Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Church at Austinburg (Ohio) and a Disheartening Event

The Reverend Joseph Badger arrived in Austinburg and set about getting his large family settled in a spot "in the south part of town, near the residence of Deacon Mills."

"Mr. Badger says, ......'It became necessary on my arrival in this wilderness to provide bread for my family........ Got flour at the mill [Judge Austin's mill], coarse enough, but served well for bread. Meat was more difficult to be had. Hearing of a barrel of pork at Painesville, I sent a man with a dray to haul it through the woods, thirty miles; paid twenty silver dollars for one hundred and seventy pounds; it was the whole hog, feet, head, snout, and ears. I procured two cows, which furnished plenty of milk. Our pasture was large, without a fence; sometimes the creatures rambled out of hearing for a day or two. Notwithstanding our long and tedious journey, we had obtained such supplies as made us comfortable, and had much to be thankful for, although, sometimes our prospects were very dark. About this time it was necessary to extend my missionary labors to other parts of the Reserve. I had only made such arrangements as to shelter my family from the storm and supply them with bread for about two months.'"

Due to the scarcity of Reverends or missionaries, Badger preached all over the Western Reserve and was very well liked wherever he went, sometimes being absent for months from the town.

"During the year 1801, a remarkable revival occurred in the place. This revival was attended with singular physical exercises. .......... By the means of this revival a large number were added to the church, and the whole community was much affected. The whole number admitted at the time was forty-one, and the Lord's supper was administered to sixty-two persons. Among those who joined by profession were Eliphalet Austin, Thomas Montgomery, Q. F. Atkins, Henry L. Badger, Juliana Badger, et al. In a single day the church was increased to six times its original membership. It continued , however, without regular preaching. Mr. Badger supplied as he could but had appointments at Conneaut, Harpersfield, and other places."

In August 1804, Captain Joseph Case was assisting two travelers across a river and had already made one trip taking the horses and one of the travelers to the bank on the other side. Returning with the other traveler to pick up the saddles and rest of their baggage, they started out for the opposite bank with the stream running high. Midway across, the traveler on the bank saw Mr. Case stand up in the canoe and fall into the water with his hands held high. The traveler in the canoe didn't see this, and when the canoe hit the bank, the Reverend Badger hopped into it and they paddled fast and furious to save him. Mr. Case came up one time with his hands high in the air. ""When the canoe arrived alongside of him, one man threw down his paddle to seize hold of him, but at that moment he sank like a stone. ...... The death caused a gloom over this region, and has been dwelt upon as one of the sad incidents of this early day." I assume he died of a heart attack, age 51.

Note: Items in quotes taken from the History of Ashtabula County.

The family continued to live in Austinburg until they scattered to the four winds, Joseph M. Case, moving to Morgan, Ohio, Francis to Colorado and James - we'll follow James next. I haven't come across any records yet of the other family members in Ohio. 


  1. I wonder if the scarcity of reverends was a help or a hinderence?

  2. Charles, probably a hindrance to the church, but a help to all the sinners.