"The Church’s one foundation
-Samuel S. Wesley
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Meeting House
For The Record
Forward – The Churches in Our Midst
I Ridgebury Church Survey -------------------------------- 1
II Early Church Customs ------------------------------------ 2
III Temperance ------------------------------------------------ 5
IV Church Literature ----------------------------------------- 7
V The Mormon Church ------------------------------------- 9
VI Early Baptists ---------------------------------------------- 11
VII Catholic Churches in Ridgebury ------------------------ 17
VIII The North Bradford Circuit ------------------------------ 19
IX The Present Baptist Church ------------------------------ 26
X Later Day Wesleyan Methodists ------------------------ 29
XI The Wellsburg Churches ---------------------------------- 36
The Church in Our Midst
The Meeting house
--Raymond R. Huse
I know an old white meeting house
Among New England hills,
Whenever I behold it
My heart with rapture thrills.
With mountains piled around it
And blue skies arched above.
A harbinger of hope,
A messenger of love.
When hearts of men are troubled
And war drums never cease,
The old white meeting house
Still speaks of God and peace.
For god is there, my brothers,
And Christ is on the throne,
With steeples on the skyline
Keeping watch above His own.
For the Record
People who helped with material:
Bessie Ward, Marian Burt, Helen Raynor, Alice
Harris, Mildred Burnham, Cora McNight, Mildred Merriam, Vina Kier,
Harriet Child, Mary Harkness, and others
With corrections: Kenneth Storch
With mark-up and assembly: Marjorie Leonard, Lucile Jelliff, Sheila Graham, Thelma Baker, Sherry Morgan, Beverly Kennedy, Pat Anthony, Jeannie Sawyer, Roberta Jelliff, and others
Publisher: Ridgebury Ladies Firemen’s Auxiliary
The Churches In Our Midst
Ridgebury Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania
"I will declare Thy Name unto all my brethren, in
the midst of the church I will sing praises unto Thee." – Heb. 2:12
A friend of mine said to me one day, "Why doesn’t someone write the story of the churches of this area? I think it would make interesting reading."
When the "Ridgebury Story" was compiled, a great deal of interesting church history came into my hands; but as that was a general history of the township, much of it wasn’t relevant at the time. However, as time passed, I began to be interested in old church records and the idea grew.
One day Mrs. Augusta Ferris Sweet of Syracuse, New York came to the house. She was a granddaughter of a former Wesleyan Methodist minister who once lived in Centerville. She had a picture of a church and asked if I could help her locate it. In trying to solve her mystery, I began to look for information and soon found a rich field to explore. I went first, to the older residents of the township; then to the minutes of the Old Baptist Church Covenant Meetings. I found the minutes, (or the ones that survived the ravages of time) of "The North Bradford Wesleyan Methodist Churches of South Creek and Ridgebury". I also found the record of the founding of "The first Wesleyan Methodist Church of Springfield" (Berrytown). This was interesting because, later, that church became a preaching appointment of "The North Bradford Circuit". I already had many notes from "Craft’s History of Bradford County", "Bradsby’s History" and "The Seven Counties History". I, also, had access to later church records. I am indebted to Bessie Ward of Berrytown, Helen Raynor and Mildred Burnham for much material of a later date.
The stories of the founding of several churches in adjacent areas are given because some of the present-day Ridgebury people attend them. The story of the Mt. Pisgah Praying Band" is interesting because of the impact it had on the entire Western Bradford County area.
Some other things are tucked in simply because they make interesting reading. I hope many will find as much enjoyment out of reading this as I have in writing it.
Route 2, Wellsburg, New York
Ridgebury Church Survey
"Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." -- Eph. 6:10
As of December, 1968, there are four churches in Ridgebury.
Two Protestant – The First Baptist Church of Bentley Creek, Rev. Herman Bucklew is the pastor; The Wesleyan Church of Bentley Creek (so-called because of the merger of the Wesleyan Methodist churches and the Pilgrim Holiness churches in the summer of 1968), Rev. Edward Crandall is the pastor. Two Catholic churches – St. Ann’s in Bentley Creek and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ridgebury, Rev. Joseph Sammans is the priest.
According to a church survey made in 1968, there were 206 families in the Township with some church affiliation, outside of the two trailer parks. Of these, about twenty families attend outside the township – Big Pond, Berrytown, Wellsburg, Athens, Elmira, or elsewhere. We had about 200 listed as having no church connection, though I presume these figures are not very accurate. There was no attempt made to survey the trailer parks. There are about 80 families in the two. If they run about 50-50 as the rest of the area does, they would average about 40 church goers and 40 non-church going families. Thus we can see that Ridgebury has plenty of opportunity for missionary effort.
Early Church Customs
"We took sweet council together as we walked into the house of God in company." -- Psalm 55:14
People began to settle Ridgebury about the year 1800, some say as early as 1798. Some authorities say 1805 or 1807 when the Campbells and the Fullers came to the area of the present day Mobile Acres. There seams to be no record of church or school for some time. Children evidently learned to read from their mothers, probably with the Bible as their text book, as that was the only book owned by most families.
The first record of schools that we have is a copy of the "Ridgeberry School Board Minutes" dated 1887. There were then five schools, numbered as follows (probably in the order in which they were built): Number 1 – Centerville, known then as Ridgebury, The first Post Office was called Ridgebury and the government commission was given to it in 1826. The school house was on the old Babcock Road toward Doty Hill from Centerville; this was probably where the first preaching service was held. Number 2 – Penniville, on the site of the present Fire Hall in Bentley Creek. Number 3 – Dewey School, on the Berwick Turnpike across the road from the present home Merwin Fay. Number 4 – The Halstead School, where the Harold Colwell house now stands. We can understand why a school was located there – Samuel Benight settled on the farm next to it around the turn of the century. Number 5 – Mormon Hill, we are not sure may have been. Some think on the north side of the hill, north of the present Mormon Lake on the old road that used to run along the crest of the hill. Sunday Schools or preaching services were probably held in most of them, except, perhaps, in the Dewey School.
Samuel Benight "who was the first white man to strike axe in Ridgeberry Township" was a member of the Bradford County Bible Society in 1825. "Ridgeberry" was named from the name of his farm – a place of "ridges and berry bushes".
