History of the Berkshire Church

Mr. G. D. Neilson wrote the following booklet to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Berkshire Methodist Church which was held December 27, 1860.

Early Settlers

Berkshire was settled in the early part of the year1800 by Col. Moses Byxbe and a Company from the County of Berkshire, Massachusetts. Byxbe was the leader of Berkshire for several years, later selling out and went to Worthington, Ohio. His next move was to Delaware, Ohio, where he committed suicide in the river south of the William St. bridge.

The first person to die in Berkshire was a lady in 1802, and she was buried in the garden where now lives the McKenzie family.

It was thought first that Berkshire might be the Capital of Ohio and then the county seat of Delaware Co., but the factor man and no large stream of water changed that. Byxbe had two sons.  The one a staid boy and the other would be called now, a fast young man. He loved fast horses and always drove a splendid span of horses.

History of Religion

Most early Communities were very religious and believed the Sabbath was for worship and rest. Exodus, 20th chapter Verses 8-9-10. The first meeting was held in the yard of Major Brown, the house being built in 1811 and is the brick house on the north east corner of the Village of Berkshire. Later in cabin homes and groves.

The second influx of immigrants, coming later, were of the Episcopal faith and finally built a brick Church, on the south east corner of the Village. This church had a lovely memorial window in the south end, and is now being used by Wright Wormell as a barn. For years it was thought to be the oldest church west of Pittsburgh, but was later said to be the second oldest.

The principal leaders were the Prince family, Dyer family, Sherman family, and the Dr. Carney family. The third group of immigrants coming to Berkshire were of the Presbyterian faith and they went to Delaware when they went.

History of The Berkshire Church

The Methodist people grew fast in number and in 1858 they organized as a church, and built the present church which was dedicated December 27, 1860. It is 100 years old this year and has always been used for worship and Church school. In order to buy seats a series of suppers were held.  At the dedication chairs and benches were used.

At first the church had two doors. One on the north and one on the south. The men using the south part and the women the north door. The first pastor was Rev. Amos Wilson. Having no organ he would line the hymns and then sing. According to Miss Mary Carter he was a very large man and a good singer. To this date there have been 58 pastors. One pastor, Rev. Ralph Alton is now a Methodist Bishop. The principal leaders in the early years of the church were the following families: Henry Fisher, Alonsa Fisher, John Frost, Nathanial Frost, Lewis Carter, Riley Veach, Cyrus Plum, James Lampman, Monroe Hodgedon, Amaziah Mead, Jerd Utley, John Finch, Isaac Van Sickle, Riley Lott, Andrew Ryder, Charles Wigton, James Loresn, Isreal Ports, George Gibson, and many others.

Under the pastorateship of John Witworth #16 a revival was held for weeks in 1868 when many were added such as Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Neilson, Mr. and Mrs. D. S. Potter, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon Finch, and Mr. and Mrs. N. C. Carpenter. The Neilson’s have worshiped and worked in the church now for 92 years and the last one (G. D. Neilson) is going strong yet.

D. S. Potter had a good bass voice and it was heard at Worship, church school and funerals. Mrs. Mary Hough, Mrs. Nettie Smith, D. S. Potter, J. R. or G. D. Neilson. sang at many funerals. There have always been many faithful and devoted workers. There is one who should be mentioned mainly, Mrs. Emma Smith Tippett, who for years was most faithful at the organ and piano, regardless of who the pastor was.

The Church has been very fortunate in having the following piano and organ musicians. They are as follows: Maude Stark, Minnie Buell, Minnie Searles, Emma Tippett, Fay Carnes, Mary Frost, Mary Shannon, Ellen Grove, Mark Borror, Naomi Smith and Annabel Angel.

No doubt there were many choristers. Riley Lott who had a good tenor voice was probably the first, followed by George Ely, T. R. arid J. R. (Fop) Neilson. The Berkshire church was noted for its good choir.

The church has furnished the following ministers. Rev. Oliver Webster #7 of the church, Dr. Carl Gage, Rev. George Ely, Rev. Harry Hedden and Asa Griffith who was a settlement worker in Columbus.

The church has always been a bulwark of righteous and correct living for 100 years, and it is hoped it will function for many years to come for the betterment of the Berkshire Community.

We, as members and friends of the Berkshire Church are grateful to Mr. G. D. Neilson for writing this history.


Pastors of the Berkshire Church
 1.   Amos Wilson
 2.   W. C. Waters
 3.   James Wheeler
 4.   S. D. Seymour
 5.   A. B. Brandenburg
 6.   P. Plummer
 7.   D. Webster
 8.   J. S. Cutler
 9.   A. S. Moffit
10.  B. Albright
11.  Alan McLane
12.  F. M. Searles
13.  H. Safford
14.  W. M. Hudson
15.  F. M. Hoyt
16.  John Witworth
17.  H. L. Parish
18.  W. B. Farrah
19.  S. R. Squires
20.  A. K. Owens
21.  D. R. Moore
22.  S. F. Dunbar
23.  Uri Richards
24.  J. Matlock
25.  D. Lawrence
26.  B. F. Bell
27.  E. L. Smith
28.  M. B. Meade
29.  M. Weaver

30.  E. S. Tompkins
31.  B. F. Whitehurst
32.  C. M. McConnell
33.  W. R. Polhamus
34.  J. M. Ackman
35.  Eli Robb
36.  O. H. Williams
37.  S. F. Wood
38.  L. L. Fisher
39.  H. R. Chalfant
40.  A. J. Bretz
41.  W. S. McWilliams
42.  T. F. Alexander
43.  Ralph Alton
44.  W. A. Williams
45.  G. O. Benethum
46.  T. F. Hanson
47.  Clyde Heuther
48.  H. W. Bell
49.  J. E. Pennell
50.  Robert Baker
51.  Walter Plummer
52.  J. C. Heinlein
53.  H. T. Lowman
54.  Richard L. Burns
55.  George Pingle
56.  A. W. Mullet
57.  Charles Divelbiss
58.  A. E. Suthers

Return to Berkshire 1906
Return to Berkshire Township
Return to Local History Index