Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 72 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 72 of 192)
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from the Elks' Charity Herald, published
April 28, 1895, which amounted to $2,420.50.

Miss Emma Brevillier, who followed Mrs.
Kepler as Secretary, was, in turn, succeeded
in the spring of 1895, by Mrs. F. H. Schutle.


was organized January 10, 1891, and char-
tered by the Court on the 14th of November,
1892. Below is a list of its first officers :
President, F. F. Adams; Vice-Presidents,
J. F. Downing, R. J. Saltsman, L. M. Little;
Secretary-, W. B. Flickinger; Treasurer, Mrs.
F. V. Kepler; Attorney, F. A. Blila ; Agent,
Dr. Geo. W. Bell. The objects of the society
are " to protect children, aged persons and
the lower animals from cruelty, and to enforce
all laws for their protection." The associa-
tion has done a good work and deserves the
hearty support of the public. Dr. Bell served
as agent until October 7, 1895, when he re-
signed. He was succeeded by Dr. R. T.
Marks November 14, 1895.




The object of this organization is to keep
an oversight of the alms-house, jail or any in-
stitution under the supervision of the State
Board of Public Charities, and to call the at-
tention of the latter body to any derelictions
in duty on the part of the officers of the same
and to any cases of insane persons needing
their attention. Its members are appointed
by the State Board. The present members for
Erie county are Joseph M. Force of Erie and
H. G. Sweet of Union City.


The Erie Day Nursery was organized Oc-
tober 26, 1892, at the house of Mrs. C. V.
Gridley, its object being "to provide at a
reasonable charge, shelter, care and instruc-
tion for the children of working women, during
the hours they are employed elsewhere than in
their homes." Its first officer.s were : President,
Mrs. C. V. Gridley; First Vice-President,
Mrs. W. T. Black ; Second Vice-President,
Mrs. John T. Boyd; Secretary, Mrs. Wm.
Brewster ; Treasurer, Mrs. Chas. W. Daven-
port, with managers representing the different
Protestant organizations of the city. The
nursery was originally established on East
Sixth street, and has been removed as circum-
stances required. During the year ending
November 1,1893, the society received $831.29,
and during the year ending November 21, 1894,
11,415.26, including a balance of $163,87
on hand, which left a very small sum with
which to begin the new year. The nursery is
open daily from 6:80 a.m. to 6:30 p. m.,
and five cents per day is charged for each
child. A school was organized March 1, 1894.
The charge for membership in the society is
one dollar per year, and any person who pays
twenty dollars or upward becomes a life

In September, 1894, a free kindergarten,
with trained teachers, was established, Miss
Kate Spencer being Superintendent, and Miss
Ophelia Pierce assistant. A kindergarten
year consists of thirty-eight weeks, and the
age of children admitted is from 8 to 7 years.
A kindergarten training class is also sustained,
which is organized annually on the 2d Mon-
day in September.

The officers of the association in 1895 were
Mrs. Gridley, President ; Mrs. Black and
Mrs. F. M. Crane, Vice-Presidents ; Miss
Jennie Pressley, Secretary ; Mrs. Dr. Baker,


The Erie Exchange for Women's Work
was established in 1882, at 129 West Sixth
street. The object was to conduct a place where
the productions of women's handiwork could
be seen and exchanged or sold. Mrs. Addison
Leechwas President, with Mrs. W. L. Scott,
Mrs. General Reed and Mrs. Judge Souther
as Vice-Presidents. The Recording Secretary
was Mrs. Douglas Benson and the Correspond-
ing Secretary was Mrs. John Fleeharty. A
large advisory board and board of managers
assisted the principal officers. The Exchange
opened April 15, 1882, and closed in April,
1888. During its continuance it did good serv-
ice in creating a field for women's work.


A charter for a Homoeopathic Hospital,
Training School and Free Dispensary was
granted in 1894, the corporators being twelve
well-known physicians. Up to this date the
objects of the organization have only been
realized to the extent of establishing the Free
Dispensary, which is temporarily located in a
room on French street, opposite the Reed

i2j (^ /^c^^i^t^^^


Churches, Sunday Schools and Religious Societies. — [See Cliapter XVIII, General
History of Erie County.]



An effort to establish a Presbyterian congre-
gation in Erie was made as early as 1802, but
failed of success. The first Presbyterian min-
ister who preached within the city limits was
Rev. Johnson Eaton, who had settled at the
mouth of Walnut creek, in charge of the
Fairview Church. An extract from his jour-
nal reads thus: "Preached three months to
" the congregations of Erietown, Springfield
"and Mill Creek, beginning July, 180(3, at
" ninety dollars per quarter." After this there
is no account of regularly sustained services
at Erie for several years. A church was or-
ganized in September, 1815, and an engage-
ment entered into with Mr. Eaton to give one-
third of his time to the service of the congre-
gation, the remainder of the year being
divided between Fairview and North East.
Services were then held and for awhile subse-
quently in the old court-house, which was the
general rendezvous for public exercises of all
kinds. Judah Colt, a member of the church,
and one of its Elders, had erected on Sassafras
street, where Wm. Bell afterward resided, a
frame building, which was used in part for
school purposes. This became the first regu-
lar place of worship, and was familiarly
known for many years as " the yellow meet-
ing house."

Among the early members and attendants
of the church were Judah Colt, Giles San-
ford, Thomas Laird, George Kellogg, John
Evans, John Grubb, William Arbuckle,
George vSelden, Samuel Hays, George A.
Eliot, Thomas H. Sill, Joseph M. Sterrett,
the McClellands, Thomas Rees, Samuel Low,
Robert, George and Arthur Davison, Warren
and Calvin Foot, Benjamin, Giles and Ham-
lin Russell, Adam, Joseph and Pressley Ar-

buckle, Simeon, Ainbrose and James Dunn,
John and Andrew Norcross, Martin and Jo-
seph Hayes, William Whitley, Joseph and
Christian Ebersole, Michael Riblet, Abiather
Crane, Wm. Saltsinan, John Evans, William,
Robert and James Henry, John Grubb, John
and James Gray, John Justice, Joseph Abell,
John Boyd, John Cochran, Ebenezer Graham,
Joseph Johnston, John Pherrin, James and
Samuel Love, the Reeds of Mill Creek, Sam-
uel Hayes, Basil Hoskinson, Thos. H. Sill,
Daniel Dobbins, P. S. V. Hamot, J. C. Wal-
lace, Josiah Kellogg, Thomas Mehaftey, John
and James Dunlap, Thomas and Joseph G.
Moofhead, William Himrod, J. C. Spencer,
Jacob Vosburg, John Kelso, James Lytle,
John Law, John Teel, George Moore, Guy
Loomis, Myron Goodwin, Wm. Johns, Samuel
Brown, Thomas Stewart, Thomas Wilkins, E.
D. Gunnison, Frederick Wittich, E. C. Ben-
nett, Alanson Sherwood, A. E. Foster, and
Wm. Beatty. Others of a later date were C.
F. Perkins, Augustin Austin, J. D. Clark, D.
S. Clark, Chester B. Jones, Elihu Marvin,
Pardon Sennett, James C. Marshall, Capt.
Wm. Davenport, Prescott, James and Charles
Metcalf, Ira W. Hart, James and John Will-
iams, C. M. Tibbals, Robert f. Sterrett,
David Shirk, Joseph Neeley, Gates and Elam
Bennett, John Zimmerley, the Hiltons, Park-
insons, Sampsons, Bonnells, McCrearys and
Caugheys, John H. Burton, J. F. Downing,
I. B. Gara.'M. B. Lowry and Julius Morton.
The first elders were Judah Colt and George
Selden, sr.

