The instinct of men and women is to grasp for the supports and
comforts of religion in the midst of their phj'sical hardships and their
mental trials. Therefore it is that in a new, untried and uncertain
country, in which such strains and perplexities are sure to arise, the
first institutions which are organized are the churches. Religious
bodies and expounders of religion may appear before even the civil
forms of government take shape.
Where two or three are gathered together in the wilderness and
before the Christian membership is strong enough to form a class or
society, some man of God is found ready to plant the seed of his
faith or nourish that which has already germinated. So, in Kos-
ciusko County, there are records of several Methodist circuit riders
who preached the word of comfort to the scattered settlers of the
northeastern townships before Warsaw was placed on the map.
First Warsaw Church, Tamarack Cabin
Among the most faithful of these servants wa.s Rev. Richard Har-
grave, and not long after Warsaw was platted, and Matthew D.
Springer built its first cabin of tamarack poles, the Methodist mis-
sionary was invited by its owner to preach the Word, according to
his faith, in this primitive temple. There is no record as to the
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 275
strength of the attendance upon the occasion of the delivery of this
first sermon on the site of Warsaw ; but it could not have been large,
although it is safe to say that it was remarkable when judged by its
proportion to the total number of settlers in the neighborhood. The
location of this tamarack church was what is now the southeast corner
of Center and Hickory, and is occupied by the residence of Mrs. Lulu
M. E. Conference and Local Organization
The first quarterly conference met at Warsaw, then known as
the Mission and embracing all of Kosciusko County, on the 26th of
January, 1839. Rev. George Beswick was presiding elder and Rev.
Thomas P. Owen, missionary in charge. The local preachers were
Peter Warner, J. Ockerman, Alexander ilcElwain and Edwin Cone ;
exhorters, John Cook, T. Blake, John Wood, Robert Warner, Aquilla
Belt, William Devenny, Joel Martin, Alexander Richhart, George
Warner and George Hartshorn; stewards, William Alexander, H.
Bowdle, R. H. Lansdale and James McLeod; class leaders, Daniel
Webb, John Fru.sh, Daniel Groves, John Doke, David Hayden, L. D.
Warner, Isaac Kern, Charles Ketcham, Henry Engel, E. S. Blue and
Aquilla Belt. At that time the places of meeting wei*e at Warsaw,
Leesburg and Syracuse, and at the homes of Robert Warner, H.
Bowdle, Daniel Groves, James McLeod, Edwin Cone, Daniel Webb,
T. Blake, James McLeod, Aquilla Belt and perhaps two or three
Pat op Early M. E. Circuit Preachers
Were it not that a dollar would go many times further eighty
years ago than it does in 1919, it would have been physically im-
possible for an infant to exist on what was paid those hard-working,
ever-circulating Methodist missionaries. The salary of the preachei-s
was fixed by church law â€” $100 annually for a single man ; a minister
with a wife, $200 ; with allowances for each child of a certain age, for
house rent, table expenses, fuel and horse feed â€” the last named items
to be determined by a committee appointed for the purpose. All
salaries, allowances and extras were subject to the final revision and
approval of the quarterly conference. A sample of these "allow-
ances" is furnished in the experience of Rev. Thomas P. Owen,
table expenses for one year were placed at $70.
276 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
First ^Methodist Camp Meeting
The first Methodist camp meeting in the county was held at
Groves' Camp Ground late in June, 1839. In the fall of the suc-
ceeding year the charge was named Warsaw circuit, and attached
to the South Bend district. At that time S. K. Young was the pastor
in charge, and in 1841 Rev. 0. V. Lemon was appointed as his assist-
ant. Mr. Lemon was in charge of the meeting held at Peter Warner's
Camp Ground in September of that year. Warsaw was then at-
tached to the Fort Wayne district. The recording steward's books
show that Brother Lemon was allowed $75 for table expenses during
1841 and received $163.36 as his salarj-.
First and Present Sabbath Schools
In 1843 the circuit was divided, and Rev. Elihu Anthony was
appointed preacher in charge. During 1844 the first Sabbath School
was organized at Warsaw, with forty scholars and six teachers; Joel
Fish, superintendent. The preacher reported it as "a wholesome
Somewhat of a contrast, the present Sunday school of the Fii-st
M. E. Church of Warsaw, with its 800 scholars and more than 70
officers and teachers!
