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Valley Baptist Church

Sunday Schools


Jubilee Hand Book of the Valley Baptist Church,


by Rev. B. H. Payne,

Marietta Journal Print, Marietta, Ohio




Pages 24 - 30

The Sunday Schools


There are four Sunday Schools under the supervision of the [Valley Baptist] Church, the Valley and three out stations, at Miller’s School, Lower Newport, and Bell’s Run.

Valley School

            The oldest record of this school dates back to 1851. Jackson Green Coffin, who was killed while a missionary in Turkey in 1862, when a student in Marietta College, with judge Martin Dewey Follett as teacher and companion in the work, organized and superintended a Sunday School in the old Thorniley school house, in 1851. This school was only carried on during the summer months and must be “reorganized” every spring. Mr. Follett thinks that perhaps Mr. Coffin had organized and worked in the Sunday School the year before he began helping him. He also thinks that the secret of the early like and interest from year to year was due to one woman, Mrs. Susan Smith. Lither Dana and Frederick Pierce were among the first superintendents, and to them, too, perhaps more than we think, is due much of the tutorage and success of the early life of the school.

            In 1859 the school of the former years was, of course, superseded by the Baptist, in the former years being Congregational, and has been supported in connection with the Valley Church. From the earliest record to the latest there is quite a uniformity in the number of teachers and scholars. They have ranged from 4 to 11 officers and teachers, and from 25 to 72, scholars. Of course there has not been any room for fabulous growth. In 1859, the school reported 5 teachers, 40 scholars and 150 volumes in the library. The years ’60,’61, ’62 are practically the same in reports as that of ’59. And in ’63, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’67, no report was made to the association. In ’68 C. L Dana was superintendent and was possibly so till ’74, though from ’71 to ’74 there was no Sunday School convention, it appears, and no reports were made. In the first year of C. L. Dana’s superintendency he reported six months of school, and 35 scholars, and remained so till ’78. In ’74 he reported six teachers, 38 scholar, three conversions and 12 months school. That was so far as the record at my disposal show, the first perennial school year; and from that time on appears to have been perennial in time. In ’75 there were four teachers, 40 scholars; eight conversions; and in ’76 a zenith was reached, eight teachers, 90 scholars, home expenses, $8.00; Sunday School missions, $2.50; foreign missions, $1.85; total, $12.35. The next two years the three schools of the church reported together, home school 70; mission schools, 100; officers and teachers, 20; expenses $14.32; missions $5.00; conversions, 4: home school, 40; missions schools, 63; officers and teachers, 20; expenses, $12.29; benevolences, $7.24.

In February, 1878, C. a. Miller became superintendent and remained so, with the exception of the year ’89, during which D. W. Powell was superintendent, for nineteen years, to ’97. During the period of Mr. Miller’s superintendency the school was quite uniform, with officers and teachers numbering from 7 to 10, and scholars, 37 to 72; with the exception of the last two years, in which they numbered 4 teachers and 35 and 38 scholars. The school expended during that period $321.03, and reported 10 baptisms and conversions.

            V. E. Racer was superintendent from ’98 to ’06; and R. A. Buell from ’06 to the present. During the eight years of V. E. Racer’s superintendency there has been reported 10 conversions and baptisms, teachers have been, with the exception on one year, 6 to 9, and the amount expended $184.27. During the last three years the numbers have averaged, Scholars, 41; teachers and officers, 8. The offerings have been $67.50; and 4 baptisms. The school has a Home Department and Cradle Roll.

