EARLY RELIGIOUS LIFE IN MERIDALE.
On July 29, 1979, my father, John Adam Gibson wrote the following to the parishioners of the Meridale Presbyterian Church. My father died in 1984 in his ninety-second year. He was 86 at the time of this letter. He left Delhi to go to Syracuse University where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. He served in the United States Navy during World War I and eventually settled in Philadelphia, PA. --Catherine Gibson Havemeier, Lancaster, PA, January 29, 1999
It was with great happiness that I received word of the service to be held on August 5 to dedicate the new kitchen in honor of my parents. John W. and Sara Katherine Sutherland Gibson. My late sister Marion would be very pleased.
There is nothing that would give me more pleasure than to be with you to share in this joyful occasion. Although I am well, I can no longer travel long distances. Let me assure that my daughter, Catherine and I are with you in spirit.
My father, my Uncle John Sutherland, Delos Mackey,and the Bisbee family, as well as many others, were instrumental in raising the funds that made the building of the cburch a reality.
As many of you may know, much of the lumber, as well as the bell, came from the old Presbyterian church on Meredith Square, so, as you can see, the roots of the old church go far back in the history of the county.
Throughout my life the Meridale church has been a symbol of a very special way of life, and the remarkable people who have worshipped there have kept the House of God vital and growing even in times when many larger churches have closed their doors.
It is with everlasting credit that you good people are carrying on the work of the Lord in the spirit of our fathers.
The entire Gibson family thanks you and sends our best wishes.
On August 25, 1979, my father, John Adam Gibson, wrote the following in answer to a request from the Meridale Church for reminiscences:
The first Presbyterian church that I remember was the one at Meredith Square. I do not know when it was founded, but it was old in my childhood. I have a book of Psalms, signed by my mother, (Sara Katherine Sutherland Gibson) dated 1887.
There was a Methodist church in Meridale, located next to our home, which later became the church parsonage. I don't remember what became of the church building.
There was opposition to the building of a new church, both from the Methodists and the people living on the square. Eventually it was overcome and the old church on the square was dismantled, and the Meridale church was started. It is my belief that the desired change in location stemmed from the fact that there were many more Presbyterians in Meridale.
While the church was being, built services were held in Mackey Hall. My father's brother-in-law, Delos Mackey, sold farm machinery from the lower floor. (My father's first wife was Rebecca Mackey, mother of Nelson Gibson and Lula Gibson Slade Reynolds).
The Rev. Frank Cowan, a native of Stamford was the first minister. He was a single man and stayed only a short time. He was followed by the Rev. Mr. Van Mel, the Rev. Mr. Cameron and the Rev. Mr. Wolfe. Many objected to Mr. Wolfe because he smoked a pipe on the street.
There was no Sunday work, except for essential needs. Some of the families would not take their milk to the creamery on Sunday.
Pine Grove Cemetery was owned by my father, John W. Gibson. It was incorporated when we moved to Delhi.
Meridale was a thriving community at this time. Meridale Farms was a large employer, and added much to the prosperity of the community.