“Deer Park Cornerstone”

Carroll County Times Article for 13 October 1996

By Jay A. Graybeal

On September 15, the congregation of Deer Park United Methodist Church witnessed the opening of a tin box which had been placed in the cornerstone laying on October 4, 1891. Prior to the opening I spoke with the minister, Rev. Henry Schwarzmann, and the Society provided him with a copy of the following newspaper article from October 10, 1891:

“The corner-stone of the new church edifice to take the place of Deer Park Chapel, which was recently torn down, was laid on Sunday afternoon, 4th inst. The services connected with the event were held at 3 o’clock, and were opened by the pastor, Rev. William H. Lane, who announced hymn 400, “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord,” after the singing of which he offered a fervent prayer for the blessing of God on the work and for the success of the Church. Led by Miss Fanny Buckingham, the organist, the congregation then sang hymn 658, “Work, for the Night is Coming,” after which an appropriate and interesting discourse was delivered by Rev. J. T. Ward, D. D., President of Westminster Theological Seminary, from 1 Peter, 2 ch., 4-10 verses.Following his discourse Dr. Ward exhibited some interesting relics of early Methodism, after which a collection was taken up, and the congregation sang hymn 457, “Rock of Ages.” The formal ceremony of laying the corner-stone was conducted by Dr. Ward. In a cavity in the stone a tin box was placed, which contained copies of the Methodist Protestant, the church paper; the American Sentinel, Democratic Advocate, a Prohibition paper, the Teachers’ Journal, of the M. P. Church, a number of coins and other articles. The interesting services were closed with the doxology and benediction.

The new church edifice will be built of brick, of which about 35,000 will be from the old chapel. It will be 36×48 feet and 16 feet high to the square. The seating capacity will be about 300. The entire cost will be $3,000. The building committee is composed of Rev. Wm. H. Lane, the pastor, chairman; Mr. Howard T. Smith, secretary; Messrs. John W. Barber, Wm. M. Shilling, Elias N. Davis, Mr. A. W. Davis is treasurer.

Through the kindness of Mr. Howard T. Smith we were afforded an opportunity to examine the contents of the box placed in the corner-stone of the original chapel, some of which are well preserved but others mildewed and defaced. Among these contents were copies of the Carrolltonian (now American Sentinel,) of September 8th and October 27th, 1854, the Weekly Baltimore Clipper of October 14th, 1854, the Methodist Protestant, of September -, 1854, and a copy of the Holy Scriptures. There was also a silver three cent piece, deposited by Benjamin Miles, a colored man. a manuscript, containing the current facts of the period, the names of the ministers in charge, trustees, building committee, list of members, &c, was defaced and partially destroyed, so that it could be only partly deciphered. We are enabled from it, and by the aid of Mr. Howard T. Smith, to ascertain that at the corner-stone laying Rev. Wm. Reineck, superintendent of the West Baltimore Circuit, was pastor, and Rev. John M. Graybill, assistant. The trustees of the church were Messrs. Burgess Nelson, John Davis, Nicholas Dorsey, John Buckingham, George Barber, Nimrod Burgett and Rev. Wm. Reineck. The building committee was composed of George Barber, John Davis, Nimrod Burgett, John Buckingham and Rev. Wm. Reineck. The list of the membership contains the names of George Barber, Mary Barber, Sarah Caple, Margaret Caple, Ann Smith, George Smith, Rachel Chapman, Eliza Edmondson, George Blizzard, Wealthy Ann Shriner, John Buckingham, Eliza Buckingham, Howard T. Smith, Jesse J. Smith, John W. Barber, Elizabeth Barber and others that cannot be deciphered. The congregation has been served since its organization by Rev. Eli Henkle, who was the first pastor; Revs. D. W. Bates, D. D., William Reineck, R. Scott Norris, Jos. A. McFadden, Nevell S. Greenaway, John Elderdice, Abraham S. Eversole, M. D., James Francis Whiteside, Thomas M. Bryan, Charles H. Littleton, J. H. Ellegood, Wm. T. Dumm, G. D. Edmonson, Samuel T. Ferguson, John W. Charlton, W. D. Litsinger, George R. McCready, S. N. Cassan, E. A. Warfield, J. D. Corbin, Wm. A. Crouse and Wm. H. Lane, the present pastor, beside a number of assistants. The congregation was first connected with West Baltimore Circuit, then with Finksburg, and finally Deer Park. The late Jacob Holmes was a member of the congregation and licensed local preacher. At the time of the dedication of the chapel, in September 1855, Rev. R. Scott Norris was pastor. Revs. Josiah Varden and E. Yeates Reese participated in the dedicatory exercises and preached on the occasion.”

Not surprisingly, the contents placed in the tin box in 1891 were in extremely poor condition. Among the surviving items, however, was the tiny silver three-cent piece placed in the box by Benjamin Miles in 1854.
Photo caption: The cornerstone for Deer Park United Methodist Church in Smallwood was laid on October 4, 1891. The church recently opened a tin box placed in the cornerstone. Historical Society of Carroll County collection, gift of John Byers, 1981.