Churches of Indian-Kentuck Region
By Robert W. Scott © 1999
Armstrong Chapel (Milton Twp., Jefferson Co.)
A turn of the century history of Milton Township, written for the Jefferson Co. Historical Society includes a sketch of the Armstrong Chapel, which was based on two sketches, whose details did not agree. The writer (probably William E. Ryker) said the Armstrong Chapel history was probably written by Mr. Cottman. (Apparently George S. Cottman who was a member of the historical society.)
According to this account, Armstrong Chapel, a Methodist congregation, was founded about 1832 or 1843. "It took its name from Captain John Armstrong, a well-known steamboat man, who, though not a member of any church, donated ground and money for its establishment. A building committee, consisting of James Brook, William Heath, ____________ Gale, Rev. Dr. Tevis, Floyd McKay and David Neal were chosen, and these began a good-size stone structure, but even with the help that had been extended, resources were so meager that work had to be suspended. Captain Armstrong again acted as a stimulus, though in a new & more drastic way. He called the committee together and told them that he would contribute more money, but that if the building were not completed by a certain time, he would take it over and convert it into a distillery. This put the supporting members on their mettle, and by strenuous efforts, and much self-denial, the structure was finished within the time limit."
The earliest official record comes on Feb. 13, 1848 when the church elected James Brooks, David Cain and William Heath as trustees (Jefferson Co. Mortgage Book 1847-1849 p. 270.) The church was probably located in Section 7 Twp. 3N Range 11E which adjoins the Ohio River and which is the location of the Armstrong Cemetery and Armstrong Landing. Capt. John Armstrong, ca. 1796-1880, is buried in this cemetery.
This church was made inaccessible by a shift in the Ohio River and its members founded Morris Chapel (in either 1856 or 1859, the Historical Society account notes both.) Both James Brooks, and William Heath, who had been members at Armstrong Chapel, were members at Morris Chapel. The church was abandoned by 1859.
Bee Camp Baptist Church (Madison Twp. Jefferson Co.)
Nothing is known about this church other than its brief appearance in the records of the Madison Baptist Association. The church first appears in the 1872 minutes with Brother P.M. Immel (sic Imel) as messenger and fifteen members. No deeds involving sale of land to the church trustees has been found. The Church is shown in the 1879 minutes with William E. Hammell and wife as messengers and twenty-five members reported. The church vanishes from the association records by 1883. It is possible that this congregation took over the building that had been used by United Brethren as the Otterbein Chapel.
Benham Methodist Episcopal Church (Brown Twp., Ripley Co.)
This church formed from the same community that produced the Middle Fork of Indian Kentucky Baptist Church. This cemetery apparently originally belonged to the Middle Fork of Indian Kentuck Baptist Church, which appears to have disbanded between 1863 and 1878. The old part of the church cemetery is listed as the Middlefork Cemetery or Lincolnville Cemetery in the transcription of cemeteries by the Ripley County historical Society.
According to a History of Benham by Emma King Benham, the Middlefork Methodist Church, a frame structure, was built about 1830 across the road from the cemetery. The church went by other names, including Wesleyan Chapel. Minutes of the Southeast Methodist Conference for 1853 show contributions made by the members of Benham's, which was part of the Canaan Circuit. It was not until many years later that the church acquired its land. On Dec. 22, 1887, Robinson and Sarah Benham sold a .12 acre tract to the trustees (names not given) in the NW1/4 SE1/4 Section 12 Twp. 6N Range 11E (Ripley Co. Deed Book 69 p. 538.) Land for the cemetery was deeded by Joseph and Eely Benham on March 11, 1898 and by Samuel McCoy on the same day. According to Mrs. Benham's history, the current building was built in 1899. The name was changed from Wesley Chapel to Benham M.E. Church after its remodeling in 1946/47.
Bennington United Methodist (Pleasant Twp., Switzerland Co.)
The Bennington Methodist Episcopal Church was founded 1834/1840, according to the History of Switzerland Co. (p. 1163), and from 1855-56 members worshiped in the same building as the United Brethren Church on a site donated by Dr. Cole. The first members of the Methodist Episcopal Society were listed as Zenis Sissons, Jordan Wainscott, Philip Etherington, William Pierce, Levi Orem Sr., Simeon Slawson and others.