Miller School

            The Miller school is three and one-half miles up the Ohio River from Marietta. The pendulum in the history of this school has oscillated at different intervals from good interest to suspension form the time of its organization to 1899. The association minutes of 1882 give 1868 as the date of organization of this school, through in 1859, just two years after the Sunday School convention of the association was organized, the Miller school reported 40 scholars. So the organization antedates ’68, though that may have been a date of organization and special interest. Students from the college organized and superintended schools there, as at other places near Marietta. The schools were all suspended during the winter and reorganized the next spring. From ’59 to ’68 there is no report in the minutes of the association. From ’59 to ’68 there is no report in the minutes of the association. But in ’68 to ’81 S. F. Smith was superintendent, and the reports are as follows: ’69 no report; ’70, “Miller School,” months, 6; teachers, 4; scholars, 25. Three succeeding years they failed to report though there was school. In ’74 the school was reported under the name of “Village Mission No. 2,” months, 9; teachers, 6; scholars, 40; conversions, 8; expended for school, $4.00; minutes, $1.00. In ’75, no reports [were given], and in ’76 “Village Mission No. 2,” [the number of] teachers and scholars, [were] 56; home expenses, $7.10. In “77, ’78 the school reported in connection with the Valley Church (see Valley Sunday School under that date.)  In ’89 the school is “2nd Mission,” teachers, 6; scholars, 38; expenses $3.75; other purposes, $2.00; total, $5.75. And in that year ’89 is the first perennial report – “time held 12 months.”  The following year, ’90, the school is once more “Miller School,” 5 teacher; 60 scholars; time, 6 months; expenses, $6.00; other benevolences, 97c; total, $6.97; volumes in library, 125. In ’81, teachers [were] 4; scholars, 38; expenses, $5.45.

            In ’82 Harry Cogswell was superintendent, and reported 5 teachers, 49 scholars, $4.00 home expenses, 50c other expenses, time of school, 6 months; baptized, 2   In ’83 J. T. Bell [was] superintendent, teachers, 5; scholars, 35; expenses, $5.00; time, 6 months. In ’84, R. T. Miller [was] superintendent, teachers, 3; scholars, 30; time 6 months; baptisms, 1; expenses, $2.75.

            No reports from ’86 to ’99 [were given.]  (There was school, but did not report to any denomination.) In the year ’99 and 1900, E. D. Johnson was superintendent, and the first year reported, teachers, 4; scholars, 20; time, 9 months; expenses, $4.28; and teachers, 5; scholars, 28; time, 9 months; expenses, $4.28; benevolences, 74c.

            In ’01, Mrs. R. T. Miller is reported superintendent, and remained so till [sic] this summer, ’09. Mrs. Julia Miller is the present superintendent. During Mrs. R. T. Miller’s eight years’ superintendency,  the school has been a ful [sic] time school; average number of teachers [was] 5 ½, average number of scholars, 35; amount contributed, $213.38; baptisms, 23. The school has now a good organized Bible Class which meets every Friday night, also has Cradle Roll and Home Department.

Lower Newport School

            This school is about nine miles up the Ohio river from Marietta, and is apparently the first school organized in the Ohio valley in this part of the country. It, in fact, had been a preaching point for some years before the other schools were organized. There are five dates given in the minutes as the date of its organization, 1831, ’32, ’33, ’34, and ’35, ’36. But Mr. Levi L. Fay in a letter to Mr. Geo. Middleswart under the date May 7, 1884 says; “In answer to an invitation from Deacon Ira Hill, and others, I accepted the call and became the superintendent of the Lower Newport Sabbath School, which we organized at that time.” He continues: “I never learned that there was a school organized before that time, May, 1835.” This school, like the other schools of the valley, at first was held only during the simmer months. Mr. Fay says: “For five succeeding years I held Sunday School (there) at nine O’clock each Sabbath morning, with very few exceptions, from May to October. *** The Sunday School in your place usually numbered from forty to fifty scholars. Albert Barstow, Emily Hill, Julia Barker were my most constant assistant teachers. *** My brother, Solomon P. Fay, who is now preaching to a church in Boston, became my successor in the Sunday School work, and taught four years, making nine years that myself and brother were with you in Sunday School work.” This school never discontinued only in the winter seasons of its early history.

            The school is reported for the first time in the association minutes in 1860. Ira Hill [was] delegate, teachers [were numbered] 5; [and] scholars, 25. In ’61 Ira Hill was delegate and reported 4 teachers, 16 scholars, 4 converts, 200 volumes in library. In ’62, A. E. Dana was delegate, with a report of 5 teachers and 32 scholars. In ’63, Ira Hill and John A.  Plummer were delegates, the delegates names being given rather than the superintendent’s, and reported 7 teachers, 65 scholars, 250 volumes, 25c for minutes. In 1864, the superintendents’ names are first given in the minutes, and Ira Hill was superintendent of the Lower Newport Sunday School. In ’65, no report was made, and in ’66, Samuel Clark was superintendent [with] 30 scholars. In ’67, G. W. Middleswart [was] superintendent, scholars, 40. Mr. Middleswart was superintendent fro ’67 to ’75, and seems to have had a perennial school. In ’74, the report is 9 teachers, 65 scholars, 12 months, 14 conversions, $9.18 expenses. In ’76, C. L. Dana was superintendent [with] 9 teachers, 78 scholars, 12 months, 400 volumes in library, money expended, $12.72. In ‘77 and ’78, the three schools report together and no superintendent’s name is given. But in ’79, Geo. Middleswart is again superintendent thence for three successive years, and the “1st Mission,” [reported] 7 teachers, 40 scholars, $4.86 expended, time 12 months. In ’80,  John L. Smith was superintendent; 8 teachers, 54 scholars, conversions, 9; time 12 months;  money raised for home expenses, $33.00; missions, $1.50; total, $34.50. In ’81, John Smith [was] superintendent; teachers, 8; scholars, 38; time, 12 months; home expenses, 39.53; other purposes, $3.00; total, $41.53. In ’82, Geo. Middleswart [was] superintendent with 8 teachers, 52 scholars, expenses $11.31. Geo Middleswart was superintendent thence for three successive years, and the reports were: officers and teachers, 10; scholars, 46; expenses, $11.50; and no report.

            During the years ’86- ’89, H. F. Middleswart was superintendent and reported 5 teaches, 57 scholars, total contributions, $13.70; 7 teachers, 43 scholars, expended, $11.04; 4 teachers, 27 scholars.

            In ’89, C. L. Dana was superintendent and remained so for 17 successive years thence, from ’89 to ’04. During his superintendency the average number of teachers were [sic] 6 1/8, and the average number of scholars were 47, baptisms 13, time, 6 months the first year, and 12 months all the remaining time; amount contributed, $281.93. In 1905, no report was made. In ’06, Weston Smith was superintendent and reported teachers and officers, 5; scholars, 30; time, 12 months, expended, $12.00. In ’07, Mrs. W. Middleswart [was] superintendent; teachers and officers [were] 5; scholars, 30; amount raised, $11.45. In ’07, Chas. Middleswart [was] superintendent; scholars [were] 57, baptisms, 4; expended, $35.17.

            This school has a Home Department and Cradle Roll, and fulfilled the conditions of the “golden jubilee” of the interdenominational Sunday School work this year. Also [it] has an organized Bible class which meets on Thursday each week.


Bell’s Run School

            Bell’s Run is about ten miles above Marietta, and two miles below Newport on the Ohio River. In 1880, Mr. John Hines, now of Newport, organized a Sunday School at this place and reported to the association under the name “Valley Mission, 3rd,” and reported officers and teachers, 6; scholars, 69; time, 6 months; expended $4.00. Mr. Hines seems to have moved away from Newell’s Run and the Sunday School was let go down till June, 1906, when B. H. Payne organized again, with Chas. Middleswart as superintendent with 3 teachers and about 20 scholars.  The Sunday School did not report in 1906, but it has been an all time school. In ’07, Nathaniel Kidd was superintendent and reported officers and teachers, 6; scholars, 35; baptisms, 1; time, 12 months; contributions, $11.45. In ’08 and ’09, Mrs. Alice Leonard has been superintendent and reports; scholars, 79; contributions, $9.50, scholars, 40; baptisms, 5. This school, like the others, has a Cradle Roll Department and Home Department, and has, like the Miller School and Lower Newport, an organized Bible Class.

            Note – In the afternoon of the second Sunday is each month we have preaching services at Lower Newport school, and in the evening of the same day at Bell’s Run, and in the evening of the fourth Sunday of the fourth Sunday in each month at the Miller School.

Bells Run.jpg

Bells Run

This building still stands on the bank along Rt 7 just south of Bells Run. It is a home

Bell's Run School.jpg

Bells Run

Bells Run as a School

Lower Newport SS.jpg

Lower Newport

This building stood some where near to the Barker house.


Lower Newport

Another view

Millers School.jpg

Miller Sunday School

This was located somewhere near to Rt 7 and Miller's Lane