Barbara Wood Presents History at Muncy Church | News, Sports, Jobs



Barbara Wood of Muncy recently celebrated her 90th birthday in the small town where she has spent most of those years. She took the opportunity to share some of her memories with the congregation at St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Muncy. Her younger sister, Sara Jane, 88, was present. The congregation was on hand to enjoy Barb’s stories, including Penny Wettlaufer, Barb’s neighbor and friend, and Reverend Steck’s granddaughter, Ruth Steck. Reverend William Steck, a beloved minister who served St. Andrew’s for 23 years, was then assigned to another congregation and then returned to Muncy to retire.

Barbara intertwined her family memories with the history of the Lutheran churches in and around Muncy, using no notes during her speech. She says, “I don’t use notes because I can’t see very well, so I put them here,” (showing his head). She suggested that “I have done quite a bit of research and want to thank everyone who recorded the history of the church, especially Mary Ritter DeWald who wrote the booklets and Pastor Lambdin who encouraged Mrs. DeWald to do the research.” Barbara incorporated the following information into her presentation.

Barbara’s ancestors, John and Elizabeth Dimm, emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1751 on the Edinboro. Their son, Christopher, was born along the way. John was a minister and oversaw the building of Old Immanuel Church between Muncy and Hughesville.

Barbara’s grandmother, Emma Dimm, was a teacher at Muncy where she met John W. Fague. They married in 1892 and had children, Harland and Esther Fague. Harland was Barbara’s father.

John Fague and his family lived in the countryside, but when John was kicked from a horse and suffered debilitating injuries, the family was forced to move to the town of Muncy to make life easier for the family.

Barbara was born in Reedville, Pennsylvania, in 1932, daughter of Harland and Sara Fague. She graduated from Wittenberg College in Ohio, then earned a nursing degree in New York at Presbyterian Hospital, part of Columbia University. She acquired an apartment on 68th Street and worked around town as a visiting nurse until she took classes and got her certification in early childhood development. The Head Start program had just been set up and Barbara found a job in her new field. She met Hal Sterling through a friend in New York and they married in 1967. They had a daughter, Winona.

In 1973, they planned to move to Muncy in the family home. His parents lived there, but also wintered in Florida. Harlan and Sara embarked on a journey west, planning to return home to Muncy in the spring. But there was a car accident and Barbara’s mother, Sara, was killed. Barbara and Hal went ahead with their move plan and lived in Muncy with Barbara’s widowed father and raised Winona there. Barbara’s father became good friends during this time with Reverend Beeber of St. Andrew.

Barbara recited the 121st Psalm during her church address. She said that’s her mantra, and it makes her think about how God helps people and all people help each other.

THE CHURCH

In 1848, Lutheran Sunday school classes were organized in Muncy. The classes were for all ages and had 20 teachers for the different groups, which tells us there were a lot of participants.

Following the success of the Sunday school, the first Evangelical Lutheran St. Andrew’s Church was built on North Main Street in 1852. The congregation was that of Immanuel Church. The minister at the time was Reverend Parsons. The floods of 1889 and 1894 cause great damage. Reverend William Steck saw the need for a new church, so directed and supervised the construction of the present one, St. Andrew’s, at the corner of Penn and Main streets. The land was obtained in 1905; the first stone was laid in 1906; and the church was dedicated in 1908. It was built with stones from the canal aqueduct built at the mouth of Muncy Creek in the 1930s. The canal had by then been out of use for many years. (Railways replaced canals) Aqueduct stones were also later used to build a parsonage for St Andrew in 1921. Both continue to be used today.

The stories of our local citizens are varied and interesting. We get a first-hand look, especially in the elderly, at the history of the last century, how people lived, worked, worshiped and cared for their families. Present the future with the gift of your own family history by somehow recording it and sharing it. Each story holds priceless treasures.