From 1818, for five years, Mr. Eaton gave
one-half of his time to the Erie church. He
was succeeded October 23. 1824, by Rev.
David McKinney, who was ordained and in-
stalled as pastor of the First Presbyterian
Church of Erie April 13, 1825. Meantime, a
brick church building had been erected on the



site of the present structure. The date of its
construction was 1824, and it was dedicated
September 1, 1825. The pastoral relation of
Mr. McKinney was dissolved, at his own re-
quest, in 1829, and, on the 29th of September
of the same year, Rev. George A. Lyon was
installed in charge of the congregation, a posi-
tion he continued to hold for more than forty
years. Under his energetic ministry large ac-
cessions were made to the church during
1831— '82, j'ears which were marked by great
religious interest throughout the country. In
1857, more than a hundred were received at
one time, as the fruits of a revival, and, in
1865, ninety were added in the same manner.
At the great division of the Presbyterian
Church in 1838, the First Church attached
itself to the New School Assembly.

The corner-stone of the present church
building was laid on June 14, 1859, but the
edifice was not completed until nearly three
years later. The basement lecture room was
ready for occupancy on March 25, 1860, and
was used for the regular services of the con-
gregation until the dedication of the main
audience room on February 26, 1862.

The Selden Memorial chapel, a gift from
the lamented George Selden, in memory of his
wife, Mrs. Anna L. Selden, was erected in
1891, and dedicated in February, 1892, the
cost being $15,000, exclusive of the ground
and furnishings, which were supplied by the

A new organ was placed in the church
proper Julv, 1894, at an expense of $8,000.

Rev. Dr. Lyon died on March 24, 1871, at
Avon, N. Y., where he had gone for the sake
of his health, and was succeeded by Rev. A.
H. Carrier, who had been called as an asso-
ciate pastor a short time previous. The latter
began his services April 30, 1871, was installed
December 7th of that year, and resigned in
the fall of 1879. His successors have been as
follows : Part of 1879-'80, Rev. T. C. Easton ;
fall of 1880, Rev. William S. Fulton ; sum-
mer of 1889, Rev. T- H. Selden ; Decem-
ber 5, 1889, Rev. Herbert C. Ross, the
present incumbent. Rev. C. C. Kimball was
assistant pastor of the church for a period pre-
vious to the death of Dr. Lyon.

At the semi-Centennial Celebration of the
church held in 1875, Rev. A. H. Carrier, thus
spoke :

" This church — we say it in no self-glory-

ing spirit — has been by force of its position,
at the foundation of the present religious life
of this city. The Associate Reformed, now
the United Presbyterian, shares with it this
pre-eminence. This church, however, has
been fruitful in colonies. In the organization
of the Episcopal Church you meet with many
of the same names which you had before met
with upon the subscription roll and church
records of this congregation. In the organi-
zation of the Baptist Church the same fact is
in some measure true. * * *

"The church in East Mill Creek or Belle
Valley was a child of this.

" Upon the rolls of Park Church, organ-
ized in 1854, recorded there as its founders,
are the cherished and honored names of many
who had been for years in the front rank of
supporters and workers here, or who had been
baptized at its font, been taught in its Sab-
bath-school and had grown up under its in-

" The Central Church, organized February,
1871, was a transplantation at once of officers
from its session, an associate pastor from its
pulpit, workers from its Sabbath school, and
members from its community."

The societies of the church are :

Women's Foreign Missionary Society, or-
ganized in 1870.

Women's Home Missionary Society, or-
ganized in 1883.

Pastor's Aid Society, organized in 1885.

Young People's Societj' of Christian En-
deavor, organized in 1887.

Junior Society of Christian Endeavor, or-
ganized in 1892.

The vSunday-school of the church was es-
tablished in 1825, and has always been well
attended. The church maintains a Sunday-
school mission in the eastern part of the city.


Previous to the spring of 1855 several un-
successful attempts had been made to establish
an Old-School Presbyterian Church in Erie.
Park Church dates its commencement in that
year. The first service was held in a room in
the fourth story of Cadwell's block (now Ba-
ker & Ostheimer's), on State street, April
29, 1855, by Rev. W^illiam Wilson and Rev.
S. J. M. Eaton. About thirty persons were
present. The next meeting place was in
Gensheimer'shall, where, on the 28th of June,



1855, the church was organized by a commit-
tee appointed by the Presbytery of Erie.
From there the congregation moved into a
new building erected by Myron Sanford, ex-
pressly for their use, on the east side of French
street, between Sixth and Seventh, known as
Park Hall, w^here they remained until the
erection of a church building as hereinafter
stated. The names enrolled as members were
William Arbuckle, S. S. Spencer, D. B Mc-
Creary, Dver W. Fitch and wife, Mrs. Mary
Shattuck,"Miss Sarah Ward, Mrs. Mary W.
Fleury and Miss Kate M. Mason.

A Sabbath-school was organized on July
15, 1855, with twenty-five or thirty scholars,
S. S. Spencer, Esq., being elected superin-
tendent. Rev. William Wilson supplied the
pulpit till May, 1856, when Rev. William M.
Blackburn was invited to become " stated sup-
ply" of the church for one year. Mr.
Blackburn began his labors May 25, 1856.
The church then numbered only twenty-four
members. During the following year the
church and Sabbath-school grew rapidly ; a
iarge Bible class was organized ; the congre-
gation increased ; benevolent operations were
carried on with regularity and energy. May
27, 1857, Mr. Blackburn was installed pastor
of the church, which had increased to thirty-
five communicants. During the summer and
autumn of 1857 the present house of worship
was erected. It was dedicated December 22,
1857, with a sermon bv Rev. Frederick T.
Brown, of Cleveland, O". In 1858, forty-six
persons were added to the church upon a pro-
fession of faith — the largest increase, with one
exception, which Park Church has yet enjoyed.

Mr. Blackburn resigned after seven years
of labor, and on the 22d of February, 1864,
Rev. George F. Cain was chosen to be pas-
tor. The call was accepted and Mr. Cain was
installed May 11 of that year. At that time
there were 127 communicants. In April,
1872, the parsonage on the corner of Sassa-
fras and Seventh streets, was purchased. The
year ending April, 1866, ninety-two commu-
nicants were added to the church, of whom
sixty-eight professed for the first time their
faith in Christ.

March 29, 1870, the pastoral relation be-
tween Mr. Cain and the church was dissolved,
in order that he might accept a call to Phila-
delphia. The organization at the close of his
pastorate numbered 242 communicants. The

pastors following Mr. Cain have been as fol-
lows, the figures being the dates of their in-
stallation : February 8, 1871, Rev. J. O.
Denniston ; May 28, 1873, Rev. Thomas Ful-
lerton ; April 20, 1886, Rev. J. G. Patterson ;
January 27, 1891. Rev. J. C. Chapman. The
latter resigned February 3, 1895, and was suc-
ceeded by Rev. B. Canfield Jones in Novem-
ber of the same year.

During Mr. Denniston's pastorate the con-
gregation built a chapel costing over $3,000,
at Seventeenth and Chestnut streets, which
has since grown into the Chestnut Street Pres-
byterian Church.

In 1877, while Dr. FuUerton was pastor,
the home chapel, fronting on Seventh street,
and connected with the main church edifice
by a corridor, was erected at a cost of $5,500;
largely through the generosity of Elihu Mar-
vin. It was dedicated December 22, 1877,
being the twentieth anniversary of the dedi-
cation of the church.

The interior of the main building was
frescoed in 1882-3, and an organ put in, the
entire cost being .$9,000.

