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BAPTIST CHURCHES. The first resident Baptist in this town was Mary Craven, of New Jersey, who, at an advanced age, "came," as she said, "to visit her son and to build a Baptist church in New Castle." In a short time William and Ann Book, members of the Zion Church, Butler County, removed to this place, and these were soon aided by Edward Griswold, Giles O. Griswold, and Maria Griswold, of Connecticut, who had emigrated to Ohio. A prayer-meeting was commenced, and here prayer was offered to God for the outpouring of the Spirit and for success in their efforts to build up a Baptist church. These six were afterwards joined by John C. Davis and Jane, his wife, of Philadelphia. The prayer-meetings were first held in an old log-house in which Richard Craven then resided. This house was on North Street, a few doors west of East, and it is worthy of remark that the meeting-house, located at the corner of North and East Streets, is but one-half a square from the place where the first prayer-meeting was held. The first sermons were preached by Rees Davis and John Winter, and these ministers were followed by William B. Barris and George I. Miles. The church was constituted November 27, 1843. Rees Davis and John Winter, invited by those about to organize, were present. They numbered seven at their organization. Their first meetings for the preaching of the Gospel were held in vacated shops and "upper-rooms," and occasionally in other houses of worship. When the Protestant Methodist house was built, the Baptists furnished a small capital, and after this used at times that building. They had a claim on that house until 1848, at which time A. G. Kirk removed to the place and preached in a school-house on North Street. During the summer of 1848 their house of worship was begun, and dedicated the fourth Sabbath of February, 1849.

The first religious interest was in a series of meetings held by George I. Miles. The church being revived and strengthened by the addition of converts, then called Edward Miles as their pastor for one-half his time. He remained as pastor from 1845 until 1847, residing at Freeport, Pa. In 1848 A. G. Kirk was called as the first resident pastor; he remained eleven years. In 1859 Jesse B. Williams became pastor; he remained three years. D. W. C. Hervey was their next pastor, who remained three years. Since that time William Cowden, Samuel Williams, William Leet and George G. Craft and others have been pastors. Intervals between the resignation of one pastor and the settlement of another were filled by A. G. Kirk in 1863 and 1875, and by John Parker in 1868.

Since those days the denomination has made good progress and there are now five Baptist churches in New Castle, namely: First Baptist Church, corner of East and North Streets, Rev. John Snape, pastor; Second Baptist Church, 258 West Falls, Rev. A. M. Patterson, pastor; Emmanuel Baptist Church, corner of Jefferson and Reynolds Streets, Rev. W. J. John, pastor; Union Baptist Church, 71 West Lawrence, Rev. Pleasant Tucker, pastor; Hungarian German Baptist Mission, 600 Moravia, John Leber, pastor.

Source: Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, page 218


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