Churches of Lackawanna County, PA
| Green Ridge | Providence Presbyterian |

History of Scranton, Pennsylvania, With Full Outline of the Natural Advantages, Accounts of the Indian Tribes, Early Settlements, Connecticut's Claim to the Wyoming Valley, the Trenton Decree, Manufacturing, Mining, and Transportation Interests, the Press, Churches, Societies, etc., Etc., Down to the Present Time.

David Craft, William A. Wilcox, Alfred Hand, J. Wooldridge. Published for H. W. Crew by the United Brethren Publishing House, Dayton, Ohio. 1891.

Chapter XVII, Church History, Page 428-30

Pages 456 to 459

The Green Ridge Presbyterian Church was organized June 24, 1875, by a committee consisting of Rev. Dr. S. C. Logan, Rev. J. B. Fisher of Providence; Rev. D. K. Freeman, of Hyde Park; Rev. Joseph Corey, of Dunmore; Rev. J. W. Partridge, of the Second Presbyterian Church; and Elders A. W. Dickson, C. W. Kerkpatrick, C. H. Welles, W. C. Letchworth, and J. R. Wurt. This organization was the result of efforts made by the Presbyterians residing in the vicinity, rather than of any church extension efforts made by a congregation. The first effort made, of which there is no record, was at a meeting held February 11, 1873, at the house of Joseph Crane, Dr. J. L. Fordham presiding. At this meeting Rev. J. B. Fisher was present, and then and subsequently manifested great interest in the undertaking, and thus contributed largely to its success. There were but thirteen persons present, nine of whom were connected with the Providence Presbyterian Church, and three with the First Presbyterian Church of Scranton. The following resolution was adopted: "That it appears desirable that a house of worship be erected at Green Ridge, as the center of a Presbyterian church," and a committee was appointed to make inquiries as to suitable lots.

At a subsequent meeting this committee reported that George Sanderson and Thomas Dickson had each offered to donate a building lot. Thereupon Israel Crane, F. S. Pauli, and E. S. Jackson were appointed trustees to receive the property until the church should be duly organized. At the solicitation of the trustees Rev. J. B. Fisher went to New York to secure plans for a stone church and chapel, which plans were adopted upon his return. The work was commenced on the chapel about June, 1874, about which time the trustees were increased in number to five. Mr. Crane having resigned, the following three were elected: Mr. H. F. Atherton, Dr. J. L. Fordham, and Mr. S. P. Hull, who, together with the remaining two of the original three, constituted the new board of five. This new board was instructed to act as the building committee. In about a year from this time the chapel was completed, and it was dedicated December 19, 1875. The services were conducted by Rev. Dr. S. C. Logan, Rev. J. W. Partridge, Rev. B. N. Wyckoff, and Rev. N. G. Parke, the latter delivering the dedicatory sermon.

The church received its charter June 11, 1875, and at a meeting held at John R. Fordham’s, Joseph Crane and Dr. Fordham were appointed to petition the Presbytery of Lackawanna for its organization. The petition being granted, the church was organized by a committee of Presbytery consisting of the Presbyterian pastors of Scranton, and five elders, with thirty-nine members, twenty-eight of whom were from the Providence Presbyterian Church, six from the First Presbyterian Church of Scranton, and five from as many other churches. The organization took place in the chapel. Roswell E. Marvin, Joseph Crane, and George E. Stone were chosen elders. The first sermon to the new church was preached by Rev. T. M. Cann, on Sunday, June 27th. The church building stands on the lot on the northeast corner of Green Ridge Street and Monsey Avenue. It is octagonal in form, and is capable of seating two hundred and fifty persons. It was designed as a chapel to a larger building to be erected when the necessity for such larger building should arise. At the organization of this session George E. Stone was appointed clerk.

