The Preacher’s Note

Rev Adam Poe (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Reverend Adam Poe was born along with his twin sister Sarah, on 12 Jul 1804 in Wayne Township, Columbiana County, OH.  He died on 26 Jun 1868 leaving his wife and three children.  Rev Adam Poe was the grandson of the famed Indian fighter Adam Poe.   His parents were Andrew Jackson Poe and Nancy Hoy.


Before his calling to the ministry, Rev Adam Poe worked with his brother Charles in the grain business along the Ohio & Erie Canal.  They operated a grain elevator near what is now known as Navarre, OH.  For the time they made a considerable amount of money.  Men who had accumulated wealth in those days became the natural “bankers” of the community making private loans to their business partners.  When economic problems struck the region in 1825, the Poe brothers went broke when their clients were unable to repay their loans.  Charles started a general store nearby Coshocton, OH.  Adam went into the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  “No man ever entered the cause with firmer faith, with greater singleness of purpose or with more unreserved devotion than did Adam Poe.” [1]


Having failed in the grain business, Adam became a poor country minister stationed in Delaware, OH.  In the summer of 1840, he decided the community needed a university.  He approached Judge Powell of Delaware with his idea.  Judge Powell owned an imposing four story inn called the Mansion House.  A ten acre lawn surrounded the Mansion House.  Rev Poe knew that the inn was not profitable since the stage from Columbus only arrived three times per week – a twenty-four hour trip at a cost of five dollars.  .  The original asking price for the Mansion House was $25,000.  Judge Powell finally agreed to the price of $9,500.  Rev Poe visited every person in Delaware, population around 900 in 1840, asking for contribution to fund a college.  One hundred seventy-two town’s people contributed $9,000.  Judge Powell would not sell for less then the agreed price.  Rev Poe gave him the $9,000 in cash contributions plus a personal note for $500.  In 1841, Ohio Wesleyan University was founded on faith and a preacher’s note. [2]


The people of Delaware, OH gave the property to the Ohio and Northern Ohio Conferences.  On 7 Mar 1842, the Ohio State Legislature granted a charter forever to be conducted on the most liberal principles and accessible to all religious denominations.  Beginning in a beautiful inn in 1841, in 1941  Ohio Wesleyan  was the largest privately endowed, church related, coeducational college in America. [3]


Daniel Poe, brother of Rev Adam Poe, was also a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but connected to Ohio Wesleyan .






[1]  John McClintock, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Harpers and brothers, 1889.

[2]  History of Stark County, (Baskin & Batty Historical Publishers, Chicago, 1881) p 515.

[3] Lula Welborn, Poe History, self printed 1974.





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