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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Top of Page