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CHURCH LOOKS BACK IN TIME

by Janet Nesler

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magine the incredible feeling of receiving letters and photos of your ancestors after 85 years. Members of the Ohio Avenue Christian Church at New Boston experienced this excitement.

The church was originally founded in 1893 in New Boston on the lot that is now occupied by Hickie's resturant. During the 1913 flood the church building was filled with water and the business next to it exploded, catching the church building on fire and burning it to the ground. When the flood waters subsided, the members purchased a lot higher up on Ohio Avenue to build a new church. They then laid the corner stone in which they placed the copper box to be opened on the 100th anniversary of the church.

On Homecoming Day recently the congregation celebrated their 100th anniversary. They also watched Jack Patton, Elder and one of three part time ministers of the church, open the time
capsule.

There was a hushed silence as Jack Patton opened the small copper box which along with newspaper clippings contained a small testament, a photo of a horse and buggy of General Merchandise owned by O.D. Chinn, Merchant of New Boston. Lists of names of who attended the different Sunday School classes, a political card to vote for J.S. Davis for Mayor. Several short notes from descendants of different families and even a membership card
issued to Alan Griffen for the Socialist Party issued by the athority of the Ohio State Committee.

The copper box buried in the corner stone was in first rate condition. but according to Doug Osborne, Elder and one of the part time Pastors of the church, it took much effort to get the
box out of the corner stone.

"I tried to cut it out and couldn't get it out, then tried to chisel it out," said Osborne, "and it started cracking. So I had to bust the top part out to get to the box. I was happy when I
saw the very corner of the copper box. I really wasn't sure it was there till I saw it. It was in unbelievably good condition, but that's because it was copper. Tin would have rusted out."

A letter in the box stated that the copper box was made and donated to the church by William S. Haney for the purpose of filing dedicated paper to be placed in a corner stone on
September 21, 1913. Haney owned and operated a roofing and Guttering business in New Boston.

The Box contained a note stating those in charge of the ceremony were Elders J.C Harris, George Griffin, Alan Griffin, Robert McDowell, Ed Burris and E.G. Hamilton.

The most in©depth letter in the box was from teenager Robert Poole who wrote "I am 17 years old, I am 5'8'' tall and have sandy colored hair and blue eyes. I live with my Grandmother who
is 80 years old. I do not smoke, swear, drink or chew, I have 3 sisters and one brother who is in Heaven. His name is Howard. My sisters are Carrie, Della and Dorothy. My Mother Bernie Poole and my Father Marion. I have lived in New Boston since 1901, my parents and I are members of this church. I enclose my picture." Robert Poole was a handsome young man and an aspiring artist who left his art work on the back of his letter.

Also in the box were newspaper clippings published the day before the box was buried describing the expected ceremony. One of the clippings stated the laying of the corner stone was expected to be attended by no less than 1500 people and the River City Band would play sacred music during the service that was to be held before closing the stone. A pastor of a local church at that time, Crayton S. Brooks, would be delivering the principal address of the occasion. It stated, "He is an orator of recognized worth and his remarks would no doubt be attentively listened to."

The article went on to say; "The faithful who worshiped at the New Boston Church previous to it's destruction in the 1913 flood were made of the right kind of stuff material from which
Christians are made. They did not sit idly by and bemoan their fate, but joined hands and hearts, which coupled with enterprize and energy, enabled them to purchase a new lot, upon which they are to erect a beautiful structure."

That dream came true for the Ohio Avenue Christian Church when it was rebuilt in 1913 by the efforts of the congregation and J.C. Harris who was a bricklayer and Elder and was Pastor for awhile and later Lay Minister and then Superintendent for many years. It survived yet another flood in 1937 when the water got inside and was up to the balcony. It has been a place of worship at the present location for the last 85 years. At present three Elders share the pastoring of the church. Jack Patton, Douglas Osborne, and Jeff Woodard.

Approximately 103 people attended the Homecoming in 1998 and the message was delivered by a former member of the New Boston Church, James Osborne, who is now Minister of the Church of Christ at Glouster, OH. He is the son of Elder Douglas Osborne. There were four baptisms on that day and dinner on the grounds. The New Boston congregation plan to bury a new time capsule box in the corner stone to be opened in 50 years.

 

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