It was near the close of 1844, while Rev. Nelson Green was pastor
of the society that the first efforts at building a new church were
made. James Stinson donated a lot on South Indiana Street, which
has been occupied by the Methodists ever since. It was some time
before the work of building was fairlj- under way, so that the church
was not completed until 1848. During 1867-68 this structure was
removed to make place for a new brick church, and was taken to the
lot on the line of the Big Four and, with an addition, made to do
service as an elevator. It was occupied by Kinsej' Brothers as the
Big Four Elevator.
Construction work upon the new brick church was begun in 1867,
in the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Comstock, and completed in the
spring of the following year. At that time it was considered one of
the finest church edifices in Indiana. Completed, it cost nearly
$23,000 and seated about 700 people.
During the forty-seven years of continuous service in that hand-
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 277
some brick church, the membership of the societj' increased from 380
to 1.150. During the same period, the Sunday school grew from
an enrollment of 400 to more than 800. In 1914 the graded system of
lessons was adopted.
i\I. E. Home of Today
When it was found that the brick church building was not large
enough to accommodate eveiy department of the work, it was decided
to erect a new and larger structure, and the quarterly conference of
1915 appointed a building committee for that purpose. In order
that the work of the church might not be interrupted during the
progress of construction, a wooden tabernacle was erected on West
Center Street. This was accomplished by the men of the church in
less than a week's time. The Methodist Tabernacle was thus used
during the year 1915.
Active building operations had been in progress on the third
church home since March, 1915, and the corner stone was laid on
Sunday, May 16th, of that year. It was completed during the fol-
lowing year at a cost of about $60,000.
Both in its exterior appearance and its interior furnishings, the
First M. E. Church building is stately, elegant and modern. The
main structure is massed around a grand central dome, under which
IS the capacious auditorium seating, with balconies, about 700 people.
Immediately behind the pulpit is a grand pipe organ. Large folding
doors connect the main auditorium with the Groves Sunday School
room which is on the east side. With these doors thrown open, a
large audience can be comfortably seated within sight and hearing
of the speaker. The edifice has five entrances, the main one being
on Market Street.
In several other features, the church stands eminent as a mod-
ernly equipped plant. In the basement is a dining room that will
comfortably seat between 400 and 500. It also provides a gymnasium
and a fully equipped kitchen, shower bath and cloak rooms.
The general plan of the interior, which was carried out with note-
worthy success, was to so ari-ange it that every department of the
church society could meet simultaneously, if need be, without inter-
fering with each other. It was furthermore planned that the church
should be open to the congregation everj- day in the year, which was
a great help in solving some of the social problems which confronted
the society, especially with refei-ence to the young people. With the
addition of the nuiltitudc of war activities to the usual church work.
278 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
it proved fortunate that that program had already been formulated.
Nearly 100 young men joined the army and navy during the progress
of the war, and a number of gold stars were placed on the honor flag
of the church.
Since April, 1915, the First Methodist Church of Warsaw has
been under the pastorate of Rev. Leslie J. Naftzger, D. D., under
whose charge it has reached a membership of between 1,100 and
First Presbyterian Church
The Presbj'terians were the second of the sects to organize in
"Warsaw. It was formed by Rev. J. WolfP, on November 7, 1840, by
authority of the Logansport Presbytery, with the following members :
William Williams, Mary Williams, Peter Hover, Isaac Lucas, Catha-
rine Lucas, Priscilla Davis, Mary McFadden, Eliza Nye and Eliza
Van Ohren. Messrs. Williams and Hover were chosen elders. Mr.
Hover was only stated supply, the first regular pastor of the church
being Rev. Samuel G. Weeks, who came in December, 1843, and served
for nearly five years.
Rev. W. S. Wilson assumed the pastorate in 1854 and his term
covered a period of fourteen years. During two years of the Civil
war, commencing in August, 1862, he was chaplain of the Eighty-
Eighth Regiment, but resigned on account of disability and resumed
his pastorate in the Presbyterian Church. During his absence at the
front, the pulpit was supplied by Dr. Jacob Little and Rev. Mr.
In 1859 the first choir was organized by A. J. Mershon, Mrs.
McComb's father, who led the singing with his big bass viol. In
1865 a two-manual organ was purchased.
In 1886, during the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Boyd, the brick
church was built, located on the south side of Market Street near
High. Its cash cost was $12,000 and many thousands more were
donated in work and material. Mr. Boyd was pastor for eleven years.
Rev. J. Quincy Hall was the succeeding pastor, and during his
incumbency the present pipe organ was installed.
