Northwestern Indiana from 1800 to 1900A regional history written by Timothy H. Ball . . . .

Source Citation:
Ball, Timothy H. 1900. Northwestern Indiana from 1800 to 1900 or A View of Our Region Through the Nineteenth Century. Chicago, Illinois: Donohue and Henneberry. 570 p.






Members of different denominations were among the pioneers. Especially were there Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, United Brethren, and Quakers. Other denominations were also represented.

It was very needful and quite pleasant, for a time, that all the members of the small neighborhoods should meet together and listen, sometimes to a Methodist minister, sometimes to a Presbyterian, and then again to a Baptist. All could worship in harmony, and all would get some good from the Scripture expositions of those earnest, zealous men, who first as religious teachers came among the settlers. To those yet remaining who enjoyed those earliest religious gatherings in private rooms and little log school houses, and in the groves in summer time, the remembrance is pleasant now. There was a simplicity, a reality, in the worship then, of which but little remains now. As settlements increased the larger denominations began to organize themselves into congregations for church activity and growth.

Some account of the formation of the earliest churches as it has been gathered from different sources will here be given; and then the number of members of the various churches at the present time. The struggles, the changes, the individual church history, from the organization of each till 1900, would fill a


quite large volume. Some of the denominations, it will appear, have succeeded much better than others, in maintaining church life and in securing a fair amount of growth. The real good accomplished cannot be estimated by any standards or measurements known in this world. Some churches die and some live. As it is with men so it is with organizations, who can tell what is really failure and what is success? In the realm of the moral and the spiritual neither wealth nor numbers can be the sure criterion by which to determine what God at last will call success. From the words "Well done," when uttered by the great Judge there will be no appeal.

Members of the following denominations at length formed organizations in these counties, and some brief notices of each will be given: Methodist Episcopal, German Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, Presbyterian, United Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Reformed, Protestant Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Unitarian, Second Adventists, Disciples or "Christians," Quakers or Friends, "New Church" or Swedenborgians, Free Methodists, United Brethren, Believers, German Evangelical, and Union. Also a congregation of Mormons, claiming to be Christians.

An order passed by the Board of Commissioners of Porter County in February, 1842, gives a partial list of the denominations then. They had in 1841 closed the doors of the court house "against preaching by any denomination of Christians." So reads their order; but now they say: "Ordered by the Board, that the Methodists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Universalists, Baptists, Campbellites, Associate Reformers, Infidels and all other denominations be allowed to hold meetings in the court house, provided they


do not interfere with the business of the courts of the county and political meetings."

1. The Episcopal Methodists.

As introductory to the Methodist history of this part of the State may be fittingly placed here the following statements from the Rev. Dr. R. D. Utter's "Conference History."

In 1820 there were in Indiana eleven circuits, all in the south part of the State. Three of these were in the Miami District of Ohio Conference, and eight in the Indiana District of Missouri Conference. In 1824 the Illinois Conference was established and all of Indiana was assigned to that Conference. In 1832, in October, was organized at New Albany the Indiana Conference, this then including the entire State.

Dr. J. L. Smith, author of an excellent history of Indiana Methodism, states, that in 1844 the North Indiana Conference was formed, the line dividing the two passing through Indianapolis. In 1852 a part of North Indiana was cut off and a new conference formed called North-West Indiana Conference, which held its first session in Terre Haute in September, 1852. About the same time was also organized the South-East Indiana Conference, holding its first session at Rushville in October, 1852. In Indiana were then, at this time, four conferences, each cornering in Indianapolis. The four continued for some forty years, but a few years ago the two in the south were united, leaving three conferences now in the State of Indiana.

In 1823 Methodist church life commenced in Indianapolis, and there their semicentennial was held in May, 1873.

The first Methodist preaching in this region seems


to have been in La Porte County, probably in 1832, possibly in 1831.

