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History of the Presbyterian Church of
Rome, Pennsylvnia



Victor Charles Detty, Pastor

Author of
History of the Presbyterian Church of Wysox, Pennsylvania (1791-1938)
P.P. Bliss, A Centennial Sketch (1838-1938)
A History of the Churches of Orwell, Pennsylvania (1803-1951)

Published by the Author 1942, Wysox, PA
Printed by Barber-Doane-Mosher, Inc., Elmira NY

Table of Contents

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The Rev. Thomas Thomas, grandfather of Norman Thomas, socialist candidate for president, was moderator of a session meeting June 4, 1859, when Mrs. Candace Holmes presented a letter from Orwell and Mrs. Mervil A. (Woodburn) Bolles was dismissed to Herrick. At this time also Mrs. Sarah H. Chubbuck, Mr. Philip Paul Bliss and Lucy Jane his wife, the daughter of the stated clerk, Elder O. F. young, were examined and received as members by a vote of the session. Three days before, Mr. Bliss and Miss Young had been married at the Wysox Parsonage by the Rev. Andrew Barr. Here were two new members whose names were destined to become famous. In joining the church the first Sunday after their marriage they began a life of increasing devotion.

P.P. Bliss taught school this year (1859) at the Academy, as the following reports of visiting school directors show.

"Jan. 13th 1859. Visited School No. 2, at the Academy, P. P. Bliss teacher.

Mental Arithmetic recited good—Skill in teaching was manifest.

Grammar—2d Class had advanced to conjugation of verb, recitation very good.

Orthography—1st Class—recitation quite perfect.

Spelling & defining—2d Class recited well and fully explained. Other classes did not recite. Good skill in teaching was manifest, but not the best of order kept.

O. Rickey Secy."

"Feb.13th 1859.

Visited this school. P. P. Bliss teacher. There were on the Roll 78 names—but 44 present some having been transferred to the other school.

There were in Geography 15, Grammar 30, Arithmetic 24, Ment. Aretha. 17, and Writing 30. Compositions each alternate week.

This school is well managed and the teacher every ready to assist. The classes appear to be interested, especially the 2nd Grammar Class and Ment. Arith. Had no suggestions to make.

There were some complaints in the community with regard to the teacher’s mode of punishment, and neglect of hearing classes. But to these charges satisfactory answers were given.

E. A. Rigway Secy."

Mr. Bliss was still under twenty-one, having been born July 9, 1838, the third child of five to Isaac and Lydia (Doolittle) Bliss, near Penfield, in Clearfield County, Pa. For ten years his father had lived in sparsely settled regions with few advantages of schooling. In 1855 Philip spent the winter in a select school at East Troy, and taught school the next winter. Late in the fall of 1857 he entered Susquehanna Collegiate Institute at Towanda where he studied English under Rev. David Craft and music under Miss O. Louisa Jenks. As Dr. craft wrote in his History of Bradford County, "He had been but a short time connected with the institution when something of his natural gifts was discovered, and a future musical career was predicted for him." The year after his marriage he remained about home at the Young place, now the home of Mr. and Mrs. U.M. Holmes and Mrs. Lizzie Watson, granddaughter of O. F. Young. During the summer he attended a musical normal school at Genesee, N.Y., the money being provided by his wife’s grandmother, Betsy Allen. From this time forward, his talents as a singer were developed. He continued to spend most of his time in Rome, engaged in farm work, teaching public schools and music classes, and giving concerts and using every leisure moment for study and practice. He taught at the Rome Academy, which had been organized in 1848. He provided a home in Rome for his aged parents, in the house now occupied by Mr. D. S. Rice. His father died in 1864. "The next year, 1865, his first song, entitled ‘Lora Vale," was published by Root and Cady, musical publishers, soon led to a more intimate acquaintance, and finally to his removal to Chicago in November, 1865. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss took letters of dissmission in 1871 to join the First Congregational Church of Chicago, where he became superintendent of the Sunday School, and leader of the choir. (For more about P.P. Bliss, see the author’s 66 page booklet, P.P. Bliss, A Centennial Sketch of His Life and Work, 1838-1938).

Others who joined the Rome church under the ministry of the Rev. Thomas Thomas were: Mr. Stephen P. Gates, son of Bezaleel, Oct. 10, 1859, who studied for the ministry, going to Princeton Theological Seminary in September 1864, and became pastor at Canton, Pa.; Mrs. Betsy Whittaker, by letter from Friendsville, Pa., Jan. 22, 1860; Mr. Henry Wilmarth, Mrs. Mercy C. Yontz (grandmother of the late Will Bennett) by confession of faith and baptism; and by letter, Mrs. Polly A. A. Alger from the Orwell Church, and Mrs. Martha Allis from the Providence Church (March 2, 1861). Mrs. Alger, grandmother of Robert Allis, was dismissed to Towanda, Oct. 20, 1867.

On November 9, 1861, Mrs. Frances Harding presented a certificate from the Presbyterian Church of Otisville, and Henrietta Cranmer one from Orwell and were accepted as members. Mrs. Harding took a letter to Port Jervis, June 29, 1863. Mrs. Cranmer was dismissed to Vineland, N.J., Oct. 4, 1863.

The church did not feel above to pay Mr. Thomas another year and the services were held as often as it was possible to have the pulpit temporarily supplied.


The Rev. J. C. Wilhelm, who also preached at Potterville, served as minister during the latter part of 1861, though he did not preach every Sunday. On April 14, Elder B. Gates read a good sermon, according to the diary of Elder Oscar J. Young, who with Allen his son attended church the next Sunday at Wysox and heard the Rev. Julius Foster, pastor at Towanda. There was much excitement about enlistments for the Civil War. Mr. Young also went to hear the Rev. Andrew Barr pastor at Wysox. Mr. Barr left there in 1864 to become chaplain of the 141st Regiment, Bradford’s own. He died soon after reaching his regiment, and was buried at Danville, Pa. Mr. Young wrote, "He is smart, active, energetic preacher." A Sunday School was organized during this year meeting at 1:30 followed by preaching and a prayer meeting was held Sunday nights. The Rev. David Craft supplied the pulpit a number of Sunday afternoons. Mr. Young noted town the texts of the Rev. Mr. Wilhelm’s sermons. He heard the Rev. Mr. Mitchell, father of the late Mr. H. Kent Mitchell of Troy, preach in the Baptist Church, Sunday, Oct. 27, 1861, on the 20th anniversary of his ordination.

Select School

Mrs. Harriet Gates Salmon (wife of Rev. Clark Salmon) was the teacher of a school in Rome during the winter of 1862. (Miss Mary W. Rice thinks that it was a parochial school of the Rome Presbyterian Church, held in a school building on the church lot on the site of which is now the home of Rev. A. A. Bennett, next to the place of the old Presbyterian Church.) An autograph album containing the photographs and signatures of many if not all of the pupils attending the school was presented to the teacher, Mrs. Hattie Gates Salmon, whose picture is also in the book. Mr. Fred M. Hicks, under the date of August 21, 1923, made a list of the persons in the album, with notations as to whom they married or other facts.

Harriet Gates Salmon

Although not altogether so, the names and pictures are found in alphabetical order. The names of those who made up the enrollment of this "select" school are as follows: Louisa N. Alger, Gertrude Barnes, S. Barnes, M. K. Taylor, Hala Maynard, Random Browning, Mary E. Chubbuck, Katie Case, R. Case, Celestia Chaffee, Arlett Chaffee, Sophia Chaffee, E. J. Chaffee, Ann Cranmer, W. W. Moody, Olive Elliott, Martha E. Hamilton, George Hicks, Miss Lottie Mann, A. McCaslin, Ben. Moody, Jennie Passmore, Eliza Parks, Tillie Pratt, Will Rockwell, Kate Rockwell, Amanda Rice, Lizzie Rice, S. Seeley, Seth Towner, Frank Towner, Frank Vought, Orville Taylor, Lyman C. Warren, Allen W. Woodburn, Leslie Woodburn, Abbie Yontz, Darah Barnes, Inza Dell Chubbuck, Clara Frost, Libbie Wattles, Emma Gates, Effie Alger, Henry Wilmot, Mercur Frost, Joshua Vought, F. A. Taylor, Mason L. Ellsworth, Mary J. Lewis, Chester P. Buffington, Charles H. Stone, Emma A. Shoemaker, Dosie M. Rickey, Frances E. Scott, Kate J. Taylor, Philena Robinson, Nett L. Fuller.

According to information given by Miss Mary W. Rice and others, with the facts given by Mr. F. H. Hicks, it is possible to give the following items about a number of persons named above.

Louis N. Alger married Charles Gladding and resided in the western part of the county. She had died previous to August 21, 1923 when Mr. Hicks made his notations.

Gertrude Barnes married James Parley Coburn. She was the mother of Mrs. James Eastman of Orwell, and the grandmother of Gertrude Howe Fairlee of Athens, R.D. 2, and her picture has a striking resemblance to the granddaughter. She taught schools in Rome Borough in 1859, 1861, 1863, 1864, 1869, 1870 and 1871; at Taylor Hill in 1865 and 1866.

M. K. Taylor was Mortimer K. Taylor who married Mahala Maynard, parents of Mrs. George W. Chase and Mrs. Minnie Truesdale of Taylor Hill, Rome township.

Randon Browning, son of Herman Montague Browning, married Libbie Jewett, daughter of Allen and Joanna (Passmore) Jewett and was a merchant in Rome for more than forty years. Miss Joanna Spencer of Lake Wesauking is a great-great-granddaughter of Joanna Passmore Jewett.

Kate Case was the daughter of Eli Case of Orwell and married Winsor Lott, and they were the parents of Rev. Fred Lott of Binghamton and Mr. Willard Lott of Orwell.

Roswell Case lived in Orwell, went later to East Smithfield where he died. He was a brother of Kate. His daughter, Dora, married William Morris and lived at Athens, Pa. They had two sons, Roswell and Samuel Morris.

Celestia Chaffee of Sheshequin married Morris Vought, son of Peter, was the mother of Rev. L.L. Vought, a Methodist minister at Rome, and was the grandmother of Mr. Clarence Moore of Rome. (See Craft, page 354 opposite).

Arlette Chaffee was married to James Hees of Towanda, Sept. 24, 1876, by Rev. G. W. Stone.

Sophia Chaffee was a sister of Arlette and a daughter of Danford Chaffee. She married Byron G. Wilmot, and they were the parents of Claude Wilmot, and of Minnie Wilmot Russell, mother of Roe W. Russell.

Edgar J. Chaffee was a brother of Arlette and Sophia, learned the jeweler’s trade of W. A. Chamberlain of Towanda and went to Hazelton where he married and set up business for himself.

Ann Cranmer married W. W. Moody. In her late years she resided in Litchfield township and died there. She was mother of Frank Moody of Athens.

Olive Elliott of Rome moved to Mansfield and became a popular school teacher.

Martha E. Hamilton of Windham married a Mr. Babcock and lived in Windham.

George Hicks went to Chicago and lived there till 1897, went to New York City where he died about 1918. He was a brother of Fred M. Hicks.

Lottie Mann married Fred M. Hicks and was the mother of George, now living in Rome.

Benjamin Moody located in Mansfield, became a physician and a prominent citizen of that place.

