(The following was written by Mrs. D. Tyler, and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
The Old Salem Church was situated in Jackson Township, Franklin County, Ohio. The ground for this house of worship was given by Mr. Edward Marsh, A.D. 1798, (this was corrected to 1843), for burial and religious purposes. The original structure was built of logs.
Improvements by boarding over mark its present condition. It was remodeled and rededicated in 1859, by the Rev. William Doughty, pastor on the Harrisburg Circuit. The parents of the writer were among the first settlers of Franklin County; they have related how anxious every one had been to donate something toward its construction. Nearly all the landowners in the surroundings were willing to cut down trees, hew the logs, make shingles or lend a helping hand in some way. The only cash outlay required was to pay for nails, window glass, and sash. The seats were simply slabs with strong wooden legs, and with no backs. The children sat erect, swinging their feet back and forth in unison with the old Methodist hymns and tunes.
I presume today sermons would seem tedious and uninteresting, if we were to sit on those same benches. Our only illuminations were of tallow candles, made and donated by the good people of the community. The pulpit resembled that of a large store box, open at one end, if the preacher happened to be tall in stature, we could see his head and shoulders, otherwise the top of his head only. The following are names of several pastors who have served this charge: Brothers Michner, Hopper, Green and Doughty. The Reverend H.K. Miller is the present Pastor. To the sorrow of many of our aged members, it is whispered at the opening and closing of each conference year that the little country church should be discarded. Many of us can say we love the dear old church, for it was the last spot we laid our eyes on our loved ones.
Salem Church had its good years and its lean years as indicated in 1917, when the church was closed. Salem Church was locked and the windows boarded up. The reason for his closing is now unknown, but this must have been a sad sight for the many people who had loved this church in years past. The church remained closed for seven years.
Ministers were appointed from 1917 to 1924, but, as Salem Church was closed, the ministers served only the other churches on the circuit.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry).