(Re: History of DeKalb County, Indiana; 1914 B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc., Indianapolis. Pages 196 to 221.
Submitted by: Arlene Goodwin, email@example.com
The first settlers of DeKalb county were without religious privileges of any kind. Benjamon Alton, of the Desciples’ or Campbellite church, preached the first sermon in the county in the fall of the year 1836. For over a year he was the only preacher. He settled in the woods, cleared a space for his home, and worked hard during the week, chopping for himself and for his neighbors in order to earn enough to stock his larder. However, on Sundays he never failed to don his black coat and occupy the pulpit. It is said of him, though, on reliable authority, that he used to preach in the summer, in his rough tow pants, without a coat, and with a shoe on one foot and a boot on the other. This was not strange for the time, however, for boots and shoes were next to impossible to obtain. John P. Widney and S. W. Widney once had one pair of shoes between them; one would wear them on Sunday and the other fellow on the following Sunday, the odd fellow remaining at home. John and Hazzard Webster are said to have gone barefooted many months, coming to town for election in the same manner.
The first Methodist two days meeting was held near Orangeville in 1837, by N. L. Thomas and Joseph Miller, both then residing on the Maumee. Prayer meetings had been held previously by people of various denomination, without any distinctions. The origin of the first one is thus related by Judge Widney: "We had been in the country for some time without knowing that there was a praying person in the settlement besides ourselves, when one Sabbath, R. R. Lounsbury and another man returning from Fort Wayne stopped at my house and informed me that Thomas L. Yates, afterward judge, was under conviction, and wished me to come and pray with him. I went, and found quite a number of persons in the house. I sang and prayed, and while praying, noticed that old Father Rhodes was fervently responding to my petitions. I then sang again and called upon him to pray, and while he prayed I noticed that the old lady, his wife, was also praying. I next called on her and found that old Mother Yates, mother of the penitent man, was engaged and so I called on her next, and this closed our meeting. After wards we held prayer-meeting nearly every Sabbath, at Father Rhodes’, my house and Mr. Lounsbury’s, Mr. Eckhart’s, of some other.
EARLY PREACHERS AND MEETINGS
Mr. Widney continues: "Revs. Coleman and Warner were the first circuit preachers of the Methodist Episcopal church who visited the settlement. I think it was some time in the year 1838. They organized several classes at different points. Early in the year 1839, sixteen persons who had been members of the Methodist Protestant church in Ohio and Pennsylvania met at the home of Samuel Tarney, on Bear creek, and organized themselves into a Methodist Protestant class. I was one of the members, and Samuel Widney, Sr., was our leader. He wrote to Rev. Joel Dalbey, then at Pittsburg, to try to procure a preacher. He answered that we had better apply to the Ohio Conference. Our leader then wrote to the celebrated Nicholas Snethin, at Cincinnati. The letter was sent from the Ohio to the Indiana conference, then just organized and holding its session in Monroe county, and Lewis Hickman came on as missionary and organized several classes and finally a circuit. He was the first Methodist Protestant preacher in Indiana, north of the Wabash, so far as I know. For some time the Disciples, Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Protestant churches were the only ones in the county.
"Jonathan Thomas and Bishop Kumler were the first United Brethren preachers. They labored as missionaries through the country in 1841 and 1842. S. B. Ward was the first regular Baptist minister in the county, Elders Cherry and Miner the first Free-Will Baptist, and James Cather the first Lutheran. Mr. Cather commenced his labors early in the year 1844, and the others several years earlier."
The Church of God structure was the first house of worship built in the city of Auburn, and it was constructed by the Presbyterians in pioneer days and occupied by them until their own brick church was erected. Then the Lutherans used the building, and after them, the Church of God bought it, and used it until the spring of 1905, when they built for their services a brick church. The ground of this church was donated by the late W. S. Ralston. He afterward wished to buy it back and offered them the corner where the new Church of God stands, but they refused to trade on account of the lot being to swampy.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Pages 198 to 202
There are eleven organizations and ten churches of the Methodist denomination in DeKalb county. There is one church building in Auburn, Garrett, Corunna, Waterloo, Butler and Spencerville, the others being in the country districts. The first organizations were made in the year 1839, by the early pioneer settlers, nearly all of whom have been long since called from labor to reward. In the early days, the "circuit riders" was much in evidence; in fact, for twenty-five or thirty years the safest and most convenient way to reach the different appointments was on horseback, and the pioneer preachers rarely made their appointments oftener than once in two weeks, and in some cases, once in four weeks, frequently holding services in private homes, wherever a few people could be brought together. The younger pastors of the present day can hardly comprehend the sacrifice and hardships of the early day pastor and the amount of labor he was required to perform for the meager salary that he received. Yet the people of those days seemed to have, and I believe did have, a higher appreciation of the preached word than people do now.
The first Methodist Episcopal church of Auburn, Indiana, was organized in the year 1839, by Rev. Samuel Reed, a very brilliant young minister who died at a comparatively early age. He was greatly aided by Wesley Park, the founder of the town. This was first called the St. Joe Mission. Rev. George M. Beswick was the presiding elder. To Wesley Park was given much credit in forming this first class, which numbered forty-two souls. He also, in a few years, organized the first Sabbath school and was a great help to the church all his life. The first church was built in the year 1843, at the northeast corner of the court square, and later a lecture room was added in the rear. As the town enlarged, it was thought advisable to take a location farther from the business center, so in the summer of 1878, under the pastorate of Rev. J. E. Ervin, this building was moved to the lot on the northeast corner of Van Buren and Seventh streets and placed at the back part of the lot so that there would be room to erect a new church as soon as thought best, and in the summer of 1890, under the pastorate of Rev. H. M. Lamport, the splendid new brick building was erected at a cost of near twenty thousand dollars. This was used with but little change until the summer of 1912, when improvements were made in an enlarged basement with cement floor, a model kitchen and dining room, a new steam heating plant, improved lights, frescoing and refinishing all woodwork, improvements on the pipe organ and cork linoleum on the floors, all at a cost of about five thousand dollars. Under the pastorate of Rev. Fred F. Thornburg. In the fall of 1896, after the new church was built and the old one sold and removed, the old parsonage was moved to the rear of the new church and repaired and used until 1905, when a new parsonage was purchased at the northwest corner of Fifth and Van Buren streets, all making by far the most valuable and commodious church property of any in the city or county. The present membership is about five hundred and fifty, with a large Sunday school of about the same enrollment.
The pastors who succeeded Rev. Reed in 1839 were: In 1844, Enoch Holdstock; 1845, James Sparr; 1846, Elijah Lillison and J. P. Jones; 1847, W. J. Forbes and E. Hall; 1848, S. Lamb and E. Maynard; 1849, S. Lamb and James Sewell; 1850, J. J. Cooper; 1851, J.H. Payton; 1852, M. M. Hann; 1853, James Sewell; 1854, J. W. Welch, two years; 1856, Isaac Ayres; 1857, E. S. Preston and a supply; 1858, Isaac Dean; 1859, Thomas Comstock, two years; 1861, S. H. Clark and J. Mann; 1865, C. Hoover; 1866, Emanuel Hall, two years; 1868, William Comstock, two years; 1870, Emanuel Hall; 1871, A. W. Lamport; 1872, Albert Cone, two years; 1874, J. W. Welch, three years; 1877, J. E. Ervin, two years; 1879, H. J. Norris, three years; 1882, W. H. Daniel; 1883, C. W. Church and C. L. Clippinger, three years; 1886, H.M. Lamport, four years; 1891, A. S. Wooten, four years; 1895, J. K. Walts, two years; 1897, L. M. Guild, three years; 1901, L. M. Krider, four years; 1905 M. A. Harlan, two years; 1907, W. B. Freeland, three years; 1910, Fred F. Thornburg three years.
