St. James Episcopal shares its 200 year history


PIQUA — In the year 1823 the first Vestery ( Church Leaders) read like a “who’s who” of Piqua leadership.

Col. John Johnston was the Indian Agent and was active in US government. Nicholas Greenham was a general store owner and Township Trustee. John McCorkle owned the first linseed oil mill in the county and was State Representative. Charles Barrington was a jewler. William K.Barrington started Piquas first newspaper and was Mayor. James Defrees was a hat maker and Township Trustee.

These men were among those signing the Incorporation Papers in 1823, incorporating Piqua as a town.

On Dec. 2, 1826, Barrington took a census of the population of Piqua. The total population in 1826 was 448 — 213 females and 235 males.

There were no widowers, but 11 widows and only nine males over 45. There were three doctors and two teachers in town compared to 11 wheel-wrights, someone who builds or repairs wooden wheels.

Mail came and went to the north, south, east and west of the country once a week. There was one school house thoough several churches were open for private classes.

This was the town to which the Vestey called the Rev. Gideon McMillan in 1825. At this time services were held in a log cabin on the Johnston farm and in the log School House.

We do not know much about McMillan; his stay in Piqua must have disappointed him. The Vestry notes read as follows, “The parishioners were so negligent in their efforts and liberality to support Mr. McMillan that he was compelled to teach school for his support of his family.”

He continued to preach in the church till the year 1828 when he resigned and moved to Danville in the diocese of Kentucky.

The Church remained without a minister until 1832. During this time it was visited by ministers from Cincinnati and Dayton.

Two turning events occurred at this time — a Church was built and the Rev. Allah Guion was called to minister.

More to come next month from Vi Das

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