Transcribed by Helen Rosenstein Wolf
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES.
The First—The South Presbyterian—The Second—The North Presbyterian—Memorial Church—Woodland Avenue Church—Euclid Street Church.
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN.
This church was formed on the 19th day of September, 1820, in the old log court house, then standing on the northwest corner of the public square. Rev. Randolph Stone was the first minister. The number of members at that time was fourteen. The services were conducted in that building for the next two years, until the brick academy was built on St. Clair street, the present site of the Firemen’s headquarters. The second floor was arranged for a place of worship for this society, and occupied by it until 1829.
It then removed to the third story of a brick building standing on Superior street, on the site of the American House, and there remained until the basement of the first stone church was completed. Rev. William McLean succeeded Mr. Stone as a supply in January, 1822, and preached through that year one third of the time. In September following, Rev. S. G. Bradstreet was engaged to preach, and continued his services until January 21, 1830. From that time until July, 1831, the pulpit was vacant, except for a few months, when it was supplied by Rev. John Sessions. Rev. Samuel Hutchins took charge of the congregation July 21, 1831, and remained with them until 1833. He was succeeded by Rev. John Keep who remained to preach her till April 26, 1835. Thus, for a period of fifteen years this congregation was without a pastor, and depended for its public exercises entirely upon “stated supplies.” Since that time down to the present date, it has had regularly settled pastors without any intermission.
In the winter of 1835, Rev. S. C. Aiken, D. D., was called as first pastor of this church. He accepted the call, and was installed on the 24th of November of the same year. Dr. Aiken’s active pastorate continued until March, 1861, since which time he has been pastor-emeritus. On August 12, 1858, Rev. William H. Goodrich, D. D., was installed as associate pastor. He continued to perform the duties of associate and sole pastor until the year 1872, when failing health compelled his resignation. On the retirement of Mr. Goodrich the present pastor, Rev. H. C. Haydn, D. D., was installed associate pastor, and as such associate and subsequently sole pastor, has continued to the present time.
On the 5th of January, 1827, the congregation was regularly incorporated, twenty-eight persons constituting the “First Presbyterian Society of Cleveland,” and the first annual meeting was held on the first Monday of April of that year, when Samuel Cowles was chosen president, D. H. Beardsley, secretary, and P. M. Weddell, treasurer.
The first church building was completed and dedicated February 26, 1834. This was the “Old Stone Church,” which stood until 1853. In the spring of 1853, the “Stone Church” was demolished to make room for a new church, which was soon burned down, and this was immediately replace by the present church edifice, which occupies the same lot.
The “Old Stone Church” was eight feet long by fifty feet wide. The present Stone church is seventy-two by one hundred and eighteen feet in size, and the chapel fifty-five by seventy feet; cost, about seventy thousand dollars. This church may truly be called the mother of all the Presbyterian churches in Cleveland.
The members now number seven hundred and forty-six, and her Sabbath school five hundred and thirty-two, including officers, teachers and scholars.
The present officials are Rev. Hiram C Haydn, D. D.; pastor; Rev. Samuel C. Aiken, D. D., pastor-emeritus; George Mygatt, John A. Foot, Edwin H. Merrill, Reuben F Smith, Francis C. Keith, George H. Ely, Henry M. Flagler, Henry N. Raymond, Edwin C. Higbee, Lyman J. Talbot, elders; L. J. Talbot, clerk of session; George Mygatt, treasurer of the church. Officers of the society: Samuel Williamson, president; James F. Clark, Amasa Stone, G. E. Herrick, George H. Ely, George H. Burt, trustees; Charles H. Clark, secretary Charles Whitaker, treasurer.
The charities of the church and society for the last three years, not including society expenses, have been as follows: In 1875, $14,003; in 1876, $11,473; in 1877, $12,462.
SOUTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
The first sermon heard in that part of Cleveland originally known as Newburg was preached in July, 1802, by Rev. Joseph Badger, an ex-soldier of the revolution and a Presbyterian missionary to the far west. The preacher delivered his discourse under a tree upon the open highway, and subsequently wrote that “the people of Newburg were opposed to piety and gloried in their infidelity.”
