Church History

                                                                                      (transcribed by: L. Johnson)


     The church history of Isabella county dates back to pretty near the first settlements.  The first church was built on the southwest quarter of section 4, in township 14 north, range 4west, Michigan.  It was built in the year 1860, by I.E. Arnold, for the benefit of the Indians. This one burned down in June, 1861.  It was afterward rebuilt and for some time it was used not only for church purposes, but was used for a mission school for the Indians.  In the same summer of 1861 said Arnold superintended the building of another church at Ne-be-sing, which is still standing.  These churches were built out of funds realized from the sale of Indian mission lands in other reservations and were erected solely for the benefit of the Indians.  The Indians were largely under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal church in the days of their settlement in this county, and these churches were of that persuasion. Our old friend, Rev. George Bradley, was in these days the leading spirit among the Indians here.

     In 1864 two lots were donated by the Mortons to the Methodist Episcopal people of this then village of Mt. Pleasant, on which to erect a church edifice.  Elder Bradley chose lots 1 and 2 of block 7, Mt. Pleasant.  Very soon after the donation and selection, those interested commenced to gather material for the erection of a church building and in the year 1865 they erected a fair sized and commodious building which answered their purposes for several years.  This building was dedicated on August 18, 1866, by Rev. Joslyn, president of Albion College, assisted by Rev. F.B. Bango, presiding elder of Lansing district.  Subsequently they purchased the lots where the Methodist Episcopal church edifice is now located and soon thereafter commenced the erection of the present beautiful and commodious church building. Their first church was duly dedicated, the Rev. George B. Joslyn preaching the dedicatory sermon.  The church has been well sustained ever since its organization and is now the largest church in the county, save the Catholics.

     Their first bell was the gift of John R. Buchtel, of Akron, Ohio.  It was a munificent gift And has been a faithful monitor for the people of Mt. Pleasant for the past forty-five years in reminding them each Sabbath morning of the duty they owe their Creator. The history of the Methodist Episcopal society of Mt. Pleasant dates back to about January 23, 1863, when the record says that Horace Hall, of the Lansing district, being its Presiding elder, organized a church known as the First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt. Pleasant.  Five trustees were appointed:  Milton Bradley, Edwin Burt, Henry Gulick, George Bradley and Andrew J. Goodsell.

     The first Sunday school was organized in 1865 in the old log building belonging to John Kinney and was a union school, as those interested belonged to various religious denominations, such as the Methodist, Disciples, Baptist and Presbyterian.  This school was conducted as such until in 1868 when the Methodist Episcopal society felt that they were strong enough to go by themselves and organized a Sunday school, which has continued to the present time and is now the strongest and most numerous that it has ever been, numbering at the present time six hundred and fifty members with Rev. C. W. Campbell as superintendent.  They also sustain a fine orchestra with their school and the other accompaniments which attach to a first-class organization.

     They have a Ladies’ Aid Society of about eighty members and it is doing heroic work for the church.  This society is the offspring of one organized in the fall of 1864 then known as the Ladies’ Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mrs. J. Saunders was president, Mrs. I.A. Fancher, vice-president, Mrs. I.E. Arnold, secretary, Mrs. D.H. Nelson, treasurer.  In the spring of 1865 they adopted a set of by-laws.  This name continued with them until November 2, 1885, when the name was changed to the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

     The first church building and lots were finally sold or rather traded by the society to D.H. Nelson for the present site and afterwards the building was sold to the city of Mt. Pleasant for a council room and fire department and is still occupied for these purposes.  The lots were afterwards sold to W.E. Preston, on which he has built a large and commodious residence which he and his family still occupy.

     The line of ministers who have carried on the good work of the Methodist Episcopal church in this community since its first organization has been an illustrious one, and their names are substantially as follows:  Rev. George Bradley, Old Father Sheldon, as he was familiarly called;  L.M. Garlic, D.O.Fox, J. Webb, T.J. Spencer, W.T. Williams, in the sixties;  Eli Westlake, G.W. Gosling, E.H. Sparling, A.C. Beach, W.W. Ware, J.H. Bready, in the seventies;  J.W. Hallenbeck, J.K. Stark, 1883;  Gei L. Height, 1884-5-6;  Robert Shorts, 1887-8;  G.A. Odlum, 1889;  E.L. Kellogg, 1890-1;  G.A. Buell, 1892-3-4;  R.A. Wright, 1895-6-7;  Addis Albro, 1898-9-1900;  Joseph Dutton, 1901-2-3-4-5;  Hugh Kennedy, 1906-7-8;  Thomas Cox, 1909-10, and still here, and doing splendid work.  The society has grown from a very small beginning to number some three hundred and fifty communicants and about twenty probationists.  It has also the usual young people’s society, the Epworth League, with a membership of about fifty, and a Brotherhood of St. Paul, numbering some fifty, all in active operation.  Also a Foreign Missionary Society of some forty-five members, with Mrs. H. Morrison as president.  They have also a Home Missionary Society, with fifty-five members, with Mrs. E.M. Jefferson as president.  They are both doing a good work in the line in which they are engaged.

     Their church building cost, with the lots on which it stands, something like fifteen thousand dollars and with the minister’s residence, something like four thousand dollars more.  It is centrally located and holds a commanding place in the community.



     In March, 1867, the Presbyterian Ministerial Aid Society was formed.  Its object was to

aid in the raising of the minister’s salary and such other work in the church as such society

might find to do.

     The ladies who organized the society are as follows:  Mrs. I.A. Fancher, Mrs. E.G. Wilder,

Mrs. Emma Fox, Mrs. A. Willey, Mrs. W. Trim, Miss Jennie Hapner, Miss Sadie Hapner,

Miss Ade Wilder.  The gentlemen who were honorary members were as follows:  E.G.

Wilder, Albert Fox, A. Willey and W. Trim.  The first officers were:  Mrs. E.G. Wilder, pres-

ident;  Mrs. A. Willey, vice-president;  Mrs. I.A. Fancher, secretary, and Miss Addie Wilder,


     They knit, sewed and held ten-cent socials until they had accumulated one thousand dol-

lars, when they wrote to Rev. Father Clark, of Marshall, Michigan, to come up and look over

the field and see if a Presbyterian church could not be formed at Mt. Pleasant.

     In July of that year he came, bringing with him Deacon Heidelberg, of Kalamazoo.  They

visited all of the families in Mt. Pleasant and found two who had been Presbyterians in New

York and two who would unite on profession of faith.  On this occasion a society was formed

with the four members, the records were written up and placed in the hands of one of the




     A few weeks later Rev. Chester Armstrong, a Presbyterian minister from Lansing, came

to Mt. Pleasant and preached several times to the people, baptising children and perfecting

the records of the church.

     The Methodist Episcopal people having in the meantime built their church and organized

a Sunday school, taking with them the larger portion of the Union school and also the superin-

tendent, his wife and daughter, which left but a single member of the Presbyterian church. 

