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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 14 of 27)
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ety was organized and afterward met. The lecture-room
of this church was dedicated to the service of Almighty
God by the Rev. Thomas Bowman, D. D., President of
Indiana Asbury University, April 22, 1860. On the
16th day of July, 1865, the main audience-room of the
Wall-street Methodist Episcopal Church Avas dedicated
to the service of God, by the Rev. T. M. Eddy, D. D.,
in the use of our beautiful ritual. The Wall-street
Church, true to her traditional loj^nlty to the advice and
counsel of our highest Church authorities, Avith regard to •

12



178 INDIANA METHODISM.

the celebration of the Centenaiy of American Methodism,
labored to carry out the programme as nearly as possible.
It is well known we haA^e no rich men in our Church
here, and yet we think the offering was not to be de-
spised. We here give a statement of the aggregated
amount :

For Centenary Educational Fund $40 00

Garrett Biblical Institute 10 00

Irish Connectional Fund 25 00

Sunday-school Children's Fund 16 00

Indiana Asbury University 1,012 00

Moore's Hill College 147 00

Public Collection 7 25

Total $1,259 25

PRESENT STATISTICS.

Population of Jeffersonville 7,209

Full Members in Wall-street 425

Probationers 75

Port Fulton Population 649

Full Members 72

Probationers 14

NEW ALBANY.

Methodism was organized in New Albany in 1817.
The first church was built in 1818, and dedicated by
Rev. John Schrader. The sacrament of the Lord's-sup-
per was administered, for the first time in New Albanj^,
by E,ev. John Schrader, in 1817. The service was held
in a tavern kept by Mrs. Hannah Ruff. Now the Meth-
odists have the following churches : Wesley Chapel, Cen-
tenary, R-oberts, M'Kendree, and John-street, with an
aggregate membership of over 1,400. De Pauw College,
for young ladies, is an ornament to the city, a credit to
Methodism, and an honor to the large-hearted Christian
gentleman whose name it bears. New Albany Meth-
odism is more expansive at present than at any former
time. She is now establishing three mission churches
in the city — one under the care of Wesley Chapel, to



INDIANA METHODISM. 179

cost $1,200, and two under the care of Centenary
Church. Hon. W. C. De Pauw, to whom the Church is
indebted for numerous liberal donations, has recently
purchased the old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, removed
it to the eastern part of the city, and refitted it, at a
cost of $2,500, including the lot. The Churches give
indications of growing zeal, and a prosperous future.

METHODISM IN RICHMOND AND VICINITY.

BY REV. THOMAS COMSTOCK.

At the treaty of Greenville a large portion of terri-
tory was purchased from the Indians, extending from
the mouth of the Kentucky River (opposite Madison)
to Fort Recovery, now situated in the edge of Ohio,
about midway of the eastern boundary of the state — all
of which territory belonged to Dearborn County, Indiana
Territory. The first settlement in that portion of it
which was afterward Wayne County, began in 1801.

Methodism, " the child of Providence," anticipating
the moral necessities of the people, as well as the per-
manent growth of the country, recognizing the voice
of the living God in the " Go ye into all the world,"
of Jesus, kept pace with the westward march of empire.

Rev. Hugh Cull, a local preacher, born of Roman
Catholic parents in Havre-de-Grace, Maryland, October,
1757, removed, with his father, to the Redstone country,
Pennsylvania, in 1763, and to the place on which Lex-
ington, Kentucky, now stands, in 1777; thence to Henry
County, Kentucky, in 1785, where he married Miss
Rachel Meek, a devoted Methodist girl of sixteen,
through whose consistent Christian life, under Christ, he
WMS brought to feel the need of a Savior, found peace in
believing, and in a few months was licensed to preach.
Feeling the wrongs and oppression of slavery, and



180 INDIANA METHODISM.

having no hope that Kentucky would ever become a
free state, he resolved to go North, and, if possible, either
get beyond the latitude where the institution would be
profitable, or where the moral atmosphere would extir-
pate the evil. In 1804, he entered one hundred and
sixty acres of land four and a half miles south of where
Kichmond now stands ; and, in 1805, moved his family,
consisting of his wife and Patience, her niece, upon it ;
where they all sojourned until, one by one, the Master
called for them.

A few months afterward, he dreamed that a Meth-
odist preacher rode up to his tent ; and, on the follow-
ing day, while he and his wife were picking and burn-
ing brush,, they saw a stranger approaching on horse-
back. Mr.. Cull said to his wife, "Rachel, there's the
preacher;" and throwing down his load of brush, he
made for the stranger, grasped his hand, and inquired
if he was not a Methodist preacher. It was no other
than Rev. Arthur W. Elliott, who had heard that there
was a settlement forming somewhere in the upper White-
water country, and had come across from Hamilton,
Ohio, through the woods, without a road, to spy out the
country for Christ. Though they were strangers in the
flesh, the meeting was not unlike that of Jonathan and
David. Providentially, Mr. Elliott was directed through
the wilderness to a Methodist family singularl}^ prepared
by the Lord to receive him, whose expectation being
that of the righteous, could not perish. He was wel-
come to their hospitalities, and invited to share a place
in their earthly mansion, which never lacked room and
other accommodations for a servant of God, though it
was only six feet high, covered with bark, without
window or floor, Brussels carpet, or even a split-bot-
tomed chair, or any other furnishing or furniture, which



INDIANA METHODISM. 181

*'she that layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands
hold the distaff," or the woodman with his ax, had not
made, with only three sides, sugar-camp like, having an
open front; yet it contained all the essentials of an
earthly paradise, made and fashioned after the pattern
of the heavenlj^, " the light of the world " shining into
it, being filled with the love of Christ in the hearts
of its possessors. Mr. Cull, after providing for his guest
and weary creature, hastened over the settlement and
announced the " glad tidings " of preaching at his house
on the next day. His neighbors came from several
miles around, to the number of twelve or fifteen, and
listened to the first sermon ever preached in that region
of country. After preaching, there being no class to
lead, and believing in sowing with one hand and reaping
with the other, he proceeded, in apostolical, Methodistic
style, to organize a Church out of the handful of hearers.
The invitation was given, and six persons came forward,
and were formed into a Church-class, with Mr. Cull as
their leader. They were. Rev. Hugh and Mrs. Rachel
Cull, Peter and Mrs. Martha Weaver, Jacob and Mrs.
Nellie Meek; and afterward met regularly for preach-
ing, class and prayer meetings, at Mr. Cull's.

The new society, thus formed, was fVivored with
regular preaching, at rather long intervals, if judged
by the present, from Mr. Elliott, during his stay on the
circuit, in which Hamilton, Ohio, was situated. The
next year Mr. Cull was apprised of the time when the
new preacher would be at Hamilton, and, fearing that
he could not readily find his wa}^ to the new appoint-
ment, met him there, and conducted him to his cabin
home. Mr. Cull, from the organization of the class,
preached also regularly, in his own house and at other
places.



182 INDIANA METHODISM.

In 1807, Whitewater Circuit was formed, with Eev.
Thomas Heliums as preacher; but, as far as can be ascer-
tained, he confined his labors to the southern part of the
strip of territory, where he was quite successful, and
reported, at the close of the year, sixty-seven members.

In 1808, Rev. Joseph Williams was appointed to the
Whitewater Circuit, and took in the class at Mr. Cull's,
which was given up by the Ohio preachers on his
coming to the circuit. Circuit preaching was kept up
at Mr. Cull's for nineteen years, from 1805 to 1824,
when it was removed to the house of James P. Burgess,
afterward a local preacher, about a mile north, where
it was continued until 1848, Avhen a neat, commodious
brick church was erected in the neighborhood. Mr.
Cull, in speaking of Mr. Elliott's first coming, said to
a friend: "Uncle Jim, you don't know how my soul
jumped ; for as far as I could see him coming through
the woods, I knew he was a preacher."

Father Cull, as he was called in later life, was a de-
voted disciple of Christ, and traveled somewhat exten-
sively as a local preacher, sometimes supplying the place
of the itinerant for a round, or a part of the year. He
was acceptable wherever he went, and was known as the
weeping preacher. At Concord camp-meeting he was to
preach at 9 o'clock A. M,, on Sabbath. After singing
and prayer, he announced for his text Job xix, 25,
and commenced to read it. "' I know," and then said,
"Glory!" Repeating, "I know," he said, in a louder
tone, " Glory !" Again repeating " I know," he shouted,
at the top of his voice, "Glory, glory, glory!" and,
covering his face with both hands, wept like a child.
The presiding elder. Rev. Robert Burns, asked him if
he should read the text, to which he assented. He
then introduced his subject by saying that, "Job was



INDIANA METHODISM. 183

no Cumpbellite — glory! — for he knew — glory! — that his
Redeemer lived — glory!" and preached a melting ser-
mon to a weeping congregation.

