Thomas Leiper Kane (January 27, 1822 – December 26, 1883) was an American attorney, abolitionist, philanthropist, and military officer who was influential in the western migration of the Latter-day Saint movement and served as a Union Army colonel and general of volunteers in the Civil War.
Kane raised a mounted rifle regiment, the 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry, also referred to as the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves but would become know as the “Bucktails.”
After the Civil War, Kane and his wife Elizabeth moved to the frontier in western Pennsylvania, eventually owning over 100,000 acres of timberland on which oil and gas were later discovered. Kane, whose father had been the attorney who incorporated the Pennsylvania Railroad, laid out railroad routes in that area and located the low summit over which the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad crosses the Alleghenies. Kane was involved in founding the community of Kane, Pennsylvania.
The church was designed by Henry J. Taylor of Philadelphia and was the first Presbyterian church in McKean County. The church was dedicated to General Kane, who had donated the land for the church, and was situated such that the congregation would be facing in the direction of Jerusalem. Kane died in 1883 and, at his request, was interred outside the church, between the two front entrances.
The church was purchased by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in 1970, to function as a memorial to Kane, who was a supporter of the Mormons and had acted as a mediator between the Mormons and the federal government. A replica of the statue of Kane in the Utah State Capitol was placed outside the church. The chapel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 1978.
In, 2014, the LDS Church donated the church to the Kane Historic Preservation Society as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Kane.