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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 7 of 27)
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formed, and the meetings held inli school-house on the
north-east corner of Main and High Streets.

Lawrenceburg Circuit was organized as early as 1813.
It included the present territory of Dearborn and Ohio
Counties, and portions of Ripley and Franklin Counties,
and several appointments in the state of Ohio. Law-
renceburg, Aurora, Elizabethtown, Hardentown, Man-
chester, the Smith Settlement, where Mount Tabor



INDIANA METHODISM. 83

Church now stands, Moore's Hill, Eubank's, and Judge
Loudens, were prominent appointments on the circuit.
A Mr. Batholomew, in Aurora, was one of the early
Methodists in that town, and his house was a home for
the preachers for many years. Among the early Meth-
odists in Lawrenceburg were Hon. Isaac Dunn, who was
an associate judge for a number of years. He was
among the first settlers at the mouth of the Great
Miami, was early converted, opened his house for public
worship and for the entertainment of the itinerant
preachers. He remained a citizen of Lawrenceburg
until the day of his death, which occurred in 1870, when,
at the ripe age of eighty-two, he exchanged a home in
the Church militant for one in the Church triumphant.
R-ev. Elijah Sparks was a talented and educated local
preacher, who early settled in Lawrenceburg. He was
a practicing attorney, and yet maintained a true Chris-
tian and ministerial character. Mrs._,Lane, the wife of
Hon, Amos Lane, a prominent lawyer, and for some time
a member of Congress from that district, deserves men-
tion among the early Methodists of Lawrenceburg. She
was a lady of fine personal presence, of cultivated man-
ners, of superior intellectual endowments, and remark-
able force of character. Her influence was valuable in
the Church and in the general community. Isaac Mills
was one of the early Methodists at Elizabethtown, and
his house was a home for the preachers, whose society
he and his family greatly prized. On the occasion of a
quarterly-meeting, his house was thronged with com-
pany; for the early quarterly-meetings were signals for
the gathering of Methodists throughout a distance of
forty or fifty miles. It was customary on these occa-
sions for persons who would entertain company to an-
nounce, at the close of eleven o'clock preaching on



84 INDIANA METHODISM.

Saturday, how many persons and horses they could
entertain; for nearly every body came on horseback.
On one of these occasions, when the presiding elder was
done preaching, and had dismissed the congregation, the
preacher-in-charge requested those Avho could entertain
company to announce how many they would take.
Father Mills cried out, "I will take all of the preachers
and their families," when Major M'Henry, who was a
worthy Methodist pioneer in that locality, thinking that
Father Mills's invitation was rather exclusive, got on
a bench and called out, "I will take Lazarus and all
his family." As might be expected, the Major had the
larger crowd. Jacob Blasdell, who resided on Tanner's
Creek, a few miles above Lawrenceburg, was an early
Methodist, and a staunch advocate of temperance. His
son, Hon. Henry G. Blasdell^ for some years the popular
and worthy Governor of Nevada, has been a worthy
pioneer of Methodism in that new mountain territory.
EieZs-Daniel Plummer, an able local preacher from the
state of Maine, early settled at Manchester; and "Plum-
mer's Chapel" was one of the earliest and best brick
churches built within the bounds of the old Lawrence-
burg Circuit. Mr. Plummer was an able preacher and
an enterprising citizen. He represented his county
several years in the State Legislature. Rev. A. J.i^ot-
ton was also a prominent local preacher in the old Law-
renceburg Circuit. He taught school in the county for
many years, was also a probate judge, and married
more persons and preached more funeral sermons than
any other man in his day. He wrote a good deal of
poetry, chiefly of a local and ephemeral character, and
was author of a volume entitled " Cotton's Keepsake."

The house of Samuel Goodwin was one of the ear-
liest houses for Methodist preachers at BrookviUe, and



INDIANA METHODISM. 85

continued to be such until the day of his death. He
has given two sons to the ministry: Rev. T. A. Good-
win, for some time a member of the Indiana Conference,
and subsequently President of Brookville College, and
editor of the Indiana American, which he first pub-
lished at Brookville, and then at Indianapolis ; in the
relation of local preacher he has always been indus-
trious, and his ministrations have been acceptable in any
pulpit, вАФ Rev. W. R. Goodwin, for some years a mem-
ber of the South-eastern Indiana Conference, and then
of the Illinois Conference. Mr. Goodwin gave his sons
a collegiate education, and was one of the founders and
early patrons of Indiana Asbury University. Rev. Au-
gustus Jocelyn was an able local preacher at Brook-
ville, in an early day.

