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V I 










of the 





The District of Michigan 
Authorized This Publication 


Elgin, Illinois 


Printed in the United States of America 

by the 

Brethren Publishing House 

Elgin, Illinois 



my wife 



faithful devotion and willingness to help 

afforded real encouragement in my work 

and to 

whose loyal service 
perpetuates Christian brotherhood 

The Church of the Brethren 

Formerly Called Dunkers 

1. This body of Christians originated early in the eighteenth century, the 
church being a natural outgrowth of the Pietistic movement following the 

2. Firmly accepts and teaches the fundamental evangelical doctrines of the 
inspiration of the Bible, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the virgin birth, the 
deity of Christ, the sin-pardoning value of his atonement, his resurrection from 
the tomb, ascension and personal and visible return, and the resurrection, both 
of the just and unjust (John 5: 28-29; 1 Thess. 4: 13-18). 

3. Observes the following New Testament rites: Baptism of penitent believers 
by trine immersion for the remission of sins (Matt. 28: 19; Acts 2: 38); feet- 
washing (John 13:1-20; 1 Tim. 5:10); love feast (Luke 22:20; John 13:4; 
1 Cor. 11:17-34; Jude 12); communion (Matt. 26:26-30); the Christian salu- 
tation (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:37); proper appearance in worship (1 Cor. 11: 
2-16); the anointing for healing in the name of the Lord (James 5: 13-18; Mark 
6: 13); laying on of hands (Acts 8: 17; 19: 6; 1 Tim. 4: 14). These rites are 
representative of spiritual facts which obtain in the lives of true believers, and 
as such are essential factors in the development of the Christian life. 

4. Emphasizes daily devotion for the individual, and family worship for 
the home (Eph. 6: 18-20; Philpp. 4: 8-9); stewardship of time, talents and 
money (Matt. 25: 14-30); taking care of the fatherless, widows, poor, sick and 
aged (Acts 6: 1-7). 

5. Opposes on Scriptural grounds: War and the taking of human life (Matt. 
5: 21-26, 43-44; Rom. 12: 19-21; Isa. 53: 7-12); violence in personal and indus- 
trial controversy (Matt. 7: 12; Rom. 13: 8-10); intemperance in all things (Titus 
2: 2; Gal. 5: 19-26; Eph. 5: 18); going to law, especially against our Christian 
brethren (1 Cor. 6: 1-9); divorce and remarriage except for the one Scriptural 
reason (Matt. 19: 9); every form of oath (Matt. 5: 33-37; James 5: 12); member- 
ship in secret, oath-bound societies (2 Cor. 6: 14-18); games of chance and sin- 
ful amusements (1 Thess. 5:22; 1 Peter 2: 11; Rom. 12: 17); extravagant and 
immodest dress (1 Tim. 2: 8-10; 1 Peter 3: 1-6). 

6. Labors earnestly, in harmony with the Great Commission, for the evange- 
lization of the world, for the conversion of men to Jesus Christ, and for the 
realization of the life of Jesus Christ in every believer (Matt. 28: 18-20; Mark 
16: 15-16; 2 Cor. 3: 18). 

7. Maintains the New Testament as its only creed, in harmony with which 
the above brief doctrinal statement is made. 


I. A Brief History of the State 17 

II. Movements of Early Brethren Settlers 35 

III. Problems Confronting the Development of Pio- 

neer Churches 42 

IV. History of Congregations 57 

V. Strength and Weaknesses of Existing Churches . . 180 

VI. Survey of District Boards and Committees and 

How They Function 183 

VII. Biographical Sketches 203 

VIII. Observations and Trends 319 

Bibliography 323 

Appendix I 325 

Appendix II 337 


"That people which has no past has no future" is an apho- 
rism to which the historian subscribes. Not to know the past 
is to be effectively cut off from it. That is especially true in 
times of great upheaval and dynamic social change. 

We in the Church of the Brethren have sometimes suf- 
fered from too little acquaintance with the past or from a 
lack of appreciation of the past. It is therefore appropriate 
and valuable that, as the glow of that American world of yes- 
terday (the world which began to fade in 1914) dies on the 
horizon, the history of the Church of the Brethren in Michi- 
gan should be permanently recorded in some detail. 

This bock carries the narration past 1914. Yet the story is 
chiefly a story of pioneer decades and a story of beginnings. 
Michigan is one of the more recently developed districts of 
the church. And we who would bravely face the future 
must know our own past. 

Some of the most careful historical writing of the Breth- 
ren has been in our district histories. This history is a wor- 
thy number in the series. The patience, the carefulness and 
the scholarly industry of its author have produced the best 
extant narrative of the District of Michigan. It is a great 
personal pleasure to the writer of these words that the be- 
ginning of this book is to be found in Mr. Young's prepara- 
tion of a thesis under my direction. That thesis was in ful- 
fillment of the requirement of Bethany Biblical Seminary 
for a bachelor of divinity degree. But the author's work did 
not cease with his graduation from the seminary. 

This book should be of interest to every member of the 
church of this district of the Northland and I believe also to 
many beyond its borders. 
F. E. Mallott 

Professor of Old Testament and Church History 
Bethany Biblical Seminary 
Chicago, Illinois 


This history has to do with all the years of growth of the 
Church of the Brethren in the District of Michigan. It is an 
endeavor to discover the expansion or retrogression of the 
churches from the beginning to the present time. In time it 
has covered less than one hundred years. It touches on nar- 
rative history and wanders into other lines of interest. It 
discusses some of the customs and the life of the settlers into 
which our church people came and of which they be- 
came a part. Whatever value the whole study may have, 
compared with social development, it should be useful in 
depicting the numerical and the spiritual growth of our own 
church in this state. 

The Church of the Brethren as it now exists in this district 
has passed through many phases of activity. My work at 
the Lansing church conducting a part-time pastoral program 
during my seminary training at Bethany Biblical Seminary, 
Chicago, Illinois, created a desire to understand better the 
district work. It is my further desire to assemble obtainable 
historical data in such a manner that it may be preserved 
for the church. 

The study traces the development and growth of our de- 
nomination within a state with an English and French back- 
ground. This background is of importance because it gives 
the conditions under which our people settled in this par- 
ticular part of the country. It shows that our own people 
who moved into this state were willing to struggle along 
with others in the establishment of the religious life. 

A discussion of the early settlers helps us to understand 
the many difficulties which confronted the establishment of 
the churches in those days. It is fascinating to read about 
the leaders of our denomination as they worked to make a 
living and to keep the church work going forward. Such a 

12 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

history of the churches, even though brief in form, is always 
valuable in the future. 

Some of the activities and work of the district boards and 
other organizations are recorded. This record, too, becomes 
exceedingly valuable for comparison in later years. It is 
quite interesting to observe the change of methods and pro- 
cedure as the years come and go. Therefore, it is good to 
have some form of the history of the Church of the Brethren 
in Michigan in one source. And this data, collected and pre- 
served in this form, should be, brief as it may seem, bene- 
ficial to the churches of Michigan as well as to the entire 

It was through personal interviews with some key elders 
and lay members that much of the information was obtained. 
I feel greatly indebted to them for their help. In the plan 
and preparation of this history, I have received invaluable 
assistance from Dr. Floyd E. Mallott, my teacher and faculty 
counselor, to whom I render this tribute of thanks. Many 
thanks are also due M. B. Williams of Detroit, district presi- 
dent of men's work for many years and now chairman of the 
district mission board and chairman of the district historical 
committee, who cheerfully and readily supplied much his- 
torical data which had been collected. A questionnaire was 
used to obtain information from ministers and lay workers 
for the biographical chapter. I am grateful for the response. 

Questions which will play a large part in the writing are: 
Why did the people of our church move into Michigan? 
From what sections of the country did they come? What en- 
terprise did they undertake? Was it a success? What part 
of the state was the most attractive to our people? When 
were the first congregations organized? What caused some 
of the churches to become disorganized? Who were the in- 
fluential ministers in the first churches? What are the pros- 
pects for a greater Church of the Brethren in Michigan? 

History of the Brethren in Michigan 13 

This history, then, is simply an attempt to give the growth 
of the district and a resume of the congregations in such a 
manner that all the accomplishments along with the adversi- 
ties may be revealed. The spirit of adventure undergirded 
the increasing progress of the leaders. The Church of the 
Brethren has assisted other denominations in spreading the 
gospel of the kingdom in this great state. 

No facts have been intentionally withheld. Some may be 
incorrectly stated. For all the imperfections, omissions, and 
wrong statements the author is deeply regretful. My de- 
sire is that the volume may inspire future writers to pursue 
a more thorough study of the churches in the District of 
Michigan. My efforts will be amply rewarded if the people 
of the churches find it a source of satisfaction. Our aspira- 
tion has become a fulfillment. 

Walter M. Young 

Lansing, Michigan 
April 15, 1946 

ABOVE: The village of Schwarzenau in Wittgenstein. At or near this spot on the banks 
of the Eder River the first baptisms took place in 1708. Photo by H. Spenser Minnich in 
1924. BELOW: The mother church at 6613 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Property 
of the brotherhood by action of Conference in 1943. Photo supplied by B. F. Waltz. 



Chapter I 


There are numerous approaches to consider in recording 
the history of the Church of the Brethren in Michigan. A 
written account of our denomination in this particular state 
district calls first for a consideration of the state. It seems 
wise that the development of the state itself should be given 
as a basis for understanding the development of one par- 
ticular denomination within it. So this brief history of the 
state can merely serve to present conditions of living which 
had a wide influence upon the establishment of the churches. 

The people of the Church of the Brethren entered a state 
which had already begun under a mixture of French and 
English culture. This fact had a definite bearing on the 
molding of new ideas into the lives of those who entered 
later. They naturally became a part of the culture which 
was existing in the community in which they settled. It 
made little difference as to what had been their former hab- 
its of life. One family or individual moving into the midst 
of a larger group will soon take on the customs of the group. 
Their own ways and customs no longer are in control. They 
become absorbed into the established manners. Their speech 
and action soon are identified with the larger group. The 
amalgamation may be gradual but it is sure. 

Simply to write another brief history just for the sake of 
history itself would certainly be useless, for there are many 
excellent volumes now available to give all the knowledge 
necessary to understand the state fully. We propose in this 
chapter to draw from various sources a sufficient amount of 
information to give color and interest to history. Those who 
wish to read the historical conditions in Michigan would nat- 
urally go to the state history books. However, there is some 
value in having this historical chapter. It should create an 

18 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

appreciation for the cultural background and the manner of 
living which became a vital part of our church life. 

The Lake State is the name given to Michigan. Its shores 
are watered by Lakes Superior, Michigan, St. Clair, Erie and 
Huron. The Indian words michi guma signify great lake. 

Michigan entered the Union as a state in 1837. The bill in- 
troducing Michigan as a state in the Union became a law on 
the 26th of January, 1837. Thus it became the twenty-sixth 
state in the Federal Union. The admission involved many 
changes. For more than a century and a half, civilization 
had struggled to gain headway. A hundred thousand people 
were now within her borders. They were young, vigorous 
and energetic. They had come from the East to carve out 
homes and build a state in the wonderful West. They neither 
understood their responsibility nor doubted their ability, but 
went forward with an unquestioning confidence. 

The people of Michigan were proud at the celebration of 
her semicentennial in 1887. In fifty years she had grown 
from the twenty-third to the ninth in population, and first 
in the production of many of the great staple products of the 
country. Of the forty-eight states she is now the seventh in 
respect to population (1940 United States census). 

1. Settlements 

In a prize essay written by Dorothy Zryd on pioneer life 
we find some very interesting facts. 

