The Present Church Building
The accompanying cut will give a
good ideal of the outward appearance of the present Church edifice
and also a partial glimpse of its surroundings. Its size is 36x50 feet,
with a ceiling about15 feet high. Perhaps the same reasons, except
entered into its erection as did into that of it predecessor.
And equally as good reasons note exist for its being remodeled or rebuilt.
Rev. Joseph Griffith was the pastor in 1864, and had the pleasure
of seeing the old church give way to its successor. Honor be to the new pastor
who may soon share a similar distinction.
Mr. John Bare, a cousin of Bro, Jacob Riggs, was the architect,
and came from his home at Baresville, Ohio, to erect it.
The building is a frame, with a plastered and papered interior,
and cost about $1600. It was first covered with joint pine shingles, but that
was superseded by a tin roof about fifteen years ago.
Rev. A. B. See, presiding elder of Gallipolis District at
that time, had the privilege and pleasure of preaching the dedicatory sermon.
Rev. Griffith, the pastor, presented the class a beautiful
leather-bound copy of the Holy Bible and also a similarly-bound copy of the Methodist
Hymnal, both of which are still to be found in the pulpit
W. F. Griffith
The trustees were Truman Guthrie, James Riggs, Jacob
Riggs, Grasson Davis, Thomas Roberts, John Chambers, Sr., and Joshua
Following our plan in the preceding boards of trustees,
the leading events in the life of each not heretofore mentioned will be given.
Davis, father of present Mr. Q, A. Davis, and son of Esq. Davis previously
mentioned was born in Athens county, Ohio, September 15, 1806. He was a most
excellent man, but for many years resisted successfully all attempts
to get him to unite with the church. He was a fine singer, a great
Bible student. And paid his part of church support even before becoming
a member. Finally, Rev. M. D. Vaughn came to the circuit as pastor
from 1858-1860. Occasion requiring a transfer of names on the class
book, he was bold enough to put the name of Bro Davis on the new list.
Some time after Bro. Davis called upon Bro. Riggs who was class leader,
to get the names of members that he might draw Clay Chapel’s
share of township ministerial fund. When Mrs. Riggs handed him the
book he glanced down the column of names and observing his own simply
remarked, “Well, if I don’t
do right they can scratch my name out.” But it was never taken
from the list until the master kindly called him away on December 22,
1894, after a membership of usefulness covering a period of 34 years.
Rev. M. H. Rice, the pastor at that time, preached his funeral, and his
body was laid among the tombs of the worthy dead of Clay Chapel, to be
opened on the glorious resurrection morn, when Christ shall claim his
His companion was not unmeet to be the sharer of life’s
blessings and its burdens. Celicia Knowles was born near Newbury, Washington
County, Ohio, August 22, 1819. She early lost Her mother and was raised by the
mother of Mrs. Jacob Riggs, who was an older sister. In early childhood her steps
were guided by the Lord and she became a member at Clay Chapel, continuing an
earnest laborer in God’s vineyard there, until called to her reward, Jan.
12, 1879. Funeral was preached by the pastor, Rev. J. D. Hathaway, and her remains
were interred Clay Chapel cemetery.
Thomas Roberts was born at Great Bend, Meigs County, Ohio,
about 1823. He married Miss M. A. Sollars March 12, 1850. He was converted and
joined the church the year of his marriage. He was a brother of Mrs. Henry Burton
of Swan Creek.
They owned the farm now in the possession of Mr. W. D. Graham.
The large brick residence now thereon was built by them. They sold out to Mr.
Graham and moved to Syracuse, Ohio, about 1879. From there they went to Ravenswood,
W. V. where he died about 1893, and she about 1895.
Those who were their neighbors speak in highest terms of both,
and their fellow-members of Clay Chapel speak in glowing language of their usefulness
as Christian workers.
Because of his remoteness from us and of his long absence,
a brief account is here given of the last mentioned trustee: Joshua Clark, a
brother of Mr. Amos Clark, was born in Winterport, Maine, in 1827 (?). Coming
west in course of years, he married one of the daughters of Mr. John Chambers,
Sr., and for a time lived in the house now occupied by Mr. Ad. Sibley, in the
upper part of Chambersburg. While there he was engaged in milling and merchandising.
He afterward removed to Danville, Illinois, and about ten years ago was made
a government clerk in the Pension Department, which position he still holds.
He was a member at Clay Chapel until about 1864, when the Methodist church was
erected Chambersburg, and then he transferred to the
latter place. His
good wife deserves mention as a woman of kind heart and of considerable literary
The Church Bell
For many years those who worshipped
here went according to the time indicated by a sundial improvised by
the shadow of a post or a door, or by their respective time-pieces.
But had this continued thus much longer one might have inferred that
the spirit of improvement manifested by the fathers had died with them.
But it was reserved for one of the second generation of loyal Methodists
to secure a bell and to keep in touch with the spirit of the age.
One day in the summer of 1896 Bro. Jacob Riggs spoke a
few words to his pastor, the writer, concerning the need of a bell. To make
a brief story, he soon after proposed to the trustees that he would furnish
a bell provided the others would erect a suitable belfry. The offer was accepted,
the subscriptions lagged. However, the work was begun, and in October 1896,
the sound of the first church bell ringing out from Clay Chapel greeted the
ears of the people for miles around.
Soon after the work was completed, at a meeting of the
trustees it was discovered that but a small percent of the money necessary
to pay for the construction of the belfry was at hand, the people very strangley
not having been liberal in their subscriptions. While some of us were discussing
ways and means to meet the deficiency, one of the board, Bro. J. L. McDaniel
settled the matter in a moment by writing out a check to cover the deficiency
which amounted to $77.72. Some repairs on the roof and the building of the
belfry had made the total about $100. The collections and some donated labor
by Messrs, E. A. Riggs and Walter Coon had amounted to near $23. So to the
generosity of Bro. Jacob Riggs and Bro. J. L. McDaniel, the present and future
generations must ascribe the honor of supplying the long-felt need of a bell
to call the worshippers to the place of their devotion at the proper hour.
The bell has a very interesting history which is worthy
of record here. Somewhere near the middle of this century the Pioneer Company,
owners of a line of river steamers, had a boat named “Express”.
For use on that boat A. Fulton’s Sons & Co., of Pittsburg, Pa.,
had cast a huge bell containing as a part of its mineral $100 worth of silver.
Many times the valley of the Ohio had echoed with the bell’s melodious
sound. But one frosty morning in 1873, Bruce Talbot, mate on the Express,
gave the bell-rope too strong and quick a jerk, for when the immense tongue
had struck the open mouth of the bell it produced an ugly crack which ruined
its voice forever. Captain Booth and his crew made up a purse of one hundred
shining dollars, and on their return to Pittsburg the cracked bell was delivered
to its makers together with the $100 in silver. Again the huge ladle sprung
round and out from its hot lips there flossed the molten metal into the mould
which gave back to the crew of the good Express their sweet- toned bell.
The following inscription found about one-third way from top to bottom of
the present bell tells in brief the story of its making:
Cast by A. Fulton’s
Sons Eh Co.,
Pittsburg, Pa., A. D. 1873.
C. H. Booth.
After some years the Express struck a
snag and sunk at Brush Creek Island. The bell was then placed on the
newly built St. Lawrence, where it did duty until the spring of 1896.
While lying at the wharf at Cincinnati, the St. Lawrence took fire and
was destroyed. But the precious old bell whose tones had echoed and re-echoed
from shore to shore of the upper Ohio for so many years was unharmed,
not even the wooden base being injured. The remainder of the story is
short. Bro. Riggs bought it of the White Collar Line Company, the Str.
Bonanza brought it to Riggs’ Landing, and soon it was calling the
worshipers of Clay Chapel to the house of prayer. Long may its voice
be heard, and long may the good people of that vicinity heeding its call
leave the scared precincts of their homes for the more scared place of
worship. And when in a few years the old bell is lowered while the church
is being remodeled may it be placed in the new tower to ring for generations
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