Painted Hills Genealogy Society
Dedicated to making research accessible to everyone.

"McKean: The Governor's County"
Rufus Barrett Stone
Chapter 17
Church Sketches

Submitted by PHGS Member
Mike Henderson


"McKean: The Governor's County", Rufus Barrett Stone. Lewis Publishing Company, Inc. New York, 1926. Pages 137--163
 
 

St. Luke's, Smethport, Protestant Episcopal Church
Famous for it architecture, and for the beautiful native building stone of its
outer walls.

CHAPTER XVII
CHURCH SKETCHES

Prepared in the County Centennial Year, 1904, and Contributed by Representatives of the Respective Organizations

EPISCOPALIAN

St. Luke's Episcopalian Church, Smethport, Pa. ( Note 1 ) The first services of the Episcopal Church were held in the county seat in 1842 by the Rev. J. B. Pratt, a native of Vermont. There were then only three members of the church living in the place: Jonathan Colegrove, George Smith and his wife. To these were added in the same year L. R. Hawkins and wife, and Philetus Ford and wife. Bishop Onderdonk of Pennsylvania made a visitation in 1843. After Rev. Mr. Pratt came Rev. Charles Brack of Wellsboro. In 1847 Bishop Alonzo Potter visited the place, when Mr. P. Ford, who had been baptized by Rev. Mr. Brack, was confirmed, being probably the first person in the county to receive confirmation by a Bishop of the Episcopal Church. In 1850 the Rev. A. Augustus Marple of Wellsboro held services and baptized Clara Maria and Henry Everett Ford, children of P. and M. E. Ford. In 1853 Rev. J.. B. Pratt returned to Smethport and gave occasional services. Prof. F. A. Allen acted as Lay Reader.

In 1854 Mr. J. C. Hamlin was baptized and at once became the active leader in church work. Mrs. M. B. Milliken with her family and E. B. Eldred and family came to Smethport in this year and were accessions to the small congregation. In 1857 the Rev. Mr. Woodward became a teacher in the academy and ministered to the congregation and to Coundersport on alternate Sundays. In 1864 the Rev. J. McAlpin Harding was sent out by the Rt. Rev. William Bacon Stevens, Bishop of Pennsylvania, and quite a number was added to the church up to 1868, when, the Rev. George C. Rafter took charge in connection with Emporium. The first Bishop of the new Diocese of Pittsbugh, the Rt. Rev. Barrett Kerfoot, visited the place and administered Confirmation in 1869. Several missionaries gave services up to 1873, when the Rev. Thomas A. Stevenson took charge in connection with Ridgway. He was followed by Rev. Charles F. Lewis and the Rev. Joel Clark. In 1876 the Rev. Hugh Q. Miller took charge of the mission, the work of the yet unformed parish having been steadily increasing, forty-two having been added, and thirty-one in Mr. Miller's time from 1876 to 1880.

The Rev. John Heber McCandless took charge of the parish which had been organized in 1879 and still remains Rector at this date, May, 1904, and will complete his twenty-fifth year as Rector in June, 1905. (D. V.)

The first church erected was cleared of indebtedness and was consecrated by Bishop Stevens, August 21, 1881. The second Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Cortlandt Whitehead, made his first visitation to Smethport, April 18, 1882. (Bishop Kerfoot entered into rest July 17, 1881).

The church grew rapidly and many improvements were made. The first pipe organ in Smethport was built in 1882. The rectory was built in 1884. In 1885 the Rev. Mr. McCandless was married to Emma Marion Hamlin of Smethport. Sunday school work was started in East Smethport in 1886. The chapel at Buttsville, Pennsylvania, was removed to East Smethport in 1887 and reerected on a lot given by Dr. H. L. McCoy. On May 19, 1890, at a vestry meeting, Mr. Henry Hamlin offered to build anew stone church on Main Street for the parish. Ground was broken for the new church on May 12, 1891, and the handsome edifice was consecrated on September 14, 1892. The new church contains many costly memorials generously given by members of the parish; the list including the altar and reredos as a memorial to the parents of Mr. Henry Hamlin; the font, in memory of Rachel, Miles and Ada, children of D. C. and Ada Young; a bronze pulpit in memory of Delano R. Hamlin, given by Mrs. Eugenia Hamlin, also silver altar vessels; and a mural bronze tablet to her parents, Dr. William Y. and Charlotte McCoy. Mr. B. D. Hamlin gave $2,500 for the organ. Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Rose gave the bronze eagle lectern. The chime of tubular bells was given by the late Mrs. A. N. Taylor, who also gave $1,000 in her will towards a parish house. Mrs. John Forrest gave $6,000 for the parish house, which was built in 1901-02 and opened for use on Easter Day, 1902. The parish is particularly endowed and the value of its properties amount to $52,000. It includes about 70 families and has a communicant list of 190 and membership of about 300. The present vestry is composed of Dr. H. L. McCoy, D. C. Young, J. C. Hamlin, John Forrest and E. L. Keenan.

