Churches of Lafayette, Indiana

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





St. John's Church, Protestant Episcopal

        Founded in 1836 by SAMUEL R. JOHNSON who came from New York State as a missionary.  At that time the only Episcopalians in the town were JASPER BRADLEY, ELIJAH BEEMIS, MRS. SARAH BEEMIS, MRS. JOHN D. SMITH and ROBERT JONES,  Sr. and wife.  The church was organized on the evening of March 27, 1837 in the counting room of THOMAS T. BENBRIDGE, with WILLAIM M. JENNERS as chairman.  Those signing the article organizing the "Parish of St. John's Church" were SAMUEL R. JOHNSON, WILLIAM M. JENNERS, ROBERT JONES,  N. H. STOCKWELL, Dr. E. DEMING, L.S. WESTGATE, SAURIN JENNERS, CYRUS BALL, THOMAS B. BROWN, SAMUEL B. JOHNSTON, JOHN D. SMITH, ISAAC V. HARTER and BENJAMIN HENKLE.  Thirty-one other names were signed in the course of a few days, making forty-five persons pledged to the beginning of the church.
        April 10 following, at the Presbyterian church, trustees were elected, as "vestrymen," viz: ROBERT JONES, Senior Warden; Dr. ELIZUR DEMING, Junior Warden; WILLIAM M. JENNERS, Clerk; JASPER BRADLEY, Treasurer; and J.D. SMITH.  The official distinctions were not made until three days afterward, at the house of ROBERT JONES.
        By the next year they had completed a frame church, 28 x 45 feet, fronting on what was then Missouri Street.  It is now used for  a Sunday school room and guild house.  The cost was $3,500.  The building was consecrated December 30, 1838, by Rt. REV. JACKSON KEMPER, D.D.  The pulpit was an old-fashioned "stack" structure, with a lower reading desk below, and the communion table below that, all painted glossy white.  The pews were square topped and had doors, which were afterward removed.  The church was lighted by candles.  Music was furnished by EZEKIAL TIMMONS, J.C. BANSEMER, DANIEL RHEIN, DAVID TURPIE, and MISSES MARY TURPIE, MARIA HATCHER and HANNAH WILSTACH, with flute, violin and bass-viol played by the first three mentioned.  DANIEL BROWN, a colored man and a zealous Christian, was the first sexton (janitor).  Pews, at first sold, were soon made free.
        "PARSON" JOHNSON, as he was generally called, was greatly beloved by all, as he was affable and benevolent.  he donated the lot upon which the church was built.  Refusing to receive a salary for some years, his parishioners presented him with a handsome $3,000 two-story residence on the church lot.  His benevolence was so great that he was sometimes imposed upon.
        The present church, a large brick edifice, about 40 x 30 feet, on the northeast corner of Sixth and Ferry streets, was built in 1857-58, and was dedicated the last Sunday in July of the latter year, by Bishop GEORGE UPFOLD.  This year, 1887, $3,500 were expended to repairs upon the structure.
        Parson JOHNSON closed his rectorship here June 20, 1847, and has since been succeeded by:
Revs. T.B. FAIRCHILD, June to October 1847; J.W. McCULLOUGH, 1847-49
A.M. LOUTREL; GEORGE UPHOLD, 1850-51; John C. BARTON, 1851-56
W. P. RAY 1856-57; ANTHONY TEN BROEK, 1857-59; L.W. RUSS, 1860-70
T. G. CARVER, 1870-74; W. H. ROBERTS, 1874-79; J. E. MARTIN, 1880-82
WILLIAM PETTIS, 1883-present (1888).
The present vestrymen are: WILLIAM GARLAND, Senior Warden and Treasurer; A.G. CARNAHAN, Junior Warden;  E. A. ELLSWORTH, Clerk; J. L. YUNDT, T. A. STUART, Dr. R. B. WETHERELL, G. N. FORESMAN, RALPH THOMPSON and G. T. MARKLE.
        Parson JOHNSON was the first to bring a piano to Lafayette, in 1837, and St. John's Church was the first to bring a pipe organ here, in 1859.  GEORGE ULRICH was the first organist.  In 1860 the old church was changed into a parsonage; and in 1884 the old parsonage was remodeled and turned into a Sunday school room and guild house, at a cost of $1,000.
        This church has always paid much attention to Sunday school, missionary and benevolent work, and to music.  The "Ladies' Guild" is one of the most efficient instrumentalities.  The St. John's Industrial School, or Children's Guild, was organized February 16, 1884, by MRS. PETTIS.  Her assistant teachers have been MISS ANNA JENNERS and MRS. J. C. HARVEY.  The latter is the authoress of a history of St. John's Parish, published in book form, from which we have compiled the foregoing abstract.

