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

. (page 9 of 27)
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 9 of 27)
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thoroughly chilled also, he resolved to persevere in his
work, and actually did persevere till the shore was
reached. He then mounted his horse, and rode ten miles
to the next house; but when he reached there, he was
frozen to his saddle, and speechless. The horse stopped
of his own accord, and the family, coming to the door,


and perceiving his condition, lifted him from his horse,
and cared for him very kindly, until, after a day or two,
he was able to resume his journey. Mrs. Locke had,
for days, been anxiously awaiting the return of her hus-
band, and finally yielded to the appalling conviction that
he was frozen to death. A friend who was Avith her
tried to assuage her grief by inducing her to look more
upon the hopeful side, but she refused to be comforted.
When he suggested to her that he should not be sur-
prised even if she should see her husband that very
night, she besought him not to trifle with her feelings
by endeavoring thus to make her credit an impossibility.
He had scarcely had time to assure her that he was far
from trifling with her feelings, when the latch of the gate
was lifted, the well-known footstep of her husband was
heard, and instantly she was well-nigh paralyzed with
joy in his arms.

Amidst all his manifold and self-denying labors, he
never abated his habits of study. He redeemed time,
not only for the study of systematic theology, but for
general reading. He acquired some knowledge of
Greek and Latin, and made considerable proficiency in
the higher branches of mathematics. He continued his
studies until a few weeks before his death, and had his
books brought to him, even after he was confined to his
bed. The General Conference of 1832, of which Mr.
Locke was a member, divided the Illinois Conference, and
constituted a separate conference of the state of Indiana.
In the Autumn of that year he was transferred to Indi-
ana, and Avas returned to Corydon Circuit. Here his
health became much reduced, which led him to remove
to New Albany, and engage with his wife in school-
teaching. In the Autumn of 1833, he took a superan-
nuated relation, and on the 15th of July, 1834, he died.


He never recovered from the cold contracted from falling
into the Wabash River. He died of consumption, after
much patient suffering, and in the full confidence of be-
ing welcomed to the joys of the Lord. His last words,
which were uttered with his last breath, were, " Glory !
Glory! Glory!"*

James Armstrong was a native of Ireland, and Avas
brought by his parents to America when but a child. He
was converted when about seventeen years of age, and
attached himself to the Methodist Church, in the city of
Philadelphia. He was licensed to preach in the city of
Baltimore, in 1812. He emigrated to Indiana in 1821,
and in the Fall of the same year joined the itinerant
connection, in which he continued an able and efficient
minister till the close of life, which occurred at his own
residence, in Laporte County, on the 12 th of September,
1834. Of him, Hon. R. W. Thompson says, in his
" Fallen Heroes of Indiana Methodism : " " Armstrong
was a man of immense power — strong, logical, and con-
clusive. He threw his whole soul into his work ; and if,
sometimes, he was not altogether precise in his style, yet
at others he seemed almost moved by inspiration, so com-
pletely were his words expressive of his correct thoughts.
When he intended to strike a hard blow, he never failed
to make it terrific, shivering the helmet of whatsoever
adversary dared, in his presence, to assail the citadel of
Christianity." (Indiana Methodist Convention, 1870.)
Mr. Armstrong's ministry was very successful. God gave
him many seals to his ministry in Indiana, and honored
him, as an instrument in His hands, with laying deep and
broad the foundations of the Church, in this new and
growing state.

Nehemiah B. Griffith was a native of the state of

*Sprague's "Annals," p. 610.


New York. In the eighteenth year of his age, he came
with his father's family to the state of Ohio. When
about eighteen years of age, he was led to Christ, and
into the Methodist Church, chiefly through the instru-
mentality of Rev. W. H. Raper. He entered the min-
istry in 1822, and continued, with great zeal and effi-
ciency, until the day of his death, which occurred in St.
Joseph County, August 22, 1834. Mr. Griffith was a
very successful preacher. He Avas a clear doctrinal
preacher; and he preached the doctrines of the Bible so
practically and experimentally, and withal with such an
unction, that his ministry was generally attended with
extensive revivals of religion. His last words were,
"Sweet Heaven, lam coming!"

