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History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches

By H. C. Bradsby, 1891

Chapter Twenty One - Churches
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Baptist—Presbyterians—Methodists—Episcopalians—Disciple Church—Universalists —Catholics and Other Churches in the County—Early Preaches, Etc—Miscellaneous.

BAPTISTS—The first were in Troy in 1808. Elihu Rich, Sr., and Eliju Rich, Jr., commenced church services and soon organized under the name of the "Baptized Church of Christ at Burlington"; eight placed their names on the roll, four of the Rich family, Russell and Lydia Rose, Moses Cancius (Calkiins), James Mattison. In 1822 the church was incorporated as "The First Baptist Church of Troy," and a church built in 1832; a parsonage built in 1874. The ministers in the order were: E. Rich, Sr., E . Rich, Jr., I. Butler, David A. Balcon, Elder Kinney, Benj. Oviatt, James Parsons, Levi Baldwin, B. G. Avery, John Sayner, Daniel N. Root, Samuel Bullock, Henry C. Koon , Edward Ely, Job Leach, J. M. Cogshell , Joseph W. Parker, W. H. H. Dyer, T. French, W. H. Mentzer.

PRESBYTERIANS—They organized in 1839, with the following members: Solomon, Jemina, Israel, Sophia and Samuel Morse, Jr., Ebenezer Kimball, Anna, Eleanor J., Polly and Mary Ann McClenan, Elizabeth Cole, Barthena Wheeler, Julia Rockwell, Enos Frisbee, Lydia Long, Ebenezer and Laura Pomeroy. In 1876 a parsonage was provided. A first preacher was Isaac Todd, followed by R. Entler, John K. Cornyn, F. Colt, E. H. Camp, S. N. Conde, G. P. Sewepell, the latter came in 1879.

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METHODISTS-- The celebrated Lorenzo Dow visited Burlington in 1871 (probably should be 1821) and preached: no church organization however was effected until 1855, when by the efforts of Maj. B.S. Dartt, E. Newberry, John J. Berry, A. J. Howell, G. N. Newberry and others, "The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Troy," was organized: Rev. W. H. Knapp.

East Troy and Columbia Cross Roads were until 1874 "outside appointments" under the charge of Rev. J. S. Lemon: at that time they were made a separate "charge" when the Troy church moved into its present quarters on Redington Ave. Among the pastors were: D. Ferris, D. E. Clapp, W. B. Holk, O. L. Gibson, G. J. DuBois, J. H. Blades, M. C. Dean, W. S. Wentz, J. E. Williams, M. Hamblin, C. L. Connell, H. C. Moyer, D. W.Smith.

EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF TROY--This was organized March 4, 1841, and called "St. Paul’s Church of Troy," Rev. G. P. Winslow, rector. The first vestry were: S. W. Paine, Henry Card, O. P. Ballard, I. N. Batman Monroe and G. F. Redington, clerk and treasurer: S. W. Paine and Henry Card, church wardens. From 1849 to ’59 the church organization was not kept up. In 1875, however, they provided for their church building and in 1887 secured the Rev. James P. Ware.

DISCIPLES CHURCH—The church was organized at the house of Adriel Hibbard and called "The Church of Christ of Columbia and Troy," with 16 members, Elders, John C. Rockwell and Barney Webber, Chas. Hines, N. Pease, Ezra Hines, Levi Preston, Jr., John Owen, Louis Howe, Rachel Strait, Laura Strait and Nancy West. Their first meetings were held at the school-house on the Shubal-Maynard farm two miles west of Troy. The distinguished ministers of this church were Elder J. B. Knowles, L. B. Hyatt and Rev. Silas E. Shepard. In 1848 they built their church on Elmira Street, now owned by the Episcopalians. In 1884 Rev. John H. Gardiner was placed in charge. Their Church building was completed in June, 1885. Their membership is 105.

THE UNIVERSALIST CHURCH—In 1885 Rev. F. O. Eggleson came to Troy and took charge of "All Souls" Parish and for some years preaching was held in the Baptist’s church. In 1885 they built their present temple on Redington Ave. Included in Rev. Eggleson’s parish were Sylvania and Springfield.

CATHOLICS—In 1853 the Church purchased the church on the hill. Father Ahearn was the first priest, his parish including Towanda, Troy, Athens, Ridgbury, Canton, in Bradford county. Rev. M. J. Hoban was placed in chare, also serves Canton, Cascade and Ralston.

ST. JOHN’S NEPOMUCENE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, at Troy, was purchased about 1859 from the Episcopalians, having been formerly used by that denomination. It was blessed and dedicated. The church and missions were previously attended from St. Andrews, Blossburg, Pa., and SS. Peter and Paul’s, Towanda. The first resident pastors of St. John’s was Rev. C. Maugan, 1859, and afterward attended by Rev. Florence McCarthy, who was succeeded by Rev. John Loughlin, who

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was succeeded by Rev. M. P. Stack, who was succeeded by Rev. N. J. McManus, who was succeeded by Rev. M. H. Dunn who was succeeded by Rev. John Bergan, who was succeeded by Rev. P. J. Hurst, who was succeeded by Rev. M. J. Hoban, who was succeeded by present incumbent, Rev. T. J. Comerford.

Early Preachers.

EAST CANTON M.E. CHURCH—The west Leroy church was built in 1857.

ALBA BAPTIST CHURCH was erected in 1835 on the farm of Joel Taylor, and being blown down, the pieces were gathered and re-erected on the farm of David Palmer. The society was organized in 1818, and was connected with Canton much of the time. Revs. Burdick, Dwyer, Lake, J. H. Dwyer, Levering. Burroughs, Wells, Crowl. The church in Le Roy was built in 1855.

ALBA DISCIPLE CHURCH -- Rev. M. C. Frick, pastor, 175 members. He came to the charge in 1884 and extends his labors to Armenia, Grover, and the Spencer school-house in Union. Church was organized and built about 1840. Connected with Granville Centre during pastorate of Elder John L. Phoenix. Immediate cause of its organization was the exclusion from another church of S. E. Sheppard, Col. Irad Wilson and fifteen or sixteen others "for heresy." Elders, Randolph Manley, Leonard Lewis; deacons, J. P. Bates, P. Case, N. B. Case; trustees, N. B. Case, P. Case, John Warren, Charles Warren, Leonard Lewis.

ALBA SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS — Organized August, 5, 1883. J. L Baker, elder; J. Loughhead, deacon; C. B. Loughhead, Clerk, and Mrs Esther Loughhead, treasurer.

GROVER DISCIPLE CHURCH – A house of worship, but has no pastor at present.

GROVER EVANIGELICAL CHURCH – Rev. Mr. Vought, pastor. He also preaches at Beech Flats where the society erected (in 1884) a tasteful little church.


EAST TROY and COLUMBIA M. E. CHURCHES – Rev. DeWitt Myers, pastor. He came in October, 1886. They have a neat church at Cross Roads. Since division and separation from Troy, S. A. Chubbuck, N. B. Congdon, David Crow, John Van Kirk, J. W. Barnet, P. M. Joralemon, A. King and P. J. Bull have occupied the pulpits.

EAST TROY FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH – Rev. O. J. Moon; he serves at Bailey’s Corners, in Granville. At the latter place a very neat little chapel was erected in 1883. N. W. Clark and Franklin Baxter, deacons.

THE EAST TROY CHURCH – is one of the oldest organizations in the township, erecting its first house of worship in 1839, during the pastorate of Rev. Asa Dodge. "The Old Church," sad to say, was sold and turned into a "tavern." Which was subsequently burned. Present house erected in 1865. The trustees are Joel and Leighton Dunbar and Joe Calkins; clerk, C. R. Case. Rev. Mr. Moon, the incumbent.

GRANVILLE DISCIPLE CHURCH – Rev. W. S. St. Clare, pastor. He preaches also at Le Roy. Dr. Silas E. Sheppard organized the Gran-

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ville Church in 1832. The church of LeRoy Corners was erected in 1850. L. M. Leonard, Henry Arnold, P. R. Warren, Leroy Holcomb, George Morse and Hiram Stone, the elders.

WEST GRANVILLE FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH – Organized in 1883, worshiping at first in the Windfall school-house, afterward in the Union church, built about 1848 (now Mr. Josiah Warren’s horse-barn), but since 1865 in their present very neat and comfortable house of worship. M. B. Porter is clerk; Charles Taylor, S.S. superintendent; V.S. Landon, Henry Jennings, Hiram Kittle, M. B. Porter and James Merritt, Sr., trustees.

ARMENIA BAPTIST CHURCH – Organized, 1876. Rev. T. R. Jones closed labors in July 1886. Without pastor. Deacon, Frank Morgan; clerk, J. W. Ripley.

ARMENIA WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH – Rev. Mr. Porter, pastor, church built in 1880. Preaching also at the Wall school-house.

SYLVANIA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – Organized in 1858. Adopted Presbyterial order sometime afterward. The church was built in 1876. Rev. J. H. Jewell has been pastor thirty-five years.

SYLVANIA UNIVERSALIST CHURCH – Building erected in 1855 or 1856 as a Union Church by a combination of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Free Will Baptists, and " Nothingarians." The trustees now are A. M. Cornell, C. H. Ballard, Joseph Gladden and J. H. Calkins.

WELLS and COLUMBIA BAPTIST CHURCH – In 1840 there was a Baptist organization of more than one hundred members at Sylvania. Removed to Austinville, where there is a large and imposing church edifice. There is also one on "Baptist Hill."

WELLS and COLUMBIA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – In charge of Rev, Hallock Armstrong. "His eye is not dim nor his natural force abated." His appointments are Aspinwall, Judson Hill, Mosierville and Columbia Cross Roads. The later society was organized in 1859. Elders and deacons, John McClelland and Gabriel Besley.

JUDSON HILL M. E. CHURCH – An appointment on Daggett’s Mills charge. Rev. J. Merring, pastor. Old church burned, doubtless by and incendiary. Present house erected about 1865.

SOUTH CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH – Located at Gillett. First building erected in 1858; second structure in 1877; Deacon John F. Gillett, Rev. Levi Stone, pastor.

SPRINGFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH – organized in 1819 at the house of Major John Parkhurst, father of Eben F. Parkhurst. There were eighteen constituent members, embracing the Parkhursts, The Cooleys, the Bennetts, the Browns and the Adamses. First deacon, Isaac Cooley; first clerk, Elam Bennett. Worshiped for some years in old school-house on land between the store and the Dr. Wilder place. Church built in 1845 under the labors of the present pastor, Rev Thomas Mitchell, who entered the field in 1844. Other pastors have been Elam Bennett, Wm. Jones, Thomas B. Jayne, C. T. Hallowell, J. F. Rush and Rev. McLellan. A fine parsonage was built during Rev. C. T. Hollowell’s term of service. W.W. Spalding, deacon; Frank Ripley, T. Beardsley, Marcus Strange, Geo. Cory, H. R. Gates, trustees.

SPRINGFIELD UNIVERSALIST CHURCH – An old church building, now

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thoroughly organized and working, under the care and leadership of Rev. F. O. Eggleston, of Troy. Deacons; Wm. Cornell, Alfred Brace, Mrs. A. Brace. Trustees; Wm. Cornell, J. R. Guild, Wallace Mattocks, Stephen Brace and Mr. Hosley.

