Churches of Lafayette, Indiana

Histories of churches in Lafayette, Indiana taken from the
Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, 1888.





First Baptist Church

        In September 1835, (or 1832, according to Cox's "Old Settlers"), the First Baptist Church in Lafayette was organized by Rev. LOYAL FAIRMAN, ministers of that denomination occasionally preaching here anterior to that date.  At the time of organization, the members of the Grand Prairie Church composed the recognizing
council.  The first church, at the date of its organization, consisted of nine members.  The society, during nearly
two years subsequent to its organization, was without a pastor, in the meantime, however, holding meetings with
considerable regularity.
        Elder SIMON G. MINOR was the first pastor who labored regularly with this society.  He came from New  York in the winter of 1837, and commenced work, laboring successfully in the upbuilding of his Master's cause.  At the time of his coming, the membership had decreased somewhat, the number having been reduced from nine to five--three women and two men.  Upon his coming, and before he had been regularly employed, with a view to cultivate a general good feeling and promote a disposition calculated to induce a higher degree of sociability as a  necessary precursor of successful church work, he spent his time for a month or more in visiting among his people  and occasionally preaching to them.  His employment with this society commenced in February, 1838, preaching
three Sundays in each month in Lafayette, and spending the fourth in Crawfordsville.
        At first, the meetings of this society were held in the meeting house of the First Presbyterians, who, being at that time without a pastor, were ministered unto by Elder MINER.  When the Presbyterians secured a pastor, the  Baptists had services in the court house, sometimes in the school house, and again in the dining hall of the old hotel; finally, they occupied regularly the White school house, using this last building about three years.  During the first year of MR. MINER'S ministry, five members were added by letter of experience and one by baptism.  The  succeeding year was more prosperous, the church being refreshed with the spirit of revival, and nineteen others were added to the membership of the church.  In July, 1841, MR. MINER resigned his charge, leaving the
congregation without a pastor.  The aggregate of his salary during those three years was less than $1,000.
        The next pastor was Elder DAVID FRENCH, who remained but a short time, notwithstanding which, during his stay, twenty five additional members were received by baptism.  A great revival season commenced with this charge, upon the advent of Elder WILLIAM M. PRATT, in the winter of 1842-'3, the result of which was sixty persons added to the former membership.  As a further result of the labors of Elder PRATT, a lot was purchased on Sixth street, and a comfortable house of worship erected thereon at a cost of about $4,000.  This house was dedicated on the 9th of June, 1844, and the dedicatory sermon was preached by Elder LEVI TUCKER, of Buffalo, New York.
        In 1845, Elder MINER was again called, and accepting, entered upon his work in July of that year.  He remained with the church the succeeding two years, when failing health compelled him to resign.  His successor was Elder E. D. OWENS, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who became pastor in the spring of 1849.  No other pastor was induced to accept this charge until May, 1850, when Elder AMES TUCKER accepted the pastorate, with a membership of about 100, which was increased to 243 through the revival agency of Elder JACOB KNAPP,   during MR. TUCKER'S pastorate.  In February, 1854, MR. TUCKER resigned, and was succeeded the June     following by the employment of Elder T.L. BRECKENRIDGE, of LaSalle, Illinois, who commenced his labors in November of that year.  During his pastorate the church prospered greatly, paying off a debt of $2,500, incurred in the enlargement of their church.  He closed his relations with the church in March, 1860.
        In May, 1861, Elder WILLIAM HAW became pastor, and continuing but a short time, was succeeded, after a hiatus of nearly two years, by Rev. DR. BAILEY, of Franklin, Indiana.  His labors were crowned with eminent success, notwithstanding he entered upon that relation at an apparently importune moment.  However,    during his administration of affairs, positive measures were taken toward the erection of the magnificent edifice at the corner of North and Seventh streets.  He resigned his charge in November, 1866, and was followed by Elder JOHN GIRDWOOD, whose pastorate was concluded by death, in May following.
        Elder O.B. STONE became his successor within a brief period, and labored earnestly and successfully for the spread of the gospel.  In October, 1870, his pastorate ended, meantime, having accomplished a noble work in his Master's calling.  After a short recess, MR. STONE was succeeded by Elder S.W. PEARSON, from Montreal, Canada, during whose term of service the new church edifice was completed.  October 6, 1872, this new building was dedicated.  The aggregate cost of this building was $90,000.
The dedication of this new church added greatly to the vitality and energy of the congregation, which, with one accord, took hold of the work of perpetuating its mission of usefulness, and their reward followed them.
        The present membership is 417.  The deacons are--ROBERT BRECKENRIDGE, ALBERT HENDERSON, WILLIAM J. ROSEBERRY, T.J. LEVERING, and RALPH D. MOORE.  Rev. A. BLACKBURN, from Oak Park, near Chicago, close a nine year's pastorate October 1, 1887, since which date no pastor has been secured.  MR. BLACKBURN is now in charge of a church at Lowell, Massachusetts.  W. G. BRIMSON is Sunday school superintendent.  L.W. BROWN is clerk of the church.  Current expenses, about $2,500 a year.  Value of church property, about $100,000.

pp. 274-276


Second Baptist Church (Colored)

        This congregation was organized February 2, 1872.  Meetings were held in the basement of the First Baptist Church until 1878, when they moved into their present church on the northeast corner of Hartford and Sixteenth streets.  Hon. JOHN LEVERING, a member of the First Baptist Church, donated the lot and 20,000 brick for the church.  Cost of the building, about $1,000; total valuation of church property, $2,500.  The first pastor was REV. WILLIAM NEILL, and the first officers JACKSON ANTHONY and JORDAN SCOTT.  Number of members at time of organization, ten; there are now sixty.  MR. SCOTT is still the deacon, and other officers are JOHN McFIELDS, GEORGE SHAW, ROLAND JONES, CHARLES AUSTIN, JOHN CHEEKS and GEORGE WHEELER.  WILLIAM H. LEVERING is the superintendent of the Sunday school, which comprises thirty-five scholars.
        Rev. JOHN MILLER, now at Crawfordsville, this State, was pastor 1875-'84, since which time Rev. BENJAMIN SMITH, from Richmond, Indiana, has been the minister in charge, preaching twice a month.  The church and Sunday school are growing.

pg. 276


The First (and Second) Presbyterian Church

        Was organized May 26, 1828, about sixty years ago, with the following membership: JAMES COCHRAN, RACHEL COCHRAN, JOHN McCORMICK, ELIZABETH McCORMICK, ELIZABETH TRIMBLE, ELIZABETH MILLER and MARGARET CARSON, seven in all.  The first pastor was Rev. JAMES CRAWFORD, the pioneer minister of that church on the Upper Wabash.  In August of that year, the first communion service  was held by MR. CRAWFORD, who at that time assumed the pastoral charge of that meager congregation.  He was assisted in this first communion by Rev. JAMES THOMPSON, then located at Crawfordsville.  A year following, July 6, 1829, the organization was consummated by the ordination and installation of HENRY MILLER, Sr., and JAMES COCHRAN as Ruling Elder, when the session was fully constituted.  Thirty-nine persons were received into the church during this session, making the membership forty-seven.  On the 30th of May preceding, a sacramental meeting was held, conducted by Rev. JAMES A. CARNAHAN, assisted by Rev. MR. CRAWFORD and JAMES THOMPSON.
        On the 7th of August following, seventeen members were dismissed to form the Oxford Church, west of Lafayette.  JOHN McCORMICK and SAMUEL ELLIOTT were chosen ruling elders in April, 1831, and WILLIAM M. LEMON was added on the 8th of May following, when all three were duly ordained and installed.  At that time the entire membership was reported as fifty-six.  Rev. JAMES A. CARNAHAN served the church as pastor from May, 1831, the three succeeding  years, and was then followed by Rev. MICHAEL HUMMER.  At an early period in his pastorate, a church was formed in Dayton, and forty-nine members resident in that vicinity were dismissed for that purpose, and MR. CARNAHAN was chosen pastor.  He continued to occupy that relation, except at short intervals, for a period of about forty years, when, the infirmities of age coming upon him, he retired from ministerial labor.
        Some two years after the formation of the church at Dayton, ten other members were dismissed and a church organized at the village of Monticello, in White County.  In January, 1836, PETER S. JENNINGS and WILLIAM K. COCHRAN were chosen and ordained as Elders.  Following MR. HUMMER, Rev. JAMES THOMPSON occupied the pastoral relation with this church, and remained such until October 1, 1838.  He was succeeded by Rev. E.W. WRIGHT, subsequently of Delhi (Delphi?), Indiana, whose engagement was only temporary, Rev. JOSEPH G. WILSON being chosen in his stead on the 1st of November, 1839.  Soon after this date the "Exscinding Acts" were passed by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, resulting in the division of the congregation into what has generally been known as the Old and the New Schools.  With the latter of these MR.WILSON sympathized; but the adherents of the Old School refusing to commune or affiliate with them, early in the year 1840 the Second Church was formed, and MR. WILSON was retained as pastor.  To the First Church, after the division, Rev. E.W. WRIGHT was again called, and commenced his labors as pastor in May, 1840, continuing in that relation until October, 1845.  At the time he began to labor with this church, there were but twenty-seven of the former members left, the others having united with the Second Church.  At the close of his term of service the number had been increased to sixty-eight.
        From the close of MR. WRIGHT's  term until 1849, the pastorate was in charge of Rev. S.H. HAZARD two years, and Rev. P.R. VANNATTA about one year.  These were succeeded, in 1850, by Rev. I.N. CANDEE, during whose ministry the membership was increased to 110.  On the 31st of May, 1855, he retired.  On the 1st of September, following, Rev. W.W. COLMERY took charge, but remained only until July, 1857, when he resigned his charge.  After this, the pulpit was vacant nearly one year, during which time the congregation were engaged in the erection of a new church edifice, the same since used as a lecture room in the present building.  This new building was dedicated on the first Sunday in March, 1858, and cost, in round numbers, about $4,200.
