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 16 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 16 of 27)
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$5,000; Unitarian, $6,000; Jewish, $27,000; Friends,

The following is a list of the appointments made to
Indianapolis, down to the division of the first charge :

1821, William Cravens; 1822-23, James Scott;
1823-24, Jesse Haile and George Horn ; 1825, John Mil-
ler; 1826, Thomas Hewson; 1827, Edwin Ray; 1828,
N. B. Griffith; 1829, Thomas Hitt; 1830-31, Thomas


Hitt; 1832-33, Benjamin C. Stevenson; 1833-34, C.
W. Ruter; 1834-35, E. R. Ames; 1835-36, John C.
Smith; 1836-37, A. Eddy; 1837-38, John C. Smith ;
1838-39, A. Wiley; 1839-40, A. Wiley; 1840-41, W.
H. Goode; 1841-42, W. H. Goode. In 1821, the dis-
trict was called Indiana, and Samuel Hamilton was pre-
siding elder. In 1824, William Beauchamp was presiding
elder. Down to this time, the work in Indiana was in-
cluded in Missouri Conference, and John Strange wns ap-
pointed to the district. In 1825, Missouri Conference
was divided, and the work in Indiana was included in
the Illinois Conference, and John Strange was appointed
to the district. In 1829, Indianapolis was included
in Madison District, and Allen Wiley was presiding
elder. In 1832, Indianapolis District was formed, and
John Strange was presiding elder. This year, the In-
diana Conference was organized. In 1833, A. Wiley,
Presiding Elder; 1834, James Havens, Presiding Elder;
1838, A. Eddy, Presiding Elder; and in the Fall of
1840, James Havens was again appointed to the district.


The Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, Da-
viess County, Indiana, was organized in 1816. The
population of the village at that time did not exceed sev-
enty-five. The meetings were held in the private res-
idences of Samuel Miller and Thomas Meredith. The
society was organized under the ministry of Rev. John
Schrader, who was in charge of a large four-weeks' cir-
cuit. The only members of the Church now living,
whose membership dates back as far as 1822, are, Eliza-
beth Meredith, Robert Stephens, Rebecca Raper, and
William Bratten. Mr. Bratten was the class-leader.
About that time, Dr. Holland, a physician, and a local


preacher of considerable ability, was connected with the
class. The society continued to worship in private resi-
dences, in the school-house, and in the court-house, until
1827, when a small, one-story brick was inclosed, near
where the Cumberland Presbyterian Church now stands.
The congregation was soon sadly disappointed, by the
walls of the building gathering dampness, and threaten-
ing to crumble to ruins. They were again compelled to
worship in private houses, in the school-house, and in the
court-house, until in 1837, when Lewis Jones, William
Bratten, and John Fryer purchased a residence where the
Methodist Episcopal Church now stands. The building
Avas enlarged and converted into a church, received by
the trustees, and paid for by donations.

The prospects of the Church were now greatly
brightened ; and, in the midst of sincere rejoicings, the
church was formally dedicated to the worship of God
by Rev. A. Wood. The membership had increased to
one hundred and twenty-five, and the appointment was
made a station ; but, after two years, was again con-
nected with the circuit. For several years the Church
was blessed with prosperity; and, in 1858, under the
labors of Rev. James F. M'Cann, the present house of
worship was built, and dedicated by Rev. Calvin Kings-
ley. In 1859, the charge was again made into a station,
and has so continued until the present time. The mem-
bership at present is two hundred and fifty-one, in-
cluding fifty-one probationers.

The charge has been favored with special revivals as
follows : In 1845, under the labors of Rev. J. R. Will-
iams, when about forty-five professed conversion ; in
1858, under the labors of Rev. J. F. M'Cann, when fifty
professed conversion; in 1859, under the labors of Rev.
II. B. Hibben, when about fifty made a profession of


religion; in 1863, under the labors of Rev. Stephen
Bowers, when two hundred conversions were reported ;
in 1866, under the labors of Rev. W. F. Earned, when
seventy-five conversions were reported; and in 1870,
under the labors of Rev. Aaron Turner, when sixty-five
conversions were reported. In Church music. Sabbath-
school work, and general Christian enterprise, the con-
gregation is alive and progressive.



From a variety of sources — mainly from the earliest
settlers — we gather the following facts concerning the
history of Methodism in Lafayette, Indiana :

As early as 1825, Rev. Hackaliah Vredenburg, who
then lived on the Shawnee Prairie, preached the first
Methodist sermon in Lafayette. In 1826, Mr. Vreden-
burg was appointed to the Crawfordsville Circuit, and occa-
sionally preached in Lafayette, which was then an out-
post on that work, but Avithout any regularly organized
society among the Methodists. In 1827, Rev. Henry
Buell rode the Crawfordsville Circuit. In 1827-28, Eli
P. Farmer succeeded Mr. Buell. In 1828-29, Stephen
R. Beggs, with John St rangle as presiding elder, was ap-
pointed to the Crawfordsville Circuit, and formed a good
class in Lafayette; twenty in all, only five of whom
were males ; but up to this date no permanent or formal
organization had been made, and no permanent place of
public worship had been provided. Ministers preached
wherever they could, sometimes in a private house,
then in Eli Huntsinger's wdieelwright-shop, which was a
small log-cabin on the corner of Mississippi, noAV South
and Ferry Streets ; sometimes in an unfinished public
building ; then again in the log-tavern, on what is called


now Second Street, near Ferry (still standing, and owned
by H. Taylor) ; and sometimes in the open air. Pastors
and people realized that they were indeed "pilgrims
and strangers, without any certain dwelling-place ;" but
Lafayette has, thus far, proved to them and theirs a
" continuing city," and their descendants to-day mny
justly claim, with Saul of Tarsus, that they are citizens
''of no mean city." (Acts xxi, 39.) At that date (1828)
all the buildings in Lafayette of every kind, great and
small, public and private, numbered just seventeen !
Allow five persons to each building — a large estimate —
will give a population of eighty-five souls. Here we
may mention the names of the Heaths, Fords, Samples,
Taylors, Vanattas, Harringtons, Millers, Tuttles, Pykes,
Wellses, and others, who settled in Lafayette from 1828
to 1830, and later families, who haA^e been identified
with Methodism from the first, and are exerting a con-
trolling influence upon its future destiny.

When Mr. Beggs was appointed to Crawfordsville
Circuit, the following were the principal preaching-places,
and in the order named : Crawfordsville, Fort Wayne,
Logansport, Delphi, Lafayette, Attica, Portland, Coving-
ton, and back to Crawfordsville again. The subordinate
and intermediate preaching-places, however, outnum-
bered the principal ones, so that the minister had to
preach from five to seven times each week. The follow-
ing year the "Logansport Mission" was formed, em-
bracing Logansport, Delphi, and Lafiiyette; and Mr.
Beggs was again appointed, but did not fill out the year.
(See "Early History of the West and North-west :" Rev.
S. R. Beggs. Pages 81-83.)

The next preacher was James Armstrong, with
Strange still as presiding elder. In September, 1830,
Mr. Armstrong preached in an unfinished store-room on


Main Street, built by John Taylor, Esq., on the lot
where the Gait House now stands, and then and there
made the first formal and thorough organization of Meth-
odism in Lafayette. An official board was appointed,
trustees elected, and the initiatory steps taken toward
procuring a lot and building a church. A lot was pur-
chased on the corner of Main and Sixth Streets, where
the "old bank building" now stands, and early the
following season a frame church was erected. In that
church, while it was yet in an unfinished state, in June,
1831, the first regularly conducted quarterly-meeting
was held, John Strange, the presiding elder, being
present, and preaching with power. That meeting wjis
a great event for Lafayette Methodism. It had been
published throughout the country by the " circuit-rider,"
on his previous " round ;" and people of all denomina-
tions, and some of no denomination, came, some from a
distance of fifteen and twenty miles, to see each other,
to hear the Word of life, and to worship the God of
their fathers. Some came to see the city, and some to
see the " new church ;" and many came to hear the pre-
siding elder, whose fame as a pulpit orator filled the
land, and drew together great crowds whenever he
preached. A large congregation — considering the time
and place — assembled ; the women and children filled
the house, mainly, while the men stood listening with-
out, or reclined under the shade of the adjacent trees.
The weather was exceedingly warm; but as the house
had neither doors nor windows as yet, it was well ven-
tilated !

All the services were largely attended, and of special
interest to the new settlement, embracing city and
country. Quarterly conference attended to the tempo-
ralities of the Church. On Sabbath morning the love-



feast was held, and at 11 o'clock A. M., Strange de-
livered one of his inimitable and overpowering sermons ;
and in the afternoon there was another sermon, at the
close of which the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's-
supper were administered. During this last service an
incident occurred which we deem worthy of record ; the
material points of which are thus given by Sanford Cox,
Esq., in his "Recollections of the Early Settlement of
the Wabash Valley," pages 81, 82.

Armstrong, who was also an eloquent and popular
preacher, and beloved by all who knew him, had preached
his celebrated "Fish Sermon" with happy effect j and
Strange, who was a man of surpassing personal beauty,
piety, eloquence, and solemnity combined, conducted the
services of the Eucharist. While the latter was address-
ing the communicants, bowed and in tears at the altar,
and in the most tender and touching language, telling
them of Christ as "the Lamb of God which taketh
away the sins of the world," a group of thoughtless and
giddy youngsters were gathered about the door, whose
looks and actions denoted a spirit of levity wholly in-
compatible with the solemnity of the scene transpiring
before them. Mr. Strange for a while seemed to take no
notice of them, but continued to address the communi-
cants in the most gentle, loving, and pathetic terms,
when, suddenly starting up, as if awaking from a rev-
erie, with flashing eye, in sterner tones, with correspond-
ing gesture, and with a ringing emphasis, he said : "Did
I say Christ was the Lamb of God? lie is, to the
humble, contrite, trusting believer; but io t/ou sinners" —
pointing back, with his long, bony finger, toward the
irreverent young men at the door — "' to you, sirs, arouse
him, and he is Hhe Lion of the trihe of Judah^ terrible
IN HIS justice; and by the slightest movement of his


omnific power, could dash you deeper into damnation in a
MOMENT than a sunbeam could fly in a million of ages !"
This immediate and unpremeditated passing from the
tender and pathetic to the stern and terrifying, was as
penetrating and OA^erpowering in its influence as it was
sudden and unexpected in its transition. It thrilled and
startled the people like a beam of lightning from a sun-lit
sky. Its effect upon the young men at Avhom it was
aimed was wonderful. Hushed into profound silence
and fear, they stood pale and motionless, for the nonce.
One of them afterward said that, for the time, he felt
his hair instantly stand on end, and felt as if flying with
the speed of light toward the deep, doleful regions, so
eloquently and fearfully alluded to in the impromptu
and brilliant flash of rhetoric, which equals the most
sublime flights of Bridane, Bascom, or Simpson.

We will add that the young man who was the master-
spirit of the above group of irreverent lookers-on so elo-
quently rebuked, and who felt that he was "flying"
through space to Pandemonium swifter than Milton's
"Archangel ruined" fell to his doom, still lives in Lafay-
ette, a worthy and exemplary member of a sister Church.
And Avhenever we see him passing about, with his now
whitened locks standing a la Jackson, we secretly won-
der whether it is really natural for his hair to stand out
like the quills of the " fretful porcupine," or whether it
was caused by the electric shock of Strange's potent elo-
quence on that sultry Sabbath evening in June, 1831,
making it "instantly stand on end."

Strange and Armstrong Avere followed on the circuit
by Samuel C. Cooper and Samuel Brenton, and these
last by Boyd Phelps and Wesley Woods. The latter
died soon after he entered upon the circuit, and was suc-
ceeded by S. R. Ball. In 1833, " Lafayette Circuit" was


formed, and Richard Hargrave and Nehemiah Griffith
were appointed the preachers, and James Thompson pre-
siding elder. William M. Clark and William Watson
were the next preachers. At conference, in the Fall of
1835, Lafayette was made a station, and Dr. H. S. Tal-
bot was stationed preacher for two years. He was suc-
ceeded by the following ministers, some of whom served
two years, namely : Lorenzo B. Smith, J. A. Brouse, H.

B. Beers, Amasa Johnson, J. M. Stallard, and Samuel

This brings us down to 1844-45, which marks a new
era in Lafayette Methodism, when it had built for itself
a fine brick church and parsonage, on the corner of Fifth
and Ferry Streets, where the society worships at the
present time.

In 1849, the nucleus of a new Church was formed,
under the labors of W. F. Wheeler, City Missionary, and
in 1850, one hundred and forty members were set off
from the old society, and a second charge, now the Ninth-
street Methodist Episcopal Church, was formed, with T.
S. Webb as pastor; J. L. Smith, D. D., Presiding Elder.
It is now a strong, intelligent, growing Church ; Rev. J.

C. Reed, D. D., is at present pastor.

April 4, 1852, the German Methodist Episcopal
Church was organized, under the Rev. C. Keller. At
about the same time, the Colored Methodist Church was
organized by Rev. Mr. Dunlap. This Church is very
feeble in numbers and financial strength, though they
have a very good property, embracing church, parsonage,
and a brick school-house. There are not more than about
one hundred colored people, all told, in Lafayette.

What is now the Sixth-ward (Oakland Hill) Method-
ist Episcopal Church began its history as a class, organ-
ized by Dr. Charles Nailor in 1859. In 1860, it became


the head of the Lafayette Circuit. In 1866, it was made
a mission appointment, Rev. A. Potter as supply, and
Rev. S. Godfrey, Presiding Elder. In 1868, a nice brick
church, sixty-five by forty feet, was built; and in 1869,
Rev. F. Taylor Avas made pastor; Rev. I. W. Joyce,
Presiding Elder. This Church is properly a branch of
the Ninth-street Methodist Episcopal Church ; Rev. P. S.
Cook is now pastor.

In 1866, Rev. G. M. Boyd was appointed pastor of
the " Old Fifth-street" Church, and under his labors, the
long-talked-of enterprise of a new, more costly, and more
commodious house of worship for the parent society was
initiated. Two young men of the Church (John W.
Heath, Esq., and Hon. Henry Taylor) bought a lot on the
corner of Sixth and North Streets, for $7,000, and do-
nated it to the Church for their new site. A subscrip-
tion was circulated with encouraging success, and a good
degree of interest awakened in the new enterprise. In
the Fall of 1868, Rev. N. L. Brakeman was appointed
pastor; Rev. William Graham, D. D., Presiding Elder;
and in the following Spring the work of erecting the new
building was commenced. When completed and fur-
nished, it will have cost $70,000 or $75,000, will seat
one thousand people, and will be one among the finest
churches in the state, and the finest in the conference.
The society has changed its corporate name, and is now
known as Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. It was
inclosed in January, 1870, and will be ready for occupa-
tion, it is thought, by December, 1871.

In 1869, the society formed in Chauncey, a suburb
of Lafayette, on the western bank of the Wabash, had
become so strong as to determine to build a house of
worship for itself. The enterprise was promptly entered
upon, vigorously prosecuted, and early in 1870, their



house was dedicated. The old Fifth-street Church (now
Trinity), notwithstanding its own heavy enterprise, then
in progress, set off thirty-six of its own members to the
Chauncey Church, gave of its sympathy and means to
aid the young and rising society, and bade it Godspeed
on its way. In the Fall of 1870, Chauncey became a
station, and Rev. W. C. Davisson was appointed pastor.
Chauncey is the seat of the " Purdue Agricultural Col-
lege," and is destined to become a place of no little im-
portance. Our church there is a Gothic frame structure,
and cost something over three thousand dollars. Con-
sidering its style, character, and accommodations, it is a
marvel of cheapness.

The following table will give a bird's-eye view of the
present strength of Methodism in Lafayette :


^ 2,



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 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 16 of 27)