July 18, 1875, Rev. W. S. Stites was elected pastor of the church, but declined the call, and on October 19th, Rev. W. B. Waller was chosen. Accepting the call, Rev. Mr. Waller began his duties here January 1, 1876, and was installed May 2d, following. A bell was given to this church by H. F. Atherton, which was rung for the first time January 7, 1877. May 16, 1877, Mr. E. b. Sturges, Dr. J. L. Fordham, and Mr. M. C. Carr, were elected ruling elders. Mr. Carr alone of the three consented to serve, and was ordained and installed June 3, 1877. Subsequently, William R. Stone, F. L. Hitchcock, E. B. Sturges, and M. R. Kays were added to the eldership. Rev. Mr. Waller served the church until the fall of 1882, when he resigned to accept a call to a church at New Rochelle, New York, and his resignation was accepted. His farewell sermon was preached November 26, 1882. From this time until March 28, 1883, the church was served by various ministers, and upon that day Rev. Dr. Samuel R. Wilson entered upon the duties of stated supply for six months. During this time the church considered itself highly edified by the words of wisdom that fell from the lips of this "Prince of Preachers." September 30, 1883, Dr. Wilson preached his last sermon to this church. On October 2, 1883, a call was extended to the present pastor, Rev. N. F. Stahl. Mr. Stahl. Accepted the call and was installed February 13, 1884, Rev. George E. Guild presiding and Rev. Dr. S. C. Logan preaching the sermon on the occasion. It is a noteworthy fact that all of the three pastors called to this church were members of the class of 1869 of Princeton College. The membership of this church, starting with thirty-nine, increased during the first five years as follows: The first year, 23; the second year, 9; the third year, 17; the fourth year, 3; the fifth, 16. The membership on the 15th of June, 1890, was 318, while that of the Sunday school, of which Colonel F. L. Hitchcock is the superintendent, was 449. The membership at the present time is 350.

On the 17th of July, 1887, the church dedicated an enlarged edifice capable of seating from four to five hundred people, a building of much beauty and convenience.

Upon the death of Elder William R. Stone, in December, 1889, the church raised $1,200.00 for the support of Dr. Charles F. Johnson, a medical missionary, and his wife, in China, for one year. This offering was called "The Stone Memorial Fund."

At present in addition to the foreign missionary and his wife, the church, through its Sunday-school, is sustaining Mr. John Klusak as a home missionary to the Hungarians of the valley.

The organizations connected with this church, in addition to the Sunday-school, are the Society of Christian Endeavors, the Home and Foreign Missionary Society, the Mary Campbell Mission Band, the Early Reapers, (girls,) the Willing Workers, (boys), and the Ladies’ Aid Society, all of which are efficient forces in carrying on the work of the church.

Green Ridge Presbyterian Church. Click for picture as it is now.
Click on the old postcard image for a picture was in 2000

From City of Scranton, by Colonel Frederick L. Hitchcock, Volume I, 1914

In 1893 the property was sold to the Church of the Good Shepherd of Green Ridge, and the congregation moved to its present handsome stone edifice on the northwest corner of Wyoming avenue and Green Ridge street.

[Transcriber's Note: A separate accounting is also made, of the first meeting to organize the Green Ridge Presbyterian Church, at the house of Joseph Crane, on Sanderson Avenue, in Scranton, on the 11th day of February, 1873, with many of the Providence church members present. On May 26, 1873, the site of the church on the northeast corner of Monsey avenue and Green Ridge street was donated to the trustees by Hon. George Sanderson and wife.]

Providence Presbyterian Church, built in 1886
(Click on the old postcard image of the 1886 building for a picture was in 2000. The Providence United Presbyterian Church congregation now has a building at 2630 Olyphant Ave.)
The Providence Presbyterian Church was organized October 5, 1846, and is thus one of the oldest churches in the city. It has had four pastors – Rev. Joseph Barlow, from 1846 to 1857; Rev. Samuel Whaley, from 1857 to 1869; Rev. James Fisher from 1869 to 1878, and Rev. George E. Guild from 1878 to the present time. The charter members of the church were Jonathan R. Wint and wife, John S. Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. Snedicker, Mrs. Phebe Barlow, and Mrs. Delilah White. In 1885 the church building, which had been occupied more than forty years by the society, was disposed of, and in September of the same year ground was broken for the present fine stone edifice on the lot on Main Avenue, which had already been purchased by the energetic ladies of the congregation. The corner stone of the new edifice was laid in the fall of 1886, and the building formally dedicated in June, 1887. The value of the church property, including the adjoining parsonage, is estimated at $45,000.00. The session of the church, exclusive of the pastor, consists of major J. B. Fish, George Benedict, H. R. Hurlbutt, and W. S. Hurlacher. The church is thoroughly organized for aggressive religious work, is generous in its contributions to benevolence, is in an increasingly prosperous condition, and present membership is about three hundred. [From Craft, Wilcox, Hand, and Wooldridge]

