ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY
ASHLEY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1866 – 1966
“Others have labored and we are entered into their labors”
The Reverend Charles L. Bomboy served this Church from 1958 to 1966. He was recently installed as minister of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Phillipsburg, New Jersey. A native of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Susquehanna University and his Bachelor of Divinity degree from the United Theological Seminary. During his pastorate in Ashley the congregation began holding Christmas Eve Candlelight Carol Services as well as Family Night Covered Dish Suppers. Under Mr. Bomboy’s leadership the congregation made extensive improvements to the church property, including complete renovation of the sanctuary, the installation of a gas burning heating unit, a modern kitchen, new sidewalks, and modernization of the Manse. In 1965 Lackawanna Presbytery honored him by electing him a Commissioner to General Assembly. His ministry extended beyond the bounds of the local congregation because of his interest and activities in the Presbytery of Lackawanna, the Wyoming Valley Council of Churches, the Wilkes-Barre Kiwanis Club, and several Masonic bodies.
A testimonial dinner honoring Mr. Bomboy, held in our Church on February 11, 1966, attested to the high esteem in which he was held by both the congregation and the community.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
The Ashley Presbyterian Sunday School was organized in 1833 by William C. Gildersleeve, son of the Reverend Cyrus Gildersleeve, minister of the First Presbyterian Church, Wilkes-Barre. Classes were first held in the old log school house located at the southern end of the present Ross Street with Mr. Gildersleeve, his two daughters, and several dedicated men and women from Wilkes-Barre serving as teachers. In 1844 the Sunday School was transferred to the newly built Presbyterian Church, the first church erected in Ashley. Opening exercises were held in the small church after which the children marched to a little frame school house, where classes were conducted. This was located on the site of the now closed No. 1 school building on North Main Street.
When the present brick church was erected in 1868, the frame church was moved to the rear of the lot and continued to be used for Sunday School. Although the chapel was enlarged in 1872 by adding thirty feet, making it twenty-four by sixty feet, it soon became too small. Sunday School attendance increased rapidly during this period as new families arrived in Ashley. Therefore, during the Reverend Mr. Custer’s pastorate, the Board of Trustees, who were L. H. Flory, Jacob Drumheller, James Black, John Schwab, and Thomas Blodgett, decided to tear down the frame chapel and erect a brick one. On February 15, 1894, the new chapel was dedicated.
The dedication program indicates that Mr. J. Andrew Boyd was Superintendent of the Sunday School and Mr. Galusha A. Peck, Assistant. The Sunday School staff consisted of the following officers and teachers: J. Andrew Boyd, Superintendent; Galusha A. Peck, Assistant Superintendent; John A. Jones, Secretary; Frank S. Reick, Treasurer; William Francis, Chorister; Miss Aneta Richards, Intermediate Superintendent; Mrs. E. P. Watson, Primary Superintendent; Mrs. M. Klaproth, Primary Superintendent; Roland Bell, Librarian; Drew Trucksess, Librarian; Miss Clara MacIntosh, Organist; Miss Jennie Smith, Organist.
Teachers – Reverend Morvin Custer, J. Andrew Boyd, Galusha A. Peck, John B. Graham, Thomas Williams, Miller C. Detrick, L. H. Flory, Frank A. Gemmel, Charles Eddinger, R. A. Dill, C. S. Detro, William Francis, Mrs. Thomas Blodgett, Mrs. Nancy Eroh, Mrs. William Field, Mrs. Godfrey Smith, Mrs. M. Stocker, Mrs. R. A. Dill, Mrs. George W. Johnson, Mrs. J. Andrew Boyd, Miss Grace Tucker, Miss Clara MacIntosh, Miss Mary Ramsey.
The total membership was 410. There were 227 in the main school and 150 in the Intermediate and Primary Departments, in addition to the thirty-three officers and teachers.
The Sunday School has undergone considerable changes and improvements since 1894. During the pastorate of the Reverend Mr. Polk the Sunday School was renovated and modernized, making it one of the finest at that time. The so-called “Akron Plan” was followed. Classrooms were installed on three sides of the chapel, with every room having a view of the speaker’s platform.
During the Reverend Mr. Graham’s pastorate new hymnals were purchased and a worship center was set up in the chapel which resulted in a more conducive worship atmosphere. Also, several men of the Church “dug out” the basement under the chapel for a recreation room for social affairs for our young people.
During the Reverend Mr. Bomboy’s pastorate the Sunday School, realizing the value of visual aids in teaching, purchased a Bell and Howell film strip projector and screen. The Trustees purchased metal chairs and installed new light fixtures.
We have been blessed during our one hundred years’ history to have had many loyal, faithful, and dedicated superintendents, officers and teachers. The list is long and impressive and space would not permit us to mention all of them. We fondly remember such devoted teachers as Mr. Jonathan Johnson, Mr. Richard Thomas, Mrs. Henrietta Minnick, Mr. David Dunlop, Miss Gertrude C. Schwab, Mrs. George Eicke, and Mrs. James O’Connell, to list a few.
So far as can be determined the following twenty-two Superintendents have served the Sunday School since it was established:
William C. Gildersleeve Joseph Johnson
Samuel Huntington Thomas Farquhar
Samuel McCarragher Clarence S. Detro
S. R. Reading Charles S. Geissler
Robert Brown J. Andrew Boyd
Robert Morton Robert West
John C. Jeffries Ellsworth Swank
Dr. Frank LaBar James W. Reynolds
W. W. Lathrop William R. Ichter
Reverend William J. Day Kenneth Gay
Daniel O. Eroh William Gibbons
Of recent memory, two outstanding and able Superintendents were Mr. J. Andrew Boyd and Mr. James W. Reynolds. Mr. Boyd was Superintendent for over thirty-nine years and teacher of the Men’s Bible Class for at least fifty years. In his capacity as Superintendent he represented our Sunday School in Luzerne county Sabbath School Association, serving as president for many years. He gave unstintingly of his time, talent, and substance in all phases of our Church work. He was an elder for thirty-seven years, most of which time he was Clerk of the Session. He was honored by Lackawanna Presbytery by being elected Permanent Clerk and Moderator. He also served as delegate to Synod and General Assembly. Mr. Boyd died on December 21, 1943, at the age of eighty-eight. He had a fruitful life and was active in our Church until his death. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for keeping such accurate Church records through the years. His faithful and devoted leadership will long be remembered in the history of our Church and Sunday School.
One cannot mention Mr. Boyd without also mentioning his devoted wife, Mrs. Helen M. Boyd. Mrs. Boyd was a teacher in the Primary department for fifty years, over forty years of which she was Superintendent. Her death occurred in October, 1938, a few weeks after she and Mr. Boyd had celebrated their sixty-second wedding anniversary. The influence of the work of this devoted couple is still felt in the Sunday School.
Another Superintendent of marked ability was Mr. James W. Reynolds whose death on February 13, 1963, was a tremendous loss to both Church and Sunday School. Mr. Reynolds served as Superintendent of the Sunday School for about fifteen years and replaced Mr. Boyd as clerk of the Session in 1944. For many years Mr. Reynolds had a senior high boys’ class. He was interested in wholesome activities for our young people and often served as entertainment director at youth parties. He encouraged our young boys to join the Boy Scouts of which he was a leader. For about ten years the Scouts met in the recreation rooms of our church. An effective speaker, Mr. Reynolds was called on frequently to serve as either toastmaster or speaker at banquets and dinners.
The Sunday School suffered a great loss in the death of Mr. Edgar S. Hittinger who served faithfully as a teacher and chorister. Edgar’s vigorous musical leadership enriched our worship services. His ability, good humor, and enthusiasm made him a popular song leader at banquets and dinners. For many years he also served as president of the Board of Trustees.
We cannot permit this occasion to pass without mentioning the names of three persons who have been vitally interested in the activities of the Sunday School and have served for many years. They are: Mrs. Ralph Walters, Miss Mildred Williams, and Miss Emma B. Gemmel. Their faithfulness and loyalty through the years have been an inspiration to all of us to participate more fully in Sunday School work. Because of ill health, Mrs. Walters and Miss Williams have resigned as teachers but still show genuine concern in the continuous success of the Sunday School. Mrs. Walters taught a women’s class, and Miss Williams was Superintendent of the Beginners Department, and an active member of the Christian Endeavor Society. Miss Gemmel continues as a teacher of an organized women’s class.
The custom of observing Rally Day, Missionary Sunday, and Children’s Day has continued over the years. We all feel a sense of Christian accomplishment when we see our young people growing in stature as they are promoted on Rally Day from one department to another. We are reminded of the verse from Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The tradition of giving our benevolence offering during our Christmas program has always made us conscious of the Church’s mission in spreading the Gospel. Could we celebrate Christ'’ birth in a more fitting manner than to extend the Kingdom of God?
Another day we always look forward to is Children’s Day when our Sunday School teenagers conduct the morning worship and the younger children participate in the program. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of God.”
Our young people have always given generously of their time and talents in the service of the Master. For many years we had a Sunday School orchestra composed mostly of our own members. Our Sunday School scholars comprised the youth choirs and took part in many cantatas and plays. An outgrowth of the Sunday School was the formation of the Christian Endeavor Society and later the Westminster Fellowship Groups. IN these organizations our young people developed leadership training and later many became teachers and officers in the Sunday School. Over the years we have had many representatives at camps and conferences sponsored by Lackawanna Presbytery.
We regret that so many of our young people have had to leave Ashley after graduating from high school and college because of economic conditions. We want them to know that our prayers go with them as they serve their Master wherever they reside.
We have joined with the Ashley Methodist Church in conducting Vacation Bible School for several summers. A staff of able teachers from both Churches has worked enthusiastically and effectively with the children.
The history of our Sunday School has been a splendid one. We truly have a rich heritage. As we celebrate our One Hundredth Anniversary may all of us be conscious of the trust that is ours for the continuous success of the Sunday School. Realizing the importance of Christian education, let us strive to increase the membership of the Sunday School and grow in spiritual strength as we seek to know God’s will for our lives through the study of His Word.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
SUNDAY SCHOOL OFFICERS AND TEACHERS
Left to right: First Row – Max Diefenderfer, Assistant Treasurer; Mrs. Marilyn Boylan, Marilyn Boylan, Pianist; Mrs. Edgar Stark, Mrs. Edward Gardner, William G. Gibbons, Superintendent.
Second Row – Mrs. Fred Hawke, Mrs. John Hittinger, Mrs. Richard Knight, Mrs. John McDermott, Mrs. Paul Pastusczak, Miss Emma B. Gemmel.
Third Row – Thompson O’Connell, Treasurer; Thomas J. Tudgay, Assistant Superintendent, Benjamin R. Bona, Assistant Superintendent; James Brenner, Secretary
Absent – Miss Maxine Williams, Robert Stark, Assistant Secretary; Marlene Ondish, Assistant Pianist.
Left to right: Seated – Royden P. Swank, William L. Ownes, Reverend Charles L. Bomboy, Moderator; William R. Ichter, Clerk; William G. Gibbons.
Standing – Robert J. Bell, Richard Knight, James O’Connell, Benjamin R. Bona, Thompson O’Connell, Donald Villano, Thomas P. Hughes, Albert T. West.
Absent – Hugh W. Williams
The following have served as Ruling Elders. Their names are arranged in alphabetical order.
Hiram Beers James Gilbert Samuel Oliver
J. Andrew Boyd John B. Graham John M. Osborne
James Boyd Roy S. Halliday Galusha A. Peck
Elmer Butz William H. Hosking James W. Reynolds
Harry Carey Joseph Henkins Owen Rowlands
John M. Chase George W. Johnson John Ruhf
Seymour close john W. Johnson Oscar Shank
A. J. Craig Jonathan Johnson David Stetler
Daniel Detrick Joseph Johnson Ellsworth E. Swank
Miller C. Detrick Morgan Jones Richard Thomas
Jacob Drumheller Richard M. Jones D. C. Tiffany
David W. Dunlop David Kemmerer Edwin Tiffany
G. W. Eddigner William Klaproth Floyd Williams
L. H. Flory William Lee John Williamson
Charles D. Geissler John Marr Henry Zerfoss
William J. Morgan
BOARD OF DEACONS
Left to right: Seated – Mrs. Jerome Johnson, Max Diefenderfer, Secretary-Treasurer; Mrs. Thompson O’Connell.
Standing – John Hittinger, John H. Williams, Aneurin Lloyd.
Roland Bell Edgar Hittinger Miss Gertrude C. Schwab
Charles Beltz David R. Hughes R. S. Small
Benjamin R. Bona John Ichter Godfrey Smith
E. E. Breyer Joseph Jenkins Samuel Snyder
Elmer Butz Morgan Jones Harry Stair
John S. Diefenderfer William Klinger Harry Stout
R. A. Dill John T. Lewis Richard Thomas
David Dunlop Dr. Ernest Lindsay Alonzo Tiffany
William Evans David H. McGowan G. B. Walters
Frank K. Gemmel James O’Connell Ralph Walters
William Gibbons Samuel Oliver Edwin Weir
William Gorgas, Sr. Charles Peck Albert T. West
Roy S. Halliday Bryan Peters Robert A. West
Harry Hannis Harry Peters John Williams
Lee Hannis Fred Rahrig James Williamson
George Heycock John Ruf John Williamson
On to Page 3 of Ashley Presbyterian Church
© 1997-2016 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors