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







The Second Church Building.

   As the years flew by the number of the people increased until at length the brick church proved too small to accommodate the rapidly increasing church-going population. The location also was not good. Then, perhaps, the people were alive to the fact that a community is usually measured by passing strangers, by the character of the house in which its citizens meet to worship God. At least something prompted someone to suggest the idea of a new church house, so it came to be ere long the talk of all in that neighborhood. And as one of the characteristics those early pioneers was action, the talk soon gave way to energetic work.
    The building committee began to plan, subscription lists commenced to grow, and soon the pick and shovel, the hammer and chisel, the saw and plane, were doing their parts urged on by strong muscles, guided by steady nerves and clear heads. James Riggs gave the land, it being the site whereon the present building stands; John Chambers, Sr., gave the dressed foundation stone, which others hauled from the quarry; Mr. Persinger was the carpenter-in-chief assisted by Mr. Whitaker and others. The work made excellent progress, and in the year 1850, the beautiful structure worth $900 was dedicated.
    While the building was in process of erection part of the lumber was stored in the barn of Mr. James Riggs, which in some mysterious manner took fire and burned to the ground, together with the lumber and the planes of Mr. Philip Cubbage, that had been borrowed by Mr. Whitaker for use in the carpenter work.
    The new structure was smaller than the present one, was a frame and was covered with joint pine shingles. It continued to be used as a place of worship until 1864.
    By that time, the increasing advancement of the community demanded a larger building. So the old one was sold to Mr. Hamilton Hay, late of Chambersburg but now deceased. He removed it to a place near the site of the present house of Mr. Amos Clark and used it as a dwelling house for about fifteen years. Mr. Clark became its owner about 1879. He removed it to the place now occupied by his barn, after modifying it somewhat has used it since then for a barn.
    The trustees at the time of the erection of the new church were Truman Guthrie, James Riggs, Robert Dye, Melvin Lowery, Perry Davis, Jacob Riggs and John Chambers, Sr. Part of these have been sketched in Chapter II. The others will be treated as fully as the materials at will permit.
    Perry Davis was one of God’s good servants. He was born in eastern Pennsylvania, January 21, 1817, and came with his parents to Ohio while a small boy.
    When young he was in attendance at the Rome camp meeting. The arrow of conviction for sin entered his youthful soul, and ere long he was seeking earnestly the “pearl of great price.” While kneeling near an old stump, the beauty of pardon as a result of sincere repentance, flashed into his heart, and when he opened his eyes to


the world about him even the old stump seemed radiant with the beauty which had lit up his inner nature. The stump appeared to be covered with flowers of such radiant splendor and such spotless-purity that it seemed to him impossible that they could have grown in this world. But the beauty and purity of the flowers were only an index of the transformation wrought in his own soul, and from that time on, “his delight was in the law of the Lord.”
    His first step was to unite with the church. His next was to follow in the footsteps of the Great Leader. This he did so well that after a time he was made a class leader, next an exhorter in 1851, finally a local preacher in 1854. Those who remember him speak well of his work in behalf of the cause of Christianity. He remained a member at Clay Chapel until 1861, when he was transferred to Bethel. March 21, 1841, he was married to Miss Catherine Angel, who proved herself a worthy companion for life’s journey, To them came in due course of time eleven children, seven daughters and sons four sons. Four of the girls and one of the sons have passed over the threshold of death into the beyond.
    They prospered in all good things until the dark cloud of secession hung above our fair land. Then he who had enlisted under the banner of Christ to secure his own freedom of soul, joined the boys in blue under the stars and stripes, that others might enjoy liberty of body. In August 1861, he put on his suit of blue and wore it to the front where dangers were thickest. A brief while he was permitted to remain free from Death’s poisoned dart, and then the offering which he made, was accepted by the demon of war, for on December 30, of the same year of his enlistment, at Summerville, Va., his life went out and his body was brought home and buried at Clay Chapel.
    The widow proved the wisdom of his choice, for earnestly she fought the battle of life alone, and conquered fate, brought up her flock to usefulness and to honor, Many years have flown since the day she bade her husband a last adieu, but she waits with anxious longing the day when she shall claim again the one of all earth’s millions who was to her dearer than any other. She dwells at their old home near Bladen with her youngest son. Mr. A. B. Davis.
    John Chambers, Sr. was one of the most active workers in the erection of the new church, and deserves an honored place on the roll of those who were engaged in the work of spreading the teachings of Christ.
    He was born March 8, 1803, in Downe County, Ireland. His parents were William and Sarah ( Hamilton) Chambers. When John was three years of age his parents came to this country. They landed in New York City where they resided for one year. They then removed to Chambersburg, Pa. and after a while from there, to Marietta, O. Leaving Marietta in course of time he next when to Guyandotte, W.V. At this place they remained until April 3, 1849, on which date he changed his place of residence the last time removing to Chambersburg, Ohio.
    About 1827 or 1828 he became a member of the M. E. Church at Marietta, O., and continued in that fold until he was transferred to God’s kingdom above. He died of cholera, August 27, 1866, and was buried at Clay Chapel. Owing to the cause of his death, there was no funeral service held. He was always an active worker in the church, being a class leader for many years and contributing by voice, hand and money, to the cause he had early espoused.