From the Scranton Republican, Monday, September 20, 1886. [Click on the picture above to see the church and corner stone in 2000.]



Interesting Ceremonies Saturday Afternoon—Speeches by Col. H. M. Boies, Rev. Dr. Logan and Rev. G. E. Guild—The Contents of the Box.


The congregation of the Providence Presbyterian church gathered Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock to witness and take part in the ceremonies incident to the laying of the corner stone of the new church on North Main-avenue, which Contractor John Snaith is now engaged in building. The members generally sat on benches extemporized for the occasion from the long planks used in the buildings construction, but even the neighboring porches and rooms in adjoining houses were utilized where others sat upon more comfortable chairs and otherwise enjoyed themselves. Rev. G. E. Guild, pastor of the church, called the meeting to order, and Rev. T. R. Beeber, of the Second Presbyterian church, offered the invocatory prayer, that God would bless the church and the efforts used in building it. That when completed it would be a center from which should radiate influences for good, that should be felt through all that region and ended by praying that we might not forget we had a corner-stone in heaven and that the knowledge of our treasures might lead us to put forth new exertions, to obtain an inheritance.

Rev. N. F. Stahl, of the Green Ridge Presbyterian church, then read a number of appropriate passages of scripture.


The hymn, "Christ is Our Corner Stone," was then sung, and Mr. W. D. Kennedy, secretary of the Board of Trustees, then read the contents of the box to be placed in the corner stone, as follows: A brief history of the Providence Presbyterian church, from it organization in 1847 to the present year; names of present session and roll of membership; names of officers and teachers of Sunday-school; historical epitome of the Ladies’ Aid Society; coins of the present year from $1 to one cent; also a coin of 1847; The Scranton Republican, the Scranton Truth, the Providence Register, the Journal, the New York Evangelist, the Presbyterian; the order of the day’s exercises.


Rev. Mr. Guild then introduced Colonel H. M. Boies, who said: "It was little over a year ago that I acted in a somewhat similar character, on the occasion of the corner stone laying of the church we were then erecting, and in which I had been greatly interested, and at that time I was greatly indebted to the clergymen from this quarter of the city, who so nobly came to our aid at a time when a number of the other ministers were away on their annual vacations. It was with a feeling of gratitude to them, still strong in my heart, that I received their invitation to be present to-day. This building is in charge of the same gentleman who built for us the church in which we justly take so much pride, and I see before me some of the same men who worked upon our own church.

This is to be a noble structure and one in which you will have great interest as the years roll by, for to-day is the day of its birth. The laying of the corner stone marks the day of a building’s birth, and the laying of this corner stone marks a building to be dedicated to the worship of Almighty God, to good purposes, to unselfish ends, to the help of mankind. Here those who occupy it in the years to come will be baptized, here they will be married, here find the Comforter and here find solace and consolation, and so it is appropriate that the services of to-day should be observed with religious ceremonies. He closed by congratulations to the pastor and people on the auspicious commencement of this work and trusted that nothing might come between them in their future pastoral relations to make discord or mar the happiness of either."


The hymn, "Lord of Hosts, to Thee we raise," was sung and Mr. Guild in a few felicitous remarks introduced Rev. Dr. Logan, who said: "If I had know that my old commander, Col. Boies, had written a speech for this occasion, I should have borrowed it for this occasion and I will borrow it now, for I endorse all he has said from the first to the last, and one of the first things I did to-day was write a letter to Mr. Beeber, stating I knew the report was not true, which letter I trust, sir, (turning to Mr. Beeber) you received."

