History Burnt Cabins Church
History of Burnt Cabins Presbyterian Church
The name of the Burnt Cabins Church bears the beginning history of the white settlement in the Aughwick Valley, just west of the Tuscarora Mountains. When white settlers arrived here in 1744, it was still officially Indian territory. Contrary to popular belief, the Indians did not burn the settlers out. Rather, they responded to this intrusion in a manner Presbyterians admire. With order and decency, they approached the appropriate authorities and made known their complaint and waited for the due process of the law. The colonial militia drove out the white "squatters" and burned their cabins in 1750. A new agreement made with the Indians on October 23rd, 1758 permitted settlers to legally enter the area.
The first recorded history of Presbyterian preaching in this new settlement-was when Rev. George Duffield visited in 1766. We also know that Rev. David Denny (pastor of Lower and Upper Path Valley Churches from 1794-1800) frequently preached "across the Tuscarora mountain in Aughwick Valley."
The history of the Burnt Cabins Church parallels that of the Lower Path Valley Presbyterian Church. The earliest settlers held their membership drive there. David Walker was the first among this group to serve as elder. The pastors of the Lower and Upper Path Valley Presbyterian Churches preached occasionally at or near Burnt Cabins in 1832, when it was arranged for regular worship services. At that time, Rev. McGinley made the seven mile trip over the mountain on horseback after the morning service at Lower Path Valley Church, and preached at the Cree schoolhouse once a month. On the other weeks the people traveled over the mountain to worship at Lower Path Valley.
The congregation in Burnt Cabins was organized as a particular Presbyterian Church in 1851, the year Rev. McGinley retired. Burnt Cabins then formed a new charge with Lower Path Valley. On Christmas Day of that same year, the new brick building was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. This first and only building is still a credit to the church and community now in its 135th year of service (this was written I believe in 1986) A basement was dug out and added in the 1920s making it possible many church suppers. The kitchen was remodeled in 1959.
The 1916, there were 72 members, "the high water mark" so far as numerical strength. Over the years we have seen the decline of the family farm and watched our friends and loved ones move on to live in other communities and many to their eternal reward. But after years of growing older and smaller, the recent arrival of new families has given new life and hope.
The church building received much care in 1984-85, receiving a new roof, a new floor and carpet for the sanctuary, a new entrance way to the basement. With such needs attended to, the church stands ready for a time of spiritual growth as we work to strengthen our Sunday School, begin a new era of youth ministry and put together a new church library.
Rev. J. Smith Gordon started supply 1857-1858 / Pastor 1858-1904