Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History
Miami County Ohio
PRESENT RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS
OF THE COUNTY
Local History of the Baptists, Methodists,
Lutherans, Friends or Quakers,
Episcopalians German Baptists,
Christians, Roman Catholics,
With the passing of the pioneer preacher the religious development of
the county was rapid. Houses of worship sprang up in every direction. These
were suited to the times, for congregations as yet were small, and the
beginnings were meager but gave promise of better things. In order to intelligently
trace the rise of the different denominations in the county I shall take
them up one by one, giving in a nutshell the history of each.
Not long after the formation of the county in 1807 this denomination
organized a church at Troy. Its first preacher was Stephen Riddle, a boastful
man who had spent much of his life among the Indians. He is said to have
had his ears pierced for leaden pendants and he frequently boasted that
during his sojourn with the tribes he had killed white people. Whether
his statements caused his stay with the Troy brethren to be brief I do
not know, but at any rate he didn't remain long. About 1813 a log church
was built. This edifice was heated by a tin-plate stove which proved obstreperous
on several occasions. A man named Stapleton now had the care of the flock.
Later on the log church disappeared and a better house of God arose on
the corner of Franklin and Cherry Streets. In 1834 a meeting was held in
this edifice and regular articles of incorporation were prepared. The organization
was completed the same year and J.L. Moore was chosen pastor. In 1838 E.
French preached for the congregation and during the same year Samuel Hervey
and Z. Eaton were pastors. This denomination continued to prosper at Troy
and today the Baptists have a large membership. The present pastor is Rev.D.W.
In 1830 the Baptists erected their first church in Piqua. It was an
inadequate structure, but services continued to be held in it till 1848,
when a new church was built on the corner of High and Wayne Streets. Among
the noted divines who occupied this pulpit are Rev. John L. Moore, John
E. Thomas, David E. Thomas, Dr. Shephardson and Lyman Fisher. The founders
of the Piqua Baptist Church were the Mannings, Hilliards, Blues, McCampbells,
Garveys, Drakes and Cavins.
Piqua now has three commodious Baptist churches with the following pastors:
Park Avenue Baptist, Dr. Wilson; Calvary Baptist, Rev. J.W. Beek; First
Baptist, I.M. Lloyd.
The first meetings of the Tippecanoe Baptists were held in the old schoolhouse
in 1851, at which time the congregation comprised but twelve persons. The
first pastor was L.C. Carr. A new church was erected in 1878 and at the
present time William Pieffer is the resident pastor. This church has risen
from small beginnings to be one of the pillars of this particular faith
in the county. East of the river the Baptists have several congregations.
The Baptist church at Fletcher was organized in 1861, from which year till
1864 David E. Thomas was pastor. He was succeeded by E.D. Thomas, who was
followed by Elder Daniel Bryant, J.W. Weatherby, G.W. Taylor, W.S. Kent
and Joseph N. Scott. Many revivals have been held in the Fletcher Baptist
Church, which today has no regular pastor. In 1855 a Baptist church, which
up to that time had been a branch of the Honey Creek denomination, was
organized at Lena. Its first minister was David Scott, who became somewhat
noted as a debater and divine. This little church is in a flourishing condition.
Its present pastor is Rev. Alby Kite.
The lost Creek Baptist congregation, which as an off-shoot of the old
Staunton Church, long ago demolished, was organized in 18I6. The first
minister in charge was Samuel DeWeese. In 1821 a church building was erected
of hewn logs. The following queer entry is to be found on the books of
this church: "Agreed to employ Brother Abia B. Martin to lay floors
in the meeting house, to plough and groove both floors, to plane one side
of the upper floor and to make two doors and casings, for which the church
agree to pay Brother Martin $20 in work at Mr. Fordyce's if said Martin
should want it there; if not, to be paid in wheat, corn or young cattle."
In 1837 there was secession from this church and another, a log affair,
was erected in the same township on the Casstown-Addison Turnpike. The
new church was called Providence, but it disappeared long ago and no other
was built. The Lost Creek Baptist Church of 1816 was succeeded by a brick
edifice, but within the last few years this has been torn down and nothing
remains to mark its site but the Baptist burying ground.
