History of Kingsville Presbyterian Church, “Strong and Steadfast in the Spirit: Kingsville Presbyterian Church and Its Community”

by kathy warnes

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
We are one int the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.                          
And they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are Christians by our love.  From a hymn by Peter Scholtes      

Sheila Branch, 175 Anniversary Chairwoman for the Kingsville Presbyterian Church (right) and committee woman Jan Volk prepare for the celebration. Ashtabula Star Beacon photo by Warren Dillaway.

table of contents
strong and steadfast in the spirit: History of kingsville presbyterian church and its community

Chapter One

Chapter Two- Presbyterian Passages, 1800-1850

Chapter Three- Kingsville and Kingsville Presbyterian Church Grow Together, 1850-1900

Chapter Four- 1900-1950

Chapter Five- 1950-1960

Chapter Six-1960-1970

Chapter Seven- 1970-1980

Chapter Eight- 1980-1990

Chapter Nine- 1990-2000

Chapter Ten- 2000-2010

Chapter Eleven- 2011-2021

Chapter Twelve- Kingsville Presbyterian Pastors

Chapter Thirteen- Church and Community Candle Lives

Chapter Fourteen- Candle Lives Kingsville Presbyterian Church

Chapter Fifteen- The Old Kingsville Corners or Kingsville Pioneer Cemetery

Chapter Sixteen- Let’s Talk:  Kingsville Presbyterian Church Past, Present, Future

Pastor bill daywalt, july 2020

The Kingsville Presbyterian Church was my first experience and foundation of my spiritual life and relationship with God.

I can remember starting Sunday school at an incredibly young age with Mrs. Virginia Keller as the teacher.  The classroom was across from the steps in the basement of the fellowship hall. I continued my Sunday school journey all the way through high school. Every year we were given a pin for perfect attendance. There were lots of kids in all the classes.

At one point I was an assistant teacher to Mrs. Francis Blenman in her third and fourth grade class.  Mrs. Blenman taught Sunday school for over 50 years.

Rev. Eakin was the first minister that I remember.  I was a little young to appreciate him.  Rev. Olsson followed. He was there throughout my junior high and high school years.  Rev. Olsson led the communicant’s class that I took to prepare to join the church.  I was baptized and joined the church at age 12.

Rev. Ina Hart was here when I returned but left shortly after, so I do not remember her well.  Rev. Helen Dekker came as an interim pastor following Ina’s leaving.  Helen was, and is to this day, very special to me.

I was involved in the youth group during junior and senior high school.  The fellowship during that time was so special.  We did lots of activities including fund raisers.  We adopted a little girl’s schooling through a special program to educate children overseas.

We also did lots of fun and fellowship activities.  I remember camping in the primitive area of Pymatuming State Park.  When I say primitive, I mean primitive.  There was no running water or electricity.  It seems they always came to clean the outhouse right around breakfast time.  It was always fun to play jokes on the girls.  I do not think they enjoyed them much. Ask Lori Robishaw.  She will attest to that.

The youth group included the Dunne, Mills, Keller, Skarlinki, Robishaw, and Theiss families and probably others that I cannot remember at this time.  There we at least 15 members.   We also used to do activities with other church youth groups. Betty Swanson was one of our leaders.

I was elected Elder and served on the session at age 17.

I graduated high school in 1974 and left this area to attend college at the College of Wooster. It was important to me to keep active in the church.  I attended the Westminster Presbyterian Church on campus.  I remember going to meet with the minister to talk about starting a youth group.  I worked with Rev. Cindy Jarvis from Westminster church and Rev. Susie Myer from the First Presbyterian Church in town to start a youth fellowship group.  I still have contact with Susie. That was a special time with a lot of great young people.  For three years we produced cantata type musicals and spent a weekend traveling to other Presbyterian Churches around the state. 

Wooster, being a Presbyterian College, allowed me to continue my faith journey and develop my spirituality. 

I left Wooster in 1980 and lost touch with the church.  Although my faith did not change. I found myself not practicing that faith.  Looking back, I am not sure how or why that happened. 

In 1994 I returned to Kingsville and became reacquainted with the Kingsville Presbyterian Church.  The face of the church had changed but the welcoming environment remained the same.  It was a difficult time in my life, but the church helped me to get my feet planted firmly and to move forward.  I was soon elected to session and became clerk for several years.

It was through my involvement and the support and love demonstrated by the church, that led me into ministry.  There were originally four of us in a class that worked with the Presbytery of the Western Reserve to develop a Lay Pastor’s Program.  Since completing the program, I have served three different churches, returning to Kingsville as pastor in 2018.

At first, I hesitated to show my interest in becoming the pastor of the church.  I was not sure that it was the right thing for someone who grew up in the church to come back and be the pastor.  I started by preaching once a month and then they asked me to do twice a month and soon I became motivated to serve in that capacity.

The church has been an important part of the community and many people’s lives for an exceptionally long time. I am sure it will be for an exceedingly long time to come. It is made up of wonderful, loving, and caring people who live their lives in service to the Lord.

It has always been a pleasure to be a part of it.  The church has and will continue to be an important part of my life.

Pastor Bill Daywalt, July 2020


Kingsville Covered Bridge, Archives, Star Beacon.com

“We Are One in the Spirit

Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists and the people of Kingsville, Ohio, the United States, and points all over the world helped write the history of the Kingsville United Presbyterian Church, but God is the Chief Creator.

The church began in the hearts and minds of Reverend Joseph Badger and missionaries and ministers who came to the Western Reserve to meet the religious needs of the early pioneers who in the early years of settlement met in leafy forest glades and rough log homes with natural and divine light filtering through the cracks in the logs. Despite revivals and clergymen paying them horseback visits, they yearned   for organized worship and hopefully, a designated church to attend each Sabbath.

Pioneer minister Joseph Badger and his fellow ministers and missionaries spent years of arduous traveling over muddy trails and snow-covered tracks through thick woods with snow laden trees and through spring and summer mosquitos and underbrush to keep the gospel as green as a lilac bush in front of a pioneer cabin.

As more people flocked to the Western Reserve to take advantage of its land and opportunities for shaping their own lives, churches sprang up in newly gathered communities.  Like Christ, His church does not reach out to people from a mountain top. Christ came down from the mountaintop and like Him, his church stands, sits, and works in and through a community of people. Christ’s earthly church does not always demonstrate perfect love and its story, and the individual stories of its people are not perfect.  As long-time Kingsville resident and church member Altie Phillips said in her 1944 history of the Kingsville Presbyterian Church,

“As individual members of this church, we have in our lifetime made many mistakes and doubtless some mistakes have been made in the early history of the church. The path has not always been easy; sacrifices have been made many times. However, I think we can emulate the broad-minded writer who said of a dear friend, ‘His heart was as great as the heart of the world, but there was no room in it for the memory of a wrong.’

The church is people and the people are the church. Here are some of the stories of the Kingsville United Presbyterian Church and its people who have traveled difficult paths, made sacrifices often, but still work to show a great heart and loving spirit and leaving few memories of wrongs.  

chapter one: We Are One in the Lord
Kingsville Falls by JacobTeed

Elect from ev’ry nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses ,and to one hope she presses,
with ev’ry grace endured.

From the Church is One Foundation by Samuel William Stone

In the beginning, Connecticut created the Northwest Territory and the Connecticut Western Reserve.

Kingsville and Kingsville Presbyterian Church trace the roots of their family trees to the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the Connecticut Land Company. Connecticut, just one of several states with land claims in the Ohio County in Colonial times, gave up most of its claims to the Federal Government after the American Revolution. The state of Connecticut contributed land to help create the Northwest Territory but held back the northeast corner of the new territory for itself. This northeast corner of the new territory soon became known as the Connecticut Western Reserve.

The state of Connecticut divided its new territory into two parts, calling the western part of the region the Fire Lands and awarding plots of land to people who had lost their property in the American Revolution. In 1795, the state sold the eastern part of the reserve to the Connecticut Land Company, earmarking its 1.2-million-dollar profit for public education in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Land Company sent General Moses Cleaveland to survey its new lands and on July 22, 1796, he arrived at the mouth of the twisting Cuyahoga River. General Cleaveland assigned the land east of the River would be the capital of the new settlement and he directed his surveyors to lay out a town. The surveyors complied, creating a new town on the high bluffs above Lake Erie and the winding Cuyahoga River which included a ten-acre public square, a town called Cleaveland in his honor. History has it that its creators originally spelled Cleaveland the same way the Colonel did, but a mapmaker misspelled his name as Cleveland. By the 1820s, the spelling mistake had become a permanent part of the maps and the name of the new town by Lake Erie.

After the state of Connecticut sold its part of the Western Reserve to the Connecticut Land Company, it gave up all rights to govern the land. It took the federal government until 1800 to consider the Western Reserve part of the Northwest Territory, and it did not provide legal or military protection to its inhabitants until then. The Connecticut Land Company, unlike the Ohio Company and Associates, did not provide for educational and religious organizations. The Connecticut Land Company focused only on selling its lands, leaving its new inhabitants to develop educational and religious institutions. By 1800, just over 1,000 people lived in the Western Reserve, and in 1809 the Connecticut Land Company dissolved because it could not successfully sell enough of its lands.

Settlers moved into the Western Reserve because of its proximity to Lake Erie and in the settlement’s early years, many people from New England migrated to the Western Reserve. These settlers struggled with the Native Americans over Western Reserve lands. The Treaty of Greenville of 1795 had given the far western part of the Fire Lands in the Ohio Country Territory to the Native Americans who viewed the white people crowding their land with livestock, wagons, and tools to clear land and build permanent cabins with alarm.

In the Beginning, Diverse Pioneers Settled and Shaped the Western Reserve

Before General Cleaveland and his surveying party arrived at the future site of Cleaveland, they dropped a few of their party off in Conneaut on July 4, 1796. The firing of their muskets and their glad shouts introduced the Spirit of Seventy-six to their new homes.

Judge James Kingsbury and his family arrived soon after the surveyors and settled in Conneaut. When the surveyors returned to their homes in New England, Elijah Gunn, and a Mr. Stiles who with their families had accompanied the surveyors remained and formed the first Lake Shore settlements. Around the same time Judge Kingsbury settled at Conneaut and Mr. Stiles at Cleveland, Mr. Young, Mr. Walcot, and Mr. Hillman located at Youngstown, located near the southeast corner of the Western Reserve. They came from Pittsburgh, and so Pennsylvanians and New Englanders claimed different parts of the Western Reserve in the same year. Each individual settler and each group of settlers bought land in different parts of the Western Reserve, scattering themselves like the Biblical sower sowing his seed on fertile ground.

The settlers striving to reach their new homes in the Western Reserve mostly used two routes from Buffalo and Pittsburgh. The New England and New York migrants took the northern route, but some New Englanders took the southern way, mingling with the migrants who came from Pennsylvania and Virginia. These settlement patterns insured that the entire Western Reserve was settled nearly simultaneously, but very slowly.  This pattern also created challenges in establishing churches and Sabbath Schools, and establishing and continuing public worship. The settlement pattern also created more dangers and hardships for the settlers.[1]

The settlers of Kingsville and the Kingsville Presbyterian Church were as diverse a group as the people listening to Christ preach the Sermon on the Mount. There were Congregationalists, Presbyterians, a sprinkling of Methodists. There were Yankees, Revolutionary War veterans, and land seekers and land grabbers.  There were Pennamites who were people from Pennsylvania who fought three wars with Yankees from Connecticut for control of the industrial Wyoming Valley in Northeastern Pennsylvania. There were skeptics, scoffers, indifferent worldlings and backsliders.  Most remembered their ancestry and cherished their individual sentiments and attachments but having won the Revolution and wanting to be charitable practicing Christians, they suppressed their individual preferences far enough unite cordially to form a new society and tolerate different churches.[2]

Often isolated and lonely, Western Reserve Christians were glad to associate with other Christians, regardless of ecclesiastic connections and sentiments. If missionaries and ministers preached “Christ crucified,” they did not need to preach denominationalism to earn attention and affection from the settlers. In the absence of church buildings, people gathered in cabins, shops, or schoolhouses to mingle their worship and study the Bible. When missionaries visited a settlement, everyone rallied around them to hear the Word of God with the common purpose of sustaining religious services and building up Christian institutions.

