Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Ulster Methodist Church
Ulster Township, Bradford County PA
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
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1868 – 1968

United Methodist Church

Ulster, Pennsylvania


Sunday, May 12 11:00 a.m.

Rev. Grantas E. Hoopert,

District Superintendent

Music – Ulster Choir

Monday, May 13 7:30 p.m.

Rev. Frederick Price

Music – Presbyterian Choir

Tuesday, May 14th 7:30 p.m.

Rev. Leon Bundy

Music – Special

Wednesday, May 15th 6:30 p.m.

Fellowship Supper

Rev. Richard Welliver

Music – Towanda Choir

Thursday, 16th 7:30 p.m.

Rev. Robert Gumbert

Music – Hornbrook Choir

Friday, May 17th 7:30 p.m.

Memorial Service

Rev. Oren Williams


Rev. Oren Williams

Music – Milan Choir

Sunday, May 19th 10:30 a.m.

Rev. Lawrence W. Lykens

Conference Director of Evangelism

Central Pennsylvania Conference


From Information Supplied by

Beatrice Warren French

Copyright requested. Permission granted only to the

Trustees of Ulster Methodist Church

Captain Benjamin Clark, a Devout Methodist, came in to what is now Ulster in 1875 and bought the land which is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Bustin. He was a veteran of seven years fighting in the Revolutionary War. He immediately let it be known that his house was open to any Christian preaching, most especially to Methodist ministers. Soon he was having the only preaching among the settlers here. The early class was organized in 1793 and since 1824 there has been one of unbroken descent.

Obadiah Gore came in about the same time and settled land which is now owned by Walter Gillette at the east end of the Ulster Bridge. He also was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and preaching in his home which was about the only Methodist preaching on that side of the river.

Minister Circuit Riders came through from the Wyoming Circuit for a while, then Tioga Circuit was formed which took in our area. The first great circuit rider on the Tioga Circuit was William Colbert, a native of Poolville, Maryland. He was born of English parents on April 20, 1764. He was left by death without a mother at 18 years of age. He lived with his father and soon became converted to Methodism. Then he felt the call to preach, from the Maryland Conference and was appointed to the new Tioga Circuit. Soon after January 1, 1793, Colbert preached at Captain Clark’s at Ulster; and then he made several more preaching trips here. On February 25, 1804, Colbert attended his last Quarterly Conference at Sugar Creek. When it was over, Mr. Colbert parted with the preachers and each went his own way.

Captain Clark brought his widowed daughter and her son here to Ulster to live. The little boy was Simmons C. Hovey, and later at 17, he joined the Methodist Episcopal organization. He became Class Leader, Exhorter and local preacher, and in 1840 was regularly ordained by Bishop Roberts. He was a prominent member of the church for over 50 years.

Rev. and Mrs. Hovey took care of his grandparents, Captain and Mrs. Clark, for the remainder of their lives. Captain Clark died in Ulster on August 9, 1834 and is buried in the Old Pine Tree Cemetery. Rev. Simmons C. Hovey left $25.00 a year to the Ulster Methodist Episcopal Church in his will, and payment was made for many years from the estate.

It was at Captain Clark’s home that Henry C. Bascom, a boy of 16, was converted, in 1810, during Loring Grant’s (a Circuit Rider) preaching. Henry Bascom became Bishop Bascom of the Methodist Episcopal South. He was one of the most eloquent and forceful preachers and orators of his day.

On Tuesday, July 14, 1807, that genius, Bishop Francis Asbury, came down the eastern side of the river and preached at Judge Obadiah Gore’s (across the river mentioned previously.)

In going from the Genesee Conference, July or August 1810, Asbury and his companions passed down the Susquehanna. The only two points mentioned in the upper section are Tioga Point and Captain Clark’s. Henry Boehm was officially appointed to travel with Bishop Asbury for the four years beginning with 1809. He informs us that, "we had the company of Anning Owen, the Apostle of Methodism in Wyoming, who was not only good company, but a good guide." Before Bishop Asbury died in 1816, he edited his journal and took out much data which he thought unimportant. Some deletions could have been important to Methodist Episcopal Church in general.

Rev. Elisha Cole, the son of a Revolutionary War soldier and a devout Methodist, Samuel Cole, moved in 1810 to Monroeton from the Macedonia Settlement which was founded by his father. Born August 15, 1769, he became extensively known as a local preacher and everyone fondly called him "Father Cole." His father was respectfully called "Old Man Cole" by Colbert, and loved by all who knew him. Rev. Elisha Cole preached at his home in Monroeton, at North Towanda, Captain Clark’s in Ulster, Moore’s Hill (Saco), Burlington and many places on the old Tioga-Wyoming Circuits.

It is thought the eccentric Lorenzo Dow preached at Captain Clark’s also, although there are no records left, so it cannot be proven. He preached at Mrs. Jane McKean’s in Burlington, and Squire Saltmarsh’s in Athens, in 1806. It was not his custom to pass by a regular preaching place (which he would have to do) like Captain Clark’s. He was an illustrious, free lance Methodist preacher.

