On a certain day
in May of the year 1832, Rev. Sheldon Parker, a young man, a member
of the Ohio Conference, and junior preacher for Burlington circuit,
way to the settlement in what is now the Clay Chapel neighborhood.
Here in the humble homes of the people he received a royal welcome, and
in a small log schoolhouse which stood about two hundred yards from the
present warehouse of a Mr. Jacob Riggs (Riggs’ Landing,) he preached
what was probably the first Methodist sermon ever delivered in that
locality. And in the humble home of James and Mary Riggs, in the September
following the first sermon by Parker, the first Methodist class in
this part of Gallia County was organized by Rev. Samuel Harvey. The
original members of this class mere James and Mary Riggs, Philip and
Catherine Cubbage, Samuel and Matilda Patterson, Henry and Mary Kinder,
Mrs. Lucinda Welch, better known as “Grandma
Welch.” James Riggs and wife were the parents of Mr. Jacob Riggs.
Philip Cubbage and wife were the parents of Mrs. Mary Pierce. Samuel
Patterson and wife were parents of Messrs. Robert and John Patterson
and Mrs. J. Cottrell. Henry Kinder and wife were the parents of Mr. Alfred
Kinder deceased. “Grandma” Welch was the mother of Mrs. Matilda
Patterson. She lived to almost a centenarian, and is yet mentioned by
our old people as “a spry old lady.”
Of this class, Samuel Patterson had the honor of being the
first class leader. The services were held in the homes of the various members,
but chiefly at the Cubbage, Riggs, and Patterson homesteads. The exercises were
of the fervent order of that day, and the germs of truth planted in the hearts
of those early pioneers has blossomed and fruited from generation to generation,
until children’s children even to the third generation now sing the praises
of the same blessed Savior as did those of old.
In the fall of 1832, the noble band of heroic souls were so
fully confirmed in their faith, and so earnest in their desire to further the
cause of their Master, that they made application to the Legislature of Ohio
for a charter. Their petition was granted either late in1832 or early in 1833,
and then they planned and labored for larger things. It would not just to the
fair names of these heroic dead not to say more of some of them.
PHILIP AND CATHERINE CUBBAGE.
The year 1781 is noted as the date of the surrender
of a fine English army by Cornwallis at Yorktown, VA. It also marks an
important event in the history of Clay Chapel. On the 27th of December
following the surrender of Cornwallis, in Caroline county, Maryland,
which is about 120 miles north of Yorktown, was born Philip Cubbage who
was to take an active part in the work planting Christianity on the bank
of the Ohio in years to come. When twenty-one years of age he started
west, landing at Marietta in 1802. Here he remained during a period of
nineteen years, when he followed the “beautiful Ohio” towards
its mouth, stopping in Gallia county in 1821, where he spent the remainder
of the years allotted to him by a generous Creator in which to build
a Character such as would stand God’s testing time at the judgment
While living in Marietta he became a member of the Presbyterian
church; but upon the first organization of the Methodist class Clay Chapel, he
became a member of that denomination, and continued in active service until the
Father called him home,
May 6, 1860. He was a physician, and in the day of his
judgmentmany who were his poor neighbors here
on earth will testify gladly of his good deeds to them, and all who came
in touch with him will bear witness to the fact that he not only said, “I am Christ’s,” but
proved his faith by his works.
His companion, Catherine Jeffers, gladdened the hearts of
her parents in their Allegheny County, ( Pa.) home in the same year that our
beloved first President breathed his last, 1799. In course of time she became
the wife of Philip Cubbage, and with him came to Gallia County in 1821. Here
they built a home, the brick part of the residence now occupied by Mr. Friend
Thornily, standing about one-fourth mile above the mouth of Teen’s Run
and about one-eighth mile back from the river. And here they dispensed with free
hearts and open hands, a portion of the gift which God permitted them to glean
from his own fields by earnest toil, to those more needy than themselves. Mrs.
Cubbage survived her noble husband as many years as he was her senior, dying
July 9, 1879, and being buried by the side of her “sharer of earth’s
toils,” in the beautiful cemetery Clay Chapel, where their sleeping dust
awaits the archangel’s trumpet, when time on earth shall be no more.
It will be of interest to many to know that their home was
frequently used as the place of worship by the small class, and that on quarterly
meeting occasions, Bro. Cubbage and his good wife cared for many of their fellow
members who came from a distance, dozens of people and horses as well falling
to their lot according to the generous hospitality of days.
JAMES AND MARY RIGGS.
James Riggs was born
in Washington, D. C, in 1797.When quite young his parents came across
the Allegheny Mountains to the west, as the present north- central states
were then called. No railroads threaded the narrow winding valleys and
crossed the summit of the mountains, and so they took the best conveyance
at hand. This consisted of a single horse. On this animal the wife and
mother rode, holding upon her lap an older sister of James, while he
was placed in one end of a large bag thrown across the horse’s
back and balanced on the other side by a Wooly-headed little colored
Girl named Sally. To prevent the urchins from smothering, an opening
was made for each at the proper place; and the grotesque outfit drew
many a villager from his work as the travelers passed along, the father
trudging on afoot carrying his gun.
The Marylander first settled in Washington County, on
the farm which is now occupied by the town of New Matamoras, in the extreme
northeastern corner of the county. There he was united in marriage with Miss
Mary Bare in December 1820. The newly married couple removed to Monroe County
in the same year, where they remained until 1832, when they came to Gallia
County. Here he found a small buckeye cabin about 10x12 feet, located a little
below the present Riggs’ landing. The next year a more commodious structure
was added to the cabin, the latter being then used as a kitchen. In the course
time he built the present comfortable brick building now occupied by his
son, Jacob. After many years of usefulness he passed
into the great beyond,
July 14, 1870, and his body was laid away in Clay Chapel cemetery, the funeral
sermon being preached by his pastor, Rev. Daniel Tracy.
It was good that such a man had a wife who was capable of
sharing with her husband the cares and responsibilities of life. That such was
the case will appear from the following excellent account of her career, written
soon after her death, by one who knew her well, Mrs. M. Marshall, now of Columbus,
Ohio, and published in a Gallipolis paper:
“Mary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Bare, was born
in Hagerstown Md., January 8, 1802, and died at the house of her son, Jacob Riggs,
in Gallia county, Ohio, June 24, 1888. Her father was from Germany, and was a
second cousin to William I, the late lamented emperor. When twelve years of age
her parents moved to Monroe County, Ohio, there in December 1820, she was married
to James Riggs.
She and her husband were two, and she the last of nine members
who, in 1833, formed the first, class on what is now known in Ohio Conference
as Eureka charge. Mother Riggs’s home was the preaching-place and the stopping-place
of the itinerant minister.
She was a subscriber and reader of the Western Christian Advocate
from its first issue. Her Bible, church periodicals, and other good books, were
her daily companions, and rare spiritual and intellectual attainments were the
result. Being industrious, large-hearted, possessed of ample means, and ever
ready for every good word and work, for one in the quiet walks of life, she exerted
a wide influence. Many besides her own rise up and call her blessed.
Modesty, humility, a deep reverence for holy things, added
to her zeal and unflinching loyalty, made up a symmetrical Christian character
which commanded and won universal admiration from all about her. In her home
she was patient, pleasant, and cheerful.
She was the mother of eleven children. Two died in infancy,
and two in mature years. Four sons and two daughters are left. Of her father’s
family, one sister and three brothers still live.
Her last sickness was of something more than two week’s
in duration; the last few days were full of extreme suffering; at one time when
her daughter, Mrs. Hanley, expressed a desire that she might live, her reply
was, “I am fully resigned to the wi11 of the Lord,” and while suffering
great pain she was heard to plead: “Dear Savior, my Savior come in mercy
and take me.” The only regret she expressed was that she had not done more
good in the wor1d. In the final hours wooing angels seemed hovering about her.
At one time looking up in glad surprise she exclaimed: “Oh, Mamma! Why
mamma !” Subdued voices about her bed were singing “Palms of Victory,” when
suddenly she extended her bands to the angelic throng and when out from among
SAMUEL. AND MATILDA PATTERSON
The state of Pennsylvania has
honor of being the birth- place of Clay Chapel’s first class
leader, Mr. Samuel Patterson, who first saw the light of day about
1800. From his native state he went in course of time,
and fina1ly settled in Clay Township, Gallia County. One of the charter
members, he was chosen as the first leader of the small class of nine,
holding that honored position for some years, thus showing the high
regard in which he was held by his pastors and also by his fellow-members.
