Parke County Church and
Extracted from the Indiana History Bulletin, Volume IV, Extra Number 4,
August, 1927 titled :
Archeological and Historical Survey Of Parke County
By George Branson
Published by the Historical Bureau of the Indiana Library and Historical Department
In 1880 J. S. Rogers,
clerk of the Rockville
wrote a brief sketch of its early history, and in 1916 Howard Maxwell brought
it up to that date. The following sketch is drawn mainly from these sources. In
1822 Charles Beaty, a young missionary from the Board of Domestic Missions,
visited Parke County, and gathered together the few
Presbyterian families living along Little Raccoon Creek between the mouth of
that stream and the present site of Waveland. Prominent in the gathering were
James Buchanan and Thomas Gilkerson. After preaching for some weeks Mr. Beaty
organized a society known as the Shiloh Presbyterian Church, which in 1824
built a hewed log house near Little Raccoon Creek, about four miles northeast
of Rockville. Evidently this was the first church house in Parke County,
but its exact location cannot be identified. The elders of this church were
Amos P. Balch, William McMillin, Jonathan Garrison, James Buchanan, and Henry
Anderson. Several visiting ministers conducted services here prior to 1828,
when Reverend Samuel H. McNutt became state supply and so continued until 1832.
Present elders include H. B. Butler, John W. Adams, and Frank Fisher .
First Presbyterian Church of Rockville
When the county seat
was established at Rockville in 1824, some more
Presbyterians moved to the growing town, and these, with a large part of the Shiloh congregation, organized the Rockville Presbyterian
Church on August 11, 1832. The pastor, Reverend S. H. McNutt, conducted
meetings in a schoolhouse and in the courthouse. Early in 1833 they built their
first house on the northwest corner of Virginia and York streets. In 1846
Reverend McNutt resigned, and was succeeded by Reverend William Y. Allen, who
continued as pastor until 1862, when by his own request the presbytery
dissolved his pastoral relation. Reverend McNutt served as supply one year and
was succeeded by Reverend Beaubien, who served from June 1863 to 1864. The
pulpit was vacant during 1865, except the few times that it was occupied by
Reverend S. G. Hair. Reverend John Mitchell was pastor in 1866, and was
followed by Reverend Dr. Jewett, a congregational minister of Terre Haute, who supplied the church until
the reunion in 1869. In 1868 D. H. Maxwell, T. N. Rice, and W. L. McMillin were
ordained ruling elders. These, with J. C. Gilkerson and Levi Sidwell, were the
last elders of the Old School Presbyterian Church at the time of the reunion.
New School Church of Rockville
On April 22, 1839
forty-one members of the First
Church withdrew, and
organized the Second or New School Presbyterian Church of Rockville. Reverend
S. G. Lowrey served as pastor for eight years, and one hundred twenty-three
members were added to the church. John Ott, T. H. Howard, John Humphries, and
Samuel Cummings were ruling elders. A frame house was built just west of the
present edifice, which was dedicated on November 22,1840, by Reverend John S.
Thomson. Other pastors prior to the reunion were the Reverends W. M. Cheever,
John Hawks, I. G. Coffin, and John M. Bishop.
In 1869 by agreement of the trustees and with the approval
of the presbytery the two churches were united as the Rockville Presbyterian
Church. In 1870 a brick structure was erected on lot 57 of the original plat of
the city. The two church bells were recast into one and hung' in the new
church. By the will of Daniel A. J ones, of Chicago, the church received a gift of ten
thousand dollars, with which the present church was built in 1891. Mrs. Jones
was Mary G. Harris, a sister of Persius E. Harris. She died in 1855, and to
perpetuate her memory the church was named Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Some of the pastors in recent years have been the Reverends
J. H. Sherard, J. P. Roth, J. C. Christie, H. L. Nave, W. B. Chancellor and W.
T. Smith, the present minister. The present elders are Rufus Dooley, A. K.
Stark, W. H. Craig, A. A. Hargrave, W. S. Ferguson, and Ernest Weatherford.
By act of the Associate Synod of North America in May, 1828,
James P. Miller and two other ministers were appointed missionaries to Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri to constitute a
presbytery and organize congregations. The early settlers in the east part of Greene Township
and along Big Raccoon Creek for some distance below Mansfield constituted the Raccoon
congregation, which presented a petition for the election of elders. Reverend
J. P. Miller was appointed to hold such an election which was held January 31,
1829; Alexander Ramsey and Samuel Steele were elected and ordained September
20, 1830. Alexander Kirkpatrick and Nathaniel Steele were later added to this
bench of elders, and from August 20, 1832 to May 29, 1840, Alexander Moore,
John Tedford, S. R. Hamilton, Stephen McCorkle, J. R. Spencer, Samuel Ramsey,
John Harbison, and Alexander Spencer also served. Thomas Burnside and John
Nicholson were chosen later.
On April 16, 1831 Mr. and Mrs. Walter Francis conveyed by
deed to the Upper Raccoon congregation of the Associate Synod of North America
one acre and eighty poles for a consideration of two dollars. A church was
built and a cemetery laid out on this lot, which is in the northeast corner of
the southwest quarter of section 36, Greene
Township. The second
church built here is still standing and was generally known as the Seceder Church. It did not secede from the
church in America, but was
practically the same as the New
School branch of the
Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
On June 6, 1898 the Portland Mills Cemetery Association was
organized and bought five acres of land adjoining the church for a cemetery. In
1912 the trustees of the Associate or Seceder Church
deeded to the Portland Mills Cemetery Association the church property,
reserving the right to worship there. It is used now only for funerals.
On October 21, 1865 Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Inge deeded to Isaac
Burnside, John Nicholson, and John Porter, trustees of the Portland congregation of the Associate
Presbyterian Church of North America, one acre and thirteen rods for a
consideration of one hundred eight dollars and twelve cents. On this lot, which
is a half-mile northwest from the former one, they built a new house which they
called the United Presbyterian Church. The Reverends Hugh L. Brownlee,
Nathaniel Ingels, and James Dixon were pastors, the latter of whom served for
twenty-five years. Services are no longer conducted at this church, and the
schoolhouse built on the adjoining lot has also been abandoned.
Bethany Presbyterian Church was organized on September 1,
1832, by John Thompson, a missionary, who was sent out to organize
congregations in the middle west. In 1834 a log house was built, and in 1849 a
frame house was erected about a mile and a half east of Marshall. The membership included the
McMurtrys, McCampbells, Russells, Weatherfords, and Adamses. In 1910 the house
was moved to Marshall,
and in 1924 it was remodeled. Reverend John McGuinness, of Waveland, is the
present pastor, and services are conducted regularly. The ruling elders are
John McCampbell, Rudy Peyton, David B. Eastburn, and Walter D. McMurtry. A. R.
McMurtry was an elder for many years.
There is a cemetery on the Adams farm one mile and a half
east of Marshall ; Bethany
Cemetery is one mile east of Marshall.
The Judson Church was organized by order of the
Crawfordsville Presbytery on April 14, 1875 in the Union church house that was
built by the Methodists and Presbyterians. The Reverends Torrence, Dickerson,
and Hawks took part in the organizing ceremonies. Alexander Buchanan and his
sons, Joseph C. and William Y., were members. The membership in 1880 reached
thirty, and their pastor was Reverend W. Y. Allen.
The title to the property was held by the Methodist Society,
which was dissolved in 1910, and the Presbyterians continued using the house.
Recently friendly negotiations were made for the purpose of transferring the
property to the Presbyterian Society. The present ruling elders are A. U.
Strong, Edward Hesslar, and C. V Mimsett.
The church house at Guion was built in 1891, and dedicated
in April of the following year by Reverend T. D. Fyffe. Reverend W. B.
Chancellor was a former pastor; Reverend N. W. Clark, of Montezuma, the present
minister, conducts regular services once a month. The ruling elders are the
same as those of the Judson Church.
Cemetery is a short
distance east of Guion.
On May 3, 1846 a Presbyterian Society was organized at Howard
with twenty members. In 1847 they built their first house and named it Mount Hermon. This house burned down and the second one
was built in 1877. Reverend James Ashmore was their first pastor. In 1880 there
were sixty members, with Reverend T. A. Williams as pastor. Reverend C. F.
Kennaston is the present minister and the elders are Charles S. Ephlin, D. D.
Ray, and Mark L. Grimes.
Cemetery is a half-mile
east of Howard.
The New Bethel Church
is located two miles and a half southwest of Rockville on the Rockville-Coxville Road. It was organized
in 1859 with twelve members. For a while, until it was able to build a house,
the society held its meetings in a schoolhouse. The Reverend John Hawks, of Rockville, was the first
pastor. John and James Cox, Daniel and Lewis Fisher, John and Theodore
Marshall, and their families were among the first members of this congregation.
The membership, which never exceeded sixty, was dissolved some time ago. The
Sunday school is not as well attended as at first, but is still conducted
Reverend John Hawks, of Rockville, organized a Presbyterian Society
at Montezuma, and under his leadership a house was built in 1853. He was
succeeded by Reverend Thomas Griffith, and Reverend William Wilmer. Reverend N.
W. Clark is the present minister, and the ruling elders are James Spencer, John
Macheldt, and Salem P. Hancock.
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The Rockville Christian Society was organized in September,
1838, with sixteen members who built a house the next year on lot 73 of the
original plat of the town. Reverend Michael Combs was the first pastor, and
Persius Harris was one of the first elders. Later James H. Baker, Joshua Long,
and James Lambert were elders; the early membership included William Knowels,
Thomas Boardman, Thomas Batten, James and William Long, Ashford Hann, and David
Mull. In 1862 there were eighty members. At the close of the Civil War the
church was completely disorganized, and no regular services were held for a
period of ten years.
On February 2,1874 a Christian society was formed at the
Boyd schoolhouse, a mile and a half east of Rockville. This house and society were known
as White Hall. By the persistent efforts of Thomas Boardman and others, this
society transferred its place of worship to the Christian Chapel in Rockville. This increased
the membership to sixty-four. The old chapel was removed, and the present house
was built in 1895 at a cost of $3,500. It was remodeled in 1923 at a cost of
$5,000, and now has an entire basement for Sunday school work. The pastors
since 1900 were the Reverends 0. E. Tomes, W. T. Barbree, M. E. Horn, and C. C.
