History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Perrysburg
In August of 1819 John, P. Kent from the Detroit District prodded through the mire of the Black Swamp and stopped at a little town, Port Miami (Orleans) established in 1810 and built on the flats below where Fort Meigs would later be erected. The inhabitants were brought there by Amos Spafford, a native of Vermont who had been in the employ of Moses Cleaveland and mapped and founded the city of Cleveland. Mr. Spafford was sent to this area as a representative of the government to create a town and a port for commerce.
The appearance of a “real” preacher was a festive occasion and immediately a small class of converts was formed. They were taught by members of the group that the class seemed worth to do so. They met in various homes on the flats until the spring ice floes and flooding prompted them to petition the government to establish another town further east up on the bluff, Perrysburg in 1816.
Those families who stayed in Orleans and moved up to the farmlands met in the house that Aurora Spafford, son of Amos, built in 1823. (It was recently purchased to create a museum by the members of the Perrysburg Area Historic Museum.) The Methodists met there and in a school house in town, until a proper wooden church was erected in 1836 at the cost of $2,000. It was on the corner of Walnut and Second Streets and was named Morris Chapel after the Methodist District Superintendent. Aurora Spafford paid off the remainder of the church mortgage in August of 1844.
The congregation, divided in study classes, surged in attendance and finally outgrew the little church. The last service there was held on Wednesday, December 11, 1929. Services were held in the new sanctuary on March 22, 1931. The congregation had to meet in the basement until the edifice could be finished. The Depression stymied the money flow for the building fund. The present day brick one was built at a cost of $82,000 and the remainder of the mortgage was paid off in 1945. Since that time classrooms, a narthex and an elevator have been added.
It was the first church established in this area and is a living vital presence to this day.