Rev. Joseph Clokey

While not buried in the cemetery, The Rev. Joseph Clokey left an indelible mark on Mt. Lebanon. Clokey, who served as MLEPC’s fourth minister from 1848 until 1855 (he then become pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Ohio), brought back two Cedar of Lebanon trees from a trip he made to the Holy Land and planted them in his yard near what is now Bower Hill Road/Clokey Avenue.

The origins of the trees is supposedly the reason the name “Mt. Lebanon” was chosen for the post office when, in 1855, it was established in a general store on the corner of Washington and Bower Hill roads. The area became so identified with the name that it was retained when a new township was formed from Scott Township in 1912.

While both trees were cut down in the 1940s, three gavels were made from the tree’s wood and given to the MLEP Church’s Ladies Sunday School Class, the municipality and the Women’s Club of Mt. Lebanon. The whereabouts of the last gavel are unknown.

Ann Simmons Eldredge submitted the following information:

Joseph Clokey (1801-1884) was the second son of Joseph Clokey of
Dauphin Co, PA, and a descendant of “Joseph of the Battle of the
Boyne.” His first wife, Jane Patterson (1809-1832), a daughter of
Robert Patterson and Sarah Von Meter, died in Jefferson Co, OH
following the birth of her third child. Joseph second married
Elizabeth Waddell, who bore him four children.

In 1852, while Joseph was still the minister at MLEPC, he founded the Spring Creek United Presbyterian Church in Christian Co, Illinois. During 1853-1854, he purchased some $190,000 of land with a partner in Christian Co, Illinois. An old letter written by Jennie Herdman states that when Rev. Clokey left MLEPC, a great number of the St Clair Congregation went with him and followed him en masse to Illinois. What is not understood is why Rev. Clokey did not settle in Christian Co, but rather in Springfield, Ohio, where he remained until his death.

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