Early History of the Church
The Putnam Presbyterian Church is the oldest church building in Zanesville. It was dedicated in February 1835.
The church sanctuary is substantially the same as originally constructed and has been continuously occupied by one congregation.
The first church in Putnam (Springfield) was a Congregational church established in 1807. This congregation joined with the residents of Zanesville in 1809 and formed the Presbyterian Church of Zanesville and Springfield, later becoming the current First Presbyterian church. In 1833 members of the joint church who lived in Putnam decided to form a church on their side of the river. On March 6, 1833 eighteen men, including Dr. Increase Mathews, A. A. Guthrie, J. C. Guthrie, and Levi Whipple, met to discuss the feasibility of funding a new church building by subscription. The building was to be, “50 feet wide, 70 feet long, one story above the basement of not less than 18 or over 20 feet high with a lobby of 10 feet across the front end, with a gallery over the same for singers.” The building would be built on land donated by Levi Whipple. The subscription list was opened and pledges of money, goods, or labor were obtained in the amount of $5,190.
On January 1, 1835 thirty six persons were accepted as members by certification from the church across the river. Levi Whipple, A. A. Guthrie, and Edwin Putnam were ordained as the first ruling elders. The first pastor of Putnam Presbyterian was William H. Beecher who served for four and a half years. William was a brother of the noted abolitionist and cleric Henry Ward Beecher, and Harriet Beecher Stowe the author of Uncles Tom’s Cabin.
The church has nine memorial windows. Six of the nine are dedicated to members of the Guthrie, Buckingham, and Sturges families all of which were intimately connected with the founding of the church. A seventh window is a memorial to Levi Whipple, and the remaining two are in memory of Hudson Ward and Abraham Emery both subsequent elders.
Standing at the pulpit, the first window on the left is in memory of Ebenezer Eunice Hale Buckingham, the next to A. A. Guthrie, the next to Levi Whipple, the fourth to Hudson Ward, and the fifth to Abraham Emery. On the right the first window honors Julius C. and Pamelia Guthrie, the second Alvah and Ann Hale Buckingham, the third Hugh J. and Sara (Guthrie) Jewett, and the fourth window Solomon and Lucy Hale Sturges.