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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 77 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 77 of 192)
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lies were organized into a class, with Philip
Fendenheim as their leader. In 1888 Rev.
H. Bucks was succeeded by Rev. J. H. Jam-
bert. Further accessions to the class were the
families of M. Doll, J. Goeppert, F. Stoll and
others. The following year Rev. P. Wagner
was appointed to the circuit, who was suc-
ceeded in 1840 by Revs. P. Goetz and C.
Augenstein, the circuit then embracing the
counties of Erie, Crawford and Mercer. The
former remained two years, and the latter but
one, when Rev. J. Schaefer became the col-
league of Mr. Goetz. In 1842 these gentle-
men were succeeded by Revs. A. Niebel and
C. Lindner, and they in 1848 by Rev. Sam-
uel Heiss.

Up to this date the services were held al-
ternately in the dwellings of C. Doll, P. Fen-
denheim, and latterly almost exclusively in

that of Mr. Doll. During the year 1848 the
congregation erected a small frame church on
Fourteenth street, between Peach and .Sassa-
fras. In 1849 a parsonage was built ad-
joining the house of worship. Subsequently
a lot was purchased on the corner of Peach
and Twelfth streets, and in 1854 the church
building and parsonage were removed to it.
This building became too small for the in-
creasing congregation, and the little frame
structure gave way in the year 1868 to the
present brick edifice, which stands on the
same lot, and was erected at a cost of $7,000.
It was considerably changed and improved in
1881-2, and a brick parsonage took the place
of the original one in 1888, which latter cost

Up to the year 1849 the society at Erie
was connected with the Erie circuit, saving a
short period; butin the year following (1850),
by action of the Conference, the city was sep-
arated therefrom and taken up as a mission.
The charge at Erie remained a mission for a
number of years, but was again attached to
the adjoining circuit, with which it remained
until 1861, when it became a separate charge.

Among the pastors of the church since
Mr. Heiss have been Revs. P. Hahn, P.
Wist, J. Rockert, J- Nicolai, C. G. Koch, I.
G. PfeifFer, A. Niebel, G. W. Fischer, P.
Schnilly, y. Reihm, W. Schmitt, J- Bern-
hart, A. Staehly, C. F. Harting, M. Zirkel,
H. W. Hampe, J. Dick, D. J. Honecker,
Thomas Luhr, J. Lany, G. F. Spreng, G.
Nerstecher, H. Wisgand, George Goetz and
Ernest Koehne, present incumbent. Under
the early rules of the Asseciation, a minister
could not remain in one charge longer than
two years ; this has been changed so that the
limit is three years.

The societies of the church are :

Women's Society, founded about 1875.

Ladies' Orphan Society, founded about

Young People's Alliance, founded in


This is an organization based, in the be-
lief of its members, " upon the Divine Reve-
lation made through Emanuel Swedenborg,
who was thus the herald of the Second Com-
ing of the Lord, which took place with the
completion of that revelation, June 19, 1770."



Its first adherents in Erie county were among
the families of Knodel, Molir, Evans, Ran,
Metzler and Stearns of Erie and vicinity,
commencing about 1850. The only resident
pastor ever in Erie county was Rev. Mr.
Goodner, who removed in 1873. A new or-
ganization was effected in 1875, by the pres-
ent Bishop, Rt. Rev. W. H. Benade, and
regular pastoral visits were made by the Bish-
op's assistant, Rev. L. G. Jordan, of Phila-
delphia. Meetings are held at houses of mem-
bers. The present secretary in Erie is Dr.
Edward Cranch, 109 West Ninth street,


The first preaching services of this con-
gregation were held at Jarecki's Hall, Janu-
ary 27, 1889. An organization was com-
pleted March 3, 1889, with Rev. E. L. Fra-
zier as pastor, and thirty-six charter members.
The first action of the church, as an organized
body, was a collection for foreign missions,
amounting to $10.06.

Meetings were held regularly at the above
hall, each "Lord's day" until January 12,
1890, when their church building was dedi-
cated, a lot for which was purchased from the
Teel estate during the year 1889. The build-
ing is known as " the Tabernacle," and stands
on the west side of Peach street, between
Ninth and Tenth,

Mr. Frazier remained as pastor until Jan-
uary 1, 1892, and was succeeded by Rev. B.
H. Hayden, who continued until January 1,
1895. Rev. A. B. Chamberlain, the pre.sent
pastor, took up the work on the latter date.
The membership in October, 1895, was 162.

