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From Jennings County Public Library Holdings, Author unknown.
Written in 1969 at the time of the 125th Anniversary of the Church.

Picture taken January 2013

    Zion Baptist Church was constituted on December 26, 1844. For some years prior to this time Elder W.T. Stott and other Baptist ministers had held meetings in the vicinity of Sullivan's mills, and their efforts were greatly blessed.
    Under the influence of this preaching many were baptized and became members of the Vernon Baptist Church. These along with several others in this neighborhood, decided that a chruch was needed in this community.
    In order to begin the Zion Baptist Church the following people received letters of dismission from the Vernon Baptist Church and became the charter members of this church: W.B. McGammon, Fannie McCammon, W.W. McCammon, R.D. McCammon, Nancy McCammon, Lavina Biggs, Nathan Fitzgerald, Nancy Fitzgerald, Henry House, Mary House, Noah Sullivan, Mary Sullivan, Elizabeth McCurry, Nathan Meek, Amanda Meek, Henry Sullivan, Elizabeth Spencer, John Smith, Lucinda Smith, Mary Thomas, Sarah Thomas, Amassa Spencer, Robert Spencer, Elon Spencer, Elizabeth Spencer, Mary Spencer, James Green, Mary Green, John Green, Nancy Green, Julia A. Meek, Francis Long, Jacob Green, Elizabeth Green, Allen Smith, Elizabeth Spencer, Mary Whiting, Elizabeth Green, John W. Cook, Sarah Cook, Lewis Long, Charles Gahn, Mahala Gahn, L.J. Hudson, Sarah Hudson, Esther Robbins, and Abigail Green.
    A council of delegates from neighboring churches met at the home of James Green on December 26, 1844, and recognized the foregoing members as the Zion Baptist Church. The exercises consisted of praise, prayer and appropriate sermon, a charge to the church and the extending of the hand of fellowship. A substatial frame building was erected on this site in 1845.
    We have been unable to find the first record book of this church which covers the period from 1844 to 1878. The first record we have are the recorded minutes of the church business meeting on March 23, 1878. The following is a copy of those minutes:

    "Zion Baptist Church, Saturday March the 23, 1878. After services by Elder J.L. Robbins, the Church selected the following officers for the ensuing year.
Trustees: Brs. J.M. James, Wm. Stewart, Albert Green.
Clerk: Delancy Marvin.
Stewarts: Brs. James Green, Abrim Gannon.
retained. Pastor and Moderator J.L. Robbins recalled for one year commencing the 3rd Saturday in May 1878.
Finance Committee: Brs. Nathanial Robbins, J.W. James, D. Marvin.
D. Marvin, Clerk
A.J. Robbins, Moderator"