In the changes wrought the records of the Presbyterian church disappeared and were never

recovered, so that it was necessary to draft proceedings from memory or wait and have a

new organization.  Mrs. W. Doughty had come to Mt. Pleasant to live and she and the other

member of the Presbyterian church proceeded to organize a Sunday school under that per-

suasion, which has continued to the present time.

     In April, 1870, Rev. Henry Belknap was sent to the Presbyterians to work in the cause.

He was a very fine Christian gentleman and had a most estimable wife;  his health, however,

was delicate and he only stayed a short time until he was advised to seek a warmer climate

and moved from the town.  A little later a Rev. M. Cameron, of Bay City, came to the town

and intended to remain with the Presbyterians.  He further perfected the organization of the

church by calling a meeting and electing trustees under the statute.  The Ladies’ Aid Society

purchased a parsonage at his request and had the garden made.  The reverend gentleman

finally went back to Bay City for the purpose of moving his family to Mt. Pleasant, but for

some reason not known to the peole here he failed to return.  The ladies sold the parsonage

without even reserving the unharvested crop of potatoes.

     In the early winter Rev. George Wood came from t he Flint presbytery, reaching Mt.

Pleasant in the early morning on a Sabbath day.  He had walked from Midland, thirty-six

miles, through the mud and slush of a thawing time.  A more forlorn, disconsolate looking

individual we never saw.  Think of a parson tramping thirty-six miles in the mud, water and

slush, through a dark, strange and uninhabited wilderness of timber all night long, with his

mind on the sermon that he expected to deliver to the people of Mt. Pleasant on that Sunday,

and ask yourself if you don’t think that an all-wise Ruler would have done a humane thing if

he had interfered just a little and kept that minister over the night in Midland and let the good

people of Mt. Pleasant starve just one more Sunday for the spiritual food the reverend gentle-

man expected to give them.

     This gentleman was a scholar in all of the dead languages.  He had Latin, Greek and

Hebrew in every pocket, but he had no more idea of what this world or the people in it were

Made for than a barbarian.  His knowledge was all head work, with but little heart work in it.

He was excusable from the fact that he was born in a foreign land and had not mixed with

People—only delved in books and only such books as would tend to make of him a minister.

Why, he was so impracticable that he could not drive a horse and cutter through a ten-foot

gateway.  We saw him try it once;  he was to bring to a social function gotten up for his

benefit a school marm from the Indian Mills.  The horse and cutter was hitched up for him at

the barn, he mounted the seat, picked up the lines and started for the gateway, which was

straight ahead.  When he reached the opening he went plump against the south gate post and

broke the rave of the cutter, he then backed up and swung off to the left, started again and

went plump against the north post, breaking off the left cutter rave.

     Some of the members of the Ladies’ Aid Society in 1874-5 were Mrs. Hopkins, Doughty,

Fancher, Nelson, W. Harris, Bouton, Murry, Miss E. Slater, R. Nott and Mrs. Gilman.  These

were the years that the Aid Society was working for money to purchase the lot for the church

building to be erected upon.  During these years they held socials, fairs, etc., in twenty-one

different places and cleared so that they had on hand the sum of one hundred twelve dollars

and sixty-three cents, and with this they paid as follows:



April 2, 1875, to C. Bennett, on church lot………………………………………$60.00

June 24, 1875, to C. Bennett, on church lot………………………………….…..$20.00

October 19, 1875, to C. Bennett, on church lot………………………………….$20.00

October 27, 1875, to C. Bennett, on church lot………………………………….$10.00





     The credit of this work and aid to the church building belongs to the Ladies Aid Society.

After securing the lot the members and friends of the church began to collect material and

means for the erection of a church edifice.  A subscription list was circulated, with the result

that the church was encouraged to undertake the task of securing plans and specifications for

a building and to get the material on the ground and to commence the building.  After much

hard work and worry the building was finally completed and preparations for its dedication

were arranged for.  In February, 1875, the good people congregated at the church, having

with them the Rev. Middlemus, of Saginaw, who preached the dedicatory sermon, Rev.

Calvin Clark, Rev. Mr. Willett, Knott, Sparling, Turrell and others assisting.  This building

was, for the time, a very respectable edifice and answered the purpose for which it was built

for many years, to-wit, until about 1907, April 1st, when they sold the property to the Inde-

pendent Order of Odd Fellows.  In the meantime the society had negotiated for the lot on

which their present church is situated and soon thereafter commenced the erection of a very

beautiful and commodious structure, it being on lot 8, in block 32, in the city of Mt. Pleasant,

original plat.

     The new church is a fine structure, of a modern style of architecture and very commodious,

is well lighted and heated, is in a central place and is an ornament to that part of the city.  The

structure cost about eight thousand dollars.  They now have about one hundred and twenty-

five members, which is a good showing considering the small commencement.  The organi-

zation was made back in the early days of Mt. Pleasant when it too was in its infancy.  Jan-

uary 10, 1871, another effort was made and the society was organized, Rev. E. Wishard and

Rev. Luke Nott being present to assist.  The members to form the society were James Brodie

and Mrs. C. Brodie, Alexander Gray, Henry S. Bouton and Mrs. C.A. Bouton, Mrs. Sallie

Hapner, Emily H. Case, Mrs. Jane A. Warner, Mrs. A.M. Fancher, Mrs. Mary F. Doughty,

Mrs. Sallie A. Welpher, Mrs. Huntress.  Alexander Gray and H.S. Bouton were made elders.

     Afterward  and in January, 1873, William slater and wife and Charles Slater united and

afterward Charles Slater was made an elder;  these two elders have remained such ever since

and are now acting as such.

     The first minister having charge of the church was Rev. Luke Nott, commencing back in

1871.    He remained until about 1876, when Rev. Charles A. Taylor took his place.  Then

came Rev. E.W. Borden in April, 1878, who remained about a year and then was followed

by Rev. Campbell, who remained for some time and was followed by Rev. E.G. Cheeseman,

who remained until about April 1885, when he severed his connection with the society.  He

was followed by Rev. F.A. Bissell about November, 1885, he remaining for a couple of

years, when Rev. Melvin Frazer was engaged and took the pulpit about June, 1888.  He re-

mained until about March, 1890, when his resignation was accepted and in December, 1890,

Rev. W.H. Hoffman took the pulpit and remained until October, 1895, when he severed his

Pastorial connection and moved away.  After Mr. Hoffman left they had no regular preaching

until about 1896 when Prof. Charles McKenney, of the Central Normal, occupied the pulpit

for a time and then, in April, 1897, Rev. H. Vanommeron was secured.  He remained till

about January, 1898, or ’99 and then he withdrew and about May, 1899, W.H. Simmons



came to the church and he remained for some time, severing his connections with the church

about November, 1902, and was followed by Rev. M.Grigsby January 27, 1903.  He remain-

ed until about September, 1905, and was followed by Rev. J.A. McGraham September 25,

1905.    He remained and was a strong mover in the erection of the church.  After the church

1906.    Was built he remained for a time and then moved to Wisconsin and Rev. W.H. Long

took up the work and is still in the active discharge of his duties as pastor of the church.

