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 19 of 27)
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perience, the strength of her faith, and the cheerfulness
of her piety, combined with Christian activity in the
sphere of her labor, gave her a prominence that she
never sought, and a power of which she was all un-
conscious. Lydia Hawes, of Indianapolis, whose singing
is almost national in its reputation, not so much from its
artistic culture as from the rich tones of her voice, es-
pecially when under strong religious emotion, and the


melting pathos with which she gives utterance to the
grand truths of theology, and the great and precious
privileges of Christian experience as embodied in the
hymnology of the Church, — her labors have been won-
derfully blessed through a period of more than thirty
years. Few ministers equal her in efficiency, in times
of rehgious revivals. She is remarkably successful in
leading penitents to Christ ; and the fervor of her pray-
ers, the inspiration of her singing, and the narration of
her rich Christian experience, often make a profounder
impression than the most searching appeals from the



The Fathers — Rev. A. Wood, D. D. — Rev. Joseph Tarkington — Rev.
Enoch Wood, D. D. — Rev. John Schrader — Rev. John Miller— Rev.
Amasa Johnson — Rev. Asa Beck — Rev. James Scott — Rev. Elijah
Whitten— Rev. Henry S. Talbott— Rev. Richard Hargrave— Rev.
Robert Burns — Rev. John W. Sullivan— Rev. David Stiver — Rev.
James T. Robe — Rev. Charles Bonner — Rev. John Kearns — Rev.
John C. Smith — Rev. John A. Brouse — Rev. James Havens — Rev.
Calvin W. Ruter — Rev. Allen Wiley — Rev. Augustus Eddy.

The Fathers.

PROMINENT among the Mien heroes of Indkna
Methodism who toiled, suffered, and died to lay the
foundations of the Church, in the early settlement of our
state, are the names of John Strange, Allen Wiley, Cal-
vin W. Ruter, James Armstrong, James Havens, N. B.
Griffith, James L. Thompson, James Jones, William
Shanks, William Cravens, Edwin Ray, Amasa Johnson,
and George M. Beswick. These, with many of their as-
sociates, many of them their peers in ability, and equally
useful in their day, though not so widely known, all died
in the faith. But some of the Fathers are yet with us,
whose heroic deeds and self-sacrificing piety the Church
will garner up and cherish as a precious legacy.


Brother Wood was licensed to preach, August 24,
1822, by John Strange, then presiding elder of Lebanon
District, Ohio Conference, by a vote of the Quarterly
Conference of Mad-river Circuit, and the same Fall was
admitted on trial into the Ohio Conference, and appointed


as junior preacher on London Circuit, with George W.
Maley as preacher-in-charge. He traveled 2,260 miles
during the year, and preached 233 times.

Brother Wood's parents were eminently pious. He
was saved in his youth from every form of immorality,
and early obtained a knowledge of his personal accept-
ance with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, and united
with the Church. He was born in Virginia, October 15,
1802, and was brought by his parents to the state of
Ohio when but three years of age. He had aptness for
learning, and secured a good English education, including
a knowledge of English grammar. He formed in youth
a taste for reading, and a habit of study, which have
characterized him all through life. In the Summer of
1820 he began to lead prayer-meetings, and occasionally
exhort; and in December, 1820, he was licensed to ex-
hort by R. W. Finley ; and during that Winter he took
his first lesson in itinerancy, traveling a part of the way
around the circuit with A. S. M'Lane. During 1821,
Mr. Wood spent most of his time in school, working on
the farm out of school hours, and in the Winter of
1821-22 he taught school.

September 10, 1823, the Ohio Conference closed its
session in Urbana. At this session young Wood was ap-
pointed to Connersville Circuit, in the eastern border of
Indiana. On the 12th of September he left his Mher's
house for his new circuit ; this was on Friday, and he
rode to Father Mosser's, who resided twelve miles from
Dayton. On Saturday he rode to Centerville, Indiana,
which he reached late in the evening, having traveled
sixty miles during the day. He spent the Sabbath in
Centerville, and preached in the court-house ; and on
Monday, October 15, 1823, arrived at Connersville, the
head-quarters of his new circuit. During this year he


traveled 2,250 miles, preached 288 times, did not miss
a single appointment during the year, and received forty
dollars for his support.

