Milton History

a pictorial history of Milton, PA

First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church - 47 Walnut Street

Picture courtesy of the Milton Historical Society

This church is on the north side of Walnut Street. The manse is visible to the right.

From Bell's History of Northumberland County 1891: There was a considerable Presbyterian element among the early population of Milton and vicinity, connected with the organizations of Warrior Run and Chillisquaque, of which the Rev. John Bryson became the first regular pastor in 1789. After the erection of a school house at Milton he began to preach there occasionally, but it was not until the year 1806, ten years after these services were begun, that arrangements were made for their regular continuance. In this movement James P. Sanderson appears to have been the active spirit; he formulated a subscription paper for the support of preaching "every other Sabbath for one year from this date" (April 17, 1806), and in this manner the sum of sixty-two dollars, fifty cents was pledged by the following persons: John Armstrong, John Brady, Calhoon & Cowden, John Chestnut, David Derickson, John Gillespie, Elizabeth Gallagher, Robert Gray, Edith Hepburn, John Hetherington, James Humes, James Hutchinson, Polly Housel, Jane Irwin, Samuel Jordan, Henry Kirk, James McCord, Arthur McGowan, James Miller, Isaac Osmond, William and Thomas Pollock, John Quin, Ezekiel and James P. Sanderson, James Seringer, Daniel Smith, Robert Taggart, Moses Teas, and Bethuel Vincent. It is probable that this list includes all the Presbyterians of the town, and also others without the pale of that church. In the following year the subscription paper was again circulated, and the following new names appear: Guyan Arthur, John Davison, John L. Finney, Philip Goodman, James Moodie, George Searles, and Samuel H. Wallis. Mr. Bryson continued to preach at Milton under this arrangement, probably until 1812, and was connected with religious and educational work in this and adjoining counties until his death, August 3, 1855. In 1810 Rev. Thomas Hood succeeded him, and in 1811, with the approbation of Northumberland Presbytery, he organized a church at Milton, of which James P. Sanderson, Lazarus Finney, and Arthur McGowan, the first elders, were installed, December 3, 1811. The school houses on Lower Market street and Broadway and the Episcopal church on Marr's lane were the places of worship until 1817, when the Presbyterians united with the Lutheran and Reformed congregations in the erection ofHarmony church. This was abandoned in 1832, and from that time until 1838 the Baptist and Associate Reformed churches were occupied. On the 29th of August, 1836, a congregational meeting was held to devise measures for the erection of a church building, and a committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions, but the movement subsided without definite results. It was renewed at a congregational meeting on the 8th of August, 1837, and pushed to a successful consummation; July 29,1838, a one-story brick edifice on Front street above Broadway was dedicated, and in this building the congregation worshiped until 1856, when it was superseded by a two-story brick edifice on the same site, dedicated August 16,

Old Presbyterian Church

1857 (see sketch below). This was burned in the fire of May 14, 1880. Services were then held under a tent on Upper Market street, in the Episcopal church, the building of J. R. Smith & Company, and the armory on Upper Market street, successively, until the 25th of June, 1882, when the first service was held in the lecture room of the present church edifice, and on the 21st of January, 1883, the audience room was occupied for the first time. This is a stone structure; the main entrance is on Walnut street, and the spire rises to the height of over one hundred fifty feet. The entire cost was forty-two thousand dollars, and the dedication occurred, November 20, 1887, Reverends R. F. Sample, D. D., and R. M. Patterson, D. D., officiating.

Rev. Thomas Hood was installed as pastor of this church, October 7, 1812, and dismissed, April 21, 1835; James Williamson, installed, November 27, 1838, was dismissed, October 8, 1845; David Longmore, D. D., installed, November 17, 1846, was dismissed, April 16, 1854; James C. Watson, D. D., installed, December 14, 1854, died, August 31, 1880; S. Henry Bell, installed, February 22, 1882, was dismissed, April 17, 1889; W. P. Breed, present pastor, was installed, February 10, 1890.

The following is a list of elders, with dates of ordination or installation, and of death or removal from other cause: James P. Sanderson, December 3, 1811, died, September 2, 1852; Lazarus Finney, December 3, 1811, died, 1833; Arthur McGowan, December 3, 1811, died, December 24, 1838; Robert Gray, August 14, 1819, ceased to act, 1843; William Nesbit, August 14, 1819, died, 1863; Joseph Marr, May 17, 1827, died, August, 1881; William L. Housel, May 17, 1827; Thomas Candor, May 17, 1827; John Vandyke, May 17, 1827, ceased to act, November 27, 1838; Thomas Pollock, July 25, 1839; Joseph Bound, July 25, 1839, died, May 12, 1873; John Sample, November 23, 1839, ceased to act, May 20, 1849; John Murray, November 16, 1849, died, July 8, 1866; Robert Candor, November 16, 1849, died, January 10, 1881; Robert Hayes, November 16, 1849, ceased to act, May 2, 1863; John Finney, April 29, 1859, died, July 3, 1877; William C. Lawson, April 29, 1859; David Krauser, April 29, 1859, died, August 11, 1875; William Stedden, April 29, 1859, died, November 7, 1889; Samuel McMahan, January 14, 1871, ceased to act, September 29, 1876; Samuel Oaks, January 14, 1871, died, January 3, 1887; Spencer L. Finney, January 14, 1871; Isaac D. Kase, March 29, 1885, died, February 12, l888; Robert M. Longmore March 29, 1885. William C. Lawson, Spencer L. Finney, and Robert M. Longmore constitute the present session.

From the book "Chronicles and Legends of Milton" by George Venios: This sketch is the old Presbyterian Church built in 1856, and located on the east side of North Front Street between Walnut Street and Broadway. It burned in the great fire of 1880.