Rev. Mahlon Sisty
Picture courtesy of Joseph DiPaolo.
By June of 1860, Mahlon and his three children, Martha, John and Ann, had moved to Philadelphia. Interestingly,
Philadelphia was also the home of Mahlon’s uncle, the Rev. John Sisty, a well-known Baptist Preacher and owner
of a successful pocket book manufacturing facility in the city. Rev. John Sisty died in 1863, but Mahlon, no
doubt, kept in touch with his numerous cousins in the Philadelphia area.
In 1870, Mahlon was living in Philadelphia with his second wife Annie C. Hellings, 30, their son Walter C., 4, and
daughter Alice, 2. Of the children of his first marriage, Martha and John had married and were living on their own,
and 19-year-old Anna was living with her grandmother Beans in Montgomery County.
In June 1875, Mahlon participated in a large Methodist camp meeting at Fernwood Grove
outside of Philadelphia.
Mahlon H. Sisty was elected to the Borough Council of Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1879.
An article in the Sacramento Daily Union on 13 September 1879 under “General Notes” describes an
encounter between Spiritualists and Methodists in Langhorne, PA. When the Spiritualists sought an
affiliation with the Methodists, and after examining the Spiritualist's declaration of principles,
Rev. Sisty declared "This settles the question of our affiliation with you. You have no Christ, no
atonement, no repentance, no new birth, no judgment, no hell. You allow every man to think as he pleases,
to act as he pleases. No; we have no place for such as you."
In 1880, Mahlon was living in Langhorne with his wife Annie C., son Walter, daughter Alice, mother-in-law Phebe Hellings
and two servants.
The following obituary appeared in the March 1900 edition of the Official Journal and Year Book of the Philadelphia Annual
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church:
Rev. Mahlon H. Sisty
Mahlon Hicks Sisty was born at Salem, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania December 17th, 1815, and died at Dunellen, New Jersey,
February 7th 1900. His parents were Christians and early directed his feet towards the Divine testimonies. When
fourteen years of age he was converted to God and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church at Berwick, Columbia County,
Pennsylvania. When fifteen years of age he entered upon the career of a printer, working in the office of his brother,
Amos Sisty, then editor and proprietor of the Mauch Chunk “Courier,” Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania.
In 1838 he resigned his position, which he had held for eight years, and, heeding what he regarded as the call of God,
accepted the relation of junior preacher on the Bustleton Charge, to which he was appointed by the Presiding Elder, the
Rev. James Smith.
In 1839 he was admitted on trial in the Philadelphia Conference, and appointed junior preacher on Doylestown and Allentown
Mission. In 1840 and 1841 he was preacher in charge of Wesley Chapel and Fairmount in Philadelphia. In 1842, because of
impaired health, he sustained the relation of a supernumerary preacher. In 1843 he was in charge of Cherry Valley
circuit; in 1844 and 1845 he was in charge of Richmond Circuit; in 1846 and 1847 he was at Germantown; in 1848, at
Lehman’s Chapel; in 1849 and 1850, Stroudsburg; 1851 and 1852, Newtown; 1853 and 1854, Bristol; 1855 and 1856, First
Church, Norristown; 1857, Broad Street, Philadelphia; 1858 and 1859, Front Street; 1860 and 1861, Siloam, Philadelphia;
1862, Canadensis; 1863 and 1864, New Castle, Delaware; 1865, Lebanon; 1866, 1867 and 1868, Siloam, a second term; 1869
and 1870, Scott Church; 1871, 1872 and 1873, Darby; 1874, 1875 and 1876, Front Street, a second term; 1877, Aramingo;
1878, Yardley; 1879, Lanhorne; 1882, 1883 and 1884, Emilie and Fallsington.
In 1885, after forty-six years of effective service – one year under the Presiding Elder and forty-five in the Conference
– his relation was changed to that of supernumerary preacher, and in 1888, at his own request, his name was placed on the
list of superannuated ministers. During the years of his non-effective relation to the Conference he resided at
Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, until 1894, when he moved to Dunellen, New Jersey.
Persons acquainted with the geography and history of the territory of the Philadelphia Conference will recognize in this
list of appointments fields which required hard toil and a large expenditure of vital energy for their successful
cultivation, but they will also recognize charges of prominence and influence, requiring rare and varied gifts and rich
graces in the pastors designated to serve them. Mahlon H. Sisty possessed the gifts and the graces which made him
eminently successful through his long career. His energy was unflagging and his zeal intense. He had a passion for
souls, and his manly, frank, open-hearted manner gave him access to many whom he led to the Saviour for pardon and life.
He was an earnest minister, a pastor and an evangelist of more than ordinary ability. He was happiest in the midst of
revival influences and power. Where some persons saw only disorder and confusion, he recognized a natural order into
which the supernatural was projected to communicate divine energy to souls dead in trespasses and sin and re-create them
in Christ Jesus. Thousands of precious souls were brought to the knowledge of salvation through his ministry.
His work was not superficial, or evanescent, but abides in substantial form in strong centers of religious influence in
our midst to-day. The material elements of our denominational strength were enlarged and increased in value by his
devotion and self-sacrifice. In quite a number of his charges he found but little, but to that little, by the blessing
of God upon his effort, he secured large increase, and even where he found naught to contribute to personal and family
comfort he left for his successor conditions which made future success comparatively easy.
Simpson Grove Camp Meeting was founded and established largely through the
influence and energy of Brother Sisty. It is an institution which has been honored of God in the conversion of hundreds
of precious souls. At this place he loved to labor and share with his brethren in their rejoicing over trophies won for
During his retirement from the active duties of the ministry, Brother Sisty was at times a great sufferer. Nervous
exhaustion, attended with vertigo, prevented correspondence with his brethren, and his home, chosen for family and
economic considerations, was so remote from the scenes of his earlier years that he could not frequently or conveniently
visit them. Yet he maintained a cheerful, trusting spirit. He loved his family dearly, but Christ was all and in all
to him. He had not a doubt of his acceptance with God, but rejoiced in blessed hope of unalloyed happiness beyond this
vale of sorrow and of sin. On the morning of February 7th, 1900, he was without pain, or any special indication of
weakness, such as he had experienced for months, and attempted to dress without assistance. The effort was too much for
his enfeebled heart. In an instant the weary wheels of life stood still. His family could not realize for some time that
the end of the earthly course had been reached, but as they came more and more to appreciate the fact sorrow and joy seemed
to contend within them. They sorrowed that a kind, considerate husband;
a loving and tenderly compassionate father, had been taken from them. They rejoiced that a good man, a pure character,
a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus had suddenly been released from the limits of the earthly, to share in the glories
of the immortal, life. Absence from the body was presence with the Lord.
On Monday, February 12th, 1900, the mortal part of our brother was brought to Langhorne, where, in the Methodist Episcopal
Church, funeral services were held, in charge of the Rev. F. Getty, the pastor. These were participated in by the Rev.
Brothers H. F. Isett, S. Johnson, J. Ellery, E. S. Jamison, of the Newark Conference; J. S. J. McConnell, John Shepherd,
and F. Getty. The interment took place in the burial ground in the rear of the church.
A widow, two sons and three daughters represent his surviving family. May the special blessing of the great Head of the
church rest upon them.
The following obituary appeared in the March 1925 edition of the Official Journal and Year Book of the Philadelphia Annual
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church:
Mrs. Mahlon H. Sisty
Mrs. A. C. Sisty, widow of the Rev. Mahlon H. Sisty, passed to her heavenly reward, June 23, 1924, at the home of her son,
T. Walter Sisty, at Dunellen, N. J.
Tunis Walter Sisty, son of Mahlon and Anna Sisty, was born in 1864. In 1905 he married Laura Amelia Manning. The couple had one child
Alice who went on to become a well-known rodeo performer.
Alice Sisty, daughter of Mahlon and Anna Sisty, was born in Langhorne in February 1868. She married Charles Elmer Bertels
there on 10 May 1888. The ceremony was performed by her father. Charles was born 2 July 1866 in Whitehaven, Pennsylvania,
the son of William B. Bertels and Susan A. Edwards.
By 1900, the couple was living at 504 Carey Avenue, Wilkes Barre, in 1910 on 562 Wyoming Avenue, Dorranceton, and in 1920 in
Kingston. All three locations are in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Charles is listed as a furnace manufacturer in 1900, a
manufacturer of tin ware in 1910 and a bookkeeper in a feed mill in 1920. In that last census, Alice is listed as a laborer
in an axle works. By 1930, the couple had moved to 337 Myrtle Avenue, Long Beach, California. Alice died in a gas explosion
on 6 May 1933. Her death was ruled a suicide. Her residence at the time was 135 South Buena Vista, Hemet City, Riverside,
California. She was buried 3 days later in San Jacinto Valley Cemetery, San Jacinto, Riverside County.
By 1934, Charles had moved to 120 Battery Street, San Francisco. By 1940, he was living on Sacramento Street in the same city,
wife - Sarah, occupation - printing machine salesman. He died 19 August 1949, residence - 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco,
occupation - retired manufacturer in the tin & metal business. He was buried 21 August in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma,
San Mateo County. Sarah died 8 July 1965 and is buried in the same cemetery. Her residence at the time was given as 410 8th
Avenue, Menlo Park, San Mateo County. Her deceased husband was said to have worked as a salesman for the Baum Folder Company.
Charles Bertels and Alice Sisty had two children: William Raymond, born 25 October 1889 in Forty Fort, Luzerne County, and Walter
Milam, born 7 June 1892 in Wilkes Barre.
William married Louise Josephine Heyer on the 1st of June 1911. The couple lived in Wilkes Barre where, like his father, William
worked in the sheet metal business, eventually owning his own business – Bertels Metal Ware Company. He died 23 May 1946 and is
buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery in nearby Hanover Township. The couple had 1 son.
By 1917, Walter was living in Perkins, Sacramento County, California, where he was employed as a Ranch Book Keeper and Foreman for
the E. Clemens Horst Company, a major grower and exporter of hops for beer. Later that year he entered the Army serving first in
the Signal Corps, later in the Motor Transport Corps, and finally in the Army of Occupation, Central Mediterranean Theater of
Operations. He received an honorable discharge at Camp Dix, New Jersey in 1919. On 23 November 1921, he married Anita Theresa
Robinson who was born about 1900, the daughter of James Albert Robinson and Freda Wills. By 1930, the couple was living at 107
Kimball Avenue, Hemet City, and by 1940 at 5082 Hawley Boulevard, San Diego. By 1942, they were living at 633 North Golden Avenue,
Fullerton, Orange County, where he was employed by the Standard Oil Company of California. Walter died 5 November 1966 in Los
Angeles at the age of 74. The couple had 1 son.