Compiled by Dorothy Davis Quimby and Marjorie Dewey Persing
The PCVUMC was established in 1983, the result of the merger of three individual church bodies who had previously functioned as the Gaines-Galeton charge. The current church building was erected and first services held there in 1991. This building is located on the north side of US route 6 between Gaines and Galeton, near the Potter/Tioga County line.
Originally, each small community had their own house of worship; the communities being Gaines, Watrous, and Marshlands. As time passed, Watrous withdrew from the conference and Asaph was added as part of the charge. We were in the Genesee Conference until 1962 when we were transferred to the Central PA Conference.
Galeton had been a one church charge from its origin until 1965, when we merged and became the Gaines-Galeton charge. This made us a four church charge (Gaines, Marshlands, Asaph, and Galeton) under one pastor.
In the years immediately prior to 1983, there was much discussion and turmoil that accompanied the merging of these churches as one body and at what location to worship. It was finally decided that Gaines, Marshlands, and Galeton would become the Pine Creek Valley UMC. Asaph would be served by the same pastor and be a part of the charge as an outpost mission church. The church buildings in the communities of Gaines, Marshlands, and Galeton were sold and the current church completed in 1991.
Another change was yet to take place. Effective July 1, 1997, Asaph withdrew from our charge and merged with the Middle Ridge Church, more commonly known as "the little red church in the Canyon." Pine Creek Valley UMC became a single church under one pastor. The current church was built by the efforts of our church members and work camp volunteers from within the conference.
The large stained glass window over the entrance was moved from the former house of worship in Gaines village. It was a memorial window from the Bookmiller family who donated the land for that church in 1918 after the original church had burned.
The stained glass windows on the west wall of the sanctuary ( Alpha, Omega, Ten Commandments) were also taken from the Gaines church.
The stained glass round windows above the altar area are from the Marshlands and Gaines churches. The one from Marshlands church is a memorial to Ethan and Juliana Strait, early members of that church. (Note here that they are great grandparents of Roger "Bud" Strait who grew up in Watrous and was an active member of the Gaines Sunday School/Church and is now serving as a deacon in the Baltimore, MD. area with UMC). The other window above the altar was purchased By " The Invincible Bible Class" (young adults) in 1919 and put in the belfry when the Gaines church was built after the fire.
New pews were purchased for the interior of the sanctuary for our current building, but the rest of the furnishings were imported from the merged churches. In fact, the three altar chairs with Gothic arch backs and one altar table are from the original church in Gaines by the parsonage. Another altar table is from the Galeton church. The pulpits are from the Gaines and Galeton churches. The altar rail is rebuilt from the altar rails of the Gaines and Marshlands churches. The organ is from the Galeton church; the piano is from the Gaines church, a memorial for Paul Rager. The painting in the back of the sanctuary of the Lord's Supper is from the Marshlands church.
The bells from the three churches are mounted in a pavilion in front of the new church and designated " The Three in One".
The pavilion was funded by Mrs. Dorothy Detar in memory of her husband, Clarence Detar, Sr.
History of the Gaines Congregation
The First Methodist Church of Gaines started as a Methodist class, organized about 1838. Early members were Mrs. Aaron Furman, Benjamin and Eliza Furman, John and Mrs. Benn, Benjamin and Nancy Ogden, Mrs. Hannah Ogden, Mrs. Jared Davis, Mrs. Sallie Billings. Mrs. Aaron Furman was the first Methodist in Gaines Township and a memorial window in the church at Gaines bears an inscription to that effect. (note: This window was destroyed in the fire of 1918). Meetings were held at Furmantown (the present site of Pine Creek Cabins - now in 1998, Pine Tree Lodge), the parsonage being on the Furman place. Among the early ministers who preached here were the Reverends Conant, Parkhurst, Burnett, and Vaughan.
In 1868 a house of worship was erected and in 1883 a parsonage. Both of these in Gaines village and together cost $6,000.00. (Note: 1998 parsonage is the one constructed in 1883.) The society was incorporated in 1869. The church building was a large, tall clapboard structure dominated by a towering clapboard belfry and spire. The sides had three short slender windows and the front edifice contained long slender twin windows, a center doorway, and a high porthole window. The church building burned March 21, 1918. Harold Wood, pastor at that time, started a grass fire which got out of hand, setting the church on fire. Worship services and Sunday School were held in the IOOF (Odd Fellows) Hall.