A new church building was dedicated on Nov. 1, 1877, according to a church history written in 1952 by Ben V. Welch. He also quotes from a deed from Thomas B. and Dora McGregor who sold the church lot in fractional Section 6 Twp. 3N Range 3W to the trustees on Jan. 19, 1877 for $50. Trustees at the time of the sale were C.M. Newkirk, D.C. Valentine, J.M. Smith, Jordan Wainscott, and C.M. Johnson.
Bethel Baptist Church (Craig Twp., Switzerland Co.)
This church, which apparently was replaced by Spring Branch Baptist Church, existed from the late 1820s. On the third Saturday of October 1829, Brushy Fork church minutes record an agreement to seek help on a dispute from sister churches including Bethel.
John and Rachel Buchanan deeded a half acre in the NW1/4 Section 29 Range 2N Twp. 3W to the church trustees for fifty cents on Dec. 8, 1832 (Switzerland Co. Deed Book E p. 528) On the same day, Henry and Ellen Banta also deeded a half acre to the trustees for fifty cents. The deeds identify the trustees as Gabriel Phillips, Benit (sic) Courvoissier and Edward Violet. Benoit Courvoissier was probably not a trustee long. By the end of the month, he was a founding member of the Vevay Baptist Church. On the third Saturday of July 1841, there was a request for Brushy Fork to reconsider its acceptance in “receiving excluded Members from Bethel Church with out first Making satisfaction to Bethel Church.”
Land for the cemetery was deeded by Henry and Elinor Buchanan to the graveyard trustees, John Buchanan, John Anderson and Gabriel Phillips on Aug. 17, 1837 (recorded Feb. 8, 1844, Switzerland Co. Deed Book J p. 507) in the SE 1/4 Section 30 Twp. 2N Range 3W. It is not known when the Bethel Church ceased. However, John Buchanan's son John Buchanan was among the founding trustees of Spring Branch Church in 1853. Although John and Rachel Buchanan are buried in the Old Bethel Cem., Rachel was a founding member of the Braytown Christian Church about 1838.
Braytown Christian Church (Craig Twp., Switzerland Co.)
The Braytown Christian Church was organized in the 1830/40s by Rev. R.B. Roberts of Kentucky, according to the History of Switzerland Co. (p. 1151.) However, the church did not receive the deed for its property until Oct. 18, 1893 when Henry J. Barber and wife, Sarah, deeded part of the SW1/4 Section 19 Twp. 2N Range 2W to the trustees. (Switzerland Co. Deed Book 15 p. 499)
The Switzerland County History lists the first members as David and Hannah Trowbridge, William H. and Eliza Ann Roberts, Eveline Harvey, Mrs. Abba Lamson, Mary Lamson, Abigail Lamson, Clarissa Golay, Lucy Haskell, Rachel Buchanan, Phoebe Banta and Elizabeth Cotton and others. Rachel Buchanan is probably Rachel Short Buchanan, whose father Jacob Short, was a founding member of Manville Christian Church. Rachel, her husband John Buchanan and Short are buried at Old Bethel Cemetery. The original Braytown membership probably dates from shortly after December 1838 when the Buchanans purchased land in Craig Township on the Versailles-Vevay Road after moving from Milton Township. The Switzerland Co. History lists first ministers as Rev. Beverly Vawter, L.H. Jameison (sic), Henry Movity and Charles Lanham. Trustees elected on June 27, 1873 were Isaac McKay Sr., William F. Detraz and George H. Haskell.
Brooksburg Baptist (Milton Twp., Jefferson Co.)
The Brooksburg Baptist Church was admitted to the Long Run Association with Brooksburg members at an association meeting held Aug. 8 and 9, 1894 at Grant's Creek Church.
Church messengers were A. L. Banta, Frank Adams, Frank Schnaitter, Martin Bear, Jerry Brook, Tobitha Sample and the Rev. G.H. Jayne. Baptists in Brooksburg probably attended Union Baptist Church at Lamb and perhaps Long Run before this church's founding. This church is still active. (1999)
Brooksburg Methodist (Milton Twp., Jefferson Co.)
