Malick's Church and Cemetery
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Malick's Church and Cemetery

Back in the year 1895 there stood a small weatherbaord structure surrounded by farm land and overlooking a brook known as Mile Run. It was known as Malick's Church, and it was there that Rev. R.R. Butterwick conceived the idea of a church in Sunbury that would eventually become Otterbein United Methodist Church.

Malick's Church was named after Henry and Rebecca Malick, who sold the property to the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1847 for a fee of $10.00. The original tract of land was described in the deed as "eighty perches strict measure". The property also included the Church cemetery and the one-room Mile Run School. The dwellings on this triangular shaped lot served the spiritual and educational needs of many hardworking farm families in Lower Augusta Township and they, in turn served the Church and carefully maintained the building and cared for the grounds.

Today the only physical evidence that remains of Malick's Church and the Mile Run School is an empty lot that lies before a mixed array of polished and weather worn tombstones in Malick's Cemetery. Trees that were small while the church stood are now mature and provide shade for the graves. At first glance the cemetery looks well kept. However, a closer look reveals that many of the stones are tilted because of the sunken ground; some are broken, and others lie in a pile across the road. The inscriptions of these stones tell their own history of the land and its people. There is tragedy in the deaths of infants, and that of a 14 year od youth. Many stones tell of full vigorous lives lasting to age 70, 80, and beyond. The records begin in the mid-eighteen hundreds, and end with the year 1963, when Mrs. Charles Lytle was laid to rest beside her husband.

On June 4th, 1947 Malick's Church and the contents were sold for the sum of $383.70 and the proceeds turned over to the Conference. The contents consisting of 21 benches, two stoves, several chairs, lamps, carpets, and the organ, were bought by persons interested in them as a remembrance. The building was torn down and it is believed that materials were used to build a gas station at Wolf's Crossroads.

After the building was dismantled, there was an interim period in which the cemetery grounds deteriorated. Residents of the community, some of whom attended Otterbein, recognized the need to preserve the cemetery, and approached the Otterbein Church, seeking to charter a Cemetery Association. Working through the Trustees, Otterbein church helped to establish a Cemetery Association, petitioned and received funds from the Annual Conference to support its financial base. Funds were used to purchase equipment for care and maintenance.

With the passing of time, the original members died and the association became defunct. Since that time, maintenance of the cemetery has been provided through funds from the Otterbein Church Trustees. The work is presently carried out by the Shepperson family, who lives near the cemetery.

Anyone wishing to visit Malick's Cemetery, can find it by traveling South on Route 147 and turning left toward Brumbach's Auction Barn. Follow the road past the Auction Barn until you reach Mile Run Road. Follow Mile Run Road to where it passes the cemetery. In that location, Otterbein Church was concieved.

© 2007 Otterbein United Methodist
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