The Presbyterians and the Orthodox Congregationalists were the first denominations to accumulate numbers in the Western Reserve, but gradually other denominations, especially Methodists, established themselves in the pioneer regions as part of the evangelization of the wilderness.[3]

Although Presbyterians and Congregationalists so wholeheartedly united to minister to settlers in the Western Reserve that it was difficult to distinguish one from the other, the missionaries, the ministers, and the congregations did retain some of the color and character of their individual denominations. Like the early disciples of Christianity, Western Reserve Missionaries went everywhere preaching the Word of God and collecting believers into groups and churches but leaving them to run their organizations and disciplines according to their own convictions. When different ideas and practices arose, which they inevitably did, their leaders labored to solve them with charity, concession, and cooperation.[4]

As the Plan of Union states, “Here we see the spirit of love to Christ, rising above all local and sectarian prejudice, and drawing together in fraternal co-operation, all who were interested to see Christianity advance upon the new territory. The Connecticut brethren did not think to stop and inquire whether the milk from their Congregational cows, might not be churned into Presbyterian butter by the Synod of Pittsburg !”[5]

The Pioneering Pulpit of Reverend Joseph Badger: Congregationalist and Presbyterian

Reverend Joseph Badger crafted the first chapters of the Gospel story and began the story of Kingsville Presbyterian Church with his” purpose firm and his courage to make it known.”

Once upon a moveable wooden pulpit, Reverend Joseph Badger traveled the dense Western Reserve woods on horseback to spread the gospel of Christ and to nurture and organize his flock, earning the title of the first missionary of the Ohio Western Reserve.

Born into stalwart New England Puritan stock on February 28,1757, Joseph Badger moved with his family to Partridgeville, Connecticut in 1766. As the Revolutionary War progressed, Connecticut contributed numerous supplies to the Continental Army, including beef, salt, flour, and gunpowder. Connecticut contributed so much to the war that General George Washington named Connecticut “The Provision State.”  Connecticut also contributed Joseph Badger. In February 1775, he joined the company of Captain Nelson Watkins and the regiment of Colonel Patterson, stationed at Litchfield, Point.

After active and faithful Army service, Joseph Badger married and went to Yale College to study for the ministry. In October 1784, Reverend Badger married Lois Noble in Connecticut, and they eventually had six children:  Henry Langdon; Julia; Lucia; Sarah; Lucius; and Joseph, who died in 1816 and is buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Ashtabula.

  After graduating from Yale College in 1785 at age 28, Reverend Badger studied theology with Reverend Leavenworth in Waterbury, Connecticut, and he received his preaching license in October 1786. He settled as a pastor at Blanford, Massachusetts.

Besides his ardent love of Christ and his strong faith, Reverend Badger held firm views on the leading issues of his day, including American Slavery and Temperance. He opposed slavery as a moral and natural evil, a sin, and he believed that harsh measures and severe condemnations would never convince the slaveholder to surrender the right to own another human being that the Constitution had given him. Reverend Badger was convinced that if mild means and moral arguments would not convince the slaveholder of the evil of slavery, it must remain until Divine Providence should interfere.

When the subject of Temperance arose, he heartily agreed that excessive drinking of alcohol caused many evils in society and he actively worked to form a Temperance Society. He pledged himself and the Society members to abstain from drinking ardent spirits.

