Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

Stoddartsville Church

HISTORY OF STODDARTSVILLE CHURCH

Compiled by Rick Bodenschatz | March 2012


Located on the upper banks of the Lehigh River, the Stoddartsville Church was built by John Stoddart in 1820 and was open to all denominations. Stoddart, a Presbyterian, was responsible for the building of Stoddartsville straddling the river in Tobyhanna Township and Buck Township, Luzerne County.

In the years before the building of the church, services held in the community were hosted in homes by the families. Caleb and Robrt Kendall, two local preachers from the state of Delaware, settled here a short time before 1813.

StoddartsvilleSign

In 1813, the Rev. Marmaduke Pearce, the preacher on the Wyoming Circuit, was requested to establish work here. This he did, and Stoddartsville became a regular preaching place on the circuit.

The church was physically built by Lewis Stull and rested on the Buck Township side of the river. It was located on the hill above the cemetery, resting on a knoll above the Maples home. The church was valued at $600

The new church also served the community’s need for education, as it was partitioned and provided one section for use as a school. It has been reported that this was the first school attended by Alfred Kerrick.

Mr. Lewis Stull Sr. served as the first Sunday School superintendent, and Robert Stull was also recorded as a superintendent in 1880. The church may have been referred to as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Peter L. Kinney was an elected trustee, and Mrs. Lewis Stull and Mrs. Henry Stoddart both served long terms as Sunday school superintendents.

In 1875 there was a great forest fire throughout the region, during which much of Stoddartsville suffered its infernal fate. As the community began its rebuilding, the church was rebuilt in 1878, reportedly on the same foundation. John Davy is recorded as being a pastor in 1891.

StoddartsvilleChurch1

Differing writings show the church coming under the Methodist faith as early as the 1850s and as late as 1878. Methodist Charge records show it being organized in 1850. It was eventually designated the Stoddartsville Charge until approximately 1900-1903, when it became known as the Thornhurst Charge.

As the church became less active, services were eventually held only in the summer months. The church was abandoned in 1915, and any church members then joined the Blakeslee Methodist Church.

Being built in Buck Township, Luzerne County, the Stoddartsville Church was located a few hundred yards from Tobyhanna Township, and served the township’s residents. Although it was not the first physical church, it certainly was the first physical church closest to and serving the faith of Tobyhanna Township residents.

StoddartsvillePeterPan

Former Stoddartsville Church, now 'Peter Pan' cottage

The church building has since been converted to a cottage, today known as “Peter Pan.”

Sources:
  • “The History of Luzerne County”
    Historical Recollections Collection
    Blakeslee Methodist Church Program — Sunday, March 10, 1946
    History of the Methodist Church, Page 680
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