|Because You Asked . . . .|
Blue Church as Center of the Community Activities
|Faded Paint Gives Name to Church|
Christmas was special in the Old Blue Church in Kingston Township. Louise
Cowman remembered in 1913 when she was four years old, there was a tall
evergreen tree with real candles and a wonderful fragrance in the
church. I'm sure the tree was near a window with a rope tied outside so it could be pulled out if it caught fire.
My mother's brother, Russell Duncan, had a candle lighted tree in his house which was beautiful for the hour or
so the candles were lit. In addition to the rope, there were buckets of water near the tree for safety. Today we
put the trees near windows but electric lights have replaced the candles. If you've seen real candles on an
evergreen tree, you know why Cowman remembered it 80 years later.
Louise also remembered she sang "Away in the Manager" as a solo and Santa passed out candy, in boxes shaped like churches, and lovely oranges. While adults dramatized Bible stories, her mother played the organ and her father played the piano.
Early settlers in Kingston Township worshiped in log homes and in forest groves until the original log church was built. Soon the walls of the log church were expanded and eventually the frame Kingston Presbyterian Church was built in 1827.
Moses Decker, a soldier in the War of 1812 was the architect and builder of the church. Native cherry, walnut, ash and oak trees were prepared by an upright saw run by a water wheel on the creek. Massive hand-hewn beams up to 40 feet long and notched for fit formed the frame of the building. Nails and handmade wooden pegs were used in the construction. The first pastor, Ahab Jinks, was also credited with starting the first Sunday school and library in the area.
Sun and weather faded the church's stone grey color to a beautiful blue tint. People began to call it the Blue Church so when it was time for a new paint job it was easily decided to paint the church blue.
In the late 1830s controversies over church doctrines and the question of slavery caused a number of the members to leave and establish the Kingston-Porter Presbyterian Church near East Liberty.
A bell was added to the Blue Church belfry in 1850. The inscription on the bell reads, "Cast by C. W. Coffin, Buckeye Bell Foundry, Cinn, O., 1850."
In 1900 the church underwent a major remodeling. The old straight back pews hand-hewn from black walnut for the original church remained through out the life of the church. Milo Owen (1892-1989) remembered the two day wagon trip to Columbus to get the beautiful leaded stained-glass windows in 1910. When they returned the arches were cut above the existing windows to accommodate the stained-glass. Louise Cowman remembered the sun shining through the stained-glass windows and reflecting back colors on the back of Edna McVey's grey taffeta dress.
Owen was the first to arrive at church to start a fire and heat the building for service. He was the last to leave as he rang the bells and the congregation drove away.
For many decades, the church was the hub of the social life in the township which has no village. The Satellite Class of young people met in homes for fun, games and refreshments on the hostesses best china. Each winter, the church held an oyster supper, Protracted meeting (two weeks of preaching and special music) and of course Children's Day with drills, recitations and songs. Farmer's Institute, Patriotic Rallies for World War I, and Eighth Grade Commencements from the Township Schools were just some of the township events held in the church.
As the church aged, Blue Church became Old Blue Church. In 1958 declining membership resulted in services being discontinued. When it became unsafe the building was torn down. Plaques made from the church's siding with decoupage drawing of the Old Blue Church were sold in 1976 during the National Bicentennial. Today the Cemetery, a marker with the old bell, Blue Church Road which carries its name and memories are all that remain of this Kingston Township Landmark.
Thanks to "Old Blue Church Fads Away" in the Columbus Dispatch February 16, 1975, and Louise Cowman's article in Chapters of Community History by Esther McCormick. Both are available in Community Library. If you know the ladies and children in the photo, please let me know.
As always, your comments are welcome.
Thanks to June Johnson for this photo of the Old Blue Church
Thanks to Jane Lawry for this photo taken in 1964
. . . .And Now You
|Columbus Dispatch February 16, 1975 . . . .|
Thanks to Ken Crowl for sharing this article
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