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Harpster United Methodist Church (Harpster, Ohio) - MS 113 mf
The records of the Harpster United Methodist Church were transferred for microfilming to the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio with the cooperation of Crystal Harper in October 1992.
No restrictions have been placed on the research use of this collection and duplication is permitted. The materials were processed for microfilming and a finding aid prepared by Monica Manny in October 1992.
The following is a brief history of the church, prepared by one of the congregation's members, which details the history of the congregation.
Fowler Methodist Episcopal Church:
It was first organized as the Fowler Society by D. B. Rinehart in 1847 with twenty-five members. Later the circuit consisted of Scott Town (now Meeker), 10 miles southwest of Fowler (now Harpster); Zion, 7 miles southwest; Little Sandusky, 2 miles east; and Bowsherville, 2 miles west.
During the pastorate of Martin L. Centers, a Sunday School was organized in the schoolhouse April 15, 1877. At annual Conference held in Bellefountain, September 1877, the presiding Elder arranged for the Fowler Circuit consisting of Fowler (now Harpster), Zion, Pleasant Grove and Little Sandusky. In the summer and fall of 1878, the walls of a new church building, a brick structure, 40 x 60 feet, was erected at a cost of $5000. It was completed the following spring and summer and was dedicated August 10, 1879 free of debt. In 1908, John Wood donated land on the southeast corner of his property to have a parsonage erected, a very large frame building. In the summer of 1926, the church was struck by lightning and burned. They then bought the present church from the Baptist Church, which no longer was holding services there.
Little Sandusky Methodist Church:
The first meetings of this society in Pitt Township were at the residence of Samuel Winslow and Michael Harmon in 1820, under the charge of J. B. Finley, who was also engaged at the Wyandot Mission at Upper Sandusky, and in 1821 he organized a church at Little Sandusky, with twelve members. In 1856, the society erected a church building in Little Sandusky. Rev. J. B. Finley was the first pastor who officiated in this charge, and he was succeeded by Rev. Cooper. Others were Revs. Montgomery, Bigelow, Thompson, Shaw, Camp, Bell, and Jackson--all missionaries. In 1904 a new brick structure was erected at a cost of $6,700 and was dedicated on December 18, 1904. This building still stands (1992).
The Little Sandusky Church has been a part of the Marseilles, Forest, New Bloomington and Harpster Circuits.
Wyandot Methodist Church:
Soon after the first settlers arrived in Antrim Township in the year 1819, the people of Wyandot and vicinity began to assemble occasionally for divine worship. The first meetings were held in the old log school house in the northeast part of the village, and these were continued with more or less regularity until 1835 when an organization was effected: members were of the Methodist Episcopal faith and few in numbers, William Brown and his wife Margaret being the only members from the village. In 1838 the Methodist Church building was erected just south of the village, being the first building of the kind erected in the township. It was later abandoned, and later used as a township hall.
In the year 1858, the elders and trustees of the Presbyterian church purchased a parcel of land from Isaac and Maria Bryant, and erected a frame building, forty by sixty feet in dimensions and worshipped there until in 1884, by reason of the death and dispersions of its members, it became extinct, so in consideration of the sum of Three Hundred Dollars, they sold it to the Methodist Episcopal Church on the eighth day of October 1884.
During the early part of the twentieth century, Wyandot was a part of the Nevada Charge, with the minister residing at Nevada. About the year 1911, the Wyandot and Scioto Charge was formed. Those who served during the years from 1911 to 1923 were Revs. Crim, J. H. Barnes, I. D. Rife, W. S. Wert, and Robert Halsall. One of the most remembered of these ministers was Rev. Barnes, who came here on September 24, 1912. During his pastorate, sixty were added to the membership of the two churches and fourteen children were baptized. He was the first minister to reside in the parsonage when it was located in Wyandot.
In 1923, Wyandot became a part of the Harpster Charge with Reverend I. C. Wynn being the first pastor, followed by L. B. Smith, A. E. Grant, J. J. Richards, C. B. Doty, Fred Ross, B. F. Crawford, Harold Vermillion and Rev. Paul Baxter.
On September 28, 1958, the Methodist Church held their Centennial and Homecoming. Rev. B. F. Crawford, a former pastor, was the morning guest speaker and Rev. John W. McMahan, Lima District Superintendent was the guest afternoon speaker, with organ music by Professor Ted Groman of Findlay.
At the Annual Conference of 1967, the three churches of the Harpster Charge were merged into one church called the Harpster United Methodist Church, with services in the Harpster Church. The churches of Wyandot and Little Sandusky were closed. Rev. Harold Place was pastor at this time. The Little Sandusky Church was sold for $3500.
Included within the collection of the Harpster United Methodist Church are two volumes. One record book contains information on the church's pastors, probationary and full members, baptisms, and marriages for the period from 1908 to 1917. One minute book for the period from 1877 to 1881 offers a record of meetings of the church's Sunday School, known at that time as the Fowler Sunday School.
- Record Book, 1908-1917: Includes list of pastors, probationary members, members, baptisms, and marriages.
- Minute Book, 1877-1881
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