It appears that the Methodists were the first persuasion to maintain regular worship in what now constitutes Oneida township. At the house of Jacob White, a small class met statedly as early as 1803, which had as its leader Mark Evans, and among its members the White family, Rolland and Griffith Evans, Isaac Greene, and the wife and daughter of a man named Fulton, who lived near the Warm Springs. At long intervals preaching was held at the same place by the ministry of the period. Chief among these was the Rev. Jacob Gruber. He was so highly esteemed by the people of the county that a brief sketch of his life will be read with interest. Jacob Gruber was born in Lancaster County, PA, February 3, 1778, of German parents, belonging to the Lutheran Church. At the age of fifteen years, he was converted while attending Methodist meetings, and much against the will of his parents, joined the Methodist Church. On account of this act, he was forced to leave his home, but a reconciliation enabled him to return and worship according to his preference. But he manifested so much zeal in the spiritual welfare of his neighbors that he was the second time compelled to leave home, being about this time twenty-one years of age. Not knowing what to do, he started on foot for Lancaster City, and on the way met a Methodist minister, who urged him to begin preaching at once by filling a vacancy on a certain circuit. He spent all the money he had and started to the field of labor which had been pointed out to him. The following year, he was regularly received by the Philadelphia Conference, and his appointments extended through the State from New Jersey to West Virginia, and covering more than that entire breadth from north to south.
As a circuit minister, he served 32 years, and although opposed to station-work, he filled acceptably for 7 years appointments in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. He was somewhat eccentric in manner, but was nevertheless a devoted, useful minister, winning the highest esteem from his colleagues, one of whom said, "A more honest man never lived, a braver soldier of the cross never wielded the sword of the spirit. "As a preacher, he was original; his power of irony, sarcasm, and ridicule were tremendous." He had no children and devised his estate to charitable institutions. He died at Lewistown, PA, May 25, 1850, full of the spirit of the Master whom he had so faithfully served.
Owing to the removal of some of the early members of the Methodist class in Oneida, what interest remained was absorbed by the Manor Hill Church, although meetings were sometimes held in the schoolhouse at Donation. In 1870, money was raised to build a house of worship in the township, and in the fall of the following year, the present church edifice was dedicated by the presiding elder of the district, the Rev. A. W. Clippinger, being the minister in charge of Manor Hill Circuit, to which Donation belonged. The house is a plain but neatly-built frame and cost in the neighborhood of two thousand dollars. It stands on a plot of ground donated by Barton Greene and wife, while the cemetery lot, on the opposite side of the street, was donated by David W. Waldsmith. The first board of trustees was composed of John P. Stewart, David w. Waldsmith, A. P. White, Henry Wilson, Charles Greene, Barton Greene, J.K. Wilson, George Kemberlin, and Elisha Greene. The latter still serves as trustee and is also the leader of the membership here, about thirty in all. (Africa History, 1974)
When researching the history of the Donation Church one must include the history of the Manor Hill Charge to which Donation belonged in the early years. Donation was included in the Manor Hill Charge or circuit as early as 1803. Manor Hill was known as Crums Circuit, until 1814 when the name was changed to the Manor Meeting House. In 1839, the name Manor Hill appears and continues to this day.
The churches in Shavers Creek and Stone Creek Valley were served by the ministers of the Huntingdon Circuit until 1853. The Huntingdon Circuit was comprised of 22 preaching places during this time. In 1854, the Manor Hill charge was connected with the Bellefonte District. The appointments were Manor Hill, Ennisville, Greenwood Furnace, Donation, Wesley Chapel, Mooresville, Alexandria, Petersburg, Barre Forge, and Monroe Furnace. Then, in the Spring of 1857, the East Baltimore Conference was formed and the parish was placed in the Juniata District.
