BEGINNINGS

The following article was written for the 1949 Centennial Celebration by Clara Disher Kimmelbeing a “History of Daniel and Hannah Disher and the Story of Their Part in Organizing aUniversalist Church in Monroe Township”

“Back in the 1700’s, our great-Grandfather, Peter Disher, lived in Virginia. He was thefather of three sons: John, Chrisley (sic) and Daniel. Peter Disher drowned in theJames River when the water was at high mark.

Daniel Disher was born in Botetot County, Virginia near Eagle Rock in 1787. [Note:Monroe Township Federal Census for 1860 shows Daniel Disher born in Maryland]. Hedied January 6, 1864 in Preble County, Ohio. He was married twice. His first wife wasElizabeth Sheets. They were married in Virginia. To this union were born six children.They came to Ohio and located near Euphemia, now a part of Lewisburg.


Daniel & Hannah DisherGrandmother Hannah Baker Disher was born in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1802.She was twelve years old when her parents andtheir family moved to Ohio, and located near theDisher family. The two families had lived inadjoining counties in Virginia, but had not knowneach other until they were neighbors in Ohio.Mrs. Disher became ill and the Baker sisters tookturns taking care of her and the children. On herdeath bed, she asked Hannah to stay and helpcare for her children. Hannah promised.

The sisters took turns caring for the family, but later Daniel decided he’d be glad to haveHannah stay all the time. He gained her consent and they were married on November7, 1821. A few years later they moved to Monroe Township on what was known as theJohn Banfill farm (now in 1969 owned by Floyd Lee).

Universalism had quite a struggle in the early days to establish itself and to berecognized among other denominations. The torch of Liberal Religion was carriedunder many difficulties. Johnathan Kidwell was one of the earliest preachers ofUniversalists in this section of Ohio. I have heard my Grandmother Disher tell of hiscoming to a little log schoolhouse east of Eldorado (later known as the BakerSchoolhouse) to preach. This was

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. He was clothed as simply as one ofthe old prophets – a red flannel roundabout and jean trousers in winter andhomemade linen in summer. He spoke as one having Authority. The peopleheard him but only a few heard him gladly. [The Universalist Church in Ohio byElmo Arnold Robinson, 1923].

Among the few (in attendance) was my grandfather, Daniel Disher. When he arrivedhome after hearing his first Universalist sermon, he was so pleased and said, “That manpreached as I have believed for years.” Then he gave the message to GrandmotherHannah Baker Disher.

She was very much pleased, yet doubtful. She asked, “Where did he get his text?” Grandfather said, “From the Bible.” Her next question: “Was his Bible like ours?”

Grandfather replied, “Yes, same Bible as ours.” Grandmother then said, “I want to hearthat man.” Grandfather answered, “I want you to hear him. He preaches tomorrownight about eight miles from here (now Yankeetown). We will go.”


Original MembersThe next afternoon Grandfather took his wife behind him on horseback through thealmost unbroken forest and found the place of meeting (another log school house).Grandmother heard the message of good news which had so charmed her husband.She heard if gladly. They returned to their home with agreat desire that others should share with them the blessedhope of the world’s salvation. After that the ministers whocame on their missionary tours always found a heartywelcome in the Disher home. In summer, they preached inthe barn and in the winter, services were held in the house.

This was the beginning of the movement resulting in theorganization of our Eldorado Universalist Church on June14, 1849. The church was organized in the Disher homeby Reverend Elihu Moore with thirteen original members.

Grandfather donated on acre of ground off their farm for ameetinghouse and cemetery (now Monroe Cemetery). Thefirst building was erected in 1850 and called the “MonroeChurch”. Grandfather donated timber to build the churchand Grandmother cooked the meals for the men who builtthe church free of charge.

In 1868 a new brick church was erected in Eldorado south of the railroad on East &West Street (now Ohio Street). This building was condemned in June 1908.”

Universalist Church 1868