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The Noto-Wynkoop Funeral Home, formerly the Joseph A. Noto Funeral Home, located at 289 South Main St., Warren County, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, was officially established in 1965 by Joseph A. Noto, Sr. On August 1, 1991, the funeral home was purchased by Timothy E. Wynkoop from Mr. Noto, and the name was changed to Noto-Wynkoop Funeral Home. The funeral home is proud to have been of continued service to the people of the Phillipsburg-Easton communities for more than 44 years.
This postcard shows the parsonage (left) and church (right) of the First Methodist-Episcopal Church in Phillipsburg. Historically, the funeral home structure itself dates back to 1868 when it was erected as the parsonage for the First Methodist-Episcopal Church. However, the congregation first formed in 1826 in Phillipsburg and was known as the First Methodist "Class". That early congregation met in an old stone house on the southwest corner of Main Street at the old Central Railroad bridge. Then, in 1823, the gathering went to Easton, Pennsylvania, to mix with that assemblage. The Phillipsburg group later returned to Phillipsburg in 1854-55 to prepare the way for the creation of their own house of worship.
The congregation then met in the first Sitgreaves Elementary School Building when that brick structure was completed in 1853 on the northwest corner of Brainard Street at Hudson Street. They remained there until May 20, 1855 when the "First Methodist-Episcopal Church of Phillipsburg, New Jersey" was officially organized. The cornerstone of their new church, located at 438 (now 293) South Main Street, adjacent to the parsonage, was laid on August 13, 1855.
Note: The numbering of houses changed about 1899-1900.
The Rev. R.B. Lockwood became the first pastor of the newly formed 69-member congregation, preaching his first sermon in the old Sitgreaves School Building while the new church edifice was under construction. Following Rev. Lockwood through the years were:
| || |
|Rufus K. Boyd||1894-96|
|Frederick J. Hubach||1909-??|
|A. Boylan Fitzgerald||1925|
|Audley James Bliss||1927|
|Milnor M. Senior||1930|
|Harry P. King||1932|
|Parris G. Greenley||1932-35|
|John L. Morgan||1935-38|
NOTE: MORGAN WAS THE LAST PASTOR OF THE CHURCH AS IT HAD BEEN THE FIRST METHODIST- EPISCOPAL, AND UNTIL THE NAME CHANGED TO WESLEY METHODIST CHURCH.
Pastors who resided at the 405 Firth Street parsonage were; F. Baxter Rush 1949; John O. Bubb 1953; Lee Ohrum 1955 and until the congregation disbanded.
About 1941, the parsonage next to the church was turned into a private residence when the pastors were housed in the new parsonage at 405 Firth Street. The first such residents were Roland M. Gray, Harold R. Ronson, Harry E. Lane, and, James Pacenti who maintained the residence until sold to Joseph A. Noto, Sr. in 1965 who renovated the building as a funeral home, while maintaining the upstairs residence.
The congregation of the church was governed by a Board of Directors and it enjoyed various social activities among such groups as the "Ladies Aid Society", an "Epworth League", a "Women's Foreign Missionary Society", a "Brotherhood" chapter, the "Dorcas Guild for Young Ladies", a "Home Missionary Society", even a Boy Scout Troop. Many notable residents of high moral character involved themselves in these church-related activities, names such as Fisk, Reese, Lutz, Lovell, Titus, Souders, Alpaugh, Hagerty, Hawk, Dagon, Yeisley, Ehly, Davis and Brotzman.
About 1869, through the influence of the First Methodist-Episcopal Church congregation, a chapel was built on Lewis Street near Hudson Street. Then, in 1872, the massive Wesley Methodist Church was erected on that same location. The wood structure was completely destroyed by fire on November 19, 1937. A new brick structure was then built on Miller Street in 1938 at the corner of Potts Avenue where it remains very active today.
The following news items were found on microfilm at the Easton Area Public Library:
"The corner-stone of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of this Borough, will, Providence permitting, be laid, with appropriate services, on Sabbath, the 24th inst., at half past three o'clock, P.M. The different ministers of the place are expected to participate in the exercises. The public are invited to attend." (1)
"LAYING OF CORNER STONE: The Corner Stone of the new Methodist E. Church, of this place, was laid on Sabbath afternoon last. The Clergymen of the Borough, were all present, and notwithstanding the bad weather, the attendance was large and the ceremonies interesting." (2)
"LAYING OF A CORNER STONE: Notwithstanding the disappointment occasioned by the rain, last Sunday, the community were gratified by the spectacle of Christian fellowship exhibited at the laying of the cornerstone, or rather the placing of the deposits in the cornerstone of the new Methodist Church in this Borough (Easton). They saw on the platform a clerical representation of almost all the evangelical denominations of the town. One witnessing on that occasion, a Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Baptist ministers associating in fraternal harmony as though the enterprise equally concerned one and all, the language of the sacred penman seemed appropriate; 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
Had the weather permitted to have been carried out according to the intention of the pastor, The Reverend Mr. Bishop, we believe that all the reverend Gentlemen would have taken part in them. As it was, The Reverend Mr. Greenawald of the Lutheran Church offered a brief but comprehensive prayer, well suited to the occasion. This was followed by some sweet music by the choir, after which The Reverend Dr. Gray of the Presbyterian Church, placed the deposit in the corner stone, accompanying the action with a few words very kindly and appropriately spoken, when, owing to the inclemency of the weather, the large crowd was dismissed with a benediction pronounced by The Reverend Mr. Harrison of the Baptist Church. "Only let this spirit be more cultivated and practiced by the pastors and people of the churches and we shall see the gospel producing more and better results in the community." (3)
JANUARY 17, 1896: EASTON DAILY EXPRESS: PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. ITEM
The ladies aid society of the main street Methodist-Episcopal Church (Phillipsburg),
holding a supper last night, realized about $40.00.
JUNE 15, 1896: EASTON DAILY EXPRESS: PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. ITEM
Children's day in Phillipsburg: Children's day exercises were observed in three Phillipsburg churches yesterday. The First Presbyterian School had its celebration in the afternoon. There was a good attendance. The program rendered was entitled, "The Good Shepherd". An address was made by Rev. P.Y. Shelly, pastor-elect of the church. Yesterday was the 41st anniversary of the Sunday school.
The exercises in the main street Methodist-Episcopal Church were held in the evening. A cantata, "Our Young Crusaders", was given. The national colors were draped above the pulpit.
At the First Baptist the church was tastefully decorated. The exercises were held in the evening and included a cantata entitled, "Voyage of Life".
The celebrations of the Westminster Presbyterian, Grace Lutheran and Wesley Methodist Episcopal Churches were postponed until next Sunday.
JULY 15, 1896: EASTON DAILY EXPRESS: PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. ITEM
Mrs. F.G.D. Holmes will give her annual picnic to the members of the main street Methodist-Episcopal Church choir and friends on the spacious grounds about her home on Davis Street tomorrow. The inmates of the old ladies home (Easton) have been invited to attend and the transit company (trolley line) will furnish a car to carry the old women. During the day an abundance of refreshments will be served and a musical programme will be rendered.
Many thanks to my father, Ronald W. Wynkoop, Sr. for gathering the greater amount information and photographs found within this article.
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