The History of Richland Church

The Richland Church has a long history of presence in the community. Much of the material here is based on the 100th Anniversary Celebration booklet from September 7, 2000. There was a homecoming held October 25, 1998. Harvest/Homecoming held October 25, 2015.

Establishing the Church

Back in the late eighteen hundreds, the citizens of the community known then as the White Hall Settlement, now Mechanicsburg (1950) on Richland Avenue, began to plan for a church society.

To make possible a church, the neighbors organized what they called the Mite society. Among this group of early settlers were the Ackleys, Blackburns, Clarks, Higgins, Pickerings, Bowers and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Brown. They met several times a month to bring in their money. In the summer months they held ice cream socials, and in the winter, oyster suppers, to help boost the fund. Original Church on Richland Avenue

Eventually the time came when it was possible for the society to erect a church. Hiram Baker purchased a lot which was part of the Coate's farm, from Mrs. Rosa Coate and Hiram Baker in turn sold it to Wright's Chapel, as our present church was then called.

Wright's Chapel was built in 1900, and named for their first pastor, Rev. Wright who previously was a member of Union Church. Later the name was changed. The original building was frame built.

James Dixon, George Hooper and Benjamin Love were the first class leaders. Mrs. Thomas Cabeen, formerly Miss Kate Clark, was first Treasurer. Her grandfather was the founder of Clarks M.E. Chapel.

Other members names of the original church not mentioned were Rachel Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Gardner Bellows, Carrie Hummell and Ray Brown.

Building the Current Church

Construction of the current sanctuary

  • Sold Richland Avenue Church to Galbraith Associates for $65,000. The OU Inn was built on the site of the original church.
  • Parsonage on 7 Hooper St. was sold for $10,000 to Carl Clifford.
  • Feb 17, 1963 - started having combined services at the Clark's Chapel Church.
  • The old church was completely torn down on March 15, 1963.
  • Bought the land for the new Richland church from Paul Burson on Pomeroy Road for $20,000.
  • Building Committee for new church was Fred Dixon, Arthur Brooks, Clyde Bronson, Karl Rose, Gene Clyse, Bob Matthewson, Treasurer.
  • Finance Committee was Orin Secoy, Don Collins, Bernard Cuckler, Clarence Warner, Charles Norris, Tom Chesser, Martha Jones, Virginia Jones, Gladys Gaver.
  • In October, 1963 architect's plans were received from Damon-Worley and Associates, Youngstown, Ohio.
  • Bids were received on Friday Nov. 1, 1963 at the Parsonage.
  • Van Horn Construction Co. had the lowest bid ($132,000), which was accepted by the church.
  • The ground breaking service for the Richland Methodist Church at Pomeroy Road was on Sunday, Dec. 23, 1963.
  • Last service for Richland in Clark's Chapel was Sunday, Dec. 13, 1964.
  • Conrnerstone Laying Ceremony was on Sept. 13, 1964.
  • In May, 1967, the McAfee house on Richland Ave. was purchased from the City of Athens for a bid of $1,026. A lot was purchased on Pomeroy Road from Doris (Burson) Ferry for $2,000. The McAfee house was then moved to the Pomeroy Road location and used as a Parsonage.



  1. Rev. Wright (first minister) 1900-1901
  2. Rev. Thomas Black  1901-1902
  3. Rev. Knight  1902-1903
  4. Rev. Smith  1903-1904
  5. Rev. Delay  1904-1906
  6. Rev. Bush  1906-1907
  7. Rev. Gambel  1907-1909
  8. Rev. Hurley  1909-1910
  9. Rev. G.B. Sopher 1910-1911
  10. Rev. D.E. Day 1911-1912
  11. Rev. Henderson 1912-1913
  12. Rev. J.C. Beery 1913-1914
  13. Rev. A.H. Franks 1916-1918
  14. Rev. Wil A. Genheimer  1918-1920 (became Missionary to Africa)
  15. Rev. Ignacious Lee  1920-1921
  16. Rev. Floyd Gale 1921-1922
  17. Rev. Wise 1922-1923
  18. Rev. Martin L. Wattring 1923-1925
  19. Rev. L.J. Barnes  1925-1927
  20. Rev. J.W. Eaton  1927-1928
  21. Rev. J.L. Cartwright  1928-1931 (became Missionary to Africa)
  22. Rev. Herman Secoy  1931-1932  (while an OU Student)
  23. Rev. O.M. Davidson  1932-1934
  24. Rev. Cassidy  1934-1935
  25. Rev. Ray W. Huff  1935-1939
  26. Rev. J. Herman Baughn  1939-1942
  27. Rev. J.K. Price  1942-1944
  28. Rev. M.T. McDonald  1944-1947
  29. Rev. Fred A. Immelt  1947-1948
  30. Rev. H.L. McDaniel  1948-1954
  31. Rev. H.A. Lockwood  1954-1957
  32. Rev. Dale Bumgardner  1957
  33. Rev. Howard Gosnell  1957-??
  34. Rev. Charles McGee  ??-1962
  35. Rev. Earl Bowser  1962-1967
  36. Rev. Don Saum  1967-1974
  37. Rev. Danny Dahl  1974-1978
  38. Rev. Thomas Sager  1978-1980
  39. Rev. Frank Crowfoot 1980-1982
  40. Rev. Ken Macklin  1982-1986
  41. Rev. Randy Lowe 1986-1991
  42. Rev. J. Brian McGarvey  1991-1996
  43. Rev. Norman Coleman 1996-2004
  44. Rev. Lee Ortman  2004-2010
  45. Rev. Karen Crawford  2010-2019