History of Patterson Grove
By Doris Wiant Harvey
VIGOROUSLY ALIVE TODAY after a more than a century of existence, Patterson Grove Campground traces its origins back to a still more distant past. Organized in 1784, the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States became at once a dynamic spiritual force, thriving and expanding throughout the new nation. Within four years this force entered northeastern Pennsylvania, when Anning Owen, a blacksmith, who had fought in and miraculously survived the Battle of Wyoming, formed in 1788 the first Methodist class in Kingston. During the next dozen years itinerant Methodist preachers passed back and forth through Huntington Valley; and at least one local preacher settled there: the Rev. Epenetus Wadsworth, near Town Hill, in 1794. The year 1800 produced, in the Logan County region of Kentucky, the first real camp meeting ever held anywhere; it was the progenitor of all such meetings thereafter. Eight years later, in 1808, the first camp meeting in northeastern Pennsylvania assembled at Chillisquaqua Creek, some six miles from Northumberland; and the following year the first meeting in Luzerne County gathered in what is now West Pittston. Immediately popular, camp meetings were held from year to year at various places throughout Luzerne County. Among others, a memorable one met on the farm of Jacob Rice, a Methodist local preacher, at Trucksville in 1825.
Camp meetings in Huntington Valley date back at least to the 1830’s. The earliest meeting-place was “the Wadsworth grove”, a short distance southwest of the Town Hill schoolhouse, on land owned by the Rev. Epaphras Wadsworth, who was perhaps a son of the Rev. Epenetus Wadsworth.In 1847, however, the gathering became too large for the Wadsworth grove, and the camp meeting moved to “the Harvey Woods”, where it remained for the next twenty years. The Harvey woods was a strip of land owned at that time by Benjamin Harvey, of Harveyville. Extending from the Shickshinny-Benton highway (now route 239) on the north to the road branching from that highway to Town Hill on the south, it lay just west of what was then the Larned farm. The campground site can be seen today on the left side of route 239 just after one passes over the top of the hill beyond Huntington Mills on the way to Benton; a house now stands at what was a corner of the encampment. There were two entrances to the grounds, one on the highway to Benton and one on the road to Town Hill; and a large spring located a short distance south of the highway supplied water. Never wholly suitable because of the sloping ground, the location was by 1867 proving too small for the growing crowds.
In 1867 Harveyville and Town Hill were both within the Bloomingdale Circuit of ,what was then the Northumberland District of the East Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In August 1867, at “a camp meeting held. .., near Town Hill-that is, in the Harvey woods-the Quarterly Conference of the Bloomingdale Circuit appointed Nathan Dodson, John Miner Goss, and John Holmes a committee “to procure if practicable a suitable grove for a permanent Camp Ground. The word “permanent” seta new policy; the earlier camp meetings had been held on borrowed ground.
The committee, applied to Samuel F. Headley. for what was known as “Headley’s Sugar Maple Camp”, near the mouth of Kitchen’s CreeK. Headley was a well known lawyer, land-owner, and businessman having substantial interests in Huntington Valley, including farms, mortgages, mills, and a store; and he was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He had ‘purchased the sugar-maple camp, together with another property at Harveyville, at a sheriff’s sale in 1850. Headley responded favorably; the committee so reported to the Quarterly Conference; adding “that the ground was most desirable”; and the Quarterly Conference accepted.
Headley thereupon “prepared a deed of Trust-which after some Alterations was accepted by the Quarterly Conference.” The deed provided for use of the sugar- maple grove for camp-meeting purposes, but included complicated provisions regarding water and sugar rights and other use of the land. Some of the provisions favored the Quarterly Conference, while others favored Headley. For example, Headley granted the privilege of enlarging the area, if more room were ever needed, by planting maples in the field adjoining the Campground. But he stipulated that in case of failure for three consecutive years to hold a “Methodist Camp Meeting” at the Grove, all rights and privileges under the deed would cease. In other words, the Headley deed gave the Quarterly Conference only limited use, and not ownership, of the Grove.
On July 6, 1868, the trustees and a number of members of the churches on the Bloomingdale Circuit met on the proposed new grounds. The decision to move was not unanimous ( one person voted against it) , but the Harvey woods were no longer suitable for large camp meetings. The trustees proceeded to organize, declaring the preacher in charge permanent chairman of the board. Samuel F. Headley was elected permanent secretary, and George M. Larned treasurer. Headley was appointed to layout the grounds into an audience area, streets, lots for tents, etc.; and he and Larned were authorized to make the survey and draw up a plan of it, together with a plan of the preacher’s stand, altar, etc., and report to the board as soon as practicable.
Meeting at the Grove on July 28, 1868, the Board of, Trustees approved the plans and authorized Headley and John M. Goss to carry them into effect, to dig wells, to procure pumps and lumber, and to do whatever else might be necessary to prepare for camp meeting.
On August 26, 1868, the trustees appointed Nathan Dodson “Chief Manager of the police and fire department” with power to appoint necessary help. Headley, Larned, and Goss, with John Robinson and Frederick K. Seeley, became a special committee to attend to the charge of collections, “and Generally to do all things necessary under what is properly known as the financial affairs of the meeting.” Notices were sent to various newspapers, preachers were invited, and the first camp meeting at Headley Grove was ready to open.
Between August 25 and September 2, 1868, 25 ministers signed the trustees’ Record Book. Mortimer P . Crosthwaite, one of the two preachers then on the Bloomingdale Circuit-his son, the Rev. Adam Clark Crosthwaite, was the other-wrote on the register after his name and age ( 48): “Born in Centre Co. Pa. Converted at a Camp-Meeting in Penns Valley Aug. 11 1839. Licensed to preach Oct. 1854. Entered the Conf. 1860. Praise God for Camp Meetings.” A number of the others who registered were local preachers whose names appear frequently ‘in the annals of the Grove and who deserve recognition for their dedication, hard work, and inspirational preaching, which helped make the Campground a vital and lasting reality. Shadrach B. Laycock, aged 73, lay preacher of Fairmount Township, noted that he had been a minister for 49 years. Epaphras Wadsworth, aged 75, lay preacher of Huntington Township, wrote, “Was Converted in Class meeting and has loved. Class meeting ever since.” John Miner Goss, aged 56, lay preacher of Fairmount Township, wrote, “Born of the spirit 1829.”. Others were George M. Larned, of Huntington Township, and John Holmes, of Fairmount Township.The first camp meeting opened on Wednesday, August 26, 1868, and continued through Thursday, September 3. By the opening date, 127 tents had been erected, “most of them well built with shingle roofs.” Because the stand was unfinished, the first preaching service was delayed until evening. The Rev. M.P. Crosthwaite, who was noted for his fine voice-and who, in later years, was sometimes called “The Father of the Campground”- opened the service by singing.
After the next evening service the Rev. Mr. Crosthwaite announced to the congregation that “this camp ground had been generously donated by Col. Headley to the perpetual service of god as a place for holding camp meetings and it was meet and proper in accordance with the usages of the Church to dedicate the same-solemnly to that Service. Headley then came
forward with the deed of trust in his hand and delivered the dedicatory address, concluding with these words:
“I by this deed transfer the trust to the Board of Trustees approved and appointed by the Quarterly Conference of this Circuit and I trust Sir-that it may not be considered out of place to publicly as I have in private pray-that this place may be ever watered with the due [ dew] of Heaven-that its beauty many remain and that our Children and our Children’s Children to the latest period of time may meet upon this Consecrated spot, and bow, with humility and in prayer and praise truly worship our Father and our God, and receive from him “the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.”
On Saturday, August 29, 1868, there were about 4,000 persons present during the day, and at the close of camp meeting on September 3 it was recorded that there were a number of Conversions-so variously estimated that we do not know what to record. Thus under leadership of men dedicated to Christ, camp meeting started at Headley Grove on a high spiritual plane. Financially, according to figures in the trustees’ Record Book-which however, may not be complete- expenditures exceeded receipts by more than ,$200.18.
At a trustees’ meeting, on May 18, 1869, it was decided to build for rent “Board tents” measuring 16 feet wide by 14 feet deep, one story high, with a “load roof” and with a “Board floor except under bunk. They were to be so constructed that they could be rented as a whole tent for $10 or a half tent for $5: A half tent would measure 8 feet wide by 14 feet deep; These tents, actually small frame cottages, had no doors; the occupants tacked sheets over the doorways.
In 1869 the announcement of camp meeting was signed by Benjamin Heck Crever, Presiding Elder of the Danville District, and by Bartholomew P. King and Adam Clark Crosthwaite, the preachers then on the Bloomingdale Circuit. It extended a cordial invitation to the “preachers and people on the district and adjoining circuits and stations” to attend the services. Among those who accepted was the Rev. Dr. Ezra H. Yocum, later Presiding Elder of the District and for many years a favorite preacher at the Campground.”The second camp meeting began on Wednesday, August 25, 1869, and closed on Thursday, September 2. Services commenced at evening with the ringing of the bell. There was a hard thunder shower, and some took refuge in their tents; but others ran for shelter at the altar, where they sang with spirit both before ,and after the preaching. After they went back to their tents, “from every quarter of the ground the songs of praise and the voice of prayer was heard.” Prayer meetings were long and frequent at the early camp meetings, and it was often noted that the Lord was with His people. On Sunday, August 29, at the 10 a.m. service, “Brother Crever thought best to devote 15 or 20 minutes to silent prayer after the opening prayer .” Someone has written in the margin of the Record Book near this statement, “How those people prayed! No wonder results came !”
The schedule of services varied over the years ( some- times the first prayer meeting of the day was at 5 a.m., sometimes at 5:30, sometimes as late as 6) , but in general the schedule was about as follows, with the bell announcing each service : 5 A.M. public prayer at the altar. 8 A.M. public prayer at the altar. 10 A.M. preaching. 1 P.M. children’s meeting. 2 P.M. prayer meeting. 3 P.M. preaching. 6:30 P.M. prayer meeting. 7:30 P.M. preaching.
On Thursday, September 2, the last day of camp meeting, the 8 a.m. service, which was the final one, consisted of a hymn, a prayer, and a short exhortation ; an “opportunity was then given for those who wished to join the church” ; and the meeting “was then changed to a general class meeting and was then closed.” The third camp meeting met August 24, 1870, and was as well attended and spiritually active as the others. Between services there were prayer meetings in several tents. The Rev. F. Hodgson, of Danville who was 65 years old and who had been an itinerant Methodist preacher for 42 years, attended this camp meeting. In all, 35 ministers registered this year, most of them quoting Scripture in the column reserved for general remarks, including these passages: “Glory to God in the Highest” ; “Christ is all and in all” ; “For me to live is Christ; But to die is gain” ; “Eternal life is the Gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord” ; “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of Christ.” The Rev. E. B. Harvey, aged 51, wrote, “And every day striving for those dispositions that shall make me worthy to be a son of God.” The fourth camp meeting began on Wednesday, August 23, 1871, and ended on Thursday, August 31. The Rev. Bartholomew P. King and the Rev. Jared Y. Shannon were the preachers on the Circuit; and the Board of Trustees consisted of King as president, five of the original members, Goss, Holmes, Dodson, Benscoter, and Hazlett, and Benjamin Franklin Headley in place of his father. Announcements inviting the attendance of the “ministers and friends of surrounding charges” appeared in Wilkes-Barre and Berwick newspapers. Only 23 ministers signed the trustees’ Record Book this year; 28 and the volume contains nothing on the meeting itself. The fifth camp meeting opened Wednesday evening, August 28, 1872. On Thursday, when it was time for preaching, “quite a Shower of rain came up in the afternoon and the brethren being desirous to fix up the new Awning no Services were held.” The awning did not hang down to provide canvas walls for the Tabernacle, but instead was stretched out as an extension of the roof on both sides of the structure and sheltered many more benches.
The first death on the Campground occurred this year, and unusual is the account of it. On Monday, September 2, 1872, the following is recorded, unsigned:
How true it is that in the midst of life we are in death and of this we were deeply impressed by the Providence of God today.
Brother Jesse Yocum of Northumberland the father of Rev. Ezra H. Yocum Pastor of the M.E. Church at Hazleton, was in the prayer meeting this morning in the altar and prayed most fervently and impressively. A few minutes afterwards he was Smitten down by a Stroke of apoplexy. He was immediately carried into the Presiding Elder’s room and medical assistance Summoned. All remedies however proved unavailing. He Sank into a State of unconsciousness from which he never recovered. He Sank gradually and at 8:30 P.M. He peacefully and Sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. The Scene was a most impressive one. Surrounded by friends whose Silent and fervent prayers were ascending for the expiring veteran of the cross he Sank gradually into the long unbroken Slumber. His breath grew fainter and fainter until all was over. His Son Ezra and his wife were watching by the bedside while the Presiding Elder bending over the now silent slumberer impressively said “Forever with the Lord!”
It was fitting and glorious thus to die. He whose years had been consecrated to the Service of Christ-who was one of the prominent members of the Church in the place where he lived, Spent the last moments of consciousness on earth in fervent prayer and then from the Songs and rejoicings of the Church below to the Songs and joy and triumph of the Church above ascended most gloriously.
His work is done and he rest Sweetly from all his labor and Sorrow.
At 5 o’clock the next morning funeral services were held in his room by the Presiding Elder, the Rev. Samuel Barnes. The body was taken by horse-drawn hearse to Shickshinny and on to Northumberland by train.
