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History of the Churches of Sullivan County
by Adona R. Sick
Compiled by Emmabelle Sick Boyles
in memory of her sister, Adona R. Sick

Copyright (c) 1965
Information generally through 1955
Source: The Frawley Collection
All rights reserved.
All photos and text original except where otherwise indicated.



Miss Adona Ruth Sick

Loving Labors Of

Adona Ruth Sick

A Note from Adona Sick
Written as a teacher to Gladys McCarty, her student,
for rasing money for the school piano fund
Elkland 1919
Source: David Bailey, grandson of Gladys McCarty
Note: David tells us that his grandmother went on to become a teacher and taught alongside Adona
at the Bethel and Centre schools in Elkland. You can read more about
David Bailey's McCarty ancestors at Doctor Fremont McCarty: An Appreciation.

"I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings." Ps. 77:12

In the north-central part of rural Pennsylvania, one of the Commonwealth's smaller counties, and certainly one of the least populated--Sullivan, by name--is significant for its lack of industry and its good system of highways to carry the populace to neighboring counties and states for employment. Its mountains, lakes and streams, meadows and wastelands, public parks and recreation centers have changed the once farm lands and lumber industries into a vacation land. A few decades ago, busy railroads hauled lumber, coal, ice and related products to markets. Today, the steam monsters are nearly silenced; motorized boxcars traverse the highways and personal transportation is easy and convenient.

It was in those former years that Adona Ruth Sick was born, just before the turn of the century, on a large and beautiful farm near Cherry Grove, overlooking the peaceful village of Nordmont. Then, as now, there was an abundance of natural, beautiful scenery everywhere throughout the area and leaving the vicinity, by necessity, to receive higher education beyond the high school level was her first big step from home.

After years of preparation for her career and the decision to practice her profession in a neighboring state, she still maintained close ties with her home near Cherry Grove and the people in the neighboring villages. These "Ties", however, were hours filled with loving labor for her "friends of Cherry Grove". Through them, she gained an intimate acquaintance with every Church in the county and acquired a rich knowledge concerning the building and mission of each one.

In Nordmont, for over a quarter century, she participated each Easter morning in the Sunrise Service at the Methodist memorial Chapel, Cherry Grove, chiefly as the speaker. She was the speaker when the first service was held in 1929, and was its main pillar through many years, until her demise.

Likewise, her labor in cementing the Cherry Grove memorial Association into a comfortable position, continued uninterrupted for forty years and is a monument to her devoted efforts in this small community.

"If you build castles in the air," said Henry David Thoreau, "Your work need not be lost. There is where your castles should be. Then all you need to do is put a foundation under them." Miss Sick put foundations under many good ideas.

Her efforts were unwasted and her Sunday School teaching as a guest teacher at the local Church during the summer months of many years, won her to the hearts of many to whom she pointed to the Great Foundation.

To enumerate all the workings of such a dynamic personality as Miss Sick exemplified would be short of impossibility. Her many talents, each like a sparkling diamond facet, shone everywhere she traveled. The sands of time will not soon erase their aura. But the hearts of the people of Nordmont always return to the memorable Easter mornings when they heard her majestic recitation of Conner's Recall of Love--that masterpiece portraying the picture of Peter the Betrayer, realizing his importance to the resurrected Christ. This is their living memorial. No legend or tradition of Easter can symbolize the truth completely. One must know Jesus. He is the Truth.

From her deep understanding of beginnings, it is quite appropriate that Miss Sick did undertake the task of recording the origins of small bodies of Believers. To her, each must have seemed as though a fresh vision of the Resurrection appeared.

In grateful remembrance of her labors among her home folks and the many far away, there is now a plaque in the Nordmont Sunday School Youth rooms with the simple inscription:

In memory of
Adona Ruth Sick
Emmabelle and Emerson Boyles
and Friends
H. Clayton Keeler

Loon Lake
Nordmont, Pa.

July 1965

Miss Adona Ruth Sick was a person who demonstrated in her life, unusual qualities of Christian Leadership in many different fields. She possessed a driving energy and in­tellectual ability which placed her in positions of respon­sibility on many occasions, and yet she also carried with her a spirit of deep humility and interest in the common good.

Her restless, active mind constantly searched out new areas of interest, especially in the fields which promised creative interaction among people. Her love for the church was deep and abiding and she enjoyed working in it, mostly in fields of Christian Education and work with employed women. Towards the end of her life, she was employing her consider­able talents in the field of Christian Social Relations, being chairman of this Commission in her local church.

Miss Sick was born in Nordmont, Sullivan County, Pennsy­lvania, on August 20, 1894, the child of Mr. and Mrs. Julius J. Sick. Her education was received at Bloomsburg State Teachers College and New York State University, with a Master of Arts degree from the latter. She did graduate work in seven other colleges and universities, both in this country and abroad, and had completed most of the work nec­essary for a doctorate in education.

After teaching for five years in public schools in Vermont and Pennsylvania, she became the librarian at the Union-Endicott High School in Endicott, New York, in 1920, and con­tinued in that position until her death on January 24, 1964.

During these years, Miss Sick was a leader in her pro­fession. She was the moving spirit in the organization of the Association of School Librarians of the Southern Tier, and she was, for many years, the president of the Ming Quong Literary Group. She served as Director of Civil Defense for Broome County for three years.

Miss Sick was profoundly concerned with the quality of the teaching in the church's Sunday Schools. She organized the Broome County Leadership School and served as its dean for seven years. She personally set up more than fifty such schools through New York State. In 1952, she was awarded an official citation by the National Council of Churches for her work in Christian Education. In her local church, she was the Director of Christian Education on a volunteer basis for a number of years. Her interest in employed women led her to organize the Wesleyan Service Guild for employed women in her home church and in the Wyoming Conference of the Methodist Church. She was chairman for the Wesleyan Service Guild of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church.

At her death, she was Director of Leadership Education for the Wyoming Conference.

Miss Sick was a prolific writer and saw her articles published in over a score of periodicals.

Miss Sick wrote on themes as diverse as an "Annotated Bibliography on the Virgin Islands" for The Journal of Educational Sociology; the "Amerika Haeuser in Germany" for the Wilson Library Bulletin; "Renewing Old Books" for Clear­ing House and "Starting Your Own Leadership School" for The Church School. She contributed to The Handbook of Skits and Stunts, edited by Helen and Larry Eisenburg, and wrote a com­memorative pageant for her local church, "The Pursuit of Horizons", in 1952.

A number of memorials have been established in her honor, among them the fact that the new library at the Union-Endicott High School, has been named "The Adona Sick Library". Also, a section of shelves has been set aside with the inscription, "The Adona Sick Memorial Collection" for books presented in her honor by the Union-Endicott High School faculty, colleagues, and friends.

The Southern Tier Library Association has establish a scholarship in her honor. A memorial library in her name has been set up in the rooms of the Board of Education of the Wyoming Conference The original gift for this library came through a legacy from Miss Sick. Other gifts to it have been made by the Wesleyan Service Guild of Wyoming Conference.

A room in the educational building in the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Nordmont, Pennsylvania, has been named in her honor, and a memorial plaque has been placed in the library of the First Methodist Church, Endicott, New York, recalling her forty years of leadership given to God through His Church.

One of her continuing interests has been the history of the churches of her native countryside in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. She spent several summers collecting material which could shed light on this important history.

The results of her researches are collected in this book, written by Miss Sick and published posthumously by her sister, Mrs. Emmabelle Sick Boyles. It is dedicated to all those brave pioneers who brought the faith to these shores.

Edgar F. Singer
First Methodist Church
Endicott, New York

Adona Sick had such a love of life and was so full of contageous enthusiasm that she was a continual inspiration to me. She had a way of doing everything joyously as unto the Lord.

The many years I attended the Broome County Religious Education School, she gave dynamic leadership and always succeeded in procuring excellent teachers for us.

Her life seemed to be dominated by a genuine love of people--all kinds of people, and a real desire to serve them.

She not only used her talents in winning friends and in serving them but she had a knack in stirring up the talents of her friends. I shall always be grateful that Adona brought together a small group of like-minded church women of Christian fellowship and the sharing of our talents in joyous praise to the God we loved. The group consisted of about a dozen women from several churches. Our name, "Ming Quong" meaning "Searchers After Light", was significant as it expressed our aim. We primarily reviewed religious books, interspersed with poetry and music.

The memory of Adona is one I shall always grate­fully cherish.

Fern H. Atwood
1419 Tenth Avenue, S.
St. Petersburg, Florida

This year, the Broome County Council of Churches marks its twenty-fifth anniversary. Having participated in twenty-one of those years, observations concerning its life come easily.

One reflection takes me back to the several years just prior to 1950. Miss Adona Sick is well remembered for her enthusiasm, her determination, and her dedicated leadership, all in behalf of a united Christian Education program

Miss Sick's highest achievements focused in the annual leadership training school consisting of a number of study groups meeting each week for several consecutive weeks in a central location. Because of that firm found­ation, there are many who identify the Council with the School.

It is only natural that one feels a sense of gratitude for such an inheritance.

Henry Clay Banks
First Presbyterian Church
Endicott, New York

Into the life of each of us there is usually a person or persons who have greatly influenced us In mine, it was Adona Sick. Practically from the day I entered high school, Adona was my inspiration. During my years there, I really had a chance to get to know this truly remarkable woman. On several occasions, I had the privilege of spending a week­end with her at the Nordmont farm of her delightful parents. After each visit with these warm, sincere people, one could not help but feel that they wanted to be a better person be­cause of the spirit radiated in this Christian family.

Miss Sick was born at Nordmont, Sullivan County, Pennsy­lvania, on August 20, 1894, one of four children. She was graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers College, and did graduate work at Genesee State Teachers College, Pennsylvania State Teachers College, Syracuse University and Columbia Uni­versity Library School. Miss Sick earned an M.A. degree from New York University. She studied at London University in England, at Heidelberg University in Germany, the University of Paris, France, and in the Virgin Islands. She held eligibil­ity certificates issued by the State of New York in three fields: Library Science, Guidance and Personnel, and Princi­pal of High School: and she held minors in Psychology, Literature and Education.

After teaching in the Elementary Public School in Milton, Vermont; and serving as a high school principal in Estella, Pennsylvania for four years, Miss Sick came to the Union-Endicott High School in 1920, as librarian.

When Miss Sick came to Endicott, the school library was housed in a small room, with a minimum of books, mainly reference books and biographies. During these forty-four years, Miss Sick worked to attain one of the most complete school libraries in the State of New York. At the time of her death, there were 9186 books of all categories on the shelves of the high school library, 62 difference magazines on subscription, also many pamphlets and newspapers.

It was during the early 1930's that Miss Sick started the Library Club, to help pupils who were interested in library work. To each of us who participated in this, valuable experience was gained. She taught us not only to organize in the library, but to organize our own lives to count.

In 1945, the Broome County Council of Churches voted to organize an annual interdenominational leadership training school and Miss Sick was unanimously voted to head this new project. Again, we found ourselves together, and for the next seven years, while she served as dean of this school, I acted as her registrar. This school was primarily to teach the teachers, and during Adona's administration, it had an enrollment in the hundreds, in fact, the largest of its kind in the state. As a result of this, in 1952, Miss Sick received the top award from the National Council of Churches of Christ in America. Only eight were awarded in the United States that year.

During the 1940's, Miss Sick became the Wyoming Conference director of leadership education and later director of General Church School Work. Eleven of these years, I again served under Adona as her Binghamton district director. While acting in this capacity, her activities were far too numerous and varied to mention in detail, but her untiring efforts were an inspiration to us all. No problem was too small to warrant her attention. I feel that Dr. George R. Savige shared many of our feelings when in a letter to Adona in January 1952, he states, "You refuse to be discouraged. When last year's enrollment was low, you do not quit, you build next year's enrollment to a higher score. May I join with many others who must be thinking, if not saying, words of praise to you by saying that I regard you as the most proficient and ef­fective Christian Woman leader of my whole life experience. Let your light continue to shine." I feel sure that her light will continue to shine through the years.

Adona's accomplishments were many. Her writings were published in many magazines including The Christian Advocate, The Methodist Woman, Outlook, Think, New York State Business and Professional Woman, New York State Education, to name a few. Her plays and pageants gained her fame, especially her "Pursuit of Horizons". This was written by Adona for the 50th anniversary of her own Church--The First Methodist, Endicott, in 1952.

At the close of this, her pastor, Dr. Leom W. Bouton, in a letter to her sys, "A grateful church bows in honor to a great lady. May God richly reward you for this, another great job done for Him and for us." This, I am sure, was the feeling shared by all of us in First Church.

Another highlight of her career was the privilege of attending the World Sunday School Convention held in Los Angeles. While there, she had the honor of working with Dr. Daniel Poling and many other outstanding Christian leaders in our country.

During the war years, Adona served as Broome County director of Civil Defense for three years, working in their office at night after having completed her day in school. For this, she received in 1950, community recognition on local radio station WKOP's Russ Morgan's Show, "Flowers for a Lady". A beautiful orchid and a special recording of this tribute was given to Miss Sick. She also participated in radio and TV broadcasts over Binghamton stations WNBF and WINR and Endicott's WENE.

Another first was her organizing of the Wesleyan Service Guild in the Wyoming Conference. This consists of a group of professional and working women who because of their occupations, shared a common interest. Without Adona's efforts, this group of women would probably not have come into being until a much later date.

I believe Adona's life could well be summed up in her own words in a letter which she wrote to Mr. Lemuel Peterson of Chicano in 1951, in which she says: "I love life, people and books and life for me has been a very joyous and exciting adventure." From her Mountain Top experience to her untimely death in January 1964, her life truly was an exciting adventure and to those of us who loved her and worked with her, we have lost a true and valued friend who has left an indelible mark on all of us.

Emma Hitchcock Barrows (Mrs. Fran E.)
Vestal, New York

In 1952, the First Methodist Church of Endicott, New York, was fifty years old. The climax of a week of anniver­sary celebration was the presentation of a pageant "The Pur­suit of Horizons", written by Miss Adona R. Sick The pageant, presented on a huge stage in the Sanctuary, depicted the his­tory of the founding and growth of the Church.

"The Pursuit of Horizons" realistically characterizes the spirit and influence of Miss Sick. She was always push­ing back the boundaries of the souls and minds of the persons whose lives she touched.

Long before the writer became her pastor in 1947, she represented the growing edge of the program of the Endicott Church. The Christian Educational work of the Church was her first love. The structure of the Church School and its Com­mission on Education revealed the long-range planning of this great soul. She provided the initial inspiration and early training of many individuals who went on to positions of real educational leadership in Conference and denomination.

The historical pageant, "The Pursuit of Horizons", was the culmination of a rich experience in religious dramatics. Miss Sick sponsored many great Christian dramas from the platform of Endicott "First", prior to the advent of tele­vision. There is hardly an activity in that Church that did not feel her influence in spiritual advancement, better educational methods, appreciation of art and culture.

In the writer's eleven years as pastor, many of the great personalities brought to that Church, with their lofty inspir­ation, came by the courageous approach, the urgent call, or the personal friendship of Adona Sick. Our perception was expanded, and our emotions enlarged by her ever restless search beyond the boundaries of our local experiences.

During her later years, Miss Sick's greatest contribution to the service of the Christian community was the establishment of the Wyoming Conference Wesleyan Service Guild, a business and professional women's group, a dynamic part of the Woman's Society of Christian Service. Wherever the writer traveled, the name of Adona Sick meant an enthusiastic res­ponse by women of affairs.

The annual Broome County Leadership School was for years her great contribution to the interchurch movement. No teacher or committee was allowed to go past the Christmas season without complete and thorough preparation for this midwinter event. Every Protestant Church was reached. Thousands of people actively engaged now in Christian Education felt the persistent zeal of this great leader. Through all this eagerness and compulsion, Adona never felt that she was an extraordinary person, only with God-given experiences and wonderful friends.

And now she roams the hills of Eternal Dawn, no doubt organizing, inspiring, sharing her insights with many, pursuing untiringly new horizons in love with her Lord.

In her final words of the pageant in Endicott, robed as the Spirit-Wind, she wrote and proclaimed: "I seem to be in this mid-twentieth century world, yet OUT of it...."

"I am searching, searching...down the corridor of time as well as space...The distant view is full of God 's glory.....I see people, people in great activity...they are beating their swords into plowshares; look at them black, white, yellow... rich and poor...all working together as brothers and singing songs of praise to God, Father of us all.....the Church is on its mission down the corridor of time! It is traveling toward a new horizon...God beckons us to come."

And Adona went to follow her Lord in new everlasting worlds, ever pursuing new horizons.

Leon W. Bouton, D. D.

This is a story of a most remarkable woman, who lived and worked among us, in the Endicott Public School system, for forty-four years. Rarely in a lifetime, do we have the privilege of knowing and working with such a person, so fil­led with talent ability and vitality, yet mixed with humil­ity and unselfishness, as Miss Adona Ruth Sick. Many times, honors were heaped upon her for her outstanding achievements in several fields of endeavor, but she accepted these recog­nitions modestly, and continued serving the school, the church, and the community in a dedicated and competent manner.

Miss Adona Ruth Sick was born at Nordmont, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania on August 20, 1894, one of four children. She was graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers College, and did graduate work at Genesee State Teachers College, Pennsylvania State College, Syracuse University, and Columbia University Library School. She earned an M. A. degree from New York University.

Miss Sick also studied at London University in England, at Heidelburg University in Germany, the University of Paris, France, and in the Virgin Islands. She held eligibility certificates issued by the State of New York in three fields: Library Science, Guidance and Personnel, and Principal of Secondary School: and she held minors in Psychology, Literature and Education.

After teaching in the Elementary Public School in Milton, Vermont, and serving as a high school principal in Estella, Pennsylvania for four years, Miss Sick came to the Union-Endicott High School in 1920, as the librarian.

When she came to Endicott, the school library was housed in a small room, with a minimum of books, mainly reference books and biographies. During the forty-four years, Miss Sick worked to attain one of the most complete school libraries in the State of New York. At the time of her death, there were 9186 books of all categories on the shelves of the high school library, 62 different magazines on subscription, also many pamphlets and newspapers.

Miss Sick organized the Library Club to help those pupils who were interested in library work. She was a member of the National and State Library Associations. She was active in local library meetings, and was an officer in the Southern Zone Library Club. Her informative articles appeared in Outlook, Business and Professional Women, Think, Journal of Educational Sociology and the New York State Education Bulletin.

On October 31, 1932, Mr. Herbert H. Crumb, Superintendent of the Endicott Public Schools at that time, called a general faculty meeting for the purpose of discussing the organization of a local teachers' association. Miss Sick was elected secretary of this new organization, and served from 1932 to 1935, and from 1941 to 1948.

In February 1954, Miss Sick was the author of a series of five articles which appeared in the Endicott Daily Bulletin, explaining the history of the Endicott Teachers Association, its aims and work. Miss Sick was a representative to the House of Delegates for three years; was in charge of dinners and other affairs of the New York State Teachers Association and the Endicott Teachers Association. She acted as Group Insurance Director from 1938 to 1948, and was a Credit Union collector at the time of her death.

As a prominent member of the Endicott Methodist (First) Church, Miss Sick received the top award from the National Council of Churches of Christ in America for her work in Christian Education. Only eight of these certificates were awarded in 1952, and the council is the largest Protestant Interdenominational Organization in America. This great honor was bestowed upon Miss Sick for the following achieve­ments:

1. Organized and served as dean for seven years of the Broome County leadership Training School.

2. Taught accredited Leadership Training courses in Broome County.

3. Organized and set-up over 50 separate Leadership Training Schools in New York State.

4. Organizer of the Wesleyan Service guilds in the Wyoming Conference which included Binghamton Dis­trict and local Guilds.

5. A teacher of Sunday School classes.

6. The author of articles published in the Christian Advocate, The Methodist Woman, Stunts and Plays for the Churches.

7. Made a survey of rural churches.

During World War II, Miss Sick spent three nights a week in the Defense Office, as Broome County Director of Civil Defense. She gave radio speeches and appeared on television of our local stations, and was awarded an orchid and other gifts as an outstanding community worker.

Miss Sick served as an officer in the Shakespeare Club, was a contributing member of the Ming Quong Literary Club, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Business and Professional Women's Club

On January 24, 1964, Miss Adona Ruth Sick died at Ideal Hospital. On that same day, the new high school library, brought about by the renovation of the Union-Endicott High School building, was opened.

The administration and the teachers of the Union-Endicott High School voted to name the new library, also a re­search room, in honor of Miss Sick.

From gifts of money from the faculty, a plaque and a number of new books will be presented in loving memory of a gallant lady.

Miss Jessie L. Brainerd
Endicott, New York.

It is not given to us humans to know the true and total significance of a life. At best, we can only know what we experience and what others relate to us of their experiences. Only God himself knows the true significance of a life.

One will fall short even with the use of a vivid imagination, to adequately conceive of the unlimited extent to which God is using Adona Sick's life now. As one who worked with her in leadership training enterprises for religious workers and teachers through the past 25 years, I know I cannot begin to realize how many men and women have a firm foundation for their lives because someone was inspired and equipped to be an effective teacher through one of Miss Sick's projects.

Effective teaching in the Church was an obsession with her. She never stopped talking about it, promoting it or planning for it. Even to her own harm and at the expense of personal popularity, she preached the gospel. No obstacle was too high to hurdle or too big to get around. No Person was important enough to stand in her way.

This drive along with adherence to high standards of scholarship and organization and the value of human per­sonality is built into the Broome County (New York) Council of Churches Leadership School. While this is a monument to her memory, when it has long faded out, God will still be using what Adona Sick did, for He alone knows the true significance of her life of service and holds in His hands the expanding reaches of her influence.

Wilton J. Dubrick
Pastor, Fairview Methodist Church
Binghamton, New York

Missing so much a person seen so seldom as I saw Adona is scarcely believeable. It must be because there was something unique and deeply meaningful about each experience with her.

Among the earliest was the Sky Lake Leadership School which she was directing, with the Windsor Laboratory School, one of my first assignments. What an un­forgettable appreciation, and support she gave.

Then, there were the countless local schools she so enthusiastically helped organize. "A Human Dynamo", one man called her. It was clear she purposed always to give her best to what she thought would add the most to the quality, unity and joy of Christian living,

The most treasured contacts are times of sharing at her home and traveling to conferences. It seemed there was the constant glow of creativity; a pageant she was developing, new ways of group dynamics she was exploring, plans for a refreshing social gathering, or designing a flowerbed.

And now--this book I have been eagerly awaiting, more of the thinking, creating, sharing, that is Adona.

Miss Pauline L. Kishpaugh
Star Route 1
Owego New York

These are some of the ways in which I would describe Miss Adona R. Sick as a person and suggest the quality of her life and her contribution to the Church and the community....

Miss Sick was a person of distinguished character and excellence. As a person, she could have been recognized in countless ways. For her, life was a summons to duty and to courage. If a thing ought to be done, there was time and the strength to do it. This was her choice.

For her, life had purpose and meaning. Work was central. She could not afford to waste either her time or her talent. Both had to be invested in the highest ways she knew. Her desire was to be productive--to be busy, but not just for the sake of being occupied. Life, however long, would be too short. There were too many worthwhile causes to be served.

She had many interests, and she cultivated them all with equal vigor. She was a poet. The rhythm of her verse expressed the underlying poetry and rhythm of her life. It was ordered and correct, but it had a kind of lilting style and a gentle flourish that caught one's attention.

She had a penetrating eye and a sharp sense of judgment. Her standards were high but she never demanded performance from others which she was not willing to match herself.

She delighted in seeing things happen. She could see life with drama and color. Her imagination was alive and active. She both wrote an produced plays. She knew the importance of helping persons see into the nature of things--problems and reality.

Miss Sick held out great hope for the Church. Respecting the institution, she worked constantly for its improvement. She was schooled in the arts of teaching in her day, and she endeavourer to keep abreast of new methods.

For her, death was but a pause. She had the bold confidence, it would seem, that here was simply a moment of translation, beyond which, these values, these causes, and this work would continue.

Franklin E. Kooker
12 Liberty Street
Sidney, New York

My association with Miss Adona Sick goes back for more than forty years. I had joined the First Methodist Church in Endiccott, New York, during the year that I was eighteen years old. I had been an unchurched young person.

About three months after I had joined the church, Adona Sick talked with me. My recollection is that it was on a Sunday after church. You will remember what a fast talker Adona was. On this day, she didn't give me much of a chance to get a word in. The conversation went something like this:

"We are having a leadership training class on Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 P.M. I have checked your schedule, and know you are free."

She went on to mention some people, friends of mine, who would be in the class. What could a young man do in a case like that? Before she was through, I had promised to attend the class.

As I recall, it was course on the prophets and the teachers was Miss Florence Casler.

At any rate, looking back on this experience, I know that his opened up the bible to me in a way that had never been done before. It was what you would call "a satisfactory experience." The result was that I took more leadership courses.

This was one of the major reasons which led me to decide upon entering the Christian Ministry. I resigned my position with the Endicott Johnson Corporation, and entered Wyoming Seminary in the fall of 1925.

It was only natural that when I went to college that I should major in Christian Education. My main interest was there, and has continued to be all through the years, Leadership Education. The basic need of the church always has been "the enlistment and development of leadership."

Through the work which she was doing, in the First Methodist Church of Endicott, Adona Sick started that which was so basic in all the rest of my life.

In 1945, twenty years after this first experience with Adona Sick, I was appointed Executive Secretary of the Wyoming Conference, the first year on what is called a volunteer basis I continued to be the pastor of the First Methodist Church in Taylor, Pennsylvania.

During that year we needed a person to serve as Conference Director of Leadership Education. It was only natural that my thoughts went to Adona Sick as the one who could adequately fill that position. I approached her about it and she said she would do that. During the eight years that followed, she filled this position and was chairman of the group that was responsible for the enlistment and development of leadership for the Wyoming Conference. Many schools were set up, leadership formed, and the schools carried to a conclusion--accredited schools meeting the standards of the Methodist Church.

After I left the Wyoming Conference, on October 1st, 1953, Adona carried on in this position. I believe that she still held the position at the time of her death.

One of the most influential activities was her connection with the Broome County Leadership School. For many years, she served as its Dean. The enrollment was often as high as 500.

This was only one phase of her life. For all of those years, she was the librarian at the Union-Endicott High School. She was the Conference Leader of the Wesleyan Service Guild. There were many other activities.

She continued her work in the First Methodist Church of Endicott. I recall on one of my visits to the Church, seeing a glass case enclosing the pictures of the people in the Church, who had graduated from the Old Standard Curriculum--which meant they had taken twelve specific courses. Adona Sick was responsible for this.

I am here today as a witness to the influence that Adona had on my life. For forty years, it has been different because of her. But mine was not the only life that she touched. It is impossible for any one to know how many lives--maybe there were thousands.

Why did she do it?

First of all, it should be said that she did it as a result of the depth of her religious experience. Her understanding of the nature of God and his world was such that she had to do it. She would not have been content with any­thing else. She knew that it is only through dedicated people that God reaches others and these dedicated people must be trained.

Clyde A. Schaff

It has been my privilege o know Miss Adona Sick for over nine years. Our association has been in the field of Christian Education, specially Leadership Schools.

I never ceased to admire her insight into peoples' needs for better understanding and deeper love of Christ and His Church through training. The various methods utilized by her to elevate our Christian leadership revealed the pioneering spirit of Miss Sick. Her determination to achieve higher level, her optimistic persistence, along with her charming wit, added much to the progress in our Conference Christian Education Program. Today, we are witnessing the fruits of her labor.

Miss Sick's willingness to serve, and devotion to her task, will ever be a cherished memory and a challenge to carry on her hopes and aims to bring to the frontier the true, contemporary value, of preparing oneself for better and more efficient Christian Leadership.

Reverend Edwin C. Schumacher

Adona R. Sick was a choice soul and it is a privilege indeed for me to write this memorial.

Her services to the Wyoming Conference of the Methodist Church, through its Board of Education, were so numerous and precious that one cannot tell the complete story. She ministered as the Conference Director of Leadership Education for fifteen years (from 1946 to 1961). In the Conference Board of Education's report to the Annual Conference for 1964 are these words: "It would be most fitting to pause a moment and pay tribute to the memory and work of Miss Adona R. Sick, for many years our Conference Director of Leadership Education. Her passing this year has caused us to look back upon the contribution which she made in our Conference as a pioneer in leadership training. She was a person of great dedication and courage. Her influence upon the lives of many laymen and ministers in this Conference and elsewhere cannot be measured. Her devotion to the ideals of careful planning and high standards of performance should serve as an inspiration to us all."

Miss Sick assumed her office soon after the appointment of a full time executive secretary of the Board of Education by Bishop Fred P. Corson. Immediately the churches felt the impact of her dynamic personality as she organized the district directors and advised the pastors and Sunday School Superintendents about the need for trained teachers and about courses of leadership education which were being offered by the General Board of Education of the Methodist Church.

Miss Sick set up Leadership Training Schools in the four districts and promoted other schools in the local churches. Her goal was to have a Leadership Training School in every church of the Wyoming Conference annually. She was an indefatigable worker in this important field. Whenever she spoke on the subject everybody knew she was totally committed to her cause. Her enthusiasm and elo­quence moved many people to adopt her program. She was one of the most persistent and persuasive persons I have ever known.

At the end of Miss Sick's first year of service, it was reported by the Board of Education that our conference was one of the leaders in the Northeastern Jurisdiction for the number of credits issued for accredited training. "931 were enrolled for this year, 639 receiving credits--twice the number received in the year preceding, -----62 registered in the Conference Leadership School in July 1946."

Ten years later it was reported to the Conference that there were fifteen schools of Leadership Education that year, 138 churches involved, 51 courses taught, 534 persons enrolled, 364 course cards awarded, 51 certified deans, 138 certified instructors 330 certified courses, 11 certified laboratory instructors.