The Casstown Baptist Church was organized about 1851, with Willis Hance
Sr., as pastor. It remained in a flourishing condition for a number of
years, but at present no regular services are held. Among its old ministers
I find the names of Robert Stapleton, Samuel DeWeese, William Sutton, Moses
Frazee, L.C. Carr, David Bryant, T. P. Childs, John Blodgett, J.G. Truiaison,
J.B. Weatherby and J.W. Miller. Just before the outbreak of the Civil War
the Lost Creek Baptists held a number of public debates with the Lutherans
on the subject of baptism. These disputations waxed warm for a considerable
period and noted ministers from a distance took part. Nothing, however,
was settled by the controversy for:
"He that complies against his will,
Is of his own opinion still."
Since many of the pioneer preachers professed the faith of John Wesley,
it was natural that the Methodists should obtain a strong foothold in the
county. This church has always been aggressive, and to this fact, no doubt,
it owes much of its present prosperity. The Methodists or Wesleyites, as
they were called in an early day, were among our first pioneers, though
the Quakers or Friends arrived here about the same time. The first Methodist
churches in the county was supplied by traveling ministers who came at
stated intervals and held services. The congregations, at first were very
small, but increased in numbers, owing, no doubt, to the numerous camp
meetings which were held by that persuasion. Before the first Methodist
church was established here, meetings were held at Mr. Winan's house, where
Raper Chapel now stands. Later on Mr. Gahagan donated a lot in Troy and
a log church was erected thereon. Among the early divines who preached
to the Methodists of Troy were such noted ones as Revs. Bascom, Finney,
Raper and Elliott. The log church remained where it was built for about
ten years. Another edifice succeeded and in 1840 a still better one was
built. This church went through a remodeling process, but very recently
the Troy Methodists erected the beautiful church which they now occupy.
This church is one of the handsomest structures in the state. The pastor
in charge is Rev. W.H. Werhly.
Dr. Dorsey in his published account of Piqua has well said that "it
has long been noted for the number and excellence of its churches."
Few cities of its size in the Union can compete with it in this direction.
It has two flourishing Methodist churches at the present time. The Greene
Street Methodist Church, Dr. W.A. Deaton in charge, is the outgrowth of
the first Methodist congregation which worshipped in the old Seminary.
A real church was erected in 1825 on Spring Street, but this gave way for
the present Greene Street Church in 1836, since which time regular services
have been held in this noted structure.
Grace Methodist Church is an outgrowth of the Greene Street congregation.
For a while the new addition worshipped south of the railroad, but finding
that their numbers were constantly increasing it was determined to erect
a commodious edifice and Grace Church sprang into existence. It has well
maintained itself for many years and has a large membership. H.E. Armacost
is the present minister.
The Methodists of Tippecanoe, needing a house of worship, erected one
in Hyattsville, which has since become a part of the larger town. This
church was very primitive, built of logs, with a great old-fashioned fireplace
which diffused ample heat during the coldest winters. In 1840 the first
church disappeared, giving way for one more in keeping with the times and
the wealth of the members. Revs. McPherson and Rutledge held pulpits in
this church in the dawn of its history. In 1860 a new church was built
and this accommodated the increasing membership. Owen M. Sellers is the
present pastor in charge.
The Covington Methodists built their first church in 1836, but a year
later it was demolished by a severe storm. This misfortune seems to have
discouraged the Newberry brethren, for a number of years elapsed before
they again had an organization in Covington. At present the Methodist Episcopal
church of that town is presided over by W.H. Spybey and the church is in
a flourishing condition.
In Union Township the Methodists had hard work in establishing a church.
The Friends seemed to flourish there above all others and other denominations
labored under many difficulties. At last about 1833, the Methodists saw
their way clear to build a church in West Milton, which flourished for
a season and then declined. Today the Methodists of that township are represented
by a Methodist Episcopal Church in West Milton over which R.O. Matthews
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Pleasant Hill is of comparatively
recent growth, therefore its history belongs to the history of Methodism
in Union Township. This church, which stands on South Church Street, is
in the charge of the same pastor who looks after the Methodist congregation
of West Milton, Rev. Matthews.
