|The original UB building erected in 1822 is believed
to be one of first ten churches constructed by UB's in the
entire denomination. It was erected by Phillip Bishop Sr.,
a native of Lancaster County who moved into the area in 1809
and died in 1932. In 1826 he transferred the lot to trustees
Philip Bishop Jr., Christian Bishop, Jacob Bishop and Jacob
Shank "with the church thereon erected and built and
all appurtenances to the said church and lot of ground...
in trust for the use, intent purpose of the United Brethren
in Christ in the United States for ever, for a house and
place of worship for the society aforesaid, yet never-the-less
to be free for any other society of Christians to worship
therein and to hear the word of God preached therein at all
times, when not occupied by the society aforesaid..." There
was also a clause reverting the property to Philip Bishop
if the UB society there ever ceased to meet.
While the church was an extremely strong one for
some fifty years, it began to decline in the 1870's;
possibly in connection with the situation between Rev.
James M. Bishop and Rev. J. Phillip Bishop, two sons
of Philip Bishop Jr. and ministerial sons of the congregation.
The 1886 History of Cumberland and Adams Counties published
by Warner, Beers & Co, includes a biographical sketch
of Levi Bishop, another son of Philip Bishop Jr. which
contains the following revealing statement: "About
this time time the pompous presiding elder of the United
Brethren Church had grown a little too big for his boots,
thought he ought to have entire control of the church
property, and, by his under officials, made demands on
Mr. Bishop for the title papers, which were, however,
refused. Then they resorted to litigation, in which they
failed. Mr. Bishop is at present trustee; holds the title
papers, and will hold them; but since the agitation he,
with his family, have worshiped elsewhere."
Following the 1889 division of the denomination,
both groups continued occupying the building. In the
words of the 1892 UBOC PA Conference journal; "Littlestown
has also been visited during the year. Here some of our
best people reside. The church house is open to orthodox
Christians and consequently can't be closed against us.
Our people for the time being worship with the Liberals,
but continue to adhere to the time-honored principles
of our church. They deserve favorable consideration from
the conference at this time."
The split proved fatal to the already wounded
congregation, and neither the Liberals nor the Radicals
were able to sustain a viable work. By 1900 the Liberals
had abandoned the appointment and the Radicals were meeting
there very irregularly, if at all. At that time John
Amos Bishop Sr., a grandson of Philip Bishop Sr., successfully
petitioned the court to enforce the reversion clause
in the 1826 deed and return the property to the estate
of Philip Bishop Sr. As one of four children of John
Bishop, who was one of nine children of Philip Bishop
Sr. , he requested the court to sell the property and
award him (1/4)x(1/9) = 1/36 of the proceeds. As the
amount of the property involved was not large, and the
complications were enormous, it is possible that the
action was taken out of family jealously and/or the desire
to permanently prevent the Radicals (or the Liberals?)
From using the building.
The original decision, however, was appealed to
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by the building's current
trustee, Laura Bishop, V. Bishop, M.D. Bishop and Cornelius
Wolfort. In the end the original decision was upheld;
although a final partition of the property was not determined
until the August 1923 term of the Court of Common Pleas.
The Church (not the original 1822 building, but a later
one erected on the site) was razed in 1925, a final appraisal
of $8000 for the lot was determined in 1926, and the
property was sold to the neighboring Catholic church.
The place where the UB church stood is now the front
lawn of St. Aloysius School.