"Previous to 1832, all the settlements of Northern
Indiana were visited by missionaries from Michigan,
which was then in what was called North Ohio Confer-
ence. Erastus Felton, in 1830, and L. B. Gurley, in
1831, preached in Laporte County. But, in 1832, there
was made an Indiana Conference, and James Armstrong
was appointed missionary, and superintendent of a mis-
sion district. He settled on a farm near Door Village.
James Armstrong was the evangelist of our Church in
this country^ influencing many Church members to move
to it from the older parts of the state, and remaining in
the country, as an enterprising missionary, until his
death. Armstrong was a man of medium weight; his
chin, lips, and nose sharp ; eyes small, eyebroAVs heavy,
forehead square and high, and hair thickset and dark.
He was always neatly dressed in plain black. He had a
good voice, Avith a free use of plain English Avords of
Saxon origin ; nothing of the Irish brogue, but much of
the fire Avhich, as he felt himself, he failed not to impart
to others Avho gave him audience, until the bond became


SO strong between the speaker and hearer, that both were
carried along with the force and beauty of the subject
before them. He was called a topical preacher; and be-
fore a promiscuous congregation, his memory, his imag-
ination and tact, enabled him to conduct a controversy
with great ingenuity, for success to any cause he es-
poused. As a man and a minister, he attached personal
friends, who liberally sustained his enterprises, and
boldly defended his measures. Having been presiding
elder over all the state of Indiana, from the Ohio to the
Lakes, he was a herald of the Gospel whom God owned
and blessed; and his untiring industry and influence,
devoted as they were entirely to the organization of the
Church in the new settlements, place him on the page of
our history as the leading evangelist. In order of time
the societies were formed: first, at Door Village; second,
at Laporte; third. Union Chapel; fourth, Michigan City.
At all these there were societies and stated worship be-
fore the year 1837. The first meeting-house was at Door
Village ; the second, at Laporte ; the third. Union Chapel;
and the fourth, Michigan City; and from these there
branched off societies in every direction." (Sketches by
A. Wood.)

Elkhart Circuit was organized in the year 1836. S.
R. Ball was the preacher. The first quarterly-meeting
was held in the village of Goshen, January 9, 1836.
The following were the preaching-places, as entered on
the steward's book : Elkhart, Conley's, Warner's, Shel-
ley's, Goshen, Gormell's, Elkhart Prairie, Wood's, Haw-
patch, Burton's,' Little Elkhart, Shaky Creek, Cross's, and
White Plains.

In October, 1835, the Indiana Conference met in
Lafayette. At this Conference twenty-three preachers
were admitted on trial. There were sixty-five pastoral


charges, divided into seven presiding elder's districts, as
follows :

Madison — A. Wiley, Presiding Elder.
Charlestowti — C. W. Ruter, Presiding Elder.
Bloomington — Joseph Oglesby, Presiding Elder.
Vincennes — A. Wood, Presiding Elder.
Q-aivfordsville — J. L. Thompson, Presiding Elder.
Laporie — Richard Hargrave, Presiding Elder.

Of the sixty-five pastoral charges, nine were sta-
tions, namely: Madison, New Albany, Jeffersonville, In-
dianapolis, Bloomington, Vincennes, Terre Haute, and
Crawfordsville. Six of the charges were missions,
namely: Otter-creek, in Vincennes District; Cole-creek
and Lebanon, in Crawfordsville District; and Fort Wayne
and Deep-river Missions, in Laporte District.

Edward R. Ames was agent for the Preachers' Aid
Society, which originated as follows :

At the Conference in New Albany, in 1832, it was
announced that Colonel James Paxton, of Indianapolis,
deceased, had bequeathed a portion of his property to
the Methodist Episcopal Church in the state of Indiana,
" to be employed in extending the work of the Lord in
the bounds of the state of Indiana, helping the most
needy preachers belonging to that Church, whether effect-
ive or superannuated." James Armstrong was appointed
an agent on behalf of the Conference to receive the same.
Allen Wiley was also appointed an agent on behalf of
the Conference to receive a similar bequest for the same
purpose, made by Samuel Swearingin. These, with one
or two other small bequests, laid the foundation of the
Preachers' Aid Society of the Indiana Conference — the
Society having been properly chartered by an act of the
Legislature. With a view to increase its funds, in 1835,
E. R. Ames was appointed its agent.

