Gavin McMillan born Antrim county Ireland Feb. 1787 died Preble county Jan. 1867 in the 40th year of his ministry. In 1825 he moved from South Carolina to Israel twp. Preble county Ohio.
His wife was Rosanna Rolands born in 1806. they had 13 children.
There is no other township in Preble. county whose
history of every day life is so thoroughly identified with
that of the church. It has been well remarked that the
history of Israel township is the history of her churches.
Her pioneers were her preachers, and her early settlers
were her church members. As has already been noticed,
the majority of the pioneers of Israel emigrated from
the south, and principally from South Carolina, and
that most of them were supporters of churches in the
south, and for conscience sake took their departure
from their native State, and came north into the virgin
State of Ohio, to battle with the wilderness and suffer
the rigors necessary to settlement and acclimatization;
and all this because of their love for God and their ab-
horrence of evil. Men who would voluntarily leave
good homes for such cause must have been made of
true metal, and their subsequent history has proved it.
The original stock was Scotch-Irish, and in the rocky fastnesses of Scotland they had imbibed the strongest Presbyterian is m. Many of them settled in the Carolinas. In 1743 the Covenanters, and in 1732 the Reformed Presbyterians, seceded from the mother church in Scotland, and it was to these two parties that the Carolina settlers of Israel township belonged. Both churches were well represented in the township from the very first, and as a matter of course the rock-ribbed Christians immediately proceeded to organize their respective churches, and it is not strange that their influence has molded the character of the people.
THE COVENANTER CHURCH.
Prior to the year 1810 the Covenanters, who had made their homes in the township, assembled in private houses in the neighborhood, and it was not long before it was deemed expedient to enter into the organization of a church of their own denomination. They immediately proceeded with the work, and very soon, under the ministration of Rev. Donnelly, a minister of their church, succeeded in effecting an organization with a very considerable number of members. This organization took place in the cabin of James Faris, in section twenty-six, near the spot where the church was afterwards erected. Rev. John Kell was among the first ministers who labored among them. Rev. John Black, of Pittsburgh, preached after Mr. Kell, and he in turn was followed by Rev. Lusk, and soon afterwards by Rev. Gavin McMillan, who was the faithful shepherd of the flock for many years. It was during his pastorate, in the year 1834, that the Covenanters, while in general assembly at Pittsburgh, became divided into two parties, the dissenters taking the name New Party and the remainder calling themselves members of the Old Party. This division originating in thr presbytery, became general throughout the Covenanter church, and it soon became necessary for the Morning Sun congregation to declare itself. The shepherd of the flock, Rev. Gavin McMillan, thought best of the New Party, and accordingly announced the fact to his people, who, naturally enough, followed him almost en masse into the new pasture, though a few positively declined to leave the Old Party, At this time they had a commodious brick church, which, until quite recently, stood in the midst of the cemetery where most of the original members lie buried. During the controversy between the two congregations for the possession of the church building, an amusing incident happened which is worthy of record. William, Ramsey, one of the conservative party, got possession of the church one Sabbath, and opened the doors to the members of his party. He took his stand beside the high, old fashioned pulpit, and was about to conduct services when Mr. McMillan hurriedly entered the church, and before Mr. Ramsey was aware, had nimbly swung himself over the balustrade of the high pulpit, and the day was his. But Elder Ramsey, though amazed, was not altogether nonplussed, and with ready and keen wit he exclaimed: "He that entereth not in by the door, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." Then he, with his followers, withdrew to the school-house opposite the church, and the new party remained the possessors of the house of worship. Mr. McMillan continued to preach to this people until within a short time of his death, which occurred in the winter of 1867, in the fortieth year of his ministry. Rev. J. H. Cooper, while pastor of the church, decided to unite with the United Presbyterian church, and accordingly, with the majority of his people, was received as a member of that church. They continued to worship in "Beechwood" church, and many of the eastern portion of the Hopewell congregation united with them. Several years ago these people, under the name of the Morning Sun congregation, togetber with one hundred and one members of Hopewell church, organized
THE MORNING SUN CHURCH
THE BEECH-WOOD BIBLESOCIETY
was organized about the year 1820, under the leadership of Rev. Gavin McMillan. Among the first members were: Rev. Gavin McMillian, president; Ebenezer Elliott, librarian; James Elliott, corresponding secretary; Squire John Caldwell, recording secretary and treasurer. It is an undenominational society, and since its organiza tion, has contributed large sums to the bible cause, and is now in the first ranks.
If might not be uninteresting to name in this connection, the ministers who have arisen in Israel township. The following is the list: David McDill, James Worth, John Pinkerton, John Reynolds, Martin Bennett, Andrew Foster, John Milligan, James Brown, James Orr, David McDill, John M.. Graham, Ebenezer Elliott, Samuel Ramsey, E. C. Simpson, Samuel McGaw, Nathaniel Weed, William Boyse, John Reynolds, James Porter, John McDill, William M. Graham, Mitchell Brown, Nathan McDill, James H. Ramsey, James B. Foster, Samuel Pinkerton, John N. Pressly, R. C. Hamilton and Samuel Buck, in all twenty-nine.