THE CHURCHES OF GENEVA TOWNSHIP
By John E. Amick
(Son of George Foust Amick & Margaret Cortner)
October 1, 1925 - North Vernon Sun
GENEVA BAPTIST CHURCH
Located at Queensville, was organized on the 11th day of December 1824. The following names appear on the records of the first regular
meeting for business: Chancy Butler, Mabel Butler, Polly Butler, William Tyler, Eunice Powers, Joseph Gividen, John Whitten and Lucy Whitten. The meetings were
held in the school building until the year 1830. A committee was appointed that procured the ground and a log church was built. This building was used until the
year 1839 when the brick building was built. This building however was left with old seats and unplastered walls until 1851 when a sewing circle composed mostly
of Presbyterian women-one Baptist lady I believe-circulated a paper securing sufficient funds to finish the church building.
Elder John L. Jones was the first in the Flat Rock Association, next in the Coffee Creek Association, then in the Madison Association.
Remaining in this Association (Sand Creek) as long as the organization existed.
The delegates or messengers as then called in 1844 were John Blankenship, Aaron Green, John Henry and Jacob Kellar. The records show at
that time there were fifty-three members of the church in good standing. The church was regularly represented at the annual association until 1884. After that
date the organization passed out of existence.
BEAR CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
Bear Creek Baptist Church situated in the north eastern pat of this township was organized the 27th day of July 1828. The names John Herring.
Dorcas Herring, John Bush, Nancy Bush, Francis Bush, Robert Bush, John Bush Jr., Sarah Bush, and Cader Herring appear as organizers of the church. For a time the
meetings were held in the different cabins located in that neighborhood. The year following the organization a building 18 X 20 was built of round logs. Greased
paper in the small windows, puncheon floor, flat rails for seats without any backs of any kind. In 1831 or '32 a hewed log house was built 24 feet square. Although
the building was never finished the members used this building for four years. The present brick church was built in 1835. The membership at this time was widely
scattered, some being as far as twelve or fifteen miles away. The modes of transportation were such that it was hard for many to attend very often. The early pastors
were Reverends Wood, Orin Whitcomb, Ira Gleason, Albert Carter, Jesse Vawter, Wm. T. Stott, Wm. Vawter and Caleb Moncrief.
At one time the membership was almost one hundred and fifty. This church has been the main place of worship in that part of the county and
neighborhood for many, many years. At present the organization is strong building in good repair and the attendance good. The names of Herrings, Beesleys, Irwins, Cristy,
Schoonover, Carnes, Carson are very dear to that church.
BROWN'S CHAPEL M. E. CHURCH
This church was organized in 1872 at the old school house, known as the Swengel School House on the Joseph Gruber farm in Jackson county,
Redding township. About the year 1872 the place of worship was changed to the Brown's Corner school house in this Geneva township, Jennings county.
Two efforts were made to build a church building but failed. Mrs. C. L. Dennis started the third movement and was successful. Mr. and Mrs.
Dennis had purchased a farm near this location and there was no religious services in that locality, full credit should be given Mrs. Dennis for her energy and seal in
the work she did for this building. The las meeting held by the Rev. George Church was in 1904 which terminated in the erection of the new building. The building
committee was John Emly, C. L. Dennis, Solomon Ackeret (residing in Jackson township), Ormal G. Baughman being secretary and treasurer. The corner stone was laid in
May and the building dedicated in October of the same year. The church was to be a union Methodist. Rev. Stambush of Vernon is now serving this church.
SCIPIO CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Scipio Catholic church (Saint Patricks) began as a mission church in the 'thirties'. In 1840 the organization was perfected and the members
decided to build a church building. The first services were held in the new building in 1842. The building was erected by a Mr. Ferran (link to a page on an early Ferran family in Jennings County)
of the Queensville neighborhood. The Catholic church was one of the peoneer churches in this locality and in the country.
The present building was remodeled by the congregation in 1916 at the cost of near a thousand dollars. The building today is in splendid condition.
The membership is small but what they lack in numbers they make up in zeal, earnestness and devotion to the church of their fathers and mothers.
The church has been served by several very prominent priests of the church of which we might mention Reverends F. O'Connor, Molony, Missi, Tinus, Delaney,
Garrity, Hunger, Eiseman. The present pastor is the Rev. Dixon, a splendid orator and a very faithful priest.
WILSON CHAPEL CHURCH
Around what is known in former days as "Peas Ridge" school house is a wide section of country that previous to 1886 had no church organization of
religious character. In a measure this community was deprived of church and Sunday School privileges, much to the dissatisfaction of many in that locality. Feeling the need of religious
meetings and religious privileges and instruction, in the spring of 1885 a Sabbath school was organized superintended by Pennington Newsom and Isaac Lindley of the Friends church.
On the 19th of September, this Sabbath School closed its term for the year with a Sabbath school celebration and picnic. At the celebration Rev. D. L. Vandament of Bainbridge,
Indiana was present on his way to an appointment at Alert, Ind. Rev. Vandament was unaware of the celebration until brought there by his friends on the way to Alert. Some of the
speakers being absent the chairman requested Rev. Vandament to speak at the celebration. Complying with the request the members of the Sunday School in particular were so impressed
with Rev. Vandament's address that he was requested to make an appointment to preach in the Pea Ridge school house, which he did. From this beginning the Wilson Chapel church was
organized. Rev. Vandament was later assisted by his father, Rev. B.W.S. Vandament, in revival services in February and March 1886. On the morning of March 4th, 1886, those interested
having signified their desire to form a Christian Union church proceeded to organize and elected the following officers: Wm. T. Rowe, president; L.E. McGary, secretary, Lafayette
Caster, treasurer. Rev. D. L. Vandament was unanimously chosen.
