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 18 of 27)
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preachers who were workers on the district and on the
station. It is proper to digress here and go back a few
years, to notice the agencies by which the Methodist..


Church has attained a strong and sure foot-hold in this
young city.

" The establishment of Asbury College at Green-
castle has greatly aided Methodism in this city, and
especially at Asbury Church. The head of that College
for many years, President (now Bishop) Simpson, was a
great favorite in Terre Haute, and the writer of this
flatters himself and his neighbors in the belief that
Terre Haute was always a great favorite with the bishop.
Be that as it may, the President of Asbury College man-
ifested a strong interest in the people domiciled here.
Very many times he left his quiet home at Greencastle
to spend a Sabbath day in Terre Haute, and, on more
than one occasion, prolonged his visit for many days,
preaching in Asbury Church night after night. To say
that the house was full, would but feebly express the
crowds which attended on his ministrations. The church
was jammed nightly, and even standing-room was not
allowed to hundreds who sought admission. This was in
1842, 1843, and 1844. At our camp-meetings in Honey
Creek, Otter Creek, and Kaccoon, the kind and amiable
Matthew Simpson was never absent. On these occa-
sions he addressed thousands, and the amount of good
which was done, while its fruits were visible in the
changed lives of hundreds in this neighborhood, can only
be known on the great day 'for which all other days
were made.' These were years of unexampled pros-
perity to the cause of Methodism and the religion of the
Savior. The commanding eloquence and the earnest
•prayers of that good and great man produced a wonder-
tful impression in the community ; hundreds of the best-
*known and most prominent of our citizens were in con-
-stant attendance at the then new church. The matter,
.and manner of these sermons were new in this place,


and it is quite unnecessary for me to define theui. That
style of preacliing belongs to himself alone. I would
remark, however, that in no town in Indiana could Pres-
ident Simpson address a people better prepared to appre-
ciate his wonderful gifts. It was in those years that
Methodism got the start of all the other denominations
in this place; and when I say that Asbury College aided
Asbury Church in her career of usefulness, it is simply
jicknowledging a fact patent to every old inhabitant of
Terre Haute. Like all excitements, it begat a spirit of
rivalry in the Churches, and, in that way, revivals be-
came numerous."

Terre Haute has now two churches, Asbury and Cen-
tenary, and one good parsonage, worth on the aggregate
$13,000. There are in these charges over six hundred
communicants, and more than one thousand one hundred
children in their Sabbath-schools ; and the prospect for
Methodism in Terre Haute in the future is brighter than
at any former period. The greatest obstacle to the
progress of Methodism in Terre Haute has always been
a disposition on the part of those who have assumed to
be the leaders in the more wealthy and fashionable
circles of society to conform to the questionable amuse-
ments of the w^orld ; and because the discipline of Meth-
odism is less pliant in that respect than that of some
other Churches, a persistent effort has been made to pro-
duce the impression that Methodists were less intelligent
and less cultivated than the members of some other
Churches. But the experiment of letting the Church
down to the world can at best only result in temporary
success, and is sure to be followed with more lasting
evils. An earnest and Scriptural piety is the best guar-
antee of the Church's permanent prosperity. And
while it is the glory of the Church to lift up the lowly,


to hunt for the outcasts, and to preach the Gospel to the
poor, Methodism is too thoroughly the patron of edu-
cation, and her communicants average so well in the
general class of good society, that the day of her re-
proach on the score of ignorance is gone by. Her mis-
sion is to all classes of society, and right well has she
thus far fulfilled it.


Methodism was early introduced into the city of
Madison. A class was formed among the early settlers,
and regular circuit-preaching established. Among the
early Methodist families was the family of old Mr. M'ln-
tyre, who for many years was one of the prominent and
wealthy men of the city. Rev. Gamaliel Taylor, who
came out from Baltimore, was also among the early Meth-
odists. He was a zealous and efficient local preacher,
and a prominent citizen of the state, and was for some
time United States Marshal for the District of Indiana.
His oldest son, John H. Taylor, Esq., was for a number
of years clerk of the Circuit Court for the county of Jef-
ferson, of which the city of Madison is the seat of justice.
He was for many years recording steward. Father Tay-
lor always dressed in a round-breasted coat and white
neck-handkerchief He was remarkably neat in person,
commanding in appearance, active in his movements, and
earnest and consistent in his piety. The family of Rob-
insons were also Baltimore Methodists, and settled in
Madison in an early day. Several families of Richej^s
settled in and near Madison in an early day, some of
whom still remain, and are prominent in the Church.
David Wilson was among the early Methodists in Mad-
ison ; and, at a little later date, John Pugh, John Wood-
burn, and William Thomas are found among the active


Methodists of the place. The Radical controversy of
1828 rent the Church in two in Madison, and produced
great bitterness for a number of years ; but finally the
waning fortunes of Radicalism left the field to the old

For a number of years Madison was the most promi-
nent and prosperous town in the state. The first rail-
road in the state had its riA^er terminus at Madison, and
after it was opened, the Madison and Indianapolis Rail-
road enjoyed a monopoly of the carrying trade and travel
for a number of years. All of the goods shipped to the
interior passed through Madison; and the travel from a
great part of the state, for Cincinnati and points further
east, also went through that place. But after the rail-
road system of the state became developed, Madison was
left at one side ; her commerce declined ; and, although
a beautiful and healthy city, she has not be«n able to com-
pete with her more eligibly situated rivals. In their
Church extension movements the Methodists of Madison
have not been fortunate. Wesley Chapel was centnrily
and eligibly located, being in the heart of the city, and on
one of its principal streets. When Third-street — since
called Roberts Chapel — was organized, instead of build-
ing in one end of the city, where it could have had a le-
gitimate field of its own, those having the enterprise in
charge determined to build as near Wesley Chapel as
they could; and, as was to have been anticipated, they
became rivals and antagonists, when they should have
been mutual helpers in promoting the salvation of the
people. St. John's, in the upper part of the city, was
well located at the time it was built; but when a change
of circumstances made it desirable to reduce the number
of charges in the city, the location of the churches has
been found to be an impediment in the way.


The charges now are : Wesley, members, 150 ; Trin-
ity, 224 ; North Madison, Avhich includes some country
appointments, and numbers 314 members. The Church
property is valued at $16,400. The Sabbath-school
children number 645.


Methodist preaching was established at Fort St. Vin-
cent at an early day. Tradition says that General Har-
rison held the candle for Rev. William Winans to read
his text, at a night service in the fort. The early set-
tlers, being French traders and Roman Catholics, and
Vincennes continuing to be the head-quarters of the
Romish Church in Indiana, being the residence of the
Bishop for Indiana, has drawn to it a large Catholic pop-
ulation, and made it relatively an unfruitful field for Prot-
estantism. But through the liberality of Mr. Bonner,
Dr. Hitt, and a few large-hearted Methodists, a good
Methodist church was built at an early day, and Vin-
cennes was among the early and desirable stations in
Indiana Conference.

Vincennes has one church, valued at $10,000, one
parsonage, valued at $2,500, a membership of 271, and
275 children in Sabbath-school.


By order of General Wayne, a fort was erected on the
banks of the beautiful Maumee, in the year 1794, where
the city of Fort Wayne now stands. From that time
until about the year 1827 or 1828, there were but few
persons there save military men, Indian traders, and Mi-
ami Indians. Occasionally a Methodist preacher, travel-
ing through the country, preached the word of life to the
soldiers, trappers, and traders living there. The first


Methodists who became permanent citizens were Kev.
James Holman and his wife, in the year 1831. He was
a local preacher, and, without command of conference or
bishop, commenced, immediately after his arrival, to hold
prayer and class meetings, and fearlessly to declare the
whole counsel of God. Frequently his congregations did
not number more than eight or ten persons. He first
preached in private rooms and shops. As soon as there
was a school-house built, it became the church for all —
Protestants and Catholics. The first regular pastor was
Kev. N. B. Grif&th, who was appointed to Fort "Wayne
Mission in the Fall of 1831. This Mission was organ-
ized by the Illinois Conference, and was in the Madison
District, Rev. Allen Wiley, Presiding Elder. The first
class regularly organized, under the supervision of the
pastor. Rev. Mr. Griffith, consisted of Rev. James Hol-
man, class-leader; Mrs. Holman, Robert Breckenridge,
Hannah Breckenridge, and Desdemona M'Carty. Be-
fore the close of this Conference year Mr. Griffith ob-
tained permission and preached in the Masonic Hall — a
small brick house which stood near the canal basin.
Richard S. Robinson was Mr. Griffith's successor. He
was appointed to Fort Wayne Mission in the Fall of
1832. Allen Wiley was presiding elder, and the mission
was still in the Madison District. During this Conference
year there were added to the society, James Hamilton,
Eliza Hamilton, Cynthia Edsall, and Mary Alderman.
At the close of this year the Church consisted of nine
members. In the year 1833, this mission was set off
from the Illinois Conference by the organization of the
Indiana Conference. Boyd Phelps was the pastor, and
James Armstrong presiding elder. In 1834 and 1835,
Freeman Farnsworth was the pastor, and Richard Har-
grave was presiding elder, on Laporte District, in which


Fort Wayne was now included. In 1835 and 1836, J.
S. Harrison was pastor, and preached in the court-house.
In the Conference year of 1836 and 1837, Stephen R.
Ball was pastor. This year the mission was in Center-
Anile District, and David Stiver was the presiding elder.
The preaching-place was changed from the court-house to
M'Junkins's school-house. In the Conference year of
1837 and 1838, Stephen R. Ball was continued as pastor;
Richard Hargrave was presiding elder. In 1838 and
1839, James T. Robe was pastor. The charge was now
a circuit, and was connected with the Logansport Dis-
trict, George M. Beswick, Presiding Elder. In the Con-
ference year of 1839 and 1840, Rev. Jacob Colclazer
was pastor. During this year the first Methodist Sab-
bath-school was organized at Fort Wayne. Stephen R.
Ball was superintendent ; teachers, Eliza Hamilton, Char-
lotte Breckenridge, Hannah Johns, Theodore Hoagland,
Oliver Fairfield, and John M. Miller. The school was
organized with about thirty-eight scholars. A collection
was taken for Sunday-school books, amounting to twenty-
five dollars and sixty-two cents. Two of the above-
named teachers are still living in Fort Wayne — Eliza
Hamilton, a -member of Berry-street Church, and John
M. Miller, a member of Wayne-street Church, both noted
for their liberality and zeal.

The growth of Methodism in this city has been grad-
ual but permanent and progressive. The following is the
present status : Three churches, worth $36,000 ; two par-
sonages, worth $13,000 ; and a membership of between
six and seven hundred.


Fort Wayne College, under its present organization,
is the result of a consolidation of the Fort Wayne Female


College and the Fort Wayne Collegiate Institute, on the
10th of October, 1855. The first of these was intended
exclusively for the education of females ; the latter, for
males only. The present institution educates both. The
Fort Wayne Female College originated with the North
Indiana Conference at its third session, held in Laporte,
in 1846. The Conference, at that session, resolved to
found such an institution, located it at Fort Wayne, and
appointed therefor a temporary Board of Trustees. On
the 18th day of January, 1847, the General Assembly
of the State of Indiana passed an act incorporating the
Board of Trustees thus appointed by the Conference,
and giving to Fort Wayne Female College all the legal
rights and privileges usually belonging to such insti-
tutions; this act of legal corporation to take effect on
the 19th day of June, 1847; at which time the Board
met, and organized by the appointment of the proper
officers. The Collegiate Institute had been organized
by the friends of the Female College in May, 1853;
and, though having a separate act of incorporation, was
a little more than an adjunct of the College. It was,
therefore, thought best by the friends of both institu-
tions to unite them under one management, and form
a single institution, for both males and females. This
was effected, as before stated, on the 10th of October,
1855; since which the joint institution has been known
as Fort Wayne College. For several years it was
seriously embarrassed with debt; but, through the ex-
ertions of Rev. R. D. Robinson, as financial agent, while
acting as President of the College, it was relieved of its
burdens, and entered upon a career of greater prosperity.
Since the Centenary Year, 1866, financially, the insti-
tution has been more prosperous than formerly, and the
buildings and grounds have been greatly improved. The


grounds and buildings are estimated at sixty thousand
dollars. The following have served as Presidents of the
College: A. C. Heustis, A. M., 1847; Rev. G. M.
Round, A.M., 1848; Rev. C. Nutt, D. D., 1849; A.

