April 10, 1834, at the school house, corner of South Broadway and Middlebury streets, was organized the "Akron and Middlebury Baptist Church," Elder Caleb Green officiating as Moderator and Elder Amasa Clark as Scribe, the members of the new organization being: Horace Barton, Daniel B. Stewart, Henry H. Smoke, Mrs. Thirza J. Smoke, Miss C. Barton, Mrs. Elizabeth Burton, Mrs. Sally Smith, Miss Amanda Smith, Miss Elizabeth Stewart. March 5, 1836, an act was passed by the Legislature, authorizing the incorporation of religious societies, this church being among the very earliest to avail themselves of its provisions, as will be seen by the following notice published in Akron's first newspaper, the Weekly Post, June 10, 1836. "To All Whom it May Concern. A meeting of the members of the Akron and Middlebury Baptist Church and Society will be held at the School House in South Akron, on Wednesday, the 16th inst., at 4 o'clock p. m., for the purpose of organizing under their charter."
Arrangements were immediately made for the erection of a house of worship, corner of South Broadway and Center streets, a cut of which is here given. Elder Eber Crane was regularly installed as pastor, and the house was built under his management, as the agent of the trustees; though considerable ill-feeling was engendered, by the trustees facing the building south, instead of west, as the other churches had been, and by alleged mismanagement on the part of Elder Crane and the building committee, resulting in a heated newspaper controversy covering six or seven columns in the American Balance, and the holding of a church council, with Elder Levi Tucker, of Cleveland, as Moderator, on the 6th day of October, 1837. Though the dissensions alluded to were not entirely cured by the action of the council, the church was dedicated on the 26th day of October, 1837, Elder Tucker preaching the dedicatory sermon.
In 1853 the society sold its original church structure to the German Reformed Society and purchased the original Universalist stone church, on North High street, which was dedicated to the uses of its new owners June 17, 1853, where they continuously worshipped for over a third of a century.
Successive Pastors, previous to first removal: Revs. Eber Crane, Henry Carr, Stephen Van Voris, C. A. Clark, J. Hall, David Bernard, Lewis Ransted, J. M. Gregory, J. C. Courtney, A. Joy. Since removal: Mr. Joy continued until 1855, followed by Rev. J. W. Hammond, one year; in 1856, by Samuel Williams, five years; in 1862, by Nathan S. Burton, four years; in 1866, by Frank Adkins, two years; in 1869, by C. T. Chaffee, three years; 1872, by J. P. Agenbroad, one year; 1873, by Charles A. Hayden, three years; 1877, by Dr. Nathan S. Burton, ten years; in 1887. by Rev. A. M. Waxman, whose pastorate terminated by voluntary resignation June 14, 1891.
At length, feeling the need of a more commodious house of worship in a more convenient locality, in 1888 the society purchased a handsome site on South Broadway, between Market and Mill streets, and in 1889 erected thereon a fine brick edifice with auditorium and Sunday School room on the same floor, and a light, airy basement for social meetings and other church purposes. The building is 76x106 in size and of handsome design, as will be seen by the fine engraving given herewith, the entire cost of lot, building and furnishing being about $40,000.
Present membership of church 290. Present number of scholars in Sunday School, 230.
["Fifty Years and over of Akron & Summit Co.," 1892 - Submitted by Cathy Danielson]
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