Methodist Churches in Roulette
Potter County, PA
Manuscript by Kenneth B. Hyde, in 1980
|This information about the Methodist churches in Roulette is from a
booklet written to celebrate the bicentennial of Methodism in the United
States (1784-1984). The booklet is A
bicentennial record of Methodism in Potter County 1784-1984,
published in 1984 by the Potter County Group Ministries of the United
In 1847, the Little Red Schoolhouse was erected and used as both church and school. John and Burrell Lyman both worked to build the Baptist faith. From 1852 to 1865, John Crasey [Crapsey] pastored the flock in this location. He said he was a deacon in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Some were Adventists and some were Baptist. They talked in tongues and practiced such gifts. He had everyone worked up and it is said even the building shook; this was witnessed by all who attended.
May 2, 1875, a meeting was called and a covenant was made. All denominations were accepted. The group in the schoolhouse became known as the First Baptist Church. Rev. Hart, who pastored at this time conducted his last recorded meeting on June 24, 1876. By 1880, religious peace had settled over the Valley, and then everyone seemed to lose interest. Some went to Coudersport and some joined the "Union Church", which formed later. As the town was growing fast and a larger meeting place was needed, Leroy Lyman, a Seventh-Day leader, proposed all denominations share the building of a new church.
In articles dated March 7, 1882, and April 3, 1882, in the courthouse, J. V. [John Victor] Weimer conveyed 1/2 acre to the Union Church.
In 1885, through the efforts of the Rev. O. C. Hill, the Union Church was built. It stood where the former Methodist Parsonage now stands [on main street next to the present-day Baptist church now stands.
Rev. Brooks, A United Brethren Elder, came later. He organized a Union Sunday School which was later united with the Baptist Sunday School, under the leadership of Rev. Buch [William Butt?] from Coudersport, PA. E. S. Remington came to Roulette to organize the Methodist Society. He received $400.00 a year and drove a horse and buggy, and was fed by pound parties. If you don't know what a pound party is, you are not a Methodist. He was the first Methodist Minister.
In 1891, a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Roulette, PA. D[ayton] A. Pomeroy started an Union Sunday School which lasted until December, 1873 (1893?], when it became a Methodist Sunday School. He acted as superintendent. The first parsonage was built at this time. It is now a private home on North Street. Then Rev. Blanchard came and the Epworth League was formed.
In 1894-1897, Rev. Feathers served the charge.
In 1895, the tannery closed and the church fell on hard times. It was sold at a sheriff's sale for taxes on October 6. It was sold to Milo Lyman on December 21, 1894. He told Rev. H. L. Brockway to continue the church and not worry about it. Lyman conveyed the property to the Methodist Conference.
Rev J. A. Nelson was pastor for three years. It was through his efforts that the Fishing Creek Church was built.
In June 1908, the steeple was hit by lightening and the church burned to the ground. The pulpit and the pews were saved and are in use today. Rev. Pike came and encouraged them to rebuild. Through the influence of Milo Lyman, Nate Bard of Port Allegany donated six acres by deed on June 15, 1909. The site was on river street, north of the river and was know as "Saunder's Island". The church was built and dedicates on January 1, 1911. Rev. Walker was present and proposed that the congregation subscribe $300.00 to pay the balance on the new building.
Milo Lyman, an officer in the Gray Chemical and the Card and Barr Hardware, pledged $125.75 from each company and $120.00 was given in Milo's wife's name (Kittie).
Rev. Bamford, an Englishman, went to England and came back with a new wife. During his stay, a new Sunday School addition was built at the rear of the church (1912). He left in August, 1913, for college.
Rev. Ray Lawrence followed and a "Union Revival Meeting" was held by Linden & Ross. The Methodists more than doubled. One hundred-forty were received into the church. In 1915, there were 193 pupils in Sunday School. Rev. Lawrence went to Eldred and then he married Ella Harris of Roulette, to whom a daughter, Jean, was born. He died in Ellicottville, NY, some time later.
Rev. [Gayle] Ruoff (1952) stayed three years. At this time a new Hammond organ was purchased as a memorial to Kittie Lyman who died January 1, 1951. She had been active in the church and taught Sunday School for 30 years. All the rest of the Riverside Church history is included with the history of the Fishing Creek Church.
The Fishing Creek Methodist church section from the booklet is largely the work of Kenneth B. Hyde. This text is a transcription of Ken's original, handwritten maunscript. Material in  has been added to the original account. Barbara Hyde
Indenture made October 3, 1899 between Amanda Yentzer and Frederick Yentzer her husband and the M. E. Church of fishing Creek and its trustees: John Tausher, Julius Tausher, T. J. Yentzer, F. D. Weimer. Church was given to the people of Fishing Creek. Land was given for a church to be built and to be open to any denomination for services, weddings, and funerals. On May 14th, 1901, B[enjamite] A[lbert]. Greene deeded land to be used as a shed for horse and buggy and driveway. Later Bob Greene [g-grandson of B. A. Greene)] gave land for parking lot and playground. [Much later, probably in 1950s.] There were no papers signed or needed as we were a Christian people.
