Cornelius D. Battelle, Methodist Circuit Rider
Cornelius D. Battelle was born July 13, 1807 in Washington County, Ohio. He entered the Methodist Episcopal Church on October 30, 1825 and the Pittsburgh Methodist Conference in 1833. He was assigned pastoral circuit duties in rural eastern Ohio and the small river settlement of "Belle Aire" where he delivered his first sermon in a warehouse during the winter of 1838. He established the first Methodist class of eleven members in 1839 and rallied subscriptions to build the first church in the community. He served the Ohio Conference for 64 years before his death on July 2, 1897.
The First United Methodist Church, Bellaire
The first church of the Methodist Episcopal faith, dedicated in 1839, was built in old Belle Aire. A second church was located, in 1846, on land donated by Jacob Davis on 27th Street between Union and Belmont Streets. Overcrowding and noise from the railway prompted relocation of the church to lots on Guernsey Street donated by proprietors of the newly-platted town of Bellaire. Construction of the third church structure began in 1858 but was not finished until 1864. This Victorian fourth church building was constructed in 1889 with stained glass telling both the Biblical and Church stories added in 1966.