"We meet to-day, my friends, upon an occasion of spiritual interest. God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. There is nothing sacred about the building itself, nor in its ceremonies. The sacredness of the edifice will be in the truth and sincerity of the worship carried on within it. Upon that depends its glory and its usefulness and believing this we come to lay this corner stone to-day. It is a type. It stands for Christ. The corner stone is Christ, and a church will not be recognized in heaven that has not Christ for its corner stone. The churches are all parts of one family, part of the members have passed the flood and parts are passing now; yet all belong to the one church and all are alike interested in each new temple dedicated to the service of God.

The Presbyterian church last year built four new churches for every Sabbath day. The churches all recognize the unity of the spirit, and this building will be a witness that the members will all stand together in building up the church of God. That they will walk together, talk together and work together, to build up this church. I congratulate the members of this church on this joyful occasion. I am glad that the spirit had led them to do this thing, and in spirit the members of sister churches throughout the city gather about you to-day and congratulate you on your work, and on your position, and pray it will be a blessing to you and your children."


Rev. Mr. Guild then said that in accordance with the ancient usages of God’s church he would now proceed to lay the corner stone. The stone was accordingly lowered into place and the copper box containing the papers placed in the receptacle provided for it. Mr. Guild then said: "I believe the conception of the new church was not of circumstances but of God. The members of the congregation present would soon all of them be fifty years of age, yet during all that time they had never had a building commensurate with the pecuniary abilities of the people, commensurate with the homes of the people worshiping in it. The conviction that a new church was a necessity gradually grew and deepened until in 1880 the present lot was purchased of Col. Ira Tripp for $2,500, the Colonel and Mrs. Tripp subscribing $250 towards the purchase of the lot. The balance of the purchase money, $2,250, was raised by the Ladies’ Aid Society of the church, which had been the prime mover in the whole matter, and without the efficient, persevering aid of the ladies comprising that society, we would not to-day have this lot and this building. Two years ago the parsonage property was disposed of and with a thousand dollars added the pleasant, convenient and commodious parsonage now occupied by the pastor was built.


One year ago the congregation decided to take a bold but necessary step, and commence the building of the new church. Mr. Perry, the architect, of Binghamton, prepared plans, specifications and estimates for a church to be built either of wood, brick or stone. The trustees considered the estimates, and then submitted them to the congregation without recommendations. It was decided at a congregational meeting, held for that purpose, to build a stone church. The basement was started last fall. The contractor now has the building itself in charge. It has risen from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Mr. Guild then spoke of Solomon’s temple and some of the images connected with it and striking the stone with a gavel in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, consecrated the stone as the corner of a building to be dedicated to the worship of Almighty God according to the usages and laws of the Presbyterian church, and ended by invoking the divine blessing upon the new undertaking. That it might be blessed and prospered, and be successful in its mission in the days to come.

The services closed with the singing of the hymn "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name," and the benediction pronounced by the pastor.


On the 27th of July, 1846, the citizens of Providence village assembled "to take measures for building a meeting house." It was at that meeting resolved that such a house should be built—that it should be under the control of some one denomination and that such denomination should be the Presbyterian. Previous to this school houses had served for religious gatherings and there was no regular organized church in Providence.

At a meeting held August 10, 1846, Mr. Nathaniel Cottrill offered to give a lot 70x100 and ground for a road from the Carbondale and Wilkes-Barre road to the front of the church lot, and also ground for a road from what is now known as West Market-street at the corner of W. M. Champions’ lot to the land of Leopold Von Storch. This offer was accepted as was a draft of a meeting house submitted by a committee previously appointed. The building was to cost about $2,000.


