A GOODLY HERITAGE (IN DEED): In October of last year Vermilion’s UCC Congregational church celebrated its 200th Anniversary at a dinner held at the German’s Villa banquet facility. I was slated to be the “church history guy” speaker following the dinner and had worked on my presentation for several weeks prior. However, before I reached the podium that day those who preceded me essentially covered just abut everything I was going to say, or at least touched, however briefly, on the finer points. So to avoid redundancy I extemporaneously babbled on about some of the 53 ministers who had served the church since 1818. (Yikes! And double Yikes!) Anyway, what follows is, with some revision, what I wrote for that occasion:
A goodly heritage has been left to our care: 200 hundred years worth. To prepare for this occasion I wrote – or rather re-wrote (several times) – the pure history of the church using the Lucy Morgan (1918) and Betty Trinter histories (1993) as guides.
However, in addition to these histories I also reacquainted myself with the Dedication Sermon delivered by one Reverend Jotham Weeks Goodell to a crowded congregation in the first church built in the Village of Vermilion back in December (20) of 1843.
To be sure, Goodell’s sermon was intended to consecrate a new House of Worship, but it also provides a contemporaneous view of an American church in its early years. Much of this begs our (or at least my) imagination. How hard it must have been for those pioneer families. And it is important to understand here that the word “church” in this context refers to a group / body of Christian believers as opposed to a physical structure or building. As such it provides a unique account of those years and I want to share at least some of it with you. It begins:
“Twenty five years ago this church was organized, by the Rev. Alvin Coe and Rev. Amasa Loomis. Then the country was new. With the exception of here and there a settler, with his rude habitation of logs, this and the adjoining towns were a vast wilderness. The church, as it was organized, consisted of six members, three of whom lived in Florence, two in Clarksfield, and the other in Wakeman.”
While the seed was firmly planted in the spiritual soil of community in 1818, the church seemed to grow in spurts. How hard it must have been for those families to keep the faith without regular spiritual guidance given the difficulty of their daily labors. But they did. And they persevered. And so did those who sought to serve them; as Rev. Goodell noted:
“Nor would we forget the self-denial and devotedness of those missionaries, who cheerfully forsook the comforts and privileges of New England, and endured the hardships and privations incident to a new country, to carry the bread of life to the perishing.”
Gradually area settlements began to grow. Then of the winter and spring of 1828 Goodell wrote: “…a meeting house was built of hewn logs, about a mile and a half from the lake shore on the road [Cuddeback now Risden Road] leading to Florence.” It was the first house of worship (and public meeting house) in the community known as Vermillion in Ohio.
However, between the years 1835 and 1837, “an unhappy division took place in the church with regard to the removal of the meetinghouse from its original location…The spirit of revival with which the church appears to have been blessed in former years was gone.” Goodell referred to it as being “a dark period in the history of this church.”
Although his view of this period in the church’s life may have been accurate, it was (from my point-of-view) somewhat overstated. The falling off of membership was actually caused by a miscalculation on the part of elder church members as it pertains to where the center of the community was going to be located. They had mistakenly thought it was going to be along the ridge near the place we now call “Furnace Corners” close to the corner of State and Darrow roads. They had dismantled the Risden Road church and reassembled it there. But that site apparently never appealed to congregants. And as a consequence, many took up meeting in several different cabins around the pioneer community instead of the log church on the ridge.
Finally, in the spring of 1837 a committee, after a full investigation of the matter, decided that the society ought to be united in locating their place of worship at the mouth of the river. And thus, in accordance with this decision a new church was to be built.
In 1838, church trustees chose Lot 130 on the public square in the recently incorporated Village of Vermillion for the site of the church. The site was just north of the place where the Vermilion Township Hall would later be built. The church erected was locally made brick with a white steeple and trim. It was 60 feet long and 45 feet wide. The steeple was 27 feet high.
In December 1843 the new church in Vermilion Village was complete and Reverend Jotham Weeks Goodell was installed as Pastor and delivered the sermon of dedication. Of the building Rev. Goodell said, “For God this house was built, and now, to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be it ever consecrated. Within these sacred walls may the saints often draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
In closing Rev. Goodell said: “When the builders of this house, and its occupants, and their pastor, shall have closed their earthly pilgrimage-when their feet shall no longer be heard treading these courts, may their children and their children's children, here learn the ‘fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.’ Surely this is the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.”
Well, this was certainly one powerful sermon. And though the objective was to dedicate the church “building” one thing should by now seem perfectly clear: a church is not a building. As previously mentioned, a “church” in this context refers to a group / a body of believers as opposed to a physical structure or building. Thus, it became a church with a legacy and vision of Christian service to our community and our world – sharing of faith through good works. And while another century and one meeting house has passed since Ms. Lucy Morgan penned her history of Vermilion’s first church her words still ring true: “A goodly heritage has been left to our care”; a goodly one in deed.
Ref: Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 02/01/2018.
Vol. XIII, No.37. - VERMILION, OHIO THURSDAY, February 17, 1910
Wreck On The Nickel Plate
Engineer Bennett Connie Ott Killed In Wreck Here Tuesday Morning
The ringing of the fire bell a few minutes after 5 o'clock Tuesday morning brought out a crowd of people to find the cause. The fire could be seen in the southwestern part of town. It was soon found that there had been a wreck on that N. P. just a short distance west of the depot and the wreckage was burning.
The first section of the freight had stopped at the water tank, the flagman had gone out as usual and the conductor had started toward the depot when the second section crashed into the caboose, completely demolishing it and badly wrecking tank car and a boxcar. Several cars of the second section, were thrown from the track, one being loaded with lumber, others with corn and oats. The engine, one of the "big ones", was wrecked, the tender being thrown on in to the south of the engine. The wreck of the caboose took fire in the department was called to extinguish it.
It was found that of the train crews the engineer was missing. His body was found later in the tender buried in the coal. He had been crushed and probably instantly killed, but was not disfigured. Undertaker Beeckel took charge of the remains after the corner and been notified.
The cause of the accident is not known but it is thought that the brakes failed to work as it is reported that he answered flag. When the firemen saw the danger he jumped, but the engineer did not. The engineer was Elmer Bennett of Conneaut age 45 years. He leaves a wife and two children.
The track was soon clear so as to permit the passenger passage of trains.
A LETTER FROM CONGRESSMAN ANDERSON
February, 10, 1910
Mr. Lewis Englebry,
I succeeded in having a survey included in the river and harbor's bill for Vermilion. You will undoubtedly receive all that you want for improvements. I had all the Democratic Congressman on the committee working for me, and also requested Congressman Cassidy of Cleveland to assist me. Also secured a survey of Sandusky, and the Sandusky River from Fremont to Sandusky. I consider myself very fortunate.
Trusting you will advise the people that the writer took a great interest in same, and with best regards, I beg to remain.
Yours very truly,
Vermilion Boy Makes Good
C. C. ANDERSON.
Frank Lang of this place has taken the marine engineers examination with very gratifying results, receiving First assistant papers for boats of the 4500 class and chief for the 100 class. Congratulations.
AN IMPORTANT DEAL
Vermilion To Have A Library and Gymnasium.
Is reported on good authority that Vermilion is to have a library and gymnasium. A deal in real estate which it expected will be used for this purpose was made Wednesday. The News will be able to give particulars next week.
[NOTE: This refers to a gym and library for the school on State Street.]
Met With Council
Attorney Handy and another official of the Lake Shore Ry., met with the Council Monday evening and presented a statement as to what they intended doing with their tracks through Vermilion and wanted to know what the Council desired of them, and asked to what would have to be incorporated in a new franchise.
It seems that some of the plans have been changed. Another track will be laid and the curve modified considerably. The tracks will not be raised however.
The Council within all probability requires the placing of all streets passing over the tracks to be placed and kept in good condition also the drainage property looked after. A number of other things will probably be brought up before franchise is granted.
The company is preparing to begin work on the line as soon as spring opens and it is expected will meet with council again in a few days.
Rather Sticky Mess
Some of those who went to the wreck on the Nickel Plate Monday morning literally “fell into a sticky mess". One of the cars partly demolished was loaded with barrels of glucose, which ran out onto the ground. Glucose is very sticky as was found by a number who did not notice it in the snow and stepped into it; Some going into their shoe tops. Later considerable quantities of it were gathered in with pails, jars etc. Glucose is very useful for many purposes including the manufacture of certain kinds of candy – we wonder how it goes with pancakes? Does anyone know?
The Imperial Players Will Not Well Patronized
The play "Uncle Rube" given by the Imperial players at the Opera House Thursday was well rendered and worthy of a much larger audience. The company is made up of a number of young people from our neighboring town of Huron. All acted their parts to a T. and it is to be regretted that the house was not packed to encourage their efforts.
Can you write? Can you write well? Don't you want to become a better penman? If you do join the class in penmanship. Miss Griswold will organize a class Friday evening, Feb. 18, at the Night School, M. E. Church parlors, beginning at 7 o'clock.
A course of 12 weeks will be given. A prize of $3 was offered to the one who makes the most improvement.
This opportunity is for everybody who wants to wield the pen.
Come one, come all 10c each evening.
"The pen is mightier than the sword."
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. Martin Schroeder a baby boy.
Mrs. O. Witte his reported very sick.
Henry Ludwig is reported seriously ill with pneumonia.
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. William Emerick a daughter, Monday, Feb. 14
The new machinery for the electric light plant has now arrived and work for installing will be commenced at once.
Clare Turpin Turner, 17, while bowing in prayer with 90 other classmates at the Central high school, Friday morning, glanced at his cut finger and fainted. He fell to the floor in an unconscious condition and it was with difficulty that he was revived. This is the first time history of the school at the Morning Prayer was interrupted.
Charles Koch is on the sick list.
v. Leimbach is kept very busy grinding feed at present.
V Leimbach baled hay Tuesday and Wednesday.
The men are kept very busy at work on the windfall Road.
Our mailman was absent on account of sickness. We hope to see his smiling face soon. He has a fine assistant.
C. W. Kishman has received his first carload of wire fencing of which he has a large … of.
Our late thaw has raised the streams in this vicinity so as to overflow on the land.
James Cuddeback is getting ready to put in a breakwater at Charlie Alheits, stone and timber on the ground.
It looks as if the labor on the farm in this vicinity would be very severe the coming spring; some are talking about going sailing.
April 8th is Arbor Day.
A number of foreigners were arrested and fined for stealing brass along the Nickel Plate first of the week.
Mr. Henry Hines was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, Lorain yesterday where he will undergo an operation. Mr. Hines has been for many months and it is hoped he may regain his health.
Mr. Vanderlip, one of the oil and gas promoters slipped while passing the post office Wednesday and in trying to save himself thrust his hand the window cutting his wrists severely.
The many friends of Miss Alice Kane, who went to a Cleveland's sanitarium several weeks ago, will be pleased to learn that she is improving. Her recovery is slow but steady and it will be probably be several weeks yet before she is able to return home.
The operation for the removal of the adenoids and tonsils was performed on the little son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Heidloff yesterday. The little fellow was only two years old stood the operation well. Mr. Heidloff went to Cleveland again today to visit him.
Word has been received here that Mr. Leslie Rice who was working for a telephone company in Kansas met with an accident which has laid him up for a time. We are unable to learn the extent of his injuries.
The funeral of George Corning Shadduck was held from the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George S Shadduck Friday, by Mr. W. P. Murray of the Church of Christ, officiating Mr. Charles H. Hofrichter sang two beautiful solos Many and beautiful were the floral offerings.
U. S. Engineers were at the Town Hall Wednesday morning to listen to complaints and objections to the construction of the new Lake Shore ry. bridge across the Vermilion River. The river will be divided into two channels to be dredged to 8 feet depth. It was also stated that in the event of the location of any industry requiring a swing bridge the government would order a change made.
Miss Matilda Wagner, who has been taking a vacation of several months owing to ill health, is again preparing to take charge of her millinery store on Liberty Street. She expects to go to Cleveland next week where she will spend some time, selecting and buying her spring goods and studying their latest creations and millinery art. The date of the annual spring opening will be announced in the near future.
Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Edson are both on the sick list this week.
BORN – Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1910 a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kneisel. It's grandpa Morse now.
Mrs. Clara Heinig, wife of Dr. E. J. Heinig arrived Tuesday evening.
We are very sorry to learn that Miss Edna Sperry is ill at her sister's home in Lorain.
The attendance of our school is still increasing having now 51 enrolled.
The Volunteer Fire Company cleared $64 at the dance given last week. There were 60 couples present.
The little son of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Cook died Sunday following an operation for appendicitis. The little one had been ill for some time. He was four years old. The funeral was held Wednesday and burial made at Clyde.
Charles Lumley arose as usual on last Wednesday morning, did his chores, called on a nearby neighbor, and returned home without any signs of indisposition. While sitting beside the stove his wife noticed that he was breathing heavily, but before she could summon aid he settled back in his chair cold in death. His heart having failed to perform its function.
Mr. Lumley was born at Wellington Square, in Canada, October 1, 1837. Died, February 11, 1910, aged 72 years, four months in 10 days. He was united in marriage to his to Miss Rosella Mitchell January 1, 1859. They came to the United States in 1860 and settled in Vermilion where they resided until 1903 when they moved to Clyde for one year and then to their present home in Colby. Mr. and Mrs. Lumley had won for themselves many warm friends in their six years of residence in Colby. To them were born three children one son James, who died February 12, 1868 and two daughters, Mary Lumley Chandler, of Akron, and Cathrine Lumley Lane of Cleveland. Besides his wife and daughters, two sisters and one brother, he leaves many friends to mourn their loss. He united with the Methodist Episcopal Church a number of years ago. He was a good citizen, kind husband and affectionate father.
Funeral was held from the home on Sunday afternoon was largely attended. Rev. eight. G. Rupert of the misfit Methodist Episcopal Church in Berlin Heights conducted the service. Quartet from the United brethren Church furnished the singing. Burial McPherson Cemetery Clyde Ohio.
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