The Brooksburg Methodist Church was dedicated Oct. 25, 1891. Twenty-six members came from Morris Chapel, according to a history by Louise McKay Weber. The first board of stewards was listed as Theodore L. McKay, William Wright, Dr. Edward Tevis, Andrew J. Larimore and Isaiah Brooks. The first minister was A.R. Beach with Rev. George W. Gelvin as presiding elder. The tie to Morris Chapel was strong enough that both McKay and Larimore are buried there. A report written by Elizabeth Alves McKay as a five-year report after the dedication stated that the church had 100 full members and eight probationers. This church is still active. (1999)
Brushy Fork Baptist Church (Pleasant Twp., Switzerland Co.)
Founded in 1818, Brushy Fork Baptist Church developed from one of the most mixed populations in Jefferson and Switzerland County. The current building is in Switzerland County with part of the cemetery in Shelby Twp., Jefferson Co. However, the original building was apparently in Jefferson Co.
The church drew its membership from three groups of recent immigrants the Irish, including the Henrys, Gillilands and Charltons; the English, including the Firths and Owens; and the Scots including the Harpers, Dalgleishes, McGregors, Francises and Cowans. It also drew from pioneering populations that included Griffins and Greens, and Low Dutch including the Bantas, VanOsdols and Lentzes. Its founding members were Joseph McIntosh, Stephen Ellis Sr. and Rebecca Ellis, William and Elizabeth Benefield, Henry and Nancy Banta and Polly Green.
Stephen and Rebecca Ellis sold land on the Switzerland-Jefferson Co. border to trustees, Henry Banta, John Gillan (probably sic, Gilliland) and David Lentz for $1 on Aug. 10, 1825 (Jefferson Co. Deed Book D p. 251.) The first church, completed that year, was made from hewn logs measuring 24 by 30 feet. The next building was constructed in what is now the graveyard in 1845. This building was sold in 1865 to a businessman at Vevay who moved it. A brick building was built in 1866 according to Charles Heberhart in his newspaper column “They Say and Do in the Country”. (ca. 1940.)
Brushy Fork was served by many of the same ministers who worked throughout the Indian-Kentuck Valley including Henry Banta, John Graham, Archer Smith and Joshua D. Griffith. The church made one important contribution to area religion: Robert Stevenson, a Brushy Fork member, was ordained by the body in April 1844. The church joined the Silver Creek Baptist Association in August 1818. It later joined the Laughery Association and then the Madison Association in 1844. Brushy Fork became a member of the Long Run Association in 1851 with 104 members. The ubiquitous Robert Stevenson was among its messengers that year, as were J. Christie and J. Boyles. At the time of the Switzerland Co. History, it had 130 members with 100 in Sunday School (p. 1161.) This church is still active. (1999) Church minutes exist from the formation of the body and have been microfilmed.
Bryantsburg Presbyterian Church (Monroe Twp., Jefferson Co.)
A handful of references have been found to the Bryantsburg Presbyterian Church: The first comes on Aug. 5, 1854 when the church elected William McGee, John Nichols and Andrew Woodfill as trustees. Robert Kinnear was chairman and O.J. Hamilton was secretary. The second clear reference, on April 30, 1867, ends its brief history, when, the trustees, (Jefferson Co. Deed Book 28 p. 308) John Nichols, Andrew Woodfill and William McCoy, deceased, sold one acre in the E1/2 W1/2 SE1/4 Section 11 Twp. 5N 10E, which contained property known as the Bryantsburg Presbyterian Meeting House to Josiah Bassett.
This body developed from the Monroe Presbyterian Church, although it's not known if it formed amicably or splintered from Monroe. McGee, Nichols, Woodfill and Hamilton were all members of Monroe in the late 1840s. Oliver H. Hamilton is list as a member at Monroe in 1848. The record has a column labeled “Remarks” for all members. The one-word remark for Hamilton is Bryantsburg, presumably meaning he was dismissed to join that church. After Bryantsburg failed, Nichols rejoined Monroe.
Caledonia United Presbyterian Church (Pleasant Twp., Switzerland Co.)
