Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jul 15

The Union Baptist Church Riot

Posted on July 15, 2016 at 8:45 AM by Elise Kelly

A Mystery Remains Unsolved
David Pidgeon's Family Photo. Pidgeon is a volunteer with the Greene County Archives.
 Did you ever wonder why some things have been kept and passed down in your family for numerous generations? Some of these heirlooms, photographs and documents remain a mystery as to how they fit into your family story.

The Simpson family, originally from Sugarcreek Township, have kept a court case record for decades. One of the Simpson decedents, now living in California, could not understand why her family kept it all of these years.

The case involved members and former members of Sugarcreek Township. Jonathan Davis, Jacob Durst [also spelled Darst], Robert Lorence [Torence ?] and Henry Reil [Real] had committed the offense of disturbing the public peace and rioting. The day before the country celebrated the Fourth of July in 1842, these four men carried out (See Below).

TRANSCRIPT: "with force and arms at the County of Green [Greene] aforesaid did unlawfully Riotously and Riotously assemble and meet together with intent with force and violence unlawfully to injure, abuse and break the meeting house, then and there being of the property of William Service [Servis], -----George Moore and Alexander Sackett Trustees of the Union Baptist Church, Situate in said County of Green [Greene] and being so assembled and met together, the meeting House of said Trustees of the Union Baptist Church there situate then and there unlawfully, Riotously, tumultuously, violently and outrageously did injure, abuse, break and enter, and other wrongs to the said Trustees then and there Did to the great Damage of the said Trustees to the form of the statute in such case made and made..."

The Simpson descendant and staff members at the Archives wondered what started this riot? We speculated that it could have been theological differences.

Another descendant of the Simpson family did some research (reading through the minutes of the Middle Run Primitive Baptist Church and having conversations with family members)

and found out that before the 1840s, Joshua Carman, an elder and minister of the Middle Run Church, became associated with the Restoration Movement during the Second Great Awakening).   sdfsdf
The Great Awakening Camp Meeting via Wikimedia

At this time, Carman became a "Newlight." "Newlights" had vivid experiences with grace, which subsequently shed "new light" on sin and atonement for them. Carman was removed from the Baptist Church because he had baptized fellow "Newlights."

Carman and several families including the Davis and the Servis families founded the Sugar Creek Christian (Baptist) Church. According to the other Simpson family member, a separate movement of the Disciples (which was known as the Christian Union) was started in the Southwestern Ohio area. Is it possible that this faction triggered the riot?

Below is the area where one of the defendants (Jacob Davis) lived as well as the Simpson family. Notice a meeting house is located close to both dwellings.Could this be where the riot took place?

                                              1855 Greene County Atlas

Unfortunately, we have not been able to find any other records or newspaper articles regarding this July 3rd, 1842 incident. It is interesting to think that such a raucous had transpired. 

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: When was the Great Second Awakening?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question:
The largest fortress built during the Civil War was in Tennessee for the US Army. What was the name of the fortress? Answer: Fort Negley


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