Gc M. L
3 1833 02247 8363
A BRIEF HISTORY
Methodist Episcopal Church
Of Spring City, Pa.,
Sketches of the Other Leading Churches
OF THE Town
-5^ ? ^ /
COMPILED BY J. K. JONES, M. E.
At a Quarterly Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church held at Spring City, Pa., January 33, 1897, the
author of this little volume was appointed to write up the
history of the Spring City Methodist Episcopal Church. Had
it not been for the admiration he has for the church of his
choice, and for the ardent love which he has for the Lord,
he could not have been induced to undertake such a laborious-
task. In many cases the records of the church are not to be
found. This then gave rise to an additional source of anx-
iety, since the memory of those of longest existence here-
abouts had to be so frequently consulted. In many instances
people differ greatly in their remembrance of the dates and
facts connected with certain events. An earnest effort has
been made to sift the truth from these sources, and to tell
it in language which is devoid of high-sounding technicalities.
The aim has been to present to the readers of this vol-
ume, in as compact form as possible, a collection of material
for future reference, as well as for present perusal. Many of
the facts herein contained would, in a few years, forever have
been buried in oblivion. Accuracy of facts and dates has also
l)een attempted. In some cases the aim of the author here
4 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
may not have Ijeen fully carried out; but, in the main, we
think that the material as here presented may be accepted
We trust that our readers will not think the sketches of
the other churches are out of place. We all read the same
Bible, trust in the same Saviour, and are striving to gain an
entrance to the same Heaven. An outline of the beginnings
of things is also given. These may be of interest to some
Our acknowledgments are due to Messrs. John Fink-
biner, W. C. Taylor, Davis Hanse, Esq., of West Chester, the
ministers of the churches, and to all others who have so
willingly lent their services in gathering the materials from
which our story has been woven.
May we trust that you will receive the book in the same
kind, generous spirit in which it has been written? That the
spiritual life of its readers may be quickened, and the cause
of the Master promoted, is the earnest wish of the author.
J. K. J.
JACOB K. JONES, M. E.
INSERTED BY SPECIAL REQUEST OF COMMITTEE
Originally the land in tins vicinity was a part of the Old
AVilliam Penn Grant. As early as 1682 we find that Professor
Thomas Holme, surveyor general of William Penn, made a
map of the "Improved Parts of Pennsylvania." In this map
the sections now included in the Vincent Townships are given
in the names of "Sr. Matthias Vincent, Adrian Vrouzen,
Benja, Fnrloy, Dr. Daniel Coxe." On November 22, 1686,
Dr. Daniel Coxe of London "being siezed of a tract of 10,-
000 acres in Pennsylvania, lying between two rivers, called
A^incent Eiver, and Schuylkill Eiver, ordered the same to be
divided into two equal parts, each containing 5000 acres.''
From the 5000 acres along the "Schuylkill" River he granted
1000 acres to a Mr. John Clapp, "of the Province of Caro-
lina, in America." For this land Mr. Clapp was to pay to
the said Daniel Coxe "a grain of corn yearly for the first six
3^ears, and afterward the yearly rent of £-4 6s."
The Vincent River referred to above is now French
Creek. This region hereabouts took its name from "Sr.
Matthias Vincent." The land was known for a number of
years as "Coxe and Company's 20,000 acres." The earliest
settlers of the Vincents were soon supplanted by the Ger-
mans, many of whose descendants still are in possession of the
lands which have been handed down through the lapse of
years. Among the names of these earlv land owners we find
8 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
those of Ealston, Gordon, Dennis, "Wlielen, and Bromback
(now corrupted by Brownback).
In 1738 by order of the court of Chester County a survey
of the Vincents was made, and the following boundaries are
recorded — "Northeast by Schuylkill River, Northwest by
Xantmeal and Coventry, Southwest by Uwchlan, and South-
east by Joseph Pike's land," now Pikeland.
A Natural Cave.
In 1T73, Just three years before the Eevolutionary War
broke out, another survey and draft of the township was
made. On this draft reference is made to a Natural Cave.
' It is described and located as being near the Schuylkill River,
and just opposite the lower end of the island; but within the
boundaries of what is now Spring City. This cave was known
as "Bezalion's Cave," and it must have been somewhere in
the hill about the Paper Mill. As there is no trace of the
cave now visible, it was no doubt obliterated in excavating
for the canal or the Paper Mill.
This cavern was named after a French Indian fur trader
by the name of Pierre (Peter) Bezalion, who at times located
hereabouts, and bartered with the Indians for furs of various
kinds, during the early days of the eighteenth century. It
is supposed that Mr. Bezalion discovered the cave. He, at
least, knew about it, and perhaps at times, lodged tlierein,.
and kept some of the furs there also.
This French trader is represented as one of the most
noted of his craft in the whole province. He, at times, peiie-
trated far into the interior of the State in quest of pelts.
About tbe year 1724, after collecting considerable pelf, he
left this region, and settled on a tract of land east of Coates-
ville. There he remained until his death in 1T4:"2, at which
time he was al)le to leave to his heirs a tract of 158 acres of
land, valued at ahout Twenty-five Hundred Dollars.
The Indians of that day in this region were numerous,
the streams swarmed with fish, and the forests abounded with
game and wild animals. These Eed Skins belonged to the
tribe of Lenni Lenape, or Delawares. They did a good busi-
ness in trapping and hunting, but the white fur traders se-
cured the greatest income from the business. These Indians
called French Creek Sankanac, the Perkiomen Pahkiomink,
and the Schuvlkill ^fanaiunk.
By the year 1837 the Schuylkill Canal was in operation,
and had been since about 1825. The Heading Railroad was
fast nearing completion. It began carrying passengers and
traffic about 1839. As some of my older readers may remem-
l)er, the road, under the name of the "Philadelphia, German-
town, and Xorristown Railroad,'' was finished in 1833. In
the Ijeginning of this year, 1837, but two houses were here,
one, at the Locks below where Mr. A. F. Tyson's store now
stands, and the other near by.
But, during this summer the first houses, three in num-
l)er, all of stone, all nearly alike constructed, were Iniilt on
what is now North Main Street. These houses are still under
roof. One of them, Xo. 123, stands near the canal, and it
was built by Mr. Samuel Quig. Another, now a part of Mr.
P. H. Setzler's restaurant, Xo. 120, was l)uilt by Mr. Peter
Quig. The third, Xo. 104, owned by Dr. W. Brower, was
built l)y John Speace.
10. history of spring city m. e. church.
Back in the fifties people began to cast about for a name
for the littl'e village as it began to be. An effort was made
b}'^ some to have the place called Jamestown, but the attempt
did not succeed. Many of our readers well remember the
beautiful spring, under a large willow-tree, which was on
Main Street at the foot of Yost Avenue. A pump still brings
the water of th^^ spring up to slake the thirst of tlie thirsty.
On accoLiut of this, and other springs about this region, the
name of Springville was selected. This name was retained
until the year 1872, when an effort prevailed to have the name
changed to Spring City. This change was made to corre-
spond with the post-office which was then calledby that name.
The first borough census, taken in 1870, showed that 1118
souls Avere in the borough. ^
About the year 1835 James Rogers, Sr., built -a small,
frame, store-house near the Locks.^ This was at Eoyer's
Locks, and the greater part of the custoiiT came from supply-
ing the boatmen. This store was kept open for business
seven days in the iveelc, and corn, oats, groceries, rum, gin,
brandy, and whisky were sold to ever yhody, young and old
Some time afterward a second store w^as built by Mr.
David Rover. al)out where the Pennsylvania Railroad siding
now crosses the canal.
The Royer's Ford Bridge Company was chartered May 1,
1839. During that year and 1840 the first bridge, a wooden.
RIVER BRIDGE, EAST VIEW
covcicmI structure, was thrown across the river, at a cost of
$8500. This structure which was a toll hridge, safely carried
its passeuy-ers and trattic until the large freshet of Septem-
ber 2, 1850, lifted it from the piers, and carried it down to
l)lack Bock Tunnel. The bridge was immediately replaced
by a structure of similar pattern. This second bridge, which
cost $8000, did service until the night of May -1, 1881, a fire
which originated in the Yost grist mill, at its west end, swept
the l)ridge and the mill away.
The ])rescnt iron structure was then erected at a cost of
$13,000. The contract of erectioiT was done by the Phoenix
Bridge Company of Pluenixville. In the year 1887 the
County Commissioners of both Chester and Montgomeiy
counties, jiurchased the interests of the stockholders for $33-
500, and declared the bridge free of toll.
The first stove foundry of the place was l)uilt l)y James
Eogers, 8r., about the year 18-43. This plant stood on the
canal bank along below Mr. John Macfeafs stove store, and
from this place south toward the Lyceum. It was surrounded
by the first lumberyard of the place. A high board fence
along the east side of iMaiu Street shut off the view from the
The foundi'y employed about 25 hands, aud made the
old-fasliioned nine-])late wood stoves. Afterward cook stoves
and hydraulic rams for raising water, were also made here.
The sup]ilies were at first brought on the canal, then on the
On the evening of April 30, 1856, a fire in the engine-
room was discovered bv a passing boatman who gave the
alarm. l)y the time the people were aroused the fire was
14 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
bej'Ond control, and this wooden strnctnre went up in smoke,
and it was never rebuilt.
Four years now elapsed before another attempt at stove
making was made. But in 1860 the people contributed means,
and a second foundry was erected on the site now occupied
by the Yeager-Hunter Stove Works. This plant was operated
during the Eebellion by the firm of Smith, Francis & Wells;
then by Smith, Johnson & Co.; and afterward by the firm of
Shantz & Keeley. On July 5, 1881, a fire again checked the
stove industry of Spring City, as the entire plant, then a large
one, was swept from existence.
Then in 1883 the present plant was erected on the luins
of the old site, by contributions as before. The business firm
of Yeager & Hunter then leased and operated the works for
ten years, when the above firm purchased the grounds and
the entire plant. In 1890 the business was incorporated un-
der the firm title of the "Yeager-Hunter Spring City Stove
Works." The business now employs about one hundred
The Paper Mill.
The title to the paper mill property was conveyed by
Mr. Frederick Yost to Messrs. Shryock & Co., April 9, 1847.
The mill, a small one, was then erected, and operated by sev-
eral firms in succession. Here are some of the firm names —
Messrs. Shyrock, Paxson & Knight; Messrs. Nixson & Co.;
Messrs. Bursler & Stearley; Mr. William Shearer; Messrs.
Burgess, Keen & Ladd; and, from about the year 1864, The
American Wood Paper Company, a stock company, managed
the business. Mr. Hugh Burgess was President of the Com-
At first wrapping paper only was made, and this, gen-
erally from straw. But, after a series of experiments, paper
and paper pulp were made at this mill from poplar wood.
Then the business, which up to this time had not been so
productive in financial results, greatly flourished. The first
consignment of wood paper pulp, one ton, was shipped in
1862 to Mr. James McGargee, then a paper maker on the
AVissahickon Creek, several miles above Philadelphia.
About 25 hands were employed at the mill at first; but,
when the works shut down indefinitely in 1893, the names of
125 persons were on the pay roll. This mill, in its bright
days, did a great deal for the material growth of the town.
i. the lyceum.
"Springville Lyceum, 18-12," were the words that orna-
mented a painted board which had been placed over the door
of a building, now a dwelling, Nos. 3 and 5 North Main Street,
and owned by Mr. Jesse G. Yeager. This historic building
was erected by Mr. James Rogers, Sr., in the year above
named. The lower story was a dwelling, and the upper story
was used for public purposes. The public room was about
32 by 35 feet in size. The entrance was by a door from Main
Street, which opened into a small vestibule. From this vesti-
bule a flight of stairs led to the upper room. Imagine your-
self entering from the street, then turn to the left a few steps,
now turn to the right, and ascend the steps as though you are
going toward the canal. Yoii have the idea.
The stairway at the top was protected by a baluster. The
room extended East and West, and the speaking stand was at
the East end, or end next the canal. A sort of box-like
Jb HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
arrangement al^out 8 or 10 feet long and 4: feet high extended
partly across the room, and this served as the speaker's desk.
Two windows, one near each end of the speaker's stand, but
back of it, admitted the light at that end of the room. At
first there were no regular seating accommodations. Xail
kegs w^ere placed about the room on which boards were laid.
On these improvised seats the people at first sat. But, as
time wore on a few benches were placed. Along the sides of
the room a few benches extended lengthwise, so that when
those who occupied them wished to see the speaker, they were
obliged to turn partly around; that is, the audience along the
Xorth and the South side of the room sat sideways, or at
right angles to the speaker. In the centre of the room, a
few benches extended cross-wise. The speaker's stand was
Xow as to the means of lighting the room for evenings.
My older readers will have no trouble to understand this; but
the younger folks must now draw on their imagination, while
we shall attempt to describe. Can you imagine a piece of
inch board ten or twelve inches long, and four or five inches
wide, with another piece of the same width, and four inches
long nailed against the bottom of the long piece, and at right
angles to it? If so, now imagine an auger hole bored half
way through the botton piece and you have the candlestick
used in the "Lyceum." A half-inch hole in the top of our
candlestick will serve to suspend it. A dozen or fifteen of
these "home-made" devices, each with a piece of a '"tallow-
dip," made in some nearby home, in it, were all the means
of giving light to this historic room for evening services.
Now see some person with a pair of snuffers in one hand pass-
ing around every few minutes during a meeting. With the
other hand he lifts our candlestick off its nail support, clips
off the charred wiek, dresses up the wick a little, and replaces
the newly brightened light again on its nail. Or, if the
snuffers are not in easy reach, some one near by takes the
candle out of its socket, and with his pocket knife he cuts
off the wick against the end of a post or a bench. Or per-
chance he, with a moistened thumb and forefinger, pinches
the burned wick off. Near the close of the Lyceum's exist-
ence a couple of whale oil lamps were placed back of the
pulpit against the wall. This was an improvement.
We have dwelt at some length on this historic spot on
account of its significance. In the ten years of its life as a
public hall it was the only place of its kind in the growing
village. In that upper room were held the first Sunday-
Schools, the first day schools both public and private, also the
first preaching services. Aside from these services, debating
societies, lectures, and town meetings generally were held
here until about the year 1852, when a more ample provision
was made for the public gatherings of the town.
II. mechanics" hall.
By the end of ten years from the time the Lyceum had
been built, the needs of a larger and a better adapted build-
ing were apparent in which to hold the public concourses.
The Order of United American Mechanics took up the work
in the year 1852, and erected of stone, on Hall Street, the
building which still does public service. This was the second
public hall. It served its mission until the year 1878 when
it was remodeled and made to suit more comfortably the in-
creasing demands of the public.
The greater part of the public assemblies then met in
this hall, and finally the Lyceum was converted into a dwell-
ing, and Mechanics' Hall naturally became the place for hold-
18 IIISTOEY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
ing t-^e public demonstrations of the town. Besides the gath-
erings which congregate in the hall proper to-day, 1899, quite
a number of beneficial orders meet in lodge rooms on the
third floor. We hereby present a list of these assemblies as
they are now assembling: —
Monday evening. — I. 0. of Red Men, Pickering Tribe,
Js^o. 13. Jr. 0. U. A. M., Xo. 900.
Tuesday evening. — P. 0. S. of A., Xo. 122. Phoenix En-
campment of Patriarchs, Xo. 79.
Wednesday evening. — P. 0. S. of A., Xo. 191.
Thursday evening.— I. 0. of 0. P., Xo. 762. D. of L.,
Friday evening. — K. of P., Xo. 91. The Iron-molders'
Union, Xo. 75.
Saturday evening. — 0. U. A. M., Xo. 76.
III. MEMOEIAL HALL.
The third public hall, known as Memorial Hall, was
finished and dedicated on May 10, 1894. This pretty and
convenient structure is also of stone, and it stands on Chest-
nut Street. Some of the papers read at the dedication were:
"Presentation of the Keys," by Rev. P. C. Yost; "Acceptance
of the Keys," by Rev. Calvin U. 0. Derr, Pastor of the First
Reformed Church, Spring City; "Links Between the Church
and the Young People," by Rev. C. H. Coons; "The Moral
a^d Spiritual Results of the Institutional Church," by Dr.
James I. Good, and "What the AVorld Expects of the Church,"'
b^ F. G. Hobson, Esq.
Memorial Hall is the munificent gift of the late Mr.
Henry Francis, a liberal, pulilic-spirited gentleman of the
First Reformed Church of Spring City. The hall is 40 feet
by 70 feet, three stories high, and it cost about $10,000 all
told. A well-equipped gymnasium occupies the third-story,
and a fine lecture room with a seating capacity of 300 is on
the second-story. On the first floor are a Ladies' parlor, Boys'
game room, Eeading room, Kitchen and banquet room. The
following persons contributed liberally in furnishing the aux-
iliary rooms: Mrs. Mary E. Iveeley, Mrs. W. P. Snyder, and
Mrs. Clara (Keeley) Derr.
A well-conducted, and well-attended popular lecture
course was started in the fall of 188-i, and it has been kept
up regularly since. This course of entertainments is doing
much for the literary and aesthetic culture of our people.
Some of the finest talent of the Public Platform of to-day
have spoken in Memorial Hall.
The Post Office.
Up to the year 1864, all the mail for Springville came
to Eoyer's Ford, and it was then brought over to this side of
the river by some one, and delivered to the people, from the
stores. But in this year a petition, largely signed, praying
for a post office, and that Mr. John Sheeler who then had a
store in the building now occupied by the bicycle works at
the west end of the canal bridge, be appointed as postmaster,
was forwarded to Washington. The petition was granted,
and Mr. Sheelers commission dated from Xovemlier of that
year. "East Vincent" was the name of the office, at first, liut
in 1873 the name was changed to Spring City. One mail a
day each way was at first distributed, and the postma^^ter re-
ceived about One Hundred Dollars a year for carrying and
distributing the mail.
This is the list of postmasters thus far. The date after
every one shows the time of his commission: —
22 HISTOEY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
John Sheeler, November, 1864; D. S. Taylor, May, 1867;
J. Ct. Yeager, July, 1867; D. S. Taylor, March, 1869; Dr. W.
P. Snyder, October, 1883; Walter Macfeat, July, 1885, D. M.
Curry, February, 1890; Jacob Leidy, February, 1895; G. Clin-
ton Williams, March, 1899.
The office was in the fourth-class until July, 1891. Since
1891 it is a third-class office, and the postmasters are now
appointed by the President of the United States, and con-
firmed by the Senate.
The Public Schools.
The first public school was held in the Lyceum, and for
several years this Avas the only place in the village where pupils
were trained. About the year 1849 the school was transferred
to the basement of Union Meeting House, and here it re-
mained until about 1857, when the first public school-house
was built. Some of those who taught in the Union Meeting
House were Jacob Latshaw, John Funk, Albert Simpson, and
The first building erected solely for public school jjur-
poses, stood on Hall Street where the tenement houses, now
belonging to the Lutheran Church, are. It lasted only a few
years. In 1863 it was torn down and the stones and other
materials were used in erecting another public school-house,
which yet stands on the lot in the rear of the Lutheran par-
sonage. School was held here until 1872, when the school
was transferred to the large building opposite the M. E.
Church. In 1859 a school-house known as the "Western
School," was built on West Bridge Street, which did service
until 1880, when the school was transferred to the main build-
ing. In 1871 the beautiful school building, which is so fre-
quently praised by visitors who come to our town, was erected.
At first four rooms were provided. Then in ISSi the middle
section of four rooms was added. In 1892 the rear section
was built, consisting of two rooms on the first floor, and the
High School room, class room, and philosophical room on the
The School Board which so wisely planned and provided
for the school interests of the children was composed, in 1871,
of Davis Hause, Esq., Dr. WiUiam Brower, Messrs. Thomas
J. Coulston, Christian S. Lessig, David S. Taylor, and Jones
Rogers. These principals have had charge of the educational
training of the young thus far: Messrs. Joseph X. Smith,
Adjalon E. Shantz, and Jacob K. Jcnes. The first graduating
class of four bowed to an audience in the lecture room of the
M. E. Church in 1881. An alumni association of eighty-nine
thus far is the result of the sixteen classes which have com-
pleted the prescribed course of instruction. Twelve teachers
are now guiding the young of our borough through the laby-
rinth of knowledge.
The present Board are: President, Dr. W. Brower; Sicie-
tary, William Sower; Treasurer, A. F. Tyson; J. I. Mowrey,
George M. Diemer, John Latshaw, W. C. Taylor, Joseph P.
Thomas, William T. Williams, Dr. J. C. Mewhinney, Rev.
J. M. S. Isenberg, and John S. Witt. Dr. Brower has lieen a
member of the School Board uninterruptedly since lie was
appointed to fill a vacancy, in the early part of the year 1869.
He is now just closing his tenth consecutive term of three
years, and he has again been chosen to serve another term.
Most of this time he has filled the office of either secretary
or president. His wise and judicious counsels have lieen
given on every question of school interest during all these
thirty years. This noble gentleman is also supposed now to
26 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
have behind him the k)ngest iinl)roken term of service of any
school director in the connty.
The Borough Orgaxized.
In 18(37 the ])orouoh was organized under the name of
Springville. Init in 1872 the name was changed to Spring
City. The following is the list of Burgesses with the date of
first election, when they served more than one term: —
David G. Wells 1867; Joseph Johnson 1868
Casper S. Francis 1869; James H. Du Can 1871
Charles Peters 1873; David G. Wells 1874
E. C. B. Shaner 1875; Henry S. Stoll 1881
E. C. B. Shaner 1882; Joseph Keeley 1886
Jones Diemer 1889; William Sower 1890
J. C. Mewhinney, M.D..1891; George D. Peters 1892
J. Evans Yeager 1894; William Albright, Esq.. 1897.
Henry J. Diehl, 1899, by appointment.
Newspapers of Spring City.
The first newspaper, "The Iron Man," was printed by
Mr. John E. Lewis, and was sent ont as a monthly, four-
paged sheet, in Fel)rnary, 1870. The paper was 12 by 18 inches
in size, and 400 copies of it were sent out. The subscription
price was to be seventy-five cents a year. "The Iron Man"
made his visits at irregular intervals for several months when
the project was dropped.
The next attempt at printing and circulating a local
newspaper was made by Mr. John H. Royer, who, on March
27, 1872, sent out the first issue of "The Spring City Sun,''
a weekly sheet. This paper soon found an admission to 1300
homes weekly. 'Mr. Eoyer was the editor and proprietor until
;«ggi «^ '
DR. WILLIAM BROWER
= kESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL BOARC
May, 1887, when Messrs. Carney and Shull purchased the
entire business from Mr. Eoyer, and they began using tlie
composing stick. In September, 1895, Mr. Cornelius McKin-
sey purchased Mr. Shull's interest in the firm. Since then the
paper, under the present management, finds its way into 1200
homes. The "Sun" is l)right, crisp, and newsy.
The National Bank.
The National Bank of Spring City was chartered on
April 20, 1872, with a cash capital of $100,000. The build-
ing, ground, safe, and bank fixtures cost about Eleven Thou-
sand Dollars. The first Board of Directors was: Messrs. Cas-
per S. Francis, Charles Peters, Benjamin Prizer, John K.
Miller, A. D. Hunsicker, Charles Tyson, John Stauffer, Ben-
jamin Eambo, and Jacob Christman. Mr. Casper S. Francis
was its first president, and Mr. John T. Eaches was first
When the bank threw open its doors for business on
Monday morning, September 25th, of the above 5''ear, a little
rivalry occurred between Messrs. ;Joseph Johnson and William
Priest as to who should make the first deposit of money. Mr.
Johnson was the winner in the race, and made his appearance
first at the window. He counted down Three Hundred Dollars
as the first deposit at the liank. and gave the money to teller,
William J. Wagoner.
In July, 1874, the capital stock of the bank was increased
to $150,000, and in July, 1886, a further increase of $50,000
was made, thus swelling the amount to $200,000, the present
working capital. National banks are required by law to set
aside an amount equal to twenty per cent, of their capital
30 IIISTOKY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
stock as a surplus fiTiid. This bank has now complied fully
with the requirements of the act, and $40,000 are now in the
The corporation has made for itself a good financial rec-
ord. Its stock has always sold well, and it has paid good
dividends. One of the solid financial institutions of our town
is the National Bank. The present Board of Directors is:
President, Mr. A. P. Fritz; Secretary, Dr. W. Brower; Milton
Latshaw, Franklin March, Esq., D. B. Latshaw, Davis Knauer,
Penrose Brownback, Edward Brownl^ack, and C. W. Fryer.
Cashier, William J. Wagoner.
The Spring City Cornet Band.
The first steps, looking toward the formation of this
superb musical organization, were taken at a preliminary
meeting held October 6, 186G, in Mr. Henry F. Caswell's tin
stoie on South Main Street, where Mr. Hosea Latshaw's bak-
ery now is. They met afterward in the school-house, now in
the rear of Lutheran parsonage. The date of organization
which is cited in the constitution is October 22, 1866. This
is the first list of officers: President, Franklin C. Buckwalter;
Secretary, William J. Wagoner; Treasurer, Mahlon Eogers.
The first musical instructor of the band was Mr. John G.
Moses, then leader of The Phoenixville Military Band, and
the first leader was Mr. Henry F. Caswell.
Messrs. H. F. Caswell and Martin Lapp, who had been
appointed for that purpose, drew up and presented a con-
stitution and by-laws which the members of the band agreed
to respect and obey. The constitution has seventeen, and the
by-laws have thirty-eight well-defined articles of government
^ ^H j^i^^^^^w^ > '% '
suitable for the purpose. In a modified form they are still in
As shown by Article II of the constitution, the object of
the organization is couched in these words: "The object of the
Band shall be to acquire a knowledge of the art and science
of music, and to make it a source of pleasure and refinement
to ourselves and to the citizens of Springville and vicinity."
This is a good aim.
DUES AND INITIATION.
In order to meet and defray the expenses of purchasing
the instruments for the Band, a promissory note of Five Hun-
dred Dollars was given, and signed by the members of the
institution. The members then in the by-laws, taxed them-
selves two dollars each, a month, as a sinking fund with which
to pay off the note. In addition to this, thirty-five cents a
week each, were charged when the music teacher was present;
and an additional five cents a week regular dues were charged.
Ten dollars initiation were also charged. Afterward the
initiation was made five dollars, and the dues, ten cents a
week. This is the custom now. The minutes show that
Messrs. Francis Latschar, William J. Wagoner, Franklin C.
Buckwalter, Ira Place, James Place, and Mahlon Eogers were
the first members to pay the ten dollars initiation into the
treasury. This they did in the order named.
The Band has had three names. At a meeting held
October 22, 1866, the name chosen was "The Perseverance
Brass Band of Springville." May 12, 1868, the name was
34 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
changed to '"The Springville Cornet Band," and on June 4,
1872, tlie name of "The Spring City Cornet Band" was given
to the institution, and ordered to be painted on the bass
drnni head. This name still holds.
INSTRUMENTS, WAGON, ETC.
The Band of 1866 had seventeen players in it. The in-
struments which were of brass, with the bell back, were pur-
chased by their leader, Mr. J. G. Moses, from the Messrs.
Stratton, of New York, at the cost of about $500. Three
sets of instruments have been used by the Band, and now the
fourth set is in use. These latter are known as the "Besson"
instruments, and they were manufactured in London, Eng-
land. They cost about [N^ine Hundred Dollars. Five sets of
uniform have been used, at an average cost of about Seventeen
Dollars per individual. During the thirty-two years of its ex-
istence, it has cost an average of about Five Hundred and
Fifty Dollars a year to defray the expenses of the Band.
Up to the year 1868 no wagon was owned by the Band,
but in that year a suitable wagon was purchased from the
Messrs. Flemming and Gardner of Philadelphia, at a cost of
about Six Hundred Dollars. This wagon was in use until
1881. When Mr. Leonard Mowrey's barn burned that year,
the wagon which happened to be in the barn at the time, was
also consumed. The present wagon, purchased in 1885 of
Messrs. Langardt & Son of Philadelphia, cost Seven Hundred
and Twenty-five Dollars.
On July 1, 1867, the Band made their first appearance
on tlie streets of the borough to play. On that day they
marclied from the band house down ^Main Street then back.