From the number of Bible names on the early tombstones they must have brought Bibles with them – and read them. From the lists of the members of the early churches, we find people from many miles around. Some of them must have driven for miles with a horse and wagon to attend Divine worship. Let us look at the membership of the Old Baptist Church on the Green Mountain Road in 1842 – Dan A. Gillett, from Gillett’s
Corner, Amaziah Gillett and his wife, Sally, from the cross roads above
Gene Leonard’s, John M. Easton and his wife from Doty Hill, Smith Hildreth from Comfort Hill. We think we are quite conscientious if we get up on Sunday morning and drive in a heated car two or three miles to church. Yet we see that many of these people were present at nearly every service. They took an active part in Prayer Meeting, Business Meeting, and in the old-fashioned Covenant Meetings in the Baptist church and in Quarterly Conference in the Wesleyan Methodist church. Let us look in on one of these Quarterly conferences. They began with a Business Meeting on Saturday afternoon, with the Pastor, Class Leader, and members, often from several preaching appointments. Their reports were not merely financial reports, tho’ these had their place. These were a real insight into the spiritual life of the church, the average attendance at Prayer Meeting, Class Meeting and Sunday School; with warnings if interest lagged in a particular area.
Sometimes there was a sermon at night by a visiting Elder; more often, the members just went home after the Business Meeting, did the chores, talked over the events of the afternoon, ate supper, and got ready for the Sabbath.
The order of service on Sunday seemed to be about as follows, from the stories told by older people; Sabbath School at 9:30 or 10:00, Worship Service, and the early Methodists, in common with most early churches, believe in long discourses – no 15 or 20 minute sermonettes for the congregations of that day; if a minister couldn’t preach for two hours, his people soon decided that he wasn’t a very able exhorter. In these early meetings the Leader called on everyone to testify, and woe to the unregenerate soul that didn’t have a glowing, up-to-date experience. No last year’s state of grace was satisfactory. "Brother, what is your present spiritual state?" was what the wide-awake Leader wanted to know. An evaluation of the spiritual state of the church was usually given at the next Quarterly Meeting. We find in the old Church Minutes such entries as this: "Most of the church members seem to be growing in grace, and gaining new spiritual ground; however, we feel the need of definite prayer for some of our weaker brothers and sisters, and some of our young people have a levity in Devine Worship which we deplore. Let us all be faithful in dealing with our own households, that none of the flock stray." It was such deep concern that kept our early churches going and growing in spite of discouragements, irregularity of services, bad weather, bad roads, and in some cases, bad neighborhood relations.
Baptisms were by immersion in some neighboring creek, any time of the year when the candidates were deemed spiritually ready. Sometimes a hole had to be chopped through the ice in the middle of the winter. Another item of note is the
extremely small amount of salary that some of these faithful shepherds received, sometimes as little as $192.00 a year. There were usually about two donations a year for the parsonage family, one at harvest time in the fall, and one in the spring. The fall donations were held at harvest time and were a thank-offering for their pastor. In the spring, about Easter-time, the pastor’s cellar began to look bare, and the people thought of things they could spare. The fall donation was given out of their abundance, the spring donation had more of an air of self-denial. "What do I have that I can spare with the preacher’s folks?" Occasionally if some sister called on the parsonage lady and discovered that the shelves were nearly empty, she got up a pound party. Each sister took a pound – or more – of some necessity – salt, sugar, tea, coffee, pork, buckwheat flour, dried corn or apples, butter, ham or oats for the horse. They met at some neighbors, and they had an evening of fun and fellowship. Later, when the frost went out of the ground and the vegetable pits were opened, most farmers took the minister some fresh carrots, turnips, cabbage or potatoes. These, with a ham bone, made as tasty a New England "boiled dinner" as anyone could wish. Sometimes the pastor let it be known if he needed wood for the fire or oats for the horse, and these wants were promptly supplied.
"Look not upon the wine when it is red." -- Prov. 23:21
The use of alcoholic beverages was rampant during these early years. We have a record of several temperance groups. Knights of Good Templars was organized in Bentley Creek in 1853. The name of the lodge was "Temperance Banner Lodge, No. 80". Both males and females were admitted. Both must be over 12 years old. Each person made a pledge "not to make, buy, sell, nor use as a beverage, any spirituous or malt liquors, or wine, or cider, and to discontinue the manufacture and sale of them in all proper ways." The order had many discouragements. In 1858 many lodges in the county disbanded. In 1871, they flourished again. In 1872 at the Northern District Convention, Ridgebury is listed "as good missionary territory". In 1874 there must have been another flurry of activity. They met in Stevens Hall and when the Grange in Bentley Creek was organized that year, both lodges were meeting in the same hall. There was a friction between the two lodges and the Grange left and built the Grange Hall. We don’t know how much longer the temperance organization lasted.
Another organization was "The Band of Hope" in Centerville in the 90’s. We find it mentioned for several years in the minutes of the Quarterly Business Meetings of the North Bradford Circuit. It was said to be an "open society, whether this meant that it was not a secret society, or that both men and women were members, we don’t know. We have no way of knowing how effective it was, but if a few were turned from the power of drink, it was probably worthwhile.
The Prohibition Club was organized in Pennyville June 15, 1888 to "overthrow the power of rum in Ridgebury". I have a little book in my possession which is evidently intended to be the minutes of the club; but beyond the date of organization and a list of the first members there are no further notations. The list of names are as follows:
O. E. Chamberlain, C. W. Hanlon, E. W. Larrison, H. A. Marcellus, H. W. Burnham, A. J. Reynolds, D. H. Burnham, Joseph Woodruff, Joseph Culp, George F. Payne (George L. Paine)
We can think of the old locations of the eight taverns in Ridgebury Township over the years. The last one to operate was the Baldwin House in Bentley Creek which closed in 1921 when the Prohibition Amendment went into effect. Ridgebury has not had a liquor license since; tho’ there have been some narrow squeaks. The Hotel was torn down a few years later, and C. W. Jelliff and Son’s Salesroom occupies the site at present.
We find a note in the Supervisors Minutes in 1917 that the Township received $60.00 from the liquor license for the Baldwin hotel for that year.
Early Church Literature
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God ---" -- II Tim. 2:1
Many early Sunday Schools had only Bibles and Hymn Books. Probably at first, only Bibles. In some places, the older people gave prizes to the child who learned the most verses in a given time, or, when a given number of verses were learned. Some enterprising youngsters learned whole chapters, or even, whole books. In some schools the Superintendent gave little "merit" cards for achievement. One such card that I have, which was my grandmother’s, is a small blue card about one inch wide and possibly two inches long with a verse of Scripture on it. When a child accumulated a specific number, he turned them in to the teacher and received a prize, often a small book. Reading matter of any kind was scarce and these little books were treasured for years. One such book was "George Selwood, the Carpenter’s Apprentice", by Rev. E. Neville, D. D. It was published in 1849 by "The American Sunday School Union" of Philadelphia. An outstanding theme that seems to run through most of these books (I have several) is – "be prepared for the worst". No matter how joyous the occasion, there is always the possibility of the proverbial "fly in the ointment". Children were conditioned early to look for the dark side of the cloud. I have an Intermediate Teacher’s Quarterly, published by the Wesleyan Methodist Publishing house that is practically a miniature Bible Dictionary. It contains 71 pages, with a section devoted to Bible facts, such as – Roman methods of crucifixion, scourging, trees and plants of Palestine, Chalk Talks, object lesions and a hymn for each Sunday. Just a month and date for the lesson are printed; there is no year mentioned anywhere. Parts of it have been used as a scrapbook and from the "scraps" it would seem to be about 1889.
The Wesleyans also published a children’s paper called "the Children’s Friend" as early as 1889, (perhaps before) but that is the earliest that I have seen. It must have proven very popular as the Wesleyan Publishing House is still printing it. The early ones had many stories based on a Bible verse. One that I remember from a pile of old papers, when I was a child, was based on – "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth". It illustrated different applications of the verse, as, the possible outcome of lying, gossiping, coveting, etc. The Sunday School lesson for the day was told in story form, suitable for children. I think the American Baptist Publication Society goes back, probably, equally as far.
There was no musical instrument in most of these early schoolhouses.
There was no written music in the early hymnals either; the song leader either had an instrument called a "tuning fork" to get the pitch for the singing or depended on his own sense of pitch. Sometimes someone in the congregation had a strong leading voice and "lined Out" the hymns; that is, sang a line and repeated it with the group. Sunday Schools were held in almost every community through the 80’s and 90’s. These schools must have added to the musical ability of the young folks who attended. People furnished their own hymnbooks. "Gospel Songs, No. I, II and III were popular. These were published by Bigelow and Main, New York. Another that was widely used in this area was "Gospel Charms", compiled by Rev. C. Smith and was published by the Faith Publishing House, Harrison Valley, Pennsylvania. This small 64 page hymnbook sold for $.12. (The Faith Publishing House also put out a monthly journal – "The Way, Truth and Life", subscription price $.30 a year.) This book is dated 1889. They also published tracts; the title of one of these was "How shall I gat Faith?". So you see, we had a Gospel Publishing House in our own area. We have no idea of the denomination that may have operated it.
Most denominations put out their own Hymnal. A very old one that I have is a Methodist Hymnal published in 1861. It is about 2" thick and about 2 ¼" by 4" and contains 719 pages and words to 1,148 hymns. There are 18 doxologies. Another interesting feature is pages and pages of hymns for dying. Here are some of the titles – "Happy Death of a Sister in the Lord", "Triumphal Death of a Brother", "Day Dawns On The Night of the Grave" and finally this gem – "Awakening From The Dust With Shouts of Praise". This hymnal has evidently been used much by someone picking out funeral hymns. This last is marked by a big cross and the word "last" underneath. As I read the words, I think they are a fitting close to this chapter:
"These ashes, too, this little dust,
Our Father’s care shall keep.
Till the last angel rise and break
The long and dreary sleep."
The Mormon Church
"Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, the place where thine honor dwelleth." -- Psalm 26:8
J. B. (Romie) Evans tells me there was a Mormon Church with a cemetery beside it up across the field from the upper end of Mormon Lake. Roy May says that he could find it if someone would go with him. There is an old foundation about where he describes it. There are no tombstones near at the present time. There were many graves marked with field stones in the early days, tho’ usually there were at least a few graves with markers and names. On one map that I have, dated 1860, there is a small square labeled "Cemetery" in that vicinity: so the stories are all probably authentic.
In 1815 Joseph Smith came to Palmyra, New York with his parents and his brothers and sisters. He was born in Sharon, Vermont in 1805. In 1820 a great revival swept upstate New York. Joseph was converted. In an effort to find out which of several denominations to join, he spent much time in prayer on a hillside near his home. As the story goes, two shining personages stood beside him one day and told him that none of the existing denominations were right and that God had chosen him to restore the true priesthood upon the earth.
On September 23, 1823, the angel Moroni appeared to him and told him of the golden plates buried near where he was. In 1826 a box was taken up and delivered to Joseph. In the box with the plates were two stones, "Urim and Thummim", set in frames like eyeglasses. These enabled him to "translate the writing on the plates". In 1829 the "translation" was compiled in the presence of three witnesses. The "Book of Mormon" was published in 1830 by Mr. Pomeroy Tucker, the proprietor of the local newspaper.
Smith soon acquired quite a following around Fayette, New York. He named his church "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". The cult soon became unpopular in northern New York. Settlements were made in Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and on Mormon Hill in Ridgebury Township, Pennsylvania near the present site of Mormon Lake. (Joseph had another revelation in 1831 telling him to leave New York.)
Now lets go back a few years; Joel Campbell and Isaac Fuller came to Ridgebury in 1805 with their families. They came from Manniscotten, New York and made their first settlement about a mile from the New York State line. This was near the present site of Mobile Acres. Several brothers of
Joel also came: Jonathan, Alexander and Ezekiel. Abial Fuller married
Rachael Campbell, Joel’s niece. Jonathan Campbell married Christy
Fuller who died in Ridgebury in 1846. They had a son, Nephi, who was born in Ridgebury on April 28, 1837.
We don’t know when the Campbells became Mormons or where the younger ones lived. By the name, Nephi, which is a distinctly Mormon name, we gather that the Campbells were Mormons by that date. From the records of the Mormon church furnished by Florence Cotton of Sayre, Pennsylvania, we find that Jonathan died November 14, 1886, in North Ogden, Utah. Nephi, who married Mary Ann Leigh, died in Malad, Oneida County, Idaho, December 17, 1900. So, evidently the Campbells immigrated to Utah with the Mormons in the late 1850’s, then on into Idaho, probably with a group of missionaries.
There was a school on Mormon Hill taught by Emily Miller. This school was on the School Board books in 1837. Craft’s History corroborates much of this. Present day people think of Mormon Hill School as being on the south side of the hill above Becker’s Lake. That was Miller’s Pond School and though the later-day Mormon Hill children went there, there must have been another. On an old map that I have, there were several farm houses north of the lake on "the upper road". The north end of the road curves to come down to Bentley Creek.
