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Fairfield County, Ohio
History & Genealogy



Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J. Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O.  1901

Transcribed by Sharon Wick

Pg. 166

     NO set of early pioneers are more entitled to remembrance in these sketches than the self-sacrificing traveling Methodist preachers of the early days.  Many of them were without much education to speak of, but they were earnest, pious, God-fearing men.  They were plain men, and dressed in clothing intended for service and not for show, made upon a uniform pattern, round cutaways.  Bishop Asbury's suit was made of homemade cloth.  In one case, cloth and suit were both made by a lady friend and presented to him.  They traveled horseback, fording creeks and swimming rivers.  In many cases it required four weeks to make the rounds of the circuit, and often preaching in some cabin every night.  On such circuits the people came ten and fifteen miles to attend the service.  This was especially the case on Sunday.  They were cheerful men, happy men and good conversationalists, and they were received with open hand wherever they stopped.  Happy the family so highly favored.  The parents rejoiced for the opportunity to converse and for the influence for good the visit of the preacher would have upon the lives of their children.
     Senator Ewing understood this when he gave a thousand dollars in the will to Catholic priests, as a slight evidence of this regard for the early priests, who

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made his home their home, and assisted him, as he expressed it, in raising his boys.  The hearty reception given the preacher was not confined to Methodists. - Presbyterians and Baptists gave them hearty welcome.  This is acknowledged by Bishop Asbury in his journal.
     The first pioneers to preach in this county, and have charge of a circuit, were Jesse Stoneman and James Quinn.  They both lived to a great age and their memory is still cherished.  Stoneman, after closing his career as a preacher, settled on a farm in Perry county.  He, with his family, is buried at Thornville.
     James Quinn preached for nearly forty years in this and adjoining counties, and closed his career in Highland County.  He was buried near Hillsboro, Ohio.  He has several relatives in this county, or more properly his wife, who was a daughter of Edward Teal.
     James Axley preached in this county in 1805.  He was a "rough diamond" and was kept on the frontier all of his life.  Being at Chillicothe, he, with another minister, were entertained by Governor Tiffin, a Methodist.  A part of the evening meal was stewed chicken. - Axley took his portion in his fingers and stripped the bones and then threw them to a dog sitting on the carpet near him.  This was probably the first carpet he had ever seen in a dining room.  On his day to Mississippi Territory, to which he had been assigned, he preached in Nashville.  The minister there was afraid he would make a break and gave him a word of caution.  Soon after commencing his discourse a gentleman entered, the minister whispered, "That is General Jackson." Axley exclaimed: "Who cares for General Jackson!  He will go to hell as quick as anybody else if he does not repent."  After the close

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of the services Jackson came forward, took him by the hand, and thanked him for his frankness and fearlessness.
     James B. Findlay preached here in 1811, and he was on the district as later as 1842.  He was a distinguished preacher of his time.  He, with Rev. Jacob Hooper, who lived near New Salem, were missionaries to the Wyandot Indians, at Sandusky, in 1821.  The city of Findlay is named for one of his family.
     James Gilruth was a famous preacher of early days.  He was in this county in 1823.  He was a man of great strength and fought the rowdies at camp meetings.  He, as late as 1842, after the close of his ministry, moved to Davenport, Iowa, where his daughter opened a seminary.  The distinguished Dr. Kynett, who died a few days since in Philadelphia, married one of his daughters.
     Charles Waddle was 1814 to 1834 was a very distinguished preacher.  People came long distances to hear him at camp meeting, and the name of Charles Waddle, was famous in a large region.  He fell from grace and left the church.  The writer saw him a few years since in Pleasantville, where he lived a short time with his son, a broken down, sorrowful looking old man, unknown and unhonored in a region where his eloquence had once delighted thousands.
     Jacob Young was a distinguished preacher in this county in 1820, and about the year 1841 he closed his ministry here.  He was a good man and his life was an inspiration.  His oldest son, Wheeler Young, is the present sheriff of Franklin County, Ohio.
     Michael Ellis was an earnest, faithful and pious preacher, as early as 1817.  Thomas Batton, of the Boys' Industrial School, married a niece of his.

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     Leroy Swormstedt was a somewhat famous preacher in this county in 1825.  He was for many years manager of the Methodist Book Concern at Cincinnati.
     James Lewis was here as early as 1826.  His oldest son was born in Lancaster.  His sons were for many years and still are commission merchants of Cincinnati.
     Henry S. Fernandes was a preacher in this county in 1829.  He was in charge of the church at Athens in 1837, when the great revival of that year brought many students into the church, among them Rev. Joseph M. Trimble.  He spent his old age in Rushville, and made a very modest living selling goods.
     In 1830 one of the very distinguished and eloquent preachers as Samuel Hamilton.
     Thomas A. Morris
, afterwards bishop, preached in Lancaster one year (1820). Joseph M. Trimble, W. H. Sutherland, R. S. Foster, (now a bishop), M. Dustin, Colonel G. Moody and S. M. Merrill (now a bishop) were distinguished and eloquent Lancaster divines in their prime.   Talmadge Foster, son of the bishop, is an attorney of Cincinnati.
     Rev. Joseph Carper was once a distinguished preacher of this region.  He was a man of intellect, fine presence and a splendid speaker.  He died thirty or more years since in Perry County, Ohio.  His son, Homer Carper, was for many years a distinguished lawyer of Delaware, Ohio.  Homer once met a gentleman of Athens, who told him  that if he would go to Athens he could spend a month or two in that county and stop every night with a friend and admirer of his father.  Rev. Joseph Carper officiated at the wedding of the writer, 45 years ago.

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     David Young was another good man, who preached as early as 1826.  His home was in Zanesville.  He married the widow of John McIntire, founder of Zanesville, and son-in-law of Ebenezer Zane, founder of Lancaster, Ohio.
     Moses A. Milligen was a preacher here as late as 1841.  His brother, Lamsden P. Milligan of Indiana, was a Knight of the Golden Circle, tried and convicted of treason, and sent to the Ohio penitentiary.  The kind heart of Lincoln consented to his liberation.  The writer met him in Huntington, Indiana, a few years since.  He referred to Ohio and his early life there and spoke of his brother, Rev. Milligen.
The famous Peter Cartwright preached at the early camp meetings in this county.  He was a "rough diamond," but possessed many good qualities as a pioneer preacher.  He moved late in life to Illinois  and settled near Springfield.  Hi name is immortal, for it will be forever associated with Abraham Lincoln.  In 1847 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress, and Abraham Lincoln was his opponent and defeated him.
   His aged widow met with a singular death.  She was attending a quarterly meeting.  During the general class, she arose and gave her testimony in a clear but impassioned style, and after she had brought the people to a high state of excitement by her eloquence and zeal, she closed by saying, "I am waiting for the chariot," and immediately sank into her seat a corpse.  The preacher in charge arose and immediately exclaimed, "The chariot has come."  Hay tells this in his life of Lincoln, and it is corroborated by a minister still living, who was present at the time.



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