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 26 of 27)
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where his vessel remained three years and four months,
giving the officers superior facilities for visiting its classic
shores, more especially Italy, Asia Minor, and the Gre-
cian Archipelago. His vessel returning in 1830, he was
detailed, and permitted to visit his Western home, after,
an absence of nearly four years. The change from boy-
hood to manhood was such that an elder brother found it


difficult to recognize him; yet his mother, with true pa-
rental instinct, clasped her son to her heart at first sight,
and wept tears of joy over one Avho had been a subject
of prayerful solicitude during the weary years of his

At that time, the Naval Academy was not in exist-
ence as now organized, the Government furnishing in-
struction for the midshipmen at navy-yards and on board
ships in commission. As an examination for promotion
occurred annually, for those who had been five years in
the service, three of them at sea, and as merit deter-
mined tl^e place of each on the list, there was no small
degree of anxiety on the part of the sixty composing
the class of 1826, as to their success in the ordeal
through which they were to pass. This induced young
Gillett to press his studies while on shore, rather than
indulge in the sailors' usual course of relaxation while
on hind. After some months of duty at the navy-yard
in Pensacola, he Avas ordered to Baltimore, wdth some
sixty others, for examination, among whom were Raphael
Semmes, John A. Dahlgren, 0. S. Glisson, S. C. Rowan,
and C. S. Boggs, who were so prominent in naval affiiirs
during the late Rebellion, and who, with the exception
of Mr. Semmes, have been promoted to the Admiralty.
The Examining Board was in session near two months,
and, at its conclusion, placed the name of Samuel T. Gil-
lett at the head of the list, giving Raphael Semmes, late
Captain of the famous Alabama, the next number below
him. Forty-two of the cLiss passed, some failing, others
fearing to come before the Board. Young Gillett's suc-
cess was the more gratifying as the officers from the
Eastern States affected to believe that those from the
West coujd not compete with them.

In 1830 he was ngain ordered to sea, and was favored


with duty on board the Delaivare, ship of the line. Af-
ter landing His Excellency, Edward Livingston, Minis-
ter to France, at Cherbourg, the officers visited Paris,
and other cities between that and the British Channel.
The vessel then proceeded to the Mediterranean, and,
during a stay of two years, he visited the south of
France, west coast of Italy, Egypt, and Palestine.
While Avitnessing an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, near
Naples, he was placed in a perilous condition from a
shower of molten lava, thrown from the crater in an ob-
lique direction, falling in pieces of several pounds' weight
around him and his companions. In Egypt he, with a
company of officers, passed up the Nile to Cairo, and,
being favored with horses and grooms from the pasha's
stables, accompanied by Mr. Gliddon, United States
Vice-Consul, visited the Pyramids, ruins of Memphis,
Catacombs, and many other interesting localities in that
semi-barbarous country, once the seat of literature and
refinement as existing in ancient times. In Palestine,
they were received by the Governor of Jerusalem, and
provided with quarters in that most interesting of all
cities to Bible students. Having peculiar fiicilities here,
they visited the sacred localities of this city and the ad-
jacent country, and then, rejoining the ship at Jaffa —
the Joppa of Scripture — they passed up the coast, visit-
ing Tyre, Sidon, and Beyroot, where the lamented
Kingsley closed his eventful life. The Delaivare then
returned to Port Mahon, head-quarters of the squadron,
and Mr. Gillett to the United States. We have given
this brief review of his nautical life, as that and his ex-
tensive travels have had an important bearing on his
usefulness as a minister.

On his return home, he was placed on " leave of ab-
sence," and entered the service of the State of Indiana


