THE BEGINNINGS OF METHODISM IN ISABELLA COUNTY
Mabel C. Adams
Robert E. Adams
PREPARED FOR THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
AS PART OF THE LOCAL OBSERVANCE OF THE
SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE
ORGANIZATION OF METHODIST SOCIETIES IN AMERICA, 1934-1935.
Any understanding of church BEGINNINGS in the nation, the state, the county, or the township is a contribution to the understanding of the whole and of our own small unit. Also it is essential that we be prepared to take the long view of events in church history that we may establish sober judgment of church organizations and accomplishments of today. That was the prime object in celebrating the Sesqui-centennial of Methodist Societies in America, 1784 - 1934.
The "long view" back encourages "the long view" ahead. The one hundred and fifty years had evolved many changes almost unbelievable, and had builded greater that it dreamed; liberty, freedom, organization, individuality, specialization, competition giving way to cooperation; "the World for Christ" giving way to "Christ for the World" and kindly helpfulness, invention and a machine age; while Will Durant and H. G. Wells assure us that in centuries to come this will be known as "The Age of Inter-communication".
Now what of the "long view ahead"? In all probability individuality and specialization will discard many non-essentials and agree upon essentials in common, and the result will be stabilization. Stabilization will simplify living in all its aspects and give time for organized, quiet thinking, "To know all is to forgive all". This quiet thinking and understanding of our neighbors will eventually bring PEACE. Our foremost thinkers of today believe we are to enter upon an era of spiritual understanding, communication, and attainment quite superior to anything yet known to the inhabitants of this world.
As to church organizations and beliefs the next one hundred and fifty years may see: the unionization of all protestant denominations and the stabilization of doctrines; the union of the Protestant and the Catholic churches into a UNIVERSAL church with "Brotherhood", the main doctrine, aim, creed, and law.
The various educational systems of the world have been the pride and hope of the nations. Today they are crumbling, disappointing, inadequate. Our systems were founded upon the famous "three R's: Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic. We have been taught HOW to read, but how few have learned to write a legible hand, a definite statement, or a kind, sympathetic letter. 'Rithmetic has been declared an absolute essential and studied accordingly, but how few can add a column of figures with rapidity and accuracy, while a large percentage of those who really learned arithmetic use their knowledge for trickery and unlawful gain.
Ex-President Herbert Hoover often declared we needed to add the fourth "R" and teach responsibility. William Lyon Phelps and others avow our educational institutions should inculcate another "R" by way of "Refinement". This depression proves we have so much leisure for culture and so little culture for leisure. Another much needed "R" is Religion. Thinking citizens outside the church as well as within, are awakened to the urgent need of other higher standards of living, of a better and closer home and family life, of the betterment of private and public morals, and of the universal cry of the soul, not for something to live upon, nor for something to live FOR, but for something to live BY.
But to return to the "long view back". Searching for the early church history - whether it be of the high spots or of the details - is a most arduous task, and would be most discouraging were it not so intensely interesting and worth while.
Records of all kinds are few and meagre and so often they are carelessly kept, conflicting and contradictory. Indeed, church records are for years at a time "conspicuous by their absence". Even many of the important milestones are uncertain or lost in the confusion. All this is true of church history of all denominations. The Methodist church is no exception. The history of early Methodism in Michigan is especially meagre and conflicting while the records of Isabella county and of this Shepherd Methodist church are unbelievabley few, and even the oldest residenters "cannot just exactly remember". Our really pioneer citizens are pitifully few.
In all justice to the record-keepers of the "Old Salt River Methodist Class" be it understood that many local records of 'missing years' are to be found in adjoining neighborhood church records. The reason for this is that early preachers here were EACH assigned to a district comprising several "classes" and the Quarterly Meetings went round of circuit churches. Let this be a lesson to us that we right here vow to keep our future records complete, full, and true, and to do all possible to fill in the past records with respectful accuracy. They will all be needed, for if there is any one thing Yankees love better than whittling and boasting, that one thing is statistics.
So closely is the history of Michigan Methodism interwoven with that of Michigan, the state, that it seems wise to touch upon the high spots of each and to take them up in chronological order.
