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AMSDEN METHODIST CHURCH WAS BUILT IN 1890
August 23, 1984


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PIX #1 - This Methodist church has been serving Amsden and surrounding area for more than 90 years.

PIX #2 - An artist's sketch of the John Bigham home in Section 26 of Jackson Township, made before photography became common. Bigham was a settler in that area in 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Claude Hummel have owned the home for about 20 years and resided in it for 12 years. Its location is the same, but now known as 8505 CR 592. According to Mrs. Ted (Bea) Bigham, 511 W. Culbertson St., her deceased husband was a grandson of John Bigham. She said that in later years Ted's parents built a new home next to the original homestead and lived in it, at which time she and Ted resided in the ancestoral home.

PIX #3 - Urias Sour, Amsden resident, posed for statue of Civil War soldier at front of church.

PIX #4 & 5 - Charles Ash and wife Isabelle (Foster), photographed at time of marriage in 1883.

PIX #6 & 7 - Mr. and Mrs. William Ash, long-time residents of Amsden area.

(Author's Note: This is the second in a series of articles about the village of Amsden and area, which started last week.)

Religious and social life kept the inhabitants of early Amsden busy and happy. Before there was a church building in Amsden, the nearest one was at the cor- ner of what is now Seneca County Road 5 and Ohio 12. The church was built on land owned by Noah Stahl and was called the Ark Church. It became known as "Noah's Ark."

The Methodist Church was built in Amsden in 1890, and then the old Ark Church was used for other purposes, finally being demolished. In addition to pro- viding the religious needs of the community, the church building has also served as a meeting place for various social and other activities.

DRUMMED TO SEA AND HOME AGAIN

During the Civil War, the youth of Amsden served their country, and the mem- orial at the front of the Methodist church is evidence. The main attraction of the memorial is a stone carving of a young soldier typifying those who served. Urias Sour, a resident of Amsden at that period, was the model. Sour served in the war, enlisting at 17 as a drummer boy in the Ohio 55th. Accord- ing to his grandson, Leland Sour, "he drummed all the way to Atlanta and the sea and back home again."

His grandson said that when the carving for the memorial being made, the ar- tist stayed in his grandfather's home in Amsden.

Evidently the list of names of those who served in the war, and for whom the memorial was dedicated has become lost. Even his grandson, who grew up and lived in Amsden, but now of Bellevue, was unable to provide any clue of the list.

CHURCH CONTINUES TO SERVE AREA

About the Methodist church in Amsden...it continues to serve that village and the surrounding area, as it has for more than 90 years.

Whoever pastors that church also serves the Rehoboth church. Rev. Douglas Hockman is the present pastor. He reports the Amsden church has an active congregation of 80, with 14 youth active in that department; they also have active ladies groups.

Back in the 1920's the Amsden church boasted a youth orchestra, and two members of it were Clarrida Reed, later to become Mrs. Howard Went, and Mary Jane Shellhouse, later to become Mrs. Smith, head of nurses at Fostoria City Hos- pital. That orchestra played programs for the area, according to Mrs. Went.

PIONEERS OF AMSDEN AREA

The history of the Amsden area wouldn't be complete without some condensed biographical sketches about its citizens. Also there are a few interesting news items left from scrapbooks of readers and elsewhere.

Amsden can claim a number of residents, living either in the village or close- by, who made contributions which benefitted that area, but the Ash family, seems to me, needs to head the list.

ASH FAMILY

Looking at the history books, William Ash, grandfather of Carmen (Ash) Lyons, still residing in Amsden, in the house her ancestor built, was the start of the family in that area.

William Ash was born in Bedford, Pa., April 14, 1830, to natives of that state, of Pennsylvania-Dutch origin. He settled in Seneca County in 1833, where he farmed all his life.

In 1852, he married Rebecca Trumbo and they had three children, one being Charles, born Dec. 18, 1857. Charles was married to Belle F. Foster, March 25, 1883, and to that union was born Earl, Herbert, Carmen, William and Rebecca, the last two dying in infancy.

Ellen, sister of Charles, was the only other child of William and Rebecca Ash to survive, and she married Alfred Mowery, spending their lives in Jackson Township.

SUCCESSFUL FARMER AND BUSINESS MAN

In addition to being a successful farmer in the Amsden area, Charles Ash be- came a treasurer of Seneca County in 1902, having been elected by a large majority on the Republican ticket, his political choice.

Of the 2,000 acres of farm land which William Ash, and later Charles Ash ac- quired during their lives, 1,500 acres are still owned by heirs of the family: Carmen Lyons, Charles Ash, Ethel (Reese) Ash, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Watson, and Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Trumpler.

William Ash was the first settler in the area to adopt tiling for his farm land to convert it from swamp to productive soil. A historical not divulged that he tiled for 25 years until all of his land was improved.

OTHER PIONEER FAMILIES IN JACKSON TOWNSHIP

Farming was the main occupation in the early days of Jackson Township, and all of the following were thus engaged, unless otherwise noted.

JOHN BIGHAM: Born in Knox county, March 5, 1873, to John and Eliza (Lewis) Bigham, natives of Maryland. He came with his parents to Michigan where he married Jane Clark that same year. They moved to Crawford County, staying there and farming until 1870 when they settled in Jackson Township, where they became owners of 180 acres of land, and made it a fine farm with a comfortable residence. Their three children were Mary Eliza, born 1857, Robert in 1858, and Martha Jane 1869. (See accompanying picture of Brigham house.)

DAVID BOYD: Born in Pennsylvania in 1822, to Hugh and Margaret (Rogers) Boyd who settled in Jackson Township in 1844. David Boyd married Rosana Weiser in 1844. They had two sons, Jacob H.C. and Hugh W. A. Both became farmers. David Boyd, in addition to farming, was a blacksmith, working at that trade for over 50 years. The 360 acres of land he owned in Jackson Township was later divided among his children.

FARMER AND HELD MANY OFFICES

HUGH W.A. BOYD: Born Feb. 27, 1845. Received common school education in local schools. Married Margaret Longly in 1869. To them were born Cora A., Ella R., Kittie M., Anna M., and Perry O. In addition to farming, he held office of school director, trustee, township clerk, assessor and justice of the peace.

DANIEL COCHARD: Born in Dolphin, Pa., Feb. 26, 1832, to Jacob and Shaffer in 1857, to whom 13 children were born. He was treasurer and trustee of Evangelical church which they attended. He was school director for 16 years. They farmed 415 acres.

PETER EATON: Born in Chenango County, N.Y., Nov. 15, 1812, to William and to them were born eight children. Active in Methodist Episcopal church, being a class leader and S.S. Supt. enlisted in army in 1864 and served till close of war. Born in Fairfield County, Ohio, Feb. 12, 1828, to George and Jane Ann (Stricker) Eaton. Peter and his twin brother being the sixth birth in family of 12. Peter had limited education in common school. Engaged in farming all his life on land in Jackson Township. Twice married, first to Louisa Torry in 1834 who died without issue. In 1829, he married Rebecca, daughter of Reuben and Elanore (Benschotter) Brooks, and by her had five children Flavilla and Reuben being the only ones listed. Reuben, after receiving common school education, became a farmer. Married to Martha Johnson in 1873, daughter of Henry F. To that union were born two children Leona E. and Margaret A.

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