(The following was written by Nola Freeman, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum).
Henry Clover, Jr., son of Henry and Catherine Ambose Clover, first gathered together in his log cabin for services those persons in Prairie Township interested in the Methodist religion. Henry Jr.’s wife was Mary Ann McKendre. For over 25 years, the group went to the homes of various members in the congregation and held their services there. Sometimes a circuit rider would be on hand to lead the worship service and tell of the ways of Methodism so they could in turn tell other pioneers One source says that the famous rough-hewn but eloquent backwoods Methodist circuit rider, Peter Cartwright, once held a three week camp meeting in Alton.
The Postle family also led members in singing and led the Sunday School for 40 years. Various church edifices were built from 1843 to 1883, when the red brick church in Alton was built and dedicated. Over the years, church records have been lost or destroyed. One thing is certain: many of the prairie Township pioneers of the Methodist faith gave their time, abilities and money to their church. In 1958, this legacy was given to the Columbia Height Methodist Church when the Alton and Columbia Heights Churches merged. The Althon church was sold and the money used to pay off the Columbia Heights parsonage debt. At this writing, after many uses, the little church once more houses a congregation of worshipers on Sunday mornings.
The cemetery that once stood at the rear of the church in Alton is gone now, due to the ravages of time, neglect and weather. Perhaps some of the persons’ graves have been removed to other cemeteries. Legend has it that one person’s gravesite can be located because of the indestructible oak wood used to make his casket.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry.)