FIRST ARRIVALS OF CHURCHES AND ORGANIZATIONS—A RELIGIOUS PEOPLE WERE THE PIONEERS —MORAVIANS, PURITANS AND CATHOLICS IN THEIR ORDER—ETC.
THE first known visit of a Christian minister to the Wyoming region was in 1741, when Rev. John Sargeant, M. A. (Yale, 1729), founder of the Indian training school at Stockbridge, Mass., came here with some Christian missionaries to preach to the aborigines in the valley. He was not well received, and returned home disappointed. An interesting sketch of Mr. Sergeant will be found in Dexter's Yale College Sketches. In the middle of October, 1742, Count Zinzendorf, a pioneer Moravian missionary, met a party of four others, and visited the Indians at Wyoming. He remained here about two weeks.
Baron John Watterville, a bishop of the Moravians, son-in-law to Count Zinzendorf, visited Wyoming October 4, 1748, with Bishop Cammerhoff and Martin Mack. David Zeisberger, the apostle to the Indians, also went as interpreter. It was on this visit that the ceremony of the Lord's supper was first administered in the Wyoming valley. Zeisberger and Cammerhoff repeated this visit in May, 1750; and [p.423] December, 1751, accompanied by Gottlieb Bergold, elder general of the "Single Richter." In the same year Zeisberger, Shongenberg, Seidil, Schmick and Koske made a visit to Wyoming and induced 107 Nanticoke Shawnee Indians to visit Gnadeuhutten and Bethlehem. In 1775 Zeisberger established noted itineracies in Wyoming valley, in which Adam Grube, Frederick Post and Christian Seidil, missionaries, assisted, but the massacre by French Indians at Penn creek, Snyder county, (Col. Rec. W. 645) led them to close the mission work until October, 1762, when Zeisberger again visited Wyoming. [De Schweinitz. Life of Zeisberger.]
According to the deposition of Parshall Terry, one of the number, ninety-four settlers came from Connecticut to the Wyoming valley, August, 1762, among them Rev. William Marsh, a Baptist minister. He was slain October 15, 1763, with some twenty others. Some writers claim that he was a Congregational minister. D. O. N. Worder says that he was the first Englishman whose blood stained the soil of Wyoming. Morgan Edward, the Baptist historian, says: "William Marsh was born in Wrentham, N. E., and ordained among the 'Separate' branch of the Congregationalists. About 1749 he, with sixteen others, formed an Independent church at Mansfield, Conn., of which he became pastor. In 1751 they settled in the north part of Newton, Sussex county, N. J., where, previous to 1756, Mr. Marsh and eight others originated the First Baptist church, Wantage. About 1700 he and thirty-six others undertook something of the Moravian system of holding property in common which resulted unfavorably. He turned his attention to trading in live stock, which greatly injured himself and his neighbors, for in returning from one town he had occasion to stop at Society Hill, Philadelphia, and lost his saddlebags and money. In 1762-3 he joined the white settlement of Wyoming, where he was made the butt of ridicule by the Indians. He was an animated and earnest preacher. He was followed by Rev. George Beckwith in 1770.
The Presbyterian Church.—The following is a summary of the history of this church by Sheldon Reynolds, Esq., corresponding secretary Wyoming Historical and Geological society, prepared for the history of Lackawanna Presbytery, 1889, and is given by permission:
"Although the early history of this church is involved in some obscurity by reason of the lack of records of the period prior to 1803, and the disturbing influences that arose from extraneous causes, it may be said to have had its beginning in the year 1770, the second year of the settlement of Wyoming, as this section of the State was then called. In 1770 Rev. George Beckwith, Jr., of Lyme, Conn., a graduate of Yale college (1766), became the first settled minister of the church. He was chosen for the work by the Susquehanna company of Connecticut, under whose auspices the settlement of Wyoming had been undertaken, and for his services in the ministry here he received compensation furnished by the people. He did not, however, remain a long time in this field of labor, and was succeeded, in 1773, by the Rev. Jacob Johnson, a graduate of Yale (1740). Sketches of George Beckwith and Jacob Johnson will be found in Yale biographies, 1701-45."
Mr. Johnson's pastoral relations with the church continued for many years, perhaps until the time of his death, March 15, 1797, and extended throughout the period marked in the history of this community by frequent alarm, civil strife, and the ravages of the public enemy.
The controversy between the Connecticut settlers and the proprietary government involving the political jurisdiction of Wyoming began with the first attempts to form a settlement within the territory, but after a few years gave place, for the time being, to the exciting events of the Revolutionary war, the chief of which concerning the people here, was the battle and massacre of Wyoming.
At the close of the war the old controversy, now inherited by the State of Pennsylvania, was renewed with resolute purpose and increased bitterness, the demoralizing effects of which continued to be felt until the beginning of the present century.
[p.424] No records of the church during this early period have been preserved, if indeed any were kept. But the fact that the church continued to exist, and that it survived the succession of disasters with which it was beset, would not seem to need the corroboration of written chronicles to prove its strength and vitality, and hence its ability to fill its sphere of usefulness. It is known, however, that the church was self-supporting; that the organization was preserved; that services were regularly held when circumstances did not render meetings impossible; and that its sustaining influence was felt in the community.
A house of worship had been built soon after the settlement of the village, which served the needs of the congregation for a few years, but its destruction in 1778, in common with most other buildings, left them no fixed place of worship. The inhabitants, upon their return to Wyoming after the disaster of 1778, used for this purpose the schoolhouses, several of which had been rebuilt, and also met for worship at the houses of some of their own number. In 1791 meetings were held in the log courthouse situated on the public square, the use of which, in part, as a house of worship, was continued until the completion, twelve years afterward, of the church building known as the "Ship Zion."
In 1791 steps were taken to erect a church building, but many obstacles intervened to delay the work, and the house was not ready for occupancy until 1803. "Ship Zion" was occupied by the congregation about thirty years. It was a frame building, well constructed, and possessed some beauty of architecture. The hight and graceful proportions of its spire gained for it a local fame that has not yet entirely passed away, and it remained an interesting and familiar landmark many years after its use by this church as a house of worship had ceased.
After the death of Mr. Johnson efforts were made to secure a pastor, but they were not attended with immediate success. In the interval the pulpit was supplied by missionaries who came under the auspices of the Connecticut missionary society, as well as by others who, under temporary engagements, preached from time to time. Among those who preached at this time were Messrs. Jabez Chadwick and James Woodward, of the Connecticut missionary society; the Rev. Dr. Porter, of Catskill, and the Rev. D. Harrower.
The earliest records of the church that have been preserved bear date July 1, 1803. On that day the congregation of Wilkes-Barre, augmented by a number of the residents of Kingston and other neighboring villages, took the name of the "Church of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston," and the record shows that, a confession of faith and a covenant were adopted and signed by twenty-seven members of the church. On the 30th of the same month three deacons were chosen.
In August, 1806, the Rev. Ard. Hoyt, was ordained and installed pastor of the church of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, there being at that time thirty-four members. Six years later the covenant of the Luzerne association of congregational churches was adopted by this church. During Mr. Hoyt's pastorate of eleven years, eighty- five members were added to the church—sixty-one on profession and twenty-four by letter. Mr. Hoyt continued his pastoral relations with the church until November 10, 1817, at which time he resigned. Soon afterward he was appointed a missionary to the Cherokee Indians in the State of Tennessee, where he died February 18, 1828.
The year following Mr. Hoyt's departure, Mr. Hutchins Taylor, a missionary, was minister in charge. He assumed the duties with a view of permanent settlement, but at the time of the division of the congregation, which took place soon afterward, he appears to have gone with the Kingston members, and became the first pastor of their church. Mr. Taylor was succeeded by the Rev. D. Moulton, as stated supply who remained until 1820. The Rev. Eleazer S. Barrows also preached here occasionally during the years 1817-21.
The growth of the church at this time seemed to warrant a division of the congregation [p.427] and the organization of another church. The Presbytery of Susquehanna, accordingly, March, 1819, divided the church of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston; the members of Kingston constituting a separate church. During the period of five years succeeding 1817, there were added to the church thirty-seven members, and twenty-one were dismissed to unite with the Kingston church.
June 15, 1821, the Rev. Cyrus Gildersleeve was called to the pastorate of the churches of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston. He continued in this charge until 1826, when he gave up his relations with the church in Kingston, and thereafter, until the year 1829, was pastor of the Wilkes-Barre church alone. He resigned in 1829, but continued for a time to preach in the vicinity as a missionary. Like his predecessors, Mr. Gildersleeve in addition to his regular duties, was accustomed to preach in Hanover, Newport, Pittston and other neighboring villages. During his pastorate there were two revivals of religion—one in 1822, when thirty members were received into the church on profession, besides a number added to the Kingston church; and another in 1826, when nearly fifty were united with the church. Some of these, says Dr. Dorrance, in a sernion preached in 1953, were residents of Hanover, Newport, Pittston, Providence, etc., and became the foundation of separate churches. The whole number added during Mr. Gildersleeve's ministry of eight years was 129. He removed from Wilkes-Barre to Bloomfield, N. J., and died within a few Years.
In 1829 the churches of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston joined in a call to the Rev. Nicholas Murray, who accepted the call and was installed in October, 1829. He continued in this charge until June 26, 1833. Soon after the installation of Dr. Murray the number of communicants residing in Hanover was thought to be sufficient to form a separate church, and accordingly seventeen members were dismissed to unite with the new church of Hanover. During his pastorate the membership of the church was increased by sixty-six. By the advice of Dr. Murray the form of church government was changed from Congregational to Presbyterian; also, through his efforts, the congregation were induced to sell their interest in their old church building, "Ship Zion," to the Methodist congregation, and to erect a church building more suited to their uses. It was situated on Franklin street and was occupied by the congregation for sixteen years; then removed to make room for the brick structure still standing and now used by the Osterhout Free library.
The Rev. John Dorrance succeeded Dr. Murray as pastor of the church, and was installed August 22, 1833, the day the new church was dedicated. In addition to his regular pastoral duties, Dr. Dorrance extended the field of his labors throughout the county; the influence of the church became much increased. At a later period a church organization was effected at White Haven; and the Coalville chapel was established, now the Presbyterian church of Ashley. Under the auspices of this church also the Wilkes-Barre Female institute was established in 1854, and a substantial brick building was erected for the purposes of the school at a cost of about $12,000. During Dr. Dorrance's ministry the frame building that had served as a house of worship since 1833, was removed, and on its site was erected a handsome brick structure. The building was begun in 1849 and finished soon afterward at a cost of $15,000. It was occupied by the Congregation until the year 1888.