A Ladies' Aid Society, composed of mem-
bers of this religious body, was organized
August 17, 1886. It grew into a Sunday-
school on East Eighteenth street, beyond
Peach. This became a " Bible school" April
8, 1888, and its quarters have since been the
same as those occupied by the congregation.
It has an attendance each Sunday, ranging
from eighty to 190.

Connected with the church are the follow-
ing societies :

The C. W. B. M. Auxiliary, organized No-
vember 1, 1889.

The Ladies' Aid Society, organized August
17, 1886.

The Young People's Society of Christian
Endeavor, organized June 27, 1889.

The Junior Society of Christian Endeavor,
organized February 28, 1895.

The Boys' Brigade, organized in June,

A member of the congregation furnishes
the statement given below of its belief and
practice :

" The Tabernacle Church of Christ is
connected with a religious body in this coun-
try now numbering nearly 1,000,000 com-
municants. They claim to be undenomina-
tional and non-sectarian. Their purpose from
the beginning has been the union of Christians
on the word of God. They discard all human
creeds and confessions of faith. The only
confession required of applicants for baptism
(immersion) and church membership is that
' Jesus is the Christ, tiie Son of the living God'
—Matthew xvi., 16. They claim that this
divine confession, obeyed, makes Christians
disciples of Christ. They insist on making
the Bible in fact, as well as in theory, the only
rule of faith and practice ; in using Bible
words in their Bible sense, so that a Scriptural
terminology may bring Christians together in
name as well as in faith and holy living. They
urge Protestants to be consistent, by return-
ing to New Testament conditions of church
membership, as recorded in the book of Acts,
and say that all Evangelical Christians can
unite without sacrifice of conscience when this
is done.

" In church government they are congre-
gational. They use Paul's instructions to
Timothy and Titus in their appointment of
church officers. They partake of the Lord's
Supper every Lord's Day, claiming that this
was the New Testament practice, and that the
Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day commem-
orates the death of Christ for man's sins, and
his resurrection for man's justification. 'The
law was given by Moses, but grace and truth
came by Jesus Christ.' — (John i., 17.)"


" Christian Science" was first brought to
Erie in the year 1889. During July, 1890, a
Sunday service was instituted by five students,
Bible study being the form of service. A
class for children was also established at the
same time. This service was held at the
home of one of the students. In September
following a suitable room was rented and a
dispensary opened for the further work of



Christian Science. September, 1894, a church
was organized, with ten members, since which
time six have been added. Services are held on
Sunday morning at the usual hour for church ;
also a week day meeting is held on Thursday
evenings. The attendance at .Sunday morning
service average thirty. During the week
each day, a student is in attendance at the

The first tenet of the Church of Christian
Scientists is that " as adherents to truth, we
take the Scripture for our guide to eternal
life." The only text books of this church are
" the Bible and Science and Health ; " by the
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, discoverer and
founder of " Christian Science." They be-
lieve in the command of Christ : " As ye go,
preach, saying the Kingdom of Heaven is at
hand ; " " heal the sick, cleanse the leper,
cast out devils, raise the dead ; freely ye have
received, freely give." — Matt, x., 7, 8.


The earliest announcement of spirit rap-
pings as a new and strange development was
made in the Erie papers about 1851. An in-
terest was soon after awakened, and frequent
meetings were held in private houses and
small halls to investigate the mystery. From
that time on various societies of believers in
spiritualism have been organized, but none
were of long life. The first of these, it is
thought, was in 1852. Of late the efforts to
establish a permanent organization have been
quite earnest, and have resulted in a charter
for the society above named. This was
granted in June, 1895. The meeting places
of the society have been in Jarecki's hall and
a room in the Wayne block. Steps are being
taken to organize a Sunday-school.


This society was organized in Wiirtemberg,
Germany, in 1854. The central idea is the
gathering of the people of God and the fol-
lowers of Christ into one fold, laying aside all
denominational strife. Their doctrine is, that
Palestine is the land of Promise and Jerusa-
lem the headquarters thereof. The society
has 1,500 to 1,600 members in Palestine,
about 4,000 in Europe and some 400 in Amer-
ica. Each country has an organization, under
the control of the Bishop of Jerusalem and
his representatives, subject to the control of

the local boards. The Erie society was found-
ed November 14, 1888, with Mr. Henry Kess-
ler as elder of the congregation. The society
started with eight members, and has increased
to about twenty. Meetings have been held
at various places, and a church building is
contemplated as the society increases in


