Martin County Churches

These facts come from the book History of Martin County by Harry Q. Holt, and are being used here with permission. 


The Immaculate Conception Church, Shoals; formerly called St. Louis Church. An article from the "Catholic Record", a Catholic newspaper contained the following article on Thru, Dec. 19, 1889: "Clement J. Horsey donated the land (for the church) June 1853 in hopes of selling surrounding lots to parishioners, employees of the O&M railroad being built at the time. (The author states Mr. Horsey was not Catholic.) Land was purchased for a graveyard next to the town cemetery, northeast of town.(Shoals) The church was built in 1869. The priest was the Rev. L. Gueguen, then at Lagootee.

Part of the building funds($95.00) was raised thru excursions on the river.

Ads were placed in 2 Washington newspapers."

Submited by Kate Robertson

Sampson Hill Church of the Brethren had its beginning in 1852 with the purchase of 81 acres of land in Halbert Township by Anna and Leonard Stevens. Henry and Susan (Quackenbush) Tranter were among the first local persons to be baptized. In 1879, the Stevens sold their farm to Lovinee Solomon, from Kansas. Lewis Kensey was pastor in 1880. Land was donated by Jerome Hensler. Labor was provided by Hensler, Elias, Joseph and William Harner, Benjamin S. Johnson, and Ollie and William Tranter.

St. John's Catholic Church had it beginnings in a small room above John N. Breen's store at Loogootee in 1857.

In 1845, Pleasant Bowman, Henry Holt and John Williams were deeded 1/2 acre of land by Christian and Catherine Keck. They started the Burns City Christian Church.

William Houghton was baptized on July 3, 1861 at the Loogootee Christian Church. He became a Major in the Civil War and was discharged in 1864. Samuel Bough built the church for $435.00.

Among the first members of the Shoals Christian Church were Otto Huffman, Alexander Beck and John Pugh. In 1868, the first pastor was Willix Bex. In 1870, A. Beck, Richard Doyle, and Barak Gaddis were selected as trustees.

The Trinity Springs Christian Church was begun in 1848. John Hanson, Laban Palmer and Jonas Wildman were trustees. Others who were active in this church were: Charles Akles, Bartemus Baker, Alethy Davis, James and Milton Hyslop, Everette Shipman, William and Margaret Sinclair and Lettie Yarnell. The second board of trustees consisted of: Samuels Kerns, Albert Porter and James H. Thomas.

The Trinity Springs Church of Christ was organized in 1851. A controversy arose in 1910 about the use of musical instruments. Several elders and deacons believed that their use was improper in worship services. These men were Levi Denson, Melvin Dillman, Joseph Hislip, Edward Dillman and Jesse O. Dollens. Land was donated by George Wildman, Sr. in 1911 upon which the new building was constructed. Edward Dillman was married to Mary Elizabeth Sheeks. Their children were: Omer, who died accidently in Glacier National Park, Alma, who married Charles Lambrecht; Metta , who married Clarence Vincent; Steele, who married Annie Vaughn, Cecil, who married Alma Harrignton; and Dorothy, who married Paul Boyd. Some of the ministers who served this early church were: Ben F. Taylor, E.L. Jorgenson, Logan Hatfield, Shannon Baker, and A.J. McLaughlin. Later pastors were Steven Boyd, Charles Davis, Raymond Harris, Wayne Smith, and Edward Williams.

The Evangelical United Brethren Church was active in the county with several congregations around the area. A local congregation was established at Fairview in 1841, Inman Chapel in 1856, South Martin in 1879, Friendship in 1889, Powell Valley in 1900 and Natchez in 1930. The Evangelical United Brethren Church was an American-born church, organized in Lancaster County Pennsylvania in 1800 from German Reformed and Mennonite representatives. Reverend Thomas Butler and Reverend William Way were influential in establishing this church in Martin County. Reverend Robert P. Hawkins was another highly influential minister in the county.

When Christian and Catherine Keck donated land in 1845, the Methodist church was begun. Alonzo and Peter Ragel gave the site upon which Depauw Chapel was erected in 1864. In 1889, this church moved to Burns City. Dr. John L. Campbell and Robert Wood were early leaders of the Methodists at Mount Pleasant in Loogootee. Leonidas W. Downs donated the funds for a new parsonage in 1875. The Methodist Church at Shoals was led by Dale Courtright, John M. Dickey, and Charles and Thomas Gerkin. White River Chapel was constructed on the Lloyd Rutherford farm. Joseph A. Waggoner helped with the construction. The Truelove Church was formed on Feb 16, 1884 when trustees of the Methdist Episcopal Church, Allen Cannon, William W. Davis, and Robert Gilkison, paid one dollar to George and Margaret J. Truelove.



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