History - Chapter 21 Pages 358-370
History - Chapter 21 Pages 358-370
Poetry never yet doubted the existence of the Deity. Some of the most astute thinkers were poets and Christiana the most gifted prose-writers devoted much attention to the question of a God, and proclaimed the existence of Him, who is at once the Omniscient and Omnipotent ruler. Every thing combines to prove and glorify a God. Man alone questions his reality. But happily, the questioners are few and far between, and still the Christian majority here grants to Jew, Turk, Atheist and heathen Mongolian, every toleration, leaving them at liberty to worship at their respective shrines.
This is the first principle of liberty: its protection is guaranteed by the Republic, and under its genial influence the Christian and non-Christian are enabled to make just such progress as each class merit.
In this county, the varied forms of Christianity have made great advances. Churches have multiplied until every village and town show their spires and cupolas, containing bells of harmony, which have long since ceased to peal the hymn of debasing bigotry. The centennial of Yorktown witnessed peace through out! the land; religious dissensions, savage bigotry entombed, and the Republic happy in the possession of citizens each one of whom essays to serve God after his own notion, without impertinent interference with his neighbor's faith. The people have evidently realized the fact that the evil example offered by members of every religious society does more to check Christianity than all the sophistry of the infidel, the arms of the united Mussulmans, or the presence of one hundred theusand Mongolian mandarins and high priests. Abuses will continue so long as the world exists, but the number may be lessoned if each section of the Christian Church will do its duty by watching its interests closely—by minding its own business.
In the following pages, the organization of each church in the county, as shown in the records, is given. There are no public records to base data regarding the first Cathelic congregation formed in this county, but it may be presumed that large numbers of the French missionary fathers visited the camping-grounds of the Indians along the Huron, erected temporary altars, and offered the sacrifice of the Mass in presence of the wondering Red-men. After the French Canadians made settlements here, they were visited regularly by the priests of Detroit until the establishment of permanent missions here. Since the American pioneer period,the following religious societies were formed within this county:
The Moravian Church established a mission on the Huron and Clinton about 1781, under Rev. John Huckonwelder and sixteen Delaware Indians. This mission existed until 1780, when Mr. Huckonwelder and his disciples returned to Muskingum.
The Congregational Church society of Romeo was organized February 6, 1832, with Gad Chamberlain, Asa Holman and N. T. Taylor. Trustees. The church was formed in 1828.
The first Presbyterian Church of Mt. Clemens was organized May 4. 1835. with Rodney O. Cooley, William H. Warner, Daniel Chandler, Noadiah Sackott. Aaron Conklin and Joel Brown, Trustees.
The Baptist Church of Mt Clemens was organized October 14, 1886, with Horace H. Cady, C. Flinn, Benjamin Gamber, Manson Farrar, Ortin Gibbs and John Gilbert, Trustees of the society.
The Bruce and Armada Congregational society was formed November 10, 1835. with Erastus Day, Joseph Thurston and John Taylor, Trustees. The church was formed in 1832.
The First Presbyterian Church of Utica was organized January 6, 1837, with Gordon C. Leech, Orson Sheldon, Albert G. Fuller, Joseph Lester and O. Stevens, Trustees.
First Methodist Episcopal society of the village of Utica was formed March 10, 1839, with Ralph Wright, Elins Scott, Peter D. Lerick, Hiram Squires and John Stead, Trustees. A record of re-organization appears May 11, 1844, and April 25, 1856.
The Catholic Church of St Felicite of L'Anse Cruse, in the township of Harrison, was organized July 16, 1839, with Joseph Porterville, Joseph L. Sansfancon, Hubert Forton, Trustees.
Methodist Episcopal Church of Romeo was organized January 28, 1839, with James Starkweather, Ariel Pratt, Job Howell, Sewell Hovey and Samuel Cooley, Trustees.
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt Clemens was organized January 15, 1841, with Edward Tucker, Chauncey G. Cady, E. G. Pratt, Horace H. Cady, John Stockton, B. T. Castle and Robert Little, Trustees.
