In that same year, 1806, a movement was made for the erection of a "meeting house." Henry Winter, Sr., and Andrew Miller were appointed a committee to circulate subscription papers and supervise the building. They met with much encouragement and the "meeting house" was ready for worship the next year. It was a frame structure, costing $1,466.07. The high pulpit, with a sounding board, reached by winding stairs and with a door to shut in the preacher, was at the north end of the church facing the doors as it is now. Major Jacob Miller was a precentor, his seat in front of the pulpit. The men sat on one side of the church, the women on the other side. There were galleries, and stoves with pipes running along under the galleries. These stoves may have been put in some time after the building was erected, as we now it was customary for the older ladies to carry foot stoves in the early days of the church.
The "meeting house" was dedicated the third Sabbath in November, 1807. Rev. Garner A. Hunt preached the dedicatory sermon. The first trustees were: Godfrey Kline, Henry Winter, Andrew Miller, Benjamin Youmans and Moses Allen. The first elders were: Henry Winter, Peter Young, David Osmun and John Connelly, who some time afterwards removed to Mt. Bethel. It is not known just when the church was organized. Previous to this it was called by Presbytery "Harmony Society"; now it became "Harmony Congregation.
The Rev. Garner A. Hunt had been admitted to Presbytery in April rom the Baptist Association of Philadelphia, having "renounced the peculiar tenets of that church." He was called to Harmony September 29th. The call was presented to Presbytery October 6th and he was installed November 3, 1807, a few days after the dedication of the church. Rev. Mr. Sloan preached the sermon. Rev. John Boyd had been appointed to charge the minister, but was absent, and the Moderator performed the duty. The Rev. Holloway W. Hunt, brother of the pastor, "gave an exhortation to the people," and thus was constituted the first pastoral relation in this church.
Newton Presbytery was a part of New Brunswick Presbytery until 1817. We have often heard of the dignified bearing of the ministers of the early days. Among them were Revs. Brownlee, Kirkpatrick, Joseph Shafer, John Flavel Clark and Joseph Campbell. Rev. Mr. Sloan is described by Dr. Junkin as the finest of all. "Erect, slender, with stately bearing and impressive presence."
Mr. Hunt labored here eleven years, 1807 - 1818. Until 1813 he gave all his time to Harmony, we suppose for a very small compensation. Soon after Mr. Hunt settled here the people on Scotts Mountain requested him to preach for them on week days and they would aid in his support. Mr. Hunt proposed to them that they should unite with Harmony; he would consider them a part of his charge, preach for them once a month on week days and occasionally on Sabbath afternoon. He continued this service eight years and "The Lord was pleased to bless his labors, so that notwithstanding the distance and hardship of the road, a goodly number attended at Harmony on the Sabbath, and upwards of thirty persons joined the Communion and became regular members of Harmony Church."
In 1813 the Evangelical Church of Upper Mt. Bethel, and also the St. James Church near what is now Delaware Station, requested Mr. Hunt's services a part of his time. This was allowed by Presbytery, and in October of the same year he was called to Oxford for one-fourth part of his time.
