HOME | BACK
Postcard Images by Barbara Holley | Newport
Revitalization & Preservation
Newport is located on the west bank of the
Juniata River, within the limits of Oliver Township. It was incorporated
as a borough in 1840. On February 8, 1775, David English patented a tract
of land where Newport is now situated. He had warranted it and another
tract in December 30, and 31, 1762, one called "Antiqua," and the
other, "Grenada." He sold 199 acres to his son, David English,
on June 12, 1783, who on April 2, 1789, sold the same tract to Paul Reider.
Through his will, dated August 6, 1804, the property descended to his sons,
Paul, John, Daniel, Abraham and Ephraim. Of these sons, Paul, John and
Daniel, after coming into possession, plotted the property into fifty-four lots,
with the necessary streets and alleys. The first plan of the town extended
only from Mulberry Street to Oliver, at the tannery, and from the river to
Second Street. They kept the upper part and laid out the town along the
Juniata River and Little Buffalo Creek. The town was first known as
Reider's Ferry, and then as Reidersville, as houses began building. Paul
Reider was the grandfather of the late O. H. P. Reider.
The Reiders established a ferry, which was in use until 1850, when its further
use was ended by the diversion of traffic to the bridge.
Within what is now the borough's limits the first house to be erected was on
Little Buffalo Creek, the second at Market and Water Streets, where Jesse Butz,
Sr., was long in business, and the third where Hombach's marble works are
located. The latter house was built by a Mr. Meredith, of Milford, and was
later owned by James Smith. The fourth and a blacksmith shop were built by
The old hotel, at the corner of Market and Water Streets, later owned by J. and
B. H. Fickes, was built by Ephraim Bosserman in 1825. It was still
standing in 1898. In 1825 there was also a house above the Jones
warehouse, on Front Street. A man named Collar built the first hotel on
the site of the Central Hotel (Mingle House), in 1827. In 1829 the land
west of Second Street was all in wheat. The first house built above the
line of the Pennsylvania Railroad through the center of the town, was where the
Joshua S. Leiby house, more recently owned by H. H. Hain, and now by Hiram M.
Keen, is located. The next built was where the old photograph gallery was
later located. Samuel and H. Gantt built and owned them. The first
house on Second Street was built by Dr. Dolan, where Mrs. John Fleisher resides.
In 1829 Daniel Reider erected the first house built of sawed logs. It was
located where William H. Hopple was so long in the undertaking business, now L.
M. Kell's. There was only one store in Newport then, and that was kept by
E. Bosserman and Samuel Beaver. Samuel Leiby went into business in Newport
in 1826, then but twenty-two years of age.
With the opening of the canal, in 1829, the name of the cluster of house was
changed to Newport--for it was a new port and a busy one, as it as the gateway
to Sherman's and Buffalo Creek Valleys.
In 1835 the first hotel was opened, by John Sipe, in a rented building on the
old Jesse Butz corner. This was the first hotel along the Juniata from
Duncan's Island to Lewistown where whiskey was sold. Prior to that it was
necessary to go to Milford for "bitters." The second house on
Second Street was the warehouse later operated by Kough's as a grain and
commission house. In it was stored the first lot of flour ever placed on
sale in Newport. It was shipped from the mouth of Little Buffalo Creek in
an "ark", as the river boats were then known, to Port Deposit.
Besides the flour the cargo consisted of pig iron from Juniata furnace, then
operated by Mr. Everhart.
Samuel Sipe bought the plot where the Cental Hotel stands and erected another
building for a hotel. The opening of this house closed the other hotel
(John Sipe's) and its proprietor went to Milford and took charge of that tavern.
On March 6, 1856, this hotel in Newport was partly burned down. This
building was later replaced by Jesse L. Gantt, father of the late W. H. Gantt,
but on June 25, 1874, it was destroyed by fire. This fire was the most
disastrous one that has ever taken place in Newport. It started in a small
building standing next to the Jones warehouse, and consumed everything south to
Market and along Market and up Second Street the entire length of the eastern
side of the Square. Mr. Gantt then erected the present building. It
was once known as the Gantt House, then the Central Hotel, and now the Mingle
House. Mr. Gantt was the proprietor for thirty years. Among the
earlier hotels were the "Farmers & Drovers" and the "Ninth
The first tannery to be built in Newport was located upon the southeast corner
of Water and Walnut Streets. It was built by Robt. B. Jordan in 1837.
He later sold it to John Wiley, from whose estate Charles A. Rippman purchased
it in 1865. Mr. Rippman conducted it until 1883, when it lay idle until it
was destroyed by the great flood of 1889. Mr. Rippman is still in
possession of part of the group upon which it stood.
The first brick house was built by Philip Reamer, but was later torn down by
Henry Myers to erect his new brick house, now the property of Samuel D. Myers,
on South Second Street. The lands above Fourth Street were not settled
until long afterwards.
The building of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in 1849, gave the town another
impetus and was the occasion of much contention. The officials wanted to
lay the tracks on Second Street, but were prevailed upon to locate the line on
Third Street. The right of way was granted in 1847. On September 1,
1849, the first regular train passed through, the line having been opened to
Lewistown on that date. With the building of the canal and railroad
Newport became a great grain shipping centre, and as many as four large grain
warehouses did a lucrative business at the same time, until the building of the
narrow gauge railroad, which diverted much of that trade. It was no
unusual thing to see on the streets of Newport from ten to thirty four and
six-horse teams bringing grain or bark to market. They came from as far as
the head of Sherman' Valley above New Germantown, a distance of thirty miles.
These warehouses were operated by different men at different times, but will
largely be remembered by the older folks as Jones Brothers (Alvin and D.
Meredith), Fickes Brothers (Benjamin and Gibson), William Kough and Sons, and W.
F. H. Garber. That Jones' warehouse was built before the canal days must
be a fact, if the statement is correct that the Reformed Church congregation was
organized in the building in 1820. The business of the Jones firm,
however, dates only to 1866, when John Jones--a grandson of the founder of
Milford--started in business, later taking in his sons, D. Meredith and Alvin.
This business was in the names of the Jones family until the present century's
first decade had passed.
The Bloomfield Advocate and Press of April 13, 1859, has a report of the
work of the Perry County Medical Society, signed by Drs. Isaac Lefevre, James
Galbraith and J. E. Singer. Among other things it tells of the unhealthy
condition of Newport prior to the building of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in
1849, especially mentioning "remittent fevers epidemically during the
autumnal months." The draining of a marsh of six or eight acres at
the west end of town (west of Walnut Street) by the railroad authorities is
given credit for the healthier conditions.
Newport was incorporated in 1840, the act having been signed by Governor David
Rittenhouse Porter, on March 10th. The first borough election was held on
March 20, 1840. Samuel Leiby, Sr., was the first burgess. The school
directors elected were Henry Switzer, George Zinn, John W. Bosserman, Samuel
Leiby, Samuel Sipe and A. W. Monroe. The first school tax of the new
borough totaled only $144.68. William Kinsloe taught the school four
months at $25 per month. It had an early experience at expansion, but not
of a permanent nature. An act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, dated April
9, 1856, extended the limits "to include mills and residence of John Kibler,
the farms of Catharine Loy, Samuel Leiby, Benjamin Himes, Isaiah Corl, and so
much of the lands of John Fickes as lies south of the Ickesburg road."
In 1859 another act repealed this one and threw these lands back into Oliver
Township. The town was extended northward in 1897.
Newport had a brass band as early as 1850, John S. Demaree being the leader.
It was known as the Newport Sax Horn Band.
There was an early school building in Newport known as "the Old
Mansion," where the children of Reidersville parents were taught to
"read, write and cypher," by George Monroe. Then for a few years
they attended the various places in Oliver Township, of which it was a part,
until 1826, when the school was removed from the Henry S. Smith place to a
small, one-story house belonging to John Reider, east of the street leading to
Little Buffalo and near the creek. This is the successor to the school
spoken of in the history of Oliver Township, which had originated in the old
Josiah Fickes residence. John Ruth and John Ferguson taught here from 1825
to 1828. This house was swept away by the waters of the creek. Then
there was a school at Clouser's, near the present home of Capt. James Hahn.
This building was later destroyed by fire. A. W. Monroe, John Ferguson and
Jacob Gantt taught there.
