THE HORSE SHEDS
Do you realize that the buildings next to Neff Chapel used by the cemetery are converted horse sheds? Yes, horse sheds were an important part of the church complex in the days before automobiles became common. Way back in 1868, a picture shows them located on the western boundary line near where the Soldiers and Sailors Monument now stands. They had been built by the church members. Keeping the sheds in good repair was a challenge, as seen in this quote from the November, 1887 issue of "The Old Tennent", a monthly publication:
"The condition of the sheds for horses at the church is deplorable, and is growing worse. Probably each owner would be willing to repair his own shed, were it not that it is useless to mend one unless the others are mended at the same time. It has been suggested that a carpenter be employed to repair all the sheds, and that a disinterested committee apportion the expense to the work done on each shed. Certainly the sheds ought to be in good condition before the coming of cold weather.”
It must have taken great courage in 1913 when the Trustees suggested moving the sheds to the opposite side of the church grounds. They numbered thirty-five and were purchased through the generous offer of Charles H. Sanford from the owners in return for keeping them in repair and only charging the owners 5O cents per year for such upkeep. Another provision to the purchase included promises to replace them if burned and allowing their heirs to use them. Mr. Sanford at the same time built five more sheds.
In searching the church records, I find that they were taken down in 1931 to “beautify the church grounds". At least one church member took such offense that his shed was destroyed that he gave up his church membership on that account!
The horse sheds appear to the left in this 1868 photograph. The building to the right of the church is a public school. It burned to the ground in 1902 and a new school was built outside the church property.