Pastors and Presiding Elders
The most difficult task in
the preparation of this history is that of the subject of this chapter.
The earnest men who, as pastors led the consecrated few at Clay Chapel
to decisive victory through all the obstacles which often threatened
defeat, deserve the very highest enconiums of praise, and the able
generals who commanded the corps of energetic pastors, leading the
people of the district to have graver views of life’s conflict
are worthy of the need of commendation which has been handed from parent
to child by those who knew them best. But a fair treatment of all would
demand more time and space than can be commanded by the writer. Hence
only a list of each with a few of the chief events connected with their
relation to Clay Chapel, must suffice for this work.
Before giving the meager facts at hand, it may better be said
that it has been found a difficult matter to make an accurate list of names and
dates. The church records are not complete, and the files of conference minutes
in the hand of the Secretary of the Ohio Conference lack the numbers prior to
1852, except for a few years after Clay Chapel was organized. These first minutes
are in manuscript and do not furnish list of appointments. So all that can be
done is to make up the pastors from the beginning to 1852 from the memories of
those who lived at that time and still continue with us.
From the time of its organization until 1865, the circuit
of which Clay Chapel formed a part belonged to Portsmouth district. At that date
it became a part of Gallipolis
district, and has ever since remained within
the territory of the last named.
Those were the days when the strongest men were given charge
of the district work; hence the earnest toilers of Clay Chapel had their enthusiasm
fanned into a perfect blaze by hearing some of the ablest men of Methodism in
that early day. As nearly accurate as can be made from partial records and from
tradition, is the following list of those whose words and example served to present
a living Gospel to a sin-sick people:
Jacob Young says tradition served as presiding elder from
1836 to 1839. He was one of the most eminent of the early itinerants. “Barker’s
History of Methodism” sums up his career in this way: “The ministerial
achievements of Jacob Young awaken our wonder. He was a native of Virginia. He
was a studious youth, and grew to be a finished gentleman of the Virginia school.
He joined the Methodist itinerancy in 1808. From 1811 to 1849 he labored successfully
in Ohio, where he exerted a commanding influence. His grace and dignified manger,
general intelligence, logical methods, impressive manner, and fervency of spirit
enabled him to electrify whole audiences by his preaching. This “weeping
prophet” died in Zanesville, in 1858, saying: “I am calmly, though
through great physical suffering, nearing my better home.”
The ministers of the Ohio Conference disagree with some of
the above dates as can be seen from this quotation, “Jacob Young was born
in Pennsylvania March 19, 1776, and died at Columbus, Ohio, September 16, 1860.”
Tradition gives the year 1850-51 to A. M. Alexander. He was
born at Granville, Ohio, January 29, 1815. His earlier mature years were spent
on a farm and as a millwright. He was converted in September of the year when
Clay Chapel class was organized; was licensed to preach March 15, 1833, and joined
the Ohio Conference at Springfield, in the fall of 1835. He held various appointments
for forty-four years, except one year of superannuation. He then retired from
active ministerial labors and died in peace at his home in Westerville, Ohio,
November 14, 1895. He is buried in Greenlawn cemetery, Columbus.
The date from 1842 to 1846 is hard to fill, but was possibly
occupied by J. M. Jameson. He was born in Pennsylvania, March 8, 1834, and died
at Los Angeles, California, January 15, 1893,
From “Highways and Hedges,” an autobiography, we
glean the accurate information that John Stewart was presiding elder of Portsmouth
district from 1846 to 1850. This earnest pioneer scattered the seed far, as well
as near, for he served the church in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Virginia
and in many of the charges of Ohio, and near the close of his active career took
a Western tour. He was presiding elder on Kanawha district, Virginia, Portsmouth
distract and Jackson district, Ohio. He was born in New Jersey, January 8, 1796,
and departed this life at Chicago Illinois, March 10, 1876.
We now turn from tradition to history for the dates of the
appointments of the several presiding elders, and if any errors occur it will
be because the Official record is wrong.
D. C. Howard served in 1862. He must have transferred to some
other conference for our records give no further account of him.
R. 0. Spencer
succeeded Howard in 1852 and also served but a single year. Nothing further can
be learned from the records.
Andrew Carroll, a live and energetic Irishman filled the office
from 1853 to 1857. He not only did good service as a preacher, but wrote a fair
commentary on the New Testament, which is known as “Carroll’s Notes.” He
was born in Ireland, December 20, 1810, and died at Pleasant Valley, Ohio, February
Uriah Heath served during the years 1857-60. He was born in
Xenia, Ohio, April 11, 1809, and died at Zanesville, Ohio, March 28. 1861.
