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 New Castle

 Methodist Episcopal Church, Croton


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METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. About 1847-48 a Methodist class was organized in this place, and a church building erected about 1850. Since that date a very fine church has been constructed. Among the prominent members at the date of organization were T. P. Bittner, Isaac Cline, John Rhodes, J. C. Young, Daniel Bittner and James Emery, with their families. The first pastors (previous to the erection of a church building) were Revs. Crum and Hubbard. The first preaching was in the schoolhouse. The first regular pastor in charge was Rev. John Graham, who preached for a number of years, and dedicated the new church. The records of the society for the early years are scattered or imperfect, so cannot be given in detail, but among Mr. Graham's successors up to 1877 were Revs. Thompson, Bennett, Merchant, Johnson, Morris, Wick, Ward, Darrow and J. C. Rhodes. From 1877 to 1880 there is no record, but beginning with 1880, the pastors were (first of the Greenwood Charge, which included Croton): 1880-81, S. K. Paden; 1881-82, C. W. Reeves, supply; 1882-84, F. R. Peters; 1884-85, A. O. Stone; 1885-86, J. C. Gillett; 1886-90, C. M. Morse; 1890-95, C. W. Foulke; 1895-98, L. W. Elkins; 1898-01, W. S. Sheppard; 1901-04, S. A. Smith; 1904-05, S. L. Mills; 1905, J. L. Stratton, who is still pastor. In 1886 the name of the church was changed to Shenango M. E. Church. In 1893 a negro church was built on Croton Avenue, New Castle, at which time Croton Church became a station and the name was changed to Croton Avenue M. E. Church, which name it has since borne. Probably in 1899 Savannah was annexed to Croton Avenue, but this year (1908) it has been taken off and Croton Avenue is again a station. When it became a station there were 120 members, including ten probationers; now there are nearly, 300 members, including probationers, notwithstanding the heavy losses the church has sustained. Croton Avenue is now a well organized up-to-date church and has a graded, well organized Sabbath school. During the past three years the church has prospered in every way. Each year of the three there has been a revival with a number of accessions to the church, with frequent accessions during the entire period. The number of members in the Sabbath school (main school), is 312; in Home Department, 150; in Cradle Roll, 77; grand total, 539.

The church officers: Stewards-W. H. Locke, F. H. Rohlf (rec. stewd.), Fred Rowland, I. E. George (dist. stewd.), G. M. Gibson, A. C. Allen, Mrs. D. T. McConahy, Mrs. John Reitz and Mrs. N. J. Blackstone. Trustees-J. S. Campbell, William Hunter, W. H. Locke, P. K. Fike, E. E. Hilliard, A. L. Burlette, H. O. Allen, O. A. Rodgers, Rev. C. W. Foulke and T. C. Armstrong. Class leader, with twenty assistants, I. E. George. Local preacher, I. E. George. Sabbath school superintendent, Mrs. J. L. Stratton. Exhorter, C. L. Keagy.

Source: Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, pages 108-109


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