Family Group Sheet


Notes for Joseph Bennett



Book Pages
A History of the Church of the Brethren
in the Middle District of Pennsylvania

ARTEMAS*

Present Membership, 95.

Probably about the time of the Revolutionary War
Joseph and Rachael Bennett located in Southampton
township, Bedford county (Pa.), and became the first
settlers of the Church of the Brethren in these parts.
Joseph's will, on record in Bedford, has an introduction
" rather lengthy but of a decided religious tone." f
Joseph died in 1815, his wife later. They had two sons,
Robert and John who remained in the county and two

' r To John Bennett the reader is indebted for information given concerning
this congregation,.

t In a letter dated Sept. 10, 1924, John Bennett says: "I went to Bedford and
examined the will of the original Joseph Bennett."

174

in the Middle District of Pennsylvania

who went to the " far west " in Ohio. The children of
Robert Bennett were Sylvanus, Charles, Artemas,
Daniel, Freelove, Celia and Edith, — all of whom except
Artemas and Edith were members of the Church of the
Brethren. What spiritual ministries these early mem-
bers enjoyed is not known but it was meagre at the most.
Sylvanus and his wife Sarah were active in church work
as opportunity permitted as early as 1840, and about 1850
were joined by Abraham Ritchey and his wife Elizabeth
who moved in from Snake Spring Valley. These two
families of members became the nucleus for the church
now occupying the southern part of Bedford and Fulton
Counties to the Maryland lines. This the present terri-
tory of the now known Artemas congregation was a part
of the Snake Spring Valley congregation and by them
known as the Southampton Church, until 1892 when the
name was changed to Artemas. Jacob Steele and Henry
Clapper were among the more frequent ones who came
from the north and preached the Word. In 1851 a love-
feast, probably the first in these parts, was held in Abra-
ham Ritchey's house. On this occasion Abraham Ritchey
and Sylvanus Bennett were called to the ministry. The
latter was very active and extended his efforts into
Fulton and Franklin Counties ; but his labors were ab-
ruptly ended by death in 1855. Abraham Ritchey con-
tinued the work with some zeal till 1866 when he and
his family moved to Illinois. Through this removal but
seven members were left and the ministry of the Word
ceased among them for a season. Then an occasional
visit was made by such brethren as Andrew Snowberger,
Leonard Furry, Samuel A. Moore, Henry Clapper, Henry
Hershberger and others. On one such trip Leonard
Furry, probably in 1872, induced Israel M. Bennett to
subscribe for The Pilgrim, Its messages had a strong in-
fluence in leading him to unite with the church and to his
death he was an ardent reader of the Church's literature.
In June, 1874 Israel M. Bennett and his son John, the
latter now residing at Artemas, united with the church.
Meetings became more frequent, interest was aroused
and members were steadily added to the little group of
believers. The second lovefeast was held in Israel M.
Bennett's barn in June, 1876. At this meeting he and

175

A History of the Church of the Brethren

Zachariah A. Shaffer were made deacons while the son,
John Bennett, was called to the ministry.

From the home, to the school house called " Forks of
the Creek' at Artemas, the place of worship was shifted,
Through some prejudice later, the school building was
denied the members and this started an agitation for a
house of worship. In 1879 their longings were gratified
when, in October, the members and friends of the com-
munity gathered to dedicate the first church house of

The Artemas Church.

the Brethren in these parts, located at Artemas.* The
minutes of a meeting of the congregation in the Snake
Spring house, October 25, 1879, runs thus : " South-
ampton lovefeast granted in two weeks from next Friday
at 10 o'colck." This means that on Friday, November
14, 1879 the first lovefeast in the new church and in this
part of the country was held.

Jacob Koontz being present, on July 31, 1897, the mem-
bers of this section were organized into a separate con-
gregation and took the name of Artemas. The charter
members were: Minister, John Bennett; Deacons, Peter
Malotte and Albert Deneen ; Lay-members, Susannah
Bennett, Charlotte Roberts, Espy J. Bennett, Annie C.

* See under Snake Spring congregation for fuller account of this house.

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in the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Bennett, Eliza J. Diehl, Jacob Kern and wife Phoebe,
Abraham B. Bennett and wife Alcinda, Nancy L. Ben-
nett, Edith B. Bennett, Jacob H. Lashley and wife Nancy,
and possibly a few others. Organization : Jacob Koontz,
elder; Nancy Lashley, secretary; Edith B. Bennett,
treasurer.

All went well for nearly a decade when a reverse came
that tried the metal of the little group of believers. The
season was very dry in 1908, and from a threshing engine
operating about 100 feet away the wind carried a spark
to the church roof on June 27, and it was burned to the
ground. They decided to rebuild, — what else could they
do since they enjoyed fellowship in the church so much?
Building committee: Espy J. Bennett, William H.
Sowers, Jacob H. Lashley, David Bowman, Edgar J.
Bennett and John Bennett. A new house on the old
foundation was dedicated, September 12, 1909 ; William J.
Siwigart conducted the dedicatory service, using for his
text, Rev. 22 : 9.
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