Griggs, now serving his sixth year. He holds church services on alternate
Sundays, while the Sunday school meets every week. The present membership of
the church numbers about two hundred ten.
The Church of Christ was organized in 1905, and in that summer
built a house in West Mecca. The prominence of
John Wilhite, a local minister who built the house, accounts for its being
called Wilhite's Church. Some of the early members and regular attendants were
Dr. and Mrs. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. William Haworth, Mrs. Henry Jones, Mrs. Elmo
Vestal, Mrs. Julia Bradfield, Mrs. Mason, and Kate Andrews. Reverend Brat tan was the pastor for some
time, and the Reverends John Wilhite and T. J. Freed preached here
occasionally. By 1915 services were practically discontinued, and the society
was finally dissolved.
This is now a Christian church, for the society has
reorganized and has been quite active during the last two or three years.
Reverend C. C. Griggs, of Rockville,
preaches there on alternate Sunday afternoons; their Sabbath school has an
enrollment of almost one hundred.
Cemetery is half a mile
east of the town.
The New Discovery Christian Church' was organized on January
10, 1849, with fifty-seven members. In 1850, only a few rods northeast of the New Discovery
a brick building was constructed. Two rural churches in such close proximity,
however, could scarcely hope to be successful. The Christian Church became
weaker and finally suspended its services, although the building was used as a
schoolhouse for a while. In 1867 it was torn down, and the material that could
be used in the construction of a new building was removed to Bellmore where the
society built a frame house, Here Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Goss, Mr. and Mrs. John M,
Turner, Mr. and Mrs. John Clark, Mrs. Sarah E. Paxton, Mrs. Norval Hamilton,
John W. Stark, George Webb, and John Goss were some of the early members. In
1880 there were twenty-five members, and about that date there was started a
union Sunday school. The Reverends A. D. Darley, Axeline, and Hezekiah Williams
conducted services, An organ was placed in the house, but a good deal of
opposition arose against its use in church services. Prior to 1900 all
activities of the church ceased, the house fell into decay, and the ground was
again used for farming.
A father and two children, members of the Drake family, are
buried in the southwest corner of the John Goss farm in section 18, Union Township.
churches have been organized in Greene Township, the first of which was
established at Portland Mills in 1839, Most of the labor and materials used in
its construction were donated, Reverend James H. Jack and John Burgess were the
principal leaders of this organization, and J. M. Harris was the first pastor,
In 1850 a larger house, which is still standing', was built, Regular services
are conducted by Reverend Brat ten, the pastor .
The Lutheran Cemetery is one mile west of this church, near the
site of the First
It is now entirely abandoned and neglected.
The second congregation was organized in 1840, and built a
little log church in section 5. Ambrose Lambert was one of the leaders, Shortly
after the second house, a frame structure was built, the society discontinued
its use, and it was converted into a barn.
The third Christian Society, through the efforts of Reverend
James H. Jack, built its present house in the southeast corner of the northeast
quarter of section 20, which is at the west side of Parkville. The Reverends W.
H. Wilson and A, H. Morris have served as ministers here; W. H. Ashley is the
present pastor. Reverend Jack, who was a local minister, residing about two
miles southeast of Parkville, labored
diligently for the success of each of these churches.
A Christian church was organized in Bloomingdale in 1890,
and a suitable house was built in due time. John Hart, Samuel Bannon, George
Morris, C. L. Logan, and Mrs. Mary J. Newlin were members. The first pastor was
Ira J. Chase, governor of Indiana
from 1891 to 1893; other pastors were Elvin Daniels, W. W. Griffith, and S. M.
Hawthorn. Reverend C. C. Griggs is at present serving his sixth year in this
church, which has a membership of approximately one hundred twenty-five.
The Rosedale Church
was organized in 1873 with Henry Harshbarger, Wilson Moss, and Hezekiah
Williams as the first trustees. The first pastors were Ezekiel Wright, William
Holt, and Reuben Webster. The membership which was quite large at first
included the Doty, Laney, Salmon, and Cleghorn families. Reverend Williams
preached here at different intervals; Reverend Chester Fidlar is the present
A small congregation
of members of the Christian denomination at Marshall held meetings for some time in a temporary
building, called the tabernacle. Under the able guidance and influence of
Reverend L. E. Murray, the society built a neat and comfortable house which was
dedicated on October 17, 1897. Dr. C. A. Caplinger was a leading member in the
congregation, which also included Mrs. Caplinger, the Horn family, Serilda
Michaels, and Mr. and Mrs. George Davis. In the pastor ship of Reverend Murray,
the church prospered for two years and a half, until the doctor divorced his
esteemed wife. The society and the community could never condone this act, and
the prosperity of the church ceased. A few years later the society was
dissolved, and the house was sold.
Reverend W. H.
Williams of the Christian Church first conducted religious services in Jackson Township at the home of Samuel
Wolverton. In 1878 or 1879 Mr. and Mrs. Wolverton donated a lot, and built a
house on their farm for church purposes. Reverend Williams, the first pastor,
continued his services until 1887, when he was succeeded by Ezekiel Wright.
Several years later the society was discontinued. The largest membership was
twenty-five. Samuel, Caleb, and Isaac Wolverton and their families were all
members of this church. The house was named Union,
but three religious denominations used it. It is still standing and is used
only for funerals.
A Christian society
was organized and a house built at Lena in
1872. Reverend G. C. Price, of Catlin, was the first pastor, and Reverend W. H.
Williams, the second, who served from 1878 to 1883. Reverend W. H. Brown
succeeded him, and in 1892 Mr. Williams returned to Lena
to resume his church work there. During. this time the church membership
reached one hundred fifty. He continued until 1921, when he retired and moved
to Brazil, Indiana, where he now resides. He is
frequently called to conduct funeral services.
Reverend William Dudley is the present pastor at Lena, and the church membership is about forty. Thomas,
James, and A. J. Morlan and their families, and Mr. and Mrs. Alexander McMillan
were among the earliest members.
The Christian Union
Church is on the Rockville-Mecca gravel road, two miles from Rockville. When the society was first
organized, meetings were held in a schoolhouse, but later a frame building was
erected. The church was quite prominent in the community for a number of years.
Reverend William Holt preached for the first two or three years, and was
followed by the Reverends Myers, Jacob and Nathan Wright, and T. J. Freed. In
1880 the membership was about forty, which was one-half of what it formerly
was. No services have been held here in the last three years.
Cemetery is a half-mile
west of the church.
The Church of God,
also called a Christian church, was organized in 1900. It is located on the Rockville-Mecca Road,
about a mile and a half from Union. The
membership of this church is small, but services are still conducted by
Reverend Elmo. These churches are in the Bradfield and Marshall community.
PLEASANT GROVE CHRISTIAN (NEW LIGHT) CHURCH
Christian, or New Light, Church is located near the northwest corner of the
southwest quarter of section 5, Sugar
The society was organized in 1868, and held meetings in a schoolhouse until
it& own building was erected in 1870. The first pastor was Reverend L. W.
Bannon, who organized a membership of thirty. In 1880 Reverend J. T. Phillips
was pastor, and there were one hundred sixty members. Other pastors were R. H.
Gott and Abijah Simmons. Two Sunday schools were conducted, one at the church
and the other at a schoolhouse two miles southeast of the church. Among the
members of this church were John and Miles Ratcliff, L. S. and Jacob Ewbank,
William and Jesse Barker, Elisha Pithod, and David Watt. Deaths and removals
caused such a decrease in membership that regular services have been
Cemetery, the one
generally used by this community, is about three miles southeast of the church.
UNITED BRETHREN CHURCHES
William Bulion, Charles
Beach, John McGilvrey, and Moses Hill settled in Union Township
about 1830. Religious meetings were held at their homes, more immigrants
increased their congregations, and in 1849 the society built a frame house two
miles south of Bellmore, which they named Otterbein in memory of Bishop Phillip
Otterbein, founder of the United
A few of the many members were John Miller, J. H. Jeffries, I. W. Wimmer,
Oliver Bulion, Zachary Alexander, S. T. Davis, Holbert Davis, and their
families. Early pastors were Elijah Cook, John Eckels, John Dunham, and Thomas
Hamilton. In 1873 the Reverend Andrew Wimsett conducted a series of meetings
remarkable for the trances, visions, and other emotional demonstrations of some
of the participants. Much confusion arose in the community when a few outsiders
publicly proclaimed that hypnotism was responsible for the unusual occurrences.
The Reverends J. W. Nye, A. M. Snyder, Henry Johns, G. W. Wiley, and 0. P.
Cooper, Jr., were regular pastors.
In 1887 a modern house was constructed on an adjoining lot,
a group of shade trees was planted on the first lot, and hitching chains were
arranged on the premises. In 1918 a tabernacle was constructed near the house
for revival meetings, family reunions, and community interests in the warm
seasons of the year.
The present membership is about fifty. The present pastor is
Reverend M. 0. Mumford. On May 24, 1924 his parsonage and most of his goods
were destroyed by fire. The parsonage has been rebuilt.
In 1860 eighteen
persons, under the leadership of Reverend James A. Smith, first pastor,
organized Martin's Mission,
also known as Walnut Mission, a United Brethren society. The second pastor was
Reverend Lawrence Zigler. In 1863 J. P. White was pastor, and Reverend Ira
Mater was presiding elder. Reverend Daniel S. Kalley was also a pastor here.
The same men served as pastors at Otterbein; both churches are on the Mansfield circuit.
In March, 1867 the society held a series of revival meetings
with the result that thirty-one persons united with the church. They
immediately built a chapel at the east side of the northeast quarter of section
33, Union Township, which was dedicated on
November 10, 1867, and named Farmers Chapel. Some other members were John M. Martin,
George W. Martin, James Noble, Jacob Ernest, John and Samuel Blacketer, and W.
P. Noble, a licensed minister from this church.
Cemetery is a half-mile
southwest of the chapel. Riley Harney and Jesse Cooper, soldiers of the War of
1812, are buried here.
is situated in the central part of the southeast quarter of Section 10 in Jackson Township. It is on the Mansfield circuit, and its pastors have been
the same as those of the other two churches on this circuit, but its progress
has not always been equal to them. Recently interest in the society was greatly
revived and its membership increased by the services of Reverend W. P. Noble
and his wife, Reverend Alice Noble. The society soon failed to continue its
interest and the support of a pastor, however, and services have ceased.
