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From: "W.F. Stephens" <>
Subject: Re: [S-I] Another Reburial Question
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 2009 11:21:03 -0400
References: <72323199.52761252499374360.JavaMail.root@sz0165a.westchester.pa.mail.comcast.net>
In-Reply-To: <72323199.52761252499374360.JavaMail.root@sz0165a.westchester.pa.mail.comcast.net>


I mean Linda, Merle was my wife's aunt's name.

Woody Stephens
----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2009 8:29 AM
Subject: Re: [S-I] Another Reburial Question


> Hi John,
>
>>I can't figure out why a crossroad community of 250 souls needed two
>>Presbyterian churches anyhow.
>
> Frankly, I 'm surprised they didn't have three. They were missing a
> church, they were. These were:
> 1. the main stream, orthodox church -- descending from the state church of
> Scotland and the larger synods of Ireland. This is a middle of the road
> (well...from the Presbyterian point of view anyway) church, willing to
> co-exist in a world comprised of non-covenanted governments. Often found
> these days with the word "united' in its name.
>
> 2. The Covenators --aka Reformed Presbyterians. A small group with a
> couple starting points who refuse to recognize governments in which the
> head (ie the king) doesn't take an oath to rule under God. Meaning if he
> is a bad boy, God and his righteous people can remove him. Persecuted
> almost out of existence in Scotland due to the threat they posed to a
> succession of governments, they were found mainly in Ireland, where their
> origin is less clear. Most of the Irish were not in Scotland but probably
> first 'joined' in 1644, Monroe's army when the entire Protestant
> population swore the oath to the covenant.
>
> 3. The Seceders -- aka Associated Presbyterians. A later split in Scotland
> from the main church.
>
> In colonial America the RPs and APs were over-represented because they
> left in greater numbers from Ireland. In most places associated, thanks to
> Hanna "The Scotch Irish" with early Presbyterian congregations, there was
> not one group but two or three meeting in the same place -- since there
> were a lot of Irish in those places.
>
> In the US, these groups merged and split many times. Generally 100% would
> not go into a merger so you'd have still two groups. When later on they
> split...you have three: the new splitees, the main group, the old splitted
> remnant. Sometimes the two splitters merged...It's about as easy to sort
> out as a bowl of spagetti.
>
> In 1800 the RPs split over the issue of slavery. They met in a barn in
> Walkill New York, owned by Robert Beatty. There were four ministers in the
> church at the time, three were 'young whippersnappers' from Antrim who
> were full of United Irish and republican sentiments. They voted to not
> allow slave holding. The Rev. Martin disagreed. This split the South
> Carolina church. Many moved west to Ohio. My ancestor moved to PA since he
> was a sibling of the Rev. John Black, who lived in Pittsburgh. He was at
> the time a nationally known figure. Later on the ARP merged with one of
> the branches. These names are 'reused' frequently, so you can't tell what
> their origin was by the used of words like "reformed' or 'associate'. The
> Dutch and Germans also used 'reformed' and sometimes Calvinist
> congregatations merged with Presbyterian to form congregations. The
> Germans also had their splits, sometimes into Calvinist and Lutheran
> groups or over local squabbles we can't understand any more....t!
> hen the smaller groups merged with other congregations, who might not have
> the same ethnic roots. So you get Presbyterian congregations with lots of
> German surnames. Hmmm....you wonder....
>
> Most likely your Covenantors went west or south. There were plenty in what
> is now Allegheny Township and adjoining townships in northern Westmoreland
> Co, also in south eastern Butler and northeast Allegheny (what is now Fox
> Chapel, Sharpsburg area). It was once known as the "Corner of the Elect"
> and greatly scoffed at by the politicians from that den of
> iniquity....Greensburg, who feared coming north dredging for votes.
>
>> Most families in Cowansville just let their Associate Presbyterian
>>ancestors lie and switched to the United Presbyterian Church's graveyard
>>for
>>burials.
>
> Now those were mellow people. It was not uncommon for folk to dig up the
> dead and move them. My ancestors did this after the 1830s split and so did
> a lot of others.
>
> If you studied the history of the churches, at the time the Associates may
> have been coming into union with the UPs, so the old church and its yard
> were redundant. Or there were so few Associates left, that the merger
> occured by default.
>
> It can be difficult to understand the congregational histories because
> these splits are embarrassing. And both sides will claim to be the 'main
> church' afterwards and write their history as if the split never occured.
> Some congregations in this area were in and out of various unions and
> mergers many, many times --and split just as many. You end up taking the
