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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 8 of 27)
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in 1811, and to preach in 1812. He was admitted into
the Conference in 1814, and appointed to Greenville Cir-
cuit, in Kentucky, which had ten appointments, and was
four hundred miles around. Peter Cartwright was his
presiding elder. In 1815, he was sent to Vincennes Cir-
cuit, Avith twenty appointments, and three hundred miles
around it. Jesse Walker was his presiding elder. In
1816, he was sent to St. Charles, Missouri, where there
were twenty appointments, and the circuit was three
hundred and fifty miles in circumference. Samuel H.
Thompson was his presiding elder. In 1817, he was
sent again to Vincennes Circuit, with King and Davis as
colleagues. The circuit had been enlarged until it was
five hundred and fifty miles around it. Jesse Walker
was the presiding elder. In 1818, he was sent to Blue-
river Circuit, which was supposed to lie somewhere be-
tween Corydon and the mouth of the Wabash River,
stretching along the Ohio, and extending north no one
knew how far. After the most diligent search, he failed
to find any circuit within the prescribed limits, and
reported the facts to his presiding elder, who sent him
for the third time to Vincennes Circuit. In 1819, he
was sent to White-river Circuit, Arkansas, which had
ten appointments, and was four hundred miles in cir-
cumference. In 1820, he was sent to Corydon Circuit,
Indiana, where he remained two years. At the end
of the second year he located. He married Pamelia



INDIANA METHODISM. 97

Jacquess in the Fall of 1822, shortly after his location.
He was ordained deacon by Bishop Asbury at Lebanon,
Tennessee, in 1816, and ordained elder by Bishop Rob-
erts at Olwell's Camp-ground, below Alton, Illinois, in
1818.

The following letter from Father Schrader, in answer
to one of inquiry, under date of March 10, 1871, will
be read with interest by many who have known him :

"Dear Brother, — Yours of February 9, 1871, is
before me. Some years have passed since I sent you
an account of my travels in the Church, from the time
of the first Missouri Conference to the time of my set-
tlement in Poseyville — in all eight years — all of which
I have now forgotten. The date of my location, and
the list of my appointments in the work, you can find
in the Minutes of the Conference much better than I am
able to give them. Next October I shall be seventy-
eight years old. My mind is truly superannuated. I
am worn out, and am of no use in the Church. Whether
you will be able to read this scrawl or not, I can not tell.
The Lord is my only hope. In Him I will trust until
my end shall come, Avhich I think will not be long. I
will be glad to get one of your books, when you have
completed your work.

" I remain yours, John Schrader."

Several facts in the early history of the Church in
Indiana deserve special notice, and call for a word of ex-
planation. The first societies, as a general rule, were
formed in the country, and the first circuits were named
after rivers or creeks. The town sites were located
either with reference to commercial advantages or as
expected seats of justice for counties, in many cases yet
to be organized. In many of the towns the property-



98 * INDIANA METHODISM.

holders, and the incumbents and seekers for office, were
not only irreligious, but opposed even to the forms of
religion, and made no provision for Christian worship.
In such cases, the villages were unpromising fields for
Christian effort, while those who settled in the country
were not only less exposed, but also less inclined to
vice. The moral impress of the first settlers in many
of the towns in Indiana remains to the present day.
Connersville, Vevay, Salem, Terre Haute, and Vincennes
were for many years unpromising fields of labor, be-
cause the influence of wealth and of official and social
position were all against Christianity. The same, to
a great extent, was true in Jeffersonville and Rising
Sun. In many cases, the proprietor of the town, the
clerk of the court, or the landlord of the tavern, gave
tone to the morals of the village. In other cases, some
man of capital, or some family of culture, made an im-
press that was not only abiding, but reproducing; for
society, like the individual, has its formative state, its
educational period, Avhen it takes on, with more or less
distinctness, the characteristics that are likely ever after-
ward to adhere to it. Brookville, Corydon, Charles-
town, Bloomington, and Indianapolis were fortunate in
this respect. Their early and more influential citizens
were, many of them, professors of religion, and those
who were not professors of religion respected it, and
recognized the importance of its influence upon society;
and the good resulting to these respective communities
from the character and position of their early settlers, is
incalculable.

But " honor to whom honor is due." The bar-room,
although saturated with Avhisky and tobacco, was never-
theless often the first place thrown open for preaching,
in a "Western village, and the landlord would pride him-



INDIANA METHODISM. 99

self in maintaining good order during the services. The
first sermons preached in New Albany and in Rising Sun
were preached in bar-rooms. A preacher on one of our
Western circuits had, in his monthly rounds, to pass a
village in which there was a tavern, a blacksmith-shop,
a store, and a few other buildings. As he had to pass
the tavern about the middle of the day, he concluded to
leave an appointment and preach them a sermon, while
his horse was eating. He accordingly left word that, at
his next round, he would preach at 12 M., in the bar-
room. The landlord circulated the appointment far and
wide. When the preacher came in sight, quite a com-
pany of men had gathered, and were busy pitching
quoits until the preacher should arrive. The preacher
dismounted, gave his horse in charge of the hostler,
walked into the bar-room, followed by the crowd of men,
and began services immediately. After singing and
prayer, he took his text: "Seek first the kingdom of
God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be-
added unto you." He endeavored, in plain Avords, to
show them the absurdity and folly of serving the devil.
"Now," said he, "if you want to be happy, the devil,
can't make you happy. He is the most wretched being
in all the universe; and, as misery loves company, he
will drag you down to his own fiery abode. If you are
seeking for honor, the devil has none to bestow : he is
the most dishonorable being that lives. And if you are
seeking for w^ealth, the devil has none of it; if you
were to sweep hell from one end to the other, you would
not get a sixpence." A large, honest, but coarse-looking
fellow, sitting right before the preacher, with eyes and
mouth wide open, exclaimed, unconsciously, "God!
money is as scarce thar as it is here !" Seed thus sown
by the wayside sometimes produces permanent fruit. A



100 INDIANA METHODISM.

sermon preached under somewhat similar circumstances,
by James Conwell, of Laurel, led to the conversion of a
tavern-keeper, who disposed of his liquors, and opened
his bar-room for preaching, and it remained the perma-
nent place of worship until the erection of the village
church.

Rev. A. Wood, D. D., whose opportunities for obser-
vation have been unequaled, gives the following sketch
of the characteristics of the early settlers in Indiana:

"The most liberal and hospitable were those who
came from Virginia and Maryland ; the most economical
and tidy came from New Jersey ; the most enterprising
and commercial came from Pennsylvania and New York,
with here and there a stray Yankee ; the least enterpris-
ing and uneducated came from South Carolina and East
Tennessee. Kentucky sent two characters : the one a
lazy hunter, who had neither enterprise nor education ;
the other, industrious farmers, who moved away from
slavery, or sought county offices. These last were edu-
cated, and very hospitable.

"During territorial times, Virginians and Mary landers
had nearly all the offices. The contest at the first' state
elections, while the seat of Government was at Corydon,
was between the Virginians and Pennsylvanians. After
it went to Indianapolis, it was between the Kentuckians
and the Indianians of the older counties — Franklin,
Dearborn, Harrison, and Knox having, by that time,
produced their own aspirants.

"And it is remarkable that, down to 1825, Ohio sent
very few emigrants who stopped in Indiana. There
were interspersed, in all the towns, a few educated men
from England, Ireland, Germany, and the older states ;
and the peculiar, personal, magnetic power wielded by
individuals, is felt to this day j and the present charac-



INDIANA METHODISM. 101

teristics of the county towns may be traced back, good
or bad, to the influence of a few men. The Methodists,
as an organized power, did not have an even start with
other denominations, among the first settlers. The Pres-
byterians, Baptists, and Quakers all had their neighbor-
hoods, houses, preachers, and schools in advance of us.
True, they have had more offshoots, or divisions; for, be
it known, all who are now here in the state went from
them, not from us. The New-lights were from the old
Kentucky Synod; the Disciples from the old Baptists;
the Cumberlands, from the Presbyterians; the United
Brethren in Christ began by a union of Presbyterians
and Baptists : they never were Methodists. Otterbein
was a Presbyterian, and Boehm was a Menonite. These
offshoots from the old Churches, in differing from the
parent stock, took shape and color from the Methodists,
doing all they could to absorb from our soil. It is mat-
ter of rejoicing that there never was an offshoot from us
but our colored brethren, and they are none the less
Methodists by their present organization."



102 INDIANA METHODISM.



CHAPTER YI.

General Narrative — Rev. Edvi^in Ray — His Life and Labors — Benjamin
C. Stevenson — Indiana Conference in 1833 — Sketch of John
Strange — Anthony F. Thompson — Indiana Conference in 1834 —
George Locke — Reminiscences of his Labors — Sketch of James
Armstrong — Nehemiah B. Grififilh — James Armstrong appointed
Missionary — His Personal Appearance and Manner of Preaching —
First Societies formed in the State — Elkhart Circuit formed — Indiana
Conference in 1835 — Origin of the "Preachers' Aid Society" — Ed-
ward R. Ames, Agent — Indiana Conference in 1836 — "Indiana As-
bury University" located at Greencastle — John C.Smith, Agent —
Camp-meeting on Rushville Circuit in 1837 — Memorable Storm —
Anecdote of Ames and Smith — Indiana Conference in 1837 — Scene
on a Steamboat — George Randle — John Decker — William Evans —
Eli P. Farmer and Otiiers — Asa Beck — James Scott — Thomas S.
Hill and Isaac N. Ellsbury — Robert Burns, Joseph Oglesby, and
Others — Anecdote of J. V. Watson — William H. Goode appointed
President of New Albany Seminary — Is succeeded by George Har-
rison — Founders of the Institution — Indiana Conference in 1838 —
Traveling to Conference in Early Times — Incident — Indiana Confer-
ence in 1839 — Indiana German Mission established — First Mission-
aries — Contributions to Missions in 1835 and 1840.

IN 1831, the Churcli in Indiana lost an able and zealous
minister, in the person of Rev. Edwin Ray. He was
bom in Montgomery County, Kentucky, July 26, 1803 j
made a profession of religion at a camp-meeting in Clarke
County, July 26, 1819. His father. Rev. John Ray,
was for many years a noted Methodist preacher in Ken-
tucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina : a man of remark-
able personal courage and Christian zeal. In 1793, we
find him appointed to Green Circuit, in East Tennessee.
The three following years he labored in Virginia. From
1797 to 1800, he traveled extensively in North Carolina,
:and from excessive toil and exposure, he broke down,



INDIANA METHODISM. 103

and had to retire from the effective ranks of the minis-
try, where he had been an honored instrument in the
hands of God, of doing much good. In 1801, he located,
and returned to Montgomery County, Kentucky, Avhere
his family resided until 1831, when, in consequence of
his opposition to slavery, he emigrated to Indiana. Al-
though his family remained on his farm near Mt. Ster-
ling, he re-entered the itinerancy in 1819, and for two
years traveled Lexington Circuit, after which he succes-
sively traveled Limestone, Madison, Danville, and Hink-
stone Circuits. Mr. Ray settled some seven miles north
of Greencastle, in Putnam County, where he died in
1837, in the sixty -ninth year of his age, esteemed and
beloved by all who knew him. Edwin Ray had inher-
ited the personal courage and moral heroism of his fa-
ther. He was received into the Kentucky Conference
in 1822, where he labored with diligence and success for
two years. In 1824, he volunteered for, and was trans-
ferre



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 8 of 27)