Dr. Dorrance was graduated from Princeton college in 1823. He was ordained November, 1827, by the Presbytery of Mississippi. He was the pastor of the Baton Rouge church from 1827 to 1830; and from 1831 to 1833 was settled over the church at Wysox. In the latter year he was called to this church, where he continued until his death, April 18, 1861.
The Rev. A. A. Hodge, D.D., succeeded Dr. Dorrance, and was installed in September, 1861. In 1864 the general assembly assigned him the post of professor of didactic and polemic theology in the Alleghany seminary; his pastoral relations with this church were thereupon dissolved.
[p.428] Dr. A. A. Hodge was graduated from Princeton college in 1841, and from the Princeton Theological seminary in 1846. He was ordained in May, 1847, and in 1861 he was called to the pastorate of the Wilkes-Barre church. From 1864 to 1877 he occupied the chair of didactic and polemic theology in Alleghany seminary, and from 1866 to 1877 he was also pastor of the North Presbyterian church of Alleghany. In 1877 he became associated with his father, the Rev. Charles Hodge, D.D., LL. D., in the professorship of systematic theology in Princeton Theological seminary, and upon the death of his father in 1878, he succeeded to that professorship, which position he held until his death, November 11, 1886.
In 1864 the Rev. S. B. Dod was installed pastor of this church. During his ministry of four years eighty-five members were added to the church. In October, 1868, Mr. Dod resigned the pastorate. He was graduated from Princeton college in 1857; ordained in June, 1862; called to Wilkes-Barre in 1864.
Mr. Dod was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. Franklin Bache Hodge, D.D.; he was installed February, 1869. The present active membership of the church is 550.
Dr. F. B. Hodge was graduated from Princeton college in 1859, and from the Princeton Theological seminary in 1862. He was ordained May 9, 1863.
Two chapels, the South Wilkes-Barre, or Westminister chapel and the Grant Street chapel have been connected with this church. The South Wilkes-Barre chapel was established in 1868, and enlarged in 1873. In 1882 the building was replaced by a substantial brick structure of larger dimensions to accommodate the growing congregation.
July 1, 1885, Westminster chapel became self-supporting and, on June 8, 1888, was organized as a church with sixty-nine members. The present membership is 137. The Grant Street chapel was established in 1871; Rev. C. I. Junkin, minister in charge at the present time. This was organized into a separate church in 1889.
In 1874 the Memorial church was organized out of the membership of this church, and a number of other members have since been dismissed to unite with it.
The brick structure, built in 1849 and occupied by the congregation for thirty- eight years, not affording the room needed, the congregation undertook the building of a new church edifice. The corner-stone was laid July 11, 1887. The larger auditorium will have a seating capacity of 1,100, and the total cost of the building and ground about $170,000.
The officers of the church: Elders: Calvin Parsons, *A. T. McClintock, LL. D., George Loveland, C. S. Beck, M.D., D.D.S., T. H. Atherton, Clerk, *J. L. Miner, M.D., Nathaniel Rutter, J. W. Hollenback, Samuel H. Lynch, Lee Stearns, I. M. Thomas, Robert Ayres. Deacons: *R. J. Flick, Treas., E. J. Leutz, H. N. Young, Sec., Joseph A. Murphy, M.D.; trustees: G. Murray Reynolds, Pres.; A. H. McClintock; I. P. Hand, Sec., David P. Ayars, Treas.; George R. Bedford. [*Dead]
The Memorial Presbyterian Church, North street, Wilkes-Barre, was built and given by Calvin Wadhams as a memorial to his three children, Frank Cleveland, Mary Catlin and Lynde Henderson, who died of scarlet fever in 1871. The church was begun May 21, 1872, and dedicated April 8, 1874. In 1874 the membership of the church was 303. The Rev. W. H. Smith was the pastor of the church from May 7, 1874, to 1885. He was succeeded by Rev. Casper R. Gregory, 1885-92. Present pastor, Rev. Thornton A. Mills, Ph.D.
The Covenant Presbyterian Church (colored) was organized June 23, 1876, with eighteen members. The Rev. William D. Robinson was the pastor from August 10, 1876.
[p.429] The Kingston Presbyterian Church was organized in 1819 as a Congregational church. In 1823 it became Presbyterian in government; building erected 1842 and occupied until 1876. A lecture room was built in Kingston borough for evening service in 1853. A new brick church was erected on Railroad street in 1876, seating 500 people and costing, with lot, $48,000. Pastors: Rev. H. Taylor, Cyrus Gildersleeve, 1821-7; Nicholas Murray, 1829-33; Alex. Hebert, 1833-4; C. C. Corse, 1834-7; E. H. Snowden, 1837-45; J. D. Mitchell, 1845-7; J. Jermain Porter, 1847-50; H. H. Welles, 1851-71; W. P. Gibson, 1871-5; F. W. Flint, 1876. Present pastor, Rev. P. Van Krug.
Lehman Presbyterian Church, Lehman township; organized February, 1862. Pastors: Rev. J. S. Ferguson, 1863-6; Charles E. Van Allen, 1868; A. G. Harned, 1868; Charles K. Canfield, 1871; W. B. Darrach, 1878; now disbanded.
Plains Church; organized November 18, 1869; church building erected 1872; seating 350. Pastors: Rev. A. C. Smith, 1869-76; A. L. Loder, 1876-9; H. H. Welles, 1879-92; Henry Spayd, 1892.
Larksville Church (Snowden Memorial); organized May 27, 1890; church building erected 1872. Pastor, Rev. E. H. Snowden.
Plymouth Church; organized October 5, 1856; church building erected 1868. Pastors: Rev. E. H. Snowden; stated supply for fifteen years; William P. White, 1870-82; John Ewing, D.D., 1882; Jonathan Edward, D.D.; William J. Day, 1887-92.
Sugar Loaf Church, at Conyngham, was organized December 19, 1841. Pastors: Rev. Daniel Gaston, 1841-44; Robert Steele, 1844; Darwin Cook, 1845-7; John Johnson, 1848-71; C. Bridgman, 1873-4; Homer S. Newcomb, 1874.
Mountain Top Church, Fairview township; mission connected with Ashley church.
Wyoming Presbyterian Church, Kingston township, was organized in 1833, when a chapel was built opposite the cemetery. This chapel was destroyed by lightning in 1854, and the present church was erected in 1857. Pastors: Rev. Alexander Heberton, J. D. Mitchell, D.D., 1847-9, 1855-6; Paul E. Stevenson, 1850-4; N. S. Prime, D.D., Thomas P. Hunt, William L. Moore, 1857-8; Frederick L. King, Henry Rinkes, H. H. Welles, Albert B. King, 1863-73; Lewis H. Boehler, Scott Stites, 1873-7; George W. Ely; now W. A. Beecher.
First Presbyterian Church of Hanover, Sugar Notch, was organized in 1871. Hon. H. B. Wright gave a lot, in 1874, for a church building, which was erected that year at a cost of $4,000. Pastors: Rev. William D. Jenkins, E. J. Hughes, Joseph E. Davis, D.D., 1874-92.
Bennett Presbyterian Church, Mill Hollow, was organized in 1874. Building was erected in 1876, costing $6,000. Pastor, Rev. A. C. Smith.
Nanticoke Presbyterian Church.—Rev. Cyrus Gildersleeve and Nicholas Murray began mission work here in 1829 in a schoolhouse. The church was organized about the same time. Two buildings were erected, the second of brick, in 1833. Pastors: Revs. Cyrus Gildersleeve, William Rhodes, M. Corse, E. H. Snowden, 1839-43, 1849-54; W. Hunting, 1843; Thomas P. Hunt, Darwin Cooke, 1846-8; Jacob Weidman, William J. Day, H. H. Welles, Arthur Johnson, J. P. Harsen, George H. Ingram and Eli O. Gooding.
Coalville Presbyterian Church, Ashley.—A Sunday-school was organized here in 1834, and a church built in 1844. The new church, of brick, was erected in 1860 at a cost of $8,500; is now valued at $10,000. In 1844 the membership was five; it is now about 300. Pastors: Rev. John Dorrance, 1844; Thomas P. Hunt, Jacob Weidman, 1860-5; William J. Day, 1865-87; Norman Custer, 1888-92.
Presbyterian Church, White Haven.—Missionary work was begun here in 1843. The church was organized December 6, 1850, and the first building erected. The present building was dedicated December 2, 1869. Pastors: Revs. Darwin Cook, [p.430] 1844; David Harbison, 1848; Samuel A. Gayley, 1850; James Scott, 1850; John T. Baker, 1852-4; John W. Porter, 1854-7; Jonathan Osmond, 1857; James M. Salmon, 1863-73; P. B. Cook, 1873-5; N. J. M. Bogert, 1876; now Justice T. Umstead, D.D.
Presbyterian Church, Upper Lehigh, was organized June 28, 1868. Church built in 1871 at a cost of $4,500; present value, $4,000. Pastors: Revs. John Johnson, 1868-70; George H. Hammers, 1870-7; D. McLeod, 1877-92.
Freeland Borough.—Church built in 1880.
First Presbyterian Church, Pittston, was organized February 25, 1842, with thirty members, and incorporated January 22, 1848. Church building was erected in 1846 at a cost of $2,000. This became too small, and a new building was erected in 1857. Pastors: Revs. Charles Evans, 1842-4; N. G. Parke, D.D., 1844-92. Dr. Parke published, in 1879, "An Historical Discourse in the First Presbyterian church, of Pittston;" 80 p. 43; delivered in 1876.
First Presbyterian Church, West Pittston, was organized December 21, 1877. Church building was erected in 1878, seating 350, at a cost of $6,500. Pastors: Revs. R. E. Wilson, 1877-8; N. J. Rubikan, 1878-80; Thomas Nichols, 1882; Thomas W. Swann, 1892.
Presbyterian Church, Hazleton.—Rev. Richard Webster, pastor of the Presbyterian church in Mauch Chunk, began services here in 1836-7. A brick church was built 1854-69. The property, including the parsonage, is worth $15,000. The pastors have been: Revs. Richard Webster, 1836-8; Daniel Gaston, 1838-44; James Green Moore, 1845-8; Daniel Harbison, 1848-52; John Johnson and W. Baker, 1850-4; John Armstrong, 1854-64; E. J. Newlin, 1864-71; J. A. Maxwell, 1871-4; A. B. Jack, 1874; William C. Stett, 1889; Joseph G. Williamson, Jr., 1892.
