9/1/49 - When Saltsburg was Young BY-WAYS - 9/1/49 - When Saltsburg was Young - August 26, 1949

After writing the above title I suddenly realize that I am unconsciously emulating Saltsburg's distinguished author, Mabel Ansley Murphy, who has written "When America Was Young." "When Hamilton Was Young," etc. Which shows what an influence she exerts. Now that I see that title at the top of the column, I wish Mrs. Murphy were writing this history. Would that I had her background of knowledge - both general and local. Right here and now I am asking her to be guest columnist - at her convenience. My purpose is two-fold; that this lovely lady, whom I have never seen, except in photograph on the jackets of her fine books, may become very real to you; and that she may give you some interesting highlights on the Saltsburg that she knew as a child. I do not want to trespass on the property of the historians who will give the history of the Saltsburg Presbyterian Church at its special celebration October 9th of this year. But would like to put down a few interesting facts gleaned from the little book written by Rev. W.W. Woodend way back in 1870 - on the history of that church and the Saltsburg community (by courtesy of your librarian, Miss Anna Rupert). A curious sidelight on the printer's vocation: Jas. R. Hill, Steam Job and Book Printer ... Pittsburgh, 1870. What is a Steam Job, Mr. Walker? And when he got some extra letters in a word, does that mean that he put on too much steam? In the introduction to Rev. Woodend's history the Chairman of Publication let it be known that the reverend was well paid for his services as pastor over the 25-year-pastorate that was celebrated along with the centennial of the first settlement and the 50th anniversary of the erection of the village and church. Doesn't that sound just like a Scotchman? Not only was Rev. Woodend well paid, but every payment was prompt. It is 79 years since Rev. Woodend put down on paper this history of Western Pennsylvania, of Saltsburg, and of the Presbyterian Church. One hundred years before that, when Pittsburgh was but a mean little village of twenty-five or thirty houses, a small, sturdy group of Scotch-Irish pioneers pushed their way into the wilderness and settled in that region by the Conemaugh River and up toward Clarksburg.

Amongst the earliest families recorded by historian Findley were the Wilsons, Wrays, Millers, Marshalls, Lemons, Pattons, Loves, Drums, Johnstons, Robinsons, Hendersons, McBrides, etc. Now I am beginning to understand why Saltsburg has a sturdiness and a spiritual quality that is missing in so many towns and cities of today. The descendants of those hardy Christians, who really loved the Lord and kept the Sabbath, are proud of their ancestry, and are wise enough not to throw away their heritage for a mess of pottage. How beautiful the day of worship in 1775! (when they had their first pastor). There was but one church. Why cannot it be that way today? United we stand; divided we weaken our religious strength just that much. Now, understand that the village of Saltsburg and its one church did not get their start until 1820. The first church was a tent, and later a rude log cabin. Often these godly pioneers would walk from six to ten miles, remaining all day. The men carried guns, for fear they might be attacked by Indians or savage beasts. Saltsburg's own first church was a fine one, built of stone. It was supposed to have cost a princely sum of $600. But here I get into church history. It is very hard to separate the church from the 'state' in those pioneer days. ***

Let us take a mighty leap - into the present - and turn to Page 35 of the September issue of Reader's Digest. Be sure to read that brief but inspiring article, "What Religious Experience Can Mean to You." My friend, Mary Pollock, gave me several copies of "Guideposts," in one of which is the original article. I left them all in your library. Do read them. I hope you find time to read every article in this month's Digest. But be sure to read "Everybody Loves Beauty," by Donald Culross Peattle. It will make you love the memory of John Muir and be eternally grateful to him for what he did to preserve our magnificant forests.

Faithfully yours,
Florence B. Taylor

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