In October, 1836, the Indiana Conference held its

""•s^a VJCBvittcefi-oit. aHagi^'-



session in Indianapolis, Bishop Roberts presiding. At
this Conference, Indiana Asbury University was located
at Greencastle. The Conference, having determined, for
reasons that are stated at length under the head of "Ed-
ucational Institutions," etc., to establish an institution
of high grade under the authority of the Church, did,
in 1835, agree upon a plan for founding a university.
Subscriptions were taken up, and proposals made from
different points in the state, with a view of securing a
location for the university. Lafayette, Rockville, Green-
castle, Putnamville, and Indianapolis were the principal
competitors. After receiving proposals, and hearing the
representations from different points, the Conference, at
its session in Indianapolis in 1836, located the insti-
tution at Greencastle. At this Conference twenty-four
preachers were received on trial, ninety preachers were
appointed to pastoral charges, and two to agencies. E.
R. Ames was continued in the agency of the Preachers'
Aid Society, and John C. Smith agent for the uni-

During this Conference year, in the Summer of 1837,
there was a memorable camp-meeting held in the bounds
of Rushville Circuit, in what is now the southern edge
of Knightstown, on the ground of Mr. Lowry. The at-
tendance was large for that day. F. C. Holliday, then
quite a young man, was in charge of the circuit. He
had secured the attendance of a strong ministerial force,
among whom were James Havens, E. R. Ames, J. C.
Smith, Elijah Whitten, Robert Burns, C. B. Jones,
Augustus Eddy, and an array of efficient workers of less
note. The religious interest of the meeting was ex-
cellent from the first. Mrs. Richmond, from Indian-
apolis, by her remarkable singing, her fervent prayers
and exhortations, added much to the interest of the


meeting. On Sunday night, just after the lamps had
been lit, and the audience called together for public
worship, there burst suddenly on the encampment one
of those fearful tornadoes with which our country is
occasionally visited. In an instant every light was ex-
tinguished, and the audience left in perfect darkness,
save Avhen it was relieved by the flash of the lightning.
The wind leveled a track through the forest, just across
one end of the encampment, as effectually as a mower
cuts the grass with his scythe. The audience had been
gathered just out of the track of the tornado. A beech-
tree of considerable size, within the circle of tents, was
blown down right toward the altar, which was covered
with a frame shed. Large numbers were knocked down,
either by the force of the wind or the branches of the
tree, but no one was hurt. Two men, who were stand-
ing under the tree, fell in the hole where the tree had
stood ; a falling tree knocked a tent over them, that was
just in the rear of where they stood, and yet they were
rescued without a scratch. One entire row of tents was
prostrated by the falling timber, and yet not a single in-
mate hurt. A large tree-top was broken off, and lodged
right over a tent crowded with people. So numerous
and marvelous were the escapes, that they made a pro-
found impression upon the minds of the people. The
work of God broke out with increasing power on Mon-
day, and many, doubtless, owed their awakening to the
incidents of the tornado.

An amusing fact, worth relating, occurred in connec-
tion with the visit of Ames and Smith to this camp-
meeting. Smith was agent for the college, and Ames for
the Preachers' Aid Society. They left Rushville in com-
pany, en route for the camp-meeting. They had pro-
cured the names of a number of well-to-do farmers, upon


whom they proposed to call, on behalf of their respective
agencies, on their way to the camp-meeting, each alter-
nately having the right, according to private agreement,
to make the first application.

Their first call was on a Pennsylvania German, resid-
ing near the village of Burlington. Smith made the first
presentation of his cause, showing the advantages of ed-
ucation, and the importance, both to the Church and
State, of founding a Christian university. The old gen-
tleman heard him patiently through, and then informed
him that he did not believe in college learning. In his
opinion it made young men proud and lazy ; and being
unwilling to work, they would live by cheating their
neighbors. Upon the whole, he regarded colleges as
rather dangerous institutions, and would give nothing
toward founding f college in Indiana. Smith , having
failed to secure a donation to his enterprise, it was Ames's
turn to present his cause. He informed the old gentle-
man that he was an agent for a very different object; that
the preachers, who had planted Churches all through our
country, and were really laying the foundations of our
Christian civilization, giving security to our homes, and
increased value to our property, as well as leading sin-
ners to God, and carrying the consolations of religion to
the sorrowing and afflicted, were generally poor men.
Their severe labors and exposures either brought them to
early graves, leaving their families unprovided for, or left
them, in the evening of life, so broken down in health as
to be unable, by their personal exertions, to secure an
adequate support; that the Church and the country
owed these men and their families a debt of gratitude
that could never be fully paid; that he was agent for a
Society called " The Preachers' Aid Society of the Meth-
odist Church," the object of which was to raise a fund to