Langcliffe Church.—The Presbytery of Lackawanna was organized in June, 1870. At its second meeting, held in the Second Presbyterian church of Wyalusing in September, 1870, a committee was appointed to organize a church in Pleasant Valley. September 25 the committee met in Pleasant Valley, where a church edifice had been erected and dedicated, and organized the church. The members of the committee present were Revs. N. G. Parke, A. B. King; Elders Theodore Strong and Charles F. Mattes. The church received the name of "Langeliffe" in honor of the family who donated the ground for the church. Twenty-four persons became members of the church at its organization; has a total membership of forty- five; first pastor of the church, Rev. A. S. Stewart, installed in November, 1871. In July, 1876, Sabbath-school and Sunday afternoon preaching services were started at Moosic, and maintained four years in the schoolhouse and in Houser's hall, until the congregation was provided, by the generosity of the Moosic Powder company, with a church building, which was dedicated July 22, 1880. On the same day the Sunday-school in Pleasant Valley, which had previously been a union school, was organized. April 1, 1879, the church reported ninety-three, and a Sunday-school membership of 253. January 16, 1883, the presbyters dissolved the pastoral relation between Rev. Mr. Brydie and the church.
On August 5, 1882, John R. Davies was called to the pastorate. In March, 1884, ground was broken for a basement, and the church was enlarged by an addition of two wings, each 11x50, and the church was re-dedicated. March 22, 1885, the Moosic church was burned. It was immediately rebuilt, and the new one was dedicated July 8. Report for the year ending April, 1875: Total membership, 230; Sunday-school membership, 611. October 24, 1886, William Dick, Thomas Ellis, Samuel H. Houser and James McMillan were ordained and installed elders, and David Wildrick, ordained to the eldership in another congregation, was installed. Services which had been carried on by the Methodists at No. 4 Plane [p.431] were placed into the hands of the Langcliffe church in 1887. In the summer of 1887 the Rev. John R. Davies retired and the church was again left without a pastor.
Rev. G. N. Makely received a unanimous call to the pastorate. In 1889 the church tower was built and a bell secured for the church in Avoca. December 21, 1890, the eldership was increased by the ordination and installation of William Watson, Charles Monie, John McCrindle and William Anderson, Jr.
Rev. Bernard Page, of the Church of England, ordained by the Lord Bishop of London for "Wyoming Parish, Penn'a," August 24, 1772, was the first Protestant Episcopal minister to officiate in this section. Owing to the great political disturbances of that date, Mr. Page did not long remain in the valley, but retired to Virginia. No other minister of the church is known to have visited these parts until 1814, when that "Apostle of the Northwest," Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, D.D., chairman of the committee on missions in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and assistant to Bishop White, held services in the old Wilkes-Barre academy, and stirred up the church people of the village of Wilkes-Barre. Who officiated here during the next three years can not be learned. No definite steps were taken to organize a parish until September 19, 1817, when the church people met together and elected the first vestry, applied for a charter, which was granted October 7, 1817, and engaged the services of Rev. Richard Sharpe Mason, D.D.
Dr. Mason was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Phinney. His ministry here was brief, and no record exists of his work.
In 1819 Rev. Manning R. Roche became the missionary at St. Stephens. The Sunday-school had been organized in 1818 by Hon. David Scott, then the only male communicant of the church here, and the parish appears to have been prosperous. Mr. Roche retired from the parish in 1820, and from the ministry in 1822. During 1821 and 1822 the services were conducted by Mr. Samuel Bowman, a lay reader.
St. Stephen's parish was admitted to the convention of Pennsylvania May 2, 1821. During the previous years her people had worshiped in the "Old Ship Zion." It was determined, December 27, 1821, to sell the right of St. Stephen's parish in this bnilding, to purchase a lot and erect a church. Through the aid of Judge Scott this work was begun January 15, 1822.
When in the good old days three organized bodies of Christian people (Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians) met in the union meeting-house (in those days "meeting-house" was the chosen term), Mrs. Bowman and other ladies deemed it fitting to deck the interior of the same with evergreen, in commemoration of the birth of our Savior. This was too much for the feelings of some of the worshipers, and their zealous indignation found vent in the tearing down of the symbolic green. This so aroused those good Episcopalian sisters that they determined to have a church edifice of their own. A lot was procured and eventually the church was built.
When it was formally opened does not appear, but the pews were rented November, 1822. Sunday, June 14, 1824, the church was consecrated by Bishop White, who administered the rite of confirmation to a class of forty-one persons. On the following Sunday Rev. Samuel Sitgraves, whom Bishop White had ordained deacon May 3, 1820, and who in 1823 had been called to be rector of St. Stephen's, was ordained priest by Bishop White. Bishop (then Rev. Dr.) Kemper preached the sermon. This day the holy communion was administered to forty-three persons. Mr. Sitgraves, who died August 12, 1830, resigned in December, 1823, and was succeeded by Rev. Enoch Huntington, who remained until 1826.
He was succeeded February, 1827, by Rev. James May, D.D., born October 1, 1805; was graduated from Jefferson college 1823, and the Virginia Theological seminary 1826; ordained deacon by Bishop White, 1826, and officiated the next ten years.
[p.432] Dr. May's later history is still a part of the history of St. Stephen's parish. In 1842 he was elected to the professorship of church history in the Virginia Theological seminary, and it was under his instruction there that the present rector of St. Stephen's fitted himself for the work of the ministry. In 1861 Dr. May became a professor in the Philadelphia Divinity school, where he died December 11, 1863.
Rev. William James Clark was rector from 1837 to 1840, when Robert Bethel Claxton, S.T.D., who had just been ordained deacon by Bishop Moore, became rector. Dr. Claxton was rector until 1846. Like Dr. May, he left his impress on the church here by his unwearied and zealous labors. He resigned in 1846.
In 1846 Rev. Charles Dekay Cooper, D.D., of Mount Morris, N.Y., was called and accepted charge, but after a few months resigned. The next rector was Rev. George David Miles, born 1815, ordained 1846. He entered upon his duties at Wilkes-Barre, April 1, 1848, serving until 1866. His last sermon in St. Stephen's was preached October 15, 1865, on the eve of his departure for Europe. In 1852 the increase of the congregation was such as to demand enlarged accommodations. The church building erected in 1832 was a frame structure of one story, with a tower at the northeast corner. In 1852 the congregation decided to tear down the old church and erect one of brick. March 27, 1853, Rev. Mr. Miles preached his last sermon in the old edifice, and June 20, 1853, Bishop Alonzo Potter laid the cornerstone of the new building. It had a seating capacity of 600. The first service was held in the basement, or Sunday-school room, December 25, 1853. The building, was consecrated by Bishop A. Potter, April 19, 1855.
Rev. Robert Henry Williamson succeeded Mr. Miles and remained until 1874, when he was deposed from the ministry. During part of 1874 the parish had the services of the late Rev. Chauncey Colton, D.D., late president of Bristol college, Pa., and professor in Kenyon college, Ohio.
In 1875 the vestry elected as rector Rev. Henry L. Jones, S.T.D., then rector of Christ church, Fitchburg, Mass. Mr. Jones is the son of Rev. Lot Jones, S.T.D. He was graduated at Colunabia college New York, 1858; A.M., 1861; Virginia Theological seminary 1861; received honorary degree of S.T.D. from his alma mater, 1891. During the eighteen years of his rectorate in Wilkes-Barre the church has kept pace with the town, which has quadrupled its population in that time.
Five years ago the increased attendance at St. Stephen's was such as again necessitated the enlargement of the building. The old parish church was what had been flippantly termed a "double-decker"—a high basement below, used for Sunday-school purposes, and approached by a flight of outside and inside steps through a central tower, and an upper story forming what is popularly termed the auditorium. The basement was abandoned and the floor of the auditorium dropped six feet. On the vacant lot in the rear of the church was built a commodious and convenient parish building, containing all that is needful for the varied demands of Sunday- school and parochial work.
Eight clergymen have gone out into the ministry from St. Stephen's: Rt. Rev. Samuel Bowman, D.D.; Revs. George C. Drake and Henry M. Denison, all of whom are now dead; Alexander Shiras, D.D., of Washington; De Witt C. Loop, of Hammondton, N.J.; James L. Maxwell, of Danville, Pa.; James Caird, of Troy, N.Y.; Rev. Charles H. Kidder, of Asbury Park, N.J. Among the lay readers of the parish were Judges Scott, Woodward, Conyngham and Dana.
She has organized, and through the instrumentality of individual communicants, aids in supporting six mission churches and Sunday-schools within the limits of Wyoming, valley, which are under the charge of the assistant ministers of the parish: St. Peter's, Plymouth, owning a handsome property with church and rectory; St. Andrew's, Alden, with new church and rectory; St. George's, Nanticoke, with a brick church; St. John's, Ashley, with a handsome frame church; Log chapel, [p.433] Laurel Run, connected with Gen. P. A. Oliver's powder mills, an exquisite model of rustic work, and Calvary chapel, North Wilkes-Barre, with a building in which a flourishing Sunday-school is kept up. To carry on this outside work St. Stephen's has three assistant ministers, as follows: Revs. Horace Edwin Hayden, 1879-92; Charles M. Carr, 1885-8; Thomas B. Angell, 1886-9; James P. Ware, 1889-92; D. W. Coxe, D.D., 1890-2; T. Lewis Banister, 1892; Wilber F. Watkins, 1883-5; William Brittain, 1885; J. Dudley Ferguson, 1888.
St. Clement's Church, Hanover street, was chartered April 8, 1869, on application from Gen. E. W. Sturdevant, Charles Sturdevant, John W. Horton, Charles E. Butler, Daniel Harkins, N. M. Horton, Benjamin F. Pfouts, G. F. Pfouts, Miller H. Cooke, Dr. Isaac E. Ross, M. S. Quick, John B. Quick, Elijah W. Richard, Thomas Carpenter, Cortland W. Gates, Moses Drumheller, J. G. Horton, and W. Lee, Jr., many of whom were communicants of St. Stephen's church. Rev. John Long, first held service in South Wilkes-Barre. The rectors of the church have been Revs. William J. Cleveland, April 21,1872, to September 22, 1873; George W. Knapp, December 15, 1873, to 1877; Peter Baldy Lightner, March 31, 1878, to 1879; Edward W. Pecke, April 23, 1879, to 1880; J. P. Fugitt in charge 1880-1; Charles H. Kidder, May 2, 1882, to 1885; Horace Edwin Hayden, assistant minister of St. Stephen's church, and rector of St. Clement's, October 1, 1885, to June 15, 1887; Charles L. Sleight, present rector, October 1, 1887, to 1892. St. Clement's church owns a handsome property including a stone church erected June, 1871, at a cost of $10,000; consecrated July 11, 1871, and a frame rectory, erected 1891.