Reverend John McHargue, who has been in the ministry many years, Stephen
McHargue, a local minister, James Pruett, Alexander McHargue, Henry Grubb, and
his wife were members of this church.
There is no cemetery near the church, but one mile east of
it, on a high ridge of ground, are the graves of two children.
A small society of
United Brethren was organized in West Mecca about
1900. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Andrews, Mr. Chew, and Chloria Andrews were leading
members, but they did not have sufficient support to continue permanently. No
regular pastor held services here after 1905, and in 1907 or 1908 the property
was sold by Reverend Elmer Mater, presiding elder of the Upper
Wabash conference. Ellis Branson bought the property and converted
the house into a residence.
About 1846 Isaac Silliman deeded to trustees a lot for
church and cemetery purposes in the northeast corner of the northwest quarter
of section 8, Wabash
Township. Three years
later the United Brethren people of the community organized a society, built a
frame house on this lot, and named it the Leatherwood Church-familiarly known
as " Arabia"-after a near-by creek. Benjamin and William Phillips,
Barnabas Hayworth, and the Pittmans were communicants of this church. A number
of pastors of the Upper Wabash conference
faithfully served the society and community. The church continued its
activities with varying degrees of success for many years. Some time ago two
factions arose, each claiming the legal ownership of the property. The house
burned down, and a new one has taken its place, but no services or Sunday
school are held here now.
There are a good many graves in the cemetery by the church.
Soon after the Union
church house was built, a society of United Brethren was organized under the
leadership of Reverend Daniel S. Kalley, who was their first pastor. Some of
the other pastors at Union were the Reverends
Henry Johns, Pauley Smiley, Dawson Teague, and Michael Branson. In 1902 the
society decided to build a house and move from Union.
Stephen McHargue donated a half acre of ground lying eighty rods east of the
southwest corner of section 21 in Jackson
Township, on which the
house was completed in the summer of 1903. J. B. Searing, Otis Ames, and
Charles E. Thompson were trustees of the property. The church was dedicated in
August, 1903, by Reverend Smiley. Reverend Coffman was the first pastor at the
new house. All costs of the house were paid in cash when it was dedicated. Some
of the pastors since the dedication include the Reverends Julius Miller,
Charles Sherrill, John McHargue, and Frank Rounds. Some of the families that
comprise the present membership are Jacob, Otis, William, and Curtis Ames, Fred
and Walter Campbell, M. 0. Branson, Thomas Bell, and Charles E. Thompson. The
present pastor is Milford Barrick, a student of Indiana Central
There is a family graveyard about a mile north of Carbon,
where some of the older members of the Miller and Hammack families are buried.
There is a graveyard on the John Bemis farm in section 31, Jackson Township.
Several of the Bemis family are buried there; also James Hammack, who was
supposed to have lived over one hundred years. Ebenezer Winchester, a Catholic,
resided near the center of section 18. His death occurred about 1860, and he
was buried near his residence. Later his wife and daughter were buried there.
After the Episcopal
Church at Rockville
was dissolved, the house was unoccupied for several years. It was then sold to
Elder Elmer Mater, Reverend W. E. Stanley, and Frank D. Pugh, trustees of the United Brethren
Church. Several years
prior to this transaction efforts were made to establish a church of the United
Brethren faith at the county seat. Reverend Coffman was pastor for some time,
but was unsuccessful. Then, in possession of an ample house, the small society
reorganized under the leadership of Reverend C. M. Byerly. A few of the members
were Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Rowe, Emma Ames, Blanche Blake, and Mrs. B. E. Branson.
Members of the church elsewhere, but residing in Rockville,
did not transfer their membership to the Rockville
church. The second pastor was Reverend Jones, who was succeeded by Andrew J.
Newgent. Reverend Marion Sherrill, the last pastor, resigned, and the society
was dissolved in 1905. The property was sold to the late Mrs. Olus Grubb and
converted into a residence which is now occupied by her husband, Marion Grubb.
This church was
located in the northwest corner of section 3, Raccoon Township.
A society was organized, and a frame house was built in the early fifties. The
names of the members and pastors are not now known, but Stephen Hawkins, Martin
McAlister, John Wallace, John Nevins, and their families resided near the
church and took part in its activities. The protracted revival meetings were
well attended. Unfavorable conditions during the Civil War caused the decline
and final dissolution of the society about 1870.
is three-fourths of a mile west of the site of the church.
is located on the Rockville-Nyesville
Road at the north line of section 3, Adams Township.
The time and place of the origin of this society can scarcely be determined.
For fifteen years meetings were held with some regularity at the home of John
Mater, which was in section 18, Union
Township. This was the
origin of the Mansfield circuit to which the
church belonged until it was transferred in 1879 to the Rockville circuit. Later the conference
returned it to the Mansfield
circuit where it still remains.
The church was organized about 1860 at its present location,
and in 1864 the house was purchased from the Methodists. In 1903 the house was
remodeled and rededicated. Among the
first members were David Rowe, William Paul, Solomon Dixon, and his wife.
Reverend White was their organizing pastor. 0. P. Cooper, Sr., A. M. Snyder, D.
S. Kalley, Dawson
Teague, and 0. P. Cooper, Jr., have been pastors here. Some of the more recent
members were Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Rowe, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sowers, Mr. and Mrs.
Winslow Skelton, Charles and Wilber Harrison, and Mr. and Mrs. John A. Blake.
The latter was a local preacher here, and the father of Reverend L. 0. Blake,
of Columbus, Indiana.
The small and abandoned graveyard, a half-mile east of the
church, has been partly destroyed by the construction of a road on its margin.
The Rowe Cemetery
is near the crossing of the Rockville-Nyesville
Road and the Michigan division of the Pennsylvania
Caleb and Nancy Asbury and Mrs. Asbury's brother, Mr.
Seybold, are buried on the Jacob Larue farm near the center of section 36, Washington Township.
The United Brethren
organized a society about 1851, which they named Providence. They built a log house on the
east side of the Rockville-Marshall
Road in section 29, Washington Township.
Henry Strickler, Daniel Strickler, S. M. Teague, and a few others comprised the
membership. They were surrounded by predestinarian Baptists, who in 1852 built
their church, Pleasant Grove, a half-mile north of Providence. The Baptist society increased and
became predominant, while the Providence
society declined and was dissolved many years ago.
There is a small graveyard on the west side of the road
opposite the church site. About a mile southwest of Providence is a cemetery lot of one acre on
the farm formerly owned by John Linkswiler .
This church was organized about 1840, and a frame house was
built in the southwest part of section 6, Washington
Township. Isaac Pickard, John Ephlin, John Dunham, and James
Griffith were pioneer preachers and exhorters who conducted regular and
protracted services here, as well as at Providence
and elsewhere. Aaron Rawlings, Aaron D. Huff, John and Joshua Engle, and James
Hinshaw were among the first and most prominent members. In 1880 the membership
was seventy. The society continued its services here until nearly 1890.
Cemetery is near the
church site and the Rawlings residence.
In 1868 or 1869 Isaac
Pickard and John Ephlin withdrew from the society at Roaring Creek, and with
other members organized a society at Annapolis,
where they built a house. The Reverends H. E. Penny, E. A. Goodwin, and other
pastors conducted regular services here for a number of years. The industries
of the town expired, its population decreased, and the church was dissolved.
The house has not been used for several years.
About 1890 the
society at Roaring Creek abandoned its house, and a part of its membership
reorganized and built a house at Marshall.
Mrs. Aaron Rawlings, Mr. and Mrs. C. K. Huff, Mr. and Mrs. William Heath, Mr.
and Mrs. William Poe, Mr. and Mrs. C. Y. Jessup, and John May constituted a
part of the membership here. Reverend E. A. Goodwin was a pastor in 1897.
Deaths and removals reduced the membership until it was recently dissolved.
MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCHES
The New Discovery
was organized August 29, 1834, with ten members whose names were as follows :
Samuel Medley, Abraham Coleman, George Mater, Sarah Adams, Elizabeth Barns,
Mary Ball, Margaret Crooks, Jane Odell, Nancy Crooks, and Susan Mater. Samuel
Medley was the first pastor. At first services were held at the homes of
members and at the local schoolhouse. About 1845 the society built a frame
house in the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of section 23 in Adams Township,
on an uneven, triangular lot, donated by Dennis Ball.
All of the original members except Abraham Coleman and Sarah
Adams were excluded from the church prior to 1844. The pastor was excluded,
restored, and excluded a second time. These exclusions were not for misconduct,
but "for uniting with another church of a different faith and order."
A letter of dismissal from a Baptist church was not valid for membership in any
other church of a different faith.
Some of the early pastors were Peter Swaim, P. T. Palmer,
Jacob Smock, and C. B. Allen. Later members were S. K. Fuson, W. T. Cuppy, A.
H. Dooley, and A. D. Merrill. The present pastor is W. C. Tatum. Thirty-five
residents and thirty non-resident members constitute the present membership.
There were 421 accessions to the church during the first fifty years of its
existence, with fifty-three remaining at the close of that period. About 1896
the first house was removed and a modern frame building erected which is still
At an early date a cemetery was laid out just across the
road north of the church. Another cemetery was started on the Peter Swaim farm
one mile west of the churcl1. It was abandoned long ago. A third cemetery or
family graveyard, on the Hatfield farm a half mile east of the church is also
About 1850 Elder
Peter M. Swaim, whose residence was a mile west of the New
conducted meetings in private houses at Bridgeton
and vicinity. The Baptist people here were members of the New Discovery
Church, and decided it
would be more convenient to organize a separate society and build a church in
their new locality. About 1853 a house was built at Bridgeton. On June 3, 1853 a council from New
Discovery and other churches of the Freedom Association organized a society.
Elder P. T. Palmer was moderator, and R. Davis was clerk of this council. In
February, 1854 thirty members of the New
called for and were granted letters of dismissal for the purpose of uniting
with the Bridgeton society, making a membership
of forty-two at Bridgeton.
Their first pastor was Peter M. Swaim, and their first clerk was Jacob Smock,
who, with C. B. Allen, James Steward, and James M. Crooks, was licensed and
ordained minister from this church. In 1879 the society built a new house which
is still in use. James Rea, Margaret Rea, Charles Hendricks, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer
Rea, Mr. and Mrs. Ocie Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Greenleet, Anna Miller,
and Mr. and Mrs. William Hartman constitute a part of the present membership,
which is twenty-five resident and thirty-five non-resident members. Reverend J.
M. Newsom preached for them twice a month last year, but at present they have
no regular pastor.
On September 18, 1858
James and Rhoda Stout, Albert L. and Harriet Thomas, Jeremiah and Lucinda Rush,
John M. and Margaret Galey, and Willard and Mariah Jerome were granted letters
of dismissal by the New
for the purpose of organizing a church at Hollandsburg. On October 2, 1858 they
met at the home of James and Rhoda Stout to perfect their organization. A
little later four more members from New Discovery joined them. In 1859 a large
frame house was constructed which the society still uses. Elder P. T. Palmer
was their first pastor. Elder S. K. Fuson was pastor for a number of years. W.
C. Tatum is the present pastor. Additional members were P. D. Johnson, Ezra and
Irvin Thomas, John A. Blake, John D. Wright, S. M. Thomas, John T. Thompson,
Mrs. Laura Burks, Mrs. Nettie Pratt, and Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Ball. The present
membership is forty-four residents and thirty-three non-residents.
A few rods east of the church is an abandoned cemetery. The
Thomas cemetery is two miles east of the church.
In 1839 a schoolhouse
was built near the junction of Big Raccoon and Little Raccoon creeks to be used
for church and school purposes. Two years later a Baptist society was organized
under the leadership of Jacob Kirkendall, who was regarded as a predestinarian
Baptist. In 1853 this society built a large house one mile south of Jessup
Station, and named it Liberty.
In 1859 there was a division of the society, and those members who withdrew
organized a Missionary Baptist society which they named Friendly Grove. In 1863
they built a substantial frame house one-fourth of a mile southeast from Liberty Church, which they use at present for
their Sunday school. They have no regular pastor. The Adams and Nevins families
constitute a large part of the membership. Reverend Silas Adams was a local
minister here. The present membership is composed of twenty-four resident and
six non-resident members.
Cemetery is one-fourth of
a mile northeast from the church.
After the division the
Reverends Kirkendall and David Wilson, of Mansfield,
preached at Liberty
for some time, but after their deaths the diminished society was dissolved. It
was neither missionary nor predestinarian, and was generally known as the
"Middle-shoot" Baptist. The house has teen used for funeral services
and community interests for many years. Recently Reverend McKinney, of West
Virginia, has preached here, and for one month conducted a series of meetings
which closed July 11, 1926, with the baptism of ten converts. Efforts are being
made to reestablish the church here.
A few years after Big Raccoon Church was organized, a small
group of its members, under the leadership of Reverend Kirkendall, withdrew,
organized a society, and built a house about two miles west of the original
church. This society was dissolved many years ago, but the house is still used
infrequently for funerals.
A group of Missionary
Baptists in Washington
Township organized a
society about 1833. Their meetings were held at their home and in a schoolhouse
until 1846; when they built a frame house in the northeast corner of the
southwest quarter of section 14, and named it Goshen. The membership became large, but was
distributed over a large territory. In 1884, to lessen this inconvenience, the
membership divided, one part going to Judson, and the other to Marshall. The house was moved to Judson. Mr.
and Mrs. John L. Swaim, the Burfords, and others constituted a prosperous
society until deaths and removals reduced their number, and the services became
irregular. The society was greatly revived by the addition of twenty-four new
members during a series of meetings in March, 1926, under the leadership of
Reverend McQuinn, the pastor.
The Marshall Society
erected a commodious house in 1884. Reverend S. K. Fuson continued his pastor
ship here, and a large membership was established, including Martin and Reason
Teague, C. E. McDaniel, William Burford, John Asbury, Harvey Rush, and their
families. Henry Fuson and Reverend Kinnett were pastors here. Services are held
on alternate Sundays by Reverend S. E. Hamilton, of Indianapolis. This church and all Missionary
Baptist churches in Parke
County are members of the
Freedom Baptist Association.
Poplar Grove Cemetery
is one mile north of Marshall.
A Missionary Baptist
Church was organized in Rockville, December 29, 1888, under the leadership of
Elder Stephen K. Fuson, who was at that date pastor of the New Discovery
Church. The meeting was
held at the home of Mrs. Burford, and the members were Reverend and Mrs. Fuson,
Reverend and Mrs. H. C. Liston, Mr. and Mrs. George M. Swaim-ten or twelve in
all. Among others that joined later were Mr. and Mrs. John Leonard, Mrs.
Alexander Puett, Mrs. Charles Rice, and Joseph Shoup. Reverend Fuson retained
the pastorate for a number of years.
A schoolhouse a short distance north of the city was
purchased, moved to lot 43 of the original plat of the town, and converted into
a suitable house for worship and Sunday school. Serious troubles that cannot be
narrated here arose to retard the progress of the church, but in recent years
the society has enjoyed peace and prosperity. The Whitesell, Straughn, and
McKey families constitute a part of the membership. Hugh McKey, who was educated
at Franklin College, is a licensed and ordained
minister from this church. The present pastor is J. M. Newsom. The Reverends
Clark and G. W. Griffin were former pastors. The present membership is sixty
resident and thirteen non-resident members.
The Second Baptist
Church of Rockville is a society of colored people, organized July 23, 1870,
under the leadership of Reverend L. Artis. The church house is located near lot
1 of the original plat of the town. The society began with a membership of
eleven, which was increased to forty-one in the first ten years. In later years
it decreased to a small number, many of them having died. The late Bright
Holmes was the moderator and leading member in the church's activities. Reverend
Johnson was pastor for several years, but they now have no regular pastor.
A group of Baptist people at Waterman and vicinity held
religious services at their homes and at such convenient places as could be
procured until, in 1860, a society was organized and named Zion. In 1869 they built the present house at
a cost of $2,800. Reverend C. B. Allen conducted the dedicatory services. Some
other pastors were William Cartwright, C. D. Carnihan, and A. H. Allen. John M.
Kendall resided at Waterman and served as pastor two or three different times;
he later became insane. Robert E. Davidson served from 1918 to 1923. The
present pastor is Reverend J. C. Hayes, a blind man. Some of the members are
Mrs. Waterman, Mrs. Lettie Sturm, James Wann, J. C. Scott, clerk of the church,
and W. R. Moore, superintendent of the Sunday school.
Cemetery is one-fourth of
a mile east of the town.
While Friendly Grove,
a rural church two miles northeast of Rosedale, declined, a Baptist
congregation in the town increased and recently organized a society named Rosedale. In 1924 J. W. Critchfield was pastor, and
the construction of a house was begun by
making a basement in which church services and Sunday school classes are now
conducted. A temporary roof shelters the basement, but it will be removed and
the superstructure added when the society chooses to complete the structure.
Mrs. Mary Strahle was clerk, Elsie Keller, Sunday school superintendent, and
Ruth Lee, president of the Baptist Young People's Union.
The membership is fifty-five. Reverend John Cauldwell is the present pastor.
The first Predestinarian Baptist
Church in Parke
County was organized at Rockville in 1825.
Meetings were held at the homes of members and at the log courthouse until
1834, when a brick house was built on lot 44 of the original plat of the town.
This was the only church that this denomination built in a town of Parke County. Early
members were Samuel and Matthew Noel, Austin Puett, Mrs. John G. Davis, and
Mrs. Patsey (Noel) Puett. The church united with the Eel River Association. The
society proceeded quietly with its activities until doctrinal controversies
arose causing a division of the membership. The majority held meetings in Washington Township, the minority soon ceased
holding services, and the house was torn down. A part of the seceding members
continued the organization, and in 1852 John Overman deeded to trustees a lot
bounded on the west by the Rockville-Marshall gravel road, near the southeast
corner of section 20, Washington
Township. Here a
substantial frame house was constructed, the name of the church was changed
to Pleasant Grove, and the organization was transferred to the Danville Association.
Some of the members here were the Burfords, Overmans, Elders, and McCords. The
average membership during the last fifty years of the church's existence was
about twenty-seven. James Burford, Isaac W. Denman, and Joseph Skeeters were
among the ministers. The clerks of the church were Lewis Noel from 1825 to
1840, David Elder from 1840 to 1872, Henry Burford from 1872 to 1884, and M. M.
Canine, 1884 and thereafter. The society was dissolved on November 18, 1899.
The property reverted to the Overman estate; the house was sold at public
auction and removed to a farm where it is used as an implement house.
Cemetery is located a
half mile east of the church. The Elder
Cemetery is a small lot
in the northwest corner of section 20. Mr. Overman came from North Carolina in 1832, and died October 13,
1899, aged eighty-nine years. He was clerk of the Danville Association about
The Wabash Church
was located about a mile and a half north of Howard. David Shirk donated the
lot for church purposes and built the house, a log structure. The date of
organization was about 1835. Some of the members were Daniel, Lazarus, and
Joseph Shirk, and James Marks. David Shirk was their minister for a number of
years. Wabash was a member of Little Vermilion
Association. Owing to political strife the council dissolved the society, which
did not survive the Civil War period.
Providence, Mount Moriah
was organized on May 3, 1828, with sixteen members. Benjamin Lambert presided
as moderator, and Aaron Harlan, clerk. At this meeting it was decided to build
a hewed log house at the southeast corner of the east half of the northeast
quarter of section 5, Union
Township. Meetings were
held at the homes of members until the house was completed in 1831. On February
22, 1834 the church was renamed Mount
A graveyard was started near the house, and about a dozen
persons were buried here, but it was soon abandoned. probably not one of the
graves can be identified now.
In 1837 it was decided to change the location of the church
to a site about a mile northeast of the first location. This was on the Nathan
Plunkett farm in section 33, Greene
Township. Here a frame
house was completed in 1844 at a cost of $500. III 1875 this house was removed
and a larger one erected at a cost of $1,700. Lorenzo Dow McGilvrey was
contractor for this building which is still in use.
