history of st paul

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History of St Paul Lutheran Church, Dog Leg Road, Dayton OH From Fruits of Faith Alone 1803-1976: Lutheranism in the Miami Valley published by The Lutheran Social Service of the Miami Valley Through Its History Committee (Lima, Ohio, 1977), p.27-29 [Reprinted with permission] 1816 St Paul Church, Dayton LCA 7700 Dog Leg Road, Pleasant View


Settling in the northern part of Montgomery County was a group of German background farmers who had come from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and having gotten acquainted socially, they proposed a religious society for both Lutheran and Reformed people. Such was begun on July 30, 1816, and it came to be called “The Stillwater Church.” Trustees and officers were Jonathon Newman, William Pearson, Valentine Nischwitz, Andrew Meuers, Conrad Weaver, Daniel Slenker, Henry Stauffer, and Jacob Kunkel. Three acres of land between Dog Leg and Frederick Pike was deeded to the group by Emanuel Coble and a log church was built on it with a cemetery to the side. Traditions say that itinerant Lutheran pastors, John Samuel Mau and Henry Heincke occasionally preached there, as did several Reformed pastors. The first regular pastor was the Rev. George Klass, who conducted the first recorded communion service on February 1837. Later that year he baptized 25 children. In 1830 the log structure was replaced by a frame building, and by 1842, that was replaced by a one story brick one. Soon after that, the Reformed congregation moved out to form Polk Grove Church on the Cumberland (National) Road, and in 1856, a group of Lutheran members who lived in the Vandalia area withdrew to form St John’s Church of Vandalia. At that time Stillwater, Vandalia, and Tipp City congregations became a parish of the Miami Synod of the General Synod, served by a single pastor. From 1910 to 1919 the congregation was served by Dayton pastors, after which a parish with Vandalia was again reestablished. At a congregational meeting in 1873, decision was made to relocate the brick building at the northeast corner of Dog Leg and Little York Roads, in an area called Spankertown. Here the bricks were reassembled making a one floor single room church with Romanesque windows, a spire and a bell cast in Dayton. Now it was renamed St Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, and was dedicated by Pastor Daniel Summers with the help of Wittenberg’s Dr. Samuel A. Ort. In the spring of 1896, stained glass windows were placed and in 1899, a vestibule was added. Church life included some non-Lutheran forms of worship, such as protracted meeting, immersion, special prayer meetings, and Conferences. Particularly between 1873 and 1890, any increase in membership depended on these methods. A Ladies Aid Society was first mention in 1898 minutes, and in the early 1900s, it was quite active and directed and financed a parish house not adjoining the church. Times were difficult in the 1930s and 1940s until the Vandalia community began to grow rapidly and St John congregation desired a full time pastor. St Paul Church obtained mission status and called their first pastor as a single church parish, the Rev. Kenneth Pidgeon, in 1953. A parish hall now was constructed at the back of the building and a parsonage was built not far away. More specific Lutheran worship was introduced with the Common Service and a rearrangement of the chancel, with new altar and pulpit. In 1976, the congregation has 254 baptized and 135 communing members, and looks forward to taking a greater place in the growing community around it. For more recent numbers, click here