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History of the Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association

by William Pankey


The beginnings of the Salem Baptist Church are not definitely known, but it was in existence by 1790, and was known as Forks of the Yough Church, with the Rev. John Barrachman as pastor. It is likely that the Peter's Creek church had a part in its organization.

Joseph Budd, one of the early settlers in western Pennsylvania, gave the Salem congregation a tract of land, for a church lot and cemetery. It was on a high hill between the Youghiogheny and Monongahela rivers. The old deed is still preserved. On this lot the first church edifice was erected, in 1792". It was used continuously until the present brick structure was erected in 1842.

Seven Revolutionary soldiers are buried in the old church cemetery: Joseph Budd, Nathaniel Hayden, Nathaniel Hayden, Jr., George Weddle, Daniel Weddle, James Weddle and Peter Weddle.

The Salem church was a member of the Redstone Baptist Association until it withdrew to help form the Monongahela Baptist Association, in 1832. Seven years later it withdrew from the Monongahela Association to help form the Pittsburgh Baptist Association, of which it is a member at the present time.

Nathaniel Tibbets was ordained to preach the gospel on February 11, 1818. By the year 1830, a thriving mission was being conducted at McKeesport. In 1842, sixty-two members were dismissed to form the Elizabeth Baptist church. The same pastor served both churches for a while. The West Newton Mission was organized in 1873. The Mars Hill church was likewise started by the Salem church in 1840.

Due to changing conditions in the community, the Salem church has not grown in membership very rapidly in recent years. A great deal of Americanization work is being carried on by the congregation among the foreign-speaking people. The present membership is very small.

The following ministers have served the church: Rev. John Barrachman (1790), Rev. H. Barkley (1792), Rev. J. Shreves (1803), Rev. James Estep (1805), Rev. William Stone (1814), Rev. William Shadrach (1817), Rev. Nathaniel Tibbets (1825), Rev. Isaac Winn (1830), Rev. William Penny (1835), Rev. E. P. Brown (1840), Rev. P. Hornish (1845), Rev. R. R. Sutton (1848), Rev. Samuel Williams (1851), Rev. J. K. Kramer (1854-1866), Rev. David Williams (1866-1867), Rev. H. Dye (1867), Rev. O. P. Hargrave (1868), Rev. John Washington (1868-1870), Rev. Daniel Webster (1870-1871), Rev. A. Wilson (1871-1873), Rev. W. T. Hughes (1873-1875), Rev. J. A. J. Lightburn (1875-1880), Rev. G. Ford (1882-1887, Rev. A. G. McLean (1887-1888), Rev. W. W. Hickman (1888-1891), Rev. S. A. Smith (1891-1895), Rev. E. R. Bailey (1895-1900), Rev. J. C. Longanecker (1900-1914), Rev. S. J. Cleeland (1914-1916), Rev. W. G. Carl (1916-1917), Rev. H. Snearning (1917-1920), Rev. W. A. Wissinger (1920-1923), Rev. J. Rawlins (1923), Rev. F. Furrier (1923-1930), Rev. H. W. Birch (1930-1937), Rev. E. R. Williams (1937 ).

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