In view of his stern integrity, ability, and moral up-
rightness, clearly discerning the evils of slavery, he was
elected to the Constitutional Convention, in 1816, which
place he filled wdth true Christian dignity, and to the
honor and satisfaction of his constituents.

He continued to preach within a year of his death,
and fell asleep in Jesus — whispering the oft-repeated
words, "Glory, glory, glory!" — August 30, 1862, "in a
good old age, an old man, and full of years," aged one
hundred and four years and ten months, in the sixty-
fifth year of his ministry; and was buried in the Meth-
odist Episcopal Church-yard, where a most beautiful
marble monument marks the resting-place of himself,
wife, and niece.

The Lord graciously honored the members of this
first Methodist class with a good old age, and peaceful,
if not triumphant, death. Mrs. Weaver was the only
one that died comparatively young, being about fifty-five,
Avhile Mrs. Meek and Mrs. Cull bordered on ninety.
Mr. Weaver was in his ninety-seventh year, and Mr.
Meek was nearing his ninety-ninth birthday. They
were permitted to look far down the stream of life, and
share in the triumphs of many a long and hard-fought
battle.

During Rev. Mr. Williams's conference year, in 1808,
Meek's Meeting-house was built, about four miles south-
west from Richmond, and was among the first in Indiana.
The total membership, from the Ohio River north, on the
eastern boundary of Indiana Territory, to a few miles,
above where Richmond is located, was one hundred, and)
sixty-five whites and one colored.



184 INDIANA METHODISM.

In 1810, a camp-meeting was held near Meek's Meet-
ing-house, John Sale, Presiding Elder ; Thomas Nelson
and Samuel H. Thompson, preachers on the circuit, which
was one of the first, if not the first, ever held in Indiana.

In 1819, James P. Burgess, seeing the growing evils
of intemperance, wrote a temperance pledge, signed it
himself, and solicited his neighbors to do likewise. Its
provisions would be somewhat novel in these days of tee-
totalism, when we have learned better how to treat the
wily foe, and were as follows :

1. Beer was not considered intoxicating, hence not
mentioned.

2. Wine, rum, gin, brandy, and all other foreign li-
quors, were left out of the schedule of prohibited drinks,
because they cost money ; and there being so little of
that commodity in the country, there was little danger of
becoming intoxicated on beverages so costly.

3. The only prohibited article was whisJcy, and of that
they were at liberty to take a dram every morning.

It created quite a stir in the neighborhood, and many
saw that, in signing the pledge, their social and national
liberties would not only be abridged but jeopardized;
and others refused because there was no exception in
harvest ; so that, between the two, only a few pledged
"^themselves to total ahstinence.

The work enlarged, and from the small beginning of
the local preacher, with a class of five other members,
in 1805, we see the meeting-house erected in 1808 ; the
•camp-meeting in 1810, where the multitudes worshiped
in the temple not made with hands; the temperance
•movement, inaugurated in 1819, but as yet no gathering
•of the children and adults into the Sunday-school. This
was not long to continue. In 1822, an itinerant Sunday-
; school, or rather, Bible-class, was formed (it being exclu-



INDIANA METHODISM. 185

sively for adults) in the neighborhood of Mr. Cull's, by
Rev. James Martin, a Baptist minister, and James P.
Burgess, the latter being superintendent. It continued
only a part of the Summer. In 1825, J. P. Burgess or-
ganized a regular Sunday-school for adults, and children
that could read in the New Testament ; which was not
only the first Methodist Sunday-school in that region, but
the first real Sunday-school of which children formed a
part. It was organized in a school-house, two and one-
half miles south of Richmond. People came to this
Sunday-school, on pleasant days, from eight to ten miles
around, and from Ohio. They often had to take the
benches out of the school-house, and place them on either
side of some logs near by, when the superintendent
Avould open the school by singing out of the Church
hymn-book, and praying. After that, there being no in-
fant classes, all were put into one class, with the super-
intendent as the only teacher. They read sometimes
one, two, or three chapters, and closed with singing and
prayer.

