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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Maineville Church Celebrates Interesting History On 150th Birthday

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 28 July 2004
Source:
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page 310
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

The Maineville Methodist Church is presently being redecorated for the sesquicentennial event of July 1994. Among the many guests will be former preachers of the congregation. The writer thinks some form of recognition should be in order for a church of such high standard and longevity.
The Maineville Methodist Church has a very interesting history attached to it. While rummaging through my papers, the writer found a sketch of the early history of the church that was submitted to The Western Star in 1944, in observance of its 100th anniversary. The writers were: Ruth Roosa, Mildred Blickensderfer, Lillian Stotler, Helen Duncanson and Robert Conover.
Sarah Tufts organized the first congregation in 1842. It was a testimonial class consisting of two males and nine female members, the group meeting at the different homes for worship. There was a Baptist log church building near the Maineville cemetery, which was used by many of the Methodist members.
One year later, in 1843, as the membership grew, a revival was launched. Two ministers were asked to preach, Rev. W.H. Fyffe and Rev. Moses Smith. The revival lasted several weeks that resulted in forty new members. Among the new converts were Seth, Moses and Benjamin Tufts, brothers of the founder, Sarah. The trio in the church showed little interest until the revival took place. Afterward they vigorously joined into the activities and affairs of the House of God.
A building committee consisting of Samuel Knowlton, Moses Tufts, and Benjamin Tufts, Jr., was assigned to create plans for a new church building. The brick for the church came from a kiln owned by Samuel Cain, located on the Cain farm. Eliphelat Stevens and Samuel Cain did the bricklaying with the aid of Benjamin Tufts and other members. Sarah Tufts gave one-twelfth of the cost for the building.
Completion of the church was in 1844 and dedicated in the fall of that year. It was named Smith Chapel, possibly in honor of Rev. Moses Smith, a circuit rider. The building remains the same today except the entrance doors. At the time of the early opening there were two front doors, the purpose being that the men and women sat on different sides of the church. The disciplinary rules forbade the men and women sitting together. No one could enter the church after the services began because the doors were locked. Sunday morning services lasted until afternoon.
After dinner the congregation would go to the Negro church to help. Returning to their church, late in the evening, often resulted in a lengthy meeting. Services were absent any musical instruments, only singing "by the pitch" given by the choir director. The song was sung in verses one line at a time or "lined out."
An organ was purchased from the John Church Company, of Cincinnati, in 1869 for $135.00. The council, which included Frank and Belle Tufts, Jane Tufts and Julia Tufts, traveled to Cincinnati on February 25 to acquire the music piece. The long seven-hour journey down the Three-C Highway was in a peach wagon. The Tufts' family returned several days later, after spending some time with relatives. A special dedication service of the organ was given, with Rev. Quarry preaching the sermon.
Circuit riders were roving evangelists who periodically checked on the congregations in their district. Another of their functions was to hold communion services, to perform weddings, funerals, and baptisms that had gathered. Rev. Quarry was probably a circuit rider for there are no records of regular ministers until 1877, when Rev. C.T. Crum became the preacher. Burials were held frequently, but the preacher regularly held services. Once a preacher was found to lead the assemblage, the follow-up was to send out special formal invitations to friends and relatives ascribing the occasion.
Circuit riding preachers were always welcome at the Tuft's home. There was a room set aside for the event called the "Preacher's Room."
In 1877, the membership of the Methodist Church stood at 150, and still growing. An additional forty members started another revival in 1884, which saw the church grow. A new belfry and bell were installed in 1925.
Names of the early builders of the church are placed in memorial plaques on beautifully stained glass windows on the interior. These names are: Benjamin and Permelia Tufts, Moses and Jane Tufts, Seth and Eliza Jane Tufts, Eliphalet and Mary Stevens, John and Sarah Ertel, Drew Ertel, Mabelle Lewis and Lillian Lee Lewis.


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