History of First United Methodist Church

A Brief History of First Church

1980 marks the one hundred eightieth year of Methodism in Massillon. First Church traces its beginning to 1 810 when James Dixon was appointed to the Tuscarawas Circuit, of the Muskingum District of the Western Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Tuscarawas Circuit embraced all of the country along the Tuscarawas River from New Portage (Canal Fulton] to near Coshocton. The Reverend Mr. Dixon reported only seventy-seven members in the entire circuit at the close of 1810.

James McCoy was the first Methodist in Massillon. Services were held in his cabin in Kendal as early as 1811 when Rev. William Mitchell was appointed to the   circuit.   In  the  winter  of   1811   –   1812  a Methodist Society was formed at the home of Peter Johnson in Tuscarawas township where preaching was held every two weeks. Since that time there has always  been   a Methodist organization in the Massillon area.   (Perry Township was organized in 1813 and the city of Massillon came into existence in 1826.  Our church is older than Massillon itself!)

Methodism grew rapidly between 1811 and 1820. Such men as Rev. David Young and David Somerville, 1812 and John Graham, 1813 served the circuit. Rev. Archibald McIlroy, 1814 and James McMahon, 1817 and William Foljaunb, 1820, served the church. A gifted young Irishman by the name of Thomas Ruckle was appointed to the circuit in 1822 and preached once in about five weeks in the Kendal schoolhouse. The circuit was in the newly-formed Ohio Conference from 1812 to 1823. The Pittsburgh Conference was formed in 1 824 by action of the general conference and included within its bounds all of Ohio east of the Tuscarawas River and western Pennsylvania as far east as Johnstown. This put Kendal in the new conference and left Tuscarawas in the Ohio conference. The Massillon Methodists remained with the Tuscarawas class until 1831 when a class was organized on this side of the river and Massillon became one of the appointments on the Canton circuit of the Pittsburgh Conference.

The first building for this group was an abandoned brewery of all things! Here they organized the first Sunday School and had their first quarterly conference February 16, 1833. That same year they erected a meeting house which they occupied until 1836 when they moved to the third floor of a building at Mam and Erie Streets. In 1840 under the leadership of D.R. Hawkins, a minister of brilliant parts and great force of character, the Methodists built a building with the Masons. The first floor was used by the church people and the second floor was used by the Masons. The society remained in the building with the Masons until 1860. The church was incorporated by an act of the Ohio Legislature in 1841. The Sunday School was formally organized in 1842 and taught a number of secular as well as religious subjects.

A brick structure was purchased from the Baptists in 1860 that stood on the corner of North and Mill Streets and served as the church until construction was begun on the most impressive structure ever built by the Methodists – in 1883. This building stood at the corner of what is now Third and Lincoln Way. It was dedicated in 1889.

Tragedy struck May 13, 1892 when the church was destroyed by fire! Under the able leadership of Dr. A.R. Chapman, pastor, the congregation immediately made plans to rebuild on the same site. Within a few months, services were held in the present Fellowship Hall. The total cost of putting the building under roof and enclosing, plus finishing Fellowship Hall was only $48,000. The finished building was dedicated on June 23, 1895. The thirty-four rank organ cost $5,000 in 1895.

 

An article in the Evening Independent Saturday, June 22, 1895 states:

“It is sufficient to say that in all the appointments of the church entire harmony prevails, and that while no effort has been made for the sake of show, there is nothing cheap or out of proportion in the entire furnishings. The pulpit furniture is a memorial to the soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic, the funds having been solicited by the State Chaplain, the Rev, G.B. Smith, almost entirely in contributions of one dollar. More than $300 was subscribed to this fund. The Bible is a memorial to Mrs. Elizabeth Harsh, given by Mr. George Hash. The cushioned seats, carpets, chandeliers, etc., are of the best, purchased for use and not for show. A new city clock has just been put in the church tower, through the liberality of some of the citizens, and a contribution from the city council.” “The trustees, to whom is entrusted the care and keeping of the church property, have acted throughout on the principle that nothing is too beautiful or costly for the service of God’s house. We make our own houses just as elegant and comfortable as we can afford, the church deserves equal treatment. The trustees have “builded even better than they knew,” and the community will certainly sustain them in giving to our city this massive and artistic church edifice, perhaps the peer of any building of its character to be seen anywhere.”

Major remodeling and renovation took place during the 1920’s when electric was put into the building. The organizational meeting for the Boy Scouts was held in the church in 1914. During World War II the Class in the Corner bought peanuts by the hundred pounds and blanched and fried them. Each month they sent a pound to each, of the men in the service.

In the early fifties the balcony was added to the sanctuary. The educational unit was completed in 1957 and dedicated in 1 965. The three-manual, thirty-two rank Hillgreen Lane pipe organ was installed in 1972 at a cost of $65,000. The parking lots were added in 1974.