Camp meeting then proceeded as usual, with at least 46 ministers in attendance. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered to 25 ministers and 414 other communicants on Tuesday evening, September 3; and on Wednesday “the evening was quite cool and uncomfortable yet the power of God was manifested in a powerful manner in the conversion of sinners and the building up of believers. About thirty-eight penitents.”
Although spiritual welfare and activities took precedence over other business, temporal matters received attention, too. At the July 12, 1875, Board of Trustees’ meeting, the following motion was made and passed : “that Brother J. M. Goss procure a lamp and test it and if successful get a supply for the use of the ground..” Among the other items bought were a barrel of coal oil, a coal stove for the preacher’s house, and 1,000 feet of lumber ($8) .The trustees gave William Callender “the privilege of having a meat mill and a Hand [helper] upon the ground.” A boarding-house, referred to as a “Temperance Hotel,” had been erected and was managed by the trustees. It was a long, low, roughly built building with unglazed, shuttered windows. It served as shop and restaurant and was not equipped with sleeping quarters. The trustees offered canvas tents and frame tents for rent instead. This first hotel was managed by William Tyreman, of Town Hill. Other early managers included Nathaniel Goss, David Koons, and William Callender.
In 1869, before the second camp meeting, Samuel F. Headley died at the home of his daughter in New Jersey. The announcement of his death appeared in the same paper as did the announcement of the second camp meeting at Headley Grove. His death brought complications to the camp-meeting people, although it did not interrupt services until 1875. After his death, others who claimed ownership of the land had legal battles with the Campground trustees. Goss presided at the trustees’ meeting on July 2, 1875, when it was decided unanimously that no camp meeting would be held that year.
Headley had left a will giving the ground–subject to certain rules and restrictions–to the camp-meeting people. But soon afterward a dispute arose about the title. Joseph Long, of Rhorsburg, Columbia County, brought action against the Campground trustees, John Miner Goss, John Holmes, Nathan Dodson, Warren Benscoter, William J. Hazlett, and Benjamin Franklin Headley, son of Samuel F. Headley.
By the time the case came to court in 1875, four years after the original suit, four of the Longs-heirs of Joseph Long, son of Elias Long, early settler in the vicinity-had withdrawn from the suit and one had died, leaving Joseph F. Long as the only plaintiff .Briefly stated, the Headley title did not hold up in court, and the Long title did. The court decided that Joseph F . Long was entitled to one sixth of the disputed land, and since the others had withdrawn their claims, the Camp- ground trustees were awarded four sixths. It was pro- vided, however, that the trustees could obtain title to the one-sixth portion of land by paying Long within a year $325 plus the costs of the suit. The year passed with no payment to Long. An execution writ issued by the Court of Common Pleas dated July 7, 1876, directed the sheriff to place the land in possession of Long and to collect from the trustees the sum of $37.12. The trustees were willing to let Long have the one-sixth portion due him and the one sixth that would have gone to the heirs of his sister, but they were determined to hold the four sixths to which they had title. So the trustees petitioned the court at Wilkes-Barre for a writ of partition in order to appear in the Court of Equity to get matters settled before time for camp meeting. Long was to receive 8 2,/3 acres, leaving 17 1/3 acres for the Campground.
Nevertheless, another 17 months of litigation followed. Finally the court divided the land, giving the two sixths to Long, who was to pay the other heirs cash, as it was impracticable to divide the land in the proper proportions. As Mr. Patterson has noted, “it appears that both parties to the dispute were losers by it, although ultimately the Campground fared better than Joseph F. Long. Long gained about twelve acres of land, but at the cost of prosecuting one lawsuit and defending another, plus the mentioned sums, ‘totaling $218, that he was obliged to pay to the heirs of his sister and to the Court. Ten years later, after his death, his land was sold for taxes.”
The trustees paid legal costs amounting to at least $110, and over and above that sum were lawyers’ fees, expenses for transportation of witnesses, charges for surveying, etc., that have been estimated to run to at least $300. But the Campground did emerge from the controversy with a clear and undisputed title to 19 3/4 acres. The trustees were no longer subject to Headley’s restrictions and” regulations. They were responsible solely to the Quarterly Conference of the Bloomingdale Circuit, which they represented and from which they received their appointments and authority. More than 17 years later Albert and Adeline Downing deeded the other part of the ground to the trustees of the camp-ground, “in trust for the Methodist Episcopal Church of the Harveyville Circuit,” for $200. This restored the Campground to its original size and shape.
Owing to the temporary ejection of the trustees from the land, there was no camp meeting at Headley Grove in. 1875 or 1876. But in 1876 a “bush meeting” was held at Patterson’s “amphitheater” on the Marshall Hollow Road past the Patterson home. (A bush meeting was held outdoors, but the people did not stay over night on the grounds; those coming from a distance were invited into the homes of people in the vicinity.)
In 1877 a brief session beginning Monday, August 20, and closing the following Saturday, was held at Headley Grove. This was done because of a stipulation in the original agreement with Headley that if no meeting were held there for a period of three years, the land would revert to the original owners. In spite of the brevity of the session, the rain, and the small attendance (only 85 tents were occupied), there were 18 conversions.
THE CHANGE OF NAME
The last camp meeting under the name “Headley Grove” began on Tuesday, August 20, 1878, and closed on Friday, August 30. When camp meeting opened, the Campground was finally free from legal uncertainties; but there had been practically no income for three years, and there was a heavy debt to pay. Part of the expenses had been met with borrowed money, and during camp meeting in 1878 the preachers and trustees campaigned for funds to pay the debt. When all but about a hundred dollars had been raised, someone approached Ezekiel Montgomery Patterson, a prominent and wealthy businessman of New Brunswick, N.J. Visiting his birthplace, the Patterson Farm at Harveyville, he considered the matter, discussed it with his friend Abram Nesbitt Harvey, and offered to pay half the debt if Harvey would pay the other half. When Harvey declined, Patterson offered to give the whole amount, provided the Campground no longer be known a5 Headley Grove. Asked what he wanted it named, he replied that any name would be acceptable, but that he would be especially pleased if the Grove were named in honor of his mother, Mrs. Mary Denison Patterson. Mrs. Patterson had been reared a Methodist, had been one of the first of that denomination in the vicinity of the Campground, and had been a faithful supporter of the church in that region for fifty years.
Patterson’s proposal was accepted immediately. Someone started ringing the bell, and the people, fearing fire, rushed to the Tabernacle. Amid much excitement the news was announced. On the following day, Monday, August 26, 1878, the tenth anniversary of the commencement of camp meetings at Headley Grove, by resolution of the Board of Trustees the Campground was renamed “Patterson Grove Campground” in honor and in memory of Mrs. Mary Denison Patterson.
YEARS OF PROSPERING
During the four previous years there had been little activity at the Grove. By 1879, however, activity had multiplied, and many business matters had to be settled before camp meeting. In July the Board of Trustees placed the commissary department in the hands of Z. S. Stevens, who for the privilege agreed to pay the association $50 and furnish oil for lighting the encampment. At this meeting many of the following arrangements were made and later carried out for camp meeting. Meat during camp meeting was furnished by Levi Seward, who agreed to pay $2.25 for the privilege and to allow the people to drive through his premises and to tie horses in his woods. Seward furnished the commissary department with meat to the amount of $2.25. W. L. Bogert paid $5 for the privilege of having a barber shop, and John Broadt paid $5 to open a photo- graph gallery at Dennis Wiant’s. P. C. Wadsworth and others built a stable on the east side of the Campground, and J. M. Goss replaced the broken bell with a new one. Lots were leased for a dollar each. Everyone-whether “owners or holders”-was requested to whitewash his tent.
In 1879 A. N. Harvey was authorized to ask the court to afford six men as police and to borrow badges from the police force in Wilkes-Barre. This was in accordance with a State law which required campgrounds to be policed because of the shooting scrapes and drunken brawls which sometimes occurred.. Most of the trouble- makers were “outsiders,” not campground folk. Patterson Grove never had this trouble. In fact, on August 23, 1879, the police force at the Grove appeared before the Board of Trustees in a body and “made complaint that they had nothing to do, and were afraid that the board of Trustees would not sustain them. Their fears being removed they went to their places some of them growling.” By 1922, police were employed only on Sundays, when the crowds were especially large.
A musical instrument is first mentioned in the minutes of August 26, 1879: “P. C. Wadsworth having paid two dollars for the repair of the Town Hill Church organ, which was broken on its way to Camp-Meeting last year-the same was ordered to be refunded to him.” Organs were used at the Campground for years before pianos.
On August 31,1880, the Board of Trustees appointed a committee “to examine and report” on building a boarding tent to replace the one at the entrance. Z. S. Stevens, J. M. Goss, and P. C. Wadsworth were named to the committee. It seems nothing was done, however , until 1885.
The chief barber in 1880 was William Bogert. His shop was a favorite resort for the adult male population of the Grove and accordingly a spot particularly attractive to visiting politicians. Bogert made a point of warning office-seekers who came around that they should not “talk my boys away without getting a shave.”
Visiting politicians were found on all campgrounds. Their activities, especially on camp-meeting Sundays, brought them much disfavor, however, and at least once they were attacked from the pulpit. One preacher stated, “They don’t care for your soul nor their own. They intend first to get office and then a good character. They go from here to saloons. Then of course camp- meeting is all forgotten till the returns come in.”
On Saturday night an outburst of shouts and hurrahs for the Republican candidates disturbed the camp meeting. Investigation showed that a local merchant named C. M. Swayze, “a Garfield man,” was selling cider on the grounds and “infusing the boys with the contents of the barrel.” He was promptly arrested.
1880 was the first year the Presiding Elder refused to come to Patterson Grove camp meeting. The Annual Conference had previously requested all camp meetings to close their gates on Sundays and keep out all but the camp-meeting folk in order to eliminate visitors who came for a holiday and pleasure instead of spiritual refreshment. These people were a real concern to those not spiritually minded. Closing the gates did not seem the right answer to the Rev. John Homing, who maintained that “religion is free at all times and under all circumstances” and that no one “need climb a fence to obtain a blessing on the Sabbath.” Again in 1882 the Conference tried to get Patterson Grove to close its gates. On May 17,1882, committees from Harveyville, Shickshinny, Muhlenburg, and Town Hill met with Pre- siding Elder Smyser to decide what to do. “Motion to hold a campmeeting discussed. Trustees and committees voted to hold a meeting with open gates. 9-17.” Because Patterson Grove would not close its gates, the Presiding Elder refused for several years to attend its services or even to mention the Grove in his reports. In 1883 the controversy was so bitter that there was no camp meeting in the District except at Mountain Grove. By 1890 the futility of the rule had been demonstrated on most campgrounds, and it was abandoned.
At the meeting of the Central Pennsylvania Conference in March 1882, the Bloomingdale Circuit, which covered the entire area from Shickshinny to North Mountain, was divided into the Town Hill Circuit and the Harveyville Circuit. Waterton, Town Hill, Dodson Chapel, Huntington Mills, McKendree, New Columbus, and Register became the Town Hill Circuit, while Harveyville, Fairmount Springs, Red Hill, Pleasant Valley , Bethel, Cambra, Mossville, and Patterson Grove became the Harveyville Circuit. The Bloomingdale Circuit had had two preachers; now each new circuit was assigned one.
Before camp meeting started in 1882, there was much activity on the grounds. New cottages, including two owned by office-holders, were built, and many alterations, additions, and improvements were made. Al- though the Conference continued to complain about the dangers of unwieldy crowds, there was no rowdyism at any time. In the music department the choir, directed by Capt. John Robinson, was accompanied by a comet and a “mammoth Bolby organ” which the manufacturer had placed at the disposal of the Camp-Meeting Association. As usual, hack service to and from Shickshinny was provided, each train being met by Thomas Winans, who left the Campground on his last trip about 9: 20 p.m. Because of the controversy over closed gates on Sunday, the Quarterly Conference decided not to hold camp meeting in 1883.
Noting on February 16, 1884, that “the people of this and adjoining circuits were disappointed” at that decision, the Board of Trustees voted to hold camp meeting in August 1884 and authorized the secretary to send a copy of its resolution to the Shickshinny Mountain Echo for publication. Among various pre-camp- meeting matters, the Board on April 26, 1884, accepted the appointment by Mrs. Samuel F. Headley of J. M. Goss to represent the Headley estate on the Board of Trustees; and on August 2, 1884, it appointed the preacher in charge a committee of one to number the tents–which he seems to have done. On August 19 the Board voted “to allow Sale of Soda Water” on the grounds. Camp meeting began on Wednesday, August 27, and seems to have continued until Friday, September 5.