as civil engineer in the preliminary survey and location
of the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad. While thus
engaged, the great crisis of his life occurred, wholly rev-
olutionizing his views of duty and course of action. Re-
flecting on the insufficiency of worldly enjoyments — of
which he had freely partaken — to satisfy the demands
of the soul, he resolved to act on a remark dropped in
his hearing by Mrs. Gillett, that " happiness was to be
found in religion." Examining the Bible, to learn in
what religion consists, he was fully awakened to a sense
of his condition and danger as a sinner. After two
weeks of penitence and prayer, the Savior came to his
relief about noon, October 6, 1836, while at home read-
ing the Methodist Discipline, his faith being aided by an
illustration from sea-faring life. As a Church member,
he resolved to live up to his whole duty ; and to learn
this, he commenced to read the Discipline through.
While reading the Articles of Faith, he came to the sec-
ond, when his attention was riveted to the statement of
the two-fold nature of the Son of God — " very God and
very man" — as exactly suited to human redemption.
"If," said he to himself, "a soldier and sailor should be
at variance, both parties would accept as mediator a ma-
rine, Avho, as soldier serving on shipboard, is both soldier
and sailor. Now^, Christ is very God and very man, and
into his hands I commit my case." Immediate relief
followed this act of trust, and the clear witness of the
Spirit was realized in a few minutes, accompanied with
joy unspeakable and full of glory. Such was his expe-
rience, as he has sometimes stated in the social meetings
of the Church. Religious matters now appeared so im-
portant, that he resolved on a life henceforth to be de-
voted to human salvation, and immediately resigned his
office of civil engineer, and commenced a course of


theological study. On the third of March, 1837, he was
confirmed by the United States Senate as lieutenant in
the navy. Being passionately fond of the sea, he was,
for a season, tempted to retain the commission so unex-
pectedly sent him, and, for the present, decline active
ministerial life. The immediate result was a loss of
religious enjoyment, and distaste for spiritual exercises.
Being on a visit to his brother-in-law, Rev. W. H. Goode,

D. D., at New Albany, he attended a camp-meeting near
by, and, after a severe struggle over the sacrifice de-
manded, resolved to end the matter forthwith, resign his
commission, and enter on the ministerial life. His re-
ligious peace returned, and, entering the altar at the
camp-ground, he commenced, among the mourners, the
future work of his life.

Soon after, in the Fall of 1837, in a letter to the Sec-
retary of the Navy, he tendered his resignation, assign-
ing the reasons impelling him to the sacrifice. The
resignation was accepted, and the matter forever settled.
He was duly licensed as a local preacher, and his recom-
mendation from the Madison Quarterly Conference to
the Indiana Annual Conference was presented by Rev.

E. G. Wood, D. D., Presiding Elder, and he was received
on trial at the session of 1837, in New Albany, and ap-
pointed to Lawrenceburg Circuit, James Jones and Silas
Rawson, his colleagues. Their labors were successful,
and extensive revivals followed. In 1838, he was re-
appointed to the same work, with Charles Bonner in
charge. Lawrenceburg having been made a station,
the circuit was called Wilmington. Extensive revivals
crowned their labors in the twenty-two appointments,
and seventeen hundred and ninety-nine members were
returned to Conference. In 1839 and 1840, he was on
Rising Sun Circuit, but was transferred to the charge of


the Union Bethel, Louisville, Kentucky, by Bishop Soule,
December, 1840. In 1841, he Avas sent to Lawrenceburg
Station, but in May following was ordered to the navy-
yard. New York, having been commissioned as chaplain
in the navy, by Mr. Tyler. He remained there several
months, but became satisfied he would be more useful in
the regular work, resigned his commission, and was re-
appointed to Lawrenceburg. In 1843 and 1844, he was
in charge of Terre Haute Station, North Indiana Confer-
ence ; in 1845, of Greencastle Station; and in 1846 and
1847, of Roberts Chapel, at Indianapolis. He was then
four years on the Centerville District as presiding elder,
and was delegate from the North Indiana Conference to
the General Conference in 1852. At the close of this
year, he was elected President of the Fort Wayne Fe-
male College, but declined the appointment, and was
stationed at Asbury Chapel, Indianapolis, South-enstern
Indiana Conference. While on the Centerville District,
he was also elected President of Whitewater College,
but served only until a successor could be obtained, pre-
ferring the regular work. In 1853, he was sent to the
Connersville District, and remained three years. In
1856-57, he was in charge of Centenary Methodist
Episcopal Church, New Albany, Indiana Conference.
In 1858, he was on the Bloomington District. In 1859,
he was placed in charge of Locust-street Church, Evans-
ville, and remained two years. In 1861, he was placed
on Evansville District. From Evansville District he
was removed, in 1862, to Wesley Chapel, Indianapolis,
and remained two years. In 1864 and 1865, he was on
Bloomington Station, but was relieved, early in 1866,
and placed in the Centenary agency, and raised, in con-
nection with his colleague. Rev. Dr. Hight, over $30,000,
in cash and subscriptions, for our literary and benevolent


