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St. Clair County Missouri



Osceola Presbyterian Church
Osceola, Mo.

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, Mo.

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 March 1842.
Those members presenting their letters were: Samuel W. Harris, Robert Osborn,
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 was destroyed
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 tower today.

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 days.
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 and attractive.
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. Mitchell.
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