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The Early Baptists of Ohio
By Albert W. Newman, 1894
     Ohio was settled late in the present period, but Baptists were early on the ground. In 1789 a number of Baptist families from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey formed a settlement on the Little Miami at Columbia, now within the limits of Cincinnati. Among these were Isaac Ferris, from Connecticut, Judge Goforth and General John Gano, from New York, and Benjamin and Elijah Stites, from New Jersey. Gano was a son of the famous preacher. There was no minister in the company, but the brethren took turns in conducting the services. In 1790 Stephen Gano, pastor of the First Church, Providence, and brother of the general, visited the settlement, baptized three converts, and assisted in organizing the first evangelical church north of the Ohio River. The first pastor of the church was John Smith, who afterward became a member of the United States Senate. By 1797 three other churches had sprung up in the neighborhood: Miami Island, Carpenter's Run, and Clear Creek. These four united at this time in forming the Miami Association. Turtle Creek and Little Prairie churches soon joined the Association. The other pastors were Peter Smith, James Lee, and Daniel Clarke. Joshua Carman and Josiah Dodge, from Kentucky, were present when the Association was formed. The ministry was soon reinforced by the accession of John Sutton, Joshua Carman, and John Mason, the two last from Kentucky. As the Columbia church became speedily the mother of churches, so the Miami Association became the mother of Associations.

     In 1801 a Baptist church of German extraction removed from Shenandoah County, Va., to the Scioto River district in Ohio. They settled at Pleasant Run, near Lancaster. In 1809 the church had three ministers, named Stites, Comer, and Cofman, who could conduct services in both German and English. At about the same date a company of Baptists from New England formed a church at Ames. This church united with the Pleasant Run (1805) in forming the Scioto Association.

     The remaining Associations formed during this period are the Muskingum (1811) and the Mad River (1812). These resulted from a subdivision of the Miami, whose churches had become too numerous and widespread conveniently to assemble.

     The Baptist life of Ohio was more heterogeneous than that in most of the other newly opened territories, and considerable discord was to be expected. The advance movement of the succeeding period was to meet with less opposition here than in some of the States. This was due in part, no doubt, to the fact that in the settlement of the country the New England and Middle States were in the ascendency.

     In 1790 Ohio had 2 Baptist churches and 64 members; in 1812, 60 churches and 2400 members were reported.

[From Albert W. Newman, A History of the Baptist Churches in the United States, 1894, pp. 338-340. The title is added. Formatted and scanned by Jim Duvall.]

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