The societies are: The Ladies’ Aid, Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, also the Home Missionary Society, the Epworth League and Junior League.
The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in Garrett by the Rev. J. W. Welch in 1875. He was at that time pastor of the church in Auburn and came to Garrett to hold meetings. These meetings were held in a place just east of where the present church stands and was known as "The Tabernacle." This tabernacle had nothing but a sawdust floor, and was sided with rough, up-and-down siding. As near as can be found the first members were Mr. and Mrs. John Stoner, Mrs. J. C. Philbrick, Mrs. Anna Keneskie, Miss Stickney, Mrs. Marsh, Mrs. Parker and several others.
In the spring of 1876, Rev. George Adams was appointed to Garrett, being the first regularly appointed pastor of this church. During this year the preaching place was moved to an old frame building that formerly been used as a saloon, standing on Cowen street where the fire department house now stands. In the spring of 1877 Rev. Beneville Sawyer succeeded Rev. Adams, and under his control prosperity dawned upon the little society. New members were added and many helped the church who were not members. About the close of his pastorate, the front part of the church building was erected and dedicated. In 1879 Rev. H. Sutherlin was pastor. In 1880 Rev. S. T. Stout came, and in the next year the church was supplied by different men. In 1882 Rev. W. E. McCarty was pastor and remained one year, when he was followed in 1883 by Rev. Chauncey King, who served three years. In 1886 Rev. W. R. Jones was appointed to the charge and remained until 1891. During the time he was here the church was built to its fullest extent. In 1891 Rev. A. L. Lamport was appointed to this charge and remained a little over three years. Rev. M. E. Nethecut followed and in 1895, Rev. G. B. Work took charge, to be succeeded the next year by Rev. J. B. Book. The year 1897 saw the coming of Rev. J. M. Haines for a term of five years. In 1902 Rev. J. A. Patterson took up the work; in 1905 Rev. P. E. Powell had charge, and in 1908 Rev. D. V. Williams. He continued until 1911, when he was followed by the present able and efficient pastor, Rev. Charles Tinkham.
At the beginning of the present pastorate there was a very strong feeling that the church building was not adequate to the needs of the growing congregation. During the summer of 1911 the proposition of erecting a new church was submitted to the members of the church for their vote. The result was an almost unanimous vote for a new edifice. Plans for subscription were laid, and by January 1, 1912, the pastor had taken subscriptions amounting to nearly seventeen thousand dollars. On June 1 the trustees purchased the new location at the corner of Cowen and Huston streets, agreeing to pay four thousand dollars for the site. Plans were submitted to the church authorities and the architect and contractor selected, with the result that at this time the work upon the handsome new Methodist Episcopal church is practically finished. The church will cost, when completed, about twenty thousand dollars.
The present membership of the church in Garrett is about four hundred and twenty-five. The Sunday school averages about two hundred and seventy-five members. The Epworth League has a membership of one hundred and fifty, the Junior league one hundred and ten. There are two missionary societies, the home and the foreign. There is also a Ladies’ Aid Society, composed of all the women of the church.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Waterloo first used a seminary building. The brick church was constructed in 1885, but in October, 1886, it burned, and was rebuilt under the pastorate of Rev. W. D. Parr in 1887, at a cost of fifty-five hundred dollars.
The present membership is seventy, and there is a progressive Sunday school of sixty-five people. There is also a missionary and temperance society. The Epworth League does not hold devotional meetings, but assists in sustaining a missionary in India. There is a Ladies’ Aid Society, which is active in taking charge of the finances and keeping the church and parsonage in good repair.
The pastors who have served this church and the date of their services is as follows: Revs. W. M. VanSlyke, 1884; W. D. Parr, 1885; H. C. Smith, 1888; L. A. Retts, 1890; J. W. DeWeese, 1894; F. L. Erlongher, 1895; W. F. Dingel, 1898; J. D. Belt, 1900; D. J. Hower, 1901; L. A. Retts, 1903; C.H. Murray, 1904; R. D. Bevin, 1907; E. E. Bergman, 1909; N. L. Stambaugh, 1910, R.F. Hubbartt, 1911, and Carl E. Bash, 1913;
The Methodist Episcopal society at Butler was organized about 1839 at "the corners," before any town had been established. Four years later the society began holding meetings one mile north of the present site of the Butler, at the home of John McCurdy. After eighteen months another removal was made to the school house at the corners, and the membership at once increased from fifteen to ninety. Mr. McCurdy was then living on a farm later owned by Jeremiah Lewis. The frame church was built in 1855 and 1856, at a cost of one thousand dollars. The first pastor of the society was Rev. Jesse Sparks. The pastors who followed him until the present time were: Revs. John Paul Jones, Metz, Lamb, J. J. Cooper, Lynch, Lamport, C. H. Wilkinson, D. C. Woollpert; W. S. Stewart, 1885-7; A. Cone, 1888-9; F. M. Stone, 1890-2; J. S. Kane, 1893-4; C. E. Disbrow, 1895-7; T. F. Frech, 1898-1903; H. C. Smith, 1904-5; G. H. Myers, 1905-7; E. F Albertson, 1907-12; W. H. Brightmire, 1912-14. The present brick church was built in 1889, and is valued at fifteen thousand dollars. The parsonage was constructed during the pastorate of Rev. Frech. There are two hundred and eighty members of the church, and in the Sunday school are two hundred and fifty. The societies are the Ladies’ Aid Society, the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society and the Epworth League for young people.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Spencerville has an enrollment of one hundred and seventy-two members, with a Sunday school of one hundred and four. The pastorate is in charge of Rev. Arthur Gordon at this time. Since 1894 the pastors have been: Revs. Simons, E. H. Peters, C. B. Sweeney, D. A. J. Brown, C. A. Burt, Homer Elliott. The Ladies’ Aide Society is active in the church.
METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCHES
Pages 202 & 203
The Methodist Protestant organization at St. Joe was brought into existence in the year 1886, and from those humble beginnings has developed into a hustling an progressive society of one hundred members. Rev. W. H. Lineberry was the pastor who assisted in organizing the church. The church edifice was built in 1888, the same year as the Disciples church. The building cost thirty-five hundred dollars. At this writing, Rev. G. C. McCaslin is in charge of the society. The first trustees were Frank Ingle, George Bleeks and Sol Barney. The Sunday school, Ladies’ Aid Society and Christian Endeavor add greatly to the interest of the church. The Methodist Protestant society has small churches at Concord and Fairview also.
The Rehoboth Methodist Protestant church was organized sometime in the year 1840, at the cabin-home of Samuel Tarney. The charter members were: Amariah Johnson and wife, Nathan Wyatt and wife, Abraham Johnson and wife, John Wyatt and wife, William R. Moore and wife, Samuel Tarney and wife, William A. Squires and wife, and Samuel Widney and wife. These sixteen persons constituted the first church organization in Jackson township which was known as the Bear Creek class. There being no church house, services were held at the cabin-homes of the early settlers; for some time later the regular services were held in a log schoolhouse located on the farm of Amariah Johnson, now owned by William Johnson. Special meetings were either held in the groves or at the double log barns of the settlers.