On February 27, 1885, the Board of Trustees voted to build a new boarding-house on the Campground and to have it ready for use at the next camp meeting, and it named a committee to attend to the matter. Continuing with this project, the Board on June 6 voted “to build Boarding hall to join commissary building on the South to Set 4 feet from Same and to top or pass Same by 4 feet for a door from dining hall into commissary building.” At the same meeting it voted to hold camp meeting from August 19 to 28 and authorized the pastor to notify the newspapers accordingly . This year, as in many other years, the Board allowed the privilege of the grounds to the veterans of the Civil War for their celebration on the Fourth of July. On July 19 the Board awarded the contract for building the new boarding-hall to A. A. Nicholson, whose bid of $74 was the lowest of three. The building was finished in time for camp meeting, and John Robinson, a member and secretary of the Board of Trustees, was placed in charge of it. Camp meeting was held as scheduled, with Sunday the big day. On Monday, August 24, 1885, the Wilkes-Barre Evening Leader carried a front-page story on Patterson Grove, some parts of which follow:
There are in all, besides the covered pulpit and shed for the worshippers, and the general boarding house and incidental buildings, one hundred and sixty tents or cabins, with from two to six rooms each. Some are more carefully and substantially built than others, a few are provided with verandahs and other attempts at outward adornment, but in the majority of cases the builders have been content with the plainest of exteriors and sought only such internal arrangements as would conduce best to the com- fort of the occupants.
All of the 160 are occupied, some by large families. Including the “permanent” boarders at John Robinson’s model hostelries-for he does furnish a substantial and abundant meal-there are from 1,000 to 1,500 residents of Patterson Grove during the two weeks of the camp meeting. On bright days, especially Sundays, this number is swelled by visitors for the day to sometimes as many as 5,000 and 10,000. Nearly the former number are said to have been on the ground yesterday. Practically every resident within twenty miles of the spot, and hundreds from a greater distance, visit them [the meetings] . They are the annual reunions of the people of Huntington Valley. They make and keep everybody acquainted with everybody in the valley , and being held at a season when a farmer can afford to leave the farm, for a few days at least, to take care of itself, they are, besides being utilized for grander and more united, elaborate and prolonged service of song and praise to God than would be possible under any other conditions, enjoyed as picnics as only the farmer and the farmer’s wife and boys and girls can enjoy them. Patterson Grove is eight miles from the nearest railroad station but this is generally regarded by the campers as a blessing, in that it gives them immunity from the interruptions of the tramps and roughs who invariably seek out such resorts when nearer the great national highways of travel.
The beds in the boarding-house were built-in bunk- beds with straw ticks and chaff bolsters. In 1886 the chaff bolsters were cut in two for pillows, and cases were made for them. The bunk-beds were kept until the boarding-house burned in 1914. Those were the days where late arrivals, who found the boarding-house full, sent the young men to Wiants’ barn to sleep. Wiants took in boarders during camp meeting for about twenty years, besides those who slept in the barn.
On August 30, 1889, the Board of Trustees appointed a committee “to Hire a man to remain upon the ground during the year to take care of property and to See that the assessment of one Dollar pr tent is collected and the man paid for his work and to designate what work he Shall be employed and Said committee Shall have the general Supervision of the repairs upon the ground needed to put it in condition for next camp meeting.”
On May 16, 1890, the Board voted to begin camp meeting on Tuesday, August 19, and to continue it for ten days. At the same meeting it voted to build an addition to the boarding-house to measure 22 by 25 feet; it employed A. N. Harvey, treasurer of the Board, to do a substantial amount of work on buildings and grounds, including construction of the addition to the boarding- house; and it authorized him “to find out the price of Springs and mattresses and bedding.” On August 28, 1890, the Board authorized Harvey to get the boarding- house and its furniture insured.
In October 1890, A. N. Harvey died. He had served on the Board of Trustees, had been a lamp-lighter, an exhorter, and a worker for the success of the camp meetings. The tribute in the minutes of the trustees’ meeting on October 27 reads in part: “for nearly a score of years, [he] has labored with us in the performance of our duties as trustees, in laboring for others comforts, in making our meetings a success, and in furthering the Cause of our Blessed Redeemer .”
1890 was also the year the cyclone struck the area. Camp meeting commenced on Tuesday, August 19, and on that day “The great Cyclone passed over Harveyville great excitement no meeting on that acct. and the heavy rain.” The next day, “no meeting during day every body went to assist the sufferers of the Cyclone.”
Preaching Saturday night, August 23, 1890, was by “Sister Vangorder from Wyoming Dist.” This was the first time a woman had preached at Patterson Grove. The Rev. Mr. Vangorder had preached the previous Thursday night. When camp meeting closed, the Rev. D. B. McCloskey, from Town Hill, wrote in the register, “Gods power has been manifested in the Conversion of Souls at this meeting.” The Rev. N. H. Smith, from Roaring Creek, wrote, “To me this Camp was truly a ‘time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.’ ” These were typical comments.
In 1891 the people of Town Hill, Muhlenburg, and Shickshinny were given lots on which to build tents for their preachers. Camp meeting in 1891 began on Tuesday, August 18, with “somewhat stormy” weather. Sunday brought more rain; and on Monday “the rain set in and one of the hardest rains we have ever saw followed and rain until night the creek got very high broke the bridge across the ladies walk water and mud was the prevailing element No meeting in evening or at night.” Tuesday started off badly. “No morning meeting on acct. of bad condition of the ground canvass broken down grounds all afloat.” But preaching resumed at 10:30; and later in the day 224 persons, including 22 preachers, received Communion.
The schedule of services had some changes this year . The day’s services began with prayer meeting at 5:30 a.m. ; then came family worship at 7, experience meeting at 9, preaching at 10:30, children’s meeting at 1:30 p.m., missionary meeting at 3, song-and-praise meeting at 4: 40, prayer meeting at 6, and preaching at night. The Rev. John H. Murray, a 25-year-old evangelist from Rochester, N.Y ., attended this year and preached at least once. Seven conversions were recorded after preaching by the Rev. G. V. Savage, of Beach Haven. He preached many times at Patterson Grove over a period of years, and his preaching was greatly appreciated.. The Rev. Richard Hinkle, of Berwick, preached on August 25 at a “Grand meeting at night 11 conversions.” At the last service, on August 27, “The meeting was kept up until midnight 19 conversions when the bell was rung and the congregation was dismissed Thus ended our Glorious Camp-meeting. Although the weather was very much against it raining half the time it was one of the best meetings ever held on the grounds both financially and Spiritually .” Here follows the quotation, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” and the signature of the secretary, D. K. Laubach.
Indeed, Patterson Grove had been blessed both spiritually and financially that year. According to the record:
Cash received $1690.82
Some sources of income were:
Cash from commissary $687.27
Cash from boarding-house $398.54
Cash from ice cream $227.66
Cash tax on tents $118.25
Cash from photographer $25.00
Cash from barber $10.00
Cash by will of E. M. Patterson $100.00
Cash collections $63.36
Camp meeting in 1892 began on August 23 and lasted ten days. On the first day, “Early in the morning and all through the day the road leading to the Camp was lined with wagons buggies and vehicles of every description [ which] were hurrying to fill up the tents. The day was fine.” The Rev. George King preached at night from Luke 19: 12-28, After which the Rev. T. M. Furey led prayer. The Rev. Joseph Bedford, of White Haven, exhorted after the prayer and experience meeting closed.
One of the preachers who was in charge of the children’s meetings for many years and who preached many times at Patterson Grove was the Rev. William R. Owen. Some days he was in charge of prayer meetings, praise and prayer meetings, and also the children’s services. Young Rev. Samuel Blair (age 29) was the minister on the circuit in 1892, when he wrote in the register, “This is my second year on this charge-I love the people.” Apparently he did, for he returned year after year at camp-meeting time to help. The Rev. M. P. Crosthwaite was among the 27 preachers and 290 members of the Church who on August 30 partook of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
This year the days began with prayer meeting at 5, followed by family worship at 7 and preaching at 9:30 ; in the afternoon there were children’s meeting at 1, preaching or missionary meeting at 3, song service at 5, prayer meeting at 6, followed by preaching at night. The song service was not held every evening at 5, but was sometimes replaced by a 4:30 song-and-praise meeting. At 6:30 on most nights there was a young- folks’ prayer meeting, and at one experience meeting there were 67 testimonies in 15 minutes. The service on Thursday night, September 1, was called “one of the most interesting and largest meetings ever held on the ground the grand march was made after meeting many hundred participating”
A census on August 28, showed there were 1,300 people staying on the grounds. Those who came through the gate plus those who were staying at the Grove totaled 9,000, and 1,300 wagons passed through the gate. J. W. Kleintob was paid $1.50 for counting. These numbers are astonishing considering the methods of transportation. But at camp-meeting time every cottage became headquarters for all the relatives and friends, and people who lived near Patterson Grove took in boarders, while the boarding-hall at the Campground was filled. Many family reunions were annually scheduled for camp-meeting time. Trains brought people from distant places, and special hack service ran from Shickshinny to Patterson Grove. Many people arrived in covered wagons which had three seats.
D. K. Laubach, who ran the boarding-hall in 1892, was paid by the trustees $94.59 for the preachers’ boarding expenses. At the boarding-hall 483 meals were served without charge.
The 1892 Board of Trustees had three problems, two of which changing times have eliminated: “Whereas complaint has been made about dogs Chickens and cows kept on the ground on motion it was declared a nuisance for them to be kept on the premises and that they should be removed all voting in the affirmative.”
In 1893 the Rev. John C. Bickel served on the Charge. That year they had “a fourth of July Celebration consisting of an old fashioned Sunday School Celebration and Picnic And the pastor was appointed a committee to appoint a committee at each Sunday School to see that each school is represented And the Secretary was directed to correspond with the Schools in the surrounding circuits.” These celebrations had been common in the 1870’s and required elaborate preparations. Each Sunday school met at its own church or schoolhouse and formed a procession of wagons to go to Patterson Grove. In front were the flag and banner, the latter hand-made and bearing the name of the school and some appropriate motto, such as “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence.” The banner was set in a frame trimmed with laurel, and the six attached red, white, and blue streamers were held by small girls, who were always dressed in white and had laurel wreaths on their hair. At the Grove the Sunday schools grouped., usually with the Sunday-school banner and an old soldier carrying the flag at the head of each group. A drum corps and Capt. John Robinson as marshal headed the parade as the schools marched from outside the Circle to the auditorium. There were speeches and music, then the picnic dinner on tables for each school set around the Circle, and visiting, and then at last the trip back home.
Camp meeting in 1893 opened Tuesday, August 22; and Presiding Elder Ezra Yocum preached the closing s6l”mon at night on August 31. On Monday night five conversions followed an impressive sermon by the Rev. N. H. Smith and a powerful exhortation. “This was a wonderful meeting on acct. of the presence of the Holy Spirit.” The presence of the Holy Spirit was noted at different times and was proved by the conversion of about 70 persons.
Within a week after the close of camp meeting, the Campground burned. On September 7, 1893, the Wilkes-Barre Record published the following item: “A destructive fire occurred at Patterson Grove last night about 9 o’clock. Everything was burned to the ground and the handsome grove of maples is ruined. Between 200 and 300 cottages were destroyed.” The following account appeared in the same newspaper a day later:
“Interested Wilkes-Barreans who saw the item in yesterday morning’s RECORD relative to the destruction of all the cottages of Patterson Grove camp Ground, back of Shickshinny, had their worst fears realized when they investigated further and found a confirmation of the RECORD’S report. The fire started at about 10 o’clock at night and whether it was of incendiary origin or caught from a defective flue is not now, and probably never will be known. The fire was discovered by the watchman, Benjamin Long, and there being no fire apparatus at hand every cottage on the ground was destroyed. There were about 209 cottages on the grounds and they were worth on an average of $300 apiece. The preacher’s stand was also destroyed, but the flames did not reach the boarding house and this was the only building saved. As if not satisfied with the wanton waste the fire fiend spread to the handsome grove of maples and so completely destroyed this that the trees might as well have been cut off.
There were no families on the grounds except that of Mr. Long, the watchman, who lived in the commissary. Mrs. Ed. Gunster, Jr., of Wilkes-Barre, who was taken sick there during the meeting, was brought away on Monday by her husband, and one other family there at that time was then preparing to move. There were several stables and barns on the ground and these, with the seats, preachers’ stand, etc., were all destroyed.
The cottages were owned by families resident in all parts of this and adjoining counties and among the Wilkes-Barre cottage owners are E. C” Wasser, C. Bart Sutton, Edward Gunster, Jr., and John Robinson. The loss was heavily felt by the people in the vicinity of the grove. They owned a large number of the cottages and rented them from season to season.
Many of the cottage holders had left their furniture in their buildings and only a little was saved. Probably a dozen of the cottages were insured, but with that exception it is a total loss.
The grounds and some of the cottages were owned by the Patterson Grove Camp Meeting Association, composed of gentlemen resident in this and adjoining counties and camp meetings have been conducted annually for twenty- five years, the last one having just closed last week.
The location is very favorable for these summer gatherings, the air, water, soil and all the accessories being of the best, and it is to be hoped that the association will be encouraged to rebuild before next season. The place is a favorite resort for many Wilkes-Barreans.”
RISING FROM THE ASHES
The minutes of the trustees’ meeting on September 11, 1893, deal with routine business only and include no mention of the fire. The minutes of the next meeting, on September 18, tersely record the following decisions, among others: (1) “That we proceed to rebuild on the old ground”; (2) “That we proceed to clear off the ground as soon [as] practicable”; (3) “That we get incorporated”; and (4) “The Secretary was ordered to get the Boarding house insured.”
As to the cause of the fire, arson was generally suspected, with considerable evidence pointing in that direction, but was never proved. Another theory, mentioned in the press, was that “it was started accidentally by a party of hunters or fishermen.” In any case, Patterson Grove camp meetings had become a part of the life of the people for miles around, and Patterson Grove was destined to be rebuilt.
