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Early History of the Borough of Warren

Home > History > Early History of the Borough of Warren (Page 5)

Military Company | Cemeteries | Religious Societies, The First Presbyterian Church | First Evangelical Lutheran Church


Edited by J.S. Schenck, assisted by W.S. Rann; Syracuse, N.Y.; D Mason & Co., Publishers; 1887

MILITARY COMPANY. —Company I, of the Sixteenth Regiment N. G. State
of Pennsylvania, we had nearly forgotten. It is composed of an exceptionally
fine-looking body of men, and completely uniformed and equipped, can be
placed in line ready for active service at thirty minutes' notice. Its officers are
John M. Siegfried, captain; F. M. Knapp, first lieutenant; George H. Hamilton,
second lieutenant. Of its civil officers, George N. Frazine is president;
Homer J. Muse, secretary; F. M. Knapp, treasurer.

CEMETERIES, ETC. — At the dedication of Oakland Cemetery, October 12,
1863, Hon. S. P. Johnson delivered the principal address. His somewhat lengthy
article indicated much thought and research, and was considered to be quite
correct; hence, from it we have selected the following paragraphs. We do
not quote the judge literally, but close enough to render necessary the use of
quotation marks:

"For several years after the first settlement of Warren, tradition furnishes no
history of schools, places of holding religious worship, or burial grounds. No
common place of burial had been selected, yet scattered graves were visible along
the river side. Some time prior to 1810, however, a retired acre had been selected
and set apart on the farm of Daniel Jackson as a habitation for the dead. Here
the first settler in Warren, John Gilson, was laid March 12, 1811; but to the grief
of his descendants his location is lost. In death as in life, he has around him
many of his contemporaries, among them Jackson, Dougherty, McKinney, and
Henry Dunn. Here were interred the dead from Warren and the surrounding
country, down to 1823; but no head-stones or monuments were erected to
mark their several resting places. The first memorial placed there was in 1839,
at the grave of Sidney N. Berry. It consists of the stone by which he was
killed at the Warren bridge, and, in the true spirit of monumental history, contains
a record of that event. This yard is still used by several families on both
sides of the Conewango, and a number of grave-stones have since been erected.

"In the spring of 1823 two lots in the town plot, near the bank of the Conewango,
containing two-thirds of an acre, were selected and purchased by the
people of Warren for a burial ground. It was then sufficiently rural and remote
from the actual residences of the few settlers who lived along the river
bank. In April of that year a portion of this ground was hurriedly cleared off
to make room for the last tenement of its first tenant, Mrs. Patience, widow of
John Gilson, who died April 4 of that year, aged seventy years; the pioneer
of the dead to this new settlement, as she had been to the living in the local
history of Warren.

"The ground had been purchased by subscription, and a 'bee' was made
to clear it. Among the workers was one Eli Granger, an early settler, and
prior to 1807 one of the proprietors of the property afterwards known as Hook's
Mill. In a fit of simulated merriment he selected a spot under a hickory in
the northwest corner, where he desired to be buried, and especially charged
Judge Hackney and Zachariah Eddy with the execution of this request. A
few weeks later he was drowned in the Conewango, and was buried in his
chosen spot, the second body deposited in the new ground.

"As no record of interments was kept, it is impossible to ascertain after the
lapse of so many years the date or order of burials there, except as indicated
by the few head-stones erected by surviving friends, in spite of the absence of
both marble and marble-cutters.

"Guided by these primitive monuments, it is ascertained that the body of
Caleb Wallace, shot by Jacob Hook, on the 25th day of March, 1824, was the
next one there deposited. A large native stone at the head of his grave has
been rehearsing that melancholy occurrence for nearly forty years to all the
passers-by, and is yet read by many with unabated interest.

"Next in the order of deceased adults is Margaretta, wife of Archibald Tanner,
who died January 28, 1825, aged twenty-five years; and next to her in
time, Climena, the wife of David Mead, aged twenty-four years. Harvey
, who died May 1, 1826, aged forty-three, is the next whose record
is preserved; and after him Sarah D., the wife of Dr. H. S. Newman, who died
July 30, 1827. The inscriptions recording these deaths were all cut upon rude
stones native to the soil.

"During the same five years two similar memorials of parental affection,
with tender and touching inscriptions, were placed over the graves of two infants—
one of Dr. Newman, close to its loving mother, and the other of Ethan
and Matilda Owen
. Close beside the latter, whose age was but five weeks, is
a marble stone that records the death of John Owen, in 1843, a Revolutionary
soldier, aged one hundred and seven years ten months and eight days, thus
presenting in strong contrast the extremes of age at which the insatiate archer
seeks his prey in the same family.

Tombstone of John Owens
John Owen tombstone
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Hart
Oakland Cemetery, Warren

"In about thirty years this two-thirds of an acre became filled so that it
should have been entirely abandoned, when the two lots adjoining on the west
were appropriated to burial purposes. About this time (1853) the idea of
procuring new ground beyond the borough limits was generally adopted. Hence,
for ten years the question was held in suspense; at one time the town council
took the enterprise in hand, but after three years it came to naught—died stillborn.
In 1860 a company of gentlemen were incorporated by the court of
this county, called the 'Warren Cemetery Company.' By this company, as
well as by the town council and many private citizens whose zeal and public
spirit would give the project no rest, every hill and dale, every mountain top
and valley for miles around Warren was traversed, examined, and discussed.
Indeed, upon the hill north of Warren considerable work was done, to make
it accessible and adapt it to the purpose, by Mr. Tanner.

"In this, as in most other public improvements affecting the interests of
Warren, Mr. Tanner was the pioneer. But with his decease, and burial upon
his own chosen ground, that enterprise terminated."

At length Warren Lodge No. 339, I. O. O. F., stepped to the front, and
as a result "Oakland Cemetery" was dedicated October 12, 1863. It has
since been beautified with a display of much good taste, and contains many
handsome monuments. Nearly all of the bodies interred in the grounds opened
for such purposes in 1823 have since been transferred to "Oakland."

The Odd Fellows purchased forty-eight acres from Thomas Struthers, May
14, 1863, for the sum of $2,100; the lands being deeded to John F. Davis,
Charles S. Hessel, S. V. Davis, and their successors "in trust." Soon after
two or three acres were purchased from the Biddle estate for a necessary frontage.
The Odd Fellows began to improve the grounds in July, 1863. After
the dedication lots were taken rapidly, and by the 1st of May following $900
had been returned to their treasury. About 1873-74 fifteen acres more were
added. Thus this beautiful plot now contains nearly seventy acres. The soil is
dry, underlaid by gravel.

The Catholics of this parish also have beautiful and extensive burial grounds
here immediately adjoining "Oakland."

RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES.— The First Presbyterian Church. —There was no
religious worship held statedly in Warren previous to the year 1819. Occasionally
Methodist itinerant preachers had held services at various places in
the town and vicinity; but there was no religious organization of any kind in
the place. In 1819, Abner—afterward Judge—Hazeltine took up his residence
in Warren. He had been in the habit of regularly attending worship at his
former home in Vermont in the Congregational Church, and finding a number
of persons here who had been accustomed to a similar attendance either upon
Congregational or Presbyterian service in their old homes, he invited them to
attend worship at his house every Sabbath, when he would read them a sermon.
His invitation was accepted, and thereafter such services were held regularly
until the school-house was built, on the site now occupied by the court-house,
when the members of this little band removed their place of worship into the
new building.

