History is the life we lived in the days that are gone. What we do to-day becomes history tomorrow. The striving of the human race, its progression, its retrogression, its victories, its defeats, its hopes, its ideals, its great life-struggle is its history. To know history is to sit at the feet of the great teachers, to walk beside those whose souls were throbbing with goodness and greatness to touch hearts with those who lived, labored, and loved in the past for the uplift of the race.
Whether it be the struggle of the race, the achievements of some great nation, or the soul-throbbing of a small company of men, the same glory attends their efforts, and the same benediction follows the passing of their lives.
Chap. 1. The Weathers Church.
In the early "forties" when the land was little more than a wilderness a little log house of worship was erected a short distance south east of what is now the town of Bretzville. This house was built on the farm of a man named Elijah Weathers, and it was known as the Weathers Christian Church. At this time, there is no living person, in the knowledge ot the writer, who worshipped in this house. The membership consisted of only a few families, and this little church was the only place of worship in a vast wilderness. The members suffered much from the privations of pioneer life; the harvests were meager, the wild beasts of the wilderness were dangerous, and the compensation for their toil was smal, but they were men and women of unbounded faith. Theirs were simple lives. Virtually all their needs were supplied by their own hands. They sowed the flax and wove their linen cloth. Thev sheared the sheep and wove it into the "home-spun" of that earlv day.
It is said that this church house, then called "meeting house" had no floor but the earth. Brother Jacob Shively preached for this little flock of disciples, and in all probability a young man named Benjamin Talbert Goodman, later known as "Bird" Goodman, preached his first sermon in this church. These men together with the Weathers family and Mrs. Eliza Bretz were a few of the membership.
Chap. 2. The Indian Creek Church.
In about the year 1850 or l 852, the congregation built a small church house of round logs on Indian Creek, a small tributary of Hunley's Creek, about one and one half or two miles west of the former building. This became known as the Indian Creek Christian Church and was a prominent meeting place in that early day. It was two miles east of the present citv of Huntingburg on the farm which now belongs to Mr. Max. Englert. New families had joined the congregation, and in this flock we find the names of Tom Curry and wife, Greenup Cato and wife, George Goodman and wife, James C. Boyles and wife, Jacob Shiveley and family John Stevenson and wife, G. W. Garland and wife, Haffison and Margaret Wade, G. T. Goodman and wife and a few others.
These disciples were pioneers in the truest sense of the word. They were sturdy, faithful, reliable, fearless in the face of danger and courageous amid the privations of pioneer life. They went to church on foot, on horse-back, or in ox-carts. It is said that Aunt Betsy Wade who lived on Straight River four miles north east of the village of Huntingburg, would take the front running-gears of her road wagon, tie a chair to the axle, hitch up her yoke of oxen and drive to church a distance of at least six miles. During the services the oxen would lie in the shade to rest or crop the long grass that grew in the church lot.
The Indian Creek church was built on the farm of Thomas Curry one of the members of the congregation. The door was in the west end, and the pulpit at the east end. There was but one window in the building and this was merely a hole in the wall about two ft. square just back of the pulpit. There was neither glass nor glazed paper in this window, but a wooden shutter was used to partially close this opening whenever necessary. Not a single nail was used in the construction of this building. The door and window shutter were hung on wooden hinges. The roof was made of rude clap-boards held in place by means of weight poles (ridge poles). The seats were made of logs split into halves; a few of the splinters were removed from the flat side to make them as soft and comfortable as possible and pegs were driven into the round side to serve as legs. The floor was of puncheons, which were merely slabs split about three inches thick. There was no fire place in this building and stoves were unknown. In fact, the openings between the logs were filled wiith chunks but never daubed with mud, and consequently, the building was not used in cold weather. The church was situated on the banks of Indian Creek, and when the children became thirsty the mothers took them to the creek and taught them to drink from their own hands. This was long before the day of germs and drinking-cups.
However humble it mav have been, this was their church where they worshipped our Lord. Here the wilderness rang with their old time psalms and hymns; here the fervent prayers of contrite hearts rose as a sweet incense to the throne, here they spread the Lord's table in memory, of Him who gave his life on Calvary; here were declared the words of eternal life, and here, in the quiet pools of the little stream they buried the obedient and penitent sinners with their Lord in Christian baptism.
Among those who ministered to this little congregation were Jacob Shively, Greenup Cato, Washington Garland, and Uncle Bird Goodman. In the long trail that leads to eternity these heroes of Indian Creek have all passed years ago. Only a few of the children who there played at their mother's knee remain to tell the story of their love, their sacrifice and their devotion and these children are now gray and weary with the infirmities of age.
