Grand River Township Churches
Bethel Presbyterian Church
In 1860 an organization was effected of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was effected April 28, and on section thirty-six, in the southeast corner of the township at what was known as the Goodbar schoolhouse. The pastor, under whose auspices the church was organized, was the Rev. J. W. French. The original members of the church were, Robert B. Foster, Elva B. Clark, John W. Nichols, Eli Sharrah, Jacob Sharrah, C. J. French, A. J. Clark, Huldah E. Irving, Mary E. Nichols, Jane Foster, Louisa Sharrah, Mary B. Foster, Charlotte Sharrah, E. C. Foster, Martha H. Nichols, and S. A. Ervine. The Rev. Daniel Walker was the first Presbyterian minister who ever preached in the neighborhood. The society flourished but a short time, when its members became scattered, owing to the breaking out of the Civil War. After that trying period the Bethel Presbyterian Church came into existence. It was not, however, fully organized until 1871.
Although organizing with but ten members they went heroically to work to build themselves a house of worship and enlarge and strengthen their organization. In this resolve they were ably seconded not only by their neighbors, but by the church at large. In the winter and spring of' 1872 they commenced to put up their house of worship and they were given $400 by the erection committee of the Presbyterian Church of New York City. This was a donation. They also received help from the citizens of Auberry Grove and Gallatin, and on the 21th of March, 1872, the church having been finished it was dedicated to the service of Almighty God, the services and most impressive ceremonies being conducted by the Rev. E. B. Sheppard, of St. Joseph, and Rev. J. A. Pinkerton, of Chillicothe, assisted by the Rev. Mr. McRurer.
The building is a very neat one, indeed, and at the time the finest Presbyterian church in the county, and is probably yet, if the one in Gallatin is a fair representative of the others. It cost the sum of $2,126, and when dedicated was free from debt. The structure is thirty by forty-five feet and tastefully finished. The church is one of the most flourishing in the county. The present pastor is the Rev. Mr. McKinley.
White Oak Church
This is one of the most flourishing church organizations in the township and was organized in 1866. For four years they had no church edifice of their own, and at the time of the organization, under the care of the Rev. J. F. Shores, they held service in a schoolhouse. The original members were as follows: Benjamin Pritchard, James T. Pritchard, Martha Pritchard, Washington Walls, Mary Walls, Nancy Guthrie, Elizabeth Grant, Amanda Grant, Hannah Cravens, Mrs. Glase, Margaret Wynn, and Peggie Wynn. These faithful members of the flock soon gathered others around them and in 1870 a church was completed about one-half mile south of the town site of Jameson.
The building is a substantial and comfortable one, and neatly and taste fully finished. Its cost was about $1,500, a few faithful friends and members bearing a large portion of that sum. The church was dedicated September 4, 1870, the interesting ceremonies being conducted by the Rev. J. D. Newland, of Chillicothe. In the afternoon service was held, and a very eloquent sermon was preached by the Rev. Charles Babcock. At the time of the dedication there was a debt of about $300 due to place it clear, and the congregation present subscribed enough to pay it off. It was a grand work and the church and members are worthy of imitation. The pastor at the time was the Rev. J. A. Blakey. Their next preacher was the Rev. R. H. G. Keenan, and he was followed by Rev. R. H. Jordan, who was succeeded by Rev. A. M. Keirgan. In 1874 Rev. J. W. Perry was pastor and he continued until July, of the same year, when the church which caused so much. pleasure to the members, and for which they had cheerfully endured privations that they might have a place of worship free from debt, was destroyed by fire, and the only conclusion that could be arrived at, was that it was the work of an incendiary. Who could have done the act, of course, was not known. The church, at least, had no known enemies, and why it was destroyed has never been ascertained by any hint as to who was the author of the crime. Its successor might be considered the church in the village of Jameson.
