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Photograph of church and cemetery

History of Providence Baptist Church

     About the year 1820 John Lee and Joshua Ripley of the Sandfork Baptist Church came in to the area and began preaching and gained a number of followers.

     A body was organized as an arm of the Sandfork Baptist Church. When they sought a name for it providence was mentioned because they thought that it was an act of Providence that a church was established in the sparsely inhabited neighborhood.

     The first church was built on land donated by the William Smith family in Harrison Township, Gallia County, in section number seven near the junction of Rock Lick Creek, and Big Bullskin creek. This church burnt in 1826 and unfortunately the first record book was destroyed and all records of the first several years of the existence of the church were lost. We only know that part of the history as handed down by the older generations. It is said that the building was built of logs, and that each log was of buckeye timber. The first building was furnished with seats made from split logs and located 11 miles from Gallipolis, in a near due east direction, and it was the first church built on the south side of Gallipolis for more than 30 miles.

     The second record book was improperly kept, but we can glean some items from it.

     In Sept 1832 the records show that Hiram DeWitt joined the church, making 31 members and Joshua Lewis was clerk. On Saturday before the third Sunday in October, 1832 Jacob Ward, Sr was ordained to preach the gospel by Elders John Lee and Levi McDaniel.

     Jacob Ward, Sr. became pastor and in 1834 the church membership started a subscription to build a meeting house. (This building wasn’t built until 1851-1852 on land donated by the George Clark family in Clay Township about one mile east of the first one.. from John W. Unroe’s notes). In 1836, Elder John Lee became pastor. In 1840 they had a revival and 17 members were added to the church roll. In 1841 the church obtained an act of incorporation from General Assembly. Wm. Wolfe was chosen clerk in Sept1841. John Day was ordained deacon in 1846.

     The third Sunday in December 1842 Wm. Clark, John Houck, Martin Miller, Rachel Winter, Minerva Sheets and Elizabeth Sheets were baptized by James Haskell. John F.M. Hall was chosen clerk in 1843. James Haskell was pastor from 1841 to 1845 at a salary of $16 a year.

     In 1844 there were 54 members belonging to the church. In 1848 James E. Caldwell was licensed to preach. In Sept 1849, Levi McDaniel held a three day meeting and Littleton Wooten and Jacob Ward, Jr. joined the church and George Waugh was chosen Clerk.

     In Oct. 1849 Jacob Ward, Martin Miller, and George Waugh were chosen as a committee to select a site for a meeting house. John Houck was licensed to preach in 1850.

     In 1851 the church was engaged in building a house of worship. Hamilton Day was the carpenter and the house was not completed until 1852. The Ohio Association held its session with the Providence Church in Sept. 1851. Elder S.T. Wyatt preached the introductory sermon from the 28 th chapter and 22 nd verse of Acts.

     Elder A. J. Warren was chosen pastor in 1852 and served in that capacity for 25 years at a salary ranging from $24 to $40 per year.

     In November 1855 the church held a protracted meeting for 11 days and on the last day Rev. Warren baptized 11 candidates. On Dec. 31 1856, he baptized 9 candidates. In Feb. 1857 he baptized 6 persons.

     James E. Caldwell was ordained in August, 1857, by Thomas Harringer, Levi McDaniel and A. J. Warren, and James Day was ordained Deacon at the same time. In May 1859 Hiram Ellis, Susan Ellis, Silas Ellis, James Daylong, Wm. Ross, E. F Daylong, Nancy Ross, Mary Ross, Sarah Ross, Orin Seely, Abraham Cox, Matthew Mooney, Peter G. Clark, Mary J. Clark, Nancy Stewart and John McClain asked for letters of dismission to constitute a new church. It was constituted on Saturday before the second Sunday in June 1859, by James Henderson, A.J. Warren, James E. Caldwell and John Houck and named MT. Zion.

     The number of members in 1859 was 78. In Jan 1860, Daniel Langdon and J. E. Caldwell held a revival and received 34 members into the church. In March 1860, 33 of the members presented a written request to constitute a church at Guyan townhouse, and six more Namely Wm Sheets, Elizabeth Sheets, George W. Sheets, Susan Sheets and Zachariah Sheets asked to be released also, and it was constituted a church on the 26 day of March 1860, by James Henderson, A.J. Warren and Isaac Langdon, and was called the Providence Bethel Church, which was the beginning of the Mercerville Church.

     The statistics in August 1860 were received by experience 54; by letter 8; by restoration6; one lost by death; present number 96.

     On Sunday March 17, 1861, A.J. Warren preached a sermon from the 17 th verse of the third chapter of Zachariah and the congregation repaired to the water and he baptized Hugh T. Nibert, John Blake and Elizabeth Ward.

     The number that belonged to the church in 1861 was 95.

     In April 1863, A. J. Warren offered himself as a candidate for membership as the church to which he had belonged, Green Bottom had gone down on account of unholy Rebellion, and the church received him. The records of the work of the church from April 1863 to June 1888 have been misplaced and the pastors can not be give, but J. E. Caldwell and John Houck served in that time.

