THE CHURCHES OF ORWELL, PENNSYLVANIA
(Congregational, Presbyterian, Methodist, Federated)
Retyped & Submitted by Bonnie Strope
No Unauthorized Commercial Use May Be Made of This Material
This View of North Orwell was taken
ERECTION OF SECOND CHURCH AND DIVISION.
On January 22, 1849, the trustees met according to previous notice at the house of Zebulon Frisbie with Frisbie, Bronson, Woodruff, H. Champlin, and Matthews present. A subscription having been put into their hands “for building a Meeting House on Orwell Hill, near the Post-Office” amounting to over Eighteen hundred dollars, -- they voted that the subscription be accepted and a House be built accordingly. The next meeting of the trustees, held February 17, found trustees present, the secretary, A. G. Matthews, being absent. H. Champlin was appointed secretary protem. It was voted to receive proposals for building a Meeting House on “the point of land between the roads near C. G. Gridley’s Shop, on C. Frisbie’s land.” Morris Woodruff tendered his resignation as trustee. At the following meeting James D. Newell was appointed in his place. At the next meeting it was decided to change the location to the corner of the public green west of the post-office, and to accept the proposal made by Doorman Dunham for the building on the draft made by G. W. Eastman for the sum of one thousand nine hundred and ten dollars. The minutes were signed by C. Frisbie, president of the board of trustees.About a month later at the house of Ira Bronson it was voted to change the contract with Dunham and accept his proposals to build the body of the house of the same dimensions as the former one, completed all above the underpinning, for $1600. It was voted to accept the proposals of J. D. Humphrey for doing the underpinning, and building platform and drain for $202.50. Another change of site was ordered March 29, 1849, to one near H. Z. Frisbie’s, where the old stone house stood, at that time. This was the final selection, according to William K. Frisbie. The Meeting House was “enclosed” by July 31 and it was ordered to pay Dunham eight hundred dollars. On October 15 the contract was completed, the trustees accepted the building, and ordered Dunham paid the balance of $800 due him. Two trustees, J. Cowles, and A. G. Matthews protested against the erection of this new church building, according to a minute of October 27th. But the majority trustees four in number, inscribed their actions had been by unanimous agreement.
Subscriptions for the New Church on Orwell Hill
J. D. Humphrey$350Brought forward$1640
Ira Bronson350A. G. Frisbie10.
Theoph. Humphrey100R. B. Eastabrooks5
S. N. Bronson50Hampton Champlin15
E. M. Farrar25Horace W. Barnes5
Thomas Matteson20C. M. Bull25
E. J. Eastabrooks20Morris Woodruff10
Chauncey Frisbie300Elijah Alger20
Zebulon Frisbie50Hiram Knapp10
Wm. Cowles50Major B. Darling10
Miner Taylor50Lyman M. Darling10
J. D. Newell75Theron Darling5
George Avery25William McCabe5
C. B. Chaffee50James Chubbuck10
J. W. Payson20Francis Woodruff5
A. Woodford10Jacob Chubbuck10
S. Lyon15Jarvis S. Chafee5
Benj. Lyon20Roswell Russell 2nd15
Jabez Champlin10Erastus Lovet5
James O. Frost25C. J. Spencer5
F. M. Jones10Addison W. Alger5
W. P. Payson15Cullen R. Darling10
Subscription for Purchase of Stoves costing $31.34.
J. D. Humphrey5.00
C. B. Chaffee2.50
E. H. Browning4.00
The old meeting house on the Ridge-road was sold at public auction Friday night, February 1, 1850 to Ira Bronson for $45.00. The stove was sold to E. H. Browning for $4, the table to A. G. Matthews for $1.60, the chair, candle sticks and small trunk to “sundry individuals” for $1.40
List of Subscribers for Furnishing new Meeting House with
Carpeting, door mats, Scrapers, Bible for desk, etc.
Eliza Frisbie$4.00Cynthia A. Humphrey2.00
Loisa Avery.50Maria Matteson1.00
Laura Bronson2.00Emily A. Farrar1.00
Laura B. Humphrey2.00E. Haley Knapp.50
The Orwell Presbyterian Church was divided over the issue of erecting a new church building in Orwell village. Mr. W. K. Frisbie stated that he had been led to believe that the church on the ridge was moved from its first site to one near the store in the village. It was moved after it had been sold at auction by the trustees to Ira Bronson for $45. Mr. Frisbie remembered his father telling of the “bee” they had and of the number of oxen it took to move it. W. K. Frisbie said that his grandfather, Squire Chauncey Frisbie, furnished two yokes. The building was reconditioned after moving, and became a dwelling, used by Orrin Hunt, a cooper who made tubs and firkins. It was moved again from its place below the present gymnasium to one north of the store and became known as the Eastman house which burned in the 1930’s.
