Mr. Joseph R. Patton, Superintendent of Mines of the St. Marys
Coal Company, came to St. Marys in the fall of 1863. In May of
the following year, he moved his family from Lycoming County to
St. Marys, the first Protestant family to settle in the town,
which was a German Roman Catholic settlement. The very first
Protestant to come to St. Marys was Mrs. Alois Loeffler in 1845,
just a little over two years after the first settlers landed
here on December 8, 1842.
In the summer of 1865, Mr. Patton opened a Sabbath School in the
company carpenter shop for the children of his employees. The
carpenter shop was located on the site of the present building
of Keller Oil, Inc., Texaco oil distributors, Washington Road.
The accommodations were not of the best as the children sat on
planks supported by nail kegs and the teachers sat on kegs
covered with shingles, but the school was a success. The
parents were attracted by the singing of the children, and Mr.
Patton frequently held a service for them after Sunday School
with Scripture reading, hymns, prayers, and the reading of a
On July 7, 1866, the Rev. David Hull visited Mr. Patton, who had
long been his Elder in the Pennsdale Presbyterian Church,
Lycoming County. The next day was Sabbath, July 8, and Rev.
Hull preached the first Protestant sermon ever delivered in St.
Marys, in Mr. Patton's office, from Matthew 12:50, "For
whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the
same is my brother and sister and mother."
Rev. Hull's interest in the little group of believers brought
him back whenever possible to hold religious services with them.
On the third Tuesday in April, 1867, the Presbytery of
Northumberland petitioned for an organization committee to
establish a new church in St. Marys. The Rev. David Hull, Rev.
Sturgis, and Elder Quiggle were appointed to organize the
church. The two clergymen met with applicants in the dining
room of the Alpine House through the courtesy and kindness of
the proprietor, Herman Kretz, on May 26, 1867, and held two
services; Rev. Sturgis preached both sermons. After the sermon,
the Shiloh Presbyterian Church was solemnly organized with 13
members. Most of the members desired to name the church for the
minister who had brought them thus far, but at his earnest
request, it received the name of Shiloh.
Mr. Joseph Patton was elected Elder and Mr. Edward Mitchell,
Deacon. Rev. Hull was authorized by the committee to perform the
services of ordination and installation on the second succeeding
Sabbath when three additional members were received, and Mr.
James Snadden was elected Elder.
Rev. Hull continued to supply religious services and constantly
urged the building of a church. So few were the Protestants in
the town that this seemed almost an impossibility. At last the
present church site was secured and on April 14, 1868, Mr. Hull
brought carpenters from Williamsport to begin building. There
were many hurdles and the work went slowly, and although the
church was ready to shingle by the middle of June, it was the
28th of March, 1869, before the first sermon was preached in the
Sunday School room in the new building. Mr. Hull's text was
from Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out
of it are the issues of life.” On January 30, 1870, the church
was dedicated to the glory of God. This church was used until
our present beautiful stone building was dedicated on December
of our present church was laid on October 10, 1900, after the
old building had been moved to 340 Grant Street where services
continued to be held for three years. The church building was
then sold and used as a laundry, later as a candy factory, and
finally, remodeled into a four-family dwelling, as it is today.
the first pastor, served the little congregation faithfully for
more than two years and was succeeded by Rev. Robert White. In
1880, Rev. S. F. Thompson accepted a call from the church and
remained its pastor for five years. The next pastor was Rev.
David Kennedy, who was privileged to receive a number of persons
into church membership. On November 11, 1892, Rev. J. H.
Graybell assumed the pastorship and faithfully served the
congregation until October 18, 1918, almost twenty-six years.
In 1899, it was deemed expedient to erect a new edifice, as the
old building no longer met the needs of the congregation.
present church is noted for its three huge stained glass windows
in the sanctuary. Each of these windows is 19 feet 4 inches in
height and 13 feet in width. These superb memorial windows were
made from a rare quality of stained glass imported from Belgium.
This extraordinary translucent glass is no longer manufactured
anywhere in the world.
window portrays the return of the prodigal son, in life-size
figures. The east window shows Christ, the Shepherd, in life
size, surrounded by three sheep. In His left hand, He is
holding a shepherd's crook, and with His right hand and arm,
He is holding a small lamb. The south window presents a
life-sized Christ with outstretched arms and hands, as though
blessing the congregation.
was broken for the new Christian Education Center on May 2,
1965. It was built on the site of our former manse. The new
building is a buff colored brick structure in the modern motif
, containing an assembly room with a stage and balcony. There
are classrooms on each side of the assembly room as well as a
pastor's study and secretary's office. The basement floor,
which comes out at street level on the Washington Street side,
contains a large dining room, a large kitchen, and additional
classroom space as well as space for utilities and storage.
original building was constructed, the facade and the panels
on each side of the door on the Diamond Street side were left
plain with the idea that they would be filled in with a
ceramic tile facade. The facade was completed in the fall of
1966. Floodlights were installed so that it can be
illuminated at night.
picture is in a modern motif and thus presents a continuous
challenge for reflection and interpretation. The Christian
theme is shown by the cross being shattered by the light
behind. Different colored figures represent the different
races of man on the way to the cross. The purpose of the
building is expressed in the lower right panel in words taken
from the Bible, Lord, teach us. Go ye…and teach all