Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

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is designed for instruction in Grammar, Sciences, and
the languages." This school was located in the .school-
room in the west end of the church on Peter Street."

The lot on which the school-house stood (joining
the graveyard lots on the west) was transferred to the
trustees of the church in 1794; from this fact, and
also that the school was established in 1792, it is con-
cluded that the school-room was added to the church
building several years after the latter was built, prob-

' ^'K -


ably in 1791.' Rev. C. Conway remained on the dis-
trict until 1796, and probably continued as manager
of the school to that date, but in 1795 Conference
appointed John K. Reynolds, a traveling preacher,
classical teacher. Rev. Wm. Wilson taught the Eng-
lish branches. The sessions of Conference of 1794
and 1796 were held in Uniontown. In 1808 the
meeting-house was weatherboarded and otherwise
improved. In 1809, Thomas Daughaday was preacher
in charge of the circuit. He died at his residence on
Morgantown Street, where the third church now
stands, on the 12th of October, 1810. He was but
thirty-three years of age. His wife was a daughter
of Peter Hook, one of the original trustees. She
died in Westmoreland County.

Mrs. Ann Murphy died Sept. 10, 1814, in the log
house on South Street where Mr. N. Greenland now
lives. Her descendants in Fayette County are quite
numerous, but few of them remain in the Methodist
Church. Peter Hook, one of the original trustees,
died March 12, 1818, aged sixty-five years. He was
the grandfather of Mr. P. H. Hellen. In 1820 the
society at Uniontown was separated from the circuit,
and with Brownsville formed a station under the pas-
torate of Dennis H. Battle. The school established
I by Conference in 1792 must have closed its history
somewhere about 1800. It was followed by select
schools down to 1819, Patrick Talbot being the last

1 On the 6th of August, 1791, Jacob Bee-son sold to David Jennings,
Jacob Murphy, Saniu.l Stp|.bdi.s. Jonathan Rowland, and Peter Hook,
trustees of the M.-tln-li-t I'pi-. "iml cliurch, lots Nos. 27 and 28, in con-
sideration of fiv ^lll - Til - l"ts were located in Jacob's Addi-
tion, on the noitli ~mI. J IM.i The Methodist Church was


teacher. In 1820 the partitions between the meeting-
house and tlie school-room were taken out and the
whole thrown into one room, and the gallery extended
around the west end. After this the old hall entrance
was used exclusively by the females, who were still
further separated from the male portion of the con-
gregation by a lialiHtrade something higher than the
backs of the seats, running from the south side for-
ward to the .-lisle in front of the altar. The pulpit
was in the centre of the north side, and had over it
a sounding-board about five feet in diameter. The
choir, usually verj' large, occupied the south gallery,
the colored people the east, and the whites the west
gallery. Uniontown continued with Brownsville as a
half-station until 1824, when the appointment was
made a station, and James G. Sansom ajipointed the
first station preacher. From 1784 to 1824, when
Uniontown was made a station, fifty-eight preachers
were appointed to this charge. Never less than two,
and sometimes three preachers were on the circuit
at one time. James G. Sansom remained but one
year, and was followed in 1825 by David Sharp, who
in turn was followed by Henry B. Bascora in 1826.
Bascom was a preacherof national reputation. Many
of the older citizens remember his eloquent and stir-
ring sermons. He was a man of fine personal appear-
ance, with a brilliant mind of poetical rather than logi-
cal cast. Bascom remained but one year, and in 1827
was appointed president of Madison College. The his-
tory of Madison College while under the patronage of
the Methodist Episcopal Church is rather obscure. Af-
ter the formation of the Pittsburgh Conference, and at
its first session, a resolution was presented by AsaShinn
and seconded by Thornton Fleming and adopted,
viz. : " That the Conference establish a seminary of
learning within its bounds, and a missionary be ap-
pointed to ascertain the probable amount of money
needed." Henry B. Bascom reported at the session
of 1826, and the Conference accepted the report, and
"Resolved, 1st, That the institution be located at
Uniontown, Pa. ; 2d, That a superintending commit-
tee of nine be appointed, five of whom shall be travel-
ing preachers, to determine where to erect buildings
and to employ teachers if practicable." The com-
mittee was appointed as follows : Revs. H. B. Bascom,
John Waterman, Asa Shinn, Charles Cooke, and
Thornton Fleming, and Messrs. Charles Avery, of
Pittsburgh, John M. Austin, Thomas Erwin, and
Henry Ebbert, of Uniontown. There had been an
academy in Uniontown. I'-iablislnMl in l>;o,s, the trus-
tees of which gave the lHiildiiii;< Ini rcilliLir purposes,
and the college was op.iicil under I he pirsidcncy of
H. B. Bascom in 1827. J. H. Fielding was Prolessur
of Mathematics, and Charles Elliott Professor of
Languages. Bascom resigned in 1829, and J. H. Field-
ing was appointed president, and H. J. Clark pro-
fessor. In 18.32 Madison College closed on account of
the Conference accepting Allegheny College, at Jlead-
ville. Pa. Bascom in after-years became president of

