The first appointments were filled by the Rev. Messrs. BAKER and W. H. TAYLOR; after which TAYLOR, DAVIDSON, CRUM, Adam POE, A. EDDY, and others followed. When the membership had increased to thirty-five, they determined to build a house, and in this had some opposition, mostly from the New-Lights. The house, however, was built, and the dedication sermon was preached by Dr. BAKER. His text was: "The glory of the latter shall be greater than the former house." And well has this prediction been fulfilled. The Church increased rapidly after this. There were many earnest, devoted Christians connected with this congregation. The sainted Eliza WILLIAMS was one of the shining lights of this society, and all was harmony in the early history of the Church. Among the pioneer preachers that deserve honorable mention was W. H. RAPER. He devoted his whole soul to the cause for which he labored, and his work was greatly blessed. The new brick church building was erected in 1860. The membership is now one hundred and twenty, having the Rev. James P. SHULTZ as pastor. The stewards are James MACREADY M.D., William GALLAGHER, J. T. CALDWELL, and A. MCCREARY.
The Mount Pleasant United Presbyterian Church is located in the village of Monroe. The exact date of its organization is not known, but must have been prior to the year 1802, for a subscription paper of that date comes down to us, carefully preserved by Mrs. John MCLAIN, of Bethany, O., whose grandfather, Mr. John BEATY, was the first or one of the first treasurers. As this paper is the oldest record we have, and furnishes a partial list of members at that time, we present it:
Swamp Creek Branch, October 6, 1802
We, the subscribers, do promise to pay the severl sums annexed to our names yearly, for our equal part fo the one-third of Mr. CRAIG's ministerial service, the year to commence when our call is accepted. N.B.-The place, or places, of worship to be fixed in the most convenient place for subscribers:
|James KENNEDY||$1.00||John ROBISON||3.00|
|John BEATY||6.00||John LOWRY||1.00|
|John HANNAH||1.00||William WILSON||2.00|
|Joseph STOUT||1.00||William LONG||2.00|
|John WALLACE||2.00||John W. GERY||.50|
|Robert SEGERSON||.50||Andrew CHRISTY||3.00|
|Isaac TULLITS||.50||Robert REED||1.00|
|James BEATY||1.00||John REED||1.50|
|John H. WILLIAMS||2.00||Thomas DAVIS||1.00|
|Thomas IRWIN||1.00||David REED||1.50|
|Samuel GREGORY||.50||John FREEMAN||1.50|
|James MORRISON||.50||John PATTERSON||1.00|
|Daniel NELSON||3.00||George GORDON||2.00|
This shows that they were an organized congregation in 1802. If they had not been they could not have called a pastor. Two years later a similar paper was prepared, having the same names and thirteen more. In this they speak of themselves as members of Swamp Creek congregation. As many of them were heads of families or represented others within the fold of Christ, it indicates that the young congregation possessed considerable strength. We do not know the exact time when the name was changed, but since 1807 it was called Mount Pleasant Associate Reformed Church, and from 1858 Mount Pleasant United Presbyterian Church.
It was thought that there was no settled pastor until 1808. Before this time the Church was supplied with preaching, and had the sacraments administered by a number of ministers sent to them by the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Kentucky, among whom were Adam RANKIN, the first Presbyterian pastor of Lexington, Kentucky (who was ordained in 1784), Matthew HENDERSON, David PROUDFIT, Robert WARWICK, John STEELE, and Robert H. BISHOP. The first settled pastor was Rev. David RISK, 1808 to 1812 or 1813, who gave one-third of his time to Mill Creek (Sycamore) and one-third of his time to Mill Creek (Sycamore) and one-third to Clear Creek congregation at Springborough, Warren Co., Ohio. Mr. RISK died in 1818. The second pastor was Rev. S. P. MCGAW, April 9, 1818, to March 18, 1840. He gave half his time to Clear Creek Church until 1838, when it was given up, and his whole time was devoted to Mount Pleasant. Death dissolved his relation with this Church. Although Monroe had always been the place of his residence, he was buried at Springborough, near the church where he had preached so long. There were added to Mount Pleasant during his pastorate one hundred and fifty-five members, principally on profession of their faith in Christ. But owing to a decrease by death and other causes, the membership now was one hundred and twelve.
