Pittsfield - United Methodist Church

Divider Line
Photo (1909) contributed by Nancy Shaner
Divider Line

"The Stained Glass Windows"
Speech of October 27, 2015 to the Madonna Circle Meeting
By Mary Lea Prentice

In 1874, the contract for the present church on this site was as follows:
John Huston, brick and stone - $3,600
A. Johnson, stone work - $754
White and Weller, carpenter, tin and ironwork - $4,875
F. Strubinger, plastering - $350
W.H. Triplet, painting and frescoing - $700
W.H. Wells, stained glass - $475
Total - $10,704

Later, two coal burning floor furnaces were installed for $600. The cornerstone was laid August 5, 1874.

In 1921 four new glass windows were installed. One of these (south, back) was given by T.N. Hall to commemorate the soldiers of WWI. The first Pike County boy killed in WWI was Ralph Thomas. (No information on him.)

Oliver P. Barrett of Chicago dedicated a window in the memory of his mother, Ellen Watson Barrett , who long worshipped in the church. (South middle) Ellen was born January 18, 1835 and died May 22, 1917. She married the Rev. George Barrett. Mrs. Barrett is buried in West Cemetery. I found no record of George Barrett preaching here but before 1835 circuit riders were the preachers in small isolate areas so perhaps he was a circuit rider.

Gus Scanland of New York gave one to the memory of his parents, the first couple married in the church. This window is the north middle side of the sanctuary. His parents, Charles Turner Scanland (1853-1936) and Eliza Jane Simpson Scanland (1857 - 1936) are buried in West Cemetery. They were married on October 11, 1875. Here are pictures of their graves. Mrs. Scanland (the first bride) was President of the Ladies Aid. The ladies furnished the kitchen and dining room to the extent of $1,000 and had pledged $4,200 to buy a new organ.

Two ladies, Miss Lucy A. Williams and Mrs. Lucy D. Wills each gave $4,000 to help build the church. In 1875, Lucy A. Williams purchased a bell weighing 1800 pounds and costing $540.00. The same building and bell are still in use today. A stained glass window in her memory is on the north side of the church. Later Lucy gave an additional $1,000 to be applied towards the church debt. Miss Williams was a single lady. Lucy Williams was a stewardess in 1874 and was removed in 1880. (Sunday school records at that time.)

Lucy G. Wills was married to Dr. F.M. Wills. According to old Sunday school records, Lucy was widowed and received by certification on March 22, 1874. (Alicia has a pitcher that belonged to Mrs. Wills.) The original name for the church was called Methodist Episcopal. The church originally had two steeples and these were removed in 1921. (Picture hanging in the narthex is a picture of the original church with the steeples intact.)

Mrs. Ellen Orr, a long time Sunday school teacher, pledged $6,000 and gave a farm near Perry to the church. When the new hall was added, it was dedicated in her memory and her name, Orr Hall. The farm was later sold for $14,000 and the money was put in a permanent fund - the interest to be used for the upkeep of Orr Hall. This dedication was Sunday, May 28, 1922. Her stained glass window is on the north side of the sanctuary.

Daniel and E.O. Murphy gave a window in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Murphy. This window is on the north side of the sanctuary. James Murphy was born in 1825 or 1826 and died June 1, 1903. His first wife was Amy Willet (11/10/1835-7/15/1913). He may have had a second wife, Della. James was a carpenter and may or may not have worked on this church. He registered for the Civil War and gave his birth date at 1826. (From Anna Mae Dean using an ancestry on-line search.) Letter dismissed James and Amy Murphy January 28, 1883. James Murphy was full membership from July 30, 1876, was received in 1876. He was a sprinkled resident of Pittsfield.

Mr. T.N. Hall, the person who donated the south window in memory of the soldier Boys of World War I, is buried in the West Cemetery in Pittsfield. He was born November 19, 1836 and died August 26, 1926. One source said he was a wealthy Christian individual. The huge Hall tombstone surround the large one indicating the names of the Halls buried there.

I found no information as to who designed or donated the stained glass window in the balcony. The symbol of the pelican in Christian art is ancient, dating back to the second century and is included in the Physiologus, a Christian adaptation of popular animal legends and symbols. The Pelican is used as a symbol of the Eucharist in that it was believed that in times when food was scarce, the Pelican would feed its young by piercing it's own flesh and taking blood from itself to feed it's chicks. This is like Christ offering of Himself on the cross in atonement for our sins. Through his passion and death on the cross we now have the Sacrament of the Eucharist in which the bread and wine are changed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Like the Pelican, Christ's manner of feeding us is through his self sacrificial love.

The window in Orr Hall was made by Cindy Berry Wallace in memory of her mother, Winifred King Berry (Dr. Fred Berry). I contacted Cindy and this is what she emailed to me, dated June 14, 2015.

"Don't laugh, but Mom really disliked the glass that was in the former exterior door in Orr Hall. She was an artist and had an eye for beautiful color and the glass in that window had a lot of olive green, muddy brown and other dark colors. She dearly loved our church. In her Alzheimer's days she was sometimes found in the loft spending time gazing at the windows. Often she would be in the room (don't remember the name -- off the hall that leads from the pulpit area to Orr Hall) deep in thought looking at the picture of Christ that hangs in the wall there. So when she died one of my first thoughts was to do something for the church and I decided to get rid of the window she didn't like. I designed it in league with her deep love of sunshine and the beauty of the outdoor wilderness and her peaceful love of nature. Mother was like a dove in life, so Noah's dove immediately came to mind, Hope this is helpful. Cindy Dawn Wallace, Cincinnati, Ohio

In 1983, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Webel gave money for new glass doors to replace the rotting window doors at the Narthex entrance on Monroe Street. In 1984, a pair of glass doors were installed into the courtyard off the narthex. Ina Dale Willard, a sister of Dorothy Kingery gave a $1,000 bequest for these doors.

In 1985, the installation of stained glass windows in the Chapel began. The subjects were chosen by Dr. Wilkey, art and design by Gunnar Clausen and the transformation from design into stained glass by Gene and Betty Hoover. The designs represent important Christian symbols.
1. Manger and star of Christmas
2. Cross and crown of Easter
3. Pentecost with the descending dove and tongues of flame
4. Baptism with the scallop and water drops, and a chalice for the sacrament of communion.

Sources: Sunday school records from the period as mentioned above.
Centennial History of the Pittsfield United Methodist Church, 1975 by Otilla Dudley
First United Methodist Church 150th Anniversary, 1839 - 1989, compiled by the History Committee of the Church's Sesquicentennial Celebration
Ann Mae Dean who researched names online
Jerry Grimes who helped locate Sunday School records
Ella Tittsworth who helped locate and take pictures of some of the cemetery graves mentioned.