THESE Star-Gazette photos show part of the crowd, which helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Covington Baptist Church Oct. 25-27. (1940)
|Top right, Mrs. Lou Ella Harding Hutchenson as she dedicated new electric signboard, the gift of Mrs. Celia Harding Beese of Ft. Smith, Ark., a former member.||Top center: The principal speaker, the Rev. Ralph W. Neighbour of New York, shown, at left, with the Rev. Carl Wheeler, pastor of the church.||Top right: Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Fargo of Vintondale. Mr. Fargo served as pastor from 1927 to 1929.|
|Below, left, older members attending were: Front row, from left, Mrs. T. J. Scaife, Mrs. Charles Redfield of Elmira, the oldest member, T. J. Scaife. Second row, Mrs. William Blanchard, Mrs. Charles Hoxie, Mrs. Lou Ella Hutchenson. Third row, Mrs. William Soper, Herrick Wilcox, Mrs. George Baker.|
|At right are ministers of vicinity churches who paid their respects. Front row, from left, the Rev. Glen C. Dewey, Mainesburg; the Rev. C. Hildredth Wilcox, Horseheads; the Rev. Mr. Wheeler, the Rev. R. A. Fargo, Vintondale; the Rev. Charles Young, Watsontown. Second row, the Rev. Lee Chrum, Galeton; the Rev. Benjamin Kaselian, Cayuta, N.Y.; the Rev. A. Edwin Killam, Gibson, N.Y.; the Rev. Howard Horton, Prattsburg, N.Y.; the Rev. O. Phillips, Kingston, N.Y.; Third row: The Rev. Ira R. Foulk, Stony Fork; Mrs. G. Pearl Hubbell, Lambs Creek; the Rev. A. M. Shelton, Jackson, Ohio; the Rev. Robert D. Hubbell, Lambs Creek; the Rev. Ralph Neighbour, New York; the Rev. Lennon Hakes, Elmira Heights; the Rev. George Kyrk, Franklindale; the Rev. Homer Wetherbee, Troupsburg.|
1840 – 1940
Covington, Pa. Centennial Celebration October 25 – 27, 1940
A Message From the Pastor
In the providence of God we have had the joy of serving this church as the curtain of time was slowly descending upon one hundred years of active and progressive service proclaiming a living Christ to a dying world.
It is an added privilege to step across the threshold as a new page in the history of this church is turned, and new opportunities of service present themselves.
To the founders of the church, whose bodies have long since turned to dust, we stand in silent tribute. Theirs was a noble task, hewing out homes in a trackless, howling wilderness; building schools and erecting churches, that their posterity might grow in knowledge and favor with God and man.
But who can measure the influence of a single individual? Then who would dare to estimate the influences of a church spanning a century? After examining the record, we come to the conclusion reached by the writer of the Book of Hebrews. We understand his mood. His words ring in our hearts, "And what shall I say more.."
The invisible Church composed of true believers in the Blood of atonement of Christ is a supernatural institution, set forth to be a light and witness to the world. Its only message is the Good News that the Son of God, who gave His all upon Calvary’s rugged Cross, died that those who would believe in Him might live eternally.
May it be our humble prayer that this same Christ may be the Head of this local church. May it never be shackled with the tentacles of denominational authority. May it never have to stoop to mercenary plans and commercial schemes to keep its doors open. May it ever feed the hungry souls of men with the true Bread of Life and never appeal to the physical.
May it ever uphold the Word of God, preach the Blood of Christ and "look forward to the Blessed Hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
Carl W. Wheeler
By Mrs. E. B. Zimmer
For the earliest settlers of Covington the nearest trading points were Athens, Painted Post, and Williamsport. It was not long, however, that the settlers of Covington were dependent upon towns mentioned for supplies, but it was against this background that "Covington Four Corners" a little village grew up supplied with stores, shops, mills, hotels, churches and all necessary institutions of a thriving and prosperous community. Citizens were generally public spirited and for a quarter of a century Covington was the most favored and prosperous village in the county, and in 1831 the borough of Covington was organized preceding the county seat of Wellsboro by one year.
Probably no borough in the county has had so many stages of prosperity and depression as Covington. From 1820 to 1840 great improvements were made. During this period streets were opened on both sides of the river, and a general impetus was given to business by the erection of mills, factories, stores, hotels, schools, homes, and in this period our church was formed.
Until the close of this period settlements in Covington Township were confined chiefly to the banks of the Tioga River, but after 1840 settlers began extending out to the other well known roads surrounding Covington.
Among the early settlers of Elk Run road was Isaac Bliss, father of the celebrated evangelist and song writer, P. P. Bliss. Bliss wrote such songs as "Let the Lower Light Be Burning" and "My Redeemer." It was on this road that he spent several years of his young life working on a farm, and in lumber woods. It was there he was baptized, and became a member of the church. It is a well known fact as told by a former member of the church, Miss Effie Gerould, that Isaac Bliss brought his family down to Covington on Saturday night, spent the evening with her grandparents, Ephraim Bennet Gerould, and stayed until after the services in the Baptist Church the next day. The citizens of Covington during the later years of Mr. Bliss’ life took a deep interest in the success and popularity of one who had lived among them, attended their schools, sung in their midst and made the first efforts of his life in this locality.
Periodical meetings were held in Covington according to the Tioga County Record as early as 1809, and was in old Tioga Circuit which embraced all present territory in Troy district and more. Various denominations had their missionaries who ministered in Covington and vicinity. It was not, however, until 1840 that churches were organized, and the buildings erected for public worship, and it was at this time the Covington Baptist Church was formed.
The church originated from what was known as "The Particular Baptist Church of Covington" which after many vicissitudes and trials as a church organization finally adopted the rules of faith and practice of the regular Baptist denomination, and commenced its career about 1861. The original society known as the Covington Particular Church derived its origin from the Particular Baptist Church of Sullivan, a society which without any regular house of worship was maintained a long period of time in Sullivan Township by meeting for worship and business in the dwellings of its members.
According to the historical data, Elder George Spratt, in 1839, an educated and talented minister from England, removed from the Shamokin church in Northumberland County, united with the Sullivan church and became its pastor. He finally settled in Covington with his family and preached here in the morning and with the Sullivan members in the afternoon of the same day. When Elder Spratt commenced his ministry in Covington there were but three members of the Sullivan Baptist Church residing in Covington—Ephraim B. Gerould, Mrs. Sarah P. Kelts and Margaret Williams, who were the only Baptists in the township of Covington. In the course of a few years by conversion and by arrivals from other places there were added to the branch church in Covington about a dozen members, when steps were taken to form an independent organization in Covington by separation from the society in Sullivan and a church was formed in Covington, September 19th 1840.
The first regular business of the new church took place the same day at the district school house in Covington at which time a committee was appointed to draft an expression of church doctrine and a covenant, which were accented as the basis of a church on the 24th of October, 1940.
The church met in the schoolhouse until about the year 1855, when the present church was erected.
In 1860 there were 63 members. The history of the church since then has been one of steady progress and influence for good in the community. Pastors of acknowledged ability and education have furthered the purpose of the church and at present it enjoys a loyal and large membership.
This church, according to the history of Tioga County, is the parent of nearly all the prominent Baptist churches in the county, the Blossburg, Mansfield, Charleston, Dartt Settlement, Middlebury, and other churches were organized by it, and set aside as individual Baptist societies. Quoting from that same history, "and though perhaps ours in the oldest church in the county but one, it is still one of the youngest in progressive spirit, service, and zeal for the Master’s cause." Though this was stated of the church in the year 1860, this same spirit has been preserved to the present time, by loyal Christian members and pastors whose sole ambition has been to win the lost to God.
Observations from Church Officers and Organizations
From the Deacons – Mr. Claude Wilcox, Chairman
As members of the Board of Deacons, we have striven to meet the requirements of a deacon as given by God in His Word. Our work has been to administer Communion monthly, to examine and recommend the candidates for baptism, to extend to new members the right hand of fellowship, and to oversee the work and services of the church in the absence of the pastor. We are ready at all times to aid the pastor in any phase of his spiritual work.
We esteem it a privilege to hold the office of deacon, for the
Scripture says, "
They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus".
From the Clerk – Mrs. Herrick Wilcox
To many it may seem trivial to keep a detailed account of our church life, but all of these details speak of the work and progress of our work and service.
There have been many additions and losses to our membership throughout the years. Marriages have taken place, children brought into our midst, and many of our membership have been called home to their reward. This has brought sorrow to us, but great joy to them.
The thing which has gladdened and encouraged our hearts the most has been the welcoming of new converts into the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been brought about mostly by the spiritual revivals and campaigns which we have been privileged to have, under the ministry of various evangelists and speakers.
May all this inspire each one of us to be faithful to the task which He has given us, for it is written, "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much."
From the Missionary Society -- Mrs. T. J. Scaife, Superintendent
The Woman’s Missionary Society of this church was organized March 1913, by Mrs. Nathaniel Johnstone, with nine charter members, President, Mrs. N. Johnstone; Vice President, Mrs. S. O. Putnam; Secretary, Mrs. Katherine Sutten; and Treasurer, Mrs. John Herrmann.
Meetings were held from month to month with a good attendance, new members being added at each meeting.
