Knox Twp
Jefferson County, Ohio

(Photo courtesy of D. W. Thompson)

(The Osage Church as it looks today, built 1852) Good Hope Lutheran Church at Bowling Green or Osage. Rev. John Stanch organized it Sept 12, 1806. The new church was built on the original foundation. This area and church was also known as the Osage at Bowling Green.

History compiled by Marsha Cable



Source: Historical notes of Knox Township by Dr. Robert Wilson Shilling Reprinted by Fay V. Morrison, July 2002, p. 62

These notes were typed regarding the church and early pioneers of Bowling Green (now Osage) by Marsha Cable from the aforementioned book, 12/23/04 This book was shared with Marsha by Shirley Bartles of New Somerset, summer 2004 from unpublished notes of Shilling who also wrote Tales of Yellow Creek and Yellow Creek Stories. These notes were written from the book by page number references and not chronologically. I chose references to Bowling Green, Good Hope and Osage

p. 10 In conformity with any act of the General Assembly of the “Territory of the United States” Northwest of the Ohio”, entitled “an act to establish and regulate township meetings,” passed June 18, 1802, a meeting was called of the electors to meet at the house of Henry Pittenger near Bowling Green (now Osage) to elect officers for the year. The meeting was called Monday April 3, 1802 and the first and last officers of the township under territorial government were elected by 52 voters. Henry Pittenger’s house was located near Fairfield between Richmond and East Springfield almost 10 miles from Bowling Green. Their township officers give us an idea of who were active pioneers of this new township under peace conditions.

p. 11 April 4, 1803  Knox Township was very large including all of Saline, Brush Creek and part of Springfield Township. Note also that the “Hessian hatred” against Bowling Green is still so dominant that none were elected to office, although it was the only town in the township.

p. 17 Martin Swickard was given all of section 25 for service in the Crawford campaign and Michael Myers all of fractional section 25 for service in the American Revolution.

p. 17 The Seven Ranges was settled by a few native born Quakers, a few settlers from the German Palatinate, and many Germans of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” type of western Pennsylvania , settled extensively over all Knox Township except Bowling Green neighborhood.

p. 19 The second school on Knox Township was in section #19 on the Shelly farm. This school was patronized by the children of the German settlers in the Bowling Green neighborhood.  ---
This school was first taught by John Rhinehart who also catechized the children every Saturday afternoon in Good Hope Church. --- Besides teaching the school and catechizing the children, he preached every Sunday at Good Hope, performed marriage ceremonies, and read the burial services. For some years, in fact up until 1857 “Gods word and Lutheran doctrine” was almost sacrilege in the German language.
In 1811 the German Reformed minister, John Peter Mahnemsmith, began to proselyte among these thrifty Germans to the extent of splitting the church so badly that both were very much weakened. To satisfy them the Bowling Green congregation gave their building to them. They moved it to Shelly farm in Section #19. Here they preached on Sunday and the other five days it was used for school purposes. Representatives of 25 or more families were buried from the church in the little cemetery beside it.  That a house divided falls, was true in this case for the German Reformed soon dwindled so that they soon abandoned the building for school purposes alone but the Lutherans who had immediately rebuilt Good Hope at Bowling Green held out for over a century.

p. 23 Bowling Green was the first tiny village to appear in the unbroken forest of this (Knox) township. Four German families in the spring of 1800 moved from Washington County, Pa. And located on these lands, called the place Bowling  Green.  These families were George Ostertag (George Easterday), Martin Ostertag ((Easterday)(who died December 11, 1810 aged 74 yr. 1 month and 25 days). George Bauer (George Bowers) and David Ridenhower (David Ridenour) died Aug. 14, 1854 aged 79 years. John Rhinehart came over into Ohio with his family in the spring of 1804 and found five other families had located here.

p. 23 Rev. John Stouch (John Strong) on a missionary tour in 1803 found these settlers, preached to them, and began trying to found a church. This he succeeded in doing in September 1806 and named this infant wilderness edifice “The Church of Good Hope.” This Bowling Green settlement built up rapidly and some years later was the center of the township’s population and the only village in the township that had a name. It was peopled by the Kolbs, Ostertags, Alts, Kleckners, Ridenours, Rhineharts, Zuederts (Swickards).  Note the Riders and Summerladens besides a score of others.
These thrifty German settlers

p. 24 These thrifty German settlers’ cabins were built practically without tools other than an ax and John Rhinehart, the leader of the neighborhood, said that an ax served the purpose of “Kammer, Wohnstube and Knecke.”

Reverend Stouch worked and preached among these thrifty people and like all the pioneer ministers showed no love for any other preachers or denomination. He said of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians of Island Creek, “they existed on hog and hominy while the Bowling Green families have their sauer kraut and speck, schnitz and Knoepf, Grumbirn suppe and Nuddels voggen brod and schmier Kaes.” These German settlers built cabins of round logs and roofed them with bark, using the earth for a floor in their first houses. Later they built hewed log houses and puncheon floors. They invariably built large well-made barns, knowing that “if the stock was well kept and well fed the owner would be well paid.”

When they first settled on this “first class” walnut land, they claimed the land to be too fertile to raise wheat, besides it was too cheap to raise, and any profitable market too far away. They first ground corn meal on a meal block and this was sometimes called “niggerin the corn” because in Virginia this was slave‘s work. Then came the “ox mill” or “horse grinder” to be followed by waterpower mills on Town Fork of Yellow Creek and its branches.

Rhinehart said that for several years, each night a log fire was kept burning before each cabin to keep the “wood dogs” (wolves) away.  The nights were made hideous by these animals and all stock must be protected and watched both day and night against these wild beasts.
Some of these German settlers, as well as their Scotch-Irish neighbors, were directly connected with the Whiskey Rebellion of 1795 in Maryland and Western Pennsylvania and continued with the business of “stilling” in their new home in Ohio.

When Bowling Green was six years old, it had within a radius of three miles six stills, one church, and no schoolhouse. Even as late as 1820, stills outnumbered schoolhouses 6 to 1.
Stouch preached temperance so strongly that many of his prospective members joined Snodgrass’ church at Island Creek Ridge.

His first deacon, Balsor Culp, left Good Hope congregation for this reason and joined at Hales Meeting House (Sugar Grove). Culp’s son George, Emmanuel Rhinehart, and others went to Snodgrass’ church at Island Creek.

p.25 Skipped about whiskey

p. 25 The principal crop raised by these thrifty Germans was corn, rye, wheat, and flax, besides a prolific crop of children, the average family said to consist of fourteen children while 21, 19, or 18 children were found in some families.

p. 25 Matthew Swickard bought the second Good Hope Church building and used it for a copper shop making whiskey and vinegar barrels, churns and Kraut kegs.

p. 26 The first child born in Bowling Green wa David Kleider born Nov. 5, 1902.  The next child was Anna Marie Ridenhouer born May 26, 1805 and both baptized by Rev. Johannes Stouch Nov. 2, 1806 in the new meeting house of Good Hope.

p.39 This is a copy of the original record of the founder of Good Hope Church at Bowling Green and the eleven charter members that assembled on this day at the call of their partron to consider means to defray his moving expenses from Pennsylvania.

“Good Hope Church at Bowling Green. Sept 12, 1806. Glory to God alone forever and ever for the rich blessings of his Grace.

Andrew Alt (Ault)
George Oestertag (Easterday)’
John Keider
Martin Ostertag (Eadterday)
David Ridenouer
John Heitel
John Reinhardt
Baltzer Kolb (Culp)
Frederick Kledner
Adam Pinder
Martin Grimm”

p. 40 The first four German families were George and Martin Osterlag, George Bauer, John Reider and their families who came from Fayette County, Pennsylvania in April 1800.
When John Reinhardt came in 1804 he found there were five families (the family of Andrew Alt) having located on Island Creek and all had heard Rev. John Stouch preach as missionary in Pennsylvania.

John Reinhart was the leading spirit in calling them together on Sunday and reading the Bible to them at his cabin.

As there was no minister, they agreed to meet in a cabin “every Sunday for the purpose of mutual edification by reading, singing and prayers.” From 1804 to 1808 large numbers of families came over from Pennsylvania to the new state and settled about Bowling Green.

Johannes Stouch was born 1762 at Hagerstown, Maryland. In the summer of 1787 he came over the mountains and settled in the glebes in the south central part of Pennsylvania. From 1791 to 1793 he preached without a license. In 1794 he received a candidates license and was ordained 1804. He was the father of the Lutheran church in Ohio.

He advised Bowling Green Germans to petition the Pennsylvania synod for a pastor, which they did saying, “For our children grow up without religion, instruction and we are like sheep without a Shepherd.”

This petition was signed by Balthaser Kolb (Balsor Culp), David Reidenouer, Andrew Alt and John Reinhardt. Stouch lived 80 miles away and could only preach to them every eight weeks.

Another important character in the church was John Reinhardt, who later became the minister who wrote that he came to Bowling Green and made a clearing and built a cabin in 1804 but that they could raise little or nothing on account of the shade of the great trees.

Their shacks with bark roofs and earth and puncheon floors were not bad, but the woods were full of wild beasts that were very noisy at nights, and for safety, fires were built in front of doors. Besides, Indians roamed through the dark woods and were always a source of irritation and suspicion.

Stouch began preaching in 1804 and founded eleven other congregations in Ohio, so he prevailed on Reinhardt to appear before the Pennsylvania Synod and apply for the ministry.
Reinhardt pleaded his unfitness but, under the conditions, accepted the ministry until the time should come when a better-fitted person would accept it.

The first log church was built in Section 25, granted afterwards to Martin Swickard for services in the Army under Crawford in the Sandusky campaign.

Swickard was born in 1745, moved to Ohio 1806, and received a presidential patent to Section 25, January 10, 1897 from Thomas Jefferson. He was Sargeant in the War of 1812. He was a member of Good Hope Church until 1816. He died May 22, 1841.

p. 41 Up until 1811 the church prospered and they were contented, but a trouble arose in that year that almost broke up this pioneer flock. In that year a German Reform minister came by the name of John Peter Mahnesmith and divided the congregation. They tried for a while to have officers for both organizations and to use the same church.

John Peter Mahnesmith, the German Reformed Missionary, held catechetical instruction in the tavern and cabins. His manner and speech was plain, forcible, and practical. One lady touched on the wrong edge on leaving the church said, in a rather peppery manner, “Hent hat is wilder godennert (today it thundered again), whereupon Mahnesmith retorted, Wean es auch mer emschlagen wird (if it would only strike in to). Ever afterwards she sat at the feet on Reverend Snodgrass for her religious teaching, where the subject she objected to was not touched upon.Up until this time the word Lutheran was not applied to this church, but all of Reverend Stouch and Reinhardt’s former people were of this faith.

The reformed side “preached with extreme emotionalism which deeply offended the Lutherans and they, not knowing whether this was of the devil or not, as Reinhardt said, they agreed to disagree. Martin Swickard was put out of the church, and the German Reformed branch moved the log church to Shelly’s farm near the present schoolhouse.

Undoubtedly the secret of this trouble was that when Martin Swickard gave the church the land they built upon, no denomination name was used. Now the Lutherans objected because they occupied and built the church and wanted it to be Lutheran. They agreed to keep the location and give the Reformed branch the building. Also note the high esteem minister had for Swickard.

John Reinhardt had this to say of this event, “The people of Good Hope prospered and lived in peace until during the year 1816. But then it was a great misfortune when the church was closed by the whole congregation against Martin Twnedert (Martin Swickard) one of their associates, a shrewd and most active man, because offense had been taken through a misunderstanding and oversight in a land deal.”

The Lutherans now built a new building and again prospered while the Reformed Church at Shelly’s gradually died out.

The Lutherans raised $371.25 by subscription and built a new frame building in 1816. This building was moved in 1852 a few hundred feet eastward and was used by Mathias Swickard, son of Martin Swickard, for a copper shop. In the same year the present standing building was built at a cost of $500.00.

Reverend John Reinhardt, who was second pastor, preached from 1814 to 1825, was a charter member, and became pastor June 7, 1812. He died June 6, 1861 and is buried in the Good Hope Cemetery.

Then came the Reverend James Manning, an ex-school master who had entered the ministry. He was ordained in 1825 as a Lutheran Minister, the first preacher ordained in Perry County, Ohio.

p. 42 He was English, his parents emigrating from England to Dover, Delaware, and belonging to the Anglican Church.

He began preaching in 1825 and was the first minister to preach in English. He also preached and in fact founded the Bethel Church at Tunnel Mill after laboring 12 years to establish it. In 1839 he was succeeded by Benjamin Pope, Amos Bartholomew, 1843; David Sparks, 1853; and James Manning, 1869. Reverend Manning was a typical backwoodsman and very outspoken, especially as the Great Civil War was approaching, and he was patriotic to the Union, although in the midst of “Little Dixey” as Bowling Green was then nicknamed.