In 1960, the Board's report to the Annual Conference stated: "In leadership training some 17 Christian Workers Schools involved more than 700 persons throughout the Con­ference. Nearly half of these were local church schools. In Scranton District, new areas were opened to leadership training. In the Binghamton District, the fall sub-district schools indicated their established value.

Due to a change in the structure of the Board of Education in 1951, Miss Sick was appointed Conference Director of General Church School work. She served as such until her untimely death.

One of my fondest memories of Adona is the recollection of the manner in which she worked for the establishment of an Interdenominational Leadership Training School for its Broome County Council of Churches, centering in Binghamton, New York.

This was during the mid1940's. Sarah Jane Johnson Memorial Methodist Church of Johnson City, New York, was selected as the place for the school on account of its central location and its excellent facilities. I was the pastor of the church at this time. Adona was the first dean of the school. It was a very successful school with a competent faculty and hundreds of people enrolled. It was held annually and continued for at least ten years.

As long as Adona was dean, it flourished, because she was a conscientious, aggressive and efficient administrator. This project more than any other brought the churches of Broome County together, but it especially strengthened the work of Christian education in many churches which participated.

There was never any financial remuneration for Adona as she devoted herself to these tasks. She never complain­ed, she never seemed to grow weary in well doing, she never threatened to quit in the cause she championed. It was thrilling to see how radiant she was, how selfless, how dedicated to Christ and His Church.

Although we lament her departure it is comforting to know that God rewards such a faithful servant in the celestial and continuing city, toward which she looked and moved.

Reverend Earl V. Tolley
Scranton, Pennsylvania

I consider it a great honor and a privilege to write a few words of praise concerning Miss Adona Sick, the author of this book.

Her loyalty to her God, and her ability in her Church and Sunday School class was far above criticism or reproach. Adult Christian Education in the Wyoming Annual Conference took great forward strides, due to her untiring efforts and foresight. She will long be remembered as a faithful and beloved laborer for her Lord.

The Reverend Smith D. VanAuken
Pastor, Castle Creek Methodist Church

The Wyoming Conference Wesleyan Service Guild Committee, in paying tribute to Miss Adona R. Sick, a former leader of the Conference Guild, feels that she was truly a young woman called to serve God through the Church. She was led by the Holy Spirit to devote herself to Christ and Service under vhe direction of the Church for many years.

Miss Sick was outstanding in her willingness to work wherever she was called by God. She assumed positions of leadership in her Conference, her church and in the com­munity. She organized the work of the Wesleyan Service Guild throughout this Conference. Being a business woman herself, and aware of the little time a business woman has to serve, she prepared and led a program of unique interest, one which was stimulating and' challenging to pro­fessional women.

She never hesitated to undertake any task that required special courage and skill. Her splendid career as a librarian for the public schools, as a worker and teacher in Christian Education, and as Conference Secretary of the Wesleyan Service Guild, endeared her to all with whom she worked. Adona exemplified the command of Christ--"Go into all the world and teach...."

Wyoming Conference Wesleyan
Service Guild Committee


Society of Friends
The Wesleyan Methodist Church
The Methodist Churches

The Methodist Church in Sullivan County
Forksville Church
From Log School Houses to Steepled Edifice
Warburton Hill
Methodism in Davidson Township
Elk Lick
Laporte Methodist Church
Muncy Valley Methodist Church
Hemlock Church
Muncy Valley Church
The Sonestown Methodist Church
Cherry Grove Church
Eagles Mere

Episcopal Churches

St. John's in the Wilderness
Mount Olivet Episcopal Chapel
St. John's Episcopal Church

The Baptist Churches

Eagles Mere

The Presbyterian Churches

Bernice, Pennsylvania
Laporte, Pennsylvania
Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania

The Lutheran Churches

Friedens (Peace) Church
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Dushore

Disciples of Christ Churches

Estella, Pennsylvania
Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania

The Mennonites


Evangelical United Brethren Churches

Dushore, Pennsylvania
Lopez Church
Sonestown Church *
Bethel Church, Muncy Valley
Nordmont Church
* Editor's Note: Shown below is a photo of the Sonestown Evangelical Church as it appeard in 1910. The building was razed after the local congregation merged with three others in 1969, and replaced with a workshop.

Sonestown Evangelical Church 1910
Sonestown PA
Photo Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Original RPPC Poscard Auctioned on eBay in May 2015

Reformed Churches

St. Peters Evangelical and Reformed

Roman Catholic Churches

St. Basil's Dushore, Pennsylvania
St. Francis of Assisi, Mildred, Pennsylvania
St. Mary's Church of the Immaculate Conception, Lopez, Pennsylvania
Church of the Sacred Heart, Laporte, Pa.
St. Francis of Assisi, Eagles Mere, Pa.

Church of the Sacred Heart
Laporte, Sullivan County, PA
October 2005
Photo by Deb Wilson

Greek Catholic Church


Russian Orthodox Church

St. Vladimir's, Lopez, Pennsylvania

Service Roll


The development of the churches in Sullivan County, State of Pennsylvania, United States of America, is an interesting story. The church history parallels the progress and development of the county. There is something tremendously alive about the records. Journeyings, meetings, arguments, resolutions, appearances, circuits, appropriations, and reports--not to mention the occasional groan or the shout of victory--give to its pages a flesh and blood reality,

As the history becomes current, the personal touch is ap­parent and we are among friends united in a great cause. Of churches, John Ruskin says:

"Men say their pinnacles point to heaven.
Why, so does every tree that buds,
And every bird that rises as it sings.
Men say their aisles are good for worship.
Why, so is every mountain glen, and rough seashore.
But this they have, of distinct and indisputable glory-
That their mighty walls were never raised,
And never shall be,
But by men who love and aid each other.

Sullivan County, known as Lycoming County until 1844, has a church history reaching back to the year 1804. During this per­iod of 150 years, more than 35 churches have been built in the geographical area of 434 square miles, with a population of only 7,504 people. These church edifices give ample evidence and vis­ible support to Ruskin's lines. The humble and sturdy Sullivan County people MUST have loved and aided each other, for in what other spirit could this stupendous task have been accomplished? "their mighty walls were never raised--but by men who love and aid each other."

The history of the churches in Sullivan County is the result of patient research. Lack of space made it necessary to omit much interesting material: great ventures and sacrifices of pioneer preachers and laymen; rich experiences in revival meetings and bush meetings; hardships and self-denials; joys and sorrows.

It is a regrettable fact that the story of many churches is far too brief. In some instances this brevity was necessary because of scanty church records; in others, records were destroyed by fire; in many cases, the few isolated bits of information were not consistent enough to establish a story; and in still others, the available slim bits of evidences were in insufficient to warrant historical treatment.

The development of the church in Sullivan County is so fundamentally a part of pioneer beginnings that it is impossible to write the history of one church or denomination without reaching into the history of another. Ministers and laymen alike have been busily engaged in the progressive development of a Christian enterprise that has contributed to the leadership of the church in various offices and responsibilities. Missionaries, priests, ministers, deaconesses and sisters in religion now serving in many parts of the United States received their early inspiration, challenge and training in the rural churches of Sullivan County

This work is supported by history, autobiography, reminiscences and personal interviews. If there is anything that in anyway is contrary to the larger historical truth, it is because many personal communications have added a touch of realism and vivacity all their own; there were provided by friends and total strangers whose memories served them well.

This history will accomplish its real purpose if we will I remember that history is still in the making, that our pathway to continued progress is brightened by the glory of the past, and that we give perfection and permanency to the victories of our fathers.

To this high purpose, that we review with joy the achievements of the past and that we dedicate ourselves to the great unfinished task of the Christian Church, I present this effort with a prayer that it may serve this purpose and bring honor to God.

Adona Ruth Sick
Dated November 15, 1956.


It is impossible to explain the quality of the many contributions and the graciousness of the contributors who assisted in the preparation of this brief history. The task of writing this story has been a stimulating and enriching experience. One of the pleasant surprises in the undertaking was the cooperation received from every source to which appeals were made for assistance. The gracious aid I should receive from friends was taken for granted before the work was launched. However, I had not anticipated the extent to which complete strangers would spend hours searching records for collateral materials required to substantiate historical data. I express gratitude and acknowledge indebtedness to all who gave encouragement, furnished material, inspired suggestion, or in any other way helped shape this story and make possible a written record.

Any failure to acknowledge assistance which has been so generously given indicates an unsystematic but not an ungrateful author. It is a pleasure to declare my gratitude:

To my mother, who awakened in me a lifelong interest in local history by communicating to me her own interest in it at a very early stage in my life. She instilled in me a love of local history.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Harry H. Greene, who first gave me the opportunity, then the challenge to attempt the task of collecting, organizing, and writing the material necessary to complete this volume. His faith and constant encouragement in the project were major actors in making the book a reality.

Of critical importance were the contributions of two gifted writers of history: Dr. T. Kenneth Wood and Myrtle Edgar Magargel who shared enthusiasm in this project, contributed valuable authenticated facts, read parts of the manuscript and gave helpful criticisms and suggestions.

I am grateful to Miss E. Jessie Wrede for the stories of the development of the Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian Churches in Laporte.

To Reverend Stanley Wright for writing the complete history of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Sullivan County.

To Clara Wilcox Finch and Charles E. Ecroyd for pertinent facts and historic records of the Society of Friends in Elkland.

To Reverend Orrie Stanton who granted permission to include generous excerpts from nis manuscript on the early history of the Methodist Church in Forksville.

Among the many persons who contributed bits of information were the following;

Rev. William Berningner

Miss Madge A. Jennings

Frank Kiwatsky

H. Clayton Keeler

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Coleman

Mrs. Titus C. Josat

Mrs. Tracy Lawrenson

Mrs. Bessie Spence

Stephen Decker

Mrs. Louisa W. Starbuck

Rev. Clement B. Meyers

Mrs. Mollie Wheat

Mrs. Lillian B. Diltz

Mrs. Irvin Wank

Rev. Gayle O. Miller

Mrs. Raymond Swank

Rev. Elden E. Ehrhart

Mrs. Ruth Fitch

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pfeiffer

Albert Exley

Mrs. Jennie Rogers

Harry H. Greene

C. Fred Rogers

Father Luke Hally

Mrs. A. F. Snyder

Walter W. Hazen

Miss Mary V. Thail

Rev. Elsie Hunter


The SOCIETY OF FRIENDS was founded in England about 1648. The first FRIENDS did not approve of the elaborate ceremonies of the Church of England. They also believed in simple modern living. The central belief of the FRIENDS is in what they call the "Inner Light". They believe that the spirit of God is pre­sent in every man to guide him into the truth. They do not be­lieve in violence in any form.

William Penn, a Society of Friends leader, founded the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681. Pennsylvania has long remained a stronghold of this religious group.

Friends often conduct relief work in war-ridden countries and other areas of conflict. Their missionary activities are very large in proportion to the size of the Society.

Two friends Groups were awarded the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for their great humanitarian work. These were the Amer­ican Friends Service Committee of the United States and the Friends Service Council of Great Britain.

Authentic records seem to verify the fact that the SOCIETY OF FRIENDS has the distinction of having held the first church service ever conducted in Sullivan County. This service functioned as an indulged meeting at the home of Jesse Haines in Elkland Township in May 1804.

[INDULGED MEETING--A meeting for worship only, set up by a monthly meeting when a preparative meeting is not practical.]

Indulged meetings were much more common in the early history of America than now, since settlers moved into new sections and were from different localities and unaccustomed to working together. A few are still in existence--Atlantic City, for instance, where the attendance is transient and near-by monthly meetings have a committee of ministers or elders who are due to send at least one of their number every "First Day" to the meeting for worship.

While the Friends of Elkland were not granted the per­mission of an indulged meeting until 1804, the influx of Friends into Elkland occurred several years prior to the establishment of this meeting. The nearest meeting-house was that belonging to the Muncy meeting, to which the Elkland friends were attached in membership and to which they had to travel a distance of approximately thirty miles.

The Society of Friends have had three meeting houses in Sullivan County. The following was recorded in the Muncy Monthly Meeting Minutes, 5 Month 1804.

{Minutes of the Elkland Meetings are housed in the vault at The Friends Center, 304 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Penna.]

A request from the Friends of the new settlement in the Beachwoods, called the 'Elklands', was produced expressive of their desire of being privileged to hold a Meeting of divine worship on the First-day of each week at the home of Jesse Haines until a house is prepared for the purpose. The meeting fully uniting with the request it is directed accordingly to be opened on the First-day preceding our next Monthly Meeting, and to be continued for six months, under the care of Benjamin Warner, William Ellis, Joseph Carpenter, Moses Lukens, Reuben Lundy, and Abel Roberts; who are desired to attend the first opening thereof, as well as extend a general care to the subject, and to report as occasion may require

[Inventory of Church Archives, Friends Historical Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1941, p. 98.]

In 1805, James Ecroyd granted to the Elkland Friends a plot of land on which to build a meetinghouse. This building, erected in 1805, was within three miles of Eldred's Tavern, and is described as a one-story log building with two windows, one door, and a clumsy fireplace and chimney. Meetings in this building were continued until early in 1809, when the following was recorded in the Minutes of the Monthly Meeting:

First-month 1809, Friends appointed to the care of the meeting at Elkland, report that part of their number have lately visited that meeting and Friends there appear easy to have a discontinuance; with which this meeting unites, and discontinues it accordingly.

[Minutes of the Elkland Meetings, loc. cit.]

In 1816, the meeting was revived through the efforts of Joel McCarty and his wife, Ellen, who in 1819 became a Friends' minister.

Ellen McCarty's appearance in the ministry was acknowledged by the Meeting, 10 month, 21st, 1818 and name forwarded to the Quarterly Meeting.

[Minutes of the Elkland Meetings, loc. cit.]

The Society of Friend always emphasized silence as a spiritual founding of the group. Caroline Stephen, an English Friend of the last century, said, "The silence value is not the mere outward silence of the lips It is a deep quietness of heart and mind, a laying aside of all preoccupation with passing things--a resolute fixing of the heart upon that which is unchanging and eternal."

[Frederick B. Tolles, TESTIMONIES OF DAILY LIFE, p.2, in Friends' Historical Library, Swarthmore College, Penna.]

The following dates and excerpts from the minutes of meetings in "Elklands"6 are interesting not only because they are quaintly worded but also because they give a personal glimpse of the manner in which the Society of Friends functioned:

[Minutes of the Elkland Meetings, loc. cit.]

3 Mo. 24th, 1819--the meeting unites with the proposal of holding the meeting at Joseph Hogeland's and Joel McCarty's, once in three weeks at the latter place.


2 Mo. 21st, 1821--Our beloved friend Ellen McCarty expressed to this Meeting a concern which hath accompanied her mind, to have a meeting at Lewis Lake (now Eaglesmere) and also one at the forks of Muncy Creek, as also a sitting in some families there, which concern, having occupied the solid consideration of this meeting, they unite therewith and leave her at liberty to pursue her prospect as way may open therefore, she being a minister in good esteem amoungst us.

Samuel Carpenter and Henry Battin have unity of this meeting in accompanying said friend, as also hath Sarah Carpenter, the two first being elders and t latter in good esteem amoungst us.


3 Mo. 23rd, 1825--Request made for special meeting in Elklands to accomodate Jesse McCarty and Martha Hoge­land in accomplishing their marriage.

2 Mo. 15th, 1826--Aaron McCarty and Elizabeth Pardoe appeared in this Meeting and signified their intention of marriage with each other.


3 Mo. 22nd, 1826--Request being made for the privilege of holding a special meeting in "Elk­lands", in a house formerly built for that purpose on the 5th of 4th Month next, with a view to the accomodation of Aaron McCarty and Elizabeth Pardoe in accomplishing their marriage. (Request granted).

4 Mo. 23rd, 1834--James Hogeland and Sarah, his wife request to be united in membership with our Religious Society. Meeting appointed Joel McCarty, Jacob Haines, Anthony Kilmer and Joseph Whitacre to visit them.

From the "Elklands" Society of Friends there have come at least four ministers. Mrs. Ellen Roberts McCarty and her daughter, Mrs. Sarah McCarty Schill both spoke in meetings at Lewis Lake (Eaglesmere).

[Sarah McCarty Schill was born January 4, 1822, and died January 14, 1892.]

Jesse Haines was a member of the Muncy Meeting, but for some time lived in Elkland and was considered one of their ministers.

[Jesse Haines, born Sept. 4, 1755 and died Sept. 8, 1856.]

Mrs. Clara Wilcox Finch is recognized as a Minister, and frequently returns to the "Elklands" for summer meetings. She is engaged as a fulltime missionary to the Indians at Quaker Bridge, New York.

In 1893, the Eagles Mere indulged meeting was organ­ized br John S. Kirk, his wife Anna Ecroyd Kirk, their daughter, Katharine Ecroyd Kirk and Friends from Philadelphia and West Chester, Pennsylvania,

Through the years of the functioning of the Society of Friends, the spiritual life of the Meeting was encouraged and stimulated by the visits of Friends in the Station of Minister or Elder, who came from Philadelphia and vicinity, from Canada, England, Ireland and remote parts of the United States.

These meetings are still in progress from June to Septem­ber for the accomodation of Friends who are on vacation, away from their regular meeting places. For many years, the meet­ings were held in the north room of the Lakeside Hotel. Later, as the group became smaller, the meetings were held in private homes

The Friends of Eaglesmere report yearly to the Muncy Monthly Meeting at Pennsdale. (Mrs. Mary Frey Bussler (Mrs. Grant) of Muncy, is the present clerk of the meeting).

The second meetinghouse of the Society of Friends was built of logs and located at Shunk. The deed is dated "4 Mo. 26th, 1831". Mrs., Elizabeth Heess, of Forksville, Pennsylvania, shortly before her death, wrote the following description of the Shunk Meeting House:

[Mrs. Elizabeth M. Heess, a life-long member of The Society of Friends, died in Forksville, Pennsylvania, on March 14, 1937, age 92 years 6 months and 28 days.[

[Excerpt from a letter by Mrs. Elizabeth M. Heess to Mrs. Clara Wilcox Finch, Quaker Bridge, New York]

My memory takes me back to my childhood days when I went with my parents to meeting in a little log house in Fox Township near Shunk. The house was heated with a fireplace in one end and a stove in the other end. The door had wooden hinges and oh, how it squeaked when opened and shut! This Meeting House was surrounded by the grounds which is the resting place of our dear departed ancestors. My dear grandmother, Ellen Roberts McCarty used to walk seven miles to worship in this Old Meeting House often carrying a baby in her arms. Her remains and those of her husband, Joel McCarty rest in the old cemetery.

But, time passed on and a new Meeting House was built in Elkland Township near the boundary line of Fox. There was a large meeting at that time and in imagination I yet see the row of plain bonnets in the gallery and several broad brim hats on the other side of the dividing partition. But alas, our large gathering has dwindled to a few members and not a plain bonnet to be seen. A new cemetery has also taken the place of the old one and is already becoming thickly peopled.

The third meetinghouse, which is still in good repair, is about two and a half miles east of Shunk on Route 154. This location was at one time called Piatt. The land was deeded in 1853.

The meeting was changed from that of an indulged to a preparative meeting in 1833 and remained as such until it was laid down (officially discontinued) in 1938. The present one and a half acre property was donated about 1852 by Thomas McCarty, the son of Joel and Ellen, in order that a meetinghouse might be erected and a cemetery plotted thereon.

[Preparative meeting--This was originally a meeting to "prepare" matters of business to be presented to the monthly meeting, and was held by a committee appointed by the monthly meeting. This small committee appears to have been the group which later became the "overseers", and the meeting of the overseers was called the "prepara­tive" meeting. Later the name "preparative" was applied to the entire meeting instead of the committee meeting.]

Hoverer, it was not until 1854 that the present one-story, white frame meeting-house was erected, The meeting was laid down in 1938 by Muncy Monthly Meeting and the mem­bers were transferred to that meeting.

[Inventory of Church Archives, loc. cit.]

During this period as a preparative meeting, the Society of Friends continued to flourish, as indicated by a letter written by Henry Ecroyd, 3rd month, 11th day, 1887, in res­ponse to an inquiry made by Joseph Lippencott, the treasurer of the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting,. Mr. Ecroyd replied, "There are 79 persons who belong to the 'Elkland's' Preparative Meeting."

[Excerpt from a letter in the private file of Charles E. Ecroyd, Muncy, Pennsylvania. Mr. Ecroyd died August 4, 1955.]

The following excerpt from the accounts of the Ellis and Haines family records gives at least one route of he "Underground", and the active part taken by members of the "Elklands" Society of Friends.

The members of the SOCIETY OF FRIENDS acted from a set­tled conviction that slavery is contrary to the law of God. This conviction carried with it a solemn duty to give aid to slaves in their attempt to escape . The 'Elklands " Society of Friends became an important link in the "Under­ground. "

[Family history of the Haines Family--collected and written by Mary Rhodes Haines, 1893.]

"The Haines home on the Wolf Run--near Muncy--was the center of a lovely hospitality, a refuge for the af­flicted, and particularly so for the fugitive slave. Many of the latter class were sent on by Micajah Speakman of Chester County. When they presented paper with our father's (Jacob Haines) address and signed "Humanity", it was understood where they came from and what was desired and aid was furnished at once. If there were women and children flying from slavery, our father sent them forward in some con­veyances over the mountains to John Hill; thence they were taken to Marshall Battin in the "Elklands", who helped them onward to Joseph Jones of Penn Yan, New York; and he saw them safely beyond the grasp of their pursuers across the Canadian border. "

Mrs. Charles E. Ecroyd of Muncy, Pennsylvania, states "My mother used to relate to me her fearful forebodings, as a very young girl at home, when her dear "brother Jesse" (Haines) would start out at midnight, or about that time, with a carriage load of colored folks to the Elklands".

Since the transfer of the membership of Muncy Monthly Meeting, the clerk of the Monthly Meeting sends the minutes to the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting, and the Quarterly minutes are sent to the Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia. The Muncy Monthly Meeting consisted of Elkland Preparative Meeting; Greenwood Preparative Meeting, held near Millville, Columbia County; and Muncy Preparative meeting, held at Pennsdale. Several Indulged Meetings were associated with it--for example, one in Black Hole Valley and one at Pine Grove (now Quaker Hill). Monthly meetings were held at all three places by regular rotation, Second and seventh months (February and July), the sessions were at "Elklands". During the "horse and buggy days" the trip to and from Monthly Meetings took two or three days. The ride was enjoyable, and fine spiritual and social results made it a welcome and intimate occasion.

The organization known as The Preparatory Meeting of the Society of Friends in Sullivan County was officially "Laid Down" in 1938. But, the white frame meeting-house at old Piatt stands in quiet dignity and good repair as a silent reminder that the spirit of the FRIENDS is still alive and quietly at work in Sullivan County.

Each Sunday during the summer months, meetings for wor­ship are held at "Elklands". The next to the last 4th day (Wednesday) in July, crowds of Friends from Eaglesmere, Penns­dale, Muncy and the "Elklands" wend their way to the only meeting house in Sullivan County and there hold a Monthly Meeting.

It is at times like this that we pause and soberly think--and thinking brings a realization that The Society of Friends was and still is a powerful influence far greater than its numerical strength would indicate. This religious group gave to the early settlers a set of spiritual values which today could profitably be recaptured.

This brief record of THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS in Sullivan County, is a story of men and women, who, with high adventure and deep spiritual faith, carried on a noble work. The FRIENDS had a special role to fill in shaping religious thinking. The importance of their work can never be given adequate treatment by secular historians. We recognize, however, the value of this segment of the Church's early development in the County; and we honor the countless host of humble, consecrated, and unknown Christian men and women who worked together to bring morality and religion to the wilderness of Sullivan County.


After the Revolutionary War in America, the Methodist Church in the United States of America adopted the episcopal or bishopric form of church organization. The main body of Methodists in England continued to use the form of organiza­tion begun by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. They called themselves WESLEYAN METHODISTS to distinguish them­selves from the Methodist Episcopal Church in America.

In the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, slavery had always been a cause of contention. In 1842, certain Methodists conferred as to the wisdom of seceding. Among the leaders were Orange Scott (1800-1847), Jotham Horton and LeRoy Sunderland (1802-1885) and in a paper, which was established, known as THE TRUE WESLEYAN", they announced their withdrawal from the church and issued a call for a convention of all like-minded, which met on the 31at day of May, 1843, at Utica, New York, and founded the WESLEYAN METHODIST CONNECTION. The chief cause for the withdrawal from the Methodist Episcopal Church was a disagreement on the slavery question.


To piece together in one unified whole a story that must be gleaned from records that began to be written more than one hundred years ago, is not an easy task. Those records were written, often by a hurried scribe in the press of important business, to be read at the next "Quarterly Meeting". They were not written for the enlightenment of a curious generation a century later. But what stories they do tell, some­times between the lines to that later generation!

It is still more difficult and much more important to understand correctly and to interpret properly the motives that actuated the men and women of that day and the passions that burned within their souls; for if ever there were days that tried men's souls, then such were those when the Wesley­an Methodist Church was organized in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. Those who established it were caught in the vortex of that struggle for human rights that was engendered by the presence of human slavery within the United States. They found themselves standing before the bar of judgment of their own consciences, of their neighbor's opinions, of unborn generations and of Almighty God.

"They climbed the steep ascent of heaven
Through peril, toil and pain."

It appears that those who established the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Sullivan County, hereinafter usually referred to as the Elkland Charge, had in the beginning no thought of such an eventuality.

They were in the grip of a problem for which some solution must be found. It was a neighborhood movement that drew together kindred liberty-loving souls. After some months of deliberation, it became evident those forces must unite in the cause of human rights. The first record of any meeting that looked toward any kind of organization seems to have been on April 3, 1843. That record, which appears only as a footnote to the minutes of an organizational meeting held January 13, 1844, reads:

"Previous to this there was a meeting on the third of April, 1843, of sundry persons of the M. E. Church at the Molyneaux Schoolhouse in Forks Township to consider the subject of slavery and their duty as members o the M. E. Church."

Progress toward organization took lace at a meeting on July 16, 1843 of a group consisting of six persons, namely: Jeoffrey Clark, Hannah Clark, Richard Rowe, John Molyneaux, Abram Vough, Eliza Vough.

Out of this group grew the East Forks of the Elkland Charge. No minister was present. The name "Wesleyan Methodist" does not appear. It is not known if this group yet knew of the work of the "Utica Convention", which had been called at Utica, New York, on the previous May 31, to grapple with this same problem. That Convention, which had resulted in the formation of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection, or Church, of America, so fully championed the Christian convictions of the East Forks Group that on the following January 13, they, with two other groups of like convictions organized themselves into the Wesleyan Methodist Church at a meeting of sundry persons at the schoolhouse near Father Granges, in Elkland Township, Lycoming County.

These other two groups became the Elkland Church and the Millview Church. Thus began tile ministry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Sullivan County (then Lycoming County) .

By 1846, there were six Church Organizations on the Elkland Charge, denoted in the early records by the following locations: "in the neighborhood of Father Granges" (later a part of the Lincoln Falls Church), "in Mullons settlement (Elkland Church), "in neighborhood of Brother Rowes" (the East Forks Church), "at the Forks" (the Millview Church), "Hillsgrove" and "in Fox Township". Later Hillsgrove was turned over to the Methodist Episcopal Church. The location of Fox is uncertain. However, in 1954, the number of churches remained the same. For on February 18, 1855, the Bethel group was organized; on April 19, 1871, the "Salt Springs" or Lincoln Falls group; and on March 19, 1881, the one at "New Salem", now Estella.

The legal incorporation of these bodies was an important procedure. The following excerpt from the Articles of Incor­poration of the Elkland Church are examples of the care with which the early churchmen went about their task.

Whereas, the following names persons, citizens of this commonwealth, to wit: Joseph Rogers, William Fawcett, Charles Norton, Levi Rogers, Benjamin Fawcett, George Norton and Reuben Rogers have together with others, citizens, associated for the purpose of the Worshipping of Almighty God according to the faith and discipline of the Wesleyan Connection o America; and have for that purpose formed a Congregation at Elkland, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, and are now desirous to be incorporated agreeably to the provision of the Act (etc.).

To wit:

1. The name of the corporation shall be "The First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Elkland".

5. That the Meeting House shall be free of all funeral services.

6. On application by any other Denomination to hold Preaching in said House or Church, the majority of Trustees may grant the privilege provided the applicant become responsible (for the care of the physical property).

7. That the House or Church be opened at all times for the Preaching of Gospel by such Preachers as are fully authorized by the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America, and are approved by the First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Elkland, and for all meetings of the said Church from time to time.

These churches experienced a rapid growth. In the early part of the present century the Elkland Charge had 200 members. During the second quarter of this century the exodus of both adults and young people to more industrialized areas began to reduce that number.

The first church building erected by the Wesleyan Methodists on the Elkland Charge seems to have been the Elkland Church, about the time of the beginning of the Civil War. In the 1890's, the church at Millview and the one at Lincoln Falls were built. At about that same time, the old Parsonage at Millview was demolished and the present one built. The old Bethel schoolhouse, built by the Community for both school purposes and worship services, and the church at Estella, were "union" points, shared by the Wesleyan Methodists and the Methodist Episcopal. The East Forks church building, erected by the Methodist Protestants, was shared in later times by both groups and still later was purchased by the Wesleyan Methodists.

All but Bethel were built with steeples. Lightning has dealt hardly with these. The only steeples standing in 1954 are at Millview and Lincoln Falls. The old Bethel school­house burned one day during school, but the community built a new one. A distinct part of the loss was that of the unusually clear-toned bell that had for many years called the people of the neighborhood to worship and the children to their studies. From the heat or the fall, the bell cracked.

