THE CHURCHES OF ORWELL, PENNSYLVANIA
(Congregational, Presbyterian, Methodist, Federated)
Retyped & Submitted by Diana Moilanen
No Unauthorized Commercial Use May Be Made of This Material
This wonderfully clear photo is of Orwell School children in 1868.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 1926 – 1951
The total number of active members reported at end of year 1926 was 29. The members this year joined with the Methodists in hiring a minister, paying by subscriptions $300.00 toward a salary of $650.00. It was expected that $50.00 would come from offerings.
Union services, including communion, were held from this year on. In November, 1927, Rev. George B. Van Dyke, representing Lackawanna Presbytery as superintendent, conducted the service with Charles P. Chubbuck and Hubert D. Cowles, Methodist stewards, assisting with Elders D. W. Cowles and F. I. Champlin in passing the elements. The number of resident members reported April 1, 1928 was 24; non-resident, 5. The work of Rev. William H. Farrar, a former member and a missionary of the Reformed Church in India, was supported by $32.00 in gifts from the union Sunday School, and by a special gift of $120.00 by one member.
The Rev. Joseph Kerr, presbytery superintendent, conducted communion February 3, 1929, and moderated a session meeting at which letters were approved for Mrs. Flora Beers Ackley, wife of Lester, to Bellevue Heights M. E. Church, Syracuse, N. Y., and for Mrs. Frances W. Jacobs, formerly Champlin, to the M. E. Church at Windham, Pa. A vote of encouragement was given the project of holding evangelistic meeting under the leadership of the new supply minister, Rev. Charles Smith, who lived at Wysox.
On January 27, 1930, a meeting of members of the Presbyterian Church at the home of D. W. Cowles, presided over by Rev. Joseph Kerr, elected Russell E. Frisbie an elder. He was ordained by the moderator, Elder I. W. Ford had died (November 20, 1929) since the last meeting of the session.
The session met at the home of F. I. Champlin April 1, 1931, with elders R. E. Frisbie, and Champlin present, Rev. Victor C. Detty, moderator. The granting of a church letter by the clerk to John Howard Ford to Potterville in June 1930 was approved, also to Leland D. Howe to the Methodist Episcopal Church at North Orwell in January, 1931.
Leland D. Howe married May 24, 1919 Maisie Manchester, (daughter of Edwin and Erdine (Pendleton) Manchester), and they have two daughters, Mavis, born May 22, 1923 and Ruth Marilyn, born July 23, 1926. Mavis married Aaron Baldwin, October 13, 1944 and has a son Robert Dale, born August 31, 1945; and a daughter, Diana Lynn Baldwin, born January 20, 1947, and lives with her parents at Nichols, N. Y. Ruth Marilyn is completing her course in nursing at Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, N. Y. A son, Leland, Jr., born April 10, 1936, is in the fifth grade. (1951)
The clerk was authorized to communicate with non-resident members as to taking letters to churches in communities where they reside. The funeral of Mrs. Lois Beers was held at the church March 1, 1931. She was the mother of Mrs. Lester Ackley, Wilbur Beers. Louise E. Eastman died August 6, 1931 with funeral and burial at Orwell.
At a session meeting held April 6, 1932 at the home of Elder F. I. Champlin, the pastor reported on the work of the year in the Orwell federated church. He reported 44 sermons preached in services held every Sunday at 9:15 A. M., 4 communion services; Pastoral calls, 78; 3 funerals, 9 baptisms, 1 marriage, (Glenn H. Beckwith and Marian Estella Tyrrell, June 19, 1931), 1 school address, 12 week-day Bible classes held, 2 congregational meetings, 14 members received into the Methodist Episcopal and the federated church. Advance work for the next year was suggested: appointment of a finance committee, use of busses to increase attendance, education on stewardship, a church school of missions, choir rehearsals, adoption of a new hymn book, quarterly Sunday School workers conferences. The membership reported was 23 residents, 4 non-resident, total 27. The union Sunday School reported 47 members. Total raised by Presbyterian Church, $340.00. Elder D. W. Cowles was appointed delegate to presbytery meeting at Scranton, Pa.
Eustace Eastman Cowles, son of John M. and Flora Belle (Eastman) Cowles, died in Philadelphia, Pa., August 13, 1933 at the age of 31 years. A graduate of Pennsylvania State College, his work called him to live in distant cities, but he desired to remain an active member of the Orwell Church, where he had faithfully attended Sunday School and worship services.
