Old Friends Churches in Van Wert County

Last week I wrote about the Friends (Quaker) churches in northern Mercer County, as described by Gregory P. Hinshaw in his Brief History of the Churches of Van Wert Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Quakers).

Today, again using Hinshaw’s history, the Friends churches in neighboring Van Wert County.

This past week we took a little road trip to photograph some of those Van Wert County Friends churches but we did not have much success finding many of them. I had much better luck in Mercer County, probably because I know more about Mercer County and have more Mercer County resources here at home. However, I do not think there are as many old Friends’ meetinghouses that remain in Van Wert County as there are in Mercer County.

We found three Friends Churches in Van Wert County and one of those was not even on my list. We found it when we saw a sign in Van Wert directing us to it, otherwise we would not have known about it.

Van Wert, Ohio. (2021 photo by Karen)

Van Wert County’s Old Friends Churches of the Van Wert Quarterly Meeting:

Antioch Chapel Friends Church, Pleasant Township, Van Wert County. (2021 photo by Karen)

Antioch Chapel Friends Church was organized in about 1881, a year after some Methodists tried to transfer their building and memberships to the Society of Friends but were blocked by their M.E. pastor. The next year [1881] they organized as Pott’s Corners Regular Meeting under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting. Services were first held in the Pott’s Corner Schoolhouse, one mile west of the present site at the corner of Van Wert-Willshire and Richey Roads, 5 miles southwest of Van Wert (Pleasant Township). Services were moved to a Methodist church 3 or 4 years later. The current meetinghouse was dedicated in December 1891 and they changed their name to Antioch Chapel. Antioch Chapel Monthly Meeting was set up in 1923. The meetinghouse was remodeled in 1912, 1952-53, 1968-69, 1970-72, 1876, 1981, and 1984. [The sign on this church currently says Hope Chapel Friends of Hope.]    

Bethel Friends Church was organized before 1885 and an attempt was made to revive the meeting in 1905. A meetinghouse was completed in 1885, located near Black’s Crossing at the northwest corner of Section 12 (Union Township), 1 mile south and ½ mile west of Scott. [We drove around Section 12 and on Grove Church Road but did not see a church.] 

Black Creek Friends Church was established in May 1889 under Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting. A meetinghouse was completed that same year and was located near Murfreesburgh, Ohio. [I have not heard of Murfreesburgh and have no information about it.]

Delphos Friends Church was organized in 1879-80 as a Sunday School at Delphos. Van Wert Monthly Meeting granted a preparative meeting in 1880 when a meeting place was located, but it is not clear if this ever happened.

Friendstown Friends Church was established by 1897 and met in a schoolhouse. It was probably located in Van Wert County, likely under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting.

Middle Point Friends Church was set up in 1878 under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting and a meetinghouse was completed in Middle Point in 1878. In 1880 their membership was 183. Middle Point Monthly Meeting was set up in 1881 and was laid down in 1891. Middle Point Preparative Meeting was again attached to the Van Wert Monthly Meeting but was laid down in 1909 and the meetinghouse was sold.

Mount Pleasant Friends Church was set up under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting in 1880, with a membership of 50. Services were first held in a schoolhouse eight miles west of Van Wert and two miles northeast of Convoy and later northwest of Convoy, probably in Section 9 (Tully Township). A meetinghouse was built in 1883, located northeast of Convoy in Section 25. By 1903 the congregation moved to what is now the intersection of U.S. 30 and Payne Road in Section 14. The congregation was laid down in 1937 and the meetinghouse was razed during the construction of U.S. 30.

Prairie Creek Friends Church was established in 1892 under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting and was located nine miles north of Van Wert and three miles west of Scott (Union Township). The congregation was laid down in 1897. [We drove all around Section 10 but did not see a church.]  

Prodigal Home Friends Church was set up before 1880 under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting, named Prodigal Home at the request of a 70-year-old member. In 1880 their membership was 57. A meetinghouse that would seat 300 people was completed about 1879-80 and was located 6 miles southeast of Van Wert, in the southwest quarter of Section 32 on McCleery Road (Ridge Township). Their meetinghouse was destroyed by a storm in 1920 and the congregation was laid down. A cemetery was associated with the meeting but it is not clear where it was located.

Prospect Friends Church was established before 1884 under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting and was probably located in Van Wert County. A preparative meeting was established in 1888 but nothing more is known about this church.  

