Side A: The New California Church was organized in 1826 at a time when the congregation was called the Associate Congregation of Darby and represented Presbyterians whose ancestors came from the “Seceder” tradition of Scotland. Seceder Presbyterians were so named because they left or “seceded from” the mainstream Presbyterian Church when the English Crown claimed the right to name ministers. Their desire for religious freedom brought them to America where they were one of the earliest denominations to condemn slavery. The congregation met at members’ homes until building its first church in 1833, a log structure. The first minister to serve this congregation, the Reverend James Wallace, who served from 1832-1841, was an outspoken opponent of slavery, and this congregation maintained that anti-slavery stance under later ministers. The present church was built in 1904. (continued on other side)
Side B: (continued from other side) On April 24, 1861, in the sanctuary of the second Presbyterian church built on this site, a congregational meeting was held to respond to the call from President Abraham Lincoln for volunteers to defend the Union. On the pulpit lay the “Bible and munitions for war,” and behind the pulpit stood the Reverend B.D. Evans who delivered a stirring patriotic address and sermon. As a result more than forty men came forward to volunteer for military service. David Taylor was the first to enlist. He served for three years and was killed on a battlefield in Georgia. Before the Civil War ended, more than 367 men from Jerome Township served the Union cause, giving it one of the highest per capita rates for military service in the nation. Seventeen Civil War veterans are buried here in the New California cemetery.
Sponsors: Jerome Township Trustees, Union County Historical Society, and The Ohio Historical Society