Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jonah's Run Baptist Church & Cemetery

The church today.


Original photograph ~ Harveysburg Historical Society

Jonah's Run Baptist Church & Cemetery
Founded by the Collett family in 1838
The parsonage for Jonah's Run Church was located in
Harveysburg, Ohio (two doors south of the
Orthodox
Quaker Meetinghouse
on Oregonia Road.)


Daniel Collett received a grant of 4,000 acres in the Virginia Military District in compensation for service in the Revolutionary War. He and his family moved to the area in his later years after Ohio had become a state. When they arrived they built a log cabin and began clearing the land. The original cabin is preserved at historic Pioneer Village on Caesars Creek.

The children of Daniel Collett were instrumental in the founding of Jonah's Run Church on February 9th, 1838. The original members were: David Ashby, Daniel Collett, Jonathan Collett, Ann Collett and Hannah Gaddis. The Reverend J. B. Blodgett came from Lebanon to visit the ailing sister of Jonathan Collett, Mercy. During the visit he converted the group and they organized the church, wrote the articles of faith and a covenant.

Originally the church was a single story building 50 feet by 34 feet with two front doors with window between. In the 1870s, the roof was raised and the whole building was enlarged. There were major remodelings of the church in the 1940s and in the 1970s. The classrooms and kitchen date from these later remodelings.

The church is names after Jonah's Run Creek that runs passes it on its way to the Little Miami River. The creek is named after the earliest known white resident in the Warren Co.-Clinton Co. area, Jonah Eaton. For ten years he lived on the north bank of Jonah's Run Creek about half a mile from Caesar Creek in a living tree house; literally in its hollow trunk, which was big enough for a room. The interior was said to have been 10' X 7' and high enough for a man to stand in. At a certain point he added on a porch before the entrance. The site of his unique house is now covered by the waters of Caesars Creek Lake.

Jonah Eaton was captured by Iroquois Indians when he was fifteen while on a hunting trip in Pennsylvania. He was taken to Presque Island in Lake Erie and was adopted into the tribe. He was eventually taken by the Shawnee to central and southern Ohio. He was adopted by the Shawnee Principal Chief, Red Hawk. After the victory of General Bouquet in 1764, he was returned to the whites. Because of a murder of a friend by an Indian, Eaton happily returned to white culture and went on to fight with General Dunsmore's forces at the Battle of Pt. Pleasant in 1774 and was a scout for Colonel John Bowman in his campaign against the Indians at Old Town. He was also a scout for General George Rogers Clark in his attack against Piqua in 1780. He was an interpreter at the Treaty of Fort Stanwick and at the Treaty of Fort Finney. After the signing of the Northwest Ordinance of 1784, he was hired by Colonel Richard Anderson of Louisville, Ky. to survey the Little Miami Valley. Eaton traversed what is now Warren, Greene and Clinton counties for 14 months making crude maps of the area.

Even though he received land as compensation for his surveying, as he grew older and the population increased, he decided to go find his kin back in the east. At the age of 67 years, in 1802, he left and returned to Pennsylvania. None-the-less, an image of this formidable frontiersman carrying his famous long rifle called the "Great Goose-Gun" striding to his tree-truck home is conjured up whenever anyone drives over or past Jonah's Run Creek.

Recommended Reading:
· Jonah's Tree House. Folklore Series, No. 14 (The Warren County Historical Society, Lebanon, Ohio)
· History of Harveysburg & Massie Township. Lucy McCarren (Wilmington: Summers Printing Co., 1993.

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