St. Paul Church and White School, Lionville, PA History

Taken From The History of St. Paul's United Chruch of Christ125th Anniversary [1838-1963]

Transcribed by Nancy Piper


History of St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Lionville, PA.

Page 7

In the first record book is found a note in the Reverend Jesse B. Knipe's handwriting and signed by him - that he had preached eight years previous to the organization of St. Paul's Church in the White School nearby.

On February 9, 1838, a meeting convened at the home of Peter Stiteler in Uwchlan Township to consider the building of a house of worship. On montion, it was "Resolved, that John Stiteler take the chair and Rev. Frederick Ruthrauff act as secretary. Be it further reseolved that in reliance on the help and favor of the Lord an effort be made to build a Union Church for the use of the Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in the vicinity of the White School House, near Stitcler's Lime Kiln."

"Resolved, that each Congregation keep its own treasury and pay one half of the expenses; all money collected by the Lutherans to go to their treasury and all money collected by the Reformed to go to their treasury; all other money to be equally divided unless otherwise specified."

This union lasted for 14 years until 1852 when the Lutheran Congregation withdrew, selling their interest to the Reformed people for $700 and proceeded to build a church in Lionville, where they still worship.


Various Names of the Congregation

On March 10, 1838, a meeting was held at the home of Peter Acker, it was "Resolved that the contemplated church be called the Lutheran and German Reformed Church of Uwclan."

There is a notation under date of May 28, 1838: "That the name of St. Paul's be added."

The records show that on May 19, 1843, the church was officially incorporated at "German Reformed Congregation of St. Paul's" but on April 24, 1882, the name was changed from "German Reformed" to "Reformed Congregational of St. Paul's".

When the formal merger of the Reformed Church in the United States and the Evangelical Synod of North America took place in 1934, the local church became "St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed Church."

On June 25, 1957, in Cleveland, Ohio, the General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church formed the United Church of Christ, and the local congregation assumed the name of "St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Lionvillle, Pa."


History of the White School
1817-1863

Page 35

The village of Lionville in Uwchlan Township is among the earliest settlements of Chester County dating back to the early 1700's. It was developed by a group of Welsh Friends who called it Ywchlan which signified "Upland."

By the early 1800's the community was thriving with many local businesses such as general stores, inns, livery stables, lime kilns, sawmills, pottery kilns, grist mills, cabinet makers, who were also undertakers, tanneries, a hat factory, tinsmiths, tailor shops, wheelwright and blacksmith shops, watchmakers, harnessmaker, woodcutters and charcoal makers for the kilns, and mining of clay and graphite.

Lionville was formerly known as Welsh Pool and later Red Lion, named from the old Red Lion Inn. As there was another Red Lion in Chester County, the name was changed to Lionville in May 1826 when a post office was established to serve the community with one mail a week on Wednesday.

Uwchlan became the second voting district in Chester County about 1800.

Several private schools existed in the township but were indadequate for the needs of the growing community. In this background, we find a desire prevalent along the residents to establish a public school. In February 1817, several residents subscribed various amounts for this purpose, among these being Kennys, Stitelers, Acres, Harmanns and Cutons.

On March 1, 1817, a meeting was held to appoint managers to superintend the erection of a schoolhouse. Samuel Williamson and Henry Laubaugh were chosen.

Twenty-four perches of land at the intersection of the Red Lion and Yellow Springs Roads were acquired from Peter and Elizabeth Acre "in consideration of the sum of one Spanish mill'd Dollar". The ground was conveyed to "Samuel Williamson, John Laubaugh and Joseph Phillips, trustees appointed by and to act for and on behalf of the subscribers to the said school."

Original data: 150th anniversary of the founding of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania ... September 8, 9 and 10, 1934. unknown: unknown, 1981.

A building twenty feet square was erected on the lot and the White School opened in the fall of 1817. This was the first public school in Uwchlan Township.