        Upon the dedication of the new church, Rev. R.H. ALLEN became pastor, and continued as such until August, 1860, when he was succeeded by Rev. W.G. HILLMAN, then by C.P. JENNINGS--these two occupying the pastorate until the 1st of April, 1867, when Rev. E. BARR became the pastor.  He remained during the succeeding five years.  In the meantime, the present church building was erected on the corner of Columbia and Sixth streets.
        Since the completion of this new edifice, the church has maintained very nearly the same position in the number and activity of its membership.  It has, however, in the course of its history, sent out as we have seen, four colonies or branch churches, tow of which have outgrown the mother church.  The present  membership is about 160, and its property is worth, perhaps, more than $40,000, without the encumbrance of indebtedness that usually surrounds church property.  The ruling elders are THOMAS G. RAINEY, MATTHEW SIMPSON, R.P. DAVIDSON, ALEXANDER A. RICE and JAMES THOMPSON.  The Sunday school with an average attendance of about 120, is superintended by AMOS B. MOORE.
        Rev. EDWARD BARR, who has been pastor of this church 1867-'72 and 1884, to the present time, was born in Ohio in 1827, and was about nine years of age when his parents moved with him to Indianapolis.  Attended Hanover college, taught school, began preaching when about thirty years of age, near Wooster, Ohio, ordained in November, 1857, and since 1869 he has been preaching in Indiana.  His first charge was at Bedford, this State, in 1861.  He has been called back to that church once, and also has served two terms at Frankfort and Elkhart, besides having been called the second time to Lafayette.  In 1872-'74 he was a Madison, Indiana.  In 1869, the year of the reunion of the two branches of the Presbyterian church, he was a delegate to the General Assembly; was delegate again in 1878; has been Moderator of the Synod of Indiana.
        MR. BARR has "come honestly by his preaching talents:" Evangelical work "runs in the family."  His father, Rev. THOMAS BARR, was a Presbyterian minister, preaching at Euclid, Ohio, 1810-'20, at Wooster, same State, for a time, and in Rushville, Indiana, where he died in  1835.  Two brothers were Presbyterian ministers.  Both the sons of Rev. EDWARD BARR are also ministers - Rev. G.W. BARR, now in Rawlins, Wyoming Territory, and THOMAS E., who was installed in October, 1887, at Beloit, Wisconsin.  His eldest daughter married a Presbyterian minister and is living in Pennsylvania; his second daughter married MR. MANN, a Presbyterian elder at Elkhart, Indiana.  The other three daughters are in Lafayette.
        The subject of this sketch married, in 1851, MISS MILLIA WEBB, a native of Indiana and a daughter of BENJAMIN WEBB, in the southern part of the State.
        MR. BARR moved to his present residence at the northeast corner of Tenth and Columbia streets in the spring of 1886.  The church has no parsonage.
        The church has now a membership of 315.  The Ruling Elders are SAMUEL FAVORITE, C.G. THOMPSON, SAMUEL MOORE, President JAMES H. SMART, BROWN BROCKENBROUGH and Prof. L.S. THOMPSON.  The last mentioned is also the superintendent of the Sunday school, which has an average attendance of about 250.
        Hope Chapel, on Third Street, below Romig, is the place of a mission Sunday school of about  150 pupils, under the auspices of the Second Presbyterian Church and superintendency of LEWIS FALLEY.  This mission was established January 1, 1866.  The building, including lot, cost $4,000.
        Rev. WILLIAM PATTERSON KANE, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, was born in Carroll County, Ohio, April 13, 1847, a son of JOHN and JANE G. (McMASTER) KANE, the former a native of North Ireland, and the latter of Carroll County, Ohio.  He was but five months old when his father died; his mother still resides in his native county.  Growing up, he attended Westminster College in Pennsylvania two years, and Monmouth (Illinois) College two years more, where he graduated in 1871; studied theology at Xenia, Ohio, and at Newburg, New York, graduating at the latter place in 1873.  His first pastoral charge was at Argyle, New York, where he had a congregation of 500 members, 1873-'84, since which time he has been the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Lafayette.  In the spring of 1887, MR. KANE received the degree of D.D. from Wabash (Indiana) College.  October 12, 1881, he was married to MISS JEANNETTE THOMPSON, who was born at Cambridge, New York.  She is a daughter of JAMES THOMPSON, a banker of that place.  MR. and MRS. KANE have two children--LOUISE and ARTHUR.