LEONA M. E. CHARGE -- Organized in 1814, with six charter members: Joseph Grace, Elisha Fanning, David Brown and their wives. Some of the first preachers were: James H. Baker, James Hall, John Griffin, Palmer Roberts, William Burge, Rev. Judd, Rev. Warner, Elom Parkhurst, Rev. Bennett, Rev. Rogers, Asa Orcutt, Rev. Gilmore and Solon Stocking. Ministers: J. K. Tinkham, E. O. Hall, C.L.F. Drake, W. Statham, O.N. Roberts, J. Lloyd Jones, C.M. Adams and others. Rev. C.D. Smith present pastor. There are two little churches at Mt. Pisgah’s base.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF BIG POND – Erected in 1883-4, under labors of Rev. J.A. Roberts. Alvin and Derrick Smith prominent workers. Rev F. M. Smith, Pastor.

BURLINGTON M.E. CHARGE – it is recorded that "the first Methodist minister who visited Burlington was Rev. Mr. Newman." "The old church." With its high pulpit antique gallery and weather-beaten exterior, still stands, surrounded by the grass-grown graves and humble headstones of the sleeping pioneers. Rev. C.M. Adams is the incumbent. Trustees, C. Rockwell, J. Blackwell, Jesse McKean, George Hill, Sherman Hill, Mr. Whitehead, Isaac Brown, Mr. Bailey, Decatur Pepper, Ed. Spencer, Mr. Thacker; stewards, Thomas Blackwell, Alfred Blackwell, Hilton Leonard, Joseph Rockwell, David Rundell, F.L. Stanton, H. Spencer, C. Fanning, D.S. Bourne, Sloan Ross, William Heath, and M. Rockwell.

PROTESTANT METHODIST CHURCH OF BURLINGTON – Rev. Mr. Crump at Towanda preaches fortnightly in pleasant little church of the denomination at Hickory Grove.

EVANGELICAL CHURCH IN BURLINGTON -- Burlington borough, Luther’s Mills and Mountain Lake. Rev. Mr. Golding, Rev. G.B. Gallagher appointed, Union Church, Hickory Grove. No sermons at present.

Canton’s Congregation

The Methodists formed a church at Canton in 1817, and the following were its first members: Solomon Brown, Lusanna Brown, Levi D. Landon, Lurinda Landon, David Lindley, Anise Lindley, Cynthia Lindley, Elias Wright, Amanda Wright, David Andrews, Priscilla Andrew, Thomas Miles and Nancy Miles. In 1851 Rev. J.B. Hewitt, who was then on the circuit, organized the class at "Canton Four Corners." It was composed of Mrs. I.C. Wright, Mrs. Rathbone, Mrs. Charles Stockwell and Mrs. S.K. Porter. In 1867 the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Canton borough was built. Following J.B. Hewitt as preachers, were: James Linn, Harvey Lamkin, Thomas Jones, John Powell, Elisha Sweet, H.T. Avery, J. H. Ross, C.L.F. Howe, J.E. Hyde, M. Coyle, J. Putnam, J Thompson, Rev. S. T.

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Sanford, present pastor. Trustees, G.A. Gurney, H. Caterlin, S. Sterling, C A. Crise.

THE PRESBYTERIANS – "The first Presbyterian Church of Canton" was organized in 1832, and embraced the two congregations of Canton and East Canton. Twenty-one members were enrolled. Those were Jerome, Charles, Sarah, Joel, Mary and Lydia Wright; John and Achsah VanDyke; Oliver and Lydia Bartlett; Sylvester, Anna, Nancy, Betsy, Mary and Rosanna Manley; Abraham and Alfred Foster, Abigail Smith, Lucy Landon and Harty Hickok. Of these none remains to-day save one, Mary Manley, wife of Mr. Charles Stephens of Franklin. Meetings were held for several years in homes, and in "the old school-house" near the burying ground, and in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The church at East Canton was commenced in 1846, and was dedicated in the spring of 1847. The church at Canton was commenced in 1860 and was dedicated in 1861. From 1861-2 Rev. Philander Camp was pastor. From 1863-4, Rev. John Colwell, M.D. served. In 1865, Rev. Mr. Gates commenced his long-protracted pastorate. The parsonage was built in 1883, and both churches were enlarged and remodeled in 1886.

DISCIPLE CHURCH – Elder T. Miller organized this church in 8150, with the following members: Elders, Charles McDougall, Ira C. Mitchell, Nathan Mitchell, George Wells, W.T.C. Sanders, of Philadelphia, William Owen, of North Broad Albans, N.Y., Alexander Greenlaw, John L. Phoenix, R. C. Barrow, A.B. Chamberlain, of Auburn, C.T. Mortimer, In 1851-2 the fine church on the corner of Troy and West Union streets was erected, and in 1870 it was extensively improved and re-furnished.

THE BAPTISTS – Rev. W.H.H. Dwyer, father of Mrs. Rev. W. H. Porter, of Alba, commenced preaching in Canton borough in 1854, organizing the Baptist society with 18 charter members: Abraham Rundell, James D. Hill, J.W. Knappin, Gudwin Fuller, George Hison, James C. Parsons, E. Q. Greenleaf, and Sisters Knappin, Miller, M.J. Dwyer, E.A. Hison, Mary A. Rundell, Anna Parson, Lucy Hill, Anna Griffin, Lydia Rundell and Sarah E. Parsons. Rev. E. Loomis was succeeded by Revs. Geo. T. McNair, E.A. Francis, James McDonald, J.L. Watson, Geo P Watrous, E. Wells, Thomas Mitchell and Alexander McGovern.