In 1832-33 Dr. Dolan kept a school in a building known as "the
Barracks," located between the Central Hotel and the Pennsylvania Canal,
with two rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. The old brick
schoolhouse on Second Street was built by contributions in 1834, and in the next
season was held the last pay or select school, as the free school law was passed
the following year. John Ferguson taught that year. The lower
schoolhouse was built in 1841, by Joseph Tate, contractor, for $190. In it
Arnold Lobaugh was a teacher. Other early teachers were Stewart Low, C. P.
Barnett, Isaac Mutch, Margaret A. Monroe, R. Wolf, Jesse L. Butz, John Adair, H.
G. Milan, I. H. Zinn, J. D. C. Johns, A. M. Gantt, J. E. Bonsall, Isaac T. Woods
and Miss H. Cooper.
In the fall of 1842, the borough's second year, the school term was made three
months, and two schools opened, the teachers being C. P. Bonsall and Joseph
Meetch. The salaries were $18 and $16, respectively. Later there was
only school again.
The old school building which was superseded by the present one, not including
the wings on either side, was built in 1865, George and John Fleisher being the
contractors. Its cost was $6000. George W. Bretz was the first
teacher in this building. In 1867 the number of schools had increased to
three, and were graded for the first time. During the summer of 1867 Silas
Wright, later county superintendent of schools, opened his Normal School in this
building. The one wing or addition to this old building was built in 1874,
and the other, in 1888. This entire building was demolished in May, 1911
and during the summer, the present building--the finest one in Perry County--was
The first graduating class of the Newport High School was graduated May 10,
1887, under Prof. Silas Wright. Its members were: Jene F. Boyer,
Jessie E. Charles, Wm. C. Hombach, Willis G. Mitchell, Turie S. Ickes, Curtis H.
Gantt and Edwin H. Constantine.
The business men of the last half century would include Jesse Butz, who first
opened a store on May 22, 1861; James B. Leiby, who first opened in the spring
of the same year, and with the exception of one year was continuously in
business until his death; Philip Bosserman, one of the pioneer merchants of the
period; J. W. Frank, T. H. Milligan, Marx Dukes, David H. Spotts, William Henry
Bosserman, Joshua Leiby, B. M. Eby, Rudolph Wingert, O. H. P. Rider, John
Fleisher, W. H. Hopple, A. V. Hombach, A. B. Demaree, A. Fred Keim, R. H.
Wingert, William Wertz, W. H. Gantt, F. F. Demaree (after 1882), J. C. Barrett
and others. John C. Hetrick was a contractor for a thirty-year period
following 1866. He erected the Episcopal and Reformed churches in Newport,
the Methodist church in Duncannon, and the Juniata County courthouse. Miss
M. L. Bell kept a millinery store there as early as the fall of 1854. Dr.
S. H. Whitmer long practiced dentistry, prior to this death, in 1902.
Up until about 1832 the territory around Newport depended upon Milford and
Millerstown for medical attention. About that time Dr. John H. Doling
located here and remained several years. He then removed to Milford, where
he practiced the balance of his life, except for a short period gold hunting in
California. Dr. Bell succeeded him and practiced there two years. In
1837 Dr. S. R. Fahnestock was located here. Joshua E. Singer was born in
Sunbury, in 1809, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, locating in
Newport in 1838, where he practiced until within a few years of his death, which
occurred in 1881. Dr. Singer was a remarkable man, a good physician,
interested in business and in church work. He was the moving spirit in the
organization of the People's Bank, the forerunner of the present First National
Bank, and was the organizer of the first Bible class in the county---it being
formed in the Newport Reformed Church. Dr. Robert S. Brown settled in
Newport before 1850, and was in practice here in 1857 as an associate of Dr.
Brown, a brother-in-law. After a few years he removed to Blain, where he
died in 1860. Both were graduates of Jefferson Medical College. Dr.
R. B. Hoover located here in 1856, and Dr. W. O. Baldwin in 1859, neither
remaining long. In 1860 Dr. Joseph Eby located here, coming from Milford,
where he had practiced three years. He was born near New Germantown, in
1830 and graduated at the Eclectic Medical College in Philadelphia. He was
married to a daughter of Dr. Jonas Ickes, of New Bloomfield. He died in
1872. Mrs. Gibson Fickes, still residing in Newport, is a daughter.
Dr. William Mateer located there in 1860, and practiced here a year or two, and
then removed to Andersonburg. From about 1862 to 1868 Dr. J. M. Miller
practiced here, then going West. Several years prior to 1866 Dr. Williams
practiced at Newport.
Dr. James B. Eby was born in New Bloomfield, in 1840. He graduated in 1866
from the University of Pennsylvania, and located at Newport, being associated
with Dr. Joseph Eby. After a year he removed to New Buffalo, where he
remained until 1870. He then returned to Newport, where he practiced until
his death, which occurred in 1911. He was a skillful practitioner and had
large business interests. He was the father of Lieut. Colonel Charles
McHenry Eby, U.S.A. Dr. Fishburn located at Newport about 1866, where he
practiced for several years, then removing to the West. Dr. H. O. Orris,
still in active practice in Newport, located there in 1867, the year of his
graduation. He has had a large practice in the county and is a successful
physician. In 1867, Dr. Harry Stites, a son of Dr. Samuel Stites, of
Millerstown, located there, where he practiced for several years, leaving to
become a surgeon in the United States Army. After practicing for a short
time in Millerstown Dr. George W. Campbell, a graduate of Jefferson Medical
College, located here in 1879, where he continued in practice until his death in
1912. During the last few years of his practice he had associated with him
Dr. Lenus Carl, mentioned below. Dr. Campbell had a large practice and was
successful. Dr. C. E. DeLancy's location in Newport dates to 1883.
Dr. W. H. Hoopes came later and practiced until about 1917, when he was found
dead in his sleigh while making a professional call. In 1908, as stated
above, Dr. Carl located here. The present physicians are Dr. Orris, Dr.
DeLancey and Dr. Carl.
One of the industries of a past generation which is yet remembered by many is
the W. R. S. Cook planing mill, which was located in west Newport, Oliver
Township. In June 1875, this industry was started on lands purchased from
Dr. J. E. Singer, with a twenty-five horse-power, portable sawmill, with a
capacity of ten thousand feet of lumber a day. It was located along
Pennsylvania Canal, and soon thereafter a sawmill and a shingle mill were added.
In 1881 the two-story mill was built, and in 1885 the planing mill was added.
These mills jointly had a capacity of over sixty thousand feet of finished
product per day. The capacity of the mill was being continually increased.
The wagon manufacturing plant of the late J. C. Frank had its beginning when his
father, Philip Frank, mastered wagonmaking and opened a shop at Girty's Notch,
in Buffalo Township, in 1843. In that shop, J. C. Frank learned the
business, later opening a shop near Newport, and in 1876 erecting a
manufacturing plant in Newport, which, for the next quarter of a century, was
one of the town's busy industrial plants. Snyder & Kahler later
erected a factory at Fourth and Mulberry Streets, and also did a large business
for a like period.
The Newport Planing Mill. In 1863, eighteen or twenty citizens of
Newport organized the Newport Manufacturing & Building Company, which built
a planing mill and operated it until 1865. At that time, the remaining
stockholders sold out to George Fleisher, John W. Smith, Henry C. Smith, Wm
Henry Bosserman and B. F. Miller. Gradually George Fleisher purchased the
other interests until 1885, when sole ownership rested with him. He
operated it successfully until 1900, when he in turn sold it to his son, J.
Emory Fleisher, who operated it until 1920, when it was sold to a newly
organized corporation known as the Newport Planing Mill Company, of which C. Z.
Moore is president, and E. B. Callow, secretary. The product of this mill
during the long ownership of the Fleishers--father and son--and since, has been
high-grade mill work for building purposes. From twenty-five to forty men
have found employment there for many years. An everlasting credit to this
plant is the fact that Daniel W. Gantt served in the capacity of foreman from
1865 to the present (1920). As an experienced mill man Mr. Gantt's equals
are seldom found. George Fleisher attained his boyish ambition, which was
to own a planing mill. He erected many homes in Newport during his
lifetime and helped make the town what it is.
The Oak Extract Company. Through the efforts of Mr. H. H. Bechtel,
a practical tanner and a resident of Newport for many years, who afterwards
located at Cincinnati, Ohio, and became vice-president of the American Oak
Leather Company of that city, the Oak Extract Company was incorporated in
Pennsylvania for the manufacture of tannic acid, and the plant located at
Newport, for which Mr. Bechtel was also first vice-president. This company
was chartered March 17, 1899, the business really an auxiliary one of the
American Oak Leather Co. of Cincinnati.
Fifteen acres of the Gibson Fickes farm, lying immediately north of Newport
Borough, were leased and subsequently purchased by the Oak Extract Company, upon
which the plant was to be erected and the construction of the plant started
March, 1899, and manufacture began March 10, 1900, and the plant has been in
continuous operation up to the present time with the exception of occasional
shutdowns for repairs, etc., such as all manufacturing plants are subjected to.
Its present acreage also comprises the old Clemsen property adjoining,
containing four and one-half acres.
The Newport Hosiery Mill is located on South Fifth Street, and is a
result of the Board of Trade, organized in Newport in 1902. Through this
organization the building was erected and turned over to H. A. Romberger, of
Philadelphia, for a three-year period, rent free. Prior to the expiration
of the three-year lease Mr. Romberger agreed to purchase the interests of all
stockholders at eighty per cent of the value of their holdings, and thus secured
entire control of the plant. It first started operation July 21, 1902,
with but fifteen employees. Soon after its beginning Aaron D. Hoke became
the manager and part owner of the business, and from then on its strides were
rapid. In fact, the writer has always considered this business a monument
to the business ability of Mr. Hoke, whose death occurred November 19, 1915,
while in the prime of his usefulness in the community. Mr. Hoke had charge
of the Middletown mill of Mr. Romberger before coming to Newport. After
the death of Mr. Hoke, E. M. Buffington was made manager, and still holds the
position. Upon the death of Mr. Hoke, his interest in the mill was sold to
Mr. Romberger. The mill is a substantial brick structure, 100 x 140 feet
in size. It has been enlarged twice since 1902 and has its own electric
plant, the power being furnished by a ninety-horse-power steam engine.
This mill passed into the ownership of Wilbur D. Gring, November 1, 1920.
The Moorehead Knitting Company, Incorporated, of Harrisburg, opened a
branch mill in Newport on February 27, 1920, citizens of the town investing in
stock of the company to induce its location. The resident manager is
Wilmer B. Hoke, a son of the late A. D. Hoke, who was superintendent and part
owner of the Romberger mill of Fifth Street. It is located in the Smith
garage building, on Penn Avenue, near the Pennsylvania Railroad Station.
It started with seven employees, and at the present time employs thirty, mostly
The Newport Shirt Factory was started by H. W. Shumaker, in 1904.
In 1906 a one-story factory was built, to which another was added in 1914.
It was later owned by J. K. Saucerman and now, by the Phillips-Jones Corporation
of New York.
Newport has a live Chamber of Commerce. It was organized on March 15,
1920, as a result of a meeting held on March 1st, which was attended by over two
hundred business men and citizens. On the date of its organization 135
members had enrolled. It is affiliated with both the State Chamber of
Commerce and that of the United States. Its first officers were Dr. L. A.
Carl, president; A. L. Gelnett, vice-president; George R. Fry, secretary; G. P.
Newport has by far the largest number of business places of any Perry County
town. According to the report of the mercantile appraiser the following
business places are located there, the dates following the names being the year
of entering the business:
General stores: J. M. Flickinger (1889), succeeding E. B. Weise.
Groceries: C. T. Albright, C. L. Bair (1899 to 1920), succeeding William
Emenheiser (1877); M. C. Bower, C. F. D'Olier, Philip Fickes, S. J. Horting
(1901), A. W. Kough (1881), succeeding E. B. Weise, elected county treasurer; W.
W. Manning, E. S. L. Soule (1908), succeeding I. H. Souders (1904), and C. T.
Rice (1895); W. G. Wilson (1890), established by Jackson Rhoads (1883), Chas. L.
Druggists: John S. Eby (1910), established by H. M. Singer (1855), whose
successor was B. M. Eby (1864); Chas. E. Bosserman (1920), establishe by E. C.
Beach (1878), successors W. H. Hoopes, J. N. C. Hetherington.
Dry Goods: W. R. Bosserman, established by Philip Bosserman and in his
charge until his death (1899), C. V. Bosserman & Co., until her death
(1916); J. B. Leiby & Sons (1901), established by J. B. Leiby (1861) at
Market and Water Streets as a small general store.
Hardware: C. T. Rice & Son (1905), established by C. T. Rice; J. M.
Smith & Sons (1897), established by B. F. Miller & Son, succeeded by J.
W. Frank (1871), who located in present building in 1878; F. E. Taylor (1910),
established by T. H. Milligan (1886), later owned by H. B. Wilson.
Stoves and tinware: T. W. Bassett, S. W. Burd (1894); J. W. Davis &
Furniture and undertaking: S. D. Myers (1907), succeeding John Fleisher
(1875); L. M. Kell (1915), succeeding W. H. Hopple (1888) and Jacob Hopple.
Clothing: J. S. Butz (1915), succeeding W. H. Hopple (1888) and Jacob
Hopple succeeded Marx Dukes; Newport One Price, succeeding Peter Schlomer, Ira
Meminger, H. Lipsett.
Restaurants: L. E. Gannt (1913); Noll Bros.
Hotel: C. F. Kloss.
Confectionery: J. C. Berger, E. C. Sheibley, C. F. Smith Estate.
Jewelers: F. C. Gannt (1914), succeeding W. H. Gannt (1872); Chas. P. Keim
(1901), formerly C. P. McClure's.
Meat markets: Chas. A. Oren (1914), established by Silas W. Clark (1911);
J. A. Jackson, Mrs. Thad. Stephens.
Wholesalers: Rice Produce Co. (1915), William Fickes, C. F. Smith Estate,
J. Frank Fickes, S. A. Sharon, Newport Planing Mill, Henry Shull, George Boova.
Automobiles and supplies: Gelnett Bros (W. L. and A. L., 1915),
established by their brothers, Daniel L. and Benj. L., 1910; Roy Keller (1917),
C. H. Rebert, J. S. Smith, H. R. Kell.
Cigars: C. R. Horting, Geo. J. Wagenseller, F. P. Witmer.
Musical Instruments: H. M. Kough, W. A. Smith (1887).
R. T. Smith, coal
W. H. Kepner (1891), grain and feed
F. M. Snyder & Co., coal and feed
Jacobs & Wright, machinery
R. T. Beatty, furniture
B. F. Horting, fertilizers
Harry McKee, plumbing supplies (1906)
Sarah A. Adams, Anna Hibbs & Mrs. Geo. J. Wagenseller, millinery
D. A. Hockenberry, fish
W. J. Morrow, photographer (1910), established by W. A. Keagy (1890)
J. J. Newberry & Co. (1919), succeeding Banks Bros. (1908), 5 & 10 Cent
Juniata Public Service Co., electrical supplies
Fickes & Wolfe, coal and feed
Paul Hombach, marble works, established by A. V. Hombach (1867)
J. W. Leonard, marble works
The Photography Theatre was opened in 1910 by Zinn & Frank, whose successor
was H. E. Williams. In 1918 purchased by John S. Kough and W. J. Morrow,
the former succeeding to ownership in 1921.
The Newport Union Church. The Lutheran, Reformed and Presbyterian
folks residing about Newport held a conference early in 1846 and agreed to erect
a joint church. On May 1, 1846, John Wiley and Barbara, his wife, deeded
to Andrew B. Maxwell, John Loy and John Fickes, a plot of ground for church
purposes at the corner of Second and Walnut Streets. The corner stone was
laid on May 12, 1846, and it was dedicated May 23, 1847. In 1868, the
Reformed congregation desiring to build a church, sold their one-third interest
to the Lutherans and the Presbyterians for $900. In 1877, the
Presbyterians purchased the other half-interest from the Lutherans for $2,380
and became sole owners. From then on the history of this church building
will be found under that of the Newport Presbyterian Church. This was
Newport's first church.
