The hilltop on which Emmanuel Church now stands was originally the site of a trading post operated by the Ohio Company. It was the design of this company to sell tracts of land to would-be settlers and to encourage them by providing the support of a trading post. The facility was where the settlers could bring things that they grew and made (like corn liquor) and caught and killed (deer skins, beaver pelts) to trade for manufactured goods that they needed for their lives. It was also the center of what social activities went on in the region.
On Christmas Day in either 1778 or, more likely, 1749, the first Christian worship in this region of the country took place. Christopher Gist, who ran the trading post and who was a devout Anglican is said to have led this worship service. The name of the Church, Emmanuel (which means ‘God is with us’) is believed to have derived from this first event.