In 1822 the Rev. Amos Chase, a missionary under the Presbytery of Erie,
came, and formed out of this nucleus what was termed the First Presbyterian
Church of Warren. It consisted originally of nine members — viz., Abner
and Polly his wife, Colonel J. M. Berry and Eunice his wife, Samuel
— who was in the employ of the Pittsburgh Synod as teacher of the
Indians at Cornplanter town — John Andrews, Mrs. Rose Eddy, Mrs. Margaret
, and Mrs. Amelia Winter, all of whom except the last-named were
received by letter. Only five of these members lived in Warren — John Andrews,
Abner Hazeltine and wife, Mrs. Hackney, and Mrs. Eddy. Mrs. Winter
resided at what is now North Warren, on a part of the farm now occupied
by the asylum for the insane; Colonel Berry and wife lived at Irvine's Mills,
and Mr. Oldham at Cornplanter, fourteen miles up the river. This organization
was not properly a church, having only one officer, a secretary, Abner
, who remained in that position until he removed from Warren in
1823. The society was reported to the Presbytery of Erie, however, and
enrolled under its care, and supplied now and then with preaching. In 1824
the organization was completed by the election of two elders, Nathaniel Sill
and Colonel Berry. The first pastor was the Rev. Nathan Harned, who had
been regularly educated for the ministry in the Baptist Church, but upon
changing his doctrinal views and uniting with the Presbyterian Church, had
been licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. On the 20th of April, 1825,
he was ordained and installed as pastor of the churches of Sugar Grove, Brokenstraw,
and Warren, at a meeting of the Presbytery which was held at Warren.
On this occasion the Rev. Samuel Tait preached the sermon, and the Rev.
Amos Chase
made the ordaining prayer and gave the charges to both pastor and
people. Mr. Harned must have been deemed rather impulsive by Mr. Chase,
for in his charge the latter emphatically exclaimed: "Be discreet, you Nathan!
I charge you, be discreet." The extent and laboriousness of this field made
it necessary for this relation, harmonious though it was, to be dissolved in the
following May. During his brief ministry, however, Mr. Harned had organized
a Sabbath-school — a work in which he was greatly assisted by Cyrus
and Colonel Berry. In 1829 what was known as "the accommodation
plan" was adopted by the church. The congregation was made up in
great part of those who had been Congregationalists, and naturally a desire
was entertained for the ecclesiastical government to which they had been accustomed;
and in deference to their wishes this plan was adopted, in which Congregational
and Presbyterian forms were combined. The articles were drawn
up by Thomas Struthers, esq., at the request of Nathaniel Sill, Colonel Berry,
and others. The pulpit was supplied by ministers who were engaged temporarily
to fill it, and in their absence by laymen who read sermons. Under
this form of government Silas Lacy and John Hackney were made deacons in
1829, and the membership increased until in 1831 it numbered twenty-six persons.
In that year a Rev. Mr. Coleman, of the Congregational persuasion,
officiated for a short time; and it was during his term of service that, at the
solicitation of Cyrus Tanner, Rev. Samuel Orton, the then noted evangelist,
visited the church in company with the Rev. Mr. Jones, of Mayville, N. Y.,
and held continuous services for two weeks. The result of this revival was
most gratifying. Forty-two members were added to the church, and immediately
after, as a further result, the project of building a house of worship was
started, and finally carried out. It was a wooden structure, surmounted by a
cupola and bell, containing four pews and forty-six slips, besides a gallery on
three sides, and a basement. The church was entered through a vestibule
running the entire width of the church, reached from the outside by a flight of
steps. The seats faced the two entrance doors, between which stood the pulpit,
quite high, after the fashion of that day, and surrounded on three sides by
a space inclosed by a low railing. The building occupied the same site covered
by the present Presbyterian Church. The credit of pushing along this
work is officially ascribed to Archibald Tanner. The frame was erected by
George Snapp, and the structure finished by Archibald Skinner, almost without
aid. To this fact it is no doubt owing that, although the church was begun in
1831, it was not dedicated until the early winter of 1833. At this time the
Rev. John McNair had recently succeeded Mr. Stone, and by him the dedication
was performed. The trustees of the property were Robert Miles, Warren
L. Adams
, and Samuel Graham. The expense of building the house of worship
was met by the sale of pews and slips. In 1835 a call was extended to
Rev. Absalom McCready, a member of the Presbytery of Erie, to succeed Mr.
. Mr. McCready began at once upon the work of the new position,
though he did not officially accept the call until 1837, on the 12th of April of
which year he was duly installed. In the mean time the church had become
dissatisfied with the "accommodation plan," resulting as it did in interminable
contentions, and in 1836 it was abandoned and the association was reorganized
as a Presbyterian Church, and the reorganization approved by the Presbytery
at a meeting held in Meadville on the 11th of May. In this reorganization the
elders elect were Silas Lacy and John Hackney, the former of whom lived at
Sheffield, fifteen miles away, and who walked that distance to attend divine
worship on Sabbath. In October, 1839, the pastoral relation of Mr. McCready
with the church having been dissolved, the Rev. E. C. McKinney was procured
as stated supply. The month following, an election for an additional elder
was held; but as no candidate received a majority of votes cast, it was postponed
indefinitely. The existing session, though small, was not idle, for at a
single meeting five cases for discipline were presented: Two for intemperance,
one for dancing, and two for neglect of ordinances. In the early history of
the church, both before and after this date, the discipline was more rigidly
enforced than now, and that was made matter of discipline which is now tolerated.
In 1841 Mr. McKinney was succeeded by the Rev. Hiram Eddy, as
stated supply for one year, at a salary of $500. Mr. Eddy was connected
with the Congregational Association of Connecticut, but upon the request of
the church unhesitatingly united with the Presbytery of Erie. On the 18th
of January following the church adopted a constitution, under which, upon application
of a committee, consisting of Lansing Wetmore and S. P. Johnson, it
was duly incorporated by the Court of Common Pleas for Warren county, on
the 23d of March, 1842. The trustees named in this instrument were Lansing
, T. F. Parker, Archibald Tanner, J. D. Summerton, and Aaron S.
. On the 16th of July following this board was organized by the election
of Dr. T. F. Parker as president, and A. S. Parmlee as clerk. During the
fall of 1842 the church was visited with a fruitful revival, which resulted in the
addition to it of fifty-three members, and an increased interest in the work.
An election for elders soon after the arrival of Mr. Eddy resulted in the choice
of Isaac S. Eddy, Archibald Tanner, and Eben Ewell; and another, immediately
after the revival, in that of James Osgood and Lansing Wetmore.