The new church edifice was dedicated January 15, 1850, according to the private journal of S. N. Bronson:
“1850, Jan. 15th.New Church at Orwell Hill dedicated today. Chapter read by Rev. Mr. Snowden; Prayer by Rev. Edwin Bronson from Rome; Sermon by Rev. S. G. Colt from Wyalusing, Benediction by Rev. T. Thomas. Singing was good, led by Orrin D. Davis of Greene, N. Y., probably as good as ever had in this town. Text -- Hebrews 13-10, We have an Altar. He was quite original in his remarks. There was probably 450 to 500 persons present, house much crowded, gallery full, seven ministers present.
Jan. 20thThe first Sabbath we have spent in the new church, a full congregation, good singing. Rev. T. Thomas first Sabbath with us. Text, A. M., Isaiah 53-5; at P.M., Job: 13-23. Prayer meeting in the evening. He thinks prayer the nursery to piety.”
Miss Polly Ranny was accepted as a member March 22nd. (Polly Ursala Ranny, child of George and Polly Ranny was baptized January 26, 1816.) On April 1, 1848, Emily Phebe, child of Z . (sic) Frisbie was baptized.
William Sexton and his wife were granted a letter to the church at Rome, Pa. Isaiah Potter and his wife Fanny were received as members June 25, 1848 from the Congregational Church at Cincinnatis, N. Y. Elissa Izilla, child of Joseph Seeley, was baptized July 2, 1848. Holman, child of Thomas Blanding, was baptized September 30, 1848. Rev. Huntting baptized all the children from October 6, 1844 to September 30, 1848.
Lyman N. Brownson was dismissed to the Presbyterian Church in Herrick, January 7, 1849. The local church was enjoined by Presbytery and General Assembly to assist widows and orphans of deceased ministers, and infirm and disabled ministers by paying annually five cents per member in December.
The Rev. Thomas Thomas, grandfather of Mr. Norman Thomas, Socialist Party candidate for president of United States, served as minister from 1850 to 1852. He baptized April 6, 1850 Mary Ellen, child of Zebulon Frisbie; Welling Eugene, child of Theo. Humphrey; Clarissa Louisa, child of Zebulon and Polly Frisbie; Perinthia Elizabeth, child of J. W. and Elizabeth Payson, were baptized.
On July 6, 1852, the sesson (sic) met at the close of the Preparatory Lecture with elders present, J. D. Humphrey, Nathan Payson, and Levi Frisbie. The Rev. Mr. Thomas was moderator and opened the meeting with prayer. A letter was presented by Aaron Frost and Polly his wife from the church at Rome, Pa., commending them to the church of Orwell, and they were received as members.
Cases of discipline occupied the attention of the session in the fall of 1850. One man was suspended from church privileges for continued neglect of the church ordinances and contumely. A woman was suspended from communion for six months and put on good behavior when she confessed a sex offence and expressed a desire to make all reparation in her power.
Asa F. Eastman presented a letter from the Presbyterian Church of Wysox March 20, 1851 and was received a member.
The members living at Potterville, not wishing to go so far from home to attend church, took steps to have an edifice at Potterville, and in 1849 a building was erected at the cost of $500, the land being given by Jason Potter. This is now used as the Potterville Community Hall having been remodeled and added to within the memory of many present members.
The session was given a paper on March 20, 1851 of which the following is a copy:
“To the First Presbyterian Church and session of Orwell. We the undersigned being members of the First Presyterian Church of Orwell are of the opinion that we by being too hasty and irregular in our previous steps with a view to a separate organization; Therefore we now resolve to retrase (sic) our steps and drop all that has been done and hereby do petition the above church to dismiss us for the purpose of being regularly organized into a Congregational Church of Orwell located at Potterville. Orwell, Mar. 17, 1851.
Signed:Uri CookLucy A. RobertsOlive P. Blanding
A. G. MatthewsE. C. PotterLaura M. Cook
Major B. DarlingJason PotterFanny M. Potter
Zeri CookBenjamin LyonMary Cook
Joel CookPolly CookLaura Darling
Czar RobertsE. C. BlackBetsy B. Lyon
Isaiah PotterClarissa PotterPanthy Warner
Sally MatthewsJane Darling”
On motion it was resolved that the fore-going twenty-three persons have a letter of dismission. Huldah Johnson and Ruby Darling were also dismissed for the same purpose three months later. Hulda was a sister of Uri and Joel Cook.
Two reasons for the separation of the people in the Potterville area from the Orwell Church and their organization into another church are held:first, some resentment may have grown over the failure of Rev. Mr. Bogardus to stop in the Wells home when asked on the day of a funeral to do so, as the following excerpts of a letter from Joel Cook to his daughter Mary indicate. “Mr. Bogardus was sent for to preach the sermon with a request that he would come to the house at ten as they wished to converse with him -- make him acquainted with the situation of the family and have a Prayer before the corpse was removed. Mr. Bogardus came along in time and seemed to be going by. George Wells went out and invited him in. He said he had business with Esq. Frisbie, and that he would be at the meeting house at the time appointed, and went along. This fell heavily upon the mourners. Theron who never shed a tear when his Mother died, now wept like a child.”
Another reason is said to be the fact that the majority voted to build a church ar (sic) Orwell village rather than repair the old one. This left a much further distance for the people in or near Potterville to go to church.
As a minority they decided to build a church for themselves nearer their home.
On January 24, 1851 the trustees met and elected Levi Frisbie president and J. D. Humphrey secretary for the ensuing year. It was voted that on application of the share holders in the old meeting house to the secretary “he shall draw orders on the Treasurer at the rate of thirty-four cents per share.”
A deed for the new church lot on Orwell Hill was given January 5, 1857 by J. D. Humphrey and his wife, Laura B. Humphrey of North Towanda, Pa., to trustees Hampton Champlin, J. J. Newell, J. W. Payson, E. C. Bull,
S. N. Bronson, and George Avery for the First Presbyterian Society of Orwell in consideration of the sum of One Dollar.
The deed was sworn before Justice of the Peace N. N. Betts, and attested by E. C. Bull, secretary of the Board of Trustees. Witnesses were:T. Humphrey and Laura Bronson. (Page 70, Trustee Minute Book). An order for $1.43 for the expense of recording the deed was paid April 25, 1858.
On October 4, 1851, Mrs. Elizabeth Frisbie, wife of H. Z. Frisbie, and Mrs. Hannah (Blandon) Lyon, wife of Samuel Lyon, were admitted on examination to membership in the church. Elizabeth Frisbie was baptized October 5th.
Mr. Johnson Cowles was visited by representatives of the session in regard to his neglect of the ordinances of the church for the space of more than a year, and assigned no valid reason for such neglect. He said that he desired to be stricken from the roll of the church as he did not wish to be a member of any church. Report of this was made November 10, 1851.
Another member, being charged with assault and battery and of conducting himself in a disorderly and unchristian manner, denied the right and jurisdiction of the session to try him on the first charge before he was found guilty by a civil court. He left the meeting but the session heard witnesses and considered the charges sustained. He was suspended from communion until he should give satisfactory evidence of repentence.
Mr. Stewart Line and Lucy Wilson were examined for church membership December 22, 1851 and their examination was sustained. Stewart Line married Catherine (daughter of Levi) Frisbie.
Soon afterward it was resolved by the church that the covenant and articles of the “Luzerne Association” be rescinded and that the church adopt instead those adopted by the Presbytery of Long Island and recommended to the churches under their care.
On April 3, 1852 the session convened at the close of Preparatory Exercises for the examination of Hampton Champlin and Louisa Champlin for church membership. Present were Rev. T. Thomas, Moderator; Elders (sic) Levi Frisbie, and J. D. Humphrey, clerk. They were voted into the church, and publicly received the next day, Sunday, at Communion service. On May 9, 1852 Sister Docia Chaffee, who had applied for dismission to the Congregational Church in Potterville was voted dismissal by the session.
Mrs. Polly Alger and Mrs. Fanny (Beardsley) Payson (wife of Asa B.) were admitted members October 17, 1852, the first by examination and the second by letter from the church of Pike. Rev. Charles Huntington was moderator and pastor at this time. He was the teacher of a parochial school 1857 to 1859, according to F. I. Champlin. He lived at Wysox some years. He baptized January 1, 1853 Clara Bell, child of Emaline (Potter) Eastabrooks.
