A Proud History of Loyalville and its United Methodist Church
Located in a quiet, country area in Lake Township, Loyalville has a long and proud history dating back to the 1700's. In 1795 a road was hacked out of the wilderness from Wilkes-Barre to Bradford County to encourage settlers to begin to tame this new frontier. Mathew Scouten is reported to have been the first settler to have called Loyalville home. He cleared a small tract of land for an apple orchard near Booths Corners.
In 1806, Daniel Lee settled at the head waters of Pikes Creek at a marsh and pond area named in his honor and still known today as Lee Pond. Farmers from the Plymouth area drove their cattle to Lee Pond for summer grazing and Daniel Lee was employed to care for the herd.
Jackson Township resident, Otis Allen, arrived in the Loyalville area in 1836 and by the spring of 1838 had managed to bring his family to their new home.
Over the next several years, Loyalville began to grow and prosper thanks to the new arrivals, such as Jonah Roberts, Elon Davenport, Daniel Casebaer, David Moss, John Fosnot, Jacob Sorber, Jonah Bronson, Jonathan Williams, Clarke Wolfe, Jesse Kitchen, George Shupp, James Hawley, Edward Ide, and Henry Ide.
In the years prior to 1860, ten families lived at Allen's Corners (Intersection of Loyalville Road and Maple Tree Road). A small store was constructed at each location to provide for residents and area travelers.
At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, a pine pole and an American Flag was erected on a small knoll near Booth's Corner to demonstrate the local residents loyalty to the Union cause. The flag continued to fly throughout the four long years of conflict and the area from Allen's Corner to Booth's Corner became known as Loyalville.
Some of the earliest church records show that the community began organized church meetings at the homes of local residents. In 1845, eleven people met at the Allen home to form the first Methodist Class Meeting.
The policy of the Methodist Church was to organize groups called classes under the direction of a class leader. Some of the early class leaders at Loyalville were Joseph Booth, Jonas Hoppes, Nathan Klinetob, H. G. DeLong, and Julias Ide. The first Circuit Rider to the area was Elder Davine, a Methodist Episcopal Minister. Elder Clark was the first preacher to the area.
In 1885, under the leadership and ministry of Reverend G. F. Ace a site was selected for the construction of the Loyalville Church. Approximately halfway between Booth's Corner and Allen's Corner a grove of chestnut trees stood atop a low ridge. The land was donated by Henry and Sybil Randall for the construction of the Chestnut Grove Methodist Episcopal Church (no known as Loyalville United Methodist Church). Articles of Incorporation were issued on April 22, 1885, and the building was constructed that summer for a cost of $1,420.00.
During the ministry of Reverend Mark Dauber the church had continued to grow and it was determined that a social gathering place was needed to help serve the congregation and community. A hall was constructed at the rear of the church in 1916 for a cost of $1,500.00. With a formal dedication of the building on January 1st, 1917. Throughout the years that followed many improvements to the church and hall have taken place thanks to the dedication and hard work of church members. Some historical items of interest found in the Church records are:
The first individuals to meet in Methodist Class meetings and to work and serve the Lord are memorialized in the 1916 stained glass windows in the church sanctuary. They were Mr. & Mrs. William Williams; Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Allen; Mrs. Martha Scovell; Mr. & Mrs. George Bronson; Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Booth, and Mr. & Mrs. P. H. DeLong. Mr. J. A. Booth was the first born in 1817 and Mrs. William Williams was the last to depart this life in 1916. Collectively their lives spanned 99 years and 10 months serving God at Loyalville Church.
Four Churches comprised the Maple Grove Circuit according to the 1889 Record Book. They were Maple Grove, Ruggles, Retreat (later known as Mooretown) and our own Chestnut Grove or Loyalville Church as we now know it.
The leader of the 1889 Methodist Class at Chestnut Grove was Silas C. Ide and the roles show a class of 58 members.
The four churches in the Maple Grove Charge had a membership role of 200 in 1906 under the leadership of Reverend Barton L. Lyon. Pastor Lyon received a salary of $500.00 per year.
In 1917, Reverend Mark Dauber was able to purchase a piano for each of the four churches. The total cost was $450.00.
An electric light power plant was installed in 1919 in Chestnut Grove Church. That plant failed and was replaced the following year.
The first wedding solemnized in the Loyalville Church was Pear Baer and Gilbert Ide on September 21st, 1930. Reverend R. L. Cornell performed the ceremony.
Aubrey Williams was authorized to dismantle the horse sheds on September 8th, 1937 by Trustees of the Church and to construct a storage shed from two of the sections. The new structure served as a wood shed and storage for blocks of ice buried in sawdust to be used for cooling foods used in church suppers and for making ice cream. While the old ice storage method has given way to freezers and refrigerators, the tradition of making homemade ice cream for Loyalville Church dinners continued on for many years into the future.
During World War II, coal was difficult to obtain due to fuel shortages. LeRoy DeLong supplied a truck load of wood logs to the Maple Grove parsonage and Reverend Walter Forred and his wife cut the wood into stove lengths to be burned in the kitchen stove. The kitchen was the only heated room in the parsonage. Loyalville Church was heated with wood, gathered, hauled and sawed by church members during the same time.
A water well was drilled on January 13, 1949, at Loyalville Church. The well is 230 feet deep and was reported to have a flow rate of 12 gallons per minute. The cost of the project was $960.20.
A new ceiling of Celotex blocks was installed in the Church Sanctuary in April of 1949.
During the ministry of Henry Kiessel from 1947 to 1951, incandescent lights were installed in the Church Sanctuary. The front steps were repaired, and Gilbert Ide installed the handrails. Damaged stained-glass windows were repaired and the interior and exterior of the church and hall were repainted.
On January 22nd, 1953, the church furnace was changed from coal to oil.
On February 9th, 1958, the Loyalville Churched received $167.00 from the sale of the Mooretown Church.
On January 12th, 1965, the Loyalville Church received $217.00 from the disposition of the Meeker Church.
In 1960 Gilbert Ide was awarded a plaque for thirty years of service as Sunday School Superintendent and continued to serve as Superintendent for ten more years.
During the ministry of Reverend Jeffrey Rarich, 1979 - 1985, many improvements were made to the Loyalville Church and Hall.
Under the direction of Michael Del Kanic, the stage in the Hall was lowered and replaced by a modern kitchen. Hot and cold water and indoor restrooms were installed.
Under the direction of Carl Strawser, the roll-up doors were removed and an appropriate wall was erected. The entire interior of the Hall was renovated, and modern windows were installed.
The stained-glass windows in the sanctuary were re-leaded and covered with protective storm glass.
Ceiling fans were installed in the Church and Hall.
The exterior of the Church and steeple were renewed by the application of insulated vinyl siding and an aluminum gutter system installed at a cost of $4,620.00.
In later years, an addition to the kitchen was constructed in honor and now in memory of Gilbert Ide.
The front porch and steps were constructed as a Boy Scout Eagle Project by Scott and Betty Sorchek's son Joshua.