LITTLE MILLCREEK &
OSTRANDER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Written by Margaret Bouic
As we think today about the founding of our church as Little Mill Creek Presbyterian Church we honor those few families who settled in this area very early. They built the church of hewn logs and most of the labor was donated. In 1838, plans were made to finish the interior of the church. Shortly after the church was organized there was a national division called "Old School" and "New School". For some time both groups used the building. It was the "New School" group which survived and moved the church to Ostrander. When the building was abandoned, some of the logs were used to build a fence around the Fairview Cemetery. Of those first 25 members, 15 are buried here in Fairview Cemetery.
Those first members were: James Dean, Hannah Cunningham Dean, Hannah Dean Cherry, Samuel Dean, James Flanegin, Margaret Flanegin, William Cratty, Sarah Dodds Cratty, Rosanna Cochran Porter, William Cochran Porter, Eleanor Lawrence Porter, Eleanor Porter Cratty, William Dodds, Mary Cratty Dodds, Sarah Lawrence Dodds, Eleanor Cochran Winget, Joseph Lawrence, Mary Cochran Lawrence, James Richey, Alexander Ross, Nancy Dean Ross, William Flanegin, Jame Flanegin Cratty, Mary Flanegin Winget, and Nancy Flanegin Dean.
The town these settlers expected to flourish was Edinburgh, the oldest village in the township, also called Fairview. They laid out a town of 27 lots with streets named. When the railroad came to the south their hopes were shattered, and so it seemed best to move the church building to town in 1862 and change the name to Ostrander Presbyterian.
A few people had settled in the area of Bokescreek Cemetery a few years before. By 1820, the families of Andrew Dodds, Joseph Lawrence, William Cratty and Rosanna Porter were in this area. By 1830 the Deans, Wingets and Flanegins had arrived. The Gabriels who were members of our church so many years were descended from the Lawrence family; the Stouts from the Dodds family, the Bovey's and McKitricks from the Winget family. Many of them had been attending the Delaware, Liberty, Radnor Church but travel was difficult especially in wet weather so they received permission to establish the church.
It is somewhat confusing to keep the families straight because of course they were intermarried. Several of the Cochran family married their first cousins.
Christina Johnson has researched the Lawrence family, with help from Doris Johnson. John Lawrence, the father of Joseph, served in the War of 1812 from Pennsylvania and received a land grant in Delaware County. The family cleared a space large enough for a log cabin and garden. The first winter John rode horseback to Pennsylvania to finish his term in the State Legislature. He became ill with typhoid fever and died within the year, the first person who was buried in Fairview Cemetery. His son Joseph married his cousin Mary Cochran, daughter of his mother's brother. Joseph was a fine singer, led the church choir many years and enjoyed attending singing school. Joseph's daughter married Luther Gabriel, the ancestor of all the Gabriels in this area. Sarah Lawrence married Joseph Dodds.
The Dean family in the church consisted of James, his wife Hannah Cunningham, his son Samuel, daughters Hannah who married James Cherry and Nancy who married Alexander Ross. James Dean was born in Pennsylvania, moved from there to Highland Co., to Franklin Co. in 1821, to Scioto Township 1829. His oldest son, James, died before 1841 and his children are mentioned in the will of James Dean. That family attended the church at Delaware. Samuel Dean was born in Highland Co. 1810, died 1893, buried at Fairview. His wife was Nancy Flanegin. They had 3 daughters and a son, all of who died before the parents. The son., James, died after the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War. In later years the Samuel Dean's lived across the street from the church in Ostrander. At the death of Samuel Dean, the minutes say he had been a good worker and liberal giver for seventy years.
James Flanegin was born in Ireland, came from Washington Co., Penn. to Delaware County in 1816. His first wife, Nancy is buried at Liberty Church Cemetery. His second wife, Margaret died in 1844, buried at Fairview, his third wife, Ruby Williams, was a member later. Twelve of his children were members here at sometime. The Missions and our church still receives annually interest on $1000 his wife gave in his honor. He gave $13,000 to Wooster College and several thousand to Missions. Rose Flanegin was remembered by some of the older members of the church when I was young. Jane Flanegin married Robert Cratty, five of their children were baptized i this church. Mary Flanegin married William Winget who became a member in 1836. William Winget was trustee, elder, Treasurer of the church. He had the first store in Ostrander. Both are buried here.
William Cratty was born in Ireland, lived in Butler Co., Penn. until 1814 when he went to Union Co. He was married to Sarah Dodds in Penn. Their son Thomas was an ordained Presbyterian minister who died after serving four years. I had correspondence about him several years ago.
Rosanna Cochran Porter was the widow of William Porter when she came to Ohio. Many of here family settled near Milford. Her son William Cocran Porter served our church as elder and Clerk of the Session. His wife was Eleanor Lawrence. Eleanor Porter, daughter of Rosanna married John Cratty. Several of their children were later members of this church. Her son David G. Cratty married Martha J. Crain, great aunt of Imo Sherman.
The Dodds family came from Penn. to Darby Tp, then in 1815 to Scioto Tp. The mother died soon after they came here and was the second one buried in this cemetery. William C. Dodds married Mary Cratty. He was a trustee. Two of the children were members of the church.
Eleanor Cochran married Ezra Winget. Seven of her children were later members of the church. One of them was Anna Bovey, the grandmother of Anna Mary DeWolfe and Jessie Evans, whose memory is honored by a window in our church. Eleanor Cochran was a sister of Mary Cochran Lawrence.
There is a question whether James Richey was an original member. His name was on the roll then marked out. He was a member of the original church in Marysville and his family were active members there. His wife was a Newhouse.
We are grateful to these families who founded our church and to their descendants who have had a great share in maintaining it as a part of God's Kingdom in Ostrander.