Because you Asked . . . . 

Galena Methodist Episcopal Church, photo circa 1900 

Home to the Galena Circuit of Methodists

Quickly following the settling of communities, came the founding of churches.  The oldest church structure still being used in our community is the Galena Methodist Church.

Doris Fuller Bricker noted the first service on record held in this neighborhood was held in 1807 in a cabin on a farm two miles south of Galena. It was held by a local preacher by the name of John Williams.

After Gilbert Carpenter, who had been a local preacher in the Philadelphia, PA, district, built his mill in Galena in 1809, services were held in his mill in the summer and in homes in the winter. In 1813, the church was organized with 14 members.  In 1814, Gilbert built a house and it was used as a place of worship for many years.  Gilbert, his brothers Samuel in Licking County, and Judge Benjamin in Sunbury, were all devoted Methodists and welcomed circuit riders into their homes.

In 1840, the Methodist Church was divided into charges.  The Galena Charge consisted of Galena, Trenton, Kingston, Bennington, Sunbury, Berlin Station, Eden, Ashley, Winsor Corners, Berlin and Berkshire.  Galena was the largest church. A circuit rider served the entire charge.

Membership grew so in 1868, the Galena Circuit was divided into just Berkshire, Galena, Trenton, Sunbury.  In 1916, the Galena Circuit was again divided so Galena and Vans Valley churches shared a minister while Sunbury and Berkshire shared another.  In 1960, Vans Valley and Galena separated so each had a minister.

Within the structure of Methodism, were the individual parishes.  The first recorded official meeting of the Galena Methodist Church was held September 20, 1828, in Zoar with Ezekial Brown as chairman and Samuel Leonard as clerk.  They decided to build a church 40 feet wide and 60 feet long on two lots to be purchased from Vansicle.  Benjamin Carpenter, II, was appointed acting agent for the house and was to provide a book and make all necessary entries of the subscribers' names and the amount of their subscriptions.   There were 77 subscriptions running from $2.00 to $102.50.  The total amount was $1092.

Nathan Dustin and Ezekial Brown raised money for a bell for the Galena church but it has since been removed.  

When Rev. Polhamus became minister in 1909, he discovered the Galena building was in need of paint, new glass, new paper, support for the floor beams, and something done about the decaying belfry.  In January 1910, the church started the process of remodeling and building a parsonage.  By June $3800 was pledged, by September $5500 was pledged and the church rededicated.  The interior of the church was changed.

In 1916, Galena and Sunbury adopted the envelope system of raising funds for the church expenses.  An average of 10 cents per member per week was chosen.  Some paid a penny per week but others gave 75 cents so the system worked.

In 1950, the building was once again remodeled.  An addition to the front and extra basement space.   Pulpit furniture was presented in memory of Emma Slack Whithead by her husband Howard Whithead.  The beautiful colored glass windows were given in memory of loved ones.  The organ was purchased in 1955.

Many thanks to Doris Fuller Bricker's booklet, "Welcome to the Village of Galena," and to Ruth Domigan Truxall's book, "From Then Till Now," for the history of Methodism in our area.  Both are available at Community Library.

Today the church is known for its wonderful music and Election Day Chicken and Noodle Dinner.

The Galena Methodist Church is one of the featured spots on the Big Walnut Area Historical Society's Auto-Tour of Big Walnut's Historic Treasures which will take place October 5, 2003, as part of the Ohio Bicentennial Celebration.  Maps for the tour will be available 1-4 at Myers Inn on the day of the tour. 


Other Photos:

Gal-church-600.JPG (138636 bytes)

two photos from Helen Campbell's collection

GalChurch2-600.JPG (99749 bytes)  

Circa 1900


After 1910 remodeling

  Postcard of the Church 2003 by Janet MacKenzie

  Galena United Methodist Church Website


. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(10/01/2008 )

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