Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Connection to The Warrior Run Church

In 2011 we held the Eagle Scout Court Of Honor for our twins Luke and Nate Truckenmiller at the Historic Warrior Run Church, on the same grounds their ancestors donated for the original church in 1789.  Dan opened the ceremony by reading the genealogy connecting our boys to this historic site.  Pictured above - Daniel Truckenmiller, 6th great grandson of Joseph & Margaret Hutchinson

Donation deed dated March 6,_1789; Joseph and Margaret ”Hutchinson” Hutchinson, Warrior Run, Northumberland Co., Pa., present to the Warrior Run Presbyterian Congregation 2 1/2 acres of their property for a church and Graveyard."

This Warrior Run Presbyterian Church and Graveyard became an historical possession the State of Pennsylvania on May 26, 1949 through the efforts `of the D. A. R.

   Joseph Hutchinson b.1740-d.1804 Married Margaret  Shearer b.1741 d.1813
       Mary Hutchinson b.1760 - Married Matthew Hart
          Mary Hart married  John McKean  b.1790 
                Esther McKean b.1826 married David Aunkst b1822
                     John McKean Aunkst  b.1853 married Alice Arney b. 1856
                          Margaret Esther Aunkst b.1879 married Howard Smith b.1876
                               Marian Lucille Smith married Lloyd William Smith
                                    Patsy Ann Smith married Charles Frederick Truckenmiller
                                          Daniel Ward Truckenmiller married (ME) Heather Alice Sulouff

pages 674-677

 Soon after the return of the Warrior Run settlers, they found
that they had no place for public worship. They were largely of
the Presbyterian faith, and believed in providing the means for the
inculcation of religion into the minds of the young as well as old.
The original Warrior Run Church, which had been built on the
bank of the river, where Rev. Fithian preached, July 16, 1775,
although never finished, was burned by the Indians during the
invasion at the time of the Big Runaway.
It having been decided to erect a new building for a place of
public worship, a site was selected on Warrior Run, about four
miles from its mouth, and half a mile from the ruins of Fort
Freeland. A warm friend of the Church now came forward and
donated enough land on which to erect the building; and as this
sacred spot is among the historic landmarks of the valley, a copy
of the original deed * is herewith appended :

Jos. Hutchinson & Unor
Warrior Run Congregation.

This Indenture made this Sixth day of March in the year One thousand Seven
hundred and Eighty Nine Between Jos. Hutchinson and Margaret his wife of Turbutt
Township, Northumberland County, of the one part and the Members of the Warrior
Run Presbyterian Congregation of the other part, Witnesseth — That the above named
Joseph Hutchinson & Margaret his wife out of the regard of the worship of God &
the Establishment of a Christian Society, and other good causes mooving thereto
Doth By these presents Gift grant and give all our right & title of in and to the fol-
lowing part of a Tract of land situate on the watters of Warrior Run in the Town-
ship & County aforesaid Beginning at a post in a line of Thomas DeArmond from
thence West forty perches to a black Oak Grub near a post Corner of said DeArmond
& Messer Kirk thence south ten perches to a thence East forty perches to
a thence North ten perches to the place of Beginning Containing two acres
& a half the above described piece of land is part of a Tract surveyed by virtue of
Edward Rairdons application dated April third in the year 1769 No. 713 on which

*This curious old deed is in the possession of Hiram Dunkle, cashier of the
Farmer’s National Bank, Watsontown, who is the custodian of many of the books
and papers of the Warrior Run Church. It is still in a good state of preservation,
and the writing is in a clear, plain hand.

