1879 History of Menard & Mason Counties
Published by: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Mason County

Religious And Educational
Page 658

The first religious society was organized by the Methodists, in 1838. The early preachers of this faith were Revs. Robert Anderson and Williams-the latter familiarly known as "Daddy Williams." The original members were John Camp and wife, George Marshall and wife, James D. Reeves and wife. The present membership is about sixty communicants. A frame church was built in 1849-50, at a cost of $1,400, and was dedicated by Peter Cartwright. The church is known as Fairview M. E. Church, and is located on the line between Sections 10 and 15. George A. Bonney took an active part in building up the society. The Sunday school was organized in 1848, with Thomas Ainsworth as the first Superintendent. They have a library of about two hundred volumes, and over a hundred children attend the school regularly. William Ainsworth, the present Superintendent, has served in that capacity for the past twenty-two years.

Hopewell Baptist Church was organized in January, 1840, by Revs. Daniels and Thomas Taylor, with the following original members: George W. Campbell and wife, William Davis and wife, Benjamin F. Smith and wife and Mrs. Lydia Phelps. It was organized at the residence of William Davis, about two miles east of Snicarte. Services were held at private houses until the building of a schoolhouse in the neighborhood, in 1852. This was then used for church purposes until 1865-66, when a frame church building was put at Snicarte, 30 x 40 feet, at a cost of about $1,200. Many members of the Church have moved away, and it is now on a decline, numbering only about thirty-five members. They were without a shepherd the past year. In 1864, a Sunday school was organized, with Josiah English as Superintendent. The present Superintendent is John H. Reemtsen, and the usual attendance is from fifteen to twenty children.

Who taught the first school, and in what year, we were unable to learn. William P. Finch was, however, an early teacher; but whether or not he was the first, is an unsettled question. There was a school taught by Mrs. Camp, a sister of Mark A. Smith, before there was a schoolhouse in the township. H. G. Rice taught the first school, perhaps, after the building of a house for school purposes. At present, there are five schoolhouses in the town, one log and four frame buildings. In these, good schools are maintained for the usual term each year. The first marriage in Lynchburg was that of William Cole and Miss Nancy May. The first birth-Henry Ward, a son of Simon Ward, born in 1834, and in the same year, occurred the first death, that of Mary Jane Smith, daughter of M. A. Smith. The first mill was built by John Camp in 1835, on Section 3, of Town 19, and was a small horse-mill. It was of considerable benefit to the neighborhood at that early day. The only mill in the township, at present, is a steam saw and grist mill at Snicarte, owned by Hiram Goodrich. It grinds corn, but makes no attempt at grinding wheat. The latter grain is taken mostly to the Bath and Chandlerville mills. The first two-story house was built by John J. Fletcher on Section 1. Amos Smith was the first Justice of the Peace. The officers of the township, at present, are as follows: J. H. Layman, Supervisor; John J. Fletcher, Justice of the Peace (the other Justice, which the town is entitled to, moved away recently); Sam Johnson, Town Clerk, and Mark A. Smith, School Treasurer. In an early day, the people of this section got their mail at Havana. Later, when a post office was established at Bath, it served them until Snicarte became honored with an office. The township has no railroads, large towns or manufactories, but is devoted entirely to agricultural interests. It is, like other towns in Mason County, Democratic in politics. The part taken in the late war will be found in our war record in another chapter.

Snicarte is the nearest approach to a village in Lynchburg Township, and it, we believe, has never been laid out or surveyed. A small grocery store was opened here by Mark Smith in 1858. This was changed to a general store the next year, enlarged and quite an extensive stock of goods opened out. Mr. Smith continued in the mercantile business until 1873, when he sold to Henry C. Hoseman, who still keeps a small stock of goods. A post office was established here about 1859-60, with Horace Rice as Postmaster. Mr. Rice was Postmaster from the establishment of the office, and is still Postmaster. John A. Reemtsen also has a store at this place, keeps a large stock of goods, and does quite an extensive business. M. A. Smith commenced the grain business here at an early day. He built a grain warehouse in 1853, and, some years later, built a larger one. In these, he has handled grain, more or less, every year since their erection. He still deals in grain. These branches of business, together with the mill already noticed, a church, blacksmith-shop and a few dwelling houses, constitute the hamlet of Snicarte.

There was a village laid out in this township in a very early day, by George May, and was called Lynchburg. But, as a town, it was never much of a success. May had his town laid out, then bought a barrel of whisky, and had a sale of lots, but some how it would not go. It is said to have been a pretty site for a town, but, with the proximity of Bath, Moscow and Matanzas, then in the zenith of their glory, Lynchburg was a total failure, and soon abandoned altogether. Fairview consists of a Methodist Church and a schoolhouse, and is so designated from the fact of its being situated on an elevated piece of ground, and whence a "fair view" of the surrounding country may be had.

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