Church History of Miami County, Indiana Part 2
From: History of Miami County, Indiana
Edited by: Mr. Arthur L. Bodurtha
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1914


Probably the first services held by members of this denomination in Miami county were those conducted by Rev. George Pope at the house of George Neece, in Allen township, in 1838. No society was formed at that time, but in December, 1839, a few persons who believed in the doctrines of the Baptist church met at the cabin of William Cool, and took the preliminary steps toward the organization of a church society. Meetings were held at the homes of the members until the following March, when the Weesau Creek Baptist church was formed with the following members: William, Christopher and Juda Cool, Sallie Hall, Charles Cole, Mary Boss, Ezra Griffith and wife, Leonard and Powell Cool. In July, 1841, the congregation joined with others of the same faith in forming the Huntington association. The first house of worship was built early in the year 1851, on land donated by William Cool. In 1853 this church became the head of the Weesau Creek association and in May, 1856, the first Sunday school was organized. Two of the original members of this church - William and Leonard Cool - were ordained to the ministry in May, 1855. In January, 1876, a handsome and commodius brick church was dedicated for the use of this church, Rev. J. Whiteside preaching the sermon on that occasion. This is the oldest Baptist church in the county.

In the early '40s Rev. John Davis, a Baptist minister, visited Erie township and held services at the house of Salathiel Cole. A small society was organized, but no house of worship was ever erected, services having been held for several years in the homes of the members or at the California school house. After the death of some of the older members the survivors united with Baptist churches at other points and the meetings were discontinued.

The first church edifice in the town of Bunker Hill was erected by the Baptists in 1860, on a lot donated by James Myers and John Duckwall. The congregation had been organized nearly twenty years before. Among the early members were Daniel Striker, William and James McCrary, B. H. Hann and wife, Joseph Frazee, William Piatt and wife, John Murphy and James Mays and their wives, a Mr. Lawrence and perhaps a few others. Rev. Samuel Dewese was one of the first preachers and the services were held at his house until the spring of 1848, when a log church was erected about a mile west of Bunker Hill. The present building is one of the largest in the town, having a seating capacity of about 500.

In the western part of Deer Creek township, on the creek of that name and not far from the Cass county line, was once a little Baptist church that was organized about 1849 by Elder Walters, who was the first pastor. At first there were but five members, but thirty years later the membership had increased to about 100. At that time it was one of the strongest church societies in the county, outside of the city of Peru. Then a decline began and in 1893 the congregation disbanded, the members taking letters and uniting with the churches at Bunker Hill, Galveston or elsewhere.

The Chili Baptist church had its beginning about 1856, though services had been held in the vicinity by Baptist ministers for several years previous to that time. When the society was first organized the membership was small and it was deemed advisable not to undertake the erection of house of worship. Meetings were therefore held in the school house at Chili and another near that town until 1877, when the congregation had grown to such an extent as to render a church building of some kind a necessity. Consequently a lot was purchased and a handsome frame building 36 by 60 feet was dedicated early in 1878. This building, which cost about $2,000, stands in the western part of the town and is still used by the congregation.

A few Baptists who were among the early settlers of Perry township began holding meetings at their homes about 1850 and in 1858 a substantial frame house of worship was erected on Section 15, near the old village of Niconza. This was known as the Niconza Baptist church. It enjoyed a fair degree of prosperity for several years, but with the death of the older members and the removal of others the congregation became so weakened that it lost much of its former prestige and power. Stephens' History of Miami county (page 260) says a Baptist church was built at Gilead in 1858, but this statement probably refers to the Niconza church and it may be that the location of the church was changed to Gilead at a later date. The published accounts of this society are confusing.

The Mexico Baptist church was organized at the house of George Hutchinson, near the village, June 5, 1861, most of the members having formerly been affiliated with the Weesau Creek congregation. A list of the first members shows the names of John, Elizabeth and Louis A. Shadinger, Jacob Wilkinson, Rebecca and Lucy L. Strayer, George and Elizabeth Ulch, David and Catherine Sloppy, William and Eliza Cunningham, George and Nancy E. Hutchinson, Mary Wilkinson, Fanny Sloppy, Nancy Burnett, Jesse and Mary Copeland, A. W. Hedges and Sophia House. Meetings were held in the Methodist church for about two years, when a comfortable frame house of worship was erected in the northwest part of the town. Revs J. M. Maxwell, J. B. Allen and J. Barrett were among the early pastors.

On July 18, 1866, a number of Baptists met together in Peru for the purpose of organizing a church. Those present at the meeting were E. H. Shirk, H. J. Shirk, W. H. Waters, F. M. Bacon, Moses Mercer, George Geves and David DeLawter and their wives. Rev. A. Virgil, who was also at the meeting, was chosen pastor. At another meeting on September 11, 1866, the organization was perfected and on October 3d a number of pastors of churches in northern Indiana met in council and formally recognized the First Baptist Church of Peru as an established church. In April, 1868, H. J. Shirk, F. Hackley and George A. Crowell were appointed a building committee to take charge of the erection of a house of worship. The lot at the southeast corner of Main and Wabash streets was secured and a brick building was commenced. By the close of the year the lecture room was practically finished, and it was occupied for the first time by the congregation on New Year's day, 1869. At that time Rev. John Trenneman was pastor. He was succeeded in July, 1869, by Rev. F. D. Bland, under whose charge the building was finished and dedicated on January 2, 1870. Rev. George E. Leonard was pastor from 1871 to 1882 and under his ministrations the congregation and Sunday school both grew in membership and attendance. The increase continued under the leadership of Rev. B. F. Cavins, who became pastor in March 1882, and in a few years it became evident that the old church would have to be enlarged or a new one erected to accommodate the growing membership. A new building was the decision of the members and in 1894 the old church that had served for more than a quarter of a century was torn down. The foundation of the new building was laid in the Fall of that year and the cornerstone placed in position with appropriate ceremonies. In 1895 the building, a handsome stone structure with red tile roof, was completed, the dedication taking place on Sunday, November 24th. It is one of the finest church edifices in northern Indiana and cost about $40,000. Since the erection of the new church the pastors have been H. P. Klyver, H. C. HeRings and Ambrose M. Bailey.

The Oakdale branch of the First Baptist church was established in July, 1905. A neat, commodious building was erected in the summer of 1906 at the southwest corner of Chili and Adams avenues An active Sunday school has been maintained continuously since, having many bright and energetic young people among its efficient workers. In October, 1913, it was organized as a branch of the First church and for the first time arrangements were made for regular services, Rev. Lee Fisher assuming the active duties of the field.

The Denver Baptist church was organized in April, 1886, by Rev. E. C. Robbins, who was the first pastor. Sixteen charter members were enrolled at the time of the organization and nine more soon afterward united with the church. This faithful twenty five immediately took the necessary steps toward the erection of a church building and in 1887 a neat frame house of worship, located upon the rising ground in the northern part of the town was dedicated. It is thirty six by sixty feet in size and cost about $2,500.

On the map of Miami county in the old atlas already referred to, there is a Missionary Baptist church shown on the southern part of Section 7, in Union township, about three and a half miles northwest of Denver and just west of Weesau creek, but no one has been found who can give any account of its organization.


There are several branches of the German Baptist denomination and no especial effort has been made herein to differentiate very closely in classifying them, accepting for the most part of classification in Stephens' History of Miami County. The name "Dunkard" never was an official name of this denomination. It is only a nickname and is said to allude to an abundance of water, it being a corruption of the German word "dunker," for dipper. Of the three branches one calls itself the German Baptists, one the Church of the Brethren, and the other the Progressive Brethren. The church in Peru is of the second above named branch, and so are the two churches in Mexico. Rev. Mr Fisher, the pastor of the church in Peru, claims that the Church of the Brethren is the direct descendant of the old German Baptists, while the present German Baptists and Progressive Brethren are branches of the parent stock. However, as above stated, the historian is not sufficiently familiar with the church history to attempt a definite classification.

Several societies of this denomination have been organized in Miami county. Doubtless the first was that organized at Mexico about 1837. Elder Jacob Brower, a Dunkard preacher, held services at the house of Peter Fisher before that date, and for several years after the formal organization of a church meetings were held at the homes of the members or in the school houses. In the summer season they worshiped in the groves-" God's first temples." In 1861 a brick church, forty four by fifty feet, with a seating capacity of about five hundred was built a short distance north of Mexico. Here the Browers, Fishers, Fetrows, Metzkers, Barnharts and other pioneer families of Jefferson township, who were adherents of the German Baptist faith, met regularly for years and built up a strong congregation. An offshoot of this church established another society and built a house of worship on Section 27, about half a mile north of the station of Courter and just east of the Lake Erie & Western Railroad. Another Dunkard congregation, known as the "old order," founded a church in Jefferson township at an early date.

A Dunkard church was established in the northwest corner of Richland township many years ago, but nothing of its history can be ascertained, further than that the members built a house of worship on Section 3, a short distance east of the old village of Wooleytown. What is known as the "Enterprise" Dunkard church in Perry township, on the road leading east from Birmingham, has been in existence for many years. The members of this denomination living in the vicinity of Santa Fe held services in the school house there some years before the beginning of the Civil war. About 1866 a German Baptist church was organized in the southern part of Washington township. The early meetings were held in barns, residences or school houses, but after a year or so a frame house of worship forty five by seventy feet was erected on the plat or ground donated by William Biggs on Section 34, not far from Pipe creek. The membership of this congregation is made up of substantial farmers and their families.

In the northern part of Clay township a society of Progressive Dunkards was organized a few years after the church in Washington township and a comfortable frame house of worship was erected a little later on the farm of Oliver Worll.


This denomination was first founded in Switzerland in 1525, but took its name from Menno Simons, a leader in Holland. Since its origin it has become divided into twelve branches, the principal ones of which are the Mennonites, the Amish (so-called from Jacob Amen), the Old Amish, the Apostolic Mennonites and the Mennonite Brethren. The church was introduced in America in 1683, when William Penn induced some Mennonites to settle in Pennsylvania.

Near Cary, in the southeastern part of Harrison township, an Amish church was organized about 1849. Members of this denomination settled in that locality at an early day, most of them coming from Ohio. About 1855 a division occurred, not so much on questions of doctrine as a difference of opinion regarding modern practices. The "old order" established a new church near the Howard county line, near the line between Clay and Harrison townships. This is now known as the Mennonite church. The Amish have no house of worship, but hold meetings at the homes of the members. All the various branches of the Mennonites are noted for their strict discipline, industry and plain manner of living.


The Christian church at Miami, the first to be established in the county, was the outgrowth of meetings held at the house of Austin Herrell and in the school houses, Revs. George Smith, Daniel Flinn and a minister named Hansberry having been among the first preachers of this faith to hold services in that part of the county. The society was organized about 1848 and a few years later a substantial house of worship was erected in the village of Miami.

In 1856 a Christian church was erected in the village of Peoria, the first house of worship in the place. The organization was never very strong and about 1868 or 1869 the members abandoned the church at Peoria, united with others of the same belief and built a new frame church in the southeastern part of Butler township. This congregation has never prospered and meetings are held only at irregular intervals.

Elder Wayman came into Pipe Creek township in 1865 and held meetings in a school house near Pipe creek, about three miles northwest of Bunker Hill. The result of his labors was the organization of Pleasant Hill Christian church, with about fifteen members, among whom were the Brandts, the Markens, the Mendenhalls, N. D. and M. E. Nichols, Jane Reed and Harriet Hopper. Peter Rife and Granville Mendenhall were the first deacons. In 1875 a neat frame church was built on land donated by Jacob Brant, on Section 14. Although the congregation has never been large, harmony has prevailed among them and the church is one of the established institutions of the county.

The Converse Christian church was organized in 1868 by Rev. Henry Olinger. For a time meetings were held in the school house or at private dwellings, but in 1872 a lot in the eastern part of the town was purchased and a frame church was erected thereon. The pastor at that time was Rev. W. V. Trowbridge. In 1877 the frame church was burned and a new brick building, thirty six by fifty feet was erected upon the site, at a cost of about $4,000. This building was the home of the congregation for a little more than thirty years, when it was replaced by the present stately structure, which cost about $13,000. In connection with the church is a strong Sunday school and it is no disparagement to other religious societies to say that the Christian church of Converse is one of the most prosperous in the county.