    It was with much interest we read the church record book from 1878 to 1915. We thought it would be interesting to read portions of this book that we might get some insight into our early church. We found that through-out this this book there were finance problems and that things were really not so different in that they were having trouble all along in securing the services of a janitor too. We thought it very interesting and thrilling that throughout the history of Zion Church that many of the names were familiar and that many of their descendants are still faithful to that which their fathers and grandfathers worked so hard to maintain.
    This book also contains the Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum set forth at the organization of this church December 26, 1844. We read with much interest how closely they lived within these rules and the sometimes harsh punishments meted to those who did not.
    In June of 1879 Brother Gannon informed the church that some of the members had been violating the rules of the church. One sister being present came forward and made confession and was restored. Three brothers were then appointed as a committee to visit members of the church who had been violating the rules of the church and report at the next meeting. This was done and one brother being in attendance at the next meeting refused to make confession and the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from him. His wife was also excluded at her husband's request. Another sister was restored following her confession. Several other cases were postponed. About two or three months later the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from several others for violation of church rules.
    A series of meetings commencing the Wednesday evening before the second Saturday in October 1879 resulted in seven additions to the church and a revival of the Spirit of God in the hearts of the members. These meetings were what we now call revivals but were then called protracted meetings.
    At about this time one brother appeared to plead his case before the church. He stated that the work he did on the Sabbath was an act of charity and that he had not received any compensation for it. He also stated that he had no desire to violate the laws of God. He was restored to fellowship. The record shows at this time that the services were being held once a month.
    As the script of this period is so difficult to read there may have been more interesting items in the next year's records, but we could not decipher them. This seems to point out the necessity of having a good church clerk with legible handwriting.
    In August 1883 Brother Sullivan and others asked that the church receive the graveyard at Sullivan's ford as church property. This item of business was laid over until the next meeting. At a later meeting it was decided to drop this matter.
    In October 1883 a report of the trustees shows that a number of members thought it best to procure two stoves to heat the church instead of the one intended. The two stoves were purchased at a cost of $20.00.
    In July 1884 a letter was drafted to the Coffee Creek Association meeting at the Commiskey Church. Contained in this letter was a financial statement. The pastor's salary at this time was $120.00 per annum; Church expenses were $25.00; Sabbath School expenses were $2.00; State Missions was $4.00; and American Baptist Missions was $6.00. The fact that there were Sabbath School expenses leads us to believe that their Sabbath school was organized earlier than recorded in this book. Note, too, that since the services were held on Saturday's the school was called Sabbath school rather than Sunday school.
    On the fourth Saturday in March 1885 the church treasurer reported that he had furnished the church with basket, glass and wine for Communion at a cost of $2.50.
    In 1887 the pastor's salary was $200.00 per annum; in 1888 it was recorded to be $150.00, and in 1889 it was dropped further to $100.00.
    The following is a typical meeting recorded in this book:
    "On fourth Saturday in March 1886, Zion Baptist Church met at 2 p.m. Following Prase, Prayr, and Sermon the church proceeded to business by electing N. Robins as moderator.
1. Peace of the church was called for -- Peace abounds.
2. Reading of minite of last meeting and approval of same.
3. Finance Committee not all prepared to make report was referred to next meeting in course. (we only found one or two times in this book where the finance committee was prepared to report; it seems that most of the time there were no finances to report.)
4. By general consent the friends and members agreed to meet at church Monday morning to reset hitch posts and to do any other work that was thought necessary.
5. There being nothng further business church adjourned to meet the fourth Saturday in April at 2 p.m.
N. Robins, Moderator
Chas. E. Hall, Clerk"
    Following many months of financial difficulties, in February 1887, a motion was offered by C.E. Marsh to apportion the members according to the amount of their assessment for taxes. This was carried by a vote of 7 to 4. In March 1887, a Brother Smith objected to this plan and offered a motion, seconded by Brother James Gahn, to do away with this idea. Therefore this same idea voted into effect in February was voted out in March.
    November 1887, a committee was appointed to raise the money to pay for shingles to cover the wood house. At the next meeting the committee reported that they had raised 45cents for shingles.
    In mid 1889 it was decided to try to raise funds to rebuild the meetinghouse. At a special called meeting it was reported that they could not raise the required amount; and they then decided to refoof, paper, and paint the outside of the building if there were enough funds. In 1889 the church was papered at a cost of $10.35; Lamps were purchased (three of them) at a cost of $6.50; and the sisters were congratulated for furnishing the church with new window blinds at a cost of $4.50.
    August of 1896 found the church voting to use the proceeds of their ice cream supper to pay Rev. Ebaugh his back pay.
    March 1898 Zion Church received a letter from Alpha Church asking for aid in paying for their church. The letter was read, and a motion to take up a collection on the following Sabbath was made and carried.
    March 9, 1907, the major item of business seems to have been the transporting of the pastor from the railroad station at North Vernon to the church. It was finally decided that each family's name would be written on a card and these cards drawn to determine who would be responsible each Sunday.
    The matter of procuring a bell for the church was presented in May 1907. A committee was appointed to see about this matter. The need for a belfry was then discussed at a later meeting. A 40 inch bell was purchsed for $75.00 and a belfry was constructed at a cost of $148.00.
    June of 1908 found the church members planning to offer for sale at the next meeting the old window curtains belonging to the church. Sister Emma Euler offered the curtians belonging to the church. Sister for church supplies. Sister Euler reported 30 cents turned over to the treasurer from the sale of said curtains.
    November 19, 1908, a woodcutting was scheduled at Brother Gahn's woods.
    it is recorded that on March 6, 1909, Stewart Euler was hired as church janitor at a salary of $1.25 per month.
    On November 7, 1909, it was decided to purchase a new pitcher and water bucket for the church.