It is not know that there was any Presbyterian preaching in the town until 1821, when occasional services in the house of Noah Graves were enjoyed. Those continued from time to time until 1832. On the 31st of December in that year a church was organized in Noah Graves’ house by rev. David Peet of Euclid, assisted by rev. Harvey Lyon. It was Congregational in form, although attached to the Cleveland presbytery. Eleven persons joined the church by letter, to-wit: Edward and Theodosia Taylor, James and Sarah Ashwell, James and Elizabeth Southern, John and Martha Stair, John and Amy Righter, and Elizabeth Derrick. Of these, the only ones known to be living are Mr. and Mrs. Stair, now residing in Brecksville.
After the church organization a temporary house of worship was obtained by fitting up a carpenter’s shop on what is now Miles avenue. Rev. Simeon Woodruff of Strongsville used to preach occasionally, as did others, and in 1835 Rev. John Keys was obtained as stated supply. Rev. Matthew A. Fox succeeded Mr. Keyes, and ruing Mr. Fox’s ministry—in June, 1840—the church became Presbyterian in form and was attached to the Wooster presbytery.
In 1841 and 1842 a framed church-building was erected on the hill (near where the Insane Asylum stands) upon a lot donated by Judge Hosmer. This church, which was dedicated in July, 1842, was the first house of worship erected in Newburg, and now, standing upon the corner of Sawyer and Harvard streets, is know as Grace Church (Protestant Episcopal). In 1869 the society built their present fine brick church which cost $15,000.
Rev. Mr. Fox’s successors in the pulpit were Revs. Wm. McReynolds, James Straw, Erastus Chester, D. W. Childs, Wm. C. Turner, Joseph S. Edmunds, Wm. C. Turner (second term) and E. Curtis—the latter who is the present pastor, having entered upon his charge in 1867. The membership of the church now aggregates two hundred and seventy and its trustees are John Davidson, Harvey H. Pratt and H. B. Marble.
This society was organized November 5, 1843, with eleven members, in the Hancock block, at the corner of superior and Seneca streets. Messrs. I. Campbell, J. Dodds and D. Pollock were chosen ruling elders.
In about two or three years a house of worship was built, at a cost of one thousand eight hundred dollars, at the southwest corner of Michigan and Seneca streets. In 1853 the present church edifice, which is of brick, was built on Erie street, near Huron street, at a cost of thirteen thousand dollars. The audience room contains five hundred sittings.
The congregation is understood to be an outgrowth of occasional visits and services rendered by Rev. Mr. McLaron, a minister of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church in New York. The permanent organization was accomplished after a few months’ service, by Rev. J. W. Logue, a minister of the Associate Presbyterian church, who, while giving part of his time to Northfield, Ohio, where he yet preaches, continued also to minister in Cleveland until 1849, when he was followed by Rev. J. McGill, who resigned the pastorate in 1861. In 1862-3 the pulpit was occupied by Rev. J. S. McConnell. In January, 1866, Rev. D. M. B. McLean became pastor, and labored as such until November, 1870. In November, 1872, Rev. H. A. McDonald came to the pastorate, which he resigned in 1875. In January, 1876, Rev. J. L. Aten, the present pastor, entered upon the charge, who reports a membership of one hundred and eighty, and a Sabbath school of one hundred.
The official members, associated with the pastor, are Messrs. D. Pollock, R. S. Murray, A. Purdie, Wm. Pope, T. Marshall, P. Begg, M. Rutherford, Dr. J. F. Gibson, D. Renton, D. Fleming and Wm. Latimer.
THE SECOND PRESBYTERIAN.
This church was organized on the evening of June 12, 1844, under an old charter from the legislature of the State of Ohio, dated April 3, 1837, entitled “An act to incorporate the Second Presbyterian Society in Cleveland, in the county of Cuyahoga;” the officiating minister being the Rev. S. C. Aiken, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, to which the great majority of the members had belonged. Fifty-eight members constituted the church—fifty-three uniting by letter from the First Church and five from other churches.