In August, 1815, Mr. Sloan, ever mindful of the interests of this church, preached here and reminded the people that it was very inconvenient for their minister to have charge of congregations situated so far apart, that it was their duty and would be a great privilege to attend worship every Sabbath with their families, and requested the congregation raise $300 (!) yearly for Mr. Hunt's support and have the whole of his time. This was agreed to. A church was organized on Scott's Mountain November 29, 1815. The congregation built a church. Mr. Hunt preached there after leaving Harmony, and subsequent pastors of this church preached and did pastoral work. It was afterwards supplied by pastors of neighboring churches and theological students, but had a feeble existence and was finally dissolved upon the organization of the Stewartsville Church in 1850. It was re-organized in 1867 as the Montana Church, and a new building erected, since burned. Mr. Hunt also formed a church at New Village and preached there for a time. He died at an advanced age at the home of his son-in-law, Louis Cline, whose father, Louis Cline, Sr., was one of the first members of this church. Mr. Hunt belonged to the distinguished Hunt family of ministers. He was noted for some eccentricities. One of his peculiarities was the baptizing of children of persons not church members. Eighty-seven baptisms of infants are recorded in one year and one hundred in another. When Presbytery took notice, and inquired of Elder Peter Kline, How this could be? the good Elder replied, "O, we galloped from house to house." The people in general in this community knew little about Presbyterianism in those early days. The church had been formed by a union of Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and we think some Methodists, the Presbyterians having a half interest. The ground for the church and cemetery was given by a Scotchman, William Gardner, who said he "would gi'e it for a Presbyterian Church, but no ither." And when the Lutherans seemed to be gaining the ascendency it was thought best to separate, and there were stormy times, the Lutherans having no desire to be divided. The climax came on the occasion of the funeral of a child, which the Lutherans, led by their pastor, Rev. Mr. Heck, desired to hold in the church. It was probably on a Sabbath morning, and they were not allowed to enter the building lest they make it a pretext for future possession. In these days of fraternity and unity, we cannot understand this act on the part of the Presbyterians, but we must remember those were the days of the founding of the churches. The officers were acquainted with the circumstances and were loyal to the Presbytery under the care of which the church was.
The Lutherans and Methodists then united and built the "Old Red Church," on the site of the present M. E. edifice, the Methodists holding service in the morning and the Lutherans in the afternoon. Rev. Mr. McCronn, of St. James' Church, was a well-remembered pastor. On account of diminished membership the Lutherans disbanded, some connecting themselves with the M. E. Church and some with the Presbyterian. The Raubs, Kochs and Oberlings were Lutherans, also Andrew Miller, but he always adhered to this church. The Methodist Church continues in growth and usefulness, and we cordially greet and welcome its members, our friends, her today, especially in remembrance of their kindness when we worshipped together, by their invitation, during the rebuilding of this church in 1860.
Rev. Lemuel Fordham Leake was the second pastor, coming in 1818, serving as stated supply until 1822, when he was installed pastor. Mr. Leake was a native of Chester, Morris county, and a student of Rev. Joseph Campbell. He was a graduate of Princeton College and was two years in the Seminary. He served Oxford and Harmony until 1825, when his relation to Oxford was dissolved. He continued pastor at Harmony until 1828, a period of ten years in all. He married Miss Mary White, daughter of Colonel Alexander and Sarah White, in the old historic stone mansion standing by the roadside on the way to Belvidere. Tradition tells us that General Washington stayed in this house over night, and that General William Henry Harrison stopped here on his Presidential campaign tour in 1840. Mrs. Leake lived but one year after marriage. Mr. Leake was a man of "remarkable scholarship, peculiar temperament and positive opinions." In the issues which divided the church in 1837 and 1838 he was one of the most rigid of the Old School party. When here, his sermons were doctrinal, helpful and well calculated to build up this congregation. His sermons on faith were long spoken of. The Catechism, both shorter and larger, were studied and often recited to him in church. He resigned his charge here and, after doing mission work in this Presbytery and Virginia, traveling a thousand miles in one year, succeeded Rev. Dr. McMillen in the old Chartier's Church, Washington county, Pa., and married Miss Catharine Ritchie, of Canonsburg. He was at one time in charge of Franklin College, New Athens, Ohio, then removed to Terra Haute, Indiana, and died in 1866. He once returned on a visit and preached here. He was tall, slender and very ministerial in appearance. We spent a delightful day with him in the Grandfather Fair homestead, one of his old homes, and he asked us some Catechism and proofs.
Rev. John Vanderveer, who for many years kept a renowned classical school in Easton, supplied the pulpit for a year, 1828-1829. Then Rev. James E. Watson, a licentiate, served the church for a time. Mr. Watson also returned and preached here on one occasion when pastor at Milton, Pa.
