archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

Copying files to other sites requires permission from the submitters PRIOR to uploading to any other sites. We encourage links to our site.


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

On May 4, 1856, on invitation from Captain John Williams, Captain Charles Doble shop at Gap Mines. This and subsequent meetings for divine worship in the carpenter shop led to and resulted in a business meeting, held August 26, 1856, at the residence of Captain Williams, when it was announced that the Gap Mining Company had offered to donate a lot of two acres of land eligibly situated for a church and graveyard; and it was then decided that Gap Mining Company's offer be accepted, and that trustees be appointed to solicit subscriptions for the building of the said church, whereupon the following-named per- sons were duly appointed, viz., Doctor B. B. Killikelly, of Paradise; James Hopkins, of Gap; Adam K. Witmer, of Paradise; Francis Lytle, of Bart; John Showaker, of Bart; and Captain Williams, of Gap Mines.

At a meeting of the trustees, held August 26, 1856, Captain Williams was elected president, and Francis Lytle, secretary; And in the same meeting Doctor Killikelly and John Showaker Were added to the number of trustees, to form with them a building Committee. The building committee, encouraged by the favor the enterprise met with, concluded to build the church of stone, thirty by sixty feet, after the early English pointed style.

On September 14, 1857, the corner-stone was laid in the presence of about five hundred persons; and on December 25, 1857, the build-ing, although uncompleted, was so far advanced as to allow of divine service being celebrated in it, which was accordingly done by the Reverend Doctor Killikelly.

On April 5, 1858, Easter Monday, the organization of a parish, according to the rites and usages of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of North America, to be known as the Parish of Grace Free Church, Gap Mines, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was completed, and the following seven persons were duly elected vestry men, to serve one year from that time, viz., John Showaker, John Williams, Francis Lytle, William W. Withers, George Podson, David Simpson, and James Martin. John Showaker and John Williams were elected church wardens, and James Martin secretary of the vestry. On the same day the vestry duly elected the Reverend Doctor B. B. Killikelly rector of the church and parish.

On September 27, 1858, the church, being completed and furnished, was dedicated by the Right Reverend Samuel Bowman, D. D. assistant bishop of the diocese of Pennsylvania, the wardens and ves-try assuming the outstanding debts against the church so that the church could be consecrated. Those debts were soon after paid off. John Showaker, a vestryman and warden, who had been so instrumental in the building of the church, was the first to be laid in the new graveyard. He was buried there on December 1, 1859.

On November 10, 1860, a charter for the church was obtained from the Lancaster County court.

Besides the before-named vestry the following-named persons of the neighborhood have been vestrymen at some period since the organization of the parish, viz: Levi A. Fogle, John Heyberger, E. W. Coffin, James Greer, Joseph Donoghue, William Nelson, William C. Lytle, Leonard Peckel, J. William Showaker, Isaac Smith, John Leech Junior, and John M. Rutter. The original members were Captain John Williams and wife, Davis Simpson and wife, John Showaker, Miss Jane Gossner, James Martin, William W. Withers, Miss Ann Withers, Mrs. Francis Lytle, George Podson and wife, and possibly one or two others.

The following have been rectors; Reverend Doctor B. B. Killikelly, (from the beginning to 1863), Reverend William A. White, Reverend Mr. Brouse, (from 1872 to 1875), Mr. Burrows (from 1875 to 1879), Reverend Henry C. Pastorius, and from 1879 to the disbanding, Reverend J. McAlpine Harding. The church was built by voluntary contributions, and it is free of debt. Seating capacity, two hundred. Pews free. Value, two thou- sand dollars. Services, alternate Sundays in the afternoon. Sunday School is held in the church six months in each year; average attend-ance, eighty. Officers of the Sunday School are John Hocking, super- intendent; Thomas H. Webb, librarian; and Captain Doble, secretary and treasurer.

Church services were disbanded in the early 1880s.

This site is generously

Hosted by RootsWeb

Hosted by RootsWeb

return to SLCHS homepage