In October 1800, after fourteen years at Blanford, Reverend Badger resigned from the pulpit to accept an appoint under the Connecticut Missionary Society as a missionary to the Western Reserve. Bidding his family goodbye, Reverend Badger traveled on horseback down the southern route by Pittsburgh to reach the Western Reserve. He arrived at the cabin of Reverend Wick at Youngstown about the last of December 1800, recording that Reverend Wick had charge of three small settlements: Hopewell, Neshanoc, and Youngstown. He noted that “a few weeks before I reached the Reserve, I was received by this brother and his wife as a familiar friend.”

The last Sabbath of 1800, Reverend Badger preached his first sermon in the Western Reserve at Youngstown and immediately began visiting the little settlements and preaching to their inhabitants. Visiting Vernon, Warren, Canfield, Poland and Boardman, each containing from three to six families, he wrote that “Here and there I found professing Christians, mourning the loss of former privileges, and wondering why they had come to this wilderness, where there was no house of worship nor gospel ordinances. I told them that they had been moved here by the hand of God, to plant the Church in this wilderness.”[6]

Six months later, in a letter to the Connecticut Missionary Society dated June 23, 1801, Reverend Badger reported that he had spent his time in about twelve townships in the southeast part of the Reserve, except four Sabbaths spent in Pennsylvania and after attending Presbytery at Washington, Pennsylvania. He reported “a general disposition among the people to hear and in some instances experience real conviction,”[7]

Reverend Badger set some unusual precedents in establishing his ministry in the Western Reserve. He began cultivating Presbyterian acquaintances while at the same time keeping his Congregational and Pennamite sympathies, instead of he and Reverend Wick establishing rival churches in Youngstown. Reverend Badger belonged to the Congregational Association in Massachusetts and retained his ecclesiastical preferences; yet he was the first to unite with a Presbytery on the plan of union.”[8]

Instead of sowing religious discord, Reverend Badger visited the northern and western settlements of the Western Reserve and toured the settlements of the Indians on the Maumee River to explore the possibilities of establishing a mission there.

Returning to Hudson in October and later wending his way to Austinburg, he organized a church at Austinburg, consisting of ten male members and six female members on October 24, 1801. This was the first church that a New England minister organized on the Western Reserve and only the second church, with the Youngstown Church being the first, to be organized in this field before 1802. The Youngstown Church was Presbyterian and the church at Austinburg Congregational.

The Trustees of the Connecticut Missionary Society reported on Reverend Badger’s tour, saying that the call for missionaries to the Western Reserve would increase and that another missionary would be sent as soon as a suitable person could be found for the service and two or more missionaries would be kept their permanently. They reported that Reverend Badger visited every settlement and almost every family and all the schools daily and performing all kinds of ministerial service. He also occasionally went into Pennsylvania where he attended two Presbyteries, preached, and visited families.”[9]

The Connecticut Missionary Society offered Reverend Badger the compensation of seven dollars a week to continue his missionary endeavors and move his family from New England to Ohio. He returned to New England, loaded a wagon with all the furniture and goods that could be transported. He and his wife and children started for Austinburg, Ohio on February 23, 1802, following the northern route to the Western Reserve. They made their way through dense snow-covered forests and waded in knee deep snow to hunt and make camp. They chopped the ice in frozen streams and rivers for drinking and washing water. They felt the jagged icy edges of streams of uncertainty about uprooting their comfortable, settled lives to come to an unsettled country beyond the reach of schools and churches with little money to provide food and clothing.

Reverend and Mrs. Badger perhaps pondered the faith of Abraham and his journey to the altar with Isaac. The Badger family reached Austinburg about the last of April 1802, and he secured a lot and built a cabin of round logs without a chink and floored only half over with split logs. He partly covered the roof with boards from Austin’s Mill, but built no chimney. He worked and toiled until he had money to buy ample provisions and buy a cow. [10]

When he had finished winterizing his family, Reverend Badger prepared for another missionary trip through the settlements. This time, his path wound through Painesville, Cleveland, Hudson, and then east to the settlements where he had first preached, and then home. He built bridges, cut roads, blazed trees, and guided his flock through unexplored country, his being the first wagon west of Buffalo, New York. His salary was seven dollars a week at a time when living expenses were high and he was expected to support himself and his family on this small salary.