In September, 1824, the Ohio Conference met at
Zanesville, at which Mr. Wood was received into full
connection, and ordained deacon by Bishop Roberts. At
this Conference he was appointed to Madison Circuit as
junior preacher, with Allen Wiley in charge.

Beginning with 1822, Dr. Wood traveled the follow-
ing circuits: 1822, London Circuit, in Ohio; 1823, Con-
nersville, in Indiana ; 1824, Madison ; 1825, Vincennes ;
1826, Bloomington; 1827 and 1828, Mt. Carmel, in Illi-
nois; 1829, Corydon, Indiana ; 1830, Vincennes ; 1831,
Mt. Carmel, Illinois, — when he located, and remained in
the local ranks until 1834, when he was appointed pre-
siding elder on Vincennes District, having been read-
mitted into the Conference. In 1836 and 1837, he was
agent for Indiana Asbury University. In 1837, he was
stationed in New Albany. In 1838, he was appointed
presiding elder on Laporte District, where he remained
four years. In 1842, he traveled Laporte Circuit. In
1844 and 1845, he was agent for Indiana Asbury Uni-
versity. From 1846 to 1851, he was agent for the
American Bible Society; in 1852 and 1853, stationed
in Terre Haute; 1854, Greencastle District, where he
remained four years; 1858 and 1859, stationed in In-
dianapolis. From 1860 to 1862, he was agent for As-
bury University; 1863, stationed in Perrysville, and re-
turned the second year ; but during the year was put in
charge of Indianapolis District, where he remained until
Conference, when he was stationed in Ninth Street, La-
fayette ; 1866 and 1867, stationed in Michigan City. In
1868, he was appointed Moral Instructor in the Northern
Indiana State-prison, at Michigan City, which position


he still holds. No other man in Indiana has had so large
and varied an experience as Dr. Wood. He has enjoyed
a personal acquaintance with the leading men of all par-
ties in every county in the state. In his early ministry
his circuits, many of them, embraced several counties
apiece ; and when presiding elder his districts included
large portions of the state. And in his work as Bible
agent, and agent for Indiana Asbury University, he was
brought in contact with the people in every part of the
state. He has had a healthy mind in a healthy body all
through life. He enjoys an excellent flow of spirits, and
has been a genial companion for intelligent people from
his youth. His sermons are delivered extempore, except
on special occasions. He is the author of several printed
discourses. His oration on the occasion of the erection
of the monument to Bishop Roberts, in the college
campus at Greencastle, was a written performance, and
reflected credit upon its author. As a preacher, he is
fluent and perspicuous, and the matter of his sermons is
evangelical and practical. He has represented his Con-
ference in several sessions of the General Conference,
and has always enjoyed the unlimited confidence of his
brethren. He has been a faithful friend and patron of
education, giving both time and means to the advance-
ment of our literary institutions. His pulpit labors have
been strengthened and enforced by the cheerfulness of
his piety and the purity of his life.


The following sketch of the life and times of Rev.
Joseph Tarkington, one of the fathers of Indiana Meth-
odism, will be none the less interesting because written
in the first person :

" I was born near Nashville, Tennessee, October 30,


1800. My early religious training was in accordance
with Episcopal usage, my parents having been reared in
that order of faith. The first impressions on my mind
in regard to the instability of earthly hopes and expecta-
tions, were made at the time of the severe earthquake
which visited Tennessee and the Mississippi country in
1811. The incidents connected with this 'stirring time'
are fresh in my memory to-day. Sixty years ' are as a
few days ' in this connection.

" On a pleasant Sabbath evening, the children, having
retired early, were called down-stairs, with the announce-
ment that the house was falling down ; and in great fear
and trepidation we sat up the entire night, my father go-
ing out frequently to ascertain whether evil-disposed per-
sons might not have shaken the house, by some means,
in order to terrify the family. The dusty old prayer-
book was brought forth from its place, its pages scanned
eagerly to find something pertaining to earthquakes ;
but as we could find nothing, we felt that the interests
of a large and flourishing family Avere in jeopardy for
lack of the much needed prayer. After a night of
watching and fear, it was agreed that Ave should say
nothing about our fears or their cause, lest Ave be ridiculed
by our neighbors. But Avith the morning came the neigh-
bors, Avith startling accounts of this strange visitation;
and Avhile they yet talked of this night of terrors, a
sound like loud, distant thunder startled them. Rush-
ing out of the house, they found the earth trembling
violently and the trees vibrating hither and thither.
' Surely,' thought they, ' the end has come ; ' and the
promises made to God by the terrified people Avere not
fcAV nor far betAveen. But it was soon found that the
earth Avas still in its orbit, and revolved as usual, and
many forgot the solemn promises made to the Lord in


the (lay of his power ; but many others, as a result of
this convulsion of nature, chose the better part — lived
and died faithful followers of Him who holds the storms
in his hands. But while I remember with satisfaction
the salutary effect of this ' shaking ' on the lives and con-
duct of many of my friends and acquaintances, I could
not conscientiously recommend earthquakes as a usual
means of grace.

"At the close of the war of 1812, my father moved
to the territory of Indiana, and settled on White River, at
the block-house built by General Harrison, now EdAvards-
port, Knox County. This was then a wild country, and,
the war having just ended, the fear and dread of In-
dians still gave the pioneer and his children much un-
easiness. On one occasion a band of Indians, on their
way to Vincennes, came up to our cabin suddenly, and
the children, in alarm, scattered in every direction. The
Indians, comprehending the situation of the little pale-
faces, gave a hearty laugh, and resumed their journey,
the squaws bringing up the rear, in regular 'Indian file,'
each riding her pony, ' not sidewise, but otherwise.'

" Our family being sick much of the time at this place,
it was deemed expedient to find another location. So,
after the necessary examination, my father bought a
piece of land in Monroe County, west of Bloomington ;
and to this place we moved in the Winter of 1816. In
our new home we found it quite an undertaking to keep
the family supplied with provisions. We could not send
some of the smaller children to the corner grocery for
needed supplies, but .the older boys had to go regularly
seventy-five miles to Shakertown for corn, which they
got ground into meal when that was possible ; but when
that could not be done, they took the corn home on
their horses, and it was afterward pounded in home-


made wooden mortars. If my memory does not de-
ceive me, the bread and mush made of this pounded
corn tasted a little better than any eaten before or since
that time.

"It Avould be hard to forget some of the scenes of this
frontier life. One, in particular, made an impression on
my mind never to be eradicated. On one occasion, as I
was returning with a load of corn, accompanied by an
older brother, we met a neighbor who was traveling on
a similar errand, who informed us that our little brother
George had died at home two days before, and that in
all probability we should see his face no more. With
grief-stricken and heavy hearts we hastened on, and
arrived at home in time for the burial. Our fiither had
made a coffin by splitting a piece of timber, scooping out
a trough from the lower, and a corresponding excavation
from the upper piece, and then fastened them together
with wooden pins. Thus prepared, the remains of our
little brother were placed therein, and, with the assist-
ance of our neighbors — two or three persons, all told —
the coffin and its contents were lowered to its final
resting. This was the first burial on Indian Creek,
Monroe County.

"Soon after we settled in Monroe County, and while
the country was comparatively a wilderness, Methodist
preachers would have appointments to preach wherever
they could have hearers. The first meeting to which
the children of the Tarkington family had access was
just eight miles distant. We were all anxious to go ;
so the larger children of the neighborhood, boys and
girls, w^alked this little distance barefooted, with shoes
in hand, until near the house, where a halt was called
for putting on shoes before going into meeting. The
good, broad, substantial shoes of that day, were not made


of glove-kid and paper-lined, but were made to last from
season to season, and to descend from child to child, as
they grew to fit them. The preacher was the R,ev.
Morgan, and his text Avas Songs of Solomon ii, 3 : *As
the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is m}^
beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow
with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.'
It had been a long time since any of his hearers had
seen or tasted an apple ; hence, his descriptions and com-
parisons were the more striking and vivid to their minds.
He contrasted the wicked as the tree of the woods, very
knotty, and exceedingly crooked — with the righteous as
the healthy apple-tree, very smooth and comely, and
abounding in much good fruit. His description of the
large, ripe, luscious apples, caused many of the young
people, as well as old, to yearn after the good apples
they had enjoyed in the years gone by. One of the
results of that memorable sermon was that the writer
had to make a pilgrimage seventy miles, to Knox
County, in quest of young apple-trees ; and the pilgrim-
age resulted favorably, for I carried home on horse-
back twenty-four trees; and some of these same trees
still stand in the old orchard at Stanford, where, near
by, may be found the graves of my parents and brothers,
who there sleep in Jesus.