The Mormon Pageant which has been held for the past 32 years on the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York is the history of the Morman church. It begins with the Biblical background, the Nativity, the ministry of Christ in the Holy Land, His arrest by Roman soldiers, then comes down in point of time to the book of Mormon. This includes the ministry of Christ to His "other sheep" in the New World. This huge spectacular has been directed by Dr. Harold I. Hansen since it’s inception 32 years ago. A cast of 500 performers is used on 25 stages on the western slopes of the hill, garbed in authentic costumes of Hebraic, Roman, Aztec and Mayan Indian design. A huge distribution system for sound and lighting with 7 miles of underground wiring, had been installed for the 1969 performances, which starts at 9:00 P.M. each night, July 28 – August 2. Each performance is preceded by an hour of recorded singing by the 375 voice Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir. There is no charge for admission or parking.
When the first pageant was put on in 1937, the only building on the Hill Cumorah grounds was a small care-taker’s cottage and Dr. Hansen made do with borrowed costumes, rented lights and a few loud speakers and improvised dressing rooms. The 5 track stereophonic sound system in conjunction with the huge lighting system, produces an illusion of an earthquake, thunder, holocaust, clanking of armor, rumbling of mobs and the chirping of crickets. Dr. Hansen is Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brigham Young University.
"I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of
the Lord." -- Psalm 122:1
Elder Roswell Goff came into the area from Pittstown, New York in 1791 with his wife, Mary, and his three daughters, Annis, Hannah and Patience. Historians tell us that they came on horseback over wilderness trails to Wellsburg, New York. Elder Goff came, and later settled on a farm in Ridgebury, known as the J. Thompson farm. As there were three farms known as the J. or J. W. Thompson farm, it is difficult to know which one it was. From the fact that his daughter, Annis, later married Griswold Owen, whose home was the first house north of the Baldwintown Cemetery, a guess is that it was the J. W. Thompson farm, the house currently occupied by Ethan Lewis. Later, three boys, Roswell, John and Samuel were born to the Goffs. He earned his living by shoe-making and farming. There was probably very little money in preaching or circuit-riding in those days.
Let’s go now to an article by W. Charles Barber in the Elmira Telegram on June 13, 1954, which read: "The History of formal church worship in Chemung County begins near Wellsburg, where Baptist services were held by a small group on September 2, 1789. A year and a half later came Roswell Goff, - a preacher on Sunday and a cobbler through the week – a man who devoted his life to souls – and soles."
Church records start with Elder Goff’s Pastorate near Wellsburg, February 3, 1791. The covenant which they signed reads as follows: "Whereas, we a number of members belonging to different Baptist Churches, having cast our lot in the wilderness land in the Town of Chemung, do find ourselves bound together under the obligation of the Gospel of Christ, being far distant from the privileges of any Gospel church, we give up ourselves to the watch and care of each other, and covenant to walk together."
A Baptist church was built on the site of the present Baptist Church in Wellsburg, in 1812; the 173 year old structure was destroyed by fire on March 3, 1965. It has since been rebuilt as near as possible like the old church. The first Baptist church group organized in Ridgebury 1n 1829 was an outpost of this church. There is a tradition that Roswell Goff was the founder; but that may have been the son, Roswell, as Elder Goff died in 1825.
Roswell Goff also organized the Big Flats Baptist Church on August 30, 1807. The New York Educational Association and The Chemung historical Society set a bronze plaque on a granite boulder at Sing Sing Road between big Flats and Horseheads, New York, in his memory in 1940.
More information about the Goffs may be obtained by writing to:
Mrs. Lillian Gubb
539 East Main Street
Batavia, New York
The first Protestant congregation that we have any recode of in Ridgebury was a class of Baptists in Bentley Creek in 1829. We have no idea where they met. This was an outpost of the Wellsburg Baptist Church. They joined the Bradford County Baptist Association in 1841 with 20 members. They built a meeting house on Green Mountain road in 1845 or 1846. In 1842 we have a list of 68 members (or ones we can read of them). The list is as follows:
1. Abial Fuller 35. Eunice Gillett
2. Francis Wilcox 36. Elizabeth Fuller
3. Dan A. Gillett 37. Taylor Williams
4. James Otterson 38. Nathanial Graves
5. Rachel Fuller 39. Polly DeWitt
6. Susan Finton 40. Sam Beckwith
7. Sophie Ruyman 41. Hannah Beckwith
8. James Bentley 42. C. A. Huntley
9. William Fuller 43. Sophie Lester
10. Henry Peterson 44. John M. Easton
11. Patience Dewey 45. Catherine Easton
12. Mariah Peterson 46. Elizabeth Whipple
13. James Evans 47. Parvin Covell
14. Anne Evans 48. Sophrona Gillett
15. (can’t read) 49. --- Kline
16. Benjamin Inman 50. N. Ripley
17. Salome Inman 51. N. A. Ripley
18. --- Simon 52. Sally Evans
19. Bula Campbell 53. Peter Evans
20. Bula Wilrose 54. Ann Everitt
21. Sarah Graves 55. Joseph Brigdom (Brigham?)
22. Elizabeth Campbell 56. (can’t read)
23. Joseph Burnham 57. Susan Waler (?)
24. Patty Burnham 58. Henry Dewey
25. James Burnham 59. Levi Dewey
26. Polly M. Huntley 60. Phoebe Dewey
27. Mary Hakes 61. Jacob Aber
28. Charity Graves 62. Margaret Aber
29. Amaziah Gillett 63. Smith Hildreth
30. Sally Gillett 64. (can’t read)
31. Guy Travis 65. Almira Evans
32. Henry Graves 66. Jacob Benson
33. Laura Graves 67. (can’t read)
34. Eleanor Gillett 68. (can’t read)
Articles of Faith of said Church:
"We believe in but one God, which is deminiated (?) in the Scriptures, the
Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And these are the only living and wise God. The author of all Creatures, Beings and Things. We believe that Baptism that Baptism by Immersion is the only right mode." (Given to me by the kindness of Lillian Burt.)
When Rev. P. S. Everett from East Smithfield came to hold meetings in Bentley Creek in 1877, he held them in Stevens Hall. After checking the membership lists of 1842 and 1877, just one name appears on both lists – Amaziah Gillett. We don’t know when the church was abandoned as a place of worship; Lillian Burt remembers that she went to Sunday School there. She must have been born about 1870. Sometime later, the church was moved down onto the site where Elmer Hildebrant lives now and was used for a store house. In the early 1920’s Clinton Jelliff bought the old building and rebuilt it into a dwelling house where he and his family lived for about 35 years.