The Christian church at Macy was organized about 1868 by Rev. Aaron Walker. Grimes Horton, Lyman Hatch and Peter Carvey were the first elders. The first meetings were held in a school house that was afterward converted into a residence. In 1873 a brick chapel was erected and it is still owned by the congregation. The cornerstone of a new building was laid in November, 1913, but the edifice was not completed at the close of that year. The cost of this building, including the furnishings, will be in excess of $12,000. It is a handsome brick structure, centrally located, and will seat about 800 people.

In January, 1893, Elder T. J. Legg, state Sunday school evangelist of the Christian church, organized a Sunday school in Peru. The first meeting was held in the basement of the Odd Fellows' building on East Main street on January 15th. Later in the year the state missionary board sent Rev. Charles M. Fillmore to assist in the organization of a church. After holding revival services for about five weeks, Mr. Fillmore succeeded in organizing a congregation, including a number of Peru's representative people. Not long afterward the old Congregational church at the southwest corner of Main and Miami streets was purchased and refitted as a house of worship. This building was dedicated on October 15, 1894, as a Christian church, Rev. L. L. Carpenter, of Wabash, conducting the services. It was a great satisfaction to the members to know that the new church started upon its career out of debt. Since the organization services have been regularly held and the congregation is in a reasonably prosperous condition. The building occupied by this society has had a varied history. It was built and used by the Old School Presbyterians for a time, after which it was used successively by the Baptists, the St. Paul Methodists and the Congregationalists. When the last named denomination abandoned the building it stood idle for a number of years before it was bought and remodeled by the Disciples.


The New Lights, or New Light Christians, were represented in Erie township at a very early date, but no regular organization was ever effected. Meetings were held at the homes of some of the early settlers and several ineffectual efforts were made to arouse sufficient interest to justify the establishment of a church. Failing in this, the meetings were finally discontinued.

The first regular New Light church established in the county is known as Eel River chapel. A history of this congregation published in the Peru Republican of July 15, 1910, gives the names of the charter members as Elijah Cox, Jane Gallahan, Thomas and Milly Skinner, Margaret Reed, Fannie Branaman, Elizabeth Taylor Payne and Rebecca Stroud. On February 21, 1841, the little congregation adopted the name of "Christian Salem Church." In the fall of 1843 a frame house of worship was built on the farm of Elijah Cox, near the Eel river, at a cost of $600, and the congregation afterward became known as the Eel River church. At a meeting held on February 21, 1881, exactly forty years after the church was first organized, steps were taken to build a brick chapel "to be controlled by the Christian denomination." The building was completed and dedicated early the following year.

The Mount Zion New Light church, about two miles west of Bennett's Switch, was organized in the late '60s and George Wininger presented the congregation with a house of worship. This church is still in existence and though not strong numerically is in a fairly prosperous condition.


The first church of the United Brethren in Miami county, of which there is any authentic record, was formed in Erie township, at the house of Samuel Philabaum, in 1849. Among the early members were Samuel Philabaum and wife, Michael Dice and wife, David Repp and wife, David Zimmerman and wife and a Mrs. Barnett. In 1850 a hewed log house of worship was erected on the farm of Mr. Philabaum and subsequently a nice frame house was built upon the same site, at a cost of about $1,700. A Sunday school is conducted in connection with the church.

In 1856 Rev. Cyrus Smith visited Xenia (Converse) and organized a United Brethren class, consisting of Seth and Mary Summers, Zachariah Clevinger and wife, Thomas and Hannah Darby, Charles Branam and Mary A. Clevinger. Meetings were at first held at the house of Mr. Summers and later in the Wesleyan Methodist church. In 1859 a frame church was erected at a cost of about $800 and was used jointly by the two denominations until the Wesleyan Methodists disbanded, when the United Brethren came into full possession. In 1872 the building was enlarged and remodeled, since which time it has been known as the United Brethren church of Converse.

A frame church for the use of the United Brethren was built in Washington township in 1869, though meetings had been held at private dwellings twenty years before that time. It cost about $900, is located on the north side of Section 24, near Little Pipe creek, and is known as Crider chapel.

The United Brethren church at North Grove, erected in 1870, is said to have been the first house of worship built in Harrison township. It is the outgrowth of meetings previously held by Rev. John Leach at the homes of James Graham and John Wilson, as early as 1848.

