FOUNDING OF THE METHODIST CHURCH
The Methodist Church is an outgrowth of the preaching of the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, and George Whitefield about 1729. Between 1735 and 1738 they traveled, John as a chaplain, on a mission to the colony of Georgia. He was impressed by the calm courage of Moravian missionaries aboard his ship during a great storm at sea. During a Moravian meeting on May 21, 1738, Charles was “born again” and three days later John was given “saving faith.” To the emphasis on spiritual exercises and charitable duties, they incorporated the theme of salvation free to all men and salvation by faith. Charles became the great hymn writer of Methodism. John preached in England, Ireland, and Scotland. He organized United Societies and started weekly classes meeting in homes. In 1744, he met with other Methodist ministers in the first organized conference. Although he remained loyal to the Church of England, at the time of the American Revolutionary War he formally recognized his differences with the Anglican church by ordaining two preachers, Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury, as superintendents of the work in America. This was the beginning of a separate Methodist Episcopal Church. An Irish lay preacher, Philip Embury, came to America in 1766 and began preaching in New York City and Robert Strawbridge organized a Methodist society in Maryland. Methodist churches became a vital bond on the Western frontier and frontier life often centered on the Methodist churches. (Information from World Book Encyclopedia.)
The History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties by J. A. Caldwell 1880, includes a history of the Gramer M. E. Church in Steubenville. Excerpts include the following material:
…The plan of the early itinerants was to embrace as much territory in a circuit as could be traveled around in four, six or eight weeks, preaching each day and establishing prayer meetings, and forming classes in private houses. ... The wisdom of the ages could not invent a more perfect system of ministerial supply for evangelization than the one devised by Mr. Wesley and carried out by Bishop Asbury. ... The itinerant could only hope for a bare support as he followed in the path of the pioneer and gathered the people to preach the Gospel. ... The Ohio circuit, which finally embraced Steubenville, was formed in 1787, but the first Methodist preaching here, of which we have any account, was in the summer of 1794, when Samuel Gitt and John H. Reynolds preached a few sermons in the midst of much opposition. Their circuit embraced Ohio county in Virginia [Ohio county included Brooke and Hancock counties in the northern panhandle of West Virginia.], Washington county in Pennsylvania, and the settlements on both sides of the Ohio river from the mouth of the Muskinghum to near Pittsburgh.
1800 — ... This was a year of revivals, and they report 521 members. 1801 — ... At the close of this year the Ohio circuit was divided, and West Wheeling circuit formed, in which circuit Jefferson county was included. ...1804 — ... This was a year of growth, many coming from the east to settle here.... 1808 — ... At the session of the Baltimore Conference the West Wheeling circuit was transferred to the Western Conference. 1809 — James Quinn, presiding elder, with Jacob Young and Thomas Church, preachers. Young says, “I found my circuit included the whole of Belmont, Jefferson, and Harrison counties. At Steubenville we preached in the old log courthouse, upstairs. ... 1810 — William Lamden. The time now come to gather the harvest from the seed sown in Steubenville, and at the close of his sermon, he announced that the next forenoon he would form a class at the house of Bernard Lucas. Twelve came at the appointed time, and were organized into a Methodist society. Their names were Bernard Lucas, Margaret Lucas, Matthew Worstel, Rachel Worstel, Wm. Fisher, Margaret Cummings, Archibald Cole, Elizabeth Cole, Nicholas Murry, Nancy Murry, Hugh Dunn and James Dougherty, with Bernard Lucas as leader. They were thoroughly united, and filled with zeal and good works, and some were added to their number at nearly every meeting which was held in private houses. 1811 — Wm. Lamden and Michael Ellis. This was a year of precious revivals. Bazaleel Wells proffered the land on which the church now stands, as a lot for church purposes, and a church edifice, 50 by 35 feet, was begun, enclosed and used as a place of worship. 1812 — The Ohio district was formed this year, Jacob Young, presiding elder. The West Wheeling circuit was divided, and the Cross Creek circuit formed of the north part – Michael Ellis and John McMahan as preachers….
The Worstell name has been said to be Welsh, and Richard Worstell (Gaylord’s son) included Welsh in his ancestry when queried.
In a book review by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., in The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, of the book Americans from Wales by Edward G. Hartmann, he says, “Chapter 1 is a very objective study of the legend of the voyage of Prince Madoc to America, and of the Welsh-Indians that legend says are the descendants of his party.” Sheppard also says, “...the author fails to give credit to the dark-age Welshmen for the spread of Christianity to their Saxon neighbors...” Hartmann writes, “Many [Welsh] arrived in the Colony before him [Penn] and others came on the ship that brought the great entrepreneur.” Sheppard comments, “Only forty are known to have arrived before Penn — those on the Lyon of Liverpool, led by Dr. Edward Jones, Thomas Wynne’s son-in-law.” Sheppard also says, “Only two Welshmen known to have been aboard the Welcome with Penn were Dr. Thomas Wynne, and one Thomas Jones, servant of Thomas Herriot...”
“Among the Quakers who came to Pennsylvania were Welsh members of the sect. They settled many towns, including Merion, Haverford, and Radnor. These were known as ‘Welsh Tracts,’ or the ‘Welsh Barony,’” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1957. Wills of Chester County, Pennsylvania 1713 - 1748 list Evan David, who willed “to Ann wife of Rees Price of Merion ... and 20 shillings for repair of Friends burying yard in Haverford.” At a Wrightstown Monthly Meeting in 1770, a James Worstal requested a Certificate to Merion Monthly Meeting.