A Glimpse of the Past, by “Pete” Reimold, (written 1992)
I can remember the Church from an early age. In those days there was no special care for children. They stayed with their parents whether they liked it or not.
I suppose the physical aspects of the Church should come first. The main church was much as it is today, less Friendship Hall. Some 18 to 20 sheds were across the west side of the lot. The preacher had the first stall, my grandpa number 2, and in order; my Dad, H.G. Quick, Jeff Morrison, G.B. Rueff. From there on I can only remember the last one was Harry Heile. The money for the horse sheds were given by the people who claimed them. The sheds could not be used for anything but Church functions.
The toilet was close to the south side of the first horse stall. It was two and one half holer. Two adult seats and a small seat in the corner for children. This toilet served both sexes. I never heard of any inconveniences.
The entrance to the property was about where Friendship Hall is now. Just north of the entrance, running north and south were two tie rods, commonly called hitching posts. The use of automobiles made the tie rods useless. I don’t remember when they were removed. The parsonage now occupies the north east corner of the lot.
One thing that bothers me is the mixed way my mind works. I think of one thing and then several other things come to mind. I will try to keep on the building.
The original Church was finished in white oak and red oak. The seats were custom-made of clear white oak. It almost killed me when the seats were padded. When the ceiling was insulated it did not seem to effect me too much.
The first big change in the sanctuary came about 1925 or 26. That is when the pulpit and the choir loft was changed. Both were circular or semi-circular. The pulpit was in two levels, with the lower level kneeling height, wide enough for the pastor to walk in front of the people to serve communion. Some would kneel, others would stand. The common cup was used (more later).
The choir loft was also semi-circular with a velvet curtain to shield the seated peoples knees. The loft floor was also in tow levels. A reed organ was placed down front.
Later the pulpit and the choir loft were squared off and a permanent rail or fence as many of the folks called it. James Stoyer and his brother Ralph did the work. The material came from A Wishart and Co., Sharon, PA.
The floors were carpeted for a long time, later the floors were resanded and varnished. Later we have gone through several carpet controversies; all feelings of each have died out.
It would be unfair not to mention the bell. It rang until about the time of World War 1. The bell tower was considered unsafe and unable to stand the vibration of the big bell. Not the tone, but the physical effect of the big bell. The bell had a toll hammer on it and when the member died, the janitor would toll the bell once for each year of the deceased.
Well, the rain has stopped, so I will discuss the basement later.
The stone for the Church came from a stone quarry in West Salem, south of Coal Hill Road. The steps and the side walks were made of sawed flagstone. The stone was hauled from the quarry to the Church site by Frank Hiele and Ed Reimold with team and wagon.
I understand the corner stone was cut by an old Lutheran Dutchman named Zollinger. Even though the “Z” is backwards, I would hate to see it changed.
The basement was a catch-all social room, Sunday School room, furnace and coal room; also a banquet room.
I would like to note here that there was no well on the property, so all water use had to be hauled in mild cans for all dinners and cleaning purposes.
I wish that each of congregation could hear a tape of the chatter in the cellar when the women were getting ready for a chicken supper. This tape would show in a small way how those women got so much done (perfect co-operation).
I guess now is a good a time as any to tell about the lights in the Church. There was a large oil lamp that pulled down on weights and chains in front of the pulpit, one similar in the Sunday School room and several bracket lamps in the sanctuary. Outside there was a large lantern on a post. This lantern was placed near the front sidewalk where people got out of their buggies. The basement was lit by an array of oil lamps. If my memory doesn’t fail me, we got electric around 1925 or 26.
By the way, I would welcome any comments or corrections from reliable sources. Of the remaining who might be able to shed some light are Mildred Ruhlman Diefenderfer, Mary McKnight, Clara Scott, Verna Barlett, Emerson Heile and Mary Houghton. I hope I have not left anyone out.
It seems that a list of ministers should come now. The first that I can remember was John Fisher, then Garner, Herrmann and Harold Ash. This list takes us up to about 1936 or 37. Around 1910 or 11 we had no minister as I am told. I was baptized in 1910 by William Diefenderfer, a local, who was preaching at St. Paul’s in Sharon. I think most everyone can recall the recent ministers.
Here I must say something about J.K. Womer, chorister. He was the father of Mrs. James Morrison, who was organist. He ruled the music like a strict father would rule his family. Many time he would stop the music and make it rendered to his liking. His favorite expression was “sing, if you can’t like a canary, sign like a crow.” He would stand up front and beat out the time during Sunday School and Church.
I remember Harry Heile was Elder. He always helped with communion. Other consistory members that I remember were H.G. Quick, J.B. Rueff, R.C. Heile, Fay Scott, G.J. Reimold. I am sorry to say that I can’t remember the others off-hand.
The Choir, which I thought was very good, was composed of the following members that I remember: Charles Unangst, H.G. Quick, Walter Unangst, William Seidle, Harry Cooper Sr., G.B. Rueff, Mary Heile, Mrs. Breuch, Opal Unangst, Lillian Lock, Anna Stoyer and Mary Unangst. There were others I can’t remember.
Other church standbys that come to my memory are: Sadie Heile, Mr. & Mrs. Harrison Diefenderfer, Grandpa and Grandma Reimold, Philip Lanfred, Fanny Wiand Carrier, James McKinley, Mr. & Mrs. Levi Mowery, Lyman Carrier, Simon Heile, Frank Heile, Mr. & Mrs. Lew Young, The Battingers, George & Jake, Pearl Haun and Ruby Green.
As a note here, Simon Heile was janitor. He fired the furnace and took care of the ventilation. During the service he would walk around and adjust the windows from the top and the bottom. He carried a long pole to adjust the windows from the top. (As a note, we kids were told if we were not good Simon would tap us on the head. This never sounded too pleasant.)
The Sunday School furnished most of the early training of the young people plus interest and relaxation for the older people. Today this seems to be the obligation of Senior Citizens’ Groups. (Don’t get me started on this).
In those days, there were seven classes. The old People, the young married class, the young girls, the young men, the younger girls, the younger boys and the primary.
The primary is my most important memory. Mrs. Zoa Quick was my Aunt and my first teacher. My second teacher was Margaret Diefenderfer, and I remember her most. She was young, pretty, sympathetic and also a good teacher.
Member of the class that I remember are Harold Seidle, Eddie Titus, Fred Young, Ralph Diefenderfer and Haward Scott. The girls were Verna Diefenderfer, Esther Scott and Margaret Seidle. There were others that I can’t recall.
One experience that I will never forget. I was fifteen years old and was elected secretary. I was scared too, well you judge. My Uncle was treasurer. This made my job easier. I held that job for two years. When I went to college I gave the post up. In passing, we has as high as 107 on the roll and the collections ran from $3.50 to $7.00. I remember a Children’s Day collection of $26.00.
The early Church organization was unique. Four charges, Good Hope, Hamburg, Hickory or Dutch Hill and Transfer. I can’t remember how the minister covered those churches in the time allotted. Four sermons a day in the summer and in the winter we had Church every other Sunday (as a note, there were no cars).
I think that Rev. Fisher and maybe Rev. Garner were the last to cover four charges. Good Hope and Hickory Dutch Hill were closed. As usual those members drifted around to other nearby churches. The Lutherans at Good Hope lost the most, they never seem to fit into the Greenville Church Community.