Rev. H. E. Brill,
who had been the Pastor just previous to this, wrote the History of
Clay Chapel in 1899. It is a small book with hand set type. The original
has about 155 pages. The copy I worked from has been rebound, but there
are some pages missing in three places. Since no other copy can be
found I proceeded with this copy hoping to add those pages sometime
in the future.
The only changes I made were to the page numbers in the index
to match them to the pages of this copy. The original index is not a complete
index , but does help to locate some of the people named in the history.
At one time this charge had five churches on it. The last
two active churches on the charge were Eureka and Ohio Chapel. They united as
Christ United Methodist Church and in 1985 built a new church on State Route
The bell from Clay Chapel is mounted in the yard in front
of this new church. There are descendants of the original nine members attending
this church, giving it an even closer connection with the Original Clay Chapel
On the following page is a picture of the bell and one of the
church. If you look to the left of the front doors you can see where the bell
sits in the yard.
Mary L. James
Picture of bell
History of Clay
By Rev. H. E. Brill
About eight miles
below the city of Gallipolis, and about one- half mile from the river,
on the Ohio side, stands a plain old-fashioned frame church building,
known as Clay Chapel, so called because it is located in Clay township.
For sixty-seven years a church organization has been in existence
here, including throughout that period most of the people residing in the immediate
vicinity, and in an earlier day many whose homes were somewhat distant.
This place has been the headquarters for many years of one
of the best country charges in the Ohio Conference, and the generosity and
hospitality of its people are well known to many of our preachers who still
speak feelingly of “the year when I was pastor at Clay Chapel.”
First generation has all passed to the farther shore,
a few only of the second still linger, while the bent form and the snow-crowned
head warn the third that they will soon have to receive the mantles of the
Elijahs who even now are near the crossing of the Jordan.
The days of the past are full of good lessons for the
fourth generation, and will prove of even greater value, as the years increase,
to those who are yet unborn. But the history of those early days is now somewhat
hidden by the mists of years, and unless what is still within reach is preserved,
future church workers will be deprived of the inspiration which comes with
a knowledge of the early struggles of those who so well began the work of
the church in this portion of Gallia county.
Having, in the good providence of God, had the privilege
of serving this people for the period of three years, from Oct., 1895 to
Oct., 1898, it seemed good to me near the close of my third year to glean
from the poorly-kept church records, from old copies of conference minutes,
and from memories of the aged members of the class and the old people of
the neighborhood, such things as might prove of practical good to present
and future generations, and thro the courtesy of Mr. A. R. Harding, editor
proprietor of the GALLIA Times, to present them in printed form to all who
may be interested in the things set forth.
No doubt many errors will occur, but they will be a result of failure
of others to faithfully record events, and not of failure on the part
of the writer to make careful search for the facts. Should any who note
such errors be able to give me the correct information the proper corrections
will be made in an appendix chapter.
At this late date with the limited source of information at
hand it is but reasonable to expect that our informants will differ at some points.
It has been my aim to weave into the connected narrative such things as appeal
to me to be most credible; leaving for the appendix such testimony as has been
given by those who have differed from the written account. This I hope will be
satisfactory to all who so kindly assisted me by furnishing data from which these
chapters have been drawn.
It will not be out of place here to say that the following
persons have been especially attentive and helpful in the preparation of
what follows: Mr. And Mrs. Jacob Riggs, Mrs. Mary C. Pierce, Mrs. S.C. Cole,
Mrs. Wallace Thornily, Mrs. Julia Plymale, Mr. J, B. Patterson, Mr. A. B.
Davis, Mr. Q. A. Davis, and Mr. E. A. Riggs.
For the excellent views of the church and parsonage, thanks
are due to Mr. J. S. Clark.
The history of Clay Chapel
very naturally divides into four sections, as follows:
- The Beginning.
- Old Brick Church.
- Second Church Building.
- Present Church Building.
To these will be added separate
chapters on subjects, which can receive better treatment alone.
These will consist of
- The Parsonage.
- Sunday School.
- Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society.
- The Epworth League.
- Pastors and Presiding Elders.
- Frank Grasson Davis, Clay Chapel’s Missionary
Top of Page