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The Central Pennsylvania Methodist Conference     continued

Immediately after these matters were disposed of Conference adjourned and the respective committee as once began their labors. Speculation varies as to how long it will take them to conclude, some placing it as high as two weeks.

Another exciting and unfortunate incident of yesterday was Rev. Moses' accusation of Dr. Hill. He arose in Conference and said that Hill had accused him of promoting the "Swallow Peace Conference" and when he denied having ulterior motives in his connection with the committee, Dr. Hill called him a "liar and a dirty underling." Rev. Moses told his story with tears in his eyes and while some of the ministers were inclined to think it was a bit of grand-stand work to affect the Hill trial, Dr. Hill did not deny  the accusations in tote. 

Consequently there was another committee appointed to pour oil on their troubled waters so if there is a quorum left Conference will continue regular session this morning all bellicose factions relegated to the council chamber and other private committee meeting places.


Whatever may be their feelings for each other the ministers are pleased with Bellefonte, as is evidenced in their hearty adoption of the following resolution presented by Dr. W. W. Evans on the first day:

In an much as our Conference is now for the third time the guests of the people of Bellefonte, and in as much, also, as the cordial invitation to accept the delightful hospitality, which, was have in the past so thoroughly enjoyed, came to us at a time when epidemic sickness seemed to require that our sessions be held elsewhere than the place selected therefor one year ago; there fore:

Resolved, That we the members of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church in conference assembled, have unfeigned pleasure in expressing our warmest gratitude to the pastor, W. P Shriner, D. D., the officiary and congregation of our church in this beautiful city, to those of other churches therein, and to the community at large and that we hereby express, as our ardent hope that our presence may in some measure be made a blessing to the cause of our Common Master. In their midst and to them and their homes.

W. W. Evans,
K. H. Yocum,
J. H. Black,
E. M. Stevens,
J. E. Bell

Democratic Watchman April 4 1902, page 8


"It is now within a very few weeks, the heavens will again be lighted by the glare of molten metal belching from the old Valentine furnace, wheels will start revolving again and that great industrial heart will throb with an activity never before known in its history.

Since the old charcoal furnace passed out of existence that valuable property has had an eventful history. Capitalized once at $650,000, and paying dividends, it has gone through various stages of prosperity and depression, making and wasting fortunes, until it was finally bought at sheriff's sale by the Commonwealth Trust Co. of Harrisburg for the sum of $86,000. The old Valentine charcoal furnace brought and amassed wealth in this community for nearly a century, but the modern blast giant that reared its towering stacks and ovens on the same site dissipated much of it whether by mismanagement or conditions which no one could control is not a question for discussion here. Suffice it to say that a new lease of life has been given the plant and it is to resume under conditions more favorable than ever before.

The history of the Valentine iron works the Centre Iron Co. and the Empire Steel and Iron Co. operations are alike unimportant at this time, when the new Nittany furnace demands attention.

For several weeks, in fact ever since the property was abandoned by the Empire people, there have been rumors of a sale.  Various interests have been investigating it, but legal questions involving titles, rights, etc. have been so complex as to balk most of them. Not until the recent sheriff's sale, when the Commonwealth Trust Co, bought it for the bond - holders, has everything been cleared up satisfactorily. Negotiations followed more actively and the result has been that the property has passed into entirely new hands.

Again we see the man who has been doing more than any other within the past decade for Bellefonte, J. Wesley Gephart, president of the Bellefonte Furnace Co. and superintendent of the C. R. R. of Pa., at work. Though modestly disclaiming any credit for the new enterprise he directed attention of capitalists to the idle plant here and his experts were called upon to examine the property for report. It was upon their report that it was bought and on Wednesday of last week the conditions were agreed upon - all except the matter of personal property about the works, which is claimed by the American Bonding and Trust Co. of Baltimore, the corporation that once bought the property with the hope of saving something for Robert Valentine. And Wednesday of this week the final papers were signed and work commences on repairs at once. That same evening, L. T. Munson, who will probably be the manager, went hurrying off to Pittsburg to contract for the supply of coke and master mechanic Joe Wise was instructed to put a gang of twenty-five men to work cleaning up at once. They are at it now.

