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History of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) online

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"In 1850 the young men of this community, having a desire
for greater social and educational development, erected
through subscription for material and labor, a building made
of logs one mile east of the village of Painter creek on the
farm owned by Samuel Beane. This was first used only for
singing schools and debates, but soon after its use was also
tendered the church in which to hold religious services. A
few years later the building was given wholly to the church,
and thus it became the first church building in this part of
Darke county. With such ministers as Philip and John



234 DARKE COUNTY

Younce, David Mishler, Abraham Younce, Eli Swank, Henry
Jones, Frederick Stauffer, Absolem Hyer and other conse-
crated leaders, Ludlow church grew in influence and numbers
until it reached a membership of four hundred. For a third
of a century its membership has remained about the same.
Within this time even a greater number of members removed
from its borders and became pioneer settlers in the west and
northwest. Believing that with less territory and more con-
centrated effort a church organization can accomplish more
efficient work, Ludlow district in December, 1913, decided to
divide itself into two congregations with Painter creek and
Red river comprising one congregation and Pittsburg and
Georgetown the other. In German township there were early
organizations of this church, likewise in Adams township,
where the early settlers organized a congregation known as
the; Upper Stillwater congregation'. This also included a
part of Miami county. The first church house built for this
congregation was in the autumn of 1844 and the spring of
1845, about one mile north of Bradford, on the Miami cnunty
side. The ground was donated by Jacob Bashore and John
Beanblossom. The ministers were Eld. Michael Etter, John
Brumbaugh and John Cable. Deacons, Daniel Morgan, Isaac
Hoover, David Minnich and Adam Brandt. Later Oakland
congregation in Darke county and Covington and Newton
congregations in Miami county were formed from this ter-
ritory.

In 1868 the first church building was taken down and the
present large and substantial building erected. In 1908
this building was remodeled so as to provide better Sunday
school facilities.

Amongst other ministers who were leaders in this congre-
gation were Joseph Risser. S. S. Mohler, John Hershey, Adam
Helman, Emanuel Hoover and Wm. Boogs. Ministers hav-
ing the work in charge at present are Eld. J. C. Bright, Eld.
J. M. Stover, Devolt Crowel, S. D. Royer, S. E. Porter and
John Eikenberr}'.

The Oakland congregation is mostly in Adams township
and has a membership of 184. Its ministers are Eld. John
Christian, Henry Smith and Elmer Ikey.

There are nearly ICX) members of the church of the Breth-
ren living in Bradford. An efifort is being made at present
to raise sufficient subscription to erect a church buildinp
there.



DARKE COUNTY 235

There are at present twelve church houses located in Darke
county at the following places : Beech Grove, Castine, Green-
ville, Jordan, North Star, Oakland, Painter Creek, Pittsburg,
Poplar Grove, Pleasant Valley, Red River and West Branch.
Union City and Upper Stillwater congregations are partly in
Darke county. The church membership of Darke county is
about 1,200, and the number of ministers twenty-three. These
are largely of Pennsylvania and Virginia parentage. There
are organized churches in 38 of the states of the Union with
a membership of about 100,000.

The Gospel Messenger is the official organ of the church,
and is published weekly at Elgin, Illinois.

In recent years the church has greatly increased its ac-
tivity in missions, Sunday school work, education and tem-
perance. Each of these departments has a general board.
Under the supervision of the General Mission Board, for-
eign missions have ben established in Denmark, Sweden, In-
dia and China, with other fields under consideration. The
Missionary Visitor is the official paper published monthly at
Elgin, Illinois.

Under the supervision of the Educational Board there are
nine denominational schools located as follows : Juniata Col-
lege, Huntingdon, Pa. : Blue Ridge College, New Windsor,
Md. : Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Va. ; Daleville Col-
lege, Daleville, Va. : Manchester College, Nj^rth AIaiichestei%_
Ind. ; Mt. Morris College. Mt. Morris, 111.; Bethany Bible
School, Chicago, 111. ; McPherson College, McPherson, Kan. :
Palmers College, Lordsburg, Cal.

Under the supervision of the General Sunday School Board
with headquarters at Elgin, 111., there has been eflfected a more
thorough organization of the Sunday schools of the church.
I. B. Trout is secretary of the board, and is editor-in-chief
of the various Sunday school publications of the church. The
enrollment of the Sunday school exceeds her membership.

Ever since the organization of the church she has stood
against the open saloon and the manufacture of intoxicatinL;
liquor. She believes in the simplicity of life as found in the
teaching of Christ in the New Testament.

