HOPEWELL [Presbyterian]- The history of this prosperous church dates from 1831, but several years prior to that time the Hopewell settlement was visited at intervals by Presbyterian ministers, who held public worship in the residences of the pioneers.  "The first of these preachers, it is believed, was Rev. Samuel Gregg, of Tennessee, and his first sermon was preached at the house of Mr. Simon Covert, in the fall of 1825."  After laboring a short time here as a missionary, Mr. Gregg seems to have returned to Tennessee, where soon afterward he entered into his rest.  Rev. Isaac Reed, of Bloomington, seems to have preached a few sermons in the neighborhood during the same year, and the next, and in March, 1827, Rev. William Lowery visited the neighborhood and preached here and at Franklin.  "Revs. William Henderson, William Duncan, Jeremiah Hill, J. R. Moreland and E. Kent, are also remembered as having preached here and at Franklin occasionally, prior to the organization of the church in 1831."

"A petition was forwarded to the Presbytery of Indianapolis in 1831, then in session at Greensburg, asking for an organization, which was granted."  The organization was effected May 23, 1831, by Messrs. Monfort and Moreland, with forty-one members, whose names are as follows:

John Covert, Theodores Covert, Mary Henderson, Nancy Henderson, John Henderson, Margaret Mitchell, Peter Demaree, Mary Demaree, Isaac Vannuys, Ellen Vannuys, Peter Bergen, Anna Bergen, John B. Johnson, John Voris, Andrew Carnine, Nancy Carnine, Susannah Bergen, Jane Voris, Hannah Voris, Martha Freeman, Daniel Covert, Rachel Covert, Theodore List, Susan List, Thomas Henderson, Mary Henderson, Ann Ransdall, Simon Covert, Mary Covert, Samuel Vannuys, Anna Vannuys, Stephen Luyster, Mary Luyster, Cornelius Covert, Ann Covert, Peter Lagrange, Lemma Lagrange, William McGill, Sarah McGill, Simon Vannarsdall, Catherine Vannarsdall.

The following officers were elected:  Elders, John Covert, Peter Demaree and Samuel Vannuys; deacons, Isaac Vannuys and Cornelius Covert.

"During the first four years after the organization, the church worshiped in the log house, built for the joint purpose of a school-house and church."  It was built about the year 1828, three years before the church was organized.  It was a hewed log structure, 20 x 30 feet in size, and was probably much the best house in the neighborhood at the time it was built.  The second house, the first regular church building, erected in 1835, was 45 x 60 feet, with ceiling fourteen feet high, sustained by four large substantial posts or pillars near the middle of the auditorium.  The minister who served the church after Dr. Monfort was Rev. William Sickles.  He seems to have supplied the church for about one year, during which time eighteen persons are reported as having united with the church on profession.  The next pastor was Rev. Sayers Gazley, who gave three-fourths of his time to the church, for about two and a half years.

Rev. D. V. Smock was pastor from 1842 to 1849, in which time the first parsonage was built.  Rev. James Gallatin supplied the church for a short time, and was succeeded in 1851, by Rev. E. K. Lynn, who resigned February, 1854.  His successor was Rev. A. C. Allen, who began his labors August, 1854, and continued until June, 1859.  Rev. John F. Smith was called to the pastorate November 1859, and continued with the church until his death in 1864.  The next pastor was Rev. S. E. Barr.  Rev. E. Black served eight years, and was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. J. W. Pugh, who began his labors December, 1883.  The present church building was erected during the pastorate of Rev. E. K. Lynn, about 1853, remodeled during the pastorate of Rev. S. E. Barr, in 1867, and repaired during the present pastorate, at a total expenditure of $8,000.  A Sunday school was organized in the Hopewell neighborhood in 1827, with John Covert, superintendent.

 

Banta, D.D. History of Johnson County, Indiana 1888 . Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888.
Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker