Several families who were opposed to slavery and who were members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, left their homes in South Carolina and immigrated to Israel Township, Preble County, Ohio.
The early settlers in the 1800s built the first Hopewell Church, a log building 30x30 feet, choosing that name because many emigrated from Hopewell, South Carolina. While the building was being constructed, Mr. Craig preached at the home of David McDill and organized the congregation. David McQuisition, John Patterson, Andrew McQuistion, James Boyse and Ebenzer Elliot were the elders who were nominated and chosen by the congregation. In subsequent years, the congregation of Hopewell increased by emigration from different states.
In August, a constitution for the Hopewell Church was created and adopted. The church numbered 50 families , and each family was levied $6 for a family pew, with the funds being used to pay for a minister and to create a fund for the congregation.
In July, 1814 Reverend Alexander Porter became the first full-time pastor for the church. Reverend Porter was born in 1770 in South Carolina, studied at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, and began his ministerial career in 1797 in South Carolina. In 1814 he led many families to move with him to Ohio, greatly increasing the size of the congregation and contributing to the settlement of southwestern Ohio.
The congregation decided to build a bigger and more permanent church building, levying each family for the cost of construction. Families could pay with cash, goods, or a combination. The church was built with Flemish bond brickwork that was fired right on the property. The church was designed by male members of the church who, as one source put it, "put first things first," building it straight and strong with beauty and simplicity.
The new brick church building was completed.
The church subscription list showed an average levy of $2.42 per family, totaling $457. Families paid in cash or material equivalents such as woven cloth, flour, etc.
Reverend Porter resigned due to illness and died three years later. Reverend S.W. McCracken was then appointed.
Hopewell had grown to 400 families attending their church, and the congregation was too large for the building and the pastoral care of one minister. Arrangements were made for building a new daughter church at Fairhaven where members from the northern part of the Hopewell community organized a new congregation.