Phoenixville (Pennsylvania, USA)
About 1750 the Mennonites who had settled in the vicinity of Phoenixville in Chester County, Pennsylvania, joined in building a union church on the Charlestown road, two miles from Phoenixville. In 1772 the Mennonites built a school and meetinghouse on Main Street in the town, which was later known successively as Buckwalter's and Morgan's Schoolhouse. In 1794 they erected a stone church on the southwest corner of Main and Church streets. Among the ministers who served there were Bishop Matthias Pennypacker and preachers John Buckwalter, Daniel Showalter, George Hellerman, Jacob Haldeman, John Showalter, and Israel Beidler. Beidler went with John Oberholtzer in the schism of 1847, and the congregation died out in the next decade. About 1873 Henry A. Hunsicker, the minister of an independent Mennonite congregation and the first principal of the Freeland Seminary, built a new meetinghouse on the site of the 1794 building in an attempt to establish a new congregation here. He allowed the Lutherans of the city to worship in this building on alternate Sundays. In a few years the Lutherans purchased the meetinghouse, and in 1905 added a Sunday-school annex. They also filled in the cemetery with sufficient soil to bury all but one or two tombstones of the Mennonite cemetery which surrounded the meetinghouse and which contained about one hundred Mennonite graves. According to some authorities there was a meetinghouse on Schuylkill Street be fore 1750.
Wenger, J. C. History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. Telford, Pennsylvania, 1937: 213-15, photograph of the 1794 church following p. 336.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 168. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Wenger, John C. "Phoenixville (Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/phoenixville_pennsylvania_usa.
APA style: Wenger, John C. (1959). Phoenixville (Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/phoenixville_pennsylvania_usa.