     The church has the usual societies that go with and are really a part of the working force

of the church.  Their Sunday school numbers about one hundred and twenty-five, with Prof.

John Kelley as superintendent.  They have a Home and Foren Mission Society;  a Christian

Endeavor Society, of about twenty members, with Miss Ethel Preston as president;  a Ladies

Aid Society, of some fifty members, with Mrs. Keeler as president and Mrs. Dr. Sheline as

secretary.  These are all active and necessary adjuncts to the church and are doing a good


     The present session is composed of Charles Slater, George Snider, H.S. Bouton, F.C.

Crego, M.F. Brown, with Prof. C.T. Grawn as clerk.  The board of trustees are Prof. C.T.

Grawn, B.L. Parkhill, R. Doughty, C.E. Hagan, John Kelley, Dr. J.F. Adams, Dr. G.F.

Richardson, W.S. McMillan and Charles Slater.


                                                        The Baptist Church


     The next church to be erected in Isabella county was the Baptist church at Salt River, now

called Shepherd.  This church was built in 1872, by a few men and women of the Baptist

persuasion with others who felt that a church in a new country was a good acquisition and

would well repay any effort in money or labor that they might make.


                                                         Episcopal Church


     In 1883 the Episcopalians, feeling the need of a stable and consecrated place of worship,

began the building of a neat and commodious chapel in the south and west part of the city,

upon a lot generously donated to the church by Gen. Dwight May, father of Mrs. William N.

Brown.  It was largely through the efforts of William N. Brown that the church was built.  It

was completed at a cost of about four thousand dollars, and was duly dedicated and conse-

crated on January 10, 1884, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop George D. Gillespie, of Grand Rapids,

Michigan, assisted by Revs. W.A. Masters, of Detroit, B.F. Mattrau, Stears, Pritchard and

Rhames.  The ceremony of consecration was very solemn and impressive and left a lasting

impression on every one present.  After the dedicatory services the sacrament of the Lord’s

Supper was administered to all who were pleased to partake and a great many accepted the

very generous invitation.  After these solemn ceremonies were concluded the invited guests

were invited to repair to the Bennett House to a sumptous dinner at the request and as the

guests of William N. Brown, who treated them royally.  The building is a neat structure, of

frame, veneered with brick, and is copied largely from one of the old English churches.  The

church is well and centrally located, is nicely finished inside, the pews are commodious and

easy of seat, and it has sufficient capacity for about two hundred persons.  The chancel is

furnished with both a reading desk and a communion table, with also a vestry room with all

the necessary vestments.

     The present rector, the Rev. Herman J. Keyser, has been in charge since September 1,

1910.    Since his arrival there has been very much active work performed.  In all, six working

organizations have been organized, supplementing the strongest organization in the parish,

the Ladies Guild.  The parish organizations are the Ladies Guild, the Daughters of the King,



the Girls Friendly Society, the Junior Auxiliary, the Woman’s Auxiliary, the Knights of St.

Paul and the Little Helpers.

     The parish is alive and has a number of great plans for the future.  The rector, like the con-

gregation, is intensely interested in the development of the civic life of the city.

     The Baptist people formed a society in 1883 of some six members and had preaching from

time to time as places could be found to hold services in, until, in 1885, the society had gain-

ed in numbers and strength sufficient to warrant them in undertaking to build a church edi-

fice of sufficient size and capacity for their present and future needs.  So in the year 1886

they commenced the erection of a building, having purchased lot 9 in block 12, Kinney’s

addition to Mt. Pleasant.  It is a fine location, on the north side of Broadway street and con-

veniently and centrally located as to population.  They completed their building about 1886

and occupied the same for church purposes.  The building was duly dedicated with the solemn

dedicatory services usual in that organization.

     They have a fair attendance at their weekly services and have the usual Sunday school and

other auxiliary societies connected with their church.  All of them report a good attendance

and are pleased with their growth and outlook for the future.

     The Baptists have an organization and church building on section 30 of Lincoln township.

It was established some years ago and is still prosperous and has as supporters such families

as David Bush, the Hapners, Figgs and others, which is a guarantee of stability and growth. 

Rev. Allenbaugh is their pastor and is an efficient and ardent worker.

     About eighteen years ago Milton Forbes, an ardent Baptist, was instrumental in the form-

ing of a society of that persuasion and in building the Baptist church, known as the Forbes

church.  It was a fine and commodious building and served all of the necessities of the organ-

ization.  Mr. Forbes afterward died and the society has ceased to occupy the builidng and the

Dunkards are now occupying the property.


                                                         Free – Will Baptists


     There is a Free-Will Baptist organization in Gilmore, organized in 1881, and their church

is located on section 22 of that town.  The church is a small one but sufficient for the accom-

odations of its members and supporters.  Mrs. Sifton, John P. Sifton, Mrs. Elliott and others

are the stable persons in the society.  They have no stated preacher now.  Like many others,

they are not able at all time to secure competent preachers for the money they can afford to



                                                            Free Methodists


     The Free Methodists have a church organization in Lincoln.  The building, which is on

section 9, has been built quite a number of years and was at one time very active and prosp-

erous, but the members have died or scattered so that at the present there are but a few. 

William Tomlinson is one of the standbys and to him is largely due the credit for keeping up

preaching at the church.  It meets a certain need of religious worship in the community and

they are entitled to much credit for their perseverance and self-sacrifice.

     There was another organized some years ago in Broomfield.  The church is located on

section 34, on East Side, and its principal supporters are John Packard and several ladies.  In

this case, as others, the ladies are largely the mainstay and support of the feeble churches.

They have no stated preacher, but hold services and have a minister when convenient.

     A Free Methodist church was organized in Deerfield some time ago and a church built at

the Reynolds corners on section 4 in the southeast corner.  It is a good building, well built



and well seated, but the interest seems to have ceased and the building is closed.  Also on the

Stucky farm there was a church of the denomination built and a society formed some years

ago .  The church is on section 33.

     In Weidman, May 27, 1899, John Cline, thomas Farquer and Jacob Wiley were elected

Trustees of a Free Methodist organization.


                                                      The Church Of God


     The Church of God is represented by an organization in the Delo settlement in the town of

Fremont.  Their church is on the southwest quarter of section 17.  They have a good church

and a good following and their members are among the stanch people of the town.  They

have a stated preacher, and keep up a good religious atmosphere in the vicinity.

     The Holiness people organized as the Church of God in Jesus Christ on the 26th of March,

1891, at the meeting house on the southeast corner of section 32.  W.M. Allen, Jennie Allen,

T. McShea, Cora Bailey and sixteen others formed the organization and are still working and

worshiping there.

     Some years ago a Union church was built west of Winn.  It was used for some time and

then went into disuse and the Methodist Episcopal people later used it, though it is unoccupied

at present time.


