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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 15 of 27)
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be from God, or to be countenanced by his people. The
latter have since learned, by a better acquaintance with
Methodists and their usages, and the teachings of the
Gospel, the truth taught by the Master, "Other sheep
I have, which are not of this fold," and rejoice in the
prosperity of Zion among the other formerly unrecog-
nized tribes of Israel.

The most determined, yet not exclusive, opposition
to Methodism, during these years of struggle for a bare
existence in Richmond, was from infidels and Hicksite
Friends, or those sympathizing with their views — the
latter being only a stepping-stone to the former, while
both united in rejecting the atonement, with all the
essential principles growing out of and clustering around
the same. The Sabbath, never very sacredly guarded,
even by the old or orthodox Friends, fared badly at the
hands of the Hicksites, as may be seen from the follow-
ing incident : Mr. C, a Methodist, settled in their midst,
and, desiring to raise his family to have due respect for
the Sabbath, he was troubled on account of his Hicksite
Friends hauling saw-logs through his place on the Sab-
bath. After praying over the matter, and reflecting
upon it, he said to his neighbors that he wanted to live
peaceably among them, but if they continued to haul



192 INDIANA METHODISM.

logs through his land on that day, he would feel under
the necessity of reporting them to the proper author-
ities. They responded : "We also want to live peace-
ably, and on friendly terms with thee; and if it is
against thy principles that work should be done on the
First Day, we will desist hauling logs through thy place
on that day; but thee must remember that we do so, not
because we regard the day, but because it is annoying
to thee."

To return to our subject. The second two-days'
meeting in its own house was the crossing of the Ru-
bicon for Methodism in Richmond, from which it never
went back. It was to it the day of Pentecost — to be
repeated until, by the power of God, it stood head and
shoulders above its enemies, who were compelled ever
afterward, though in heart they despised it, to have
some respect for it, by recognizing it as a power for
good in the community, and according it at least an ex-
istence. In the same year (1831) the first Sabbath-
school ever organized in Richmond was organized by
the Methodists in their own church. The Orthodox
Friends followed with a Bible-class, which they termed
a Sunday-school, in 1832 — afterward taking the regular
form of a Sunday-school.

By the blessing of God, Methodism grew and waxed
strong in the (?m) friendly soil of Richmond, until the
frame church must give way to something better, larger,
and more durable. In 1851, a new brick building was
erected, on the same ground, superior to any other in the
city, and one among the largest and finest churches then
in the state ; with stone basement for Sunday-school and
class-rooms, over which was a fine audience-room — all of
which were tastefully finished.

The vine of Methodism had taken such deep root.



INDIANA METHODISM. 193

and its leaven had so permeated community, that its spa-
cious building was not sufficient to accommodate all who
desired at least to be under its influence in the services
of the sanctuary. This, with the growth of the city, and
the somewhat diversity of tastes, led to the withdrawal
of forty-two members from Pearl Street, and the forma-
tion of a second Methodist charge. They purchased
Star Hall, on Main Street ; had it refitted, and took the
name of Union Chapel, in September, 1858. The chapel
was dedicated by Dr. D. W. Clark, in October, and in the
latter part of the month Rev. J. V. U. Miller, a transfer
from the South-eastern Indiana Conference, Avas with
them as their first preacher.

The new charge, composed of a few leading men, as
William G. Scott, Isaac D. Dunn, A. A. Curme, William
Bayless, G. Price, Douay M. M'Means, and others, went
to work in earnest for their Master. Some of them
being Eastern people, they adopted their own peculiari-
ties, and had their church-pewed family sittings, and in-
strumental music.

From the number of members in Pearl Street, and
their devotion to Christ, they were able to move on with-
out embarrassment, and soon filled up the places of those
Avho, though they had gone out from them, yet were one
with them in cultivating the vinej^ard of the Master.

The vine planted by the Lord in Union Chapel, so
grew in devotion to God, numbers, and wealth, that in
the Spring of 1867, they proceeded to erect a new church
building, called Grace Church, on the corner of Seventh
Street and Broadway, in the heart of the finest part of
the city, which was duly finished, and dedicated to the
worship of Almighty God, near the close of 1869.
When completed, it was not only the most conveniently
arranged, with basement and audience-room, and the^

13



194 INDIANA METHODISM.

finest church in the city, but was excelled only by a few
in the state.

During this time, prosperity had also attended the
old hive at Pearl Street, and their numbers had so in-
creased that a portion of her members were contemplat-
ing a new swarm, out of which to make a third charge.
At this juncture, a discussion arose in reference to instru-
mental music being introduced into the congregation,
which had already been introduced into the Sunday-
school. It was eventually brought in, and some who op-
posed it took exceptions, not so much to the music as to
the manner in which it was voted in, being by the trust-
ees, instead of leaving it to the A^ote of the entire mem-
bership. Consequently, David Sands, Barton Wyatt, D.
D. Lesh, Rev. George W. Iliff, William Gersuch, James
Hamilton, William Byers, and thirty-six others, withdrew
from Pearl Street, in 1867, and were formed into a new
charge, called Third Charge. Their organization being
completed, they secured the German Methodist Episcopal
Church building to worship in, and Rev. George W. Iliff
was sent to the session of North Indiana Conference, at
Anderson, in April, 1867, to request the appointment of
a minister. Rev. J. C. R. Layton was appointed, came
on to the work in good spirits, labored faithfully for a
time, then became discouraged, in view of opposition to
the cause, and the unsettled financial condition of the
charge, and resigned at the close of six months. Rev. P.
Carland, a member of the South-eastern Indiana Confer-
ence, who had been in the service of the country, had just
returned; and desiring to be transferred to North Indiana
Conference, was appointed pastor, and remained as such
for six months, until the conference in 1868. During the
fore part of the session of this conference, David Sands
and Barton Wyatt bought Union Chapel, the Third



INDIANA METHODISM. 195

Charge having been notified that they could only occupy
the German Methodist Episcopal Church a few months
longer; and Mr. Sands appeared at the seat of Confer-
ence, greatly encouraged, to make known the fact, and
ask for the continuance of the charge, under the name of
Central, it occupying a central position on Main Street.
Rev. C. W. Miller was appointed pastor, and during his
second year, in view of pewing Grace Church, seventy-
seven members, a number of whom were earnest work-
ers, withdrew because the trustees would not leave the
question to the vote of the entire membership, and united
with Central, thus making it almost equal to Grace
Church in numbers, and equal to either in a devoted, ear-
nest, working membership. The three charges in Rich-
mond are in a prosperous condition, steadily progressing,
each containing an active, devoted membership, with
faithful pastors leading on the hosts of Israel.

From the little band of seven members, in 1822, with
staff in hand, sojourning from house to house, sometimes
without any home (until 1831), with the enemy pressing
hard from all quarters to destroy, Methodism, under the
guidance of the " Captain of Salvation," steadily pro-
gressed, surmounting, difficulties of almost every kind,
until — changing the words but little — her votaries may
say, with Jacob (Genesis, xxxii, 10) : "We are not worthy
of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which
thou hast showed unto thy servants ; for with our staff
we passed over into the city, and now we are become
three bands," numbering over eight hundred communi-
cants, with three Sabbath-schools, numbering nearly one
thousand attendants, well organized, with energetic offi-
cers and an efficient corps of teachers, — all worshiping
God under their " own vine and fig-tree," with a Church
property worth over seventy thousand dollars.



196 INDIANA METHODISM.

Methodism, as represented by the Methodist Episco-
pal Church, leaving out the other two organizations, has
not only kept pace with the material growth and numer-
ical population of the city, and other Churches, but has
surpassed both city and Churches. With a city of less
than ten thousand census inhabitants, over one-twelfth of
them are in the yearly census of the Methodist Episco-
pal Church, and over one-eleventh of her population are
members of her Sunday-school organizations, all of
which, meeting at the same hour, none of them are du-
plicated in the enumeration. Behold, "what hath God
wrought!"

INDIANAPOLIS.

Indianapolis Circuit was organized by Rev. William
Cravens in the Fall of 1821, he having received his
appointment from the Missouri Conference, at its session
in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in October, 1821; Samuel
Hamilton being the presiding elder. There is no record
of the metes and bounds of the circuit as it was or-
ganized by Cravens, but it included all the settlements
in Central Indiana. He was succeeded, in the Fall of
1822, by James Scott; and, in the Fall of 1823, Jesse
Haile and George Horn were appointed to Indianapolis
Circuit. The circuit then extended east to the Ohio
Conference boundary, which was a line due north from
the city of Madison. Greensburg, in Decatur County,
and the settlements on Flat Rock and Blue River, from
the vicinity of Columbus as far north as any settlements
extended, were all in Indianapolis Circuit, and also the
settlements on Fall Creek and White River.