The building first occupied stood nearly upon the site of the present jail, on the lot west of the county court-house, on Rockwell street. It was used until a larger church edifice on Superior street was erected, and its basement first occupied in the autumn of the year 1851. The old building was purchased by the Second Baptist Society and removed to the corner of Ohio and Erie streets, where it now stands.
The first officers of the church were as follows: David Long, Henry Sexton, Jeremiah Holt, Eli P. Morgan, Jesse F. Taintor and Samuel H. Mather, ruling elders; William A. Otis, T. P. Handy and S. H. Fox, deacons.
The following have been the pastors of the Second Church: Rev. Sherman B. Canfield, D. D.; from 1844 to 1854. Rev. James Eells, D. D., from 1855 to 1860; and again from 1869 to 1873. Rev. Theron H. Hawks, D. D., from 1861 to 1868. Rev. Charles S. Pomeroy, D. D., the present pastor, was installed June 22, 1873.
Upon the 9th of October, 1876, the church building upon Superior street was entirely consumed by fire, excepting the chapel in the rear, which being repaired, sufficed for the social services of the congregation and the home Sabbath school. The Sunday services were removed to the opera house on Euclid avenue for the term of six months, and thereafter to Case hall. A plot of ground, one hundred and five feet by two hundred feet, was purchased at the corner of Prospect street and Sterling avenue, and on the 12th of July, 1877, the corner-stone of the new church edifice was laid. The building is now complete and was dedicated October 27, 1878.
It is a massive, dignified and beautiful building, in the Norman style of architecture, constructed of cream colored stone. A large square tower, with projecting turrets, stands at the corner, and a chapel is attached, with every appliance for Sunday school, lecture room and social parlors. The pews are in concentric circles, and the aisles radiate from the center at the pulpit, the floor gently rising towards the circumference. The seating capacity is about thirteen hundred.
The membership of the Second church numbers about six hundred and forty communicants. Two Sabbath schools are sustained, with more than five hundred scholars, and the various missionary and benevolent societies are in a healthy and efficient condition. The present officers of the church and congregation are as follows: Rev. Charles S. Pomeroy, D.D.; pastor; Leverett Alcott, E. I. Baldwin, Martin L. Brooks, Dan P. Eells, Erastus F. Gaylord, Truman P. Handy, John Mansfield, Samuel H. Mather, Edwin R. Perkins, ruling elders; O. J. Benham, Charles W. Chase, Charles J. Dockstader, George G. Johnson, Charles H. Randall, Henry S. Whittlesey, deacons; the president of the society is Selah Chamberlain; the treasurer, C. L. Lathrop; the secretary, Charles W. Chase; the trustees are H. B. Hurlbut, J. J. G. Hower, A. K. Spencer, S. H. Benedict, J. H. Morley, E. I. Baldwin.
EUCLID AVENUE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
This church was organized on the 25th of January, 1853, in the lecture-room of the First Presbyterian Church. The original members were thirteen in number, all received by letters from the First Church. On February 1, 1854, Zalmon Fitch and Elisha Taylor were elected the first board of elders, and on July 5, 1854, Augustus Fuller and Joseph Perkins were elected as deacons. Dr. F. S. Slosson was the first chorister, and continued in that position for six years.
Rev. Joseph B. Bittinger was called to the pastorate of the church on May 9, 1853. He began his labors on the 18th of September, 1853, and was installed on the 26th of April, 1854. His pastorate continued until September 22, 1862.
The second pastor, Rev. John Monteith, was installed on June 10, 1863, the pulpit having been supplied in the interval mainly by Rev. Dr. Aiken, pastor of the First Church. Mr. Monteith’s pastoral relations were dissolved on the 2nd day of October, 1866.
The third pastor was Rev. Oxman A. Lyman, who was called on the 17th of February, 1868, and installed on the 19th of May, 1868. His pastorate continued until his death, January 19, 1872.
The fourth pastor was Rev. Charles H. Baldwin, who was called on February 18, 1873; installed April 20, 1873, and whose pastoral relation was dissolved on January 19, 1874.
The fifth pastor was Rev. W. H. Jeffers, D. D., who was called October 26, 1874; installed on May 9, 1875, and resigned his charge on May 8, 1877.
The present pastor, Rev. J. L. Robertson, was called October 15, 1877, and installed December 26, 1877.