St. Luke's Church has been noted far and wide during more than twenty years past for its excellent choir and high standard of music. Dr. H. L. McCoy has been the efficient choirmaster. The two Sunday schools, St. Luke's and All Saints', East Smethport, number twenty teachers and 154 pupils. In the foundation and prosperity of St. Luke's Church the divine blessing is manifest upon the labors of pastors and people, great credit being due to the persevering work of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Hamlin and Mrs. H. L. Hamlin, as pioneers and leaders. It may be said most truly of all-of the whole parish-that "the people had a mind to work."

Church of the Ascension, Bradford - The foregoing sketches being unaccompanied by any history of the. Bradford Church of the Episcopal denomination, reference is made to the proceeding for incorporation of the Church of the Ascension of Bradford, recorded in the Recorder's office of McKean County in Miscellaneous Book J at page 360, May 27, 1880, wherein it appears that the following corporators were designated as warden and vestrymen, respectively: L. C. Blakeslee, C. A. Cornen, H. P. Whitney, I. Beam, S. L. Wilson, John R. Matlock and Thomas L. Fields. The petition was signed as follows: W. W. Mason, A. B. Putnam, L. C. Blakeslee, W. F. Crane, 1. Beam, J. A. Ege, S. L. Wilson, J. R. Matlock, S. H. Durston, T. L. Shields, E. F. Willets, A. C. Scott, J. F. Merrill, Peter T. Kennedy, C. L. Wheeler, Ed. R. Shepherd, Lynford Lardner, C. A. Siegfried, H. G. Cutting and F. Winslow, of Bradford, with C. A. Cornen and W. N. Hanna, of Kendall.

The Rouseville, Pa., church building was moved to Bradford, and rebuilt on Chautauqua Place. The fourth anniversary of its consecration was celebrated on the 27th day of October, 1889. On the 19th day of January, 1890, it was destroyed by fire. The cornerstone of a new church edifice was laid on the 22nd day of October, 1891, during the rectorship of Rev. W. 0. Lamson, and on the 4th day of December following it was formally dedicated, Bishop Whitehead officiating. The present' rector, Rev. H. Irvine Lynds, has been preceded in that office by Right Reverend William H. Overs (Bishop), Rev. Augustus R. Kieffer, D. D., Rev. S. D. Day, Rev. David B. Wilson, Rev. W. 0. Lamson and Rev. A. B. Putnam.

St. Joseph's Church, Port Allegany Pennsylvania -- of the Episcopal Church were first held in Port Allegany in 1875, by Bishop Kerfoot and Rev. H. Q. Miller, in charge of Smethport and Emporium Missions. In 1880 the missions at Emporium and Port Allegany were united. Rev. Mr. Miller was succeeded at these points in 1884 by Rev. Mr. Tragitt, who, in turn, in 1886, was followed by Rev. F. W. White. In 1887, January 23, a building committee, consisting of Dr. F. E. Watts, S. C. Sartwell, W. H. Crocker and Fred E. Rowley, was appointed to push forward the matter of a church edifice. The corner-stone of the building was laid November 7, 1887, by Bishop Whitehead, assisted by the neighboring clergy. The lot and $100 were donated by Mr. F. H. Arnold. Contributions were generously given and the church building was finished in July, 1888. Rev. Mr. White left in the fall of 1888 and was succeeded by the Rev. Carroll L. Bates. The new church was consecrated by Bishop Whitehead on November 16, 1889. Rev. Mr. Bates remained about three years and was succeeded by the Rev. F. W. Raiker who, shortly, gave up his whole time to Emporium. For a while services were irregularly given by various clergymen, the Rev. Mr. Benedict Rev. James H. Barnard, Rev. N. W. Stephens and Rev. E. U. Brown and the Rev. W. F. Shero. In 1896 St. Joseph's Mission was united with St. Matthew's, Eldred, under the Rev. Allen C. Prescott, when a new era of prosperity began. Mr. Prescott was called to Cuba, N. Y., in 1898. Services were given for a few months by Rev. Thomas A. Stevenson, and on June 1, 1899, Rev. H. M. Clarke took charge of the two missions, and remained until 1902. The Rev. George Knollmeyer was in charge for one year and was followed by Rev. J. H. Fairlee. In the following year St. Joseph's Mission was able to keep its pastor for his whole time and to have services every Sunday.

The prominent members of the church are the Davies, Sartwells, Kings, Rowleys, McDowells, Simons, Studholmes and Walkers.

St. Margaret's Mission, Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania -- The first service of the Episcopal Church at Mt. Jewett was held on the first Sunday in January, 1892, by Rev. G. A. Northrop, at his residence. Mr. Northrop continued services Sunday alternately at his home and that of Mr. E. B. McCoy.

Mr. Albert W. Ryan of Warren, Pennsylvania, officiated on Monday evening, June 27, 1892, and it was then decided to lease a small building and fit it up for services. An organ was given by Mrs. H. Hamlin of Smethport, and. altar vestments by the Church Guild at Bradford. St. Margaret's Guild was organized and began vigorous work. July 17 the first service was held in the chapel. Rev. J. H. McCandless of Smethport, officiated on the following Wednesday evening and sent lay-readers from Smethport; Mr. J. R. Walkinshaw and Mr. Fred Gallup, who, with Mr. Fred King of Kushequa, continued Sunday services in the absence of Mr. G. A. Northrop. A Sunday school was organized with a good attendance.

The Holy Eucharist was first celebrated on Sunday, September 11, 1892, by the Rev. George Rogers, the general missionary. On the following day Bishop Whitehead, accompanied by Rev. Mr. Ryan and Rev. Mr. Morgan of Johnsonburg, arrived and services were held in the opera house. On March 30, 1893, the Mission was organized by Rev. William Walton and was called "St Paul's Mission." Holy Baptism was first administered on Good Friday, March 31, 1893. The Mission outgrew its little home in the chapel and services were held in the Presbyterian building and in the K. of P. Hall. Miss Hettie Brewer donated a lot and while Rev. R. Allen Russell was in charge, a building was erected for the Mission, which was consecrated April 26, 1902, a mortgage of six hundred dollars being cancelled by Mr. H. Hamlin of Smethport, and other offerings being made by church people in Smethport. An organ was given by the church at Bradford.

The name of the Mission was now changed to "St. Margaret's Mission." The Rev. W. Fred Allen succeeded Rev. Mr. Russell in 1892 and remained a short while, holding services in connection with Kane, Pennsylvania. He was followed by the Rev. T. F. MacEwen in the fall of 1903, who is in charge at this date, June, 1904. The prominent leaders in the work have been the Northrops, McCoys, McClellans, Burdicks, Rogers.

St. John's Church, Kane, Pennsylvania - The first services of the Episcopal Church at Kane were held by the Rev. Albert W. Ryan of Warren, in 1888, and were continued by him for about three years. Services were afterwards held, in connection with Mt Jewett, by Rev. J. R. Taylor, who was followed by Rev. Stephen W. Garrett. In 1900 Rev. R. Alan Russell was in charge of the two missions, which began to grow, and church buildings were erected in both places. Mr. Russell retired in 1901 and the Rev. Fred W. Allen took charge until the fall of 1903, when Rev. T. R. McEwan was placed in charge of Kane, Johnsonburg and Mt. Jewett.

The church is in possession of a fine property, a good lot, and substantial, churchly building, with basement room for Sunday school, and the outlook is favorable for large growth in the busy and rapidly developing place.