Indeed, it is hard for us of today to realize the condition of Michigan 
three centuries ago when the first adventurous white man stepped 
upon our shores and faced the green hills and primeval forests with 
courage before him. We do not yet realize and it will probably be 
centuries before the people of Michigan will fully appreciate and 
admire the virtues of our pioneer forefathers. But today, when the 
hills once covered with green trees and deep ravines, with an occa- 
sional Indian village or a lone settler's farm house perched on the 
side, are surrounded and covered with cities and towns, when 
smooth white highways follow the winding Indian trails and rough 

A Brief History of the State 19 

settlers' roads, we ought to begin to study the history of Michigan as 
told in the lives and virtues of our forefathers and do honor to the 
pioneers. 1 

Doctor Goodrich gives an adequate picture of early Mich- 
igan in the preface of his latest book, The First Michigan 
Frontier. It is stated so well that I cannot refrain from giv- 
ing it in his own most descriptive words. 

Michigan passed through two distinct phases of settlement, and it 
can be said on that account to have had two frontiers. The French 
regime and the British regime together constitute one of these. The 
French planted little posts here and there on the rims of the penin- 
sulas. They developed trade more than husbandry. They looked 
to the country for swift profits, revenues for the king, riches for 
military and civil officers. A scheme of things that on the whole 
had the look of greedy exploitation was raised to a higher plane in 
two ways — missionaries labored with zeal for the conversion of the 
natives to Christianity, and soldiers, traders and voyageurs accepted 
to a degree the Indian way of life. The relations of the two races 
were almost always sympathetic and, in many instances, affection- 
ate. In the thirty years of British rule in Michigan, there was small 
penetration of the lake rims. Colonization was encouraged very 
little. The hot eagerness for new settlement which marked affairs 
on the borders of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia did not 
spread into the Northwest that was Michigan. This remained dur- 
ing the two regimes the wilderness it had been at the beginning, 
and the sweep of forests and swamps and inland lakes was still in 
1800 in very much the virginal state that prevailed in 1700. 

The settlement of inner Michigan, when it came, bore small re- 
semblance to the tentative plantings the French made and that the 
British scarce more than kept weeded. The newer frontier was no 
longer a line clearly denned by the sands and shingle of the Great 
Lakes, but was irregularly marked by scattered villages of cabins, 
new rail fences, crowded taverns, stations of stage companies, and 
excessively muddy roads. Whereas the folk of the first frontier 
could be grouped simply as priests, soldiers, traders, and boatmen, 
the later masters of Michigan represented the complex constituents 
of a nearly complete society. Whatever their calling they had one 
absorbing, if only a speculative interest, and that was in land. They 
raced and bargained for land to break to the plow, to buy and to 
sell. They had an exclusive conception of the Almighty. Whatever 
the first frontier had in the form of stable settlement [people seemed 

1 Dorothy Zryd, Prize Essays — Local History Contest, 1920-21, Bulletin No. 15. 

20 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

to be implied] came to it slowly. But the settlement of inner Mich- 
igan came with the rush of a spring flood. It altered the face of all 
Michigan just as in our own day we behold a new factory alter the 
appearance of a cornfield. In less than two decades it well nigh 
buried out of sight the signs the French and English had left of their 
occupancy. 2 

The existence of Indians in this territory brought many 
difficulties between them and the early settlers. New re- 
lations had to be established. Many stories could be told 
of the conflicts that occurred. The relations existing be- 
tween the various tribes that inhabited Michigan in early 
days were hostile. One tribe hated the other and they were 
engaged in war most of the time. The usual method of 
disposing of captives was by burning them at the stake, 
amid wild festivities. This is also a noticeable fact with 
pioneers. A story is told of how a young girl was captured 
by the Chippewas and was tied to a post, where she was 
tortured cruelly. The squaws pricked her with arrows 
while grinning braves looked on and shot an occasional 
arrow into the post an inch or two from her head. Death 
came when a huge fire was built around her, burning her 
to death. Such inhuman deeds were common. This cruelty 
created a hatred between the Indians and the early white 
settlers, and many horrible battles ensued. In battle the 
red man excels in strength and cunning. In many respects 
the true Indian is active and noble. The most of the Mich- 
igan Indians, the remains of the Chippewas, Ottawas, Pot- 
towatomies and Saginaws, are living at the Michigan Indian 
Territory Reserve. In one source they are termed the 
Northern Algonquins. The Pottowatomies were driven from 
southern Michigan to Kansas and the Indian Territory, 
where they are now civilized citizens. The Ottawas were 
driven from northern Michigan from place to place by 

- Calvin Goodrich, The First Michigan Frontier, University of Michigan 
Press, 1940, Ann Arbor. Pages 6, 7. 

A Brief History of the State 21 

other tribes and, now reduced to a remnant, are settled 
upon reservations in the same region they knew of old. 

Although the Indian has nearly passed from the lake 
region, he has left some things to remind us of him. Many 
of our familiar names of Michigan places are of Indian 
origin, such as these words and their meanings: Michili- 
mackinac, island of the great turtle; Cheboygan, great pipe; 
Owosso, he is afar; Petoskey, the rising sun; Otsego, place 
where meetings are held; Escanaba, flat rock; Munsing, at 
the little island; Ishpeming, high up; Negaunee, he goes be- 
fore, or the pioneer; and Calumet, the peace pipe. Pontiac 
was named after the great chief of the Ottawas, who at- 
tacked Detroit in 1763. Today seme of our great cities are 
located on the sites of old Indian villages and have taken 
their names. :; 

The Frenchmen were attracted to the region of the Great 
Lakes because of the fishing possibilities. While the early 
Frenchmen were more interested in fishing than trading 
with the Indians, they soon set up trading centers. This 
also developed into much exploring of the new land. Per- 
haps as early as 1508 French fishermen were fishing off Cape 
Breton Island. In 1534 Jacques Cartier reached the St. 
Lawrence River and made many discoveries. Later he re- 
turned to an Indian village now Quebec, Canada, and from 
there new contacts were made along the St. Lawrence River. 
This led to the settlement of Quebec by another French 
explorer, Samuel Champlain, in 1608. Champlain was suc- 
cessful in winning the friendship of a few Indians, which 
proved to be an important factor in getting a foothold on 
the new Michigan land. Dr. Lewis writes as follows: 

Little did Champlain, or anyone in the war party, guess how really 
important the actions of that little band would be on later Amer- 

:i Ferris E. Lewis, My State and Its Story, Hillsdale School Supply Co., 
Hillsdale, 1937. Page 17. 

22 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

ican history. As for Michigan much of her early history depended 
on the success or failure of Champlain and his newly made Indian 
friends. 4 

Another young Frenchman named Etienne Brule had a 
large part in making valuable discoveries in Michigan about 
1610. He passed through the Sault Ste. Marie waterway 
accompanied by a party of Indians. On this trip he dis- 
covered copper in what is now known as the copper region. 

French posts were soon established along the shores. 
The French government offered inducements for people of 
France to settle in this new American country, which they 
called New France. Some came and began to settle on 
small farms. So we find that the French atmosphere pre- 
vailed until the time of the Americanization of the terri- 
tory. This was pointed out by Dr. Grant in his book, The 
Conquest of a Continent. 

Michigan, owing to its proximity to Canada, and the importance of 
Detroit as a headquarters, had a distinct French atmosphere in its 
early days. Unlike those in some of the more distant settlements, 
the French inhabitants at Detroit did not intermarry frequently 
with the Indians, and they represent therefore a relatively pure 
French Canadian stock. American immigration was slow, and not 
until 1805 did the inhabitants become numerous enough to warrant 
a separate territory. As late as the beginning of the war of 1812 
four-fifths of the 5,000 people in Michigan were French. In 1817 
the first steamboat appeared on the waters of Lake Erie and the 
Erie canal was begun, and from that time the Americanization of 
the territory was rapid. 5 

The country soon passed from the hands of the French 
to the English. Rivalry between French and English over 
trade difficulties led to serious conflict and France lost con- 
trol. English traders won the Indians over to their side. 
In 1755 young George Washington fired a shot in the wil- 
derness which brought about a new situation. 

*Ibid. Page 21. 

5 Madison Grant. The Conquest of a Continent, Charles Scribner's Sons, 
New York, 1934. Page 162 ff. 

A Brief History of the State 23 

It must be noted then that in the fate of war the country 
changed hands. However, the temper of its people did not 
change. To the northern Indians the French were allies 
of long standing, but greater than any affection was their 
hatred of the English. Pontiac then made one more des- 
perate effort to gain back the lost country, but in August 
1765 he sent his "pipe of peace" to Sir William Johnson, 
saying, "That he may know I have made peace and taken 
the King of England for my father." 

For a number of years Britain ruled over Michigan with 
an iron hand. After that, it became an American territory. 
This was in the year 1805. And from the close of the War 
of 1812 to 1837 Michigan was governed as part of the North- 
west Territory. 

Why Michigan was first entered by the French and then 
later by the English settlers is perhaps still a question. Why 
it was not occupied by New York men at an earlier period 
is at first not easy to understand. Perhaps the adverse re- 
ports of surveyors who visited the interior of the state, the 
partial geographical isolation, and the unprogressive char- 
acter of the French settlers account for the tardy occupa- 
tion of the area by the English. The time came when swarms 
of settlers began to enter the state. Great Britain main- 
tained the dominant position until after the War of 1812, 
and the real center of authority was in Canada. 

The settlers of Michigan then came mostly from the New 
England states through New York. They came not in a 
collected army but singly, by twos and by threes. Neverthe- 
less, they penetrated the woods and took possession of the 
treasures which Michigan gladly yielded to the daring ad- 
venturers. They brought with them intelligence, educa- 
tion and Christianity. The moral element was the domi- 

e Frederick Jackson Turner, The Frontier in American History, Henry 
Holt & Co., New York, 1937. Pages 226, 227. 

24 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

nating characteristic of their lives and in a great measure 
controlled their actions. 

Their patient hands, which transformed settlements into 
cities and towns, are not without reward, for their spirit 
of industriousness and prayerfulness has left an impression 
upon thousands of homes. They brought with them the 
love of law and liberty. They were strong in their gentle- 
ness, wise in their simplicity, and practical in their enthusi- 
asm. We are all pioneers in a sense, and since we have bet- 
ter opportunities than those of olden times our work should 
bring forth more fruit. 

2. Development and Resources 

The rapidly moving westward frontier had now reached 
Michigan and great developments soon began to take place. 
These developments have had a tremendous impact even 
to this present time. Religious movements began to func- 
tion. Educational systems were started. A territorial 
form of government was established which proved effective. 
Counties began to be organized, and finally the state bound- 
ary was fixed. 

After the digging of the Erie Canal, settlement began 
to turn into Michigan very rapidly. This fact resulted in 
many new enterprises. Between 1830 and 1840 the popu- 
lation of the state leaped from 31,000 to 212,000, in the face 
o: the fact that the heavy debt of the state and the crisis 
of 1837 turned from her borders many of the thrifty, debt- 
hating Germans. While we have seen that the vast ma- 
jority of the settlers were New Yorkers, and that Michi- 
gan is distinctively a child of the Empire State, yet the 
Germans now outnumber any other single foreign ele- 
ment. Doctor Turner says, "The lower peninsula of Mich- 
igan is the daughter of New York and over twelve per- 
cent of Michigan's present population were born in that 

A Brief History oj the State 25 

state, and her traits are those of the parent state. Over one 
half of the population is of foreign parentage, of which 
Canada and England together have furnished one half, 
while the Germans outnumber any other single foreign 
element." 7 This may be a factor in the rapid progress 
which characterized the development all over the state. 

