Journals from 1867 on Display at Library

by Josiah Clemons, Public Relations Writer

A historic display of the life of Martha McMillan, a resident of Cedarville who was born in 1844, is currently available for the community to see at Cedarville University’s Centennial Library through May 2. The display is open to the public, and there is no admission fee.

McMillan lived in Cedarville and was faithful in recording events of her life through journaling. As part of the American Women Writers course this year, students reviewed —and transcribed the journals, which were donated to Cedarville University by McMillan’s grandson more than 30 years ago.

“The main question we've been wrestling with as we've read Martha's journals is the value of an ordinary life,” said Courtney Raymond, a senior applied communication major who worked on the project. “Martha wasn’t famous, yet her life mattered. She witnessed the election of the first female school board official in town — and she was the first person in line to vote in that election, despite being a woman.”

McMillan also wrote about the construction of the Cedarville Opera House in 1888, the split of the local Presbyterian church and the births of her 10 children. She was also an involved member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a prohibition and pro-women and children’s rights organization.
“She was a woman of deep faith,” said Lynn Brock, the university archivist. “She would come home from church and write down everything she could remember from the pastor’s sermon.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,620 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.