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Data and family stories about persons or families from Little Washington,
Washington County, Pennsylvania.
The Ten Mile Church of the Brethren in
Marianna, Washington Co., PA
And the daughter church, South Pigeon Creek
Dunkard Church (now defunct)
Building a Church from a Long-time-Congregation
By the late 1820s-early 1830s, the Brethren had been sharing worship in each
other's homes for more than 80 years. No records exist for their earliest
preachers, but undoubtedly the well-known Leatherman, Arnold, and Wise and
Shidler preachers were involved in Washington County. The Leathermans,
Arnolds, Wises and Shidler (Shidelers) were some of the very earliest Brethren
to move to the county (before 1750). In the earliest years, the
congregation included roughly 20 x 40 miles, and included part of Greene and
Fayette counties. It is sad that nothing was written of these early
preachers and congregation members, whose faith spurred them to travel sometimes
a great distance to worship and share their faith together in Love Feasts.
For a time the Brethren met at Shider's and later at Martin Spohn's home, which
he had built about 1775 with an open-floor plan on the second story to
accommodate worship services.
In 1832 the members of the Ten Mile Congregation built the brick church
that still stands today on a high hill overlooking Marianna and just a quarter
mile or so from the ruins of the Spohn home. Again no records exist, but
from Church Minutes concerning the second church (South Pigeon Creek Dunkard,
built in 1859-60) show discussions about their plans for a second church
beginning the year before. Therefore, one can assume that similar
discussions started in early 1830-31 (or possibly long before), with the actual
construction beginning possibly in 1831, and the dedication in 1832. There
are no records of membership at this time (or earlier - the earliest Minute Book
starts in 1845). The first record of membership has no beginning
date with the next entry that says only "members before 1838."
According to Mrs. R. Friend, who had personally seen the book, "The 'Church
Book of Names' is a ledger book 14 1/2 inches long and 6 1/4 inches wide, which
lists names of each church member, but with no information other than a check
mark to indicate whether the member, at the time of the writing, was dead, had
removed from the congregation, or had been excommunicated. All names are in long
hand with no indication as to when they were written or by whom, but large
blocks of names appear in a single handwriting, followed by another block in a
different handwriting. The handwriting is obviously very old, and the last
notation was entered Feb. 23, 1901."
First Page - in pencil long hand
|"Organized by Elder HELFT
Jacob GARBER minister
Henry Tanner Minister
Joseph Grable Sr.
Jacob F. Spohn
|John Miller, Sr.
John Miller, Jr.
Robert Guttery and
Second page and following pages in ink long hand
"Members received prior to the year 1838"
John Spohn, Sen. Elder
Barbary Grabill Pigeon Creek
David Wise Sen
George Wise Sen
----- Allens [note: no first name]
Susannah D. Camp
Members received in 1838
Elisabeth Shidler withdrew
George B. Shidler " "
[This is not the complete list of the Book of Names. The
book lists the membership from 'a recent time before 1838' up to Feb. 23, 1901.
Although these early entries don't reflect it, many of these men were also
preachers or deacons in the church. It seems to me that names in the list
may be husband, with wife listed below the husband - instead of left to right --
but this is not proven. For examples: John Anthony and Elisabeth __
Anthony were married; Mathias and Rachel (Wise) Tombaugh were married.]
From the Church Minutes which start much later, we see the life within a normal
Brethren community. They dealt with issues of faith and community.
As in other congregations, "committees" on two or three were elected
to counsel individuals believed to not be living the in accordance with Brethren
ways. Otherwise, the congregation members worked and lived as they had for
numerous years, as peaceful farmers, blacksmiths, millers and weavers.
Many years later, the church was concerned with accommodating members in the
"North part" of Ten Mile Creek area, which is along the branch known
South Pigeon Creek. (A bit confusing but factual.) The Minutes show
discussion about building a second church for these members, which was completed
in the fall of 1860 in what is now North Bethlehem Township, Washington Co., PA.
The church, a 40 foot by 60 foot frame structure, was built by the members of
the Ten Mile Church of the Brethren in West Bethlehem Township to accommodate
its Brethren members living north of the National Pike (now Highway 40) as
indicated by an entry on page 12 of their minute book, made prior to 1850 but
exact date unknown: "The church decides that a tax shall be laid on all the
members of the church, in proportion to each one's valuation, sufficient to
cancel the acreage on the Pigeon Creek Meeting House, D. Lane, J. G. Grable, and
S. Moore appointed to attend to this business." According to an article
from The Washington, Penna. Daily Reporter newspaper, Thurs., Aug. 9,
1906, p. 6: "Sketch of Ten Mile Brethren Church," by Rev. Virgil C.
Finnell, then-pastor at Ten Mile COB, "Dec. 4, 1854 the members
"decided to meet in social services" and in March, 1859(?), the first
Sunday school in the congregation, was organized. (next paragraph in the
article) The church continued to grow and in the spring of 1859, Brethren John
Leatherman, Daniel Ward and S. W. Tombaugh were elected members of the building
committee for a new church in the north, or Pigeon Creek (e.g. South Pigeon
Creek), end of the congregation. The date of the dedication must have been in
the autumn of the same year and the first communion service to be held in it was
Oct. 20, 1860. Before the passing of another decade their elder, Bro. John Wise,
had moved from the congregation and being without able leadership the work began
to show signs of decay."
