Meadows - We Are the Church - 1850 - 2000
The road where the church is located is named Board Road. It was so muddy; Chandler had to lay boards in the road to take his lumber to be sold.
That's how the road got its name. By 1840, he had harvested the timber and began to sell off the land to our earliest church members, the Clappers.
John Clapper bought land in the area where the church is located. He was the son of William and Catherine McKarg Clapper of Baltimore, New York. The secretary's minutes of February 28, 1885, record that the board settled with Peter Clapper, John's brother, for Sexton fees accumulated from 1858 to 1885. Margaret, their sister resided with her husband, Philander Hardy, on the hill just above the church. The families of J. J. and Margaret French Culver about 1845 then joined the Clappers. J.J.'s mother, Mary Brink Culver, was probably the first death in the Beaver Meadow area in 1845. It is not known where she is buried.
The Ferris and Nancy Black Bennett family arrived before Chandler Bixby in 1833. They resided in lower Pike Township. Ferris signed the Tuscarora and Rush Compact. Their land bordered the land Chandler and Charles Bixby purchased. Members of the Bennett family became active in the Baptist part of our Union Church and Sabbath School. They later became founding members of the Freewill Baptist Church of Silvara in 1856. They probably also belonged to the schoolhouse connection of Fowler Hill. Some of this family has headstones in the Beaver Meadows Cemetery but are actually buried at the Fowler Hill (Whitney) Cemetery.
Chandler Bixby moved on to Rushville. He funded the building of the Presbyterian Church there. He was elected a trustee there on June 6, 1861. Many of the people listed on the Beaver Meadow roster left the area by the mid 1850's. The names on the roster encompassed a widespread area of residences including Samuel Brotzman of Jersey Hill and LaFayette Granges of Rush in Susquehanna County. The large membership list included some of the following names in Bradford County: Theodore Sylvara and Jackson Cogswell of the Silvara area, Abner McCloe of Edinger Hill, Nathaniel Dowrick and James Sharer of the vast LeRaysville-Stevensville area. The Beaver Meadow and Fowler Hill area residents made up the bulk of the charter with the familiar family names of Clapper, Culver, Clink, Fowler, Pickett, Cobb, Marbaker, Potter, King, Howe, McLaud, and Bennett families dominating.
William and Mahala Bennett Whitney bought land where the church is actually situated. Their descendants say they gave the land to the church but it was not recorded. Chandler Bixby could have set the land aside from the property when the Whitney's purchased it on April 8, 1865. Deeds were rarely recorded until the land was fully paid off. The Whitney's sold land to Levi Chamberlain in 1871. One boundary was said to be "Whence upon the churchyard fence". All the other early deeds refer to the land where the church sits as "... Reserved for the burial grounds".
There was never a mention of a church in pre-1900 deeds.
Elder Davis Dimock Gray, a Baptist minister from Laceyville, recorded in his funeral records early burials from the Bixby Meeting House, Beaver Meadow Church, and the Bixby Church. They were all the same place, Beaver Meadow Church. These funerals started in August 1862. This dispels the earlier beliefs that the first funeral was in 1864. Most of these early burials were at the Fowler Hill Cemetery on the property of William Whitney. For the most part, they were the Marbaker and Bennett's who were members of the Baptist branch of our church. When the Fowler Hill schoolhouse-church connection was disbanding prior to the Civil War, the Marbaker and Bennett families became members of the Union Sabbath School at Beaver Meadow. They retained membership with the Freewill Baptist Church.
There are many clues to the early existence of the church. The exact date of construction is still not known. At one point in those early years, the area residents added an 's' to the name Beaver Meadow. The first Post Office was established as Champion Hill on July 2, 1886. Shortly thereafter, till about 1905, the area became known as Opposition. The people here couldn't decide whether to name the place
Bixby or Beaver Meadow. Aaron Culver jokingly said, "name it Opposition", and they did. The Post Office's name was changed to Opposition too.
In 1986, Douglas Clapper and Donna Bennett replaced the stone wall in front of the church. Not too long after that, a large stone in front of the church was dated at 1868. At the time the stone was done, the congregation was using 1868, the date recorded at the Bradford County Courthouse for the Tuscarora and Rush Religious Compact, as the church's beginning date. The Compact was recorded for tax purposes only and we know that the Beaver Meadow Church was in existence years before 1868.
evidence found in Susan Marbaker's obituary (see inside back cover page),
we can prove existence prior to 1850 and feel secure in recording that
the church was built in the summer of 1849. Our church charter records
February 13, 185-. Also, the government located the church
on the Barber census map of 1850. This map is believed to have been
completed in February of 1850. A newspaper article records there
were no churches in Tuscarora Township in 1846.
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