|Rev. Marion Crosley||
Rev Lotta Crosley
December 29, 1901---completion and dedication of the new brick church.
The Reverend J. S. Cantwell D.D. of Chicago, Ill., associate with former minister, the Rev. William Tucker, gave the dedication sermon. The Rev. Dr. J. S. Cantwell (who died at Chicago December 1907) was a prominent minister, scholar, author, and editor in the Universalist denomination. He was the Western Editor of the Universalist Leader, official magazine of the denomination, published in Boston, Mass. The Church was probably able to obtain such a prominent speaker because his brother lived in Covington, Miami County, Ohio. The Rev. Thomas S. Guthrie who gave the first sermon in the frame church now gave the first prayer in this new church.
With a membership of 250 people, the church was a thriving and bustling body of members. It even had a church band that played at church services and in community events.
June 10 & 11, 1915---The church sponsored a benefit held on the lst floor of Knights of Pythias (now Masonic Hall) and opera house with the cooperation of about 18 merchants.
In this time of our history the following happened:
1903, 1916, and 1922—--Hosted the Ohio State Convention.
In 1922, 131 delegates attended.
1898, 1907, 1912, 1917, 1921---Hosted the Montgomery Association annual meeting
This list is subject to revision. Each of the two lists in Garst Museum and one from Mr. Kenneth Baker differ. Each list includes or omits names or the order differs.
I know of no way to propose an accurate list.
James A. Stoner (see photo above) born April 21, 1849 in Miami County, Indiana; died December 7, 1913 in Eaton, Ohio, age 64. buried at Springlawn Cemetery, New Paris, Ohio. He attended Smithson College, Logansport, Ind. and Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute and Buchtel College (Universalist) in Akron, Ohio; pastorate in New Madison was September 17, 1903 August 1908. Since he conducted a series of as a week in New Madison just before he died. Indicates that he continued active with our church. He was a farmer, school teacher, minister, scholar, and Universalist Church Historian in Midwest. Ordained at Junction City, Kansas 1889. He organized several churches in that state, 8 in Ohio, and 2 in Indiana.
Edward H. Barrett-- March 21, 1909—March 1910; born New Harmony, Indiana May 2, 1858, educated at United Christian College and Meadville and ordained by Christians 1898. 1909 joined the Universalists.
Arthur Roberts 1915---December 1916
***W.R. ROWLAND January 7, 1917—October 1920; Dr. Rowland was the first minister ordained in the New Madison Church Nov. 20, 1917 by the Ohio State Convention. Prayer by Harry Clark (Licensed preacher of the Friends); Sermon by Henry Clay Ledyard; Charge to candidate, Rev. Ed. Stevens; Charge to people, Rev. Francis Britton Bishop (State Superintendent); Welcome to Ministry, Rev. S.M. Bennett of Christian Church. 250+ attended and a very fine musical program rendered by the choir.
During his ministry of World War I-- the church was present at the train station presenting Bibles to each young man as he boarded the train to be off to military service. Some of these Bibles are still in circulation as family heirlooms.
Robert Marshall Rice July to September 3, 1923 a student.
William G. Stockton October 1923--1924 came from another denomination.
Thomas Milton Murray July 25, 1925 December 1927, had been Superintendent of the Universalist Churches of Kentucky.
Robert Marshall Rice
Thomas Chapman June 1928---September 1929
James Houghton April 1931—August 1931
George Henry Wood June 1934---November 1938
November 1938---during the pastorate of the Reverend George Wood, the Universalist Church was forced to close its doors as a result of the depression and the general movement of people away from farms and villages to the larger cities. It is known that a sizable portion of the Dayton Unitarian Church on Salem Street had members from the New Madison and Eldorado Universalist Churches. Though there were no church services, yet the Sunday School continued for several years. The Ladies’ Social served the community for twelve more years. The Board of Trustees continued to meet regularly without interruption.Since there was never a time without an organized Universalist organization, the Universalist presence in New Madison was unabated.
Through these ensuing years one person stands prominently. There was a very ardent Universalist by the name of Mary Goodyear. She worked most diligently in keeping Universalism alive with a handful of others as Zelma Brown, Myrlene Barton, etc. were faithful in regular meetings at homes in maintaining the Women's Universalist group earning money to pay the insurance and such other necessities to keep a Universalist presence in this community. To reopen the church, she went door to door to scan the community opinion and obtain donations to pay for the church's reopening. She labored through the years of Frank Gentile and Wells Behee’s ministries to promote the church. Sometimes she was a thorn in our sides as she was an old time Universalist, a little too conservative for these young ministers fresh from theological school. However, she has to be commended and respected. Her heart was good!!!
Mary served as secretary of the church and had in her possession all the old church records except a few which were in a bank vault. Mary aged and died. Her one daughter, Dolly, living in Florida, settled Mary's estate. She came home and started pitching. She cared nothing about the church and threw out all of the records in Mary's possession. Hence there has been much effort in the struggle to reconstuct a modicum of our history.
March 7, 1941---the Evangelical United Brethern Church burned and was totally destroyed. The Universalist Church members invited the E.U.B. Church to our church for their services for the following 3 years and 4 months while their new church was under construction.
1952-- The American Legion made offers to purchase the church from the Universalist Church of Ohio. Many people in the community resisted the expressed interest in the purchase. As a result, a survey was made to identify interest in New Madison for the continuation of the Universalist Church. Several appeals for action of the former members and supporters of the Church were made in November. December 18th, a major survey of New Madison was conducted and pledges of money were received. Sufficient interest was found, and the Universalist Church of Ohio proceeded to support development of our church.
June 14, 1953---The Church reopened by the will of the people under the guidance of the Reverend Donald K. Evans D.D., Superintendent of the Universalist Church of Ohio and with the assistance of the Reverend Frank Gentile of the Eldorado Universalist Church. Services were held at the schoolhouse during reorganization and refurbishment of the church. The Universalist Convention of Ohio loaned the church $3000 at 3% interest for the project.
Minister-----Frank D. Gentile January 1953---mid-summer 1953.
During this period, the broken stained glass windows were repaired. The walls were replastered and painted. The building was thoroughly cleaned of accumulated dirt and fallen plaster caused by the years of disuse. The floors and pews were sanded, varnished, and polished. The walls and ceilings were painted. The restrooms were installed. The new altar was created by Mr. Herbert Ketring to include a set of monoral Hi Fidelity speakers designed by the Rev. Frank Gentile. Carpeting in the sanctuary was laid. The reredos drape behind the altar was hung. The church buzzed with cleaning and construction crews for several months.
Summer of 1953--- Mr. Wells Behee, a 5th generation Universalist, born New York State, graduate of St. Lawrence University, Master of Divinity degree from St. Lawrence Theological School, Canton, New York, was called to serve the church. He commenced serving the church in September 1953.
|Rev. Wells Behee||
Fall of 1953---At a congregational meeting, the following logo was adopted as the symbol for the First Universalist Church of New Madison.