St. John's (Protestant Episcopal) Church, Ashley, was organized early in 1871, and has been mainly sustained, like St. Peter's church, Plymouth, as a mission of St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre. The first stationed minister officiating there was Rev. J. H. Mac-El-Rey, a deacon, who resigned in 1892. His first report, 1871, notes three baptisms, four communicants and $21.22 of offerings; his second report notes a confirmation by Bishop Stevens of twenty-one persons, mostly males. Under his ministrations, aided by St. Stephen's church, a church building was erected on property deeded as a gift by the Lehigh & Wilkes-Barre Coal company. This edifice was destroyed by fire November 4, 1871, but insured; it was replaced by the present building in 1874, under Rev. William Kennedy, at a cost of $4,000. William Kennedy's report states that the fund for the new building in addition to the insurance was given by the family of the late Hon. John N. Conyngham, LL.D., and by other friends. W. Kennedy resigned in 1874. Rev. Thomas Burrows succeeded him in October, 1875, and resigned in November, 1878. During his ministry the business depression induced many removals from Ashley, and the communicants were reduced from twenty-eight to twenty-one in 1877, and to seventeen in 1878. Services were occasionally held in the church by Rev. Henry L. Jones, and Rev. P. B. Lightner, of Wilkes-Barre. November 1, 1879, St. John's was placed under the immediate charge of St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre, and regular services were begun, once each Sunday, by Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, assistant minister of St. Stephen's, and continued by him to the present time, with an exception of an intermission of fifteen months, when Rev. T. Lewis Banister, also assistant at St. Stephen's, officiated. During the past thirteen years the number of families in the church have ranged from seventeen to forty. There have been thirty-two persons confirmed and forty-six added to the communicant list. James W. Diefendefer is warden and W. F. J. Rosengrant treasnrer.
St. Peter's Church, Hazleton, was chartered December 31, 1864. The first regular ministrations of the church were held at Hazleton by Revs. Peter Russell and A. Pryor, 1859. In 1860 Revs. William Smith Heaton was in charge; Thomas W. Steele in 1863; and Henry S. Gitz, 1864 to 1867, being the first rector. The church was built in 1865. The several rectors of the church were: Revs. Faber Byllerly, June 1, 1867, to July 1, 1868; Charles H. Van Dyne, June 18, 1870, to [p.434] June 1, 1872; Jesse M. Williams, November, 1873, to March, 1875; John Hewitt, June 1, 1876, to July, 1877; Peter Russell, 1880; Charles A. Marks, 1881-2; J. P. Bryton, 1883-4; Louis C. Washburn, 1884-9; William Holden, 1889; E. J. Humes, March, 1890.
St. James (Protestant Episcopal) church, Pittston. Mission work was begun here in 1848 by two or three students, from the Virginia Theological seminary. The parish was organized August 12, 1849. The various rectors of the church: Revs. John Long, 1852; W. C. Robinson, 1857-8; John A. Jerome; 1859-62: Chancler Hare, 1862-71; S. H. Boyer, 1872-3; John K. Karcher, 1874-5; George C. Foley, 1875-9; George H. Kirkland, 1879-84; Jacob Miller, 1884-6; George D. Stond, 1886, died June 26, 1887; George Rogers, 1887-8, missionary; Elijah J. Roke, 1889-91, missionary; J. W. Burras, present missionary in charge, 1892. The church building was erected in 1858. The immigration of a large part of the congregation to West Pittston reduced the strength of the parish until it is now a mission of the diocese.
Trinity (Protestant Episcopal) Church, West Pittston, was organized in 1885, shortly after the resignation of Rev. George H. Kirkland from St. James. A valuable church property was purchased and a handsome brick edifice capable of holding 300 persons, with basement for Sunday-school, was erected, 1886. Rev. D. Webster Coxe, D.D., of Ohio, was called to be rector and entered upon his duties October 18, 1885. Dr. Coxe resigned February 22, 1890, to accept the charge of Alden and Nanticoke as assistant minister to St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre, and Rev. James P. Buxton of Drifton became rector, June 1, 1890. He also resigned December 1, 1890 and returned to Drifton. Rev. Edward Henry Eckel B.D., became rector April 12, 1891. The present condition of the church is most encouraging.
St. Peter's (Protestant Episcopal) Church, Plymouth, was organized April, 1856, and sustained for sometime by the services of Rev. George D. Miles, rector of St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre. After his resignation from St. Stephen's, no services were held until 1871, when Rev. R. H. Williamson became temporary rector. Charles Parish, of Wilkes-Barre, donated a small schoolhouse adjoining the Methodist Episcopal church, to the congregation of St. Peter's for use. This building was remodeled and occasional services were held there by Rev. R. H. Williamson until he was succeeded by Rev. Frank W. Winslow, who was in charge for six months. The succeeding, rectors were, Rev. William S. Heaton, from February 1874 to November 1874; and Rev. J. P. Furey from January 24, 1875, to June, 1875. St. Peter's was then connected whith St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre, and occasional services were held by Rev. Henry L. Jones, S.T.D., rector of St. Stephen's until November 1, 1879, when Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, assistant of St. Stephen's, took charge of the work. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas B. Angell, also assistant at St. Stephen's, March 28, 1886. He was succeeded by Rev. James P. Ware, the present minister, also assistant at St. Stephen's, May 1, 1889. Mr. Hayden, being also in charge of other missions of St. Stephen's, continued in that work, and Mr. Angell became rector of St. Stephen's church, Harrissburg, from 1879 to 1892. During, Mr. Hayden's ministry the church building was removed to its present location and enlarged and four building lots secured for a new church and rectory. During Mr. Angell's ministry the rectory was built, and during Mr. Ware's ministry it is expected that a new church edifice will be built. The church property is valued at $8,000.
St. Paul's Church, White Haven, Pa.—The first services were held here August 23, 1846, by Rev. Peter Russell, rector of St. Mark's church, Mauch Chunk. The parish was organized January 6, 1859. The corner-stone of the church was laid in 1860. The church was consecrated in 1861. Rev. Mr. Russell was succeeded by Rev. L. Coleman, now the bishop of Delaware. Rev. [p.437] Peter Russell became rector in 1873, resigning in 1877. He was succeeded by Revs. Marcellas Karcher, 1878-85; D'Estaing Jennings, 1885-9; H. M. Jarvis, 1890-2. The church building was destroyed by fire in 1892, but was rebuilt a few months later.
St. Andrew's Mission, Alden, was organized as a mission of St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre, 1884; has been under the charge of the following clergymen, assistant minister of St. Stephen's church: Revs. William Brittain, 1885; Charles M. Carr, 1885-8; J. Dudley Ferguson, 1888; D. Webster Coxe, D.D., February 16, 1890, to the present time.
St. George's Mission, Nanticoke, was organized as a mission of St. Stephen's church, Wilkes-Barre, 1884. It has been served by the ministers of Alden, and has a handsome brick church.
St. James Protestant Episcopal church, Eckley; organized 1858; church built 1858. Rectors: Rev. James Walker, 1871-5; A. H. Boyle, 1875-6; John Inland, 1876-92. After the formation of St. James church, Drifton, this point was being much reduced in numbers and means.
The Methodist Episcopal Church.—By permission of Rev. W. W. Loomis, this paper on "Early Wilkes-Barre Methodism," now before the Wyoming conference, May, 1892, is given here in part:
Methodism established a preaching place at Ross Hill, midway between Plymouth and Kingston, about 1781. The meetings of the Methodists were held in private or schoolhouses, and in barns or in the open air when the weather permitted.
In 1804 the former courthouse of Wilkes-Barre was erected, and some years after the Methodists were allowed to hold Sunday meetings in a large upper room and social meetings in a small room.
In 1791 Wilkes-Barre, with a large region of country, was taken into the Methodist conference and attached to the New York district, under the name of Wyoming. Rev. Robert Cloud was then presiding elder of the district and Rev. James Campbell was appointed preacher to Wyoming circuit.
Wyoming circuit was the first organized in this part of the State. In 1804 Wilkes-Barre circuit comprised Wilkes-Barre Plains, Pittston, Lackawanna and twenty-two other preaching places, and was a part of the territory of the Baltimore conference. In 1808 the Wyoming district was set off to the Philadelphia conference; in 1810, to the Genesee conference; in 1832, to the Oneida conference, and in 1852, to the Wyoming conference. Wilkes-Barre circuit from 1791, and for four years after, was a four weeks' circuit, enjoying the preaching of the minister once only in four weeks.
In 1818 it was resolved that a preacher's house be built on this circuit, and a committee appointed to select the ground. In 1819 trustees were chosen to receive the title to a lot in Wilkes-Barre, given by Samuel Thomas of Kingston, on which to build a preacher's house.
At the division of the Wyoming circuit in 1823, when Wilkes-Barre became a station, the parsonage, the first built in Wyoming valley, stood on land now occupied by the Harvey building on North Franklin street.
In 1823-4 Revs. George Lane and Gaylord Judd were the preachers of the Wyoming circuit.
The last quarterly meeting, while Wilkes-Barre was in connection with the Wyoming circuit, was held in Wilkes-Barre, February 26, 1831., and from that time to the present it had been a station.
In 1800 there was no church edifice in Wilkes-Barre. In that year a contract was made for the erection of the meeting-house on the public square. Its erection was directed and dominated by the Presbyterians and the cost thereof partly made up by subscriptions. It was alleged by many who subscribed liberally, that it was understood, and upon such understanding, many subscriptions were made outside of the Presbyterians and their friends, that it was to be a union church building, to [p.438] be used by other church organizations with fair alternations. As the building progressed in its erection, the funds derived from subscription were exhausted and further work ceased for a time. To raise additional means, and as hoped sufficient funds to complete the building, resort was had to a lottery.
In 1855 another Methodist church was thought to be necessary, and a brick edifice was erected in the lower part of Wilkes-Barre. A number of members residing in the vicinity of the new church building removed their membership from the first church and joined, after it was organized, the Ross street, as it was then called, down in "Woodville," but now the Central Methodist Episcopal church, with Rev. Asa Brooks as its first pastor. Religious prosperity has attended the church since its organization. It has a flourishing Sunday-school of 460 officers and scholars.
In 1872 the third Methodist church was erected on Parish street in this city, and now has a Sunday-school of 478 officers and scholars and a membership of 223. In 1871 another Methodist church was erected in the northern part of this city and has now a Sunday-school of 369 officers and scholars and of church members, 75.
The Fourth Methodist Episcopal church of Wilkes-Barre was organized in 1888. In 1891 Rev. J. E. Bone was appointed its pastor. The congregation have a fine building now in course of erection at the corner of North Main street and Kulp avenue; preparations were made for dedicating the same on November 27, 1892. This congregation has a membership of 85 and a Sunday-school of 250. The trustees are George B. Kulp, president; Alexander Lendrum, secretary; J. W. Lear, A. P. Krum, H. D. Branning, John Cox and H. P. Fell.
