*** ONLINE AS OF AUGUST 5, 2011 ***

Hillsville United Methodist Church & Cemetery - Hillsville PA

Comments 11

The village of Hilltown (later Hillsville), located in Mahoning Township in what later became Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, was laid out by early settler John Hill in 1824. A small Methodist congregation had previously been established in the area about four years prior. When the town was laid out the Methodists built a log cabin church on land donated on Main Street by John Zerver. The Reverend Bilious O. Plympton, who also served the Methodist congregation in nearby Edinburg, was the first pastor of the new church. The two churches would remain linked and share a pastor for much of the next 175 years. In 1869 the log cabin church was replaced with a new wooden frame church, which I believe was replaced with a newer edifice in about 1896.

At some point a small cemetery was also established on the church grounds as well. An article in the New Castle News of May 19, 1913, mentions the cemetery: “D. H. Hoffmeister. Geo. Henley and Jim Wallace attended the annual business meeting and election of officers of the Hillsville Cemetery Co., Friday evening. Mr. Hoffmeister was reelected president of the organization. At his suggestion the company voted to appropriate the sum of $50 to be used in beautify the cemetery.”

In the early 1900’s the small church had a thriving congregation with an active Sunday school and various religious clubs and groups. Some of the pastors in the coming years included Wendell E. Minnigh, W. Scott Ingersoll, A. A. Swanson, Everett P. Spring, Henry D. Metcalf, John E. Matthews, Donald T. Rainey. The post-World War II period was a very prosperous time, but by the 1970’s population shifts resulted in declining membership for many churches including the Methodist churches in Lawrence County.

The Methodist and Evangelical United Brethern Churches congregations were merged on a national level in April 1968 and as a result the name of the church was changed to the Hillsville United Methodist Church. Further reorganization effort saw the church formally merged with the Edinburg United Methodist Church to form what was known as the new Christ United Methodist Parish or Congregation. Services continued at both churches through the 1980’s and into the 1990’s.

By the 1990’s the two churches began to cooperate on an increased level and held joint services at times. It became common to hold winter services exclusively at the Edinburg church and summer services in Hillsville to save money on heating and cooling costs. In 2000, due to the declining enrollment and the deteriorating condition of the old building, it was decided to close the Hillsville Methodist Church. Its small number of remaining members formally became part of the renamed Edinburg-Hillsville United Methodist Church in Edinburg. The Edinburg church, facing an ever-increasing budget crunch, was also closed for good in June 2009.

The Hillsville building was razed soon after it closed in 2000 and only the old cemetery remains to mark the location along Main Street. The cemetery was abandoned for a few years until nearby residents, Bill and Nataline Wyza, began caring for it in 2005. They had to give up their efforts in 2010 due to health issues and once again the cemetery went neglected and overgrown. The members of the Johnson Club helped out for a time until the property was deeded by Methodist Church officials to the Allison Cemetery Association in 2014. It appears since then it has been maintained on a regular basis.

A small Methodist congregation in the Hillsville area was established in 1820 and a small church was built four years later. A newer church was opened in 1869, which was replaced with a larger building (shown above) on Main Street in 1896. (1967) Full Size

The church, renamed as the Hillsville United Methodist Church in 1968, was closed in 2000 and subsequently razed. (c1975) Full Size

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The old cemetery, in a state of neglect, is located on the north side of Main Street and marks the spot of the former Hillsville Methodist Church. The church was located to the right of where the blue vehicle is parked along the road. (Mar 2012) Full Size

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  1. I lived on this street and was saddened when I discovered the church had been demolished. I always thought it was beautiful and I wondered who would take care of the graves?

  2. I grew up in that church was a shame they torn it down .Wondered if it was the oldest building built.

  3. I lived Behind that church in a Michigan Limestone Company Home. 1948-1956. My neighbor Mr. Hill use to cut the grass on the church grounds. My parent had a new home built in Carbon and moved there in 1956. I was only 9 yrs old, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I loved Hillsville.

  4. My mother took me to that church every Sunday until she died. My best memories of my mother were in that church. I was devastated when I found out it was being torn down. What I wouldn’t give to go back inside one more time..

  5. Does anyone know if any records of the cemetery exist? My great grandfather and great grandmother and three of their children (great aunts and uncles) were buried there (1897-1910). When I was last there, 2012, I was not able to locate any of their markers. As noted above, the cemetery is in disrepair. Any news or help on the cemetery, or on locating their markers, or the cemetery records would be appreciated. James and Ann Watt and their son James, and daughters Dianah and Lizzie

  6. Hi Jeff and thanks for this neat site…
    Today I am writing about the above picture of my maternal Great Grandfather’s grave!!!!
    Samuel Murphy came from Ireland and served in the Civil War. I have left flowers and messages at his tombstone, because I do not know WHO Nancy Beale is buried near him, and no stone for Great Grandmother Charlotte.

    I was there the day that they razed the Methodist church. I watched that they did not disturb his grave. I happened to be across the
    Main St. at another little cemetery. As if that wasn’t enough, I see they are NOT caring for his grave any longer!! Who is in charge of this, Mahoning Twp., Law. Co., PA, or WHO?
    Thanks in advance to anyone who can enlighten me. Thanks again for the opportunity to write this message. And for all the good I see you have done! Sincerely, Louise
    P.S. I am a graduate of Bessemer High School.

  7. Louise, My parents live near this cemetery and when the grass wasn’t being cut, they took it upon themselves to start cutting it, even though they weren’t part of this church. They did this from 2005-2010, until they were no longer able to do it anymore. The Johnson Club then took over a couple years later and did it for a few years. In March of 2014, Allison Cemetery Association Inc. was deeded the land and my mom said that they are now cutting the grass. I am not sure if they will also be taking care of the gravestones or not. See the following two articles from the New Castle news about the cemetery:



  8. My 2 Great Grandmother, Jane Harris Cramer was buried in the Hillsville cemetery. She died June 1866. Her son, John Cramer also buried there in 1872…………Civil war veteran and Jane’s daughter, Elma Cramer who died in 1868. Are any of these 3 stones still legible or even still there? I’d love to get the info from any of these 3 gravestones. I didn’t know the church had been torn down. Thank you, Shirley Hall

  9. Does anyone know if there is a headstone for John Alexander Delaney B 1840 and died between 1873 and 1876. Does they graveyard keep any paperwork on the graves? He is listed as being buried there on the Ancestry website and have requested a picture from find a grave, but nothing so far..

  10. Is there a map of names .
    Looking for Ferrell that are is the Cemetery.

  11. Anyone on here asking about this cemetery and the ones across the street please contact me at:


    We are currently in a cleanup and restoration of these cemeteries and if I have the names you are looking for I will look to see if I can find them and send you a location (if the stones are set) as well as pictures.


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