Old records say there was a difference of opinion whether they should just have The Articles of Faith for a guide or whether they should have a lot of rules and regulations.
The argument must have been pretty sharp because the next thing we read is in 1860, there were only 29 members. Nora Wall was talking to me one day, probably 40 years ago, about arguments among church folks. She said there were no more bitter arguments anywhere than between church folks. She said the situation became so bitter that a body could keep his Christianity better if he stayed home and read his Bible instead of going to church to listen to people argue. Although the old feud had died down and a new church had been built, and a new order of things prevailed, Nora never quite dared to attend worship services; she was afraid the old feud would flare again.
Brief History of the Bentley Creek Baptist Church
Prepared by Mrs. George K. Hamilton
Read before the Bradford County Association held at Bentley Creek Church on June 24, 1937.
"It is always a pleasure to look over the records of a church and note its beginnings and trace its history through the years that follow. While some of their methods of work may be different from those employed today, and their disciplinary means may seam to our much more careless and liberal minds to savor of excessive strictness, still their love of the truth as they saw it, their perseverance in prayer and their loyalty in the matter of supporting the church services and the church work, stand out as a bold challenge to the sad laxity in these matters in the present day.
The Baptist Church of Bentley Creek was organized on Janury 22, 1879, as The First Baptist Church of Ridgebury in Pennyville, Pennsylvania. It seems, from
the record, that a Baptist church was previously established here, but indifference and Sabbath desecration brought discouragement to the little body of supporters, and the light that once burned so brightly dimmed, and darkness and gloom pervaded the place. Error took the place of truth and where grace had once abounded sin did much more abound. But men and women die, whether prepared for it or not. It would not do to bury them without benefit of clergy.
Rev. Peter S. Everett, while pastor of the church at East Smithfield was frequently called to attend funerals. His sympathy and earnestness endeared him to the people. They desired him to come steadily and preach to them the gospel of grace and peace. Stevens Hall was secured and a series of meetings were held. Preaching services began March 11, 1877. A Sunday School was organized in June, 1877. In the fall, meetings were held in the Baldwintown School House. (This school house stood on the plot of ground below the present home of George Buck; he keeps the point of land where the two roads come together, mowed and cared for.) As a result of these meetings, 11 were baptized, and a branch of the East Smithfield church was formed with 15 members. Pastor Everett continued to come and minister to the people and a flourishing Sunday School was formed and maintained. Rev. George P. Watrous, the Bradford County Missionary, assisted the Pastor in special meetings. As a result of these meetings, 6 were baptized in the clear waters that flow in the rear of the little church. A week later 8 more confessed Christ in baptism. Two weeks later, 5 more and a little later, 2 others, making in all 21 baptisms. In this revival two things seem to stand out as quite remarkable – First, the short time that sinners lingered in the plain of conviction, peace in Jesus was found very soon after a public expression of a desire for salvation. Secondly, the converts, as soon as born of the Spirit, desired baptism. Converted one day, they desired to be baptized the next.
Later, the people rented, at $30.00 a year, Craig’s Hall, a place seemingly well adapted to holding religious services. The culmination of all these special efforts was the calling of a Council of Churches to consider the propriety of recognizing the 45 men and women, members of various Baptist churches, as an Independent Baptist Church, to be known as The First Baptist Church of Ridgebury. The Council met with the Delegates of the nearby churches of Smithfield, Troy, Rome, Canton and Springfield. Also Columbia and Wells, Leroy, West Franklin, South Creek, Wellsburg, Southport and Burlington. The New Hampshire Articles of faith was adopted. Questions were asked by the Council as to the ability of the people to maintain the Gospel, Pastor Everett answered by giving a statement of the beginning and continuance of the work. He told also of the distances from other Baptist churches, and the present financial condition, and that a meeting house was now already for the roof, and the prospect was excellent for its completion without debt.
It was unanimously agreed by the Council to accept the statement of doctrine and present condition, and proceed to recognize the new body as an Independent
Baptist Church – which was done. Prayer being offered by the Pastor, P. S. Everett, Scripture read by J. W. Plummett, and sermon by Rev. A. Tilden, who took for his text, Psalm 87, the 3rd verse – "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God." Thus began to shine a light which has burned brightly through all the intervening years until the present day.
The dedication of this church took place on August 20, 1879, and it was a day long to be remembered as one of the most joyful days ever experienced in the town.
In October, 1878, when the people resolved to build, this lot on which the church stands was given by Mr. D. H. Burnham. Sometime in the month following, the foundation was commenced, and the building continued to take form and finally was completed, so that on August 20 of the following year, it was dedicated to the worship of God.
On the day of dedication, the entire indebtedness of the house was $360.00, which was all met before the house was dedicated. A Mr. Peter R. Dean, then the Sheriff, gave the Trustees access to a pile of seasoned lumber, containing about 10,000 feet and told them to use what they wanted, and the record states that they wanted most of it. It is significant to note that this generous gift was made after the fall election.
The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. A. Tilden of Smithfield. The sermon in the afternoon was preached by Rev. J. W. Plannett of Austinville. The prayer of dedication was offered by the pastor, P. S. Everett, who had moved to Wellsburg. The singing for the day was in charge of Miss Emma Webb, the organist for the church. The floral decorations were under the direction of Mrs. S. D. Herman. The ladies of the church were ever loyal, attending its services on the Lord’s Day in large numbers and giving devoted service in many ways for the maintenance of the church work. It is very interesting to read the records of the covenant and prayer meetings of these early days, when people came together and wrestled with God for His Blessing upon the church and community – coming out in all kinds of weather, over various distances, over all kinds of roads, sometimes hub deep in mud, and God graciously heard their united and fervent petitions and blessed them with additions from time to time, and prospered them in spiritual things. One resolution passed in those early days was – "No member of the church could absent himself or herself, three months from the church, without an excuse." Even in spite of these rigorous methods, they prospered.
A picture of Pastor Everett was presented to the church by Mr. Joseph Culp, and it was unveiled on Memorial Day, 1929. The piano was purchased in 1929, and the pulpit Bible was presented to the church by Mrs. Lizzie Rightmire. Great credit is due, to those, who in the early history of the church, like the brethren of the Macedonian church "first gave their own selves to the Lord". So these early settlers
"first gave their own selves", and handed down too their posterity this legacy of faith and devotion. Great credit is due those, who, today, nobly and with unselfish devotion are still carrying on."