Mrs. Gladys Frisbie, formerly Smith, wife of Elder Russell E. Frisbie,
was accepted a member on confession of faith April 4, 1934. Her mother,
Mrs. Sarah L. Smith united by certificate from the Bridgewater Baptist
Church at Montrose, Pa. Martha Edna and Iva Wealthy Wilcox were received
June 17, 1934 on confession of faith. They were given letters of dismissal
to Memorial Presbyterian Church, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. March 6, 1935. Note
was taken of the death of Mrs. Frances Ella Cowles December 2, 1933, and
of Mrs. Alice Kennedy Champlin February 1, 1934, wife of Elder Champlin.
Mrs. Champlin had been a member since April 7, 1895, where she brought
a letter from the First Presbyterian Church of Wyalusing at Merryall, Pa.
She was the daughter of Rev. Edward L. Kennedy and born January 9, 1865
at Elkland, Pa. Mrs. Ella Cowles had been a member 59 years, coming by
letter from Potterville in 1874. Her children and grandchildren followed
her example of regular attendance at religious meetings. She befriended
a number of children by taking them into her home, and she was a generous
supporter of missionary work, especially that of Rev. William H. Farrar
in India. She took care of over 60 children not her own for various periods
of time until they found their way out in the world or were adopted by
Mrs. Frances Ella Cowles was the daughter of Major and Mary Jane (Beckwith) Darling, and was born March 2, 1847 and married James P. Cowles (son of Charles and Lois-Ann Browning Cowles) November 16, 1869. J. P. Cowles was a veteran of the New York 10th Cavalry, and was captured at Sulpher Springs, Va., October 16, 1863 and confined in Libby and Andersonville prisons nineteen months until May, 1865. His daughter, Mrs. E. V. Smith, has a package of letters he wrote to his mother before his capture. Their children were Darley Weaver Cowles, born March 12, 1872; John Major, born April 9, 1874; Hubert D., born May 25, 1876; and Genevieve Augusta, born December 19, 1887, who married Edwin V. Smith lived recently at Gainesville, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had children, Frances Irma, born July 9, 1916, married August 15, 1936 to Leon Robert Kier of Rome, Pa., born October 20, 1916; John Hubert, born July 20, 1918; Edwin Browning, born September 9, 1919; and Robert Cowles Smith, born August 11, 1927. Mr. and Mrs. Leon Robert Kier have a son, Robert Campbell Kier, born July 15, 1937; and a daughter, Williarde Arden Kier, born November 23, 1943. Mrs. Florence B. Smith was a daughter of Mrs. Francis Ella Cowles. For a number of years the store and post office at Orwell were operated under the name of "J. P. Cowles & Sons", and now by a grandson, John Clifton Cowles, under the old firm name.
The pastor married at Wysox April 19, 1934, Miss Florence Erdine Gorham, daughter of Claude to George William Belcher of Elkland. Children: Erdine Marie, born April 12, 1936 and Mary Lee, born February 9, 1938. They live on the Claude S. Gorham farm. This farm has a herd of 50 registered cattle which completed a year of official testing in November 1949. The herd averaged 7, 561 pounds of mild and 420 pounds of butterfat per cow during the year. Tests were made by the Pennsylvania State College and verified by the American Jersey Cattle Club of Columbus, Ohio. The Gorham herd produced more than twice as much butterfat throughout the year as is produced by the average dairy cow in the United States. (Towanda Daily Review, November 1949).
Alma Rockefeller Shoemaker, wife of Donald Champlin Shoemaker, and their two daughters, Sylva Ellen, born April 25, 1933, and Marilyn Alma, born June 7, 1934, were baptized at the church October 7, 1934. They were living at Warren Center, Pa., Miss Clarice Wilbur and Gaylord Weaver were married by the minister November 1, 1934.
The minister, Rev. V. C. Detty, conducted funeral services for Joel Jerome Johnson, March 20, 1934, (son of Asahel), and Mrs. Della Howe, wife of Irvin L. Howe, November 19, 1934; for Mrs. Celestia H. Robinson of Allis Hollow, January 12, 1935; A. J. Pickering at South Hill, March 2, 1935; and Vernon C. Prince, Orwell, March 24th. Joel Jerome Johnson was born May 4, 1851 in Milledgeville, Illinois, never married, was a spiritualist.
Miss Musette Ford, Miss Cleone Ford and Lloyd Warren Ford, children of Claude and Florence (Manchester) Ford wee baptized and received into church
membership April 21, 1935. Miss Musette married June 15, 1944, Kenneth, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Howland of Neath, Pa. Lloyd W. Ford married, August 7,
1948, Virginia Mae, daugher of Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Singley, in the St Peter’s Union Church, Shumans, Pa. Miss Arline Naomi Morris, daughter of Clayton and Elizabeth (Ford) Morris was married to Hiram Miles Taylor of West Warren, Pa., December 15, 1935. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have three children: Hiram Miles Taylor, Jr., born January 9, 1936; Betty Jane Taylor, born March 4, 1939; and Richard Clayton Taylor, born May 26, 1944, and live at West Warren, Pa. (R. D. 3, Nichols, N. Y.) Mrs. Arline M. Taylor became a member on confession of faith, of the Orwell Federated Church with her sister Martha Morris. Mrs. Taylor was given a letter by the pastor, September 29, 1943 to the West Warren Congregational Church. Martha Morris married July 7, 1951, Kenneth M. Westover, and they live at Appalachin, N. Y.