Newport Lutheran Church. As early as 1830 Rev. John William Heim
was preaching in the homes and in the schoolhouses in the vicinity. In
1842 he was requested to also preach in the English language, his previous
exhortations having been in German. On January 14, 1844, the congregation
was regularly organized, under the care of Rev. Levi T. Williams, who became
pastor in November, 1843, preaching in the old brick schoolhouse. The
first officers were Daniel Rider, elder; Godfrey Lenig and Henry D. Smith,
deacons. In connection with the Reformed and Presbyterian congregations
the old Union church was built by them and dedicated in May, 1847. In
1877, the Lutherans sold their interest in the church to the Presbyterians for
A contract was made with Joshua Sweger for the erection of a new church on
Market Street, for the sum of $10,000. Including the ground and
furnishings its cost was over $15,000. This church still stands, having
been one of the best in the county. Its Sunday school room is one the
first floor, and the second floor is occupied by the ample auditorium, which
seats five hundred people.
This church was connected with the New Bloomfield charge until 1868, when a
separate pastorate was formed, of which it was the head, the other churches
being St. Samuel's, in Oliver Township, and the Lutheran Church in Buck's
Valley. This church belongs to the Synod of Central Pennsylvania and was
the first church in that synod to have a pipe organ, which it had installed as
early as 1885. This was also the first pipe organ in Perry County.
Reformed Church: The Reformed people in Newport began holding
services in the homes and schoolhouses before the organization of the county and
while the place was still known as Reider's Ferry. In the same year as the
county's formation, 1820, the congregation was regularly organized, its first
meeting place being in the old Jones warehouse, and its first pastor being Rev.
Jacob Scholl, who remained as such until his death in 1847. Until the
pastorate of Rev. William F. Cauliflower, the congregation worshipped in the old
Union church, which was owned jointly by the Reformed, the Lutheran and the
Presbyterian organizations, and was dedicated May 23, 1847. In June, 1869,
the Reformed interest in this church was sold to the Presbyterian and Lutheran
people for $900, and the same year a new church building was erected at a cost
of nearly $7,000. It was named Christ's Reformed Church. The
building committee of this first Reformed church was composed of William
Bosserman, Sr., John W. Smith, Dr. Joshua Singer, Josiah Fickes, Charles K.
Smith, Charles Bressler and Isaiah Carl. It was dedicated January 16,
The organization was incorporated in 1868 and in 1874, during the pastorate of
Rev. James Crawford, a parsonage was built at a cost of $2,518, which is to-day
one of Newport's attractive homes and which would cost several times that amount
to build. The building committee included James B. Leiby, John W. Smith,
Elias B. Leiby and Jacob Saucerman. The first Sunday school was organized in
1869, George Ickes being the first superintendent.
Unfortunately the foundations of the first church were faulty, and although it
had been in use but twenty years it was abandoned, torn away and replaced with
the present fine structure of brick, which was dedicated September 7, 1890.
It was then named the Reformed Church of the Incarnation. Its cost was
about $10,000. The building committee was composed of J. B. Leiby, C. K.
Smith, Daniel Smith, Josiah Fickes and Jeremiah V. Fickes.
In 1897, Carlisle Classis, the governing body, detached the New Bloomfield
church from the pastorate and during the pastorate of Rev. Meixell the
Markelville church was detached and placed with New Bloomfield. Dr.
Deatrich continued as pastor at New Bloomfield, after the charge was divided,
and remained until his death in 1900.
Newport Presbyterian Church. When the first Presbyterian meetings
were held in Newport is not recorded, but the Presbyterian people were, in
connection with the Lutherans and the Reformed people, the builders of Newport's
first church, the old Union church. The Reformed people sold their
interest, in 1868, to the Lutherans and Presbyterians, and the Presbyterians
eventually purchased the interests of the Lutherans, and thus the building
It was dedicated May 23, 1847, as a Union church, and since then the
Presbyterians have worshipped at this location, where their new edifice is also
located. The Sunday school dates to 1873.
While the church was owned jointly by the Presbyterians, Lutheran and Reformed
people, yet it seems not to have been a regularly organized congregation at
first, as the following will show.