The current church building is in Switzerland Co. with a portion of the cemetery in Jefferson Co. A predecessor to the Caledonia Presbyterian Church was built in 1818, according to a church history written by John Gullion that attributes much of its information to Robert W. Shaw given in 1921 or 1922. This account says that the first log building was erected in "1818 on a hillside just north of the present building." It was built on the Samuel Culbertson farm in Switzerland County. This church operated until 1825, according to a history written by Howard Schmunck, son of Rev. F.W. Schmunck, the Caledonia pastor 1907-1924. The Schmunck history was quoted in the church history prepared for Caledonia's 150th anniversary in 1978.
The Caledonia Church was formed officially on Aug. 7, 1827 when the trustees were elected for what was at first named the "Caledonian Church." The chairman was John Sharp, secretary, Andrew Morton, according to records filed in the recorder's office They were elected "preparatory to the building of a house of worship" (Jefferson Co. Deed Book D p. 546.) The founding trustees were Walter Scott, William Wilkie, John Culbertson, Samuel Welch and Morton. All were from Scotland, except for Welch. Land for the church and cemetery was deeded by John Culbertson and wife Margaret to the trustees on Aug. 16, 1827 in Jefferson Co. and also from his brother John Culbertson in Jefferson Co. (Jefferson Co. Deed Book E p. 19) and from brother James (Jefferson Co. Deed Book D p. 547) and Samuel Culbertson in Switzerland County. (Switzerland Co. Deed Book C p. 380.)
The congregation may have met without a minister until 1834. That year, a minister "organized" the church, according to the Gullion history, which calls him the Rev. James Worth. A History of Shelby Township calls him North. Worth or North came to Caledonia from a church at Milroy, Indiana. While Caledonia records do not exist until 1854, a number of members of the Welch family, who are known to have been Caledonia members, left the Pleasant Presbyterian Church in March 1834. This coincides with the increased activity reported by Gullion. The first Caledonia building was a stone structure facing south completed in 1828 on the acre purchased from John Culbertson. In 1872, a brick building facing east was constructed on the same acre, just north of the stone building. The present building (1999) was dedicated on June 12, 1921. This church is active, although with a very small membership. Church records from 1854 on are available by microfilm.
Canaan Methodist Church (Shelby Twp., Jefferson Co.)
According to the History of Shelby Twp. (Jefferson Co. Historical Society), this church was organized about 1830 by John Cain, William C. Sullivan, John Warfield and Marscia Cook and their wives, with the cemetery donated by Amos Simpers. The earliest gravestone at the cemetery is that of Susannah Littlejohn, who died Jan. 28, 1829, age 9 years 11 months (Per a transcription by the John Paul Chapter DAR). This may indicate the land for the cemetery might have belonged to the Littlejohns earlier. Katherine Cain, consort of John Cain, who died July 30, 1833, age 44, is probably the next oldest date.
On April 22, 1834, Amos Simpers deeded the land to the trustees: Moody J. Pulliam, Hinman Harris, Jesse Lott, Absalom Spencer and Richard Mitchell. The land was located in part of the NE Section 21 Twp. 5N Range 11E (Jefferson Co. Deed Book J p. 46.) The Historical Society accounts says that E.B. Bishop related that there were three buildings: one of logs about a quarter mile northeast of the final church; the second, built in the 1840s and the final church, built about 1868, the latter two once stood on a site next to the cemetery. Jefferson Co. records reflect the names of some of the officers. On Aug. 6, 1868, John Warfield, Gamaliel Warfield, James Ferguson, James Phillips and John H. Means were elected trustees (Miscellaneous Records Book 3 p. 3.)
Trustees elected Sept. 9, 1895 were Horace Woodfill, David H.C. Means, James Risk, Robert Copeland and Samuel Armand. Later that year, Jordan Johnson and Henry Rogers are listed as trustees for the church parsonage (Miscellaneous Records Book 3 p. 147) The Canaan Church continued well into the Twentieth Century. The church building, torn down after the congregation disbanded, served as a site for community meetings, including school graduations.
Center Baptist Church (Shelby Twp., Jefferson Co.)
The Center Baptist Church joined the Coffee Creek Baptist Association in 1829 when its membership was given as thirteen. No information (including its location) was provided by association records except that the church's messengers included minister, Joseph McIntosh, and Wilson Buchanan.
