Church History in Gibbon Nebraska
From: Buffalo County, Nebraska and its people
BY: Samuel Clay Bassett
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago 1916


On Tuesday evening, January 16, 1872, Rev. J. N. Webb, general missionary of the American Baptist Home Missionary Society, preached a sermon in the schoolhouse at Gibbon, after which the following named persons organized themselves into a church to be known as the First Regular Baptist Church of Gibbon, Buffalo County, Nebraska, adopting as their church government and articles of faith and practice those drawn by J. Newton Brown and published by the American Baptist Publication Society. Ira P. George, Mrs. Ira P. George, Jacob Booth, Mrs. Jacob Booth, C. Putnam, John P. Putnam, W. H. Sprague, Mrs. W. H. Sprague, Henry Winklebeck, George H. Silvernail, Amos D. George and Mrs. Amos D. George. At this meeting Dr. Ira P. George was chosen deacon and C. Putnam, clerk.

On Sunday, February 11, 1872, after a sermon by Rev. J. Gunderman, the church granted a license to exercise his gifts in preaching the gospel, to Jacob Booth. On February 25, 1872, the church extended a call as pastor to Rev. J. J. W. Place, which was accepted. Mr. Place served the church, as pastor, until March 8, 1874. After that date the following named served as pastors: Rev. O. A. Buzzell from June 6, 1874, to March 7, 1875; Rev. J. J. W. Place from April 14, 1875 to September 2, 1876; Rev. J. R. Shanafelt from February 3, 1877 to September 2, 1877; Rev. G. W. Read from September 8, IS& to October 6, 1883; Rev. L. F. Compton from January 1, 1884 to November 8, 1885; Rev. G. W. Willis from November 15, 1885 to December 18, 1887. When the Nebraska Baptist College, which had been established at Gibbon in 1882, was removed to Grand Island, several members of the Baptist Church moved from Gibbon and those members who remained became discouraged because it seemed well nigh impossible to longer carry on the church work. On July 21, 1888, at a meeting held in the Presbyterian Church in Gibbon it was decided to reorganize and form a new church to be named the Baptist Church of Gibbon, Neb. The following named persons wishing, to join the new organization, permission was obtained from the original first church by letter: Mr. and Mrs. Applegate, Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Taylor, Rev. and Mrs. G. T. Willis. Rev. and Mrs. D. G. Sturtevant, Rev. A. E. Carson. Mrs. Laura Carson, M. AL Carson, Mrs. S. E. Carson, W. B. Southwell. F. C. Overton, Mrs. A. M. Blue, Miss Lena Carson; on Christian experience, Airs. M. M. Ingham; from the First Baptist Church, Ottawa, Kan., A. B. Carson; by letter from the First Baptist Church of Kearney.

Mr. and Mrs. O. McConnaughey, Misses Theca and Hattie McConnaughey, Mr. and Mrs. D. Carson, H. F. Carson. Miss Nettie Carson. The church voted to call as pastor Rev. Joseph Smith, who served as pastor one year. During this period work was begun on a brick church in size 35 by 46 feet; this church was completed at a cost of $4,500, and dedicated, free of debt on June 20, 1890. Following the pastorate of Rev. Joseph Smith the following pastors have served the church: J. H. Veder, George Vansickle, A. E. Carson, A. T. Norwood, C. P. Kirby, J. W. Graves, F. D. Kennedy and in 1910, U. G. Miller; R. Richards and M. C. Powers, 1912.


The organization of the Presbyterian Church of Gibbon as appears from the church records was as follows:

"Church organization at Gibbon, Neb.

"This place was visited by Rev. George R. Carroll, district missionary of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions for Western Iowa and Nebraska, January 1872. Some families were visited during the day and brief services were held at the schoolhouse (Gibbon) in the evening. On the following day after visiting and consultation with friends interested, it was thought best to proceed at once to the organization of a church. Accordingly at 4 oclock P. M., January 23, 1872, the people came together and after reading the scripture with remarks appropriate to the occasion and prayer for the Divine blessing the following paper with names attached was read."