Through the efforts of all the above-mentioned ministers, circuit riders and particularly Rev. Simmons C. Hovey, the first Methodist Episcopal Church was built in Ulster in 1854. Later, a parsonage was built on the lot. In 1868, the Charter was granted to the first Methodist Episcopal Church in this locality. The church lot was not paid for until 1871, when Mrs. Wealthy Rockwell, widow of Chauncey Rockwell, received $100.00 from the Trustees, Rev. Simmons C. Hovey, George B. Rockwell and G. H. VanDyke. A warranty deed was executed to cover this transaction.


Jan. 30, 1878

John A. Codding, Esq.

In re request from you to give what facts I know in relation to our church. The M. E. Church in Ulster (or "Old Sheshequin" as the name used to be previous to 18160, I, then being a young boy, there was a circuit preaching at our house; that is, Captain Benjamin Clarke, and his son, William Clark, they both living in one house. Some of the early preachers were Loring Grant, Burge Judd *1. C_______ and William Clark was a preacher moving West about 1817 or 1818 there ceased to be a regular society here until 1824, when a society was formed. Abram Goodwin being the first class leader, that was the Circuit being called Tioga Fort. It embraced French Town, Loyalsock, Lycoming Creek, Block House Settlement, Pine Creek, Wellsboro, Lawrenceville and down the river to the first name place embracing all within the Circle being 300 miles around. Preaching once in two weeks, week days included preaching every day except Saturday. Three preachers *2. Sincour (?), George Evans, next a local preacher (supply), John Wilson, son-in-law of Elisha Cole of Monroe, the other being a young man; (name forgotten). There has been a Society organization since; the first church built in 1854 since which the parsonage has been built upon the church lot. The old Tioga Circuit has been divided up in a large number of Circuits and charges, Ulster Township being one of the late sub-divisions. There are three preaching places on present charge on Sabbath, Ulster every Sabbath, Moores Hill and Milan alternately every other Sabbath. There is a new church being built at Milan in this Township. *3.

The church at Ulster was thoroughly repaired in 1875. "An important improvement has been affected upon the church edifice at Ulster, costing $700.00, giving much needed facilities to this growing church." The Quarterly Conference, at the beginning of the year, resolved to lift their charge to a higher grade of appointments and added 50% to the salary of the pastor. In 1881, their success warrants their continuing the same.

In 1878, the church edifice was built at Milan, Pennsylvania. This addition made two churches on the Ulster-Milan charge.

Under the pastorate of Rev. Henry C. Stebbins, a beautiful church was dedicated here. The cost was $10,000.00; all but $1,500.00 was raised before the dedication, September 24, 1913. Dr. S. S. Sanford, District Superintendent of Elmira District, concluded the dedicatory services in the evening. The new church was started in 1912, when the cornerstone was laid. There are no important papers in the cornerstone; they are, however, under the marble slab in the floor of the vestibule. This is important to remember.

Mr. Reese A. Horton donated the blocks and built the block structure to the roof, the balance of the cost to be assumed by the congregation. His son, Earl T. Horton, drew the plans. Thomas J. Howie did all the woodwork and the finishing of the interior. Richard Merrill worked with Mr. Howie on the finishing. Trustees were: John N. Palmer, Hugh H. McKinney and Arthur Eastabrook. George R. Smith donated much of the carpenter work. He finished the kitchen, built the cupboards, donated a long work table, helped move the parsonage barn and horse sheds. (Horse sheds were torn down in the 1920’s). Bert Horton and Dr. D. W. Chafee, of Sheshequin, and John Layman were on the job alternately while the church was being built. Mr. George Bidlack was cement boss.

Mrs. George R. Smith is the oldest living member of our church. She’ll be 89 years of age on September 24, 1968. She and Earl T. Horton are the oldest living members in years of membership.

Early organizations included: Ladies Aid, Mid-week Prayer Meeting, Men’s Brotherhood, Sunday School, Class Meeting before morning church services, Junior League, Epworth League, Tithers Association, Women’s Missionary Society and Queen Esther’s Circle.

The first choir leader was William Giles, a Welshman. His daughter, Lizzie, had a beautiful soprano voice; and his granddaughter, Louise Young, played the organ. The first formal wedding was that of Rev. Taylor VanVleck, a Moravian minister, to Edith Bronson, a niece of Mrs. Reese Horton. The first military funeral was that of Robert DoBell. A military escort accompanied the body and full military honors were observed for the soldier.

The dining room and Sunday School Rooms of the old church were sold to M. P. Evans, which he moved and built into a bungalow for his daughter, Augusta (Mrs. LaVerne Farrell). Mrs. Martha Mowry owns and lives in the bungalow now. The old church edifice was sold to a group of local business men for a Town Hall. This building is now the Recreation Center.

In the winter of 1919, new pulpit furniture was purchased, and in 1920 the walls of the sanctuary and the League Rooms were decorated for the first time by the native artist, Mr. Louis Gore. This was beautifully done. In 1930, Francis Drake redecorated them. Mr. Drake, a Devonshire Englishman, also led the choir for many years. In 1946, Raymond French redecorated the basement of the church, donating his work.

