[Editor's note: This chapter consists of biographies of pastors in early southern Ohio. It is the longest chapter in the book. These bios are not in alphabetic order in the essay so the names of the men mentioned in this article are given here in alphabetical order to help you locate them. This essay is divided into two parts. - jrd]
Abrams, James -- Bascom, William -- Blodget, John -- Boyd, Elder John -- Bradley, Joshua -- Bruce, William -- Bryant, Daniel -- Burnet, David S. -- Carman, Elder Joshua -- Challen, James -- Childers, Thomas -- Clark, Elder Daniel -- Clark, Elder John -- Corbly, John -- Corwin, Matthias -- Cory, Nathan -- Cotrel, Lemuel -- Crane, Cyrus -- Ferris, Ezra -- Grigg, Elder Jacob -- Gutridge, Elder John -- Hildreth, George -- Hutchins, Moses -- Jones, Elder David -- Jones, James -- Jones, William -- Jones, William -- Lemon, Jacob -- Lynd, Samuel W. -- Mason, Elder John -- Moore, John L. -- Muggeridge, H. -- Mulford, Jacob -- Patterson, Dr. George -- Poyner, Peter -- Riley, Jared -- Robb, William -- Robinson, D. S. -- Slack, Joshua -- Smith, Hezekiah -- Smith, Elder John -- Smith, Elder Peter -- Soward, John -- Stites, Benjamin -- Stites, Hezekiah -- Sutton, James -- Thomas, John -- Thompson, Elder Wilson -- Tibbets, Nathaniel -- Tyner, William -- Waters, A. -- Wilson, Amos -- Witham, Morris.
Biographies of Baptist of Southern Ohio in the Early 19th Century
History of the Miami Baptist Association
By A. H. Dunlevy, 1869
FRANCIS DUNLEVY was one of the early Baptists in the Northwestern Territory, and in its early history took an important part. He became a member of the Columbia Church in 1792: was one of the conference which took the first steps toward organizing the Miami Association,
and, it was said long after, drew up the articles of faith agreed upon by the association. The same probably, contained in the foregoing pages. He continued an active member of the church in the Miami Valley until his death, November 6, 1839, a period of forty-seven years, and had been a member of the Baptist Church some five or six years previous to his uniting with the Columbia Church.
Mr. Dunlevy's ancestors were originally from Spain, from whence they were compelled to fly from the terrible persecutions of the Catholics, to France, where, at that time, Protestants enjoyed comparative liberty under the Edict of Nantz. The name which was properly Donlevy, has since been written variously, according to the vowel sounds of the different countries into which the family was scattered -- sometimes Donlevy, by others Dunlevy, and again Dunlavy. On the repeal of the Edict of Nantz, and the re-enactment of the severe penalties against Protestant Huguenots, as they were called, the grandfather of Mr. Dunlevy escaped to Ireland, which he reached about 1688. He there lived many years, dying at near one hundred, and leaving a large family, especially of sons. One of these, Anthony, father of the subject of this notice, came from Ireland to the American provinces about 1745, and settled in Virginia, near Winchester, where he married Hannah White, sister to the late Judge Alexander
White, of that State. Of this marriage Francis Dunlevy was the eldest of four sons and four daughters, except one, all of whom attained maturity and left families, except one sister, who died without issue.
The parents of Francis Dunlevy were zealous and rigid Presbyterians, the father almost inheriting a constitutional hatred of Catholicism from the persecutions by which his father and ancestors had suffered so much and so long; and the mother was not less zealous in her views, descended as she was from an old Scotch Presbyterian ancestry. Francis, as the first-born son was early intended for a minister. But the revolutionary war breaking out about the time he should have been at college, seemed for some years to threaten the frustration of all their plans. At an early day, in 1772, or about that time, the family removed from Winchester to what was supposed to be Western Virginia, on the west of the Allegheny Mountains, and settled near to the place where Washington, Pennsylvania, now stands. The running of Mason and Dixon's line soon afterwards left them in Pennsylvania, much to their mortification, having contracted great love for the Old Dominion. In this frontier settlement, when the revolutionary war broke out, they were greatly exposed to Indian depredations; and the men of the new settlements were almost constantly called upon to serve in longer
or shorter campaigns, considered essential to the safety of the frontiers. When Francis was but fourteen years old, though not liable to military duty at that age, he volunteered to take the place of a neighbor who had been drafted, and, having a family, could not well leave home. Raised as he was in the backwoods, and early accustomed to hardships and dangers he satisfactorily discharged the duty of a soldier in that campaign. He served also in four or five others and from 1776 to 1782. was almost constantly in the service of his country. He was with the detachment which built the first fort on the northwest side of the Ohio — long and well-known as Fort McIntosh. He also assisted in erecting the first block-house at Mt. Pleasant at the mouth of the Great Kanawha. He was also in Crawford’s defeat in 1782, and being on the extreme western flank engaged in conflict with Indians until dark, when the army retreated, he was left with but one or two more, to make their way, as best they could, from Sandusky plains to Pittsburg, [sic] through an Indian country. As the Indians, in large numbers, pursued Crawford's retreating army, it was impossible for those separated to join the army, as the enemies’ forces intercepted them.
As soon as the peace of the country permitted him Judge Dunlevy was sent to Dickinson College to prepare for the ministry. Here be made
rapid progress in science, and at the second commencement might have graduated but thinking his course too short and having little respect for titles of all kinds, he refused his diploma, though filled up and offered him; and which was thrown about the college many years afterwards. Leaving college he became a student of divinity under the Rev. James Hoge, then of Winchester, Virginia. Dr. Hoge was an uncle of his by marriage and was esteemed one of the most eminent divines of that day in the United States. It was of him that John Randolph said in Congress, about 1822, that "since the death of Dr. Hoge he had never heard the gospel preached in its purity."
Here Judge Dunlevy studied the Scriptures more carefully, and could not avoid the conclusion that pedobaptism and sprinkling or pouring, instead of immersion, were unauthorized by the New Testament. Contrary to his own expectation, and much to the mortification of his parents, as well as brothers and sisters, he was compelled by his conscience to become a Baptist. He, however, was of that resolute and independent disposition that when he saw what he believed to be his duty, he never hesitated to follow in its path, however unpopular or injurious to his own worldly prospects. At the same time his study of the Scriptures opened to him more perfectly the system of salvation
as therein revealed, and he became convinced that unless called of God, as was Aaron, he ought not to officiate in holy things. He therefore gave up his plans of preaching, believing he had not evidence of a special call to that work, and betook himself to teaching for a living. He taught a classical school for some time after in Virginia, and several men who afterwards were distinguished for their learning and talent were among his pupils. One of these was the late Philip Doddridge, the distinguished lawyer late of Wheeling, Virginia.
After leaving Virginia he came with his father's family to Washington, Kentucky, or to that neighborhood, about 1790, where his father bought some lands, but the title proving defective, after much trouble and loss on this account, he became disgusted with the insecurity of land titles in Kentucky, and returned to Virginia. His son Francis, however, had early manifested great opposition to slavery, and had determined, from the adoption of the ordinance of 1787 prohibiting slavery in all the Northwestern Territory, to settle within its bounds at the first opening for a school. With this view he came to Columbia, near Cincinnati, in 1792, and in connection with the late John Reily, of Butler County, Ohio, opened a classical school, which was continued for several years, and was the first good school in the territory.
Judge Dunlevy was twice a member of the Legislature bf the Northwestern Territory; afterwards a member of the Convention which formed the first Constitution of Ohio. He was also a member of the first State Legislature, and then was elected Presiding Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, whose circuit included, at that time, all the Miami Valley from Hamilton and Clermont Counties on the south, to Miami and Champaign on the north. Here he served as judge for fourteen years, and though he had at that time to cross both Miamies at every season of the year, then without any bridges, in all that time he never missed more than one court. He often swam these rivers on horseback when very few others would have ventured to cross them. In his various campaigns and extensive travels in new countries he had become so expert a swimmer that he thought nothing of swimming the Ohio in its greatest floods. At the close of his term as Presiding Judge, being poor and having involved himself as security for some of his friends, Judge Dunlevy felt himself compelled to engage in the practice of the law for the means of sustaining a large and dependent family. For more than ten years he was indefatigable in his legal pursuits, attending the courts of several surrounding counties. For eight or more years before his death, however, he retired from business, and indulged himself in
reading such books — mostly religious — as his engagements had before prevented him from studying with care and attention. During these last years of his life, however, the Bible was his daily book, and being so familiar with the Latin language as to write and speak it with ease, he preferred, before the English; Castellios Latin translation of the Scriptures, a copy of which he always kept by him.
Judge Dunlevy possessed a remarkable memory, retaining whatever he heard or read with great accuracy. His knowledge of the Bible was, therefore, uncommonly correct, and ever enabled him to detect the slightest errors in quotations made from it, in the pulpit or on other occasions. He had in this way acquired a clear and comprehensive view of the doctrines and practice of the various religious sects of his own and past ages, and was able to class them whenever their peculiar views were propagated, as new or old, in their proper category. in the great Kentucky or New Light revival of 1801-2, which carried off all the Presbyterians in his neighborhood, he at once saw the similarity of their views to Shakerism, and then told some of them that they would all be Shakers. Four years afterwards this actually occurred, though at the time of this prediction scarce one of them had ever even heard of Shakers. In his doctrinal sentiments Judge Dunlevy was
steadfast and unchanging. He was a Calvinist, firm and unyielding, but without any tendency to Antinomianism. In the church at Lebanon, Ohio, where he had his membership for more than forty years, he at several periods discovered tendencies to Antinomianism sometimes, and at others toward Arminianism, and often pointed them out that they might be avoided. He considered each equally dangerous, and constantly to be guarded against. In the division of the church at Lebanon, in 1836, on the missionary question, he made a long and earnest appeal to the members, giving the history of the church from its organization, and showed how often they had inclined toward one and then the other of these extremes. The anti-mission movement was but Antinomianism he said, in principle, and a step in contradiction to the whole history of the Baptist denomination in Ohio, as he proved by ample references to facts which fully appear in the preceding history of the Miami Association. He warned the advocates of this anti-mission movement of the destructive consequence upon them as a Christian denomination. He told them that he had seen a similar stand taken by Baptist churches in Virginia, fifty years before that time, and the result was that in twenty years, or less, those churches had become almost extinct and that the same consequences would as surely befall those churches who adopted these anti-missionary sentiments.