The purchase money stipulated in the contract is $90,000. The new company will be known as The Nittany Iron Company. It will be incorporated and will have offices in Bellefonte and New York. The company is in no way connected with the Bellefonte Furnace Co or the C. R. R. of Pa. though several of its individual members are interested to those two properties.

The plans for operation are already formulated. It will cost possibly $25,000 to put it in working condition. The brick for relining the stack have been ordered and the work will be pushed to an early completion. A new roof will be put on the cast ing house and the lines of the furnace changed to push its output as far above the hundred-ton mark as possible.

Mr. Gephart is in New York now in consultation with others in interest. Before going he stated that the new furnace will probably not be run with the same regularity that the Bellefonte furnace is operated. It will not enjoy the same economic ore and lime stone resources, consequently will be kept in condition at all times to run only on good markets. This is not discouraging in the least, for Mr. Gephart sees three years of activity ahead for the iron business and it is largely on account of this assurance that he has become so interested in this enterprise.

The rumor that all of the ore fields in Nittany valley will be worked by the new company is not correct. In the first place a number of them are so much exhausted that it would not pay to install expensive machinery for the little bit of ore that could be secured and, in the second the new company will - have an unlimited supply from other sources. Nigh and Taylor banks will be worked until they are cleaned up, then the machinery will be moved from them to other places until all of the Nittany fields are worked clear out.  Their output isn't entering into the calculation but as they become the property of the new corporation it is its intention to exhaust them gradually, and effectually.

Mr. Gephart did not care to make public the personnel of the new corporation. It is known, however, that he and F. H. Clemson are two of the parties in interest. In the organization of a working force therefor it is only natural to conclude that Mr. Gephart will be the superintendent while Mr. Clemson will add the supervision of the Nittany fields to his already extensive duties as superintendent of mines in the Scotia region. A charter is to he asked for on April 25th, the applicants being J. W. Gephart, F. H. Clemson, L. T. Munson, Archer Brown and William Sampson."

Keystone Gazette April 4 1902, page 1


Appropriate Services Held There Last Sunday Afternoon.


Many Ministers of the Methodist Conference Take Part In the Exercises Before a Large Audience - The Contract for the Erection of the Building Undertaken and Successfully Carried Out by Isaac Miller - A Credit to All Concerned.

"One of the most imposing structures in Bellefonte is the Petrikin Memorial Hall on High street, one of the most prominent thoroughfares in the town. Early in last September the first pick was struck and another of the old land marks passed out of existence. The foundations of the present building were laid by John Noll and are very substantial. The building is of Mill Hall pressed brick which were laid by Frank Wallace and sons of Milesburg, together with a number of bricklayers from Altoona. The gang was in charge of Lewis Wallace, one of the finest bricklayers to this part of the State. The Lord must have been on the side of the women of the W. C. T. U. in the erection of this building as it rained only a couple of times while the masons and bricklayers were at work and that was hardly enough to prevent them from working. The contract of erecting this beautiful structure was given to Isaac Miller who commenced the carpenter work on the 4th of October. It was to be finished by the first of April, and had it not been for the delay in getting his lumber and doors it would have been finished a month on six weeks sooner than the contract called for. The lumber need was Southern Georgia pine and the workman ship is the very best. The four flats in the building are respectively occupied by Boyd Musser, Willard Hall, M. C. Gephart and Mr. Wilson, the creamery man. Each have six large rooms and a bathroom. The building is heated by steam and lighted by electricity. On the first floor is located the W. C. T. U. meeting room and just opposite are two large rooms which some day will be used as a library, but for the next several years they will be occupied by Dr. D. K. Musser, the dentist.

Sunday afternoon the large audience room or hall was dedicated. The services commenced at 2:30 o'clock, and long before that hour the spacious room was crowded. The opera chairs for the auditorium are here but owing to the fact that the young ladies wanted to hold a fair there the seats were not put in place. The stage for this occasion was decorated with the national colors and beautiful flowers were tastefully arranged about the front and sides.

The meeting was presided over by Rev. J. W. Rue, formerly pastor of the Methodist church here, but now located at Curwensville. A choir of fifty voices rendered some inspiring music. Rev. T. L. Thompkinson of Philipsburg read the Scripture lesson and offered an earnest prayer for the success of the temperance cause and calling down God's blessing upon the noble women who had inspired the beautiful building.

Addresses were delivered by Dr. E. S. Dunham of Cleveland, Ohio; C. W. Burnley of Philadelphia; Rev. Charles Roads, D. D.; Rev. W. A. Carver, Airville, Pa.; Rev. B. C. Connor, Harrisburg; Rev. Horace Lincoln Jacobs, Altoona, and Rev. James Morrow of New York.

The audience was dismissed with the benediction pronounced by Rev. Moses.

Keystone Gazette April 4 1902, page 1

Central Penn'a Conference Concluded



"Last week we gave the proceedings of the Methodist Conference up to going to press Thursday afternoon. Since that time enough has happened to fill every column of the paper this week, but a couple of columns must suffice owing to the limited amount of space. Just after going to press last week Dr. J. Wesley Hill and Rev. William Moses, both ministers located at  tilt, when the former applied uncomplimentary language to the latter. A committee was appoint-ad when Moses admitted that he was wrong as to certain things and Dr. Hill offered an apology and the matter was fixed up.
The reports of the presiding elders of the Conference showed a wonderful growth in Methodism, both financially and spiritually. During the year there were over five thousand conversions. The devotional services of the Conference were conducted by Dr. E. S. Dunham of the Ohio Conference. These devotional meetings proved to be the most wonderful of the kind that have ever taken place in Bellefonte.

Friday morning Bishop Walden addressed the young members of the Conference on the necessity of observing the Methodist order of worship as laid down by the General Conference. This Conference will go into history as one of hardships and trials. First, Dr. Swallow came to Bellefonte with a satchel filled with surcharges against Drs. Hill and Hartzell of Harrisburg and direct charges against Dr. Yocum, presiding elder of the Harrisburg district. In all these cases committees of inquiry were appointed and in the case of Dr. J. Wesley Hill he was acquitted. A surprise was sprung on the floor of the Conference by the statement that Dr. Yocum had brought serious charges against Dr. Swallow.

Friday afternoon an executive session was held in the Methodist church and at 2 o'clock the Woman's Home Missionary meeting was held in the Presbyterian chapel. Mrs. A. W. Black of Harrisburg presided and Mrs. Bishop Walden conducted devotions. Miss Louise Calloway sang a solo. Mrs. T. L. Tomkinson gave a "Review of 12 years' work of the Conference Society." She said: "The work has grown from 7 auxiliaries in 1889 to 45 in 1901, and the contributions from $350 to $2138. Increase in supplies from $489 in 1889 to $1321." Dr. C. Gallagher of Washington, D. C., made an extended address on mission-work in the United States.

At eight o'clock Dr. Pickard delivered his lecture on the "House that Jack Built" to an audience filling every available place in the church. Of the lecture itself nothing need be said. "Jack" was shown to be a master builder, it was one of the most philosophical and humorous ever delivered in Bellefonte.

Friday evening the Dickinson College Alumni Association of the Central Pennsylvania Conference was held at the Bush House. The tables prior to the feast were certainly very beautiful and tastefully arranged by Harry Fenlon and Mrs. Daggett. They were ornamented with lighted wax candles and beautiful flowers. Rev. C. T. Dunning was the presiding officer and Gen. Daniel H. Hastings was the toastmaster. The following toasts were responded to: "The College," Dr. George E. Reed; "Auld Lang Syne," Dr. W M. Frysinger; "Dickinson and the Law," Dr. B. B. Hamlin; "Ministerial Sons of Dickinson," Rev. J. B. Stein; "Daughters of Dickinson," Rev. Morris E. Swartz.

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