According to a record or historical paper, prepared by Rev. G. M. Boyd, Rev. James Armstrong was appointed Superintendent or Presiding Elder of the northern district of Indiana, then called Missionary District, in the fall of 1832, at the first session of the Indiana Conference, and when he came into this part of his large district, he found an organization of Methodists gathered by a local preacher, Jeremiah Sherwood, near where Westville is now. This is considered not only the first Methodist but probably the first Protestant organization in La Porte County. In the fall of 1832 an organization was formed, -- thus the records reads -- "at Door Village, or on a log in the grove where the village now stands." There, in 1833, a chapel was built. (Rev. G. M. Boyd calls this the first house of worship built north of the Wabash River, but the probability is that there was a Roman Catholic chapel at Bailly Town in 1827). In 1833 the name of the district "Missionary," was changed to "North Western." The work of gathering congregations went rapidly on. In 1834 the name was again changed to La Porte District. In 1836 Rev. G. M. Boyd was placed on the La Porte circuit with Stephen R. Jones as assistant. They now had fourteen places for preaching in the county. In 1837 a small brick church was built in La Porte. Union Chapel, the first church building in New Durham Township, was built in 1839.

As Porter and also Lake County had at this time settlers, the missionary field extended from La Porte westward.

Some of the statements now to be given rest on


the authority of the Conference minutes, four bound volumes examined some years ago at the home of Rev. W. J. Forbes in Valparaiso, and some on his authority.

In 1834 on the South Bend Circuit was stationed Stephen R. Ball. In that year no settlements, but few settlers in what became Lake County. Some in Porter County. In 1835 Deep River Mission was formed, Stephen Jones missionary. In 1836 assigned to Deep River Mission Jacob Colclazer. In 1837 Hawley B. Beers. In 1838 Samuel K. Young. In 1839 Kankakee Mission was formed, William J. Forbes missionary, who found on his entire field about one hundred members. In 1840 was formed Valparaiso Circuit, including Porter and Lake, W. J. Forbes minister in charge. In 1841 on this circuit Isaac M. Stagg. In 1842 Wade Posey. In 1843 Warren Griffith. The Conference minutes say, Crown Point to be supplied. In 1844 North Indiana Conference is named and Crown Point is called a circuit.

The Conference Minutes are to be considered first-class authority and officially correct, but in Mrs. Susan G. Wood's historic paper in "Lake County, 1884," which gives an excellent history of Methodism in Lake County, are some names of devoted ministers in Lake County that are not in the Conference Minutes. These are, for the year 1839, as a supply, Robert Hyde, and again, in charge of the work, perhaps as a supply, a few years later, D. Crumbacker, and at the same time, in 1843 and afterward, as a "local preacher of more than ordinary ability," Major Allman. (Mrs. Wood, a daughter of Rev. G. W. Taylor, has resided in Lake County since 1845.)

Pulaski is, like Lake, quite largely a Roman


Catholic county, yet the Methodists organized the first church in Winamac, as they are accustomed to do in most places. Their organized work commenced in 1839, the year in which Winamac became the county seat, and but two years after what is called its first settlement.

Although many settlers came in from Europe, yet the work of gathering congregations continued, and Pulaski has now nine Methodist churches and four chapters of the Epworth League.

In White County the Methodists commenced organized work in 1836 or 1837, the pioneer preachers being Richard, L. Hargraves, John L. Smith, J. Ritchie, and Samuel Reed. There is a tradition that Rev. Mr. Lowrey preached the first sermon in the county at the house of Robert Spencer. He came from Rockville, but whether a Methodist or Presbyterian the tradition does not state.

With such missionaries and pastors as those named above the work of gathering congregations and erecting church buildings would go rapidly forward.

The Methodist Episcopal congregations in White County are, in Monon, Monticello, Reynolds, Talmadge, Wolcott, Idaville, Burnettsville, Brookston, and three country congregations.

In what became Newton County the Methodist preaching was for several years across the state line in Illinois, but at length congregations were gathered and church buildings erected in Kentland and Goodland and Morocco.

In Jasper County the first sermon, according to the tradition and record, was preached by Rev. Mr. Walker, a Methodist, at the house of a widow, Mrs.


Thomas. Date not given. But the first good-sized Methodist church in Rensselaer was built in 1849.

After Remington commenced town growth, in 1860, a church building was soon erected there.

In other parts of the county, congregations were gathered and church buildings erected.

In Starke County, what success attended the labors of the first Methodist preacher, "Elder Munson," has not been ascertained, but in 1856 there was a church building at Knox, and besides the congregation and church in the county seat, there are Methodist Episcopal churches in North Judson and San Pierre and Hamlet, making four now in Starke County. And they have good Sunday schools.

The date of the mission work in Starke has not been found, but L. W. Munson was on the La Porte circuit in 1843.

In 1844 the Indiana Conference met at Fort Wayne, and for the next conference year, the names of the pastors are: Monticello, A. D. Beasley, G. W. Warren; Rensselaer, N. N. Werdon; Winamac, Franklin Taylor; La Porte, John B. De Motte; Valparaiso, Jacob Cozad; Crown Point, Jeremiah Early.

Knox and Kentland as yet were not.

In 1852, when Valparaiso was set off as a station, the preaching places in Porter County were fourteen: Valparaiso, Morgan Prairie, Kankakee, Ohio, Hanna's Mill, City West, Jackson Center, Griffith's Chapel, Horse Prairie, Hebron, Union Chapel, Twenty-Mile Grove, Salt Creek, Louis Pennocks.

Presiding elders of the Valparaiso District since 1852:

J. L. Smith, W. Graham, B. Winans, James Johnson, Conrad S. Burgner, S. T. Cooper, W. R. Mikels,


1871-1875. R. D. Utter 1875-1879. S. Godfrey, 1879-1880. For a time no Valparaiso District. J. L. Smith 1886-1890. J. H. Wilson 1891-1895. S. Beck 1896 to the present time.

The date, 1840, is given for the organization of the present church in Valparaiso, church building commencing in 1848. Membership in 1852 two hundred and forty-five.

The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Conference was organized about 1870. In 1876 Mrs. J. P. Early of La Porte was elected Conference Secretary of the Society. She left for California in the winter of 1880. In April of 1881 she resigned her secretaryship. She came not back to Indiana again.

In 1897 was published, by Rev. George R. Streeter, an interesting volume, the Conference Biographical Album. This contained likenesses and short sketches of many of the active members of the Northern Indiana Conference.

The History of Indiana Methodism, by Dr. John L. Smith, has been already mentioned. Dr. Smith came into Indiana and commenced preaching in 1840. That was a summer of great revivals, "some of the most remarkable," says Dr. Smith, "ever witnessed in the West." Laboring among the Indiana Methodists for so many years, he was well fitted, in that respect, to write their history.

Of Dr. John L. Smith, to whom the Methodists of Indiana owe much, Rev. Dr. Utter says: "His last appointment, 1886, was Valparaiso District. He remained in charge of the district five years, when, at South Bend, October 6, 1891, fifty-one years from the date of his admission on trial, * * * he requested the Conference to grant him a superannuated relation."


"At the close of the Conference session, 1891, he retired to his cottage home in Valparaiso, where, at 5 P. M., Saturday, March 11, 1899, in the eighty-eighth year of his age and the fifty-ninth of his ministry, he was transferred from the militant ranks to the Church triumphant, from earthly toil to his home in heaven." (See Conference Minutes of 1899.)

In La Porte County are now fourteen Methodist churches and two German Methodist. These are at Michigan City, La Porte, Westville, Union Mills, Wanatah, Hanna, Door Village, and in country places called Summit, Waterford, Salem, Bald Hill, Rolling Prairie (this a railroad station), Lamb's Chapel, and Posey's Chapel.

Since 1876 the gain in membership has been four hundred.

In Porter County are ten. In Lake thirteen, White eleven, Pulaski nine, Starke four, Newton three, Jasper three, perhaps four.

