Island Creek Twp
Jefferson County, Ohio

COMPILED BY
A.J. AULT FOR A CHURCH UNION MEETING
HELD IN 1917

At a meeting of the committee appointed by plan and make a program for this union meeting I was solicited. I was elected-I was drafted after having decli8ned to write a history of Bray’s Chapel.

Before commencing the history proper, I have thought it advisable and hope it may be profitable to recall the conditions of society in the early ‘30’s  when it was not safe to travel or haul grain and flour to and from the mill three miles up Island Creek to Jeddo landing without an armed escort-when Jeddo was “The Greentree” (present residence of U. Grant Stokes) consisting of a  tavern with a grog shop, den of thieves and house of ill-repute under the same roof--when there were four or five places within a radius of six miles where counterfeit  money was made--when there was no respect for law or order, human rights or life--when all was chaos and crime.

It was then that a few good souls whose hearts \had been touched with God’s spirit by the instrumentality of some itinerate preachers, aided by James M. Bray, who upon the advice of the presiding Elder, Reverend S.  R. Brockunier, entered upon a tour of missionary work with these locality as one of his appointments and in 1837 he organized a class consisting of 16 persons.  Among them was Wm. Fleming and wife, John Dobbs and wife, and Mrs. John Nixon and daughter.  This number was increased to 38 during the year.

In the summer of 1838 a church was erected upon a plat of ground donated by Wm. Findley, who with his wife on the fourth day of April, 1849 for and in consideration of $25.00 made a deed of the ground to John Snodgrass, Wm. Taylor, John Bray, Abe Grafton and Alex Glenn, trustees of Island Creek   M. E. Church.

The building was a frame 30’ by 40’ and was dedicated by Reverend P. M. McCue in November 1838 when it was first called Bray’s M. E. Chapel.  James M.  Bray was then installed as the first preacher and John Bray continued to act as first class leader.

This appointment was taken into the Richmond circuit, later was changed to the New Somerset Circuit, then afterward to the Wintersville circuit.  Then about 1883 it was connected with the Toronto circuit but returned to the Wintersville circuit about 1890 where it remained until 1916 when it was made part of the new Alikanna circuit where it is at the present time.

The new noble souls who organized this society and erected this church despite strong opposition, discouragement and abuse lived to see the good fruits of many years harvests in the Lord’s vineyard and the establishment of order, law and justice which was largely made possible by their timely labors.  These noble souls--peace and all honor to their memory--have all  passed to their eternal resting place and have certainly been rewarded with that most welcome plaudit “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of the lord”.

For 80 years this church has held intact and while in the Wintersville circuit has been ministered unto by the following preachers:

James M. Bray----------------------Nov. 1838
John Huston-------------------------Mar. 1865--------Mar. 1968
John Conner-------------------------Mar. 1868--------Mar. 1871
Alexander Scott---------------------Mar. 1871--------Mar. 1873
D.K. Stevenson---------------------Mar. 1873--------Mar. 1873
John R. Keyes-----------------------Mar. 1875--------Sept. 1877
John Weaver-------------------------Sept 1877--------Sept 1879
N. B. Stewart------------------------Sept 1879--------Sept 1882
F.C.  Swaney------------------------Sept 1882--------Sept 1884
J.Q. Miller---------------------------Sept 1884--------Sept 1886
N.J. Ingram--------------------------Sept 1886--------Sept 1887
James A. Rutledge-------------------Sept 1887--------Sept 1890
A.W. Newlin------------------------Sept 1890--------Sept 1893
J.C. Smith---------------------------Sept 1893--------Sept 1897
T.H. Taylor--------------------------Sept 1897--------Sept 1900
S.P.  Loyd---------------------------Sept 1900--------Sept 1903
John S. Hollingshead-----------------Sept 1903--------Sept 1905
E.S. Bowers-------------------------Sept 1905--------Sept 1908
E.O. Morris--------------------------Sept 1908--------Sept 1912
R.W. Martin-------------------------Sept 24, 1912-----Dec 24, 1912
C.A. Parks--------------------------Jan 1913----------Mar 16, 1913
D.E. Scott---------------------------Mar 1913---------Sept 1915
N.M. Weyrick-----------------------Sept 1915--------Sept 1916

           
The following names of ministers of the Gospel, not included in Mr.  Aults’ list of Wintersville circuit preachers were gleaned from the late Lyman Stedman’s diary as having officiated at Bray’s Chapel.  The Reverends: Nessley, Wright, Shirer, Hollingshead, J.H. McCue, Blackburn, White, Grimes, Minor, Hull, Rutledge, John A. and Russell.

BRAY’S METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHAPEL CEMETERY

Located in Island Creek Township, Section 35, Jefferson County, Ohio on County Route 5th, the small church is located on a hill, the cemetery is behind the church.  It has not been taken care of for sometime; most likely many stones are missing.

Bray’s M. E. church cemetery is located on the Island Creek road and has one -half acre.  The first burial was Perris Powell in 1847.  Verse on marker for Sarah Ann Morrow, 1849, reads:

“All you that come my grave see,
Prepare for death and follow me:
Prepare for death, make no delay,
For Suddenly I  was called away.”

Verse on marker for Maggie A. Fleming, 1890, reads:

“We loved her, yes we loved her,
But Angels loved her more;
And they have sweetly called her
To yonder shining shore.”


This cemetery is cared for by the Island Creek Township Trustees. Our chapter has cleaned and restored the tombstones that remain. During the early to late 1960’s, only infants of poor people have been buried there.