Fernandez C. Holliday.

Indiana Methodism : being an account of the introduction, progress, and present position of Methodism in the State; and also a history of the literary institutions under the care of the church, with s online

. (page 10 of 27)
Online LibraryFernandez C. HollidayIndiana Methodism : being an account of the introduction, progress, and present position of Methodism in the State; and also a history of the literary institutions under the care of the church, with s → online text (page 10 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

have thought possible. He was a close student, a re-
markably eloquent preacher, and a forcible and per-
spicuous writer. Besides editing the NortJi-ivestern, he
was the author of a book of sketches and essays, called
"Tales and Takings," and a work on "Revivals of Re-
ligion." He participated in two sessions of the General

At the session of the Conference in New Albany, in
1837, William H. Goode was appointed principal of New
Albany Seminary. That was the first literary institu-
tion under the care of the Indiana Conference, and Will-
iam H. Goode was our j)ioneer educator. In the month
of May, 1837, Mr. Goode was elected principal of New
Albany Semhiary, upon the resignation of Philander Ru-
ter, A. M. By the act of the presiding elder. Rev. C.
W. Ruter, who was also President of the Board of Trust-
ees, Mr. Goode was authorized to accept, his place being
supplied on Lexington Circuit. The Seminary was in a
flourishing condition, with about two hundred students,
two male and two female teachers, and had comfortable
buildings, for that day, though somewhat embarrassed by
debt. In addition to the charge of the Seminary, Mr.
Goode was expected to labor jointly with the pastor in
New Albany Station. Near the close of the Conference
year, Mr. Goode resigned the charge of the Seminary,
that he might re-enter the pastoral work; and was suc-
ceeded in the Seminary by George Harrison, A. M., who


continued in charge of the Seminary for several years.
The entire charge of the station devolved on Mr. Goode,
after his resignation of the charge of the Seminary, until
the ensuing Conference.

Among the founders of this early institution were the
names of Ruter, Wiley, Sinex, Leonard, Brown, Downey,
Robison, Evans, Stoy, Childs, Conner, and Seabrook. It
was an early, earnest, and, in itself, a successful effort;
though, like most of our early enterprises, in the absence
of precedents and experience, some errors were commit-
ted which proved fatal to its continuance. Still, it ac-
complished great good, and is now represented in the act-
ive departments of life by many men and women, in New
Albany and elsewhere, that are ornaments to the Church.
One single class of six boys gave to the Church the
names of Charles Downey, John W. Locke, Thomas H.
Sinex, and George B. Jocelyn. The germ of educational
enterprise thus early developed has never been lost, but
has culminated in the present highly prosperous condition
of our educational work, not only in New Albany, but
throughout the state.

In October, 1838, the Indiana Conference held its
session in Rockville. Among the appointments made
at this Conference, are : Indiana Asbury University —
C. Nutt, J. W. Weakley, Professors; Samuel C. Cooper
and Zachariah Gaines, Agents. At this Conference, L. D.
Smith, Boyd Phelps, Stephen R. Ball, Henry Van
Order, and William B. Ross were granted locations.
They were efficient preachers ; but while some were com-
pelled to retire for the want of an adequate support, and
others from impaired health, God raised up others to take
their places, and to meet the demands of the rapidly ex-
tending work. Thirty-two young men were admitted on
trial at this Conference.


The sessions of those early conferences were not only
seasons of great interest to the preachers, but the jour-
ney to and from the conference was, to many of them,
an important affair. The Avhole state being in one con-
ference, and the chief mode of travel being 'by horse-
back, it of course took a number of days to make the
journey from the more remote portions of the state.

At the session of the Conference in Rockville, in
1838, the preachers along the Ohio River had to go clear
across the state on horseback. Enoch G. Wood, who
was then presiding elder on Madison District, and F. C.
Holliday, who was stationed in Rising Sun, made the
journey to Conference in company, from Indianapolis.
Wood came from Madison to Indianapolis, and Holliday
went from Rising Sun to Brookville, in one day; the
next day, to Centerville; the next, to Knightstown; and
the next, to Indianapolis. Wood and Holliday started
from Indianapolis on Saturday morning, and reached Dan-
ville, in Hendricks County, for dinner, where Wood was
taken unwell, and they remained over until Monday,
Holliday preaching twice in the court-house on Sunday.
Resuming their journey on Monday morning, they
reached Greencastle for dinner.