> advice of the Genealogists Who Write The Books: "search all." ..as what
> choice do you have? This area was the center of Presbyterian dissent -- ie
> all the dissenters had at one time congregations here and there were many
> seminaries. Now at least two that I know of. The Campbellites started here
> too. (The RPs have a lot of history of the Campbellites in their library).
>
> There's even a joke. There's a ship wreck and nine men survive: three
> English, three Scots, and three Irish. They make it to an island. The
> three English then build a brewery. The three Scots build a distillery.
> The three Irish build the first, second and third Presbyterian churches.
>
> So most towns around here got three Presbyterian churches....they may have
> different names now, but originally they were the mainstream Presbyterian
> church, the Covies, and the Seceder kirk. Often y ou'll see 'union'
> churches -- these are often unions of two German groups or a Presbyterian
> and a German group...though there are no rules for naming churches. Just
> bewilderment and confusion, around here!
>
> You win big if you can determine your ancestors were fanatical Covies or
> Seceders (or some other smaller breed of dissenting Presbyterian). Esp.
> the Covies were very paranoid due to persecution in Scotland. They
> worshipped in small cells, usually geographically determined, called
> societies. In Ireland these cells were named after the townland they all
> tended to live on. They tended to only trust people in these societies. In
> some in Ireland, the same surname has been stable in it for hundreds of
> years. They tended to migrate together. So you see constellations of the
> same surnames in various places, associated with the RP church. You can
> trace them this way. Which is good, since being paranoid, they are even
> harder to trace than your average ancestor. And they were all rural and
> tended to be poor. So they don't turn up in freemen's lists or deeds. My
> ancestors were RP, so I know their history, but alas, not the Seceders or
> even the main stream kirk.....though the family is U!
> P now and has been for several generations.
>
> You might want to talk to a lawyer about the reburials and perhaps he can
> research current local laws. Not a clue. A zillion laws surrounding
> burials is a new, modern thing. PA has many small municipalities and they
> all got different laws. It's heaven for lawyers here... Reforming state
> and local government are bad thoughts.
>
> Everyone right here in Arnold and New Ken refer to the days when the Mafia
> ran everything as the "good old days". There was no crime...well, other
> than Mafia crime. You could go anywhere anytime without fear of thieves.
> Of course if you accidently witnessed a Mafia hit, you were warned out and
> had to immediately move to Tarentum or Springdale......but the oldesters
> don't recall the downside as the upside was so grand: lots of night life,
> no street crime, and good Italian homemade wine! You would not believe how
> many vineyards there are still here as well as fig trees...trying to
> survive in western PA. They do, due to the microclimate here on the bank
> of the Allegheny.
>
> So I guess the reason we don't appear to be related is your family was
> Associate and we were RPs. That makes sense. Mine were in Butler, just
> north of Freeport, largely buried at Westminister, now UP, once one of
> three RP congregrations formed when my ancestor John Anderson died in
> 1814. They had all met at his house till then. We don't know where he's
> buried. On his land in Washington Twp, no doubt. The three churches are
> now of course at least six due to the 1830s split. Possibly more.
>
> Haven't checked your German lines yet -- might be related on one of
> those......
>
> Linda Merle
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From:
> To:
> Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 6:15:23 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: [S-I] Another Reburial Question
>
> In 1914 the Associate Presbyterian Church in Cowansville, Armstrong County
> burned. The name of the church was Rich Hill, named after the community
> in Armah. The cemetery fell into disuse.
>
> Philip Cowan, a descendent of John Cowan, the pioneer settler, had his
> parents and grandparents reburied in the Presbyterian Church in
> Kittanning,
> Armstrong County. Philip was an elder in the Kittanning church.
>
> Most families in Cowansville just let their Associate Presbyterian
> ancestors lie and switched to the United Presbyterian Church's graveyard
> for
> burials.
>
> I can't figure out why a crossroad community of 250 souls needed two
> Presbyterian churches anyhow.
>
> My cousin is outraged about reburials. Aren't the dead supposed to rest
> in peace? Doesn't the county have to authorize removal of the remains to
> another location? Philip would have removed John's remains if he could
> have,
> but too many descendents objected. He may have been allowed to remove his
> parent's graves because of a road widening project.
>
>
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