Jennie Hicks Passmore married George Owen of Monroeton, lived in Philadelphia where Mr. Owen died about 1903. She moved to Albany, N.Y. Her daughter, Mrs. Alice Owen Samson, died June 29, 1940 at Greenbush, N.Y. Burial was at Wysox, Pa. A granddaughter, Charlotte Samson, survives.

Eliza Parks married the Rev. Mr. Shelp.


Louisa A. Alger Gertrude Barnes S. Barnes M. K. Taylor
Hala Maynard Random Browning Katie Case Roswell Case
Celestia Chaffee Arlette Chaffee Sophia Chaffee Edgar Chaffee
Ann Cranmer Olive Elliott Martha Hamilton George Hicks

Tillie Pratt married a Mr. Knight and lived at Athens, Tennessee.

Kate Rockwell married Asa Babcock. Will Rockwell was the father of Mrs. Belle Cannan of Rome.

Amanda Rice was the daughter of Dr. Hiram Rice, a sister of Mrs. Lizzie Powers, Dr. William Rice, Charles Rice and a half-sister of George Nichols. She died at the age of 61.

Lizzie Rice married Delos Powers of Norwich, N.Y., and was the mother of George Powers of Athens and Fred R. Powers of Rome, Pa.

Sylvester Seeley went west and died there, with burial at Greeley, Colorado.

Seth Towner enlisted for the Civil War and died in service.

Frank Towner married a Miss Gillette, died at Ulster.

Frank Vought married a lady from Towanda, went to Jamestown, N.Y., where he was cashier of a bank for a number of years.

Orville Taylor married Miss Olivia Lung of Rome and lived there till his death. He was the father of Harold Taylor and Mrs. Lillian Jenkins, wife of Albion Jenkins, who returned to Rome for summer vacations.

Lyman E. Warner went with his parents to New York State. He became a prominent lawyer in Ithaca and later in New York City.

Allen W. Woodburn married Della Wattles, lived and died in Rome, father of Dr. Wilton W. Woodburn and John Allen Woodburn and grandfather of Edward.

Leslie Woodburn was a brother of Mrs. Phronie Bessey, went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, became very prosperous financially and later moved to California where he died.

Abbie Yontz married Henry Camp and went west. Her father was a tailor.

Sarah Barnes married and left Rome, had a brother, Leslie, who lives at Camptown, Pa.

Inza Dell Cubbuck went west and married.

Clara Frost, daughter of Eliot Newton Frost, was born Jan. 8, 1850, in a log house in Orwell, Pa., married Jan. 31, 1871, George Wellington Miller of Rome, son of Dan, moved to Athens, Pa., where she died. They had no children (Frost Genealogy in Five Families).

Emma Gates joined the Presbyterian Church March 31, 1866, was not a relative of the Bezaleel Gates family, but lived with them and was called by their name.

Effie Alger moved to the western part of the county where she died unmarried.

Henry Wilmot went west previous to 1868 and became quite a noted railroad engineer.

Mercur Frost, born Aug. 28, 1848, married Sallie W. Thompson, resided in Rome for a time, and then in Athens, where he died. A daughter, Clara A., born 1878, married Louis H. Shearer.

Libbie Wattles, was the daughter of David Miner and S. Louise (Cranmer) Wattles of Rome, married a Mr. Blocher and moved to the west.

Joshua Vought married Lina Maynard, went west, became a successful physician.

F. A. Taylor signed as from Castle Creek, Broome County, N.Y.

Mason L. Ellsworth went west where he died.

Mary J. Lewis went from Orwell to Towanda, never married.

Charles H. Stone of Rome went to Warren Center, Pa., learned the wagonmaker’s trade, went to Triangle, New York, and married. He was the son of George W. Stone, M.D., who lived where Mrs. John Martin resides, and who was referred to as "elder Stone," due to his preaching in the churches. He often passed the home of Charles S. Pitcher at Ransom’s Corners on his way to preach on Orwell Hill.

The following poem, sent by Mrs. Burt Goff to the Towanda Daily Review (Nov. 10, 1941), refers to persons and places of the time of the teaching of Miss Hattie Gates. It was written by Miss Lillian Maynard Rigeway and recited by Miss Bernice L. Wattles, Nov. 10, 1871. Bernie Wattles married Enridge Seely. Lillian was the daughter of Edwin Ridgeway.

