The establishment of the Methodist church, here, antedates that of any other religious society. Three quarters of a century ago, this denomination had already developed that spirit of energy and religious enterprise, which has not only made it the pioneer church, and forerunner of other denominations, but has caused it to become the most powerful church organization in America. We have quoted elsewhere, from the Rev. Mr. Quinn, an account of a missionary tour, which he made up the Hockhocking valley in 1800, when he preached at Athens. The Methodists have had a society here from that time, and during the early as well as later years of their church history here, have numbered among their preachers some very able, earnest, and useful men. In 1805, the Rev. Jacob Young preached on this circuit. The Rev. Geo. C. Light preached here about the same time. In 1806, Peter Cartwright, who afterward became celebrated in the church, visited Athens and Alexander townships, preaching and forming societies. About 1815, the Rev. Thomas Morris (now Bishop Morris), was on this circuit, and preached stately at Athens. Among the early Methodist preachers here were the Rev. Cornelius Springer, the Rev. Daniel Limerick, the Rev. Curtis Goddard, the Rev. Abraham Lippett, the Rev. John Ferree, the Rev. Abraham Baker, the Rev. Henry S. Fernandez, the ‘Rev. Absalom Fox, the Rev. Asa Stroud, and the Rev. Robert 0. Spencer-some of them being on the Muskingum and some on the Athens circuit.
During the early years of this century, the Methodists held their meetings at different houses, but in 1812 or ’13, they built a brick church on the lot now owned and occupied by Prof. W. H. Young, and in 1825, they erected a brick parsonage adjoining. The church building, having been used as such nearly thirty years, fell into decay, and was then used for some years as a foundry; it has now disappeared. The parsonage forms a part of Prof. Young’s present house. The present Methodist church was built in 1837. It is to be regretted that a continuous sketch of the Methodist society at Athens can not be furnished; its early establishment and long career of usefulness entitle it to a more extended history than we are able to offer.
Back to: Athens, Athens County, Ohio History
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