History of Overton Church of God

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In the year of 1835, Rev. Thomas Kickernell, with sufficient members of the Moniece church organizaed a Church of God at what is known as Chester Corners.

Chester Corners was a point one and one fourth miles east of the old Historical Eight Square; and one half mile east of the present Oak Grove schoolhouse where the Wooster road and Congress road crosses the east and west road.

At this point, John Funk, a pioneer settler of Chester Township, and a Church of God minister, owned the land (376 acres) on the south side of the road, today owned by Stephen Yoder, Peter Bucholz, H. U. Mowery and Mrs. Quimby Mowery.

In the Recorders' office of Wooster, in volume 23, page 617, a deed is found, which was made June 9, 1841, by which John Funk deeded to John Funk and others, Elders and Deacons of the Church of God the land upon which the church house stood.

It is evident from the wording of the deed that this church house at Chester Corners had been build and the graveyard used as a burying ground some years before Rev. John Funk deeded it to the church officials.

There is no marks left to show where the church stood, and the Township Trustees, refusing to fence and keep the burying ground cleaned, since about the year 1900 no trace can be seen where the cemetery had been.

After about fifteen years at this location the church house needed repairs. The majority of the members were then living around Cedar Valley, Chester Township, Wayne County, Ohio. For the convenience of the people they purchased an old log house called the Gospel Shop. This building stood across the road from where Mike Wagner lived, where the road came down over the hill from Christies. This location is known as being across the road from the Larry Landaw property.

It may be of interest to know the seats were not of modern design, being slabs supported to the right height with legs. There were no backs on these seats.

According to the short history of the gospel shop it was rightly named, for many were added to the church. Some names mentioned were Lehrs, Warners, Meyers, Berrys, and Waltons.

It was as soon as 1855 that the Gospel Shop became too small and somewhat out of repair.

After some council together the people elected Ed Lehr, Peter Warner, and David Meyers as building committee. They tore the old house of worship down which was located at Chester Corners and moved it down in the Valley at Overton. On the sight where the school building now stands they rebuilt it.

This house was dedicated by G. U. Horn in the year of 1855. It served as a place of worship for nineteen years. Then to the best of our knowledge the building needed repair.

Many of the number now came from the east, and especially one old gentleman who was the main-stay of the church at that time, and afraid to travel the large hill, offered an inducing sum of money on the new building if they would place it on the hill. The country now becoming more settled and an up-to-date building being desired by the people, they accepted his offer.

In the year of 1872 nearly two acres of ground was purchased one half mile east of this third church building, and on Killbuck Hill. It was plotted for a cemetery. The first being buried there were two small children. One of Abraham Thorn, and one of J. C. Warner, in the year of 1874.

They built the Bethel that stands now on Killbuck Hill for the amount of $1,300.00. All the framing timber was donated except the long piece at the top of the building.

The building committee composed of J. A. Raudebaugh, Peter Warner, and J. C. Warner. This Bethel was dedicated by A. Shumacker of Chicago, Illinois in the year of 1879.

The belfry was built to the church and a bell purchase. It was dedicated by J. N. Updike about the year of 1884.

There had been some land added to the same side of the plot which was first purchased. But int he year of 1893 there was some undersigned away.

Since the year of 1872 a period of eight two years there has been twenty nine pastors serving this organization in the present Bethel. Mention of the two leading in the highest number of years were Rev. Grace Netro Schindler, who served for eight years, and Rev. D. E. Levers who served for thirteen years. Rev. Netro Schlinder had a record of sixty three admission to the church and Rev. Levers had a record of one hundred eleven admissions. Rev. Homer Denney, a more recent pastor, has a record of a goodly number of persons added to the church.

Of the early pastors Rev. T. W. Lyons has the credit for the largest salary which was $650.00. This was for one year. Rev. L. H. Selby received the smallest which was $20.00 for year.

Many members of the early church are recorded as having died in faith and good standing. A few members withdrew to other churches. It is interesting to note some of the reasons for a member being dropped from the record. Some are as follows:

  • Using profane language
  • Neglect of duty
  • Backsliding
  • Immoral conduct
  • Dropped by vote of the church
  • For getting drunk

On November 30, 1933 the members and friends of the Overton Church gathered to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the organization. At 10:10 AM the morning program started by the congregation singing "Onward Christian Soldiers". Psalm 103 was read and prayer was offered by Pastor Shelby S. Stratton. The Raudebaugh sisters sang "Whispering Hope". The message was given by Rev. A. L. Kriner from Smithville. After the service a Thanksgiving Dinner was served by the ladies of the church in the school in Overton. An afternoon service was held in the church and another one in the evening. Mrs. Mae Armstrong composed and sang a song which she dedicated to the church.

On July 11, 1954 re-dedication services were held at the church. This was to dedicate many improvements made by the church. This program began in 1949 with the members doing much of the actual work. The church was moved into the grove of oak trees and a complete basement was dug and the church moved back to the original location. Three classes and a furnace room were provided in the new basement. In the upstairs the floors were sanded and re-finished. New pews were purchased to replace the old narrow high-back pews. All the wood-work was re-finished to match the new pews. The total cost of this remodeling was $8,300.60.

At this dedication service a loud speaker was placed in the church yard to accommodate the crowd. Mrs. Forest Stevic opened the program with music. The Invocation was given by Rev. A. L. Kriner. The Scripture was read by Rev. Homer Denny. Dr. Tennyson Guyer gave the message. After the service a time of fellowship was enjoyed.

On October 28, 1949, Mrs. Minnie Uhler died. She was the mother of a son who served in the armed forces in World War I, and who died soon after returning from service. She has saved his insurance and most of his soldier benefit payments she received from the federal government. Her will bequeathed $200.00 to the Cemetery Association at Overton, and $1,000.00 to the Overton Church. She provided a maximum of $1,500.00 for a memorial stone. This stone was placed in front of the Overton Cemetery.

In June of 1961 the Overton Church purchased a parsonage on County Road 186. This cost of this was $4,500.00. This mortgage was paid June 2, 1966.

Improvements made on the church during these years included the purchase of a new organ, enlarging the platform, hardwood flooring in the church, and new carpeting.

The church adopted a church constitution in October of 1965.

In 1965 Mr. E. Wayne Raudebaugh died and in his will gave to the Overton Church of God the sum of $8,618.45.

It was decided to use this money as the beginning of a building fund for enlargement of the church. In March, 1967, this project began to be realized. The church steps were removed and a nursery, a classroom, and a new front entrance were built upstairs. The addition of a pastor's study and restrooms, plus a new basement entrance were added on the basement level. The church received a new roof and aluminum siding completed this building project. Wooster Lumber Company was awarded the contract for this work with the men of the church doing some of the work. The cost of this project was $17,285.00

On May 18, 1969, this congregation held a dedication service. Ruth Snoody served as organist. Rev. Archie Meador, the former pastor of the church presented the message of the afternoon. Rev. Jerry Greive, pastor, led in the dedication service. A fellowship hour and refreshments were enjoyed following the service.

Some officers of the church are: