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Newport Baptist Church

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The First Baptist Church in Washington County was established in the Rainbow Settlement in 1797. Elder Nehemiah Davis, an ordained Baptist Minister from Maine was pastor.

In 1804 there arose in this church a dissension on the subject of open communion. The church had a membership of fifty-nine. The Pastor and a majority embraced open communion and drew off and formed themselves into a new body. It was these believers in closed communion who formed the First Baptist Church of Marietta.

On Saturday, the fifth of Sept A. D., 1818, Ephraim Emerson, William Churchill, John Thorniley, Bain Posey and Mary Chase met in the easterly part of Marietta and formed a church and adopted articles of faith.

While it was called the Marietta Church, most of its meeting were held in tents in the surrounding territory to accommodate the members. Pastor James McAboy conducted the first communion service October 3, 1818.

The first recorded meeting in the “Upper Settlement” [Newport] was held in the home of Jacob Churchill. The first minutes were dated August 25, 1822. The church still has possession of the original record book. The pastor was Elder James McAboy and Jacob Churchill served as clerk.

In 1824, the meetings were held in the old brick school house at Haysville [close to the Newport Church of Christ.] Up to this time the church was a member of the Parkersburg Association.  Rev. Jeremiah Dale became pastor in 1825, at this time the church united with the Meigs Creek Association, (it became the Marietta Association in 1871). At this meeting the church reported ninety-one members. Pastor Dale added 300 people to the church during his six years of ministry.

The Newport Branch was dismissed and became an independent church in 1837. The council met January 20, 1838 and adopted articles of faith. Rev. Allen Darrow became pastor and William Dana and Ira Hill were elected deacons. Then in 1838, the Newport Baptist Church with fifty-nine members was taken into the Marietta Association.

On January 1, 1840, a building committee of six was appointed to make arrangements to build a church at Newport. The present building was dedicated on January 1, 1942. The cost of this brick structure was $1,287.00. From January 14 through January 30, a meeting was held which resulted in reception of twenty heads of families. This meeting is known as the “Wedge Meeting.”

Daniel Greene, [who resided in Marietta at this time] a sea captain and member of the Greene family holding the honor of making the first permanent settlement in Newport Township in 1798, donated the land and deeded it to the trustees and their successors forever on August 18, 1843.

The only ordained minister from our church was Watson Dana. He was granted a license to preach in 1867 and ordained in 1869.

In the 1870s the congregation decided to build a bell tower and two class rooms. Some interesting history is recorded on how the church acquired the bell and how it ties in with Newport’s busy trade as a river town during this time. After the work completed on the tower and the class rooms and the bell was properly hung, the church was rededicated on March 1, 1880.

Encouraged with the growth in membership and finances, the church began making other improvements in keeping with the times. In the year 1881 saw an estey organ installed. The pot-bellied coal and wood stove and the oil lamp were replaced by natural gas in 1890.

Between the years 1904-1907, the baptistery was installed, thus eliminating the necessity of “gathering at the river” for baptismal service. In the fall of 1981, the baptistery was remodeled, a new sheet of metal insert was completed and new plumbing was installed.

In 1909, the parsonage was built next to the sanctuary. Improvements and repairs have been made through the years. The garage was built in 1928 for the amount of $197.98. The summer of 1984 this landmark was burnt by the Newport Fire Department, a new garage was built and a section of the garage houses the food pantry.

Everything went along pretty much the same until April 1915. At that time, a new communion service and new pews were added. The organ was replaced by the Hardman piano.

In 1921, electric was brought into Newport, so new drop lights were installed.

With the growth of the church a new block structure was attached to the rear of the sanctuary and is used for Sunday School Class and now the pastor’s office. This work was completed in 1952.

The old class rooms in front of the church [were] converted into two bathrooms in 1960.

The first installation service was in honor of the Rev. William P Snider.

July 23, 1974, the trustees presented plans for a new 40’ x 55’ educational building. It was dedicated on September 2, 1978.

Robert Holpp Jr. built and installed railing in front of the choir loft and pulpit, a new piano and the sanctuary painted this accruing in 1970.

Newport Baptist entered the East Marietta Baptist Parish in 1970.

A new communion table and lectern lights were presented to the church by the Berean Class in 1971.

Restoration of the church exterior was completed by July 9, 1972 when the Sesquicentennial Celebration took place.

Sunday School was established in 1841. It is held at 9:45 and church services at 11 O’clock, with evening services at 7 o’clock, Bible study and choir practice on Wednesday evening.

The church has a constitution by which members govern themselves. There are a Board of Deacons, a Board of Trustees and a Board of Christian Educators. We are now associated with the American Baptist Convention and the Marietta Baptist Association.

We have a tape ministry, and library and audio-visual equipment and a public address system.

August of 1980 the church decided it would go into a full time ministry. For the first time we have a Sunday evening service and a pastor to help in anyway needed.

The 1980s was a busy time for the church; new windows, air and heating system, new pews, carpeting and lowering entrance and new doors were among the many improvements. A new organ was donated to the church by Bruce and Pam Enlow.

Improvements and repairs have continues through the years, as we trust in God’s wisdom and will, We continue to stand on a firm foundation and have Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone.

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Rev. Watson Dana

Watson Dana was supply pastor during 1867-1878. He was born November 12, 1837, the son of Charles and Eunice Churchill Dana. He was granted a license to preach in 1867 and ordained in 1869. He was the only ordained minister from the church up to the present time. Rev. Dana died February 1, 1928, and is buried in the Newport Cemetery. FOOTPRINTS, Eileen Thomas, Page 59

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The Baptist Bell

In the early 1870’s, the congregation decided to build a bell tower and two classrooms.  Some interesting history in how the church acquired the bell was recorded and ties in with Newport’s busy trade as a river town during this period of time. 

According to the records, the bell was bought at Cincinnati, Ohio, and paid for by voluntary contributions collected by the crews of the Courier and Diurnal, daily packets in the Wheeling and Parkersburg trade.  The collection far exceeded the amount required, so the bell committee gave first prizes to the crews of both boats.  The bell cost $237.  After the work was completed on the tower and the classroom and the bell was properly hung, the church was rededicated on March 1, 1880.