The congregation alternated services and council meetings between the two
churches, until a Spring storm caused lightening to hit the frame building (date
not known, but it was shortly before the building was torn down. .
Excerpt of letter (not dated) from Uncle Alvie Z. Lane to his niece Ruth Lane
McGary: "That church picture (*) looks like the one of Pigeon Creek
It had a shingle roof. The foundation I would think it was made of rock and
wood. No trees around it." [See photo of church in links at bottom of
this page" Mabel Ross, deceased, late Secretary at Ten Mile COB,
wrote that the South Pigeon Creek Church and furnishings were sold April 24,
1913 per Minutes Book p. 99, and the building was torn down about 1917. By
then, the congregation had again experienced a decline after Elder John Wise had
moved from the State.
Pigeon Creek Dunkard Church building had originally faced the former Leatherman
Lantern Road, now called Leatherman Bridge Road, but in some long-forgotten
year, the building had been "turned" so that the front faced to the
side (or towards the National Highway/The Pike/Route 40 East). The lot
sits a little over 2 miles from the National Road, where three of the original
cornerstones can still be seen (although covered by thick poison ivy and poison
oak vines!). The church front (facing to the side) opened on a small front
lot that was accessed from the road by a short, sloping, grassy ramp cut through
the stands of trees. My grandmother said they would drive the wagons up
into the lot and park in front of the building, or the hearse-wagon would bring
a body in for the funeral and burial. Those on horse-back would go along
the side of the church (closest to Leatherman Lantern Road) where there was a
Although the church no longer stands, its small cemetery, now known locally as
the Leatherman Cemetery or the Tombaugh Cemetery (which are two prominent
families buried there and who have very visible monuments), is still accessible.
Burials were made in the cemetery along the farthest back fence on the far side
of the church, and behind the building (i.e. on the left side of the lot), many
in unmarked graves. Also among those buried at South Pigeon Creek Dunkard
Cemetery are Reverend Daniel Lane, wife Anna England, and Margaret Hazlett Lane.
The first wife of Elder Samuel Wishert Bail, Maggie Berkley Bail, and Samuel's
siblings who all died at young ages from tuberculosis are buried nearby the Lane
graves. As well, Mary Jane Lane Bail, daughter of Daniel and Anna, is
buried with her husband, Reuben Bail In front of the Lanes, just
beyond a few trees, is John Flowers who died young, the son of Mary and Samuel
Flowers (who we assume are buried there too), and at least 2 or 3 of his
sisters. Directly behind the church, in originally unmarked graves along
the side fence-line, lies James Polk Lane and wife, Jane Catherine Denman Lane;
James P. was one of Daniel Lane's sons (the other, Robert J. Lane, Sr. is buried
in California). In front of James P. and Jane C.'s graves are buried
Jane's brother, George and wife, Laura (unknown maiden name). Other
burials are listed in my second Lane book, The Preacher and His Kids:
Descendants of Reverend Daniel Lane of Washington County Pennsylvania. (Focusing
on the family of Daniel Lane and Anna England Lane; with a short history of
known information of the LANE family in Frederick Co., Md. [until 1809],and in
Washington Co., Pa. [from 1809 on], then spreading across the nation [early
1900's], by Ruth Elizabeth Lane McGary and Judith Ann Florian, With Catherine
Louise Caldwell. (Contact the webmaster
for information about the book.)
Directions: To locate the site of the Pigeon
Creek Dunkard Church Cemetery (Leatherman Cemetery) and former Church, go
east on Highway 40 out of Washington, Pennsylvania . Go past the
Lone Pine crossroad (Highway 519) for exactly 0.95 mile . Turn left
(north) off of Highway 40 and then "jog" right (on the old highway) .
. . turn left (north) at the first road which is Highway 62155 . . . go for 1.1
miles north on Highway 62155. The cemetery is located on the right side of the
road, but it will be necessary to climb up the steep embankment to see the
gravestones that are located at the back of the lot.
OTHER TEN MILE FAMILIES
If your family should be listed here, please email me.
If you have a website for a Ten Mile family, send me the
Below are links that will help you learn more about Washington
County Pennsylvania, the Church of the Brethren, and families of Washington
Church of the Brethren / German Baptist Brethren
(Use browser's "back" button to return after viewing these
|National and District Links
|Ten Mile Church of the Brethren (Marianna) and South Pigeon Creek
Dunkard (north end of the congregation), Washington Co., PA
|National Road - National Pike
You Can Use!
Submit Your Surnames - coming in 2006
Precautions - Avoiding Poison Ivy/Poison Oak
The ancestry of the LANE family were German Baptists,
who adopted the official name of The
Church of the Brethren in the early 1900s. See Families of Ten Mile Church of
(Use browser's "back" button to
return here after viewing the photos.)
(c) Judith Ann Florian
Girard, Ohio 44420
Copyright Notice - Data / info. for individuals and surnames may be
reproduced for personal family histories only, but not for any commercial use or
sale. Please give credit to Judith Florian and Catherine L. Caldwell for
locating newspaper items and original documents. You may use J. Florian's
research conclusions if credit is given. No other data or images may be
reproduced without permission. © 2005-present, Judith Florian, Copyright All
This page was last updated on Monday, July 29, 2013 00:38
|The background was chosen specifically to
emphasize the matriarchal role of women in "the life" of
children and families, and the resilience of all the women of