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A. S. Hayden
Early History of the Disciples (1875)


C H A P T E R   X X I I.

Churches founded in Chagrin Falls--In North Eaton--And in Youngstown.


I N the winter of 1831-2, A. Bentley moved from Warren to the vicinity of the Falls. The primeval forest reigned on every side. He began to collect the people in the log school-house near by, and to teach them the gospel. It was not long before thirty persons agreed to unite as a church of Jesus Christ. Bentley was the natural leader and overseer, and for one year no other was selected. Then Gamaliel Kent was appointed to assist. The first deacons were Zadoc Bowell and Ralph Russell, both of them disciples before coming to that community.

      The church met in different places a few years, mostly in the Griffith school-house. One day a citizen of the Falls said to Elijah Hill, "Why do not some of your men come and preach here at the Falls?" Hill replied, "We have a man who will preach from your hay-scales, and pay you as much for the use of them as the weighing would come to while he occupies them." This brought Wm. Hayden with the gospel into Chagrin Falls. The news of the singular appointment spread rapidly. There were no reserved seats in that place of assembling. The day came, [438] and with it the audience and the preacher. He went in as a standard-bearer; and it was not long before the meetings were located permanently at the Falls.

      It must not be supposed this occupancy was a peaceable possession. Asbury Seminary, in charge of the Methodist Conference, located there, was flourishing, with Prof. Williams at its head, and its spirit was bold and aggressive. No marvel that the leaders of that church looked with jealousy on this effort of the disciples to plant there the church of Christ, as an intrusion on their grounds. A correspondence grew up between Dr. Halleck of the M. E. Church, and Elder Bentley, which passed over into the hands of J. Hartzel, of Warren, and resulted in a discussion between Elder J. J. Stedman and Rev. John Locock, of the Methodist church, and Jonas Hartzel and A. S. Hayden, on the part of the disciples. It began November 14, 1843, on the following questions:

      "1. Do the Scriptures teach that to a believing penitent, baptism is a condition of the remission of sins?

      "2. Do the Scriptures teach that immersion is the mode of baptism?

      "3. Do the Scriptures teach that infants are subjects of baptism ?"

      Revs. Stedman and Locock denied the first two, and affirmed the last. Hartzel and Hayden brought evidence in affirmation of the first two, and against the last. Three days and nights were spent on the first proposition; two days and nights on the second. At this stage of the interview, Messrs. Stedman and Locock plead to be released from the discussion of [439] the remaining proposition; but this not being acceded to by the disciples, they consented to spend one day and night on it which was done and the debate closed.

      By this discussion all the religious elements of the town were stirred to their profoundest depths. The relative preponderance of the two people most directly concerned in it was soon greatly changed. Asbury Seminary was seized with the symptoms of decay; ere long it was abandoned, and the ample edifice became the High School building of the town. Still it must be owned that many causes often concur to affect mutations, and to bring on the ruin of human enterprises.

      There was no lack of home effort by the whole church to hold every foot of ground which the cause of the union of Christians on Bible grounds was gaining. The system of evangelizing, which then prevailed--or rather the custom, for system there was none--brought occasional help from abroad. Bentley was still among and over them. Wm. Hayden frequently threw in appointments, though he was chiefly on the wing abroad. Considerable ability to teach and exhort by the Kents, Pulsifers, Hubbells, and Collins, sustained the interest of the meetings. The cause gained much credit and respect by a prepared course of lectures on the evidences of Christianity, delivered in a large hall in 1849, by Isaac Errett with his known ability. This course had become necessary to meet the sophistries of a subtle infidelity, which had grown defiant in the village. These lectures planted the defense of the Bible on principles which distinguish the Christianity of [440] revelation from all traditions and appendages to it, and they were a direct auxiliary to the aim of the church--to restore Bible Christianity to the world.

      For several years skepticism brooded over this town, and blighted every thing. It became bellicose, and the traveling emissaries of no faith, no soul, and no God, were encouraged there by the men who scoffed at the faith of Christ and the hopes of immortality. About this time Prof J. A. Garfield, of the Eclectic Institute, was preaching in this church. Mr. Denton, from Boston, a man of marked ability and a practiced debater, was lecturing at Newton Falls, and was soon to march with threatening portent on Chagrin Falls. A discussion was agreed upon between him and Garfield. The power in debate, and the familiar knowledge of the whole field of religious learning involved in this discussion, displayed by Garfield, was a surprise to every one except his most intimate friends. His complete mastery of his opponent was acknowledged; and all the religious bodies of the town rejoiced in the victory. This was in December, 1858.

