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Vienna Methodist Church

The Vienna Methodist Church had its beginnings in 1802-1803 in the homes of its members. A church building was constructed around 1820 at Methodists' Corners. The congregation today (2014) meets in a church building erected in 1849-1850 on Vienna Township Green.

The Vienna Methodist Church was original founded as a Methodist Episcopal church, an expression of Methodism that began in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1784. The early years of this denomination were marked by the use of paid circuit riders who traveled from one congregation to the next on a "circuit." In some places, unpaid local ministers who held other jobs took on the duties of leading worship. According to historian Joseph Green Butler, "Methodist Episcopal gatherings were held at Methodist Corners ... as early as 1810, and in 1820 Vienna became a circuit with regular attendants."[1]

On March 15, 1805, the Congregational missionary Thomas Robbins observed of the Methodists in Vienna:

Rode to Vienna. Worked some with the people on the road. At evening preached from Matt. ix: 9. The Methodists appear to be wishing to get an influence here, but I think they will not succeed.[2]

In 1939, the Methodist Episcopal merged with several other Methodist denominations in the United States to form the Methodist Church.

The Church at Methodists' Corners
The first church building in Vienna Township was erected by Methodists around 1820 at the corner of Prindle-Booth and Smith-Stewart roads. The building was razed in 1999.

The following were members of this early church: the Bartholomew family, John Clark and Lois Clark, Elisha Booth, Seeley Scoville, Andrew Mackey, Eliza Hickox, Maria Beecher Fuller, and Maria Monk.

The Church on Vienna Township Green
The Vienna Methodist Church constructed a building on the west side of Vienna Township Green in 1849-1850. Andrew Clark, using a team of oxen, brought the stone for the steps from Howland Township. When the basement was added in 1907 the steps were broken up and used for the foundation.

Postcard of the Vienna Methodist Church donated to the Society by Dave Cover.

In 1938 a kitchen was added to the basement. An educational building was added in 1962. Also in that year additional seating was installed in the sanctuary.

A church bell was installed in 1872, but with stipulations. E. R. Mackey donated five dollars to the Bell Fund on the condition that he could hear the bell at his home south of Vienna Center. The original bell clapper was too small, so a piece of steel was brought from Warren by William Clark and blacksmith William Griffis and was forged into a larger clapper by Griffis. The bell was customarily rung to commemorate deaths. The last death was so commemorated in 1929, when Maria Fuller died at the age of 92.

Lorenzo D. Fuller, Maria's husband, constructed the church's first parsonage at 4250 Warren-Sharon Road. The present parsonage on Bonnie Brae Road was built in 1956.

Published Account
From Harriet Taylor Upton, A Twentieth Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1909), Volume 1, p. 598.

The Methodist church of Vienna is no exception to the Methodist church of other townships, in that few, if any, records are kept. A class was early formed and meetings held in the southwest part of the township. Sometimes this locality was called “Methodist Corners.” Here a church was built. Timothy B. Clark was a class-leader, and, besides himself, Ira Bartholomew, Elisha Booth, Maria Fuller, and Andrew Mackey were early members. In 1820 the circuit riders began visiting Vienna, and a meeting-house at the center was erected in 1850.

Updated 8/13/2020

This entry is adapted from Fred L. Martin, "Places of Worship," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), p. 148. Additional research by Shirley T. Wajda, March and June 2012.

[1] Joseph G. Butler, Jr., History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio (Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1921), Volume 1, p. 618.
[2] Thomas Robbins, Diary of Thomas Robbins, D.D., 1796-1854, 2 vols. (Boston: Thomas Todd, Printer, 1887), Volume 1, p. 251.