This time the aisles between the cottages would be wider, and neither cottages nor series of cottages would share the same walls. (Two of the original cottages, be- fore the fire, one owned by William Brandon and the other by Nathan Kleintob, of Fairmount Springs, had used the same maple tree as a comer post. Many of the original cottages had been joined together.) The ground had to be cleared off and surveyed again, the lots had to be reclaimed, and then the cottages and the Tabernacle had to be rebuilt.
At a meeting on May 14, 1894, the trustees considered buying a tent measuring 60 by 80 feet for $186; but a few weeks later, after the prospects of getting a good one large enough proved unsatisfactory, they decided to build a permanent building for the preachers’ tent and the auditorium and to cover it with shingles. (The preachers slept in the room behind the Tabernacle.) The new auditorium was planned by D. K. Laubach, D. Seward, and I. R. Sutliff. The building of the preachers’ tent was “awarded to Benjamin Rood for $25.00 size 12 x 24, and to be finished in due time.” The building of the preachers’ stand, place for singers, and auditorium was awarded to Henry Zigler for $75.81 All cottages in the Circle were to be built 30 days before time for camp meeting in 1894. Owners who did not build by then would forfeit their lots, which would be sold by the trustees.
Arbor Day, April 27, 1893, was observed by planting quick-growing trees interspersed with maples. On Au- gust 1, 1894, “The following Ladies were appointed a committee to decorate the ground with plants and flow- em” ; and here follow–each one, except that of Mrs. Phillips, preceded by the word, or the abbreviation, or ditto marks for the word, “Sister”-the names Seward, Laubach, Sutliff, A. K. Pennington, C. Bisher, Etta Rittenhouse, M. F. Moss, Downing, Hagenbach, M. Gregory, R. G. Goss, Mary Patterson, J. M. Ipher, H. Ramson, Mrs. H. H. Phillips, and Sally Pierce.
In 1894 camp meeting opened on Wednesday, August 15, and closed on Wednesday, August 22. There were 16 cottages and six cloth tents. “Everybody was pleased with the new Auditorium and the new seats and with their arrangement. …The Trustees put in hemlock trees for shade which made the desolate ground look quite cheerful.”
D. K. Laubach, a trustee and local preacher from Fairmount Springs who sometimes signed the register with the other preachers, wrote in 1894, “May the Lord Bless Patterson Grove and may she come up out of her ashes as did Jerusalem. ..” T. L. Tompkinson, of Berwick, wrote, “May the Lord Crown the meeting with the greatest success,” and under it the Rev. M. P . Crosthwaite added, ” Amen! and Amen !” The Rev. Samuel Blair, of Altoona, was present, and again his comment was, “It is good to be here.”
The Lord did indeed bless Patterson Grove this year . In spite of everything, there was good attendance, and the sermons preached by both the Rev. R. E. Wilson and the Rev. G. V. Savage were pronounced impressive. Crosthwaite preached, as was his custom, and “His sermon showed that though age was creeping over the physical man the inner man was strong and vigorous.” There were 14 record conversions, and it was mid- night before the March to Zion and the handshaking were finished. Financially they had not fared so well, and the trustees were glad to accept the offer of a loan of $300 from Mrs. Sarah M. Laubach.
On April 29, 1895, with the Rev. Jonathan R. Shipe on the Charge, it was decided to extend the auditorium 32 feet and to layout lots for stables on the west side of the west creek, to be sold at one dollar each. May 4 was designated as a day to set out trees. June 1 was clean..up day, and a number of people turned out to work on the creek, to help move a cottage that had been built in the wrong place, and to tidy up generally. ( Although most people built cottages on their lots, there were a few canvas tents in use; for example, “The lot of Mrs. Simpson transferred to Mr. Shaw by her paying $1.00 and occupying the same with a canvass tent during the coming meeting.”) It was reported during this work day that George C. Hugg, of Philadelphia, would “come and do the singing during the coming meeting providing his fare would be paid and his wife’s and he be boarded and a room furnished and that his books be used while singing except the preaching service.”
During camp meeting in 1895-it lasted from August 13 to 22-books were sold at the commissary; the new soda fountain gained great popularity; Shed Harrison received a dollar a day to light the lights; Ira W. Wolfinger and John Lanning were hired for a dollar a day as police; the Rev. Mr. Shipe made arrangements for a post office (usually the man who sold the books took care of the post office); and Cornelius Hagenbach was paid $7 for fixing the gate and watering the trees. Hal A. Kemp, of Benton, served as the photographer on the grounds this year and each year thereafter for 18 years or more.
When camp meeting began, the Rev. Samuel Blair, of Altoona, wrote in the register, “This is a good place to be. Am believing for great things on this Camp Ground.” The Rev. E. M. Chilcoat, of Rhorsburg, wrote, “I am here to work to bring souls to Jesus.” The Presiding Elder, E. H. Yocum, was among the regular at tenders at Patterson Grove. Other ministers and local preachers who were active in the spiritual affairs at the Campground in this and other years were J. C. Bickel, John Horning, W. R. Owens, G. M. Larned, G. V. Savage, Seth A. Creveling, of Town Hill, D. K. Laubach, of Fairmount Springs, W. W. Culver, of Maple Run (Mossville), and Silas Ide, of Lake Township. In all, 26 ministers are listed as attending this year .
In 1895 a new feature of the camp-meeting program was Epworth Day, the Epworth League being the Methodist organization for young people, similar to today’s Methodist Youth Fellowship. Epworth Day became a regular part of camp meeting at Patterson Grove for a number of years. Sometimes the young people con- ducted the day’s services themselves-doing so very creditably.
The Rev. Samuel Blair preached not only at the Tabernacle, but also at several services in which he and Mr. Shipe and others addressed large crowds at the up- per end of the grounds. Mr. Blair was an experienced evangelist by now, and his preaching brought penitents to the altar. There were 15 conversions, and the secretary wrote on August 22: “The conversions was not as many as desired but the revival influence was such that it will be like the bread cast upon the waters.”
Although there was no formal organization among the cottage-holders until some forty years later, it appears from the following item in the minutes of the trustees’ meeting on August 22, 1895, that they were even then working together among themselves for the good of the Campground:
The tent holders desired to dig a well and put a pump in it, the well to be dug on the other side of the creek and not to interfere with the well at the boarding house Ordered well to be dug and that they do it at their own expense and put the pump in too at their own expense.
Camp meeting in 1896 began on August 11 and closed on .August 20, with 25 ministers attending. The trustees this year raised the prices of meals at the boarding-house, charging 25 cents for breakfast, 40 cents for dinner, and 25 cents for supper. Boarders by the day for the camp-meeting term paid $1 in the older part of the boarding-house, or $1.25 in the newer part, where the beds had springs. Ministers, their wives, and other members of their families received free bed and board. Daily wages ranged from $2.50 to C.I. Bisher for running the boarding-house, to $1 to the chief cook and to the chief attendant at the ice-cream stand, to 75 cents to the attendant’s helper, to 25 cents to the women who served ice cream in the commissary .
The 1896 camp meeting was the first one at Patterson Grove to be attended by a bishop. After the Saturday- morning preaching service by the Rev. J. M. Buckley, the 79-year-old Bishop Thomas Bowman “closed with some very pertinent remarks,” followed by prayer. On Sunday the Bishop preached the 10: 30 a.m. sermon, using Matthew 13: 45-46 as his text; and on Monday he addressed the children’s service. (These children’s services were planned for the youngsters, were frequently illustrated by the blackboard and other methods, but were always well attended by adults; sometimes there were as many adults present as children.) On Tuesday, according to the customary schedule, the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered to 213 communicants of whom 25 were preachers. On Thursday Presiding Elder E. H. Yocum preached. He was usually active in Campground business and programs and attended a number of trustees’ meetings.
Like Epworth Day, the Missionary Day was a part of the camp-meeting program at Patterson Grove. On Au- gust 12, 1896, Mrs. Buck, of the Ladies’ Foreign Mission stationed in India, addressed the meeting.
Camp meeting in 1897 ran from August 24 to September 2, with at least 17 ministers present and an exceptionally large attendance.
On Thursday, August 26, which was Missionary Day, “Sister Swartz of Mt. Carmel a Deaconess gave an account of her work”; and later in the day “Mrs. Green a returned Missionary from Japan gave an account of her work there after which a collection was taken for the Women’s Foreign Missionary.”
On Sunday morning, August 29, Presiding Elder Yocum was scheduled to preach, and people began coming to the Tabernacle nearly an hour early in order to have a seat to hear him. The secretary commented that it was one of his best sermons ever. The secretary went on to describe this day as “one of the. ..largest gatherings ever held on the ground various estimates from 8 to 15000 people from far and near every available place was tied full of horses even up’ to the big road to and beyond the bridge and even in Wyant’s field.” The Rev. George E. King, of Milesburg, Pa., expressed the- feelings of many when he wrote in the register , “This is my spiritual birth place, a hallowed spot.”
On August 30 the Rev. M. P. Crosthwaite preached “one of his old time sermons,” which was well received and which brought one person to the altar. This was his last year at Patterson Grove. He had been instrumental in getting the camp meetings started at the Grove and had helped in its spiritual growth through the years.
Camp meeting in 1898 began on Tuesday, August 16, and ended on Thursday, August 25. Although 14 ministers signed the register, others were present and participated in the services. On Sunday, August 21, the Rev. John C. Grimes preached at 3 p.m. to a large congregation, while three other ministers addressed the overflow crowd. According to a count made that day at the gate, 1,201 vehicles (not counting bicycles) and 11,320 persons came on the grounds, and it was estimated an additional 1,000 persons were already staying on the grounds.
At a special service on Monday at 3 p.m., D. K. Laubach and S. D. Taylor read memorials on the following persons, who had died since the preceding camp meeting: Lemon Boston, Dianna Harvey, Benjamin Harvey, Julia Stevens, Vidalia Park, J. C. Pennington, Dennis Wiant, Philip Fritz, and the Rev. M. P. Crosthwaite.
At the close of the 1898 camp meeting the secretary wrote: “we had a good meeting 3 converts the feeling was good the preaching good weather pleasant but some very hot.”
In 1899, camp meeting opened on Tuesday, August 15, and closed on Thursday, August 24. Although only seven ministers signed the register, a number of others were present and took part in the services. On Friday, the 18th, a Mrs. Jenkins, of Philadelphia, told of her experiences in India, Japan, and the Holy Land.
This year a band concert of sacred music on Sunday afternoon provided a variation in the services. A major change in the program had taken place gradually, first by the advancing of the time and finally by the dropping altogether of the 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. prayer and family- worship services. For several years the earliest meeting was the 8: 30 prayer meeting, but it, too, was finally dropped. In later years the 7 a.m. prayer meeting was restored.
The Rev. Samuel Blair, of Altoona, who was present again in 1899, wrote, “This Camp Meeting has been helpful to me. God has been with us.” Nevertheless, the only conversions recorded during the ten days were the three or four who came forward seeking council after hearing Mr. Blair.
Hal A. Kemp, of Benton, had had the privilege of operating the photograph gallery on a year-to-year basis since 1895. On May 26, 1900, the trustees voted to grant him the “use of the ground, to erect a suitable building for a Photo gallery, for five years at a rental of ten dollars a year.” The agreement was renewed in 1905 for another five years; and in 1912 they voted to charge him $5 for the privilege if the weather turned out as bad as in 1911. Some of Kemp’s views of the Camp- ground are reproduced in this book.
Reports from the Grove just before camp meeting in 1900 mentioned “a great demand for cottages” and stated that the “grounds look better than ever before,” with the “young trees growing very rapidly.” On Saturday, August 4, a picnic and festival featured a baseball game and a “balloon ascension,” with the proceeds donated for the benefit of the grounds. George Yaple, “the old stager,” proposed to “meet all trains at Shickshinny with comfortable conveyance for all who wish to attend the Patterson Grove camp meeting.”
Camp meeting began on Tuesday, August 14, 1900, and continued for ten days, closing on Thursday, the 23d. Wednesday, the 15th, which was Epworth League Day, commenced with a poorly attended prayer meeting at 8: 30 a.m. ; and the 3 p.m. Epworth League service was described as “poor” ; but preaching during the day was “excellent.”
Sunday was described as “a glorious day and a great crowd of people was in attendance, many driving in from as far as Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, Lake, Lehman, Shickshinny, Benton, Berwick and Columbia County. Hundreds on bicycles.”
At the last service on the last day, someone announced that there had been 70 converts during the camp meeting. After the meeting, ”as the people pre- pared to return to their cottages and homes a balloon of considerable size was sent up bearing various cheering messages from the meeting–0ne from Dr. Edwards saying the debt on the grounds had been liquidated. The balloon, red, white and blue sailed slowly up and off toward the North Mountain.”
The Dr. Edwards just mentioned was I. L. Edwards, M .D., of Benton, then a member and secretary of the Board of Trustees. A grandson, Dr. Charles W. Potter, of Weatherly, Pa., currently owns and uses Dr. Ed- ward’s cottage.
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY
The trustees in May and June 1901 discussed building an addition to the boarding-house to serve as a reception or sitting room and to provide additional bedrooms. They agreed on June 14, however, to build instead on the north end of the ice-cream room an extension measuring 16 by 28 feet. They made plans, also, for a celebration on the Fourth of July, with two speakers from Wilkes-Barre and luncheon served at the boarding- house.