Mount Zion church of the United Brethren, located about two miles east of Bennett's Switch, was organized about 1854. After a reasonable successful career for several years the congregation became so weakened by deaths and removals that it disbanded. The building was purchased by B. F. Zehring and removed by him and A. E. Zehring, William K. Green and James Coucher to Bennett's Switch, where it is now used by the Methodists, to whom it was sold at cost by the men who removed it to the village.

A church of the United Brethren was established at Waupecong some time in the '80s with a small membership, but its history cannot be learned. The church at Macy was established in 1892 and soon afterward erected a neat frame building in the northern part of the town. This congregation is in a reasonably prosperous condition, although not strong in numbers.

A young, and probably the strongest, society of United Brethren in the county is the one at Peru. It was organized about the beginning of the present century. A lot at the corner of Main and Clay street was soon afterward purchased and on June 2, 1901, the cornerstone of the building was laid by Rev. W. M. Weekley, of Dayton, Ohio, chairman of the church erection section of the denominational work. The box deposited in the cornerstone contained copies of the Peru newspapers, religious publications, etc. When completed the cost of the building was about $10,000.

Some five or six years ago a few United Brethren began holding meetings at their homes at Denver. As their numbers increased they met in one of the school rooms or in a public hall for a few months, when a congregation was regularly organized and steps taken to erect a church. The lot at the corner of Pyson street and Washington avenue was purchased and in the summer of 1910 a neat frame church was erected thereon, where regular services have since been held.


Just before the great land sale in 1847 a few Quaker families settled in the southeastern part of the county and not long after their coming they organized what is now the Amboy Friends' church. Among the original members were John Pearson, Nathan Arnold, William and Eli Overman and their families, Joshua Canaday, Hiram Pearson, Mordecai Painter, Michael and Parker Hollingsworth, David Reynolds and Calvin' Edgerton. The first house of worship was a deserted dwelling, but in a short time a log church was erected just north of the present town of Amboy. Meetings were held in it until 1865, when a large frame house was built in its place. Rev Zimri Hockett was one of the first preachers.

Another society of Friends was organized in the extreme southeastern corner of Jackson township and their house of worship was built about half a mile north of where Converse now stands. There was also a Friends church established in the southeastern part of Harrison township at a comparatively early date. This denomination has never spread over the county like some of the others. At the beginning of the present century there were three Friends churches in the county, with a total membership of over 500, all located in Jackson township, which is sometimes called the "Quaker neighborhood."


There is but one society of the Protestant Episcopal church in Miami county and that is located in the city of Peru. On May 2, 1843, a few persons who believed in the doctrines and form of worship of the Episcopal church met for the purpose of organizing a parish. Among these were M. W. Seely, Albert Cole, James M. DeFrees, John S. Twells. James Douglas, George L. Dart, E. P. Loveland, H. M. and John W. Stone, D. B. Tyler, H. J. Reese, Jonathan W. Smith and O. M. Clark, with respective families. Under the sanction of the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, at that time bishop of the Northwest, and with the assistance of Rev. H. L. Laird, an Episcopal minister of Logansport, the parish was organized and designated as St. James. Bishop Kemper visited Peru the following July and held services, at which time three additional members were confirmed.

At a meeting held at the office of M. W. Seely, in Peru. April 8, 1844, Henry J. Rees and D. W. Tyler were elected wardens, James M. DeFrees, Merritt W. Seely and John W. Stone, vestrymen. Messrs. Seely and Rees were appointed a committee to draft a code of by laws for the government of the parish. They made their report to a parish meeting on June 20, 1844, when the by laws were adopted. In the early spring of 1846, Rev. Fortune C Brown, of New York, was called as rector and remained in charge of the parish for about eighteen months. After his departure Henry J. Rees conducted services as lay reader for about two years, when he left Peru and the services were discontinued, except when the parish was occasionally visited by Bishop Upfold. In the winter of 1869 regular services were held for a short time by Rev. Thomas Taylor, of Delphi, and the following spring Rev. E. J. Purdy, of Logansport held services a few times and awakened anew the energies of the members.