a warrant & paten issued to Cornelius Atkinson and by said Atkinson sold and
Transferred to George Bereau By Deed poll dated the 22d day of Novr. in the year
1783 and sold and Transferred hy said IJereau to the above named Joseph Hutchinson
By Deed poll dated the ist day of May in the year 1784 Reference Being had to
said Paten and Deed poll will more fully & plainly appear Be it remembered by these
presents that the above mentioned Congregation their heirs successors is to Have and
to Hold the above described premises and every part thereof forever and to occupy
& possess the same Build houses Edifices and erect monuments in Remembrance of
the Dead without hindrance Molestation Or Interruption from the aforesaid Joseph
Hutchinson his heirs Executors administrators or assigns or any person or persons
Claiming or to Claim the whole or any part thereof
And for the better assuring and Confirmation of the above described premises the
above named Joseph Hutchinson and Margaret his wife at any time at the cost and
request of the members of said Congregation or a majority of them make Execute
and acknowledge Or Cause to be done all and every act or deed for the further Con-
firming the same. In Witness whereof the within named parties have hereunto Set
their hand and Seals the day & year first above written.
Joseph Hutchinson. [Seal.]
MARGARET  Hutchinson. [Seal.]
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of
John Lytle.
RoBT. Smith.
This deed was acknowledged on the 6th day of March, A. D.
1789, before VVilham Shaw, one of the justices of Northumberland
County, and it was recorded in Sunbur}’ on the 14th day of June,
1805, in Deed Book N, page 17, the certificate being signed b\-
Jeremiah Simpson, recorder.
The punctuation, spelling and capitalization are as in the original.
Since the above date there have been several additions to the orig-
inal tract purchased from Mr. Hutchinson and the late Thomas
The new Warrior Run Church was a large log structure with
three entrances on the first floor and two by which the gallery
was reached from the outside. The central aisle and the space
before the pulpit was broad, being intended to accommodate the
tables where the communicants .sat. The pulpit was very high,
and over the minister’s head was the sounding board. At the
foot of the pulpit stairs was the clerk’s desk. The gallery ran
around three sides of the building. This house of worship stood
directly in front of the present brick church, which was erected
in 1833.
There are several diagrams of the interior of the old church in
existence, showing the location and number of the pews, with the
names of the occupants and the rent they paid. One of these,
now in the hands of R. H. McCormick, Esq., of Watsontown, is
a quaint and curious document. It is at least 85 years old, and is
endorsed in red ink in bold relief letters, with the price in pounds,
shillings and pence placed opposite the name of each pew-holder,
as follows :


Warrior Run Presbyterian Church
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
Incorporated 20 Apr 1853.
Signed Wm BIGLER, also W.P. SCHELL, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Thomas CARSON, Speaker of the Senate.
In preamble: Resolved -- That in our opinion the office of a minister not being local in its character or confined in the operation of its functions--but as general and universal as the church organization does entitle and especially so the retired or superannuated Pastor of a congregation to the right sepulture in any congregational Cemetery belonging to the church connection to which he adheres and if so the right of his wife and children immediately living in a family capacity under his control and permission would follow as a matter of course.
Resolved--The same privilege be extended by them (the Trustees) to the decendents [sic] of Joseph and Margaret HUTCHINSON. Later June 11th extended to the 4th generation only.
[Excerpt transcribed from The Northumberland County Historical Society, proceedings and addresses, Vol. XI, pub. 1 Oct 1939, pg. 192.]

 Delaware Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
"Warrior Run Presbyterian Church is the oldest denominational organization in the valley of the West Branch. The earliest account extant of this venerable society is that given in the journal of Philip V. Fithian, a licentiate who visited the neighborhood in 1775 under appointment of Donegal Presbytery. He arrived at Warrior run July 12th, and preached on Sunday, the 16th, at a meeting house "on the bank of the river eighteen miles from Northumberland," and "not yet covered." He preached from a wagon, while the people sat around among the bushes. This building was situated in the western part of Delaware township, a short distance south of Watsontown. It was constructed of logs; as a single length would not have given the desired size, another log was added by building up a small square midway of each side; these squares formed alcoves, which were used as closets. Shingles were provided for a roof, also nails, but the roof was never put on.
"In 1789 Joseph Hutchison and Margaret his wife conveyed to the congregation a tract of land, and in 1804, in consideration of three pounds, twenty-five shillings, an additional tract was granted, the deed including also that granted in 1789. In 1811 Thomas De Armond sold for the sum of seventy dollars a strip to the north, and, with the exception of the change effected by a sale of that portion lying beyond the public road, the grounds then took their present shape and dimensions."

[Excerpt transcribed from Bell's History of Northumberland County Pennsylvania, CHAPTER XXXII. DELAWARE TOWNSHIP, page 759-760. Available at ]

