MG 114 - Derry Presbyterian Church

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Scope and Content

Contains the original treasurer's account book from November, 1795 to July, 1885, which includes a draft of a survey of the church land in Londonderry Township done about 1858; a scrapbook of receipts, 1844-1872; an account book of Rev. John Roan, 1745-1769 with a photocopy; and photocopies of information on the congregation and Presbyterian graveyard; programs for the dedicatory services in 1887, 1935, 1966 and an historical sketch given at the 205th anniversary in 1929; copies of a notice sent to the families with names marked in the graveyard at Derry for contributions toward the building of a memorial chapel, 1882; sketches of the church buildings 1756, 1885, 1966; an early notice, undated, concerning a meeting of the Presbytery of Carlisle regarding whether the congregation wishes to be connected with Harrisburg or remain with Derry; newspaper clippings, c.1930's, 1974, & 1988, which include a detailed history of the church.


Derry Presbyterian Church traces its origin in the early 1700's to services held in a grove near where the church stands today for a small congregation of Scotch-Irish immigrants who came from surrounding areas. A small log church was built in 1725 and seven years later in 1732 another log cabin was built. This second building was used as a school, meeting room, and minister's study. The building still stands today on display in a glass enclosure on church grounds. The land was deeded to the congregation in 1741 by John, Thomas and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn. The first pastor was the Rev. William Bertram who served from 1732 to 1746. In 1746 there was a split in both Paxton and Derry congregations over liturgy and training of ministers. Two factions rose, the "old side" and the "new side." The Rev. John Elder was elected "old side" pastor of both congregations and the Rev. John Roan was chosen pastor of the "new side" of both churches. The split lasted until 1775, after which Rev. Elder served the two reunited congregations until 1791. In 1769 a new church was built to serve the expanding congregation. In 1884 this structure, too, was torn down and a church of bluestone was erected. Additional buildings were constructed through the years, and the church remains active, celebrating its 250th anniversary in 1974.

Date(s): 1795-1988

Extent: 1 box, 7 folders, 17 enclosures