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Neshannock Presbyterian Church - New Wilmington PA

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In the late 1790’s a host of early settlers began taking up residence in the area around what later became New Wilmington – then located in Mercer County. A group of Presbyterians began holding meetings but had trouble securing a pastor. James Waugh donated land to the group and a small “tent” was erected, which was soon replaced with a crude log cabin chapel (shown above). This property was located on the present site of the Neshannock Cemetery. The Neshannock Presbyterian Church was organized in 1799 and the Reverend William Wick soon arrived to preach regular sermons. Full Size

A newer log cabin chapel (shown above) was erected at the same location in 1819. A cemetery was also started towards the back of the chapel. About five years later James Waugh laid out the village of New Wilmington, located about a mile east of the church. Full Size

In late 1838, after the congregation had grown, it was decided to build a larger church. I believe work on this wooden frame structure (shown above) commenced in early 1839 and was finally completed in the fall of 1841. It served the congregation for the next sixty years. Some of the gravestones of the church cemetery are clearly visible. (1899) Full Size

The interior of the new church opened in c1841. (1887) Full Size

In the late 1890’s the congregation decided to construct a new building, but a dispute commenced about whether to build at the same location or move into the nearby settlement of New Wilmington. In June 1899 a meeting was held and it was decided to relocate into town. The nearly 350 members of the church raised considerable funds to defray the $13,000 total cost. The new church (shown above) on West Neshannock Avenue was dedicated during a celebration – which also honored the congregation’s centennial anniversary – on June 6-7, 1900. (1910) Full Size

The new church building in New Wilmington was designed by prolific New Castle architect W. G. Eckles. The old church west of town was soon torn down, but the cemetery was greatly improved. The congregation is still in service and celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1999. (1925) Full Size

(Aug 2013) Full Size

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