The Rev. John R. Adams of Galeton Charge (1918-1919) talked with Mrs. Daisy B. Carr to see if something couldn't be done to rebuild the church. She contacted M. M. Smith, one of the trustees, Dr. Howland, and other members of the community. They met with Rev. Adams at the home of M.M.Smith and decided to rebuild. The Conference sent the Rev. William Deighton in 1920. Mrs. Ada Bookmiller Head donated the lot where the church (now Gaines Township Municipal Building) stands. (It is interesting to note here that Gaines was a boomtown in the lumbering era. At times the lumberjacks could be a rough and loud group to deal with. The liquor store was a necessity for them; however, the liquor store had also burned and the land donated for the new church building was the lot and foundation of the lumbermen's liquor store. Old timers loved to relate that the devil had burned our church, but the Christians won the battle as we raised a new one on the foundation of the liquor store and converted the wine cellar into Sunday School rooms.)
People subscribed money to start rebuilding and labor was donated by the townspeople. Not just church members, but townspeople who wanted and needed a church in the community. The Gaines Thimble Club (still active today in 2001 as a ministry of PCVUMC) was a community organization, not a church organization. The members put on socials, especially ice cream socials. The people of the community put on home talent plays, coached by Mrs. community effort. These shows raised a large sum of money. The Deacon Dubbs play was one of the most successful and was talked about for generations to come.
The cost of the new church was about $8,000.00. It reflected many features of the original building - short, narrow side windows, but now set with lovely stained glass designs; the large clapboard tower and belfry, but this time located at the left corner of the body of the church; and the porthole window carried over in a large brilliantly colored rose window. A huge, sectioned stained glass pictorial window of St. Paul preaching enhances not only the front of the church, but the sanctuary within. A unique curved altar area and rail, designed by Ruth Kohler, graces the front of the sanctuary.
The large stained glass window and small windows were given by the Bookmillers in memory of Maurice Atwell and Herman Bookmiller, Sr. The round window in the belfry (referred as "rose window") was donated by a class of young people known as the Invincible Bible Class. The bell from the old church was not hurt by the fire. Because of its beautiful tone, it was decided that this bell should kept. It was sent away to be recast, then placed in the belfry of the new church. (Today, 1998, this bell is one of the three-in-one in the pavilion in front of the PCVUMC.
Gaines Church History
The stained glass windows of Bookmillers and the Invincible Bible Class are also found in the 1991 building).
Since the people who helped build and support this church were from all walks of life and all denominations, the church was named "The Gaines Community Church, under the auspices of the Methodist Church.".
Sunday morning worship and Sunday School continued through the years. The 1983 merger forming Pine Creek Valley UMC brought the church body to Gaines church; the other two churches were sold. Worship continued in this building until the completion of the church west of Gaines in 1991. The Gaines village church was sold to Gaines Township and now houses township offices and is used for community meetings and place of voting.
From within the walls of this church came many persons who have influenced others in their walks in life. Among them emerged two who have served the United Methodist Conference, namely Rev. Keith Dewey, retired, and Rev. Roger Strait, a Deacon, now serving in the Baltimore, Maryland, area.
One very interesting situation of faith developed in 1975-1976. The Rev. Charles Graham had come to the Gaines Charge in July 1974. In the fall of 1975, he passed away unexpectedly and left the church without a minister. The Conference had no one to take his place until Charge Conference could be held the following June. We asked for volunteer speakers from among laity and retired pastors, not just in our church and area, but from all over Tioga County. Our lay leader, Lynn Whipple, led in the opening of the services and usually picked the scriptures for each Sunday; the pianist, Dottie Jones (now Quimby), picked the hymns each week; the volunteer speakers brought their own message. Some Sundays, we had no idea who would be the speaker until we arrived at church on Sunday morning. From September 1, 1975 through June 30, 1976, we never missed a Sunday and every service had hymns, scriptures and message well coordinated, as if planned by one person. The facts were that these Sundays were planned by three people in three different locations who had no contact with each other prior to Sunday morning. These people were prayer warriors who asked God's guidance as they each planned their individual part of the service and HE brought it all together.
During this time, the Bulletin Board in the church lawn was kept up to date by Burl Persing, church trustee and Sunday School Superintendent. It reflected in part the following message designed by Lois Whipple: "All are welcome!! PASTOR KUMANSI." Who is the pastor of this church? Rev. Kumansi (Come and see). And, stepping out in faith, that is exactly what the congregation did each week. We had to come and see who the speaker was for that day.
And so we marched on to 1983, the merger, and 1991, the new church building two miles west of town.
Ministers who served the Gaines Methodist Episcopal Church and Gaines Charge:
Rev. G. N. Pack had charge of services in 1867.
Rev. T. Lesley Weaver (1867-1870)
A. Compton (1870-1872)
M. V. Briggs (1872-1874)
A. B. Brame (1874-1875)
P. M. Joralman (1875-1876)
Whiting Beach (1876-1879)
Woodruff Post (1879-1880)
J. W. Miller (1880-1883)
A. G. Cole (1883-1886)
G. H. Allett (1886-1890)
S. A. Peterson (1890-1891)
Cornelius Dillenbeck (1891-1894)
Uri Mulford (1895)
G. E. Hill (1896)
E. D. Compton (1896-
(The following record shows those from 1896-1917 at random - some are known only by last names; some have dates. After 1917, data is complete.)
Rev. A. B. Taylor (1903-1904)
Rev. G. B. Clark (1913)
Rev. E. Rockwell (1913-1914)
Rev. Mahoney (before 1912)
Rev. George Peacock (came directly to Gaines from England)
Rev. Hank Horton (1915)
Rev. Dunning (about 1916-1917)
Harold Wood was minister here when the church burned on March 21, 1918. He started a grass fire that got out of hand, setting fire to the church. After this, worship services, meetings and Sunday School were held in the I.O.O.F. (Odd Fellows) Hall in Gaines until the new church could be built. New Church completed 1919; first minister sent by Conference was
Rev. William L. Deighton - 1920
Rev. Reginald J. Edwards - 1921 (father of Robert W. Edwards; he left Bob here to be raised by Carr-Perkins family)
Rev. G. J. Porter - (1922-24-25)
Rev. Willus J. McLaughlin (Oct. 1925 - went to Africa as missionary)
Rev. Percy H. Woodruff (Sept. 1926 thru Sept.1928)
Rev. Alva E. Beers (1929-30 for a short time)
Rev. C. Roy Folts (1930)
Rev. J. B. Ennis (was here 5 years; 1930-1934)
Rev. I. R. Peacock (1935-1936)
Rev. G. S. Wilson (1936-1937)
Rev. Harold E. Blish (1937-1938)
Rev. Merle H. Holmes (1938-1944)
Rev. Frank White (1944-1947)
Rev. Edward Cross (1947-1949)
Rev. Sidney Fenton (1949-1952)
Rev. John "Jack" Howard (1952-1955)
Rev. Charles "Bud" James (1955- )
Rev. Richard Harrington (1955: filled pulpit for approximately one year to finish James time to Conference appointment))
Dale Tanner (1956-1957) (not ordained; student at Mansfield STC, now Mansfield University)
Harold Savage (1957-1959) (not ordained; student at Mansfield STC, now Mansfield University)
Rev. Paul Zelinka (1960-1961)
Rev. Keith M. Dewey (June 1961 through Oct. 1964) Keith was a native of Gaines, baptized and confirmed in the Gaines. M.E. Church
Rev. Dan Milheim (October 1964 to June 1965) part time assistant Rev. Charles Gummo
August 17, 1965: Merged to Gaines/Galeton Charge. Ministers from this point served all churches.
Rev. William Lusk (June 1965 through June 1972)
Rev. Kenneth Shafer (1972-1974)
Rev. Charles Graham (7/1974 until his unexpected death 9/1/75)
From this time until June 1976, our parish was served by Rev. Kumansi, which included Rev. Wade Stewart, Baptist, retired, and Chaplain at S&S Memorial Hospital, Wellsboro; Richard Hartman, Teacher at Knoxville High School; Bill Lusk, former pastor at our charge; Lowell Watkins, Pastor from Westfield;
Rev. Larry Lutz (1976-1980)
Rev. Kevin Hughes (1980-1985
Assistant pastors serving 1965-1985 included Eunice Lusk, Gary Brown, Lynn Geiser, and Calvin Cobb
1983: Became Pine Creek Valley UMC for Gaines, Marshlands & Galeton with Asaph as an outpost mission church.
