Religious foundations in Cumberland page 3
J. Paynter, Joseph Stone and James Read as preachers, and James Ward as Presiding Elder." (From Scharf's "History of Western Maryland," Volume II, page 1411).
The booklet prepared by the Centre Street Methodist Church, the Rev. Amoss, Pastor, on the occasion of its anniversary in 1946 states that there was a Circuit known as The Cumberland Circuit as early as 1783. Its list of preachers include those mentioned by Scharf together with additional names, between the years of 1782 and 1800. The booklet makes no mention of Phillip Bruce or Bishop Whatcoat. The third paragraph of the history section says: "In 1789 there was built by this Society a one-story frame Methodist Meeting House at Smallwood and Fayette Streets. In it General Light Horse Harry Lee's Chaplain held services for the regiment which had been sent to Western Pennsylvania to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. In December, 1799, appropriate services were held in honor of General George Washington when news of his death reached Cumberland. Unplastered with a plain plank pulpit and backless benches for twenty-seven years the church prospered and grew in grace and numbers." A new church was built on the present site in 1817. It was not until the 11th day of June, 1799, that the congregation actually obtained deed for the lot on Smallwood and Fayette Streets—on which for ten years they had been worshipping in a meeting house. They made their purchase from Thomas Beall of Samuel for the sum of one dollar. Thus the Methodists obtained title of a lot for church purposes without cost, whereas the Catholics and the Lutherans each paid Thomas Beall of Samuel the sum of twenty dollars for their respective lots. Perhaps the real estate on the east side of Wills Creek, the business section, then and now, was more valuable. The west side of Wills Creek early developed as a residential section and by 1815 the lots were obtaining a high price. The Methodist Indenture of June 11, 1799, was made between Thomas Beall of Samuel and the trustees of the congregation. The trustees were Joseph Cresap of Allegany County, Maryland, and John I. Jacob of Hampshire County, West Virginia.
Two years following the formation of Allegany County, Maryland, an Irish priest, the Reverend Dennis Cahill, celebrated Mass in Cumberland. There is recorded that a man by the name of Mattingly was the first Catholic to settle in Allegany County. This was at the time the fort was built. There is sufficient evidence to infer that he together with his family, and others, formed the earliest nucleus of a Catholic community here. Thomas in his "History of Allegany County" says: "The year 1791 is noted in the annals of Cumberland as the one in which the first movement was made looking to the purchase of a lot for a place of worship. The Society known as 'The Roman Catholic Society' through George Payne and Jacob Slagle, trustees, for twenty pounds sterling bought the half of Lot No. 5,
Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms