The Methodist Churches in Roulette
Potter County, PA

Manuscript by Kenneth B. Hyde, in 1980

This information about the Methodist churches in Roulette is from a booklet written to celebrate the bicentennial of Methodism in the United States (1784-1984). The booklet is A bicentennial record of Methodism in Potter County 1784-1984, published in 1984 by the Potter County Group Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

Riverside Methodist Church

In 1847, the Little Red Schoolhouse was erected and used as both church and school. John and Burrell Lyman both worked to build the Baptist faith. From 1852 to 1865, John Crasey [Crapsey] pastored the flock in this location. He said he was a deacon in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Some were Adventists and some were Baptist. They talked in tongues and practiced such gifts. He had everyone worked up and it is said even the building shook; this was witnessed by all who attended.

May 2, 1875, a meeting was called and a covenant was made. All denominations were accepted. The group in the schoolhouse became known as the First Baptist Church. Rev. Hart, who pastored at this time conducted his last recorded meeting on June 24, 1876. By 1880, religious peace had settled over the Valley, and then everyone seemed to lose interest. Some went to Coudersport and some joined the "Union Church", which formed later. As the town was growing fast and a larger meeting place was needed, Leroy Lyman, a Seventh-Day leader, proposed all denominations share the building of a new church.

In articles dated March 7, 1882, and April 3, 1882, in the courthouse, J. V. [John Victor] Weimer conveyed 1/2 acre to the Union Church.

In 1885, through the efforts of the Rev. O. C. Hill, the Union Church was built. It stood where the former Methodist Parsonage now stands [on main street next to the present-day Baptist church now stands.

Rev. Brooks, A United Brethren Elder, came later. He organized a Union Sunday School which was later united with the Baptist Sunday School, under the leadership of Rev. Buch [William Butt?] from Coudersport, PA. E. S. Remington came to Roulette to organize the Methodist Society. He received $400.00 a year and drove a horse and buggy, and was fed by pound parties. If you don't know what a pound party is, you are not a Methodist. He was the first Methodist Minister.

In 1891, a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Roulette, PA. D[ayton] A. Pomeroy started an Union Sunday School which lasted until December, 1873 (1893?], when it became a Methodist Sunday School. He acted as superintendent. The first parsonage was built at this time. It is now a private home on North Street. Then Rev. Blanchard came and the Epworth League was formed.

In 1894-1897, Rev. Feathers served the charge.
In 1892-1900, the pastors were: D. E. Burt, John Newman, E. Hovey, E. Buroghs, D. B. Burkly, F. S. Booth, and W. A. Lyons

In 1895, the tannery closed and the church fell on hard times. It was sold at a sheriff's sale for taxes on October 6. It was sold to Milo Lyman on December 21, 1894. He told Rev. H. L. Brockway to continue the church and not worry about it. Lyman conveyed the property to the Methodist Conference.

Rev J. A. Nelson was pastor for three years. It was through his efforts that the Fishing Creek Church was built.

In June 1908, the steeple was hit by lightening and the church burned to the ground. The pulpit and the pews were saved and are in use today. Rev. Pike came and encouraged them to rebuild. Through the influence of Milo Lyman, Nate Bard of Port Allegany donated six acres by deed on June 15, 1909. The site was on river street, north of the river and was know as "Saunder's Island". The church was built and dedicates on January 1, 1911. Rev. Walker was present and proposed that the congregation subscribe $300.00 to pay the balance on the new building.

Milo Lyman, an officer in the Gray Chemical and the Card and Barr Hardware, pledged $125.75 from each company and $120.00 was given in Milo's wife's name (Kittie).

Rev. Bamford, an Englishman, went to England and came back with a new wife. During his stay, a new Sunday School addition was built at the rear of the church (1912). He left in August, 1913, for college.

Rev. Ray Lawrence followed and a "Union Revival Meeting" was held by Linden & Ross. The Methodists more than doubled. One hundred-forty were received into the church. In 1915, there were 193 pupils in Sunday School. Rev. Lawrence went to Eldred and then he married Ella Harris of Roulette, to whom a daughter, Jean, was born. He died in Ellicottville, NY, some time later.

Rev. [Gayle] Ruoff (1952) stayed three years. At this time a new Hammond organ was purchased as a memorial to Kittie Lyman who died January 1, 1951. She had been active in the church and taught Sunday School for 30 years. All the rest of the Riverside Church history is included with the history of the Fishing Creek Church.


