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History of Hendricks County, Indiana. Hadley, J. V. (John Vestal), 1840–1915 
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The first Methodist Episcopal class that was organized in Hendricks county was at the home of Robert Wilson, near the present Shiloh church, in the winter of 1828 and 1829. Soon afterwards classes were established at North Salem, Danville, Stilesville, Wesley Chapel and near Lizton. At the first quarterly meeting for the White Lick circuit, held at Robert Wilson's on October 25, 1828, there were present John Strange, Joseph Tarkington, Peter Monicle, Robert Wilson and Wesley Monicle; Aaron Homan, Gideon Wilson and Elisha Kise were appointed a committee to make an estimate of the amount necessary to build a meeting house near Robert Wilson's. Early the next season plans were made and the house constructed, and it was the first Methodist meeting house in the county. There was not much money available at that time and the sums given by the different classes would seem pitifully small today, but they were given with a generous spirit and undoubtedly went much farther than they would now.

At the quarterly conference held in Danville, August 4, 1838, it was ordered that P. S. Dickens, Daniel McCreary, Hezekiah Smith, Asa Beck and Elijah M. Crawford be appointed a committee to divide the Danville circuit into two separate circuits; also at the same time it was ordered that S. B. Caywood, R. C. Russell and H. Rammel be appointed a committee to form an estimate of the probable cost of building a church in Danville. At a subsequent conference William Henton, R. C. Russell, William C. Cline, James Logan and Samuel Brenton were elected trustees for the Danville church, which was erected in 1840 on the same lot upon which is located the present church. This church was occupied for public worship until 1865, when it was converted into a parsonage and the chapel of the Danville Academy was fitted up and used for church purposes.

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Before this time the church society in the town of Danville had taken the lead in educational matters by organizing and building up the Danville Academy, which was operated under the management of the quarterly conference. This enterprise commenced in 1858 and lasted until 1868. Among the prominent educators who, at different times, had charge of this school were Professors Tarr, Lummis, O. H. Smith, J. L. Rippetoe and James Scull. About eighteen thousand dollars were spent by the Methodists of Danville in this undertaking. In the spring of 1878, twenty years after the beginning, the society transferred, for a small sum, all of the school property to the Central Normal College.

In that year the present Methodist church was begun in Danville and finished at a cost of ten thousand dollars. It was dedicated on the 26th of January, 1879. Milton Henton, Moses Keeney, Bloomfield White, B. N. Beale and N. T. Hadley were trustees during the erection of the present church building.

Danville was organized into a station in 1853. Before that among the preachers who had preached in the circuit were J. Tarkington, Joseph White. Asa Beck, Israel Lewis, D. F. Streight, Hezekiah Smith, Frank Richmond, J. B. Demotte. After that came C. S. Burgner, N. L. Brakeman, Samuel Godfrey, Allen Gurney, George Warner, Luther Taylor, D. F. Barnes, T. C. Workman, F. Taylor, Nelson Green, Thomas S. Webb, Francis M. Pavey, Samuel P. Colvin, George W. Bower, James H. Claypool, Joseph C. Reed, R. D. Utter, J. H. Hull.

The first Sunday school organized by the Methodists in Danville was opened in the old brick school house located on lot 1, block 23, with Henry Rammel as leader. After this organization had continued for one year it disbanded and then there was a union Sunday school, with John Baker as superintendent. This school met in the old Presbyterian church on lot 1, block 15. This continued for one year, when the Methodists withdrew and, as a society, were interested in no school until 1840. At this date they organized again into a Sunday school with John Green as superintendent. The school lived two years. At a political meeting in the old court house on Saturday night, in the latter part of October, 1844, there happened to be in attendance Hezekiah S. McCormick, Milton Henriton and William V. Bishop. In a conversation held at that time they resolved that a Methodist Sunday school should be started the next day week. Notice was accordingly given page: 138[View Page 138] and on the set date the school started with a membership of fifty. The Sunday school is still in existence and has an excellent membership.

The Methodist Episcopal church, at Stilesville, has been organized about seventy-five years. Services were held for many years in the old school house and in 1850 the society built a new church which cost them about sixteen hundred dollars. Among the early members were Isaac Smart, William Cline, John Clark, John Richardson, James Borders, Joseph Bishop, Edward Jackson, Elijah McAnich and their wives. Some of the early ministers were James Williams, Joseph Woods, J. F. Woodruff, Silas Gaskin, Bridges, Miles, Woods, W. W. Pewett, William Ginnis, Asa Beck and J. V. R. Miller. The present church at Stilesville is in charge of Rev. Ramsay. A brick church was built in the nineties, costing three thousand dollars. There is a good membership of over a hundred.

The Methodist Episcopal church at Cartersburg was formed in the winter of 1856-7 by Rev. Jesse Woodward, with John Biddle, William Little, Richard Poe and their wives, Mrs. Brady and others as the first members. Their first house of worship was built in 1857 at a cost of seven hundred and fifty dollars. It was of frame and located in the northwest part of the village. A brick church was erected in 1897. Rev. Eckhart is the present pastor, having charge of a congregation of one hundred people.

The Methodist Episcopal church at Coatesville was organized in the thirties. Their first house of worship was destroyed by fire about 1860 and a new one was built the same year at a cost of two thousand dollars. Revs. J. B. Combs, Jesse Hill, D. W. Risher, Nelson Green, John McDaniel, W. D. Davidson, B. H. Bradbury, E. Mason were a few of the earlier pastors. Rev. Smock is in charge at present. The church has a substantial house of worship and the membership is about eighty-five.

The Methodist Episcopal church at Plainfield has been an organization nearly seventy years. Among the early members of this church were O. H. Dennis, Riley Taylor and wife, Alexander Worth (founder of the society) and wife, William Owens, Sebastian Hiss, Fred Trucks and Mrs. Higgins. Revs. Dunlavy, Switzer, Green, Johnson, Beard and Siddell were among the early pastors of the Plainfield church. Rev. Williams is the present pastor. There are about one hundred and fifty members.

The Methodist Episcopal church at Brownsburg was the second to be organized in the town. Some of the early pastors were I. P. Patch, T. M. Webb and John B. Demott. Rev. Weidman is the pastor in charge at this date, and has succeeded in maintaining the high standard of the church. There is a good membership and a new brick house of worship.

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The Methodist Episcopal church at Amo was organized in the year 1867. The first church house was completed in that same year at a cost of two thousand dollars. Among the first members were William H. Tush, Winfield Hines, John McAninch, Wesley Johnson, M. W. Cosner, John M. Champion, Herbert Fencer, John Gaspar, S. F. Tincher, James E. Ralston, with their wives, Mrs. Lucinda Stanley and Mrs. Nancy Newman. The pastors have been F. M. Pavy, B. H. Bradbury, Thomas Bartlett, J. F. McDaniel, W. C. Davidson, Nelson Green, B. W. Risher, Nelson Green, Jesse Hill, J. B. Combs, Elihu Mason, Rev. Smock is the present pastor of the Amo church. The church has a good membership and is prosperous.

The first house of worship in Pittsboro was erected in 1836 by the Methodist Episcopal society. Simon T. Hadley offered to donate lot 2, block 2, to any congregation which would build a church. Arch and John Alexander, William Tincher, Nathaniel Helton and their families were the charter members. The elder Alexander sawed lumber in his water mill on his farm below town, and a house was built a short distance west of the present building. Rev. Enoch Wood was the first minister. Park Poynter and Nathaniel Gossett were its local preachers for years.

The Methodist Episcopal church at the town of North Salem was organized over eighty years age. Reuben Claypool was a Methodist minister and preached to his neighbors in their private cabins from the earliest date, and about 1833 a class was formed. Among the prominent early members were John S. and Charity Woodward, John Claypool, wife and children, Chester and Martha Page, Mrs. Jerusha Covey, and William and Eleanor Jones and family. A church was built by the society before the war, costing twelve hundred dollars. J. L. Smith, T. F. Drake, W. Fletcher Clark, David Hadley and D. P. McLain were among the early ministers. The church is now in good condition, with a membership of one hundred and fifty.

Before any church organization existed, in Washington township, the Methodists held religious services regularly at the home of John and Dorcas Gossett. Then a class of ten or twelve charter members was organized, a yearly camp meeting was established on the land of Seth Hurin, one-fourth mile west of present Avon. In 1842 a frame church was erected just south of the camp ground. The labor on this building was almost entirely performed by the membership. Rev. Joseph Marsee was pastor as well as one of the chief carpenters, and each day at the noon hour he preached a short sermon to the men and to their wives who came bringing them dinner. In 1875 a second church was built on this same lot and was dedicated October page: 140[View Page 140] 10th. This building, thirty-two by forty-six feet in size, cost complete six-teen hundred dollars. T. C. Webster was pastor during the building. The building was still in good condition when the grade for the traction line was made in the winter of 1903, and it was found that the church was so cut off from the road by the grade that the building must be moved or a new one erected. The latter course was chosen. The entire membership, and members of other churches, as well as those with no church relation, contributed generously. The building was completed at a total cost of five thousand dollars, and, on October 2, 1904, was dedicated, without a cent of debt and without a collection. Rev. H. C. Riley was pastor during the time of building. The size of the building is forty-two feet in the extreme, with a square tower, with entrance through its vestibule to both the main and Sunday school rooms. The building is of Poston paving brick, rock faced, and with stone trimming, and is a neat and substantial structure. In addition to this church there are in the township two other Methodist churches, Shiloh, three miles east, and Bartlett's, three miles west.

The Methodist Episcopal society dates from 1833 in Union township. At this date a class was formed at the house of William Montgomery, who was leader. Among the early members were Mr. Plummer, Sally Bargan, Claiborne Davis and John Pritchett. The church building was located one half mile south of Lizton.

The first church organized in Washington township was at the house of Robert Wilson in 1823. This is now the Shiloh church. It was the first Methodist Episcopal church organization in the county and the fourth one of any denomination. There were afterwards three other churches in the township of the Methodist Episcopal faith, namely: Shiloh, Wesley and Bartlett's Chapel. Regular Baptist churches were located at Abner's creek and Salem.

The African Methodist Episcopal church at Plainfield was organized about forty-five years ago. It met for a long time at the Morgan school house, two and a half miles from Plainfield, and in 1879 commenced holding its services in the village. The church erected in that year cost about six hundred dollars.


The Disciples, or Christian, church was organized in the fall of 1844. at Danville, by Love H. Jameson, of Indianapolis. The charter members were Allen Hess and wife, Asa S. White and wife, James Odell and wife, page: 141[View Page 141] Wesley B. Sears and wife, Wesley Bell and wife, Margaret McPhetridge, Celia Cake and Samuel A. Verbrike and wife, all of whom are now dead. The first officers were Allen Hess and Asa S. White, elders; Wesley Bell and James Odell, deacons. The organization was effected at the home of Asa S. White and for years afterwards the society met to worship in private homes and in the old court house. In the year of 1852 the congregation was sufficiently large to build a frame church, in which it worshipped for more than twenty years. The church had no resident ministry for many years, but was periodically visited by such men as L. H. Jameson, Thomas Lockhart, N. Waters, William Jarrett, John O'Kane, O. P. Badger, A. I. Hobbs and others. After the Civil War William R. Jewell settled with them as the regular and only pastor. He was followed by U. C. Brewer, W.. H. Blanks, W. S. Tingley, George G. Peale, Ira J. Chase, A. J. Frank, S. O. Conner, A. L. Orcut, A. L. Conner, U. G. Martin, E. E. Daugherty, E. E. Moorman, Charles Goodnight, A. Leech and the present pastor, W. E. Anderson.

A handsome brick house of worship was erected in 1874 at a cost of sixteen thousand dollars. It has, however, recently been demolished and a more pretentious building is now in process of construction on the same spot on greatly enlarged grounds at a cost of fifty thousand dollars. The new structure was induced by the munificent gift of thirty-five thousand dollars, by Edgar E. Shirley, as a memorial to his father and mother. The new building will be institutional in character. It will embrace not only an auditorium for worship, but an assembly room for the Sunday school, divers class rooms, a kitchen, a banqueting hall and a gymnasium. The latter will be equipped with appliances for all modern physical exercises, such as swings, bars, in-door ball games, etc. It will be supplied with about one hundred lockers, lavatories, etc., and will be set apart on certain evenings of the week for the use of the girls and certain evenings for the boys of the town, without reference to church affiliations. A governor or governess to attend each open evening.

The church membership, at the time of organization in 1840, numbered thirty. In 1884 it had increased to two hundred and sixty and now has an enrollment of four hundred and four.

The Sunday school was organized in 1852, Moses Cavitt being the first superintendent. The present average attendance is two hundred and twenty and James P. Snodgrass is the superintendent. The church has also been efficient in religious and social activities usual to church work. The Christian church, at Clayton, was organized December 7, 1863, by Rev. Thomas Lockhart and O. P. Badger. Samuel B. Hall and John R. Ballard page: 142[View Page 142] were chosen as the first elders and George Acton and James Ferguson, deacons. The charter members were sixty-three in number. The church built in 1865 cost over twenty-six hundred dollars. Among the early pastors were Thomas Lockhart, O. P. Badger, Jameson, Sherman, Canfield, Miller, Jewell, Frank and Brewer. Rev. Scofield is the present pastor and the membership is one hundred and twenty-five.

The Christian church at Stilesville was organized and their first house of worship erected in 1842. This building was of frame and cost one thousand dollars. Among the first members were Daniel Osborne, John W. Bryant, John R. Robards, George W. Snoddy, James Snoddy and their families. After using their first church over thirty years, a brick edifice was erected, costing twenty-five hundred dollars. George W. Snoddy was a preacher in this church over forty years, dying in April, 1882. A. J. Frank, of Greencastle, took charge after his death, then A. M. Connor, Gilchrist. Rev. Beard is the present pastor. The membership numbers seventy-five.

The Christian church at Plainfield was organized in March, 1830, with the following as the first members: David Cox and wife, John Hadley, Jonathan Hadley, David Carter, Ezekiel Hornaday, Hiram Hornaday, Hiram Green, Abijah Cox, with their wives, and Alexander Shover, seventeen in all. They soon built a hewed-log church and in that primitive structure, half a mile north of the present site of Plainfield, they worshipped for five or six years. They then erected a frame church in the village, using the same for twenty years, when it was succeeded by a brick structure, built on the site of the frame, at a cost of three thousand dollars. Among the first ministers were Revs. Michael and Job Combs, Lewis Comer, John Secrest, Oatman, and John O'Kane. Rev. Shields is now in charge. There are two hundred members enrolled.

The Christian church at Pittsboro was organized February 25, 1854. A church was built in the same year at a cost of two thousand dollars. It was later used as a residence. This first church was located on ground now owned by the Pierson sisters. It was erected by James Cundiff, an uncle of Mrs. E. W. Sawyer. This membership was organized by the venerable Thomas Lockhart. He ministered to the spiritual needs of this congregation for years and was succeeded by Elders Luke Warren and James Canfield. Its charter members were from the families of the Wells, Parkers and Hills, who were before that members at Brownsburg. This house served for the triple purpose of sanctuary, school and dwelling until 1889, when it was purchased and razed by Douglas Baker and the site occupied with a dwelling. page: 143[View Page 143] The second church was built in 1873. It has since been remodeled and made more modern. Frank Sumner is the present pastor. The membership is one hundred and ninety.

The Christian church at North Salem was organized in 1837, with Charles Fleece and Thompson Farmer as elders. O. P. Badger, D. Collins, W. B. F. Treat, A. J. Frank, William Holt and A. Plunkett were among the early pastors. In recent years this church divided over a controversy in regard to an organ and now there are two Christian churches in Salem. Rev. H. E. Kelsey is in charge of the larger and the smaller obtains supply.

The Christian church, in Brownsburg, is the oldest in that town and the second to be organized in the township of Lincoln. It was organized in 1835 by Thomas Lockhart, with seventeen members. John L. Parker and V. Cress were the elders. The society constructed a brick church in 1859, at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. Rev. William L. Newlin is the pastor now. The church has a strong membership.

In Union township the first preaching was done by Gilbert Harney, of the Christian denomination. In 1837 Gilbert Harney organized at the house of Archibald Alexander, a church, with Mr. Alexander, Joseph P. Lewis, Samuel C. Carrington and their wives, with a few others, as members. A church was built about 1875 and has been prosperous since.

In Middle township the Christian church was the first to be organized. The Baptist was second and then the Cumberland Presbyterian.


The Presbyterian church at Danville was organized in 1832. Among the leading early members were Daniel McAuley and wife, Jacob K. Moore and wife, Alexander Morris and family, Henry G. Todd, Samuel King and Eliza McPheeters. Among the pastors who have served this congregation have been Revs. Samuel G. Lowry, Hill, Moody, Chase, Theophilus Lowry, Henry Hammer, Samuel Wishard, Henry L. Dickerson, G. D. Parker, N. S. Dickey.

The first house of worship was erected on the corner lot north of the present standpipe. It was frame, substantially built, the sleepers of whole logs, slightly flattened on one side, on which rested the floor. This building was used for public worship on the Sabbath and a subscription school was taught by the old-time pedagogues during the week. Some of the charter members of the congregation walked to church from what is now a part of the "Abe Eastes farm," a distance of nearly four miles, and had to cross the page: 144[View Page 144] creek northeast of town on a foot log. Henry Ward Beecher attended and preached here during meetings of the presbytery. It is reported that a Sabbath school was conducted at which "Uncle George Rich" led the singing with a violin.

At the building of the next church, now the Knights of Pythias hall, about 1850, the old building was purchased by George Wayland, who put in a ceiling and converted it into a carpenter shop and later into a residence, and as such it served until leveled in 1891, when the heavy timbers made fuel for a family for more than two years. The new church was not fully completed and dedicated until December 29, 1858, when Amos Jones, one of the early ministers, came and assisted in the dedication. Rev. H. L. Dickerson came in the spring of 1858. Ministers who had previously served the church were Revs. Cole, Post and Lee. Rev. Dickerson came direct from Lane Seminary, with his bride, who had been a teacher in a female seminary on Walnut Hills, and they at once began to plan better things for this church. He resigned after twenty years of faithful service. During the pastorate of Rev. Dickerson he had organized White Lick church. During his absence the pulpit was supplied by Dr. Fisk, of Greencastle, and Rev. R. B. Herron On June 1, 1877, Rev. Dickerson returned and again took up the work here and at White Lick, but deaths and removals had so depleted the membership that it was found impossible to sustain a regular pastor, so Rev. Dickerson removed to Indianapolis, from which point he supplied vacant churches in every direction from that city.

On July 30, 1882, the Danville congregation decided to organize as a Cumberland Presbyterian church, with a large majority of the working members as charter members of the new organization. Among them were J. O. Wishard and wife, Isaac Piersol and wife, W. T. Lawson and wife, James Reed and wife, Asa Martin and wife, Charles R. Rose, Emma Piersol Barnett, Mary E. Warner, Elizabeth Scearce, Mary Cooper, J. B. Harlan, Ruth Cash and Ella Nave, together with Charles Hadley and wife, Stanley Hall and wife, Asa Black and wife, and Lawrence Vannice, who had removed to this vicinity from the New Winchester and Groveland Cumberland congregations. This new organization proceeded to erect a new building, in which they now worship. Work on the church was begun in the spring of 1884 and completed in November of the same year and dedicated November 30th. It cost sixty-two hundred dollars.

In April, 1883, the Indianapolis presbytery, on petition of the members of the old church who did not see fit to go into the Cumberland organization, page: 145[View Page 145] reorganized the church, with Henry G. Todd, Robert R. Downard and Isaac R. Lawson as elders, and Marshall Todd and Frank J. Christie, deacons. Dr. H. G. Todd was afterward elected clerk of the session. Rev. G. D. Parker was secured as a supply until February, 1885, when Rev. N. S. Dickey came and labored faithfully, but the field was small and the church grew weaker until, in April, 1890, by resolution of presbytery, the church was dissolved at the request of the home mission committee.

On May 25, 1906, the reunion of the Cumberland Presbyterian and the Presbyterian churches of the United States was consummated at Decatur, Illinois, and is now known as the Presbyterian church of the United States of America. The Danville church, by a vote, concurred in this action of the general assembly.

This church has had as pastors and supplies Revs. Witherspoon, Whatley, Penick, Halsell, Hudgins, Rogers, McKnight, Prather, Yokely, Mahr, Danley, Giuchard, Christensen and W. H. Gray.

In the early thirties the Cumberland Presbyterians of Liberty township were perfected into an organization by Rev. Alexander C. Downey at Belleville. They, in common with other religious organizations in our early days, had no stated house of worship, but met from house to house or held services in some school house, mostly, however, in what was known as the Mitchell school house, situated on the west side of the road leading south from Clayton and at the short bend just south of the national road.

The minutes of the sessions having become lost, Wabash presbytery authorized the elders to procure a new book and enter therein the names of such members as were known to be in good standing. This was accomplished in January, 1841, when thirty-eight names were enrolled. Of these, Samuel Little, of Plainfield, now nearing the ninety-second anniversary of his birth, was a charter member and his niece, Rebecca Harden, of Indianapolis, some eighty years of age, are the only ones known to be among the living.

In 1851, upon a lot donated by Richard Worrell, and a short distance south of the present location, was erected a house for worship. The contractor was Ferdinand Hopwood, who was assisted by D. N. Hopwood, Frank W. Beckwith, William A. Ragan and Moses Kebner.

Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Ragan were the first to be received into membership in the Clayton church. This was on March 27, 1853.

The first Christmas tree in Clayton was held in this church on Christmas eve, 1866. In 1869 the first church organ was purchased by Taylor Wills, who acted as organist for eight years.

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In 1872, not liking the location, a lot was bought of Joseph L. Rhoades and Messrs. Dr. C. T. Lawrence, Henry Lincoln and William A. Ragan were appointed a committee to remove the church and refit it for use. This building having been occupied something over half a century as place for worship and also showing the marks of time, in May, 1901, it was decided that a more suitable location and a building adequate for the needs of the times were absolutely necessary, The church appointed Messrs. Columbus F. Edmondson, Thomas Edmondson and Howard Mitchell, who performed their duties by selecting a site more centrally located and erecting thereon a building forty-nine by fifty-eight from out to out, having an auditorium and two Sunday school rooms, all of which may be easily thrown together as occasion demands. The seating capacity is about four hundred and may be increased to five hundred by crowding. The building is heated by a hot air furnace, lighted by a gasoline plant and seated with chairs. A new three-hundred-dollar vocalion organ was secured. The cost of the location, building and furnishings footed up about five thousand dollars. Samuel Little, before mentioned, is supposed to be the oldest living elder, having been ordained in 1832.

W. A. Ragan was Sunday school superintendent for over thirty years. For twenty years John Cornett led in the singing and Amos S. Wills was secretary of the Sunday school.

Much of the credit for the structure was due to the untiring zeal of the pastor, Rev. Elmer J. Bouher.

The following pastors have been in charge here at various times: Alexander Downey, Samuel C. Mitchell, James Ritchey, Joseph Hannah, W. T. Ferguson, D. D., Elam McCord, H. D. Onyett, D. D., A. Randolph, W. D. Hawkins, B. F. Ivy, L. P. Witherspoon, A. H. Whatley, Thomas Penick, J. P. Halsell, Charles Wilson, J. L. Hudgins, J. L. McKnight, Josephus Latham, A. T. Carr, Elmer J. Bouher, and Rev. Frank, the present incumbent.

The Presbyterian church at Brownsburg was organized by George Long in 1865. He raised the sum of twenty-three hundred dollars to be used for the construction of a church building. Revs. Beach, McKee, Mayo and H. L. Dickerson were a few of the first to occupy the pulpit. Rev. Beeson is the present pastor. The church has a membership of one hundred and is prosperous.

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The Regular Baptist church at Danville was organized in the year 1823, having the distinction of being the first religious organization in the county and also of having been organized before the county. Some of the early members were William Faught and wife, Thomas Flathers and wife, Joel Jelf and L. T. Pounds. Elder J. W. Thomas preached for some time prior to the year 1836. Elders William Hardin and Thomas Hooten each served for a number of years. The latter's back was broken by a falling shed and he died a year after the accident. Elder Erasmus D. Thomas commenced his labors here before the war.

The church has had three houses of worship. The first, a log structure, was used until 1852, when a new frame building was constructed. This house was used until 1903, when the present building was built. The regular services of the church are held monthly on the second Saturday and Sunday following in each month. Elder E. W. Thomas, the son of Erasmus D. Thomas, has served the church continuously.

The Missionary Baptist church was organized November 9, 1850, by members from the Belleville church. Prominent in this movement were Moses Cavett and wife, Rufus Tharpe, Richard Christie and David Downs. A house of worship was built, which cost about twelve hundred dollars. The money for this building was raised chiefly through the efforts of the wife of the first pastor. This church society is now discontinued in the town of Danville.

The Baptist church at Cartersburg was constituted March 21, 1864, with Rev. R. M. Parks as pastor and the following first members. H. D. McCormick and wife, R. T. McCormick and wife, A. S. McCormick and wife, Matilda Christine, William, Nancy, Sudy, Cynthia, and Moses Tomlinson, James and Sarah Hayden, John A. and Sarah Veatch, Isabel Silch, Joseph K. and Elizabeth Little, Hazzard and Margaret J. Woodhurst, Anna Martin, Sarah A. Snodgrass, Oliver P. Garr, Susan Dilley, Charles Maddox, Greenberry Baker, James Roach, George Hufford, Hannah Owens. R. T. McCormick was chosen the first clerk. The society erected a frame church in 1868 at a cost of seven hundred dollars. R. M. Parks, B. A. Melson. W. Trent, J. W. Sherrill, F. M. Buchan and J. W. Crews were among the first pastors. Rev. Buchanan is now in charge.

The White Lick Baptist church was the first of any denomination organized in Hendricks county. It was formed March 27, 1824, by Elder page: 148[View Page 148] William Pope, with the following members: Thomas Hinton and wife, James Thompson and wife and Chris. Pope. This little band met at the house of Elder Pope for several years and in 1831 built a church at Belleville, a frame building. After a number of years the church was divided, a portion going to Clayton and organizing the Missionary Baptist church. Many of the first members having died, the Belleville church went down, and finally became defunct and the church building torn down. This church was moved to Pittsboro in 1887. Elder E. A. Williams has been preacher for several years. The membership is about fifty.

The Baptist church at North Salem was organized before the Civil War and a building erected during the war at a cost of one thousand dollars. Among the first members were Preston Pennington, Elizabeth Ballard, Susan, Levi, Mary and Eliza Pennington, Thomas, Susan and George Barber, John N. and Mary V. Clemens and Eaton Bales. Rev. Fuson is the present pastor.

The Baptist church at Amo was organized near the time of the opening of the Civil War in 1861. A year or two after the organization a frame church was constructed, costing two thousand dollars. Among the early members were Elijah Wheeler, Harding Tincher, Milton Bland, Hiram Bland, Samuel Hubbard, and their wives. The first regular pastor was Rev. Edwards. Following him came Rev. Wilson G. Trent, Moore, Sherrill, L. A. Clevenger, R. N. Harvey. Rev. Tedford now fills the pulpit.

The Missionary Baptist church at Stilesville was organized about eighty years ago. The frame church first used was constructed in 1840. Among the early members of the society were David Boswell, Abraham Bland, James Walls, Moses Crawford, Josiah Garrin, their wives, and Mary Reese. A brick church was completed in 1882, at a cost of three thousand dollars. Among the early pastors were Revs. John Jones, Benjamin Arnold, John Mugg, Jacob and John Rynearson. Rev. J. E. Sherrill is the latest pastor.

The Missionary Baptist church at Clayton was founded March 11, 1854, by John Vawter, Jacob Rynearson, M. Elliott, Davis Boswell and Moses Crawford, who held letters of dismissal from the Belleville church, and a number of others, fifty-eight in all. The first trustees elected were Richard Worrell, Francis Edmondson and John Rynearson. Rev. Hackleman is the pastor in 1914.

The Missionary Baptist church at Coatesville organized their church in 1871, and built a frame church in 1873 at a cost of twelve hundred dollars. Revs. Sherrill, Jesse Buchanan, John F. Crews, G. W. Terry. Rev. J. E. page: 149[View Page 149] Sherrill also preaches at this church. Rev. Richard Oliphant is in charge of the Primitive Baptist church at Coatesville.

The Missionary Baptists at Plainfield have had a regular organization for about sixty years. Among the first members were Adam Jones and wife, Orrin Bonner and wife, Samuel McCormick and wife, William Douglass and wife and children. After a time the society purchased the church which had been occupied by the Friends and used the same for a number of years. In August, 1884, they dedicated a fine brick church, which cost about three thousand dollars. Rev. Bell is the pastor today.

The Regular Baptist church was the first to be organized in Middle township. The Spicklemires, Keeneys and Newman families were among the charter members. Their church building was erected on grounds now comprising the old White Lick cemetery east of Pittsboro, about the year 1837. The earliest preachers were Harrison Darnell, Thomas Hooten, William Hardie and Peter Keeney. Its membership increased with succeeding years until it was one of the strongest associations in the county.

The first church organization in Eel River township was that of the Regular Baptists, which was organized at Round Town by the Penningtons and others, at an unknown date.

William Pope, a Baptist minister, did the first preaching and organized the first Baptist church in Hendricks county, in his own house, in the autumn of 1823.

The Center Valley Baptists have a church building, dedicated in October, 1906.


The Western yearly meeting of Friends was organized in September, 1858, the first members being Eleazer Bales, Charles Moore, Matthew Stanley and Robert W. Hodson, with their families. At the time of the organization the large new building could not accommodate the crowd. Barnabas C. Hobbs, of Bloomingdale, Indiana, was the first presiding clerk and Shiles Moore, of Plainfield, the first treasurer. The women members organized a separate meeting, with Drusilla Wilson, of Indianapolis, the first clerk. Separate sessions of the men and women were continued until 1893, since which time the whole body has met together. The yearly meeting has enjoyed nearly a half century of prosperity. She experienced one schism in 1877, but fortunately this was scarcely felt in any of its limits except Plainfield.