Fletcher witnessed the coming of Methodism in 1820 when Andrew Oliver
donated land for the first church there. This structure was torn down in
later years and another built, which is occupied by the Methodists of that
flourishing little town. Rev.S. Bowersox is the present minister. He also
fills the pulpit in the Lena Methodist Church.
The Casstown Methodist Church dates its organization some years back.
I have no authentic records concerning the year of its institution. Its
first services were held in an old-fashioned brick church on the Troy-Casstown
Pike, but this edifice was torn away and a new church built on Center Street.
Of late this church building has been remodeled and is now the finest of
the smaller Methodist churches of the county. Rev. D.S. Ferguson of the
Troy Circuit is the pastor in charge.
Brandt has been productive of Methodism. It has at least one flourishing
church of this denomination, the organization of which was effected in
1839. It was dedicated by the celebrated Granville Moody. The Pisgah Methodist
Episcopal Church was also erected in Bethel Township in 1825 and was among
the first churches built in the county.
McKendree Chapel was erected in Elizabeth Township in 1832. From 1812
to the year of erection of McKendree Chapel the people worshiped in a log
cabin, but in 1845 the present church edifice of brick was erected and
formally dedicated. In 1811 McKendree was attached to the Mad River District
and John Collins was its pastor. This church has long been among the famous
churches of the county and today holds a unique place in local Methodism.
Rev. John Neer is the present minister at McKendree and the church will
soon celebrate its centennial with appropriate ceremonies. Raper Chapel,
which is supplied by Rev. D.S. Ferguson, is about four miles North of Troy.
As a country church it has long been noted for its zeal in the cause of
the Master. Its history dates back to the earliest times and its beginnings
were really in the wilderness. Such has been the progress of Methodism
within the limits of our county. In some of the remoter portions other
congregations have flourished for a time, but the ones mentioned above
are the most noted.
There stands on the Staunton and Spring Creek Pike, but in Spring Creek
Township, a little Methodist church locally known as Beech Bethel. It was
erected many years ago and was largely attended by the people of its immediate
neighborhood. As one of the rural churches of the county it has acquired
more than local fame and some quite eminent ministers have filled its pulpit
since its erection.
In 1830 the old school Presbyterians erected the first church of that
denomination in Piqua. It stood on Wayne Street, south of Sycamore and
served the purpose of the congregation till about 1844, when a new church
was built. Rev. James Coe was the first officiating minister. He was an
earnest, able man. Today this church, known as the First Presbyterian,
is one of the pillars of religious faith in Piqua. Its present pastor is
Rev. D.M. Davis.
The Second Presbyterian Church of the same city succeeded the one above
mentioned by a few years. Rev. Graves was its first minister and he was
followed by a number of excellent pastors who kept burning the fires of
Presbyterianism in the Border City. When the two bodies of the Presbyterian
Church united Rev. J. Thompson was pastor of the Second Church. This union
took place in 1876. The Second Church has a large membership of earnest
people, who are ministered to by John Montgomery, the present pastor.
An old brick schoolhouse furnished the Presbyterians of Troy with their
first house of worship. This was in 1818 and George Burgess ministered
to the little flock of earnest believers in the faith of Calvin. In 1837
the congregation built a house of worship on Franklin Street. This church
was sold soon afterward and another erected. A new brick was finished in
1863 and after the union of the two church bodies Daniel Tenney became
the pastor. The Presbyterian pulpit of Troy is filled today by Joseph W.
The Covington Presbyterian Church came into existence in 1842. It was
built in conjunction with the Cumberland Presbyterians. This church has
a brief local history, though it is noted for its excellent discipline.
The regular pastor in charge is Rev. H.N. Barbee. The village of Fletcher
contains a Presbyterian Church whose pastor is Rev. M.M. May. This congregation
was organized in 1837. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Cleland
from Romans VIII, and I. At the time of the institution of the Fletcher
Church but twenty members of that faith were to be found in the village,
but the little roll increased under the ministrations of succeeding elders
until now the Fletcher - Presbyterians are quite ilumerous. Many of the
Scotch-Irish settlers of the county were members of the Presbyterian Church
and brought their faith with them not only over the mountain barrier but
from across the sea. These people were noted for their earnestness, a trait
which characterizes their descendants to this day. While the growth of
Presbyterianism in the county has not been as rapid as that of other faiths,
it has been none the less steady, marked by an earnestness which has brought
the church to its present high standing.
Lutheranism in Miami County has a brief history. It has never flourished
here like the other faiths. There are very few Lutheran churches in the
county at the present day. The Lutheran Church of Troy, C.U. Larrick pastor,
was built within the last few decades. The congregation is not large.
The Lutheran Church of Tippecanoe City is much older. As early as 1826
a Lutheran congregation existed in Monroe Township and in 1839 a church
of this faith was built in Tippecanoe. The dedicatory sermon was preached
by the noted Ezra Keller, president of Wittenberg College and a powerful
minister of his day. One of the most prominent pastors of the Tippecanoe
Lutheran Church was Rev. Link, who died in 1862. Revs. Weills, Welsh, Lilly
and Bauslin succeeded Mr. Link. Within the past few years the Lutherans
of Tippecanoe have worshipped in a handsome Church over which Rev. B.W.
Zeigler presides as pastor.
The Lutherans of Covington worship in St.John's Lutheran Church, over
which Rev. W.H. Brown presides as pastor. This congregation is very earnest
in the faith of the Fathers and hold regular services in their church building.
Of the Lutheran Church of Pleasant Hill I have been unable to obtain
any history. It is a body of recent growth, but bids fair to take its place
among the religious denominations of the western part of the county. Its
pastor is Rev. R.O. Matthews. The Lutheran Church at Brandt dates from
1862, when twenty people of that faith organized themselves into a congregation.
In a few years this number had increased to 150 and the congregation at
Brandt is today in a flourishing condition.
The Lutherans of Casstown established themselves there about 1838. For
some time they possessed no regular house of worship, but later on a stone
church was built on South Main Street. This edifice was abandoned for church
purposes when the, new brick temple was dedicated in 1867. Many of the
divines who filled the Casstown Lutheran pulpit preached also at Tippecanoe,
so that a list of them would necessarily stand for both congregations with
a few notable exceptions. At present the Casstown Lutherans have no regular
pastor but are supplied from Springfield.
THE FRIENDS OR QUAKERS
Among the first white people to enter the county for settlement were
the followers of George Fox, the celebrated Quaker, of England. Fox in
early youth was apprenticed to a shoemaker and while in this situation
he devoted himself with great diligence to the perusal of the Scriptures.
Later on Fox went from place to place preaching and boldly entered into
disputes with divines and ministers, trusting solely to and being guided
only by what he considered to be that divine voice which interiorly speaks
to the heart and draws men as it pleases. Fox was much persecuted for his
belief, but his followers increased and today they number many thousands
in the United States. These people are known as Friends. They have never
formed a creed after the manner of other religious bodies. They accept
the divinity of Jesus Christ and of His atonement for the sins of men.
They believe that Christ is the true light which enlightens all mankind,
that the source of inspiration is the Holy Spirit who interiorly teaches
us; and the Scripture is a rule given by and subordinate to that Spirit.
The Friends believe that outward baptism is not an ordinance of Christ
that the baptism enjoyed by Christ is a baptism of the spirit and not of
water. They are opposed to war and deny the propriety of all oaths, in
accordance with Christ's command "Swear not at all".
They do not prescribe a form of speech or a dress as a condition of
membership, but they do require of their members the practice of simplicity
and truthfulness, becoming the Christian and to avoid flattery, exaggeration,
untruthfulness, vain complaints and superfluous, or gay attire. Such, in
brief, are the tenets of the religious belief of the Friends.
I am indebted to Enos Pemberton of West Milton for my data concerning
the churches of the Friends at present in the county. The first monthly
meeting of this sect was held two miles south of West Milton, January 17,
1807. This spot was the central of the Friends Church for a number of years,
but it has been transferred to West Milton, which is now the central under
the pastorate of Arthur Woolam. Mr. Pemberton served this church for twelve
years. Union meeting has been transferred to Ludlow Falls and is now under
the charge of Rev. Moore, of Earlham College, of Richmond, Ind.