Chap. 3 The Church in the Village
This brick building is described as having been very poorly built. It was never plastered and it is said that manv of the shingles in the roof were laid with the thin end to the weather. It was unsafe and not suitable for church purposes.
In addition to this misfortune there arose some question as to the legality of the deeds to the property. The property was finally disposed of thru the courts and the congregation moved its place of worship to the Fisher School house about two and one half miles south east of Huntingburg.
Among the names found in this congregation are Mary Blemker, Dr. Hughs and wife, Byrum Shively and wife. Wm. Shively and wife, Silas Cato and wife, Dr. Isaac Beeler and wife, Wm. Campbell and familv and others. The first clerk of this congregation was Wm. Shively, the deacons were Harrison Wade and J. H. Hughes. Jacob Shively was the flrst regular minister. Other preachers were Andrew Baird, Wm. Lang, and Abson Conner. Dr. Hughes was the first physician to locate in Huntingburg. Dr. Beeler was another prominent physician Wm. Campbell was a veterinarian, and Wm. Lang is described as having "the voice of a lion".
Chap. 4 Return to the Citv.
About the close of the Civil War the congregation returned to the city, having erected a frame building on the south side of Sixth street about two hundred feet west of Washinuton street. This was a good building about twenty feet wide and forty ft. long. Among the contributions to the erection of this building was a horse contributed by Mary Blemker. She was one of the pillars of the church and during the critical period of the Civil War and after, the Christian Church of Huntingburg owed its life to this saintly woman. Too much cannot be said in her praise.
In addition to the former ministers of the congregation we have the name of James Jones. Henry Kavs, Abner and Elijah Conner, James Blake and others.
Chap. 5 The Central Church
On Saturdav night Oct.16 1909 a number of disciples met for the purpose of establishing a Christian Church, more centrally located, where they could worship their Master in peace and unity. Bro. Edward Bolin was chosen chairman of the meeting, and Bro. Burnes Head, Secretary. The result of this meeting was the organization of the Ceniral Christian Church. This congregation chose for their elders Ed. Bolin and C. W. Parks. The first deacons were Curran Young and J. F. Phillips. Bumes Head was elected clerk and Chas. Adams Treasurer.
The congregation at once rented the U. B. church building which stood at the corner of Third and Main Streets. The first meeting held in this building was on Wed. evening, Oct.20 at which time the organization was completed and all arrangements made for worship on the following Lord's Day. The first song sung by this congregation was the old hymn "Pass Me not Gentle Savior", and the sentiment of this song has been the prayer of the congregation ever since.
There were thirty-three charter members, and this number has now grown to more than one hundred and fifty. The first regular minister of the congregation was Bro. James Bobbit.
On Aug.14 1910 the trustees were instructed to buy a lot upon which was to be erected a house of worship. On Sun., Apr.30, 1911, the present building was dedicated by evangelist A. W. Crabb who followed with a meeting during which eighty-four names were added to the list of membership.
The other ministers who have served this congregation are Bro. W. L. Richards in the year 1912, Bro. Paul Trout in 1913 and the present pastor who began his labor with this congregation Mar. 1, 1914.
And so we press on to the mark, the prize, the high calling as it is in Christ Jesus, ever looking unto Jesus the perfector of our faith. It is the prayer of the writer of these notes that the Christian Church of Huntingburg, for there is but one church, altho divided into two congregations, may come into its own larger field of service. We are one in hope and doctrine, and rnav the Lord bring us to that day when there will be but one flock, His church, and one Shepherd, our Lord Jesus the Christ.
At the time of the building of the main line of what is now the Southern Railroad, the congregation moved to its present site on north Washington Street. This move was mad necessary bv the fact that a right-of-way was deeded to the railroad which ran thru the church lot. The present building was built by Jacob Blemker, Sr., and given to the congregation in exchange for the property on the railroad right-of-way. The old frame building was later used by the railroad as a station for several years.
Only half the present lot on north Washington Street was deeded to the congregation. It was suggested by Mr. Blemker that the north half of the lot be used as a picnic ground for all
churches. This suggestion was not satisfactory to the congregation, and four men Issac Cato,
Sr.,Wm Cato, Harrison Wade, and Jacob Cato bought the lot and deeded it to the congregation.
Uncle Bird Goodman was the minister at the time the church was built and it was
dedicated by a Bro. Bell of Kentuckey. Bro Goodman died not many months after the
The above article was written by
Rev. Christopher W. Parks, who was the pastor of this church for 53 years.