Side A: The Hopewell Associate Reformed Church and Cemetery, now known as Historic Hopewell, was founded in 1808 in a log building that was replaced in 1826 with the present building. It was built by the area’s first settlers, mainly Scotch-Irish who left Kentucky and South Carolina because of their opposition to slavery. The church encouraged worship by African Americans and played an important role in the Underground Railroad. It became the parent church for four “Daughter” Presbyterian congregations: Fairhaven in 1835, Oxford in 1837, College Corner in 1849, and Morning Sun in 1876. Reverend Alexander Porter, the first pastor, was committed to education and constructed a school near the Hopewell Spring that still produces clear water. “Old Hopewell” was completely refurbished in 1880, but by 1915 the membership declined and regular services discontinued. Today Hopewell holds Sunday services in the summer and is maintained by a generous and devoted group of volunteers.
Side B: The Hopewell Cemetery was the first public cemetery in Israel Township. Thomas McDill, who died in 1813 after returning home from the War of 1812 in ill health, was the first person buried here. The cemetery is estimated to have over 1000 graves in the original acre of ground and became the second largest burial ground for Revolutionary War soldiers in Preble County; it is also the final resting place for Hopewell Church members who served during the Civil War. Alexander Porter and Dr. Edward Paxton, the first and last pastors of Hopewell, are also buried here. Noted for their craftsmanship and integrity, several early nineteenth stone monuments, carved by local sculptor Oscar M. Pay, dot its landscape. Surrounded by a 19th century dry-laid limestone fence, the cemetery remains active today, and along with the Hopewell Church, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.