" BEGINNINGS. 35
and across the river, and out to Mrs. Vanderslice^s grove, near
where Fernwood Cemetery now is. Here they spent the
Fourth, dispensing music to their many friends. Their first
paid engagements were on August 31, 1867, when they pkyed
for the American Mechanics in a parade, for Forty Dollars.
They also received Twenty Dollars each for playing at the
Sunday-School picnics of Garwood's and Hobson's Sunday-
School that year.
Since Mr. Moses laid down the baton as leader, these
have followed: Messrs. Frank Beerbrower, John Fox, Isaac
Kulp, William R. Brooke, August Augsburg, Aaron Eschel-
man, Stephen Schaeffer, and John C. Cummings its present
leader. The member of longest standing in the Band is Mr.
Isaac Kulp, who has played with the organization continually
since 1871. Two of his sons, Howard and Willis, are also
members of long standing.
THE PEESENT BAND.
The Band of to-day has twenty-two players. The degree
of musical skill attained at the present time is hard to equal,
and much harder to surpass. Quality of tone, and not noise,
is their aim. Unstinted praise is lavished on them wherever
they play. They compare well with the Einggold and Ger-
mania bands of Reading. The solos rendered on the cornet,
clarinet, saxophone, and baritone are exceedingly sweet. The
free open-air concerts now given over the borough are much
36 history of speixg city m. e. chuech.
The Liberty Steam Fire Company, No. 1.
On July 9, 1881, just five days after the Shantz & Keeley
Stove Works burned down, a meeting of the citizens of the
borough was held in Mechanics' Hall with the object of form-
ing some sort of organized effort to fight fires. A committee,
composed of Messrs. D. S. Taylor, Charles Peters, Milton Lat-
shaw, C. S. Lessig, and Samuel H. Egolf, was appointed to
await on the Borough Council, and solicit their aid in the
They appeared before the council, and made three re-
quests of them: —
First. — That the Council should purchase a fire appa-
ratus, and the citizens sustain them.
Second. — That the Council exonerate Mr. 0. B. Keeley
from tax for ten years, if he rebuild the foundry; and,
Third. — That the Council pay the expense of the fire
engine in service at the late fire.
This they agreed to do.
THE ENGINE PURCHASED.
A committee, part councilmen and part citizens, pur-
chased, January 28, 1882, from the Silsby Manufacturing
Company, of Seneca Falls, N'ew York, the Silsby fire engine
and hose at a cost of Three Thousand Six Hundred Dollars.
The committee was composed of Messrs. D. S. Taylor, Abel
Wainwright, John Flemings, Andrew McMichael, and H. S.
The engine remained the property of the Borough Coun-
cil until April 1, 1889. It was then purchased by The Lib-
erty Steam Fire Engine Company, No. 1, together with the
hose and equipments, for One Thousand Dollars. In the fall
LIBERTY STEAM FIRE ENGINE HOUSE, SPRING CITY
of 1896, a new boiler, wheels, springs, etc., were placed on the
engine, at a cost of n]) wards of Two Thousand Dollars.
YOLUXTEER FIKE COMPANY.
For about ten 3'ears there was no definitely organized
fire company; but, on January 9, ISS'3, a citizens' meeting
was held in Mechanics" Hall with the oliject of forming a
Volunteer Fire Company. A committee of five, of which Mr,
11. J. Diehl was chairman, was appointed to procure names
to organize said company. At a second meeting, January 16,
1882, H. T. Hallman was elected foreman; H. J. Diehl, as-
sistant; and Messrs. John Ullman, Perry Setzler, Lewis Col-
well, Zachariah Brinard, George Keim, Eobert Berstler,
Charles Tyson, and John Oberholtzler, were elected pipe men.
A constitution of sixteen articles and a by-law code of
eighteen suitable articles for the government of such an or-
ganization were at once adopted.
In the year 1881 the first engine-house, corner of Hall
and Church Streets, was built by the Borough Council at a
cost of about One Thousand Six Hundred Dollars. In the
year 1890 the lot on Hall Street, 40 by 135 feet, on which
the present engine-house stands, was secured, and on August
5, 1890, Messrs. George D. Peters, E. Derrick, Dr. W. P.
Snyder, Calvin Snyder, and IT. T. Hallman, were appointed
as a building committee to have erected a suitable building
into which to house the fire engine. The house and the
ground on which it stands cost about Five Thousand Five
Hundred Dollars. The building was dedicated on July 4,
1892, by a parade, and suitable other exercises.
40 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
At first there were Active, Honorary, and Contrihiding
members in the Company, all of whom paid One Dollar a year
dues. Now the members are all styled Active, and fifty cents
a year are collected as dues. The requirements for member-
ship are that a person must be a citizen of Spring City, bear
a good moral character, and be upwards of eighteen years of
age. The consent of the parent or guardian is required of
those between the age of eighteen and twenty-one years.
Thirty members signed the constitution and by-laws as char-
ter members, and thus far upwards of one hundred and eighty
names have been enrolled, most of whom are in good standing.
The Company meets for business regularly on the first
Tuesday evening of every month, and the officers are selected
annually on the first Tuesday of January. Xow, 1898, these
persons are in charge of the meetings: President, P. H.
Brower; Vice-president, Ambrose Keffer; Eecording Secre-
tary, W. E. Leighton; Financial Secretary, John F. Fry;
Treasurer, AVilliam H. Rogers.
This Company, like most volunteer companies, has always
been very prompt in rendering every assistance within their
power, in case of a conflagration. It matters not how the
surroundings may be when the alarm is struck, the boys always
flee to the rescue. Through Arctic cold, or torrid heat, day
or night, the fire laddies always respond, and do their utmost
to save property from the flames. They have behind them a
record of faithful services. They are worthy of the financial
support of our people. They thus far, in the sixteen years
of their existence, have l)een present and battled against up-
wards of thirty fires.
FIRST PREACHING, 1845.
In the spring of the above year the sun came back as
■usual from his annual journey to the south, and poured his
warm rays on the hundred or more people who lived then in
Springville. These people had their houses scattered along
Main Street. A good portion of the town was at that time
covered with woods. Here the birds built their nests, sang
their songs, reared their young unmolested, and were happy.
Much of the territory now lying west of Main Street was then
either farm land or covered with timber. In fact, much of
the lumber which was used in building the fir^^t river bridge,
had l:)een cut from the land between Yost Avenue and New
Then the road which led from the west end of the river
bridge, proceeded as now, across the canal, then down Main
Street to the foot of Hall Street. Here it turned up Hall
Street, then wound around the corner at Church Street, and
led out by the Lutheran parsonage, then out to the Schuylkill
Boad to what was then known as "Kimes' Hotel." South
Main Street was not opened for travel for several years after-
ward. When the borough was laid out, these old road-ways
served as street lines, and this accounts for the fact tbat these
streets are not more nearly straight.
This was the Springville of 1845. At this time the
Methodist Episcopal Church hereabouts had preaching sta-
tions at Evansl)urg, 1835; Coventrvville, 1774; Ebcnezer, 1834
44 HISTOEY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
(?); Phoemxville, 1826; Valley Forge, 1831; Pottstown, 1836;
Temple, 1840; St. John's, 1843, and Bethel, 1844.
Up to this time no effort seems to have been put forth
here to sow the seeds of Gospel truth in the heart of man.
But one beautiful Sabbath afternoon, after preaching at
Bethel Church, the Eev. Peter J. Cox came here by invitation
of Mr. David Wells, a member of Bethel Church, and preached
in the evening in the Lyceum the first sermon ever preached in
Springville. The Eev. Mr. Cox, then twenty-six years old,
was a Junior Methodist preacher on the Pottstown circuit,
under Eev. John Shields as Senior. Afterward he became a
Presiding Elder of the same district.
When it was announced among the good people of the
village that there were to be preaching services in the Lyceum,
a desire at once promnted the people to hear the 3^oung man.
So they came, and when the minister arose to announce the
first hymn, he held a small group of hearers before him.
They listened earnestly to the Word of God. Xo one liviug
can tell how the few men, women, and children, who came
to hear that first sermon from a young man with trend)ling
knees, were impressed. We cannot say how deep were the
convictions upon souls that were not much accustomed to
placing themselves under the infiuence of the Gospel. But
the Truth was received, at least, kindly; for at the close of
the sermon, the Eev. Mr. Cox was earnestly invited to come
and preach again. He came again. Others came, and as time
went on, preaching services were more frequent.
Thus, while Generals Taylor and Scott were carrying the
United States stars and stripes into Mexican soil, and driving
the hordes of General Santa Anna back, thus widening the
FIRST PEEACHING, 1845. 45
borders of our beloved country, the good people of Spring-
ville took their first steps toward planting the banner of King
Immanuel on the banks of the classic Schuylkill. Now began
the means of driving back the works of sin and Satan here.
Preaching services were continued in the Lyceum mostly by
the Junior Ministers of the church for about six years, or
during the most of the first decade. As time rolled on the
membership hereabouts began to increase, then religious
services became more frequent. In fact, such services became
a necessity. They grew in interest and power as might be
expected. Frequently after an afternoon service at Bethel
a few of the members there would accompany the minister
to Springville to help him sing at an evening service, in the
Lyceum. Short prayer meetings were often held after preach-
ing, and these same meetings were frequently inspired and
enlivened by an experience meeting. Li this and other ways,
the necessity of church membership and holy living were, in
a practical way, impressed on those who had not yet seen
their way to their Saviour. It was a personal knowledge of
a personal Eedeemer that these pioneer Methodists were urg-
ing on their unconverted neighbors and friends. They taught
that Jesus Christ has power on earth to forgive sins, and that
the persons whose sins are thus forgiven, will assuredly know
this fact by the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit.
The Junior Preachers.
Who were these Junior preachers? Some of my young
readers may be interested in knowing something about them.
They surely were a very valuable adjunct in pushing forward
the work of soul-saving in their day. \Yell, they were young,
single men who had shown a disposition in their own home
church to work for God. Whereupon the Quarterly Confer-
46 HISTOEY OF SPRIXG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
ence of their home church recommended them as fit piTsons
to be licensed for preaching. The Presiding Elder of their
district then gave them a Local Preacher's License, and put
them to work. Soon they joined the Annual Conference.
Here they were appointed and sent to work on a district under
the direction of the Senior preacher. The Senior preacher
generally preached every four weeks at a charge. He always
managed to he present and administer the Emblems on sacra-
These young men full of vim and of spiritual energy,
were ready to do anything in their power to further the work
of their Master in whom they had abiding faith. They gen-
erally boarded around in the families of the church mem-
bers. In this way they were enabled to preach at different
charges. For their services they were allowed the snug little
sum of One Hundred Dollars a year. Young man, things have
changed in the church during the last fifty years, as well as
in the State. As soon as one of these Juniors succeeded in
taking to himself a wife, he was transferred to take charge
of a district or a charge for himself.
Close of Services at the Lyceum.
Several attempts at holding revivals were made in the
Lyceum. In connection with the other preachers we must
not forget to mention the valuable services of Eev. Gr. A.
Shryock, a local preacher and foreman at the Paper Mill,
who assisted in revival work at this time. Several persons-
were converted at the Lyceum. Some of the reliable material
of the church commenced the service of God in this strange
church. Mr. John Garber, father of Mr. Uriah Garber, who
is now a member of the Trustee Board, was the first person
FIRST PREACHING, 1845.
The little Christian band thns labored on, trusting always
for greater results. Services continued. Sometimes the}' were
held on Sabbath afternoon or in the evenings just as a
preacher could be obtained. In the year 1851 they bid adieu
to the Lyceum, and they then held services in the New Union
Meeting House. For six years, at various times, the Word of
God had been proclaimed in the Lyceum. The good seed of
redemptive salvation had been sown. The pioneers have done
the best that they could. The Lyceum is now growing too
small to accommodate the increasing congregations which
come to hear the Life-giving Word. Why not hold services
in the Union Meeting House? It is now about finished. All
agree to have the next services in the new church. But before
leaving, let us write the inscription "Well Done'' on the labors
THE UNION MEETING HOUSE ERECTED.
The winter of 1847-48 found the carpenters employed
by Mr. Jacob Sheeder, busy at work in an old stone barn
which stood where Mr. Charles Peter's house now is, at the
corner of Chestnut and Church Streets. On the floor of this
barn the window and door frames, doors, window-sash, and
other necessary materials were "worked out" by hand for a
new meeting house to be built in Springville. The heavy
outside doors were made by Mr. E. C. B. Shaner, yet living
During the summer of 1848 Mr. James Rogers, Sr., who
was a wide awake, public-spirited gentleman, together with
Messrs. Jesse Finkbiner, Amos Gearhart, and others, had a
suitable building erected for religious purposes. The build-
ing was of stone, plastered on the outside, two stories high,
and it was 40 by 60 feet in size, and cost about One Thousand
One Hundred and Twenty Dollars. The structure was known
as "The Union Meeting House." In this building could be
held religious services of all denominations, if the people so
Unfortunately no photograph of the building was ever
taken; but an effort has been made to reproduce it from
memory. This, perhaps, looks somewhat like the building,
which stood on the site now occupied by the present church,
and which extended east and west. The entrance was at the
THE UNION MEETING HOUSE ERECTED. 51
east end. Two flights of stejDS, one from each side, led up tO'
an ontside platform, as shown in the drawing. Two doors led*,
from the platform into an audience room which seated ahont
250 people. Two windows were in the west end, or end next
to what is now Church Street. The date board in the east"
gahle bore the date 1848.
Church Street was not then opened. In order to come-
to the church people came up Hall Street to where the ]\I. E..
parsonage now stands. Then they turned from the road and
drove or walked through an open lot now occupied by the
parsonage, then through the parsonage lot, and entered the
church lot near where the sheds now stand.
At this time all that portion now occupied by Church
Street, the public school property and thereabouts was em-
braced as farm land. Hence it was open fields. A ]ucket
fence extended up along the line of Church Street, back of
the old church, possibly along where the pavement now is.
Through this fence, which always had a couple of pickets off,
the bpys who came from the west side could easily go on
their may to church.
It was the custom then, as it is now, to bury the dead
near the place of public worship. In this way people could
visit the places of their departed loved ones, drop a bouquet
over the remains, and at the same time attend church. So
it was about the old Union Church. In the ground about
the east end of the church, about a dozen or fifteen graves
had been dug.
The church parlor-extension now rests on ground wliich
at one time was occupied by some of these graves. One grave,
that of a drowned boatman, was placed alongside the church
62 HISTORY OF SPEIXG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
near the west end. Mr. James Eogers, Sr., wife and some of
their grandchiklren, were deposited here. In 1872 the bodies
were removed and deposited in other places, mostly at Bethel
and at the East Vincent burying ground.
Inside the Building.
Let ns open one of the heavy doors leading from the
platform, enter the building, look around, and observe how it
looked. An aisle led from each door through the building
to the west end. A row of seats six feet long extended from
each aisle to the wall. The space between the aisles, the body
of the church, was occupied by long seats with a division
through the centre of them. Men and women in those days
did not sit together. So here the same custom prevailed.
The ladies entered the door leading from the north end of
the platform, and so they occupied the north side of the room.
The gentlemen entered by the other door, and so they were
seated on the south side of the room.
The pulpit was at the west end of the room. When the
minister stood up before his congregation to preach, the ladies
were on his left, and the opposite sex, on his right side. Thus
you notice the inside arrangements were just the opposite to
what they now are.
The choir occupied a place in the middle block of seats
in the rear, just inside and between the doors. At first the
singers sat on a level with the other part of the congregation;
but afterward the floor where they sat was elevated so as to
give a better effect to the singing. It was here that the first
choir, under the direction of Mr. George K. Hoffman, sat, and
stimulated the worshiping audience with their hymn singing.
THE UNION MEETING HOUSE EBECTED. 53
The basement story did not occnp}^ the entire space
within the walls. The entrance door, as you may see, was
under the platform. The end next to Church Street was
under ground, and it was not occupied. But the eastern end
of the room was fitted up at once for school-room purposes,
and it was rented to the East Vincent School Board for that
A continuous pine desk extended around the walls of
the room, as was the custom in those days; so that w^hen the
pupils w^ere seated at their desks, their backs were turned to
the teacher, and their faces to the wall.
Some time after the public and private schools had been
removed from this basement room, the Trustees of the church
fitted it up suitable for a dwelling, in which the church sex-
tons could reside. From the entrance door under the plat-
form, there was a hall which led through the centre of the
basement. On each side of the hall there was a room entered
by a door from the hall. The apartment on the left or south
side of the hall was the kitchen. On the north side of the
hall was the parlor. Back of the kitchen there was a sleeping
room. Back of the parlor there was a general stow-away place
retained by the church for its own use.
Here in these three rooms, kitchen, parlor, and sleeping
room, during the latter years of the Union Meeting House's
existence, lived the sextons. The first to live here was Mr.
John H. Setzler, one year, 1867 to 1868. Then Mr. George
S. Sheffy, 1868 to 1871, and Mr. William Hoffman who died
there. His wife remained there until the church was razed
in 1872. The sextons lived rent free, with the exception of
Mr. Sheffy, who paid a small rent. For the rent, the sextons
cared for the church.
64 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
FINISHING OF THE CHURCH.
The upper room of the church was not finished for some
time after it had been built. For we find that after Mr.
James Eogers, Sr, in 1851, secured the property at sheriff
sale he immediately employed his carpenter, Mr. Jacob
Sheeder, to make and put in place the pulpit and the seating
capacity. Mr. Eogers was careful to instruct Mr. Sheeder
"not to put too much work or expense on it." Mr. Eogers'
plans were carefully carried out. The pulpit and the pews
were all made of pine wood, by hand, and in accordance with
the style of church furnishing of that day. The furniture
was all painted white.
Xo cellar lieaters were in this church, nor were there any
beautiful banks of bronzed steam radiators to distribute heat
to the room. But two, large coal stoves of the Morning Light
pattern, one on each side of the room, changed the chilly at-
mosphere and made it comfortable. These did their work
well; for we are told that at times it was very warm in the
room, especially wheif demonstrations of excitement marked
IN THE NEW CHURCH.
Happy were the people of the village when, in 1851, the
New Union Meeting House was finished and declared open for
holding religious services. As yet no religious denomination
was'-strong enough in Springville to band themselves together
and start a preaching station or mission for holding services
in their own faith. Hence the wisdom and good fraternal
feeling which existed to a greater or less extent among the
people at large, prompted this "Union" enterprise. It is only
one out of a thousand similar instances all over the land where
the Lord directs his people to take the proper steps for plant-
ing his cliurch of the different denominations among his chil-
THE UNION MEETING HOUSE ERECTED. 55
dren. And He always succeeds, for "where the spirit of the
Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Cor. 3:17.
In the present case it seemed that the Methodists ob-
tained the lead from the start in providing facilities for re-
ligions worship in onr qniet little borough. At times not only
the preachers, but also members from Phoenixville and other
places drove here in groups, and helped to conduct a good,
pointed religious service. •»
Thus the work continued for four years yet in the new
church before the end of the first decade. The interest in-
creased, the influence widened until the year 1855. In this
way an audience would always greet the minister, and his
efforts at expounding the Word would be helped by the faith-
freighted prayers of those before him. But now the time is
at hand for the dozen or more Christians here to band them-
selves together under the name of a church organization.
They talk the matter over. They pray over it. They trust
that the Lord will help them, if they are willing to do their
part. Yes; they are willing, and they^.ape in earnest. A com-
mittee is appointed to wait on Mr. James Eogers, Sr., and to
negotiate for the purchase of the Union Meeting House prop-
erty. This committee carried out their mission, as will be
cited further on in our narrative. They were now regularly
appointed by the Quarterly Conference as Trustees, and au-
thorized to purchase a suitable place in which to hold services.
They were also personally assured by the Eev. Abram Freed,-
the preacher in charge of this district at that time, that
Springville would be made a regular appointment.
Thus ends our first decade. Ten years have now elapj^ed
since the first Gospel sound was struck here. The people
have done their best. Xow, in placing the bolt over the gate
which closes this first division of our narrative, we shall seal
it with the word Success.
TITLE TO THE PROPEETY.
The land now in possession of the Trnstees of the M. E.
C'hnrch, and on which tfie parsonage and the church are
located, was orignally in two tracts. The first of these em-
braced the ground occupied by the parsonage, and the deeds
show that it embraced "one-fourth of an acre of land.'' The
second tract adjoined the first, and contained "forty-three and
one-half square perches of land"; and, as the deed shows, '"the
second being the same whence the Union Meeting House now
stands.'' The whole tract as embraced in the last deed given,
covers an area of "eighty-three and one-half square perches
As shown by the records, in the year 1843 a Mr. John
Cox and his wife, for the consideration of Fifty Dollars, eic-
ecuted a deed to Mr. James Rogers, St., covering the first of
these tracts. The second tract was deeded about the same
time by Mr. Joseph Sowers and Maria, his wife, and Mr.
Gideon Weikel and his wife, also to Mr. James Rogers, Sr.,
each for a like consideration, making One Hundred and Fifty
Dollars for the entire ground.
As already cited, in 1848 Mr. Rogers and others built the
Union Church on this tract of land. The financial outcome
of the enterprise was not as good as it was expected. So the
undertaking struggled along during the next three years with
the signs of success sometimes encouraging, sometimes other-
wise, until in 1851. On January 30th of this year, Mr. Davis
Bishop, at that time high sheriff of Chester Count}^, sold the
TITLE TO THE PEOPERTY. 57
entire clin.reh property at sheriff's sale to Mr. Rogers, who
hekl the greater part of the lien against it.
Title Transfereed to the Methodists.
]\Ir. Eogers now hekl the title to the property until April
11, 1855, when he and his wife Mary, in consideration of
Eleven Hundred and Tiv&nty-five Dollars, did execute the deed
now in possession of the trnstees of the chnrch, to David
Wells, Henry Prizer, John Finkbiner, David Longacre, and
Thomas Bechtel, and their successors, "trustees in trust; that
they hold such meeting house and premises for the use of the
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United
States of America, according to the rules and discipline which,
from time to time may be agreed upon, and adopted by the
ministers and preachers of the said church at their general
conferences." '^\nd, in further trust and confidence, that
they shall, at all times forever hereafter, permit such minis-
ters and preachers belonging to said church, to preach and
expound God's Holy Word therein."
It will be noticed from the above quotations taken from
the deed, that great pains had been taken to enumerate the
specific uses for which the property was conveyed. All the
conveyances of title up to this deed of 1855, merely conveyed
the title, with no special reference mentioned as to what use
was to be made of the property. Xow, the transfer is made
"for the ministers and preachers of the Methodist Episcopal
Church to preach and expound God's Holy Word." It is here
clearly shown that, while ]\Ir. Rogers and his wife were will-
ing to transfer the title, they still wished that the Word of
God should be proclaimed to the people of Springville. This
shows their wise foresight.
58 HISTORY OF SPEIXG CITY SI. E. CHURCH.
Again, another very strong incentive thrown out at this
time for the propagation of the Gosf»el here was, that Mr.
Eogers required two of the leading trustees already mentioned,
Messrs. John Finkbiner and David Wells, to give their "joint
and several" promissory note to secure the payment of the
sum enumerated in the deed.
This was a critical period for the pioneer Methodists.
They now were to assume the duties and responsibilities cf
establishing a preaching station here where some of them had
thus far spent their lives. When they enumerated their forces,
they could count only about twelve active members who con-
stituted the Springville ]\Iethodist Episcopal Church at the
beginning of its career. But soon a revival l)roke out which
swelled the ranks nicely.
A Xew Era.
The Methodists were new fairly established. Preaching
services were held every Sabbath, and prayer meetings were
conducted on Wednesday evenings. Eevival services were
conducted every year as before. The church began to take
on new strength, both in spiritual power and in numbers.
This is shown very clearly in Mr. Eeuben Davis" elas^-book;
for, in January, 1858, he had the names of twenty members
enrolled, who were marked as '"probationers."' These and
otliers wlio did not join the Methodist Church were the result
of a revival held in the fall of 1857 by Eev. Joseph Dare.
The revival history and the strength of the church will be
more fully noticed in another place.
Finis. Uxiox Meeting House.
We have now sketched briefly the history of the Union
Meeting House. It has sheltered God's people for twenty-
TITLE TO THE PROPERTY. 69
four years, and during seventeen of these years, its walls have
reverberated the joyous outbursts of the happy Methodists.
But, like all things earthly, this first home of John Wesley's
followers here must have an end. The financial indebtedness
which had hung so heavily on the shoulders of the members
in 1855 was, in the year 1868, all paid, and the church prop-
erty was free from such encumbrance.
As the Lyceum had grown too small for church service^,
so now, 1872, the people were again cramped for room. This
was especially the case during revival services. To use the
language of one of the ministers of that time, "'The aisles
w^ere crowded, and I could see the carriage whips in the hands
of men dangling over the heads of the people who were com-
pelled to stand during service, or perhaps, to sit in the win-
In March, 1873, the Eev. John H. Wood was assigned
to this place as pastor. While going up the rickety steps
leading to the platform for entering the church to preach on
the evening of the first day, his foot caught and he made a
misstep. This nearly caused an accident to the gentleman.
While in the pulpit that evening the reverend gentleman took
the occasion to remark, "It is time to build a new church l)e-
fore somebody gets his neck broken."
The subject of a new church was then the great topic
which was discussed by the sixty members in good standing
then enrolled. Some favored; some were slow to take hold of
the proposed new church project. Many were the regrets
among the members at seeing the old structure removed. In-
deed, there is something solemn, something reverential al)out
a building which has been dedicated to the use and service
of Almighty God. And the feeling of reverential awe seems
to deepen with age. It grows on us so slowly, so quietly, and
60 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
yet so surely. Then when snch a sacred strncture in whicli
God has so often visited his people in the plentitude of his
mercy and grace, is to pass from sight, emotions arise in the
sonl which are almost ineffable. Memory loves to muse
aronnd the old hallowed landmark. In short, we are loath to
part with a treasure which lies so closely to the tendrils of
Well, it was so; at least, with the Old Union Meeting
House. Some of the members of the church who were so
closely joined to this almost hallowed spot, could not lay a
hand on the precious building now to help demolish it. To
them it had been, and still was, a blessed spot. And why not?
It was within those sacred walls that many of them were born
into God's holy family. It was around that old-fashioned,
sharp-cornered, rectangular shaped altar that they had so
often knelt to partake of the emblems of our ''Saviour's
broken body and shed blood." And, as they did so, how often
they felt the rekindlings of that heaven-born spirit of love
which had been planted in their hearts' affections when God,
for Christ's sake, pardoned their sin! Fathers and mothers
had not seen any of their sons and daughters united in the
bonds of Holy matrimony here, for there never had been any
church weddings solemnized in the Union Meeting House.
But they had seen here many of their offspring joined to the
Heavenly Bride, the church which our Saviour purchased
with his own precious blood. And that was still better.
Tlien, oh the sweeping revivals which had been held on this
spot! These retrospective glances at things past were too
much; too affecting for some of the membership.
But the onward move of God's work demands that the
past and the present must give place to the future. The
TITLE TO THE I'lJOPEUTY
cluireh must come down, and a laiiivr and more commodious
one must take its place.
Sunday morning, July 14tli. dawned bright and beauti-
ful. Key. Wood preached to a good-sized audience, both
morning and evening. The service of that day was the last
service held in the old church. The aiulience now go down
the rickety steps for the last time.
Adieu, Union Meeting House! On ]\londay morning the
men climbed the roof of the building and sawed the same into
four sections, and took them down carefully. Then the walls
were soon removed, and the Old Union Meeting House which
had served its mission so well, was no more.
One morning the Eev. Mr. J. H. AVood met Mr. John
Fmkbiner under the overshoot of his barn, and there a busi-
ness conversation ensued in reference to building a new
church. The result was this: They agreed that Mr. Finkbiner
should donate One Thousand Dollars to the project on con-
dition that the Eev. Mr. Wood should raise Three Thousand
Dollars additional. This was, at that time, considered to be
a sum sufficiently large to erect a building of the size and
style desired. It was found, however, by the time the church
was finished, that it had cost Eight Thousand, instead of Four
Under the direction of Messrs. Samuel Gracev, F. E.
Guss, Allen Eogers, Simon Keim, and Jacob Keiter, as a
building committee, the work of removing the old building
and of erecting a new one was consummated.
A NEW BUILDING ERECTED.
At once work was commenced. The foundations of the
present building, which is 80 by 45 feet, were soon laid.
On Saturday, September 7, 1873, the corner-stone of the
new building was laid. The Eevs. Thomas Kirkpatrick and
Thomas J. Fernley were present at the ceremony, the latter
making the address to a good-sized crowd of people. There
was no corner-stone in the old church; but when the present
structure is taken down these things, among others, will be
found in the corner-stone: several different coins, the names
of the trustees and of the biiikling committee, a copy of the
Bible, a copy of the Spring City newspaper, all in a carefully
closed tin box.
Messrs. Perry Mock and William Wyand did the beautiful
rubble work in the front wall.
Owing to the lateness of the season in which the work
was commenced, and to the extra kbor required on the front
wall; also, to the fact the horses hereabouts nearly all had the
peculiar disease called "Epizooty," and, therefore, the mate-
rial for the building could not be hauled, the building was
not finished before the spring of 1873. As soon as the weather
permitted in the spring, work was commenced and pushed
forward rapidly. Lack of means prevented the completion of
the structure at that time. The lower story only was com-
While the new church was building, the congregation
worshiped in the basement of Mechanics' Hall. Here, from
July 14, 1872, to July 6, 1873, all the public services of the
church had been held, except some of the prayer meetings,
which were held at the parsonage. But the new building was
now so nearly completed that on July 6, 1873, it was ready
for dedication. This was a gala day at the church. The
weather, which had been previously very warm, was much
cooler on the above day. A large congregation filled the lect-
ure room to enjoy a good day's worship, and they had a help-
At 10 o'clock in the morning the Eev. S. H. C. Smith,
of Tabernacle Church, Philadelphia, preached a fine sermon
from Eomans 12:11, and Eev. C. I. Thompson of Phcienix-
ville, presented the subject of finances. In the afternoon the
€6 HISTORY OP SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Eev. Thompson preached a "good, stirring sermon," and again
pressed the financial question. In the evening the Rev.
George S. Broadbent, of Eoxborough, Philadelphia, preached
a sermon full of unction from Acts 9:17.
The dedicatory services were performed by Eev. Broad-
bent immediately following the evening services. Thus the
lecture room, at least, was dedicated as per the Book of Dis-
cipline, "as a Church for the service and worship of Almighty
Including Five Hundred Dollars contributed by the
Ladies' Aid Society, the subscriptions for the day amounted
to Two Tliousand One Hundred and Thirty-four Dollars.
THE CHURCH FINISHED.
For six years, 1873 to 1879, the public services were all
held in the lecture room. But dui-ing the winter of 1878-9
the church had been visited with a large revival, and a good
harvest of souls was gathered to the Lord. In the spring of
1879 when the Eev. Joseph B. Graff came to take charge of
the flock, he found that the time had now arrived for the
completion of the church. The lower room was not large
enough to accommodate the immense audiences which came
to hear the Word.
We quote these words from the historical record of the
church, at that time written by Eev. J. B. Graff: "The in-
gathering from the revival made larger church accommoda-
tions not only possible, but necessary. Therefore, in the early
summer of 1879 the following named brethren were appointed
as a building committee to overlook the completion of the
main audience room of the church: John Sheeler, John Fink-
biner, x\llen Sogers, Samuel B. Latshaw, and Jesse G. Yeager.
The work was completed under their direction, at a cost of
PREPARATIONS. ' 67
Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars, and the room was dedi-
cated to the worship of God on Sabbath, December 21, 1879.
The following named brethren were present and participated
in the dedicatory services: Eevs. H. W. Warren (afterward
bishop), G. D. Carrow, D.D., T. A. Fernley, J. H. Wood, Eli
Pickersgill, George W. Lybrand; also. Maxwell S. Eowland of
the Eeformed Chxirch." The cost of the improvements was all
provided for at that time.
In the simimer of 1886, Eev. jST. D. McComas pastor, the
lecture room of the church was frescoed at a cost of One Hun-
dred and Twenty-five Dollars. The Ladies' Aid Society paid
One Hundred and Fifteen Dollars of this bill, and the Sunday-
School paid the balance.
The upper room had been frescoed when it was finished,
but in 1896, Eev. D. M. Gordon pastor, it was again frescoed
and painted. New carpet and new pulpit furniture were also
supplied at this time. The Annex was also frescoed at this
time. The entire cost of these improvements was One Thou-
sand One Hundred and Thirty-six Dollars and Seventy-five
Soon the Sunday-School grew too large to be accom-
modated in the lecture room; hence we find that, at the meet-
ing of the Board of Trustees in June, 1884, a building com-
mittee, composed of Messrs. M. F. Sheeler, J. G. Yeager, and
J. E. Weikel, was appointed to fix up a room in the basement
of the church for the Infant Sunday-School. They at once
proceeded to their task and had the room fixed up and fur-
nished at a cost of about One Hundred and Fifty Dollars.
HISTOEY OF SPRING CITY M. E, CHURCH.
This served as the Infant Room until they moved into the
basement of the Annex building in 1892.
At a meeting of the Trustee Board, held May 9, 1891,
the contract to build the Annex, which now stands at the
rear of the church, was awarded to Mr. Henry Spotts for
Two Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty Dollars, he being
the lowest bidder. The work was done under the supervision
of this building committee: Messrs J. G. Yeager, J. A. Keiter,
and Joseph A. Benjamin. The Annex, familiarly known as
"The Parlor," is 31 feet 6 inches by 30 feet 6 inches in size,
and two stories high. It was finished and opened for use in
1892. The total cost of the building and the contents was
about Two Thousand Six Hundred Dollars.
The Infant Sunday-School now occupies the basement
story of this building, and the advanced Sunday-School Bible
classes occupy the upper room. Prayer meetings and spiritual
class meetings are also held occasionally in the upper room.
STEWARDS OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the king-
dom of God." John 3: 3.
The Methodist Episcopal Church is nothing if she is not
a revival church. She was born in a revival. As soon as she
gives up the revival effort, her power is gone. The present
strength and ability of the church in Spring City is due to
the fact that the memljers have always been very zealous and
persistent in revival work.
The revival history here, if carefully written out, would
of itself form material enough for a fair-sized volume. Only
a few of the more noted ingatherings can be here recorded.
It is worthy of remembrance at this point to say, that when
the people of God in Springville launched out and threw
themselves on his promises, he sent the revival tide at Just
the right time, thus confirming the truth contained in Acts
2:47: "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should
During the time when services were held in the Lyceum,
no very marked revivals are recorded. Special efforts were
held every year, and some souls were converted; but nothing
of special note resulted until the second year after the Union
Meeting House came into possession of the Methodists.
Hence we note first, the
Eeyival of 1857-8.
At the beginning of this epoch, 1855, there were about
twelve members, all told, whose names were on the books.
72 HISTOEY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
These went to work earnestly, beseeching God to pour out
His spirit on the church, and this he did. During the fall
and winter of the above year, when Eev. Joseph Dare was in
charge, a marked revival broke out. The pastor at this time
lived at Phoenixville, and came up to attend to the work.
He was ably assisted by the Junior preacher, Rev. IST. W.
Bennum. As the result of their labors, and of the lay mem-
bers as well, about fifty persons professed conversion at that
time. Eev. Dare is yet very favorably remembered by some
of the older people hereabouts, as a man of great social quali-
ties. His sermons may not have been so full of doctrinal
theology, but they were scriptural, earnest, and convincing.
He went about among the people always wearing a smile and
giving a kind word of encouragement to them. He prayed
with the people and invited them to come to church. They
came and were benefited. "What a wonderful help to the
church was this revival. Some of those converted at this
revival were: Samuel Gracey, John Gracey, Peter Grubb, Mrs.
Mary A. Taylor, Hannah Miller, and Mrs. Mary A. Sheeder.
Revival of 1860-1.
This revival dates the year in which the Rebellion broke
out. Just three years after the above revival, another out-
pouring came. This time Rev. J. B. Dennison was the
preacher in charge, and he was assisted by Rev. Isaac Mast
as Junior preacher. This was known as "The Dennison Re-
vival." While the North and the South were lining up for
the Great Civil "War of our nation, God's people here were
marshaling their forces against the army of Satan. The re-
sult of the former war was the liberating of Three Millions
of slaves. The Methodists took the Captain of their Salva-
tion as their Leader, and forty or fifty sonls claimed that they
had been liberated from the bondage of sin, in this revival.
The army of the Lord was again greatly increased. Some of
the trophies of this conquest were: William A. Weigel, Jona-
than Priest, and Hon. Willis Bland (since law Jndge of the
Berks County Courts).
Eevival of 1S66-7.
The third marked increase to the church seems to have
come during the above winter. Eev. John Allen was the
preacher in charge at this time; but his assistant preacher,
Rev. Adam L. Wilson, did most of the preaching and exhort-
ing here. This was because revivals were in progress all over
the circuit at nearly the same time; hence the Senior preacher
could not be at any one station for a great length of time.
Indeed, this was also the case in the other revivals. About
thirty or thirty-five persons professed a change of heart at
Springville this winter.
During this winter the revival tide broke out all over
the circuit with a more or less marked degree of fervor. This
is shown from the fact that, at the Quarterly Conference held
at Coventry, January 5, 1867, just in the midst of the revival
season, the pastor reported that he had taken into the church
these members: Pottstown, 153; Bethel, 13; Springville. 20;
Coventry, 18; and Ebenezer, 5. Here are a few of the names
of persons who came into the light of salvation at this time:
Allen Eogers, David E. Smith, John H. Setzler, George S.
Sheffy, Annie Brownback, Mary M. Clemens, and Hannah J.
Eevival of 1868-9.
We note as the fourth of the special ingatherings, the
one which was held during the aljove-named winter, Eev.
74 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Jacob p. Miller, pastor in charge. This revival followed im-
mediately after the separation from the Coventryville Circuit.
In the spring of 1868 Bethel and Springville were united
under the name of "The Springville and Bethel Circuit."
That winter the revival spirit struck both charges with about
equal sway, for the result, as handed down to us is, that there
were 101 souls who professed a change of heart at Bethel,
and 100 at Springville. The meetings were characterized with
wonderful solemnity. The Holy Spirit did his work well.
The church was greatly quickened. In January, 1869, while
the meetings were still in progress, the pastor reported to the
■Quarterly Conference that sixty had joined the church at
Springville on probation, and sixty-five at Bethel. Among
the probationers we find these names at that time: J. A. Guss,
Simeon Iveim, "Willis Hunter, Maggie S. Brownback, Susan
Shick, and Mrs. Kate V.-Gracey-Custer.
Eevival of 1871-2.
Special revival number five, Eev. Eichard Turner, pastor
in charge, has a peculiar history. The pastor had held a re-
yival in the fall at Springville, with apparently very little suc-
cess. He then opened and proceeded to hold a series of special
meetings at Bethel. But seed had been sown at Springville
which was yet to bear fruit, for the Lord had so ordered.
Some of the members here were still holding on to the Lord
and pleading for a revival. The revival came. It broke out
in the Sunday-School. One day while Mr. F. E. Guss was
teaching school at the West Bridge Street school building,
lie noticed that a couple of the large school girls seemed to
wear a sad expression. He inquired of them what was the
matter. One of them replied, "Oh nothing!'^ and so the
matter seemed to rest for that time. But before evening
came, a note was laid on the teacher's desk by one of the girls,
stating that there was something the matter with her. She
stated that she felt she ought to have religion.
The teacher, that evening, communicated the good news
to some of the church members. The girls were then invited
to come to prayer meeting on the following Wednesday even-
ing, and go to the altar to seek salvation. This they did.
They were converted. Now the meetings were continued,
and the spiritual zeal thus broken out anew, lasted all winter
and into the next conference year. The succeeding pastor,
Eev. J. H. Wood, told the writer that, when he came here in
March, the meeting was going on "in full blast." Forty or
fifty souls professed that their sins had been blotted out dur-
ing this winter.
Xearly all of the preaching and exhorting during this
precious season of refreshing and ingathering, had been done
by Messrs. F. E. Guss, Samuel Gracey, and Simeon Keim, in
the absence of the preacher in charge.
Some of the persons saved to the Lord in this effort were:
Mrs. Alice-Eogers-Latshaw, Annie Wismer, Flora Lessig, Mrs.
Eachel-Peters-Oliver, John A. Weigel, Jacob Elliott, Abraham
Hallman, and Mrs. Melvina Hallman.
This was the last revival held in the Old Union Church.
It looks as though God had especially blessed his people,
through these years, so that they might be able to provide
for him a more suitable place of worship. At least, this is
what was done at this period of our history. How appropriate
that the last revival held in the Old Union Meeting House
should be such a glorious affair. Xo wonder that some of the
church members were so unwilling to see the "Old Land-
76 history of spring city m. e. church.
Eevival of 1876-7.
Rev. Eli Pickergill was the preacher in charge when the
sixth of the marked church qnickenings took place. Between
fifty and sixty is the number handed down to us as this win-
ter's ingathering. The meetings were of course held in the
lecture room of the new church. At the Quarterly Confer-
ence held January, 1877, the pastor reported forty-five taken
into the church on probation. Among the probationer's
names on the books at this time we find these: Joseph Wells,
John Iveffer, George M. Diemer, Ida K.-Finkbiner-Keyser,
Willis 0. McMichael, John McCann, and S. B. Latshaw.
Revival of 1878-9.
Revival number seven is sometimes called '"The Shields'
Revival," since Rev. D. H. Shields was the pastor in charge
at this time. He was ably assisted by Rev. Samuel Gracey
and the exhorters. This meeting lasted during a long time.
Over one hundred persons claimed that they had been gathered
into the Lord's garner this time. The pastor's historical rec-
ord, at that time, shows the names of one hundred and twenty-
one persons who were admitted on probation. The revival
shows how God takes care of his church by sending the in-
crease just when it is so greatly needed. Here are a few of
the names: Mrs. Ella-Himter-Kolb, Mrs. Ida K.-Sheeler-Lat-
shaw, Mrs. Lizzie-Wainwright-Garber, Mrs. Susie R.-Shake-
speare-Jones. Levi B. Gearhart, Evans Yeager, John Keeley,
and J. Xewton Latshaw.
Revival of 1882-3.
The eighth large revival which we shall record took place
during the winter of the above date, under the pastoral charge
of Rev. IST. D. McComas, assisted by the local ministers. Revs.
S. Graeey, John Flint, and Henry Brook. This note of the
meetings is taken from the pastor's report to the Quarterly
Conference held on February 9, 1883. ''Our revival meeting
has continued without interruption. Since last quarter over
one hundred persons have been converted, and seventy-nine
have joined the church on probation. Forty-nine of these
are Sunday-School scholars." The names of Andrew Ortlip,
Joseph T. Gracey, R. B. Hunter, Frederick Diemer, W. C.
Urner, Bertha A. Taylor, Martha E.-Flint-Dubson, and Lillie
■C.-Brower-AVagoner, are among the list this time.
Revival of 1888.
The largest ingathering of souls is perhaps the one now
to be chronicled, and we shall call it by its familiar name,
''The Ogle Revival," from the fact that the Rev. Thomas G.
Ogle, as a special revivalist, conducted the meetings. The
Rev. H. B. Cassavant was minister regularly in charge of the
pulpit at this time.
The special services commenced in the lecture room of
the church in January. Soon this room was too small to seat
the surging masses which came nightly through all kinds of
weather to the meetings. Then the upper room was thrown
open to the services, and sometimes this room was too small.
The revival fire and fervor spread all over the town.
The altar at times was not large enough to accommodate the
penitents. Room had to be provided at the front seats for
those seeking pardon. The meetings were powerful. Those
who witnessed the scenes in that upper room, will not soon
forget them. Several of the members of the church had
written down lists of names of persons for whom special pray-
ers were daily offered. Many of the persons in these lists were
affected, came to the altar, gave their hearts to God, and they
are now among the best material of the church.
78 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
It is hard to set very close figures on the number con-
verted in this four weeks' series of meetings; but it was consid-
erably over one hundred. At the end of the six months' pro-
bation period, sixty-nine of them were taken into the church
at one time as full members. September, 1888, was a day in
which one of the most impressive services of the church was
held. On this beautiful Sabbath day the above number of
persons had their names enrolled among those who are in full
connection. Inside the altar stood Eev. J. Bawden, pastor
in charge, some visiting ministers, the local preachers, class
leaders, stewards, and trustees, while outside around the altar,
stood the term-expired probationers in rows two and three
thick, scarcely able to approach near enough to reach through
the line and over the altar railing so as to shake hands with
those who passed in turn around on the inside to extend this
time-honored church custom to them. Now imagine the
whole of these, together with a room-filled audience, many of
whom had tears of joy chasing down over smiling cheeks,
all together singing: "Blest Be the Tie That Binds Our
Hearts in Christian Love," etc. If your mind's eye can recall,
or imagine this scene, you have a picture of something which
cannot be put on canvas, for it is heaven-born, heaven-in-
spired; hence it is a touch of celestial joy! This day's experi-
ence will not often be repeated in the life of a single person.
Here is a bunch of the names: Beulah Hunter, A. Grace
Taylor, Cora E. Loomis, J. I. Mowrey, Wayne Forrest, Isaac
Dubson, and Enos F. Grubb.
Kevival of 1891-2.
We place on record as special revival and church up-
building number ten, the refreshing season which visited the
church during the above date. The Rev. Lucian B. Brown
was occupying the pulpit during this time. This revival was
not marked by any very sudden outbreak of power, as had
some of the previous ingatherings. It was a steady hold-on
effort by the church. Earnest pleading with Him, who alone
can give the increase, was continued by a faithful church
throughout the winter. Prayers freighted with faith and full
of unction daily ascended from many hearts. Much closet
consecration was practiced, and God greatly blessed the
church now as he had so often done before. Many families
rejoiced because of dear ones, both children and parents, who
were plucked from the clutches of sin.
The revival commenced in December, and as the record
shows, probationers were received on trial up to March of the
spring following. Eighty new names appeared on the church
books this time, the majority of whom were from the Sunday-
School. We note these: Misses Mabel E. Hunter, Y. Blanche
Davis, Ella B. Towers, Mrs. Lidie H.-Keyser-Mowrey, Mrs.
Lizzie M.-Keyser-Hunter, Messrs. Granville B. Tyson, and
Oliver J. Place.
We have thus emphasized ten of what seemed to be, at
least, among the marked quickenings of the church. There
were others which might be brought forward and specialized.
During the winter of 1890 and '91 the pulse of the church
was made to beat with a great deal of encouragement, Eev.
J. Bawden in charge. About forty persons professed to have
passed from sin's darkness to the light of salvation during
this winter. Again, during Eev. D. Mast Gordon's first win-
ter here, 1894-5, a revival of more than ordinary scope and
power visited the church. It lasted for several weeks. About
forty names were reached as the result of the Holy Spirit's
reaping this time. But perhaps we have described enough.
80 HISTORY OF SPEIJfG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
These revivals were not all alike in power, nor in in-
tensity of fervor. The Holy Spirit seemed to pour out his
blessings on the church in various ways. Sometimes God
seemed to go through the audience in the whirlwind style,
smiting souls on all sides. Then the fire of the Holy Spirit
would spread, and all the churches would be quickened. In
these cases the meetings might not last so long, perhaps, but
they were marked with special power. In other instances
''the still small voice" seemed to be the great factor which
worked on the hearts of the children of men. But in all these
cases God was in the work, and he won the victory. His work
went steadily on, and it will continue to move forward as long
as the world stands.
In every one of the revivals mentioned, the name of the
officiating pastor has been attached. The licensed local talent
is also duly credited in the work when it could be done. All
glory to them all. We must not, however, conclude this chap-
ter without saying that in all the special efforts put forward
by the church for the enlargement of her borders, the pastors
were heartily supported by the men and women in the private
ranks. In an army battle the commanding general gets the
major part of the glory of the victory lavished on him; but it
is the missiles of the infantry, the cavalry, the artillery, and
the cannon of the navy that do the telling work.
So it is in God's army of the church militant. It will
not be disclosed to man in this world how much God has
honored the closet service of his devoted followers for their
children; children, for parents; neighbors, for neighbors.
God has heard; he has spoken to men, and they have re-
sponded. Praise God for the revival history of the church
militant! May the revival spirit always dominate in the
FREDERICK A. DIEMER
"5 IR^iN 1. WELLS.
STEWARDS OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH
The Message of the Old Year
By Fanny J. Crosby
Recited by the Author at the
Watch-Night Service of the First Methodist Episcopal Church,
Bridgeport, Conn., December 31, 1905.
List to the clanging bells of time.
Tolling, tolling a low, sad chime,
A requiem chant o'er the grand Old Year,
Hark! he is speaking, and bids us hear:
' 'Friends, I am dying, my hours are few.
This is the message I leave for yon —
'Bought with a price, ye are not your own.
Live for the Master, and Him alone.
" 'Gather the sheep from the mountains cold.
Gather them into the Shepherd's fold,
Worli for His cause till your work is done,
Stand by the cross till your crown is won.
" 'Epworth League, there are hosts above
Watching your labor of zeal and love.
Faithful abide till your days are past.
Then what a joy will be yours at last. '
"I shall be gone ere the new -bom year
Comes in its beauty the world to cheer:
Once 1 was young, and my flowers were bright, —
Think of me kindly. Good night ! Good night !"
[Copyrigbt 1906, by Fanny J. Crosby.]
At firsts while the church was connected with a circuit,
there was only one steward from this charge. There were no
regular monthly meetings of the Stewards then as now, for
the transaction of routine business. In fact, the church in
all its forces was not under the organic control which is found
everywhere in the work of to-day.
In the early days of our circuit connection it was the
duty of the Stewards mainly to see that their share of the
finances for supporting the Gospel was raised. The Stewards
also attended the Quarterly Conferences and the Quarterly
Meetings over the district when the Presiding Elder made his
visits for official business. Another duty which fell to these
members of the minister's spiritual cabinet, was to meet at a
general yearly Steward's Meeting at some convenient place on
the Circuit. In this meeting it was ascertained how much
financial deficiency was to be made up. This done, the pro-
portionate part of the shortage was alloted to each of the
churches on the Circuit, in proportion to the number of mem-
bers in good standing in the several charges. The Stewards,
on their return home from the meetings, reported this state
of affairs to the churches. They then proceeded to make up
the specified amount.
We notice from some of the tabulated statements on the
records of the Circuit, which show the yearly regular contri-
butions, and also the "special collections," that Springville's
"special" column occasionally has no amount placed therein.
84 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
From this we easily learn that already the amount assigned
to this charge had been paid.
According to the discipline of the church, the preacher
in charge, at the Fourth Quarterly Conference, nominates the
entire Board of Stewards. They are then confirmed and
elected by the Conference. A careful examination of the
Quarterly Conference records shows this list of Stewards,
and their date of service for the Springville-Spring City
John Finkbiner, 1855 to 1864; 1868 to 1875.
Edward Brownback, 1864 to 1869.
Samuel Gracey, 1868 to 1875; 1878 to 1881.
Allen Rogers, 1871 to 1877; 1878 to 1890.
Simeon Iveim, 1873 to 1878.
John A. Weigel, 1873 to 1876.
Francis M. Hunter, 1875 to 1897.
J. Acker Cuss, 1875 to 1876; 1879 to 1888.
John Bisbing, 1875 to 1878.
Jacob E. Weikel, 1875 to 1878.
Morris F. Sheeler, 1876 to 1884; 1887 to 1899.
- E. Allen Bickel, 1876 to 1877.
Isaac Shantz, 1877 to 1878.
William H. Fox, 1877 to 1881.
Irwin I. Wells, 1877 to 1878; 1879 to 1880; 1891 to 1899.
John H. Setzler, 1877 to 1878; 1884 to 1888.
Andrew Cummings, 1878 to 1884.
Anderson J. Wright, 1878 to 1879.
John Sheeler, 1878 to 1881.
William S. Essick, 1878 to 1888.
Joseph W. Sheeler, 1880 to 1881; 1882 to 1888.
Jacob K. Jones, 1881 to 1899.
John McCann, 1881 to 1888.
Atmore Loomis, 1884 to 1888.
Josiah M. Nix, 1884 to 1888.
Webster C. Urner, 1884 to 1899.
Eobert Forrest, Sr., 1884 to 1887.
John F. Garber, 1884 to 1888.
Herman Ely, 1888 to 1889.
Allen A. Brower, 1888 to 1899.
Joseph Gracey, 1889 to 1893.
John H. Davis, 1889 to 1899.
Joseph I. Mowrey, 1889 to 1899.
Andrew F. Tyson, 1890 to 1899.
W. 0. McMichael, 1893 to 1899.
Dr. J. AVinfield Good, 1892 to 1899.
Frederick Diemer, 1893 to 1899.
H. Wells Taylor, 1893 to 1897.
Emmannel Foley, 1896 to 1897.
A. Lincoln Tyson, 1898 to 1899.
J. Walter Sheeler, 1898 to 1899.
The duty of the Eecording Steward is to attend the Quar-
terly Conferences, when he is able to do so, and to record in
a book kept for that special purpose, all the minutes, doings,
and reports of the Quarterly Conferences. He is nominated
by the pastor of the church, and elected by the Quarterly
The Eecording Stewards thus far are: William M.
Staufer, 1855 (?) to 1869; John E. Lewis, 1869 to 1870;
Samuel Gracey, 1870 to 1874; J. A. Guss, 1874 to 1876; F.
M. Hunter, 1876 to 1878; William S. Essick, 1878 to 1881;
86 HISTOEY OF SPEIXG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
J. A. Giiss, 1881 to 1883; William S. Essick, 1883 to 1884;
W. C. Urner, 1884 to 1899.
The duty of this person is to attend the Annual District
Stewards' Meeting in Philadelphia, when called by the Pre-
siding Elder. He there has a voice in this meeting which
provides for the comfort of the Presiding Elder and the
Bishop. The proportionate amount of money to be raised by
every church for the Elder and the Bishop is also fixed at
Some of the District Stewards thus far are: William M.
Staufer, William L. Bingaman, Edward Brownhack, John
Pinkbiner, John Sheeler, J. A. Guss, William S. Essick, F.
M. Hunter, J. Iv. Jones, and M. P. Sheeler.
In the year 1855 five persons were appointed by the
Quarterly Conference of Pottstown Circuit as Trustees, and
they were especially instructed to purchase the Union Meeting
House at Springville, so as "to establish a regular preaching
station" in that thriving little village. Their names are cited
in the deed which passed the title from Mr. James Eogers, Sr.,
and wife, to the possession of the Methodists. Of these five,
four soon moved away, thus leaving only one, Mr. John Pink-
biner, to assume the obligations of looking after the financial
interests of the church; and this he did nobly. Often he put
his hand into his own pocket and paid the bills which were
assumed by the church. For thirteen years this faithful gen-
tleman constituted the entire Trustee Board of the Springville
Methodist Episcopal Church; for there is no record or knowl-
edge, so far as we have been able to learn, of the appoint-
BIT li B l ilHil imM v.v ;
IjACUB R w£IK£L I
TRUSTEES OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH
ment of any additional Trustees until the session of the
Fourth Quarterly Conference, which was held at Coventry-
ville on January 26, 1868. At this Conference, Presiding
Elder J. Castle in the chair. Trustees were appointed all over
the Circuit to serve their charges. The first seven on the list
appended herewith were appointed for Springville Church.
The Trustees are now somewhat guided by a Charter.
But up to the year 1872, they were appointed by the Quar-
terly Conference, first being nominated by the preacher in
charge. In the above named year, the year in Avhich the old
church building was removed and the new one commenced,
application was made to the courts of Chester County, Pa.,
for a Charter of Incorporation. This was granted. It bears
the name of S. G. Williams as Prothonotary, and it is dated
October 31, 1872.
The Trustee Board, which came into olhcial capacity
with the Charter, was: President, Samuel G-racey; Secietary,
John E. Lewis; Treasurer, Jacob Keiter; Allen Rogers, John
Finkbiner, Simeon Keim, William Priest, F. R. Gruss, and
John B. Gracey. A code of by-laws, divided into fifteen well-
worded sections, now controls the actions of the Board. By
the provision of these by-laws three Trustees are elected, by
ballot, on the first Thursday of December of every year, and
they serve for three years. The electors required for choos-
ing trustees are all the members of the church who are over
twenty-one years of age, and in good standing in the church.