In 1836 when the state constitution was adopted the 
population was nearly 100,000, mainly from New England 
and its extension in western New York. These were the 
people who discovered the enormous possibilities of this 

Grant says, "Many of the New England farmers who had 
bought farms from the great land companies in western 
New York found themselves unable or unwilling to com- 
plete their payments and sold their equities for enough to 
buy government land in Michigan and move their families, 
while from the rocky hills of Vermont a steady stream came 
without any intervening stop. By this time many of the 
French Canadians had moved out, and of eighty-nine names 
signed to the Constitution of 1835, not more than three can 
be identified as French." 8 

A group not found elsewhere was the Dutch, who came, 
like some of the early settlers, seeking religious tolerance 
and freedom. The town of Holland has been a center for 
them since 1847. These Dutch settlers chose this beauti- 
ful site and built up a cultured and industrious community. 

The northern peninsula of Michigan is cut off from the 
southern physically, industrially, and in the history of set- 
tlement. It would seem that her natural destiny was 
with Wisconsin or some possible new state embracing the 
iron and copper, forest and shipping areas of Michigan on 
Lake Superior. 

i Ibid. Page 227. 

H Op. cit. Pages 162-164, 

26 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The state has undergone a steady industrial development 
exploiting her northern mines and forests, developing her 
lumber interests with Saginaw as the first center, raising 
fruits along the lake shore counties, and producing grain in 
the trough of counties running from Saginaw Bay to the 
south of Lake Michigan. Her state university, founded in 
1817 at Detroit and moved to Ann Arbor in 1837, has been 
her particular glory, furnishing the first educational contri- 
bution of the Northwest to the nation. Today it is counted 
one of the foremost universities in the country with an 
average enrollment of about twelve thousand. 

The government of Michigan was founded upon sound 
principles. Doctor Riddell voiced his opinion of government 
and law in a statement given in the introductory chapter 
of his book, Michigan Under British Rule. 

I am glad to offer to the people of Michigan, feeling and knowing 
that despite the rules of International Law, despite the difference in 
allegiance, we are one people in all that is really worth while, and 
that the story of British Law and courts in Michigan does not in 
essence differ from that of American Courts but that both show 
forth the passion of the English speaking peoples for government 
and law and not by force, by righteousness and justice and not by 
the might of the stronger hand. 9 

The resources of Michigan have been adequate not only 
to the expense of government, but have been applied also to 
the construction of public parks and works. 

The wilderness has given place to cultivated fields, and 
industrial centers have arisen where but a few years pre- 
vious the lofty oak displayed its foliage. Colleges and other 
institutions of instruction have been founded and endowed. 
Places the most remote have been brought into close prox- 
imity by extensive lines of railroads, highways, and steam- 
ship routes. 

9 William Renwick Riddell, Michigan Under British Rule— 1760-1796, Mich- 
igan Historical Commercial, Lansing, 1926. 

A Brief History of the State 27 

From early stagecoach days the state has reached a high 
degree of development of modern highways and transporta- 
tion. The fine state and national highways and the excellent 
county and township road system permit one to reach 
any section. National bus lines enter Michigan from every 
direction, enabling one to reach his destination through con- 
nection with local bus lines. One can go to his local rail- 
road station or ticket office and find he can reach every 
city of importance direct by train. Steamship lines offer 
service from the east up through the lakes — through the 
Straits of Mackinac and touching at West Michigan ports. 
Car ferries and other steamship service operate from the 
west across Lake Michigan. The same efficient steamship 
system is found between Detroit, Buffalo, New York, and 
Cleveland, Ohio. Then, too, Michigan is on the national 
air routes. Connection points are between Chicago and 
Grand Rapids; Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon 
and Milwaukee; Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Traverse City and 
Sault Ste. Marie. 

Michigan, as we have noted, is cut into two separate parts 
by the Straits of Mackinac — divided roughly into wilderness 
Michigan in the upper peninsula and industrial and agri- 
cultural Michigan in the lower peninsula. A summarized 
statement will indicate the great resources of the state. 
Automobile plants are at Detroit and other cities. Large 
furniture factories are at Grand Rapids. The nation's lead- 
ing paper factories are at Kalamazoo. The great iron 
works and certified seed potato fields are in Antrim County. 
There are 40,000 acres of orchards found in Berrien County. 
The world's largest open-air fruit market is at Benton Har- 
bor. Manistee County is famous for its lumber and salt 
market — over 10,000 barrels of salt are produced each day 
here and it is the home of Morton Salt Works, the largest 
in the world. Mecosta County has the first natural gas 

28 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

field. The largest makers of horsehide work gloves in the 
country are at Greenville, Montcalm County. A great manu- 
facturing and tourist center is found at Muskegon. Little 
Switzerland is the name given to Newaygo County, noted 
for its winter sports. Battle Creek is famous for Kellogg 
and Post cereal products and the Battle Creek Sanitarium. 
Holland is known for its tulip time in May — over 5,000,000 
tulips in bloom at one time. Paw Paw in Van Buren County 
glorifies the grape. And thus we could continue the story 
of many more historic and important places all over the 

In the upper peninsula we find a wilderness with forests 
and streams, familiar only to loggers, trappers and the va- 
cationists who like to "rough it" in the north woods. 

So you see that Pere de la Mothe Cadillac found a land 
greatly favored when he brought his little party of French- 
men through Lake Ontario to land on the shores of Lake 
Erie at a point where Detroit now is situated. In 1701 
Cadillac wrote in his journal, "The streams and banks are 
so many vast meadows — the meadows fringed with fruit 
trees that droop under the multitude of their fruit. The 
ring-necked pheasant, the quail, the partridge and wood- 
cock swarm the woods and cover the open country. The 
climate is temperate — the air very pure. Fish leap in 
sparkling waters. During the day is a gentle wind and 
at night the placid sky causes us to enjoy a benign and 
tranquil sleep." That is Cadillac's description of Michigan 
— 1701 version. 

Today in the 1940's, more than two and a quarter cen- 
turies later, no writer could give a more impressive pic- 
ture. Flocks of ring-necked pheasants still flourish. There 
is still good fishing in Michigan's lakes and streams. Where 
the Indian's birch canoe once was paddled, huge freighters 

A Brief History of the State 29 

and mahogany yachts now steam along. At the same places 
where the red man fished and hunted for food the white 
man fishes and hunts for sport. Where wild fruit trees 
were plentiful, carefully cultivated orchards now supply 
fruit for the tables of all America. Green fields once carpet- 
ed with wild flowers now are farmed intensively for grain 
and fresh vegetables. Near the shores of Lake Erie, where 
Cadillac landed, stands the important city of Detroit — "per- 
haps the world's most modern metropolis." 

3. Religious Movements and Denominational Work 

The beginning of missionary work and the denomina- 
tional development in Michigan make a thrilling story. 

Pere Marquette, who was born in France in 1637, entered 
the state through Canada and erected the first church in 
Michigan. He was a young and well-trained Jesuit priest. 
The Indians welcomed him, and he established many mis- 
sions along the border. 

Illinois Indians visited one of his missions and told won- 
derful stories of a great river that flowed southward, and 
also of great lands; these stories created a desire in Mar- 
quette's heart to find out more about the country. He made 
the journey southward, founding missions in Illinois on 
the way and making great discoveries. His health failed 
and he soon returned to Ludington, where he died May 18, 
1675. He was buried at St. Ignace. It is now being planned 
to have a great stainless steel cross erected above the death 
site of that great missionary, suitably floodlighted so that 
it can be seen for many miles in every direction. 

Missions were founded by the Jesuits on the northern and southern 
borders of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Raymbault and 
Jogues visited the Sault de Ste. Marie in 1641, but do not seem to 
have any establishment, having returned to their mission at Pene- 
tanguishine the same year. ... In October 1665, Father Allonex 
established the Mission of Chegoimegon, or La Pointe, which had 

30 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

been the destination of Mesnard. The Mission at the Sault Ste. 
Marie was founded by Marquette in 1668. 10 

The missions at the Sault Sainte Marie and Michilimack- 
inac are regarded as the first completely ascertained set- 
tlements within the present State of Michigan. Both places 
had much influence upon the spread of religious principles 
in surrounding territories. 

In 1798 Father Gabriel Richard, a priest of the Order of 
St. Suplice, first came as a resident pastor of the Catholic 
church of St. Anne, Detroit. 

Speaking of religious tendencies among settlers, we quote 
from Cooley: 

Though there were many excellent and sincerely religious persons 
among them, religion had not been a motive with them in coming 
into the wilderness. They had come to better their temporal con- 
ditions, and the hardships and privations of every sort which are 
incident to life in the woods they had expected to submit to cheer- 
fully. The Canadian French had their priests and maintained regu- 
lar church services, but as to the main part of the population Mich- 
igan might be regarded as missionary ground. Many devoted Chris- 
tians were for years without opportunity to attend church services; 
and some so greatly longed for the society of their brethren in Chris- 
tian Communion that they would go a day's journey, or even far- 
ther, to attend a meeting. The several denominations sent mis- 
sionaries hither who came expecting to undergo great hardships 
and submit to many privations, and none were disappointed in that 
regard. The Methodists were commonly first in gathering congre- 
gations in new settlements, and the circuit rider was often a char- 
acter of note; rough and unlettered and ready to boast, perhaps, that 
the Lord had been his teacher from the Bible, and not the school- 
master with fooling grammar. But such men were often sincere and 
earnest, and being all things to all men, gathered considerable 
churches and laid the foundation upon which others more compe- 
tent afterward built. This was the day of camp-meetings and re- 
vivals, and strange scenes were sometimes witnessed when people 
had the power and fell to the ground helpless. 11 

10 James Campbell, Outlines of Political History of Michigan, Scholer & Co., 
Detroit, 1876. Pages 11-14. 

11 Thomas Mclntyre Cooley, Michigan : A History of Government, Houghton, 
Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1885. Pages 245, 246. 

A Brief History of the State 31 

The first permanent Protestant church in the territory 
was organized at Detroit in 1818 and called the First Prot- 
estant Society. Its membership was made up of persons 
belonging to several bodies of Christians, and it was not 
denominational in its form, so that ministers of various 
opinions officiated at different periods. Mr. Monteith was 
the first settled pastor. Before that time there had been 
occasional services of different churches, and the society 
which finally became incorporated had been informally or- 
ganized in 1816. Methodist clergy had visited Detroit ear- 
lier, and perhaps some others, but no societies had been 
formed. Episcopal services had been held by lay-reading, at 
which Dr. William McDowell Scott generally officiated as 
reader; and the Rev. Richard Pollard of Sandwich, very 
soon after the American possession, performed such clerical 
rites as baptisms, marriages, and burials among the mem- 
bers of the Episcopal church and others who desired his 
services. In 1822 the Methodist church became incorpo- 
rated. In 1824 St. Paul's Episcopal church was organized. 
Other churches followed. The First Protestant Society be- 
came a Presbyterian church and is still existing as such. 

In his latest book, Religion on the American Frontier, 
Doctor Sweet records much valuable information about the 
progress of religious activities. He states that Presbyterian 
missionaries were sent to Michigan in 1804. Also that a 
Board of Trust in a meeting at Pittsburgh on January 15, 
1822, deemed it wise not to establish a mission among the 
Ottawa Indians then but to do so as early as convenient. 

