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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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education was attained at the Eochester University, and his theological at Auburn
Theological Seminary. He entered the ministry in 1864. He was, therefore, at
the time of his coming to this church, in the prime of life. He was possessed of an
easy and attractive manner, socially, and of more than ordinary gifts as a preacher.
He at once endeared himself to his people and to the community, and has continued
to serve them down to the present day with general acceptability and usefulness.
The church has grown in membership and activity. Its organization, religious and
charitable, has been perfected, and its interest in the general work of the denomina-
tion has been increased, until it has become one of the most efficient churches in this

The observance of the semi-centennial anniversary marked the beginning of
a new epoch in the history of the church. On this occasion the project of erecting
a new building took form. The old structure had become too small. Generous offers
of assistance made by two or three members of the society aroused others to make
responsive efforts, and in a very short time the voltmtary contributions warranted
the undertaking of the enterprise. The last service was held in the old church on
Sunday evening, April 15, 1894. That house of worship was endeared to the people
by the struggles and sacrifices involved in its erection and they were loth to see it
demolished. But it had served its day, and it was torn down and on Wednesday,
April 25, 1894, the ground was broken for the new stone church. On Friday, June
8th, the comer-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The plan for the new
building was furnished by Culver & Hudson, architects, of Williamsport. The work
went on steadily without interruption until it was completed and the beautiful
structure furnished in modern style throughout. Competent judges pronounce it
probably the finest church of its size in northern Pennsylvania.

A description of this neat and attractive edifice is of historical importance. It
is a well-proportioned structure of Gothic style throughout. Its extreme length is
116 feet on ISTorris street and it is sixty-nine feet in width on Main street. The main
vestibule is entered either from Main or ISTorris street. There is another front
entrance on the uptown side and the side steps on ISTorris street lead to a vestibule
connected with the auditorium, library and Sunday school rooms. The bell tower
is seventy-two feet in height, and the smaller tower on the south comer forty-seven
feet high.

The walls of the church are constructed of Ohio sandstone, xock-faced and laid
in Portland cement in what is termed random range courses. The joints are tucked
with gray mortar. The trimmings are of cut stone. The roof is covered with slate,
and all the gutters and flashings are made of copper instead of tin.

The auditorium is sixty feet square, the arches forming alcoves on all four sides.



The room is twenty-eight feet in height. The four steel trusses which support the
roof axe encased in antique oak and break the ceiling, which is laid out in panels with
oak mouldings. The four ornamental arches are also in oak, as is the rest of the
interior finish, and in the center of the ceiling there is an elaborate piece of grille-
work. The walls are tinted with different shades of terra-eotta, and the beautiful
velvet carpet that covers the floor is in harmony with them. Besides the electric
light brackets upon the side walls, there is a large prismatic reflector in the center
which distributes the light from thirty-four electric bulbs.

There are 415 opera chairs arranged in amphitheater style on the sloping floor.
The chairs have iron frames, dark antique oak woodwork and automatic seats. The
pulpit stall is elaborately made in massive oak in Gothic style, and the desk is a brass
rail with an adjustable book-rest.

All the important windows of the church are of stained glass, and they are very
handsome. The two large windows in the auditoriiim are memorials. That in the
front is iuscribed to the "memory of Eev. and Mrs. James F. Calkins," and its
inscription in the central panel reads, "And they that be wise shall shine as the
brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars
forever and ever." This window' was placed in the church by friends of Eev. aoid
Mrs. Calkins, assisted by their daughters.

The other window was furnished by Mrs. G. D. Smith in memory of her late
husband. It is inscribed, "In loving memory of George Dwight Smith," and in the
center, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me though he were
dead yet shall he live."

The dedication ceremonies of this beautiful temple of worship took place Febru-
ary 13, 1895, and were very impressive. Eev. Dr. Taylor delivered a logical and
eloquent dedicatory sermon from the text found in the twenty-fifth chapter of
Exodus and the eighth verse, "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may
dwell among them." The building of the tabernacle in the wilderness was the
rock upon which idolatry was broken. God commanded them to build a sanctuary
that he might come to dwell among them. Every Christian church, from the little
wayside chapel to the great cathedral, tells us that God is with us and for us.

In closing. Dr. Taylor made a tender and touching allusion to the late
Eev. Dr. James B. Shaw, father of the pastor. In a sense he was standing in his
place, for, had this father been alive, he would have preached the dedicatory sermon.

A statement was read from the trustees showing that the contract price of the
church was $20,235. Extra work had been done and changes made in the specifica-
tions costing $1,644 — making the total amount paid Andrew Webster, the eon-
tractor, $21,869. The furnishing of , the church cost $5,609.45, which included the
heating, lighting, seatings, repairs to organ and $968.35 in fees and expenses to
the architect. With a few estimated items, for which bills had not been rendered,
the cost of the church to the trustees amounted to $27,846.45. In addition to this,
however, there had been furnished without expense to the trustees, two beautiful
memorial windows, the carpet, the copper on the roof and the Portland cement in
the walls, amounting in all to $2,309. This made the total cost of the church and
its furnishings $30,155.45.



The trustees of the church, who cairied on the work of building, are Messrs.
George W. Williams, president; WilHam D. VanHorn, secretary and treasurer;
George "W. Merrick, E. L. VanHom, E. B. Young and Leonard Harrison. Mr. Har-
rison, as president of the building committee, had direct supervision of the work, and
he faithfully devoted his time and taste to it for many months.

At the present time the membership is about 400. The Sunday-school is
under the superintendency of Arthur M. Eoy, assisted by L. H. Johnson; secretary,
H. E. Eaesly; treasurer, Mrs. E. B. Young; librarian. Miss Luella Deane. The
primary department, numbering about seventy-five, is under the management of Mrs.
Shaw, wife of the pastor, who has quite an aptitude for the work. The school
numbers about 375 scholars, and. the library contains 1,000 volumes.


There were Methodists in what is now known as Delmar township in the very
beginning of the century, and several years before Wellsboro was founded. The
first church erected in the village was the Quaker Meeting House; the Methodists,
however, had regular preaching in and about the neighborhood before this.
From the meagre records that have been presorted, it appears that Eev. Caleb
Boyer and family came from Delaware, together with several other families, aad
settled near where Wellsboro now stands about 1802. They belonged to
the Delaware contingent attracted by the Pine Creek Land Company, of which
Benjamin Wistar Morris was the active agent. But as Morris and other settlers at
that time were Quakers, that denomination preceded all others.

History informs us that Eev. Boyer was one of the fifteen ordained ministers
of the Methodist Episcopal Church then in North America. He did the first
preaching in Wellsboro and vicinity. Meetings were first held at private houses,
but it was some years before an organization was effected. Mr. Boyer, however, may
be regarded as the pioneer Methodist preacher in what afterwards became Tioga

In those early times little headway seems to have been made by the Methodists,
as well as by other denominations. From the best information it appears that in 1830
Wellsboro was in the old Tioga circuit, which embraced all the territory within the
limits of the Troy district, and probably more. That year Eev. Hiram G. Warner
formed the first class in Wellsboro. Accounts state that the first year he was
assisted by the Eev. Mr. Moore, and the second year by Eev. Caleb Kendall. The
meetings were held in the original log court house, which stood nearly on the site
of the present building.

Among the members of the first class organized in 1820 were William Bache, Sr.,
Mrs. Pamelia Coolidge, Capt. Israel Greenleaf, the Eevolutionary soldier who lies
in the abandoned cemetery on Academy Hill; Israel Kelsey, Mr. and Mrs. Kilbum,
and Hannah Cole. All of these have long since passed away.

Little or nothing of the history of the organization during its earlier years
has been preserved; but it is safe to say that its struggles were severe and that it
had many trials. In 1839-40 Eev. Eobert T. Hancock raised $3,000 toward build-
ing a church. His successor, Eev. I. K. Tuttle, continued the work and left it in an
advanced state, and was followed by Eev. Philo Tower, who carried forward the
building to completion, and the new edifice was dedicated by Eev. William E. Bab-


cock, presiding elder of the district. May 21, 1843. This was the second church
erected in Wellsboro. It cost about $3,000, and was regarded as a fine church for
that time.

Now that the society had a building of its own in which to worship, the mem-
bership increased more rapidly. A parsonage was soon afterward erected, Eev.
D. B. Lawson, the pastor, doing work on it with his own hands to the amount of
nearly $100. Like his esteemed contemporary, the Eev. J. P. Calkins, of the
Presbyterian church, he was not above setting an example for others. He was
followed by Eevs. Samuel Nichols, William Manning, James Landreth, A. "W. Staples
and others.

