South Bloomfield United Methodist Church

History of South Bloomfield United Methodist Church

 

The first building of the Methodist Episcopal Church of South Bloomfield, Ohio, was erected in 1837. As far back as 1833 a group of religious settlers worshipped in the homes of neighbors. These were the days of circuit riding preachers. Many services were held in the home of Daniel Millar who resided on the lot where later the American Hotel Was built in 1847. This hotel or inn was an important stage coach stop between Franklinton, Columbus, and Chillicothe.

 

At the time of the organization, there were about ten members living here. They were members of the families of Daniel Millar, Mrs. Sage, Mr. Donaldson, Mrs. Denny, and possibly others. The organization was effected in the frame school house on a lot owned by George Rector. The first church building was erected in 1837 on lots given for that purpose by. William Renick and his wife Mary. The building was of frame construction arid the cost - $1,500.

 

The first circuit riding preachers were: .Rev. Messrs, Hamilton, Poe, White, and Stephenson. This was called .the Pickaway Circuit and later the Franklinton Circuit. The first trustees were: Thomas Morris, Jeremiah Clark, Daniel Millar, Abner Briggs, and John Martin. In the fall of 1868 the South Bloomfield Circuit was organized of three appointments of the Old Royalton Circuit (Hedges Chapel, Union Chapel, and South Bloomfield) and two appointments from the Groveport Circuit (Asbury Chapel and Shadeville), Rev. LM.K. Shultz organized this work.

 

On October 30, 1870 at the fourth quarterly conference at Hedges Chapel, Rev. David Smith reported the circuit to be $700 in debt for the parsonage that had been built. At this time there were only nine members on the entire circuit of five churches. Whose yearly income was as much as $l,500. This parsonage was later sold to Elmer E. Hoffman for $300 and moved across the alley.

 

In 1870 the pastor’s salary was $750 a year with five churches … four of which were located several miles from South Bloomfield. . The last funeral held in the old church was that of Mrs. John (Mary Strache) Roese on October 10, 1876. Rev. Howard Bailey Westervelt was the regular pastor of the old church.

 

In 40 years this church would prove to be too small and would be torn down to make way for the new .Methodist Episcopal Church which was erected and "stands today as a monument to a community's faith". (Quote from Rev. H. O. Harbough)


In addition to the above, the church was served by Rev. Thomas Taylor, Rev. L.M.K. Shultz, Rev'. David Smith, Rev. Henry L. Whitehead, Rev. Howard Bailey Westervelt. Rev. J.M. Rife wrote· to conference regarding his predecessor, Pastor H. B. Westervelt: "He attended faithfully to his work. It was acceptable and successful.” He left many warm friends who regretted the change made by the law of the church, i.e. allowed a limit of three years on one charge.

 

In 1877 the old church building was torn down and a new church built on practically the same spot at a cost of. $3,946.30. It was dedicated April 7, 1878, under the pastorate of J. M. Rife. A new parsonage was built in 1903-04 at a cost of$1,365.

 

We are now a United Methodist Church and part of the Columbus South District. We are presently the only church on the South Bloomfield Charge; however, in past years we were partnered with Shadeville UMC and Lockbourne UMC. Many in the congregation remember with fondness those friendships- forged with sister churches.