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On March 28, 1913, the splendid church building of the Friends yearly meeting burned. Experts came to contract for the building of a new structure and upon examining the walls of the old church, found that they were eighteen inches thick and sunk ten feet to hard-pan. This wall could not be duplicated without great cost, so the new structure was built upon the foundations of the old. It was opened on March 8, 1914, having cost nearly seventeen thousand dollars. One-third of the building is for the local society and the rest for the yearly meeting. The local society has a membership of five hundred. E. J. Carter is pastor. The Western yearly meeting is composed of one hundred and ten churches and the meeting is held on the Tuesday before the third Sunday in September.

The Friends church at the town of Amo was organized about the year of 1840. A log church was constructed as the first house of worship, but this was quickly succeeded by a frame structure, which was used for forty years and then gave way to the new structure, which was completed in the fall of 1883, at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. Among the early members of this society were Philip Johnson, John Cosner, Annuel Edwards and Asael Hunt.

The Friends church in Danville was organized in the year 1874 with about forty charter members, among them Henry and B. F. Howell, Wyatt Osborn, William F. Hamrick, William Cox, John Warnock, John McPheters and their wives, Mrs. J. W. Estep and E. L. Smith. Within a year steps were taken toward building a church, which was completed in 1876 at a cost of four thousand dollars, located on the corner of Cross and South streets. There were but few resident members of the church when the first effort was made to enter this field. John K. Howell, Anna Mills and William S. Wooton were the first ministers in the early organization of this church. John Henry Douglas dedicated the house of worship; David and Sarah Hadley were the first pastors, being in charge at the time the church building was erected. The parsonage was built in 1885. Since the organization of the church evangelistic services of more than passing interest have been held by John Henry Douglas, Nathan and Esther Frame, George Willis and Mary Moon. The following persons have been pastors of the church: William S. Wooton, Caleb Johnson, Mahlon Perry, Abbie Trueblood, Orvil Jones, Howard Brown, Thomas Brown, Robert Pretlow, Sarah M. Hadley, Hannah Pratt Jessup, Zeno Doane, Fred Smith, David Hadley, Willis Bond. The church has never failed to sustain a regular means of grace, and has always maintained a good Sunday school. The present membership is considerably over one hundred.

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Other churches of this denomination in Hendricks county are at Bridgeport, Fairfield, Union Hill, three miles south of Plainfield, and Hadley.


St. Malachy's Catholic church at Brownsburg is first written upon the records under the date of August 26, 1867, and this was made by Rev. D. J. McMullen, through whose efforts the church building was constructed. Very Rev. Aug. Bessonies was there February 20, 1869, and the first resident priest began his work there on October 2d of that same year. He was succeeded after a time by Rev. Dennis O'Donavan. The latter served some years at this point and then exchanged with Rev. Thomas Logan, of Greencastle, where he remained a year or two. Returning in 1877, he found the parish in debt for certain improvements made by Father Logan and O'Donavan denied the validity of the debt. Bishop Chatard took the opposite view and to secure the creditors gave a mortgage on the church property. Father O'Donovan contested the right of the Bishop to do this and the court decided for the latter. The Bishop then asked and obtained from the supreme court a writ of ejectment against the priest, who also lost a subsequent suit for fifty thousand dollars damages for loss of employment, etc. During these troubles mass was regularly held at private houses or in a rented hall by Revs. Patrick Shepherd, Casper Seiler, Charles Curran and E. J. Spelman. The first church was built in 1900, at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. The fine new structure recently completed has cost thirteen thousand dollars. Father John A. Walsh is the pastor and the congregation numbers eighty families.


The first religious meetings in Franklin township were held by the New Lights and John Smart and Thomas Woods did the preaching. This denomination organized a church at Orsburn's horse mill, which was the most noted place in the township until 1835. At this mill the Christian church was organized by Thomas Lockhart in 1832.

A Lutheran church at Pecksburg was organized in the sixties. William Tinster preached for several years and in 1882 removed to Mud Creek. This church is not active at present.

A Holiness society exists at Cartersburg, with twelve members and in charge of Rev. George Stephenson.