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REHOBOTH CHURCH SERVES RURAL AREA THAT HOPES TO BE THRIVING TOWN
June 28, 1984


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PIX #1 - The Rehobeth Church still stands where it was built in 1864 in Jack- son Township north of Fostoria.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles about Seneca County which will appear in this column but not necessarily.

Where County Road 25 (north-south) ends on County Road 28 (east-west), stands Rehoboth Church, sort of a monument for the town which would have been called Rehoboth had the plans of Isaiah Hollopter, an early settler, materialized.

Hollopeter laid out the proposed village and had it surveyed by Thomas Heming in December 1844. Hope and plans made this country, Hollopeter envisioned a flourishing town with a railroad. When the railroads came through this area they missed the proposed town of Rehoboth. Hollopeter's vision never materi- alized.

The early families settling in the ara were McEwans, two families of Hollope- ter, Beightle, Coe, Pankhurst, Miller, Boaten and Riley.

With today's article is a picture of Rehoboth Church as it is today. But back in 1844 those early settlers worshipped in a log building located on what is now Ward Steward's farm, near the creek on Countyline Road, Ohio 23. In later years they held church services in a log schoolhouse just one-half mile south of the present church.

PRESENT CHURCH BUILT IN 1864

During the Civil War in 1864 the present brick church was built by a man named Freese, according to the church history which was compiled when the 100th anniversary was celebrated.

According to the early records, the settler in that community endured many hardships to survive and to keep up their church attendance.

For example, Dana McEwan told how his mother described how she walked to work on footlogs carrying her babies on her arm. There was much swampland and the footlogs were trees cut and laid close together to walk on. The topsides were made flat with an ax.

Firewood for the church was cut by the members. Going to or coming home from church after dark most of the folk used torches. But Martin Beightle owned an old-fashioned round oil lantern. "Come on children, we're going to church." Beightle would say to his family of 10.

Wilbur Bell, descendant of Beightle, still possesses the old lantern, and Wil- bur and his wife, Marie, are still active members of the Rehoboth Church.

Martin Beightle was born May 29, 1804, and died May 15, 1875. His wife was born March 24, 1812, and died Dec. 5, 1904. Both are buried in the old part of Fountain Cemetery on the same lot with their daughter, Mrs. Jake Brumbaugh. Another daughter, Emily Beightle, is also buried there having died at the age of 85 in 1939.

Rehoboth is still an active Methodist church. The pastor is the Rev. Douglas Hockman, who also serves the Amsden church and resides in the parsonage at Amsden.

PEALE ONCE PASTOR AT REHOBOTH

Since the early days of the Rehoboth Church there have been many pastors who have served it on their way to obtaining larger congregations. Norman Vincent Peale of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, served Hehoboth one summer many years ago. Peale was an Ohio boy.

The early preachers who served the church were known as "circuit riders" who reached the scattered churches on horseback. Later some came in buggies.

After the 100th anniversary, Taylor Brumbaugh, my wife's uncle, told about his participation at Rehoboth on one occasion. He told the young people about his early life in the Rehoboth community. His mother was a Beightle. His story to the children was a thrilling, entertaining experience of the past.

Emily Beightle was one of the 10 children who followed the old lantern to and from services at Rehoboth. In 1932 when she was 78 years old she wrote the following poem about the church.

OUR CHURCH
Many years ago there stood a little frame church by the side of the road,
And just across the way was a blacksmith shop,
Owned by one we called Uncle David,
And there was a shoe shop owned by Mr. Cook,
The one shod horses, the other shod people.
The church stood there without any steeple.
We used to walk there ice and snow,
We had no other way to go.
When we arrived at the dear old spot,
The old drum stoves were good and hot.
We sat and listened for more than an hour,
Where gospel was preached with old time power.
The amen corner where people sat,
And sang the hymns, I can hear them yet.
Now we have the vested choir
Where there voices are raised higher and higher.
We walk no more but we can ride
In our fine autos with a sense of pride.
Time goes on, many changes there will be,
Where will we spend eternity?
Before another centennial rolls around,
We that are now living will be under ground.
The old frame church has run its race
And there now stands a brick one in its place.
I was privileged to know Miss Beightle in her last years.
(To be continued)

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