archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

Little Britain Presbyterian Church

Fulton township, Lancaster County. Pa

From "History Of Lancaster County" by Ellis and Evans 1883, page 859

Little Britain Presbyterian Church.-The next in point. of time is Littlc Britain Presbyterian Church. In the "Authentic History of Lancaster County," by Monibert, the organization of this church, as well as that of Chestnut Level and others, is set down as "unknown." The probabilities are that the two congregations were originally one, and afterward separated. The house occupied by them till a few years ago was built in 1763, and the lot conveyed in the following year with the building thereon. It is matter of tradition that a certain old graveyard, then on lands of Daniel Carmichael, now Thomas P. King, was the original site of the church; and while this may be true, there is room to suppose that it is merely one of those private burying-grounds of which there are many in different sections of the country. The same is true of Chestnut Level, several locations being pointed out by tradition, one of which is the old Carmichael location as already mentioned for the Little Britain Church.

Since 1763 the status of this church has been well defined. Its pastors for many years were the same with those of Chestnut. Level, dividing his time between them. Rev. James Gamble appears to have served in this capacity twenty years or more, He died about 1795. Rev. James White took charge some time afterwards and continued till his death, about 1815. Rev. Mr. Patton and Rev. Francis A. Latta were pastors of this charge, and Rev. Lindley C. Rutter occupied the pulpit from about 1835 till 18-, when he retired from Little Britain and confined himself to Chestnut Level. From this time Little Britain employed the entire services of a minister, Rev. Robert Alexander being the first, followed successively by Rev. Solomon McNair. Rev. John Boyd, Rev. Alonso Michael, and Joseph B. Turner, the present incumbent.

The above account is so fragmentary as to be almost worthless, but may serve as a sketch, to be filled up and completed by other and fuller accounts and more particular details

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


In the year 1744-45, a certain Daniel Carmichael had granted and confirmed unto him by patent, under the great seal of Pennsylvania, a large tract of land, which now constitutes several of the finest farms of central Fulton Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. On this Carmichael tract had been erected the first Church building belonging to the Little Britain Presbyterian Congregation, which is believed to have been founded in the year 1732. The first structure was built of logs, and was of small dimensions, with a large stone fire place and chimney built at one end, and on the outside. This primitive structure stood for many years after it ceased to be used for divine worship. It was located just a few yards north of the northwest corner of the old graveyard connected to the Church, some 200 yards west of the Wakefield-Pleasant Grove Road on the property known as the Mrs. Ethel King Farm. The old graveyard is bounded by a fence row, and about fifty graves, most of them with slate markers, are still discern-able. The old Church structure was abandoned after the completion of a new Church building constructed of stone in the old (southern end) of the present cemetery, located about three miles northeast of the original Log Church.

On April 27th, 1764, fourth year of the reign of George III, King of Great Britain, Thomas and Margaret Scott, for a consideration of five shillings, deeded an acre of land to Patrick Ewing, Hugh Patrick, John Allison, and James Bradley, in trust for the Little Britain Pres-byterian Congregation, on condition that it remain in union with the Synod of New York and Philadelphia. On this tract of land in 1763 (the previous year), the foundation for the present Church edifice was laid. Since that time, several other tracts of land have been added to the Church property.

Directly across the road from the Church, approximately eight acres of ground was obtained from a property in later years known as the Emma Reed Farm for use as cemetery. As of 1966, more than half of the eight acre tract is in use as burial lots. The balance of the ground is under cultivation along with the land of the adjoining farm, with the understanding that the balance of the eight acre tract can be taken over by the Cemetery Association as needed for grave lots. The Little Britain Cemetery Association, although composed of members of the Church, is a complete separate organization from the Church. During 1763-64, a church built of stone was erected on the site of the present Church building. In 1869, this stone church was replaced by the present brick structure, and an attractive addition to the front of the church, including an upper and lower vestibule, stairways, and a double bell tower was erected in 1930 by contractor A. J. Eckman at a cost of $15,000. In 1946, the Church kitchen was enlarged and lavatories were installed at the back of the church. The "Mohler" Pipe Organ, which has been installed in 1932 at a cost of $4,400, was rebuilt twenty-five years later at a cost of over $1,700.

For a number of years, the construction of an Educational Building had been discussed, but no action was taken. Finally, in the fall of 1957, a Study and Planning Committee was appointed by the Church Session and Board of Trustees to make a study of the facilities in use. The committee was also to make a study of the immediate future needs and bring a report to the Annual Congregational Meeting in January of 1958. This was done. The Sunday School in the meantime being greatly crowded for space began setting aside one offering each month toward an Educational Building Fund. In April of 1958, a Congregational Meeting was held to consider the construction of an Educational Building. A tentative plan of construction designed by Paul Risk was approved by the congregation. A Church Building Committee, and a Church Building Finance Com-mittee were appointed. In September of 1958, teams of financial can-vassers visited the members of the congregation. In the Congregational Meeting of May, 1959, the congregation voted to proceed with building operations with Donald Risk and Sons in charge of construction. During the Summer and Fall, the plan of construction was revised. By mid-December, 1959, ground was broken, and building operations got under way. The Corner-Stone Laying Ceremony was conducted Sunday Afternoon, May 1, 1960 at 3: 00, and the service of dedication was held Sunday Afternoon Oct. 16th, 1960 at 2:30.

The new two-story educational building is attractive, practical, safe, and strongly constructed, with double walls of concrete block and brick. There are two fire-proof stairway; with ample exits, and the main stairway provides a much needed front exit from the Church Sanctuary. The building consists of thirteen Sunday School Rooms, two Choir Rooms, a combined Session Room and Pastor's Study, and a new furnace room housing a new separate heating plant with emergency lighting system. The total cost of the Educational Building including furnishings was slightly over $51,000.00.

The Little Britain Church was served mostly by Supply-Pastors until 1804. Ministers serving the Church over the past 100 years are as follows:

Rev. Robert Alexander 1860-1866

Rev. Solomon McNair 1867-1873

Rev. John Boyd 1874-1875

Rev. Alonzo Michael 1876-1881

Rev. Joseph Turner 1882-1886

Rev. George Buckle 1887-1889

Rev. James McLean 1890-1901

Rev. Thomas Koontz 1901-1905

Rev. Alvin Sawtelle 1906-1908

Rev. Alexander Thompson 1909-1915

Rev. George Leukel 1915-1921

Rev. William Davies 1922-1945

Rev. Roy W. Townsend 1946-to present

As of January, 1967, The Rev. George Leukel is the only living former pastor. Sunday School Enrollment as of January, 1967 is 225, Average attendance-160, Church Membership as of January, 1967 -529, Average attendance-175

Sunday School meets at 9: 45 AM.

Morning Worship Service is at 11: 00 AM.

The above was gleaned from old Church Records in the Church Safe, from the 1924 edition of the "History of the Presbytery of Westminster," and from the other records of events as they occured. All Histories are kept in the Church Safe.

Records Location

The Church has records for Births deaths and Marriages from 1800 to present.
<4>Church History



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