C. Heustis, 1850 and 1851; Rev. Samuel T. Gillet,

D. D., 1852; Rev. Samuel Brenton, A. M., 1853 and
1854; Rev. R. D. Robinson, A. M., 1855 and 1866, in-
clusive ; Rev. F. M. Heminway, A. M., 1868 ; Rev. J.
B. Robinson, A. M., 1869 and 1870.


Circuit-preaching was established in Evansville when
it was a small Adllage ; and, although the society was not
large in numbers, they early asked to be made a station,
that they might have regular Sabbath preaching. Two
local preachers by the name of Wheeler, and another by
the name of Parrott, aided much in introducing Meth-
odism into that part of the state. Few portions of the
state are richer in interesting local Methodist history
than Evansville and its vicinity; but the author has
be.en disappointed in securing the accurate data that will
enable him to furnish a reliable history of the introduc-
tion and progress of the Church in that locality; and
hence this brief extract. The present charges are
Trinity, Ingle-street, Trinity City Mission, and Evans-
ville Circuit, with an aggregate membership of 1,145,
w^ith a Church property valued at $108,500. They have
1,250 children in Sabbath-school.



Social Achievements of Methodism — Hon. Amos Lane — Hon. Henry
Blasdell — Hon. John H. Thompson — Rev. Samuel Brenton — Hon.
James Whitcomb — Hon. Joseph A. Wright — Hon. Elisha Em-
bree — Hon. R. W. Thompson — Hon. Henrj^ S. Lane — Hon. A. C.
Downey — Hon. Will Cumback — Mrs. Larrabee — Mrs. Locke — Mrs.
Julia Dumont — Father Stockwell — Hon. W. C. De Pauw — John C.
Moore — Indiana Missionaries — Elect Ladies — Eveline Thomas —
Lydia Hawes.

WHILE the mission of Methodism has been emphat-
ically to the common people, and while its leaders
have never sought the patronage of the State, nor
courted the special favor of those in power, it has, never-
theless, contributed its share toward molding the in-
stitutions of the State, developing and applying its
educational resources, shaping its legislation, educating
the public conscience, and furnishing a respectable share
of our leading public men. Several of the members of
the Convention that framed the first Constitution for the
State were Methodists ; among whom was Rev. Hugh
Cull, of Wayne County, who lived to be over a hundred
years of age; and Dennis Pennington, from Harrison
County, who also served a number of years in the State
Legislature. William Hendricks, who was secretary of
the Convention, who was the third Governor of the
State, and for some time a representative in Congress,
was, in his . later years, a member of the Methodist

Hon. Amos Lane, a leading lawyer of Lawrenceburg,
and who represented his district several terms in Con-
gress, became a member of the Church late in life. He



had been a regular attendant upon the ministr}^ of the
Church all through life, and his house was always a wel-
come home to the itinerant. His wife, who was a lady
of superior endowments and liberal education, was a con-
sistent, earnest Methodist, and carried the savor of true
piety into all the circles in which she moved.

Hon. Henry Blasdell, the worthy and popular Gov-
ernor of Nevada, himself an active Methodist, is the son
of worthy Methodist parents in Dearborn County.

Hon. John H. Thompson, who united with the Church
in his boyhood, was in public office in Indiana during the
most of a long life. He was commissioned a justice of
the peace by Governor Harrison before the State Govern-
ment was organized. He was a member of the State
Legislature for several terms, and served twelve years
as president judge of a judicial circuit. He was Lieu-
tenant-Governor for one term, and was Receiver of Public
Moneys for several years. He was continually in im-
portant offices for a period of thirty years. He never
shrank from a frank profession of his faith on all suit-
able occasions. He was gathered to his rest in the
ninetieth year of his age.

Rev. Samuel Brenton, the son of a worthy local
preacher, himself an itinerant preacher until impaired
health compelled him to desist, was for some time Pres-
ident of Fort Wayne College, and for three terms a rep-
resentative of that district in Congress, where his ability
as a statesman was manifest and acknowledged.

Hon. James Whitcomb, twice Governor of the State,
and United States Senator at the time of his death, was
a Methodist, and a superior Sunday-school teacher. He
possessed superior talents, and was a gentleman of culture,
and his administration as a governor left an impression
on the State for go.od that will never be wiped out.


Hon. Joseph A. Wright, twice Governor of the State,
twice United States Minister to the Court of Berlin, and
for some time United States Senator by appointment,
was from early manhood a Methodist, a liberal-minded
and efficient Christian worker.

