About Sam’s Creek Church of the Brethren
By 1740, the Brethren were moving into the Monocacy, Pipe Creek and Middletown section. About that time they were settling on the Sam’s Creek between what is now Union Bridge and down to the present area of the Sam’s Creek Church of the Brethren.
As early as 1751, Elder Martin Urner, Sr. and his son, Martin Urner, Jr.,
came into the Pipe Creek-Sam’s Creek country to minister to the scattered Brethren.
About the same time the Urners in the company of Elder Daniel Leatherman traveled along the creeks and valleys of the Monocacy and Potomac River watersheds and ministered to the Brethren: preaching and baptizing and holding feet washings and love feasts.
In 1783, David Rhinehart and Martin Wolfe walked fromLancaster County, Pennsylvania, along the old Indian Trail through the Monocacy country and settled at the headwaters of Sam’s Creek. This swelled the interests in that section and gave strength to all of the Brethren settled along the Pipe Creek and Sam’s Creek. About this same time Elder Jonas Urner came to Sam’s Creek and gave great strength to the work among the Brethren.
The Church (at Sam’s Creek) had its beginnings in this section just a few years after the work had begun at Pipe Creek. The elders of Pipe Creek had the oversight of the work at Sam’s Creek. Following Martin Urner, Jr., the work around the present site of Sam’s Creek was carried on by Elder Martin Wolfe, then living near the present location of Union Bridge. He did the preaching with the other elders of Pipe Creek and Sam’s Creek.
A little after 1800, meetings in the Sam’s Creek section were being held in two of the homes of the Brethren: namely the Urner-Wolfe home and in the area around the present church site, in the Brown meeting house, later the Baker Farm.
About 1830, a schoolhouse was built on the Naill Farm. This schoolhouse was located near the “old road” leading toward the Dennings intersection. The school was located in the edge of the woods and was known as the “Friendship School”. When the membership grew too large for meetings in the old meeting house, the Brethren moved their meetings to this school about 1836. This building was sometimes referred to as the Naill Schoolhouse for it was located on the Naill Farm.
From about 1840 to 1860, an elder of Pipe Creek congregation by the name of Philip Boyle was holding “hymn sings” all over the area; in Washington County, in the Beaver Dam congregation, the Brownsville congregation, and the Manor Church. Elder Boyle was known all over Maryland, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia for his excellent Bible reading and more especially for his fine voice and his ability to lead congregations in singing. Elder Boyle held many “hymn sings” in the Sam’s Creek congregation.
In Dr. Maurice Henry’s book HISTORY OF THE BRETHREN IN MARYLAND, he refers in some length to the Friendship Schoolhouse and the Brethren meetings held in it. In the day in which Brother Henry researched for his book he had at hand the older members, many of whom he quizzed for information carried over from their parents who lived back in that interesting and fruitful day of early beginnings. A quote is necessary to get the full impact of the importance of the Friendship Schoolhouse to the early beginnings of the Sam’s Creek congregation:
“The Old Friendship Schoolhouse had become a landmark in the history
of the Brethren in Maryland , Abner Baile and Peter Engel, two young
leaders in the early work on the Sam’s Creek, advocated the idea of
organizing classes for religious instructions, “both for young and old,”
but they encountered strong opposition. After a tempestuous council
meeting it was decided not “to go after such worldly customs”. But the
two men had some strong following and they began their religious
classes. Each Sunday they taught the Bible in the old log house. This
school continued until it was mutually agreed to have Sunday School in
the new church at Sam’s Creek.” (p. 149)
The members at Sam’s Creek sent a formal query to the Pipe Creek Council Meeting in 1850, asking for a separate organization and the privilege to construct a new and larger church building. This was suppressed for ten years. Elder Daniel P. Saylor was fatherly toward the members at Sam’s Creek and gave his “blessings” on the venture. With the love for music and interest in young people that Elder Philip Boyle had, the new venture at Sam’s Creek was on its way to reality. In 1860 the present church at Sam’s Creek was built. However, it was not until twenty-five years later that the Pipe Creek Council gave permission for the two organizations of Meadow Branch and Sam’s Creek to come into their own.In the Council Meeting at Pipe Creek in 1885, Sam’s Creek was organized with 70 members.
The first Elder William Franklin was born Feb 3, 1830. Elected First Elder of Sams Creek Church July 3, 1885 and served until his death July 3, 1905. Serving in the ministry for 30 years he had married 348 couples.