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  • Chapter Three: Kingsville Presbyterian Church and

    Kingsville Grow Together, 1850-1900


    Presbyterian Portraits




    has removed to

    First Door North of Fisk House,

    Where will be found a full and complete assortment of

    Staple Dry Goods!

    which will be had VERY LOW FOR CASH!

    THE Subscriber has taken the above-named Store, for a term and honest,

    fair, and liberal dealing- to favor a share of public patronage. His motto

    is "CHEAP FOR CASH."

    JUST RECEIVED, A fine assortment of

    Pacific and Manchester Delaines, for 29 cents, a thing never done in


    Also, A nice lot of Prints.

    These Calico are the best offered for the money.

    Shilling Prints for 10 cents.

    Cotton Cloths,

    Bleached and" Brown Shirtins, Cloaks, Shawls, Hoods, 4c,

    Nice, New and Cheap,

    More New Goods next week.

    Goods Received Weekly, makes the Stock always

    fresh. Remember the place.

    No. 1 Smith's Block


    Ashtabula, Jan. 12, 1860.

    George G. Gillett merchant and manufacturer, Kingsville

  • Kingsville Presbyterian Church and Kingsville Grow


    In the late 19th Century, William C. Phelps, a brother of Francis. B. Phelps wrote a

    historical profile of Kingsville. Miss Frances Holden, niece of F.B. Phelps, shared

    the profile with Altie Phillips, Twentieth Century Kingsville resident and member

    of the Presbyterian Church. According to the F.B. Phelps sketch, the earliest

    settlers Captain Walter Fobes and Roger Nettleton settled in North Kingsville and

    soon other families joined them in purchasing land along the North road and

    starting a town.

    Captain Fobes built a double log house on the north side of the North Ridge Road

    east of the four corners. The builders put together the house by building two log

    houses about ten feet apart and standing them end to end and in line with each

    other. They extended the roofs of the two houses to cover the space between them,

    creating and open hall that the family could use for a sitting room. One of the

    houses was used for cooking, carding, spinning, and tailoring and the other for

    bedrooms and receiving visitors. The sleeping rooms were usually separated or

    partitioned from each other by blankets hung between one bed and another. The

    hall, or open space, was a common space and held everything from mops and

    brooms to hoes, axes, cycles, harnesses, buff caps, hats, shoes, and stockings.

    Twentieth Century Kingsville historian Altie E. Phillips wrote a regular column for

    the Ashtabula Star Beacon and in a January 1932 column she touched on

    Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Kingsville Presbyterian Church and village

    history. Altie wrote that she received information about the state of Methodist,

    Presbyterian, and Kingsville history in 1858. Altie interviewed Mrs. Luce Dunn of

    Ashtabula who told her that Reverend Hiram Luce, a Methodist minister, came to

    Kingsville about 1858 and stayed for two years. Altie quotes his niece, Mrs. Luce

    Dunn of Ashtabula, as telling her some Kingsville history as well. She said that at

    the time Kingsville had:

    • A big dry goods store

    • Two literary societies

    • A Shakespearean Class with plays performed that were even presented in large theaters.

  • • Four of the Crowther brothers sang in the Methodist choir. Isaac, the leader, Isiah, David, and Samuel were all fine singers. Other noted Methodist singers

    were Amos Luce, Susie Barrett and Joe Sirline who played the small organ in

    the Methodist Church and helped with the singing.

    • Kingsville Academy, a nationally famous school. Albion Tourgee, scholar, and author was one of the students there.1

    The Kingsville Academy

    Historically, Presbyterians have focused on God, God’s purpose for human lives

    and how they live for God. Training and educating ministers to teach Presbyterian

    1 Ashtabula Star Beacon, April 29, 1932

  • principles ranked high on the denomination’s list of priorities. In 1701,

    Presbyterians created Yale College to train men for the ministry. The original

    charter of Yale expresses its founding vision as a school “wherein Youth may be

    instructed in the Arts & Sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may

    be fitted for Publick employment both in Church & Civil State.”

