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History At My Doorstep-MCGuire Chapel, Center Twp

By Genie Walton

Milestones Vol 24. No.2 Spring 1999

I didn't have to go very far to find something of historic interest. I found it almost at my doorstep.

A small lonely cemetery in the woods along Chapel Road, near our home, has stirred my curiosity for sometime. When I learned that there was once a church there too, I was determined to find out more about it. I discovered that the cemetery was started beside McGuire's Chapel of the Methodist Church soon after its founding in the Fall of 1859.

In the year 1828, William Elliot, a Methodist from the State of Ohio, purchased land and moved to Moon Township, in the county of Beaver. Squire Elliot's farm was located three miles South of the Ohio River. Whenever ministers were available, the Methodist Episcopal services were held in Elliot's home. The services were conducted by Rev. Richard Armstrong, Rev. Joshua Monroe and others.

There wasn't any formal organization of the M.E. Church in Moon Township before 1858. Rev. John Murray, of the Bridgewater Church conducted services during the summer months at Davis Schoolhouse, located on the west side of Chapel Road.

On October 1, 1858, following a two day meeting, a class was organized; result of the efforts of Rev. Murray. The work of the church was given to Rev. Latchall McGuire, minister at Shousetown (present-day South Heights). The Shousetown Circuit extended from Middletown (Coraopolis) to Georgetown.

During the summer of 1859 a camp meeting was held on the farm of Carbon Prophater. Mr. Prophater donated one acre of ground and in the fall of the year a 35' x 45' church building was erected on the camp meeting grounds at a cost of $1,000.

The building was dedicated in December, 1859 by Rev. C. A. Holmes, presiding elder in the district, and was called McGuire's Chapel. New members received at camp meeting and during the dedication ceremony enlarged the membership to 100.

By the year 1864 many of the members of the chapel lived in Philiipsburg. The three miles to the chapel was considered too far for the children to walk to Sunday School. A committee was appointed by Rev. J. V. Yarnall, preacher in charge and Dr. William Cox, presiding elder, to begin making plans for the erection of a new church in Phillipsburg. The M.E. Church was organized in 1865 in Phillipsburg and the minister served both the church and the chapel.

The church is still in existence today (in present-day Monaca), but the little McGuire's Chapel burned down in the early years of the 20th Century. All that remains to remind one of the chapel is the little cemetery by the roadside.