Rev. Joseph Cotton, of South-eastern Indiana Con-
ference, who was raised on Blue River, in the northern
part of Shelby County, and whose parents were Bap-
tists, attributes the fact of his being a Methodist to a



INDIANA METHODISM. 197

visit of Jesse Haile's to his father's house in 1824, when
he was a small boy. Mr. Haile came across his other's
cabin in the woods one forenoon. His father was out in
the clearing. Haile entered into conversation with his
mother on the subject of religion ; inquired if they were
religious, and if there was any preaching in the neigh-
borhood. Mrs. Cotton informed him that she was a
member of the Baptist Church, but that her husband
was not a professor of religion. She proposed to blow
the horn and call her husband to the house; but the
preacher objected, saying he did not wish to call him
from his work, but if the little boy would go with him
to the clearing, he would go out and see him. Accord-
ingly, little Joseph accompanied the preacher out to the
clearing, and the preacher talked to him so kindly and
tenderly, explaining to him how to be good, that he felt
to love him. Finding Mr. Cotton engaged in chopping
up a tree-top, instead of asking him to sit down and talk
with him, the preacher picked up and piled the brush,
while Mr. Cotton cut it off; meanwhile telling him who
he was, and talking to him about personal religion, until
the horn blew for dinner, when of course the preacher
was invited to dinner ; and, as a matter of course, before
dinner, was presented with the whisky-bottle; and his
refusal to take a dram nearly broke the friendship so
suddenly formed. Kindly, but firmly, the preacher de-
clined the bottle. He asked a blessing at the table;
the first that young Cotton had ever heard. After
dinner he asked for a Bible, read a chapter, giving a
brief commentary upon it as he read ; making it a sort
of family sermon. He then prayed with them, and for
each member of the family; and when he bade them
farewell, he left his blessing with them, and, putting his
hand on the head of little Joseph, said, " God bless you,



198 INDIANA METHODISM.

and may you be a good boy and a good man." That
visit made a Methodist of the little boy, who has for
many years been an efficient minis ter, although his
father's family, and all his relations, continued to be
Baptists.

The first place of worship in Indianapolis was a log-
house; used, also, as a school-house, and situated on
Maryland, between Meridian and Illinois Streets. In the
Fall of 1824, John Miller was appointed to Indianapolis
Circuit.

The first society that was organized in Indianapolis
was composed of the following members : Robert Bren-
ton, Sarah Brenton, Mary Brenton, James Given, Mar-
garet Given, Mrs. Dan. Stevens, and Elizabeth Paxton.
Mr. Brenton was the class-leader. He was also a
licensed exhorter, a man of character and ability. He
was the father of Rev. and Hon. Samuel Brenton, whose
character and services are elsewhere noticed. This
society was organized in 1821, by Rev. William Cra-
vens. The first Gospel sermon ever preached in Indian-
apolis was preached by Rev. Rezin Hammond, a local
preacher from Clarke County. It was preached under a
Walnut-tree, just south of the state-house. The first
Sunday-school was a Union School, organized in 1822,
and conducted in a cabinet-maker's shop, owned by Mr.
Scudder, situated on Washington Street, opposite the
state-house. The teachers were, Mr. Scudder, James
M. Ray, J. N. Phipps, John Wilkins, Samuel Brenton,
C. J. Hand, Samuel Merrell, Lismond Bassey, Elizabeth
Paxton, and Margaret Given. The school was divided
in 1825, and the Methodists organized theirs in their
place of worship. Wesley Chapel was built in 1826, on
the corner of Meridian and Circle Streets, where the
Sentinel building now is. It was taken down, and a



INDIANA METHODISM. 199

larger church erected in 1845, which continued to be
occupied until 1870, when it was sold, and the present
stone church erected, on the corner of Meridian and
New York Streets ; and the charge has taken the name
of Meridian-street Church.

