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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

West Union in Adams County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

First Presbyterian Church

Thomas Kirker

 

— American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Site —

 
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
1. First Presbyterian Church Marker
side A
Inscription.  
side A
First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church of West Union, built in 1810, is known as the "Church of the Governors." Although the date is uncertain, the congregation was organized circa 1800 on Thomas Kirker's land on Eagle Creek, about three miles from West Union. Kirker, Ohio's second governor, was influential in organizing the congregation and raising funds for the construction of the building. Stonemason, Thomas Metcalfe, Kentucky governor from 1828-1832, was awarded the contract to build the walls for $250.00; the total construction cost was $500.00. The first three regular ministers - William Williamson, Dyer Burgess, and John P. Van Dyke - all held strong anti-slavery sentiment that was felt throughout the congregation. During the Civil War, soldiers of the 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment of recruits from Adams County and eastern Brown County, were said to have been temporarily quartered in the church before leaving West Union in 1861.

side B
Thomas Kirker

Born in Ireland in 1760, Thomas Kirker settled in Adams County in 1794 and
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
2. First Presbyterian Church Marker
side B
began a long career as a public servant. A leading man in Liberty Township, he was elected as a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention in 1802. In 1803, Kirker was a member of the Lower House of the Legislature from Adams County. Later that same year, he entered the Ohio Senate and served continuously until 1815. As speaker of the Ohio Senate he became acting governor when Edward Tiffin resigned his governorship in 1807 to accept his election to the United States Senate. Kirker filled the vacancy in the governor's office from March 4, 1807 until December 12, 1808. From 1808 until his death in 1837, he was a ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church of West Union.

(Ohio Bi-Centennial logo)
 
Erected 2002 by Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, The First Presbyterian Church, and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 12-1 / 115.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionGovernment & PoliticsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the American Presbyterian and Reformed Historic Sites ⛪, and the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series lists.
 
Location. 38° 47.609′ N, 83° 32.634′ 
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
3. First Presbyterian Church Marker
W. Marker is in West Union, Ohio, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of Second Street (Ohio Route 247) and East Walnut, on the left when traveling south on Second Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 South Second Street, West Union OH 45693, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cowboy Copas / The Oklahoma Cowboy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bradford Tavern (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lafferty Funeral Collection (approx. ¼ mile away); Pioneer County Seat / Camp Hamer (approx. 0.3 miles away); West Union Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church / Reverend John Graham (approx. 0.3 miles away); Adams County Heritage Center (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bentonville Anti-Horse Thief Society (approx. 4.8 miles away); Zane Trace (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Union.
 
Regarding First Presbyterian Church. First Presbyterian Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. This church is also one of 445 American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Sites registered between 1973 and 2003 by the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS), headquartered in Philadelphia. Approved sites received a metal plaque featuring John Calvin’s seal and the site’s registry number (PHS marker location unknown).

The following text is taken from the Presbyterian Historical Society website:

Built
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
4. First Presbyterian Church Marker
full view side A
in 1810, "The Old Stone Church" is the oldest church building still used for regular worship in Ohio. Thomas Metcalf, later governor of Kentucky, did the church's masonry work. An influential figure in establishing the congregation, Thomas Kirker, circulated a subscription list to build the stone church. He later served as the second governor of Ohio. The church is known today as "The Church of the Governors."
 
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
5. First Presbyterian Church Marker
full view side B
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
6. First Presbyterian Church Marker
marker as seen from across South Second Street
First Presbyterian Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, August 14, 2018
7. First Presbyterian Church Marker
the cornerstone
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2018. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2018, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 153 times since then and 55 times this year. Last updated on August 21, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 15, 2018, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio.   3. submitted on August 16, 2018, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 15, 2018, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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