Meadows - We Are the Church - 1850 - 2000
In Tuscarora Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania there is located adjacent to the Beaver Meadows Pond, the historic Beaver Meadows United Methodist Church, which was formerly a Union Church. The church was located on the 1850 Barber census map. We learned from the obituary of Susan Cottrell Marbaker that the church was constructed sometime in 1849, shortly after she and her husband bought their land. The obituary states that her husband, Joseph Marbaker, lived to enjoy his property for 50 years. They bought the land in 1849 and he died March 25, 1899.
Raymond Cobb recopied the "Tuscarora and Rush Compact" in the back of a secretary's book but only recorded February 13, 185- as the date of this charter. This charter states that the "Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Methodist Wesleyan (sic), and Methodist Episcopal are all to share the church equally". A similar copy of this charter was recorded at the Bradford County Courthouse on December 24, 1868. This copy recorded only the trustees' names, no membership list.
Before 1855, the Beaver Meadow Methodist Church was part of the Wyalusing Circuit of the Oneida District. During its early years, Beaver Meadow was associated with Methodist churches at Jersey Hill, Stevensville, Rush, Retta, East Rush, State Road, Devine Ridge, Fairdale, and Snyder. The church was later associated with the Camptown charge.
Beaver Meadow was part of the Rush Mission established in 1866. All the appointments were within walking distance of the Wyalusing Creek. The little Union Church became more Methodist in the following years. The Methodist History of the Wyoming Conference by A. F. Chaffee recorded in 1904, "The Methodist Episcopal have nearly taken over". We do have records through church families of Episcopal, Evangelical, Congregational, and Baptist connections. No official records of the disbanding of our Union Church can be located.
There is evidence that the church had been expanded on both the pulpit and vestibule ends sometime prior to 1893. The year was probably 1869. We have minutes from the Freewill Baptist Church stating that their regular covenant meeting was cancelled on October 1, 1869, so that members could attend the dedication at Beaver Meadow.
In 1893, Reverend Abraham Schofield recorded that the stonewall supporting the church was taken out and replaced with cement. The flagstones in the front of the church were laid at a total cost of $125. The laborers were Henry Hitchcock and James Stone. Two woodburning stoves heated the early church, one on each side of the church. The downdraft in the chimney was so bad the church filled with smoke. The stoves were used very little.
It was about 1911 that the church steeple was in need of repair. A local handyman was hired. While the steeple lay on the ground, it was alledgedly stolen by the repairman for firewood. Douglas Clapper created the new steeple in 1986. The 'Clapper Steeple' was dedicated during the Easter sunrise service. It was dedicated in memory of Sylvia Repsher Clapper and Lena Smith Clapper.
|The photo above was taken about 1911 and it depicts the church with the original steeple. It clearly shows the horse sheds and a different cemetery building above the church. The horse was the only mode of transportation for our early parishioners. With the invention of the automobile, the sheds were no longer needed. Archie Maxfield removed them before 1942. The village that is visible on the other side of the pond was gone by then too.|
The church is blessed with twelve large stained glass windows. There are two smaller windows in the vestibule that were installed about July 25, 1920. Sabbath School minutes record that "Church had to be held in the Clapper Hill School House on account of the windows". The windows were originally dedicated with the inscriptions 'in memory of' or 'presented by' the following:
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Clapper
Mr. and Mrs. N.C. Cobb
Live Wires Sunday School Class
L. A. Pickett and Jacob Bond
Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Culver
F. E. Belden
Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Wooton,Sr. (sic)
Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Pickett and Family
Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Carter
There was one window left blank for all those who could not afford to pay fifty dollars for one window. Chester and Wavie Bennett Culver purchased this window. The window now bears the name of Clifford and Helen Clapper. The congregation purchased the two smaller windows located in the vestibule with no inscriptions. The cost was twenty-five dollars each.
The church took on a new look. The windows complemented the later work of Mr. Pembleton. He built the new altar and railings and installed the double doors. The congregation purchased pews from the R. J. Redington Company on August 19, 1927, at a cost of $560. The ladies funded this purchase with a raffle of a quilt pieced by all the members; also bake sales, and socials. The ladies even purchased straw cushions for the pews. They collected their woolen rags and sent them to the Olsen Rug Company to be made into carpet for the sanctuary.
The church was again raised on a new foundation in 1948 through the efforts of Florence Place Bennett. The women wanted a basement to use as a social hall and a place for serving dinners. The ladies started the action by using tablespoons and dishpans to carry the dirt from under the church. This activity provoked the men and they got involved to make sure the job was done properly. This is what the women wanted in the first place!
The women belonged to the Women's Society of Christian Service (W.S.C.S.). This organization was started at Beaver Meadow in 1887. The first president was Susie Bond Pickett, the beloved teacher of the Live Wires Sunday school Class. The women became the backbone of the church in hard times. They paid the electric bills, fuel bills, and the insurance on the property.
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