pp. 276-279


The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

        Was organized in 1842, and REVs. SAMUEL FINLAY, JAMES H. PEACOCK, DAVID A. CARNAHAN, MR. HOYT and J. N. PRESSLEY were the ministers up to 1858.  Their chapel was on Ferry Street, between Missouri and Pearl streets.  The church has long since been merged into other organizations.

pg. 279


First Church of Christ

        Under the preaching of REV. JOHN O'KANE, an interest was created which resulted in the organization of the First Church in the month of July, 1839.  At that time, the services were held in the old court house, and the membership, at organization, number twenty-six.  Among these were THOMAS S. REYNOLDS, EDWARD REYNOLDS, Sr., and wife, CHARLES MARSTELLER and wife, MR. SCHOONOVER and wife, SAMUEL BLACK and wife, PETER LESLIE and wife, and MR. MANAFEE and wife.  This small congregation continued to worship in the court house during the two or three years following.  Afterward, their meetings were held in the Wallace school house on North Street, between Fourth and Fifth.  Subsequently, they occupied Heald's school house, then in Stockton school house, near where the depot of the Wabash Railway stands.  This they continued to use until 1845, when a church was erected on Sixth Street, between North and Brown.  In 1850 this building was destroyed by fire, and was rebuilt immediately.  Here the congregation continued to worship, notwithstanding their numerous reverses, with alternating success, until November, 1874.
        In the month of June, of that year, by the generous assistance of friends and the liberal sacrifices of some of its members, they were enabled to purchase the Methodist church property, at the northwest corner of Fifth and Ferry streets.  For this property they paid the sum of $7,500.  Afterward, about $3,000 was expended in improvements.  As it is, the property is, perhaps, as comfortable, neat and convenient as any in the city.  Among those to whom the congregation is especially indebted for liberal contributions, it is proper to mention the names of A. J. MORLEY and NICHOLAS MARSTELLER; the former contributing $1,000 and the latter $2,000.  MR. MORLEY, however, died, and the sureties on his note paid the sum, with interest, amounting to $1,305.  Other friends not members--ADAMS EARL, JOHN PURDUE, JOHN ROSSER and others were quite liberal in their gifts.  But the most generous and munificent donor of them all was WILLIAM F. REYNOLDS, whose contributions in sum amounted to more than $3,500.  This new church was formally opened for worship on the first Lord's day in November, 1874, and a more prosperous era in its history was inaugurated.
        From the date of its organization up to 1844, no settled pastor had been employed.  At that time ELDER JOHN LONGLEY assumed the charge of the congregation, and continued, with greater or less regularity, in his ministrations until about the year 1858-'59.  Prior to the date when ELDER LONGLEY took control, the congregation was favored at different times with ministerial visitations from MR. O'KANE, DR. R.T. BROWN, THOMAS LOCKHART, LONE JAMIESON, P.T. RUSSELL, H. St. JOHN VAN DAYKE and MILTON B. HOPKINS.
        After the retirement of MR. LONGLEY, the pastors have been the following: JOSEPH FRANKLIN,
H.Z. LEONARD, J.Z. TAYLOR, W.R. JEWELL, S.M. JEFFERSON, ELLIS KRAFT and OSCAR E. PALMER, the present incumbent.
        The church is alive and prospering, having no standing debt against it.
        REV. MR. PALMER, the pastor, was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in 1862, and is therefore the youngest minister in the city.  Commencing to preach at the age of nineteen, he had charge of a church at Holliday's Cove, West Virginia, over three years, and at the same time became a student at Bethany College; next he was pastor of the church at Monravia, Indiana, fourteen months, and since March, 1886, he has sustained his present relation in Lafayette.

pp. 279-280


First Universalist Church

        The doctrines peculiar to this branch of the Christian Church, though frequently advocated, were not publicly proclaimed in Lafayette, or, indeed, in Tippecanoe County, until about the close of the year 1838 or the beginning of 1839.  At the time, REV. ERASMUS MANFORD, the founder of the celebrated Manford's Magazine, began to deliver his messages to large congregations anxious to "hear what this new doctrine, whereof upon thou speakest, is."  A short time anterior to that date, MR. MANFORD commenced his ministry in Southern and Western Indiana, and about 1840, began to preach regularly in Lafayette and the surrounding country, with great success.  At the same time, he published a denominational paper called the Christian Teacher, which had a extensive circulation.  His style of preaching was attractive, and his presence was in such constant demand that it was with difficulty, sometime, that he filled his appointments.  But he was active, energetic and determined, rarely or never disappointing a congregation or failing to meet his engagements.  Notwithstanding the difficulties incident to travel in those days, neither rain nor mud, frost nor snow, prevented his accomplishment of the journey; though often failing to reach the appointed place until a late hour in the evening, he delivered his message, nevertheless.  To him, perhaps, more than any other man in the West, are the believers in his doctrine indebted for the promulgation of them.  For forty years MR. MANFORD was in the field, a zealous and efficient worker.  He died August 16, 1884.  With him, though coming later, were D. VINES, B.F. FOSTER, a MR. CLARK, MR. STEINMETZ, ALPHEUS BULL and others, who occasionally publicly proclaimed "the glad tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people."  A church, however, was not regularly organized until about the year 1850.
At first meetings were held in the courthouse, afterward in the hall over the present WILSON & HANNA Bank, and the carpenter's shop of TIMOTHY OSGOOD, on the lot since occupied by the Dell House, but more frequently at private residences.  On the 26th day of November, 1850, the first regular organization was formed under the name of "The First Universalist Society of Lafayette."  TIMOTHY OSGOOD, MARTIN RHOADS and THOMAS HINE were the first Trustees, and ABRAHAM FRY, Secretary and Treasurer. On the 31st day of December, 1850, at a meeting then held, steps began to be taken toward the erection of a church building, and a committee was appointed t secure a lot.  These meetings were held at the White District schoolhouse.  A society constitution and by-laws were submitted and adopted January 16, 1851, when JONATHAN FOX, SAMUEL A. DAVIS and MARTIN RHOADS were elected Trustees, and ABRAHAM FRY, Secretary and Treasurer.  Lot 41, in Taylor, Harter, Hanna & Stockwell's Addition, was purchased for $500, on the 24th of January of the same year.
        REV. PHINEAS HATHAWAY, the first minister, was employed on the 11th of May.  In the spring of 1852, the frame church at the corner of Main and Ninth streets, now occupied by the German Reformed church, was built and occupied.  March 16, 1853, the church organization was perfected, and ABRAHAM FRY, ROBERT HINE and SILAS SHAFFER were elected Trustees; A.J. DeFREES, Secretary, and ABRAHAM FRY, Treasurer.
