Upper Octoraro Presbyterian Church



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The following material is taken from: Futhey, 1870. History of the Upper Octoraro Church. based on the electronic version at Archive.org. Note that the Optical Character Recognition has introduced numerous errors into the rendering of the text. Some of this has been corrected where the error is obvious. In some cases it is obvious that there is an error, but what the original should be is not clear. These instances have not been adjusted. A direct comparison with an image version of this document, rather than one that has been processed through OCR software, is needed to correct these mistakes. Some minor reformating has been performed to improve readability.


This congregation was formed — as near as can now be ascertained — in the year 1720. As there is no record of its organization, we can only approximate the time when the people first assembled on this spot for religious worship. This is believed to have been in the fall of the year 1720 ...

It was originally known as Sadsbury. The first minister who preached here was the Rev. David Evans. Mr. Evans had been pastor of the congregation of the Welsh tract, in New Castle county, Delaware, but difficulties arising between him and some of his people, the pastoral relation was dissolved. This was in May, 1720. He then, as appears from the minutes of Presbytery, supplied the people of Tredyffrin, now known as the Great Valley church, and was also sent by the Presbytery to the region now called Octorara, Forks of Brandywine and Conestoga, extending to Donegal and even beyond. The whole territory thus included, was missionary ground, and Mr. Evans preached in various places in the different settlements which had been formed. In June, 1721, he was directed by the Presbytery to supply the same people, and a letter was directed to be written by Mr. Cross, to the people at Tredyffrin, and "the people at Sadsbury, upon the western branches of Brandywine," and the people at Conestoga.

In August, 1721, Mr. Evans reported to Presbytery that he had supplied the people of Tredyffrin, and Sadsbury, and Conestoga. Mr. Cross also reported, that he had written to the people of Sadsbury according to appointment. Mr. Evans was again appointed to supply the people at Tredyffrin, and directed, "to allow every fourth Sabbath day to the people at Sadsbury." In September, 1721, the name of Octorara first appears upon the minutes of Presbytery. It is recorded that "a letter from the people of Sadsbury (alias Akterara) , to this Presbytery being read, was referred to the committee on bills and overtures."

This is the last time that Sadsbury is mentioned as the name of this congregation; thereafter it is called Octorara. The first syllable of the name Octorara, would seem originally to have been pronounced Ac, as in the early minutes of Presbytery it is spelled Akterara, Ackterara, Acterara, Actarara. We indeed, sometimes hear it so pronounced at the present day.

Upper Octorara

The name "Upper Octorara," was first given to this church about the year 1727, to distinguish it from Middle Octorara, in Lancaster County ; and from the church now called Lower West Nottingham, in Maryland, which was originally known as "Mouth of Octorara," and subsequently as " Lower Octorara."

Mr. Evans continued to supply this congregation until March, 1723, when Rev. Daniel Macgill was appointed to have the oversight of it. He supplied it until his death on February 10, 1724. In April, 1724, Rev. David Evans was again directed by Presbytery to '"supply to people of Act.-ii-ar.'i witli ])Voa('hiiig every foiirtli Sabbath." He did so until Jidy 1724, when he ceased to act in that capacity.

The congregation was directed by the Presbytery "to gratify the ministers sent to them, and not let them go home unpaid." They would seem from this injunction, to have been a little remiss in the performance of the duty they owed to those who were sent to break unto them the bread of life.

Mr. Evans, who was thus the first minister to this congregation, was a native of Wales, from whence he emigrated about the year 1701, graduated at Yale College in 1713, was ordained in 1714, and besides thus supplying Octorara for a time, was pastor of the Great Valley Church in Tredyfltrin township for about twenty years. He afterwards accepted a call to a church in New Jersey, where he labored until his death, about the year 1750. He was recording clerk of the Presbytery of New Castle from its organization, March 13, 1716-7, until September 23, 1721, and his penmanship, as exhibited in the records of Presbytery, was in the extreme curious. His education and attainments were of a high grade. In 1748, he published a work, entitled "Law and Gospel; or, Man wholly Ruined by the Fall, and Recovered by the Gospel," being the substance of several sermons preached in 1734, at Tredyffrin from Gal. iii. 10, and Rom. i. 16. He was an eccentric and high spirited man, excitable and somewhat vascillating in his course.

Mr. Macgill, who, as already stated, ministered to this congregation for about one year, was a native of Scotland, and came to this country about 1712, in September of which year he was received as a member of Presbytery. He is said to have been somewhat austere in his manner's, but a good preacher and a learned man. The following advertisement, which is nearly all that has been rescued concerning him from the river of oblivion, is deemed worthy of preservation as an item of the olden time:

1722, Ran away from the Rev. D. Magill, a servant clothed with damask breeches, black broad-cloth vest, broadcloth coat of copper colour and trimmed with black, and wearing black stockings.

In reading this advertisement describing the dress of the servant, we may well exclaim, "If the servant was not greater than his master, what must the master have been?"

Rev. Boyd

The Rev. Adam Boyd, who was the first regular pastor of this Church, was born in Ballymena, county Antrim, Ireland, in 1692, and came to New England as a probationer in 1722 or 1723. While there, he preached at Dedhani. After remaining there for a time, he concluded to return to his native country, and was furnished by the celebrated Cotton Mather — who esteemed him well — withi a certificate of his good character in this country, dated June 10, 1721. He, however, had formed an attachment to a daughter of Rev. Thomas Craighead, one of the pioneers of the Irish Presbyterians of New England, and, relinquishing his design of returning home, came to Pennsylvania, whither Mr. Craighead and his family had shortly preceded him, bringing with him the commendatory letter of Cotton Mather, as well as credentials from Ireland, and was received under the care of New Castle Presbytery. The following is the minutes of Presbytery on the occasion of his reception:

July 29, 1724. The testimonials of Mr. Adam Boyd, preacher of the gospel, lately come from New England, were read and approved, and he being interrogated by the moderator, whether he would submit to this Presbytery, he answered that he would, during his abode in these parts.

Mr. Craighead had been received as a member of Presbytery on January 28, 1723-4.

A copy, in Cotton Mather's hand-writing, of the letter given by him to Mr. Boyd, has been preserved among the Mather MSS. in the library of the American Antiquarian Society, at Worcester, Massachusetts. It reads thus :

Boston, N. E., June 10, 1724. " Our Avortliy friend. Mr. Adam Boyd, being on a return to Europe, it is hereby certified, on his behalf, that for the years of his kite sojourning in these parts of the world, his behaviour, so far as we understand, has been inoffensive and commendable, and such as hath justified the testimonials with which he arrived hither. And we make no doubt that he will make a report of the kind reception which he and others of his and our brethern coming from Scotland and Ireland hither, (whereof more than two or three are at this time acceptably exercising their ministry in our churches,) have found in this country, that will be very contrary to the misrepresentations which some disturbers of the peace have given of it. 'We implore the blessing of our gracious Lord upon his person and his voyage, and hope that wherever he may be disposed of, he may have the rewards and comforts of a patient continuance in well doino; to attend him.

On the same day on which Mr. Boyd became a member of Presbytery, he was sent as a supply to Octorara, with directions to collect a congregation also at Pequea, and take the necessary steps towards its organization. He was so acceptable to the people that at the next meeting of Presbytery, September 14, 1724, a call was presented for his services as a pastor by Cornelius Rowan and Arthur Park, representatives of the people at Octorara and Pequea. This call was accepted by him on the 6th of October, and at the urgent request of the commissioners who presented it, that an early day should be fixed for his ordination, the Presbytery met at the " Ackterara Meeting House" on the 13th of October, 1724, for that purpose.

At this meeting of Presbytery — the first held on this spot — there were present as members, Thomas Craighead, of White Clay creek, George Gillespie, of Head of Christiana, Henry Hook, of Drawyers, Thomas Evans, of Pencader, and Alexander Hutchinson, of Bohemia, ministers, and Peter Bouchelle, elder. Mr. Craighead presided as Moderator.

Mr. Boyd having passed the usual examination, the minutes of Presbytery record that " Proclamation being made three times by Mr. George Gillespie, at the door of the meeting-house of Octorara, that if any person had any thing to object against the ordaining of Mr, Adam Boyd, they should make it known to the Presbytery now sitting, and no objection being made, they proceeded to his ordination, solemnly setting him apart to the work of the ministry, with prayer and imposition of the hands of the Presbytery. Mr. Henry Hook preaching the ordination sermon, and presiding in the \York."

Early members

Cornelius Rowan and Arthur Park, who represented the congregation in prosecuting the call for Mr. Boyd, were natives of the north of Ireland, and were, of course, among the very earliest settlers of this region. As they are the first names of which we have one mention in connection with this congregation, a brief reference to them may not be uninteresting.

Cornelius Rowan resided south of the present village of Cochranville, and was evidently somewhat advanced in years. Ho died in August, 1725, less than one year after the installation of Mr. Boyd. In his will he speaks of himself as " late from Ireland," and mentions his wife Ann "now in Ireland." He left a son Abraham Rowan, and a daughter Ann, the wife of James Cochran, of Octorara. The persons appointed to execute his will, were his son-in-law, James Cochran, James Moore of New London, and Rev. Adam Boyd, whom he calls "minister of Octorara." His daughter Ann, the wife of James Cochran, left seven children, Robert, John, George, Stephen, Jane, and James Cochran, and Ann, the wife of Rev. John Roan.

The Cochran family were among the early emigrants. Three brothers, David, Robert, and James came from Scotland, and settled in the neighborhood of the present village of Cochranville. Their descendants have been numerous, and some of them have occupied positions of honor and influence. Samuel Cochran, a descendant of James and his wife Ann, the daughter of Cornelius Rowan, and a son of Stephen Cochran, was for a number of years Surveyor General of Pennsylvania, and filled the office of State Senator. The Cochrans were among the early members of this congregation. Some time after the organization of Fagg s Manor, they transferred their membership to that church, it being nearer their place of abode. James Cochran was one of its first ruling elders. Their place of burial, how^ever, has always, until recently, been in the graveyard of this Church, where numerous stones, erected to perpetuate the memory of the different members of the family, may be seen.

Arthur Park was a native of Ballylagby, in county Donegal, Ireland. He, with his wife Mary and four children, Joseph, John and Samuel Park, and a daughter, the wife of William Noblett, came to this country prior to 1724. His brothers, Samuel and David, and his sister Jane, emigrated at the same time.