She represents a people who, as little children (Luke 18:17),
accept the word of the new testament as a message from
heaven ("Heb. 1 :1. 2), and teach it in full (2 Tim. 4:1, 2: Alatt.
28:20).

Who baptize believers by triune immersion fMatt. 28:19)



236' DARKE COUNTY

with a forward action (Rom. 6:5), and for the remission of sins
(Acts 2:38), and lay hands on those baptized, asking upon
them the gift of God's spirit (Acts 19:5, 6).

A\'ho follow the command and example of washing one an-
other's feet (John 13:4, 17).

Who take the Lord's Supper at night (John 13:20), at cue
and the same time, tarrying one for another (1 Cor. 11 -.53. 34)

Who greet one another with a holy kiss (Acts 20:37; Rimii,
16:16).

Who take the Communion at night, after supper, as did the
Lord (Mark 14:17, 23).

Who teach all the doctrines of Christ, peace ( Heb. 12:14),
love (1 Cor. 13), unity ( Eph. 4), both faith and works (James
2:17, 20).

^^"ho labor for nonconformity to the world in its vain and
wicked customs (Rom. 12:2).

Who advocate nonswearing (I\Iatt. 5:34. 37). anti-secretism
(2 Cor. 6:14, 17), opposition to war (John 18:36), doing good
unto all men (Matt. 5:44, 46).

Who anoint and lay hands on the sick (James 5:14, 15).

Who give the Bread of Life, the message of the common
salvation, unto all men without money or price (^latt. 10:8).

The Church of the Brethren in Greenville.

In our sketch of the Brethren church it has been noted
that its early meeting houses were established in the rural
communities. On account of their plain manner of living and
industrious habits these people devote most of their energies
to the cultivation of the soil. However, on account of ad-
vancing age, a number of the brethren retired from active life
on the farm and settled in the county seat, during the latter
years of the nineteenth century. Being accustomed to the
regular worship of God these devout people commenced to
hold services in the house of Mr. Hardman on the northwest
corner of Pine street and Central avenue about the year 1889,
under the preaching of Elder Henry Baker. The iMission
Board of the .Southern District of Ohio soon perceived the im-
portance of establishing a church in Greenville, and lent en-
couragement and financial aid to this enterprise. With its
assistance it was then decided to erect a house of worship
in the near future. Services were then held in the city hall,
a lot was purchased on the east side of Central avenue be-



DARKE COUNTY 237

tween Walker and Pine streets, and the erection of a church
commenced. This building was pushed to completion and
dedicated in January, 1901. It was a substantial brick struc-
ture with pointed slate roof 38x60 feet in size, and was the
first church located in the rapidly growing section of the city
south of the Pennsylvania railway. At this time a society
of twenty-four members was organized, among whom were
the following: Henry Beck and wife, I. K. HoUinger and
wife, David Marker and wife, John Marker and wife, George
Puterbaugh, Sr., and wife, David Hollinger and wife. Mrs.
Daisy Hollinger, Airs. Catharine Hopkins, Mrs. Susie Mi-
chael, Mrs. Marg. Murphy and daughter Laura. The society
grew in numbers and influence and in 1911 the original church
structure was enlarged and remodeled, the roof being raised
about ten feet, a tower added in front, three Sunday school
rooms attached to the east end and a gallery constructed, giv-
ing the property a value conservatively estimated at $7,000.00.
Special emphasis has been placed on the work of the Sun-
day school with the result that it now has an enrollment of
about two hundred and fifty members. George D. Puter-
baugh was superintendent of this department for se\'eral
years and was recently succeeded by Allen Weimer. The
school is well organized, has seven separate class rooms, be-
sides the main assembly room, and supports a teachers'
training class. The young people support a flourishing Chris-
tian Workers' Societ}' of which Chas. Forror is president.
The women of the church maintain a strong auxiliary organ-
ization, nown as the Ladies' Aid Society, of which Mrs. David
Hollinger is the head. The official board is constituted as
follows: Elders, Abraham Brumbaugh, Granville Minnich, A.
W. Weimer; deacons, Henry Beck, George Puterbaugh, Sr..
Elam Forror, Geo. D. Puterbaugh, Jr.. I. N. Rover, A'incent
Halliday. Henry Hovatter, Chas. Fryman and Chas. Forror.
Rev. David Hollinger has been pastor of this congregation
most of the time since its organization, freely giving of his
time and talents to the work of the ministry without financial
remuneration at his own request. The church now' has about
170 members and on account of the need of a central church
of this denomination in Darke county, the character of its
membership and its strategic location, promises to grow stead-
ilv in numbers and influence.