St. Matthew's Church, Eldred, Pennsylvania -- Services of the Episcopal Church were begun in Eldred by the Rev. Hugh Quail Miller about 1876 and were continued by the Rev. J. Heber McCandless from 1880 to about 1887, being held in the Baptist and in the Methodist church buildings. Services were held irregularly after this period by the General Missionary and by the Rector of St. Luke's, Smethport. The G. A. R. Hall and the parlors of the Central Hotel were used for the services. The Rev. J. Heber McCandless revived regular services about 1894, when a growing interest was shown. Bishop Whitehead visited the place in 1895 and administered confirmation. Almost immediately the work of building a church was started. Mr. McCandless procured plans from Mr. Halsey Wood, the architect of St. Luke's, Smethport, and the present beautiful and churchly structure was begun in April, 1896, and finished in August the same year. The Rev. Allen Prescott of Hammondsport, New Jersey, was placed in charge. On Saturday evening, September 12, 1896, there was a service of benediction of the altar font, and other church furniture in the chancel, by the Rev. J. Heber McCandless, assisted by the Rev. Allen Prescott. On the following day, Sunday, September 13, 1896, the church was opened for divine services by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, by the Rev. Mr. Prescott. In the afternoon the Rev. Mr. McCandless, with the choir of St. Luke's, Smethport, and many visitors, came to Eldred by a special train, and a choral evensong was held with sermon by Rev. Mr. Prescott and address by Rev. Mr. McCandless. After the service the choir and many of the visitors were served with refreshments in the guild room by the ladies of the Guild. The church advanced well under Rev. Mr. Prescott, who remained until 1898, when he was succeeded by Rev. Herbert M. Clarke, in whose time the church building was freed from debt and was consecrated on Wednesday, June 6, 1900.

The Rev. Mr. Clarke left in 1902 and was followed by Rev. George Knollmeyer, who remained one year, and was succeeded by Rev. John H. Fairlee.

The work at Eldred, since the building of the new church, was in connection with the work at Port Allegany, the priest in charge spending alternate weeks in the two places. This arrangement ended in the winter of 1903-04, when Port Allegany subscribed sufficient salary to have all of Rev. Mr. Fairlee's time. The prominent workers in the Mlission at Eldred have been Mrs. Hopewell and her sons, Mr. and Mrs. Gould, Mr. and Mrs. Sartwell, Mr. and Mrs. Sloan and family, Mrs. E. Waller and Mrs. M. Cary, Mrs. Harrington and her daughters, Dr. Gard Young and Mrs. Young, Mr. Brown and family, Mr. Balfour, Mrs. Rice and others.

Mr. Hamlin's Church Reminiscences-The following reminiscenses written in the delightful characteristic vein of Hon. Byron D. Hamlin were read at the dedication of the present Baptist Church in Smethport:

I have been requested by the pastor of this church to give information of some of the earlier men and conditions pertaining to religious worship at this place.

My memory of Smethport and its environments dates from the year 1833, when I came here at the age of nine years. I then knew every man, woman and child in the town, and of all the public affairs which a child would be likely to learn of. There was no place set apart distinctly for public worship in the village, not in the County of McKean, the school-houses and private residences being then employed for this purpose. The "village" of Smethport had less than two hundred inhabitants and it was the only place in the county which aspired to be so denominated. The region around about Bradford was known as "On Tuna"; Port Allegany as "Canoe Place"; Eldred as "Down the River"; Ceres as "King's Settlement"; and Kane was unknown by other name than as a "forest and hunting ground."
 

Members of McKean County Medical Society of 1886
Dr. H.J. Nichols now alone surviving. Dr. Roswell Park, famous surgeon who attended McKinley, in the center. The resident physicians in this group are the same who met at Pompelon Hall and framed regulations for the Hospital.
Left to Right -- Top Row: McCarthy, Ford, Buss, Egbert, Cluxton, Drake, Straight, Murdock, Reed
Bottom Row: H. J. Hichols, Sweet, Dorn, Freeman, Park, Shoemaker, J. H. Nichols, McCoy

The census credited McKean County with a population of 1439, which with an area of 1442 square miles, gave each inhabitant ample breathing room. Religious meetings in Smethport, on occasions, were held in the court room; in other parts of the county in schoolhouses and private dwellings. The earliest in the field were the Methodists, they having a circuit rider who travelled on horseback and covered a wide district. His appointments, though made weeks in advance, were remembered and drew the people together to listen to sermons prepared in the saddle and from the inspiration of nature. Singing by note or the aid of mechanical instruments was unknown to the worshippers, and would not have been tolerated. The tune was "pitched" by a triangular piece of steel the "leader" carried in his pocket, if he had one, or by starting low and running through the gamut until he struck the key note. The lines were read by the minister and the whole congregation sang, each keeping his own time according to his spirit. Looking backwards we have to say these services were helpful, and did great good, morally and socially.

( Note 2 )

The Baptist denomination was soon after represented and a minister employed. The first one I remember to have been permanently located here was Elder Sawyer, some time in the thirties. His sermons were long and filled with orthodox marrow. They were suited to the older members of the congregation who labored hard all the week and needed Sunday as a day of rest. Many of them did "rest" in their bodies and minds until the benediction, when according to custom they arose to be dismissed. Elder Sawyer was a worthy man as well as minister. He labored for his, support as well in the workshop as in the pulpit. He officiated at marriages and at funerals, and when the stated "donation party" which furnished the principal source of his revenue came he was nude the recipient of such small contributions from the community at large as it was the custom to bestow.