    With the business meeting of December 4, 1915, we come to the end of the first record book which we now have, and from which the preceding information was taken.
    The following is a list of some of the highlights in the course of this church's history and will serve to show some of the problems and accomplishments during these one-hundred and twenty-one years:

April 1885 A Sunday School was organized (although there is some indication that there had been a Sunday School before this recorded date).
April 1886 The men of the church reset the hitching posts.
April 1887 Services were changed from once a month to twice a month, and the pastor's salary was increased to $200.00 per annum.
January 1889 The church returned to services once a month.
June 1889 Pastor's salary was $100.00 per annum.
October 1907 A forty inch bell was purchased for the church at a cost of $75.00, and a belfry was added to the back of the building at a cost of $148.00
July 1910 The church building was reroofed at a cost of $84.00
August 1919 The Church ordered its first individual Communion set.
August 1923 Plans were made for the last associational meeting with the Coffee Creek Association.
March 1924 A motion was made not to call a pastor until the church finances were better.
August 1924 Zion Church had its first meeting with the Sand Creek Association
December 1924 Sister Wrapp made a donation of $50.00, which the church finances were better.
December 1930 A kitchen was added to the church.
April 1933 The seats in the sanctuary were rearranged to face in the opposite direction.
January 1948 The Church and Sunday School treasuries were combined.
October 1948 Plans for a new church building were adopted.
September 1949 The property of Mrs. Carter was purchased for a parsonage.
May 1952 The remodeling of the church building was begun and completed in the same year at a cost of $13,373.00.
May 1953 The newly remodeled building was dedicated.
August 1956 Zion Church and the Vernon Baptist Church agreed to share one year of the parish plan.
March 1960 An organ was purchased for the church.
July 1960 The church parsonage was sold.
July 1960 A parsonage was built as an additiion to the church building.
July 1961 The church building was covered with stone.
September 1964 New sidewalks were laid on the west side of the church building
September 1965 The men of the church painted the church basement.
May 1966 Rev. James Hughes accepted a call to a church at Elletsville and left the last Sunday in May 1966
May 1966 We extended a call to Rev. Don Garrison.
August 1966 The church was given a new piano by Mr. & Mrs. Howard Childs.
May 1968 We had the church auditorium painted.
September 1968 We extended a call to Rev. Hubert Jarvis and he has been our pastor since that time.
December 1968 Twenty two letters were granted to those who went to other churches.
December 1968 Two new deacons were elected, Tom Zech and Fred Stearns.
January 1969 New carpeting was installed in the church.
March 1969 Howard Green made a beautiful communion table for the chruch, sponsored by the Builders Calss, and was dedicated in honor of Bud Short.
June 1969 Air conditioning was installed in the parsonage.
August 1969 A group from the Pleasant Heights Baptist Church of Indianapolis entertained
October 1969 The Melody 10 from Muscatatuck State School entertained.
November 1969 Church celebrated 125th Anniversary.


During our church's long history, Many faithful servants of the Lord have been sent into our midst. The following is an attempt to list the church's pastors in chronological order. Some of our records aren't clear and mistakes may very well have been made in this list. If you know of any mistakes, please let us know that they might be corrected.

W.T. Stott John S. Rees
J.B. Swincher A.W. Mathis
Ormand Feagler J.S.Rees
J.M. Cox D.C. Hill
William Henry Lawrence Mellichamp
W.B. Lewis Roy Reece
John Stott B.A. Neal
A.J. Robbins Charles Black
G.W. Thompson James Wilder
J.N. Spillman Fred E. Neiger
Lott Randolph Bronnie Nichols
J.E. McCoy Haskell Quigley
W.T. Seburn Milton Pope
J.M. Swarthout James Byler
N. Johnson B.B. Fletcher
Jesse Ebaugh Burley Turner
J.H. Martin David Jester
J.M. Swarthout Howard Hovde
C. Holmes A.E. Lacy
J.C. Nicholson W.D. Stovall
C.B. Jones Dennis R. Plank
R.M. Priest James Gerren
J.C. Nicholson James T. Hughes
T.E. Schwab Donald Garrison
Hubert Jarvis

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