Rev. Hugh Cull, a local preacher, and one of the
members of the Convention that framed the first Con-
stitution for the State, settled in the Whitewater country,
a few miles south of Richmond, in 1805, and was, doubt-
less, the first Methodist preacher that settled in the
state. He resided on the farm where he first settled
for a period of fifty-seven years. He died on the 1st
of August, 1862, in the one hundred and fifth year
of his age. He retained both his mental and physical
vigor, in a remarkable degree, until near the close of life.
A few months before his death his physical strength
gave way, and he gradually descended to the tomb.
His death was triumphant. His last whispers were,
"Glory, glory, glory!" Father Cull was a man of me-
dium size, black hair, remarkably heavy eyebrows ; he
had a pleasant voice and a very sympathetic nature.
His preaching w^as very acceptable. His house was a
home for the traveling preachers for many years, and
few men relished preaching more than he. His interest



86 INDIANA METHODISM.

in the sermon often proved a help'to a young or timid
preacher. He had no children. For many years his
family consisted of himself and wife, and a niece of his
"wife's, whom they had adopted as a daughter. Father
Cull served for a few months in the War of the Revo-
lution, just at its close, and also in the War of 1812.
He was a man of simple tastes and temperate habits.
There was no acidity in his nature. He used no stimu-
lants; he drank but little tea or coffee; sweet milk,
from the spring-house, and honey from his own hives,
usually adorned his table in the Summer-time. He
made a profession of religion in early life, and preached
it for many years, and, although subject to occasional
spells of melancholy in his later years, Avas, for the most
of his life, a happy Christian. He lived to see "the
wilderness blossom as the rose."

Whitewater Circuit was formed in 1807, and lay
partly in Ohio and partly in Indiana. In 1808, a meet-
ing-house was built about a mile and a half south-east of
the old town of Salisbury, the first seat of justice for
Wayne County, and was situated about half-way betAveen
Centerville and the city of Richmond. It was called
"Meek's Meeting-house." Of course it was built of logs,
but God honored it with His presence, and the Jiumble
worshipers often felt, " Master, it is good to be here."
Not long after this, a second meeting-house was built in
Wayne County, on the farm of John Cain, about three
miles north-west of the city of Richmond. It was built
of logs, eighteen by twenty-two, with -a chimney in one
end. The third meeting-house in the county was called
" Salem," and was built where the town of Boston now
stands. It was larger than either of the others, and it,
too, was built of logs. The first frame meeting-house
built by the Methodists, in Wayne County, was erected



INDIANA METHODISM. 87

under the administrations of Rev. James Havens, in the
town of Centerville. The largest subscription was hy
Israel Abrams, a converted Israelite, who gave fifty dol-
lars, which was then really a large donation. Abrams
loved God and the Church, and through a long life he
showed his faith by his works, always setting an exam-
ple of liberality. In 1810, there was a camp-meeting
held just south of the old town of Salisbury, in Wayne
County. John Sale was the presiding elder; Thomas
Nelson and Samuel H. Thompson were the circuit preach-
ers. It was a profitable meeting, and its fruit is all gar-
nered above.

Methodism was early planted at Moore's Hill, in Dear-
born County. The early settlers in that neighborhood
included a number of excellent Methodist families from
the state of Delaware and the eastern shore of Mary-
land, among whom was Adam Moore, a local preacher,
after whom the village was named; John Dashill, who
was also for many years a local preacher; Charles Da-
shill, and Ranna Stevens. These men and their families
gave a moral impress to society, in that part of the coun-
try, that is permanent and valuable. No part of our
state maintains a higher standard of morals, and no
community has been less cursed with intemperance and
its kindred vices. John Strange once held a glorious
camp-meeting on the ground now occupied by the flour-
ishing town of Moore's Hill. The blessing of a cove-
nant-keeping God has rested upon the descendants of
these early Christian families. Their sons and daughters
have come to honor. Moore's Hill college is a monu-
ment to the intelligence and Christian liberality of John
C. Moore, one of the sons of Rev. Adam Moore, the orig-
inal proprietor of the town. And although he has been
gathered with his fiither to his heavenly home, his works



bo INDIANA METHODISM.

remain, and the college that was founded chiefly through
his instrumentality, it is hoped, will continue to bless the
world through the ages to come. The village of Moore's
Hill, now noted for the moral and literary tone of its so-
ciety, and for the college of which it is justly proud,
owes its name to the following blunder: Mr. Moore had
erected a mill that was driven by horse-power, as water-
power could not be commanded in that vicinity; and as
the early settlers, from a considerable distance, brought
their corn to be ground, it occurred to some one that it
would be a good idea to have a post-office established in
the vicinity of the mill; and accordingly a petition was
sent to Washington, praying for the establishment of
a post-office at Moore's Mill, The Postmaster-General,
mistaking the M for an H, located the post-office at
Moore's Hill, and that gave name to the village that sub-
sequently sprang up, and to the college that has been
founded, chiefly through the exertions and liberality of
one of the sons of the original proprietor of Moore's
Mill.

Among the agencies honored in the early planting of
churches in Indiana, and in carrying forward revival ef-
forts, local preachers and exhorters occupied a prominent
place, and are worthy of honorable mention. Many of
the former had been traveling preachers, who had been
compelled to locate for want of a support, and who con-
tinued to labor with efficiency. Such was Moses Ash-
worth, the apostle of Methodism in Southern Indiana.
He settled in Posey County, where he labored as a local
preacher for a number of years. These located preach-
ers usually acted in concert, and kept up a regular plan
of appointments. Of these, Garnett, Wheeler, Schra-
der, and Ashworth, who labored in Posey, Vanderburg,
and adjoining Counties, were prominent; and at camp-



INDIANA METHODISM. 89

meetings and two-days' meetings they were a power.
Daviess County had four local preachers of note, in an
early day, namely: James M'Cord, Elias Stone, John
Wallace, and Ebenezer Jones. M'Cord, Stone, and Wal-
lace traveled some; Jones' remained local, and raised a
large family. These were all useful men in their day.
Wallace and Stone both died aAvay from home, on cir-
cuits; M'Cord removed to Crawford County, Illinois,
where he lived to a good old age. The names of Joseph
Pownell, Jacob Lapp, John Lowry, Stephen Grimes,
John Fish, Richard Posey, John Collins, Richard Brown-
ing, Isaac Lambert, Jacob Turman, William Medford,
Samuel Hull, Job M. Baker, Wesley Morrison, William
Bratton, Hezekiah Holland, Joseph Freeland, and Jesse
Graham, deserve honorable mention. Augustus Jocelyn,
of~Bi'ookville, was a giant among the local preachers of
his day. He was a man of culture and of extraordinary
ability. James Garner settled in Clarke County soon
after the Robertsons came there. He was a great help
in building up the Church. He was a total abstinence
man, notwithstanding the prevalent custom of using
whisky in nearly every family. He raised a large fam-
ily, and two of his sons were preachers. He was a re-
vivalist, and gathered many into the Church. Barzillai
Willey and Cornelius Ruddle were also efficient local
preachers in Clarke County. Davis Floyd was also an
efficient local preacher at Corydon. He was a practicing
lawyer, and for some time Judge of the Circuit Court.
Walter Pennington, familiarly called "Uncle Watty,"
was a licensed preacher, but his talent lay in exhortation.
He was a natural wit, and, withal, something of a wag,
but nevertheless a useful man. John Jgnes^ who resided
in the village of Elizabeth, in Harrison County, a shoe-
maker by trade, was also a useful local preacher. Jones



90 INDIANA METHODISM.

came from Baltimore, and was for many years recording
steward on Cory don Circuit. George Prosser was a local
preacher and a physician, in Orange County. Jacob
Bruner was a local preacher of considerable usefulness
among the hills of Martin County. Joseph Arnold, Isam
West, and William Webb were useful local preachers in
Warwick County. At Evansville, Bober^ Parrott was
prominent both as a citizen and a local preacher. Rich-
ard and Joseph Wheeler were also prominent local
p7eachers in the vicinity of Evansville. They were
from England, and had been familiar with Methodism in
the old country, having sat under the ministry of Dr.
Adam Clarke.