Present membership, 1899.

The following figures are given on the authority of the Minutes of the Northwest Indiana Conference for 1899. All the preaching stations in the counties are not given in the Minutes, but the membership of the smaller localities is probably included in the larger. It appears that in our eight counties there are forty-three preachers "in charge" or as supplies, and seventeen local preachers, making in all sixty Methodist ministers in North-Western Indiana for the year 1899.

For the fifteen different objects for which these churches contribute in the year, aside from ordinary expenses, the Valparaiso District, in which most of these churches are, contributed, not including Royal Center, $5,217. Adding to this amount the contribu-


tions from Brookston in La Fayette District, and of the ten amounts reported in South Bend District, $1,658, and the full amount will be $6,875. These congregations also paid in the same year for pastoral support, including presiding elders and bishops' amounts, more than thirty-three thousand dollars. And the amount of expenses in Valparaiso District alone were more than seven thousand dollars. Over fifty thousand dollars, in round numbers, will be the amount raised by the Methodist congregations in the year 1899.

The following is the membership by counties: Lake, 1090; Porter, 1263; La Porte, 1420; Starke, 360; Pulaski, 865; White, 1462; Jasper, 762; Newton, 1189. Total, 8541.

The average membership, it thus appears, is nearly one thousand and seventy in a county.

Number of Methodist Episcopal Sunday schools, 88. Membership in these schools, 8,921. The average of Sunday-school membership is about eleven hundred and fifteen for a county.

The Epworth League force is also quite strong, although included largely in the church membership and school membership.

2. German Episcopal Methodists.

Of these there are in Lake County four churches. The oldest is in Hanover Township on Lake Prairie. The earliest families of this church were the Beckley family, about 1840, George Krinbill and family in 1851, and then many others. A church was organized and a building was erected about 1853. In 1874, a church at Crown Point was organized, a church building was completed, and at about the same time a third one at Hobart. Still later the fourth organization was


perfected at Hammond. For fifty years the German Methodists have been an important part of the religious element of Lake County. They have had excellent pastors, they have been active in Sunday-school work, there has been vitality in their religion.

In these later years the oldest and strongest congregation has been declining, as families not of their faith have taken the lands which once they occupied. Numbering in the county in 1884 about one hundred and fifty members, they now number, with a large increase at Hammond, about two hundred and thirty.

In La Porte County they have an old and strong congregation, with one hundred and seventy-five members, in the city of La Porte; and at Michigan City they have one hundred and twenty-five members. At Crown Point and Hammond, at Michigan City and La Porte, besides church buildings, they have good parsonages. Entire membership, five hundred and thirty. They have only four resident pastors, and the total amount they raise is, including the same items as were included in the notice of the American Methodists, forty-two hundred dollars. So it appears that where the American Methodists raise an amount equal to six dollars for each member, the German Methodists raise an amount equal to eight dollars for each member.

3. Swedish Episcopal Methodists.

Of these there is one organization in Lake County, at Hobart, church building erected in 1889. Membership, --------. Probably membership forty.

4. The Congregationalists.

There were not many of this denomination among the pioneers. It is mainly in these later years that these churches have been spreading outward from


New England. For the following statistics the Congregational Year Book for 1899 is the authority.

In La Porte County are three churches, all at Michigan City. 1. Michigan City 1st Congregational, organized in 1835, present membership 264; number in Sabbath school, 152; benevolent contributions, $180; home expenses, $1,675. 2. Emmanuel, German, organized 1891; membership, 43; in Sunday school, 72; for benevolent objects, $63; home expenses, $537. 3. Sandborn Memorial Church, Scandinavian, organized 1893; members, 39; in school, 30; for benevolence, $20; home expenses, $381.

In Porter County is one church, Porter, organized 1891; members, 53; in school, 175; benevolence, $53; home expenses, $575.