Lucile Jelliff tells about talks she had with her grandfather, William Riggs, when she was a little girl. Mr. Riggs was a very good friend of Pastor Everett and when the Bentley Creek church was being built, they used to drive a horse the 6 miles from Smithfield to Bentley Creek to work on the church. They must have come by "Fiddlers Elbow" and down the "Dug Road" to make the trip in 6 miles. She says that Pastor Everett left Smithfield and moved to Wellsburg to be nearer Bentley Creek because the need was greater there. He told her, too, about the meetings in Craig’s Hall on Sunday afternoons and the Sunday School that Pastor Everett held there.
Charter Members of The First Baptist Church of Bentley Creek:
1. John McKee 29. Minta Robinson
2. Coleman Miller 30. Nancy Coffin
3. Reeves Coleman 31. Carrie Miller
4. Robert Clark 32. Georgianna Culp
5. James Thompson 33. Mary E. Wright
6. Joseph Keeler 34. Emma Mosier
7. Jud Moshier 35. Mrs. Robert Clark
8. William Tuton 36. Mrs. Mary Kline
9. William E.(F) Wright 37. Miss Sarah McKee
10. Robert McKee 38. David Larrison
11. Samuel McKee 39. Mrs. David Larrison
12. Isaac Kinney 40. Miss Maggie Miller
13. John Clark 41. Mrs. Edward Tuton
14. Sister Nancy VanBuskirk 42. Mrs. Coleman Miller
15. Martha Robinson 43. Lottie Miller
16. Julie Stirton 44. Libbie Miller
17. Lavina Coleman 45. Mrs. Dr. Chilson
18. Anie Coleman 46. Bro. Amaziah Gillett
19. Mrs. William Gonzales 47. Bro. Willis Worden
20. Mrs. Julia Baldwin 48. Sister Eva Lucetta Rainer
21. Sarah Walker 49. Bro. John Babcock
22. Mrs. John McKee 50. Mrs. Juliet Stevens
23. Miss Sarah McKee 51. Mrs. Libbie Crainey
24. Eliza Moshier 52. Mr. Jacob Abers
25. Miss Annie McKee 53. Mrs. Jacob Abers
26. Belle Buck 54. Mrs. Sarah Barrett
27. James Gonzales 55. Mrs. Parintha Dewey
28. Cora Gonzales
Catholic Churches of Ridgebury
"A man of understanding is faithful to the law of God.--Ecclesiasticus 33:3 (Douay version)Mrs. William Kingston, 325 West Washington Avenue, Elmira, New York, who is 95 years old, and was formerly Mary Herlihan of Ridgebury, told the Star-Gazette Reporter many of the following facts about early Catholic happenings in Ridgebury. She says there was a log chapel first in the early ‘40’s, where visiting priests celebrated Mass. Craft’s History says Father O’Reilly rode on horseback from Towanda. One source says he first celebrated Mass in David Cain’s field with a stump for an alter. Other sources say it was in March of 1843 in Daniel Cain’s kitchen. All agree that there were 15 or 20 present. According to an old map (Ridgebury, 1860) Daniel Cain lived in a house a few rods south of the present Chapel. Mrs. Kingston is Daniel Cain’s granddaughter.
The first framed Ridgebury Chapel was built in 1847 by Col. Scott for $750.00. It stood on the same side of the road as the cemetery, south and adjacent to it. It was enlarged and refitted in 1877.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, secured a tract of land in 1792 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When he got it, it was unbroken wilderness. In the late 1830’s (’38 or ’39), there was a potato famine in Ireland. The United States sent money, but there was little food to be had and not many ways of distribution. The Duchess of Leeds was Charles Carroll’s granddaughter. Her heart was touched by the plight of her people.
Let’s go back in the history of Pennsylvania to 1812. Abner (or Absalom, we are not sure which) Carr discovered soft coal in abundance on Barclay Mountain in Bradford County. There were so many mining and shipping difficulties that nothing was done about it until the 1830’s; then the idea of a canal along the Susquehanna River, deep enough to float coal barges, came into being. But where was the labor to come from to build the big ditch? The Duchess was trying to find a way to aid numbers of starving people and she knew of her grandfather’s tract of land. Some way, labor and management got together. The first families came to Athens, Pennsylvania, in 1840. Cornelius O’Driscoll and Richard O’Conner and their families were the first who came. They settled between Green’s Landing and the present Chapel. John Walsh and his family came soon after and settled on Mormon Hill, which had apparently been settled earlier; but at that time, was practically deserted by the Mormons. I am indebted to Mary Walsh Leffingwell and her son, William, of Watkins Glen, New York for part of this background.
The North Branch Canal extended from Stoneport (Athens) to Sunbury. There was lots of work, and for the times, pay was good. Soon, there were about 100 families.
I go back to Mary Herlihan’s story.
"It was all wilderness when they went in from Athens. They could clear the land, burn the fallows, (the ground was rich), raise turnips, beans, carrots and potatoes. They had lots of chickens and cattle. They could make payments for their land in livestock. At first there were no roads. They notched the trees to guide them from one neighbor’s to another. Going to Bentley Creek for groceries (four miles) was a real event."
Early Irish families were: Bustin, Collins, Carroll, Coveney, Donovan, Farr, Golden, Gaitings, McCarthy, Walsh, McAsey, Reagan, Driscoll, O’Leary, Cain, Chambers, Leary, Desmond, Hurley, Crowley, O’Connor, O’Brien, Allen, Neville (Nevel), Grace and Herlihan.
The first framed chapel served until 1895, when it was turned into an amusement hall – "The Lyceum". Dick Chamberlain did the work. In 1895 the present beautiful Ridgebury Chapel, "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" was built across the road from the cemetery. Victor Vincent and Truman Lindsay were the carpenters. The beautiful stained glass memorial windows are in memory of the following:
John and Ann Limerick
Thomas and Catherine Chambers
Anthony and Elizabeth Allen
Timothy and Mary O’Connell
Daniel and Mary Sullivan
Richard R. Hurley
John and Honoria Collins
Dennis and Jane O’Leary
Henry and Catherine Farr
Jeremiah and Margaret Collins
All of the people buried in the cemetery who were born before 1840 were born in Ireland.
In 1894 St. Ann’s Church in Bentley Creek was built by Milton Cooper. It was renovated and improved in 1967 by Father Casey. The Amusement Hall was built in 1926, and a small chapel was added in 1966, where Released Time Religious Classes are held.