The church erected a mission chapel in
1889 on Eighteenth street, between German
and Parade, the congregation of which is in
a flourishing condition. The chapel cost
nearly $5,000, inclusive of the land, and the
money was wholly contributed by members of
Park Church. It was dedicated by Rev. Dr.
Patterson, in September, 1889. Connected
with the mission is a Sabbath-school and a
Young People's Society of Christian En-
deavor, the latter organized in April, 1895.
The Sabbath-school was started in 1884, five
3'ears before the mission was established.

Mr. Spencer continued as Superintendent
of the Park Church Sunday-school — with the
exception of two years, when it was under
the care of H. S. Jones and C. F. Allis —
until 1891, when he resigned and was suc-
ceeded by L. M. Little.

Mr. Cain, pastor from 1864 to 1870, after
leaving Erie, had charge of churches in Phila-
delphia, Springfield, O., and Albion, N. Y.
He dropped dead in his pulpit at the latter
place, in the middle of his morning service, on
September 21, 1890.

The first elders and trustees of the church
were as follows :

Elders — Samuel S. Spencer, David Ag-



Trustees — Giles Sanford, Joseph Arbuckle,
Ira W. Hart, Wm. C. Curry, J. C. Spencer,
John Moore, D. W. Fitch.

From its organization until 1891 the con-
gregation raised for various church and benevo-
lent objects the large sum of $257,436.

The societies of the church are :

Ladies' Aid Society, organized in 1871.

Foreign Missionary Society, organized
August 22, 1871.

Women's Home Missionary Society, or-
ganized in 1885.

Young People's Christian Endeavor So-
ciety, organized in March, 1886.

Junior Y. P. S. C. E., organized July 21,


This congregation, the second offshoot from
the First Presbyterian Church, was form-
ally organized on February 23, 1871, services
then and for a brief period afterward being
held in Walther's Hall. The original mem-
bership consisted of fiftj^-four persons. David
Shirk and Joseph A. French were chosen
Elders. Shortly afterward, the church ex-
tended a unanimous call to Rev. Charles C.
Kimball, which he accepted, and May 11,
1871, was installed by a committee from the
Presbytery. After the installation, the regu-
lar services of the church were held for two
years in Temperance Hall, on the third floor of
the present VVayne block. State, near Eighth

During the first year of the church's exist-
ence a lot on the northeast corner of Tenth
and Sassafras streets was purchased for $9,000,
and on the 2d of August, 1872, ground was
broken for the erection of a stone church edi-
fice. This building was opened for worship
Sabbath morning, June 8, 1873, with impres-
sive ceremonies, and formally dedicated on the
evening of the same day. The ceremonies
commenced with an anthem, followed by-
prayer and the reading of the twenty-fourth
Psalm by Rev. Dr. Stever. The pastor then
gave a sketch of the history and cost of the
building, after which brief remarks were made
by Rev. Mr. Stone, Rev. Dr. Wheeler, Rev.
Mr. Grassie, Rev. Capt. Kitwood, Rev. Dr.
John H. Vincent and Rev. Dr. Fullerton.
The building, as then completed, was designed
for Sabbath school purposes, the congregation
intending to add a main church structure. It

was of Ogdensburg blue limestone, trimmed
with Amherst sandstone, and cost about
$25,000. Within the first eleven months, the
number of communicants was doubled, and in
December, 1872, was 157. The Sabbath-
school had a similar rapid growth; it was or-
ganized in Walther's Hall February 11, 1871,
with an attendance of thirty-five scholars. On
Maj' 14 of the same year, it removed to Temper-
ance Hall, which was occupied until the com-
pletion of the chapel. In less than one year,
it reached an average attendance of 227, and
contributed for its own purposes and benevo-
lence the handsome sum of $1,069.47.

