The Reverend John Pence
. . .Rev. John Pence (written originally Bentz), son of Henry Pence, and his wife Catharine, whose maiden name was Manger, was born in Rockingham County, Va., December 13th, 1799. He descended from Christian parents, his father being a member of the Lutheran Church, and his mother of the Reformed Church.
. . . conscious of the responsibility of the sacred office, he entered upon his pioneer work with zeal and devotion, and soon became "abundant in labors." His first field of labor was the Union charge within the present limits of Miami Classis, consisting of three congregations, namely, Frieden's (now Mt. Pisgah at Lawrenceville) in Clark Co., Salem in Champaign County, and Stillwater in Montgomery County. In the winter of 1824-25 he organized a new congregation near Hyattsville, in Miami County, known as Worman's, until in 1845 when it was called Emanuel's. These four congregations properly constituted the Union charge, though occasionally including one or two others for a few years, but his missionary operations extended to other points, which, in course of time, grew into congregations. Between 1830 and 1834 he commenced preaching in Shelby County north of Sidney, and has to travel forty miles every four weeks in going thither. In 1835 he began to serve the New Providence congregation, continuing his pastorate three years, and also had to travel forty miles every four weeks to meet his appointments. He also preached at some other points, and his labors ultimately extended over five counties. Thus, in connection with his regular charge, he operated a large mission field, and out of his charge in the broader sense, and on the territory he originally traveled and seeded, gradually grew the St. Paris, the Port Jefferson and the Salem charges.
His pastorate in the Union charge continued from 1824 to 1847, a period of about twenty-three years, and during the period, being full of vigor and energy, he achieved the best results of his ministry, as his reported statistics show, viz: Baptisms, 1,165; confirmations, 407; communions, 4,357; and funerals, 266.
In 1826, during his pastorate in the Union charge, he was appointed as the first missionary of the Ohio Synod, and during that and the three succeeding years, he made an exploring tour through southern Indiana, visiting different points, preaching the gospel to he destitute, administering the ordinance of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and imparting instruction, consolation and encouragement to the "scattered flock of Israel.". . .
He was married, June 7, 1827, at the residence of the bride's parents to Miss Margaret Jones, by Rev. David Winters; and in this union they had nine children, three sons and six daughters, of whom one son and three daughters preceded the father to the "world beyond"-- leaving as mourners a devoted wife, two sons, and three daughters, nineteen grand-children and seven great grand-children, together with a large circle of friends.
Soon after his marriage he secured a pleasant homestead, including ten acres of land, nearly two miles west of Tremont, Clark County, Ohio, and became permanently settled there, continuing to live there during the succeeding years of his long and eventful life, and having Tremont for his post-office (now called Tremont City).
Father Pence inherited a vigorous constitution, and with little exception enjoyed continuously good health, manifesting even after having passed the goal of "four score years" much of the vigor and spring of youth. Nor was he called at the last to endure a lengthened period of sickness and suffering. Twelve days previous to his final departure he preached a funeral sermon, and he was in the enjoyment of his usual health up to Saturday, April 16th, at 9 o'clock a.m., when he was suddenly taken with a heavy chill, assuming somewhat of a congestive nature with a slight tendency to pneumonia. He gradually grew weaker, without any pain or suffering, and on Wednesday morning, the 18th of April, 1883, at 7:30 o'clock, he calmly fell asleep in Jesus, aged 83 years, 4 months and 5 days.
The funeral occurred on Friday, April 20th. On a silver plate on the coffin lid, besides his name and date of death, was engraved this significant motto: "Rest in peace." His remains were conveyed from his late residence to the Mt. Pisgah Reformed Church at Lawrenceville (formerly Noblesville), a distance of about two and a half miles, where a large concourse of people assembled to manifest their respect for their aged pioneer father, and this sympathy with the bereaved family, as well as to unite in the solemnities of the occasion. . .