Hon. Elisha Embree, for some time circuit judge in
the southern end of the State, and for one term a rep-
resentative of his district in Congress, carried with him,
on the bench and into the halls of national legislation,
the influence of a noble Christian character.

Hon. R. W. Thompson, a gentleman of rare talents
as an orator, ripe in scholarship, profound as a jurist and
statesman, served for many years in Congress, and filled
other important trusts confided to him by the National
Government, has, through a series of years, been iden-
tified with the Church, sharing her privileges, and cheer-
fully doing her work.

Hon. Henry S. Lane, the gifted orator and distin-
guished statesman, a representative in the National Con-
gress for several terms, Governor of the State, and
United States Senator, is an earnest Church worker, and
has given much time to the educational interests of Meth-
odism in Indiana.

Hon. A. C. Downey, a distinguished jurist, and one
of the Supreme Judges of the State, has been a faithful
Church member from his boyhood, and is an earnest de-
fender of Christian morality, and a consistent exem-
plifier of Christian graces.

Hon. Will Cumback served one term as a represent-
ative in Congress, and one term as State Senator, and
was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the State. Served
as United States Paymaster in the army, during the Re-
bellion, and has filled sundry offices, from the State and
National Government, and always maintained a true


Christian character. He is an earnest Sabbath-school
worker, and a bold advocate of Christian morality.

Methodism has furnished two of the most popular and
efficient Presidents of the State University that that in-
stitution has ever had — Dr. Daily and Dr. Nutt. She
has furnished three of the Superintendents of Public In-
struction for the State; to Avit, W. C. Larrabee, who
served two terms ; G. W. Hoss, who served two terms
and Miles J. Fletcher, who was killed by a railroad dis
aster, during the War, early in his term of service
Methodism is well represented in all the professions
She has furnished a liberal share of writers and educat
ors, considering the age of our State. Foav schools have
done more to advance female education than the seminary
founded at Greencastle by Mrs. Larrabee, and conducted
by her for a number of years. Mrs. Locke, the wife of'
Rev. George Locke, and mother of Rev. John W. Locke,
D. D., was among the early educators in Indiana. She
taught school and supported the family, while her hus-
band traveled and preached the Gospel to the poor.
Mrs. Julia Dumont, of Vevay, was in the front rank of
gifted writers and poets, in the early history of the
State. Father Stockwell, of Lafayette, Hon. W. C.
De Pauw, of New Albany, and the late John C. Moore,
founder and patron of Moore's Hill College, each, by
their generous contributions to the cause of education,
rank in the list of public benefactors. These are some
of the contributions of Methodism to the front ranks of
cultivated society in Indiana.

Methodism in Indiana has contributed to the number
of Christian workers in heathen lands. Two of the mis-
sionaries now laboring in South America, Rev. H. G.
Jackson, Superintendent of the Missions, and Rev.
Thomas B. Wood, son of Dr. Aaron Wood, are both from


Indiana. Rev. W. S. Turner, from Indiana, was the first
Methodist preacher ever stationed in the Sandwich Isl-
ands. Joseph R. Downey and wife, who went as mis-
sionaries to India, in 1859, have, by their hibors and
their death in that mission field, established a bond of
sympathy between that vast empire and Christian hearts
in Indiana, that will never be broken until Christ shall
receive the " heathen for his inheritance, and the utter-
most parts of the earth for his possession."

But the glory of the Church is seen, not so much in
the prominence of a gifted or privileged few, nor in the
liberality of her wealthy men, although these are ele-
ments of power, and may be instruments of good, as in
the thousands that have been reclaimed from sin, and are
walking in the light of Christian purity and love, and in
the tens of thousands who, converted in their youth,
have been guided in the paths of knowledge and useful-
ness and honor, through the Church's instrumentality.

In nearly every community there have been " elect
ladies " who by their intelligent piety, and ardent yet un-
ostentatious Christian zeal, have contributed much to the
Church's influence. Eveline Thomas, in the city of Mad-
ison, although a lady of comparatively delicate constitu-
tion, and retiring disposition, was, nevertheless, in that
community, for the space of some twenty years, a recog-
nized Christian power. The depth of her Christian ex-

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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 18 of 27)