                                                             The Disciples


     The Disciples were among the earliest to hold church services at Mt. Pleasant.  As far back

as 1863 Langdon Bentley and a few other members of that persuasion were in the habit of

holding occasional services in the city and as early as 1863 a few of their people organized a

society in Mt. Pleasant.  It is during this year that one Goodrich came and preached a few

days to the people.  His plea was a union of all Christians on the Bible alone.  “A faith in

Jesus Christ as the Son of God,” being the only creed.  “A repentant attitude toward God for

all sin.”  “A confession of His name before the world.”  “An actual baptism of the whole

body,” as the primary act of obedience, and these followed by a life of love and purity.

     This organization was kept up for a time and then became lukewarm and ceased for a time

to meet.  About 1876 Elder R.R. Cook, of Shepherd, preached for the scattered few for a time

and effected an organization.  During the year 1882 Mrs. Mary R. Peak, who was an ardent

Disciple, settled in Mt. Pleasant with her family, several of whom also were of that faith. 

This gave the cause some further strength.  Things moved along in about the same way until

1888, when Rev. C.M.C. Cook moved here and went into business.  For four years more

things went on about as usual until Elder E.R. Coburn and wife moved from Winn to Mt.

Pleasant.  Soon thereafter these two elders, Cook and Coburn, made a canvass and found

seventeen persons that were of their faith.  So on the 12th of November, 1892, these seven-

teen persons met at the residence of Mrs. Peak and, after a short talk by Rev. Cook, a perm-

anent organization was formed, Elders Cook and Coburn being made elders and Reugsegger

and Mrs. Peak, deacons.  On December 3d a meeting was held at Elder Coburn’s and the

work of organization was completed.  A committee was authorized to negotiate with the Unit-

arian people for the rental of their church building, which was accomplished, and on the 10th

of December they took possession and this was their church home until they entered their

own church building in 1901.  Rev. C.M.C. Cook was their preacher from Sunday to Sunday

for some time, with occasionally one from outside who came for some special meeting, at

which times members were gathered in until 1897, when the membership had increased to

one hundred and fifty-four.  On December 5, 1898, Rev. C.M.C. Cook passed to the beyond



to meet his reward.

     Then Rev. H.E. Rossell was called and filled the pulpit until about November, 1899, when

he resigned.  In the following spring Fred S. Linsell, from Paw Paw, Michigan, took the past-

orate, and during the summer a meeting of the congregation was held and it was decided to

undertake the building of a church.  As soon as material could be gotten together the work

was commenced and was continued as fast as the funds would admit of.  Rev. Linsell, father

of the pastor, donated all of the windows, at a cost of one hundred and fifty dollars.  His wife

also gave fifty dollars to aid in the good work.  The work went on during the winter so that

about March 1st they held services in the new building for the first time.  They had no seats,

so they brought chairs from home, the generous Baptists sending over some fifty chairs to

help out.  There were no lights, so they brought lamps and torches from home.  No organ,

but the generous Mrs. Day loaned them one,  No pulpit, so a stand took the place.

     Rev. Linsell resigned June 17, 1901, and on July 1st following, Prof. John Munro, of

Bethany, took up the work.  He worked until July 1, 1903, when he resigned and on the 15th

of November, 1905, Elder J. Frank Green took up the work.  He was an enthusiastic worker

and called in to help him Rev. J. Raum, with Miss Buck as soloist.  Under Rev. Green the

number of members ran up to about two hundred and sixty-six.  In November Elder Green’s

time expired and he went to Rochester, New York, and on February 1st, Rev. C.A. Whaley

was engaged and he stayed till 1907, when he resigned to go to other fields.

     In the fall of that year Rev. J.O. Walton took his place and remained for about one year

and was then succeeded by Rev. A.R. Harper, who came in April, 1910, and is still in the

field.  They have a large church membership, numbering some two hundred, with a Sunday

school of about one hundred and thirty-five enrolled, with Harrison Walden as superintendent

and Rexford Chapman as assistant.  The Ladies Aid have a membership of about thirty-five,

with Mrs. A.R. Harper as president and doing a splendid work in the cause.  They have also

a Christian Endeavor Society with about thirty members.

     In connection with the Sunday school, they have a class of young peole undeer the tutelage

of the minister and in connection with that they publish a fourteen-page paper, issued monthly

with Rex Chapman as editor, Malcom Crawford assistant editor and Mrs. Clorine Crotser as

reporter.  They are publishing a very neat and readable paper.  All in all, they are all doing

good and efficient work in their particular field.

     Some twenty years ago the Disciples organized a church at Salt river and continued to hold

meetings for a time, until they were sufficiently strong to build a church.  About seventeen or

eighteen years ago, feeling the need of a church edifice, they began the erection of a medium

sized building, sufficiently large for their accomodation, and after some effort the church was

completed and dedicated by proper ceremonies.  It is a good brick edifice and has supplied

their need for these many years.  The congregation and membership is made up of some of

the foremost representative men and women of the town, such as Doctor Gruber, Joseph Miser,

and family, thomas Hannet, Thomas Ankrem, W.S. Fordyce and others, with Rev. E.C. Neese

as minister.  The church is in a sound and substantial condition and is doing good Christian

work in the community.

     There was a long time ago another Disciples church founded at Coe, in Coe township, at

what was known as the Leonard settlement.  The earlier settlers of Leonards, Fordyces,

Woods and other were largely Disciples, coming from Pennsylvania and Virginia.  This organ-

ization built a church building about ten years ago, a neat and commodious edifice sufficiently

large for their accommodation.  The Rev. Wingate is their present minister.

     In 1881 in the township of Gilmore there was a Disciples church organization and a church

building at the northeast corner of section 27.  The leaders are J.L. Fordyce, thomas Mills,

Jessie Wood, M.L. McAlvey, Eli Fordyce, Lakins Fordyce, H.L. Wood, Shattuck Jarman and



others;  their minister is Rev. Wyman.  This is in a live and prosperous condition.

     About the year 1857 the Methodist Episcopal people of the Salt River formed an organiz-

ation in the old log school house on the James Campbell farm, just south of the Salt River

corners.  They built a church building in 1883-4.  They were then few in numbers, but have

since increased in numbers and in interest.  The first pastor was Rev. R.P. Sheldon and the

class consisted of fourteen members.  They increased so that in 1909 they were able to con-

struct a fine church edifice, costin about twelve thousand five hundred dollars.  It is a large

and imposing building and is well and beautifully finished and was opened December 19,

1909.    The society now includes such persons as H.D. Bent, W.L. Dibble, A.E. Clark, E.

Ashworth, J. Clark, their famiies with others.  Their minister is rev. N.P. Brown.  They have

a membership of one hundred and thirty-two and they are in a highly prosperous condition. 

The Sunday school numbers one hundred and fifty, with A.E. Clark as superintendent.  The

Shepherd Aid Society has sixty-eight members, with Mrs. E.L. Orser as president, and the

Epworth League has forty members, with H.A. Lyon as president.  Pastors have been Revs.

Sheldon, George Bradley, D.O. Fox, L.M. Garlock, J.H. Webb, J.W. Cawthorne, J. Hills, D.

B. Searls, C.W. Smith, in 1883-4, Thomas Cayton, A.A. Darling, Thomas Young, G.H. Lock-

hart, E.L. Sinclair, G.W. Riggs, W.V. Manning, D.E. Reed, W.W. Aylsworth, Elliott bouk,

Frank Cookson, Louis Blancheiie, C.E. Pollock;  then comes the new church with Rev. N.P.

Brown.  The orifinal charter members were William Wonch and wife, Richard Wonch and

wife, Charles Sawyer and nine others, long since dead.

     This is, saving the Methodist Episcopal church at Mt. Pleasant, the largest and most pros-

perous of the Methodist churches in the county.  It had an early start, in fact, before the one

at Mt. Pleasant and even before Mt. Pleasant was thought of and several years before it was

platted.  It was by far the most happily located of any in the county, as it was at Salt River,

where all of the repentant defeated politicians congregate after an unsuccessful campaign. 

Perhaps the saddest part of it is that they generally are without funds when the unsuccessful

campaign is closed and if so are but little use or comfort to the brothers and sisters that have

their permanent abiding place there.  The good brothers and sisters, seeing their unfortunate

dilemma, changed their location and are now in the village of Shepherd and away from that

baleful influence.

     The Methodists have a church and building on section 31 in Lincoln township.  Joseph

Brownridge is one of th eprincipal pillars in the society and is very much interested in the

work and growth of the church.  It is not a large edifice, but comfortable and makes them a

good home.  Their present minister is the Rev. Rodes, who lives at Winn.  He is a good

preacher and they sustain a good congregation and are in good order.

     Winn has a Methodist Episcopal church, with Mrs. L.E. Hunt, Mrs. Jacob Baker, J.L.

Sanderson and others as leaders in the church.  The Rev. Rodes also fills this pulpit and is a

wise and successful advocate of his professions.

     A Methodist Episcopal church is established and located at Blanchard, with Mrs. J. Miller

and others as leading members.  Their present pastor resides at Millbrook in Mecosta county.

     There is also one called the Pleasant Hill church on section 28 in Rolland township.  Mrs.

William Moody, William Miller, Harry Bolland A.J. Smith being among the leaders and

supporters of this organization.  They are a recent organization formed in January, 1907, and

built a new church building only a couple of years ago.  This gives them a fine church home

and they enjoy their new quarters very much.  They are making all they can of their opportun-

ities and are prosperous and happy.

     Caldwell has a church society of the Methodist Episcopal persuasion.  Henry Bacon, Mrs.

Richardson, who has now gone west, and some others were the movers and sustainers of the

church.  Some seven or eight years ago they started to build a church and with a good deal of



effort were able to finish it a year or so ago. 

     At Deerfield Center one was established about 1892 or 1893.  It is supported and sustained

by such prominent persons as David Johnson, William Irvin, T.T. Covert, William J. Johnson

and George Reed, with others.

     Another Methodist Episcopal organization was effected some twenty-four or twenty-five

years ago called the Coomer church.  It is located near Mr. Coomer’s and is sustained by N.G.

Coomer, Frank Durner, Arnold Stutting, Michael Ackerman and others.  The present minister

is the Rev. Rodes, of Winn.  This is a zealous and efficient church, and is in a substantial


     The Methodist Episcopal church known as the Landon church was built some seventeen

years ago, largely through the efforts and persuasion of Miss Ardelia Landon, who worked

assiduously for some time for its establishment and the construction of a church building. 

She lived to see the cornerstone laid and soon after went to her reward.  The church cost some

two thousand dollars and was a most commodious and substantial building and has served

well its purpose in building.  The first minister was Rev. David E. Reed, who filled the pulpit

about four years and was succeeded by A.L. Sinclair, George W. Riggs, then Revs. W.P.

Manning, Levi Aler, A.W. Agleworth, E. Bouck, L. Blanchett, then H. Jarrett, C. Seip and

now Rev. C.E. Davis.

     On section 4 of Denver there was organized there was organized a church society and a

church built some fifteen years ago.  T.O. McGregor is the leading spirit and Rev. Davis is

now their pastor.  It is not a large one, but meets the demand for that part of the county.

     There is also in the same township one located at Leaton, which was organized something

like eighteen years ago.  This is a small but commodious building and answers all the require-

ments of the people of that persuasion in that vicinity.  Thomas Tonkin and wife are members

and, with others, are holding the fort and making good use of their opportunities.  The Rev.

Davis also supplies this pulpit and gives the people good service.

     The Methodists have lately got a foothold and have built a neat little church building a half

mile north and two miles west of Brinton.  They have a small congregation, but are enthusias-

tic in the work.  The church was built in 1910 and is a frame building.

     About 1873 a Methodist Episcopal society was formed in Gilmore township and a church

building was erected on the southwest quarter of section 24.  Some of the present members

and supporters of that society are Frank Wolfer, Joseph Graham, Frank Teachout, Miles Sch-

ofield, James Schofield, Lewis Richards with others.  They have some seventy members in

all and are a strong and advancing church.  The Rev. Keene is their pastor and is a strong and

convincing minister.

     At Loomis there is an organization and they have taken over the building that was built

some years ago as a union church, or free for all comers.  When Loomis lost its manufacturing

business it settled down as an agricultural community and so far it has not yet returned to its

former glory and they seem to be content to live on such fat of the land as a good farming

country can produce, which is all tha can be had anywhere.  So they live and enjoy themselves

spiritually as well as in every other way they can.

     At Herrick the Methodists have a prosperous organization with such as J.H. Lansing,

William Badgly, J. Presley, and others of that stamp as leaders.  It is an old and well establish-

ed church, built and dedicated in November, 1890, by Rev. Gown, presiding elder, with Rev.

Walker, of Clare, as preacher.  The first sermon was by Rev. Dayton at William Badgley’s,

and first Sunday school in 1880.  This is a stanch and solid organization and is doing much

good in that community.  It supplies all of their spiritual wants, and who can want more?


                                                        Wesleyan Methodists



     The Wesleyan Methodists have a society and church, also a parsonage, at Blanchard.  Mr.

Mower is the leading spirit.


                                                           United Brethren


      The United Brethren have a church organization at Rolland.  They are located on section

2, with William McCabe as one of the leaders.  Their church is a frame building and is thor-

oughly adapted  to their wants.


                                                      Seventh-Day Adventists


     The Seventh-Day Adventists have an organization and church.  They were organized many

years ago and Wallace Cole, George Cole and Joseph Struble were a building committee and

they purchased a piece of land on Stephen Stillwell’s farm, on the west side of section 35 in

Union township.  The church has had a varying existence.  At present there is no regular ser-

vice.  They or other people sustain a nice Sunday school.  Clyde Showalter is the superin-

tendent and it is in a prosperous condition.


                                                          Evangelical Church


     There is an Evangelical organization in Union known as the Brookens church.  They are

located on the northwest corner of section 5.

     The Evangelical people also have an organization in Chippewa in the Taylor district. 

Their church was built some twelve years ago while Rev. Charles Taylor was yet alive.  Rev.

J.J. Marshall is their minister and is an active, energetic and persuasive gentleman.  He is

doing a good work and has some good people to aid and assist him, such people as the A.C.