The application for a charter was signed by J. R. Wint, S. Estabrook, Wm. M. Champion, W. W. Winton, Nathaniel Cottrill, Sanford Grant, James Anderson, Ira Tripp, Frederick Fuller, Asa Coursen, and J. Marion Alexander. It was granted January 5, 1847, and in compliance with its provisions on April 19, of the same year at the first regular meeting of the church and congregation, Asa Coursen, Sylvanus Estabrook, Joseph Chase, J. R. Wint and Wm. M. Champion were elected trustees. The church was dedicated July 25, 1849. The first pastor was Rev. Joseph Barlow. The first rental of pews realized $121.52, much of which was paid in merchandise of various kinds. Mr. Barlow was succeeded by the Rev. Samuel Whaley whose salary at first was $500, ($100 of this came from the Home Missionary Society.) After a pastorate of nearly twelve years he was succeeded by the Rev. J. B. Fisher in February, 1869, and he after a pastorate of nine years was succeeded in May, 1879 by the Rev. George E. Guild, the present pastor.


A lot was secured for a parsonage in 1862. Two offers were received, one from Mr. W. W. Wonton and one from Mr. H. B. Rockwell. Mr. Rockwell’s offer was accepted and the lot recently belonging to the church on West Market-street was secured. It had previously belonged to Mr. Winton. The building was completed in just a year from that time at an expense of $1,413.08, with a debt of only $72.

A lecture and bible class rooms were added to the church building in 1869 at a cost of $900.00. Since that time very little has been done to the church edifice. The society was seriously crippled by the large secession from it members of the Green Ridge-avenue Presbyterian church, and it took some time to recover from the effects of this separation, the necessity for which was, however, apparent to all. The church has been greatly blest in the devout Godly men who have ministered to its members, and is now a flourishing condition with a larger membership than ever before.

Providence Presbyterian Church [Notes compiled by Mrs. W. D. Kennedy, September 1886]

The organization of the First Presbyterian Church of Providence has already become so much a matter of the past that but few persons living can testify in relation to it and its history must mainly be gathered from the brief minutes recorded by hands long since at rest from earthly labors.

On the 27th day of July, 1846, the citizens of Providence village assembled “to take measures for building a meeting house.”  It was at that meeting voted that such house should be built; that it should be under control of some one denomination and that such denomination should be the Presbyterian.  Previous to this, school-houses had served for religious gatherings and there was no regularly organized Church in Providence.

At a meeting held August 10th, 1846, an offer of N. Cotrill to give a lot 70x100 feet and ground for a road from the Carbondale and Wilkes-Barre road to the front of the church lot, and also ground for a road from the Turnpike at the corner of Wm. M. Champin’s lot to the land of Leopold Von Storch, was accepted.  At this meeting a draft for a “meeting house,” presented by a committee previous appointed, was adopted; the proposed building to cost about $2,000.00.  An application for a charter, signed by J. R. Wint, S. Estabrooks, Wm. M. Champin, W. W. Winton, N. Cotrill, S. Grant, James Anderson, Ira Tripp, F. Fuller, A. Corson and J. Marion Alexander, was granted January 5th, 1847, and, in compliance with its provisions, on April 19th of the same year, at the first regular meeting of the church and congregation, Asa Corson, Sylvanus Estabrooks, Joseph Charr, J. R. Wint and Wm. Champin were elected Trustees, who, at a meeting for organization, elected J. R. Wint, President and S. Estabrooks, Secretary.  The house was dedicated July 25th, 1849.  The first Pastor was Rev. Joseph Barlow, long since gone, through a literal fiery ordeal to his reward.  There stands no record of the amount of his salary but we find that the first rental of pews realized but $121.52, much of it paid in various merchandise, and we can conclude that this amount was very near the sum total.  After Mr. Barlow came, the Rev. Samuel Whaley, who's salary at first was $500.00 (although $100 of this amount was from the Home Missionary Society), who after a pastorate of nearly twelve years was succeeded by the Rev. James B. Fisher in February 1869, who remained nine years.  The present Pastor, the Rev. George E. Guild was called March 1879.

At a meeting of the church and congregation held October 14th, 1862, in consideration of the amount of $200.00 pledged by Mr. George Salmon, a friend of the Pastor, Rev. S. Whaley, it was “resolved that the Society attempt to build a parsonage."  Lots were offered by Messrs. H. B. Rockwell and W. W. Winton and the one offer by H. B. Rockwell accepted.  One year from above date, the committee, appointed to superintend the erection of a parsonage, reported the building completed at an expense of $1,413.08, with a debt of only $72.00.

