MOUNT GILEAD — Rev. Daniel Shedd Wright of Vermont delivered an entertaining speech for the Morrow County Genealogical Society to an audience of 50 people on June 12 at the Mount Gilead First Presbyterian Church.
Wright is the great-great grandson of Rev. Henry Shedd, founder of the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Gilead. He spoke about his ancestor’s arrival in what was in 1829, Morven Township in Marion County. According to his writings the area was “a new, wooded, muddy country.”
Henry Shedd, D.D. was considered a “Yankee transplant” who brought the zeal of the protestant church “out west.” Born at Jaffrey, New Hampshire, May 16, 1803, he was the son of John H. and Susanna (White) Shedd. Henry graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826 and received his Doctorate of Divinity from the Theological Seminary of Andover, Massachusetts April 20, 1829.
Henry Shedd was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Newburyport in April 1829 and was ordained September 24, 1829 in Boston, Massachusetts. His marriage to Mary Gerrish took place September 28, 1829 at Canterbury, New Hampshire. The couple traveled to Ohio because of their Home Missionary Commission in the Columbus Presbytery.
Rev. Shedd kept a personal diary of his trip from New England to Ohio and of his years in the ministry work. After arriving in Granville, Ohio, he was assigned to the Marion Presbytery. He first preached at the Centre Church, three miles east of present day Mount Gilead, then he was at Canaan Church, six miles west of town.
He founded the Presbyterian Church of Mount Gilead, which was organized November 2, 1831 in the home of George D. Cross. It is located at 85 East Marion Street and it is currently the Cross House Museum owned and operated by the Morrow County Historical Society.
As a part of his presentation, Daniel Wright and his wife, Peggy sang an 1848 Temperance Song, thus illustrating Rev. Shedd’s involvement in social reform efforts of the middle 1800s. Both of Henry Shedd’s wives, Mary, who died of tuberculosis and Lucretia George Shedd, were educated teachers. Mary is credited with starting the area’s first school in 1831.
Later in life Rev. Shedd helped found the National Bank of Mount Gilead where he served as director on the board. He became known as a local historian because he compiled a list of over 300 names of known Civil War Soldiers from Morrow County. He detailed an account of their regiments and later whereabouts, which is located in the genealogy collection of the Mount Gilead Public Library.
On display at the June 12th meeting were items in the Rev. Henry Shedd collection which had been donated by speaker Daniel Wright to the Morrow County Genealogical Society in May 2017. These included Rev. Shedd’s diploma from Dartmouth College, the Home Missionary Commission dated September 24, 1829, a Shedd family 1889 reunion photograph and a Persian hat which had been brought to the reunion by his son John H. Shedd, a missionary to Persia.
Also donated to the society was a decorative wooden piece taken by Rev. Shedd from the house in Mount Gilead where his son, Charles Shedd was born, a photo of Rev. Henry Shedd at age 82 dated June 1885 and a Mount Gilead inscribed currency purse.
Of special interest was the framed copy of the Preamble and Constitution of the Mount Gilead Anti-Slavery Society dated March 16, 1840. Rev. Shedd stated in his autobiography that the document was “signed in the midst of the throwing of rotten eggs and an uproar from the howling mob who finally broke up the meeting.” There were 33 signatures on the document.