This important religious society was organ-
ized at a meeting held August 20, 1860, in
Park Hall, over which E. L. Pelton presided.
A. McDowell Lyon was the first president of
the Association, and was succeeded by A. H.
Caughey. The meetings were held for a year
in the basement of different Protestant
churches. In 1861 rooms were procured in
the Beatty block, on North Park Row. A
small library was established in June of that
year, and soon after the old Irving Library of
700 volumes was entrusted to the care of the
Association. A reading room was started,
and a course of lectures, embracing some of
the most eminent talent in the country, was
maintained for several years. In September,
1878, the Barr homestead, at Tenth and Peach
streets, was purchased and fitted up for the
use of the Association. This was added to
and greatly improved about 1888-9, and the
Association now has fine quarters, embracing
a good-sized hall, a gynasium, a respectable-
sized library and a reading room, well sup-
plied with papers and magazines. The origi-
nal library, it should have been stated before,
was much enlarged in 1864, in 1867 and 1887,
by subscriptions from liberal citizens.

Among the Presidents of the Association
have been W. R. Davenport, C. C. Shirk,
Geo. D. Selden, N. J. Clark, W. W. Todd
and L. M. Little, and among its general
secretaries have been Orlin Stockwell, W. E.
Wayte, F. A. Hatch, J. L. Gordon, J. C.
Sims and W. D. Fellows the present incum-

A Ladies' Auxiliary Society was organ-
ized June 6, 1885. Its Presidents have been,
in the order named : Miss Kate Shirk, Mrs.
F. A. Mizener, Miss Emma Brevillier, Mrs.
J. E. Patterson and Miss S. B. Whitehill.
Mrs. W. W. Ross has been Secretary from the
beginning, and Miss Mary Selden and Mrs.
Ira E. Briggs have been the Treasurers.

The State Convention of the Y. M. C. A.



of Pennsylvania was held in Erie October 24
to October 27, 1895. About 300 delegates
were in attendance.


The Erie Bethel wns established by Wm.
riimrod, sr., about 1860, in an old building
which occupied the site of Wm. J. Sell's pres-
ent residence, at Peach and Front streets. In
course of time the work was turned over to
the Western Seamen's Friend Society, which
purchased the Himrod property, embracing
the old family homestead, on French street,
between Front and Second, May 31, 1873.
The society, after building a chapel and mak-
ing other improvements, became embarrassed,
and the property was sold on a mortgage, and
bought in by some of its friends. It is now
held by the organization, the proper name of
which is the Erie Bethel Association of the
Western Seamen's Friend Society. J. F.
Downing is President and G. E. Burger


Was started by Wm. Himrod, sr., on De-
cember 22, 1839, in his home on the west side of
French street, between Front and Second, and
has been in continuous existence ever since.
During its long life it has had but two super-
intendents, viz.: Wm. Himrod, sr., and his
son, Wm. Himrod, jr. The latter who had
been assistant, became superintendent on his
father's death, June 21, 1873. The school,
which is held in the chapel of the Erie Bethel
Association, but a few steps from tiie place
where it started, has an average attendance of
eighty-five. A Young People's Society of
Christian Endeavor was organized in connec-
tion with the school, on September 9, 1894,
which has about sixty-five members.


This association was organized December
15, 1887, with L. M. Little as President, C.
E. Bacon as Secretary and R. Beebe as Treas-
urer. The officers in 1895 were : President, A.
B. Kendall; Secretary, Miss Clara L. Smith;
Treasurer, H. L. Eggleston. It is composed
(July 20, 1895) of the following societies, for
the dates of the organization of which see the
several church histories :

First Presbyterian Church— Y. P. S. C.
E. ; Junior S. C. E.

Park Presbyterian Church— Y. P. S. C. E.;
Junior S. C. E.

Park Presbvterian Mission (Eighteenth
street)— Y. P. S. C. E.

Central Presbyterian Church — Y. P. S.
C. E.; Junior S. C. E.

Chestnut Street Presbvterian Church— Y.
P. S. C. E.

United Prc-sbyterian Church — Y. P. S. C.
E. ; Junior S. C. E.

First Baptist Church— Y. P. S. C. E.

German Baptist Church— Y. P. S. C. E.

German St. Paul's Evangelical Church —
Y. P. S. C. E.

African M. E. Church— Y. P. S. C. E.

Himrod Mission Sunday-school — Y. P. S.
C. E.

The Tabernacle (Church of Christ)— Y.
P. S. C. E. ; Junior S. C. E.

First Christian Church— Y. P. S. C. E. ;
Junior S. C. E.


