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Churches


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Transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik 7 Sep 2003

Sources:

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

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704

As the settlement of this township was so unavoidably connected with the early settlements near Lebanon, and along the Miami and Todd’s Fork, in Clinton County, it is impossible to separate the societies by geographical lines, as from the physical formation of the township the early settlements were on it outer edges.

Nevertheless, the pioneers felt it none the less their duty to worship Almighty God in the wilderness than in the cultured communities they had left behind, and, perhaps, the isolated condition in which they were placed, and the dangers by which they were surrounded, fixed in their minds, in a more lively manner, their dependence on a Supreme Being. Hence, we find, as soon as there were neighbors, so soon was a place found in which to worship. Just at what date, we cannot say, but prior to 1811, Daniel Clark and Joshua Carman were preaching at times at William Smalley’s on Todd’s Fork. The upper part of Smalley’s mill was used as a place to meet for worship – in bad weather, in his house; in fair weather, in a sugar grove near his house – a part of the grove yet remains. Daniel Clark and Joshua Carman differed on the subject of slavery, and a division was caused in the church. The regular or original church organized and formed the Todd’s Fork Baptist Church, and built

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a house about one and a half miles east of the county line, on the College Township road. This church was organized in 1811, and a great many of its members resided in Washington Township. The house was sold and removed in 1878 or 1879. The church membership was organized in this township, and a comfortable house was built on Springhill, on the Lebanon & Wilmington road, three and a half miles east of the Little Miami, and named Bethany Church. This church was built in 1833, and Hezekiah Stites was its pastor till his death, as he had been for a number of years while the church was in Clinton County.

The adherents of Joshua Carman met at the house of William Smalley, on the 1st of August, 1811, and adopted a covenant and articles of faith, and were called the Union Baptist Church on Todd’s Fork. They were decidedly anti- slavery in sentiment, and added the words, “Friends of Humanity” to their title. The following names are mentioned as its organizers, viz., William Smalley, Richard Cast, Jacob Garretson, Ann Garretson, Elizabeth Lawrence, Rhoda Cast, Hetty Emily, Abigail Herald, Elizabeth Odel, Eleanor Barkley and Elizabeth Cast. Joshua Carman preached for them till 1832. A log house was built for them on the Chillicothe road, two miles below Smalley’s, which they occupied till 1823. They then built a brick church in Clarksville, still calling it Todd’s Fork Church, which they occupied until the membership became scattered to various parts, when a new house was built on the Goshen pike, on the southeast side of Todd’s Fork, in 1873, still retaining the name of Todd’s Fork Church. This church in now in a prosperous condition. Isaac B. Nichols, a colored man, usually called Black Isaac, preached to them as a supply from 1818 to June, 1862.

There were a great many Methodists in the settlements, mostly in Clinton County, till about 1810, when Joel Drake and Jordan Drake settled on Olive Branch, where a society was organized and a log house built in 1821 or 1822. James Davidson and Adjet McGuire were preaching at different places before this time, and are spoken of as early preachers at Olive Branch. Some years after, a frame structure was erected, and, about 1843, was improved and finished in a comfortable manner.

I have just been reliably informed that Leroy Swormstedt, while quite a young man, preached for some three years at Rev. Joel Drake’s house prior to the building of the church.

The first person buried in the graveyard attached was Jordan Drake, aged about twenty one; the next, Mrs. Isaac Stutsel.

In 1873, the United Brethren built a neat and tasty church at Freeport, and now have a numerous and active membership. The Rev. E. H. Caylor was pastor at the time of building the church.

In the same year (1873), the Free-Will Baptists built a capacious frame church on the College Township road, two miles east of Fort Ancient. It has a membership of about fifty. Rev. John Hizey is their pastor.

A house was built by the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Fort Ancient about 1873, but owing to a lack of funds, it remains unoccupied.

There are no other established denominations in the township, although nearly all other sects have a representation and frequent preaching at the churches, schoolhouses and other places.

The log house built by the Baptists in 1811, on the Chillicothe road, before spoken of, was, some years after, replaced by a frame building and called The Union Meeting House, but remained in an unfinished condition until 1842, when the community completed it. It has since been occupied for the most part by the Methodist Episcopal Church, but, by the terms of donation of premises, is free for all sects. The first person buried in the cemetery attached was Rhoda Titus, daughter of Timothy Titus.


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This page created 7 Sep 2003 and last updated 14 November, 2009
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