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

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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 11 of 27)
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was spent in Indiana. His last appointment was Milton
Circuit, in Wayne County. He was blessed with several
extensive revivals of religion during his ministry.

In 1853, George M. Beswick closed his ministry.
Mr. Beswick was licensed to exhort in his sixteenth year,
and to preach in his eighteenth year ; and at the age of
.twenty-two he was admitted on trial in the Indiana Con-


ference, and appointed to Salem Circuit. He traveled
circuits in different parts of the state until 1838, when
he was appointed to Logansport District. He subse-
quently traveled Greencastle, Centerville, and Laf\iyette
Districts, and filled several other important appointments
in the Church. He was a member of the General Con-
ference of 1852. Of him, Hon. R. W. Thompson said:
" He was a man of immense power. Gentle by nature,
and accomplished by study and reflection, he bore about
him, wherever he went, an air of dignity and decorum
which always excited respect; and whatever he said, was
uttered with so much propriety and eloquence as to com-
mand the closest attention. He always interested and
instructed his hearers, and had no superior in the state."
At the time of his death he had just been appointed a
second time to Greencastle District, after an absence of
eight years.

John H. Bruce, of the same Conference, died the
same year. At the nge of fifteen he was converted, at a
camp-meeting, and soon after began to exhort. He was
admitted on trial in the Indiana Conference in 1836. He
spent seven years on circuits — one as agent of Ft. Wayne
College, and the remainder of his ministerial life as pre-
siding elder. He traveled Logansport and Terre Haute
Districts. He was a faithful man, and made full proof of
his ministry.

The statistics for 1856 were as follows : Indiana
Conference, 22,702 members, and 103 traveling preach-
ers; South-eastern Indiana Conference, 19,503 members,
and 99 traveling preachers ; North Indiana Conference,
20,049 members, and 105 traveling preachers ; North-
w^est Indiana Conference, 14,900 members, and 92 travel-
ing preachers; making a total of 77,154 Church mem-
bers, and 399 traveling preachers, being an increase in


the ministry, in four years, of 65, and a decrease in the
membership of 4,301.

The relinquishment of week-day preaching involved
the breaking up of the large circuits, and the abandoning
of many small societies. Our early circuit system, while
it was admirably adapted to carry the Gospel to the
whole people, multiplied preaching-places needlessly, and
established societies so close together that they must
necessarily remain feeble. In many instances they were
unwilling to consolidate and unite on some common cen-
ter of population, where a strong society could be built
up; and, as a consequence, during this transition period,
many members were lost to the Church. And it is pos-
sible that, in some cases, circuits were needlessly reduced,
and week-day preaching abandoned sooner than it should
have been. But it is an unwise administration that al-
lows churches in the country to be built nearer than four
or five miles of each other. With the facilities for get-
ting to church, possessed by our farming population, a
mile or two, more or less, in the distance to church, is no
object; while, if churches are built closer together, they
can not, in the very nature of the case, command con-
gregations of sufficient size to sustain Sabbath preaching,
without making church expenses burdensome, or failing
to give the ministry an adequate support.



Sketch of Samuel C. Cooper — Samuel Brentou — Indiana Conference in
1857 — George W. Ames — Transfers — Wm. H. Metts — Time of
holding North Indiana Conference changed — Increase in Member-
ship in 1857 — North Indiana Conference in 1859 — Joseph R.
Downey appointed Missionary to India — South-eastern Indiana
Conference in 1859 — Delegates to General Conference — Indiana
Conference Delegates — North-west Indiana Conference Delegates —
Churches in Indiana in i860, from "United States Census Re-
port" — Methodist Liberality — Allen Wiley — His Character and La-
bors — Sessions of the Indiana Conference down to 1850 — Annual
Increase of Ministers and Members from the organization of the
Conference to 185 1 — Growth of North Indiana Conference from its
organization to 185 1 — Aggregate Membership in the State in 1850 —
Number in i860.

IN 1856, North Indiana lost one of its old and influ-
ential members, in the person of Samuel C. Cooper,
who closed his earthly pilgrimage on the 19 th of July,
1856. Mr. Cooper entered the ministry in 1827. His
first appointment was to Cash-river Circuit, in the state
of Illinois. The remainder of his appointments were in
Indiana. He was for several years an efficient agent
for Indiana Asbury University. He was twice a dele-
gate to the General Conference. He was a man of supe-
rior business talents, and in secular life would probably
have amassed a fortune; but he gave his undivided
energy to the Church. His early educational oppor-
tunities were poor ; but, by reading and observation, he
became an instructive preacher. He was a fine execu-
tive officer, and a safe counselor.

Samuel Brenton, of the same Conference, died on
the 27th of March, 1857. He was a native of Ken-


tucky; born in 1810. He entered the ministry in the
Illinois Conference in 1830, and traveled successively
Paoli, Crawfordsville, and Bloomington Circuits. In
1830, his health having failed, he located, and con-
tinued in a local relation until 1841; during which time
he studied law, and Avas admitted to the bar as a prac-
ticing attorney; in which profession he took immediate
rank as an able counselor. In 1844, he re-entered the
itinerancy, and filled important stations, including that
of presiding elder on Fort Wayne District, down to
1848; which year he was elected a delegate to the
General Conference. During this year he had an attack
of paralysis, by which he lost the use of his right side,
and was compelled to resign the pastoral work. And
the same year he was appointed Register of the Land-
office at Fort Wayne. In 1851, he was elected a rep-
resentative in Congress from the Tenth Congressional
District, and served two sessions. In 1853, he was
elected President of Fort Wayne College, which position
he filled with efficiency. In 1854, he was again elected
to Congress, and re-elected in 1856; but death cut short
his career of honor and usefulness. He was a man of
superior mental power, and his intellectual achieve-
ments in his later years, after one-half of his physical
frame was paralyzed, evinced, in a striking manner, the
triumph of mind over matter. He Avas a true Christian,
and whether in the Avork of the ministry, or engaged as
a practicing attorney, or as president of a college, or as
a member of the National Congress, he never laid aside
his character, nor compromised his Christian profession.
In October, 1857, Indiana Conference met in Ncav
Albany, Bishop Morris presiding. At this Conference
George W. Ames Avas entered "withdrawn." He had
been for several years in the ministry, but had not been


especially successful, and, without any avowed change
of opinion, but, perhaps, partly from declining health,
and partly from not being heartily in sympathy with
ministerial work, he withdrew from the connection.
Daniel Curry, who had resigned the presidency of In-
diana Asbury University, was transferred to New York
East Conference. Benjamin F. Crary, who had been
elected President of Hamline University, at Red Wing,
was transferred to Minnesota Conference. Wm. H.
Metts, of the North Indiana Conference, died at Dub-
lin, Indiana, January 20, 1857. He had entered the
ministry in 1853. He was a young man of promise,
and died in the midst of his usefulness.

In 1856, the North Indiana Conference was changed
from a Fall to a Spring Conference — its first Spring
session being held in Marion, April, 1857.

In April, 1858, North Indiana Conference held its
session in Winchester. The other Indiana Conferences
continued to meet in the Fall. The North-west Indiana
Conference met that Fall in Valparaiso. Indiana Con-
ference at Mount Vernon, and South-eastern Indiana
Conference at Columbus. The increase in the member-
ship during the year had been as follows : North In-
diana Conference, 339 ; North-west Indiana Conference,
2,674 ; Indiana Conference, 3,509 ; South-eastern Indi-
ana Conference, 1,599; making a total increase of 8,121.

In the Spring of 1859, North Indiana Conference
held its session at Logansport. At this Conference,
Joseph H. Downey was appointed missionary to India. .
In due time he and his young wife sailed for that dis-
tant mission field. Downey entered with zeal upon his
work, but fell an early victim to the climate. But the
graves of Christian missionaries constitute a bond of
union between Christian and pagan lands that can never


be broken, and enlist the sympathies and efforts of the
Church for the universal subjugation of the world to
Christ. The dying language of Cox, the early mission-
ary to Africa, " Though a thousand fall, let not Africa
be given up," did much toward kindling missionary zeal
in the Churches at home.