Was organized January 11, 1895, by a num-
ber of ladies representing the several Protest-
ant Churches of the city. Its object is the
spiritual, moral, mental, social and physical
welfare of those of the female sex who need
sympathy and help. The general office of
tlie association is at 918 French street, where
a boarding home is kept up for self-support-
ing women. Miss Elizabeth Pollock is Presi-
dent of the society.


The Ministerial Association of Erie was
organized by Rev. Dr. Pressly, aided by Rev.
Drs. Fullerton and Carrier, of the Presbyterian
Church, and Rev. Mr. Ramsey, of the M. E.
Church in 1874 or 1875. Its objects are :
First, to increase sociability among the sev-
eral clergymen of the city ; second, to estab-
lish good feeling between the several denomi-
nations ; third, to teach these ideas through
the pulpit, the press, and the several congre-
gations ; fourth, to further the welfare of all
the churches of the city% leaving out questions
of creed, church or nationality^ The society
is made up of the various Protestant clergy-
men of the city, and holds meetings at stated
periods, which are quite interesting to the




Nothing that ever occurred is more worthy
of being recorded as a feature of local history
than the State convention of the Christian
Endeavor Societies of Pennsylvania, held in
Erie from Thursday evening, August 22, to
Sunday evening, August 25, 1895. No hall
in the city being large enough to hold the
audiences that were expected, a mammoth tent
was brought on from Boston, which was beau-
tifully trimmed with flags and emblems, and
fitted up with seats for 4,000 persons. I'his
was crowded daily during the sessions of the
convention, and on one or two evenings more
persons were unable to secure admission than
found a place underneath the canvas. Pre-
ceding the convention, on Tuesday evening,
August 20, a concert was given in the tent
which was the most largely attended ever
known in Erie. A striking incident of the
convention was a chorus of 250 voices, under
the direction of Prof. Redman. The proceed-
ings of the convention, which was pre-
sided over by Rev. J. T. McCrory, of Pitts-
burg, consisted of sermons, addresses, the
reading of reports, singing, prayer and recita-
tion of personal experiences. Many very
touching incidents occurred during the ses-

sions of the convention, and it will long be re-
membered as perhaps the most interesting
assemblage of a religious nature held in Erie.


The United States census report for 1890
gave the following statistics of religious mat-
ters in the city of Erie. Some of the figures
are very much out of the way, but they are
presented exactly as they appear in the gov-
ernment records :

Church- Val. of prop- No.

es. erty. Com.

Adventists 1 $ 75 14

Baptists 1 35,000 557

Catholics (Roman) 7 132,000 12,030

Disciples of Christ 1 13,000 67

Evang-elical Association. 1 13,000 190

German Evangelical 1 15,000 700

Jewish 1 15,000 122

Lutherans 4 99,200 1.483

Methodists 4 55,200 898

Methodists (colored) 1 3,000 27

Presbyterians 4 103,500 1,158

Protestant Episcopal 3 80,200 612

United Presbyterians... 1 21,000 224

United Brethren 1 1,500 42

Universalists 1 10,000 65

Various bodies 3 3,500 131

Total 36 f603,175 18,320


Cemeteries and Early Graveyards. — [See Chapter XVIII, General History.]

THE first burial place in Erie after the
American occupancy, was on the bluff
overlooking the bay between Parade
street and the mouth of Mill creek.
This site being deemed unsuitable, was
abandoned in 1805, and three city lots secured
for a graveyard at the southeast corner of
Eighth and French streets. The latter was
used in common by all religious denomina-
tions until 1827, when it was absorbed by
what became known as the United Presbyte-
rian congregation, whose house of worship,

erected in 1816, stood then, as it does now,
on the adjoining lot upon the east.

The Presbyterian denomination purchased
four lots on the corner of Seventh and Myrtle
streets, about 182(>-27, and many bodies were
removed there from the old ground soon after
it was opened. The Episcopalians started a
graveyard about 1827, on Myrtle street, be-
tween Seventh and Eighth. St. Paul's Ger-
man Evangelical Church opened a burial
ground in 1859, and St. John's Evangelical
Lutheran Church established one many years






ago on Sassafras, between Twenty-second and
Twenty-third streets. By a provision in the
conveyance of their property, the latter con-
gregation are obliged to keep up a burial
place there, or lose the land that was given to
them, and they have accordingly enclosed a
small space for that purpose, which may be
expected to remain for an indefinite period.
All of the above, except the last one noted,
were abandoned from thirty to forty years
ago, and most of the remains were taken up
and reiiiterred in the Erie Cemetery.