I the early 1900’s there was a decline in Catholic population in Ridgebury, but owing to the sharp rise in newcomers during the past 15 years, there are, as of 1968, about 85 families. Rev. Sammons is the present priest. He celebrates Mass in both churches.
The North Bradford Circuit of South Creek and Ridgebury
"Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." -- Acts 20:25
Springfield First Church organized by Rev. George Lansing Paine, A. D. 1860.
Charter of Incorporation of the North Bradford Wesleyan Methodist Churches of South Creek and Ridgebury was applied for at the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, No. 207, December Term, 1867. Granted May 4, 1871, on a motion of J. M. Califf. W. A. Thomas, Prothonotary, affixed his seal May 6, 1871, and the Charter was recorded May 8, 1871.
One of the Articles stated that the yearly income or volume of said estate, shall not, at any one time, exceed One Thousand Dollars.
Five trustees (who shall be lay members of the society) who were appointed by the Court until their successors should be elected wereA. H. Thompson
Valentine Lewes G. D. Coleman
W. J. Fuller
Citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who applied for Charter were: William J. Fuller, D. G. Rightmire, Charles Hanlon, D. Floid Hildreth, Enoch Merrill and other citizens associated for the purpose of worshipping Almighty God, according to the Faith of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America, and for this purpose have formed a congregation at Ridgebury and South Creek in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Then follows six articles setting forth their restrictions and privileges. It was evidently for years from the time the application was made until the Charter was granted.
There is a little book among the ancient possessions of the Berrytown Church containing the date of organization and the list of Charter members. The first minutes of a Business Meeting that we found begins March 26, 1887.
In the meantime, a Parsonage was bought in Centerville for $275.00 in 1872. (I have a copy of the old deed given by Alexander Thompson and wife, and Valentine Lewis to the North Bradford Circuit.) A church building was erected, we think at Thompson Hill, as that is the only place we can locate by the side of a cemetery, without a hill in
the distance, and old residents say there was a church on that location. Rev. Ambrose Ferris became their Pastor for awhile and died of pneumonia in 1873. He is buried in the Doty Hill Cemetery.
Rev. Paine must have again been called to be their Pastor, as his name appears in the first few pages of the "Minutes 1887 – 1920".
Here follows the first recording in the book:
Berrytown, March 26, 1887
"Conference met and was opened with prayer by Bro. Byron Everts. The first thing in order was to elect a Delegate to go to the Annual Conference. S. W. Barrett was elected and J. R. Gordon was the Alternate. The Local Conference voted and instructed the Delegate to secure Brother Paine to be their Pastor for another year.
Report of Leaders:
Brother Woodard was listened to and adopted. Report of Thompson hill and other points was brought up by the Pastor and was adopted.
Berrytown, fourth quarter report ---------------------- $21.48
Some Total ------------------------124.66
Thompson Hill, fourth quarter report ---------------- 25.80
Some Total ----------------------- 36.32
Centerville, fourth quarter report --------------------- 4.30
Some Total ----------------------- 26.90
Birthday and Donation Visits amounted to ----------------- 21.61
The Quarterly amounts to ------------------------------------- 73.14
The Some Total for the year ---------------------------------- 212.84
House Rent ------------------------------------------------------ 25.99
Amount received by the Pastor in material and
Money to repair the parsonage – cash ----------------------- 22.75
Material and work -------------------------------------- 40.34
Leaves a balance -------------------------------- 7.22
Calls and visits – 281
Miles traveled – 2,082
Sermons – 95
Funerals – 7
The minutes of the last conference red and adopted. Prayer by Woodard Berry and adjournment.
James R. Gordon, Secretary."
Most of the minutes of the quarterly conference generally followed this pattern. An outstanding feature is the small amount of money the Pastor received.
Another item of note is the large number of miles he traveled with a horse and buggy and the number of calls that he made.
In July, 1887 – "It is moved and seconded that we return thanks to Pastor Paine for presenting this charge with a trunk made by his own hands to contain all the papers and valuables pertaining to this charge." (As of October, 1968, that trunk was still in use.)
In December, 1887, a corresponding Committee of two members was elected to secure a Pastor for the coming year. It was moved and seconded that this committee see the members of this charge and see how many are in favor of retaining our present Pastor and how many would like a change.
Annual Conference was held at Bath on the Howard City charge in 1888. Charles H. Barrett was the delegate.
In March, 1888, Bro. C. A. Spaulding reports that Centerville is in a very prospering condition. A "weakly" envelope system was promoted in 1888. At that same meeting, Bro. Paine made his wants known, which were – some wood, some oats, and money – and his wants were supplied. Then this – to us – startling bit of business – "Moved and seconded that Bro. Paine gives the amount that each brother has paid the past year."
There were usually visiting pastors at these quarterly conferences from other charges. One who visited frequently was Bro. L. P. Newell from South Bradford Charge. (Armenia)
In 1889, Bro. Paine suggested that the members at Berrytown be more punctual at Prayer Meeting. He also reports that Thompson hill is not in a very prosperous condition.
In January, 1889, Bro. Paine reports that they have their Prayer Meetings at Centerville every Wednesday night. They have good attention and are prospering. Finally he also reports the organization of a Society called "The Band of Hope" which adds much to their happiness in Centerville. On account of Bro. Paine’s horse being lame, he couldn’t be with the Berrytown folks as much as he would like to during the winter of 1888 – 1889. He evidently lived in the parsonage at Centerville.
In April, 1889, Bro. Paine reported that Thompson Hill was not in very good condition and did not turn out to church. It was proposed to take up the appointment at that place but Bro. Paine wished to continue.
One entry was "Marriage Fees - $8.00".
An entry was made that the "Band of Hope" was an "open"
Temperance Society, probably it was not a secret society.
In September, 1889, the Pastor reports that there are five appointments on the charge. We can’t figure out where they were. At that same meeting, there is the first mention of a tax on the parsonage - $2.25. Bro. Seymour Barrett begins to be mentioned about 1889.
In 1890 pastoral calls and visits mounted too 432. Bro. Paine preached 115 sermons and 12 funeral sermons and traveled 2,609 miles. In 1890 Bro. Paine finished seven years of pastoral work in North Bradford (he must have served the charge at two different times) and Rev. J. S. French came.
There probably were Class Meetings (singing and testimonies) before this, but the first time that formal reports were made of them at each quarterly conference was about 1890.
Bro. French’s moving expense was $8.86. He instituted the first organized plan for meeting church expenses – circulating a subscription paper, which each put down the amount he expected to pay for the year.