Lick Branch, which is one of the old meetings of the Friends Church,
is two miles southeast of Laura and Joseph Williamson is the pastor in
charge. Center Meeting, two miles west of West Milton, was established
in 1863 and has Jonathan M. Jay for pastor. At first the colony of Friends
in the county was held at the cabin of Caleb Mendenhall, who emigrated
from North Carolina about 1802. In December 1806, the Friends of this county
made application to the quarterly meeting at Red Stone, Penn., for a monthly
meeting, which application was granted and later on a quarterly meeting
for the famous West Branch church was granted. This event took place in
June 1812. It will thus be seen that the Friends established the first
religious societies in the county and are entitled to this credit. They
now form an important division of the county and for more than a century
have kept their organization intact. Unassuming and earnest, they are among
our best citizens, noted for their honesty, frugality and truthfulness.
They adhere closely to their religious beliefs, keeping aloof from all
litigation and that which is unseemly, setting by their industry and pure
lives a living example for all.
This sect, though not as numerous as others, is confined to the larger
towns of the county. St.James Parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church
was founded at Piqua about 1820. It's first rector was Rev. E. Johnson,
of Cincinnati, who was assisted by Rev. Mr. Allen, of Dayton. The well-known
Col. Johnston was a lay reader at St.James and frequently took the place
of the rector. In 1825 the parish erected a brick church on the corner
of North and Spring Streets, which became the genesis of the handsome structure
which houses the communicants of the parish at the present time. St. James
Church has a long list of noted rectors, among whom I find the names of
Revs. Richard Killin, Chauncey Fitch, D.D., Henry Payne, Wyllys Hall, and
Henry L. Badger. The Greenham, McCorkle, Mitchell, Morrow, Scott, Chapeze,
Adams and O'Ferrall families, all well known, worshiped at St.James, the
rector of which at the present time is Rev. William H. Allison.
The Episcopalians, of Troy, formed a church organization in 1831. Rev.
Ethan Allen was the first rector. At this time but thirty- six persons
constituted the whole membership. For almost thirty years Rev. Allen remained
in charge and was succeeded by Rev. A. Guyon, who presided three years.
In 1833 Dr.Asa Coleman donated a cottage on Franklin Street and that year
a neat church was built. When Bishop McIvain dedicated this edifice the
name was changed to Trinity Church, a name that has ever since been retained.
Trinity Church is today in a very prosperous condition and has Rev. E.S.
Doan for its resident rector.
THE GERMAN BAPTIST
This denomination, commonly called Dunkards, are established generally
on the west side of the county. They embrace a large membership of useful
citizens. Though commonly known under the name of Dunkards, these people
have assumed for themselves the appellation of Brethren, on account of
what Christ said to His disciples: "One is your master, even Christ,
and all ye are Brethren." The Brethren first appeared in the United
States in 1719 when twenty families landed at Philadelphia. Like the Friends,
they use great plainness of dress and, like them also, they neither take
an oath nor bear arms. They commonly wear their beards and keep the first
day. They celebrate the Lord's Supper with its ancient attendants of love-feasts,
washing feet, kiss of charity and right hand of fellowship. Their church
government is the same as that of the English Baptists. The Brethren are
a quiet, peaceable, industrious and pious people. They are remarkably simple
in their habits and spiritual in their worship. There are several branches
of the Brethren Church in the county.
Among the German Baptist churches are the one at West Milton, I.K. Brumbaugh,
pastor; one at Potsdam, no regular pastor; one at Covington, with Elder
D.D. Wine in charge; two at Pleasant Hill, which are under the pastorate
of Rev. Ashley and Rev. Isaac Franz, and one at Casstown with no minister.
This, I believe, constitutes the list of churches of this denomination
within the limits of the county.
This denomination like some of the others, cannot boast of a very large
membership among us. The Christian Church of Troy was organized in 1856.
The first meetings were held in the Court House, and Elders McKinney, McWhinney,
Simonton and Watson and Maple were among the early pastors in charge. Through
the untiring efforts of Elder McKinney the first church was built, and
this edifice lately gave way for one of the handsomest houses of worship
in the county. It is a church building replete with all the modern improvements
in church architecture. Elder Weeks is the pastor in charge.