Some years later a church was built a short distance north of the log school house. The building was a frame structure and was considered quite elaborate at that early day. This church was known as the Bear Creek church. Here services were held until the fall of 1881, when the old church was considered unsafe and was abandoned. This old building was the scene of many a gracious revival and many hearts were made happy in a Savior’s love. After abandoning the old church, the place of holding services were at the Bear Creek schoolhouse, a half mile west. Under the pastorate of the late Rev. F. M. Hussy, during the winter of 1881 and 1882, an effort was put forth for the erection of a new church house. It was with some difficulty that a suitable location could be found.
It was finally decided to build on the site where the Rehoboth church now stands, and the building was completed at a cost of twenty-one hundred dollars. Owing to the difficulty in securing a location, Mr. John S. Boots, one of the donors, thought that the proper name for the church should be Rehoboth, and wished the honor of naming it, which privilege was accorded him. In the fall of 1913, this church house underwent repairs of the extent of basement had been put under the church, a furnace and modern lighting system installed, and an addition made.
The first religious service held in Jackson township was at the home of William Watson in 1839, and the preacher was Rev. James T. Robe, of the Methodist Episcopal denomination.
Rev. Lewis Hicklan, missionary of the Methodist Protestant church, came to Jackson township in 1841, and organized a church. Today there are in the township several churches: namely, Church of God, Methodist Protestant and United Brethren.
THE GERMAN METHODIST CHURCH
Pages 203 & 204
In 1873, a church reinforced in numbers by the increasing population of Auburn came prominently into notice. The society of German Methodists had an unorganized existence in the town from a very early date. Ministers of this denomination held services at private houses on such occasions as brought them to this neighborhood, but the scarcity of numbers precluded attempt at forming a society. Rev. John Schneider was probably the pioneer preacher in this locality.
On November 1, 1858, Rev. F. Ruff organized what was known as the Kendallville circuit, of which Auburn was an appointment, although preaching was at first at a point north of town. This minister, who is recognized as the founder of the Auburn society, served for two years. Th original membership consisted of George and Catherine Eckhart, Herman and Eva Froelich, Elizabeth Pullman, John and Caroline Raesch, John and Fredericka Steffin, F. Raut, Sr., Charles Rant, Jr., Maria and Charlotte Raut.
The first officers chosen were George Froelich, exhorter, and George Eckhart, steward. No trustees to make official existence were elected until about twelve years later.
The immediate successors of Reverend Ruff were: A. Gerlach, 1860; J. C. Weidman, 1862; G. "Schwinn, 1863; C. A Militzer, 1867; Henry Krill, 1869; A. Meyer, 1871.
From 1871, there were generally assistant preachers sent on the Kendallville circuit, who mostly lived at Auburn. Joseph Kern was the first of these. He was followed by G. Weiler, of Fort Wayne, succeeded by J. Lamprecht who remained two years and co-operated with Rev. Meyer to establish the church upon a strong and enduring basis. These ministers conducted a protracted meeting n 1872, which brought about a revival and ten conversions. The Sunday school was organized in 1872, and continued until 1880, when it was closed for a number of years. The society in 1874 considered the question of a church lot and building. To secure the former a committee of three persons was appointed on May 25, 1874. The committee, Frederick Raut. Charles Raut and John Raesch chose the lot upon which the church afterward stood.
Five members had in the meanwhile been elected by the quarterly conference at Kendallville as trustees of Emanuel Methodist Episcopal church, namely: F. Raut, C. Raut, J. Raesch, H. Wartensleben, and John Lobmiller. These parties, August 24th, bought of Andrew Mayer of Noble county, the lot selected, paying for the same two hundred and fifty dollars, and promptly took measures for the erection thereon of frame meeting house. The church was completed and dedicated by Rev. Roberts, of Fort Wayne, and the cost was two thousand seven hundred and forty dollars. After subscriptions had all been collected there remained a deficit of two hundred dollars, which was paid by the Church Extension Society of the Central German Conference. In 1892 a parsonage was built for fourteen hundred dollars.
The pastors have been: John Bodmer, 1874; William Mueller, 1876; H. Buddenbaur, 1879; A. Gerlich, 1881; J. C. Gommel, 1882; J. H. Schimmelpfinig, 1885; John Haas, 1886; H. Rogatsky, 1891. Assistant and resident ministers for the same time have been: C. Treuschel, William Conzelmann, W. Hamp, G. Moehring, C. Henke, S. P. Spechman, A. C. Baur, D. Dobbick, W. Rogetzby and C. B. Koch. The Sunday school was organized in1890 by Rev. Dobbick.
At present, this church has a very small congregation and is supplied by visiting pastors.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Pages 205 to 207
The Presbyterian society in Auburn was organized in the fall of 1846. Auburn first belonged to the Logansport Presbytery; but this being divided, it was transferred to the Fort Wayne Presbytery. Rev. Bliss, who was first assigned to this place was stated supply until the spring of 1856, at that time the membership numbering forty-three. In the spring of 1857, Rev. Edward Wright took charge; in 1863, Rev. Charles A. Munn, and from 1866 the church was for a short interval without services. Then Rev. C. A. Evans was here for two years. After another interval, in the spring of 1872 Rev. J. Emory Fisher began services on alternate Sundays. Rev. Henry Johnson came in the spring of 1874, and remained until the fall of 1880. During his pastorate, in the fall of 1876, a brick structure was erected on the corner of Jackson and Twelfth streets, costing six thousand dollars; it was dedicated in January, 1877. The trustees were E. D. Hartman, S. B. Miller, Joseph Albright and Richard Elson.
The Early pastors were: Charles A. Munn, Charles Evans, Levi C. Littell, J. B. Fowler, 1871; J. E. Fisher, Henry Johnston, W. F. Mathews until 1882; H. D. McCord, G.W. Barr until 1884; D. S. Stephens, Henry A. Sawyers in 1886, and George Wade Healy in 1891. In 1895 Frank C. Colvin took charge of the church, and remained until 1897, when Rev. Henry A. Arlen supplied. In 1900 the church in Auburn was vacant, and in 1901 Rev. Thomas E. Burrows supplied. In 1902 Rev. Asher H. Brand was here, and during his pastorate the parsonage was built. In 1908 Rev. Walter M. Elliott came and remained until 1911, when the present efficient pastor, Robert I. Platter, took charge.
The church at present has one hundred and fifty members, and the Sunday school enrollment totals one hundred and twenty-five. The societies in the church are: the Ladies’ Home and Foreign Missionary Society, the Ladies’ Aid Society, the Christian Endeavor, and the Westminster Guild.
The Presbyterian church in Garrett is yet a small denomination, but is rapidly growing and in the near future promises to be a thriving and large society.