1634 - Jean Nicolet, first white man
known to enter Michigan. He was closely followed by
French explorers, fortune hunters, and settlers. They brought their Catholic priests
and established many missions in the extreme north and at Detroit before 1834.
1780 - 1783 The first Protestant mission
was near Mt. Clemens, established by the Moravian
Brethren from Ohio. The French at Detroit objected and disgracefully moved the
Moravians across the river into Canada. Note: This mission was established four
years before the famous "Christmas Conference" at Baltimore.
1801 - Congregational ministers were
preaching here in Michigan, closely followed by others,
especially the Baptists.
1804 - Detroit had 150 houses. A
Methodist sermon was preached, THE FIRST IN MICHIGAN, by
Reverend Daniel Freeman. Later in the year Reverend Bangs preached several sermons.
Both these men were visitors in Detroit, were in the middle twenties, held charges
in southern Canada, and belonged to the New York Conference.
1805 - Michigan territory was organized. Detroit was the seat of government.
1805 - 1809 During these five years
Detroit had no preaching whatsoever other than Catholic,
and that always in Latin or French. The handful of English longed for occasional
services in their own language. It is told that in 1807 the Territorial Governor, Mr.
Hull, asked the French Catholic priest, Fr. Gabriel Richard, to preach to them
occasionally in the council house. Father Richard was reluctant in so doing because
of his imperfect British pronunciation. Later this good man reported to his Bishop
that he "tried to be some utility and take possession of the ground" and added that
he aimed to instruct on general principles of Christian religion and the investigation
of the truth". He had chosen for his text, "Ye are my sheep". He used the text freely
throughout his sermon and in his imperfect translation always said "Ye are my muttons".
1809 - New York Conference claimed
jurisdiction over all land the width of the state on the
west. They decided that a mission should be established in the new Michigan
Territory and sent young Reverend William Case to Detroit. This young man was not
allowed to return for a second year charge. He was disappoint to the New York
Conference because he could report by one conversion, the with whom he lived. However,
that man was none other than Mr. Robert Abbott, a prominent fur trader and the
first Anglo-American child born in Detroit. Mr. Abbott and Betsy Abbott, his wife,
became the nucleus around which a church soon clustered, took form, and
permanency during the stay of the next preacher, Reverend William Mitchell. It took
three months for Reverend Case to get to New York and for the Reverend Mitchell to
1810 - Organized: THE FIRST METHODIST
SOCIETY IN MICHIGAN and the class numbered seven.
They were: Robert Abbott and wife, Betsy; Wm. McCarty and wife, Maria; Wm. Stacy and
wife Betsy; and Sarah Macomb. The first church list is of special interest to us
because of our close relationship. The Detroit church records of the early
seventies give long detailed accounts of the first six members. Of Sarah Macomb they
state that she was the wife of a major in the militia who died soon after the War
of 1812. Then she married a Mr. Corbus and about 1830 moved west to Branch county.
They regretted losing track of her and hoped that she died faithful to her church
We were able through the Isabella County Records and the Salt River Church records to pick up the lost thread. Sarah (Macomb) Corbus had a son, Wesley J. born in Wayne County in 1818. The family moved in 1831 to Girard township, Branch County, purchased a large farm and passed the rest of their days there.
Their son, Dr. W. J. Corbus, came to Isabella County in April, 1863. He purchased 320 acres of land in Lincoln township, section thirteen, the farm now owned by our Mrs. Jim Curtiss, and he was the pioneer doctor of Isabella county. His daughter, Sarah, was the first school teacher at the Indian Mills and later became Mrs. John Hance. Dr. Corbus was Swedenborgian by faith, but his wife, Christiana Popham Corbus, was a Methodist and one of the earliest members of the Old Salt River Class.
1818 - FIRST METHODIST CHURCH BUILT IN
MICHIGAN on River Rouge, five miles south of Detroit.
It was 24 x 30 feet and of logs. It burned in 1828.
FIRST PERMANENT PROTESTANT ORGANIZED CHURCH IN DETROIT. All denominations
John Montieth, the preacher.
1820 - The Detroit Mission, which
included ALL of Michigan, was transferred by General
Conference from New York to Ohio.