      Many times the great tent meetings of the county of Cuyahoga have been held with this church, both exhibiting and cultivating a hospitality worthy of great praise. By them the reformatory principles urged by the disciples won a favorable hearing by great multitudes. The first one was held there in September, 1847; again in 1856, attended by Mr. Campbell, J. O. Beardslee, and the preachers generally. Again in 1864, attended by Prof. Loos; also in 1870.

      The strength of this church, as every other, has [441] ever been the home staff. Her overseers were appointed in the following order: Adamson Bentley, in 1831; Gamaliel Kent, 1832; Fuller Pulsifer, 1842; Jedidiah Hubbell, 1845; William Hayden, 1848; King Collins, 1860; J. G. Coleman, 1863; A. Burns, 1869. The following brethren have served as deacons: Zadoc Bowell, Ralph Russell, Amos Boynton, Jedidiah Hubbell, Dr. W. S. Hamlin, Lewis Perkins, King Collins, L. B. McFarland, William Collins, Wallace Collins, Hiram Polly, George King, and Ransom Bliss. Sisters Jennie Burns, Louisa Tucker, and Calista McClintock, are deaconesses of the church.

      The following brethren have labored in the congregation either as pastors, or as stated supplies: Adamson Bentley, William Hayden, Dr. W. S. Hamlin, W. T. Horner, J. A. Garfield, J. H. Rhodes, B. A. Hinsdale, Sterling McBride, R. G. White, W. S. Hayden, J. G. Coleman, and A. Burns.

      As transient preachers: A. B. Green, J. H. Jones, B. F. Perky, J. Hartzel, Benj. Franklin, F. M. Green, R. Moffett,. and C. J. Bartholomew.

      Present number of members, one hundred and twenty-five; the highest number at any one time. The whole number from 1831 to 1875, about four hundred and fifty.

      This church has a saintly record. Under the "green, turfy grave-yard," repose the remains of Bro. and Sister Bentley, of many gracious and godly memories; of the untiring Wm. Hayden, and five of his children; of both King and Wallace Collins, and, lately, of the manly Kent, and a large number [442] resides, who have joined the worshiping host on high.


      In North Eaton, as in Philippi, the cause sprang into existence through the piety of a devoted woman. This was Mrs. Chloe Tucker, who moved from Windham to Eaton in 1837. Visiting in Windham in 1840, she strongly entreated Bro. M. J. Streator, a young preacher of that church, to come to Eaton and unfurl there the standard of the cross. He was soon in those new settlements. He writes:

      "I went to North Eaton in October, 1840, and found the welcome I expected from Mr. Tucker and his family. Hot tears crowd to my eyes while I remember their earnest hospitality. And when I last was at their old home they had gone from 'this low ground where sorrows grow.' Meetings had been announced at the brick school-house. Many came from various motives; but few, I think, expected to hear or learn their duty. The meeting resulted in the conversion of two sons of Mrs. Tucker. Reuben F. Tucker was the first in Eaton to obey the gospel upon apostolic conditions. The pious mother's prayers were now partially answered; but the work did not end with these."

      In March of 1841, he was again on the ground. This effort was attended with farther success. The following incident which I give in the words of the persevering preacher, will show the dainty fingered heroes of modern warfare the tack and toil of those hardy times: "A slough of eighty rods in width lay between the settlement in which the Tuckers resided and the place of meeting. The vigorous crossed this bed of mud in the dark and on foot as best they could. But Bro. R. F. Tucker, desiring that the rest should hear, placed them in a strong wagon, [443] and with two yokes of oxen for a locomotive, plunged in, and finding stations once in every two rods, he brought them through! I never saw a brighter example of the 'pursuit of knowledge under difficulties!'"

      Chester Cooley came into Eaton from Shalersville in 1837. His parents and some of the family followed. At Bro. Streator's second visit, he made an appointment at the center of the town, then scarcely inhabited, and calling at Mrs. Cooley's, invited her son Lathrop, then a youth, to go with him to meeting. He did so, and yielding to the claims of the gospel, he was introduced by baptism into the kingdom. His subsequent career of public life is well known in north-eastern Ohio. Immediately on his conversion, his heart was opened to speak for the Master. He entered Bethany College, but baffled by the want of funds in his desires for a training in college, he fell back on his own resources. He erected for himself a neat cabin in the grove, where he instituted his own college--himself the pupil and the professor. "There," said his brother Chester, thirty years afterward, "when I retired at night his light was still burning, and in the morning at first rising, his lamp was already lighted." By such diligence in study, his "profiting" became manifest. The church which heard him for his encouragement, soon heard him for their profit. After a time, William Hayden discovering his gifts, took him in company in his travels. He received great advantage from the counsel and experience of the older workman. He has traveled extensively in preaching the glad tidings, and has been equally useful as pastor [444] of the churches in North Royalton, Cleveland, Painesville, and Akron.