The first Congregational religious society of the township of Richmond was organized April 13, 1841, with Hugh Gregg, Arannah Gilbert and Jeremiah Sabin, Trustees. Reorganized November 11, 1844, and January 8, 1807.
The First Baptist Church of Utica was organized March 1, 1842, with Ephraim Calkin, Benjamin Morey, Dan W. Philiips, Daniel St John, Ralph Sackott, Cephas Farrar, John B. St John, Morris Todd and Manson Farrar, Trustees.
The First Christian Church of Washington was organized June 1, 1842, with George Wilson, George Hansomb, Levi Hoard, Hiram Andrews, Conley Bates, Nathan Keeler and Zebulon Hay don, Trustees.
The first Methodist Episcopal society of Washington was organized November 25, 1842, with Abel Warren, Benjamin McGregor, David W. Noyes, John Keeler, Justin H. Butler, Elon Andrus and Ephraim Graves, Trustees.
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ray was organized February 4, 1844, with Jonathan E. Davis, Duncan Gass, John Inman, John Gass, Jr., William Lyons, Robert McGregor and Horace Myers, Trustees.
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Warren was organized November 24,1845, with Elijah Johnson, Isaac Barton, R. D. Smith, Peter Gillett, H. Leroy, John Wilson, William Torry, Trustees.
The first union society was organized at Mt Clemens September 1, 1845, with Prescott B. Thurston, Aaron Weeks, Isaac J. Grovier, E. Wright Hall, William Beer and John J. Leonard, Trustees.
First Congregational Church of Armada was organized November 20, 1844, with Alvah Sibley, Perrin C. Goodell, Sumner Pierce and Solomon Stone, Trustees.
The first Baptist society of Romeo was organized February 9,1847, with David Quackenboss, Nathaniel Bennett, Horace Bogart. Wiley Bancroft, David Green and Philo Willson, Trustees.
The first Baptist Church was organized January 28, 1854.
First Baptist Church and society of Mt. Vernon was organized May 28, 1848, with Hiram Calkins, William A. Burt, A. G. Benedict, Lewis G. Tannor and Elisha Calkins, Trustees.
The German Evangelical Lutheran (St Peter's) congregation of Wayne and Macomb Counties, formed in 1846, was organized as a society under State law February 6, 1849, with Frederick, George Nauvmer, Fred Spoirs, Bornhard Christoph, Schroeder, J. F. Winkler.
The Baptist society of Macomb was organized January 22,1849, with Benjamin Gamber, George Hall, John Crittenden, Jesse Goodsell. Leonard Weston and J. Huntoon, Trustees.
First Congregational Church of Chesterfield was organized June 2, 1850, with Charles B. Matthews, Eber C. Donison and Samuel Oppernell, Trustees. The church was formed in 1847.
First Methodist Episcopal society of Chesterfield was organized November 15, 1851, by the appointment of John Herriman, Stephen Fairchild, S. B. Simmons, Robert S. Crawford and Andrew Ross, Trustees.
First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mt Clements was organized July 3, 1854, under the name of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mt Clemens, with John Vrocklen, J. C. Retinoid, A brain Devantier, J. W. Miller, C. Roeke, John I. Murthum. Trustees.
The Evangelical Emamiel Lutheran Church was organized in the town of Macomb, October 9, 1854, with C. F. Schultz, C. F. Pasner and J. F. W. Randts. Trustees,
The First Congregational society of Utica was organized January 13, 1855, with Payne K. Leech, Ira H. Butterfield, George W. Giddings, John B. Chapman and Oliver Adams, Trustees.
The first Methodist Episcopal Church of Macomb was organized February 15, 1855. by the appointment of the following Trustees: R. S. Crawford, Samuel Farr, J. A. Crawford, L. Bloss and Jacob Ellis.
First Free-Will Baptist Church of Bruce was organized June 12, 1855, with James Hosner. H. Hosner, A brain S. Powell, Absalom Brabb and Jacob Hosner. Trustees.