Rev. Gary Bumbarger (1985-1988)
Rev. Steve Saurman (7/1988-5/1992)
September 1991: moved into new building on US Route 6 between Gaines and Galeton.
Rev. Marvin Freed (5/1992-6/30/1993)
Rev. Jeffrey Canankamp (7/1/1993-7/31/1998)
July 1, 1997: PCV became a one unit church body; Asaph merged with Middle Ridge UMC (Little Red Church in Canyon)
Rev. William Lusk (retired), filled the pulpit between Canankamp and his assigned replacement, mid-July 1998-August 1998.
Rev. Harry (Hank) Mansell (9/1/1998-6/2000)
Rev. David Shultz (7/2000-
HISTORY OF MARSHLANDS (MARSHFIELD) CONGREGATION
This community in Gaines Township was originally named Marshfield for its pioneer settler, Danforth Marsh. The Methodist Episcopal Church of Marshfield was the second society in Gaines Township and was organized about 1850. It was incorporated December 5, 1873. Among the early members were David and Amanda Smith, James H. and Betsey Watrous, and Ethan and Juliana Strait. (note: the round, stained-glass window above the altar area, 1998 PCVUMC, is in memory of the Straits).
The first minister was Rev. Samuel Nichols who held services there once in every two weeks. The Church has been in the Gaines Charge and has been served by the same pastors.
The Church building was constructed in 1874 at a cost of $2,300.00.
Information from the Tioga county History, 1897, gives the above information together with the statement that "The Church now has thirty-five members. There is a Union Sunday School with an average attendance of about fifty pupils. Charles Watrous is the Superintendent."
Marshlands Church functioned through the years as a center of the community. Marshlands also had a Baptist Church. For many years, the Vacation Bible School for the Gaines Charge was held in the Marshlands Church and Marshfield Grange Hall. As small farms gave in to hunting camps and summer homes, and the young people began leaving the area to find employment and the older generation passed on, the church attendance dwindled. The church building had no inside plumbing. Eventually, those attending church there decided to close for the winter months and hold only summer services to accommodate the large number of visitors who were in the area only during the summer months. This was the last few years (1980s) prior to the merger.
HISTORY OF THE GALETON UNITED METHODIST CONGREGATION
Methodism in Galeton is older than the town itself. It came with the Dickinson Family in 1850. In 1883, as soon as the village began to take shape in Pine Creek, the First Methodist Episcopal Society of Galeton was organized. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse until 1887, when the First Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated, free from all debt.
Application was made on October 4, 1888, for a charter of incorporation for a society to be called the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Galeton, PA.
The church burned in 1893 and a new church was built the next year. This building was enlarged in 1900 and destroyed by fire in 1916. On July 2, 1917, the present building was dedicated.
July 28, 1848, the Trustees of the church granted to the Raymond Richar Post (VFW) the right and privilege of placing a granite monument on the tract of land which they own.
In 1962, the church was transferred from the Genesee Conference to the Central Pennsylvania Conference.
August 17, 1965, the Gaines charge and Galeton charge merged and became known as the Gaines-Galeton Charge.
In 1983, the Gaines-Galeton charge became the Pine Creek Valley Charge. The Galeton church building was put up for sale and the united congregations attended church in the Gaines church building until the new facility was built in 1991.
Ministers (1917-1967) Carl W. Hayes, John R. Adams, A. D. Stevens, Robert E. Brettle, Edward J. Corey, Charles A. Williams, Alfred L. Underhill, Glenn S. Brewster, Percy H. Woodruff, William Esler Slocum, William H. Smith, Harold E. Blish, Lyle S. Owen, John A. Mann, Mabel B. Johnson, Richard W. Harrington, Harold M. Sherman, Edward W. Cross, Robert W. Fleck, Allen Cropf, William R. Lusk. (Bill Lusk was the first pastor to serve the Gaines-Galeton Charge. The merger was in 1965 and, after this time, all churches were served by the same pastor). For the continued list of pastors, see History of Gaines Congregation.
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