MARENGO — The Alum Creek Evangelical Friends Church celebrated its 200th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 21 by hosting a fall festival.
In addition to having historic photos, artifacts and books on hand, there was a car show, games, bounce house, trunk-or-treat, food and music supplied by 95.1 The River.
Approximately 100 people were on hand to celebrate and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. Church Historian Bill Replogle regaled folks with stories and information about the church and its history.
The Alum Creek Friends are most well known for their efforts in the Underground Railroad. As noted on the historical marker in front of the church, “The History of Alum Creek Friends Settlement, The first settler was Cyrus Benedict, his wife, three children, and Adam Vanduser in 1809. He built a cabin near South Woodbury in 1811. Meetings were held in the house from 1813 to 1815.
The first church was built of logs in 1816. Land purchased in 1817 for a meeting house and graveyard is the present side of the church. The first building of today’s church was in 1857. The most enduring houses in the area were constructed a break by Rueben Benedict and David Osborne in 1828 and Aaron Benedict in the 1830s.
The Rueben Benedict house served the community as a Temperance Hotel during the stagecoach era. In 1825 the Worthington-New Haven Road was completed and these buildings among others were used to shelter slaves.
The Alum Creek Friends were legendary among the Underground Railroad circles for their skill and success in spiriting many to freedom. Both Rueben and Aaron Benedict are buried in the church’s cemetery.