The first attempt to organize a Presbyterian society in Garrett was made in 1903 and 1904 by Rev. E. F. Knickerbocker, now in missionary work at Ningpo, China. Rev. Knickerbocker, writes the following in regard to the futile attempt at that time: "Nearly the first work I did after being transferred from Nebraska to Indiana was that of looking up the need in Garrett. What a time I had of it, too, but I enjoyed the work nevertheless. My head-quarters were at the leading hotel. I entered every house, store and shop in the city that was enterable. When the canvas was completed I had a list of more than seventy people who were material for the forming of a Presbyterian church. Nearly all where members of a Presbyterian church somewhere, and all were members of some sort of church, while only about a dozen of them were working with or members of any church in Garrett. A few days after this canvas began I hired a dance hall, rented a stove and few lamps, bought wood, engaged a janitor, and began meetings, which lasted over two weeks. What a time of blizzard it was! A handful of people would come one evening. These I would gather in a circle around the stove, and we all sat while I conducted a Bible study. At the close of the meeting some one would remark, ‘Well! It seems very strange that the people do not take an interest in things.’ The next night these people would not come, and another small lot would take their place. Things went on like this night after night. One good brother came nearly every evening. He was the real goods. But one night—a terrible night—no one came. Half an hour after time for the meeting to begin, I stepped to the foot of the stairs and fastened the door, so that no one might disturb the meeting. Then I spent an hour in Bible study and prayer. That was really the most encouraging time of all, for at the end there was not a discouraging word."
Rev. Knickerbocker was finally compelled to relinquish his efforts in behalf of the Presbyterian church in Garrett, and upon the coming of the next pastor the society disbanded. Knickerbocker writes of his successor: "Whether he broke the church or the church broke him, or else a mutual breaking, I am not sure."
In the fall of 1907 steps were again taken to organize a church in Garrett, and in 1908 a permanent society was effected. Charles G. Sterling was the first pastor called, and he was followed by W. A. Service and Edgar L. Buchanan. The latter is the present pastor, having come here from Lafayette, Indiana, in December, 1911. The present directors of the church are: Dr. G. Allison, C. E. Leightner, E. M. McKennan, W. A. Clifford, E. C. Moughler. Elders are: C. E. Leightner, W. A. Clifford, E. C. Moughler, John W. Brown, William C. Robinson and A. R. Moore. The congregation worships at present in the German Methodist building, but, as the latter society is very small, the Presbyterians contemplate leasing the church entirely for their own use; thus it will be known as the First Presbyterian church. The church numbers one hundred and twenty members, with a Sunday school of one hundred and seventy members. There are two societies in the church, the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society and Woman’s Helpers.
The Presbyterian church at Waterloo was organized on Jun 5, 1863, by Rev. C. Ford, with the following constitute members: P. B. Nimmons, Mary Nimmons, James Lockhart, Robert M. Lockhart, Elizabeth Lockhart, Abraham McCoy, Elizabeth McCoy, Mahlon Nimmons, Louisa Nimmons, Edward Craft, J. E. Rutan, Keziah Rutan, Joseph Mills, J. N. Mills, Jane Smith, Jane Madden, J. H. Boon, Mary Hines, Clestia Hutchison, Laura Hutchison, A. A. Howard, Sarah A. Howard and Rachel Moore. The first ruling elders were P. B. Nimmons, Robert Lockhart and A. A. Howard. The church building, a frame structure on Maple street, was erected in 1867, at a cost of three thousand dollars. The first pastor, Rev. Edward Wright, was there from 1863 to 1866. Other pastors who followed were: C. A. Munn, L.C. Littell, J. B. Fowler, Henry Johnson, W. F. Mathews, J. D. McCord, and G. W. Barr. Rev. W. H. Chase, living at Auburn, has charge of the church at present. There are about sixty-five active members of the church. The church society is progressive one and a great aid to the town of Waterloo.
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
Pages 207 to 209
The Christian church in Auburn was organized in the winter of 1902 by Rev. J. N. Wilson, who was the first pastor. The succeeding pastors have been: J. A. Brown, C. H. Earenfight, John Lennox, Frank Nixon, Fred Thomas, and at present Rev. C. W. Mahin fills the pulpit. The church building was constructed in 1907, and cost thirty-two hundred dollars.
There are two hundred members of the church at present, with one hundred and seventy-five in the Sunday school. The societies are: The Ladies’ Aid, Ladies’ Auxiliary, Christian Endeavor and the Christian Woman’s Board of Missions.
The Christian church of Garrett was organized in the year 1907 by Rev. O. L. Hull, and his first congregation numbered twenty-eight members. When he left, after three years’ meritorious service, he had enrolled over two hundred and fifty people. The pastors who have followed him are: Revs. John H. Swift, L. C. Brink, L. M. Nesmith, B. O. Borten, and the present pastor is J. W. Borden. The society bought a hall, formerly used for meetings, on King street, for the sum of twenty-six hundred dollars, and herein the loyal membership of two hundred and fifty people hold their services. The Sunday school numbers are one hundred and fifteen. The Ladies’ Aid Society is a prominent factor in the good work done by the church, and it, with the congregation as a whole, is working hard to make the church one of the strongest in the city.
The Church of Christ at Butler was organized by John Ailsworth in the Lutheran church, on March 1, 1870, with the following charter members: G. H. Young, Mary Young, Sarah Young, E. Olmstead, Frank Reynolds, Lucy Reynolds, Mrs. Rowe, Frederick Huffman, Elizabeth Huffman, Alice Huffman, Almira Huffman, John and Mary Shoub, Fred H. Fanning, Carrie M. Fanning, Claista Pillsburg, Jacob Jennings, Mary Cyrenas and Elizabeth Jennings, and Jacob Funk. Elder J. E. Harris was the first minister of this denomination in Butler. T. P. Sutton assisted. Harris was from Licking county, Ohio. After him, with the dates of their services, came: Elder Hadsell, 1872; T. P. Sutton, 1873-8; under Rev Sutton the lot on which the Christian church now stands was purchased, the church was erected, and dedicated on February 7, 1875; by L. L. Carpenter of Wabash; Elder Leavett came in 1878; then O. Q. Ovialt; E. L. Fanner in 1883; Eders, Struber, Wilson, Lovcines, Moot, Stewart, Sniff, Scoville, A. M. Laird, D. A. Shaw, Fred Thomas, Drash, Harris, Ira Smith R. B. Chapman, S. B Braden, Konkle, John Imhof, and at present A. E. Wrentmore, have had and have charge of the church at Butler. There are about one hundred and seventy-seven member, a Ladies’ Aid Society and a Christian Endeavor.
The Disciples church, or Christian church, of St. Joe was organized on May 2, 1886, by Rev. L. L. Carpenter. Elder J. A. Thomas was the first pastor of the church, and he was followed by T. A. Hedges, W. W. Harris, L. W. Fairfield, J. O. Rose, S. S. Bartlett, Harry Clark, Rev. Dunkleberger, W. S. Meyers, J. A. Brown, T. N. Russel and S. O. Redacrer. The persons who helped in the organization of this church in 1886 were: Joshua W. Lounsberry, Anna Lounsberry, E. M. Vollmer, R. K. McDonald, Anna McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Filley, B. S. Sheffer, Eva S. Sheffer, Emma Hart, Jared Irwin, and wife, Charles Coburn, Emma Tustison.
The church at present has a membership of one hundred, with an excellent Sunday school of seventy-five. The Martha Society performs aid service for the church. The Christian Endeavor is also existent in the church. The house of worship was constructed in the year 1888, two years after the organization, and cost at the time, twenty-five hundred dollars.
The Church of Christ built a brick structure in 1870 at Waterloo, on Maple street, at a cost of thirty-five hundred dollars. Rev. N. N. Bartlett, the first pastor, remained two years. He was followed by Revs. James Hodsell, F. H. McCormick, M. M. Gleason and M. O. Blany. This church is now defunct.
The Newville Christian church was organized in the fall of 1851 by James Hadsell, in a schoolhouse where the United Brethren parsonage later stood, across the river and southeast from Newville. There were originally twenty-seven members. At the close of 1879 the church had a membership of one hundred and ninety-two. This church has a present membership of seventy-five.
UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
Pages 209 to 211
The United Brethren class at Newville was organized in 1842 by Rev. Jonathan Thomas, one of the pioneer preachers. The class was organized in a small log building on the east side of the road about two miles west of Newville on the farm owned by Solomon Wilcox. The class was composed of eleven charter members, nine of whom were: Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Delong, Hanna Robertson, Cornelius Woodcox and wife, Solomon Woodcox and wife, M. Soper and Mrs. Ellis. The first board of trustees was composed of Solomon Delong, Collin Robertson and Cornelius Woodcox. Maria Delong who died March 28, 1912, at the age of ninety years, was the last charter member.
About 1842 a frame schoolhouse was built where the parsonage barn now stands, and soon after the place of meeting was transferred from the Woodcox home to the schoolhouse. This building was used for church services until 1855, when, during the pastorate of Rev. J. Fink, a splendid frame church building, thirty by forty-six feet, was erected. About 1880 the church was moved back from the road and set on a brick foundation, truss beams were put in overhead and the center supports removed. In the year 1885, while Rev. R. T. Martin was pastor, extensive repairs were made, consisting of tower and bell, slate roof and new windows.
The old building, which has served its purpose well for fifty-eight years, is now being thoroughly renovated at an approximate cost of thirty-five hundred dollars. Lecture room, library, pastor’s study, rostrum, basement, furnace, new windows, chairs, are among the many improvements. The present membership is one hundred and five, and the Sunday school also has a strong enrollment. The first church was dedicated by Bishop Henry Kumler, Jr. The new one will be dedicated by Bishop H. H. Fout. During the seventy one years of the existence of the class, forty-three pastors have served the church. The present pastor is Oliver Perry Givens, a native of Noble county, Indiana.
The United Brethren church at Waterloo had its origin prior to 1856, probably in 1852. At that time the church was supported by traveling evangelist. Among the earliest were Revs. William Miller and Jonathan Thomas. Then came Revs. J. Fink and Lammon, who traveled together and held revivals. A deed to the lot on which the United Brethren church now stands was made by George W. Trout and wife in November, 1862, to George E. Trout, David Goodwin and John Beidler, as the first board of trustees. The church building was then completed. This was in 1862. Rev. Taring Osmun was pastor at this time. It was the first church in Waterloo. During the early history of this church the building was used for union worship, also union Sunday school. In 1879 the church was rebuilt. Among the early preachers were: J. Fink, Lammon, William Moffatt, J. Morthland, A. Lower, Leonard, T. Osmun, J. K. Swihart, C. Crossland, C. O. Lawrence, J. G. Bowersox, Joseph Brown, D. Bender, John Martin, George Crawford, B. Baldwin, Richard Martin, C. H. Kirracofe, W. O. Dinnius, S. P. Klotz, J. D. Snyder, W. O. Butler, George Dinnius, J. S. Tedrow and J. W. Lilly. In 1889, when the division of the church came in general conference at York, Pennsylvania, the Waterloo church lost many of its oldest members. However, the society took on new life, and on June 13, 1912, the old church, which had been veneered with brick, was torn down and work of constructing the new edifice begun. The cornerstone was laid August 9, 1912, and the church was dedicated April 6, 1913. The total cost was fifteen thousand dollars. The present enrollment numbers one hundred and fifty-five, and the pastor is Rev. F. P. Overmyer.
In Smithfield township organized Christianity was introduced by the United Brethren, who had regular services at the Smith school house, later known as number six. The first minister was Rev. Samuel Chaplin. The Methodists met at Barker’s and formed a class, of which Mr. Barker was the leader. The Disciples, organized by Revs. Bartlett and Hadsell, had a church at Cedar Lake.
The Big Run United Brethren church, in Stafford township, was organized in the spring of 1843 by Rev. Jonathan Thomas. The charter members were: Jacob Gunsenhouser and wife, Thomas Olds and wife, David Flickinger and wife, Stephen Hackley and wife and Mary Willard. They organized at the home of Jacob Gunsenhouser, and used this place for worship during the next five years, later using the old log house on the Gunsenhouser land. A church was built during the progress of the Civil war, and services were held on alternate Sundays by the Rev. James Martin.
The United Brethren church of Butler was organized in January, 1884, with a membership of forty people. Their frame church building was erected in the fall of 1883, at a cost of twenty-three hundred dollars. And dedicated in December, 1883. It is located on West North street. The pastors have been: Rev. Joseph Brown, W. O. Butler, 1884; J. W. Martin, S. P. Klotz, 1885; Joseph Brown, 1883; D. B. Keller; A. F. McCloe, 1889; J. S. Tedrow, J. W. Cummings, A. F. McCloe, 1900; C. H. Bell, 1902; W. H. Phetro, 1904; O. F. Landis, 1905; O. B. Wells, 1906; W. F. Parker, 1907; A. W. Phillips, 1911, and D. B. Kessinger, 1912, who is the present incumbent. There are two hundred and fifty members of the church at present, and the Sunday school numbers two hundred and sixty. There are societies as follows: Ladies’ Aid Society, Woman’s Missionary Association and Christian Endeavor. In the Butler circuit are the Big Run, Jerusalem and Zion churches, with a combined congregation of two hundred and ninety-two people. Rev. Richhart, of Butler, has charge of them. The Newville circuit has a membership of two hundred and fifteen.
Mount Pleasant United Brethren church, in Wilmington township, is over sixty years old. In 1854 meetings were held in the house of Abraham Eakright, on section twenty, by Revs. Benton and wife. The constituent members were: William McBride, Mr. Dirrim, Abraham Eakright and their wives, and Mrs. Levi McBride. Services were held in the Eakright house until 1861, when they commenced to use the old log schoolhouse on section 19. This organization held many successful revivals. A chapel was erected at Mount Pleasant in 1870.
The Lilly United Brethren church at Moore Station was organized by Rev. Aaron Lily in December, 1882, with twenty-seven members. Services were held in the Mooresville schoolhouse until the next summer, when they built a fine large frame church, costing fourteen hundred dollars. Services were held every alternate Sunday.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH
Pages 211 to 213
The history of the Baptist church date almost co-equal with the first settlement of DeKalb county. Here and there in the townships, log meeting houses were raised, and long served their purpose. The first regular Baptist church organized in this county was known as the "Cedar Creek church." The house of worship was a log building. It was located about one mile south of the present village of Corunna. The date of organization was in 1841 or 1842. Deacon McConly, who afterward became a minister, was very prominent among the early members of this denomination. Calvin Calkin, T. D. Daily and families, were other strong members of the society. The pastors for the church are various times were Elders P. H. Evans, William N. Welker, A. Town and others this church is now defunct.
The next church organized was within the bounds of Wilmington township, and had its origin in 1844. Its formation was largely owing to the energetic efforts of A. Town and R. Speer. James R. Cosper donated land for a church site so long as it would be used for religious purposes. A log meeting house was accordingly raised upon this ground. S. B. Meade was the first pastor of the church, and S. B. Ward followed shortly afterward.