Late in the afternoon, having traveled some distance
without seeing a house, and coming across a double log-
cabin, and fearing that it might be their only chance,
they applied for entertainment for the night. The good
woman said her husband was absent to mill, but would
be home by dark, and they could stay. During the
night there was a tremendous racket in the door-yard,
and a severe contest with the farmer's dog, assisted by
his master, and what the preachers supposed was some
wild animal. They thought of going out and seeing
what was the matter, but not being called by the man


of the house, and, withal, being tired from their journey,
they concluded not to turn out. In the morning the
man of the house expressed regret at the disturbance
during the night, and feared that their slumbers had
been interrupted. Upon inquiry it was ascertained that
a large bear had got into the yard, had climbed into the
hog-pen, and was trying to carry off one of the hogs.
With the help of his dog, the man had saved his hogs,
but the bear had escaped. The preachers regretted
deeply that they had not been called to his assistance,
as the capture of a bear on the way to Conference would
have been a romantic incident.

In 1839, the Indiana Conference met in Lawrence-
burg, Bishop Roberts presiding, assisted during a part
of the session by Bishop Morris.

In October, 1840, the Indiana Conference met in In-
dianapolis, Bishop Soule presiding. The Conference
now numbered one hundred and fifty-three traveling
preachers, four hundred and eighteen local preachers,
and included 52,626 communicants; being an increase
in the membership during the year of 9,116 members.

This year our first German mission was established
in Indiana, called Indiana German Mission, and John
Kisling and M. J. Hofer were the missionaries. It is
interesting to trace the progress of the Church from
small beginnings to respectable proportions, not only in
numbers, but to note its progress in liberality. We take
the contributions to the missionary cause as an example.
In 1835, the contributions for missions amounted to
$528.50 ; in 1840, to $1,474.92.



From 1841 to 1856 — Indiana Conference in 1841 — George K. Hester —
Thomas Gunu — Isaac Kelso — Indiana Conference in 1842 — E. W.
Sehon and Edmund S. Janes address the Conference — Indiana
Conference in 1843 — General Conference in 1844 — Indiana Dele-
gates — Indiana Conference divided into two Conferences — Indiana
Conference in 1844— John A. Decker — Ebenezer Patrick — North
Indiana Conference in 1846 — Peter R. Guthrie and Daniel S. Elder —
Growth of Methodism from 1832 to 1843 — Division of the State
into four Conferences — Benjamin T. Griffith — Walter Prescott —
James E. Tiffan}' — Wm. C. Hensley — Francis F. Sheldon— Emmons
Rutledge — Isaac Crawford — Hosier J. Durbin — Isaac Owen — His
Life and Labors — Calvin W. Ruter — His Character and Services —
James Jones — Seth Smith — Geo. M. Beswick — John H. Bruce —
Statistics for 1856 — The early Circuit System — Results of relin-
quishing Week-day Preaching — Etfect of Building Churches too
close together in the Country.

IN 1841, the Indiana Conference held its session in
Terre Haute. Twenty-five young men were admitted
on trial, and three located, namely: George K. Hester,
Thomas Gunn, and Isaac Kelso. George K. Hester, be-
sides giving a number of the best years of his life to
the itinerancy, has given three talented and educated
sons to the same work, namely: F. A. Hester, Wm.
M'K. Hester, and Milton Addison Hester — the latter of
whom fell a victim to the cholera while stationed in St.
Louis, in 1850. Thomas Gunn was a faithful minister,
whose labors were blessed in the building -up of the
Church; but impaired health induced him to ask for
a location. Isaac Kelso was a man of feeble health,
and of some eccentricity of character. After his loca-
tion, he preached some for the Christians, or Campbell-


ites, and awhile for the Universalists. He wrote a
romance called "Danger in the Dark," directed against
Jesuitism in particular and the Papacy in general. The
volume was published just as the " Know-Nothings," as
a political organization, were exerting a great influence
in the Western States ; and, although there was no con-
nection between that movement and his book, the former
helped to sell the latter. But in a short time both the
author and the book seemed to be forgotten.

In October, 1842, the Indiana Conference held its
session in Centerville, Wayne County. Thirty-one
preachers were admitted on trial. E. W. Sehon and
Edmund S. Janes visited this Conference as secretaries
of the American Bible Society. They each had a high
reputation, both as able preachers and eloquent platform
speakers, and both addressed the Conference on the
claims of the Bible cause. Sehon made the first ad-
dress, and fairly captivated the congregation with his
eloquence. When Mr. Janes arose to follow him, after
a few very pertinent introductory remarks, he seemed
to become strangely embarrassed, and, after struggling
along for a few minutes, he paused, and, looking over the
congregation, said: "Brethren, my position to-day re-
minds me of an incident in connection with one of Na-
poleon's generals at the battle of Waterloo. One general
accosted another, who, all pale with fear, was, neverthe-
less, rallying his troops, with the remark : ' General, you
are scared!' 'Yes,' said he, 'I know I am scared; and
if you were half as badly scared as I am, you would
run; but I mean to stand and fight it out.' I am
scared," said Mr. Janes, "but I mean to make a speech."
That broke the spell; and Mr. Janes made such a
speech, both for argument and eloquence, as but few
men could deliver.


In October, 1843, the Conference held its session in
Crawfordsville, Bishop Andrew presiding. Thirty-one
preachers were admitted on trial, and two located;
namely, Thomas Spillman and John Richey.

In Ma}^, 1844, the General Conference convened in
the city of New York. The delegates from Indiana Con-
ference were : Matthew Simpson, Allen Wiley, E. R.
Ames, John Miller, C. W. Rnter, Aaron Wood, Augustus
Eddy, and James Havens. At this General Conference
the state of Indiana was divided into two conferences —
that part of the state lying south of the National Road
retaining the name of Indiana Conference, and that part
of the state lying north of the National Road was called
North Indiana Conference. The Indiana Conference
held its session in Bloomington, October, 1844, and
North Indiana Conference held its session the same Fall
in Fort Wayne.

The Indiana Conference contained, as reported at its
session in Bloomington, October, 1844, traveling preach-
ers, 105, and 35,971 members. The North Indiana Con-
ference included 101 traveling preachers, and 27,563
members. In Indiana Conference, two members had died :
John A. Decker and Ebenezer Patrick. Decker was a
native of Tennessee ; came to Indiana with his parents
when a boy, and was converted at the age of eighteen.
He was licensed to preach in the Fall of 1828, and in
the Fall of 1829 was received on trial in the Illinois Con-
ference. From this time he continued to travel until
the time of his death, with the exception of some five or
six years, during which, in consequence of impaired
health, he sustained a local relation. He died on the
25th of October, 1843. Ebenezer Patrick died on the
16th of August, 1844. Mr. Patrick was a native of
Vermont. He was admitted into the Indiana Conference


ill 1835, and continued a faithful and useful minister to
the close of life. In a fit of delirium, caused by fever,
he seized a razor and cut his own throat.

September, 1845, the North Indiana Conference held
its session in Lafayette. Burroughs Westlake and Zach-
ariah Gaines had died during the year. Westlake was a
man of ability. He was received into the Ohio Confer-
ence in 1814. The last nine years of his ministry were
spent in Indiana. Mr. Gaines was a native of Virginia.
He was admitted into the Ohio Conference in 1832, and
the same year transferred to Indiana. In 1836, under
the pressure of pecuniary embarrassment, he located;
but in 1838, he re-entered the itinerancy, where he la-
bored till the close of life.

In October, 1845, the Indiana Conference held its
session in the city of Madison. Peter R. Guthrie and
Daniel S. Elder had died during the year. They were
both of them young men of ability and promise. Mr.
Guthrie entered the ministry in 1839, and Mr. Elder in
1840. Their ministerial career was brief, yet they gath-
ered not a few sheaves for the heavenly garner, and fin-
ished their course with joy ; witnessing a good confession
in death, as they had done in life.

The growth of the Church was constant from 1832
to 1843, having increased in that time from 20,035 to
67,976; and from 1838 to 1843 its increase was almost
unparalleled, being, in five years, 32,716.

In 1852, the state was divided into four Conferences,
called Indiana, South-eastern Indiana, North Indiana, and
North-west Indiana Conferences. The numbers for that
year stood as follows: Indiana Conference, 25,412 mem-
bers, and 84 traveling preachers ; North Indiana Confer-
ence, 16,747 members, and 72 traveling preachers;
North-west Indiana Conference, 19,729 members, and 78


traveling preachers; South-eastern Indiana Conference,
19,367 members, and 100 traveling preachers, — all of the
German work in the state being included in the South-
eastern Indiana Conference ; the German work compris-
ing two entire districts, called, respectively. South Indi-
ana District, and North Indiana District. George A.
Breunig was presiding elder on South Indiana District,
and John Kisling on North Indiana District; and the
German membership amounted to 2,061.

