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The First Baptist Church in Ohio
A Bicentennial History of the Miami Baptist Association, 1998
      Among those who had settled at Columbia, were several of the Baptist faith. On January 20, 1790, they met for the purpose of organizing a church with the help of the Rev. Stephen Gano of Rhode Island [New York at that time] who was visiting his brother. The meeting was held at the home of Benjamin Davis. Davis, together with his wife Mary; Isaac, Elizabeth and John Ferris; Joshua and Amy Reynolds; John S. Gano and Thomas C. Wade became the first members of the Columbia Baptist Church. Three more people were soon received on profession of faith and three by letter a short time later. Two moved away, making a total of thirteen members by the end of the first year.

      Rev. John Smith had been called from Pennsylvania to become their pastor, but he did not arrive for a year. In the meantime, a Daniel Clark had moved to Columbia and supplied the pulpit. After Smith arrived, Clark was retained as assistant pastor, and was ordained in September, 1792 by Smith and Rev. John Gano from Elkhorn, [Franklin County] KY. A church building was erected and occupied in 1793 on a lot donated by (now) Major Benjamin Stites. It served the church and the town as a meeting house and safe haven during Indian encounters. The site of this meeting house and its burial ground is now marked by a Corinthian column located in the Pioneer Park near Lunken Airport.

      The old Columbia church holds the honor of three historical “firsts” – it was the first Protestant church to be organized; it erected the first church building; and was the first church in the Northwest Territory (Ohio) to ordain a pastor – all within five years.

      In 1808, the church moved to a new meeting house located at Duck Creek and Edwards Road, holding services for a time at both locations before abandoning the original meeting house. It was renamed the Duck Creek Baptist Church in 1827. Later moves were made to Mount Lookout (1875) and eventually to Michigan and Erie Avenues (1904) where it remains as the Hyde Park Baptist Church. In 1865, four Columbia-area families, descendants of original founders, left the Duck Creek Baptist Church to re-establish the Columbia Baptist Church and located it on Eastern Avenue.


[From A Bicentennial History of the Miami Baptist Association, 1998, pp. 2-3. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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