The paper referred to was a statement in favor of organizing a Presbyterian Church in this place (Gibbon) to be in connection with the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America.

The charter members signing this paper were D. P. Crable, Mrs. M. J. Crable, F. A. Schweinsbury, Mrs. C. Willard, Mrs. Mary Brady, D. B. Worley, Simon V. Seeley, Mrs. Martha O. Seeley, Henry Fairchild, Mrs. Emma Fairchild, and Miss Joana Rodig. D. B. Worley and Simon V. Seeley were duly elected and ordained as elders and the following resolution adopted:

"Resolved: That this church be called the Presbyterian Church of Gibbon, and that we request the presbytery of Missouri River to receive us as a church under its care."

As appears from the records the following persons became members of this church during the years 1373 and 1874: James E. Judd, Mary A. Judd, T. Dwight Thatcher, Flora M. Thatcher, Harriett M. brown, Mary E. Marvin, Miss Adelia A. Putnam, James Ogilvie and Margaret Ogilvie, and on January 25, 1874, James Ogilvie and Henry Fairchild were elected and ordained elders. In 1873 was erected the first church building in Buffalo County. This church was erected by contributions from members of the church, citizens of Gibbon and vicinity and with funds furnished by the board of church extension of the Presbyterian Church.

The building was a wooden frame veneered with brick, and was built by H. B. Dexter who also was the builder of the first courthouse in the county. Rev. Charles S. Marvin, a Presbyterian missionary, who was pastor of the church for some years, beginning in January, 1873, was largely instrumental in securing the erection of the building, spending much time and effort and contributing liberally of his limited means. The first service held in this church was on March 23, 1873, conducted by Rev. Charles S. Marvin. This building was also used by the Methodist and Baptist Church organizations. The district missionaries and pastors in charge of this church are as follows, the date given being that of the beginning of their respective terms of service: Rev. George R. Carroll, June, 1872; Rev. C. S. Marvin, January, 1873; Rev. J. H. Rainard, April, 1878; Rev. Thomas Blayne, March, 1879; Rev. Arthur Folsom, November, 1882; Rev. C. G. A. IIullhorst, March, 1885; Rev. Julian Hatch, January, 1894; Rev. C. F. Graves, 1896; Rev. Fred C. Phelps, 1897; Rev. J. L. Atkinson, 1898; Rev. F. A. Mitchell, April,:898; Rev. John Steele, June, 1903; Rev. M. O. Reynolds, March, 1904; Rev. R. L. Purdy, 1909; Rev. E. F. Hammond, 1913.

It is related in the early history of the Presbyterian Church at Gibbon, owing to removal of members and from other causes the membership became small and but little interest manifested, that the presbytery had in mind to abandon the church organization, there being at the time no resident pastor. The tradition is that Mrs. Margaret Ogilvie, Mrs. Mary Kraut and Mrs. N. I. Morrow, all widows, attended the session of the presbytery and urged that the church organization be not abandoned; their petition and prayer was granted and from that date the church organization seemed to take on new life and enter upon a larger sphere of usefulness. The membership increased and in the year 1909 the original "First Church in the county" was razed to the ground and a beautiful and commodious building, one of the finest in the county erected at a cost of approximately twelve thousand dollars.


A history of the Methodist Church at Gibbon quite properly begins with mention of Rev. J. Marsh who may appropriately be called the "Father" of the church both at Gibbon and the surrounding community. Mr. Marsh and family came to Nebraska from Erie County, Pa., in 1873 and took as a homestead claim on section No. 4 in Gibbon Township.

He at once entered into both the spirit and the work of organizing and building up the Methodist Church, consecrating his life and all his energies in the cause; in this cause he labored for years far beyond his strength and received but little in the way of financial remuneration. Cu horseback he rode the prairies in all directions, in summer's heat and winter's cold, having one sole object in view, his Master's work and the building up of the Methodist Church.

It appears that under Rev. Wm. Morse's administration no church or class records were kept and to Rev. J. Marsh is due the credit of the brief written history of the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Gibbon and of the classes organized in the vicinity.

