Mercer County PAGenWeb

Jefferson Township 

Charleston Methodist Church


A METHODIST SOCIETY was organized in Charleston, Mercer County, in 1840, with eight or ten members. William Miller was appointed leader. A hewed log house was erected about the same time and served as a place of worship until 1850, when a more commodious and convenient edifice took its place.  

The friendly little church at Charleston has been a landmark between Sharon and Mercer for more than a hundred years. Description of the church in old records belonging to some of the members reads:  

The Methodist Church now standing in Charleston, about three miles north of Lakawannock [Lackawannock] Township line, was built in the summer of 1850 by William Glindwell on land deeded by Henry Campbell. Some ten years previous, a hewed log house had been erected near the present site, by the same Society, which consisted at that time of only eight or ten. William Miller was the first class-leader. At the time of the erection of the present building there were 75 members. A grave yard was laid off near the old church about 1840 but the graves have most of them been removed to another cemetery one-and-a-half miles northeast of the village and the lot has been abandoned to the depredations of cattle.”  

Included in the records was interesting description of Charleston and its beginning. It reads:  

“Charleston was originally laid off in lots by Henry Campbell in the winter of 1838, which sold for $25 each. Campbell said that the first purchaser should have the honor of giving the name to the village. Charles Beatty purchased the first lot and the village was named Charleston. The village lies upon the direct road from Mercer to Sharon, which was very extensively traveled previous to the advent of railroads and steam engines ill the county.”

Nothing was done to the old church in the way of remodeling until 1902 when the Ladies’ Aid Society had its own room and kitchen built and the auditorium remodeled and redecorated. About 1940 the out side of the church was covered with asbestos siding. A new electric organ was installed in 1953.

In August 1955 the congregation started work on a project that had been under consideration for two or three years to provide social and recreation rooms. The work on this project was started by excavating a section of ground 12x15 feet to accommodate a furnace and coal room. This was accomplished by removing a section of the foundation wall large enough to  permit working with pick and shovel. As the opening enlarged, tractors, donated by church members and neighbors were used to dig and scrape out the hard-pan material. The excavating was then extended to include the entire area under the church building to the desired floor level. This necessitated removing and resetting the entire hand-hewn stone foundation a section at a time. Locust posts from the church yard were used for floor supports and the ceiling was finished with “homosote” and wood strips. A rustic appearance was maintained by encasing the old hand-hewn in plywood.  

The duct work on the coal furnace was revamped and an additional oil furnace was added to insure a constant heat supply. A water system containing two sinks and a hot water heater was installed. Cooking space for serving dinners was provided by an electric stove and a bottled-gas stove. An electric warming unit was installed for serving. A shuffle board painted on the floor and a ping pong table were provided for recreation.  


The former kitchen on the ground floor was converted into rest rooms and a kindergarten room by tiling the floor and completely re-finishing the walls. The Sunday School room was renovated and a lounge was provided for conference and official meetings. A new Hammond organ was purchased in 1958 to replace the old electric organ.  

The material for this project cost over $3,000. An auction sale was conducted which netted nearly dollars. Contributions made up the balance. All of tile labor was donated by church members and neighbors.  

During this remodeling program the church membership was more active than it had been for several years, which proves that people must work together with a common goal to maintain interest and cooperation. 


It is worthy of note to mention that Mr. Edmond Stewart was a lay leader for more than thirty years. Mr. John Deiger has been a lay leader for the past five or six years [since 1954 or 1955].


Other projects under consideration for the future are: (1) Refinish or replace the church pews; (2) Refinish the floors; (3) Lawn grading and landscaping.    

Mr. Steve Mudrack is the Sunday School superintendent [in 1959]. The enrollment is 130 and the average attendance is about 75. The church enrollment is 145 and the average attendance is about 100.  

The trustees as of June 1, 1959, are:  Heath Miller, Paul Miller, Roy Martin, William Tohey, Orin Porsch, Edmond Stewart, Howard McWhirter, Charles Zanhiser [Zahniser], and John Deiger.   

In the early history of Erie Conference, Charleston was a part of the old Clarksville Circuit. Later the Circuit consisted of Clarksville, New Virginia, Big Bend, and Charleston. In more recent years the charge includes only Clarksville and Charleston.

from 150 Years of Methodism, The Story of the First Methodist Church, Sharon, PA, compiled by Roscoe C. Wilson, 1959.

Return to the main Charleston Methodist Church page