Side A: The First Presbyterian Church of West Union, built in 1810, is known as the “Church of the Governors.” Although the date is uncertain, the congregation was organized circa 1800 on Thomas Kirker’s land on Eagle Creek, about three miles from West Union. Kirker, Ohio’s second governor, was influential in organizing the congregation and raising funds for the construction of the building. Stonemason, Thomas Metcalfe, Kentucky governor from 1828-1832, was awarded the contract to build the walls for $250.00; the total construction cost was $500.00. The first three regular ministers – William Williamson, Dyer Burgess, and John P. Van Dyke – all held strong anti-slavery sentiment that was felt throughout the congregation. During the Civil War, soldiers of the 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment of recruits from Adams County and eastern Brown County, were said to have been temporarily quartered in the church before leaving West Union in 1861.
Side B: Born in Ireland in 1760, Thomas Kirker settled in Adams County in 1794 and began a long career as a public servant. A leading man in Liberty Township, he was elected as a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention in 1802. In 1803, Kirker was a member of the Lower House of the Legislature from Adams County. Later that same year, he entered the Ohio Senate and served continuously until 1815. As speaker of the Ohio Senate he became acting governor when Edward Tiffin resigned his governorship in 1807 to accept his election to the United States Senate. Kirker filled the vacancy in the governor’s office from March 4, 1807 until December 12, 1808. From 1808 until his death in 1837, he was a ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church of West Union.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, The First Presbyterian Church, and The Ohio Historical Society