The First Methodist church in Wilkes-Barre, generally called the Franklin Street church, which mothered the three afore-mentioned churches and assisted them in their childhood, has a grand Sunday-school.
In 1846 the old building on the public square, in which the Methodists worshiped, was declared to be very inconvenient, it containing but a single room, too small to accommodate the increasing congregation.
Through the generosity of the late Ziba Bennett, the lot on which the present building stands was donated. Means were readily procured to erect a new brick edifice, which, it is thought, would be amply commodious and convenient for many years to come, but in 1883 it was found that the new building could not accommodate the congregation, and especially the Sunday-school. Mrs. P. L. Bennett offered to erect at her own expense, a building of proper size for a Sunday-school, with all modern improvements, also for class, prayer and business meetings. The offer was accepted, and in due time, 1883, the building was completed.
The pastors of the First Methodist Episcopal church have been: Revs. George Peck, 1826-8; Joseph Castle and Silas Comfort, 1828-30; Charles Nash, 1830-2; H. F. Rowe, 1832-3; Silas Stocking, 1835; J. M. Snyder, 1835-7; Robert Fox, 1837-8; D. Holmes, 1838-40; John Davison, 1840; D. W. Bristol, 1840-2; John Leys, 1842-3; D. Holmes, 1843-4; D. A. Shepperd, 1844-6; B. Hawley, 1846-8; Thomas H. Pearne, 1848-50; Nelson Rounds, 1850-2; Henry Brownscombe, 1855-7; J. M. Snyder, 1857-8; Reuben Nelson, 1858-9; Z. Paddock, D.D., 1859-60; Jacob Miller, 1860-2; J. A. Wood, 1862-4; Y. C. Smith, 1864-7; Henry Brownscombe, 1867-9; Thomas M. Reese, 1869-72; A. H. Wyatt, 1872-4; W. H. Olin, 1874-7; Rev. J. E. Smith, D.D., 1877-80; —Tuttle; —Phillips; —Moore; J. O. Woodruff, 1886-8; T. Richard Boyle, D.D.
Ross Street Church; organized May, 1857; church edifice built 1876. Pastors, Revs. A. Brook; S. Weiss; H. Wheeler; J. G. Eckman; L. C. Floyd; L. W. Peck; F. L. Hiller; D. C. Olmstead; H. M. Crydenwise; S. C. Fulton, Lee A. Griffin, 1887-90.
Parish Street Church was organized 1872; church edifice built 1872. Pastors: Revs. Henry Brownscombe, 1873-6; O. L. Stevenson, 1876-9; E. L. Santee, 1879; James N. Lee, 1891-2.
First Free Methodist Church, Main street; organized March 27, 1870; church [p.439] building erected 1880. Pastors: Revs. J. Glen, 1870; G. R. Harvey, 1870-2; George Edwards, 1872-3; M. D. McDougal, 1873-5; F. S. Labue, 1875-6; William Jones, 1876-7; I. S. Bradhood, 1877-8; George Eakin, 1878-80.
African Church; organized 1842; building erected 1870. Rev. Thomas M. D. Ward was the first pastor.
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; organized 1842, by Rev. Thomas Jackson; building erected 1845.
Black Creek Church; formed 1810; first church building erected 1832; second church 1861. Pastors since 1861, Revs. G. H. Day, B. F. King, Josiah Forrest, I. C. Hagey, James F. Porter, H. S. Mendenhall, J. B. Cuddy, C. S. Bonscotten, Pemberton Bird, A. S. Bowman, N. W. Colburn, J. F. Brown, J. B. Moore, J. Horning, J. Stiner, G. M. Larned.
Buck Township, Stoddardsville; formed 1819; church built 1820, valued at $600. Pastor, 1891, John Davy.
Butler Township, Drums; formed 1840, when a union church was built; in 1873 a new church was erected costing $7,500. Pastors: Revs. Joseph Lee, 1833-4; Thomas Hill, 1833-42; J. H. Brown, James Clark, G. H. Day, T. A. Ross, Thomas McClure, Conser, Barnhart, B. P. King, Josiah Forrest, J. C. Hagey, James F. Porter, Henry S. Mendenhall, James B. Cuddy, C. S. Benscotten, Pemberton Bird, A. S. Bowman, N. W. Colburn, J. F. Brown, J. B. Moore, J. Stiner, G. M. Larned, etc.
Dallas Borough, Methodist Episcopal church, was built in 1854, and. cost $1,000. Rev. J. B. Cooke, pastor.
Dorrance Township.—Stainsville church was formed by Rev. M. Moister. The church was built in 1873, at a cost of $1,800. The pastors have been Revs. Josiah Wagner, I. F. Burall, Wilson, Trieble, William Ruggles, William Edgar and J. A. Transue.
Exeter Township.—Mount Zion church was the first church, built in 1851, at a cost of $1,000. The pastors have been Revs. O. F. Morse, Asa Brunson, F. A. King, John Labar, C. L. Reid, W. Munger, G. C. Smith, A. J. Van Clift, J. S. Madison, J. Austin, S. Elwell and F. A. King.
Diamond Hollow church was built in 1835 and 1870.
Yatesville Methodist Episcopal church was formed in 1852. The church was built in 1865, and completed in 1874. The pastors have been Revs. J. G. Stephens, G. M. Colvill, Wilson Treible, J. C. Hogan, 1891.
Mill Hollow church was formed in l825. The present church was built in l873, at a cost of $4,000.
Jackson Township.—Van Loon Methodist Episcopal church was formed in 1820. The present church was built in 1877. The pastors have been Revs. Morgan Sherman, Joseph Castle, John Copeland, Philip Barbery, George Peck, S. Stocking, Miles H. Gaylord, Silas Comfort, etc.; since 1850, Charles Perkins, Josuah S. Lewis, C. W. Griffin, P. Holbrook, D. Personius, G. Greenfield, Isaac Austin, F. A. King, J. B. Santee, R. C. Gill and David Lanish.
Hazleton.—St. Paul Methodist Episcopal church was formed in 1859. The building was erected in 1860. The present church was built in 1874, at a cost of $20,000; and the parsonage in 1876, at a cost of $3,000. The pastors have been Revs. G. H. Day, Josiah Forrest. Watson Case, J. G. Hagey, James F. Porter, E. T. Swartz, D. Sheffer, F. E. Green, E. H. Yocum, W. W. Evans, B. J. Ives, G. T. Gray, etc.
Huntington Township, Town Hill.—Local preachers began work here in 1794. The church was built in 1836, and rebuilt in 1873; the property is valued at $3,000.
Nelson Methodist Episcopal Chapel, Huntington Mills, was built in 1871.
Dodson Methodist Episcopal Chapel was built in 1876.
Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, Ashley.—A circuit including Ashley was set off from the Wilkes-Barre circuit, 1842. In 1869 Ashley became a separate [p.440] charge. The present church was built in 1868, at a cost of $8,000; was improved in 1892, at a cost of nearly $5,000; value of church property now is $25,000. Pastors since 1869: Revs. Asa Bowdish, J. G. Eckman, J. F. Wilbur, W. S. Wentz, J. Underwood; William M. Hiller, 1890-1; J. B. Sweet, 1892.
Nanticoke Methodist Episcopal Church; itinerary began here 1872; union church built 1830; organization effected 1874; present church bnilt 1890, costing $4,500. Value of church property and parsonage, $10,000. Pastors since 1874: Rev. G. M. Colville, A. W. Hood, T. C. Roskelly, Lewis Jennison, etc; George Forsythe, 1891.
Wyoming Methodist Episcopal Church, Kingston township; formed 1842. Bought the "Christian church" 1842; parsonage built 1850; value of property, $10,000. Pastors-. Revs. B. Hawley, C. W. Gidding, B. W. Gorham, Levi D. Tyron, G. M. Peck, A. H. Schoonmaker, H. Brownscombe, A. Brooks, W. T. Judd, J. La Bar, Henry Wheeler, A. J. Van Clift, S. W. Weiss, R. W. Van Schoick, J. C. Leacock, F. L. Heller, J. C. Shelland, etc.; G. C. Lyman, 1891.
Caverton Circuit, Dallas Church; built 1854.
Caverton Church; built 1854; parsonage 1860. Pastors: Revs. John La Bar, C. L. Rice, W. Munger, Y. C. Smith, A. J. Van Clift, J. S. Madison, Isaac Austin, Stephen Elwell, F. A. King. L. C. Murdoch. 1891.
Kingston Methodist Episcopal Church.—First class was organized in l788. From 1800 to 1840 this church worshiped in a small building on Plymouth street. In 1841 the first church building was erected, costing $2,300; was enlarged in 1845, and burned in 1872, and rebuilt in 1873, at a cost of $58,000. A parsonage was also erected, costing $6,000. Pastors: Revs. H. T. Rowe, King Elwell, A. J. Crandall, G. H. Blakeslee, F. H. Stanton, E. Owen, V. Coryell, William Rounds, J. B. Benhaus, L. S. Bennett, William Reddy, P. G. White, Thomas Pearce, P. Worden, E. P. Williams, H. R. Clark, Asel Bronson, C. H. Harvey, T. D. Walker, C. W. Giddings, S. S. Kennedy, W. W. Welsh, J. J. Pearce, C. Perkins, Asa Brooks, William J. Judd, L. Cole, B. D. Sturdevant, H. V. Talbott, Philip Krohn, Henry Wheeler, O. W. Scott, etc.; J. G. Eckman, 1891.
Lake Township Methodist Episcopal Church.—Class was formed in 1845. In 1872 a church was built costing $2,300. Pastors: Revs. John Mackey, George Porter, Erastus Smith, G. W. Griffin, P. Holbrook, D. Personius, George Greenfield, J. C. Laycock, Isaac Austin, F. A. King, J. B. Santee, R. C. Gill, P. Houck, etc.
Lehman Township; formed about 1824; parsonage built in 1852; church erected in 1856. Pastors: Revs. Morgan Sherman, Joseph Castle, John Colepand, Phila Barbery, George Peck, S. Stocking, M. H. Gaylord, Silas Comfort, Charles Perkins, J. S. Lewis, G. V. Griffin, P. Holbrook, D. Personius, George Greenfield, J. Austin, F. A. King, J. B. Santee, R. C. Gill, D. Larrish and others; J. L. Race, 1891.
Marcy Township; class formed 1815; church built in 1853 at a cost of $2,000, valued now at $7,000. Pastors: Revs. Marmaduke Pearce, Benjamin Ellis, William Rounds, William Reddy, C. W. Giddings, Erastus Smith, J. D. Safford, P. G. White, Abel Barker, Pilbean, J. S. Lewis, T. D. Walker, T. D. Swartz, J. Austin, R. S. Rose, John La Bar, John Madison, J. C. Laycock, J. R. Wagner, N. J. Hawley, etc.
Pittston First Methodist Episcopal Church.—This is now a part of Wyoming circuit of 1791; class was formed in 1805, also in 1828, by Rev. J. S. Castle. A church was built in 1850. The property, church and parsonage, is valued at $12,000. Pastors: Revs. George Peck,. J. S. Castle, S. Stocking, N. P. Mead, George M. Peck, O. M. McDowall, W. J. Judd, Y. C. Smith, Ira T. Walker, W. S. Harrom, J. O. Woodruff, L. W. Peck, S. C. Fulton; W. J. Hill, 1891.
Plains Methodist Episcopal Church; formed in 1843. A church was built in 1843 for $940. Pastors: Revs. John Seys, Ira Wilcox, E. B. Tewnay, J. Mulcahey, O. P. Morse, Erastus Smith, Asa Brooks, William Reddy, Charles Giddings, George [p.441] Peck, Roger Moister, Laird N. Bronson, J. N. Peck, Henry Wheeler, Luther Peck, William Keatty, Miner Swallow, J. S. Lewis, J. O. Woodruff, F. A. King, N. J. Hawley, W. J. Hill, H. H. Dresser, J. L. Race and others; I. F. Williams, 1891; value of church property, $3,500.
Plainsville Methodist Episcopal Church; formed in 1838. A church was built in 1845; value of property, $1,500. Pastor, W. H. McCauley, 1891.
Parsons Abbott Methodist Episcopal Church; formed in 1872. A church was built in 1873, costing $3,800. Pastors: Revs. N. J. Hawley, J. W. Hill, G. W. Chamberlain, H. Brownscombe and others; H. G. Harned, 1891.
Plymouth Methodist Episcopal church; class was formed in 1791, and was reformed in 1853. A church was built in 1856; the present building was erected in 1877. Pastors: Revs. J. Campbell, William Hardesty, William Colbert, Antony Turch, James Paynter, A. White, Roger Benton, David Stevens, James Moore, Benjamin Bidlack Ephraim Chambers, Edward Larkin, Asa Smith, James Polhemuns, Hugh McCurdy, Morris Howe, Robert Burach, James Paynter, Joseph Carson, Christian Frye, Alfred Griffith, Gideon Draper, William Butler, James Ridley, Henry Montonth, George Lane, Thomas Wright, Elijah Metcalf, Noah Bigelow, William Brown, John Kimberlin, Elisha Ribbin, Marmaduke Pearce, B. G. Paddock, G. W. Densmore, Elias Bowden, George Peck, J. D. Gilbert, W. W. Rundell, Gaylord Judd, Morgan Sherman, Joseph Castle; J. O. Woodruff, 1891.
The West Pittston church was formed in 1873. The brick church was erected in 1873 at a cost of $45,000. The pastors have been Revs. W. B. Westlake, S. Moore, A. Griffin; C. A. Benjamin, 1891.
Foster Township, Heberton Circuit.—The Trinity church, South Heberton, was built in 1874 at a cost of $3,500. The Latimer church was built in 1878 at a cost of $1,800.
White Haven, church; organized 1835; church built 1839; value $5,000. Pastors: Revs. J. A. Price, R. E. Wilson, D. S. Monroe, B. F. Stephen, Samuel Thomas, Henry G. Dill, William C. Hesser, John A. De Moyer, J. B. Akers, Emory T. Swartz, A. M. Kester, J. T. Wilson, etc.
Beach Haven Methodist Episcopal Church; formed 1848; the church built 1869, costing $2,700. Pastors: Revs. Adam Brittain, P. F. Eyre, John Stiner, H. B. Fortner, R. L. Armstrong.
Conyngham Methodist Episcopal Church built 1869; costing $2,500. Pastors: Revs. John Rhodes, Stephen Thomas, Oliver Ege, Charles Brown, John Lloyd, George Bergstresser, Thomas Bowman, G. H. Day, A. Brittain, F. H. Switzer, John Nicholson, Elisha Butler, B. P. King, Josiah Forrest, J. C. Hagey, J. F. Porter, H. S. Mendenhall, James B. Cuddy, C. L. Benscotten, P. Bird, A. S. Bowman.
Shickshinny Methodist Episcopal Church; built 1870.
Ross Township Methodist Episcopal Church; class formed 1850; church at Bloomingdale built l846. The circuit embraced Bloomingdale and Oakville churches; the latter built 1870. There are seven Sunday-schools and eight preaching places.
Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal, "Old Forty Fort church," Forty Fort.— This historic church was built 1806-8 as a union church by the Presbyterians and Methodists in the Wyoming valley. A full history of it was published in 1888 entitled "Union Services at the Old Forty Fort Church," etc., June 15, 1888, with historic addresses by Hon. Steuben Jenkins and Rev. J. K. Peck.
The Presbyterian pastors were: Rev. Arnold Hoyt, Eleazer S. Banons, Hubetias Taylor, D. Monetor, Cyrus Gildersleeve, Nicholas Menoy, D.D., John Dononee, Charles C. Corss and E. Hazard Snowden. The Methodist pastors were more numerous. They were Revs. Anning Owen, Francis A. Chapman, Valentine Cook, George Harmer, Marmaduke Pearce, George Law, Silas Camful, Horace Agair, Gideon Draper, John M. Snyder, David Holmes, Henry F. Row, etc. Here preached also Rev. George Peck, Lorenzo Dow, Theodore C. Cuyler, D.D., Fostus Hunt; and among others W. R. Netherton, 1891.
[p.442] Baptist Church.—The Wilkes-Barre and Kingston Baptist church was formed at Forty Fort in 1842 through the labors of Rev. P. L. Post, of Montour. The first pastor, Rev. A. C. Hewitt, was called in 1845 to the congregation ministry in the old courthouse. In 1848 a church was erected on Northampton street, between Franklin and Main. It was of brick, with a marble slot inserted in the wall over the front door, with the inscription "Baptist Meeting House." In 1849 the Wilkes-Barre branch separated from the Kingston side and was known as the "Northampton Street Baptist," but it disbanded in 1873. The pastors were Rev. A. C. Hewitt, John Boyd, E. M. Alden, J. L. Andrews, D. E. Bowen, Charles A. Fox, J. D. Griebel.
The Centennial Baptist Church, of Wilkes-Barre, was formed in the Northampton street building July 16, 1874. The church was sold and a property purchased on South street, corner of Franklin, on which a handsome stone chapel was erected. Pastors, Rev. J. B. Hutchinson and Rev. Frear, D.D.
Welsh Baptist, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; organized 1867, in Phoenix hall, through Rev. Frederick Evans, D.D., of Hyde Park. In 1870 Rev. Theophilus Jones became the pastor; he was succeeded in 1876 by Rev. E. Edwards. The church building was erected 1874, on Harrison street.
Baptist Exeter Township Church; organized 1798.
Upper Lehigh Welsh Baptist; organized 1868; church built on Main street, 1873.
Nanticoke Welsh Baptist; organized 1870; church built 1871. Pastors: Revs. Theophilus Jones, D. Davies, J. P. Harris, W. F. Davies.
Baptist Church, Jackson Township; organized 1864.
Lake First Baptist Church: organized 1856; church erected 1878. Pastors: Revs. G. W. Schofield, 1856-8. Benjamin Sheaver, 1858-60; E. N. Whitney, 1866-8; Benjamin Sheaver, 1868-70; Mark Parks, 1870-3; R. C. H. Catterall, 1876-9; E. N. Whitney, 1879, etc.
Huntsville Baptist Church; formed 1834. Pastors: Revs. Parker, Mott, Gray, Clark, Schofield, Frink, Shearer, Whitney, Parks, Breuster, Catterall, Gessner, etc.
First Baptist Church, Pittston; organized 1776, by Rev. William Benedict, from New York. The Wyoming massacre nearly broke up the church, which was reorganized in 1786. Until 1801 it was united with the Philadelphia Baptist association, and from 1806 until 1833 with Abington Baptist church; in 1834 with Bridgewater association. For eighty-seven years this church worshiped in private houses; in 1875 the present church building was erected. Pastors: Revs. Benedict, Mott, Boyd, Leach, Francis, Thomas, Alder, Shanfelt, Thomas, Bliss, Bailey, Willifer, Finn, Bishop, Miller, Brown, Carey, etc.
Parsons Welsh Baptist Church; organized 1869; church built 1871. Pastors: Rev. James Reese, Jonathan Nichols, David Davies, J. S. Jones, D. T. Phillips.
First Welsh Baptist Church, Kingston; organized 1871; church built 1879. Pastors: Rev. Theophilus Jones, James R. Price.
Jewish.—B'nai Brith Jewish Synagogue: organized October, 1840. A church building was erected on Washington street, 1849. This was enlarged or rebuilt in —. The pastors have been Rev. Mans, October, 1848, to August, 1849; M. Strasser, August, 1849, to August, 1851; Isaac Thomas, August, 1851, to May, 1853; Herman Rubin, June, 1853-82; David Sterns, D.D., 1882-6; N. Rundbaken, D.D., 1886-91.
B'nai Jewish Synagogue; organized —.
Holeb Josher (Polish Hebrew); organized about 1885. Rev. Liman Salinger, rabbi; located on Welles street.
Lutheran Churches.—St. Paul's German Evangelical Lutheran, Wilkes-Barre, corner Main and South streets; organized 1845; building erected in 1846, on Washinton street. This property was sold and the present church property was bought and improved. The parsonage was built in 1872. The pastors have been, Rev. [p.443] Hemon Eggees, 1845-8; A. O. Briekman, 1848-50; A. Laebenmaier, 1851-2; J. A. Reubelt, 1852; J. Schwalen, 1853-4; G. H. Brosseler, 1854-8; C. M. Jager, 1858-61; E. Speidel, 1861-2; Christian Opinger, 1862-8; K. Schlenker, 1868-70; J. P. Liehtenbug, 1871-2; E. A. Fuenfstueck, 1872-6; E. Nidecker, 1876-82; Conrad Keuehn, 1882-91.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wilkes-Barre; organized in the "long room" in Music hall, November 3, 1872, by Rev. F. F. Buermeyer. A frame church edifice was erected in 1874 on the corner of Academy and Dana place, where Mr. Buermeyer held the first service, August 30, 1874. During 1891 a handsome rectory was built in the rear of the church on Dana place. The present membership is 255. The pastors have been Rev. F. F. Buermeyer, November 3, 1872, to April 9, 1882; Rev. W. Ashmead Schaeffer, June 1, 1882, to December 31, 1883; Rev. Samuel G. Finckel, January 6, 1884, to June 29, 1884; Rev. L. H. Gesehwind, December 1, 1885, to May 1, 1890. Rev. George W. Sandt, of Weissport, Pa., the present pastor, entered upon his duties at St. John's, May 18, 1890. In January, 1891, W. Sandt organized Grove Evangelical church at Ashley. The congregation of nearly 100 members worship in the Welsh church, but have no pastor.