Elder Frank I. Champlin married, second, April 13, 1935, Miss Charlotte Alice Brown at Los Angeles, Calif. She was the daughter of Joseph Miles Brown, who was born in the Wysox manse, and his wife Eliza Comstock Lewis. She joined the church by letter from the First Presbyterian Church of Wyalusing. Her death occurred December 30, 1945.
Charlotte Brown Champlin
Charlotte Alice Brown was born October 14, 1870 at Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Joseph Miles Brown and his wife Eliza Lewis (born March 25, 1835, died July 22, 1883) daughter of Justice Lewis, Joseph M. Brown was baptized at Wysox, son of F. Brown and Mariah, his wife, November 12, 1834. Charlotte’s mother died when Charlotte was thirteen and her father having remarried, she made her home with Rev. and Mrs. Darwin Cook, Mrs. Cook being her mother’s sister, Mary. Charlotte graduated from Susquehanna Collegiate Institute at Towanda, Pa., in the class of 1890. She had begun teaching school at Spring Hill at the age of 16, boarding around with patrons and receiving a salary of $13 a month. After graduating, she taught at Monroeton and Towanda until her voice gave out and she sustained an injury to her knee. Then she helped in a school for the blind at Elmira, N. Y., and afterwards for three years at Atkinson, Kansas, where her cousin Elisha Hillis, was superintendent of a state institution. From there she went to California where most of the time for thirty years she operated a rooming house in Los Angeles, under the handicap of an injured knew which required bandaging every day. During the depression she lost the house and all of her savings, including a farm in Kansas. She married April 13, 1935, Frank Ingersoll Champlin of Orwell, Pa., in the Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, and then lived at the Orwell Champlin home till her death, December 30, 1945. She became a member of Orwell by letter in 1935 from First Church Wyalusing. The Rev. Welling T. Cook wrote of her, "She had a sparkling sense of humor that never left her, and people who visited her were surprised to find her so cheerful in spite of her affliction. The Lord was her Counselor even in the Valley of the Shadow."
Alice Kennedy Champlin
Alice Adelia Kennedy was born January 9, 1865 at Merryall (Camptown), Pa., the daughter of Rev. Edward L. Kennedy and his wife, Mary Lewis Kennedy. She joined the Merryall Church, April 7, 1895. She married October 12, 1893 Frank I. Champlin of Orwell. Her death occurred February 1, 1934 at her home in Orwell at the age of 69. She was interested in all church services, and loved the work of home life, finding much pleasure in fancy work and good reading.
Mr. Levi A. Frisbie, brother of (Eaton W. Frisbie) and Mrs. Myrtle Lyon, his daughter and a widow, and Joan Lyon, her daughter, were received by letter from the Franklin street Presbyterian Church, Elmira. N. Y., February 16, 1936. Jack Lyon and Janet. Mrs. Lyon’s two other children were received on profession of faith April 12th. During this ensuing year, Mrs. Lyon led the project of securing 40 new Methodist Hymnals for use in the federated church.
Jack, born March 20, 1924, married December 30, 1945, Miss Dorothy, daughter of Zern J. and Mable M. (Krommer) Deats of Gillet Bridge (Wysox, R. D. 1, Pa) They live (1947) in Binghamton, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. John Clifton Cowles became members July 6th by letter from the Herrickville Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Cowles was formerly Ethel Chaffee, daughter of Lincoln. They have two children, Jean Marie and John Clifton, Jr., and live at Orwell.
Miss Helen Mary Howe, born October 4, 1845, received a member April 17, 1870, died May 27, 1936 at Owego, N. Y. Funeral services were held at Orwell. She was the daughter of Early and Julia (Dennison) How, and a sister of Henry and William Howe.
Flora Mae Frisbie, born January 13, infant daughter of Elder Russell E. and Gladys (Smith) Frisbie, was baptized March 28, 1937. Another daughter, Sarah Jane, born March 24, 1939 was baptized June 18, 1939, and a third, Mary Ellen, born in 1942 was baptized Easter Sunday, April 24, 1943. Flora became a member June 26, 1949. A son, Levi Eaton, was born December 15, 1944, and baptized June 17, 1945. Sarah Jane joined June 1953.
The Rev. Robert Wells Veach, D. D., formerly a secretary for religious education for the Presbyterian Board of Education, gave a series of Biblical addresses in the fall of 1936, and showed motion pictures of missionary work in Asia to largely attended services in the federated church.
The pastor married August 4, 1937, Mr. C. Maurice Hunt and Miss Gladys
D. Kier. They later purchased the Methodist Parsonage from the trustees
of the Orwell Federated Church.
John Major Cowles, died after a long illness in which he was faithfully attended by his wife, on February 16, 1938. Services were conducted by his old boyhood friend, Rev. Fred E. Lott, director of religious education for Wyoming
Conference, assisted by the pastor of the Orwell church. His tenor voice was a help in the praise of God by the choir and he was faithful in attendance.
The church participated in the centennial observance of the centennial of Presbyterian foreign missions, by special contributions, programs and the production in a parish wide selection of characters, with the Rome and Wysox Churches, of a missionary drama, "The Years Ahead" by Elliot Field.
The Orwell church joined July 17, 1938 in the centennial celebration at Rome, Pa., of the birth of P. P. Bliss, July 9, 1838. Mr. Homer Rodeheever led a choir of 500 and congregation of 12,000 in singing "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" and other Bliss gospel songs. Dr. Will H. Houghton of Moody Bible Institute made the address. The orphan boys of P. P. Bliss and his wife, Lucy Young, of Rome, lived four years at Orwell and attended Sunday School there with their aunt, Mrs. John Ellsworth, formerly Clara Young. Nearly every year since 1938, a P. P. Bliss memorial service has been held on the Sunday nearest July 9th, around the Bliss cenotaph or in the Methodist church at Rome.
The World Wide Communion service was observed October 2, 1938 in simultaneous co-operation with churches around the world. Elder D. W. Cowles, of the Presbyterian Church, and steward William K. Frisbie of the Methodist, served in distributing the elements in the Orwell Federated Church Communion Service. At the close of the service, Elder. F. I. Champlin was elected to attend the annual devotional conference of Lackawanna Presbytery at Scranton, October 10th and 11th.
Arthur L. Pettes was married by the pastor October 12, 1939 to Miss Sarah L. Williams at Wysox.
The report for the year ending March 31, 1939 showed current receipts for local church work, $296; General Assembly, $11; Congregation benevolences, $35; amount pledged, $176; communicants, 36 Sunday school members (one-half of union S. S.), 32; average attendance (one-half of union), 16; Sunday School funds raised for expenses and annual gift work of Rev. W. H. Farrar (his father an elder in this church), 39 years a missionary to India, $39. Donald Edward Robinson was married to Ellen Elizabeth Ayers, March 5, 1940.
On March 31, 1940, Francis Ralph Casselberry, a high school student and son of Basil J. and Clara (Montgomery) Casselberry, who lived at the foot of Orwell Hill nearest the Wysox Creek road, joined the church on profession of faith. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Southwest pacific area in the war with Japan. He was discharged in 1945, and on January 5, 1946, at the Presbyterian Manse in Lawrenceville, Pa., was married by Rev. Victor C. Detty to Miss Mary Winola Hunt of LeRaysville, Pa., (Sister of Maurice Hunt). They
began housekeeping at 122 West Hudson Street, Elmira, N. Y., where he was employed in the building trade, then after several months, moved to LeRaysville, Pa. They have a daughter, Patricia Ann, born September 18, 1946; Joyce Marie, born September 8, 1948; Connie Lee born April 23, 1950. Betty Jean, born March 28, 1953.
Donald Jones Brown, born February 11, 1931 and Ruth Marie Brown, born May 7, 1937, were baptized on Children’s Day, June 18, 1939. They are the children of Raymond Eastman Brown and his wife, Ella G. Jones, and grandchildren of Frank H. and Kate (Eastman) Brown. Another child, Charles Raymond was born October 7, 1942. At the same time Kay Waynette, born November 10, 1937, daughter of Claude and Florence (Manchester) Ford, was baptized.
On Children’s Day, June 9, 1940, baptism was administered to Charles Avery, born August 28, 1928; Stewart Eugene, born August 5, 1932; Louise Marie, born April 25, 1937; children of Raymond C. and Maria (Cowles) Hammond (Louise became a member of the church June 26, 1949); also to Edith Irene, Born October 28, 1939, infant daughter of Robert and Elinor (Gorham) Moore, and granddaughter of Reeve (deceased) and Josephine Eastman Gorham. Janice Lyndal Ford and her brother, Stanley Llewalyn Ford, children of Claude and Florence (Manchester) Ford were received into church membership by examination. Janice married in May, 1952, Willard McCune.
Mrs. Lula Frisbie Dunham was received by letter November 3, 1940 from the Owego Union Presbyterian Church. She was the widow of Willard Dunham, and the daughter of Warren R. and Carline H. Frisbie who joined the church in 1859; and granddaughter of Zebulon being an elder in the church. She died March 27, 1945 at Warren Center, and burial was in Owego Cemetery.
Born November 14, 1845, Samuel G. Case departed this life December 15, 1940. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Fred Lott, his nephew. Though his name was not on the church roll, an upright, honest citizen was lost to the community. He was interested in the improvement of the town, and faithfully served the church as a trustee for several years and by regular attendance with his household, two of whom became members, Cora, wife of Milton Shoemaker and Alice (Strange) Kier, wife of Adam Kier.
Mr. Case April 22, 1884, married the widow of John E. Strange, of Birchardville, Pa., Mrs. Emma M. Strange of Middletown, Pa., who had two daughters, Cora Loretta Strange and Alice Strange; Cora was adopted by Mr. Case. Cora married first, February 26, 1896, George Willis; Children: William Edson Willis, born October 11, 1898, and Edwin, born July 18, 1901. William married Angeline Williams, April 7, 1925; had 2 children: Richard George, born March 25, 1936 and Gerald Edson, born February 12, 1933. Edwin Ashley married Leylia
Widmayer, February, 1925. They had one daughter, Lillian Loretta, born April 24, 1926. For her second marriage, Cora Case Willis, married Milton A. Shoemaker, December 19, 1905. She died September 23, 1945, aged 72, with burial at Nichols, N. Y. Mr. Shoemaker died in 1949. They had one daughter, Waneta Marie Shoemaker. Waneta Marie Shoemaker was married to Alvy M. Barry in 1929. He is a farmer at Nichols, N. Y. They had children: Raymond Milton Berry, born June 17, 1930; John Edson Berry, born June 20, 1931; Ruth Marie Berry, born July 19, 1933; Robert Alvy Berry, born June 6, 1935; Lloyd James Berry and Lois Mary Berry, twins, born November 24, 1936, and Frederick Milo Berry, born December 24, 1942.
Alice (Strange) Case Kier, (sister of Cora Case), born July 14, 1869, and Adam Kier (brother of Mrs. Luther Phillips) born July 26, 1869, were married May 31, 1899. They had two children: Clifford Case Kier, Ghent, Pa. Born August 16, 1901, died December 26, 1943, and Gilbert Baldwin Kier, Ghent, P., born March 23, 1903. Mrs. Alice Kier died April 27, 1942. Adam Kier died June 24, 1941.
On May 2, 1941, Mr. Morris A. Catlin of Warren township was married by the pastor to Margaret E. McDonald at the home of Mr. Catlin.
On June 7, 1941, Mr. Clifford P. Merrill and Mrs. Ethel B. (Rogers) Chilson were married at the Wysox manse by the pastor. Mrs. Merrill is the daughter of M. Lee and Nellie (Thompson) Rogers.
Virginia Mae Platt baptized in the Orwell Federated Church, born February 24, 1924, married in 1941 Arthur John Bell, Jr. To them was born December 12, 1942, at Owego, N. Y., a daughter, Constance Marie Bell.
Mr. Franklin E. Bristol, of the Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N. J., served as all parish choir director for ten weeks in the summer, conducting two rehearsals each week in each of the three churches for ten weeks, and concluding the season with a rural church music festival in the Wysox Church Sunday night, August 24, 1941 with over 200 people in attendance.
On July 4, 1941, the pastor performed the wedding ceremony in the federated church uniting in marriage Miss Joan Lyon, a member of the Presbyterian Church, daughter of Mrs. Myrtle Lyon, and Mr. Everett E. Schermerhorn of Endicott, N. Y. Mrs. Schermerhorn took a church letter October 27, 1942 to the First Methodist Church of Endicott. Her husband joined the armed forces of the United States.
On October 5, 1941, the World Wide Communion was observed at Wysox, in an all parish service, celebrating the sesquicentennial of the organization of the Wysox Church October 3, 1791. Elders George W. Chase and Fred R. Powers of Rome, and F. I. Champlin of Orwell, passed the elements. Special spiritual advance services were held in the Orwell Federated Church in the fall in connection with a presbytery program carried out in most of the churches. Rev.
Philip Furst, Pastor of the Troy Presbyterian Church, preached each night during a week of meetings, with an average attendance of 39.
Mrs. Lucile (Cowles) Snyder, wife of Allen Fred Snyder, was granted a letter to Peter’s Lutheran Church of Neffsville, Pa., March 25, 1942. They now (1947) live at Indiana, Pa. They have a daughter, Eleanor Mae, born July 29, 1940. The pastor married April 8, 1942, Leon M. Benjamin (son of Andy), and Olive E. Fields; also Miss Frances Y. Jacobs and Donald C. Miller, July 3, 1943. Leon and Olive had in 1949, three children: (1) Janet Louise, born July 4, 1944; Delores Elsie, born November 17, 1945; and David Leon, born February 26, 1949.
Rev. William H. Farrar of Hammonton, N. J., preached the sermon on Sunday, July 5, 1942, and assisted in the observance of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. He attended the Saturday before a birthday celebration at the Grange Hall in honor of Mr. Frank I. Champlin’s 80th birthday. It was also Mr. Farrar’s birthday. On the next Sunday evening the annual P. P. Bliss Memorial Service was held, with about 800 gathered around the monument in the Rome cemetery. Mr. Farrar took part in the service, and Rev. John Marvin, then of Montrose, now of Dennison, Texas, made the address.
The annual report of the pastor, 1942-1943, for the churches of Wysox, Orwell and Rome was made to annual congregational meeting held in the Orwell Grange Hall, April 7, 1943, following a dinner served by the Ladies Aid Society of the Federated Church.
Services were held nearly every Sunday during the year, three services being omitted at Wysox on account of bad weather, one evening service on account of Towanda baccalaureate, one on account of absence at a funeral. 48 services in each church during the year made a total of 144 for the year, in addition to 12 funerals at Wysox, two at Rome and one at Orwell, a total of 15. 138 calls were recorded for Wysox, 139 for Orwell, and 136 for Rome, a total of 413. Five new members were added at Wysox. There were five baptisms at Wysox, one at Rome.
"Marriages performed during the year were for: Henry R. Williams and Helen L. Gorham; Leon M. Benjamin of Orwell and Olive E. Fields, April 8; Donald C. Miller of Rome and Yvonne Jacobs (July 3); William H. Van Duzer of Cornell and Ruth A. Stevens of Tunkhannock; Myron Tuttle and Mildred Walters of Towanda; Fred C. Snyder and Beatrice A. McNitt of Troy; Walter J. Smith and Lulu L. Brown of Orwell (October 10); and Arthur P. Watson, Jr. and Irene V. Matejka of Towanda; a total of 8.
"The pastor presided over 5 congregational meetings; attended 13 women’s society dinners at Wysox, 4 at Orwell, 2 at Rome, a total of 19.
During the year special services were held as follows: Rural Life Sunday, with Wm. Wetzel speaking; Memorial Day at Wysox; Annual Bliss memorial
service in July at Rome cemetery; World Wide Communion Service; Young People’s Sunday’ Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Sundays.
"The pastor promoted a Christian Education conference at Towanda; a reading club and men’s missionary supper at Towanda; the every member canvass with circular letters; attended two anniversaries, 50th wedding for Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Frisbie; 80th birthday of F. I. Champlin. He assisted in the Red Cross roll call; the U. S. O. campaign, served as air raid warden at Wysox, assisted in registration for gasoline and other rationings. He attended a week of a school of religion in Pittsburgh in the last of June. A service board and flag dedication service was held in Rome, February 21, 1943. Copies of "Upper Room" devotional quarterly have been mailed to such soldiers as were known to have gone from the churches and Sunday Schools, and whose addresses were known to the pastor.
"A history of the Rome Presbyterian Church has been published by the pastor. 100 copies have been sold at $4 per copy, of an edition of 200, costing $718.43.
Last summer four young people were taken to the Abingdon Hills conference for young people. Two were from Orwell and two were from Rome; Janice Ford and Eva Yaegel of Orwell; Ruth Stoll and Shirley Cass from Rome."
On June 20, 1943, James Eustace, born May 29, 1942, son of Raymond C. & Marie (Cowles) Hammond, was baptized. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Marie Hammond married Robert Kennedy. They have a girl, Vera Lucile Kennedy, baptized June 29, 1947, born May 29, 1946.
A service board and a service flag were dedicated at the Orwell Federated Church on Sunday, July 4, 1943, with names and stars for the following:
Virginia Lucile Eisner John Hubert Smith
Edwin Browning Smith Frances Ralph Casselbury
Chas. Lincoln Dimmick Fenton Wayne Dimmick
Clifford William Platt Raymond Lorain Platt
Frederick LaVerne Nichols John Frisbie Lyon
Donald Richards Simons Kermit George VanWinkle
Florian Frank Mikelonis Anthony John Shetoski
Robert Eugene Cragle Leroy Francis Elliott
Harry Erwin Luca Frank Roger Platt
Frank Bonin Robert Cowles Smith
Clair A. Van Winkle Lyle Morris
A committee of the Ladies Aid Society arranged for the name board and
flag: Mrs. D. W. Cowles and Mrs. W. H. Lott, Mr. Earl H. Farrar printed
the names, and Mrs. Lott made the flag.
