A CHURCH AND GRAVEYARD IN PENNSYLVANIA
Allen Killough of Ridge Road and his wife Hannah settled in Cumberland County, Penn., prior to 1742. In a booklet, The History of The Middle Spring Presbyterian Church, published in 1900, is found these items of interest. The location is near Shippensberg in south central Pennsylvania.
From an old Carlisle, PA, newspaper:
“In 1738 the Presbyterians living in the vicinity of Middle Spring met to devise a plan for building a church, and the result of the consultation was the erection of a log building about thirty-five feet square, at the gate of the old graveyard, near the bank of the stream.” From this meager description we allow imagination to picture the house in which our fathers worshiped. The earth constituted the floor, rude benches made from slabs were all the congregation had to sit upon during the long service; the pulpit high against the wall, with the precentor’s desk beneath; no heating apparatus; the primitive style of the early settler demanded no decorative art to adorn the house of God. This building continued to be used as a place of worship until 1765, when it was replaced by a second, similar in style to the first, but its dimensions increased to forty-eight by forty-eight feet, the site of which was the same as the original log building.”
The earliest burials clustered around the old oak tree with its broad spreading branches in the south-eastern part of the graveyard, and near where the old log church stood. To the superficial observer, there seems to be much unoccupied space there, but this is not the case. In nearly every foot of ground rests the remains of the pioneer settlers and their children, although no tablet marks their resting place. There are very few of the first and second generations of the residents of this section who sleep in marked graves. - - - The first record we find of an enclosure is Sept. 1795, when Archibald McCoy was paid for 348 perch of stone (perch means a solid measure of stone, commonly 16 ½ ft. x 1 ½ ft. x 1 ft.), at one dollar and forty cents per perch, for a graveyard wall.
The lower yard was used as a burial place from the earliest history of the church, and within its bosom is the dust of thousands, while in the four yards, Lower, Upper, Hanna’s and the Cemetery, it is estimated there have been seven thousand persons laid to rest. Surrounding the lower burial ground is a massive limestone wall, erected prior to 1805 and is yet in as perfect a state of preservation as though but recently built.
Robert Killough, who migrated from Ireland in 1718 on “The William”, lived and then died in this area in 1737 and is possibly buried here. It is believed that he is closely related to Allen “of Ridge Road”.
RULING ELDERS OF THE MIDDLESPRING CHURCH
Next to their pastors, whom they consulted on all temporal affairs, the people valued the bench of elders, the “helps ordained of God,” who exercised an oversight of the flock, and to whom, as unto friends, were submitted disputes between man and man, questions involving the rights of property and the rights of character. This is the explanation of so many trial cases of various kinds found in the old session books of all our churches, and we doubt not, the results were satisfactory for the most part, and usually in accordance with the moral law of God, to the saving of public exposure of character and impoverishing lawyers fees. Honest and upright were the men who co-operated with the pastors of this church and molded the characters of those who lived within its bounds. Diligent laborers in the vineyard, by their walk and conversation, they led the flock to the living fountain of spiritual grace, and strengthened the inborn Scotch Irish Presbyterianism of the community.
Among the first four elders of the church ordained in 1742, of whom we have an account, was Allen Killough who lived on the Ridge road.