In January 1803, the Trustees of the Connecticut Missionary Society voted to reduce his pay to six dollars per week. According to William Kennedy, in The Plan of Union, the Trustees held “a mistaken view of the destitution and trials of missionaries on the Reserve,” providing the rationale for reducing the salaries of the missionaries.”

In 1805, with Reverend Badgers encouragement and leadership, six of the original Kingsville pioneers were organized into the Congregational Church, the first formally organized church in Kingsville.

As he established churches and missions throughout the Western Reserve, Reverend Badger found it increasingly difficult to support his family on his meager salary. Finally, Reverend Badger, by letter and through friends, informed the trustees of the Connecticut Missionary Society that he could not possibly support his family on such a small salary, but the Trustees persisted in their “blind and cruel policy.” He persisted in his labors and underwent difficult trials and hardships until January 1, 1806, when he ceased laboring for the Missionary Society of Connecticut and went to work for the Western Missionary Society at Pittsburgh. Under the patronage of the West Missionary Society at Pittsburgh, Reverend Badger served as a missionary to the Wyandot Indians in the Sandusky region where he toiled faithfully for many years.[11]

In 1810, Reverend Badger established a permanent home for his family in Ashtabula, but he continued to travel his missionary circuit as well as churches nearer home, including preaching at the Kingsville Presbyterian Church on a rotating minister basis. When the War of 1812 broke out, Reverend Badger was appointed chaplain in the Army and spent much of his time in caring for the sick in the Army near Ashtabula. Since his ministerial duties had often taken him through the country in Michigan, General William Henry Harrison chose Reverend Badger to pilot the army through from Ohio to Fort Meigs, which he did well and thoroughly

Reverend Badger’s wife Lois shared his Christian faith which she had developed since early childhood. Early in life she joined the Christian Church where her father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters were also members, later transferring to the church in Blanford, Massachusetts after her marriage to Joseph Badger, and later to the Austinburg. From Austinburg she transferred to Ashtabula where she finished the days of her earthly pilgrimage.

Lois Badger died on August 4, 1818, just two years after their son Joseph. Her death was a shock because in. July 1818, she suddenly fell ill and died after a few days of painful sickness. In his tribute to her, Reverend Badger said that his wife endured the ordeals of leaving her beloved friends in Connecticut and moving in 1802 to the almost unbroken wilderness of the Western Reserve.

The grieving minister wrote of his wife that she was “a discrete wife, an affectionate mother, a consistent Christian, beloved as a friend and neighbor. She bore with Christian fortitude and patience the trials we had to encounter. On her devolved, almost exclusively, the task of forming the minds of our children, and storing them with the principles of piety and virtue; and this she performed with unwearied fidelity.”

After Lois Badger died, Reverend Badger married Abigail Ely. In the Winter of 1844, he moved to Perrysburg, still preaching and praising God. He was asked a few hours before his death, if the Savior was still precious to him and he answered in the affirmative. At ten o’clock on Sabbath evening in his 89th year, without a struggle, and with a smile on his lips., he died on April 5, 1846. He is buried in Fort Meigs Cemetery, Perrysburg. His wife Abigail survived him by six months, leaving the Badger children to carry on his legacy.

   In the tradition of their missionary parents, Reverend Joseph and Lois Badger, their daughters   Lucia and Sarah carried their faith into a second generation. Reverend Badger and his life of missionary diligence established churches and attracted converts in the Western Reserve. Lois Badger’s life and legacy is interwoven with that of her husband. She moved from place to place with him bravely bearing and overcoming frontier hardships while caring for and teaching her children.

   Lucia Badger

  The Ashtabula Telegraph, April 4, 1874, page 3  reported that the Conneaut Reporter contained an extended notice of the death, at Maumee City, in February of 1874, of Mrs. Lucia B. Van Tassel, daughter of the late Reverend Joseph Bader, known to some of the early settlers of Ashtabula, as one its pioneers. She died at age 80 years. She was married to the Reverend Isaac Van Tassel, and like her father began missionary work with her husband among the Ottawa Indians of the Maumee Valley.

