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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 74 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 74 of 192)
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St. Vincent's. D. T. Jones was chosen Senior
Warden, Walter Nunn Junior Warden, and
J. H. Bennett Secretary. A new church
building is to be erected, and the two old ones
disposed of. The new organization comprises
105 communicants from St. Vincent's and 130
from St. John's.

ST. alban"s p. e. church.

This, the latest Episcopal organization,
was established as a mission in February,
1894, under the lead of Rev. H. B. Jefferson,
rector in charge. A charter was granted in
September, 1894, and the following executive
committee chosen: Geo, P. Colt, President;
John A. Beebe, Treasurer ; Reed Caughey,
Secretary; George Burton, Frank L. Arm-
strong, Charles D. Herron, A. A. Freeman,
John Fleeharty. The present rector. Rev. Wm.
Wirt Mills, was called in February, 1895. Meet-
ings were held in 1894 in the Jewish Syna-
gogue. On March 17, 1895, Mr. Mills began
services in the old Board of Trade rooms in
the Exchange building, which had been fitted
up for the purpose. The church, which is
ritualistic in its services, was admitted into
union with the Diocese of Pittsburg in 1894.

The societies are :

St. Helen's Guild, organized in 1894.

St. Mary's Guild, organized in 1894.

The choir provides the music on Sundays,
and the acolytes assist the priest at the altar.
A singing school for girls and a crayon class
for boys are maintained by the congregation.
The Sunday-school was established at the
same time as the church.



As detailed at length in the General His-
tory of Erie county, meetings of the Methodist
Episcopal denomination were held in Erie by
circuit preachers at long intervals, commenc-
ing in 1801. Worship took place in the win-
ter of 1810 and 1811 in a tavern on the west
side of French street, between Si.xth and
Seventh. A congregation seems to have been
partially established soon after the beginning
of the century, but no regular permanent or-
ganization was effected until the year 1826.
Rev. Samuel Gregg, in his " Historj' of Metho-
dism within the bounds of Erie Conference,"
thus alludes to the church at Erie in 1826 :
" Erie, Pa., was a flourishing village in which,
though Methodist preaching had frequently
been enjoyed by the people, no permanent
organization had been made until this year.
Mr. James McConkey and wife, members
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Balti-
more, moved to Erie to reside ; and Mr.
David Burton and wife attended the meet-
ing at Harbor creek, and were there con-
verted, and invited Mr. Knapp to establish
an appointment in Erie, and the same winter
a class was formed composed of the above-
named persons and a few others. Mr. Mc-
Conkey was appointed leader, and soon after
secured to the church the lot on Seventh
street, on which their first church was sub-
sequently built; the cost was $800." The Mr.
Knapp referred to was Rev. Henry Knapp,
who was in charge of North East Circuit. He
died in Wesleyville, May 20, 1827, and his final
resting place is in the rear of the Methodist
Episcopal Church in that village.

The ministers who traveled the circuit, of
which the First Church constituted an appoint-
ment from 1826 until 1830, were Revs.
Nathaniel Reeder and E. Stevenson, in 1826;
Revs. Job Wilson and J. W. Davis, in 1827;
Revs. }. W. Davis and J. Jones, in 1828 ; Rev,
S. Ayersand W. C. Richey, in 1829. In 1880,
the appointment was on Erie Circuit, which
was formed that year. The preacher in charge
was Rev. J. S. Barris, with Rev. A. C.Young
as his colleague. Mr. Barris' salary was $167.
December 26, 1880, at the close of a meeting
in the court-house, a subscription paper was
circulated to raise money to pay the preacher.
For the support of the preachers on Erie Cir-



cuit in 1833, the First Church subscribed fifty-
five dollars. From 1830 until 1834, the circuit
riders were, in the year 1831, Revs. J. P.
Kent and A. Plimpton ; 1832, Revs. J. Chan-
dler and E. B. Steadman ; 1833, Revs. J.
Chandler and S. Gregg.

Erie charge was made a station in 1884,
and the appointment given to Rev. E. P.
Steadman, which he did not fill, and the
church was supplied. During the following
year the church officers were as follows :
Trustees, James McConkey, E. N. Hulburt,
John Richards, David Burton ; Stewards,
James McConkey, E. N. Hulburt, Daniel B.
Large, James Thompson ; Class Leaders,
James McConkey, David Burton and James

The pastors of the church since 1834 have
been as follows : A. G. Sturges, 1835; R. A.
Aylworth, 1836; J- W. Lowe, 1837-38; B. K.
Maltby, 1839; T- J- Steadman, 1840; A. Hall,
1841; A. M. Brown, 1842; D. Smith, 1843;
Calvin Kingsley (afterward Bishop), 1844—45;
Lester James, 1846; T. Stubbs, 1847-48; E.
Jones, 1849; S. Gregg, 1850-51; J. W. Lowe,
1852; Hiram Kinsley, 1853; J. E. Chapin,
1854-55; W. F. Wilson, 1856-57; D. C.
Wright, 1858; G. W. Clark, 1859; T- D-
Norton, 1859; J. Peate, 1860-61; D. C. Os-
borne, 1862-64; E. A. Johnson, 1865-67; A.
S. Dobbs, 1868-69; E. J. L. Baker, 1869; W.
W. Wythe, 1870-71; A. Wheeler, 1872-73;
W. W. Ramsay, 1874-76; J. D. Adams,
1877-78 ; D. H. Muller, 1879-81 ; A. N. Craft,
1882-83; W. H. Pearce, 1884-85; Lucien
Clarke, 1886-87 ; N. Luccock, 1888-93 ; H. A.
Cleveland, 1893 to 1894; S. D. HutsenpiUer,
October, 1894, to date.

In 1838-39 a frame church building was
built on Seventh street, and, at the close of
the conference year, 1839, the first official
meeting was held in "Wesley Chapel." In
1844, the annual Conference was held in this
house, and the church had so increased that it
was found necessary to enlarge the building,
which was done at an expense of $1,300. In
1851, a parsonage was built, and, in the year
following, a committee was appointed to select
a place in the city for a second church. The
committee organized a Sabbath-school in South
Erie, out of which grew Simpson Methodist
Episcopal Church.

The second and present house of worship
is located on the southeast corner of Seventh

and Sassafras streets. It is constructed of
brick, and was erected in 1859-60, at a cost of
$14,000. The architect was H. M. Wilcox,
and the building committee, William Sanborn,
James S. Sterrett, J. Hanson, John Burton, J.
B. Johnson, WiUiam C. Keeler and A. A.
Craig. The building was completed and dedi-
cated November 14, 1860, Bishop Simpson

The Sabbath-school was organized in the
conference year, 1829-30, with E. N. Hulburt
as Superintendent. The first corps of teachers
was : Miss Mary Converse, Miss Mary Coo-
ver, Thomas Richards, Peter Burton, Thomas
Stevens, Miss Amanda Bowers, Rebecca
Watkinson, Francis Dighton and John Dillon.
The school was held originally in a small one-
story frame building on East Fourth, between
French and Holland streets. It has been super-
intended by H. A. Strong for many years.

The church maintains the Brown's avenue
mission on Poplar street, between Nineteenth
and Twentieth.

The organizations connected with the
church are:

Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, or-
ganized September 5, 1874.

Ladies' Aid Society, organized in October

Woman's Home Missionary Society, or
ganized April 16, 1886.

The Thoburn Club, organized April 19

The Epworth League, organized in Octo
ber, 1890.


In the early part of the winter of 1858, a
meeting of eight weeks was held by the pastor
of the First church. Rev. W. F.Wilson. It was
wonderfully blessed, nearly a hundred being
added to the church, quite a number of whom
resided in South Erie. The brethren of the
last named locality, feeling that meetings
could be held with profit there, besought the
pastor to organize a class, which he did, and
appointed Heman Janes the leader. Messrs.
Janes, Goodrich and Oliver had secured a lot
and erected a building for a select school on
Sassafras street, opposite the Nicholson place,
where the class could meet for prayer meetings
or social worship. The number of members
thus associated was twenty-five. Soon after a
Sunday-school was organized with si.xty-three



attendants, Capt. Thos. Wilkins being its first
superintendent. The school-house continued
to be the main rallying place till the new
church was built, when it was moved on to
the church lot, and became part of the par-
sonage. Before this the brethren and friends
of the new church began to consider the pro-
priety of building a chapel. A board of trus-
tees was organized, composed of Thomas
Wilkins, Heman Janes, Emanuel Goodrich,
Alvin Thayer, A.'K. Miller, E. J. Ames and
Adam Acheson.

In the meantime, the lot where the present
church building and parsonage stand, at the
corner of Twenty-first and Sassafras streets,
was purchased by Capt. Thomas Wilkins and
Heman Janes on their personal responsibility,
for the sum of $500, and they held it in re-
serve to await the demands of the church.
A subscription paper was circulated and sums
were pledged, some of the largest being as
follows: Thomas Wilkins, |300 ; E.Good-
rich, $200; Dr. Dickinson, $100; A. Acheson,
$100; A. Yale, $100; Jacob Hanson, $100;
H. Janes, $500 ; in all about $1,600. This was
the situation when the Annual Conference
came in 1858. Mr. Wilson having filled a two
years' pastorate, was succeeded by Rev. D. C.
Wright. Soon after Bishop Simpson, whose
health was impaired, visited Erie, spent some
days here, and, learning the conditions m the
city, bade the brethren and friends in South
Erie God speed. Having secured a subscrip-
tion to justify, on August 3, they let the con-
tract, and the work began in earnest. The
building was completed in 1859, was dedica-
ted by Bishop Simpson on June 19, and
named Simpson Church in his honor. The
street on which it faced was also long known
as Simpson street, as a mark of the good will
felt by the people of South Erie toward the
eloquent and famous bishop. The church was
a mission until 18(56, when it became self-sup-

The regular pastors of the church from its
organization to the present time, with their
term of service, are given below :

1860-61, W. P. Bignell; 1861-62, R. M.
Warren; 1862-63, R. M. Warren; 1863-64,
A. C. Tibbitts; 1864-65, J. H. Tagg ; 1865-
66, J. H. Tagg; 1866-67,'j. H. Tagg; 1867-
68, b. Prossor ; 1868-69, F. H.Beck ; 1869-70,
A. N. Craft; 1870-71, A. N. Craft; 1871-72,
R. N. Stubbs; 1872-73, R.N.Stubbs ; 1873-74,

E. H. Yingling; 1874-75, E. H. Tingling ;
1875-76, P. P. Pinney ; 1876-77, P. P. Pin-
ney; 1877-78, E. A. Squier ; 1878-79, J. A.
Kummer; 1879-80, J. A. Kummer ; 1880-81,
J. A. Kummer; 1881-82, J. C. Scofield ;
1882-83, J. C. Scofield; 1884-86, Milton
Smith ; 1887-90, J. Boyd Espy ; 1891-95, J.
M. Bray; September, 1895, J. B. Neff.
Among others who preached in South Erie
before the organization of the church were
Revs. Clarke and Norton.

The parsonage, adjoining the church, was
built in 1859, and improved in 1889.

The societies of the church are :

Women's Foreign Mission Society, organ-
ized by Mrs. Rev. J. A. Kummer in July,

Epworth League, organized by Rev. J.
Boyd Espy in 1888.

Rev. Henry Sims was elected Superin-
tendent of the Sunday-school in October,
1874, and re-elected annually until and inclu-
ding the year 1886. He resigned in July,
1886, and was again elected January 1, 1894,
and 1895, being the present incumbent of the

A new church building, of brick and stone,
was erected in 1893-4, costing $25,000, which
is one of the handsomest and best arranged
in the city. The Sunday-school and church
each have a membership of 250.


Measures looking toward the organization
of a third Methodist Episcopal Church in
Erie were taken during the year 1866. A
subscription of $3,000 was raised and two lots
donated, provided the church was built with-
in five years. It was not, however, until Au-
gust 30, 1871, that the movement passed into
the actual stage. Rev. R. F. Keeler was ap-
pointed by the Erie Conference of that year
pastor of the Erie City Mission, with an as-
sisting appropriation of $350. The Young
Men's Christian Association in September
following gave him permission to preach in
their rooms on Eleventh street, east of Pa-
rade, and soon after resigned their Sunday
school into his hands. On the 8th of October
of the same year a class was formed of nine
persons, consisting of Seymour Torrey, Lead-
er; John S. Grove, Sarah A. Grove, M. F.
Hope, R. Hare, A. Speckman, Mary Thomp-
son, Charles N. and Rose W. Wheeler.



At a joint meeting of the official boards of
the First and Simpson Churches, held on Sep-
tember 25, 1871, a building committee for the
Mission was appointed, consisting of Revs.
W. W. Wythe, R. N. Stubbs, and R. F.
Keeler; also of S. P. Ensign and S. P. Long-
street, of the First Church ; T. H. Thurber
and R. F. Gaggin, of Simpson, and J. S.
Grove, W. H. Demming and H. Davis, of the
Mission. A site on which to build a church
having been purchased, the Mission began to
take steps toward the erection of a house
of worship. Subscriptions for a church were
secured in 1872, but the edifice was not
erected until 1873. The corner-stone was laid
with appropriate ceremonies. May 15, 1873,
by the Presiding Elder, D. M. Steever, as-
sisted by Revs. J. Tribby, R. F. Keeler and
others. The building was completed, and
opened for divine worship October 19, 1873,
and was dedicated January 25, 1874. It
stands on Tenth street, north side, between
Wallace and Ash. In 1893 extensive addi-
tions and improvements, costing $2,300, were
made to the church.

The pastors have been as follows, their
terms of service dating from September of
each year: 1871, R. F. Keeler; 1872, W. W.
Wythe; 1873, R. A. Caruthers ; 1874, D. M.
Steever; 1875, R. M. Gwynn ; 1876, W. G.
Williams ; 1877, William Martin ; 1878-79, W.
M. Martin ; 1880-81, P. A. Reno ; 1882-84, T-
H. Herron ; 1885, W. W. Wythe, 188(3-90, J.
L. Stratton; 1891, J. C. Scofield ; 1892-96. E.
M. Kernick.

A prosperous Sunday-school is supported.

The societies of the church are :

Ladies' Aid Society, organized early in its

Senior Epworth League, organized Octo-
ber 18, 1892.

Junior Epworth League, organized July
15, 1894.

The parsonage, which adjoins the church
on the east side, stood on the premises when
the lots were purchased. The value of the
church property is estimated at $12,000.


This congregation was organized on the
18th of August, 1889. A church building
was erected at Wayne and Twenty-second
streets in 1890, and a parsonage in 1893. An
incendiary fire on the night of June 18, 1895,

destroyed the church, inflicting a serious blow
to the young congregation. The corner-stone
of a new edifice was laid October 22, 1895.
The church maintains a prosperous Sunday-
school. Rev. Henry Sims was in charge when
the congregation was established. He was fol-
lowed by Rev. Mr. Dobson for one year, by
Rev. A. H. Bowen for two years and by
Rev. L. H. Eddlebute for two years. Rev.
A. A. Horton, the present pastor, assumed
charge in September, 1894.

The church societies are :

Epworth League, organized in October,

Ladies' Aid Society, organized m October.

Junior League, organized November 17,


Was organized December 11, 1888. It em-
braces members of the churches above named.
"Its object is to unite the M. E. Churches of
the city, and to plant mission churches and
Sunday-schools wherever the same can be


The city has been honored twice within a
few years by being selected as the meeting
place of the Erie Conference of the M. E.
Church — first, in September, 1885, and second
in September, 1895.


Fifty years ago or more efforts were made
to promote the spiritual welfare of the colored
people in Erie!by the establishment of a separate
place of public worship. In organizing a con-
gregation, differences of faith or of tenets were
manifest, culminating in the foundation of
two congregations, and the erection of two
places of worship. The Wesleyan M. E.
Church was built on Third street near the
corner of Chestnut, and the African M. E.
Church on the corner of Third and German
streets. Both churches languisiied, and finally
the idea of a distinct place of worship was
abandoned by the colored people.

