of 1869 a protracted meeting was held by Rev. O.M. Sackett, the pastor of Salem church, which resulted in adding not less than seventy persons to the church. About twenty of these converts were from Belleview. Previous to this time there were only five members of the Methodist church living north of Beaver Run. It was soon found necessary to have better accommodations for holding public worship, and in 1874 the members of the society decided to erect two churches, one at Belleview and the other in Beaver township. The former edifice was dedicated December 25, 1874, and the latter in July, 1875. In 1876 a new church was built by the Mount Pleasant congregation. About this time a new appointment was made at Langville. These appointments were all connected with the Troy circuit; but at the annual session of the Erie conference in 1876, Belleview, Mount Pleasant, Salem (or Beaver township), and the Langville societies were detached from Troy and formed the Belleview charge. In the fall of 1877 the Langville congregation erected a church, and in the summer of 1883 the united societies erected a very fine parsonage at Belleview, which is an honor to the church and an ornament to the village in which it is located.

Since the formation of Belleview charge it has been efficiently served by the following pastors: Reverends Laverty, Burns, Jones, Talbott, Hovis and Holt. The present incumbent is Rev. R.M. Felt, whose pastorate commenced in the fall of 1886.

The average membership on the charge is two hundred and a class of forty probationers, with four first class flourishing Sunday-schools.


The "Moore" Methodist Episcopal Church is located in Pine Creek township, one mile east of the Emerickville post office. The society was organized by Rev. J.T. Boyle in 1838. The names of the first members were Mary Zetler, James F. Moore, Sarah P. Moore, Laura Moore, Emeline Moore, George Zetler, and Elizabeth Zetler. In the year of our Lord 1870, the present house of worship, called the "Moore" church, was erected. The society has continued through prosperity and adversity to the present time. Since the organization of this church, in 1838, the pulpit has been filled by Reverends Boyle, Crum, Graham, Coxson, Crafts, Burton, Bashline, Baker, Groves, Hicks, Frampton, Peete, Felt, Wilkinson, Laverty, Wick, Jones, and the present pastor, W.B. Molt.

Very large revivals were realized under the labors of Reverends Hicks and Baker. The membership now, in 1887, is about fifty.


Pastors of the Brookville and Luthersburg circuit established a preaching place some time about the year 1835 in the Paradise settlement. The first members of the society were Joseph Syphert, Mary Syphert, John Strouse, Jane Strouse, and Jacob Shaffer. In after years it was attached to the Emerickville circuit. The church at Paradise has been favored with gracious revivals during its history, and perhaps the greatest was under the pastorate of Rev. R.M. Felt.

Mr. Joseph Syphert, one of the founders of the society, has, for over a half-century, been the main pillar of the church; always true and faithful. He has given two daughters to the ministry, wives of Revs. A.H. Bashline and J.P. Hicks. His children, every one of them, are members of the church. Through his enterprise and liberality the chapel was mainly erected. Mr. Syphert, now over seventy years of age, is good and true, and has the esteem and love of all his neighbors. The society sustains the Sabbath-school, and all the affairs of the society are sustained by liberal hands. Paradise is one of the appointments of the Emerickville circuit.


About the year 1847 pastors of the Paradise and Brookville circuit established a preaching place at Knoxdale village, and also one in a log house two miles from Knoxdale. Then the appointment was moved to the Davidson school-house in the same neighborhood. In the year 1872 the two societies were merged into one and Mead Chapel was built. A great revival of religion followed the dedication of the chapel. The Cavenor family and S.R. Anderson and wife coming into the church gave strength and encouragement to the society. Daniel Sylvis and wife, Elijah Chittester, Nelson Allen and wife were among the first members. The interior of the church has been greatly beautified, and is one of the prettiest audience rooms in that section of the county. The Sabbath-school is under the leadership of S.R. Anderson, who is ably sustained by Messrs. Swineford, Davis, C. Chittester, and others. The religious services are conducted on the Sabbath by the pastor from Emerickville. Mead Chapel is a part of the Emerickville circuit.