Lucia Badger Van Tassel’s devotion to the master’s service led her to contribute regularly one tenth of her income for the spread of the truth. They remained at the station 12 years. Her labors at the station were arduous, consisting of teaching and instructing and aiding the Red Man and ministering to his physical and spiritual wants. During her labors among them, as many as 80 embraced Christianity,

Upon leaving the Station, Reverend Van Tassel purchased a homestead in Plainwood County, where the resided until 1848. When Lucia had to depend on herself after Reverend Van Tassel’s death, she attended a medical college in New York State, thoroughly qualified herself, and went to Memphis, Tennessee, where she successfully practiced the healing art for five years.

She possessed great energy. She once rode on horseback from Ashtabula County, Ohio, to Massachusetts. Love for her fellow creatures was the most marked trait in her character. She died as one falling asleep. Her body sleeps beside her aged father in the cemetery at Perrysburg.[12]

Sarah Badger

Sarah Badger, daughter of Reverend Joseph Badger, married Reverend John Hall, who came to Ashtabula in 1809, and whose contributions to the history of the county have aided much in preserving those early days. She was beloved and respected by all who knew her, and well merited the devotion which her husband ever accorded her.13]

Reverend Joseph Badger

In the 1880s, the Kingsville Tribune published a series of historical sketches signed by PIONEER. He wrote a sketch about Reverend Joseph Bader, naming him as the first pioneer missionary in the Western Reserve. Reverend Badger graduated from Yale College, and then he served in the Revolutionary War as a common soldier. After he fought in the Battle of Saratoga, the church sent him to minister to the Indians on the Maumee River as well as to the Western Reserve in general.

In 1801, Reverend Badger settled his family in Austinburg, and traveled on horseback through the wilderness of the Western Reserve to and from his Mission on the Maumee River. When the War of 1812 broke out, he left the Maumee Mission and settled in Ashtabula, where he remained for many years, preaching in the Ashtabula County region of the Western Reserve.

During Reverend Badger’s sojourn in Ashtabula, the Missionary Society sent him an invoice of Bibles to be sold to those who were able to pay for them and to give to those that were not able to pay. An Ashtabula woman sent her small boy on horseback with a cheese to purchase a Bible. Reverend Badger weighed the cheese and dedicated that it fell short of the price of the Bible. The boy remounted his horse and then told the minister that he was a mean old fellow. Then the boy put the spurs to the old mare, fearing that the Reverend would produce a couple of she bears to deal with his sass, Elisha fashion. He survived long after Reverend Badger to tell the story.

While on his missionary circuit in Harpersfield, Reverend Badger found himself treed by a bear and remained in the tree all night. The next morning, the bear started off in another direction to hunt his breakfast. Reverend Badger descended from his tree and made his way to his home in Austinburg without a scratch, but somewhat the worse for his night’s lodging.

In 1829, Reverend Badger preached his last sermon in Kingsville in the old Presbyterian Church. After that, he lived in Gustavus for a time, acting as postmaster during his stay. He believed that it was wicked to transport the mail on Sundays and wrote a letter to the Postmaster General, (either William T. Barry or Amos Kendall) instructing him to stop Sunday mail delivery. The Postmaster General wrote back, “I cannot stop the mail, but I can you from acting as postmaster.”

Reverend Badger preferred not to be stopped.[14]

A Church Difficulty

In the 1880s, the Kingsville Tribune published a series of historical sketches signed by PIONEER 

Pioneer wrote a story about a minister by the name of Reverend Phelps, stating that between 60 and 70 years ago, the Presbyterian Church in Kingsville employed Reverend Phelps. According to PIONEER, Reverend Phelps was badly deformed physically and was not quite congenial enough for the liking of some, although he was qualified for the ministry. Consequently, part of the church with some outsider help, campaigned to dispense with the services of Reverend Phelps. Their actions created quite a commotion, and the congregation and parts of the town took sides, for and against him. Finally, Reverend Phelps left.

