The Mansfield Savings Bank

The Mansfield Savings Bank & Trust Co. Almanac, 1923


Brief History of Mansfield ... The First Church In Mansfield


Source:  Mansfield Savings Bank & Trust Co. Almanac, 1923, pp. 38-39


The Rev. James ROWLAND, of the First Presbyterian Church, commenced his pastorate in 1820 and continued half a century. In writing of those early times, he said: "Mansfield, in 1820, numbered about two or three hundred inhabitants. About the center of the public square, there was an edifice about twenty by thirty feet in length and breadth, and two stories in heighth. The stairway leading to the entrance of the second story was outside the building on the north side. The lower story was divided into three compartments. The west half was used for a jailer's residence, the south half of the east side as a cell where criminals were confined. The building was of logs and was unpainted, inside and out. The edifice served for various purposes. People of all denominations except the Methodist (who had a small frame church in the northeast part of the town as early as 1820) worshipped in the upper story. There, too, the county courts were held, and public meetings generally. On the east and west sides of this room were fireplaces, and a stove near the center; and often in the coldest weather, by reason of the flues drawing downward, instead of upward, the fuel had to be carried out, or the fire quenched or the inmates suffocated by smoke. In that room I preached every alternate Sabbath for two or three years, and sometimes while trying to preach I saw the moisture of my breath as it was congealed in passing off in the cold air. At such time in that sanctuary, it may well be imagined that both hearers and minister were sensible to their need of a good share of internal heat to enable them to withstand the external cold."