James Bristow and Jesse McClain were ordained ministers in
1833. The latter continued his services here almost forty years. He died in
1874. Joseph Skeeters, a regular minister here for a number of years, was born
in Shelby County, Kentucky, on February 14, 1820, and died May 20, 1906.
The membership of this church was composed mainly of the McClains,
Collingses, Peytons, and Doggetts. The oldest member was James Straughn who
died at the age of ninety-seven years. At no time has the membership been above
sixty; at present it is twelve. C. R. Collings is the only minister of this
faith residing in the county.
A cemetery was laid out adjacent to the church, but when it
became insufficient, a larger one was located just across the line in Union Township.
James B. McClain is the capable superintendent of both cemeteries.
This church was
organized about 1832 by Lemuel Branson, Michael Pruett, and a few others. The
society's first and only house was a hewed log structure about twenty by
twenty-eight feet, with a clapboard roof, a batten door midway in one side of
the house, and a high pulpit opposite the door. It was warmed by a wood-burner
stove in the center of the room. Mrs. Mary A. Hunt, aged eighty-six years, says
the first church services and first school that she attended were at this
house, which was located in section 9, Jackson Township.
A few of the members were Jesse and Amelia Moore, Zopher and
Telitha Coleman, George and Rebecca Branson, and B. F. Irwin. The largest
membership was eighteen. Some of their ministers were George Branson, from
Virginia, I. W. Denman, John Leatherman, and Joseph Skeeters, the last regular
pastor, whose service ended in 1863. In 1864 and '65 the church sent no letters
and messengers to the Danville Association. The council then dissolved the
society, which, like some of the others, did not survive the controversies
incident to the Civil War.
A cemetery was located on the hill near-by, probably before
the house was built. Here are twenty-five graves marked by shapeless pieces of
sandstone; very few of them can be identified. This cemetery was abandoned many
years ago, but a half mile north of it is the Moore Cemetery.
Between these is a private burial lot on the George Hansel farm. Mr. Hansel, a
soldier of the War of 1812, is buried here. He was drowned in 1840 while
Check out the Rocky Fork Church Records for more
Church was organized in 1833, and in
1835 built a log house in the northeast corner of section 1, Sugar Creek
Township. This house was
repaired when necessary, and answered its purpose unti11917, when a frame house
was constructed. A partial list of the early members includes John Summers,
first clerk, J. B. Barker, Isaac Summers, and Elder Swearinger, trustees. The
Allen, Myers, Roach, and Thomas families, and others were faithful members. The
pioneer ministers, David Shirk and Lee, were succeeded by Jonathan and Mathias
Vancleave, of Montgomery County, and Elder Joseph Skeeters and David
Dodsmeade, of Parke
County. Cornelius L.
Airhart is the minister at the present time. The membership is twenty-eight.
The church belongs to the Sugar Creek Association.
adjoins the church lot.
This was generally
known as the Denman
Church, organized by
Reverend I. W. Denman and a score of members about 1835. Their first building
was a hewed log house located near the northeast corner of the Denman farm in
section 32, Raccoon
Township. This was
abandoned and a frame house was built near it in 1858, at a cost of $500, Mr.
Denman paying one-half of the sum. Elder Denman preached for the church almost
forty years. He was killed on August 28, 1875, by the cars at Lodi Station in Vigo County.
He was buried in the Denman
Cemetery, located about
one-fourth of a mile southwest of the church house. After his death Elder Silas
Moffet was the regular minister for a number of years. Elder Mosteller was the
minister when the society disbanded in 1910. A few of the members were William
R. and Louisa Irwin, William and Elizabeth Kilburn, W. W. and Elizabeth
Modesitt. Jesse Archer, Rachel Cottrell, Anna Miller, and Alice Irwin were the
only members living in 1925. The house was converted into a dwelling, and
became the property of the owners of the land on which it stood.
On August 4, 1843
Aaron M. Wade deeded his farm, "except six acres off the northeast corner
sold for a meeting house," to Dennis Ball. This church lot is in the
northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 17, Greene Township.
The lot was conveyed in fee simple to trustees and their successors, who have
controlled the property to the present time. The only house built by the
society was a frame building.
A few of the members were Absalom Doggett and daughters, Ransom
and Mary Reddish, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Reddish, Mr. and Mrs. William Ware, and
James and Anna Seybold. Some of the regular and visiting ministers were James
Burford, Jesse McClain, and J. J. Dolby.
This church was a member of the Danville Association,
sometimes called "Little Danville" to distinguish it from the
organization from which it seceded many years ago. In 1858 the membership was
thirty, in 1865 it was eight, and in 1866 the council dissolved the society. It
did not survive the political dissensions of its members during the Civil War.
In 1875 the house was sold and moved to a farm where it was converted into a
Cemetery on the lot is
still used and cared for by the trustees.
Church was located near the West Union Cemetery in section 7, Reserve Township,
about 1836. The log house was used for many years, but finally disappeared. The
society continued its meetings for several years at the homes of Walter Harris,
Lawson Linton, and James Marks, until a frame building was erected a half-mile
south of the first site. Here Elder Joseph Skeeters was the regular minister,
and services were conducted until the Indiana Coal Railroad bought the right of
way and located a depot here. Then the society procured a house at Montezuma,
where it continued its services under the leadership of Minor T. Davis. After
his death, the society was dissolved. The membership in 1877 was twenty-five.
Church was organized on
December 10, 1853, at the residence of Robert Watson. A membership of
twenty-six constituted the organization by subscribing to the articles of faith
as presented to them by the committee of the organizers. Elder John Leatherman
was the first minister, and John Frank, the first clerk. At the meeting in
January, 1854, it was decided to build a log house, located in the central part
of section 26, Jackson
About 1889 the society decided to build a frame house just
across the line in Putnam
County. On December 7,
1889 a majority of the membership held its first meeting in the new house. The
minority abandoned the old log house, moved to Union, took over the Wolverton
house, and named their society Providence.
Elder William Skelton continued his services with both branches of the church.
He died at his home in Reelsville,
Indiana, about March 1, 1920, at
the age of seventy-four years.
The cemetery nearest to Otter Creek
Church was the Vinzant
In 1878 or 1879 Samuel and Nancy Wolverton donated a small
tract of land in section 20, Jackson
Township, for church and
cemetery purposes. They contributed most of the material and money for building
the house, and named it Union. They were
members of the Christian Church, but they provided for other religious
societies to use the house.
The reorganized minority of the Otter Creek Society, now
named Providence, moved to Union
with a membership of twenty-eight, to which thirty members were added during
its existence, which ended in July, 1911. There were only two regular
ministers, Elder Skelton and C. R. Collings, and only two clerks, W. C. Evans
and J. R. Mitchell. A part of the original members were Mr. and Mrs. Ralph*
Parker, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Branson, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Evans, and Mr. and Mrs.
J. P. Coleman. Among those who joined later were Mr. and Mrs. John Downing, Mr.
and Mrs. M. 0. Branson, Louisa and Jane Miller, and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Day.
*(I’m fairly sure this should be Mr. and Mrs. Raleigh
Parker – my direct ancestors – James D. VanDerMark.)
Tangier Baptist Church
was located near Tangier, a town in section 16, Liberty Township,
in 1896. The original members were Elizabeth Swaim, Samuel Heath, Benjamin
DeBaun, and Malinda DeBaun. Additional members were received, making a total of
twelve members. The first minister was Jasper Dolby. Others who preached for
them were J. Canine and Elder Bucanen. The society was dissolved some time ago,
and in 1925 Benjamin DeBaun, the only living member, donated the acre of ground
and the frame house to the Tangier Cemetery Association.
In January, 1910
Christian Science services were started in Rockville by Mrs. John S. McCord and Mrs.
Frank B. Harding at the home of the latter on North Market Street. Meetings were held
each Sunday morning. In May, 1913 the place of meeting was changed to the rest
room of the courthouse. In September, 1913 the Christian Science students of Rockville and vicinity
organized the Christian Science Society of Rockville, Indiana. A few of the
charter members were F. B. Harding, Mary T. Harding", John McCord, Clara
S. McCord, Iva B. Linebarger, Sarah C. White, Mamie Pruett, Mrs. Ella McMurtry,
Miss Adelaide Lee, Miss Alma T. Philbrook, and John Lee.
In February, 1916 the society purchased resident property at
the northwest corner of York and Michigan streets for
$865. The house was remodeled and appropriately furnished for a church home,
the entire amount expended being $2,500. By January 1,1917 the society was
entirely free from debt. No funds were solicited or subscribed, each donation
being a free-will offering.
The first ones to serve as readers were Mrs. Mary T.
Harding, first reader, and Mrs. Clara McCord, second reader. At present Mrs.
Herman Blye is first reader, and Mrs. Retta Pike is second reader.
A Lutheran church was
organized in 1830 in Union
Township. The society
built a log house which burned down within a year afterward. A second house, a
frame structure, was built in 1835 in Greene Township.
About this time Matthias Sappenfield, a native of North
Carolina, came to Parke
County, and was one of
the leaders of the church's activities. In, 1866 the society built its third
house, which is located near the southeast corner of section 15, Greene Township.
The Sappehfields, Mothorns, and Hubers constituted a part of the membership.
Reverend J. M. G. Sappenfield was the pastor for a number of years. The
membership has almost discontinued, and regular services have ceased. A Sunday
school is maintained part of the time.
A cemetery occupies a part of the church lot.
The only English
Episcopal church in Parke
County was established
mainly by the efforts of Henry Hargraves and his wife. Mr. Hargraves was born
in Huddersfield, England,
on .February 11, 1828, and came to America in 1854. His wife, Hannah
Farrar Hargraves, was born in Halifax, England, on February 12, 1830, and came to America
with her daughter , now Mrs. Elwood Hunt, in 1854. They settled in Rockville on February 22,
1862, where they resided the remainder of their lives. On June 17, 1885 William
Holmes deeded to Henry Hargraves lots 5 and 6, subdivisions of lots 10 and 11,
of the original plat of Rockville
for $250. On June 24, 1885 Mr. Hargraves deeded lots 5 and 6 to the trustees of
the Protestant Episcopal Church in trust of Saint John's
Mission in Rockville.
