PART THREE: Rev. Hoge Accepts Pastorate Of Franklinton Church In 1807
Hardships of the country and the severe winter proved too much for Rev. Hoge’s frail constitution and in May, 1806, after six months in Franklinton he set out for his home in Virginia. Here at his father’s house he sought rest and restoration to health. Late in September he received a letter from the officers of the church in Franklinton, extending a call to become the regular pastor of the Franklinton Church. After much thought and consultation with his father and brothers he wrote his acceptance. By the following spring, 1807, his health had so greatly improved that he set out once more for the banks of the Scioto.
On June 11, 1807, he was installed by the Chillicothe Presbytery. His parish extended from Dublin on the north to Circleville on the south and east to the Big Walnut. Membership soon increased from the original 13 to 50. Services were held in the Court House. By 1811 the congregation had raised enough money, chiefly through the generosity of Lucas Sullivant, to begin the erection of a building. The War of 1812 came before the building was finished. General Hull, enroute north, took over the building for storing grain for horses. Heavy rains came and when the roof leaked the grain swelled and forced the walls of the brick building until it collapsed. Three years later in 1816, a new building was completed. This church was situated on the banks of the Scioto near Sandusky St. To this day the ancient burying ground still marks the site of the first church in Franklinton.
It was also in this same period, 1810-1812, that a new town site was laid out east of the Scioto River and named Columbus. Four men, Lynn Starling, John Kerr, Alex McLaughlin, and James Johnston formed the “Franklin Syndicate.” They promised that if the legislature would establish on the east side of the Scioto the seat of the State Government they would agree to (1) to lay out a town according to a plan acceptable to the legislature: (2) to give to the state a square containing 10 acres for a public building; (3) to erect a State House and a penitentiary. Dr. Hoge conveyed to the “Syndicate” 80 acres of land with the provision that one-half of the lots laid out on this acreage were to be reconveyed to Dr. Hoge. Lots at Broad and High sold for $200 to $1000. In one year more than 300 people lived in Columbus. These settlers were anxious for a church on the east bank of the Scioto. In 1814 a temporary building was erected, a log structure 25x30 feet built entirely of hickory logs and referred to ever after as Old Hickory Church. It was located at what is now Spring and 3 streets. Dr. Hoge conducted services in this church as well as in Franklinton.
At the same time he kept in touch with people living in the country within 50 miles of Columbus. He spent so much time in the saddle that he was often referred to as “preacher on horseback.” This kind of outdoor life may help to account for his apparently complete recovery in health. In 1818 Dr. and Mrs. Hoge moved to the east bank of the river. They built their home on E. Broad St. where the athletic club now stands. Here their first son, Moses Andrew, was born. ( Named for Dr. Hoge’s father, Moses Hoge and Mrs. Hoge’s father, Andrew Woods.) Dr. and Mrs. Hoge had 11 children, six of whom survived their father.
In 1818, the congregation of the Old Hickory Church decided a larger building was needed to accommodate their rapidly growing congregation. Ten men subscribed $100 each, the town authorities donated a lot of ground, and the congregation bought an adjoining lot for $300. These lots were on the corner of Town and Front Streets. Here, a framed church 40 feet by 60 feet was erected costing $1050. It seated 400 people and was really composed of three buildings constructed so that one might be removed from the others and sold as a residence. The Methodists nicknamed the building “Trinity in Unity.” This church was known as “The First Presbyterian Congregation of Columbus.” In 1821 the Franklin congregation united with this church.