About this time Ladies Aid was formed. and in it were Catholics, Seventh day Adventists, Baptists and all denominations and all was in harmony
Aug. 1, 1940
Aug. 29, 1940
Sept. 22, 1940
1940-1942 Rev H J Walker. He and his wife were both ministers. They later became missionaries.
May 2, 1941
Nov. 21, 1942- 1944] Rev Charles Ritenburg He conducted the first wedding ever held in church - Laura Marie Miller and Norman Vincent Tauscher. Later Rev. Ritenburg went to Ellicottville and became a Baptist. [Laura Miller was the daughter of Vesta and John Miller. the 17-year-old Laura Miller who was baptized in 1940]
1945 Rev J. H. Bailey , a retired minister and farmer, served
awhile due to a shortage of ministers. He was an old man and had several
churches. One day while I [Ken Hyde] was working, he had a servide
at 11 a. m., and had a wedding in the afternoon, Orva, m wife, took him
to our house and made him lie down awhile before the wedding, and then
gave him something to eat. Then I got home, Bob, my son, was hopping mad
because a strange man was in our bed!
1946-1948 Rev Harold Sherman and wife. Left for Shinglehouse. His wife said her mother told her if she wed a preacher she would have to live on beans. Must have had lots of beans. She looked well-fed.
1949-1950 Rev.Will Wilson A very nice old man He would start a collection with 5, 10, or 15 dollars from his own pocket and he would go in the bar rooms and solicit. His salary was $3.00 per Sunday. Under his ministry we started to raise money for gas and electric in church. In November, 1949, $5.00 was deposited on an electric meter. In January of 1950, $4.00 was used for light bulbs. It is my belief that Norman Tauscher wired part or all of the church. He later became a Methodist Minister. Richard Barr wired the church chandelier which was originally oil. Then in November, a gas furnace was installed and is still in use.
1951-52 Rev D. E. Shields was next. I believe he did some wiring
and piping on the Roulette parsonage.
1952-55 Rev Gayle Ruoff and wife. She organized for choir in the Riverside church [Ken does not indicate very well when this practice of one minister pastoring both churches began. However, it may well have been so from the beginning as it was Rev. Brown in 1920 that landscaped the parsonage.]
1955-56 Rev Dallas Decker next
1956-57 Rev Howard Warriner He had the "Lord's garden". He had a stand at parsonage and sold 300 bushels of of corn as well as tomatoes and other vegetables, all for benefit of church.
1957-1958 we had Rev Sibley from Alfred and Rev Don Charles serve about one year each.
1958 Rev Lester Tallman Missionary from Okinawa for almost three years. After Tallman was Rev James Fleming and Rev Donald Goodsell about 3-4 months each.
1960-61 Rev Garley Carpenter and wife. Refinished 2nd floor in parsonage in 1961.
1961-62 Rev Thomas McIntosh
1962-64 Rev Edward Hoyt and wife were next. Were active in boy
scouts and PTO. In the summer of 1964, the Fishing Creek Church was painted
outside. GLF paint cost $20.46 [GLF was forerunner of Agway. Ken's
recollection for the painting was 1961, but pictures indicate 1964.]
1965-72 Rev T Lee Bennett and wife and 3 children came next. (Tammy was born later on.) He was very sincere. He is teaching school in Port Allegany. He helped paint roof of church and helped in wiring. In 69 or 70, the Fishing Creek church people paneled and insulated parsonage and painted the upper story. T. Lee did the wiring upstairs.
1970-73 Rev Lewis Starkweather
1973-74 John Neidig had trouble conforming to conference rules and was let go.
1974-1976 David Sholes
1976-1977 Rev. Dennis Zears was very well-educated and then some, but we were not. We had a communication problem. Guess our lines were either busy or not open, the latter, I think.
1978 - 1979, Rev. Donald Miller, a very nice man and his very loving wife, Faye, were very will-liked by all who knew them. Rev. Miller retired July 1, 1983 after a fruitful ministry, and is missed by all, except when he and Fay pay us a visit. During their ministry, the sanctuary of the church caught fire The following was taken from a newspaper:
After a summer without a full-time pastor, the Fishing Creek and Riverside
Churches became part of the Coudersport Area Larger Parish and are served
by Rev. Paul Lauchle and Rev. William Kemp serving jointly.
This brings us to our present state as of this writing.
The Ladies Aid met to quilt on Wednesday afternoon for years. They also held a Harvest Dinner in October and a Hunter's Supper on the first day of buck season all those years. The two dinners were a community tradition. The Harvest Dinner was a community dinner with everyone welcome and a contributed dish the 'price' of admission. The Hunter's Supper was the big fund-raiser. The ladies cooked all day - chicken pot pie and ham, coleslaw, sauerkraut salad, mashed potatoes and gravy. Community members and the ladies themselves supplied even more sides: vegetable dishes, breads, and pies for dessert. The older kids set and cleaned up tables and served beverages and desserts. No one ever missed one of these dinners. The pies, especially, were famous for miles. Through the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and into the 80s, hunters counted on eating at the church that first night after a long day's hunting.
(2008) The ladies gradually aged and most are gone now. They were
replaced by a smaller group and most of those work outside the home. Even
so, the a community dinner is still organized occasionally.
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