On May 27, 1943, Miss Cleone Winifred Ford, daughter of Claude W. and Florence (Manchester) ford, was married in the church to Flight Officer Clinton LaRue Gerould of the Army Air Force (son of Mr. & Mrs. Y. L. Gerould of Rome,
Pa.,). On June 15, 1944, Miss Maise Musette Ford, her elder sister, was married at the farm home on Orwell Ridge to Mr. Kenneth D. Howland, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Howland of Neath, Pa., by their former pastor Rev. Victor C. Detty who had accepted in October, 1943, a call to the First Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, Pa. Kenneth and Musette Howland have a daughter, Elaine Musette Howland, born November 27, 1945; and a son, Russell Kenneth Howland, born September 13, 1950.
Flight Officer Gerould was reported missing February 7, 1945 as a crew member of a B-24 (Liberator) aircraft based on Italy. On a bombing mission to Vienna, Austria, his plane was set on fire by enemy flak over the target, following which it spun out of control and collided with another Liberator aircraft. After the collision Flighht Officer Gerould’s plane disintegrated in mid-air and crashed east of Ganserdorf, Austria. The sole surviving crew member who managed to bail out of the burning plane did not see any of his fellow crew members bail out, and was of the opinion that they all were killed. (Daily Review, Towanda, Pa., Feb. 26, 1946).
Mrs. Cleone Gerould was presented at her home 607 Main St., Towanda, Pa., May 7, 1947 with the Air Medal posthumously awarded her husband. The citation said, "For meritorious achievement in serial flight while participating operational activities against the enemy from 19 January to 7 February 1945."
In addition, Mrs. Gerould received the following awards to which her late husband was entitled: Good Conduct Medal, American theatre Ribbon, European Theatre Ribbon with one Bronze Service Star for Rome-Arno Campaign, World War II Victory Ribbon, Aviation Badge, Piloa.
Mrs. Gerould married, second, Joseph Rusnock of Towanda, Pa., June 25, 1949, has a son, Joseph David Rusnock, born May 20, 1951.
In 1944, Stewart Gaylord and Levi Frisbie died, and the following letter to the Daily Review was written by Frank I. Champlin, November 28, 1944:
In the passing of Stuart and Levi Frisbie, sons of the late Gaylord and Cordelia Darling Frisbie, their acquaintances have lost the cordial fellowship of upright, intelligent Christian men.
Born in Orwell township, their home life on the farm taught them the principles of industry and economy, their faithfulness in school fitted them for successful teachers which employment they followed for a time; boarding around as was the custom then gave them a knowledge of human nature; their regular attendance at church and Sunday School helped them to see the need of spiritual
food as imparted by the Great Teacher, thus their entire lives were guided along this way.
They never forgot the town or the friends of their boyhood which memories
prompted Levi to relocate near the church where he received his early training; bring a letter from Elmira, he and his family added five names to the Orwell church roll. In his young years, he was determined to get control of his voice in a musical way and succeeded to such a degree that for many years he was a member of his church choir in Elmira and brought them to furnish the music at the time of the 100th anniversary Presbyterian church at Orwell, adding much to the pleasure of the occasion.
Stuart and Levi died at Binghamton only a few days apart. Funeral services were held at Elmira where they were laid at rest beside their wives.
A brother, W. Easton Frisbie, died March 20, 1947, aged 94 at the home of his son, Russell E. Frisbie, Orwell, Pa.
Mr. Lloyd Warren Ford, son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude W. Ford of Orwell, was married August 7, 1948, in St. Peter’s Union Church, Shumans, Pa., to Miss Virginia Mae Singley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Singley of Shumans, Pa.
Mrs. James E. Eastman, formerly Carrie Coburn, daughter of James Parley Coburn and his wife, Gertrude Barnes, died August 28, 1948, at the age of 73, having been born August 24, 1875. Funeral services were held at the late home by Rev. George Sweet and Rev. Victor C. Detty on August 31st.
The following have been received as members of the Orwell Presbyterian Church since March 27, 1946:
Mrs. Herman Frank, who lives in the former mother Cowles, (Mrs. Jas. P.) home.
Mrs. Virginia Ford, wife of Lloyd Ford, became a member January 16, 1949.
Flora Mae Frisbie, daughter of Elder Russell E. Frisbie and his wife, Gladys Smith Frisbie.
Louise Maria Hammond, daughter of Raymond and Marie Cowles Hammond.
Flora B. Eastman, widow of Charles Willie Eastman, and lliving at the home of Mrs. Kate Eastman Brown (Mrs. Frank H. Brown).
John Cowles, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Clifton Cowles of Orwell.
Mr. Claude W. Ford and Mr. J. Clifton Cowles wee ordained as Elders by Rev. Harry Somers.