    His companion was in every way worthy of such a man, and can pay no higher tribute to her memory than by quoting the words of one yet living who knew her well: ‘A better woman than Mrs. Chambers never lived.” She lies by the side of her husband at Clay Chapel, a waiting the day when according to Christ words, she “shall live again.”
    They had a numerous family, and many of their descendants are still found on the Lord’s side.
    Robert Day united with the church late in life, but he was one the most exemplary men, and had evidently accepted the doctrines of Christian living even long before he openly identified himself with the church. His home was on the farm now owned Mr. Jerry Brown, and was located near the bank of the river. After spending some time here, he finally disposed of his property and removed to one of the more western states.
    All of the trustees, so far as it can be ascertained, have left this earth, except one, Bro. Jacob Riggs. The respect of the writer for the modesty of the dear old brother, knowing as I do his distaste for anything which might in truth be written of him, is scarce equal to the task of commanding my pen to leave till later years the pleasant duty, God willing, of portraying in vivid colors, the life story of one of those old heroes of God of whom this earth knows but in part. A single sentence must suffice: The others were great in all that goes to make men good, but none exceeded Jacob Riggs.
    And to be fair, the companion of his toils, Elizabeth, daughter of James Guthrie, shall have a word. Dorcas, of Joppa, died, and her neighbors mourned. And when the Dorcas of Clay Chapel dies, many will wish that Peter could come and restore her to life again.
    Truman Guthrie was well described by St. Paul in the words “ a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” He was born in Belpre, Washington County, Ohio, December 4, 1798.
    His wife, Hannah Knowles, was born in New Jersey. In time she came west and on January 17, 1826, she was married to Mr. Guthrie.
    About 1835, he came down the river, and after due examination purchased 100 acres of land below the mouth of Raccoon creek of Douglas Putman of Marietta, Ohio. Returning to his home he whipsawed enough lumber to build a flatboat and a house. Then loading his lumber and his household goods upon his boat, floated down the river to his new possessions. Immediately upon arrival, he built a dwelling near the site of Mr. J. L. McDaniel’s landing, in which be lived until 1854. By that time he had added another 100 acres to his farm and had prospered so well as to be able to erect the spacious dwelling now occupied by Mr. J. L. McDaniel, into which he moved in January 1854.
    Seven children came to their home: Edward Harvey, now deceased; an infant, deceased; Melissa Adelaide, died at 14 years Henrietta Hannah, afterward Mrs. W. H. Gibbons, but deceased January 26, 1881, Elizabeth M., now Mrs. Jacob Riggs; Samantha Collina, now Mrs. W. F. Cole; Martha Almira, now Mrs. J. L. McDaniel.
    Bro. Guthrie was converted at Rome camp meeting about 1840, and at once united at Clay Chapel, and was always an active, earnest church worker.


    Sister Guthrie was converted early in life, and while a very quiet worker, was nevertheless a very earnest and efficient one. She died June 29, 1862. After some months, Bro. Guthrie was married to a Mrs. Chick, on January 10, 1863. No children were born to the last union.
    After living a long and useful life, serving the church for many years as trustee and as steward, Bro. Guthrie was gathered to his fathers November 15 1873, and was buried at Clay Chapel by the side of the companion of his earlier years. His funeral was preached by Rev. McCormick, as his pastor, Rev. Matthews, was absent at the time of his death and burial.

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