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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 Marquis’s 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 Rev’d 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 this building.

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 Heavenly Father.

Written by Byron L. Marquis

about 1977-9, Caldwell, Ohio

 

A copy of the page from the actual church record book is given here for interest:

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