On February 16, 1888, having completed the new brick building, the first services were held therein. Rev. Vandament was succceeded as pastor by Rev. W. H. Baker.
Services were continued in like manner untill 1911 when Christian Union services were discontinued. Rev. Connelly of North Vernon is now serving this church.
QUEENSVILLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The Queensville Christian Church was organized in October 1836 when the village was called Lynnville. The church building at that time was on the State
Highway. After worshiping thre about thirty years the location was removed where the church now stands. This building was dedicated in December, 1867, by the Rev. George Campbell.
During the years following many prominent divines ministered to the church. Among them were Reverends A. D. Filmore, Elijah Goodwin, John Brazelton, George Campbell and M.A. Todd.
The church membership at present is 73. The Sunday School has an average attendance of 70, and is one of three schools out of several hundred in the regional
districe of five states that have reached 100 per cent efficiency.
ROCK CREEK M.E. CHURCH
Rock Creek M.E. church was organized by Rev. George Conner. For two years meetings were held in the old frame school house in the Rock Creek neighborhood. In
the church building was erected. The trustees elected were Samuel Ferrenburg, William Wilds, J.R. Crippen, Harvey Bradford and Samuel Campbell. The building at present is in good
repair. The pastor is Rev. Glick.
OAK GROVE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Oak Grove Presbyterian church was organized early in the year 1869 by Rev. C.K. Thompson of Elizabethtown, Ind. The revival services held preceeding the
organization were held in the old frame school house near the present church building. School was dismissed for two weeks during the revival. The name "Oak Grove" was taken from the
grove of mammoth oak trees, some of which are still standing near the church building.
There was about seventy members on the church roster at the organization. Several transferring their membership from Scipio Presbyterian church to the
Oak Grove church.
Mr. Benjamin F. Sutton donated seven acres of land for the buildings and also for a cemetery situated on the hill east of the church building. Mr. Sutton not
only donated the land but owning a saw mill contributed largely in lumber and sawing for the new church building. also boarding the men employed in the erection of the building. Mr.
Sutton died in 1870 and was among the first buried in the new cemetery. The building was completed and the dedication was in 1871. The exercises at the dedication were largely
attended and Dr. Heckman, president of Hanover college, preached the didicatory sermon.
The building at present (1825)
in good repair. Rev. Rule of the North Vernon and Vernon churches is conducting services at this
church at present.
SCIPIO METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Methodist church of Scipio was organized at the assembly room of the school building February 1st, 1914, by Rev. W.S. Whitsit of Franklin, Ind., with
sixteen charter members as follows: William Cain and wife, Omar Clark and wife, Mrs. Mamie Clapp, Mrs Maude Tomlinson, Mrs. Vina Bennett, Mrs. Mary Kean, Mrs. Elizabeth Miller, Mrs.
Elizabeth Lane, Misses Murl Fenley, Alice Cain, Cinderella Davis, Mattie Hulse, Claude Clark and Darwin Lane.
A few weeks later the district superintendent, Rev. Steele of Seymour, Rev. Reynolds, Rev. Lowether and Rev. Nelson assisted the pastor in revival services.
About thirty members were added to the church roll. The following trustees were appointed: Joseph Patton, George A. Bennett, Wm. Cain, Joseph Tomlinson and W. E. Carson. In the spring
of 1914 the solicitation of funds began. The building began in 1915 and completed in 1916. During this time services were held in the assembly room of the school building.
The new church was dedicated July 9th, 1916, Rev. Whitsett was succeeded by Rev. Dehart who served six years. Following him came Revs. Geo. E. Schwartz, Chas.
Galbraith Glick the present pastor.
Due credit should be given the Ladies Aid Society of this church which has been and is a great support of the church and was greatly instrumental in paying the
indebtedness of the church which indebtedness was paid October 1921.
SCIPIO PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Known in an early day and until recently changed by an act of Presbytery, Bethel Presbyterian church, now Scipio, was organized on the fourth day of August 1832.
William Clapp, Tobias May, Nicholas Amick, Polly Clapp, Catherine May, Sally Amick, Solomon May, Sally Amick, Barbara Nelson, Lucretia May and Mrs. Tobias May were the eleven charter
members present at the organization. Reverend John U. Parsons a missionary preached and officiated at the organization. Nicholas Amick, Tobias May and William Clapp were the first
elders. William Clapp was the first clerk of the session and Nicholas Amick was the first representative at Presbytery held at Madison, Ind. in October 1832.
A building was erected in 1832-33 near the present site in 1852. This building was remodeled in 1915. Destroyed by fire in November 1920. During the time of
rebuilding which was delayed owing to war prices the congregation worshipped in Clapp's hall. The present church building was built during 1922-23. The dedication was September 30, 1923.
Dedicatory sermon being preached by Rev. F.W. Buckmeyer of Indianapolis.
Pastors serving this church besides Rev. Parson were Reverends Lattimore, Charles Lee, James Mitchell, R.F. Taylor, R.F. Patterson, C.K. Thompson, James Gilchrist,
B.F. Wood, S.J. Bronson, McKinney, J.P. Walker, A. Dunn, J.A. Pollock, J.M. Oldfather, T.N. Todd, W.D. Cole and Rev. W.L. Robb, the present pastor.
On Sunday, January 14th, 1900 a roll call meeting was held. The membership at that time was 184. At this meeting 105 answered to the roll call by a verse of
scripture or "present". The membership today is less than one hundred but the organization is complete and the interest good.
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