Rev. James M. Eakins assumed charge in October, 1909, and in
the same month of 1915 the massive and handsome edifice on South
High Street now occupied by the society was dedicated with im-
pressive and appropriate ceremonies. Since 1840 the membership
of the First Presbyterian Church of Warsaw has increased from 10
to alx)Ut 425, with a corresponding expansion of religious, social and
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 279
charitable activity in all directions. Rev. Frank N. Palmer, the
pastor now in charge, succeeded Mr. Eakins in September, 1918.
Christian Church at Warsaw
For more than fifteen years before a regularly organized church
of this denomination was formed in Warsaw, various members of the
faith met in residences and listened to the expounding of the Word
by Christian preachers. The first local move in that direction was
made in 1849 by Elder John Gordon, who had come from Knox
County, Ohio, and induced Isaac Butler, a preacher of the Church
of Christ, to settle in Warsaw and organize a society, or class, of
eleven members. Mr. Gordon, who had brought about the organiza-
tion, continued as elder until his death in September, 1877, a dozen
years after the church had effected a regular organization. The
iineetings, which were held at his house, were continuously maintained
In March of the year mentioned. Elders M. N. Lord and William
McElvaine organized a church under the name of the Christian
Church of Warsaw. John Gordon and Noah Watts were selected as
its elders, and Jacob Nye and H. B. Stanley as deacons. J. B. Mar-
shall began his ministry in May, 1865. The first church home was
a small building purchased of William Cosgrove and formerly owned
by the Presbyterians, for which the Christians paid $400. They also
bought lot 305 (original plat of the Caty of Warsaw) of Elder Gor-
don for $500. The house was moved to that site, on Lake Street,
repaired at an expense of $250, and when occupied was considered a
very neat and comfortable place for worship.
The first Bible School of the Christian Church was organized in
February, 1871, and E. V. Peek was made superintendent; Mrs. Vic-
toria Moon, secretary. Although it opened with only nine pupils, it
has since developed into an instrument of general religious benefit
to the community.
In the spring of 1876 Rev. Knowles Shaw conducted an evan-
gelical meeting which is still considered the most successful ever held
by the local society.
In the summer of 1887, Rev. C. M. Granger was called to the
pastorate, and through the unbounded zeal and untiring efforts of
himself and wife the present church edifice was completed in 1889.
At that time it was the handsomest and most complete house of wor-
ship in the city.
In 1888 the Christian Woman's Board of Missions was organized.
280 HISTOKY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
with Mrs. Victoria Moon as its president, and in the same year the
Yoiing People's Society of the church was founded. Both organiza-
tions have been helpful and uplifting.
The present membership of the church is about 250, with a Bible
School enrollment of 200. The minister now in charge, Rev. R. H.
Jones, assumed charge in June, 1918.
The Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church of Warsaw was constituted on January
11, 1851, there being but two Baptists known in Warsaw at that
timeâ€” Brother S. B. Clark and Sister Hester A. Clark. Clear Creek
Baptist Church, located three miles southeast of Warsaw, disbanded,
and, with these two, organized the Warsaw Baptist Church. At that
time, the Baptist organizations in Franklin Township, Yellow Creek,
Oswego and Monoquet were flourishing and through their pastors.
Revs. James Martin, Ira Gratton, Edward Desborough and Zebidee
James, they called a council and constituted the following as the reg-
ular Baptist organization at Warsaw: Brothers S. B. Clark, L. P.
Howe, Isaac Brady, Daniel Weiss and Edward Desborough, and
Sisters Hester A. Clark, Elizabeth Howe, Jane Knowles, Ruhannah
Losure and Sarah Bates. S. B. Clark and L. P. Howe were chosen
deacons; Isaac Brady, church clerk; S. B. Clark, I. Brady and I. J.
At first the congregation worshipped in the Second Presbyterian
Church building, but in June, 1854, occupied its own meeting house.
Rev. Edward Desborough seiwed as pastor until the coming of the
minister elect. Rev. Abner Denman, who had charge from March,
1851, until his death on April 19th of the following year.
The next settled incumbent was Rev. Daniel Thomas, who served
from November, 1853, until his decease on September 24, 1854. The
succeeding pastor also passed away while a servant of the Warsaw
Baptist Church, on July 3, 1856, having given the last eleven months
of his life to this cause. Then followed several years of trials and
uncertainties, during which the pulpit was unoccupied for much of
There was a revival of strength and growth under Brother R. H.