      Bro. Streator came again in October, 1842, and gathered the disciples, numbering twenty-five, into church relations. J. D. Swift was appointed the overseer, and J. A. Ferguson deacon. From that day the church has never ceased its meetings. The zeal of the new converts was tempered into prudence by some older members, among whom stands brother Ferguson, of age and experience in the gospel. The brethren there cherish the memory of the wise and faithful labors of Bro. M. J. Streator with warm gratitude. A brother writes: "Bro. Streator continued his visits, laboring with a zeal and earnestness rarely equaled. This dear brother must ever live in sweet recollection in the memory of this band, the greater part of whom remain to this present time, but some are fallen asleep in Jesus."

      The truth rose here to victory and power amid an ocean of opposition. "Orthodoxy," enshrined in sacred temples, hurled its anathemas against it. But its assaults rebounded against itself with destructive recoil. At one time, immediately after a vigorous sermon, before a large audience attempting to refute the alleged heresy, a young man solicited baptism at the hands of Bro. Streator. Jordan flowing by, they repaired to its banks, and after some instructive remarks, the holy institution was administered in the presence of all the people so becomingly and scripturally, that no other reply was needed to the abusive harangue they had just heard. The foe most difficult to dislodge was the ignorance of the people. As the preacher brought strange things to [445] their ears, naturally enough they cried out: "These people have a new Bible." "Mr. Campbell has altered the Bible just to suit his views." Not a few gave credit to this slander. One man found indubitable proof that the Bible used by the disciples differed from his, for on examination he found a book in it called Philemon--no such book, he averred, being in his Bible. On one occasion an "Elder" of the "Latter-day Saints" came, and in a long discourse presented the claims of Mormonism. Bro. Streator proposed a reply. The two "Elders" refused him the opportunity; but the proprietor of the house consenting, and the people all wishing to hear the response, the youthful defender of the ancient gospel, in a rejoinder of half an hour, so effectually exposed the new delusion that nothing was left to take root and grow.

      The congregation received early and able assistance from brethren Green, Moss, and O'Connor. Dr. Butler, of Ridgeville, a physician of extensive practice, who had great weight with the people, met frequently with them.

      In the autumn of 1843, the location of the church was changed to the center. On this occasion Jared Patchen was chosen overseer, and Chester Cooley, deacon.

      Bro. J. D. Benedict wrought a good work in a few visits he made there about the year 1845. In that year the church erected the house of worship. He attended the opening of it, and gave some able discourses. With the voice of a Stentor, and a remarkable talent in music, his singing and sermons swept like a torrent over the assembly. He was [446] first a member of the Baptist church, and a lawyer of acknowledged ability. At this time he held the position of State's Attorney for Lorain County. With a frankness and independence of character, as rare as remarkable, he saw and accepted the principles of reform; and closing up his legal profession, like Paul, he gave up his life to the advocacy of the gospel.

      William Hayden was frequently with the brethren; and William Moody is also well remembered "as handling the Universalists without mittens, and often charging into the battery of Thomas Paine." Successful meetings were conducted by T. J. Newcomb, B. F. Perky, and the lamented Henry Dixon. Calvin Smith left there ineffaceable memories of the blessed results of his earnest and self-denying services.

      In 1844, Timothy S. Brewster, of experience in church affairs, came in from Rockport. He was appointed an elder, and served with efficiency till his removal to Michigan, in 1849. About this time, the brethren received new strength by the addition to their number of Raymond Haven, Sheldon Streator, and some others from Shalersville. Indeed, the church in North Eaton grew up as a colony from the older one in Shalersville; as she, in turn, became a mother of the young and vigorous church in Bloomingdale, Michigan. This congregation increased, till their first meeting-house became too small. A new edifice was demanded, which was completed and dedicated in the fall of 1862. Bro. J. H. Jones, chaplain in the 42d Regiment, Ohio Volunteers, [447] under Col. Garfield, who was at home on furlough, conducted the dedicatory services.