The organization of the first class and Church, and
other unpublished facts stated in the foregoing, were re-
ceived personally from Rev. James P. Burgess and wife,
who were married fifty years ago, and are living on the
old homestead which her father, Jacob Meek, entered,
who was one of the members of the first class, she being
then (in 1805) only three years old. A sister, seven
years older, also corroborates the above statements.

We have thus casually noticed the beginnings of
Methodism in Wayne County, and now turn our attention
especially to the cause in Richmond.

In 1806, Andrew Hoover, John Smith, and Jeremiah
Cox, members of the Society of Friends, having emi-
grated from North Carolina a few years before, with some



186 INDIANA METHODISM.

others, who were chiefly Friends, settled permanently in
the immediate vicinity where Richmond is located, and
John Smith entered the land south of Main Street. A
number of wealthy families having settled within a few
miles, they formed a nucleus for a Quaker settlement.
Emigration set in rapidly, and it was but a short time
until the country was, what was then termed, filled with
the friends of peace. With increased emigration, and
the rapid improvement of the country, a Quaker town
was a necessity. Hence, in 1816, John Smith and Jer-
emiah Cox laid off the village of Richmond, which grew
rapidly for those days, and soon became, what it contin-
ues to be, the largest town or city in that part of the
state.

From 1805, when the first Methodist Church organi-
zation was effected, until 1822, there had been regular
Methodist preaching in Wayne County, and the member-
ship had been many times multiplied at compound rates ;
but as yet no special effort had been made to introduce
Methodism into Richmond. Indeed, the ground seemed
to be so preoccupied by the Friends, that there was but
little left uncultivated, and that little was so completely
under their influence, that it seemed almost impossible to
get a foot-hold.

Another reason why special efforts had not been made
before, was the Macedonian cry that was heard from
"the region beyond," calling for laborers, where there
were no Church privileges, and among many families who
were without, and never had, a copy of the Bible. The
voice of the Master was, " Go ye into all the world,"
which had been paraphrased and incorporated in their
Book of Discipline thus : " Go always, not only to those
that want you, but to those that want you most." Be-
lieving that Methodism, in its essential principles, was to



INDIANA METHODISM. 187

take the world for Jesus, and the surrounding country
having been faithfully cultivated, Rev. Russel Bigelow,
in 1822, introduced it into Richmond. The opposition
was intense, the Friends considering that any of their
families would be disgraced by attending Methodist meet-
ing; others participated in kindred feelings, and there
being no Methodist families in the place, no private house
could be obtained in which to hold services. There re-
mained only one chance, which was, to get the school-
house. After considerable delay, with great reluctance,
permission was granted to occupy the little school-house,
where, in a short time, a class of seven members was or-
ganized, composed of George Smith, Sarah Smith, Mary
B. Smith, Rachel S. Smith, Stephen Thomas, Margaret
Thomas, and the Widow Pierson, of which George Smith
was the leader. The opposition to the work of the Lord
through the Methodists, from the Friends and infidels,
became so powerful that, in a little while, they were pro-
hibited from using the school-house, when, for a short
time, they occupied the house of Mrs. Pierson, until she
left Richmond; and then, there being no other place
which could be obtained, preaching, as well as other
Methodist meetings, were discontinued for the time being.

The spirit of vital Christianity could not long endure
the restrictions placed upon it by its erring friends, or
avowed enemies. Hence, during the conference year
of 1825, under the leadership of Rev. James Havens,
the residence of Isaac Jackson was secured for Church
services, preaching was resumed, another class organized,
and services have continued without interruption to the
present.

On the reorganization of the class, and the re-estab-
lishing of regular preaching, hostilities commenced anew
against what many were pleased to call " a hireling niin-



188 INDIANA METHODISM.

istry" and a "shouting membership." But the Lord
owned and blessed the labors of his servants to such
an extent that in 1828 they were able to sustain a two-
daj^s' meeting. The influence of Methodism on the
morals of the people in the surrounding country had
been such as by this time to allay somewhat the intense
opposition of a few of the more liberal-minded Friends,
as well as others, and permission was obtained to hold
the two-days' meeting, and to continue regular services,
in the brick school-house. He v. S. H. Beggs was on the
circuit, and the meeting was a glorious success for the
cause of Christ, such as had never before been witnessed
by the Bichmondites; but which, through the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ, was to be repeated time and
again, until there should be a shaking among the dry
bones of a dead, formal Church, as well as among the
open adversaries of a Bible Christianity. The more the
Lord manifested his power in saving souls, the more
intense w^as the opposition, especially from infidels and
Hicksite Friends — the Friends' Society having divided
in 1827 — with but few exceptions even among the
orthodox Friends. Infidelity and the world united, on
the one hand, with a formal Christianity on the other, as
a bulwark, behind which the former could take refuge,
marshaled such a combination of forces as to be almost
irresistible. These forces were publicly and privately
brought to bear on the occupation of the school-house by
the Methodists, who were the first among the Churches
to invade the quiet of Quakerism by seeking to establish
themselves in their midst. And they were again left
without a home. Truthfully they could say: "We are
troubled on every side, yet not distressed ; we are per-
plexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not for-
saken; cast down [out], but not destroyed." Nothing