In 1849, South-eastern Indiana Conference suffered
the loss of three of its members by death : Benjamin T.
Griffith, Walter Prescott, and James E. Tiffany. Grif-
fith was a native of Virginia. He united with the
Church in 1830, and soon commenced preaching. He
was admitted on trial in the Indiana Conference, in 1831
or 1832, and labored faithfully till the time of his death
(with the exception of one year, during which he was
superannuated), which occurred August 30, 1849.

Walter Prescott was a native of England, the son of
a Wesleyan preacher. He came to America in 1841, and
connected himself with the Missouri Annual Conference,
with which he remained until the separation of the
Southern Conferences from the Methodist Episcopal
Church. Determining to continue in the Methodist
Episcopal Church, he came to Indiana in 1846, and at the
session of the conference that Fall, he was appointed to
Jefferson ville. Here he remained two years. He was
then appointed to Wesley Chapel, in the city of Madison,
where he labored until the 30th of July, when the Mas-
ter called him up higher. His death was triumphant.
When told that he was dying, he replied, " I am glad j "
and faintly repeated :

" Preach him to all, and cry in death,
Behold, behold the Lamb !"


He was a superior preacher, and during Ms brief ca-
reer made full proof of his ministry.

James E. Tiffany was also a native of England, born
near Huddlesfield, in Yorkshire, that great home and
hive of Methodism, on the 21st of September, 1820. He
came to America in 1829. He made a profession of re-
ligion and united with the Methodist Church in 1839, at
which time he was a student in Miami University. He
died of cholera on the 18th of July, 1849. The mid-
night cry found him with his lamp trimmed and burning.

In 1850, William C. Hensley, John L. Eagers, Fran-
cis F. Sheldon, Emmons Rutledge, and Isaac Crawford
were all gathered to their rest. Hensley had been five
years in the ministry, and was but twenty-nine years of
age; yet his ministry had been blessed to the salvation
of many. Sheldon entered the Conference in 1840, and
ended his earthly course on the 16th of January, 1850.
Rutledge was admitted on trial in the Indiana Confer-
ence in 1837, and continued to labor with efficiency till
the close of life. He was a useful and faithful minister,
and had victory in death.

Isaac Crawford was a native of New York. He came
to Indiana in 1835, and in 1837 was admitted on trial in-
to the Indiana Conference, and continued to labor faith-
fully till the close of life. By his .amiability and the
faithfulness with which he performed his duties, he se-
cured the confidence and co-operation of the Church, and
his labors were usually blessed to the upbuilding of the

The same Conference was called, the ensuing year,
to mourn the loss by death of a young minister of more
than ordinar}^ ability — Hosier J. Durbin — who, at the
time of his death, was agent for the American Bible
Society. August 11, 1851, he left Greensburg, for his


residence in Madison, designing to take the cars at Ver-
non; and, although there was the prospect of a severe
storm, yet he could not be prevailed on to delay his
journey. When a few miles south of Greensburg, the
storm increased in violence, and when entering a wood,
he hesitated a moment as to whether he should proceed,
and, as he was in the act of turning back, a limb fell
upon him, causing the injury which resulted in his death,
on the ensuing Friday; he having received the injury on
Monday. He was licensed to preach, August 26, 1833.
In the Fall of 1835, he was admitted on trial in the
Indiana Conference, and appointed to Yevay Circuit,
with James Jones as preacher in charge. At the end
of the year, Mr. Durbin desisted from traveling, and,
until 1842, devoted himself to secular pursuits. In
1840, he was a representative in the State Legislature,
from Switzerland County. In 1842, he again united
with the Conference, and was appointed to Vevay. His
subsequent appointments were : Jeifersonville, Canaan,
Rising Sun, Connersville. In 1849, he accepted the
agency for the American Bible Society for the southern
half of the state of Indiana; in which agency he was
laboring with great efficiency at the time of his death.
He was an able preacher, an amiable man, and respected
and beloved in all the relations of life.

Rev. Isaac Owen. — The life of Isaac Owen is full
of instruction. He was a native of Vermont, but came,
with his parents, to the territory of Indiana, in 1811.
He said : "When I was a boy, we lived in the woods in
Knox County. Grist-mills were few and far between.
In order to get meal to make our bread, we had to pound
the corn in a hominy-mortar, with a pestle. In the
Winter season, sometimes having no shoes, I was driven
to the expedient of heating blocks of wood to stand


upon, in order to keep my feet from the frozen ground,
while I pounded the corn to make meal for our bread."
His father died in 1824. And yet this boy of the back-
woods, fatherless and poor, secured a good education,
attained to eminence as a preacher of the Gospel, and
did more to found Asbury University in Indiana, and
the university in California, than any other man.