1822 - FIRST CAMP MEETING in Michigan on
River Rouge. Reverend William Case came from
his Indian Mission in Canada to take part. Methodism began to spread and take root.
1830 - The Port Huron Methodist class was formed.
1831 - The Michigan Legislature "laid off" and named several counties, among them Isabella.
1832 - The Saginaw Mission appears upon
the Ohio Conference minutes, with Bradford Frazee
as preacher. It was considered "not worth the labor and expense and thus dropped."
1834 - Presbyterian Church Synod of Michigan, organized at Ann Arbor.
1835 - The "Saginaw Mission" again
appears upon the minutes in connection with the Flint
circuit. The report states: "Country to the west too swampy and sparsely settled
to be included in the circuit."
1835 - The Grand Rapids Mission appears
upon the minutes. First Methodist preaching in
Ionia. Ionia made the seat of the United States Land Office.
1835 - "Toledo War": Governor Mason sent
militia to protect the Michigan-Ohio line and
nearly 500 square miles of Michigan Territory. Shots were fired but no blood
1836 - John D. Pierce, a Methodist
minister, was made Superintendent of Public Instruction,
first such office in the United States.
1836 - The Protestant Episcopal Church
diocese of Michigan was organized. Baptist,
Congregational, and Presbyterian churches were forming throughout southern Michigan.
Funds were being raised to found the Wesleyan Seminary at the little new town of
The state was divided into two Methodist districts: the Detroit, and the Ann Arbor.
1836 - This date is an important mile
stone in Michigan and in Church history. The
Michigan Territory framed a State Constitution, the people ratified it, and then
applied for statehood. Our population was 100,000, or 40,000 above the required
census. Congress refused us admission because of dispute over the Michigan
Ohio boundary line. A few years before, Congress had deliberately taken a
strip from the Michigan Territory and given it to Indiana that the new state might
have a coveted lake port: Michigan objected to a repetition of the injustice.
Congress settled the "Toledo War" by pleasing Ohio. In return for that southern
strip of land Congress took worthless land from Wisconsin territory and gave it
to the indignant Michigan. That land is now our valuable Upper Peninsula. The
Methodist Episcopal church had three or four Indian missions on that land and they
now belonged to Michigan. They had been established by churches of Southern
Michigan was being settled very rapidly. Three circumstances or facts,
contributed to the growth: the use of steam boats on the Great Lakes; the opening
of the New York and Erie Canal; and a better knowledge of the topography of the
country furnished by the surveyors and explorers.
1836 - The General Conference of May,
1836, recognized Michigan as a unit and authorized
a separate annual conference which should embrace northern Ohio with Michigan.
The south-west corner of Michigan was not included, as it contained the missions of
St. Joseph and Kalamazoo. These belong to the Indiana Conference, La Porte District.
1837 - January 26, 1837, Congress
recognized Michigan as a state. The University of Michigan,
started in 1817 in Detroit, was now moved to Ann Arbor.
The annual Conference was held in Detroit, FIRST IN MICHIGAN.
1837 - 1840 Great Money Panic
1838 - Annual Conference held in Tiffin, Ohio
1839 - Annual Conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan
1840 - Northern Ohio was dropped from the Michigan Conference
Charges in the southwest of Michigan were taken over from the Indiana Conference.
Four districts were formed: Detroit, Ann Arbor, Marshall and Kalamazoo; also a
Mission District in the Lake Superior Country
1841 - Hastings Mission formed
1842 - Congregational Association organized
1843 - Wesleyan Seminary opened at Albion
1848 - Saginaw City, East Saginaw, and Bay City classes are mentioned upon the minutes.
1849 - A "Female Seminary" was added to
the Wesleyan Seminary. The two were combined into
Albion College in 1861.
1854 - Congress had passed the
Graduation Act, or the "Homestead Act". The "swamp land"
of Isabella County was offered for sale at fifty cents per acre. The United States
Land Office at Ionia was over-rushed with business.
1854 - In the late fall of 1854 the
settlers from Southern Michigan began the long
trek north with St. Johns the last settlement. Then Isabella history began.
1851 - The State Legislature "laid off" and named Isabella County.