Trinity Friends Church, Van Wert. (2021 photo by Karen)

Trinity Friends Church, Van Wert. (2021 photo by Karen)

Trinity Friends Church was established in 1916 when several members withdrew from the First Friends Church in Van Wert and formed the Central Friends Mission, now called Trinity Friends Church. [This church is not detailed in Hinshaw’s history and is the church we found by accident.]

Van Wert First Friends Church. (2021 photo by Karen)

Cornerstone, Van Wert First Friends Church. (2021 photo by Karen)

Van Wert First Friends Church was organized by 32 people in 1873 under the Union Monthly Meeting of Friends, Miami County Ohio. A preparative meeting was established in 1874 and the Van Wert Monthly Meeting was set up in 1875, with a membership of 594 in 1880. This was the first Friends congregation in this area of Ohio. In 1873-74 a frame meetinghouse was constructed near the corner of Central Avenue and South Franklin Streets in Van Wert and was dedicated in 1874 by David Douglas. The meetinghouse was enlarged in 1878 and repaired in 1903. The present meetinghouse was built in 1908-09, was dedicated in 1910, and the original meetinghouse converted into a parsonage. A couple year later the yearly meeting laid down the Van Wert Monthly Meeting, attached the membership to the Rockford Monthly Meeting and took over the meetinghouse, but reestablished the Van Wert Monthly Meeting in 1918. First Friends church divided in 1916 when several members withdrew to form the Central Friends Mission, now Trinity Friends Church. [There is a white frame home south of the church, right of the church in the above photo, but I do not know if that is their parsonage or if it is the old meetinghouse.]

Van Wert, Ohio. (2021 photo by Karen)

Waltz Friends Church was set up in 1891 under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting. Members met in Waltz Schoolhouse, located in the northwest corner of Section 10 (Union Township). Nothing else is known about this congregation although it may have been the predecessor of the Prairie Creek Meeting, which was organized in the same neighborhood the next year.

West Van Wert Friends Church was organized about 1888 when a preparative meeting was set up under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting. A meetinghouse was built in 1888 in the northwest part of Van Wert, 1½ miles west of First Friends Church. The congregation was laid down in 1897.     

Zion Friends Church was established in 1879 under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting, with 57 members in 1880. The congregation took over a building that was originally constructed by the New Light Christian Church, located 4 miles northwest of Van Wert and 1 mile north of the railroad, on Liberty-Union Road, in the southeast corner of Section 33 (Union Township). The congregation was laid down in 1897. [We drove around Section 33 and on Liberty-Union Road but did not see an old church.] 

Main source of information: “A Brief History of the Churches of Van Wert Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)” by Gregory P. Hinshaw, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005.

 

Tombstone Tuesday-Ivy Symbol

Some tombstones are embellished with artwork that represents ivy leaves or ivy vines.

Ivy vine, Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima. (2013 photo by Karen)

Ivy is always green and will survive under harsh conditions. Because of this it is associated with immortality and fidelity.

Ivy, Greenbriar Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

Ivy clings to a support, which symbolizes friendship, attachment, and undying affection.

Ivy, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Ivy leaves may also symbolize longevity or the clinging memory of the deceased.

Ivy, North Grove Cemetery, Celina, Ohio. (2005 photo by Karen)

Ivy leaves have 3 points, which symbolizes the Trinity.

Ivy, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Ivy, with other tombstone artwork, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Ohio. (2006 photo by Karen)

Friends Churches in Northern Mercer County

One of my sources for last week’s blog post about the old Pleasant Hill Friends church in Dublin Township was a compilation of Friends churches in the Mercer-Van Wert County area by Gregory P. Hinshaw. His Brief History of the Churches of Van Wert Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) gives some very good information about these early local churches.

I was surprised to learn that there were five Friends Churches within a few miles of us. Two of the churches are still standing in their original locations, two have been moved to other locations, and one church has been taken down.

The following is a list of the Friends churches that were in our area of Mercer County, from Hinshaw’s compilation.

Former Charity Union Church, relocated to an Auglaize Co. church camp. (2004 photo by Karen)

Charity Union was organized in 1888 under the Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting and was first known as Mt. Charity Union Friends Church. The church was built in 1888 and was located at the corner of Denney and County Line Road, 5 miles southeast of Mendon (Union Township), on land donated by Hiram Wollam. The meetinghouse was remodeled in 1948. Worship services were discontinued in 1979 but Sunday School continued. The meeting was laid down in 1987 and the church was moved ½ mile east to a church camp in Auglaize County, where the church building still stands. This church is shown on the 1900 Union Township plat map.