The present Christian Church at Pleasant Hill is the successor of the
second church erected in Newton Township. It stands on Central Church Street
and is presided over by Rev. S.S. Main. The Christian or New Light Church
near Covington was organized in 1820. For a long time the members of this
denomination in Newberry Township worshiped in barns and private dwellings
and sometimes in the schoolhouses. It was known as the Trotter's Creek
Church. The Christian Church of Covington was organized in 1837 by Caleb
Worley, who associated with him only seven members. This membership increased
with the passing years and in 1870 the present church edifice was built.
It has Rev. John McCalman for its pastor.
The first Christian Church of Piqua, of which W.D. Samuels is pastor,
was organized some years ago, but I have been unable to obtain the proper
data. This church has a flourishing membership, an excellent Sunday school
and Senior and Junior Endeavor societies.
The West Milton Christian Church was established largely through the
efforts of Elder William Jay, well known throughout the county. The Christians
of Union Township have several good houses of worship, the one in West
Milton being under the charge of Rev. O.P. Furnas and that of Laura presided
over by Rev. Baker. The Christian church at Nashville is known as the West
Union Church with Rev. Cain at its head, and Rev. Maxwell, of West Milton,
serves the Christian congregation at Frederick. On the whole the members
of the Christian Church in the county can be proud of the progress they
have made. Hampered in many ways, they have pushed zealously forward and
today stand in the front rank of religious bodies among us.
THE ROMAN CATHOLICS
The first Catholic Church to be established in the county was that of
St.Mary's, which is in Piqua. It came into existence in 1840, on the southwest
corner of Broadway and North Streets. It is the pioneer of Catholicism
in Miami. Ever since its founding it has been zealous for the Church and
is regarded as one of the foremost institutions of the kind. St.Mary's
supports an excellent school, supervised and taught by the sisters, who
are known as efficient teachers. Its present pastor is Father Crowley,
who is zealous in looking after the care of his flock.
St.Boniface, the German Catholic Church of Piqua, has for its pastor
Rev. Father George P. Steinlage, with Rev. Father Goswin Menge as assistant
priest. In 1843 the Catholics of all nationalities in Piqua worshiped together,
but in 1855, owing to the increase of German residents in the parish, John
B. Purcell, the most Rev. Archbishop of Cincinnati sanctioned the building
of a separate church, and St. Boniface was blessed in the fall of that
year. Rev. J.B. Hemstiger was the first pastor, and he was succeeded by
Rev. H. Ratte in 1859. In 1861 Rev. Meyer took charge and was followed
in 1863 by Rev. Bochman. In 1865 Rev. Mietinger held a brief pastorate
at St.Boniface. On October 25, 1865, Rev. Henry Lueos, bishop of Fort Wayne,
blessed the new Boniface. In this year Rev. George Glass became pastor,
to be succeeded by Rev. Julius Voet, who remained in that capacity till
1873. Rev. Schwab became the next pastor and he was followed by Carl Schmidt.
Rev. Schmidt, in 1877, called the Sisters of Charity to take charge of
the girls' school, which necessitated the erection of a new parsonage,
the old one to be occupied by the Sisters. In February 1881, Rev. George
P. Steinlage took charge of St.Boniface. One of Father Steinlage's first
official acts was the calling of the Sisters of Charity to supervise the
girls' schools. The school quarters becoming inadequate, a new school building
was erected in 1889 and in 1900 the church building itself was enlarged
and beautified . St.Boniface is regarded as one of the finest churches
in the diocese. It is a fine modern building with a seating capacity of
700, and as a house of worship is complete in every particular. It was
rededicated November 24, 1901, by Right Rev. Thomas S. Byrne, Bishop of
Nashville, Tenn., assisted by many other priests.
St.Patrick's Catholic Church of Troy was founded half a century ago.
At first the few Catholic families in that locality worshiped at the home
of John Danaher and there the first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered
in 1857, the Catholic families then numbering but twenty-one. The increasing
membership and the needs of the church called for the erection of a permanent
house of worship and this was accomplished in 1858, when a church was built
on the southeast corner of Crawford and Water Streets. It was dedicated
by Rt. Rev. Bishop Rosecrans, brother of the noted general, under the patronage
of St.Patrick. In 1883 the church was enlarged to its present proportions
by Rev. J.M. Freedman and rededicated by The Most Rev. Archbishop William
Henry Elder. Later on a good parochial school came into existence through
the efforts of Rev. F.H. Bene, pastor of St.Patrick's and this school was
erected and equipped without the encumbrance of a debt. In 1908 St. Patrick's
appropriately celebrated its Golden Jubilee under the guidance of its present
efficient and popular pastor, Rev. Anthony J. Mentink. This church has
reason to rejoice at the eminent position it has reached during the fifty
years of its life. Since 1877 St.Patrick's has had a resident pastor. Until
that year it was a mission attended from St.Mary's at Piqua and from other
St.J.B. Catholic Church of Tippecanoe City existed first as a mission
church. The church building was erected in 1858 at a cost of $2,500 and
dedicated by Bishop Rosecrains. Rev. Father Hemsteger was the first pastor.
