Thursday, May 30, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Shiloh Welsh Congregational Church, 140th Anniversary Keepsake Book

When I was a kid and after the family moved from the little mountain town of Frostburg in Western Maryland to Ohio, we often returned there for a visit to family. Like many others, after the Second World War, Dad took advantage of the booming economy and lost no time bettering our opportunities and fortunes by moving to a more industrial area where the new technology of plastics promised a better tomorrow, for us personally and the world in general.

Mom and Dad's entire family on both sides resided in and around Frostburg and there were plenty of relatives to see and visit. Come here for lunch, go there for dinner, drop in over there too. One of the ways we covered all the bases was for Mom and I to go to church with Grandmother Williams, Mom's mother, Emma.

So here's the situation: by weekday I was a student at the very Roman Catholic St. Wenceslaus school in Maple Heights, Ohio, (a gigantic monstrous brick building attached to the elementary school) but by occasional weekend Sundays I went with Mom and Grandmother Williams to the little white clapboard church with clean lines and just down the street from Grandmother's house. It's the Shiloh Welsh Congregational Church of Frostburg, Maryland.

Let me contrast these two churches for you. The big brick Catholic church was full of large stained glass, plenty of statues of saints, incense enough to choke a tiny first grader, crowded mass full of kids from the first wave of the Baby Boomer generation packing every pew. On the other hand, the Congregational Church was small, quiet, simple, and a place where every one knew everyone else. Everyone. Grandmother liked to show me off, I could tell, and was outfitted by Mom in my best dresses. Oh, did I mention I was the only girl grandchild?

I have warm memories of that little white wooden church on Bowery Street. But it's not there anymore. As I understand, and Aunt Betty would be the one to give you the whole story, it came to the point where it was all but falling apart. The big question was should it be repaired or should a new one be built that would better suit? They built a new one, a nice brick building.

By the time I put two and two together - hey, where did the church go? - the new brick building had been there quite a while. That ever happen to you? A whole entire building goes missing on you?

Last time I went back east to see family I stopped by to visit Aunt Betty as I always do. We have such fun talking about stuff! She gave me this excellent keepsake from the Shiloh Welsh Congregational Church's 140th Anniversary! So on this Treasure Chest Thursday I want to share this book with you. There are a lot of old photos in it, along with photos of the new families who carry on the traditions.

In these pages I find many of the people on our family tree: the Williamses, the Prichards, the Prices, the Harrises, the McCollouhs are all there. Aunt Betty's family back four generation to the very start of the church, and my grandparents, Mom in the choir and her brother my Uncle Camey too who served well as a Trustee.

Cover of the commemorative book.

Historical document with the original cost of the first church building in 1873.

My Grandfather and Grandmother Williams.

The history of the Prichard family in the church from Enoch Prichard who hosted the first meeting of the church in 1869 in his home on Bowery Street, down to Aunt Betty on the right.

The Ladies Aid Society, a big factor in the church and community.

Mom as a young girl in the choir, front row, third from left.

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

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