1854 - Under the Federal Graduation Act,
Michigan was allowed to survey and sell the
"the swamp lands" at fifty cents per acre. The money was used: one half of
Indian support and one-half for educational purposes, with $30,000 going to the
first Normal School.
Many claims were selected "un-sight and unseen" in the eagerness to buy at the
bargain price. For example, the case of Perry H. Estee, who filed a claim at
Ionia in October, 1854 and moved his family here in December, 1855.
The first SOIL STAKED was by William Adams, William Bowen, and James shepherd,
followed the surveyors in and blazed the trail from Gratiot north to Section Four
in October, 1854, and filed their claims at Ionia in November. Going out they met
Joseph Roberts, Thomas Roberts, and Patrick Fanning with their families moving in
November 7. These were the first families in the county other than a very few which
had come over the Midland border and had taken up "squatters' Sovereignty". The
long, long trek from Southern Michigan had begun with St. Johns the last settlement
and the roads mere trails through the woods.
Probably the earliest settler now living is Mrs. Mary Ann (Adams) Middaugh, who,
when nine years of age, came with her parents in 1857 to make her home on the claim
filled in '54 and now the "Adams Homestead". For many years Mrs. Middaugh has been
a member of this church.
1855 - The Conference awoke to the
opportunity of work among the Indians and so organized
the "Indian Mission District" with a few Mission stations, one (The Ottawa Colony)
in the Grand Rapids District. Reverend William Brockway was made presiding Elder
of the District to succeed Reverend George Bradley who was made Agent of Indian
In February Charles Taylor, an Exhorter, came from Eaton Rapids and took up 240
acres on section 29, in Chippewa township, now Taylor's corners.
1855 - THE FIRST SERMON IN ISABELLA
COUNTY was preached by the Reverend Charles Taylor
the 25th of March, 1855, at the home of Eber Hamilton.
Another FIRST PREACHING is of great interest to us. The first sermon in northern
Gratiot was preached at the Allen home on the county line, about one-half mile west of
the intersection of U S 27 and the Isabella Gratiot line.
1856 - It was probably in 1856.
Mr. and Mrs. James B. Allen were the grandparents of
Mrs. Pearl Rowland and of the late Miss Floy Struble. This beautiful Bible from
which our pastor reads to us each Sabbath was the family Bible in the Allen home
and was presented to this church by the son-in-law, the late N. W. Struble, at the
dedication of this church in 1902. The pulpit Bible in the old church is in the
possession of Mrs. B. M. Grant of Mount Pleasant.
1855 - Before the close of the year the
Government took the swamp lands out of the market
and no more were sold for eight years. This retarded settlement.
1855 - The Soo Canal with two locks was opened for commerce.
1855 - On August second was signed the
FLINT TREATY. The Federal Government had decided to
send most of the Michigan Indians west beyond the Mississippi River. They were
peaceable, had no desire to move, and the Michigan whites interceded in their behalf.
1855 - This treaty gathered the remnants
of the Chippewa, Black River and Swan Creek Indians
which were found mostly in Clinton, Gratiot, and Saginaw counties and ceded to them and
their descendants forever land in Isabella County. Each head of a family was to receive
aside from the eight acres of land, a yoke of oxen, a plow and the seed, an
agreement which was never kept.
1856 - Coe township was organized with William Bowen as supervisor.
1856 - Michigan Conference divided into two conferences, the Detroit and the Michigan
Gratiot Circuit was formed including Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, with
Reverend T. J. Hill, the circuit preacher. Charles Taylor, licensed as a local
preacher, and the following spring, was made circuit preacher of the north half
of the circuit. Regular preaching was held at the Converse, Taylor and Allen homes.
1857 - FIRST METHODIST CLASS organized
at Thomas Campbell's home, Coe township. Quarterly
meeting was held in the log house about where Mr. Nilson's house now stands, one mile
east of Salt River corners. It was used for preaching, and later for a school.
1857 - The Federal Government selected
the site for the Indian Mills and the building then
began. Grist mill, saw mill, blacksmith shop, a store, and a council house, also a few
one and two room houses for government employees. Indian Mills was known to the
Government officially as "Isabella City". To us it was known as "Dog Town".