On the evening of May 26, 1870, a meeting was held in the second story of a building at the northwest corner of Main and Broadway streets, at which time the parish was reorganized and the name of Trinity Episcopal church was adopted. A. C. Fiske and Milon F. Smith were elected wardens and C. E. Rutherford, vestryman. Rev. W. N. Dunham was called as rector on July 1, 1870, and meetings were held regularly in a room over Shirk & Miller's store, where the First National bank is now located. Before the close of the year a lot at the northeast corner of Main and Miami streets was purchased and on September 19, 1871, the cornerstone of the first Episcopal church in Miami county was laid under the direction of Bishop Talbott, Rev. Mr. Roberts, of Indianapolis, delivering the sermon.

The church erected then served as the home of the congregation for more than forty years. On June 3, 1913. the cornerstone of the new church was laid according to the Episcopal ritual, Bishop John Hazen White, of South Bend, officiating. An incident that occurred in connection with this ceremony was something out of the ordinary. When Bishop White visited Gary, some time before, for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of an Episcopal church, the stone masons objected to his using the trowel because he was not a member of their union The bishop begged to be permitted to proceed, saying that he would make it all right for the next time. Consequently, he joined the stone masons' union and when he came to Peru he carried his membership card, but no objection was offered to his officiating or using the trowel. The contract cost of the new building was $20,000. It was not completed at the beginning of the year 1914. The walls are of oriental velour brick, laid with black cement, and when completed the church will be an ornament to the city.

During the pastorate of Rev. Edward W. Averill, the guild hall was erected in the rear of the church. It is a substantial brick structure and is still standing.


Rev. C. Stuerken, a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran church, came to Peru in 1849 and held services in a little frame school house on West Second street. The only members of the denomination in the town at that time were Paul Kleemann, Thomas Hetzner, L. Kolk, Charles Koederer, John Bazner and Adam Waltz, and a few members of their families. Owing to the fact that the congregation was small, Mr. Steurken visited it only at irregular intervals and after a time the meetings were discontinued entirely for about a year. He then began his visits again and a church was regularly organized in 1858, with Rev. H. Horst as pastor. He remained but a short time, when Mr. Steurken returned to the congregation and in a little while a small brick building was erected on West Second street, near Hood. In 1861 a number of members were added to the congregation and during the next decade the growth of the church was steady, though somewhat slow. Early in the '70s a movement was started for a new house of worship. The lots at the southeast corner of Main and Fremont streets was purchased. the cornerstone of the new building was laid on May 22, 1875, and the church was formally dedicated on April 2, 1876. It is a brick structure, 40 by 75 feet, with a tall spire, and still serves the congregation as a home. Where the old church stood on West Second street a handsome two story brick school house was erected in 1905.

In the year 1855 two ministers named Geisel and Uphouse, members of the Fulton circuit of the Indiana conference of the Evangelical Lutheran church, began holding services in the vicinity of Bunker Hill Four years later Mr. Geisel conducted a series of revival meetings that resulted in the organization of a class or society, of which Peter Walters was the leader. From 1861 to 1863 Rev. R. J. Trometer had charge of the work in that part of the county. During the next two years Rev. H. Fisher was the pastor of the little flock. Then came Rev. J. Kaufman, who in turn was succeeded by Mr. Uphouse in 1867. For a time meetings were held in the homes of the members; then the school house west of the town was secured and services were held there until 1874. In that year a brick house of worship was erected on Elm street, in the south part of the town, where the congregation still has its home.


A society of the German Evangelical Association was formed in Perry township, a short distance east of Gilead, and in 1858 a frame house of worship was erected near the village, at a cost of $700. Among the early members were the Ault, Smith and Barnheisel families, Cornelius Barnheisel donating the land for the church site.

At the Buffalo school house, in the northern part of Perry township, a society of the Reformed Lutheran church was organized in 1880, by Rev. E. Hershey. About a year later a small frame house of worship was erected on land donated by Samuel King. Prior to that time a Lutheran society had been organized at the Greenland school house and held meetings there for some time. It was finally disbanded and most of the members united with the Buffalo congregation.

The Evangelical church at the corner of Fifth and Water streets, in the city of Peru, was dedicated on January 19, 1902, Bishop Thomas Bowman officiating. At that meeting $1,500 were contributed and the new building was cleared of debt. This society was organized on November 26, 1898, at the home of George Vanblaricum, with seven members. In December, the little society secured the hall over the express office on East Third street. On April 14, 1899, Rev. Edward Oliver took charge as pastor and from that time the society grew until it was strong enough to erect its own sanctuary at the corner of Fifth and Water streets, as above stated.

