Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 88 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 88 of 193)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tlemen, — At a meeting of the Town Council of said
borough, held on Saturday, Aug. 3, 1867, the follow-
ing proceedings were had : ' Resolved that the School
Directors of Connellsville Borough be notified to stop
proceedings in regard to building a school-house until
said Directors shall have conference with said Council
in reference to the construction of said house.' "

In reply to this communication the school board
" Resolved that as the Charter of the Borough of
Connellsville, as well as the Deed from Connell, do-
nates or conveys the public ground for .school-houses
and churches, and as since the organization of the
public system the said ground has already been
granted by the Borough to the School Board, and one
School-House already erected thereon, therefore the
said Board have a right to continue to occupy said
ground for the purpose of erecting additional school-
houses thereon without further permission from the
Town Council. We therefore respectfully ask said
Council to show cause, if any there be, why said
ground shall not now be used for the purpose of
erecting a school-house thereon." No further col-
lision occurred between the board and the Council in
reference to the matter.

In February, 1868, Christian Snider's contract for
building the school-house was cancelled, the board
paying him for expenses already incurred. The plans
of the building were then slightly changed, and on
the 4th of Mav foUowinff a new contract was made


with John Kilpatrick for a brick building, fifty-five
by seventy feet in dimensions and three stories higli,
for eleven thousand two hundred dollars.

Work upon the new school-house was commenced
and continued through the summer and fall of 1868
and spring of 18(ji), and on the 11th of June in the
latter year the board accepted the building from the
contractor, who was paid in the settlement as follows :

Contract $11,200.00

Extra work 2,229.59

Total Sl.';,42g.o9

On Monday, June 14, 1869, the new house was first
occupied by the schools of Connellsville under S. P.
Espy as principal. He was succeeded by M. L. Baer,
the present principal.

There are now (June, 1881) seven hundred and
sixty-two scholars, under twelve teachers, in all the
departments. The total receipts from all sources for
the year ending June 1, 1881, were $8.504.72 ; ex-
penditures, .S7097.28. The directors for 1881 are
Stephen McBride, President ; H. P. Snyder, Treas-
urer ; L. P. Norton, Secretary ; Dr. Smith Buttermore,
Dr. P. J. Stauffer, William B. Miner.


The Baptist Church in Connellsville was constituted
June 20, 171)6, with the following-named constituent
members : David Lobdell, Samuel Trevor, Caleb Tre-
vor, Joshua Lobdell, Michael Bryant, Sarah Muirs,
Sarah Trevor, Nancy Bryant, and Mary Lobdell, —
all being members of regular Baptist Churches in
Europe and America.

In the early days of the church the deacons were
Samuel Trevor and David Lobdell. Its records even
at this early period show that the church was purely
apostolic in doctrine, practice, and discipline. During
the first thirty years of its existence its members
were ministered to by evangelists and chosen ones of
their own number having ability to teach. The first
regularly installed pastor was Elder James Frey, who
served from 1804 to 1809, inclusive. In 1810 the Eev.
George Watkin became pastor, and served in that
office till 1815. From that time to 1830 the church
was served by James Estep, afterwards D.D., who
labored with this congregation in word and doctrine.
He was succeeded by the Rev. Lester Norton, who
served in the pastorate for two years.

In 1832 the pastoral charge of the church was as-
sumed by the I\ev. Bendui Allen, a ]iopular );irfaclier,
mighty in the Scri|)tures, and a giant in debute.
During this period the minutes of the church show
that there was rarely a meeting held in which there
were no converts seeking admission into the cliurch.
It numbered at that time one hundred and fifty mem-
bers. In 1835 the Rev. J. P. Rockafeller became
pastor and continued until 1837, when the Rev. Mil-


i ton Sutton was placed in charge, and served the
church in a very acceptable manner for four years.