institutions. In the Fall of 1866, he was placed on the
Indianapolis District, wh^re he remained two years, when,
on the division of the district by act of the General Con-
ference in changing the boundary lines, he was again
placed in charge of Asbury Station, Indianapolis, where
he remained two years, and was removed, in the Fall of
1870, to the First Church, in Greensburg, where he is
now laboring. Dr. Gillett's ministry has been abundantly
blessed in the awakening and conversion of sinners, and
in the sanctification of believers, as well as in promoting
the educational and benevolent enterprises of the Church.


The North-west Indiana Conference held its twen-
tieth session in Crawfordsville, Indiana, beginning Sep-
tember 6, 1871, Bishop Ames presiding. J. C. Reed
was elected secretary, and L, Taylor and J. L. Boyd

On the second day of the session the Laymen's
Electoral Conference convened, pursuant to the provis-
ional plan for lay delegation. Mark Jones was elected
president ; A. S. Morrow and Joseph Miller, vice-pres-
idents ; and W. C. Smith was chosen secretary, with R.
S. Tennant as assistant secretary. Hon. H. S. Lane
and John Brownfield, Esq., were elected delegates to
the ensuing General Conference, to be held in Brooklyn,
in May, 1872.

Congratulations were exchanged between the Lay-
men's Electoral Conference and the Annual Conference.
The following preamble and resolutions, offered by Hon.
Henry S. Lane, were adopted by the Electoral Con-
ference :

" Whereas^ the doctrines and economy of the Methodist Episcopal
Church have been signally blessed, in the conversion and salvation of mul-
tiplied thousands during the last one hundred years; and, whereas, we are


unfalteringly opposed to all radical changes in that form of Church govern-
ment which has so efficiently administered the Word of Life to millions
of anxious hearers; and, lohereas, we hear with sincere regret that an effort
may be made, at the next General Conference, to introduce great, and we
fear dangerous, innovations in the government of our beloved Church;

" Resolved, That we, the members of the Electoral Conference of the
North-west Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in Con-
ference assembled, declare that we are opposed to any change whatever in
our Church economy, looking to alteration in our plan of general super-

'■'Resolved, That we believe a quadrennial election of bishops in our
Church would be fraught with great danger, and would imperil her peace,
prosperity, and success.

" Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Electoral Conference, the efiB-
ciency and almost unparalleled success of the Church, in the past, has been
largely attributable, under God, to the Christian zeal, energy, and efficiency
of our general superintendents; and that the life-tenure in that office is
essential to its Christian power and usefulness.

" Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to bear our fra-
ternal greetings to the bishop and members of the North-west Indiana
Conference, now in session in this city, and ask most respectfully and ear-
nestly their concurrence in the foregoing preamble and resolutions."

Hon. Henry S. Lane, Mark Jones, and John Brown-
field, Esqs., were appointed said Committee. Hon. H.
S. Lane addressed the Conference on behalf of the
Electoral Conference; and at the close of his address, on
motion, the Conference unanimously concurred in the
foregoing preamble and resolutions.

The clerical delegates to the General Conference
were, A. A. Gee, J. C. Reed, N. L. Brakeman, and S.
Godfrey ; reserve delegates, A. Wood and L. Taylor.

The reports showed : Members and probationers,
22,010; number of churches, 261; value, $743,268;
number of parsonages, 68; A^alue, $94,118. Contribu-
tions : For Missions, $5,529.52 (being a falling off from
the contributions of the preceding year of $666.76)
Church Extension, $463.60; Bible Society, $1,622.92
Sunday-school Union, $161.50; Tract Society, $129.62
superannuated preachers, etc., $1,410.45. *


The Conference is earnestly devoted to the good
work of fostering our institutions of learning, and directs
its patronage to Indiana Asbury University, Fort Wnyrle
College, Stockwell Collegiate Institute, Valparaiso Male
and Female College, and Russellville Academy. The
Conference expressed its appreciation of Christian edu-
cation, in connection with Indiana Asbury University, in
the following words : " The Church and Conference
surely can not complain; for, of the thirty-two who
graduated June 22, 1871, seven are already in the min-
istry, and we believe at least four more will yet enter
the regular work. Ten are sons and daughters of min-
isters ; the greater number are members of the Church,
and devoted Christians."


