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Lawrence Baptist


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 1901.

Church Sends Two Ministers

Records show that Lawrence Baptist Church has sent two members into full-time ministries, Rev. Emmet U. Smith and Rev. Fred Rake. 

The Rev. 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.

Fred Bake 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. 

He was 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.

In 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.

Of the 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.

The Rev. 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 and neighbors. 

            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.

Important dates and interesting highlights in the history of the church:

Church established.

Rev. J. D. Riley became first pastor.

1865    Land deeded to church from Joseph McEl Hinney.

1867    A constitution was drawn up to govern the Sabbath School.

1889    Emmet U. Smith was licensed to preach.

1905    Fred Rake entered Moody Bible Institute.

1922    Church hosted the Marietta Baptist Association annual meeting for the    first time.

1952    Shingles were installed on the church building exterior.  Interior work included painting walls, sanding and varnishing floor.

1955    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.

1965    The entire sanctuary was refinished with paneling on the walls and a dropped ceiling with new ceiling tile.

1966    New concrete entrance steps and a large portico attached to the front of the building.

1967    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.

1968    A new communion table was purchased.  A new communion set was donated by the pastor, Rev. Edwin McLeod.

1971    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 Society. 

1973    New shingled roof replaced the slate roof that had been on the building (as far as the records show) since it was erected.

1974    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.

1975    New storm windows installed on building.


 Following is a roster of the pastors serving the Lawrence Baptist Church:

J. D. Riley

1853    Henry Lyon

1854    John Abels

1863    B. M. Stout

1865    D. Sachman

1866    Mungo Taylor

1866-1898       Incomplete (Records missing.)

1898    Bro. H. Cofer

1899    Bro. Jackson

1900    Bro. Jennings

1901    Bro. Shoemaker

1902    Bro. Barnhart

1904    H. C. Downing

1919    (Supply) J. M. Turner (Associate Pastor)

1920    Fred Rake

1921    N. N. Peyton

1922    (Supply) F. A. Maier (Associate Pastor) and N. N. Peyton

1923    T. B. Ashton

1924-1926       Russell Purdy

1926-1929       N. M. Cunningham

1929-1931       I. L. Basford

1931-1935       J. C. Lucas

1935-1938       A. W. Guiliano

1938-1941       Mrs. A. W. Guiliano

1941-1956       O. R. Hoskinson

1956-1958       Fred Williams

1958-1969       Edwin McLeod

1969-1970       Walter Brown

1970-present    Sherman J. Snider