Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Rome Church History by V. C. Detty
Tri-County Genealogy & History Sites Home Page
How to Use This Site
Rome Township Page
Warning & Disclaimer
No Unauthorized Commercial Use
Say Hello to  Joyce
Book Submited by Carol Jacobs
Retyped for Tri-Counties by Cathy Knights
Reprinted on this site with permission of Victor Charles Detty, Jr.

History of the Presbyterian Church of
Rome, Pennsylvnia



Victor Charles Detty, Pastor

Author of
History of the Presbyterian Church of Wysox, Pennsylvania (1791-1938)
P.P. Bliss, A Centennial Sketch (1838-1938)
A History of the Churches of Orwell, Pennsylvania (1803-1951)

Published by the Author 1942, Wysox, PA
Printed by Barber-Doane-Mosher, Inc., Elmira NY

Table of Contents

Joyce's Search Tip - January 2008
Do You Know that you can search just the 250 pages of Church Records and Histories on the site by using the Churches button in the Partitioned search engine at the bottom of the Current What's New Page? .


The Church and Sunday school membership continued to increase steadily during the ensuing decade up to the time of the erection of a new church in 1886.

The Rev. William McNab was moderator of the session in August, 1877. He was also the minister of the church at Orwell Aug. 26, 1877 to Aug. 26, 1879. In his first year, Miss Nannie Maria Miller, Mrs. Abagail (Rogers) Taylor, native of Warren township, mother of the late Phil H. Taylor of Rome, and Mr. Joseph Cook were received into membership, the first two being baptized at the time, and Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Coolbaugh brought letters back from the Waverly Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Julia Forbes came by letter from the LeRaysville Congregational church.

Mr. Robert Kier and his wife Ann were dismissed to the Athens Presbyterian Church. Mr. McNab baptized Aug. 24, 1879 Margaret Ann, infant daughter of Adam and Agnes Kier, now Mrs. Luther Phillips of North Orwell.

Mr. McNab was remembered by Mrs. Cora B. Marsh as using the words in a sermon text, "wax-ed and grow-ed fat." He drove a Shetland pony. One Sunday he gave out the hymn, "Blow Ye the trumpet," and suffering from catarrh, blew his nose in such a way as to make a sound like a trumpet.

He was succeeded by the Rev. Howard Cornell, from Syracuse Presbytery, who became moderator in 1880, who was supply minister of the Orwell church till October, 1884, his total salary being $700 for the last year. In April 1880, six persons joined the Rome church by profession of faith:

David Halliday and Emma (Taylor) Allis, (grandparents of Mrs. foster Sterling, Towanda); Isaac J. Seely and Margaret (McKinney) , his wife; William N. Allis, father of David Halliday; and Hattie E. Miller, aunt of Mrs. Cora Barns Marsh.

On Jan. 2, 1881, Mrs. Nettie Van winkle was received by letter from the Congregational Church at Minneapolis, Minn., and Mrs. Emilie Cole was granted a letter to the Presbyterian Church, Osceola, Nebr. The same day Miss Phronie Woodburn was examined and received into the church. She was afterwards (1889) to marry a minister of the Rome Church, Rev. F. E. Bessey.

At the Easter service in 1881 Mr. Cornell, who married a Miss Kirby of Athens, Pa., received the following into membership upon examination:

Thomas Matteson, grandfather of Mrs. George Manchester, and Mrs. Earl Howe Farrar of Orwell;

Marry E. Hiney; Darwina R. (Miller) Barnes, sister of Hattie Miller, widow of Allen Weston Barns who died before Petersburg, Va., Dec. 28, 1864; Miss Cora I. Barns, her daughter, who married Guy Marsh, and died March 11, 1941, at the age of 78. Miss Lizzie Young daughter of Allen peter Young (Mrs. Lizzie Watson); and Miss Carrie M. Whitney who was born May 2, 1859, daughter of Charles C. Whitney, and sister of Charles Whitney. She married Professor C. M. Turton, a teacher of higher mathematics and science who was employed at the Western Reserve Seminary and Normal College, West Farmington, Trumbull County, Ohio, and her death occurred April 24, 1890. She was an accomplished music teacher, the obituary of her death saying she "exchanged her musical sphere here below for the brighter and sweeter music of heaven…She not only touched the piano keys with delicacy and skill, but she touched the heart strings of every one she knew by her purity of life, kindness and sympathy for others, brilliance of accomplishments, devotion to her life work, and love for all that is pure and good." Her remains rest in the Wysox cemetery, lot 185. (The above information was taken from clippings from "the Normal signal," dated April 30, and May 7, 1890)

The annual report showed 30 communicant members, and 65 members in the Sunday school. Contributions for local work were $186, for benevolences, $23.

In applying to the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for the sum of $100 or more to aid in obtaining the services of the Rev. Howard Cornell for another year beginning April 1, 1881 the trustees and elders of the church set forth their reasons:

First, they said, "Mr. Cornell is engaged in no other calling than the ministry and is connected with our presbytery." Second, "rich spiritual blessings came to us and our community as the fruit of your aid last year; seven persons united with our little church by profession and one by letter, and at our communion April 3rd last, ten came to us on profession of their faith in Christ, a result of an interesting revival in February last in a near neighborhood where one of our elders some time ago established a S. School.

"Previous to our application for aid last year our church numbered 22; it now numbers 38, and increase of 16, and all but one by profession, the fruit of Mr. Cornell’s labors for the past 15 months. These results have greatly strengthened us spiritually, have largely increased our little force of workers, helped us somewhat financially and largely increased our power for good….

"The far greater part of the population of our village and the surrounding community are non-church goers, have not as yet been brought under the direct influence of the Gospel; the most of these families (or people) if reached at all by the Gospel must be reached by us. The other churches have very slight hold upon this class….during the last year some seven of these neglected families have become regular attendants upon and supporters of our services and our work in this respect is not yet done.

