Worship Time: 10:30 AM
Sunday School: 9:00 AM

Children's Church: Ages 4-12 10:30 AM

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Presbyterian Church USA
Presbyterian Church U.S.A.




Watsontown is located in the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna River, an area first opened for settlement in 1768 when a treaty known as the “New Purchase” was signed with the Iroquois Nation.

In 1775, several months after the New England battles of Lexington and Concord, a missionary was sent by the Donegal Presbytery on a “circuit ride” that included the West Branch valley. The Reverend Phillip V. Fithian found a large Presbyterian congregation already formed near the mouth of Warrior Run Creek, and a log church that was under construction near the stream. (Today this church would be within the Watsontown Park). The Indians destroyed the log church in 1778 during the “Great Runaway,” when most of the settlers fled the area.

The following year, members of the congregation were involved in the defense of Fort Freeland, a stockaded residence located along the Warrior Run Creek. After a fierce battle, a combined force of British and Indians burned the fort. Many of the defenders were killed or taken prisoner, and the local residents again left the area, fleeing for their lives.

Gradually the people returned and in 1789 built a second log church on Warrior Run Creek, about one half mile from the site of Fort Freeland. The Warrior Run congregation received its first pastor, Reverend John Bryson in 1790. Eventually, the second log church also burned, and in 1835 was replaced by a brick structure that was built directly behind the previous site. The Warrior Run Church building is still used for special services, and appears today almost unaltered from its original design. Since May, 1949, it has been a landmark and shrine owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission.

By 1869 many people had left behind the rural setting, and a group of Presbyterians began meeting in Watsontown. On April 17, 1872, a petition was presented to the Presbytery of Northumberland praying for church recognition. A congregation had been formed by June 16, 1872, composed predominantly of former Warrior Run members, along with some from McEwensville and other areas. On July 9, 1873, the Watsontown Presbyterian Church received a permanent pastor, Reverend George Elliot.

At first the Presbyterians met in the old Watsontown Academy building. In 1873 the women of the church created a building fund, and soon plans were under way for the construction of a new church. In 1874-1875 the present church building was completed at a cost of $13,000. The First Presbyterian Church of Watsontown was dedicated on January 5, 1875. The Session met for the first time in the chapel of the new church on January 23, 1875. The interior was redecorated in 1965 and a new Sunday school wing was added in 1978. The sanctuary was re-painted in 2006 and air conditioning was added to the sanctuary, social hall, and Sunday school wing.

**History provided courtesy of Mr. Robert Franks.