Four Mile Presbyterian Church
6078 Tuscarawas Road
Ohioville Borough, Beaver County, Pennsylvania 15009

Part I

Church Buildings

A very important matter in the history of every congregation is the securing of a church building, or a place in which to hold religious services. Until this is secured a congregation cannot be said to have a home. And when this has been secured, one great difficulty in the way of the progress of a congregation has been removed. When the congregation was organized, the country itself was new. But little progress had been made in the way of improvements. Buildings of all kinds were generally of a rude character, and the means and ability of the people for building were limited. The first services were held in the woods, and we have no means of knowing how long services were conducted in this way. After some time a tent 10 x 10 was erected, which was occupied by the minister in preaching. But after this, in the winter season, services were held in some private houses, sometimes in the house of Mr. Ingles, and it is said, sometimes, in the house of Mr. Anderson before referred to, and in some others. At length a log church was erected, the dimensions of which are not known. But it was sufficient to accomodate the congregation for a time, at any rate, in unfavorable weather. For it seems that the tent was still sometimes used, even after this log house was built. In the front of the tent, and on the right hand and left, logs were built up and sheds were made, which were occupied by the congregation. For, at a congregational meeting, held October 5, 1824, the congregation agreed to fence the tent and sheds with post and rail fence, to keep the sheep out. But it is said that this was not done. Hewn logs were used for seats, and a log for communion table, and logs for seats for that. At a meeting held February 7, 1826, it was agreed to make an addition to the present house, the house then standing. This is the first record that shows that the congregation already had a house of some kind, and this shows that it was now large enough to accomodate the congregation. The addition was to be of frame, twenty feet long and fourteen feet high. But at a meeting held June 5, 1826, these proceedings were all set aside, and it was agreed to build a log house thirty feet wide - the length is not given - and it was to be eleven rounds of logs high. The congregation was to meet on the 16th of June to prepare logs for the house; but for some reason not given in the records, there was nothing done in the way of preparing logs; for at a meeting held December 26, 1826, the number of logs which different persons proposed to furnish was reported. But it seems that these arrangements too fell through, and the whole matter lay over for a little more than a year. No doubt the reason of this delay and putting off from time to time for nearly two years, was just what often occurs in like circumstances, viz: the people could not agree as to what was best to be done. Some wanted to patch up the old building by making an addition to it; some wanted to build a new house altogether - some of logs, and perhaps, some of something else. So because they could not agree as to what was best to be done, they did nothing at all; and thus, no doubt, the cause of Christ was suffering. But very likely they were all busied about their own wordly affairs; and it is not an uncommon thing for people to say, at least practically, "the time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." But it seems that at length a better spirit overtook them; for at a meeting held December 24, 1827, the congregation agreed to build a brick meeting house, 40 x 45 feet. But still it seems they made slow progress. The church was not completed for some considerable time; for in 1833, it was agreed to seat the house with boards, and the boards for the ceiling were to be of an inch thick. Between 1827 and '30, the house was enclosed so that it could be occupied. But in December 1833, they proceeded to raise money to buy stoves. In January, 1834, they agreed to put in pews.

That house then was built, and continued to be occupied by the congregation till about three years ago, when you built this house, and showed your wisdom in selecting a much more desirable location than the former, and your good taste in the construction and finishing of the building. This, then, is the third house in the history of the congregation. It is said that some of the logs of the first house still compose a part of a stable in Fairview. Well, we are told that Christ was born in a stable. He was laid in a manger. The second house was occupied for about forty-five years. If this should continue to be occupied for so long a time, who, of all that are here today, will see the next house that will be built?

Four Mile Church History Index

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