The Session record of the Presbyterian Church at Newport, commencing from its
origin, has this entry:
April 18th, 1863. The following
petition was presented to the Carlisle Presbytery at their meeting in
Middletown, Pa., April 12th, 1863: "We the undersigned members of
the Presbyterian Church residing in the town of Newport and its vicinity do
most respectfully petition your Reverent Body to organize us into a
Presbyterian Church. We would suggest Saturday the 18th day of April as
a suitable time and that the Lord's Supper be administered to us on the
following Sabbath. Signed
George Jacobs, Margaret Jacobs, William Mateer, Margaret Lowther, Sarah
Marlin, Margaret Mitchell, Ann Mitchell (wife of Robert), Martha Mitchell,
John Patterson, Jane Patterson, Henrietta Patterson, Carolyn English, Jane
Dunbar, Sarah Reynolds, Margaret Mitchell (wife of William).
Some of those named had been members of the
Middle Ridge church long before, among them being the Mitchells. The
movement to organize the church was the work of a Perry Countian, a minister
gone abroad and returned on account of sectional feeling, Rev. William P.
Cochran, of Missouri. The war was on, and Unionist that he was, Rev.
Cochran had returned to his boyhood home at Millerstown and became the stated
supply for the pulpits there and at Buffalo (Ickesburg). When not busy
elsewhere he held meetings in Newport in the Union church, in which the
Presbyterians had an interest, and the above petition resulted. He and
Elder W. L. Jones were appointed to organize the church. On April 18,
1863, the church was organized with the fifteen members, named in the petition.
In 1869, upon the payment of $450, and in 1877, for a consideration of $2,380,
according to the deed, the interests of others in the Union church were bought
and the church became the Presbyterian Church. In 1885 an addition was
built and the entire church remodeled, being dedicated December 13th. Its
location is a fine one, on the corner of Second and Walnut Streets.
Newport M. E. Church. About 1830 the Methodist people began holding
meetings in their homes, but the church was not built until 1836, when, October
19th, James Black gave a deed for a lot on which to build the church, the site
being the location of the former Evangelical Church. This first church was
a plain one-room frame building, being then the only church building in the
town. At a conference in 1845, the New Bloomfield Circuit, to which it had
belonged, was divided and it was made a part of a circuit consisting of Newport,
Liverpool, Millerstown, New Buffalo and Petersburg (Duncannon). In 1856
this circuit was divided into the Newport and Duncannon Circuits. The
first Methodist Church was sold in 1869 to the Evangelical denomination for $
1,450. On January 8, 1871, the new church at Fourth and Market Streets was
dedicated. It was a two-story building, costing about $15,000. There
were two pastors until 1871, when Liverpool and New Buffalo were separated from
the circuit and made a separate charge. In 1900 Millerstown was separated
from Newport and with Donally's Mills became a station. The walls of the
church having become unsafe, a new church was built and dedicated on June 10,
Calvary Evangelical Church. The Evangelical people of Perry County
were originally served by two circuit riders, the one section finally narrowing
down to Marysville, Newport and Rye Township's two churches--Salem and Bethel.
The latter two were finally detached and made the nucleus of Keystone charge.
Marysville and Newport then continued as one charge until 1898, when they were
separated. The work at Newport dates back to "the sixties".
This people evidently were organized somewhat before the time of the purchase of
the old Methodist church, but records are lacking. From 1870 to 1874 the
pastor of Perry Circuit, residing at Elliottsburg, served the Newport church,
but in that year it became part of the Marysville Circuit. In 1898 Newport
was made a separate charge. The first services were held at various
places, but in 1869 the congregation purchased the old Methodist church which
stood on a lot fronting Walnut Street, and extending along an alley, between
Second and Third Streets, for $1,450. They repaired and used it until
1878, when they erected a new brick church, 32x60, upon the same site. Its
cost was $2500. In 1919-20 the congregation erected a handsome church
building upon a plot of ground located at the corner of Fourth and Oliver
Streets, at a cost of about $35,000. Adjoining the church, in 1919, a fine
brick parsonage was erected.
Newport Episcopal Church. The first Episcopal services in Newport
were held in the parlor of Mrs. H. H. Bechtel, through her efforts and those of
Mrs. Peter Heistand, on March 28, 1875. Later a Sunday School was
organized there, but soon transferred into what is now the office of the
supervisor of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was fitted up for church services
and where this people worshipped. The lot for a church was bought in 1887.
It is located on South Second Street. The church was dedicated November
The above information was extracted from the
book, History of Perry County Pennsylvania; H. H. Hain; Harrisburg, PA;