Lottie Mann A. McCaslin Ben. Moody Jennie Passmore
Eliza Parks Tillie Pratt Will Rockwell Kate Rockwell
Amanda Rice Lizzie Rice S. Seeley Seth Towner
Frank Towner Frank Vought Orville Taylor Lyman Warren
Allen Woodburn Leslie Woodburn Abbie Yontz Sarah Barnes
Inza Dell Chubbuck Clara Frost Libbie Wattles Emma Gates
Effie Alger Henry Wilmot Mercur Frost Joshua Vought
Mason Ellsworth Mary J. Lewis Chester T. Baffington Charles H. Stone
Through the quiet, peaceful valley
Where the silvery Wysox glides,
Passing cottages and meadows
Singing in its rippling tides
Dusky hills above the valley,
Robed in Autumn’s richest hue,
Rifts of sunlight falling leaflets
Spread their charms to every view.
Fleecy clouds high above it,
Breezes their sweet music bears
And the eye that loves to wander
Finds a beauty everywhere.
In this quiet, peaceful valley
Stands a village, small and neat,
Shaded by the elms and maples,
Arching high above the street.
Oh, I love this dear old village
More than palace rich and grand
For no wealth or high position
Is so worthy of the land.
And I love it, dearly love it,
From the fact it gave me birth,
And the hallowed haunts of childhood
Are the sweetest spots on earth.
In the green fields by the streamlets,
Where the clover and the wild flowers
Grow around in rich profusion
In the springtime’s opening hours.
There I frolicked with my brother
Through the countless, golden days,
Making violets mimic soldiers
To enliven our dull plays.
Often to the pond we wandered
Where the fish basked in the sun,
And my brother catching "Fishie"
Mistook the fish and caught my thumb.
From the grove of ancient chestnuts,
Just a little out of town
Where we picked with nimble fingers
Till the sun was nearly down.
When the starts peeped down thru the azure,
Have I swung upon the gate,
And I watched the silver moonbeams
While I pondered of my fate.
I’d forget the world around me
Dreaming of a fairy shrine,
Where bright sunlight rested ever,
Farm beyond the hills of time.
In the distance stands the church yard
With the moss grown o’er its wall,
Where the wild birds sing in mournful rhythm
A said requiem for all.
In that spot sleeps many a loved one,
To each grave is linked the chain
Of a love that can sever
Neither death, nor grief, nor pain.
And across the dusty highway
Is the humble house of prayer,
And I oft have passed its portals
While the anthems thrilled the air.
I have sat beside my parents,
Who once taught me how to pray.
I’ve listened to the word of Heaven
Where it spoke of Wisdom’s Way.
There’s the schoolhouse on Bear River
Where I’ve studied many a day
With the grounds extending round it
Where I used to laugh and play.
True, the schoolroom has been altered
And the friends of days of yore
Are scattered, widely scattered,
Even to Pacific’s shore.
Still the memory ever haunts me,
‘Tis a pleasure to recall;
All the faces bright and rosy
That have met within these walls.
Comes a thought of good "Miss Hattie,"
Once our teacher, patient, dear,
Not one of all her loving precepts
Forgotten is in passing years.
There are treads of strange romances
Woven in the web of life,
And of those who lived and suffered
To the end in worldly strife.
Some have passed through life unhonored,
Some have worn the crown of love,
Some have tasted sweetest pleasures,
All, we hope to meet above.
Do you wonder that I love it.
This bright village, small and neat,
Shaded by the elms and maples
Arching high above the street.
Do you wonder that the tears fall
And a sigh comes from my heart
when I think of all the brightness
Forming of the past a part?
But my pen is growing weary
And the evening shadows fall.
And no longer does the sunlight
Rest upon the tree tops tall.
So I’ll lay aside my fancies
And will dream no more in rhyme
But will gather up the present
And will think of coming time.

In May of 1863, Elder Young represented Susquehanna Presbytery at the General Assembly meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

The Rev. Mr. Barr acted as moderator of the session meeting held Aug. 9, 1863, when Mrs. Sarah H. Chubbuck was given a letter to Waverly, N.Y., and Elder and Mrs. Geo. W. Eastman to Orwell. In October Mrs. Henrietta (Spalding) Cranmer took a letter to Vineland, N.J.

The following is a subscription paper passed for payment of the salary of Mr. Barr.

Rome, Oct. 1st, 1863
"We the undersigned agree to pay to Revd. Andrew Barr the Sums set opposite our respective names for ministerial services once per Sabbath commencing from date.
S. Spaulding
P. P. Bliss
Willis Eastman
Mrs. Betsy Allen
John Vought
B. Gates
S. E. Seely
H. Yontz
Stephen Whitaker
Joseph Seely
G. W. Pierce
Henry B. Osborn
E. E. Spalding
Lucius Eastman
O. F. Young
S. B. Whitaker
O. W. Young
Henry Wilmoth
Allen P. Young

The subscription of S. Spalding was marked with the notation, "in Boots paid $3.50." E. E. Spalding was the son of Solomon. Edgar Spalding married Dr. Julia Kinney.

Mr. Barr served as regular supply preacher till March 20, 1864, when he preached his last sermon on the text, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." He left soon after to become chaplain of the 141 Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf., but died soon after reaching the regiment. Stephen P. Gates, a Princeton student, preached some in this year, and P. P. Bliss was elected superintendent of a re-organized Sunday School, which had good attendance. Several funeral sermons were preached for soldiers, one being for Michael Thompson, and another for Pitman Demerest, by Rev. Edgar M. High of the Methodist Church.

Presbytery met with this church, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 1864 for three days. The Rev. Clark Salmon began preaching regularly in September. During his term of service the church experienced a large increase in members. Miss Nancy Louisa Alger (daughter of Mrs. M. G. Alger) joined by confession of faith being baptized 2 days later (July 9, 1865) by Rev. C. C. Corrs; she was journalist of the Union Sunday School in 1867, and took a church letter, Oct. 20, 1869 to Towanda. The following were received March 31, 1866; Joseph M. Elliott (married Miss Gaylord of Wyalusing) and Miss Olive Elliott who were dismissed to Wyalusing April 10, 1869, George Ercanbrack, Miss Emma Ercanbrack (who married Abel Lent of Wysox), the Ercanbracks living where Fowlers now reside on Morely Hill; Charles Cole, Miss Laura Cole, Allen P. Young, who married Melita Mann; Miss Ella Ione Young (married Corydon Barnes), O. Warren Young, Miss Clara E. Young (married Rev. John Ellsworth) all four being children of Elder O. F. Young.

Allen Peter Young, as an infant, one year of age, had been baptized at the first Communion Service on June 9th, 1844. He was examined and received into membership March 31, 1866, a young man of 23 years. He was ordained an Elder, Jan. 1, 1887, and the remainder of his life he served as an elder and a trustee of the church, and gave unstintingly his life work to the church, and its associate organizations. He was teacher of the Bible Class, for years, chorister of the choir, a member of the Christian Endeavor Society, having a strong Christian influence upon young people, and respected and beloved by all. He was always talking about the Bible. That is what he thought, what he lived, what he loved.

Others received into membership March 31, 1866 were: Miles Osborne, Milton Osborne; Mrs. Emily Cole, dismissed Jan. 2, 1881 to Osceola, Nebraska; Mrs. Laura Matteson; Miss Dora Rickey, who married John Sterling and was dismissed in 1883 to Dixon, Illinois, where she died leaving two sons: Mrs. Martha E. (Barnes) Rickey, wife of Orson Rickey, daughter of Sylvester Barnes, deceased Sept. 28, 1873; Miss Isabel Rickey, who was married at Rome Nov. 27, 1878 by Rev. H. F. Mason of Wysox to Mr. Oliver E. Tanner; Miss Harriet Gertrude Barnes, daughter of Samuel Lewis and Eliza Jane (Cannan) Barnes, married to James P. Coburn, Sept. 13, 1871 by Rev. Faber Byllesby; Miss Della Barnes, her sister who married Wesley T. McCabe, and moved to Pittston, taking her church letter Sept. 11, 1871, where she died at the age of 62; Miss Jennie Hicks Passmore, who married George Owen; Miss Ellen Owen, dismissed to Monroeton, April 13, 1867; and Miss Alice Owen who married Irving H. Samson, and died June 29, 1940, with burial at Wysox, survived by a daughter Charlotte Samson, East Greenbush, Albany, N.Y.; is Helen Cannan, who married Joseph Bosworth, and was mother of Frank Bosworth of Rome; Mrs. Eliza Johnson Elliott, second wife of Joseph Elliott, dismissed Sept. 11, to Mansfield, Pa.; Miss Effa Alger; and Miss Emma (Rockwell?) Gates, foster-daughter of Bezaleel Gates, married Henry Waite.

At the same time, Mr. J. R. Coolbaugh and his wife Laura Melida (Maynard) Coolbaugh, and Mrs. Allen Peter Young were received by letter from Jersey shore, Pa. The latter was a sister of Mrs. Louis Waldo. Later in the year, Mr. Joshua Bushnell and wife were accepted as members from the Congregational Church of Worcester, and Mr. Rowland S. Howes from the Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Howes died July 11, 1867, and Mr. Bushnell in April, 1868.

The church year of 1866 showed a net gain of 15 members and a total of 34 reported to presbytery and general assembly.

The Rev. Clark Salmon of Orwell moderated the session meetings in 1867, at which Mrs. Loiuisa Maynard presented a certificate of dismission from the Lutheran Church of Lewisburg, Pa. The following were given church letters: Mrs. W. G. Alger, and the Misses Let and Effa Alger to Towanda; Mr. and Mrs. Spalding to Vineland, N.J., and Mr. and Mrs. Lucius Eastman.

Union Sunday School

There is among the church records the journal of a Union Sunday School at Rome, written for every Sunday of the year of 1867. The following is taken from the journal of January sixth.

"Commenced School for the new year with Mr. O.F. Young, Sup., O. D. Stiles, Ast. Sup., A. P. Young, Librarian; Mrs. S. Seely, Mrs. Gates, Miss Minnie Howes, Miss Lizzie Mann, (married Louie Waldo of Elmira) and Mrs. O. F. Young, Mr. S. Seely, Teachers; Mr. B. Gates and J. Seely joint Teachers of Bible Class; Miss N. Lois Alger, Journalist. Opened School by singing, "There is no rest." ‘Blessed are those who have died in the Lord.’ They have been called to receive their reward. There, there is rest. Death in any form is a terror to the human heart, and when He robs us of a dear friend, we morn as those without hope. Could we see things as they really are, could we realize the bliss of those who had ‘died in the Lord’ our sorrowing would be turned into rejoicing. ‘The Moravarians carry their dead to their graves, singing before them.’ Such a form of cheerfulness and submission to the Divine Will is beautiful and commendable, but while we inhabit ‘Clay tenements’ it is utterly impossible for us to realize in its full significance when our friends die that our loss is their gain. Though it is our duty to strive to feel that God doeth all things well, it is no sin for us to weep when a dear one ‘goes home’. The Superintendent read from Matt. 14. Dr. Styles offered prayer. There was a very good attendance of scholars and a few new ones. After election of officers as recorded above, closed school singing, ‘Shining Shore’."

Rome Village, from water color drawing by Edgar Nichols, about 1865

The second church from the left was the first Presbyterian church edifice, built of wood. The tower, which appears as a pointed steeple, has been touched up, and was only half as high as it appears in this picture.

Miss Alger resigned in April and a new journalist was elected, probably G. H. Barnes (Harriet Gertrude), for that name appears on the inside of the back cover. A monthly concert was held on the first Sunday evening. On April 7th, the program consisted of singing, "A Friend That’s Ever Near," scripture reading by the superintendent, prayer by Rev. Mr. Barrows, singing, "Children do you love each other?", the reading of the journal of the preceding month, a talk by Mr. Barrows, the recitation of the names of the books of the Old Testament, by a class and a song, "Cross and Crown."

Some of the Sunday School songs used were: "The Happy Home," "Hail, hail this happy day," "Never late," "Jesus ever near," "I’ll rise up early in the Morning," "The Gospel Ship," "Lonely Traveler," "A Home beyond the Tide," "Pilgrim Band," and "Haste away to Sabbath School."

The school exchanged libraries with the Orwell Sunday School, and upon their return bought twenty dollars worth of new reading books, the money being raised by Miss Dora Rickey, Lizzie Coolbaugh and Flora Woodburn. On May 12, there were 24 present at a half hour before time. The attendance July 7th was sixty. P.P. Bliss was present a number of times during the summer, and gave an address on "Work and Pray" at the monthly concert July 7th.


In 1868, the Rev. Clark Salmon served the church his last year and during the year Miss Caroline Gable was received by confession of faith, and Mrs. Elizabeth Spence by letter from Eddytown. The latter was dismissed in the next year to a church out of town.

The Rev. S. F. Colt, D.D., was moderator of the session meeting April 10, 1869 when Mr. William Coolbaugh and his wife Margaret (Vought) Coolbaugh were received as members by letter from Wysox, and Mr. Joseph M. Elliott was dismissed to Wyalusing. William Coolbaugh was a son of Benjamin and the brother of Johnson Coolbaugh. On April 17ths Messrs. Silas E. Seely and William Coolbaugh were elected elders and on April 20th they were set apart to the office by prayer and laying on of hands. Mrs. William Coolbaugh was the daughter of David and Ellen (Huyck) Vought of Standing Stone. (Edward E. Hoagland, Coolbaugh Family in America, p.23)

On the 17th of July, Mr. John Moray was received by certificate from Christ Church, and his wife Margaret K., from the Presbyterian Church, Towanda. Mr. Moray photographed many view of Rome and Bradford County, to be seen in Beers’ Atlas of Bradford County, 1869. On Aug. 29, Mr. Adam Kier and his wife Agnes were received as members upon certificate from the Presbyterian Church at Barclay. Their infant son Adam was baptized three months later, Oct. 2, 1869. Mrs. H. G. (Harriet Gates) Salmon was dismissed to Meshoppen, Pa. On Jan. 23, 1870, Robert Kier and his wife Ann became members by letter from Barclay and on Feb. 6th their infant son William was baptized.

During this year of 1869, a weekly newspaper was published. The East Bradford Advocate was printed by D. V. Stedge, who had an office over Frost’s Cabinet Shop, and copy of Volume 1, Number 4, is in the house of Mrs. John Woodburn, a member of this Church. Among the advertisements was one by Lizzie Powers (mother of George and Fred Powers) offering 22 music lessons for $10.00.

On the front page is, first, a column of business directory cards, including more than a dozen from Athens and Towanda, and the following names of persons in business at Rome: O. D. Styles, physician and surgeon, office opposite Presbyterian church. (This is property now of Daughterty heirs.) H. L. Woodburn, surgical and mechanical dentist, office one door north of Baxter’s Grocery; Wm. Rice, physician and surgeon, office over Drug Store; Miss Libbie L. Wattles, solicited millinery work; Lizzie Rice (mother of George and Fred Powers) offered 22 music lessons for $10.00; D. R. Woodburn, with shop one door north of the Academy, was prepared to do all kinds of smith work except shoeing; Mrs. A. M. Barnes advertised her tailoring business at her residence on Towner Street, north side; A. A. Taylor was prepared to accommodate the traveling public at the Union Hotel, made over from the late residence of H. G. Goff; A. Keefe announced his harness business two doors south of Woodburn’s blacksmith shop in a little red building formerly known as Baxter’s Grocery.


Rome Township, 1869

From Beers’ Atlas of Bradford County


Rome Borough, 1869

The second column of the first page is given up to two patent medicine advertisements: Coe’s Cough Balsam and Coe’s Dyspepsia Cure.

Four columns on the front page are given over to one original poem, five tales and two sketches. On the second page are two columns of current news from United States and abroad, while another column gives an account of the Memorial Day exercises at Towanda.

Another column gives notice of two books, Parsons’ Laws of Business, and a Life of Jefferson Davis, and gives a report of the Rome Market, corrected weekly by Whitaker, Crandal & Co., "Dealers in Groceries and Provisions."

Among the items quoted are:

Wheat, $1.50 to $1.75; rye, $1.00; Buckwheat 65¢ to 75¢; Corn, 90¢ to $1.00; Oats, 60¢ to 65¢; beans, $2.00 to $3.00; dried apples, 12¢ to 13¢; butter, lb. 25 to 30¢; lard, lb., 25¢ to 28¢; eggs, dozen, 15¢; pork, lb. 20¢; hams, lb. 20¢ to 22¢; flour, per barrel, $9.00 to $10.00.

In the same column, Miss F. E. Washburn announces new millinery and fancy goods from New York. In the fifth column of the second page is an "ad" of R. S. Barnes’ Mill, located one mile below the village; one of Nichols’ Store, and one of Hearth and Home, a weekly agricultural and fireside journal.

The last column displayed a furniture "ad" of the Cabinet Shop in Rome boro and three-quarters of the column advertised boots and gaiters, groceries and provisions, for sale by J. Whitaker, J. Crandall and Ed Whitaker.

The third page has a column devoted to "Local Intelligence," and then follows a "Sketch of the Early History of Rome, Pa.," which describes, for the most part, the coming of the first settler, Nathaniel Peasley Moody, great-great-grandfather of Mrs. U. M. Holmes, in 1796. He was followed by Godfrey Vought, Henry Lent and Frederick Eiklor from Catskill, N.Y. The nearest grist mill was Hinman’s at Wysox near the Lanning place. The township was known as Watertown. Wysox is said to have given a part of its area to make up this new township, and originally included what is now Orwell, Pike, Warren and Windham. In 1797 there was not a settler in any of the last four towns. John Parks settled on the place owned in 1869 by D. C. Wattles, now occupied by Leon Bidlack. The first preaching in the township was at the house of John Parks, by Rev. Elisha Cole of Monroe township.

In 1803 at the home of Mr. Parks, Mr. Cole performed the first marriage in Rome township when James Lent and Chloe Parks were married. The first birth was that of Nathanial Moody, in 1798; the first death was that of Mrs. Frederick Eicklor, in 1800. In 1801 Henry Lent froze to death on his way back home from Sheshequin at a place near the line dividing the farms of J. G. Towner and Washington Towner. A second article the week following was to conclude the sketch.

