East Vincent United Church of Christ
The Historic Church High on the Hill — Part 2

The oldest church in our township, the one that can trace its roots all the way back to 1733, was officially organized as the German Reformed Congregation and gained its first pastor about 1750.  Their first church building after separating from Zion Lutheran was a log cabin erected in 1756.  Those early members were just getting off to a good start when the political troubles began to grow that eventually brought on the War of Independence from the British in 1775 & 1776.  

Most of the battlefields in that war were located elsewhere in the young nation, so the people in this area were generally safe and lived normal lives except for the Fall and Winter of 1777 and 1778.  During that time, southeastern Pennsylvania got to experience warfare first hand as soldiers from both the American and British armies were battling over nearby fields, traveling over our roads, and struggling to cross the swollen waters of the Schuylkill.

The Battle of Brandywine resulted in many casualties and as the armies headed toward our township, they brought along the wounded to be cared for.  With no hospitals in existence, the members of our German Reformed Church gathered their pews and placed them outside to make space for several beds for the injured American troops.  It was not to be an event that would quickly come to an end, for troops were all around this area during September and October of 1777.  As wintertime arrived, the soldiers of the new republic camped out in nearby Valley Forge until the next Spring finally brought their difficult stay to an end. 
The church/hospital cared for the wounded and sick during all that time.  It is credibly reported that the commander of the troops, General George Washington, was a visitor within those walls on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately, all of the soldiers did not survive.  Medical care was not what it is today and a deadly plague swept through the area and claimed the lives of 22 young men.  In sadness, some vacant land at the foot of the hill was donated by Henry Hipple, one of the church members, to be used for the soldiers’ final resting place.  That land, still dedicated and set aside as the Revolutionary Soldiers Burial Grounds, located on Route 23, is still in sight of the place where each man drew his last earthly breath, within the walls of the oldest church in East Vincent Township, known today as the East Vincent United Church of Christ
Dr. Robert W. Price
East Vincent Historical Commission