The church gradually gathered strength. In 1850 many conversions and addi-
tions to the membership occurred under the pastorate of Eev. C. Nash. He was
succeeded by Eev. W. C. Mattison, and the interest in church affairs was kept up.
In 1867 Eev. 0. L. Gibson was appointed to the charge. Debts in the meantime
had accumulated against the church during the wax, when a subscription paper was
circulated by Isaac Sears, and so liberally signed that the debt of $1,000 was pro-
vided for and $300 left to repair the church. The first Sunday the church was used
after these improvements was November 17, 1867; and while the services were in
progress the building was discovered to be on fire, and despite the efforts of the con-
gregation and others, it burned to the ground. This was a hard blow, but the mem-
bers were not wholly discouraged. Mr. Gibson, who had been assisting in
holding revival meetings for two or three weeks and was presented with $35, gener-
ously refused its acceptance, but insisted that it should be placed with the insurance
to assist in making up a fimd of $3,500. This was done, and that amount secured
to the church, served as a nucleus around which to gather funds for a new building.
Through the persistent labors of the pastor and members, aided by a generous out-
side support, a substantial brick building, costing $35,000, was erected, and Novem-
ber 17, 1869 — ^two years to a day from the time of the burning — ^was dedicated by
Eev. K. P. Jervis. This was a great triumph for the congregation after their mis-

The records show that the pastors since the present building was dedicated,
when Eev. 0. L. Gibson was in charge, have been as follows: Eevs. D. D. Buck, from
October, 1870, to October, 1873; W. M. Henry, 1873-4; Thomas Stacy, 1874-76;
D. D. Buck, 1876-78; K. P. Jervis, 1878-79; E. H. Lattimer, 1879-83; James
Moss, 1883-85; S. W. Lloyd, 1885-88; 0. S. Chamberlayn, 1888-93; Dr. C. W.
Gushing, 1893-97.

The church has a membership of about 363. In the Sunday-school there is an
average of about 180 pupils. The church belongs to the Genesee Conference.


The few Baptists residing in Wellsboro had frequently talked about making
an effort to organize a society, but it was not accomplished until July 33, 1866,
when Eev. D. E. McDermond, of Tioga, preached in the court house, and on Monday
evening following a prayer meeting was started, which was maintained until March
19, 1868, when N. L. Eeynolds, then pastor at Blossburg, preached in Bunnell Hall,
and at the close of the sermon steps were taken towards the formation of a church.
A vote was taken, and the large audience present, composed of representatives


of the different churches, unanimously voted in favor of the movement. Twenty-
six persons then present expressed a desire to unite in the organization and resolved
to establish the First Baptist Church of Wellsboro.

The following charter members appear in the record: Victor H. Elliott,
Josephine Elliott, Julia Wheeler, P. C. Van Gelder, Mrs. S. L. Van Gelder, Mary
E. Kelsey, Mrs. S. H. Shearer, Charles Williams, Sarah Williams, P. Irene Eastman,
Eobert Trull, Eachel Trull, Mrs. Sarah H. Bowen, John B. Shakespeare, William
Bowen, H. C. Bailey, Mrs. M. L. Bailey, Uriah Danks, Amy Banks, Mrs. Maria
Bowen, Mrs. Samantha Hastings, Mrs. Sarah Jackson, Abigail Beecher, Calvin B.
Kelley, Isabella Kelley, Ida Stoddard. Many of the foregoing are now deceased,
and others have moved away.

May 2, 1868, the usual declaration of faith, covenant and rules of order were
adopted by the new church as the basis of its organization. An agreement having
been entered into between the Wellsboro church and the Delmar church, whereby
they were jointly to enjoy the labors and give support to a pastor, they imited in
a call to Rev. W. A. Smith, of New Jersey, the agreement being that each church
was to pay $500 and a donation per year, the pastor to preach to the Wellsboro
church in the morning and to the Delmar church in the afternoon. This call was
accepted June 1, 1868. A Sunday school was organized on the 26th of July follow-
ing, with H. C. Bailey as superintendent. After being formally organized, July
39, 1868, the church was received into the Tioga Association in a meeting of that
body at Tioga August 26 and 27, 1868. On the 1st of September of this year the
church purchased the building then known as Bunnell Hall for use as a place of
worship, agreeing to pay $1,100 for the property, and continued to occupy it until
the erection of the present building in 1884.