The Rev. John Smith, the successor of Mr. Eddy, was installed on the 28th
of January, 1846. Within two years, at his own request, the pastoral relation
was dissolved, August 11, 1847. At this time the Rev. Miles T. Merwin was
pastor of the church at Irvine, and was invited to supply the pulpit of this
church in connection with his own, which he did, residing at Warren and
preaching every Sabbath morning. While he officiated, the Sabbath-school,
which, it has been said, "had died out from lack of wood and superintendents,"
was revived, the new superintendent being E. Cowan, and its teachers being all
women. During Mr. Merwin's ministry the records of the church, session, and
trustee books and papers concerning the building of the church and sale of
pews, were irrecoverably lost. At a congregational meeting held April 1,
1850, it was resolved "That the Rev. John Sailor be invited to abide with and
preach for us a year, in consideration of which the trustees be recommended
to assume and promise to pay him $400 a year — provided a sufficient sum
shall be raised upon subscription to justify their doing so." Mr. Sailor was
thereupon engaged in accordance with this resolution. His ministry of five
years was eventful, and was disturbed by a temporary schism — if such a
phrase be admissible — concerning the ownership and right of disposition of
pews and slips, which seriously affected the growth of the church, and the
Christian zeal of the members of the community.

On the 29th of August, 1855, at his own request, Mr. Sailor was dismissed
from the pastorate, though he continued to occupy the pulpit for some time.
After his departure the pulpit was long supplied by occasional preaching or
the reading of a sermon by one of the lay members.