"We beg to remind the Board that our little church has sent out many efficient Christian workers who are now chiefly in city churches doing noble work for Christ. The Board is doubtless aware that our little church gave the world the late Mr. and Mrs. P.P. Bliss who together publicly professed Christ and united with us June 4, 1859…

"Our village numbers 350 to 360 inhabitants with a slight tendency to increase and is composed wholly of Americans. The people are intelligent and social. There is considerable trading and some manufacturing with a good farming community surrounding. Our fair weather attendance for the last 6 months has been 63. Our people are poor but give nobly for the support of the Gospel. The wealth of the place is outside of the churches but we hope this will not always be.

"Last year we were able to raise $150, for minister’s salary. The total mount of salary we propose to make up is $900." (The Orwell church was expected to make up part of this amount.) The Rome Baptist church was stated to have a membership of eight, and the Methodist Episcopal Church to have had about the same membership and congregation as the Presbyterian, though financially somewhat abler. The population of the township was said to be about 1500.

In the year ending March 31, 1882, a Mrs. Sheldon was received by letter from the Presbyterian Church of Corning, N.Y., and Mr. Myron Little Dunn by examination. He later married Susan Elizabeth Eastman, daughter of Calvin J. Eastman, of Orwell. Mrs. Clara E. (Young) Ellsworth was dismissed with a letter not naming a specific church (1882). Mr. Solomon Spalding took a letter to the Congregational Church at Cortland, N.Y. in 1883. On Easter Sunday, 1883, Miss Julia M. Seeley and Miss Olive A. Whitney, daughter of A. J. and Olive (Maynard) Whitney, later married to William Lester Madill, became members.

On Sept. 29, 1884, Miss Montgomery Kier was examined and received into church membership at a session meeting held at the home of her father, Adam Kier. He was the father also of Campbell Kier, who was baptized at the same time. Mr. Cornell left to go to East Palmyra, N.Y., in October of this year.

The Rev. Frances E. Bessey was moderator of the session meeting Feb. 6, 1886, when the following 19 persons became members by confession of faith:

Mr. L. N. Sweet, a blacksmith who lived where Mrs. Julia Cass does now; Mr. Augustus Smith and his wife Phebe;

Mrs. Emma (Vought) Rifenburgh, wife of Frank M.;

Ada B. Layton, Stella Layton, William Layton, all members of the same family, residents of Towner Hill;

William A. Barnes, dismissed the next year to the Owego Presbyterian Church, a hypnotist said to have committed suicide in Boston Station;

Mrs. Ella McGovern, wife of Phillip, mother of Mrs. Irene Tyrrell of Rome and of Mrs. Eugene Means of Towanda;

Miss Nellie Hicks, Miss May Hicks, with their mother Charlotte (Mann) Hicks, wife of F. M. Hicks who was the youngest (13 years and 8 months of age) drummer boy of Bradford County to enlist in the Civil War;

George Mackey, adopted son of Peter;

Jimmie Kilmer, Maggie Kilmer (married Dr. Robert G. Rice, died March 1, 1895) and Mamie Kilmer, who married first John Wattles Woodburn, second, Morgan Hopler of Johnson City, N.Y.;

Miss Georgia Cass, adopted daughter of Anson B. Cass, who lived opposite the church;

Miss Mertie E. Allen, daughter of J. A. and Helen (Brown) Allen, married D. W. Cowles, died in 1925, with burial at Orwell.

Thirteen of these persons were baptized; also Irene, born Oct. 19, 1885, daughter of Mrs. Ella (Compton) McGovern. She later married William A. Tyrrell (1885-1932), and now lives in Rochester, N.Y., where her daughter, Florence is employed as a graduate nurse. Baptism was administered also to Emma and Margaret, daughters of Mrs. Harriet A. Barnes. Margaret married Mr. A. Summers who died. She lives at 135-30 95 St., Ozone Park, Long Island.

Those received by letter into church membership were: Mr. Frank M. Rifenburgh, Mrs. Lottie M. (Simons) Kilmer, mother of Jimmie, Maggie and Mamie; Mrs. Jennie Carter (sister of Myron Dunn); and Mrs. Harriet A. Barnes, Mrs. Barnes, whose maiden name was Beebe, was the sister of Abner, and was the wife of William Barnes, and mother of the William A. Barnes who joined at the same time. A daughter, Hattie, married Percy Browning, and lives at 15 Cherry St., Johnson City, N.Y. Other children in the family were Ella, Harry, who moved to California, Charles, who became a physician; and Mary.

In April, 1886 four more became members: First named was John Martin Prince (son of L. David Prince). He later became a physician, married Mae Rockwell (born 1869), granddaughter of John Burrows Mallory Hinman of Monroeton, died at Miami, Florida (with burial at Rome) by whose will a bequest of $5,000 was made to the Robert Packer Hospital of Sayre, Pa., which became effective at the death of his wife in 1938. The second was Aurice Carey, daughter of Miles D. Carey and his wife Catherine Miller, who themselves were examined and received into church membership in the month of July following, and who were the parents also of Edmund Carey of Warren Center, Pa., and Ella Carey who married Truman B. Barnes of Rome; Aurice later became the wife of Horace Doty and moved to Pocatella, Idaho. Mrs. M. D. Carey died Oct. 12, 1891. The third member joining at this time was Hattie Layton, sister of Stella.

The fourth to become a member and be baptized April 4, 1886 was Bessie Lou Stickler, who was known in Rome as Louie Woodburn, because at the death at Rome of her mother Betsey F. Sickler (Jan. 26, 1872) soon after Bessie Lou’s birth she was taken into the home of her grandmother, Mrs. Jane Woodburn, wife of Hiram. Bessie Lou’s father was George Wilson Sickler who was born in Wysox June 18, 1827, the son of Reuben and Sally Ann (Charlotte) Sickler, the latter the daughter of Enoch and Rachael (Starr) Charlotte of Montclair, N.J. He was married Oct. 18, 1853 by Rev. Darwin Cook to Betsy F. Woodburn, born in Rome March 24, 1833, the daughter of Hiram and Jane Ridgeway Woodburn. George W. Sickler died in Marshall, Minnesota, May 22, 1916, at the home of his son Frank Woodburn Sickler who was born at Rockford, Illinois, Oct. 21, 1856, died at Marshall, Minn., Dec. 2, 1937, leaving a wife and five children: Florence, Frances, Wallace, Howard, and Robert. Frances married F. S. Birkenmeyer and lives at 72 South Irving Terrace, Kenmore, N.Y. Another son of George and Betsy Sickler was Clarence Avery, born at Sheshequin, Pa., Aug. 6, 1858, who died in the west, the place being unknown. Bessie Lou Sickler was born in Rome, Dec. 21, 1871 and married Nov. 12, 1890, Walter Irving who was born Feb. 11, 1857 at Glen Cove, N.Y., the son of John Treat and Helen (Schermerhorn) Irving, both of New York. He died December 30, 1916. Burial was at Greenwood Cemetery in New York City. They had two sons, Walter Van Cortland, born July 13, 1901 at East Orange, N.H., a graduate of Columbia University, 1924; and Harold Irving, born Dec. 5, 1904 at East Orange, who married in 1927 Louise McCraken of California. Mrs. Bessie Lou Irving was named by P.P. Bliss. He and his wife, Lucy Young Bliss, were close friends of Mrs. Irving’s mother, Betsy F. Sickler. Mr. Bliss gave the name Bessie for her mother whose name was Betsy, and the name Louis for his wife, who name was Lucy.

These accessions nearly doubled the church membership and the erection of a new church was begun. A deed dated June 29, 1886, conveyed five-eights of an acre from Nancy E. Maynard to the church trustees for $400. Witness were W. S. Kinney and F. C. Cranmer. A copy of the deed follows.

DEED of Nancy E. Maynard to

Trustees of First Presbyterian Church of Rome.

This INDENTURE, made the 29th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty six

Between Nancy E. Maynard of the boro of Rome, County of Bradford, Pa. of the first part, and the Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, County and State aforesaid, and to their successors, of the second part;

Witnesseth, That the said party of the first part, for an in consideration of the sum of Four Hundred Dollars, lawful money of the United States of America, well and truly paid by the said party of the second part to the said party of the first part, and before the sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, has granted, bargained, sold, aliened enfeoffed, released, conveyed and confirmed, and by these present to grant, bargain, sell, alien enfeoff, release, convey and confirm unto the said part of the second part their successors, all of a certain lot Situated in Rome Boro, Pa. Bounded as follows viz.

Beginning at the West corner of Geo. S. Kinney’s lot, on the hill road, thence by the south line of the same south forty seven and a half degrees east twenty one and three fourth perches to Main Street, Thence along Main Street south forty two and half degrees west, four and 18/100 perches to the north east corner of S. E. Seeley’s lot. Thence by the line of the same north forty seven and a half degrees west twenty six and five tenths perches to the hill road. Thence along the same south eighty seven degrees East six and three tenth perches to the beginning, containing five eights of an acre more or less. (and so forth to the end)

In Witness Whereof, the said part of the first part hath hereunto set her hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

In the presence of

Nancy E. Maynard (Seal)

W. S. Kinney

F. C. Cranmer.

(Acknowledged before W. S. Kinney, J.P., August 18, 1886)

Recorded on the 27 day of September A.D. 1886 in the Recorder’s Office in Deed Book Vol. 167, Page 313 etc.

A.D. Munn (B) Recorder. Fee $1.85 The activity of Mr. Bessey was instrumental in the erection of the new brick church. The reported congregational expenses for the year 1886 and the one following total $3,029. If $500.00 is allowed for salary and other expenses, it may be estimated that $2,529 was donated for the building. In addition, the Lackawanna Presbytery aided by securing a non-interest bearing loan grant of eight hundred dollars. This means that about $3,329 was put into the erection of the building. Presumably the sale of the old church and lot financed the purchase of the new lot.

The church is of brick veneer construction, with slate roof and bell tower over the southeast corner where the front entrance is. It has a number of stained glass windows to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. O. F. Young, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Seely, Rev. F. E. Bessey, and Mr. George Nichols. The last named had a store business, very profitable during the Civil War, in the building now occupied by the store of Mrs. F. Augusta Allen. Mrs. Lizzie Powers, mother of Elder Fred R. Powers, was a half sister of George Nichols. Miss Amanda Rice, Mrs. Lizzie Rice Powers, and her sons Fred and George lived where Mr. F. R. Powers lives now.

Mr. John Wanamaker of Philadelphia donated to the congregation for their use in the new church building a silver communion set. Mr. F. M. Hicks made the communion table at the same time, at a cost of approximately #35, according to his son George. It is related that he said to one not in the habit of attending church services, "Take a good look at this table, for this is the last time you’ll ever see it!" Mr. and Mrs. John A. Allen donated and set out the ivy now growing on the walls of the church. The two cane seated arm chairs beside the communion table were the pulpit chairs in the old church. A seven piece pewter communion set used in the old building is still in the possession of the church. The linen table cloth for the communion table was the fit of Charles Ellsworth, and was hemstitched by Mrs. Corydon Barnes, sister of Mrs. P.P. Bliss.

