archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

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Township, Lancaster County, Pa

"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968

About one half mile South of Route 372, on the road from Cain's Cross Road to Jackson's Mill, in Bart Township, is located a triangular plot of ground, approximately two acres in size, which is locally known as the "Flat Iron" from its resemblance in shape to that common household utensil. This small tract seems not to have been attached to any adjoining farm in early years and indeed for a long time its actual ownership is said to have been in doubt. According to well established tradition, supported by the findings of the late Reverend R. L. Clark, a recognized authority on local religious history, a group of early settlers were wont to gather in a private home at this place for religious services. They are said to have been Presbyterians but to which branch of that faith they adhered we are in doubt. It may not be wise to explore theories too far without supporting evidence; but certain theories do exist. First, they may have been forerunners of the group which later became Middle Octorara, or they may have been of that group of members of Mid-dle Octorara who supported Reverend Alexander Craighead at the time of his trial and suspension from the Ministry in 1740 by the Presbytery of Donegal, and gathered here for worship under his guidance until his removal to Virginia. Or, again they may have been some of those Dissenting Covenanters to whom Reverend John Cuthbertson came to minister in 1751.

Each theory has its merits but the important fact is that those who settled here did not leave their religious convictions behind in the Mother Country but nurtured and practiced them in the New World with ardent zeal and sincerity. Tradition also tells us that near the village of Bartville there was another meeting place for worship, also Presbyterian, perhaps only a "Tent" the location of which cannot now be determined. Similar theories apply here also.

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