The Free-Will Baptist society of Lenox and Chesterfield was organized March 15, 1850. with Benjamin D. Rogers, Levi S. Bement Thadeus Hazleton, Allen Farr and George McCaul, Trustees.
First Baptist society of Armada was organized May 24, 1856. with Ezra Torey, Albertus A. Polson and Sanford H. Corkin. Trustees.
First Congregational Society of Ashley was organized April 29, 1856, with T. M. Willson. L. Haskins, Charles Terry, S. F. Atwood, A. Ash. S. B. Farnham, Trustees.
First Gorman United Evangelical society of Mt. Clemens was formed January 31, 1859, with thirty-one members.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Armada was organized February 19, 1859, with Allen L. Frost, Joseph Gleason, Gideon Draper, William F. Mallary and Benjamin Maybee. Trustees.
First Presbyterian society of Erin Township was organized January 7, 1861, with John Common. James McPherson, Moses Bottomley, James Middleton, George Moorehouse and Thomas Common, Trustees.
"The Church at Warren, presumably of the denomination known as the Church of Christ," was organized February, 1858, with Hazen Warner, Sylvanus B. Royce and Sylvester Harvey, Trustees.
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Richmond was organized February 12, 1858, with Amsey W. Sutton, Asa Allen, Jen. B. Graves, Middleton Thempson and Hamilton Holly, Trustees.
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Bruce was organized, with Daniel Smith, Elijah Smith, William H. Pool, M. E. Hunt, Trustees.
The Protestant Methodist Church of New Baltimore was organized June 15, 1863, with Marvin M. Saunders, Ransom Fox, William Fralick, A. J. Heath and James House, Trustees.
The Protestant Methodist Church of Shelby was organized April 13,1863, with William Arnold, William Buxton, Austin McLellen, Joel Lewis, James McLellen, Henry Decker and Henry Singer, Trustees.
First St. Peter's Unitod Reform Lutheran Church of Lenox was organized July 6, 1863, with John G. Meyer, Henry Remer and William Beir, Trustees.
Seventh-Day Adventists of Memphis organized a society January 5, 1864. with James Potter. Harford Phillips and Mitchell McConnell, Trustees.
First St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Erin was organized February 8, 1864, with Justus Wormspecker, John Eberlein, John T. Eberlein, Trustees.
The Baptist Church of Disco was organized, and the following-named Trustees elected, December 18, 1805: James Payne, Alson Haines and Isaac Montfore.
The Christian Union Association of Richmond was organized January 2, 1866, with Reuben Burgess, William Lamphire, Daniel Gleason, John Hicks. George H. Perkins, Harvey G. Trench, Daniel Flagler, J. M. Hicks and Reuben A. Burgess, Trustees.
The Religious Philosophical society of Sterling was organized April 7, 1866. with Justus V. Starkey, James Bontley and Calvin More, Trustees.
The German United Evangelical St. Paul's Church of Warren was organized Juno 12, 1804, with G. B. Berz, W. E. Hartsig, John B. Jacob, C. Ringe and Louis Hartsig, Trustees.
St. Emanuel's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Waldenburg was organized April 28, 1867, with Aug. Weber, Godlove Klockow and Aug. Posner, Trustees.
The First Christian Church of Romeo was organized October 12. 1807, with Nathan Keeler, Robert Hamilton, Daniel Flagler, Stephen Grinnell and Edward Soule, Trustees.
The first religious society of Ray was organized February 10, 1869, with A. B. Sheldon, John E. Day, Arad Freeman, S. A. Fenton, A. L. Armstrong, R. S. Cairns, George Bottoraley and Oran Freeman, Trustees.
The First Congregational society of New Haven was organized November 17, 1868, with John Millard, Adam Bennett, Morgan Nye and James F. Dryer, Trustees.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Baltimore was organized in January, 1871, with F. Miller, W. Heineman, A. Steth, J. Larch, H. Heidderuk. Fred Harms, Trustees.
First Baptist society of Richmond was organized June 15, 1809. with Manson Farrar, Harvey French, D. J. Stewart, James W. Cooper and H. F. Douglass, Trustees. First Methodist Church of Warren was organized July 18, 1872, with Israel Hudge, pastor; Benjamin B. Smith, Secretary; John L. Boebe, Elijah Davy and Nelson Tupper, Trustees.
The Emanuel Church of Lenox was associated January 25,1873, with William Kuhn, Aug. Kuhn, William Killman, Carl Furstnem and Fritz Killman, Trustees.
First Free Methodist society of Richmond was associated March 19, 1873, with William Carter, C. L. Harris, C. H. Cornuse, Trustees.
The First Independent Methodist Church of Warren was organized March 12, 1873, with Richard Barton, Isaiah Davy, James W. Hoyt, C. Davy, J. Norris, E. W. Halaey. Trustees.
The Methodist Church of Shelby Circuit was organized September 22, 1875. with Alfred Watters, Putnam McClellan, Harmon Vosburg, Trustees.
The Seventh-Day Adventists of Armada organized their society October 18, 1873, with D. H. Lamson, S. T. Beardsley and William Wellman, Trustees.
St. Lube's Protestant Episcopal Church of New Baltimore was organized February 23, 1875, with P. F. H. Schars, John, Rev. G. M. Skinner, C. L. Bradish, G. L. Phelps and George Elsey, signers of agreement.
The Methodist Church of Ray was incorporated March 0. 1870, with Dewitt Pretty, Joy Warren. Abial Green. Trustees.
Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church of Clinton was organized October 31, 1878, with Henry Marlow, John Meitz, Charles Dettrich. Trustees.
St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran congregation was organized November 8,1878, with F. Kline, Christ Rieek and Fred Huramell. Trustees.
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sterling was organized and rules for government adopted January 10, 1880, with F. Schmidt. A. Newman, J. Beulet. G. Knkuk and F. Teller, Trustees.
The Methodist Protestant Church of Warren was organized March 15, 1880. with Charles Kidd, Milo Ames and Elijah Davy, Trustees.
The First Baptist Church of Macomb, in the town of Sterling, was incorporated February 21, 1880. with John Crittendon, George S. Hall and Samuel Goodsell, Trustees.
The Union Church society of Washington was organized in 1880. with William A. Stone. W. W. Vaughn, Henry Bennett and Timothy Lockwood. Trustees.
In the pages devoted to township histories, an effort will be made to deal fully with each of these organizations. Here, the subject of county churches only bears a general treatment for the purpose of rendering the general history of the county complete in this particular.
In 1881. John E. Day prepared a history of the churches of Macomb. The paper is replete with historical interest, and will be found a most valuable addition to this section of the general history. In the year 1781. all the Moravian missionaries laboring at three different stations on the Muskingum River in Ohio were taken prisoners and brought before Col. De Peyster at Detroit, charged with treason to the English Government in acting in concert with United States troops at Pittsburgh. Early in July, several of the Indians who had been connected with the mission arrived at Detroit, among whom were Richard Conner and his family. Col. De Peyster was much interested in their behalf, and, through his influence permission was obtained of the Chippewas to settle upon their lands. De Peyster then advised them to settle upon the Huron (Clinton) River, and to bring their Indian converts there. He furnished them a vessel and provisions and such utensils as they needed, together with two milch cows, some horses, and his lady also made them several useful presents. On the 20th of July, 1871, Zoisburger and Jungman, with their families, and Edwards and Juugsingle, missionaries, set out from Detroit with sixteen Delaware Indians, and arrived at their new home on the Clinton River the next evening. They named the place New Gnadenhutten, in remembrance of the old home on the Muskingum. It was then a perfect wilderness. Soon more of the dispersed converts were gathered to them, and a large settlement was in prospect. On the 16th of December, 1783, the first ordinance of baptism was administered within our county. Susanah, daughter of Richard Conner, and afterward wife of Elisha Harrington, was baptized at the mission. She was the first child of white parents speaking the English language born within the county. She lived always in the county, and died at the age of sixty-five years. Col. De Peyster, in treating with the Chippewas, had arranged that they should remain until peace was established between Great Britain and the United States. As they continued to remain after this, the Chippewas became jealous of them and assumed a threatening aspect, and on the 20th of April, 1786, the whole was abandoned and the colony scattered. The United States Government gave to Mr. Conner a door of 160 acres of land in consideration of the fact that he had occupied it prior to the year 1796. Little was done at this point, now called Frederick, until after the war of 1812. During the scenes of this war, the Indians and the British soldiers had made a total destruction of the settlement, from which the few inhabitants fled at their approach. They burned and threw down the buildings, and used the fruit trees as hitching posts for their horses, thus destroying most of them. Thus was closed the mission of this remarkable class of reformers, and with it the hope expressed by one of their most noted ministers, that " the Gospel may yet find an entrance among the wild Chippewa tribes inhabiting these parts." Next we find the Roman Catholic religion taught in a log chapel on the Clinton River, in 1806.
