William Lang.

History of Seneca county, from the close of the revolutionary war to July, 1880 : embracing many personal sketches of pioneers, anecdotes, and faithful descriptions of events pertaining to the organization of the county and its progress online

. (page 30 of 72)
Online LibraryWilliam LangHistory of Seneca county, from the close of the revolutionary war to July, 1880 : embracing many personal sketches of pioneers, anecdotes, and faithful descriptions of events pertaining to the organization of the county and its progress → online text (page 30 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

In September, 1839, he was appointed tutor in the Academy con-
nected with the College, a position which he held for three years. He
entered the Theological Seminary in September, 1838, and graduated
in 1S41, his theological studies being carried forward simultaneously
with his teaching in the academy and female seminary. His theologi-
cal teachers were the Rev. Louis Mayer, D. D., under whom he studied
one year, and who resigned in the fall of 1839; '^^ Rev. F. A. Rauch,
Ph. D., for two years and a half, who died in March, 1841; and the
Rev. John W. Nevin, D. D., for one year, he having been called to
succeed Dr. Mayer in 1840.

Dr. Gerhart was licensed to preach the gospel by the Synod of the
Reformed Church in the United States, at Reading, Pennsylvania,
October, 1841. In May, 1842, he received and accepted a call to four
churches in Franklin county, called the "Grindstone Hill" charge, and
was ordained to the holy ministry by a committee of Mercersburgh
classes, in the Union church at Grindstone Hill, August, 1842. As his
engagement with the academy was still in force, during the summer of
1842 he taught at Mercersburgh during the week, and on Sunday served
his pastoral charge. During September of this year he transferred his
residence to Fayetteville. The following spring, at the instance of the
Rev. Samuel Gutelius, he received, and was induced to accept, a call
to Gettysburgh, Pennsylvania. This pastoral charge he served for
more than six years, from May, 1843, to July, 1849. Then by the
Board of Domestic Missions he was appointed missionary among the
foreign Germans at Cincinnati, Ohio. He took charge of a small
church on Bett's street, composed entirely of poor foreign Germans,
which he served exclusively in the German language, for one year,
living in a little shanty attached to the rear of the frame structure built
in a sand bank. Here he labored for two years. During this time the
church doubled its membership, a corner lot was bought on Elm street,


and funds were subscribed and collected for the erection of the First
Reformed Church, which still occupies the old site.

In the month of December, 1850, the Synod of Ohio and adjacent
states elected him Professor of Theology in its Theological Seminary,
and President of Heidelberg College, institutions of the Reformed
Church, which, during the previous year, had been located at Tiffin,
Ohio. Accepting this call, he removed to Tiffin in May, 185 1. During
the summer he undertook an agency in behalf of the seminary library,
the seminary until then, havinghad no books. He visited Philadelphia
and New York, where he collected funds and many volumes. The
books presented and purchased constitute the nucleus of the library of
this institution. A full report of his operations will be found in the
minutes of the Synod of Ohio of 1S52. The offices of Professor and
President he filled for the term of four years; teaching and lecturing
partly in the English and partly in the German language. At the same
time he served several organized churches; during the first two years,
three or four congregations in the vicinity of Tiffin. During the last
two years he was pastor of the Second Reformed church (German) in
that city.

The Board of Trustees of Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, elected him President of that institution at its annual
meeting, held in 1854. He accepted the call and moved to Lancaster,
in April, 1855. His connection with this college continued until July,
1 868, a period of thirteen years. In 1858 he received his honorary
title of Doctor of Divinity from Jefferson college. Through the death
of the Rev. Henry Harbaugh, D. D., the professorship of systematic
theology in the Theological Seminary at Mercersburg became vacant
in December, 1867. At a special meeting of the synod of the Reformed
church, held at Harrisburg, he was chosen Dr. Harbaugh's successor.
This call he accepted and removed to Mercersburg in August, 1868.
When, in 1871, the seminary was removed from Mercersburg to Lan-
caster, he continued in the service of the institution. The chair of
Professor of Theology he has occupied up to the present time, March,

In the fall of 1864, St. Stephen's church was organized in the chapel
of F. and M. college, composed of professors, families and students.
Of this church he was made the pastor, and served as such until he
ceased to be president of the college. When the Rev. Dr. Nevin re-
tired from the presidency, the associate pastors appointed Dr. Gerhart
presiding pastor of St. Stephen's church, and up to the present time he
has been fulfilling the duties of this office.