Arthur Park took up by warrant all the lands now embraced in the farms occupied by Adam Reid, Hood Reece, John Parke, John Andrew Parke, J. Wilson Hershberger, Walter Sutton and brother, and S. Butler Windle. He resided in the house formerly occupied by J. Wilson Hershberger, a short distance west of the Limestone road, which was the homestead, and died there in February, 1740. He devised the lands I have mentioned to his sons Joseph and John, subject to the ])Myineiit of legacies to tlic otlicr hcii's. 'J'licse sons (livi<l(Ml the real estate between them; Joseph taking tlie sontheni part, embracing the farms now of J. W, Ilevshberger, the Messrs. Sutton and S. B. Windle, and John takiug the nortliern part, covering the farms now of John Park, Adam Reid, and Hood Reece. Josepli Park, after his father's death, resided for a time at the old homestead, and then sold his lands and removed to Georgia. John Park erected a dwelling on the part taken by him, where the present John Parke resides. He died July 28, 1787, at the age of eighty-one years. His wife Elizabeth died May 21, 1791, at the age of eighty-two years. Their children were Arthur, Joseph, John, William, Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, David and Samuel, the last of whom died young. The entire Parke family, in this section of the country, together with many families bearing other honored surnames, are their descendants. It has furnished this church with tive ruling elders, in five successive generations, — two of them bearing the name of Arthur, and three that of John, — and has also furnished four ministers — the late Rev. Samuel Parke, and his son. Rev. Nathan Clrier Parke, the Rev. Samuel T. Lowrie, and the Rev. John L. Withrow. The name was originally spelled Park, but the later generations spell it ParJce. Members of the family of the seventh generation from the original Arthur Park, are present within these walls to-day.

When the emigrant Arthur Park came from Ireland, he brought with him, among other household articles, a pewter platter, about seventeen inches in diameter, which has been preserved, and is now in the possession of one of his descendants. The letters A. M. P., the initials of the names of Arthur and Mary Park, are stamped upon it.

The Rev. Adam Boyd, at the time of his ordination, was about thirty-two years of age. Ten days thereafter he was married to Jane, the daughter of Rev. Thomas Craighead. His field of labor, when he became the pastor of this church, was quite extensive, and embraced not only its present territory, but covered also that belonging to the present congregations of Fork of Brandywine, Middle Octorara, Leacock, Pequea, Donegal, Doe Bun, Coatesville, Belleview, Waynesburg, Penningtonville, and the northern portion of Fagg's Manor. Donegal he gave up, in 1727. In the same year, the portion of the congregation residing on the west side of the Octorara creek, having considerably increased in numbers, received permission from Presbytery to erect a meeting-house and to organize a new congregation. The church known as Middle Octorara was accordingly organized, and received supplies from Presbytery until a regular pastor was installed. Mr. Boyd continued to preach to them until the year 1730.

In 1731, the people at Pequea, to whom Mr. Boyd had ministered a portion of his time from his first taking charge of this church, obtained his services regularly every sixth Sabbath, and he continued to minister to them until October, 1733, when his fatherin-law, Ilev. Thomas Craighead, received and accepted a call from them, and was installed as their regular pastor.

Meeting House

My. Boyd, on the first of January, 1727, purchased from William Pusey two hundred and fifty acres of land in Sadsbury townsliip, embracing the present iarm of the late Rev. James Latta, and the late William Armstrong, and erected thereon a stone dwelling house, wherein he resided during the remainder of his life, and where he reared a large family. The dw^elling house thus erected forms the front part of the present residence of Mrs. Latta. A few years thereafter, he took out a warrant and obtained a patent for about two hundred acres adjoining, comprising the present farms of Joseph C. Boyd, and that known as the Black Horse farm, of the late John Boyd. His real estate therefore consisted of the properties now owned by John Y. Latta, Joseph C. Boyd, the late William Armstrong, and the late John Boyd, and contained altogether over fi^e hundred acres.

The first meeting-house at this place stood a little west of the middle of the present graveyard. The eastern wall ran along about where Rev. Adam Boyd and Rev. William Foster are buried. It was a log structure, about thirty-five or forty feet square. The first notice we have of it is at the ordination of Mr. Boyd, in October, 1724, when the Presbytery, as recorded in their minutes, met for that purpose " at Ackterara meeting-house," and on which occasion Mr. Gillespie made the proclamation already referred to " at the door of the ineeting-house." As the congregation had supplies from the year 1720, the probabilities are that this log meeting-house Avas erected about the latter year, or soon thereafter, and that David Evans and Daniel Macgill preached in it previons to Mr. Bojd.

It was the custom of the Presbyterian emigrants, wherever they formed a settlement, as soon as they had reared or obtained dwellings for their families, to organize congregations and erect houses of worship. These buildings were universally called "meetinghouses." The use of the term "church" for the house of worship is, among Presbyterians, an innovation of quite modern date. Presbyterians in the olden time did not go to church — they went to meeting. Indeed, in my boyhood days — and, in my estimation at least, they are not so very far in the past — I always went to meeting. The enquiry on Sunday morning usually was, Who is going to meeting to-day? Now, however, like the rest of the Presbyterians, I go to church. I am old fogy enough to wish that the term used by our fathers had been retained, but as there is not much probability that it will ever be restored, I suppose there is nothing for me, and those who, like me, are somewhat wedded to the things of the past, to do but to submit gracefully, and be carried along with the current.

