I am here to give you a brief account of my wife’s experience and mine before the York Church was organized. In looking over our records, about 40 years ago, I worked in the shop of Nelson Baughman where they made the Miller Wash Machine. I ran the turning lathe. Brother Long moved to York and lived on N. Belvidere Ave. As I ran the turning lathe I was undertaking a big day’s work to turn 100 wash machine handles. So Brother Long interfered and I told him I am supposed to turn so many handles and so many plugs. “Go away and let me alone.” The third time he had a book over my face. I stopped the lathe. I walked downstairs told Nelson Baughman I am going home, that I had stopped the lathe. So I went home and told my wife and I approached her on the subject and she said that it was in our marriage contract and so I told Brother Long that we made up our minds to come to the Church. We were applicants for membership. That was before Brother Long was placed in the 2nd degree. Brother Long and Brother Shamberger came. I don’t know how he came to York whether he came on horseback or not; there were no automobiles 40 years ago, and so when they paid us the visit on West Philadelphia Street, I will never forget the wonderful instructions and blessing we received. Thanks. be to God, for men like they were. When he paid us the friendly visit for members, “‘Brother and Sister Bowser,” he said, “The sheep can’t be fed unless they come home in the fold.” Then he said to Brother Long, “Don’t stick it up so high so they can’t get it.” So there were arrangements made for baptism. Jacob Aldinger baptized us. They had no pool then, no, built place, but was on the Aldinger farm. Would to God we had many more leaders like Brother Shamberger, not only had he a countenance pleasing, and an agreeable disposition, but they were both leaders to instruct; not to be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Memories of the York Church – Alice Trimmer
At the time the First Church was built I lived with my Uncle and Aunt, Brother Jacob Hyde and wife, 3 miles from York. I united with the Church in 1870. There was. No Church close, we had to go to Holtzschwamm, Bermudian or Mummert’s, if we wanted to go to Church.
Brother Jacob Aldinger bought a farm west of York. He with others wanted a Churrh in York. Some members thought it was too dangerous to have a Church in the City, so they bought a lot at the edge of the City, Cor. W. King Street and Belvidere Avenue. A Church was built. There were then only 3 members in York and a few in the surrounding county. There were then few buildings on Market Street west of Hartley and none on Princess Street. The Church was built. I attended services here. There were only a very few people in attendance. A few months after the Church was built I went up the country to take care of my Mother. Ten years after this I came back to York. The Church had then outgrown its capacity. The Sunday School was so large that folks who came for Church services had to stand until Sunday School was over. At time of series of meetings, half the people could not get in. This Church grew like a mushroom. York was then part of the. East Codorus congregation. It was very inconvenient for the members to go to Loganville at the time of Love Feast and Council Meetings. York then wanted to become a separate Church. This, caused quite a bit of commotion. Some members thought York would run away if it was separate. But it was left to a vote and the majority voted for a division.
Then. we had no place to prepare for Love Feast. I lived on King Street across from the Church, as was mentioned today. They prepared for the first Love Feast at my place. I prepared a big roast and set a big table and fed the people who did not want to commune. Many times I had the house full of visitors with beds made on the floor to accommodate visitors. We then built a temporary kitchen against the Church. This was not satisfactory. So some decided to build a real kitchen. A number of us objected. We said we want a new Church. A Council was called. The matter was considered. But they said we can not get the money, we could not even get the money for a kitchen. I said, “We do not want a kitchen, we want a Church. Give us a chance.” It was then decided to send out solicitors. See if we could get the money. I was appointed one of the solicitors. The experience I had would make interesting history, but time will not permit. But the result of it all was the building of the Church in which we are now.
(This was the end of her talk and the following is additional history which she has given.)
After York became a separate Church Brother Samuel Zug was chosen for our elder. After that Brother J. A. Long was given charge of the eldership. Through his efficient leadership the Church grew very rapidly. Much could be said about the early workers who, through their efforts, got the Sunday School, started and other activities. The early workers were the Aldingers, Brother and Sister Brodbeck, Kate Baughman and Sister Annie Houser. Others came in and together they worked earnestly until now the Sunday School attendance is nearly 1000 and the membership almost a thousand. Much could be said of the early evangelists who were instrumental in building up this Church. Among them were Samuel Utz, H. C. Early, Brother Stouffer of Hagerstown, S. F. Sanger and others.
Memories of the York Church – Jacob Trimmer
I have a confession to make tonight. I was not a member of the York Church at any time. I was wondering that only Brethren were mentioned in the building up of this congregation. I have a photograph at home that is very dear to me of a Sister with a little flock around her and I would think that you could guess who it was. A number of these have been called home, are not here. Before we moved to York we knew of her disposition as a lover of children. She bought me a doll baby which I had for nearly 50 years. I attended Sunday School in the old Church, I think in the year 1893. I was wondering who the others were. If there are any here tonight it would be very interesting to have them stand. There is one thing that I remember about Brother Long, what Brother Long said above everything else. I was not a member of the Church and I was about to move out of town. He met me on this little Avenue above Mason Avenue when he heard we were going to leave and this is what he said, “A man would have to starve his soul for a few dollars.” I thought that over pretty seriously. A man would leave from a Christian community and starve his soul in order to make a few dollars. I never forgot those words of Brother Long. I am glad to be here tonight and to testify to the influence which he has had on my life. Thank you.
Memories of the York Church – Anna Sheets
I didn’t expect to come up here to give a talk this evening. It is quite a surprise to me, but since my name was mentioned and I have heard some people talking this afternoon about this Church I thought I would make a little explanation.
I think my memories go back pretty far. I well remember the time before we had Churches. Our house was built for the purpose of holding meetings. We had three large rooms with removable partitions. The meeting was at our place every 16 weeks. If I am not mistaken there were also meetings in New Freedom at Bowser’s place. That house was built for the same purpose. In 1872 the Church at Loganville was built, then we went to Loganville to worship.
My grandmother was living with us and always went along, she thought it was so far and said that she would like to have a Church built somewhere within two miles of our home, we were then living at Brillhart Station. Then my grandmother said, “Now since we have a church at Loganville we want to have one nearer home.” So she gave my Father money, I do not know exactly how much it was. He was to keep the money until he would find a proper place to build a Church. So after we moved over here then Father said, “Now is the time to build that Church.” So we went to Loganville and asked the council; they told him it would be all right, but the meeting house was to be built on our farm. Then, of course, it seemed farther to town than it does now. Father knew the people could not come out here to attend services so he looked for a suitable place in the City. He purchased this place from Alexander Smyser. The price was supposed to be $1200.00 but Mr. Smyser donated $400.00; the other money my grandmother had given to my father, paid for the land where this Church now stands.
I heard this afternoon that some people were under the impression that my father bought the land and gave it to the Church. Being a Trustee he bought it in the name of the Church with the money given him in about the year 1874.
I think not many here would remember my grandmother, she was Lydia Landes Sprenkel. She was baptized in 1838 in the Big Conewago creek near the home of L. F. Latshaw.
How many members are here this evening that were members when the First Church here was built?
It surely was worth while when you see how many members arc here now. God knew where he wanted a Church when in 1874 through Grandma Sprenkel he started His Church here. I thank you.