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THE SHELBY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - - -
story carries us back to the year 1823, for at that time
a number of the
inhabitants of Sharon Township made application to the Presbytery
be recognized as a congregation, and also to have supplies sent
them by the
The Presbytery, owing doubtless to the scarcity of ministers,
not then comply with this request.
In the winter of 1828, Rev. George Wolff began to preach occasionally
vicinity of Shelby, the services being held in the homes of the
previous to this date Rev. Rowland came from Mansfield with Elder
administered The Lords Supper in Mr. Smiths house
at Taylors Corners. This house,
Mr. Camps and Jesse Kerrs, South of the Village,
Mr. Cummins, West of it and
others, seems to have been The home of the Church of those
In the spring of 1829, the People of Sharon Township renewed
their request for
recognition as a congregation and for preaching. The Presbytery
their wish, Granting them one-fourth of the ministerial
labors of Rev. George Wolff.
In the spring of 1830 at the request of the people, Rev. George
re-appointed as Stated Supply for the ensuing year.
In the latter part of this
year, or the beginning of the following, the congregation petitioned
Presbytery to be formally organized into a church; accordingly
Rev. George Wolff
was directed to take the necessary steps. Though the meeting
for this purpose
was held, March 1831, in their house of worship, a log building
situated on what
is now the South-east corner of Gamble Street and Smiley Avenue.
presented certificates of membership, one was received on profession
and these constituted the church of Sharon as it was then called.
were as follows: John Kerr, John McClinton, Elizabeth McClinton,
Elizabeth Rambo and Leonora May. At the same time Aaron Rambo
and John McClinton
elected elders. But the new organization needed a home, and they
soon began to
a house of hewed logs on what was then John Kerrs farm
located about two and
miles South of the Village. The building was never finished nor
settling mostly West and North of the town demanded that the
be more centrally located. The log building was sold and a frame
one begun in
year 1834. The new house was located a short distance South of
what is now know
the old church and was 35 by 45 feet. The building
was not completed until the
year or possibly not until still later. During the first summer
it was used while
sides were still open, simply a frame, a roof and a floor of
loose boards. It was here
the Sabbath School of the church was organized in 1834, in what
was yet a place
than a house. Calvin Clark was its first Superintendent. In this
year also Rev.
Wolff ended his labors and removed beyond the bounds of the congregation.
1833 the church received several additions, and being separated
by so short
an interval from the original six, it might not be
amiss to give their names.
They are as follows: Jane Kerr, Mary Kerr, William Dickey, Jane
Kerr, Hulda Smith, Rebecca Cline, Elizabeth Gamble, Margaret
Drake, Mary Wetts, Nancy Fowler, William Kerr, Elizabeth Kerr,
his wife, Calvin Clark and Mary Clark.
In 1835 Rev. William Mathews had charge of the church and that
year the session
was strengthened by the addition of three members, viz: -Moses
Kerr, and Calvin Clark; the latters term of service was
continuing until his death in 1890.
The Rev. Nathaniel Cobb and Rev. Robert Lee, in order named succeeded
Mathews. From 1838 to 1841 the church had preaching only occasionally.
mentioned are those of Revs. S.A. Cowen, J. Cunningham, J. Scott,
F.A. Shearer. During these years, however the organization was
were earnest, sympathetic, helpful and devoted to the church.
like their homes, were simple but their convictions were strong.
October 1841, this church united with the church at Rome, Ohio,
in extending a
call to Rev. Luther Dodd, each asking for one half of his time.
following he was ordained by the Presbytery at Shelby and installed
as pastor of
this church. He continued to preach at both churches for six
years, after which
time this church took all his time. The coming of Rev. Dodd marked
a new era for
the church; his pastorate was the longest it has ever enjoyed,
the spring of 1852 when failing health compelled him to resign.
His pastorate was also
the most prosperous. He left the church united, hopeful and much
he came. Soon after his labors began two more were added to the
Kerr and Thomas Clark, and later in 1849, George Cummings was
Before Rev. Dodd resigned, another church building, now known
as The Old
Church on Broadway, was begun, but was not completed before
the following year.
To have another house of worship required effort, possibly in
some cases, self
denial, but the people faced the work bravely. The Village of
Shelby was at this
time still quite small and located entirely on the West Side
of the Creek. None of the
were wealthy, in fact it was Still a struggle in the Wilderness.
During the next
years, from 1852 to 1856 there seems to have been no permanent
Rev. William McMillin supplied the church for a year and Rev.