" It was not very long, however, before there was
a change for the better in reference to preaching. Rev.
Daniel Anderson, a very good preacher, was sent as
missionary to the new settlements in this part of the
country. His work extended over much territory, and
he preached in the cabins or in the open air, as circum-
stances dictated. He held a camp-meeting during this
year near Eel River ; and I remember well, while plow-
ing in the field, that the families of Freeland, Rollins,


and others, went past, with their bread, venison, and
bedding packed on their horses, en route to camp-meet-
ing. Mr. Benjamin Freeland had four children con-
verted to God at this meeting, and, with true missionary
zeal, one of them stopped on their return, and exhorted
me to turn to the Lord and seek the new peace in which
he noAV rejoiced ; and as he talked with an earnestness
irresistible, I promised to attend the approaching camp-
meeting near Bloomington, and endeavor to seek the
Lord ; and I kept my promise faithfully. I went to the
meeting intending to avail myself of all its privileges
and benefits ; and on Sabbath evening, under the preach-
ing of John Schrader, I was caused to cry for mercy,
and about 11 o'clock I found joy and peace in believing
on Jesus Christ. This was August 27th, 1820.

" It will not be deemed surprising to many readers
of these lines when I say that the events of that blessed
camp-meeting, and the experience of that Sunday night,
will never be forgotten by the one so much benefited
thereby. It had been my desire that the Lord would
bless me in private, and in a peculiar manner, and my
prayers had been directed to this end; but before the
blessing came, I was willing to receive it in any manner,
and on any terms. I left this camp-meeting, however,
without connecting myself with the Church, not having
made up my mind fully with which branch of God's
people I expected to make my future home. Subse-
quently, however, at a class-meeting led by my old
friend, D. Rollins, I gave my name to Rev. David Cham-
berlain, as a probationer in the Methodist Episcopal
Church. My parents were present, and saw with deep
emotion the step I was taking. From this time forth
the great concern in my mind was that father and
mother, brothers and sister, should find the new hope, in


which I was so happy. It was not long before I was
found leading in prayer at our class-meetings, and occa-
sionally exhorting my young friends to accept the over-
tures of mercy, and travel with me to the heavenly
country. In my public efforts in prayer and exhortation,
I found great difficulty on account of my limited edu-
cation; but feeling that there was something for me to
do for the Heavenly Father, I commenced the study of
English Grammar under the direction of my class-leader;
and as I was in earnest, Avith a direct object in view, I
made rapid progress. I was soon appointed class-leader
by the new preacher, John Cord, and was much encour-
aged in my new position during the year by a gracious
revival of religion in our neighborhood. The next year
(1822) Rev. James Armstrong was sent to the Bloom-
ington Circuit, and, being a great favorite with my parents,
he preached frequently at our house ; and it was during
this year that I received license to exhort at his hands.
During the year 1824, at a local conference — a feature
that existed only four years in our Church — I was
licensed to preach the Gospel; and when Armstrong
handed me the paper announcing the fact, he stated that
there was immediate use for me, that one of the preach-
ers on Booneville Circuit had failed on account of ill-
health, and that I must depart for my field of labor
immediately. Excuses of every kind proved unavailing,
and as it seemed to be the will of the Lord, I consented
to go.

" When it became known in the neighborhood that I
expected to go away, the members of my old class re-
quested me to try to preach them a farewell sermon.
Accordingly, a meeting Avas held at my father's house,
the neighbors were all there, and I talked as well as I
could, urging them to hold fast to the faith, that we


might all meet in heaven, etc. At the close of the ser-
mon I opened the doors of the church, and two or three
came forward. A slight pause ensuing, my father and
mother, hand in hand, presented themselves as candi-
dates for membership in the Church. 0, the joy of
that hour ! The long-prayed-for event had happened !
To God be all the glory !

