The Hermon Presbyterian Church has its beginnings in the Neshannock United Presbyterian Church of nearby Hickory Township – then a part of Mercer County, Pennsylvania. In about 1840 a dispute in the Neshannock Church resulted in the traditionalist portion of the congregation forming the Hermon Reformed Presbyterian Church under the Reverend Josiah Hutchman. At some point they set up just south along Frew Mill Road in Slippery Rock Township, Beaver County. Exactly where they initially met seems cloudy. The next forty years of the Hermon Church was a time of confusing splits, divisions, and schisms.
In 1868 the congregation of the Hermon Reformed Presbyterian Church divided, with a group led by the Reverend Robert McMillan being forced out. The McMillan group set up initial services in the nearby Shaw School before moving into a temporary building known as “the Tabernacle” at the southeast corner of the intersection of Frew Mill Road and Princeton Road (later Mount Hermon Church Road). In about 1870 this group relocated south to the village of Princeton where they built their own church soon after. The remaining Hermon group eventually moved into the vacated Tabernacle building, where a church cemetery had been established just across the road on part of the William Munnell farm. In April 1887 the two groups were officially recognized as separate congregations, however they remained affiliated and often shared a pastor in the coming decades.
In November 1903 the new Hermon Presbyterian Church was opened on the opposite side of Mount Hermon Church Road and directly across Frew Mill Road from the cemetery. The $6,000 wood frame building was mostly paid for by the dedicated fundraising efforts of the small congregation. The church was in service for many years until it was gutted by a disastrous fire on the morning of Friday, January 7, 1955. The local fire department as well as those from the neighboring townships of Hickory, Shenango, Scott, and Union arrived in scene to fight the blaze. The fire, which apparently was the result of faulty wiring in the basement area, resulted in $20,000 worth of damage to the structure. The main auditorium was gutted, the organ and other equipment suffered water damage, and a large section of the roof collapsed.
Services were held a half mile away at the Willard Grange Hall while the church elders debated on a course of action. The decision was soon made to utilize the foundation and rebuild the church at the same location. The new church, which was enlarged, opened for services on Friday, March 30, 1956, and was officially dedicated later that year during the last weekend of September. The church, which underwent upgrades and renovations in the 1970’s, is still in active service and celebrated its 170th anniversary in 2010.
The cemetery, in a rural setting surrounded by a corn field and wooden area, is known as the Hermon-Union Cemetery or the Mount Hermon Cemetery. There are graves dating back to the late 1840’s and among those buried at the site in recent times are my aunt Dorothy (Bales) Sawyer and my paternal grandparents Ray and Dorothy (Hake) Bales.
An enlarged church (shown above) was rebuilt from the charred remains and opened for services in March 1956 with official dedication ceremonies taking place later that year in September. (1956) Full Size
The old church was gutted by a disastrous fire on the morning of Friday, January 7, 1955. Firefighters from all around the region arrived on scene to help battle the blaze, which resulted in major damage including a large portion of the roof collapsing. (1955) Full Size
The black arrow marks the location of the Mt. Hermon Presbyterian Church. The cemetery is located just above it on the opposite side of Frew Mill Road. (Sept 1967)
Hermon Presbyterian Church c2005. The congregation celebrated in 170th anniversary in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Dee Dee Laird) Full Size
(c2005) (Photo courtesy of Dee Dee Laird)
Of all the pics I’ve taken this has always been one of my absolute favorites. (Jul 2009)
The stone of my paternal grandparents. Miss you Gram & Pap! (Jul 2009)
(Jan 2012) Full Size
(Jan 2012) Full Size
Carol McVicker #
The picture of Angelia’s headstone brought chills. She was a Foster Daughter to my daughter. Angie and her boyfriend were on a lunch break and in a hurry to get back to work at Kmart in Lawrence Village. He lost control of the car on a turn and rolled over. Angie didn’t have her seatbelt on and was thrown from the car. I’ve never seen this picture. Thanks for including it.