Mrs. Emily V. Rice, musing about the bell in the old church which some thought should be replaced by a new bell for the new church, wrote, "There seems to be a melancholy about it, as if speaking to the old church, and it awakens a poetic feeling that I am inadequate to express……It would like to speak of the time of its primitive grandeur when fond hands fastened it to its place in the belfry, thinking it a treasure only equaled, not excelled, of its glad tones when it first called together the children of God, its mellow, soft refrain as it tolled the said tidings of God, its mellow, soft refrain as it tolled the sad tidings of one whose music stills echoes from the old vale and the sadness when it feels that it is not fitted to fill its place in its new position." The "said tidings of one whose music still echoes from the old vale" refers to the tragic death and the funeral services of P.P. Bliss. The bell is the one still used.

Mrs. Emily V. Rice circulated a subscription paper, by which the individual communion set now in use was obtained.

The church was completed so as to be ready for dedication in December, 1886, and Mr. Bessey was elected pastor, and A. B. Cass, A. P. Young, and A. Smith were elected elders.

The program of dedication was as follows:

    1. Doxology
    2. Reading of Scripture
    3. Hymn, "Arise O King of Grace," No. 568, Presbyterian Hymnal, (entered in Library of Congress, 1874).
    4. Prayer
    5. Solo, Mrs. O. A. Baldwin of Towanda
    6. Sermon, Rev. C. S. Logan, D.D.
    7. Service of Dedication: Ps. 84 and Act of Dedication, with dedicatory prayed by Rev. J. S. Stewart, D.D., Towanda
    8. Hymn, "An Earthly Temple Here We Raise," No. 956.
    9. Benediction
At the evening service Mr. O. Warren Young sang the solo, "Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah;" Rev. Charles Beecher of Wysox, brother of Henry Ward Beecher, preached the installation sermon; Rev. P. S. Kohler, of Monroeton, gave the charge to the people; and Rev. David Craft the charge to the pastor.

On New Year’s Day, 1887, Truman B. Barnes and his wife Ella Carey, joined by profession of faith. Mr. Louis Waldo and his wife Lizzie joined by letter from the First Presbyterian Church of Elmira, N.Y. Mr. Waldo purchased the P.P. Bliss home now occupied by Mr. D. S. Rice. Mr. Clarence J. Marshall came by letter from Towanda Presbyterian Church. He became State Veterinarian and a professor of the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, died in 1938, burial being at Towner Hill, near the home of his sister, Mrs. Campbell Kier.

The 19439 volume of Who’s Who is America gives an interesting account of the career of Dr. Clarence J. Marshall. He was born in Rome Township, March 13, 1864, the son of James E. and Margaret Ann (Swetland) Marshall. He graduated from the Susquehanna Collegiate Institute at Towanda, in 1889, received the degree of Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1894, from which institution he also received the degree of Doctor of Science. He married Nov. 19, 1896 Augusta Stevens of Towanda. He was house surgeon of the veterinarian department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1894 and 1895; engaged in private practice from 1894 to 1910, was professor of veterinarian medicine in the University of Pennsylvania since 1910; was state veterinarian of Pennsylvania from 1911 to 1919. He was commissioned major in the Veterinarian Corps Oct. 5, 1917; lieutenant colonel Feb. 6, 1918; discharged Feb. 20, 1919. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (British), and was an honorary member of the Royal College of Veterinarian Surgeons of Great Britain. He was a member and ex-president of the American, Pennsylvania State, and Keystone Veterinarian Medical associations. He was a Republican, a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellow Ledges, and of the Universalist Church at his death which occurred at his home at 5031 Pine Street, Philadelphia.

A group of members were received January 12, 1887; Mr. Charles C. Whitney, Mr. A. M. Beebe and his wife Emma, Mrs. Grace (Kinney) Towner (wife of Mahlon L.), and Miss Alice Johnson, all of whom were baptized, together with Jennie Kilmer, who died from scarlet fever while serving as a nurse, daughter of Mrs. Lottie Kilmer, and Florence McGovern, now Mrs. Eugene Means of Towanda.

Miss Alice Johnson was the daughter of frank and Julia (Hutchinson) Johnson of LeRaysville. She married Charles L. Wilmot, died leaving three children: Sylvia, who married Elmer Russell, lives at Horseheads, N.Y.; Clara, who married William Moon of Binghamton, N.Y.; and Frances, who was brought up by Claude B. Wilmot, married Jack Wakefield, and lives at 3 Roosevelt Ave., Binghamton.

Charles Carroll Whitney, first mentioned of those joining Jan. 12, 1887, born Dec. 15, 1932, died March 31, 1916, was the sixth of eight children born to Alvin and Mary (Woodburn) Whitney of Wysox township. He married Margaret Vought, daughter of William Vought, and lived where Mrs. Susie Camp now lives, about halfway between Wysox and Rome, about 100 yards north of the main road.

The children of Charles C. and Margaret Whitney were:

Carrie M., who became a member on Easter Sunday, 1881 (see page 108).

Charles Alvin, born Jan. 2, 1866, who married first Miss Nellie Hicks, second, Edna Light, third Miss Susie Green, died July 16, 1933, leaving three children—Mrs. May Terry (by first wife), and Earnest Eugene and Margaret, by third wife, who married, 1938, Joseph E. Camp, and lives at the homestead. Mr. Camp died Nov. 23, 1941.

Elizabeth who married William Johnson, died June 24, 1940, in Athens, with burial at Wysox.

A brother of Charles Carroll Whitney, Andrew Jackson Whitney, had a number of children who were members of the Rome Presbyterian Church. Andrew Jackson Whitney married Olive A. Maynard, daughter of Lemuel and Amanda (Cranmer) Maynard. He was born Jan. 2, 1829, died Feb. 2, 1914. She was born June 24, 1838, and died March 6, 1911. They had children: William P., Minnie Helen, Andrew Jackson, Jr., Olive Amelia, Thomas Wierman, Ruth Maynard Whitney.