It will thus be seen that this important board of management,
whose duty it is to care for the temporal affairs of the church,
is a perpetual board. One-third of its members are elected
every year. Here is the list of Trustees since 1855, with
their terms of service: —
90 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
John Finkbiner, 1855 to 1899.
Edward Brownback, 1868 to 1869.
Samuel Gracey, 1868 to 1873.
Jacob Keiter, 1868 to 1878.
Allen Eogers, 1868 to 1880.
John E. Lewis, 1868 to 1874.
William Priest, 1868 to 1874.
James Swindells, 1873 to 1876.
Simeon Keim, 1873 to 1878.
Francis M. Hunter, 1874 to 1878.
Jacob E. Weikel, 1874 to 1878; 1879 to 1899.
Emmanuel S. Crater, 1874 to 1876.
John A. Weikel, 1874 to 1878.
Isaac Shantz, 1876 to 1877; 1891 to 1896.
E. Allen Bickel, 1876 to 1899.
William H. Fox, 1877 to 1880.
Jonathan Seazholtz, 1878 to 1879.
Irwin I. Wells, 1878 to 1882; 1889 to 1890.
Morris F. Sheeler, 1878 to 1887.
Andrew Cummings, 1878 to 1888.
John B. Gracey, 1878 to 1891.
John A. Keiter, 1879 to 1899.
Samuel B. Latshaw, 1880 to 1887.
Jesse G. Yeager, 1882 to 1899.
Nehemiah Sheeder, 1887 to 1891.
Joseph H. Benjamin, 1889 to 1896.
Hiram Bickhart, 1890 to 1893.
Enos F. Grubb, 1892 to 1899.
John F. Garber, 1893 to 1896.
Anthony Vanhook, 1896 to 1899.
Thomas G. Wynn, 1896 to 1899.
Uriah Garber, 1896 to 1899.
"Preach the Word." 2 Timothy 4:2.
The Local Preacher has always heen, and he still is, a
wonderfully valuable aid to the pastor in charge and to his
church as well. In starting out on work he occasionally was
required to deliver one or more of his efforts in the presence
of his pastor. If his theology, energy, talents, and delivery
w^ere satisfactory to the pastor, a license was given to our
young man at once, and he "was harnessed" up ready for the
pulpit. Sometimes he had to preach a "trial sermon" in the
presence of the Presiding Elder also.
The first local preacher at this charge was Kev. Samuel
Gracey, 1859. The records show that these followed him: —
J. D. Flansburg, 1867.
James Swindells, 1870.
Frederick E. Guss, 1872.
Henry Brook, 1872.
Caleb L. Hughes, 1873.
John Flint, r879.
Andrew M. Ortlip, 1886.
Benjamin La Pish, 1888.
Edwin A. Bawden, 1889.
Ernest Bawden, 1891.
Eeuben B. Hunter, 1898.
"He (Barnabas) was glad, and exhorted them all, that
with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord."
One of the wisely adjusted affairs in the economy of the
Methodist Episcopal Church is, that she tries to train her
92 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
children to express themselves while standing on their feet.
The exhorter begins to talk in the class room, afterward,
perhaps, in the prayer meeting or in the revival service. Yes;
all the Great Lights of the Methodist Episcopal Chnrch have
gone through this spiritual training school. They have ac-
quired the art of talking, by talking. The line of their pro-
motion up the church ladder is exhorter, local preacher, itin-
erant. Presiding Elder, and finally Bishop. Here is the list
of those who, in some way, have been connected with the
church here: —
David Wells, 1855.
Samuel Gracey, 1858.
Frederick E. Guss, 1870.
Joseph Gearhart, 1872.
Simeon Keim, 1875.
John Flint, 1879.
Morris F. Sheeler, 1880.
William S. Essick, 1880.
Jesse G. Yeager, 1884.
Jacob K. Jones, 1884.
Francis M. Hunter, 1884.
Benjamin La Pish, 1886.
John F. Garber, 1888.
Joseph A. Coulston, 1891.
Eeuben B. Hunter, 1891.
These devout men on whom the hand of God and that
of the Church, as well, has been laid, deserve a share of our
attention at this point in our narrative. An inquiry into the
personnel of these ecclesiastical worthies who preached on the
old Pottstown Circuit reveals the fact that fidelity to the
cause which they espoused was always manifested. As the
charges were separated from one another, much inconvenience
was experienced in going from place to place to meet the
preaching engagements. Ministers often risked their health.
They traveled through storm and sunshine. All kinds of
weather found them in the saddle or carriage going to serve
their people. Often after a long ride against a cold, wintry
blast, they were compelled to preach in an atmosphere which
Avas very hard on the human system. They often stood in the
pulpit and delivered their sacred message with wet clothes
on their backs, as well as with wet feet.
The sermons of those antebellum days were not always
so full of school lore as the sermons of to-day are; but they
were full of the Word of God, and that gave power to them.
Lack of time prevented, to a good degree, pulpit preparation.
Hence many of the pulpit efforts which passed for preaching
at that time, would be called first-class exhortations in the
present day. But it served the purpose of the Master. It is
94 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
now proposed to develop this subject further under the Cap-
tions of Entertainment, Support, and The Ministers Them-
I. Entertaining the Ministers.
When this charge was a part of the Circuit, a committee
was always appointed at one of the Quarterly Conferences,
and the duty of said committee was to rent a suitable house
at some convenient place in which the Senior Preacher and
his family might reside. This residence was generally at
Coventryville, or at Pottstown. The rent of the parsonage
was apportioned among the several charges, according to the
number of members at each charge. As a rule it was collected
by special contributions, taken at the end of the Conference
year. The furnishing of the parsonage was done in the same
way. This report is on the Quarterly Conference minutes of
August 8, 1863: "Bro. D. W. Gordon, Committee on raising
funds for parsonage carpet, reports having collected $23.95
for the same."
The Junior Preacher had a place provided for him, gen-
erally with the family of a farmer; but sometimes the single
man made his home elsewhere. Here he made, at least, his
headquarters, and then went about among the charges and
worked as his Senior brother directed him. His business was
to receive and to execute orders. At times he had only one
room in which to domicile. This room served him for his
parlor, his library, study, and sleeping-room as well. Gen-
erally the Junior was fortunate enough to obtain two rooms
for his apartments. Then he was more comfortably equipped.
The Junior, as well as the Senior, generally had a horse
and carriage. The horse either belonged to the Church, or
it was loaned to the minister by some one of the church mem-
THE MINISTERS. 95
This state of affairs continued until the year 1872, when
Eev. J. H. Wood was sent to take charge of the church at
Springville and Bethel Circuit. The men who had preached
at Spring City prior to this date had all been single men,
with the exception of the Seniors. Eev. Eichard Turner had
been married just before going to Conference in the spring
of 1872, and Eev. Mr. Wood was married Just after he had
come from Conference in the same year. These were the
first ministers who were married while in charge of the church
We have drifted a little aside from our story. Let us
go back and look after some of our single preachers. Eev.
J. P. Miller was the first minister who was provided with
home accommodations in the borough by the church. This
was in the year 1868. Two rooms were fitted out for him
with Mr. Josiah Schick, now No. 34 South Main Street. In
1869 he domiciled with Mr. E. A. Bickel at No. 167 Chest-
nut Street. Eev. Eichard Turner came in 1870. During his
first year he made his home at Mr. John Betz's on the Schuyl-
kill Eoad, second year at Mr. E. A. Bickel's and at Mr. F. E.
Cuss's on West Bridge Street.
When Eev. Mr. Wood changed his relation in life, he fur-
nished his house partly at his own expense with what he and
his good wife needed. They commenced housekeeping on
West Bridge Street in the house with Mr. F. E. Guss. Soon
one end of Mr. Philip Simon's house, No. 140 New Street^
was rented as the First Parsonage of the Spring City M. E.
Church. Here Mr. and Mrs. Wood lived during their two
years' sojourn with our people. Eev. Eli Pickersgill lived
first on Main Street, then at No. 137 Chestnut Street. In
Eev. D. H. Shields's time the parsonage was, first year at the
corner of New and Church Streets, and, second vear, at No.
VO HISTOEY OF SPEIXG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
129 New Street, where the parsonage remained nntil the
year of 1884 when the minister, Eev. N. D. McComas, moved
into the present parsonage on Hall Street.
At the Quarterly Conference held February 9, 1883,
Messrs. M. F. Sheeler, J. G. Yeager, S. B. Latshaw, John
Finkbiner, and Atmore Loomis were appointed as a Parson-
age Building Committee to see that a suitable building be
erected on the south end of the church lot. This building
was to be finished so as to be a suitable place for the family
of the minister. They immediately set to work with the duties
before them, and by March, 1884, the present parsonage was
the result of their labors. As already shown, Eev. N. D.
McComas was the preacher in charge at that time, and he
occupied the new parsonage one year.
When the building committee made their final report to
the Conference, it was shown that the entire cost of the build-
ing was Tiuo Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighteen Dollars
and tivo cents. This does not include the value of the lot, as
the church already owned that. The greater part of the above
expenditures had already been met by subscriptions.
II. Support of the Ministers.
In the years before the Eebellion, ministers in the coun-
try charges at least, often received a very meager financial
income for their labors. But this was partly overcome by
the farmers who would always remember their pastor in some
substantial manner. This would be done by a well-filled
basket of vegetables or fruits, which was often left at the
parsonage. At butchering time a lot of good things was sure
SPRING CITY M. E. PARSONAGE
THE MINISTERS. 99
to find its way to tlie parson's cellar from the generous hands
of the chnrch members. A few bushels of potatoes and apples
came there in the same way. So while the minister of the
Gospel might not have had a very large bank account stand-
ing to his credit, his cellar was filled often with the good
things which help to make up a good round meal. This was
particularly the case on the old PottstoAvn Circuit. It was
also, to some extent, the custom after the ministers began to
reside at Spring City.
We are not able to ascertain very closely the amount of
money paid to the pastors from this charge, because the col-
lections were all gathered into one general fund while on the
Circuit, then paid to the ministers. As already stated, the
Junior ministers at first received One Hundred Dollars a year
for their services. At the outbreak of the Eebellion, 1863^
the Junior's salary was made Two Hundred Dollars. In the
year 1865, when the Springville church had been regularly
served for ten years, the Quarterly Conference minutes show
that the Preacher in charge received Six Hundred and Fifty
Dollars for his services; One Hundred Dollars of this was for
traveling expenses. The Junior Preacher this year received
for his efforts Two Hundred Dollars. Thus, just at the close
of the Eebellion, when commodities of all kinds were very
high in price, the Eevs. S. G. Hare and T. 0. Tompkins, the
ministers then in charge, must have been compelled to prac-
tice severe economy in order to meet their expenses. Eev.
Tompkins was expected to pay his boarding at this time.
A tabulated report for the above year is here given,
which shows the apportionment of the different charges for
the support of the gospel, and for the rent of the parsonage
which was then at Pottstown: —
100 HISTOKY OF SPRIXG CITY M. E. CHUECH.
Total $920 70 $50 22
This year the Presiding Elder received from the Circuit
Seventy Dollars; and Forty Dollars were paid for parsonage
Ten years later, and the second year after the Spring
City M. E. Church attempted to stand on her own feet and
become a separate charge, Eight Hundred Dollars were raised
and paid to the pastor: One Hundred and Twenty Dollars for
rent. Fifty-four Dollars for the Elder and the Bishop, besides
the expenses of the Trustees. In all, during this year, 1875,
Twelve Hvndred Dollars were required to defray the current
expenses of the church. In 1885, after the lapse of another
decade, the running expenses of the church were about the
same as in 1875. In 1885 the pastoi-^s salary was advanced
to One Thousand Dollars, and since 1892 Twelve Hundred
Dollars a year have been paid to the shepherd of the flock.
In the Philadelphia Conference there are four churches
which now pay their pastor Three Thousand Dollars a year;
three which pay Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars; eleven
which pay Two Thousand Dollars, and One Hundred and
Seventeen which pay One Thousand Dollars and upwards.
III. What the Ministers Themsela^es Say.
It is the province of the historian to chronicle events,
not as he thinks they should be, but as they really have
&[REV' ISAAC MAST
A GROUP OF CIRCUIT PREACHERS
THE MINISTEES. 103
transpired. He may desire to record matters in a much dif-
ferent way from that in which he finds them. He dares not
do it. Much care must be exercised by him, as he uses his
brush, in coloring facts. This has constantly been the aim
in sketching the events recorded in this book.
We have already collected from the records and from the
memory of those whose mental storehouse of facts seemed to
be trustworthy, the material given heretofore. An effort will
now be made to let some of the ministers themselves speak
of the work as they found it, when they came upon the
theatre of labor and love over the Circuit. Springville for-
merly Avas only a part and parcel of a great ecclesiastical plan
to spread the Gospel, and win souls for the heavenly mansions,
mentioned in the fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel.
It will thus easily be seen that it is no easy task for an his-
torical writer to draw the severing knife among a well-planned
system of closely united preaching stations and separate them
without, at least, doing some of the others a little injustice.
In the day of chivalrous Methodism on the old Pottstown
Circuit, what was Springville's history was, to a great extent,
the history of eight or more other charges. They were all
bound together as one band of workers in Christian fellow-
ship, and the manipulation of the working forces was under
the guidance of the Senior preachers, who received their au-
thority and instructions as well, from the Bishop.
In order to give to our readers an idea of how the work
was done somewhat in detail, a circular letter containing some
questions was sent out to several of the ministers, asking them
to reply to the inquiries as best they could. The ministers
interrogated were selected so as to cover the church's history
since the year 1854. As nearly all of them are unknown to
the writer, they have been chosen to speak for no special pur-
104 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
pose; but simply to tell how the}^ saw the work, and to speak
"without fear or favor." Here are the questions and the re-
plies. ^\e shall introduce the speakers iy number, and give
the date when they were on the Circuit, or at Spring- City
By referring to the proper date in the list of ministers on
page 159, the reader can learn the name of the person whose
quotations are hereby produced.
Question 1. — "ITV^ere did you make your home while here?
And what were your surroundings?"
Minister Number One, 1854, is now presented to you. He
speaks as follows: "I was a single man, and Junior preacher.
The Eev. Abram Freed was my superintendent, and he was
the responsible man. The First Quarterly Conference of that
year voted that I should have a boarding place. Brothers
Frees and Essick, of Coventryville, together with myself, were
appointed to secure one. We found a home with Mr. Louis
Stubblebine at Coventryville. I had one room, which an-
swered as study and bed room. It was carpeted and con-
veniently furnished. I had also a good stable for my horse,
and a carriage house for my carriage and harness."
Clerg3mian Xumber Two, whose sainted locks are now
assuming the hue of the robes in heaven, steps forward and
occupies the interrogatory chair. He unsheathes his spec-
tacles, carefully removes the dusty film from the same, looks
back through the vista of Forty-three winters, focuses his in-
tellectual lenses on the scenes of his first ministry, and this
is what he says about it: —
"I was appointed on the Pottstown Circuit by Bishop
Beverly "Waugh. I was Junior preacher, with Eev. Abram
Freed as preacher in charge. This was in March, 1855, and
THE MINISTERS. 105
it was my first 3'ear in the Conference on trial. I had very
little to do hnt to preach three times every Sabbath, and to
obey the orders of my sujDcriors in snccession, from the Bishop
"The Junior preacher was expected to live among the
people. This I did to some extent. The First Quarterly Con-
ference granted me a home. I got one with a Mrs. McFar-
land, a Baptist lady in Coventryville. I kept some books and
clothes there, bnt I had to be out on the Circuit most of the
time. I kept a horse, but I had to buy his feed. So, alto-
gether for the preachers boarding and horse feed, it only
cost the Circuit about Twenty-eight Dollars for the year, and
Seventy-six Dollars for salary. One Hundred Dollars was the
allowance for the Junior preacher's salary; but Brother Freed
had five children and had to keep a horse and carriage, and
as he was short of receiving his allotted Five Hundred Dollars
for salary, they took Twenty-four Dollars off me, since I was
not married. I preached at Springville once a month in the
evening. My home was with Brother David Wells several
times, on a farm between Springville and Bethel (where Mr.
Seneca Mowrey now lives). Another very nice stopping place
was at Mr. Edward Brownback's (where Mr. Isaac Funk now
lives). It was a nice home in the summer, but awfully cold
in the winter. In the village (Springville) I had more places
at which to stop over night than I could fill. I well remem-
ber one brother there whose name was John Finkbiner, who
still lives to praise God and do good. He had been converted
before I knew him. He was then full of fire and the Holy
Ghost, as I believe he remains to-day. But he is nearer Home
than ever he was before:'
Pastor Numher Three. Seven years have now elapsed
since Junior Numher Two traveled over the Coventries and
106 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
the J^antmeals. We now place before us Number Three. He
looks back through Thirty-six summers of his life, reviews
the events of 1862 as he met them, and this is how he tells
"I was appointed by Bishop Scott in March, 1862, as
Junior preacher on the Pottstown Circuit. Eev. Valentine
Gray, of precious memory, was the preacher in charge. The
Circuit then contained seven churches: Pottstown, Coventry,
Ebenezer, Nantmeal, Bethel, St. John's, and Springville.
"I was unmarried, and I made my home at Coventry with
Eev. John Watson. It was expected that I would spend most
of my time among the families of the Circuit. My salar}^,
Two Hundred Dollars, was intended to be adequate for all
my necessary expenses, including board for myself and horse.
I was not as well provided for as I had been at former charges,
where I never had to use my salary to pay boarding and lodg-
ing. I did not complain, because even this was more than
other Junior preachers had been receiving. When I was at
Springville I generally made my home at Brother Edward
Brownback's, or Brother William Priest's. They had accom-
modations for my horse."
Minister Number Four now occupies the chair just made
Tacant by Number Three. A decade has elapsed between
their labors. This earth of ours on which there is so much
of struggle for supremacy, power, and preference, has made
ten of its annual trips around the sun since Junior Number
Three's time. Changes occurred in every trip. Ten times the
picturesque hills and charming vales of the Pottstown Circuit
have been carpeted with the snows of winter. As often have
the productive meadows and the fertile hillsides brought forth
the sweet-scented flowers of spring, the golden harvests of
THE MINISTERS. ■ 107
Slimmer, and the ripe fniits of autumn. Six of the Senior
ministers have come upon the scene, and spent their efforts
at giving direction to the work of soul-saving. They liave
nobly done their work, and gone to other fields of lahor.
These Seniors had, during this time, five of the Junior
preachers, who sustained them in the work. Many of the
servants of the Lord over the District have answered the
death-call and have gone home to join the Church triumph-
ant. Others have come forward to take the places just
vacated. The Lord's work is moving forward. The six
charges served by Number Three and his co-laborer in the
MavSters A^ineyard have, by Conference division and adjust-
ment, been reduced to two. The work has grown in impor-
tance, both spiritually and temporally. We shall be glad to
listen to this, now. Doctor of Divinity tell his story of labor,
triumph, and love.
'T was appointed to Springville, or Spring City, and
Bethel charge in March, 1873. I went there a married man.
For three months we lived with, the family of one of our local
preachers, Mr. F. E. Guss, on Bridge Street. We had the
privilege of their entire house and barn. We were treated
kindly. A part of the time we boarded with the family, and
the remainder of the time we kept our own table. We then
took a vacation for the summer. A part of this time I boarded
with Mr. Gideon Weikel on Main Street. In the early fall
we went to housekeeping in a new three-story house which
we rented of Mr. Philip Simon, on N"ew Street. We had a
very pleasant house.
"The church paid half of the rent, and we paid the re-
mainder. We did the same with the house furnishing. The
church owned the horse, and the pastor was the possessor of
the harness and the carriage. We went halves in this way, as
108 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
the charge had joreviousl}^ been a single man's appointment;
yet the church did what they coukl to make ns comfortable,
and we snpplied deficiencies."
Clergyman Numher Five, 1879, you surely will all greet
with kindness, as his sympathetic face is known to most of
the readers of this little volume. His earnest, pathetic, and
soul-moving sermons still reverberate in the hearts of many
people in Spring City to-day, after a lapse of twenty years.
Here is the way he speaks to you: —
''I was a single man when appointed, but married two
weeks later and lived on New Street. The church was gener-
ous enough to ask me to furnish the parlor, and this I did."
Question 2. — ''What do you rcmemher about the revival
To this question minister NumTjer One says: ''I was only
on the Circuit three months. I left on the first of July.
There was no revival work during my stay."
Let us call Number Two again. Hear him: "We held
five extra meetings at five different churches that fall and
winter, commencing in October and continuing until Con-
ference. Then the other five churches were served the next
winter. Brother Freed considered that Springville was a new
and special charge, needing his personal oversight. So he
gave me very little to do there outside of my regular appoint-
ments. I was there during Protracted Meeting about eight
evenings. The meetings were excellent; many were saved.
The number I never learned as they were all lumped in with
the report of the Circuit. But I remember that there were
some substantial converts. We had fifty conversions reported
on the Conference minutes, as the number for the whole Cir-
cuit, that year."
THE MINISTEES. 109
How Number Three answers this question: ''I com-
menced a Protracted Meeting, as it was called in those days,
at Springville, on Wednesday evening, N"ovember 19th, and
preached from James 5:20. Thursday and Friday evenings
were rainy, and we had no meeting. On Sunday I preached
at 3 P.M. and administered the sacrament of the Lord's Sup-
per. In the evening I preached again. The meeting continued
for about three weeks. The preaching all fell to my lot but
a couple of evenings when Brother A^alentine Gray preached.
1 also preached a Thanksgiving Day sermon on Thursda}^,
November 27, at 10 a.m., from Tsalms 11(3:12-14. A few
souls professed conversion at our meetings. On December
5th a large snow storm came on and interrupted the meet-
ings. On Sunday morning following I preached from Jer. 13:
IG, to a crowded house. Many people came in from the
surroundings in sleighs, strangers who had not been at the
"On the Sunday following I had to preach at Pottstown,
morning and night. We had several Protracted Meetings to
hold, and as winter was on us, the meeting at Springville was
discontinued. I regretted closing the meeting without a great
revival. At times there were indications of it, but it seemed
so liard to persuade people under conviction to come to the
altar. I had a great desire to see prosperity at Springville.
I conceived a promising future for Methodism there. I think
if we had continued the meetings, the Lord's blessing on
faithful labor would have been crowned Avith success. I was
a]ixious to see the church prosper, for as the town was grow-
ing at that time, I wanted the church to be like a city on a
hill, shedding her light on all around."
Xumher Four. — "We had many conversion^, many of
whom remain as good members in Spring City, and alsi in
IIQ HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
the church which was afterward built at Eoyersford. Some
have gone on before, and we expect to greet them there/'
Number Five. — ''I followed Eev. David H. Shields under
whose ministry there had been a marked revival. I found
about One Hundred and Twenty-five probationers to be helped,
most of whom were received in full connection. I glean from
my private record these statistics: —
"'Eeceived on probation during my term of three years,
70; received by certificate, 33; baptized, 91; married, 23
couples; attended 54 funerals; money collected from all
Note — While the tying of nuptial knots is mostly an ac-
cident to the Methodist minister, yet the number above is the
largest one on the records of the church at this place. Eev.
D. Mast Gordon Joined the second largest number of happy
couples, namely: thirteen.
Question 3. — "How did the ivorh here compare ivitli your
ivorh at other charges^
Number One. — "There were eight regular appointments,
and I preached on Saturday evenings at Douglasville School
House, making nine. It was the longest Circuit I ever had.
But as I was there during the pleasantest part of the year, I
cannot say that the work was especially hard."
Number Tivo speaks again. He gives the programme for
preaching. Here it is: "We had ten appointments for Sab-
bath, and Douglasville School House extra for Saturday even-
ings. I preached at Birdsboro at 10.30 a.m., and held Sunday
class meetings after preaching; High's School House at 3.30
P.M.; Pottstown at 8 p.m. On the next Sunday: Pottstown at
10.30 A.M., Temple at 3 p.m., and Pottstown at night. On
THE MINISTEKS. Ill
the Sunday following I had Nantmeal in the morning and
evening, and Ebenezer at 3 p.m. The fourth Sunday I
preached at Coventryville in the morning, Bethel in the after-
noon, and Springville at night.
"I don't wish to boast, but I shall give you an idea of
the work of a young preacher of that day on a large Circuit.
I rode on horseback from Nantmeal to Birdsboro on Saturday,
preached there on Sunday morning, then through very deep
snow to High's School House, four miles. After preaching
there in the afternoon, again rode to Pottstown, five miles,
often Just arriving there in time to ascend the pulpit in the
evening for preaching, then prayer meeting. After services I
cleaned and fed my horse and got to bed at eleven or twelve
o'clock. Next day I mounted my horse again and rode
through the snow, nine miles, to Nantmeal and continued the
revival meetings for the week. Brother Freed was at the same
time holding meetings somewhere else. It was not always so
severe, but very often it was. The mud in the spring time
was nearly as bad as the snows of winter."
Nwnber Three's version of it: "Pottstown Circuit was a
laborious charge. The roads were rough and hilly, and a
minister was much exposed to inclement weather in going
his rounds of duty. It was fatiguing to both man and horse,
more so than charges which I had previously served. Then
again, the snows were a great hindrance to us. I well re-
member the snow storm of December 5th, and the severely
cold weather which followed. I could not use my carriage,
so I went on horseback. I rode from Coventry to Ebenezer
while the snow was drifting so badly that my horse could
scarcely get through it. When I arrived there only one per-
son had come to church. I then returned to Coventry, and
112 HISTOKY OF SPEIXG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
after an early supper I rode to Springville through the drifts
as best I could."
Numler Four. — "One great event of my pastorate at
Spring City was the erection of the new church. I shall
leave to others a description of the old building, but will just
say in passing that I came near breaking my neck by falling
through the old steps on my way to preach the first Sabbath
evening. I went into the pulpit and said, among other things,
'Brethern, the Lord must have a new house here,' and they
responded, Amenl The new church enterprise was soon
launched. Brother John Finkbiner subscribed and paid the
first Thousand Dollars."
Number Five. — "The work was rather more of fatigue
than of mental anxiety as compared with former charges.
This was owing largely to twt) causes. And the first was the
pastoral care of such a large number of probationers; and the
second was the careful oversight required in so much church
"But I enjoyed the work, and have always done so in all
the years of my ministry. I enjoyed the work there particu-
larly, because there was an earnest activity among most of
the brethren. This suited me exactly. I like to see things
go, and they went at that charge, and I believe they do so
Question -i. — "Cowpare tlie cliurclrs ahUitij here to meet
her financial nlj]ifiafinn.<^: also, her treafmeut of the minister.^
irifli that of other rharehes which you have served.'"
Xumlier One. — "I was kindly received and well treated
at all the a]>pointments except Pottstown. The society there
was small and distant and very cold."
THE MINISTERS. 113
Number Tiro. — "In my time the Circuit was verv poor;
it had ten churches, but in all, only 364 members. They
raised for the Missionary Collection, $140; Bible Collection,
$20; Education, $10; Sunday-School Union, $23; Conference
Collections, $30; Eev. Freed's house rent was $75. These
amounts, added to the preachers' salaries, made the grand
total of $913 for the year ofi the ivliole Circuit.
^ ''The membership at Springville was not large nor strong^
yet I remember Brother Freed holdiiig them up as an ex-
ample of liberality to older and larger charges on the Circuit.
They were certainly the most lil)eral and spiritual people for
their number on the Avhole Circuit. They were a lahorioiis,
earnest, self-cleni/inu, and generous people."'
Xumher Three. — 'T think they fully met all their finan-
cial obligations. My salary, I know, was promptly paid by
the Circuit, and I am quite sure Springville paid her share.
The collections on sacramental occasions and other collections
that I took were comparatively the l)est on the Circuit.
'T was quite happy in my relation to the Springville
church. I was treated with respect, and by the church and
community I was honored. There was such a sincerity and
a good degree of spirituality in our congregations. Our class
meetings there were precious seasons, inspiring and encour-
aging me in my arduous and responsible work."