At a meeting held April 5, 1869, the resignation of the pastor was received
and accepted. On May 21st Eev. S. M.Broakman was made pastor pro tern.; and
on April 1, 1870, Eev. C. A. Stone began his labors as pastor, and served the church
as such about nine months. In that year the records show a membership of

At a special meeting held March 19, 1871, the unanimous call of the church
was extended to Eev. N. L. Reynolds, of Blossburg, to become its pastor. The call
was accepted; $200 of the salary of $1,000, being an appropriation from the General
Association of the State. Mr. Eeynolds commenced his pastorate May 30, 1871.
The church grew rapidly in strength. In August, 1873, there was a membership
of ninety-four, and the following year it had reached 113.

Under date of June 6, 1873, the First Baptist Church was incorporated by
decree of court, the following persons appearing as charter members: N. L. Eeynolds,
Eobert Trull, A. C. Winters, IST. T. Chandler, A. B. Eastman, Henry Freeze, Mrs.
M. B. Shearer, Mrs. Maria Bowen, Julia Wheeler, Calvin B. Kelley.

At a special meeting held l^^ovember 8, 1875, E. B. Campbell, of Williamsport,
was present, and made for himself and John E. Bowen, of Wellsboro, a formal
presentation of the lot on which the present church building stands. The oSer
was graciously accepted and a committee appointed to prepare plans and devise ways
and means for the erection of a church. But as the time had not come for carrying
out the plan it was deferred to a more convenient season. In the meantime the
accessions to the membership increased, and in August, 1878, they had reached 154.


Sunday, December 7, 1879, the pastor ofEered his resignation with the request
that he be released on January 1, 1880. The resignation was very reluctantly
accepted. He had served the church with great acceptance and profit for nine
years. He found it with a membership of forty-nine and left it with 169.

On January 12, 1880, Rev. Isaac E. Howd, of Waterville, New York, was called
to the pastorate, which he resigned after a service of seven and one-half months.
The pulpit was supplied for the balance of the associational year by Eevs. E. L.
Mills and D. T. Van Dorn. The record shows that on October 37th of this year,
Eev. Abner Morrill, of Painted Post, was engaged to serve the church as pastor.
His relation continued for fourteen months. Sunday, April 8, 1883, Rev. S. F.
Mathews began his work as pastor, the interval between the closing of the last and
the beginning of the new pastorate being filled by Rev. V. P. Mather, then pastor
of the Charleston church — preaching in the evening.

During the summer of 1883 the question of building a suitable house of
worship was agitated, and resulted in the adoption of a resolution that as soon as
the means could be provided, including the sale of the property then owned and
occupied by the church, to aid in defraying the expense, the enterprise should be
undertaken; and on the 27th of September the building committee was authorized
to obtain plans and specifications for a building, the cost of which was not to exceed
$4,500. December 6th following the contract was let and the work was carried on
through the winter of 1883 and summer of 1884, and the church was completed in
September of that year. The new building was dedicated September 11, 1884, Rev.
George Cooper, D. D., of "Williamsport, preaching the dedication sermon, and to
the encouragement of all it was dedicated free of debt, and there was $103.66 left
in the treasury. William Bache subscribed $1,000, and Mrs. Bache $500, toward
the fund for the new building.

On April 1, 1889, Mr. Mathews tendered his resignation to take effect July
1st. He had served the church for over six years and he was esteemed a faithful
and zealous minister. The pulpit remained vacant until October following, when
Eev. E. B. Cornell accepted a call which had been made on him August 26, 1889.
Mr. Cornell took charge November 3, 1889, and remained until March 24, 1892. He
was succeeded by Rev. J. L. Williams in September, 1892, who served the congrega-
tion till October 26, 1895, when he retired. A call was then made on Rev. N. L.
Reynolds, the present pastor, at Pueblo, Colorado, to return to his old charge. He
accepted, returned to Wellsboro, and Sunday, December 8, 1895, preached his first
sermon after having been absent for sixteen years

The church now has a membership of 373. The Sunday school numbers 225
scholars, under the superintendeney of N. T. Chandler, who has served in that
capacity for twenty-five years. The library consists of 573 volumes.

