An American Family History


Piney Creek Presbyterian Church


Piney Creek Presbyterian Church is in Taneytown, Maryland.

It was organized in 1763 by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from Philadelphia. The church building was a very plain log structure. Its pews were

Straight-backed and tall,
Its pulpit goblet-formed,
Halfway up the wall,
The sounding-board above.

On February 15, 1771, they were deeded the land for 5 shillings from Abraham Heyter, of Frederick County. The land ws deeded to Patrick Watson, James Galt, and John McCorkle, of Frederick County and James Barr and James Hunter, of York County, Pennsylvania

In April, 1771 they called the Reverend Joseph Rhea to the pastorate of the church. The commissioners were Patrick Watson and Matthew Galt. They had subscriptions amounting to £110 or £112 to support him in the first year in addition to his salary.

At this time, Piney Creek wanted to separate from Tom’s Creek and disputed the boundary between the two churches

In April, 1776 Joseph Rhea resigned.

Some of the members moved to Sullivan County, Tennessee where they formed the New Bethel Presbyterian Church.





Early Members    
Alison, Finley    
Alison, John married Martha Hodge  
Alison, Robert married Martha McKinley  
Barr, James    
Galt, James    
Galt, Matthew    
Hodge, Francis and Martha Sprout?    
Hunter, James    
Jacob Gross?    
McCorkle, John    
Rhea, Joseph    
Scott, John married Mary McCorkle  
Watson, Patrick    
Watson, Patrick    



from Encyclopaedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of Americaedited by Alfred Nevin

Piney Creek Presbyterian Church, Carroll County, Md.

April 13th, 1763, Tom’s Creek and Pipe Creek churches asked leave to apply to the Presbytery of New Brunswick for a young man to supply them.

The answer to this request is not recorded, but the Rev. Samuel Thompson was appointed to preach at Tom’s Creek, and the Rev. Robert McMardil was at the same time appointed to preach at Pine Creek, on the fourth Sabbath of April. At this point in the history the name of Pipe Creek disappears from the record, and that of Pine, then Piney Creek, is substituted, showing that the congregation now adopted a new name, if it did not also change its place of worship.

The Church was supplied during the next Autumn and Winter by William Edmeston [Edmondson] and John Slemons, licentiates of the Donegal Presbytery, by Wlfilliam Magaw, a licentinte of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, and by the Rev. Robert Smith.

During the next five years Tom’s Creek and Piney Creek had occasional supplies, appointed chiefly at the stated meetings of the Presbytery in April and October. Andrew Bay, John Slemons, John Craighead, Hezekiah James Balch, Samuel Thompson and Robert Cooper, were among their preachers.

Mr. Slemons was unanimously called to Lower Marsh Creek on the third Saturday of November, 1761, and on the 23d of May was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of Carlisle. He frequently supplied Tom's Creek and Piney Creek, both before and after his settlement at Marsh Creek.

Piney Creek had, meanwhile, asked for the appointment of the Rev. Joseph Rhea, "in particular," as a supply. A call to Mr. Rhea to accept the pastorate of the church was presented to him in April, 1771. The commissioners from Piney Creek, to prosecute the call before Presbytery, were Patrick Watson and Matthew Galt. They stated that subscriptions amounting to £110 or £112 had been secured for Mr. Rhea’s support, that if he became pastor they proposed to maintain his family for the first year, in addition to 'the salary, and that this agreement had been entered on record in their “ Book of Congregational Afffairs.”

An existing difiiculty between Tom’s Creek and Piney Creek delayed the placing the call in Mr. Rhea's hands. This difficulty grew out of two subjects of dispute. The first was, that Piney Creek desired a separation from Tom’s Creek and the settlement of a pastor of their own, whereas Tom’s Creek favored the continuance of the former union, and a joint settlement of a pastor. The second subject of controversy was that of the boundary line between the two congregations. These questions of distraction were acted upon by a committee of Presbytery, in the judgment and determination of which both congregations acquiesced. The way being now clear for presenting the call to Mr. Rhea, it was placed in his hands, and accepted. The record omits the arrangements for his installation, but this doubtless soon followed, as from this time he discharged the duties of the pastorate.

At what precise time the first house of worship was erected at Piney Creek is unknown. It was, however, prior to the settlement of Mr. Rhea, as is shown by the deed conveying the lot of ground and the house built upon it to the trustees. The original Piney Creek Church, erected prior to Mr. Rhea's settlement in 1771, was a very plain log structure. Its pews were

Straight-backed and tall,
Its pulpit goblet-formed,
Halfway up the wall,
The sounding-board above.

. . .The deed of the old church is dated February 15th, 1771, and was given for a consideration of five shillings, by Abraham Heyter, of Frederick county, province of Maryland, to Patrick Watson, James Galt, and John McCorkle, of the same county and province, and James Barr and James Hunter, of York county, province of Pennsylvania, in trust for a church and burying ground. Mr. Rhea tendered his resignation as pastor of the Piney Creek Church in April, 1776, and, after due deliberation, Presbytery dissolved the pastoral relation.

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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