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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 73 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 73 of 192)
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place of the original structure in 1891, which
cost about $10,000. It was dedicated on Octo-
ber 29th of the last named year.

The societies of the church are :

The Ladies' Missionary Society, organized
in March, 1879.

The Young People's Literary Union, or-
ganized in May, 1883.

The Young Ladies' Missionary Society,
organized in June, 1885.

The Pastor's Aid Society, organized in
June, 1886.

The Young People's Society of Christian
Endeavor, organized in September. 1887.

The Aaron and Hur Society, organized in
March, 1895.


About thirty families, members and adhe-
rents of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian
Church, had settled in Erie and the immedi-
ate neighborhood previous to 1811. They
were chiefly Scotch-Irish and the descend-
ants of Scotch-Irish, from the counties border-
ing on the Juniata and Susquehanna rivers.
In 1811, theMonongahela Presbytery appoint-
ed Rev. George Buchanan (pastor of a con-
gregation at Steubenville) " to preach two
Sabbaths in the borougii of Erie before the
next meeting of Presbytery." Mr. Buchanan
filled his appointment, probably in July or
August, 1811, and at the next meeting of
Presbytery, held September 4, 1811, a peti-
tion " for a supply of sermons" was received
" from persons residing in and near Erie and
Waterford." He returned to Erie county and
preached in these places in the fall of 1811,



being accompanied by the Rev. Samuel Weir,
a licentiate of the same Presbytery.

At the next meeting of Presbytery, a peti-
tion for the moderation of a call in the borough
of Erie and at Waterford was presented. Mr.
Galloway was appointed to preach in Erie on
the third Sabbath of January, 1812, " and
preside on the following Monday on that
business." The result was, that a unanimous
call was made for Rev. Robert Reid to offi-
ciate as pastor, which was accepted, and Octo-
ber 21, 1812, Mr. Reid was installed in charge
of the churches at Erie and Waterford. The
number of members when organized was about
seventy. Mr. Reid preached one-fourth of his
time in Waterford and tiie remainder in Erie,
until 1841, after which his entire service was
given to the work in Erie. April 12, 1818,
Archibald McSparren, Thomas Hughes and
David Robinson were ordained, and Alex-
ander Robinson installed, ruling elders of the
Erie Church, and James Dumars was ordained
a deacon. The first communion was held Oc-
tober 29, 1813, and forty-nine members par-

The congregation at first met for worship
wherever it could find accommodation, some
times in the old courthouse, some times in a
log house on the north side of Fifth street, be-
tween French and Holland, and oftener in a
log schoolhouse on the corner of Seventh and
Holland streets, upon the ground now occu-
pied by school No. 2. A church building was
erected in 1816, on Eighth street, a little west
of the present building. It was a frame
structure, 83x45 feet, and was removed in
1837 to State street, between Eleventh and
Twelfth streets. The present building was
completed and ready for occupancy in 1837,
and the basement was fitted up as a lecture
room, etc., in 1862.

An incident which occurred at the distri-
bution of pews in the new church, in 1837, is
worthy of record. Rufus S. Reed, whose
wife was a member of the church and himself
a liberal contributor to its funds and an at-
tendant quite regularly upon its services, came
in after considerable progress had been made
in the selection of pews. He inquired if
there was a pew for him, and he was informed
that they supposed that one of the two square
pews on each side of the pulpit would be his
choice, and that one had been assigned to the
pastor and the other reserved for him. He

inquired the price, which, when named, was
satisfactory. The building committee then
said: "Mr. Reed, we owe you about $300
more than your pew amounts to, and we
would like to turn the old house over to you
for as much of the debt as you can aflbrd to
allow for it." He replied : "I will take the
house and give you a receipt in full." He
sold it, to be removed, for $100, and gave the
money he received for it to the Rev. Robert
Reid, the pastor, as a present. The basement
of the new building, containing lecture room,
session room, infant class room, etc., was fin-
ished in 1862.

September 12, 1814, seventy-four members
communed, and June 9, 1825, 107 members,
the greatest number up to that time of any
one year. The largest number of new mem-
bers in any one year, up to 1876, was thirty-
seven, which occurred in 1874. In 1866
and in 1872 thirty-one new names were ad-
ded to the membership. These years of un-
usual accessions to the church resulted, in
1866, from general interest in religious mat-
ters awakened by the efforts of some revival
preachers who visited Erie that year ; in 1872
and 1874, from earnest work bj' the pastor
and members in prayer meeting held every
evening for two weeks before the communion,
in July, 1872, and in January, 1874.

The pastors of the church have been as
follows : Rev. Robert Reid, installed Octo-
ber 21, 1812— died May 15,1844; Rev. Jos.
H. Pressly, installed August 20, 1845— died
Novembers, 1874; Rev. J. C. Wilson, the
present incumbent, installed May 1, 1876.

Shortly after Mr. Reid became pastor, a
Union Sabbath-school was opened. It was
held variously in the old courthouse, and
in a house on French street, near the cor-
ner of Fifth street. Mr. Reid was the Su-
perintendent at first, but some of those in-
terested in the school, from other churches,
insisted upon introducing into the school
hymns and other matters which Mr. Reid
could not approve, and he withdrew. Subse-
quently he organized a school in his own
church, which was discontinued after a few
years, and there was no successful attempt to
revive it until after the installation of Mr.
Pressly. Tiie school opened on the first Sab-
bath of January, 1846, and the teachers were
John Hughes, James E. McNair, James L.
Gray, Miss Mary Warren, Miss Mary A.


Lainberton and Miss Elizabeth Reid. Fifty-
one scholars were preseiit. Dnring the month,
George W. Barr, Edward A. Mehaffey, James
C. Reid, George Hughes, Miss Margaret Mc-
Sparren, Miss Maria Kennedy, Miss Marga-
ret A. Pollock, Miss Celia Miles, Miss Mary
Jane Mehaffey and Miss Eliza McSparren
were added to the list of teachers. Dr.
Pressly acted as Superintendent until 1872.

The societies of the church are :

Women's Missionary Society, organized
November 28, 1875.

Young People's Society of Christian En-
deavor, organized May 31, 1887.

Junior Society of Christian Endeavor, or-
ganized Febiuary 1, 1895.

Young Women's Missionary Society, or-
ganized April 2, 1895.

The parsonage of the church was com-
menced in the fall of 1876, and occupied in
June, 1877.

The mission Sabbath-school, for quite a
while under the care of this church, was lo-
cated on Eighteenth street, east of German,
and continued there about five years. After
that it was removed to Seventeenth street,
midway between German and Parade, being
under the direct chi^rge of the congregation
for ten years. It was conducted independ-
ently of the congregation for a year and a half
more, and then handed over to the care of
Park Presbyterian Church. The date of the
beginning of this school was May, 1874.

ST. Paul's p. e. church.
The first services of the Protestant Epis-
copal Church in Erie were held in the old
courthouse, in 1826, by Rev. J. H. Hop-
kins, afterward Bishop of Vermont, and at
that time rector of Trinity Church, Pittsburg.
The records show that seven persons were
baptized by him before the year 1827, but the
dates are not given. The organization of the
parish was affected at a meeting held at the
house of P. S. V. Hamot March 17, 1827.
Rev. Charles Smith was appointed rector, and
Messrs. Thomas Forster, P. S. V. Hamot,
George Miles, George A. Eliot, Tabor Beebe,
Charles M. Reed, Thomas Forster, jr., D. C.
Barrett, William Kelley, Gilbert Knapp and
John A. Tracy were elected vestrymen for the

ensuing year. Col. Thomas Forster was
chosen Church Warden ; Tabor Beebe, Rec-
tor's Warden ; and P. S. V. Hamot, Secretary
to the Vestry. The male members of the
original vestry and congregation who were
Episcopalians, were Col. Forster and Capt.
George Miles. Mrs. Hamot, and perhaps two
or three other ladies were members of the
church. Several of the men were previously

At a meeting held on July 22, 1827, Rev.
Mr. Smith's resignation was tendered, and ac-
cepted December 8, ensuing. Rev. Benjamin
Hutchins ministered to the congregation for a
few months. It appears from the records of
a meeting, December 24, 1827, that Mr.
Hutchins had been acting as assistant for Mr.
Smith at Erie and Waterford, and that he de-
sired an independent charge at St. Paul's, but
without success.

At a Diocesan Convention held in Phila-
delphia in 1828. an application was made to
the Society for the Promotion of Christianity
in Pennsylvania for help to the Erie church,
which was granted. Messrs. Reed and Wal-
lace, the Erie delegates to the convention,
must have found, or heard of, the Rev. Ben-
nett Glover, at Philadelphia, for a correspond-
ence was opened with him July 17, 1828, with
a view to his coming as rector. The war-
dens were instructed " to ascertain from Mr.
McConkey his terms for boarding, and, if
Mr. Glover will remain here some time, to
make the lowest and best boarding terms; also,
that Messrs. Kelley and Knapp make a bargain
with some person to keep the house clean and
ring the bell for church." Mr. Glover was
called during the year. A new election of
wardens and vestrymen, held at the rooms of
Rev. Mr. Glover, November 22, 1830, resulted
as follows : Thomas Forster, George Nichol-
son, Tabor Beebe, John A. Tracy, William
Kelley, George A. Eliot, Thomas Forster, jr.,
Elijah Babbitt, George Miles and Alexander
McKee, Vestrymen ; Thomas Forster and
George Nicholson, Wardens ; George A. Eliot,
Treasurer ; P. S. V. Hamot, Secretary. Thos.
Forster, Tabor Beebe, P. S. V. Hamot and
Elijah Babbitt were appointed a committee to
procure a plan for a church. At the next meet-
ing (December 1, 1830), it was—

''Resolved, That we accept of the purchase
made bv John B. Wallace, Esq., of James
Moore, 'of' Lot No. 1729 at $250, the said


Moore subscribing twenty-five dollars, and
that the Treasurer be directed to pay fifty dol-
lars and receive the deed and give the bond
and mortgage.''

The deed for the church lot was made to
George A. Eliot, Charles M. Reed and John
A. Tracy in trust. Among those making pro-
posals for the building were C. G. Howell and
Mehaff'ey & Hoskinson. B. Tomlinson, John
Teel and John Dunlap also submitted bids for
parts of the work. The contract for a build-
ing was made with Mehaff'ey & Hoskinson for
$8,399, they being required " to use brick
from Dunn or Sawtel's yard," and also to
" take an account of subscriptions in brick,
stone, masonry and lime." The church was
duly completed, the slips sold " free of tax,"
and the debts gradually paid oft". An organ
was bought and paid for, and a bell weighing
four or five hundred pounds. No aid was re-
ceived from abroad except a subscription from
J. B. Wallace, and one of $150 from Rev.
Mr. Hopkins.

The church was dedicated by Bishop On-
derdonck in 1884. A burial ground west of
Myrtle street, between Seventh and Eighth
streets, had been previously purchased, and
paid for by subscription. A small lecture
room was built in the rear of the church in
1836, for use chiefly of the Sunday-school.
The school had been organized in the court
house, before tiie church was built, by Mrs.
William A. Brown, Mrs. Hamot and others.

The church was enlarged in 1847, and old
residents describe the pulpit placed in the
building at that time as a curiosity. " It was
very high, and the preacher entered it from a
flight of stairs opening from the vestry room
in the rear. When in it his head was in an
arch in the wall, in shape like a brick oven.
The altar and reading desk on the top of it
remained till the Rev. Mr. Abercrombie
had a new desk and altar made. Rev. Mr.
Carstensten induced the vestry to abolish
the 'three decker' arrangement on taking j
charge of the parish. A lecturn then took
the place of the pidpit, and the altar was put
in its proper place."'

The present stone church edifice, located on '■
the south side of West Sixth, between Peach |
and Sassafras streets, was completed in 1866, ]
and dedicated in 1869, clear of debt. Its i
cost was something over $60,000. While the !
building was in course of erection Sunday

services were held in Farrar Hall (now the
Opera House), and week-day meetings in pri-
vate houses.

Rev. Mr. Glover continued (o serve the
parish on a small salary, with the aid of the
Society for the Promotion of Christianity,
till his death in 1888, when Rev. P. Teller
Babbitt became rector, serving until 1840.
He was succeeded by Rev. Henry Tullidge,
who continued until 1846. The next rector
was Rev. William Flint, who served several
years. Rev. Charles Arey succeeded Mr.
Flint in January, 1853, and served the parish
two years. The vestry not agreeing upon a
successor. Bishop Potter sent Rev. John A.
Bowman as missionary, who remained as a
temporary supply for a year or more. Rev.
D. C. Page was rector of the parish for a
short time after Mr. Bowman's removal.
Rev. James Abercrombie became rector in the
summer of 1857, and was followed by Rev.
John F. Spaulding April 1, 1862.

Mr. Spaulding was elected Missionary
Bishop of Colorado and W^yoming in October,
1878, and was consecrated in St. Paul's Church
December 31 of that year. The next rector
was Rev. W. H. Mills, who remained until
March, 1880, when he resigned to accept a
call to St. Paul's Church, Yonkers, N. Y.
Pie was succeeded by Rev. James T. Franklin
in April, 1880, who died two years later.
Rev.G. A. Carstensten assumed the rectorship
July 1, 1882, and remained until 1889. In
June of the latter year Rev. John Huske be-
cAme rector and continued until after Easter,
1898. The present rector, Rev. Edward E.
Matthews, was sent here by the bishop of the
diocese, to act temporarily, soon after Mr.
Huske resigned, and was regularly called to
the charge of the parish in October, 1893.

August 11, 1881, St. Paul's narrowly es-
caped destruction by fire, the south end being
damaged to the extent of $10,000. The build-
ing was promptly restored and greatly im-
proved. A fine organ was presented to the
church at the time by Hon. William L. Scott.

The parish administration in 1895 was as
follows :

Rector— Rev. E. E. Matthews.

Wardens— John W. Reynolds, T. W.

Vestrymen — (arranged in the order of
seniority of continuous membership) — 1874,
John W. Reynolds, R. T.Williams; 1875,




W. W. Reed ; 1883, T. W. Shacklett ; 1886,
Geo. W. Starr, Joseph P. Metcalf; 1887,
John S. Richards; 1889, John E. Ashby ;
1892, W. B. Brooks, T- «• VanScoter; 1893,
C. M. Tibbals; 1895, G. T. Lewis.

Treasurer — W. B. Brooks.

Secretary — T. W. Shacklett.

Choir Master — Douglas Benson.

Organist — Mary Wheeler.

Lay Readers — Willis S. Bancroft, Louis
Leakey, James J. Bassett, T. W. Shacklett.

The surpliced choir was organized by Rev.
Mr. Carstensen in 1885. Its first service was
on the second Sunday in October of that year.

Missions and Societies.

Trinity Mission. — In 1878 Trinity Mission
was established by St. Paul's congregation at
the corner of Sixth and Cascade streets. A
chapel was erected and dedicated the same
year. Services are held regularly by the rec-
tor of the parent church. A Sunday-school
is attached to the mission. Trinity Guild
takes charge of the mission services.

Grace Mission. — Established by St. Paul's
congregation at Third and German streets has
been abandoned. The chapel, erected in 1874,
was sold in May, 1894, to the congregation of
the Luther Memorial Church, and moved to
Tenth and Wayne streets, where it is in use as
a mission chapel of the latter body.

A mission under the direction of the rector
of St. Paul's Church is maintained at Wells-
burg, in this county. It is known as Lundy's
Lane Mission, from the name of the postoffice.

Societies — The societies of the church are as
follows :

Parochial Society, organized January 13,

St. Agnes' Guild, organized October, 1882.

Ministering Children's League, organized
January, 1893.

Chancel Society, organized August, 1893.

The Parish Visiting Committee — Object,
to assist the rector.

" The Circles'' — Object, parish house fund.

ST. John's p. e. church.
During the winter of 1866 Rev. J. F.
Spaulding, rector of St. Paul's Church, held
services once in two weeks, on week day
evenings, at the houses of some of his parish-
ioners and of friends of the church in the
neighborhood of, and a little south of the depot.

In March, 1867, a parish organization was
formed, with David T. Jones, William Nich-
olson, Samuel B. Barnum, William Bush, R.
A. Fancher and A. W. VanTassel as Vestry-
men. The vestry elected Rev. J. H. Black,
P-ector; George Burton and David T. Jones,
Wardens; S. H. Metcalf, Secretary, and W.
G. Gardiner, Treasurer.

On the 1st of April, 1867, Urban's Hall,
on Peach street, was secured, and regular
church services and a Sunday-school com-
menced, which were both continued with in-
creasing interest and attendance during the
year. A year later, the parish lost the services
of their rector, he having removed from the
city. Sunday services were, however, con-
tinued by the reading of morning service and
a sermon by the wardens. Evening service
was conducted by Rev. Mr. Spaulding, of St.
Paul's. In May following, Rev. Calvin C.
Parker was elected rector, who accepted the
call and entered upon his duties the first Sun-
day in July. The parish was duly incorpora-
ted and admitted into union with the conven-
tion of the diocese June 2.

In July, plans and specifications were pre-
pared for a church edifice, which was erected
on a lot on Sixteenth street, between Peach
and Sassafras. The corner-stone was laid on
Tuesday afternoon, July 28, 1868, at 6 o'clock,
by Bishop Kerfoot, of the Diocese of Pitts-

The buildirg was consecrated June 20,
1871, by Bishop Kerfoot and Bishop Cox, of
Western New York, the latter preaching the

Rev. Mr. Parker remained as rector of the
church until September, 1872, and in the fol-
lowing November was succeeded by Rev. S.
D. McConnell, who resigned in April, 1874,
to take charge of a church in Philadelphia,
where he has become one of the leading men
in the denomination. The next rector was
Rev. S. H. Hilliard, whose term of service
began in September. 1874, and terminated in
June, 1876. The following August he was
succeeded by his brother, the Rev. F. W. Hil-
liard, who served the congregation until Au
gust, 1878. Rev. J. M. Benedict became the
next rector, entering upon his duties in Feb-
ruary, 1879, and severing his connection with
the charge in November, 1881. Mr. Bene-
dict was succeeded in April, 1882, b}- Rev.
L. C. Rogers, whose rectorship extended un-



til July, 1883. The rectors since have been
as follows: 1883-5 Rev. W. M. Cook;
1885-92, Rev. Andrew Fleming; 1892-94,
Rev. Chas. M. Kimball ; 1894, Rev. Henry
B. Jefferson; June, 1894, Rev. Geo. Win-
throp Sargent.

The societies of the church are :

Parochial Society, organized early in the
history of the church.

St. Cecilia Guild, organized in 1894.

Chancel Society, organized in 1894.

Boy's Club, organized in 1894.

[For an account of the consolidation of St.
John's and St. Vincent's parishes, see ensuing

ST. Vincent's p. e. church.