In the year 1841 the Church made an unsuccessful call for the pastoral service of Rev. J. M. GORDON. The third pastor was Rev. John M. GRAHAM, who was ordained and installed June 22, 1842. The relation of pastor and people was dissolved June, 1847, making a pastorate of five years, during which twenty-eight persons were received into membership, all on examination, except seven. The number of members was now one hundred. The fourth pastor was Rev. Sam. P. BERRY, October, 1849, to December 9, 1850. Death soon removed this pastor. The fifth pastor was Rev. J. S. ROBERTSON, April 6, 1852, to April 3, 1866. The sixth pastor was Rev. Samuel R. FRAZIER, who was ordained and installed June 11, 1867. The pastoral relation was dissolved January 1, 1872. An unsuccessful call for the pastoral services of Rev. J. CALHOUN was presented to presbytery April 8, 1873. The seventh pastor is Rev. A. F. ASHTON, who commenced his labors here February 14, 1874. The number added to the Church under his services is thirty-two; but death and removals have reduced the membership to ninety.
The present ruling elders are J. N. ROBESON and J. W. D. STEWART, and the following is a partial list of those who have held this office: James PIPER, John MORROW, Thomas IRWIN, Joseph STEWART, Thomas C. REED, Samuel BARNETT, James CLARK, Robert REED, S. W. STEWART, John L. HAMMEL, James MCCLELLAN, Lawrence MONFORT, and John FISHER.
The first church was built of logs, but in what year is not known. The second was a frame, larger and more comfortable, but the date of its erection is unknown. The third was brick, and larger than the second, erected in 1833 or 1834. These were all about half a mile north of the village of Monroe, in what is now known as Mount Pleasant Cemetery. The present house was erected in 1854. It is not as large as the former one. In 1870 or 1871 the congregation built a fine parsonage, at a cost of almost three thousand dollars. The society is free from debt.
The First Presbyterian Church of Monroe was organized in 1831. It was first called the Harmony Church. The Rev. Matthew G. WALLACE and the Rev. J. L. BELLVILLE were appointed a committee by the presbytery to visit the neighborhood of Monroe, and organize the Church, should they deem it expedient. At the meeting of the presbytery, on the 18th of May, it was resolved to organize such a congregation, and Messrs. WALLACE and WEAVER were appointed a committee for that purpose. The organization took place on the 29th of June, the constituting members being David WILLIAMSON and wife Mary; Peter VANDYKE and his wife Anna; Mary Ann VANDYKE; Peter WILLIAMSON and wife Christiana; Garret PETERSON and wife Margaret; John WILLIAMSON and wife Christiana; Christiana STEVENS; Peter BENNETT and his wife Mary--in all sixteen. David WILLIAMSON and John MONFORT were chosen elders, having formerly been ordained at Unity.
Since that time the pulpit has been occupied by fourteen different ministers. The list is as follows: Thomas BARR, 1831; Alexander MCFARLANE, 1833; James COE, 1838; N. BISHOP, 1851; S. M. TEMPLETON, 1853; James H. GILL, 1854; J. H. BURNS, 1856; James H. GILL, 1860; Edward COOPER, 1861; W. G. WHITE, 1864; J. B. MORTON, 1866; W. W. COLMERY, 1867; J. D. JONES, 1873; S. C. PALMER, 1875; S. F. SHARPLESS, 1878.
The record of the session is: Elders--John MONFORT, David WILLIAMSON, Garret PETERSON, John WILLIAMSON, D. H. TULLIS, Lawrence MONFORT, Silas WILLIAMSON, P. P. LATOURRETTE, W. W. CALDWELL, B.K. MCELHENY, Isaac PERRINE, T. J. CONOVER, Firman PROBASCO, David MONFORT, John K. VOORHEES, John S. TODD, W. W. COMPTON, of whom seven are dead. The membership by certificate is one hundred and sixty-two, and on profession of faith, two hundred and twenty-four, making three hundred and eighty-six names. It celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year. For a long time an academy was sustained in connection with the Church.
The Monroe Catholic Church was built in 1869, under the supervision of the Rev. Mr. SMITH. The first subscriptions were made by the BROPHIEs, CONLONs, DELANEYs, FOLEYs, CONOLEYs, OBRIANs, and QUINLISLES. The pastors have been Messrs. T. J. BOULGER, BOWE, MALLON, and W. F. M. OROURKE, the last of whom is the present pastor. There are about fifty families in this society.
On that day, the 19th of May, 1871, the first public or grove-meeting was held, and was a complete success. Fifteen hundred at least were present. The officers were as follows, having been elected that morning in the grove: President, Dr. Otho EVANS, Sen.; treasurer, A. CORSON; secretaries, J. W. ONEAL and J. S. MARSHALL. The main address of the day was by Major J. M. MILLIKIN, but many short ones of scenes and incidents of the early settlement of the beautiful and prolific Miami Valley were made by the oldest persons present, to the edification and amusement of all who attended. At this meeting a permanent organization was begun; this one having been held as a union of Butler and Warren they adopted the name of "Butler and Warren County Pioneer Association of Monroe, Ohio," and adopted a constitution, and resolved thereafter to hold reunions annually, the latter part of May or forepart of June. They have since been so held.