The North Indiana Annual Conference held its
twenty-ninth session in Simpson Chapel, Muncie, Ind.,
commencing March 27, 1872, Bishop Scott presiding.
M. H. Mendenhall was elected secretary, and E. F.
Hasty, D. P. Hartman, and H. N. Herrick, assistants.

The number of members and probationers reported
was 29,856; number of churches, 371i; value, $821,-
100 ; number of parsonages, 91 ; value, $114,655. The
Church contributions were as follows :

For Superannuated Preachers, etc $1,469 00

For Missions 8,719 O.S

For Church Extension Society. 420 38

For the Tract Society 190 95

For the Bible Society 1,910 49

For the Sunday-school Union 217 70

Educational Collection 765 00

For General Conference Expenses 507 97

Extra Missionary Collection 946 56

For Woman's Foreign Missionary Society 421 55

The Electoral Conference of Lay Delegates convened
on tl^ second day of the session. Joshua H. Mellett,


Esq., of Newcastle, was chosen as chairman, and C. C.
Binkley, Esq., of Richmond, was chosen secretary. J.
A. Funk and W. R. West, Esqs., were elected delegates
to the ensuing General Conference, to be held in Brook-
lyn, N. Y., in May, 1872. Congratulations were ex-
changed between the Electoral Conference of Laymen
and the Annual Conference, and addresses were deliv-
ered by representatives from each.

The delegates to the General Conference, from the
Annual Conference, were, W. H. Goode, Thomas Bow-
man, Wm. S. Birch, N. H. Phillips, and 0. V. Lemon.
The reserve delegates were : Ministers, M. H. Menden-
hall and L. W. Monson; and for the laymen, G. W.
Milburn and A. C. Swayze.

In no part of the state is Methodism advancing more
steadily and rapidly than within the bounds of the North
Indiana Conference. The General Conference of 1868
having detached that portion of the North Indiana Con-
ference lying in Marion County, and attached the same
to the South-eastern Indiana Conference, the Conference
adopted a series of strong resolutions against said alter-
ation in their Conference boundary, and instructed their
delegates to the General , Conference to use their influ-
ence to have the former boundary restored. Their me-
morial was duly considered, both in the Committee on
Boundaries and before the General Conference, but the
boundaries of Conferences in Indiana were left substan-
tially as they were settled at the General Conference
of 1868.

The introduction of lay delegation into the Method-
ist Episcopal Church, by the General Conference of
1872, marks an epoch in the history of the Church.
The freedom from undue excitement, and the harmony
and concert of action between the preachers and people,


was a veiy striking proof of the mutual confidence ex-
isting between them, and promises well for the future
harmony and increased efficiency of the Church. This
change in the constitution of the Church received the
support of all the delegates from the several Indiana

Indiana Methodism was well represented in the
General Conference of 1872, both by her lay and cler-
ical delegates. And Indiana Methodism was honored in
the selection of Rev. Thomas Bowman, D. D., as one of
the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


Bishop Bowman is a native of Pennsylvania. He was
born near Berwick, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, July
15, 1817. His ancestors, for two or three generations,
were noted Methodists, distinguished for the fervor of
their piety, their fidelity in the discharge of religious
duties, and also for their enterprise and frugality in tem-
poral affairs. His parents and grandparents, on his
father's side, were Methodists. His grandparents, on
his mother's side, were Scotch Presbyterians. His grand-
father, Rev. Thomas Bowman, was an efficient local
preacher, and introduced Methodism into Columbia and
the adjoining counties at an early day. He was an ear-
nest and an indefatigable worker, frequently spending
weeks from home carrying on revival meetings. The
bishop's father was a steward, class-leader, trustee of the
Church, and Sunday-school superintendent during the
most of his life. His parents were both noted for their
industry and economy. They were remarkably exem-
plary in the performance of their religious duties, not
allowing any thing to interfere with them, either in the
family or the Church. The children were uniformly


