FRANKLIN CHRISTIAN CHURCH.—The Christian Church of Franklin was organized on the 3d day of July, 1848. Previous to that time ministers of the current Reformation visited the town at intervals, and held public worship in the courthouse, the immediate results of which were quite a number of conversions. Among the early preachers were: Elders Love H. Jameson, J. M. Mathes and John O’Kane, who were widely and favorably known throughout the United States, where the Disciples have gained a footing. The meetings held from time to time eventually crystallized into an organization, July, 1848, of which the following were the prime movers: John B. Cobb, J. V. Branham, Horatio Jones, John V. Parrish, Herriott Henderson, Elizabeth Howard, Margaret Bridges, Mary Branham, Catorah Chenoweth, Lucretia Branham, George W. Branham, W. M. Bridges, Sanderson Howard, John McCorkle, Margaret palmer, Rhoda Koyle, Elizabeth Bridges, Nancy Jones, Elizabeth Howard, Mary H. Branham and Elizabeth Hogue. At the next meeting Joseph P. and Margaret Gill united with the congregation by letter from a sister church, and Barney Clark was received upon confession.

Thus organized, the church next looked around for a suitable place of worship. This was found for some time in the courthouse, but shortly after the organization went into effect a movement was inaugurated for the erection of a building for the especial use of the congregation. A lot on the corner of Jefferson and Water streets, was procured, upon which in due time was built a substantial two-story brick structure with auditorium above, while the lower part was divided into two commodious storerooms. The chapel was formally dedicated to the worship of God on the 17th day of July, 1852, by Elders John O’Kane, J. M. Mathes and T. J. Edmonson. From the date of organization until the erection of the building in 1852, no records appear to have been kept. For some years the church had no regular pastor, but was ministered to from time to time by transient preachers, a number of whom conducted successful revivals, resulting in many additions to the congregation. Elders Jameson, Mathes, Edmonson, O’Kane, Cobb and others preached at intervals, and in 1858, Elder J. J. Moss was called as an evangelist, at a salary of $700 per annum. He preached the allotted time and was successful in awakening an interest and building up the church. In 1864, Elders John B. New and O. A. Burgess held a series of revival meetings, and the same year O. A. Bartholomew became pastor and served during 1864 and 1865, and was succeeded by Elder H. T. Buff, who served until about the year 1867. The next regular preacher was Elder ‐‐‐‐ Parker, who served one year, after whom came the following pastors in the order named: Elders John Davis, a little over one year; J. M. Land, served three years; E. L. Frazier, eight years, and A. W. Conner, two years. In December, 1883, the present pastor, Elder S. F. Fowler, began his labors with the church, since which time, through his efforts, about 350 members have been added to the congregation. Elder Fowler is a man of splendid powers, superior oratorial abilities, and great pulpit earnestness. In 1871, a suitable lot on the corner of Yandes and Madison streets was procured, and in the same year, a magnificent brick structure, costing $26,000, was erected thereon. It was formally dedicated by Elder O. A. Burgess, and at the time of its completion, was the largest and most commodious church edifice in Johnson County. The building was struck by lightning in June, 1885, and greatly injured, all the woodwork being completely destroyed. It was immediately rebuilt at an expenditure of $6,000, and now ranks among the best houses of worship in the city. The membership of the church at this time is much stronger than at any previous period of its history, numbering 685. The Sunday school connected with the church, from the time of its organization, a number of years ago, has been regularly and successfully kept up.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, pages 853–854.