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 24 of 27)
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Methodist Educational Institutions — Early Funds controlled by Presby-
terians — Effort to amend the Charter of the " State University " —
The Legislature memorialized — "Indiana Asbury University"
founded — First Meeting of the Board of Trustees — First Commence-
ment — " New Albany Seminary " — " De Pauw College " — " Fort
Wayne College" — "Whitewater College" — "Brookville College" —
"Moore's Hill College" — Educational Record of Indiana — Names
of Institutions — Number of Teachers — Scholars — Value of School


THE State funds for educational purposes in Indiana,
as in most of the Western States, Avere for many
years under the almost exclusive control of Presbyteri-
ans, who assumed to be the especial guardians and pat -
rons of education. It is impossible, at this day, to com-
prehend the self-complacency with which their leading
men in the West assumed to be the only competent edu-
cators of the people, and the quiet unscrupulou.sness
with which they seized upon the trust-funds of the
States for school purposes, and made those schools as
strictly denominational as though the funds had been ex-
clusively contributed by members of their own commun-
ion. A young man who, in either the Miami University
at Oxford, Ohio, or Lexington, Kentucky, or Blooming-
ton, Indiana, would have questioned the correctness of
any of the dogmas of Calvinism, would have been an ob-
ject of unmitigated ridicule and persecution. Such was
the spirit of exclusiveness with which State colleges were
managed, in the early settlement of the Western coun-


try, that for many years but few students, except those
from Calvinistic families, were found in the State colleges.
This tended to throw other denominations upon their own
resources, and induced them not only to build up denom-
inational schools, but caused them, in due course of time,
to assert their rights in the management of the State in-
stitutions ; and the result has been that, in those states
as Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, where
Presbyterian greed has been most conspicuous, they now
occupy, in educational matters, a subordinate position.
When, in 1834 and 1835, efforts were made in Indiana
so to change the management of the State University,
by amending its charter, that the trustees should be
elected by the State Legislature, instead of being a self-
perpetuating corporation, a storm of indignation was
raised among those who controlled the State University;
and it was made the occasion of heaping all sorts of op-
probium on the head of the Methodist Church. The
movement was said to be an effort on the part of the
Methodists to get a Methodist professor in the State
Universit}^ ; and it was tauntingly said, in the halls of
the Legislature, thfit "there was not a Methodist in
America with sufficient learning to fill a professor's chair,
if it were tendered to him." Such taunts proved a
wholesome stimulus to Methodist enterprise and inde-
pendent Church action in the department of education,
and the result is seen, in part, in the investment of more
than half a million of dollars in property for school pur-
poses ; in the employment of more than fifty teachers in
Methodist schools in Indiana ; in the endowment of de-
nominational colleges second to none; and in the chief
control of the State University, from which we had been
so long and persistently excluded. And all this accom-
plished, not by the seizure and appropriation of public


funds, but by the willing contributions of our people,
and by the moral force of the numbers and intelligence
of our communicants.

At the first session of the Indiana Conference, held in
New Albany, October, 1832, a committee, consisting of
Ilevs. Allen Wiley, C. W. Ruter, and James Armstrong,
Avas appointed to consider and report on the propriety of
establishing a literary institution, under the patronage of
the Conference. The committee reported, but no action
Avas had, beyond providing for the collection of informa-
tion, to be reported to the next Conference.

While the Conference felt that, on many accounts, it
Avould be desirable to have an institution of learning un-
der its own control, yet it was thought if we could get
any thing like an equitable share of privileges in the
State University at Bloomington, that that would meet
the wants of our people for several years ; and accord-
iiigly, at the Conference of 1834, it was resolved to
memorialize the Legislature on that subject. A memo-
rial from the Conference, and similar memorials from dif-
ferent parts of the state, numerously signed, were sent
up to the Legislature. The memorialists did not ask that
the University be put, either in whole or in part, under
the control of the Church; they simply asked that the
trustees of the University should be elected for a def-
inite term of years, and the vacancies, as they occurred,
should be filled by the Legislature, and not by the re-
maining members of the Board of Trustees.

The memorials were referred to an able committee of
the Legislature, but from some cause the committee never
reported. It was easier to strangle the report in the
committee, than to justify a refusal of the reforms asked
by the memorialists. Failing in their efforts to secure a
reform in the manner of controlling the State University,


the members of the Conference turned their thoughts
earnestly toward the founding of a literary institution of
high grade, under the control of the Church. At the
session of the Conference of 1835, a plan was agreed
upon for founding a university.

Subscriptions were taken up and proposals made from
different parts of the state, with a view of securing the
location of the university. Rockville, Putnamville,
Greencastle, Lafayette, Madison, and Indianapolis were
the principal competitors. Rockville presented a sub-
scription of $20,000 ; Putnamville, about the same
amount; Indianapolis and Madison, $10,000 each ; and
Greencastle, the sum of $25,000 ; and at the session of
the Conference in Indianapolis, in 1836, the university
was located at Greencastle. At the next session of the
Legislature the institution secured a liberal charter, un-
der the name of


The first meeting of the Board of Trustees was held
in 1837, when it was resolved to open the Preparatory
Department, which in due time was done under the
principalship of Rev. Cyrus Nutt, a graduate of Alle-
ghany College. Rev. M. Simpson was elected President
of the University in 1839 ; and the first regular Com-
mencement was held in 1840, when President Simpson
was duly inaugurated; the charge being delivered b}''
Governor Wallace.


This institution came under the care of Indiana Con-
ference in 1837. In May, 1837, William H. Goode,
who was traveling Lexington Circuit, was elected Prin-
cipal of New Albany Seminary, and, by the approval of


his presiding elder, Rev. C. W. Ruter, who supplied his
place on the circuit, entered immediately upon his duties
as the successor of Philander Ruter, A. M. And at the
ensuing session of the Conference, which was held in
New Albany in the Fall of the same year, Mr. Goode
was appointed in charge of the Seminary. Preferring
the pastoral work, he resigned before the next session of
the Conference, and was succeeded by George H. Harri-
son, A. M., who continued in charge of the Seminary
for several years ; and, although the Seminary was dis-
continued as a Conference institution, and ceased, it,
nevertheless, accomplished great good in its day, and
showed that the Methodist Church was then, as now,
the real friend of Christian education.

That errors were committed in the early management
of our denominational schools, is now apparent. The
efforts of the Church were too much divided, and the
schools did not rest on a sufficiently solid pecuniary
basis. New Albany Seminary is worthily succeeded by


In the same city. The College is a credit to the city,
and an honor to its noble founder and patron, whose
name it bears. Other seminaries and colleges, local in
their influence, but useful in their day, sprang up in dif-
ferent parts of the Conference, and flourished for a while;
but as the system of public schools improved, and graded
schools were established, the demand for Church sem-
inaries was less, and the Church is wisely concentrating
on a few of her more central and important institutions.


At Centerville, with a branch at Richmond, flourished
for some years, and had the efficient labors of Cyrus



Nutt, D. D., and of Wm. H. Barnes, A. M., and other
efficient educators; but was finally discontinued as a
Church school.

Similar schools sprang up in each of the conferences,
and, after flourishing for a season, were discontinued ;
and, although their discontinuance was a source of morti-
fication to their immediate friends, perhaps they each
accomplished more good than they cost ; and, while they
expired, their fruit remained.

Fort Wayne College was founded in 1846 ; Brook-
ville College in 1851, and Moore's Hill College in 1853.

The educational record for Indiana (1870) stands as
follows :

Indiana Asbury University : Professors, 7; students,
344 ; value of property, $101,000 ; active endowment,
$105,000; total value of property, $206,000.


De Pauw College for Young Ladies : Teachers, 9 ;
scholars, 137; value of property, $50,000. Rockport
Collegiate Institute: Teachers, 4; students, 98; value
of property, $30,000.


Fort Wayne College : Teachers, 10; students, 250;
value of property, $50,000.


Brookville College: Teachers, 6; students, 150;
value of property, $27,000. Moore's Hill College:
Teachers, 9; students, 365; value of property and
endowment, $53,520.



Stockwell Collegiate Institute : Teachers, 7 ; stu-
dents, 150; value of property, $40,000. Valparaiso
College : Value of property, $30,000. Battle-ground
Institute : Value of property, $10,000. Danville Acad-
emy: Value of property, $20,000. Dayton Academy:
Teachers, 2; students, 100; value of property, $5,000.

There are sixty professors and teachers employed in
colleges and academies in Indiana under the care of the
Church, and nearly two thousand students receiving
collegiate and academic training in these institutions.


Indiana Asbury University $206,000

Fort Wayne College 50,000

Brookville College 27,000

Moore's Hill College 5H,520

De Pauw College for Young Ladies 50,000

Stockwell Collegiate Institute 40,000

Dayton Academy 5,000

Eockport Collegiate Institute 30,000

Valparaiso College 80,000

Battle-ground Institute 10,000

Indiana Central Female College 11,000

Danville Academy 20,000

Total $5.32,520

The above exhibit is incomplete, owing to the im-
possibility of obtaining full information; but it serves
to show that Methodists are doing a reasonable share
toward the education of the youth of the State. Many
of the most efficient teachers in our graded schools, and
a number of the superintendents of the schools in our
cities, are graduates of Methodist colleges.



Indiana Bishops — R. R. Roberts — Licensed to Preach, and admitted
into the Conference — Circuits and Stations filled — Elected to the
Episcopacy — Removes to Indiana — His Personal Appearance — Ex-
tract from "The Fallen Heroes of Indiana Methodism," by Hon. R.
W. Thompson — Funeral Services at Greencastle — Erection of a
Monument — Matthew Simpson — Enters the Ministry — Elected
President of "Indiana Asbury University" — Elected Editor of the
Western Christian Advocate — Elected Bishop — His Services in the
Cause of Education — He visits Europe — His Services during the
War — E. R. Ames — His Ancestors — His Early Life — Opens a High-
school at Lebanon — Elected "Corresponding Secretary of the Mis-
sionary Society" — Elected President of "Indiana Asbury Univer-
sity " — Elected Bishop — His Personal Appearance — His Manner of

Indiana Bishops.

bishop roberts.

EGBERT RICHFORD ROBERTS, although not a na-
tive of Indiana, and never a member of an Indiana
Conference, is, nevertheless, claimed as an Indiana
bishop, because he was a citizen of Indiana during nearly
the whole term of his episcopate. His mortal remains
rest in Indiana, and his worldly substance was all de-
voted to the support of Christian education in Indiana.
Bishop Roberts Avas a native of Frederick, Maryland.
He was born August 2, 1778. He was converted in the
fourteenth year of his age, and licensed to preach, and
admitted on trial in the Baltimore Annual Conference, in
the Spring of 1802. He traveled consecutively Car-
lisle, Montgomery, Frederick, Pittsburg, and Wheeling


Circuits. While in charge of the latter circuit, in 1808;
he attended the session of the General Conference in
Baltimore, and took part in its deliberations, participat-
ing in the famous debates on the question of making the
presiding eldership elective. At the close of the Gen-
eral Conference, Bishop Asbury stationed him in the city
of Baltimore. In 1809, he was reappointed to Balti-
more. In 1810, he was stationed at Fell's Point, and in
1811, at Alexandria. In 1812, he was stationed at
Georgetown, District of Columbia, and during this year
he made the acquaintance of President Madison and his
estimable lady, by whom he was highly esteemed. He
was accustomed to visit them, and was received with the
freedom and cordiality of private friendship. In 1813
and 1814, he w\as stationed in Philadelphia. In 1815,
he was presiding elder on Schuylkill District, which in-
cluded the city of Philadelphia. In 1816, he was elected
to the episcopacy. The following fact, doubtless, contrib-
uted to the election of Mr. Roberts : There being no
bishop present at the session of the Philadelphia Confer-
ence, which was held just previous to that of the Gen-
eral Conference, Mr. Roberts, according to the provisions
of the Discipline, was elected to preside, although the
youngest presiding elder in the Conference. During the
session of the Conference many of the delegates to the
General Conference, from New England and New York,
who were on their way to Baltimore, stopped to look in
upon the Philadelphia Conference ; and beholding the
dignity, ease, and propriety with which he presided, were
convinced that he was a suitable man for the episcopacy.
His elevation to the episcopacy was unlooked for as well
as unsolicited by him. In December, 1819, Bishop Rob-
erts removed from Shenango, his old home in Pennsyl-
vania, where he resided a short time after his election to


the cpiscop.'icy, to Lawrence County, Indiana. This was
in the third year of his episcopacy. The mildness of
the climate, the fertility of the soil, and cheapness in
living, appear to have been the motives by which he was
actuated in coming to Indiana. Although his circuit was
the continent, and his exposures and perils great, he was
permitted to die at home, which solemn event occurred
on the 26th of March, 1843.