South-eastern Indiana Conference met in Indian-
apolis, October, 1859. At this Conference, E. G. Wood,
F. C. Holliday, John W. Locke, and John H. Barth
were elected delegates to the ensuing General Confer-
ence, which was to meet in Buffalo, in May, 1860.

The Indiana Conference held its session in Bloom-
ington, and the delegates elected by the Indiana Confer-
ence were : C. B. Davidson, W. C. Smith, John Kiger,
and Elias H. Sabin. The delegates from North Indi-
ana Conference were : Cyrus Nutt, John B. Birt, Jacob
Colclazer, and Lonson W. Monson. The delegates
from North-west Indiana Conference were : John L.
Smith, Jacob M. Stallard, Richard Hargrave, and James

According to the United States Census Reports for
1860, the churches in Indiana stood as follows :

Baptists — Number of churches, 475; church-sittings, 164,710; value of
church property, $430,510.

Baptist (Tunker) — Number of churches, 27 ; church-sittings, 9,900; value
of church property, $25,350.

Christian — Number of churches, 347; church-sittings, 125,600; value
of property, $270,515.

Congregational — Number of churches, 11; church-sittings, 5,250; value
of property, $42,600.

Dutch Reformed — Number of churches, G; church-sittings, 1,500; value
of property, $7,850.

Episcopal — Number of churches, 29; church-sittings, 10,350; value of
property, $117,800.

Friends — Number of churches, 93; church- sittings, 41,330; value of
property, $111,650.

German Reformed — Number of churches, 9; church-sittings, 3,800;
value of property, $26,600.


Jewish — Number of churclies, 2; members, 450; value of property,

Lutherans — Number of cliurclies, 150; church-sittings, 46,384; value
of property, $237,000.

Moravian — Number of churches, 1 ; church-sittings, 400 ; value of prop-
erty, $3,500.

Presbyterian — Number of churches, 275 ; church-sittings, 104,195; value
of property, $626,435.

Oiimherland Presbyterian — Number of churches, 27; church-sittings,
11,270; value of property, $32,200.

Reformed Presbyterian — Number of churches, 8; church-sittings, 3,150;
value of property, $16,350.

United Presbyterian — Number of churches, 18; church-sittings, 6,650;
value of property, $24,300.

Universalists — Number of churches, 28; church-sittings, 9,130; value
of property, $37,850.

Union — Number of churches, 44; church-sittings, 13,022; value of
property, $35,804.

Poman Catholics — Number of churches, 127; church-sittings, 57,960;
value of property, $665,025.

Methodist — Number of churches, 125; church-sittings, 432,160; value
of property, $1,345,935.

Of the 2,933 churches reported in the state, 1,256
were Methodist churches; and of the $4,065,274 worth
of church property in the state, $1,345,935 were owned
by the Methodists. A pretty good showing for a de-
nomination that has gloried in preaching the Gospel to
the poor, and that had received no foreign aid in the
accumulation of its Church property.

The men who, under God, achieved such success for
Methodism in Indiana, were, many of them, remarkable
men. They were men of large views. They planned
for the future, and out of their scanty means they con-
tributed liberally to build up the institutions of the
Church ; and their example, as well as teaching, encour-
aged liberality on the part of the Church; and while the
Church, as a whole, has, perhaps, failed to come up to the
Bible standard of liberality, yet, Avhen we look at the
property the Methodist Church has literally created in


this comparatively new state, and other annual contribu-
tions for Church purposes, it is evident that the upbraid-
ings it sometimes receives for penuriousness is unmerited.
Prominent among those who laid the foundations of
Methodism in Indiana, and prominent among its most
successful builders, was Allen Wiley. Mr. Wiley was
born January 15, 1789, and came to Indiana Territory
with his parents in 1804, He joined the Church, as a
seeker of religion, in April, 1810, and in the June follow-
ing obtained the evidence of personal acceptance with
God, through faith in Jesus Christ. He was licensed to
preach in 1813, and entered the traveling connection, De-
cember 1, 1816. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop
M'Kendree, in 1818, and an elder by Bishop Roberts, in
1820. He spent eleven years of his ministry in travel-
ing extensive and laborious circuits. He was presiding
elder during fourteen years, and a part of that time his
district extended from the Ohio River to the vicinity of
Lake Michigan, including the present cities of Madison
and Ft. Wayne, and required an amount of energy, sac-
rifice, and toil, of which it is now difficult to conceive.
He spent five years as stationed preacher in our larger
towns. He served as a delegate in the General Confer-
ences of 1832, 1836, 1840, and 1844. He entered the
itinerancy as a married man; he raised and educated a
large family; two of his sons became ministers, and one
a physician. His early education only included the or-
dinary branches of an English education, and yet, by
continuous study, he became a ripe scholar, familiar with
Latin and Greek literature, and a profound theologian.
He was an instructive preacher. His sermons were rich
in thought, and profound in argument. His voice was
heavy and monotonous; and yet, in the days of his vigor,
when presiding elder of his large districts, it was no