Elders Baker and Whitehead held a series of meetings in Auburn and the result was the organization of a Baptist church in Auburn. Upon this the Wilmington church was practically dissolved, because the members persisted in joining the church at Auburn. The Wilmington church was abandoned in 1861.
On August 13, 1852, the brethren met at the old courthouse to take into consideration the organization of a Baptist church in Auburn. Everybody agreed on the plan, and an organization was effected on September 15, 1852. Elder Ward became the first pastor and then Elder A. Town. Having no regular meeting house of their own, the Baptists at this time held their services at the courthouse or in the Methodist or Presbyterian churches.
The new brick building of the Baptist church was completed in the fall of 1873. Elder Ward, R. P. Jones, W. Langton Sanders, J. P. Ward, H. J. Finch, T. C. Smith and O. E. Eagy were ministers until the year 1892.
From 1892 until 1913 the ministers have been: Reverends F. W. Hart, W. P. Pearce, Edwin P. Hoyt, W. A. Pavy, J. H. Martin, H. J. Finch, C. B. Janes and F. M. Reese. There are now seventy-three members of the church and the Sunday school has an enrollment of seventy-one.
The Baptist church was organized on December 15, 1885, by seven ladies of Garrett, namely: Mesdames C. N. Bell, G. W. Mudd, Frank Hartsock, Effie Stewart, Sarah Cobler, Lydia Osborn, and Miss Addie Ford. The first pastor of the church was Rev. Davies, and following him have been in part: Reverends Ravey, Chansler, Stevens, Whitney and John Walton, who is the present minister in charge of the work. The present brick church building was erected in 1888 and 1889, and it is the credit of the present pastor and the loyal members of the church to say that the debt incurred in the first building has just been lifted. The Baptist church has a membership of two hundred and twenty-five, and the Sunday school has one hundred and thirty-five. Among the societies identified with this thriving little church are the Baptist Young People’s Union, The Ladies’ Aid Society, the Home Mission Society, and the Pansy Club, which is devoted to charitable work, It might be said that the debt of the church was paid almost entirely by subscriptions.
ST. MARK’S LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pages 213 to 215
Several fruitless attempts to organize and establish the English Lutheran church in Auburn were made at different times by Revs. W. Waltman, J. Sise and C. C. Link. The need of a house of worship was great. Rev. Levi Rice made a visit to Auburn in May, 1874, and completed arrangements to preached occasionally in the Baptist church, and this continued until October 25, 1875, when, notice having been duly given, all members of the society met at the home of Jacob Walborn, where a permanent organization was made with nineteen members. The church was formed and was given the name of "The St. Marks English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Auburn." At this meeting, Levi Rich presiding, and election was held and a council chosen, namely: John Treesh, J. Walborn, Enos H. White and D. A. Sebring. Rev. Rice was engaged for one year, with semi-monthly meetings. The names of the original members are as follows: J. J. and Caroline E. Huffman, Jacob Stamets, David A. and Minerva Sebring, Jacob, Lucetta and Mary Walborn, Mary Wiles, Horace A. Hoffman, Margaret Sibert, John Treesh, William McClellan, Andrew and Elizabeth Bolander, William L. and Angeline Smith and Enos H. and Clara M. White. Of these, nine were former members, three were transferred and the rest were received by letter. The Lutherans at once purchased of the Presbyterian society their old frame church, occupying the southeast corner of lot twenty, west Auburn, and paid the sum of six hundred and fifty dollars for the property. Rev. Rice remained with this church for six years.
Rev. Samuel Kelso, of Spencerville, succeeded Rev. Rice, and stayed one year. Rev. William Waltman came next. He was a resident minister of Kendallville, but supplied this church a brief period in the early part of 1883. A permanent pastor was next secured in the person of Rev. W. D. Trover, whose engagement covered the space of four years, terminating in October, 1887. Rev. Jessup, from Leipsic, Ohio, followed, the Rev. N. J. Myers of Noble county, in March, 1888.
During the year 1889 the society negotiated for and purchased of Mrs. Fannie Smith lot sixty-two, West Auburn, paying five hundred dollars for the property. A building committee was appointed and contracts made for a new church. Before the end of October the edifice was finished. The building was a Gothic in style, having brick walls and slate gables, and the dimensions were forty-four by sixty-three feet. The tower rose to a height of eighty-five feet, supporting a bell weighing eight hundred pounds. The interior of the church was finished in natural wood. The floor was bowl-shaped, descending toward the pulpit, and the seats circular and concentrically arranged. Stained glass windows were installed, respectively memorials of the Sabbath school, Synod of Northern Indiana, Lewis Bowers, Jacob Walborn, Burton Brown, Samuel Cornell and the Nelsons. Two hot-air furnaces supplied the heat. The total cost of the building was about seven thousand dollars.
The building was consecrated for religious purposes in a sermon preached on November 3, 1889, by Dr. L. A. Godwall, of Springfield, Ohio. In February, 1890, Rev. D. F. Kain, of Albion, Indiana, was engaged as minister, and stayed until the spring of 1891, and was succeeded by Rev. J. D. Brosy, of Pleasant Lake.
The Sabbath school was organized in the year 1877; a Ladies’ Aid society in 1885, and, on November 7, 1891, a Christian Endeavor society. In 1892 a parsonage was erected on the lot east of the church at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars.
Rev. Brosy remained at Auburn until 1905, when he was succeeded by Rev. S. E. Slater, D. D., who stayed until 1909. Rev. J. H. Neuhouser followed, and he in turn was succeeded, on September 1, 1911, by the present pastor, Rev. A. B. Garman. The church at present has two hundred and thirty-three communicant members, three hundred and eleven confirmed members, and three hundred and fifty-six baptized. The Sunday school numbers three hundred and fifty members, with thirty-four officers and teachers. The Ladies’ Aid Society was organized in 1885; the Young People’s Society Christian Endeavor was organized on November 7, 1891; the Luther League in 1894; Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society in 1896, and the Lutheran Brotherhood in February, 1910. The Mission Band of seventy-five members takes charge of local relief and charity work.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Evangelical church of Butler was organized in 1864 by Rev. J. W. Henderson. The church was built about 1867, under the pastorate of Rev. Henderson. It was a brick and cost originally about five thousand dollars, but has later been remodeled twice, at an additional cost of three thousand dollars. Since Rev. Henderson, the pastors have been: Revs. J. N. Morris, A. W. Burns, S. P. Snyder, William C. Barnett, Jabez Shaffer, D. F. Kain, W. Dieffenbach, S. P. Fryberger, E. E. Neibel, W. S. Oberholter, M. L. Furst, John H. Crouse, and John B. Gardner, the present efficient and popular pastor, who came on May 1, 1912. At present there are eighty-one members of the church, with ninety in Sunday school. The Dorcas Society, a charitable organization, and the Luther League, for young people, are existent.
The Wittenberg Lutheran Evangelical church is one of the oldest in this territory of the synod, or in the county. It was organized by Rev. J. Cather, in 1843. The church building valued at fifteen hundred dollars. There are twenty-three members, with a Sunday school of forty-five. There are the Dorcas Society and Luther League in this church also. Rev. John B. Gardner attends this church on alternate Sundays from Butler.