In the year 1837 Luther Humphrey came here to take his place as principal of the Smethport Academy, which was the first school in this region where the dead languages and higher mathematics were taught, and a position which, under the State law, could only be held by a college graduate. He had been educated at a Baptist institution and was a zealous member of that denomination. Through his influence the membership increased and a, rivalry, warm and vigorous, arose between it and the Methodist society. Discussions of tenets became frequent and heated. Denominational lines were closely drawn; and the burning question whether this academy was to be principalled by a Baptist or a Methodist was to be fought out.

The principal was selected by the trustees of the academy and they were elected by the stockholders, who were composed of all residents who held shares of three dollars in the stock of the institution. The respective parties set out to find new takers of these shares which they readily did, as the promissory note of the taker for three dollars was all that was required to secure a share of the stock and the right to vote. Numerous notes were thus gathered in though few of them ever paid. The result was the Methodist party got the larger number, who in turn elected its trustees, who named Mr. Atkins, a graduate of Allegheny College, as principal. This was in 1840. Mr. Humphrey being thus displaced soon left here and entered the Baptist ministry. I was one of his students and admired him as a teacher and a man. His influence and example were good, and he did much in helping to form the character of the young men and women who assembled for his instruction.

Elder Sawyer was followed by Elder Smith, and he by Elder Cornforth about the year 1858. Rev. Columbus Cornforth came here a young man just out of college, and was ordained after several days of examination by the ministers convened for that purpose. His views on some of the interior tenets of his denomination were too liberal to be approved of by all the questioners, and for a time it seemed doubtful whether he would pass. He had been among our people for a period as a teacher and the young who knew him best highly esteemed him for his nobility of life. These conditions drew to the convocation interested audiences while doctrinal questions were being put and answered. The sentiment of the community had an influence in causing the examiners to admit him to the ministry. He was employed here and remained ministering to what was for Smethport a large congregation until 1861, when he volunteered as a soldier in the Civil War. He was not long after crippled and discharged from military service. Then he found other congenial employment in scholastic work until called to the West, where he has since died. He was greatly beloved and did much good.

One of the hardest headed and kindest hearted ministers of this region was Elder S. D. Morris. He was a Calvinist in his education and he thought he believed in its doctrines; and yet he would never consent to send an infant or unrepentant soldier to hades. He always hunted around until he could find some reason, why the particular person he was speaking of might escape the curse of Adam and Eve. This became manifest in the sermons he preached at their funerals, and was a consolation to the friends of the departed. In his life he would not knowingly tread on a worm, or permit the worst criminal to suffer for want of an apologist or defender.

It so happened I was employed to defend a woman who was a neighbor of his, on the charge of murder. On being interrogated he told me this woman had a tender heart and would not purposely hurt a fly; that he had often seen evidence of her love and tenderness, and she could not have done this cruel deed. I used him as a witness on the trial. The woman was acquitted and her escape was largely due to the testimony of Elder Morris.

On an occasion some forty years ago he held a discussion with a Universalist minister at the court house in Smethport, on the question which was vital between them. This lasted for several evenings and the known ability of the disputants drew large audiences. In one of them the Universalist seemed to get the better of the particular argument, and Elder Morris manifested a loss of temper which by some was taken as evidence that he was worsted. When leaving the room two of the Baptist adherents met and one of them who was probably less grounded in the faith than he should have been, said to the other: "What do you think of it, Brother C.; if that Universalist knocks hell out of our religion, where will we be?" He was answered: "Never fear, Brother B., he can't do that; it is there to stay and you and I need only to be careful to keep out of it." At the conclusion the faith of the partisans remained unchanged and it was agreed that both sides had been well presented. Elder Morris preached the Bible as he understood it. He adhered to the justice of the Punishment but tempered it with mercy. He did great good to a wide community and was greatly beloved in every household. The world was rendered better by his having lived in it.

The later ministers are well known to this younger generation. Their lives and their work are to be commended.

The laymen in the Baptist denomination are well remembered for their sterling qualities. Many of them lived to be aged and were amongst the most substantial of our early settlers. Among the departed I can call to mind the names of James Taylor, William S. Oviatt, Ghordis Corwin, William Williams, Benjamin Corwin, Job Gifford, Sr., Nelson Medbury, Moses Hackett, Rowland Burdick, and numerous others with their wives and families. These and their co-workers did the best they could, and have done well.

