The History of the Hartville Church of the Brethren. In 1804, when John Gans moved into the Nimishillen territory with other Brethren, the Church of the Brethren was formed which took in the region now known as Center, Maple, Canton First, East Nimishillen, Mount Pleasant, Hartville, and Springfield, each beginning from the parent church, Nimishillen.
In 1822, the first annual meeting was held in Ohio at members homes near Harrisburg.
In 1856, the old brick church was built on the present location of the East Nimishillen Church. The old brick building stood until 1899 when it was torn down and a new brick building erected on the same location which is the present house of worship.
In 1874, a meeting house was built on the Louis Brumbaugh farm, north- east of Hartville. This was known as Lake House of the Nimishillen congregation, with meetings alternating between the two places. Some of the ministers of this time were: Henry Brumbaugh, John Kurtz, Charles F. Kinsley, Noah Longanecker, Solomon S. Shoemaker, and Joseph Kimmel.
Members of the Church of the Brethren were always known as rural people. Many moved into Hartville, which was comprised of retired farmers, and desired to build a church there. Some resistance was encountered, but in 1910, a vote to build in Hartville carried by a small majority.
On February 22, 1913, a decision to purchase three lots in the Kaiser Orchard for the church was reported by Justin Brumbaugh. On November 27, 1913, the church was dedicated with F. F. Holsopple conducting the dedication services. By October 25, 1919, Hartville became a congregation. On November 20, 1919, Hartville held its first business meeting with 152 charter members. S. S. Shoemaker and Joseph Kimmel served as free ministers until September 1, 1925, when C. H. Deardorff became the first salaried pastor.
From 1913 until the mid 1960’s the church building on Lake street served the congregation’s needs. Then in 1966, the congregation decided to relocate and purchased 16 acres from the Bledsoe and Raber farms for $31,000. The mortgage for the property was burned on Easter Sunday, 1968.
In 1971, the building site was selected and the location on Crestmont avenue was established. From 1971 until 1974, the building site was cleared through the donated labor of many individuals.
On May 4, 1974, the ground breaking service was held with the cornerstone laying service held on September 29, 1974.
On June 1, 1975, the congregation moved from the old church building on Lake street to the present location in a procession of over 100 cars. The move and church service were memorable for all who participated.
On June 8, 1975, Dedication services for phase one were held with Alvin Brightbill and David Wilson as speakers.
On January 8, 1978, the membership approved the Sanctuary Building committee’s proposed plans for the new sanctuary.
On April 1, 1979, the ground breaking service was held for the new sanctuary. The cornerstone placing occurred on October 28, 1979. The following spring saw a series of sanctuary dedication services held on May 16, 17, 19, 1980. The services included a variety of music, speakers, and guests.
On May, 1997 the congregation approved plans for the new educational wing and day-care center. The dedication service was held on May 3, 1998 with David Wilson and Gordon Bucher as speakers.
The church continues to be of support and service to the needs of a growing congregation and community.