By the first week in August eight families were on the grounds. On Saturday, the 1Oth, the Huntington Valley veterans held their reunion at the Grove. On Sunday, the 11th, the Rev. W. W. Rothrock, minister on the Charge, preached at the Grove at 10 a.m. and 3 and 8 p.m.
Camp meeting commenced on Tuesday, August 13, and closed on Thursday, August 22. Wednesday was Temperance Day; Thursday, Missionary Day; Friday, Epworth League Day; Saturday, Pentecostal Day; and Monday. Old Folks’ Day.
Besides the new reception or sitting room, the trustees had made various other improvements since the preceding year, including a new, wide footbridge between the cottage area and the boarding-house. Describing the Grove during camp meeting this year as beautiful and well attended, a writer in the Wilkes-Barre Record went on as follows :
The one hundred or more neatly painted cottages standing in regular order about a shady, flowery court, in which is the auditorium, forms a pleasing picture. The trustees deserve credit for the improvements made this season. The new boarding hall with porches, sitting rooms and neat sleeping rooms, and the removed and remodeled commissary department, barber shop, meat market and the good, wide bridge over the west branch of Kitchen’s Creek, all add much to the appearance of the place.
George Yaple of Cambra, the mail carrier, has a fine, new, four-seated hack, whim recently carried eight passengers safely and dry through a heavy shower to the grove.
The ladies in charge of furnishing the boarding hall are pleased with their recent purchases of silver, table linen, carpets, bed springs, etc.
Music this year included choir, organ, piano, and cornet. During the “March to Zion” on the last evening, Dennis Dohl, the blind musician, sang “The Model Church”, accompanying himself on the organ.
Frequently during the summer months throughout the history of Patterson Grove the trustees gave permission to other groups or persons to use the grounds. Be- fore Camp meeting in 1882 the Campground was rented for pasture to Seward and Wiant for $10. The grounds were made available for family reunions, Sunday-school picnics, G.A.R. and Odd Fellows’ meetings, and re- unions of Civil War veterans. (The veterans’ reunions were not simply gatherings of men for talk. They had well-known speakers, and bands sometimes, although they favored their own drum corps, which led the way a” they marched to the Circle to hear the speakers. Dinner was served at the boarding-hall, and everybody was invited to “come and spend the day with the veterans.”) At least one day was held for the “Old Soldiers of the Cross.” In May 1920 the Benton Boy Scouts had the use of the boarding-hall and the grounds for a week-end; and in 1946 the Shickshinny Girl Scouts rented it for $2.50 a day. In 1944 the Trucksville High School football team was allowed to board for one week at the close of camp meeting for $13. In 1937 and again in 1938 the Huntington Mills High School held commencement exercises at Patterson Grove.
Fourth-of- July celebrations were customary and elaborate, with speeches by prominent men and entertainment by bands from neighboring towns. Stands were ,set up, and the grounds were crowded with patriotic celebrants. The proceeds from these activities went to the trustees, to be used for a variety of purposes. After the cyclone of 1893 the next July- Fourth-celebration proceeds were used for the benefit of the Harveyville parsonage, which had been destroyed by the storm.
Beginning in 1916 and continuing for many years was a two-day picnic with bands, stands, handiwork exhibits, and displays of farm machinery and home appliances (including barrel chums) , and in later years displays of Maxwells, Reos, and Fords. This was the Tri-County Encampment, sometimes called the Grange Encampment, the largest gathering of farmers in North- eastern Pennsylvania. Prizes were awarded “for competitive stunts such as the tallest man, girl with the prettiest red hair, man and wife with largest family, family coming the longest distance, couple married the longest, couple married the shortest time, woman 18 years or over with the shortest foot, tallest woman, man with the longest whiskers, oldest automobile, auto with the smallest license number and the heaviest man.” Dramas were staged by different Grange organizations in competition with one another. Horseshoe-pitching contests were held, with the winner going to the State contest at Harrisburg. Speakers included Gov. Pinchot and Will Rogers, and much serious business was conducted these two days. The Harveyville ministers and the Campground trustees were responsible for many of the arrangements for the bands, stands, etc., while the Grange was usually responsible for engaging speakers. After the Grange picnics ceased, the Future Farmers of America sponsored similar picnics with tractor-driving contests and dairy-judging shows.
Lighting the camp ground was accomplished by various means. In the early days “illumination consisted of rectangular boxes supported on posts and filled with dirt; pitch pine was burned in them to give light around the grounds. Pine torches made much smoke. There were lights with large reflectors in the back of the preachers’ stand, and oil lamps on brackets were fastened to the posts of the auditorium.” In August 1902 C. I. Bisher was directed to purchase a dozen gasoline lamps; and in August 1903 Dr. I. L. Edwards was “authorized to secure three gasoline lamps like those used in the Borough of Benton.” These lamps may have been the first departure from torches for lighting the grounds-although kerosene torches fixed on wooden brackets nailed to the trees were still used in the early 1920’s. In later years the Coursen Hardware Go., of Pittston, demonstrated Delco lighting plants during’ the Tri-County Encampment and lighted the grounds and Tabernacle for camp meeting. In 1926 the Coursen firm also demonstrated the Westinghouse system. The Board of Trustees at a special meeting in July 1928 discussed with representatives of the Luzerne Gas and Electric Corporation the lighting of the Campground. Later they voted to give Bill Johnson authority to wire the grounds and boarding-house, with the help of Levi Sutliff. Sutliff and Jesse E. Wolfe were to purchase all fixtures. The lights were turned on before camp meeting. Before meters were installed at each cottage in 1932, everyone paid the same amount, but all electrical appliances were prohibited.
The Farmers’ Telephone Company put a telephone in the boarding-hall for camp meeting in 1904.
For many years there was an icehouse at Patterson Grove. It was sometimes filled by volunteers who met on the appointed days and cut the ice off Ernest Koons’ (now Stanley Ftorkowski’s) pond at Harveyville. (They may have gotten ice from other ponds, too.) Some years a man was hired to fill the icehouse; in 1911 D. W, Rood cut the ice for $5.50; and Ord Dohl filled the house in 1929 for $30. The ice was sold to the cottage1″5 for 50 cents a hundred pounds, and the person in charge of the ice-cream parlor had use of ice from this house for his freezers. After Mr. Nagle bought the icehouse in 1936 for $10, Layton Gearhart sold ice as well as milk at the Campground.
Piano-tuners have been few in number at Patterson Grove. Dennis Boston and Oscar Whitesell, both blind, were two. Whitesell tuned the Campground piano every year from 1945 for about 20 years. Ray McHenry was another who tuned them.
In 1903 additions and improvements were made to the boarding-house by Addison Nicholson, who did a great deal of carpentry work at the Campground. II was he who put the backs on the seats in the auditorium in 1914.
Another shop was added to the “Campground village” about 1906, when George B. Appleman received permission to sell buggies and harness on the grounds during camp meeting.
In May 1910 the Board of Trustees began to make plans for the August camp meeting, although no minister had yet been assigned to the Harveyville Charge. By July, however, the Rev. J. P. Hurlburt was appointed minister on the Charge, and he took over the preparations. Camp meeting opened on Tuesday, August 23, 1910, and lasted ten days. There was good order in spite of the large crowds. “Good preaching and attentive listeners were the order of the day .”
FROM HORSE-AND-BUGGY TO AUTOMOBILE
Glenn Lewis Baer, of Philadelphia, recalls that during camp meetings about 1908-1910 his father, Lewis Dana Baer, of Town Line, drove a four-seated hack or stage from the D.L.& W. Railroad station in Shickshinny to Patterson Grove each morning and made the return trip to the station each afternoon.
In 1910 George Yaple used his first motor-driven stage on the trip from Shickshinny to Patterson Grove. “He bought a chassis, as complete busses were not on the market in 1910, and had Peter Grover, blacksmith, mount a second-hand horse-drawn hack body on the motor chassis. The chassis cost Mr. Yaple $1,500 and some extra for the body but he stated he cleaned up the entire cost and some more the first year he operated the ‘new’ bus. He made it by having four Sundays of camp- meetings, both Patterson Grove and Huntington Valley. ..Mr. Yaple said he never made so much money in all his former horse-drawn vehicle days. Every body wanted to go to camp meeting in his auto stage. ..”
The 1911 “Patterson Grove Campmeeting Programme” listed a variety of services. Besides the preaching and prayer meetings, there were two missionary addresses, a temperance service, the Communion service, and an Old Folks’ Day. The services on the latter day were conducted by the Rev. John Horning.
On August 7, 1914, the boarding-hall was struck by lightning and burned. Everything had to be replaced. The trustees immediately decided to try to rebuild be- fore camp meeting and to get a big Army tent for the dining-room if the new dining-room could not be finished in time. William R. Wiant was authorized to get the tent, cots, blankets, stove, etc., and Jonathan P . Laubach (son of the Rev. D. K. Laubach) , was authorized to get 5,000 ice-cream dishes. E. B. Koons made a stand to put in each room, and he also made tables. On August 25 the Wilkes-Barre Record reported:
R. T. Smith and son of Benton undertook to rebuild the structure in time for the meeting and already the building, about 30 by 120 feet, two stories high, has been so pushed along that kitchen, dining room and ice cream parlor and about a score of bed rooms are now ready for business. The material and workmanship look good. The building committee is composed of J. P. Laubach, William Wiant and Andrew Blaine. …Boyd Gibson, head carpenter.
The bill for the new building was $2,258.12. Having been given permission by the Quarterly Conference of the Harveyville Charge, the trustees mortgaged Patter- son Grove for $2,000, the amount needed to payoff the debt. To help raise money, the timber below the boarding-hall was sold to Pennington & Miexel for $200. For several seasons the profits from the shops on the Campground were applied to the mortgage, which William R. Wiant held from October 1914 to September 1921.
During these years camp meeting continued to under-go change. In 1915 the trustees for the first time employed an evangelist for camp meeting. This evangelist was the Rev. B. F. Campbell, of Weatherly, Pa., who wrote in the Record Book, “The world is my parish.” Thenceforth an evangelist was a regular feature of camp meeting at Patterson Grove; only once thereafter-in 1936-did the trustees revert to the original practice of using some 20 or more ministers instead.
The year 1916 brought a team of evangelists. “The Sunshine Evangelists,” of Binghamton, N .Y ., were a group composed of the Rev. Charles H. Harrington, the evangelist; his wife; Prof. and Mrs. William S. Dixon, song leader and pianist; and their soloist and business manager, E. C. Rise. Harrington preached twice each day and three times on Sunday. As was the custom, over- flow services were held near the footbridge to accommodate the throngs of people who could not get near the Tabernacle.
One of the most popular children’s leaders ever at Patterson Grove was the Rev. David Y. Brouse, who was in charge of the children’s hour in 1916 for the ninth consecutive year. Between the years 1908 and 1929 he conducted most of the children’s services and was known to everyone as “the children’s evangelist.” His chalk sketches and mottoes were direct, appealing, and clever, and his services were well attended by appreciative adults and fascinated children. In 1916 he led 14 children to Christ at one service. At the young people’s service 50 youth dedicated their lives to Christ, and about 200 were converted under Harrington’s preaching.
Thursday, August 24, 1916, was Homer Rodeheaver Day, and more than 10,000 turned out to hear this soloist who had been closely associated with Evangelist Billy Sunday. Friday was Odd Fellows’ Day; Saturday was Millville Day, and the McHenry Toy Symphony performed; and the following Tuesday was Benton Day. The Shickshinny Band gave two concerts, leading the large congregation in favorite camp-meeting songs.
This was the year the Rev. James A. Turner’s baby son was christened at the Tabernacle. A number of ministers were present, and when the name was given, one of them added “Patterson” for the surprised Turners. The little baby with the long name was Harold Edwin Patterson Turner .
In 1917 the Rev. Mr. Harrington was again the evangelist; the Rev. Mr. Turner, of the Harveyville Charge, conducted a Bible study; and I. H. Mack Day was held. Mack brought with him Adam Geibel, a blind musician who was well known for his singing and for the numerous hymns he had written, including the music for “Some Day He’ll Make It Plain.”
In 1918 camp meeting began on August 20 and continued for ten days. This year the trustees engaged a team of evangelists whom Secretary J. P. Laubach names in the Record Book as the “Rine Brothers.” From the press it appears that they were the Rev. Frank Rines and the Rev. A. B. Rines (also spelled Rhines and Rimes), of Baltimore. On camp-meeting Sunday, August 25, each preached at two services, one of which was an overflow gathering. The Friday service this year was a temperance rally. The Town Hill W.C.T.U., numbering about 160, “probably the largest circuit W.C.T.U. in Methodism,” was present. The land that had been bought from Downing’s was in 1919 exchanged for a piece of land owned by David Wiant.
The land obtained from Downing’s was on the cast side of the creek and was given for Wiant’s land on the west bank of the creek on the north of the Camp- ground.
There were several changes in 1920. A hot-water boiler was installed in the boarding-house kitchen by way of physical change; but the major changes were in the services. The first meeting in the morning was at 9-devotions; at 10 was “Sunday School Methods and Demonstrations”; at 11, “Rural Church and Demonstrations”; at 2, children’s hour; at 3, preaching; at 7:30, song service; and at 8, sermon. As in some previous years, the musical director was Prof. Watkins Davis, of Philadelphia. The evening service on Friday was long. It began at 7 with song service; at 7:45 the Rev. E. C. Keboch showed slides; at 8 a woman spoke on missions; and at 8: 30 the evangelistic sermon was preached.