        REV. P. HATHAWAY resigned his charge on the 13th of February, 1854, and REV. JAMES BILLINGS was employed in his stead.  On the 18th of October, 1855, the church previously erected was dedicated, REV. GEORGE W. QUIMBY, of Cincinnati, preaching the dedicatory sermon.  MR. BILLINGS resigned on the 20th day of January, 1856, and the church was without a pastor until April 3, 1858, when ISAAC M. WESTFALL was employed, and the church was again opened for preaching.  MR. WESTFALL tendered his resignation on the 6th day of January, 1861.  After that period no regular services were  held for several years.  Finally, on the 14th of July, 1868, REV. ALBERT W. BRUCE was unanimously chosen pastor, and commenced work.  On the following 6th of September, the new brick church at 85 North Ninth Street was formally dedicated.  Its cost was $12,000.  MR. BRUCE died on the 19th of August, 1871, and his place was subsequently filled by the choice of REV. T. S. GUTHRIE, of Eaton, Ohio.  At the close of his second year, MR. GUTHRIE was succeeded by REV. J.  S. FALL, who commenced work May 24, 1874.  MR. FALL was succeeded by REV. ELMER JACOBS, who became pastor on the 30th of January, 1876.
        For some time past preaching has not been very regularly sustained; but at present REV. ALBERT WILGUS, a young minister recently ordained, preaches for the society Sunday evenings, and superintends the Sunday school.  There are seventy-two members of the church.  The society is free from debt, and is enjoying a good deal of religious prosperity.

pp. 280-281


The United Brethren Church

Was organized in the fall of 1852, under the ministrations of REV. DAVID BROWN.  A brick church was erected on North Eight Street, under the management of REV. BROWN and Messrs. J. M. HERSHEY, J. FETTERHOFF, R. BAKER and JACOB SMITH.  In the fall of 1863 theh house was destroyed by fire, and the lot sold ot pay off liabilities.  Through the liberality of IRA SMITH, a lot was secured and a brick church erected, at a cost of $3,500, under the management of REV. E.M. CUMMINS and Messrs. JACOB SMITH, A.C. SALE, and H. MORSE, and was dedicated in 1864 by Bishop Markwood.  Other ministers following were REVs. G. WANSBROUGH, P.S. COOK, J.F. PARTMESS, R.S. CLEVENGER, D.M.B. PATTEN,
F. FISHER, E. JOHNSON, etc.  The present pastor is REV. J. H. SIMONS, residing at 134 North Twelfth Street.

pg. 281


The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church

Was organized July 17, 1870, with twenty-nine members, by Rev. P. Erickson, of Chicago, belonging to the Synod of Augustana.  The house of worship, a neat brick edifice located on the southwest corner of Grove and Sixteenth streets, on Oakland Hill, was erected in 1871, at a cost of $3,500.  At first the meetings were conducted by students from Augustana College.  The presentn pastor is REV. JOHN PETER EAGLE, whose residence is about three-fourths of a mile southeast of the church.

pp. 281-282


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