A Lecture and Bible Class room was added to the church building October 8th, 1869, during the pastorate of the Rev. J. B. Fisher, costing $900.00.  Since that time very little has been done to the Church Edifice.  From time to time various plans looking toward the erection of a new House of Worship have been discussed and discarded until in October 1882 the Trustees, acting for the Ladies Aid Society purchased the lot (from Ira Tripp for $2250.00) upon which the new Church is now being erected.

In 1884, the parsonage built in 1869 was sold and with the proceeds a commodious house was built upon a portion of the newly purchased lot.  At a meeting of the church and congregation July 24th, 1885, the Trustees were instructed to proceed to the erection of a new Church Edifice, adopting the plans submitted by Mr. L. G. Perry, of Binghamton.  In October of that year, the contract for the foundation was awarded Mr. John Snaith - consideration $3,000.00 - and in July of that present year they contracted with the same builder to erect the exterior of the Church for $8,300.00.  The Board of Trustees serving at time of awarding contract:

J. B. Farries, President
W. D. Kennedy, Secretary
H.  Pennypacker, Treasurer
W. J. Lewis
A.  Simpson

From the City of Scranton, by Colonel Frederick L. Hitchcock, Volume I, 1914

The First Presbyterian Church of Providence, Pennsylvania, was organized October 5, 1846, by the Presbytery of Montrose, which Presbytery then embraced all the Presbyterian churches of the new school in the counties of Wayne, Susquehanna, Luzerne, Wyoming and Bradford.

The seven charter members were: Jonathan R. Wint and Euphemia Wint, his wife; John M. Snediker and Martha Snediker, his wife; John L. Richardson; Phoebe Barlow, wife of Rev. Joseph Barlow, the first pastor; and Delia White, wife of Jenison White.

Jonathan Wint was immediately chosen and ordained as ruling elder, and served the church very faithfully and acceptably in that capacity until his death in 1888, a period of 42 years.

Rev. Joseph Barlow assumed the duties of pastorate of the church soon after its organization, and served until 1856.   He was soon after burned to death in the conflagration of his dwelling in Abington.

He was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Whaley in 1857, whose pastorate terminated October 27, 1868.

Rev. James B. Fisher was the third pastor of the church, his pastorate commencing February 1, 1869, and terminating May 11, 1878.

Rev. George E. Guild, who commenced his labors with the church May 1, 1879, and continued in the pastorate for a period of 32 years, until October 8, 1911, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Rev. Herman C. Fox, D.D., on July 2, 1912, who is the present pastor.

The charter of the church was granted by the Luzerne County Court, January 5, 1847, and the first board of trustees was organized April 19, 1847.

The first church edifice was commenced July 7, 1847, and completed in 1848, on the corner of Church Avenue and Oak Street, and was enlarged by the addition of the Sabbath school room about 1870. [See the 1873 map section with the location marked.]

The present fine stone edifice on North Main avenue was completed and dedicated in 1886.

The first parsonage was erected on West Market street about 1863, and the present one on North Main avenue in 1882.

The old church was sold and converted into a dwelling house when the new one was ready for use, and the old parsonage has been sold and remodeled into a business establishment.   The value of the present church property is estimated at $70,000.

This church was the pioneer of Presbyterianism in the territory now embraced in the city of Scranton, antedating the First Presbyterian Church of Scranton by over two years, and with the growth of other sections of  our prosperous city has contributed largely to the membership of the younger Presbyterian churches in its limits.

When the Green Ridge church was organized, in 1875, letters of dismission and recommendation were granted to twenty-seven members, three being elders, to become charter members of that church, and since then letters of dismission have been granted to thirty others to unite with he Green Ridge church.

Fifty members have been granted letters to the First and Second churches (Presbyterian) of Scranton and thirty-five to other churches.

Transcriptions from Colonel F. L. Hitchcock's book and photographs above provided by Ralph W. Robinson, II

Unless otherwise noted, transcribed and scanned by Susan White Pieroth Copyright 2001-2010

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