Through the years the Elkland Charge has endeavored to adjust its methods to meet the conditions occasioned by the change from horse-and-buggy days to a mechanized age. At the beginning of the century the Elkland Holiness Camp-meeting Association was formed, the grove around the Elk­land Church developed, and an annual camp meeting begun. It has been carried on till the present. In the early years, the emphasis was on mass evangelism. In recent years, attention has also been given to a Youth Program and Christ­ian Education. School buses and cars have transported an average attendance of 100 for a ten-day period.

An extensive area is included within the bounds of the Elkland Charge, an area of approximately 200 square miles. There was a period during the 1920's when the minister on the Elkland Charge was the only clergyman, Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish, who was holding any religious services in the townships of Forks, Elkland, Hillsgrove or Fox. And that was still a time when road conditions required that for some five months of the year, travel be by horse and buggy and cutter.

The Wesleyan Circuit Rider, for he may well be called such, drove to all six appointments, three on one Sunday and three on the next, and to three or four mid-week services. Fifty years ago, these six communities were distinct, somewhat widely separated neighborhoods. They are such no longer. The present consolidation is to three churches: East Forks, Lincoln Falls, Millview, with Sunday Schools at Bethel and Estella. Forty ministers, seven of whom have been assistant or vacation pastors, have labored on the Elkland Charge. The list of them follows, the date indicating the beginning of their ministry:

P. M. Way 1843                   E. R. Dodd 1905

S. Hall 1844                      Vacation Pastor

P A Johnson--unknown              S W. Wright 3 mos,

William Brain1846                   William Frazier 1910

William Price 1853                   S. D. Wilcox 1912

J. H. Rumsey 1855                   J. S. French 1916

J. Boyce 1855                    M. E. Warburton 1916

B. D. Sniffin 1860                   L. J. Jelliff

D. E. Baker 1864             (Asst.3-years)

G. W. Scudder 1867                   A. D. Fero 1918

G. L. Bush 1867                   Stanley Wright 1920

William Peper 1871                   Leon Briggs

J. A. Clark 1873                   (Ass't 1-year 1925)

W. W. Miller 1875                   James Elliott 1927

S. Bedford 1877                   Leon Jelliff l928

G. L Paine 1880                   John D. Wilcox 1939

H. T. Besse 1883                   Bond Harland 1940

D. P, Rathbun 1885                   Leon Jelliff 1946

H. Lounsberry 1889                   Stanley Wright 1950

J. M. Drake 1891                   Russell Clark

S. F Frazier 1893            (Ass't 2 years) 1951

J. H. Bowen 1901                   Harold Little 1953

Vacation Pastor

T. J. Pomeroy 3 mos.

The annual salary of ministers in the early days forms an amazing study: "$250.00 $159.00 $220.65 $439.00 and the last recorded one in 1885, "$350.00". At present it is $2400.00

The sons of two former ministers have returned as pastors of the Elkland Charge. There were the Rev. William F. Frazier, son of the Rev. S. F. Frazier; and the Rev. John D. Wilcox, son of the Rev. S. D. Wilcox. William Frazier married an Elkland girl, Minnie Hart. Three native sons of the Elkland Charge have returned to minister there: the Rev. S. Bedford; the Rev. Eugene Warburton; and the Rev. Stanley Wright. Stanley Wright married Edna Bedford, daughter of the Rev. S. Bedford. Seven sons of the Elkland Charge have entered the ministry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. They are--

S. Bedford, J. N. Bedford, Eugene Warburton, O. C. Bedford, Merton Warburton, Stanley Wright, Arthur Bryan

Houghton Wesleyan Methodist Seminary, now Houghton College, was established at Houghton, New York in 1883. The President of that college, Dr. Stephen W. Paine, is the great-grandson of G. L. Paine, pastor of the Elkland Charge from 1880-1883.

During the years, seventy young people have gone from the charge to study at Houghton. These have entered various fields of useful service. Beside those who have enter­ed the ministry, many have become teachers. Professor Carl Driscoll is Superintendent of Education in Sullivan County. The three sons of Grant and Sara Bedford are also in the teaching profession; Charles in Bradford County; and Mark in Niagara Falls, New York; Fred in Phoenix, Arizona. Ira Bowen, son of the Reverend and Mrs. James H. Bowen, is a member of the National Academy of Science.

During World War II, Ira Bowen was associated with the office of Scientific Research, specializing in rockets and new type cameras. He is now Director of two California Observatories, Mount Wilson--located at Pasadena and Palomar--located at Palomar Mountain.

Uncounted years of devoted Christian service have been given by the men and women of the Elkland Charge, who have fought a good fight, finished their course and kept the faith. Rachel Rogers, now deceased, a life-long member of the Lincoln Falls church, received recognition from the Pennsylvania State Sabbath School Association for fifty years of continuous teaching in the Sunday schools of Sulli­van County.

Miss Franc Pardoe, still residing at Lincoln Falls, has within the last year terminated a sixty-period of such continuous Sunday School teaching. Among the oldest members of the Elkland Charge in 1954, are Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Norton, Herbert Milyneaux, Mr. and Mrs. Edson Pardoe, Mrs. Ada Molyneaux, Edward B. Wright, Mrs. Albert F. Heess, Mrs. Florilla Rightmire. The names of church families have changed much through the century, but the same blood stream flows strongly within that group.

A story that still casts its halo over one area of the Elkland Charge is that of Bishop Asbury. On a journey through that area, the Bishop came one afternoon to the ford of Elk Creek near what is now Lincoln Falls. A flash flood was swirling down the creek, and his horse could not cross.

Late that afternoon, John Brown, hunting his cows, found the Bishop and took him home to await the subsiding of the flood. The next morning, the Bishop went out and sat on a rock beside the cabin to view the Pennsylvania hills. That rock became the "Bishop Asbury's Rock".

Plenty of stones have been hauled from the Brown farm through the years, but NOT 'Bishop Asbury's Rock'. In 1954, the farm is still in the Brown family. Robert Brown and his family are members Or the Lincoln Falls Church. He and some of his sons, fifth and sixth generations from John Brown, are working those same fields. 'Bishop Asbury's Rock' is still there.


The name, METHODIST, was originally given to Charles and John Wesley and several other Oxford students in 1729. It is thought that the term was selected due to the exact and methodical manner in which they performed various en­gagements and undertook their tasks of Christian duty.

On May 24, 1738, John Wesley had his "heart strangely warmed". This may be considered the birth date of Method­ism. Almost immediately afterward, he began to speak to little groups; these were later formed into "classes", and the "classes" into "circuits"; lay preaching and field preaching were added as features of the movement.

Just ten years before the American Revolution, Method­ism came to America with the arrival of two Methodist lay preachers from Ireland--Robert Strawbridge and Philip Embury. Strawbridge formed a Methodist Society in Maryland; Embury began to preach in New York; and in both places Methodist societies were formed. Informed of what was happening in America, Wesley called for volunteers to go to America in 1769 and between that date and 1774, eight English lay preachers came to the New World, among them Francis Asbury. The number of Methodists continued to increase throughout the Revolutionary War--largely by the efforts of Native American Preachers, most of whom were Anglican background--and by the end of the war, there were about 15,000 Methodists in America.

At the close of the War, Wesley, who had opposed the American cause, saw that his American disciples could no longer remain under his direction, but must have their own ecclesiastical independence and an ordained minister. This aim was accomplished in 1784, at the Baltimore Conference, known as the Christmas Conference, where, under the leadership of three preachers sent by Wesley, and in cooper­ation with Francis Asbury, the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed. Dr. Thomas Coke, an Anglican clergyman, who had led the delegation to America, and Francis Asbury were chosen the first "superintendents" or "bishops".

Though the smallest and most humble religious sect in America at the beginning of the National period, Methodism had become by 1850, the largest Protestant body in the United States, with a membership of 1,300,000. This extra­ordinary growth was due to three main factors. In the cir­cuit system, the Methodists had the best method of follow­ing population westward; the Methodist Gospel of Free Grace and individual responsibility was particularly well adapted to the needs of a frontier society, and the most democratic society in the world; and Methodism did not limit its message to any one social economic or racial group.


Methodism has always been an aggressive missionary faith adjustable to the frontier conditions of rural areas. The Methodist Church, as an institution in Sullivan County, is the result of Circuit Riders and itinerant preachers. The energy and devotion of these early leaders, coupled with their spirit of faith and adventure, established Forks­ville, Elk Lick and Sonestown, as focal point of the ministry. From these points, other groups were organized and gradually Church buildings dotted the rugged landscape of Sullivan County. Authentic facts seem to place the establishment of Methodism in Sullivan County between 1790 and 1810.

The Streby History states, "The Methodist Episcopal Church had, in 1789, already sent its members into Loyal Sock Valley, and when the first settlers arrived in Elkland Township in 1800, the Methodist Church was on hand to look after the spiritual welfare of its members."

[Streby, George. History of Sullivan County, Dushore: Sun Gazette Printing Co. 1903]

In 1898, Reverend Ward Mosher, then pastor of the Forksville Charge, wrote an article published in the September 1898 issue of the Elmira District Herald. The story entitled "History of Methodism at Forksville", began with the following statements: "The history of Methodism in Forksville is the history of our forefathers. It dates back to the time when Bishop Asbury traveled on horseback over these hills and through these valleys."

[Rev. Ward Mosher--Manuscript in the church files housed in the Methodist Parsonage, Forksville.]

The Reverend Henry Boehm, accompanied by Bishop Francis Asbury on a trip from Genesee, New York to Northumberland, Pennsylvania in July 1810. Enroute they passed through Sullivan County and the journey is described in his Reminiscences.

[Reminiscences of Sixty-four years in the Ministry by Rev. Henry Boehm. Carlton and Porter 1865 pp. 303-308.]

The rugged Sullivan County caused the Bishop to exclaim, "What mountains, hills, rocks and roots!"

"Among the first settlers in this, then wild and densely wooded country, were three godly women--Sarah Rogers, Betsy Bull and Martha Molyneaux, who felt the need for spirit­ual work among the people. There were no churches within reach, no mails to bring religious reading and no preacher to aid them in their search for spiritual growth. They were dependent upon themselves and the Lord. They began holding prayer meetings and God's spirit was manifested in great power and many were converted. They sent for a preacher. The first to answer was the Reverend Parkhurst, who preached in the homes of the people and afterward in the new log schoolhouse.

[Mosher manuscript, Op. cit.]

In the early pioneer days of Methodism, few records are preserved. The first authentic sources of Methodist Church history in Sullivan County appear in the abridged edition of the Conference Minutes; these records dated, 1823, list the names of Philetus Parkus and Mark Preston as early itinerant ministers who were officially connected with the Genesee Conference, Susquehanna District and Tioga Circuit.

The history of Methodism verifies the fact that elders and itinerant ministers were appointed by Bishop Asbury soon after he was ordained in the famous Christmas Conference at Baltimore in 1784--but, the exact date they were appointed to the Sullivan County area remains merely as speculation.

In 1792, the Tioga Circuit was listed, but at that time no District bounds were defined. "Tioga was a mission of in­definite extent, designed to embrace the new settlements from Wyalusing, north and west, wherever they might be found nes­tled in the dense and lofty forests."

The Susquehanna District had ten circuits, five of them in Pennsylvania and five in New York State, reaching from Rochester and North of Utica to Northumberland and Lycoming Counties. The district and circuit boundaries seemed to follow a plan visualized by Bishop Asbury. During his visits he tried to reduce the strain upon the health and well-being of the circuit rider.

In 1809, the Bishop and the Reverend Henry Boehm were passing through the Genesee country. Suddenly, the Bishop said, "Henry, things do not go right here. There must be a Genesee Conference." The Bishop then planned the Conference and its boundaries and proceeded afterward to carry out his purpose into effect.

[Boehm--Op. cit. 3]

The first Conference session of the Genesee Conference was held at Lyons, New York, July 1810 while the Bishop was on a southern and western tour. It was on this trip that he visited Sullivan County (then Lycoming County).

His journey was halted by a heavy rain, and while wait­ing for the "creeks to fall", he was entertained in the home of John Brown, near Lincoln Falls. The "Asbury Rock" is still pointed out to Sullivan County tourists.

[See--Wesleyan Methodist Church Story--page 27.]

At the close of the first Genesee Conference, the Bishop and the Reverend Henry Boehm started for Northumberland, Pennsylvania.

Part of the Journey is described by Rev. Boehm in his Reminiscences—(Boehm Op. Cit.)

In them we read--

"The first part of our journey was very pleasant. We had the company of Anning Owen, the apostle of Methodism in Wyoming, who was not only good company, but a good guide. He went with us to Tioga Point and then we parted with him reluctantly. Brother Owen went to Wyoming and we took the route to Northumberland. We soon got lost in the wilder­ness and needed a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide us. Then a fine gentleman by the name of Coles piloted us five miles, and helped us out of our dif­ficulty.

We had been accustomed to muddy roads, rock, hills, mountains, gulfs, rapids, dangerous streams, but this route excelled them all for difficulty and danger. We traveled several hours in the rain and gained nine miles. We came to Elder's Inn, (the Eldredsville of today) and though not a very desirable place, we were glad to put up there.

It poured all night. The next morning, we proceeded through the solitary woods, that had been the abode of In­dians and where the wild beasts still found a home, through the deep mud, over huge rocks and lofty hills, down deep gulleys, to where two branches of the Elk waters formed a junction. The current was so rapid we thought it was not safe to venture over, but we soon perceived that the water was falling, and in about an hour and a half we passed over in safety.

On this journey, the Bishop makes the following mournful record: "We must needs come to the Cumberland road, it is awful wilderness. Alas! Read and prayed in the woods. I leave the rest to God. In the last three days and a half we have ridden one hundred and forty miles. What mountains, hills, rocks and roots! Brother Boehm was thrown from the sulky, but providentially, not a bone was broken."

This record needs no comment. It makes me weep when I look back and remember how patiently he suffered. I was suddenly thrown from the sulky and might have been killed, but, as the Bishop said, I was providentially preserved, or I might have found a grave in the wilderness, and left the poor, infirm old man to have pursued his journey alone.

The road was so rough that Father Asbury could not ride the sulky, it jolted and hurt him, so he and I exchanged and he rode my horse, and I in his vehicle. If he had been thrown out as I was, he probably would have been killed. No bone of mine was broken, and yet the flesh was torn from my left leg so that I was a cripple for months. I suffered more than if it had been broken. Riding on horseback with that poor leg, my language cannot describe my suffering.

We will resume our narrative, for we are not yet out of the woods. When we reached the other side of the stream, we fell in with a man by the name of John Brown (Bown). As it was dangerous for us to proceed, Mr. Brown kindly invited us to his cabin. No endangered mariner was ever more glad to get into harbor than we were to find a shelter, for houses in that wilderness were very "few and far between ".

[In the diary, the name appears as John Brown (local records however, consistently give the correct name as John Bown.)]

But, the reader must not suppose Mr. Brown's cabin was close at hand, and that all we had to do was to enter it. We had to cross the creek twice, and that with great difficult and danger and then tug out way up an exceedingly high mountain in the heart of the wilderness, before we reached his cottage. When we arrived there, we found he had no wife, nor children, or housekeeper. He did his own cooking and washing. John Brown was a hermit. He was an Englishman, who, for some reason, had chosen this secluded spot where he lived four miles from any other dwelling.

His cabin was pleasant, and he most cheerfully divided his fare with us. We felt much at home, and the after part of this day, we were employed in reading, meditation and prayer. We spent the Sabbath very differently from what we had generally done. It was what Mr. Asbury used to call a "dumb Sabbath". What added to the gloom, it rained all day and night. By the fall out of the carriage the day be­fore, I was more injured than I thought at first. My left leg was bruised and torn and much inflamed, and I was very lame. But, onward we must move.

So on Monday, July 30, we began to descend by mountain, and our kind friend, John Brown, accompanied us to the shore of the creek, which we found considerably higher than the day before, being swollen by rain. As it was dangerous to at­tempt to cross we took the back track and our host invited us to return to his cabin and stay until it was safe to proceed on our journey. He did everything he could to make us comfortably and happy. I have been put up in palaces, but never felt more comfortable and grateful than in the humble cabin of John Brown.

As the storm had abated the next morning, we bade a final adieu to our pleasant home in the wilderness and began to ascend the mountain but, our kind friend and benefactor would not permit us to go alone. He went with us five miles in which distance we crossed the waters of the Elk seven times.

Mr. Brown's hospitality was worthy of patriarchal times. To us, it was a heaven send, for if we had been obliged to remain at a tavern during that time we stayed with him, we should have been bankrupt, for Bishop Asbury and myself had only two dollars. I know, for I carried the purse. With grateful hearts, we bade adieu to the hermit, and proceeded our perilous journey.

After dining at Hill's Inn, (now Hillsgrove), we cross­ed the stream which was full of drift logs. The wheels were taken from our carriage and they and the body placed in a canoe, in which we got also, and were rowed over by two men, while our horses were obliged to swim across. The stream was swollen and the waters rapid, but fortunately we all reached in safety the other shore; then we had to put on our wheels and get our sulky in order to prepare for our journey.

I was lame and the Bishop feeble. To add to the gloom, clouds gathered over us, deep and heavy. It thundered and lightened and the rain fell in torrents and when we were over the stream to begin our journey, we had to ascend a rough, high, craggy mountain; but as Mr. Asbury wrote, "God brought us in safety to Muddy Creek." Deep roads and swollen streams we had enough on our route to Northumberland on Wednesday.

Northumberland is a pleasant place, quiet and romantic, on the Susquehanna. The distinguished Dr. Joseph Priestly spent the evening of life here and died in 1804. He was a splendid scholar and a great man; but, how different his life, labors and influence from that of the Apostolic Asbury. They both were adopted citizens of America; both died at the age of seventy."

In 1890 Judge Charles D. Eldred wrote a series of articles for "The Now and Then", a magazine "devoted to history instruction and advancement." The series of articles gives reminiscences of old times previous to 1850. Article Number 4 was entitled, "Early Methodism on the Waters of the Loyal Sock."

The story clearly indicated that Methodism had early beginnings in Sullivan County. (Vol. 3--No. 1 pp. 56 "Now and Then", July and August 1890.) In this Vol. 3, Mr. Eldred records the following story:

"Away back in 1820" the inhabitants of the now thickly settled western townships of Sullivan County, were then few and far between. They had immigrated from various countries, and professed various religious creeds. There were no churches within attainable reach and no mails to transport papers or periodicals. In short, the prospect was extremely dismal and discouraging.

But the aggressive spirit of Methodism soon asserted itself. A few earnest members, among them Francis Bull and his esteemed consort, undertook the experiment of instituting domiciliary prayer meetings. These were held not only at the homes of members, but generally without respect to creed or "Previous condition". In fact, they became the rage of the time, and were attended by all classes old and young, the learned and unlearned. Proselytes were soon added, and the foundation laid for what has ever since been the first and leading church of that section.

It happened, on one occasion, that the weekly prayer meeting was to convene at a house where the family consisted in part of several young men and women, and who were more mischievous than religious, as is often the case. These, intending no irreverence for Methodism, but out of pure love for a sensation, prepared for exhibition at this meeting, a pumpkin ghost.

This is made, as every boy knows, by the removal of the inside, the cutting of the figure of a face through the skin on the outside, and the insertion of a light to illuminate the features of his ghostship.

The meeting was well attended, but it happened that no one present, except the audacious young folks in the secret, had ever seen the like before. It is no wonder, therefore, that astonishment, bordering on alarm, was the result, when the improvised ghost made its unheralded appearance.

And, then it disappeared so suddenly. No one could tell or cared to trace where it had gone, but all believed it had some connection with the prayer meeting. After consultation, it was thought best to hold a second prayer meeting at the same house, particularly as the first had been disturbed, and to ascertain whether the apparition would appear again.

The second was more numerously attended than the first, and lo! his ghostship was on time, and assumed a nearer and more threatening aspect. Nothing but the huge log timber of the house, a full foot in diameter, could now have prevailed to prevent a panic. The ghost, however, shunned the front door and accommodatingly went round the house and stationed itself in front of the window, grinning horribly at those within.

At length, being prompted, one of the party ventured to address it--I think it was Hugh Boyle--exclaiming in a trembling voice, "Poor ghost, what troubles you?"

The answer was promptly returned, "The Methodists, the Methodists!" It then vanished again.

The answer left no doubt on the minds of many who were present that Satan himself, in his perambulations "to and fro in the earth" and in walking "up and down on it", had espied the Methodists intrenching upon his hunting ground on the Loyal Sock, and had thus materialized to manifest his resentment.

I need hardly add, that it strengthened the cause and added proselytes to Methodism, and for many years afterward, some of those present on the occasion, could not be persuaded that what they saw was anything else than a veritable ghost, Old Nick himself.

Not long after this occurrence, but long before they had a church or even a schoolhouse to meet in, a minister was sent from the Genesee Conference, who preached semi-monthly to a small audience, at the dwelling house of Francis Bull. These meetings were generally at night, and the officiating clergyman's name was Reverend Parkust. He was, no doubt, a sincere, good man, but evidently illiterate. Among his peculiarities was the habit of always ending his discourse by the remark, "I have no more".

Subsequently, as new members were added and the settlement improved, a circuit was formed and itinerant preachers sent, who held forth first at the Old Quaker Schoolhouse near Eldredville, and afterwards at the latter place; Charles Mullan, who resided there, having erected at his own expense, a larger and better building, to which was transferred the Union Sunday School. Mr. Mullan was not a member of the Methodist church or any other church, him­self, at least not at this time--but from a broad philan­thropy provided the much needed building."

The facts, persons and places mentioned in Mr. Eldred's story, seem to agree with the story written eight years later by Mr. Mosher.

The boundary lines of Conference, District and Circuit have changed during the years. The record of pastoral appointments listed herewith indicates the change in geographical areas.

During the early Methodist history, Sullivan County area was part of the Tioga Circuit. "In 1829, it was known as the Loyal Sock Circuit, which included Eagles Mere, Sones­town, Elk Lick, Heverly Settlement, Elkland, Eldredsville, Fox, Hillsgrove and Bear Creek." (Mosher--Op. cit.)

The early circuits of Sullivan County had two or three preachers, who preached in turn once in six weeks. These pioneer, circuit riders, forced their way through woods, forded streams and often slept in the out-of-doors. Many and varied are the experiences of these early soldiers of the Cross.

Reverend Ward Mosher records the following story: "Henry Wisner (1835) returning from one of his appointments, was overtaken by darkness. Hearing the wolves around him, he climbed a tree and to keep awake preached and sang to his noisy congregation. His sermon has not been preserved. In the morning, the wolves left and he went on his way rejoicing. "

The following quotation from Mr. Mosher's manuscript gives verification to the fact that religious feeling was exceedingly vigorous these early das.

"The meetings were well attended, people coming for miles on foot or horseback, across the mountain trails. One party of young women walked from Sonestown to Canton and back, a distance of forty miles each way, to attend a camp meeting.

The Quarterly Meetings were usually held in new barns. Such numbers would come that it was difficult to care for all. At one time a family entertained forty persons. For sleeping accommodations they spread straw on cabin floors, the men sleeping in one room and the women in the other. The Quarterly Meetings were times of great spiritual awakening. Seldom did one go by without several conversions."


Early Church

The historical sketch written by the Reverend Ward Mosher in 1898 forms the basis of information for early be­ginnings of the Methodist Church in Forksville. Mosher states that the Reverend Parkhurst was the first preacher to answer the call. He was succeeded by: Rev. Mark Preston, Rev. Joseph Persall, Rev. Joseph Towner, Rev. Joshua Rogers and Rev. George Evans. In the abridged editions of the Con­ference Minutes, there is no mention of Rev. Parkhurst. It seems fair to assume that his ministry preceded the keeping of Conference records.

It seems equally fair to accept the statement of the Reverend Ward Mosher as authentic history and list the Rev. Parkhurst as the first official Methodist minister in Sullivan County. In 1918, a fire in the garret of the parsonage at Forksville destroyed the early records of the church. Doubtless the Rev. Ward Mosher drew heavily upon these early records for the authenticity of his history.

In 1949, the Rev. Orrie H. Stanton, then minister of the Methodist Church at Forksville, wrote a brief history of the church. He has generously granted permission to use his notes and the following data is the result of his research.

The first book of the Quarterly Conference was not found among the other records of the church and very little is known about the early period.

In the early days of Methodism, the class meeting formed the nucleus of the church and the class leader was the pastor's assistant in matters pertaining to the spiritual training and uplift of the members. The Forksville Church had its class meetings and the names of Richard Videan, E. D. Bartlett and M. A. Rogers are among those recorded as early class leaders. W. S. Collins was the last class leader confirmed by the Quarterly Conference held August 27, 1917. This date marked the passing of an important chapter in the history of early Methodism.


During the period of one and a half centuries, the Methodists of Forksville kept step with building progress. As the membership of the church increased, the people desired a better place for worship, than the log school house in which their early services were held.

Their first church was built during the pastorate of the Rev. Charles Wright. Mosher gives the building date as 1839, and states that lumber for the building was sawed by Richard Biddle.

The first church met the needs of the people for more than a quarter of a century, but in 1870, the building became inadequate for the growing congregation. The Rev. Paul Smith was appointed to the church in 1872, and it was under his pastoral leadership that the present church was constructed.

Mr. Smith had previously served to communities where church building programs had been successfully completed and this fact gave the Forksville congregation added zeal and enthusiasm to move forward in a victorious building program.

The Rev. Richard Videan, a former pastor, was at that time, living in Forksville. He accepted the chairmanship of the financial campaign and very ably assisted in the building project.

Wednesday, November 18, 1874, stands out as a memorable date in the history of the Forksville Church. At ten o'clock in the morning of that day, the dedication services opened and were concluded at 7:30 in the evening meeting. The Rev. D. W. D. Huntington of Syracuse and the Rev. E. J. Hermans, presiding elder, were honor guests, who formally officiated in the dedication ceremonies.

The church is in semi-Gothic style, having a magnificent steeple that can be seen from almost all parts of the valley. In the steeple hangs a 800-pound bell. Its rich and melodi­ous tone justifies the entire country's pride in it.

Sadler Rogers, assisted by his brother, Wesley, super­vised the construction of the building. The men of the com­munity donated labor and in this way reduced the total cost. The building is a frame structure with an interior of chestnut, walnut and cherry. An outstanding feature of the in­terior woodwork is the hand-cut wainscoting with tongue and groove joint. This work was done by the skilled hands of Anthony Kleckner and Sandler Rogers.

As the Methodist work in the Forksville area developed, a resident pastor was assigned to the Charge. The congregation then provided a parsonage located near the church. In 1921, the need for a more spacious dwelling became apparent, and the building was completely renovated and modernized at a cost exceeding $2,000. Since that time, improvements have kept pace with modern building trends, with new furnishings, interior decorations and complete electrical equipment added as needed.

In 1931, the Church purchased an old store building from the Snyder estate and proceeded to remodel and equip the structure to meet the needs of the Church's Social Program.

The Work Goes On

A century and a half of time has passed since the Methodist work began in Forksville, but the church has continued to move forward in the work of Christ. The influence and outreach is evidenced by the fact that five (5) men have gone out from this particular church into full time Christian work and are now serving as ministers of the gospel.

1890--George Warbuton

1900--Charles Schanbacker

1915 –W. Carlton Stevens

1923--Wesley Kehler

1924--Boyd Little


A New Beginning

The above story of the Forksville Church was completed in March 1955. At 9:30 Tuesday night, April 5, 1955, fire completely destroyed the historic Methodist Church in Forks­ville. The roof and steeple of the attractive frame structure were partially burned away and there was heavy damage to the walls and interior. The cause of the fire is unknown. Early estimates of the damage placed the figure at $10,000. Good Friday and Easter services scheduled for the Forksville congregation were held at the Estella Union Church.

Following Easer, regular services were held in the Church Community Hall at Forksville. Soon the congregation outgrew the capacity of the Community Hall and transferred to the Forksville Fire Hall. The Woman's Society of Christian Service of he Church redecorated the Fire Hall and trans­formed it into a suitable place for worship.

The complete ruin of the old church made it necessary to clear the site for a new building. Ground was broken for the new church April 27, 1956. The entire community demon­strated a healthy interest in the new venture and accordingly a building committee representing the church membership and the community-at-large was selected to promote, carry out and complete the building project.

Meanwhile, a new minister, the Rev. William E. Berninger, was appointed as pastor of the charge. He became the leading spirit in the promotion of the building enterprise.

The building committee was composed Or the following:

Wesley Thomas, Chairman

Milo Baumunk

Gaylord McCarty

Lee Rosbach, Treasurer

Louis Rosbach, Secretary

Clarence Shaeffer

Mrs. Kenneth Shelly

Mrs. Wesley Thomas

Rev. William E Berninger, Ex-officio

The committee planned a $30,000 wooden structure. The blueprints were drawn by the building committee chairman--Wesley Thomas. Milo Baumunk was selected as the builder. At the time of this writing, the building is in process. A basement under the entire structure will give ample space for a modern kitchen, combination dining room and social room, as well as three rooms, especially designed to meet the educational needs of the church school.