Cook who came in February, 1862, and remained for four yeare. A
new and larger house of worship was built and the Sabbath school
In 1866-67 Brother John Carter and Rev. J. B. Hutton served
the church, and in 1870-71, Revs. D. L. Clouse, A. L. Seward and
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 281
F. Moro. During the incumbency of the last named, on August 19,
1871, the church home was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt after a
time, and had the misfortune to be partially wrecked by a wind storm
in June, 1875. But, notwithstanding these misfortunes, the society
made a consistent gain as the years passed.
Among those pastors who greatly contributed to the well-being
of the church were Rev. J. B. Tuttle, who became pastor in 1876 and
served two years ; Rev. J. R. Edwards, whose pastorate extended
from April, 1880, to October, 1884; Rev. J. H. Winans, from April,
1885, to January, 1889; Rev. Noah Harper, March, 1889, to March,
1890 ; Rev. W. W. Hicks, July, 1890, to September, 1892 ; Rev. W. A.
Pavy, April, 1893, to January, 1896, during which the church was
remodeled and more than a hundred added to the society's member-
ship; Rev. E. J. Brownson, March, 1896, to May, 1898; Rev. A. A.
Williamson, October, 1898, to February, 1899; Rev. C. C. Marshall,
March, 1899, to August, 1900; Rev. W. B. Cullis, June, 1901, to Jan-
uary, 1902 ; Rev. George Lockhart, March, 1902, to June, 1904 ; Rev.
C. A. Lemon, ilarch, 1905, to October, 1906 ; Rev. W. B. Cullis, who
had before served the church as supply, from November, 1906, to
June, 1907; Rev. B. H. Truman, October, 1907, to November, 1912,
during which period the church lost, by death, his deacon, I. J. Mor-
ris, who died March 4, 1910; Rev. A. A. Fletcher, September, 1913,
to November, 1914; Rev. A. W. Littrell, November, 1914, to Novem-
ber, 1917, and Rev. H. G. Hamilton, from the latter date to the
The Baptist Temple
The project of building a new and modern house of worship had
been under discussion for some time when Rev. A. W. Littrell as-
sumed the pastorate. Largely under his superintendency, the edifice
now occupied and known as the Baptist Temple, was completed. It
was dedicated on May 11, 1915, and is located opposite the Public
Library, comer of Center and Detroit streets. The Temple was
erected at a cost of $20,000 and is one of the most striking houses of
worship in Warsaw. The old church property had been sold to the
city for municipal purposes in January, 1915. Under the pastorate
of Rev. H. G. Hamilton the church membership is about 315.
United Brethren Church
The United Brethren of Warsaw have been organized into a church
for more than thirty-five years, their first pastor. Rev. A. Maynard
Cummins, having served in 1883-85. His successors until 1894 were
282 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
Revs. J. Simons, J. T. Keesey and E. H. Pontins. Rev. J. A. Groves
served from 1894 to 1896, and during his pastorate the present build-
ing was erected on the corner of Center and "Washington streets.
Following Mr. Groves as pastors were Revs. R. J. Parrot, G. F.
Byer, J. W. Lower, A. Maynard Cummins (second term), J. L.
Goshert, B. F. Thomas, J. A. Groves (second term), F. P. Over-
meyer and W. P. and Alice Noble (husband and wife). Mr. and
Mrs. Noble have been in charge of the church activities of the United
Brethren since 1916, and the society has developed into one of the
strongest in the city, having an active membership of more than 400.
The comfortable parsonage of the church was erected during the
ministry of Rev. J. L. Goshert in 1909-10.
The society has developed a prosperous Sunday school, in Hue
with the traditional policy of the United Brethren Church, its present
enrollment being 500. The Christian Endeavor alone has a mem-
bership of more than 100. The organization as a whole evinced note-
worthy activity in all the movements of the late war, as they applied
to the material and moral support of the Government through such
agencies as the Young Men's Christian Association, Red Cross, etc.
The Brethren Church op Warsaw
The above is the incorporated name of the progressive branch of
the Warsaw Dunkards. The house of worship is located on the corner
of Center and Bronson streets. The society was organized at Warsaw
in 1890 and worshipped in an old building in the neighborhood until
its first church was completed in 1892. It stood upon the site of the
church now occupied, which is of brick and was completed in 1910.
The successive pastors of the Brethren Church have been Revs.
L. W. Ditch, C. F. Yoder, H. R. Goughnour, G. C. Carpenter, C. E.
Kolb and A. T. Ronk, who is now in charge. The present member-
ship is 445.
Other Religious Bodies
The St. Andrew's (Episcopal) Church, the foundation of which
was laid in 1861, was, for many years, one of the religious bodies of
The Catholics established a permanent mission in Wai-saw, during
1852, and in 1877 erected a small brick church on West Market
Street. It has always been under the jurisdiction of the Fort Wayne
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 28:^
bishopric and its pulpit is now supplied from that point. The mission
is known as St. Joseph's.
