Summit County, Ohio
First Presbyterian Church
This society, whose present church edifice is located on Kent street, near Arlington, in the Sixth Ward, is undoubtedly the oldest church organization in what is now the city of Akron. It was organized on the 15th day of December, 1831; by Revs. Benson C. Baldwin and John Hughes, with twenty-six members, one of whom, only, Mr. Edgar T. Chapman, now survives, though not now a member of the congregation; but we are without definite data as to when their house of worship was erected. Successive pastors for twenty-four years were: Rev. Benson C. Baldwin, December 1831 to September 1838; Rev. Abraham Sanders, October 1838 to October 1839; Rev. H. A. Sackett, July 1840 to June 1841; Rev. James Shaw, 1841 to 1841.
About this time, by reason of differences growing out of the slavery question, quite a number withdrew from the society, and organized the Congregational Church of Middlebury, the parent church being ministered to by Rev. William Hanford in 1846; Rev. Horace Foote in 1847; Rev. Elroy Curtis, 1848 to 1854. Having harmonized their differences on the slavery question, the two societies re-united as an independent church, in 1860, under Rev. William Dempsey, who continued to officiate as pastor until 1863, followed by Rev. Mr. Hicks for three years; Rev. G. Hall, three years; and Rev. Henry Avery, three years.
In 1874, largely through the influence of the late Ambrose L. Cotter, one of the original members, the society returned to the fold of the Presbytery, under whose auspices it has since remained. Late pastors: Rev. C. Barnes, 1874 to 1877; Rev. J. H. Jones, 1877 to 1881; Rev. Dwight L. Chapin, September 1883 to 1889; Rev. Edward Layport, May 1, 1889, to present time. Membership in 1883, thirty-five; present membership of 145; number scholars in Sunday School, 150. About 1885 the present fine brick church, with handsomely decorated interior, Sunday School rooms in basement, etc., was erected, at a cost, for house and lot, of some $10,000; the old well-known and well-worn brick church, south of the present fire station, after half a century's faithful public service, for religious meetings, political meetings, temperance meetings, lectures, concerts, festivals, etc., having been razed to the ground.
[Source: "Fifty Years and over of Akron & Summit Co.," 1892, - CD - Sub by FoFG]
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