" The next morning found me on my way to my new
field of labor, accompanied by the presiding elder, James
Armstrong. It required about three weeks to get round
to Booneville, and during this time we attended nine
quarterly-meetings. By the time we arrived at our des-
tination, I began to know, to some extent, at least, what
itinerancy meant. We found the Rev. 0. Fisher at his
post. The quarterly-meeting was held in the court-
house in Rockport, and on Sunday night, after the ser-
mon by Fisher, I tried to exhort in the fear of the Mas-
ter. Many came forward for the prayers of the Church,
and conversions were numerous. It was a season of
power, the victory on the Lord's side. The next morn-
ing Fisher, myself, and others went into the country, to
brother Barnett's, for breakfast. When taking leave of
the family, and invoking the .blessings of Grod to rest
upon them, brother Fisher got to singing and shouting,
and forgot that I was holding his horse, and patiently
waiting for him outside. After waiting a long time, I
hitched the horses and went into the house, and prevailed
on him to resume our travels. After traveling some dis-
tance, he again commenced singing, then shouting; then
he jumped off his horse, and singing and shouting was
the order of the day. His horse, used to such things,
waited by the way-side ; men and women passing, stopped
to see what was the matter; and the feeling seeming to-
be contagious, the triumphant shout of victory, mingled


with the penitent cry for mercy, made the woods rever-
berate, and God was greatly glorified. This brother
Fisher, my first colleague, was one of the most holy men
I ever knew.

" At the close of the Conference year, we started to
Conference at Charlestown, stopping on our way at a
camp-meeting on Paoli Circuit. Here we met Richard
Hargrave, who was also on his way to his first confer-
ence. At this meeting we saw, for the first time, that
celebrated preacher, Rev. William Cravens, noted for his
peculiarities. The old man, discovering that George
Randle, one of the young preachers, was dressed in what
was considered a fashionable coat, said to Armstrong, in
the hearing of all, ' Where did you get this young fog-
maroony?' Armstrong replied, 'In the Wabash coun-
try.' 'Well,' said Cravens, 'I'm afraid you'll never
Methodize him.' Armstrong made no reply, but Han-
dle, greatly incensed, made some snappish rejoinder, and
utterly refused to preach at this camp-meeting, on ac-
count of this occurrence. Many were the apologies and
excuses given for this speech of Father Cravens, but it
was not arranged satisfactorily until the good old man
got a new coat for Handle, cut in the most approved
Methodistic style. These men. Cravens and Randle,
were both singular men, but there was a vein of goodness
and frankness about the former that made him friends
wherever he traveled.

" On one occasion, Cravens preached a sermon at a
camp-meeting near Bloomington, in which he censured
severely a recent Indiana Legislature, which had divorced
almost all the numerous applicants who applied to it for
that purpose. At the dinner hour. Dr. Maxwell, who
had been a member of the said Legislature, endeavoring
to justify its action in this respect, instanced many sup-


posable cases, in addition to the case given in the New
Testament, wherein it would be cruelty to refuse di-
vorces. Not attempting to answer the arguments in de-
tail. Cravens straightened himself up, and said, ' Is n't it
wonderful Christ did not think of that?' This good-
natured sally ended the discussion.

" We arrived in due time at the seat of the Confer-
ence. We junior preachers had to remain in the country
adjacent until the commencement of the Conference.
This Conference consisted of about twenty preachers,
Bishops M'Kendree and Roberts presiding, the sessions
held in an up-stairs room in the house of James Sharpe.
I was received on trial, and appointed to Patoka Circuit,
James Garner, Preach er-in-charge. Garner left his family
at Charlestown, and was only able to visit them twice
during the entire year. This might seem neglectful, yet
how could he do better, when his entire receipts were
twenty -eight dollars, my own fourteen dollars, while Hol-
liday, the presiding elder, who lived in Greene County,
Illinois, got little or nothing. Verily, the man who
preached for money alone, in that day, was a little liable
to disappointment. The outfit of the itinerant, at that
day, in addition to horse, saddle, and bridle, was a pair
of saddle-bags, Bible, hymn-book, thread and needles for
repairs, and a package of tallow candles. I always car-
ried candles to read by, and many cabins were thus lit
up that had not seen the light of candles hitherto. The
year on Patoka Circuit concluded with a good camp-
meeting, at which Revs. Aaron Wood and Richard Har-
grave, from neighboring circuits, were present, and la-
bored faithfully and efficiently in the service of the
Master. And now, while I remember these two young

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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 19 of 27)