William P. Whitney lived at Osceola, Pa., married Josephine Thomas, and had three children: Elizabeth who married Samuel Irvine of Tyrone, and had a son, Samuel; Minnie, who married Paul Guelich, lived at Phillipsburg, Pa.; and Maynard, who has a family.

Minnie Helen married Charles Study of Tyrone, Pa., and had children: (1) Jackson Whitney Study of Philadelphia; (2) Adolphus La Porte Study of California, who married Beulah ____, daughter of a Methodist minister of Kansas; (3) Georgiana, who married Dr. frank W. Pogue of Trafford, Pa., and has children:--Dr. Jackson Pogue, resident physician in pathology at the Marine Hospital Portland, Me.; James, a commercial artist; and Robert, a student a Carnegie Institute of Technology, (4) Marguerite, who married Jerry Lovet, of Milwaukee, Wisc.

Andrew Jackson was born in 1862, married Mary Grace Hoover, who was born in 1863, and died in 1932, about a year after her husband’s death. They had three children: (1) Sarah Harbison Whitney who married Dr. Roy L. Scott of Buffalo, and has one daughter Jane; (2) Andrew Jackson Whitney (III), who married Olive Woodburn and has children—Andrew Jackson (IV), and William Cranmer; (3) Richard Benton Whitney, who married Alberta Bennett of Rome and has children—Betty grace, married to Robert M. Thorpe, of Orwell township,; Emilie Jean, Esther Clark, and Richard, Jr.

Olive Amelia, born Oct. 11, 1867, married William Lester Madill, son of Dr. Thomas F. Madill of Wysox, and died Dec. 22, 1914. A son, Thomas Weston Madill, lives at Lake Carey, near Tunkhannock, Pa.

Thomas Wierman married Elizabeth Goff of Rome, and had children:--Daisy, Norman Edward, and Thomas, who is in the navy. Elizabeth (Goff) Whitney died in April, 1932.

Ruth Maynard Whitney, last named of the six children of Andrew Jackson and Olive (Maynard) Whitney, lives at Rome, and is an active member of the church.

Another group of members joined April 2, 1887; Mrs. Kate Layton, Mrs. Armena (Brown) Robinson, wife of Sylvester, mother of George: Mrs. Martha C. (Parks) Allen, wife of Stephen Oney Allen, mother of Mrs. Hattie Crum of Athens and Mrs. Lottie Russell, late of Nichols, N.Y., who was the mother of Allen Russell Nichols; Mr. Isaac Beebe; Miss Lizzie Allen, daughter of John A. and Helen (Brown) Allen; Miss Viola Lent, sister of Mrs. Rhoda Barnes (Mrs. William S.); Miss Nellie Hankinson, now Mrs. L. E. French, R. 3, Norristown, Pa.; Miss Ina Smith, daughter of A. and Phebe Smith, and now living in Layre; Miss Lizzie Dimon, now Mrs. Burt Conklln, Rome; Mrs. O. F. Young, by certificate from Congregational Church of Richford, N.Y. She was the second wife of Mr. Young. Rev. F. E. Bessey presented his certificate of dismission from the Plymouth Church of Brooklyn, N.Y., made famous by the preaching of Henry Ward Beecher, whose brother, Charles was at that time the minister of the Wysox Church. The presenting of a membership certificate from a church by a minister was irregular in that ministers in the Presbyterian system are members of Presbytery, rather than of particular congregations.

On April 13, Mrs. Emily Rice, wife of Dr. William Rice; Mrs. Margaret Whitney, wife of Charles C. Whitney; Mrs. R. C. Vosburg and Mrs. Beecher Vosburg were examined as to their faith and admitted to membership. Mrs. Whitney and Mrs. Vosburg were baptized. Emma Hankinson was also received.

In 1888, Miss Amanda Rice, daughter of Hiram and Amanda (Guernsy) Rice, was received by profession of faith; Mrs. Lizzie M. Powers, her sister, by certificate from the Episcopal Church at Norwich, N.Y.; and Mr. and Mrs. Louis T. Waldo were dismissed by letter to the First Presbyterian Church of Elmira. Mr. Isaac M. Beebe went to the Third Presbyterian Church of Chicago, and Mrs. C. M. Turton, formerly Miss Carrie Whitney, was given a letter to Montgomery, N.Y.

In 1889, Mr. Silas E. Seeley and his wife Abagail M. (Passmore) were given letters to the Presbyterian Church at Tunkhannock. Their daughter, Julia Seeley, was given a certificate with no church named. Miss Olive Whitney was granted a letter to Altoona, Pa.

This was the year Rev. Francis E. Bessey and Miss Phronia Woodburn were married in the new church. Under date of April 17, Mrs. Emily Rice wrote in her diary: "I have been to the wedding. The bride was lovely in a robe a la crème, with an immense bouquet of roses. Rev. John Ellsworth married the bright and happy couple."

Mr. Eugene A. Howe and Adelia F. Atwood, his wife, were admitted July 2, 1890 by certificate from the Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Mo. In 1894 they were dismissed to Herrick, Pa. Mr. Howe died in 1941 in Towanda. His son, Myer, lives on a farm near Herrick.

Mr. Samuel B. Cass and his wife Cynthia L. were received into church membership Jan. 1, 1890. Mrs. Harriet A. Barnes was granted a request for a letter to a church in New York City; and Miss Ada B. Layton one to a church in Iowa. On Sept. 4, at the house of Mr. Peter Mackey, Mrs. Priscilla R. Baker appeared before the session and was examined for membership. She was received by vote and baptized. In December, Dr. William W. Woodburn, brother of Mrs. F. E. Bessey, was examined as to faith and received as a member. He was a dentist. On Dec. 10, Miss Estella Layton received a certificate to the First Presbyterian Church of Kearney, Nebraska. She now lives at Athens.

A gathering of Rome and Orwell Presbyterian Church members and friends at the home of Rev. and Mrs. Frances E. Bessey (Woodburn homestead, Rome, Pa.).

Front Row—left to right, Mrs. Martha Allen, Mrs. Peter Van Gorder, (seated) Mrs. and Rev. Bessey, Mrs. Truman Barnes, Miss Nan Miller, Mrs. Della Woodburn, Mrs. Libbie Browning.

Second Row—Hon. J. P. Coburn, Mrs. and Mr. Sam Case, Mrs. Lizzie Powers, Mrs. Charlotte Hicks, Mrs. Allen P. Young, Mrs. Grace Towner, Truman Barnes, Mrs. Jason Forbes, Mrs. Bertha Yager, Sumner Brown.

Third Row—Mr. Van Gorder, Mr. Abner Beebe, Corydon Barnes, Hon. Winfield S. Kinney, Mrs. Kinney, Mrs. J.P. Coburn, Mrs. J.P. Cowles, Mrs. Charles Beers, Isaac Seely, Mrs. Minnie H. Study, Mrs. Corydon Barnes, Mrs. Rebecca Frost, Jason Forbes, May Hicks, and Mr. Hampton Champlin.

Fourth Row—Miles D. Carey, Mrs. Bernie Howe, Mrs. Isaac Seely, Mrs. Abner Beebe, Miss Lucy Kinney, Mrs. H. Champlin, Mrs. Armenia Robinson, Sylvester Robinson, Miss Hattie Miller (in window).

Picture taken by Rev. Marcellus Elliott, about 1889.

In the year 1891 the church received two new members, Mr. Dayton W. Allen, who later became an adherent of the Seventh Day Adventists, son of Edward and Cynthia (Brainerd) Allen, brother of Roy Allen of Allis Hollow; and Miss Rhoda May Lent, who was born Dec. 3, 1874 the daughter of Eugene and Mary (Cass) Lent, and married William Sylvester Barnes (born Nov. 3, 1863, died Aug. 16, 1932), the son of Allen and Darwina Rhoda (Miller) Barnes. Darwina died in December, 1907, and burial was at Rome. William S. and Rhoda (Lent) Barnes had the following eleven children,:
  1. Mary Darwina, born May 11, 1898, married June 14, 1922, Mr. Charles Green. They live near North Rome and have 10 children, most of whom have been baptized in this church.
  2. Allen Eugene, born May 23, 1899, married May 12, 1928, Miss Cleone Beecher of LeRaysville. They live at Wysox, and have one daughter, Marlene Phyllis. (Phyllis was born Mar. 25, 1932.) He is a mail carrier for Route 1, Wysox.
  3. Paul Merritt, born July 28, 1900, married August 16, 1922, Miss Kathryn Forbes, daughter of Lester and Charlotte (Bush) Forbes of Rome, and they live at Rome, having two children.
  4. Walter William, born Aug. 12, 1901, married Oct. 10, 1925, Miss Marion Gower. They adopted Arthur Edward, born Sept. 16, 1935, and live at Vestal, N.Y.
  5. Myra, born Dec. 4, 1902.
  6. Ruth Armena, born April 15, 1904, married June 22, 1929, Mr. Milton Daugherty of Allis Hollow. They have two children: Isabel Jean, born Feb. 17, 1931; and Alyce Marie, born February 8, 1940.
  7. Cass Nathan, born Mar. 7, 1906, married Dec. 6, 1928, Miss Edith Chaffee of Warren Center. They have one son, Avery Laverne, born July 22, 1933, and live at Wysox.
  8. George Miller, born April 30, 1908, married Oct. 10, 1930, Miss Mary Turner. There are four children: Morse William, born July 30, 1931; Ruby Mae, born Jan. 2, 1933; George, Jr., born May 19, 1934; Robert, born August 17, 1938. They live at Sherrill, N.Y.
  9. Cora Belle, born April 8, 1911, married June 2, 1934, Mr. George E. Conrad. They have a daughter, Elizabeth May, born Oct. 31, 1939. A son, Andrew William, was born Dec. 23, 1941 at Johnson City, N.Y.
  10. Marion Francis, born June 22, 1913, married August 13, 1938, Miss Irma Johnston, a teacher in the school at Rome.
  11. Charles Farnham, born March 10, 195, lives at home with his mother, at the second house eat of Gillet Bridge.
In the year 1892 Mr. and Mrs. Peter Van Gorder of Towner Hill became members of the church. In 1893 Miss Bessie Woodburn, born March 1, 1864, the daughter of Warner William and Ellen Elizabeth (Vought) Woodburn, became a member. At the age of 29 she married Mr. Burt L. Goff, son of Solon and Lydia (Bailey) Goff, and lives in the southern part of Rome borough. They had a daughter, Mazie Christine, born June 30, 1894, who married Mr. Carl Wurtenberg of Wysox. She died June 8, 1922, perishing in a house fire with a daughter Bessie Elizabeth who was about a year and a half old. She left two sons and a daughter, Edna Marie Wurtenberg, who was born Jan. 20, 1915, and married June 29, 1938, Mr. Rodney Burton Allis, employed at Johnson City. They live with the Goffs at Rome, and have a daughter Dorla Christine, born July 29, 1939. One of the two sons of Carl and Christine Wurtenburg, George Burton Wurtenberg, born in 1916, died Jan. 13, 1939. His brother, Arthur Carl, born Feb. 13, 1917, lives at Endicott, N.Y

Others joining the church in 1892 were: Miss Florence McGovern, who married Eugene Means of Towanda; Miss Maude Towner, daughter of Mahlon and Grace (Kinney) Towner; and Miss Lizzie Smith (daughter of Augustus A. and Phoeba Smith), who married Ira Berger.

Dismissals included George Mackey (adopted by Peter Mackey) and Miss Aurice Carey; Mrs. Emma French to bethel Hill, Pa.; and her sister Mrs. Nellie (Hankinson) Russell to the Methodist church at North Orwell, Pa. (1894).

Mrs. Nellie Russell, daughter of Obadiah and Aaline (Knapp) Hankerson (spelled also Hankinson) was born on a farm near that of Mr. John Joyce in the eastern part of Rome township, married in 1890 at the residence of Rev. F. E Bessey (now occupied by Mr. John Woodburn) Mr. Austin Russell who was born in North Orwell in November, 1868, the son of Joseph P. and Amelia (Tanner) Russell. Austin Russell died in April 1901, leaving his wife with three children: Austin Henry, born in 1893, now of Ithaca, N.Y.; Winifred, born March, 1902, married Stanley Wood, lives at North Orwell, where she is in charge of the telephone exchange; and Lynn, born in 1905. Mrs. Nellie Russell married Mr. L. E. French, a brother of her sister’s husband and now resides near Norristown, Pa.

The Rev. Mr. Bessey moderated the session meeting for the last time Sept. 6, 1894, when E. A. Howe and wife Adelia were granted a letter to Herrick, Pa. During the next year the Rev. Peter H. Brooks, representing the presbytery, moderated the meeting Oct. 6th, at which Miss Mollie W. Rice and Miss Grace Forbes, daughter of Jason, (now Mrs. Guy W. Abell of Rome) were received by profession of faith, and baptism. William Layton was given a letter to the Presbyterian Church at Athens, Pa., in 1896. The report to presbytery April 22, 1896 showed a membership of 27 in the church, 40 in Sunday School and congregational contributions totaling $314.

Frances Eugene Bessey was born in Monroeton, Pa., Nov. 22, 1849, the son of George and Amanda (Staples) Bessey, the former of whom was a farmer and lumberman, a native of New York, and the latter a native of Connecticut, both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their family consisted of three children: Albert, a machinist, Herman, superintendent of schools at Delaware, and Francis Eugene. The father came to Bradford County about 1846 and resided here until his death in 1866; the mother died one year before in Fairfax County, Va., aged fifty. Francis lived until twelve years of age at Monroeton when he went to Washington, D.C., with his mother. He studied at Columbia University three years and graduated from Crazer Theological Seminary in 1876. He lived two years at Union and four years at Hancock, N.Y., and then came to Rome, Ra. He preached at Orwell as well as at Rome. In 1897 he preached in Potterville. He died in 1911, and his remains rest in the Rome cemetery.




The Ladies Aid Society was organized at the residence of Mrs. Lottie Kilmer, April 21, 1887, about six months after the dedication of the new brick church building, with Mrs. Stephen O. Allen as president, Mrs. William Rice as secretary, and Mrs. William Moody as treasurer. By January sixth of the next year nine meetings had been held and total receipts were $77.91.

Six rules were adopted Jan. 11, 1888 at a meeting held at the church. They were offered by the president.

Rule 1st

This society shall be known as the Ladies’ Aid Society of the First Presbyterian Church of Rome. Its object shall be to aid in paying the expenses incurred by the Church, the Church debt, the Pastor’s salary and any repairs or improvements upon the Church.

Rule 2nd

The Officers shall consist of a President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Rule 3rd

It shall be the duty of the President to call the meeting to order, count all money received at each meeting and to sign all orders drawn upon the treasurer.

Rule 4th

It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep an accurate account of all money received and pay the same to the treasurer; also to keep the minutes and draw and sign all orders upon the Treasurer.

Rule 5th

Any person may become a member by the payment of twenty-five cents and all persons who may attend the society shall pay the sum of ten cents.

Rule 6th

Seven members shall constitute a quorum.

Rule 7th

A 7th rule was adopted Feb. 22, 1901, that "we elect our officers annually."

On Feb. 22, 1901, the society, having given a Washington Birthday dinner at the church adopted the resolution, "That we elect our officers annually and also settle all accounts at this time."

Charter members of the society were Mrs. O. F. Young, Darwina R. Barnes (wife of Allen, killed in Civil War, mother of William, grandmother of Paul M.), L. Melida Coolbaugh (lived where Frank Barnes Lives), Martha C. Allen (wife of S.O., living in house of Wart Brown), Lottie M. Kilmer (mother of Mrs. Morgan Hopler), Mrs. Anson B. Cass (her husband was a member of church building committee, and lived where R. W. Russell now lives), Ella M. McGovern (mother of Mrs. Irene Tyrrell), Mrs. William Rice, Mrs. Louis Waldo, Mrs. Emma Beebe, Mrs. Jane Carter (nee Dunn, wife of Ed Carter), Mrs. Della Woodburn, Mesdames F. E. Bessey, A. P. Young, H. M. Barnes, Augustus Smith, Lottie Hicks, E. Phidelia Lennox, Miss Hattie Miller, Rev. F. E. Bessey, Messrs. A. B. Cass, A. M. Beebe, John Vought, A. Smith, O. F. Young, Miss Nan Miller.

Others added later were Miss Eva Woodburn, and her sister, Miss Bessie Woodburn (married Bert Goff), Mrs. Minnie Whitney) Study, widow of Charles Study, of Tyrone, Pa. (She died Jan. 24, 1938 at Chicago at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Marguerite, wife of Jerry Lovett.) Also Miss Ruth Whitney (sister of Mrs. Study), Miss Maude, daughter of Mahlon Towner, Mrs. Will Bennett (Ettie Parks), and Mrs. Clara Rice (wife of Dr. Fred Rice, now of Sayre, Pa.).