The Ennisville Circuit was formed in 1872 consisting of the Ennisville, Greenwood Furnace, Steffy's School House, Slate Hill in Jackson Township and Wesley Chapel in Miller Township. In 1881, the Manor Hill Circuit was reduced to four churches, consisting of Manor Hill, Mooresville, Donation, and Fairfield known as Cottage. Donation continued to be part of the Manor Hill charge until approximately 1930 to 1935 when Rev. J. G. Rigby was the Pastor. One source of information has Rev. Omer B. Poulson as the Pastor from 1925 to 1936 so it is included. He was the Pastor at 15th Street at that time. While researching the history of the Donation United Methodist Church, it was discovered in the Newspaper Archives of The Daily News that Rev. Max T. Hall was pastor of Donation during his appointment to the Manor Hill Charge from 1927 to 1929. Rev. O. B. Poulson was named as pastor in a July 30, 1931, news item in The Daily News. It also states the time for Sunday school as 1:30 p.m. and worship service as 2:30 p.m. It is the general consensus that Donation was removed from the Manor Hill Circuit and the 15th Street and Donation charge established in the years 1930 to 1935. Manor Hill charge today consists of the following churches, Manor Hill, Mooresville, Ennisville, and Wesley Chapel. The 15th Street and Donation Churches continue to be a charge today.
In 1953, the church was wired for electricity and a furnace was installed in the basement. The furnace was a result of hard work of the members to raise the money. John Beaver and Earl Grove furnished material and labor for the lights. The lighting fixtures were donated by the 15th Street Methodist Church.
The church building sustained $3,500 damage by a fire on January 23, 1955. The fire was caused by a malfunction of the furnace. The floor directly above the furnace was burned through and the first two pews were damaged. The damage is still evident today on the hand-hewn logs and flooring in the basement ceiling. The entire sanctuary was remodeled at that time by James Glenny. The exterior of the church was also given a new coat of white paint during the remodeling. The church was reopened at a special service on April 24, 1955, at 7:30 p.m. The Rev. Max hall, former pastor was the main speaker for the event. Rev. Rollin H. Taylor was the current pastor of Donation and 15th Street Charge. The worship services were held in the former Donation Grange Hall during the time of remodeling.
The Centennial celebration of the church was held on Saturday, August 28 and Sunday, August 29, 1971. The current pastor was Rev. Rayvon Hilliard. The Rev. Reide Bingaman was the guest speaker for the service on Sunday morning and the evening service was led by the Gloryland Quartet. The renovation of the church at that time included, installation of interior carpet, addition of a vestibule, creation and enlargement of the basement area, and the completion of all the interior work. The board of trustees at the time was comprised of Miss Josephine Miller, Wallace Blair, Henry Hawn, James Glenny, Robert Margritz, Earl Knode, John Grove, Mrs. Margaret Hilling, and Mrs. Margaret Ferrenberg.
The following improvements to the building and major points of interest were recorded:
1966-72: Altar flower vases - Josephine Wilson Wagner Memorial by the Robert Eldelbute Family
1971: Basement enlarged and vestibule added
1976: Baptismal Font - Edna Glenny Memorial by the congregation
1982: New roof and ceiling fans installed
1985: August - Church pictorial directory
1985: December - Well drilled by Don Graham, 205' deep
1986: Basement completely renovated and bathrooms installed by members of the church
1989: Painting of "Good Shepherd," by Phyllis Ferrenberg
1994: Painting of "Ascension" by Phyllis Ferrenberg
1994: Wilmer Richardson Bequest
1994: October - New spouting, foundation work, roof had to be reinforced due to heavy snow storms. Work performed by Rex Smith Construction.
1994: November - Entire exterior of church painted by Rory Peachy
1996: March - Altar table, cross, vases, candles, and paraments dedicated to the glory of God in memory for the following persons:
Leroy Ewing, Jr.
W. Earl Grove
The Donation United Methodist Church celebrated its 125th anniversary on Sunday, November 3, 1996, at 2:30 p.m. Members and guests were greeted by the pastor, Rev. David Dearing. Rev. Dearing's message for the anniversary service was, "Trusted With The Word." He introduced Brady Smith, chair of the Administrative Council, who recognized the special guests and shared greetings from those who could not attend. A time of refreshment and fellowship in the basement was enjoyed by all.
