The Shiloh Baptist Church

On the 8th of July 1866, a council was held at which elder J. Powell served as moderator, and elder J. M. Meek as clerk. A church was organized consisting of fourteen members. John Cannon, a son-in-law of Augustus West who founded the Augustus West Settlement, and T. H. Butler were trustees. Officers in 1880 were listed as follows: E. Steward, William Burns, and T. H. Butler, deacons; George Breckenridge, licentiate; Frank Elkins, Henry Mankins, and W. H. Hackley, trustees; Harvey Stevens, clerk; Samuel Cosby, treasurer. Pastors: John Powell, Benjamin Sailes, Asa Pratt, Samuel Carr, Walter Shelton.

Rev. George C. Braxton was the pastor for many years greatly loved and respected by the people of Greenfield. He had been a slave in Virginia and had served in the Civil War. In addition to his preaching he gained a reputation for his ability to install draining tiles for the farmers. His slave master had taught him to keep track of the years of his life by cutting notches on a "birthday stick." According to his count he lived to the age of 115 years. He died in Columbus in 1942 and was buried in Greenfield. The citizens of Greenfield erected a monument over his grave with the inscription, "Slave, Free Man, Christian Gentleman".

The church building was erected in 1874, previous to this they worshipped in the school houses about three miles northwest of Greenfield.

The church is rich in African-American history and since it had been sitting vacant for a number of years, supporters of the Greenfield Historical Society felt that there should be an effort made to see that it is preserved. There were only a few remaining trustees of the church still living in the area and they were approached in 2017 to see if there was something that they and the Historical Society could do to save the structure and eventually see it restored and once again used to serve the Greenfield community.

In April 2018, the trustees of Shiloh offered the church to the Historical Society and the Society's board voted to accept the gift. Since the Historical Society finalized and accepted the gift of the church, some cleaning has taken place and some minor repairs have been made to secure the church. Now the Society must evaluate how best to utilize the church and how to secure funding to make the vision a reality.

The Greenfield Historical Society
PO Box 266
Greenfield, Ohio 45123