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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
No land was open for entry in Sampsell township until 1846. Many settlements, however, were made, some as early as 1834. The records of the government surveyor, a Mr. Henderson, are not in existence as Mr. Henderson died before making his report, and after his death the plat and notes of the survey were lost. Like Jackson township, this section of the county is between the west and east branches of Grand river which is in 58-25. The early settlement of this township was in every way similar to the settlement of Jackson township, of which it was, at an early day, a part. A majority of the pioneers were Kentuckians hospitable, honest and big-hearted. A character, whose home was in "the forks" was Sam Thompson, who migrated to this county from Indiana. He was a joker and splendid story-teller, a man who could entertain his friends from morning till night. Although Sam Thompson has passed over the Great Divide his character as a humorist and practical joker will go down in history. The township was organized out of Jackson township on the 22d day of July, 1874, by petition signed by Joseph Clark and others. The township includes the southwest portion of Jackson in 58-25 and the northeast corner of 57-25. It was named after the town of Sampsell, a village six miles west and north of Chillicothe on the line of the Wabash Railroad. The town was platted in July, 1871, on land owned by John and Elizabeth Whitaker, William and Emily J. Whitaker, and Jas. H. Britton. The names of many of the early settlers appear elsewhere in this volume.
The Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Sampsell township was one of the first, if not the first Baptist church organized in Livingston county. The organization was effected in the Frith schoolhouse, one and one-half miles west of the present church edifice, in July, 1852, Elders Kemper Scott and James Turner officiating. Saturday before the first Sunday in each month was fixed upon for holding religious service and to this day there has been no change in the time of holding meetings.
The charter members of the church were Henry Frith, Elisha Boucher, John Hargrave, J. H. Street, John Walker, Francis Frith, James McHollister, James A. Allnutt, John Weaver, Joshua Hobbs, Silas Sneed, Benjamin Hargrave, Adam Cornelius, James Jennings, Eliza Hargrave, Jane Hargrave, Susannah McHollister, Sarah Cornelius, Chloa Sterling, Matilda Allnutt, Alinda Jennings, Priscilla Allnutt, Narcissa Frith, Hulda Street, Phoebe Hargrave, Sarah Boucher, Elizabeth Brezell, Caroline Jennings, Susannah Stephens, Arnold Brassfield, Martha Brookshire, Margaret C. Jennings, Sallie A. Frith, Jane Stephens, Mahala Frith, Nancy Pepper and Polly A. Cooper.
The first pastor was Rev. James Turner, while the present pastor is Rev. Jesse B. Harris. The first clerk of the church was J. H. Street and the present one is James M. Wilson. The first deacons were J. H. Street and James Jennings, while the present ones are W. H. Boon, Richard Hargrave and James M. Wilson.
The several pastors of the church since its organization and length of their pastorates were Rev. James Turner, twenty-five years and ten months; Rev. P. G. Booth, eleven months; Rev. N. M. Allen, one year and seven months; Rev. A. Phister, one year and five months; Rev. John Harmon, ten months; Rev. F. P. Bane, four years; Rev. W. W. Gillispie, one year and six months; Rev. J. S. Shirley, two years and two months; Rev. Joseph Harvey, one year and four months; Rev. J. T. Puckett, four years; Rev. W. L. Merritt, seven months; Rev. B. D. Weeks, three, years; Rev. Jesse B. Harris, the present pastor, sixteen years and -seven months, who also has been a missionary in Livingston county for ten years.
The Mount Pleasant church has always been considered one of the most prosperous Baptist organizations in the county.