First Presbyterian Church, Orwell

This church was organized Sept. 5, 1815, under the name of "Warren and Orwell Presbyterian Church." Present pastor is Rev. F.E. Bassey. Original members at organization, 8; in 1870—52; 1880—74; 1890—49, and there are beyond the bounds of the church, 29, or a total of 78. Seating capacity of church, 228, and the buildings are valued at $2,000. S. N. Bronson has been clerk of the session since 1878. In the meeting to organize the society, it was resolved to build "on East street, a few rods north of the old school-house, on the west side of the highway," on land of Liberty Sharp. The subscribers to the building fund in 1815: Alvin Humphrey, Lucy, Charles, Addison and William Cowles, Asa Fuller, Monels Humphrey, Lucius Fuller, James D. Newell, J. W. Grant, Silas Allis, Rhoda Gridley,

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Abel Estabrooks, Joel Burns, Marcus Estabrook, John W. Browning, Dudley Humphrey, Nathan Payson, Joseph, S. Browning, Lyman Tennell, Johnson Cowles, Chauncey Grant, Levi Frisbie, Chaucey Frisbie, Theron Darling, Roswell D. Pitcher, Abel Darling, George W. Pitcher, Liberty Sharp, Ithall Allis, Czar Roberts, Jason Chaffee, Conel and Theron Wells, Elisha Keeler, Charles Stevens, Jarvis Loyal, William B. Robinson, James Smith, Jesse Estabrooks, Thrall Blair, Eleazer Allis Jr., John D. Wage, Levi Frisbie, Zebulon Frisbie, Uri Cook, Joel Cook, Jr., Curtis Robinson.

The house was completed and opened for church service in January, 1828. The records indicate that at this time the building was used by the Baptists and certain societies also. In 1832, Uri Cook, moderator, and Milton Humphrey, clerk. In 1835, Wyllys Bronson, chosen moderator and clerk. The nine members originally organized by Revs. John Bascom and Salmon King; Parley, Moses, Amos and Sally Coburn, Mary King, Lucy Coles, Maria Coburn and Dorcas Coburn. In 1816, seventeen were added; Lois Merrill, Polly Case, Joel Cook and Salome Ranney and wife, Phebe Frisbie, Esther Roberts, Sarah Andrews, Jemina Wells, Molly Coburn, Comfort B. Chaffee, Rilla Humphrey, Polly Ranney, Betsey Payson and Peggy Grant.

September 26, 1823, Sister Lydia Alger was put upon her trial for "the sins of prevarication, falsehood and other unchristian conduct," and found guilty, and the "moderator them laid her under censure." A few days before this, Comfort B. Chaffee, had confessed in open meeting that he had been guilty "of profanity and falsehood." The year before this, Sister Huldah Johnson has confessed: "I believe the Sabbath to be holy," and that she " had traveled on the Sabbath under peculiar circumstances," and was heartily sorry for her great sin, etc.

Some of the schemes for cheering the sick by these earnest, good, old-fashioned fathers and mothers, is given as follows: "On the first Sabbath in February, 1823, the sacrament * * was administered to Sister Experience Buffington, at her own house, on account of her being sick, after which the members present individually took her by the hand and bid her an affectionate farewell, not expecting to meet her in this world again; but hoping to meet her in another to serve God without alloy."

In April, 1824, by a vote, it was resolved to change the form from Congregational to Presbyterian.

At a meeting of the church in 1824, "Brother Liberty Sharp exhibited his confession that he did passionately strike three of his neighbors." It is not stated under what "rules" he was knocking them out.

At a meeting, November, 1827, three members were excommunicated for non-attendance at church worship; The minutes then recite: "After some conversation in experimental religion, and confessions of stupidity and indifference. Asked each other’s forgiveness."

In April, 1828, thirty-seven members were dismissed " to be constituted into a new church;" they formed the church at Warren. This year it was resolved to change the name to the "Church of Orwell."

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The new church at Orwell was completed and dedicated January 15, 1850, chapter read by Rev. Snowden; sermon by S. F. Colt.

Ministers: Solomon King, from the formation, 1815 to 1827; Christopher Corey (in connection with Pike township), January to April 1828; Amos Bingham, 1829 to 1831; Charles C. Cross, 1837 to 1841; John Mole, 1841 to 1843; N. Bogardus, 1843 to 1844; William Huntting, 1844 to 1849; (stated supply); Thomas Thomas, 1850 to 1852; Charles Huntington, spring to fall of 1852; Augustine Root, 1855 to 1856; T. Thomas, 1857 to 1862; J. A. Prossell, 1862 to 1864; Clark Salmon, 1864 to 1869; Samuel F. Colt, 1869 to 1870; J. Crane, November 1870; Faber Ryllesby, 1870 to 1875; William Bradford, 1876 to 1877; William Macnab, 1877 to 1879; Howard Cornell, 1879 to 1885; Halleck Armstrong, one Sunday, 1885; S. F. Colt, seven Sundays; Walter B. Thomas, nineteen Sundays; T. Pierce 1885 to 1886; T. P. Thomas, 1886 to 1887. In December 1887 the present pastor, Francis E. Besley was installed.


THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH of Towanda was an off-shoot from the church of Wysox. In 1821, thirty-eight were added to its communion. A number of these were living on the west side of the river, October 25, 1825, and constituted into a separate organization. The following were members: Rufus Foster, John Fox, John B. Hinman, Abraham Foster, Samuel Cranmer, Clark E. Conley, Ephraim Ladd, Lydia Scott, Hannah Taylor, Mary Fox, Sally Foster, Eley Ridgway, Deantha Gilson, Selina Powell, Weltha Hale, Lois Ladd. In 1829 the number of members had increased to twenty-seven. The church struggled against great opposition until the winter of 1831; Thirty-four were soon added. Up to 1833 the church had had no regular pastor. In September of that year Rev. Oscar Harris became pastor. In 1834 there was not a church edifice in Towanda. In 1835 the church was completed and opened for worship, and twenty persons were received into the communion. Mr. Foster continued a pastor of church until his death, January 16, 1865. Under Mr. Harris’s pastorate, the building was enlarged. He resigned in January, 1870, and in much of that year Dr. John S. Stewart, the present incumbent, was installed.

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, Towanda, was incorporated 1838. Trustees: William Watkins, E. R. Utter, Nelson P. Brown, Silas Noble, William Elwell, John E. Geiger, James P. Bull, Burton Kingsbury, George H. Bull. The church building was erected in 1837. Prior to that time, the few members of the society worshiped in private dwellings, in the court-house or school-house. Present pastor is Rev. W. H. S. Hermans. In 1869 the church edifice was rebuilt and enlarged.

CHRIST CHURCH.—Rev. Samuel T. Lord held occasional services during the a autumn of 1833 in Towanda, and in December began to officiate here regularly. Services held for a short time in the court-house, then for a few years in the "fire-proof" where they also held their Sabbath-school, M. C. Mercur, O.D. Bartlett and Miss Mary

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Woodruff being the teachers. Mrs. Geo. Wansey, Mrs. Char. Toucey, Mrs. Noah Spalding and Mrs. Geo. Watson, formed a part of the original class, and Antes Snyder, Wm. B. Foster, Fr., and Abraham Goodwin were prominent members of the church in its early days. In 1888-90 was built the splendid stone church, the finest in the city. It stands immediately south of the old building lot. Old building torn down in 1891. December 20, 1841, the court granted a charter under the name of "Christ’s Church," to Wm. B. Foster, Jr., O. D. Bartlett, Abraham Goodwin, John N. Weston, C. L. Ward, M. C. Mercur, David Wilmot and their successors. In 1842 the church was completed and an organ purchased, and Rev. George Watson became rector, and in 1844 the church was admitted into union with the convention. In 1849 the building was altered and enlarged and a bell purchased. During 1853-54 funds were raised by the congregation and a rectory built. Asa S. Colton, 1845; Robert J. Parvin, 1847; Benj. J. Douglas, 1850; Francis D. Hoskins, 1866; William McGlathery, 1870; Chas. E. McIlvaine 1873; John D. Beers became rector and was succeeded by Rev. E. A. Enos, who severed his connection in the autumn of 1885. Present pastor is Rev. W. E. Daw. The number of communicants is about 175.

CATHOLIC. —The first Catholic service held in this county was at Asylum, during the existence of the French Colony there, continuing about five years, from 1794 to 1799. In 1821 the settlement of Irish people holding the Catholic religion was begun at Silver Lake, in Susquehanna county. Rev Henry Fitzsimmons was appointed to this mission in 1836. He visited Troy, Canton, Ridgebury, Athens, and Towanda, celebrating mass and administering the sacraments to the faithful who began to locate in considerable numbers along the line. Father O’Reilly gathered the followers of the church at Towanda, and held services in various places until 1841, when he and his congregation erected a plain wooden church edifice on the site of the present church in Towanda village. When work upon the canal suspended, he advised his parishioners, who had been thrown out of employment, to move back into the township where the land was cheap, purchase farms and become permanent citizens. In accordance with this advice, little settlements of Irish people were formed in various parts of the county and have become quite as prosperous as any about them. Father O’Reilly was relieved from his duties here by his own request and was succeeded by Rev. Basil A. Shorb, who was followed by Rev. Ahearn and he by Father Doherty, who was succeeded by the Franciscan fathers. After them Rev. Patrick Toner had charge of the field; during his administration, in 1869, the old wooden church was taken down, and the present elegant brick Gothic structure erected on Third street; is one of the handsomest church edifices in Towanda, and was finished under the excellent management of Father Kelly, present pastor, and dedicated as ‘Saints Peter and Paul’s," December 14, 1879. In connection with the church is a cemetery in North Towanda, which was consecrated May 24, 1883; and also a school taught by the "Sisters of Mercy." Rev. Charles F. Kelly succeeded

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Rev. Mr. Toner as pastor, February 11, 1876. The number of Catholics in the parish is about 4,000.

TOWANDA BAPTIST CHURCH.—In1841 Rev. B. M. Spratt commenced labor in Towanda Church; after a few months, measures were taken by Isaac Care and Rev. Spratt to build a house of worship, assisted by James Elliott, then living in Ulster. In February, 1843, twelve persons from Ulster were united with the little band at Towanda—James Elliott and wife being among the number. The two churches. Monroe and Towanda, were known as one, the Towanda being a branch and holding its own covenant or church meetings. The earliest record of the church occupying its new house of worship was March 1st, 1845. In 1845 Rev. G. M. Spratt, D.D., resigned his pastorate, and Jesse B. Saxton became pastor of the Monroe and Towanda Church. October, 1846, a council dismissed 30 members for the purpose from the Monroe and Towanda Church as a regular and independent Baptist. On October 31st, 1846, James Elliott and Edwin Hurlburt were elected deacons of the new church. Rev. Jesse B. Saxton resigned the pastorate April 1st, 1847, when Rev. G. W. Stone was called to the pastorate, serving about a year and six months. In 1850, Rev. Jacob Kennedy became pastor for one year. The church was without a pastor from April, 1851, till April, 1854, at which time Rev. J. R. Morris became pastor for the space of one year. In June, 1856, Rev. William Sym, D.D., an Englishman, became pastor, serving till the fall of 1858. The church was now without a pastor till July, 1859, when Rev. Increase Child became its pastor, and served until October, 1861, The church at this time numbered 49 members. Rev. S. G. Keim became pastor; April, 1863. and served one year. October 1st, 1865, Rev. Robert Dunlap became pastor, remaining till September, 1868. Rev. S. J. Lusk pastor in 1869 to 1874. In 1876 Rev. T. A. Edwards became pastor, and in 1880 Rev. Charles T. Hollowell became pastor of the little church, at this time reduced to thirty members. Their number more than doubled during his pastorate, which closed in 1884. The church was without preaching services for most of the time till November 1885. Rev. G. H. Trapp became pastor in 1885. Present pastor is S. M. Hendricks.

