Historical Churches of Bryan, Ohio

First Baptist Church

The following sketches of the First Baptist Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church of Bryan, were prepared by M. B. Plummer: October 8, 1841, the first Baptist Church of Bryan was organized at a meeting held at La Fayette, Williams County, Ohio, consisting of the following members, to wit:

Pastor, G. B. Lewis, _____ Thomas, Elizabeth Thomas, P. S. Gleason, Jane Gleason, Daniel Wyatt, Elizabeth Wyatt. At said meeting, Brother Lewis was elected Moderator and P.S. Gleason, clerk.

After reading the articles of faith and covenant, which were adopted, the right hand of fellowship and charge were given by G. B. Lewis. The society applied for admission into the Maumee Association. Brothers Lewis and Gleason were appointed to represent the society in the association. From that date to the 26th day of May, A. D., 1849, there does not appear any account given in the record of said society. On that day, they met at Bryan for covenant meeting, Rev. H. P. Stilwell present. Four were received by letter and one by baptism; no names given. Brother Stilwell was appointed delegate to the association. December 22, A. D. 1849, Allendy Jump was elected Church Clerk, which position he held until he went to California in the spring of 1850, and P. S. Gleason was re-elected.

May 5, 1855, William H. Keck and wife, N. and Mrs. Bibler were received by letter.

Thomas Tucker and Samuel Sheffler by confession.

William H. Keck was elected Church Clerk.

February 12, 1859, at a meeting held by the society, a motion was made and carried that Rev. W. Pearce be requested to remain as pastor for one year. The society had made arrangements with the Presbyterian brethren and was using their church for preaching.

May 21, 1859, at a meeting held, Thomas Punches, Jacob Youn and A. W. Boynton, were elected Trustees of said church, A. T. Bement, Clerk ; Henry C. Long, Treasurer, preparatory to building their present church.

May 22, 1860, the church gave to Rev. L. D. Robison a call to become their settled pastor.

July 31, 1860, the Rev. L. D. Robison was ordained pastor of the Bryan Church by Rev. R. C. Knell, Rev. E. E. Piatt and Rev. A. H. Cole.

Subsequently, John W. Leidigh, A. T. Bement, Norman Relyea, James P. Homey and H. D. Gintir, were at different periods elected Clerk. January 10, 1867, call made and extended to the Rev. J. B. Shaff, to become pastor of this church. February 9, 1869, a call was made and extended to Rev. J. V. Stratton to become pastor of this church. October 14, 1869, a call was made and extended to Rev. J. V. Stratton to become pastor of this church.

January 1, 1870, there was sixty-five members in church fellowship. February 16, 1871, a call was made and extended to J. V. Stratton to become pastor of this church, which he accepted.

April 14, 1873, a call was made and extended to W. V. Thomas to become pastor of this church, which he accepted. W. W. Beardsly was called and accepted to become pastor of this church, but for some reason resigned.

In the spring of 1877, a call was made and extended to D. M. Christy to become pastor of this church, which he accepted.

July 28, 1881, a call was made and extended to J. M. Davies to become pastor of this church, which he accepted and at present is its pastor.

At the present time, there are about ninety members; these church meetings seem to be well attended, and general peace and quiet prevail. They built one of the finest churches in the town at a cost, lot and house, of $4,000, and have it all paid for.

Methodist Episcopal Church

In the fall of 1840, Zara Norton, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, organized the first class in Bryan; first preaching-place at the hotel of Thomas Shorthill, with the following,

named members:

  • Thomas Shorthill
  • Elizabeth Shorthill
  • Mary Kaufman
  • James Shorthill

William Yates and wife moved to Bryan in the summer of 1841, and brought with them their letters of membership, and joined the church in Bryan; from that time to the present they have been acceptable members. The congregation moved their place of preaching from the hotel to the old court house, and continued their meetings until the schoolhouse was built, and occupied it until their present church was built. In the year 1853, the present church was built at a cost of $2,500. The Trustees at that time were:

  • D. M. Crall
  • David Fairfield
  • A. R. Patterson
  • M. B. Plummer
  • Jacob Over
  • Levi Cunningham
  • William Yeates

From time to time the Trustees have remodeled the church at a cost of $1,000 or $2,000. The following is a list of the Presiding Elders of the Maumee, and subsequently the Toledo District of the Methodist Episcopal Church:

  • 1840, Wesley Brock
  • 1842, John T. Kellurn
  • 1844, Thomas Barkdull
  • 1848, George W. Breckenridge
  • 1850, William Pierce
  • 1854, David Gray
  • 1858. Joseph Ayres
  • 1862, E. C. Gavitt
  • 1863, Samuel Lynch
  • 1867, E. C. Gavitt
  • 1868, Thomas H. Wilson
  • 1871, Le Loy A. Beit
  • 1875. Parks Donaldson
  • 1879, Wesley G. Waters

In 1841, Bryan was included in a mission called Bean Creek and Pulaski Mission, and extended from Burlington, now in Fulton County, to Clark’s in Paulding County, and one appointment in Indiana, and in all sixteen appointments, to wit: Lutz’s (now Burlington), Donutt’s, Alvord, Eagle Creek, Allenung’s, Beechler’s, La Fayette (now Pulaski), East Fayette, Bryan, Williams Centre, Lost Creek, Fisher’s, Six Corners, Hicksville, Clark’s and Indiana. The mother of Hon. A. P. Edgerton at that time, and until her death, resided at Hicksville; was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for many years Mr. Edgerton paid yearly $40 to the weary itinerants, and they were always welcome to his home.

The following are the names of the ministers appointed to the mission and circuit that included Bryan:

  • 1840, Zara Norton
  • 1841, Zara Norton, Orin Hatch
  • 1842, Simeon H. Alderman
  • 1843, J. L. Ferris, Chester Coleman
  • 1844, W. W. Winter, Samuel Morrow
  • 1845, William Boggs, T. W. Wilson
  • 1846, Alanson Foster, H. K. Bairns
  • 1847, John Burgess, Samuel Fairchild
  • 1848, Henry Chapman, A. H. Walter
  • 1849, Benjamin Herbert, J. S. Cutler
  • 1850, David Aucker, J. A. Shannon
  • 1851, Thomas Parker, J. M. Wilcox
  • 1852, J. S. Albright, E. Lindsay
  • 1853, J. S. Albright, J. W. Thompson
  • 1854, Henry Warner, H. L. Nickerson
  • 1855. Henry Warner. J. H. Beardsly
  • 1856, William Thacher, D. S. Reagh
  • 1857, William Thacher, J. H. Miller
  • 1858, E. Morrison, A. Hollington
  • 1859, H. M. Close. A. M. Cory

In the fall of 1860, Bryan was made a station, with the following appointments, to wit:

  • 1860-61. F. L. Harper
  • 1862-63, S. H. Alderman
  • 1864, Wesley G. Waters
  • 1865-67, John L. Bates
  • 1868, Philip A. Drown
  • 1869-71, Hamilton J. Bigley
  • 1872-73, James F. Mounts
  • 1874-76, William Deal
  • 1877-79, Hamilton J. Bigley
  • 1880-81, W. W. Lance.

At the present time, there are about two hundred and fifty members divided into nine classes, with the following-named persons as leaders, to wit:

  • Leader of Class No. 1, E. E. Bechtol
  • No. 2, Samuel White
  • No. 3, William N. Noble
  • No. 4. John Reagle
  • No. 5, II. L. High
  • No. 6, Joel S. Mattocks
  • No. 7, John E. Beach
  • No. 8, James Taneyhill
  • No. 9, C. M. March

The officers are:

  • Wesley G. Waters, Presiding Elder
  • William W. Lance, Pastor
  • Thomas Taneyhill, Martin Perky, William H. Taylor, Superannuated
  • Timothy H. Himes, Local
  • Martin Perky, Frederick Maurer, T. II. Himes, Jacob Over, Frank Kelly, Mary Brown, Hannah Harper, Mrs. J. VV. Smith, Jennie Deuchar, Stewards

Trustees:

  • David Morrow, President
  • John Bailey, Treasurer
  • William Brownsberger
  • Secretary J. N. Riggs, Seth Kemble, Henry L. High, William Folk.

There are about two hundred names enrolled in the Sabbath school, with the following-named officers and teachers, to wit:

  • W. W. Lance, Superintendent
  • J. E. Beach, Anna Noble, Assistant Superintendents
  • John P. Woods, Secretary
  • William Brownsberger, Treasurer
  • John Kemble, Frank Conrod, Librarians
  • Jennie Deuchar, Anna Noble, Mrs. C. C. Long, Mary Githen, Millie Barstow, Mrs. William H. Taylor, Anna Ware, Martin Perky, Jennie Jones, Rose Deuchar, J. E. Beach, Carrie Brown, Mrs. G. Lockhart, Mary Snyder, Florence Bostater, Teachers.

Preaching, Sabbath morning and evening.

First Presbyterian Church

(Extracts from minutes)

“Bryan, June 10, 1854.

Pursuant to notice previously given, and agreeable to an order to that effect by the Presbytery of Maumee, a meet ing was held this day for the purpose of organizing a Presbyterian Church. After sermon by Rev. J. M. Crabb, certificates were received and found in order from the following persons, viz., Alexander Conning and wife, Sarah Conning, John Kelley and Harriett N. Kelley, James Allen and Sarah J. Allen, Jennette Grim, Isabella M. Ogden, William H. Ogden, by profession of faith in the absence of a certificate, making in all ten members.

At this meeting, into the proceedings of which were, at intervals, introduced prayer for the divine guidance, Messrs. William H. Ogden and John Kelley were chosen Ruling Elders, and Messrs. Alexander Conning and James Allen were appointed to the office of Deacon.

At the session held May 10, 1862, William Dunlap, William Sheridan were chosen Elders, and D. L. Anderson, Moderator. Miss Julia Hamilton was received to membership on certificate from the Presbyterian Church of New Lisbon, Ohio.

At the session of September 27, 1862, the following were received to the communion of the church: James Q. Benttie, on certificate from the church of Union, Defiance County; Franklin Lockhart, by profession of faith.

At the session August 6, 1864, Bro. Raffensperger, Moderator, Mr. J. B. Jones was received upon presenting his letter of dismission from the Truro Presbyterian Church of Columbus Grove, Ohio, and Mr. William Ward, upon profession of faith.

Session of March 21, 22 and 23, 1865, the following persons were received on profession of their faith in Christ, viz.:

  • Miss Jennie White.
  • Matilda White.
  • Mrs. Harriet McCutcheon and her four daughters, Mrs. Rebecca McCloud, Miss Emma McCutcheon, Ella McCutcheon, Mary McCutcheon.
  • Mrs. Maria Bell and her two daughters,
  • Frank and Libbie Bell,
  • Miss Cora B. Obrist and her sister Emma Jane,
  • Miss Electa M. Fay,
  • Miss Ada M. Kelley,
  • Mary A. Kelley and Mr. William Kelley,
  • Mrs. Nancy A. Willett,
  • Mrs. Louisa Bostater and her two sisters, Miss Eliza Amelia Sheridan and Elmira Hannah Sheridan,
  • Mrs. Cynthia E. Valentine,
  • Miss Phoebe C. Townly,
  • Miss Ella Green,
  • Miss Sarah Montgomery,
  • Miss Mary A. Jones,
  • Miss Eliza Moore,
  • Misses Caroline, Emma L. and Harriet Odell,
  • Miss Binnie Ryan,
  • Mr. Francis Kennedy and Mr. Jacob Raupert.

At a Congregational meeting on the evening of March 3, 1865. Dr. A. Larrimore, a Ruling Elder from the church of Auburn, Ind., and Mr. J. B. Jones, Ruling Elder from the church of Columbus Grove, were unanimously elected to the office of Ruling Elders in the church of Bryan.

The session of May 6, 1865, was opened with prayer by Bro. Cochrane Forbes, of Kendallville, Ind. Present: Messrs. Kelley, Jones, Larrimore and Sheridan.
Mrs. Adeline E. Moore, Mrs. Catharine Willett were each received on profession of their faith in Christ, and Dr. Larrimore and wife and Mrs. Sloat on certificates.

“The manse in Bryan was built in 1870-71, and finished June 20 in the latter year. C. W. Boynton was chairman of building committee, who planned and superintended the work. It cost, without the lot, $2,675.”

July 22, 1878. At the session held this day, Rev. James Quick, acting as Moderator (having resigned his charge of this church 1st of June last), the Clerk was ordered to give letters of dismissal to the following named persons, who had so requested: Mrs. Maria E. Quick, Miss Julia E. Quick, Miss Marion T. Quick, and Miss Alice Cornelia Alexander.

The first session at which the name of the present pastor, Rev. Thomas Doggett, appears upon the minutes, was held September 19, 1878. The session held March 23, 1880, voted to pay an annual salary of $900 to Rev. Thomas Doggett for his services.

July 31, 1879, Mrs. Thomas Doggett was received into the church by letter from the Presbyterian Church of Niagara Falls, N. Y.

October 30, 1879, Mr. Wilson presented a letter of dismission from the Evangelical Church of Edgerton, Ohio, and Mr. Frank Kennedy a letter from the First Presbyterian Church of Elmore, Ohio, and the persons were received into the church.

December 25, 1879, Miss Roby Velorce Witmore was received into the church by profession; and January 3, 1880, Mrs. Louisa M. Price, Mrs. Coleman, Miss Olive Wetmore, and Miss Nellie M. Ingalls were received on profession of faith.

Mr. Jacob E. Hime and Mrs. Mary A. Hime were received on certificate from the Congregational Church of Wauseon.

March 18, 1880, Miss Cora B. Warren presented a letter of dismission from the Congregational Church of Burton, Ohio, and her name was added to the roll of members.

November 4, 1880, Miss Francis Maria Folk was received into the church on certificate from First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. Miss Frances Mariah Doggett and Mr. Eugene Ellsworth Newman were received on profession of faith.

February 3, 1881, Mrs. Margaret Helwig was admitted on letter from the Presbyterian Church of New Philadelphia, Ohio.

To make the history of this church complete, it is proper to embody extracts from a sermon delivered by Rev. James Quick, July 1, 1876: The Society was legally incorporated September 9, 1856, as the Presbyterian Church and Society Old School. August 6, 1872, a question having arisen as to the full power of the society to hold property under existing laws of the State, a slight modification was made, and the organization perfected under the name of the First Presbyterian Church 3rd Society of Bryan, Ohio. Since the first organization up to the present time, there have been received to the fellowship and communion of the church (including those who first formed it) by certificate from other churches, 127 persons, and on profession of their faith in Christ 98 persons-making an aggregate of 225.

There have been dismissed to the fellowship and communion of other churches, eighty-six persons, and from this number twenty-two persons have died, and two have been excommunicated. Rev. D. S. Anderson was the first clergyman, and his ministry continued until 1864; he was succeeded by Rev. Williamson S. Wright, who terminated his work August 12, 1865.

September 1, 1865, Rev. John H. Carpenter commenced labor and remained until June 7, 1867, when, October 1, Rev. D. K. Richardson took ministerial charge April, 1870, Mr. Robert B. Marshall, licensed by the Presbytery of Chicago, became a successor to the pastoral office, and he died November following. February 5, 1871, Rev. Elias Thompson was employed and served one year, when he was succeeded by Rev. Henry H. Bridge, who remained until July, 1873, and was followed by Rev. Ebenezer Buckingham who remained six months.

On the first Sabbath of December, 1874, Rev. James Quick commenced his labors with this church. Up to the close of 1871 the church was dependent for aid in support of the ordinances of the Gospel upon the Home Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church; but since that time it has been self-sustaining. Total collections and expenditures for missions, etc., $13,239.97. “Thus far hath the Lord brought us, and He says to us by His Word, and by His Providence, ‘Go Forward.’ “The Sunday school of this church is under superintendence of Joseph B. Jones. The teacher of the Bible is Mrs. Rev. Doggett, and the other teachers are J. D. Gleason, John Kelley, Rev. Doggett, M. M. Boothman, Miss Mabel Pratt, Miss Dora Cannon, Miss Almira Treat, Mrs. Willett Gibson, Mrs. D. K. Richardson, Miss Metta Carter, Miss J. H. Willett and Miss Ida Cunningham. Average number of pupils, in excess of one hundred.

German Evangelical Lutheran

The German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s congregation commenced its existence December 21, 1861, having at that date no house of worship, though commencing with a membership of eighteen persons, and the pastor being Rev. Hermann Schmidt, of the Ohio Synod; and February 4, 1869, a movement was made to build a church edifice, and a plan agreed upon to have its dimensions 40×28 feet, the ceiling sixteen feet.

Accordingly the house was erected on Beech Street, adjacent to the planing mills. The building cost, in cash, aside from liberal donations in money and material, $750. The lots were donated by Hon. Alfred P. Edgerton, who has contributed more liberally, in real estate and money donations to church purposes, than any other one in Northwestern Ohio.

Mr. Schmidt retired from the pastorate of the church September 14, 1863, and from this date, until January 1, 1867, the congregation had occasional supplies from various clergymen, and oftentimes of slightly differing creeds, until, on the last-mentioned date, Rev. Eugene Kuchle was installed, and maintained his pastoral connection until 1870, when he was succeeded by Rev. Heinrich Lutz, who held charge until 1872, when he was followed, in the ministry, by Rev. Joel Goebel, who continued his relations with the church until 1878. At this date, Rev. Wilhelm Young, whose work is under the auspices of the Evangelical Synod of North America, was assigned to the charge of the congregation, and yet continues his ministrations.

In 1882, the membership numbers thirty, and a Sunday school, under the superintendence of Jacob Schleenbaker, has an average attendance of about eighteen pupils. After the retire ment of Rev. Mr. Goebel, a division of sentiment regarding the Christian propriety of church members identifying themselves with secret societies sprang up, and divisions followed, and the trouble was brought before ecclesiastical tribunals, and a length, on an issue affecting title to church property, the controversy found its way to the civil courts, where it is yet pending. As the matters of variance affect only the parties interested, further reference to them in these pages is omitted. It is only just, however, to state that the organization, of which Rev. Heinrich Stahling is pastor, claims to be the regular and legal organization.

First Universalist Church

The First Universalist Church of Bryan was organized July 10, 1870, by Rev. J. F. Rice, with a membership of twenty-one, the original members being:

  • John M. Welker
  • Mrs. Julia A. Welker
  • Mrs. S. A. Farr
  • Mrs. Helen A. Garver
  • Miss Nellie Farr
  • Miss Frank Fay
  • Albert Stinson
  • John Miller
  • Mrs. John Miller
  • Mrs. P. M. Harris
  • R. S. Owen
  • F. E. Fay
  • William Ayres
  • Mrs. William Ayres
  • Ephraim Dawson
  • Mrs. A. M. Dawson
  • Miss Clara A. Dawson
  • Mrs. Clarissa Owen
  • Mrs. Myra Moores
  • Mrs. Augusta Lawton
  • Miss Alice E. Owen

Rev. J. F. Rice preached for it for the first nine years. It is to his untiring industry and unwavering zeal that the church owes its existence and great success. Mr. Rice, though not living with the church at any time, and preaching for it only every alternate Sabbath, was more than ordinarily successful, which may be largely attributed to the fact that he is a strong preacher and a man of great social power.

The church now has a membership of 111, nearly all of whom were received into fellowship by Mr. Rice. Rev. H. L. Canfield supplied the church for one year every alternate Sabbath. The second pastorate was begun in August, 1880. Rev. G. L. Perin, a graduate of Canton Theological Seminary, was elected pastor. Mr. Perin is still preaching for the church every Sunday at a salary of $900. During Mr. Perin’s pastorate thus far, nine members have been added. The church held religious services for several years in Long’s Hall, north side of Court Square.

In 1875 and 1876, the first and only church edifice was erected at a cost of $8,000. The church is a beautiful brick; in size, 37×57 feet; Gothic in style. The main audience room is neatly frescoed, and has elegant stained glass windows. It has a large and commodious basement with Sunday school room, furnace room, kitchen, pantry, and what is very rare in a church, a beautiful fountain of clear, cold water. The church is situated on the southeast corner of Main and Maple streets. The present officers are: Moderator, Hon. S. N. Owen; Trustees, J. M. Welker. E. G. Fay and O. C. Ashton; Treasurer, E. T. Binns.

The Sunday school, in connection with the church, was organized about January 1, 1870, and has now an enrolled membership of 110, an average attendance of about sixty to eighty. With one brief interval, it has been under the constant superintendence of J. M. Welker, Esq., whose energy and devotion have been unremitting.

Catholics

There are in Bryan devout and pious Catholics; but their numbers are small, and a missionary priest, at stated periods, holds service. They have a church edifice. Few as are the numbers of these worshipers, they command a high degree of respect from co-religionists, on account of the firmness they manifest in holding fast to their faith.

Jewish

Those of this persuasion form only a small per cent of the religious element, and have no rabbi or synagogue. They are, however, held in high esteem as citizens.

Source: Weston A. Goodspeed, Charles Blanchard; County of Williams, Ohio; F. A. Battey & Company, Publishers, Chicago, 1882.

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