Clay Chapel


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Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII







   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 was


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 year 1846-7.
   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.


   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 Creek.


   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 themes.
    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.


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. Shato.


   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 ministers.
    This work has had some excellent men here, including Perry Davis, Frank Davis and Charles Ferguson, all of whom have been given previous attentions.
    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 Chapel.
   Bro. B. H. Ingels was for some time a local preacher, and for a time supplied a mission circuit in Colorado


   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 John Baker 
    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.”



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