The Christian Scientists meet on North 'Detroit Street, with Rhodes
Lloyd as first reader.
Secret and Benevolent Societies
Warsaw, in common with other growing and progressive com-
munities, has long supported the standard orders of a secret and
benevolent nature whoch have alwa.ys constituted a marked feature
of American life, and ha.s also organized others which have made
special appeals to the particular character of its people. Among the
oldest and foremost of these are the bodies connected with Masonry,
Odd Fellowship and Pythianism.
The Masonic Bodies
Warsaw Lodge No. 73, Free and Accepted Masons, was the first
Masonic body to be organized in Kosciusko County. This occurred
in 1848, and it was chartered on June 1, 1849. It has initiated a
large number of Masons and has enrolled as high as 130 members,
although with the organization of other bodies its strength has been
considerably reduced below that figure. There are now five bodies
of Masons in Warsaw â€” Blue Lodge, Chapter, Council and Com-
William Parks was the first worthy master of Warsaw Lodge
No, 73, and, besides him, its charter members were F. A. Harris, Wil-
liam B. Barnett, Jonathan Moon, Robert Graves, J. W. Stapleford,
Clark Yager, John W. Morris, Jeremiah Stephenson, C. M. A. Burse,
George Moore, John Knowles, S. D. Bowsley, Nelson Millice and
Messrs. Harris and Barnett succeeded Mr. Parks as head of the
lodge, previous to 1855, when William C. Graves and C. W. Chap-
man served as worthy masters until nearly Civil war times. Mr.
Graves also occupied the chair during five terms within the succeed-
ing twenty-five years, 1877 being his last year as worthy master dur-
ing that period. C. W. Chapman, George Moon and William G. Piper
were also prominent during these early times.
Lake City Lodge No. 371 was chartered in 1868, being an off-
shoot of Warsaw No. 73, but was finally discontinued. Its charter
members were J. M. Leamon, 0. II. Aborn, L. P. Pentecost, E. M.
Goodwin, J. W. Dunlay. T. B. Felkner, J. D. Thayer. William Con-
284 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
rad, W. S. Hull, E. G. Burgess, A. P. Jackson and 11. R. Rizer.
Mr. Leamon was the firet worthy master.
Warsaw Chapter No. 48, Roj'al Arch Masons, of Warsaw, was
granted a dispensation by the Grand Chapter of the State of In-
diana, on October 25, 1862, upon petition of the following Royal
Arch Masons: T. Davenport, George Moon, C. W. Chapman, B.
Becker, J. M. Leamon, Jeremiah Stephenson, J. T. Donahoo, I. R.
Walton and J. W. Pottenger. Among the early high priests of the
chapter were T. Davenport, C. W. Chapman and W. C. Graves.
The Knights Templars organized in 1867 by the Grand Encamp-
ment at Shelbyville, under the following officers: Abraham Reeves,
grand commander ; William Cosgrove, generalissimo ; Edward Moon,
The fourth Masonic body in Warsaw is Council No. 88, Royal
and Select Masters.
The fifth is Warsaw Chapter No. 88, Order of the Eastern Star,
the woman's auxiliary of the order.
The Masons have occupied their present home on East Center
Street, corner of Buffalo, since 1883. The anticipation is that a new
and appropriate temple will soon be erected, although the war has
broken into the plans looking to that end, so that it may be farther
away than now seems probable. As in the other live orders, the local
membership, especialh' the most active element, was considerably re-
duced while hostilities were under way, and those who could not serve
at the front were at times so absorbed by patriotic activities that
the work of the order had to be given second place.
The Odd Fellows of Warsaw
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is represented by two
lodges, an encampment and a woman's auxiliary in Warsaw. The
oldest body, Kosciusko Lodge No. 62, was chartered on Januarj' 9,
1849, on petition of A. B. Crihfield, George ]\Ioon, James Frazer,
Joseph A. Funk, John N. Cosgrove and Lyman A. Lattimer. In the
following February it was instituted by the charter members named,
George Moon being elected its first noble grand.
The first meeting of the lodge was held in the third story or attic
of a frame building on the corner of Market and Buffalo streets,
owned by H. P. Buir and occupied by the Sons of Temperance. In
1850 it occupied the third story of Moon & Cosgrove 's brick building,
corner of Center and Buffalo streets, and continued to make its home