RECORDS OF THE CONGREGATION OF OLIVE 1831.
This appears on
the title page of, what I think, is the first Session record book of this congregation.
The first item in the record follows, "John Marquis, John Lyons and Peter Eckley who
were formerly ruling Elders in the Presbyterian Church and having been regularly elected
as Elders in this Church were on this 7th day of August 1831 installed into this office in
the Congregation of Olive."
This record book continues through until 1854 with a few scattered items in the back up
until 1881. It is quite detailed in records of Baptisms and names of those who united with
the Congregation over the period of these years. It is also quite detailed in recording
meetings of the Church Session, elections of officers, services of Communion and the
oversight by the Session of the spiritual welfare of the members. Some of the family names
noted as being loyal members and laborers in the Church were, the Archibalds, Aikens,
Cains, Glenns, Daniels, Boggs, Raceys, Parrishs, McGlashans, Morrisons, Lyons, Trimmers,
Dalzells, Schreibers, Steens, Paxtons, Bells, McKees, Caldwells, Culbertsons, Beckleys,
Winders and scores of Marquiss and many others.
In 1866 a movement was began to establish a Presbyterian Church in Caldwell and it is
noted on record that on June 1st the Session met in Caldwell and opened with prayer.
Members present were Rev. S. Mahaffey, Moderator, E. W. Daniels, J. A. Marquis and S.
Aiken, Elders. On Sunday June 2nd, Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was dispensed in
Caldwell in the morning and in Sharon in the afternoon. Caldwell notes their begining as
being 1868. It is noted in our Session records that on June 27, 1868 the following were
dismissed to connect with the Church at Caldwell, Alexander Boggs, Mary A. Boggs, William
Miller, Sarah Miller, William Miller, Sr., John Barkley, Anna Foster and Cyrus McGlashan.
Many of the older members of the Caldwell Church often referred lovingly to the Sharon
Church as being the Mother Church.
In 1851 Sharon College was founded by Rev. Randall Ross (see below figure of page of
church records for payment to Revd Wm. R. Ross) and flourished until the
outbreak of the Civil War when it finally had to give up on account of a lack of students
and teachers. At one time it boasted of as many as eighty students. The building housing
the college was right beside the present church building being separated only by the big
Maple tree still growing beside the church.
On June 18th, 1881 an agreement was made between W. Burlingame and Son and the Building
Committee of the Presbyterian Church of Sharon and County of Noble and State of Ohio, to
erect a frame building 36 x 48 feet including vestibule. The house was to have sufficient
number of seats, made of pine, to fill the house. There is no mention made of the cost of
April 17, 1898 the statistical report is as follows, Number of Elders 6, added on
Profession of Faith, 12, Whole number of Communicants 105, Adult Baptisms 12. Sunday
School Membership 159. Total Budget for the year $468.18.
The Sunday School was in existence at least from 1875 and perhaps earlier. The records
that I have of the Sunday School begin around the year 1875. There were as many as nine
classes. In 1900 Church membership was 100 and Sunday School enrollment was 195.
The last item in this book was, Sharon, Ohio February 17, 1904 and noted the
Statistical report for that year.
From the begining of the Sharon Church to the year 1900 the old records make exciting
reading. Compared to to-day those were difficult times but the Congregation continued to
grow either in spite of the difficult times or because of them. In those years there
seemed to be a great concern for the Spiritual welfare of the people by the Session and
the members. That seems to have been lost in the years since 1900. The records since 1900
are more or less just routine accounts of Communion services, Infant baptisms, additions
to the roll and many dismissals to churches out of the area of the Sharon Community. They
are well kept records, meeting almost 100 percent the approval of the various Presbytery
Committees whose responsibility it was to review them. There is really no way to measure
the impact this Church has had on the lives of those it has touched over the years but I
am sure that if we continue to do as God directs us this day and days to come that this
Church will yet have many generations of service and be a blessing in the sight of our
Written by Byron L. Marquis
about 1977-9, Caldwell, Ohio