St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church
I have consulted the authentic records of the Methodist Episcopal
church and also drawn largely on the memory of those who watched
its progress with prayerful solicitude; but I am chiefly indebted to
Mr. Duncan C. Hartman for the names and dates in the earlier days
of the church. How vividly the subject recalls the scenes of my
own childhood and all the "fond recollection that cluster around
the memory of home." Well do I remember old "Father Gruber,"
and "Father Hunter" in the missionary days of Methodism, when
the devoted preachers of the old school were the bold and fear-
less soldiers of the cross and heroes of God, who sacrificed homes
of ease without regret, and braved a weary life of toil without com-
plaint. They were men whose lives demonstrated the doctrine they
preached, and whose death was the triumph of a living faith. The
humble piety and simplicity of manners that marked the personal
character of Methodists in the olden time, was also exhibited in their
dwellings and in the unpretending "house." where they gathered
to worship. With one accord they ignored he frivolities of society,
enforced the doctrine of humility and labored earnestly for the
world's redemption. The fervent zeal, impassioned eloquence, and
earnest solicitude for the welfare of others, readily explains their
The precise period when the first Methodist preacher arrived at
this place, is not known; but they were the second religious body
organized here. The first regular conference appointment for Dan-
ville was in 1791. This place was then included in Northumberland
circuit, which extended from Northumberland up the North Branch
of the Susquehanna to Wyoming Valley, and up the West Branch
to Great Island. The distance traveled by the circuit rider in making
his round was three hundred miles, which was accomplished in six
weeks. When the nature of the country and the roads are con-
sidered the hardships of the preachers of that day may be imagined,
and it required something more than the pittance allowed them, to
cheer them onward in their arduous labors. This territory for
many years was supplied by only two or three ministers, and it in-
cluded present circuits and stations of Williamsport, Newbury,
Muncy, Milton circuit and station, Northumberland, Mifflinburg,
Lewisburg, Catawissa, Bloomsburg, Berwick, Bloomingdale, Orange-
ville, Sunbury and parts of Bellefonte district. Some thirty or forty
Methodist preachers are now employed on the same territory.
Previous to 1804 Danville and the circuit in which it was located
belonged to the Philadelphia conference. In that year it was trans-
ferred to the Baltimore conference. In 1807 it was returned to the
Philadelphia conference. In 1810 it was included in the new Gen-
nessee conference and in 1820 it was re-assigned to the Baltimore
conference, of which it still continues to be can appointment.
The following is a list of the preachers who successively, and we
might add successfully, labored in Danville and vicinity by appoint-
ment of conferene:
1791, Richard Parrott, Lewis Browning.
1792, James Campbell, William Corbert.
1793, James Campbell, James Paynter.
1794, Robert Manly, John Broadhead.
1795, James Ward, Stephen Timmons.
1796, John Seward, Richard Sneath.
1797, John Lackey, John Higby.
1798, John Lackey, John Lead.
1799, James Moore, Benjamin Bidlack, D. Stephens.
1800, Ephraim Chambers, Edward Larkin, Asa Smith.
1801, Johnston Dunham, Gilbert Carpenter.
1802, Anning Owen, James Aikins.
1803, Daniel Ryan, James Ridgeway.
1804, Thomas Adams, Gideon Draper.
1805, Christopher Frey, James Saunders.
1806, Robert Burch, John Swartzwelder.
1807, Nicholas Willis, Joel Smith.
1808, Thomas Curren, John Rhodes.
1809, Timothy Lee, Loring Grant.
1810, Abraham Dawson, Isaac Puffer.
1811, B. G. Paddock, H. Baker, R. Lanning.
1812, George Thomas, Ebenezer Doolittle.
1813, Joseph Kincaid, Joseph Chamberlayne.
1814, John Haggard, A. Dawson.
1815, Reynolds M. Everts, I. B. Cook.
1816, John Thomas, Alpheus Davis.
1817, Benjamin Bidlack, Peter Baker.
1818, Gideon Lanning, Abraham Dawson.
1819, John Rhodes, Darius Williams.
1820, John Rhodes, Israel B. Cook.
1821, Marmaduke Pearce, John Thomas.
1822, John Thomas, Mordecai Barry.
1823, Jacob B. Shepard, M. Barry.
1824, Robert Cadden, F. McCartney.
1825, Robert Cadden, Richard Bond.
1826, John Thomas, George Hildt.
1827, John Thomas, David Shaver.
1828, Charles Kalbfus, William James
1829, James W. Donahay, Josiah Forrest.
1830, James W. Donahay, A. A. Eskridge.
Berwick circuit was formed in 1831 from that portion of North-
umberland circuit, which made the labor of the preachers a little
less. Danville was still included in the old circuit of Northumber-
land and was supplied by the following preachers:
1831, David Shaw.
1832, Marmaduke Pearce, James Forest.
1833, Josiah Forrest, James Reed, Jr.
1834, Henry Tarring, Oliver Ege.
1835, Henry Tarring, John Guyer, R. Beers, Thomas Myers.
Danville circuit was organized in 1836, and also embraced the
territory of the present Montour, Bloomsburg, and part of Orange-
ville circuits. The circuit of Danville has been supplied by the fol-
1836, Joseph S. Lee, R. W. H. Brent.
1837, Samuel Ellis, Stephen Hildebrand.
1838, Robert T. Nixon, William Hirst.
1839, Robert T. Nixon, J. W. Houghewent.
1840, George Bergstresser, Joseph A. Ross.
1841, George Bergstresser, G. Guyer.
1842, John Ball, James Guyer.
1843. John Ball, S. G. Hale.
1844, James Ewing, George A. Coffey.
1845, James Ewing, B. F. Brooks.
In the year 1846, Danville erected into a station. Since that
time the following conference appointments have been made for the
1846, John Guyer.
1847, Philip B. Reese.
1849, Thomas Mitchell.
1850, Joseph France.
1853, James Brads.
1855, Thomas M. Reese.
1856, J. Wilson.
1857-8, William Harden.
1859-60, B. B. Hamlin.
1861-3, J. H. C. Dosh.
1864-5, A. M. Barnitz.
1866-7, J. Mck. Reiley, D. D.
1868-71, F. Jodgson, D. D.
1872-3, S. Creighton.
1874-5, F. B. Riddle, A. M.
1876-8, W. A. Houck.
1879-80, J. Max Lantz.
This brings up the succession to the present date. The present
pastor, J. Max Lantz, is an eloquent preach highly esteemed by
Rev. Wilson was the most unpopular of any preacher stationed
here during my time.
Rev. William Harden was a noble worker in the cause, and has
gone to his reward.
Rev. Riddle was an enigma. He was a man you could readily
imagine would come in with a rush, rattle about four hundered words
in a minute, close up suddenly, pop out at the back door, jump over
the fence and push for home three laps ahead of everybody else.
He was a good scholar and said some excellent things; but before
you could grip them, he would jam in something else and the result
was a muddle.
Rev. Barnitz was a solid thinker and a plain, earnest, effective
preacher. He was highly esteemed.
Rev. J. McKendree Reiley, D. D., was perhaps the most popular of
all the Methodist preachers, stationed here in recent years. He was
in high favor with the community and was the chosen orator on
Rev. Dr. Hodgson was a finished scholar and was in the front rank
as a controversialist. He wrote several books of great merit. He
also has finished his work and gone to his rest.
Rev. Dosh was an earnest and pleasant speaker and served his
Revs. Creighton, Reese, Hamlin, and Brads, all made an horona-
ble record here, and could not fail in accomplishing much good.
Rev. Houck, now in Lock Haven, is a splendid logician, remark-
able for the clearness and force of his conclusions. As a pastor e
is equally felicitous, kind in his sympathies, but stern and exacting
where christian duty is involve.
Rev. Lantz the present pastor in charge, is regarded as one of the
best speakers with which conference has favored Danville. He is
highly esteemed by his people and cannot fail to make a good and
lasting impression on his charge.
In looking over the list of preachers away back to the beginning
of the century, how many delightful associations and stirring scenes
are called to mind, by the octogenarians, as they peruse the names
of the laborers who have broken the bread of life to the people of
Danville. The introduction of one and the solemn farewell of
another - the glowing eloquence of the young - the powerful logic
of the learned - the kind persuasion of the compassionate - the fer-
vent appeals of the enthusiastic - and the solemn warning of the aged,
are brought from the store-house of memory, as the thoughts go back
to the time when their living voices were heard in our midst. Many
of these marshals in the camp of God, after performing deeds of
heroism more glorious than the taking of a strong city, or conquer-
ing a world, have long since fought their last battle and gone to their
reward; and other sentinels on the towers are on their last watch,
and soon will lay their armor by, "having fought the good fight,
kept the faith, and finished their course," one by one will follow the
van guard to that bourne from whence no traveler returns, to join
the faithful of all ages and wear the starry crown of everlasting life.
The first class in Danville was formed in 1815, and was origionally
composed of George Lott and wife, Mrs. Donaldson, William Hart-
man and wife, and Samuel Steele.
Public service, as well as class and prayer meetings were alter-
nately held at private dwellings for a number of years, afterwards in
the school-house that formerly stood on Church street, where also
the first sabbath-school was organized in 1831. Public worship, on
particular occasions, was also frequently held in the court-house.
There Bishop Asbury preached on his visit to Danville, as did also
the eccentric Lorenzo Dow. A brick church was erected in 1839
for the use of the Methodist congregation, after having liberally con-
tributed to the building of other churches; but in 1848 it was found
to be insufficient to accommodate the membership, so they set about
building the present church edifice, having sold the former house.
The present Methodist church building is on Mahoning street.
The size is fifty by eighty feet and with its galleries will seat eight
or nine hundred. The basement is use for class-room, Sunday-
school and similar purposed. The material is brick, surmounted by
a modest cupola containing one of the finest toned belles in this re-
gion of country.
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