The first building erected for public worship was by the Methodists in 1840; and that was the first one erected for that purpose in the County of McKean, as the writer believes. It is the same now used in a slightly modified form. The Baptist Church on Main Street, where the store of W. D. Gallup now stands, was erected in 1849, or thereabouts. It was afterwards removed to Water Street, where it burned. The congregation have since and until now been without a home. They seem, however, not to have lost heart, and the result of their patience and perseverance is shown in this beautiful structure. It will be a joy to their hearts to assemble here and worship God according to their faith. The community will be made better by having it.

( Note 3 )

It is to be presumed that none entered the ministry, at the period of which I have spoken, with the expectation of pecuniary gain; for, as I remember it, the annual compensation fixed in the Methodist denomination for the country circuits was $100 for unmarried ministers; $50 additional if they had wives and proportionate additions if they had children. It was expected the married ministers would be provided with some sort of a residence and a stable for a horse (as a horse was required to go from place to place to attend the meetings on the circuit which were held on numerous days and nights of the week). In addition they were to be possessed of what they could get from voluntary donations. These surely were small enough as it was understood the house and the stable were to entertain the members of the society with their families whenever it suited them to come to town for religious services, or to do business In some cases the supposed voluntary contributions (usually farm produce, whether needed or not) the minister found charged to him in the settlement for his salary.

The ministers of other denominations perhaps fared some better for they were permitted to remain in the same place so long as it was agreeable to the employer and employed. They were subject to a "call" while the Methodist was restricted to two years on the same circuit. The cost of apparel for the wives and children was small and it has been jealously, if not wickedly, said that some ministers added to their revenue by profits made in horse trades. This doubtless was slander, but it was recognized they liked and were able to have the finest horses within their circuits.

On an occasion, years ago, I went out for a winter afternoon drive when the air was keen and cold, and my horse going at about a four minute gait, when he was overtaken by a minister making better time. He evidently thought to pass me, but my horse objected and kept ahead until driving a few miles further the minister turned in at a school-house where he was to have an afternoon service. I thought nothing of it until later when I learned the minister told some sympathizing acquaintances that Hamlin thought he had a good horse, but on a longer stretch when it was not Sunday, he could show him a thing about horses. Unfortunately for him the fame of his horse became noised about and he was stolen and run off to Buffalo, where he was found, but the thief escaped. I had the pleasure of contributing some money for his pursuit.

Much theological study was not required to fit them for their vocation, and they preached directly at the hearts of their congregations, each member of it feeling that he was the person addressed. Who can do better and have the modes of modem religious worship improved in their effect on the human heart?

FREE METHODISM

The first religious services under the auspices of the Free Methodist Church in McKean County were held in the neighborhood of Knapps Creek and Farmers Valley. These, however, did not result in any permanent organization. The first permanent services were established by Rev. John S. McGeary, then pastor at Randolph and Salamanca, New York, who established regular bi-weekly services in the Buchanan schoolhouse, about three miles north of Bradford, on the west side of Tuna Creek, in the summer of 1879. In September of the same year he was appointed by the Genesee conference of the church to the Bradford oil regions, for the purpose of introducing and establishing Free Methodism. In October, 1879, the first permanent Free Methodist Society in McKean County was organized by him in the above-named school-house, consisting of the following persons: Harriet E. Jones, Hiram Beardsley, Maudana Beardsley, Jennie E. Servis, Foreman J. Calkins and Mrs. Miller. In the spring of 1880 this society began the erection of a small frame church on the east side of Tuna Creek at what was known as State Line or Tuna Creek Post Office, about two miles, south of Limestone, New York, and three and one-half miles north of Bradford. In July of the same year the church was dedicated and the society had increased to fourteen members. This church is still standing and the society has always. had a regular pastor since.

Three years later Rev. A. D. Gaines, pastor of the charge, organized a society at the Bolivar school-house on Boliver Run, opposite what is now known as East Bradford, consisting of David Cornelius, Sr., William Cornelius, Mrs. William Cornelius, Isaac Cornelius, Anna B. Cornelius, David Cornelius, Jr., Eva Cornelius, Mrs. Helen Case and others. This society is still in existence, but has built no church edifice.

From this beginning, the church has gone forward until now there are church buildings and societies in Bradford, Eldred, West Eldred, Lewis Run, Port Allegany, Rixford and Duke Center. There are also societies at Portage Creek and Ormsby, and regular preaching appointments at Simpson, Davis and Aiken.

Rev. Albert Bean organized a society in Bradford in 1892, worshipping in a hall on the south side of the public square, and the church was built in the summer of 1895, and dedicated by Rev. W. A. Sellew on October 12, 1895. Said church building was erected on Pleasant Street under the labors of Rev. A. D. Zahniser, officiating pastor. The church at Lewis, Run was erected about the same time by the same pastor, it being part of the Bradford circuit. The following ministers served as pastors of the Bradford church: Albert Bean, E. S. Zahniser, F. W. Cox, 0. Gornell, J. J. Zahniser, and Edward Blews, the present incumbent. He has been successful in liquidating the debt against the parsonage property, so the congregation is now free from debt, and in a prosperous condition.

Prominent in the work of McKean County were the following ministers, who labored as district elders: P. W. Hawkins, J. Barnhart, J. S. McGeary, W. A. Sellew, W. B. Roupe, and D. B. Tobey.

THE SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army began is work in McKean County in the city of Bradford in the year eighteen hundred eighty-eight (1888), and continued for a few years, then ceased for various reasons.

In April, 1897, Adjt. Trevitt was appointed to reopen the work. He came and rented the W. C. T. U. Hall on Public Square. He met with good success, was here for ten months, then Adjt. S. Mullion took charge and labored here for five months. Then Adjt. W. H. Turner took charge of the work. While here the adjutant opened up a shelter for homeless men, where a man could get a good clean bed and bath for 10 cents, and if be had no money, could get it free. During Adjt. Turner's stay much good was done, and many friends made for the army. He left October 31, 1899. He was followed by Adjt. J. Faulkner, who had charge from November 5, 1899, to November 25, 1900. Then came two young women officers, Staff Capt. McAbbee and Adjt. Long, who had charge of the work until December 1, 1901. Then came Adjt. Maltry, who had charge of the work until April 27, 1902. Then Adjt. S. Bradley took charge until August, 1902. Then the present officers, Adjt. and Mrs. Lyon, took charge of the work. During the year 1903 the Salvation Army erected a beautiful temple on Kennedy Street, which is valued at $16,000. On the ground floor there are two stores which are rented; a hall for week night meetings; a shelter for homeless men, where a man can got a hot or cold shower bath and a nice clean bed for 10 cents. The shelter can accommodate 20 men. On the second floor in the front there is a flat of six rooms, where the officers in charge of the work live, then a large hall with a seating capacity of four hundred On the third floor are two bed rooms and a large room for a woman's shelter, which will accommodate 25 women. The army in Bradford does quite a lot of charitable work every year. It gives a Christmas dinner to the poor. Last Christmas over nine hundred were supplied with a good dinner. Christmas night three hundred poor children received two toys, box of candy, orange, clothing, etc. The last two years over three thousand garments were distributed among the poor, many families have received assistance in the way of food, etc. Meetings are conducted nightly, one on the street and one in the hall. The membership of Bradford's corps is 55 soldiers, Sunday school attendance 60.

Kane - The Salvation Army work was opened in Kane; Pa., by Audit. Brazier, Ensign Heath and Lieut. Lewis January 27, 1903- Much good work has been accomplished in this short time. They have a membership of 40 soldiers and a good Sabbath school. The officers who opened the work are at present in charge.

TEMPLE BETH ZION

The first steps for founding the Hebrew Reform Congregation Beth Zion were taken on October 1, 1879. The temple is located on corner of South Avenue and Potter Street. N. Grossmeyer was its first presiding officer. The following is the present official board of the congregation:

President, A. M. Mayer; Vice-President, Morris Shear; Treasurer, Bennett Nusbaum; Secretary, Sam Bear. Board of Trustees: J. C. Greenwald, John Weiss, Felix Steinberger, Abraham Simons, D. C. Greenwald. School Board: M. Cohen, President; Felix Steinberger, David Whitestone, Henry Friedenberg.

The Ladies Auxiliary Society considerably contributes to the welfare of the temple. The various ministers of the temple were: Rev. S. Weil, 1880-1895; Rev. S. Wasserman, 1895-1896; Rev. Louis G. Reynolds, 1896-1900; Rev. S. M. Rich, M. A., 1900-.

