History of the Church


History

 

Methodism came to Eaton in 1811, just five years after the founding of Eaton, when Rev. John Holmes came from the Baltimore conference. William Caster, whose wife was a Methodist, provided a small log cabin for the first services. It was located at the southeast corner of Main and Beech streets.

 

From that time forward, services were held on an irregular basis until 1824 when the first Methodist Society was organized. In between 1811 and 1824 services were held in private homes, the Court House and in a tavern kept by David Hendricks. Between 1824 and 1828 a Methodist Class was organized and led by Jacob Middleton. During this period they met in the jail and in a home on Richmond Pike. By 1828 it was decided that a regular meeting place was needed. It was built at 225 N. Maple St. being financed by the donation of labor, materials, and such money as people could give.

 

In 1830 the membership had reached 68. The members felt a parsonage was needed. By 1831 a lot was purchased at 220 West Somers St. for 30 dollars. The membership pledged $400 and the parsonage was built.

 

By 1835 the membership was now 118. Two lots were purchased on East Main Street for $500. This second church was much larger than the first and was dedicated in 1842. For almost 30 years it was in constant use. As membership grew this building too became inadequate.

 

In the late 1860’s the congregation began to think about building another church.   It was under the dedicated leadership of Rev. Alexander Meharry that the present building was built and dedicated in 1871. It was reported at the time that the church was built where there had been a swamp. The original cost was $45,000. When the church was dedicated in May of 1871 it was not entirely finished. When the church was originally built it included a pipe organ that lasted until a new one was installed and dedicated in September 1971.

 

Over the years improvements included adding a basement, two large hot air furnaces were moved from the first floor to the basement. This work was performed by a very dedicated Christian, Daniel J. Christman. He died about a week after completing the job. It is told that he remarked to a friend, “This is the last job of work I will get to do for the church, and I want to see that it is done right.”

 

In the 1920’s the original cross on the steeple was replaced due to deterioration of the old one.

 

In 1922 a kitchen was added.

 

In 1932 a fire caused $40,000 damage to the church.

 

In the 1940’s and 50’s increased attendance created the need for the educational unit which was built in two stages – one floor at a time.

 

In the early 1950’s the Perma Stone facing was added to protect the soft brick in the older part.

 

In 1969 the EUB Church and the Methodist Church in Eaton merged to form one church.

 

In 1971, a new organ was installed and dedicated on October 24, 1971. It is from the dedication book that this brief history of St. Paul comes.

 

In 2004 the Crossroads worship service was started at the Preble County YMCA. At about the same time many small groups were started; which meet in homes and various other places.

 

In August of 2011, the church Steeple and Bell Tower were removed from the church for safety reasons due to deterioration of the structure.

 

January 1, 2012 marked the last worship service at the YMCA and the Crossroads service was moved to the St. Paul Campus.

 

In July of 2014, the church name was officially changed to Eaton United Methodist Church.

 

The Next Century Capital Campaign was held from 2015-2018 and raised over $250,000 for needed repairs to the sanctuary trusses, roofing material, and gutters.  Work began in late 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in late 2018.