The corner stone of the church, a frame structure, was laid
by Parke Lodge No.8 on June 24,1885, with Hiram E. Hadley acting as Grand
Master of Indiana. The Right Reverend Bishop Knickerbacker delivered the
address. One year later the church was formally dedicated by Reverend Bradley,
The remainder of the debt was pledged by Henry Hargraves and the building
committee. The entire cost was $2,500. Henry Hargraves, James W. Beadle, Henry
Lee, John T. Campbell, and A. H. Cheney were prominent in the work of building
Mrs. Hunt thinks the society numbered about forty persons,
and that the only regular rector was J. D. Stanley, who served for two years.
Services were held by different leaders until the society was dissolved about
1889. The property was sold to trustees of the United Brethren
Church. Mr. Hargraves had
paid nearly all of the cost of the lots and building, and the funds derived
from their sale were really his, but he permitted the money to be paid into the
church erection fund to be used in building elsewhere.
There are four
Catholic churches in Parke
County, located some
distance apart, and the membership of each society is small. Reverend C. E.
Riebenthaler, who lives at Diamond, officiates at all of these churches, as
well as at Burnett in Vigo County and Perth in Clay County.
Services at these churches are regular but not frequent. They have no parochial
schools, but the children receive some instruction from local teachers in the
absence of the priest.
In 1854 services
were held by Catholic people at the home of Martin Ryan, about three miles
south of Rockville.
The first mass was read by a priest from Terre
Haute. Reverend Highland was then appointed to the Rockville mission. About
this time many workmen came to Rockville and
vicinity to work on the railroad that was being constructed from Terre Haute to Rockville.
A number of them settled here permanently and constituted the main body of the
Catholic Church. Services were held at the residence of Patrick Riordan and
other members for about twelve years, until a small house was built on lot 4 of
the west addition to Rockville,
under the leadership of Father Minerod. Several priests officiated after Father
Minerod's time, although services were conducted with some irregularity. John
Burk, John Fitzgerald, Maurice O'Sullivan, John and Richard Bowman were
included in the membership. About twenty years after the first house was built,
the society moved to lot 74 of the original plat of Rockville. Here they also built a neat parish
house. The later membership includes descendants of the original members as
well as L. N. Grinley and family, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bowman, John Elnich,
Samuel Grinley, and James Duggan.
This is known as the
Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was organized later
than the Rockville
Church and at one time
had a larger number of families in its membership. A church and a parish house
were built on a lot donated by Mr. Davis, of Rockville. Henry Riordan, Walter Riordan,
Barney Davey, John Fitzgerald, and Dennis Quenlin are members here.
There was a large
Roman Catholic society at Diamond when that town was a prosperous mining
center. The membership was constituted largely of Italians and other foreign
people. A house was built and regular services were con-ducted for a number of
years, but when the mining ceased and the people moved away the membership was reduced
to a minimum. Services are still held here.
There was a Greek Catholic church in Diamond contemporary
with the Roman church. Its membership was composed of foreigners who moved
away. The society vanished and the house was torn down and removed.
A Roman Catholic
society was organized at West Mecca subsequent
to 1886. A small church house and a parish house were built near the William
Dee clay plant. A number of clay workers are members of this church. A few of
the communicants are William Dee, Jr., John Kerns, superintendent of the plant,
Andrew Mattson, and Miss Mary Broderick, a teacher of the public schools of Mecca,
There is a Catholic cemetery near the site of Armiesburg.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCHES
Methodist churches were organized in Parke County
at early dates. One of the first was the Pleasant Valley Society formed about
1825. Their house was located in the south central part of section 11, Raccoon Township. William Taylor was the first
pastor of the church, and some of the first members were James Strange, brother
of John Strange, the noted pioneer circuit rider; Bliss Kalley, a native of Massachusetts; Tobias
Miller; Jacob Overpeck, a native of Virginia; and Daniel Kalley. The families
of these pioneers constituted a large part of the membership in the second
generation. The member-ship increased to more than one hundred, and a new frame
house was built about 1855. Besides the sermons, class meetings, and prayer
services, the young people were permitted to conduct singing schools in the
church house. The Missouri Harmonist was one of their song books.
During the Civil War and following it the society declined,
the house deteriorated, and services were suspended.. In 1885 another house was
erected, and services were resumed. This church was on the Bellmore circuit,
and its pastors were the same as those at Bellmore,
where the parsonage was located. On September 1, 1894 Reverend 0. C. Haskell,
the pastor, was stricken with paralysis while in the pulpit, and died the next
day. No church or Sunday school services are held here now, but the house is
used for funerals and community meetings.
adjoins the church lot. Here many pioneers are buried; here also is the grave of
Jacob Overpeck, who was born in 1772.
Coexistent with the Pleasant Valley Church
was a society that held its meetings in the James M. Crabb neighborhood,
frequently at Mr. Crabb's residence in the northeast quarter of section 34.
Later a house was built on Mr. Crabb's farm. This location was not
satisfactory; the society declined and was finally dissolved. A part of the
members and others in Bridgeton
and vicinity organized a society which built a house at the south side of the
village in 1868, and named it Clear Run. The first pastor was Reverend Thomas
Buck. T. C. Webster and Oliver C. Haskell were later pastors.
Clear Run was handicapped by its inconvenient location. It
was too far from the main part of the town, and no paved street or sidewalk
extended to it. In 192i1 a modern brick house was built in the town at a cost
of $10,000 and was dedicated March 16,1924. The house is situated on lots 34
and 35, Crooks addition to Bridgeton.
The church membership in 1925 was 215; members of the Epworth League, 75;
Sunday school, 175. A. J. Obrecht was pastor; F. A. Mitchell, Sunday school
superintendent. J. M. Williams is the present pastor.
is at the south side of the town.
This church took the
name of the town in which it was located. The diamond referred to was
"black diamond," the kind of coal found there. A Methodist church was
organized here when the coal mines were opened and attracted a great many
miners, persons in other industries, and, especially, farmers living in the
vicinity of the town. A house was built and regular services maintained for
some time. The rapid decline of the town caused the society to be dissolved.
The house was dismantled and the material used for other purposes.
Church of Rockville
The date of
organization of this church is not known. Traveling ministers preached here
before a church house was erected. William Cravens, of Virginia, came as a missionary. The first
house that they used at stated times was the log courthouse, which was built in
1826; the next was a brick school house. The courthouse burned down in 1832,
and the new one erected was used by the society until 1837, when it decided to
build its own house. This one, the first house that the society owned, was used
until 1865. It was then abandoned, and the society returned to the courthouse
for one more year. In 1866 the present house was built on lot 30 of the
original plat of the town, and was dedicated the following winter. Reverend
Thomas Meredith, the pastor, circulated the subscriptions and collected the
funds used. The conference of [838 was held here. Henry S: Tolbert was
presiding elder, and Charles M. Holliday was the pastor. W. P. Cummings, Milton
Garrison, and Thomas Moore were local preachers.
Those prominent in the early history of the church were Dr.
P. Q. Stryker, John Linkswiler, an active class leader, Samuel Baker, a steward
for many years, Scott Noel, General T. A. Howard, General John Meacham, John S.
White, Governor Joseph Wright, Greenberry Ward, and Elisha Adamson. Mrs.
Wright, Mrs. Adamson, and Miss Watt were earnestly devoted to the work of the
Some of the pastors who served full time here were S. P.
Colvin, F. 1VI. Pavey, H. L. Davis, F. W. Hixson, D. D.
Hoagland, and C. D. Royce. C. M. McClure is the present pastor .
Some of the members in recent years were Judge Ared F.
White, W. J. White, David Strouse, William Ferguson, William H. Dukes, C. B.
Carver, D. M. Carlisle, G. W. Rohm, and William Stevenson. The present membership
is 321. G. W. Rohm has served as Sunday school superintendent for thirty-six
years. The men's Bible class, under the leadership of J. H. Linebarger, is a
prominent part of the Sunday school.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church of Rockville
This church was
organized in 1872 by Reverend Jesse Bass. In 1866 Alexander Harper was the only
colored man living in Rockville.
He died and his family moved away, but during the same year Patrick Thomas
came. In 1870 the colored population of Rockville
was fifty-five; of Adams
In 1872 a colony of forty-nine came from North
Carolina. Others came from Virginia
until they numbered about two hundred. There were sixty in Rockville in 1926.
On May 15, 1872 Patrick Thomas and Louisa Black held a
protracted meeting at Thomas's residence, and continued their meetings from
house to house for five weeks. As a result sixteen members formed a society
which immediately purchased the old Methodist
Church property for
$1,500. Within a few years they repaired the house, built a parsonage, and in
1880 owed but $40 on the property. The house stands on lot 20 in the west
addition. The first trustees were A. Black, William Lewis, Samuel Kirkman,
Theodore Johnson, and Patrick Thomas. Reverend Johnson is the present pastor.
Church was located in the northeast
corner of section 25, Adams Township, on the farm owned by Silas Harlan, who came
and settled here about 1830. He educated his children at Asbury (DePauw)
University, and was instrumental in establishing the church by donating a lot
and aiding in the building of the house, a frame structure erected about 1842.
The Harlan family, Isaac Asbury, William Michaels, George Mater, and Joseph Van
Ness were members. Mr. Harlan grew old, and after his death the society did not
continue its activities many years. The house and grove have disappeared.
Cemetery is three-fourths
of a mile east of the church site. Mrs. Harlan lived to be one hundred years
and three months old, and was buried here at her husband's side. One mile south
of the church is the grave 'of a small child named Piatt, but the exact
location cannot be identified.
A Methodist society
was organized at an early date in Union
Township. The first
meetings were held at the homes of Thomas C. Burton, Moses Burks, William
Aydelotte, and Jesse Mattox. About 1846 they built a church house on a leased
lot in the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 6, and named it
Canaan. Other members were Evan Stokes, Isaac
Wimmer, Jesse Partlow, John and George Aydelotte, John Seybold, Hillary Smith,
and Thomas Moore, a local minister whose services were frequently sought at
weddings. The house was abandoned in 1868, fell into ruins, and a dwelling
house was built on its site ill 1883.
The Lane Graveyard is one mile north of the church site.
In 1868 the Canaan
Society built a frame house on lot 9 of the original plat of Bellmore.