uncommon thing for him, at camp-meetings, to hold an
audience of thousands in rapt attention for two hours or
more, while he discussed some grand theme of theology.
Mr. Wiley planned wisely for the Church. He aided in
founding schools ; he organized Bible Societies, and la-
bored to promote total abstinence from all intoxicating
drinks; he assisted in securing eligible sites for churches,
and was one of the founders of Indiana Asbury Univer-
sity. Mr. Wiley owed his great success to his singleness
of purpose, his energy, and untiring industry. He
evinced, perhaps, more statesmanship in his plans than
any of our early preachers. He continued his habits of
study to the close of life. Of him, Hon. R. W. Thomp-
son says : " He was unmatched in all those excellences
of character which fit a man for the society of the angels.
His clear head, sound judgment, great discretion, and ac-.
knowledged wisdom, made him like one of the fathers in
Israel. And these characteristics were exhibited in all
his sermons, which were entirely faultless in style, and
distinguished by commanding ability." Mr. Wiley ended
his earthly career at Vevay, Indiana, on Sabbath, July
23, 1848, in the fifty-ninth year of his age.

As we have noted elsewhere, Indiana Conference was
organized in 1832, being set off from the Illinois Confer-
ence by the General Conference of that year. Its ses-
sions, down to 1850, were held at the following times
and places :

New Albany, October 17, 1832.
Madison, October 16, 1833.
Centerville, October 22, 1834.
Lafayette, October U, 1835.
Indianapolis, October 26, 1836.
New Albany, October 25, 1837.
Rockville, October 17, 1838.
Lawrenceburg, October 23, 1839.
Indianapolis, October 21, 18-10.
Terre Haute, October 6, 1841.

Centerville, October 19, 1842.

Crawfordsville, October 18, 1843.
Bloomington, October 25, 1844.
Madison, October 8, 1815.
Connersville, October 7, 1846.
Evans ville, October 6, 1817.
New Albany, October 4, 1848.
Rising Sun, October 10, 1849.
Jeffersonville, October 9, 1850.
Indianapolis, October 8, 1851.




The following table shows the annual increase in the
ministry and the membership, from the organization of
the Conference, down to the session of 1851, or to the
close of the first half of the present century :





















































































In 1844, the Conference was divided into Indiana and
North Indiana Conferences, by the National Road, which
runs through the center of the state, from east to west.
The following table shows the growth of North Indiana
Conference, from the time of its organization, down to
the session of 1851, that being the last session before the
division of the state into four Conferences :




















From these figures, it appears that the growth of the
Church was constant from 1832 to 1843 ; and that from
1838 to 1848, its increase was truly remarkable. From
1843 to 1847, there was a decrease in both of the Confer-
ences, amounting, in the aggregate, to nearly ten thou-
sand. This was doubtless owing in part to the wonderful
ingatherings of the few preceding years, and the result-
ing diminution of eff"ort on the part of the Church.