Turning next from these, the first missionary of which we find any record is a Methodist of the name of Case. This man was located at Detroit in the early days of Methedism in Michigan, about the year 1807. In that year, he preached repeatedly in the house of Mr. William Tucker, in the township of Harrison. He also preached at the house of Christian Clemens. But no organization seems to have been effected until the people had somewhat recovered from the effects of the war of 1812. On the return of peace to our borders, emigrants came from the East, and with them came missionaries of the Methodist, the Presbyterian and the Episcopal orders. Meetings were held in the court house, a log structure built in the year 1818; in schoolhouses, where any existed; in barns and in private dwellings, and in the open woods.
In December, 1821, Piatt B. Morey, a Methodist clergyman, was taken sick at Mt. Clemens, died, and was buried there, but whose body was removed to the cemetery at Detroit, where it now rests. He was the first Methodist minister whose body was buried in Michigan soil.
In 1824, a claw was formed in Harrison; in 1826, one at Mt. Clemens. Who were the Moravians? They were a society of brethren taking their name from the country of Moravia, from which they sprang in the twelfth century. They were of a quiet and loving disposition, and so united were they in their beliefs and purposes as to gain the name of United Brethren. They were similar in religious belief to Luther, and were remarkable for zeal in missionary labors.
Soon after 1824, preaching was enjoyed at Utica, but no organization was formed until some years later. In the year 1825, Abel Warren, who, the year before, had settled in the township of Shelby, began to preach, and without doubt held meetings in the vicinity of Utica, but the exact dates I am not at present able to give. At Romeo, religious worship was first instituted by the Methodists previous to the year 1824.
Elias Petit, who at that time had charge of the Detroit Circuit, came out as far as the "Hoxie settlement" (Romeo), and preached in the houses of the settlers. This pioneer of Methodism in Michigan was born in Vermont, and on his conversion and license to preach, was sent into Canada on a missionary tour for soma years. He was the first minister of which we have any knowledge as preaching in the northern portion of the county. He was a powerful man. of large and robust frame, and powerful lungs, and was what the brethren of these times were wont to call a powerful preacher. It was said of him that he would travel a circuit as long as ho could get anything to eat on it, and then go to work and earn something, and then take the circuit again. He died in Iowa, in the year 1860.
Associated with the above as a local preacher was Elder Warren, whose memory is still fragrant in many a household. This man was the first who was licensed to preach in the State of Michigan. He was not a man of classical education, but brought to the work what for the place and times, was better still—a kind and sympathetic heart and a large stock of sound, practical common sense. In the early years of the settlements, his services were often in requisition far and near, as he was the man desired to officiate at funerals, thus becoming endeared to nearly every family. He had also a fine musical talent, and was usually the leader in the service of song on most occasions. Albert Finch, then an old man, was the pioneer who opened his house for the religious services and for the entertainment of the minister. It was in his house that the class was formed. This class consisted of Albert Finch. Joseph Freeman, James Leslie and their wives, and was the first church of Protestant faith formed in the county. In the year 1826, a remarkable revival occurred in the little settlement, at which many young people were converted who have since made useful members of society and lights in the Christian world. The persons forming this society (class), with most who joined at the time of the first revival, have passed away, and only their memory and the fruits of their toil remain (about the year 1827). This was very early in the history of Michigan's religious life, for a report of the Detroit Circuit three years previous, gives "one circuit, one minister, twenty members and one log meeting-house."