The new church will be similar in design to the old structure. A strong community sentiment favors a tall steeple from which the old 800 pound bell, the only item to be salvaged from the fire, will again peel forth its rich melodious tones

A Matter of Record

The following list of pastoral appointments, prepared by the Rev. Orrie H. Stanton, corresponds to that in various editions of Conference Minutes and in other available records. According to Ward Mosher, the Rev. Parkhurst was the first pastor. Conference Minutes substantiate the following record of appointments:

Conference                   District                   Circuit

GENESEE                   SUSQUEHANNA                   TIOGA

1823                   Philetus Parkus, Mark Preston

1824                   Gaylord Judd, Philetus Parkus

1825                   George Evans, John Wilson, Jr.

1826                   Joshua Rogers, Joseph Towner

1827                   Mark Preston, Joseph Persall

1828                   Asa Orcutt

GENESEE                   STEUBEN                   LOYALSOCK

1829                   Asa Story

1830                   to be supplied

1831-32                   Nathan Fellows                   (Seneca Lake District)

1833-34                   Abram Dubois                   """

1835                   H. Wismer                   """

1836-37                   Clark A. Smith                   """

1838-39                   Benjamin Chase                   """

1840                   to be supplied                   """

1841-1842                   Charles B. Wright                   """

1843                   Albert G. Terry                   """

1844                   Herman Townsend                   (Wellsboro District)

1845                   Herman Townsend                   (Seneca Lake District)

1846                   A. C. Huntley                   (Wellsboro District)

1847                   to be supplied                   """

EAST GENESEE                   WELLSBORO                    LOYAL SOCK

1848-49                   J.L.S. Grandin

1850                   Ralph D. Brooks                   (Elmira District)

1851                   to be supplied

1852                   John Hutchins                   " "

1853                   W. A. Bronson

1854-55                   G. W. Coolbaugh                   (Troy District)

1856-57                   H. T. Avery                   " "

1858-59                   Charles J. French                   " "

1860                   John P. Armitage

EAST GENESEE                   TROY                   FORKSVILLE

1861                   George N. Packer                   (appointed after conf.)

1862                   Charles Weeks                   " " "

1863                   W. E. Pinder

1864-65                   R. Videan, Jr.                   (1st app. after conf.)

1866                   W. M. Haskell

1867                   G. S. Transer

1868-69                   R. Hinman                   (both app. after conf.)

1870-71                   F. G. McConnell

GENERAL NEW YORK                   TROY                   FORKSVILLE

1872-74                   Paul Smith

1875                   to be supplied                   (Alex Manship served the 2nd qu. only)

GENESEE                   TROY                   FORKSVILLE

1876-77                   John VanKirk

1878-79                   J. C. DeMoyer

CENTRAL NEW YOK                   ELMIRA                   FORKSVILLE

1880-81                   E. D. Rawson

1882-83                   P. M. Joralemon

1884-85-86                   James L. VanKirk                   (both app. after conf.)

1887-90                   P. R. Pitman

1891-92                   H. A. Carpenter

1893-94                   H. E. Hyde

1895-96                   Sylvannus Lane

1897-98                   Ward Mosher

1899-1900                   F. H. Dickerson

1901-02                   A. E. Smith

1903-04                   R. E. Huntley

1905-06                   D. J, Ebert

1907-08                   Elmer J. Yerdon

1909                   F. Hess

1910                   R. H. Stebbins

1911-13                   N. L. Campbell

1914-15                   Albert Tricket                   (1st app. after Conf.)

1917                   W. T. Merrick

1918 (July)                   Rev. Brogdale                   (served only a quarter)

1918                   George H. Van Note

1919-21                   Roy E. Brague

1922-24                   F. F. Corry

1926                   Paul Barnhart                   (app. late in Conf. year)

1926                   Rev. Howard                   " " ""

1927-28                   Paul Kirkpatrick

1929                   W. J. Bowen

1930                   O. J. Lyon

1931-34                   Theron Braund                   (left June 1935)

1935-36                   L. A. Barner                   (came in June before Conf.)

1937-38                   Forster Prynne

1939-40                   John Beers

1941                   F. C. Clapman

1942                   Gertrude E. Rochards                   (missionary)

1943                   Paul E. Jaynes

1944-45                   N. Allen Sours

1946-Aug. 1949                   Orris H. Stanton

1949 Sept.                   Rev. Arthur Harrington

1950 Oct.                   Rev. Kenneth Bonham

Note: June 1, 1952, the Forksville Charge was transferred from Central New York Conference Elmira District, to the CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA CONFERENCE, WILLIAMSPORT DISTRICT: Forksville Circuit (Transfer effected June 1, 1952)

1952-June 1956                   Rev. Gayle O. Miller

1956                   Rev. William E. Berninger

From Forksville as a center, Methodism gradually spread to the surrounding areas. Men were zealous and impassioned and a small group could form a "Society" or local church. Members of the "Society" were often assigned to one or more classes and placed under leaders who met with them once a week to confer about their spiritual condition. This was a valuable service in view of the fact that regular ministers often were elsewhere in their work.

From the early Forksville center our new churches gradually developed.


The Church at Hillsgrove was built in 1871 and designated as a Union Church. From available sources known to the compiler the following denominations made use of the building for regular services: Baptist, Wesleyan Methodist, German Reformed, Seven Day Adventists, Disciples of Christ, Lutheran and Methodist Episcopal. At present the building is used exclusively by Methodists and a regular appointment served by the pastor of the Forksville Circuit.


The building commonly known as "the old Bethel School­house" was built by the Community to be used for educational and church purposes. Three buildings have been erected on the same site and over the years it has served the community not only as a schoolhouse, but a house of worship for the Wesleyan Methodists and Methodist Episcopal. Since the con­solidation of schools, the building has served as a meeting place for a Union Sunday School. Regular church services were discontinued at this point in 1954.

Editor's Postscript: As indicated above, the Bethel schoolhouse was originally built in 1855 for both worship and schooling purposes. The school itself was reconstructed at least once after burning down, but it continued in existence until clsoing in 1963. In February 2005, Lynne Seligman contributed the photo shown below to this web site along with her commentary. We are most grateful to Lynne for preserving this section of time in the history of an old Sullivan County educational institution.

This photo is from Bethel, a one room school house in Elkland Township in Sullivan County that closed in 1963. Though it may be a little early to publish yet, with so many of us still around, I thought it better to send it on for your archives before it was lost completely. This was the class in the 1958-1959 school year. Memories of these last one room school years in Sullivan County may prove valuable some day.

There are quite a few students in the photo that I can identify from memory, but several I am unsure of and a few I can't remember at all. I bet there are others who can identify the rest. The numbers in parentheses are to indciae what grade they were in if I know. Here's what I have so far:

Front Row: Tommy Barnes (2), Ruth Rinker (1), Sherry ? (1), Kempton Wilcox (1), Darlene Smith (1), William Smith (1), Lynne Driscoll (1), Karen Driscoll (pre-K), Alice Rinker, Dixie Driscoll (5), Gail Driscoll (6), David Whitely, Jule Rinker(6), ?? , ? ?, Eula Bennett, Marlin Norton
Back Row: Patty McCarty, Doug Norton, Tom McCarty , Jane Driscoll (4), Deveron Wilcox, Charlotte Whitely, Warren Rinker [?], Harry Barnes, Libby Wilcox, Kathy Rooker, and Blanche Frawley [teacher].

Bethel was one of several Sullivan County one room school houses that closed when the Sullivan County High School was built and the elementary grades were consolidated into the former Loyalsock High School building in Estella. It was one of the last operating one-room schools in Pennsylvania.

Over the years, my older sister, Gail (2nd row), my younger sister Karen (1st row), and I went there, Blanche Frawley would arrive early each school morning to get ready for the day. In winter, she would arrive at 6:00 or before to start up the coal burning furnace in the basement. Then, the blackboard was covered from edge to edge: 1st Grade Reading Questions, 2nd Grade Social Studies, 6th Grade Science questions...

About 8:30, students arrived in two school buses. The reliable one was driven by Bill Hottenstein of Forks Township. The other bus, whose driver was "Gordon" sometimes "broke down" on the way in, but usually both buses arrived on time, regardless of snow, ice, or foggy conditions. Students scrambled up the steps, parked coats on hooks along the back right wall of the school, and scooted lunchboxes underneath on the floor. Winter or summer, they ran out to play in the yard til the bell rang. Only rain held the students back, encouraging squabbles on the front porch or quiet artwork at desks.

The school's bell was a simple hand bell, rung by some lucky student leaning out over the rails of Bethel's open front porch. The privelege of ringing the morning bell was one of several chores which were awarded daily.

Notice the portrait of Jesus over the middle of the school blackboard? That was left over from the era when Bethel served as both a church and a school. This portrait, the alphabet, and the US flag, and the old upright piano were the focus points of the room. Each morning we recited the pledge to the flag and read a passage from the school's Bible, another of the daily privileges which was given to each of the older students in turn.

Yet, the greatest honor of all was to be able to go across the street with a friend and a bucket to get water from the Burgess house across the street. They had an outdoor faucet from which all drinking water and washing water for the school was drawn. Obviously, the school did not have any indoor plumbing, but we did have separate boys and girls privies!

One of the major drawbacks of the school was lack of age appropriate reading materials. With one teacher and six grades, there was lots of quiet reading time, and a student could easily use up every readable book in the school in a few years. Bi-weekly visits by the county BookMobile helped, but still left the more voracious readers hungry for more. There was a set of World Book Encyclopedias which older children were permitted to use--AFTER they washed their hands.

On really special days, Uncle Joe came to visit the school. This was Blanche Frawley's husband, Joe Frawley, who worked in the state store and had some holidays that the school didn't share. (Joe had actually taught in the same school years before.) Uncle Joe would take extra time just to hold smaller children on his lap, joke and tease the older ones, and just give the children a little more special attention that Blanche rarely had time to give.

Somehow, though, every Bethel student felt cared about and important. The worst punnishment possible, standing behind the piano for 20 minutes, rarely had to be used. Many of these students excelled beyond expectations with Blanche Frawley's caring approach to students.

Lynne Driscoll Seligman (Front Row)
February 19, 2005


Over a century ago, the Methodist Protestant group built a church at Warburton Hill; gradually the membership dwindled and the building was sold to the Wesleyan Methodists.


The Union Church at Estella was built in 1888. The chief carpenter, Sadler Rogers, was assisted by John and Augustus Plotts. Much of the labor was donated by the men of the community.

The building served as a place of worship for the Meth­odists, Wesleyan and Episcopal, denominational groups. The Board of Trustees was made up of two members from each denominational group and one non-church member who represented the community-at-large.

The Board of Trustees devised a financial plan whereby interested persons purchased $10.00 shares, to be redeemed at a later date. This plan challenged the Community, the building debt was quickly cleared and the payment of interest eliminated. The Ladies' Aid became a very active group, and all shares were soon redeemed.

Among the early active families of the Estella Union Church, the following names are listed:

George Bird                   Calvin Jennings

Ulysses Bird                   Augustus Plotts

Asbury Boyles                   John Plotts

William Burgess                   Wheeler Plotts

John Hess                   John Rogers

Methodism in Davidson Township

Davidson Township Methodism began with pioneer Circuit Riders who came from Fishing Creek. Jesse Akers was one of the early pioneers in the field to establish and conduct class meetings. Very soon, Jesse Pennington and John Hiddleson were recognized class leaders, and later, Dorson Edgar became a Circuit Rider.

Religious fervor was everywhere in evidence. Before the school house at Elk Lick was built, classes met at private homes and bush meetings, later called Camp Meetings and quarterly meetings were held.

The Circuit Riders and Class leaders were always shown special regard, often to the discomfort and disgust of the children in the family. The home of Andrew Edgar, Sr. was a retreat for itinerant preachers. The son, Andrew Jr., when an old man, vividly recalled a childhood experience.

He said, "Pop always had some old preacher around and I had to give up my bed and place at the table."

Bush meetings of the early days were highly emotional. Many Davidson Township people recall the meetings held at late as 1887-1888, near the site of the present Sonestown School buildings. Jakey Miller was the itinerant evangelist. The people sat in circles on the grass and Mr. Miller always began his service with the same gospel solo rendered in a slow, doleful tone--

"How tedious and tasteless the hours

When Jesus no longer I see,

Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flowers,

Have all lost their sweetness for me."

"Experience Meetings" frequently followed Bush Meetings. The story of one Davidson man whose profanity had been notor­ious has come down to us. He had been converted at the meeting and spoke later in an "experience meeting".

"I feel so good I can't tell you how good. Why, I just feel like rippin' and tearin' and cursin' and swearin'."

Gradually groups were organized, church building constructed, programs of work outlined and definite patterns of work established.


The early Methodist Circuits of Sullivan County established regular preaching points. These were visited about every six weeks. One of these points was Elk Lick School­house, located in Davidson Township (then in the County of Lycoming) "By the side of the public road leading from Elk Lick to Hughesville." The thirty-two perches of land for this building were sold by John Hiddleson and wife, Mary, to the following school directors, for the purpose of the establishment and support of a Common 5chool.

Miles Sperry                   John Sones

William Smith                   John Phillips

Joseph Converse, Sr.

The deed for the land is dated May 26, 1837, and record­ed in Lycoming County, Deed Book vol. AA p. 676.

After the consolidation of the rural schools, the School District of Davidson Township sold the premises to J. J. Sick on July 6, 1929. The property is now owned by Dorson P. Sick.

The date of the first Church services at Elk Lick seems to be uncertain, but services were continued in the school­house until the Cherry Grove Church was built in 1892.


On the afternoon of May 31, 1874, the Methodist Church at LaPorte was dedicated. The presiding Elder Thomas Mitchell and Prof. E. J. Gray of Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport, Pa., officiated. In 1873, Mr. T. J. Keeler contracted to build the Church for the sum of $477.00 and with apprenticed carpenters for help he completed the structure the following year. The day of the dedication $525.00 was donated. Mr. Keeler constructed, donated and installed the cherry pulpit and pews. The cherry spindles of the communion rail were purchased at six cents each.

The expense of the church bell and carpet was defrayed by subscription gifts and Salathiel Meade raised money for the organ by means of social events. These took the form, many forms--such as ice cream socials in the summer, maple syrup on hot biscuits in the spring, and taffy pulls in the winter. These events served a three-fold community purpose; a social event, unity in a common purpose of guided inter­est, and a means to finance a church organ.

After the church was built and furnished, its doors were opened to all Protestant faiths. The Baptist group used the building until 1894.

The diary of Mr. T. J. Keeler indicates that the Methodists had a parsonage in Laporte as early as 1866. It was located on Cherry Street, on the east side of the old Conklin House. No available records indicate that the building was ever occupied by resident ministers. The building was sold to Charles Tinklepaugh of Susquehanna County. Later it was enlarged and used as a summer boarding house.

In 1894, a new parsonage was built on West Meylert Street but sold two years later to E. M. Dunham. There seemed to be no special use for a parsonage, since many of the ministers were without families. Later the Laporte ministers occupied the parsonage at Muncy Valley.

By 1897, the Baptist group had constructed a beautiful little church on the corner of Beech and Main Streets, but by 1921 their congregation was depleted by death or removal. The Trustees decided to sell the building and since the Meth­odist Church was in need of expensive repairs, it seemed a wise and economical step for the Methodists to purchase the Baptist property.

The purchase was made November 2, 1921, at a total cost of $700.00. George E. Eddy and family donated $400.00 of the sum, with the understanding that the church should be named the "Maude D. Eddy Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church", as shown on the corner stone.

The old Methodist Church was purchased by the Community of Laporte, April 15, 1922 for the sum of $300.00. The Com­munity Hall is now operated by a Board of Managers. It is kept in excellent condition and used by various clubs, or­ganizations and the Laporte Fire Company. The building re­mains as an old land mark in the village of Laporte.

The history of the Methodist Church of Laporte is more than a story of buildings. The church had a special role to fill in the shaping of Sullivan County. This organized group has given continuous service to the community for over a century. Tribute is due to the consecrated and unknown Christians in pulpit, pew and community, who labored together to carry on a noble and faithful work.

From the time the church was completed to the present day there has been a Sunday School. After 1894 and until the Baptist church was sold, there were two Sunday Schools. Since 1921, the Methodist School has been an active union organization, well attended.

Among the workers active in the early years were:

Miss Harriett Grimm                   Mr. J. W. Higley

Miss Annie Meylert                   Mr. T. J. Keeler

Mrs. T. J. Keeler, organist

Following these, several people in turn assumed heavy leadership responsibilities. Among them are:

Mr. George Eddy  Mrs. John Gumble  Mr. Henry Sones

Mrs. Gumble, now in her eighties, is still an alert enthusiastic worker in the task of Christian leadership.

The church has always had a choir and today the Childrens' Vested Choir plays a unique service role in the Sunday worship service of the Church.

All through the organization of Methodist History, there has been an unsettled geographical boundary, as evidenced by the constant shift in circuits, districts and conference locations. In the early days, Laporte was listed in the Baltimore Conference. In 1857, the East Baltimore Conference was formed, this existed until 1869, when the Central Pennsylvania Conference was organized. LaPorte is now part of the Muncy Valley Circuit in the Williamsport District of Central Pennsylvania Conference.

The following pastoral record of the Methodist Church of LaPorte is taken from the minutes of Conference Yearbooks:

Date                   Minister


1866                   J, W. Akers

1867                   J. P. Long

1868                   William Antes


1870                   I. L. Chandler

1871                   L. G. Heck

1872-73                   C. W. Burnley

1874                   C. W. Burnley and C. J. Buck

1875                   H. S. Lundy

1876-77-78                   A. D. McCloskey

1879                   Andrew P. Wharton

1880                   William A. McGee

1881-82-83                   Andrew P. Wharton

1884-85-86                   Theodore S. Faus

1887-88-89                   Henry F. Cares

1890-91-92                   James F. Glass

1893                   William A Lepley

1894-95                   Elliott S Latshaw

1896-97                   John W. Leach

1898                   John A. Patton

1899-1900                   Ernest Frickland

1902                   S. B. Bidlack

1903-04                   S. H, Engler

1905-6-7                   Thomas Ripple

1908                   Wilbur H Norcross

1909                   Harry L. Jarrett

1910                   David L. Dixon

1911                   Ellis B. Davidson

1912                   Ellis B. Davidson (until Sept.)

1912                   George E. Johnson from Sept.)

1913                   George E. Johnson (until March)

1913                   George F. Conner (from Mar. 1913 to 3/14)

1914                   Walter R. Byers

1915                   David M Kerr

1916-17                   Harry F Ward

1918                   Clarence E. Keen

1919-20                   George H. Knox

1921                   Claud S. Heim

1922                   Norman J. Simmons

1923                   Harry L. Upperman

1924-25                   Lawrence B. Barton

1926-27                   H, G. Bowser

1928-29                   Wilson W. Reeder

1930                   W. C. Shure

1931                   C. A. Choate

1932-33—34-35-36                   Gilbert L. Bennett

1937                   A. A. Price

1938                   Harvey B. Simons

1939                   J. F. Winkelblech

1940-41                   Lloyd B. Schear (until October 31, 1941)

1942                   Bruce . Gideon (Fred Stiner, 9/1/42)

1943                   Fred Stiner (until Dec. 1, 1943)

1943                   Oscar Saxe (beginning Dec. l)

1944                   Oscar Saxe

1945                   Guy T. Miller

1946-47                   Guy T. Miller

1948-49                   Leslie McRae

1950-51                   Robert B. Pearson

1952-53-54-55-56                   W. Ray Deming


At the time of this writing, the Muncy Valley Circuit consisted of seven churches: Muncy Valley, LaPorte, Hemlock Grove, Fairview, Wesley Chapel, Richards Grove and Sonestown

Wesley Chapel is located in Columbia County and Richard's Grove and Fairview are located in Lycoming County. Since this record is limited to Sullivan County, the churches of the Circuit outside the geographical bounds of the county will not be included in this brief survey.


The Hemlock Church was built in 1895. A deed for the land was secured from Maynard Phillips. Previous to the building of the church, services were held in the schoolhouse, directly across from the present location of the church.

The construction of the church was a community project and no special carpenter or contractor was in complete charge of the building. Each contributed according to his time, talent and possessions.

The Rev. McClellan Remly was the pastor of the church when the building task was undertaken. Daniel Shires, a Civil War Veteran, was the first superintendent of the Sunday School.

Among the zealous members during the early days of the church were the following persons:

Daniel Shires

Mr. and Mrs. Maynard Phillips

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Schug

Mr. Ernest Fulmer and family

Mr. an Mrs. Albert Myers

Mr. Elmer Crawley and family walked eight miles to attend services.

During recent years, regular worship services have not been held in the church, but a Sunday School has always been maintained.


The one acre of land, upon which the Muncy Valley Church and parsonage have been erected, was a gift from Mr. Daniel T. Stevens and his wife, Harriett E. Stevens. The deed was dated February 13, 1884, and the property was deeded to the "Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Muncy Valley". The trustees named are:

A. C. Blum                   N. S. Strong

Joseph Gansel                   James F. Stroup

James P. Miller                   Clark S. Taylor

Morris D. Stevens                   Robert Whitacre

It was mutually agreed and understood between the parties, "that the undivided half of the premises was to be used as a place for the burial of the dead, and shall be known as the "Muncy Valley Burying Ground."

Names of prominent early members of this church are:

Mrs. George Bigger                   Miss Maude Miller

Joseph Gansel                   A P. Starr

Mrs. Alex Magargel                   Mr. and Mrs. N. S. Strong

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Miller                   Robert Whitacre and family

Sonestown Methodist Church 1907
Sonestown PA
Back Side Contains Note from Eureta Boatman to her mother Ottie (Bogart) Boatman, Wife of John M. Boatman. "Aunt Ida", referred to in the message, was Ida Mae (Rea) Boatman, wife of John's brother, Claudius Edward Boatman. Another note, on the front side, refers to the ongoing "revival" style meetings in the church at that time. The Boatman family had been active in the church for decades.
Photo Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Original Poscard Auctioned on eBay in July 2016


From the early historical records of Methodism in Sul­livan County, the Rev. Ward Mosher states that the Rev. Asa Story (1827-1829) organized a Methodist Society at George­town (now Sonestown).

In later records, we learn that the Rev. Charles Wright (1841-1842) serving in the Genesee Conference, Steuden District and Loyal Sock Circuit, preached in Sonestown. While holding services there, he lost his voice for sometime, but God crowned his labors at Georgetown (now Sonestown) by saving many souls.

Complete records of the early work at Sonestown from 1842 to 1863 are obscure, but it is reasonable to assume that the ministers who served the Forksville area held regular preaching appointments at Sonestown.

The Sonestown Church was incorporated in 1862. The Charter stated the name of the corporation shall be, "The Methodist Episcopal Church Davidson". The following persons served as first trustees:

Edmund Bennett                   Simpson S. Simmons

Christian Groff                   Peter Sones

John Hiddleson                   Samuel Speary

Edmund Pennington                   Robert Whitacre

John Simmons

Over the years, the church has been kept in good repair. The auditorium has been improved from time to time, with the installation of a new organ, a pulpit and chancel of carefully-selected wood, stained glass windows, and comfortable pews.

Collins Hazen, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Hazen, went from the Sonestown Church into the Christian Ministry of the Methodist Church.

The following persons were among the early prominent worker of the church, their efforts were characterized by patience, perseverance and tireless devotion.

Dr. J. H. Rothrock                   J. W. Buck and family

The Emory family                   B. G. Welch

Robert Whitacre                   Walter Hazen

Mrs. Andrew Edgar, Jr.                   Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Gavitt

Henry Boatman                   Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Laurenson

George Hazen                   Mrs. Millicent Stackhouse

Collins Hazen                   Mary Buck Conklin

The Church record lists the following names of pastors who served the Muncy Valley Circuit (1871-1954).

Rev. L. G. Heck                   1871

Rev. C. W. Burnley                   1872-73

Rev. A. D. McCloskey                   1876

Rev. J. B. Graham                   1882

Rev. A. P. Wharton                   1882-83

Rev. F. S. Faus                   1884-85-86-87

Rev. H. F. Cares                   1886-87

Rev. G. W, Cratsley                   1888

Rev. J. J. Reeser                   1889

Rev. J. F. Glass                   1890-91-92-93

Rev. S. Fox                   1891

Rev. C. H. Campbell                   1892

Rev. W. J. Sheaffer                   1893-94

Rev. W. L. Lepley                   1894

Rev. George Rosenberry                   1894

Rev. Sanuel Ham                   1896

Rev. D. N. Miller                   1897

Rev. J. J. Resh                   1897-98-99

Rev. E. H. Patton                   1899

Rev. J. Guldin                   1900

Rev. H. H. Ash

Rev. S. B. Bidlack                   1905-06-07-08

Rev. W. E. Ruth                   1909-10

Rev. J. W. McAlarney                   1910-11-12

Rev. J. E. Kahler                   1913-14

Rev. E. L. Ritzman                   1915 or 1916

Rev. ------Fry                   1917 or 1918

Rev. E. C. Myers                   1919

Rev. G. H. Knox                   1919-20

Rev. L. B. Barton                   1922-25

Rev. H. G Bowser                   1926-30

Rev. R. L. Fritz                   1930-34

Rev. O. H. R. Krapf                   1934-

Rev. O. R. Williams                   1939

Rev. Edger Bradley                   1939-41

Rev. Fred Stiner                   1942-46

Rev. Guy T. Miller                   1946-48

Rev. Leslie McRae                   1948-50

Rev. Robert L. Pearson                   1950-52

Rev. Ray Deminq


Plans for the Cherry Grove Church were in formation forty years before the building became a reality. December 28, 1858, John Bostian (sometimes seen spelled Boston) of Columbia County, deeded one acre and 31 1/2 perches of land in Davidson Township, Sullivan County, in trust for the Citizens of Elk Lick Settlement. The following trustees were chosen by the community to receive such deed for, and to hold the same In Trust for the Citizens of the Elk Lick Settlement:

John Hiddleson, Esq.                   John A. Hiddleson

Miles Speary                   Edmund Pennington

Samuel Speary

The purpose and use of the land was stated in the deed --"Described Lot of Land for a grave yard or place for the interment of the dead, for a house of worship and for no other purpose whatsoever to be held by the said party and their successors in trust for the citizens residing or who shall at any time reside in the Elk Lick Settlement, for the use and purpose aforesaid"--

The plot of ground used for a cemetery was put into immediate use, but the building program was delayed until the years 1890-91 and 1892. During this construction period the Reverend J. F. Glass was pastor of the Elk Lick Settle­ment, and worship services continued in the Elk Lick Schoolhouse.

The church was built by Irving Brundage, a skilled workman who was ably assisted by Monroe Speary and John Anders. Much of the labor was donated by the men of the Settlement.

The First Board of Trustees consisted of three members:

Irving Brundage                   DeWitt Gritman                   Oscar Lewis

Some of the early families connected with the Church were:

Irving Brundage                   Benjamin Speary

DeWitt Gritman                   Dorson Speary

Kimber C. Horn                   Ernest Speary

William Laird                   Monroe Speary

J. J. Sick                   William Stanley

Joseph Traugh

Upon the completion of the building, services of the Methodist denomination, previously held in the schoolhouse were transferred to the new house of worship and continued until 1918. Cherry Grove and Laporte Methodist Churches were served by the same pastor.

Note: (See listing as given under Laporte Methodist Church)

The population of the Elk Lick Settlement gradually decreased. This depopulation was greatly felt in the lack of a lay leadership as well as adequate financial support needed to carry on an adequate program.

Improved roads and automobiles made the Nordmont United Evangelical Church, one mile distant, easily accessible, and the merger of the two groups was a most natural and happy solution to the problem.

It is significant that the movement toward merger re­ceived its strongest impetus, not from the efforts of individuals to bring it about or to reduce the number of churches to be supported, but the impetus came from the fact that in the denominations themselves the types of work in the church and the church school were changing in their nature. They were almost identical in their creed, teaching techniques and organizational structure.

Under the compulsion of this impulse to oneness, the two groups welded themselves together in the ties of Christian fellowship and love. This togetherness that has always marked the Nordmont Church helped to develop a fellowship of Christian workers earnestly striving to make the program of the church more effective in the community. The unifying of these two groups did much to temper the organization with an awareness of a task too great for separateness.

As Christianity has assumed different forms in its interaction with a changing culture, so the program of the Nordmont Church has assumed a functional relation to the needs of the surrounding areas. In recent years, this little church has enlarged its social perspectives, accepted new relationships, deepened its roots, with a sobering sense of new responsibility has become a powerful and cooperative movement in the Christian educational task of Sullivan County.

A community spirit of friendship and personal concern for its members has cemented the people of Nordmont and Elk Lick Settlement, as well as the surrounding hills into a unit of society able and willing to work cooperatively toward the development of a Christian community. The Church has been a powerful instrument in producing a mental climate deeply convinced that Christian communities are a necessity in a democratic society.

According to the deed, the Cherry Grove property was to be held as a trust for the citizens of the Elk Lick Settlement. When the Methodist Congregation merged with the Nord­mont United Evangelical Church there arose the question of financing the upkeep of Cherry Grove.

This problem resolved itself into a happy situation, and accordingly the property was taken over by the "Cemetery Association." A "Cherry Grove Cemetery Association" was then formed and a legal certificate of Incorporation was granted August 5, 1922. The Corporation was formed for the purpose of acquiring title to and management of suitable grounds and lots, for the use as a Public Cemetery for interment therein of the bodies of the dead; to improve and beautify said grounds; to have general control, maintenance and care of the cemetery grounds and property.

The following men were stockholders at the time of the incorporation:

Warren E. Gritman                   James Hunter                   Frank A. Cox

William Stanley                   Willis B. Snider

The number of Directors was fixed at three and the following men were chosen as directors for the first year:

Warren E. Gritman                   William Stanley                   James D. Hunter

The Cemetery Association has kept the church property in good repair and the chapel is used on special occasions, such as funerals, Easter Sunrise Service and Memorial Day Services.

Cherry Grove has acquired local fame because of the simple annual Memorial Day services that are held each year on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day. These programs have been held continuously for a half century and are designed to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for their country. The service is sponsored by the Cemetery Association and assisted by the Nelson Arms Post of the American Legion. "A Red Geran­ium on Every Grave" has become a Cherry Grove tradition, and each year the whole cemetery is dotted with splashes of crimson.


The first Methodist services in Eagles Mere were held in Hotel Eagles Mere in 1900 by the Rev. Ernest Frickland. The following year the church was organized by the Rev. S. B. Bidlack with four charter members.

