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Churches


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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 23 Oct 2004

Sources:
The History of Warren County Ohio
Part IV, Township histories
Clear Creek Township
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)

Page
594

If judged by the number of churches, the citizens of this township are decidedly a church-going people, there being no less than thirteen churches within its bounds, viz., one United Brethren Church, at Utica; one Methodist, at Merrittstown; one Universalist and one Baptist, at Ridgeville; one Methodist and one New-Light (or Christian), at Red Lion, and one Methodist, one Universalist, one German Reformed, one United Brethren, one colored and two Friends, at Springboro. The first church established in the township was unquestionably the Baptist Church, at or near Ridgeville, known as the Clear Creek Church. It was established in 1797, Rev. James Sutton being the first pastor.

In the spring of 1798, a branch of this church was organized in Turtle Creek Township, and Elder Daniel Clark served as pastor of both churches and of the latter until near his death, which occurred in 1840, in his ninetieth year. The Clear Creek Church is claimed to have been the first church organized in the county.

About the year 1800, the Associate Reformed Church was organized, and a house of worship erected on the ground now occupied by the cemetery at Springboro. Rev. David Risk was the first pastor. The house was built of hewn logs and was considered a very commodious and substantial structure for those times. In the year 1818, a brick house was erected in its stead. Rev. S. P. McGaw was the pastor then. Among the early members of the church may be mentioned William Sawyer, Robert Bradford, Alexander Woods, James and Alex Johnson, James F. Russell, the McCords and James and John Patterson.

Page
595

The first German Reformed Church in the township was built about the year 1805, on the farm now owned by Robert Eyer, about two and a half miles southeast of Springboro. It was built of logs, as were all the churches of that day. They afterward built a frame house on the farm of Jacob Null, which was replaced about 1863 by the present house in Springboro—a substantial brick edifice.

The New-Lights (or Christians] erected a house of worship near Red Lion in an early day, as early, perhaps, as 1815 or 1816. It in time was replaced by a brick house. Rev. Isaac Dearth was officiating minister there at one time; he was ordained in the year 1820. Although the society has a good brick church at Red Lion, we believe they have no preaching at the present time.

The Methodists held religious services in private houses in different places in the township as early as 1820, or, perhaps, before that, but, from the best information I have been able to obtain, they had no church building prior to 1825. Somewhere near that time they built a church at Ridgeville, which was totally demolished by a hurricane on the night of St. Patrick's Day, in 1868. On the night preceding the storm, the house was crowded with the citizens of Ridgeville and vicinity, the occasion being an exhibition given by the pupils of the Ridgeville School.

We have not been able to ascertain the date when the first United Brethren Church was organized, but it was doubtless quite early.
The Universalist Church at Springboro was built in 1841. There had, however, been occasional sermons preached in that vicinity by Universalist ministers for several years previous.

On the occasion of the dedication of the church, the concourse of people was so great—estimated at 3,000 —that but a small portion of them could gain admission to the house, and, an adjournment was, therefore, had to an adjacent grove, and the exercises concluded there.

A large portion of the congregation was doubtless attracted thither through motives of curiosity. Universalism being comparatively a new doctrine, they were anxious to hear what could be said from that standpoint on the subject of religion.

In September. 1845, M. H. Keever, Nathaniel McLean and George Cornell, directors of School District No. 4, deeded to the Universalist Church at Ridgeville the ground where that church now stands, it being at that time school property.

The first trustees of the church were chosen July 19, 1845, and were as follows: M. H. Keever, William Eulass, Daniel Crane, Charles Montgomery and G. W. Stokes. The house was built in 1846. Rev. George Weaver preached the dedicatory sermon.

The Friends held their first meetings in the township at the house of Jonathan Wright, and, as he did not come to the State until 1814, they had no house of worship probably before the year 1815 at least.


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