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New Jersey Presbyterian Church


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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 6 January 2005

Sources:

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part IV Township Histories
Franklin Township by W. C. Reeder
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)


Page
515

As has already been stated, quite a number of families came from the State of New Jersey between the years 1800 and 1816 or 1817, and settled the region still known as the Jersey Settlement. These were almost all members of the Presbyterian Church, and, on August 14, 1813, we find that they organized a church by assembling at the house of William P. Barkalow, opposite Franklin. The following steps were taken in organization:

1st. They resolved to form themselves into a congregation.
2d. They resolved that this congregation should be under the care and direction of the Presbyterian Church in Miami Presbytery.
3d. That they apply to said Presbytery at the next October meeting, for one-half of the ministerial services of Rev. Francis Monfort.
4th. That Hendrick Lane and Tunis D. Van Derveer be appointed to represent the congregation before Presbytery and prefer their petition.
5th. That they make out a call for Mr. Monfort, and present it at the next meeting of Presbytery.
6th. That to this end Daniel Dubois and Jonas Bowman be sent with a request to the Rev. Daniel Hayden to attend the congregational meeting and preside in moderating a call.
7th. In consideration of the pastoral labors of Mr. Monfort, they promise to raise him $150, in half-yearly payments; and
8th. Immediately thereupon proceeded to raise the required sum by annexing their names and subscriptions to a paper, heading which are the names of Hendrick Lane, George Lane, Tunis D. Van Derveer and others.

It is not certain that there were religious services at the time these resolutions were passed, but it is probable that such services were held, as Mr. Monfort had been preaching to this people since the preceding March.

After this meeting, and until the meeting of the Presbytery, in October, nothing definite is known concerning the infant church, but it is thought that Mr. Monfort served them; and in the October Presbytery, the following record was made: "A petition was received from a newly congregated people, on the west of the Great Miami, opposite Franklin, calling themselves New Jersey Congregation, and praying the Presbytery to grant one half of Mr. Francis Monfort's labors for one year, which was granted."

On April 2, 1814, at a meeting at the house of Tunis D. Vanderveer, Messrs. Vanderveer and Zebulon Baird were elected Ruling Elders, and were ordained on the 3d, which was Sabbath. Mr. Monfort was ordained and installed pastor June 14, 1814.

The first members received were Mrs. Jennett Street, Abraham Street and Sarah, their daughter, July 31, 1814, and also the wives of the two Elders. On the 8th of September, George Lane, Elanor Lane, Hendrick Lane, Catharine Lane, Margaret Lane and Cornelia Ten Eych, by certificate; Gilbert Lane, Anky Wykoff, Anna Sutton, Maria Lane and John McKean, by examination; on the 9th, Peter Poast and Sarah Poast, by certificate, and Mary Wykoff and Mary Denise, by examination.

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The congregation met at different houses, and in the barns when the houses were too small, but the most frequented place was the barn of Hendrick Lane, near where the Hydraulic Dam now is.

In the spring of 1815, a church building was talked of and three sites were under contemplation—one on William P. Barkalow's farm, opposite Franklin; another on the farm of Hendrick Lane; the third, the place where the church was afterward placed. The Presbyterians who resided in Franklin were naturally desirous that the first site should be chosen, but a misunderstanding arose, and Daniel Dubois having in the meantime made an offer of two acres of ground, the latter site was selected. Even after the materials for the building were on the spot chosen, the Franklin people offered to haul them to the site they preferred, but the Jersey people adhered to their resolution of building on the Dubois land.

The house was built after the model of the old Tenant Church, in New Jersey, and was known far and near as one of the finest buildings in this region.

In this building, cost was not thought of. The various parts were contributed or paid for by the different members as follows: Tunis D. Vanderveer furnished the frame-work; George Lane, the weather-boarding; Hendrick Lane, the floor; Michael Van Tuyl sawed the material; John McKean built the pulpit, and each man furnished a bench as best he could.

The building; however, was a mere shell, and, as there were no stoves, they resorted to charcoal fires, which "soon smoked them out," so they were obliged to resort to meeting in barns until spring. After completion, the church contained a gallery across the west end, and the pulpit being about on a level with the gallery, the minister literally sent down his sermons to the people, while they all looked up to him. In refitting the church, benches of a uniform pattern were made, and the pulpit was lowered several feet, still leaving the minister far above the people, and necessitating somewhat of an ascent ere he reached his station.

After a pastorate of seven years, Rev. Mr. Monfort was succeeded by Rev. John Ross, who served this people but about a year. The membership at this time was sixty-four in number.

After this time, there was no regular pastor for three years. Matthew G. Wallace gave them one-fourth of his time until the spring of 1826, when Rev. Adrian Aten began to preach a part of the time, and, in October, was regularly appointed by Presbytery to supply the New Jersey Congregation one-third of the time and Franklin one-third.

In 1827, the Sabbath school was first organized here.

Rev. Adrian Aten preached his last sermon September 22, 1833.

After this, Rev. John Hudson supplied the New Jersey and Franklin Congregations for one and one-half years, and there was no certain arrangement for six years.

Rev. J. S. Weaver was regularly called in April, 1845, and preached until 1858. During his pastorate, in 1856, an attempt was made by some of the congregation to have the old building removed, but this failed, owing to the reluctance of the older members to part with their old place of worship.

Rev. J. H. Clark was pastor from the summer of 1858 to the fall of 1861, and during this time the parsonage was erected.

Rev. F. M. Wood became pastor in 1862. During his pastorate, the magnificent brick building used by the congregation was erected at a cost of $16,350. The corner-stone was laid May 12, 1866. The old building was last used December 1, 1867, and the new was first used December 8, 1867.

The present building consists of a main building, 71x43 feet, and a rear

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being a conspicuous object for miles; the other, or southwest tower, being but slightly elevated above the roof. The main room contains a gallery, 9x21 feet, and the ceiling has an elevation of twenty-eight feet at the sides and thirty-five in the center. The windows are fitted with stained glass and the walls frescoed.

Rev. F. M. Wood, through whose instrumentality this building was erected, served the people until about 1868. Rev. Samuel Findley, after a year or two, succeeded him, and he in turn was succeeded about two years ago by Rev. W. Gowdy.


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