    During 1723-1724, James Witherspoon brought the principles of Scottish

    Reformed educational tradition to Princeton, and these principles eventually spread

    through the rest of the United States. The core values of Scottish Reformed

    education were the intersection of faith and knowledge, creating a college as a

    moral community, believing in a Christian sense of career, and preparing students

    for service in the world. Presbyterian founders of liberal arts colleges faithfully

    adhered to these principles, focusing especially on individual character, a life

    beyond self, and the importance of developing the full human potential of all


    The pioneer Presbyterians who settled in Kingsville from the Eastern United States

    brought these education ideas with them as part of their cultural heritage. In 1806,

    Walter Fobes, a founding father of North Kingsville, created a school, assembling

    seven pupils for the first teacher, Miss Rebecca Cowles, to instruct. They held

    regular semesters at this school.

    Classes also moved from house to house and in 1812, the townspeople built a log

    schoolhouse on the Clark Webster clearing, not too far east of the village square. In

    1821, citizens build the first frame schoolhouse in the township in North Kingsville

    in 1821, and nearly 50 students attended during its first term. As well as children of

    school age, adults studied at the school to continue their education.

    Francis B. Phelps who lived west of North Kingsville corners, was one of the

    children who attended that first class. He spent his entire life on the North

    Kingsville corners farm and in later life became the unofficial Kingsville historian.

    In his reminiscences about the old school, he said that if the schoolhouse could

    talk, it could tell stories about boys throwing paper wads and apple cores at

    teachers and dancing to witch hazel limbs as a consequence of their pitching arms.

    In the pioneer days of the Western Reserve, education ranked high on the list of

    pioneer priorities after basic survival necessities. Education beyond reading,

    writing, and arithmetic, “the Three R’s”, became so popular that a group of

    progressive citizens decided to follow Ashtabula and neighboring towns and

    establish an academy of higher learning in Kingsville. In the winter of 1834-35,

    they formed a stock company, with several of the leading men to town purchasing

    60 shares at $10 a share. They organized and elected D.M. Spencer as president;

  • Nathan Wakefield, secretary; and Artemus Luce, Johnathan Gillette and J.P.

    Eastman as trustees. Several Presbyterians including Artemus Luce and Johnathan

    Gillette participated.

    Gilbert Webster, also a Presbyterian, donated the ground for the building and

    construction began in 1835. The new Kingsville Academy building measure 42x28

    feet and was two stories high, with two rooms on each floor. The organizers hired

    Professor LaHutt as principal and the first classes were held in the fall of 1835.

    The next year, a large Academy building was built to help house students who

    attended the Academy. Educators estimated that eventually over 300 students a

    year attended the Academy and over 5,000 students received part of their education


    Principals of the Kingsville Academy were Professor La Hutt, 1836; Professor

    Sharp, 1837; Professor J. Graves, 1840; Professor Z.C. Graves, 1841; Professor I.

    J. Fowler, 1852; Professor C.H. Hayward, 1857; Professor A.J. and Professor S. P.

    Barrett, 1861; Professor J.B. Corey, 1868; and Professor S.D. Bentley, 1870.

    Eventually, The Kingsville Academy grew in numbers and reputation to rank just

    second to Oberlin College in the minds of numerous Ashtabula County citizens.

    Prominent pupils attending the Academy included Albion Tourgee who became an

    author and U.S. Counsel to Bordeaux, France; Michigan Senator J.C. Burrows;

    Congressman A.E. Sisson of Erie, Pennsylvania; and Judge J.B. Burrows of

    Painesville, Ohio.

    Judge Albion Tourgee described the educational reach of Kingsville Academy in

    his book, “Figs and Thistles.” “As far back as the memory of the oldest inhabitant

    could reach, it had been the Mount Atho of that region, to which flocked the youths

    of all the country round, both male and female, to learn the new things which were

    beyond the curriculum of the country district school in those days, when grammar

    and high school were yet unknown.”