Richland Center Lutheran Evangelical church was organized by Rev. W. Waltman in 1855, with twenty-five charter members.
Fairfield Center Lutheran church was organized by Rev. J. Cather in 1856, with fourteen charter members. Sedan church was organized in 1860 by Rev. W. Waltman with twenty-eight members. Rev. J. Cather founded the first Lutheran church in Concord township in October, 1849, at the home of William Doums, with twelve charter members. John Sidel. W. Waltman, C. C. Caskey, in 1859, were pastors when the pastorate was split into that of Spencerville, St. John’s, Salem and Richland. B. F. Hills, C. C. Sink, A. Leathers, E. W. Erick and S. Kelso followed. During the latter pastor’s service he organized the St. Joe church and built the structure at a cost of three thousand dollars. E. K. Baker came next, and then S. P. Fryberger founded the church in Spencerville.
The Evangelical Lutheran church at Spencerville at present has one hundred and seventeen confirmed members. Rev. D. P. Heltzel had charge of the congregation, having come to the pastorate on October 1, 1912. The Sunday school has a membership of one hundred and five, with twenty officers and teachers. There is a Ladies’ Aid Society and a Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society. The church building was erected in 1887, also the parsonage, and the cost was six thousand dollars at the time.
GERMAN LUTHERAN AND CERMAN REFORMED CHURCHES
Pages 215 to 217
A society, to be known as the German Reformed Lutheran church, was successful in organization. For a time two German societies united their strength and resources, under the above title, and taking advantage of a donation of land for church purposes, the combined societies applied for and were granted lot number one hundred and fifty-four, which had been held for the first religious society that might make claim to and actually improve it in accord with the wishes do the giver, John Spencer.
The site having been cheaply and legally acquired, the society contracted for the erection of a small frame meeting house, to cost but a few hundred dollars. The work was actively carried forward, so that by February, 1865, the building had been completed and dedicated a home of worship. At the dedication the attendance was much beyond the limit capacity of the building, the music was good and the exercises, conducted in German, were of an interesting character.
Later the German Reformed church of St. Johns bought out the interest of the other society and on January 1, 1866, a meeting was called and a consistory was chosen. Peter Drumer and Jacob Kandel were elected elders and John Otto and Ernest Myers, deacons, to serve two years. The Rev. Isaac Motzinger was the first minister. He served the church acceptably until 1872, living in a small framed cabin during the period of his service. Rev. William B. Sandoe was his successors. Other preachers in order were: Philip Ruhl, 1872; John Rettig, 1879; John Winter, 1882; W. Grether, 1884; B. Ruf, 1888. Shortly after the church had been built the Evangelical Lutheran society sold their interest and for several years were without a home of worship. Rev. Reichard, of Avilla, and Rev. Steinback, of Fairfield, alternated every fortnight in preaching to the society, and it was not till February 1, 1873, that the members resolved upon erecting a meeting house. To this end a meeting was held at the residence of Charles Bartles, of Richland township, and application was then made for a lot which had been set aside by Mr. Spencer solely for church purposes, and on obtaining possession they proceeded to build upon the lot a small church, in which their services were held. Rev. Searing preached for them at intervals of several weeks and Rev. Lewis Pullman was the only resident preacher. Rev. C. B. Preuss came next.
The German Evangelical Lutheran church in Garrett, of the Missouri synod, was organized in the year 1888, with thirteen voting members. C. B. Preuss was the first visiting pastor, and he continued until 1890. His home was in Avilla. Rev. F. J. Keller was the second pastor and the first resident pastor. Otto Shuman came next; then H. B. Kohlmeier; then C. W. Giese. The present incumbent is Rev. G. Bloedel, who took charge of the work on July 29, 1913, coming here from the state of Nebraska. The church numbers one hundred and fifty communicants, forty voting members, and three hundred and seventy-five souls. The Sunday school has a membership of fifty. The Ladies’ Society conducts charitable work in Garrett, and is very well organized. Rev. Bloedel teaches a parochial school adjoining the church building on the east; he has thirty-nine scholars.
The church building is of wood, and was dedicated on October 27, 1889. The cost was eighteen hundred dollars.
The English Reformed church at Waterloo has a fine brick structure on the corner of Center and Union Streets. It was built in 1872, at a cost of fifty-five hundred dollars. Rev. Henry Baer was the first pastor, followed by Rev. Fenniman, and Rev. F. F. Christine in 1880.
The Lutheran church of Troy township was organized by Rev. James Cather in 1843, in the house of John A. Zimmerman, on section thirty. The house of worship was later on section twenty-eight.
CHURCH OF GOD
The Church of God was organized at a very early date in the city of Auburn, The pastors since 1887 have been Revs. Markley, Neill, Fuller, Harendeen, Bloyd, I. M. Thomas, H. H. Spicher, A. O. Musgrove and J. G. Wise, the present incumbent.
The church as a membership of ninety-two, with eighty in the Sunday school. Societies are: The Woman’s Missionary Society and the Christian Endeavor.
ST MATTHEW REFORM CHURCH
The St. Matthew Reformed church in Garrett was organized in the year of 1888, and the first pastor called was Rev. B. Ruff. After him in 1893, came Rev. George Englemann. In 1899 G. M. Hersch took charge of the work, also Rev. Vollbach during a short period following. In 1906 Edward Kielsmeier was chosen for the pulpit, and for two years he benefited the church greatly. In 1908, and until 1911, Henry Clausing had charge. In 1912 Rev. Otto H. Scherry, the present able pastor, came to Garrett, and under his control the church has taken rapid strides toward a fuller and more complete organization. The brick church building was erected in the year 1904, and cost, when completed, fifty-five hundred dollars. The church is situated at the corner of Keyser and Franklin streets and the parsonage is adjoining. At present there are eighty-eight members of the society in Garrett. The Sunday school has seventy members. Two societies, the Christian Endeavor and the Ladies’ Aid Society, exist at this time, and both are of very high standard.
PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Protestant Episcopal church at Garrett was built in 1876 and dedicated in July, 1877. The land was purchased, building erected furniture put in and everything provided for use by John King Jr., and William Keyser, first and second vice-presidents, respectively, of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, and presented as a free gift to Bishop Talbot of the Indiana diocese. The first pastor was Rev. B. L. Trimble. Rev. Weatherby and R. H. Dennis succeeded him, and for a period the church was closed. In the winter of 1883-4 the church was reopened, and Rev. S. M. C. Orpen came for Lima, Indiana, and preached every two weeks. Rev. Benjamin R. Phelps succeeded him, Rev. C. E. Bilger now tends the Garrett membership, which is very small.
The Evangelical Association at Waterloo was organized before the out break of the Civil war, and in 1886 a church was built at a cost of three thousand dollars. Another authority claims this church to have been built in 1877. Rev. Geist was the pastor in charge when the church was constructed. In 1880 he left and returned again in April 1913, and is still the incumbent. There are eighty members of the church and one hundred in the Sunday school. A Ladies’ Aid Society, Young Peoples’ Alliance and a Missionary Auxiliary are societies within the congregation. Some of the pastors who have served at Waterloo are: Revs: W. H. Mygrant, W. H. Freshley, D. O. Wise, C. H. Burgener, B. F. Walmer, D. E. Zechiel, G. F. Zuber and P. L. Browns. Rev. Geist visits the County Line society also, a small organization with a church-house near the county line of DeKalb and Steuben, three miles west of Ashley. There are forty members here. A mile south of Fairfield Center there is a society, but active work had been abandoned.
