WEST LIBERTY CHURCH, White Hall, MD
Church established in 1819
Donated by Steve Hartman:
|"History of West Liberty Church" by W. Evans Anderson and the 175th Anniversary of the Church 1769-1944
The first church, a log building with one door and two windows, was erected in the latter part of 1700 and services were held in this building until 1819 when a large brick building was erected. The log church was known as "Meredith's Meeting House." The preacher carried his own Bible and Hymn book and lined out the hymns. It is believed that the building is now a part of the home of Mr. John Brown.
The first church was in existence at least 175 years ago and this is evidenced by the fact that David Gorsuch was born in 1763 and married Rebecca Gorsuch in 1786 and she was born in 1767. The two were consecrated Christians and belonged and attended West Liberty Church when it was know as Meredith's Meeting House. So from this fact the church was in existence for a period as set out above for at least 175 years.
In 1819 the second church was built and on April 29, 1819, John Dunnock deeded a strip of land 16 1/2 feet wide to Thomas Meredith and other trustees of the church. This strip of land led from the church property to a spring at the foot of the hill where the first church stood. It was believed that this spring which supplied the church was the property of the church but a question has arisen as to whether it is on the church property or on the property of G. Elmer Cooper.
On July 30, 1819, Samuel Meredith deeded a tract of land to Thomas Meredith, David Gorsuch, Jacob Rockhold, Edmund Rockhold, David Sampson, Charles Gorsuch and Peter Lesourds as Trustees of West Liberty Church.
This second church was a large brick building with a gallery in the rear for the colored people, many of whom attended the services regularly.
According to gravestones in the cemetery John Dunnock was the first to be buried in the cemetery in 1819 and Micajah Meredith the second in 1822.
There were 182 contributors to the building fund amounting to $1528.82 and the cost of the building amounted to $1528.30 leaving a balance of 52 cents. [contributors listed below]
The church had two entrances, one for the women and the other for the men. Not until in the 1880's were the men and women permitted to sit together. There were rows of pews on either side and a double row in the center, separated by a partition, and two Amen corners. The pulpit was about 4 or 5 feet above the level of the floor, reached by several steps. Heating was by two large stoves, and lighted by kerosene lamps. The janitor provided the minister with a pitcher of water and a glass and during his hour's sermon he drank freely of the water.
Gorsuch Chapel, as a mission of West Liberty, was started in 1860, meeting in a little log house, and in 1862 a neat little brick church was erected at Gorsuch Mills. This church was established for the reason that the distance to West Liberty was too great for the community in and around Gorsuch Mills to walk. On July 27th Rev. J.W. Hedges, then preacher in charge, preached the dedicatory sermon. Rev. Thomas Henderson, a well-known local minister, preached in the afternoon.
The first Sunday School was organized in 1841 and for a number of years only male teachers were permitted to teach, it being thought that women were not competent to instruct youth. One of the by-laws of the West Liberty Sunday School was that a scholar found guilty of swearing or disorderly conduct was immediately expelled. Any one could become a member of the Sunday School by paying the sum of twenty-five cents.
On December 15, 1828, subscriptions for the purpose of purchasing a stove to be placed in the gallery for the colored people [were collected].
Not until 1836 was a record kept of the pastors of the church. Beginning in that year the late Samuel Whitfiled Maryland had such a record and after his death his daughter, Mrs. S. Oscar Almony, has kept the list of pastors up to date.
Up until 1868 West Liberty was in the Shrewsbury Circuit when by action of the General Conference it was separated from that circuit and with other churches was formed the Bently Springs Circuit with the parsonage at that place. Later it changed to the Parkton Circuit and after the merger of the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant and Southern Methodist Churches it was transferred to the Maryland Line Circuit.
Below are names of the contributors [reorganized in alphabetical order]. The contributions were from $100 made by Samuel Meredith, Sr., to 37 1/2 cents, made by "Almony's Ben," a slave. Most contributions were for five dollars and less but some were notable in their amounts: Susannah Gorsuch, $60; Joseph Dunnick, $70 and Thomas Meredith, $83.25; In connection with the subscriptions the trustees at a meeting found that fifteen dollars which had been subscribed had not been paid and these subscriptions were offered for sale to the highest bidder and was purchased by David Gorsuch for fifteen dollars thus completing the full amount subscribed.
Red are surnames found at this site, purple are signers of John Dunnuck's (1819 will)
Highlighting does not identify them as our relative, just notes the common surnames.