1857 - First POST OFFICE in the county
was one-half mile south of Salt River. William
Robbins was postmaster. Mail was carried on foot from Maple Rapids to Salt River.
1858 - FIRST SCHOOL (Private) taught by
Mrs. Billings Walton in her log house on Section 4,
Coe; $1.50 per week was the 'salary' with ten pupils in all.
1858 - The first apple orchard in the county was started on the Adams Homestead.
1859 - Isabella County was organized
with three large townships: Coe, Chippewa, and Isabella.
Coe township was named after Lieut. Gov. Albert G. Coe.
1858 - Topics of conversation: the
general crop failure, the discovery of silver in Nevada
and Colorado; the slavery question, John Brown's raid, and Lincoln's chances of
1859 - Reverend Palmer Sheldon was sent
by the Conference to be preacher and teacher to
Indians on the new Isabella Reservation.
1859 - The Federal Government encouraged
the churches in this work and was indifferent
as to the denominations and creeds. It built four school houses, or Mission
Houses, and a few churches. Reverend Sheldon, who joined the conference in 1839
had been preaching for some years in Hillsdale County when he was appointed to the
Reverend Sheldon and his family lived in a school house (a small house with a school
room attached) not far from Leaton, Michigan, of today. He and his wife were
expected to give all kinds of vocational training as well as to teach the "Three R's"
and the Bible.
1860 - The Government built a church at
Ne-bee-sing, called by the Whites "Nipposing".
This was THE FIRST CHURCH BUILDING in the county. In June, 1861, it burned and the
Government re-built it that fall. Soon after, it was used as a mission school as
well. Both this church and the house are still standing.
Reverend Sheldon's step-daughter, Ella Spath Sheldon, the late Mrs. W. W. Steel
Gladwin, taught here two years as the first teacher. She received $100. - a year for
her services, which was taken out of the $200 - salary allowed Reverend Sheldon by
Another mission was conducted by Reverend E. G. H. Miesler, a German Lutheran
from St. Louis. Reverend Miesler often acted as interpreter for Father Sheldon, as
did Charles Rodd, a half breed. Rodd later owned a store at Indian Mills and Became
the first sheriff of this county.
1860 - FIRST CENSUS was taken of
Isabella County, 67 white families, 577 white persons, and
836 Indians, total population, 1,433.
1860 - FIRST ORGANIZED PUBLIC SCHOOL in
the county was one-half mile south of Salt River.
Carrie Kilborn, teacher. For many years this was used for preaching services also.
1861 - Site for County Seat was decided upon.
1861 - War Declared
1861 - Annual Conference at Battle Creek
in October formed the Chippewa Circuit including
all Isabella. Father Sheldon was taken from the Indian Mission and mad the Circuit
Rider of Isabella County, his main duty being to organize the classes into churches.
In the fall of '61 he organized the Salt River Charge with fourteen members. One
report states, "Charter members were William Wonch and wife, Richard Wonch and wife,
Charles Sawyer and nine others". How we wish we knew the names of those "nine others".
Father Sheldon organized the Pleasant Valley Church and others and with Rev.
Bradley, the Mount Pleasant Church. Reverend Sheldon was preacher from 1861 - 1863.
The latter church's house of worship was built in 1866. The present house was built
in 1884 with but 65 members. The front window is a memorial to Rev. Sheldon and Rev.
Bradley and bears their names, a most beautiful tribute.
1864 - FIRST NEWSPAPER published in the
county, the "Northern Pioneer" was 12 by 14 inches.
The following March appeared this advertisement:
"St. Johns & Mt. Pleasant"
E X P R E S S
The subscriber will continue to run his
Express wagon weekly between St. Johns,
Mt. Pleasant and Isabella City, for the
accommodation of all who feel inclined to
patronize him. He will attend to the pur-
chasing of things in St. Johns for those
who wish to have him. Passengers will be
taken to and from St. Johns at a fair price.
Orders left at Mr. Babbitt's store, in Isa
bella City will receive prompt attention.