Levi Cunningham came next, occupying the time of 1860-64. He
was born in Wood County, Virginia, January 8, 1812, and died at Westerville,
Ohio, July 17 1885.
A. B. See was the last presiding elder while Clay Chapel was
in Portsmouth district. He served during the conference years 1864-66. He was
born in Butler County, Ohio, January 2, 1817, and died at Portsmouth, Ohio, November
H Z. Adams was born near Richmond, Amelia County, Virginia,
December 24, 1807. On July 12, 1827, he was converted and became a member of
the M. E. Church. In 1835 he was licensed as a preacher, and served as a supply
for eight years. He was then admitted to the Ohio Conference at its session at
Chillicothe, and continued to serve the church until 1883. In the year 1866-67
he had the honor of acting as the first presiding elder of Gallipolis district.
After losing two wives, one about 1838 and the other in 1843, he w as married
to Miss Elizabeth Chambers, daughter of John Chambers Sr., of Chambersburg, Ohio,
on July 3, 1848. After his superannuation in 1883, he moved to Orange, California,
where he died March 17, 1891, after a long and useful life.
John T. Miller, a superannuate of the Ohio Conference, and
residing at present at Worthington, Ohio, was the next incumbent, and held the
office from 1867 to 1871.
He was succeeded by John Dillon, who was born at Zanesville,
Ohio, October 27, 1815, and after a busy Christian life, died at McArthur, Ohio,
August 26, 18__. He held the office frown 1873 to 1877.
T. H. Monroe then had charge from 1877 to1881. He was born
in Loudon County, Virginia, May 15, 1818. He became a licensed preacher December
11, 1840; was ordained a deacon by Bishop Hedding, March 15, 1846; and an elder
by Bishop Simpson
June 15, 1852. He was admitted to the West Virginia Conference
at its second session, which was held at Clarksburg, October 10, 1849. President
Lincoln appointed him Chaplain to the U. S. Hospital at Parkersburg, which office
he held for two years. He traveled the Parkersburg district four years. In 1870
be was transferred to the Ohio Conference. In1884 he took a superannuated relation,
in 1886 was made supernumerary, and in 1887 he became effective, and was appointed
to Amesville circuit, where he died on February 11, 1888.
Z. W. Fagan held the position from 1881 to 1885. He was born
in Felicity, Ohio, December 20, 1835. He was the child of godly parents who early
instilled into his mind the principle of Christianity. He was first a preacher
in the Wesleyan Church, of which
his parents were members, but came to us in
1868. He served long pastorates in various
charges. Tuberculosis of the stomach attacked him about four years ago.
He took a superannuated relation and went to spend a period of rest with
his daughter in Chicago. Here he took charge of a church and continued
to preach until his death released him on July 19, 1899. His remains
were brought to Columbus, where after appropriate funeral services, they
were place in Greenlawn Cemetery.
J. C. Arbuckle came to the office in 1885 and remained the
full term of four years. He is at the present serving in the same capacity in
the Columbus district. He was chosen as a delegate to the next General Conference
to be held at Chicago next May.
M. V. B. Evans succeeded to the place in 1889. The time limit
having been extended, he remained the full term of six years. He is at present
one of the superintendents of the Ohio Anti-Saloon League.
J. R. Tibbles, the present incumbent took the place in October
This list contains the names of many of those who have been
powerful factors in Methodism’s growth in our state. Fuller details would
have been profitable; but our limited space forbids the attempt to do more than
give a brief outline of the noble men who have stood on the walls of Zion to
proclaim to those about them the glad message of “Peace on earth, goodwill
J. R. Tibbles
Though an arduous task it has been a pleasure to find and record the following
sketches of the men who served Clay Chapel as
Sheldon Parker was the junior
preacher on Burlington circuit in the Clear 1831-.32, and had the honor
of preaching the first Methodist sermon in the Clay Chapel community.
This was in May 1832, and was delivered in the log schoolhouse, which
stood near the site of the present Riggs’ Landing. He was an
uncle of Drs. Edward and Charles Parker, of Gallipolis. The conference
records give no account of his death; hence he must have gone to some
Samuel Harvey was pastor inthe year 1832 to1834, and will always be remembered as the pastor under whose administration the Old Brick Church was erected. In chapter two credit of this was given to Elijah Fields but later has corrected this view. But little can be learned of the life of Samuel Harvey. We know that he was born in the state of Pennsylvania on 5 th day of November, 1806, and that after 55 years that he died at New Lexington, Perry County, January 30, 1861.
Elijah Fields succeeded Harvey in the fall of 1834, and was the pastor until the all of 1836. As a mention is made of his name on the conference death roll, the assumption is that he went to another conference.
No accurate dates can be given to the various period occupied by most of the pastors until 1852. but as nearly as can be ascertained their names and the order of service were very nearly as follows:
Mighil Dustin was pastor probably from 1836 to 1837. When the Cincinnati conference was organized he became a member of it, and unless recently deceased is now and honored superannuate of the same.
J. F. Longman, according to some of the old people, followed Dustin. He was born in England, October 6, 1807, and died in Columbus, Ohio, July 1, 1876. From “Highways and Hedges´ this item is gleaned relating to Kanawha district, Virginia, for the year 1844: “Pt. Pleasant—John F. Longman and William W. McComas. Brother Longman was an Englishman, of good preaching ability. Had he felt fully the responsibility of the Christian ministry, and met his engagements punctually, with the ability he possessed he could have done a noble work.”
A. M. Alexander was pastor probably in 1839-40. A sketch of his life was given with other presiding elders.
Joseph Morris served the good people here probably about 1841. He was born near Charleston, West Virginia, March 12, 1811. When he was but a few months
old his parents came to Ohio and settled in Fayette County. He was converted
in 1832; three years were then spent in study to fit himself for the ministry
to which he felt called he was admitted on trial into the conference in 1835.
He served various places till 1862, when he was made army chaplain, and served
as such till the war closed. He then entered upon the conference work again,
and with the exception of the years from 1868 to 1872, when he was a supernumerary
because of impaired health, served the church well till 1877. He was made effective
and served Jerseyville circuit in 1884-5. This closed his active work. He died
at Columbus, Ohio, April 26, 1888, and was buried at Washington C. H., Ohio.
Levi W. Munsel was one of a class of fifteen admitted into
the Ohio conference at its session held in Urbana, August 25, 1841. After serving
various charges in different
parts of Ohio, we lose trace of him. He was at Clay
Chapel about 1842.
W. J. Quarry was a raw Irishman when he was pastor at Clay
Chapel. He served about 1845-6. He probably went to some other conference, as
our records do not continue his name. He was a supply, or in other words he had
not yet been admitted as a member of the conference.
He had been in this country about three months before being
made pastor of Patriot circuit. At one time going on his trip across the country
from Patriot to Clay Chapel, he saw a curious looking little animal in the road
just in front of him. Not being acquainted with the fauna of his new home, he
got off his horse to examine it. To u se his own brogue: “I took me swetch
and swetched it”-ah, foolish fellow! It proved to be a skunk, and in less
time than it takes to pen these words he was in no condition to take his place
in the pulpit. He rode on to the home of one of his members where his clothes
were buried and he donned the garb of one of the male members of the home where
he stopped. All that soap and warm water and hard scrubbing could do failed to
remove the offensive odor, and for months thereafter it was almost beyond the
endurance of his members to remain in the church during services. What a commentary
on the devotion of those people! A modern congregation would all have backslidden,
and as a final result inhaled the fumes of brimstone forever, rather than to
have breathed the perfume of that skunk-scented preacher for a whole summer.
W. W. Cherrington, father of the Rev. W. D. Cherrington of
the Ohio conference, was born in Gallia county, Ohio, November 22 1818; was converted
and joined the
M. E. church on January 20, 1833; was
licensed to exhort May 10, 1841; granted local preacher’s
license later; joined the conference at its session held at Piqua, September
2, 1846 had his first appointment on Burlington circuit the same year;
went to Patriot circuit in 1848 where he remained two years. After serving
various charges he superannuated in 1881 and located at Columbus where
he was connected with Broad street charge. John Stewart, one of his presiding
elders speaks of him thus: “Brother Cherrington was a laborious,
faithful and useful preacher looked well after the interests the charges
which were entrusted to his care." He
married three times, each of the first two wives dying in a short time
and each leaving an infant son. His last marriage was to Mrs. Julia A.
Paine, August 19, 1851. By his first wife he had one son, Clement J.,
now of Viroqua, Wisconsin; by his second, Rev. Fletcher B., now a pastor
in San Francisco, California; by his third, five children--Rev. W. D.,
of the Ohio conference, Charles S. and Lemuel B. now of Columbus, Rev
Edgar H. of the Cincinnati conference, and the wife of Rev. B. L. McElroy,
of the Detroit conference. He died of apoplexy at his home in Columbus,
December 16, 1887. The widows died November 17, 1898.
D. C. Harvard was admitted to membership in the Ohio
conference at its session held at Dayton, August14, 1849. His services at Clay
Chapel closed in the fall of 1852.
Marcus L. King, who served here from 1852 to 1854, was admitted
into the conference at its session held in Lancaster, September 7, 1853.
John R. Prose had the pleasure of serving as the pastor of
the good people here from 1854 to 1856. He still lives, an old but fairly strong
man, his home being at Creola, Vinton County Ohio. He is now on the superannuate
J. Q. Lakin was one of the most earnest type of itinerant preachers,
an indefatigable worker and a great church builder. He was born near Rushville,
Ohio, May 29, 1815; was converted at Lancaster, May 25, 1832; felt called to
the ministry soon after, tried to preach, but failed to satisfy himself of the
validity of his call, but tried again in 1838; was granted local preacher’s
license in 1842 joined the conference in1854; served the church faithfully until
he was superannuated in 1887; died July 27, 1888. He served at Clay Chapel during
the year 1856-7.
M. D. Vaughn enjoys the distinction of beings the only pastor
who has served the people here at different periods. He was pastor from 1857
to 1859, again during the conference year 1876-7. He has been a superannuate
for many years, and now resides amongst the people of his youth in Jackson, Ohio.
A. G. Byers, a very able man, was pastor during the year 1859-60.
Here is a brief outline of his life from the pen of Rev. W. D. Cherrington: “The
subject of this memoir was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1826. His parents
were Presbyterians. He was brought up in this faith, and educated in Madison
College. In 1847 he removed with his mother (his father having died a few months
previous) to Portsmouth, Ohio. In 1849 he went with a party to the Gold Land,
and remained there until 1851. His mother died in his absence. Returning from
California, he practiced medicine in Ironton for two years, but struggled with
a conviction that he was called to preach. Finally at hismother’s grave
he consecrated his life to the ministry…He continued in the ministry
until the war broke out…. From Circleville he went as chaplain of the
33 rd Regiment 0. V. I., and served eighteen months. The hardships proved too
much for him, and he came back to his home in Circleville much broken
in health. In 1864 he was appointed pastor of Bigelow Chapel (now Third
Street) Columbus, where he remained for one year and a half, when he
was elected chaplain of the Ohio Penitentiary. He remained there for
six years. He then became Secretary of the State Board of Charities which
position he held at his death. Worn out with the toils of life, he entered
into rest, November 10, 1890.”
Wm. S. Taylor was admitted into the Ohio conference at its
forty-second session, held at Lancaster, September 7, 1853. John Stewart speaks
of him thus; “Gallipolis circuit--Daniel Horlocker, William S. Taylor.
These brethren were of kindred spirit. They possessed rare adaptation to the
itinerant work. They won the hearts of the people to themselves without effort,
and put forth all their efforts to lead them to Christ. They were knit to each
other like David and Jonathan.” Clay Chapel had the services of Bro. Taylor
in1860-1. He raised a company and went to the war. He afterward became a chaplain.
Returning home from the war, he later went to Michigan.
E. V. Bing was born in Gallia county, February 22, 1811; at
ten years of age he lost his father; his heroic mother kept the family together
and gave him the best education the common school of that day afforded; he was
converted and joined the church in December, 1828; was soon appointed a class leader; was given exhorters license April
25, 1833; was made a local preacher August 1, 1835; was received into the conference at its session at Xenia, in the fall of 1837; was pastor of numerous charges until 1874; then superannuated and died at Athens, February 9,1889. He was pastor at Clay Chapel in 1861-2.
Joseph Barringer was one of a class of twelve young men admitted to the conference at its cession held at Columbus, September 26, 1838. His presiding elder in writing of him later has these words of commendation: “Brother Barringer was one of our best critics, and excelled in the exposure of doctrinal errors. He was skillful and able in the management of controversy, and diligent and efficient as a pastor” He served here from 1862 to 1865. He was born in Ohio, May 7, 1817, and died at Mt. Sterling, Ohio September 3, 1871.
W.J Griffith became a member of the conference at its forty eighth session which was held in Town Street Church, Columbus, Ohio August 31 1859. After serving the church for thirty-four years, he took superannuated relationship, and continues therein. He resides at West Rushville. He was a pastor here from 1865 to 1867, and had the pleasure of seeing the present church building supplant the smaller one which preceded it. He showed his appreciation of the event by presenting well bound copies of the Bible and the hymnal which are still in use.
Robert Callaghan became a member of the conference one year prior to Bro. Griffith, while that body was in session at Marietta, August 20 1858, and for forty years did service for the church of his choice. At the session o 1898 he took the superannuated relation, and now resides at Jacksontown, Licking County. He served here from 1867 t0 1869.
Daniel Tracy was here for the year 1869-1870. He was born in Ohio, September 25, 1821. He was admitted into the Ohio con-……………..