The A. M. E. congregation was reorganized
as St. James' Church in 1875. Their placeof
worship was for a time on French street,
near the park. Soon after the formation of



the new society they came into possession of
their present church building, which then
stood on Sixth street, near Holland. The
church was a partial gift by the Young Men's
Christian Association. It was dedicated by
Bishop Wayman, of Pittsburg, May 19, 1878.
In 1881, the society secured a lot on Seventh
street, between German and Holland, where
the building was moved soon afterward. In
connection with the church is a Sunday-school
with an average attendance of forty.

The only association connected with the
church in August, 1895, was the Y. P. S. C.
E., organized in February, 1895, with the
following officers : President, Chas. Franklin;
Vice-President, Rose Rector ; Recording
Secretary, Anna Powers ; Corresponding Sec-
retary, Elizabeth Elmendorf; Treasurer,
Florence Vosburg.

The pastors have been Revs. Wheeler,
Phillips, Ross, Herbert, Griffith, Russell, Pal-
mer, Purrell, Brown, Till, Pride, West and
Wallace. The latter assumed charge in the
fall of 1895.



Among the converts at the great revival
held in the First Presbyterian Church, in the
spring of 1881, were a number of persons of
Baptist faith or in sympathy with the views
of that denomination. These met together
and organized the First Baptist Church of
Erie, which was recognized by a Council called
for the purpose on the 10th of April, 1831,
having the following constituent members : By
letter, Rev. E. Tucker, D. D., pastor ; Mr. and
Mrs. Orin N. Sage, E. D. Gunnison, Mrs.
Soule, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Fross, Miss Will-
iams ; by baptism, Otis G. Carter, Rowe B.
Rood, Charles T. Sage, Miss Julia Berry, Miss
Penelope Mann, Miss Lillie A. Soule, Miss
Sophia E. Gunnison and Miss Zilphia B. Cil-
ley. The meetings were held in the Academy
building and in the court-house, until the first
church edifice was erected, in the year 1833,
on the northwest corner of Fifth and Peach
streets. It was a substantial brick building,
having galleries. In 1865 the structure was
rebuilt or rather repaired and improved, the
rear of the house was extended, the tower
built, the galleries removed, etc., and other

improvements made at a cost of $10,000
or $11,000. The re-dedication services took
place on the 14th of December, 1865, Rev.
Dr. Strong, of Cleveland, Ohio, preaching in
the morning, and Rev. Dr. Robinson, of
Rochester, N. Y., in the evening. ■ Other im-
provements have since been made, especially
in 1895, which add to the comfort and con-
venience of the congregation.

The following is a list of the pastors of the
church : Rev. E. Tucker, D. D., April 10.
1831 ; Rev. William H. Newman, March 24,
1832; Rev. Charles Morton, November 2,
1833; Rev. Ried S. Witherall, Decembers,
1836; Rev. Tames A. Keyes, April 1, 1837;
Rev. A. W'. Baker, January 3, 1837 ; Rev.
LaFayette Baker, June 1, 1838 (died April 2,
1839); Rev. Ira Corwin, January 1, 1840;
Rev. Mr. Haskell, January 1, 1843: Rev. Joel
Johnson, April 1, 1843; Rev. Zebina Smith,
October 1, 1844; Rev. J. K. Barry, May 1,
1846; Rev. H. Silliman, August 1, 1848;
Rev. Charles Sherman, March 23, 1851 ; Rev.
Gilbert L. Stevens, January 1. 1853; Rev, J.
W. Hammond, Sep'tember 18, 1856; Rev.
William Haw, December 18, 1858; Rev. Mr.
Glanville, October 20, 1861 ; Rev. J. L. Hays,
January 13, 1863; Rev. William F. Bain-
bridge, June 1. 1865; Rev. A. W. Tousey,
December 1, 1868 ; Rev. C. H. Harvey, De-
cember 1, 1869; Rev. E. A. Stone, August 1,
1872; Rev. A. J. Bonsall, June 22, 1875;
Rev. William Gilkes, June 18,'l879; Rev. E.
T. Fox, July, 1884, to December 31, 1887;
Rev. J. C' Thorns, 1888 to 1892; Rev. H. C.
Hall, present pastor, from July, 1892.