The Methodist congregation held services in the Baptist Church for six years. In 1905, Hon. Alcaeus Hooper generously donated $1000 as the nucleus of a building fund with the proviso that the initial round be doubled by the community. Under the leadership of the pastor, the Rev. Thomas F. Ripple, the stipulated sum of $2,000 was soon raised and the corner­stone of the new church was laid in the summer of 1906. The church was dedicated August 11, 1907. Among the early leaders of the church were the following persons:

Mr. C. A. Brink                   Edward Cummings

Norman Brink                   Mrs. F. W. Peale

Mrs. William Pletcher

Note: For the list of ministers serving the church see listing from 1901 to 1939 under LaPorte church.

The church remained as a circuit charge of the Sunbury District of the Central Pennsylvania Conference from 1901 to 1939. At that time, the small membership in both the Method­ist and Baptist churches seemed to indicate that a federated church could best serve the needs of the community. The federated Church was organized May 20, 1941 with the Rev. Earl B. Guzer as pastor. He was followed in 1945 by the Rev. Clay Reed, who is serving at the present time (1955).

Today the Methodist edifice is used for worship, the Baptist Church is utilized as a community hall and the Baptist Church Parsonage is occupied during the summer months by visit­ing ministers who serve the church during July and August.


Circuit Riders held services in the LaPorte Area under the direction of the Methodist denomination as early as 1827, when Mark Preston and Joseph Pearsall were sent by the Genesee Conference, Susquehanna District, and Tioga Circuit, under the direction of Bishop Francis Asbury. At a later date, the Tioga Circuit was divided and the southeast corner of it be­came the Muncy Creek Circuit and LaPorte and Georgetown (Sonestown) fell within the bounds of the Muncy Creek Circuit. The geographical boundaries of Methodist Conference Districts and Circuits were constantly changing and over the years LaPorte has the historical distinction of being listed in four Conferences:

Genesee Conference                   1826

Baltimore Conference                   1846

Genesee Conference                   1854

East Baltimore Conference                   1857

Central Pennsylvania Conference                   1961

The early ministers and Circuit Riders often served for a year, and at that time records were not carefully organize, printed and distributed.

Today, in an attempt to establish accurate records of the early church history, we are dependent upon pen and ink records that have been handed down to us. Many of these have come from the person libraries of the early Sullivan Count church ancestors. Unfortunately, these records bring with them a few inconsistencies in dates, The following pastoral record of the LaPorte area and eventually the organized Methodist Church (1874) came from a pen written record in the possession of the late Miss Harriette Grimm of LaPorte.

1827                   Asa Story

1828                   William P. Davis

1829                   Nathan Fellows

1831                   Abram Dubois

1832                   Henry Wiesman

1833                   Clark A Smith (held the first camp meeting in the area)

1834                   Benjamin Chase

1835                   _____Chambers

1836                   Charles Wright

1837                   Abram D. Edgar

1838                   _____Terry

1839                   Richard Black

1840                   Job Galden

1841                   _____Guernsey

1842                   _____Depuy

1843                   John H. Day

1844                   _____Haven

1845-46                   _____Cronover (5 months)

           _____Coolbach (19 months)

1847                   Peter B. Ross

1848                   A. R. Jones

1849                   Rook and Miller

1850                   Stout and Craig

1851                   Kelley and Swangler

1852                    _____Hartman

1853                   Colburn and Davis

1854                   _____Burnett

1855                   _____Loreau

1856                   _____Furguson

1857                   J. M. Akers

1858                   J. M. Long

1860                   William Antes (local preacher)

1861                   J. E. Turner and T. H. Tubbs

1862                   J. E. Turner and L. S. Rhone, Jr.

1863                   L. G. Heck and H. F. Cares

(Miss Grimm's lists no ministers from 1863-1872. The Conference year book gives a record of ministers serving the charge during his period.)

1872                   C. W. Burnley and A. D. McCloskey

1873                   C. W. Burnley and J. N. Moorhead

1874                   John Wade and C. J. Buck (LaPorte May 31, 1874)

1874                   C. W. Burnley (Jan. 10, 1875)

Several instances of the hardships and strenuous labors of the early ministers are mentioned in the notes left by the Harriette Grimm family.

"Henry Weisner (1832) lost his way in a snowstorm and slept in the woods overnight.

Charles A Smith (1833) often preached three times a day. His excessive labor brought on a hemorrhage from which he never recovered.

Charles Wright (1836) lost his voice, but God owned his labors at Georgetown (Sonestown) by saving many souls."

In 1863, under the pastoral care of L. G. Heck and H.T. Cares, the people of the LaPorte area bean a subscription for the erection of a church in LaPorte.

In 1872, C. W. Burnley and O. D. McCloskey held a Camp Meeting on the Fiester Ground. Several people were converted, and during the following protracted meeting season a few more names were added to the church. Revival services continued and several persons converted. However, most of the new converts joined the Baptist Church.

In 1873, under the leadership of a new minister, J. N, Moorhead, Laporte continued tile church building project, and a building enterprise was begun at Fiesters (near LaPorte). The next year two churches were dedicated, the first at La­Porte, May 31, 1874, and the second church at Fiesters on January 10 1875. C. W, Burnley presiding elder officiated. All indebtedness on the Fiester Church was provided for at the dedication.

In 1874, John Wade and C. J. Buck conducted a very successful revival in LaPorte. Thirty souls were converted, seventeen of' whom united with the Methodist Church.


The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is the self-governing American branch of the Anglican Communion, and was the first church to be founded in the newly formed American colonies. It was brought to America with the Jamestown colonists in 1607. In 1789, the Church became an independent body with its own bishops. A constitution was formed which provided for a General Convention made up of a house of bishops and a House of Clerical, and Lay Deputies. At the same time The Prayer Book was revised to suit American needs in matters of discipline and worship.

St. John's in the Wilderness
Episcopal Church
Eagles Mere, PA 1908
Posted in 1944 per Back Side entry
Which Describes the Church Interior
Photo contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Source: An old postcard auctioned on eBay in August 2015


Prior to the building of the Protestant Episcopal Chapel of St. John's In The Wilderness in l889, services of the Episcopal group were held in various private homes of summer residents, of Eagles Mere.

The Church is an attractive structure of native stone and was built by the Joint efforts of local people and the summer guests.

Area reports differ as to the selection of stones used in the building. Certain informants state that the only stones used were those which had never been previously used in an type of building. Ocher informants believe with equal certainty that the field stones for the structure were obtained from the George Lewis Stone Barn, and the cut stones from the same barn, were utilized in the walls of the Presbyterian Church.

However, this may be, it seems authentic that the Altar Cross of the Chapel was designed from glass and slag obtain­ed from the Lewis Glass House.

The Baptismal Font, constructed from two millstones used to grind grain in the days of the glass industry, attracts the interest of many guests.

Services in the Chapel are held only during the summer months.


The story of the Episcopal movement in Sullivan County records instances of services in "Davidson" by the Rev. J. McAplin Harding as early as 1876. At a later date, the Mt. Olivet Chapel was built on the Gorman Hill, two miles east of Nordmont. Records show that the familiar names Robbins, Diltz, Gorman and Hunter were active in the Mt. Olivet Church.

Although information is lacking it is believe that the Church enjoyed its most active period from 1904-1927. However, the family names of Robbins and Diltz were connected with the Episcopal movement in "Davidson" as early as 1877.

The Mt. Olivet Church building is now owned by Charles Hunter, who has remodeled it for a hunting cabin.


Laporte, Pennsylvania

The pioneer work of the Episcopal Church in Laporte was carried on by visiting missionaries as early as 1867; occas­ional services were held in Laporte. The Rev. Douglas of Towanda and a Clergyman resident of Leraysville, Pa con­ducted the services. In these early days there were no Episcopal churches in Sullivan County, and the services were held in school houses, halls or churches of other denominations.

St John's Episcopal Church at Laporte was served by Missionaries during the first twenty years of its history. The following missionary pastors served the church from 1867 to 1887:

1867                    The Rev. Douglas from Towanda

1867-1871                    The Rev. W. S. Heaton of Philadelphia, the first Episcopal missionary to serve in Sullivan County

1876                   The Rev J. McAlpin Harding, a missionary from Trenton, New Jersey. His zeal carried his work into three counties, Bradford, Sullivan and Columbia and by 1877, his pastorate reached into 18 places at thirteen of which he held regular services. Among the places served were Laporte, Eagles Mere, Thornedale, Bernice, Forksville, Sonestown and Barkley. His failing health turned him from his field of labor. He left a record of glorious accomplishments: 78 baptisms, 43 confirmations, 4 marriages and six burials. His resignation became effective in August 1879.

During the year 1878-1879, Charles F. Sweet, a young lawyer from Laporte, accepted a license as lay reader and read the service at a number of points in Sullivan County. Later he took orders in the Church and gave his life to full time Christian service as a missionary in Japan.

1879-1882                   The Rev. John Gregson, a missionary from Littleton, N. H.

1883-1886                   No regular missionary; however, the church was served by the Rev. J. McAlpin Harding during the summer months.

1887                   The Rev. Samuel P. Kelly, a Diocesan Missionary of Central Pennsylvania was sent from Philadelphia by the Bishop Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe, to survey the field. He held services in Laporte, Eagles Mere and other points in the County.

After twenty years of Missionary activity, the time seemed ripe for the Episcopal group at Laporte to build a church. In 1847, Secu Meylert and his wife, Abigail, deeded a group of lots to the County Commissions for public buildings, schools and churches. On September 22, 1868, the County Commissioners deeded two lots, No. 51 and No. 52, to the Trustees of the St. John's Episcopal Church for a church and a rectory. The Trustees were John S. Green, Charles C. Finch and Charles M. King. These lots were located on the corner of Beach and Cherry Streets, covering an area of land 52' x 260'.

On September 22, 1868, the Rt. Rev. William Bacon Strong, bishop of Pennsylvania, laid the first corner stone of St. John's Church. The same night the contents of the box in the corner stone were stolen. The building program was then delayed until July 26, 1888, when the executive Committee of the Church met and awarded to the Lawrence Brothers (William and Charles) of Laporte, a contract for the building of a church and a rectory. The persons who constituted the executive Committee are: Thomas J. Ingham, C. LaRue Munson, Henry T. Downs, Ellery P. Ingham and James McFarlane, Treasurer.

The contract stated $2,550 as the cost of the church building and further stipulated that the building should be 30 x 60', with walls 16 ft. high; a vestibule 10 x 12 ft.; a tower 7 x 10 ft. and 40 ft. high including the spire. The building was completed by January 1, 1889.

The corner stone of St. John's was relaid on August 4, 1888 by the Rev. Samuel P. Keller, Diocesan Missionary. He was assisted by the Rev. Charles F. Sweet of the Diocese of Easton, in the presence of witnesses, Henry T. Downs and his daughter, Miss Elizabeth Downs. The box was placed in the corner stone contained the following items:

A history of the Mission

A list of Diocesan and church officers

Two copies of the Sullivan Republican containing description of the building

Copies of church papers

Journal of church papers

Journal of Convention of the Diocese

One cent of the coinage of 1888

When the box was placed in the stone and the top stone upon it, the Rev. Samuel P. Kelly said "Acting for and by direction of the Right Rev. Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe, Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, I now relay the corner stone of St. John's Church, Laporte, which was originally laid by the Rt. Rev. William Bacon Stevens, Bishop of Pennsy­lvania on September 22, 1868. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.", and concluded the ceremony with the Apostles Creed, prayer and the bene­diction. With no desire for display or pomp the ceremony was made extremely simple.

The church building was competed at the scheduled time of the contract.

The Sullivan Republican published in Laporte July 11, 1889, gave the following news item: "The furniture for the Episcopal Church arrived last week.. It was purchased from the Lawrence Brothers of Dushore. The pieces are exceeding­ly good, and the cost high."

The construction of the rectory was begun soon after the church was under way and completed in November 1889.

A building fund of $2,600 was in the bank when the cornerstone was laid. Part of the fund was the gift of Mary Margaret Green of Philadelphia, in memory of her brother, John Sims Green. The memorial fund was donated eighteen years prior to the building project. This fund was held by an Advancement Society and during the years deposits were added.

Funds for building and furnishing the rectory were rais­ed by subscriptions, dances concerts and festivals. Mr. Ellery Ingham assumed active leadership in this financial en­deavor. The rectory was rented from 1889 to 1902 when the Rev. Robert C. Caswell, the first resident clergyman came to the church. The last resident rector to serve St. John's Church and occupy the rectory, was the Rev. Henry S. Speakman, who retired July 1, 1923.

For more than eighty years, St. Johns Church has contin­ued to function and its ministry has blessed not only the residents of Sullivan County, but scores of people from all parts of the County, who have been summer guests in the La­porte resort.

The following family names have been or still remain an important part of the local church history: Downs, Maben, Green, Brewster, Holmes, F. W. Meylert's family, Rogers, Wrede, Mason, Murray, Potter and Heim.

Since 1923, services have been held only during the sum­mer months, but every season the church has been served by able ministers. The membership of St. Johns is very small but summer guests, who make it their place of worship, have most generously supplied an organist and choir.

The church has always been kept in excellent repair and over a period of years, modern improvements and equipment, such as electricity, stained glass windows and an electric organ, have been purchased or donated. These improvements have added to the beauty and comfort of the church. Memorials and other thoughtful gifts from the many friends of the church amply demonstrate the place it holds in the hearts of those who enjoy the summer worship services there.


The first Baptist Church in America was founded in 1639 in Providence, Rhode Island, by Roger Williams. Providence became a haven for the Baptists who stood for the entire se­paration of Church and State, and liberty of conscience. The American Revolution enlisted the enthusiastic support of the Baptist Church. The ideals of the Republic were their own, and they became the leading militant protagonists of separa­tion of church and state which, in the Bill of Rights, became a fundamental principle in the Constitution of the United States.

General organization began in 1814, and a general Missionary convention was formed to permit followers to express themselves in terms of missionary activities.

Relieved from fear of physical persecution and fired by evangelistic zeal, the American Baptists entered into a period of rapid increase until by 1900, they were the most numerous evangelical group in American, although organized in several separately functioning "conventions".

While everywhere holding the autonomy and final authority of the local church, Baptists have developed cooperative agencies in which the churches unite for fellowship, counsel missions, and other forms of work and expression


It is interesting to note that the first child born in Sullivan County, was Mrs. Rebecca Bird Molyneaux She was born in a Baptist family. According to "Now and Then" Vol. 3, No. 8, p. 179, the parents of Mrs. Molyneaux were Powell and Lydia Bird, who came from England and were among the first permanent settlers of the County. They were two of the ten constituents who composed the first Baptist church in Sullivan County.

Early historical records indicate that Samuel Rogers, an early Sullivan County pioneer came from England, a Baptist ("Now and Ten", vol 3, No. 10, p. 238). It has been stated that during the early settlement on the Loyalsock, there was an "organized witness for truth", but we have no record of such a religious movement of Baptists in that era. From the minutes of the Northumberland Baptist Association, we learn that the "Forks of Loyalsock Particular Baptist Church" was not formally organized until October 7, 1822. Of the ten original members, six bore the name of Rogers. The constituents were:

Elder Henry Clark and Rebecca, his wife

Samuel Rogers and his wife, Nancy Guant

Powell Bird and Lydia, his wife

Richard Rogers and his wife, Harriet Stanley

Gittyann Rogers

Isaac Rogers

Richard and Isaac were baptized on the day the Church was organized.

The Streeby History states that Mrs. Freeman Fairchild was the first person baptized in Cherry Township. The bap­tism was performed by Elder Solomon Dimmick of the Baptist Faith. Mrs. Fairchild united with the church at Huntingdon. Elder Dimmock came from Huntingdon and held services once a month in various homes of the settlement. Later, the follow­ing elders visited the settlement and preached alternately every four weeks: Joel Rogers, Elias Dodson, Griffith Lewis, and Samuel Chapin.

Streeby mentions the following persons as connected with the early Baptist movement of Cherry Township; Ezra Payne, Roswell Phelps, Freeman Fairchild, Mr. and Mrs. Brookins Potter, Mrs. Alden Potter, Mrs. Nicholas Potter and Miss Salome Tompkins. Streeby further states, "When Cherry Church was started only two members of the Huntingdon Church remained, Hannah Fairchild and Rachel Rogers. All others died or moved away."

It seems reasonable to assume that the Cherry Township Baptist movement may have been referred to in the minutes of the Northumberland Baptist Association as the "Forks of Loyalsock Particular Baptist Church", which was organized on Oct­ober 7. 1822.


The earliest regular church services held in Eagles Mere were organized by the Baptist denomination. "There is a record that in 1844 Judge J. Richter Jones, an outstanding figure in the early annuals of the settlement, fitted up one of the cottages built by George Lewis, as a Baptist church and school." (p. 62 in McFarland and McFarland, Eagles Mere and Sullivan Highlands, Harrisburg, C. 1944)

The Laporte and Eagles Mere Baptist Churches were or­ganized in 1854 by the Rev. John Lukens. In the early years, services were held in a school house three-fourths of a mile below the village of Eagles Mere. The Rev. Callender served as pastor of the church for ten years.

The following family names appear in the early Baptist history of Eagles Mere: Haywood, Jones, Little, Meylert, Peale.

A Sabbath School was maintained at both Eagles Mere and LaPorte by members of the Baptist faith for many years before a minister was on the field. Among those who were active in this endeavor, the names appear of Mrs. Jones, Thomas Haywood, Mrs. Peale, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Little and William Meylert. During this period, Mr. Meylert walked from Laporte to Eagles Mere to promote the work of the Sabbath School and stimulate interest among the members.

The First Baptist Church of Eagles Mere was built in 1889, under the leadership of the Rev. Crawford from Blooms­burg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Crawford had been called to this field as minister of the church. The building was completed in 1890 and used continuously until its destruction by cyclone in 1892, exactly ten days after the last payment on the building debt.

The church was rebuilt on the same site in 1893, and dedicated the following year. On New Year's Day 1920, this building was destroyed by fire. A third building project was started the same year, and the present Baptist Church was dedicated September 3 1922 by the Rev. A. Winters.


Due to insufficient and undocumented records, the history of the Baptist Church in Laporte is, in many respects, quite incomplete. The earliest available record indicates that Baptist services were held in the schoolhouse at Laporte in 1869, with the Rev. Sturdevant in charge.

The diary of Mr. T. J. Keeler, a member of the Baptist Church, records the following list of ministers serving the church:

Rev. Wharton                    18821884

Rev. Crawford from Hughesville                   1889

The Methodist Church in Laporte was built in 1874, and for several years the Baptist congregation held services in the church. Later the group transferred to the Presbyterian Church and from Mr. Keeler's diary, we find the following names of ministers who served the Baptist group during the time they occupied the Presbyterian Church.

Rev. L. C. Davies                    1895

Rev. J. R. Merryman                    1896 (from Hughesville)

Rev. Copeland

Rev. H. R. Miller

During the summer of 1894, the building of a Baptist Church was begun. Mr. T. J. Keeler and Mr. R. A. Conklin, both skilled builders, did all the work and generously donated their services. The edifice was completed in 1897.

Funds for the purchase of a part of the building materials came from subscription and gifts, and a mortgage of $700 was put on the church for the balance of materials. For several years, this mortgage was held by the Bailey Barrows family of Philadelphia, but later assigned to Alvin H. Hunsicke of New York, who held it until the sale of the church in 1921.

The people of Laporte and other friends of the church, took great pride in the furnishings and appointments. Many generous gifts were received among them the following: The church bell, weighing 421 points, purchased at a cost o $112.00 was donated by Miss Marthe Ambruster, a teacher from Philadelphia who spent her summers in Laporte.

Funds for the large stained glass north window were raised by a generous broad and civic-minded citizen, Mr. Frank Gallagher, a member of the Roman Catholic faith.

The interior of the church is finished in natural wood and all windows are stained glass. A baptistry was built of concrete and placed back of the pulpit, with steps leading down into it.

In December, 1897, Mr. Keeler and Mr. Conklin transferred hymnals, pulpit Bible, organ and other equipment from the Presbyterian to the Baptist church and on December 26 of that year, the first service was held in the new building with the Rev. Powell in charge. Mr. Powell served the church from 1896 to October 1899.

The following ministers succeeded him:

Rev. G. T. Bradford                   1899-1900

Rev. I. H. Fisher                    1903

Rev. Ballentine                    1905

During August of 1908, Rev. George F. Mitch served the church. Insufficient date make the list of pastors very in­complete

Before the erection of the Baptist Church with its bap­tistry, the sacrament of baptism by immersion was performed in either Eagles Mere or Makoma Lake.

The following data forms part of the local church history--

Aug. 10, 1873                   Mr. T. J. Keeler was baptized in Lewis Lake (later known as Eagles Mere) by the Rev. J. N. Lukens

March 1882                    Miss Ida Keeler and Miss Fannie Meylert were baptized in Eagles Mere Lake, by the Rev. Wharton. (Lake Makoma had not been built at this time).

During the winter of 1892, three young women of Laporte were baptized in Lake Makoma. Eye witnesses reporting this incident recall that a space of ice twenty by six feet was removed to make room for the minister and the three candidates to pass out into the waist deep water. Each candidate was immersed three times. The name of Miss Irene Ballard is the only candidate whose identity can be established at this time.

In 1904, the church constructed a building at Lake Makoma from which the members served sandwiches and coffee to the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad excursion guests who visited the lake on picnic days. This source of income helped defray church expenses and pay the interest on the $700 mortgage.

The Baptist Church always maintained a church choir. The persons who were among this musical group were:

Mr. Lewis Gumble

Mrs. Charlotte Bevins

Mr. R. Albert Conklin

Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Meylert

Among the early and most faithful workers of the church were:

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Conklin

Mr. William Meylert and family

Mr. T. J. Keeler and family

By 1921, the membership of the church was greatly re­duced, but the mortgage of $700 still remained. At this time, the Methodist Church was in need of expensive re­pairs and Nov. 2, 1921, the Methodist Conference purchased the Baptist property from its Board of Trustees for the price of $700.00


The Presbyterian Church in America today can be traced back to the 1500's, when John Calvin organized the Reformed Church of Geneva, Switzerland.

Presbyterian churches in colonial America were estab­lished during the first half of the 1600's. There are more than a dozen Presbyterian bodies in the United States. The largest of these bodies, the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, includes more than half of the American Presbyterian constituency, and its history is representative of all the Presbyterian bodies.

Its first congregations were founded on Long Island in the 1640's; its first presbytery was organized in Philadelphia by Francis Makemie in 1706. By 1716 the presbytery had grown into a synod, and by 1788 into a General Assembly.


The first Presbyterian Church of Bernice, was organized November 16, 1883, and enrolled in Lackawanna Presbytery, April 22, 1884. The church building, a wooden structure, was erected during the summer of 1884. Prior to the con­struction of the church, services were held regularly in the Odd Fellows Hall in Bernice.

A manse was built on the lot adjoining the church in 1887, during the ministry of the first regular pastor, the Rev. Reuben N. Ives and enlarged and modernized in 1912, during the ministry of the Rev. Joseph K. Freed.

The church had a resident minister until 1930. In May 1930, the Rev. Clement Bricker Meyers accepted a call to the Bernice Presbyterian Church of Lackawanna Presbytery and at the same time, received a call to the Reformed Church of Dushore.

During the year 1930, the Bernice Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Church in Dushore merged and became a feder­ated charge and remained so until Mr. Meyers' partial retire­ment in 1951. The federated charge was dissolved in 1951, the church was then closed for a few months, but by the call of the Presbytery was reopened that same year with the Rev. Clement B. Meyers as regular pastor.

The Bernice Church was given one person to full time Christian service, the Rev. Franklin Helsman.

The following ministers have served the Bernice Church:

Rev. Reuben N. Ives                   1883-1885

Rev. James Norris                   1885-1886

Rev. John McCall (stated supply)                   1886-1887

Rev. B. O. Goodling   "  "                   1887-1890

Rev. A. B. Smith       "  "                   1890-1891

Rev. John J. Thompson                   1891-1894

Rev. William Colclough                   1894-1895

Rev. H P. Corsen                   1895-1899

Rev. James Campbell                   1899-1903

Rev. Karl Vonkrug                   1903-1904

Rev. Rufus H. Bent                   1904-1908

Rev. Joseph K. Freed                   1908-1924

Rev. William Brownlie                   1924-1930

Rev. Clement B. Meyers                   1930-1951

Federated charge--

Rev. Clement B. Meyers                   1951 --


Oh the corner of Court and Meylert Streets, where the house known as "Snug Harbor" now stands, there once stood a Presbyterian Church.

The land on which the church was built was one of the Secu Meylert public lots (See reference under St. John's Episcopal Church, Laporte). Previous to the gift of land for public purposes, the carpenter shop of Michael Meylert had stood on this site. The members of the Meylert family were Presbyterians and in 1872, the church was built and on Nov. 2, 1873, it was formally dedicated.

Dr. Samuel Frederick Colt, M. D., who had come into Bradford County in 1843, was the first minister to hold ser­vices in the church. In 1845, Dr. Colt founded the Susquehanna Collegiate Institute in Towanda, Pennsylvania. At the request of Michael Meylert, Dr. Colt came into Sullivan County in 1872 as a missionary as well as a practicing physician. Dr. Colt was a man of many talents. He not only served as minister, in the Presbyterian Church, but also conducted church services and had a Sunday School in the school house in the village of Thorndale, four miles from Laporte.

Dr. Colt planned the architectural design of the Presby­terian Church, which was a white wooden structure, with green shutters and a high steeple. The church was entered through large double doors. The entrance hall had storage closets at either end. Two doors opened into the church from the hall. Just inside the doors, was an alcove and on either side were steps which lead to a platform where the pulpit was placed.

The seats were in groups with long seats in the middle and on each side of the room. A furnace in the cellar provided heat for the building.

Dr. Colt's pastorate, a Sunday School was held on Sunday morning preceding the worship services. A group of young people from the village served as a church choir.

Michael Meylert died in 1883 and in 1884, Dr. Colt, the only Presbyterian minister to serve the church, moved to Wysox, Pennsylvania. The church membership was small after Dr. Colt's departure, and the church was closed.

Prior to 1900, the church was remodeled and made into two apartments.

On the night of June 2, 1900, the Kraus meat market located back of the church burned. The church was demolished in flames.

In 1906, the present school building was constructed on the southeast corner of this public lot.

On the foundation of the old church, a retired United States Marine, James C. Caven, built a home, which he named, "Snug Harbor". The house has passed from owner to owner, but the name "Snug Harbor" remains the same.

Dr. Samuel F. Colt died in Wysox, Pennsylvania on December 12, 1893, aged 76 years, 7 months and 23 days.


The Presbyterian Chapel of Eagles Mere was built in 1887 by A. C. Little, who used cut stone secured from the George Lewis Stone Barn in the walls of the structure

The building had a high and impressive church spire, but some years after the erection, it was struck by lightn­ing and demolished. The spire was later replaced by a low structure of cupola design.

The Chapel is used for Union services during the summer season and is serve by able Presbyterian ministers.



The LUTHERAN CHURCH is a member of the oldest Protestant group. Lutherans trace their spiritual lineage to the teach­ings of Martin Luther.

The Reformer himself objected to the use of the term "LUTHERAN". Martin Luther and his followers preferred the name "EVANGELICAL", but the designation "LUTHERAN" was so convenient that it soon became common among Luther's adher­ents as well as his opponents.

Since the seventeenth century, "EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN", a combination of the two names, has usually been used for official purposes but "LUTHERAN" has remained the popular designation.

Lutheranism was introduced into the United States by Dutch Colonists on Manhattan; later by the Swedes on the Delaware; by the Palantines in Pennsylvania and New York, and by the Salzburgers in Georgia.

FRIEDENS (PEACE) CHURCH (near Dushore, Pa. )

The history of the Lutheran Church in the area now called Sullivan County dates back to about 1825, when a number of Lutheran families came from Berks, Luzerne and Columbia counties and settled in the wilderness.

Early in the nineteenth century Lutheran services were held in Sullivan County. A log structure called Friedens (Peace) was built about 1826. July 5, 1825, Dennis Thall and Joseph Litzelswope granted a deed for "one acre of land, strict measure, consideration sum four dollars lawful money to the Roman Catholic, German Lutheran and Dutch Reformed Churches." The land was granted as a site for a house of worship to be used by the above named groups.

Protestants and Catholics assisted in the erection of the log structure. The Yonkin, Thall, Litzelswope and Graifley families were leaders in the building program.

The first record of baptism is that of Caroline Hoffa, a daughter of Jacob Hoffa, who was baptized in June 1827.

A circuit rider visited the area several times a year and held services in the log church. When no minister was present, Joseph Litzelswope frequently acted as leader of the group. Prior to the construction of the church, services were held in his home. Religious meetings were held irregul­arly until 1839, when the Rev. Carl Ludwig Earle became the first regular Lutheran pastor in the area.

Some years later, 1832, a frame church was erected, and is known as the Germany Church. Services were continued until about 1939, when the group disbanded and united with the Dushore Lutheran group.

The church was always served by the Lutheran pastor of the parish. The building has been kept in good repair and the carefully graded adjoining cemetery, which is regularly mowed, marks the resting place of many early pioneers of Sullivan County.


The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mildred, Pennsylvania, was organized January 22, 1905, and was admitted to the ministerium of Pennsylvania by the Danville Conference at its session held in Dushore, May 2, 1905.

Prior to the organization, the Rev. William H. Kline, pastor of Zion's Evangelical Lutheran Church and other churches connected with the parish, began holding services for the people of Mildred in the Knights of Labor Hall, sometime in 1904. After the organization of the church in January 1905, the William Kline drafted a constitution and By-laws. These were adopted by the congregation Feb. 24, 1905.

Among the 53 charter members of the church were the following families:

Charles Coleman                    Henry Orlowsky

Edmund Holmes                   Louis Orlowsky

Robert Johnson                   Charles Pfeiffer

Frank Kaminsky                   Herman Popke

Frank Meyer                   Fred Sarnowsky

Frank Orlowsky                   Frank Schaad

Thomas Schnell                   John Schaad

William Schaad

The first Elders of the church were the following:

Charles Coleman                    Frank Meyer

Edmund Holmes                    Charles Pfeiffer

Thomas Schnell

The Rev. Lewis S. Trump, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Ricketts, Pennsylvania, aided in the work of caring for the congregation of the Mildred Church during 1904-1905.

Rev. Carl Zeigelbrier of Verona, New York, was called as the first regular pastor. He preached his first sermon, September 3, 1905, and November 12, 1905, he took charge of the work. During his pastorate, the church purchased a plot of land from Mercur and Jackson of Towanda, Pennsylvania, for $425.00. On July 2, 1906, ground was broken for a church building. The Rev. Zeigelbrier concluded his pastorate on August 1, 1906 accepting a call to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Rev. William H. Berk was the second pastor of the church. He began his ministry on November 4, 1906. During his pastorate loans were negotiated and a church building was erected at a cost of $7,000. He closed his ministry in Mildred on July 15, 1908, and accepted a call from the Mission at Berwick, Pennsylvania. After the Rev. Berk's departure, the Rev. Andreas Beckofer, pastor of Zion's Ev­angelical Lutheran Church, Dushore, Pennsylvania, supplied the congregation for the next three years.

On July 1, 1911, the Rev. Jeremiah H. Ritter was called as pastor. The long vacancy left a dismal outlook, but through the grace of God, the members of the congrega­tion under the new leadership, revived their efforts and with renewed faith faced their work with great courage. Accumulated debts were liquidated, several hundred dollars paid on the standing debt, material improvements were made the church lot graded, the building painted and new carpet laid on the floor.

The church advanced not only in a material way, but progress was also noted in the spiritual life of the church, and the numerous phases of an expanded program of activities. Vesper services were introduced as a Sunday evening worship service. Four terms of Singing School were successfully conducted by the pastor with an average attendance of 30 members. This project greatly aided the choir work of the church. The Rev. J. H. Ritter's pastorate closed Dec. 31, 1912. The text of his farewell sermon was St. John 14:16­--"Abide in Jesus".

The Rev. Arthur Lewis Smith was pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Ricketts, Pennsylvania. It was at this time that the lumber town of Ricketts was rapidly declining, and St. John's Church and the Mildred Church were united as a parish. Automatically, through the uniting of the parishes, the Rev. Smith became the pastor of the Mildred Church. His first Sunday in Mildred was January 12, 1913.

In June of the same year, the congregation held a formal election and extended a formal call. Regular ser­vices began on November 2, 1913, and Mr. Smith continued to serve the church for 33 years. He resigned September 30, 1946. The Rev. Arthur L. Smith was known and loved by all the people in Mildred, regardless of their church connections. He was a leading citizen in a town to which he gave the best years of his life. During his pastorate, the church grew and flourished.

After the town of Ricketts dissolved and the church closed, much of the church property was given to the Mildred church. Among the transferred articles were the following the church bell, Communion Set, linens and Hymn books.

On October 1, 1946, the Rev. John D. Keener, pastor of the Dushore parish at the request of the president of the Evangelical Lutheran ministerium of Pennsylvania, became the pastor of the Trinity Church in Mildred.

For practical purposes the Trinity church was temporarily and unofficially incorporated into the Dushore parish for a period of time.

On October 12, 1952 on the advice of pastor Keener, the congregation voted to ask to be admitted officially into the Dushore parish. By action of the Synod, June 4, 1924, Dushore and Mildred congregations were transferred from the Danville to the Wilkes-barre Conference.

The Rev. John D, Keener resigned October 31, 1952. During the next year, supply pastors held regular services as regular pastors. During the interim and until a new pastor was called, a supply minister conducted a service of worship every Sunday morning.

The Trinity Evangelical stands as a high tribute to the many individuals who, by vision, sacrifice and labor, enabled the church to render a half century of continuous service to the Mildred Community.


The ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERN CHURCH in Dushore obser­ved its 100th Anniversary Sunday, June 10, 1951. Much of the following historical data relative to the ZION CHURCH was taken from the Anniversary Booklet published for that event. The exact date the congregation was organized cannot be determined from the early records. The preaching point which has become the ZION congregation was established by the Rev Carl Ludwig Earle in his home about two miles east of Dushore.


The cornerstone of the first church building was laid in 1851, on land which George Thrasher had consecrated for a burial ground in 1829. In that year, he had buried his son, Joseph, in a field on his farm. In the years that fol­lowed other members of the Thrasher family, as well as the members of neighboring families were buried there, and the burial ground became known as the "Thrasher Cemetery".

In 1851, Ransom Thrasher, grandson of George, owned the farm on which the cemetery was located. When a site was needed for a church building, he gave the cemetery and ad­joining land for the purpose.

Lumber for the building was secured from the sawmill of Benjamin Thrasher, (uncle of Ransom) and Levy B. Hunsinger. Mr. Hunsinger was a carpenter. Ingham's "History of Sulli­van County" in 1899, records that he built the church, which was completed in 1853.

On September 1, 1853, the first ZION church was dedicated by The Rev. Erle, assisted by the Rev. Isaiah Bahl of Berwick, and the Rev. Simon Boyer of Turbotville. This building served the congregation for the next 39 years, until the present Zion church was constructed. The old building was abandoned and left to deteriorate. After twenty years, it was renovated and restored to its original beauty. Each summer several ser­vices are held in the old church and occasionally it is used for funerals.


In the year 1890, two building lots were purchased For $500.00 on Carpenter Street and the cornerstone of the new church was laid October 26, 1890. The building committee con­sisted of the following members:

Reverend S. Wenrich                   S. Cole                    J. H. Yonkin

C. W. Hoffa                    L. M. Barth

The new building was dedicated September 4, 1892. The pastor was assisted in the historic event by a former pastor, the Reverend H. S. Strodach and the Reverend S. E. Ochsenford, president of the Danville Conference, to which the parish then belonged.

The auditorium seats 350 people and folding doors increase the seating capacity to 475. The height of the tower above the pavement is 90 feet. The building is equipped with a central heating system and modern improvements have been added over the years. These include a pipe organ, a modernized kitchen and a complete renovation of the church basement.

From time to time, smaller furnishings have been pur­chased or donated as memorials. These add to the beauty of the church and the solemnity of the services. Among them are, vestments for the pastor and choir, eucharistic candlesticks, lectern Bible and sterling silver communion set and vases. An Italian marble baptismal font adorns the sanctuary.

In 1925, the Dushore parish was transferred from the Dan­ville Conference to the Wilkes-barre Conference.

Walter J. Huntsinger, a member of the Zion Church and son of Mr. and Mrs. P. W. Huntsinger entered the ministry of the Lutheran Church. He is a graduate of Muhlenberg College and Mt. Airey Theological Seminary. He was ordained on May 27, 1907 and admitted to the ministry by the Synod the same day.

For more than 100 years, the ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH has steadily moved forward, giving spiritual inter­pretation of American life during a century of Sullivan County's greatest development. Pastors of the Dushore Lutheran Parish follow:

Reverend C. L. Erle                   1839-1872

Reverend H. B. Strodach                   1874-1876

Reverend Lewis Smith                   1877-1880

Reverend R. S. Wagner                   1881-1884

Reverend S. Wenrich                   1884-1893

Reverend J. W. Early (supply pastor)                    1893-1894

Reverend J. W. Klingler                   1894-1903

Reverend William H. Kline                   1904-1906

Reverend C. Fassold                   1906-1907

Reverend Andreas Bachofer                   1907-1912

Reverend William H. Fehr                   1913-1935

Reverend Harold Deisher                   1936-1941

Reverend John D. Keener                   1941-1952

No regular pastor                   1952-1953

Reverend Charles Souders                   1953-1955

Reverend Joseph Schlosser                   1956-


The religious body, DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, is of American origin. It was founded by Thomas and Alexander Campbell, father and son, who separated from the Seceder Presbyterian Church in 1809, and started an independent movement to unite all Christians on the essentials of pure evangelical Christian­ity as exhibited in the New Testament churches. The purposes of the movement thus included the renunciation of creeds and all governing church bodies above the local congregation.

The first national convention met in 1849, when the first missionary society was formed, and state organizations, periodicals and colleges were subsequently established.


Estella, Pennsylvania

The first records of the Estella Church group, Disciples of Christ, are dated August 1897. The minutes of a business meeting record the early beginnings of the Church. During July 1897, tent meetings, under the leadership of the Rev. J. L. Phoenix of Troy, Pennsylvania, were held in Forksville. During August of the same year, the tent meetings were con­tinued in Estella, where the Rev. Phoenix was assisted by the following ministers:

Reverend M. S. Blair, Blanchard, Pennsylvania

Reverend Charles Bloom, Sayre, Pennsylvania

Reverend F. E. Spooner, Alba, Pennsylvania

At the close of the meetings in August 1897, the church organization of thirty-five members was effected and the following officers elected:

Elders--J. M. Osler                    Aaron McIntyre

Deacons--John Brown                    Ira Pardoe

Chauncey Wheatley                    Ellis Brown

The newly organized group continued under the leader­ship of the Reverend J. L. Phoenix and the Reverend A. May­nard of Lock Haven until April 1, 1898, when the Reverend F. E. Spooner became the pastor.

The Sunday church services were held in the Estella School house until May 31, 1902, when they were transferred to the Estella Union Church which was rented for the price of $12.00 rental fee and two cords of hardwood per year.

Under the supervision of the new minister, the work continued to proper and a Sunday School was soon organized, with Ellis Brown as General Superintendent.

In May of the same year, the Ladies Aid Society of the Church purchased a building lot (in Estella) from C. B. Jennings for the price of $50. On July 4, 1898, a picnic was held at Lincoln Falls to raise funds for the payment of the lot. The Hillsgrove Band furnished music for the picnic program, and the Rev. M. S. Blair of Blanchard, gave the afternoon address. The success of the day netted $50, the amount needed to clear the debt.

Plan for a church building were drawn up by the Rev. A. Maynard of Lock Haven and accepted by the congregation. "Under the guidance of good brothers, all the rough lumber was procured and donated."

The organized group began to extend its ministry by expanding its Sunday services to various focal points of interest, including the Bethel schoolhouse, Union School, Lincoln Falls and Bear Mountain.

The church building at Estella was constructed in 1904 and February 5, 1906, the church organization purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Homer Benninger, a house and lot in Estella for the price of $400. This property was used as a parsonage for the resident minister.

The church flourished for many years. Gradually by death and removal the congregation diminished in size. The last recorded church service was held in the parsonage on May 11, 1930.

On September 24, 1947, the church property was purchased by Mr. Ellsworth Jennings of Estella. Prominent early church families include the following names:

Miles O. Barnes                    Ellsworth Jennings

David Boyles                   J. M. Osler

Ellery Brown                   William Painter

Ellis Brown                   Ira Pardoe

J. W. Brown                   Cyrus Vargason

John Hart                   Chauncy Wheatley

The following ministers served the Estella Church:

Reverend J. L. Phoenix

Reverend R. E. Spooner

Reverend H. F. Sayles

Reverend E. L. Sharpe

Reverend George Morse

Reverend J. C. Figart

Reverend Frank B. Titus


The Disciples of Christ church was erected in Hillsgrove in 1895, and the work of the group continued for a quarter of a century. The gradual exodus of the Hillsgrove population removed the membership of the church. In 1935, James J. McLamera from Columbia County, Pennsylvania, purchased the church property. Today, the building serves Hillsgrove as a community center.

The church was served by the ministers of Estella church. The following families were prominent workers in the Hillsgrove church:

George Boyles                   Jacob Galough

Rufus Boyles                   Paul Galough

George Chapman                   Samuel Galough

Henry Darby                   Stephen E. Harrison

           Steven Vroman


MENNONITE is the name of a Protestant sect which was organized in 1525 at Zurich, Switzerland. Its beliefs are based on the teaching of the New Testament, especially those in the Sermon on the Mount. Mennonites are loyal to civil government, but will not bear arms. They live simple, pious lives and contribute to missions and education.

MENNONITES were at first a branch of the Anabaptists, a much persecuted group that had split away from the Catholic Church. Their name comes from that of Menno Simns (1492­-1559), a Catholic priest, who became the leader in the Ana­baptist movement in northern Germany about 1540.

The first colony of Mennonites in America settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1683, to escape persecution in Europe. They became pioneers in this and other sections, living hardy and useful lives, and holding to freedom of conscience, opposition to war and slavery, and such common practices as insurance and interest on money lent.

For many years, they did not think it necessary to pro­vide salaries for their ministers or bishops, or special training to fit them for their calling. Strict adherence to the German language, which they brought with them from Euro, strictness or laxity in discipline, including the "ban" of excommunication caused many divisions among them, so that there are a dozen or more separate bodies of MENNONITES in the United States, and Canada.

The 150,000 MENNONITES in the eastern half of the United States and Canada are descended from the Swiss and South German emigration to eastern Pennsylvania


On August 19, 1956, the MENNONITES opened a church in Estella, with Sunday school at 9:30 A. M, followed by Church Service at 10:30 A. M. with the Reverend Henry N. Goshaw, as the resident pastor.

The building is the former Church of Christ, and was rented from the Jennings estate, and redecorated and re­paired by the MENNONITES. The building has a seating capacity of about 150 persons.

The increasing number of Mennonite families taking per­manent residence in or near Estella presented the need for a Mennonite Church.


The EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH was formed on November 16, 1946, at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, by the union of the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Church. The uniting denominations were both organized about 1800 by the German-speaking people of eastern Pennsylvania and similar adjacent counties and states.

The Church of the United Brethren in Christ was founded through the joint efforts of the Reverend Philip Otterbein (1726-1813) who had come to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1752 at the invitation of the Reverend Michael Schlatter to be a minister among the German Reformed and of Martin Boehm (1725-1812), a minister who had been elected by lot by the Mennonites. About 1767, in Long's barn near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Otterbein was so much moved by one of Boehm's sermons that at the conclusion of the service, he fell on Boehm's neck, exclaiming that they were brethren. The Church of the United Brethren in Christ is considered to have been born at that minute.

The Evangelical Church also originated in Lancaster County. After a striking religious experience, Jacob Albright (1759-1808) or Albrecht, as he was then called, felt himself summoned to preach to his German neighbors. Following his call, he formed a new church. He was elected a bishop in this organization in 1807. As early as 1813, and again in 1816, attempts were made to unite the Brethren and the Evangelical church, but the union was not completed until November 1946. Since that date, the united groups have been known as The Evangelical United Brethren Church.


Much of the early history of the United Evangelical group took place on the virgin soil of the Central Pennsylvania territory. The Evangelical Churches of Sullivan County are in Central Pennsylvania Conference which has had a strategic development from the very beginning of the Evan­gelical Church. The fathers and founders of the church were pioneers and their days were filled with crusading events.

Beginnings are always interesting. The Mayflower of German immigration was the British ship Concord. The first colony of Germans came to America in this ship in 1683. The tide of immigration grew until more than 20,000 families settled in Pennsylvania among whom was John Albright, the father of Jacob Albright, who became the founder and the first Bishop of the Evangelical church. In this new country, these German people became worldly minded and piety was at a low ebb. At the age of thirty-two, Jacob Albright was "soundly converted" and his conversion has been the key to the type of religion for which the Evangelical Church has always stood.

Doubtless the work of the Evangelical Church in Sullivan County began when the Evangelical ministers visited the area and held meetings in private homes, in various communities during the 1840's.


The Centennial Anniversary of the St. Paul's Evangelical United Brethren Church of Dushore, was observed October 12, 1947. In honor of this event, Mr. A. B. Snyder, of the Sullivan Review Staff, compiled the historical data of the church. Much of the following material has been drawn from the memorial booklet published in 1947.




"The Evangelical Church serving the Dushore Area was of­ficially organized in the year 1847. In the minutes of the Annual Conference, held that year on March 17, in the Letort Spring Church near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the following is recorded among the appointments: Susquehanna District, Cherry District--Joseph Dick, minister.

It is altogether likely that Evangelical preachers had visited and held meetings in this community prior to 1847, and had some conversions, then at the session of Conference of 1847, the "Cherry Circuit" was formed and Joseph Dick was appointed as the first preacher in charge.

"Cherry Circuit" consisted of numerous places of worship in this section of the state, and as no church buildings were available one hundred years ago, the services were held in private homes, school houses, and in the summer at camp meetings."

The Streevy history states there were 31 preaching points, among them are the following: Muncy, Hughesville, Penn Townrhip, Unityville, Warren, Greenwood, Sonestown, Nordmont and Cherry.

"The school house on Bahr Hill (south of Dushore) was used as the first meeting place of the Dushore charge on the Cherry Circuit. The history of this building is interesting, having been first planned at a meeting held in the home of Freeman Fairchild, Thursday, January 12th, 1832, and con­structed by a committee of citizens, with Jacob Dieffenbach, president, and Roswell Phelps, clerk

Thirty-nine people contributed, some with money and others with materials or labor. The building was located on a plot of sixteen square rods of land donated by Mr. Phelps. (This is now contained in the Fairview Cemetery) and was of plank construction, 22 x 26 feet, with chimney at one end; rent free to any denomination wishing to use it for religious purposes.

In later years, the use of this building for school and public purposes was discontinued and it found use as a stable and wagon shed for the Evangelical parsonage nearby. The Rev. S. I. Shortess used it as such during his pastorate 1868-69. Later it was dismantled to make way for cemetery expansion.

On March 20th, 1849, a plot of land was secured on which the first Evangelical Church (known as the Cherry Church), was erected.

PURPOSE: "In trust whereof, to erect a house of worship for use of the members of the Evangelical Association, resi­dent in and about Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, according to the rules and discipline which may from time to time be adopted by the said Association and upon further trust and confidence that they shall and will at all times hereafter permit and suffer ministers, and preachers, belonging to the said Association who shall be duly authorized to preach, celebrate divine service and hold meetings for religious exercises therein and to and for no other intent and purpose whatever." This deed is recorded in Deed Book A, page 215, which is Sullivan's County's first Deed book. William Mullen, Recorder.

The church was built on this lot and of very rugged con­struction, about 30 x 40 feet in size. The use of the Cherry Church was discontinued in 1872 in favor of a new church in Dushore borough. On April 4, 1862, a lot was purchased ad­joining the Cherry Church property on which was constructed a dwelling house, and which served as the Evangelical parsonage until 1879.

The number of meeting places in the Cherry Circuit varied from year to year as new ones were added and others discontinued."


"In the year 1872, a decision was made to build a new church in the Borough of Dushore. Two lots were purchased in the newly surveyed Headley Addition on Headley Avenue. An Article of Agreement was made and concluded on the 13th day of May, 1872. The agreement provided for the erection of a frame or wooden church to be completed by November 1, 1872.

Specifications: (in part): Main building 38 x 60 feet outside measurement; height from floor to ceiling 18 feet inside; a vestibule to be built in front of the main building 9 x 12 feet with a section above with spire; the spire to be 24 feet above the bell­fry and to be built according to the plan and draft of said church.

It was further agreed that the building committee would furnish all the materials and deliver them to the lot and the contract price would be $725.00.


In the year 1880 the church was incorporated, under a petition made to the Sullivan County Court for a Certificate of Association under the name of "St. Paul's Church" of the Evangelical Association of North America, Dushore, Pennsylvania.


In May, 1884, plans were made for a parsonage for St. Paul's and work was started, with Lyman Baker, superintend­ent of construction. Some material and labor was furnish­ed by donation. This building was finished the following year and the Rev. W. H. Hartman was the first occupant.


Because of differences which arose in the denomination, a division occurred and the group that separated from the parent church organized in 1894 under the name of "The United Evangelical Church."


On November 16th, 1946, the Evangelical Church organ­ization and the United Brethren in Christ organization wee united and adopted the name EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH.


November 21, 1891, William B. Cox reported as a candidate for the ministry, and served in that capacity until his death in 1943.

In 1930, Clayton Hoag, a member of the Church, entered the Christian ministry of the Methodist Church. He is a member of the Wyoming Conference, Northeastern Jurisdiction.



1847-48                    Joseph Dick

1849                    A. Vallerschamp

1850                    A. Vallerschamp,

           C. W. F. Young

1851                    C. F. Deininger

           Isaac Lees



1852                    M. Zulauf

1853                    S. W. Seybert

1854                    W. H. Berry

           A. J. Bender

1855                    W. H. Berry

           Jacob Young

1857-58                    S. Aurand

1859                    Samuel Smith

1860                    Z. Hornberger

1861-62                    A. Rearick

1863                    A. H. Irvine

1864                    A. H. Irvine

           J. G. M. Swengel

1865                    S. E. Davis

           F. Metfessel

1866-67                    I. M. Pines

1868-69                    S. I. Shortess

1870-71                    T. M. Morris


1872                    T. M. Morris

1873                    H. H. Ream

1874                    A. W. Bower

1875-76                   G. E. Zehner

1877-78                    S. P. Remer

1879                   W. N. Wallis


1880                    B. F. Keller

1881-2-3                    G. L. Burson

1884-5-6                   W. H. Hartman


1887-8-9                   C. L. Sones

1890-91                   K. D. Shortness

1892-3-4                   H. Minsker

1895                   D. A. Artman

1896-7-8                   D. L. Kepner

1899-1900                   W. H. Stover

1901-2-3-4                   W. J. Campbell

1905-6-7                   J. F. Hower

1908-9-10-11                   H. R. Wilkes

1912-13-14                   R. S. Starr

1915                   W. K. Shultz

1916                   I C. Shearer

1917-18-19                   C. E. Jewell

1920-21-22-23                   A. W. Campbell

1924-25-26                   D. W. Stock

1927                   H.M. Texter, H. Davis

1928                   C. H. Bankes

1929                   D. C. Carus

           H. W. Heisley


1930-31                   H. W. Heisley

1932-33                   G. R. Mergenthaler

1934-5-6-7—8-9                   C. F. Gunther

1940-41-42                   I. C. Bailey, Jr.

1943-44                   W. F. Woods

1945-46                   Glenn E. Aderhold

1947-1956                   L. A. Fuhrman

1956                   Ray W. Schloyer


(Members serving in the First and Second World Wars)

St. Paul's Evangelical United Brethren Church


Guy Diltz                    Harland A. McCarty

Lyle Diltz                    Larue McCarty

Albert J. Hoag                   *George Scher

W. Floyd Kast                   *Edward Stiner

John Kellock                    Robert E. Pealer

*died in service


Rev. I. C. Bailey,  Jr.                   Benjamin T. Mapes

Rev. Carl F. Gunther                   William D. Marx

Alfred W. Bahr                   J. Robert Potter

Alice W. Bahr                   Kenneth L. Raub

Louis W. Bahr                    Ronald B Saxe

Raymond S. Bahr                   Albert E. Snyder, Sr.

Samuel S. Bahr                   Albert B. Snyder, Jr.

Harry D. Carpenter *                   Harold L. Wilbur

Howard R. Robbins                   Carl W. Wilbur

Raymond E. Hoag **                    Alonzo C. Young

Gordon B. Kneller

(*killed in Action in Germany)

(**killed in action in the Pacific)


In the year 1890, a group of Protestant folk, interested in the Christian life, gathered in the public school house at Lopez for instruction in the scriptures. That first sermon was preached by the Rev. J. D. Shortess on June 29, 1890. His text for the founding message of this newly established group of worshippers was I Peter 2:7--"Unto you therefore which believe He is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders dis­allowed, the same is made the head of the corner."

This group then wishing to be recognized as a regular­ly organized body, set a meeting time for congregational or­ganization. After such preliminary measures were taken and the Annual Conference had made its examination, the body was formally recognized as the Lopez United Evangelical Church.

In the early years, the Lopez appointment was served on the Dushore charge: first, by the Rev. J. D. Shortess, and in 1892 by the Rev. H. Minsker. At the Conference session of 1894, held in East Prospect, Pennsylvania, the Committee on Boundaries offered the following to be adopted: "Resolved, That Shinersville, Bernice, Lopez and Ricketts, be taken from the Dushore Circuit and constituted a circuit to be called the Bernice and Lopez circuit. Services at Bernice and Shinersville were discontinued prior to 1911.

Worship services were conducted in the public school from 1890 until the year 1896 when a congregational meeting was called for the purpose of providing a church building. A building committee and a Board of Trustees were elected and in 1896, a church building was erected in Lopez, and dedicated by the pastor, the Rev. I. E. Spangler.

On August 6, 1909, the Board of Trustees met to decide upon the purchasing of a local residence for use as a parson age. This was approved, the deed secured and the Rev. J. M. King became the first to use the new parsonage.

At the conference session of 1930, the following action was taken: "Resolved, that the Dushore and Lopez be merged into a charge to be known as, THE DUSHORE AND LOPEZ CHARGE."

Pastors serving the church are:

1890-92                   John D. Shortess

1892-94                    Harry Minsker

1894-95                    Frank H. Foss

1895-98                    I. E. Spangler

1899-1901                    D. F. Young

1902-04                    J. F Hower

1905-08                    B. F. Keller

1909-10                    J. M. King

1911-12                    J. R. Schechterly

1912-14                    W. W. Rhoads

1914-16                    C. E. Jewel

1916-18                    C. B. Shank

1918-1921                    F. E Reamaly

1922-23                    W. H. Warburton

1924-25                    M. W. Dayton

1926-27                    C. S. Messner

1927-28                    B. F. Rogers

1928-29                    H. S. Entz

1929-1930                    M. A. Bateman

1930-31                    W. H. Heisley

1932-33                    G. R, Mergenthaler

1934-39                    C. F. Gunther

1940-41                    L. C. Bailey, Jr.

1942-44                    W. F. Woods

1945-46                    G. E. Aderhold

1947                    L. A Fuhrman


The Sonestown Charge is in the Williamsport District and has always been a mission, composed of many churches; the following are now active: Sonestown, Nordmont, Franklin, Bethel, Ebenezer and Unityville.

The history of the Sonestown Church had its beginning about 1887, when the Reverend M. S. Thomas came at intervals and held services in the Sonestown Methodist Church. Later, the Evangelical group withdraw from the Methodist building and held its Sunday School in the school building at the same hour the Methodist School was in session. The ringing of the Methodist Church bell called both groups to separate sessions.

On December 19, 1889, Dr. John Rothrock deeded to the Trustees of the Evangelical Association of Sonestown for the sum of $1.00, a building lot 150 x 40 feet. The trustees of the association were: John W. Buck, L. H. Buck and George W. Simmons.

Active families of the early church included:

J. W. Buck                    C. A. Starr                    James Deninger

Harry Buck                    Frank Margargel                    Wilson Starr

Harry Buck, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Buck and R. Spencer Starr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Starr of Sonestown, entered the ministry of the Evangelical Church.

The following ministers have served the Sonestown


M. S. Thomas                   Mar. 1887-Dec. 1888

S. S. Mumy                   Dec. 1888-Mar. 1891

William Minsker                   Mar. 1891-Mar. 1893

W. J. Campbell                   Mar. 1893-Mar. 1897

G. L. Maice                   Mar. 1897-Mar. 1898

E. B. Dunn                   Mar. 1898-Mar. 1902

J. O. Biggs                   Mar. 1902-Mar. 1906

W. H. Stover                   Mar. 1906-Mar. 1907

J. Womelsdorf                   Mar. 1907-Mar. 1908

J H. Hertz                   Mar. 1908-Mar. 1912

J. R. Schechterly                   Mar. 1912-Mar. 1916

J. F. Rohrbaugh                   Mar. 1916-Mar. 1917

A. W. Campbell                   Mar. 1917-Mar. 1920

J. W. Zang                   Mar. 1920-Mar. 1922

C. S. Messner                   Mar. 1922-Mar. 1926

D. P. Smeltzer                   Mar. 1926-Mar. 1928

L. E. Kline                   Mar. 1928-Mar. 1935

Paul M. Miller                   Mar. 1935-Mar. 1939

L. P. Markley                   Mar. 1939-Mar. 1940

George M. Miller                   Mar. 1940-Mar. 1944

J. A. Coral                   Mar. 1944-Mar. 1947

Fred E. Clewell                   May 1947-June 1947

W. L. Baughman, Jr.                   July 1947-May 1952

Richard G. Hoover                   May 1952-May I954

Warren A. Baker                   May 1954


BETHEL CHURCH (Muncy Valley, Pa.)

The first records of religious services in the Bethel Area indicate that meetings were held in the Bethel school­house, the site of which had been sold by Asa Sanders to the Davidson Township School District for the sum of two dollars ($2.00).

Later, approximately 1875, a church was constructed on the same site. Finally, this building fell into disuse, and the present building, with a cornerstone dated 1904, was built. This building has been kept in good repair and modern improvements have kept pace with the changing order. Electricity, central heating and interior decora­ting have added to the charm and comfort of the little country church.

The following persons have been listed as outstanding for long years of devoted service to the church: Mr. Daniel Shires and Mrs. Louisa Deckert.

Three persons from the Bethel Church have entered the Christian ministry--Reverend W. H. Warburton, the Rev. G. Edgar Lawrenson, and the Rev. H. L. Flick.

For ministers serving the church, see the names as listed under the Sonestown Church


THE NORDMONT CHURCH has stood as a beacon light for more than a half century. In 1895, the Sullivan Lumber Company sold the church site to the Trustees of the United Evangelical Church of Nordmont for the consideration of $1.00. The building was constructed and dedicated the same year.

Mr. Daniel B. Keeler donated and sawed much of the lumber for the building. He was the chief carpenter as well as the architect. His labor was given as a service of love. Through­out the building program he was ably assisted by A. E. Botsford, Amos Foust and many other men in the community.

Mr. Keeler was a man of many talents. He was an ardent Church worker, serving as a lay preacher in the community and acting as Sunday School Superintendent wherever such schools were organized in the settlements or on the hills of the local vicinity. In the early days, he often made coffins for the dead, conducted burial services, preached the funeral sermon, and rendered a solo in a fine tenor voice. During the last year of his life, he built the Nordmont Church. This was the last work he ever did for the community. The church stands today as a fitting memorial in honor of a man whose life was given for his fellowmen. Mr. Keeler did March 26, 1897 and his funeral was the first to be held in the Nordmont church.

