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Congregational Church

The congregation, the oldest in the Western Reserve, was organized with the help of circuit rider Rev. Joseph Badger in 1801. In 1811, Sybill Austin traveled alone, 800 miles on horseback, to Connecticut to find a pastor for the church, and succeeded in recruiting Rev. Giles H. Cowles. In the 1840s the church canceled its affiliation with the Presbyterian Church and identified itself with the Congregational denomination, which was taking a stronger stand against slavery. In 1853, the church split, with one group seceding to form a Unitarian Church. Several buildings preceded the current church, now called the First United Church of Christ. Betsey Mix Cowles (1810-1876), one of the church builders, was a prominent Ohio abolitionist, suffragette, and educator. The first service held in the new building was Betsey Cowles’s funeral service in 1876. The church is located in downtown Austinburg, next to a township park.

National Register of Historic Places

Architectural Style: Gothic Revival

Address: 2870 State Route 307 Austinburg, Ohio

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