Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Canoe Camp Church 90th Anniversary - 1939
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The 90th anniversary of the Canoe Camp Church will be celebrated Friday, Saturday and Sunday with special services. Several former pastors of the church will return to participate in the services. On September 23, 1849, a group of people led by Rev. Theobald Miller, evangelist, met and organized the First Church of Christ at Canoe Camp. Details of the organization are missing, the records having been destroyed in the flood of 1889. For a time the congregation met at homes until 1851, when, on this site, a store building was obtained. Then in 1880 the present church building was erected. A CHARTER WAS OBTAINED THE FOLLOWING YEAR. Petitioners for charter were: M. R. Goodall, J. C. Ireton, R. H. Cleveland, M. A. Ireton, W. A. Cass, L. C. Lownsbery, L. J. Spencer, Helen M. Goodall, E. A. Knowlton. Growth of the church through the years has been steady and for the small community which it serves, the record has been a good one. In conjunction with the church of Covington, Canoe Camp has supported the ministry of the Word, and a number of able ministers, including the Rev. Ichabod R. Spencer for over 20 years, have ministered to both congregations for longer or shorter periods. The present minister, the Rev. Everett W. Burden, has occupied the pulpit since April 1933. During this period Rev. H. L. Maltman was appointed minister emeritus. Both are highly esteemed in the congregation and by the community. Ninetieth anniversary services will open Friday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m., with sermon by Rev. Wm. A. Joel, of Akron, Ohio. A 3-cent supper will be served at 5:30 pm. Other church services and activities include Missionary breakfast at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. Sermon by Rev. S. H. Bartlett, Elmira, will follow. The regular church service on Sunday will begin at 10:30 a.m. The Rev. W. L. Dudley, of Winchester, Va., will officiate in the pulpit. Picnic dinner at 12:00, at 2:00 p.m. Rev. Cyril Wishart Houston, of Laughlingtown, will preach. All these ministers have served the church at various times. Present officers of the church are: Rev. H. L. Maltman, minister emeritus; corresponding secretary, Harold Knowlton; chairman of board, Albert C. Ireton; treasurer, Samuel Wells; financial secretary Mrs. Maude Trask.
Wellsboro Gazette 1982
This Photo Taken in the early 1900s shows the Canoe Camp with the horse barns in the rear.

Canoe Camp Church of Christ To Dedicate New Facilities

By Phyllis Swinsick

This Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 pm, the Canoe Camp Church of Christ will dedicate the new social and education rooms of the church.  Following the service a reception will be held for all members and guests of the parish.

In the late afternoon of Apr. 16, 1981, a gas explosion and fire destroyed part of the church.  In the spring and summer of 1982 the restoration of the facilities was completed.  Partial insurance and donations from parishioners and friends made possible the six new classrooms, new kitchen, large social room and the office of the minister, at a cost of approximately $50,000.

Due to the generosity and help of Mansfield churches and organizations, the Canoe Camp congregation never missed a single service after the fire.  The Pennsylvania Electric Company offered its building for the 1981 Easter service which drew a record crowd.  The various church accommodations made it possible for the Canoe Camp Church services and activities to function efficiently until new quarters were completed.

The village of Canoe Camp marks the point at which the Williamson Road was completed in 1792 and was so named because the work force engaged in road making embarked from the canoe camp and floated down the river to Painted Post, NY.

According to the Tioga County History of 1897, the first actual settler was Amos Spencer (1806) who by a deed of 1809 became owner of the land on which the village now stands.  Spencer built a grist and sawmill on the river, the first water-powered sawmill in the Tioga Valley.  It was eventually destroyed by fire in 1879 and rebuilt in 1883.  From 1890 to 1940 Herb Godall, father of Mansfield businessman Howard Goodall, was the owner and operator of the mill, which was finally torn down in the early 1960’s.  Early settlers took their grain by horseback to Williamsport for grinding, and the trip took four days.

The post office was established in 1821 with Amos Spencer as the first postmaster, and before the railroad a Mr. Hall used to carry the mail over the Williamson road to Williamsport.

By May of 1895 there was a cheese factory and a school taught by Sallie Eliot, one of the first schools in the township.  Eventually there was a hotel, with a ballroom on the third floor, a railway station and two stores, one of which was located in the station.

The beginnings of the Canoe Camp Church can be traced to a small group of people meeting in the village in1848.  The church was formally organized in September of 1849.

In 1851 a store was purchased and used as a church until 1880 when the present building was erected at a cost of $2,000.  In April of 1881 the church received its charter.

In 1923 a former schoolhouse was purchased and moved adjacent to the church to serve as a dining room.  A kitchen was built and other additions made later.

It was not until 1939 that women first served as elders and deacons of the church and in the middle 1940s the property next to the church was purchased for a parsonage.  Mr. and Mrs. Charles Johnson paid off the mortgage and deeded the house to the parish.

In July of 1979 The Reverend Deborah Casey became the first woman minister in the history of the church.  She serves a present membership of about 200, with Mary Inscho Matthews, Maud Trask and Myrtle Besanceney among those active in the church for the most years.

The Nov. 7 service will feature the church choir with George Sefler as organist and Mrs. James McConnell as piano soloist.  Community speakers will take part and there will be a display of 95 old pictures featuring Canoe Camp and area scenes and people.

The public is cordially invited to this special dedication service.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 20 JAN 2005
By Joyce M. Tice
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