Shortly after Reverend Phelps left, an unsigned letter began circulating throughout the church and Kingsville community. In the letter, its author described a dream, stating that he dreamed he had died and went to heaven and soon was invited to go and visit hell. Hell proved to be a large valley surrounded by immense walls with a large throne in the center. The enclosure had only one well-guarded gate, and no one could go out or in unless a primate who sat on the throne granted permission.

A company of cavalry stood before the throne, receiving instructions to go to Kingsville and help fight off Reverend Phelps. About that time, a bugle call sounded, the gate flew open, and a horseman galloped up and presented a letter from Kingsville to the primate. The primate read the letter and turned to the soldiers. He said, “Your services are not required in Kingsville. The job is done. The dung-fork I sent to old Roger Nettleton, Bill Corwin, and Tom Cheney has effectually done the work. Phelps is absquatulated. You may disband and hold yourselves ready for the next call.”[15]

Time eventually smoothed over the acrimonious feelings, members became united, harmony restored, and all apparently satisfied that the same selfish blood has ceased not run through similar veins.[16]

Presbyterian Timepoints

1803- The first settlers arrive in what is now Kingsville. Eldred Harrington from Western Pennsylvania settles along Conneaut Creek.

1805- Several more people make homes near Eldred Harrington on Conneaut Creek.

1805-Captain Walter Fobes, the first settler to own land in Ashtabula Township, arrives with his family from Norwich, Massachusetts.

1805-Reverend Badger encourages six of the first settlers to organize into the Congregational Church, the first church in Kingsville.

1810-Reverend Joseph Badger arrives in the Western Reserve from Connecticut and is the first missionary in the Western Reserve. He preaches at Kingsville and shares his preaching with Ashtabula.

1817-Reverend Badger’s son Lucius lived in Kingsville from about 1817 until after 1830. (From Directory I, First Residents from 1800-1856, Kingsville Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Compiled and Edited by Mary L. Spencer Novak, 2010).

1819- Reverend Joseph Badger’s son Henry Langdon Badger, lived in Kingsville and held township office in 1819. He moved to Wood County after 1830 and before 1850. (From Directory I, First Residents from 1800-1856, Kingsville Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Compiled and Edited by Mary L. Spencer Novak, 2010).

1820s-Reverend Phelps is asked to leave the pulpit of the Kingsville Presbyterian Church, but secures his revenge.

1821-Reverend Joseph Badger moves to Kingsville.

1829-Reverend Joseph Badger preached his last sermon at the Kingsville Presbyterian Church. From Directory I, First Residents from 1800-1856, Kingsville Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Compiled and Edited by Mary L. Spencer Novak, 2010).

1846. Reverend Joseph Badger dies in Perrysburg, Ohio.


[1] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856.pages 2-37.

[2] Ibid, page 3.

[3] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856. Page 13.

[4] The Plan of Union of 1801 was an agreement between the Congregational churches of New England and the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America for mutual support and joint effort in evangelizing the American frontier. It lasted until 1852.

[5] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856. Page 2.

[6] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856.page, 17.

[7] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856.page, 19.

[8] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856.page, 20.

[9] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856.page, 21.

[10] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856.page, 21.

[11] The Plan of Union or a History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of the Western Reserve, with Biographical Sketches of the Early Missionaries by William S. Kennedy, author of “Messianic Prophesies. Pentagon Steam Press, 1856, page, 21.

[12] Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve,” Part I, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, July 1896], p.p. 17-21:

[13] Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve,” Part I, Mrs. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, Editor [published under the auspices of the Women’s Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission, July 1896], p.p. 17-21:

[14] Pioneer. November 20, 1888.The Kingsville Tribune.

[15] Absquatulate is a deeply silly word that means to make off with something or someone. Why say a thief ran away with your money when it is much more fun to say he absquatulated with it? The word absquatulates came out of an odd fad in America in the 1830s for making playful words that sounded vaguely Latin.

[16] PIONEER. The Kingsville Tribune, November 20, 1888.