First Baptist Church - East Liverpool, Ohio

History of the First Baptist Church, East Liverpool. East Liverpool is an old community, having celebrated the centennial of its settlement in 1899. There are no records which show that even any attempt was made to organize a Baptist Church before the year of 1899. Numbers of Baptists were in this city before but they seemed to have had no hope of a Baptist Church being organized, so they united in many cases with churches of a different belief and also sent their children to Sunday Schools of other denominations rather than not have them go at all. During the years 1897 and 1898 a number of Baptists came to live and make their future home in East Liverpool. These families were those of T. C. Neal and David Wells, coming from the Rendville Baptist Church, Rendville, Ohio. The first meeting of local Baptists was held June 11, 1899, and a later meeting was held at which T. C. Neal was chosen chairman and C. A. Leiter, clerk. This meeting resulted in a call for the purpose of organizing a Sunday School. At the meeting of July 2nd an offer was received from Rev. P. C. Nelson from Achor, Ohio, to assist in the starting of a Baptist Church in East Liverpool. On July 27th a number of those believing in the principles of the Baptists met at Mrs. Robinson's home on Market Street, near Rayel's livery stable, and a call was given Reverend Nelson to come and help start the work.

On Aug. 15, 1899, the first Baptist Church was organized. After a short service the following resolutions were adopted: "We, the undersigned, do hereby express our desire and intention to be banded together in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord to constitute the first Baptist Church of East Liverpool. We also hereby agree to labor together as the Lord may direct until such time as in His providence we may be regularly constituted as a Regular Baptist Church. Done this 15th day of August, 1899." The following are the names of those who constitute the Baptist Church: David Wells, Mrs. David Wells, T. C. Neal, Mrs. T. C. Neal, and Mrs. Rebekah Robinson."

They continued to meet more or less regularly during the remainder of 1899. After some correspondence with Dr. George E. Leonard, secretary of the Ohio Baptist Convention, Rev. H. H. Bawden came here and held meetings beginning Jan. 6, 1900, in the Smith-Fowler Hall in the Diamond. During his stay here he canvassed East Liverpool, Chester, and Wellsville, as to the number of Baptists. His visit was a great encouragement to the handful of Baptists. In March, 1900, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brown moved here from Akron, Ohio. During this year meetings were held in the homes of the members. In the summer of 1900 Jerry Kidwell, a student from Broadun Institute, W. Va., was hired as a pastor. He stayed with the church about three months. During that year the following were added to the church: Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brown, Mrs. W. F. Jones, Carrie Southwick, Mrs. R. F. Southwick, Mrs. K. Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. J. M Williams, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Wilson, Miss Agnes Wilson, and Mr. and Mrs. Alex Fraser.

In January, 1901, Rev. Frank Cramer of Erie, Pa., preached for two weeks for the church. The church gave him a call which was not accepted. In February, 1901, Rev. G. E. Leonard, D. D. and Rev. E. A. Read, as officers of the Ohio Baptist's Convention, came here with a view of having Rev. H. H. Bawden come here to see if the cause could not be helped. He came and stayed 30 days. On Sunday he preached and during the week he visited from house to house in East Liverpool, Wellsville, and Chester. He found 84 Baptists. During the summer of 1901 a student from Dennison University became pastor. On July 7, 1901, a council of churches was called to consider the question of the recognition of the church as a Regular Baptist Church, which was done. This service was held the same evening. Rev. C. B. Allen preached the sermon, prayer was offered by Rev. P. C. Nelson, hand of fellowship by Rev. E. Chesney, and charge to church by Reverend Bonsell, Rochester, Pa. Rev. J. C. Taggard, D. D., pastor of the First U. P. Church, East Liverpool, gave an address of welcome on behalf of the churches of the city. Oct. .1, 1901, Rev. Oscar Lee Owens, a recent graduate of the Rochester Theological Seminary became pastor. Feb. 9, 1902, the church voted to buy the Campbell property on Fifth Street at a cost of $4,200. In October, 1902, Rev. Oscar Lee Owens, resigned as pastor. He had been ill for several weeks with typhoid fever. This loss was a sad disappointment to the small body of members. Soon after Rev. Owens' departure, Rev. H. H. Bawden was called as the regular pastor, beginning his work Dec. 1, 1902, During 1905 the church bought the Hill property, adjoining the Campbell property at a cost of $7,200. Rev. H. H. Bawden remained until Nov. 25, 1906. He was followed by Rev. W. Leo Brown, who was with the church until May, 1912. Rev. W. J. Thompson was pastor from July 7, 1912, until April 30, 1916. Rev. D. E. Miller followed, and later Rev. W. J. James. Rev. A. H. O'Brian is the present pastor.

The church has a nice church home which was built at an original cost of $11,000. This building was partly burned and rebuilt at a cost of $18,000. The present officers are: Rev. A. H. O'Brian, pastor; Mrs. W. F. Jones, Wellsville, church clerk; Mr. W. F. Jones, Sunday School Superintendent; Harry Chilton, R. T. Hall, M. M. Glaser, Carl Scrafy, Mr. Rowley, Charles G. R. Seckman, Deacons; A. G. Ellis, W. F. Jones, and John Clark, trustees; and Charles Brown, chairman of finance.

History of Columbiana County, Ohio
By: Harold B. Barth
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1926

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