Between the years 1835 and 1840 the teachings of
the Rev. Alexander Campbell (founder of the sect
known as Disciples) greatly afiiicted this church,
almost rending it asunder by disunion and strife,
leaving it a shattered wreck and but a shadow of
what it had formerly been. From 1840 for ten years

I the pastors of the church were the Revs. J. W. Tis-

I dale, E. D. Brown, and John Parker. In 18.5,1 the
Rev. W. W. Hickman was installed pastor, and con-

' tinned in that capacity for two years. From 1854 to
1864 the church was served by supplies, except a part
of the time, when the Rev. John Scott was pastor.
From 1864 to 1875 the pastors were the Revs. W. W.
Hickman, N. B. Crutchfield, David Williams, and W.
H. Cooper. In 1875 the church was in a low and de-

' pressed condition, from various causes which contrib-

I uted to this sad result. It had been retrograding
for many years, and some had almost abandoned the
hope of seeing better days ; others continued firm in
the faith that the God of their fathers would yet visit
them in mercy. But the year 1876 was to their
sore hearts the dawn of a better time. God heard
their cries, and guided them to call to the pastorate
a young man then in charge of the Baptist Church in

I Irwin, Westmoreland Co., the Rev. R. C. Morgan.
He took charge of the church in April, 1876, and has
continued with it to the present time, and the six
years of his pastorate have been wonderfully blessed.
The present number of members of this church is
four hundred and eighty.

In 1877 the old church building of this congrega-
tion was demolished, and a larger, more commodious,
and elegant structure reared in its place. The church's
property is free from debt, and its finances in a flour-
ishing condition. There is a fine Sunday-school con-
trolled by the church, with several mission schools in
fair condition located in the outlying suburbs of the

The board of deacons is composed of P. McCor-

mick, W. F. Holsing, Henry Shafler, W. B. Jlinor,

J. L. Stentz, R. L. Boyd, J. W. Minor, D. Workman.

It is worthy of note that Deacon McCormick has

; served as an efficient officer of the church since the

I year 1831. a period of more than half a century.

I Among the devoted and honorable women who
have sustained an important part in the history of

' the church, and whose names should be handed down

I to future generations, are Sisters Snyder, Wetherill,
Higgins, Dushane, Buttermore, Muuson, McCormick,
Robinson, Minor, McBeth, Morgan, Risinger, Shaffer,
White, Barnes, Percy, and Shaw.

The Newmeycrs became connected with the church
at a very early date, and are still represented in it by
their descendants. There are three clergymen who
hold their membership in the church besides the pas-

; tor, namely, Rev. W. A. Barnes, Rev. W. H. Cooper,
and Rev. A. Hutton.



Much that pertains in general to the early history
of the Methodist Episcopal Churches of this section
of country, including that at Connellsville, will be
found in the history of the church of this denomi-
nation at Uniontown, to which reference may be
had. When Robert Ay res and John Smith were
appointed to this circuit by the Conference in
1786, there is little doubt that Connellsville was
one of their preaching-places. In 1789 Ayres be-
came a minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church
of Brownsville, where he resided many years. In
1848 the Rev. P. McGowan collected and recorded all
the information that could be found in reference to
the history of this church. He says of 1789, —

" There is reason to believe that there was a society
at Connellsville at this time. Anthony Banning, who
resided at Connellsville, was received on trial in the
traveling connection this year, but located in 1791,
and afterwards resided in the same place." Of 1792
he says, " It is believed that about this time Connells-
ville was attached to the Pittsburgh Circuit." In
1802 Connellsville was in the Baltimore Conference,
Pittsburgh District. McGowan says of 1811,' This
year the circuit is named Connellsville, and the un-
certainty under which we have labored, ceases as
it respects the circuit with which this appointment
has been connected. The writer is not at present able
to state with precision the date of the erection of the
stone meeting-house on the hill. It was previous,
however, to this year."

The preachers on the circuit in that and succeeding
years were :

1811. — John Meek, Jacob Gorwell.
1812. — Simon Lanch, Louis R. Fechtige.
1813.— Thornton Fleming.
1816.— John Macklefresh.
1817.— John West.