Salem Church, Evangelical association, Grove street, began 1871; made a mission 1874; erected its first chapel 1873. This was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1875. The pastors have been: Revs. Andrew Ziegenfuss, 1871; Rev. D. A. Meoler, J. K. Frehr, Anthony Kindt, J. Savitz, H. D. Shultz, I. T. Sand, J. C. Crouse, E. L. Orwold.
Zion Reformed Church, Washington street; organized 1873 as the Evangelical church until 1877, when it was chartered as Zion Reformed church. The present building, was erected in 1874. The pastors have been: Revs. J. P. Lichtenberg, 1873-4; J. E. Lang, 1874-5; Rudolph Kunz, 1876-7, F. K. Levan, 1878-92.
Chunts German Evangelical Protestant Lutheran Church, Wilkes-Barre, was organized in 1861; church built 1851; seating capacity, 600. Pastors: Revs. R. S. Magver, W. Hasskail, D.D., and E. A. Bauer, etc.; formed 1820; church built 1833; used by the two bodies alternately. Pastors: Revs. J. N. Zeizer, 1820-39; Isaac Shellhammer, 1840-58; Henry Hoffman, 1858-71; A. R. Hottenstier and Tilgham Derr.
Dorrance Corners, Emanuel Church; built by both bodies jointly. Pastors: Revs. S. Shelhammer, Solomon Hoffman, Clime and M. Clemens.
Nanticoke Church, Hanover; formed 1821. The pastors of the two bodies have been Revs. J. N. Zeizer, Abraham Beike, J. W. Lesber, Frederick Strasses, G. W. Glessner, Rudolph Kunz, F. K. Levan.
Lutheran and General Reformed; Black Creek Friedius Lutheran and German Reformed church; built 1830, near Mountain Grove Railroad station. This is used alternately by the two organizations. The "Shelhamer" German Reformed church stands in the northeast corner of Buck township.
St. John's Church, Hughesville; organized 1799; church built 1808, used alternately by the Lutheran and German Reformed bodies. This was followed in 1825 by a larger church and in 1873 by the present handsome building. Pastors: Rev. George Mann, F. W. Vandesloat, H. Hoffman, S. S. Kline, J. N. Seizer, Frederick Croll, J. A. Forrset, H. Daniels, J. M. Clemens, J. H. Neiman.
Grace German Reformed, Hazleton; organized 1845; church built 1861. Pastors, since 1861: Revs. Miner, Brand T. Krahn, Waldbridge, Frankil, Fundling and Kuntz.
Evangelical Lutheran, Black Creek Church; built 1854, half a mile west of Black Creek.
White Haven, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, White Haven; organized 1864, by Rev. Hermonn Reif; church built 1865. Pastors: Rev. H. Reif, G. F. W. Guenset, J. H. Schmidt, W. H. Lanbensten, G. T. Weibel and others.
[p.444] Salem Evangelical Association Church, Hazleton; organized 1859; church built 1865, and parsonage 1874. Pastors: Revs. J. Frey, I. E. Knerr, T. A. Plattenberg, A. Shultz, C. Myers, W. R. Wiand, D. Z. Kembel, J. M. Ruiker.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran. Hazleton; organized 1873; church erected 1876. Pastor, Rev. J. Wagner.
St. Peter's Reformed Church, Hollenback township; organized 1825; church built 1826, rebuilt 1853. Pastors: Revs. J. N. Zeizer, Isaac Shellhammer, Henry Hoffman, A. R. Hottenstein, Tiglhman Derr, etc.
Evangelical Church, Hollenback township; church built 1849. Pastors: Revs. E. Kohr, A. Valenstamp, Memn Brepler, McKisson, Hice, Binder, Wolf, Reeser, Miller, Clair, Hartzler, Deitrick, Geeham, Pines, Luede, Monis, Kepner, Orwig, Rhodes, Busson, Kreemer, Pine, etc.
Slocum Evangelical Church; organized 1869; church built 1860. Pastors: Revs. Morris Kepner, Orwig, Rhoads, Basson, Kreamer, Pine.
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Conyngham; organized 1858. No church building.
Nescopeck Reformed Church; formed 1811; church built 1814. Pastors: Revs. John N. Zeizer, Isaac Shellhammer, Horace Daniel, Henry Hoffman, A. R. Hottenstein, Tiglhman Derr. This congregation built a second brick church in union with the Lutherans 1868.
Sugarloaf Township Reformed and Lutheran Church.—These two bodies were organized here 1800; church built 1826; rebuilt 1872. It was burned 1873 and rebuilt 1874. Pastors: (Reformed) Revs. J. N. Zeizer, Isaac Shellhammer, J. A. Renbelt, J. W. Lesher, James Seibert, J. B. Pomer, H. Hoffman, J. M. Blemens, etc.; (Lutheran) Revs. G. Eyster, J. Benninger, J. Shindle, C. F. F. Sallmon, William Haskall, R. S. Wagner, S. S. Kline, J. H. Neiman, etc.
Primitive Methodist, St. John's church, Hazleton; formed 1872; church building erected 1876. Pastors: Revs. D. Savage, Ralph Fothergill, G. Parker, William B. Backe, William Rent, W. H. Yarrow, etc.
Parsons Primitive Methodist Church; formed 1871; church built 1872. Pastors: Revs. J. H. Acomly, Charles McKeehnie, T. C. Bates, H. G. Russell, M. Hawey, etc.
Zion Primitive Methodist Church, Plymouth; organized 1871; church built 1875. Pastors: Revs. Henry Gray, Francis Gray, Henry Jones, J. W. Mugan, W. B. Beach, I. H. Acornley, T. C. Beach, C. Spurr, H. G. Russell, etc.
First Welsh Congregational, Wilkes-Barre; organized 1869. The church building was erected on Hillside street, 1872. The pastors have been: Revs. T. C. Edwards, 1869-80; Rev. John Lewis, 1882; Rev. J. G. Gwhyo Lewis, 1887-92.
Second Welsh Congregational, Parish street; organized about 1885. Rev. I. Thomas, pastor; has a church building.
Welsh Purita Church, Sherman street; organized about 1885; has a church building. Rev. E. J. Morris is pastor.
Nanticoke Welsh Congregational Church; organized 1870; church built on Main street 1874.
Welsh Congregational Church, Plains township; organized 1869; church built 1871. In 1877 the building was moved to Miner's Hill and enlarged. Pastors: Revs. David Davies, John W. Williams.
Zion First Congregational Church, Parsons; organized 1871; church built 1874; Pastors: Revs. E. B. Evans, J. W. Williams.
Welsh Congregational Church, Plymouth township; organized 1868; church built 1871. Pastors: Revs. David T. Davis, John G. Evans, T. C. Edwards.
Huntsville "Christian" Church; organized 1845; church built 1848. Rev. L. B. Hyatt, pastor.
[The preceding matter of the Protestant churches was kindly furnished by the Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M. A., except the Fourth Methodist of Wilkes-Barre, which was given us by George B. Kulp, Esq.]
[p.447] [The following concerning the Catholic church was obligingly given mostly by Rev. M. J. Hoban, in charge of the Ashley church.]
Catholics.—The first priest that officially visited the Wyoming valley, so far as is now known, was Rev. James Pellentz, who traveled up the river as far as Standing Stone, Bradford county, in 1787 or 1788. He incidentally visited the few Catholics that were here at that time and probably reported to his superiors the conditions and the wants of the people along the river up as far as Elmira, making his longest stop, it is supposed, at Standing Stone, where he purchased property for £35. Father Dilhet passed over much the same route in 1805, from Sunbury to the Catholics at Frenchtown and further up, and administering, it is supposed, the church rites to the Catholics here in private residences.
Individual Catholics were here from the very first. A paragraph in Miner's history mentions "Thomas Neill, an Irishman of middle age, the most learned man in the valley—a Catholic, a high Mason [sic], fond of dress, remarkable for his fine flow of spirits and pleasing manners, a bachelor and a schoolmaster, he was a favorite." With characteristic bravery his Irish spirit broke out as the danger became pressing. "'The Yankees are the weakest party—the odds are against them; though I have no special interest in the fight, so help me heaven! I'll take a turn with them.' Marching out with Capt. McKarrigan's company, July 3, 1778, he fell." This is Mr. Miner's account of the chivalric Irishman. As to the facts of his death on the battlefield there is a mistake somewhere, as the inscription on the monument records Thomas Neill as one who survived the battle.
Abraham Pike is a part and parcel of the history of the bloody days here—an Irishman. Then there was Michael Kelly, so familiar in the early history. He and daughter were taken prisoners in 1779, as related by Miner. In the earliest deeds are the names that are pure Irish—Ryan, Murphy, McGuire, Mullen, McMullen, Carey, Kelly, Sullivan, McCarthy, Devine, Neill, McKarrigan and others. How many or whether all of these were Catholics is not positively known.
Stewart Pearce says that about 1828 Rev. John Flynn came to Luzerne county and traveled among its scattered people of his faith and extended to them church privileges in their own houses and at temporary meeting places. He remained here three years, and was succeeded by Rev. William Clancy, who made his home in Carbondale, and built there a little church in 1832. After Clancy came Rev. Henry FitzSimmons in 1836, who attended the surrounding towns until 1847.
In what is now Luzerne county, after striking off the counties that once were within its borders, the date for the establishment of the Catholic church here in the full sense, may be fixed as in 1848, as before that time, the scattered congregation had been attended from Carbondale and other points. These pastoral visits were mostly by Revs. Henry FitzSimmons and Prendergast.
Father Ethoffer was the first stationed in Wilkes-Barre, and this was in 1848. He was followed by Father O'Shaughnessy for a short time, then came Rev. Basil Shorb, succeeded by Rev. Casper Borgess and then again Rev. Henry FitzSimmons in 1856.
In 1842 the wooden church building on Canal street was built by Father FitzSimmons, and in 1845 a brick church was built on Canal street, where the school is now. The congregation was mostly Germans and Irish, and in 1856 the members had so increased that it was deemed advisable to divide the congregation. The Germans took the wooden building and the Irish congregation the brick church, where is now St. Mary's parochial school. The rectors of the German church were Fathers Schneider and Summer. Father Nagel, the present rector of St. Nicholas church, came here in 1858 and conducted the first service in the then new church, now St. Conrad's hall, corner of South and Washington streets.
The corner-stone of the new St. Nicholas church was laid in 1883; dedicated June 16, 1887. In an architectural point of view this ranks well with the finest buildings in the city—Gothic; and the architect was Mr. Shickle, of New York. Assistant pastors: Revs. John Steinkirchner and Joseph Bilstein.
[p.448] St. Mary's church, Washington street, is the outgrowth of the little wooden church of 1840, under the ministrations of Rev. Henry FitzSimmons. The present large and handsome building was erected in 1872, valued at $250,000. The old building is now St. Mary's parochial school. The pastors in the order of coming were Revs. Henry FitzSimmons, 1840-7; Prendergast, 1847; Ethoffer, 1848; John Loughman, Shorb, 1849; Casper Burgess, Henry FitzSimmons, 1856; Dennis O'Haran, 1869-89; Richard McAndrews, 1889, present in charge.
During the pastorate of Rev. O'Haran the parochial residence and St. Mary's academy on Washington street were built, and parishes organized at Plymouth, Nanticoke, Sugar Notch, Plainsville, Kingston, Parsons and Ashley.
During the administration of Father McAndrew, a cyclone having wrecked the steeple and damaged the front of the church, repairs were made and decorations inside were made by Scataglia and the painting by Costagini. A marble altar was built costing about $5,000.
The church was consecrated Sunday, May 3, 1891. Cardinal Gibbons was present; evening services conducted by Archbishop Ryan of Philadelphia. Present on this occasion: Bishops Phelan and McGovern, the latter saying mass. The consecration by Bishop O'Hara. Assistant pastors: Revs. James Jordan, William Nealon and John Moylan.
St. Mary's Catholic Church (Polish), is a temporary church on Park avenue, built in 1887. The first pastor was Adelbert Pelcgar. Present pastor is Francis Tomas Zewski; they have a brick parsonage. The plans and arrangements for the erection of a church building at a cost of $50,000 are now completed.
Upper Wilkes-Barre Greek Catholic Church was attended by Rev. Alexander Dzuboy.
The above constitute the Catholic churches of Wilkes-Barre. From St. Mary's is the Laurel Run church. In 1890 the old Mountain house was purchased and converted into a convent, and in 1891 a frame church adjoining was erected.
Pittston Catholic Churches.—Among the early settlers in Pittston was John Daley and family. Then came Thomas Keatings in Cork Lane; James Moore, William Cuddy and Michael Sheridan; in North Pittston were Thomas McCue, John Gallagher and Patrick Gerrity. These families came, the first in 1841, and others soon thereafter. In 1841 Rev. Henry FitzSimmons, of Carbondale, made regular visits to Pittston, stopping with the Daley family and Thomas McCue. In 1843 came Michael Reap, who became one of the prominent merchants and business men of the place. In 1847 Rev. Prendergast visited the place until 1849; also Revs. Basil Shorb and Etoffer. Through the aid of Michael Reap and Rev. John Loughran a piece of ground for a building was secured on Church Hill, and St. Mary's church erected—a plain, modest, cheap building.
Rev. O'Shaughnessy in October, 1853, succeeded Loughran. He secured a lot on Williams street, and in 1856 erected a new church building. He remained in charge until 1857. September 20, 1858, Very Rev. John Finnen, present rector of St. John's church, was appointed to the place by Bishop Newman, as assistant to Father O'Shaughnessy. October 17,, 1858, the new St. John's Evangelist church was dedicated.
In 1882 the old St. Mary's church was torn down, as it had not been used for some time, and the new was built on Church Hill. The corner-stone was laid that year, and the building blessed by Bishop O'Hara in 1883.
St. John's Evangelist.—The old St. John's was torn down, and in its place was erected the present magnificent stone building, at a cost of over $100,000. It is expected that it will be consecrated during the present winter. Assistant pastors at this church, Revs. Greve and Kelly.
St. Mary's Church, Pittston (German), was built by Father Nagel, and attended from Wilkes-Barre until 1882, when it was cut off from Wilkes-Barre. First pastor, Rev. Peter Christ; then Rev. Nicholas Forbe; present pastor, Rev. William [p.449] Brehe, who also has charge of the congregation at Duryea. The Poles are preparing to erect a church building at the latter place.
St. Casimir (Lithuanian).—Pastor, Rev. Joseph Zlotorzynski.
St. Stanislaus Church, Nanticoke, was built by Rev. Benvenuto Gramlewicz, who also built the schoolhouse; he also built the Catholic church at Morgantown, whose present pastor is Andrew Zycovitz.
St. Vincent's Church, Plymouth, was organized in 1872, from St. Mary's, Wilkes-Barre, and a brick building erected that year. This has been replaced by their present elegant building, in the tower of which is the most musical bell in the county. The old church is used for a parochial school. A comfortable parsonage has been built. Pastors: Revs. Richard Hennessy, 1872-6; Patrick Toner, 1877; T. J, Donahue, 1877-92. Assistant pastor, Rev. Peter Winters.
Nativity Blessed Virgin, of Plymouth.—The congregation divided, the Poles retaining their church and the Lithuanians built. Their pastor is Rev. Baurba.
St. Stephen's Church (Hungarian), Plymouth, was built by Rev. Jaskovitz, their present pastor.
Holy Angels Church, Avondale, is attended from St. Vincents.
St. Gabriel's Church, Hazleton.—A brick church was erected on property donated by Ario Pardee in 1868; also a parsonage; church property valued at $50,000. Pastors: Rev. Maloney began the work as a mission. He was followed by Rev. Michael L. Scanlon, at whose death Rev. Filan took charge; in 1863 Rev. Thomas C. O'Hara succeeded and remained until 1876; Rev. R. E. Hennessy succeeded; in 1887, Rev. J. J. Commisky; assistant, Rev. Edwin Fitzmaurice.
St. Joseph's Church, Hazleton (Hungarian), was organized by Rev. Joseph Kaasalko.
St. Peter and Paul's Church, Hazleton (Polish), Rev. Peter Ambromoytys, pastor.
Holy Trinity Church (German); under Father Nicholas Forbe, sent from Pittston.
Catholic Church (Italian), Hazleton, was organized by Rev. Francis Chinso. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Girimondi, and he in turn by the present pastor, Rev. Rizario Naski.
St. Raphael's Church, Black Creek, is attended from St. Gabriel's.
St. Mary's Church, Frenchtown, also attended from St. Gabriel's.
St. Mary's Church, Pleasant Valley; organized 1875, by Father Finan, and church built; was formerly a part of Pittston parish, and was cut off, and Father Crane, present pastor, was sent. A parsonage was built and steeple put up, under Rev. M. F. Crane.
St. Patrick's Church, White Haven; organized and building erected in 1866-7; a parsonage built the next year, and in 1879 a commodious parochial school building, which was visited by Revs. FitzSimmons, Sharp, O'Shaughnessy, Sullivan, Noonan, Mullen, Tracy, Fallihee, Bergan, Bergrath. The last named is the present pastor.
Sacred Heart Church, Plains.—Here is a very nice frame church, a female convent under the charge of the Sisters of Mercy, and a parsonage erected in 1884 under the auspices of Rev. J. W. Dunn, D.D. He administered the affairs of the parish for two years, when he died. He was succeeded in 1866 by Rev. J. C. MacDermott, who died in June, 1888. The present pastor is Rev. Mr. Phillips, who succeeded Father MacDermott. The church property, school and parsonage have increased in value since 1884 from $15,000 to $50,000. In 1891 there was an extensive cave-in which damaged the church, school and parochial residence, these have been repaired and the building remodeled and improved. Father O'Harren had purchased the hotel and adjoining property, and Father Dunn made a school building of the hotel and built the parsonage just north of the church. In 1891 Father Philips purchased the brick house next to McKnight's store and changed it into a convent building. Assistant pastor, Rev. Anthony Roderick.
[p.450] St. Leo's Church, Ashley, was organized November 13, 1887, being cut off from St. Mary's of Wilkes-Barre. Rev. M. J. Hoban in charge. Their building, an elegant brick, was erected in 1890, at a cost of $25,000; not yet entirely completed. The total cost when finished will aggregate $40,000. A very nice parsonage on the hill was built in l892. The first small church building is now St. Leo's hall. The first mass in the new church was said January 1, 1891, in the basement.
St. Catharine's Church, Fairview, is attended from Ashley. This church was built under the auspices of Father Rea, of Sugar Notch, fromn which place it was formerly attended.
St. Charles Boromeo Church, Sugar Notch, was organized in 1875, by Rev. Dennis O'Haran, and the church building erected that year, which has a seating capacity of 700. It was made a separate parish in 1879, with Rev. Thomas Rea in charge. He has built a pastor's house and added many improvements to the church building.
St. Dominic Church, Parsons, was organized in 1883 and a church and parsonage built by Rev. Patrick Roche. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Keenan.
St. Francis Church, Nanticoke, was organized in l876 by Rev. Dennis O'Haran and their building erected in 1879, when Rev. A. C. Mattingley was in charge. He was followed in 1882 by Rev. John C. McDermott. Present pastor is Rev. Felix McGuckin. The latter built the new church at Morgantown in 1889. At the same time he built the Polish church at Morgantown.
St. Ignatius Church, Kingston.—The building was erected in 1886, under charge of Rev. John Bergan. The parsonage was built in 1891. Present pastor is Rev. John O'Malley.
Greek Catholic Church, also at Kingston.
Polish Church, Mill Creek.—First pastor was Rev. Valentine Swynorski; a fine church building and parsonage.
Immaculate Conception, Eckley.—Pastor, Rev. Thomas Brehony. He attends from there several out missions.
Catholic Church, Parsons.—Church building and parsonage built by Rev. Patrick Roche; the church in 1884, parsonage in 1886. Present pastor is Rev. Thomas Keirnan.
St, Ann's Church, Drifton.—Pastor, Rev. Michael J. Fallihee; assistant, Rev. McNally.
St. Casimir's Church, Freeland.—Their first stationed pastor was Rev. Jodyzus; second, Rev. Joseph Maszotos.
Greek Church, Freeland.—Pastor, Rev. Cyril Gulovics.
St. Francis' Church, Nanticoke, was cut off from Wilkes-Barre. First pastor, Rev. Charles Mattingly, who died in Philadelphia and was succeeded by Rev. John McDermott, and he was succeeded by Rev. Felix McGuckin. The brick church was built by Rev. O'Haran; residence by Rev. Mattingly, and the new convent by Rev. McGuffin.
St. Mary's Church, Avoca.—Pastor, Rev. Michael F. Crane; assistant pastor, Joseph McCabe; church membership, 1,800; organist, Mary Whalen.