pp. 269-270


Grace Church, Protestant Episcopal

        At a meeting held on the 23d day of May, 1868, it was unanimously resolved by those present, that, "hereby consenting to adopt and be governed by the Constitution and Cannons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Indiana, we do also hereby organize ourselves under the Canon in such case made and provided, into a parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the city of Lafayette, and the Diocese of Indiana, and do adopt as the name by which we will be known, that of Grace Church, Lafayette."  The parish thus organized was composed chiefly of former members of St. John's Church of this city.  Seven of them were once vestrymen of that body.  At the meeting of May 23, seven vestrymen were elected.  The day following, a Sunday school was organized, and occupied a room in the building then known as the "Collegiate Institute."  For parish services, the vestry rented the old opera house, since destroyed by fire, and REV. THOMAS J. TAYLOR, then of St. Mary's, Delphi, officiated at the opening exercises for a short time, and was succeeded by REV. ISAAC HAGAR, of Crawfordsville.  REV. WILLIAM WILSON was called, and commenced his work the Sunday preceding Easter, in 1869.
        The corner stone of the new church  was laid on the 10th of June, 1870, by the Rt. REV. J. C. TALBOTT, the assistant bishop of the Diocese.  The building progressed rapidly thereafter, so that on Sunday next before Easter, in 1872, Grace Church was completed and ready for worship.  The building is of brick, and constructed after the gothic order of the middle period, with stone trimmings, slate roof and flying buttresses.  The facade consists of a large tower on the west and an octagon turret on the east corner, with a large porch and entrance, over which is a large window with heavy mullions.  The nave is built with open roof and exposed timbers resting on stone corbels, and ornamented with quarter foils.  the chancel is apsidal; on either side, are rooms used respectively for sacristy and organ.  The windows are of stained glass, and most of them memorial.  The dimensions of the church are about fifty-five by one hundred feet, and it has a seating capacity of about five hundred persons.  As a whole, it is one of the most beautiful church edifices in the city. MR. WILSON resigned at Easter, in 1872, and was succeeded by REV. L.B. STIMSON, who remained but six months.  REV. EDWIN R. BISHOP was called, and entered upon the discharge of his duties on the 15th day of April, 1873.