INDIANA METHODISM. 189

daunted, with prayerful hearts the}^ took the case to the
Lord ; and a buihling, not very suitable, was obtained
from James Henry, which was made to answer the pur-
pose, until it became too small for a ftimily of one of the
tribes of Israel to inhabit.

Necessity was upon them. They could not expect
any favors from the authorities, neither were they dis-
posed to ask any, having been so summarily dealt with
on former occasions. Hence they determined to build
a house of their own for the Lord. They secured the
lot on which Pearl-street Methodist Episcopal Church
now stands, and proceeded at once to erect a frame
church, with stone basement in the rear, which, after
subscribing and re-subscribing on the part of all the
members, and the few friends who were favorably dis-
posed, they succeeded in finishing so far that the}''
could occupy it for a two-days' meeting ; and these were
the only dedicatory exercises for the first church built
in Richmond, aside from the Friends.

This was in 1831, and Revs. Asa Beck and Richard
S. Robinson were on the circuit. The latter was the
junior preacher, and it fell to his lot to be at Richmond
and carry on the services, with the help of local breth-
ren, who were always on hand at such special occasions.
Arrangements had been made Avith Rev. Mr. Baughman
to come over from Eaton and assist. The opposers
of Methodism in Richmond had not forgotten the former
two-days' meeting, held in the brick school-house, when
the truth preached as it was in Christ, became as fiery
bomb-shells, disturbing the quiet, formal worshiper, sit-
ting " at ease in Zion," as well as waking up the sinner,
sleeping in his sins on the verge of perdition ; and they
resolved, if possible, to prevent the like occurrence ; but
had to devise other means than formerly, as they had



190 INDIANA METHODISM.

no power to close the doors of those who worshiped
"under their own vine and fig-tree." As Mr. Baugh-
man Avas to come from Eaton, Ohio, it was currently
reported by a few leading infidels, then heralded by
others throughout the community, that " the small-pox
was raging there," and that it would be at the risk of in-
troducing that loathsome disease should he be permitted
to come. A "Board of Health" was hastily appointed,
in view of two such fearful visitations as the small-pox
and a 3Iet]iodist two-days meeting ; and the families who
were expected to entertain guests coming from a dis-
tance were informed of the sad state of affairs, while the
road from Eaton to Richmond was duly guarded. These
reports were rife throughout the town ; and on Satur-
day morning, with sad hearts, the few Methodists of
Richmond met those from the country, who came to
attend the meeting at the new church, and talked over
the situation. Mr. Robinson, nothing daunted, preached
in the morning and evening, with extraordinary unction
from on high, and held the love-feast Sabbath morning,
expecting to preach the morning sermon, when, to the
surprise of all, Mr. Baughman made his appearance.
The effect was electrical, and went like wild-fire through
the community. Satan outdid himself, " the wrath of
man " was made to praise God ; for the house was soon
filled with friend and foe to overflowing, regardless of
small-pox, Methodist meeting, or any thing else; and the
power of God was revealed, while his servant preached,
" with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven," on
Isaiah liii, 1: "Who hath believed our report, and to
whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" The gates
of infidelity were carried away; a Samson had taken
hold of its " middle pillars," while the children of God
wept and "rejoiced with exceeding great joy." The



INDIANA METHODISM. 191

masterly effort in the morning brought the crowd to
hear the Gospel message at night, when both the power
and glory of God were manifested in the conviction and
conversion of souls, resulting, at the close of the meet-
ing on Monday, in the accession of thirty-two members
to the Methodist Episcopal Church, most of whom had
been converted during the meeting. The meeting, with
its glorious results, created a great commotion among
the infidel portion of community and the staid Friends,
who thought the work was too speedily accomplished to


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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 14 of 27)