      And what shall I say more? Time would fail to speak of Chas. McDougall, who, while a student in Oberlin, rendered them efficient aid; of Henry Dixon, whose voice was as refreshing as rain on the mown grass; of W. A. Belding, whose cheerful manner and zeal for his Master's cause, won many friends; of John Reed also, lucid in statement of truth, and able in defending it; of Dana Call, whose worth excels his renown, faithful in Bible study, and candid to a proverb. With Green, J. M. Atwater, the Encells, likewise, S. Fairbanks and others, whose names are dearly remembered.

      Three great meetings are marked in the more recent history of this congregation: One in 1860, led by C. C. Foote; one in 1861, by D. S. Burnett; the other in 1862, conducted by H. W. Everest.

      To the home membership is largely due the credit of the success of the effort to plant and sustain the church in North Eaton. Where there is no faithful, well drilled soldiery to march up to the breastworks to "man the ordnance" and stand the shock of battle, protracted meetings, however useful as helps, will be only skirmishes. Nothing gives permanency like the consolidated, constant labors of a harmonious brotherhood in Christ.


      This church was born in the agonies of fierce contention. In no place does the history of the planting of the church on its New Testament basis display a greater virulence of opposition. [448]

      In March, 1841, a discussion was held between J. Hartzel and Rev. Waldo, a Congregationalist, which made a profound impression. Conversions followed, and a number of Mr. Waldo's friends were baptized into the Lord Jesus. Along with this result, it stimulated a malignant opposition to the principles of the reformation. The watchmen on the walls of their local Zions were alarmed. The Rev. Dr. Boardman, pastor of the Presbyterian church, sounded the war-trumpet, and rushed full armed into the arena. Elder J. J. Stedman, of the M. E. Church, panting for more laurels than he had won on the martial fields of Newton Falls, Bedford, and Chagrin Falls, encountered Hartzel here in a discussion of two and a half days, on the question; "Is baptism in any case necessary to the forgiveness of sins?" All the stars of that firmament in their courses fought against the cause represented by the faithful few who were striving for nothing but the Christianity of the New Testament. The members banded together. The church formed. Brethren Henry and Lanphear seconded these efforts of Hartzel. Conversions followed, and the cause began to rise.

      In August of this year, 1842, Mr. Campbell came to the Western Reserve. Touching at Fairfield, where he addressed immense congregations, he passed on to Warren, and addressed the public on Christian union, and on education, after which he proceeded to Youngstown.

      He found the people in high excitement by these recent grossly false statements of the views of the Disciples. In company with two of the brethren, Mr. Campbell called on Rev. Mr. Boardman, and [449] asked him to do in his presence what he had attempted when he had no respondent. Mr. Boardman's courage failed him, and he refused. He would not permit Mr. Campbell to examine his manuscript, that he might reply fairly to his erroneous charges, nor to use his church, nor would he attend and hear him on the same subjects. Mr. Campbell then, in the house used by the brethren, in the presence of a very large audience, after briefly rehearsing his interview with Mr. Boardman, gave so able and candid a statement of his true position as to gain the feelings of a large portion of the uncommitted citizens in their favor.

      From that day to the present, the light has never gone out of the church in Youngstown. Bro. J. W. Lanphear was first secured as its pastor. In March, 1843, he resigned, and returned to New Lisbon.

      The yearly meeting for Trumbull County was held this year in Youngstown. Great expectations, but with very different states of feeling, were entertained in respect to the coming convocation, by the members of the church on the one hand, and by the opposers on the other. Preparations were ample, yet no one looked for such an avalanche of the brotherhood as assembled on that occasion. Bro. John Henry was the president of the meeting. His energy and decision came into full play in the management of so great a multitude. In assigning homes to the people he told them to knock at a brother's house, and they would see what sort of people they are within. "Mr. Hornet," said he, "is a very clever gentleman abroad; but just knock at his door and [450] you'll soon see what a reception you will meet!" Mr. Campbell says of this meeting:a


      The meeting in New Lisbon, Columbiana County, was well attended. I had not the pleasure of being present. Thirty-eight were added by baptism.