Records of Brushy Fork Baptist Church show that on the 3rd Saturday of June 1829, "the church has granted liberty to open a dore (sic) for the reception of members at Wilson Buckhanan's and Pulliam's Schoolhouse at any time Brother Blankenship and some of the members thinks proper." The involvement of McIntosh and Wilson Buchanan indicates that this Brushy Fork action probably involved the Center congregation as McIntosh also preached at Brushy Fork and was a founding member there in 1818. Wilson Buchanan was a resident of the Barbersville-Buchanan Station area. McIntosh also was a moderator at Indian-Kentuck at different times in the 1820s and 1830s and at West Fork Baptist Church in the 1830s.
In 1830, the church reported seventeen members with Buchanan and McIntosh again its messengers. When West Fork held a disciplinary hearing regarding a sister Shepherd who asked for representatives of other churches to hear her case. West Fork minutes of the Fourth Saturday December 1830 show that Senter (sic) sent William Robinson and John Campbell. In 1831, Center sent William Robertson (likely the same as William Robinson), John Peak and McIntosh as messengers) and reported eighteen members. The Church is not listed in the 1832 Coffee Creek minutes. This church was probably succeeded by the Center Grove Baptist Church.
Center Grove Baptist Church (Shelby Twp., Jefferson Co.)
Center Grove was the older name for Hicks Ridge. This church was founded as a Separate Baptist Church (This denomination still exists, but there appear to be no churches closer to the Indian-Kentuck area than Bartholomew Co.) and probably succeeded the Center Baptist Church. A letter dated "Canaan, May 14, 1922" in the records of the Jefferson County Library gives the date of the building of the Center Grove Baptist Church as 1859. The letter was written by John E. Harper.
On April 11, 1860, James and Emeline Risk (daughter of Wilson Buchanan, himself a messenger from the Center Baptist Church) sold a half-acre tract to the Center Grove trustees, William Campbell, William H. Whitham and James M. Campbell, in the NW1/4 SW1/4 Section 1 Twp. 5N Range 11E. (Jefferson Co. Deed Book 18 p. 170.) The 1850 census for Shelby Township shows a Henry Serber, age 40, occupation given as Sep. (probably Separate) Bap. Minister. He could have easily served the Hicks/Center Grove community.
The most thorough listing of members in official records came on June 27, 1874 when Center Grove trustees were elected. On the motion of Joseph Jarvis and M. Cooper, members named John Kerry (or King?) as Judge. Standing for election were James Thornton, Levi Lewis, Robert Lewis, Thomas Baker, Joseph R. Jarvis, Milton Jarvis, Casper Land, Michael Cooper. Elected were Thornton, Levi and Robert Lewis, Baker, Joseph Jarvis. J.J. Fleming was listed as moderator and David Buchanan as clerk (Miscellaneous Records Book 1 p. 291.)
What triggered the change to a regular Baptist Church is not known. Center Grove became the Hicks Baptist Church, a regular church on Dec. 29, 1894, according to the Harper letter. Harper also said the church was remodeled in 1894. Probably the church's change in affiliation was gradual. On the second Saturday in November 1891 the Brushy Fork minutes reflect that the "church extends an arm of her chu work over at Center Grove and when our pastor preaches there he can open the doors there for the reception of members there to our chu..." (Abbreviations are per the original record.)
Center Presbyterian Meeting House (Madison Twp., Jefferson Co.)
Two deeds indicate the existence of the Center Presbyterian congregation and place the proposed site for the meeting house near the meeting of Dry Fork and the West Fork of the Indian-Kentuck Creek just below China. Both deeds are dated Feb. 4, 1833 and describe the same tract of 1 acre 32 perches, in the SE1/4 Section 5 Twp. 4N Range 11E (Jefferson Co. Deed Book I p. 266) presumably the same tract. John and Mary Quinn are the grantors in one deed, while John and Susannah Lee sold their interest through the other. The deeds list the church trustees as James Hamilton, John J. Ryker, Robert Martin and Abraham Ryker. Hamilton was post master for China from March 8, 1837-Feb. 3, 1879. John J. Ryker is probably John G. Ryker 1793-1875. He and Abraham Ryker were brothers, sons of Gerardus Ryker Jr. and Leah Smock.
On Sept. 11, 1838, James Hamilton purchased land bordering the tract reserved for the church from Susannah Lee. Susannah's deed reiterates that the tract was reserved for the church, but does not prove any structure was ever built (Jefferson Co. Deed Book Q p. 236.) Susannah Lee and James Hamilton's wife, Mary, were both daughters of Samuel Demaree, who operated a mill near the church site. As the Demaree cemetery was nearby, that family might have been involved in this congregation.
There are hints that this church may have survived longer. The session records of the Monroe Presbyterian Church show that in April 1842, Mr. James Brownlee was "ordained Pastor of this and Central Church." The minutes also have a list showing that Andrew Woodfill, Mary S. Woodfill and Martha J. Woodfill were received by "Letter from Central." There are no dates next to these three names, but a separate section of the church minutes show that the Woodfills were received on Sept. 31, 1848. Mary was a sister to Abraham Ryker. Given the transportation of those days, Central Church could not have been far away from Monroe. Given the Ryker connections, it seems likely Central is Center.
Concord Wesleyan Church (Brown Twp., Ripley Co.)
The church was originally located where the Concord Cemetery serves as a marker for the original site. William Cole donated a quarter acre in the NW1/4 Section 27 Twp. 6N Range 11E to the church trustees on March 28, 1844. The trustees were Jacob Overturf, Joseph Early, Allen Carnine, Shadrach Hyatt and H.B. Hukill (Ripley Co. Deed Book L p. 357.) The deed notes that the trustees will "cause to be erected a church building." The church was later relocated to its current site in Section 4 Twp. 6N Range 11E west of Cross Plains. This church is still active. (1999)
Crooked Creek Baptist Church (Madison Twp., Jefferson Co.)
The Crooked Creek Baptist Church, the second Baptist church in Indiana, was formed March 28, 1807, according to the 1869 minutes of the Madison Baptist Association. Although not in the Indian-Kentuck Valley, it was parent to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, which was important in the formation of other Baptist churches in the county. Crooked Creek's first fifteen members came from four families, who came together from Woodford County, Ky., in the autumn of 1806.
The members are listed as Elder Jesse Vawter and wife, John Vawter and wife, William Vawter, William Underwood and wife, his mother and two sisters, James Edwards and wife, and Mr. Jackson and his family. Jesse Vawter was a messenger from the North Fork Baptist Church in Kentucky when the Elkhorn Association met in August 1806. A brief history on microfilm at the Madison-Jefferson County public library also lists Ralph and Catherine Griffin, who later moved to the Indian-Kentuck near Milton Baptist Church. John Vawter's recollections, reprinted in a Madison newspaper, also list Griffin as a member of the Baptist group that came in 1806.
The 1869 Madison Baptist Association minutes, which give a history of the Madison Baptist Church, report that the Crooked Creek church, a log meeting house, was constructed in the fall of 1807 "on the hill, east of the Michigan Road, near the present site of the North Madison cemetery (presumably modern Fairmount Cemetery) and here regular worship was held for about five years." This church changed its location and changed its name to Mt. Pleasant in 1812.
Cross Plains Baptist Church (Brown Twp., Ripley Co.)
The Cross Plains Baptist Church was founded May 18, 1843 when ten men and eleven women joined and associated with the Laughery Baptist Association. The History of Switzerland Co. (p. 1162) reports that Cross Plains grew out of Brushy Fork Baptist Church, which also produced Cross Plains' first minister, the Rev. Robert Stevenson who was ordained at Brushy Fork and who preached in so many churches in Southeastern Indiana. At this point, Stevenson had not yet been ordained.
The action is reflected in the Brushy Fork minutes of the third Saturday in April 1843 which report that "the church granted Several members of dismission namely, Augustus Lathrop and wife, Henry Reed and wife and Samuel Reed and wife and Gerua D. Grover. Second the church has agreed to send six of her members to the Cross planes to aid in Constituting of a church namely John Mathis, John Christie, Robert Stevenson, Alfred Miles, Joseph Voyles, Wm Wicuff." (Punctuation added)
The original church structure was completed in June 1844 and is still in use. George A. .and Mary Roberts sold the trustees one acre for $12 on Dec. 25, 1845 in the N1/2 NW1/4 Section 28 Twp. 6N Range 12E (Ripley Co. Deed Book M p. 499.) The trustees were Augustus Lathrop, William Bassett and Thomas Bassett. The church joined the Long Run Baptist Association on the third Saturday September 1852. Messengers were J.M. Nicholson and John Bassett. The church reported forty members at the time. The church graveyard dates from at least February 1855 when it is first mentioned in church records.