Some of the members since the removal were M. R. Burks, Andrew Brat ten, R. L.
Smith, S. B. Sharp, J. H. Riner, Richard and William Thompson. This church is
on the Bellmore circuit, and among its many
pastors were the Reverends Moffet, Allen, Lewis, J. E. Wright, D. W. Risher, H.
H. Cannon, and John M. Harmon. The present pastor is Reverend M. R. Fish. The
church membership is seventy; members of Epworth League number thirty-three.
Cemetery is half a mile
northeast of the church. The Miller Cemetery is one and three-fourths miles west of Bellmore. There are a few unfenced graves near the center
of section 21. Near the northeast corner of section 35 is an abandoned,
The Methodist people
of Mansfield and vicinity held class meeting's and occasional preaching
services in the schoolhouse and in their homes until about 1856, when they
decided to build a house at the north line of the village. Samuel H. Johnston,
Milo Gookins, and Mr. Wright were appointed trustees, and immediately began to
solicit subscriptions. They did not wait until a sum sufficient to meet all
expenses was subscribed, but ordered the materials, and contracted for the
construction of the house, which cost $800. When the house was dedicated, there
was a deficit of $300 which Mr. Johnston paid. Mrs. Jane Kelsey Johnston was
the leading member in organizing and establishing the church at Mansfield. Mrs. Malinda
Hansel, Mrs. Elizabeth Harmless and her family, Dr . and Mrs. John W. Harvey,
and Isaac and Susan Overpeck were members.
The Reverends John B. De Motte, Jacob Musser, Allen Lewis,
Henry Johns, and other ministers on the Bellmore
circuit were pastors here. When by deaths and removals the membership became
small and unable to support a minister, services were discontinued.
The Dole Cemetery is one and a fourth mile west of Mansfield.
A Methodist church
was organized in the southeast part of Jackson
Township, and a house was built in Lena in 1872. A. J. Clark was the local preacher; T. N. Stokes
was steward and class leader. P. A. Stokes, C. W. Gray, J. M. Vinzant, and J.
H. Rauch were members who circulated the petition and subscription paper for
the purpose of building the house at a cost of $1,300. The house was dedicated
in April, 1873, by Dr. R. Andrus, president of DePauw University.
The church had a membership of thirteen. Reverend T. C. Webster was the first
pastor, followed soon by Reverend S. B. Grimes, while Reverend Raymond Shirey,
the present pastor , leads a membership of seventy. D. A. Shoptaugh is
superintendent of the Sunday school.
The Vinzant Cemetery is two miles northwest of Lena.
The Manes Cemetery is on the northwest quarter of
For a number of years
the first settlers at Roseville and vicinity
held religious meetings at their homes, conducted by Reverend William Mac, a
local minister of the Methodist
Church. In 1834 Isaac
Owens, a missionary, preached his first sermon in the house of
"Captain" Daniel Stringham, a soldier of the Revolutionary War.
During the series of meetings that were held in David D. Loree's barn, eleven
persons joined the church. Reverend Aaron Wood was the first circuit minister.
The place of worship was changed to a schoolhouse in the town, and later to a
schoolhouse one and a half miles west of the town. In 1850 Friend C. Brown
deeded an acre of land two and a half miles northwest of Roseville
to the trustees of the Methodist
Church for church and
cemetery purposes. The house was completed in 1851, dedicated by Reverend Aaron
Wood, and named Mount Pleasant.
Moses Wood was the first pastor. The church membership was about fifty, and
that of the Sunday school, eighty.
In 1872 this house was superseded by a new house upon the
same foundation at a cost of $1,600. This building was dedicated by Reverend
Aaron Wood. Thomas Meredith, the pastor, was succeeded by Reverend Wallace
Barnard, and the latter by D. S. Morrison. In 1900 the house was moved a few
yards to enlarge the cemetery. A few years later the society was dissolved, and
the building is now used as a community house.
The Johnson Cemetery is one mile east of Mount Pleasant. Daniel Stringham and his wife
are buried here.
There was a Methodist society in Roseville
later than the Mount Pleasant
organization. Reverend John B. DeMotte was the pastor. A church house was built
in the northeast part of the town, but the society was dissolved some time ago.
On the side of the hill near-by is a cemetery in which many pioneers are
buried. The Bound Cemetery is about three miles westward of Roseville, near the northeast corner of section 25, Florida Township.
The Mount Olivet
Methodist Episcopal Church is located about a half mile southwest of Catlin.
The date of the organization is indefinite, probably as early as 1835. The
house was built about 1850 when Thomas Harshman, on whose land the house was
built, settled in Parke
County. Some of the first
members were Thomas and Ann Harshman, George and Jane Overpeck, and Valentine
and Martha Overpeck. Later members were Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Catlin, Mr. and
Mrs. Thomas J. Overpeck, Mr. and Mrs. David Reeder, Mrs. Marjorie Reeder, and
Mr. and Mrs. John Brown. Reverend John B. De Motte was a local minister here.
Reverend R. W. Fish is the present pastor. This church belongs to the Bellmore circuit, and has a membership of eighty-three
persons. The Sunday school has an enrollment of one hundred.
adjoins the church lot.
A Methodist society, composed in part of members of the Mount Olivet
Church, bought a lot near the
southeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 29, Adams Township,
in 1872 on which they built a frame house and which they named Wesley Chapel.
The Reverends Thomas Bartlet and Mr. Bogue were pastors. Mrs. Valentine Overpeck,
Thomas H. Overpeck, the Lollis family, the William and Warren Neet families,
the Strains, and Mr. and Mrs. John Brubeck constituted a part of the
membership. The society was prosperous for a number of years until deaths and
removals caused its decline and final dissolution in 1913. The house is still
standing, but is not used in any way.
society that can trace its origin back to Roseville
was organized at Rosedale. The organization was
formed in the Doty schoolhouse which was its place of worship. A house was
built on a lot in Mary Doty's addition to Rosedale,
and dedicated in 1874. The railroad came to the village about 1860, and the
population increased to nearly one hundred at the time the church was erected.
The population of the town in 1920 was 711. The society began with a few
members and grew to 215 in 1925. The Epworth League has an enrollment of
twenty-five members, and the Sunday school, one hundred fifty. Reverend J. M. Williams
is the present pastor .
The Hector Smith Cemetery
is two miles north of Roseville.
The Boatman Cemetery
is one and a half miles west of Rosedale. The Edmondson Cemetery is near the northeast corner of
the northwest quarter of section 9. The Pence Cemetery
is in the northeast quarter of section 4. Many soldiers of the Civil War are
buried here. The Rukes Cemetery is one mile southwest of Rosedale.
The Fisher Cemetery is at the west line of the
southwest quarter of section 21. The Doty
Cemetery is at the north line of Rosedale. It is on even ground, well kept, and has many
beautiful monuments. The most conspicuous of these is the thirty-nine foot
shaft which marks the grave of Joseph Martin.
residing in the southeast part of Washington
Township held meetings
here during the early settlement of the township. William Cravens, the zealous
missionary who preached at Rockville,
Richard Hargraves, and Reverend Armstrong were pioneer preachers here. We find
no account of their building a church house until about 1873, when a society
was organized by Reverend J. C. Stemor. Reverend T. C. Webster was a pastor
here; Frank Welch was a local minister and Sunday school superintendent. Other
ministers continued services here until the dissolution of the society about
Cemetery is about one
mile southeast of Judson. There is a small, abandoned graveyard on the summit
of the hill at the west border of Judson.
A Methodist society
was organized and a house built at Marshall
about 1880. The Reverends U. G. Leazenby, W. C. Appleby, and F. W. Hixson were
pastors. Dr. and Mrs. Powell, David Myers, Mr. and Mrs. James Russell, Mrs.
Mary Osborn, and Mrs. Charles McCampbel1 were members. The present membership
is sixty-two. Regular services are held every two weeks, and Sunday school
every Sabbath. Reverend D. E. Noland is the pastor in charge.
About 1830 a Methodist society was organized and a log house
built near the center of section 16 in Sugar Creek
Township. Reverend Porier
was the first pastor. This society was dissolved, and the house disappeared
around 1875. About a mile southeast of this church another society was
organized in 1855 in a schoolhouse near the residence of Daniel Heath. In 1858
they built a frame house near the center of section 22 This house was burned
do\\'n by incendiaries during the Civil War but was rebuilt in 1862. Reverend
John Edwards preached here for six months, and Reverend Daniel Demut was also a
pastor. The membership was fourteen. The Heath, Robbins, and Hirshbruner
families worshipped here. Reverend S. M. Hayes was a pastor; EIsey Robbins, a
class leader; Albert Swaim, organist and Sunday school superintendent; and Miss
Tillie Hirshbruner, secretary. The society was dissolved some time ago.
Cemetery adjoins the
church lot. The Lusk
Cemetery lies a half mile
north of the Narrows of Sugar Creek. The Cashatt Cemetery
lies in the north central part of section 21. There is a cemetery in the
northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 9. The Pickard Cemetery
is near the east side of section 19.
In 1833 a Methodist
society built a log house on the Bilbo farm in the southwest quarter of section
28, and named it McKenzie's Chapel. William Smith and William Bilbo were
leading members, and Samuel Cooper was the first pastor. At an early date part
of the membership was transferred to Waveland, Montgomery
County, and a part to Poplar Ridge
Church. The house was
There is a cemetery on the Henry Litsey farm near the south
line of section 26. The Bilbo family graveyard is also on this farm. Samuel
Musgrove, a soldier of the Revolutionary War is buried here.
A Methodist society was
organized at Waterman, and under the leadership of Reverend William Smith built
a frame house in 1869. The venerable Henry C. Randolph was a leading member. No
services have been held here for a number of years.
In 1846 the
Methodists at Howard and vicinity built a house at a cost of $350-most of the
labor was donated. At that time the membership was approximately two hundred;
in 1880 it was twenty, and later the society was dissolved. The first pastor
was Isaiah Smith; in 1880 S. M. Hayes was pastor .
In 1879 a Methodist
society was organized at Sylvania
by Reverend S. M. Hayes. Their meetings were held in the Union church house,
which was built by the Presbyterians and Methodists jointly. Both societies
have ceased holding regular services.