“First,A Roll of Church Members commencing with Page 1.
Second,A record of Adult Baptisms.....................to page 10
Third,A record of Infant Baptisms.....................to page 12
Fourth,Minutes of Session and Special Religious
Fifth,A Table of amounts of collections for
Pious and benevolent purposes
from and by the Congregation.......page 136
Sixth,Remarkable Providences noticed; and
Historical incidents......................page 138
There were 45 names on the roll when the new record book was started. They were as follows:
NameHow receivedWhen receivedDismissed orWhen
Betsy PaysonBy letterOct.6, 1816DiedMay 9, 1873
Peggy GrantExaminationOct.6, 1816DiedJuly7, 1859
Susanne MattesonExaminationMar. 28, 1819DiedMar.1864
Nathan PaysonExaminationJuly 10, 1821DiedJuly 22, 1868
Sally DarlingExaminationJuly 10, 1821DismissedSept. 27, 1857
Eliza HumphreyExaminationJuly 10, 1821DiedSept. 9, 1865
Chauncey FrisbieExaminationJuly 10, 1821DiedMay4, 1864
Martha AlgerBy LetterJan. 29, 1823DiedJan. 11, 1865
Levi Frisbie, Jr.ExaminationMay2, 1830DiedNov. 23, 1889
Chloe FrisbieExaminationMay2, 1830DiedAug. 20, 1869
Zebulon FrisbieExaminationMay2, 1830DiedAug. 29, 1881
Polly FrisbieExaminationMay2, 1830DiedApr. 17, 1887
NameHow receivedWhen receivedDismissed orWhen
Hampton ChamplinExaminationJuly4, 1830DismissedMar. 23, 1862
DiedFeb. 29, 1880
Lucretia ChamplinExaminationJuly4, 1830DismissedMar. 23, 1862
DiedMar. 16, 1891
Lucy Ann RobertsExaminationAug.5, 1832DiedMar. 30, 1878
Polly Ann DarlingExaminationAug.5, 1832DismissedSept. 27, 1857
Jas. D. NewellExaminationAug.5, 1832DiedJan. 10, 1892
Miner TaylorExaminationAug.5, 1832DismissedAug.3, 1857
Ellen TaylorExaminationAug.5, 1832DismissedMar. 23, 1862
Elizabeth AlgerExaminationNov. 10, 1834DiedNov.2, 1895
Lucetta PaysonExaminationMay3, 1835DismissedOct.1, 1859
Samuel LyonExaminationApr. 30, 1839DismissedMar. 23, 1862
Laura BronsonBy LetterJuly 10, 1841DismissedJuly 25, 1858
Alonzo PotterBy Exam.Feb. 26, 1842DismissedNov.4, 1860
Theophilus HumphreyBy Exam.Feb. 26, 1842
Polly W. CowlesBy Exam.Feb. 26, 1842DiedFeb. 14, 1870
Cynthia Ann BronsonBy Exam.Feb. 26, 1842DiedJuly 26, 1880
Samuel N. BronsonBy Exam.Mar.2, 1844Died
Lucy D. AlgerBy Exam.Oct.6, 1844DiedApr. 12, 1863
Marie MattesonBy Exam.Mar. 19, 1845DiedNov. 15, 1865
Hanson Z. FrisbieBy Exam.Mar. 19, 1845DismissedApr.3, 1859
Eliab M. FarrarBy LetterAug. 31, 1845DiedFeb.1, 1895
Emily A. FarrarBy LetterAug. 31, 1845DiedAug. 14, 1868
Ann E. PotterBy Exam.Mar. 18, 1847DismissedNov.4, 1860
Polly RanneyBy Exam.Mar. 22, 1848DiedJune 20, 1892
Elizabeth FrisbieBy Exam.Oct.4, 1857Died
Hannah LyonBy Exam.Oct.4, 1857DismissedMar. 23, 1862
Hampton Champlin, Jr.By Exam.Apr.3, 1852DiedNov. 14, 1914
Louisa ChamplinBy Exam.Apr.3, 1852DismissedMar. 23, 1862
Polly AgerBy Exam.Oct. 17, 1852DismissedNov. 27, 1859
Henry ChamplinBy Exam.Jan.1, 1853DiedJune 18, 1857
Edward C. BullBy Exam.Apr.2, 1853DismissedJan. 21, 1879
Mary A. T. BullBy LetterApr.2, 1853DismissedJan. 21, 1879
Adaline DoolittleBy Exam.Apr.2, 1853DismissedApr.8, 1865
Ann M. NewellBy Exam.Apr.1, 1854DismissedApr.7, 1866
Harriet K. ChamplinBy LetterApr. 13, 1856DiedSept.4, 1926
Susanna MattesonBy Exam.July 13, 1856DiedOct. 31, 1873
Margaret BronsonBy Letter1853DiedJan.3, 1861
The officers of the Orwell Church from its beginning to 1856 are listed in the first minute book of the church.