This log meeting-house, after being used for a number of years, was, tradition says, accidentally burned.

Second Meeting House

The congregation then erected their second church building. It was placed a short distance northwest from where the old one had stood, and was the eastern half of the edifice torn down in 1840, when the house in which we now worship was erected. Its dimensions were about thirty-li\(' 1)\' forty-two feet. The pulpit was ill the north end, and faced tlie door, which was in the centre of the south wall. Many of you will remember where this door stood. It was walled up when the building was subsequently enlarged, but the mark was distinctly visible.

I cannot give the date of the erection of this second house. Corner-stones (so called) containing historical data, were not laid in those days, and no written memorial is extant, but it was some time prior to the middle of the last century. At the same time, a stone session house, fifteen by twenty feet, was erected in the rear of the church. This Iniilding is still standing in the north-west corner of the present graveyard. It has an age of over a century and a quarter, and it is hoi)ed that the trustees will preserve it as a memorial of the past. In early times it was very common to have these session houses — study houses they used to be styled — in connection with every meeting-house. I well remember hearing the term "study house" applied to this building in my young days. They were designed for the use of the ministers and elders of the church. Candidates for admission to church privileges were there examined. The ministers were accustomed to use them in preparing for the services, when they arrived before the hour at which they began, and they would also resort to them to prepare for the afternoon service.

The bounds of the congregation were curtailed on its southern side, bv the formation of a new congregation about the year 1730, at Faggs Manor, in Londonderry township. That church was originally called New Londonderry, and bore that name for some years. The name of Fagg's Manor was subsequently given to it from the circumstance that it is situated in the north-west corner of a tract of land containing about seven thousand acres, which had been granted by William Penn to his daughter Letitia Aubrey, and called Fagg's ^lanor in honor of Sir John Fagg, a relative of the Penn family. The new congregation, although efforts w^ere made at an early date to obtain a minister from the Associate Presbytery in Scotland, was without a pastor until the year 1739, fifteen years after Boyd came to Octorara, when the gifted Samuel Blair settled among them. The next year, a great revival of religion commenced there, wdiich appears to have continued for a number of years. That church has a very interesting history, which it is hoped some Old Mortality will unearth, and set in order, at no distant day.

In the year 1732, the Presbytery of New Castle was divided, and the Presbytery of Donegal formed from the western portion of its territory. Upper Octorara was set off to the new Presbytery, and belonged to it until the year 1755, when it was retransferred to New Castle, of which it continued to be a member until the recent formation of the Presbytery of Chester, to which it now belongs.

Forks of the Brandywine

At an earlier date, an extensive settlement of Scotch Irish Presbyterians had been made in the neighbor hood of what is usually called Brandywine Manor, then called, and ever since officially known as the 'Forks of Brandywine." Those people formed a part of the congregation of Upper Octorara, and came to this place to worship, some of them coming a distance of over ten miles.

At a meeting of the Presbytery of Donegal, held at Octorara Church June 5th, 1734, they make this record :

The people on the Forks of Brandy wine, being a part of Mr. Boyd's congregation, put in a supplication to the Presbytery for liberty of erecting a meeting house for Mr. Boyd to preach in, when sometimes he comes to them, which was granted.

Again, when the Presbytery of Donegal met, on the 4tli day of April, 1735, they say :

A supplication from the people on the Forks of Brandywine was presented and read; wherein they suppose themselves to be a distinct erected congregation of people by Presbyterial authority, and desiring supplies accordingly. And also, another from the elders of the congregation of Octorara, desiring the subscription of those persons belonging to said people, may be continued to Mr. Boyd's support.

The Presbytery, having these contending applications, were no little perplexed. But they eventually came to the conclusion,

That the people on the Forks of Brandywine committed an error in supposing that they were already recognized as an independent congregation; expressing at the same time their conviction that such a measure would soon be expedient, if not indispensable, as leave had already been given them to build a house for their more convenient enjoying the visits of Mr. Boyd."

At the next meeting of Presbytery, a supplication from the people of the Forks of Brandywine was presented and read, the substance of which was, that they might be erected into a distinct congregation, and that Presbytery would concur with them in endeavoring to obtain a visit from some of those young gentlemen lately from Ireland, and who have joined the Presbytery of New Castle, in order to their consulting about giving such minister a call."

The Presbytery, after some hesitation, granted their request; and, on the 18th of September, 1735, erected them into a separate congregation, and they accordingly, at that date, ceased to be an integral part of Octorara. They called as their pastor the Rev. Samuel Black, who was ordained and installed November 10th, 1736. Mr. Black continued in that connection for a few 3'ears, when he was either suspended or deposed from the gospel ministry.

The Great Schism

About this period, differences arose in the Presbyterian Church, which culminated in what was called "the great schism," by which the church was rent in twain, and remained thus divided from 1741 to 1758, a period of seventeen years. This division was not the result of any difference between the parties on doctrinal sentiments — for both agreed in the cordial adoption of the confession of faith and catechisms — but of opinion as to certain measures connected with the great revival of 1740, whicli revival extended from Massacliusctts to Georgia, and in which Whitefield, the Tcuiiaiits, Samuel Blair and others were prominent actors.

On the subject of this great revival, the ministers of the Synod of Philadelphia were di\ idcil.

The friends of Whitefield and the revival regarded all who opposed them as setting themselves in opposition to the glorious work of grace, and as enemies of God, and uncharitably condemned them as unconverted men and hypocrites. On the other hand, the opposers of the revival, as they were called, disclaimed all opposition to it, but censured the kind of preaching adopted by those who claimed to be its friends, and the extravagant measures employed for promoting it. They were also offended at what they deemed the harsh and uncharitable spirit with which they were denounced and, as they said, misrepresented by the preachers on the other side.

Another cause for alienation arose from measures adopted by the Synod to prevent the admission of uneducated men into the ministry, and in regard to itinerant preaching. These were denounced by the Revivalists, who refused to be governed by them, and persisted in intruding themselves into settled congregations, and causing dissensions between the pastors and their people.

Both parties were undoubtedly to some extent in the wrong, — the old side, in setting themselves in opposition to the revival of religion, and the new side, in doing and saying many unadvised things under the influence of a fervid zeal.

The result of this contention was of course disastrous and as already observed, ended in the dismemberment of the Church, and its division into two parties, known respectively as the "old side" and the "new side." Those who adhered to the new side, withdrew from the Synod of Philadelphia, and formed a new synod called the Synod of New York. The new side members of the Presbyteries of New Castle and Donegal also withdrew from their respective Presbyteries, and formed a new one, called "The Second Presbytery of New Castle."

This unfortunate controversy ran a plough share, as it were, through this congregation. Mr. Boyd (the pastor), and a portion of the congregation adhered to the old side. The new side members — who composed a large majority — withdrew and organized "the Second Congregation of Upper Octorara," leaving the pastor, and the minority who adhered to him, in undisputed possession of the church property. This occurred in 1741. This second congregation, after their secession, worshiped for a time in a board tent which they erected on these church grounds, a short distance north of the meeting-house, but they soon took measures for the erection of a new church, and for this purpose took out a warrant from the Proprietaries on the 10th of February, 1743, in the name of Hugh Cowan, John Robb and John Henderson, for twenty-five acres of vacant land lying on the hill north of the late residence of Cyrus Cooper, and in the same year erected thereon, near its south-east corner, a frame meeting-house, about thirty-five by forty feet, and a stone session-house, and also enclosed a grave yard.

They had supplies from the Second Presbytery of New Castle until the year 174 7, wlien the Rev. Andrew Sterling was ordained by that Presbytery, and installed as their pastor.

The leading faimilies in this new church were the Hamills, Boggs, Cowans, Sloans, Glendennings,Kyles, Sharps, Dickeys, Moodys, Wilsons, Kerrs, Summerills, Robbs, Hendersons, Sandfords, Allisons and others.

The spot where this New Side church stood, which is now quite retired and somewhat difficult of access, was then as public as the location of the old church, the roads at that early date being differently located from what they are at the present day. Then, the leading public road from the Pequea Valley towards Philadelphia, — using the names of the present or late owners for facility of description — came by the late residence of Martin Armstrong, near the location of the present road to where it intersects the Lancaster turnpike, thence in the same general direction diagonally across the Latta farm, passing a short distance west of the present mansion, then by this church near where the road passes at present, to a point a short distance below the residence of Oliver P. Wilson, thence, leaving the present road where it makes a curve to the right, it continued the same general course across the Wilson farm and through the woods south of it, through the twenty-five acres belonging to the new church, and passed diagonally down the hill into the valley, a short distance east of the late residence of Cyrns Cooper, from thence it continued its course down the valley, crossing Buck Ptun near the culvert on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and passing a short distance from Major Pomeroy's barn. The route of this old road is, in places, very perceptible, and those of you who may have curiosity enough to trace it, as I had, can very readily do so. There is a spring on the Cooper farm near to which this road passed, and tradition says, that the wagoners used frequently to stop there to water their horses and refresh themselves. The new meeting-house stood near to this road, which is spoken of in old records, as " The Meeting-house Ptoad."

Another road ran on the brow of the hill from the neighborhood of the present village of Parkesburg, which was used by the people going to the new house from that direction, and another road led northward from near the graveyard, towards the late residence of William Parke.

The two meeting-houses, the old and the new, were about one mile distant from each other.

About the year 1740, Messrs. John Filson, William Hanna, Francis Boggs, James Blelock and others, members of Upper Octorara residing in East Fallowfield township and vicinity, and who sympathized with the New Side, erected a house of worship at Doe Run on the Strasburg road, in that township, and were organized into a congregation under the name of the "Doe Run Presbyterian Church." They had supplies from the New Side Presbytery of New Castle, until about the year- 1747, when the Rev. Andrew Sterling became their pastor, in connection with the Second Congregation of Octorara.

About the year 1743, the Rev. George Whitefield, in the course of his visitations to the churches in this comity, preached at Doe Run, and also at the New Side Church of Upper Octorara. There was a large board tent at Octorara, which stood on the brow of the hill a short distance west of the graveyard, in which he preached. His voice was very strong, and it is said, he could be distinctly heard at Thomas Trumans — where the late Cyrus Cooper resided.

Mr. Sterling was the pastor of these two churches until the year 1765, — a period of about eighteen years. As a preacher, he is said to have possessed much power; but he was of an impetuous disposition and very much disposed to have his own way, and in the later years of his ministry he w\as frecj^uently involved in difficulties with his session and the people of his congregations. In 1761, he was complained of for not calling his session together more frequently, and consulting them in regard to the affairs of the church ; for not being more thorough and regular in catechizing the congregations, and also for refusing to make proper settlements with the peoj^le, that they might know how much of his stipend was unpaid.

The Presbytery met at his church at Octorara on several occasions to adjust these difficulties, with but ill success. He became very deaf, and this, with his growing infirmities, was his excuse for not being more attentive to liis duties, and for neglecting to attend the meetings of the judicatories of the Church.

At length, he was arraigned before Presbytery on account of some occurrences not necessary to be detailed here, and on the 24th of April, 1765, was deposed from the office of the ministry.

He resided within the bounds of the congregation of Doe Run, and died in West Marlborough township in August, 1765, about four months after his deposition. He was married, but left no descendants. I can give no account of his relations, except that a brother, James Sterling, was concerned in the settlement of his estate. He was a native of Ireland.

After his deposition, the churches to which he had ministered asked for supplies, and the Rev. John Blair of Faggs Manor, and Rev. John Carmichael of the Forks of Brandywine, were appointed to visit them in that capacity.

The Rev. Adam Boyd, having, as already observed, been deserted by a majority of his congregation, accepted a call on the 11th of August, 1741, from the portion of the church of the Forks of Brandywine who adhered to the Old Side — that church having also been divided — and who offered him £20 for one half of his time. From this period until the year 1758, he ministered to the Old Side portions of both Upper Octorara and the Forks of Brandywine, giving to each, one half of his time. In the latter year, the two branches at Brandywine united, and his pastoral relation to that church was dissolved. lie continued to be the pastor of the Old Side Congregation at Octorara, they, from the time his connection with Brandywine ceased, paying him for two tliirds of his time.

The division in the church at large, which had existed since 1741, was healed in the year 1758, and the two bodies became one. The First and Second Presbyteries of New Castle were united, and Mr. Boyd, who had theretofore, since its formation in 1732, been a member of Donegal Presbytery, was joined to New Castle.

The First and Second Congregations of Octorara, however, contiuned to remain distinct congregations for a period of ten years after the union of the Synods, althongh many of the members of the Second Church returned to the First Church during this period.

On the 19th of January, 1768, the Second Congregation of Upper Octorara, and the congregation at Doe Run, which had together been under the pastoral care of Mr. Sterling, united in calling the Rev. William Foster, who had been licensed by the Presbytery of New Castle on the 21st of April, 1767, and had supplied their pulpits a portion of the intervening period. The call was placed in his hands by the Presbytery, and held by him under consideration.

At a meeting of Presbytery held April 20, 1768, Mr. Boyd represented his inability to minister to his people as formerly, by reason of feeble health, and requested as many supplies for his pulpit as could reasonably be granted.

Soon after this, measures were taken for the coalition of the two congregations. Mr. Boyd's people, with his approbation, harmoniously concurred in the call already extended to Mr. Foster by the other congregation; the calls were accepted by Mr. Foster, and on the 19th of October, 1768, he was duly ordained and installed as pastor of the "United Congregation of Upper Octorara," and also of the congregation of Doe Run, giving to the latter one-fourth of his time. The Rev. Robert Smith, of Pequea, presided at the ordination, — Mr. Boyd being present, and taking part in the services.

Mr. Boyd's pastoral relation was not formally dissolved, and the congregation agreed to pay him £25 yearly, during his life. He survived however but a little over a month, and died Nov. 23, 170 8, at the age of seventy-six years ; forty-four of which he was pastor of this church. He was buried in 3^onder graveyard — tradition says — on the spot where the pulpit of the log church stood, in which he preached during the early part of his ministry. His widow survived till November 9, 1779. The stone covering his remains records, that he was "eminent through life for modest piety, diligence in his office, prudence, equanimity and peace."

He was a man of great exactness, and kept an account book full of minute memoranda, commencing in 1741, and extending down to his last days. In those times, the minister collected his stipends himself, and in this volume, he records the payments of each subscriber, whether in money, produce or otherwise, with the offsets, the times of their death or removal, and the attendins; circumstances. His salary was not large. During a part of his ministry, it did not exceed £30 from this congregation, and at no time, did it mncli, if any, exceed £60. This was doubtless added to by the other congregations, which from time to time he had under his charge.

The circumstances of the people were limited, and Avhile they could not contribute largely to his support, they seem to have been uniformly commendable in fulfilling their promises, and several remembered him in their dying testaments by small bequests.

In his preparation for the pulpit, he used a sort of short-hand. The book I have referred to, contains several of his sermons thus written.

He was accustomed to visit the families of his congregation, and as the roads in those days, were to some extent mere bridle-paths, and riding vehicles had not come into use. he frerpientl}^ made these journeys on foot. On such occasions — atjeast in his later days — he carried a cane, which has been preserved in the family, and has been handed down from father to son, in one branch of his descendants to the present time, and which, through the kindness of the present possessors of it, I am permitted to exhibit to you to-day. The lower part, as you will see, is somewhat worn — caused, it is said, by his striking it through the crusted snow. As he died in 1768, one hundred and two years ago, this cane has an age of probably a century and a quarter.

An instance of Mr. Boyd's honesty has been transmitted — that having a horse, fine looking, but unruly, he took him to a neighboring vendue to sell; the oyer began to praise liim, and set off liis good properties, much in the modern style, but the old gentleman rebuked him, saying it was not so, that if he had been such a horse, he never would have thought of parting with him; and told the bidders the faults of the animal, and the occasion of his offering him for sale.

Adam Boyd left five sons and six daughters. The eldest, John, is said to have been licensed to preach, and to have died young. Thomas settled on a plantation conveyed to him by his father, embracing the eastern portion of his lands already referred to, adjoining this church property on the north, and which — now divided into two farms — is still in the possession of his descendants.

Andrew remained upon the homestead; was active during the war of the revolution, held a commission as Colonel, and was for a time Lieutenant of the county of Chester. His duties in this office, were, to call out, equip and forward troops as they were needed, and to have the general oversight within the county, of supplying and sustaining the army in the field. Ilis appointment to such a position shows the estimation in which he was held. He died March 23, 1786, at the age of forty-six j^ears. Among his descendants, are Rev. Andrew Boyd Cross, of Baltimore, and the widow of the late Rev. Richard Webster, of Mauch Chunk.

Adam, another son, resided in Wilmington, North Carolina, and commenced the Cape Fear Mercury," in October, 17G7. He was a true friend of liberty, and was a leading member of the "Committee of Safety." In 1776, he exchanged the press for the pulpit, and was chaplain of the North Carolina brigade.

Samuel, the youngest son, entered Mr. McDowell's school at Elk, in the summer of 1760, and became a student in the College of Philadelphia in 1764. He entered on the practice of medicine and removed to Virginia.

Of the daughters of Rev. Adam Boyd, Margaret married the Ivev. Joseph Tate ; Janet, the Rev. Robert McMordrie; and Agnes, the Rev. Samson Smith.

His marriage-portions to his daughters were large, according to the notions of that day, and show the thoughtfulness, as well as the liberality of the parents; — thus, on the marriage of his eldest daughter, he gave her, besides a silk gown, a bed and its furniture, a horse and saddle, and nearly every article for housekeeping, all of which are carefully entered in his book.

How he managed to raise a family of five sons and six daughters, with the small stipend he received, and on a poor farm, in the condition agriculture was in at that time; educating two of his sons for the ministry, and one as a physician, and giving to each of his other sons a large plantation, besides portions to his daughters, is more than I can divine. I imagine there are few in our day that could do it. It is true, that money was more valuable then than now, but not so much so as we might suppose, as many of the necessaries of life commanded more than they do at the present day.

The union of the two branches of Octorara under one pastorate, does not appear, at first, to have been with the entire concurrence of the New Side. Some of them refused for a time, to worship with the united congregation, and received therefor the censure of the Presbytery. They gradually however, in time, became reconciled to the new order of things.

United Congregation

One of the first acts of the united congregation, was to obtain patents from the proprietaries for the lands belonging to them, and which had theretofore been held by warrant and survey. A warrant had been taken out by the Rev. Adam Boyd, dated May 25, 1743, for the lands occupied by the congregation of which he was pastor, and a survey made in pursuance thereof. A patent was granted for these lands on the 26th of April, 1769, to the Rev. William Foster, William Clingan, Hugh Cowan and John Fleming, they having been designated b}^ the congregation to receive a patent and to hold the same, as expressed therein, "for the purpose of erecting and continuing a church or house of religious worship, for the use of the united congregation at Octorara, in Sadsbury township, and their descendants and successors, in such mimner as the majority of the congregation shall, from time to time, order, direct and appoint." The tract — according to the patent — contains nine acres and one hundred and thirty-eight 2;)erches, and allowance — the actual contents, according to a more recent survey, being eleven acres and fifty perches — and is the one now occupied by the congregation.<rev name="Append">See Appendix C.</ref>

The tract of twenty-five acres and allowance on the north valley hill, for which a warrant had heen granted to Hugh Cowan, John Robb and John Henderson, on the 10th of February, 1743, for the use of the New Side portion of Octorara, and survey thereof made January 30, 1744, was, by direction of the united congregation, patented on the 7th of June, 1769, to Joseph Cowan and Hugh Cowan, "in trust to and for the use of the United Congregation of Presbyterians at Octorara."

In those days, when lands were taken up, names were frequently given to them. Accordingly, the tract on which this church stands, was patented by the name of "Union," — probably in commemoration of the union of the two congregations, — and the twenty-five acre tract was called "Fellowship."

The union of the congregations, rendered it necessary that they should have increased accommodations for public worship, neither of their houses having sufficient capacity, and accordingly about the year 1769, they proceeded to enlarge the house on the grounds of the first congregation, by extending it westAvard about thirty-five feet, thus making it in size, about forty-two by seventy feet. In this extension, they simply used the north, east, and south walls of the old building — the floor, roof, and every other part being entirely ncAV — so that the enlarged building was substantially a new one, and was the third meeting-house erected on these grounds.

In an old document in my possession, speaking of this building, it is stated that "when the first and second congregations united into one body, they built a large and convenient stone church on the grounds of the first congregation, the ancient place from the first settlement of the gospel in this part of the country."

The carpenter work was probably done by Samuel McClellan, the ancestor of the present family of that name in this congregation, who had removed into this township from Newtown township, Delaware County, about the year 1763, and settled where his grandson James L. McClellan, now resides. He was a joiner by trade, but did carpenter work. It is certain that he built the pews. He would make as many at a time as his shop would conveniently hold, and then haul them to the church and put them up. On one occasion, while he was thus engaged, his shop took fire and was burned, and with it about £60 Avorth of work, besides the materials.

It may be interesting to describe this third church building more minutely, as it was the one in which our fathers worshipped for manj^ A^ears, and for its day, was one of more than ordinary elegance.

The building — as already observed — was about seventy feet in length from east to west, and about forty-two in width from north to south. The south wall — which was the front of the building — was what is called range work, pointed with black or dark colored mortar, and then penciled white, and as I recollect it, presented a very fine appearance. The walls were about sixteen feet in height to the square, and twenty feet to the centre of the ceiling, which was arched. There were three doors of entrance for the congregation; the main one, in the centre of the south side, and one in each end, east and west. The south door had over it a heavy cornice. The windows were large, arched, and had very small panes of glass. The pulpit stood on the north side, fjicing the south or main door. An aisle, some seven or eight feet wide, ran the length of the church from east to w^est, ahout one-third of the distance across the room from the north side, and another wide aisle from the main door to this cross-aisle. There were also two small blind aisles, as they might be termed, running from the east and west aisle to the south w^all. The number of pews was fifty-eight. There were four rows facing the north or pulpit side, with seven pews in each, and on each side of the pulpit there were twelve pew\s, extending from the long aisle to the north wall. Those on each side of the aisle running from the main door, and those on the north side of the east and west aisle, were quite long, and were frequently occupied by two families. There w^ere also six square pews, three on each side of the church, against the east and west walls, and sou.th of the long aisle. They were entered from the blind aisles referred to. All the pews had high perpendicular backs, in accordance with the notion of the times. The pulpit — a neat piece of workmanship for that day — was square and closed, and would hold three persons. It stood quite high, although not so much so as the most of pulpits of that day, and was surmounted by a huge sounding board. A small door opened into the closed space underneath it. The pulpit was painted white; the pews were impainted.

In front of the pulpit there was a large square pew, with seats around three sides of it. This was called the elders' pew, and on communion Sabbaths, and sometimes on other occasions, it was occupied by them. The precentor, or cleric, as he was usually called, had his seat there, and it was also frequently occupied by persons whose hearing was dull.

In addition to the outer doors referred to, there was a small door on the north side, more especially designed for the conA^enience of the minister, which opened into a double pew, on the west side of the pulpit, and out of which pew the stairs led to the pulpit. There was a window over this door, from which the pulpit was lighted.

A table stood in the elders' pew, which on communion occasions was placed in the long aisle in front of the pulpit, and the communion elements placed upon it. This table — a relic of the past, and having an age of over one hundred years — has been preserved, and may now be seen in the lecture room of this church. It is forty-eight inches long, and twenty-nine inches wide.

The communion was administered in the long aisle, at tables, on each side of which the communicants seated themselves.

After the completion of the new building, the united congregation agreed to sell twenty-four acres of the Fellowship tract, reserving two acres and a half in the southeast corner, (being the remaining acre and the allowance of six per cent.,) on which were the meeting-house, session-house, and graveyard. The trustees, who held the title of the lands, disregarded the wishes of the congregation in this respect, and sold and conveyed to James Sharp, by deed dated 22d December, 1769, all of said tract, except a piece in the southeast corner, six and a half perches by twelve perches. A controversy arose about the matter, which was referred to six of the members of the adjoining congregations of Faggs Manor and Forks of Brandywine for settlement. The difficulties were finally adjusted, on the recommendation of the referees, by James Sliarp re-conveying to the trustees the surplus over the twenty-four acres intended to be sold. This reconveyance was made May 8, 1772. The proceeds of the lands thus 'sold to Sharp were applied to liquidate the debt incurred in erecting the new church.

The congregation subsequently sold all of the reserved lands, except about one-fourth of an acre, including the burial ground, the title to which remains in this church. The frame meeting-house was sold to Joseph Park, Esq., in the year 1772, and removed by him to where the barn now stands, on the property lately owned by Evan Jones, and was used for purposes connected with the tannery for some years. It gradually went to decay, and soon after the year 1811, was torn down.

The stone session-house was used for some time as a tenement by the owners of the land on which it stood, but it has long since disappeared. The only remaining landmark to designate this interesting spot is the graveyard. That is about twenty-five yards square, and is enclosed with a substantial stone wall. It contains nineteen headstones, recording the deaths of twenty-three persons, and there are graves with nothing to tell who is resting therein. Indeed, the yard appears to be pretty well filled. The oldest memorial is that of Joseph Wilson, who died in the year 1751.

These old burial grounds which are no longer used, are so generally neglected and suffered to go to decay, that it is pleasing to observe that this is an exception, and that it has recently received proper attention at the hands of the trustees. The ancestors of many of the present members of this and neighboring churches lie there, and their descendants should guard their dust with jealous care.

I would also in this connection suggest to the trustees of this church the propriety of erecting a simple memorial stone to mark the site of the old frame meeting-house. I am sure the present proprietor of the lands will cordially give his assent. It stood a short distance northwest of the graveyard, and its location can now be readily pointed out. In a few years, all knowledge of it will have passed from the minds of men.