1997: January - Sunday School started
1997: April 18 - New furnace installed by D.C. Goodman-Clara Jackson Memorial, $2,187.00
1997: May - Communion Ware - Pauline Ewing Memorial
May - Renovation of bathrooms - John & Helen Hawn and Marietta (Hawn)
Collins Memorial (daughter)
1997: June - New vestibule roof - James Bickle and Paul McCool installed
1999: June - December - New chimney, upgrade electrical in basement, sanctuary ceiling, work performed by Rex Smith Construction, $2,662.00
2000: February 14 - Purchased water cooler from Mineral Springs, $139.20
2000: March - Telephone installed, 667-3119, $110.93
Mailbox erected, R.D. #2, Box 363A
2000: April - October - Trees cut, ramp, sidewalks, front doors, basement door, manhole septic tank, driveway culverts, cost of materials, $3,263.66 - Rex Smith Construction, Stone Valley Construction.
Handrails for ramp and steps, John's Welding, material cost, $287.35
All labor volunteered.
2001: March 21 - Basement floor installed by Blair Mill Outlet, $2,182.18
Jeannie Kyper-Lois McCracken Memorial
2003: January - New vanity and mirror in men's room. Work performed by Harold Hilling and Nevin Bickle.
2003: May 14 - Church roof painted by Peter Daley, $550.00
September 8 - New windows for the church installed by Ray Crownover, $6,088.00.
2004: September - Vinyl siding installed by R.E. Bennett, $8,900.00
2005: February 13 - Chalice-dedicated in memory of Sharon Smith by H. Mack and Phyllis Ferrenberg
2006: April 27 - Storage Barn, 12x16-Ben Lapp, Greenwood Structures, $1,942.50
2007: April 2 - Carpet installed in vestibule, Park Furniture, $1,281.00
2007: May 7-8 - Windows replaced in basement and installed by Ray Crownover, $2,356.00.
2007: June 2 - Five Japanese Spreading Yew Plants, Huntingdon Lawn Care, $110.99
Dedicated in memory of Robert M. Margritz, Jr., by wife, Rhoda Margritz.
Three Japanese Spreading Yew Plants, Huntingdon Lawn Care, $60.00
Dedicated in memory of George Robert McCool, by wife, Joan (Pat) McCool.
2010: March 25 - Twelve tables and chairs, to be used in the basement, were purchased through Sam's Club, $1,869.66.
2010: August 9-10 - Windows installed in the vestibule of the church by Raymond Crownover, $1,950.06. Grab bars were also installed in each of the restrooms at the same time.
2010: August 23-24 - A Radio Shack 40 watt sound system was donated to the Donation Church by Robert and JoAnn Scott.
2011: January 6 - The survey of the Donation Church's property lines was completed by the placement of steel pins in each corner of the property. The survey was performed at no cost to the church by Young's Surveying Inc. of Huntingdon, PA. John Young, owner, is a member of the 15th Street Church. Cement will be poured around the pins in the spring to insure easy identification of the property lines.
2011: February 11 - Thirty more chairs were purchased from Sam's Club at a cost of $589.20. The total cost for all the tables and chairs used in the basement is $2,458.86.
2011: May 30 - The new kitchen cabinets were installed. They were installed by Big Valley Cabinetry, Belleville, PA, at a cost of $3,819.00.
2011: December 22 - A picture of the birth of Christ was donated to the Church by the Bencsik Family: Frank, Cindy, Calvin, and Nate.
The total full membership of the church as of January 1, 2014, is 35 persons. The worship service is held every Sunday morning at 9:15, with Sunday School at 10:00. The Pastor preaches four Sundays a month; on the 3rd Sunday, a lay person is in charge of the services. At this time there is one lay speaker in our church, Debbie Lear.