On May 9, 1921, the Huntington Valley Campground, which was Patterson Grove’s nearest rival, was totally destroyed by fire, with a loss estimated. at $60,000.
Before camp meeting opened in 1921, the Rev. T. R. Gibson began a trustees’ meeting with prayer, as usual, and then proceeded to give “a short address impressing upon our minds that this ground is the Lords place and we should try to make it such.”
The arrangement of services for the previous year apparently was not satisfactory, for 1921 brought revisions. The new schedule was similar to that of earlier years. The bell rang at 6: 45 a.m. for prayer service ; at 9:30 for prayer and praise; at 10:30 for preaching by various ministers; at 1:30 p.m. for children’s services ; at 2:30 for Sunday school the first week and missionary meetings the second week; at 7 for song service; and at 7:30 for the evangelistic services. The evangelist in 1921 was the Rev. A. C. Shue, of Williamsport, who came to camp meeting at Patterson Grove this year for the first time. On Monday night of Missionary Week a missionary pageant was presented under the direction of Mrs. J. E. A. Bucke, wife of the District Superintendent, and their daughter Elizabeth.
For many years on Sunday a silver offering was taken at the gate instead of at the service. Some years it was a set amount (ten cents) , some years not. On camp- meeting Sunday in 1921, “The number of autos and other vehicles parked inside the grounds were 1700 and allowing for about 300 more outside there was probably 2000 machines at the camp.” With this large attendance the Sunday gate receipt totaled $586.16, although women and children were not charged and many people entered the grounds at other places to avoid paying. The profits at the boarding-hall totaled $1,024.93.
In 1922 a baby girl was born at Patterson Grove. “Tuesday, Aug. 8th, a daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Francis Reed of Fairmount Springs. Father, mother and daughter are doing nicely. This is the first time in the history of P .G.C.G. of the stork visiting this grove, but the angel of death has appeared four times to our knowledge and carried away the following [Jesse YocumJ, Dr. Peter Boston’s father, Mrs. George Case and a small boy George of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Rood. We hope this little girl will be a child proud of the distinction of her birth place.” The baby was named Beatrice.
According to the Mountain Echo, 1922 saw a drumming at the Campground. “Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood Burr of Berwick, sneaked on the campground Saturday night but their many noisy friends took them unawares and gave them an old-fashioned serenade. They produced the candy and cigars.”
The boundary of the Campground was changed a bit again in 1922. According to the minutes of the trustees’ meeting on August 18, 1922, Jonathan P. Laubach “presented proposition of David Wiant that we secure a piece of ground in the rear of Commissary to place road there same to take in the large pine tree now standing in Wiants field for the sum of Fifty Dollars Wiant to pay expenses of surveying etc.” Wiant accepted the proposition.
This year the very successful summer Sunday school was organized, with Mr. Lyman Pedrick, of Fairmount Springs, as its first superintendent. Many capable people have taken part in these summer sessions, including Charles Dohl, who served for many years.
Although many changes came to Patterson Grove, one thing seemed constant. Nearly every year there was the same complaint: ” A heavy fog of dust overhung the roads in every direction.” The only times without comment on the dust were those of near cloudbursts. The condition was aggravated by heavy traffic on camp- meeting Sundays. In 1923 9,000 tickets were sold at the gate-although many cars were parked outside the grounds and, many others were already on the grounds when ticket-selling started.
It was in 1924 that one first heard of doing away with the footbridge or “boardwalk.” Years earlier the original boardwalk had led “from the footbridge across the field to the Wiants’ candy shop; it was of two parallel planks, with a space between, so two people could walk abreast. Young people were fond of walking along it; Wiants’ shop was very popular .” After this boardwalk was gone, people sometimes referred to the footbridge as the “boardwalk.”
On April 26, 1924, a motion was made by J. P. Laubach and seconded by Andrew M. Blane that “the Ground committee be authorized to do away with old board walk and place a gravel walk above the present site.” The old boardwalk required a lot of upkeep, and, although people liked it, the trustees had come to consider it a headache. It bridged the creek (and the creek bed after the course of the stream had been changed) between the main part of the grounds and the boarding-hall, and during camp meeting it was inadequate to accommodate the throngs. The bridge was divided down the center, and everyone kept to the right. Once on the bridge, one had to go with the crowd at the pace the crowd set-the bridge was too packed with people to allow anyone to set his own pace. Old friends meeting on the bridge called back and forth their greetings, and one would wait at his end of the bridge while his friend finished crossing and then recrossed to renew the conversation. It did seem practical to put in a wide gravel walk that would accommodate the crowds and never worry the trustees about not being sturdy enough for all the strain of ten days’ traffic. But people are not always practical, and the picturesque bridge under the large, friendly trees held pleasant memories for everyone. Old and young alike found pleasure in strolling its length when it was not so crowded, and small boys sometimes noted fish in the clear, cold water underneath. Perhaps protests reached the trustees when word got around about their plans. At any rate, at their June 30, 1924, meeting, on motion by J. R. Hoyt seconded by Laubach, “we reconsider laying of gravel Walk and instead build a board walk.” The cost of the new “bridge” (as it is called at this point in the Record Book) was $238.42 To most people it was worth it, even though the trustees had to give up plans to erect a rope fence out front.
The Rev. J. E. A. Bucke, District Superintendent at Sunbury, attended the trustees’ meetings regularly and took an active part in Campground affairs in this period. In 1925 he was made general manager of the Campground; he and the Rev. J. A. Herritt, the minister on the Charge, “were duly elected as managers of Services” ; and he was invited to come with his family to spend the ten days, all expenses paid. During camp meeting he directed a Bible drama which took the place of the missionary pageant usually presented by Mrs. Bucke and Elizabeth. .
In 1924 an item in the Mountain Echo mentioned that many services were available at the Campground during- camp meeting, provided by the commissary, the barber shop, and the ice-cream parlor, and that fresh meat and vegetables could be purchased daily. This appears to have been the case for years previously. For a number of years the aforementioned barber shop was operated by W. J. Shrader, of Berwick.
In 1925 the Rev. Omar B. Poulson, of Huntingdon, Pa., was for the third consecutive season in charge of the evangelistic services, and again Miss Bucke took charge of the children’s services. The Benton Male Chorus and the ladies’ Sterling Quartette, of Berwick, both popular groups which appeared at the camp- ground many times, contributed greatly to the song services.
Rain was heavy during camp meeting in 1926, and the creek overflowed its banks, but services went on according to schedule. The evangelist for 1926, the Rev. R. L. Moyer, professor of Bible school at North-western Training School, had charge of the evening services and also the Bible-study hour each day at 10 a.m. As had been the custom for several years, the bell rang at 7 a.m. to call the people to prayer. The after- noon preaching was done by a different minister each day, with the Rev. W. Lynn Crowding bringing the Wednesday message. Will Rogers addressed a crowded auditorium during the Tri-County Picnic this year .
1927 marked the beginning of the practice of having two Sundays of camp meeting. The evangelist was the Rev. Dr. Dorsey N. Miller, of Fifth Street Methodist Church, Harrisburg; and the song leader was William McEwan, a Scottish tenor who had traveled around the world with Gypsy Smith, the evangelist.
Before camp meeting began in 1928, the seats in the auditorium had to be fixed. It was decided to take the middle row of seats out, “dig trenches and put three rows of concrete in on which to build the seats.” The entire section was rebuilt, and the rest repaired, to be rebuilt later. When camp meeting started, there was much favorable talk about the new, more comfortable seats.
Sunday, August 19, 1928, “was a beautiful day and family picnics and reunions were held on the grass all over the spacious grounds. The stand across the creek was open for business and a continuous procession of youngsters crossed the narrow foot bridge for ice cream and paraffin whistles while we older folks sat on the benches in the shade and talked of the good old days when we caught trout where the present board walk goes over to the boarding house and commissary .” The writer went on reminiscing: “Adjoining corn fields were trespassed on by the bad boys for roasting ears of corn. One small boy’s daddy gave him a whole quarter to spend and he with a chum invested in a whole slab of ginger bread at the commissary and they ate it near the ford over the creek and two sick boys crept to bed in the tent without their supper.” The need to ford the creek had been eliminated years before 1928, when the course of Kitchen’s Creek was changed.
The evangelist this year was the Rev. J. A. Cox, and the Rev. Mr. Poulson preached and sang. There were a number of conversions, and on the last Sunday several persons were baptized, some by sprinkling and some by immersion.
The evangelist in 1929 ,vas the Rev. Dr. David Y. Brouse. Well known and especially appreciated for his services for the children, he conducted at least one service for them this year. “The meetings were crowded to the limit and an overflowing meeting was held in the plaza in front of the J. W. Henry cottage to an audience that almost filled the triangular space.” The whole camp meeting was termed a great success, both spiritually and financially, and a “great revival was experienced.”
In July 1930 a hailstorm caused much damage at Patterson Grove and over the surrounding countryside. Most of the cottage roofs were cut, and the heavy rains poured inside. Many reported that their roofs “leaked almost like sieves.” The darkness caused by the storm clouds was broken by repeated sharp lightning, which added to the “sinister aspect of the situation.”
The Rev. Dr. Harry Daniels, of Shickshinny, was the evangelist for 1930 and 1931. The attendance was large; nearly every cottage was occupied; and some people were camping in tents.
In 1931 an elaborate program was planned for the children and youth. All sorts of supervised recreational hours and a variety of worship services, including a Communion service for the young people, were scheduled. At the Sunday-evening service the youth presented a pageant entitled “The Challenge of the Cross.” ” At the conclusion of the pageant Rev. Mr. Young gave a call for young folks who were willing and ready to consecrate their Jives to Christ, sixty-six young persons went forward to answer the call.” The Rev. W. M. Young, of Williamsport, the youth leader, was a capable and well-liked person, and he returned to work with the young people for several seasons.
An improvement that pleased many in 1931 was the piping of water to all parts of the grounds, eliminating the drudgery of pumping by hand and carrying buckets. For a small rental fee cottagers could pipe the water in- to their cottages by connecting to the main line and placing a shut-off at the connection. Cottage-owners desiring “inside toilets in their cottages” were required to obtain the permission of the State Board of Health before building them. This year, too, the trustees purchased six rocking chairs for the boarding-hall. One other change was the increase in the initial charge for acquiring a lot from $1 to $5.
THE LADIES.. AUXILIARY AND THE FOUNDING OF THE COTTAGE-HOLDER ASSOCIATION
Although Campground records show that from early days the cottage-holders on occasion assumed responsibilities and financial obligations for certain specific items of upkeep or improvements of the Grove, the Cottage- Holders’ Association dates only from the 1930’s. In a sense at least, it originated with the women of the Camp- ground. In August 1931 they organized a Ladies’ Auxiliary, with 46 charter members, and they invited others to join them. On July 8, 1932, the Auxiliary met with the Board of Trustees “for a discussion on ground improvements,” and they agreed to take on certain responsibilities. To raise money, on the afternoon of July 15 they gave “a ten cent tea with 40 members and friends present” ; on the following Saturday they held a festival that was successful “both socially and financially” ; and with the proceeds they bought paint and had the auditorium painted. On August 8 the trustees granted the Auxiliary a popcorn concession, the proceeds from which were to be used “for ground improvements” ; and at the same time they gave “the ladies of the ground a vote of thanks for improvements.”
On Monday, August 15, 1932, the Ladies’ Auxiliary, at their last business meeting of the year, elected officers : Mrs. Theo Stoker, president; Mrs. William Pritchard, first vice president; Mrs. William Kitchen, second vice president; Mrs. Lloyd Hart, third vice president; Mrs. Margaret Wolfe, secretary; Mrs. Conner, assistant secretary; Mrs. Daisy Bailey, treasurer; and Mrs. Grace Hazlett, assistant treasurer .
At this point there is evidence of an attempt – probably inspired by the women’s example-to form a cottage-holders’ organization. The minutes of the trustees’ meeting at the Grove on August 18, 1932, include this statement: “The Cottage holders met in a body & organized to form a financial Assistance organization to Cooperate With the official board in improving the grounds & road.” Nothing, however, seems to have come of this attempt. During the next four years the Ladies’ Auxiliary continued to carry out its purposes; and a few of the men individually solicited funds from the cottagers from time to time for projects beneficial to the grounds.
A second attempt at organization succeeded. The Cottage-Holders’ Association came into existence on July 21, 1936, when a general meeting at the Grove elected John J. Thomas president, Kirtland W. Fine secretary , and Thomas Search treasurer. These officers served until 1938, when Jesse E. Wolfe was elected president, Charles H. Remensnyder vice president, and Fine and Search were reelected to their former offices
The trustees’ Record Book notes joint meetings of the Board of Trustees and the cottage-holders on August 13, 1938, and August 16, 1939. Earliest mention of the Association by name in the Record Book is in minutes of September 8, 1939, recording receipt of $65.50 “from Cottage Owners’ Association for year 1939.” The purpose of the Association is thus stated in the camp-meeting programs of 1949 and 1952: “to assist the Board of Trustees in maintaining proper physical conditions throughout the grounds.”
Besides the first two, already mentioned, the Presidents of the Cottage-Holders’ Association, so far as now known, together with their approximate dates of service, have been the following:
Mrs. Elizabeth Van Fossen (1945-1946), John J. Thomas (1948-1949), Willis C. Ransom (1949-1952), Edward L. Hockenberry (1953-1954), Harold L. Border (1954-1955), Kenneth M. Houck (1955-1957), Edward L. Hockenberry ( 1957-1958) , Harold L. Border (1958-1959) , Sheldon W. Strunk (1959-1962), Robert Vivian (1962-1965) , Harold S. Johnson (1965-1967) , and Doyle E. Vost (1967-1968).
THE 1930’s and 1940’s
For several years attendance had been declining gradually, and the first Sunday of camp meeting in 1932 had only 4,000 people present. The 7 a.m. prayer call had been missing from the day’s services for several years, and in 1932 the 9:30 praise service was also dropped. It was replaced by a recreation period which closed in time for the 10 o’clock Bible study, conducted by the song leader, the Rev. Webster Mosholder . Preaching was still described as powerful, and there were 31 “confessions for Christ” during the ten days. The evangelist was the Rev. A. S. Williams, of Williamsport. The Rev. Dr. A. C. Shue, now District Superintendent at Sunbury, preached twice on the first Sunday of camp meeting.
Camp meeting in 1933 opened on Saturday, August 19, with a soldier’s memorial service. It had been customary to have the veterans’ reunion on the opening day of camp meeting, the veterans attending en masse. Be- cause so few were left, there had been talk of abandoning the meetings, and by 1933 the numbers had dwindled to the point where a memorial service seemed more appropriate. The Sons-of -Veterans Drum Corps was there for the service, which was a prelude to the official opening of camp meeting that evening.
Again Miss Gladys M. Wenner, of Berwick, was the camp-meeting pianist, and this year she was joined by Mrs. Edna Rittenhouse, of Pleasant Valley, who had been pianist in 1913 and 1914. In 1914 Mrs. Rittenhouse (then Miss Nicholson) had been obliged to furnish her own piano.
Fortunately, all the roads leading to the Campground were paved before the 1933 season began, because a four-day steady downpour caused flooding everywhere. This was the tai1-end of a hurricane that had been destructive along the Atlantic coast. It caused the creek to revert to its former course, where “the water at one time was up to the floor of the wooden bridge that leads to the boarding hall.” Many cottages were surrounded by water, and some had water on the floors. People in tents fled hurriedly, and some “Shickshinny boys occupying a canvas tent lost all their supplies.” Less than a month later Patterson Grove again flooded, the road washed out, and water flowed through many cottages.
The grounds may have been a mess during camp meeting, but that did not stop 5,000 people from coming for the last Sunday. The Rev. A. C. Shue, the District Superintendent, who had been the evangelist in 1921 and 1922, this year preached both Sundays. While the was delivering “powerful sermons” at the Tabernacle, the Rev. W. S. Rose, who had also preached at the Campground before, addressed another large crowd at the entrance.161 After sponsoring a sunrise service, the youth group went to the boarding-hall for breakfast.
By 1934 the Rev. J. A. Cox had been active in a number of camp meetings at Patterson Grove, first as the evangelist in 1928 and then for several seasons as the youth leader. It was estimated that there was nearly 100-percent attendance of the Patterson Grove youth at these meetings.
Just as some years before, the arrival of the first motor vehicle on the grounds had created a great stir, in 1934 the one horse and buggy attracted attention.
Pre-camp-meeting programs were often scheduled– sometimes concerts, sometimes dramas, sometimes readings and music. In 1935 one such program comprised a sacred pageant entitled “The Ten Virgins,” followed by music and readings. It was directed by Miss Laura Buckley, with Mrs. C. W. Shoemaker in charge of the music.
The Rev’. Mr. Cox was song leader and youth leader in 1935, and Mrs. Cox conducted the children’s services. The evangelist was the Rev. W. W. Banks, of Shamokin. Among the preachers helping with the daily services was the Rev. A. F. Birdsall, of Shickshinny. The depression, which had been felt for several years, was reflected in the price of meals at the boarding-hall: Breakfast was25 cents, dinner 40 cents (50 cents on Sunday) , and supper 35 cents, while for children under 12, breakfast was 15 cents, dinner 20 cents, and supper 15 cents.
Plagued by floods, Patterson Grove was damaged again by one in the spring of 1936. That summer, after the flood, WP A workmen repaired the roads, assisted in the general cleaning up of the grounds, and built a stone wall to help keep the creek within its banks. The Ladies’ Auxiliary had the creek dredged, and donations from the cottage-holders helped finance the project. The flood-control work cost about $600.
The 1936 schedule of services was much like that of other years. Among the ministers who took part were the Rev. Ira Button, pastor of the Christian Church in Sweet Valley; the Rev. C. B. Kleintob, of Nanticoke; the Rev. C. F. Berkheimer, of Sunbury; Dr. A. C. Shue, District Superintendent; and the Rev. J. A. Cox. The Rev. A. C. Fray was the Harveyville minister; and the Rev. A. F. Birdsall, of the Methodist Protestant Church in Shickshinny, conducted the Bible study. The Rev. Frank Montgomery, S.T.B., of Nescopeck, and Mrs. Montgomery, directed the children’s hour and the young people’s services. The young people’s sunrise service on the bank of Kitchen’s Creek on the last day brought out more than a hundred
Several persons have died at Patterson Grove during these one-hundred years. One was Samuel Myers, beloved by everyone and known as “Uncle Sam”, who spent many summers at the Grove, did much work there, and for a time was a member of the Board of Trustees. Death came unexpectedly at his cottage on August 5, 1936
In 1937 camp meeting opened on August 12 and lasted for the usual ten days. The Rev. Omar B. Poulson, who had been for several years the Conference evangelist, was back at Patterson Grove as the camp-meeting evangelist. Well liked, he spoke three times on the first Sunday and at the last service on the second Sunday, at which there was an exceptionally large gathering. Afterward, when the “March to Zion” took place, “The throng seemed loath to leave and the singing of favorite hymns continued for more than an hour .”
In December 1937 an ice gorge, after blocking the creek, broke with considerable damage to the Grove. Ice cakes up to a foot thick were piled in a great mass on the road and filled all the space around some cottages. Some cakes were carried into the Circle. “Before the gorge broke the rushing waters had flooded all the campground on the side nearest the creek. The rear road was gouged out to a depth of about four feet, exposing water pipes leading to cottages.” The high banks made by dredging the creek two years before were wiped out the entire length of the Campground, and damage amounted to several hundred dollars.
During the 1938 camp meeting, which was the Seventieth Anniversary of Patterson Grove, there were eight persons present who had attended the first camp meeting on the grounds in 1868, and they received Communion at the first table in recognition of the fact. The eight were: Ira Wolfinger , Mrs. Clara Parr , and Charles W. Dohl, of Bethel; Mrs. Ira Sutliff, of Williamsport; W. C. Franklin, of Town Hill; Mrs. Emma Rood and William Search, of Shickhinny; and Mrs. Ellen Piatt, of Sweet Valley.
Bishop Edwin H. Hughes, of Washington, D.C., preached to large congregations on two days as part of the anniversary program. Described as “an orator of note and widely known throughout the nation,” the Bishop remarked that he “was one year older than Patterson Grove.” On Monday he used as his first text the story of the child whom Jesus called to his side in answer to the question, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” For his second text he used the words of Jesus, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Carl Bran- don, of Lehman, conducted spirited song services and played solos on his musical saw (as he did again at camp meetings in 1942, 1943, and 1944). The Mountain Echo observed that the “Rev. B. C. Bastuscheck, president of the association, made the 70th anniversary an outstanding one.”
In 1939 the Rev. Mr. Poulson was again the evangelist. On the last Sunday of camp meeting Dr. F. La- Mont Henninger, Superintendent of the Sunbury District, preached at both the morning and afternoon services. Bible study was again taught by the Rev. George C. Spurr, of Town Hill. People were encouraged to attend this study hour, as “Even God’s Bank does not pay interest where there is no investment.”
In 1940 the evangelist and children’s-hour director was the Rev. Esther M. Dyer, of Reading, Pa., who drew chalk pictures to illustrate her sermons. With her came Miss Richards, song leader and youth leader; and Miss Thelma Fritz, pianist. The Rev. A. F. Birdsall, of Shickshinny, used as his Bible-study subject “The Exultation of Christ” as found in the Gospel of St. John. Others who contributed to the services were Miss Gladys Wenner , of Berwick ; the Musselman sisters, of Nescopeck; Birdsall’s sons, who gave vocal selections and trumpet solos; the Sterling Quartette, of Berwick, and a girls’ Octet from Huntington Mills under the direction of Mrs. Grace Hocken, with Mrs. Albert Herring at the piano. This year the trustees received $340 from the Cottage-Holders’ Association; and they paid $675 to Robert Rosser for changing the creek bed on the east side of the Campground.
In 1941, with the Rev. L. E. Search still on the Charge, the Rev. E. Z. Utts was the evangelist; Carl Brandon handled the song service and the young-people’s meeting; the Rev. A. F. Birdsall had charge of Bible study; and Mrs. Birdsall had the children’s hour.
In 1942 the “Youth Caravan,” a group of five young people trained to work with youth, attracted much attention. The 10 a.m. children’s hour was conducted by Miss Lois Eddy, the Conference children’s worker, who also taught a leadership-training course in the afternoon for teachers of children. Every night at 7 and on Sun- day afternoons Dr. C. M. McConnellled the “Farmers’ Hour ,” a series of messages under the general heading, “The Bible Speaks to Farmers.” A revival meeting followed at 8 with preaching by the Rev. Thomas Carruth, of Mississippi, the evangelist. This year the partition in the ice-cream parlor was opened so refreshments could be sold there.
In 1943 camp meeting was held from August 14 to 28. Owing to war-time conditions, the yearly ground rental for cottage-owners was raised to $2. Dr. Harry L. Denman, of Nashville, Tenn., was the evangelist; Thomas Carruth, evangelist the previous year, was in charge of youth fellowship; Miss Mary Bryerton, of Lock Haven, Pa., had the children’s hour; and Carl Brandon was again director of music. Dr. F. Lamont Henninger was the speaker on Sunday afternoon, Au- gust 22, at a special Seventy-fifth Anniversary service. On August 2 the trustees voted to close the confectionary shop for the season. In September a new water pump, having a capacity of 1,350 gallons an hour, was ordered, to supply the whole Campground and to serve also as fire protection. Filially, the secretary noted that “The year 1943 closed with a good report both spiritually and financially .”
A one-day temperance rally was held during camp meeting in 1944, the Rev. 0. B. Poulson taking part. One day of the program was devoted to foreign and home missions, the first under the direction of the Rev. Richard Hansen and the second under the direction of the Rev. Ezra Cox. Each afternoon at 2 there was a W.S.C.S. conference under the direction of the Rev. J . B. Howes. In the music department, this year’s vocalist was Miss Geraldine Viti, of Shickshinny; and Miss Dorothy Birdsall and Miss Hortense Jones provided music on marimbas. In June the trustees voted that new sign boards be erected at the entrance to the camp- ground and at Wenner’s farm at Huntington Mills.
In 1945 the evangelist was the Rev. Edward Z. Utts, who had been the evangelist in 1941. R. G. LeTourneau, designer and manufacturer of earth-moving equipment, spoke twice on August 5. This year the Rev. Robert V. Laidig, of the Harveyville Charge, the Rev. Oscar Saxe, of the Hunlock Creek Charge, and the Rev. John Howes, of the Town Hill Charge, joined forces and shared the labor and responsibilities of camp meeting.
Vacation Bible school was first held at Patterson Grove in 1945, and the children of the Harveyville, Town Hill, and Hunlock Creek Charges were offered transportation by school buses to the Grove. The school was under the direction of the Rev. Earl Kerstetter, of Millville, and the staff was chosen from the three Charges. Nineteen churches were involved in this enterprise.
In 1946 the Rev. W. Lynn Crowding, Superintendent of the Sunbury District, was the evangelist. In place of Missionary Day, a missionary conference was held from August 5 through August 10. Dr. Robert Thomas, Superintendent of Pittman Center, Sevierville, Tenn., directed this morning program.
At a trustees’ meeting on June 2,1947, “Mr. Charles Pichel in behalf of Dr. William T. Truitt suggested that the land along main entrance of Campground on right side of entrance entering the grounds be traded for triangle bordered by main road, Zupko property, and Huntington Creek.” On July 3 the trustees voted to “sign, acknowledge, and deliver a deed of special warranty for 1.20 acres of land as described in description Campground Triangle on file with Secretary, to William Truitt and Josephine Truitt upon receipt of deed for 1.20 acres of land as described in description of William T. Truitt lands, on file with Secretary, from William T. Truitt and Josephine Truitt his wife.” Mrs. Truitt was said to be a relative of Samuel F. Headley.
Dr. Homer Rodeheaver made his second appearance at Patterson Grove in 1947. For three days he and Dr . Griffith Jones and the Rev. William Mann conducted a sacred music conference. Dr. Rodeheaver conducted classes in singing, while Dr. Jones conducted classes in anthems, oratorios, and choir music. Their morning programs were instructive; their evening services inspirational. The evangelist this year was Dr. Andrew Johnson, of Wilmore, Ky., who had done much evangelistic work in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The speaker on Sunday, August 17, was R. G. LeTourneau, who addressed .the morning and afternoon services.