After decades have passed this can easily be accounted for. Many of his members were sympathizers with the South and upheld slavery and were copperheads pure and simple. During the was he lost a son in the battle of Missionary Ridge and he expressed himself towards the times without fear or favor. A later pastor said, “Manning was a wonderful man but for three faults that were complete stumbling blocks and they were: the devil, and being a Democrat and a Methodist.”

He kept the congregation fearfully irritated in the Civil War period, so much so that the Synod sent a minister to Good Hope, unbeknown to many, to quiet the trouble and preach a sermon to them concerning the bridling of the unruly tongue and the need of caution and patience. After the sermon was over Manning complimented the preacher for his message and mortified the whole congregation by a quarter hour outburst of patriotic oratory denouncing slavery, copperheadism, secessionism, vallindizhenum and the Democratic party in particular.
He held the fort at Little Dixey until 1864.

p. 51 Another pioneer of note was Andrew Ault, born 1760 and died March 28, 1852, first deacon of Good Hope in 1805, who settled on Island Creek in 1795. He was faithful. He never missed a service in all his years, walking from the banks of the Ohio to Bowling Green by way of the Island Creek Dungeon Hollow route. Poisonous snakes were so numerous along his course in the cool damp hollows that, the pastor states, he wore sheep skins (wool side out) from his knees down to protect himself from being bitten. In his older days, he drove to church in an oxcart, having cleared all that route himself.

p.55 The pioneer’s first cabin was built of round logs with the bark still remaining. The chimney stood on the outside at one end, and was made, usually, of sticks and clay or of upright logs lined with clay on the inside.

p. 55 Some churches had no method of heating, this being considered as mixing comfort and religion, which was not to be tolerated.

p.55 The first cabin had the earth for the floor; the rafters or beams, as they were called, ran lengthwise of the building and were spaced according to the length of the clapboards. These clapboards were first sawed into lengths and then split with a “frow and maul” Some of them had a loft or upper floor. No windows were needed, nor could be obtained at first, and the multitude of cracks and the big open fireplace gave both light and ventilation. These round log cabins were often erected and ready for occupancy in a single day. The pioneer went eight to ten miles for a “cabin raising”, often arriving early in the morning where not a tree had been felled or a stone turned. The furniture was as simple as the building.

p. 57 Reverend John Stouch in early 1800 at Bowling Green said that the hard working pioneers would often follow him for fifteen to twenty miles to hear the same sermon over and over again.
Sometimes they would meet him at his last mission across the Ohio as he neared Bowling Green and follow him into what is now Columbiana County to hear him as he preached in the cabins on his eighty–mile return trip.In other words, Stouch, Snodgrass and Findley in their day and time were the leaders in helping the people think right as well as teaching them the moral law. They were the shepherds leading the flock.

In those days almost everyone believed in ghosts, witches, spooks, spirits, omens and signs, whether they were the Bowling Green Germans, the Sugar Grove New England Yankees, or the Yellow Creek Virginians. If  no other reading material was found in the home, at least was found a catechism to fortify the prevailing religious argument of the vicinity, and an almanac that was the epitome ---- of all necessary information.

p. 57 The signs of the zodiak were strictly observed and “cowcumbers” were planted in the “twins,” flowers in the posey, while salad (lettuce) and peas were planted on Good Friday and, as one Calvinist said, “”The Dutch at Bowling Green would plant their salad and peas Good Friday, even if it came on the Sabbath.””

p. 60 “Knox Township had more population over a hundred years ago than it has today.”
A list of the pioneer farmers 110 years ago, not repeating ones already mentioned in the body of this narrative. From Bowling Green settlement were these:
Nicholas Friederich (Frederick)
Lists 34 others. See p. 60

p. 62 The Town Fork Oil Company held a meeting March 13, 1866 for the purpose of electing officers at Bowling Green (Osage)

End of Source: Historical notes of Knox Township by Dr. Robert Wilson Shilling Reprinted by Fay V. Morrison, July 2002

In 1805 Balzer Culp (Kalb) helped form the Good Hope Lutheran Church at Bowling Green (now Osage) and was its first deacon.  p. 32  photo p. 31.

Source: Knoxville Area History 1802-1976 compiled by Mrs. Richard Jacks Written for the Bicentennial celebration at Knoxville.