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Summit County Church Histories

Information from :
Samuel Lane's Fifty Years & Over of Akron and Summit County
Beacon Job Department; 1892;


Oldest church organization in Akron. Organized 15 Dec 1831 by Revs. Benson C. Baldwin and John Hughes. Started with 26 members.

Pastors over the next 24 years:
Baldwin, Benson C. 1831-1833
Sanders, Abraham  1838-1839
Hackett, H.A. 1840-1841
Shaw, James 1841-1845

The Congregational Church of Middlebury grew out of the above organization when differences over the slave issue caused many to withdraw from the church. It was ministered by:

Hanford, William 1846
Foote, Horace 1847
Curtis, Elroy 1848-1854

When issues over slavery were resolved the two churches reunited in 1860 under Rev. William Dempsey. He pastored until 1863.

He was followed by: Hicks, 1863-1866
Hall, G. 1866- 1869
Avery, Henry 1866-1872

Other pastors were:
Barnes, C. 1874-1877
Jones, J.H. 1877-1881
Chapin, Dwight 1883-1889
Layport, Edwin 1889-???

About 1885 the present fine brick church, with handsomely decorated interior, Sunday School rooms in basement, etc., was .erected, at a cost, for house and lot, of some $10,000; the old well-known and well-worn brick church, south of the present fire station, after half a century's faithful public service, for religious meetings, political meetings, temperance meetings, lectures, concerts, festivals, etc., having been razed to the ground.


In 1834 a Congregational church, amenable to Presbytery, was organized by Rev. John Pettit, and in 1835 a small house of worship, a cut of which is here given, was erected on the -present Court House grounds, but, on the location of the Court House at that point, in 1840, was removed to the corner of Quarry and High streets, and, after doing service for several churches, as elsewhere detailed until 1877, was removed to the rear of the present German Lutheran Church and used for the parochial school of that Society until 1889, when it was torn down to make room for the nice brick house now standing there.

1836, when Rev. James B. Walker, a theological graduate from the college named, was called to the pastorate, erecting for himself a dwelling house in the woods, which house for many years was owned and occupied by Richard S. Klkins, Esq., late of Ravenna, and is still standing immediately north of the Windsor Hotel. In 1839, Mr. Walker resigned and was succeeded by Rev. James D. Pickands, who, unfortunately, embraced and preached the Second Advent doctrines which so greatly agitated the religious world from 1840 to 1846,

In consequence of these heresies, 22 members withdrew from the church in the Spring of 1842, and on the 2nd day of January,. 1843, were formally organized, by a council convened for that purpose, consisting of Rev. Seagrove Magill, of Tallmadge, Rev. Joseph Merriam, of Randolph, Rev. Mason Grosvenor, of Hudson, and Rev. William Clark, of Cuyahoga Falls, under the title of the "Second Congregational Church of Akron/'


July 3, 1843, nine others from the old, joined the new church, and the 31 members proceeded to organize by the appointment of Mr. Harvey B. Spelman, as Deacon, and Mr. Allen Hibbard, as Clerk.

Meantime, the embryo society, holding regular services in what was then known as the "Court Room," in the third story of the large stone block on the southeast corner of Howard and Market streets, had been ministered to by a young eastern theologian by the name of Isaac Jennings, who was ordained as the first pastor of the new church, on the 14th day of June, 1843. Measures were soon afterwards taken for the erection of a church edifice, which was accordingly built at the corner of North Main and Tallmadge streets,

The pastorate of Mr. Jennings ceased in February, 1847, by resignation, being followed by Rev. W. R. Stevens, as stated supply, from November, 1847, until May, 1849, when Rev. Nathaniel P. Bailey, now of Massillon, assumed the pastorate, being ordained October 7, 1849. Mr. Bailey served until May 3, 1856, and was followed by Rev. A. Duncasson, from February, 1857, to November, 1858; Rev. Abraham E. Baldwin, from 1858 to 1861 (ordained in February, 1860); Rev. Carlos Smith, December 30, 1861, till the Winter of 1873; Rev. Thomas E. Monroe 1873.

By reason of the Second Advent delusions, the original First Congregational Church had gone to pieces, and its house of worship sold to the Disciples, so that the Second naturally became the First, by which title it is now known.

The Baptist Church of Akron

First organized April 19, 1834 at the School House on the corner of Broadway and Middlebury St. Called the Akron and Middlebury Baptist Church. Elder Caleb Green was the moderator and Amasa Clark was scribe.

Members included: Horace Barton, Daniel Stewart, Henry Smoke, Mrs. Thirza Smoke, Miss C. Barton, Mrs. Elizabeth Burton, Mrs. Sally Smith, Miss Amanda Smith, Miss Elizabeth Stewart. This notice was published in the Weekly Post June 10, 1836:

"To All Whom It May Concern,

A meeting of the members of the Akron and Middlebury Baptist Church and Society will be held at the School House in South Akron, on Wed., the 16th, at 4 O' clock pm for the purpose of organizing under their charter."

A church was erected at the corner of South and Center Street. Eber Crane was pastor.

Summit County OHGenWeb Page
Established November 20, 1996

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