11 March 2015

On This Day: Peach Bottom church faces name dispute

There was reported, On This Day in 1880, a name dispute regarding a new church near the Arcadia Station in Peach Bottom. An article in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer reads: “The colored people at Arcadia station on the Peach Bottom railroad, are restless about the name by which their new church is called by some. They have almost unanimously agreed to call it Mt. Holly, notwithstanding the white trash call it Arcadia.” 

The article includes a letter, from a brethren, to the Oxford paper. In that letter it is suggested that the church members call it whatever they wish and that it be known as Mount Holly at Arcadia Station. This brethren also refers to a town there named Rigby. 

A brief history of the church:
The History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches by Franklin Ellis and Samuel Evans also notes this church. They refer to it as Rigby. Listed under “African Churches,” it refers to the church as being “… located at Arcadia Station on the Peach Bottom Railroad. This last has been long known the country through as ‘Rigby,’ …” It mentions also that the Rigby Meeting is well attended by both white and colored. 

Founded in 1837, the church has undergone many name changes over the years. According to Churches and Cemeteries of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania A Complete Guide by A. Hunter Rineer, Jr., Aaron Quimby provided land to the trustees of the African Union Church (now known as the Union American Methodist Episcopal Church). The land adjoined the land of Jarrett Rigby. The church then became known as the Rigby Union AME Church. A cemetery adjoined the meetinghouse. In 1876 land was deeded at Arcadia and a new church was built. 

This new church would, no doubt, be the one referred to as Mount Holly or Arcadia. It is called Mount Sinai Union AME Church.  

The Arcadia Station was served by the Lancaster Oxford and Southern Line. The line ran just north of Arcadia Trace Road. The station was located between Cherry Hill Road to the east and Peach Bottom Road to the west. It is located in Fulton Township. 


On This Day is a prompt I started this month to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.