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History of Duck Creek Baptist Church
(Formerly Columbia Baptist Church)

Centennial of the Duckcreek Baptist Church, 30 March 2002.

     With the service of yesterday the last page in its history is written.

     Out at the old Duckcreek Baptist Church, yesterday, was held the first church centennial ever celebrated in Hamilton County. It was an all-day basket-meeting, to celebrate the organization of the first Baptist Church in the Northwest Territory, from which has grown this great religious denomination in this and other Western States. The history of the early organization, as told yesterday, may not be amiss in these days of centennial celebrations.

     The first Baptist Church organized in the Northwest Territory was constituted by Rev. Stephen Gano, where Columbia now is, January 20, 1790. The church membership consisted of nine persons -- Benjamin Davis, John A. Gano, Isaac Ferris, Jonah Reynolds, Amy Reynolds, Elizabeth Ferris, John Ferris and Thomas C. Wade--members of the first colony that arrived at Columbia, November 18, 1788. Isaac Ferris was appointed Deacon and John A. Gano, Clerk. A declaration of faith and practice was prepared and signed by the Church on June 20, 1790, at which time three probationers -- Elijah Stites, Rhoda Stites and Sarah Ferris -- were received in the Church, and the first baptism in the Northwest was performed by Rev. Stephan Gano in the Ohio River. Rev. Gano, was called to the pastorate of the new church, but declined, and Rev. Jno. Smith, of Pennsylvania, became the first pastor of the new Church, May 1, 1790.

     In October, 1791, the membership had increased to fifteen members, and the church decided to build a meeting house and appointed as Trustees, David Davis, Captain White, Elijah Stites, Hezekiah Stites and Henry Tucker. The church was built on a lot given by Major Stites on the spot where the Pioneers monument now stands in the old cemetery in Eastern Columbia and was dedicated in 1792. The congregation was protected from Indians by Colonel Spencer and the militia. The first ordination in the Northwestern Territory took place in the new church, September 23, 1792, when Elder Daniel Clark was ordained.

     In 1801 Elder Peter Smith was chosen pastor and under his preaching a great revival came and in a few months over 150 members were added to the church. At a meeting held December 5, 1801, it was voted to take steps to build a new meeting house on the lot of Mrs. Ginnings, the spot where yesterday's centennial was celebrated.

     The second meeting house was completed in 1803 and permanently occupied in 1808. The church was named the Duckcreek Baptist Church, after Duck Creek, which flows at the base of the hill on which it is built, and where the members were baptized on their admission into the church. The old log cabin meeting house gave way to the present church which was built in 1835. Since the organization at Columbia in 1790, members have been dismissed to form the churches in this city, Pleasant Ridge, Lebanon, Madisonville, Mt. Lookout, Linwood, Columbia and Mt. Washington. The congregation of the old Duckcreek church continued to worship there until February 1, 1876, when the congregation removed to Mt. Lookout, where it now worships. Since this time only the annual meeting, which was started fifty years ago and called the "annual jubilee," has been held in the old church. The pastors of the church during the past one hundred years have been Stephen Gano, John Smith, Daniel Clark, Peter Smith, Wm. Jones.

     The centennial celebration at the old Duck Creek Baptist Church, which is to take place today, will be an historical event of no small importance. It is something for Baptists to look back on a hundred years of history in Cincinnati. The old church ground is two miles from Walnut Hills, via the Madisonville pike to Mornington station, on the Ohio and Northwestern Railway. Rev. E. A. Ince will preach in the morning and Rev. B.F. Harmon will conduct a historical and devotional meeting in the afternoon. Everybody is invited to attend and take along a basket of provisions for a picnic.

     The church is an old fashioned low brick structure. The roof is devoid of the modern tower, and the windows are protected by solid wooden shutters. The interior walls have no decorations except their coat of white wash. The ceiling is supported by four large wooden posts of ancient design. The seats are of the old fashioned straight backed style. Fastened to the seats are the posts on which were placed the old fashioned oil lamps, that used to attract the people to church at "early candle lighting.

     In the rear end of the church stands the old fashioned pulpit, reached by a flight of steps, with its massive front and heavy rear arched framework, which enclosed the only decorations of the day, a cross, surmounted by a crown and the dates 1790-1890, wrought by the ladies, of evergreen. Like all old time churches, the building is surrounded with a graveyard, in which are buried many of the old members, on whose tombstones, half covered with moss, reads:

"Isaac Ferris, born July, 1735, died July, 1819" and "Margaret Wood Ferris, born 1742, died 1825." And near by is another grave, the tombstone of which reads: "Betsy Miller, born 1765, died June 3, 1833."

     Early yesterday morning the members and friends of the old church began to gather to enjoy the centennial day and the exercises. The morning hours were spent in listening to reminiscences of the early organization, and it was half-past 10 when the people were called to order by Rev. S. K. Leavitt, pastor of the Mr. Lookout Baptist Church. The exercises were opened by singing: "All hail the power of Jesus' name, Let angels prostrate fall.

     Rev. W. E. Stevens, of Columbia, led in prayer. After singing another hymn Rev. B.F. Harmon, of Pleasant Ridge, read the Scriptural lesson and Rev. J. R. Powell invoked the blessing of God up the centennial services. Rev. E. Armstrong Ince, of Mt. Auburn, ascended the flight of steps up into the old fashioned pulpit and opening the old Bible that has been used for one hundred years, read his text: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." -- Matthew, 11th Chapter and third verse. He then preached the centennial sermon, which was eloquent in thought and delivery.

     The meeting then adjourned till 2 o'clock. Out in the shady church yard was set a sumptuous old fashioned dinner, and the multitude was feasted, and enjoyed a most delightful social hour. Rev. B.F. Harmon called the afternoon meeting to order at 2 o'clock and after singing and prayer he delivered the historical address. At the conclusion, Mr. Harmon called for volunteer talks and Rev. Patton, Rev. J. R. Powell, Rev. S. K. Leavitt, Deacon S. M. Ferris, Charles Davis, Esq., Dr. Scoville, of Hamilton, Mrs. Prot. J. K. Parker, of Clermontville, and others, responded with interesting sketches of the church and the work.

     The congregation joined in singing "Praise God, from whom all blessing flow," and Rev. Mr. Harmon prayed God to continue the good work of the churches through time to come, and pronounced the benediction.

     The last page in the history of this grand old church as been written, as the society has decided that the Centennial should be the last service held in the old church, which will soon be torn down and another old land mark of great religious value will disappear.

     January 20, 2000, marked the 210th Anniversary of this church. The name of the church is now called the Hyde Park Baptist Church.

     Regretfully, the source of this newspaper article has not been located.


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