The deacons of the first Warren and Orwell Church, organized in 1815, as Congregational, were Levi Frisbie, inducted into office July 18, 1818, who resigned April 13, 1824; Parley Coburn, inducted January 9, 1819 who was transferred to the Warren Church April 1828; Dudley Humphrey, inducted April 15, 1824, died April 26, 1826; Uri Cook inducted January 2, 1828, ordained an elder April 15, 1824, who resigned July 12, 1841; and James D. Humphrey, inducted December 23, 1843, ordained an elder July 17, 1841, and was transferred as an elder to Towanda, April 26, 1856.
The list of elders ordained in the Orwell Presbyterian Church from
Uri Cook“““““July 10, 1841
Parley Coburn““““transferred April1828
Aaron Coburn“June 24, 1824“““
Jason Potter“Aug. 28, 1829resigned July 15, 1841
Samuel Mathews“July 17, 1841died Oct.9, 1846
James D. Humphrey““““transferred Apr. 26, 1856
Levi Frisbie““““died Nov. 23, 1889
Nathan Payson“Mar. 26, 1848ceased actg Apr 26, 1856
James D. Newel““““““Jan.1852
Aaron G. Mathews““““““Mar 20, 1854
Zebulon Frisbie“July 12, 1856died Aug. 29, 1881
Edward C. Bull““““transferred Jan. 21, 1879
The Ministers serving the Orwell Church to 1856 were:
Rev. Salmon King, from organization till 1827
Rev. Christopher Corey, stated supply in connection with the Pike Church from January 13, 1828 to April 13, 1828
Rev. Amos Bingham, stated supply from July 5, 1829 to February 1831.
Rev. Samuel Henderson, supplied from April 1832 to September 20th, when he was installed as pastor, serving until July 1836.
Rev. Isaac Todd, stated supply three-fourths of the time from October 1836 to November 1838.
Rev. Charles C. Corss (sic), supplied every fourth Sabbath from December 1839 to January 1841, residing in Athens, Pa.
Rev. John Mole, stated supply half the time from May, 1841 to May, 1843.
Rev. Nanie Bogardus, stated supply in connection with Pike, from July 1843 to July 1844.
Rev. William Huntting, stated supply from September 1, 1844 to 1848, and into 1849.
Rev. Thomas Thomas, from 1850 to 1852.
Rev. Charles Huntington, September 1, 1852 to March 1, 1855.
Rev. Augustine Root, Congregationalist licentiate, eleven months from the fall of 1855 to the fall of 1856.
Rev. J. McWilliams served one or more Sunday (sic) in 1856.
The Orwell Presbyterian Church at various times shared with the Rome and Wysox Churches the services of certain ministers. Relatives of Rev. Charles Huntington in Williamsport, Pa. relate the following story of coincidence, also remembered by Mr. John Major Cowles. One day 2 men sat down in a car seat on a railroad train near Williamsport, Pa. In the conversation that followed one of the men said he was born in Wysox, Pa. “What year?” asked his fellow traveler. “1851” was the reply. “Why,” said his companion, “that was the year I was born in Wysox. What house was (sic) you born in?” The answer was, “The Presbyterian Manse.” That was the limit, for his questioner then said, “That’s the house I was born in also,
in 1851!” Two men of different names and families born in the same Presbyterian manse in the same year. Then they compared dates. The Rev. Charles Huntington, father of one of the men, had left Wysox in 1851, but not before a son had been born. The Rev. L. W. Chapman moved into the manse in December, 1851, just in time for a son to be born the same year.
The Rev. Mr. Huntington had a son, J. F. Huntington, who followed dentistry as a life work, and located in Williamsport, where he edited on his own responsibility for many years a little prohibition paper, carried along as an extra, aside from his profession, according to Mr. Frank I. Champlin.