Rev. Robert Love, the third pastor, was a licentiate of New Castle, Pa., Presbytery, from the old historic Fagg's Manor Church in Chester county, founded in 1739, of which his grandfather, John Love, was one of the founders and first elders. He was educated at the "Moscow Academy," under the famous Latta brothers. Mr. Love had just graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, and on recommendation of Rev. John Gray, of Easton, came to Mt. Bethel and Harmony to preach in September, 1831. He continued as stated supply until 1836, when, owing to the difficulty of crossing the river in Winter, some times having to go by Belvidere or Easton, he withdrew from Mt. Bethel, to the great regret of the people, and Harmony was again united with Oxford and Mr. Love was installed pastor of these churches May 2, 1836. In June, 1832, he was married to Ann Thompson Fair, who had been baptized in Andrew Miller's barn in 1806 and had grown up under Mr. Leake's ministry with its catechetical teaching and strong doctrinal preaching. There was thus a union of Fair and Love, and united, they dwelt in Harmony. About the time Oxford and Harmony united a new church was talked about. The old frame had served its purpose. It had been willingly and cheerfully built, and doubtless entered with joy and thankfulness. Many of the log dwelling-houses had been replaced by the substantial stone structures still in use. Other congregations were erecting new houses of worship, and it is creditable to Harmony congregation that it desired a better building. A congregational meeting was held March 11, 1836, when it was "Resolved, That the old church should be taken down as soon as arrangements could be made and a new one erected in its place; the new one to be at least sixty feet long and forty-five in width. Jacob Winter, Esq., Jacob Cline, Esq., Jacob Miller, William Hutchinson and Eseck H. DeWitt be a committee to circulate the following subscription: $1,418 were pledged, nine prominent members subscribed $100 each. There were sixty-eight names in all.
On April 2d of the same year, 1836, at a congregational meeting it was "Resolved--that Jacob Cline, Esq., Peter Winter, Samuel Vannatta and William Kennedy be a committee to draft a plan for the new church and report as soon as convenient." The subsequent events are not recorded and we do not know why the building was not proceeded with then. The pastor's charge was large, extending to Oxford Furnace and over Scott's Mountain.
These were laborious days for pastors. Their large fields of labor, exposure to the weather by riding about on horseback through storms and deep snows, the weeks of assistance rendered to one another in "protracted meetings," the burden of souls to be saved and possibly the want of unity and cooperation among the people. These labors began to tell upon the Harmony pastor and his none too robust frame succumbed to the pressure. A few weeks of sickness, and on October 9, 1838, the labors of earth were exchanged for the more abundant service and rest of Heaven, and there was a solemn scene in the old church, filled with friends, brethren in the ministry and sorrowing congregations. The funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. John Gray, of Easton, from the text, "They shall walk with me in white for they are worthy," Rev. 3:6. On the breast of the deceased, by his request, was placed a few verses of Paul's parting charge to the church at Ephesus, Acts 20:25-27, "And now behold I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day that I am free from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."
Over the mortal remains of the pastor, husband and father the widowed mother, supported by her brother-in-law, Rev. Thomas Love, presented her infant daughter for baptism. Rev. I. N. Candee, of Belvidere, administered the solemn ordinance.
On this "Funeral Baptism"
Margaret Junkin, daughter of Rev. Dr. George Junkin, afterwards Mrs. Preston,
of Virginia, wrote a poem, a few lines of which are given:
Bravely and cheerfully that mother took up her task. Her four children have ever retained in sacred remembrance that cheerful, self-sacrificing spirit. The memory of the father, his life, his dying prayers--their only legacy--ever held up before them; the Sabbath evening gathering at the fireside, the Catechism, the song, the Scripture read, and then the earnest prayer; the church, pastor and missions always remembered. The oldest son, in after professional years, wrote his mother on each succeeding birthday, thanking her for that early training."Where is he? As that funeral bier?
And list the sigh--and see the tear--
Know ye that God hath borne away
Their pastor from their head today?
Above the cold unconscious dead
Baptismal vows are feebly said.
Alone--alone--she bears the load
To train that infant heart for God!
Alone? Alone? No! mourning one,
Thou wilt not bear thy task alone!
An angel father will he still
A spirit guard from earthly ill--
And when her bark hath crossed life's seas
And near her port--Eternity,
A joyful pilot he will come
To guide his daughter's spirit home."
(This was the heritage of your historian.)
Of Mr. Love's ministry Rev. John Gray said: "He was a faithful, laborious and efficient pastor. His manifold labors were not omitted until the hand of death arrested him, and his deathbed was a place of anxiety and prayer, especially on behalf of young converts. He longed for a greater missionary spirit among the people." One of his last acts was to pay over a sum of money to Foreign Missions, and his lament was that it was not greater.
Presbytery supplied the church for several months, and in 1839 the fourth pastor, Rev. John J. Carrell, was called. Mr. Carrell was from Tinicum, Bucks county, Pa., a graduate of Lafayette College and Princeton Seminary. He married Miss Leonora Heckman, of Easton, a lady of refinement and wit.
She was a sister of the late Rev. George C.Heckman, D.D., and General Charles Heckman, whose services to church and country are well known. Mr. Carrell was ordained, and installed over Oxford and Harmony November 19, 1839. He continued to preach at Oxford until October 3, 1842, when he gave all his time to Harmony. In 1840 the building of the new house of worship again came to the front and at a congregational meeting Jacob Cline, Esq., John Hoff, Joseph Miller, Peter Winter, William Merritt and John B. Hutchinson were appointed a building committee. Just after this meeting the old church was burned down from overheated stoves. The new church was built of stone in the style then i vogue. There was no vestibule. The pulpit was a gem for those days. It was of moderate height, with winding stairs, having railings and placed on the south side of the church between the front doors. The gallery, extending around three sides of the church, was reached by stairs at the front. There were four rows of pews and two aisles. It was heated by stoves in he front and back of the church, and lighted by oil lamps with large globes suspended from brackets in the gallery fronts. There were also very tall pulpit lamps. The cost of the church, including furnishing, was $4,035.18. There was a settee in the pulpit and the arm chairs in front are still in use in the lecture room. At the dedication hymns were sung, composed for the occasion, by Mrs. Jane L. Gray, the gifted wife of Rev. John Gray, and by her brother, Rev. James Lewers. Mr. Carrell was very handsome, dignified in appearance and an able sermonizer. His sermons were too deep for children to understand, but one sermon we have always remembered in part, the famous "Grape Shot Sermon," when Mr. Carrell placed himself in the attitude of Captain Bragg and threw grape shot into Santa Anna's forces. It was the time of the Mexican war, 1847. The shortcomings of prominent members were reviewed under this simile or allegorical discourse. History tells us that when General Taylor, in command of the American army, saw signs of wavering in Santa Anna's line he exclaimed, "Give them a little more grape shot, Captain Bragg." and Mr. Carrell preached a second sermon, reaching those who had been omitted in the first. There were needed reforms in the congregation. The people had not yet arrived at the stage of proper support of the pastor, but it is creditable to the trustees to say that they were doing what they could to put the temporal affairs of the church in a satisfactory condition.
After a pastorate of nine years Mr. Carrell resigned in 1848. He had some very warm friends here and left his first charge and his pleasant home in Union Town with regret. He was afterwards pastor at Groveland, N.Y. They had two sons, Prof. Charles, of Elmira, N.Y. and Edward, who married a sister of Mrs. Irwin Miller and died in he War of the Rebellion. A little daughter, Ellen, is buried in this cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Carrell spent the closing days of Mr. Carrell's life in Easton, and they often came up to visit and Mr. Carrell to preach by request. At a revival service he told of a marked awakening that took place during his ministry here.