Friends Chapel, Hopewell Twp. (2004 photo by Karen)

Friends Chapel was organized in 1884 from the Van Wert Monthly Meeting. Harvey and Allie Bergman held a revival service in March 1884 in the old United Brethern Church that was located across the road from the current Friends Chapel, at the corner of State Route 118 and Tama Road (Hopewell Township). Friends Chapel was organized soon after the revival and a meetinghouse was built. The current church building was built in 1912 and was remodeled in 1919, 1948, 1987, and 1993-94. It appears the church was called Hopewell Friends Church at one time. The church is still standing and Friends Chapel Cemetery is located next to the church. The church is shown on the 1888 and 1900 Hopewell Township plat maps. The U.B. Church mentioned above is shown on the 1876 Hopewell plat map.

Friends Home Church, Jefferson Twp.

Friends Home Church was organized under Middle Point Monthly Meeting in 1885, was under the Van Wert Monthly Meeting in 1887, and transferred to Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting in 1889. The present meetinghouse was constructed about 1898-1900 at the intersection of State Route 29 and Township Line Road, 5 miles west of Celina (Jefferson Township). The congregation withdrew from the Indiana Yearly Meeting in 1930, joined the Ohio Yearly Meeting in 1947, then joined the Central Yearly Meeting in 1956. They attempted to rename the church Happy Corner Church about 2003-04 but the Yearly Meeting would not allow it. However, the name Happy Corner appears above the doors on the front of the building. The building was remodeled in 2003-4 and is still standing. This church is not shown on any of the older Jefferson Township plat maps.

Liberty Chapel (background), Liberty Twp.

Liberty Chapel was established as Liberty Meeting in 1886 under the Middle Point Monthly Meeting. The congregation became part of Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting in 1891. The first meetinghouse was erected in 1889 and was located about 4½ miles east of Chattanooga on Tama Road (Liberty Township). A new meetinghouse was erected in about 1900 and remodeled in 1906. That structure was destroyed by fire in 1932 and new meetinghouse was erected in 1933. The congregation was laid down in 1970 but services may have continued after that. It may have been called Liberty Chapel Community Church at one time. The church was torn down several years ago, probably 20-30 years ago. Liberty Chapel Cemetery is located adjacent to where the church stood. Liberty Chapel was always a Friends church and was the oldest Friends church in the area, although they did not join a Monthly Meeting until 1886. It is shown on the 1876, 1888, and 1900 Liberty Township plat maps. [The above photo is the only photo I have of Liberty Chapel, although the church in the background was not the focal point of the photo. We drove past the old Liberty Chapel every Sunday on our way to church for years and I could kick myself for not taking a photo of it before it was taken down.]

Former Pleasant Hill & Friends Church, South Street, Rockford. (2021 photo by Karen)

Pleasant Hill Friends Church was established in about 1885 under the Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting. They first met in a log cabin and built a meetinghouse about 1888, located on Now Road between Purdy and Wilson Roads, about 2 miles southwest of Rockford (Dublin Township). The congregation was laid down in 1906 and the meetinghouse was moved to South Street in Rockford, where the building was used for the Friends Church there. An abandoned cemetery is reportedly located at the old Now Road site. Pleasant Hill Friends Church is shown on the 1900 Dublin Township plat map.

Rockford Friends Church was organized by Albert J. Furstenberger under the Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting in July 1906. They used the Pleasant Hill meetinghouse, which was moved into Rockford in 1906 and located on South Street. Rockford Monthly Meeting was established in 1912 and the meetinghouse was remodeled at that time. The monthly meeting was laid down in 1938 and the congregation closed about 1942. The meetinghouse was sold to Calvary U.B. Church in 1944 and was used by The Victory Life Tabernacle in the early 2000s. The building is still standing.

Four of the five church buildings mentioned above are still standing. Liberty Chapel was the oldest Friends church in the area and the only one whose meetinghouse is no longer standing. Below is a sketch of the church from a 1926 newspaper. The church was reportedly called Liberty Centre Chapel at the time of Mary Arabelle Secaur’s murder in 1872 and was the church she attended. She is buried in the cemetery there.

Liberty Centre Chapel, America’s Weekly, 1926.

It is not mentioned in Hinshaw’s compilation, but there was a Friends Church in Celina on West Fayette Street, between Mill and Brandon, east of the old railroad tracks. That church is no longer standing. 