THE UNIVERSALIST.—Prior to 1866 the Universalists had no regular church organization at Towanda. However they had regular preaching for several years. Among their first ministers may be mentioned G. D. Ames, Mr. Andrews, S. J. Gibson, Wm. M. Delong. In 1866, S. D. Russell, Allen McKean, G. F. Mason, Dr. E. H. Mason and W. H. Shaw obtained a charter of incorporation of an organization to be styled the "First Universalist Society of Towanda." Church edifice erected on Second street in 1876-77, as the "Church of the Messiah." The erection of the temple of worship was largely due to the efforts of Rev. G. J. Porter, who was succeeded in 1879 by Dr. Wm. Taylor, and he in turn by Dr. H. R. Nye; succeeded by Rev. Anson Titus, resigned in 1891. The church numbers 101 members.

AFRICAN M. E. CHURCH.—The first colored minister to Towanda was Thomas Jackson (Bethel). of Montrose, who began coming thereto about 1851-52. Their wooden church edifice was built in 1854.

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EPISCOPALIAN.—Trinity Church, of Athens, was organized in 1843, and the church was built in 1862. Previous to this they had a wooden church, which was destroyed by fire. Among the rectors of the parish have been the Revs. Watson, French, Harding, Nock, Rosemiller, Hooper, Barker and Cross. The present rector is Rev S. M. Wren.

METHODISTS.—In 1832 a "class" was organized and circuit-preaching established. Charles M. Harst and Esther Saltmarsh were members of the first "class," Chester Park and his family joining soon after. From the organization of the class until 1842, services were held in the Academy building. The first church was dedicated in 1844 and was located on Chemung street. This church was burned in 1851, and in 1852 another church was erected on the same site. In 1884 the brick edifice known as the "Bethel M. E. Church." was built. This they now occupy, and George A. Place is present pastor.

PRESBYTERIAN.—This church was organized as a Congressional Church in 1812, with twenty-two members, but change to Presbyterian in 1823. It was divided in 1858, one part becoming a REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH, with eighty-one followers. After the reunion of the old and new school churches in 1869, the Athens Church voted to again become Presbyterian, and was received under the care of the Presbytery of Lackawanna in 1871. The first church building was erected in 1827 and was burned in 1861. The second building was of brick and was built in 1863; that also burned in 1879. The present brick edifice was erected on the site of the other buildings and was dedicated in 1881.

CATHOLIC.—Up to the year 1865 Catholic congregations of Athens and Ridgebury were served from Towanda, small frame buildings having been erected for church purposes. Rev John O’Mally was in pastoral charge of Athens and Ridgebury until 1865. His successors to 1875 were Rev. E. E. Garvey and Rev. James Longhran. During the pastoral charge of Rev. John Costello, next in succession, the church in Athens was rebuilt and enlarged; a pastoral residence purchased, and a cemetery established mid-way between Athens and Waverly. St. John’s church was built in 1876 in South Waverly. The church of the Epiphany of Sayre, was built in 1889. Father Costello resigned the pastoral charge of Athens and Ridgebury, and removed to Sayre, where he at present resides. The name of the clergyman appointed to succeed him in Athens is Rev. James Moffat.

Sayre Churches.

BAPTIST. –" The First Baptist Church of Sayre" was organized in 1886, with 35 members. The present pastor is Rev. O. R. McKay.

ESPICOPAL. –"Church of the Redeemer" is the oldest religious organization in Sayre and was established in 1877. The first members were: Mr. And Mrs. H. E. Babcock, Mr. And Mrs. H. N. Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. G. K. Dietrick, Mr. And Mrs. A. J. Carey, Mr. R. A. Packer, Mr. Chas. C. Burns. Mrs. L. N. Warren, Mrs. J. Daniels, Mr. J. E. Babcock, Mr. J. N. Bishop, Mr. H. H. Hamilton, Mr. H. G. Spalding, and Mr. J. B McCall. A railroad restaurant was transformed into a church building and enlarged in 1888. The present stone church was consecrated in 1889. Rev. Chas. M. Carr, rector.

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METHODIST. –The first Methodist Episcopal Church of Sayre, was organize in 1875. R. M. Hovey, W. H. Flory, John Lamont, George Keat were active promoters of its early organization. Stephen Jay is the present pastor.

ST. JOHN’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH. –This was established in 1890, with 34 members, They rented a building, for church purposes of the Episcopalians; but the next year they built a building of their own, which they now occupy.


WYSOX CHURCH. –The earliest records now to be found of church matters are dated October 3, 1791. A church was organized in Wysox, consisting of fourteen members. The next church organized was that of Wyalusing, in 1793. The minister presiding was Rev. Ira Condit. This church, it is believed, was the first regularly organized Presbyterian Church in Northern Pennsylvania. The meeting was held at the mouth of the Wyalusing creek, where now stands the Second Presbyterian Church of Wyalusing. In 1809 it became a Congregational Church; but in March, 1831, it again took the Presbyterian form, which it has ever since retained.

SMITHFIELD. –The next church organized was that of Smithfield. This was of the Congregational form. Organized in Poultney, Vermont, in February, 1801. The first sermon preached to this church was in 1802, by the Rev. James Wood.

ORWELL. –The next was the church of Orwell, organized October 10, 1804, by Seth Williston and James Woodward. The Association met in Orwell, January 14th, 1814. Here the name of John Bascom appears on the records, and a committee was appointed to install him over the church of Smithfield, and also to install William Wisner over the church of Athens. February 15, 1816, the church of Pike first appears on the roll. The members living in Pike had previously belonged to the church of Orwell. Indeed, up to this time, Orwell had been the only church in that section of what is now Bradford County. September 5, 1815, however, a few months before the church of Pike was added to the Association, The Rev. Salmon King and the Rev. John Bascom organized a church in Warren, consisting of 8 members, 3 men and 5 women, and called it the church of Warren and Orwell. By the fall meeting of 1817 , Rev. John Bascom had been dismissed from the church of Smithfield, and Mr. Wisner form Athens; both, as the record states, for want of support.

There does not appear to have been a single church in the so-called Susquehanna Presbytery that had the Presbyterian form; Wyalusing Church laid aside the Presbyterian for as early as 1809. We find no Presbyterian Church in the body till March 3, 1821, when the Rev. Manasseh Miner York and the Rev. Simeon R. Jones organized one with the Presbyterian form in full, in the township of Well, Bradford county, Pa. Church meetings were often held in barns, although there seems to have been some sort of house of worship before this in Wysox. Sometimes the people in Wysox met those of Towanda at a half-way

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place; this half-way place was Mr. Means’ barn on the Wysox side of the Susquehanna.

In 1821 the following churches were in the county: Wyalusing, Orwell, Warren, Wysox, Braintrim, Windham, Athens, Smithfield, Wells.

Herrick Churches

KEEN SUMMIT UNION CHURCH, of Herrick, was erected in 1883-84. The first board of trustees were: John A. Keen, John Vought, Mrs. T. S. Limdy and Jacob Schoonover. The first meeting was held October 15, 1884. Rev. N. F. DeWitt (Methodist) preached until the spring of 1886. He was succeeded by the Rev. E. P. Eldridge, who remained until 1889, since which time they have had no regular pastor. The first religious services in the township were at Daniel Durand’s house, about 1832, by Calvanistic Baptists, then at the old log school-house. The next services were by Episcopal Methodists in the Spring School-house, Rev. Edmund Fairchild officiating. Baptist meetings were held in the old log school-house, which stood on the site of the present Camp District School-house. Among the more prominent members were: Isaac I. Camp and wife, Joseph Camp and wife, and Harry Wells and wife. They afterward changed to the Ballibay School-house, where they still hold meetings. It is claimed that this society was organized prior to 1838, and was the first regular Baptist organization in the township. Among their pastors can be recalled Elder Bixby, Rev. Parker and the Rev. Dr. Baldwin, In 1845 they organized a Presbyterian society in Herrick, with the Rev. Samuel F. Colt as pastor, who also preached in the Merryall church, and from which were taken letters to effect a formation of the Herrick Society. First meeting in the school building which stood on the site of the present Herrick Presbyterian Church which was built in 1858, previous to Mr. Colt’s ministry. Rev Charles Huntington had preached to the Merryall charge, with occasional services at Herrick. After the present church was erected about 1859, Rev. Darwin Cook took charge, and continued to the present. In 1858 they had a membership of about thirty-five.

THE BAPTIST CHURCH OF CHRIST, at Grover, was organized in 1872 under the supervision of Elder S. H. Durand. The first members were Edward Vermelya, David Scudder, Lewis Garrison, Luther Bellows and wife, Mary E. Knapp, Maria Kelley, Anna Shadock, Lurinda Wright, Meriett Dickerson and Anna Williams. The congregation now numbers twenty-two members

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH at Commisky, in Wilmot township, was built and dedicated in 1890.

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, on the Payne road in Wilmot township, was built in 1890.

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH at Ulster was completed in 1890. Rev E. O. Goodling, pastor.

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH at Hickory Ridge, in Burlington township, was recently completed.

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH at Moore’s hill was completed in 1889, served by Rev. E. O. Goodling.

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BURLINGTON M. E. CHURCH was organized late in the last century. Among the first settlers on Sugar creek in 1791 were William Dobbins and James McKean.

LE RAYSVILLE M. E. CHURCH was the old Pike charge, which had been separated from Wyalusing in 1832, the name having been changed in 1850. The first parsonage in all this territory was built within the bounds of the charge in 1815 or 1816, about half a mile above Stevensville. It has societies in Le Raysville, Prattville, and South Warren, and at each of these places a house of worship.

ROME METHODIST CHARGE was set off in 1853. They have a fine church building, which was erected in 1850. There are societies at Rome, Towner Hill, Myersburg, and Pond. At Myersburg there is a good church building.

ORWELL M. E. CHURCH was dedicated March 22, 1839, and was the first built by the Methodists in the territory, and was regarded as a very important enterprise.

Litchfield was made a distinct charge in 1851 and has two churches and a parsonage. It is connected with the Owego district.

Windham was set off in 1856. It reports 280 members, one church building, and one parsonage.

Hornbrook was made a separate field in 1869, and was attached to Owego district until 1872, when it was transferred to Wyalusing. They have a pleasant house of worship at Hornbrook, and another at Ghent. There are societies at both these places, and also at Gillett.

Herrick was erected into a distinct field of labor in 1870, and P. R. Tower was appointed its first pastor. It has societies at Herrick, East Herrick, Camptown, Lime Hill, and Standing Stone. At the latter place is the only church building on the charge. There is a parsonage in Camptown.

There are in eastern Bradford nineteen church buildings and eight parsonages, and a membership of about 1,800 persons.