He remained in charge three years. The present efficient pastor is Rev.
Father VanDeBush, who has brought the church in Tippecanoe up to its present
prominence and popularity. While the congregation is not large it is noted
for its good works and the pastor is universally beloved.
There are a number of what may be called minor churches in the county,
which I shall notice here.
The Universalists have two houses of worship within the limits of the
county. These are at Conover and Aleony respectively. The Conover church
was organized in 1868 with a set of deacons and trustees. The present brick
edifice was erected in 1871 at a cost of $3,700. The Conover congregation
has been favored with a number of excellent pastors, the present one being
Mrs. Sara Stoner, who also supplies the Universalist congregation at Alcony.
There is a Church of God near the hamlet of Nashville in Union Township,
which is supplied by D.C. Robinson, State Evangelist. This sect sprang
from the German Reformed Church and the members are popularly known as
The Mennonites have two churches, at Potsdam and West Charleston. The
latter Congregation uses the old Campbellites church, which was built about
1830. The Potsdam Mennonite Church is presided over by H.F. Beek. These
people derive their religious name from Menno Simon, who flourished about
1640. Their church is sometimes known as the Church of Christ. They are
a thrifty, industrious people, mainly agriculturist, and well to do financially.
There are but two United Brethren churches in the county. The one at
Ginghamsburg is looked after by Rev. Busey, while G.T. Powell has charge
of the Potsdam church. There is a Bethel Reformed Church at Phoneton, conducted
by Rev. S.S. Snyder, a Reformed church at Alcony, supplied, and a few country
churches, the history and present status of which is unimportant from a
The colored people of the county have several houses of worship, notably
in Troy and Piqua. These are of the Methodist and Baptist persuasions respectively,
and have regular pastors. The colored people of Miami County are, as a
rule, deeply religious and regularly attend worship. Revs. Fletcher and
Gibson have charge of the colored churches of Troy.
The German Lutherans have several flourishing congregations in the county.
In addition to the foregoing there are two congregations of the Church
of Christ in Piqua, also a Zion Reformed, a Church of Christ, Scientist,
and an Evangelical Protestant (St.Pauls Church) and a United Brethren.
The latter is perhaps the most important of the minor churches there. Its
pastor is Rev. J.W. Kilbourn.
Nearly all the churches in the county support excellent Sunday schools.
These are conducted on a high religious plane and the instruction is of
the best. The teachers are selected from the ranks and all are diligent
in Sunday school work. in many of the churches are to be found Epworth
Leagues, Christian Endeavor societies and kindred organizations, which
keep alive the church spirit, especially among the young. These bodies
are carefully looked after by the different pastors and are among the foremost
auxiliaries connected with church work. Too much cannot be said of these
societies for they are doing a work which is highly commended, not only
in building up the community but in doing good in all directions. There
are numerous Jews in Miami County and they are among our best citizens.
The Aushe Emeth Congregation of Piqua is the leading place of worship for
the Jews of Miami. It is a model synagogue and has for its members some
of the foremost families that reside among us. The members of this sect
within the confines of the county are engaged in lucrative business and
command the respect of all.
In giving the history of the various churches of the county I have tried
to be as accurate and impartial as possible. It is likely that the list
is not wholly complete, but it is as complete as inquiry and research can
make it. There may be several crossroads churches that have been overlooked,
but this chapter, as it stands, contains an approximately correct history
of the present state of religion within the county as shown by the various
denominations that worship within its limits.
End of chapter 19
1909 History of Miami County Ohio
Copyright © 1998 by Computerized Heritage
All Rights Reserved.