238 DARKE COUNTY

The Brethren's Home.

In the year 1902 the Brethren churches of the southern
district of Ohio secured a charter to erect a home for depend-
ent orphan children and the old people under their care.
After a careful inspection of eligible locations for the proposed
benevolent institution, the locating committee chose a beau-
tiful site on the east blufif of the Mud creek valley, just south
of Oakview addition to the city of Greenville. The central
location of Greenville, and its exceptional railroad facilities
were determining factors in the decision of the committee.
This site comprises forty acres of fertile prairie and upland,
formerly known as the Rush farm, lying between the Fort
Jefierson pike and the Pennsylvania railway, and commands
a fine view of the country to the south and west. On. ac-
count of proximity to Greenville and its natural advantage
this site was well chosen and reflects credit upon the wisdom
of its purchasers. Here two substantial pressed brick build-
ings encircled with wide porches were erected at an approx-
imate cost of $25,000.00, and dedicated in July, 1903, with ap-
propriate exercises.

The buildings are two stories in height with cemented
basements under the entire structure, are 35x70 feet in size,
and are equipped with electricity, city water, sanitary sewers,
natural gas pipes and a good heating plant.

The north building was constructed for the use of the old
folks, and has a hallway running east and west entirely
through its length. On the right side of this hall, down-
stairs, are located the superintendent's office, four bedrooms
and a sewing room. On the left side are located the old peo-
ples' sitting room, dining room, kitchen, pantry and store
room. Upstairs there are six rooms on each side for bed-
rooms. At the west end are toilet rooms, and lavatories,
with hot and cold water.

The south building is located about sevent}'-five feet from
its companion, with which it is now connected by a brick
building erected for a laundry and furnace house. Like the
northern building it is intersected by longitudinal hallways
downstairs and up. On the north side of this hall down-
stairs are located the rooms for the governess, and little
girls, children's toilet room, a large dining room and kitchen
for the accommodation of the superintendent's family, the
help and the children. On the south side o* the hall are



DARKE COUNTY 239

located a large sitting room, chapel, boys" room, and dairy and
supply room equipped with cream-separator, refrigerator, etc.
Upstairs are located the women's hospital, the men's hospital
and four bedrooms.

Twenty-nine adults, ranging in age from 55 to 87 years,
were admitted during the first year. Xo children were
admitted until 1905, when eleven came.

Since its establishment the following persons have served
as superintendent: A. G. Snowberger, about six months; E.
P. Longenecker. one year; Joseph Brant, one year; M. X.
Rensbarger. three years ; Granville W. Minnich, the present
efficient incumbent, has served continuously since 1909.

The lawns in front of the buildings have been nicely graded
and planted with trees which, in time, will add greatly to the
pleasing and home-like appearance of the grounds. The aver-
age number of inmates has been about thirty. At present
there are twenty-six adults and six children in the home.

The location of this institution in Darke county indicates
that the Brethren church is strong and influential here and is
growing in prestige and good works. It also adds one to the
high class benevolent institutions located in the county, and
tends to attract and bind together the members of a church
valued highly for their contribution to the social, moral and
religious affairs of our people.

First Evangelical Church.

On account of the goodly proportion of German emigrants
to Greenville and vicinity about 1830 to 1850 three diiTerent
denominations were early established in Greenville, viz.. the
Evangelical, German M. E. and Lutheran. Although the
former denomination has lost its distinctive German character
in late years, it was established by Germans, as shown by the
records and the names of the early families who supported it.
Among these were the Renschlers, Koenigs, Lutzs. Kecks and
Schwartzs, The first services were held in private homes bv
visiting ministers from Dayton, Cincinnati and neighboring
places. Although a small class was formed as early as 1842,
the membership increased slowly, and did not erect a house
of worship until 1858. when a substantial brick church build-
ing was erected on the southeast corner of Fourth and Ash
streets, where the congregation Jias continued to worship
ever since. The early growth of the church was quite slow



240 DARKE COUNTY

as indicated by the fact that Inu twenty-eight members were
reported in 1880, at which time regular preaching services were
held only once in two weeks. Under the pastorate of Rev.
Geo. D. Eastes in 1911. the church was remodeled at a cost
of about $4,000.00. At this time a Sunday school room was
added, the basement enlarged, the auditorium decorated and
refurnished and other improvements made. Plans have re-
cently been adopted whereby the society, by action of the
annual conference, expect to build a new parsonage on the
present site adjoining the church, in the near future.

The trustees in 1913 were: Irvin Smith, president: C. M.
Dunn, secretary : Henry Flurkey. treasurer : Anna Flurkey,
president Young Peoples' Alliance : Mr. Frank Slade, superin-
tendent of Sunday school. The enrollment in the Sunday
school in 1913 was about 140, and the church membership
about 100. The present zealous pastor is Rev. Ernest R.
Roop. who is entering on the third year of his pastorate. This
ctiurch is exceptionally well located and in a position to serve
a large number of people in the eastern central section of the
city.

The Universalist Church.

As suggested l^y it.s title, this denomination stands for the
universal fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of all mankind,
and the ultimate harmony of all souls with God. Its members
accept the Bible as containing a revelation of the character of
God and of the duty, interest and final destination of man-
kind, and believe tliat God is revealed in Christ by the Holy
Spirit. Both modes of baptism are practiced.

The local congregation is independent in the management
of its affairs. This denomination became established in the
New England states over a hundred years ago. Although it
has never attained a large membership it has exercised con-
siderable influence on the religious thought of the Protestant
denominations since its organization. From the meager
records extant it appears that the first Universalist society in
the county was organized in New Madison in 1859 with
thirty-one members under the preaching of Henry Gifford.
A large lot was purchased of John B. Schriber on the south
side of the village in June, 1859, for $75.00 and subscriptions
were received for a building. A stibstantial frame structure
about forty by fifty feet in size was soon erected and dedi-
cated in Januar}', 1860. Here the denomination has maintained



DARKE COUNTY 241

an organization ever since, placing special emphasis on Sun-
day school work, and is now probably stronger than at any
other point in the county. Under the pastorate of the late J. A.
Stoner and wife, of Eaton, Ohio, a beautiful modern briclc
church building was erected in 1903 at a cost of some
$8,000.00. This church now has a membership of over one
hundred, a large active and well organized Sunday school, a
junior Young Peoples' Christian Union and a Ladies' Aid
Society.

The second Universalist church in the county was organ-
ized at Palestine by Rev. Elihu Moore, a noted theologian and
protagonist of the faith, with ten members, on June 18, 1868.
Meetings were first held in the old Palestine school-house but
in a few years a substantial frame church building was erected
at a probable cost of $3,000.00 on a fine lot situated on the
north side of the village, which had been given by Mrs. \'iola
Kester. Harvey L. Hill, George Kester and M. M. Jefifries
were the first deacons, and Harrod Mills the first clerk. This
church has had as pastors some of the strongest Universalist
preachers in this part of the field, including such men as S. P.
Carlton, Thomas Guthrie, John Blackford, J. P. ^lacLean,
John Richardson, Lotta D. Crosley, J. A. Stoner and wife, and
the present pastor, O. G. Colegrove.

Associations and other important meetings have been held
here and this church might, with propriety, be called the
mother of the Greenville church. At present it has a mem-
bership of seventy-five, a "Front Line" Sunday school and an
active Ladies' Aid Society.

About the years 1891 and 1892 occasional Lhiiversalist ser-
vices were held in the opera house in Greenville by Rev. S. P.
Carlton and Rev. J. P. ]\IacLean. Considerable interest de-
veloped which resulted in the organization of the "First Uni-
versalist Church," at a meeting held in the city hall, on Thurs-
day evening, January 26, 1893, at which the following named
persons entered themselves on the roll as members : L O.
Sinks, William P. Espy, I. N. Eakins, T. J. Dowlar, Charles
M. Kates, A. N. Van Dyke, A. P. Sawyer, Mrs. Nina Emer-
son, Mrs. Retta Ketring, Mrs. Jane Eakins, Mrs. Harriet K.
Dowlar, Mrs. Belle L. Kates, Mrs. America Sinks, Mrs. L. A.
Eidson, Mrs. A. P. Sawyer, Mrs. A. E. Shepherd, [Mrs. Sarah
C. Wilson, Mrs. Amanda Miller and Miss Rettie Sinks.