The Tower and the Town clock are landmarks and a focal point of the skyline of Massillon, but First United Methodist Church is more than bricks and mortar. First Church is people, lay and clergy, dedicated to the sharing of the Christian Gospel and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ through the ministry of the church.

Annual conference has met here three times; Pittsburg Conference in 1866, East-Ohio Conference in 188_ and the Pittsburg Conference in 1921. Our church has been served by sixty-eight pastors and eight associate pastors. After James Dixon began to preach in Kendall in 1810 little is known of preachers of the circuit until 1834 when Massillon Circuit was organized.

 

ROSTER OF CLERGY WHO SERVED FIRST U.M. CHURCH

 

1834 Hiram Minor

1835   William S. Warrels

1836   Aurora Callender

1837   Edward Birkett

1839   David R. Hawkins

1840   D.R. Hawkins

1841   Patrick M. McCue

1842 James H. White

1843 James H. White

1844   Robert Boyd

1845 H.C. Boyer

1846 A.A. Jameson

1848 James A. Kellam

1849   C.H. Owens

1851   Samuel Mower

1853 W.A. Nickerson

1855 A. Harmount

1857   R. Cunningham

1858   H.M. Abes

1859 James Beacom

1861   John Grant

1863 A.G. Williams

1865   William Pittmger

1866   W.M. Hickman

1867 William Lynch

1870 Ezra Hingeley

1873 J.M. Carr

1876 John D. Vail

1877   C.H. Stocking

1879 D.C. Osborne

1881   Hiram Miller

1883 W.J. Wilson

1886   James R. Mills

1887 John Wilson

1889 A.R. Chapman

1894 George B. Smith

1898 John I. Wilson

1900 LH. Stewart

1903 J.W. Robbms

1904 H.W. Dewey

1907 J.R. Jacob

1910   A.D. Mink

1915   James W, Ulman

1916   S.L, Stewart”

1919 J.E. McGee

1920   W.R. P’olhamus

1924   M.M. Brown

1925   Paul E. Secrist

1931 Isaac B. Harper

1934   Chas B.Hessv

1939 J. Lloyd McQueen

1945   Ralph T. Alton

1950   George C. Beebe

1956   Robert R. Dieterich

1962   William C. Snowball

1968   David H. P’atton

1972    Harry A. Carney

1974    David W. Bloor

1975    Karl L. Bucey

1981    Thomas H.R. Hammerton

1990    Carl Beighly

1995    Leslie A. Peine

 

Pastors who   have   served   this   Church   since   the  fire  are   Listed   below.

1889,   Sept  25,  East Ohio Conference  Convenes At Massillon First Church

1889-94*Alva Riley  Chapman   (Wl)(W2)(B  Jan   18.1839,   D  Apr  28,1907)

 

1889-May   13  FIRE  & Rebuilding   –   Dedication  June  24,   1894

 

1894-8.*.George B.   Smith   (W)   (D  1924)

1898-1900*.John I.   Wilson   (W)   (B  June  14,1840,  D  July   12,1915)

1900 3.#.Lemuel  Harbey   Stewart   (W)   (B  July   12,   1848,   D   Feb   1910)

1903-4.*.James William Robins   (W2)(B May  24,1851,   D  Oct  29,1904)

1904- 7.#.Horace W.   Dewey   (W)   (B  April   14,1857,  D  Aug  7,1928)

1907-10*.Josephus R.   Jacob   (W)   (B  Feb  4,1859,  D April  15,1836)

1910-5.*.Arthur Dewitt Mink   (W)   (D  July  3,1928)

 

  1. NORTH-EAST OHIO CONFERENCE

1915-6.*.James Almeron   Ulman   (W)   (B  June  12,1860,   D  June  20,1916)

1916-9.*.Samuel L.   Stewart  (W)   (B  1871,  D  Oct  1,1940)

1919-20*.James Ellington  McGee   (W)   (B  1868,   D  Aug  11,1925)

1920-24*.William Robert Polhamus   (St  Louis  Conf,   B Aug  23,1879,   D Jan  12,1951)

 

1921,   Sept  30,  North-East  Ohio  Conference  Convenes

At Massillon First Church with Co-host Wesley Church

1924-5.#.Milton Maywood   Brown(W)(W2)(B  Aug  15,1880,   D Aug   17,1952)

1925-31*.Paul E.   Secrest  (W)   (B  Sept  1,1886,  D  July  15,1965)

1931-34*.Isaac   B.  Harper   (B  July  2,1870,   D  Aug  21,1935)

1934-9.*.Charles   Bentley Hess   (W)   (B  Dec  4,1881,  D Dec  28,1964)

1939-45..(March)   Jason  Lloyd  McQueen   (W)   (B  –         -,—–,   D  Dec  21,   1988)

1945-50..(April 5)  Ralph  Taylor  Alton     (Elected   Bishop     ?)