J.W. Faris and
Milligen for shorter periods. In the spring of 1858 Rev. J.E.
Marquis entered upon the
as stated supply, giving one-half of his time to this church
and the other half to the
at Ontario, Ohio. He is said to have been an energetic, faithful
worker. His labors
not without good results. At the end of two years he was called
and with kind wishes on the part of all, removed thither. Later
we find him at
Ill., where he labored successfully until his death, in 1863.
Shortly after Rev.
resignation, Rev. J.C. Caldwell held a series of meetings during
brought to Christ, some of whom became efficient workers in later
During the summer of 1858 Rev. R.R. Moore, then a young man,
came upon the
field. In the following year he was ordained by Presbytery and
of the church. His pastorate lasted until the fall of 1864. I
believe he is
still living and at present preaching for a church in Pennsylvania.
But time was
telling on the pioneers, their ranks were thinning and the more
years since the organization of the church had wrought many changes.
In the last
few years the session had lost two of its members by death, Aaron
Rambo who was
one of the first two elders of the church and Thomas Clark who
been added to the
session later. Owing to these losses there was a need felt for
and in 1863 W.D. Cook, Daniel Carr and James Jones were chosen
to the office.
During these years the church often enjoyed seasons of more than
spirited interest, although there was no extensive revival. But
in the fall of
1865, Rev. J.K. Kost came upon the field and in the following
January there was
the largest ingathering the church has ever known at one time.
On profession of
faith thirty-six were received and three by letter, and in April
a number more were added. In the spring of 1868 Rev. Kost removed
Ohio, and is now living at Paola, Fla.
In the early part of 1869, Rev. W.W. Anderson was called as pastor
and began his
labors. This pastorate continued until the latter part of the
1876. He is at
present pastor of the churches of Loudonville and Perrysville,
Ohio. It was
while Rev. Anderson was laboring here that Edward Johnson, Dr.
John Mack and
J.S. Trimble were chosen to the office of ruling elders. The
regularly to all our boards and also to the Million Dollar
Fund, raised as a
memorial of the reunion of the old and new school bodies.
In 1872 a Womans Foreign Missionary Society was organized
and five years later
the work of the organization was extended so as to include both
the Home and
Foreign Missionary fields. For the purpose of extending financial
aid to the
church, in 1876 the ladies of the church organized a Dime
Social, but about ten
later it was changed into the Ladies Aid Society and still
continues its work.
After Rev. Anderson left, several efforts were made to secure
a pastor, but not
until the summer of 1878 did they succeed, when a call was extended
to Rev. J.W.
Thompson who had graduated the previous year at Princeton Seminary.
the call and continued his labors until the summer of 1885 when
he resigned and
removed to Kansas. He is at present pastor of the church at Sterling
in that State.
Rev. Thompson was here John Doty and T.C. Dunlap were elected
elders. In 1886
Weiser and C.D. Sipe and in 1887 Dr. Thomas Ryall were chosen
to that office.
After Rev. Thompson removed Rev. T.C. Thomas preached here for
a short time. In
1887 the services of Rev. H.W. Wood were secured. He died in
less than a year
and the church remained vacant until April 1889, when the present
his work. Previous to his coming here a lot has been secured
on which to erect a
new church building and some funds had been gradually stored
away. Work was
begun on the new building in the fall of 1890. It was dedicated
May 1st, 1892,
Rev. A.A.E. Taylor, D.D. preached the dedicatory sermon. The
cost of the
building and grounds was $11,000.
Presbyterian church building, dedicated in 1892 and described
above article of the period, is shown in the photo below.
Church Building on High School Avenue.
- - Photo courtesy of the Shelby Museum
1896, Rev. Albert Torbere became pastor, and Nov. 1st, 1898,
Page took up the pastorate of the church. In July 1899, the congregation
enlarging the church and placed therein a pipe organ. It was
rededicated on January 27, 1900. Dr. D. J. Meese preached the
weeks after this dedication, the church on High School Avenue
by fire. The congregation then purchased a lot on North Main
began to make plans for a new church structure.
June 1, 1902, the present Presbyterian Church on North Gamble
dedicated at a cost of $25,000. Red sandstone from quarries in
church it's outstanding color.
present Presbyterian Church Building at 24 North Gamble Street.
- - Photo courtesy of the Shelby Museum
- * Much
of this information was contained in an article appearing in
the Shelby Globe May 31, 1902.
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