This church now serves the entire community, all other churches in the rural area have long since closed their doors, and the diminishing population has found a happy church home in Nordmont.

As the years have passed, the building has been kept in excellent repair and modern improvements have paralleled the age of progress.

In 1945 the church purchased from Mr. C. P. Sones, for the price of $275.00, the "old company store building". The store was formerly operated by the Nordmont Chemical Company.

The building was renovated, redecorated and converted into a Community Hall. As impressive sign, St. Paul's Evan­gelical United Brethren Community Hall, placed on the front of the building indicates the strong tie of church fellow­ship in the rural community.

The completely equipped modern kitchen and spacious dining room, answer a community need and are used for public dinners, social events, Daily Vacation Bible School, and other church related activities.

During 1956, the interior of the church was redecorated at a cost of approximately $3,500 in labor, gifts and other materials. An attractive paneling treatment in a soft green hue, and a linoleum tile floor covering transformed the drab coloring and severe lines of a ceiled rural church into a restful, cloistered retreat of beauty and produced an at­mosphere conductive to worship. The soft colored walls provide a mellow background for the new opalescent opaque memorial windows.

The generosity of members and friends of the church, who donated labor, materials and memorials, demonstrated the wide community interest in the remodeling program.

Among many gifts were the following:


Gift                 In loving memory of       Presented by

Altar Rail          Daniel E. Keeler................ Mrs. Ruth T. Fitch, Mrs. Mabel Rhodes,
........................................................... Mrs. Clara Symonds

Church Pews                         Bert Snider                                     Mrs. Lenna Snider

Lectern, Pulpit                         Joseph A. Traugh                            Mrs. Ruth T. Fitch

Communion table,                 Mrs. Hattie                                      Mrs. Mabel Rhodes

Pulpit chairs                           Traugh Karge                                     Mrs. Clara Symonds

Communion Set                    Mrs. Mary Traugh                           Mrs. Ruth Hall

Mrs. Elizabeth Sheldon

Cross and                              Bert Snider                                     Mrs. Kathryn Kelley

Candle Sticks

Offering Plates                      Mrs. Mary Traugh                           Mrs. Clara Symonds

Receiving Basin

Hymn Board                      Donald Botsford          Mr. and Mrs. Emory Botsford

Church School

Register Board

Window                                  Mrs. Carrie Fiester                        The Fiester family

Window                                  Mr. and Mrs. Kimber C. Horn     Mrs. Elsie Hunter

Mr. and Mrs. Lee Park

Window                                  Mr. and Mrs. James D. Hunter                                                Charles Hunter

Window                                  Mrs. Susan Keeler                         The Keeler family

Window                                  Mrs. Ellen Little                              The Little family

Pulpit Windows                           Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Traugh        Mr. and Mrs. Blake Fitch

SPECIAL GIFTS                                     Presented by

Front doors                                                                        Mr. and Mrs. Lee Menges

Piano                                    Mr. and Mr. Charles Schweitzer

Furnace                                    Mr. and Mrs. Blake Fitch

                                    Mrs. Clara Symonds

Sallman's Head of Christ                                    Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Snider

Paint for Church                                    Mr. and Mrs. Charles Vandine

Electric Fixtures                                    Miss Adona R. Sick

Front Door Windows                                    Mrs. Arthur Weiss, Mrs. Albert Huff, and Mrs. Emmons Mosteller

Window                                    Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Phillips

Window                                    Mr. and Mrs. William Little and family

Window                                    Mr. and Mrs. Russell Speary

* * * * * * *

The NORDMONT and SONESTOWN churches were served by the same minister. (See listing under the Sonestown church).



The German Reformed Church was established in the United States by German, Swiss and an influential minority of Dutch and Huguenot pioneers who came to Pennsylvania and adjacent colonies in the first decades of the Eighteenth century. These people from the Palatinate, which had been ravaged by war, were driven by persecution at home and gladly accept­ed William Penn's offered gift of land. These people, though poor in material things, were rich in faith and piety. They brought with them German Bibles, Prayer books, Hymnals and Catechisms but had no one to serve as a minister.

The Reformed families pressed into service, John Philip Boehm, a former school teacher from Worms. Gradually Reform­ed families from other communities called him in to preach and he satisfied the need for miles around.

In the absence of a church council or synod, the people gave him the authority to assume all the duties of a pastor. In the fall of 1725, John Philip Boehm administered the first communion among the German colonists, according to the Re­formed order. At Falkner Swamp, October 15, 1725, forty (40) persons communed, thirty-seven {37), the following month at Skippack, and twenty-four (24) at Whitemarsh in December.

Mr. Boehm draw up a constitution and divided the Church into three congregations, located at these three points. The work expanded to Hill Church, near what is now Lancaster, then to Tulpehocken, near the present Lebanon. Mr. Boshm assembled a congregation in Philadelphia and served them frequently in 1727.

A properly ordained minister, the Rev. George M. Weiss, arrived in Philadelphia in 1727. He settled in Montgomery County, where a congregation was organized and a church built, the first of the denomination in America.

Every year, the number of immigrants increased, not only from Germany, but from other states of Europe. A large number of them settled in Pennsylvania.

The Church retained a position subordinate to the Church of Holland for 46 years. On April 27, 1793, under the title, "THE SYNOD OF THE REFORMED HIGH GERMAN CHURCH OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", they declared themselves independent of the Church of Holland. The membership of the church at that time was largely resident in Pennsylvania. Small, but grow­ing congregations were organized in the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, Ohio and Nova Scotia.

The Evangelical part of the story begins shortly after 1800, when King Frederick III of Prussia united the Reformed and Lutheran Churches in Germany to form the Evangelical Church. As a result of war, poverty and sickness, they, too, migrated to America in the early 1800's. The new immigrants either landed in the East, and then went West overland, or they went to New Orleans and then up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. The first Evangelical Church in the United States was organized in 1833 by Hermann Garlichs.

By 1840, several churches had been organized and they banded together and called themselves the "GERMAN EVANGELICAL CHURCH SOCIETY OF THE WEST". In1866, the name was changed to German Evangelical Synod of the West. The word "German" was finally dropped and the name finally became, "THE EVANGELICAL SYNOD OF NORTH AMERICA".

It was this group which united with the Reformed Church to become the EVANGELICAL AND REFORMED CHURCH. This union took place at Cleveland, Ohio, on June 26, 1934.


ST. PETERS CHURCH is located in Elkland Township, fifteen miles west of Dushore. Records seem to indicate that a log house was established on December 13, 1805, where a local German minister, in good esteem, held services. The brief record gives an account of hunters attending meetings in this log church as early as December 16, 1805. A new church replaced the log structure near the end of the nineteenth century

The earliest written records of the church state that the work began in 1869-1870 when the Rev. John Wolbach, a minister of the Reformed Church, served the needs of the people. The work was officially organized June 23, 1872, with 21 charter members, 13 men and 8 women, who were confirmed and received into membership by the Rev. John Wolbach. The organization of the church was accomplished by the Rev. J. H. Schloeppig, the successor of the Rev. John Wolbach.

The following members made up the first consistory:

ELDERS                   DEACONS

George L Rosbach                    Frank Beinlich

Henry Kobbe                    Charles Hugo

Lewis I. Herman                    Frederick Schmidt

George Kunsman

The Rev. Joseph H. Schloeppig began his ministry in April 1872, and received $50.00 as a salary for one year.

Services, given in German, were held every three weeks in two assigned school houses. Minutes of all meetings from 1872 to 1887 were recorded in German.

After that date, the records were written in English. In the summer of 1873, the congregation purchased from Charles Hugo, for the sum of $175.00, one acre of ground upon which to erect a church building, and establish a burial plot.

At various times from 1874 to 1885, the following names appear in the records as person who served the church in official capacity, either as Deacon or Elder:

George L. Rosbach                   John Rosbach

Henry Kobbe                   John S. Carman

Louis Herman                   Charles Hugo

Frederick Schraeder                   Christian Heinz

Frantz Beinlich                   Frederick Kobbe

Frederick Schmidt                   Henry Rogge

The newly erected church building was built in the spring of 1874, and dedicated by the pastor, the Rev. J. H. Schloeppig, June 28, 1874. A guest minister, the Rev. R. Bedford, an Episcopalian, took part in the dedicatory service. The Rev. Schloeppig spoke in German and used as his text, St. Matthew 12:13--"My house shall be called a house of prayer."

The Rev. R. Bedford spoke on the text Psalm 5:7--"But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of mercy, and in Thy fear will I worship towards Thy holy temple." The dedication brought great joy to the community. The dedication offering was $9.41.

A Sunday School was opened in the spring of 1874 and continued during the summer months with children, youth and adults participating. Mr. Charles Hugo, the first Sunday School superintendent, was assisted by Mr. Fred Schraeder.

As time passed and the St. Peter's area became more and more depopulated, services were held rather intermittently by the pastor of the Dushore-Overton charge. For many years, the church was closed. However, on April 17, 1938, it was reopened with the Rev. C. B. Meyers, from the Dushore Re­formed Church as pastor. Mr. Myers continued to serve the church until his retirement in 1951.

The Rev. Eldon E. Ehrhart became the pastor in 1952. A growing congregation and an expanding program indicated renewed interest and marked progress at St. Peter's Church. By 1954, the church building was wholly inadequate for the growing congregation. Expansion plans were considered, but due to wet ground, it was deemed unwise to excavate a base­ment for church school classrooms.

After much deliberation, the group decided to retain the old church for a fellowship Hall to be used for Educational and Recreational purposes. A new church was built directly across the road on the land donated for the purpose. This building project was completed in 1955. The beautiful edifice is modern in every respect and completely equipped with kitchen, several Sunday School rooms, and other educa­tional facilities.

The construction of a new building had a magnetic effect upon the entire community, and people from far and near and those of all faiths cooperated with a beautiful spirit of good will and generously donated time, materials, labor and funds. The actual cost in cash for St. Peter's church was $21,000.

However, with all the donations of material, equipment, labor, the total valuation of the new building is about $35,000. The building project was completed in record time and now stand not only as a monument to the faith and leadership of those whose sacrificial efforts made it a reality, but also as a beacon light to meet the spiritual needs of the community and in this way brings Glory and Honor to GOD.




German Reformed Church and Parsonage
German Street, Dushore, PA
May 1910
Source: Old Photo Auctioned on eBay in April 2007


The REFORMED CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER dates back into history when the Germans who came to Sullivan County built the log church in Cherry Township in 1825. It was a community church (See Friedens (Peace) Church--Lutheran) with all de­nominations worshipping together. Some years later, a frame church way erected on the same grounds and called the Germany church. This, too was a community church. The Reverend John Miller was the first minister and he preached in the German language.

A few years later, the Germans from this congregation and members from Thrasher Church (See Zion Evangelical Luth­eran Church) found a new organization under the pastorate of the Reverend Phaon H. Kohler in 1880. This new organization was called the "REDEEMER'S REFORMED CHURCH" of Dushore. The new congregation held services in a local building for a number of years. In 1885, plans for a new church were laid and a lot purchased on German Street under the pastorate of the Reverend C. N. Mutchler.

The construction of a church edifice was well under way when a great storm of September 30, 1896, swept the Eastern states and nearly demolished the building which was moved 18 inches off the foundation. However, the building was completed February 1897 and officially named "THE REFORMED CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER", but always locally known as "THE GERMAN REFORMED CHURCH".

On January 27, 1935, during the fiftieth anniversary year of the congregation, the building was completely destroyed by fire. Many of the church records were destroyed by fire, and therefore, the written history of the church remains incomplete. The building was insured for $4,000. Church services contin­ued and were regularly held in the parsonage.

A new chapel was constructed on the site of the old building and new improvements have been added from time to time. The improvements include the installation of a Wurlitzer electric organ in 1953, and an oil furnace in 1954. A $4000 expansion and redecorating project was completed in 1955. At the same time, the kitchen was enlarged and modern­ized and the sanctuary was completely redecorated and new pews installed.

Twenty pastors have served this congregation. The min­ister of the "REFORMED CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER' has always served other churches in the area. The several churches served were known as the Dushore-Overton Charge. The number of churches vary from year to year. The following have been included in the pastoral appointments served by the minister of the Dushore Church: St. Paul's Church in Overton: St. Peter's Church in Elkland Township: The Bernice Presbyterian Church.

St. Paul's Church is located in Bradford County, and therefore, not included in the history of the Sullivan County Churches.

The following ministers have served the charge:

Reverend John Miller                   1825-1839

Reverend Schmeckenbecker                   1839-1845

*Mr. Jacob Hottenstein (lay leader)                   1845-1880

Reverend Phaon H. Kohler                   1880-1882

Reverend C, H. Mutchler                   1882-1888

Reverend George H. Miller                   1888-1893

Reverend C. P. Kehl                   1893-1895

Reverend Elias S. Noll                   1896-1900

Reverend P. H. Hoover                   1900-1909

Reverend Malcomb P. LaRose                   1909-1911

Reverend Titus G. Josat                   1911-1914

Reverend Gustave Teske                   1915-1917

Reverend Walter J. Yingst                   1917-1920

Reverend A. F, Dreisback                   1920-1923

Reverend William F. Schacht                   1923-1925

Reverend E. C. Musselman (supply)                   1925-1927

Reverend W. B. Duttera                   1928-1929

Reverend E. D. Musselman (supply)                   1929-1930

Reverend Clement B. Meyers                   1930-1951

Reverend Elden Ehrhart                   1952--

*Records seem to indicate that from 1845 to 1880, the church had no regular pastor. During this time a layman, Jacob Hottenstein served as leader. At various times during the period, baptisms and other official functions of the church were carried out by supply ministers. The following persons served in this capacity:

Reverend Carl Erle                    Reverend John Wolbach

Reverend John Steinmetz                    Reverend Joseph Schlappig

Reverend H. Armstrong


Reverend Xavier Kaier
As A Young Priest
Taken About 1870
Pastor of St. Basil's in Dushore
Photo Courtesy of John Curtin Lieberman


THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH is the body of Christians which accepts the Pope as its head on earth. It is under the spiritual leadership of Pope Pius XII.

This church in the United States of America dates back to the fifteen priests who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to the New World.

A settlement, later discontinued, was made at St. Augustine, Florida. The continuous history of the Church in the colonies began at St. Mary's in 1634, in Maryland.


Dushore, Pennsylvania

Much of the early history of Saint Basil's Roman Catholic church took place on the virgin soil of Sullivan County. The devotion and diligence of the priests who served, undergirded by the unity and solidarity of the church and the community, have resulted under the blessing of God in epochal events and achievements. Events far beyond the boundaries of Sullivan County have much to do with the history and serve as a background for the dramatic story of the early beginnings of Saint Basil's church.

The history and early growth of the church is so clearly related to the life and work of Father Xavier A. Kaier, that it seems not only fitting, but also proper to record the history from his manuscript which was prepared for publication during the closing years of his pastorate.

Father Kaier passed to his reward March 24, 1921, at the age of eighty-four. His grave is marked near the entrance of the church. His work, the result of fifty-eight years of devotion and service, remains a reality of religion and life, sacred and revered in the memories and traditions of the place and the people.

The following story was written by Father Kaier and published in a special edition of Catholic Light in 1916:

"St. Basil's parish was organized in 1836 by Bishop Kenrick. There were two Catholic families settled in the confines of the parish as early as 1818 and 1820. There were Germans and were engaged in building a stone road from Berwick to Elmira, on which, after it was completed, two coaches, each drawn by four horses, passed regularly over said road, the one during the day, and the other at night.

The name of those two early Catholic colonizers were Dennis Thall and Joseph Litzelschob. When the public road was completed, they cast their eyes about for a suitable place for their future habitation and remembering the giant hemlock trees that grew in the vicinity of the present Dushore, they believed that the soil from which trees of such tremendous growth sprung, must be very fertile. They acted on this belief and found that the soil was good, and the land for sale at a very low cost."

"Two English speaking families came a few years later, the families of Hugh Cavanaugh and Cornelius Harrington. In the year 1836, there may have been thirty-two (32) Catholic families located in this community. Among the heads of those families was a man of more than ordinary talents. This man was James Dunn, who came here about 1832, and was still living when I first came here, as was also one of the first named two settlers living nine or ten years after my arrival here.

One day, while Mr. Dunn, with some other neighbors, was helping to pay his taxes by working on the public roads, a non-Catholic, Mr. Fairchild, also worked out his taxes. During their conversation, while working together, Mr. Dunn asked Mr. Fairchild whether he had any idea as to what Cath­olic diocese this place belonged. Mr. Fairchild answered that although he was not posted on questions of that kind, he had reasons to believe that Dushore belonged to the Philadelphia diocese.

Mr. Dunn then asked whether the said Mr. Fairchild could give him the name of the Bishop of Philadelphia and his correct address. In reply, he received the answer that he was not able to give the name of the street or the number of the Bishop's residence, but he thought if he addressed his letter to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia, it would reach him without fail.

Acting on this information, Mr. Dunn wrote the letter, calling the attention of the Bishop, who received it in due time, to the pressing wants of the Catholics in the new settlement, telling him how badly the people needed the con­solations of religion, adding that the parents or the child­ren thus far born in the new community were praying to God to send them a priest, to administer the sacrament of Baptism and bring comfort to the dying.

In those days, the mail facilities were slow and uncertain. Nevertheless, in the course of a month or so, Mr. Dunn received word from Bishop Kenrick, who then was the Ordinary of the Philadelphia Diocese, that he would be in Wilkes-Barre on a certain day.

If Mr. Dunn would meet the Bishop in Wilkes-Barre, he would be glad to accompany him to Dushore, to learn the state of affairs and to administer to the spiritual needs of the Catholic families in the new settlement. Mr. Dunn had his own horse and buckboard, and the seventy or more miles to Wilkes-Barre, through the woods and bad roads, were as nothing,, as compared to the zeal and fervor that were consuming him as he started off on his long trip.

Bishop Kendrick was in Wilkes-Barre on the date he promised, and he accompanied Mr. Dunn to Dushore. On the way from Wilkes-Barre to Dushore the Bishop learned from Mr. Dunn all about the men, women and children, who comprised the little Catholic colony. Among other things, he learned that Darby Deegan and his wife had only a short time before arrived from Dublin, and as Bishop Kendrick was a Dublin man, Mr. and Mrs. Deegan's birthplace decided where Bishop Kendrick's abiding place was to be while he was in Dushore, offering up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every morning and administer­ing the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation in the afternoon to those who were of proper age. The Bishop advised the people as to the manner in which they should proceed, directing them first to buy land for a cemetery, then clear a place or a small chapel, adding as he took his departure, that when they had accomplished these things, Mr. Dunn should write him and he would visit them again.

In 1838, after Bishop Kenrick had received a letter from Mr. Dunn informing him that the chapel was built and the cem­etery fenced in, the Bishop answered that he was to be in Milton, Pennsylvania, soon, and when he got through administering to the spiritual wants of the people in that com­munity, he would visit Dushore again, and would be accompan­ied by two priests. One of the two priests was a brother of the Bishop, the Rev. Peter R. Kenrick, newly ordained, who had a few years before arrived from the old country, prior to the second visit of the Bishop to Dushore, and who later be­came the Most Rev. Peter . Kenrick, D.D., Bishop of St. Louis.

The party arrived from Milton on the evening of July 3, 1838. The blessing of the church and cemetery took place the following day, July 4th, and after again administering to the spiritual needs of the people of the settlement, Bishop Kenrick made arrangements that the Rev. John Vincent O'Reilly, then stationed at Silver Lake, Susquehanna County, Pa., should visit the English speaking portion of the congregation every three months, and that Father Steinbacher, S. J., who had re­cently purchased land in the Nipponese Valley on which to found a Catholic settlement, should visit the German Catholics of Dushore, four times a year.

In 1848 the Bishop sent the Rev. Basil Shorb to Towanda. He was the first resident priest in Towanda and Dushore was placed in his charge. The Catholic community in Dushore had grown to a considerable extent, so much so that Father O'Reilly found it necessary to build an addition to the origin­al chapel, shortly before Father Shorb arrived from Towanda.

In 1852, Dushore got its fist resident pastor, Father McNaughton, who was born in Scotland, received his religious education in Germany in a Benedictine Monastery, and there­fore was able to speak German as fluently as his own language. In the meanwhile, Bishop Kenrick had become the Archbishop of Baltimore, and the Venerable John Nepomucene [Newman] was made Bishop of Philadelphia.

Father McNauhgton, after doing missionary work for a few ears in Scotland, came to this country in the year above named, and applying to Bishop Newman, was received into the Philadelphia diocese. Father McNaughton remained in this parish five or six years and then returned to the old country, and died there, after which there was an interregnum. The parish affairs were managed by the members of the Friars Minors of St. Bonaventure's Monastery, Allegheny, New York. A singular coincident in connection with this history is that when I entered the Seminary in 1859, I was instructed for a short time br Father Samuel, O.F.M., who was among the Fran­ciscan Fathers, who had served Dushore.

The Rev. William Carroll, who came from the diocese of Albany, was the last resident pastor before me. Father Car­roll had charge of the parish for eighteen or twenty months and died in the beginning of January 1863. His remains were taken to Philadelphia for interment. After his death, sick calls were attended from Towanda, but the people were without Mass for nearly three months.

I was ordained on the fifth day of May 1862, by the Rt. Rev. J. F. Wood, who later on became the first archbishop of Philadelphia, and was assigned to Allentown, arriving here on the 15th of May, the same month. I was sent to assist the Rev. Michael McEnroe, and remained there until April 2, 1863. Bishop Wood had gone to Rome, the late Rt . Rev . William O'Hara, D. D., was Vicar General and the latter informed me that Bishop Wood had left instructions that I was to go to Dushore and was to be there for Easter Sunday. I received the notice on Wednesday of Holy Week and was in a quandary, for I did not know where Dushore was, nor did anybody that I asked for information know.

Finally, I thought of the postmaster, he knew at least something. He knew that Dushore was in Sullivan County, and that I should take the train to a place called Muncy, Lycoming County. I did as I was directed, arriving at said place about dusk . I was informed that the stage left Hughesville, six miles distant, the next day. This stage was going to LaPorte, the county seat of Sullivan County, where I arrived late in the evening of Good Friday. I had to be in Dushore the next morning. This was imperative. The people of Dushore had not had Mass for three months. I learned this from Patrick Bowles, the first Catholic I met in Sullivan County, the night I had to stay in LaPorte. He drove a team for the Tannery Company and called to see me at the Hotel.

I was informed that the mail carrier would be in LaPorte the next day, April fourth, in the afternoon, that he used a horse and buckboard and that I could ride out with him.

I told the proprietor of the hotel that such an arrangement would not suit me as I learned that there were a large number of farmers who had to be notified of my coming. My eagerness must have impressed my host, who then informed me that he had a team and that he would drive me himself. We left LaPorte for Dushore about 7:30 A. M. About half way to Dushore, we met two men in a buckboard on their way to LaPorte and by the reverence of their salutation, I recognized them as Catholics, and found out that they belonged to the Dushore parish. I told them to notify their neighbors that there would be Mass the next morning, Easter Sunday. They assured me that my wishes would be carried out. The next man I met was the late Colonel James Deegan, who also was on the way to LaPorte, the county seat. He was the son of the Mr. and Mrs. Darby Deegan, previously mentioned. After a short introduction, he turned about at once and accompanied me to Dushore.

As this was Saturday and the day the farmers were accus­tomed to come to town and do their shopping, we found quite a number of them in town when we arrived there. He drove up to the Exchange Hotel and left word there and also at the Dushore House and the two stores that were in the town, that the priest who just arrived was to offer up the sacrifice of the Mass the following day, Easter Sunday, at 10:30 A. M. I was exceeding­ly surprised to find such a large gathering of Catholics on that first Easter Sunday that I spent here.

The old chapel that was here could scarcely hold half of the people that came to hear Mass that day. I could not under­stand how it was possible that people scattered and living in all directions could receive word in such a short time.

The priest's house was a four-room brick structure, built by Father McNaughton, some eleven years prior to my coming here. There were two sleeping rooms, a kitchen and a dining room, the latter serving as a sitting room, parlor, and office. The house was in an uncared for condition after Father Carroll's death. I remained with Colonel Deegan for two weeks while my future home was being made habitable.

The next day, which proved to be Easter Sunday, was a day of great joy for me and the people. How devout was their attitude in the church! What a pleasure beamed from heir countenances as they waited around the church to meet me after the Mass! What blessings they asked God to shower upon me, when they learned that I was to abide with hem! I have abided with them, I never had any desire to leave them. My work was so great that I never had any time for thought, save doing the best I could for the success of the work I had in hand, for the spiritual welfare of the numerous souls entrust­ed to my care.

So eager were the people to attend the services that, while they lived, for the most part in log cabins and had to struggle to wrest a living from their small clearings, there was never a Sunday or a holiday when there were not from one hundred and fifty to two hundred teams of oxen and horses in Dushore, the ox team predominating about four to one, bringing the people to Mass.

There were about seven or more missions attached to the parish when I arrived here. One was worthy of special note it was a place called McGovern's. Edward McGovern, at his own expense, had built a church and his son, later the Rt. Rev. Thomas McGovern, Bishop of Harrisburg, toiled at the actual work of building this church. Father O'Reilly always made the McGovern home his residence on his visits to Sullivan County. Two grand-children of Edward McGovern survive. One is a pries at St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland; and the other, a daughter, is a member of a religious congregation.

Other Missions I had to attend were Sugar Ridge, Paine Road (now Wilmot), Laporte, Muncy Valley, Hillsgrove, Browntown, Bernice and Little Mehoopany. In some of these missions, there were small chapels. In others, Mass was celebrated in the homes of the people in the different communities where there was no church or chapel.

One incident that occurred the first day I served the people of Dushore, April 5, 1863, was the marriage of Jerry, Deegan and Ella Smith. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Darby Deegan and was a soldier in the Union Army, and at this time was home on furlough.

Young, Deegan and his promised wife, who by the way, was not a Catholic, called on me in the afternoon with the request that they be married. I felt that I could not grant this request, because it was violating the laws of the Church, but the young Deegan was persistent. He reminded me that we were living in war time and that he was on a furlough, that it would expire the next day, that he and Ella Smith were sweethearts from their youth

Also, that a bullet might end his career any day and most earnestly he desired that the girl whom he loved so dearly should have whatever benefit that his name should be to her if he died in battle. The argument appealed to me, and I decided to grant their request. I officiated at their marriage that Easter afternoon and the next day I wrote to Bishop Wood stating the case and requesting that a dispensation be granted. I got a reply from the Bishop stating that the dispensation was granted and that my acting as I did under the circumstances was approved for that particular occasion, but, that in the future, I must not assume such authority.

God rest those dear friends of my early days! Mrs. Deegan became a Catholic and there was not a more loyal one in all my parish. The fortieth anniversary of their marriage came on another Easier Sunday and I had the family to dinner. My housekeeper had baked a wedding cake, but insisted that Mr. and Mrs. Deegan should take it to their home, so that their friends should have a little reminder of their anniversary.

How joyous was Mr. Deegan on that occasion, he sang war songs and he danced. He was full of happiness and he predicted that himself and Mrs. Deegan would live to celebrate their golden and heir diamond jubilee. Alas for human hopes! Six months later I assisted at the obsequies of my friend and Mrs. Deegan died soon after.

There is another incident that I would like to record in regard to this parish. It happened on Candlemas Day. There is a particular reason why I am not anxious to mention the year.

I was preparing to celebrate Mass when Michael Walls came to me with the request that I should at once come to his house to baptize twins that had come during the previous night. He was persistent because he said that the neighbors were of the opinion that the babes were so weak they would not live. I told him to give them private baptism, but this he would not listen to. I told him to wait until after Mass. This request he listened to with as much graciousness as he did my direc­tions to baptize them privately. He told me that his case was one of life or death and that there was no haste in the matter of the living, that those who were waiting to hear Mass could wait until I returned. The roads were bad, the distance some seven or eight miles. He had his horse and buckboard waiting and at last I yielded. I went and baptized the twins and the people assembled to hear Mass waited until nearly noon. One of the twins that I baptized that day, afterwards became my housekeeper.

Another incident that I will narrate happened on the first Christmas that I was here. In those early days, we had midnight Mass and an immense congregation was present. Sudden­ly the floor gave way and what looked like a panic seemed imminent. I had familiarized myself with conditions and knew the floor could only drop a foot, or fifteen inches until it reached solid ground, because there was no basement. I address­ed the people, telling them this fact, that they could not go down far; but, nevertheless, for the time being there was great excitement and confusion.

The people seemed to deaf and horror-stricken. They jammed the doorways and some went out of the windows. We had no organ. We had a choir and some volunteer musicians. Soon the musicians saw what was happening and began to play the Adeste Fidelis and some other Christmas hymns, The choir began to sing. Order was soon restored and we finished the services. About one-half or three-fourths of the floor space had given way on that occasion. Some of the people were badly bruised but none seriously injured.

We had a mission in 1865, the first ever given in the parish. The missioner in charge was the Rev F. X. Weniner, S. J. Such a reawakening zeal as was manifested for nearly two weeks, could not be excelled. From early morning until late at night, Dushore was thronged with all kinds of vehicles, including farm and spring wagons and buckboards. Many teams of oxen and horses were in evidence, more that were ever seen before or since, assembled at one time. About fourteen or fifteen missions have been since given. Of the fifteen missions, the first two were given by Jesuits, twelve by Redemptorists, the last by Passionist Fathers.

In the building of our new church, we exercised great care, giving the subject much consideration. Lumber was cheap, hemlock selling from six to seven dollars a thousand. We thought that a frame church, one hundred feet by fifty feet would answer all purposes, and could be built for about four-thousand dollars.

I wrote to the Bishop, giving him the views of the con­gregation, and the Bishop replied that if we could build a frame church for the amount named to proceed with the work, that a temporary church would suffice until the people were better circumstanced, when they could erect a permanent structure.

We invited bids on the frame structure and were surpris­ed when we received them to learn that one was $10,000 and the other was $10,500. These figures ended all thoughts of a frame church.

We next turned our attention to brick construction. We had suitable clay in the parish and a Mr. Arned, a resident of Towanda, was recommended to us as a person who could manufacture the bricks. We entered into a contract with Mr. Arned to make the brick, contracting for 200,000 bricks at $7 a thousand.

Mr. Arned opened a brick yard in the parish and after the clay was burned, pronounced the brick of superior quality. We engaged the services of an expert bricklayer, who unhesitatingly condemned every brick. Mr. Arned was not satisfied, so we engaged the services of Mr. Perry, an architect from Binghamton, New York. Mr. Perry was very severe in his con­demnation, going so far as to declare that if the brick were used, the walls would fall down before they were erected. This opinion did not satisfy Mr. Arned, who insisted that the bricks were all that could be desired.

Lawsuits are unprofitable undertakings. The man who wins, loses--and we compromised, buying the brick at half price. We did not lose as much as this compromise would in­dicate, because we sold many of the bricks to people in the parish, who were building chimneys, for which purpose they were suited.

We next turned our attention to stone construction and Patrick Fogarty of Monroeton was recommended to us as a com­petent person to take charge of the work. We entered into a contract with Mr. Fogarty. He was to quarry the stone, we were to haul it, and he was to lay the foundation. The quarrying of the stone was done satisfactorily, but as the work of laying the foundation proceeded, we discovered that Mr. Fogarty was not a master of his calling and we concluded from the nature of his work that he had no idea of the weight that the foundation had to support. We compelled him to stop and again sent for Architect Perry. Mr. Perry condemned the work and ordered that it should be all torn out. Here was another threatened lawsuit and here again we compromised. By these two failures, the building of our church was delayed two years.

These disappointments were the cause of much worry to many in the congregation, who feared that a church would never be built and that if it was built, it would never be paid for. We profited by our disappointments and the next time we began, we began right, entering into a contract according to certain regulations, the contractor bonded for perfect work

We engaged Mr. Devine, a master mason from Towanda, and Mr. Devine engaged skilled mechanics, stone masons from Towanda, Williamsport, Binghamton and New York and the church, as it now stands, was finally completed.

Our people played an important part in this construction. We were for two winters hauling materials. The quarry was four miles away; the sand was twice as far away, while the lime had to be hauled from Montoursville, a distance of thirty-six miles. Oxen were the principal power employed in hauling. Everybody was helping and I was busy every day, inspecting the masonry and seeing that the teamsters hauled full loads. This was considerable of a hardship with the snow and slush up to my knees but my presence was necessary to keep up the courage of the people.

A great many of the people in this parish predicted and feared that after I concluded, for reasons fully explained, to build a stone church that it was too much of an undertaking at that time and that the sheriff would sell it before it was under roof. I was well aware of the extraordinary amount of work, anxiety and worry, on my part and theirs, under the circumstances all new beginners and struggling to make a living.

Nevertheless, the work was commenced and finished and the people now have a church which is a credit to the parish and unless a fire or an earthquake should take place, the building will be as solid and firm in five-hundred years from now as it is today.

If we built a frame or even a brick church, it would require a few coats of paint from time to time, which in the course of years would involve a considerable amount of expenditure, all of which is saved in a stone construction, even lf it should last for centuries."

The cornerstone of the church was laid October 28, 1868. Rt. Rev. William O'Hara, D. D., first Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, officiating.

The Lehigh Valley had been extended to McKune's nine miles below Tunkhannock. I left Dushore on the 26th, spend­ing the night in Tunkhannock, meeting Bishop O'Hara at ten o'clock the next day. We had dinner in Tunkhannock and drove into Dushore, arriving there between nine and ten o'clock that night. Accompanying Bishop O'Hara was a young man from St. Patrick's parish, Bishop O'Hara's last field of labor in Philadelphia. This young man was Patrick Shields, brother of Anthony Shields, both of whom were ordained later for the diocese of Scranton. Three priests besides myself were pre­sent at the ceremony: The Rev. Francis Buethe, Honesdale; The Rev. Patrick Toner, Towanda; The Rev. John P. O'Malley, Athens. There were two sermons, Bishop O'Hara spoke in English and Father Buethe in German.

Bishop O'Hara was going from Dushore to Towanda, and we used two vehicles. Father O'Malley, Father Buethe and I were in a surrey, Father Toner and Bishop O'Hara following in a single carriage. We had gone perhaps half way when we hear someone calling us to stop.

The axle of the carriage in which Bishop O'Hara and Father Toner were riding had broken, and Father Toner, with­out stripping the harness, had mounted and overtaken us. We turned around and went back for Bishop O'Hara, the five of us riding in the surrey to Towanda.

The church was nearly three years in the building. This fact is brought to the attention of all who enter through the main entrance, where are to be seen the most ornamental and serviceable fonts that compel attention. They are semi-circular niches in the masonry forming the side walls, each having its stone holy water basin. On the inside of each niche is a marble slab, each with its carved inscription. On one slab the inscription is as follows:

You who in after years come to worship here, remember in your pious prayers, those who were instrumental in building this church. The painting and frescoing of this church were finished in April, A.D. 1875, and the pews were put in in the fall of 1876."

On the slab in the opposite wall the inscription is as follows:

"The cornerstone of this church was laid by the Rt. Rev. Bishop O'Hara, D. D. on October 28th, A.D. 1868, and the first Mass was celebrated by its pastor, the Rev. Xavier A. Kaier, March 12th, A.D. 1871."

On a large marble slab in the rear wall of one of the sacristies practically the whole history of the parish is covered, as follows:

"In the year 1836, the Rt Rev. P. Kenrick, D.D., then Bishop of Philadelphia visited this place and said the first Mass here. The Catholics who were but few in number, built a small frame church the year following at his desire. This building was enlarged in the year 1847, leaving its dimensions 30 x 70 feet. From 1838 to 1848, this mission was attended four times year by the Rev. J. V. O'Reilly from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and the Rev. Steinbacher, S. J. from Nipponese Valley, Lycoming County, Pa.

In the year 1852, Dushore received its first resident pastor, the Rev. James McNaughton. He was succeeded by the Rev. Samuel and the Rev. Felix O.S.F., 1858, who were here one year each; from 1861 to January 1863, the Rev. W. Carroll was in charge

The present pastor, the Rev. Xavier A. Kaier, came here on the fourth of April, 1863. He commenced to build this church in the year 1868. The cornerstone was laid by the Rt. Rev. William O'Hara, D. D., Bishop of Scranton, on the 28th of October, the same year. The first Mass was cele­brated in the new church by the pastor, the Rev. Xavier A. Kaier, on the third Sunday of Lent, 1871. The sermon on this occasion was preached by the Rev. P. Toner of Towanda.

Messrs. Cornelius Cronin, James Fitzsimmons and Thomas Murphy were chosen collectors by the pastor and helped much to relieve him in his laborious undertaking while the church was building. The mason work was done by J. Devine of Towanda."

"Dushore May 18. 1872."

Father Kaier tells an interesting story that has to do with the visits of Bishop Kenrick in 1838. Father Kaier says:

"As I have previously stated, it was through the instru­mentality of Mr. Dunn that Bishop Kenrick first visited Dushore. Mr. Dunn lived to a good old age and I frequently visited him. On one occasion, he referred to the second visit of Bishop Kenrick, who later became Archbishop of Baltimore, and to Bishop Kenrick's brother, who was then Archbishop of St. Louis. He said he would like very much to write to Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis and ask him if he remembered, when as a young priest, he visited Dushore with his brother, then Bishop of this diocese.

I told Mr. Dunn that such action would be entirely proper. Mr. Dunn wrote the letter. Imagine his great joy when, in a very short time, he received a reply from Archbishop Kenrick, stating that he did remember the visit very distinctly. Mr. Dunn died a few weeks later.

Some months later, the Rev. Francis E Tourscher, O.S.A., D. D., of Villanova College, was visiting me and I reported this incident to him. When Father Tourscher returned to Villanova, he mentioned the incident to a member of the college faculty, the Rev. Thomas Middleton, O.S.A., D.D., who is interested in Catholic historical matters. This professor requested Father Tourscher to write to me to see if I could secure this letter. I went to see Mrs. Dunn, who informed me that the deceased husband's last instructions to her concerned that letter; his dying wish being that it should be inclosed in the coffin and buried with him."


Saint Basil's Church, erected in Father Kaier's time, located on a commanding eminence in Dushore, is still in use, and is worthy of taking first rank in the churches of the diocese. During the years the edifice has been redecorated from time to time, and equipped with modern improvements, decorations and furnishings. The eight foot painted stations of the Cross on the side walls are noted for their value, distinctive artistry and superb beauty.

The Dushore Catholic cemetery antedates the Towanda cemetery and for many years Catholics from Towanda were buried in Dushore. New tracts of land have been purchased to provide for the needs of the parish, and adequate care has improved and beautified the cemetery.

An impressive parochial school is attached to the parish. Even though it is a vital part of the church history, it is given only passing mention here, because the full story is recorded in "The Schools of Sullivan County", written by Myrtle Magaral, to be published in a separate volume.

PASTORS OF SAINT BASIL'S PARISH (according to Baptismal registry)

Father Samuel, O. S. F.                    1858-1859

Father Felix, O. S. F.                    1859-1860

Father Michael O. S. F.                    1860-1862

Father William Carroll                    1861-1862

Father Xavier A. Kaier                    1863-1921

Father Michael Sweeney                    1921-1933

Father John J. King                    1933-1942

Father Maurice Hughes                    1942-1945

Father A. J. Rafferty                    1945-1948

Father Harold Kennedy                    1948-1949

Father Daniel Langan                    1949-1951

Father Joseph Griffen                    1951-1952

Father Leo Granahan                   1952--

ASSISTANT PASTORS OF ST. BASIL'S PARISH (according to Baptismal Registry)

Father John Costello                    1871-1875

Father J A. Mullen                   1875-1877

Father Patrick Hurst                    1878-1879

Father M. J . O'Reilly                    1879-1881

Father R. H. Walsh                    1881-1888

Father J. A. Enright                    1888-1892

Father Francis Mack                    1892-1896

Father B. E. O 'Byrne                    1906-1907

Father William Flynn                    1908-1913

Father Joseph Gagion                    1913-1916

Father John J. King                    1916-1918

Father James A . Boland                    1918-1918

Father Thomas Needham                    1918-1921

Father Daniel McCarthy                    1937-1938

Father Donald Fallon                    1938-1940

Father Cyril Cosgrove                    1940-1940

Father Edmund Byrne                    1940-1941

Father John A. Carroll                    1941-1944

Father James J . Kane                    1944-1945

Father Joseph Lawler                   1945-1947

Father Peter Alisauskas                   1947-1953

Father William Mellody                   1953

MEMBERS OF ST. BASIL'S PARISH who have entered the work of Religion:

PRIESTS:                   Year Ordained

Thomas McGovern                   1861

Edward Martin                   1865

John P. Martin                   1865

John Bergen                   1873

Timothy Donahue                   1873

Daniel Cusick                   1882

Henry C. Jordan                   1892

Francis B. Tourscher                   1898

Peter P. O'Neill                   1903

James McGee                   1915

Eugene Carroll                   1917

John Brennan                   1918

Joseph Miner                   1920

John Walsh                   1922

Edward Rouse                   1938


Name                                     Name in Religion                          Religious Order

Dennis Rouse                                    Brother Innocent           Missions of St. Francis Xavier

Michael Rouse                                    Brother Bede                                    "

Joseph W. Ambs                                    Brother Basil                                     Maryknoll


Name                                       Name in Religion             Religious Order

Gertrude Thall              Sister Mary Joseph                                      Sisters of the Holy Child

Anna Thall                                      Sister Mary Anacleta       Franciscan

Nora Harrington      Sister Mary Paula               Congregation of the Good Shepherd

Margaret Coyle                                      Sister Mary Francis Xavier                                 "   "

Elizabeth Coyle                                      Sister Mary Lucy                "   "

Julia Coyle                                      Sister Mary of St. Rose Virginia                               "   "

Ellen Coyle                                      Sister Mary Rose                "   "

Helen Grace                                      Sister Mary of Blessed Imelda                                "   "

Mary Sando                                      Sister Mary St. Edward       "   "

Catharine McEneany               Sister Catharine     Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul

Theresa Waples                                      Sister Josephine                  "   "   "

Ellen Brennan                Sister M. Stephen                Sisters of Saint Joseph

Mary McDonald                                      Sister Cele Joseph               "   "

Anna Scanlin                                      Sister M. Thomas               "   "

Sarah Scanlin                                      Sister M. Joseph                 "   "

Katharine Jordan                                      Sister M. Simplician            "   "

Esther Dunn               Sister Mary Paul           Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Anna North                                      Sister Rose Anita                                      Sisters of Saint Joseph

Helen North                                      Sister Rose Alice                "   "

Mary McEneany        Sister Monica of St. Colette          Little Sisters of the Poor

Catharine McEneany                 Sister Colette of St. Teresa                                "   "

Ann Cusick                    Sister M. Ambrose  Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Bridget Kane                                      Sister M. deChantal             "   "

Bridget Dorsey                                      Sister M. Joachim               "   "

Ann Farrell                                      Sister M. Barbara                "   "

Mary Walls                                      Sister M. Leon                    "   "

Leonora Saxe                                      Sister M. Luigi                    "   "

Jennie Sick                                      Sister M. Kostka                 "   "

Alice Harrington                                      Sister M. Lucinda                "   "

Susanna Rouse                                      Sister M. Pieta                    "   "

Mary Rouse                                      Sister M. Innocenta             "   "

Margaret Lane                                      Sister M. Joachim               "   "

Geraldine Murphy          Sister M. Anna               Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Lydia Litzelman                                      Sister M. Emily                   "   "

Mary Hilbert                                      Sister Maria Vincent            "   "

Catharine Rhodensic          Sister Lillian               Order of Christian Charity

Jean Tubach             Sister M. Goidon     Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Theresa Thayer                                      Sister Julian                         "   "

Patricia Ambs                                      Sister M. Francis Cabrina                                          "   "

Marlene O'Neill                                      Sister Mary Joy                   "   "

Theresa Fitzgerald                                       Sister Mary Lena                 "   "


Mildred, Pennsylvania

The Roman Catholic Parish was founded May 8, 1894. Long before the founding of the Parish, Catholic services were held in the area. On the margin of the Register of Baptisms, Father Kaier wrote the following note:

"December 10, 1871, the first Mass at the Bernice coal mines was said this Sunday morning at 10:00 A.M., in the presence of about fifty Catholics. The day was extremely cold and the Mass was celebrated in one of the Company's houses."

--Xav. Al. Kaier

Laporte, the County seat, and Mildred were considered as a proper location for the Parish church. Finally, Mildred way selected and the corner stone of the Parish church--ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI--was laid in 1095 by the Most Reverend Michael J. Hoban, D. D. The dedication took place August 7, 1896 and St. Francis of Assisi Rectory was also completed the same year.

The Missions of the Parish, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Laporte, Pennsylvania and St. Mary's Church of the Immaculate Conception, Lopez were also founded.

Due to the expanse of distance from the Church at Mildred, the Missions could be given only a part-time minister by the Pastor. Services were held but were limited to two Sundays each month.

The following pastors have served the parish:

Rev. John A. Enright                   1894-1922

Rev. Martin C. King                   1922-1927

Rev. John E. McHale                   1927-1942

Rev, Leo Gilroy                   1942-1947

Rev Hubert McGranaghan                   1947-1950

Rev. Luke F. Hally                   1950--

The Reverend Father Luke F. Hally came to Mildred from St. Joseph, Pennsylvania. He is a tireless and energetic young priest, well known throughout the rural missionary areas of Northern Pennsylvania. During his pastorate, the parish and missions have been revived and renovated, and the Mission of the Squadron of the United States Air Force Base at Red Rock Mountain, Benton, Pennsylvania, has been added.

Missions at LaPorte and Lopez, formerly attended in part-time were given full attention under the ministry of Father Hally. Services are now held every Sunday providing a source of gratification and spiritual elation to the parishioners of the Mission Church as well as St. Francis of Assisi Church, Mildred, Pennsylvania.


Lopez, Pennsylvania

A Roman Catholic Church, commonly known as St. Mary's Chapel, is located over Paul A. Daly's store in Lopez, Pennsylvania. It is a Mission Church of the Mildred Parish and therefore is served by the same priest (see listing under St. Francis of Assisi). The building was donated to the Scranton Diocese by Mrs. Paul A. Daly and the Chapel dedicated in 1911.

The following families are among those who are members of St. Mary's Chapel:

Mr. and Mrs. Paul A. Daly

William McCartney

Mr. and Mrs. James T. McGee

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Riordan

Mr. and Mrs. John Macek

Mr. and Mrs. John Kingsley

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Burke

Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Finan

Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Walsh

Mr. and Mrs. John F. Collins

Mr. and Mrs. Henry McKibbins

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Rouse

Mr. and Mrs. Peter P. Murray

Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Murray

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph McDermott

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gilfoyle

Mrs. Augusta Gourley

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lundy

Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Cahill

Mr. and Mrs. Henry McDermott

The following have gone into the work of Religion from St. Mary's Chapel:

The Priesthood--The Rev. John O'Connor

Sisters in Religion--Mary Macek, Mary Anthony


THE CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART was built in 1894 by Dushore contractors "Lawrence Brothers", William and Charles. The church was dedicated to divine worship at Laporte, July 4, 1895. The church had been completed for some months, but the ceremony of dedication and the laying of the corner stone, was postponed until summer. The church was beautifully decorated for the dedication ceremonies and patriotic decorations, the Stars and Stripes, were everywhere visible in the village

At nine o'clock, the church was thronged with people until standing space was no longer available. Father John A. Enright, the beloved Priest of the church, whose untiring zeal and energy made the church a reality, was assisted in the ceremonies of the day by the prominent members of the Catholic clergy who had come to pay their respects to Father Enright.

At nine o'clock, the solemn ceremony of laying the corner stone was conducted by the Rt Rev. William O'Hara, D.D., Bishop of Scranton. He was assisted by—

Rev. E. A. Garvey, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Rev. J. J. Lalley, St. Joseph, Pa.

Rev. M. J. Millane, Scranton, Pa

Rev. P. J. Murphy, Olyphant, Pa.

Rev. James Shanley, Scranton, Pa.

Rev. D. H. Green, Scranton, Pa.

Rev. William A. Connolly, Troy, Pa.

Rev. Hugh Gherity, Ralston, Pa.

Rev. J. J. Feeley, Scranton, Pa.

Rev. McCann, Bloomsburg, Pa

Rev. J. Sheehan, Philadelphia, Pa.

Rev. M. J. Shields, Towanda, Pa.

Rev. Thomas J. Hanley, Overton, Pa.

Rev J. H. Sandaal, Athens, Pa.

Members of Father Garvey's church choir from Williamsport rendered choice music during the celebration of High Mass.

Bishop O'Hara addressed the congregation. At the conclusion of the address, the Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Rev. D. H. Green of Scranton, assisted by the Rev. W. A. Connolly, as Deacon and the Rev. Hugh Gherity as sub-deacon; the Rev. J. J. Feeley as master-of-ceremonies and the Rev. J. Sheehan, Thurifer.

The Rev. E. A. Garvey delivered the sermon of the day, and paid high tribute to Father Enright and the friends and members of the church. At two o'clock, the Rt. Rev. Bishop O'Hara administered the sacrament of Confirmation to a class of 127 members. The people of Laporte, Catholic and Non-Catholic were most generous in giving financial aid to the church.

The fund raising was done by subscriptions and picnics. It was not at all uncommon for the picnics to yield a financial sum o much over $1,000.

Many valuable gifts were donated to the church. The organ was the gift from Miss Lizzie McNellan of Laporte; the stations of the cross, a gift from Mrs. Edward Mullen of La­porte; the altar hangings were donated by Mrs. John Purcell.

The following priests have served the Laporte Church:

Father John A. Enright                   1894-1922

Father Martin C. King                   1922-1927

Father John E. McHale                   1927-1942

Father Leo Gilroy                   1942-1946

Father Hubert McGranaghan                   1945-1950

Father Luke F. Hally                   l950--

The following men from Laporte have given themselves to the Priesthood: (all of them served as Acolytes in the Church of the Sacred Heart)

Donald Cavanaugh                    Roy Kennedy

Leonard Fries                   Thomas Kennedy

Father Leonard Fries now serves as assistant in St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Binghamton, New York.

All of the above men and also the following were active in the work of the Laporte church:

August Buschhauser

Thomas Casgrove

Thomas Cavanaugh

John Flynn

Michael Flynn

Jacob Fries

John Fries

Frank Gallagher

Thomas Kennedy

William Kennedy

Daniel McCarty

William Monahan

Edward Mullen

Bartholomew Nardini

Thomas Sheehan

Church of the Sacred Heart
Laporte, Sullivan County, PA
October 2005
Photo by Deb Wilson


The ROMAN CATHOLIC CHAPEL of St. Francis of Assisi was built in 1905 under the leadership of the Reverend O'Connor. This project was initiated by the Reverend Denny, who, at that time, was serving as rector of the Episcopal Chapel. He recognized that many of the hotel guests, as well as the maids employed by the Hotel, were of Catholic faith. Through Mr. Denny's efforts and the financial generosity of many non-Catholics, the CHAPEL OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI was made possible. The chapel was enlarged in 1916, and a rectory constructed in 1923. The following priests have served the church:

Father Vincent Daver

Father Michael Daver

Father John Burke

Father Vincent Burke

Father John O Neill, the present priest, has served the church since 1925. Monsignor Nolan, Professor of Theology at St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, has spent the past 35 summers at Eagles Mere, and during the summer sessions has ably served the people of the Eagles Mere area.


THE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH of Lopez was built by the Steafather Brothers in 1908, and dedicated the same year by Father Nicholas Chopey. During the early l900's, the church membership reached a total of 60 families. A resident priest, a flourishing Sunday School and regular worship services every Sunday served the needs of the parish.

The building, an attractive wooden structure, has always been kept in excellent repair. The interior was com­pletely redecorated in 1956, at an approximate cost of $2000.

In 1914, a parish house was built on the lot joining the church property and for twenty-five years was occupied by a resident priest. Andrew Ivanishen was the last priest to occupy the parish house.

Scanty records make it impossible to supply a complete list of priests serving this parish.

During recent years, the church membership has decreased to 28 families, the Sunday School has disbanded and services are held the second Sunday of each month. Father Nicholas Chopey served the parish for many years. In 1956, Father Siles Tretyak, from the Wilkes-Barre Diocese, became the priest.


ST. VLADIMIR'S RUSSIAN ORTHODOX GREEN CATHOLIC CHURCH building in Lopez was purchased from Paul Dyer in 1907, for the sum of $700. The structure was built in 1899 by the Methodist Protestants, who, under the leadership of the Rev. C. M. Krump, held services in the church for man years.

As the group became depleted by death and the moving of families, the building was purchased by Paul Dyer, and later sold to the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX denomination. A complete ren­ovation then took place, and under the enthusiastic direction of the choir master and the local church leader, Metro Ivanyko, the remodeling program gradually developed into an elaborate proportion.

The serious efforts of the small group challenged the whole-hearted support of the Russian Orthodox Resurrection Church in Wilkes-Barre. In the summer of 1907, the sister church in Wilkes-Barre chartered a special excursion train, and the entire parish came to Lopez with ample provisions for a community dinner, and soft drinks, ice cream and other food supplies for sale at special side booths. People from all parts of the county crowded the grounds and the sponsored project was not only a financial success, but also an out­standing demonstration of a cooperative community spirit.

The parish has always been small, the membership at no time exceeded seventy-five families. The property has been improved and kept in excellent repair over the years. About 1910, a property joining the church ground was purchased as a Parish House, for a cost of $400. The house was completely remodeled and restored. During the years 1912-1916, the church purchased a new ikonstasis at a cost of $5,500, and also purchased twenty hand-painted ikons to adorn the walls, the royal doors and the ikonstasis.

In August 1955, fire destroyed the interior of the church, and many of the beautiful paintings were lost. The damage was estimated at $25,000, the loss was partially covered by a $12,000 insurance. At the time of this writing (1956) plans are under way for financial assistance from the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX COUNCIL of NEW YORK to completely restore the paintings.

The congregation plans to observe its Fiftieth Anniversary in 1957.

More than thirty priests have served the Lopez church. Many of them served for a short time in the capacity of a supply. The following incomplete list was compiled from the memory of the Church President, Mr. Frank Kiwatisky:

Reverend Leonty Vladishewsky                   1907-1909

Reverend Basis Rubinsky                       1909-1912

Reverend Basil Vikoff                   1912-1916

Reverend Basil Gambal

Reverend George Sinofsky

Reverend Theodore Kiruluk                    Reverend John Boruch

Reverend Andrew Fedetz                    Reverend George Cucura

Reverend John Krockmalnik

Reverend Jonah Korsetzky

Reverend Peter Dubrowsky

Reverend Jacob Pshenichuk

Reverend Demitros Ressetar

Among the early families of the church were the following:

Theodore Shimansky

Frank Kozemko

Stephen Betsy

Theodore Smith

Joseph Stavisky

Frank Kiwatisky

Andrew Hurray

The Borick families


The following persons from the CHURCHES OF SULLIVAN COUNTY have dedicated their lives to Christian service:


Eagles Mere: Mrs. Elsie Horn, Minister


St. Basil's Parish: Dushore:


John Bergen              1873

John Brennan              1918

Eugene Carroll              1917

Daniel Cusick              1882

Timothy Donahue              1873

Henry C. Jordan              1892

James McGee              1915

Thomas McGovern              1861

Edward Martin              1865

John P. Martin              1865

Joseph Miner              1920

Peter P. O'Neill              1903

Edward Rouse             1938

Francis Tourscher              1898

John Walsh              1922

BROTHERS In Religion:

Joseph M. Ambs                   Brother Basil                    Maryknoll

Dennis Rouse                   Brother Innocent                    Missions of St. Francis Xavier

Michael Rouse                   Brother Bede                    "

SISTERS In Religion:

Ambs, Patricia                    McDonald, Mary

Brennan, Ellen                   McEneany, Catharine (See St. Basil's list of girls)

Coyle, Ellen                   McEneany, Catharine

Coyle, Elizabeth                   McEneany, Mary

Coyle, Julia                   Murphy, Geraldine

Coyle, Margaret                   North, Anna

Cusick, Ann                   North, Helen

Dorsey, Briget                   O'Neill, Marlene

Dunn, Esther                   Rouse, Mary

Farrell, Anna                   Rouse, Susanna

Fitzgerald, Theresa                    Radensic, Catharine

Grace, Helen                   Sando, Mary

Harrington, Alice                   Saxe, Leonora                    Tuback, Jean

Harrington, Nora                   Scanlin, Anna                    Walls, Mary

Hilbert, Mary                   Scanlin, Sarah                    Waples, Theresa

Jordan, Katharine                   Sick, Jennie

Kane, Bridget                   Thall, Anna

Lane, Margaret                   Thall, Gertrude

Litzelman, Lydia                   Thayer, Theresa


Mildred Parish--Laporte:

PRIESTS: Donald Cavanaugh     Roy Kennedy

Leonard Fries                   Thomas Kennedy


Mildred Parish Lopez:

PRIESTS: John O'Connor

SISTERS IN RELIGION: Mary Macek, Mary Anthony



Charles F. Sweet, Minister (Missionary to Japan)



H. L. Flick, Minister

G. Edgar Lawrenson, Minister

W. H. Warburton, Minister


William B. Cox, Minister

Clayton Hoag, Minister


Harry Buck, Minister

R Spencer Starr, Minister



Walter J Huntsinger, Minister



Wesley Kehler, Minister

Boyd Little, Minister

Charles Schanbaker, Minister

W. Carlton Stevens, Minister

George Warburton, Minister


Collins Hazen, Minister



Amelia Freed--Deaconess

A. Marion Freed--Deaconess

Franklin Helsman--Minister

Marion Lilley--Deaconess



Clara Wilcox Finch--Minister

(Missionary to Indians, Quaker Bridge, New York)


Elkland Township:

J. N. Bedford--Minister

O. C. Bedford--Minister

S. Bedford--Minister

Arthur Bryan--Minister

Eugene Warburton--Minister

Merton Warburton--Minister

Stanley Wright--Minister



Boehm, Reverend Henry. Reminiscences of Sixty-Four Years in the Ministry. Carlton & Porter, 1865.

Ingham, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County. Harrisburg: Lewis Publishing Company, 1899.

McFarland and McFarland. Eagles Mere and the Sullivan Highlands. Harrisburg: McFarland 1944.

Owen, John Wilson. Short History of the United Brethren. Dayton: Board of Christian Education, 1944.

Piffley, W. E. (ed.) History of Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Evangelical Church , by Shortess J. D. and Gramley, A.D. historians. Harrisburg: Evangelical Press, 1940.

Spring, Bishop Samuel P., History of Evangelical Church. Board of Education Evangelical Church, 1927.

Streby, George. History of Sullivan County. Dushore: Gazette Printing Company, 1903.

Tourscher, Reverend Francis E. Saint Basil's Parish. Philadelphia: The Records of The American Catholic Historical Society, 1938.


Kaier, Reverend X. A. Manuscript. Published in Special Edition of Light. Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1916.

Mosher, Reverend Ward. Manuscript from the church file, housed in the Methodist parsonage. Forksville, Pennsylvania, 1898.

Now and Then. Volume 2. Muncy, Pennsylvania, 1888-1892.

Inventory of Church Archives. Society of Friends in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Historical Survey. Works Projects Administration, 1941.

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