A History of the Lawrence Baptist Church
Lawrence Baptist Church was organized in 1840. A log meeting house was
built and the people met for worship every Sunday, although no regular preacher
visited the congregation until 1844. During this four year period the
very existence of the organization was hanging between doubt and fear, but the
courageous labors of Lettie Templeton carried the helpless infant beyond the
period of danger. She has been entitled the proud distinction of
God-mother of the church.
Data from William’s History of Washington County, Ohio
At the regular court of quarter sessions in Dec. 1798…all that portion of Washington
County lying east of the western boundary of the Seventh range was set apart
and named Newport Township. Later six townships were created from this
parcel, namely: Grandview, Lawrence, Ludlow, Liberty, Jolly and Newport.
(end of quote)
It was in the northeast part of Lawrence Township, that the little Baptist
Church bearing the Township name was established. There is evidence that
the original log building stood not far from the present site. There was
at that time a post office nearby and the address was Steel Run, Ohio.
1833 First Sunday School
The first Sunday School in the Little Muskingum Valley, so far as is known, was
taught by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph McEl Hinney, who resided above and opposite the
mouth of Elk Run. This school was attended by the parents and children of
the settlement within a radius of four miles. It was an itinerant school
(traveling from place to place) and was held at the houses in the neighborhood,
and most frequently at the homes of Joseph McEl Hinney of Lawrence, and Robert
McKenzie and Jesse Fleming of Independence.
It seems very probable that the Lawrence Baptist Church was established as an
outgrowth of this first Sunday School.
Other records show that Joseph McEl Hinney with his aged father, John McEl
Hinney, and his only sister, Anne, came from the North of Ireland and settled
on the Little Muskingum River near the mouth of Elk Run, in 1832.
The deed for the present church site, dated in 1865, shows that the land was
deeded to the Church from Mr. and Mrs. McEl Hinney. Because of inadequate
records we do not know when the present building was erected, although it could
have been much earlier than 1865, when the land was deeded.
The first minister of the Lawrence Baptist Church was the Rev. J. D. Riley, who
became pastor in 1844.
In the early years there was very little money to pay the pastors, and
evangelists who visited the church for revivals from time to time. The
old records tell of how one minister brought both Saturday night and Sunday
morning messages, and was paid $7.44 per week for his services. Another
instance tells of how the parishioners gave a dime offering which amounted to
$1.10 to pay their preacher for a Sunday service. The record books also
show that $20. was paid to a Dr. Gear for a two-week revival in October of
Church Sends Two Ministers
show that Lawrence Baptist Church has sent two members into full-time
ministries, Rev. Emmet U. Smith and Rev. Fred Rake.
Emmet Ulyusses Smith, was united with the Lawrence Church and very shortly
thereafter he was licensed to preach. He was founder and minister of Fair
Oaks Baptist Church in Zanesville, Ohio, from 1889 to 1894. Ill health
forced his early retirement and he died in Banning, California in 1897.
left the church around 1905 to study the ministry at Moody Bible
Institute. After Moody he attended Franklin College, in Indiana. He
served as pastor at Logansport, Crawfordsville, Vincennes and Evansville in
Indiana and at St. Louis, Mo. He ministered to a large congregation at
the Evansville Church for 36 years until his retirement.
very active in the Lawrence Church as a youth and this love and dedication
manifested itself in his coming to this community many times to preach
revivals, while on vacation from the Evansville pastorate. Records
indicate that after one of his evangelistic meetings here, as many as thirty converts
would be baptized into the church.
August, 1922 the Marietta Baptist Association held its annual meeting at the
Lawrence Church. Although they had been sending delegates to the meeting
each year, this was the first time the church hosted the annual event.
several ministers that served the church during its history, the Rev. O. R.
Hoskinson from Marietta, Ohio served the longest period of time (15
years). He brought messages bi-weekly, and was compensated only by the
offerings taken at the meetings. He is now deceased.
Edwin McLeod ministered to the church for eleven years, from 1958 to
1969. Under his leadership many changes were effected in the physical and
spiritual growth of the church. He inspired the church in its dedication
to missions, both at home and abroad. During his tenure the church also
began regular contributions to Jewish Missions.
The present church (1975) is proud of the two “Gideons” it has in its
membership, Lawrence M. Smith and William H. Bowersock.
In 1973, Lawrence M. Smith was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Ohio
Baptist Convention, the first member of the church to serve in this capacity.
The Marietta Baptist Parish was formed in 1970, consisting of the Newport,
Deucher and Lawrence Baptist Churches. The Rev. Sherman J. Snider from
New Concord, Ohio was called to this ministry. He resides in the
parsonage, owned by the Newport Church, and thus is in the community where he
is active in home and hospital visitations, for all three churches.
The church is able to enjoy and benefit from a worship service each Sunday and
a weekly Bible study and prayer meeting under his guidance. It was the
first time in the history of the church that a worship service was held every
Sunday. Many improvements to the building have taken place, and Rev.
Snider has inspired his parishioners to a grater love and concern for friends
In searching the records it has been determined that the church does not have a
constitution. On e is being drafted at the present time, and will be
completed and ready for approval in 1976.
dates and interesting highlights in the history of the church:
Rev. J. D. Riley became first pastor.
Land deeded to church from Joseph McEl Hinney.
A constitution was drawn up to govern the Sabbath School.
Emmet U. Smith was licensed to preach.
Fred Rake entered Moody Bible Institute.
Church hosted the Marietta Baptist Association annual meeting for
the first time.
Shingles were installed on the church building exterior. Interior work
included painting walls, sanding and varnishing floor.
Basement built under church building, with tile floors, a rest room and
built-in kitchen. An electric range and refrigerator were donated by the
minister, Rev. O. R. Hoskinson. The refrigerator has since been replaced
with a new one, but the range is still in use.
The entire sanctuary was refinished with paneling on the walls and a dropped
ceiling with new ceiling tile.
New concrete entrance steps and a large portico attached to the front of the
All new pews, with padded seats and a new pulpit were purchased and dedicated
to the Lord. A new piano was purchased, with the Ladies Aide Society
paying half the cost.
A new communion table was purchased. A new communion set was donated by
the pastor, Rev. Edwin McLeod.
The women’s Mission Society was organized. The church had been supported
in its many endeavors over the years by the Lawrence Baptist Ladies Aide.
This organization was dissolved at the time of the establishment of the Mission
New shingled roof replaced the slate roof that had been on the building (as far
as the records show) since it was erected.
Folding partitions installed in the basement. This enables the large
social room to be divided into four separate rooms for Sunday School
classes. An electric furnace installed to heat both the basement rooms
and the main sanctuary.
New storm windows installed on building.
is a roster of the pastors serving the Lawrence Baptist Church:
J. D. Riley
B. M. Stout
Incomplete (Records missing.)
Bro. H. Cofer
H. C. Downing
(Supply) J. M. Turner (Associate Pastor)
N. N. Peyton
(Supply) F. A. Maier (Associate Pastor) and N. N. Peyton
T. B. Ashton
N. M. Cunningham
I. L. Basford
J. C. Lucas
A. W. Guiliano
Mrs. A. W. Guiliano
O. R. Hoskinson
Sherman J. Snider