BLACK CREEK TOWNSHIP
Black Creek Township was organized in 1834, although the first settlers were here prior to 1830. The township is in the northwest portion of Mercer County, bounded on the north by Van Wert County, on the east by Dublin Township, on the south by Liberty Township, and on the west by Adams County, Indiana. There are two small reservations in the northeast corner of the township, Charlie Reservation and the Labadie Reservation. There are no villages in the township. Shanesville, known today as Rockford, and Willshire, both in Ohio, and Berne, Indiana, are the nearest towns. According to an 1897 Mercer County map, there was a post office known as Black Creek Center Pond P.O., located at the intersection of Manley and Wabash Roads.
The first religious society in the township was a Methodist Episcopal class at the Duckcreek school house in about 1856. By 1907 Black Creek Township had two Methodist Episcopal churches—Duck Creek Church and Fountain Chapel. Both churches were served by the pastor of the ME Church at Willshire, in Van Wert County. In 1907 there were two classes of the United Brethren Church in the township—Pleasant Grove and East Bethel. Both were served by the same pastor. Zion United Brethren Church, a radical United Brethren congregation, was established in 1891. Over the years, there have been seven churches in Black Creek Township, Centenary Church, Duckcreek Church, East Bethel Church, Fairview Church, Fountain Chapel Church, Pleasant Grove Church, and Zion United Brethren Church. Today there are no active churches in Black Creek Township. In August, 2003, Zion United Brethren Church, the last active church in Black Creek Township, closed its doors.
As a result of its location, some Black Creek Township churches attracted members from Van Wert County and Indiana, as well as members from Mercer County.
Status: Inactive; church destroyed
Denomination: Radical United Brethren until 1878, then Methodist Episcopal
Previous names: Methodist Episcopal at Duckcreek School
Location: Black Creek Twp. Sec. 17, west edge of the SW ¼, 3 mi. N of Chattanooga on east side of SR 49
Records: Most records destroyed by mice. A few baptism records and membership lists remain, c.1879-1909, copies in Genealogy Room, Mercer County Public Library, Celina
Cemetery: Yes [north of where church was located]
Timeline: 1859: Celina Circuit, Duckcreek Society; 1867: Shanesville Circuit; 1868: frame church built; 1869: Willshire Circuit; 1878: left the radical United Brethren Circuit to go to Shanesville Circuit of Methodist Churches. Church destroyed by a cyclone in 1920.
Duckcreek was the first religious society in Black Creek Township, formed by Rev. Joshua Smith about 1856. The first members were A.M. Counterman & wife, Alonzo Cross & wife, George Clark & wife, and William Harper & wife, and a few others.
Duckcreek Church, Duckcreek Society, was in the Celina Circuit in 1859. Conference members were George Clark, J. Koons, D. Foreman, A.M. Counterman, S. Hopkins, D. Tinkham, A. Foreman, J. Garwood, John Detterer, W. Foreman, I. Foreman, C. Counterman, M.A. Clark, N.A. Counterman, and M.S. Tinkham.
In 1867 they were on the Shanesville Circuit with officers Elmer Hill, collector, Porter Davis, Geo Clark, James Nelson, M.H. Porter, John Frank, D. Clark, Christiania Johnson, Mary Clark, and Alex Counterman.
Services were conducted in the Duckcreek schoolhouse until it became too small for the congregation. About 1868 a frame church was built across the road and north about a quarter mile, where a cemetery had already been started on a hill above the Duckcreek Ditch. This was the first church in the township. Land for the church was purchased from Josiah H. Wilmore in 1873 for $12.50. The oldest stone in the cemetery is that of Johnathan Emery, son of John and Sarah Emery, who died 18 August 1841.
In 1869 Duck Creek was put on the Willshire circuit, with members reporting to conference as C.Y. Hill, collector, Christiania Johnson, Mary Clark, G. Clark, J. Johnson, P. Counterman, Prescilla Wood, John Frank, L. Tinkham, R. Coppersmith, and S. Hollinger.
In 1878, due to much dissatisfaction, Duckcreek left the radical United Brethren circuit and went on the Shanesville Circuit of Methodist churches. This circuit was made up of Shanesville, Fountain Chapel, Mercer and Coss, and Willshire and Duckcreek as a Willshire Circuit. Church officers in 1879 were John Davis, Moses Foreman, D. Smith, M. Detro, H. Mille, William Beall, J. Wechter, Reed Hopkins, Baldwin Clark, and Alex Counterman. Alex and Ann Elizabeth Bolenbaugh Counterman were among the list of older members.
In 1882 Pastor M.M. Figley reported that small pox in the spring was very detrimental to the work. According to the 1891 conference notes, they were out of debt. In 1903 the officers were as follows: Trustees: G. Marbaugh, Wm. Tinkham, J. Davis, A. Bailey, S. Tinkham; Stewards: Wm. Tinkham and Eva Morrison; Class Leader: Emanuel Stetler.
Late in the evening of March 28, 1920, just after dark, the church was completely blown apart by a cyclone. It destroyed the church building and knocked over or broke cemetery stones, but the bell came straight down and was later moved and used in the Mount Hope Church in Adams County, Indiana, four miles to the west. Most of the Duckcreek members joined the Chattanooga Methodist Church.