ORTHODOX

The Kennedy Street Hebrew Orthodox Congregation , organized and built in 1881. Founders were: Late Hyman Cohn, David Levi, Mr. B. Jacobs, Mrs. Michaels, Joe Rosenberg. Presidents were: Messrs. B. Jacobs, H. Cohn, D. Levi, J. Rosenberg, S. Werthman, H. Lovits, Mr. Megantz, H. Cohen, M. Ertz. Ministers of the Congregation: Revs. Weinstock, Zac- Cohen, Jacobson, Max Lieberman, Rabbinovitz, Grafman, Simon Glazer, Isaac Slick. Present President, H. Lovits. Present Minister, Rev. Hirsh Wolenske. Assistant Minister, Rev. Isaac Slick.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE WORK AND CHURCH

Early in 188, Mrs. Clara Evans, a student of Rev. Mary Baker 13. Eddy, came to St. James Hotel and did a great deal of Christian Science healing and taught a few students.

The students and patients formed a reading class in May of 1889 to study the Bible and Science and Health by Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy. The names of the

members of this class were:
 

Miss Sarah E. Morrison, Mrs. Etheridge,
Mrs. Rosa Squire, Miss Martha Hunter,
Mrs. Mary Drew, Mrs. Eva Arnold,
Mrs. Laura Edgett, Mrs. Lota B. Field,
Mrs. Fannie Wheeler, Mrs. Minnie Whipple,

Continuing in this until August of 1891, then securing Judge S. J. Hanna of Scranton, Pa., to give us some lectures, and through the Judge in February, 1892, we secured Richard Smith, a student of Judge S. J. Hanna, a helper in the work. Smith led all the meetings as then directed by Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy in Mother Church Manual. Sixteen students attended a class of instruction on Christian Science given by Richard Smith. In 1892 the Mother Church Manual granted and recognized such leaders to form churches and lead them though not being a graduate of the Metaphysical College of Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy.

In 1895 Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy instituted the Bible and Science and Health the only preachers to be used in all Christian Science churches. In April, 1895, the students who bad become members of the Mother Church organized the church under rules laid down. in Mother Church Manual the 25th day of April, 1895. Miss Sarah E. Morrison applied for a church cardnotice in Christian Science journal which was granted by Church Board of Mother Church. The church to be known as First Church of Christ Scientist, which continues until this date, April, 1904. Richard Smith left the C. S. students March, 1895, and after having been taught by Rev. Mary G. B. Eddy in November, 1898, came to Bradford in December, 1898. After this we took steps to secure a charter for the First Church of Christ Scientist in Bradford, Pa. We engaged the efforts of R. B. Stone, attorney-at-law, and Lester H. Simons, notary public. The application being signed by the majority of the members of First Church of Christ Scientist. Members as listed petitioners for
charter.

ADALAIDE P. WASHBURN (Seal)
MISS SARAH E. MORRISON (Seal)
JAMES B. HUNT (Seal)
MRS. FRANCES FUNK (Seal)
Miss LILLIAN FIELD (Seal)
PHILIP MOSHER (Seal)
JOHN F. ARGUE (Seal)


The subscribers here and their associates shall be a corporation by the name of First Church of Christ Scientist in Bradford, Pennsylvania, for the purpose and upon the terms herein stated. 13765 No. 37, October 1899.

STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,

COUNTY OF McKEAN.

Recorded this 9th day of June, A. D. 1899, in the recorder's office of said county, in Miscellaneous Book, Col. IN, page 110, etc., given under my hand and seal of said office the date above written.

Signed G. W. MITCHELL, Recorder. A. M. Choate, Deputy.

Church membership since 1895, total 49 members.

Present membership, April, 1904, thirty (30).

Services held at 18 Kennedy Street, McAlpin Building.

There are students and members in roost of the towns and villages of the County of McKean, Pennsylvania.


Note 1: Protestant Episcopal Church; of fourteenth century Gothic architecture, after the type of an English parish church. Halsby Wood, Philadelphia, architect. Among the minor grounds for which this church has become famous is the rarely beautiful stone of which its exterior walls are constructed , quarried from Rock Ledge on the slope of the mountain almost within sight of the church.

Note 2 Henry Hamlin, associate Judge, banker, foremost citizen.

Note 3 Rev. D. W. C. Huntington, D. D., President Nebraska Wesleyan University; former pastor of M. E. Church, Bradford.

Back To McKean County


If you have anything of genealogical or historical interest to add to this site, or if you are interested in becoming a member of the Painted Hills Genealogy Society, please contact us at:
Painted Hills

This page is maintained by the PHGS
Last Update January 30, 2020