Home : Quarterly Archives : Volume 13
Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
Source: April 1964 Volume 13 Number 1, Pages 11–13
Twenty more years of the First Baptist Church of Berwyn
The history of the church from its founding in 1896 to 1943 was published in the Quarterly, Vol. V, No. 4, 1943, of the Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club by Ruth J. Moore (Styer). Before recounting the later history, a few details of this earlier period would be of interest:
The founders or Charter Members were: Deacons James J. Deweea and A.S. Latch, Brother P. W. Lobb, Harry Burns, Jona R. Holland, Lizzie W. Burns, Gertrude Holland, B. Warren Stevens, Sallie Burns, Samuel Burns, Mrs. Emma Dewees, Lillian W. Burns, J. S. Latch, S. D. Walton, Priscilla W. Lobb, A. F. Walton, Carrie R. Lobb, Sarah B. Holland, Emma V. Latch, Seeley Dewees, William C. Latch, S. C. Crawford, Theo. L. Wiggins, Mary E. Hysilman, John M. Potter, Sarah L. Potter, B. A. Bitler, H. A. Atherton, Ann W. Pennock, Pusey Pennock, Hattie E. Morton, Thomas C. Morton, Alle H. Stevens, Mary A. Davis, M. J. Smedley, James Clark, Ida Baylies, Mary H. Stillwagon, James Brown, Ida Davis, Emma Pyott, Phineas Pyott, Mrs. L. D. Lobb, John S. Lindsay, Mildred H. Leamy, Amanda R. Leamy, Thomas D. Smedley, Mrs. Millie S. Lewis, Mrs. Lydia S. McGettigan, David Kauffman, Mrs. Joseph E. McCorkle, Rachel Davis, Jennie Wolf.
At this time Mrs. T. C. Morton was elected Treasurer, Mr. W. S. Walton, Church Clerk, and Mrs. W. B. Walton and Messers P. W. Lobb, Holland, Burns, Stevens, Morton, and Pyott as members of the Finance Committee.
The afternoon of February 28, 1904, when the cornerstone was laid, was very stormy on account of a thunderstorm with much rain and hail. There were about two hundred people present The cornerstone was donated by Mr. W. S. Green of Malvern. Mr. P. M. Rogers of Devon was the architect and Mr. W. H. Burns of Berwyn the builder.
The building was dedicated to the service of God on November 17, 1904. There was an afternoon session which closed with the planting by the pastor of the oak tree which was still standing to the left of the church at our Fifty Year Anniversary. The evening session enjoyed the dedication sermon by the Rev. A. F. Williamson of the Belmont Church of Philadelphia. The Rev. John G. Fryer was pastor at that time. An interesting note taken from an entry in the church minutes of September 29, 1904, states that a sister "Moved that the church be dedicated about the full of the moon in October."
During Pastor Sellers' leadership the church debt was liquidated. On November 2, 1913, the entire congregation gathered for the occasion, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. Fryer, former pastor. The afternoon service was a great occasion when the mortgage of $3,000 was burned. The deacons and trustees of the Church passed the paper from one to another and finally to the pastor, Rev. Sellers, who in turn handed the document to the Church Clerk, Mr. W.C. Latch, who was the only surviving bondsman for the mortgage. Mr. Latch then touched the bond to a lighted candle and placed it on a silver tray, thus wiping out the Church indebtedness. The congregation, standing, sang; "Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow."
The Rev. James F. Cowee resigned in 1944 to become a chaplain in his country's service and was succeeded by the Rev. Orrin M. Anderson, 1944-1943; Rev. Wm. C. Bennett, 1949-1952; Rev. John Garvin, 1953-1958; Rev. Raymond Hansen, 1956-1958; and the present pastor since 1959, the Rev. William S. Kearse.
During Rev. Anderson's pastorate the Church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and during that of Rev. Hansen the church was completely renovated, and a new organ and piano purchased.
Interesting facts that were pointed out at the anniversary were: The first couple to be married in the church were Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Downing, Sr. The first organist of the church was Miss Ida Davis. None of the men from this church who served in either of the two world wars lost their lives. On June 30, 1897, the church body wished to attend a service in Pottstown, and arrangements were made with the "Ringing Rock Electric Railway" for transportation. The first organ for the church cost $66.23, $65.00 for the organ and $1.23 freight charges. Westley Grubb and Sarah Supplee were the first to be baptised. The baptism was observed in the stream running through the J. J. Dewees farm, now owned by Mrs. Ruth Rice.
Living Charter Members in 1946 were Mrs. Jennie Wolfe, Mrs. Emma Pyott, Miss Ida Davis, and Mr. J. W. Leamy.
The present (1964) officers of the Church are:
Deacons: Messers B. B. Longaker, Wm. Comer, Wm. E. Price, Fred Lewis.
Trustees: Messers James Thomas, James Samworth, Leon Cunningham, Edward Adams (2 years), Kenneth Evans, Thad Montgomery, Vernon Brown.
Clerk: William Comer
Missions Committee: Wm. E. Price, Fred Lewis, John Anderson, Thad Montgomery, Miss Lois Fogg, Mrs. Leon Cunningham, Mrs. Jos. Carbo.
Auditors: Fred Lewis, John Anderson
Music Committee: Mrs. Kenneth Evans, Mrs. Lewis Weaver, Wm. Kromer
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