In the year 1797, a number of members were dismissed from the Baptist Church at Columbia, who settled at Clear Creek, organized a Church there, and built, a meeting house a little north of the present site of Ridgeville, Warren County. This was the fourth Baptist Church organized in the North-Western Territory. For a short time Elder James Sutton served this church as Pastor. He was followed by Elder Daniel Clark, under whose pastorate (in 1798) a branch was organized at Turtle Creek, about one mile east of Lebanon. The ground upon which the old meeting house of this people stood, now in the midst of a large corn field is marked by a mound of stones. The Clear Creek Church is said to have lost its identity from about the time of the division in the churches on the missionary question in 1836. The "branch" lives a "vine" to-day - cared for and watered these many years by the Lord of the vineyard. Of this branch, the history is given to-day, in not much more though than an outline, for in a history extending over a period of seventy-nine years, much of necessity of incident and reminiscence must be omitted in a paper like this.
The Turtle Creek Church became an independent body in 1802, its first minute being as follows:"The first meeting of Turtle Creek Church after being constituted on Saturday before the second Sabbath in December, 1802, and after prayer we proceeded to business.Elder Clark continued with the Church as Pastor, until the year 1824, although he remained in connection with the Church until his death in 1830. In the old burying ground in Lebanon, a small monument was erected over his grave by the Church, from an inscription upon which it appears that he died December 11, 1830, aged 90 years. The fact is also stated that he was the first pastor ordained in the limits of Ohio. Brother Clark lived at a considerable distance from the place of worship, and not being in firm health and withal being well along in years, in March, 1815, the Church called Elder Stephen Gard as an assistant pastor to spend one-quarter of his time with it, and in February, 1819, Brother Gard having removed, Elders Wilson Thompson and Hezekiah Stites were invited as assistants to Elder Clark to labor one-fourth of their time. This invitation was declined by Brother Stites, but upon its renewal in December, 1820, was accepted. There in [is] no record as to how long Brother Stites continued with the Church, but it was presumably for but a short time. Wilson Thomson however, continued with the Church as assistant pastor until November, 1824, when he was called to the pastorate thereof, and remained in this relation until November, 1834, when as the record says, "Wilson Thompson made known his intention of leaving this church."
1st, Agreed to and did call Brother Daniel Clark, (who being formerly pastor at Clear Creek Church) to the pastoral care of this Church.
2d. Agreed to continue Brother Matthias Corwin, (who being Deacon in the Clear Creek Church) Deacon in this Church, and both complied.
3d. Resolved that meetings be held here on the same stated seasons as before our separation from Clear Creek, viz: On the Saturday before second Sabbath in each month and the Sabbath following."
The early history of the church was one of prosperity and blessedness, as it appears. The Lord was with his people. Conversions were frequent, and the church dwelt together in love. In those early days church-fellowship meant something. Christian watch-care was more than a name. The discipline of the church was, while most tender, yet extremely rigid. A failure to attend the regular meetings of the church was immediately noticed, the reasons asked, aud advice given, and usually the results were very happy. The records show many instances of this; but the church did not hesitate to cut off, was its advice not heeded. Here is one of the minutes of date, December 1809, as illustrative of the esteem in which the church held its appointments. "Resolved, That the male members who do not attend church meetings in future, shall give a reason for their non-attendance to the church, or be dealt with as disorderly members."
Previous to 1811, the church met about one mile East of Lebanon, in a log meeting house, but in that year they moved into town, building a substantial brick house, and 1813 the name was changed from Turtle Creek Baptist Church to the "Bapiist Church at Lebanon."
In May 1810, seventeen members were dismissed, "that they might form a separate church." The minutes give no further light, but our information is, that this is the church called "Bethel," near Ft. Ancient. This was a colony going out in peace and fraternal love. This church has now its connection with the Anti-Mission Association."
Some of the earlier minutes of the Church read a little quaint, aud we find that even then the subject of the singing gave them not a little difficulty, for instance: June, 1813. we read, "the propriety of singing without giving out the hymn was taken into consideration, aud agreed to by a majority of the Church." In August of the same year, "it was agreed to by the Church, that singing once on each day of worship be performed by reading the hymn." While again of date of January 1814, we read, "It was proposed and carried that singing in future be performed by reading the line constantly." This would indicate that our fathers found the matter of singing none the easiest to manage.
Under date of July 1822, it is recorded, "Resolved, That Bro. Ezra Hicks be one of the clerks with Bro. Crane, in raising the tune in public worship." But though this record may take us back to "the good old days," yet who shall decide between this style of singing, and
some of the performances of more modern choirs, especially paid quartettes? We can imagine, if not quite so artistic, there was yet melody in the heart unto the Lord.
At the first we find no referrence [sic] to money in any of the minutes of the church, and it is not until October, 1805, that this is mentioned, when occurs this:"The Deacons shall pursue such measures as they shall think proper for collecting money to discharge the necessary expenses of the church."There was then no stated salary, the minister receiving in money, but more largely in the products of the soil, that which the individual members of the church were pleased to give him. It was not until October, 1827, that a salary is mentioned, when "Wilson Thompson's salary was fixed at $500."
In 1827, the church received a gracious visitation from the presence of the Lord. Every month in that year the waters were visited. The church was greatly revived and strengthened, seventy-two were added to her members by baptism, besides about a score by letter. This was the first extensive revival with which the church had been visited. In these days great reliance was put upon the preaching of the word. At one meeting there were frequently two sermons, and more than once were there three preached. The preached word seemed to be the chief instrumentality employed; nor were these sermons the brief preachments, for which in these latter days so many clamor.
The preachers took time to develop the truths they had in hand, and to drive them home to the hearts and consciences of men, and the Holy Spirit was with them, accompanying the word with power.
But right following this came dark days for the church, severe trials fell to its lot. Just what was the nature ol these we can not now get at, but this is clear, Zion mourned, and mourned greatly. But they were praying hearts in the church. The Lord was sought, and he delivered her out of all of her distresses, and soon again she rejoiced.
There is no reference to a Sunday School any where in the early history of the church, but there was a Sunday School organized in 1827 or 1828, which continued until about the time of the division in churches, in 1836, of which mention will be made.
In its earlier days, the church was especially blessed with men of great strength of character. The church encountered many severe storms. There were times of great excitement, but by the blessing of God, with these men to guide her affairs, she passed through them all unshaken. We here make reference to the New Light Revival, of 1801, and some years following, also to Quakerism, which sprung up in the neighborhood a few years after; and here we quote from the "History of the Miami Baptist Association," by A. H. Dunlevy, a brother beloved of this church, now in his 84th year, and who writes much of his history from his own personal recollection."The first carried off every member of the Presbyterian church, at Turtle Creek, constituted about the same time with the Baptist, with two or three exceptions; while not one member of the Baptist church here was affected by it. So of Shakerism. It did not touch the Baptist churches, though in its influence, it should be remarked, it was almost exclusively confined at first to the New Light church, but afterwards made inroads with other churches to some extent."The church, though during these years, was not without ts trials. Members had now and then to be excluded, and while tenderness characterized the church in this, yet, when it was demanded by the good of the church, and the glory of its Great Head seemed to require it, it can not be found that it ever hesitated. What is Right? was the question with the fathers; never what is politic? And this is evident in their treatment of some who occupied positions of prominence in the church, it was one and the same rule for all. We can not at this day go over these early records of the churches' history, without that a feeling of the profoundest respect for these men and women of God comes over us. Under God is the church indebted unto them for much of what she now is. They lay deep and broad foundations. And ever were they true the to faith and polity of the Baptist church. Nor had the fathers any squeamishness in dealing with those who would seek to cut the church adrift from her moorings.
But if the church passed safely through the New Light Revival, and the incursions of Shakerism, yet, eventually a storm passed over her, which produced a division, and the one church was made two, but this was not singular to the Lebanon church.
Though it together with the other churches of the Association, had, realizing their object, interested themselves in the spread of the gospel, both at home and abroad, - yet this very subject worked unto a division of the churches. As Dunlevy says: "Missions at home and among the Indian tribes, had from the organization of the Miami Association engaged the attention of the Chnrches, and were without exception, so far as the record's show, approved until a few years before the division in the Association." The Lebanon Church has a clear record in this matter. "About 1814 the subject of Foreign Missions generally was presented to the Baptist Churches in the West in connection with Dr. Judson's Mission in Burmah. It then met universal favor, as far as the records show, in the Miami Association, and for about ten years after, I have no recollection of hearing even intimations of doubt as to the duty of the Churches in sending the Gospel to heathen lands." Thus much, because it is by some said, and perhaps others think that the Mission Churches so called, were responsible for the division - that Missions were a something new in the history of the Churches.
The full history of this division it were neither practicable nor possible to give in this letter. Controversy had arisen in the Churches because of the two works written by Wilson Thompson, then Pastor of the Lebanon Church, entitled respectively, "Simple Truth," and "Triumph of Truth," which resulted in a division in one of the Churches about 1824, and this is thought by some to be the beginning of the Anti-Mission movement of half a score of years following. Mr. Thompson held, or had imbibed peculiar views as to the Sonship of Christ, and these books were written in defense thereof.
It is hardly probable that these books were without their influence, yet in likelihood, a monthly paper issued by one, Elder Parker, in or about 1828, called "Church Advocate," in which was openly advanced the "Two Seed Doctrine," to-wit: "That one part of mankind, the elect, are the work and the children of God, while all the rest are the children of the devil, and forever must remain without the possibility of salvation," exercised a more, direct, and immediate influence in precipitating, if not bringing about this division. Yet probably as Dunlevy says: "The primary causes of this division lay far back of these, and may be found in a tendency to extremes in all ages."
But be this as it may, sure it is, that despite all the record of the past, and the previous practices of the Churches, a difference sprang up among them as to the duty of aiding in the spread of the Gospel, which culminated in the year 1836, when were excluded four churches from the Association, the Lebanon Church being one of the four. The day following this action, the following was adopted:"Resolved, That the Association advise such of the brethren in the Churches which were dropped yesterday from our minutes, as are not advocating or supporting any of the societies which were denounced by this Association at her last session, as being unauthorized by the Scriptures, to embody themselves together, and exclude from their fellowship all such as they cannot retain by Gospel discipline, and at our next session to report the result of their labors to the Association."Whatever may have been the action of the other excluded Churches, the Lebanon Church did not act on this resolution, but by mutual consent it was dissolved. The minute reads as follows under date of the first Saturday in October, 1836: "Resolved," the proceedings of the Miami Association having been called for, "That this Church does think it expedient to divide; but if two-thirds of the Church think it inexpedient, then the Church to remain as it now stands, and in case of division, a Committee to be appointed to agree on equitable terms of a division of the property now belonging to the Church." And still to quote: "The above resolution was adopted. The parties agreed to assume the names of Eastern and Western Regular Baptist Churches. Then proceeded to a division of the members present, which stood as follows: here are given the names which show 42 with the East church, and 61 with the West church.
In the main - a good spirit was manifested by both parties during this act of final separation, nor has bitterness since been displayed.
Acts of courtesy between the two churches have been exchanged, but never have there been any means inaugurated, nor steps taken, looking forward to the reunion of the churches. The way for that having never seemed clear.
But before this division, indeed, sometime before Wilson Thompson's removal, all was not peace in the Church, but upon the Church being left without a pastor its troubles increased. The Church made several attempts to settle a pastor, but without any success for a time. It had supplies, but opposition was manifested to them all. An Elder Lyon preached for the Church a good deal about this time, but the records make reference to but one invitation as a supply, to-wit: That to Brother Daniel Bryant in March, 1835. Brother Bryant preached for the Church until about September, 1835, in which month "Elder John Blodgett is invited to spend the winter with us for the purpose of becoming acquainted with him as a preacher," and in April, 1836, Elder Blodgett was called as pastor. He was with the Church at the time of the division, and was one of the 42 who constituted the East Church. And here, as a part of the history of the Church about this time, I read from a diary kept by a sister long since deceased:"After Brother Wilson Thompson left us in 1834, we were without a pastor, and the brethren so divided on the subject of Missions that it appeared impossible to get a preacher that all could hear with any tolerable degree of satisfaction. We were supplied a part of the time by Brother D. Bryant, Brother Moore and some others - a part of the Church professing at the same time that they could not hear them. This to us, who loved them as the servants of Jesus, was distressing beyond what I can describe.When then - the division was consummated - it must have been a blessed relief unto all.
"Our old brethren would not commune with us and let us know that they did not fellowship with us - because we believed in missionary efforts. Brother Lyon visited us several times in 1835 and was received more generally than some of the rest; but on the whole we struggled along in a very poor way, having but little preaching and when we met together feeling a kind of disagreeable jealousy and no additions to us. But the Lord who is rich in mercy hath not left us in that deplorable situation.
"In September 1835 Bro. John Blodgett came among us, and I believe he came in the fulness of the gospel of Christ and God owned his Ministry, and in the spring of 1836 he was permitted by the grace of God to immerse ten willing converts in the name of Jesus. But yet ail this did not appear to lessen the uneasiness of our brethren, but they said they could not live with us."
And here now commences the history of the East Baptist Church. The dismissed members from the Lebanon Church immediately met - here is the minnte: "Saturday before the fourth Lord's Day in October, 1836, a number of brethren and sisters, professedly Regular Baptists met for the purpose of organization, and after appointing Elder John Blodgett moderator, and M. Jones clerk, pro tem., proceeded to business: first, voted that we organize ourselves in a Church, adopting the constitution of Turtle Creek Church as our constitution, omitting the preamble. At this the first meeting of the Church, one presented herself as a candidate for baptism, and on the day following, being Lord's Day, another was received. Elder Blodgett supplied the Church until the following December when he was called to the pastorate, and in this relation he continued until January 4, 1841, when his resignation was accepted. The Church at first met in the meeting-house of the Presbyterian Church half the time, the West Church retaining the old meeting-house. At once, however, they set to work to build themselves a meeting-house and in 1837 or 8 the same was dedicated.
Soon after this a Sunday School was organized, but no minutes in reference thereto are to be found.
The pastorate of Bro. Blodgett was a highly successful one; peace reigned in the Church; brethren dwelt together in love; the saints were built up; sinners were saved.
Two precious revival seasons were in this time enjoyed by the Church, namely in 1838 and in 1840. In that of 1838, thirty were added to the Church and in 1840, fifty-five - these by baptism. The total additions to the Church, during Bro. Blodgett's stay with it, were not far from 150. In the early part of 1840 Bro. Blodgett's health was such as that he was notable to preach regularly, and in August, 1840, an Elder Lewis French was invited by the Church to assist Bro. Blodgett. Bro. French was with the Church during the revival of this year.
After Bro. Blodgett's removal from Lebanon his health became so far restored, as that he was able again to perform the work of a pastor, and at least one Church in our Association enjoyed his subsequent ministrations. At a ripe age, Bro. Blodgett departed this life July 24, 1876.
His memory is warmly cherished as a precious heritage by not a few who remain with us unto this day. This Association has taken notice of his decease. Many a warm tribute has appeared to his memory. His life and labors belong as much to the history of our denomination through the Miami Valley as our particular Church. These facts must excuse us from any more extended notice of this holy man of God.
In 1838 the Church thus recommended: "To raise an amount of money equal to $1.00 for each member for the benefit of the 'Miami Missionary Society,'" and thus, as also by its interest in all the benevolences of the day, did it evidence that it differed from the brethren of the West Church in more than a theory; with it, it was a PRACTICAL belief of Christian and Church duty. And since has the Church remembered the various societies, and given for their support. She has recognized the claims of them all upon her, though her ability to contribute has varied.
In February, 1839, some difficulty seemed to be created by reason of the introduction of the "bass viol" into the music of the Church. Some of the members were sorely grieved at it and though, until it was seen, the music was thought to be much improved, yet the sight of it brought to mind the wicked one, and it could not be tolerated.
After Bro. Blodgett's resignation the Church was not long without a pastor, for in May, 1841, an Elder Freeman was called to the pastorate. This pastorate, however, was a very short one. Mr. Freeman resignated in October of the saMe year. For more than half a year was the Church now pastorless, having only occasional preaching, when Elder Jos. T. Robert, visiting the Church upon its invitation, was invited to its pastorate, which invitation he accepted in June 1842.
A fair measure of prosperity characterized the Church during this pastorate. The ministry of Dr. Robert was especially blessed unto the Church in its growth in the knowledge of the doctrines of the word of God, and yet this pastorate was not unblessed of God in the conversion of men. Bro. Robert remained with the Church until July 1, 1846, wnen he resigned and returned to the South. He is at the present the head of a Freedman's College, the "Augusta Institute" at Augusta, Ga.
Under date of Wednesday, December 4, 1844, we find this Minute: "In compliance with the appointment and request of the Miami Association, this day was observed by the Church as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, in view of the low spiritual condition of the churches comprising that body." And here it may be said that in the earlier history of the Church, fast days were of quite frequent appointment and in their observance was the Church blessed.
Immediately upon the departure of Dr. Robert a call was given to the Rev. Jno. Findlay, then of Middletown, O., which, however, was declined. This was a disappointment to the Church, but on a renewal of this call in September of the same year, Bro. Findlay accepted the same and remained with the Church until August, 1849, when his resignation was accepted.
Bro. Findlay's health was not robust, yet under God he was enabled to do effective service for the Master. Under his ministry the Church was built up in the most holy faith, edified and strengthened; nor was Bro. Findlay wholly without signs of the divine favor in the conversion of sinners. Additions with more or less frequency were made to the Church. Bro. Findlay was a man of marked peculiarities, at times almost eccentric. He was a man of liberal education, a graduate of Edinburgh University, Scotland. As a speaker he was usually most impressive, he employed but few gestures, a nod was his favorite gesture and emphatic too it was. It always meant something, and served to send home the thought or truth intended, and to RIVET it, as is gathered from the stories which are told to-day of that nod. As illustrative somewhat of the man, and as showing the condition of things in the church in one particular at least this is told of Bro. Findlay. Writing to one of the deacons, making inquiry after the prayer meetings, he said: "How is the Lebanon Prayer Meeting? I never knew a thing to kick so long after it was dead as that."
During the year 1849 Cholera prevailed to a great extent through this section, so that it was deemed meet to postpone the Association, which was to be held with this Church, until the fall.
For two years, after the departure of Bro. Findlay, was the Church in that unhappy state of being without a pastor. It had during this time only occasional preaching, save from June to September, 1850, when Rev. W. H. Robert, a brother of Dr. J. T. Robert, supplied the pulpit, and from October, 1850, to April, 1851, when the Rev. Isaac Niles, of Kentucky, acted as supply. In September, 1851, the Rev. H. S. Dale entered upon the pastorate of the Church in answer to an invitation which was extended him May previous. The Church during this long interval of pastors became somewhat scattered; coldness and indifference on the part of many of the members grew on apace. In the letter of the Church
to the Association at the session in 1851, we find this:"Since our last letter to you, a year ago we have been, as we then had been for twelve months, without any stated preaching much of the time and without any regular pastor. Our Church Members, therefore, have seldom met generally and we fear have been separated, never all to meet again. Efforts to bring them together on Church meeting days have proved unavailing, and we can only hope that a settled pastor and regular preaching will again bring many to our holy convocations."The first year of Bro. Dale's pastorate was one of sowing rather than reaping, great spiritual dearth existed. The Church recorded the fact in its letter to the Association of that year (1852), declaring that "in Lebanon there is a general religious declension."
But God blessed the faithful endeavors of his people and prayer he always answers. In 1853 the Church wrote to the Association thus:"At your last session we were in common with all the Churches, deploring our low spiritual condition and the general religious apathy prevailing in the community. About the middle of winter more of the spirit of prayer was manifest in our meetings and towards the close of January the exhibition of unusual seriousnes[s] on the part of some not connected with the Church, inspired the hope that we were about to be favored with a revival of God's work. Nor were we disappointed in this. In the progress of a series of meetings, begun at this time and continued for several weeks, we were permitted, almost daily, to rejoice at the display of God's power and glory in the salvation of sinners and for several successive Sabbaths to visit the baptismal waters."This is the Church reported: baptized 37.
In December, 1855, Bro. Dale resigned, and in May, 1856, Marcena Stone became pastor of the Church, and at the same time Bro. Halte, a man who had been supplying the Church some after Bro. Dale's resignation, was invited to spend six months with the Church as its missionary, which invitation was accepted.
Bro. Stone was warmly welcomed by the Chnrch and entered upon his work with vigor. The entire pastorate, which terminated by resignation in July, 1861, was a successful one, the Church both spiritually and temporally was made stronger. Dr. Stone was a very Seriptural preacher, and to the Church, was given the very meat of the Gospel. In 1858, the Lord again graciously visited and revived his people, and sinners were converted.
The house in which the Church had been worshipping was now much out of repair, and July, 1858, a committee, which had been previously appointed to examine into the condition of the same, reported that its condition was such that repairing would not be justified and recommended the church to consider the subject of rebuilding. The Church acted upon this report, appointed a Building Committee, and at once took steps for the erection of a new house of worship. The result of their labors is seen in the pleasant, convenient, and commodious building which the Church now occupies and which was dedicated in 1859.