pp. 270-271


Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church

        REV. HACKALIAH VREDENBURG preached the first Methodist sermon in LaFayette, or at least was the first circuit rider to hold a meeting in the newly laid out village.  HENRY BUELL, ELI FARMER, STEPHEN R. BEGGS, JAMES ARMSTRONG and JOHN STRANGE all preached in LaFayette prior to 1831.  They were succeeded by SAMUEL C. COOPER, SAMUEL BRENTON, BOYD PHELPS, WESLEY WOODS, S. R. BALL, RICHARD HARGRAVE, NEHEMIAH GRIFFITH, etc.  The last two rode the LaFayette Circuit in 1832-'33, when JAMES L. THOMPSON was presiding elder.  Most of the above mentioned are well remembered by the old residents as remarkably zealous, eloquent and efficient preachers.  Other ministers following were: EDWIN RAY, WILLIAM M. CLARK and WILLIAM WATSON.
        In 1835 LaFayette Methodism had become strong enough to sustain the church here as a "station," engaging the whole time of the pastor.  Dr. H. S. TALBOT was the first "stationed" minister at this point, and he remained two years.  He was succeeded by LORENZO B. SMITH, JOHN A. BROUSE and HAWLEY B. BEERS, each of whom remained one year; then AMASA JOHNSON two years, 1840-'41; H. B. BEERS and JACOB M. STOLLARD, each one year; SAMUEL BRENTON, two years; JOHN H. HULL, one year; C. M. BOYD, two years; T. S. WEBB, one year; and about this time, 1847-'48, AARON WOOD was presiding elder.  W. F. WHEELER, as city missionary, formed the nucleus of a second charge, which was made entirely extinct in 1850, first known as the "Eastern Charge," but now as the "Ninth Street" Church.  The "Western Charge," now the Trinity Church, was supplied in succession with Revs. G. W. BESWICK, J. M. STALLARD, S. R. BALL, E. D. WHITTEN, GEORGE W. CRAWFORD, A. A. GEE, J. H. HULL, etc., while the Eastern Charge had WILLIAM GRAHAM, LUTHER TAYLOR, G. M. BOYD, W. F. WHEELER, JOHN LEACH, JAMES C. REED, N. L. BRAKEMAN, etc.
        From 1828 to 1830 the Methodists met in a building at the southeast corner of what are now Ferry and Fifth streets, then occupied by ELI HUNTINGER as a turner's shop.
        The first church was built in 1830, upon the south end of the lot occupied by the old State Bank Building, at the corner of Main and Sixth streets, the church fronting on Sixth.  It was a frame building, 30x40 feet, and cost $1,500.  In 1836 this lot was sold and the building moved to the lot at the corner of Ferry and Fifth streets, purchased for $400.  Here the society worshipped until the Fifth Street Church was completed, in 1845, at a cost of $8,000.  During the succeeding twenty-seven years, this congregation continued to worship in that house.  Subsequently, in 1868, the lot now occupied by the Trinity Church edifice was purchased by HENRY TAYLOR and JOHN W. HEATH, at a cost of $7,000, and presented to the church as a suitable place for a new house of worship.  The church erected thereon was dedicated March 23, 1873, by BISHOP BOWMAN.
        The first church, in 1830, was dedicated by Revs. JOHN STRANGE and JAMES ARMSTRONG.  The Fifth Street Church was dedicated in 1845, by REV. M. SIMPSON.  The cost of Trinity Church was more than $90,000.  Its size is probably 80x132 feet.
        The church was divided in 1850, when the Ninth street congregation was organized.  Since tht time the churches had been known as the Eastern and Western Charges, unil 1862, when the names were changed to Fifth and Ninth Streets.
        Trinity is the mother church of Methodism in the city.  In 1828 there were ten members, and after all the deaths and removals by letter and those who went out to organize the Ninth street congregation, as well as those who have gone to Congress street and Chauncey, she numbers about 500 members.  The Northwest Indiana Conference held annual sessions here in 1835, BISHOP ROBERTS presiding; in 1845, BISHOP HAMLIN presiding; in 1857, at Ninth Street Church, BISHOP WAUGH presiding; in 1869, at Ninth Street Church, BISHOP CLARK presiding, and in 1874, at Trinity Church, with BISHOP WILEY as president.
        Trinity Church is now in a prosperous condition.  Since October 1, 1887, REV. FROST CRAFT has been pastor.  Other pastors preceding him since the erection of the present church have been: REVS. C. BROOK, DR. I.W. JOICE, DR. GOBEN, STEPHENS, DR. BUCHTEL and DR. MARINE.  The present lay officers are: ROBERT SAMPLE, JOHN C. BROCKENBROUGH, DAVID PYKE, SAMUEL MEHARRY, C.G. MILLER, JOHN DOUGHERTY, G. H. HULL, JOHN F. SMITH, A. W. ABBOTT, E. V. STOY, M. H. TIMBERLAKE, A. L. CALDWELL, CURTIS E. WELLS, JOHN LARK Jr., SAMUEL LONERGAN, DR. HAMSHIRE, A. L. STONEY, and GEORGE B. CHAMBERLAIN.  The Sunday school, comprising over 400 pupils is superintended by REV. B. W. SMITH.

pp. 271-273


Ninth Street Methodist Episcopal Church

        An offshoot of Trinity, was organized in the spring of 1850.  Its house of worship is situated on the southeast corner of Ninth and Cincinnati streets.  The building is two stories high, the lower being occupied as a chapel, two class rooms and a library room.  The first steps were taken toward supplying this congregation with a place of worship about the time of their separation.  It was then that REV. J. L. SMITH, Presiding Elder of the district, by subscription, procured the money with which the lot was purchased upon which edifice and parsonage now stand.  MARK JONES, JOSHUA HEATH, RUDOLPH S. FORD, JOHN LITTLE, and SAMUEL A. HUFF were chosen as first trustees.
        A frame church was erected in the fall of the year 1850, which served the purpose of a convenient place of worship for the congregation until better opportunities presented themselves for the erection of a building suited to the wants of after years.  Immediately afterwards, arrangements began to be made for securing a fund to be subsequently appropriated towawrd the building of the present magnificent edifice.  During the pastorate of REV. G. M. BOYD, in 1853-'54, the new church was completed and dedicated.
        In 1851, the membership was reported by the pastor, REV. THOMAS S. WEBB, at 212 members and twenty probationers.  At the beginning of the year 1876, the membership was reported to be 250, and forty probationers.  Since that time other charges have been set off, so that the membership is now only 170.  The church is prosperous, however, and out of debt.  The present class leaders are MR. BENNETT, B. R. U. WILSTACH, and JOSEPH W. LINN.  The pastors have been:  REVS. WEBB, two years; DR. WILLIAM GRAHAM three years; LUTHER TAYLOR, two years; WILLIAM F. WHEELER, two years; J.C. REED, five years (different times); DR. SAMUEL GODFREY, four years; DR. ISAAC W. JOICE, three years; DR. W.J.M.Z. McMULLEN, two and a half years; and since September, 1887, THOMAS MEREDITH.
        The average attendance at Sunday school is about 150; JOHN H. SAILOR, superintendent.

pg. 273


Congress Street Methodist Episcopal Church

        The organization of a church in this part of the city, as is frequently the case, was the immediate outgrowth of the Sunday school work.  The first efficient workin in this field was CHARLES A. NAYLOR, Esq., who organized and conducted it in a school occupying nearly the site of the present Congress Street Church.  Under the fostering care of MR. NAYLOR, the Sunday school developed rapidly, and in 1859, within a year or two after the opening of the school, a Methodist class was formed, with twenty five members, with MR. NAYLOR as leader.  When the war of the Rebellion broke out, MR. NAYLOR responded to the call of his country and entered the ranks as a soldier, and died from the effects of over-active service.  Upon his death, the Sunday school was for a time abandoned.  However, in 1861 the school was renewed, as was also the class, under the leadership of MR. SHOCKEY.
        September 21, 1867, the church ws formally organized as the "East Lafayette Mission," with S. GODFREY as Presiding Elder; R.C. SHOCKEY, Class leader, and ADAM VENCILL, R.C. SHOCKEY, H.W. TANQUERY and JOHN MARION, Stewards.  The first board of trustees elected by the quarterly conference, held January 4, 1868, consisted of A. VENCILL, R.C. SHOCKEY, H.W. TANQUERY, J.M. LaRUE and J.K. SNYDER.  The first pastor was I.W. JOYCE, at the time pastor of the Ninth Street Church, and recognized as pastor of the "Mission."  Soon after, REV. JOSEPH A. POTTER had temporary charge  until the meeting of the Northwest Indiana Conference in September, 1868.
        During the summer of that year the congregation erected a neat brick edifice, sixty five feet in length and forty five feet wide.  From September, 1868, to February, 1869, while the church was without a pastor, the congregation carried forward the building enterprise.  February 24, 1869, REV. DR. BOWMAN and BISHOP AMES officiating.  It is located at the southeast corner of Congress and Twenty-first streets.
        Notwithstanding this church has had to encounter numerous difficulties, greatly interfering with its rapid growth and usefulness, it had moved steadily forward, accomplishing great good, meeting and overcoming with well-directed energy and zeal all interposing obstacles, having now a membership of 125.  The class leader is WILLIAM BALL.  Average attendance at Sunday scholl, about 135, superintended by JOHN W. WARNER.  The present minister is a young man named DUNN, a supply from De Pauw University.

pp. 273-274


The German Methodist Episcopal Church

        Comprises 125 members, who worship in a neat brick church on the southeast corner of Ninth and North streets.  The class leaders are GEORGE WEIGELE and G. WURSTER.  Since about the last of September, 1887, REV. WILKE has been pastor, succeeding REV. CHARLES BOZENHARD.  MR. WEIGELE is also superintendent of the Sunday school, of about 120 pupils, and GEORGE WEIGELE, Jr., is secretary of the same.

pg. 274


African Methodist Episcopal Church

        The date at which this branch of the Methodist church began work in not now definitely known--probably as early as 1849.  From the best information at hand, it appears that the organization was consummated by REV. ENOS McINTOSH, with a first membership of only six persons.  That is prospered is manifested in the fact of its ability, as early as 1858, to purchase, at a cost of $3,500, the frame church building of the German Lutheran congregation, since occupied by this congregation, and regular services maintained from that time forward.  The house of worship is located at 156 Ferry street.  The membership is forty two.  This church is attached to the Indiana Conference.  A good parsonage is cosily situated on the rear of the church lot.  Society is nearly out of debt.
        The class leader is DENNIS ECKLES; stewards, HORACE ROBERTS and ISAAC BURDINE.  The latter is also a local preacher and the Sunday school superintendent.
        FATHER BROWN was the first class leader, steward, etc., and the main pillar of the church for many years.  Other early members were GEORGE W. MOVEETY and wife, MRS. HARRIET HOFFMAN, MRS. BANNISTER, HENRY EDWARDS and wife, MRS. BURCH, etc.  MR. MOVEETY is a local preacher.  The principal revivals have been under the ministrations of REVS. MATTHEW PATTISON and JAMES FERGUSON.  The latter has been the pastor since August, 1886.   Preceding the latter, REVS. BURTON, RICHARD TITUS, ZACHARIAH ROBERTS, J.P. COATES and others were the preachers in charge.

pg. 274


[ Back to Church Index ]   [ Home ]

1999-2003 Adina Dyer
  All rights reserved