The Jameson Church
After the destruction of White Oak Chapel, by fire through an incendiary, the principal members of that church organized in the summer of 1874, what is known as the Jameson Church. The building of this church was commenced the same year, and it is a large, fine and comfortable building, neatly arranged and commodiously fitted up. It is quite a good sized church, being thirty-two by fifty feet, frame, and will seat comfortably about. 350 persons. The cost, fully completed, was some $1,800, and it was finished the same fall, 1874, the Rev. J. W. Huffaker being then pastor. The church was not dedicated until the summer of 1877, when the Rev. Jacob Ditzler officiated in that interesting event, assisted by the pastor, the Rev. A. L. Gribble. The following are the names of the original members at the organization in 1874: Harriet A. Allen, Mary Burton, Josie Burton, George Clibborn, M. A. Clibborn, Elizabeth Ebling, Caroline Feurt, Eliza N. Feurt, Elizabeth Grant, Nancy E. Guthrie, Amanda Grant, Mary A. Holtzen, Mary Janette, Levi Janette, Pauline Janette, J. T. Pritchard, Martha Pritchard, Maggie Pritchard, John P. Pritchard, Washington Walls, Mary Walls, Peggie Wynn, Polly Wynn, H. L. Yates and wife, H. M. Harris, and George Gotshell and wife. The whole number of membership was thirty-five, not all the names being given. Rev. A. J. Worley was the next pastor and he was retained three years, and was then succeeded by the Rev. S. W. Attebury, who is the pastor in charge.
This is the name given to the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The first church was erected in 1858, and was on section twenty-eight, in township sixty, range twenty-six. This was in Jamesport township, and was on the farm of J. Gillilan about one and three-quarter miles west of Jamesport town. It was a frame building 46x56 and after several years of occupation was sold, and from the proceeds was erected a neat church at a cost of $1,000 in 1879, on section thirty-six, township sixty, range twenty-seven. This was also a frame church in size 28x30 and appropriately finished and furnished.
There has always been a place of regular worship of this denomination since 1838 in the neighborhood, although, of course, in that time the church has undergone many changes. A class was organized in 1842 with Isaac Jordin as leader. The first minister who preached for this church was Rev. Reuben Aldridge in 1838, and he was followed by the Rev. Abraham Millice. The present pastor of the church is the Rev. D. H. Root, who had charge of this circuit in 1851 and 1852. The new church was finished early in 1879 and was dedicated in May of that year. The sermon was preached by the Rev. J. D. Vincine to a large congregation, and the ceremony was of a solemn and impressive character. The church now numbers some sixty members and is in a flourishing condition with every prospect of future usefulness. A well attended Sunday school is taught in connection with the church and is very fully attended.
This church was first organized on March 24th, 1872, the minister being the Rev. Dr. D. W. Martin. The original members were John A. Brown and wife, Dr. D. W. Martin and wife, A. S. Andrews and wife, William McCoy and wife, David Threlkeld and wife, John McCoy and wife, Catharine Shrum, Eliza A. Guthrie, Melseni Brown, and Nancy A. Brown. The church is in a flourishing condition growing steadily with every prospect of a long and useful career. The edifice in which they now worship was erected in 1875, at a cost of $800, and was dedicated to the service of the Lord July. 4, 1875, the Rev. Mr. Dann officiating, delivered a beautiful and-instructive discourse. The elders of the church are John A. Brown and W. S. Brown, and Erris A. Perry, deacon. A Sabbath-school which is now well attended and in a flourishing condition is connected with the church. Its present membership is forty-five.
The Grand River Baptist Church is probably the first organized denomination of any kind in the county. It was located on section seventeen, about two miles northeast of Jameson, on December 14, 1833. The original members or a part of them, were William Gea, Nancy Gea, John Tarwater, Ruth Tarwater, Abigail Morgan, Sarah Sherington, George Rhodes, Delitha Rhodes, Mary Black, Libbie Tetherow, Catharine Nolan, Isaac W. Redding, Elizabeth Redding, John Mullican, Moses Netherton, Jane Netherton, and F. Leah, a colored woman. They worshiped for years in the old log school-house, a building they afterward tried to get as a memento of the pioneer days of old, not only in the history of the county, but also in that of the church. The first church was erected in 1864. It was a frame structure and cost when completed some $1,100. The church was organized by Elder William Turnage and Elder John Stone, and has a present membership of 119. It is the oldest Baptist organization in this section of" the country. The first clerk of the church was George Rhodes in 1834. The present pastor is Elder T. S. M. Kenney. The church is growing in. membership and as new immigrants come in they are invited to attend and if willing, to become members. The right hand of fellowship is extended to one and all and a warm desire expressed for them to join the fold. The old familiar names are before us, but where are those who answered to them? All, all have crossed the dark river, but they are in eternal day beyond. A few years more and those who are here will have joined those who have gone before. New members are constantly taking the place of the old, and time rolls on and eternity meets you at the gate, and yet the church liveth and will ever, being the chosen guide of many to the glorious beyond, ever preparing those who are faithful to the true Christian life.
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