November 8th, 2007
EPISCOPAL CONGREGATION AT WATSONTOWN
According to The History of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania 1871-1909, Vol. I, by the Reverend Jonathan W. Miller and information gleaned from the existing Milton Parish Records by the Reverend Eugene G. Smith, the following information gives a glimpse of the Episcopal ministry in Watsontown. This ministry of the Episcopal church began on September 8, 1872 when the Reverend George F. Rosenmiller began holding services in Watsontown. He also served Milton and Montoursville where he lived.
This venture in establishing an Episcopal congregation at Watsontown was given the name “The Holy Cross Mission.” Services were held alternate Sunday afternoons. Reverend Rosenmiller continued serving this mission until May 24, 1874. The Reverend B.R. Phelps began at Watsontown on August 23, 1874 but only stayed for six months. After a vacancy of several months the Reverend Charles L. Newbold took charge and served Watsontown and Milton from July 1875 to April 1876. On October 1, 1876, the Reverend Marcellus Karcher began serving Watsontown, Milton and Dewart and continued through December 1877 resigning on January 1, 1878. For one reason or another there were no regular services or active work for the next twelve years.
In June of 1890, Morris W. Christman began serving the Milton Parish and on the Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 1890 resumed the work at Watsontown. Mr. Christman was a lay reader living in Milton and started a mission in Lewisburg as well, but that mission was unsuccessful and the Reverend G.R.F. Davis ended the Lewisburg mission in July 1891. During the early years services at Watsontown were held in the Baptist house of worship, for which a rental fee of fifty cents per service was paid. In the year 1891-92 a small building was rented and a Sunday school organized. The services were held every Monday evening and Holy Communion was celebrated the last Sunday of each month. About the year 1892 the name of this mission was changed from “Holy Cross” to “St. Jude’s Church.” Christman was ordained in 1892 and resigned in June 1892. The mission continued vacant until April 1, 1893 when the Reverend John Warnock took charge but only remained a short time leaving sometime later in 1893. He was succeeded by the Reverend George W. Van Fossen who served Milton as well and remained until November 1, 1894 when he withdrew. In 1895 the Reverend Franklin N. Strader began serving Watsontown, Milton and Dewart and resigned in October 1896. After a vacancy of almost three years, the Reverend William E. Kunkel took charge of the work at Watsontown in 1899.
Pastors who have served this congregation have included:
George F. Rosenmiller 1872-1874 John Warnock 1893
B.R. Phelps 1874-1875 George W. Van Fossen, Jr. 1893-1895
Charles L. Newbold 1875-1876 Franklin N. Strader 1895-1896
Marcellus Karcher 1876-1877 William E. Kunkel 1899
Morris W. Christman 1890-1892
[History of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania 1871-909, Vol I by the Reverend Jonathan W. Miller, 1909, pges 663-664. The Milton Standard, 75th Diamond Jubilee Edition, February 6, 1965, sec. 7, pg 10.]
Last Modified: 08.25.11