A third of a column was filled with "Local Notices," three of which invited "persons having unsettled accounts to settle." In the next half column is an "ad" of H. W. Baxter and below this is the other half column for George Nichols’ store. L. A. Ridgeway’s Drug Store advertised in the whole fifth column, and the sixth column of the third page was given half to the East Bradford Advocate and half to Wickham & Frost in a general store advertisement.

The first column of the fourth and last page was headed "Temperance Department." D. S. Maynard, editor Rome Lodge, I.O. of G. T. (Independent Order of Grand Templers); meeting every Saturday evening. The whole column contained temperance matter, and included a list of the officers of the Athens lodge of Grand Templers, among whom are the names of six women.

The second column was for "Farm, Garden and Kitchen," and readers were requested to contribute articles. In this column was a long paragraph on "Suggestions About Summer Fallows," and a clipping selection on "The Apple Worm".

At the Young home in 1870, (left to right) Child of Clark Willson, Mrs. Lydia Bliss, Lora Willson, Clark Willson (behind Lora), Child of Clark Willson, Mrs. Clark Willson; in the wagon, called the Gospel Ship, Clara Young Ellsworth, Lizzie Young, Ella Young, Betsy Ridgeway Allen, Lucy Young Bliss, P.O. Bliss (standing), O. F. Young (driving), George Romeo Young, John L. Ellsworth, Allen Peter Young.

Payne’s Furniture Store, Waverly, N.Y. advertised in the whole of the third column.

James S. Murray and Horace H. Eldred’s Insurance Agency of Waverly advertised in the fourth column. The other two columns are filled with miscellaneous "ads," the only local ones of interest being the railroad time table for trains between Towanda and Waverly, one of the "Waverly Enterprise," (only 50 cents a year), and one of the Rome Furnace; A. M. Joslyn and Son, proprietors, who offered Iron Beam plows, with "old iron taken in exchange."

On June 3, 1870, a certificate of dismission was given to Mr. Johnson R. Coolbaugh and his wife Melida Laura Maynard, to join the Presbyterian Church at Waverly, N.Y. He died Dec. 17, 1885; she, Sept. 23, 1894, at Elmira, N.Y. Burial was at Rome.

In the first of the year 1871 the Church engaged the services of a new minister, the Rev. Faber Byllesby, who was serving the Orwell Presbyterian Church. The church membership was 30. He served till 1874.

Members received under his ministry by letter were: Mrs. Elizabeth Spalding, back from Vineland, N.Y.; Mrs. Anna E. Madison (formerly Mrs. Cannan), from Mahoning; Mrs. Lizzie Forbes from Potterville. Mrs. P. L. Chrispell joined by confession of faith. Fifteen received letters of dismission, ordered granted between 1870 and 1874, to the following: Mrs. Augusta Evans (formerly Eastman) to Nichols, N.Y.; Mrs. Eliza Elliott to Mansfield; Mrs. Della Barnes McCabe to Pittston; Mr. and Mrs. P.O. Bliss to Chicago; Mrs. G. H. Coburn (formerly Gertrude Barnes) to Orwell; Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Osborn to Nichols; Mrs. Henrietta C. Case to Towanda; Mrs. Nancy Rolls to Libertyville, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. John Moray to Milton; Mr. O. W. Young to Chicago; Miss Olive Elliott; Mrs. Louisa Maynard; Mrs. Daniel Stevens to LeRaysville.

The membership reported in 1874 was 22.

Mr. Byllesby baptized in October, 1871, David Ditchburn, infant son of Adam and Agnes Kier, and Sept. 21, 1873, James and Agnes twins of Adam and Agnes Kier. Agnes married Lester Phillips of North Orwell, has children, Isadore and Irving (twins) and Alberta Marguerite Phillips. Alberta married June 12, 1941, Mr. Jacob Hennip, brother of Miss Anna Hennip, a present member of the church, children of Henry and Hattie (Meyer) Hennip of Rome Township.

By the will of Mrs. Louise Avery of Rome, Pa., deceased March 14, 1871, widow of George, the church trustees were bequeathed $525 to be invested in the parsonage, with the provision that the Avery cemetery lot be cared for by the trustees.

In July, 1875 Dr. Myron Wheaton and Jane, his wife, together with Mrs. Thresa Towner were admitted as members. In 1878 the Wheaton’s took letters to a Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre, and in 1877 Mrs. Towner became a member of the Canton Church. Other members taking letters of dismission near this time were: Mrs. Emma Lent (formerly Ercanbrack); Elder B. Gates and Sophia, his wife, to Canton; P. L. Crispell joined a Baptist church in New Jersey.

In the eleven years which passed from the time of their taking their church letters to the First Congregational Church of Chicago in 1865 P.P. Bliss and his wife Lucy Young Bliss lived a full life. Mr. Bliss compiled a number of musical volumes for classes, schools, conventions, Sunday schools and gospel meetings, and earned part of his living teaching music and holding singing conventions. He composed many pieces of music, at first mostly secular, but in the last several years of his short life he devoted himself to sacred music and poetry, especially for gospel services.

The secular numbers included "Tis the Heart Makes the Home," "Loving Little Lou," "The Photograph," "Room for One More," "Mr. Lordly and I," "The Tin Wedding," (written ten years after his marriage, and sung at a party at Rome), "Sire and Son," "When Grandmother is Gone."

Lucy Young and P. P. Bliss

A number of his sacred compositions were published in 1870 in "The Prize," a collection of hymns for Sunday schools, by John Church & Co. He edited "The Charm" in 1871, a similar collection. In 1873 he published "Sunshine for Sunday Schools." He also compiled "The Joy" and included some of his compositions for use by classes, choirs and singing conventions then held so widely. "The Song Tree" was a book of more difficult music for concerts.

