Big Spring Presbyterian Church

The original meeting house was constrcuted in 1737 and the stone structure in 1789.

Worship time on Sunday is 10:30am with Sunday school at 9:15am
(Please make a comment below if this has changed)

Big Spring Presbyterian Church
25 S. Corporation St.
Newville, PA  17241
(717) 776-5820

41 Responses to “Big Spring Presbyterian Church”

  1. Lois Haile February 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    I am trying where to go to locate early records of Cumberland Co. PA. I am looking for early records of a Presbyterian Chruch around 1750-1800. Am wanting records of a William Nicholson, wife Dorcas. Possibaly connected to a Robert Nicholson. Do you know here I can find them?

  2. Mike Flowers February 21, 2009 at 8:13 pm #


    There may be a registry at the Presbyterian Church. More records may be at the County Courthouse in Carlisle, PA.

  3. Robert Ashbaugh May 26, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Looking for info on Alexander Scroggs(1708-1796) supposedly early founder of Big Springs Presby Church. Looking for burial site. Any help?

  4. Nancy Denning Cook May 28, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    I am researching info on a relative William Dening. I have info on him being in that area and having a pew in Big Springs church in 1786 at the time of “Samuel Wilson, preacher of the gospel” i have not been able to find any history of his family..wife Elizabeth, daughter polly or son James. any help you couild supply would be appreciated. Thank you so very much and God Bless. Nancy Denning Cook

  5. Patricia (Sprott) Keller May 31, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    i have learned that my early Sprott ancestors first came from Ireland to Newville probably after 1750. One later donated land for the town of Darlington, PA. There is still a house in Darlington with a historical marker that states that it was the Sprott home.
    I would like any info about their beginning in Newville.

  6. David Blausey July 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    I have the following from information collected by family members in the late 1940’s. “Records were found in a brass bound trunk of a descendant of Rev. Wilson. These included 1788 census records of the Big Spring Church. These rocords were compiled and published by Gilbert Ernest Swope, in Newville, Pa in 1898. One copy was gifted by the Cumberland County D.A.R. chapter to the D.A.R. library in Washington D.C. One was in the posession of Mrs. Guiles Flower, 166 Pomfret St. Carlisle, Pa. This may have been true in the 1940’s date. My ancesters were the Ewings and McBrides. Two generations of my Ewings were on the 1788 church census taken by Rev. Samuel Wilson.

  7. Dottie Haggard August 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    My thanks to Jane Carson Topoly and Cara Holtry both I believe of Newville for there help with my ancestors John and Agnes Dennison Shannon mid 1700’s They were Big Springs members. If anyone has any information on the Shannons or Dennison I would be most grateful! Thanks.

  8. Dodie Musgrove August 16, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    Dottie Haggard I wanted to respond and let you know I have some information on your Denison family in connection with the Thompson family. I am trying to confirm that Mary Williamson and Andrew Thompson Married in Big Spring Presbyterian Church all of their children were baptized and married there. When Mary died in 1790 Andrew married Martha Denison(French). I am looking for records from the church on the Thompson’s.

    Thank You for your Help


  9. Janeal Carney September 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    I am looking for Francis McCauley, married to Sarah, and their daughter Catherine McCauley who was born in 1763 in Carisle, Cumberland Co.

  10. Annette Stewart December 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Looking for “Michael” family records; some time before 1800. Jacob was born 1790, problem is not sure where or who family is. Church listed was “Presbyterian” so checking early PA churches. Any help or leads would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

  11. Rachel January 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    I lived in Newville last year… very nice community for the most part .. you have your good people and bad as in any community small or large but I do miss it there!!! the kids are much happier back here at home in Indiana though!! I miss some friends I made there and bingo @ the firehouse!!!

  12. Yvonne Patterson Watkin January 25, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Would like to know also about early records of the Big Spring
    Presby Church. Looking for Patterson and Weir ca. 1750-
    1790. Supposedly they came from Londonderry, Ir.
    Any ideas as to where to look?

  13. Jean Ross February 12, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    I am looking for any information on one Simon Ross who was married to one Elizabeth Martin, perhaps in Ireland or in Pennsylvania. His 2nd wife was one Margaret McMechen Garret or Garrett who died 3 Aug 1845 and is buried in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Simon is believed to be buried in Newville area, perhaps by the Big Springs Presbyterian Church. He had 3 children by his second wife by the names of Samuel M. Ross, Margaret “Peggy” Ross and Ebenezer Ross. I can find no records on any of them in Cumberland County or Washington County, Pennsylvania. His children by his first wife Elizabeth Martin, were James Ross, born about 1762, Ruth Ross, born about 1764, Simon Ross, Jr., born about 1766, Sarah Ross, born about 1768, Jane Ross, born about 1770, Mary Ross, born about 1772, and Robert A. Ross born about 1774. Robert A. Ross is my great great grandfather. Does anyone have any idea what the A. might stand for? He was married to one Mary Templeton on 10 June 1807. I have the date of marriage from several sources, but there is no way of knowing in what town or church, they were married. I feel it might be in Newville. Mary died in 1817, probably in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1817. There is no proof of this, however. His 2nd wife was one Jane Barr. They were married in about 1822, and it was felt probably Washington County, Pennsylvania, but there are no records of any marriage for then in that year there or for several years before or after that there. They eventually moved to Fairview, Guernsey, Ohio. Robert A. died on 11 Sep 1858 in Fairview, Guernsey, Ohio. She died on 1 Oct 1834 in Adams Twp., Guernsey, Ohio. I have nothing further on her. Mary Templeton, the first wife of Robert A. was the daughter of one William Templeton, also of Newville. I have a copy of his Will which proves that his daughter Mary was married to Robert A. Ross as both she and he, Robert A. Ross are mentioned in the Will. His wife Frances is also mentioned in that Will. I have nothing on William Templeton or his wife Frances, other than the names. Would anyone know what the maiden name of Frances was and anything such as dates of marriage, death, etc.? My Simon Ross was born in Ireland and it was felt probably his wife was born in Pennsylvania, however, I found a boat called the Brig. George, which sailed out of Londonderry via Newcastle for Philadelphia. This was advertised in the Belfast News Letter 22 Aug 1769. Among the passengers were one Simon Ross and Mrs. Eliza. Ross. I feel but cannot prove that this Mrs. Eliza. Ross might be originally Elizabeth Martin and that they were married in Ireland and came to the USA together. Simon died in 1813. I have a copy of his Will and it said the the family Bible was to go to his 2nd wife, Margaret Garret or Garrett. Does anyone have any idea what might have happened to that family Bible. Margaret Garret or Garrett was married before, probably in Ireland and her husband died on the crossing to the USA or shortly after that. She settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and I did find a census, believe 1790 or early 1800’s that lists her as living there then. There is no date of marriage or place of marriage for Simon Ross and his 2nd wife Margaret Garret or Garrett. I find the spelling both ways. There is a step daughter Garret or Garrett listed too in Simons Will. No mention of an Elizabeth or Elizabeth Martin is listed, so I feel she was deceased long before he was. Since it is felt he is probably buried in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, I felt he perhaps was buried by his first wife Elizabeth Martin, somplace there. Simon Ross is listed as one of the early members of the Big Springs Presbyterian church in Newville. Simon Ross did own property in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, probably in the Newville area as early as about 1791 or 1792. I note that there were only 2 Simon Ross listed in the whole of the 1790 USA Census and the other in Massachusetts just could not be the one.

  14. John Kilgore February 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    I am researching KILGORE around the 1820’s. In particular a William Kilgore. I believe he would have been a member of your church. If so, I would like his family info Thanks

  15. Rick Borland April 9, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    To Jean Ross, In my wife’s ancestry is a James McLaughlin from Cecil twp., Washington co., PA. His daughter Jane was born circa 1781. She was not married in 1810 but by 1818 she was married to a Robert A. Ross. In March of 1818, Robert A. Ross and wife the former Jane McLaughlin released the estate of her father to her brothers Samuel and Thomas as Samuel and Thomas had completed their monetary payouts as set forth in their father’s will. I always felt the Robert A Ross in Guernsey co., OH was connected.

  16. bill hutchins May 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I am looking for information of 2 families:
    Robert Lusk b.1762 married Martha McClure b.1768 and their children Thomas, Robert, William, Martha,& Elizabeth.
    Also, Hugh McElhinny b. 1759 married Margaret Shannon b.1756 and their children Samuel, Robert, Hugh, James, Jane, Rebecca,& Joseph.
    I am a descendant of the marriage of Elizabeth Lusk and James McElhinny whose son Samuel A. became a Presbyterian minister after graduating from Pinceton Seminary.
    Thank you. Bill Hutchins, Fresno, Ca.

  17. Mariann July 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    I am looking for any original records or photocopies of William Y. Boyd, buried in the Big Springs Presbyterian Cemetery. I have a discrepancy as to the year he died and I am trying to figure out if my William Y. Boyd is the same as the one buried there. He died in either 1878 or after 1880.

    Thank you

  18. Rita Kelley Louk July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    Looking for information on a Martha Hutchinson -born 1731 in Cumberland PA and died 22 July 1779 in Newville, PA. She married James Graham (who died Sept 1807 in Cumberland PA). Looking for parents of Martha and info on children: James, Jarred, Janet, Thomas, Isaiah, Arthur, John and Robert Graham.

  19. James H. Lawrence July 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    My 2nd great grandaunt Elizabeth Lawrence 1808-1899 of Philadelphia, married Thomas Lindsay 1807-1857 born in Newville, son of Thomas & Catherine Lindsay. They were married July 24, 1835, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their 2nd child, Thomas Corwin Lindsay 1839-1907, was a fairly well known landscape painter in Cincinnati and lots of his work can be found online. Is there any information on the Lindsay family in Newville? I would appreciate any information available and willing to supply further details on the family in Cincinnati.

  20. Judy Kiefer September 30, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    I’m looking for info on my 3G grandfather, Isaac Shannon. I know he was married to Jane Porter in 1790 at Big Springs Presbyterian Church and also was on communion records in 1789 with his grandfather Richard Nicholson. I don’t know Isaac’s parents names. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  21. Andy Thrush October 7, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Hello, My family (Thrush) is from that area. I have much info and have taken pictures of their gravestones at the church. Harry O and Ida May Thrush. I was hoping to find any pictures that may exist for any the Thrush family in the area. Harry is a decedent of John Thrush and Barnabus Thrush before him. Any hints as to who may have any pics would be appreciated.

  22. karen baxter October 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    DUEY-looking for any information on Dueys who were members of the Sig Springs Presbyterian church in early 1800’s

  23. Jessie Deith November 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    In the section 3 of the Big Spring cemetery, lot 132 &133 have only one person listed. Is there someone at the Church who could tell me who is the missing person?

  24. Linda J Combs January 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    I am looking for the tombstone of Robert Mickey who is suppose to be buried at Big Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, born about 1721 in Ireland and died between 1792-1795. Do you have any information on him. He was married to Agnes Thompson.
    Thank you.

  25. Sandy McCleary Wallace February 4, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    I am looking for information on Ewing and McCleary families who came from the Big Springs congregation and later settled in Tennessee.

  26. Susan Robinson March 31, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    For Judy Kiefer regarding Isaac Shannon
    Big Springs Presbyterian Church at Newville.
    Please e-mail me if you learn the name of Isaac’s parents. I believe I am working on Isaac’s brother, Leonard. His parents names unknown as well.

  27. admin March 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Susan – you did not publish your email for Judy. If you want I can try to make that connection for you. -Admin

  28. Susan Robinson April 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Regarding Isaac Shannon please e-mail me at:

  29. Judy Kiefer April 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    To Lois Haile
    re: your posting on William Nicholson
    I am trying to trace parents & family of Isaac Shannon who is my 3ggrandfather. I found him listed on the will of Richard Nicholson as his grandson and on church records listed with Richard Nicholson. William may be a son of Richard.

  30. Becki Pavlik May 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Researching all the early Pollock/Polk families of Cumberland County in an attempt to piece together my own Pollock/Polk ancestry. My earliest proven ancestor was James Pollock and wife Margaret whose surname is believed to be Lowry, who lived in Hopewell Twp., Cumberland County when he signed his will in 1772.
    I’m specifically interested in the Big Spring Presbyterian Church because I know there was a Joseph Pollock and his wife, Mary (who was the daughter of William and Mary Laughlin) that were members there. I’m especially interested in who this Joseph Pollock was and if there were any other Pollock families that were members there. I can be reached at Thanks for any help!