The chapel building above mentioned
burned down on the 27th of January, 1888,
inflicting a severe loss upon the congregation.
May 22 of the same year a contract was let
for a new structure, being the one now in use,
which was completed on November 17, 1889,
at a cost, inclusive of the organ, of some

October 12, 1878, Rev. Mr. Kimball was
dismissed from the pastorate, at his own request,
to accept a call to a church in Kansas City,
Mo. He preached for the congregation until
the first Sabbath in November of that year.
His successor in the pastorate was Rev. Solon
Cobb, of New Bedford, Mass., who was in-
stalled on the evening of December 26, 1878.
I'he latter gentleman filled the place until
Januaiy, 1895, when he resigned to take
charge of the Point Breeze Church in Pitts-
burg. Rev. Hugh L. Hodge assumed the pas-
torate October 15, 1895.

This congregation is notable for the unity,
harmony and cordial fellowship that have
marked all of its meetings and activities. Con-
stant increase of membership at each and every
communion season has been as unvarying as
the seed time and harvest of the natural

The Sabbath school has been under the
care of the same .Superintendent, Charles C.
Shirk, ever since its organization. The church
sustains two mission schools : The Central
(average attendance 120), on West Fourth
street, near Cascade, organized in 1888; and
the Glenwood (average attendance ninety-
seven), which meets in Fronce's hall, near the
southern limits of the city, organized in 1892.

The membership of the church, in August,
1894, was 711, and of the Sabbath-school 556.
During the twenty-three years of the church's



existence, up to the above date, it had paid
out about $226,000 in the different lines of
religious work, of which nearly )i!8,000 were
collected in the year lS98— t.

The societies of the church are :

Women's Foreign Missionary Society, or-
ganized in 1882.

Women's Home Missionary Society, or-
ganized in 1883.

Young People's Society of Christian En-
deavor, organized in 1887, succeeding the
Young People's Union, organized in 1875.

Junior Society of Christian Endeavor, or-
ganized January 16, 1895.


A Sabbath-school was opened early in
July, 1870, in the house of C. W. Brown,
on Eighteenth, between Chestnut and Walnut
streets, through the efforts of three lay mem-
bers of the First Presbyterian and Park Pres-
byterian Churches. On the iirst Sabbath but
one scholar was present. Two Sabbaths later,
the attendance increased to seventy-five, and.
as a result, a school was organized in a room
fitted up for the occasion near the present
house of worship. From this date to the 1st
of December following, the school was nomi-
nally under the care of the Y. M. C. A., when
it was taken under the charge of Park Pres-
byterian Church. At the end of the first year,
the school numbered over 200 members. In
order to put in some practical and useful form
their quota of the $5,000,000 memorial fund
which the Presbyterian Church in the United
States had agreed to raise as a thank-offering
to God for the cordial re-union of its dissevered
branches, the people of Park Church resolved
to build a house for this school. A building
on the corner of Seventeenth and Chestnut
streets, was completed in July. 1871, and dedi-
cated on the 2d of August following.

Rev. J. R. Wilson began to preach in the
spring of 1872. A church was organized in
January, 1873, and Mr. Wilson was installed
as pastor in the next September. He was
very successful in his ministry — the church in-
creasing within the first three year-s from nine
to fifty-six members, and the Sabbath-school
to 225. Mr. Wilson remained with the church
till the summer of 1879, when he resigned to
accept the chair of Greek Professor in Parson
College, Iowa. He was succeeded by Rev.
A. C. Wilson, who was installed as pastor

December 80, of that year, and remained until
July, 1880. From February, 1881, until June,
1883, the pulpit was filled by the Rev. J. D.
Kerr, as stated supply. He was followed in
the latter year by Rev. W. J. Hazlett. The
latter was succeeded by Rev. J, H. Edwards,
who filled the pulpit for three years. In No-
vember, 1886, Rev. R. S. VanCleve assumed
the pastoiate, but was compelled by ill-health
to resign in the fall of 1888. Rev. Geo.. F.
Reichel then served as a supply for fifteen
months. In January, 1891, Rev. Mr. Van-
Cleve again assumed charge of the congrega-
tion, as acting pastor, preferring that arrange-
ment, for personal reasons, rather than to be
formally installed.

A new brick church building took the

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 72 of 192)