TOWN OF LANCASTER CHURCH HISTORY
Lancaster has four religious organizations namely, Christians or Disciples, Methodists, Lutherans and Adventists.
Christian Church of Lancaster
This church was organized in the year 1842, as which time it was known as the Church of Christ, meeting at West Liberty. In the original organization, Patrick Sullivan and Elijah Arnold were the chosen Elders and Stewart Coats and Harrison Kelly , Deacons. Following is a list of those who became identified with the society during the early days of its history.
Hannah Sullivan, Sarah Arnold, Rachel Coats, Louisa Kelly, Benjamin D. Houk, Mary Houk, Susannah Houk, Lucinda Houk, Benjamin Mitchell, Elizabeth Mitchell, Benetta Mitchell, John Long, Malooda Long, Michael Royer, Sophia Royer, Samuel Royer, Julia A. Royer, Daniel Burger, Emeline Burger, Emeline Mishler, Hannah Mishler, Robert Chambers, Lydia Ann Chambers, Anna Prime, David Mishler, Catherine Mishler, ___Mishler, David Mitchell, Roxanna Mitchell, Samuel McClarren, Mary McClarren, Jonathan Criss, Mary Criss, L. Harris, Rebecca Harris, Jacob Conder, Frances Conder, John Fry, Lilly Fry, Mrs. Lee, David Harris, Margaret Harris, Aaron Mitchell, Hannah Mitchell, Mary Shepherd, Elizabeth Gochenour, Susannah Shepherd, Catherine Hopper, Thomas Clark, James Mitchell, Mary Caton, Joel Dillon, Mary A. Dillon, and Phebe Beatty. The first place of meeting was a log schoolhouse which stood a short distance from the village and which served as a place of worship until the year 1856, at which time a frame building was erected about one quarter of a mile east of the town. The building stood but a few years, and was soon replaced by a larger and more comfortable structure, which cost the sum of $1500.
In the year 183, the building was completely destroyed by a cyclone, and since that event the congregation has been using the village schoolhouse for social worship and the Methodist church for preaching. The following preachers have ministered to the church at different times: ___Conrad, Benjamin Houk, Obediah Winters, Frederick Hauser, ___Rice, James Blankenship, J.C. McCoy, Joel Dillon, J.M. Mathes, W.B.F. Treat, W.N. Littell, ___Sweney, Z.T. Sweney, William F. Black, John C. Miller, Milton B. Hopkins, A. Ellmore, Henry R. Pritchard, B.M.Blount, William Holt, J.R. Henry, ___Jefferson, M.T. Smith, A.C. Layman, ___Ingram, ____Hyatt, Harrison Hight, ___Loudermilk, J.G. Burroughs, A.J. Frank, H.C. Correll, and others. The pastor in 1884 was Elder R.B. Williams. Prior to the year of 1857, the congregation held meetings but once a month, but in that year a re organization was effected since which timely meetings have been held every Lord's Day for the purpose of social worship and communion. Much of the time the church has been without a regular pastor and its success is largely due to the lay membership which now numbers about ninety. The last officers elected were: J.R. Merrell, John Penrod, Lorenzo D. Coats and W.H. Foreman, Elders; E.E. Herrald and John Nation, Deacons.
Methodist Episcopal Church
This church was established in the very early settlement of the township at the residence of John Spangler, about one and a quarter miles south of Lancaster. The first class meetings were held there and also the first quarterly meeting. Among the members of this little society are remembered: John S. Cole and wife, James Chambers and wife, Isaac Rader and wife. No official records of their acts were kept, and the class was not maintained for a longer period than two year, during which time Revs. Abraham Wright and John E. Burton preached at intervals.
Patricksburg Methodist Episcopal Church
The present Methodist church dates its history from the year 1846 at which time it was organized with about twenty five members. The first meeting place was the dwelling of Edward Brant, a short distance south of the village and Revs. Joseph Pinkston and Asa Beck were the earliest preachers. In 1848, the organization was moved to Lancaster where the majority of the members resided and public worship was held from house to house until 1854, when a neat temple of worship was erected in the northwestern part of the town, where the schoolhouse now stands. The lot on which the building stood was donated by Patrick Sullivan.
In the year 1874, the present edifice was erected at a cost of $1100. It is a comfortable frame structure, 32x40 feet in size and will accommodate a congregation of 300 persons. For more then thirty years past, the church has enjoyed a reasonable degree of prosperity under the charge of the many preachers sent by the conference to minister to her people. A few familiar names of some of those worthy men are called to mind of those acquainted with the church for more then a quarter of a century such as: A. Noy, A. Shively, William Zaring, Samuel Denney, Henry S. Dane, O. Fling, ___Tolbert, John Pitner, Sampson Cullison, John Tansy, S.C. Kennedy, Gideon Heavenridge, David Schwartz, T.D. Welker, Calvin Lee, Levi Johnson, ___Julian, Edward Boaz, Elisha Adamson, John T. Cooper, down to the minister in 1884, John Spear.
The membership of the church steadily increased to a number of eighty three in the middle 1880's. Class Leader; John Royer; Stewards, William Royer and James Knox; Sunday School Superintendent, John Royer. The society was formerly a point on the Bowling Green Circuit, but then became the head of the Patricksburg Circuit.
St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
The history of this society begins in the year 1860, at which time it was organized by Rev. John F. Lautenschlager, with a membership of fifteen families whose names are as follows: John Schmaltz, Adam Haldt, John Haldt, Matthew Haldt, Christian Weber, Gottlieb Schmaltz, Stephen Maegerlein, Samuel Bierly, Abraham Keiser, Eli Dickney, Daniel Stahl, Frederick Sindlinger, Daniel Miller, Ludwig Schwinger and George Sanderson. Meetings were held in the village schoolhouse until the year 1862, when the subject of a more suitable place of worship began to be discussed and a building fund started. The citizens of the village were all afforded an opportunity and many responded with liberal donations, members of other churches were not excepted.
The contract for the building of their present commodious edifice situated on Sycamore Street in the north part of the village was awarded in 1862 and the good work pushed to completion during that year. It is a frame building, 30x45 feet and cost the sum of $1500. Since its organization the society has been ministered by the following pastors: D.M. Martins, William J. Schroyer, T.H.H. Jaeger, A. Eberbach, and F.W.C. Wiechers. The pastor in charge in 1884 was Rev. William H. Price. About 100 members belonged to the church at that time and services are conducted in both the English and German languages. A good Sunday school is maintained throughout the year with an average attendance of sixty scholars. The Superintendent is John Schmaltz.
A samll society of Adventists was organized about 1878 or 1879 by Rev. Mr. Lane of Battle Creek, Michigan who preached for the church at intervals for several years. A small frame house of worship was built in 1880 and stands in the western part of the village. It was terribly racked by the cyclone which passed over the town in the spring of 1883 and is in a dilapidated condition at the present time. The society seems to be on the standstill numbering but a few members, and sustaining no regular preaching.