  31. Laura McCachren Walsh May 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Looking for the dates that Robert McCachren was pastor of the Big Spring Presbyterian Church in Newville, PA. I am also looking for family information on Rev Robert McCachren’s father’s (John) brother – Robert McCachren b 1769 who was married to Margaret (?). This brother Robert of Rev. McCachren’s brother is most likely the line I am descended from. Any information is very helpful.

  32. Randy Straight June 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Many thanks to Pastor William Beck, while visiting Big Springs Presbyterian Cemetery he was very generous in giving his time to help me find our ancestors. Confirming Robert Mickey and family are buried there was of great interest to our family and with a family reunion coming soon there will be much to talk about. We will not forget the kindness of many at the church in caring for the early settler’s burial site for all these years. God Bless !

  33. Sandy Jones April 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I have been researching my 4th great Grandfather William McCune and his wife Mary Ann (Riggs) McCune.Their children are Robert, Edward, and James. I’ve locate them in the 1850 & 1860 census living in Cumberland County. I haven’t had much success finding information about them prior to 1850.
    Found a death certificate in the Pennsylvania State Archives, Cumbeland County Court House, for a Hays McCune.
    Hays was recorded as being the infant child of William and Mary Ann McCune. He died at 6 months 18 days in Newton township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania on the 18th of August 1852. The burial was recorded as taking place in a Presbyterian burial ground, Newville. Person returning certificate, Dr George Grove. Date of certificate 1st of September 1852.
    Wondering if Big Springs Presbyterian Cemetery could be the burial ground indicated, an if the family may have been a part of the Big Spring Presbyterian congregation.
    If you have information about Hays or the William McCune family in your records please contact me. I would very much appreciate any help you can give.


  34. Kim May 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Hello! I too am researching my family line that came from Pennsylvania. I have a book called that is now available electronically “History of Big Spring Presbyterian Church Newville PA” which is a HUGE help.

    However, I’m wondering for those of you that are in/near Newville, if there are any sites that we can get access to more information for our relatives. Does the church have its own website (wishful thinking)? I know one set of my relatives was married there but they actually aren’t listed in this book (though several others are).

    I’m looking for Sarah Fulton (b 1790) m. 03/28/1811 Francis George Lee (b 1780). I also don’t know who Sarah’s parents are. I have several other Fulton’s from this same area/church so she could very well be connected to them, but I’m not sure.

    Is there a way to get copies of the birth/death/marriage certificates from BSPC?

    Thanks! I can be reached at


  35. Melody jafferian May 11, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    I too am looking for info on James Graham and Martha Hutchinson have more on Graham side but not so much on him or her. James and /jarred occupied pew 4 in or around 1790 but those must children I’massuming???…

  36. Thomas Ross April 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    To Jean Ross:

    I have the genealogy written up by Jeannette Ross Haverfield of William Templeton Ross. It includes some comments on Simon Ross and indicates he and Elizabeth Martin were married in Ireland. Do you want a copy? Probably written around 1953?

  37. Dottie Haggard December 24, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    To: Nancy Denning Cook
    If you have not looked at the “History of Big Spring Presbyterian Church Newville PA 1737-1898 by Gilbert Swope you should. Pg 177 says the William Denning was b 1737 and d 19 Dec 1830 Revolution- from the inscription from tombstones of persons prior to 1800- it says that ‘in nearly every foot of ground rests the remains of the pioneer settlers and their chlldren, although no tablet marks their resting place’ burials in the grave yard there at the church. Denning was the maker of the first wrought-iron cannon of the Revolutionary War.

  38. Lena January 13, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    To Bill Hutchens of CA

    I have Elizabeth (Betsy) Lusk Mar James McElhinny 08/21/1827 Betsy b 04/15/1802 Mifflin Twp Cumberland County, PA–d 04/04/1881 Newburg, Cumberland County, PA burried at Hanns graveyard. d/o Robert Lusk & Martha McClure of Mifflin Twp Cumberland County, PA
    Robert b @ 1762 lived 20 years in Ireland lived 35 years in the Brandy Run area near Newville, PA–Buried in the old section of Big Spring Church Cemetary near the Big Spring creek.–unmarket graves.–Where the old church was at one time.–Martha b @ 1768-64 birth place unknow–d 06/09/1816 buried as place James–her father David McClure b @1726–d 1796 Cumberland County, PA Have a list of Martha & Robert Lusk family. I am just starting to reseach my Lusk family. Have a book on the Big Spring Church that list members. Lena

  39. Rose-Marie Ullman February 8, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    I’m looking for the baptism of Peggy (Margaret?) Bell who was confirmed in 1789 at age 11 at the Big Spring Presb. Church in Newville.