On the 5th of February, 1856, a call was made out to the Rev. C. L. Hequembourg,
who had been dismissed from the Ontario (new school) Presbytery,
and had not united with any other. At this time it was said that he
intended to unite with the presbytery with which this church was connected,
and he began his pastoral duties here when this was the prevalent impression.
The bitterness of feeling engendered between the members of the church in
former years had not, apparently, abated, and the new pastor was confronted
with unpleasant difficulties in the way of harmony. This bitterness was not
allayed by his sermons and discourses, if record and tradition may be trusted,
for he was accused of preaching and avowing heretical opinions, which elicited
explicit and determined protests from members of the church and session.
The matter ended in litigation, the circumstances of which are too multifarious
to be detailed here. It is stated that the unfortunate division of the church
was due far more to the unhappy occurrences of other days than to the undue
independence of Mr. Hequembourg, who was a man of high scholarship and
warm heart. His successor in the pastorate was Rev. Robert Taylor. His
relations with the church were most pleasant and profitable, though they were
cut short in about one year, as Mr. Taylor was dismissed upon his own request,
to accept another call, on the 26th of September, 1862. His successor, the
Rev. Dr. Hamilton, was invited on the 29th of July, 1863, to supply the pulpit
for one year, and received a regular call to become the pastor on the 11th of
January, 1864, in consequence of which and his acceptance he was installed
on the 12th of May, 1864. This promising relation was cut short by the
unhappy deposition of Dr. Hamilton from the gospel ministry. For about two
years the church was then without a pastor, during which it was supplied by
several ministers. The project of building a new church had been pushed forward
for several years, and in this interim H. A. Jamieson was appointed by
the trustees to solicit subscriptions for that purpose. On the 21st of March,
1866, a resolution was passed by the trustees "that a new church edifice be
built the present season, and that the plan submitted by S. G. Hoxie be
adopted." On the 29th of the following August the corner-stone of the present
edifice was laid. A week previous to this resolution a call had been extended
to the Rev. W. A. Rankin, which was allowed to lie for a time in his hands for
consideration, though in the mean time he was engaged to supply the pulpit
and began his labors on the 1st of May, 1866. He subsequently accepted the
call and served the church until his successor, the present pastor, Rev. Perry
S. Allen
, was called. Mr. Allen was installed on the 7th of May, 1883.
During the early part of Mr. Rankin's pastorate the church edifice was completed
at a cost of $26,000 (dedicated May 23, 1867), and a parsonage purchased
and a fine pipe organ procured.

The second First Presbyterian Church, circa 1868
Second Presbyterian Church, Warren
Photograph courtesy of the Warren Library Association
Built on the site of the first church on the east side of Market Street near Third Avenue.
In 1868, neighbors were Lansing Wetmore, 204 Market Street, and Jane E. Merrill, 212 Market Street.
The building was later sold to the members of the Bethlehem Covenant congregation in 1897
and in 1974 was torn down.

At the installation of the Rev. Perry S. Allen the Rev. W. A. Rankin
preached the sermon, the Rev. E. I. Davies, of Pittsfield, conducted the installation
ceremony, the Rev. Edward Bryan, of Bradford, Pa., delivered the
charge to the pastor, and the Rev. L. H. Gilleland, of Tidioute, delivered the
charge to the people. During this pastorate, which still continues, the church
has grown in numbers and liberality and efficiency. During these four and
a half years there have been added to the roll of the church 194 members.
There have been contributed by the church $21,777 for payment of debts,
repairs, and current expenses, and $14,533 for the boards and benevolent
objects. The church stands second in the Presbytery of Erie in its benevolence.
The present officers are as follows:

Elders, Francis Henry, Elisha Thomas, A. H. McKelvy, H. S. Thomas,
Prof. A. B. Miller, Hon. Wilton M. Lindsey, and Judge William D. Brown;
trustees, Judge S. P. Johnson, W. C. Copeland, J. P. Jefferson, Francis Henry,
Judge William D. Brown; superintendent of the Sabbath-school, Hon. Wilton
M. Lindsey
; assistant superintendent, Dr. J. H. Jenkins; superintendent of the
primary department, Mrs. William D. Brown; secretary of the Sabbath-school,
J. P. Jefferson; assistant secretary, John Danforth; librarian, Hiram Eddy;
assistant librarians, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Eichenberg; treasurer, Mrs. James
; chorister, Dr. Joel Danforth.

Connected with the church are two missionary societies which reflect great
credit upon the the spirit of the members—the Women's Home and Foreign
Missionary Society, and the Young Ladies' Missionary Society.
The present value of the church property is estimated as follows: Church
edifice and lot, $20,000; parsonage, $5,000; sexton's house, $1,000.