In May, 1868, under the direction of Rev.
J. F. Spaulding, of St. Paul's, a small Sun-
day-school of six teachers and eight scholars
was organized at the public schoolhouse on
East Tenth street, near Wayne, and placed
under the superintendence of Boyd Vincent,
then making preparation to enter the ministry.
The neighborhood was thoroughly canvassed
for scholars from house to house, and a men's
Bible class soon started. In October follow-
ing, lay services on alternate Sundays, with
the reading of a sermon, were begun, and at-
tended by a dozen or fifteen persons. These
and the Sunday-school were soon found to be
mutually productive of benefit. At Christ-
mas, there was an average attendance in the
school of sixty scholars and eleven teachers.
Soon after a woman's Bible class was added,
and mainly from the members of this and the
men's Bible class the attendance at the weekly
church services was increased to thirty or
forty persons.

. About this time the work was given fresh
character by assuming the name of " The
Cross and Crown Mission." By May 24, the
first anniversary of the school's organization,
the average attendance of scholars was eighty.
In June, the lay services were superseded by
an afternoon clerical service by Rev. Mr.

From the beginning the expenses of the
mission had been partly met by the contribu-
tions of the members themselves, though the)'
were mainly defrayed by donations from St.
Paul's Sunday-school and from a few inter-
ested friends, as also by subscriptions in the

mother parish. But, in October, 1869, only
eighteen months after the mission was started,
the number of adult members in the congre-
gation and Bible class was such that they
spontaneously proposed and proceeded to
make the work actually self-supporting, al-
though still formally connected with St. Paul's
parish. In November, the original Superin-
tendent being called from the city, William
T. Smith was elected to fill the place.

In January, |217 had been raised by sub-
scription for the purchase of a cabinet organ
and a small librarj', and soon after steps were
taken for the erection of a chapel. Out of five
lots generously offered for the purpose, that of
William M. Watts, of Carlisle, situated at the
corner of Twelfth and Ash streets, was ac-
cepted. The corner-stone of a building was
laid in July, 1870, and in February, 1871, the
edifice, ready for use and free from debt, was
consecrated. The building cost $4,000, of
which .$800 were contributed by the members
of the mission, and the balance by members
of St. Paul's parish.

In July, 1872, Rev. Boyd Vincent, as as-
sistant minister of St. Paul's Church, was
placed in charge of the work at the Cross and
Crown. The same month the church was ad-
mitted into union with the convention of the
diocese as an independent and self-supporting
parish, Mr. Vincent becoming its full rector.
His rectorship of the charge was dissolved in
the spring of 1874, he going to Pittsburg,
from which city he was elected to be Bishop
of Southern Ohio.

His successor was Rev. Bernard Schulte,
who remained until June, 1876, when he was
followed by Rev. S. A. McNulty, whose stay
with the church was less than one year. In
July, 1877, Rev. John Graham became rector
and served for a period of two years. The
pulpit was then vacant for some months. In
January, 1880, the next rector. Rev. W. H.
Rogers, entered upon his duties. The term
of his rectorship lasted until August, 1881,
from which time until April, 1882, the church
was without a rector. At the date last named,
Rev. L. W. Rogers became the rector and
remained until July 1, 1883. The rectors
since have been as follows ; 1884, Rev. Rob-
ert H. Neide ; 1884 to '88, Rev. David Moer;
1888 to '93, Rev. Wm. Price; 1893 to date.
Rev. Wm. Johnson.

The name of the church was changed to


St. Vincent's in August, 1894, when it be-
came an incorporated body.

Thie societies are :

The Ladies' Parochial Society.

The Young People's Guild.

The Altar Guild.

On the evening of November 22, 1895,
arrangements were perfected for the consoli-
dation of St. John's and St. Vincent's parishes
into one organization, to be known by the lat-
ter name, and to be under the joint charge of
their respective rectors. Revs. Wm. Johnson
and Geo. W. Sargent. Vestrymen were cho-
sen as follows: D. T. Jones, J. S. Scobell,
L. F. White, A. A. Aldrich, of St. John's;
and Walter Nunn, James Gaskell, John Bur-
gess, J. H. Bennett and George Gardner, of

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 73 of 192)