ST. peteb's catholic chuech.

This church is the successor of St. John's Catholic Society, organized in
August, 1873, by Bishop O'Hara, of Scranton. Within a year it numbered seventy-
five members. Monthly services were held in Converse Hall, the ofiiciating priests
being Rev. John A. Wynne and Rev. John C. McDermott, of Blossburg. In 1879
it was made a parish church, there having been a large increase of membership. It
was then named St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, and Rev. John C. McDermott


placed in charge as pastor. In 1881 the old Academy building and grounds in the
southern part of the borough, were purchased, and the building remodeled, at a cost
of $1,200, so as to meet the needs of the congregation. A parsonage was also pur-
chased at a cost of $1,000, and put in proper repair. Through the energy and
business ability of Father McDermott, the money to meet these large expenditures
was raised and the church and parsonage freed from debt. He also had charge
of the mission churches at Tioga and Antrim, and at the latter place erected a
church in 1877 costing $3,000.

In November, 1883, Father McDermott was succeeded as pastor of St. Peter's
church by Rev. M. E. Lynott, during whose pastorate the new Catholic Cemetery,
embracing eight acres of ground, in the southern part of the borough, was established,
and a church building costing $6,000 erected at Hoytville. This church and grounds
were damaged by the flood of June, 1889, necessitating a further expenditure of
$600 for repairs. The erection of the present parish residence, opposite the church
in Wellsboro, was also begun by Father Lynott, who was succeeded November 12,
1890, by Eev. M. J. Manly, the present pastor. In 1891 he completed the parish
residence, which is a handsome two-story frame edifice, commodious, comfortable
and well furnished. It cost $4,500. Since Father Manly took charge the church
has been remodeled, a bell purchased, as well as statuary and paintings for interior
decoration. The grounds have also been graded and carriage sheds built. The
outlay for these various improvements has been between $4,000 and $5,000. The
church at Antrim has been frescoed and a bell purchased, and the church at Tioga,
which was damaged by the June flood of 1889, repaired.

In addition to his duties as pastor of the church in Wellsboro, Father Manly
has under his charge the mission churches at Tioga, Antrim and Hoytville, and also
the missions without churches at Elkland, Osceola, Knoxville, Westfield, Potter
Brook, Gaines, Gurnee, Leetonia, Blackwells, Tiadaghton, Hammond, East Charles-
ton, Lamb's Creek, Nauvoo and Stephensville, all within the confines of Tioga '

In the discharge of his manifold duties Father Manly has endeared himself to
the members of the Catholic faith throughout the county. He is able, ardent,
enthusiastic and tireless in his efforts to forward the interests of his parish, and has
many warm friends outside of his own faith. During his pastorate St. Petef s
chiirch has prospered. It maintains a Sunday-school with an average attendance
of over 100, of which William B. Sullivan is superintendent and Miss Bessie Meehan


This society was incorporated August 28, 1882, by Eev. 0. C. Hills, Wellsboro;
Albert Saxbury and James Crampton, Chatham Valley; James A. Warriner, Stony
Fork; J. C. Warren, Mansfield, and C. D. Clark. A lot was purchased and a church
building erected, about 1886, on the northeast corner of East avenue and Cone
streets. Eev. 0. C. Hills, the first pastor, served about five years. His successor,
Eev. Mr. Cook, served about a year and a half. He was succeeded by Eev. Mr.
Cloud, who served until 1893, since which time the church has had no pastor,
though occasional services are held.



The early settlers in and around Wellsboro buried their dead in the "half acre"
adjoining the old Academy on the hill, set apart for that purpose by Benjamin
Wistar Morris. The site was elevated and the view to be obtained from it charm-
ingly picturesque. It was then "in the country," but in time the borough grew to,
around and beyond it, until now it is near the centre of the corporate limits.

When it was first selected as a place of interment it was doubtless thought large
enough to answer as a graveyard for many years. In time, however, its limited area
began to be crowded. Its proximity to the Academy was objectionable, and the
students complained that it afEected their health. Except in a few instances, its
graves were uncared for, and were overgrown with weeds and brambles. Being
unfenced, it was a common, open to the incursions of domestic animals and of such
wild ones as still lurked around the village. Its neglected condition was at last

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 40 of 163)