At the session of the Indiana Conference in Center-
ville, in 1842, the Church in Indianapolis was divided
into two charges. The second charge was organized in
the court-house, and had John S. Bayless for its first
pastor. The charges were designated as Western and
Eastern, and were divided by Meridian Street. L. W.
Berry was pastor of the Western charge, and John S.
Bayless of the Eastern. Asbury Church, situated on
New Jersey Street, near South Street, was the third
charge. Strange Chapel, whose history has been a re-
markably strange one, was the fourth charge. For some
years it was a part of West Indianapolis Circuit. The
church stood on the west side of the canal. It was
finally made a separate charge, the church building
moved on to North Tennessee Street, refitted, and a
comfortable parsonage built on the same lot with the
church. In 1869, the church and parsonage were sold,
and a larger brick church built on the corner of Tennes-
see and Michigan Streets. This church was consumed
by fire in 1871; and with that conflagration ends the
name and legal existence of Strange Chapel. In 1870,
Indiana Conference appointed Rev. L. M. Walters to
that charge. A majority of the Church declined to re-
ceive him as their pastor. The Church authorities fail-
ing to interfere for their relief, and make any change,
they organized themselves into an independent, or con-
gregational Church, rented the Universalist church build-
ing, just across the street, and called Rev. J. W. T..
M'Mullen as their pastor, who served them for a few



200 INDIANA METHODISM.

months; but not being willing to sever his connection
with the Methodist Episcopal Church, he declined to re-
main. The most of them resumed their places in the
Methodist Episcopal Church ; attaching themselves to
such charges as suited their convenience. Those who
accepted Mr. Walters as their pastor, having obtained a
part of the value of the Strange Chapel property that
was consumed by fire, purchased an eligible site on the
corner of California and North Streets, and have erected
a good church; the new organization taking the name
of California-street Church. The other charges have
been organized in the following order : Trinity, Third-
street, Ames, Grace, Massachusetts-avenue.

Grace was organized by a division of Roberts Chapel,
in 1869. Massachusetts-avenue Church was organized
in 1870, and was composed chiefly of members from the
United Brethren in Christ, who were dissatisfied with the
action of their Church in prohibiting their members from
belonging to secret societies, as Masons, Odd-fellows,
and Sons of Temperance. Rev. A. Han way, their first
pastor, also came from the United Brethren. The charge
has been continuously prosperous since its organization.
They have built them a neat frame church, and have a
Avell-organized Church and Sabbath-school.

The German Methodist Church was organized about
1850. John B. Stump, Austin W. Morris, William Han-
naman, Henry Tutewiler, and another German brother,
constituted the first Board of Trustees. They built a
small, one-story brick church on East Ohio, between New
■ Jersey and East Streets, which was subsequently en-
larged ; and in 1870, was superseded by the present spa-
• cious and elegant church on the corner of East and
New York Streets. Including two Colored Methodist
'Churches, there are, in Indianapolis, twelve self-sustaining



INDIANA METHODISM. 201

charges, with a membership of 3,200, a Church prop-
erty worth $283,785, and 4,000 Sabbath-school scholars.

Of the first society that was organized in Indianapo-
lis, there are but two survivors : Isaac N. Phipps and
Elizabeth Paxton, both of whom have been useful and
active members in the Church since their first connection
with it. Colonel Paxton — the husband of Mrs. Paxton —
who has been dead for many years, donated the lot on
which the Wesley Chapel parsonage was built, and left a
legacy for the support of superannuated preachers, and
the widows and orphans of deceased preachers, which
formed the foundation of the Preachers' Aid Society of
the Indiana Conference, which, in the course of time,
became the foundation of similar societies in each of the
Indiana conferences, and has been the means of accom-
plishing a large amount of good, and of preventing un-
told suffering. Mrs. Paxton has abounded in good works
all through her life. She has been an active worker in
the City Bible Society, the City Benevolent Society, and
all of our public charities have been benefited by her
contributions and her personal efforts. I. N. Phipps con-
tinues an active steward in the Church.

Margaret Given was a truly remarkable woman. She
was the first President of the Indianapolis Female Bible
Society, and continued to hold the office and efficiently
discharge its duties till the day of her death, extending
through a period of nearly fifty years. She had a re-
markably clear and vigorous intellect, and a capacity for
business that many a statesman might covet. She was
always busy and ahvays cheerful, giving most of her time
to the public, and when nearly eighty years of age would
do more walking, uncomplainingly, than most young
women of twenty.

John Wilkins, who joined the first class, not long



202 INDIANA METHODISM.

after its organization, lived to a good old age, and was
all through life a model man, " diligent in business, fer-
vent in spirit, serving the Lord." He was liberal to the
Church and the poor, and a generous patron of education,
being, for a number of years, one of the trustees of In-
diana Asbury University.

Among the " elect ladies" that have been ornaments
to Methodism in Indianapolis, and who have gone to their
reward, are the names of Margaret Given, Mrs. Alfred
Harrison, and Mrs. Richmond, the latter of whom, like
Mrs. Given, was for many years a widow. Mrs. Rich-
mond was a woman of strong faith. She was gifted in
prayer and conversation. She was a very active Chris-
tian, a lady of agreeable manners, and her consistent
piety gave her great influence in society. Mrs. Harrison
was less prominent in spiritual matters, but equally use-
ful in the community. She abounded in good works.
She gave liberally and constantly to the relief of the
needy around her. She gave much time and attention,
and contributed freely, to the founding and building up
of the Orphan Asylum, in our city. These ladies left the
savor of a good name, and their instructive example is
not lost upon those that have come after them; for in no
community, of the same numbers, can there be found a
larger number of equally active, intelligent, and earnest
female workers, in all appropriate departments of Chris-
tian work. Indianapolis is eminently fortunate in this
respect.

Among the early and faithful workers in the Sunday-
school cause in Indianapolis, is the name of Calvin
Fletcher, Esq. Mr. Fletcher was among the early set-
tlers in Indianapolis. He was a remarkably industri-
ous and energetic man, accumulated a large property,
raised a large and most estimable family, several of whom



INDIANA METHODISM. 203

are widely known. One of his sons, Rev. James C.
Fletcher, is the author of the " History of Brazil." Rev.
E. T. Fletcher, for a number of years, occupied a front
rank among eloquent preachers in the Methodist Episco-
pal Church. Prof. M. I. Fletcher, who was Superinten-
dent of Public Instruction for the State at the time of his
death, was a gifted and accomplished man. Dr. W. B.
Fletcher ranks high as a skillful and accomplished phy-
sician ; and the other sons are distinguished in their vo-
cations, as bankers, farmers, etc. Notwithstanding Mr.
Fletcher's numerous and pressing engagements, he be-
stowed great attention upon the culture of his family,
and gave nuich time to the Church, especially to the Sun-
day-school cause.

Rev. Joseph Marsee, a superannuated member of
South-eastern Indiana Conference, who entered the minis-
try in Kentucky, in 1826, came to Indiana in 1840, set-
tled in^ Indianapolis, was superannuated in 1858, and
died January 20, 1872. He was for many years an
efficient preacher. After his superannuation, he was
successful in business, and was an example of liberality.
He was a grand specimen of a useful, happy Christian,
whose evening of life was as rich in heavenly radiance
as an autumnal sunset.

Among the early settlers in Indianapolis was Morris
Morris, who removed from Kentucky to the vicinity of
Indianapolis in 1821. Mr. Morris served several terms
in the Legislature, and two terms as Auditor of State.
His son, Hon. Austin W. Morris, was for a number of years
a leading politician of the Whig school, and an eminently
useful man in the Church. Father Morris and his esti-
mable wife, and Austin Morris, some years since, Avere
gathered to their heavenly home ; but their names are
familiar as household words in Methodist circles, and



204 INDIANA METHODISM,

their memories are gratefully cherished by those who
knew them. General T. A. Morris, a son of Morris
Morris, was educated at West Point Military Academy,
resigned his position in the army, and, as a civil engineer
and a capitalist, has had much to do in building up the
railroad system in Indiana ; and although a member of
a sister Church, yet, as the son of Avorthy Methodist
parents, and himself an honored Christian citizen, is
worthy of mention in this connection.

RELATIVE STRENGTH OF THE CHURCHES.

The folloAving exhibit of the relative strength of the
several religious denominations, Avill be read with interest,
and will be found convenient as a matter of reference :

The Protestant Episcopal numbers 582 ; Methodist
Episcopal, 3,219 ; Presbyterian, 1,736 ; Baptist, 1,093 ;
Papist, 4,000; Congregationalist, 235; Christian, 900 ;
Lutheran, 810 ; German Reformed, 300 ; German Evan-
gelical Association,- 118 ; United Brethren, 42 ; Unita-
rian, 500; Friends, 246; Jewish, 58.

In Church property they stand : Protestant Episco-
pal, $168,000 ; Methodist Episcopal, $391,000; Presby-
terian, $320,117; Baptist, $116,000; Papist, $300,-
000; Congregationalist, $43,000; Christian, $53,000;
Lutheran, $93,000; German Reformed, $21,000; Ger-
man Evangelical Association, $9,000; United Brethren,


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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 15 of 27)