[NOTE: The next four pages of the original are missing.
It starts again with an incomplete sentence as follows.]
two years at Clay Chapel being there from the fall of
1871 to the fall of 1873.
Henry Berkstresser served the church for many years as a supply,
and was admitted into the conference at its session held at Columbus, September
26, 1888. He did excellent work in many places for ten years longer and then
took the relation of a superannuate. He resides at Rehoboth, Perry County. He
was the pastor at Clay Chapel during the year 1878-4.
P. B. Davis was made a member of the conference at its session
held at Logan, October 13, 1870. After acting as a traveling preacher for some
years he took the supernumerary relation, remaining therein until1897, when he
was made effective again. He is now the pastor of Lucasville charge, Scioto County.
He served Clay Chapel from 1874 to 1876.
J. D. Hathaway was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania,
June 22, 1815. In 1836 he came to Newark, Ohio, where he learned the trade of
carpentry. In 1837 he was converted under the preaching of Andrew Carroll,
at which time he also united with the church. He received exhorter’s license
in 1838 and local preacher’s license in 1839. He became a member of the
conference in 1857. Being sorely troubled with bronchitis, he took a supernumerary
relation in 1865 and became a merchant, first in Bainbridge
and then in Bourneville.
He became active again in 1871 and continued in that relation until 1882, when
he closed his active work. He was twice married, the last time to Mrs. Elizabeth
Coffman, of Clipper Mill, on October 20, 1882. He was in poor health the remainder
of his life. He died September 29, 1889. His widow sti11 survives, and resides
at Gallipolis, Ohio. He was pastor at Clay Chapel from1877 to 1879.
L. C. Haddox was pastor from 1879 to1882. He is now pastor
at Athens, 0hio. He is also Secretary of the Ohio Conference, having served the
F. R. Crooks served the good people here three years, 1882
to 1885. He is now the pastor of our church at Plain City, Madison County.
R. M. Galbraith was pastor during the year 1885-6. But his
health failing, he took a superannuated relation at the close of that year, which
relation he continues. He lives at Johnstown, Licking County.
E. D. Keys was not a member of the conference, but served this
charge as a supply during the year 1886-7
E. B. Finney was one of our most pious preachers. His birth
was in Hartford County, Maryland, April 16,1832. He came to Cadiz, Ohio, with
his parents when about four years of age. He united with the Ohio conference
at its session held in Washington C. H., in 1871. He then served the church as
follows: Philo, two years; Irville, three years; Letart, two years; Cheshire,
three years; Hamden, three years; Portland, three years Eureka, one year; Wheelersburg,
one year; Logan circuit, one year; Coalton, two years. He was granted a superannuated
relation in 1898, and went to reside with his daughter, Mrs. Ed. McDade, of Letart.
But his rest was not long, as on April 19, 1894, paralysis cut short his time
on earth and he went to join the ransomed host above. His widow survives and
now resides with the same daughter at Columbus, where the writer had the pleasure
of spending an hour with the aged widow at the late session of the conference.
Bro. Finney served Clay Chapel during the year 1887-8.
Joseph Clark was privileged
to serve this charge during the year 1888-9. After serving various
other charges he is now Secretary of the Ohio Sunday School Association,
with headquarters at Columbus.
Patrick Henry came to this charge in the fall of 1889 and
remained three years. He has since lost his companion, a noble woman, who was
taken from him while serving Coal Grove circuit, dying from pneumonia, August
13, 1898. Bro. Henry is now on the Wheelersburg and Sciotoville charge.
C. F. Matheny served as pastor for the year 1892-3. He became
a superannuate in 1896. At first he resided on his farm near Rodney, Gallia County,
but after a few years he sold out there, bought a and smaller farm near Columbus,
and is now closing out his life near our state capital.
M. H. Rice has served the church for many years as a supply.
He has done much hard work and will soon be crowned with a rest here. And in
heaven will certainly enjoy the fruits of his labors as much as any who are members
of The conference. He is now on his second year at Berlin circuit. He served
Clay Chapel for two years, 1893 to 1895.
H. E. Brill
He was followed by the writer, who spent three pleasant
years with the good people at Clay Chapel, and for whose sake he has
spent much time in the preparation of this work.
J. W. Smith came in 1898, and is now on his second year.
Thus it will be seen that Clay Chapel has enjoyed the ministerial
services of thirty-eight earnest, consecrated preachers. How well they did their
work will never be known till the great day arrives when God still reward every
man accorded to the deeds done
here. These men have not been devoid of faults,
but they were also blessed with some virtues. The character of their work endures
in the characters of hundreds scattered in various parts of our land.
Frank Grasson Davis
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