History of the Historical Warrior Run Church

The present brick edifice is the third church to bear the name of Warrior Run.  A congregation of Presbyterians met at the mouth of the Warrior Run Creek below Watsontown soon after the area was opened for settlement (1769).  In 1772 a congregation was formed by the Presbytery of Donegal and named the Warrior Run Church.Log Warrior Run Church
Three years later (1775), a circuit rider was sent by the Presbytery into the West Branch Valley to conduct worship services, marriages, and baptisms.  At that time, the “rather large” congregation was in the process of building a log church within what is today the Watsontown Park.  There is a stone monument to Reverend Fithian’s visit to Warrior Run located behind the concession stand.
The Revolutionary War started the year after Rev. Fithian’s visit.  The first Warrior Run Church was burned by the Seneca Indians during the “Great Run-Away” of 1778, following the Wyoming Massacre at Forty-Fort.  All of the people fled down river on foot, or in any conveyance available.  Some stopped at Fort Augusta (Sunbury), but most continued to at least Harris’s Ferry (Harrisburg).  Many never returned.
After the crisis had past, many settlers returned to harvest their crops and rebuild their homes.  In 1779, the Battle of Fort Freeland occurred (1/4 mile from the present church site) and the second “Great Run-Away” followed.  This time the settlers did not return until the Revolutionary War was over (1783).
After their return they rebuilt houses, mills and barns.  By 1789, the Warrior Run congregation had completed a second log church that was much larger than the first.  This church sat in the grove of trees in front of the present structure.  A model of the second Warrior Run Church is provided (one inch to the foot scale).
This second church could hold up to 350 people at a worship service.  There was a center aisle and a balcony that ran around the interior on three sides.  The balcony was accessed from two outside staircases.  Up front was a high cathedral style pulpit.  There was not heat in the building and oil lamps and candles provided the only light.  The congregation walked long distances to attend the services.
Brick Warrior Run ChurchFamilies paid a pew rent and chose a specific pew.  The pews had doors and they were often personalized by the families.  Communion was held once a year.  To participate a member had to be adequately prepared to earn a communion token.  The second Warrior Run Church burned for unknown reasons in 1833.
In 1835, the present brick church was completed.  It was built with bricks fired at the Hower-Slote house (site of Fort Freeland).  The building is of the classical Greek Doric design.  This church has two aisles and seats about 240 people.  The pulpit was lower and the ample windows provided more light than the previous church.
From the construction of the 1789 log church and for fifty years thereafter, the Warrior Run congregation had only one minister.  John Bryson was the top student of the first graduating class of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  He studied several years for the ministry with two Doctors of Divinity, and it was expected that he would find a position in a large urban church.
After graduation he was asked to ride a circuit in the area beyond Montour Ridge, between the West and North branches of the Susquehanna River.  This was to last for a period of six months and then he could return to Carlisle.  Specifically, he was to preach at three churches: the Warrior Run Church, the Chillesquaque Church, and the Mahoning Church.
Warrior Run Church / CemeteryEach Sunday, John Bryson mounted his horse and rode between the churches.  His plans to return south however were changed when he fell in love with a girl from the Warrior Run congregation and married her.  He eventually accepted a call to be the pastor of both the Warrior Run and Chillesquaque churches.
John Bryson and his wife, Jane Montgomery Bryson, served the two churches for half a century, and taught local youth at a classical school on their farm.  When it came time to retire in 1841, John Bryson tried to have his son-in-law elected as the new pastor of Warrior Run, however the congregation chose another.  The Brysons left Warrior Run Church and founded a Presbyterian church in McEwensville.
A succession of ministers served the Warrior Run congregation into the 1950’s.  By 1964, the membership had dwindled to five people and the Warrior Run Church was dropped from the roles of the Presbytery.  Today it is a state and national historic site maintained by volunteers.  It is under the control of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the supervision of the Warrior Run-Fort Freeland Heritage Society.

More of interest - 
Margaret “Hutchinson" Hutchinson,-b. 1741, d. Delaware Twp., 1813, was the sister of Elizabeth`  ”Hutchinson” Jackson, mother of Andrew Jackson; the  granddaughter of Joseph Hutchinson, Sr., whose will was proved at Lancaster Co., Pa., April 1747, whose `wife was Mary …..?

Note that Margaret was a Hutchinson that married a Hutchinson.  Her 4th great grandaughter is then a Smith who married a Smith.  

I'd need a chart to figure out the relationship to Andrew Jackson - it's not a direct line relationship.  

More Notes On David Aunkst - 
David Aunkst, the above eighth child, b, Delaware Twp., Northumberland Co., PA., Dec. 14, 1822 , there May 11, 1890; interred in St. John Union Lutheran and Reformed Church Graveyard, adjoining his farm; married Sept.21,1848, in the house of the bride by Rev. David Hu1l, Presbyterian Pastor, Esther McKean, b. Delaware Twp., June 10, 1826, d. Sept. 25 1915; daughter of John McKean, b.Apri1 25,1790, in Ireland. Feb.21, 1858; interred in Union Baptist Cemetery. Delaware Twp.; and wife Mary Hart, b. larch 25, 1799, Delaware Twp., d. may 15, 1869, daughter of Matthew Hart, b. Ireland, about 1760a Letters of administration on the estate of Matthew Hart issuedto Matthews wife Mary Hart and Robert McKee in Jan. `1825. Matthew Sara married Mary Hutchinsen, b. June 15, 1765 in Dauphin Co Pa  d. ante 1825 in Delaware Twp

David's tombstone is pictured in a separate post on where they all are buried..  that Church and Cemetery are located off Wertman rd - about 5 miles west of the farm where we live now.  The WR church is approximately 2 miles to the East of the farm where we live now.  To the south of us is the Truckenmiller homestead that has been in the family for 7 generations..  Dan (and our children) truly lives in the land of his ancestors, no way around it!    (Dan is the third generation of his family to own this farm)

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