Sam Houk #
My father Robert H. Houk was a carpenter and did some work on this church. I believe he built the spire.
hi, we r trying 2 find my grammas an papaps plot.. we r stoners, greys, and suttons… can u help?
Jeff Bales Jr #
(EDITOR’S NOTE) Kandy, Thanks for your post. Well, I can certainly try to help. Send me some full names and any date of birth or date of death info you might have. Thanks. Jeff
Harry Banks #
Jeff. As you well know this is a beautiful cemetery. My dear wife of 56 years is buried there along with her mother & dad and many relations. Wont be to long I will be there. Harry Banks
Lyn McVicker #
There is significance to the butterflies on Angelia’s headstone: She was a talented commercial art student at Lawrence County Area Vocational Technical School (now called Lawrence County Career and Technical Center). She loved to draw and doodle; these were two of her drawings forever etched in stone. As for the Batman doll: I can only guess it was either from her boyfriend or friends who shared a love of everything Batman. A little about her final months with us: She once told me that LCAVTS was her 13th school. Here, she found her “place” in life. Loved by many, she was voted onto the Holiday Dance Court; she was also scheduled to be inducted into the National Vocational Technical Honor Society before she passed. She planned to attend college and become a counselor so she could help children through tough times like she had experienced. Her day of birth and date of death was purposely not included on the headstone so that her friends could simply celebrate her life — a life that touched so many in such a bright and wonderful way.
Tom Altman #
My 3rd great uncle Maj James Harvey Cline Civil War (Roundheads) is buried here.
Gary Hoover #
Is there a way to find out if Norman J Hoover, my uncle is buried here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
James Swan #
Looking to see if two Olinger Brothers are buried at the Hermon Presbyterian Church Cemetery. John Elliot Olinger b. 27 Mar 1947 d.16 Mar 1969 in Vietnam and an old dear friend of mine, Ernest Sherman Olinger b. 28 May 1945 d. 22 Jul 1979. Thank you very much for your time and attention. Jim, USN RET
Marc Harris #
My wife and I were recently at Mt. Hermon cemetery looking for long lost ancestors. Margaret (Munnell) McFarland who died in 1908 is buried there but we couldn’t find a marker (at least a legible one). We are sure she’s near the other Munnells. We actually think we found her husband, William McFarland who died in 1860. Three of her children are there: Margaret Ann Walton, Nancy Jane Stevenson and William P. McFarland. She had a young daughter Mary who died in the 1860s who is probably buried there as well. Probably near her Dad. One surprise was finding Isaac Emery and his wife Nancy Jane (Munnell). Isaac was my great grandmother’s brother. He had two brothers who died in the Civil War. Can you provide any help in finding Margaret (Munnell) McFarland’s grave? Thanks.
Hi there. Coming into town this summer and will be seeking out information on Luke Irwin, son of Christopher Irwin. The only thing I have is Christopher was supposed to be a founding member of Neshannock and his son Luke was an elder. I didn’t know until googling the church fragmented. That said I have no idea which path he took. The older church or the newer one. Sounds like they both had had fires. Do you know anyone that may have a memory or records of such history? Christopher was in the Revolutionary War
I think there was a writer error in an original source for this page.
“The Hermon group soon moved into the vacated Tabernacle building, where a church cemetery had been established just across the road on the William Munhall farm.”
Many of the Munnell family members are buried in the cemetery. But FindAGrave doesn’t have any ‘Munhall’ interments in all of Lawrence county. Might be worthy of a “[sic, recte William Munnell farm]” editor notation.
Jeff Bales (Editor) #
Brian, Thanks for the info. It was simply a typo. The cemetery is believed to be on the corner of a farm formerly owned by William Munnell (1812-1887). Jeff (Editor)
MY QUESTION IS IF YOU GO SOUTH OF MERCER ON 19 TO FREW MILL ROAD WHERE IS CEMENTARY LOCATED FROM THERE THANKS FRANK