1950-6.*.George Chapin  Beebe   (W1)(W2)   (B Oct 6,   1906,   D  Feb  3,1985)

1954-6…(Jan 15)   Dwight Miller  Burkam,  Assoc.   [Vol.   LOG.   1964]

1956-62..Robert Reed Dietrich (Wl),  [Retired,  1975]

1956-8…Dwight E.   Lewis,  Assoc.   [Invol.   Location,   1965]

1958-61..Forest W.   Carter,  Assoc.   [Retired   1980]

1961-3…Oden A.  Haynes,   Assoc.   [Retired  1992,  Health]

1962-8…William Cuthburt  Snowball,  [Retired,  1978]

1964-6…Ralph   C.   Wilde,  Assoc.,   Supply  Pastor,   (B  1926)

1967…..Robert M.   Gay,   Assoc.   Feb  thru   Nov.

1968-72..David   H.   Patton,   [Retired   1986]

1972-4.*.Harry A.   Carney   (B  July  7,1920,  D  Jan  20,1974)

1974-5…David   Walter   Bloor  [6-30-74  to  5-25-75]   (Disciplinary   Leave   ?)

1975 81..Karl  Lester  Bucey,   [Retired,   1985]

1976-7   ..Ronald  Kowalski,   Assoc.

1977-9…James A.   Lawley,  Assoc.

1980 3…Dean  E.  Walters,   Assoc.,   Local  Preacher

1981-9…Thomas Henry  Robert Hammerton  [Retired,   1990]

1990-1995   …Carl  G.   Beighley   [Retired,   1995]

1996-2011…Leslie A. Peine

2011-2012…co pastors: Julia L. Wertz / Jeffrey W. Coggins

2012-present… Julia L. Wertz

 

(W)=Wife       (B) = Born       (D)=Died

 

PAGE   31

 

The new developments of homes and new churches in the suburban areas attracted new young families from the city causing a decline in participation and enrollment. Pastoral-congregational problems contributed to the decline in interest and attendance in the seventies. Under the leadership of pastor, Rev. Tom Hammer-ton, the church has been turned about and First Church is again on the move, changing its course to look inward on the community for growth by meeting the needs for persons of all ages through introspection of their spiritual needs.

Pastor, Dr. Carl G. Beighley, has focused on the spiritual growth of the church by accenting the personal spiritual growth of the individual. His leadership in encouraging memorial gifts, large or small, to the church and moving this forward has been very successful as donors can see their gifts at work. Many programs have benefited.

The first record of a women’s group is 1865. Officially these active women’s organizations were: Ladies Aid, officially organized April 4, 1901; Woman’s Home Missionary Society, formed 1886-7; Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, 1882; in 1940 all these organizations were combined into one organization by the General Conference to the present United Methodist Women.

The church building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, September 1985.

From MASSILLON METHODISTS, A History of First Methodist Church in preparation by Fred J. Wilson

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HISTORY

Methodism came to western Stark County in 1808 with the arrival of Peter Slusser. His cabin is believed, to be the first building in Tuscarawas Township. Jacob Ground, joined by Joshua Carr, organized the first settlement and the Township was organized in 1810. Joseph Poyser, Peter Johnson, Wesley Hatton, William Eenry, Seth Hunt, Thomas Eldridge, William and Thomas Dean, Stephen Thacker, Rev. Josiah Foster and other Methodists were among the early settlers. Rev. James Dixon en arriving formed the first society in 1810. After the settlement of Kendal, the Kendal Methodists came to the township for worship.

In the winter of 1811, Thomas Rotch and his shepherd, Arvine Wales, each built a cabin in Kendal. The Kendal plat was recorded April 20, 1812. Soon settlers came to the new village. Among these was John C. McCoy, a young man of about 22, a tailor by trade. He was prominent in the business community and as a local preacher. In 1815 he bought a lot, built a home and shop and married Mary Comely en February 11, 1816. His home located on the north west corner of Rodman and Wales NE became the meeting place of the first Methodist class. It is likely that Rev. Curtis Goddard was the first circuit preacher. Rev. Josiah Foster from the Tuscarawas class preached here every five or six weeks.

About 1820 John C. McCoy and Mary moved from Kendai to settle in Ashland, County on a farm that later became part of Loudenville. Another local preacher, Rev. William Foljambe, and wife Ann, both born in England moved to the area buying a farm in Jackson Township located at what is now the land north and east of the intersection of Brunnerdale and Perry roads. He was “ordained by Bishop Hedding, and a very active and useful gospel minister.” In 1822 Thomas R. Ruckle was on the circuit, preaching in the east wing of the “L” house in Kendal.

