Midst the perplexing details
of pastoral work and with the scattered sources of information at command,
it will not appear strange that several errors have crept into this
work; nor, that some supplemented matter has presented itself to those
from whom the chief part of this history has been gleaned, nor will
it seem out of place to most persons to present it in this chapter.
On page 8 it was stated that Sheldon Parker preached
the first Methodist sermon in the community. It now appears that there
had been occasional preaching, Prior to his arrival. The following excerpt
from a letter by Mr. B. W. Riggs, eldest son of Bro. Jacob Riggs, to
his sister-in-law, Mrs. Mary Pierce, throws some light on this point. “The
first Methodist society organized there was at my father’s house,
the old buckeye cabin on the river bank near where the old frame stood
(built afterward). There had been occasional preaching, by Delay, I think,
a local Minister. No society was formed till 1833. Your father and mother,
my father and mother, Mr. And Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Kinder, Grandma Welch,
probably Sophronia and Matilda Davis, there were ten or twelve members
in the start. Dared Blake, of Swan Creek was with them. Later on a Mr.
Case also old man McClellan,….Other ministers, Newsom, Parker,
J. W. Cassett…….
Upon Field’s first visit
to our house, mother started to supper by setting the teakettle on
the fire. He asked what it was for. She told him it was for tea or
coffee. He told her to take it off and put on the mushpot instead.
His wife, formerly Miss Fannie Cubbage, writing at the same
time says: “The history of Methodism seems to me like a dream. I think
there was preaching at Pa’s house before Mr. James Riggs moved there. I
can’t remember the first preacher’s name. Webster and Elijah Field’s
were among the first. Others were Newsom and Melish. Ma joined the church under
Melish. There was another named Clark, of Patriot. He held a two-days’ meeting
at pa’s house. I can’t remember the dates. Uncle John Newton attended
that two-days’ meeting.
After carefully weighing all testimony, I am persuaded
- That there was preaching at Phillip Cubbage’s
before Jas. Riggs moved to the neighborhood.
- That the first class consisted of nine members as named on page 3,
and was organized by Samuel Harvey in the fall of 1832, and that the
others mentioned in the letter of Mr. B. W, Riggs, joined soon after
the organization of the class.
In presenting the names of Presiding
Elders that of D. C. Howard, on page 94, should have been omitted.
He was not a presiding elder, but was a pastor, and his name is properly
recorded on page 107. In the same list, the name of Dr. Allen H. Norcross
unintentiona1ly omitted. He served in the year 1895-6, and was succeeded
by Bro. Tibbles who still occupies the responsible position. Dr. Norcross
west to London, Ohio, and served as pastor until the late session of
the Conference when he was sent to Washington, Ohio.
The discovery of an old record used by the recording stewards
enables me to make several corrections in the list of pastors.
On page 102 Joseph Morris should be changed to Wm. Morris.
The latter, after a long and useful life in the effective ranks still lives.
He has been on the superannuated list for some years and now resides in Lucasville,
Scioto County, Ohio. He was admitted into the Conference in 1850 and took his
present relation in 1886.
On page 105, the name of Sheldon Parker should have appeared
immediately after the sketch of W. J. Quarry. He served as Pastor during the
On page 107, Marcus L. King should have been credited with
two years of service, his time extending from 1856 to 1858. Since writing the
former sketch I have learned that Bro. King is yet alive, and is active and spry
for a man of his years. He owns property in Illinois, but owing to the recent
death of his wife, he has been residing with a daughter in Pt. Pleasant, W. V.
Last summer he visited his early parishioners, and spent a happy time recounting
the events of long ago and giving an account of his life after leaving here.
He went as a chaplain to the war. After serving in that capacity for a time,
he started to return to Ohio, expecting to re-enter the Conference; but sickness
overtook him in West Virginia, and he was detained until too late to reach the
seat of the Conference. This compelled him to take charge of a circuit in that
state. By the close of his year there they were unwilling to part with him, so
he continued in the work there for long time, finally taking the superannuated
relation. The first year he served a charge on Big Sandy, for which he received
the munificent (?) salary of $5. The second year even that small sum was lessened.
And yet some people think our superannuates should receive no pension
On page 111, Joseph Barringer should have been credited with
one year, 1862-3.
Page 112, W. J. Griffith should have been credited with the
years 1863 to1866, and Robert Callaghan with the time from 1866 to 1869.
On page 114, Barton Lowe should have had credit for two years,
1870 to 1872. And S. B. Matthews from 1872 to 1874.
Page 115, Henry Berkstresser should have been credited with
the year 1874-5.
On page 117, R. M. Galbraith should have been followed by E.
D. Keys who took the place of the former on his second year because of impaired
health. The latter staid but a part of the year and was succeeded by W. H. Miller.
The latter had a wonderful l revival at Ohio Chapel. He is now pastor of Sixth
Street M. E. Church, Portsmouth, Ohio.
A few typographical errors occur, the more important ones being
as follows: “On page 19, Hermon Newman instead of Hernon Lewman, page 34,
the last word should be them
instead of him. On page 61, D. Q.Guthrie instead
of D. L. Guthrie. On page 96, Loudon instead of London.
DISTRICTS AND CIRCUITS.
The changes in district and
circuit boundaries have been as follows: From the date of organization
in 1832 to theyear1866, it belonged to Portsmouth District. At the
last date it because a part of Gallipolis District of which it is now
a member. It was a part of Patriot Circuit from its beginning to 1856,
when it was made a part of Swan Creek Circuit. In 1879 or 1880, it
was made a half station. But this continued only one year and it again
became a part of Swan Creek Circuit. During the third year of L. C.
Haddox it became a part of Eureka Circuit with which it is now connected.
The other appointments are Ohio Chapel, Chambersburg, Bethel and Swan
The Methodist church was born
of a revival, she has grown by the influence of revivals, and if she
dies it will be because she neglects her opportunity to live, by ceasing
to engage in revival work. This whole work could have been taken up
with the accounts of the revivals which have blessed Clay Chapel, but
time and space bid that brevity be the rule in this as well as in other
Almost all of the old time preachers were revivalists, but
then as now only a few had a special gift in that line. These special ones in
Clay Chapel’s list of Pastors were W. W, Cherrington, M. L. King, M. Dustin,
W. J. Griffith, Robert Callaghan, Joseph Clark, and Patrick Henry. Of these,
Bros. King, Vaughn and Dustin were the most successful here. Having had a fair
degree of success myself while here it will be but just to all to say that ofttimes
the one receives the credit for doing a great work in the line ingathering is
but reaping the crop of which a predecessor, seemingly a failure, had been diligent
in scattering the seed.
In the earlier years the people would come for miles, generally
on horseback. They would often remain for several days, the generous members
living near opening their homes to care for them. At one time Mr. Cubbage had
80 horses in one field, which had been ridden by visiting members from a distance.
Mr. Robert Patterson told me that he remembered that 61 persons took dinner at
his father’s home in one day.
ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHIC MATTER.
To the sketch of the life of Philip Cubbage found on
page 10, the following facts form all interesting supplement:
After working at his trade, that of a bricklayer, for several
years, he left Marietta and removed his family to Cannonsburgh, Washington county,
Pennsylvania where he had the contract of erecting a college building. His eldest
children continued their studies
here and received more than an ordinary education
.His oldest child, Wm. Newton, was always a good boy, was naturally of a religious
turn, and finally became a local preacher at Newark, Ohio. He afterward removed
to the Priestly farm near Gallipolis, then to Ironton, and lastly to Salem, Illinois,
where he was instrumental in buildings a new church which the people called after
his name. He died in 1880.
When Philip Cubbage came to Gallia County, be brought along
with him on two barges, the material for his new home, except the brick, which
were burned near the site of his dwelling. He also had with him skilled workmen.
These he put to work about August, and by Christmas one room of the new house
was ready for occupancy. While the house was building, the family lived in a
shanty made from the roof of his two barges.
As a physician he was often ca1led upon for medical aid, and
as many of the people were very poor, he received but little remuneration. His
good wife was a faithful ally in this work, spending much time in nursing the
sick patients of her husband.
According to very prevailing custom of that day he carried
his snuffbox from which he took frequent pinches of .the sneeze-producing dust.
He sometimes gave medical attention to the family of a Mr.
Greene living over on Swan Creek. This gentleman was the father of Mr. David
Greene, a mute now residing near the old home. At one time a daughter of Mr.
Cubbage called at the home of Mr. Greene. David did not know her, and one of
the family reached in his pocket, from which he seemed to take an imaginary box.
Working his hands as though opening the box, a dexterous dip of the finger anal
thumb of the right band appeared to take, a pinch of snuff, which was quickly
put under the nose, and the actor inhaled thereof. It was no sooner done than
Davy, as he is called, clapped his hands in delight and a stream of intelligence
flashed over his face. He understood now that the girl before him was a daughter
of Mr. Cubbage. I have been permitted to see this ancient box. It is of gutta
percha, about three and one-half inches long, two and one-half inches wide, and
about seven-eighths of an inch in thickness. But what was of far more interest
to me was his old family Bible. The dilapidated condition of its well-born leases
attests its frequent use. He no longer needs the printed word, for now he has
the living word.
Here is a story of Elijah Fields which I have from the mouth
of Mr. Joseph Cottrell, of Yellowtown: Many years ago there lived a Mr. David
Lasley whose home was on the farm owned by Mr. James A. Plymale, and whose house
stood between the present home of Mr. Plymale and the Ohio river. He was a very
eccentric man, and often caused pain to the hearts of the religious people who
lived near him by his remarks about their religion. Bro. Fields went at one tine
to call upon him. Riding up to the house he thus accosted Mr. Lasley: “I
desire to stay over night with you, I have heard your history.” “Very
well,” gruffly responded Mr. Lasley, “you are welcome to stay on
my terms.” “What are they?” “Well,” said Lasley, “they
are these; you are to eat when I eat, drink when I drink, pray when I pray, and
sleep when I sleep.”Alright,” said Fields, “I accept them,
but I have a
fine horse here, and I would like to have him cared for.” “Very
well,” said Lasley, “the
boys will care for him.”
They entered the house. In time supper was ready. The host
took down a bottle, poured out a glass of liquor and drained it off. He then
handed it to Fields who took a very small drink. They ate without giving vocal
thanks. They then spent some time in conversation at nine o’clock the host
said “We go to bed at nine.” Then pointing to an open door he said: “There
is your room.” In the Morning the host took another drink. His guest repeated
the dose of the evenings before. Breakfast over the preacher called for his horse.
Mounting it he said to his host, “Lasley, do you ever pray?” “No,” replied
the latter, nor do I ever expect to do so,” The preacher sadly rode off
and Lasley returned to his work. But the message to him was not lost, for years
afterward when about to die, he sent for a good Christian, one of his own name
whom he had many times reviled, to come and pray with dim.
While John Dillon was presiding elder here, he met with a
severe accident. He was coming down Teen’s Run in his buggy one day, when
his horse took sudden fright and run away with him. He was thrown from his buggy
and severely hurt. The horse was caught, but not until the buggy was somewhat
damaged. Bro. Dillon was placed in the buggy, and Mr. Pierce and a number of
others hauled him by hand to the home of Mr. Riggs where he was cared for until
sufficiently recovered to return to his home
Levi Munsell, who was pastor here at one time, was born in
a brick house which stood on the Steenbergen farm on the Virginia side, not far
from the river, and about a mile from Gallipolis. In later years the people declaimed
the old house haunted. Some of our people still remember seeing the house. Bro.
Munsell married Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Riggs. He later went to the Cincinnati Conference
W. J. Quarry also went to the Cincinnati Conference.
There was also a preacher named Slagel who served Clay Chapel
for a short time.
The most important office in
the Methodist church, outside of that of the pastorate is that of the
class-leader. He is appointed by the pastor, and serves in the capacity
of sub-pastor. To him are entrusted the new converts over whom he must
watch with a careful eye, and for whom he must labor at all times,
out of the class room as well as in it. The first requisite for this
office is that the incumbent be a converted man. To this he may add
both general and special educational acquirements, but they add to
his usefulness only when he is a truly converted man.
This important place has at various times been occupied by
some who were not only a credit to the church but a blessing to the membership,
scarcely inferior to the pastor
himself. Here is the list: Samuel Patterson,
Lewis Meyers, Perry Davis, Melvin Lowery, Atkinson Cole, John Chambers, Sr.,
Thomas Roberts, William Ashley, Moses King, Jacob Riggs, Samuel Lasley, Wm.
Almost from the beginning Methodism
has made use of lay preachers: men, who not being able, for various
reasons, to devote their entire time to the preaching of the Gospel,
yet could occasionally fulfill the office of preacher, and thus make
up, at least in a measure, the lack of a sufficient number of regular
This work has had some excellent men here, including Perry
Davis, Frank Davis and Charles Ferguson, all of whom have been given previous
Others deserve notice here. They are: Herman Newman was a
Blacksmith who lived at Chambersburg. He was well liked and was often called
upon to preach funerals, seeming to be specially adapted to that work. He held
what was long known as a “big revival” at Mt, Carmel. He finally
entered the Kentucky Conference, ---McGuire received license to preach about
1859. He was later recommended to the Conference as a traveling preacher, was
received and traveled for some time, then joined the East Ohio Conference, and
is now a presiding elder therein. While here he held a great revival at Ohio
Bro. B. H. Ingels was for some time a local preacher, and for
a time supplied a mission circuit in Colorado
THE PRESENTS CLASS.
The plan of saying but little
of the living, which has been pursued throughout this work, is all
that prevents the abundant use of superlative in the treatment of this
subject. It must suffice to say, that the communities, which are equal
to that of Clay Chapel, are not to be found on every pastoral charge
in Southern Ohio.
The present church organization is as Follows:
Trustees: Jacob Riggs, Amos Clark, John King, Wm. Shato, and
Stewards: Jacob Riggs (District Steward) Amos Clark (Recording
Steward) J. T. Markin, and B. H. Ingels
Class Leaders: Jacob Riggs, Wm. Shato.
Sunday School Superintendent: John King.
Epworth League President: Mrs. S. E. Smith.
Organist: Mrs. Sallie V. Clark.
Committees: Missions--Rose Riggs; Church Extension--Edgar Poole,
John King; Tracts--Daniel DeWitt; Temperance—Wm. Shato, B. H. Ingels; Education--D.
A. Riggs; Freedmen’s Aid-- Mrs. Ella Poole; Church Records –E. A.
Riggs, James S. Clark; Parsonage and Furniture--Mrs. S. V. Clark, Mary H. Riggs;
Pastor’s Salary--Jacob Riggs,
Amos Clark; Music—Mrs. S.V. Clark,
E. A. Riggs, Ethel Clark, Samantha Cole, Cyrene Markin, Maggie Martindill Sunday
School--Mrs. Belle Chevalier, W. H, Martt, J. T. Markin.
. At present the class has a membership of ninety-seven. Omitting
the names above Mentioned the list is as follows: Mary Baker, Nancy Baker, Peniel
Baker, Ruey Baker, Mary Bashore, Rose Beck, Bessie Bell, Effie Bell, Joseph Bell,
Wm. Bell, Cora Burnet, Hezekiah Burnett, Fleetie Canterbury, Cornelius Chambers,
Ada Clark, Amanda Cole, Samantha C. Cole, Wm, F. Cole, Louisa Craft, Edith Davis,
Judith Davis, Laura Davis Q. A. Davis, Caroline Finley. Bessie Gibbons, Bertha
Gilman, Sheldon Gilman, John E. Grahams W. D. Graham, Anna Harrington, Carrie
B. Hay, Ella Hay, J. E. Hay, J. M. Hay, Nancy Hay, Frank M. Hixson, Flora Hoover,
Celicia Ingels, Minnie Irion, Caroline Jones, W. C Jones, Amanda King, Bert King,
Carrie G. King, Charles King, Emma King. Enos King, May King, Wm. King, Mary
Kuhn, Bessie Markin, J. Q. Markin, Elizabeth Martindill, Vada Martindill, Belle
Martt, Edna McDaniel, J. L. McDaniel, Martha McDaniel, Freddie Northup, Gilbert
Northup, Hannah Northup, May Northup, Alice Poole, Arthur Poole, Clarence Poole,
Elizabeth Riggs, E. J. Riggs, Cora Shato, Ellen Shato, Julia Shato, Bessie Smith,
Mamie Smith, Clara Thornily, Cora Tilton, Wm. Tilton.
These are probationers: Brooke Bell, Louisa Barnett, Richard
Burnett, Freddie Craft, John Craft, Ludford Craft, Frank Davis, Earl Elkins,
Myrtie Martt, Clarence Smith, Lyda Wilson.
The work begun by the immortal nine and carried forward successfully
by them for years, was taken up heartily by their successors and has been so
well done that Clay Chapel ranks today as one of the best country appointments
in the Ohio Conference. Almost all of the second generations are now at rest,
while the few who remain will soon go to join the hosts above. The work so faithfully
done will ere long be wholly in the hands of the third generation. Will they
be true to the trust reposed in them? It is the belief of the writer that they
will, and that in the great reunion, many generations from Clay Chapel maybe
permitted to be of that number of whom John wrote:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which
no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood
before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in
their hands; and cried with a loud voice saying Salvation to our God which sitteth
upon throne, and unto the Lamb.”