Our Heritage: West Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio

This is a brief history of the assemblies gathered unto the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

The first assembly that we know of was in McKeesport in 1876. Little is known about the gathering as no records were kept. There was an assembly in McKeesport in 1908. It continued until 1913, and due to some moving and others passing on to Glory, the remaining few sought fellowship in the Homestead assembly, about eight miles away. Joseph H. Clark and his wife, Margaret, carried on a Sunday School in their home, and Brother Clark carried on cottage meetings every Sunday night in various neighborhood homes. Brother Alexander Wilson was saved through a fellow worker in the mill speaking to him. Brother Wilson knew of the Gospel Halls from an Irish background and came in contact with Joseph Clark who took him to the meeting in Homestead. Soon, some of his family professed salvation, and when baptized, came into fellowship in the Homestead assembly. Brother Wilson started a Sunday School in his basement, and then Bible readings were carried on there, as well as gospel meetings. It was not long until the Christians looked for a building to start an assembly in the McKeesport area. A building was obtained on Soles St. in McKeesport in 1934, and the present assembly continued there for forty-one years. Brother Sam Rea was the first of the Lord’s servants to have gospel meetings at that location. Others of the Lord’s servants who had gospel meetings there were George Winemiller, Albert Klabunda, Fisher Hunter, John Govan, and Robert Crawford. The first conference was in January 1949.

In 1974 a lot was obtained for a new hall. Brother Murray McLeod drew up the plans, and the new building was erected in the present location. We have experienced blessing, and at present there are sixty-one in fellowship. “Ebenezer, hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

We do not have much history for the East Pittsburgh assembly. On October 1914, a building was purchased at 817 Main St. in East Pittsburgh where the assembly remains to this day. William Greer, John Jackson, Samuel J. Hamilton, Frank MacNab, and Hugh L. Donnachie were the Trustees at that time. The assembly continues in the same location with very few in fellowship. William O’Neil was a faithful brother there for many years. He went to be with the Lord from the Longport Home.

Indiana, Pa.

No record of the actual be ginning of the assembly in Indiana was available. In 1912 a few Christians met in a room at 526 Philadelphia Street. The correspondent was Lott Frederick. Brethren W. B. Johnson and David Roy had a tent there in 1912. Meetings were well attended, and at childrens meetings there were about 60 attending. In 1913, Roy and David McClintock had well attended meetings in Indiana. There was an assembly in Punxatawney in the early nineteen hundreds. It continues now as a Chapel. James Walter lived in Knoxville and walked sixteen miles to the assembly in Punsxutawney. Brother Roy spent much time there preaching the gospel.

There was an assembly in Everett, Pa. It gathered in the home of Mrs. Henry Ritchey in 1920. William Armstrong and George Winemiller preached the gospel there and souls were saved. The assembly ceased in the eighties.

The first gathering of Christians in the Donora, Pa. area was in the home of William Kittie who was saved in Scotland. He worked in the zinc works in Donora. His son Albert carried on later in a rented hall. There were a number of Scottish families who came over and had assembly connections in Scotland: the Swaneys, the Grants, the Todds, and Andrew Craig. The Todds were saved in 1926 when James Waugh had a series of gospel meetings there. In 1930 Stanley Bell was saved. In 1937 George Gould had meetings. In 1938 Henry Todd was saved. Robert McCracken had an extended series of gospel meetings and nearly fifty souls professed. In 1944 they bought a Baptist Church building and were there for about 35 years before moving to the present location. The assembly goes on well, although the numbers have dropped considerably. Mr. Roth Perlinger is the correspondent there at the present time. His wife Jane is from the Toronto, Ohio assembly.

The assembly in Toronto, Ohio was started before the turn of the century as far as we can learn. William Firm and his wife were saved in 1887. They began to have meetings in their home. John and Will Firm met for the breaking of bread in 1890. Win. J. McCandless and his brother Tom came over from Ireland on their way to Chicago and ran out of money, so they went to work in a sewer pipe factory in the Toronto area. They began to preach the gospel from flat railroad cars. They were told of two men preaching the gospel in a tent in Pittsburgh. They got in contact with these men, who were Mr. Matthews and Mr. Campbell. Their meetings were not going too well so they decided to go to Ohio for meetings. They brought their tent to Toronto. There were thirteen who professed to be saved at that time. The present assembly was started then with the Gospel Hall being built in 1926. Toronto could always get unsaved to attend gospel meetings. The assembly is much smaller today, but continues on to the Glory of God.

The Steubenville assembly first broke bread in Tom McCandless’ home, where it met for about five years. The present hall was built in 1915. W. B. Johnson had meetings when the hall was built. Mr. Cousley was one of the older saints there at that time. The Firm family has been connected with these meetings down through the years. Steubenville always had a conference over the Christmas Holidays. It was a good sized conference, and many of the Lord’s servants were present. James Elliot was the correspondent there for years. The Steubenville assembly continues on in Scriptural paths today. Their numbers are much smaller, like many of the assemblies in the area.