The Methodists first entered the Ohio territory in 1785 followed soon by the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Association. Circuit riders were appointed to their circuit by their bishops and ordained by the church. These itinerating clergymen traveled great distances often into the wilderness, and preached daily in pioneer homes, established churches, outdoors camps, and at conferences. Bishop Christian Newcomer, Reverend James B. Finley, and Bishop Seybert were among them. The ciruit riders brought German and English language religious books with them to disseminate in Ohio and throughout the Northwest Territory.
Bishop John Seybert
Born in Pennsylvania in 1791, Bishop John Seybert came to Ohio in 1822 and preached throughout the mid-west. Seybert served the faith for forty years as an itinerant preacher, a presiding elder, and the first bishop of the Evangelical Association, one of the original denominations that is now part of the United Methodist Church. As a circuit rider, he traveled on foot, horseback, and spring wagon a distance of 175,000 miles, preached 9,850 sermons, held 8,000 prayer and class meetings, and made about 46,000 pastoral calls and 10,000 calls on the sick. Seybert often paid his own expenses on the meager salary of $100 per year. He died in 1860
and is buried in the Bellevue-Flat Rock area.