PART SIX: Dr. Hoge Completes 50 Years As Pastor And Civic Leader
During the time Dr. Hoge had been working for a school for the deaf he had been thinking, too, of the blind people of Ohio. Again he appeared before the legislature many times pleading the cause of the blind. On March 11, 1836, the legislature appointed a commission with Dr. Hoge as chairman to collective information relative to the education of the blind. Following a report of this commission, an act was passed April 3, 1837, making provision for the education of the blind in Ohio. A lot of nine acres was purchased through the benevolence of a few interested men. These lots were located on the corner of Main Street and Parsons Avenue, where the state school for the blind was located. Classes for the blind met in Dr. Hoge’s church until the building was completed in 1839.
The strain of constant hard work began to tell on Dr. Hoge, and in 1845 his doctor prescribed a rest. In August he set out on his journey home to Virginia. In 1850 he accepted a professorship of theology and church history in Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati. He returned to his church in Columbus after his six month term in the professorship had ended.
Time and space will not permit the telling of the entire story of Dr. Hoge. It would include his stand against the liquor traffic. Our liquor spots today [ 1956 ] are mild compared to the taverns in Columbus in those early days. One such tavern, the scene of many brawls, was called, “The War Office”. Dr. Hoge was a pioneer for temperance. His story would also include his of a Presbyterian College in Ohio, such as Princeton, dedicated to the building of Christian character and ideals. While Wooster College was not founded until after Dr. Hoge’s death, he helped to pave the way for such an institution.
Also written in the history story would be the great revival of 1857 and his part in it. Or on the occasion of the 50 anniversary of the First Church in 1856, how honors and tributes were heaped on Dr. Hoge. Another chapter in the life of this man of God on which we could dwell, is that of the daily morning prayers held in Dr. Hoge’s church for many years. People in all walks of life attended. Members of the legislature and judges have left testimony of the help they received.
On February 28, 1857, the congregation at Dr. Hoge’s request, reluctantly consented to his resignation. Dr. Hoge’s state of health and advanced years made this action imperative. On June 30, 1857, The Patriarch of the Church, after 50 years in the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Columbus, preached his last sermon as pastor of the First Church. In 1861, Dr. Hoge’s beloved wife, Jane Woods Hoge, died. Scarcely two years after his wife’s death, his own life ended on September 29, 1863, at the age of 79. His body was laid beside that of his wife in Greenlawn Cemetary. There tombstones, though very worn and hard to read, are in the middle of Section I, an oval area in the center of Greenlawn, under three large pine trees. For more about the site and the cemetery go to www.greenlawncemetary.org.
So the Old Warrior of the Cross fought a good fight and went home anticipating with joy the ”precious and exceeding great promises” of the Lord whom he has served so well.