Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Witness Tree Church - Donegal Presbyterian

Locally, we often refer to the Donegal Presbyterian Church as simply the Witness Tree Church. At a church service in1777, the congregation received word from a horserider that the British had left New York and invaded Pennsylvania. The congregation, joined by their pastor, went out and encircled the white oak planted just outside the church and pledged their allegiance as patriots of the new country. It was significant also in that the congregation had been used to offering prayers for King George of England, but would do so no more. The majestic oak who gave witness to this event was struck by lightning many times and finally, after more than 200 years, succumbed to disease in the early 1990s, despite many attempts to save it.


  1. I have always enjoyed Donegal Springs Church. It has remained pretty much the same since I was small. When I was little I would get my Dad to take me there so I could see the fish (trout). When I got older I dated a wonderful girl who lived across the street. We spent many hours there and back the paths that follow the stream from the spring. After she moved away I was old enough to drive and would go out there to sit by myself. Now I live in North Carolina, but I don't visit home without at least one visit at the church. I'm fascinated by the calmness, the serenity, the history of over 200 years and the good memories of time spent there. Thanks for the write up Mary.

  2. I was researching the witness tree when I came across your blog. Very interesting stories and love the photos. I began writing a blog four years ago and add a story every day. Some are personal stories while others tell the story of Lancaster and the surrounding communities. You can read some of my stories at Thanks again for your work. I'll have to add you to my list to read. Larry Woods