VanDeens, J.M. Kennedy, J. Imhoff, all good workers.  Their society is in a prosperous con-


     The same minister, Rev. Marshall, has lately organized and built a new church at or near

McFaren’s, in the southeast part of the township of Chippewa, on section 35.  This was built

in 1910 and cost about one thousand dollars.  It is, in fact, a church that was removed from

the south part of the state to this place and remodeled and is now a very presentable structure

and accommodates all of the people in that neighborhood.


                                                      German Lutherans


     A German Lutheran church was organized in Broomfield township some twenty years ago,

at what was then known as the Hummel settlement.  They have sustained a good organization

ever since and now number something like one hundred members.  This has always been a

good substantial organization and has been instrumental of very much good, educationally and

spiritually, as they have a German school every Saturday afternoon, when they teach their

children in German and keep up the fatherland sentiment.  They enjoy the society of such

families as the Fritzes,, Rodes, Hummells and the Leudes and many more of the solid substan-

tial citizens of the vicinity. 

     At the village of Brinton there is a union church, which is open to all who desire to worship

there, and there is also a Latter-Day Saints organization.


                                                   Church Of The Open Bible




     Also at Brinton there was organized, on the 20th day of January, 1908, a Church of the

Open Bible.  They organized with thirty-four members and it is said to be a strictly new and

Unique organization.  Jacob Schultz is one of the movers in the new thought.


                                                             Holiness Church


     On December 26, 1903, there was at Brinton an annual conference of the Holiness Move-

ment church led by Bishop R.C. Horneg and B.O. Bishop.  Among those in the movement

were David C. Reed, Elizabeth M. Walchem, J. Dickinson, Willard L. Sherman, Stella Burr,

J.W. Day and Robert Day.


                                             Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church


     An Evangelical Lutheran Trinity church was organized September 22, 1908, in Mt. Pleas-

ant, with Otto L. Wissbeck, William Hummell, Sr., William Hummell, Jr., Charles Hummel,

A.J. Gross, David Winterstein and others.  The movers in this formation are among our stanch-

est and most reliable men and women.  They have a nice church finely adapted for their use

and are in a prosperous condition.

     The Presbyterians of Rosebush organized about the year 1874 and some time afterward

erected a church.  Some of the original movers in the enterprise are Joseph McNight, Donald

Morrison, Tomothy Dingman and others.  They also keep up a Sunday school in connection

with the church.  Rev. Luke Nott was the minister who organized them and who filled the pul-

pit for some time.

     At Wise is another Presbyterian church and congregation.  The church was built about

1898 and the supporters of the cause at that place are J.J. Stevens and family, E.F. Wilt, J.

Buckbrough with others.  The Rev. Belden, of Coleman, officiates as pastor.  The church is

in a fine condition and is doing much good in the community.

     There was a Baptist church established at Rosebush about January 24, 1887.  The leading

members in this religious body are Daniel Coyne, John Jackman, some of the House family,

John Mendon.  They have in connection with the church a Sunday school which is quite well

attended.  The pulpit is supplied from Mt. Pleasant.  The first trustees were John Walton,

Elmer Hunt, Walter Monroe;  the clerk was Hannah Coyne;  the charter members, John Wal-

ton, Mina Walton, Sarah Walton, Hannah Coyne, Ryane Monroe, Charles Monroe, Sarah

Cammeron;  present officers, John Walton, first deacon;  Charles Monroe, treasurer.  The

church was dedicated June 3, 1894.

     The Methodist people also support a good church and congregation.  They built a church

building about 1882.  They number about fifty members, have a good Sunday school of about

sixty attendants and a Ladies’ Aid Society of twelve or fifteen members which has been run-

ning for the last twelve or fifteen years.  They have some good consecrated workers among

them, such as Hugh Graham and family, William Johnson, Ed Johnson, and many others, with

Rev. Holden as pastor.  They are filling a place in the religious world about Rosebush which

no other can supply and are doing service as they see the right.


                                                          The Hornerites


     There is also a Hornerite organization at Rosebush, supported and carried on by John Y.

Johnson, Norman Wager and others.  They erected a church building about four years ago. 

They entertain their peculiar beliefs and are very tenacious about their position and are also

working up to their highest standard as they see the Scriptures.  We sometimes feel that per-



haps it is a good thing that the Scriptures are of such a makeup as to give everybody a clue to

his preconceived idea of God and the universe so that he may enjoy in this free country any

or all of the peculiar religious beliefs that may come to him.

     This society has been established about eight years and beside the church proper they sup-

port a Sunday school, not a large one, but one that is enthusiastic in its way. 

     There was established at Weidman in 1904 a Free Methodist church and H.C. Pritchard

was instrumental in the building of the edifice.  It was a wooden structure about thirty-six

feet by fifty feet, and was put up in a neat and commodious manner.  Although the congre-

gation was small, it was made up of some of the best of the village, Mrs. Mary Rathburn, Mrs.

Wetmore and others.  With the above are to be classed S.E. Taylor, S.H. Carpenter, Thomas

Obls and W.H. Switzer and others.

     After the above came the Methodist people and in 1903 they organized and commenced to

build a church.  G.H. Middlesworth was chairman of the building committee, J.A. Damon

was secretary, and J.S. Weidman was also on the committee, while J.B. McGinnis was pastor.

     Among the first trustees were J.S. Weidman, G.H. Middlesworth, J.A. Damon, James A.

Clift and John McClenathan.  The church was dedicated about September or October, 1903,

by Dr. Levi P. Master, with the usual impressive ceremonies, the church being full to over-

flowing with the members and neighbors.  It has been a beacon light in that community ever

since.  It has a fine basement under the church for the purposes required and is now in prime

working order.  The number of the communicants are from about fifty to sixty and they also

have a good Sunday school in connection, with about seventy members, and have Superin-

tendent Schauppner to lead them.  They also have an Epworth League as an auxiliary, which

is very much alive and in earnest in the work.

     The Free Methodists of Mt. Pleasant organized a society on the 18th day of November,

1907, with fourteen members.  The following are among the first organizers:  Lafayette

Deming, Ella Crooks, Maria Demming, Clara Vincent, Sarah Hoag, Albert B. Puchart, Lydia

Hall.  These, with the others, make a very nice small church and are filling their place in the

Christian world.

     The United Brethren in Christ have held services in the Stucky church building.  They

Commenced on February 15, 1902.  The trustees elected were Edward Riggle for one year,

William Luit for two years, Charles Demlo for three years, J. Master for four years and Fred

Delo for five years.


                                                Catholic Societies and Schools


     The Catholic people have anumber of churches in the county and they are generally well

attended and are prosperous.  Beside the one at Mt. Pleasant, which is one of the most import-

ant as to numbers and which has a large and prosperous school also, there is one in Vernon

township, located on section 35.  This church cost somehting like three thousand dollars and

has also a priest’s residence, a very fine one, valued at about four thousand dollars.