      The annual meeting of the brethren in Trumbull County, at Youngstown, was the largest assemblage of persons ever witnessed by any of the ministering brethren present. I have seen very large religious assemblies in Virginia and Kentucky, but none equal to this one. It was variously estimated from six to ten thousand persons. Had it been a political meeting, the general opinion was that it would have been put down at ten thousand. Knowing how wont men are to exaggerate in numbers on such occasions, I choose rather to regard the minimum of six or seven thousand persons as more nearly approaching the actual number in attendance. The number of disciples present probably amounted to some two thousand.

      The immense audience assembled in one of the most beautiful and commodious groves in the immediate environs of the village of Youngstown, which was courteously tendered to the brethren by the proprietor, Mr. Wick. A tent provided by the brethren, covered only some two thousand persons. The remainder, covered by the umbrageous boughs of a dense grove, enjoyed equal comforts with those under the tent.

      During the whole meeting of three days not a single accident or unpleasant incident occurred. The most perfect attention and good order seemed universally to obtain. During these three days some fifty made the good confession, and were baptized. Many ministering brethren, probably some thirty or more, were present, and the meeting was truly refreshing and peculiarly pleasant to all.
A. CAMPBELL. [451]      

      On Saturday, before the full assembly, Dr. Eleazer Parmly, of New York, read the following correspondence between himself and Prof. Charles Anthon, of Columbia College, N. Y. Prof. Anthon, as a classic authority, has no superior in America. Dr. Parmly then gave the letters to Mr. Campbell in presence of the audience:

"NO. 1 BOND STREET, N. Y., March 23, 1843.      


      "In conversation with Dr. Spring, last evening, he stated that, in the original the word baptism, which we find in the New Testament, has no definite or distinct meaning; that it means to immerse, sprinkle, pour, and has a variety of other meanings--as much the one as the other, and that every scholar knows it; that it was the only word that could have been selected by our Savior, having such a variety as to suit every one's views and purposes. May I ask you if your knowledge of the language from which the word was taken has led you to the same conclusion? and may I beg of you to let the deep interest I take in the subject plead my apology.

      "I have the honor to be, with great respect, most respectfully yours,
E. PARMLY."      

"COLUMBIA COLLEGE, March 27, 1843.      


      "My Dear Sir--There is no authority whatever for the singular remark made by the Rev. Dr. Spring relative to the force of baptizo. The primary meaning of the word is to dip or immerse, and its secondary meanings, if ever it had any, all refer, in some way or other, to the same leading idea. Sprinkling, etc., are entirely out of the question. I have delayed answering your letter, in the hope that you would call and favor me with a visit, when [452] we might talk the matter over at our leisure. I presume, however, that what I have written will answer your purpose.
  Yours truly,

      From Campbell and Rice's Debate,b pp. 171, 172.

      The intrinsic weight of authority of this testimony, enforced alike by the noble bearing and earnest manner of Dr. Parmly, gave it great effect with the audience. And in the hands of Mr. Campbell, in the Lexington debate, which followed in about two months, it was a bolt which evidently staggered the mailed Mr. Rice.

      This church has many years maintained the "unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace." W. S. Gray, W. S. Hayden, while teaching, have also preached for the congregation. James Calvin has rendered a very efficient aid, and Dr. Whitsler also, in keeping up the meetings. In the beginning of the congregation, Bro. John Kirk, by his talent for management, dash, and zeal, contributed very much to the success of the gospel in the hands of Henry, Hartzel, Jones, and Samuel Church.

      Under the acceptable pastorate of Bro. C. C. Smith, the church is rising to greater strength. They have recently completed a costly and elegant meeting-house, and are in a position to command public respect. [453]

      a Alexander Campbell. "Annual Meetings in Ohio." The Millennial Harbinger (September 1843): 427.
      b Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) and Nathan Lewis Rice (1807-1877). A Debate between Rev. A. Campbell and Rev. N. L. Rice: On the Action, Subject, Design and Administrator of Christian baptism; also, on the Character of Spiritual Influence in Conversion and Sanctification, and on the Expediency and Tendency of Ecclesiastic Creeds, as Terms of Union and Communion; Held in Lexington, Ky., from the Fifteenth of November to the Second of December, 1843, a Period of Eighteen Days. Reported by Marcus T. C. Gould, Stenographer, Assisted by A. Euclid Drapier, Stenographer and Amanuensis. Lexington, KY: A. T. Skillman and Son; Cincinnati, OH: Wright and Swormstedt, J. A. James; Louisville, KY: D. S. Burnett; New York: R. Carter; Pittsburg, PA: Thomas Carter, 1844.


[EHD 438-453]

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A. S. Hayden
Early History of the Disciples (1875)

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