Numher Four. — "At the close of my two years' pastorate
the two charges were made separate stations, each with its
own regular pastor. During my sojourn with the people of
Spring City ties of friendship and love were formed which
have already stood the test of years; and I firmly believe they
will continue throughout eternity."
114 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Number Five. — "The church met its financial obligations
fairly well, all things considered, as will be indicated in my
next answer. Sometimes I have thought that others who
did and gave far less, were much more fully appreciated."
Question 5. — "Give any additional facts, social or oth&r-
tvise, which may he of interest.'"
Number One. — "I enjoyed my work and my relations with
the people. I have some very pleasant memories of my three
months' stay on that Circuit. Mr. and Mrs. Lacy of Birds-
boro, Mr. Binder of Ebenezer, Father Christman, Brothers
Frees and Bingaman of Coventryville, are some of the names
of people who were very considerate. The only name which
I can now call up from your Spring Cit}^ or Eoyersford, is
Brother John Finkbiner.
"I think I preached in a school-house that stood on the
same street on which your splendid church now stands."
jSTote — He means the Union Meeting House, the base-
ment of which at that time was used for public school pur-
Numher Two. — "I think the church had been built as a
Union Church, and the Methodists had got control of it either
that year or the year before I came. Brother Freed, I re-
member, gave me a book when I went on the Circuit, to col-
lect money with which to help clear the church debt. I did
what I could, but I do not know how much I collected. I
soon returned the book and the money to Brother Freed.
"My work I enjoyed very much. The only exception I
had to it was that I did not have time enough to prepare
my sermons. My Conference studies were also constantly on
THE MIXISTERS. 115
Number Three. — "While the Confederate army were try-
ing to invade Pennsylvania, and jnst two days before the
Battle of x\ntietam, September 15th, a war meeting was held
in Mechanics' Hall in the evening. Captain Dobson of
Phcenixville, being sick, had returned home from the seat of
war. He was to address this meeting. The captain was pres-
ent; bnt he was so weak he could not stand to talk. He at-
tempted to address the meeting sitting in his chair, but the
carnage he had seen on the field of battle came so vividly
before his mind that his feelings in his weak, nervous state
overcame him, and he could not continue his address.
"Eev. A'alentine Gray and mj^self, who were also present,
were then called upon to speak. Eev. Mr. Gray spoke; then
I followed. I did not want to speak at all, but as I had just
come from a six years' preaching experience south of Mason
and Dixon's line, on the eastern shore of Maryland, they in-
sisted on my coming to the platform and giving them my
impressions of the secession movement as I had become ac-
quainted with it, while with those people. This I did as best
I could. The meeting was enthusiastic and full of patriotic
sentiment. A large number gave their names as volunteers
to protect the border.
"Many of the scenes of those days come up vividly before
my mind. Well do I remember the visitations I made to the
home of Brother James Gracey, father of our worthy local
preacher, Eev. Samuel Gracey. We always had profitable con-
versations on religious subjects. He was a good man, and
very Methodistic. His religion was very experimental. He
could say Tor I know whom I have believed, and am per-
suaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed
unto him against that day.' I always was encouraged in the
Master's work after a visit to that family. Brother Gracey
116 HISTOKY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
consecrated his family to God, and it is quito natural that
a son shonld hecome a nseful local preacher.
"Brother John Finkbiner I also remember. He had an
open hand and a warm heart. He was in sympathy with every
need of the chnrch. A willing worker was he, ready to bear
a part of every hnrden, and always at the front of every for-
ward movement. Snrely he was a trne servant of the Lord.
"Another brother whose impression is indelibly fixed on
my mind was Edward BroAvnback. Well did he know Avliat
experimental religion is. His light shone brightly in every
department of worship. His words in class meetings, his
prayers, and his singing, were accompanied with a spirit that
permeated all hearts and brought them into the unity of
peace, love, and Joy. I enjoyed hearing him sing 'A Hun-
dred Years to Come." He sang it with a pathos which so
moved my feelings that I enjoyed the sentiment in an nn-
usnal manner. It seems but yesterday that I heard him sing
that Ijeantiful hymn, yet more than oiie-third of a hundred
years have gone since that time. Thirty-six years have fled
away into the past; he is with the redeemed, singing the song
of 'Moses and the Lamb.' AVe are here in the Chnrch Mili-
tant, having our conflicts and triumphs; our trials and
temptations; our sorrows and rejoicings. Our experience is
a mingling of fear and hope, weakness and strength, dark-
ness and light. This is not heaven, it is the battlefield, a
The saints, in all this fjlorious war,
Shall conquer, thovigh they die;
They see the triumi^h from afar,
By faith they bring it nigh.
"The church was on a hill side. We worshiped on the
second floor, and had to go up many steps into the room.
FORMER STEWARD AT SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH
THE MINISTERS. 119
This used to suggest to me the thought of climbing up Zion's
"There was a small membership. Their spiritual state
was very good. The Sunday-School was prosperous. The
congregations Avere small, but they continued to increase.
"They had a choir which discoursed music better than
usual for a small society. I think their leader was a teacher
of vocal music, and the young people in the choir belonged
to his class. I do not remember the name of the choir leader.
But well do I remember they used to sing the tune America,
with the parts."
Xote. — The chorister referred to above was Mr. George
Nvmlej' Five. — "When I was appointed to Spring City,
the basement of our church was the only place of religious
worship in the town. Brother Neff's people (Lutheran) met
in an old school-house, subsequently changed into a janitor's
home. During my first year the main audience room Avas
finished and dedicated at a cost of about Two Thousand Four
Hundred Dollars. This was one of the best pieces of finan-
ciering I have known.
"During my third year the first church at Eoyersford was
built, paid for, and dedicated. Bishop Simpson performed
the rites of dedication.
"I may further add as a matter of possible interest, that
on August 27, 1879, our oldest daughter, Mary E., was born.
She is now a young lady in her nineteenth year."
Answers from other divines might easily have been
added, but these are sufficient to give the reader an idea of
how the work appeared, as seen by the broadcloth faternity.
Three of the men whose replies are appended to the queries
were Junior Preachers, and two of them had the entire charge
120 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
of the church's affairs. As will be noticed, all alike had the
burden of souls and the advancement of the Master's king-
dom at heart.
This article would, no doubt, have been enriched with
other experiences and impressions, if some of the Senior
Preachers could have sat before us in their easy chairs and
told how they met and surmounted the difficulties of manipu-
lating a large Circuit. But those sainted men of God have
either all left the Conference, or they have gone to their
reward in Glory. AVe have not been able to find any of them,
Eeference has been made above by some of the minis-
ters to the names of church members over the Circuit, who
were wont to be very considerate in caring for the physical
necessities of their pastors. There were also many other mem-
bers of the church who always held out a liberal hand at
entertaining the parson. A few of them are here appended.
At Ebenezer, Mr. Jonathan Mauger and his good help-
mate took care of the minister when he came that way.
Messrs. Joseph Cloud, Daniel Walley, and Daniel Simmers
vied with one another at Nantmeal in caring for their pastor.
They all were well pileased to have the parson sit at tal)le with
them and partake of a farmer's rations.
Foremost among those who had the preacher stop with
them at Coventry was Mr. Jacob Sheeler, a life-long Meth-
odist. When the parson drove up to Mr. Sheeler's hitching-
post, willing hands soon unhitched the horse, put him away
to a good mess of oats and an arm full of hay. And they
did it all without expecting to have the minister drop a fip-
penny-bit in their hands when he drove away. Yes; an extra
plate and chair were soon at Mr. Sheeler's table if Mr. Dom-
inie happened around about meal time. Mr. William Essick
was another farmer at Coventry who had a good deal of ex-
perience in entertaining the preacher. At Bethel, when the
preachers came aroimcl, they often tied up at Mr. Jacob
Keiter's or at Mr. Joseph Bachman's. Messrs. John Garber
and William M. Stanfer shared their hospitalities with the
spiritual advisers also.
I. The Ladies' Aid Society.
The history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Spring
City wotikl not be complete without a sketch of the doings
of the Ladies' Aid Society. Indeed this band of loyal Chris-
tian women has done a good work in their sphere, and they
have done it well.
On Thursday afternoon, September 4, 1872, just four
days before the corner-stone of the new church was laid, a
number of ladies met at the home of Mrs. Annie M. Gracey,
'No. 43 Church Street, drew up and signed the constitution
and by-laws, and organized a working band under the name
of "The Ladies' Aid Society of Spring City M. E. Church."
Their constitution shows that the object of the society "is
to promote the interests of the Spring Citv M. E. Church in
such manner as shall be determined by vote of the society.'^
The first officers were: President, Miss Maggie Swindells;
Vice-president, Mrs. Lizzie Bailey; Secretary, Mrs. Kate C.
Guss, and Treasurer, Mrs. Annie M. Gracey, who has held
this office ever since. The society members pay a monthly
dues of Ten Cents each, meet once a month in regular session,
and occasionally hold special sessions. One of the aims of the
society is to look after the temporal aifairs of the parsonage.
They see that things are all in good comfortable trim at the
home of the pastor. They also meet every incoming pastor
and his family at the parsonage, and see that they have a good
In their earlier history festivals were held under their
direction. As an example, we mention a fair and ice cream
festival which was held nnder the direction of a committee
appointed by the Ladies' Aid. This festival was held for three
consecutive evenings in the unfinished upper room of the
church in June, 1873. So careful were they of the manner
of conducting the affair that no chancing, or questionable
methods of any kind whatever were allowed. Everything was
done in a manner strictly in accordance with the requirements
of the Discipline of the church. A great variety of fancy
needle-work and handiwork of various kinds were prepared
by the ladies and friends of the church. These were sold at
the festival in connection with the usual material dispensed
at a. festival. The total receipts of the occasion were Six
Hundred and Five Dollars and Fifty-five Cents, and the ex-
penditures One Hundred and Twenty-four Dollars and Sev-
enty-seven Cents, leaving a balance of Four Hundred and
Eighty Dollars and Seventy-eight Cents as the net proceeds.
This nice sum was turned over to the building committie
for the purchase of the seating which is still in use in the
lecture room and in the class rooms of the church. This
same Society, on Dedication Day, subscribed Seven Hundred
Dollars toward the new church, and they paid it. During
these twenty-five years, several Thousand Dollars have been
gathered and judiciously applied by the Ladies' Aid of the
church. They are doing their work with a will.
"Feed my Lambs." John 21:15.
As might be expected, the Sabbath-School grew up with
the church whose history we are endeavoring to sketch.
About the same time that preaching services were established
124 HISTOKY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
in the Lyceum, a Sunday-School was organized, 1845. Into
this little room a few of the neighbors gathered the children
of the village and the surrounding territory to instruct them
as best they could, in the truths of the Holy Scriptures.
Mr. Joel Ebbert was the first Superintendent. He was
helped in his work by about eight or ten teachers, some of
whom did not belong to any church nor make any pretension
to Christian fellowship. The school started and was conducted
as a Union Sunday-School. It had at first about twenty-five
or thirty pupils, but the number increased as the weeks came
and went. The sessions were held in the mornings. Some of
the first teachers were Messrs. Gideon Weikel, Amos Gearhart,
James Sogers, John Finkbiner, James Gracey, Sr., and Dan-el
Latshaw, together with Mrs. Scypes, Miss Eliza Ann Rogers,
Miss Sarah Lewis, Miss Ann Crater, and Miss Susan Dismant.
The undertaking flourished from the beginning and it
kept up fully in numbers with the increase of population.
The younger children read from their day-school books, also
from The Union Primer and the Introduction to the Eng-
lish Eeader. The Bible classes read from the Bible.
The school ran thus for about ten years. But in 1863,
after the Union Meeting House became the property of the
Methodists, the members of the Lutheran Church, who were
identified with the school, withdrew, and soon afterward
started a school under their own management on West Bridge
Street in a school-house.
The Union school was held in the Lyceum for about six
years; but it was transferred to the Union Meeting House
after it had 1)een fitted up for church purposes, in 1851.
At first the sessions of the school were conducted during
the summer months only, and closed during the inclement
weather of the winter months. But after the streets and
wide walks of the borough were Ijetter fitted up for travel,
the school was kept open all the j'ear, as now.
Great stress has always been laid on the work of the
Snnday-School by the church. From the beginning of Meth-
odism the Sunday-School has been regarded as the nursery
of the church. Perhaps no other subject in connection with
church work has been more frequently and emphatically re-
ported at the Quarterly Conferences than the Sabbath-Sc-lidol.
And perhaps none has been more effectively held \i\) to the
Throne of Divine Mercy in prayer tban this one. It would
be a little difficult to find a person in the church anywhere
to-day who has not at some period of his or her life been a
member of a Sunday-School, and been taught by a faithful
Some figures, showing the growth of the school at dif-
ferent times as we have been able to cull them from the rec-
ords, may not be out of place here. In 1850 the school num-
bered about forty or forty-five jnipils, and, perhaps, eight or
ten instructors. In the Quarterly Conference held at Cov-
entryville, January 23, 1864, this table, showing the strength
of the seven schools of the Circuit, is recorded: —
1 = 1
Pottstown . . .
Spring ville . . .
Nantmeal. . . .
St. John's . . .
126 HISTOEY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
In 187i, just ten years after this and the year in which
Spring City separated from the Springville and Bethel Cir-
cuit, and became a separate charge, the following occurs on
the Quarterly Conference minutes as reported by the pastor,
Eev. Eli Pickersgill:—
Whole number of pupils enrolled 17(3
iVverage attendance 139
Number of teachers 21
At the First Quarterly Conference, held June 6, 1881,
the Superintendent, Mr. M. F. Sheeler, reported the number
of scholars in the school to be two hundred and ninety-eight,
and the average attendance for the Quarter, one hundred and
ninety-five; and that on May 30th of that year every teacher
was present at the school, and taught his or her class.
At the end of another decade, June, 1891, there were
three hundred and eighty-three scholars enrolled, with forty-
seven teachers and officers to carry on the work of instilling
religious truth into the minds of the young of the school.
It may be in place here to note some of the whole-
some attractions which the Sunday-School, along its history,
has held out to encourage the children to attend. And first
we shall name Children's Day, the second Sunday in June.
This is a gala day for the little folks. In short, it is their
day. On this day they conduct a specially prepared pro-
gramme, and they do it gladly, ilobly, thus showing that they
are interested in the work.
Another attractive occasion for the Sunday-School chil-
dren is the Christmas entertainment, which is usually held on
Christmas eve. To this the children again eagerly contribute
their efforts. How glad they are to receive their gift box of
candy, as well as to speak their pieces and to help in the
The old-fashioned "Celebrations'' have not yet quite lost
their claim on Sunday-School folks. But now Ave call them
''Picnics." The annual Sunday-School excursions are now
added to the list of attractions for the young. And we may
perhaps be pardoned here, if we say that one of the most
noble acts of Christian fellowship that can be carried out,
is to see a grand union Sunday-School excursion going out
to have a pleasant time together. Let this continue. Let
Lutherans, Eeformeds, Methodists, all go together, and show
to the non-church goers that the churches are working to-
gether harmoniously for the furtherance of the Master's
Another powerful motive to enhance the claims of the
Sunday-School is music. God very wisely placed into the
souls of our children the ability to sing, to appreciate, and
to love music, both vocal and instrumental. While the school
was held in the Lyceum, the music was all oral. No melo-
deon or organ ever broke the silence of that sacred room.
Teachers, scholars, all joined together and sang as best they
could the soul-stirring melodies of those times, and the sing-
ing was helpful and encouraging.
So far as can be learned, the first musical instrument
ever used in the L'nion Meeting House was a melodeon, some
time about 1865. This instrument was used occasionally at
the Sunday-School entertainments, and it was loaned for the
occasion by Mr. John E. Lewis, and was played by Mr. Charles
^Yeigel. The ".rst instrument, an organ, was purchased about
128 HISTORY OF SPRmC CITY M. E. CHUECH.
1870, and used in the Sunday-School in the okl church.
When it came to the church, it was unpacked in the evening,
and Miss Maggie Swindells who happened to be present, took
a Sunday-School singing book and played this, as the first
piece on the new instrument: "^'We Are Marching on with
Shield and Banner Bright." The organ was placed in
the northwest corner of the room, and was played by Miss
Bebecca A^anderslice as the first organist. Other organs have
been used since then, and in 1895 a fine upright piano, at a
cost of Two Hundred and Seventy-five Dollars, was placed
in the lecture room of the church for the use of the Sunday-
The following are some of the organists of the school:
Mt. Grriffith Knauer, Mrs. Eebecca (Vanderslice) Brown, Mr.
Grraves Shaner, Miss Kate Shaner, Mrs. Eachel (Peters) Oliver,
and Mrs. Annie (Munshower) Savior.
So far as can now be ascertained, this is the list of super-
intendents of the school, with the date when first chosen: —
IN THE LYCEUM.
Mr. Joel Ebl)ert, 1845 or 1846; Mr. G. A. Shryock, 1847;
Mr. George Binder, 1849; Mr. David Wells, 1851.
IN THE UNION MEETING HOUSE.
Mr. David Wells, 1855; Mr. John Finkbiner, 1857; Mr.
Edward Brownback, 1866; Mr. Samuel Gracey, 1867; Mr. F.
E. Guss, 1872.
IN THE PRESENT CHURCH.
Mr. Samuel Gracey, 1873; Mr. M. F. Sheeler, 1884; Mr.
F. M. Hunter, 1890; Mr. M. F. Sheeler, 1897.
The school now, 1899, enrolls three hundred and sixty-
two, including forty-two teachers and fifteen officers. It has
seven hundred and fift}^ volumes on its library shelves.
This school was organized in November, 1874, with fifty-
four pupils, in class room Xo. 1. Miss Maggie Swindells was
first Superintendent, and she was assisted at that time by Mrs.
Rosa (Lutz) Ullman. In ISS-i the school was removed to the
basement of the church, where it remained until 1892, when
it was transferred to its present quarters. The school now,
1899, numbers one hundred and twenty pupils. It is skill-
fully managed by Mrs. E. A. Bickel, Mrs. Mary L. Place, and
Miss Ida Gracey.
Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness.
"^'Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am
the Lord your God." Lev. 20:7. Also, "Follow peace with all
men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."
Ileb. 12: IL
The meeting for the promotion of this cardinal Bible
doctrine was organized by Mrs. Mary E. Wood, wife of Rev.
J. II. Wood, in July, 1873. She "was assisted in the organiza-
tion by Mrs. Alice Leech and Miss Maggie Swindells. Many
members of the church have been helped and encouraged
in these meetings. The meetings were held at first on Wed-
nesday evenings, afterward on Sunday evenings before regu-
lar preaching services, as now. The meeting has been in
charge of the following persons: Miss Maggie Swindells, Rev.
James Swindells, Mr. John H. Setzler, Miss Lizzie Swindells,
and at present Mr. Joseph Gracey conducts these helpful
130 HISTOKY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
III. Class Meetings.
We read in the Book of Malachi, 3:16, these words:
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another:
and the Lord hearkened, and heard it." Ever since the year
1739, when Eev. John Wesley fonnded and lead the first class
meeting which met weekly on Thursday evenings, the Meth-
odists have regarded the class meeting service as a very valu-
able means of spiritual growth in their church. The church
which has well-attended class meetings will have her aspira-
tions onwards and upwards. The value of these meetings can
scarcely be overestimated.
The first class leader in the church at Springville was
Mr. David Wells, a farmer ,of East Vincent Township, who,
in 1855, had a class of about a dozen members, the entire
church. In 1857 the spiritual direction of this class was trans-
ferred to Mr. John Finkbiner, who still, 1899, advises, re-
proves, exhorts, and comforts the successes of this first class.
The second class was started in 1857 with Mr. Reuben
Davis as leader. Here are the names of the other appointed
leaders: Samuel Gracey, Caleb Hughes, Isaac M. Shantz,
Simeon Keim, M. F. Sheeler, F. M. Hunter, Andrew M. Ort-
lip, J. G. Yeager, John McCann, Joseph M. Sheeler, Isaac
M. Eberly, W. C. Urner, E. B. Hunter, and John F. Garber.
Mr. Eberly, for a short time, lead a class at Kimberton.
AVhen he left the district his class was dissolved.
IV. The Choir.
"0 come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful
noise to the rock of our salvation." Psa. 95:1.
Away back in the fifties there was no organized singing
force in the church at Springville. Some person who could
JOHN F. GARBE.K- I
CLASS LEADERS OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH
do so, would start the singing, and the congregation would
join in and sing as lustily as they could. The first effort ever
made to organize a band of church voices here was made
about the year 1861, by Messrs. John E. Lewis and David G.
V\"ells. That choir was under the leadership of Mr. George
K. Holfman, a singing-school teacher of that day. They had
no musical instrument to guide them except a C tuning-fork,
which was skillfully used by the leader to pitch the tunes.
The choir met around among the houses of its members
weekly, for practice, and they remained together until 1861:,
when the leader moved to Phoenixville. They sat together
in the rear of the church between the doors. Among the
choir singers' names of that time we find: Messrs. George K.
Hoffman, John E. Lewis, David G. Wells, Samuel Gracey,
Charles E. Weigel, Aaron Priest, Willis Bland, together with
these ladies' names: Susan Hill, Henrietta Bland, Martha
Gracey, Susan Gracey, Mary Sheeder, j\Iartha Francis, and
After 1861: the choir interest flagged until finally they
did not meet for practice, and only congregational singing
was used. Messrs. Samuel Gracey and Simeon Keim acted
their part as Precentors in the singing until 1877. But after
the year 1870, when the first organ was placed in the church,
the instrument was used in the singing, and it was played
first by Mr. Griffith Knauer, who sold the organ to the church.
Other players for the choir at that time were Mrs. Eebeeca
(Vanderslice) Brown, Mr. Graves Shaner, and Mrs. Eachel
In the year 1877 the Rev. D. H. Shields, then pastor,
organized the choir which, with its successors, is still render-
ing valuable and efficient service in religious worship. The
organization as then effected, had for its leader Mr. William
134 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Fox, and organist, Mrs. Eachel (Peters) Oliver. Among its
members at that time are the names of Simeon Keim, J. E.
Weikel, J. x\. Guss, Jonathan Seazholtz, Mrs. Ida K. (Sheeler)
Latshaw, Mrs. Florence (Sheeler) Peters, Mrs. Emma (Fox)
Collins, and Mrs. Alice (Rogers) Latshaw. They sang first
in the lecture room, and after 1879, where the choir is now
located. The present Carpenter Organ was purchased in 1888
at a cost of Two Hundred and Eighty-eight Dollars and Sev-
enty-five Cents, and the choir space was enlarged and fixed
as it now is in 1893. Mr. William S. Essick succeeded Mr.
Fox as leader, and served until Mr. Frederick A. Diemer, the
present chorister, took charge in 1888.
The present choir consists of leader, Mr. Frederick A.
Diemer; Organist, Prof. A. C. Anderson, together with these
Soprano — Mrs. Ida K. Latshaw, Mrs. Clara L. Mc-
Michael, Mrs. Granville S. Tyson, Misses Annie L. Mowrey,
Stella Livengood, and Cora E. Loomis.
Alto — Misses Grace B. Tyson, Martha Tyson, and Mrs.
Tenor — Frederick A. Diemer, Dr. H. F. Jones, and Lin-
Bass — Willis 0. McMichael, Brower H. Keiter, Granville
S. Tyson, John H. Mowrej^, Morris C. Keiter, and Loren Guss.
Tlic choir meets weekly on Friday evenings at the church
for practice. Such, briefly, is the history of the organized
singing of the church. Up to the present clioir no solos,
duets, trios, quartets, nor choruses were rendered, nor was
the organ heard during revival service. The soul-stirring
melodies which are now so frequently and artistically ren-
dered wore luiknown to the older Methodists. They never
enjoyed such vocal harmony.
The choir of to-day is under a very skillful and efficient
management. The church owes these faithful Christian
musicians a great debt of gratitude for their untiring services.
There is great power in religious song properly rendered.
When the facts are disclosed in heaven, many, no doubt, will
be among the saved who can say that they were first impelled
to lead a religious life through the inspiration of a hymn
V. Epavorth League.
The Spring City Chapter of the Epworth League, No.
3610, was organized September 8, 1890, with these officers: —
President — Eeuben B. Hunter.
First Vice-president — Miss Sallie J. Diemer.
Second Vice-president — Mr. Joseph A. Coulsnn.
Tliird Vice-president — Mrs. Laura A''. (Hiklenbrand)
Fourth Vice-president — Mrs. Anna (Smith) Cook.
Secretary — Miss Jane Noble.
Treasurer — Mr. Wayne Forrest.
As stated in the constitution, the object of the League is
"to promote intelligent and loyal piety in the young mem-
bers and friends of the church; to aid them in the attainment
of purity of heart and in constant growth in grace, and to
train them in work of mercy and help."
The membership are organized and are set to accom-
plish the ends attempted, under these departments of work:
1. Department of Christian Work. 2. Mercy and Help. 3.
Literary Work. 4. Entertainment. 5. Correspondence. 6.
138 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
The members also bind themselves to hold one meeting
a week for devotional services. They also hold a business
meeting once a month. Entertainments of a wholesome and
elevating character are also given at these business meetings.
The League has done a great deal of good thus far in its
eight years' work. A wide field of usefulness is open to the
membership of this valuable adjunct to the church. Their
meetings are helpful and encouraging. This organization now
numbers about one hundred members. Their motto is:
"Look up! Lift up!"
the junior epwoeth league.
This branch of League work was organized by Rev. D.
Mast Gordon on May 12, 1894. Forty-nine members at once
joined the work. They decided to hold their meetings on
alternate Sunday mornings at 9.30 o'clock. This body of
young Christian workers is under the direction of a superin-
tendent who is appointed by the pastor of the church. They
are instructed on the lines of Christian living, and in such
other matters as will be a guide to the youth of the church.
VI. The Loyal Temperance Legion; or. Junior
The Eev. N. D. McComas, in the year 1884, organized
this body of little temperance workers, together with Mrs.
Clara L. (Hildenbrand) McMichael as its first president. She
held this position until 1886, when Miss Sallie J. Diemer
took charge of the temperance instruction of the little folks,
and she still is faithfully performing her delightful task. She
and her loyal band are all happy in their efforts to do some-
thino- for their Master.
The temperance catechism was at first used as a text-
book of instruction; but, lately a wider range of Bible tem-
perance instruction is given. This is mixed with a great deal
of pleasant song singing.
The meetings w^ere at first held in the infant room of
the church on Saturday afternoons. Soon this room grew too
small, and the class for the last ten years has met in the
lecture room of the church on Sunday mornings.
Miss Diemer's temperance class is one of the attractive
institutions of the church. It is well attended, and is very
popular among the little folks. In the year 1889 this class
won the banner for being the largest organized class of tem-
perance workers in the country. Now, 1899, there are one
hundred and fifty-three pupils' names on the roll, sixty-six
of whom are pledged. During last year there were purchased
and distributed six thousand five hundred and eighty pages
of temperance literature by its members.
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and
he delighteth in his way.'' Psa. 27:23.
This venerable gentleman, one of the oldest and most
highly respected citizens of Spring City, both in and outside
the church, was born in East Vincent Township, Chester
County, Pa., August 8, 1818. He first saw the light of day
on a farm now (1899) owned by Mr. Eber Finkbiner, a nephew
of our sketch. He is the son of Jacob and Mary (Christman)
Finkbiner. On the day that the boy John was nine months
old, his father died.
Until he was seventeen years old the boy remained at
home on the farm with his mother, who afterward married
Mr. Frederick Yost.
The boy received his early education in the common
schools of his district. Afterward he spent three terms at the
Trappe Boarding School, kept at that time by Prof. Henry
Prizer. While there the young man applied himself dili-
gently in further pursuit of the Common English branches,.
As early manhood began to dawn upon Mr. Finkbiner, he
had a great desire to learn the trade of carpenter, but in this
vocation he was disappointed. As his physical frame at that
time was not very robust, he began to stand in a store. First
JOHN FINKBINER, AGED 50 YEARS
he was employed (1837) by Mr. James Eogers, Sr., then for
his brother Jesse Finkbiner, 1838-9, in Springville, at the
locks jnst below where the clrygoods store of A. F. Tyson now
stands. After standing in a store in Philadelphia and at
Sieglersville, Montgomery Connty, he went to farming.
He then engaged for his sisters, Misses Eliza Yost and
Snsan Finkbiner, on a farm in what is now Spring City, and
he lived in the old farmhouse on Main Street, opposite the
canal bridge. Here he remained until 1887, when the farm
was cut lip into building lots and sold. Xow beautiful houses
and streets occupy the once productive fields, especially along
Mr. Finkl>iner Joined the Lutheran Church at Zion's in
his seventeenth year, where he remained in church fellowship
until about 1855. During these years he was without a knowl-
edge of saving faith in a Living Eedeemer. But in 1840,
while attending a Baptism at the Baptist Church in Phoenix-
ville, he was convicted of sin, and he remained under this
conviction at times until 1852, when he began in earnest to
seek the pardon of his sins. While reading his Bible one day
he received light, but he did not tell it to any one. Then
he fell into spiritual darkness worse than before. He again
sought the Lord in prayer, even going at 3 o'clock in the
morning to Mr. George M. Binder on Hall Street, for prayer.
While he was one day praying on the hay mow, he was
directed by the Holy Spirit to retire to the house and read
his Bible again. This he did, and his eyes fell on Isaiah 49,
verses 13 to 17. As he read these verses his burden of sin
rolled away, and he accepted the Lord as his personal Saviour
amidst a flood-tide of spiritual happiness and ineiTable joy!
Li 1855 he Joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in
Springville, where he has since remained. He was one of the
144 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
first trustees who bought the church in 1855, and he and Mr.
David Wells, a drover, made themselves individually responsi-
ble for the debt of One Thousand One Hundred and Thirty-
five Dollars which was against the church property. Mr.
Wells failed to assume his share of the claim; hence Mr. Fink-
biner himself paid the remaining debt, Eight Hundred Dol-
lars, in the year 1868, thus freeing the church property from
financial claims. In 1873, after the new church had been
built, he again gathered up and paid all the outstanding
claims against the church propert}^, and took a lien on the
same. Indeed, it is not too much to say that Mr. Finkbiner
has been the financial pillar of the Spring City M. E. Church.
The spiritual services of this Christian gentleman to the
church cannot be estimated. He has left behind him a monu-
ment of actual services Avhich may well be followed by all.
He has been a teacher in the Sunday-School since about 1847,
except when he was superintendent, 1857 to 1866. He has
been a Class Leader since 1857 — now over Forty Years. He
has been a member of the Trustee Board since 1855, and he
has been their trusted Treasurer most of this time, as well
as being Treasurer of the Sunday-School fund. His books
show that he has been scrupulously careful of all the receipts
and the expenditures which passed through his hands.
In conclusion it is proper to say that "Uncle John," as
he is tenderly called, has been a very liberal contributor to all
the needs of the church financially. He has lived a careful,
clean, consciencious Christian life. The services of the church
have always Ijeen a feast to his soul. He has wonderful power
in prayer, and it will be a long time before the Spring City
Methodist Episcopal Church will produce another "Uncle
Eev. James Swixdells.
Eev. James Swindells was born in England, January
25, 1805. His father had been an eminent Wesleyan local
preacher, and hence he was trained up in the faith and belief
of the same mode of worship. "Father Swindells," as he was
familiarly called here, was early converted, and he gave him-
self earnestly to spiritual things.
He had been licensed as a local preacher in his native
country. After he came to this country he still continued
to preach. He was made a Deacon at Philadelphia in 1860,
and at Norristown, in 1875, he was constituted an Elder.
This title he maintained through life.
"Father Swindells" was a close Bible student through life.
He held that, in order to have one's faith strong and un-
swerving, a Christian must feed his spiritual appetite on the
Word of God. He, himself, read his Bible a great deal while
on his knees. His preaching was sound, forcible, and full of
the Word. He had a wonderful ability in quoting Scripture
at all times. We have rarely met a person whose abiding
faith was so implicit.
He was a strong advocate of Bible Holiness, and he took
a great interest in the holiness meetings of the church while
he was here. He died April 20, 1885. The Eev. Mr. Swin-
dells was married in Manchester, England, to Mss Margaret
Howe, in the month of May, 1828. Kine children blessed
their home, which was always a pleasant one. Tbe names of
the offspring in order are: Martha. Maria, deceased; Eachel,
deceased; Margaret, deceased; Elizabeth, Christian; James,
deceased; William, deceased, and John T.
Two of the sons, William and John T., entered the min-
istry of the Methodist Episcojial Clmrch. and forged their
146 HISTOEY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
way to the front rank of their calling. The Eev. William
was, for a number of years, Presiding Elder of the North-
west Philadelphia District of the Philadelphia Conference,
and he filled the position with masterly ability. A great at-
tachment always existed among the members of ''Father
Swindells" family for their sainted father.
Eev. Benjamin La Pish.
This prominent young man was born at Greensborough,
K C, April 15, 1868. He came to Pennsylvania Avith his
parents soon afterward. He was converted at Friedensville
M. E. Church, Lehigh County, in 1883, then joined the
church at the above place. Afterward he joined the M. E.
Church at Boyertown. He received his first exhorter's license
from Eev. J. V. Duffey while here in 1886. At the Quarterly
Conference held at Spring City, December 22, 1888, he re-
ceived his first local preacher's license. On March 15, 1896,
he was ordained Local Deacon by the Philadelphia Annual
Conference. He then preached two years at the Yardley M.
E. Church. During the summer of 1892 he supplied the
pulpit at Landsdale. During 1896 and '97 he served the
East Park Church at Thirty-third and Columbia Avenue,
Philadelphia, and he is now (1899) at Bethel serving the
Master and the people there.
In preparing himself for the life work which our brother
so keenly felt was impressed upon him by the Holy Spirit, he
attended the Pennington Seminary for four years. He then
took a course of training at the University of Pennsylvania,
graduating from the same in the class of '96 with the degree
of A. B. Eev. La Pish is well equipped for a life of useful
service in the cause of his Lord and Master.
LOCAL PREACHERS OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH
On the eighteenth of June, 189(3, oiir young man of God
led Miss Clara Misson, of Philadelphia, to the hymeneal altar,
where they were united as man and wife. George Benjaminj,
an interesting child, now makes their home joyous.
Eev. John Flint.
The subject of this sketch first saw the light of this worU
at Derby, England, in 18-18, and came to the United States
in 1862, and located at Pliiladelphia. He received the ordi-
nary common school education of the schools of his district.-
He was converted in 1864, and joined the Front Street M.
E. Church, Philadelphia, immediately. His faith and abili-
ties soon led the brethren of his church to see that he was a
proper person to receive license to exhort. Through timidity
at that time he refused the call. But when he joined the
Spring City Church, through the influence of the Spirit, he
was led to see differently. He then accepted his exhorter's
Hcense from Eev. D. H. Shields, February 23, 1879, and on
August 18th, of the same year. Presiding Elder Eev. George
Cummings gave him his first license to preach.
Eev. Flint was ordained Deacon in 1885, and in 1889 he
was ordained Elder. He has been stationed as minister as
follows: Valley Forge, 1886 to 1893; Evansburg, 1890 to 1895,
and since 1897 at Boyertown, Berks County. Prior to these
regular appointments he preached every two weeks at Lim-
erick, now Linfield, and served one year under Presiding
Elder, Eev. William Swindells.
Besides his preaching services, Mr. Flint has always been
a great worker in the Sabbath School. In this work he takes
a special delight. He has been of much service in class lead-
ing also. Eev. Flint is still in the prime of life and he is
doinsf excellent work for the Master. His sermons are full of
150 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
helpful doctrine, truly Methodistic, and they are well re-
ceived by his hearers. A well-equipped library of travel, his-
tory, biography, science, literature, art, and theology is skill-
fully used Ijy the Rev. Mr. Flint in preparing himself for the
On November 25, 1869, Mr. Flint and Miss Mary A.
Newell wended their way to the parsonage of the Front Street
Methodist Church, Philadelphia, where they were pronounced
man and wife by the Eeverend T. W. Simpers. Three chil-
dren have played around their fireside: AVilliam J., deceased;
Martha E., and M. Alice, who still survive.
Rev. Samuel Gracey.
The Rev. Samuel Gracey was born in the city of Phila-
delphia, August 25, 1835. His educational opportunities were
narrowed down to a few terms in the Public Schools in East
Tincent Township, Chester County, Pa. His father had a
■small library. Into this the boy Samuel plunged, and read
and re-read everything upon which he could lay his hands.
Mr. Gracey learned the trade of tailoring from his father,
James Gracey. This trade has been the main support of his
During four years of Rev. Mr. Gracey's early life, he had
access to Dr. Frederick HeckeFs voluminous library of his-
tory, travel, and literature. The evenings of the young man
were spent during this time in reading. He also took a lively
interest in the debating societies then held hereabouts.
During the great revival of the winter of 1857 and '58,
Mr. Gracey walked from Prick's Locks, on a rainy Saturday
night, and he M^as soundly converted in the Methodist Epis-
copal Church at Springville, under the pastorate of Rev.
Joseph Dare. This sterling event changed the whole life of
our young man of twenty-two summers. He commenced then
to study his Bible, and became a great reader. This habit of
systematic reading he has kept up ever since.
In tlie year 1859 Mr. Gracey was recommended by his
class as a subject for preacher's orders. Eev. James Cunning-
ham, then Presiding EMer, gave the usual examination to
Mr. Gracey, and licensed him, on January 25, 1859. On
Sunday afternoon, January 26th, Mr. Gracey, in the presence
of the Elder, preached his first sermon from Rev. 3:20. The
Rev. Mr. Gracey has been a man of great and valuable service
to the church of his choice. He preached the first Methodist
sermon ever preached at Royersford. This was preached on
a Sunday afternoon in Hobson's School-House, to an audience
of Sunday-School workers. He organized the Hobson Union
Sunday-School in 1857, and was its first Superintendent,
which office he held for four consecutive years. He ass'sted
in organizing the Garwood Sunday-School, and during two
years he preached every four weeks in the Garwood School-
House. He served for four years as Vice-president of the
Joanna Pleights Camp Meeting Association.
In 188-1 Rev. Mr. Gracey was called to reorganize the
Evans])urg Methodist Episcopal Church, which then had lost
its influence on the community. By appointment of the Pre-
siding Elder, he served the church there until 1890. In 1887
a gracious revival broke out, and the church received a great
In 1890 he was sent to Valley Forge, where he admin-
istered the Word with his usual fidelity and pathos to the
Methodist people of that historic spot. He remained here
until 1895, when he was removed by the "time limit" of the
Discipline. AVhile here the Lord honored the services of his
people by sending, during the winter of 1893, a revival which
152 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
reached about eighty souls, many of whom are yet living a
happy religious life.
Besides the above, the Eev. Mr. Gracey has helped at
his home church during every revival that has been held
since he Joined the church in 1857. He has led a class at
Spring City since about 1859. No pen can tell the amount
of good which has been accomplished in the church by this
devout man of God. He is the real type of a Local Preacher;
always ready and willing to respond when he is asked to ad-
minister the Word. He has preached in most of the school-
houses within a large radius of his home. He still wears the
ministerial robes, and preaches whenever he has an oppor-
tunity to do so. His abilities as a Minister are assured from
the fact of his numerous calls to the pulpits of other churches,
as well as of his own. The pulpits of all the other Christian
denominations with, perhaps, one exception in this vicinity,
have also been filled by the subject of our sketch. Eev. Mr.
Gracey celebrated the Fortieth anniversary of his ministerial
services on January 25, 1899, in the presence of a good audi-
ence, by preaching from Deut. 8:2, "Thou shalt remember
all the way which the Lord, thy God, led thee these forty
The sermon was full of beautiful and pleasant reminis-
cences of the work which has been done by this faithful, but
humble, servant of the Redeemer, and it was eloquently de-
The Reverend Dr. Gracey and Miss Annie M. Grimm
were united in the Holy Bonds of Matrimony at the Lutheran
parsonage, Phoenixville, by the Rev. William Weaver, on De-
cember 10, 1856. Three children have come into their home:
Ida I., William Hazel, deceased, and Susie C.
Rev. Andrew M. Ortlip.
This Eeverend gentleman was born in Spring City, Jan-
nary 14, 1855, and was edncated in the pnblie schools of his
native borongh. He was converted during a revival at the
M. E. Church on December 11, 1883. He joined the chnrch
in July, 1883. He received his first license to preach Feb-
nary -i, 1886. He served his church, doing what he could to
advance the work of the Lord. In the year 1887 he felt im-
pelled to carry the Gospel to the benighted people of Africa.
He carried out his convictions, and on October 1st, of this
year, he took passage on the steamer "City of Richmond,"
from Xew York, going by way of Liverpool, England. From
Liverpool he sailed on the British steamer "Mandingo," and
arrived at Cape Palmas, Africa, November 5th. He was
soon sent about seventy-five miles interior to a place called
"Tawky." Here he preached to the natives through the
medium of a Liberian interpreter.
Often he would proceed to the shade of a large fruit
tree, hang his umbrella on a branch of the tree, sing a hymn
or two, and make a prayer. By this time a few of the aston-
ished natives were around him when he opened the Scriptures
AA'hile in Africa under Rev. William Taylor's Bishopric,
Mr. Ortlip was ordained a Deacon. February 20, 1890, in the
African Annual Conference, during one of its sessions at
Cape Palmas, Liberia.
During his sojourn in Africa Rev. Mr. Ortlii) sustained
himself by first clearing the land of its trees and brush. He
then planted the ground with pine-apples, plantains, sweet
potatoes, rice, bananas, bread-fruit, cassava, coffee, cocoa-nuts,
lemons, pawpaws, and other African products, for food.
154 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
AMiile abroad he visited the Island of Maderia; also the
Canary Islands. He left the self-snstaining missionary work
of Africa after the lapse of three years. He returned home
in September of the year 1890. At Cape Palmas he took sail
on a German vessel, and came by way of Hamburg, arriving
in New York on the above date. He and his family are at
present (1899) living in the State of California.
On September 28, 1889, Mr. Ortlip proceeded to the
clerk of the court of Maryland County, Eepublic of Liberia,
and procured a marriage license in accordance with the cus-
toms of the place. The document is all made out in hand-
writing on one side of a half sheet of foolscap paper and bears
the seal, "Eepublic of Liberia, Court of Quarter Sessions."
We quote from the instrument as follows: "Whereas, Andrew
Ortlip and Clara Binkley are desirous of being joined together
in Holy Wedlock, and as there exists, to my knowledge, no
legal barrier of the said Andrew Ortlip and Clara Binkley
being joined in Holy Wedlock, it is, therefore, the privilege of
any Ordained Minister of the Gospel, Judge, or Justice of the
Peace of the aforesaid county and Eepublic to join the said
Andrew Ortlip and Clara Binl-leij in the bonds of Holy
Matrimony." The signature of J. Thomas E. Brooks is at-
The Eeverend B. E. Kephart, Presiding Elder of tbe
District, pronounced the solemn rites of marriage between
the above contracting parties at Cape Palmas, Liberia, on
September 30, 1889. He gave a marriage certificate, written
by hand, on a thin piece of tablet paper about five by eight
inches in size, and the entire certificate is made out in sev-
Two boys have cheered the home of Eeverend Mr. and
Mrs. Ortlip. Their names are Titus and Paul.
The clerk of the court above, Mr. J. Thomas E. Brooks,
is a jet-black colored man. So are all the government offi-
cials of the Eepublic of Liberia. They will not concede any
rights whatever to a white man, not even selling him any
Reuben B. Hunter.
This bright, promising young man was born in the bor-
ough of Spring City on July 13, 1869. He attended the
Public Schools of his borough, and completed the course of
instruction prescribed therein. His Diploma bears the date
of 1885. Soon after graduating he connected himself with
the Mowrey-Latshaw Hardware firm of which he is now a
He sought and found the Lord in the year 1883, at
Spring City M. E. Church. He immediately joined the
church. During his church life of fifteen years he has been
a Class Leader, a Teacher in the Sabbath School, and an
active worker in the Epworth League.
He was licensed to exhort in the year 1891, and in 1898
he received his first commission as a Local Preacher and
commenced to study the four years' course now prescribed for
the Local Preachers. A life of useful opportunities lies be-
fore this enthusiastic young man of God.
On Christmas night, 1896, Rev. Mr. Hunter and Miss
Anna M. Dunlap took upon themselves the marriage vow.
Prank M., an interesting bov, now plays around the fireside.
"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the
Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things."
An attempt is here made to produce the names of the
pastors who have been more or less regularly appointed to
preach at Springville-Spring City church. These dates have
been carefully collected from the historical records of the
church which are kept at the Book-room, No. 1018 Arch
Street, Philadelphia. The Quarterly Conference records have
also been consulted in making out the list. There most likely
were other ministers who preached here, but in the main the
list here produced is correct. The first name in the list is
that of the Senior Preacher, or Preacher in Charge; the sec-
ond is the name of the Junior, who acted under the direction
of the Senior Minister: —
1845, Revs. Peter J. Cox, and John Shields.
1846, Revs. J. W. Arthur, and John A. Watson.
1847, Revs. J. W. Arthur, and John A. Watson.
1848, Revs. John C. Thomas, and John A. Watson.
1849, Revs. John C. Tliomas, and James E. Meredith.
1850, Revs. George R. Crooks, and John A. Watson
1851, Revs. Allen John, and Joshua H. Turner.
1852, Revs. James Hand, and Levi B. Bickley.
^"^ flK<^ BREVELI PICKER5GILL ^ fSi^^jjI^i
PASTORS WHO HAVE PREACHED IN THE PRESENT CHURCH
1853, Eevs. James Hand, and William E. Manlove.
1854, Eevs. Abraham Freed, and John F. Meredith.
1855, Eevs. Abraham Freed, and Noble Frame.
1856, Eevs. John Edwards, and William T. Magee.
1857, Eevs. Joseph Dare, and N. W. Bennnm.
1858, Eevs. Daniel L. Patterson, and L. C. Pettitt.
1859, Eevs. Daniel L. Patterson, and J. Brandreth.
1860, Eevs. John B. Dennison, and Isaac Mast.
1861, Eevs. John B. Dennison, and J. A. AVatson.
1863, Eevs. Valentine Gray, and Lorenzo D. McClin-
1863, Eevs. Joseph Aspril, and D. W. Gordon.
.^ 186-4, Eevs. Samnel G. Hare, and Samnel H. Eeisner.
1865, Eevs. Samuel G. Hare, and T. P. Thompldns.
1866, Eevs. John Allen, and Adam L. Wilson.
1867, Eevs. John Allen, and Thomas Harrison. ©
Springville and Bethel Circuit.
1868-9, Eev. Jacob P. Miller.
1870-1, Eev. Eichard Turner.
1872-4. Eev. John H. AVood.
Sprixg City a Separate Charge.
1874-7, Eev. Eli Piclversgill.
1877-9, Eev. David H. Shields.
1879-82, Eev. Joseph B. Graff.
1882-5, Eev. Nicholas D. McComas.
1885-8, Eev. Henry B. Cassavant.
1888-91, Eev. Josiah Bawden.
1891-4, Eev. Lucien B. Brown.
1894-7, Eev. D. Mast Gordon.
1897, Eev. Stephen H. Evans.
160 history of spiung city m. e. ckurch.
The following Presiding Elders have looked after the
general welfare of the church since the year 1855: — -
1855-9, Eev. James Cunningham.
1859-63, Eev. T. J. Thompson.
1863-7, Eev. William L. Grav.
1867-72, Eev. J. Castle.
1872-3, Eev. W. H. Elliott.
1873-7, Eev. Peter J. Cox.
1877-81, Eev. George Cummings.
1881-3, Eev. William Swindells.
1883-7, Eev. Joseph Welch.
1887-91, Eev. J. F. Meredith.
1891-7, Eev. S. W. Thomas.
1897, Eev. William L. McDowell.
The Springville-Spring City M. E. Church has been con-
nected with the following Districts of the Philadelphia Con-
1845-57, Eeading District, Pottstown Circuit.
1857-8, Eeading District, Evanshurg Mission.
1858-9, Eeading District, Perkiomen Circuit.
1859-66, Eeading District, Pottstown Circuit.
1866-8, Eeading District, Coventryville Circuit.
1868-70, Eeading District, Springville and Bethel Cir-
1870-3, Central Philadelphia District, Springville and
1873-4, Schuylkill District, Springville and Bethel Cir-
1874-7, Schuylkill District, Spring City, a separate
1877-81, Susquehanna District.
1881-99, Northwest Philadelphia District.
The financial macliinery of the church has not always
heen worked up to the systematic methods which are to-day
employed. One of the marked instances of church success
liere is shown in the liberal hand whiclAis everywhere seen
in church work. But it was not always so. The people used
to make their church contributions quarterly to their Class
Leader. This Avas usually done at the class meetings. These
■contributed amounts were placed to the credit of the donor,
on the class books. At the Quarterly Conferences the Class
Leaders paid the amounts over to the pastors.
This method was in vogue at the Spring City church
imtil the year 1879, when the envelope system of the present
day was adopted. The plan in use now is that the collections
for the Trustees' and the Stewards' Boards are all taken to-
gether. They then are divided. One-third of the money is
given to the Trustees, and the balance is for the use of the
Stewards. The most of the money which the Stewards re-
ceive goes for the support of the Gospel.
•We append here the ingathering of the church for the
fiscal year ending March 1, 1898.
162 history of spring city m. e, church.
To Balance from 1897 $31.03
To Envelope Collections 1554.38
To Lease Collections 308.89
To Extra Collections 30.00
By Pastors Salary $1200.00
By Trustees' Fund 621.06
By Elder and Bishops 56.00
By Moving Expenses 15.00
By Organ Boy 12.00
By Sacramental Wine 5.00
By District Steward 1.27
By Envelope Chart 1.00
By Balance in Treasury 2.97
To Balance from 1897 $3.33
To Amounts from Stewards 621.06
To Subscriptions 91.24
To Amount from Ladies' Aid 24.95
FINANCIAL POLICY. 163
By Interest paid $217.50
By Sexton's Salary 144.00
By Eepairs 95.94
By Coal 88.73
By Book Eacks 71.75
By Electric Light 69.03
By Insurance 23.75
By Taxes 21.54
By Water and AYood 8.34
To Cluirch Contributions $309.00
To Sunday-School Contributions 117.00
To Donations 60.00
To Ladies' Guild 5.00
By Money paid over to M. E. Hospital. $431. 00
By Donations Forwarded 60.00
To Sunday-School $285.00
To Church 25.95
To Epworth League 25.00
To Junior Epworth League 17.00
164 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHUECll.
Bv Amount Paid to the Missionary
To Amount Eeceived First Quarter . . .
To Amount Eeceived Second Quarter. .
To Amount Eeceived Third Quarter. .
To Amount Received Fourth Quarter.
By Books and Supplies $122.78
By Sundries 83.08
By Printing 12.00
By Balance in Treasury 99.12
Epworth League Fund.
To Balance ^.25
To Missionary Boxes 11.75
To Silver Collections 10.20
To Loose Collections 21.71
By Amount to Missions $25.00
By Printing 9.50
By Donation to Organist 7.50
By Bouquets "^ 2.00
FINANCIAL POLICY. 165
By Donation (Shoes) 1.90
By Balance in Treasury 2.01
Junior Epworth League Fund.
To Balance $3.52
To Monthly Dues 7.05
To Other Collections 21.37
Bv Amount to Missions $17.00
By Books 2.42
By Picnic Expenses 2.00
By Badges 1.75
By Supplies 1.20
By Missionary Boxes 75
By Balance I 6.82
Ladies' Aid Society Fund.
To Balance $65.45
To Dues During Year 86.55
To Market Eeceipts 27.22
By Amount paid Church $123.75
Bv Amount paid Parsonage 21.73
By Balance 33.74
166 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
The Poor Fund.
To Balance $17.40
To Collections 34.00
By Expenses for the Poor $25.60
By Balance in Treasury 25.80
The Loyal Temperance Legion.
To Balance $44.69
To Loose Collections 20.18
By Sundry Expenses $29.39
By Balance 35.48
The Choir Fund.
To Balance $1.78
To Collections 5.36
By Special Music $6.14
By Psalm Books 75
By Balance 25
FINANCIAL POLICY. 167
REGISTRY OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL
CHURCH OF SPRING CITY, PA.
Rev. Stephen H. Evans.
Samuel Gracet. John Flint.
Reuben B. Hunter.
Morris F. Sheeler. Jesse G. Yeager.
Jacob K. Jones. John F. Garber.
Joseph A. Coulston.
President, Jesse G. Yeager.
Secretary, J. R. Weikel.
Treasurer, John Finkbiner.
E. Allen Bickel. John A. Keiter.
Enos F. Grubb. Anthony Vanhook.
Thomas G. Wynn. Uriah B. Garber.
Morris F. Sheeler. Irwin I. Wells.
Jacob K. Jones. Webster C. Urner.
Allen A. Brower. John H. Davis.
Joseph I. Mowrey. Andrew F. Tyson.
A. Lincoln Tyson. Dr. J. Winfield Good.
Frederick A. Diemer. J. Walter Sheeler.
Recording Secretary, Willis 0. McMichael.
Financial Secretary, Jesse G. Yeager.
Recording Steward, W. C. Urner.
District Steward, M. F. Sheeler.
168 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
No. 1. JoHX FiXKBiNER Sunday Morning.
No. 3. Morris F. Sheeler Sunday Morning.
No. 3. Samuel Gracey' Tuesday Evening.
No. 4. Webster C. Urner Tuesday Evening.
No. 5. John F. Garber Thursday Evening.
No. 6. Jesse G. Yeager Thursday Evening,
No. 7. Eeuben B. Hunter Thursday Evening.
No. 8. Miss Sallie J. Diemer,
Temperance Sunday Morning.
Organized ahout 1845.
Superintendent, Morris F. Sheeler.
Assistant Superintendent, Joseph A. Coulston.
Secretary, John H. Mowrey.
Treasurer, John Finkbiner.
Librai'ian, Jacob E. Weikel.
Chorister, Linford McMichael.
Pianist, Miss M. Alice Flint.
Superintendent, Mrs. E. A. Bickel.
Assistants, Mrs. Mary L. Place.
Miss Ida Gracey.
Organist, Miss Ida Bickhart.
Ladies^ Aid Society.
Organized September 4, 1872.
President, Mrs. Mary Flint.
Secretary, Mrs. Mary L. Place.
Treasurer, Mrs. Annie M. Gracey.
FINANCIAL POLICY. 169
Oryanized September 8, 1890.
President, Willis 0. Mc]\Iichael.
Vice-president, Charles Chessman.
Secretary, Alice Duxlap.
Treasurer, George Naylor.
Junior Epirortk League.
Organized May 12, 1894.
President, Dr. H. F. Jones.
Secretary, Miss Lillie Xoble.
Treasurer, J. Oliver Place.
The Loyal Temperance Legion.
Leader, Miss Sallie J. Diemer.
President, Frederick A. Diemer.
Treasurer, Brower H. Keiter.
Organist, Prof. A. C. Anderson.
Organ Boy, Thomas G. Morgan.
Organized April, 1898.
President, A. Lincoln Tyson.
A. Lincoln Tyson. Eeuben B. Hunter.
Joseph A. Coulston. Franklin Wade.
Elias F. Forrest. Charles Davis.
Clarence Walley. Isaac Dubson.
"And other sheep I have which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and
there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." John 10:16.
We hereby give a short sketch of Grod's working among
the other churches of the borough at Spring City. The older
readers of this book well remember that at first the people of
all opinions, faith, and creeds worshiped together. Many, no
doubt, can well call to remembrance the happy times spent
together in church and Sunday-School work in the Lyceum,
and later, in the Union Meeting House. Hence we have
' gathered what few facts came within our reach, and we here
give them for your perusal. In the scarcity of written rec-
ords to be consulted, we have done the best we could to col-
lect the facts which form these sketches.
EOYEESFORD MeTHODIST EPISCOPAL ChURCH.