Gasoline lights were first used in the church; later an individual electric plant was installed. The power line came through Ulster in 1924 and the church and parsonage went on it. Running water and bath were first installed in the parsonage about 1928. The pipe was laid across the street to furnish water to the church about 1933-1934, when Rev. James Gordon was here. Rev. Gordon, his son Sidney, George R. Smith and Frank Warren donated their work to complete this project. In dry times, the water was insufficient. During World War II, a well was drilled on the parsonage lot, which furnished plenty of water for both places. In the early 1950’s restrooms were installed in rooms added to the church basement. In 1967, the church and parsonage became members of the new public water system.

When World War II ended, the church windows were repaired at a cost of $400.00; then the front steps of the church had to be replaced for another $400.00. Late in the 1940’s while Rev. Stevenson was minister, an electric organ was purchased for the church. Until recently, it was necessary to make an every member canvass to square accounts at the end of the Conference quarter. Mrs. Earl T. Horton was always a willing worker to help raise enough funds to go to the Conference with a clean slate.

In 1955, the old parsonage barn was torn down and a new garage built to replace it.

In the early 1960’s, the church kitchen was modernized and the social room was paneled, and a tile floor laid. At about this time, a new gas-fired hot water heating system with baseboard radiation was installed throughout the church.

The most recent project was the renovation of the Sunday School rooms; and as a final note, our present minister, Rev. Oren R. Williams, and his wife, purchased and presented to the church a new pulpit Bible, on Easter morning, April 14, 1968.


*1. C_______ could not be identified.

*2. I could not make out this name, but it looks like Sincour.

*3. The above is an unsigned letter, but it certainly was written by Simmons C. Hovey, as he was the maternal grandson of Captain Clark, and states all the facts.



Searfoss, Truman
Sherbeck, Marrell
Stowell, Elbert


Bidlack, Mrs. Edwin
Kring, Donald
Chaffee, Mrs. Charles
LaDue, Morris
Cowell, Edwin
Layman, David
Colwell, Jeanette
Merrill, Rosena
Congdon, Roger
Mowry, Mrs. Charles
Congdon, Mrs. Steve
Norene, Arthur
Farr, Gordon E.
Norene, Mrs. Arthur
Gillette, Mrs. Ross
Searfoss, Truman
Grant, Marvin
Sherbeck, Marrell
Harris, Ervin
Taylor, Abbie
Harris, Mrs. Ervin
Watkins, Grace
Hill, Carl
Watkins, Vera
Horton, Francis
Williams, Mrs. Kenneth
Horton, Mrs. Francis
Young, Arthur
Cooper, Mrs. Grant


J. S. Lemon
W. H. Rumsey
S. G. Rhinevault
J. R. Drake
N. N. Beers
E. D. Rawson
J. C. B. Moyer
G. W. Foster
M. S. Kymer
(To be Supplied)
O. N. Hinman
J. C. B. Moyer
George W. Moxcey
Orville D. Allen
F. M. Clough
Frank Hamilton
D. W. Proseus
C. D. Smith
W. H. S. Loller

(Salary - $600.00)

C. D. Smith
O. D. Fisher
C. L. V. Haynes

(Salary - $700.00)

E. G. Evans
Henry C. Stebbins
Henry Sears (left in the middle of the year)
T. Henry Williams
W. C. B. Turner
Walter Gladwin
Henry Sears
Thomas Henry Williams
James Gordon
Cassius Myers
Roy Hotchkiss (mid-year)
Orson Case
Carl Stevenson
Leon Bundy
Robert Gumbert
Kenneth Stewart
Donald Hess
Robert Price
Oren R. Williams


Roger A. Congdon, Chairman

Rev. Oren R. Williams

Mrs. Kenneth Williams

Mrs. David Layman

Marrell Sherbeck

Arthur Young

Elbert Stowell

David Layman

Gordon E. Farr


Oren R. Williams, Minister

Wednesday, May 15, 1968

One Hundredth Anniversary of Incorporation Service

THE FELLOWSHIP SUPPER – 6:30 p.m. (Social Room)

The Invocation – Oren R. Williams, Minister

THE FELLOWSHIP HOUR – 7:30p.m. (Social Room)

(Everyone remain at the tables, please.)

The Piano Prelude

The Call to Prayer – Roger A. Congdon, Leader

The Prayer of Invocation

*The Hymn – 44 (The Old Methodist Hymnal)

The Reading of the Scripture Lesson

The Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

The Choir – (Or other special music)

The Announcements and Greetings to our Visitors

The Offertory and Offering

The Reception and Dedication of our Offerings

The Choir – (Or other special music)

The Sermon or Address – The Rev. H. Richard Welliver, Guest Minister and Speaker

The Closing Hymn – 47 ("Old" Methodist Hymnal)

The Benediction – (The Three-Fold Amen)

The Doxology

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 08 MAY  2005
By Joyce M. Tice
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