Osceola Presbyterian Church
Then ... and now ...
May 2009 - submitted by Mary Zeiler
The building is now used as the Osceola Community
Church, organized by Rev. Jack Keifer.
May 2009 - submitted by Mary Zeiler
OSCEOLA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Early history from St. Clair County Library Files:
The early settlers of Osceola needed a place to worship. Harmony Mission was
so far distant
that they planned an organization of their own. In 1842,
there were found to be eight members
of the far distant church living in
Osceola. They called for representatives from the Mission to
come and meet
with them and organize them into a church body.
Rev. Amasa Jones and Rev. E.P. Nod met with them on the first Saturday in
Those members presenting their letters were: Samuel W. Harris,
Melissa Osborn, Dovey Osborn, Elizabeth Osborn, Lawrence
Lewis, Jane S. Moore
and Elizabeth Cox.
First record of a church building was 1857. Then the whole town of Osceola
in 1861 by a band of guerillas.
When peace returned to the community, they organized and built a church
under the leadership
of Rev. J.M. Brown. The Hon. Waldo P. Johnson donated
two lots where the old church
stood and later, three more lots were added. A
substantial brick church building was erected.
This bell hangs in the church
The Big Brick Church
After several years, this building called “The Big Brick Church”, was
considered unsafe because
of the weakening of the walls. It was torn down
and another church was built in 1885 and
dedicated April 5, 1891.
History of St. Clair Co., Missouri, 1883:
Churches of Osceola - Presbyterian Church.
On the first Sabbath in March, 1842, a number of the citizens belonging to
the above denomination decided upon the organization of a church, and the
following named persons were the original members: Samuel W. Harris, Robert
Osborn, Lawrence Lewis, Elizabeth Cox, Melissa Osborn, Samuel S. Moore,
Dooey Osborn, Elizabeth Osborn. The Revs. Amasa Jones and E.P. Nod organized
the church. The Rev. Amasa Jones was one of the first preachers and teachers
at Harmony Mission, going there in the year 1820, and from there removing to
or near a place called Germantown, in the year 1838. The congregation had no
regular pastor up to 1855, and at this time its communicants numbered
twenty-two. The elders of the church were Samuel W. Harris and Robert
Osborn. Up to 1859 the church was supplied by the Rev. Amasa Jones, Rev.
G.W. Harlan and Rev. J.V. Barks. In February of the latter year, the Rev.
J.V. Barks was unanimously invited to act as stated supply for that year,
which he did, and this ended the proceedings of the church of ante bellum
When peace had come, and prosperity or the hope of prosperity had begun to
dawn in the minds of the people, the old members of the church once more
thought of its reorganization, and in September, 1867, this was accomplished
by the Rev. J.M. Brown, with the following list of members:
G.W. Shield, Thomas J. Monroe, T.B. Ney, Miss A.E. Wise, Miss L. Hicks, E.P.
Bartlett, Miss J.A. Scobey and J.P. Landes.
The church was named the "Presbyterian Church of Osceola." On November 28,
1868, the Rev. D.C. Milner, who had been called to the pastorate, preached
his first sermon and remained in charge three years, and proved himself an
earnest and faithful embassador for Christ.
A church building was needed, and in the winter of 1870-1 preparations were
made to erect a brick church ample in accomodation for all who wish to come,
and this was done. The church, a fine brick building, was completed ready
for occupancy in 1871, and was and is one of the most imposing brick
structures in the city. It was then to be dedicated, and this occurred soon
after, and a description of the ceremony is here given, with a short history
of the church.
The dedication was by the Rev. C.H. Dunlap, of Sedalia, whose eloquence and
impressive manners caused deep feeling throughout the ceremony. He took the
following for his text, being the first verse of the 122d Psalm: "And I was
glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go up into the house of the Lord'."
Some items concerning the "rise and progress" of this building may not prove
uninteresting to our readers. The subscription paper was first started by
the Rev. J.M. Brown, now of Neosho, over three years since. Two lots were
kindly donated by the Hon. Waldo P. Johnson, three lots purchased by extra
subscription and the corner stone of the building was laid in 1870. The
original cost of the building, which is 38x56, together with the current
value of the lots, makes the entire church property worth about $4,500.
This building was the first church edifice completed since the war. Its
interior arrangements are comfortable and pleasant, and its exterior neat
In 1872 the Rev. G.W. McMillen began his labors for the church, and severed
his connection in 1873. In addition, from 1874 to 1879, the following named
pastors officiated, in the order named:
Rev. William P. Baker, (now dead) Rev. William M. Reed and Rev. S.W.
From the latter date to the present time, with but short intervals, the Rev.
J.F. Watkins has ministered to the church. It has prospered greatly under
his administration. It has now a membership of sixty.
Present session of church, Hugh R. McAllister, Scott Nesbit and W.E. Lilley.
Submitted by Mary Zeiler