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Baptisms, Marriages, and Trigonometry

January 8, 2019
Undated Photo of Reverend John Wright, RG 414. Church Register, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Ohio, 1806-1838. Page 10. [Calvin: ARCHIVES 01 0221 51B]

One of the most interesting things about working in an archive is that you never know what you will find inside records. While working on a Genealogy Research Service request related to the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Ohio, I came across some unexpected drawings and figures. Reproduced in this post you can see the pages that caught my eye. (Click images to enlarge.)

Church Register, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Ohio, 1806-1838. [Calvin: ARCHIVES 01 0221 51B]

Church Register, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Ohio, 1806-1838. [Calvin: Archives 01 0221 51B]

Church Register, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Ohio, 1806-1838. [Calvin: ARCHIVES 01 0221 51B]

Church Register, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Ohio, 1806-1838. [Calvin: ARCHIVES 01 0221 51B]

The register covers the period from 1806 to 1838 and these pages were most likely written by the Reverend John Wright. Reverend Wright was born in 1779 in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1798, where he studied theology and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Redstone in October 1800. He was the first Presbyterian minister in the central portion of Ohio. In 1804 he settled in Lancaster, Ohio, where he became the pastor of Rush Creek Church, which later became First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Ohio. He served that congregation for thirty-two years until he had to resign due to poor health in 1836. He continued to preach in the surrounding area until he died in 1854. An obituary of his life states that at least one-third of the Presbyterian churches in the Synod of Ohio were organized by him.

 

Obituary of Reverend John Wright, from the Logansport Tri-Weekly Journal, September 8th, 1854. RG 414.

Perhaps it was in this role as early church organizer that Reverend Wright developed an interest in using Plane Trigonometry to divide land. Or he simply enjoyed studying math in his spare time. Whatever the case, by all accounts he seems to have been a much-loved pastor who guided his church successfully through its first years and laid the foundation for the thriving congregation that still exists today.

For more information about the early records of the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Ohio, visit our online catalog: ARCHIVES 01 0221 51B.

To see what the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster is up to today, visit it online at: http://firstpbc.org/

Are you curious about finding birth, marriage or death records related to your own Presbyterian ancestors? Check out our Geneaology Research Service