History of

Smyrna Friends Church

In the late 1850s families of the Friends Church came from Indiana, Ohio,Illinois, and South Carolina and settled in the Smyrna area. Meetings were started on October 2, 1858, and held in homes until it was decided to construct a building in which to hold services and start a school.

The meeting house was built in section 16 of Franklin township from native timber on the ground that is now included in the Friends Cemetery near Smyrna.The land was donated by Archelous Ratliff. At first the church was called Richsquare after some of the Friends old meeting place in Indiana. But on March 5, 1870, the name was changed to Smyrna Friends.

As the years passed most of the membership was living quite a distance south of the church. The building was in bad condition, so members decided to build a new church a mile south of the old one in 1879 on land donated by John and Amy Myers. In 1899 a parsonage was purchased in Smyrna.

Prior to 1889 ministers was unpaid and included John Airy, Joseph Cook, Alvin and Laura Coppock, Thomas Coppock, Jacob Crowley, Jeremiah Hadley, Jonathan Ratliff, and Phoebe Stanley. The first pastor to be paid, Joseph Blackleg in 1889, received $125 annually for conducting the services once a month. Other ministers included John and Della Ralston (1890-1891), Sarah and Thomas Simcox (1891-1892), William and Mattie Hadley (1891-1892), William and Mattie Hadley (1892-1894), Fred T. Coppock (1896), Benjamin and Mary Hiatt (1896-1898), Susie Allen (1898-1899), Harland and Daisy Parker (1899-1901), Jessie and Ralph Monroe (1903-1904).

Charter members (and the names of their children as of October 2, 1858) included:

Joseph & Ann Cox (Asenath, Lewis E., Ruth)

Joseph & Joanna Cook (Clarinda V., Martha E., Charity)

Thomas & Ann Coppock (Sarah, Walker, Alvin, Amy, Owen)

Rachel Day (Hannah, William, Elwood)

Jonathan & Margaret Doan (Jehu, Mary, Ruth)

Jesse & Michal Foulk (Mary Ellen, Deborah Jane, Joshua, Oliver )

Asa & Amy Gardner (Charles C., Erastus, Andulusia, Rufus, Alphonse, Mary F., John M., Albert L.)

Isaac & Dinah Gardner (Asa, Sally)

Jeremiah & Mary Hadley (Samuel A., Tobias J., William H., James S., Esther H.)

Miles S.& Ruth Hadley (Alvah M., Sylvia E., Hannah E., Mary L.)

Jesse & Rebecca Hadley (Alfred J., Rozilla, Joshua, Anna M., Samuel S., Sarah Jane, Alistus)

Elisha & Martha Johnson (Michal, Mary E., Deborah J., Martha, Daniel H.)

Amos T. & Amy Kirby (Ruth, John, Thomas F.)

William & Mary E. McCoy

Archelous & Sarah Ratliff (Elenor, Abigail, John, Jonathan, Jemima)

Ashley & Matilda Ratliff (Amos T., Joel W., Archelous A.)

Elwood & Martha Stanley (Margaret A., Elmina H., Louisa J., Edwin A., Laura A., Mary E.)

William E. & Clarinda Stanley

George & Sally Starbuck (Eudorus, Henry, Charles, William H.)

William & Martha A. White

Caleb & Emaline Wickersham


Sources: Centennial Edition, Osceola Sentinel, July 30, 1959; "Smyrna Friends Church 125 years 1858-1893"

Graphics courtesy of: Christian Media

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