1818. — .lames Reily, Henry Baker, Peregrine Buck-
1819.— Samuel P. V. Gillespie, Bennet Douler.
1820.— John West, John Connelly.
1821.— John West, Norval Wilson.
1822. — Henry Baker, William Barnes.
1823. — Henry Baker, William Morgan.
1824. — James Paynter, John Strickler.
1825. — Robert Boyd, Thomas Jamison.
1826.— George Waddle, John Connelly.
1827.— David Sharp, John Connelly.
1828.— Charles Thorn, Jacob K. Miller.
1829.— Charles Thorn, John West.
1830.— James G. Sansom, John Philips.
1831. — James G. Sansom, Moses Tichinell, William
A. Barton. (" Radical Secession at Connells-
ville" this year.)
1832.— John White, Wesley Kenney.
1833. — John White, Wesley Kenney, George L. Sis-
1834.— David Sharp, Elias W. Worthington.

1835. — David Sharp, Jeremiah Knox.
1836. — John Spencer, John Murray.
1837. — Samuel Wakefield, George L. Bisson.
1838.— Samuel Wakefield, D. L. Dempsey.
1839.— William Tipton, Hamilton Cree.

UiiioiUovm District.

1840.— William Tipton, Hamilton Cree.

1841.— Warner Long, Heaton Hill.

1842.— Warner Long, M. A. Ruter.
\ 1843. — John L. Irwin, Jeremiah Knox.

1844.— John L. Irwin, M. P. Jemison.
I 1845.— John B. West, M. P. Jemison.
I 1846.— John Coil, Joseph Ray.

1847.— P. M. McGowan, Joseph Ray.

1848.— P. M. McGowan, George B. Hudson.

1849. — James G. Sansom, John M. Rankin.

1850. — James G. Sansom, J. L. Deans, D. B. Camp-

1851. — Circuit divided, J. J. Covert appointed to

1852. — Connellsville made a station and thrown into
Uniontown District, J. J. Covert appointed
preacher; number of members, about one hundred
and forty.

1853. — Connellsville and Jacob's Creek thrown into
one charge. P. F. Jones, preacher.

1854. — In this year Jacob's Creek and Dunbar were
taken from the charge. •

1855.— Wm. Stuart, John Wakefield. Connellsville
was connected with the Redstone Circuit.

1856.— J. P. Saddler, J. R. Cooper.

1857.— E. B. Griffin, J. Mclntire.

1858.— Same.

1859.— James HoUingshead, M. McK. Garrett.

I860.— Samuel Wakefield, M. !\lrK'. (larrett.

1861.— Samuel Wakefirld, \V. K. :MarshaIl.

1862.— Connellsville was stri.-l;vii ull from the circuit,
and with Springfield made a separate charge. J.
W. Kessler appointed pastor.

1863.— Connellsville made a station. J. W. Weaver,

1864.— C. W. Smith, pastor.

1865-67.— J. J. Jones.

1868-70.— C. W. Scott.

1871.— S. W. Horner.

1872-74.— T. H. Wilkinson.

1875-77.— J. T. Jones.

1878-80.— J. A. Danks.

1881.— J. HoUingshead. On Mr. Hollingshead's re-
moval to Providence, R. I., in April, 1881, the
Rev. M. L. Weekly was placed in charge, and is
the present pastor of this church.
The date of the erection of the old st^ne house of

worship on the hill has not been ascertained, beyond

the fact that it was [trior to the year 1811. It has been

said that Zachariah Connell, the founder of the town,

and a member of the Methodist Church, donated

the lot and building to the societv. This state-



ment may be true, but it is not fully authenticated.
The old edifice was used for many years, but finally
abandoned as a place of worship, and was sold to
John Taylor, who sold it to Gebhart, Freeman & Co.
It was afterwards used as a foundry for about ten
years. In 1871 it was sold to the Roman Catholics,
and by them demolished to make room for their new
limine of worship.

In 1836 the society purchased by contract for one
hundred dollars a part of lot Xu. 1:!2. situated on Ap-
ple Street and Meadow Alley, wliirh property was
deeded on the 1st of Manli, ls:;7, l,y William David-
son, to till.' trustees, .lohn Wilson, Philip Snyder,
Jacob Coiirail. Levi 15. Page, and Samuel Marshall.
Prior to the cxcrution of the deed, however, the so-
ciety had erected on the land a church buiklini;,
which was the house of worship until Frliru;ir\-, l.Ss2,
when it was demolished to make room for the erection
of a new edifice commensurate with the growing re-
quirements of the congregation.

The present membership of the church is about
three hundred. There is in connection with the
church a Sabbath-school of about one hundred and
twenty scholars, under charge of twenty-fuur teachers
and the superintendence of Charles Whitely.


"The first notice of Counellsville in the minutes
of Presbytery is the record of the presentation of
a memorial from the inhabitants ot Connellsville,
praying for leave tVom Presbytery to obtain occasional
supplies. This was hiid on the table." (Min. Fres.,
vol. iv. p. 52. .^altshiinj, Ind. Co., Oct. 5, 1830.)

" At this time there were but few members in
Counellsville, among them Alexander Johnston and
family, Wm. Little and family, and Isaac Taylor and
family. These were members at Tyrone, and Mr.
Johnston was an elder. The next mention occurs in
the minutes of the meeting of Presbytery at Re-
hoboth, Oct. 4, 1831. A memorial from the inhabit-
ants of Connellsville was then presented to Pres-
bytery, praying to be organized into a congregation,
also to obtain supplies, which was granted. The
records of this church, which are preserved from the
beginning, state that application was made by the
members of the Presbyterian Church residing in
Connellsville and vicinity to the Presbytery of Red-
stone, and the application was granted, and all those
persons members of the churches at Tyrone and
Laurel Hill residing in Connellsville were set off
and authorized to organize a church at the latter
place. This seems to have been an organization, as
no further reference to it is made, and the church of
Connellsville appears in the spring of 1832 in a sta-
tistical report of Presbytery."

The names of the original members of this church
were as follows: Alexander Johnston (elder), Mar-

Kcv. J. M. Barnett.

garet Johnston, Miss N. C. Johnston, William Little
and Mary Little, Isaac Taylor and Rachel Taylor,
Sarah Turner, Joseph Rogers and Elizabeth Rogers,
Elizabeth Carson, Nancy Norton, Louisa Norton,
Margaret Francis, Harriet Fuller, Margaret Little,
Caroline Trevor, Mary Barnet, Samuel Finley and
Mary Finley, Samuel McCormiek and Elizabeth

Besides these there were four communicants set off
at the same time who resided at Indian Creek, who
continued in connection till 1842 or 1843, wlien the
church at Indian Creek was crrganized.

The services of this church were first held in the
Baptist house of worship, and communions in the old
Methodist Church on the hill, — the site of the present
Catholic Church. In the church record bearing date
Jan. 6, 1839, occurs this passage: "On this day the
church erected for the use of the Presbyterian Church
of Connellsville was opened for the occupancy of the
congregation. The occasion was marked with appro-
priate religious services."

This building continued in use till March 29, 1863,
when it was destroyed by fire. The church record of
that date says, " Our church was destroyed this morn-
ing by tire." The walls of the building remained stand-
ing, and the cliureh \v:ls soon rebuilt as at present.
In the summer of 1S71 two lots were donated on
Peach Street (one by John Taylor, the other by J. R.
Johnston and T. W. Watt). A parsonage was erected
at a cost of ^:3116.

The first riieiting tor the election of elders was held
in the llaptist Church Aug. 2, 1832, at which time and
place William Lytic, Isaac Taylor, Joseph Paull, Jo-
seph Rogers, and Samuel Russell were elected to that
office. On the 7th of March, 1844, Robert Trevor,
Noble C. Met'onniek, and Joseph H. Cunningham
were eleete^i : in .Marel,. is'.o, Mr. McCrea and John
Taylor; Sept. 1'7, Is.M, Samuel A. Russell was elected
an elder, he having then recently been received from
the Laurel Hill Church. On the 26th of March, 1866,
Robert Beatty was elected elder ; James Allen was
elected Feb. 24, 1868 ; John R. Johnston and James
L. Paull were elected Jan. 19, 1873; Henry C. Mc-
Cormick and A. B. Hosack, in February, 1874; Wil-
liam Barnett and Adam Armstrong elected June 6,
1875, and ordained November 2Sth same year. Charles
N. Boyd and Jacob May were elected Feb. 1, 1878;
ordained April 28th same year. Mr. Boyd was dis-
missed to Somerset (where he is now ruling elder) May
18, 1879. James Calhoun and Hugh M. Kerr were
elected May 18, 1879, and ordained December 7th same
year. The present bench of elders consists of James
Allen, H. C. McCormick, William Barnett, A. Arm-
strong, Jacob May, James Calhoun, and H. M. Kerr.

On the 28th of April, 1874, the Presbyterian
Church of Dunbar was set oflf from this church by
the Presbytery, and Joseph Paull, John Taylor,
James L. Paull, and Thomas W. Watt were trans-
ferred as ruling elders.


Tlie first religious services regularly held by Pres-
byterians in Connellsville were conducted by the Rev.
T. M. Chestnut,' who was sent here by the Board of
Missions. This was before the organization of the
church had been effected. When the application for
organization was granted by the Presbytery, as be-
fiirc mentioned, the Rev. Robert Johnston and the
\lrv. A. O. Patterson were appointed as supplies to j
CoHiiellsville. The church minutes (Dec. 15, 1831) [
state that the Rev. J. L. Hawkins, of the Presbytery ,
of Washington, having been invited by the members ]
of the church, entered upon this field of labor as a 1
missionary, under direction of the General Assem-
bly's Board of Missions, laboring alternately at Con-
nrllsville and Indian Creek. He remained in this
fioM till 1837. The church of Connellsville obtained
Ituvc to present a call for him before the Presbytery
of Washington. On the 20th of June, 1837, he was
received into the Presbytery of Red.stone on certifi- I
cate. A call from this church was presented to him
and accepted. He was installed as pastor. The Rev. j
X. H. Gillett preached the sermon, and Rev. Mr.
Johnston delivered the charge. This pastorate con-
tinued until April, 1843, when it was closed at Mr. |
Hawkins' request. The church was supplied until
April, 1845, by the Revs. James Davis, N. H. Gillett,

■\V. W. McLane, J. B. McKee, A. G. Fairchild, [

Fimllcy, Eaton, Wilson, -Guthrie. In

LSI."!, Mr. R. Stevenson became a stated supply here.
He was a licentiate under the care of an Ohio Pres-
bytery, and in April, 1845, he was called by the con-
gregation of this church to take its pastoral charge.
On the 13th of June, 1845, Presbytery met at Con- I
nellsville, on which occasion Mr. Stevenson was or-
dained to the work of the ministry, and was installed
as pastor of this church. This relation continued
until October, 1852, when, after a period of seven
years, he requested and was granted a dismissal.

In the spring of 1853 the Rev. James Black ac-
cepted a call, and was installed as pastor in April of
that year. He remained until April, 1860, when he
was called to a professorship in Washington College,
and resigned his charge in Connellsville. The church
was then variously supplied until ^[arch 29, 1863,
when a call was extendcil to yiv. X. II. ( i. Fife, which
he accepted, and on tlu' '2'.nl\ oi April, INij:!. was or-
dained and installed. He requested a dismissal Nov.
29, 1867, which was granted him, after a service of
four and a half years. The Rev. Mr. Fields preached
as an acceptable supply during the winter of 1867-68,
and was called to the pastorate Jan. 22, 1868, and
was installed on the second Tuesday of February,
the Rev. J. M. Barnett presiding. This relation was
dissolved June 1, 1869. In August or September of
that year a call was extended to the Rev. J. M. Bar-
nett, which he accepted in April, 1870, and was in-

had perhaps preached a few times

stalled on the third Monday in May of that year, the
Rev. N. H. G. Fife preaching the sermon, the Rev.
W. W. Ralston delivering the charge to the pastor,
and the Rev. D. W. Townsend the charge to the
people. Mr. Barnett still remains as pastor of the

The original membership of this church (1831) was
twenty-two. A report of membership in 1843 showed
one hundred and eleven in communion (including
members at Indian Creek); in 1853 the membership
was one hundred and nine, in 1863 one hundred and
thirty-one, in 1873 two hundred and thirty-seven,
and at present it is two hundred and sixty-seven.
Connected with this church is a Sabbath-school of
two hundred and fifty scholars, of which James Cal-
houn is superintendent.


According to the best information that can be ob-
tained, this church was organized in the Baptist house
of worship in Connellsville in November or Decem-
ber, 1830, by the Rev. George Brown; John Wesley
Phillips being class-leader.

Moses Scott, who was a weaver in the New Haven
factories, and a local preacher, labored long at this
place and through the neighboring section of country,
and succeeded in organizing several societies. His
labors resulted in the formation of the Union Circuit,
which was connected with the Ohio Conference. By
that Conference Moses Scott was ordained deacon in
1831, and appointed to this circuit, which at that time
was extensive, containing twelve appointments. In
1832 he was appointed elder and sent to Georgetown
Circuit. William Marshall became an assistant to
Scott, and left this circuit in 1832.

The Methodist Protestant church edifice on Apple
Street in Connellsville was erected in 1832, largely
through the earnest and indefatigable labors of J. W.
Phillips. The preachers here at that time were Wil-
liam College and James Porter. The first sermon
preached in the church building was by John B.
Lucas, from the text, "How shall we escape if we
neglect so great salvation?"

In 1833 the trustees of the church were Asher
Smith, John W. Phillips, Isaac W. Francis, Thomas
Kirkpatrick, Samuel Freeman, John Stillwagon, and

j John Semple.

The following-named preachers have labored on
this circuit during the past fifty years :
1831.— Moses Scott, William H. Marshall.

I 1832. — William College, James Porter.
1833._William College, Thomas Stynchcomb.

[ 1834.— Daniel Gibbons, F. McWilliams.

I 1835. — John Huntsman, Miller.

I 1836.— John Huntsman, Moses N. Warren.
1837.— Cornelius Woodruff, Fielding A. Davis.
1838.— James M. Piper, Gabriel Lanham.

j 1839. — James Robinson, John B. Shearer.
1840.— James Robinson, F. A. Davis.



1841. — James Robinson, Joseph Burns.

1842. — James Hopwood, Joseph Burns.

1843. — James Hopwood, John Scott.

1844.— Peter T. Laishley.

1845. — James Robinson. Connellsville Circuit set off.

1846.— Henry Palmer, Thomas G. I. Sherwood.

1847.— Henry Palmer.

1848. — George Brown. Connellsville made a station.

1849.— George Brown. Made again a part of Union

1850. — James Hopwood.
1851.— William M. Betts.
1852.— William M. Betts.
1853-54.— Unsupplied.
1855.— D. D. Hughes.
18.56.— J. E. Tygard.
1857.— J. M. Mason.
1858.— Henry Lucas, I. W. Francis.
1859.— Henry Lucas.
I860.— William Wragg. A. Hutton.
1861.— James B. Lucas, A. Hutton.
1862.— James B. Lucas.
1863-64.— Henry Palmer.
1865-66.— Henry Lucas.
1867. — Zachariah Ragan.
1868.- PeterT. Conway.
1869.— C. P. Jordan. Connellsville again made a sta-

1870.— William Reeves.
1871-73.— William Collier.
1874-76. — John Gregory.
1877-81.— A. D. Brown"

The church has at present
hundred and eighty

ibership of one

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 88 of 193)