In most coal mining towns it was common to find a "company store". Interestingly, although Clermont had as many as three general stores for over 50 years, it never had a company store. However, the town added a twist to that old country song, where the singer croons "I owe my soul to the company store". In Clermont, they owed their souls to the company church.
The Clermont Union Congregational Church was built by the Buffalo Coal Company, and located between "the patch" (The Buffalo Coal Company houses across from the Clermont school) and Anderson Grove (where the Opera House would later be built), along the Milesburg-Smethport Turnpike east of central Clermont.
The McKean County Miner, in 1997, identified the pastor as Rev. A.M. Leach, with services every Sunday at 2:30, and Sunday School at 1:30. There were also gospel services every Wednesday evening. In fact the church was the center of town activity until the opera house and skating rink were built. It was the only church in Clermont until the Methodists built theirs in 1898, and the Catholics followed with St. Sabina a year later. At that point the Methodists sold their share of the Union Church and it became the Swedish Lutheran Church. In 1923 it became the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.
In 1889 the Clermont Union Church Society elected John O Sonbergh President,JH Tate Secretary and Samuel Bedford Treasurer.
Sonbergh came to Tioga County from Sweden in 1870, and came Clermont three years later. He had a draft and ticket business and foreign money office in Clermont. He also preceded John Steinhauer as Justice of the Peace.
John H Tate had managed the Buffalo Coal Company mines in the 80ís, and was transferred to the Fall Brook Coal Company mines in Tioga County; both the Buffalo Coal Company and Fall Brook Coal Company were headed by General Magee. Managers were routinely transferred from Tioga to Clermont and back. In 1896 he returned to his old position in Clermont. He was a Democratic candidate for McKean County Treasurer in 1895, and was a business partner with GH Moore, who had a large sawmill near Wermwag and headed the Clermont and Marvin Creek Railroad.. He spent considerable time surveying land for the Buffalo Coal Company.
Samuel Bedford was also Superintendent of the Sunday School, which was organized in December 1889. Mrs. Harrington was Assistant Superintendent, Sophia Hafner organist, Maggie Bedford assistant organist, Albert Anderson Treasurer and Jenny McKendrick Secretary.
The church still stands across from the old school, and like so many homes in Clermont is now a hunting camp. The Clermont-Norwich Road passed beside it, but that is now a faint trail leading through beaver ponds.