Rev. MacLean was called to the pastorate in February and
the opera house was soon rented as a place for holding ser-
(\6)



242 DARKE COUNTY

vices. Meetings were held here on the first and third Sun-
days of each month for over two years. In the meantime the
society decided to secure a lot and erect a church building.
Various sites were considered but before a decision was made
^Ir. and Airs. Martin \'. Emerson purchased the southwest
part of lot 139 on the north side of East Fifth street near
Broadway early in 1895 and donated the front portion for the
use of the church. An active canvass for a church building
fund was now made with the result that the corner stone of
the new building was laid on Sunday afternoon, July 7, 1895,
in the presence of a large concourse of people. The services
were participated in by Rev. L. E. Jones, Presbyterian ; Rev.
^^'. E. Ludwick, Reformed ; Rev. J. P. Tyler, Episcopalian,
besides the pastor, and were quite impressive.

The structure erected was of brick and cost about $3,503.09.
Rev. AlacLean served this congregation about four years and
was succeeded by John Richardson, who served about twn
years. Lotta D. Crosley came about 1900 and served some
three years. Thomas S. Guthrie followed with a three-year
pastorate. Leon P. and ]\Iartha Jones acted as joint pastors
from 1906 to 1908, and were followed by E. H. Barrett. Rev.
and Mrs. O. G. Colegrove began their pastorate in October,
1910, and are still serving acceptably in that capacity, preach-
ing here on the first and third Sundays of eacli month. B. M.
AlcCabe is moderator; Mrs. Lola Aukerman, clerk: Mrs.
Alary Horn, treasurer. The trustees are: L. C. .Au'erman,
B. AI. AlcCabe, Robert Davidson. J. E. Rush and J. E. Owens.

This church maintains a "Front Line"' Sunday school, an
active Y. P. C. L^. and a A\'<T-nan's Universalist Missionary
-Alliance.

The Reformed Church.

The Reformed churcli in the United States is an oft'-shoot
of one of the oldest Protestant Christian bodies having a con-
tinuous history since its organization, being contemporaneous
with the Lutheran church. It arose out of the Reformation
in Switzerland, but soon became planted in Germany, espe-
cially in the Palatinate, where it secured control of Heidel-
berg Laiiversity and exerted a powerful influence during the
reformation. As a symbol of faith it adopted the Heidelberg
catechism in 1563. In policy it is Presbyterial as the Pres-
byterian church is Reformed in doctrine. Therefore, these
two churches are closely related and have been kept apart



DARKE COUNTY 243

chiefly by difference of language and tradition. However,
these influences have grown less with time and the two com-
munions are now negotiating a union. The local governing
body in this denomination is called a consistory ; the district
body a classis ; a group of classes, a synod ; the highest body,
a general synod.

The first Synod organized in the United States was among
the German settlers of eastern Pennsylvania in 1743. Here
this denomination largely became entrenched and from this
center has followed the Pennsylvania emigrants to Ohio and
other states. It places great stress on the educational method
in implanting religion, has an educated ministry and a strong-
denominational consciousness. It now has over 300,000 mem-
bers in the United States and maintains important schools
and missions in Japan and China. Its principal educational
institutons in Ohio are Heidelberg University, at Tiiifin, and
Central Theological Seminary at Dayton. It is well repre-
sented in the latter city and in the upper Aliami valley, but
did not get a footing in Darke county until about the middle
of the nineteenth century. The records of 1853 show at least
four congregations in this county, viz. : Zion (near Baker's
Store), St. John's in German township, Beamsville and Gettys-
burg. At a meeting of the joint consistories held in Beams-
ville, August 6, 1853, Jesse Prugh was president ; John L.
Darner, secretary; Philip Hartzell and Jesse Prugh, delegates
to Synod and Classis. Rev. J. Vogt, Rev. John Stuck and
Rev. William ]\IcCaughey were prominent early ministers in
this denomination. Besides the above mentioned churches
congregations were established in the course of a few j^ears,
largely under their influence, at Beech Grove (on Ithaca
pike); Xew Madison, ^It. Pleasant (at intersection of Xash-
ville pike and Greenville township pike), Bethel (on Bethel
pike about one mile southwest of Woodington) ; Hillgrove ;
East Zion (two miles east of Greenville on Gettysburg pike),
also at Bradford and Arcanum. Rev. Reuben Good and Rev.
Jacob AI. LeFever were also early preachers in ^•arious
charges.

Zion's congregation withdrew from the original charge in
1856, and the Beamsville and Creager (Xew Harrison)
churches became attached to the Dallas charge in 1862. By
this time the leaders in the denomination had awakened to
the importance of establishing a mission in the county seat
as a strategic center of the church's activity. Accordingly



244 DARKE COUNTY

the Old School Presbyterian church was secured ami in