About the year 1827, a minister of the Congregational order visited the village of Borneo, and preached in such places as seemed most convenient. Although living at Pontiac, he felt an interest in the work of founding new churches and in ministering to the spiritual wants of these who lacked the means of grace. He used regularly to make the journey on foot to Romeo, and preach at this and intermediate once in four weeks. It was under his aid and advice that a Congregational Church was formed in 1829, the first in the county and second in the State, consisting of eight persons, one of whom still survives (in 1881). His wish to die in the harness was gratified, for he died while attending General Congregational Association of Michigan.
As Abel Warren was the pioneer of Methodism in this county, so was Mr. Buggies of Congregationalism. His custom was to visit the family of each settler, find out their faith and denomination, and so gather together these of his belief and preach to thern until a settled minister could be procured. These two men have wrought out for northern Macomb a religious history of which we have seen the blade and the oar, and it is hoped we may yet see abundantly the full corn in the ear.
The church planted thus in the woods was blessed in numbers and in usefulness, and was the City of Refuge to many a soul seeking escape from the pursuit of sin. The first minister to the church at Romeo was Rev. Luther Shaw, from 1830 to 1835; afterward, Rev. O. O. Thompson, James B. Shaw, Mr. Kellogg. Hurd Ladd and others.
In 1835, Episcopal services began to be held by a Rev. Mr. Holister, which services have been maintained irregularly to the present time.
In 1846, a Baptist Church was organized in Romeo, with nine members, of which Rev. E. A. Mather was for a long time pastor. Still later, these of the Christian persuasion became united, under the care of Elders Cannon and Richards, and built a church. In church building, the Congregational at Romeo takes the lead, the first being erected in 1834, at a cost of about $400. Some fifteen years later, this was removed and used as a private school, and a more commodious house erected in its place. In. 1878, this second house was torn down, and the present edifice takes its place. The Methodists built a church in 1839, with a basement, which was an audience room one year, when the body of the house was completed. In 1855. it was found necessary to enlarge the building, and again in 1867. In 1872. the old church was removed from the ground and the present church edifice erected
Still another of the early workers in the cause of religion was the Rev. John Taylor, who settled in the township of Bruce in the year 1832. He was thoroughly educated, refined in his tastes, genial and noble in his bearing, and of kind and pleasing address a finished scholar of the old school. For some time he hold Sabbath services in his own house; then was instrumental, with the aid of his neighbors, in building upon his own land a small building, which served for many years as church and schoolhouse.
The Scotch settlement was just being formed at this time, and they united with the people of Bruce, and, in July, 1833, a church was formed, of six persons as members, most of them bringing letters from churches to which they formerly belonged. Members were received into this church from Monroe County, N. Y.; from East Hampton, L. I.; from Old South Church. Boston; from Marlboro, S. H.; from Monroe, N. Y., and from Brighton, N. Y.; and many from the Reform Presbyterian's, or Seceders, in Scotland. This church prospered under the ministrations of Mr. Taylor, and reached a membership of nearly eighty. In the year 1830, a division arose, the history of which may be of interest. The settlers, as mentioned above, were largely from Now England, and brought with theron the habits and customs of their native States. Among these customs was that of commencing the keeping of the Sabbath upon the evening of the day previous, and ending at sunset of the Sabbath. Another was that of meeting upon the evening of the Sabbath to sing and practice in church music. Both these customs met the disapproval of the Scottish brethren, and a breach was opened. Added to this was the fact that the Scotch brethren clung with great tenacity to the use of the Psalms rendered in rhyme for church music, and objected to the employment of any instrument of music in the church. These differences began to be talked about and agitated, until at last two or more of the Scotch brethren brought the whole matter to an issue by demanding a dismissal and a letter of recommendation. The ground of complaint was clothed in the following language: 1, That the church violate the Sabbath in attending singing schools on Sabbath evenings. 2. That the chinch make use of and sing Watts' Psalms and Hymns in public worship. 3. That some of the church consider the Sabbath as commencing at evening and ending at evening, and so violate their Sabbath.
