of Storms Creek Baptist
(First Baptist Church of Ironton, Ohio)
In the year 1811, Rev. John Lee,
relative of the famous General Robt. Lee, came from Virginia with his
family, a wife and five daughters, and bought a farm near the mouth of
Storms Creek. He with other Baptists, who had settled on farms along the
river in the community, cut logs and built a large log church house on
the river side of the road near the present Storms Creek bridge. Rev.
Lee assisted by Rev. Bennett and Rev. John Kelley, organized a church
in this log house ----- 1812, calling it The Storms
Creek Baptist Church. They chose Rev. ---- for pastor, who served until
death, 1839. The following is a partial list of the charter members:
- Rev. John Lee and wife
- Peter Lionbarger and wife
- John K. Smith and wife
- Brice Henry and wife
- Morris Henry and wife
- Joseph Brammer and wife
- Isaac Henry
- Sarah Henry
- Jesse Sherman
- Mary Kelley
- James Henry, Jr.
- John Lionbarber
- Penina Golden
- James Kelley and wife
- Geo. Neff and wife
- James Henry and wife
- Martha Yingling
At the first meeting of the Ohio
Association, held at Tigert's Creek, Ky. 18 Aug. 1821, the church numbered
In the early history of the church, Revs. Felix Ellison
and Wm. Fuston rendered excellent service in many ways, especially along
missionary lines. Just one hundred years ago, Sept. 7,
Luther Rice who had accompanied Adonrian Judson to the foreign field, returned
and preached in this church in his effort to raise funds for the support
of Judson. He found a ready response, many of the members giving liberally,
Rev. John Lee alone giving $100.00, which in that day was a princely sum.
About 1820, the banks of the river washed away to such
an extent that the log church had to be abandoned and a frame church was
built just across the road and the church reorganized with about 33 members.
Around the old church was a grave yard, which also washed
away and many of the bodies were removed to Woodland. In 1839, Rev. J. M.
Kelley was licensed to preach and in 1840, he was ordained and chosen rector
of the church. He was married the same year by Rev. John Kelley to Sarah
Ann Baccus, who still survives him at the age of ninety-two. In the early
days of the church they were very strict in discipline. They brought members
before the church who failed to contribute to the support of the church,
and if any two members had the slightest trouble or the smallest offense
or grievance, or the slightest intoxication of a member, they were brought
before the church and required to make it right, before the could sit at
the board's table.
In 1854, the present brick church was re-elected to that
office until his ----- (some lines missing-mk) Vernon streets, and reorganized
with 156 members, the same being changed to the "First Baptist Church" of
Ironton, Ohio, with Rev. J.M. Kelley as pastor.
In 1851, he had been chose as Moderator of the Ohio Association
and was re-elected to that office until his death. During his life he traveled
many, many miles to preach in the country churches.
The beginning of the Bible School was a union school held
in the first school house erected in Ironton. When other churches built
houses of worship, they all started Bible Schools and the First Baptist
church organized their school in 1847 or 1848. During all these years, so
far as can be ascertained there has not gone out from the First Baptist
church but one young man into the ministry, namely Rev. Jas. M. Kelly.
One young woman has gone to the foreign field as a missionary,
namely, Mrs. Mary Wolfe Lewis in Oct. 1902, who is the daughter of Mr. &
Mrs. Jas. T. Wolfe. She is now engaged in missionary work in China. This
church claims the honor of being instrumental in establishing the Lorain
Street church. In 1902, a Bible school was organized in the school house
and in 1903 the church house was built and dedicated and the church organized
with about twelve members, choosing Rev. T.F. Carey as their pastor.
Mr. Jas. T. Wolfe always manifested a great interest in
the Bible School and church and did much to promote the enterprise.
The following is a list of the regular pastors who have
served the church. A number of supplies have filled in between:
- John Lee, 1812
- J.M. Kelley, 1840
- Geo. E. Leonard, 1855, who afterward served
as the State Convention as Secretary for so long
- G.W. Gates, 1880
- Joseph Sharp, 1864
- B.F. Ashley, 1865, a man of rare gifts. He had
associated with him, some laymen strong and true, such men as:
- D. Phillips
- W.D. Henry
- D.K. Burkit, deacons and others with E.
Bixby, church clerk. It was during his pastorate that the auditorium
was finished and dedicated.
- G.W. Taylor, 1870
- P.P. Kennedy, 1871, it was not until in this
period of the church history, 1872, that the church voted to have the
organ used in public worship.
- J.A. Kirkpatrick, 1877
- W.W. Whitcomb, 1879
- H.A. Summeral, 1881
- T.C. Probert, 1882
- J.H. Roberts, 1887
- M. Roberts, 1888
- Neah Harper, 1889
- E.V. Pierce, 1894. It was during Rev. Pierce's
pastorate, the auditorium was remodeled and dedicated, with many pleasing
features, he being assisted by Rev. J.M. Kelly and others.
- Henry Brandt, 1900
- V.L. Stonell, 1907
- U.S. Knox, 1908
- S.E. Davis, 1909
- S.E. Davis, 1909. In this pastorate, the present
parsonage was purchased.
- Chas. E. Griffin, 1914.
It was during this last year, 1914,
that the greatest in gathering to the membership occurred in the history
of the church, namely 174.
Of this number, 135 came in after the union meeting conducted by Dr. W.E.
Biederwolt. The first Sunday in June, 81 new members received the hand of
fellowship which was an inspiring sight.
On the 26th day of June 1914, the lightning struck the
steeple of the church, tearing away the large copper ball, which had stood
the storms for sixty years.
This ball was made in the tin shop of Duke and Kingsbury
in 1854, when finished it was proudly carried to the church by two young
men, Charles Kingsbury and Elbert Duke.
Forty years the Baptists were the only religious body
in what is now the city of Ironton. Many have been the struggles, anxieties
and tears, and tears today we have entered into the labors of those who
have gone before. They laid well the foundation let us continue to build
not wood, hay, stubble, but gold, silver, precious stones, that their work
and ours may be made manifest and at last stand the test of Christ, the
one foundation and master builder of His Church.