March 21, 1891, report from Bro. French – "Work is not as encouraging as could be wished. Numbers few, sickness at present prevails, Spiritualism and Universalism prevails, which militate against the work of the Lord in this place." Total money received for the year - $186.82.
June 13, 1891, the Pastor, Rev. J. S. French reports that he has not been to Thompson hill this last quarter and does not expect to go there any more. Preaches every Sabbath at Hanlon hill.
October 3, 1891, Pastor reports that while we have no class at Hanlon Hill, as yet, the truth is gladly received there. Preaches every Sabbath. Sister Woodard moves that the regular penny collection at Berrytown be continued for missionary purposes until reorganization of the Sabbath School in the spring.
No prayer meetings for six weeks during the winter of 1891 – 1892 on account of sickness. Sometimes the Pastor reports having some blessed prayer meetings at the parsonage in Centerville. Some are expecting to unite with the church soon.
Preaching services were held at Centerville in the school house on the Doty Hill Road, known locally as the Old Babcock Road.
At the March business meeting, Sister Cynthia Dunbar was elected Delegate to General Conference, with Sister Belle Freeborn as Alternate. This was a departure from custom as Delegates had been men up to this time.
A Special Meeting was called at Berrytown on March 28,
1892, to vote on Articles of Faith adopted by the General Conference. Articles
to be voted on – Regeneration and Entire Sanctification.
Regeneration – no. votes cast 17, all approved.
Entire Sanctification – no. votes cast 13, 9 approved, 4 disapprove
Seymour Barrett was elected Class Leader at this meeting.
At a meeting June 4, 1892, Pastor French appoints Seymour Barrett of Berrytown and Sister Dunbar of Centerville to secure funds for repairs on parsonage. They collected $4.72 which lacked $.84 of paying the bill.
Berrytown church was built in 1892. In October of that year, Jay Berry was appointed to hire a sexton to attend the new church. Bro. A. Creighton was hired at $25.00 a year to be paid quarterly.
December 16, 1893, "God has manifested Himself in various ways during the past quarter. Meetings have been very spiritual and well attended. One Brother has been healed in body." Class Leader Bro. Seymour Barrett is encouraged.
March 24, 1894, Bro. J. M. Drake is secured as Pastor for the coming year. At the meeting in June of that year, mention is made of preaching at "The Valley Schoolhouse"; we don’t know where this might have been, unless it was Baldwintown, where the present Ridgebury School stands.
We find that the amount of collections from all charges for the year ending March 23, 1895, was $309.18.
In 1896, Rev. C. V. Savocool became the Pastor of the circuit. A special meeting was called November 21, 1896, to discuss advisability of selling the parsonage at Centerville and building at Berrytown. Asking price for the parsonage is $400.00.
January 9, 1897 – Very little interest at Centerville, only one Prayer Meeting held during past quarter. Tried to have a business meeting and failed. It is left discretionary with the Pastor whether he will continue preaching at this point. Pastor reports good attendance at Hanlon Hill.
First mention of Ushers is in 1896.
At the June 12, 1897, business meeting, Seymour Barrett was granted a license to preach.
On September 25, 1897, a roll call of members has been advertised and 12 members respond to their names at Berrytown.
Next we find this agenda:
"Whereas, the efforts for some time in the past to keep up Wesleyan Services at Centerville have not proved a success, Therefore, be it resolved, that the Quarterly Conference of the North Bradford Circuit in Session this 25th day of September, 1897,
do herby cordially invite all the members of said Centerville Church who propose to be true to Wesleyan principles, to join the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Berrytown, hoping that such a change would be in the interest of the cause of Christ."
Then follows a recommendation of the discontinuance of the Wesleyan Church at Centerville to the Rochester Conference to be considered at the next Annual Conference.
March 19, 1898, Bro. Seymour Barrett was secured as Pastor for the coming year at Berrytown. He also preached at Hanlon hill. Bro. Barrett again started preaching at Centerville in June, 1898; it would seem that Seymour Barrett could not quite bring himself to give up bringing the Gospel to Centerville.
The parsonage at Centerville was sold in October, 1898, for $375.00. The parsonage at Berrytown must have been built during this year, tho’ we find no record of it. In March, 1900, the church reports giving Bro. Barrett a bed quilt. We find that in the summer of 1900, Bro. Barrett took up another appointment on Hanlon Hill. He preached there every two weeks on Wednesday night. This must have been at Halstead School that stood where Harold Colwell’s house now stands. The last report of Hanlon hill seems to be under Bro. Clow’s ministry, April, 1901, - collection $.50. There is no further mention of a preacher service in Ridgebury by the Pastor of the Berrytown church until the late 1920’s. The last mention of the North Bradford Charge was July, 1901. After that the minutes speak of the Berrytown Charge or Conference.
We notice the names of Mr. and Mrs. Marsh and Mrs. Cynthia Dunbar in the record of the Centerville part of the circuit. It is interesting to know that Mrs. Cynthia Dunbar later became the second wife of Rev. J. S. French. His first wife died as the result of malaria contracted in Africa when they were there as missionaries. Rev. French and Mrs. Dunbar were married on January 29, 1900.
Later interest at Centerville:
Rev. Earl Robertson, Pastor of Wellsburg M. E. church held services in Centerville schoolhouse for a time in 1924. There was considerable interest and talk of a church building. Some money was raised and a piece of ground was promised for the site. Rev. Robertson left the Wellsburg charge in 1925. The dream never materialized.
Charter Members of Springfield First Church
Organized by Rev. G. L. Paine, 1860, at Berrytown. This was the membership roll as of March, 1861:
Minerva Barrett, Enoch Merrill
Harvey A. Coe, Electa Merrill
Ann Coe, Hanson Fuller
Martin Berry, Jane Fuller
Emily Berry, Woodard Berry
Hiram Harkness, Marianne Berry
Lorinda Harkness, Mahala Olds
Elisha Fanning, Hariet Cary
Mary C. Fanning, Hannah Hart Phidelia Parmeter, Elizabeth Joiner (joined at Thompson
Harriet A. Parmeter, Samuel R. Brown Hill)
Adeline Parmenter, Mary Jane Mosier
Mary E. Parmeter, Nelson Shepherd
Maity Parmeter, Moses Harkness
Elihue Parmeter, Caroline C. Shepherd
Harriet L. Parmeter, Fanny Henry
Asahel Parmeter, James Cooper
Jason Cary, Esther Mosier
Elisha Barrett, A. W. Berry
Malvina Barrett, Louisa Berry, Henry Olds
Rev. Robert Scott is the present Pastor.
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