Churches of Deer Creek Township, Cass County,
From: History of Cass County, Indiana
Edited by: Dr. Jehu Z. Powell
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1913
The first religious meeting in the township was held by a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, Rev. John Hay, at the cabin of Noah Fouts in the year 1840. The following year the Baptists conducted services at private houses, but neither of the above named churches perfected organizations, at least not for many years, and the Methodists were the first to form a society.
SALEM M. E. CHURCH
This is the oldest religious society in the township, and was organized in 1845 at the cabin of John Elmore.
Some of the charter members were: Dr. John Reeder and wife, Henry Doran and wife, John Elmore and wife, David Reeder
and wife, Jonathan Reeder and wife, Elijah Bunnell and wife, George Campbell and wife. The beginnings of this church
had its origin in the efforts of Sisters Anna, Elmore and Phebe A. Reed, who held prayer meetings at different
cabins in the neighborhood, awakened an interest that soon culminated in the organization of a class. Meetings
were held at private residences for several years, conducted by these earnest women, and an occasional itinerant
preacher, that wandered out into the wilderness, until about 1851 or 1852, when a log church was erected in the
center of Section 10, on land donated by George Campbell. A burial ground was started here, and Ada M., wife of
Daniel Dale, was buried December 7, 1851. This old Salem log church, the first church built in Deer Creek township,
was occupied for many years, but finally abandoned and torn down about 1875, and the ground reverted to the adjoining
farm, according to the provisions of the deed. The society held meetings in the Babb school house, northwest corner
of Section 11, for a short time, when in 1876 a new frame church edifice was erected on the southwest corner of
Section 4, a mile to the northwest of the old log church. The new church is a commodious building, constructed
at a cost of $1,600.
UPPER DEER CREEK CHRISTIAN CHURCH
This congregation was organized at the residence of Mr. Turley in November, 1848, by Elders Shoemaker and Hubbard.
Some of the early members were: James Roach and wife, Mr. Bowman and wife. Meetings were held in the cabins of
the members and later in the school house, until about 1852 or 1853, when a reorganization was had, and a hewed
log church was built in Section 34, Deer Creek township, on land donated by Alex Murphy. The following names appear
on the charter roll, and the date of reorganization, as reported, was July 5, 1855; Isaac and Ellen Goldsberry,
Enos and Lucinda Scott, S. B. and Anna Morrow, Margaret Simmons, Elizabeth Turley, Louisa, Evaline and Drusilla
Harness, Margaret and Rebecca Quinn, Geo. W. Harness, Andrew J. and Susan Forgy, Benjamin and Rachel Crites.
HONEY CREEK CHURCH (QUAKERS OR FRIENDS)
About 1848 or 1849 a society of Friends or Quakers was organized in the neighborhood of Young America, with the following charter members: Robert Coat and family, Henry Jones and family, John Jones and family, David Pemberton and family, Smead Thomas, Enos George and Jonathan Hayworth. On July 5, 1851, Isaac Pemberton deeds to Smead Thomas, Enos George, and Jonathan Hayworth, trustees of Honey Creek Church of Friends, 14x17 rods in the southwest corner of the south half of the southeast quarter of section 20, a half mile north of Young America The same year a log church was erected on this lot. Prior to the building of this house of worship "Quaker meetings" were held in private residences. The first and only expounder of the gospel was John Jones. This organization was maintained for a number of years, but death and removals thinned their ranks and the church was finally disbanded. A few of the remaining members joined a society at Poplar Grove, Howard county, where an organization was kept up a few years longer, but finally disbanded, since which time there has been no Quaker society in Cass county.
UPPER DEER CREEK CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, GERMAN BAPTISTS OR DUNKARDS
This church was organized September 1, 1854, by David Wise and Henry Metzger, in the barn of Jacob Smith, in
Deer Creek township, with the following charter members: Jacob Smith and Lydia, his wife; John Mummert and Mary,
his wife; Isaac Cripe and Sarah, his wife; Samuel Cripe and wife; Geo. Countreyman, John Studebaker and wife. Services
were held in private residences, barns and school houses until 1870, when the congregation erected a frame church
40x60 feet on the southeast quarter section 21, Deer Creek township, and at that time the largest public building
in the township. Prior to 1854 the members of this church belonged to the Lower Deer Creek church, in Carroll county.
In the year 1892 the old church edifice was replaced by the present commodious temple of worship, at a cost of
over $1,400. The building is a frame structure of modern design.
PLEASANT VALLEY UNIVERSALIST CHURCH
Through the efforts of Rev. W. S. Pope, Pleasant Valley church was organized in school house No. 3, Deer Creek
township, in the year 1891, with the following charter members: A. A. Seagraves and wife, Samuel Downham and wife,
A. F. Bird, Alice Bird, Daniel, Polly and Mary Lybrook. Meetings were held in the school house until 1893, when
the present brick church was erected on the southwest quarter, Section 6, with an expenditure of over $2,500. Daniel
Lybrook donated the ground on which the church was built, conveying the same to the trustees of the church August
10, 1893. A Sunday school was instituted at the time of the church organization, and has been successfully conducted
ever since. There was, however, a union Sunday school in open ation, in the school house, some years before the
organization of the Universalist Sunday school, and it was merged into the latter.
YOUNG AMERICA CHRISTIAN (DISCIPLE) CHURCH
This is the oldest religious organization in Young America, and was organized September 15, 1863, by the Rev.
Wm. S. Winfield, in a school house on Little Deer creek, with the following seventeen charter members: David Brown
and wife, Wm. Butcher and wife, Washington Ewing and wife, Rebecca Custer, Fred Fouts, John Hampshire and wife,
Rosanna McManama, John and Martha Roush, Joseph and Martha Tucker, Mary Thatcher.
YOUNG AMERICA CHRISTIAN (NEW LIGHT) CHURCH
This church was organized in Young America, December, 1870, through the efforts of Elders George Hubbard, Jonathan
Dipboye and A. C. Williams, with the following charter members: Hannah Dunkin, Lucinda Laid, Mary Ewing, Mary Fisher,
Elizabeth Roach, Ezra Kahl, Rebecca Lewis, Mary A. Johnson, Clarissa Johnson, Nathaniel Y. Buck, Elizabeth Buck,
Andrew J. Forgy, Susan Forgy, Julia Wilson, Sarah C. Wilson, Krilla Wilson, Julia Harness, Margaret Harrison, Alonzo
McGriff, Phebe MeGriff.
MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH OF YOUNG AMERICA
A society of Missionary Baptists was organized at Young America, February 18, 1882, by the Rev. H. R. Todd,
with the following charter members: Daniel C. and Susanna Rife; Michael and Elsie Beekner, Mary A. and Sarah E.
Beekner, John E., Elizabeth and Ada H. Hopkins, Sarah E. McCrackin, Harriet Biggs, Mary E. Henry, Rebecca Hillman,
Delilah Kerr, Luella Gilman, Hettie E. Marshall, Nancy Poundstone, Virginia Barnett. This society was an offshoot
of the Sharon church in Carroll county. The society occupied the schoolhouse and occasionally the Disciple church
for several years. In 1887 steps were taken to build a church, and on May 18 of that year Wm. Hollingworth deeded
lot No. 15 in. the town of Young America to the trustees, and early in the following year a handsome brick church
was completed. This building was enlarged and rebuilt in 1904, of the same material, at an expenditure of $5,500.
UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
Center United. Brethren church was organized in Center school house, Deer Creek township, August 23, 1885, by
the Rev. T. J. Keesey, and the following names appear on the charter roll: Wm. Hubler, Geo. Butts and wife, C.
F. Butts and wife, J. G. Gish and wife, Asberry Ridenouse and wife, G. E. Beck and wife, John Burrows and wife,
Sarah Henry, Richard Wills and wife, Mary (Blue) McClosky, Josie (Plank) Hess, Percilla Cripe, Newton Ridenour,
Chas. Logan, Amos Studebaker and wife, Perry Bern and wife, Nancy Plank Chas. Butts and wife, Geo. Beck and wife,
Griffith Gish and wife, Ellen Bowman, Florence Hyatt.
BETHEL M. E. CHURCH
Bethel M. E. class, an offshoot of Salem church, was organized at the Thomas school house, Deer Creek township,
in 1880, with a charter roll of twelve members. Geo. Shelly was class leader and Rev. J. S. McElwee pastor for
MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
A society of Missionary Baptists was organized in the Thomas school about 1879, and assumed the name of "Antioch
Church." It was a branch of the Judson church in Howard county, and had a charter membership of about fifteen.
Prior to the organization of this congregation there had been a union Sunday school successfully managed under
the superintendency of Geo. W. Shelly, and Antioch church affiliated with Bethel in the same school house in Sunday
school work. Rev. Price Odell was the pastor of the faithful little flock for many years, and until it finally
disbanded some years ago, and the members associated with the Young America church.
[Also see History of Deer Creek Township.]