Kentucky State College, and died in 1850 a bishop
of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1827,
Dr. Charles Elliott followed Bascom as preacher in
charge, and also taught the languages in Madison
College. He remained two years, and was followed
in 1829 by Thornton Fleming, who remained one

In 1830 Conference held its session in Uniontown,
and Charles Cooke was appointed to the station.
Jonathan Rowland, one of the original trustees, died
Sept. 22, 1880, in the seventy -seventh year of his age.

In 1832, under the pastorate of Charles Cooke, the
Second Methodist Episcopal Church was commenced,
and finished in 1833, under the pastorate of George
S. Holmes. It was built of brick on a triangular lot
adjoining the graveyard on the west. Daniel B. Mc-
Carty, George W. Rutter, and Benjamin Hellen com-
posed the building committee. Under the direction
of this committee Edward Hyde, bricklayer, Edward
Jones, stone-mason, and Gabriel Getzindiner, carpen-
ter, built the church. The church was dedicated by
Charles Cooke (former pastor), and cost about $3500.

In 1887, March 28th, Daniel Limerick, preacher in
charge, died, aud was buried in the graveyard. From
February, 1837, until Conference met in July the
pulpit was filled by John White, preacher in charge
of Redstone Circuit, under the direction of the pre-
siding elder. From this date to the present time the
records of the church are well preserved, and as full
and complete as could be expected under the circum-

The usual fluctuations incident to the history of all
congregations have had their place in the Methodist
Church in Uniontown, but nothing transpired de-
serving special mention in a sketch like this except-
ing the revival of 1847-48, under the pastorate of S. E.
Babcock, wdien one hundred and eighty-seven persons
joined the church, and the building of the Third
Methodist Episcopal Church on Morgantown Street.
The contract for building the Third Church was
signed by Messrs. Fuller, Laughead, Bailey & Co.,
J\ily 24, 1877, and the church was dedicated by Bishop
Simpson June 2, 1878. The lots on which the church
stands cost $2500. The building and furnishing com-
plete cost $12,800. The last payment on the debt was
paid Feb. 7, 1880.

Ninety-two preachers have served the Methodist
Episcopal Church in Uniontown since 1784, the date
of the organization of the church, down to the present
year (1881). Thirty-four of these were stationed
preachers since 1S24, when the a|ipointment be-
came a station. The names of the stationed preach-
ers and dates of service are as follows:
.lames (J. Sansom, 1824. H. J. Clark, 1831.

David Sharp, 1825.
H. B. Bascom, 1826.
Charles Elliott, 1827-28.
Thornton Fleming, 1829.
Charles Cooke, 1830-32.

Geo. S. Holmes, 1833-34.
T. M. Hudson, 1835.
Daniel Limerick, 1836.
I. N. McAbee, 1837.
W. Smith, 1838-39.