On August 16, 1948, the Board of Trustees empowered the Rev. LeRoy J. Harrison “to contact men to ‘serve as a Board of Directors of Patterson Grove to be elected yearly by the board of trustees upon the nomination of the pastor of the Harveyville Charge. The board of directors shall have the power to make recommendations in regard to the program of Patterson Grove Camp meeting.” This practice of having a Board of Directors has continued.
The program for 1948 comprised a youth conference July 25-31, under direction of the Rev. Edward Hoff- man; an evangelistic conference August 1-8, under direction of Dr. John E. Zoller; and a Bible conference August 9-15, under direction of Dr. William G. Chanter; with a musical program extending from July 25 to August 15. The Rev. LeRoy J. Harrison, minister on the Charge, was the song leader .
From the earliest days of the Campground the waters of near-by Kitchen’s and Huntington Creeks in midsummer attracted the children and young people to wading, swimming, and sometimes boating. But the waters were often shallow for swimming and always uncomfortably cold. In July 1949 Richard P. Bailey and other cottagers outlined plans for a pool, near the cottages, which would afford safer and more comfortable swimming for persons of all ages plus a water supply in case of fire. Reacting favorably to these plans, the Cottage-Holders’ Association asked permission of the Board of Trustees to construct such a pool, without cost to the Board. It was to be on Campground land northward of the cottages and adjacent to Kitchen’s Creek, which would supply the water. A small grove of maple, elm, and buttonwood trees then occupied the proposed site. Unanimously giving its approval on July 23, 1949, the Board later added the rule that there should be no swimming in the pool on Sundays or during services on week-days. The project began on August 1. With enthusiasm the cottagers set to work felling trees, hauling logs, piling and burning brush and branches, and collecting money to pay expenses. From August 22 to 27 a hired bull- dozer tore out stumps and pushed aside earth and boulders to form the basin of the pool-deep enough for diving at one end and shallow enough for children’s wading at the other. A metal pipe-in later years re- placed by an open channel-carried water from Kitchen’s Creek down to the pool. At the side of the pool a spillway let the water–0nce it had reached full depth -flow into a channel that returned it to the creek. Water was released into the pool on the evening of Au- gust 27; by August 30, with help from rains, it was full ; and on Labor Day a few hardy swimmers tested its qualities and found them good. In following years the Cottage-Holders’ Association had sand hauled in to form a beach on the edge nearest the cottages, built benches close by, and set up teeter-totters and swings for the smaller children.
During the first week of camp meeting in 1949 a “Christian Workers’ Camp” was held under the direction of Dr. Geoffrey W. Stafford. Dr. John E. Zoller served as evangelist during the second week.
For many years preaching by guest ministers was done prior to camp meeting for the benefit of people who came to spend summers at the Grove. Sometimes these services were at night and sometimes in the after- noon. One of the afternoon speakers in 1950 was Dr . Frank C. Laubach, Benton native and missionary-educator. At one of the vesper services in 1951 the speaker was Bishop Wilbur E. Hammaker, of Washington, D.C.
In 1950 Dr. Robert G. Morris, of Chicago, preached the first week; District Superintendent W. Lynn crowding, described as “a dynamic preacher,” was present on Saturday and Sunday; and Dr. Omar B. Poulson was the evangelist the second week. By now Dr. Poulson had been “the approved evangelist of the Conference for over a dozen years,” and he was also serving as superintendent of the Harrisburg District of the Temperance League.
One of the speakers at the 1951 vesper services was the Rev. A. E. Claxton. Two changes were made at Patterson Grove this year. The trustees finally had corrugated-iron pipe and fill brought in, and the old foot- bridge or boardwalk became a thing of the past. At the other end of the grounds, the cottage-holders built a fireplace and an open pavilion sheltering tables and benches. Many groups, including family reunions, Sun- day-school picnics, and Methodist Men, have enjoyed the use of this area.
In 1952 the dates of camp meeting were August 10 through 24. Dr. Charles Berkheimer spoke at the service on the 1Oth. Dr. William H. Anderman returned as the evangelist for the full two-week period. Dr. Robert F . Thomas directed the mission program during the afternoon sessions; and the Rev. and Mrs. Victor Meredith, Jr., served as youth and children’s directors.
The Cottage-Holders’ Association, which since 1936 had been sharing with the trustees some of the responsibilities for the physical upkeep of Patterson Grove, in 1954 took on two major projects. The Association undertook to collect delinquent accounts for water-use, ground-rent, and electricity; to paint the Tabernacle roof; and to repair the back end of the building. The Association sponsors the leaf-raking project each spring and fall as a fire-prevention measure; it maintains a garden club, which plants and cares for flower beds on the grounds; it has the road around the grounds oiled each spring; and from time to time it has the auditorium painted.
At a trustees’ meeting on August 28, 1954, the Rev. Robert P. Raycroft, the minister then on the Charge, expressed the appreciation of the trustees for all the work that had been done on the ground by the cottage-holders.” At this meeting the cottage-holders asked that some of their number “pre-elected as trustees” ; but “the trustees felt that that was neither wise or necessary and suggested that instead of elected trustees they select 2 cottage holder representatives to attend the trustee meetings just preceding camp meeting. Mr. .Jesse Wolfe and Mr. Roy Hockenberry were selected.”
The 1955 pre-camp-meeting program included one week in which films were shown in color every night. These films were from the Moody Bible Institute of Science; the adult films dealt with the techniques of teaching Sunday school; and every afternoon there were special teacher-training classes, conducted by the Rev. Merle T. Huffmaster. Evening films were shown for the children.
For several years the boarding-house had been in financial trouble. Improved transportation and good roads made coming from distances easy; family reunions were seldom scheduled to coincide with camp meeting ; and few found it necessary to stay over night at the boarding house. As a way of helping it out of debt, the trustees decided in 1956 to serve suppers to raise money., Evana Rood, who ran the boarding-house during camp meeting, served dinners the last Wednesday night bf each month from May 30 through July;
The opening service of 1956 was held on August 5,’ when the Rev. Charles F. Berkheimer, District Superintendent, preached. On Saturday, August 25, the wedding of Miss Barbara Walters and the Rev. Larry Saxe took place at the Tabernacle. The Rev. Larry Saxe has served as youth leader at Patterson Grove and has taken part in many camp-meeting services.
The Rev. Charles Pope, who preached at vesper services in 1953, served as evangelist in 1956. The Rev. Robert P. Raycroft was the Harveyville minister, and the Rev. Oscar Saxe was song leader. Mr. Saxe has preached many times at Patteron Grove, has served many years on the Board of Trustees, and has contributed in other ways to the success of the camp meetings. Mrs. Elmer Dennis, the pianist, is another who took part in the services for several years.
“January 23, 1957. Creek and ice jam below Kitchen Creek bridge put most of the creek and ice blocks down the road and into the Campground.” This action was repeated’ in 1964, except then the water and ice ‘went through the swimming pool and on across the grounds. Both times the rushing water pushed ice cakes upon porches, and at least one door was knocked open, allowing ice and water to flow into the cottage. Several cottages had water on the floors.
In the summer of 1958 a raft was placed in the swimming pool. This summer also brought permission for the cottage-holders to install septic tanks. Special features of the pre-camp-meeting program included the Billy Graham film, “The Heart Is A Rebel,” and the film, “Wiretapping,” the story of Jimmy Vaus.
In 1958 the Rev. William Price, of Town Hill, organized and directed the large choir’s singing. Bill Michael, song leader, and his wife Gracie, soloist, provided effective messages in song. A popular team, they returned in 1959, when Mrs. John Devons was in charge of the special music which “The Keynotes,” a male chorus, furnished as a group and as soloists, duets, trios, and quartets. Mrs. Devons is the Miss Laura Buckley who helped with programs in previous years. In 1960, with the Rev. Fred C. Hickok as the minister on the Charge, Grant and Sandy Nelson conducted the youth program; the Rev. Frank Crawford was the evangelist; and the Rev. Oscar Saxe was the song leader.
In 1960, too, the Rev. and Mrs. Roland C. Updyke first set up their book and gift shop at the Camp- ground, and this has become a regular feature at camp- meeting time. “The Upper Room “songbooks were ordered for camp meeting and have been used ever since.
In 1961 John Rittenhouse made the set of numbers for the sign at the Patterson Grove entrance. The correct numbers for the dates of camp meeting can now be inserted, ending the need of painting the sign each year.
In 1961 the Rev. Oscar L. Kulp, associate pastor of the Hunlock Creek Methodist Charge, directed the prayer meetings and initiated all-night prayer vigils, which have given the participants one of the greatest blessings of camp meeting. For the next four years the prayer services were his special projects.
Ray Galvin, song leader, came to Patterson Grove for the first time in 1962. That year the Rev. Maurice Stevens, of Wilmont, Ky., was the evangelist.
The installation of an amasite floor in the Tabernacle in 1963 ended 96 years of cleaning out old sawdust and shavings and hauling and spreading new at camp- meeting time every year. The old commissary building was also done away with this year, although unintentionally. When fire was discovered in it, the call for help went out and the action of the several fire companies saved the boarding-hall. Stories conflict concerning the origin of the fire.
There have been at least four weddings at Patterson Grove. The Walters-Saxe wedding has already been mentioned. On June 14, 1964, Miss Ferne Metcalf and Herbert Stevens were married at. the Tabernacle, with the reception at the boarding hall. A camp-meeting time one year while the Rev. Mr. Thomas was on the Harveyville .Charge (1905-1909) , there was another wedding at the Campground. The groom, Ike Loveland, went to the Lyman Pedrick cottage, where Mr. Thomas and the Pikes Creek minister were visiting, and asked the latter to perform the ceremony there. Mr. Thomas insisted they go to the Tabernacle, because “everybody on the Campground knew about it”; so the groom, his bride, their two attendants, and the ministers started for the Tabernacle. A large crowd gathered, and “they had a lovely wedding.” Several people can dimly remember or remember hearing talk of a young minister’s being married there some 60 or 65 years ago, but the names are lost.
1964 was the year the youth building was erected; part of the grounds were seeded and fertilized; flower beds were added; the young people painted inside the boarding-hall and the outdoor benches.
The evangelist in 1965 was the Rev, Paul H. Wood; the song leader was Ray Galvin; and the youth leader was the Rev. George Reese.
In 1966 a hew amplifier was purchased to replace the one bought, when the Rev. Mr. Laidig was on the Charge. This year the evangelist was the Rev. Jon Tal Murphree, and the song leader was Ray Galvin. Mrs. Wayne Dennis directed the Vacation Bible School in 1966 and 1967. The Rev. Jay Saxe, the youth leader, had also been youth leader in 1963. Under his direction the young people built the outdoor Chapel-on-the- Hill which has been used many times by youth groups of Patterson Grove and the Harveyville Charge.
Robert Clark Whitebread, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Whitebread, was baptized in the Tabernacle on the first Sunday of camp meeting in 1967. When illness caused the of poet-evangelist Lon Woodrum, excellent messages were delivered by the Rev. Jay Saxe, who with his family was spending the camp-meeting season at Patterson Grove. His father, the Rev. Oscar Saxe, continued the Bible study for the Rev. Mr. Woodrum.
The year 1968 opened with plans and preparations for celebrating the Centennial. Camp meeting has been scheduled to cover three weeks beginning Sunday, Au- gust 4. The first week will be “Homecoming Week,” when preachers and evangelists who have taken part in past meetings will return as their health and schedules permit. A full program for the camp-meeting period is set forth elsewhere in the book.
The cottage holders will celebrate the Centennial with a busy, schedule of fun, gayety, and entertainment during the weeks preceding camp meeting. July 4, the kick-off date,: will feature (1) the grand opening of the Centennial Headquarters in the boarding-house, with a preview of all the articles to. be offered for sale; (2) a cottage-holders’ meeting in the Tabernacle at 3 p.m. ; (3)a covered-dishes supper at the pavilion at 5:30; and (4) fireworks m the evening. Although the program for, the rest of the month is still in preparation, it will include hay rides, caravans, amateur theatricals, ice-cream festivals, a western barbecue, an antique-car show, a homemade-goods sale, crowning of the junior Mr. and Miss Patterson Grove, a magician, barbershop quartets, music by bands and string groups, movies, and a fashion show of originals and reproductions of gowns and dresses of former years. Cottagers and others will wear costumes of a hundred years ago. The men are already growing whiskers for the beard-judging contest to be held on August 17.
When John Miner Goss, Nathan Dodson, and John Holmes first conferred with Samuel F. Headley about holding camp meeting in his sugar-maple grove, they were interested in a permanent camp-meeting site. Now, one-hundred years later, we owe them and their co-workers, Warren Benscoter, William J. Hazlett, the Rev. Mortimer P. Crosthwaite, the Rev. Adam Clark Crosthwaite, and others, a debt of gratitude for starting a tradition of late summer spiritual refreshment. Although other events have taken place at
Patterson Grove, the camp-meeting period is by far the most important. May we, as they did, pray “that this place may be ever watered with the dew of Heaven- that its beauty may remain and that our Children and our Children’s Children to the latest period of time may meet upon this Consecrated spot, and bow, with humility and in prayer and praise truly worship our Father and our God, and receive from him ‘the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ’.”