CHURCH at TERRYTOWN. –The first Presbyterian Church, of Asylum, now Terry, was organized August 24, 1842, with ten members. In February, 1844, the membership had increased to thirty-two, of whom nearly one-half resided in Herrick. Their Herrick members were constituted a church February 26,2844. There were twelve of them. They maintained a separate existence until 1855, when the remnant of them was received into the Herrick Presbyterian Church. A reorganization took place October 8, 1863, under the supervision of a committee of Susquehanna presbytery, and the church was taken under the care of the presbytery. The Rev. David Craft, who had supplied the church since September, 1861, was installed pastor March 1,1866. Dr. George F. Horton and William Gamble were elders. The present membership is about fifty.

THE SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Wysox grew out of secession from the old church. The exscinding act of 1837 afforded a pretext for uniting with the presbytery of Montrose. In 1857-58 they built a snug little church. Rev. H. J. Crane became the pastor in 1860, and continued to be until the presbytery united the two branches.


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18, 1855, with twenty-six member, but, a short time after, twenty-five more were added to the number. The Rev. Robert Stevenson was installed pastor of the church July 11, 1861, Soon after their organization they erected a house of worship, and also a comfortable parsonage.

BALLIBAY CONGREGATION (Covenanters). –Organized in 1832.

THE CHURCH of HERRICK. –In June, 1849, an organization was effected at Herrickville, consisting of eight members, with Abel Bolles and Lyman Bronson ruling elders. In 1858, a comfortable church edifice was erected. Rev. D. Cook.

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH at MONROETOWN was organized Nov. 25, 1851, with twenty-five members, all of whom had been members of the Presbyterian Church at Towanda.

STEVENSVILLE CHURCH was dedicated October 3, 1858. February 2, 1860, thirty persons, members of the old Wyalusing Presbyterian Church, were organized into the Presbyterian Church of Stevensville, in which Hiram Stevens, Myron Stevens and Henry A. Ross were chosen the elders, and Rev. D. Cook was installed pastor.

BARCLAY CHURCH. –Organized December 26, 1866; twenty-four persons were constituted a Church. Messrs. Muir, Huntington and Turner were ordained elders; William and John Ditchburn and D. Short were chosen deacons.

ROME CHURCH was organized April 17,1844. The Church thus constituted consisted of ten members, of whom Bazaleet Gates and Solomon Spalding were ordained elders. The Rev. John Ivison was the first stated supply, and Rev. S. H. Hazard succeeded him. A house of worship dedicated February 3, 1846.

CHURCH of ORWELL and WARREN was organized September 5, 1815, as a Congregational Church, by Rev. John Bascom and Rev. Salmon King, with eight members. At January, 1819, the number had increased to thirty-three, with Levi Frisbie and Parley Coburn as deacons, and Mr. King as pastor; changed its form of government to the Presbyterian, April 3, 1824, at Orwell, and Anson Collins, Chauncy Frisbie, Uri Cook, Milton Humphrey, Amos Coburn, and Nathan Young were chosen elders, and ordained April 15. The church divided December 18, 1827, and the portion of the membership residing in Warren, eighteen in number, were organized into a separate church, with Parley Coburn as both deacon and elder and Moses Coburn, Nathan Young, and Aaron Corbin ruling elders, and were henceforth known as the Church of Warren.

THE CHURCH of ORWELL, on the Ridge road, between the hill and Potterville, having become dilapidated, the congregation determined to erect a new house of worship, and the place selected was on the hill. At this a minority of the church took offense, and twenty-three seceded to form the Congregational Church of Potterville. They have a good church building, which is pleasantly situated.

THE CHURCH of WELLS and COLUMBIA. –February 22,1832, a committee from the Presbytery of Bath organized the church, which took the name of the Church of Wells and Columbia, with fifteen members. This was the successor of the old church of Wells. They have a house

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of worship, erected in 1839, and at the last report there was a membership of thirty-six souls.

ORWELL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH was organized October 10,1804, by Seth Williston and James Woodward, and consisted of nine members. This church subsequently became centered at Le Raysville, and is now known as the Congregational Church of Pike.

The first class or society of Methodists in Monroeton was organized in the early part of this century. The leading spirit in this was Father Cole. There are two houses of worship in Monroeton.

THE METHODIST ESPISCOPAL CHURCH at Ulster was built in 1854, Since then there has been a parsonage built upon the church, and a church at Milan. There are three preaching places on the charge, biz: Ulster, Milan, and Moore’s Hill.

EAST TROY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. –There is a church here of 108 members, which has two church edifices, one at East Troy and the other in Columbia.

LIBERTY CORNERS and ASYLUM METHODIST ESPICOPAL CHURCH is a strong field, and at present in the care of Rev. M. G. Kymer. At Liberty Corners, or Hollon Hill, is a church and parsonage, and at Asylum is a very neat building. The property altogether, is estimated at $7,800; the membership is 153.

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH at ALBANY has a membership of 102, and whose two churches are valued at $3,000.

THE METHODIST have a church at Wilmot, covering the townships of Wilmot and Terry. There are eight or nine appointments on the charge. They have a parsonage at Terrytown. The Springfield charge has 142 members, have two church buildings and parsonage, and at Wells are two houses of worship and a parsonage.

LUTHERAN CHURCH. –Is near the county south line, organized and church built in 1850, with 30 members, with Mr. Erle as pastor, John George Eberling, Sr., elder, and Thomas Messersmith and Jacob Eberlin, Sr., deacons. The congregation, thought purely Lutheran in form and doctrine, is called a union church, as either a Lutheran or German reformed preacher is allowed to occupy the pulpit. To the exclusion of all other, except for funerals. In 1874, a neat framed church, thirty by fifty feet, has superseded the old log edifice. The church building is in this county, and the members of the congregation reside in both counties.

UNIVERSALISTS. –Have a nice church in Towanda, at Athens; one in Springfield township; at one time had an edifice in Monroe, one at Standing Stone and Orwell Hill. The only clergyman is in charge of the Athens Church

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