Main source of information: “A Brief History of the Churches of Van Wert Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)” by Gregory P. Hinshaw, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005.

Tombstone Tuesday-Solomon Hartzog

Solomon Hartzog, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Solomon Hartzog, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Solomon Hartzog
Died
Nov. 7, 1848
aged 39 years
and 11 months

Solomon Hartzog was born 7 Dec 1808, as calculated from his tombstone, and was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. [1]

Solomon Hartzog married Susanna King on 1 April 1830 in Franklin County, Ohio. [2]

Solomon entered 2 parcels of land in Willshire Township in 1834, 110 acres in Section 34 and 200 acres in Section 35. [1]  

By 1840 the Solomon Hartzog family had moved to Willshire Township. They reportedly settled along the St. Marys River and his place was somewhat of a trading post. Their family, as enumerated in 1840: males: 1/under 5, 1/30-39; females: 2/under 5, 1/5-9, 1/20-29. [3]

Solomon was a judge in the October 1840 Willshire Township election. Other judges were Richard Pring and William Major. Clerks were Ansel Blossom and Henry Spillman. [1]  

Solomon’s wife Susanna died in 1842 and she is buried next to him in Zion’s cemetery.

Solomon and Susanna (King) Hartzog had the following children, although there may be more:
Mary A (1831-1876), married David Smith
Jesse (1833-1904), married Mary Ann Adams
Leah (1836-1921), married Henry Banta
King Solomon (1838-1863), married Polly Medaugh
Eliza J (1841-1880), married James C. Casto
Benjamin (1842-)

How creative to name their second son King Solomon. Think about it. A Biblical reference by using his mother’s maiden name.

When Solomon Hartzog and his wife Susanna died they left several young children. I often wonder where orphaned children went to live. In 1850 Hartzog siblings Leah (14), King Solomon (12), and Eliza (10) lived with their sister Mary, who was married to David Smith. [4]  

Inscribed on the bottom of Solomon’s tombstone:

Why do we mourn for dying friends
Or shake at deaths alarms:
Tis’ but the voice that Jesus sends
To call them to his arms.

[1] Sutton, History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Ohio, (1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, Indiana : Windmill Publications, Inc., 1991), 253, 239.

[2] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” Franklin Marriages, Vol. 2, p.245, no.1293, Solomon Heartzog & Susanna King, 1 Apr 1830; FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-L1TD-3?i=173&cc=1614804&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3AXD5H-LRP : viewed 26 Apr 2021).

[3] 1840 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.70, Solomon Hartgoy; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/ : viewed 26 Apr 2021).

[4] 1850 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.166B, dwelling 112, family 128, David Smith; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/ : viewed 26 Apr 2021).

Pleasant Hill Friends Church, Dublin Township

I think it is interesting to learn where old churches and schools used to be located. Some of those old frame structures were even moved to other locations later. I have been tracking down the history of once such local church.

Pleasant Hill Friends Church (Quaker) once stood a few miles from where we live and the structure was moved into Rockford in the early 1900s.

I first learned about this church from Annettia (Brubaker) Smith’s 1933 obituary:

Mrs. Philip Smith, aged 74, passed away at the home of her daughter Mrs. R.H. Lee, Rockford…Annettia, the daughter of Peter and Katherine Brubaker, was born in Liberty Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, September 2, 1858 and died January 8, 1933…In 1888 a meeting was started in the community in a log cabin and a Friends Church was organized and she became a charter member. In the following year a new meeting house was erected at what is known at the Willard Tingley farm and was named Pleasant Hill Friends Church. In the year 1906 the building was moved to Rockford and called the Rockford Friends Church of which she was a faithful member until her death, attending as long as her health permitted…Services were held in the Rockford Friends Church by Rev. O.H. Trader of the Upland, Indiana, with burial in the Riverside Cemetery… [1]

This church is not shown on the 1888 Dublin plat map but it is on Dublin’s 1900 plat map. According to the 1900 map it was located on the west side of Now Road, between Purdy and Wilson Roads, on the east side of the southeast quarter of Section 19. It simply says Church on the plat map and it was located on the W.B. Tingley farm.

Location of Pleasant Hill Friends Church, Dublin Township, Mercer County, Ohio.