During the stay of the French in this sec-
tion, from 1753 to 1759, they had a graveyard
somewhere near the mouth of Mill creek, but
its exact location is unknown. This was the
earliest Catholic burial place in the county.
The first one of that denomination, after the
American settlement, was located on the site
of St. Benedict's Academy, on East Ninth
street. The ground was purchased in 1837,
and consecrated by the Rev. Ivo Levitz, Au-
gust 2, 1840. This graveyard was used until
1848, when Father Steinbacher, pastor of St.
Mary's congregation, bought a piece of ground
on Chestnut, between Twenty-fourth and
Twenty-fifth streets, to which the bodies of
those interred on Ninth street were removed.
The latter was used by the German Catholics
until the consecration of Trinity Cemetery,
when it was closed for interments. Most, if
not all, of the remains have been taken up and
reinterred in the latter cemetery.

In 1838, St. Patrick's congregation bought
a lot, 40x160 feet in size, on Third street, be-
tween German and Parade, which was the first
graveyard owned by that parish. Father
Deane purchased five acres in 1852, on the
corner of Twenty-fourth and Sassafras streets,
when the old ground was abandoned and the
bodies changed to the new location. Upon
the consecration of Trinity Cemetery, this
second graveyard was closed and most of the
dead removed. St. Vincent's Hospital oc-
cupies a portion of the ground.

When the German and Irish graveyards
were located in South Erie, they were far out
of town, and few persons in the early days
had the least idea that the growth of the city
would compel their removal.

The Hebrews established a burial place in
1858 on Twenty-sixth street, west of Cherry,
which is still in use.


The Erie Cemetery, the principal burial
ground of the city, had its inception in Octo-
ber, 1846, when a paper was drawn up, and a
few citizens agreed to furnish $1,500, with the
view of purchasing the piece of land on which
the cemetery was subsequently laid out.
Those who subscribed were Charles M. Reed,
George A. Eliot, John H. Wulker, John A.
Tracy, William Kelley, Smith Jackson, John
Galbraith, B. B. Vincent, Thomas G. Colt,
Milton Courtright, C. M. Tibbals and J. C.
Spencer. No decisive measures, however,
were taken at that time to secure the desired
site, on account of the increased price de-
manded ; yet the object was never abandoned,
and in December, 1S49, the first eff'ective
movement was made to accomplish the design.
In that month, a subscription paper was again
circulated, by which the signers agreed to
unite in purchasing seventy-five acres of land
at $100 per acre, bounded on the north by
Nineteenth street, on the east by Chestnut, on
the south by Twenty-sixth, and on the west
by Cherry. Thirty-one signatures were ob-
tained, and the following amounts subscribed
toward purchasing the ground :

C. M. Reed

.$100 George A. Eliot...


William Himrod...

. 100 H. Caldwell


Georg-e A. L,yon. . .

. 100 Elijah Babbitt


A. W^. Brewster

. 100 J. A. Tracy


J. C.Spencer

. 100 Joseph M. Sterrett


J. H. Williams. . . .

. 100 Milton Courtright.


Irvin Camp

. 100 C. M. Tibbals

. 100 William A. Brown.


William Nicholson


J. C. Marshall

. 100 B. B. Vincent


T. G. Colt

. 100 P. Arbuckle


James Skinner

. 100 S. Jackson


P. Metcalf

100 John Hughes


John Galbraith....

. SO P. E. Burton


William Kelley....

. SO F. Schneider


William W. Reed..

. SO M. W. Caughev . . .


Walter Chester....

. SO

These gentlemen constitute the original
corporators, who, and their successors, were
authorized by law to fill all vacancies " from
among the lot holders " in the cemetery. The
sum subscribed by the corporators not being
sufficient to carry out the object immediately,
the following persons assisted by advancing
money, which was credited to them in the
sale of lots: Mrs. R. S. Reed, $50; John
Evans, .$50; M. B. Lowry, $50; T- C. Beebe,
$25 : Thomas H. Sill, $25 ; John P. Vincent,
$25 ; John Moore, $25 ; AndVew Scott, $10.


January 29, 1850, the Legislature passed
an act incorponiting " The Erie Cemetery, in
the county of Erie," and May 24th of that
year, a majority of the incorporators met and
elected seven managers, viz. : Charles M.
Reed, George A. Eliot, William Kelley, John
Galbraith, Elijah Babbitt, William Himrod
and A. W. Brewster. George A. Eliot was
elected President, William A. Brown, Secre-
tary and J. C. Spencer, Treasurer. A deed
of conveyance was made to the corporation

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 77 of 192)