Margaret Ransom

The chapel seemed a part of us, as we went to church all the time.

– Margaret Ruth Flecknoe Ransom

During its prime years, the Quarry Chapel was a busy place. From picnics and barbecues to baptisms and communions, there was always something happening. Margaret Ruth Flecknoe Ransom, one of the women interviewed, offered a loving picture of the chapel, as she recounted her memories of the Sunday services.

Mrs. Margaret Ransom, and her family as well as the majority of the residents of Gambier attended the Church of the Holy Spirit on weekdays, and went to Sunday evening service at the Quarry Chapel. The seminarians from the Bexley Seminary practiced their sermons during these Sunday night gatherings. According to Thomas Wilson, on Sundays, church was about the only activity going on. It was the high point of the week, the time to meet and greet your neighbors. When the bell on top of the Quarry Chapel rang, calling the people to service, all of the families in the area descended on the Chapel for Sunday mass. The families included the Batemans, Flecknoes, Rolstons, Porters and Rowleys. In fact, Stella Rowley, whose husband was first cousin to Ransom’s mother, played the organ for the services. Rowley’s husband usually sat next to Stella, and sang loudly. Margaret Ransom often sat next to Rowley and pretended that she was a part of a choir. There was no choir in the Quarry Chapel.

Most of the parishioners, according to Ransom, were farmers or employees of the college. Those who attended services at the Chapel also attended services at the Church of the Holy Spirit. Regardless, there was always a congregation at the small Quarry Chapel. Ransom was baptized at the Chapel May 19, 1912, although, her earliest memories of the Chapel are as a toddler. She is the daughter of Charles and Susan Rowley Flecknoe. Her father came from England, and made his way in America farming and working for Kenyon College, helping with the grounds. Her mother was Scotch-Irish. The majority of the people in the area came from England. Normally, Sunday school was held at the Parish House, further in town, but Ransom does remember occasional sessions that were held at the Quarry Chapel. One of these sessions Ransom remembers fondly. She and six other little girls attended class in the little room off to the left of the Chapel. Generally the classes were much larger than seven young girls as the majority of the towns children went to Sunday school from toddlers straight through to high school-aged young adults.

The memories of the Chapel picnics and suppers brought a light to Ransom’s face. The tables would be set up in the yard of the Chapel, and if it was an evening gathering, lights were strung. The food was delicious, and all homemade. Ransom remembered well the dessert table, as any child would! She especially remembers the homemade ice cream, two men working the cranks throughout the picnic, so that everyone could have their fill.

According to Ransom, when she was a child, an iron fence stood around the churchyard. During World War II it was taken down to gather iron for the military. There also used to be a gravel path leading up to the Chapel from the road, which has been taken over by grass.

Christmas Eve services were held at the Chapel. Ransom remembers being nervous as a little girl when this service began because all of the young children would have to recite a special Christmas poem in front of the congregation. The highlight of the evening was always bags of candy and the navel oranges! Every Christmas, a tree would be set up and decorated at the Chapel.