So far as can be learned there has never been but one society of this faith in Miami county. In April, 1876, Rev. J. B. Parmelee, then pastor of the Presbyterian church in Peru, resigned his position and procured a letter of dismission from the presbytery. At the same time some of the members of the Presbyterian church withdrew and, under the leadership of Mr. Parmelee, organized a Congregational church. The old church edifice that had been used by one of the Methodist societies, located at southwest corner of Main and Miami streets, was secured by the new denomination and for a time the Congregationalists were fairly prosperous. Then some of the members returned to the Presbyterian church, and after the departure of Mr. Parmelee for other fields of labor Rev. Mr. Cooper took charge, but the society soon went down. The Christian church afterward purchased the church building.


A society of this denomination was organized at Bunker Hill in 1879, by Rev. S. G. Lane. Among the first members were Allen James, H. G. Curtis, Alexander Baxter, Granville Hedrick, John Turner and their wives, Mary Crowder and Mary Clouse. Services were held at the homes of the members until 1882, when a frame house of worship was built in Duckwall's addition, on Elm street. The congregation was never very strong in numbers and some time in the early '90s meetings were discontinued. The Dunkards then obtained the privilege of using the building and hold services there about once a month.

In 1883 a Seventh Day Adventist church was organized at Denver by two ministers named Reese and Covert. The original membership was about twenty. For about two years services were held in the old college building, but in 1885 a frame church was built in the southeastern part of town at a cost of $800. A Sunday school was soon afterward organized with Jesse Woods as superintendent. Services were held for several years, when both church and Sunday school passed out of existence, though there are still a few people of that faith living at Denver and in the immediate vicinity.

The only society of Seventh Day Adventists now in Miami county is in the city of Peru. It numbers but a few members and has been in existence for the past ten or twelve years. Recently meetings have been held at the dwelling of Thomas McCarty at the extreme end of West Third street.


A short distance south of the village of Peoria was once a congregation of this faith, which has a peculiar history. One of the early settlers in Butler township - a Mr. Hahn - had saved $500, with which he intended to purchase land in Iowa. Just as he was about to start for that state became converted by a minister of the Church of God and his conversion was so sincere that the $500 went toward building a church on his farm. The house was finished about 1856 and for some years Mr. Hahn had camp meetings on his farm near the church. He even went to the expense of erecting sheds for the horses of the visitors and every year provided food for a large number of those who attended the meetings. About 1860 the church began to decline and finally the old house was abandoned. Hahn's farm was sold to E. H. Shirk, who sold it to a man named Crull. When Mr. Crull announced his intention of tearing down the old church the people of the neighborhood raised a. fund and bought it and a small tract of land. Here the Methodists and Christians have since held meetings, but the Church of God that once worshiped there is only a memory.

There was another Church of God in the county at one time and the old church edifice is still standing in Perry township, a mile or two in a southeasterly direction from the Enterprise Dunkard church. Almost directly across the road from it once stood a Methodist church, which, after it was abandoned, became known as the "old shell." It disappeared probably fifty years ago.


Salem Universalist church, four miles south of Peru in Washington township, had its beginning as early as 1858, when Rev. J. Brooks visited that part of the county and held a few meetings at the residence of some of the settlers who believed in the doctrine of the "Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man and the final destruction of all sin and wrong." Eben Mosely and his wife, A. B. Edwards and wife, and a family by the name of Clymer were the original members of Salem church. During the thirty five years following the first visit of Mr. Brooks, no formal organization of a society was attempted, though several Universalist ministers came into the neighborhood and held meetings, either at the home of some believer or in the school house. In February, 1893, the church was organized and the same year a frame church building 32 by 48 feet was erected. Rev. M. L. Pope was installed as pastor and under his ministrations a number of new members were added to the congregation. The church property is valued at $2.000.


A society of this faith was organized in Peru in 1902, with Miss Sadie Nordyke as first reader and Mrs. C. W. Fultz as second reader. The society holds its meetings in a brick building on the north side of East Fifth street, between Court and Wabash streets. At the close of the year 1913 Mrs. Laura V. Harter held the position of first reader and A. E. Fisher that of second reader.

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