After serving his church and fulfilling his Master’s
will for over twenty-one years, he was called from labor to refreshment
in the year 1854. His remains rest in the Cottrell graveyard, a burial
place a little over a mile from the mouth of Raccoon creek and situated
on the creek bank of the same. The funeral services were conducted by
Rev. Herman Newman.
It was in the ordering of God’s providence that such
a servant of the Master should have a fitting helpmeet. This Brother Patterson
found in the person of Miss Matilda Welch, who was horn about 1795, and to whom
he was united in marriage in the year----
In early life she united with M. E, church, of which she continued
a consistent member until in 1872. At that time, becoming dissatisfied with her
baptism, she was immersed and became a member of the Christian church. She continued
a faithful and worthy member of that body till God released her from her toils,
and she was taken to be forever with the Lord, on the 15 day of November 1877.
The funeral services mere conducted Rev. W. H. DeVore, after which her body was
laid to rest in Cottrell cemetery, by the side of her departed husband.
Their home was often the preaching-place as well as the temporary
home of the itinerants and their liberal hands dispensed the hospitality of generous
hearts to the multitudes who gathered at times for the worship of God. One of
his sons tells me he remembers of one gathering at which sixty-one persons took
dinner at his father’s house. Those days had their drawbacks, but verily
they also had a hospitality to which the present generation is almost a total
HENRY AND MARY KINDER
Eastern Virginia was the births place and early home of these two pioneers.
When young in life they came to Gallia County and spent the rest of their
earthly life near Clay Chapel. As before noted they were among the charter
members of Clay Chapel, and tradition tells us that they performed their
part well. The husband died about 1855, and was interred in the Cottrell
burial ground. The wife died at St. Albans, W. V. in 1878, and an attempt
was made to put her remains by those of her deceased husband, but the
Ohio being very much swollen, they were compelled to place her body
to rest in the old cemetery of Gallipolis.
Five daughters and three sons were the result of their union,
all of whom have passed into the great beyond, except one daughter, Mrs. Sarah
Whitaker, of Winfield, Putnam county, W. V. There are now thirty-three grand
children living, most of whom are members of the Methodist church. One of their
Thos. Lasley, is a minister in the Baptist church. Mrs. Kinder was
a daughter of “Grandma” Welch,
and a sister of Mrs. Sarah Patterson.
MRS. LUCINDA WELCH.
Of the nine charter members so bravely faced the
odds in order to begin the class at Clay Chapel, possibly none was wider
known nor more highly esteemed than “Grandma” Welch as the
subject of this sketch was familiarly called.
She was born in the year 1755, and rounded out a full
Century ere the Master said, “Tis enough, come up higher.” She
was the mother of Mrs. Samuel Patterson and Mrs. Henry Kinder. Her strong
Christian faith resulted in a well-developed character and enabled her to
1eave her imprint on her descendants to the fourth generation, who now are
proud to be known as among the direct offspring of so noble a Christian woman.
Mrs. Julia Plymale has given me the following story, which shows the heroic
element in the faith of this early Christian woman:
“My parents at one time lived near the mouth of
Raccoon creek and great-grandmother Welch lived about two miles up the creek.
One day mother took the skiff and rowed up to the home of “Grandma” Welch,
intending to bring the old lady home for a visit. When she had made her preparations,
both entered the boat and started on the return trip. Soon a terrific storm
overtook them. The thunder rolled, the lightning flashed, the wind roared
among the branches of the trees bordering the stream and seemed to weave
a canopy of limbs and leaves above their heads, and every moment it was feared
by mother the rain would come in torrents thro the slight canopy of leaves
and branches. But “Grandma” Welch said, “Be calm, child
we will pray for the storm of rain to hold off until we get home.” She
prayed. It was like Elisha’s prayer of old, fervent and earnest. Somehow
the rain did not begin at once to fall as mother had feared. The boat sped
on. The landing was reached. The aged saint, led by her granddaughter, walked
up the bank to the house. Just as their feet touched the porch floor the
rain fell in torrents on the roof. “There child,” said the confident
believer, “the Lord has heard my prayer.”
Modern skepticism may smile at the credulity of this dear,
old saint, but it remains true, that just such faith has been possessed by
almost all who have subdued the forest and made the desert blossom as a rose,
from the beginning of history even unto this present day.
So closes the account of the original nine “who
planted the seeds of Christianity deep in their own hearts, and in the hearts
of their children, and whose careers better enable us to understand the words
of John: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write, Blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit,
that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follows him.’’
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