     In December 1873, Theophilus Lanier, and H. T. Nibert were ordained deacons of the church. George Waugh served as clerk until old age compelled him to resign and Alexander Clark served several years and Walter Wise became clerk and served until September 1888, and then A. J. Wooten became clerk.

     S.S. Denney became pastor about 1886 and served until Nov. 1888. The second Church was destroyed by fire in 1887 and another one was built in 1888 by Matthew Brown and Robert Barker, and dedicated to the Lord the first Sunday in October 1890.

     In February 1889 N.B. Burnett was chosen pastor and served until December 1890.

     In March, C. B. Cofer held a few days meeting and received by baptism Charles Nibert, Charlie Wise, Eva Nibert, Elizabeth Smith, Savannah Johnson, Eva North, Vernie Cox, Maggie Wise, Molly Canterbury, and Ellen Warren by letter; G.W. Edler and Nancy Edler by restoration.

     O.F. Jackson became pastor in May 1891 at a salary of $48 per year and he served until September 1895. In April 1894 those baptized were Frank Bush, Jean Waugh, Victor Waugh and Lena McKean.

     Walter Wise ordained deacon in September1895. On the first Sunday in February 1896, B.G. Hereford baptized Emory Bostic, Sam Saunders, John Haner, David Stewart, Ode Frownfelter, Billy Coon, Stella Coon, Ida Kemp, Jennie Lanier, and Anna Pritchard.

     B. G. Hereford became pastor in February 1896 at a salary of $50. Per year, Rev. Wooten resigned as clerk in October 1898 and M.F. Bostic was chosen.

     In Feb. 1899, those baptized were Curtis Clark, Henry Wise, Grant Jeffers, Minnie Jeffers, Laid Hazlett, Mollie Forth, Charley Cox and Ola Broyles.

     In Feb. 1890 those baptized were Strother Coon, Hattie Forth, Bertha Forth, Clara Broyles, Foster Broyles, May Thompson, Margaret North, Harry Boston, Eustsia Boston, and Alta Shaw.

     S.L. Parker became pastor in March 1900, at a salary of $70 per year and served until December1904. E.L. Sheets became pastor in Jan 1905 at a salary of $ 50 per year and served until March 1908. In Feb. 1909 S. L. Parker conducted a protracted meeting and new members secured were Jane Burnell, Hannah Cornell, Lillie Halley, Elma Hively and Chloris Houston.

     J.L. Porter became pastor in May 1909 at a salary of $60. per year and served ten months. I.J. Sheets became pastor in April 1910 at a salary of $72 per year and served until November 1916. Those joining at this time were Charles Hively, Alice Day, Clemma Boston, Grant Johnson, Roma Johnson, Oretha Walters, Wynema Wise, Chauncey Halley, James Call, John Hemphill, Mary A. Boston, Bessie Johnson, Addie Jeffers, Mayme Forth, Flora Boston, Myrtle Boston, Glennie Saunders and Brady Shaw.

     In August 1910 the clerk resigned and Lena McKean was chosen and served one year, and E.C. Bostic was chosen clerk again and continued at present time.

     R.R. Denny was chosen pastor in July 1916 at a salary of $84 per year and served one year.

     E.V. Cremeens became pastor in September 1918 at a salary of $72 per year and served until 1921. Those joining the church were Mabel Johnson, Pluma Waugh, Ivy Johnson, Sadie Cox, Goldia Swain, Emily Boston, Ona Day, Benner Viars, Porter McKean, Harold Barnes, Russell Wooten, and Wade Wooten.

     The Church held its centenary meeting beginning Friday night August 19 1921, and continued until the afternoon of August 21.

     Dolly Wise has belonged to Providence Church more than 60 years. Hugh T. Nibert has been a member of Providence church 60 years and a deacon 48 years.

     The names of members belonging to Providence Church in 1844 and 1846 were: Elizabeth Sheets, George Waugh, sr., Margaret Smith, Enoch Cyrus, James Long, Rhoda Cottrell, Catherine Plymale, Jonathan Williams, Sallie McMillin, Reuben Hay, Elizabeth Day, Isabel Davis, Elizabeth Ethridge, Tacy Montgomery, Nancy Rowe, Jane Martindale, Moses Cremeens, William Sheets, Cynthia Canterbury, John Day, Susan Garlic, Evaline Houck, Jane Fowler, Polly Long, Mary Clark, James E. Caldwell, J. E M. Hall, John Houck, William Clark, Rachel Swindler, Minerva Sheets, Elizabeth Sheets, Sarah Criner, Martin Miller, Margaret Miller, James Clagg, Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Montgomery, Nancy Montgomery, Clary Nibert, Sarah Sheets and Emily Kennedy.

     This material was furnished by John W. Unroe who lives at Vinton Street, Gallipolis, Ohio, and written by Carrol E. Waugh Bladen Ohio on this 8th day of March 1965.

Submitted by Mary James without corrections or additions from a
copy given to me sometime in the 1970’s by Carrol Waugh.

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