taken to Church. They accompanied their parents not
only to public worship, but also to the class-meetings and
love-feasts. The bishop was consecrated to God by his
parents from his birth, especially by his mother, who
earnestly desired that God would call her son to the
work of the Christian ministry. He early evinced a
fondness for books, and read almost every thing he could
find; for' books were then less numerous than now, espe-
cially books that were likely to interest boys. The bish-
op's childhood home had much to do in the formation of
his character. He was remarkably fond of history and
biography, and early stored his mind with a large amount
of solid information. At the age of fourteen, through
the influence of Rev. George Lane, who was subsequently
Book Agent, young Bowman was sent to the Wesley an
Academ}', at Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The next year
he w^ent to Oneida Conference Seminary, at Cazenovia,
New York, it being nearer home. Here, on the first of
January, 1833, he was converted to God in one of the
most remarkable revivals of religion ever witnessed in
our land. Almost every student in the Seminary was
converted. Rev. W. C. Larrabee was Principal of the
Seminary at the time. Not a few of the leading men,
in Church and State, throughout the land, received an
important part of their literary training under the in-
struction of Professor Larrabee. Immediately on his
conversion, young Bowman united with the Church, and
determined to do his whole duty as a Christian with what-
ever ability he had. His piety was of the most earnest,
happy, hopeful type, that at once opened before him
doors of usefulness, and won for him the society and
friendship of the better class of his fellow-students. In
the Fall of 1835, he entered the Junior Class in Dickin-
son College, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then under the


Presidency of Rev. John P. Durbin ; Drs. Emoiy,
M'Clintock, W. H. Allen, and Mr. Caldwell being Pro-
fessors. The bishop always expresses himself deeply
indebted to these men for his religious growth, and
especially to the teaching and preaching of Dr. Durbin.

Having completed the College Course, he graduated
in 1837, and studied law one year. His legal studies
have, doubtless, been of value to him through life, al-
though Providence designed him for a different sphere
of labor. His impressions of duty to preach the Gospel,
which had followed him nearly all his life, became so
strong that he could not prosecute his legal studies. He
accepted license to preach, and, in the Spring of 1839,
entered the Baltimore Annual Conference, and was sent
to Beaver Meadow Mission, where he had a happy and
successful year in a rough field of labor.

In 1840, at the earnest solicitations of the Faculty,
he took charge of the Grammar School of Dickinson
College, to which he was appointed by the bishop, where
he remained three years, most of the time as colleague
of Rev. L. Scott, now the venerable Bishop Scott. Mr.
Bowman's health being delicate, he then took a super-
numerary relation, and for five years did such work as
he could. In 1848 he was appointed Principal of Dick-
inson Seminary, at Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He
organized and opened the institution, and presided over it
for ten years, leaving a fine property and a school of about
four hundred students. During the years that he had
charge of the Seminary, he preached as often as any of
the stationed preachers, traveling over the country in
his own conveyance for nearly a hundred miles in every

In 1858, he was stationed at Lewisburg, Pennsyl-
vania, and at the end of one year was called to the


Presidency of Indiana Asbiny University, Avhere he re-
mained until elected by the General Conference of 1872
to the responsible position of Bishop of the Methodist
Episcopal Church.

Although most of his life has been given to the work
of Christian education, it formed no part of Bishop Bow-
man's plan of life when he entered the ministry. The
pastoral work has always been his delight, and, left to
his own choice, that would have been his chosen field of
labor; but when he consecrated his life to God and the
Church, he determined to do whatever work the Church
might call him to do, to do it cheerfully and to the utmost
of his ability. Bishop Bowman's willingness to work, and
his ability to work well, have caused him to lead a very
busy life. While in Dickinson Seminary, he did the
work of nearly three men, acting as principal, agent, and
steward, averaging from seven to nine hours a day.

His special sermons, lectures, and platform addresses,
while they have been models as to matter and style,
have been so numerous as to seem to leave but little
leisure for the performance of other duties, while they,
in fact, have not been taken into the account as any part
of his regular work.

More than forty men are now in the active work of
the ministry who were under his care and instruction
while at Dickinson Seminary, besides those who have
gone out from the halls of Asbury University since he
assumed the Presidency of that institution. Without
his knowledge, in 1864, Bishop Bowman was elected
Chaplain to the United States Senate, which place he
filled during one session of Congress. The General
Conference of 1864 appointed him a co-delegate with
Bishop Janes to the Wesleyan Conference, of Great


In 1859, he received the degree of Doctor of

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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 26 of 27)