Summary of Presbyterian Membership
In a summary of the church membership from 1815 the time of the organization of the Warren-Orwell Congregational Church, we find that 104 had been received into that church up to the time of separate formation of the Warren Church in 1828. Forty-one were organized into the Orwell Presbyterian Church. Forty-eight were dismissed to constitute the new Warren Presbyterian Church. Forty-one and forty-eight make a total of 89 members of both churches. With 104 having been received, this means that fifteen had died or been removed.
The Orwell Presbyterian Church, beginning with forty-one from the Warren-Orwell Church received 126 members from 1828 to 1856, the time when a new volume of session records was begun. From 1856 to 1897, Volume II shows enrolled 156 new members. Fifty-three were admitted from 1897 to 1949. This makes a grand total of 376 members admitted from 1828 to 1949. The annual report of 1950 showed 30 communicants.
The Presbyterian Church was a part of the Congregational Church of the entire township organized September 5, 1815 by Rev. Salmon King and Rev. John Bascom. The church became Presbyterian in 1824, and in 1827 its two points organized separate churches. The local church met for worship in a church building on a ridge midway between Orwell and the neighboring village of Potterville. When twenty-five years later, a majority voted to rebuild at the present site, the twenty-three people of Potterville resolved to build a Congregational church in their own place. They were given letters of dismissal March 20, 1951. in 1878, the local Presbyterian Church had sixty-six members and there were one hundred connected with the Sunday School. The membership of the church was in 1950, around thirty. That of the Methodist organization was 27 in 1950.
The present federation of these two churches has brought into being a healthy spiritual condition of church life in this community which otherwise would have been either the scene of impotently divided ecclesiastical loyalties or without any spiritual ministries. For evidence of the success of united church life through federation in this community there is the report of a religious survey of the families of the community. Out of the fifty-two families surveyed, it was found that forty-nine of them wee in some way connected with the federated church, leaving only three families without a definite connection with the local church. There wee several in some families that did not have a very close relationship, but in each of these families some one was definitely connected through membership, children in Sunday School, or attendance at Church worship and other meeting. Attendance has been very gratifying.
Written to Darley Cowles on the Occasion of his 77th birthday
Towanda Review, 1949
"In 1948, Mrs. Edwin V. (Genvieve Cowles) Smith of Canton, N. Y. wrote some verses for her brother, Darley Cowles, on the occasion of his birthday, March 12. they were so greatly appreciated by readers of The Daily Review that she was prevailed upon to write more verses for Mr. Cowles’ 77th birthday next Saturday, 1949."
TO DARLEY ON HIS 77th BIRTHDAY
We’re growing old, the winter’s hearthfire bids us
Stay close within its warm embrace. We will;
And in its cheer we’ll wander down old pathways
That we as children loved, and cherish still.
We’ll scamper down to Frisbie’s grove for chestnuts,
Then round by Swamp Bridge where azaleas grow;
We’ll visit Charlie Beer’s sugar cabin
For luscious maple-wax on pans of snow.
On some hot summer’s day we’ll go to Vough’s glen,
That shady cool retreat where ferns grow tall,
To Dan’ll Dimmick’s woods to gather berries,
And "up Old Gorsline", coolest spot of all.
We’ll ride a wintry bobsled down "Old Orwell",
Or, short but swifter, coast down "Uncle Tom".
Warmed by the fires of youth, we’ll scoff at danger,
And shout with glee at every "thank-ye-mom".
A door stands wide, and joyfully we enter
The blacksmith shop. The smith with snow-white hair
Still beats his anvil, and the forge, still glowing,
Lights up the childish faces lingering there.
Once more Vet Holmes’ stage will ring its cow-bell,
Once more the creamery rigs will rattle by;
A drove of weary sheep will tramp to market
And fill the air with dust and bleating cry.
Once more that thinning rank of blue-clad soldiers
Who fought in sixty-five will march abreast
To decorate the graves of fallen comrades,
(How soon they too will find a well-earned rest!)
We’ll go to school again. That Orwell Schoolhouse
Has staunchly stood since eighteen fifty-three,
Our father built it, and his sound work made it
A monument to his integrity.
Some calm clear day let’s climb the windmill tower
To view Mount Pasgah; and ere day is done
Let’s seek that western slope in Champlin’s pasture
Where oft we watched the setting of the sun.
The church-bells call us; there we’ll join old neighbors
Remembered well, though they’ve been gone so long,
And hands long stilled will from the little organ
Bring chords to bind our voices, knit in song.
Once more, O Orwell, dear to all who knew thee,
We’ve walked down pathways that we used to know.
Our eyes, though dimmed with age, again see clearly
Down Memory’s vistas to the Long Ago.
Genevieve Cowles Smith