Presbyterian Church of Harmony
Presbytery of Newton
November 17-24, 1907
Containing an Historical Sketch
of the Church
M. Jennie Love
Press of Beers & Frey
|Henry Winter*||Isaac DeWitt|
|Peter Young*||William Merritt|
|Daniel Osmon*||Isaac Vannatta|
|John Connelly*||William Vannatta|
|Benjamin Youmans||Joseph Koch|
|Varnet DeWitt||George Brakeley|
|Peter Kline||Jacob Shimer|
|Moses Allen||John L. Cline|
|Peter Winter||Irwin Miller|
|Phineas Barber||Thomas F. DeWitt|
|Jacob DeWitt||Garner H. Cline|
|Jacob Cline||Charles Ramsay|
|James DeWitt||Edward L. Fine|
A Hundred Years! O! Cov'nant God,
We bless Thee for the past!
Make this dear spot Thine own abode
While time and nature last.
As generations come and go,
Oh! make this place Thy home;
THEE May our children's children know
A HUNDRED YEARS TO COME!
The 17th of November, 1907, marks an era of unusual importance in the history of the Presbyterian Church of Harmony. While the oldest records do not contain the exact date of the organization of the Church, it appears that the first church officers were elected in the year 1807 and the first church building was dedicated on November 17th of that year. In commemmoration of this event by the observance of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the church's history, the following programme was arranged to suit the convenience of those who were invited to take part:
The Prsbytery of Newton was represented by the Moderator, Rev. Edward Snyder, the present pastor of the church, and the stated clerk, Rev. E. Clark Cline, of Phillipsburg.
On Sabbath morning, November 17th, a large congregation, composed of the families of the church, with a large repesentation of the M. E. Church of Lower Harmony, assembled for worship at the hour of 10:45 A.M. Greenwich and Bloomsbury Churches were also represented.
The day was an ideal one for the season of the year.
The Rev. E. Clarke Cline, a son of the Harmony Church, preached an able sermon from "My Church," Matt. 16:18, "Upon this rock will I build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Miss M. Jennie Love, the younger daughter of Rev. Robert Love, who was pastor of the church from 1832 to 1838, read a most interesting and comprehensive sketch of the history of the church for the hundred years that are past.
In the evening Rev. Joseph R. Hillman, of New Milford, Pa., a former pastor, preached from Psalm 84:1, "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts." Mr. Cline followed with an address reminiscent of the people and life of the congregation for more than fifty years back.
The service arranged for Monday evening was cancelled on account of the sudden and serious illness of Rev. Roderick P. Cobb, a former pastor, now the rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Doylestown, Pa.
On Tuesday evening Rev. Hugh Walker brought the greetings of the Greenwich Church, which claims to be the mother of the Harmony Church, and delivered a most practical and interesting discourse from Gal. 6:7 and Rev. 22:7.
Wednesday evening was spent in a Prayer and Praise Service, lead by the pastor, who gave an address from Psalm 107:8, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Friday evening Rev. T. T. Mutchler, M.D., a son of the church and secretary of the Philadelphia Sabbath Association, gave an address based upon the "History of the ten lepers," taking for his theme "Appreciation," and made a most earnest and touching appeal to the unconverted to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was arranged to close the services by a sermon to be delivered by the pastor on Sabbath, November 24th, on the theme "Lessons from the Past," but the day was stormy and there were no services either morning or evening.
We have assembled here to "Call to remembrance the former days." It is a great privilege and joy to unite with you in celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of this church. The Christian ever turns to the church of his inheritance or choice with affectionate regard and its history, back to its feeble beginning is of the highest interest.
While Harmony Presbyterian Church cannot claim the historic place to which the Greenwich Mother of Churches is entitled, it yet has an honored history.
For a hundred years this has been consecrated ground. It has had a hundred years of gospel preaching by able, godly men. Our fathers and mothers have worshipped here. It has been the scene of struggles, defeats and triumphs. Precious revival seasons have been enjoyed. Many have been born anew into the kingdom, and, sad to say, some have rejected the offers of salvation. Baptismal covenant vows have been made, the solemn rite administered hundreds of times, and public professions of Christ made and witnessed. How often we have gathered at the sacramental feast and renewed our vows. From these sacred precincts the mortal remains of our loved ones have been borne to their long home in the cemetery, surrounding this church; and some day these graves will open and each and all of us stand before the judgment seat of Christ to answer for these privileges. Solemn thought; what shall the answer be?
In our retrospective glance at the past history of this church it will be interesting to note the origin of some of the people who, braving the hardships of the wilderness, settled her and in due time founded our churches; and we will endeavor to trace the founding and progress of this church under its honored pastors to the present time.
And right here we may say that Harmony at the middle of the last century was a more stirring place than it is now. Before the advent of the railroad along the river there was a mail stage running from Easton to Newton, on alternate days. We still hear it rumbling along on a Winter morning, arousing our slumbers. In the Summer season a daily stage was run between Easton and Belivdere to accommodate the Summer visitors, chiefly from Philadelphia, going to Belvidere and the Water Gap. The Pauls, Greens, Maxwels, Robesons, Sherreds and Kennedys were then in Belvidere, and there was much driving through here. This was also the route for farmers from the upper part of the county to convey their grain to Easton market. Long lines of teams went to and fro. There were caprenters and undertakers here, wheelrights, blacksmiths, tailors, two dry goods and grocery stores at Upper and Lower Harmony, post ofice and hotel. The schools in Winter were very large. Hutchinson's sawmills were in full play, also several flour or grist mills in vicinity. There was no agricultural machinery then, and the large and productive harvest season was almost a festive time among the prosperous farmers.
But we must go back to the time, perhaps a little more than two centuries ago, when the Indians of the Lenni Lenape tribe dwelt here in their wigwams, roamed hills and valleys in search of game and paddled their canoes along the Delaware. The site of Phillispburg in 1654 was an Indian village, called Chite Wink, and was the favorite fishing grounds of the Indians in this section. To some of us it does not seem so strange, for in our childhood the haunts of the Indians were spoken of, the boys found their arrows and stone hatchets on the hillside, and listened with wide awake interest to the Indian legends related by the "oldest inhabitants." Perhaps some, strongly attached to thoese "happy hunting grounds," lingered here after the main body had gone westward, and there were persons of partly Indian descent among us. We do not know just when the earliest white settlers, came, probably at the beginning of the 18th century. Godfrey Person was among the first we know about. The Davisons were very early settlers. The Miller brothers, Andrew and Peter, were Germans and through several transfers from George Reading, who was the owner in 1750, came into possession of their land in 1796. Philip Kline emigrated from Germany in 1720, settled in Somerset county, and later came to the beautiful valley over the hill, now occupied in part by Peter Kline, the fifth generation. Godfrey Kline's wife was a Prussian. Peter Young was a son of the Revolution, of German descent. The Houghs and Merritts were of English extraction. The Merritts were sons of the Revolution and settled in "The Barrens," as it was called, then a wilderness. Later it became Pleasant Grove and Buttonwood Grove. The Vannattas were of Holland extraction. The DeWitts were also from Holland. Barnet DeWitt, Sr., owned along the hillside between Lopatcong and Harmony. The other DeWitt family west to the Delaware. The Clines, Kochs, Oberlings, Hesses and Teels were Germans. The Teels settled in Knowlton township before the Revolution. The Gardners were of Scotch descent.
The Davisons, Ramsays and Fairs were Scotch-Irish. Adam Ramsay, Sr., was married in the family of Brigadier General Maxwell, who came to Greenwich in 1747. John Fair, a relative of the Maxwells, came from the north of Ireland to Grenwich, and about 1796 settled on the farm now owned in part by his grandson, Thomas Fair DeWitt.
In the old White burying ground, near Roxburg, are the names of Joseph Brackley, who died September, 1764. Robert Davison died in 1784, aged 82 years. His wife, Jennette Davison, died in 1760, and Mary Davison Middaugh died in 1751.
Mention of these show that the people founding this church were of English, German, Holland, Prussian, Scotch and Irish descent. The early settlers were not without religious training, shown by their desire for public worship. Mrs. John Fair came from the old Deep Run Church, Bucks county, Pa., founded in 1732, and Greenwich had preaching as early as 1739.
In 1740 the Presbytery of New Brunswick appointed supplies for Greenwich on the Delaware, which means Belvidere and Oxford (or Axford, as it was then called), and Mansfield Wood-house now Washington. Harmony township was part of Greenwich and Oxford townships until 1839. Between 1740 and 1744 David Brainard labored among the Indians along the Delaware. His house, a rude cabin, stood about half a mile from the banks of Martin's Creek, not very far from the Lower Mt. Bethel Church. A stone marks the spot. We know from Brainard's diary that he preached in Greenwich and Oxford townships, whether or not directly in this region we cannot tell.
Rev. John Roseborough was the first settled pastor at Greenwich. He was followed by the Rev. Joseph Treat, but Rev. William Sloan was the first minister to labor in this part of the township, of whom we have heard, as early as 1803, or perhaps earlier, as he came to Greenwich in 1`797. He preached in barns, groves and private houses, and exercised pastoral oversight in this region. Mrs. Love, wife of the third pastor, was baptized by him in Andrew Miller's barn, and Mrs. Hunt, the first pastor, preached his first sermon here in a grove near Stony Creek bridge, on Godfrey Kline's land.
In 1805 the people formed themselves into a society and Mr. Sloan called it his congregation. Some of the people were members of his church, going all that distance on horseback and in farm wagons. And we mention here the interest the successors of Mr. Sloan in Greenwich: Rev. D. X. Junkin, D. D., Rev. A. H. Hand, D.D., Rev. Thomas S. Long, and their successors have taken in this church. Mr. Long's labors in revival services are well remembered.
*The Harmony congregation, desiring to preserve in printed form the historical facts given in my sketch of the church at the celebration Novbember 17, 1907, some unimportant statements have been omitted and more of the early history of the church included. I have been aided by interesting notes of the late Rev. H. E. Spayd, and also by papers left by my father.
M. J. L.
Trenton, N.J., August 3, 1908