The following sketch of early society in Indiana is
from the pen of Rev. A. Wood, D.^^ than whom few
men have seen more of Indiana, or observed it more
closely :

"In 1816, the season was very cold. In the western
part of New York, and the north-western part of Penn-
sylvania, they raised no grain for bread. This caused
many who had tried that country to move further south.
Hence, in 1817, large numbers built family boats at Or-
leans, on the Alleghany, and floated down the Ohio.
They settled in Dearborn, Switzerland, Jennings, and
Washington Counties, forming neighborhoods of their
own. In many respects, they differed from the Ken-
tuckians, especially in the arts of labor for opening a
new farm in the forest. These brought the Yankee ax,
with the crooked helve ; they used oxen for rolling logs,
and built their cabins square, instead of oblong, with
the chimney in one end, having a fifth corner, like the
letter V, as the Virginians and Kentuckians did. These
Yankees and Pennsylvanians sought out the mill-sites,
as they were called, and erected water-mills on the



INDIANA METHODISM. 91

streams. I never knew a Kentuckian in those clays
build any thing better than a horse-mill. During the
Territorial Government, the offices were filled by Vir-
ginians; but from 1816 to 1820, the State Government
Was in the hands of Pennsylvanians. There was never
a sufficient foreign immigration from Europe to make a
political power; yet there were local settlements of
English direct from old England in Franklin, Dearborn,
and Yanderburg Counties ; the Swiss at Vevay, and the
French at Vincennes. These, however, were contented
with the home influence, and did not aspire to the offices
of state. Not so, however, with the New Yorker, Penn-
sylvanian, Jerseyman, Virginian, or stray Yankee. A
desire for office prompted some of them to remove to
the new country, as was confessed by one of the asso-
ciate judges, who, on returning to his old home, said :
' Do you think I would stay here and be a common man,
when I can go there and be a judge ?'

"An unfortunate occurrence took place at Vincennes,
in the early history of Methodism there, that left a bad
impression for some time. Thomas A. King, a member
of the Tennessee Conference, who had traveled Patoka
Circuit, and was very popular at Vincennes and in all
that region of country, went into mercantile business,
and, as his capital was limited, he bought largely on
credit. A great change occurring in the condition of
currency, causing a heavy reduction in prices, he failed
to make payment, but sold his goods to William and
Henry Merrick. The goods were enjoined; they were
all three arrested for fraud, and, as the law then was,
sent to jail by the creditor. The last mention of King's
name in the Minutes of the Conference is the record of
his location in the Tennessee Conference, in 1817. He
was a talented and popular young minister, but unfortu-



92 INDIANA METHODISM.

nately yielded to the spirit of speculation, often so rife
in a new country; and, whether guilty of intentional
fraud or not, his course blighted the remainder of his
life, and involved his two friends.

"In 1832, James Armstrong was appointed super-
intendent of the Missionary District, and missionary on
Laporte Mission. The district embraced Upper Wabash
Mission, S. C. Cooper ; St. Joseph and South Bend Mis-
sions, R. S. Robinson and George M. Beswick; Kala-
mazoo Mission, James T. Robe ; Fort Wayne Mission,
Boyd Phelps ; Laporte Mission, James Armstrong.

" The first meeting-house was built this year at Door
Village, by James Armstrong, who secured a subscrip-
tion of three hundred dollars at one of his quarterly-
meetings there. The first camp-meeting held in Laporte
County was on the farm of J^^jQshQn, while Armstrong
was on his death-bed. He was unable to leave his room,
but gave directions for the management of the meeting.
The preachers at the meeting were Boyd Phelps,_A.
Johnson, and E. Smith. About this time some influ-
ential local preachers moved into the county. There
was quite an emigration from Clarke County, and F.
Standiford and Stephen Jones came from Ohio.

" Methodism was introduced into Elkhart County in
1830, under the following circumstances : James Snyder,
residing on Elkhart Prairie, went to Michigan to hear
E. Felton preach at the village of White Pigeon, and in-
vited him to his cabin, which was taken into the mis-
sion, and a class formed at his house, of which Azel
Sparklin Avas the leader. The same year a class was
fbrmMl)n Pleasant Plain, at Jacob Roop's, consisting of
nine members, of whom Samjiel Roop was the leader.
The first quarterly-meeting in the county was held by
Erastus Felton, assisted by a local preacher by the name



INDIANA METHODISM. 93

of James Hellman, from Fort Wayne. Elkhart County
was included in the St. Joseph Mission for some years.
In 1832, there were societies organized at Roope's, Tib-
betts's, and Frear's. Richard S. Robinson organized
the first class in Goshen, and Robert P. Randell was the
leader. The class consisted of about twenty members,
and met in a log-house on Fifth Street. The first camp-
meeting in the county was held on the farm of James
Frian. Connersville and Whitewater Circuits were
favored with the labors of a large number of talented
and industrious local preachers. Prominent among these
was James Conwell, who came from Maryland, and set-
tled near where the town of Laurel now stands, of which
he was the proprietor. He built a meeting-house a mile
and a half above Laurel, some years before that town
was laid out, called Boachim. Mr. Conwell was a man
of large wealth, owning a great deal of land. He also
conducted a dry-goods store, and annually drove a great
many hogs to Cincinnati ; for that was the only way of
getting live-stock to market, there being neither rail-
roads or canals in the state. Mr. Conwell was the first
man ever known to keep the Sabbath while driving hogs
to market; and no matter what was the condition of the
weather, the roads, or the market, when Saturday night
came, he stopped with his hogs, and rested until Monday.
He usually went in advance of his drove, made arrange-
ments for resting over the Sabbath, and generally had
an appointment for preaching to the people; and he
had the pleasure of knowing that he had some seals
to his ministry as the result of these labors. Mr. Con-
well was one of the early and zealous advocates of a
system of internal improvement in Indiana. The White-
water Canal owed its construction to his influence ; and,
although the work has proved a financial failure, Mr.



94 INDIANA METHODISM.

Conwell showed, by Ms devotion to that and other public
works, that he was a public-spirited and useful citizen.
Mr. Conwell served as a member of the State Legislature,
and, by his ability and public spirit, commanded the
respect of his fellow-members. Mr. Conwell was a very
sympathetic man. He cried a great deal while he was
preaching, and usually made his hearers cry before
he was done. From 1824 to several years afterward,
James Conwell, John Havens, Joel Havens, Thomas
Silvey, John Morrow, Charles Morrow, John Gregg,
James Gregg, John Linville, James Linville, Robert
Groves, and Thomas Leonard, were all within the bounds
of Connersville Circuit."

Dr. A. Wood remarks :

"Every variety of gifts were exemplified in these
men. They were strong in doctrine, wise in disci-
pline, critical in letters, bold in reproof, and pathetic in
exhortation; and at a camp-meeting their labors were
ver}^ efficient for lasting good on the entire community.
John Morrow was a scholarly man, and spent most of
his life as a school-teacher. Joel Havens was chiefly
noted for his Avonderful gift of exhortation. Few men
knew how to play on the emotions and passions of an
audience as did he. The two Greggs and John Lin-
ville embraced some heresy, and were led away from
the Church. Charles Hardy, William Patterson, and
William Hunt were also talented local preachers within
the bounds of the old Connersville Circuit. Patterson
had traveled extensively in the South-west previous to
his location. Thomas Milligan and Thomas Hewson
were local preachers residing in the bounds of Bloom-
ington Circuit, in 1826. They had both been traveling
preachers. An old-ftishioned quarterly meeting, in a
new country, on one of these large four-weeks' circuits,



INDIANA METHODISM. 95

with the circuit preachers, presiding elder, and this
large array of local preachers, with the exhorters, class-
leaders and stewards, made an occasion of interest, and
often marked an epoch in the history of some neighbor-
hood or village."

Dr. Aaron Wood, in a letter under date of May 10,
1871, says of Dr. Benjamin Adams, who resided for
some time in the bounds of Corydon Circuit :

"1 hope some one will give you an account of Dr.
Ben. Adams. He was the first male child born in
Louisville, and was a rude boy, the son of a widow. He
had a log roll over him when a boy, that put out one of
his eyes and left a scar across his forehead and nose,
down to his chin. He was a shoe-maker when he was
converted and began to preach. His preaching in the
market-house of Louisville attracted the attention of
some rich men, who furnished him money to go to Phil-
adelphia and study medicine. He was the only man
I ever knew that was a great doctor, a great preacher,
and a great politician, at the same time. He was con-
nected with Corydon Circuit when it had one thousand
members and twenty local preachers. Our acquaintance,
up to that time, was mostly a conference acquaintance.
On an appeal by T. Highfield, who was accused by
Adams, and found guilty by the society of Corydon,
John Strange was in the chair, and Wm. Daniels, Sec-
retary. Appeals were very common in those days on
those large circuits. Highfield had been expelled by
Thomas Davis at the close of the year, who had kept
no minutes of the trial. I took the ground, in his
defense, that, as there was no minute or proof of the
specification before the Conference, he should be re-
stored to the Church, or at least have a new trial.
After a half-day in debate, Adams beat me, and the



96 INDIANA METHODISM.

Conference affirmed the decision of the society. This
acquaintance made us true friends ever afterward."

JoJin^^Schra^er was a pioneer itinerant, and, after his
location, an efficient local preacher for many years. He
was born in Baltimore, 1792; emigrated with his parents
to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1795. He was converted
and joined the Church in 1810; was licensed to exhort



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 7 of 27)