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

Part I

Financial Affairs

The matter of finance, or the money part in a congregation, is a very important matter. While the church is of divine appointment, yet it is a voluntary association. Men unite with the church of their own choice; and in this land of civil and religious freedom, men cannot be compelled by law to support religious ordinances. Whatever they give is to be done voluntarily. But God never designed that the operations of the church should be carried on without means. He designed that men should bring of their substance and devote and consecrate it to his service. This is plainly a principle running throughout the whole history of the church, under all its forms or dispensations. Gratitude itself for the enjoyment of the highest advantages, should prompt men to bring of their substance and devote it to God.

Sixty-four years ago, or when the congregation was organized in this place, the country itself was new. It was in a great measure a wilderness, or unbroken forest. The number of inhabitants was small compared with the present number. Men were emigrating from the East, and all were generally in possession of but little means. Their land was to be cleared and brought under cultivation; roads were to be made; and, indeed, everything was to be done to make the circumstances of the people at all comfortable. Indeed, what was reckoned comfortable then, would not be reckoned so now; and hence, it could not be expected that any would be able to do a great deal. Money was scarce. Even when men had grain or produce of any kind for sale, there was no market nearer than the city of Pittsburgh, and that was but a small city then to what it is now. There were no railroads in those days.

It required longer time and more labor then to make the journey overland to Pittsburgh, than it requires now to make the trip by railroad to Philadelphia. There were not then twenty-five or 30,000 people in towns around here. But few of these towns where you now dispose of all your produce were then in existence. But the wants of the people then were fewer than they are now, and so were more easily supplied. The means contributed for the cause of God - for the support of divine ordinances - were small; and as we enumerate some of these, that you may know what was the condition of the church then, and what the people gave, you may think that they did not do much - that they gave little. But you must remember that they had but little from which to give; and taking into consideration the price of land, and the value of property generally, it would no doubt be found that men gave more then than they do now in proportion to their means, or in proportion to the value of their possessions and the facilities for making money. What was the value or price of all this land around about us forty, or fifty, or sixty years ago? One acre now is worth more - would bring more money - than two, or three, or five would have done in those times.

What was given at first for the support of ordinances here, we have no means of knowing; but the salaries of ministers in those times were about $250 to $300, and after awhile $400.

The matter of arrears was one that seemed to give the congregation a good deal of trouble. This has always been a perplexing thing to congregations. After Mr. Scroggs had been pastor about two years, a committee appointed to examine the subscription lists and find how the congregation stood with their pastor, found that they were behind with him for the past two years $10.36. This was in October, 1822. But in December, 1823, it seemed that these $10.36 were still unpaid. In August, 1823, the amount of subscription for preaching, as distributed among the three collectors, was $64; for 1828, it was $110. For 1829, we have a subscription list for preaching given. There are thirty-six names on the list. The amount of subscription is $89.50. This was one third time. There are three names for $7 each, which would be equal to $21 each for whole time; two names for $6 each; one for $5; one for $4; six for $3; one for $2.50; four for $2; two for $1.50, and fifteen for $1. The congregation seemed somewhat slow in paying for the brick church that was erected; for in March 1830, a committee was appointed to settle with the undertaker for building the meeting house, and the record says that the meeting house bill was $781.43, and there was paid on this $368.65, leaving a balance of $412.78. And in May, 1830, the congregation agreed with the undertaker of the meeting house, that the amount of the due bills be paid in six months with interest from date, and that the seats should be sold to pay the expense of the house. From January 5, 1835, to June 27, 1842, there is no record of any doings of congregational meetings; there is no record of any meetings.

All that I will give farther of the finances of the congregation will be some items along from that time to the present, so that you may see what progress (if any) the congregation has been making. From 1842 for a while, the next sexton received $6 a year for keeping the church, and was paid for the coal in addition. In 1844, the monthly collections run thus: $2.88, $1.59, $2.11, $1.13 3/4, $2.12 1/2. In April, 1845, $2.25, $11.31; September $11.23; December, $1.06. In 1846, June $12.88; November, $9.00. In 1847, May, $16.60; September, $12.86.

The per diem of ministers then for preaching was $6. To some they paid only $5. Perhaps they paid according to the quality of the sermons. Two instances are recorded in which Mr. Hindman received $30 for dispensing the Lord's Supper, including preparation Sabbath in one case. January, 1851, the sexton's salary was raised to eight dollars, and he was to get 6 cents per bushel for coal additional. May, 1852, including $6.17 previously taken, was $35.17.

The first notice of Synod's fund is in 1847, when $10.50 were given to that fund. The next notice of Synod's fund was in 1852, when $19.80 were given. The first notice of collection for missionary purposes is in 1854 and 1855. October, $2.32; November $3.17; December $1.98; January, $1.17; February, $1.55. After a congregational meeting held June 16, 1855, the monthly collections for paying for supplies are noted as follows: June 24, $1.79; July 8, $2.01; July 29, $1.94; August 5, $3.01; August 12, $2.97; August 19, $2.72. This would seem to be a little hard on the preachers. In October, 1855, the amount paid Mr. Sawyer for preparation days and dispensing the Lord's Supper was $24. January 27, 1857, Mr. Sawyer was paid $3.10 for moderating in a call.

The amount for India Mission Fund for 1857 was $16.26; for 1858 for Home Mission, $7.86; for Synod's Fund, $9.67. June 19, 1859, Mr. J.C. Steel and Mr. Sawyer were paid $21 for dispensing the Lord's Supper. This was soon after the Union. Brother Sawyer who is our neighbor now and pastor of the Dissenting Brethren, was then in the U.P. Church. He went into the Union when it took Place, and remained in it for sometime, for he is credited as being paid for three other days' preaching in the close of 1858, and up to June 1859, showing that he was in the Union for something over a year; and indeed, not only he, but also a number of his members, have been at some time in the U.P. Church, and some of them in some other churches. Their reasons for their change are best known to themselves.

For 1861, the collections for Missionary Funds are as follows: Foreign M., $34; H.M., $23, Pub., $4; Ch. Ex., $4; Ed., $4; Synod, $8, Total, $77. In 1863, total for various funds is: $87.21; for Freedmen's Mis., $112. This was in war times. Foreign M, $104; H.M., $45; Ed., $5; Pub., $6; Ch. Ex., $5; Assembly's Fund, $2; Synod's, $9; Presbytery, $4; total, $292. For 1865, total $291.25. For 1866, $248; 1857, total, for H.M., $88. For 1868, $364; 1869, $258; 1870, $256; 1871, no credit; 1872, $103; 1874, $118; 1875, $128; 1876, $139. The salary of the sexton for sometime has been $50 a year.

Mr. Scroggs's salary was about $100 for one-third time, and $200 for one-half time. Mr. McGill's salary was $400 for whole time. Dr. McLean's salary for half-time was $800. Mr. Evans' salary for whole time was $800. And the salary at present is at the rate of $800 for three-fourths time.

The cost of the present house was about $4000.

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