The aggregate membership in the state, according to
these figures, including the preachers, was, in 1850,
72,404. In 1860, the membership was 96,965, being an
increase, during the decade, of 24,561



Prosperity of the Church during the Civil War — Increase in Church Prop-
erty — Loyalty of Indiana Methodists — Remarks on the Origin of
the War — Election of Mr. Lincoln — Peace Convention — Significance
of Mr. Lincoln's Election — Bombardment of Fort Sumter — Call for
Vohinteers — Indiana's Response — The Political Value of Methodism
to the Preservation of the National Life — Remark of Chief Justice
Chase — Estimate of Methodist Voters in Indiana — Number of
Methodist Voters in the Loyal States — Moral Compensation of the
War — Retrospective View of the Church — Early Circuits — Location
of the Places of Worship — Church Architecture — The Vested Funds
for Church Purposes in Indiana — Preachers' Aid Societies — Amount
paid for Ministerial Support — Benevolent Contributions — Methodism
and Population — Statistics of African Methodist Episcopal Church —
Methodism among the Germans.

NOTWITHSTANDING the heavy draft made upon
the Church, as well as upon the loyal men of the
country at large, by the terrible rebellion and secession
of the Slave States, and the consequent civil war that
ravaged our country from 1861 until the surrender of the
Confederate armies in 1865, the Church in Indiana con-
tinued to prosper, and the membership arose from 96,-
965 in 1860, to, 113,800 in 1870. And the increase in
Church improvements, such as churches, parsonages, and
school-houses, was even greater than the numerical in-
crease in the membership. Indiana Methodism contrib-
uted largely to the suppression of the rebellion. The
antishivery doctrines of Methodism, that had been re-
ceived without dilution or adulteration by the most of
our people, would naturally array them on the side of the
Government, when the slave power was putting forth all


of its efforts for the overthrow of the Government. Loy-
alty to the civil power, when that power answers the
ends for which government is instituted, is a religious
duty; and there were but foAV Methodist pulpits in Indi-
ana but what enforced that duty. Methodist ministers
entered the army as chaplains, and some of them as offi-
cers and soldiers. The remark of President Lincoln, that
" the Methodist Church sent more soldiers into the field,
more nurses to the hospitals, and more prayers to Heaven
for the preservation of the Union, than any other," was
as true of Indiana Methodism as of that of any portion
of the loyal states. The resort to arms on the part of
the South for the maintenance of slavery, was both un-
wise and uncalled for. True, the growing opjDOsition of
public sentiment in the North to the extension of slavery,
taken in connection with the division of the Democratic
party, which division was brought about by those who
soon became leaders in efforts to divide the Union, in-
sured the election of Mr. Lincoln as a Republican Presi-
dent in 1860, b}^ a plurality 30,000 larger than elected
his predecessor. And in the conservative state of Indi-
ana the vote had changed, from a Republican minority of
46,681 to a majority of 5,923. But, although a Repub-
lican President was constitutionally elected, the judicial
and legislative branches of the Government were in the
opposition, and would have continued so throughout his
term of office, so that no offensive measures could have
passed, and no objectionable Cabinet Ministers be ap-
pointed. Even Congress, declared its willingness to incor-
porate into the Constitution a clause utterly prohibiting
interference with slavery in the states. The loyal States,
and several of the Slave States, that were as yet hesi-
tating to assume open rebellion, and were trembling in the
balance, sent delegates to a Peace Convention, which was


presided over by ex-President Tyler, who had betrayed
the party that elected him, and afterward obscured his
old disgrace by the added crime of treason to his country.
But their efforts were ineffectual. No honorable
concessions could satisfy those who had predetermined
the destruction of the Government. The South under-
stood better than the North — because it had studied the
question more thoroughly — the deep significance of Mr.
Lincoln's election. It was an assurance to them that
a vitalizing and unifying spirit had moved upon the face
of the chaos into which the political parties in the North
had crumbled, and that the power of slavery must break,
or be broken upon, this new creation. It was an assur-
ance to them that the power, which had not only filled
the Presidential chair and courts of law, term after term,
but had underreached and overreached, misconstrued
and misapplied the Constitution, must go no further.
It was an assurance that the proud waves of the bar-
barism of slavery should roll no further; and here their
fury should be stayed. All this was better understood
at the South than in the North. For nearly half a cent-
ury their public men had used every art known to poli-
ticians to bring the public into subjection to an oligarchy.
Society, through the entire social scale, was prepared
for the rebellion, whenever their leaders should say the
word. And immediately on the election of Mr. Lincoln

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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 11 of 27)