At the same meeting at which the rules were adopted, it was ordered that $75 be paid to Mr. A. B. Cass toward paying off the church debt. The society met each month at the church or at homes of members or others. Places of meeting the first year were the church, the homes of Mesdames Kilmer, Young, McGovern, D. Barnes, A. Woodburn, Jason Forbes (father of Mrs. Grace Abell), C. Barnes, S. Robertson, S. O. Allen. A number of meetings were held in February and March of 1888 in preparation for a church fair. Besides at the church the society met at the homes of Mrs. Isaac Seeley, Mrs. Charles Barnes, Mrs. A. Smith, Mrs. Charles Whitney, Mrs. A. B. Cass. The fair’s total receipts amounted to $82.18.

At a maple sugar party in March, in the lecture room of the church, there were present Rev. John Ellsworth and wife (Clara Young) of Newark Valley, and Mr. Warren Young and wife (Katherine Smith) of Owego, N.Y., who furnished some fine vocal music. In the same month $104.97 was paid to the church debt fund anticipating the payment of subscriptions by Messrs. Louis Waldo, Samuel Layton, and Halliday Allis, whose mother was a member of the church—Mrs. Martha Allis. In April $7 was paid for presbyterial assessments, and $2 for missions.

In August, 1888 Mrs. Lizzie Powers was elected president, Mrs. F. C. Cass, secretary, and Mrs. Lizzie Moody, treasurer. Ten dollars was paid on the salary of the minister, Rev. F. E. Bessey. The society bought in November, dishes, tablecloths, silverware, cooking vessels, and a cook stove, and served an oyster supper, realizing $6.28 from the supper. At the resignation of Mrs. Cass as secretary, Mr. O. F. young recorded the minutes, and when Mrs. Lizzie Powers declined the office of president, Mr. O. F. Young was elected.

On Sept. 20, 1889 the society held a musical and literary entertainment at the church assisted by Mr. Thomas Stout of Philadelphia (a boarder of A. P. Young’s), and Miss Ella Welsh of Orwell, Pa.

At the election of officers after prayer-meeting March 5, 1890, Mrs. A. M. Beebe was made president and Rev. F. E. Bessey secretary. In September the Society paid W. L. Moody $9.95 for insurance on the church. The railroad expenses of the delegate to presbytery at Scranton were also paid, as well as $38.50 to Mr. Bessey for balance due him on the last year’s salary.

At Mrs. A. M. Beebe’s home the society met in June, 1891, to reorganize with Mrs. Stephen Allen, president; Mrs. Ella, wife of Phil McGovern, secretary; and Mrs. A. M. Beebe, treasurer. The society voted to pay $5 toward the expenses of a band at a celebration on July 4th, and at that time held an ice cream festival which netted $27.80. In August, an entertainment entitled, "The District School" brought into the treasury $22.17. In November proceeds from two lectur3es were $6.57, and from another entertainment, "The Peak Sisters," $16.79 was realized. In December the society paid Kinney & Towner for stove pipe and sundries, and $25 was paid Rev. F. E. Bessey for one-half the society’s subscription for the year.

The society held monthly meetings in 1892. The fair in March brought in $49.79. The society paid the coal bill, presbyterial assessment, $8 for missions, and held a supper for the men who laid a new sidewalk. New officers elected in July were president, Mrs. F. E. Bessey (formerly Sophronia Woodburn); treasurer, Mrs. A. M. Beebe; secretary, Mrs. Martha C. Allen.

In August a concert was held, and ice cream and cake were served; net receipts, $14.78; also an entertainment called "The Old Maids’ Drill," which brought $12.60 to the treasury. On Oct. 21, 1892, at the time of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, the society served a Columbian supper in the lecture room of the church, which was well attended and from which was realized the sum of $9.05. In November a Thanksgiving entertainment of tableaux, dialogues and speaking was given. Proceeds were $9.

In 1893 Mrs. Ella (Compton) McGovern was elected president; Mrs. A. M. Beebe, treasurer; and Mrs. Martha C. Allen (wife of S. O. Allen), secretary. During the next year the society met at the home of Miss Florence Woodburn (who loved to work out of doors), S. O. Allen, Mahlon L. Towner, Mrs. Minnie Study and twice at the church, a phonograph concert being given at one time and a glee club, mandolin, and banjo concert at another.

In 1894 Miss Nan Miller succeeded Mrs. McGovern as president. In August an entertainment was given by Mr. A. P. Young’s boarders and others, the receipts being $15.35. The society paid $16.30 to presbyterial obligations. Over 100 guests attended a poverty social at the home of Mrs. Della Woodburn.

In 1895 Mrs. Will Bennett and Mrs. Grace Towner joined the society. $12.06 was paid for furnace repairs. Mrs. A. J. Whitney entertained the society in March. Other meetings were held at the homes of Dr. Fred Rice, and Dr. Robert G. Rice. A dinner on memorial day brought the society $20.42. Mrs. Beebe purchased for the society a church carpet costing $54.45. On Oct. 19, 1895 the treasurer paid a bill for coal: 4675 pounds of coal, $7.48; for drawing same, 5 cts. Per hundred, $2.35, total $9.83. In this month the society served supper for fifty Odd Fellows, realizing $7.

In 1896 the society donated $15.75 to pay the pastor, Rev. A. T. Huber, who also supplied the pulpit at Orwell. The society served a dinner and supper at the church on election day, Feb. 18, 1896. The treasury had a balance of $37.39. On this, as on other years, the railroad fare of the church’s delegate to presbytery was paid.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 03 MAR 2004
By Joyce M. Tice

You are the  visitor since the counter was installed on 03 MAR 2004