As early as 1869 he had come in contact with Mr. Dwight L. Moody at a theatre gospel meeting in Chicago. One Sunday evening he and Mrs. Bliss were out walking before church time and passing up Clark Street, came upon an open air meeting where an earnest speaker closed with an appeal for his listeners to follow him to Wood’s Museum, at the corner of Randolph Street. Bliss and his wife went, and finding that Mr. Moody was without his usual leader for the singing, helped out from the audience with the hymns and attracted Mr. Moody’s attention. At the close of the meeting Moody shook hands with all passing out and when P.O. bliss came to him got his name and history in about two minutes, and a promise to help with the singing when in the city on Sunday evenings.

A few years afterward at the repeated urgings of Mr. Moody, and after doing much singing in gospel meetings Bliss finally decided to give up his private work of teaching music and conducting schools and conventions for the purpose of devoting his whole time to the singing of the gospel in connection with its being preached by Major D. W. Whittle, who had given up a position with a salary of $5,000 per year with the Elgin Watch Company, and who later wrote the Memoirs of P.P. Bliss, published in 1877. Bliss himself at this time had, according to his diary, "plenty of convention engagements at one hundred dollars for four days."

The John Church Company published in 1874 "Gospel Songs, a Choice Collection of Hymns and tunes," edited by Bliss, who composed or wrote fifty-four of the selections. The next year P.P. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey compiled "Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs." A new volume by these two, called "Gospel Hymns, No. 2," was published by Biglow and Main and the John Church Company after the death of Mr. Bliss. This creative activity of P.O. Bliss was cut short by a railroad disaster near Ashtabula, Ohio.

After a Christmas holiday visit with their childr3n, parents and friends at Rome, Mr. and Mrs. P.P. Bliss were returning to Chicago December 29, 1876, to assist D. L. Moody in gospel meetings when their passenger train crashed through a railroad bridge at Ashtabula, Ohio. The eleven wooden cars were soon afire from the kerosene lamps upset by the fall of the cars into the ravine into which they fell. It was intensely cold and the accident occurred during a dark night in the midst of a severe blizzard. Some eighty persons lost their lives. "It is thought that the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Bliss were consumed to ashes, since nothing recognizable as belonging to their earthly tabernacle has ever been discovered."

On Christmas night he had conducted the union prayer-meeting at the Baptist church, after which he gave the encouragement of his patronage and influence at the festival of the Patrons of Temperance which was being held at the Academy that evening.

The funeral services were conducted in the old Presbyterian church Sunday, January 7, 1877, morning and afternoon, by Rev. e. P. Goodwin of Chicago, and Major D. W. whittle of Louisville, who later wrote a volume entitled Memoirs of P.P. Bliss, published by A. S. Barnes Company, New York, 1877.

A cenotaph to the Blisses was dedicated in Rome cemetery July 10, 1877 in the presence of one of the largest crowds of people ever gathered in Bradford County, up to that time. A large sum of money had been raised by contributions from Sunday Schools and prominent men throughout the country. Among the ten thousand estimated to have been present were Messrs. D. L. Moody, chairman for the day, Ira D. Sankey, George C. Stebins, John McGranahan, and John Wanamaker. The local committee was made up of John Passmore, W. H. Shaw, A. A. Taylor, S. E. Seeley, G. W. Stone, W. P. Arnold, S. L. Wells, John Vought, D. D. Barnes. The sum of ten thousand six hundred dollars was set aside as a trust fund for the education of the two orphan boys, Philip Paul and George Goodwin. They were committed with prayer to the care of Mr. John Ellsworth and his wife who was a sister of Mrs. Bliss.

The monument stands twenty-four feet high, and is four feet square at the base. This description is given in the Philadelphia Ledge of June 30, 1877. On the second base is the inscription, "their names shall live," on the front. A moulding above this second base received the die, and above this is the shaft, twelve feet high, on which is carved a lyre, with broken strings and the name "Bliss" and the passage, "They statutes have been my song in the house of my pilgrimage."—Ps. 119:54. Above this shaft is a cap to receive a draped urn.

Photo by Joyce M. Tice August 2000
On the main front: "Erected by the Sunday Schools of the United States and great Britain, in response to the invitation of D. L. Moody, as a memorial to Philip P. Bliss, author of ‘Hold the Fort," and other Gospel songs."

On the right hand side: "Through a living faith in Jesus Christ they died in the blessed hope of a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. They lived in expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus, and the gathering together to Him; their spirits are with the Lord." Then follows a quotation of 1 Thess. 4:13, 14, 16, 17.

On the left side: "Philip P. Bliss, Lucy Young Bliss. ‘Lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in death they were not divided.’"—2 Samuel 1:23.

On the back front: "Sacred to the memory of Philip P. Bliss, born in Clearfield County, Pa., July 9, 1838, and Lucy Young Bliss, his wife, born in Rome, Bradford County, Pa., March 14, 1841; who left their home in this village Thursday morning, December 28, 1876 for Chicago, and met their death at Ashtabula, Ohio, Friday evening, December 29, 1876, by the falling of a bridge, by which a train of cars was broken into fragments and consumed by fire, some eighty persons being killed. It is thought that the bodies of Mr. & Mrs. Bliss were consumed to ashes, since nothing recognizable as belonging to their earthly tabernacle has ever been discovered."

An illustrated circular advertising a book, The Ashtabula Disaster, by Rev. Stephen D. Peet of Ashtabula was found among old papers in the Oscar F. Young home. A large cut shows the scene of the broken bridge, burning cars and people running to help. The book had a chapter about P.P. Bliss; said that the engineer committed suicide; gave the coroner’s verdict, and contained 35 chapters. The author was present and aided in caring for the wounded, assisting in search for bodies and helping the friends of victims.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 02 MAR 2004
By Joyce M. Tice

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