1891 - 1991
TIOGA COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
REV. JAMES F. BELLAMY, PASTOR
SEPTEMBER 22, 1991
But what led up to this church? Let's take a look at Roseville prior to this time. One of the earliest settlers was William Rose, great-great-grandfather of Barbara Seeley, Verle Sterling, and Carol Rice, for whom Roseville was named. He came from Rutland, Vermont, in 1806 and settled on the site where Roseville now stands. He bought 400 acres at 67 cents an acre. About 1822, William Rose built the first distillery in Roseville and began his work in a small house just south of the Longwell residence. Later, in 1850, he erected a sixteen-room hotel on this lot. Royal Rose continued the business of his brother who died in 1865.
Myron Mills, another early settler, ran the post office, a store, and a tannery. The people received their mail once a week. The store sold just one kind of fish - codfish; this was sold in four-foot long slabs. The tannery, started in 1863, received the hides by the wagonload. A mill, operated by J. M. Hall, was built for converting iron ore into mineral paint. There was also a carriage shop, blacksmith shop, two doctors, and other hotels and stores. The dam above Roseville, referred to as the Roseville Pond, was not built, but was natural. This water power was once used for flour, iron ore, milk, and at a later date, electricity.
Roseville was settled long before Mansfield was even thought of. It was incorporated as a borough in 1876 with 428 residents. The hotels were kept busy because of the crossroads leading to Elmira and Mansfield, the main road now being route 549. This is the road which D. Ernest Watson's mother traveled by horseback to swap goose eggs for tea. (Remember Dee Watson, a grandson of William Rose, who cleaned the outhouse with a stick of dynamite in the 1950s?) D.E. Watson's wife was Nellie Mary Adams, cousin of John Quincy Adams, President of the United States. John Quincy Adams once visited Nellie's family overnight at their home, the present residence of Frank Pilling, Jr.
On July 8, 1890, Roseville experienced an historic conflagration. Twenty-four buildings were destroyed in the fire, including the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Mansfield Advertiser listed simply: "Methodist Society, church, and parsonage, worth $3000, no insurance." Many visitors visited the town daily looking over the ruins. The Roseville Book tells us that after the 1890 fire the Baptist Church shared its facilities with the Methodist Episcopal congregation.
We are amazed at the speed with which the new church was built - the present edifice at this 1991 writing. However, it was apparently not without problems! Brief comments were made in the Roseville Ripples of the weekly Mansfield Advertiser and in the Wellsboro Gazette which indicate they had many ups and downs. March 18, 1891 - "What about the new church?" April 22, 1891 - "A surprise donation was given the Rev. George Warburton last Tuesday evening at the residence of C. W. Sherman." June 17, 1891 - "The new church fund is swelling." July 8, 1891 - "It is thought that work on the new Methodist Church will be commenced soon." Also, "An ice cream festival for the benefit of the M. E. Church fund was largely attended at the residence of Dr. O. S. Nye last Tuesday evening." August 19, 1891 - "The trustees of the M. E. Church have let the contract for building the foundation for the new church to L. E. Gillett. Elery Wilcox has the contract for furnishing lumber." Also, "At a meeting of the quarterly conference, it was unanimously voted to have Mr. Warburton remain as pastor of the M. E. Church another year." September 2, 1891 - "Sealed bids are being received by the trustees for the building of the M. E. Church." December 3, 1891 - "Rev. Hogan, our Methodist minister, has been teaching school on Burton Hill and preaching evenings and three times on Sunday. He said it was rather more than he could endure and consequently gave up the former and continues the revival. He is having spendid success." December 9, 1891 - Rev. Mr. Hogan has resigned his pastorate at the M. E. Church." (We cannot figure where Rev. Hogan fits into the picture.)
As 1892 comes in, it looks like things are on the move. March 24, 1892 - "The new bell for the Methodist Church has been hung in place. It has a very sweet and distinct tone. It weighs 1000 pounds and cost $150. The first of May has been fixed as dedication day we understand." April 21, 1892 - "The new Methodist Church, we understand, has been closed by the contractor pending a satisfactory settlement." May 18, 1892 - "The trustees of the Methodist Church have "kicked" on the workmanship done on the church seats by the contractor Welch. What is to be done in regard to the matter we will let you know next winter." August 31, 1892 - "The Methodist Sunday school was reorganized last Sunday with the following officers: G. W. Palmer, assistant superintendent; C. B. Hanyen, superintendent; C. E. Palmer, treasurer; and Charles Longwell, librarian." (The Palmers and the Hanyens are family of Louise Harris.) But activities in the neighboring churches must have been carrying on because we read: August 10, 1892 - "A sociable is to be held at the Rutland Hill Church Wednesday evening this week." August 24, 1892 - The Lawrence Corners M. E. Church Sunday school has an old-fashion picnic Thursday September 1st in G. F. Smith's sugar bush. They extend an invitation to the Roseville, Bailey Creek, and Rutland Hill schools. A good time is expected."
