In the spring of 1864, the residents of South Bass Island invited J Mills Kendrick, a student at the theological school in Gambier, to come and visit the island. After the visit he agreed to come to the island to help develop an Episcopal congregation. They began meeting in the school and by fall they were ready to petition the Diocese of Ohio to become an Episcopal congregation. The Diocesan Convention in November 1864 approved their request.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church was built in 1865 on land pruchased from Joseph de Rivera by Jay Cooke "for the consideration of $10" in May 1865. The cogregation raised funds for the church building the winter of 1864-1865. In the spring Mr. Cooke also made a contribution to the building fund. Although Mr. Cooke made a large financial contribution, much of the work was accomplished by parishioners completing the church in less than six months.
The church is on the lot at the corner of Lakeview and Catawba, now known as 623 Catabwa Ave. The rectory, known as "The Hartman House" is next door at 619 Catawba. The "Hartman House," was built in 1959-1963 and serves as the current rectory replacing the origional 1865 structure. The Hartman house is named for Marylib Vrooman Hartman whose estate made a large contribution to build the house in the 1950's which was matched by the parishioners.
The complete history of the church is being prepared for the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the congregation (1864) and the 150th celebration of the first services held in the church (October 1865). There are many resources being used to compile this complete history.
The records of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Put-in-Bay, Ohio, were transferred for microfilming to the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University in October 1984, with the cooperation of Reverend Neilson Rudd who was St Paul's rector at the time. The Bowling Green copies consists of copies of parish record books dating from 1865-1962, which include histories, financial abstracts, lists of communicants, baptisms, marriages, deaths and confirmations, as well as a church constitution and two letters regarding this church's membership in the Ohio Diocese. To view information about these records, click here:
Records are also located in:
Grace Luebke Local History Room Material Holdings
Harris-Elmore Public Library
328 Toledo Street (P.O. Box 45)
Elmore, OH 43416
These Records include:
- Constitution April 10, 1908
- Correspondence October 22, 1912, July 30, 1952
- Record Book 1865-1962
The Journal of Jay Cooke by James E Pollard (1935) contains copies of some key documents and reflections on the sermons of various ministers at St Paul's
Island Splendor by Robert Dodge talks about the development of the Church in Chapter 2. Articles about Jay Cooke also mention St. Paul’s.
The University of Virginia has some letters written by Laura Cooke Barney in the 1860s. There are a few brief references to St. Paul's in her letters. The Barney family left many documents to the University of Virginia.
The archives of the Diocese of Ohio has some records which may be seen by appointment. The Diocesan newspaper valled Church Life has short articles about the parish beginning with the editions published in 1912.
The Hayes Membrial Librry has many origional documents. Many of the Cook family records were left to this library.
The archives of the Reformed Episcopal Church have limited information about the years from 1869 to 1912. It is primarily in the convention journals.