From the church records of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Gibbon, is copied the following history of the organization of the church as written by Rev. J. Marsh: "This church record was secured by Rev. A. G. White (presiding elder of Kearney district), for Gibbon charge in 1874.

"Gibbon the previous years with Kearney Junction but this year (1874) Gibbon circuit was formed with the following appointments: Gibbon, Erie, Wood River and Prairie Creek with J. Marsh as pastor, transferred Erie (Pa.) to the Nebraska conference the same year.

"The Gibbon and Erie classes were formed by Rev. Wm. Morse of Wisconsin Conference in 1872. Wood River and Prairie Creek classes were regularly organized in 1873 by J. Marsh then a supernumerary of Erie (Pa.) Conference, though there had been a class temporarily formed by Brother Fairchild, but no record being found, the class was organized as above.

"At the foundation of Gibbon charge the entire membership numbered about eighty." "Signed, J. Marsha."

The writer is of the opinion that in the above statement, "At the foundation of Gibbon charge the entire membership numbered about eighty," that this included the members of classes at Erie, and Prairie Creek as well as at Gibbon. The records disclose that Rev. J. Marsh was returned to the Gibbon charge for 1875-76, and that there were about fifty conversions. Rev. Charles Riley was pastor in charge for the year 1876-77, Rev. J. Marsh being returned to the charge for the year 1877-78.

Rev. A. H. Summers was pastor in charge for the years 1879-80, and during this period it seems steps were taken to build a church building at Shelton, which up to that time seems to have been a part of the Gibbon charge. The Shelton church was completed in the year 1880.

It appears that Rev. J. Marsh was returned to the Gibbon charge in September, 1880, and continued until September, 1882. It was during this period that the church at Shelton was completed. It appears that during his last pastorate at Gibbon Rev. J. Marsh preached at Gibbon, at Buckeye Valley, Box Elder Valley and had regular appointments at three other schoolhouses. Rev. C. A. Mastin came to the Gibbon charge in September, 1882, and remained until September, 1885. It was during the pastorate of Rev. C. A. Mastin that the Methodist Church erected their first church building in Gibbon. This church was dedicated March 4. 1883, by Presiding Elder T. B. Lemon. At the dedication a subscription of $1,200 was raised to pay off all indebtedness. For the building of this church great credit is due Samuel B. Lowell and wife for financial assistance. It was during Mr. Mastin's pastorate that Charles E. Fulmer was licensed to preach and assigned to the Sharon charge, which had been a part of the Gibbon charge. The church building, erected in 1883, was struck by lightning in 1899. It is related that no great effort was made to put out the fire, the pastor in charge saying in substance, "Let it burn; we need a new church anyway." Another church building was erected on the same lots in 1900.

As no charter membership list is available, there is herewith given the list of members of classes at Gibbon, Erie and schoolhouse or School District No. 5, as appear in the class records prepared by Rev. J. Marsh. No date is given in the record, but it is assumed it was for the year 1874:

Class No. 1, Gibbon, Helium Thompson, Leader. - Helim Thompson, Julia Thompson, Aaron Ward, Mrs. Sarah Ward, Elizabeth Cherry, Charles E. Brayton, Mrs. Charles E. Brayton, Lemuel S. Hough, W. H. Wheeler, Jane Wheeler, Mrs. S. A. Jackson, Jerusha Marsh, Milton D. Marsh, J. Eugene Marsh, R. Luvern Marsh, Henry H. Haven, Mrs. Henry H. Haven, Mrs. Ann Glanville, J. B. Wheeler, George Gilmore, Jane Gilmore, Cora LaBarre, Pauline Wheeler, Monroe D. Breed, Rhoda Breed, Mrs. Mary Day, Mary E. Fee, Minerva Rice, Isaac D. LaBarre, Mrs. Mary LaBarre, Alva G. H. White, Henry J. Dunkin, Thomas J. Mahoney, Mrs. Laura Mahoney.

Class No. 2, Erie Schoolhouse, John K. Lux, Leader. - Samuel B. Lowell, Samuel R. Traut, Caroline Barrett, Clark Washburn, James H. Mills, Julia A. Washburn, John K. Lux, Valentine Armbus, Albert Washburn, John Smith, Nancy Fox, Mrs. Caroline C. Lowell, Mrs. S. R. Traut, Jane Barrett, Benjamin Whittaker, Susan M. Mills, Samuel T. Walker, Mrs. C. M. Lux, Olive Armbus, Sarah J. Washburn, Sarah T. Smith, Nancy Rollston, Abram Barrett, Sarah J. Barrett, Libbie Lowell, Mary Whittaker, Lois N. Ayer, Martha Walker.

Class No. 1, No. 5 Schoolhouse, Sydney A. Barrett, Leader. - Sydney A. Barrett, Margaret Graham, Eugenia R. Silvernail, John Lucas, Stephen L. Lucas, Nora M. Graham, Cora J. George, Truman J. Hubbard, Cora Hubbard, Delia A. Barrett, C. T. Silvernail, Fred Silvernail, Matilda Lucas, Wesley G. Walker, H. M. Chamberlain, Ida George, Janet Hubbard, Borah Hubbard, Edward G. Graham, Abigal Silvernail, William Roach, Caroline Roach, John H. Graham, Flora A. George, George H. Silvernail, Marcia Silvemnail, Hannah T. Walker.

Class No. 2, No. 5 Schoolhouse, Nelson W. Short, Leader. - Nelson W. Short, Martha J. Davis, Terry E. Davis, Emory D. Hubbard, Jeanett Losee, Martin Oard, Lucy A. Rosseter, Nancy M. Short, Lora E. Davis, William C. Wheeler, Frank Hubbard, Robert H. Hick, Hannah Oard, Walter George, Perce T. Davis, Esther Davis, Wilson J. Marsh, Warren A. Losee, Neta Hick, Shelburn Rosseter.

Pastors Methodist Episcopal Church, Gibbon. - William Morse, 1872-73; J. Marsh, 1874-76; Charles Riley, 1876-77; J. Marsh, 1877-78; A. H. Summers, 1879-80; J. Marsh, 1880-82; C. A. Mastin, 1882-85; M. G. Vessels, 1885-86; O. R. Beebe, 1886-89; Price A. Crow, 1889-91; James Leonard, 1891-92; Erastus Smith, 1892-94; A. B. Chapin, 1894-95; A. W. Coffman, 1895-98; G. F. Cook; 1898-1901; George H. Jones, 1901-02; T. M. Ransom, 1902-05; A. J. Clifton, 1905-08; R. H. Link, 1908-09; A. Gilson, 1909-13; W. E. Henry, October, 1913-November, 1913; O. E. Johnson, 1914,


St. Agnes' Chapel (Episcopal) was organized by Reverend Doctor Oliver about the year 1890, with twelve charter members, among whom can be recalled Mrs. M. H. Noble, Mrs. R. J. S. McCallum, Mrs. G. W. Cherrington, Mrs. Doctor Dalrymple, Emma Masters.

It is related that a friend of the Episcopal Church, living in an eastern state, gave to the diocese a block of lots in the Village of Gibbon. These lots, with the exception of one on which the present (1915) church building stands, were sold and the proceeds used by Bishop Graves in the erection of a church building, the people of Gibbon and vicinity contributing towards the expense, Bishop Graves himself contributing liberally. The church building was erected about the year 1892.

The church has had no resident pastor, being supplied from pastors residing at Kearney and Grand Island.

In 1915 the church had a membership of nine.

The St. Agnes' Guild was organized July 21, 1909, with a charter membership of nine. The first officers were: Mrs. Roy Smith, president; Mrs. R. Carson, vice president; Mrs. H. E. Hershey, secretary; Mrs. E. Bunks, treasurer. In 1915 the guild had a membership of seventeen. The officers: Mrs. R. Carson, president; Mrs. I. A. Kirk, vice president; Mrs. D. Dwiggins, secretary; Mrs. E. R. Mercer, treasurer.

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