B. F. Sawhill, 1840.

C. D. Battell, 1841-42.
A. Young, 1843.
William Cox, 1844-45.
E. Birkett, 1846.

S. E. Babcock, 1847-48.
Frank Moore, 1849-50.
Jos. Montgomery, 1851.
I. C. Pershing, 1852-53.
A. G. Williams, 1854.
John Grant, 1855-56.
John Williams, 1857-58.

E. B. Griffin, 1859-60.
A. L. Petty, 1861.
H. Sinsebaugh, 1862.
H. L. Chapman, 1863-65.
J. Mancell, 1866.
C. W. Smith, 1867-69.
A. B. Castle, 1870-72.
John J. Moffitt, 1873-75.
S. W. Davis, 1876 (two

Conference years in this

year) to 1877.
R. T. Miller, 1878-80.

A long list of excellent men have served the church
as local preachers, trustees, stewards, leaders, and Sun-
day-school superintendents. Among them may be
mentioned (as space precludes mention of all) John
Phillips, John Hibbeu, William McClelland, Morris
Covert, John M. Austin, George Griffith, Henry Eb-
bert, Robert Kincaid, Noble McCormick, Rice G.
Hopwood, James Ebbert, Gabriel Getzendiner, A. L.
Little, R. L. Barry, Robert Boyle, Richard Miller, P.
H. Hellen, Z. Ludington, Daniel Sturgeon, D. Hess,
John F. Beazel, E. G. Roddy, James T. Redburn,
John W. Barr, W. A. Donaldson, Henry Wilson, G.
W. Rutter, etc. The present official board is composed
of the following: Alfred Newlon, local elder and
trustee; T. F. Farmer, local deacon ; William Wilson,
G. Crossland, John Sembower, William Craig, and
Henry McClay, trustees and stewards ; Thomas Ja-
quett, Lewis Dawson, and William B. McCormick,
trustees; A. S.Craig, William Sembower, and J. E.
Moffitt, stewards, the last named being recording
steward. As far back as the records of the church
are preserved there are accounts of the Sunday-school,
but nothing is known of the date of original organiza-
tion. The whole number enrolled in the Sunday-
school is about two hundred, the average attend-
ance one hundred and forty -seven. There are twenty
teachers, including those of the boys' and the girls' in-
fant classes. J. E. Moffitt is superintendent ; H. Mc-
Clay, assistant superintendent ; H. F. Detwiler, secre-
tary ; and Juliet Wilson, treasurer. There is another
organization connected with the church that deserves
special mention: the Ladies' and Pastor's Christian
Union, organized by the pastor. Rev. S. W. Davis, in
1877. The society is designed to aid the pastor in his
work, and to assist the trustees in providing for the
ordinary and extra expenses of the church and its
furniture. The society paid over fifteen hundred
dollars on the cost of building and furnishing the new
church, and is still actively engaged in providing for
the incidental expenses. The pastor is president;
Miss Juliet Wilson, vice-president; Mrs. Neil Clag-
gett, treasurer; and Miss Lou Reynolds, secretary.
Regular weekly meetings are held on Tuesday

The Methodist Episcopal Church in Uniontovvn has
furnished quite a number of ministers for the active
work of the church. Among others may be mentioned

David Hess (deceased), L. R. Beacom, and G. T. Rey-
nolds, of the Pittsburgh Conference, Henry Wilson,
of the Illinois Conference, and C. M. Coburn, of the
Erie Conference. The number of members now con-
nected with the church is two hundred and twenty-
six, which is about the average number for the past
fifty years.

Perhaps there is no other point west of the moun-
tains where the associations and memories of Meth-
odism concentrateas at Uniontown. The early plant-
ing of Methodism, its well-sustained efforts in behalf
of liberal education, the prominent position held by
the denomination in its earlier days, and the great and
good men who have been connected with the appoint-
ment have conspired to make Uniontown an histori-
cal centre in AVestern Methodism. Viewed from the
era of the sturdy and heroic itinerant, who, clad in
homespun and equipped with saddle-bags, battled for
the gospel of peace, or contemplated in the mellow
light radiating from the memories of the mothers in
Methodism, the promise of the present and the future
of Methodism in Uniontown is not so bright as that
of the past.


