Founded in early 1800s, the congregation of the Beakleyville Baptist Church first attended worship services in a barn. When land was donated, it became possible to build a church – a small white structure along today’s Route 447 in East Stroudsburg.
Beakleyville Baptist Church building is shown in this undated photo a number of years before it was razed. (Pocono Record file photo)
Hannah Barry Van Vliet, of East Stroudsburg pioneer stock, was just one the folks who helped form the history of the Beakleyville Baptist Church.
Her life and contributions to the community and church – she was the church’s janitoress for 27 years, missing only three services - were remembered in a 1975 article published in The Pocono Record:
“Today’s women are not the only ones who have had to assume the role of bread-winner for their families, see their sons off to an unpopular war and their daughters follow their mates to what was, in their day, the ends of the earth. Hannah Barry Van Vliet could probably give NOW members a few pointers. …”
Also known as Grandma Hanna, Van Vliet died in 1897.
Although the church's building is gone, the graves of those buried at the site, shown in 2011, remain. (Pocono Record file photo)
In 1925, the Rev. William H. Playfoot, who had been pastor of the church from 1891 to ’92, made everlasting history when he was kicked by his horse as he prepared to leave for church in Elmira, New York.
He died a month later from his injuries at the age of 73. The circumstances of his death were published in the local newspaper.
One recorded highlight in the church’s history reveals the story about 100 plus people attending the seventh annual Easter sunrise service on April 21, 1946.
During the service a walnut cross was presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. E.L. Stright in memory of their son, Edward Stright Jr., who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.
The church’s past was remembered again on Oct. 11, 1953, when Beakleyville Baptist Church congregation began a week-long celebration of its 110th year of service.
The original church building, built in the 1840s, is shown in this undated photo. (Courtesy of Monroe County Historical Association)
About 10 years later, on Nov. 1, 1964, a new Sunday school room, which was an addition equal in size to the original church building, was dedicated during a special service.
According to the church’s pastor at the time, the Rev. Wiley S. Young, the church had come a long way since it was founded more than 120 years earlier by a handful of settlers who worshiped in the barn.
The Rev. Young died Feb. 25, 1969, at the age 72. He had served in the ministry for 51 years, the last seven years as pastor of the Beakleyville church.
The congregation vacated the old church building during the 1990s, moving to a nearby location, 1 Fawn Road.
Halterman’s Auto Ranch now occupies on the church’s former site. Although the building has been razed, its graveyard remains.
• • •
Find out who’s buried in Beakleyville cemetery.