An early resident of Massillon, C.H. King, tells of the first class here: “In the fall of 1830 or winter of 1830-31, Methodists organized a. class at the house of Mr. (Rufus) Hardy, on the south side of Main street, about half way between the canal and river, my mother Rachel King, being one of them.” The Methodist used a school house that had been an “abandoned brewery” or distillery for classes. Joseph Merwin, then a young boy, writes: “In the summer of 1832, the then recently organized class in Massillon of the Methodist Episcopal Church, having secured the use on Sundays of an abandon brewery, which stood on the east side of Erie street, just north of Thorne Alley, steps were taken to establish a Sunday school …” (1892) — In 1910 Merwin said: “The first services ever held in a public place in Massillon, and the first Sunday School ever, were conducted in an old distillery in North Erie, beginning in 1831. In February of 1833, the first quarterly conference ever held here was held in the old distillery.”

Rev. David Hawkins, circuit preacher, determined that the Massillon Methodists should have a building of their own and proposed to the Masonic Lodge that the two organizations should build and share a building together. This was against the Methodist church policy at that time. The official rule was, ‘Methodists not to join the Masonic lodge or any other “secret order”‘. The two Massillon organizations acted on his suggestion erecting a two story building with a basement. The cornerstone was layed June 24, 1840. The Masons used the upper floor and the church the first floor. The building was located on Factory St., now vacated for the city hall and Charles St. SE, Prior to entering the agreement the church was incorporated in 1343 as the FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, of Massillon.

 

 

Sunday,   January   23,   1842,   at   2   PM   the  first   session   of   organizing   a   Sunday School was held. Rev. Patrick McCue presented a form of Constitution that was adopted. Officers were elected with Abraham Chestnutwood as President and Adam J. Humberger, superintendent, Miss Harriett Chestnutwood, female superintendent. A small library and other necessary articles were purchased. A person of “good moral character” was eligible to join by contributing 25 cents annually and signing the constitution. Reading, spelling and “Bible Classes” was given. In two years the scroll had 16 teachers, 80 students with yearly expenses of $26.08.

The great revival in the spring of 1843 by Rev. James White increased the membership for the Methodist class to become a station in 1845. It became the first Methodist church in Stark County with a regular pastor. White “possessed a vigorous intellect, a tenacious smile, a vivid imagination, and a strong will. He was a most earnest spirit and this … gave character not only to his words, but his manner and voice.” In February 1858 the trustees bought the old Baptist Church for S800 at sheriff’s sale. In July 1859 the Masons bought the Methodist share of their building for $800. The structure, on the northwest corner of First and North Sts., was renovated and dedicated January 22, 1860 by Rev. Dr. J.C. Pershing. With the new building the Massillon church hosted the Annual meeting of the Pittsburg Conference in March 1867.

In 1882, Rev, Hiram Miller found the church building was in poor structural condition and closed it, declaring it unsafe. A decision was made to build a new church and the present lot purchased for $4800. A new building of “Akron Plan” style, designed by Jacob Snyder of Akron was built and dedicated in January 27, 1889. A new pipe organ was installed, a first for the church. The Town council requested and furnished $800 in addition to citizen’s donations to place a Town Clock in the Tower. The clock was installed January 5, 1885. The East Ohio Conference met at First Church in September 1889. The good fortune of the congregation was short lived when some one yelled, “FIRE!”

Friday morning, May 13, 1892 about 1 AM, the sky glowed as the church was consumed by the flames. While firemen fought to save the structure, silhouetted against the fire lit sky the trustees and the pastor, A.R. Chapman, met at 3 AM on the street corner and decided to rebuild, so dedicated was their faith. As debris of remains of the church and clock was being removed, James P. Bailey of Pittsburg was selected as the architect and plans were made to rebuild. The cornerstone of the present church was laid a year to the day of the fire, Saturday, May 13, 1893. A new organ was dedicated June 21, 1895, the gift of the McClymonds family in memory of their mother. The church was dedicated, debt free, June 23, 1895. The new Town Clock has kept time for the city with it’s four faces for almost a century. The centennial of Methodism in Massillon was celebrated in December 1910, by First church and the new Wesley church.

In 1921 First Church was the host for the North-East Ohio Annual Conference. Extensive remodeling was done in the basement for a new kitchen, dining room and a gymnasium with a shower room built in the southwest corner of the basement. The lower west entrance to basement was added. The sanctuary was redecorated, new electrical system and heating installed at cost of $36,400.

The influx of new families after World War II brought about the need for expanding the educational facilities. Adjacent property was acquired and plans prepared by architect Harry Mallalieu for a new educational wing, consecrated December 8, 1957. A new balcony and narthex were added to the sanctuary and redecoration, total cost $281,600. District Superintendent William B. Robinson preached the sermon and Rev. George Beebe conducted the consecration service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief History of First Church

1980 marks the one hundred eightieth year of Methodism in Massillon. First Church traces its beginning to 1 810 when James Dixon was appointed to the Tuscarawas Circuit, of the Muskingum District of the Western Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Tuscarawas Circuit embraced all of the country along the Tuscarawas River from New Portage (Canal Fulton] to near Coshocton. The Reverend Mr. Dixon reported only seventy-seven members in the entire circuit at the close of 1810.

James McCoy was the first Methodist in Massillon. Services were held in his cabin in Kendal as early as 1811 when Rev. William Mitchell was appointed to the   circuit.   In  the  winter  of   1811   –   1812  a Methodist Society was formed at the home of Peter Johnson in Tuscarawas township where preaching was held every two weeks. Since that time there has always  been   a Methodist organization in the Massillon area.   (Perry Township was organized in 1813 and the city of Massillon came into existence in 1826.  Our church is older than Massillon itself!)

Methodism grew rapidly between 1811 and 1820. Such men as Rev. David Young and David Somerville, 1812 and John Graham, 1813 served the circuit. Rev. Archibald McIlroy, 1814 and James McMahon, 1817 and William Foljaunb, 1820, served the church. A gifted young Irishman by the name of Thomas Ruckle was appointed to the circuit in 1822 and preached once in about five weeks in the Kendal schoolhouse. The circuit was in the newly-formed Ohio Conference from 1812 to 1823. The Pittsburgh Conference was formed in 1 824 by action of the general conference and included within its bounds all of Ohio east of the Tuscarawas River and western Pennsylvania as far east as Johnstown. This put Kendal in the new conference and left Tuscarawas in the Ohio conference. The Massillon Methodists remained with the Tuscarawas class until 1831 when a class was organized on this side of the river and Massillon became one of the appointments on the Canton circuit of the Pittsburgh Conference.

The first building for this group was an abandoned brewery of all things! Here they organized the first Sunday School and had their first quarterly conference February 16, 1833. That same year they erected a meeting house which they occupied until 1836 when they moved to the third floor of a building at Mam and Erie Streets. In 1840 under the leadership of D.R. Hawkins, a minister of brilliant parts and great force of character, the Methodists built a building with the Masons. The first floor was used by the church people and the second floor was used by the Masons. The society remained in the building with the Masons until 1860. The church was incorporated by an act of the Ohio Legislature in 1841. The Sunday School was formally organized in 1842 and taught a number of secular as well as religious subjects.

A brick structure was purchased from the Baptists in 1860 that stood on the corner of North and Mill Streets and served as the church until construction was begun on the most impressive structure ever built by the Methodists – in 1883. This building stood at the corner of what is now Third and Lincoln Way. It was dedicated in 1889.

Tragedy struck May 13, 1892 when the church was destroyed by fire! Under the able leadership of Dr. A.R. Chapman, pastor, the congregation immediately made plans to rebuild on the same site. Within a few months, services were held in the present Fellowship Hall. The total cost of putting the building under roof and enclosing, plus finishing Fellowship Hall was only $48,000. The finished building was dedicated on June 23, 1895. The thirty-four rank organ cost $5,000 in 1895.

 

An article in the Evening Independent Saturday, June 22, 1895 states:

“It is sufficient to say that in all the appointments of the church entire harmony prevails, and that while no effort has been made for the sake of show, there is nothing cheap or out of proportion in the entire furnishings. The pulpit furniture is a memorial to the soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic, the funds having been solicited by the State Chaplain, the Rev, G.B. Smith, almost entirely in contributions of one dollar. More than $300 was subscribed to this fund. The Bible is a memorial to Mrs. Elizabeth Harsh, given by Mr. George Hash. The cushioned seats, carpets, chandeliers, etc., are of the best, purchased for use and not for show. A new city clock has just been put in the church tower, through the liberality of some of the citizens, and a contribution from the city council.” “The trustees, to whom is entrusted the care and keeping of the church property, have acted throughout on the principle that nothing is too beautiful or costly for the service of God’s house. We make our own houses just as elegant and comfortable as we can afford, the church deserves equal treatment. The trustees have “builded even better than they knew,” and the community will certainly sustain them in giving to our city this massive and artistic church edifice, perhaps the peer of any building of its character to be seen anywhere.”

Major remodeling and renovation took place during the 1920’s when electric was put into the building. The organizational meeting for the Boy Scouts was held in the church in 1914. During World War II the Class in the Corner bought peanuts by the hundred pounds and blanched and fried them. Each month they sent a pound to each, of the men in the service.

In the early fifties the balcony was added to the sanctuary. The educational unit was completed in 1957 and dedicated in 1 965. The three-manual, thirty-two rank Hillgreen Lane pipe organ was installed in 1972 at a cost of $65,000. The parking lots were added in 1974.

The Tower and the Town clock are landmarks and a focal point of the skyline of Massillon, but First United Methodist Church is more than bricks and mortar. First Church is people, lay and clergy, dedicated to the sharing of the Christian Gospel and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ through the ministry of the church.

Annual conference has met here three times; Pittsburg Conference in 1866, East-Ohio Conference in 188_ and the Pittsburg Conference in 1921. Our church has been served by sixty-eight pastors and eight associate pastors. After James Dixon began to preach in Kendall in 1810 little is known of preachers of the circuit until 1834 when Massillon Circuit was organized.

 

ROSTER OF CLERGY WHO SERVED FIRST U.M. CHURCH

 

1834 Hiram Minor

1835   William S. Warrels

1836   Aurora Callender

1837   Edward Birkett

1839   David R. Hawkins

1840   D.R. Hawkins

1841   Patrick M. McCue

1842 James H. White

1843 James H. White

1844   Robert Boyd

1845 H.C. Boyer

1846 A.A. Jameson

1848 James A. Kellam

1849   C.H. Owens

1851   Samuel Mower

1853 W.A. Nickerson

1855 A. Harmount

1857   R. Cunningham

1858   H.M. Abes

1859 James Beacom

1861   John Grant

1863 A.G. Williams

1865   William Pittmger

1866   W.M. Hickman

1867 William Lynch

1870 Ezra Hingeley

1873 J.M. Carr

1876 John D. Vail

1877   C.H. Stocking

1879 D.C. Osborne

1881   Hiram Miller

1883 W.J. Wilson

1886   James R. Mills

1887 John Wilson

1889 A.R. Chapman

1894 George B. Smith

1898 John I. Wilson

1900 LH. Stewart

1903 J.W. Robbms

1904 H.W. Dewey

1907 J.R. Jacob

1910   A.D. Mink

1915   James W, Ulman

1916   S.L, Stewart”

1919 J.E. McGee

1920   W.R. P’olhamus

1924   M.M. Brown

1925   Paul E. Secrist

1931 Isaac B. Harper

1934   Chas B.Hessv

1939 J. Lloyd McQueen

1945   Ralph T. Alton

1950   George C. Beebe

1956   Robert R. Dieterich

1962   William C. Snowball

1968   David H. P’atton

1972    Harry A. Carney

1974    David W. Bloor

1975    Karl L. Bucey

1981    Thomas H.R. Hammerton

1990    Carl Beighly

1995    Leslie A. Peine

 

Pastors who   have   served   this   Church   since   the  fire  are   Listed   below.

1889,   Sept  25,  East Ohio Conference  Convenes At Massillon First Church

1889-94*Alva Riley  Chapman   (Wl)(W2)(B  Jan   18.1839,   D  Apr  28,1907)

 

1889-May   13  FIRE  & Rebuilding   –   Dedication  June  24,   1894

 

1894-8.*.George B.   Smith   (W)   (D  1924)

1898-1900*.John I.   Wilson   (W)   (B  June  14,1840,  D  July   12,1915)

1900 3.#.Lemuel  Harbey   Stewart   (W)   (B  July   12,   1848,   D   Feb   1910)

1903-4.*.James William Robins   (W2)(B May  24,1851,   D  Oct  29,1904)

1904- 7.#.Horace W.   Dewey   (W)   (B  April   14,1857,  D  Aug  7,1928)

1907-10*.Josephus R.   Jacob   (W)   (B  Feb  4,1859,  D April  15,1836)

1910-5.*.Arthur Dewitt Mink   (W)   (D  July  3,1928)

 

  1. NORTH-EAST OHIO CONFERENCE

1915-6.*.James Almeron   Ulman   (W)   (B  June  12,1860,   D  June  20,1916)

1916-9.*.Samuel L.   Stewart  (W)   (B  1871,  D  Oct  1,1940)

1919-20*.James Ellington  McGee   (W)   (B  1868,   D  Aug  11,1925)

1920-24*.William Robert Polhamus   (St  Louis  Conf,   B Aug  23,1879,   D Jan  12,1951)

 

1921,   Sept  30,  North-East  Ohio  Conference  Convenes

At Massillon First Church with Co-host Wesley Church

1924-5.#.Milton Maywood   Brown(W)(W2)(B  Aug  15,1880,   D Aug   17,1952)

1925-31*.Paul E.   Secrest  (W)   (B  Sept  1,1886,  D  July  15,1965)

1931-34*.Isaac   B.  Harper   (B  July  2,1870,   D  Aug  21,1935)

1934-9.*.Charles   Bentley Hess   (W)   (B  Dec  4,1881,  D Dec  28,1964)

1939-45..(March)   Jason  Lloyd  McQueen   (W)   (B  –         -,—–,   D  Dec  21,   1988)

1945-50..(April 5)  Ralph  Taylor  Alton     (Elected   Bishop     ?)

1950-6.*.George Chapin  Beebe   (W1)(W2)   (B Oct 6,   1906,   D  Feb  3,1985)

1954-6…(Jan 15)   Dwight Miller  Burkam,  Assoc.   [Vol.   LOG.   1964]

1956-62..Robert Reed Dietrich (Wl),  [Retired,  1975]

1956-8…Dwight E.   Lewis,  Assoc.   [Invol.   Location,   1965]

1958-61..Forest W.   Carter,  Assoc.   [Retired   1980]

1961-3…Oden A.  Haynes,   Assoc.   [Retired  1992,  Health]

1962-8…William Cuthburt  Snowball,  [Retired,  1978]

1964-6…Ralph   C.   Wilde,  Assoc.,   Supply  Pastor,   (B  1926)

1967…..Robert M.   Gay,   Assoc.   Feb  thru   Nov.

1968-72..David   H.   Patton,   [Retired   1986]

1972-4.*.Harry A.   Carney   (B  July  7,1920,  D  Jan  20,1974)

1974-5…David   Walter   Bloor  [6-30-74  to  5-25-75]   (Disciplinary   Leave   ?)

1975 81..Karl  Lester  Bucey,   [Retired,   1985]

1976-7   ..Ronald  Kowalski,   Assoc.

1977-9…James A.   Lawley,  Assoc.

1980 3…Dean  E.  Walters,   Assoc.,   Local  Preacher

1981-9…Thomas Henry  Robert Hammerton  [Retired,   1990]

1990-1995   …Carl  G.   Beighley   [Retired,   1995]

1996-2011…Leslie A. Peine

2011-2012…co pastors: Julia L. Wertz / Jeffrey W. Coggins

2012-present… Julia L. Wertz

 

(W)=Wife       (B) = Born       (D)=Died

 

PAGE   31

 

The new developments of homes and new churches in the suburban areas attracted new young families from the city causing a decline in participation and enrollment. Pastoral-congregational problems contributed to the decline in interest and attendance in the seventies. Under the leadership of pastor, Rev. Tom Hammerton, the church has been turned about and First Church is again on the move, changing its course to look inward on the community for growth by meeting the needs for persons of all ages through introspection of their spiritual needs.

Pastor, Dr. Carl G. Beighley, has focused on the spiritual growth of the church by accenting the personal spiritual growth of the individual. His leadership in encouraging memorial gifts, large or small, to the church and moving this forward has been very successful as donors can see their gifts at work. Many programs have benefited.

The first record of a women’s group is 1865. Officially these active women’s organizations were: Ladies Aid, officially organized April 4, 1901; Woman’s Home Missionary Society, formed 1886-7; Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, 1882; in 1940 all these organizations were combined into one organization by the General Conference to the present United Methodist Women.

The church building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, September 1985.

From MASSILLON METHODISTS, A History of First Methodist Church in preparation by Fred J. Wilson

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HISTORY

Methodism came to western Stark County in 1808 with the arrival of Peter Slusser. His cabin is believed, to be the first building in Tuscarawas Township. Jacob Ground, joined by Joshua Carr, organized the first settlement and the Township was organized in 1810. Joseph Poyser, Peter Johnson, Wesley Hatton, William Eenry, Seth Hunt, Thomas Eldridge, William and Thomas Dean, Stephen Thacker, Rev. Josiah Foster and other Methodists were among the early settlers. Rev. James Dixon en arriving formed the first society in 1810. After the settlement of Kendal, the Kendal Methodists came to the township for worship.

In the winter of 1811, Thomas Rotch and his shepherd, Arvine Wales, each built a cabin in Kendal. The Kendal plat was recorded April 20, 1812. Soon settlers came to the new village. Among these was John C. McCoy, a young man of about 22, a tailor by trade. He was prominent in the business community and as a local preacher. In 1815 he bought a lot, built a home and shop and married Mary Comely en February 11, 1816. His home located on the north west corner of Rodman and Wales NE became the meeting place of the first Methodist class. It is likely that Rev. Curtis Goddard was the first circuit preacher. Rev. Josiah Foster from the Tuscarawas class preached here every five or six weeks.

About 1820 John C. McCoy and Mary moved from Kendai to settle in Ashland, County on a farm that later became part of Loudenville. Another local preacher, Rev. William Foljambe, and wife Ann, both born in England moved to the area buying a farm in Jackson Township located at what is now the land north and east of the intersection of Brunnerdale and Perry roads. He was “ordained by Bishop Hedding, and a very active and useful gospel minister.” In 1822 Thomas R. Ruckle was on the circuit, preaching in the east wing of the “L” house in Kendal.