It is quite certain that Uniontown was occupied by
Presbyterian ministers as a place for preaching the
gospel a century ago. This is inferred because there
were Presbyterian churches in this county with the
regular ministrations of the Word as early as 1774.
We have authority for the statement that in 1776
Uniontown was included in the bounds of the Dunlap's
Creek Church. When ministers were so near they
would not neglect this point. But we have no re-
corded nor verbal information in regard to the for-
mative period of our history until near the beginning
of the present century. The first statement to be
found anywhere is in the minutes of the Redstone
Presbytery. The following extract gives the first
reference in these minutes to this church :

" At the meeting of the Presbytery at Georges
Creek, Oct. 11, 1799, application for supplies was
made by the vacant congregation of LTniontown.
Rev. James Powers was appointed for one Sabbath,
and Rev. Samuel Porter for another," both eminent

During the following twelve years, application was
made at irregular intervals for supplies, which were
appointed. About 1812, Dr. James Dunlap, a man of
considerable ability, ex president of Jefl'erson College,
came here and remained about two years. He lived in
a small log house on the lot immediately to the east
of the court-house. He was principal of an academy
which was conducted in the Madison College build-
ing. The only person now (1876) living who was a
pupil of Dr. Dunlap at that time is Mr. Jacob B.
Miller, a citizen of this town. During his residence



here Dr. Dunlap preached occasionally in the old
court-house. In 1816 he went to reside with his son, 1
Rev. William Dunlap, in Abingdon, near Philadel-
phia, where he remained until his death, which oc-
curred Nov. 22, 1818. in the seventy-fifth year of his I
age. Up to 1817 the preaching was very irregular.

The Rev. William T. Wylie, a native of Washing- |
ton County, came here in 1817, from the churches of
Rehoboth and Round Hill, and began preaching to
this church, to its great satisfaction. He is properly
regarded as the first pastor. He came upon the
special invitation of John Lyon, an eminent lawyer,
John Kennedy, afterwards judge, and John Miller, a
citizen of influence. Mr. Wylie labored here as stated
supply two years, and was then formally called by the

From the records of the meeting of the Presbytery
held at Long Run, April 21, 1819, this extract is
made : " A call was presented from the congregation of
Uniontown for the ministerial labors of the Rev. Wil-
liam W\ 111', ill which they promise him the sura of
$1000 ill K'uiilni- . I iiarterly payments during the con-
tinuance (if ills pastoral relation with them. This call
was put into his hands and he declared his accept-
ance, and the Rev. Messrs. Francis Herron, Robert
Johnson, James Guthrie, and William Johnson were
appointed to meet in Uniontown on the first Tuesday
of May, 1819, at two o'clock p.m., to install the Rev.
William Wylie in the said congregation." The un-
usually large salary is worthy of note. It is believed
tij have been one of the largest paid to a minister of
the gospel anywhere in the United States at that time,
and it is explained by the fnct that then many men
of wealth resided here, who identified themselves
with this congregation. The explicit instructiim of
the Presbytery was carried out, for at the iiicctiiii;- at
:\I(iuiit Pleasant "The committee apiiointed to install
Rev. William Wylie in the congregation of Union-
town reported they had done their duty."