     Father Crowley built the church and the first priest after him was Father Edward Kozlow-

ski.  He was followed by Father James Moher and at a time when he was indisposed Father

O’Conner took charge, but as soon as the Father was restored to health he returned and after

a time he departed and Father Ruessmann took the charge, then next came Father John Engra-

mann, and then Father Thomas Whalan and then Father F.D. Maloneand then Father O’Con-

nell.  About three years ago last November 15th, Father John J. McAllister took the field and

has remained since.  Their church is thriving and has about one hundred families in the parish,

numbering about five hundred souls.  They are in a thriving condition and their charge is well

sustained.  They are a thrifty class of people and are living in one of the best portions of the




     There is a church also in Nottaway, which was established about 1892.  They built a church

about that time which they afterward used for a school and in 1897 built a fine church build-

ing.  This was struck by lightning and burned.  In 1905 they built a very fine church and

priests’ residence and in connection therewith is a large and prosperous school of one hundred

sixty students under the tutelage of four Sisters.  They also have a good school house, as well

as a fine Sisters’ residence, built in 1910.  They also have a resident priest, Father Alexander

Zugelder.  These people are largely German and have a fine, well improved and thrifty farm-

ing community.

     At Blanchard there is also a Catholic organization and a church building.  It is a frame

building and is suitably adapted to the wants of  the people there.  They have a fair congreta-

tion and the priest is stationed at Remus and supplies this pulpit.  It is well sustained and

meets the demand of the people.

     The Catholic society built a church building some four years ago at Leaton, which is well

supported.  It was organized March 24, 1906, and the land was purchased of Joseph Kerky. 

There are some twenty-four families attending there, which means some one hundred and

twenty persons, and they are supplied by Father O’Conner, who attends one week day in each

two weeks.

     At Shepherd they bought the Baptist church about two years ago and transformed it into a

properly arranged Catholic church and are now occupying it.  There are about forty families,

numbering two hundred members, and they have Father John Mulvey, who supplies their

spiritual necessities, and they are happy in their acquirement.

     The Catholic people at Mt. Pleasant were quite early on the ground in Isabella county and

soon after their arrival felt the need of a church organization and also of a building to worship

in.  After looking around for a time for a location, they secured the gift of three acres in the

southwest part of the city and the 7th day of August, 1872, a deed was made of the chosen

ground to Casper H. Burgiss, of Detroit.  This was accepted and on the 5th of September was

placed on record in the county.

     The church organization was formed about this time with the following members:  John

McDonald, Rosy McDonald, Felix Lafromboise, Thomas Thompson, William Bamber,

Thomas Judge, Michael Kane, Cornelius Bogan, who acted as secretary and kept the minutes

of the meeting, which was held at the Bamber Hotel in Mt. Pleasant.  The first mass was had

at Thomas Thompson’s house, southeast of town (the farm where John Warner lives), by

Father Van Der Haden, the priest officiating.  A meeting was called on the 9th of September,

1874, for the purpose of electing a building committee.  At this meeting there were elected

president, Thomas Judge;  secretary, W.H. Richmond, and treasurer, William Bamber.  The

building committee were Thomas Judge, R.E. McDonald, Michael Kane and John A. Kehoe.

At the same meeting it was arranged that the congregation should meet on the church grounds

on September 26th, to clear off the ground, and it was further given out that Father Sweeney

would be here at Mt. Pleasant on October 14, 1874.

     On October 31, 1874, it was “Resolved as follows by the building committee of the Cath-

olic church, that we build a church at Mt. Pleasant on the said church grounds at Mt. Pleasant,

the size of the church to be thirty-eight by sixty feet, the height to be twenty-four feet between

joists, the frame to be of square timber;  offered by R.E. McDonald and carried.”

     A committee to consist of John McDonald and Felix Lafromboise was appointed to raise

Money for said church.  The work then really commenced in earnest and in the winter, January

25, 1875, they entered into contract with Brower & Main for twenty-five thousand three hun-

dred and twenty-five feet of common lumber and thirteen thousand five hundred feet of clear

lumber, seven thousand feet of black ash and basswood lumber, and twenty-seven thousand



shingles, the entire bill to be nine hundred and thirty dollars.  The workmen on the building

were W.H. Richmond, John Fox, Hank Richmond, W.I. Dodds, Charles Fox and Charles

McKinnon.  The subscription list ran up to over two thousand six hundred dollars.  Up to June

3, 1876, the labor on the building had run up to eight hundred forty-four dollars and fourteen

cents.  The building was finally completed and the society occupied this building and grounds

until about February 28, 1887, when they purchased block 22, of the city of Mt. Pleasant,

preparatory to the change of location of their church and school.  This is the block where the

church, school, priest’s residence and the old school building are located.  They afterward

purchased a Sisters’ residence across the street to the south where they now reside.

     The old building was moved from its first site to the said block about 1888 and used as

before, and afterward for several years as a school building.

     On December 29, 1887, they sold and deeded the old site to Gorhams for a factory site, it

being convenient to the Ann Arbor railroad tracks.  The three thousand dollars they received

from the Gorhams for the old site went to aid them in building on the new.

     The present church was commenced in the year 1888, and was so far completed during that

year and the fore part of 1889 that they were able to hold services in the basement, which they

did for some length of time and until they finally completed the structure and commenced the

use of it generally.  It is a large and commodious building and so far has supplied the demands

of the society.  The total value of the structure is about twenty-five thousand dollars.  It is a

fine structure, well and appropriately finished and furnished internally.

     As soon as the new church was so far completed that they could use it for services they

then remodeled the old one into a school building, and opened a parochial school.

     This school has been continued until the present time and is now larger than it ever was

before.  The growth of the school has been such that in 1908 they felt that they were obliged

to have more room and a better equipment than they had before and they commenced the

erection of a new building by putting in a foundation, which they left till the next spring, when

they began the superstructure.  The building is a modern model of architecture and finish.

     They have been very fortunate in the priests they have had.  Father McCarthy was the first

resident priest, coming in 1880 and remaining about five years when he sickened and died,

his death occurring on June 19, 1885.  Father J.A. Crowley succeeded him, locating here in

July, 1885, and labored with the people until June 12, 1899, when he died and Father O’Con-

ner took up the work August 1, 1899, and is still with his people.

     A large amount of work has been done by these several Fathers, which is evidenced by the

visible results in buildings and other improvements, and from the growth of the congregations

of the church and the advance in the schools in numbers, as well as in the equipment and a

higher and more extended scope of studies, as well as their being awarded a place on the uni-

versity list.  The church membership has increased from a few communicants in 1874 to about

thirteen hundred at the present time and some three hundred probationist.  Father Crowley

commenced the erection of a residence for the Fathers and had nearly completed it when he

was stricken with disease, from which he never recovered.  After his death and the arrival of

Father O’Conner it was finished, furnished and occupied by him.  It is a large and commodious

residence, is convenient to the church and school and is much appreciated by all, and especial-

ry the Father.


