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Matamoras Minute: Methodist Church

The final church of the original three in the early 20th Century of Matamoras would be the Methodist. Like the Baptists, they had a presence in the old log school house on Mill Creek in the very early years.

The first permanent settlers on the site of Matamoras were the James Riggs family in 1797. James carried with him his Bible, hymn book, and Methodist Discipline. It would be likely that they conducted their own services in the cabin where they lived, as would other pioneers when settlements were scattered. As the population grew, the Mill Creek community site came to be shared by various denominations.

As for the Methodists, their first building to be constructed specifically as a church was in 1852 in Grandview. Then years later, Methodist groups in Matamoras and Brownsville were added to the same circuit. The first quarterly meeting of this circuit was held in the Grandview Church in 1865. By 1870, people interested in having a formal Methodist church in Matamoras formed a committee to make that desire a reality.

In 1871, the new church was dedicated at a Third Street site very near the Baptists. The lot had been sold to the Methodists by Stinson and Diana Burris for $150. The couple then donated back $75. Cost of construction was a little over $3,000 paid for by subscription of the members.

Pastor at the time of the new church was Rev. William H. Piggott. In those days, the minister had a job almost equal to that of the old time circuit rider. In addition to the church in Matamoras, Rev. Piggott served at Grandview, Brownsville, Cochransville and Salem Hall.

As to the structure of the church, the entrance on Third Street was the rear of the sanctuary with the congregation facing away from the door. A parsonage was built in 1910. Extensive remodeling was made in 1923, which gave the church its appearance of today. On the inside the seating was reversed to face Third Street, and a social room was added in the rear.

Externally, the single entrance with the spire directly above was replaced by two front entrances with a tower above each. The stained glass windows on three sides were installed at this time.

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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