Mr. Wylie continued his ministerial labors in this
church iiiilil Oclolier, 1823, with varied exjjerience.
At I^diii: Klin, wliiie the call had been presented, in
1822, '■ Mr. \\'\ lir presenteil a request from the trus-
tees of the Uiii(Hiti.wii (■(iiiiirci;;itiiiii, statiiiir ihnt in
consequence n\' llic |.ci-iili:ir ('iiilinrr.-is-ninils dC \\\r

times, and the rciiHi\:il ami I'nnlrniphitr.i re \:i\ nl' a

number of their iimsl clliiiiait siili-i rilxrs, ilie congre-
gation were iiiialilc tn en-:!!:!' to Mi-. Wvlic more than
$U)0 ayearforoiie-halfi.f liis ministerial >rivires, and
that they were reluctantly coiistraiiud tn desire tlu^
Presbytery to release them from their furiiier ciiiiai^e-
nients to Mr. Wylie, and the Rev. William Wylie
agreeing with the request, it was granted." From
this time until his resignation he also preached occa-
sionally at Wheeling. Mr. Wylie resigned his charge
here in <)eliil>er, 1>;2;!. and was dismissed to the Pres-

Jlr. Wylie's pastoral services here seem to have been
quite eHicient. The j^rowth of the church was steady

until near the close of his pastorate. His physical
appearance was imposing. He was a tall and slender
man, over six feet high. He was pleasant in conver-
sation. He entered the pulpit with great solemnity,
and was regarded in his day as a very popular and
powerful preacher. He was searching and faithful in
his style, bold and pointed in the denunciation of sin.
He spoke without notes. He preached in the old

In 1827 a call was again made out for his pastoral
services, a very unusual thing in the history of any
congregation, and the only case of the kind in the
history of this, but Mr. Wylie declined.

In 1820-21 he erected the house now occupied by
Dr. Daniel Sturgeon, at the northeast corner of Main
Street and Mill Alley. The following information in
regard to the subsequent history of Mr. Wylie is fur-
nished by James Veech, Esq.

From Uniontown Mr. Wylie went to Wheeling,
thence in 1832 to Newark, Ohio, in 1854 to Port Gib-
son, Miss., where he married his second wife. He
returned to Wheeling in 1855, and died there May
9, 1858, nearly eighty-two years of age. His first wife
was a daughter of Rev. David Smith, his predecessor
at Rehoboth and Round Hill. She was a sister of
Rev. Joseph Smith, author of " Old Redstone," and
was the child born under the circumstances related
on ])age 57 of that book. She was a good woman,
and deserves to be remembered as the mother of the
Sabbath-school of this church. The only person now
living who united with the church under Mr. Wylie
is Mrs. Sarah Dawson, of Brownsville, then Mrs.
Sarah Bryson, nee Miss Sarah Huston.

For a period of five years after the departure of
Mr. Wylie this church was supplied by the Presby-
tery. It was during this interval that Dr. A. G. Fair-
child seems to have preached here very frequently.

In 1827 the Rev. John Holmes Agnew was called
to take charge of this church, and was installed Jan.
2(5, 1828, by the Presbytery, which met here for that
purpose. His salary was $400 per annum. Mr. Ag-
new was the son of a prominent phj'sician in Harris-
liiiri;, a ui'adiiate of Dickins(m College, and a licen-
liale ol' ilie I'le-^livtcry of Carlisle. He was a small
man willi a \veal< voice, a fine scholar and writer,
and read his discourses. He was a good pastor, ac-
cording to the testimony of those now living who
remember him, and as the sessional records indicate.
Towards tile close of liis labors here he hardly came
n|> to the staiidanl of orthodoxy of that day, espe-
cially because he was thought to make salvation
depend too largely on the hiiiiian will. At the time
of the disruption, in 1No>;, :\lr. Agnew united with
the New School branch of the church.

Mr. .\i;iiew ie>ii;iieil here in 1831, chiefly on account
of ill health, and at once accepted the chair of Lan-
gua.iies ill Washington College, and was dismissed to



a professor for a short time in Micliigan University ;
conducted a Ladies' Seminary at Pittsfield, Mass. ;
became editor of the Eclectic Ifigaziiie in New York ;
also taught in a female seminary near Cincinnati,
and died several years since at his home on the Hud-
son River. During his residence in Uniontovvn he
married Miss Taylor, of Brooklyn. She was an
estimable lady, earnestly desiring to aid her husband
in his work.