The Pleasant Hill church building was moved to Rockford and used for services there. More information about the church from a history of Quaker churches in the Van Wert County area:

Pleasant Hill Friends Church (Mercer County): Pleasant Hill Friends Church was located two miles south of Rockford. The meetinghouse was located on Wilson Road in Section 19 of Dublin Township. The congregation was known to have existed in 1896 under Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting. The congregation was “laid down” in 1906. The meetinghouse was moved into Rockford in 1906, where it served as the Friends Church. The lot was sold in 1907. An abandoned cemetery is supposed to be located at the site. [2]

Rockford Friends Church (Mercer County): Rockford Friends Church resulted from tent evangelistic services in July 1906, under Albert J. Furstenberger. A meeting for worship and a preparative meeting were set up under Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting in 1906. A meetinghouse was completed at the northeast corner of South and West Streets in Rockford in 1906 at a cost of $1500. It was dedicated on December 16, 1906. The average attendance for the meeting in 1912 was 275. Rockford Monthly Meeting was established in 1912. The meetinghouse was remodeled in 1912 at a cost of $4800. It was rededicated on November 3, 1912 by Ira C. Johnson and Thomas Brown. The monthly meeting was laid down about 1938 and the congregation closed about 1942. The meetinghouse was sold to the Calvary U.B. Church in 1944. [2]

There are 2 WPA surveys of the Friends Church in Rockford, surveys that were taken during the depression era:

One WPA survey calls the church Friends Chapel and it was located on the corner of West and Front Streets in Rockford. According to this survey Eliza Frazier organized the church in 1885 and they used a nearby log cabin schoolhouse, situated opposite its present site, as a meeting place for about 6 months. The first church, a frame building, was built in 1886 and rebuilt and made larger in 1919. The first minister was Rev. Henry Bergman, serving from 1885-1887. At the time of the survey the church was still active, with Rev. Albert Bohnert, Route 3 Rockford, as their minister. The report mentioned two members at that time, Hiram Layman and Mrs. Phillip Swanders, both having addresses as Route 3, Rockford. The building was described as a frame structure with stained windows, a high tower, 1 bell, painted, with no inscriptions. [3] This survey appears to go all the way back to when the Pleasant Hill Friends Church was formed and located south of Rockford on Now Road.

The other WPA survey calls the church Friends Church, W. Pearl Street, Rockford, established in 1904 by Rev. Bertha Day. The congregation started with about 50 members and they used a building purchased from another organization. The building was a frame structure with a tower, bell, frosted windows, with no inscriptions. Rev. William Wright, Route 3 Rockford, was the last pastor, serving from 1907-1937. The church disbanded in 1937 and they had no pastor but still held Sunday School services for everyone. The survey mentions that Phillip Swanders was the custodian. [3]

I think they are describing the same church building and basically the same congregations, although the name of the church changed. Records show that the church was later part of the Indiana group and may have technically been considered a different church. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Swanders are both mentioned as custodians for both churches in the surveys.

Former Friends Church, South Street, Rockford, Ohio. (2021 photo by Karen)

Newspaper items tell that the church building was moved to Rockford and they were holding services there by November 1906. The 16 November 1906 edition of the Rockford Press has a church notice for the Friends Church’s Sunday 18 November service: Sunday School, 9:30; Class meeting, 19:30; Evangelist Service by Pastor J.J. Furstenberger, 7:00 p.m.; Prayer Meeting Wednesday evening. Preaching at Friends Chapel 10:30 a.m. and at Liberty at 2:30 Sunday. [4]

A month later, on 16 December 1906, the Friends church was dedicated:

DEDICATION
Friends Church Will be Dedicated Sunday Afternoon- Rev. Allen Jay Will Preach Sermon
The dedication of the Friends church in Rockford, will take place Sunday afternoon at 2:30, December 16th. Great preparations have been made for this event and a large crowd of Friends will be present. Rev. Allen Jay of Richmond, Ind., will preach the Dedicating Sermon. This church has sprung rapidly into existence. Last summer a successful tent meeting was held on the site. Then and there it was resolved to build a church. Later the Quaker Church south-west of town, which had been unused for a number of years, was secured and moved to the meeting place, and set upon a good cement block foundation. A cement block tower was built, new windows put in, and other improvements made both inside and out. The result is a church that adds much to the looks to South Street. The congregation is increasing steadily and the members feel much interest in the welfare of the church. Revival meeting is going on at Friends Church with much interest. House will not hold the congregations. They believe in old time religion that makes both soul and body happy. The pastor is being assisted this week by Evangelist K.C. McCollum of Geneva, Ind., Rev. Isaiah Jay, having gone to his home for a few days. [5] The Rockford Press had a follow-up piece about the dedication a week later.

