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Title: Williamsport Christian Church
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In the year 1828, William Pugh, with his wife and two children, walked from Tennessee to Warren County. One horse carried all their belongings. He brought with him a burning faith in New Testament Christianity. He began to preach in the homes of settlers, and in schoolhouses until in 1830 when a church was built entirely by donated labor. It was located on the Barrens and by 1850 there were 300 members in the congregation. Since travel was a problem in this new and growing country, decentralization seemed the best policy and in 1859 four congregations grew out of it, one was in Pike Township at old West Lebanon. Another was in Washington Township, called the Clear Branch Church, in a building there, until 1868 when the congregation moved to Williamsport, then a growing county seat town. In 1868 James Harvey McBroom ministered there for several years. He was a brother of John Milton McBroom, who preached at Antioch, north of Hillsboro. In 1872 the new Christian Church was dedicated. The church seemed to thrive for a time. Apparently interest died and reorganization became necessary in May, 1888. There were twenty-five charter members and some great revival meetings were held with fifty-one members added.

By 1918 however the church was completely closed. In 1924 Mr. and Mrs. James Graves moved to Williamsport from Hammond and opened the building, and held communion each Lord's day and had Sunday School. In 1925 fifty-eight persons were added to the church during a revival meeting. The church continued to grow slowly under a succession of ministers. In 1928 the Homer Young family came, and in 1932 Richard Moore was called to minister. The modern history and growth of the church began. In 1937 a lot was purchased on third Street with money from "dollar day" contributions that was begun by Homer Young.

In 1938 a handsome young man, just graduated from Butler University, with a light of eagerness in his eyes and anticipation in his heart, walked in our restaurant and introduced himself as the new minister of the Christian Church. I hoped he didn't expect too much as the church was what I called dilapidated. There was just a remnant left of a dying membership. That did not daunt this young man. He planned his first revival meeting. The Revivalist was the smallest man I had ever seen, but he was a powerful man of God. He was a converted Jew and was Spirit-filled. As encouragement to this nice young man, my children and I went to church every night of the revival. On the fifth night, my sons made their decision to serve the Lord. They were two of the first converts to the present Christian Church, prior to building the new Chapel. My husband was a member of the Christian Church. I had been a Methodist all my life at Hillsboro, but we united as a family and became charter members of the present Christian Church.

Such a few families were the beginnings of the church under the ministry of Douglas Dickey, a young man with a dream of building a new church and it spread through the few of us. Other charter members as I remember then (there is no record of their names) were the Fleming, Bertha and two sons; Homer Young and wife, Sue and two sons; Jimmy Graves and wife; Rainey Shannon, his mother and his wife, Edith; Sylvester Brandenburg; and Herbert Morphew, druggist; and Al Wisdom family, new owners of the dime store. I am the only living member of that group. Through Homer Young, the banker, most of us borrowed $500 at a time, paid it off and borrowed more, until we had enough to start building.

On March 22, 1942, the beautiful sanctuary and basement were dedicated with John Booth of Church Extension as "money raiser". The church was packed with townspeople. Many outside the church pledged money and several became new members. I was so proud of this chapel and this minister, whose dream was beginning to unfold beyond imagination.

the first funeral in the chapel was that of Homer Young, who had worked so hard to build it.

In 1950 continued growth resulted in dedication of the Annex, after a great deal of cooperative effort and long hours of devoted labor. Two great evangelistic rallys were held in the park in 1955 and 1956 with combined additions of over 100 people. It was then that work began in earnest on the present building. All facilities for both bible school and worship were outgrown and the Wells Organizations were called in to lead a building fund campaign in November. (Construction was begun in October 1956, following the imaginative and beautiful plans drawn by Harold Young, the son of Homer and Sue Young. The building is unique and original and was Harold's contribution to his home church.

The lives of my family were interwoven in this church. My four children were baptized there. One son and one daughter were married in the old chapel. My youngest daughter's wedding was the first church service. My son's wife and daughter came back here to be baptized, and tow other grandchildren were baptized in the church. One was baptized in Pine Creek by a Christian minister after Doug was gone.

Today the Williamsport Christian Church is the largest church in Warren County and is still expanding under the leadership of Don Williams, who ministers to a capacity filled church that is still growing in the Lord. Congratulations to you for holding high the torch that Doug Dickey, the man with a dream, lighted back in 1938 with the support of a handful of determined Christians.

Date: 8/1/1989
Origin: Good Ol' Days
Author: Lucille Crumley
Record ID: 00000139
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection:
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

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