In the year of our Lord 1863 Rev. E. Coons came into the neighborhood of Mr. Rice’s, in Knoxdale township, and organized a class according to the usages of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with Sylvester McAninch as leader. The first members were Sarah H. Hunter, Rose McAninch, Margery Rice, J. Donnelly, William Thompson and wife. The regularly appointed pastors of the Brookville M.E. Church preached regularly for years - once in two weeks, Sabbath afternoons - until it was attached to the Emerickville circuit, under the pastorate of Rev. J.H. Laverty. The society has kept up Sabbath-schools during the summer seasons, and have been of helpful benefit to the community in which, for so many years, religious services have been held.

About the year 1867 a gracious revival was realized, and some twenty-five accessions were made to the church. The appointment is now known as the McAninch school-house. The McAninch appointment is a part of the Emerickville circuit.


The Methodist Episcopal Class at Port Barnett was organized by Rev. Peete, about the year 1870. They have always worshiped in the school-house in that place. The society had great prosperity under the labors of Mr. Peete, the membership reaching as high as sixty-two. It has labored under great embarrassment since its organization, for want of a house of worship. The congregations are large, the Sabbath-school numbering over one hundred. A gracious revival of religion was realized during the year 1887 - the membership of the society brought up to nearly the highest number. It has been regularly supplied by the pastors from Emerickville.

Among the honored names of faithful workers in the church were, and are, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pliler, Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Lyle, Miss Eva Andrews, and others. The society, in this year of grace, numbers about sixty persons.


In 1816 there were two brothers named Hancock, who were traveling as missionaries, passed through what is now Ringgold township, and preached at the house of David Milliron. There was, after this, preaching occasionally by local preachers until 1852, when regular services were conducted by Rev. G.F. Reeser, who organized a class. In 1853 a church was built by the Methodists and Evangelical Association. The Methodist Episcopal Church at Ringgold has been marked with a good measure of success, and is at present in a fairly prosperous condition.


Hopewell congregation on the Ringgold charge was organized in 1839 by Revs. R. Peck, and M. Heinebaugh. The class consisted of Daniel Swisher, Elijah Swisher, Lizzie Swisher, Adam Dehaven, C. Dehaven, Joseph Elder, Elizabeth Martin, Henry Palmer, and Barbara Palmer. Daniel Swisher was the first class-leader. The first church was built in 1840, and was a commodious log structure, 32 by 28, and in 1870 the present church was erected during the pastorate of Rev. McVey Troy, and while Rev. O.L. Mead was presiding elder. This church is now being remodeled with modern improvements. It has a seating capacity of about three hundred and fifty. The present outlook for this church is promising.


This society, which is also on the Ringgold charge, was organized in 1839, by Rev. John Monks, and Wesley Chapel was built in 1854. In 1886 a new and beautiful structure took the place of the old church. It is now called Barton Chapel, in recognition of the persistent efforts of the pastor to secure success in the enterprise. This church has been somewhat weak hitherto, but is now giving promise of considerable success. Rev. W.J. Barton is the preacher of Ringgold charge.


In the year 1850 Rev. G.F. Reeser organized what is known as the Kahletown class. Prior to that there were four Methodists, Jacob Kahle and Nathan Smith with their wives, who had no place to worship. In this year there had been three of the Kahles converted at a place called Hominy Ridge, some six miles distant. The first class was organized at the red school-house, near where the church now stands, with these seven members. About this time James Buzzard and his wife came to what is now Eldred township, and reinforced the small congregation. Mr. Buzzard was an official member until his death a few years ago. Mother Buzzard is the only member of the first class now living. Jacob Kahle was the first leader appointed, and he was also a local preacher for many years.

In 1853 the church was built, Nathan Smith, James Buzzard and the Kahles taking the greater part of the work upon themselves. The class now numbers sixty, and is prospering finely. This charge is located on the Strattanville road, about three miles from Sigel.


Near the place where the Ebenezer Church now stands, there stood in 1854 what was known as the Wallace school-house, and in the spring of that year Rev. James Gilfillan began to hold service. He had two members, Washington Kahle and his wife, who are still members of this church. Mr. Gilfillan held a meeting in the fall of that year, and organized a class of nine members, appointing Brother Kahle leader, which position he has held nearly all the time since. This appointment belonged to what was then known as the Corsica charge; but soon after it was transferred to the Washington charge. In 1863 Rev. George Moore was pastor, and under his administration the Ebenezer Church was built. At that time there were twenty-eight members. Now the membership is fifty with a few of the first members still living. The church is too small for the growing congregation, but preparations are being made to build a more commodious edifice.

What is known as the Zion class was organized in 1853, Moses Hill being the presiding elder, and John T. Boyle preacher in charge. There were twenty-five members, and they first worshiped in a log school-house where the Steele school-house now stands. This house was burned down, and the congregation then built a small house on David Steele’s farm, which was used for their meetings until 1860, when the Zion Church was built. David Steele was leader at the time the class was organized, and retained that position for seventeen years, when he entered the ministry, and was appointed to the Clarington charge. Rev. Steele is now a member of the United Brethren denomination, and has held the office of presiding elder.

The Zion Church is situated on the Brookville and Clarington road, three miles north of Brookville. The class of this church is very small, only numbering about twenty. Rev. D.A. Platte is the preacher of the Sigel charge.


The Corsica M.E. Church was organized about the year 1854. Rev. James Gilfillin was the pastor. J.W. Monks was the first class leader. Rev. Gilfillin was followed by Revs. Edwin Hull, Thomas Benn, George Moore and others. The society first met for worship in a private house (burned in 1873), then in the "old Corsica school-house," then in a hall. For some time they worshiped in the Presbyterian Church. The present church edifice was erected in 1871, during the pastorate of Rev. W.M. Taylor. Cost $3,500. The parsonage was built during Mr. Taylor’s administration.

Since 1864 the charge has been served by the following pastors: P.W. Scofield, E.C. McElhatten, F. Fair, W.M. Taylor, J.W. Martin, J.C. Rhodes, O.H. Sibley, J.H. Laverty, A.M. Lockwood, W.S. Shepard, P.J. Slattery, C.H. Frampton, J.M. Edwards and Alvah Wilder. Present pastor, J.C. Wharton. The Corsica society at present numbers fifty-seven members and probationers.

Pine Grove M.E. Church is situated about three miles north of Corsica and belongs to the Corsica charge. This society was organized in February, 1876, during the pastorate of Rev. O.H. Sibley, pastor of Corsica charge. The church at Pine Grove was built during the autumn of 1876 at a cost of $700. It was connected with Corsica charge in November of the same year.


The Reynoldsville charge of the Methodist Episcopal Church has but one regular appointment located in Reynoldsville. This charge, which was formerly a part of the Emerickville circuit, was made a separate charge in 1875, and Rev. W.M. Martin appointed pastor. At the end of two years it was reverted back to the Emerickville circuit and was continued in that relation until 1878, when it was for the second time made a separate charge, with Rev. D.E. Planett, pastor, under whose supervision a good, substantial frame church and parsonage were erected, at a cost of about six thousand dollars, all of which was liquidated under the administration of Mr. Planett. At the expiration of his pastorate Rev. J.C. McDonald was appointed his successor, who after three years of successful labor, was in turn succeeded by Rev. C. Peters, under whose ministry there was conducted a revival of great interest in which three hundred souls were led to inquire the way of salvation, and two hundred and fifty-two united with the M.E. Church on probation. This large increase of membership necessitated the enlargement of the church building, which was speedily brought about at a cost of twenty-two hundred dollars, all of which was provided for on the day of reopening. The church and parsonage are conveniently located, and the church is in a prosperous condition. The Sunday-school has an average attendance of more than two hundred persons.


Richardsville charge is composed of three societies numbering two hundred members, and contains three church buildings valued at four thousand dollars. This charge was formerly known as the Warsaw charge. It was organized in 1857, when the services were held in private houses. In 1855 the first church was erected at Mayville, in East Warsaw. Rev. Josiah Flowers was then presiding elder; Rev. Thomas Graham preached the dedication sermon. Among the first members of the church at Mayville were Philo Bowdish and wife, G. Frederick and wife, Eli Irwin and wife, P. Crossley and wife, Jacob Raught and wife, and Peter Chamberlain and wife.

The parsonage of the charge is located at Mayville, and cost eight hundred dollars. The church was repaired in 1877.

The second church built on this charge is the Zion church, erected at Shoffner’s Corners in Polk township, in 1863, and repaired in 1886. When Zion congregation was first organized, in 1848 or 1849, there were only these seven members: Philip Hetrick, Jacob McFadden and John Dixon, with their wives, and Mother Black. The first sermon preached in Polk township was by Rev. Boyle, in what is now the kitchen of Mr. John Dixon’s house, May, 1847.