Some information from deeds:

On 22 July 1889 the Trustees of the Friends Church in Dublin Township purchased 1½ acres of land from Daniel Pifer and his wife Julia A.E. for $150. The property was located 84 rods north of the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 19 and was 24 by 10 rods, the 24 rod length running north and south. [6]

On 30 August 1906, the Trustees of the Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends at Rockford (Trustees were Joseph W. Dysert, William Eichar, Marion Lovee, and Warren Gale) purchased lot 19 in the Davis Addition, Rockford, from Joseph Rutledge and his wife Emma A. for $200. [7]

The frame church was probably moved to Rockford about this time and the country property was sold to farmer Tingley a couple years later.

On 11 June 1910 Joseph W. Dysert, Trustee of Friends Chapel, sold the title and property interest of the Pleasant Hill congregation (called the Pleasant Hill lot) to William B. Tingley for $75. The deed mentions that Friends Chapel was organized before 1907 as Pleasant Hill church and they owned property and held church services near Rockford. On 3 May 1907, at a regular meeting of the Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting, Trustee Dysert, being the only surviving trustee of the Pleasant Hill Church property, was authorized to sell the property. Money from the sale was to be used under the direction of the Monthly Meeting of Friends Chapel. Trustee Dysert was also authorized to pay the expenses of removing the dead buried on the property to the Rockford Cemetery. [8]

In 1936 the church was called the Friends Church at Rockford. R.W. Wright was their pastor and R.H. Lee was their Sunday School Superintendent. [9] Mrs. R.H. Lee was the daughter of Annettia (Brubaker) Smith, as noted in Smith’s obituary at the beginning of this blog post.

On 30 October 1942 the Indiana Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, an Indiana Corporation (property owners of the discontinued Rockford Friends Church) sold their Rockford property to the trustees of the Church of the United Brethern in Christ, Old Constitution (Trustees were Robert Lee, Joseph Purdy, D.H. Dietrich, C.B. Koeppel, and Ford Koeppel) for $1. Hiram Lehman was clerk of the Friends Chapel Monthly Meeting and Nellie Buck was their recording clerk. [10]   

Rockford’s Souvenir Journal, compiled for their 1970 Sesquicentennial, also bears this out and indicates that the Church of the United Brethern in Christ’s church building, located on the corner of South and West Streets, was purchased from the Quaker (Friends) Church about 1944.

The WPA surveys are a little confusing, but I believe that they both refer to only one church that probably changed its conference affiliation in the early 1900s and changed its name. Pleasant Hill became Friends Chapel and they became part of the Indiana Conference. The church later became Friends Church.

There is still a frame church on South Street in Rockford and I assume it the same old frame church that was built in the late 1880s and moved into Rockford in 1906. I do not know if the church is still used for worship but around 2005 the church was the Victory Life Tabernacle. The building is well maintained.

I also wonder about the old cemetery that was once associated with Pleasant Hill Church. Was is abandoned or were the bodies moved?

[1] Rockford Press, Rockford, Ohio, 12 Jan 1933.

[2] “A Brief History of the Churches of Van Wert Quarterly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)” by Gregory P. Hinshaw, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005.

[3] WPA Church Survey, The Ohio Historical Records Survey, Hayes Presidential Library, Fremont, Ohio; Friends Chapel and Friends Church.

[4] Rockford Press, Rockford, Ohio, 16 Nov 1906.

[5] Rockford Press, Rockford, Ohio, 14 Dec 1906.

[6] Daniel Pifer to Friends Church in Dublin Township Trustees, 22 Jul 1889, Mercer County, Ohio, Deeds, Vol. 54:472.

[7] Joseph Rutledge to Friends Chapel, 30 Aug 1906, Mercer County, Ohio, Deeds, Vol. 88:95-96, no.2006.

[8] Joseph W. Dysert, Trustee of Friends Chapel, to William B. Tingley, 11 Jun 1910, Mercer County, Ohio, Deeds, Vol. 90:555-56, no. 1449.

[9] Rockford Press, Rockford, Ohio, 19 Mar 1936 & 31 Dec 1936.

[10] Indiana Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to Trustees of the United Brethern in Christ Old Constitution, 30 Oct 1942, Mercer County, Ohio, Deeds, Vol. 138:59, no.10070.