aid in supporting the broken-down or worn-out preachers
and their families, and of aiding such as did not get a
support from their circuits. The old man listened attent-
ively, and when Mr. Ames was done, he said, "I be-
lieves in your agency." Mr. Ames explained to him that
ten dollars Avould constitute a person a life member of the
Society. Said he, "I takes three life memberships in
the Society — one for myself, one for my wife, and one for
my daughter." He gave his notes, payable in a short
time; and when the preacher came around, he requested
that preaching be removed to his house, because it was
larger; " and," said he, " I want you to put my name and
my wife's name and my daughter's name on the class-
book ; for I bought three life memberships in the Church,
of Mr. Ames, and we all want to belong to Church ! " Of
course their names were put on the class-paper. The old
gentleman paid his notes in due time, and, what is better,
he and his wife and daughter made good life members in
the Church.

In October, 1837, the Indiana Conference met in New
Albany, Bishop Soule presiding. There were reported
to this Conference, 31,058 members in the Church in In-
diana, being an increase, during the year, of 3,138.
There were seventy-nine pastoral charges, divided into
eight presiding elders' districts, to wit :

Madison District — E. G. Wood, Presiding Elder.
Charlestown District — C. W. Ruter, Presiding Elder.
Indianapolis District — Augustus Eddy, Presiding Elder.
Bloomington District — Henry Talbott, Presiding Elder.
Vincennes District— John Miller, Presiding Elder.
Crawfordsville District — Allen Wiley, Presiding Elder.
Laporte District — Richard Hargrave, Presiding Elder.
Centerville District — David Stiver, Presiding Elder.

E. R. Ames was transferred to Missouri Conference,
and stationed in St. Louis. William M. Daily and John


A. Brouse were appointed agents for Indiana Asbury
University, and James Havens agent for the Preachers'
Aid Society. Ames had a severe attack of fever in St.
Louis, and at the end of the Conference year was trans-
ferred back to Indiana Conference, and the ensuing year
was stationed in Madison, Indiana. Wiley remained but
one year on Crawfordsville District, his health having
suffered very seriously ; and at the ensuing Conference,
he was stationed in Indianapolis. Most of the preachers
from the eastern part of the state had gone to the Confer-
ence, in New Albany, in 1837, by the way of the Ohio
River. In returning from the Conference, there were
some forty or fifty preachers on board the mail-boat. Gen-
eral Pike, bound from Louisville to Cincinnati, among
whom was Bishop Soule.

The "Fall races" had by that time just closed at
Louisville, and a large number of sporting gentlemen,
vulgarly called gamblers, Avere on the boat, bound for
Cincinnati and other points along the river. The boat
left the wharf at Louisville a little before noon. As soon
as dinner was over, the gamblers took possession of the
gentlemen's cabin, which was soon lined with card-tables,
plentifully supplied with cards and liquor; and a scene of
profanity and drunkenness began, that was remarkable
for a steam-boat, even in that day. It seemed as though
the lower regions had emptied some of their worst speci-
mens into that company. Bacchanalian songs and coarse
jests, interspersed with a great deal of profanity, filled
the entire room. The bishop became excited ; he arose,
and walked from one end of the cabin to the other,
closely surveying the scene. It was one of the cases^in
which open reproof would have caused strife, and per-
haps led to serious results. Speaking in a loud voice,
that all the preachers might hear him, the bishop said,.


" Brethren, can not we sing too ? " The preachers gathered
together in a group, and commenced singing lustily :

"Jesus, the name high, overall,

In hell, or earth, or sky ;

Angels and men before it fall,

And devils fear and fly."

The gamblers paused, listened, and looked astonished.
One by one, they began to leave the card-tables, and re-
tire to their state-rooms, or get out on the deck of the
boat ; and by the time the preachers had sung two or
three hymns, there was not a pack of cards to be seen
anywhere about ; the card-tables were shoved back, and
cards and brandy-bottles and gamblers had all disap-
peared; and, during the afternoon and evening, the com-
pany, though large, was as quiet and agreeable as any
one could have desired.

George Randle located in 1831. He was an English-
man by birth. Came to this country as a preacher. In
1829, he had traveled Madison Circuit, and, in 1830,
Vevay Circuit. Having married a Miss Eubank, con-
trary to the wishes of her friends, and the alienation
increasing, rather than being cured, after the marriage,
her father's friends, thinking that the Conference dealt
too leniently with Mr. Randle, withdrew from the
Church with the "Radical Secession," as it was called,
and took two societies in the north part of Dearborn
County, including two stone churches, the titles to
which had not been properly vested in the Church.
The Conference located Mr. Randle in 1831, and in the
unfortunate trouble neither of the parties seemed to be
satisfied with the action of the Church — d,oubtless be-
cause they were impelled in their actions by passion,
that was not shared by those who were called to pass
judgment in their case. Mr. Randle settled in the


southern part of Dearborn County, accumulated a fine
property, and raised a large and respectable family. He
left the Church shortly after his location, and never
reunited with it, although his family belonged to the
Church, and he attended its ministry.

In 1833, John A. Decker and Wm. Evans located.

In 1834, Samuel Brenton, Eli P. Farmer, Asa Beck,
and James Scott located. Samuel Brenton will be no-
ticed more especially in connection Avith the Methodist
educators in Indiana. Eli P. Farmer traveled a num-
ber of years in the Indiana Conference, either as a sup-
ply, under the employment of a presiding elder, or as a
member of the Conference. He was an earnest and
ready talker, but a rough, uncultured man. After his
location he withdrew from the Church, but continued to

Asa Beck was for many years a laborious circuit
preacher, and, owing to feeble health, sometimes super-
numerary, sometimes superannuated, sometimes effective,
and sometimes located; but in whatever relation he sus-
tained to the Clvurch, he maintained the true character
of a Christian minister.

James Scott was a man of marked individuality.
He was a man of small stature, quick in all his move-
ments, well read in dogmatic theology, rather fond of
controversy in his earlier days. He had a keen, incis-
ive mind, that could cut a knotty question right through
the core. And when he had closed a conclusive argu-
ment with one of his peculiarly culminating sentences,
he would pause and look keenly at his hearers, while
his countenance wore a self-satisfied expression — as much
as to say, "Do you see the force of that?" And, if
they were intelligent hearers, they generally did see the
force of it.


In 1835, Thomas S. Hitt and Isaac N. Ellsbury lo-
cated. They were both of them gqpd men and true,
eminently useful as itinerants ; and their usefulness con-
tinued after their location.

In 1836, there were seven locations, namely: L. D.
Smith, John I. Johnson, Robert Burns, Joseph Oglesby,
Zachariah Gaines, Wm. D. Watson, and James V. Wat-
son. Three of these. Burns, Oglesby, and James Y.
Watson, were well known throughout the state. Robert
Burns was a zealous and successful preacher, and, al-
though never occupying what might be regarded as the
more prominent appointments, he was eminently useful.
Oglesby entered the itinerancy in the old Western Con-
ference, before the organization of the work in Missouri,
Illinois or Indiana. He traveled for many years, and
did a great deal of hard frontier work. He studied
medicine, and had some skill as a practitioner. He
served awhile as presiding elder. In doctrine he was
supposed to lean toward Pelagianism. He located be-
cause of some reflections upon his opinions or his utter-
ances by the Conference; but, in view of his long and
faithful services, and of his undoubted Christian char-
acter, in a few years the Conference placed his name on
the superannuated list, where it remained till the close
of his life. James V. Watson located in consequence
of ill-health, but re-entered the Conference again, and,
at its session in Lawrenceburg, in 1839, was sent to
White Pigeon, in Michigan — one district of the Indiana
Conference being included in the territory of Michigan.
When the appointment was read out, Watson sprang
up on a bench and called out, "Where is White Pigeon?
Who can tell me any thing about my White Pigeon ?"
It was a name he had never heard, and of its location
he knew nothing. But Watson found his White Pigeon,


and lived to make an impression upon the Churcli that
will not soon be forgotten. He founded a paper, by his
own exertions, that grew into the North-ivestern CJiris-
tian Advocate, of which he was the popular and talented
editor at the time of his death. Watson was the victim
of asthma for many years, and was a great sufferer; but
he accomplished what few men of robust health would

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 9 of 27)