Local minister pens second historical novel

Special to the Enterprise
Rev. Tom Detling, minister for the United Methodist Church, recently published his second historical novel based on the early years of Ohio history focusing on the Barnesville community.

The Rev. Tom Detling, minister for the United Methodist Church, recently published his second historical novel based on the early years of Ohio history focusing on the Barnesville community. 

“This story is about Homer Miler, a fictional character who lived in Barnesville from 1832-1838,” Detling writes. Barnesville is a small town in the hills of southeastern Ohio. During the time depicted it was transcending from a pioneer village to a small farm and tobacco-growing center of about 400 people.

“My greatest source for the history of Barnesville comes from Dempsey O. Sheppard’s book, The Story of Barnesville, Ohio, 1808-1940,” the author notes. Some of the people in the 206-page book are real people who lived in the village at that time while others are purely fictional.

The book is a story of the adventures of a boy becoming a man in troubled pioneer times. The hardships and difficulties and the joy and romance of the era are all woven into the story.

Detling’s first novel released in 2020 is Coming of Age: Barnesville, Ohio 1812. That volume recounts the life of Johnny Johnson, a fictional character who came of age in Barnesville between 1812 to 1820.

The author is a local native and 1963 graduate of Barnesville High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a M-Divinity in 1996 from Ashland Theological Seminary. Prior to that, he served as a lay pastor and telephone company engineer. 

During his career, Detling served several area congregations including the Hendrysburg-Sewellsville-Oak Grove Charge, Barnesville First UMC and presently ministers to the Bethesda congregation.

Tom and his wife Bonnie, residents of the Seneca Lake area, are the parents of three grown daughters. Eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren complete the family circle. 

Man UP: Barnesville, Ohio 1832-1838, a softbound edition, is available for purchase locally at Blossoms, 165 E. Main St., Barnesville, or online at Amazon.com.