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Baptist Church


Transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik 19 August 2003

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Chapter V. Early Schools and Churches
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)
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Baptist Church. – The Baptists established the first church between the Miamis, at Columbia, in 1790, and the first regularly organized church within the bounds of Warren County was the Clear Creek Baptist Church. It was organized as early as 1797, and its first meeting-house was built that year. It stood about half a mile north of the site of Ridgeville. When a general conference meeting was held at Columbia, June 3, 1798, for the purpose of forming a Baptist association, the Clear Creek Church was one of the four churches represented, the other three being Columbia, Carpenter’s Run and Miami Island; and at the next meeting for the same purpose, held at Columbia October 20, 1798, the Clear Creek Church was represented by James Sutton, Ebenezer Osborn, Thomas Kelsey and Francis Dunlevy. The church at this time included in its membership the Baptist on Turtle Creek, and consisted of but twenty members. Thomas Kelsey was one of the first, the most active, and, for many years, the leading member of the Clear Creek Baptist Church. Nathaniel Blackford and Fergus McLean, father of Justice John McLean, were also early and prominent members of this church. It is worthy of remark here, that, while the father of John McLean was a Baptist and his wife a Presbyterian, their distinguished son and his two brothers were all Methodists.

The Baptists in the Turtle Creek neighborhood were constituted a branch of the Clear Creek Church in 1798, and commenced the erection of a meeting- house about one mile east of the site of Lebanon. In 1800, the Miami Baptist Association held its regular annual meeting at Turtle Creek. John Smith, of Columbia, a Baptist preacher of fine abilities, then a member of the Territorial Legislature, and afterward one of the first United States Senators from Ohio, was the Moderator of this association. At this meeting, ten churches were represented, with a total membership of 291 persons. The Turtle Creek Church was organized into an independent church and admitted into the association in 1803. At this time, it numbered forty-five members.

Other churches in Warren County, or near the borders of the county, were organized and admitted in the Miami Baptist Association as follows:

Middle Run Church, near the boundary line between Greene and Warren, 1800; members, 16; first Messengers, John Buckles, Daniel Wilson and Absalom Thomas.

Prairie Church, now Middletown, 1801; members, 11; first Messenger, Philip Sutton.

Sugar Creek Church, now Centerville, 1803; members, 12; first Messengers, David Price, Josiah Elam, Amos Wilson.

Muddy Creek Church, 1804; members, 8; first Messengers, J. Seward, T. T. Brown and R. Witham.

Bethel Church, 1810; members, 19; first Messenger, Josias Lambert.

Todd’s Fork Church, 1811; members, 11; first Messengers, James Wilkerson and James McManis.

When the second meeting of the Miami Baptist Association, at Turtle Creek, then called Lebanon, was held, in 1811, the association included twenty-six churches, with a membership of 1,012 persons.

Elder James Sutton was the first Baptist Pastor in Warren. He preached at Clear Creek in 1797. He was succeeded the following year by Elder Daniel Clark, who took charge of both the Clear Creek and Turtle Creek Churches.

As early as 1800, the Miami Baptist Association, at a meeting held at Turtle Creek, adopted the following:

Resolved, That in the future the title of Reverend as applied to ministers be laid aside, and that of Elder be substituted in its place.

This is believed to have been the origin of a custom which, for a long period,

was nearly universal among the Baptists of Western Ohio and Indiana, and still prevails among the Old School Baptists.

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This page created 19 August 2003 and last updated 13 October, 2010
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