In Lake County are five churches: Hobart, organized in 1885; Hammond, 1887; Ross, 1888; East Chicago, 1889; Whiting, 1890. Membership in 1899: Hobart, 63; Hammond, 51; Ross, 31; East Chicago, 66; Whiting, 64. In Sunday school: Hobart, 120; Hammond, 142; Ross, 52; East Chicago, 50; Whiting, 150.

For benevolent objects in Lake County, including missions, total amount $265, East Chicago and Whiting contributing over ninety dollars each.

For home expenses: Hobart, $550; Hammond, $500; Ross, $222; East Chicago, $900; Whiting, $689.

Totals. Churches, 9; membership, 674; in Sunday school, 943; benevolent objects of different kinds outside of home expenses, $581; home expenses, $6,029. Total amount of money raised in the year, $6,600. Nearly ten dollars for each member, or more exactly, nine dollars and about eighty cents.


5. The Presbyterians.

In the West and in the South Presbyterian ministers, although apparently not so well adapted to the ways and needs of frontier life as some others, have nevertheless gone into new settlements, carrying their very thorough education, their scholarly ways, and their dignity and culture, into the homes of the pioneers. If not always the first, they have generally been second or third to enter upon new fields. The first in promoting and building up schools they have generally been.


As early as 1831, "in the late autumn," the first Presbyterian man, Myron Ives, settled on Rolling Prairie, "just east of the Little Kankakee," in a log cabin. In May, 1832, Mrs. Rebecca Ives, his mother, and his sister, Mrs. Sarah Aldrich, came with their families and settled near; and soon also, into the same neighborhood, came Alexander Blackburn. Soon, in the true Christian spirit of worship they commenced a neighborhood prayer meeting which was held each Sabbath in the Ives or Blackburn cabin. Presbyterian church life there commenced.

In November, 1832, Rev. James Crawford from the Wabash region held religious senses in the cabin of Alexander Blackburn in Kankakee Township, and in 1833 completed the organization of a church with twenty members. The elders were James Blair, W. C. Ross, David Dinwiddie, and Myron Ives. Meetings were held in a log school house on the Niles road. For some reason the locality of this church was changed to the young and growing county seat and it was called the Presbyterian Church of La Porte. This church was what was then called Old School. In 1837


work on a church building was commenced, but the house was not dedicated before 1842. In November, 1844, a New School Presbyterian church was constituted "in a school house belonging to Rev. F. P. Cummins."

Some of the ministers who were pastors or supplies of the first church were John Morrill in 1834, W. K. Talbot in 1835, W. K. Marshall in 1837, until October, 1844. The membership increased from ninety-six to one hundred and fifty while he was pastor.

Rev. F. P. Cummins, a successful teacher of a private, academic school, was pastor from 1851 to 1858. Some other pastors were: J. W. Hanna, R. S. Goodman, S. C. Spofford, and L. M. Stevens.

Some of the pastors of the second church were: From 1846 to 1858, John W. Cunningham, in the first year of whose ministry, after he was duly installed, eighty-eight were added to the church membership; from 1859 to 1868, George C. Noyes, the church membership in 1866 having reached nearly three hundred.

In 1871, October 31st, the two churches were united, and Rev. John F. Kendall, D. D., became pastor. His was a long and successful pastorate.

The present pastor is Reuben H. Hartley. This church, with its present membership, according to the Assembly Minutes of 1899, of 365 members, raised in the year, for various objects, $4,830, or more than thirteen dollars for each member. It is a strong church, with an "elegant church building" and a large Sunday school, and ought to be in the city of La Porte, along with the other strong churches there, as no doubt it is, a large factor for good.


In 1845 a New School Presbyterian Church was organized near Union Mills, but it did not grow and live.

What may be called the second, now living church in La Porte County, was constituted, with ten members, by Rev. F. P. Cummins, in a school house east of Union Mills, June 22, 1850. It took the name of Bethel Presbyterian Church. A building was in due time erected at Union Mills. The church has had several supplies and a few installed pastors, and has now one hundred and twenty members and a large Sunday school.