Discipline was followed by entreaty, and a church meeting was called to consider the case, and was adjourned hoping that the breach would in some manner be closed up. But such was not the case, and the church reluctantly voted to grant the request of the two brethren, and also of any others who might be in a like manner disaffected. The gap thus made continued to widen as one after another withdrew, until nearly one-half the members had withdrawn, the church expressing the hope that " when they have more thoroughly weighed and considered the matter, they will return and renew their covenant and continue to enjoy Christian privileges with us." The Scotch members all withdrew at this time, and formed a church in the midst of the Scotch settlement, in the township of Alraont, which church is still in a prosperous condition.
This calamity was followed by another of greater effect upon the little church, which was the death of the pastor, who had borne it in his arms thus far. Ho died suddenly, in December, 1840, dressed to attend church. Ho prepared to meet his God in the earthly sanctuary, but met Him in heaven. They were now children without a father, and were to continue in this condition for some years. Still another cause was the discipline of unruly members. The pulpit was supplied for a time from Romeo, and latterly the church at Bruce and that at Armada Village acted jointly, and the same minister served in both places.
This was continued for many years, with mutual satisfaction, but at length the membership had so decreased, and a change of pastors occurring at Armada, the appointment at this place was dropped.
In 1834, a Methodist class was formed at what is known as the center of Armada, at a log schoolhouse lately erected at that place, I think under the direction of Rev. Leonard Hill, minister in charge at Romeo.
Trial Day was Class-Leader of this class, and regularly walked from his house three miles to meet his class. A Sabbath school was also held hero, and Mr. Tenycke, who lived on the Andrews farm, and Mr. Elijah Burke, of Armada, were regular attendants and officers. After two or three years, a class was formed at West Armada, and the appointment at the Center was taken up. Urial Day was made leader of the new class. The class at West Armada was maintained for many years, and preaching regularly supplied from Romeo, and latterly from Armada, A Sabbath school was held in connection with the appointment a portion of the time. From deaths and removals of members, this appointment was taken up about the year 1860.
At an early day, the date I have not yet been able to fix, Rev. John Cannon, of Washington Township, with Mr. H. N. Richards, and a little later, with Bro. Reuben R. Smith, began to hold meetings of Christian order, having as a center a schoolhouse four miles north of Romeo, on the Almont road. From this place as a center, meetings were held in a circle of ten miles diameter for many years, but I am not aware that any church was formed until that at Romeo, about the year 1865, soon after which a church was built and the society has prospered. In the year 1840, Rev. Elisha D. Andrews took up his residence at the center of Armada, and aided very much in the development of the religious sentiment of northern Macomb. He held meetings at the houses of the settlers or at the schoolhouse. He assisted often in the burial service for the Bottlers, and cheered by his counsel and comfort the sick and the dying.
The first preaching in the village of Armada, in the house of Elijah Burke, by Isaac Ruggles, of Pontiac. Services had been held previously by a Baptist minister at or near Sanford Curbin's. A church organization was effected at this place, of whom Deacon Goodale and wife and Sanford Corbin and wife, as also Mrs. Pliny Corbin. were members. The Baptist Church in the village was formed in the year 1856, and the appointment at Deacon Goodale's taken up. Previous to this time, the people living south of this place attended church at Ray Center. The Baptist Church at Ray was formed at an early dates as early, I think, as 1830 to 1834. the place was then known as the Chubb settlement, and some of that name were among the movers or the now organization.