The church, although obviously incomplete, was apparently reopened in 1891. It had a gambrel ceiling and four stoves. We find tidbits indicating it was an active congregation. There was a variety sale at the W. H. Longwell residence with booths of homemade cookies, baked goods, and oysters; a shadow social at John Frost's to benefit the Christmas tree netted $13; a social at Jim Wilson's with proceeds of $10.72; a dinner served by the church ladies at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Everett Nash netted over $12; a weiner roast at Roseville Pond made $4.87; a 2-cent social in Longwell Hall cleared $5.42; and a bake sale with profit of $1.75. They apparently felt the need for an annex, as there were numerous references to the "annex fund". Jerome Benson started digging for an annex on the east side of the church, but it filled up with water. The annex was "postponed".
Roseville experienced another major fire in 1904, but the M. E. Church was fortunate to escape this time. The Mansfield Advertiser account said it started at Sweeley's store (Bill Sweeley's father's store) and that Roseville "is threatened with total destruction". By 1:00 PM at least 10 buildings had burned. The Roseville book mentions the church undergoing interior repairs in 1911, but we find no mention as to the nature of these repairs. Could it have been at this time that the ceiling was lowered? The church continued to be a popular site for plays, concerts, and patriotic celebrations.
Nell Benson (1876-1979, Bill Sweeley's sister) was particularly active with her Sunday school class. Her class, consisting of Margaret Soper (Sweeley), Lavera Rose (Sterling), Gertrude Stone (Kennedy), Gladys Kennedy (Shelman), Hazel VanNocken, Lottie Soper, and perhaps many more, decided to purchase a piano for the church. Comments were made that pianos belonged in dance halls; organs were for churches. Nevertheless, if you knew Nell Benson, you knew she was not a quitter. The girls worked at many socials and dinners to pay for the $300 piano, paying monthly. Must be they finished paying for it because it is still here! Nell's husband, John Benson, probably enjoyed the piano as much as any one because he regularly sang solos in church and at funerals. John and Nell also used their talents for the Lord in supplying flowers and decorations for the church year round. It must be hereditary - Bill and Margaret Sweeley continue to do a beautiful job at that!
The church was closed sometime in the 1930's, and there seems to be no definite information on it. An entry in the Roseville Book states that "In 1932, Dr. Chester Feig of Mansfield State Teachers College tried to merge the churches which lasted a short time". This attempt at a merger may indicate they were having problems of some kind. It was John and Nell Benson who took the initiative and made a request to the District Superintendent for the church to be reopened. We believe this happened in the late 1930's.
Upon the reopening of the church, the first pastor was Rev. O. H. Travis. The three-point charge was Roseville, Daggett, and Webb Mills NY. Rev. Travis received a salary of $8.00 per Sunday, but there often was not nearly that much in the offering plate. He was willing to take what there was. There is a record of only one coal bill in 1944 of $16.05, and one electric bill of $3.00. Harry and Fanny Hill were paid $1.00 a Sunday to clean and start the fire in the big, round, black stove. The parsonage across the road was rented as it is today. There is record of Jerome and Mary Benson paying $50.00 for six months rent. In 1942, Longwell's store burned and the present Roseville Market was rebuilt after the war in 1946.
1947 brought many interior repairs. The floor was sanded and varnished with materials amounting to $95.80 and labor $72.00. Corner irons for the pews were bought for $5.09; an oil stove, pipe, elbows, and oil at $104.76 took the place of the coal stove; and the present windows replaced the leaded glass ones at $10.00 each. The families listed who purchased a window were: Mr. & Mrs. Fay Brown, Mr. & Mrs. Chester Kennedy, Mr. & Mrs. Jerome Benson, Mr. & Mrs. William Sweeley, Mr. & Mrs. John Benson, Mrs. Alma Copp, Lester Copp, Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Longwell, Mr. & Mrs. L. D. Stevens, and the Francis and Ernest Argetsinger families. It was noted that many other families helped a great deal with repairs and installations of the various aspects of this project. Just one entry says "rug money", $77.00, in August 1949. This probably refers to the maroon carpet in the church at the present time. In February 1952, $70 was paid to A. E. Gilbert to repair the belfry. Specific donations of $5.00 each were received, earmarked for this project. At some point the steeple were removed but no information has been found on that. It seems like it may have been sone time in the 1940's. In December 1954, the church purchased a gas stove, thermostat, and blower for $142.34. This included installation. At that time they sold the oil stove for $30. And about the same time, the hymm bookracks were purchased for the pews by Carl and Lavera Sterling.
During the 1950's, the combined Methodist and American Baptist youth group decided to buy an organ to be used in both churches. They sold french fries, popcorn, ice cream, cake servers, ribbon candy, stationery, knives, and plates with the picture of the Baptist and Methodist churches over a period of years. They always had a booth and a float at the Old Home Day celebration. The organ cost $1500 and is the same one that is in use today. In 1964, the Young Adult group purchased the electric cross hanging in the front of the church to honor John and Nell Benson.
The Fanny Alexander lot just west of the church was purchased in 1966 from Richard and Freda Husted for $450. The building was torn down and several people donated their time to clear the land. It is now our parking lot.
A major facelift was accomplished in the interior of the church in 1976. The sanctuary was painted, and all exposed wood in the church ws stripped and refinished, including the floor, wainscoating, window frames, altar railings, the pews, and even the pulpit and the piano. What a transformation it was lifting all of that dark varnish. And it was completed in time to celebrate our nation's Bicentennial, Roseville Borough's Centennial, and Nell Benson's 100th birthday.
On our own again after having been yoked with the American Baptist Church from 1969 to 1978, we began to look at a necessary building project. In 1979, we started taking plans that resulted in the present annex which contains one large social hall used for Sunday school classes and dinners, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. This was built for approximately $34,000 and was paid for in a year and a half. In 1987, we bought a new parsonage in conjunction with the Mainesburg and Elk Run churches at a total cost of $39,000. This house is located in Roseville Borough and was purchased from Jack Wright.
1983 brought sad news for many longtime residents of the Roseville area - the old Rutland Hill M. E. Church was so severely vandalized that repairs were impossible. Among the few things that were retrieved were a dozen matching cane seat choir chairs and the bell, which Bob Seeley and Ralph Thomas cautiously lowered from the belfry. In 1988, each chair was repaired, refinished, and recaned, the cost being assumed by individuals of the congregation as a memorial gift. The average cost of each chair was $70. In 1990, a stone bulletin board was laid up in the church lawn according to a design by Steve Pazzaglia. This lighted board houses the bell from the Rutland Hill Church. 1990 also brought a long-awaited luxury - pads for the seats of the original pews at a cost of approximately $4000. Just when our hymnals were getting that worn look, the United Methodist Church published a new one. So in 1989 we began singing old favorites and learning beautiful new songs from our 100 new hymnals purchased as memorials from members and friends.
Another difficult time came at the end of 1990 when our sister church, the Elk Run United Methodist Church, closed its doors. Our arms were open to welcome any of that congregation wishing to join us, and they responded with some gifts from their church including dishes, tables, pew bibles, and the baptismal font [built by Lee D. Tice]. These gifts, along with the Rutland Hill memorials were dedicated in July 1991, just at the completion of a new paint job of the interiors of the sanctuary and the annex, and once more refinishing the sanctuary floor.
Our active United Women's Fellowship has continued an old fashioned tradition of Ice Cream Socials and a Strawberry Festival held on the village Green. A tent is set up for serving the dinner items, and the Bandstand is used for desserts including ice cream, homemade pies, and homemade biscuits for strawberry shortcake. The 1991 Strawberry Festival netted $1600. The church operates on a budget of over $30,000. It is hard to imagine what it must have been like in the 1800's.
Once again it is time to look at the dreams of our future. Discussion is presently underway to determine how we can create more space for our growing congregation, a priority item being that of Sunday school classrooms. We pray that God's spirit will guide us in this project so we can more effectively teach God's love to His children.
We continually praise God for the gifts He has given to our church. Since the 1940's, the profession musicianship of Louise Harris has made our worship services alive with music each Sunday. The willingness of our congregation to answer God's calling and donate their time has meant that only our pastor and a parttime secretary are on the payroll. Our church continues to be fully involved in missions to others in our community and the surrounding area. The concern and care for others, spiritually, socially, and physically, is characteristic of our congregation. We feel led by the Lord to be aware of needs in times of sorrow and happiness, wartime and peace - and then to minister to those needs. We recognize the importance of each individual member of our congregation; each ones talent is necessary to make the whole church.
We ask the Lord's blessing on us as individuals and on us as a congregation. May we strive always to be more Christ-like and may our work in the church be done with the sole purpose of glorifying God.
Copied from the original Record of Officers
(August 23, 1890)
Officers for Roseville: (all trustees)
Orin J. Furman
C. B. Hanyen, sec'y.
Committee on Missions:
G. W. Palmer
RECORD OF PASTORS
ROSEVILLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
|Rev. Curtis||At the time of incorporation 1870|
|Rev. D. W. C. Huntington|
|Rev. John Sterling||Grandfather of Barbara STERLING Seeley,|
|Verle Sterling, and Carol STERLING Rice|
|Rev. R. T. Chaffee|
|Rev. W. W. Keller||1920|
|Rev. C. Purdy||1922|
|O. H. Travis||Late 1930's to 1947|
|Owen Barrett||1947 to 1950|
|Ross E. Whetstone||1950 to 1952|
|Arthur S. Marshall||1952 to 1955|
|Franklin D. Weaver||1955 to 1957|
|William Jenkins||1957 to 1961|
|Earl S. Smith||1961 to 1963|
|Walter E. Webb||1963 to 1964|
|William E. Pipp||1964 to 1966|
|Jesse E. Fritz||1966 to 1968|
|Ruth McDannell||1968 to 1970|
|Theodore E. Gould||1970 to 1974|
|Charles Stewart||1974 to 1978|
|Harry Krause||1978 to 1980|
|James F. Garthoff||1980 to 1983|
|M. Win Green||1983 to 1987|
|Robert E. Stump||1987 to 1991|
|James E. Bellamy||1991 to 1999/2000|