At the age of sixteen, young Owen made a profes-
sion of religion, and united with the Methodist Episco-
pal Church ; and, in 1834, he was admitted on trial in
the Indiana Conference, and sent to Otter-creek Mission.
Although he began the active work of the ministry with
a very limited education, and an equally limited acquaint-
ance with theology as a science, yet he prosecuted suc-
cessfully both his literary and theological studies. As
soon as he had mastered the grammar of his own lan-
guage, he took up the study of the Greek, and in a
.short time his Greek Testament became, and continued
to be, his daily companion. He spent fourteen years in
the itinerancy in Indiana, four of which were spent as
financial agent for Indiana Asbury University; and,
during that time, he raised, by the sale of scholarships,
over sixty thousand dollars. He was one of the first
missionaries to California, and had the honor of preach-
ing, if not the first, among the first, Methodist sermons
preached in California. He was the first presiding elder
ever appointed in California. Much of Mr. Owens's
work was that of a pioneer, and few men were better
fitted for such work. His ministry extended through
a period of thirty-two years; and in that time he
accomplished much for the cause of his Master. As
college agent, he not only secured funds for the insti-
tution, but he explained to poor young men how they
could obtain an education. There are many men in


useful and honorable positions, who owe their success
to the encouragement they received from Isaac Owen.

Rev. Calvin W. Ruter was among the pioneers of In-
diana Methodism. He entered the ministry in the old
Ohio Conference in 1818. In the Fall of 1820, he was
admitted into full connection, ordained deacon, and
transferred to Missouri Conference, and appointed to
the charge of Silver-creek Circuit. This was his first
introduction to the work in Indiana — a work with which
he was to be henceforth identified till the day of his
death. Mr. Ruter filled the most important appoint-
ments in his Conference through the whole course of his
ministry. He was for many years the secretary of his
Conference, and represented it in several sessions of the
General Conference. He Avas a man of fine personal
presence, dignified and courteous in his bearing. He
was an excellent presiding elder, and always popular as
a stationed preacher. Impaired health compelled him,
on several occasions, to take a supernumerary or a super-
annuated relation to his Conference. He was post-
master at New Albany for four years, during the admin-
istration of James K. Polk ; and, at a later period, was
Register of the United States Land-office at Indian-
apolis for four years. But he never compromised his
Christian or ministerial character. He died in Switzer-
land County, in 1859.

Rev. James Jones was a pioneer and hero of early
Methodism in the West. He was a native of England,
and came to the United States in 1803. In August,
1817, he was licensed to preach by Rev. Moses Crume,
Presiding Elder in Ohio Conference. He removed the
same year to Indiana, and settled in Rising Sun, where a
small class of Methodists had been organized a few years-
previously, by John Strange. Here he lived and labored


as a local preacher till 1820, when he was admitted on
trial in the Ohio Annual Conference, and appointed in
charge of Whitewater Circuit. After traveling six years,
he located, and continued to labor in a local relation until
1834, when he was readmitted into the traveling con-
nection in the Indiana Conference, with which he retained
his connection until the time of his death, which occurred
on the 7th of November, 1856. He had been attacked
by a stroke of paralysis while holding a protracted meet-
ing in 1848, from which he but partially recovered; yet,
unwilling to leave the work, he sustained an effective re-
lation until the Fall of 1851, Avhen he reluctantly con-
sented to a superannuated relation, which he sustained
until called to his heavenly rest. He was a man of true
courage, of indomitable resolution, great perseverance and
promptness in filling all of his appointments. He was a
man of much prayer and of extraordinary faith. While
a local preacher, it was his habit for several years to
spend his Winters in New Orleans; and his labors were
greatly blessed, on several occasions, in promoting reviv-
als of religion in that city. He was bold in reproving
vice. His sympathies were tender as a woman's, and his
zeal for the Master's cause was a flame that burned to
the close of life.

Rev. Seth Smith died in October, 1843. He had
been fifteen years in the ministry, having united with the
conference in 1838. The whole of his ministerial life

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Online LibraryFernandez C. HollidayIndiana Methodism : being an account of the introduction, progress, and present position of Methodism in the State; and also a history of the literary institutions under the care of the church, with s → online text (page 10 of 27)