In previous years, Harold Hilling and L. JoAnn Scott, were also lay speakers.
A few more notes of interest to consider: Donation at one time was called Gwynn Chapel. The original Pulpit Bible was presented to Gwynn Chapel by Meifs. Margaret R. Parker of Richmond, Virginia. The charter for the Epworth League of the Methodist Episcopal Church, dated May 6, 1894 is made out to Donation, Gwynn Chapel The church and cemetery were governed by one body and an old deed book bears the name Gwynn Chapel Cemetery. No one today knows the reason for this name or why it was discontinued. However, during the research, it was noticed that William Gwinn was the pastor in 1871, the year the church was built. The name is not spelled the same but this happened very often in the old days when spelling depended upon he amount of education received.
It should also be noticed some dates and names conflict with the other. It is almost impossible to ascertain which were correct so every item is included in this report. It is very difficult to obtain actual names, dates, and facts from the early days of our church. We have been part of two different districts and two different charges during the life of our church and much has been lost to poor record keeping and time. Anyone with knowledge, history or past records of the church can contact the pastor or secretary of the administrative council of the church.
Pastors who served Donation Methodist Church during the Manor Hill circuit years:
1852: W. Lee Spottswood; H. C. McDaniel, Assistant
1853: Alem Brittian; Thomas D. Gotwalt, Assistant
1854: Elisha Butler; Samuel Creighton, Assistant
1855: J. H. Haughwaut; Wilber F. Watkins, Assistant
1856: J. H. Haughwaut; E. M. Kirby, Assistant
1857: J. A. Melick; J. T. Wilson, Assistant
1858: J. A. Melick; John Clever, Assistant
1859: A. A. Eskridge
1860-61: A. M. Barnitz; James C. Clarke, Assistant
1862: John Moorhead; W. A. Houch, Assistant
1863: John Moorhead; M. L. Smith, Assistant
1864: John Anderson; J. H. McGarrah, Assistant
1865: John Anderson; O.M. Stewart, Assistant
1866-67: John W. DeMoyer; William J. Owen, Assistant
1868: John W. DeMoyer; J. A. Woodcock, Assistant
1869-70: William Gwinn; J. W. Ely, Assistant
1871: William Gwinn; William Screiber, Assistant
1872-74: W. A. Clippinger
1875: David Castleman, Died; Buried in Mooresville Cemetery
1876-67: W. R. Whitney
1878-79: W. M. Meminger
1880: H. M. Ash
1881-82: J. W. Olewine
1883-84: G. A. Singer
1885-86: Henry N. Minnigh
1887: Turman Adams
1888-91: J. R. King
1892-94: A. W. Decker
1895-96: J. C. Brown
1897-99: C. W. Karns
1990-02: L. D. Ott
1903: Walter G. Steele
1904: Charles H. Campbell
1905-06: Marion J. Runyan
1907-09: George M. Shimer
1910-14: Eli E. Sponsler
1915-16: C. B. Littleton
1917-18: B. F. Hilbish
1919-22: Ray H. Fasick
1923-24: J. Arthur Garver
1925-26: L. A. Dodson
1927-29: T. Max Hall
1930-35: Joseph G. Rigby
Pastors who served Donation Methodist Church during 15th Street and Donation charge years:
March 23, 1925(?): Omer B. Poulson
April 1, 1936: George F. Boggs
March 31, 1940: H. W. Glassco
March 31, 1942: J. Frederic Moore
March 31, 1946: R. A. Zimmerman
March 31, 1951: Rollin Taylor
March 31, 1957: Ferdinand Derk
July 1, 1965: Charles H. Ramp
July 1, 1968: C. Rayvon Hilliard
July 1, 1980: Samuel Mohansingh
July 1, 1984: Donald Winstead
July 1, 1990: David Dearing
July 1, 2003: Keith Rockwell
July 1, 2004: Fred E. Hickok
The church thanks Reverend Fred E. Hickok for his 16 years of serving the church. He retired June 2020.
Make a free website with Yola