An early resident of Massillon, C.H. King, tells of the first class here: “In the fall of 1830 or winter of 1830-31, Methodists organized a. class at the house of Mr. (Rufus) Hardy, on the south side of Main street, about half way between the canal and river, my mother Rachel King, being one of them.” The Methodist used a school house that had been an “abandoned brewery” or distillery for classes. Joseph Merwin, then a young boy, writes: “In the summer of 1832, the then recently organized class in Massillon of the Methodist Episcopal Church, having secured the use on Sundays of an abandon brewery, which stood on the east side of Erie street, just north of Thorne Alley, steps were taken to establish a Sunday school …” (1892) — In 1910 Merwin said: “The first services ever held in a public place in Massillon, and the first Sunday School ever, were conducted in an old distillery in North Erie, beginning in 1831. In February of 1833, the first quarterly conference ever held here was held in the old distillery.”

Rev. David Hawkins, circuit preacher, determined that the Massillon Methodists should have a building of their own and proposed to the Masonic Lodge that the two organizations should build and share a building together. This was against the Methodist church policy at that time. The official rule was, ‘Methodists not to join the Masonic lodge or any other “secret order”‘. The two Massillon organizations acted on his suggestion erecting a two story building with a basement. The cornerstone was layed June 24, 1840. The Masons used the upper floor and the church the first floor. The building was located on Factory St., now vacated for the city hall and Charles St. SE, Prior to entering the agreement the church was incorporated in 1343 as the FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, of Massillon.

 

 

Sunday,   January   23,   1842,   at   2   PM   the  first   session   of   organizing   a   Sunday School was held. Rev. Patrick McCue presented a form of Constitution that was adopted. Officers were elected with Abraham Chestnutwood as President and Adam J. Humberger, superintendent, Miss Harriett Chestnutwood, female superintendent. A small library and other necessary articles were purchased. A person of “good moral character” was eligible to join by contributing 25 cents annually and signing the constitution. Reading, spelling and “Bible Classes” was given. In two years the scroll had 16 teachers, 80 students with yearly expenses of $26.08.

The great revival in the spring of 1843 by Rev. James White increased the membership for the Methodist class to become a station in 1845. It became the first Methodist church in Stark County with a regular pastor. White “possessed a vigorous intellect, a tenacious smile, a vivid imagination, and a strong will. He was a most earnest spirit and this … gave character not only to his words, but his manner and voice.” In February 1858 the trustees bought the old Baptist Church for S800 at sheriff’s sale. In July 1859 the Masons bought the Methodist share of their building for $800. The structure, on the northwest corner of First and North Sts., was renovated and dedicated January 22, 1860 by Rev. Dr. J.C. Pershing. With the new building the Massillon church hosted the Annual meeting of the Pittsburg Conference in March 1867.

In 1882, Rev, Hiram Miller found the church building was in poor structural condition and closed it, declaring it unsafe. A decision was made to build a new church and the present lot purchased for $4800. A new building of “Akron Plan” style, designed by Jacob Snyder of Akron was built and dedicated in January 27, 1889. A new pipe organ was installed, a first for the church. The Town council requested and furnished $800 in addition to citizen’s donations to place a Town Clock in the Tower. The clock was installed January 5, 1885. The East Ohio Conference met at First Church in September 1889. The good fortune of the congregation was short lived when some one yelled, “FIRE!”

Friday morning, May 13, 1892 about 1 AM, the sky glowed as the church was consumed by the flames. While firemen fought to save the structure, silhouetted against the fire lit sky the trustees and the pastor, A.R. Chapman, met at 3 AM on the street corner and decided to rebuild, so dedicated was their faith. As debris of remains of the church and clock was being removed, James P. Bailey of Pittsburg was selected as the architect and plans were made to rebuild. The cornerstone of the present church was laid a year to the day of the fire, Saturday, May 13, 1893. A new organ was dedicated June 21, 1895, the gift of the McClymonds family in memory of their mother. The church was dedicated, debt free, June 23, 1895. The new Town Clock has kept time for the city with it’s four faces for almost a century. The centennial of Methodism in Massillon was celebrated in December 1910, by First church and the new Wesley church.

In 1921 First Church was the host for the North-East Ohio Annual Conference. Extensive remodeling was done in the basement for a new kitchen, dining room and a gymnasium with a shower room built in the southwest corner of the basement. The lower west entrance to basement was added. The sanctuary was redecorated, new electrical system and heating installed at cost of $36,400.

The influx of new families after World War II brought about the need for expanding the educational facilities. Adjacent property was acquired and plans prepared by architect Harry Mallalieu for a new educational wing, consecrated December 8, 1957. A new balcony and narthex were added to the sanctuary and redecoration, total cost $281,600. District Superintendent William B. Robinson preached the sermon and Rev. George Beebe conducted the consecration service.