From that time on, the Lord has richly blessed us in our missionary work. At the present time we are helping to support independent missionaries in various parts of Africa, China and the Islands of the Sea. Also Home Missionaries in Arizona, Kentucky and Tennessee mountains. We support regularly the Practical Bible Training School in Binghamton, and help the poor and needy in our own community.
This work is supported only by free will offerings. The Lord has greatly blessed our efforts in helping those who have gone into various parts of the world to preach the Gospel.
From the Sunday School – Arnold Johnson, Superintendent
It has been repeatedly said, "the Sunday School is the West Point of the Church." It is here that children receive the teaching and training which molds their young lives for future service. It is here also that established Christians gain further knowledge which enables them to live that more perfect life for Christ.
Our Sunday School originated January 1, 1881, with Mr. F. M. Patchen as superintendent. In recent years remarkable progress has been shown in attendance. We believe this is due to the fact that nothing is taught except the unadulterated word of God. Most of our lessons are taken from the Bible itself without the aid of outside literature.
We rely upon no schemes to increase attendance, but rather on God’s Word, for He says if we "sow the seed, He will give the increase."
From the Trustees – Mr. Ambrose Mason, Chairman
The duty of the trustees is to maintain and repair the church property and to oversee all legal matters. It has only been with the co-operation of the church membership that progress has been made and plans carried out.
The exterior and interior of the parsonage has been remodeled and improved to the extent that it is now one of the most comfortable homes of the community.
Also many outstanding changes have taken place in the church; one of the major improvements being the installation of a new gas heating system. The interior has been improved and redecorated with new floors, side-paneling and rugs. The church has been newly roofed and repainted.
It is by the unity and fine spirit of the members of the church that all this has been accomplished. Their gifts have been given freely from hearts of love for the Lord’s work and His House of Worship.
From the Young People – Myron Elliott, President
Our Young People’s Society has been a vital and working organization through the years. We have found that much service for God has been accomplished through the four groups into which our Society has been divided. These groups are the Devotional Group, Service Group, Fellowship Group, and Stewardship Group, each having individual plans and purposes.
By such a division and with the co-operation of these groups a weekly visitation at the Blossburg State Hospital is made possible, and the work of the Lord furthered by the distribution of tracts, gospels and Sunday School papers there. We have seen man wonderful results because of this ministry and trust that God will continue to bless our efforts.
We have also been privileged to take charge of services in our own church and also in various other places.
Besides this the young people have sponsored much of the re-decorating in the parsonage and in the Sunday School class-rooms of the church.
The future of any church depends upon its young people and we pray for such spiritual growth that the future progress of this church may be assured.
Centennial Celebration Committees
Composed of Deacons, Church Clerk, and Pastor
Reception and Registration
Mrs. Herrick Wilcox, Mrs. Myron Elliott
Mrs. T.J. Scaife, Mrs. F. Carlson, Mrs. Ambose Mason, Mrs. Floyd Beach
Mrs. Elisha Zimmer
Mrs. Wesley Brewer, Mrs. C.W. Wheeler, C.B. Zimmer
Theodore Scaife, William Hendricks
Mrs. F. Blanchard, Mrs. F. Lacey, Mrs. Wheeler
Hundredth Anniversary Speaker
Rev. Ralph Neighbour
The Rev. Mr. Neighbour is associate director of the Le Tourneau Evangelistic Center. He is a graduate of Wheaton College and his first experience in the Lord’s work was in the evangelistic field, in association with his father, the Rev. R.E. Neighbour, D. D. He served as pastor in PawPaw, Michigan, then founded a mission in Milford, Conn., and later became pastor of the First Baptist Church, Northumberland, Pa. His last pastorate was the First Baptist Church of Elyria, O., and he has also served as Chaplain of the Northeastern Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa. He has done much radio work, having conducted the Shepherd Hour over Station WHT while in college, maintained a daily program over WJBU while pastor of Northumberland, and while at Elyria having conducted the National Revival Hour, with great success, over Station WHK, Cleveland Ohio. He is included in the Young Men’s Who’s Who of America. He has a unique gift of whistling the Gospel tunes in a manner thoroughly enjoyable to all.
Brief Sketch of One Hundredth Anniversary Program
Friday, October 25th – Church Anniversary Day – with various former pastors as guest speakers
Opening service at 10:45 a.m. Afternoon service at 2 p. m. The history
of the church and letters from former pastors will be read. The bulletin
board for the church lawn, presented by Mrs. Coila Harding Reese will be
dedicated. 7 p. m., Fellowship Banquet and evening service.
Saturday – Rev. Neighbour will speak at the morning, afternoon and evening services. We extend a hearty welcome to all visiting pastors and friends from other churches.
Sunday – Concluding Centennial Services. Morning 10:30, afternoon, 2:30, evening 7:30. Rev. Neighbour speaking at all services.
"We are the dead, Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we wait till Jesus comes
Take up our quarrel with the Foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The Cross; Be yours to hold it high.
Do not break faith with Him who died,
And on the Cross was crucified,
But hold Him high, the World to see
That they might live eternally."
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which does to easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."—Hebrews 12:1
We are dedicating the following pages to the memory of the saints of this church who have gone on to their reward. It is the memory of this "great cloud of witness," mentioned in the verse of Scripture above, which inspires us to press on to the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
In Memory of my husband Mr. George Baker 1857-1940 – Mrs. Katie Baker
In Memory of our former pastor Rev. Thomas Sherwood who served this church faithfully from 1929 to 1936 and passed away in 1937.
In memory of my aunt Mrs. C. B. Clark who died in 1935 – Coila Harding Reese
In Memory our parents Mr. Elmer Clark 1858-1930 and Mrs. Sara Clark 1859-1924 – Mr. Elmer Clark, Jr. and Mrs. Ambrose Mason
In Memory of my husband Mr. Will Blanchard 1868-1933 – Mrs. Anna Blanchard
In Memory of my parents Mr. Eugene O. Watkins 1860-1938 and Mrs. Mary Watkins 1865-1934 –Mrs. Florence Lacy
In Memory of my parents Mr. G. S. Harding who died Sept. 28, 1895 and Mrs. G. S. Harding who died Aug. 4, 1906 – Lou Ella Harding Hutcheson
In Memory of my husband William Lyle Phillips 1911-1938 – Mrs. Theresa Phillips
In Memory of my husband Ernest C. Snover 1858-1939 – Mrs. E. C. Snover
In Memory of Mrs. Anna Meeker 1837-1931 – Friends in the Church
In Memory of my mother Mrs. Phoebe Connelly 1849-1900 – Mrs. T. J. Scaife
In Memory of Mrs. Anna Meeker’s mother Sally Putnam Kelts 1794-1890 – Miss Effie Gerould
In Memory of my grandmother Mrs. Hannah West LeValley 1815-1901 and my aunt Miss Etta LeValley 1854-1890 – Mrs. Kate Hoxie
In Memory of my parents Otis Gibson Gerould 1813-1918, Mary Catherine Gerould 1835-1909, and my grandparents Ephriam Bennett Gerould 1788-1845, Christania Putnam Gerould 1792-1872 – Miss Effie Gerould
In Memory of My Father Mr. Chas. H. Harding who died October 5, 1935 and in Appreciation of my Mother Mrs. C. H. Harding who is living in Fort Smith, Ark. – Mrs. Coila Harding Reese
Pastors of the Covington Baptist 1840 – 1940
|George Spratt||1839 – 1845||A. H. Wyncoop||1897 – 1900|
|Abijah Sherwood||1845 – 1850||James J. Hobbins||1900-1902|
|Levi Stone||1851 – 1852||Abe C. Jones||1902 – 1903|
|D. P. Maryatt||1852 – 1857||O. B. Kinney||1903 – 1906|
|N. L. Reynolds||1857 – 1865||R. E. Vellines||1906 – 1910|
|G. P. Watrous||1865 – 1872||N. Johnstone||1910 – 1917|
|E. L. Mills||1875 – 1878||E. D. Ferguson||1917 – 1920|
|Ross Ward||1878 – 1881||J. O. Smith||1921 – 1923|
|S. F. Matthews||1881 – 1883||J. J. Gould||1923 – 1924|
|A. T. Tilden||1883 – 1886||J. P. Tampt||1924 – 1927|
|E. J. Lewis||1886 – 1887||R. A. Fargo||1927 – 1929|
|G. H. Trapp||1887 – 1890||J. I. Reese||1929 – 1929|
|James Jones||1893 – 1895||Thos. Sherwood||1929 – 1929|
|T. C. Davis||1895 – 1896||C. W. Wheeler||1936 -|
What a surprise when my daughter forwarded all this material concerning Covington and surrounding County country side.
It is late at night for me. What a surprise seeing all those old familiar faces and seeing their names.. names have not heard for years.
How well I recall that !00th and was flown back for the 150th.. I am now 94 and my dear wife Florence passed away about a year ago. We were married over 70 years.......My address is One Angello Terrace Grover Beach, Ca. 93433 805 489 3686
Will anxiously look forward to tomorrow when we can go into detail and
be so happy reading, seeing pictures and just PRAISING THE LORD.
So many memories and the anticipation of seeing these who have been called Home...Many of them I officiated at their funerals.
Thank You for such a masterful piece of history......In Christ Rev. Carl W.Wheeler
|Covington Baptist Church Group Photo 1941
In a message dated 2/13/2009 1:03:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for all you do. Linda Austin Congdon