At this meeting officers for 1872 were elected as follows: President, Rudolph FLENNER; treasurer, Andrew CORSON; recording and corresponding secretary, Edward KIMBALL.
1873.-- President, Thomas C. REED, Sen.; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, Edward KIMBALL.
1874-- President, Major William W. ELLIOTT; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1875-- President, Major John M. MILLIKIN; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1876-- President, A. Howard DUNLAVY; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1877-- President, Major W. W. ELLIOTT; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1878-- President, Otho EVANS, Sen.; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1879-- President, Francis J. TYTUS; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1880-- President, Granville W. STOKES, Esq.; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, E. KIMBALL.
1881-- President, Colonel Thomas MOORE; treasurer, William LYNN; secretary, Edward KIMBALL.
They also have five vice-presidents. They have no initiation, monthly or yearly fees or dues, and the society is supported by voluntary contributions by those present at the annual feasts and the proceeds from renting of refreshment stands. No alcoholic, malt, or vinous liquors, or even cider, is allowed on or near the grounds. These reunions have been held regularly for ten years, and the yearly attendance ranges from five to seven thousand, and has been some years estimated at over ten thousand. Their regular annual day was the last Thursday of May or the first of June, until 1878, when they changed to August to accommodate the society of Butler County Pioneers, who claimed the Spring time as theirs. They have a membership, including those who have passed away, of over six hundred.
The following is a list of most but not all of those deceased from Butler County:
Judge Fergus ANDERSON, Judge Nehemiah WADE, Rev. Adrian ATEN, Rev. J. B. MORTON, Dr. Samuel S. STEWART, Thomas C. REED, Sr., Mrs. Betsey BOYD, Matilda DUNN, William MCCHECKNIE, Samuel DAVIS, Colonel Joseph BARNETT, Isaac BENNETT, Joanna BENNETT, Jane CHAMBERS, Captain William DAVISON and his wife, Milo W. AMMONS and wife Mary C., Firman PROBASCO, Stephen SCUDDER, William SMITH and wife Rachel, William CULBERTSON, John BEATY, James BEATY and wife, David MCCHESNEY, Sarah AVERY, Christopher HUGHES, Elias SIMPSON, John D. TODHUNTER, David BOGGS and wife Mary, Mrs. Rebecca LYNN, Joseph BOGGS, Noah C. BENNETT, Smith NOX, William SHAFOR, Sen. And wife Eliza, John CHAMBERLAIN, Sallie BEATY, Catherine TORBET, Samuel DICKEY, Dr. Alfred AYRES, Benjamin POTTER, James R. STEWART and wife Ann, Joseph F. STEWART and wife Prudence, John MATSON and wife, Naomi BOWMAN, William GREINNER, Aaron LONGSTREET, Sen., Uzel CLARK.
All early comers, with their descendants, and all born or permanent settlers within Butler and Warren Counties, Ohio, in or previous to 1820, of good morals, by registering their names, etc. can become members of the society.
Abraham FREEMAN had a half-brother, whose name was Thomas, known as Colonel Thomas FREEMAN. He went from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, where he settled first; then moved to Lemon Township, and settled on Dick's Creek, on the farm afterward owned by Abraham SHAEFER. He raised a family of eight children. John, the oldest, was killed on the "Moselle", a steamer plying between Cincinnati and New Orleans, that was blown up April 28, 1838. His body was brought to Middletown, and now lies in the beautiful cemetery of that place. The other children were Julia Ann, Alexander, Thomas, and Archibald C. The youngest and the oldest only are now living. Julia A., the oldest, was born in 1808. Archibald C. was born in 1824, and is now a grocer on Third Street, in Middletown. Colonel Thomas FREEMAN was captain of a company in the Second Regiment, Fourth Brigade, commanded by Colonel ZUMALT, in the War of 1812. He went to Detroit at the close of the war only.
There were other settlers in this vicinity who were early comers, and of whom may be mentioned the HUGHESes, WARDs, SHAFORs, CLARKs, and others. Durbin WARD, the well-known lawyer, of Cincinnati, was an orphan boy well known in this vicinity. His uncle, Thomas WARD, lived near Lesourdsville. Durbin WARD taught school in this part of the township in his early life, and afterward attended school at Lebanon, Ohio. After he had studied law he assisted Tom CORWIN in looking up matters pertaining to the correct titles of much of this land, formerly owned by A. FREEMAN and now by Daniel HUGHES.
Benjamin LESOURD, of French descent, came from Baltimore, Maryland, to this place, and purchased considerable land from FREEMAN for the purpose of laying out a town. He bought sixty acres on the east side of the road, and thirty-five acres on the west side of the road. His effort, however, to build up a great city failed. His attempt in running a big store broke him up, and in two or three years he closed out to Thomas WARD. His store was kept afterwards by Peter WRIGHT, but for many years there has not been a store of any kind in the village.
The first house in Lesourdsville was the Red Buck tavern kept by John FREEMAN, and the first house other than this was one built by Thomas WARD. William WARD, a brother of Thomas, lived a little distance below, and after the town was laid out William HEDDING purchased some of the lots, and to hurry up matters bought log houses and moved them in town. One of these log houses bought of Peter SHEPHERD is still standing. Benjamin LESOURD afterwards owned the tavern. There is a frame building still standing one-half mile below this tavern, that was built by Colonel AYERS, just after John FREEMAN built his, and was used as a hotel also. We see by a deed of Abram FREEMAN, made March 19, 1814, H. HAGEMAN came into possession of fifty acres of the original tract, and that he deeded the same to Thomas WARD, May 25, 1816. The town was not laid out until about the time the canal was built.
Lesourdsville never had but one church building, which was erected just previous to the war. It was intended for any and all denominations, but the Rev. Mr. MAPLE, the first pastor, coming into the place during the war, produced a great excitement on the political questions of the time, and the organization broke up. In 1876 the Presbyterian Church came into possession of the property, established a society, and have had preaching in the place ever since. The Rev. S. C. PALMER occupied the pulpit from 1876 to 1878, since which time the Rev. S. F. SHARPLESS, of Monroe, has been the pastor. The membership consists of twenty-four persons.
One of the earliest mills in this county on the river was known as the pin-mill, about two miles above Lesourdsville. It consisted of a saw-mill and a woolen-mill originally, the saw-mill being built first. The boards were sawed and pinned on, there being over two thousand wooden pins used to fasten on the weather-boarding. It was very early put into use, but the building of the canal ended its day of usefulness. Adam DICKEY also had a mill built very early. It was on Dick's Creek, and was used until the canal was built. He also had a still-house above Amanda, where the old house of John DICKEY now stands.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Amanda was built about 1840. It was a good, substantial frame building and still stands. The leading members of the society who contributed to the Church in its infancy were A. LONGSTREET, John SHEPHERD, Charles STARR, John WALDO, William BAILEY, and John FLEMING. John DICKEY donated the lot. The pastors have been the Rev. Messrs. MALEY, SWAIN, KEMPER, WHITE, WHEAT, and ELSWORTH. The Rev. William SHULTZ is the present pastor, and preaching is had every other Sabbath. The trustees of the Church are William BAILEY, John KYLE, Luman WHITESELL, Robert MAGINETY, and Henry FISHER. Robert MAGINETY has been an official member in various capacities since its organization.
William SHAFOR was one of the first settlers in this part of the township, and at his death one of the oldest citizens in the county. He was born in Somerset County, New Jersey, in 1783. He died in Middletown in October, 1880, in the ninety-eighth year of his age. When six years of age he came with his father to Lexington, Kentucky, and in 1803 with him to Ohio. He resided in Lemon Township seventy-eight years. He settled on a farm near Amanda, and lived on it during the entire portion of his active life. In 1859 he removed to Middletown, where he resided up to the time of his death. In the twenty-eighth year of his age he married Miss Jane RYERSON, who died in 1859. In 1860 he married Mrs. Elizabeth HILL. When ninety-one years of age he joined the Presbyterian Church. He was remarkable in longevity of life, in being a useful member of society, and in retaining the sprightliness and activity of his youth up to nearly the time of his death.
Among the veteran pioneers who settled near Amanda was Adam DICKEY. His family became numerous and children very prosperous. Adam DICKEY came from Ireland when sixteen years of age, and in 1801 went to Cincinnati, where he manufactured the first brick used in that place. He then came to Lemon Township, where he died in 1828, at sixty-two years of age. The oldest son of Adam DICKEY was Samuel, who assisted his father in one of the first mills on the Miami River, near Amanda, which his father had built. His father also owned a distillery, which consumed the corn raised on about four hundred acres of their land. In 1827 he built the large flouring-mill now owned by Archibald JEWELL. This mill has been in the hands of the family since its erection, and has a capacity of seventy-five barrels a day.