In those days the prayer meetings were held from house to house, until a log school-house was built. After the class was organized the next additions to the membership were Amos T. Reigle and wife, O. Davis and wife, and Fulton and John Schoffner. The first quarterly meeting was held on the 13th of December, 1857, by Josiah Flowers, presiding elder, at the house of Philip Hetrick, who was the first class leader. He was succeeded by A.T. Reigle, and then Fulton Schoffner was leader for a number of years, who was followed by John Schoffner, who has held the office for about seventeen years. Rev. I.C.T. McClelland was the first preacher. The church, which was built during the trying days of the war, is located on the farm of Shannon McFadden, then the property of his father Jacob McFadden. It was built by Thomas Craven, each member of the congregation paying all that his means would allow toward its erection. The Zion class now numbers fifty members.

The church at Richardsville was built in West Warsaw in 1872, while J.M. Zeile was preacher in charge. Nelson Riggs, A. Bartlett, Isaac Carrier, Lyman J. Boyington with their wives, and Mrs. Corbin, were among the first members at Richardsville.

Among the first preachers who have served this charge were Reverends McClelland, Reeser, Moore, Dunmire, Starrett, McElhatten, Bashline, followed by Clover, Taylor, Groves, Zeile, Peete, Jones, Neff, Barton and Sibley.


The Cumberland Presbyterians were among the first to locate in Jefferson, and their first society was organized in a log school-house February 1, 1836, and called the Jefferson Congregation. At the time of the organization there were seventeen communicants and two elders - Alexander Jordan and Dr. John W. Jenks. Their first pastor was Rev. Charles Barclay. Among those of later years have been Rev. D.H. King and Rev. D.A. Cooper. The present pastor is Rev. J.S. Gibson, who has been located there for the past five years. The membership of the church is now one hundred and seventy, with a Sunday-school of one hundred and fifty scholars. The present superintendent of this school is George D. Jenks. The commodious brick church is valued at five thousand dollars.

There are also four other congregations of this denomination in the county. The Mount Pleasant Society was organized in the Bowers school-house in Gaskill township in 1848. They have a good house of worship, and about one hundred members. In 1878 Rev. J.I. Means was their pastor, but the church is now supplied by Rev. Howells, having no settled pastor.

In the year 1852 about, forty members of the Jefferson Congregation, residing in the neighborhood of Whitesville, formed themselves into a separate organization called the Sharon Church, and elected Edward Means and John McHenry, sr., elders, and called Rev. J.C. Wagaman to be their pastor. The church building is located in Perrysville. Rev. D.A. Cooper succeeded Mr. Wagaman.

There is also a strong society in Oliver township, known as the Olive Church, which has now no settled pastor.

The Zion Church in McCalmont township was organized by Rev. Jacob F. Wall, who was their first pastor. Rev. J.S. Gibson, pastor of Jefferson Church, now supplies Zion.

The Cumberland Presbyterians is one of the largest denominations in the south side of the county. They have no organizations north of Little Sandy.


* These included the United Presbyterian or Seceders.
** By Rev. Frank P. Britt.
*** Prepared by Rev. Frank P. Britt.
[4*] This history of the Associate Reformed and United Presbyterian Churches in Brookville, and Jefferson county, was prepared by Rev. G.C. Vincent, D.D., in a historical address delivered to his congregations of Brookville and Jefferson in 1877.
[5*] Prepared by the pastor.
[6*] The Erie Conference was formed in 1836, and Brookville has since then been attached to it.
[7*] Prepared by the pastor.
[8*] Prepared by the pastor.
[9*] Prepared by the pastor.
[10*] Prepared by the pastor.
[11*] Prepared by the pastor.
[12*] Prepared by the pastor.
[13*] From facts furnished by Rev. O. Sibley and Mr. John Dixon.

Source:  Page(s) 236-276, History of Jefferson County by Kate M. Scott. Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason & Co., 1888.

Contributed by Nathan Zipfel for use by the Jefferson County Genealogy Project (

Jefferson County Genealogy Project Notice:

These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.


Return to the History of Jefferson County Index

Return to the Jefferson County Genealogy Project

(c) Jefferson County Genealogy Project