In 1831 l)egan the longest pastorate of this history,
that of Kev. Joel Stoneroad. Another peculiarity of
his pastorate is that it followed immediately upon
that of Mr. Agnew, without the intermission of a
single Sabbath. Mr. Stoneroad was ordained and
installed here Dec. 14, 1831, by the Presbytery, on a
salar}' of $500, in regard to which sum he says, " Al-
though it now appears small, it is to be remembered
all other things were in proportion."

Mr. Stoneroad was born Jan. 2, 1806, in Mifflin
County; graduated at Jefferson College in 1827, and
at Princeton Seminary in 1830. He labored as a
domestic missionary for some months at Morgan-
town, and without his own solicitation or expectation
was invited to preach as a candidate here. Unwilling
to violate his engagements with the board, the propo-
sition was made and accepted to preach here every
alternate Sabbath. After being substantially on trial
for six months, a unanimous call was made out for
his entire time here.

Mr. Stoneroad's labors within these bounds were
singularly blessed, and his pastorate of ten and a half
years was marked by an average admission, on exam-
ination, of twelve persons a year. He resigned this
charge April 14, 1842, because of the impression that
he could be more useful elsewhere. He went from
here to the Cross-Roads Church in Washington
County, and after a sojourn of eight years there was
called to the churches of Laurel Hill and Tyrone. In
1861 this charge was divided, and Mr. Stoneroad took
the church of Laurel Hill alone, where he still labors
with a zeal and energy beyond his strength. While
in Uniontown he was regarded as an orthodox
preacher, and was a diligent pastor, and he deserves,
as we believe he has, the esteem of this church " for
his work's sake." Revs. Wylie, Agnew, and Stone-
road all went from here to Washington Presbytery.

The Rev. Andrew Ferrier, D.D., the only doctor of
divinity who has ever labored in this church, came
here as supply by the appointment of Presbytery in
1842. He was a minister of the United Secession
Church, Scotland, a member of the Presbytery of
Glasgow, but came here more directly from the Pres-
bytery of New York. On the 29th of November,
1842, Dr. Ferrier was installed as pastor here on a
salary of $500.

He was a man of decided ability, and preached fine
old orthodox sermons ; but his Scotch brogue made it

difficult for many of the people to understand him.
He read his sermons from phonograjihic notes. Dr.
Ferrier resigned his charge here Aug. 6, 1844, and
crossed to the Scotch Church in Canada, and of his
subsequent history we have no information.

In 1845, on the 26th of June, the Rev. Griffith
Owen was installed here on a salary of $500. He
was a zealous, whole-souled, off-hand Welshman, a
good pastor, and a very good preacher whenever he
applied himself. He was noted for his itinerancy,
both in preaching and visiting from house to house.

He resigned here Nov. 11, 1847, being called to the
Third Presbyterian Church of Baltimore, thence re-
moving to Philadelphia, where, after laboring a few
years, he died.

The Rev. Moses Allen Williams was installed pas-
tor of this church Nov. 20, 1849, on a salary of $500.
He labored here as stated supply from February until
this date.

He was the son of a ruling elder in the Mingo con-
gregation, and was born Sept. 20, 1811. He was partly
educated for the ministry by the donation of a sum of
money for this purjjose by the great-grandmother of
one of the present members of this church. He is
the brother of Dr. Aaron Williams, a well-known
minister, now living near the city of Pittsburgh. He
resigned his charge here in 1852.

Mr. Williams was a godly man and an excellent
pastor, but only a moderate preacher. He wrote all
his sermons out at length and read closely, claiming
it was impossible for him to speak without notes, or
even commit his discourses. The following informa-
tion is condensed from a letter received in October,
1876, from Mr. Williams, who was then preaching at
Jacksonville, Oregon :

"After leaving T'niontown I went to South Amer-
ica, and livc(l ilnci' years in Valparaiso, Chili. I left

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 73 of 193)