The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Warren.— It is difficult to prepare
a complete history of the Lutheran Church at this place, from the fact
that the early records of the congregation have been lost or misplaced; and, as
most of the members who participated in the organization have gone to their
eternal rest, only a few dates and facts have been secured. About the year
1830 a number of German Lutherans immigrated into this country from
Alsace and Bavaria, Germany. This small number constituted the nucleus of
the present large and flourishing organization. Through the influence of these
early German settlers many of their friends were induced to come into this
country, and to this county. As these Lutherans were unable to secure the
services of a Lutheran pastor, a number were led to abandon the faith of their
ancestors, and connected themselves with the Evangelical denomination, or
German Methodists. Those who remained convened in private houses and
school-houses, and worshiped God as they had been taught from childhood in
their native land. Among the early German settlers and organizers of the
Lutheran Church were Messrs. Messner, Hertzel, Schirk, Knopp, and Schuler.
Thus German services were conducted by different individuals in private families
and in school-houses up to the year 1839, when the first German Lutheran
minister, Rev. David Keil, occasionally visited and preached for these people.
At first he served only as a supply, but afterwards more regularly until 1842,
when he was succeeded by Rev. Brumbacher, who became a regular pastor of
this congregation, residing among his people and preaching regularly in
school-houses until 1845, when he resigned the pastorate.

The next pastor was Rev. Mr. Wucherer, who assumed the pastoral charge
of this congregation in 1846. During his administration the first house of worship
was erected and solemnly dedicated to the services of the Triune God,
costing about $1,000. It is now occupied by the Swedish Lutheran people.
He resigned this field of labor in 1848. In 1849 Rev. Julius Zoller took
charge of the congregation and preached regularly about three years, and then
was succeeded by Rev. Conrad Kuehn in 1852, who was the first pastor belonging
to some regular synodical body. He served this people about three
years. After him came Rev. Mr. Browneck in the year 1855, and after a
service of about three years he resigned this pastorate.

Original German Lutheran Church
Original German Lutheran Church
Photograph courtesy of the Warren Library Association
Photograph taken in 1871
On August 8, 1871, the building was sold to the members of the Swedish-Danish Lutheran church;
it was later sold to Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Johnson on March 30, 1904, and
was converted to a double house at 415-417 East Street.

In the year 1859 Rev. Henry Weicksel became pastor. Under his ministry
the congregation united with the Pittsburgh Synod. He resigned in 1863.

The Sunday-school was first organized in the year 1860.

The next pastor was Rev. A. L. Benze. He assumed the pastoral charge
of the congregation in June, 1864. During his administration the new, commodious,
and handsome brick church was erected and dedicated to the worship
of Almighty God, Also a parsonage was erected along-side of the
church, on a separate lot. These lots and buildings cost about $20,000. After
a faithful and self-sacrificing service of seven years and seven months he left
this pastorate. His immediate successor was Rev. G. A. Bruegel, who took
charge of the congregation on the 1st of July, 1872. Under his pastoral
care English services were introduced and an English Sunday-school organized.
He resigned this charge May 5, 1875. His immediate successor was
Rev. F. C. H. Lampe, who assumed his office here on the 19th of September,
1875, and continued to serve this people until the beginning of 1879. During
his ministry an addition was built to the parsonage, involving an expense of
$1,000. In the spring of 1879. Rev. G. A. Wenzel became pastor, and left in
the spring of 1881, having served two years. On the 3d of September, 1881,
Rev. P. Doerr became pastor of this congregation, and has labored in the field
to the present time. Services are conducted in the German and English languages.
The membership numbers between 400 and 500 communicants.
The Sunday-school numbers 200 scholars, twenty-one teachers, and seven
officers. The instruction in the Sunday-school is almost exclusively English.
Two active organizations exist in the congregation—The Ladies' Society and
the Young People's Aid Society. Various improvements have been made recently.
A sawed-stone walk was laid around the church property, a wroughtiron
fence built, a pipe-organ placed in the church and the church beautifully
frescoed, church and parsonage painted, and other improvements made—all
involving an expense of over $2,500. In all the church work the members
have shown an untiring zeal, activity, and self-sacrifice. The Lutheran Church,
though not the oldest, has still become numerically one of the largest congregations
of Warren, and our public services are well attended. The officers at
present are Rev. P. Doerr, president ex officio; Jacob Rieg, secretary;
C. Schelhamer, treasurer. The remaining members of the church council are
Charles Bartch, J. P. Hanson, Albert Leonhart, Louis Bauer, and William

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