How nearly his prediction has been verified the preceding pages will show.
Judge Dunlevy was an early and uniform opponent to slavery in every form. Though born and partly raised and educated in a slave State he never, in any way, approved or justified it. When but a youth he used to express opinions of the wrong and iniquity of slavery, which then surprised his acquaintances. Slavery then was permitted and practiced to some extent in all of the North American provinces, and the great majority of persons had never heard its right, perhaps, even questioned. Even at this day, in many places in the South, numerous individuals may be found who never heard the justice of slavery questioned, or had a thought that it was wrong. But this universal acquiescence could not satisfy his inquiring mind. He received nothing upon trust, but for everything affecting man's moral conduct he appealed to the law and the testimony in his Bible. An ardent advocate of the universal freedom of man, he warmly espoused the cause of liberty in our revolutionary struggle, and through life indulged the confident expectation that the doctrines of the Declaration of Independence would ultimately, and at no distant day, be adopted by every people. The tenacity with which the South adherred [sic] to slavery and sought its extension was the principal drawback to these fond anticipations.
But still he continued to believe that a sense of justice and humanity would finally triumph over selfish schemes of interest and power; and slavery, sooner or later, be forever abolished. Being among the first thus openly and publicly to avow the equality of all men, white or black, he was subjected thereby to much odium and abuse. But none of these things moved him. He never flinched from embracing and avowing the truth, however unpopular; and seeing the disposition so general, if not to trample upon, at least to turn away from the oppressed and downtrodden, he seemed to take delight in espousing their cause and identifying himself with them, whatever the consequence to himself. Being a member of the first Constitutional Convention of Ohio, he was one of those who advocated the most liberal civil, religious and political privileges for all citizens, of whatever name, country, color or religion. The persecutions which his ancestors suffered in consequence of their opposition to Catholic tyranny in Europe, and somewhat similar disabilities, though by no means so great, to which Baptists had been subjected in continental Virginia, and in New England, no doubt had their influence in giving this prominent trait to his character -- a trait which can only be fully expressed by a determined opposition to every form of oppression on any pretext and toward any race of men.
Judge Dunlevy retained his mental faculties in undiminished strength to the last, and apparently was a victim to his unconquerable love of books. Having been attacked with pleurisy, in October, 1839, which, after a few days, seemed to yield to medical aid, his physician supposed him out of danger; but a few days before his death he sat up much longer than was intended, his thoughts being engrossed with reading, and brought on a relapse, which was unmanageable, and terminated fatally on the 6th of November, 1839, in the 78th year of his age. He was perfectly rational to the last -- was sensible of his approaching dissolution, and talked of it as calmly as of any other event. To his friends, who came round him during the last few days of his life, he said that "for forty years I have never had any fears of death; and the day of judgment has long appeared to me as the most glorious feature in the moral government of God. Then and there all seeming mysteries in God's providence will be made so plain that all will acknowledge the justice as well as mercy of his administration. Then the truth, about which men differ so much here, will be made clear. The innocent and oppressed, too, however calumny and abuse have been heaped upon them here, shall be cleared from every unjust imputation, and the wrong-doer, of every grade, stand convicted in his own conscience, and in the eyes of an assembled world." Soon after
these and similar expressions he fell asleep in Jesus as quietly as he had ever taken his natural rest.
MATTHIAS CORWINwas another pioneer lay Baptist, who exerted a great influence in the Miami. Association, and deserves a more extensive notice than can now be furnished. He came to the Northwestern Territory in 1798, the same year of the first fully organized Miami Association, and from that time identified himself with the Baptist cause in the Miami Valley. He was immediately from Kentucky, but had lived previously in the Redstone country, Pennsylvania, and was originally from New Jersey. The family is said to be of Hungarian origin, where the name was spelled Corvinus, and it is not improbable that the Matthias Corvinus of Hungarian history was one of their line of ancestors. Judge Corwin was a member of the Lebanon; first called Turtle Creek, Church, from the time he came to Ohio in 1798 until his death in 1829, a period of thirty years. During most of that time he was the principal and most active deacon of that church. When at home he was always at his post; and so constant was his attendance upon its meetings that if he was missed at any time, when at home, it was known that something unusual had detained him. He was frequently one of the messengers of the church in
the association, often a messenger of the association to some corresponding body, and on several occasions was appointed to prepare circular and corresponding letters of the association, as well as the letter of his own church. In looking over the minutes of the Miami Association I find the name of no layman which occurs so frequently, nor any who seemed, from designations of various duties, to have acted as important a part as Judge Corwin.
Judge Corwin was a man of unusual sound common sense. Though he made no pretense to literature and science, and only possessed an ordinary English education, he had that discriminating mind which enabled him always to detect pretended from real science, in every department of professional life. For ostentatious display or claims of learning or skill, he had an instinctive contempt, and if on any occasion his language or treatment of any one appeared harsh or severe it was manifested toward such pretenders. He was through life distinguished for his probity. He carried his notions of honesty much further that men generally do, condemning every shade of concealment, or act calculated to deceive, as no better than direct fraud. As a matter of course such a man, in the usual pursuits of life, never cou1d acquire much property, even if he desired it. He was too honest to "trade to advantage, and all speculation, in the
common acceptation of that term, was in his view wrong. He lived, as a matter of choice, on a farm, and took great pleasure in making it a pleasant home and principal supply for the sustenance of his family. In his habits he was industrious, regular and abstemious, and did not permit any under his control to spend time idly. By this industry he was able to raise and eduucate a family of nine children on one farm, the principal property he ever owned. But to do this, economy as well as industry were necessary, and with Mr. Corwin, under any circumstances, these would have been a duty.
Judge Corwin was elected by his acquaintances a justice of the peace, at a very early day in the history of Ohio. The selection was made with reference, emphatically, to the title. No man better deserved such an appellation, whether elected or not, to the office of justice of the peace; for he was always a peacemaker, and very often selected as an arbiter to settle disputes between neighbors. All had the fullest confidence in his integrity in every business of life. The office of justice of the peace, therefore, he restored to its original intention of settling disputes, as well as justly constraining peace; and sometimes to effect this object he resorted to measures which, if not strictly legal, were always really just. It is told of him, and doubtless truly, that a suit once being brought before him by a man who had been
grossly defrauded in a trade of watches, he required both of the watches to be placed on the table before him, as the evidence was given in; and the fraud being palpable, as he gave his decision he took up the two watches, declared the contract of exchange void on account of fraud, and then returned to each his original watch. Such plainness was borne with from him when any attempt to exercise similar authority by others would have been resisted.
Judge Corwin was also elected by the citizens of Warren County, at various times, to a seat in the Ohio Legislature, where he was more than once chosen speaker. As a member of the Legislature for many years few had more influence, than most members, and still fewer exercised it so judiciously and disinterestedly. His sole object seemed to be, and no doubt was, to promote the public good. Office, emolument or honors he never sought. His public duties were conferred upon him for his known worth and integrity, unsought and undesired by himself; but yet he served the public faithfully. In the later years of Judge Corwin's life he was elected by the Legislature one of the Associate Judges of the County Common Pleas. In this capacity he served the public acceptably for many years; and was also appointed by the Governor one of the appraisers of damages on the Miami Canal at its first construction.
These facts are mentioned simply to show that Judge Corwin had the confidence of all who knew him from his first settlement in the county of Warren until his death. As in society at large, so in the church of which he was so long a member, the greatest confidence was placed in him, and much deference was yielded to his opinions. He possessed that firmness and independence of mind which led him to investigate all opinions for himself before he adopted them. He was slow, therefore, to receive any new dogma on any subject. This gave him, in the eyes of those not well acquainted with him, the appearance of bigotry and prejudice; but such was not his character. Few men possessed more real charity than Judge Corwin, and none more true kindness or warmer affections. In the autumn of 1829 Judge Corwin was attacked with an obstinate bilious fever, very common at that time, and after lingering some two or three weeks, at last, on the 4th of September, 1829, sunk under it. Though his sufferings were long and severe, he complained not. With one who had been so long and so faithfully devoted to his Master's service there was no wavering in prospect of death -- no fears of the future. He departed this life in the triumph of a faith which was full of immortality -- a blessed hope, which sustained him in the darkest hours of adversity. The following extract from an obituary notice
of Judge Corwin written, I have no doubt, by Judge Francis Dunlevy, who knew him so long and so familiarly, will confirm my estimate of his character, as given above. Judge Dunlevy was not a man to flatter the living or the dead, and what he has said on this subject was undoubtedly literally true:
Judge Corwin, no doubt, partook of the frailties belonging to fallen humanity; but we think we have never known one within the range of our knowledge who had fewer faults. If we should search for them we know not where we would find one. He was not great nor learned; nor possessed of any other dazzling talents to attract the admiration of the world. But he had qualities much more enviable anti endearing. He was the friend of the friendless -- the comforter of the disconsolate; the affectionate and kind neighbor and relative; and connected, as be was, through life with religious, social and political communities, he was a guide and pattern in each. * * * Such was the candor, the mildness, the uniformity of his conduct, and so unexceptionable his walk and conversation that even amidst party strife and sectarian controversy, the deceased never met an enemy. By all his name was respected; by those who knew him best and longest, we might say, venerated.
As be lived, he died, a Christian. Death had no terrors for him -- the grave had lost its victory. To the latest hours of his life faith in his Redeemer triumphed over every fear, and enabled him, without one regret, to bid adieu to the affectionate and weeping ones around him.
His death occurred in the 69th year of his age. STEPHEN GARDwas an early Baptist preacher in the Miami Association. He was pastor of the Carpenter's Run Church in 1803, but soon after removed to Elk Creek Church, and lived there from that time until his death, about 1840, with the exception of some four years spent at Lebanon, from 1816 to 1820. Elder Gard deserves a more extended notice than I am able to give for want of proper information. He was a native of New Jersey, and when he came to Ohio, in 1803, was in the prime of life. Though only possessing a common English education he was a good preacher and exerted great influence, in his pulpit addresses over his hearers. From the constitution of his mind he was inclined to search into, and dwell upon, the deep mysteries of religion; and the chief topics of his sermons, in the last years of his life, consisted of the strong doctrines of, Calvinism. He was, therefore, among the first in the association who rejected all means for the spread of the gospel, except preaching, under whatever name or organization. Though until 1816, and for a few years after, he united in missionary efforts, foreign and domestic, from about 1825 he gradually withdrew from all missionary meetings, and
finally, in 1836, renounced all fellowship for those who advocated them.
JARED RILEY appears, from the minutes, to have been the pastor of the church called Union or Indian Creek, from 1806 for some years afterwards. JACOB COZED appears to have been pastor of Mad River Church from its constitution in 1804 to its dismission to form the Mad River Association in 1811. JAMES SUTTON was one of the early Baptist preachers in the Miami Association. He was present at the first General Conference, at Columbia, in 1797, at which the Miami Association was organized, and at the first meeting of the Association in June, 1798, as a messenger from Clear Creek Church, the fourth Baptist church organized in the Northwestern Territory. Of this association, Elder Sutton was chosen moderator, and also appointed on a committee of one from each of the churches to draw up rules for the regulation of business before associational meetings. In 1799 he took charge of Fairfield Church, then recently constituted, and he continued to preach for this church, and a part of the time for Prairie Church, some ten miles north of Fairfield, until about 1807. I have the impression
that from near this time until his death, Elder Sutton was measurably laid aside on account of sore eyes. The date of his death I can not give.
JOHN CORBLY came to the Northwestern Territory about 1800, and soon after settled on the Little Miami, a few miles below the present site of Milford. He was a Pennsylvanian by birth and education. He first preached a short time for Miami Island Church. In 1803 he was chosen pastor of Clough Creek Church, then just constituted, where he remained until his death, in 1814. He was one of the victims, I think, of the "cold plague," of that year -- a disease which carried off more, in the same time, according to population, than any other sickness which has prevailed in the West, before or since, not even excepting cholera. Elder Corbly was the son of a Baptist minister of the same name, an early resident of Western Pennsylvania, who, in the year 1782, while on his way to his meeting-house on Sabbath morning, with his son and two daughters, was way-laid and attacked by the Indians. The father and son escaped. The two daughters were seized, tomahawked, scalped, and left for dead, but both survived. One entirely recovered, after many years and great suffering, and lived
to rear a large family of children. She and her husband, Levi Martin, Esq., were early settlers in Miami County, and were active in forming the first Baptist church in that county. The other daughter lived for some years, in pain and suffering, and finally died of the effects of her wounds.
Elder Corbly died in the prime of life and apparent usefulness. He was much esteemed as a man and a preacher. In person he was a large and fine looking man, with a countenance expressive of great amiability.
MOSES HUTCHINS was pastor of Mill Run Church, constituted about 1802. This church was near to, and principally composed of members who took letters from, Miami Island Church. Soon after Clough Creek Church was organized, in part also of members from Miami Island. Though for a time this dispersion of members from Miami caused the latter almost, if not entirely, to lose its visibility, its members worshiping with Mill Run or Clough, yet a few years afterwards Miami was resuscitated and Mill Run was abandoned, and all the members united with one or the other of the two last-named churches, both of which still exist -- the last being called Miami Church. I find nothing of Elder Hutchins after 1804. WILLIAM ROBB was pastor of the Nine Mile Church, whose place of worship, at an early day,
was where Withamsville, Clermont County, now stands. He was reared and educated in that vicinity, and had the reputation of a good and zealous preacher.
MORRIS WITHAM also appears to have been pastor of the same church at Nine Mile, in 1803. His name does not appear on the minutes after 1805. NATHAN CORY was the first pastor of Old Chillicothe Church, five miles northwest of the city of Chillicothe. This church was one of those which first formed the Scioto Association, and Elder Cory was its pastor for many years after the organization of the Scioto Association. EZRA FERRIS was a licentiate of Duck Creek, or Columbia, Church. He was an early pioneer in the Northwest Territory, having emigrated from Long Island, with his father's family, in 1789, and being but a lad when his father came to Columbia in that year. He united with the Columbia Church in 1801, some five years afterwards was licensed, and then ordained. For some years he taught school at Lebanon, then moved to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he preached for many years to the church at that place. He also studied medicine, and practiced as a physician at Lawrenceburg for a
long time, but still continuing to preach. During his later years he was engaged in the drug business. He died at Lawrenceburg, May 29, 1857, at a good old age, having been pastor of the Lawrenceburg Church for about fifty years.
Elder Ferris was a highly useful man, and his labors deserve an extended notice. This has been promised by Elder E. P. Bond, for some years associate pastor with Elder Ferris of the church at Lawrenceburg. I, therefore, only mention him in this connection as one of the early pastors in the Miami Association, merely adding that he died, as he had lived, in the unwavering confidence of salvation through Christ his Redeemer. "I am aware," he said to Elder Bond, in the last moments of his life, "of no change -- of no faltering." To Elder Ferris I am indebted for many of the facts connected with this history. To no one living could I apply with so much confidence of obtaining the information I desired, and having known him since I was but a boy, I had every assurance, not only of the correctness of his memory, but of the candor of all his statements. He was not a man to be prejudiced, as is too often the case, so as to form unjust opinions or give undue coloring to any transactions related by him. Elder Ferris knew more of the early history of the Miami country than any man living at
the time of his death, and it is hoped he may have left some valuable notes of the events of this early period.
JAMES JONES appears to have been a pastor of Little Miami Church in 1816. But no more is known of him. WILLIAM JONES was pastor of the Duck Creek Church from about 1800 to 1816. About the last date he settled on the waters of Mad River, some six miles east of Springfield, where he lived from that time until his death in 1842, in the 82d year of his age. Elder Jones was by birth and education a Welshman, though for a number of years before he came to America he had lived in London. It was there he united with the church when quite a young man. Having strong convictions of duty to preach the gospel, for which, from education and language, he thought himself unqualified, he came to the United States, near the close of the last century, in part, it is believed from his statements, to escape these convictions which followed and troubled him for many years. He first settled in this country in Ontario County, New York, and united soon after with the church at Palmyra, where he was first licensed and then ordained. About 1800 he came to the Miami country and settled near Cincinnati. In 1803 he was chosen pastor of the Duck Creek
Church, where he remained until 1816, and then removed to Mad River country, as above stated. The greatest field of his labors was at the latter place. When Elder Jones took up his residence on Buck Creek the country around him was destitute of preaching, and for many years he labored intensely in preaching to destitute neighborhoods, where in time several churches were established.
Elder Jones was an earnest and affectionate preacher. All his sermons and his intercourse with his fellow men were marked with deep solicitude for their spiritual welfare. Though to the last his language was much tinged with the Welsh brogue, yet he was always a welcome preacher, and, with all the disadvantages he labored under from this source, he was en1inentJy useful. His sermons were distinguished for the richness of real Christian experience, of which, in his long and diversified life, he had been the subject, and which found its prototype in the scriptures of truth. Elder Jones was a resident of London in the days of Wesley, and had heard him and many of his distinguished cotemporaries of different denominations preach, and, though he made no pretensions to any regular theological education, he had a very general knowledge and most accurate perception of the various shades of faith which divide the religious world into sects and denominations.
His sermons were, therefore, instructive for the information which they contained on these subjects, as well as edifying from his experimental illustrations, which gave force and clearness to his expositions.
Elder Jones left no children. He adopted his sister's son, THOMAS. J. PRICE, when the latter was quite a lad, and left him his property, and, as far as he could, his ministry. For about thirty years Elder Price has labored in the same field where he and his uncle so long and successfully toiled together. WILLIAM TYNER was pastor of the Cedar Grove Church, near Brookville, Indiana, from 1805 until that church united with the White Water Association in 1809, and for many years after. JOHN THOMAS was the first pastor of King's Creek Church, in 1806, and continued such for some years after, and until Mad River Association was formed, in 1811. HEZEKIAH STITES has been the pastor of the Bethel Church, six miles east of Lebanon, from about 1812, to the present time, 1857. He is mentioned in connection with the Columbia Church, where he was baptized in. 1801. In early times, he preached a short time for the
Staunton Church. He is now aged, and lame from a fall, but still preaches occasionally.
HEZEKIAH SMITH was a licentiate of the Lebanon Church. He preached several years for the Muddy Creek Church about 1820, perhaps, and some years after. Since then he resided a part of his time at Oxford, and preached there for some years. From thence be removed to Indiana, where he is still living near Shelbyville. ABRAM GRIFFITH appears to have been pastor for some years at Carpenter's Run and Mill Creek churches, and again afterwards at Tod's Fork, about 1834. PETER POYNER was pastor for many years of Bethlehem Church, near Winchester, Preble County. JACOB LEMON was a long time pastor of Stone Lick Church, Clermont County. And his brother, DAVID LEMON was pastor of Muddy Creek Church at the division in l836. He had been there for six or eight years before, and continued to preach to the part of this church which united with the anti-mission party for a number of years after 1836. Both of the pastors in the church united in erecting a new meeting-house, which was occupied alternately by each, as long as the
anti-mission church continued. But for some three years that body has lost its visibility.
ALEXANDER DENNISTON was pastor of the First Cincinnati Church as early as 1814. In 1816, some difficulty originated in the church, which has heretofore been referred to, by which it was separated into two bodies claiming to be the First Church, Elder Denniston uniting with one of them. This body soon after took the name of Enon Church, and united, or attempted to unite, with East Fork Association. About l826, Elder Denniston joined himself to the Campbellites, in which connection he remained until his death, at Cincinnati, early in 1857, at an advanced age. He was a man of considerable talent, and a good preacher. ELDER JOHN BOYD was pastor of Enon Church a short time, but not finding his name on the minutes of the association, I can not state the time. WILSON THOMPSON was well known in the Miami Association from 1816, when he became pastor of Pleasant Run Church. In 1820 he was called as assistant pastor of the Lebanon Church. Here he remained until 1835, when he moved near to Connersville, in Indiana, in the White-water Association, where he still lives. He took
an active part in the anti-mission movement in 1835 and 1836, so far as his views were made known in the Miami Association. Though, with Elder Gard, he had for many years, from 1816 to l826, or about that time, warmly advocated Mission and Bible Societies, and was himself a life member of the latter, yet, for some reasons, his views were changed, and he became very hostile to all religious or moral associations, except the church. Elder Thompson has exerted a powerful influence, at times, over the churches of the Miami Association, and by all was admitted to be a man of talents.
BENJAMIN STITES was, for many years, a preacher in the Miami Association. He was the only son of Major Benjamin Stites, the original proprietor of Columbia. He has been dead many years. JOSHUA SLACK was the pastor of the First Church of Cincinnati, in 1815-16. He was the first regular successor of Dr. Samuel Jones, of South Dublin, near Philadelphia, but accepted the call of the Cincinnati Church. Soon after he reached Cincinnati he took the small pox and died. ELDER SAMUEL EASTMAN also preached for the Enon Church a short time, before Dr. Slack removed
to Cincinnati. The doctor having neglected to answer their call, or to advise them of his acceptance of it, found, on his arrival, that the church had called Elder Eastman. As Dr. Slack had a family, and had removed so far, with the expectation of settling as pastor of the church, Elder Eastman, who was a young man, at once resigned to give place to Dr. Slack. Elder Eastman afterward traveled extensively through the Western States as agent, I believe, of the Baptist Foreign Mission Society; then preached in different places, until his death, at Elkhorn, Wisconsin, April 27, 1838, aged eighty years.
WILLIAM JONES appears on the minutes as an ordained minister, first, of the First Cincinnati Church, in 1820, and for a few years after; and in 1827, of the Springfield, Hamilton County, Church. I have no other account of him. DAVID S. BURNET was pastor of the First Church, Dayton, from about 1827 to 1829. About this latter. date, he, with a large majority of the Dayton Church, adopted the views of Alexander Campbell. In this connection he remains, and now lives in Cincinnati. AMOS WILSON was pastor of Lytle's Creek Church, afterward called Wilmington Church, about 1827, and for a short time after. He has
been dead many years. He was highly esteemed as an exemplary Christian and preacher of the Gospel.
H. MUGGRIDGE appears to have been pastor of the First Cincinnati Church in 1826-7. LEMUEL COTRAL was pastor of Mercer's Run Church in 1826-7. This church was in the south part of Greene County. ARTHUR CRICHFIELD was pastor of Beulah Church, also in Greene County, in 1827-8. He afterward united with the Campbellites; but has been dead for a number of years. THOMAS CHILDERS was pastor of Mount Pleasant Church, in 1832, and some years after. He and his church went with the anti-mission party, in l836. He is still living, though, from age, measurably laid aside from preaching. Dr. GEORGE PATTERSON was pastor of the Race Street Church, Cincinnati, from its constitution, in 1828, until his death, in 1832, of cholera. He was a practicing physician and exerted himself greatly in his profession during the prevalence of cholera in the city, and fell a victim to that strange disease. Race Street Church soon after dissolved, and the members united with Sixth
Street. I hoped to get the materials for a short sketch of Dr. Patterson, but failed; and not knowing much of his history myself, am compelled to omit it.
JAMES CHALLEN was pastor of the Sycamore Street Baptist Church, in 1826, and after. He, with most, if not all, of his church, united with Dr. Campbell, in 1827-8. After preaching at Cincinnati, a few years after, he went to Philadelphia, where he still lives, and preaches to a Campbellite Church. JACOB MULFORD was pastor of Wolf Creek Church from its organization, in 1815, and for several years after. In 1823 he was pastor of Tapscott Meeting-House Church. In 1828, of Middletown Church, where he remained until 1835. He died Soon after. Though not a man of much talent or learning, he was a meek and humble Christian, exemplary in all his walk and conversation. JOSHUA BRADLEY was a member of the Middletown Church; and taught an academy, and preached there occasionally, and at other places in the vicinity, from about 1830 to 1832. He was a graduate of Brown University, and a man of considerable science. He preached and taught in many places in the United States during his long life, and died in the winter of 1856-7, at St. Paul, Minnesota, upward of eighty years of age.
GEORGE HILDRETH was pastor of Hopewell Church from 1817 to 1829, when this church seems to have lost its visibility. NATHANIEL TIBBETS was pastor of the First Church of Cincinnati, in 1822 and 1823. He died, soon after, in the prime of life and apparent usefulness. He was a man of considerable talents, of great energy of character, and a warm and able preacher. JAMES ABRAMS appears to have been pastor of Clover Fork Church from 1810 to 1812. WILLIAM BRUCE was an ordained minister from England, I should think. He resided many years in and about Cincinnati, preaching at different places in the vicinity, but having his home, most of the time, in the Sixth Street Church. He went, about 1837, to Wilmington, Dearborn County, Indiana, where he died some twelve years since. He was a very earnest and fervent exhorter. WILLIAM BASCOM was pastor of the Fairfield Church from 1829 to 1831. He was called to his final home in the latter year. He was a young man of more than usual promise. D. S. ROBINSON was pastor of the Hamilton and
Rossville churches for a time, about 1833, and was for some years afterward connected with the Mount Pleasant Church. He still preaches in the anti-mission connection.
J. FLINT was pastor of Mount Zion Church, in 1835, when the church applied for admission into the association, with an express avowal of disfellowship for all who advocated Mission, Sunday-School, Tract, and Temperance Societies. He is still living, and continues his opposition against these societies, I believe, with unabated prejudice. DANIEL BRYANT was first pastor of Mill Creek Church, in 1823; at Muddy Creek, in 1827; at Hamilton, in I829; at Middletown, from 1831 to 1836. Since then he has been pastor at Lockland, Fifth Street Cincinnati, and Urbana, find now supplies King's Creek Church, six miles north of Urbana.. SAMUEL W. LYND became pastor of the Sixth Street Church, Cincinnati, in 1830. He was born in Bordentown, New Jersey, in 1796. The church, in 1836, erected an edifice on Ninth Street, and its name was changed to the Ninth Street Baptist Church. Here Elder Lynd labored with great success for fifteen years. An excellent preacher and a judicious pastor, he had the
pleasure of welcoming hundreds into the church during his pastorate. He commanded the respect and confidence of all, and the cause in Cincinnati owes its progress and present prosperity largely to his efforts. In 1845 he became pastor of the First Church, St. Louis. Subsequently, he assumed the Presidency of the Western Baptist Theological Institute at Covington, Kentucky, and later, was President of Georgetown College, Kentucky. In 1850 he removed to Lockport, Illinois, where he now resides. Elder Lynd took an active and decided part in the anti-mission troubles, of 1835-6. He was the principal leader on the side of missions, and much is due to his ability, firmness, and great forbearance on that trying occasion.
A. WATERS was pastor of Wolf Creek Church, in 1835-6. He was afterward, for a few years, at Jonah's Run Church, Warren County. Some ten years since he removed to Northern Indiana, where he lately died. Elder Waters, though he made no pretensions to talents or learning, was a faithful preacher of the Gospel and a most exemplary man. JOHN L. MOORE first preached in the Miami Association, at Hamilton, in 1830, then recently from New York. He has since become extensively known to the Baptists of Ohio as an evangelist,
and occupying various important positions connected with the state convention, ministerial, educational, and denominational colleges. In the very commencement of his ministry, while at Hamilton, he accidentally fell into the fire, and thereby received such injuries as would have laid aside almost any other man for life. But with all the disadvantages and difficulties attending these injuries, Elder Moore has done more, perhaps, than anyone else in the state in building up the Baptist cause. He still is engaged in that same work, though from age he is not able to labor as he has for the last twenty-five years.
JOHN BLODGET came to Ohio, in 1835, from the State of New York, where he had preached in different places many years. He first settled at Lebanon, and the church there being then without a pastor, he preached for them occasionally from that time until the division in the association which occurred the next fall. The church at Lebanon, being pretty equally divided, by common consent dissolved and gave letters to each member to form such church connection as he thought his duty. The mission party formed the East Baptist Church, and selected Elder Blodget as its pastor. Here he labored successfully, until his health failed him, in 1841. He has since measurably recovered, has preached at various places in Ohio and Indiana, and at this time, 1857, is pastor of the Franklin, Ohio, Church.
Thus have I named all the ministers whose names appear on the minutes of the Miami Association, from its origin, in 1795, to the anti-mission separation of 1836.
It will be an item of interest to notice the establishment of the first weekly Baptist newspaper west of the Alleghanies. The first number of what is now the Journal and Messenger was issued July 6, 1831, under the title of "THE BAPTIST WEEKLY JOURNAL OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY" It was published under the auspices of a committee of six brethren. The name indicated the intended field of circulation. There was then no other weekly Baptist paper west of the mountains. John Stevens, who has ever since been prominently identified with the Baptist cause in Ohio, was its editor. He was graduated at Middlebury College, Vermont, in 1821, and at the time of his removal west was principal of an academy at South Reading, Massachusetts. From 1832 to 1838 the paper was conducted by Noble S. Johnson as publisher, John Stevens continuing as editor. Though published for years at a pecuniary loss, it has been in all its history a decided power for good throughout Ohio and adjoining States. ======================
[From A. H. Dunlevy, History of the Miami Baptist Association, 1869, pp. 96-184. Thanks to Ed Kittle for giving me this copy. -- jrd]
Return to Miami Baptist Histories
Return to American Baptist Histories
Return to HOME Page