On the first Sunday in May, 1857, at 2 o'clock in the
afternoon, a Union Sunday-School was organized in the old
Hobson's School-house, now torn down. Five officers, ten
teachers, and forty-one pupils made up that school, which was
held in the summer months, for several years. Mr. Samuel
Gracey was its first Superintendent.
The patrons of this school, as well as some of the neigh-
bors, wished to have the Gospel preached. Their wants were
OTHER CHURCHES. . 173
soon gratified. The announcement was made in the school
that preaching services wonld be held after Simday-School.
The last Sabbath in May of 1861 was the time appointed for
this religious worship, and Eev. Samuel Gracey, who then
held his second annual local preacher's license, agreed to ad-
minister the Word.
Accordingly, at 3.30 p.m. on the above date, the Rev.
Mr. Gracey stepped up to the teacher's desk, looked around,
and he was pleased to see such a fine audience about him.
The teachers and scholars had stayed after Sunday-School,
and some of the nearby neighbors had come in also, to hear
the first sermon ever preached at Eoyersford by a Methodist.
The preacher's pulpit was not nicely upholstered; he did not
preach from a large gilt-edged Bible whose marker hung down
over the edge of the pulpit. There was no couch standing in
the rear of the pulpit waiting to rest the weary minister after
a laborious pulpit effort. No; nothing of the kind. Our
preacher of the occasion simply started a hymn, and the audi-
ence Joined in with him. After prayer had been offered,
another hymn was sung. Then the speaker of the hour
picked up a small Sunday-School Bible, went behind the old
pine desk where many a day-school teacher had held domin-
ion, and here, without a note or an eye-help of any kind, he
poured the Gospel into the ears, and perhaps into the hearts
as well, of his auditors.
Rev. Mr. Gracey continued these preaching services once
a month until the Sunday-School closed in the fall. At
nearly all the services the congregation filled the house. In
very warm weather the services were held in the woods
nearby. Twenty years were yet to elapse before any special
effort was to be put forth to estal)lish Methodism permanently
in Royersford. The borough, which had been incorporated by
174 HISTOEY OF SPKING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
charter on June 14, 1879, still increased in population, and
at that time about Six Hundred people were within the bor-
ough limits. About forty or fifty people at the Ford were
members of the church at Spring City. These church-goers
were obliged to cross the river to attend all religious services.
This, in inclement weather, was not pleasant. Oftentimes
these devout followers of the sainted Eev. John Wesley were
deprived of religious services on account of the distance.
The project of having a Chapel built at the "Ford'' was
frequently brought up in the official meetings of the church
boards. But nothing definite was accomplished until in April,
1881, when the pastor, Eev. Joseph B. Graff, called a meeting
of the male members in full connection with the church, as
he said, "for mutual consideration and advice." The subject
was well considered, and viewed from all sides. No decision,
however, was reached at that meeting. Consequently a sec-
ond meeting of all the votaries of the church was convened,
by the pastor, on Friday evening, May 6th, following.
At this second meeting two projects were presented for
consideration. One was the erection of a Chapel at Koyers-
ford; and the other was the building of a Parsonage at Spring
City. The meeting was characterized by a free, harmonious
expression of opinion. Some argued for Chapel; others for
a Parsonage. When the vote was taken the result was:
Twenty-six had voted for a Chapel, and Eiffht for a Parsonage.
That settled it. The Chapel folks were delighted. They
could now look forward to the time Avhen they, too, could
have religious services nearer home.
A CHAPEL BUILT.
Mr. Daniel Latshaw, a Christian gentleman connected
with the Mennonite Church, donated a lot of ground, 75 by
OTHER CHUECHES. 177
200 feet, on which a neat, one-story brick Chapel was built.
The present elegant church stands on the same lot. ]\Iessrs.
M. F. Sheeler, Allen Eogers, John Bisbing, William S. Essick,
and S. B. Latshaw, composed the building committee to su-
perintend the affair. On September 21, 1881, the corner-
stone was laid with the usual services as prescribed by the
Discipline. Presiding Elder, "William Swindells, and Eevs.
G. D. Carrow, George S. Broadbent, William Bamford, John
Bell, James Swindells, and Samuel Gracey, were present and
assisted the pastor at the services. The work was pushed for-
Avard during the fall and spring. On Sabbath, March 5, 1882,
the building, 32 feet 6 inches by 52 feet 6 inches, was
solemnly dedicated to the worship of Almighty God in the
usual way. On that day Bishop Matthew E. Simpson, D.D.,
LL.D., preached at Sjmng City at 10 a.m. Eev. J. G. Bick-
erton preached at the Chapel at 2.30 p.m., where the dedica-
tory services were performed. At 7.30 p.m.. Presiding Elder
William Swindells delivered the sermon at Spring City.
The entire outlay of the building and the furnishings
was about $2800, and the whole church property at that time
at Eoyersford, was valued at $3400. By Dedication Day the
financial obligations were nearly all met.
PREACHING AT THE CHAPEL.
Preaching services were held now occasionally at the
Chapel, especially on Sabbath evenings. Eevival services
were held regularly there, and preachers, exhorters, and lay
members from Spring City went over and helped in the re-
vivals. God graciously rewarded the services of these good
people, by bringing men, women, and children into the fold
in answer to faithful pleading in sermon, exhortation, prayer,
178 HISTOEY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
When the Chapel mission was launched, it was under the
control of the church at Spring City. There was but one
board of church organization. The Eoyersford people were
always well represented in the official boards, whose meetings
were held at the "Mother Church," as well as the Quarterly
Conferences. At these meetings a report of the working of
the Chapel and the Sunday-School was always given.
When the Chapel was built and services held therein, it
was not the intention of the Eoyersford people to leave the
mother church. Their aim was to carry and present the Gos-
pel to the community over the river. But the borough grew
rapidly, and the church membership also increased. Times
changed. New conditions presented themselves. These must
be met. It was thought by 1886 that the cause of the Master
could be served much better at the Ford if the church mem-
bership over there would retire from the home church and
launch out on a wider field of action. Accordingly at the
Fourth Quarterly Conference, held January 6, 1887, a vote
was taken on the motion to ask the coming Annual Confer-
ence to send a pastor to Eoyersford during the ensuing year,
and nineteen votes were cast in the affirmative. At the same
meeting a motion was projected, asking tliat Eoyersford he
made a separate charge. Eleven voted in favor of this motion;
Eight opposed it.
At the Annual Conference that year, held at Philadel-
phia, Bishop E. S. Foster was asked to send a minister to the
church at Eoyersford, and he appointed Eev. A. M. Viven as
ROYERSFORD M. E. CHURCH
OTHER CHURCHES. 181
their first pastor. About SO members withdrew from the
"Mother Church/' and cast in their lot to serve the Lord
"under their own vine and iig tree."' The church now, 1899,
enrolls three hundred and one full members, and eleven pro-
bationers. This is the list of pastors thus far: —
Eev. Abraham M. Viven, 1887, 1888, 1889; Eev. Joseph
S. Lame, 1890, 1891, 1892; Eev. J. J. Timanus, 1893, 1891;
Eev. Benjamin T. String, 1895, 1896; Eev. Andrew J.
Amthor, 1897; Eev. Benjamin F. Powell, 1898.
A XEAV CHURCH.
B}' the 5' ear 1891 the church membership had increased
so much, and the attendance at the services had grown to such
dimensions, that the Chapel was too small. The four years
of its mission were now accomplished. It was torn down and
the present handsome edifice stands on part of the ground on
which the Chapel rested.
At the Quarterly Conference, held September 13, 1890,
the following building committee was chosen and instructed to
remove the HDhapel and erect a new church in its stead:
Messrs. Simeon Keim, S. B. Latshaw, William S. Essick, B. I.
Latshaw, John Bisbing, Eev. J. S. Lame, and Yelles C. Freed.
The new church was dedicated on March 20, 1892.
Bishop Cyrus D. Foss was present on Dedication Day,
preached a sermon, and performed the dedicatory services.
The entire church property is now estimated at $35,000.
"Wisdom is the principal L'hing: therefore get wisdom;
and with all thy getting, get understanding." Prov. 4:7.
On Easter Sunday, April 9, 1882, the first Sunday-School
was organized with Eev. X. D. McComas, as Superintendent;
182 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
William S. Essick, Assistant Superintendent; H. I. Ayres,
Secretary; S. B. Latshaw, Librarian; J. J. Mx, Treasurer.
At this first session of the Sunday-School there were present
twenty-seven scholars, ten teachers, five otficers, and one vis-
itor; total, forty-two. Collection, Two Dollars and seventy-
eight cents. Within one month from the date of organization
the attendance had quadrupled. One hundred is the number
reported at the Quarterly Conference, May 13, 1882.
The school has had the following Superintendents: Eev.
N. D. McComas, 1882; Atmore Loomis, 1883 to 1887; William
S. Essick, 1887 to 1894; Atmore Loomis, 1894 to 1896; Prof.
George W. Bowman since 1896. The present strength of the
school is three hundred and thirty-nine scholars and forty-
nine teachers as per last Conference minutes.
It was at once found necessary here, as in other large
schools, to institute a department of primary instruction.
This was done, and now, 1898, one hundred and twenty-five
pupils are in charge of competent teachers.
In 1896 a further division of an intermediate school was
formed. This in part met the wants of the Junior Epworth
League, which was then dropped.
"Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord." Isaiah 43: 10.
In February, 1879, a number of church meml^ers over
the river met in the parlor of Mr. John Bisbing, and held
their first class meeting, with Mr. Simeon Keim as leader.
At this meeting were S. B. Latshaw and wife, John Bisbing
and wife, All^ert Kefl'er and wife, B. I. Latshaw, Newton Lat-
shaw, and others. This class held its meetings weeklv around
OTHER CHURCHES. 183
among its members until the church was finished in 1882,
when its meetings were held in the church. Mr. Keim is still
their trusted spiritual comforter and adviser.
A second class was formed in April, 1887, with Mr. John
McCann as leader, and twenty-six members. On January 16,
1888, a third class of twenty-six was formed, with their pas-
tor, Eev. A. M. Viven, as leader. The fourth class dates from
March 1, 1889. Eev. A. M. Viven took charge of this class
of fifty-nine probationers and one full member. Class ISTo. 3
had been given to Mr. William S. Essick. James Spear took
care of the fifth class which began to hold its meetings from
1893. It started with twenty-seven members. The present,
1898, class register will be found under the Eegistry of the
"Eebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine."
2 Tim. 4:2.
Messrs. William S. Essick, afterward a local preacher,
Simeon Keim, Harry I. Ayres, and John F. Garber were ex-
horters when the church organized in 1887.
We find from the church records that on April 8, 1887,
a special meeting of the male members of the church was
called by the pastor, Eev. A. M. Viven. At that meeting the
following official boards were appointed to serve until the
first Quarterly Conference could approve them: —
Trustees — Messrs. Simeon Keim, Atmore Loomis, Sam-
uel B. Latshaw, B. I. Latshaw, Samuel C. Freed, John Mc-
Cann, John Bisbing, Yelles C. Freed, and H. Bessinger.
184 HISTOEY OF SPRING CITY :M. E. CHURCH.
Sfeicards—B.. I. Ayres, William S. Essick, Albert Keffer,
Josiali J. Xix, William Cook, John Haiise;, and William
The Recording Stewards of the church have been Mr.
H. I. Ayres, 1887 to 1893; Mr. Peter C. Fritz since 1893.
In reference to the enlargement of the church member-
ship, the "Daughter Church" had somewhat the same experi-
ence as the church from which she sprang. In the second
year of their existence a gracious revival broke out. At this
revival Satan's work was badly hindered at Royersford.
About Sixty or Seventy souls found their way to the altar,
and God, for Christ's sake, spoke pardon to their souls.
Rev. Mr. A^iven was ably supported by the exhorters and
the entire membership in the work of soul saving. God won-
derfully answered prayer, and some of the strong, reliant
membership of to-day came to a knowledge of soul salvation
in the revival of the winter of 1888-9. We notice that fifty-
nine members were in the probationers' class at this time.
A second marked influx of souls came to the church dur-
ing the pastorate of Rev. J. S. Lame. This revival was not
so much the spasmodic outbreak of religious fervor, as a con-
tinuous ingathering time. During the three years of this
gentleman's stay among the good people over the river, the
membership of the church was nearly doubled. People sought
and found the Lord at all seasons of the year, summer as well
as winter. By one's and two's they came and were gathered
to the church which the Lord purchased with his own pre-
other churches. 185
This faithful l)and of musical voices which have been so
helpful in the religious exercises, started and grew up with
the church. The credit of the organization of this church
function, belongs to the late Mr. Harry I. Ayres, whose valu-
able services were always freely tendered to the church of his
choice. He gathered about him a collection of voices, trained
them, and in April, 1887, they began to lead the congrega-
tion in singing. Mr. Ayres was the first leader of the choir.
Some of the names of the first choir singers are: Misses
Ella Latshaw, Eva Essick, Sallie Eichards, Ida S. Morey, Mrs.
Maggie Xewborn, Messrs. John Hause, Simeon Keim, Joseph
S. Newborn, and A. W. Berks.
The choristers who have wielded the baton since Mr.
Ayres laid it aside, are: Messrs. Charles E. Minker, Willam S.
Essick, Harry W. Murray, Luther Bush, George Shule, Harry
W. Murray, and Charles E. Minker, who is the present musical
director. Under Mr. Minker's guidance there are now twenty
voices, classified as follows: —
Soprano: Mrs. Charles Conover, Mrs. Mary Matthews,
Mrs. Kate Minker, Misses Stella Usner, Millie Shule, Ella M.
R. Latshaw, Ida Eaiser, Ora Murray, and Xilla Xewborn.
Alto: Misses Alice Berks, Jessie Latshaw, Eva Bowman,
Mary Freed, and Grace Usner.
Tenor: Messrs. A. W. Berks, Luther M. Bush, and George
Bass: Charles E. Minker, Harry M. Murray, and Lloyd
186 histoey of speing city m. e. chukch.
AYhile the congregation worshiped in the chapel, a cah-
inet organ was nsed for all chnrch and Sunday-School pur-
poses. But when the church edifice of to-day was built, the
present handsome Bohler pipe organ was also erected. Mr.
Samuel Bohler, of Eeading, Pa., made and put this complex
musical instrument in place at a cost of Twenty-five Hun-
dred Dollars. The instrument is run by a water motor, and
has done faithful services.
Those who have occupied the organ stool during sing-
ing, and whose trained fingers have passed over the finger-
boards of the organs, are the following: Mrs. Alice Latshaw,
who played in the chapel. Then Mr. Elmer Latshaw, Misses
Eva Essick, Ida Richards, Anna Brown, and at present. Miss
Ida Eichards again.
As the members of the official boards of the Daughter
Church had already been in the same relation at the Mother
Church, they at once knew how to effect a strong organization
when the separation came. The experience gained at Spring
City was at once of service to them. It was only natural to
adopt a financial policy which had already proved to be in
harmony with the desires of the church. So the church at
the Ford have adopted, and are using, the envelope plan,
which urges the members to contribute weekly or monthly
through the envelope, such amounts as can be given by every
member who is in a position to support the Gospel. The
collections are gathered into one common fund. At the dis-
tribution Five Dollars are deducted from the gross amount,
then forty-five per cent, of the balance is given over to the
Trustees, and the remaining fifty-five per. cent, passes into
OTHER CHURCHES. 187
the hands of the Stewards' Board for the purpose of meeting
their obligations. We append below the financial ingather-
ing of the church for the conference year ending March 1,
To Envelope Collections $1608.76
To Loose Collections, 315.97
To Special Collections 431.16
To Ladies' Aid Society 100.00
To Epworth League 53.50
To Sunday-School 25.00
To Other Sources 121.26
By Pastor's Salary $1100.04
By Collector's Commission 60.00
By Bishop and Elder 44.00
By Trustee Board 1146.40
By Parsonage Eent 180.00
By Note Paid 77.30
By Freight and Incidentals 47.91
To Stewards' Board $1146.40
To Organ Lessons 4.50
188 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
By Interest Paid $507.94
By Sexton 240.00
By Gas and Water 64.70
By Organist and Tuning Organ 78.00
By Coal 87.45
By Eepairs 112.73
By Insurance and Sundries 60.08
To Balance on Hand $7.90
To Eegular Collections 208.68
To Missionary Collections 159.83
To Other Collections 84.98
By Expenses of School $290.74
By Missionary Fund 159.83
By Balance on Hand 10.82
Ladies' Aid Society.
To Balance $3.46
To Dues 120.17
To Sociable Receipts 46.02
To Other Receipts 33.83
OTHER CHURCHES. 189
By Amounts Paid Out $202.38
By Balance on Hand 1.20
Epworth League Fund.
To Balance $6.41
To Dues 56.27
To Other Receipts 67.04
Bv Stewards' Board 53.50
By Singing Books 27.00
Bv Donations to the Poor 9.80
By Sundries 32.89
Bv Balance 6.53
Junior Epworth League.
To Balance $9.77
To Picnic Proceeds 17.51
By Amounts Paid Out $27.28
190 history of spring city m. e. church,
To Collections $38.48
By Disbursemenis $38.48
To Personal Contributions $138.91
By Disbursements $138.91
To Missionary Church $50.17
To Hospital 33.00
To Other Collections 106.00
By Missionary Board $50.17
By Hospital 33.00
By Other Benevolences 106.00
OTHER CHURCHES. 191
EEaiSTEY OF ROYEESFOED METHODIST
Eev. Bexjamin F. Powell.
JoHX K. Mansur. Henry Brook.
EoBERT Amster. Joseph Diehl.
Simeon Keiji. James B. Eichards.
Prof. George W. Bowman.
President, Simeon Keim.
Secretary, B. I. Latshaw.
Treasurer, S. B. Latshaw.
Jeremiah Culler. H. B. Geisinger.
Arthur Eichards. John K. Mansur.
John Bisbing. Atmore Loomis.
George W. Bowman. Peter C. Fritz.
William Cook. William Bruner.
James Spear. William Eaiser.
Thomas Spencer. Harry Munshower.
Harry Eichards. Warren Mansur.
Becording Steward, Peter C. Fritz.
District Steward, Prof. George W. Bowman.
192 HISTOEY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Superinfendent, George W. Bowman.
Assistant Superintendent, James B. Eichaeds.
Secretarii, Arthur E. Richards.
Treasurer, Mrs. Mary Matthews.
Librarian, S. B. Latshaw.
CJwister, Charles E. Mixkee.
Organist, Mrs. Alice Bere:s.
Superintendent, Mrs. B. I. Latshaw.
Assistants, Mrs. J. H. Bixler.
Miss Kate Loomis.
Chorister, H. W. Mueeay.
Organist, Mrs. Alice Berks.
Superintendent, ]\1rs. Alice Latshaw,
Assistants, ]\Irs. William Cook.
Mrs. William Latshaw.
CJwrister, Miss Millie Shule.
Organist, Miss Lillie Eichards.
Ladies' Aid Society.
Organized April 7, 1887.
President, Mrs. Alice Latshaw.
Secretary, Miss Kate Loomis.
Treasurer, Mrs. John Newborn.
Ep worth League.
Organized June 8, 1892.
President, James Eichards.
Secretary, Miss Florence Loomis.
Treasurer, J. H. Bixler.
Organized April, 1887.
Chorister, Charles E. Minker.
Organist, Miss Ida Eichards.
Atmore Loomis. S. B. Latshaw.
H. B. Geisinger.
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH.
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not
sin against thee." Psahn 119: '2.
The first preaching in Springville by Eev. Martin
Luther's followers was in Mechanics' Hall. So far as can
now be ascertained, back in the sixties the Rev. Henry S.
Miller, who was then stationed at the Trappe, came here and
preached at intervals. Eev. AA'^illiam Weaver of Phoenixville,
also preached in the Hall. \\e are also informed that the
Eev. Mr. Smith of the Trappe, came here occasionally, and
broke the Word of Life to those who were eager to hear, and
be profited by spiritual advice. A Eev. Mr. Gearhardt of
Phoenixville, came and administered the Word also, accord-
ing to the ceremonies of the Lutheran Church. The Revs.
Laitzel of Pottstown, and Kohler of the Trappe, also preached
in the Hall.
Thus, as the borough grew in size, the Lutheran services
also became more frequent. In September, 1872, the Rev.
Jacob NefP, who had been previously called, came and took
charge of the congregation at Zion's Lutheran Church. He
resided in Spring City, and it was only natural for this de-
voted minister of God to take a special interest in the welfare
of that part of his flock among whom he lived, and had daily
converse. And while he was alive to the best interests of the
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHEEAN CHURCH. 197
good people at Zion's, and did all in liis power to cater to their
best church necessities, he saw that the time was now ripe
to make an effort to establish a church in the borough. The
way was open, and it was in his province to organize the
Spring City Evangelical Lutheran Church. This he did.
Building Purchased. •
In the fall of the year 1872 the school-house which, now
a dw^elling, stands in the rear of the present parsonage, was
purchased from the School Board, and fitted up for church
purposes. The title to the property bears the date of Janu-
ary, 1873. The building was soon appropriately dedicated
according to the rites and ceremonies of the church. The
Eev. Henry S. Miller, of Phoenixville, was present, preached
the dedicatory sermon, and performed the dedicatory services.
The Lutherans now had a regular preaching place of
their own, and here they held all their church and Sunday-
School services under the guidance of their new pastor, Rev.
Mr. Neff. The church prospered, the congregation increased,
and these faithful, energetic followers of the Lord were happy.
So they proceeded until the year 1875. They now began to
realize the fact that, if they were incorporated, it would be
much better for the church. Accordingly in the above year
the church authorities applied to the court of the county for
a charter of incorporation. This was granted, and it bears
the date of August 13, 1875. Things now went on. Five
years more of diligent services were before them in the school-
For five years yet the Rev. Mr. Xeff has to preach the
saving Word of Life to those who inclined to spiritual things.
198 HISTORY OF SPEIXG CITY M. E. CHUECH.
Then the end came. The congregation grew too large to be
accommodated in their narrow quarters. A more commodious
and modern chnrch edifice was needed. And it was with
these children of the Lord, just as it always is. The Lord
opened up a way in answer to faithful prayer. A new church
must be built. All efforts are pushed in that direction. Plans
are devised and they must be executed.
A New Chuech.
"Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what
house will ye build me? saith the Lord." Acts 7:49.
The spring of the year 1879 found the Lutheran people
in the midst of building a new house to be solemnly given
to the services of the Lord of Hosts. The corner-stone was
laid with appropriate ceremonies, on a very warm day,. July
24, 1879. On through the summer, fall, and winter follow-
ing, the merry sound of skillful mechanics was heard, all doing
well their part to produce the beautiful structure which now,
1899, still stands at the corner of Church and Chestnut
By the month of June, 1880, the building was ready for
dedication. The services which commenced on Saturday
evening, June 26th, were completed on Sunday, June 27th.
On Dedication Day the Eev. C. W. Schaeffer of the Theo-
logical Seminary, Philadelphia, preached the Dedicatory ser-
mon, and performed the rites of the dedicatory services to a
crowded house. The following clergymen were also present
and participated in the services: Eev. 0. K. Kepner of Potts-
town, Eev. 0. P. Smith, of Trappe, Montgomery County; Eev.
Kahler, Eev. Strodach, and the pastor, Eev. Jacob ISTeff.
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHEEAN CHURCH. 201
The building is of stone, 46 by 77 feet in size, two
stories high, and is of that style of architecture known as
Ionic. The lower story is 12 feet high; the upper, 21 feet.
The upper room seats Five Hundred people. It is supplied
with solid white-walnut curved seats, which are cushioned.
The room is beautifully frescoed. In short, the building is an
up to date church edifice in every way, and it is a credit to the
town, and a special credit to the church and congregation that
worships within its shrines. The structure cost about Xine
'*I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing
praise to my God while I have my being." Psa. 10-1:33.
Davis Hause, Esq., who took a lively interest in the affairs
of his church, was one of the promoters of the choir. This
band of Christian voices was organized in the year 1872, in
the church. Mr. Hause was the choice of the choir as their
first chorister. The names of some of those first singers who
stood by their leader are: Mrs. Minerva (Diemer) Atkinson,
Mrs. Alice (Diemer) Wood, Mrs. Sallie (Diemer) Christman,
Mrs. Mary (Diemer) Leidy, Mrs. Martha (Fleming) Kline,
Mrs. Annie (Lichty) Wells, Mrs. Mary C. (Schmoll) Eosen-
berger, Mrs. Christian W. Wagoner, Messrs. William J. Wag-
oner, John H. Custer, Frederick Diemer, L. H. Eosenberger,
Esq., and David G. Wells.
The organists are ]\Irs. Minerva Atkinson, Mrs. Mary
(Simon) Winner, Mrs. H. Margaret (Taylor) Latshaw, Mr. D.
H. Bickhart, Misses Lydia Diemer and Jennie Custer.
When Mr. Hause was done beating time for these vocal
musicians, he handed his prerogative to these choristers:
Messrs. Frederick Diemer, L. H. Eosenberger, Esq., William
W. Emery, Henry Latshaw, and Frederick Strahle.
202 HISTORY OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
The successors of the above organization made the re-
ligious services of their church resplendent with their vocal
harmonies, np to the time of the organization of the present
This band of vocal musicians, the first of its kind in our
town, owes its origin and existence to the efforts of the Rev.
Aden B. Macintosh, the pastor of the church. He gathered
about him this body of young voices, organized and trained
them for singing in the public congregation. They made
their first appearance, in full vesture, at the six o'clock meet-
ing on Christmas morning, 1896. Since this date the services
of the church have been enlivened by the young folks, who
take a great delight in their part of the religious work. The
twenty-eight voices now in the choir are classed as follows:
Nineteen sing soprano; five, alto; and four, bass.
Up to the year 1893 a cabinet organ was used in the
choir; but, in the above year, the handsome and deep-toned
pipe organ now in use, was built. This instrument cost
Eighteen Hundred Dollars. It is propelled by a water motor.
In the year 1888 four cozy tenement houses of brick were
erected on the north side of the church lot, along Hall Street.
The old church edifice had already been fitted up for a dwell-
ing, thus making five dwelling houses, which are now added to
the church property. The estimated value of all the church
property is about Twenty Thousand Dollars.
the evangelical lutheran chuech. 203
When the Spring Cit)' chnrch sejDarated from Zion's in
1892, there were about two hundred members in this vicinity
who enrolled their names on the books at the borough church.
XoAv, 1899, the membershijj has grown to about two hundred
and fifty who are communicants. Their number is steadily
increasing, and while some of the membership are either re-
moving to other quarters or are taken to their heavenly liome,
others are filling up the ranks.
As stated in another place, house Xo. 130 on Kew Street,
was the first furnished Methodist parsonage. Strange to say,
this same house was the Lutheran parsonage between the
years 1874 and 1886. In this year the fine brick parsonage
which still stands on Church Street, was built by the Ladies^
Aid Society of the church, at a cost of Three Thousand Dol-
lars. Eev. Mr. NefE and family then occupied the new ]Dar-
sonage until his death.
When Eev. Mr. Neff came here in 1872 to preach his
trial sermon, he was not married. But on November 20, 1872,
he married Miss Sarah B. Yount, and on the 22d of the same
month he brought his bride to Spring City. They took up
their abode with Dr. F. W. Heckel on the Schuylkill Eoad,
where they remained until April, 1873. They then went to
housekeeping on South Main Street, east side, in the single
frame house on the Yeager-Hunter Stove Works lot. They
remained at this place one year, when they moved in April,
1874, to No. 130 New Street, one end of Mr. Philip Simon's
house. They lived at this place until the new parsonage was
completed. Then they went thither and occupied the new
204 histoey of spring city m. e. church.
"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my
commandments with thee, so that thou incline thine ear unto
wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding, then shalt
thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity;
yea, every good path." Prov. 2:1, 2, 9.