The present Rolling Prairie Church may be called the third in the county, organized in February, 1852, with twenty-eight members, and now reporting only twenty.

And the fourth, not counting one organized in 1870 with a few members at Wanatah, but which has ceased to exist, is the present Presbyterian Church at Michigan City, organized May 9, 1871, with thirty-nine members. The first elders elected were: J. S. Ford, John Orr, J. A. Thornton, and Henry W. Johnson.

In 1872 a church building was erected and Rev. J. Q. Hall was installed as pastor. In 1896, in February, the church building was destroyed by fire. A new building on other ground was erected in 1897.

Present membership about two hundred. Number in Sunday school in 1900, 215. Of this large and well conducted school H. W. Johnson has been Superintendent for twenty-five years, and A. B. Barron, Secretary for eight years, and two better officers than these have been need not anywhere be sought.



Rev. J. C. Brown, a young licentiate, began preaching in Valparaiso December 4, 1839, and July 3, 1840, having been ordained, he with Rev. W. K. Marshall of La Porte organized the Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso with ten constituent members, James Blair and M. B. Crosby being the first elders. A Sunday school, at first Union, was organized by Mrs. Brown and the pastor's brother, Hugh A. Brown, near the close of 1840.

Both church and school prospered. A frame church building was erected, and at length, the present massive brick structure became needful. The church has had few pastoral changes. Dr. Brown, a remarkable man, teacher, preacher, Sunday-school worker, full of labor and of untiring zeal, taking, so it was said, his breakfast at six, his dinner at twelve, and his supper at six, all the year round, continued as pastor till September 4, 1860. In 1862 he was appointed Chaplain of the Twenty-eighth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, and died in a hospital at Paducah, Kentucky, July 14, 1862. He had preached not only in Valparaiso, but at Tassinong, Salem, Twenty-Mile Prairie, Eagle Creek Prairie, and at Crown Point. In his twenty years of a busy ministry he received into church membership four hundred and seventy-five members. Well did one of his successors, Rev. Robert Beer, say of him: "Dr. Brown was a man of such piety, zeal, activity, and self-denial, as to make an impression never to be forgotten by those who knew him."

The second pastor was Rev. S. C. Logan, from October 14, 1860, to July, 1865. The third was Rev.


Robert Beer, from December 17, 1865, to later than 1882. The fourth was a more than ordinary man in the qualities of a winning, noble, vigorous manhood, Rev. S. N. Wilson. His successors have been Rev. H. B. Fleming, now pastor at Hammond, and the present pastor, Rev. Martin Luther. Six pastors only in sixty years.

The Presbyterian Church at Tassinong was organized by Rev. J. C. Brown, and has been supplied usually with preaching from Valparaiso and Hebron.

The Presbyterian Church at Hebron was organized by Rev. S. C. Logan of Valparaiso and Rev. J. L. Lower of Crown Point, October 29, 1860, with fourteen members. First elders: William Mackey and Amos A. Burwell. Pastors, J. L. Lower, A. Y. Moore, Robert Beer, and others from Valparaiso or Crown Point, and in these later years having a resident pastor, or a seminary student.


The pioneer Presbyterian minister in Lake County was the Rev. J. C. Brown of Valparaiso, who made an exploring visit westward in 1840 and reached the home of the Ball family at the Red Cedar Lake, which was then one of the two religious centers of Lake County, and in that home he preached, as it is believed, the first Presbyterian sermon in the county.

He returned to Crown Point, the new county seat, found there two Presbyterian women, Mrs. Holton and Mrs. Fancher, arranged for preaching in the log court house, alternating these with the Baptist pastor, Rev. N. Warriner, encouraging the Union Sunday school which held its sessions in the same room,


and there, April 27, 1844, he organized a Presbyterian Church with eighteen members. The pastors succeeding him were Rev. William Townley, from 1846 to 1856, Rev. Mr. Schultz, J. L. Lower, A. Y. Moore, S. McKee, Dr. S. Fleming, W. J. Young, J. McAlister, Rev. ------ Carson, B. E. S. Ely, E. S. Miller, L. W. A. Luckey, Ph. D., J. A. Cole, W. O. Lattimore, and the present pastor, Dr. Hearst.

A church building was erected between 1845 and 1847. The last services were held in this building August 10, 1884, when it was replaced by a much larger brick-veneered edifice. Present membership, 74.

The second Presbyterian Church of the county was organized November 9, 1856, on Lake Prairie, in the New Hampshire Settlement, with twelve members. These New Hampshire families had the year before made a settlement in the heart of the open prairie, a prairie so beautiful that some three years afterwards Professor Mills of Wabash College, having looked over the landscape from a knoll on one of the farms, said: "I have been thirty years in the West and have been in every county in the State, and never but once have I seen so beautiful a view."

Of this church on the prairie Rev. Hiram Wason, then from Vevay, Indiana, but a native of New England, in 1857 became pastor. After seven years of faithful and successful service he resigned the pastoral charge, but continued to reside in the neighborhood where he made for himself and family a beautiful home, and continued to be active and useful until laid aside by the infirmities of age. He died in June, 1898, eighty-three years of age. Some of his successors were B. Wells, Edwin Post, Homer Sheeley, and for thirteen years past until 1898, Rev. J. F. Smith, now residing in Crown Point.


A church building was erected at length, costing fifteen hundred dollars, and dedicated in 1872. This, while a true country church, has been, with its large Sunday school, a power for good of no little weight in the southwestern portion of the county. And it is doing no injustice to others to make this record: that the two Presbyterian ministers who have made the largest and most durable impressions for good upon the social and intellectual and religious life of Lake County have been Rev. William Townley and Rev. H. Wason. Were a third name to be added to these two it would be that of Rev. J. F. Smith, who for thirteen years, from 1885 to 1898, has been diligent in school and church work in the bounds of the Lake Prairie Church, who has taken a large interest in the public schools and in the social life of the community. His public addresses on many occasions have been always interesting and instructive.

A third Presbyterian Church was organized in the city of Hammond in 1890. This at once became a city church, erecting a quite costly edifice and entering actively upon church and school life.

A fourth church was organized at Plum Grove, in the south part of the county, with about twelve members, a few years ago, but it has lately been disbanded. It was reported in the Minutes of 1899 and will be found named therefore in the concluding summary.


In Pulaski County the Presbyterians seem not to have made an early beginning; but there are now two Presbyterian churches in the county: one at Winamac with eighty members and a Sabbath school of seventy-five members; the other at Pulaski with sixty mem-


bers and a school of sixty-five members. Also a Christian Endeavor society connected with each church. Rev. Samuel B. Neilson, residing at Winamac, pastor of both churches.

It has been said that about one-half of the population of Pulaski County were Roman Catholics, but that must be too large an estimate; for in the county are United Brethren, Lutheran, Advent, five "Christian," and nine Methodist churches, besides the two Presbyterian; four chapters of the Epworth League, and seven Christian Endeavor societies. Also forty-four Sunday schools.

Of the County Sunday School Association (1899) Miss Emily Hoch is President, Mr. E. C. W. Dunn of Star City, Secretary.

The first Presbyterian Church in White County was organized in 1836, Rev. J. Stocker the minister. The first meeting was in the cabin of John Wilson, a mile west of Monticello, then the members met in school houses and in the court house. This church was Old School. First settled pastor, Rev. Alexander Williamson, in 1840. Soon afterwards Rev. Samuel Steele organized a New School church, and this organization in 1842 erected, it is said, the first church building of the county. First pastor, Rev. W. M. Cheever, in 1843.

In White County, in which both Baptists and Presbyterians seem equally to prosper, are now nine Presbyterian churches or congregations, but some have no church buildings.

