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 it was 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 in1809 and formed the Presbyterian Church of Zanesville and Springfield, later becoming the 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, 18 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, 36 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. Not surprisingly, Putnam Presbyterian became a stop on the Underground Railroad.