The White School served as a meeting place for the Union Sunday School which was established in 1833 until a Union Church was erected across the road from the schoolhouse in 1838.

The oldest known roll book, commencing September 1, 1856, with Abram A. Peters as teacher, contains the following names of pupils: Sarah I. Vickers, Mary Ellen Vickers, and Emmarine Vickers, daughters of Paxson Vickers of "Vickers' Pottery." Others were Mary A. Hartman, Catherine E. Hartman, Rebecca Strickland, Rebecca Woolerton, Harriet Wollerton, Phebe A. Beitler, Emma Lynch, Mary A. Davis, Emma Davis, Eva Ann Kenny, William Woolerton, Henry Beitler, Frances A. Bingaman, Joseph Bingaman, Isaac A. Hartman, James M. Moore, John R. Bingaman, Thomas Jones, Davis Meredith, Henry F. Guss, Mary E. Peterman, George S. Acker (grandson of Peter Acre), William Stiteler, Grace A. Meredith and Frank Miles.

As early as 1856 a Teacher's Association was formed by Abram A. Fetters, who in 1859 mad this notation: "Our association has been successful beyond our expectations and townships where such organizations are not found lose much valuable information." Mr. Fetters installed a large clock on the wall "in order to have time for everything and everything on time." In 1860, he placed curtains at the windows to keep the sun out of the children's eyes." He also purchased a melodeon to further the musical talents of the pupils. Anna Linton (Dinkel) served as organist.

On March 7, 1857, a concert and evening entertainment was given in Lionville Hall, netting $36.27 which was used to purchase books for the school. Other concerts were given for the same purpose.

Mr. Fetters in February of 1861, stated that his pupils could solve all mental arithmetic problems in Stoddard's book. The weather was extremely cold that winter and Anna M. Butler (sister of Congressman Thomas S. Butler) froze her hands while walking home from school.

An educational lecture, delivered by Stanford Culver, Principal of the West Chester High School, was held in the Lutheran Church in Lionville on October 3, 1857. The subject was "Sense and Nonsense in Equilibrio" and an admission fee of one diem was charged. Proceeds were applied to the Library Fund.

The population in this township steadily increased during this era of prosperity and in 1858 the township was divided, with Upper Uwchlan Township being formed.

By 1863, the White School was crowded beyond capacity with an average attendance of about 60 pupils. During that year a new school was erected on a plot of ground obtained from John and Maria Stiteler. The school directors, Samuel Butler, Fred Bingaman Abram Fetters, Jacob Acker and Charles Moore, borrowed $300.00, $100,00 from the I.O.O.F. Lodge, $100.00 from Conrad Davis and $100.00 from

Sarah Hatton with which to build the school. The "new" White School was opened in Septebmer, 1863. On Apirl 6, 1863, the School District of Uwchlan sold to the Reformed Church the site of the "old" White School for $100.00.

A lyceum was held for the first time in the schoolhouse on February 28, 1869. The program consisted of referred questions, dialogues, recitations, select readings and declamations. Twenty-five pupils of Lionville No. 2 attended the lyceum.

About 1874, with Miss Rebecca Gordon as teacher, a school paper was published known as "The White School Gleaner."

On November 26, 1878, the following article appeared in a local newspaper. "White School House, Uwchlan Township was entered and robbed on Saturday or Sunday night last. The thieves entered, it is supposed, by means of opening one of the shutters. Chalk was used very recklessly upon the blackboard and several books were stolen and destroyed, besides a number of trinkets belonging to the teacher and scholars were missing. A reward of $100.00 has been offered fro the arrest and conviction of the parties who have committed depredations on school properties in the district and it is sincerely hoped that the guilty parties may be detected and justice meted out to them to its full extent."

Again on December 3, 1878, appeared: "Yesterday morning as some workman were engaged in threshing out wheat for Dr. Thomas, West of Whiteland Township, they discovered a lot of books in the mow. One of these was a Webster's Unabridged Dictionary in which was written "Glenloch." The remainder bore a printed card on their covers showing that they were the ones stolen some nights ago from the White School House in Uwchlan Township."

During the erection of the new Reformed Church in 1884, services were held in the White School, meeting alternately in the morning and afternoon every other Sunday.

Another newspaper clipping says: "On Friday afternoon, December 19, 1884, while the pupils of White School, Uwchlan, were busy with the lessons, the teacher, Mr. I. F. Snyder, being engaged in hearing a recitation, it was suddenly observed that the house was on fire. The stove-pipe not being properly protected at the ceiling, the woodwork had taken fire and was in a blaze, and in a few minutes longer would, no doubt, have reached the roof. By prompt action of teacher and pupils the fire was finally extinguished which was done by the liberal use of water fortunately at hand.

Arbor Day was observed in a very appropriate manner at the White School on October 29, 1886. The teacher and the pupils planted twelve trees of various kinds and all were dedicated to some prominent person, among the number being Lincoln and Garfield. The directors and several guests were present and hightly enjoyed the exercises, which were of an appropriate and interesting character.

Prior to 1888 the schools were not graded. About that date, under the direction of Samuel B. Linton and Rev. W. F. Rentz, Pastor of the Lionville Lutheran Church, a graded system was introduced, thus enabling pupils to complete books, instead of commencing at the beginning each year.

Sometime in 1894 a handsome flag was presented by Byers Camp No. 897, Jr. O.U.A.M., with an interesting program being rendered by the scholars under the direction of their teacher, Miss Emma D. Trimble. An eloquent address was made by Dr. Granville Prizer and director Joseph B. Morris. Charles C. Moore acted as president of the meeting. Remarks were made by a number of members of the Order, after which the flag was raised.

By this time, transportation of cattle by railroad replaced the driving of cattle over land. Thus, many of the businesses which prospered around this market center for cattle ceased to exist and many people started to move from the community.

Due to the decrease in population within the township, the school directors deemed it advisable to close the White School and transport its pupils by bus to the school in Lionville. Thus after 101 years, the White School was closed in 1918.

The names of pupils appearing on the last roll book for the school were: Catharine Dinkel (Seaboldt), Frances Dinkel (Matthews), Daisy Dinsdale (Brookover), Mabel Gordon (Sinclair), Catharine Marshall, Mildred Peterman (Davis), Alice Rhoades, Mary Rice (Hannum), Mary Yonik, Joseph Dinsdale, Rebecca Dinsdale, Calvin Kirkner, David McCurdy, Paul McCurdy, William Meredith, Edward Draper, Thomas Whitesides and John Woodward.

Some of the other pupils who attended the White School were: Elizabeth Acker (Brosius), Isabel K. Acker, G. Norman Acker, Thomas S. Butler (Congressman), Bertha Coles (Peck), Helen Coles (White), Anna Cooper (Stillwell), Walter Cooper, Roger Cooper, Martha Cooper (Maxton), Eva Cooper (Happersett), Anna Cooper, Helen Cooper (Housworth), Charles W. Davis, Harry G. Davis, Mary Davis (Pierson), Anita Dinkel (Wilson), J. Benton Dinkel, George Dinsdale, James Dinsdale, Joseph Gordon, Abram Gordon, J. Rogers Gordon, Walter Gordon, Jay Gordon, Earl Gordon, Emmet S. Gordon, Grace A. Gordon, Carrie Gordon (Underwood), Blanche Gordon (DuBosq), Katherine Kenny (Prizer), Myrtle Lacy (Snyder), S. Anna Lacy, Anna Linton (Dinkel), Mary Linton (Stiteler), George H. Linton, William B. Linton, Catharine Linton (Cornelius), Jeannette Linton (Albreiht), Emily Linton (Coe), Reba Linton (Schwietzer), George H. Linton, attorney, Jeannette Linton (Shorton), J. Davis March, Florence Miles (Quay), Ira Martin, Esther Peterman (Super), Sarah Peterman, William T. Peterman, Harry Rhodewalt, Sallie Robb, Lydia Rhoades (Wells), M. Erma Sheneman, Charles Sheneman, Anna Sheneman (Lewis), Warren d. D. Smith, Ellwood Snyder, William Snyder, Paul Snyder, Dr. Daniel G. Snyder, Hannah Snyder (Emery), Lizzie Snyder (Powell), Frank Snyder, George S. Snyder, Ella F. Stiteler, Eva Stiteler (Dowlin), Edna Super (Menges), George W. Suger, Ralph Super, Sarah Louisa Vickers (Oberholtzer) poetress, William F. Wilson, S. Heber Wilson, Helen Wilson (Downsing), Clara Wilson (Downing), Esther Wilson (Brown.)