Pages 218 to 221
In August of the year 1872 a Catholic priest for the first time visited the city of Auburn. Father August Young was commissioned in this capacity. He found nine Catholic families here at the time, who were: Engelbert Ashley, Joseph Ashley, William H. McIntyre, Jules Beuret, Justin Girardot, Charles Beugnot, Benjamin Goodman, Jacob Hollinger, Stephen Girardot and Patrick Murphy. For two years he had services in the home of Engelbert Ashley, on West Seventh street. In the meantime the present lots were secured, facing on what was then the corner of Fourth and Railroad streets. The committee in charge consisted of Engelbert Ashley, Jules Beuret and Jacob Hollinger.
The foundation for the new church was laid out June 1, 1874. A little frame structure, thirty by fifty feet, was erected and served as a place of worship until August, 1912. The church was dedicated by Bishop Joseph Dwenger, of Fort Wayne on October 18 of the same year. The building sat close to the sidewalk, facing Fourth street and was erected at a cost of three thousand dollars, the total amount of which was paid on the day after the dedication.
The present priest’s residence, adjoining the church property, was bought for one thousand, nine hundred dollars, on April 15, 1874. The congregation from the beginning increased rapidly and at this time it numbered three thousand souls and had no debt on the church property. At the suggestion of the bishop, Father Young changed his place of residence from Auburn to Garrett, on November 10, 1886, but continued to visit Auburn from Garrett until November 1, 1891.
The resident pastors succeeding Father Young at Auburn were the following: Rev. Rudolph Denk, eight months; Rev. Francis P. Faust, from June, 1892 to November, 1895; Rev. Edward J. Boccard, from November, 1895, to September 1898; Rev. Frederick J. Dandurand, from September, 1898, to July, 1900; Rev. John M. Schmitz, from July, 1900, to July, 1910, when the present pastor, Father Augermaier, took charge.
Since his presence in our midst, Father Augermaier has been doing splendid work for the material, as well as spiritual, up building the parish. A public-spirited, energetic young man, he set about at once to make the required improvements on the parochial residence and church property in general. Of course, this took time and money, but with foresight and the spirit of perseverance required, he began planning the work he had in view, and the present beautiful church is the fruit of his labor. The congregation approved of his plans and supported him liberally in his undertaking.
The work of excavating for the new building started the first week in August, 1912. A concrete foundation was put in and a roomy basement supplied for the whole church. Rising above this are five tiers of cement blocks which raise the superstructure of the church about five feet above the level of the ground. The old frame structure was utilized because of its splendid material. The exterior of the present building measures ninety-four feet. It has a transept of forty-eight feet, giving it a seating capacity of about three hundred. A large sanctuary with vestries on either side takes up the fore part of the church. While the shell is a frame structure, the outside, finished in stucco, is an innovation in church building. Not only in the city of Auburn, but, so far as can be learned, it is the only church building of its kind in the state. It is this that attracts the attention of so many and elicits admiration and comment. Beautiful concrete steps lead to the entrance of the church, which at present sets back from the sidewalk about fifteen feet. A steeple sixty-five feet high surmounted by a gilded cross of four and a half feet adds much to the beauty of the exterior and attracts the attention of the stranger at a distance. The interior artistic decoration is the work of Signor Giovannie Gioscio, and Italian artist of Indianapolis. Two beautiful oil paintings adorn the ceiling of the church. One represent the mother of the Savior crushing the head of the serpent, according to the saying in Genesis: "She shall crush thy head; and thou shalt lie in wait of her heel." The other is a painting of Saint Cecelia, patroness of music. Two adoring angels adorn the arch of the sanctuary. The church has been completely refinished. Oak pews finished in mission style that are very roomy and comfortable have replaced the old ones. A new Packard organ, with pipe organ effect, has been secured for the choir. A massive and beautiful altar, worth no less then two thousand dollars, was the gift of the pastor from a personal friend in Forth Wayne. In harmony with the side alters, it is finished in white and gold. To the Catholic the altar is ever most intimately associated with priests and sacrifice, as is beautifully illustrated by the carvings on the panels of the altar table, the one to the left representing Abel offering a lamb as a sacrifice; the other to the right the High Priest Melchisedech, king of Salem, offering bread and wine which prefigured the true sacrifice of the New Law; represented by the carving in the center panel, Christ with His Apostles at the last supper changing bread and wine into His sacred Body and Blood. A beautiful red velvet carpet covering the floor of the sanctuary and heavy cork matting covering the floor of the auditorium are the gifts of Schaab & Brother Company to the congregation. All this with a splendid electric illumination from walls and ceiling give the church a most beautiful and pleasing interior.
The St. Michael’s church is located at Summit, in Smithfield township. The church was built in 1880 by Rev. Augustus Young, and was dedicated on August 28, 1881, by Rev. Bishop Dwenger. Rev. Young was relieved of the pastorate by Rev. Peter Franzes from June 20, 1882, till May 11, 1883. After this Father Young again attended the church. The pastorate was taken on July 4, 1884, by Rev. Maximilian Benzinger, who stayed until October 17, 1897. Two acres of land and one acre as a cemetery were donated by John M. Schaudel. In 1885 Benzinger built the pastoral residence at a cost of fourteen hundred dollars. The next pastor was Rev. Herman Jurascheck, until May 18, 1894. In 1895 the church was enlarged to its present size. Revs. Peter Schmitt and John N. Schmitz were other pastors. Since July 13, 1900, the church at Summit has been a mission, attended by the priests of Auburn, Father George Angermaier has charge of the church at present. Sixty families comprise the congregation, and the church is without debt.
The Catholic church in Garrett had its beginnings when Father A. Young was caring for his flock in Auburn. In May and June, 1876, he built the first church in Garrett, a frame building twenty-four by forty feet, at a cost of two thousand dollars. To this he added a sacristy which cost three hundred dollars. As soon as the church was enclosed he opened a select school in it with Josephine Bisset as teacher. This was the first school in Garrett and continued until the public school was opened. In 1886 he moved the sacristy back from the church, built a cross section on the rear end of the church, thirty by forty-eight feet, and also constructed a new belfry and steeple on the church, all of which cost thirty-five hundred dollars. At the same time he built a parsonage for himself costing two thousand dollars. On the tenth day of November, 1886, he moved from Auburn to Garrett.
In 1888 a beautiful and commodious parochial school building was erected, with four schoolrooms sufficient to accommodate two hundred pupils. This building cost six thousand dollars. Again in 1893 the church was remodeled at a cost of thirty-three hundred dollars. Calvary cemetery was purchased and laid out in 1897. The improvements and all cost three thousand dollars. The Sacred Heart Hospital was built in 1902, and is described in the history of Garrett. In 1906 Father Young built an addition to the brick parochial school building which he had constructed in 1888. As it is, there are eight schoolrooms, capable of accommodating four hundred pupils.
The Catholic church at present in Garrett is in a very prosperous condition, and has a very large membership. Father A. Young continues as the pastor.
The first Catholic church in the county was built at Waterloo in 1867, and was attended by Catholics from Auburn and other places. The priests in charge up to 1874 were Revs. R. J. Echlering, R. A. Dimig, R. J. Zimbilde and R. A. Young.