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HOCKING VALLEY HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY.
This society was organized in Lancaster on the 18th of February, 1865. Its object, as set forth in its preamble, was the general promotion of the floral and horticultural interests, or an improved system of gardening. The call for the initial meeting, which took place on the 26th day of January, 1865, was signed by the following names:
John A. Fetters, F. J. Boving, Charles Dunbar, John C. Boving, J. C. Kinkead, Ambrose Bender, John D. Martin, John Gravit, H. V. Weakley, John S. Snyder, S. A. Griswold and John Clark.
Of these, three have since deceased, viz.: Charles Dunbar, John C. Boving and H. V. Weakley.
Officers of the Society.—The officers of the first permanent organization of the society were, Joseph C. Kinkead, President; R. J. Black and F. J. Boving, Vice-Presidents; J. D. Martin, Treasurer; J. C. Weaver, Librarian; J. C. McCracken, Recording Secretary; J. A. Fetters, Corresponding Secretary.
The above officers were all living in March, 1877, except J. C. Weaver, Librarian, who died in February, ultimo; and John C. McCracken, Recording Secretary, who died a few months since in the West.
On the first day of November, 1865, the membership of the society was fifty-four in number, and the following are the names:
M. A. Daugherty, H. V. Weakley, John C. McCracken, Jas. Scott, John Gravit, Thos. H. White, P. B. Ewing, John A. Fetters, Robert J. Black, S. A. Griswold, J. D. Martin, Robert Work, R. J. Peters, C. Pairan, C. Spielman, Thos M. Young, Emanuel Fetters, B. F. Reindmond, Martin Landis, D. Talmadge, J. W. Lewis, T. O. Edwards, Robert Black, C. M. L. Wiseman, Daniel Ward, T. Brumfield, M. Effinger, J. C. Kinkead, Henry Borchers, C. F. Garaghtz, F. J. Boving, John C. Rainey, John S. Snyder, J. D. Clark, David Stalter, John Rhodes, J. C. Weaver, A. Dennis, E. E. Meason, J. R. Mu, maugh, Kinnis Fritter, Samuel Barr, Salem Wolfe, John Artz, L. H. Olds, J. T. Busby, R. H. Hooker, George Hoffman, C. F. Shaeffer, Daniel Ream, JacobMayer, G. A. Mithoff, John B, McNeal and William Van Hide.
Ten of this number have deceased previous to the first of March, 1877, as follows: H. V. Weakley, John C. McCracken, Emanuel Fetters, T. O. Edwards, Henry Borchers, John C. Raineji, J. C. Weaver, E. E. Meason, Salem Wolfe and Daniel Ream.
The society holds bi-monthly meetings in Lancaster, viz.: on the second and fourth Saturday's of each month. It pays premiums on best samples of products, which premiums are awarded by special committees. Fruit-growing is a special feature of attention by the society. The meetings of the society are characterized, after business, by a free interchange of opinions, theories and experiences, and thus individual discoveries and improvements become the common property of the society, and of the community by publication, March, 1877.
Previous to the year 1832, the elective franchise was exercised in Fairfield County, as in all other parts of the country, by the prerogative of each elector in casting his ballot for the best men to carry out the best measures for the common weal, according to the voter's best judgment. In other words, political party lines had not yet been established. There were, however, differences of opinion as to the safest and best forms of government, and these differences of opinion were mainly between the National Republicans, strictly, on the one hand, and on the other, those who favored the doctrines promulgated by Alexander Hamilton and others, which contemplated aj stronger central power in the Constitution and Laws. This was denominated the Federal Party. It is not necessary here to enter into a history of the Hartford Convention, or the principles proposed there. They met with little favor, and amounted to nothing as against American Republicanism. The Federal Party nevertheless had sufficient potency to create more or less agitation in the political affairs of the country for a great many years.
As early as 1828, grave national questions began to agitate the country, among which were the policy, or otherwise, of an American National Bank; a high tariff for the protection of American industries; the improvement, at the National expense, of the rivers and harbors within the United States, etc., etc. The great question of State Sovereignty had ceased to be an absorbing theme since the adoption by the States of the Federal Constitution. The abolition of African slavery in the States was at that time no more than beginning to incubate, and had scarcely made even a riffle on the surface of the affairs of the country. The agitation of the question was about equally contemned by all, but especially the churches, if the Quakers and Scotch Presbyterians be excepted. Among the other churches only individual exceptions existed. But in 1832 these questions of policy took form, and rove the masses in two distinct political parties of very nearly equal balance. One division of the people supported Andrew Jackson for the Presidency in that year, and assumed the name of the Democratic Party. The other division adhered to Adams and Clay, and denominated themselves the Whig Party. The Jackson, or Democratic Party, was dominant in Fairfield County, and has ever since, with two exceptions, maintained a majority of the popular vote, ranging from eight or ten to sixteen or eighteen hundred. The two exceptions referred to, were in the years 1843 and 1854. In 1843 the question of "hards" and "softs" came up on the currency question, the latter carrying the county by a decisive majority, and electing to the Legislature one Democrat and one Whig, irrespective of old party lines. This was for some reason denominated the "Cork-Leg Party." In 1854, what was equally oddly named the " Know-Nothing Party," for the time submerged all other parties and elected their entire ticket in the county by respectable majorities. But in the following year the Democratic Party re-established its lines, which are still maintained.
The Whig Party, respectable in members, and in the ability and intelligence of its leaders, nevertheless remained in the minority during its existence, unless the two years spoken of might be claimed as Whig victories. The Whigs, in 1843, were the acknowledged Soft Money Party, and probably unanimously voted the Cork-Leg ticket. And so in 1854, they nearly all went into the Know-Nothing organization, which, with a portion of the Democratic party, secured the triumph of that ticket, and electing men from both the old parties. In 1856, the Philadelphia Convention to form a Presidential ticket for that year—a Convention composed of old line Whigs and Know-Nothings—organized 'the Republican Party, and upon its platform a majority of the Whigs of the county took position, together with more or less Democrats, constituting the Republican Party of Fairfield County. This party maintains about the same numerical comparison with the Democratic Party that the Whigs previous to 1854 did—the number of Democrats coming into it being about equal to the number of Whigs going over to the Democrats. The Whig Party, therefore, is to be regarded as having been disbanded in the early part of 185-1.
The histories of all the religious societies and church organizations within Fairfield County, will be found in the following pages, as complete as it has been possible to make them. Some of the church records I found very defective ; in other instances none could be found. It has been my aim to go back to the very first nuclei of the societies, at the beginning of the settlements at the ending of the last and commencement of the present century. If I have failed, in some cases, it has been because no information at all could be obtained. Much of what I have collected has been from the personal statements of oldest citizens, and slight errors may, therefore, have crept in, since I find all do not remember things alike. As a whole, however, the history may be accepted as entirely correct in the main. To ministers and laymen of the various churches, I acknowledge my obligations for the courtesy they have shown in affording me important aid.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
The first Methodist Society in Fairfield County was formed in the year 1799. The little band seems to have been formed into a class under the management and advice of one Edward Teel, who had previously been a class-leader in Baltimore County, Maryland. Its place of meeting was at the cabin of Mr. Teel, three miles east of Lancaster, and, I believe, on Zane's trace. The names of the members when the society was first formed, and at the time when first visited by Rev. James Quinn, then a young Methodist preacher, were Ed
ward Teel and wife, Jesse Spurgeon and wife, Ishmael Dew and wife, Nimrod Bright and wife, and Elijah Spurgeon and wife —in all, ten. The first quarterly-meeting ever held in the county was at the house of John Murphy, at which were present Bishop Asbury and Daniel Hitt, the latter a Presiding Elder in Baltimore Conference.
It is.believed that the first class formed in Lancaster was in 1812. Its membership at first was: Jacob D. Betrick and wife, Peter Reeber, Sarah Reeber, Christian Weaver, Elizabeth Weaver, George Canode, Mary Canode, and Thomas Orr and wife—ten in all. The first place provided for public worship in Lancaster was erected in 1816. It was a small frame edifice, and stood on the site where the present brick church building now stands, on the hill. Rev. Jas. Quinn preached the first sermon in it from a carpenter's bench. Lancaster then belonged to the Hockhocking circuit. In 1801, Joseph Chenowith was the preacher in charge on the circuit, and returned at the close of the year 366 members. This seems wonderful, when it is remembered that emigration to the Hocking Valley first began in 1798, only three years previous. In 1802, Nathaniel B. Mills supplied the circuit, and in 1803 and .1804 James Quinn, assisted the latter year by Joseph Williams.
From this time up to 1811, both Lancaster and Fairfield County were included in Hockhocking circuit.
Between 1811 and 1830, the church had so extended that several circuits had been formed, Fairfield circuit being one of them. At the close of this period of nineteen years, the membership of Fairfield circuit was 1,276. During the nine succeeding years, Lancaster was made a half station, with a1 few appointments in the country, and the following preachers filled the station: Zachariah Counell, William Young, John Ferree, Edward D. Roe, William H. Lowder, Levi White, W. T. Snow, John G. Bruce, Charles Swain, William T. Hand, Charles R. Baldwin, John Reed and Charles R. Lowell. The present brick church was built in 1838 and 1839.
In 1840, Lancaster made was a station, since which time the following preachers have filled it: In 1840, Henry Baker, one year; in 1841, Wm. R. Anderson, one year; in 1842, Wm. P. Strickland, two years; in 1844, R. S. Foster, two years; in 1846, M. Dustin, one year; in 1847, Granville Moody, two years; in 1849, William Sutherland, one year; in 1850, Moses Smith,