Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 22 April 2005
Methodist Episcopal Church. The first organization of a Methodist Church in Harlan Township dates very early, and is probably coeval with the first settlements. It is probable that the earliest settlers were members of that church, and that meetings for worship were held at private houses. As early as 1810 an organization had been perfected, and meetings were regularly held at the house of John Liggett, a rudely-built log cabin, on the farm now known as the Hitesman farm; and perhaps this was the first place of holding regular service. This continued for several years to be the regular place of worship until about 1814, when it was changed to the residence of Henry Runyan, who lived on what is now the farm of Alexander Hutchison, Esq., near Pleasant Plain. About 1818 the place of worship was changed to the house of Joseph Bennett, on the farm now owned by John Kamp, Esq., near Rossburg. It continued here until about the year 1822 or 1825, when the first church in the township was erected at Rossburg.
On the 4th of October, 1825, James Taylor conveyed one and one-fourth acres for church and school purposes to John Collins, Jacob Collins, William Little, Oliver Wallis, Joseph Bennett, and Amos Tullis, as trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and William Bennett, William Crossen, and Isaac Runyan, School Directors. The church was built on the land conveyed by this deed, and
|probably about the date of the conveyance. The church may
have been erected prior to this, as some of the old settlers yet living
fix the time as early as 1822. The building was constructed of hewn logs,
with a pulpit very high, made of puncheons, and seats of the same without
any backs. In this rudely-constructed building, where there was less luxury,
but perhaps as much piety as in our average modern church, the society held
its meetings, until the organization was removed to Butlerville and built
a church there in 1841. This was the frame church now occupied by the German
Lutheran Reform Church. This building was afterwards sold to the Free Will
Baptists, and the Methodist Episcopal society in 1857 built the brick church
on Main Street, which they now occupy. This church has now about eighty-seven
Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church. This was organized by Jacob Jackson, Joshua Thompson, and others, about 1846, and was a branch of the Butlerville church. The church is about one mile southeast of Level. The membership of this society now numbers about ninety-three.
McKendrie was also a branch of the old Butlerville Methodist Episcopal organization, and was organized by Ala G. Starkey, Lemuel Jackson, Stephen Jackson, Adam Huffman, and others, about 1852. They have a substantial brick church about two miles southeast of Pleasant Plain, and have a membership at this time of sixty-two members.
Pleasant Plain Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by John G. Oonk, Thomas Hill, Benjamin Benn, and others, of the Butlerville Church, in 1875, and now has a membership of about forty-seven.
The first Freewill Baptist organization in the township was at Rossburg, about 1833, John Tufts, William Coddington, Jefferson Stevens and others being the organizers. About 1843 this society erected a brick church there which for some years past has been occupied as a dwelling house. About 1856 this organization purchased the frame church in Butlerville, of the Methodist Episcopal society, which became and continued to be the place of worship until about the year 1870, when it was sold to the German Lutheran Reform Church, and the Baptist society was moved to Pleasant Plain, where they erected a neat and substantial brick chapel, which is the present place of holding worship.
The German Lutheran Reform Church, about 1870, organized and purchased the frame church in Butlerville, and handsomely repaired and refitted it, which they still occupy. This society is perhaps the largest society in the township, and is a wealthy and prosperous church.
Other denominations have been organized, and held services in the township,
among them the Presbyterian and Universalist churches, but they never
succeeded in establishing a permanent society.
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This page created 22 April 2005 and last updated
28 June, 2006
© 2005 Arne H Trelvik All rights reserved