Bishop Roberts was a man of fine physical appear-
ance. He would attract attention in any company. He
sat, stood, and moved wdth great dignity, in private and
public, without any apparent effort, or any stiffness of
manner. He was five feet ten inches in height, with a
heavy, robust frame, tending, in later years, to corpulency.
God had called him to a work which demanded great phys-
ical as well as mental and moral force, and he endowed
him for his vocation. His manner was always easy, and
is, perhaps, as well expressed by the terms simplicity and
naturalness, as by any others. His piety was deep, ar-
dent, and uniform. He loved the social means of grace,
as the class and prayer meetings, where he seemed to
forget all official position, and appeared in the simple light
of true Christian character. His piety was cheerful and
active. The field of his labor was a continent, and, like
Paul, he pressed to regions beyond, that he might preach
the Gospel where Christ had not been named, that he
might not build on another man's foundation. As a
preacher, his manner was earnest rather than impas-
sioned. His thoughts came readily, and Avere always
clothed in appropriate language. He was a natural ora-
tor. His voice was full, and its tones rich and melodious.
He commenced with a pitch of voice that all could hear,
and his delivery was quite uniform. It was a full cur-
rent from the beginning, and flowed on evenly to the


end ; and one felt that, impressive as his effort was, there
Avas with him a large amount of reserved power. His
sermons were practical and experimental. His thoughts
were in sympathy with real life, and, hence, there was a
freshness about his sermons that was always refreshing.

In his address on " The Fallen Heroes of Indiana
Methodism," delivered before the "Indiana State Meth-
odist Convention" in Indianapolis, in October, 1870,
Hon. R. W. Thompson said of Bishop Roberts :

"1 knew Bishop Roberts well — most intimately, con-
sidering the disparity in our ages. I had many oppor-
tunities of studying his character as it was developed in
his intercourse with the world; and, all things con-
sidered, I do not hesitate to say, that for all the highest
excellencies, for a profound knowledge of mankind, and
the motives and springs of human conduct; for a deep,
true courage; for pure Christian charity; for all, indeed,
that goes to raise man up to the true standard of no-
bility, he may be entitled to stand in the foremost rank
among all the men I have ever known. In the domestic
circle he was as playful, simple, and ingenuous as a little
child, fond of anecdotes, and somewhat skilled in telling
them. Those of you who knew him Avell, remember that
sly humor that twinkled in his face, and lit it up with
animation and life, when he was recounting some rich
and racy scenes he had observed in frontier life. In
recounting these he seemed to be a boy again. But
even in his playful moods he was ' every inch a man,'
such a one as we may not soon ' look upon his like
again.' "

Nobody could look at the benignant expression on
Bishop Roberts's 'face without seeing that he was full
of kindness and benevolence ; gentleness beamed from
every feature. I once witnessed an exhibition of these


characteristics that made so strong and lasting an im-
pression on my mind that I can not now omit it.

There resided in Lawrenceport — to which place the
bishop had removed — a gentleman who had once been a
Methodist preacher, and was still a member of the
Church, but actively engaged in business. For some
cause, which I have forgotten, he was induced to speak
in unkind and rather harsh terms of the bishop, being
a hasty and impetuous man. The bishop heard of it;
and one night, when I was at this gentleman's house, he
surprised him by suddenly stepping in. After a kind
salutation, and a brief conversation upon ordinary topics,
during which my friend was greatly embarrassed, the
venerable old man turned directly to him and said :
"Brother , I am told that you have spoken un-
kindly of me, and have called over to say to you what
I thought I could best say in the presence of another,
which is that I do not feel offended, but mortified, not
on my own account, but yours. I am old enough to be
your father, and on that account you ought not to speak
harshly of me. But more especially ought you not to
do so when you consider that I have given you no occa-
sion for it. I never did you an injury, or wished you
any harm ; on the contrary, I have always treated you
with kindness. But I am too old to quarrel, and in-
capable, I trust, of resentment. I have, therefore, called
without an invitation, not to speak unkindly to you in
return, but to say that I willingly forgive you, and will
pray that God will also do so ; having only one request
to make, which is that you will not say hard things
about me any more, as you ought not to say them about
any body." Instantly observing how completely his ad-
versary was discomfited by this Christian, paternal lec-
ture, and as if to relieve him from his humiliation, he


said, "Now, brother, Ave will pray together;" and he put
up such a prayer to the Throne of Grace — so gentle and
kind and spiritual — that my friend expressed his sorrow
in copious tears. On rising from his knees, the bishop
bade us good-night, and retired without another word of
reference to the difficulty. That was the end of it.

As to the bishop's preaching, Hon. Mr. Thompson
bears the following testimony :

" The first sermon I ever heard preached in Indiana
was by Bishop Roberts, nearly forty years ago. I had
just then settled in the county where he resided ; and
when it was announced that he would preach at Bono,
near his home, I went there to hear him. I have not
yet forgotten the impression under which I went. Hav-
ing been raised an Episcopalian, I had acquired certain
ideas of a bishop, which filled my mind. I had fre-
quently heard the venerable and most excellent Bishop
Mead, of Virginia, and the hand of the more venerable,
and not less excellent, Bishop White, of Pennsylvania,
had rested upon my head in the ceremony of confir-
mation. To these distinguished men I attached a degree
of honor and respect far above that which I was in the
habit of feeling for ordinary individuals. And thus im-
pressed, I frankly confess that I was prompted by some
little curiosity to see what sort of a man a Methodist
bishop of Indiana could be. The weather was pleasant,
the congregation large for the times, and the preaching
out of doors in a beautiful grove. At the beginning of
the sermon I stood at the outside of the audience ; from
which point, for the first time, my eye rested upon the
venerable form of the noble old man, than whom, among all
the varied associations of three-score years, I have never
known a nobler or better. His gray locks were thrown
back so as to expose to full view his magnificent fore-


head and brow, which were stamped with the uhmis-
tjikable marks of thought and intellectual power. My
whole attention was at once arrested, and I drank in
every word, as it fell from his lips, with the deepest and
most intense interest, edging myself along to get nearer,
as if drawn to him by a cord that was too strong to be
resisted or broken. His introduction was in soft, but
distinct tones, as though he were a father addressing
kindly admonitions to his children. It was most fitly
spoken in that almost conversational style for which he
was eminently distinguished, and which he universally
adopted at the commencement of his sermons. But as
he advanced, he grew and strengthened and warmed up
Avith his subject, and displayed such eloquence and
power and vigor of thought, as has not often been heard
in Canterbury, or York, or Cambridge, or St. Peter's.
His clear and musical voice was re-echoed by the silent
grove, and not one who was brought under its spell
remained unmoved by its pathos. He did not employ
tropes and figures by way of ornament to his discourse,
but, grappling his subject like a giant, he portrayed
the majesty, power, and love of God in breathing words
and burning thoughts, that sank into the hearts and
souls of his hearers. At one time his style was simple,
yet always terse, exact, and perspicuous. At others he
rose to the very highest summit of eloquence, and
descended again, with a natural ease and dignity that
far surpassed all the teachings of the schools. Dealing
for a moment with common events, so as to arrest the
attention and excite the earnestness of his hearers, he
would, without artistic action or display, ca.rry them
with him, by a sort of magic influence, into the loftier
regions of thought and reason, exhibiting, as he pro-
gressed, no less famiharity with the classic imagery of


Milton than with the inspired and majestic thoughts of
St. Paul."

On the 18th of January, 1844, the remains of Bishop
Roberts were disinterred, and removed to Greencastle.
On the following day they were, by order of the trustees

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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 24 of 27)