Fishing Creek Methodist Church

The Fishing Creek Methodist church section from the booklet is largely the work of Kenneth B. Hyde. This text is a transcription of Ken's original, handwritten maunscript. Material in [] has been added to the original account. Barbara Hyde

Indenture made October 3, 1899 between Amanda Yentzer and Frederick Yentzer her husband and the M. E. Church of fishing Creek and its trustees: John Tausher, Julius Tausher, T. J. Yentzer, F. D. Weimer. Church was given to the people of Fishing Creek. Land was given for a church to be built and to be open to any denomination for services, weddings, and funerals. On May 14th, 1901, B[enjamite] A[lbert]. Greene deeded land to be used as a shed for horse and buggy and driveway. Later Bob Greene [g-grandson of B. A. Greene)] gave land for parking lot and playground. [Much later, probably in 1950s.] There were no papers signed or needed as we were a Christian people.

  • 1898-1901 Rev. J. A. Nelson led efforts to build the Fishing Creek Church. He did most of the painting and decorating himself. His wife taught the children the lord's prayer, 23rd psalm, and apostles creed. Much praise of him and his wife.

  • 1901-1902 Rev Tubbs stayed one year. Not much is known about him.

  • 1902-05 Rev C. W. Walker, who married a local girl Estella Slocum, later was to reject the Methodist faith and be came an Episcopalian Minister. He moved to Newark, NJ, where his health failed. When son and two daughters were grown, he and wife parted.

  • 1905-06 J. E. Tallant Not much is known about him.
  • 1906-07 J. W. Wright Not much is known about him.

  • 1907-1908 W. W. Hume Roulette church struck by lightning and burned.
  • 1909 W. H. Pike Led the effort to build a new church at Riverside. The church was dedicated January 1, 1910 or 1911. [This is the present Riverside Church.]

  • 1910-12 Rev Codling served.
  • 1912-13 Rev Bamford Englishman came attired in boots and cape.

  • 1913-15 Rev Ray Lawrence Had several revivals by Lendon and Ross. Membership doubled.
    He married Ella Harris of Roulette then he went to Ellicottville NY where his daughter Jean was born and where he died.

  • Jan 1915- Oct. 1915 A. Vandermuler served.

  • 1915-16 Herbert W. Walton Englishman. Died very young left 3 daughters Ruth, Caroll, and Janice. His wife, Margaret, lived in Andover NY. last was known.

  • 1916-17 I. W. Hill Not much is know about him.

  • 1917-20 R. F. Lowman His wife was the daughter of Dr. I. D. Laman, District Superintendent. After leaving, spent time in Ohio churches

  • 1920-24 John S, Brown "Miracle Man" loved by all who knew him. He was an old man and his health failed. It was his last charge. His dream was a park in back of church. He landscaped the grounds about the parsonage and church and sat out trees and flowers. When he died a monument was erected in back of church with suitable bronze plate to this memory. This is at Riverside in Roulette.

  • 1924-26 Rev H. L. Barberry An English bachelor
  • 1926-29 Rev James Perkins He told his congregation, "Don't do as I do, but do as I say."
  • 1929-30 Rev W. H. Salisbury He had been Salvation Army worker.
  • 1932-34 Rev Frank White
  • Next Rev R. E. Shergur He, his wife, and daughter were very musical.

  • 1937-40 Rev. Andresen Up until this time the Fishing Creek church had been in little use until revived by Anderson who came 37-40. With him were his wife Gertrude and two youngsters Soren and Sona. They were from Norway. Later he was a chaplain in Navy and last knew he was on sea duty.

A meeting was held in Merle Knight's home. Rev. Henry Andresen explained the requirements of organizing an Methodist Church. Appointed Armina [O. A.] Knight Secretary pro-tem. Those present were Mrs. Nickles, Mrs. Glista [Everett] Harned, Mrs. Grace [Merle] Knight, Mrs. Orva [Ken] Hyde, Mrs. Emma [Robert B.] Greene. Officers elected were: President, Mrs. Vesta [John] Miller; Secretary, Orva Hyde, and Treasurer, Mrs. Sarah [William] Drabert.

July 1940
Members joined:

Vesta [Knight] Miller Laura Miller
Ken and Orva [Knight] Hyde O[scar] A and Armina Knight
Everett and Glista Harned Beatriss [Weimer] Kibbe
Wm and Sarah Drabert Grace [Church] Knight

About this time Ladies Aid was formed. and in it were Catholics, Seventh day Adventists, Baptists and all denominations and all was in harmony

Aug. 1, 1940
Quarterly conference held at Roulette. Officers appointed by Andresen:

Stewards Trustees
Grace [Church] Knight Grace Knight
Kenneth Hyde Lucie [Stevens] Greene
Armina Knight Oscar Knight
John Miller Nettie Baker (honorary)

Aug. 29, 1940
Trustees Oscar Knight, Lucie Green, Grace Knight met and discussed roofing. They decided on double drain steel roof, which was steel double drain bought at Barr Hardware at a cost of $47.00. It is still in use; wish we had a few heads like that in our government now [1984]].

Sept. 22, 1940
Baptized by Andresen:

Lawrence Knight
Aug. 18, 1926
Richard Knight
Mar 1, 1932
Grace Knight
Lillie Kibbe
Vera June Hyde
Apr 6, 1929
Weimer J Kibbe
APR 9, 1929
Orva Hyde
Feb. 7 1908
Bessie Chandler
Age not known
Glista Harned
Vesta Miller
APR 25 1902
Laura Miller
Feb. 1922
Merritt Miller
Nov. 25 1924
Raymond Knight
Aug. 23 1936

1940-1942 Rev H J Walker. He and his wife were both ministers. They later became missionaries.

May 2, 1941
Meeting was held at R[obert] B[enjamite] Greene's about minister's salary. Ken Hyde made motion that each family pay $10 per year This was seconded by Everett Harned and approved. Rev Walker asked for volunteers to build fire and clean church as we burned wood. No takers. O. A. Knight suggested they ask R. B. Greene to do it for a fee. Instead, each member took turns doing it. Rev. Walker preached on tithes and offerings and got more response than anyone had before or has since.

Nov. 21, 1942- 1944] Rev Charles Ritenburg He conducted the first wedding ever held in church - Laura Marie Miller and Norman Vincent Tauscher. Later Rev. Ritenburg went to Ellicottville and became a Baptist. [Laura Miller was the daughter of Vesta and John Miller. the 17-year-old Laura Miller who was baptized in 1940]

1945 Rev J. H. Bailey , a retired minister and farmer, served awhile due to a shortage of ministers. He was an old man and had several churches. One day while I [Ken Hyde] was working, he had a servide at 11 a. m., and had a wedding in the afternoon, Orva, m wife, took him to our house and made him lie down awhile before the wedding, and then gave him something to eat. Then I got home, Bob, my son, was hopping mad because a strange man was in our bed!

1946-1948 Rev Harold Sherman and wife. Left for Shinglehouse. His wife said her mother told her if she wed a preacher she would have to live on beans. Must have had lots of beans. She looked well-fed.

1949-1950 Rev.Will Wilson A very nice old man He would start a collection with 5, 10, or 15 dollars from his own pocket and he would go in the bar rooms and solicit. His salary was $3.00 per Sunday. Under his ministry we started to raise money for gas and electric in church. In November, 1949, $5.00 was deposited on an electric meter. In January of 1950, $4.00 was used for light bulbs. It is my belief that Norman Tauscher wired part or all of the church. He later became a Methodist Minister. Richard Barr wired the church chandelier which was originally oil. Then in November, a gas furnace was installed and is still in use.

1951-52 Rev D. E. Shields was next. I believe he did some wiring and piping on the Roulette parsonage.

1952-55 Rev Gayle Ruoff and wife. She organized for choir in the Riverside church [Ken does not indicate very well when this practice of one minister pastoring both churches began. However, it may well have been so from the beginning as it was Rev. Brown in 1920 that landscaped the parsonage.]

1955-56 Rev Dallas Decker next

1956-57 Rev Howard Warriner He had the "Lord's garden". He had a stand at parsonage and sold 300 bushels of of corn as well as tomatoes and other vegetables, all for benefit of church.

1957-1958 we had Rev Sibley from Alfred and Rev Don Charles serve about one year each.

1958 Rev Lester Tallman Missionary from Okinawa for almost three years. After Tallman was Rev James Fleming and Rev Donald Goodsell about 3-4 months each.

1958 The Social room was built - paid for by ladies aid suppers and ice cream socials and donations. Very little labor was hired. Don Nuss laid the block and the ladies helped mix mortar by hand. Guy Lucas who had a camp nearby did not like to see ladies mix mud so he donated $125.00 to hire mud mixer. James McDonald, congressional Medal of Honor winner, wired [the] social room. (Vera, his wife, made the best lemon pies ever!)
Total disbursements $2175.65
Total Receipts (supper, socials, and donations) was $2260.01.

The sidewalk was donated by the Carroll Winsecks and installed by local help.


Making Ice Cream
Orva Hyde, Tom Knight, Bob Hyde

1960-61 Rev Garley Carpenter and wife. Refinished 2nd floor in parsonage in 1961.

1961-62 Rev Thomas McIntosh
Stamp and coin collector, also taught school in Austin 1/2 day a week.

1962-64 Rev Edward Hoyt and wife were next. Were active in boy scouts and PTO. In the summer of 1964, the Fishing Creek Church was painted outside. GLF paint cost $20.46 [GLF was forerunner of Agway. Ken's recollection for the painting was 1961, but pictures indicate 1964.]

The ceiling was lowered and the big ceiling light was a problem. The Ladies Aid agreed to furnish 6 pies and 2 gal ice cream to pay us for doing it. There were only about 6 of us doing the work. When the work was finished, the ladies brought us our treat.
Orva [Hyde], 3 raisin pies
Grace [Knight] 3 apple pies
Lucie [Greene] 2 cherry
Nora [Thielges], 2 pumpkins
Harriet [Winseck], 2 lemon
Shirley [Miller], pan of fruit squares
plus ice cream galore!.
Whew! Wish we another ceiling to lower. Elmer Motilla, Bob's [Hyde] college roommate gave out with accordion music using Kathy Winseck's accordion.

1965-72 Rev T Lee Bennett and wife and 3 children came next. (Tammy was born later on.) He was very sincere. He is teaching school in Port Allegany. He helped paint roof of church and helped in wiring. In 69 or 70, the Fishing Creek church people paneled and insulated parsonage and painted the upper story. T. Lee did the wiring upstairs.

1970-73 Rev Lewis Starkweather
A very nice man semi-retired And is still serving part time but in very poor health. [In 1972, Ken and Bob Hyde with Carroll Winseck made the sign for the church. Each letter was cut by hand.]

1973-74 John Neidig had trouble conforming to conference rules and was let go.

1974-1976 David Sholes
Very well-liked by congregation, but not by conference. He is now serving a church in Des Moines, Iowa. It was at this time the church was insulated. The ceiling was later insulated - donated by Armina Knight.

1976-1977 Rev. Dennis Zears was very well-educated and then some, but we were not. We had a communication problem. Guess our lines were either busy or not open, the latter, I think.

1978 - 1979, Rev. Donald Miller, a very nice man and his very loving wife, Faye, were very will-liked by all who knew them. Rev. Miller retired July 1, 1983 after a fruitful ministry, and is missed by all, except when he and Fay pay us a visit. During their ministry, the sanctuary of the church caught fire The following was taken from a newspaper:

Special Service of Thanksgiving at Fishing Creek -

A Special Service of Thanksgiving and dedication will be held Sunday t the Fishing Creek United Methodist Church. The event was planned to observer 'the deliverance of our church at the time of the fire in March.'

Sometime between March 10 and Saturday, March 12, when the damage was discovered, there was a fire in the Church Sanctuary which burned through the floor and went out, apparently by itself. Members termed it a 'Miracle'. The celebration will start at 5:30 with a fellowship dinner. This will be followed by a service at approximately 7:00 p. m."

After a summer without a full-time pastor, the Fishing Creek and Riverside Churches became part of the Coudersport Area Larger Parish and are served by Rev. Paul Lauchle and Rev. William Kemp serving jointly. This brings us to our present state as of this writing.

Several interesting things not covered in Ken's history:
Fishing Creek Church has a very large alter mural depicting an allegory of peace on earth. It is done primitive style and quite striking Bob Hyde (Ken's son) says that it was done by Nellie Fields' son-in-law (or son from a previous marriage) about the time the church was renovated, in the 50s. Bob doesn't remember the man's name nor whether the painting was done early in the 50s when the furnace and electric were installed, or later when the social room was built.

The Ladies Aid met to quilt on Wednesday afternoon for years. They also held a Harvest Dinner in October and a Hunter's Supper on the first day of buck season all those years. The two dinners were a community tradition. The Harvest Dinner was a community dinner with everyone welcome and a contributed dish the 'price' of admission. The Hunter's Supper was the big fund-raiser. The ladies cooked all day - chicken pot pie and ham, coleslaw, sauerkraut salad, mashed potatoes and gravy. Community members and the ladies themselves supplied even more sides: vegetable dishes, breads, and pies for dessert. The older kids set and cleaned up tables and served beverages and desserts. No one ever missed one of these dinners. The pies, especially, were famous for miles. Through the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and into the 80s, hunters counted on eating at the church that first night after a long day's hunting.

(2008) The ladies gradually aged and most are gone now. They were replaced by a smaller group and most of those work outside the home. Even so, the a community dinner is still organized occasionally.


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