The following persons have been ordained
by the church :

LaFayette Baker, June, 1838; David J.
Lloyd, September 12, 1838 ; William F. Bain-
bridge, December 15, 1865 ; Rev. John Stry-
ker, 1894.

The following have been licensed by the
church :

O. N. Sage, July 7, 1833; D. J. Lloyd,
April 16, 1835; LaFayette Baker, June 3,
1837; Thomas Mofcley, January 3, 1846;
George W. Gunnison, March 3, 1848; George
Whitman, December 9, 1866 ; C. A. Gardner,
1878; V. B. Fisk, 1894.

Under the pastorate of Mr. Bainbridge the
church was visited by a gracious revival, when
some 200 members became identified with it.
Another revival, led by Mr. Gilkes, resulted



in fifty accessions. The Sabbath-school of
the church was started at an early date, and
is well attended.

The congregation maintains three missions,
besides having been instrumental in founding
the church at Wesleyville, the Second Baptist
Church of Erie (originally known as Faith
Mission), and the Swedish Baptist Church, on
West Seventeenth street.

North Star Mission, on the south side of
Sixth street, near East avenue, was established
September 25, 1864, largely through the labors
of W. J. F. Liddell and Mrs. Eliza Crane.
The building was erected on a lot donated by
Hon. James Sill, and dedicated May 26, 1867.
A great revival originated within this struc-
ture in the winter of 1865-6, which spread
throughout the city.

Hope Mission is at the corner of Seventh
and Cascade streets. It was organized in
May, 1887 or 1888. The chapel and parsonage
were dedicated September 11, 1892. Among
the founders of the mission were J. W. Reed,
W. W. Harper, Edward Barry and P. Har-
lan. Mr. Reed was the first superintendent
of the Sunday-school.

The Wallace Mission is on the north side
of Eighteenth street, between Poplar and Lib-
erty. It was established in 1887, and its build-
ing was first occupied on November 25 of that

The societies of the First Church are :

Women's Foreign Missionary Society, or-
ganized 1875.

Ladies' Social Union, organized January,

Baptist Y. P. U. of Christian Endeavor,
organized April 14, 1892.

Baptist Musical Association, organized
January 1, 1894.

Young People's Home and Foreign Mis-
sionary Society, organized April, 1895.

Junior Baptist Y. P. U. of Christian En-
deavor, organized July 18, 1895.

The First-German Baptist Church is an
outgrowth from the First Baptist Church,
having been started largely through the efforts
of W. F. J. Liddell and John Gorr.


This church, at the corner of Reed and
Twenty-third streets, was organized and rec-
ognized as the Second Baptist Church on
June 27, 1891. Previous to that it had been

known as Faith Mission of the First Baptist
Church. The congregation was incorporated
July 26, 1893. The first pastor was Rev.
Jesse Boswell, and the present one is Rev. J.
H. Lowe. The Ladies' Aid Society was
organized May 11, 1893, and the B. Y. P. IT.
of Christian Endeavor on August 8, 1895.
The Sunday-school was in existence previous
to the mission, having been started by Phi-
lander Edson and Rev. Mr. Thorns on De-
cember 1, 1888.


This church was organized in JudsonHall,
on Peach street, by Rev. A. Van Puttkammer,
in October, 1861. It started with twenty-
two members, and a Sunday-school number-
ing from thirty to thirty-live scholars. In
July, 1868, Rev. Anthony Ha-nsler was chos-
en pastor. A church was erected in 1864 on
Seventeenth street between Peach and Sassa-
fras, which was dedicated on the first Sunday
in July of that year. During the spring of
1866, the congregation built a parsonage
back of the church. In May, 1865, Mr.
Hsnsler accepted a call from Attica, N. Y.
In June, 1865, Rev. John Eisenmenger was
chosen pastor, and was ordained in the fall of
the same year. During his stay, about thirty-
five persons were added to the church upon
profession of faith. In August, 1868, Mr.
Eisenmenger accepted a call to Canada. The
same month, the church called Rev. Adolf
Ginins, who was ordained a few months after.
During his stay, fifteen persons were added to

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 74 of 192)