The house of worship at the Chubb settlement was a frame building, about 18x26 feet, with a huge stone fire-place in one end. In later years, when it was concluded to place a stove in the building, the pulpit was placed over the stones of which the hearth was formed. and some of the ministers thought it was a sort of doing penance, standing and kneeling on the stones during the service. Mr. Wright, commonly known as Elder Wright, preached at this house for some time, living on his farm some two miles south of the church.
Congregational Church was also formed at Ray about the year 1834, I think by Rev, O. C. Thompson, which had a varying degree of prosperity, but is now extinct. The old Baptist Church served the people of all denominations, until the year 1868, when a division arose in the society on the question of a site for a church. The people living south of and about the corners on which the old church stood felt that was the central place, and the only proper place, for a church to stand, while that portion of the society living about the place known as Freeman's Mill, could not consent to pay most of the building fund and travel all the distance, to build a church in a mud-hole at the center. The result was that two churches were built, and two religious societies organized, the one at the center as Congregational, under the leadership of Mr. England, and the society at the mill as a union society, with a sprinkling of nearly all denominations, but claimed by the Methodists, and a small class formed. A large and nourishing Sabbath school was formed at the Union Church, or rather in the schoolhouse, before the church was built This school was organized through the efforts of J. E. Day, who was its Superintendent for several years. Services were held in the Union Church by the Free-Will Baptists, under Rev. E. R. Clark, and Congregational under Rev. R. G. Baird and Rev. Samuel Phillips. In 1879, Rev.. J. Young Christian, of Romeo, commenced a series of meetings, which resulted in an extensive revival and a greatly enlarged and active church membership.
The Congregational Church in Armada Village was formed in 1835, by Rev. John B. Shaw, of the church at Romeo, who ministered to it in spiritual things for a short time, when Rev. S. A. Benton became its pastor, which position he held for fourteen years, and was succeeded by Rev. S. M. Judson, then by R. G. Baird.
The Methodist Class in Armada was formed at a date somewhat later than that of the Congregationalist the precise time I have not been able to learn. It was for some time connected with the class at Richmond, the records of which do not come to hand. The Methodist Episcopal Church edifice was built in the year 1860 or thereabout. Societies were formed at Memphis at a date not long after that at Armada, but the exact dates I have not been able to learn. Rev. William P. Russell settled in that village in 1848, and remained thirty-two years, met the religious wants of a very large community, in whose houses he was often seen and always welcome. In growing up with this people, ho had grown into their very hearts, and by his presence at every scone of joy or sorrow, became very dear to them. He baptized their infants, married their young, and in sorrow and with sympathy cheered the aged and the sick, and buried their dead. And here let us drop for the present the chain of history of religious development of Macomb County, to be made more full and complete by some wiser pen than mine. Wore there bettor men and women then than now? Self-denial for the welfare of Christ's cause was more common than it is to-day. Father Ruggles could walk from Pontiac to the St Clair River and return—a journey of more than one hundred miles—every month, to preach to new-comers who had no other means of supply, and his coming was anticipated and enjoyed with the keenest relish. Welcomed in every house, he blessed and honored every one which ho entered. Self-denial was practiced to attend public worship. Women and men, with their children, walked from four to eight miles to hear the sermon.
The visit of the minister at the homes of the settlers was an event to be remembered by each member of the household, for he talked to each of the one great end of life and their prospects for a happy eternity. The minister was revered then more than now. The very name preacher carried with it a sacredness not now felt.
They were austere in their lives, earnest in their work, and beyond reproach in their lives. The duties of these of the first generation in this county were of a formative character. It is to them, under God, we owe our prestige. Religiously, morally, educationally, they have made us what we are. The duties of us of the second generation are of a preservative nature To protect, to preserve pure and to perpetuate are no less important than to create. God grant we may discharge our duties as well as they have done theirs. If we do this, we shall see not only the blade and the ear, but each succeeding year will develop abundantly the full corn in the ear.
History of Macomb County, Michigan : Leeson, M. A. comp. (Michael A.) Chicago: Leeson, 1882.