In pioneer days there
was a Methodist church on a hill on the William Hixon farm in section 19, Wabash Township.
A number of settlers were buried just below the bluff. In 1868 the society
moved to a new location about two and a half miles south of Armiesburg on the Terre Haute and Lafayette Road.
They named the church Bethel.
Some of the members and attendants of Bethel Church
were the Hixon, Cook, Justus, and McCullough families. Reverend C. V. Gustafson
was a recent pastor, but they do not have a regular one at present. About 1868
Mr. Hixon deeded the trustees a new burial lot, located one mile north of the
new church. The Camper
Cemetery is an old
graveyard located about a half-mile north of the church.
A Methodist church
was established in West Mecca subsequent to
1886. The society built a house, supported the pastors that the conference
assigned to them, and conducted a Sunday school for a number of years. Part of
the members were Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. William Wood, Ora
Dooley, Mesdames Nowling, Moring, Swaim, and Lamb. Two young pastors, Mr.
Clouse and Mr. Johnson, each preached one year; Zimri Maris conducted services
for some time. Deaths and the shifting population reduced the membership, so
that the church could no longer be supported. Its activities have been
suspended for the present.
There is a cemetery near the center of the southwest quarter
of section 33, Wabash
Township. The Hall Cemetery
is in the northeast quarter of section 4.
A Methodist society
was organized in Annapolis
about 1850 under the leadership of Reverend Hezekiah Smith, and a frame house
was immediately erected. The church was prosperous for many years. In 1880
there were about one hundred members, and David P. McClain was the pastor. W.
B. Weaver, D. A. Porter, W. P. Stanley, and Dr. J. A. Goldsberry were leading
members. With the decline of the town came the decline and final dissolution of
Cemetery is half a mile
southeast of the town.
John and Mary
Linebarger, natives of Pennsylvania, came to Parke County
in 1822 and settled in the northeast part of Reserve Township.
They were Methodists. By 1832 more immigrants had arrived, and a small society was
organized by Reverend Hezekiah Smith, who W8.S succeeded by Reverend Stephen
Cooper. A hewed log house was built, which served its purpose until another
house was built in 1847. John Linebarger died in 1847 and Mary, in 1857,
leaving their son Andrew to continue the work of the farm and the church. In
1868 the present house was built near the southeast corner of the southwest
quarter of section 8. Reverend D. P. McClain was the pastor in charge. Mr.
Linebarger's eldest son, George, studied for the ministry, and often conducted
the services of the church and Sunday school. He was born December 20, 1836,
and is still living. The present membership is forty, with Reverend A. L.
Vermillion as pastor. This church is on the Montezuma circuit.
Cemetery is near the
church and the Linebarger residence.
A Methodist society
was organized at Montezuma soon after the village was laid off in 1823, but it
appears there was no church house until 1849. At that time Reverend Hezekiah
Smith visited the neighborhood, and by his services greatly revived the
society. Reverend McClain was pastor of this church in 1880. Other pastors were
J. C. Whitson, R. 0. Kimberlin, and Roy J. Hicks. The present pastor is A. L.
Vermillion, and the number of members, eighty-three.
There is an old abandoned cemetery in the south part of the
town, surrounded by streets and residences that prevent it from being enlarged.
Oakland Cemetery is near the north side of the
town. This has been enlarged and improved, making it a beautiful burial ground.
Thirty-eight soldiers are buried here. Two of them, Paul Long and George Baird,
lost their lives over-seas during the World War, were buried in France, and
later were brought back to their native land. Paul, the first one from Parke County
to meet his death during the World War, was killed in action on March 16, 1918.
Doctors G, W. McCune, G. W. Farver, and J, W. Kemp, army physicians, are also
A Methodist society
was organized in Bloomingdale in 1897, and in December of that year Reverend U.
G. Leazenby, a graduate of DePauw
University, held a series
of meetings, which increased the membership to approximately one hundred.
Reverend I. Jeazenby was the first pastor. Services were conducted in Dennis
Hall, the old academy building, until a new church house was built and
dedicated on July 24, 1898, An organ was purchased and a choir organized under
the leadership of Samuel M. Thomas, formerly a leader of the song services at
the Baptist Church at Hollandsburg. A parsonage was
built near the church. Other pastors were Fred W. Hixson, W. C. Appleby, E. T.
Miles, H. N. Carlton, W. N. Dunn. Perley Pierson and family, Mr. and Mrs.
Thomas Evans, Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Brown, and Mrs. Mary Brown were members. The
present membership is ninety-eight. A. L. Vermilion is the pastor.
In 1844 a Methodist
society organized and built a log house in the southeast quarter of section 7, Raccoon Township. About 1858 the present
building was erected .and named Salem.
Later it took the name of Minshall, the mining town that was built there. Some
of the first members and attendants were the Catlin, Adams, Seybold, and
Webster families. The membership in 1922 was sixty, but services were
discontinued in that year. Some of the members at that time were Amanda
Fellenzer, Frank and William Hopper, Thomas Pethram, John and Hiner Thompson,
Robert Adams, Laura G. Nevins, and Hannah Seybold. Reverend W. M. Hopper was
the last pastor. No Sunday school has been conducted there since 1924.
Cemetery is one mile
southwest of the church. About a half mile northwest of the church is an
abandoned family graveyard.
Many of the pioneers
of Penn Township
were Friends, also known as Quakers, from North Carolina. They constituted a religious
society, and membership in their church was a birthright. Unlike most Christian
churches a hundred years ago, they could not conscientiously tolerate Negro
slavery in their church nor in their community. They believed the institution
was unjust to the slaves and degrading to the moral and social life of the
slave-holders who dominated the civil and political affairs of the state from
which they came. They sought a land free from slavery.
Perley Mitchell came
to Parke County about 1823. Some others who soon
followed him were Simon and Thomas Rubottom, William and Jonathan Pickett, the
Tenbrooks, and Woodys. About 1826 a village was begun and named Bloomfield; later it was
changed to "Bloomingdale." The first meeting of Friends in Parke County
took place at the residence of Adam Siler in 1829. About this time the Rocky
Run society was organized in the southeast part of Reserve Township.
A village named Coloma was started here.
On December 1, 1827 the Bloomfield meeting appointed a committee to
have the meeting-house grounds surveyed and a graveyard staked off. Trustees of
the property were also appointed. The church was located half a mile north of
the village, and later Bloomingdale
Academy was built on a
beautiful campus near the church. It was a church school open to both men and
women students who conformed to its rules. The Hadley, Siler, Hobbs, Davies, Hobson, Morris, Kersey, and
Woodard families constituted a large part of the membership of the society,
which had 392 members in 1925. A regular pastor is chosen at stated times, and
there are local ministers and laymen who occasionally lead the services. The
present pastor is Reverend I. L. Jones. Usually large congregations attend
their quarterly meetings. Their Sunday school is well attended.
The cemetery is located half a mile south of the original
village. It is a level well-kept piece of ground; a noticeable feature,
especially in the older part, is the type of low, plain monuments.
The Rocky Run
Society, now known as Coloma, held its first meeting in a log schoolhouse in
1830. Later a frame house was built, and a large and prosperous society grew up
here. The Allen, Woodard, Morris, Outland, and Mendenhall families constitute a
large part of the membership. The thickly-settled community of gardeners and
farmers maintain the church and Sunday school in good condition. The public
school here employs two teachers.
Cemetery is located at
the west side of the village.
Poplar Grove Friends'
Church was located near a cemetery of the same name about a mile north of Marshall. This society
was organized at an early date, but when Marshall
became a thriving town near-by, the society moved there. The Hadley, Hobson,
and Davies families form a part of the membership. Mrs. Dr. McKey was an able
minister here. The society has declined but has not been dissolved. The
Reverends I. L. Jones and E. M. Woodard, of Bloomingdale, conduct services here
congregation near the Narrows of Sugar Creek built a church in 1875, known as
the Friends' Union Chapel, which was dedicated on Christmas night of the same
year by Reverend Levi Woody , the society's first minister . Prior to 1900
services were discontinued and 'a few of the members were transferred to Marshall, among them,
Presley F. Owen, the Sunday school superintendent. Probably a few members
joined the Rush Creek
Church at Sylvania.
were made in the neighborhood of Rush
Creek as early as 1824,
for the most part by Friends. A society was organized by Isaac Hobson, Lot and David Lindley, and others in 1832. In that year
they built a log meeting-house, eighteen by twenty-two feet, which was warmed
by a charcoal fire in the center of the room. A hole was left in the roof to
allow the smoke to escape. A frame house was built in 1840. In 1872 the society
built a third house, which is still in use. It is located half a mile north of Sylvania. The
congregation was composed mainly of the Lindleys, Hobsons, Towells, Harveys, Maddens,
Hadleys, and McCoys. David
Commons and Levi and
Keziah Woody were local ministers. Elizabeth T. McCoy, a birthright member, was
born in Orange County, North
Carolina, came to Parke
County in 1865, and died
at the home of her daughter, Rachel Marks, on October 1, 1916 at the age of 105
years, one month, sixteen days. The membership of the church at its greatest
prosperity was nearly four hundred. Although the members have decreased, regular
services are continued.
is near the church.
church was organized at Diamond, and a house was built, but the decline of the
town caused the passing of the church. The house was dismantled.
The Rockville Cemetery
is located on the southeast side of the city. It was established in 1824 by
Aaron Hand, who donated one acre to the town for a cemetery. About that time he
buried one of his children here. Additions have been made until the present
area is approximately ten acres. A property tax is levied on the city for its
maintenance. The ashes of the cremated body of John Greer, who died September
15, 1907, were the first to be buried here or in the county. The first
cremation was that of Dr. E. Axtell, but his ashes were not buried until
recently. His monument is the only statue in Parke County.
Here are the only two mausoleums in the county; the first was constructed for
William Dodds, the second for Samuel D. Puett, a prominent lawyer of Rockville, who died May
5, 1907. There are a few graves in a cultivated field about one mile northwest
near the junction of the Bloomingdale and Coloma roads. Further west on the
Jordon farm is an abandoned family graveyard. There is a lone grave on the
north side of the Rockville-Bellmore
Road, on the east side of the entrance to the
state sanitarium. It is thought to be the grave of Elijah Pulliam.