The present membership of the church is three hundred and twenty-one. The average attendance at the Sabbath school for the past year has been two hundred and five.
The present officers of the church are Rev. J. L. Robertson, pastor; Joseph Perkins, J. B. Meriam, W. S. C. Otis, Augustus Fuller, H. J. Herrick, M. D., H. R. Hatch, E. P. Morgan and Jay Odell, elders; L. F. Lyman, and Geo. W. Stockley, deacons; Joseph Perkins, superintendent of Sabbath school; C. H. Fuller, assistant superintendent.
About December 27, 1851, a lot for a church edifice was bought on the corner of Brownell and Euclid streets for four thousand five hundred dollars, and in August, 1852, the corner-stone of the new edifice was laid. The lecture-room was first opened for public service on May 29, 1853, and the main building on April 9, 1854. Total cost about sixty thousand dollars.
The first officers of the society were Zalmon Fitch, president; George Worthington, F. S. Slosson and Elisha Taylor, trustees. The present officers are J. B. Meriam, president; Joseph Perkins, E. P. Morgan, L. J. Burgess, B. F. Rose and G. W. Pack, trustees; L. J. Lyman, treasurer; G. W. Stockley, secretary.
THE WELSH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
on St. Clair street, was organized in 1866 by Rev. John Moses, after whom Rev. Daniel Davis was called to the charge and remained therein until1868. Since Mr. Davis’ time the church has been shorn, by removals, of much of its strength. Originally including a membership of sixty, it possessed seventy members in its greatest prosperity, but has now declined to twenty. It has had no settle pastor since 1868, and continues to depend upon occasional supplies.
NORTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
This church had its origin in a mission work of the First Presbyterian Church. That work began on St. Clair street near the corner of Lyman in 1859, as a Sunday school, under the leadership of Charles Noble, Esq. Occasional preaching services were held at the Sunday school room, but it was not until November, 1865, that regular worship was maintained there.
In January, 1866, Rev. Aaron Peck, Jr., was engaged as supply, and subsequently ordained as an evangelist. During the year 1866 the sum of eight thousand dollars was subscribed for the erection of a chapel on Merchant (now Aaron) street, which building was completed and occupied early in the following year at an entire expense of ten thousand dollars. Mr. Peck’s ministry continued until October, 1867. Rev. B. P. Johnson succeeded him, and remained about seven months.
Rev. D. W. Sharts, after four months interim, succeeded, beginning his labors September 6, 1868, and continuing as supply until August 28, 1870. During the last months of his ministry an important enlargement was made at the rear of the church, as well as the erection of a gallery at the front of the audience room.
Messrs. Peck, Johnson and Sharts were missionaries employed by the mother church to do the work of evangelists in that part of the city. In 1870, September 19th, the separate ecclesiastical life of the North Presbyterian Church began, while it was still financially dependent upon the Presbyterian Church Union of Cleveland.
At its organization thee were fifty-one members. James Gukie and George Lewellyn were elected elders, and W. W. Worswick, deacon. The articles of faith of the First Presbyterian Church were adopted as those of this one.
Rev. Anson Smyth, D. D., immediately undertook the supply of this young church, and January 5, 1871, he received a call to be its pastor. He held the call, and continued his charge as pastor elect for one year, when he refused the call and preached his last discourse as supply December 31, 1871. A few months of candidates followed. In May, 1872, Rev. H. R. Hoisington began his labors in the church as pastor elect, and was installed June 2d of the same year; he is yet its pastor.
Its Sabbath school has been a great work of this Christian enterprise. During the superintendency of Mr. T. D. Crocker the school reached an enrollment of one thousand. Its present enrollment is five hundred. The present superintendent is Mr. L. J. Talbot. The Young Ladies’ Society of the First Presbyterian Church defray the expenses of the Sabbath school.
The officers of the church at present are Rev. H. R. Hoisington, pastor; W. W. Worswick, G. S. Egts, J. L. Young, George Lewellyn, elders; J. P. Sutton and J. B. Egts, deacons; J. P. Dutton, J. B. Egts, J. N. Goulding, W. C. B. Richardson, trustees.
MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
The project of a new Presbyterian church in the city of Cleveland, to be located in the vicinity of Case avenue, had its origin among the members of the Euclid street Presbyterian church, under the pastorate of the late Dr. O. A. Lyman. Early in 1868 a subscription was opened among members of that church, payable to Truman Hastings, R. R. Hatch and George L. Ingersoll, in trust for the purchase or lease of a suitable lot and the erection of a chapel. With the fund raised, nearly two thousand dollars, a lot was bought on the corner of Sibley street and Case avenue, and a wood chapel erected thereon, and occupied as a Sunday school late in that year. Services were held there until a permanent organization was effected, conducted by Rev. James A. Skinner.
On the first Sabbath of September, 1870, a meeting of the congregation was called at the close of the morning service, when a committee was appointed and authorized to request the presbytery of Cleveland to appoint a commission to make the necessary investigations, and if practicable to organize a Presbyterian church in this place, on the first Sabbath of October following. Upon the application of that committee, the presbytery appointed the Rev. O. A. Lyman, Rev. James Eells, Rev. E. B. Raffensperger and Elder George Mygatt a commission for that purpose.
On the second day of October, 1870, the commission met in the Case avenue chapel, and in the presence of a large congregation proceeded to organize, in due form, the Memorial Presbyterian church of Cleveland, Ohio.
Rev. Mr. Skinner continued to labor in connection with this church until December, 1873. On the 22d of December, 1873, the church issued its first pastoral call, sending the same to the Rev. Francis A. Horton, then pastor of the first Reformed (Dutch) church, of Catskill, New York. He began his labors in this church on the second Sabbath of February, 1874, and was installed March 22d following.
The church has a membership of two hundred and thirty-nine, with the following officers: Rev. Francis A. Horton, pastor; W. H. Van Tine, John C. Grant, John C. Preston, Donly Hobart, Alfred Adams, Truman Hastings, elders; Henry T. Collins, deacon; Mrs. Julia L. Ozanne, Mrs. Mary W. Hastings, Mrs. Emily A. Horton, deaconesses; Walter R. Austin, auditor; Truman Hastings, clerk.
THE WOODLAND AVENUE CHURCH.
This society was organized in its chapel parlor, on the 18th of April, 1872, nearly one-half of the original members coming from the Second Presbyterian church. Its first officers were as follows: Elders, Solon L. Severance, Ira Lewis, Marcus W. Montgomery and Henry M. James; deacons, John J. Davis and William W. Robinson. Its first pastor was Rev. Edward P. Gardner, who was with the church from the time of its organization till April, 1876. After an interval of a year and a half he was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. S. L. Blake. The church was organized with fifty-four members. At the close of the first year there were 175; second, 220; third, 251; fourth, 260; fifth, 266; sixth, 310. The present membership is about 325.
The Sunday school, under the superintendence of E. P. Hunt, has been one of the most prominent features of the church work and is the largest in the city. In April 1873 its membership was 398; in 1874, 484; in 1875, 558; in 1876, 884; in 1877, 955, and in April last 1058.
The chapel was built before the church was formed, and was dedicated in May, 1872. It is of brick, two stories in height, having parlors below and an audience room above with a capacity for seating about four hundred. During the last year the society erected the new church edifice, a substantial brick structure, with a seating capacity for about one thousand two hundred persons, and containing one of the best audience-rooms in the State. The resent property of the church is free from encumbrance and is worth about fifty thousand dollars.
The church is admirably located, on the corner of Woodland avenue and Kennard street. The present officers are as follows: Pastor, Rev. S. l. Blake, installed December 12, 1877; elders, Solon L. Severance, William Taylor, John A. Seaton, Henry M. James, Albert H. Massey and John Buchan;; deacons, J. Coleman Gates, Albert P. Massey, Darwin e. Wright, George W. Crossett, Charles H. Strong and Abraham H. Shunk.
*This is not of the same denomination as the other Presbyterian churches, but as it is the only one of its kind in the city we have classified it with them.
History of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Part Second: The City of Cleveland, The Presbyterian Churches, compiled by Crisfield Johnson, Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1879, pages 255-258.