As already stated in another place, the first attempt to
train the children hereabouts in the truths of the Bible, was
made in the Union Sunday-School. Here all religious denom-
inations worked side by side in the Lyceum, and afterward
in the Union Meeting House. But things are changed. To
George M. Binder belongs the credit of promoting the idea
of the first Lutheran Sunday-School in Springville. One day
in the spring of the year 1863, he met Mr. Daniel E. Shalkop,
and said that he thought it would be nice to have a Lutheran
Sunday-School. "I have no fault to find with the Meth-
odists," he said, "but as we are Lutherans, it will be a good
idea to have a Sunday-School of our own. We can have our
school in the afternoon, as the Methodists have theirs in the
morning; so we will not conflict with one another." Such was
Mr. Binders idea was carried into effect. A meeting was
soon called in the school-house, which then stood on West
Bridge Street. Here then was organized the First Lutheran
Sunday-School, with these officers: —
Superintendent, George M. Binder; Secretary, Davis
Hause, Esq.; Treasurer, Andrew Ortlip; Clwrister, Davis
Hause, Esq.; Librarian, Samuel B. Shalkop.
About thirty or forty pupils were present at the start, but
the number grew steadily larger. Some of the teachers who
had charge of the youth of that day were Gideon Weikel,
THE EYAXGELICAL LUTHEEAN CHUECII. 205
George M. Binder, Andrew Ortlip, Daniel E. Shalkop, William
J. Wagoner, Elmore Shaner, Samuel B. Shalkop, Mrs. Mary
(Shalkop) Wagoner, Mrs. Mary Ann (Finkbiner) Taylor, Mrs.
Margaret (Finkbiner) Shenkle, and Miss Tille Hallman.
Here, in the Western school-house, the school was held
in the summer months, and in the winter the school was
closed. It increased and prospered under the skillful man-
agement of these early pioneer teachers. Money was collected
and a library was purchased so that the children might read
wholesome literature. For three years the school remained
in the school-house. In the spring of 1866 it was removed
to the basement of Mechanics' Hall, where it remained until
1873. It was then transferred to the church's new quarters
in the rear of the present parsonage, and afterward to the
present church building.
Mr. Binder was the choice of the school as superintendent
for two years, when he was followed by Mr. Jacob Shecder.
This is the list with the date of their first election, when the
date could be ascertained: Mr. Gideon Weikel, Frederick
Diemer, 1875; Eev. Jacob ISTeff, 1876; Mr. Frederick Diemer,
1877; Mr. Gideon Weikel, 1879; Mr. William J. Wagoner,
1880; Mr. H. K. Giles, 1881; Mr. Frederick Diemer, 1883;
Mr. Jonas Bickhart, 1884; Rev. J. Xeff, 1886; Mr. George D.
Some of those whose trained fingers made the organ pour
forth its sweet music during the singing of the school, are:
Mrs. H. Margaret-Taylor-Latshaw, Mrs. Martha Keim, Miss
Lydia Diemer, Mrs. Kate E.-Bean-Hepler, Mrs. Lillie-Fink-
206 HISTORY OF SPIUNG CITY M. E. CHURCH.
biner-Slichter, Mrs. Lallie-Wagoner-Eosen, Mrs. Lillie-Wag-
oner-MacIntosli, Mrs. Florence Peters, Mrs. Kate-Peters-
Floyd, Mrs. Arete C. -Wagoner-Emery, Mrs. Minnie-Elliot-
Davis, Misses Jennie Cnster, Lizzie Eogers, and Mr. D. H.
The present Treasurer, Mr. C. W. Wagoner, has enjoyed
the confidejice of his contemporary laborers in the school to
a great degree. He has been their Treasurer since 1874,
THE SCHOOL OF 1899.
The teachers whose efforts to train their children in the
first school of 1863, have nearly all done their work in this
world. Many of their pupils are still living; but the Sabbath-
School instructors themselves have gone home to the other
world. Their places are now occupied by others. The beau-
tiful and attractive Sundaj^-School rooms of to-day are still
filled with a goodly number of bright, merry boys and girls.
Earnest, devoted teachers meet their scholars Sabbath after
Sabbath; and in an atmosphere which is all vocal with the
sounds of the musical voices of children reciting lessons, the
Sabbath-School workers are doing their best to instruct, to
train, to help.
The roll of to-day numbers about Two Hundred and
Fifty teachers and scholars, properly divided into classes and
skillfully taught. An infant department of about sixty-five
is also in training. Well-earned success has crowned faithful
effort in the Sabbath School.
REV. ADEN B. MACINTOSH
the evangelical lutheran church. 209
Ebv. Jacob Neff.
I hope the reader will not grow out of patience here, if
we pause a moment, uncover our heads, and pay our tribute of
respect to the excellent worth of this Reverend Gentleman.
During the twenty-three years of his faithful ministry here,
he endeavored to serve his people well. Always alive to the
best interests of the church of his choice, he served those
whose spiritual interest he had so much at heart, with a devo-
tion which was unswerving. In his skillful hands, guided by
the Holy Spirit, the work of his heart and life grew. The
church grew. Many, no doubt, will be the souls who, in glory,
will call him blessed.
Kind, sympathetic, and tender-hearted was he always.
He continuously tried to have a helpful word for the dis-
couraged. He was the first minister that served the church
here. He died, loved and respected by all of his acquaint-
ances, on January 13, 1896, leaving behind him a record of
unswerving fidelity to his Master.
For about four months after the death of Rev. Mr. Neff,
the church was served by supplies as they could be obtained
from time to time. After a few months of service the church
extended a ministerial call to the present pastor. Rev. Aden
B. Macintosh, who accepted and took charge of the church
and congregation on June 1, 1896. Rev. Mr. Macintosh is
still the faithful leader of his flock. His sermons are full of
power and persuasive eloquence. The work under his per-
sistent efforts is growing.
210 HISTORY OF SrElXG CITY M. E. CHUKCII.
OFFICIAL REGISTER OF THE SPRING CITY
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH.
Rev. Aden B. MacIxtosh.
President, Mr. Charles Peters.
Secretary, Mr. J. Edgar Diemer.
W. Harvey Brower. Johx H. Custer.
William H. Robinson. George 0. Keiter.
George D. Peters.
William C. Williams. J. Edgar Diemer.
Jacob F. Leidy.
Superintendent, George D. Peters.
Assistant Superintendent, Charles S. Wagoner, Esq.
Secretary, W. Harvey Brower.
Treasurer, C. W. Wagoner.
Librarian, Andrew Eisenbise.
Organist, Mrs. Florence Peters.
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHEEAN CHUECH. 211
Superintendent, Mes. Kate Floyd.
Assistants, Mes. L. H. Eosenbeegeb.
Mes. William Eobinson.
The Luther League.
Oi-f/anized Jan nary 2.3, 1894.
President, J. Edgae Diemee.
Secretary, Miss Jennie Custee.
Treasurer, W. Haevey Beower.
Junior Luther League.
Organized October 3, 1894.
President, Mes. Kate Floyd.
The Ladies' Aid Society.
Organized March 25, 1879.
President, Mes. Kate Floyd.
Secretary, Miss M. Noema Wagonee.
Treasurer, Mes. Chaeles Petees.
The Vested Choir.
Organized December 25, 1896.
Chorister, Eev. A. B. MacIntosh.
Organist, Miss Jennie Custee.
Treasurer, Paul Neff.
THE FIRST REFORMED CHURCH OF SPRING CITY.
'"So shall my word be that goeth out of my mouth: it
shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that
which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I
sent it." Isaiah 55:11.
Mr. James Eogers, Sr., was a personal friend and great
admirer of the Eev. Alfred E. Shenkle who was stationed at
East Vincent Eeformed Church from 18-48 to 1869. At one
of the frequent interviews held by these gentlemen, Mr.
Eogers gave the Eev. Mr. Shenkle a warm invitation to come
and preach at Springville. This the Eeverend gentleman
agreed to do. In the fulfillment of his promise, we find that
on November 29, 1848, he entered the Lyceum, stepped be-
hind the quaint pulpit, gave out his text, and preached an
earnest sermon to a fair-sized audience. This ivas the first
sermon delivered here hy a Reformed Minister.
On December 5th of this same year, the Eev. ^Ir.
Shenkle preached again. He preached frequently at intervals
during the winter at the Lyceum, and he kept up the prac-
tice for several years. In March, 1849, he held a series of
revival services there in which several persons became inter-
ested in their spiritual welfare, professed conversion, and
joined the church at East Vincent. As Eev. Mr. Shenkle's
private records, taken at that time show, quite an awakening
on the subject of religion was experienced among his audi-
FIRST REFORMED CHURCH OF SPRING CITY. 213
tors. Some people are yet in the church laboring for the
Master, who were gathered from the darkness of sin at this
time, and started on their pilgrim journey.
Through the efforts of "Father Shenkle" the first seeds
of religious truth were sown hereabouts, in accordance with
the ceremonies of the church in which this devout minister
of the Gospel has spent the greatest part of his life.
Between the years of 1851 and 1855, Mr. Shenkle alsa
occasionally held up the banner of the Lord in the Union
Meeting House. As occasion presented itself, he embraced
the opportunity of delivering to the people the message which
his Master inspired him to present. In this modest way was
started the nucleus of the thriving Eeformed Church which
was in the providence of the Lord, to become one of the great
Eeligious Institutions of Spring City.
The Eev. Maxwell S. Eowland, who succeeded "Father
Shenkle" at East Vincent, 1860 to 1881, also came here and
administered the Word of God occasionally in Mechanics'
Hall. It was only natural as the borough continued to grow
and prosper, that the number of communicants of the Ee-
formed Church should also increase proportionately. This
was the case; but they still retained their church relationship
at "The Hill Church'' as it was called.
As time elapsed, preaching services became more frequent
at the Hall, so that the people here might have the oppor-
tunity to worship according to the rites and ceremonies as
laid down by the Sainted Eevs. Ulrich Zwingli and George
Michael Weiss, of the early church in the United States.
Thus church matters moved forward until the year 1881,
when a forward step was taken by the Eeformed people.
In 1881 the Eev. D. W. Ebbert was called to the pastorate
of the East Vincent Eeformed Church. He took up his resi-
214 HISTOEY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
dence in Spring City. "While here he soon became impressed
with the fact that the time had now arrived for the organiza-
tion of a charge in the place of his residence.
About this time Rev. Mr. Ebbert began to preach regu-
larly on Sunday evenings in the Hall. This venture at once
revived the spiritual interest of his flock in church work.
His preaching was attractive, forceful, eloquent. The people
flocked around him, and to do with a will "what their hands
found to do." The Lord worked with them. The congrega-
tion grew; the number of communicants increased also.
In March, 1882, Just one year after Mr. Ebbert's advent,
a second forward step was taken. A committee, consisting of
Messrs. Joseph Keeley, Thomas Francis, Francis Latschar,
Henry Francis, and Henry J. Diehl, was appointed to confer
with the East Vincent congregation on the subject of separa-
tion from the "Mother Church." The result of their mission
Avas the granting of Thirty Letters of dismissal to the mem-
bers of this church, with the understanding that they would
found a congregation in Spring City. Further steps were
taken, and by April, 1882, these Thirty Members of the
"Mother Church" and seventeen others, making forty-seven
in all, were banded together and admitted to full standing.
Thus they launched forth in the good work as The First
Beformed Church of Spring City.
The first Elders were Messrs. Casper S. Francis, Davis
Kimes, and George Snyder. The first Deacons were Messrs.
Henry Francis, James Rogers, and Andrew McMichael.
They still held all their services in the Hall. These were
now more regular, mostly in the afternoon and evening, with
the Sunday-School session in the afternoon also. Thus they
FIRST REFORMED CHURCH, SPRING CITY
PIEST REFORMED CHURCH OF SPRING CITY. 217
worked and grew until they moved into the new church. On
Christmas Day, 1884, the congregation moved from the Hall
into the lecture room of their handsome new church on Chest-
nut Street, and then held their first service in their new
The corner-stone of the new church edifice was laid on
June 21, 1884, and the church was dedicated on April 2, 1885.
The venerable Dr. J. H. A. Bomherger, President of Ursinus
College, preached the dedicatory sermon to a crowded house.
Other ministers present were D. E. Klapp, D.D.; Revs. H. F.
Spangler, S. P. Mauger, E. D. Wettach, G. S. Sorber, B. F.
Davis, L. K. Evans, and the pastor, Eev. D. W. Ebbert.
Much of the credit of this munificent church enterprise
is due to Messrs. Joseph Keeley, Henry Francis, and Mrs.
Mary E. Kelley, who contributed liberally of their means to
the support of the same. The edifice, a stone structure, is 41
by 74 feet in size, two stories high, seats 300 people on elegant
opera chairs, and it cost about Fourteen Thousand Dollars.
The lower room is for Sunday-School and other purposes, as
is the case in all the churches of the town. The entire church
property is valued at Thirty Thousand Dollars.
Three Hundred and Tiro communicants now, 1899, sur-
round the Lord's Tabic to partake of the emblems of his
broken body and shed blood. The financial ingatherings for
church purposes during the fiscal year ending May 1, 1898,
were Two Thousand Three Hundred and Twenty-one Dollars
and Sixty-six Cents; and for the same period, the benevolences
of al'l kinds make the fine sum total of One Thousand Four
218 HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Hundred and Xinety-two Dollars and Fifty-two Cents. This
shows that these disciples of the Lord give of their substance
to his cause with an open hand.
The Sunday-School Association.
This is one of the auxiliaries of the church, and has for
its mission about the same range and scope of work as is per-
formed in the other churches by their Ladies' Aid societies.
It sprang into existence during Mr. Ebbert's ministry in 1883.
It was started as a financial organization in connection with
the Sunday-School; hence its name. During its Sixteen
Years of existence it has collected and applied to various
church purposes over Four Thousand Dollars. The organiza-
tion now numbers upwards of One Hundred Members, who
tax themselves ten cents a month as dues.
The Eev. D. W. Ebbert guided the spiritual aspirations
of these good people until July, 1887, when he resigned. He
was followed on January 1, 1888, by Eev. L. K. Kremer.
This gentleman remained in charge until August, 1890. when
he was gathered to reap his heavenly reward. The pulpit
again was filled by supplies from various places, until a call
w^as extended to the Eev. Calvin U. 0. Derr. He took up the
work in June, 1891. Under his efficient and indomitable
labors the church greatly prospered. He was an eloquent
and fluent speaker, and he had a great hold on his congrega-
tion, as well as on the people generally.
A large ingathering of souls was the outcome of his
efforts among these arduous people. Eev. Derr energetically
ministered to his congregation until he too was called home
FIEST EEFORMED CHURCH OF SPRING CITY. 219
to his reward in heaven. He died after a brief illness on
March 12, 1897, mourned not only by his church and con-
gregation, but by the people of the town as well. This bril-
liant young man will not soon be forgotten by the members
of the First Eeformed Church of Spring City. After the
lapse of a few months, the present genial pastor, Eev. J. M. S.
Isenberg, was called to the pulpit. He was ordained in Octo-
ber, 1897. The spiritual skies of the Eeformed Church are
The church here did not feel that they were strong
enough to launch out for themselves until the year 1891. Up
to this time they had been connected with the East Vincent
Church, but now they effect a neaceful separation, and since
then they have been a separate charge.
About the year 1890, the present pretty cottage which
bears the above name, was erected by the church for the home
of the pastor. Previously the dwelling which joins the pres-
ent parsonage grounds on the east, had been built and used
as the pastor's dwelling. The present home of their pastor
is a roomy, well adapted building for its purpose. It is
equipped with hot and cold water, bath-tul), etc. It cost
Three Thousand Three Hundred Dollars, and it is an up-to-
date dwelling. A stable is also on the parsonage lot. The
view from the parsonage is picturesque and beautiful.
220 history of spring city m. e. church.
"Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon
the harp unto our God." Psa. 147:7.
A few years after banding the membership of the church
hereabouts into church fellowship, it was thought necessary
to have also an organized singing force. The value to a
church of trained musical voices was appreciated by the good
people of the Eeformed Church, and an effort was accordingly
placed on foot to bring together the younger members who
were inclined to that part of the work, with a view of having
them lead the singing in the public services. This worthy
purpose was carried into effect. We find that at a stated meet-
ing of the Consistory of the church, held on May 6, 1890, Mr.
W. Ashley Mowrey moved "to have a choir organized, and
that Mr. George Diemer be seen regarding leadership, and
the organization of the same." This was during Eev. 'Mr.
Kremer's last year of the pastorate.
Mr. Diemer accepted the honorable charge placed in his
hands by his church, and set himself about at once to gather
around him those who were qualified for singing, and upon
whom he could rely for help in conducting that part of the
public worship which, in all ages, has been so soul-inspiring,
namely: singing. His effort was a success. His abilities were
indorsed by the Fourteen Members who constituted the First
Choir of the Eeformed Church.
Mrs. Alice-Lichty-Spangler was the choir's first organist.
When the choir, after rehearsal, made their debut before the
audience, they had Twelve Voices, besides two cornetists.
Miss Lichty occupied the organ stool until she wedded the
Rev. Mr. Spangler a few years afterward. Miss Nettie An-
derson now is the organist. This band of singers meets for
FIRST REFORMED CHURCH OF SPRIXG CITY. 221
rehearsal at the present time on Thursday evenings; but prior
to Mr. Eilers leadership, Friday evening was choir night.
Mr. Diemer continued to be the chorister of his church
until July of 1898, when he resigned on account of a weak
throat. Mr. J. F. Filer has swung the baton since that time.
Mr. Filer has around him Fifteen voices: six soprano, four
alto, two tenor, and three bass. These now stimulate the
public worship with their harmonious strains.
"My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments
with thee." Prov. 7:1.
A Sunday-School was organized in the Hall in June,
1881, with about thirty pupils, and it has been successfully
conducted ever since. At the present time a very flourishing
school is conducted in which the children are instructed in
the truths of the Bible. About Four Hundred and Forty
scholars are enrolled in this school. They are divided into
classes in the usual way. This school is in a very flourishing
Here is the list of those to whom this responsible calling
has been intrusted. The date succeeding each name is the
time when first chosen: Eev. D. W. Ebbert, June, 1881; Mr.
George Snyder, February 1, 1887; Mr. John M. Latshaw, Jan-
uary 8, 1889; Eev. L. K. Kremer, January 10, 1888; Mr.
George Snyder, February 5, 1889; Mr. F. E. Bossert, Jan-
uary 6, 1891; Mr. William H. Blanchford, January 3, 1893;
Eev. C. TJ. 0. Derr, January 2, 1894; Mr. William M. Stauffer,
January 7, 1896; Mr. Oliver T. Taney, January 3, 1897; Mr.
James Maclntire, May 8, 1898.
222 HISTOET OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
EEGISTEY OF THE FIEST EEFORMED CHUECH OF
EeV. J. M. S. ISENBERG, B.D.
James MacIntire. Isaac S. Oberholtzer.
Francis Latschar. W. Carroll Taylor.
F. W. GosHow. William F. Stephen.
S. E. Frick. H. E. Latschar.
Harry Saeser. Jones Diemer.
H. A. Heck. 0. J. Schubert.
Organized June, 1881.
Superintendents, James MacIntire.
Assistant Superintendents, Samuel Jones.
Mrs. G. M. Diemer.
Secretary, 0. T. Lee.
Treasurer, H. Emmett Latschar.
Librarian, Harry Druckenmiller.
Organist, Mrs. F. Edna (Diemer) Heckel.
Siiperintendent, Mrs. S. Edgar Frick.
Assistants, Mrs. Fred. L. Stauffer.
Mrs. William A. Francis.
Organist, Miss Emma V. Albright.
FIRST REFORMED CHURCH OF SPRING CITY. 223
Christian Endeavor Society.
Organized October 13, 1890.
President, Harvey A. Heck.
Secretary, Miss Mary S. Eaches.
Treasurer, Miss Lillie Kimes.
Intermediate Christian Endeavor Society.
Organized February 12, 1894.
Superintendent, Eev. J. M. S. Isenberg.
Secretary, Miss Fredricka McVeigh.
Treasurer, Miss Clara K. Eaches.
President, Mrs. George M. Diemer.
Secretary, Miss Annie J. Diehl.
Treasurer, James MacIntire.
President, Mrs. Mary E. Keeley.
Secretary, Mrs. S. E. Frick.
Treasurer, Mrs. F. William Goshow.
Sprint] City Men and Boys' Club.
President, Eev. Samuel Gracey.
Secretary, M. Euset^l Stokes.
Treasurer, F. William Goshow.
Organized May 6, 1890.
Leader, Mr. J. F. Filer.
Organist, Miss Nettie B. Anderson.
224 histoey of spring city m. e. church.
Before drawing this little effort to a close, we shall ad-
venture to deduce a fact or two in reference to the labors of
the pioneer Methodists of the Spring City Church. We beg
leave here to ask the question: "What are the elements of
success which have crowned the efforts of God's people here, *
not only in the Methodist, but in the other churches, as well?"
In answering this question, we have learned from the records
that one of these is —
The people of God here have always been enthusiastic
in their supplication to a Throne of Mercy. Men and women
in the past have spent much time on their knees, as they still
are doing. In revival efforts persistent prayers were always
full of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Their faith in many instances was so strong that they would
not let go until God sent the blessing. They wrestled like
Jacob of old until they saw the increase. Men and women
prayed mightily; Satan's foundations shook; God won the vic-
Devotion to the Church.
The reports of the pastors to the Quarterly Conferences
frequently mention the devotion of the church membership
to the different services. When the church doors opened for
a prayer service, the people were there. At class meeting
times these same Christian people responded to roll-call, and
gave their testimony in honor of their Lord to the best of
their ability. Preaching services were also a spiritual feast
to them. At the Quarterly Meeting Love feast and preach-
ing services, there always was a spiritual uplifting.
FIRST EEFORMED CHURCH OP SPRING CITY. 225
The different charges were always anxious to have the
Quarterly Meetings at their church, for this meant a good
time for everybody who was spiritually inclined. What
though a few members from the other charges were present
on Saturdays at Quarterly Conference, and stayed for the Sun-
day services! This mattered not, for the encouraging testi-
monies at Love Feast always helped somebody. The Love
Feasts of those days were held with closed doors. These
services were too sacred to be interrupted after they had com-
The Lord works through human instrumentalities. He
does not send a host of angels down from Heaven to gather
sinners into the fold; but he reaches men and women by means
of Christian men and women. The old Methodists knew this;
hence they tried to lead lives of consecration to the Master.
When revival time came the church was up and ready for the
work. Everybody was aglow!
Hold on the Community.
A little retrospective glance over the field of labor in
which the Methodists have pushed their claims in this sec-
tion of the Schuylkill valley for the last fifty years, reveals
some facts of interest to us. The early settlers in Mont-
gomery, and also in northern Chester County, were mostly of
German origin. These sturdy, frugal tillers of the soil
brought with them their spitual advisers, as well as their long-
established notions of religious piety, from the Fatherland.
As they had been either Lutherans or members of the Ee-
formed Church at home, so they were here. They built
churches on both sides of the river in the counties mentioned.
Children were reared in the piety and belief of parents. As
the early pioneers dropped the weapons of this world, their
226 HISTOKY OF SPKING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
offspring took up the work of tlie church where they found
it, and kept pushing it along with the pace of progress. The
descendants of the early churches still exist over the hills and
among the valleys in this vicinity.
So it will he seen that when the first efforts were put
forth to sow the seeds of Methodism among the people here,
they were confronted with the fact that very many of the
sons of men had heen already associated in church fellowship.
Their names already formed a part of some church roll of
membership. Mr. John Wesley's followers then found that
they undertook no little task when they attempted to plant
another society of church fraternity on soil which had already
l^een so well cultivated. But at the work they went. They
had faith in their cause, and, perhaps, more faith in their
Heavenly Father. So they labored on, never tiring, and ap-
parently never growing weary in well-doing. Men, women,
and children as well, were rescued from sin, one by one. The
ransomed were vigorously urged to take upon themselves the
vows of church relationship. That God blessed their labors
is certain. The fruits of Gospel labors on all sides are ap-
As the disciples of Mr. Wesley look over the parish on
which many a well-fought battle with sin was won, they have
great cause for congratulation. How often have they seen,
aroimd the altar of prayer in the church, the contests of sin
settled once and forever, on the side of God and righteous-
ness. Victory always perched on the right banner, when a
poor trembling sinner gave his case into the hands of a
The results of to-day show that the Methodist Episcopal
Church at Spring City and at Eoyersford have a combined
membership of about Six Hundred and Seventy-five souls on
FIKST REFORMED CHURCH OF SPRING CITY. 227
their church records. To this may easily be added an addi-
tional church-going niimbership of Four Hundred more whose
sympathies are, in some way, drawn toward the faith and be-
lief of this church. Place these two numbers together, and it
is at once noticed that a combined church-going population
in the two towns of upwards of One Thousand different peo-
ple in the course of the year, entered her sanctuary, take their
seats, and hear the Soul-saving word proclaimed from her
The two towns have a population of about Twenty-five
Hundred each, making a total of Five Thousand who live
within their combined precincts. With these facts before us,
we are now able to see to what extent the influence of Meth-
odism to-day reaches the masses of the people. One Thou-
sand out of Five Thousand attend the Methodist Church.
That is, one-fifth, or an average of one out of every five, is
helped to right thinking along religious lines at these
churches. Is this not remarkable! If the reader will stop to
ponder, he or she will learn that this is a record of the triumph
of the gospel of Methodism which exists in very few, if any,
places in this section of the State. In how many towns, or
rural sections, with which you are acquainted, caiivyioii see
such a result? This is not said in the way of boasting; but
simply as an historic fact which is shown by the records.
We have mentioned these facts, not to whip the churches
of to-day with even a feather, for certainly much earnest,
laudable effort is launched forth in the name of the Lord,
for the purpose of saving the lost. The present aggressive
attitude as shown in all the churches combined, goes very far
to account for the observance of the Sabbath, the moral tone
of the community, and the general well-being of the people as
well. Surely the future outlook of God's work here has the
HISTOET OF SPEING CITY M. E. CHUECH.
rainbow of promise encircled over it. It now remains for all
those who assume the obligation of church fealty to measure
up to the full stature of their allegiance to Almighty God,
in order to perpetuate the purity of the sanctuary. May their
power over the unconverted still increase! The Lord surely
wants his people to be a holy people.
Now, kind reader, we have told our story. We have pre-
sented to your gaze the facts as best we could. The book is
not all that we could wish it to be. There may be, and no
doubt there are, many interesting facts and coincidences
which would have added greatly to the value of the volume;
but they have not come within our reach. Try to read the
book with a generous eye. Do not criticize too severely. An
effort has been made to state the facts plainly, yet humbly.
We know that it is much easier to act the part of an iconoclast
than to produce something of greater merit. The work is
now commended to your kind consideration.
Annex, The, .
Bank, National, .
Burjdug Ground, .
Charter, M. E. Church
Choir, Lutheran, ,
" Reformed, .
" Spring City M. E., .
Class History, Royersford, .
Dedication, Spring City M. E. Churcl
Deduction, A, , ". , .
Districts, Conference, .
Epworth League, Spring City, .
Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Exhorters, Spring City,
Financial Policy, Royersford,
" " ' Spring City, .
" Statements, Roversford,
» u g
HISTORY OF SPRING CITY M. E. CHURCH.
Finis. Union Meeting House,
Finkbiner, John, .
Fire Company, Steam,
Flint, Rev. John, .
Gracey, Rev. Samuel,
" Mechanics', .
Hold on Community,
Hunter, Rev. R. B.,
Ladies' Aid Society,
La Pish, Rev. Benjamin,
Mechanics' Hall, .
Meetings, Class, Spring City
Ministers, List of.
" Support of,
" What Say,
Neff, Rev. Jacob, .
New Building Erected,
" Church, Royersford
Official Boards, Royersford,
" Registry, Lutheran, .
" " Spring City,
Organization, Royersford, .
Ortlip, Rev. A. B.,
Paper Mill, .
Parsonage, M. E. Church
Pastors, List of, Spring Cit\
" Royersford, .
Post Office, .
Preaching, First, .
Presiding Elders, List,
Public Schools, .
Reformed Church, First,
Registrar, First Reformed Chui
" Royersford, .
" Spring City Cliure!
Revivals, Royersford, .
" Spring City, .
Royersford M. E. Church,
Services Closed, Lyceum,
Statements, Spring City,
Stewards, Spring City,
" M. E. Church,
Swindells, Rev. James,
Temperance League, Loyal,
Title to Church Property, .
" '* Land,
Trustees, Spring City M. E. Church,
Union Meeting House,
AMERICAN PRINTING HOUSE