There occurred in the Church, however, during the time of this pastorate, a case of discipline, which proved a sore trial to the Church, and which at one time threathened to produce a most serious division, but this calamity was averted. Dr. Stone is now in New Orleans, at the head of Leland university, a freedman's college.
Dr. L. G. Leonard succeeded Dr. Stone in the pastorate, accepting an invitation thereto in April, 1863. In the interim the Church was again dependent upon supplies. The pulpit, however, being frequently closed, but the Church was fortunate in securing for a number of months a stated supply in the person of the Rev. Wm. Ashmore, of Swatow, China, who was then visiting this country and this, his native State. The Church was much profited by the ministry of Bro. Ashmore and extended him a call to the pastorate which, however, he declined, to return to his chosen work in China. Dr. Leonard's pastorate, which continued until his resignation in June, 1871, was a very pleasant and blessed one in many respects. He never brought to the people anything but the well-beaten oil of the Sanctuary. He enjoyed not only the love of the brethren, but the universal respect of the community. In 1864 the Church enjoyed another season of revival, and in 1868 revival influences were again experienced.
In December, 1871, the Church called to its pastorate the Rev. V. A. Douglass. This call was accepted, and for two years Bro. Douglass faithfully ministered to the Church in the things of the Gospel, at the end of which time the Church not being able to raise an amount which both he and they thought to be adequate, he felt constrained to resign. The Church, previous to Bro. Douglass coming, had never paid a salary of over $1,200, when then they made an offer of salary of $2,000, they went beyond their ability, and since this has the Church fallen back to $1,200.
For some three months or so after his resignation, Bro. Douglsss supplied the Church pretty regularly, so that the Church was not wholly destitute of preaching until a successor in the pastoral office was obtained.
In May, 1874, the Rev. J. B. Stone was called to the pastorate. From this pastorate the Church hoped much. Bro. Stone was a young man of promise and of more than average pulpit talent, but in September he was taken sick shortly after his return from the Associational meeting and in October he died. This was a severe trial and the Church felt that it was called upon to pass through deep waters. It was well nigh discouraged, its expectations had been so great. For a time the pulpit was closed. The Church did not know what to do, but after a while, satisfied that it was not right thus to feel and act, they set about to fill the vacancy thus created and in May, 1875, the Rev. Geo. W. Baptiste, of New York, the present pastor, was called and settled with the Church. This pastorate has thus far been a very pleasant one for both Church and pastor, but its history, as yet made, has been recorded in the annual epistles to the Association.
During these years the Church has licensed nine (9) of its Brethren to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Of these, some have made the ministry their life work and the Churches have honored them, and God has owned them in their service.
We mention, however, but two, our information concerning them being more certain; Hezekiah Smith was licensed by the Church in 1806. Not long after he was ordained and
only about two years ago did he lay the armor by, being then not far from 100 years of age. Lewis Osburn received his license to preach in 1839. He was soon after ordained at "2nd ten mile." The major part of his ministry has been given to the Churches in Illinois, where he has been recognized as a faithful minister ot the N. T.
The Church has also its representative on the foreign field in the person of Mrs. Eliza Ashmore, a wife of Dr. Wm. Ashmore, and daughter of our venerable Bro. A. H. Dunlevy.
And thus for 79 years has God led us. The Church has had its trials, and severe ones too, but the Lord has delivered her out of them all. Many tokens of the divine favor have been enjoyed and few are the years that have passed without conversions and additions to the Church by baptism. There have been baptized into the fellowship of the Church since 1803, 590, being an average for each year of 8. We have dismissed to other Churches by letter 372, while we have received 315 and thus a balance is in our favor.
The Church of late has been in some respects weakened. We are not as strong in men or in means as in some of the earlier years of our history, yet we are not destitute of either the one or the other now. We are yet, in many ways, a strong Church, our chief lack being in a complete consecration to our Adorable Lord and Redeemer. Be this made, our prospects for permanence and usefulness were never better than at the present. It has done us good to review the ways in which we have been led. And on the pillar we raise to-day do we inscribe GRATlTUDE for the past, for the future HOPE.
[From Miami Baptist Association Minutes, 1877, pp. 15-20. Document from the Miami Baptist Association Office, Cincinnati. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall]
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