PART FIVE: Dr. Hoge Builds New Church; Founds Columbus Presbytery
Dr. Hoge’s church had been growing so rapidly that in the summer of 1830 it was decided to build a new church. Dr. Hoge, Gustavus Swan and David Deshler were appointed on the committee to select a suitable site. Three men of wealth, Lynn Starling, Gustavus Swan and Robert McCoy agreed to erect a building acceptable to the congregation. They were to be repaid by sale of pews and by subscription. The building was located at the corner of State and Third streets where the Hartman Theater now stands.
At the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, held in Philadelphia in 1832, Dr. Hoge was elected moderator. He was then 48 years old. Dr. Hoge may justly be called the founder of the Columbus Presbytery and a leader in the organization of the Synod of Ohio. Dr. Hoge was at his best in these church courts. On one occasion in a meeting of the Synod, a number of members tried to have the roll so called that Dr. Hoge’s vote might be cast last, lest it should influence all that followed him.
In the summer of 1833 a terrible scourge of cholera broke out in Columbus. The population of Columbus at that time was about 3000. Before the summer was over one-third of the people had fled the town. Dr. and Mrs. Hoge remained and Mrs. Hoge, with the other women of the First Church, working tirelessly to help the sick. This small group of women formed the beginning of what was later to become the “Columbus Female Benevolent Society”, still active [ in February 1956 ] at 40 S. Washington Avenue, and the oldest charitable organization in Columbus. Mrs. Hoge served as first president of the society. For more about the society go to www.faqs.org or look for them on facebook.
That same fall, work on the church building was completed and the First Presbyterian Church was dedicated. For that day it was an imposing edifice. Dr. Hoge’s salary was raised to $1000 annually. Dr. Hoge had now reached the most useful and influential period of his life. On Sunday mornings there gathered in the sanctuary many important men; governors, judges, members of the legislature, business and professional men. O.E. Randall, the historian wrote; “Dr. Hoge stood as a bulwark of strength in the rapidly growing capital city. He was universally trusted and honored. At one time when he was called as a witness in a case, his testimony, though decisive, was taken without oath. As he was about to be sworn the opposing counsel cried, “You need not swear that man.”