  40. Joette February 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    Wondered if anyone has information on a grave for Isaac Koons (1760 – 1830) and or Margaret Schwartz Koons his wife. They were members of Big Springs in 1824.

  41. Richard Ross May 24, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    I see some success with queries, so, here goes. My Hugh Ross reportedly was born in Cumberland Co, PA, although, his grandson, James Young Ross said Scotland. Hugh lived very close to Simon Ross in 1790 according to the census. Hugh Ross was born abt 1758-60 and died in 1819. He served during the American Revolution and burial location is unknown. Hugh was married to a Jane, maiden name unknown. According to his will, daughters were Jane, Eliza and Kesia; sons David and Hugh Jr. Executor of the will was John Scouller and William Lenny. In his will he leaves one dollar to everyone except Kesia whom he bequeaths one hundred dollars, then leaves the remainder of his estate to the lawful children of his son, Hugh Ross Jr. In reading this it would appear that Hugh Ross Jr was deceased. Hugh Ross Jr had been living in Philadelphia I guess.

    In the 1790 Cumberland Co. Census there were only 2 Ross’, Simon and Hugh. On the 1798 Glass Tax List there were 3 Ross’, James and Simon in Newton Twp; John Ross in Allen Twp. My Hugh could have been James I suppose, but, why keep changing your name? In 1800 Simon and James still living next to one another. In looking at this James Ross it is a large family and could possibly include 2 families. By 1810, Hugh is living in Mifflin Twp. Still living in Newton was Sarah Ross, who many believe was the wife of James. My Hugh died prior to the 1820 Census, but, Simon Ross is still in Newton Twp.

    My David Ross was married to Elizabeth Liebfritz in Cumberland Co, PA, possibly Big Spring Presbyterian Church. Her father was a George Liebfritz, recorded as Libfritz on the 1800 Census, also in Mifflin Twp. Believe they married about 1815. Their children which we believe were born in Cumberland Co. were John H (12 Oct 1816); possibly Hugh Wilson Ross (11 Nov 1818). By 1819 David, Elizabeth, and mother-in-law, Jane were in Highland Co, OH where Jane Elizabeth, James Young, George H., and Andrew H. were born. The last son, Sullivan was born in 1836 in Hardin Co, OH.

    I throw out the following because I found it interesting with perhaps a possible connection to my Ross line. Remember I mentioned John Scouller as Executor to Hugh Ross’ Will. John’s daughter, Agness married a John Wallace, and daughter Margaret married a James Young. Hugh’s son David had a son they named James Young Ross. Hugh Wilson Ross had a son named William Wallace Ross. John H. Ross married a Margaret Wilson.

    Sullivan (my GG-Grandfather) had as his first born son, William H.; George H. (2nd GG-Uncle) also named his first born son, William H.

    So, you can see the dilemma I have had in researching my Ross line. Researchers from LDS Sources give James Ross born 1733 in Ulster as the father of Hugh. Might be possible as this James had a son named William. Perhaps a William Ross is the father of James.

    Ultimately, my George and Sullivan end up in Mercer Co, MO. Sullivan died before 1880 and I can’t find where because, my luck, the Mercer County Courthouse burnt down destroying many of the records. I did find the land he owned and the farmer said there was a cave home in the back of the land with a metal fence around it. He could be buried there I suppose.

    Well, if anyone has any suggestions of where I can look further for my obscure Ross line, I welcome that. One more thing. In visiting Wayne Co, IA where some of my Ross line lived, the genealogist there said that Hugh Wilson Ross was known to have passed down a set of bagpipes. I have not been able to see them firsthand, but, I do know there were the Uilleann (Irish) and the Scottish ones. If they are the Irish pipes then that would suggest Ulster.

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