The following teachers are known to have served in the White School: Abram Fetters (who taught winter terms for nine years), Sarah Harry, Aaron B. Davis, M. M. Good, Rebecca Acker, James Moore, Elizabeth Beitler (Smedley), Mary Phipps (Rettew), Isaiah F. Snyder 1856-1860 and 1884-1885, Belle Seatman 1861-1863, Martha Shafer (Harry) 1864-1867, Rebecca Gordon 1871-1874 and 1877-1878, James Krauser 1875-1876, Clara Daman (Stauffer) 1879-1882, Martha Acker, 1886, Emma D. Trimble (Himes) 1887-1897, Naomi Sheneman (Hammond) 1898-1906, Lillie Bicking (Sheneman) and Florence Fitch 1907. Anna M. Krauser 1908-1909, M. Edith Oberholser 1910-1912, Emma F. David (Jones) 1913-1915, Bertha Smedley (Cornwall) 1916 and Elizabeth Chrisman 1917-1918.

Three pupils of the school later taught there: Lizzie Harry (Davis), Lizzie Beitler (Smedley) and Naomi Sheneman (Hammond). They taught in what was called a "Pay School" which was held during the summer months for the little children of the community who could not attend during the winter months. Later these schools were stopped when the school term was extended.

School Directors known to have served on the Board, other than those previously mentioned were: Samuel Butler (father of Congressman Thomas S. Butler), Joseph B. Morris for 47 years (1853-1900), Richard Cornwall for 27 years (1890-1917), Dr. Granville Prizer for 32 years (1883-1915), Fred Bingaman, Jacob Acker, Joseph King, William T. Smedley, Newton Miller, John Culton and William H. Dale. Wayne Smedley, Abram Dinkel and J. Rogers Gordon were serving as directors at the time the White School was closed. (Side note states Ralph D. Essiel and Richard Cornwall also serving).

On Saturday, August 23, 1919, the 102nd Anniversary of the founding of the White School was celebrated, at which time John Bingaman, of West Chester, read a program of an entertainment given in the school in 1858.

On September 12, 1925 another reunion was held in the Sunday School room of the Reformed Church of Lionville at which time a permanent organization was formed with J. Rogers Gordon, President, Warren D. D. Smith, Vice Presidnet, Isable K. Acker, Secretary and Eva J. Smedley, Treasurer.

Reunions were held annually for twenty years, the last one being held on September 9, 1939.

The White School remained vacant until 1922 when it was rented to Dr. and Mrs. Morris Downs to be used as a dwelling. Dr. Downs served as sexton at the St. Paul's Reformed Church.

Numerous other renters followed until July 24, 1948, when the School District of the Township of Uwchlan sold the White School at public auction to Harry F. Taylor, realtor of West Chester, for $5,000. The property changed ownership several times, each owner making various improvements, until it was finally purchased by St. Paul's United Church of Christ on December 11, 1961 from Mr. and Mrs. John G. Leach.

The century old schoolhouse is now an attractive residence and is presently occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Wertz and family, Mrs. Wertz serves as the Church Custodian.


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