Cross Plains Methodist Church (Brown Twp., Ripley Co.)
James and Rebecca Hukill deeded the land for the Cross Plains Methodist Episcopal Church to the trustees on Feb. 1, 1833 on Lot 16 (out of twenty-five original lots) in Cross Plains (Ripley Co. Deed Book C p. 375.) The trustees were David Findley, Samuel James, Hazelett Podell (sp?) and Alpheus Horton. The first church was constructed on an acre of grounds that same year. The original list of members is lost. The current (1999) church building was constructed in the fall of 1875 and winter of 1876. This church is still active.
Ebenezer Methodist Church (Pleasant Twp., Switzerland Co.)
The former Ebenezer Methodist Church grew out of camp meetings on Indian Creek, according to a centennial history of the church. These are reported as beginning in 1802 (when population would have been very light). However, because these early meetings include members of other denominations, it is not recognized as a Methodist church. The Ebenezer Society was organized in 1816 and was named in honor of Ebenezer Gray for his services as an exhorter and his part in organizing the society.
James Alfrey and wife Nancy deeded one and a half acres to the trustees, Samuel Bellamy, Ebenezer Gray, Edward Kern, John Protsman and James Adams, on Feb. 19, 1831 (Switzerland Co. Deed Book E p. 391.) The first preacher assigned to the church after its completion was Allen Wiley.
The Switzerland Co. History (p. 1161) lists the first members as Jacob Kern and family, James Alfrey and wife, Joseph Gray and wife, Thomas Evans, wife and family, Ebenezer Gray and wife and John Protsman and wife. Other early members recorded in the church history include Evans, C. Brown, Joseph Gray and son Ebenezer, Uly G. Gray, Will Shaw, Alfrey, Jacob Kern, son Edward Kern and John Protsman.
The first church building was completed in 1831. The second building, a frame structure, was completed in 1842 while the third church building was erected in 1901, according to the church history. On Aug. 23, 1847, Stillwell and Frances Graham sold land in Moorefield to James Armstrong, William Protsman and Jesse Todd, trustees for parsonage (Switzerland Co. Deed Book M. pp. 234-235) and the first parsonage was built that year. The church appointed the same three trustees to receive the deed for the lot on 16 Nov. 1847. (Switzerland Co. Deed Book M p. 248) A second parsonage was purchased in 1918, burned in 1920 and was rebuilt in 1921. The church building has been used as a private dwelling for several years.
Free Will Baptist Church (Pleasant Twp., Switzerland Co.)
This church was probably short lived and its existence is reflected by a handful of records. On June 21, 1856, Alexander McCullough sold land in the SE1/4 Section 10 Twp. 5N Range 12E to the trustees, Robert Ricketts, Garrett Ricketts and Nicholas Vineyard. The property was in Moorefield and neighbored William Roger's lot. The church is not listed in the Switzerland Co. history in 1885. Minutes of the December 1855 meeting of the Brushy Fork Church noted that "Bro. Thos. H. Stewart, a preacher of the free will Baptist Church, joined by relation. He also presented a church letter which showing his good standing with the Free Wills." (Punctuation added.)
Hebron Baptist Church (Monroe Twp., Jefferson Co.)
Hebron was formed by a core of members from Indian-Kentuck Church, which gave its permission for eleven members to join it. Another three members had letters from the Mt. Pleasant Church. The church was organized the 5th Saturday March, 1828, in a log-school house on Graham Road with fourteen members present, according to a history in the Madison Baptist Association minutes of 1875. By then, its membership was 101. Jacob Ryker was the first pastor, licensed the fifth Saturday in March 1828. The church was admitted to the Coffee Creek Association in the fall of 1829 and moved to the Madison Association with that body's formation in 1832.