In Newton County are two: one at Kentland, one at Goodland. In Jasper there is one at Remington and one at Rensselaer. In Starke County there seems to be for Presbyterians as until very recently for Baptists no need.


The first Presbyterian minister preaching in Jasper County was Rev. John A. Williamson of Monticello. In 1849 or 1850 was erected the first Presbyterian church building.


Most of the following figures are given on the authority of the Minutes of the General Assembly for 1899. These churches are all in the Presbytery of Logansport, Synod of Indiana. The first figures, after the name of the church, give the membership, and the second number gives the members in Sunday school.

Churches in Lake County, 4. Crown Point, 74, 110; Lake Prairie, 34, 75; Hammond, 94, 100; Plum Grove, 17. Total membership 219, 285.

Churches in Porter County, 3. Valparaiso, 238, 201; Tassinong, 68, 25; Hebron, 59, 40. Total, 385, 266.

Churches in La Porte County, 4. La Porte, 365, 260; Michigan City, 180, 215; Union Mills or Bethel, 120, 186; Rolling Prairie, 20. Total, 685, 661.

Churches in Pulaski County, 2. Winamac, 75, 125; Pulaski, 50, 125. Total membership, 125, 250.

Churches in White County, 8. Monticello, 310, 345; Brookston, 96, 71; Chalmers, 83, 71; Idaville, 71, 94; Monon, 50, 100; Bedford, 33, 69; Meadow Lake or Wolcott, 50, 50; Buffalo, 25. Total membership, 718, 800.

Churches in Jasper County, 2. Rensselaer, 100, 90; Remington, 100, 100. Total, 200, 190.

Churches in Newton County, 2. Kentland, 110, 94; Goodland, 152, 138. Total membership, 262, 232.

Whole number of churches, 25. Total membership, 2,594. In schools, 2,684. Amount of money


raised in the year, including twelve items, $27,285. This is about $10.50 per member.

6. United Presbyterians.

The "Bethlehem Church of Associate Reform Presbyterians" was an early and probably the first church of this denomination in Northwestern Indiana. It was organized July 28, 1838, one month after the organization of the "Cedar Lake Baptist Church." The organizing minister was Rev. Hannon. The first members were "Samuel Turner and wife, Thomas Dinwiddie and wife, Berkley Oliver and wife, Susanna Dinwiddie, Sr., Susanna Dinwiddie, Jr., Margaret Dinwiddie, Mary McCarnehan, Susan P. West, John W. Dinwiddie, David T. Dinwiddie, Margaret J. Dinwiddie, and Elza A. Dinwiddie."* Rev. Wilson Blain was the first pastor. The second was Rev. J. N. Buchanan, who came in May, 1851, and was installed, according to the custom of Presbyterian churches, November 29, 1851. He still resides near Hebron, but resigned as pastor in 1897. The present pastor is Rev. J. A. Barnes.

The members of the Bethlehem Church met first at the homes of their members, then in the school house, then they erected a log building about a mile south of Hebron, and in 1852 a frame building, still nearer to the village, which was moved into Hebron in 1864, and in 1879 the present church was erected. The first frame building cost twelve hundred dollars and the present one twenty-five hundred. The name Bethlehem was soon changed to Hebron, probably at the suggestion of Rev. W. Blain, through whose efforts a postoffice
*G. A. Garard in "Porter and Lake," 1882.


was secured for the young village at "the Corners," and as there was one Bethlehem postoffice in Indiana some other name than that must be found. So church and town both took the old Bible name of Hebron.

The name "Associate Reform" of the denomination was changed many years ago to "United Presbyterian." Mr. Buchanan preached not only in Porter County, but for many years in Lake County at the South East Grove and Center school houses, and, in later years, at Le Roy, where, February 18, 1888, a second United Presbyterian Church was organized, members of the Reformed Presbyterian body uniting with others in its organization. A neat and good church building was soon erected and a Sabbath school organized. Pastor, Rev. J. A. Barnes. 



Transcribed by Steven R. Shook, April 2012


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