Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Wellsboro Presbyterian Church
Rev. Calkins Retires 1880
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
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Tioga County Agitator
January 6, 1880

--The Elmira Advertiser of last Saturday contained the following respecting Rev. J. F. Calkins and his labors.
 The Rev. James F. Calkins has just been dismissed at his own request from the pastoral care of the Presbyterian Church in Wellsboro, Pa.  He had held that office in this one church for almost thirty-six years.  He went to Wellsboro when it was the merest hamlet.  Indeed the principal center to which his ministry was first directed was to a point on Pine Creek, ten miles south of Wellsboro.  William E. Dodge & Co., held large sections of land in that region, as they do still.  The country was a wilderness, and but few settlers had come in, but Mr. Dodge wanted a young man of undoubted resolution, ability and piety to do pioneer work for that large tract of territory unvisited as yet by the feet of an evangelist.  His message to Auburn Theological Seminary was, “Send us the right man and I will build him a church and be responsible for his salary.  Mr. Calkins, just graduating from the senior class, was selected and well did he justify the choice.

 The young minister did not turn back when he saw how rough the hold was, but plunged into the wilds with the eagerness and endurance of a true apostle.  He made himself at home in the cabins of the hardy settlers and fire camps of Mr. Dodge’s lumberman.  Of a sinewy if not stalwart frame he was equally an expert at studying Greek, composing and delivering sermons, felling trees, holding a plow or building a house.  His handsome premises in Wellsboro were cleared and cultivated under his personal and manual direction.  The rough men of the woods took kindly to such a man and minister and gave him their confidence and were molded by him to manners, morals, and religion.

 As Wellsboro grew in importance he went there to reside, still going long distances up Pine Creek on stated and occasional preaching tours.  He was in truth, Shepard over all the flock in the wide wilderness going everywhere on his errands of Christian duty.  Nobody could be married or buried with his presence and there was no cabin on the mountainside or in the deep valleys he had not brightened with his cheerful endeavors.  The Church at Wellsboro was formed with fifteen members, its house of worship contracted for, built and paid for under his provision and supervision with many a hard days labor in obtaining material and putting it into shape.  For to this man of all work nothing seemed hard to do that went to uphold the community in virtue or the Church in strength and Godliness.

 And thus he labored on with the largest expenditure of talent and strength on the smallest income of salary until things wore the look of prominence and abounding prosperity.  Five hundred persons have been received by him into that fold of the once feeble church.  Wellsboro has grown into the highest busiest town in Northern Pennsylvania-the home of wealth, the center of refinement and influence for a large and thrifty population recanting the once unbroken forest.  Prominent citizens in the fine town became Mr. Calkins valuable laborers in all good works, such men as Judge Williams then whom the Keystone State has no more able and upright jurist not refusing to serve on his bench of elder.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 27 FEB 2008
By Joyce M. Tice
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