The original members are given as Joseph Lame Sr., James Wildman, Jacob Ryker, Patrick Humphrey, Robert New, Abraham Lewis (a founder of Indian-Kentuck) Jacob Bryant, Sarah Lame, Sarah Humphrey, Mary Lame, Grace Ryker, Ann Lewis, Mary Lewis and Susannah New. The church met in the school-house until 1836 when the church building was erected.
The church cemetery preceded the church by several years. The first person buried there was William Watlington in 1815, according to a History of the Hebron Cemetery, written by W. Shirley Rogers. However, a 1958 history of the Hopper family by John Housefield, 1877-1974, claims that an aunt of Millie Lame was buried there in 1814. Joseph Lame deeded land in Section 36 Twp. 5N Range 10E to Ruel Custer, Thomas Jameson, Caleb Lame, James Wildman and Jacob Bryant trustees of the burying ground and school house on April 13, 1830 (Jefferson Co. Deed Book F p. 356.) A deed for the transfer of the church property has not been found. This church is still active. (1999) Church minutes exist from its formation and have been microfilmed.
Hicks Baptist Church (Shelby Twp., Jefferson Co.)
Hicks Baptist Church developed from the Center Grove Separate Baptist Church. The congregation became regular Baptist church on Dec. 29, 1894 and joined the Madison Baptist Association. An article in the Madison Courier of June 12, 1895 mentions dedication of a new Baptist Church at Center Grove. Madison Association records show sixty-eight members at Hicks in 1912. The church burned in the 1970s. There are a few surviving members of the church (1995.)
Home Methodist Chapel (Milton Twp., Jefferson Co.)
Home Chapel probably took its name from the Home Post Office founded in 1830 on Dry Fork north of Brooksburg. A deed for the property has not been found, which was in the SW1/4 SE1/4 Section 19 Twp 4N Range 12E. The Home Chapel was part of what was once the Moorefield Circuit. Local residents remember it as a "shouting Methodist" church. A church history notes that it routinely practiced "exhortation" and that it was aware that the practice was viewed as peculiar.
A History of Milton Twp. (Jefferson Co. Historical Society) gives the following account: "In 1831, the Home Church was organized by persons living in the vicinity of Brooksburg. That year they began the erection of a stone meeting house about 2 1/2 miles north of Brooksburg, but before completion, it was blown down by a severe storm. Undaunted, the Building committee, Mordecai Brooks, Rev. John Tevis, Samuel Joyce, John Brooks, Tinsley Vernon, George M. Rowlinson, Gabe Poor and Marshall Gray proceeded with another structure, which was finished and dedicated as Home Chapel. In 1875, this building was abandoned because of floods and the backwaters and a new church was built on higher ground. This was dedicated in June 1880 by Presiding Elder Rogers."
This group was heavily North Carolinian: among the building committee the Brooks, Joyce, Vernon, Poor and probably Gray families came from (or through) North Carolina. There are some surviving lists of trustees in Jefferson County records. On July 24, 1875, the trustees were Isaiah and Mordecai Brooks and Isaac McKay. William Malcolm, formerly a member of McKendree Church, was elected a trustee on Aug. 8, 1885 (Miscellaneous Records 2 p. 89.) Other trustees elected that day were John W. Adams, David Heath and George Keel. Robert Roberts was presiding elder and E.F. Bellamy secretary (The latter two were probably officers of the circuit, not the church.)
The Historical Society account gives some conflicting information. "Names given here may be ministers and presiding elders--Rev. Jesse M. Brockway, R.M Barnes, William Long, Jared Sparkes, William Morrison. " Then comes a list: "Longden, Burress, Howe, Pummell, McMahon, Thomas S. Brooks, A.C. Roof, A.M. Thornton, Lemaster, Thomas C. Hunt, Robert Kinnear, Wesley Turner, William Mellender, J.W. Allen, Thompson."
While the Historical Society author was unclear as to which were ministers, the second list includes Robert Kinnear, who was a minister who preached at Methodist Churches in Eastern Jefferson County and Western Switzerland County. Effie Fagg's church history was read on July 18, 1937 at the dedication of the newest chapel. Mrs. Syballine Robinson of Milton Twp. says the church ceased operation between 1965, when her father Frank Fagg died, and 1971, when her mother Effie Fagg died. The church minutes are not known to have survived and Depauw University has no record of any church minutes or other records.
Indian-Kentuck Churches - Part 2