Near the . Blue Mountains, in Berks county. Pa., in the village of
Rehrersburg, Dr. Good was born on the 22d day of November, 1S22.
He is the son of Philip Augustus and Elizabeth Good. At the age of
nine years (in 1 831) he removed to the county seat, the city of Reading,
where he received his preparatory education in the public schools and
the academy. At the age of fourteen (September, 1836) he started for
college, namely, Marshall college, then located in Mercersburg, Frank-
lin county, Pennsylvania. It was at this time under the presidency of
Dr. F. A. Rauch, a celebrated scholar from Germany. Spending two
years in the preparatory department, and four years in the college, he
graduated with the highest honors of the class on the last Wednesday
of September, 1842. The class numbered nine, of whom four have
been professors in colleges and seminaries, and one a member of Con-
gress. From 1842 to 1845 he was sub-rector of the preparatory depart-
ment of Marshall college, and at the same time student in the Theolog-
ical Seminary under Dr.* J. W. Nevin. In the autumn of 1845 he was
licensed to preach by the Mercersburg classis, and in a few weeks
thereafter followed a call to Lancaster, Ohio. From October, 1845,
until October, 1847, he labored as pastor of the Lancaster and St.
Matthew's Reformed Congregation, being at the same time principal of
a select school. Elected by the Ohio Synod to edit its proposed
religious paper, he removed to Columbus, Ohio, in October, 1847, and
started the Western Missionary (now known as the Christian World,
and published in Dayton, Ohio). Elected by the Reformed Synod, of
Navarre, 1849, as Professor of Mathematics, in its projected college, he
removed in October, 1849, (together with his brother, Professor Reuben
Good,) to Tiffin, Seneca county, Ohio, and opened the new institution.
At the same time he continued to edit the Western Missionary for three
years longer, when it was removed to Dayton. From November, 1849,
until September, 1869, (a period of twenty years,) he was Professor of
Mathematics in Heidelberg College. He was then elected (by the
Synod of Shelby, in May, 1869) to the chair of Dogmatic and Practical
Theology, in the Theological Seminary at Tiffin, which situation he
has occupied for ten years.


was called to the Presidency of Heidelberg College in e866. He was
born in Frederick county, Maryland, June loth, 181 7, and graduated at
Marshall College, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1840; served several


important pastoral charges in the Reformed Church, and was the editor
of the lVesic?-n jllissionary, the organ of the Synod of Ohio of the
Reformed Church, thirteen years. He is still presiding over the college,
which has enjoyed a good degree of prosperity under his administration.



IT WOULD have been a pleasure to the writer to prepare a histor}'
of the churches in Tiiifin and in Seneca county, had not two causes
prevented it; one the entire absence of any record of the organization,
date, officers, ministers or members in many of them; the other, the
cool indifference in regard to the matter with which my requests were
answered. Such historic data as could be procured, however, are
given here in detail, while those of the others, whose records are want-
ing, are described from recollection.

The little, brick Catholic chapel on Madison street has already been
described. There are only to be added these additional facts: That
the German and the Irish Catholics attended worship in it together for
some time, as one congregation, and until the separation took place,
when the Irish formed a separate congregation and built their brick
church in Fort Ball, (as then called), and the Germans bought about
two acres of Mr. Hedges, in the woods at the south end of Tiffin:
Father Healy is the pastor of the Irish church, and Father Evrard the
pastor of the German church, now standing on the two acres, between
Washington and Melmore streets. [Further details will be given here-

It is also said that the little brick chapel was the fourth Catholic
church erected in Ohio. After the separation of the two nationalities,
the Irish people used the chapel as a school house, and employed one
John Crowley as teacher. Through some carelessness about the stove
the building took fire and burned down.


The Methodist Episcopal Church in Tiffin has already been alluded
to, as one of the first brick buildings in Tiffin. The first church of this
denomination that was erected in the county, was built on the bank of
Honey creek, in Eden township, in 1828, and on the land now known
as the Henry Schoch farm. This structure did not compare very


favorably with the grand edifice this denomination now owns on iSIad-
ison street, but it was a good, large, substantial, hewed-log building,
and answered very well for the time. Their second church was built
in Reed, in 1829; it was also made of logs, and was located on the
Raymond farm, one mile east of the pike. Rev. James Montgomery
used to preach in these churches •occasionally, and also the venerable
Thomas Thompson, still living, and who was one of the most pop-
ular and most generally beloved Methodist divines among the early
ministers in this part of the country. The celebrated Finleys also
preached in these log churches, as well as in private houses.' The
house of John Gibson, Esq., in Eden, was a meeting house almost every
Sunday for a long time. The first presiding elder was James Mc-
Mahon, who came to Tiffin in 1S23, and preached in the old brick
church. Luther A. Hall, Esq. bought the old church, when the con-
gregation had put up the new one, now over the post office, used as a
club room, and made a theatre of it. The Germans in Tiffin had
organized a very good Thesbian Society about that time, and produced
good pieces for amateurs — "Feldkimmel," for instance. The Meth-
odists finally sold their church on the corner of Monroe and Market
streets, and built a large edifice on Madison street. When finished it
will be one of the grandest and most spacious church edifices in the
county. Services are now held in the basement. The membership is
nearly three hundred; the Sunday school numbers about two hundred
scholars. Rev. J. W. Mendenhall is the present pastor. This congre-
gation was admitted to the North Ohio Conference in August, 1848,
Rev. Thomas Barkdall, presiding elder; and Rev. E. S. Gurley, pastor.


At the northwest corner of Jefferson and Market streets, is a neat,
commodious structure; has regular services now, but the membership
is not very large. The Rev. Williams is the pastor.


In Tiffin was organized on the 20th day of October, 1857, by the fol-
lowing named persons: Rev. Lyman J. Fisher, William J. Crawford,
Elizabeth Crawford, Harriet Crawford, William Gallup, F. Brownell and
Benjamin Tomb. The first public sermon was preached by the Rev.
D. F. Carnahan. Their church was built on Perry street, and dedicated
on the 2d day of December, i860. Rev. L. J. Fisher preached the
dedicatory sermon on the ist day of July, 1868. The church has a
membership of about one hundred and fifty. Its present pastor is the
Rev. G. G. Harriman.



In Tiffin is one of the largest and most important religious associations
in the city, as it is also one of the earliest. It numbers among its
members many distinguished citizens. Their splendid church, at the
southwest corner of Market and Monroe streets, was built in 1870. Its
present membership is about one hundred and fifty; Rev. D. D. Bigger
is its pastor at this time. The following historical items are taken from
an anniversary discourse pronounced by Rev. D. D. Bigger, pastor of
the First Presbyterian Church:

The First Presbyterian Church of Tiffin, Ohio, was organized about the
first of July, A. D. 1831, and was formed by the withdrawal of members
from the Melmore church who lived nearer Fort Ball than Melmore. In
1S34 this society in Tiflfin was formally chartered by the General Assembly
of the state of Ohio, as the First Presbyterian Church of Tiffin, Ohio. The
charter members were Milton Jennings, Peter Marsh, James W. G. McCluer,
Allen Campbell, William Hunter, John Young, Ezekiel McFerren, "and
their associates." The board of trustees named in the charter, were Milton
Jennings, Peter Marsh and Allen Campbell, devout men.

In the year 1830 Rev. John Eobinson came to the wilds of Seneca county,
preaching the gospel and gathering the early settlers of Presbyterian predi-
lection into local churches. In the summer of 1831, a local church was
organized at Tiffin, the Rev. John Robinson officiating as their spiritual
leader until the charter was secured, in 1834. Father Robinson is known as
a thorough pioneer preacher, and many rich incidents are related of his
pioneer experience.

The Rev. John McCutchen, the successor of the first pastor, was consid-
ered a revivalist of rare tact and talent, accomplishing much good. During
the interim from 1837 to 18.52 the church was supplied by the Rev. A. S.
Dunton and Rev. John Whipple, in connection with Melmore. Rev. James
Felon occupied the pulpit from June, 1852, to' March 21, 1858. The Rev.
John McLain supplied the pulpit in Tiffin, in conjunction with that of the
church at McCutchen sville, from iSfay 6, 1S58, until his death, which occurred
June 6, 1862. During the Rev. McLain's ministry the church edifice at
McCutchensville was built. Rev. D. S. Logan served the church as stated
supply for one year, from the month of December, 1862. In the winter of
1863, the Rev. J. E. Lapsley ministered to the church, resigning in the fall
of 1866. In the spring of 1867, the Rev. E. B. Moore was called to the pas-
torate, and accepting, became the first installed pastor of this congregation.

Up to the pastorate of Rev. Moore, the congregation had worshipped in a
sanctuary built in 1835, on the west side. Measures were taken to build a
more commodious structure, and more centrally located. The efforts were
successful, and the present handsome edifice, at the corner of Market and
Monroe streets, was occupied for the first time in the winter of 1871. When
completed, it is estimated that the entire outlay for constructing the build-
ing, purchase of lot, and furnishing, will not exceed $21,000, but will fully
reach that sum.


Rev J. F. Pollock succeeded Rev. Moore, and was installed as pastor in
1873, during the month of September. After five years of faithful serA'ice,
he resigned in March, ISTS. accepting an invitation to South Toledo. Ohio.
The present encumbent, the Rev. D. I). Bigger, being a dulj' installed pas-
tor, has entered the third year of his ministry with the church. The society
is in a most prosperous condition. The report for the year closing July 1st
shows an addition of thirty to the membership, and over $3,000 raised for
ecclesiastical and benevolent purposes, collected from the different depart-
ments of the church work. The following are the otlicers of the chm-ch:


David Smythe, William Davidson.

John Kerr, Robert Lysle,

Francis Frederici, Nathaniel Beck, Clerk.

BOAllD OF trustees:

David Laird, President, James T. Knott, Secretary.

Henry C. Baltzell. Treasurer. C. D. Sprague.

George H. Borney. J. S. Bott,

William H. Kempher.
This denomination has churches located in this county at Fostoria, Mel-
more, Bloomville, McCutchensville and Republic. At the latter place a new
church is under process of building, and will be ready to occupy this fall.


Tiffin, First Presbyterian, Rev. D. D. Bigger.

Fostoria, " " Rev. J. Hughes.

McCutchensville, Presbyterian, Rev. R. B. Moore.

Republic, " "

Bloomville, " Rev. J. S. Boyd.


This is the only rehgious organization in Tiffin constituted after the
manner of the union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches in Ger-
many, a religious event that was celebrated among the Protestants of
southern Germany on the i8th day of November, 1818.

This congregation in Tiffin was organized under a charter passed by
the general assembly of Ohio on the 15th day of March, 1S36, under
the name of "The United German Evangelical Lutheran and German
Evangelical Reformed St. John's Congregation of Tiffin, Seneca county."
Andrew Albrecht, Philip Wentz, Valentine Seewald, Francis Souder,
Andreas Bloom, Andrew Denzer, Philip Seewald, John Ditto, Jacob
Boyer and William Lang were the charter members. Of all these,
-Andrew Bloom, Jacob Boyer and the writer are all that survive. The
first constitution was adopted in 1838. Rev. Adam Adolph Conrad,
one of the most pure minded of christian gentlemen, was its first


pastor, and served the congregation for five years. In addition to
this, Rev. Conrad served nine other congregations, including one in
Lower Sandasky. He was a man of brilliant intellect and splendid
oratorical powers, which, combined with his pleasing manners, won for
him hosts of friends among all people. He had a frail body, and his
labors were too severe for his physical strength. He died, after five
years of constant service, in the thirty-fifth year of his age. His death
was lamented by all classes of people. Rev. J. J. Beilharz, from Fay-"
ette. New York, took charge of the congregation in 1841. In 1849 the
constitution was revised. Fathei Beilharz served the congregation
twelve years, and was succeeded by a Mr. Wander-, who had recently
emigrated here from Silesia, Germany. His sermons were character-
ized by forcible and poetic thought, and true devotion. Mr. Wander
died ten months after he preached his first sermon. Rev. J. J. Esher
thereupon served the congregation up to 1855. Rev. Ruetenick served
during an interim. Rev. J. G. Neuschmidt was the pastor from 1859
to 1870. Revs. Rein and Weisgerber served to 1873, when Rev. G. von
Luternau became the minister and served until 1875, when the Rev.
C. Zimmerman, the present incumbent, succeeded him.

By the frequent changes of ministers, and other causes, the congre-
gation suffered much, and became much reduced in numbers; but by
the indefatigable labors and the loveable disposition of this able and
accomplished divine, the church has increased to more than one hund-
red and twenty members.

The first meeting house of this congregation was a hewed log build-
ing, and stood on the same spot where their beautiful, but modest brick
church now stands, on south Jefferson street. It was built in 1836,
and gave way to the present brick church in 1857. The pastor lives in
a commodious parsonage on the same lot. A ladies' mite society, con-
nected with the church, numbers forty members. The interest now
awakened in the German Protestant element promises a constant in-
crease of the congregation, and contributes largely to the preservation
of the German language and the German mode of worship.

So much for a church that keeps a record.



The members of the German Reformed Church, mostly from the
states of Pennsylvania and Maryland, living in and around Tiffin, de-
sirous of worshipping God in accordance with the customs and doc-
trines of their fathers, determined to organize a congregation in Tiffin,
in order that their wishes in this particular might be realized. They


inYited the Rev. John L. Sanders, of Frederick county, Maryland, to
visit them, with the view of becoming their pastor. The invitation was
accepted by this young minister, and on the 8th day of June, 1833, he
commenced his labors among his new parishoners. On the 30th of the
same month, a meeting of all who were desirous of going into the new
enterprise, was called, at which time a constitution was adopted, and all
who wished to unite with the proposed organization subscribed their
names thereto. As well as can be ascertained, they were: Thomas
Derr, Joseph Ogle, George Stoner, Jacob 'Kroh, Jonathan Foltz,
Frederick Cramer, Joseph Foncannon, John Kime, John Martin, Ezra
Derr, Christian Ramsburg, Frederick W. Shriver, George Schroyer,
John Leydey, William Baugher, Christian Stoner, Elizabeth Ogle,
Susanna Ramsburg, Rosanna Derr, Catharine Cramer, Susanna Foltz
Elizabeth Baugher, Margaret Kime, Sarah Kroh, and Mary Leydey.
The next step taken was to elect a consistory, the members of which
were to constitute the board of trustees also. A meeting of the mem-
bers was held for this purpose, on the 21st of July, 1833, when six elders
and six deacons were elected, who were ordained and installed accord-
ing to the provisions of the Reformed church, on the same day of their


At the meeting aforesaid, the consistory was authorized to purchase
a lot for the purpose of erecting on it a church edifice, to be built of
brick. The lot upon which the present building stands was purchased
from Josiah Hedges, for the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, and
was deeded to the trustees of the congregation, known then by the
name of the German Evangelical Reformed Church, on the 16th day
of August, 1834; the following persons constituting the board at that
time: Jacob Kroh, Joseph Foncannon, Jonathan P'oltz, Joseph Ogle,
Frederick Cramer, David Rickenbaugh, John Ditto, John Kime, Wil-
liam Baugher, John Martin, Ezra Derr, and Peter Schlosser. Immedi-
ate steps were taken to build the proposed church. For various reasons
the work progressed slowly, and the building was not ready for
occupancy until the summer of 1835.


The Rev. J. L. Sanders, who was Hcensed and ofdained to the gospel
ministry on the 7th of May, 1833, by the Maryland Classes of the Ger-
man Reformed Church, was the first minister of the congregation. He
served it from the time of its organization until the 7th of November,
1S35, making the time of his pastorate two and a half years.


His successor was the Rev. Frederick Rahauser, who preached in
both the German and English languages. He served the congregation
about four and one-half years, when he resigned, and was followed by
the Rev. Daniel Kroh, who had just been ordained to the gospel

The Rev. Kroh commenced His labors as pastor on the i8th of Sep-
tember, 1840, and was regularly installed over the congregation as such
on the i2th of April, 1841. The church being without pews up to this
time, the members sitting on slab benches, was furnished with pews,
which made it a more comfortable place of worship than formerly.
The Rev. Kroh continued as pastor until the 12th of May, 1846, when
he resigned.

The Rev. Hiram Shaull became his immediate successor. During
his pastorate the church building, which had not been plastered or
painted, was finished, and was dedicated about the ist of January, 1847.
The Rev. Shaull, having been appointed by the boards of trustees of
the Theological Seminary and Heidelberg College, located in Tiffin, to
a joint agency for the purpose of endowing these institutions of learn-
ing, and feeling it to be his duty to accept this appointment, resigned
the pastorate of the congregation, which took effect on the ist of Jan-
uary, 1852.

The Rev. George D. Wolff then served the congregation as pastor
for one year, after which he resigned. His resignation went into effect
in July, 1853.

After a vacancy of one year, the Rev. William K. Zieber became the
pastor. He commenced his labors here in the month of August, 1854.
He labored with acceptance until the ist of August, 1857, when he re-
signed, for the purpose of entering upon the duties of the office of

Online LibraryWilliam LangHistory of Seneca county, from the close of the revolutionary war to July, 1880 : embracing many personal sketches of pioneers, anecdotes, and faithful descriptions of events pertaining to the organization of the county and its progress → online text (page 30 of 72)