Isaiah Niblock

 

REV. ISAIAH NIBLOCK, D. D., was one of the pioneer ministers of what is now known as the United Presbyterian church of Butler. He was a native of County Monaghan, Ireland, born in the year 1794, studied divinity under Rev. John Dick, D.D., professor of theology in the United Sessions church, Glasgow, Scotland, and was licensed to preach in 1817. The following year he immigrated to New York, and preached in Philadelphia in the autumn of 1818. Soon after he crossed the Allegheny mountains on horseback, arriving in Pittsburg, December 20, 1818, where he was appointed to supply vacancies for three months in this section of the State. He arrived at Butler three days later, and preached in the court house on the last Sunday of the year. He continued to preach as a supply until April 23, 1819, when he received a call from the congregations of Butler and White Oak Springs, which he accepted, and after filling his previous engagements, was ordained and installed as their pastor by the Monongahela Associate Reformed Presbytery, and preached his first sermon as pastor of the Butler church on the third Sunday in May, 1819. This pastorate continued in an unbroken chain for more than forty-five years, or until his death in Butler, June 29, 1864, although he was unable to preach for nearly five months preceding that event. When Mr. Niblock became pastor of the Butler church it consisted of but one elder and nine communicants. Under his ministry there were added to the Butler, White Oak Springs and Union congregations about 1,100 members. He baptized about 2,000 children and adults, and united in marriage more than 200 couples. Dr. Niblock was married after coming to Butler, to Rachel Alexander, of Pittsburg, which union was blessed by six children, viz: Mary J.; James; Alexander; John, a United Presbyterian minister; Hugh; Mrs. Maria Zimmerman, and Harriet. The following tribute to his worth and character, written by one who know him well, will give the reader a good idea of this pioneer missionary:

Dr. Niblock was a minister of modest disposition and retiring habits, not much known to the world, but beloved by all his fellow ministers who knew him, and much esteemed among his pastoral charge. Of him it might be said: he was a good minister of Jesus Christ -- an able and faithful expositor of the Word of God. Among the first of our ministers who settled northwest of the Allegheny River, he lived to see the church and the country grow numerous and prosperous around him, and as the fruit of his own labors many added to the church "of such as should be saved." He loved the church of which he was minister, arduously and faithfully labored to maintain her principles and her purity, and the work of the Lord prospered in his hands. His life was one of self-denial, labor and usefulness, esteemed in the community and beloved in the church.

History of Butler County, 1895

 

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