Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rev. John T. Kellam, Circuit Rider

Rev. John Theodore Kellam, one of the oldest members of the North Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, passed away at Norwalk, Ohio on September 8, 1894. He was affectionately known as "Father Kellam" or "Uncle John." Rev. J. T. Kellam had a brother named James Kellan, who was also a minister.

According to the "Memoirs" section of the Minutes of the North Ohio Conference in 1894, Rev. John T. Kellam was born in Sussex County, Delaware on July 30, 1809. He moved with his family to Ohio in 1816. Rev. Kellam was licensed to preach in the M.E. Church in 1833. He ministered first on the Mt. Gilead circuit. Later appointments included: Lower Sandusky (now Fremont), Sandusky, Wellington, Brunswick, Mansfield, Mt. Vernon, Utica, Plymouth, Maumee, Tiffin, Milan, Brooklyn, Dalton, Canal Dover, Wooster, Chesterville, Fredricktown, North Fairfield, and Olivesburg. In 1869 Rev. Kellam was a member of the General Conference in Buffalo. Rev. Kellam retired from active ministry in 1867, but he attended the annual sessions of the North Ohio Conference whenever possible.

The "Memoirs" stated, "As a pioneer preacher he was a man of heroic constitution, and endured the hardships of ...early ministry with fortitude,....the large circuits, the daily preaching, the path through the forest by blazed trees, the bridgeless rivers, the long rides on horseback...the manifestation of the power of God in saving souls...These things which filled his youth and manhood, were in his old age and decline the things of which he loved to think and talk..."

Rev. J. T. Kellam was married twice, first to Miss Mary House, daughter of longtime Methodist Sunday School teacher Julius House. Following the death of Mary House Kellam, Rev. Kellam married Mrs. Nancy McMillan of Milan, Ohio. In 1891, Rev. John T. Kellam became sick with an attack of la grippe, from which he never fully recovered. Ref. Kellam's funeral was held on September 10, 1894 at Perkins Township. He was buried in the old Perkins Cemetery next to his first wife, Mary, who had died in North Fairfield, Ohio on February 26, 1886.

To learn more about the Methodist Church in Erie and Huron Counties,see the article, "Methodism in the Firelands, 1811-1881," by M. M. Hester in the 1878 Firelands Pioneer.

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