Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-160, LH-295, LH-399
Location: LH-160, LH-295, LH-399

(Description ID: 594600)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

First United Presbyterian Church, Fremont, Ohio

LH-160, LH-295, LH-399

Agency History
Scope and Content

The First United Presbyterian Church of Fremont donated a portion of its records to the Hayes Presidential Center in 1968 (LH-160).  Additional material was donated in 1999 and is listed as an addenda (LH-295). Again, in 2014, materials were added to the collection (LH-399).  Selected records have been microfilmed and are available for viewing in the Hayes Presidential Center’s reading room.

A photocopy of the church’s records from 1833 to 1885 appears in the Hayes Presidential Center’s reading room under the title Records of the Presbyterian Church in Lower Sandusky, Volume I 1833 - 1885 (F499 F9F51 ORR). The volume includes an index of names of members whose  baptisms, dismissals, transfers, and deaths appear in the records. This index has also been entered in a genealogy database at the Hayes Presidential Center and is also available online (

Agency History
The First Presbyterian Church in Fremont, Ohio, was founded November 30, 1833 by 22 local settlers, some of whom traveled several miles on foot, desiring the presence of a Presbyterian church in the community. The first ministerial servant was the recently ordained Ellery Bascom. Unfortunately, Rev. Bascom left the position the next spring when the members were not able to pay his $200 annual salary and he faced creditors. For some time this new church met in the court house, the school building, and stores along Front Street. The church had its first permanent meeting place in a two-story frame building belonging to Isaac Prior which had been built for that purpose. The site of this building was on the south side of East State Street a few yards east of the bridge. In the spring of 1844 the congregation decided to build a more suitable building, chose the present location at the corner of Park and Garrison Streets, and formed a building committee. This 45' x 60' building complete with bell tower was dedicated January 10, 1847 with 125 members.

That first church was torn down in 1869 and the present building begun with the corner stone laid July 15. The following January the basement rooms were ready for the worshipers and the rest of the building completed and dedicated April 27, 1873. A Ladies Aid Society had formed to pay for the furnishings of the new church by means of socials, oyster suppers, mite-meetings, and strawberry  parties. At this time there was a membership of 200 and it was decided, since the church was debt-free, to pursue a “free seat system” and welcome all people of Fremont and the vicinity.

There has been an active Sunday School and youth program, predating the organization of the church by two years. In 1870 George and Mary Fitch, who had attended the Sunday School as young children, left for missionary service in China. During their home furlough in 1880 the Ladies Foreign Missionary Society was organized. Other missionaries have received support over the years. The congregation was also active in missions around the Fremont area. The East Side Sabbath School was organized in November 1906 with 32 members. This group eventually grew into the present East Side Presbyterian Church. Other local mission work has included the Prairie Presbyterian Sunday School and the Ballville Heights Presbyterian Sunday School. Boy Scout troops have also been sponsored by the congregation.

Rev. J. R. Walter and his family moved to Fremont in 1927 beginning a pastorate that lasted for over 30 years. During this time  programs for youth and adults were expanded and the practice of sending The First Church Messenger to each member household begun. The clock in the church tower was repaired and remained a local landmark until a storm in July 1977 destroyed most of the steeple. (Both were later rebuilt.) Membership grew to over 700 members.

Scope and Content
This collection contains numerous Session, Sunday School, and women’s organizations records for the First United Presbyterian Church. The Session records document the early years of the congregation and run from 1833 to 1960. There are yearbooks and program books, minutes books, treasurer’s books for the Ladies Aid and Women’s Missionary societies from 1879 to 1945, and Sunday School records from 1887 through 1935. There are also numerous individual committee reports as well as annual reports, financial reports, and church histories from various milestones in the life of this congregation. Another important historical record is the collection of The First Church Messenger, a weekly newsletter sent to each member from 1922 through 1963, and the Sunday bulletins from 1964 to 1996.

Ac. 1859
7.5 linear ft.

Box 1

1 Session Records 1833-1848
2 Session Records 1841-1923
3 Session Records 1841-1869
4 Session Records 1849-1901
5 Session Records (with Membership Record) 1901-1914

Box 2

1 Session Records 1914-1924
2 Session Records March 23, 1924 - April 6, 1936
3 Session Records April 6, 1936 - April 16, 1947
4 Session Records April 30, 1947 - Jan. 10, 1960

Box 3

1 Membership Record 1914-1921
2 Membership Record 1921-1925
3 Record Book, Ladies Aid Society 1910-1922
4 Record Book, Ladies Aid Society 1922-1935
5 Record Book, Ladies Aid society 1935-1941

Box 4

1 Treasurer’s Book, Presbyterian Sabbath School 1887-1914
2 Sunday School Record Book Nov. 1917 - Dec. 1918
3 Sunday School Record Book 1925-1934
4 Sunday School Record Book 1926-?
5 Sunday School Record Book 1935
6 Sunday School Record Book 1883, 1905, 1906
7 Sunday School Attendance Book n.d.-1909
8 Sunday School Record Book 1909, 1910

Box 5

1 Revised membership Roll March 1902
2 Financial Ledger 1925-1944
3 Financial Ledger 1934-1945
4 Attendance Record Book for an Unidentified Organization 1928
5 Two Unidentified Ledgers 1964-1965

Box 6

10 First Church Messenger 1922-1952
11 First Church Messenger 1955-1963
12 Secretary’s Book, Women’s Home Missionary Society 1887-Sept. 1893
13 Year Program, Women’s Missionary Society 1914, 1919-1945
14 Yearbooks for Women’s Association 1955-1960
15 Treasurer’s Reports, Women’s Home Missionary Society 1879-1921
16 Treasurer’s Book, Ladies Home Missionary Society 1900-1910

Box 7

1 Minutes, Home and Foreign Missionary Societies April 1907 - July 1921
2 Minutes (and scrapbook), Women’s Missionary Society 1911-1938
3 Minutes, Women’s Home Missionary Society April 1922 - April 1928
4 Minutes, Women’s Missionary Society April 1928 - March 1935
5 Minutes, Women’s Missionary Society April 1935 - Jan. 1941
6 Minutes, Women’s Missionary Society Feb. 1941 - Nov. 1945
7 Treasurer’s Book, Women’s Home Missionary Society 1911-1915
8 Women’s Society Financial Records, undated
9 Women’s Society Financial Records 1919-1921
10 Women’s Society Financial Records 1922-1923
11 Women’s Society Financial Records 1924-1946
12 Women’s Society Financial Records (Receipts, Check Stubs, Ledger) 1917-1926
13 Secretary’s Book, Ladies Aid Society 1884-1940
14 Record Book, Foreign Missionary Society 1902-1922
15 Minute Book, Junior Society of Christian Endeavor 1894-1903
16 Minutes, Westminster Bible Class 1917-1919
17 Minute Book, Young People’s Fellowship 1931-1936
18 Minute Book, Board of Trustees March 1925 - May 1943
19 Record Book of Rev. J. R. Walter Jan. 1922 - June 1939
20 Yellow Fever Relief Committee - Second Ward (empty book)
21 Index of Subscribers 1930-1938
22 List of Subscribers 1938-1944

Box 8

1 Correspondence (Miscellaneous)
2 Calling of Rev. John F. Troupe
3 Scattered Treasurer’s Reports 1838-1858
4 Annual Reports
5 Treasurer’s Report
6 Report of the Sunday School
7 Proposed Budget
8 Miscellaneous Financial Papers
9 Trustees Report
10 Annual Congregational Meetings
11 Session, Meeting & Annual Report
12 The Church Project Committee
13 Every Member Canvas
14 Directories
15 Bulletins
16 History of the First Presbyterian Church
17 History of the Church by Mrs. Marshall Bixler
18 50th Anniversary of the Church
19 Centenary History 1833-1933
20 Anniversary Booklets
21 Sesqui-centennial 1953
22 125th Anniversary Booklet, Nov. 30, 1958
23 100th Anniversary of the Laying of the Cornerstone 1969
24 Correspondence of Ellery Bascom
25 Book of Subscriptions for Building a Parsonage 1890
26 Pledge List, undated
27 Pledge Book June 1937 - June 1940
28 Miscellaneous Church Records 1924-1936
29 Miscellaneous Church Records 1924-1936
30 Report of the Christian Endeavor
31 Flower Committee, Reports
32 Report of the Choir Fund
33 Report of the Deacon’s Fund
34 Report of the Fidelis Circle
35 Report of the Men’s Club
36 Women’s Bible Class
37 Men’s Bible Class
38 Foreign Missionary Society
39 Women’s Home Missionary Society
40 Home Mission society Bank Statements
41 Ladies’ Aid Society
42 Annie M. Bartz Chapter
43 Fleur-De-Lis Chapter
44 Westminster Bible Class
45 Westminster Club Miscellaneous
46 Y.P.S.C.E. (Young People’s Society for Christian Endeavor?)
47 Miscellaneous Booklets
48 Newspaper Clippings
49 Miscellaneous Ballots, Counts
50 Miscellaneous Papers
51 Miscellaneous Programs/Bulletins for Church Services
52 Programs for Various Church Meetings and Organizations
53 Rough Drafts of Sermons and Memorials
54 Quarterly Newsletter of the Ohio Synodical Society 1925-1927
55 Thanksgiving-Union Service Newspaper Clipping, n.d.


1 Charles Goddard, executor of the will of Mary Duncan, 1860
2 Contract (for the church property), 20 June 1843
3 Expenses: January - December 1838
4 Church account with e. Bushnell, 1859
5 Subscription list, n. d. (ca. 1873 ?)
6 Church building subscription list, 1869
7 Bound volume: German bible, dtd. 1747


Ac. 5471
3 linear ft

Box 1

1-12 First Church Messenger/Sunday Bulletins 1960-1985

Box 2

1-9 Sunday Bulletins 1985-1996
10 Index to Subscriber’s List 1944-1945 - 1949
11 Treasurer’s Book of the Sandusky County Ministerial Association
12 The Parish Register June 1966


Ac. 5865
41/2 linear ft.

Box 1

Bulletins: September 1996 – December 1999

Box 2

Bulletins: 2000-2001

Newsletters: 1982 - 1984; 1991 – (August) 1997

Lenten Devotional: 1997

Church History: 1945 – 1948

Financials 1951 – 1962

Box 3

Newsletters: June 1982 – September 1991

Annual Reports 1971 - 1997