Charges reasonable. Leaves St. Johns on
Tuesday morning and arrives here Thursday
noon. Leaves here Thursday afternoon and
arrives at St. Johns on Saturday.
H. N. Griswold
Mount Pleasant, March 1, 1865
1865 - The Civil War ended
1867 - Chippewa Circuit renamed Isabella Circuit and attached to the Ionia District
1869 - Big Rapids District formed.
Isabella Circuit was included under the name of
1870 - August 31 Conference divided this circuit.
Calkinsville (now Rosebush) was joined to the Indian Mission. Mt.
and Gulick called the Mt. Pleasant Circuit. Rev. N. Bray was the preacher. All
appointments South were set off as Salt River Circuit, Rev. R. P. Sheldon, Preacher.
Father Sheldon lived in Salt River at one time; at another time, at Indian Mills.
He bought a farm in Chippewa where he died in 1882. He is buried in the Chippewa
Cemetery, north of Shepherd, four miles north of Salt River corners and about a
quarter mile east.
To quote from the County Manual of 1884, "Rev. Sheldon was one of nature's
a man who was as universally beloved and respected as any pioneer in this county
and one whose true worth cannot be too highly lauded or whose memory cannot be too
carefully cherished by future generations". Permit us to give an incident or two
from his life.
The occasional missionary box received from Southern Michigan societies was
keen interest, only to turn to disappointment and often intense humiliation.
Occasionally a box from the ancestral home "back yonder" in Ohio still helped to make
Under the nimble and capable fingers of that well-born, Swiss wife of Father
contents of those boxes were made to clothe him and to help out the parish. Oft
times garments of beauty and style were created, only to be mistaken for newly
purchased and costly apparel. The result was misunderstanding church members and
neighbors who withdrew their meagre support.
Like the apostles of old, Father Sheldon was obliged to work at farming,
cobbling, tutoring, and other pursuits to keep soul and body together. His
congregations were as short of money as he. His duties as circuit rider took him
into the remotest settlements of Isabella County and occasionally into adjoining
counties keeping him away from home for a few weeks at a time.
One time when Father Sheldon started out upon his circuit of soul-saving-and
church-organization, he was obliged to leave his family none to well and in
positive need of the necessities of life. But duty called loudly; faith was
strong; hope was persistent. After three long weeks of hard and faithful service
over new roads and through the woods and into new homes and old, and not only
preaching, but ministering to the sick, burying the dead, and marrying the
love-lorn, Father returned to his expectant and anxious wife. Both he and
his horse were spent and worn out and altogether discouraged. For once he dreaded
meeting his family. The only pay of any kind he had received for many weeks was
during this three week circuit tour and that pay was reposing in his saddle bags
along with his Bible. It was a chunk of spoiled salt pork for soap grease!
But not all life and recompense of the circuit Rider was so drab and meagre.
Father Sheldon and family were living at the Indian Mills, it was decided to give
a Donation Party, a custom quite common among the churches. Social affairs
being few and Father Sheldon, well known, and much beloved, the party became the
topic of conversation not only after preaching services, but at the grist mill, the
saw mill, the blacksmith shop, the Indian Council House, and at Jack Morgan's
Now this saloon of Jack Morgan's was the gathering place for the men from the
lumber camps near and far. They all knew Father Sheldon and respected him and his
work. These men carried the news of the coming party to the camps and to the
remotest settlers. Jack Morgan's aim in life, aside from making money, was to
be known as the biggest dare-devil and the meanest ruffian for miles around.
On the morning before the party Jack Morgan handed his wife fifty dollars and
said: "Give this fifty dollars to Old Man Sheldon tonight. He deserves it; he
doesn't get much. Why, that old man works hard all the time always helping some
and preaching all the funeral sermons, and marrying folks and caring for the sick.
The boys say they like to have him visit their camps. And he gets mighty little
for it all." That evening the Whites and the Reds; saints and sinners, came to
that Donation Party and made it quite a public celebration.
When the donations were counted they amounted to several hundreds of dollars,
three-fourths of it in cash, the greater part of which had been given by the
Lumberjacks. It was a big success, but Jack Morgan lost his title as "The
Wickedest and Meanest Man" in the Mills.
1870 - Reverend Bray of Mount Pleasant
organized all records obtainable, but much was
undated. The church membership lists in 1869 - 1871 were:
Mt. Pleasant 47
Emory Bradley, leader
Chippewa 36 O. P. Crawford, leader
Calkinsville 11 Daniel Johnson, leader
Line (Parkinson) 16 U. McKinstry, leader
Salt River 11 Thomas J. Campbell, leader
MEMBERSHIP LIST. SALT RIVER
Andrew F. Childs
Richard Wonch - and undoubtedly their wives
1871 - Reverend George Bradley died
suddenly in New York City while buying Indian supplies.
He was buried in Mt. Pleasant.
1872 - The Baptists of Salt River built
a church. All denominations assisted and thus
were to be permitted to worship there. The arrangement was unsatisfactory. Later
the society died down, the building was sold to the Catholics by the Baptist trustees,
Isaac N. Shepherd, James Black, and Quincey Walling.
1880 - Ladies Aid Society organized.
Mrs. Mary Rivett is the only Charter member now living.
Methodist services had been held since 1857 in homes, in the school house at the
bend of the river south of town, in the Baptist church, in the Kennedy Hall, and
1882 - Methodist Church Building was begun:
S. R. Baughman
Andrew F. Childs
METHODIST CLASS IN MOUNT PLEASANT
About 1870 - 1871 - 1872
Emory Bradley, Leader
Sophia Bradley, died Feb. 12, 1876
F. C. Babbitt
O. B. Church
H. E. Church
Catherine Mosher, died 1871
Mary Bennett, died May 30, 1872
Helen (Kittie) Bradley
S. P. Loveland
Rev. George Bradley, died April 15, 1871
Harriet H. Williams
Sarah E. Loveland
M. E. Westlake
Nancy A. Near
Annie (?) Hursh
METHODIST CLASS AT CHIPPEWA
About 1870 - 1871
O. P. Converse, Leader
Mary A. Robinson
Rev. Charles Taylor
J. M. Kennedy (Mart)
L. S. Gould
W. A. Shively
Clari (?) Anders
METHODIST CLASS AT CALKINSVILLE
This class and appointment transferred to Isabella Mission, September, 1875
Margaret A. Graham
METHODIST CLASS GULICK SCHOOL HOUSE
JOHN I. A. JOHNSON, leader Before 1875
This class transferred from the Mt. Pleasant to the
Dushville (WINN) charge in the
second quarter of Conference year, 1878.
Mrs. Gulick (Ann)
Emma Dunton (Afterwards the first
Mrs. Geo. Granger
Mrs. Handy (died very soon)
Alfred M. Merrill
Sarah M. Merrill
Sarah S. Merrill
METHODIST CLASS. SOUTH COUNTY LINE
Later called PARKINSON
Discontinued 19 -- ?
Y. MCKINSTRY, leader. Residence, Gratiot, 1869 - 1870
D. E. McKinstry
L. H. Parson
James Allen Parents of Mrs. N. W. Struble
S. Leonard (Withdrawn Aprill 11, 1869)
Mercy D. Allis
1882 - Church Building. Carpenter,
Mason, John Taft
Sylvester Baughman E. Going
Edmund Ashworth Charles Holliday
William Wonch George S. Kinnor
THIS PULPIT was a gift to this church at that time from Mr. Sylvester Baughman.
1883 - February eighth "THE CHURCH OF
CHRIST" was incorporated. Trustees: Samuel
Kennedy, Simon S. Smith; Charles W. Hudson. The first minister was Rev. Sias.
Meetings were held in the Baptist Church, the Kennedy Hall, and elsewhere.
Among the charter members were:
Daniel Childs and wife
Joseph Miser and wife
Perry Estee and wife
Samuel Kennedy and wife
George Young and wife
Douglas Hamilton and wife
Simon Smith and wife
William Faunce and wife
John Smith and wife
George Zigler and wife
Ellis Faunce and wife
Daniel Brickley and wife
Neddie Wood and wife
1885 - Salt River Corner moved west. Town re-named SHEPHERD. Railroad laid.
1887 - Post Office changed to SHEPHERD
1897 - Built addition to first church - League, Sunday School, and Prayer Meeting room.
1909 - Old church outgrown and worn out. This beautiful new one erected.
W. L. Dibble
Architect: E. M. Wood
M. W. Struble Builders: Cole Brothers
H. D. Bent Trustees:
Mrs. B. J. White H. L. Dent; W. L. Dibble; Joseph Moore,
C. C. Fields, E. W. Orsler
The list of pastors and the date of the appointments for the Shepherd Church are:
T. J. Hill
1857 Charles Taylor
1858-1859-1860 C. Taylor and others
1861 - 62 Robert P. Sheldon
1863 L. M. Garlock
1864 D. C. Fox
1865 - 66 J. H. Webb
1867 T. J. Spencer
1868 M. T. Williams
1869 Eli Westlake
1870 - 71 Robert P. Sheldon
1872 J. W. Hawthorn
1875 J. Mills
1877 B. D. Wier
1878 - 79 B. D. Searles
1880 - 81 - 82 C. W. Smith
1883 Thomas Clayton
1884 A. A. Darling
1885 T. Young
1886 - 87 George Lockhart
1888 - 89 - 90 E. L. Sinclair
1891 G. W. Riggs
1892 W. P. Manning
1893 Levi Alger
1894 - 95 - 96 - 97 D. E. Reed
1898 - 99 W. W. Aylesworth
1900 - 1901 Eliot Bouch
1902 - 1903 Frank Cookson
1904 - 05 Louis Blanchett
1906 - 07 - 08 - 09 C. E. Pollock
1910 - 1911 Nathan P. Brown
1912 - 13 - 14 - 15 C. E. Davis
1916 - 17 - 18 L. L. Dewey
1919 - 20 - 21 Henry W. Ellinger
1922 - 23 John Broxholm
1924 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 Elihu Mayhew
1929 C. J. Kendall
1930 - 31 -32 - 33 - 34 W. S. Phillips
The Sunday School Department: The Superintendent most outstanding
beloved during these seventy-nine years of local church history is,
without doubt, Allen Clark.
1934 - Shepherd Methodist
Episcopal Church Membership is 180. Sunday
School attendance average for the year is 110.
1935 The Sesqui-centennial
is over. Methodism is better understood
and more keenly appreciated because of the slogan "Know Your
Church". A realization of the past accomplishments awakens
the church to its present and future needs and to the
determination that the "BEST IS YET TO BE".
of Michigan, 1860
Church History. Files and Records
Baptist, Catholic, Christian Churches in Shepherd and Mount Pleasant
Central State Teachers College Library
Lansing State Library
Mount Pleasant City Library
Compiled Laws of Michigan
Conference Reports. Detroit and Michigan
Ellis. History of the United States. Vo.. 4, 5, 6, 7.
Encyclopedia Americana. 1932. Vol. 18
Encyclopedia of Religion
Funk and Wagnalls. Encyclopedia
GUIDE BOOK IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Hemans, Lawton T. HISTORY OF MICHIGAN
History of the First New York Church
History of Lovely Lane Church
Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman OUR CHURCH 1843
Isabella Chapter, D. A. R. Historical Files
Isabella County Album, 1884
Isabella County Newspapers
Methodist Membership Manual
MICHIGAN CHRISTIAN ADVOCAT Complete Files
Myers. HISTORY OF MICHIGAN
Nichlonson, Bishop Thomas WORLD SERVICE
ORIGINAL CHURCH OF CHRIST
Personal letters, interviews and family histories.
Petezel, Rev. J. H. HISTORICAL RECOLLECTIONS
Pilchen, E. H. HISTORY OF PROTESTANTISM IN MICHIGAN
REPORTS OF BALTIMORE, 1934
Robinson, Emma THE ROMANCE OF METHODISM
Smith, Robert E. METHODIST EPISCOPALIANS. WHO? WHAT? WHY?
Stevens, Abel HISTORY OF METHODISM 3 Vol.
Striker, Hon, Daniel, 1891 AN HISTORICAL ADDRESS DELIVERED AT HASTING METHODIST
Utley, Henry MICHIGAN AS A PROVINCE, TERRITORY, STATE
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