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Religious Societies and Organizations


Scanned and corrected by John O'Neall on 13 March 2004


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


The Friends were the first to organize into a society. In 1800, Ezekiel Cleaver, with others, came with their families from Virginia to Red Stone, now Brownsville, in Pennsylvania, and the families remained there, and Cleaver (and perhaps some others) came to Waynesville and erected a large log house on the east corner of Miami and Third streets, resting on large logs cut and placed in the ground endway, and returned to their families. In the spring of 1801, Cleaver moved here.

Previous to 1803, the Friends organized a society, a committee of Friends coming from Red Stone to sit with them, as was then and I believe still is their custom. After the organization, meetings for worship were held at the different family residences until 1805, when they built a substantial log meeting: house, where the house of the Orthodox Friends now is.

David Brown was appointed a committee to build the house. The record of the Friends show that he built it, put in a stove and fenced in the graveyard, and received as a compensation for building and completing the house $65.88; the stove, $35.93, and for fencing in the graveyard, $19.

The Friends got the title to their grounds in 1808. David Pugh, Benjamin Evans, Isaac Mills, David Homer, Samuel Test and. Benjamin Hopkins were made trustees in the deed. A committee was appointed to examine the title, consisting of Joel Wright, Joseph Canby, Mordecai Walker, John Haines, Abijah O'Neall, Isaac Ward and George C. Ward.

In May, 1811, they determined to build a brick meeting-house, 40x60 feet, one story, and appointed Asher Brown and Joseph Evans, managers, and, in August following, considered the propriety of building two stories, and Jonathan Crispin was appointed an additional manager. In February, 1812, reported expenses were $1,195.13, and probably expense, to complete lower story for use, $400.

In May, 1812, Noah Haines, Chairman of the committee, reported total expenses $1,278.45.

In 1813, a committee was appointed to draft a plan and finish the upper part of the house, consisting of John Stubbs, Levi Cook, Joseph Evans, Thomas Sherwood, Asher Brown, John Satterthwaite and Isaac Stubbs, which they did at a cost of about $250, making a total cost of a little more than $1.500. David Evans and wife were the first couple married there.

In the year 1870, the house was repaired and remodeled, leaving but little of the original architecture and giving it the appearance of a one-story building, with a small gallery on the east side, at an expense of over $2,000.

In a division of the society in about 1828, the orthodox branch, which was in the minority withdrew and they repaired the old log house, which was badly rotted, where they worshiped until 1835 or 1836, when the old log house was taken down and the present structure erected. The Friends Graveyard on their premises in Waynesville was the first regular graveyard in the township.

A log meeting-house was erected by the Baptists on the farm of Jane Carman, on the road from here to Dayton, at an early day. I have been informed about the year 1814.

A free meeting-house was built on the farm now owned by Rev. John Hisey, in east Wayne Township, in 1817. by subscription. As I have a copy of said subscription paper, I here give it, with the original orthography:

Feb 5th 1817

We the undersigned -- to buyld a meeting house in Our neighborhood, as there is none handy, to be open and free for any society whatever. It is to be buylt on the North east corner of John Smiths land. The description of the house will be as follows: the logs to be cut & put up & then hewed down inside and out - the roof is to be framed with rafters


& clabboards to be nailed on; the size will be concluded upon by the subscribers -- the subscribers will subscribe as many days work as they think proper, and if anyone chewses to pay money, they can subscribe the money to pay hands with in their stead.

Subscribers Names. No. of Days.
John Smith, senior 10 days
John Smith, junior 5 days
Ezekiel Cleaver 2 days
Alexander Stewart 6 days
Robert Stewart 6 days
Jacob Elmore 4 days
Thomas Hall 4 days
Zachariah Prater 4 days
Daniel McGregor 2 days
John Welch 4 days
William Grimes 3 days
Job Castles 4 days
Eli Cook 2 days
Thomas Spray 3 days
Henry J. Good $3

The building was used by the Baptists, who organized a society there, until after 1840, when the society built a comfortable frame church across the road, which still stands, but is not much used. John Smith, who died about 1827, devised the lot where the log house stood to any society that would build upon it. A graveyard was also started on the lot and several persons buried there, when it ceased to be used.

The Methodists organized a society near Mount Holly about 1820 -- perhaps before -- and raised a log meeting-house on Section 32, Township 4, Range 5. A graveyard was started there in which a number were buried; the unfinished house was taken down and moved near the present graveyard at Mount Holly, and was used until about 1845, when it was vacated and the present frame erected in Mount Holly. The Methodists also had an organization at Raysville at an early day, and built a log meeting-house and established a graveyard. The log meeting-house was removed and a very handsome frame built - probable about 1850 -- which was burned down and afterward the present comfortable house erected. They have a very good society. There has been a very large number buried there, but the graveyard has almost ceased to be used.

They early organized a society in the vicinity of Waynesville, at what date I am unable to give, but previous to 1815, and their meetings were held at private houses until about 1826, when they built their first church here -- a comfortable little brick, on Outlot No.2, on Water street, which was used until 1840, when they built where the house now stands. In 1869, the house was repaired, enlarged and much improved. In 1837, a great revival occurred amongst them under the ministration of the Rev. Mr. Harker; forty-two joined the church, and, in 1842, another noted revival took place, conducted by the Rev. J. J. Hill, when over 160 joined them.

The first permanent Sabbath school established in the township was in 1837, under the control of the Harrisons, Hendlys and other members.

In 1843, the Mormons introduced their doctrine into the township. They organized a society and quite a number were attracted to Nauvoo, most of whom returned and many of them found homes in other churches and the organization here was abandoned.

In 1850, the Regular Baptists endeavored to effect an organization, but not meeting with sufficient encouragement, the effort was abandoned

In 1856, the Congregationalists under the preaching of the Rev. Simeon Brown effected an organization and fitted up a snug little church. The society was weak, some of the members removed, and, after an effort of two or three years, the society disbanded.

The Christians (Campbellites) made an organization and built a snug little

church on High street, east of Main street, Waynesville, where they now worship.

The first Episcopal service was given in Hay's Hall in April, 1869. In August of the same year, the corner-stone of St. Mary's Church was laid in a lot on the corner of Third and Miami streets. On Easter Thursday, 1881, the edifice being finished and free from debt, the church was consecrated to the worship of Almighty God by Right Rev. Thomas A. Jaggar, Bishop of Southern Ohio. Although there were but two communicants of the church in the neighborhood at the time the cornerstone was laid, the communion now numbers some twenty-five members, and, being free from debt and ministered to by a most excellent pastor, the Rev. Charles A. Hayden, it is in a very prosperous condition. The church property is probably worth $3,000. Much is due to J. Drew Sweet for his energy and perseverance in organizing and building up this society and church.

The first Friends were principally from New Jersey and Virginia. In a very few years, the number was largely increased from Pennsylvania, Maryland, the Carolinas and Tennessee -- all attracted here, no doubt, by the reports of the character and quality of the soil, the prospect of independent homes and being free territory. The society became very large. They were a frugal, industrious class of people, and their principles have very largely influenced the people of the township. Since the division, both societies have become much reduced.

The Friends at Waynesville contracted for their grounds but were unable to get title before 1807, when a patent for 208 acres was granted to David Faulkner (including most of the old town plat), but they established a graveyard there as early as 1804. Previous to that there was no permanent graveyard in the township. Many family burying-grounds have at one time or another been used, but all, I believe, have ceased to be used.

On the 2d day of April, 1866, the cemetery association was formed under an act of the Legislature of the State, passed February 24, 1848, and is now the principal burying-ground for quite a large district of the country.

FOOTNOTES: [a place to add additional information that you might want to submit]


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This page created 13 March 2004 and last updated 27 September, 2011
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