October 2017 Quarter Query: “In the Beginning”

The beginning of Trinity Memorial has roots stemming back to July 1858 when Rev. Dr. Egar held one or two Episcopal services, in the Presbyterian Church in Warren. (Schenck and Rann 1887)

In 1860 we see indicators of what may have been Rt. Rev. Samuel Bowman’s first visit to the oil region, accompanied by Rev. Mr. Abercrombie of St. Paul’s church, Erie. (Schenck and Rann 1887) Together, they held services in Johnson’s Hall.  At the time, Bishop Bowman was the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Those present at the 1860 services included: “Mr. Struthers, Judge Johnson, Col. Curtis, Archibald Tanner (Father of Mrs. Scofield), Geo. A. Cobham and family, Mr. and Mrs. Hoskins, Miss Merrill, Mr. and Mrs. M. Beecher.” (Schenck and Rann 1887) The information implies there may have been others present, but those listed were specifically mentioned as the “only people to read responses” (Schenck and Rann 1887) at this service.

August 3, 1861, Bishop Bowman would make his second and final attempt to visit the oil regions when is train ride was disrupted.   “25 miles this side of Pittsburgh a landslide was encountered which made a walk of about 2 miles necessary to enable the passengers to take a train awaiting them on the other side.” (Schenck and Rann 1887)

Bishop Bowman was in ‘enfeebled condition and as a result of this was unable to keep up with the rest, and was missed when the train was about ready to start.’ (Schenck and Rann 1887)

“On going back to look for him, he was found dead by the roadside-another example of that mysterious dispensation of Divine Providence which passeth man’s understanding.  So useful a life and so sudden and remarkable a death seemed to demand more at the hands of bereaved people and diocese than was customary in ordinary cases to bestow. To that end, it was suggested that a memorial church be erected in the region he was about to visit when overtaken by death and that the whole diocese of Pennsylvania should be asked to contribute for that purpose.” (Schenck and Rann 1887)

Bishop Potter served as one of the trustees overseeing the collection of the funds, in memory of Bishop Bowman.  The funds collected amounted to $5,200 (Schenck and Rann 1887). The question was then raised about where the money should be expended.  Bishop Potter suggested a point between Kittanning and Warren –probably the latter.  Warren was offered $4000 from the funds on the condition that they raise matching funds.  At the time the money was offered, Warren deemed that it would be impossible for them to raise the needed funding. (Schenck and Rann 1887) .

Soon after Warren said they couldn’t raise the matching funds, Tittusville, PA sent a delegation of 16 people to Philladelphia to represent the church interests and to pledge a compliance with the conditions imposed.  Colonel Curtis of Warren was on business with the Supreme Court, and was able to represent Warren and her interests argued elloquently on behalf of Warren, but the odds were too great against him and $4000 was granted to Titusville for the construction of what is now St. James Memorial Episcopal Church.

The remaining $1,200 was reserved for Warren for when they would be able to raise the funds needed.  The $1,200 was invested in stocks in Philadelphia City 6% bonds afterwhards amounted to $1,800 (Schenck and Rann 1887)

In the spring of 1864, Bishop Potter and the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Erie, Rev. John F. Spaulding visit Cory, and are fully impressed with the importance of at once Occupying the region. (Schenck and Rann 1887)  After this visit, Bishop Potter with help from Bishop Stevens worked together to bring Rev. C.C. Parker, who at the time was a Deacon, to the region. It was understood that Rev. Parker would live in Warren, but would perform services in both Corry and Warren on alternating Sundays.  September 1864 would see the beginning of Sunday-School classes in Warren.  Moses Beecher would hold classes in his Liberty Street home on the Sunday’s that Rev. Parker was Officiating in Corry.  The first class opened with 5 scholars. (Schenck and Rann 1887).

Services were being held in the Baptist church until compelled to vacate the Baptist church. The Rector and Vestry were in a quandary and in need of a new temporary place to hold services.  They decided to apply to Judge Johnson for use of the East room of the Johnson’s Exchange.  Judge Johnson set apart a portion of the room along with the required number of settees free of charge to the early members of Trinity until construction was completed and what we affectionately refer to as “The Little Red Church” was fully furnished on July 16, 1867 with the first service held that evening at 5pm.  The next day, July 17, 1867, Trinity Memorial was consecrated by Bishop Kerfoot. (Schenck and Rann 1887)

Works Cited

Harrisburg Telegraph. “A new and beautiful Episcopal Church.” Jul 26, 1867: 2.

Perkins, Rev. J. Newton. “The General Convention of 1859.” Chap. V in The Church Standard, by The Independent, 687-689. 1906.

Pittsburgh Daily Commercial. “Trinity Memorial Church at Warren, PA.” Jul 26, 1867: 2.

Schenck, J. S., and W. S. Rann, . History of Warren County, Pennsylvania: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & CO., Publishers, 1887.

Warren Centennial: An account of the celebration at Warren, Pennsylvania: July 2d, 3d and 4th, 1895: In commemoration of the first century after the laying out of the town of Warren. Warren, Pennsylvania: The Warren Library Association, 1897.

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Posted in Beginnings, EMWC, Trinity Memorial Church of Warren, Warren PA

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