                                                  Christian Science Church


     As early as January, 1890, there was a call from Mt. Pleasant for a worker in Christian

Science sent to Miss Sarah J. Clark, of Toledo, Ohio, and Mrs. S.J. Holbrook responded to the

sall to go to Mt. Pleasant where she found many persons who were weary of the disappoint-



ments in the effort to heal by the old material methods.

     Several cases of disease were healed and there followed an interest in the reading of

“Science and Health,” and each Wednesday an hour was devoted to answering questions from

many inquirers.  These gatherings led to a request for Sunday services where more could have

the opportunity to hear the message of truth which has come to this age through Mary Baker

G. Eddy.  The Bible lessons published by the Christian Science Publishing Society, of Boston,

Massachusetts, were introduced, which gave the privilege of studying the Bible, together with

“Science and Health.”  Mrs. Holbrook was called away and on the 6th day of March, 1890,

Miss E.R. Adams took her place.  Children began to gather and a class of seven was formed

March 9th as a nucleus  of a Sunday school, which rapidly increased.  Feeling the necessity of

some place for their meetings, ten of the ladies volunteered to provide a place, and a dwelling

house was secured on Michigan street and was equipped with the necessary Christian Science

literature and opened to the public in January, 1891.

     During the year many expressed a desire to be taught the rudiments of Christian healing

and the services of Miss Sarah J. Clark, of Boston, Massachusetts, was secured.  She came in

June to Mt. Pleasant and taught a class of five.  It very soon became evident that they should

form themselves in closer relations and on June 15, 1891, an organization was formed and

charter taken by fifteen of the parties who had identified themselves with the new movement.

The first officers were as follows;  Mrs. Elizabeth Bamborough, Mrs. Ida S. Dusenbury, Mrs.

Anna S. Coutant, Miss Emma L. Kent, Mrs. Mary L. Nelson.  These officers were duly sworn

and the organization completed.  They then called Miss E.R. Adams to be their pastor and

thus was finished the letter of their organization, which is the first step toward the spiritual.

     They then found that they needed a church building and they finally selected and purchased

the present site on the 18th day of July, 1907.  The house and site was that of the residence of

Richard Balmer, on Normal avenue, a central and convenient location.  The residence was re-

modeled into a very convenient and spacious church and is very prettily finished and decorated

with beautiful windows, all showing good taste.

     In April, 1905, Miss Adams resigned on account of a rule laid down by the head of the

church that the Bible and “Science and Health” was to be the only preacher that was necessary.

     On April 19, 1908, their beautiful church was duly and reverently dedicated, Mr. Leonard,

of the Christian Science board of lectureship, being present and conducting the impressive

ceremonies.  Mr. Leonard was one of the early adherents of the faith and reports that he be-

longed  to the mother church in Boston when one hundred and seventy was considered a large

congregation and when the services were held in the third story of a building;  now he claims

that there are churches in all climes of the universe.

     At the time of the dedication, W.H. March was the first reader and Mrs. E.J. Van Leuven

held the position of second reader.  They conduct their services without the aid of a preacher,

the readers taking the place and one reading from the Bible and the other Correlative matter

from “Science and Health.”  This church now possesses some of our most devout and worthy

people and has made wonderful progress since its organization.  It is claimed that this society

is the first one formed and chartered in the state.  They also keep up their Sunday school and

are in a thriving condition.


                                                          An Indian Prayer


     In 1865 there was a preacher and teacher among the Indians of the reservation in Isabella

County by the name of E.G.H. Meisler.  He was a good scholar and understood the Ojibway

Language and for the purpose of making the Indians more familiar with the Lord’s Prayer he translated it into the Indian languate and gave it a poetical interpretation as follows:


                                                O weosimigoion












                                                Jion Jikikenimikwa






                                                Tibishno gishigong


                                                Iusa doshgemijiiang

                                                minshishinang nongom

                                                Kin sa wendiamawiiang

                                                Geoko nezeiang.



                                                O Tebeningeion


                                                Au Jesus Christ onji.








                                                O Tebeningeion

                                                Bim Jiishinangims




                                                Kin Eshpendogoziian


                                                Iu ogimawiwin.


                                                Obin Bamatizitan


                                                Ima kitoginawieining


                                                Thus endeth the Lord’s Prayer. Amen.





     A Unitarian church was organized in October, 1881, with about twenty members.  Rev.

Conner had preached here a few times and Rev. R.W. Savage had delivered a course of lec-

tures before the liberal people and had created quite a lively interest in the more liberal doc-

trine.  For some time their meetings were held in the opera house.  Discussion was had from

time to time in regard to building a church building and was finally decided to undertake the

task.  The work was begun about February, 1883, and was completed about December of that

year at a cost of three thousand dollars.

     It was formally dedicated about March, 1883, at a time when the Unitarian state confer-

ence was held at Mt. Pleasant.  Rev. R. Connor, of Saginaw, preached the dedicatory sermon,

assisted by Rev. T.B. Forbush, Rev. J.T. Sunderland, of Ann Arbor, Rev. George Stickney, of

Grand Haven, Rev. Julius Blass, of Jackson, and Rev. F.E. Kitridge, the state Unitarian mis-

sionary of Michigan.  Delegates were here from all of the Unitarian societies in Michigan save

Kalamazoo.  The church will seat about two hundred and has a parlor that can be thrown open

and will seat about fifty more.  In all it is a neat and pleasant little church.

     A.B. Upton was made president of the society, Hon. S.W. Hopkins, vice-president, Free

Estee, secretary, and Hon. J.W. Hance, treasurer.  The executive committee was composed of

William T. Whitney, John Fraser and V.F. Conlogue.  In 1882 there was organized a Ladies’

Union, the officers being Mrs. A.B. Upton, president;  Mrs. J.J. Stoner, vice-president;  L.J.

King, secretary, and Mrs. C.C. Whitney, assistant secretary, with Mrs. W. Woodburry as treas-

urer and for collectors, C.M. Brooks and Miss Dennison. 

     This society of ladies still continue and have been of inestimable value to the church;  much,

if not all, of the time they have paid the running expenses of the church, save the minister’s


     This church has had its varying experiences, about as other churches.  Many of the old mem-

bers have died or moved from the town.  A few years ago the society adopted the name of the

First Congregational church of Mt. Pleasant and its present officers are, president, A.A. Borden;

secretary, John Clark, and treasurer, Dr. A.T. Getchel.  The trustees are Wilber E. Preston, A.T.

Getchel, A.A. Borden, John Clark, H. Dingman and I.A. Fancher.  The finance committee is

composed of I.A. Fancher, S.W. Morrison and W.E. Lewis.  The present officers of the Ladies’

union are Mrs. S.W. Morrison, president;  Mrs. A.T. Getchell, secretary, and Mrs. A.A. Borden


     In the church at the present time there are about sixty members and since Rev. H. Van

Ommeran severed his pastoral connection they have had preaching but once each month.  Mr.

Van Ommeran was with the church five years and did heroic work;  he then left and took a

Church in Massachusetts and is liking it very much.  The pulpit is now being supplied by the

Rev. B.F. Mills of Traverse City.  He is liked very much and may be induced to come to Mt.

Pleasant and take charge of the church.






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