The beginnings of Presbyterianism in Michigan date from the com- 
ing of John Monteith to Detroit in 1816 commissioned by the As- 
sembly's Board of Missions. With Detroit as a center Monteith 
made frequent missionary excursions, visiting numerous neighbor- 
ing settlements. For several years following 1818 the Assembly's 
Board sent out other missionaries for longer or shorter periods, and 
Other Boards, the United Domestic Missionary Society, the United 

32 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Foreign Missionary Society and the Western Missionary Society of 
Pittsburgh, also sent workers into the territory both to labor among 
settlers in the military posts and with the Indian tribes. The well 
known Indian agent Henry R. Schoolcraft gave encouragement to 
the work of the Missionaries. In 1827 the Synod of the Western Re- 
serve authorized the formation of the Presbytery of Detroit consist- 
ing of five Churches. In 1833 two new presbyteries were formed, 
the St. Joseph's and the Monroe, which three years later (1836) had 
thirty-two ministers and fifty-nine Churches. 12 

In Michigan many churches which began as Congrega- 
tional became Presbyterian later. This condition resulted 
from a "Plan of Union" worked out for churches north of 
the Ohio River. The Plan of Union churches had not proved 
a success. The Congregational background was influenced 
by the prevailing theological current of New England and 
could not adjust to the rigid Scotch-Irish background with 
the Calvinistic theology of the Presbyterians. These two 
divergent elements finally brought a schism in 1837-38. 

As was mentioned before, the opening of the Erie Canal 
in 1825 greatly facilitated New York immigration into 
Michigan. Here then we have the beginning of Congre- 
gationalism. Doctor Sweet says: 

The first of the Congregational ministers to arrive in Michigan was 
Isaac W. Ruggles, who came from a pastorate of the South Bain- 
bridge Church, one of the New York State Churches which had re- 
fused to enter the Presbyterian fold. He arrived in Michigan ter- 
ritory in 1824. Ruggles' staunch Congregationalism and the fact 
that he had the field largely to himself gave the Congregationalists 
a start in Michigan which they enjoyed in few other places. Rug- 
gles settled in Pontiac, where a Presbyterian Church had been 
formed the previous year, but through him Congregationalism be- 
gan to blossom in the surrounding territory, to the dismay of the 
agents of the Missionary Society of Detroit, who were committed to 
the formation of Presbyterian Churches in the west. l:i 

The preacher was zealous in his work, and by 1833 eight 
Congregational churches had been started and were under 

12 William Warren Sweet, Religion on the American Frontier, University of 
Chicago, Chicago, 1939. Volume II, page 48. 
1S Ibid. Volume III, page 29. 

A Brief History of the State 33 

his care. The controversy which broke out between the 
Congregational and the Presbyterian Church caused much 
trouble. Funds were withdrawn from missionary work. 
The work waned and the activities failed for lack of sup- 
port from the New England brethren. 

Since the great majority of the early Congregational 
churches in Michigan were made up of people of New Eng- 
land origin, the worship was patterned accordingly. The 
majority having come by way of New York brought last- 
ing elements in their church life. Two churches located at 
Vermontville and Armada were made up of people who 
migrated as a colony directly from New England. 

During these same years there were many churches of 
other denominations being formed. The Baptist Church 
especially was getting started through their revival or pro- 
tracted meetings. The Episcopalian Church came to the 
front, but without any revival effort. In southern Michigan 
the Quakers carried on. They won their way into public 
affairs through their integrity and thriftiness. They were 
the first to cry out against slavery, and the slave was always 
protected by the Friend. In 1847 a party of Hollanders, 
coming from their native land for greater religious liberty, 
under the leadership of Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte of the 
Dutch Reformed Church, founded the village of Holland 
and also Hope College; they were followed from year to 
year by many others who also settled in the same part of 
the state, where they had schools and publications in their 
native language and established many churches. They 
were sufficiently numerous to give a distinctive character 
to the population of many localities in that section of the 
state. But it was a good character and the people were not 
incongruous with the existing population of the state. 
A colony of Mormons led by James J. Strong settled in 
the state but many were lost to the Lutheran Church. 

34 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Michigan is ranked as the fourth state in regard to the 
number of denominations within its borders. That is, 
Illinois leads with ninety-eight, Ohio is second with ninety- 
six, Pennsylvania is third with ninety-five, and then follows 
Michigan with eighty-eight. The Methodist Church is the 
largest denomination in Michigan. The distribution of 
some of the denominations is significant. Of five prominent 
denominations in the state, the figures show that the Dis- 
ciples of Christ has 12,740; the Protestant Episcopal 33,409; 
the Congregational Christian 35,597; the Lutheran about 
116,000; and the Methodist Episcopal 144,094. 14 

From 1880 on, cities began to grow rapidly, changing 
the situation from that of a rural to a city church movement. 
Doctor Sweet says, "So great was the movement of popula- 
tion from the countryside to cities in such states as Iowa, 
Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan that many rural dis- 
tricts were dangerously depleted." This we know to be true 
in the northern part of Michigan. Large farms were aban- 
doned when this rush to the cities occurred about twenty- 
five years ago. 

Such a marvelous state then demands a stronger Church 
of the Brethren. She must rise to meet the great changes 
that have taken place within her borders. These and forth- 
coming changes require a change of emphasis on the part of 
our church. It seems to be a rich opportunity to fill an ear- 
nest ministry of Christian teaching by serving both rural and 
city life in this age. Michigan will continue to be a fertile 
field for the younger leadership of the church to launch a 
progressive and sound program for the kingdom. May we 
actively fill our place of responsibility. 

"Archer B. Bass, Protestantism in the United States, Thomas Y. Crowell 
Co., New York, 1929- Pages 122 and 123. 

Chapter II 


There are traces of Brethren people who moved into 
the District of Michigan about the middle of the nineteenth 
century. The movement was not in large numbers or rapid 
because there were numerous hazards to overcome. People 
from other parts of the brotherhood were reluctant to leave 
their homes and adventure into a state about which they 
knew very little. In spite of the boasts made by those who 
had made the venture, their friends were still inclined to 
wait and see the outcome. Despite the fact that all over 
the brotherhood many were seeking new locations, the 
movement to Michigan was rather slow. Dr. John Flory 
tells us in his book, Flashlights from History, that this 
period witnessed many migrations of people from the 
East. These were moving westward into new territory. 
Undirected development occurred about the middle of the 
nineteenth century and our people were migrating to vari- 
ous parts of the country. He states further: "During these 
years the Brethren Church had spread from the Delaware 
River to the Rocky Mountains and from Michigan and 
Iowa to Texas. It was a period of struggle, subduing wild 
nature, establishing homes and churches." 1 

These early settlers of our people located mostly in the 
central part of the state. The land could be purchased 
for from nine to fifteen dollars per acre. It was a country 
thickly covered with timber, and the trails were hard and 
uncertain. It required much hard work to clear the ground. 
Even today the pine stump fences indicate the tremendous 
work that it took to get the land ready for farming. One 

1 John S. Flory, Flashlights from History, Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, 
Illinois, 1932. Page 69. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

sees a marvelous sight when he drives through certain 
parts of the state and views scores of these fence rows. 
The settlers had, to a large extent, chosen a favorable part 
for rural life, with which they were chiefly concerned. They 
were farmers and naturally were in a position to prosper in 
the field of agriculture. It was not very long until home- 
steads were taken up which became their own property, 
and the brethren and sisters were becoming a part of the 


new country. As migration continued, here and there would 
be formed a nucleus of members who were soon eager to 
hear the Word preached. 

On the records of the churches there are revealed many- 
familiar family names. The records of the Elsie church in 
Clinton County show such family names as Baker and Al- 
baugh. These were among the very first Brethren to come 
into the state and settle permanently. These and several 

Movements of Early Brethren Settlers 37 

other families met and held their services in one another's 
homes. However, there are traces of a few scattered fami- 
lies at other places. 

A descriptive account of a journey to Michigan was given 
in the Gospel Visitor by Elder John Wise of Pennsylvania. 

I left home on the 28th of October, 1863, on a tour or mission to the 
State of Michigan, in order to visit the few brethren that we knew 
resident in the State. Accompanied by br. William A. Murry of 
Green Co., Pa., we met with brethren in the Black River district, 
Medina Co., O., and enjoyed a pleasant communion season with 
them, on the night of the first day of November. We held some 
interesting meetings with the brethren at Black River. And, on 
the morning of the 3rd of November, accompanied by br. Samuel 
Garver of Black River church, we set out for the State of Michigan 
in a carriage. 

In the evening of the 9th of November we arrived at Greenbush, 
Clinton Co., Mich., where we found five members, two brethren and 
three sisters. They were well in body, but I thought, owing to a 
scarcity of pure spiritual food, they appeared rather unhealthy in 
spirit. They told us they had no preaching (by the brethren) for 
three years and five months. Only one month less than the time of 
dearth in the days of Elijah the prophet. We remained seven days, 
laboring to feed them with the word and bread of life. 

On the morning of the 16th we took leave of the brethren and sisters 
and friends present, (many weeping because we had to part), and 
passed on to Oceana county, Michigan. We arrived at br. David 
Garver's (who removed from Medina county, O.,) on the evening 
of the 20th, and were received with a hearty welcome by the broth- 
er and sister, who, with young brother T. Wisler, are all the mem- 
bers of the church in Oceana. 

We tarried with them four days, attending four appointments; and 
then on the morning of the 25th we bade them farewell, commend- 
ing all to the care of God, and departed for home, having traveled 
over 400 miles in a carriage. Br. David kindly accompanied us 25 
miles in a carriage, (which was taken for his use), and on the morn- 
ing of the 26th we parted, he returned to his home, and we started 
on foot for Muskegon, a distance of 12 miles. After some detention 
at Muskegon we took Stage for Ferrysburg, distance 14 miles. This 
village is situated on the Detroit and Milwaukee R. R. The next 
morning we got aboard the Express train, and in the evening ar- 
rived fn Detroit. At Detroit we got aboard the steamer "May 
Flower," and at 6V 2 A. M. of the 28th we landed at Cleveland all 

38 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

safe, passing 120 miles across Lake Erie in the night. We then took 
the cars for- Grafton Station. Then the stage to Litchfield, Medina 
County, Ohio, and then walked to br. S. Garver's, where we arrived 
about 4 P. M., and found his kind family all well; and felt thankful 
to God for his preserving care. 

We met to worship with the brethren of Black River at the house 
of br. Jos. Rittenhouse, and we had a pleasant time at the meetings 
in Black River. On the morning of the 30th br. Murry and I were 
brought to Wayne Co., O., by brethren Jos. Rittenhouse and George 
Fisher, and were entertained by br. George Irwin. The next morn- 
ing we were taken in br. Irwin's carriage to Wooster, where we got 
aboard the Express train for Pittsburg. At Alliance br. Murry 
stopped off to go via Wheeling. I passed on to Pittsburg where I 
arrived in the evening. There getting aboard the steamer Franklin, 
I arrived in Brownsville the next morning. There getting into the 
hack I passed homeward, where I arrived about 3 P. M. of the 3rd 
of December, after an absence of five weeks. I found my family 
well, and thank God for his preserving care. We are all well at 
present. Blessed be God evermore. Amen. 
Hillsboro, Pa., Dec. 13, 18632 John Wise 

Thus it is evident that the Brethren were beginning to lo- 
cate at different parts of the state. But it is observed that 
the most families were now settling in Eaton, Barry, and 
Ionia counties, where the Woodland and Thornapple church- 
es were soon to be organized. Some of the members to lo- 
cate here the earliest were George and Jacob Kepner and 
their wives, Henry Hulliberger and wife, Elder George Long 
and wife, and some of their daughters. 

The settlers who organized the Woodland church moved 
into that community before 1870. These people had come 
from Ohio. On the list of the charter members appear the 
names of early residents of Woodland Township: Isaac 
Smith, Isaac Miller, Moses Warner, Daniel Williams, Sam- 
uel M. Smith and others. 

Prior to 1883, the time of the unhappy division of the 
Brethren into three parts, I. F. Rairigh and wife, S. M. 
Smith and wife, D. A. Mote and wife and their three sons, 

2 Gospel Visitor, January, 1864. Volume XIV, page 29. 

Movements of Early Brethren Settlers 39 

Emanuel, Jonathan and Anderson, and their two daughters, 
Sister Tobias and Sister Hulliberger, J. G. Winey and wife 
and some of their children were in the church. 

William Wolfred and wife, Samuel Speicher and wife, and 
Henry Hahn and wife were among the members prior to 
the erection of the third house of worship in Ionia County. 
This house was built on the corner of S. M. Smith's farm, 
one-half mile south and one and one-half mile east of the 
center of Campbell Township, in the summer of 1870. To- 
day this building is being used by the Old Order Brethren 
for worship. It is conspicuous for its simplicity, especially 
on the inside. One can still see the long table at the front 
of the house with benches on either side for ministers and 
deacons. This is recognized as the customary arrangement 
of fifty years ago. A short distance from this same church 
was built a Progressive Brethren church house. Services 
are held at both of these churches. It would seem that a 
reuniting of these good people might redouble their effec- 
tiveness in the community. 

Among the early ministers in this part of the state were 
Elders George Long, I. F. Rairigh, J. G. Winey, Samuel 
Groff, and S. M. Smith. Darwin M. Wood was chosen to 
the ministry and served about three years. 

We turn now to the movements a little farther north. 
Elder Daniel Chambers and his family, consisting of his 
wife and his three sons, J. W., D. E., and M. M., moved to 
the place which they developed into and called home near 
the present site of the New Haven church. When they 
moved from Bucyrus, Crawford County, Ohio, into Gratiot 
County, Michigan, there were only a few Brethren families 
living in what afterwards became the bounds of the New 
Haven church. 

Through correspondence with the Primitive Christian 
and the Brethren at Work and through private correspond- 

40 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

ence with those who were eager to secure homes in a 
Brethren environment and to be of assistance in establishing 
the Brethren Church, a number of families located in the 
newly developing country farther northward. Among the 
families were Elder John Brillhart, Philip Probst, and James 
Richard of Crawford County, Ohio. The latter were 
deacons. Soon many families began to move into the 
bounds of the little log church called North Star. These 
were David White, Moses Brillhart, George Stone, Jacob 
Kepner, Reuben Yutzey, S. A. Ritter, Jacob Tombaugh, 
Emanuel Bollinger, Fred Kleinhan, Barnhart Shrider, Wil- 
liam Smith, Robert McMillar, George Emerick, Frank Hoff- 
man, William Sower, and H. D. Plott. These formed a stable 
group for the founding of a strong congregation in this part 
of the state. 

In the spring of 1885, Emanuel Bollinger (closely related 
to D. W. Kurtz) and family moved from Portage County, 
Ohio, to Michigan, into the bounds of the New Haven church. 
In the fall of the same year they moved on a farm two miles 
north of Vestaburg. His son, Samuel Bollinger, is now the 
oldest minister in the district. He was a very faithful elder 
and pastor. It was in the home of Samuel Bollinger that 
the Vestaburg church was organized in 1901. 

Sometime late in the fall of 1880, Matthew Holsworth, a 
member of the then-called German Baptist Brethren 
Church, from the West Thornapple congregation of Ionia 
County, moved to Rodney, Mecosta County, with his wife 
and family. They located on an eighty-acre tract of timber- 
land. The country being new, he with his wife, three sons 
and a daughter began to hew out a home for themselves. 
This family was here for about three years without con- 
tact with any of the Brethren. The loneliness of being away 
from the church made him resolve to visit the home church 
at Elmdale and attend the love feast in the fall of 1883. It 

Movements of Early Brethren Settlers 41 

was at his request that ministers began to hold meetings 
for the little group at Rodney and a church was planted 

At the same time there were movements of our people 
in the far north. These people moved into Emmet County, 
near Petoskey, about 1880. A story in the Primitive Chris- 
tian, February 20, 1881, gives light on a family who were 
in grief because of the death of two sons. A visit was 
made by Dennis Weimer and wife from Grant County, West 
Virginia, who first stopped at Petoskey, a short distance 
from their destination. They made the trip to visit his 
brother Samuel. They had heard of the death of Samuel's 
two children, and decided to endeavor to comfort them in 
their sorrow. A meeting was held in Brother Martin Cos- 
ner's house on the Sunday of their visit. There was an ap- 
plicant for baptism. Martin Cosner's name was later found 
in records of the Little Traverse church as being one of 
their ministers. B. F. Lyons of Grant County, West Virginia, 
brother-in-law of Weimer, moved to Michigan a few weeks 
after Weimer returned home. 

So we might continue the story of these adventurous 
pioneers, these members who were instrumental in begin- 
ning our own church in Michigan. It was through their 
careful and courageous undertaking that the churches began 
to grow. The faithful ministers of that day persevered and 
ably preached the Word and shepherded the flock. They 
faithfully visited in the homes of those early Brethren and 
left a kindly word to cheer and strengthen. But there were 
many problems to claim their attention. 

Chapter III 



The period from 1850 to 1900 stands apart from later 
movements. During that era the people were working hard 
to become established. In spite of the tendency to keep 
together for fellowship, there was also a disposition to move 
into new sections until they found places of their choice. 
The records show that several years passed before there 
were enough members at any one place to organize a church. 
Out of this change of location of members, the church began 
to grow and develop into permanent congregations. By 
the end of the century about ten churches had been started 
with a total membership of about five hundred. These were 
all rural. 

The largest growth came during the first quarter of the 
twentieth century. The healthful conditions attracted oth- 
ers from adjoining states: Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Broth- 
er J. Edson Ulery, who moved to Manistee County in 1903, 
writes: "After the lumbering interests were reduced, land 
was very cheap and from 1902 to 1905 hundreds of Brethren 
families moved to Michigan. In a few years a number of 
mission churches were organized and were well manned 
with ministers." 

If we go back to the years prior to 1900 we find that there 
were many problems that affected the progress of the 
church. The congregational territory was large. It was 
difficult to keep in contact with the families, and the min- 
istry to the spiritual needs could not be carried out in a 
very effective manner. 

In 1873 any members living in Ionia, Kent or Ottawa 
counties and adjacent territory north were reckoned as 

Problems Confronting Pioneer Churches 43 

members of the Thornapple congregation. A congregation 
covering such an immense area soon encountered many un- 
usual situations. The writings of the Brethren at this time 
indicate a great many problems arising as they endeavored 
to start churches, often with fewer than a dozen people. 
It is difficult to present these particular problems in con- 
cise statements. However, we can say that the lack of min- 
isterial supervision, the task of erecting church houses with 

RIDGE, 1915. 

Front row, left to right: Jacob E. Fredrick, L. T. Holsinger, 
Samuel Smith, Charles Wilkins, Peter Messner, George 
Stone, John Smith, O. Barnhart; back row: Granville Nev- 
inger, Samuel Bollinger, J. E. Albaugh, J. Edson Ulery, Da- 
vid Sower, J. P. Bowman, Ellis F. Caslow, Samuel Bowser. 

meager funds the securing of which required much effort, 
and the disadvantages in ways and means of travel con- 
stituted the greatest problems. 

The spiritual side of life among the scattered members 
was desperately in need of being nourished. They were 
calling for ministering brethren to come with the preached 
Word. A number of factors entered into the meeting of the 

44 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

need. There were few ministers. Traveling was hard, and 
the expense of making long trips was great. We read from 
a letter written by M. T. Baer on February 16, 1867, for 
the Gospel Visitor, page 93, an interesting account of his 
trip north. He says that he and F. P. Loehr made the trip 
together, traveling two hundred miles by horse and sleigh. 
They visited in Brother White's home in Allegan County 
and held meetings in a schoolhouse. Then they traveled 
forty miles to visit the Michael Hivelys, in Ottawa County. 
From there they journeyed forty miles to Andrew Shopbell's 
home in Ionia County. In this territory they located four- 
teen members living within a radius of six miles. 

On another occasion Elder F. P. Loehr wrote: 

I am the only Elder in the State of Michigan, and the field is large. 
I therefore propose to take the most western tier of counties from 
Van Buren northward for my field of labor. Let the brethren south 
of the second tier or south of St. Joseph County take that tier north- 
ward and so on until the state would be taken up. The reason why 
I propose this is, there are members in nearly every county in the 
state, who, with many of their neighbors, would be benefited by this 
course which under present arrangements will be neglected. May 
the Lord speed his cause through the instrumentality of his 
children. 1 

Mrs. Ella N. Williams wrote as follows: 

There are no members here but my husband and I, and we would 
be very thankful if some ministering brethren would come and 
preach for us. I think there is a good chance of doing some good. 
You should not think that because it is Michigan, it is too cold. . . . 
We have not been to a meeting since we came here. The nearest 
members live about 60 miles from here, but I think there is a chance 
of getting them nearer. I have heard some say that if there was 
preaching here they would come to the Church. The doctrine was 
never preached here until last fall when Brother George Long, from 
Lent [or Kent] County and Brother Jacob Kintner, my father, from 
Sherwood, Defiance, Ohio, were here and preached. Some said they 
never heard such preaching before. So plain and everything seemed 
so clear. Brethren, do not forsake us, but come . . . without delay. 2 

1 Gospel Visitor, 1868. Volume XIX, page 350. 

"Primitive Christian, February 10, 1881, Volume XIX, page 95. Ella N. 
Williams, Mason County, Michigan. 

Problems Confronting Pioneer Churches 45 

Brother C. A. Price of Nashville, Barry County, came on March 19th 
and had three meetings. Brother Price was a stranger to us. He 
preached with power and left a good impression on the minds of 
the people. 3 

Those who were serving in the ministry of the church 
responded to the many calls, but could not reach every place. 
A large part of the time the faraway places had to get along 
the best they could. A brother in the Little Traverse 
church, Emmet County, says: "Our little band is in love 
and union. We have no minister, but two deacons. We 
meet every three or four weeks for worship. We ask an 
interest in the prayers of the Church." 4 

Elder F. P. Loehr reminds us through the pages of the 
Gospel Visitor of the need for more ministerial help: 

On the 9th of October I left home, accompanied by Bro. Elijah 
Showalter, arrived before night at our old Bro. White's in Monterey, 
Allegan County where I spoke to an attentive little congregation 
(that was hastily got together) in the German and English lan- 
guages, and thought it was a pity we can not be here oftener. In 
the morning we started for Bro. D. Woods, at Carrolton Center, 
where we arrived in the evening, the distance being some forty 
miles. The people here requested meetings as soon as they recog- 
nized me. So we spoke to them next evening, it being Sunday, the 
12th. Their satisfaction being expressed, I spoke to them again 
Friday evening following — the house being crowded, yet perfect 
order prevailed from the first to last. Thus we occupied our time 
every evening in the different school-houses, apparently to great 
satisfaction. May the Lord accompany with his power what was 
done in great weakness. Saturday the members met (as many as 
could be informed) in council to prepare the work necessary to be 
done here, and appointed Saturday, October 16th to meet again at 
the house of Bro. H. Gerky in Ionia, to set things in order that are 
wanting to make that little Church more efficient in the arduous 
duties in a frontier settlement of brethren. I think they are the 
most northerly of the brotherhood, yet their hearts seem to glow 
with love and zeal for the cause of the Master. 5 

3 Primitive Christian, April 19, 1881, Volume XIX, page 232. Ella N. Wil- 
liams, Mason County, Michigan. 

4 Primitive Christian and Pilgrim, 1879, article dated December 1, 1878. 
6 Gospel Visitor, 1868-69. Volume XIX, page 351. 

46 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Elder S. S. Mohler of Bradford, Ohio, gives a very vivid 
story of his visit to Michigan. The newsletter, written for 
the Gospel Visitor, was dated November 20, 1868. 

During our stay of nine days, we visited members living in Ionia, 
Barry, and Kent Counties. We held meetings in those several coun- 
ties, and were pleased to find our dear brethren and sisters in ear- 
nest, and anxious for the growth and prosperity of the Church. We 
also had the pleasure of visiting br. Wood at his home. He is a 
speaker, and the only one for a distance of perhaps sixty or seventy 
miles. He seems willing to do all that is in his power to do, to build 
up the brotherhood in his vicinity by holdings regularly every two 
weeks, and frequently every Sabbath. He needs the prayers of the 
Church, and we hope the Lord will be his helper. There are about 
fifty members living in Ionia, Barry, Kent and Eaton Counties, 
which makes it quite burdensome for one speaker to attend to, as 
br. Wood is obliged to do. . . . We cannot give a full account of the 
many acts of kindness done us by all the members we visited, such 
as br. Winey, Moses, Snyder, Crowel, Spindler, I. Smith, and C. 
Smith for which we can only commend them to the Good Shepherd 
and Bishop of our souls who ever careth for His. . . . Upon the 
whole, we would encourage brethren to go and see the country with 
the hope of doing something for themselves and also for the Lord. A 
stronger Christian influence is wanted there. 

The first meeting at Elsie was held on June 20, 1874, by 
Elder George Long of Ionia County and Isaac Miller of 
Barry County. There were twelve members at the love 
feast on the tenth of October the same year. Elsie is lo- 
cated in the corners of Saginaw, Shiawasee, Clinton and 
Gratiot counties. However, the church building is in Clin- 
ton County. We read about a special call for ministers. 
"We would like very much to have brethren come and see 
us, as we are on the frontier borders, and it is not very 
likely for brethren to call on us the same as though we 
lived where brethren were all around us," says Brother 
Zachariah Albaugh, a deacon at the Elsie church at that 
time. He continues, "I have one request to make, and hope 
some brother will answer for the information of a friend 

6 Gospel Visitor, 1868-69. 


Halt A>>w^i', SftM 
/Ctmil j Adpd- . $&!/>■ 
fSiimM Sieke $Sf.f/i, 
/terete &&t£*uJ?.ffttt*' 

f»t p [S't< 

/t^tu<4 J '<3ae $MAt»i % ^Am/its. gi.'o) 


mk- « 

48 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

who is seeking after true religion. He wants some brother 
to write through the Companion and the Visitor on baptism. 
Why we baptize forward? And also explain the sixth chap- 
ter of Romans, third and fourth verse." 7 

This particular problem of supplying ministerial help was 
soon taken up by the district. At the first district meeting, 
held at the Thornapple church May 1, 1874, a paper was 
considered which asked that "ways and means be provided 
for more extensively spreading the Gospel in Michigan." 
It was decided to try to raise fifty cents on each $100.00 
valuation of their property. 

It was the next year, at the district meeting of 1875, that 
a district missionary board of three members (one minister, 
one deacon and one lay member) was chosen by the dele- 
gates, whose duty was to see that the gospel was preached 
where there were favorable openings, and the local church- 
es were requested to raise money and forward it to the 
treasurer at least twice each year. 

The board secured different ministers to hold meetings 
at new points; it was permitted to pay only traveling ex- 
penses. At the close of the first year the board reported 
$43.71 received and $31.20 paid out. 

About the year 1892 it was decided that ministers work- 
ing under the direction of the board for a week or more 
should receive a reasonable compensation for their time, 
the amount to be left to the judgment of the board. 

After a few years it was thought good to elect a district 
evangelist at each district meeting to work under the direc- 
tion of the missionary board. He was to have traveling ex- 
penses paid and $1.00 per day for his time a part of the year, 
and $1.25 per day, exclusive of Sundays, the rest of the 
year for all time spent in the work. 

< Christian Family Companion, 1875. Volume II, page 102. 

Problems Confronting Pioneer Churches 49 

At the district meeting of 1904 a new missionary plan 
was adopted and the number of members on the board 
increased to five. These were authorized to employ one or 
more evangelists a part or all of the time, as prudence might 
dictate and the means in the treasury would allow. 

For several years past, the district meeting has voted an 
appropriation to be raised by the several congregations of 
the district to be used in district missionary work. This 
money may be used in part for renting, buying, or build- 
ing meetinghouses wherever in the judgment of the board 
such aid should be given in city or country. The district 
meeting in 1906 voted $500.00 to be raised during the current 
year by the fifteen local congregations then in the district. 

Then as ministers labored in spreading the gospel there 
arose a need for church buildings. Congregations were in- 
creasing in numbers and the homes and schoolhouses were 
no longer adequate for the meetings. The need for church 
houses increased rapidly during the decade from 1870 to 
1880. Until churches were built, the love feasts were held 
in barns. Often the dedication of a new meetinghouse was 
observed with a big meeting which closed with a love 
feast. Many times this was in an unfinished building. 

At Thornapple the first meetinghouse was begun in 1870 
and so far finished that it was used for worship in the fall 
of that year. (From the notes of the Thornapple church as 
given in the Missionary Visitor, May 1907.) This house 
stands four miles east of the southwest corner of Ionia 
County on the line between Ionia and Barry counties. 

In the year 1878, what is known as the west house was 
built near the northwest corner of Campbell Township, 
Ionia County, about one mile south of Elmdale. It cost 
$850.00. The work was done mostly by the brethren as a 
free donation to the Lord. 

50 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

ilwHtiYiiiliiii . .. i itllM 


In the year 1888 a third church house was built in Camp- 
bell Township, one mile east and two and one-half miles 
south of Clarksville. 

The first house, built in 1870, is still standing and has 
been used by the Old Order Brethren since 1883. The two 
other church houses are each forty by fifty feet in size, 
and are frame buildings. The probable cost would have 
been about $1,500.00 each if all of the material and labor 
had been paid for, but much of this was donated. 

In January 1906 a church house was purchased in the 
village of Lake Odessa. The house and the lot cost $1,000.00. 
The money was in part contributed by members of the 
Woodland congregation and in part by the citizens of Lake 
Odessa. This was a good substantial frame building thirty- 
two by fifty-four feet in size and was formerly used by the 
Methodists. After a few years the meetings here were 
discontinued and the building was then sold to another 

Problems Confronting Pioneer Churches 51 

The Sugar Ridge history reveals that "five of the members 
donated two dollars each to buy the land on which the 
church now stands. The work of clearing the land of trees 
was done by the members. The building committee of the 
mission board donated one hundred dollars and the church- 
es from which the members formerly came gave enough 
more to get the building program well started. Many days 
of hard work by the various members followed, and on 
the evening before the day set for the dedication the shav- 
ings were swept out of the building and another Brethren 
church was ready to be put into the service of the Lord." 

The Brethren did not allow the problem of disagreeable 
weather or bad roads to interfere with their planned meet- 
ings. Especially was this true of those who attended love 
feast occasions. 

From the Sunfield history we glean that when love feasts 
were held in the early churches "members came from other 
congregations as far as fifty to seventy-five miles, taking a 
whole day in travel each way." When we remember that 
even today, with the modern mode of travel in the auto- 
mobile, people are seldom eager to go one half that distance 
to partake of the communion, it should cause us to be 

Speaking of cold weather in Michigan, J. G. Winey in 
his correspondence to the Primitive Christian, January 14, 
1881, writes: "The writer rode thirty-one miles that day in 
a bob sleigh and did not freeze either ears, nose or toes, so 
you see it is not as cold here as it is farther south. Why is 
it? Simply because the waters of Lake Michigan and other 
lakes modify the cold winds." 

David White, who had moved from the Black River 
church, Medina County, Ohio, in May 1879 and had located 
on a rented farm in Gratiot County, wrote in his correspond- 
ence to the Primitive Christian and Pilgrim on July 11, 1879, 

52 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

the following: "We with brother George Stone hitched 
our horses together in a lumber wagon, and went to Eaton 
County to a love feast, held in the barn of brother Fryfogle, 
the elder of the Sunfield Church, and enjoyed a feast of 
Charity indeed." 

Another hint of the tremendous hazards which the pioneer 
ministers had to face is given in an article by Elder George 

I will say first, we as a Church here, are in peace and union for 
which we feel to thank God. Bro. John Brillhart of Crawford Coun- 
ty, Ohio, is here visiting friends, also preaching the Word which is 
an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast. It made the little 
band of brethren here in Gratiot County, to take new courage, as we 
love to have such brethren come among us. I will try to give you 
a short history of a trip I made to hunt up some of our members 
in Montcalm County. Hearing by a Baptist preacher that there 
were Dunkard people living in the north central part of said Coun- 
ty, I set forth with horse and buggy, in company with Bro. H. F. 
Hoffman, in search of the lost sheep, and after driving through mud, 
and over rough roads, until about noon, when we arrived at a place 
and enquired for Dunkards, we found we must turn back and go 
another road. About half-past one we drove up to a log house and 
enquired, when lo, and behold we were there! We found three — 
one brother and two sisters — right in the midst of a thick pine forest, 
where on either side were large trees towering their lofty heads far 
towards heaven. We were received in love and kindness. Their 
hearts were made glad, as they did not know there were any mem- 
bers living here. We tried to comfort and encourage them on their 
way heavenward, and think our trip was not a vain one. I think 
good could be done up here if some of our brethren could come and 
preach oftener. When there are four, five, or perhaps, more, be- 
hind the stand, remember us here with one speaker and a territory 
nearly fifty miles wide, and I don't know how long. Remember us 
in your petitions to God. 8 

The problems which the ministers and the early churches 
had to face in the District of Michigan were made known 
to the entire brotherhood through the church publications 
of that day. While the people were isolated and could not 

8 Primitive Christian and Pilgrim, 1879. Page 286. 

Problems Confronting Pioneer Churches 53 

have preaching very often, they did have the church pub- 
lication coming to their homes to keep them in touch with 
others. The pioneer churches in Michigan did not despair 
over their problems but worked to overcome them. 



Chapter IV 

(Refer to Appendix I) 


The Almena church was one of the first churches in Mich- 
igan. It was situated seven miles northeast of Paw Paw, 
Van Buren County. This is about four and one-half miles 
north of Mattawan on the Michigan Central Railway. At 
the time when the big division occurred, this church decided 
as a whole to affiliate with the Progressive Brethren. Hol- 
singer, in his History of the Tunkers, says: "They simply 
reaffirmed their former vow to take the gospel of Christ 
for their only law in religion and church government, and 
they would remain in the Brethren Church. Hence the 
Almena church was never torn asunder by the Annual 
Meeting rule. It stood loyal to the Master, and will stand 
as a beacon light amidst the darkness that surrounds them, 
ever holding to the teachings of the divine Master, keeping 
the ordinances of the house of God." 1 

It is probable that the Brethren families who located in 
the vicinity of this church influenced others to come to 
Michigan. Presumably this early church functioned well 
during the latter part of the nineteenth century. In 1884 the 
membership totaled about thirty. The property has been 
sold and the building dismantled. 


The Battle Creek Church of the Brethren can be said 
to have begun with the visit of Brother Demarest Early to 
Battle Creek in April 1916 in search of employment. He 

1 H. R. Holsinger, History of the Tunkers and the Brethren Church. Page 

58 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

was a molder by trade and came from North Manchester, 
Indiana. Brother Early found employment for himself and 
for his brother-in-law, Brother Ira Potter, also a resident 
of North Manchester. In July 1916 the two families moved 
their household goods in one chartered car. In the interim, 
April to July, Sister Goldie Early had come to visit her 
husband, who was working and boarding. About two years 
previous to the coming of the Earlys, Brother and Sister 
Fred E. Strohm had already been living at Battle Creek. 
They were in training at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, 
where they graduated from the nurses' course three years 
later. One day Brother Strohm happened to meet Sister 
Early on the street. She was recognized by her bonnet. 
This incident brought the group together for intimate 
Christian fellowship. In nurses' training at the sanitarium 
were Brother and Sister David P. Schechter, who were 
friends of the Strohms. Both families had come from the 
West. They had both spent some time at Bethany Bible 
School, Chicago. These people, desiring to promote Breth- 
ren ideals, started a Sunday school and conducted prayer 

The first service in Battle Creek was undoubtedly an eve- 
ning or two after Sister Early and Brother Strohm had met. 
It was a prayer meeting held in the Strohms' room at the 
sanitarium. The Strohms also knew another member in 
the city, Mrs. Emma Gardner, who had come from the now- 
extinct Black River church. At this prayer meeting seven 
were present. As far as could be ascertained there were 
nine members in the city at this time. 

In October 1916, Floyd and Maurine Kilpatrick moved 
from Woodland, Michigan. Sister Maurine was a member 
of the Woodland church. Floyd attended the Sunday school, 
and in 1919 he was baptized. He was the first one to be 
converted as a direct result of the work. He was taken 

History of Congregations 59 

forty miles to the Woodland church and baptized by Elder 
John Smith. A visitation program was directed by Sister 
Early and Sister Kilpatrick. They canvassed the Springfield 
Place neighborhood, where the members' families lived. 
Sunday school was held in the Early home. The first super- 
intendent was Brother David P. Schechter. For four months 
it was a local volunteer effort and then it asked to be taken 
under the supervision of the nearest Church of the Brethren, 
which was Woodland. It is a matter of vivid memory on 
the part of several who were present at the first Sunday- 
school session that there were thirty-two in attendance. 
After the first Sunday the attendance increased rapidly. 
The number soon reached about sixty, where it continued, 
taxing the capacity of the Early home. The first notable 
public program was on Easter, 1917. 

During the summer of 1917 Brother and Sister Peter 
Mullenix were building a dwelling and in the autumn they 
moved into it. They were members from Woodland, the 
parents of Sisters Early and Kilpatrick. 

Both Fred Strohm and David P. Schechter were ministers, 
but as student nurses they had little freedom as to time. 
Consequently preaching was irregular. After Battle Creek 
was taken under the jurisdiction of the Woodland church, 
Brother John Smith made a number of preaching trips. 
For a time he preached on alternate Sunday mornings. 

The year 1918 marked some changes in personnel. Brother 
and Sister H. A. Weller and family came and the Schechters 
left. One meeting served as a welcome for the Wellers and 
a farewell for the Schechters. That was the year Camp 
Custer was being crowded, and several nurses of Brethren 
parentage together with draftees filled the occasional serv- 
ices. In December 1918 one of the much-appreciated fami- 
lies of the church, Brother and Sister Harley Arnett, moved 
from northern Michigan. 

60 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Brother H. A. Weller assumed more or less leadership, 
for he was an elder. In time, services were transferred 
from the Early home to the Springfield Place schoolhouse. 
This was not satisfactory. By advertisement it was dis- 
covered that Brother and Sister Earl Wolfe, members from 
Indiana, were in the city. They had been quietly living here 
for some time. These, too, were a source of strength to 
the group. 

The demand for a satisfactory meeting place led to the 
building of the first church. The group wrote to the dis- 
trict mission board. In the spring of 1920 a meeting was 
held in the home of Mary Arnett. It was here that mem- 
bers, including soldiers and student nurses, pledged $800.00 
toward the building project. The total cost was about 
$2,000.00, which did not include the large amount of volun- 
teer labor. 

A lot was secured at the present site, the corner of Van 
Buren and Lemont streets. Brother Demarest Early and 
Brother C. L. Wilkins of the district mission board staked 
out the church. Elder John Smith was the carpenter hired 
by the board. He was boarded by the Earlys. Brother 
Harley Townsend of Woodland was put in charge of the 
work by the mission board sometime after 1918. 

After the "little white church" was built, Sister Goldie 
Early was employed by the district mission board as mis- 
sion visitor. She received $10.00 a month and worked tire- 
lessly, visiting in the homes. 

The church was dedicated in the autumn of 1920. Brother 
Harley Townsend preached the dedicatory sermon. A week 
of meetings were held with Brother E. F. Caslow as the 
evangelist. At Easter, 1921, Brother Townsend held a meet- 
ing and a number were baptized. In the autumn of 1921 
Sister Early entered Bethany Bible School, Chicago, and at 
the time Brother Russell Weller came as the first full-time 

History of Congregations 



pastor. He continued as pastor from 1921 to 1925. Soon 
after New Year's Day of 1926 John Miller came as pastor 
and remained till the spring of 1927, closing his work under 
a dark cloud. But it was during John Miller's pastorate 
that the present cement basement structure was built. The 
"little white church" was moved to Graves Avenue and 
served as both parsonage and church while the present 
structure was under construction. Brother John Miller 
had been accepted by the district board as a contractor- 
builder and proceeded in a manner that alienated many 
of the people. In March 1927 the basement was dedicated. 
However, the interior was unfinished at the time. Elder 
J. W. Lear preached the dedicatory sermon. 

In September 1927 Brother J. S. Burger became pastor and 
continued one year. He was elderly and retired at the 
close of the year. Brother Harper Snavely succeeded him 
but remained only seven months. 

62 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Brother David P. Schechter had returned about 1922, and 
Brother H. A. Weller was still a resident in the city. In 
addition Brother Morris Weisel, a minister, resided in the 
congregation. In September 1929 D. H. and Martha Keller 
came to take pastoral charge under a three-year contract. 
After September 1932 an interim of fourteen months fol- 
lowed in which the local preachers did the preaching. In 
November 1933 Brother F. E. Mallott came to take pastoral 
charge. Being a member of the faculty of Bethany Biblical 
Seminary, he served on a part-time basis until December 

1942, Conditions during the depression had made a mission 
grant from Elgin necessary. The congregation gradually 
worked itself free from the old incubus of debt and at 
Easter, 1940, celebrated the extinction of the locally held 
portion of the debt. The congregation is now free of all 
indebtedness. A parsonage fund was started in September 

1943, and much has been subscribed to the project. Plans 
are also underway to erect the remainder of the church 
building on the basement foundation. 

The congregation feels that it owes much to the district 
and to the General Mission Board in the struggle to build a 
church of the New Testament pattern in this beautiful 
southern Michigan city — a typical small American industrial 

Brother Walter Fisher, with his family, moved into the 
congregation in the winter of 1938-39. He succeeded Broth- 
er F. E. Mallott by beginning a full-time pastoral program 
in 1943. Brother Fisher was advanced to the eldership by 
the district elders' body and ordained on November 18, 

1944, with Elders Arthur Dodge and Walter Young officiat- 
ing. Brother Fisher served until September 1945. He was 
succeeded by Brother H. V. Townsend, who began pastoral 
duties on February 1, 1946. 

Brother Ted Gandy, while a student at Bethany Bible 

History of Congregations 63 

Training School in Chicago, was licensed to the ministry, 
and later was installed. Brother Herbert A. Fisher, son 
of the former pastor, has been given a ministerial license, 
and is pursuing his training at Manchester College. 

Deacons in the Battle Creek church have included H. A. 
Arnett, Homer Klingman, A. C. Gorham, Everett Dean, 
Earl Wolfe, Ollie Hammond, and Lester Hand. 

All the phases of the brotherhood program receive good 
support from the Battle Creek members. They maintain 
an aggressive program of Christian education for all age 
groups. They have qualified leadership in the field of 
church music. Their women's work and men's work coun- 
cils are very active. All indications point to a stronger 
Church of the Brethren in this city with a radiant spiritual 
force going out from it in the years to come. 


The name appears in the list of congregations at the be- 
ginning of the century. One is impressed greatly with the 
picture of this quaint old church house as it appears in 
the May 1907 issue of the Missionary Visitor. The data 
that could be found is not sufficient to permit writing very 

There is a daughter of Brother Isaac Hufford, of the 
name of Mrs. Margaret Salah, who is still living in the 
vicinity where the church was situated. The author is 
greatly indebted to her for furnishing valuable information. 
She tells us that the church was situated at Clarion, a 
small town eight miles south of Petoskey. 

Isaac Hufford and family settled near Petoskey in the 
spring of 1880. They located at Bear Lake (now Walloon 
Lake) . The G. R. and I. Railroad ended at Petoskey. Clar- 
ion at that time consisted of a small clearing. There were 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

just a few hewn logs beside the track. The post office was 
in a farmhouse. The lumber industry was beginning to 
draw people to this section. Soon a mill, several stores and 
a school were opened. The United Brethren, with the 
help of the people of the community, built a church, which 


was shared by our people for Sunday-school work. In 1894 
the schoolhouse became too small for public school purposes 
and the building was bought for a church. It was in this 
building that Isaac Hufford preached the first sermon heard 
in Clarion. This awakened a new religious interest, and 
the work grew. 

Isaac Hufford, Lewis Margerum and Henry Teegarden 
were the first trustees. Lewis Margerum, Henry Teegarden, 
Joulas Doerr and Samuel Wallace were deacons. 

History of Congregations 65 

The school building was remodeled and was dedicated by 
a series of meetings held by Brother John Smith of Wood- 
land, Michigan. 

The Bear Lake church was once a part of the Little Trav- 
erse church. The distance of twenty-five miles was too 
great to allow the Bear Lake members to meet with that 
church often. 

There was a missionary spirit manifested by the church 
leaders here, for we are told that services were held at 
Wetzel, a place thirty miles away. There was a preaching 
appointment there once a month. It is amazing to note 
that Brother Isaac Hufford walked the distance twice in 
order to fill the appointment. 

This church fulfilled a mission of spiritual service in the 
community for about three decades. Then people moved 
away, others passed on to their eternal reward, and no 
one was left to fill the vacancies left bv these members. 
The Sunday school was closed about 1924, and our church 
activity ceased because of prevailing conditions. It seems 
evident that the church building was sold to another de- 
nomination, and it was recently torn down and removed. 


The history of the Beaverton congregation is the inter- 
esting story of the progress of a typical pioneer church. The 
spirit of achievement which united them all in a common 
purpose in those early years was carried in the church and 
meant progress from the beginning. The first small group 
of Brethren families arrived in 1898, and seven years later 
a church house costing $1,400 was dedicated — no small 
achievement for those who at the same time were meeting 
the inconveniences and heavy expenses incident to resi- 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

device in a new country. Here was a church that was eager 
to advance. 

It had a beginning that assured permanency. Brother 
and Sister Abiathar Ordiway were the first Brethren settlers 


in Gladwin County, coming here in 1884. In 1897, under 
the auspices of the district mission board, Elder Daniel 
Chambers and wife held some meetings in the territory of 
Beaverton, and this was made a mission point. However, 
as new families arrived and the congregation increased, 
the church soon became a working group. It was then 
organized as the Beaverton congregation with a membership 
of seventeen. Elder Chambers was chosen as the elder-in- 
charge. Elder Perry Arnold, the only minister, then lived 
eighteen miles distant. In 1902 Elders John and William 
McKimmy located here. 

The Sunday-school and church services were held in the 
schoolhouse until the church house was completed. The 
first love feast was held in a tent in Brother Enos Crowel's 

History of Congregations 67 

dooryard. On June 4, 1905, the church house was dedicated. 
The first trustees were John A. McKimmy, J. S. Whitmer 
and David B. Mote. 

In looking over the church records we can trace a gradual 
growth in methods and organization. Just as in a home 
it takes years to become established, so each year the 
church took a firmer and deeper hold in the community. 
However, we believe that the spirit of healthy aggression 
which characterized those first years of this congregation 
has never been surpassed. 

Elder Perry Arnold, the presiding elder for many years, 
who is still living, is mentioned among the first in the 
records. During the entire life of the Beaverton congrega- 
tion he has given his service with a true devotion. For 
a period of seventeen years, with the exception of one year, 
1919, when Brother Samuel Bowser was the elder, he had 
the oversight of the congregation. This is an eloquent 
testimony to his ability as a wise leader. Brother Arthur 
Whisler is the present elder-in-charge. The other elders 
of the church have been: Perry McKimmy, elected in 1909; 
William Neff, 1910; William Neff and John McKimmy, 
jointly, 1915. Other ministers who have lived in the con- 
gregation and have given valuable service are Nathan Mc- 
Kimmy, John Killian, and George Killian. All of these are 
now deceased. A. J. Kaufman and Joseph Van Dyke were 
called to the ministry here, and Sister Elma Rau was called 
in 1930. 

The Beaverton Sunday school has always been a strong 
organization. It was early accredited as a Front Line School 
in Gladwin County. In 1913 a separate primary depart- 
ment was organized. The primary superintendents have 
been Olive Miller, Ethel Whitmer, Zepha Hornish, Nellie 
Rupp, Martha Whitmer, Mary McKimmy, Jessie Hoover, 
and Grace Ward. Among the general superintendents were 

68 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

the following: Enos Crowel, David B. Mote, J. S. Whitmer, 
Katie Patterson, A. J. Kaufman, Henry Rau, Jacob Hoover, 
James Rhinehart, Henry Mishler, Hurley McKimmy and 
Andrew Long. Sister Elma Rau rendered efficient service 
as superintendent for a period of many years. In 1931 
the intermediate department was organized under the 
leadership of Sister Jessie Hoover. A fine group of young 
people is in preparation here for capable leadership in the 

The Beaverton church has always been a missionary 
church. Several branch Sunday schools were early or- 
ganized in various places where members resided, and 
preaching services have been held at various points when 
ministers were available. In 1912 a missionary committee 
was appointed; it continued for some years. The members 
of the church made definite subscriptions to the missionary 

We can say with enthusiasm that the sisters' aid society 
has ever been a living factor in the life of the church. A 
report of this faithful band of workers would be interesting 
and not a little surprising to many of our readers. 

The Christian Workers Society had its day of usefulness 
as a spiritual factor, and many regrets attended its dis- 
organization in 1919. About fifteen years ago the B.Y.P.D. 
was organized under the leadership of Sister Ethel Whit- 
mer. Other leaders have been Joseph Van Dyke, Harold 
Hoover, Wilbur Whitmer and Wendell Long. 

In June 1927 Brother Perry Hoover and wife assumed the 
pastorate of the church. They continued to serve until 
1931; then, owing to the depression, the church could no 
longer continue the obligation. Brother Hoover's family 
remained with them until June 1934, when, with many re- 
grets on the part of the church, they left for Indiana. 

History of Congregations 69 

From 1935 to 1937 Brother Arthur L. Warner served as 
the pastor. He left to go to the church at Lynchburg, 

The district, ministerial and Sunday-school meetings 
were held at this church in 1906, 1911, 1916, 1924, 1929 and 
1942. The church building was remodeled to accommodate 
better the district conference which was held there in 
August 1942. A new parsonage has been erected since 

Some evangelists who have labored with the church in 
recent years are R. H. Nicodemus, Charles Forror and Ar- 
thur L. Warner. 

We would greatly desire to elaborate on the loving serv- 
ice rendered to the church through the years by devoted 
teachers, officers and lay members, but space forbids. The 
voices of those who have gone before seem to say, "Press 
on," and it remains for those filling responsible official 
positions to continue to make the Beaverton church a center 
of consecrated effort for the community and for the church 
at large. 

Brother Perry R. Hoover returned to the pastorate in 
1939, and served until 1943. He gave one half of his time 
to the pastoral program of the church and the other half 
to the district as fieldworker. Brother E. S. Hollinger of 
Southern Ohio was called to succeed Brother Hoover in 
the pastorate. He began his work here in January 1944. 


The Black River church was in Van Buren County, in 
the southern part of the state, within eight miles of Lake 
Michigan. The first members that came to this part of 
Michigan were Brethren John and Dan Funk and their 
wives; they settled near Bangor. They had lived in the 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

state about ten years before any active work was started. 
The church was organized with sixteen members, and 
Elder F. P. Loehr was chosen to preside over the congrega- 
tion. The first love feast was held in October 1865 in Broth- 
er Christian Funk's gristmill. The territory at the time 
of the organization comprised the entire state of Michigan. 


The first Sunday school was organized in 1869. This prob- 
ably was held in a home or a schoolhouse. The church 
house was built in 1898, at a cost of $800.00. 

I. C. Snavely, a minister, moved into the Black River 
church as a total stranger in 1905. Having learned of the pos- 
sibility of Bethany Bible School opening under the leader- 
ship of E. B. Hoff and A. C. Wieand, he and his family came 
from the prairies of Nebraska in order to be close enough to 
attend this school. He devoted much time in ministering 
to the needs of the congregation for three years. Brother 
Snavely says: "We entered heartily into the work in the 
Black River church. A good Sunday school was maintained, 
also preaching every Sunday. No one there gave very much 

History of Congregations 71 

encouragement. At one series of meetings, at the end of 
two weeks when the interest and attendance were good, 
some of the brethren wanted to close as they felt it to 
have been a successful meeting. The meetings continued 
two weeks more and nine of the most influential people of 
the community were baptized. When we left in 1909 to 
attend Bethany the church was left without the care it 

Someone in writing about the Black River church de- 
clares: "This church went through its dark days and met 
many difficulties, and, at times, in undergoing these hard 
trials, like the strong winds in the forest, many limbs were 
broken off and much damage was done during the storm." 
However, they did see some brighter days before the time 
when services were discontinued in 1923. (The appendix 
gives elders and ministers.) 


There is very little data available for the history of this 
church. It was situated five miles east of the Hart church 
and was a part of that congregation. We find that C. H. 
Kiser was a minister who lived and served in the congrega- 
tion for a while. An active Sunday school was carried 
on under his leadership for a number of years. He gave up 
his service here and united with the Baptist Church. The 
work here was discontinued in 1930. 


The few facts obtained about this church show that Elder 
George E. Stone was in charge of the work. It was a part 
of the Beaverton congregation. In 1915, when the services 
could no longer be continued, members were asked to wor- 
ship at the Beaverton church. We wish that more could be 
said about the activities at Coleman. 

72 History of the Brethren in Michigan 


The first members to locate in what is now the Crystal 
church were William Shively and family from Ohio, and 
Jacob Snyder and family from Pennsylvania. Both families 
came to Michigan in 1880, locating in the eastern part of 
Montcalm County, then a part of the New Haven church. 


This church was divided from the New Haven church 
and organized on August 15, 1901, with nineteen members. 
The charter members were George E. Stone and wife, Sam- 
uel Bollinger, Watson Towsley and wife, Jacob Witter, John 
Easterday, Emanuel Bollinger and wife, John Bollinger and 
wife, Valentine Babcock and wife, Sarah Royer, Margaret 
Shively, Nancy Johnson, Wilford Roose, S. K. Marsh, and 
Orlando Henry. The new organization comprised all of 
Montcalm County. 

The resident ministers at the time the congregation was 
organized were Brother George E. Stone and Brother Sam- 
uel Bollinger. Brother Jacob Kepner came a little later, in 

History of Congregations 73 

1902. Brother Isaiah Rairigh was chosen as the first elder. 
Brethren Watson Towsley, Jacob Witter and John Easter- 
day were chosen as deacons at the time of the division. 

At first the services were held in schoolhouses. Then, 
within a few years, it was decided to build a church house. 
William North and wife donated from their farm a half- 
acre of land, upon which the building was erected. The 
entire community gave money to help. The work was be- 
gun in August 1901, and on October 6 the new church (size 
34 feet by 48 feet) was dedicated. The cost was $1,250.00. 
Brother Isaiah Rairigh conducted the services. The church 
is two miles south of the village of Crystal. Brother Samuel 
Bollinger was advanced to the second degree of the ministry 
on the day of dedication. The building committee com- 
prised the following: George E. Stone, Jacob Witter, and 
John Easterday. 

October 4, 1902, was the date set for the first love feast. 
During the feet-washing service the house was discovered 
to be on fire. It was a disaster. "We had no ladders or 
water and so the building for which we had all worked 
so hard was burned to the ground," said one in describing 
it. Then came days of much discouragement. Neverthe- 
less, God's people are never defeated, and on October 27, 
1902, the erection of another house of worship was begun 
on the same wall. This building was dedicated on January 
18, 1903, and the first love feast since the fire disaster was 
held on January 24. 

Among some of the pioneers of the church besides those 
mentioned before were Barnhart Shrider and wife and 
daughter Sarah, John Holsworth and wife, William Smith 
and wife, William North and wife, R. B. Noll, J. L. Noll, 
and Joseph Lechner and their families. 

Brother Jacob Kepner, one of the ministers, passed away 
August 18, 1904. On July 8 the Vestaburg church organized 

74 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

and Brother Samuel Bollinger became their minister. This 
left Elder George E. Stone as the only minister at Crystal 
until 1908, when Brother A. C. Young and family moved 
here. They remained until 1920. In 1916 Brother Floyd 
Bollinger was elected to the ministry. After serving as 
pastor and elder, he too moved into the Vestaburg congre- 
gation in 1932. 

Brother George Stone and his wife then labored most 
faithfully in building up and directing the work for many 
years. In 1919 Sister Stone was called to her reward. Soon 
afterward "Uncle George," as he was lovingly called by 
young and old of the community, went to Edgerton, Ohio, 
to make his home with his sister. Later he went to live 
with his daughter in Grand Ledge, Michigan, where he 
passed away on May 27, 1926. He had given many years of 
spiritual service to the Crystal congregation. 

In August 1926 Brother E. E. Eshelman began work as 
pastor, remaining until July 1934. He also served as elder 
during six years of that time. Brother Floyd Bollinger and 
Brother John Rairigh each served one year as elder. 

Those who have served as deacons are: R. B. Noll, Neri 
Shrider, Joseph Lechner, Jacob Witter, Fred Spalding (now 
deceased), Charles Noll and Myron Bollinger. There are 
only six of the charter members living. Brother Samuel 
Bollinger and Sister Nancy Johnson reside near Vestaburg. 
The other four, living at Crystal, are Jacob Witter, Wilford 
Roose, and John Bollinger and wife. 

Brother Samuel Bollinger, then the oldest active minister 
in the district, returned to his farm near Vestaburg from 
Lansing in 1933 and continued to serve the church until his 
retirement in 1942. 

Following the retirement of Brother Bollinger, Brother 
David P. Schechter came and served until September 1943. 

History of Congregations 75 

Then Brother J. J. Cook was asked to serve as pastor, which 
he did until June 1944. He is now the presiding elder. Suc- 
ceeding him was Brother Wilmer M. Lehman, who first be- 
gan as a summer pastor from Bethany Biblical Seminary, 
Chicago, but who was prevailed upon to continue in the 
pastorate. He is now giving his full time there. Brother 
Jacob Dick was summer pastor in 1940, and Brother Ernest 
Jehnsen in 1941; both were students at Bethany. 

In the spring of 1943 the church, upon the suggestion of 
Olive Noll, agreed in council that the members would all 
have God's-acre projects each year. The proceeds would be 
applied to a fund for the purpose of buying a farm as a 
parsonage and to help support a pastor. In the two years, 
1943 and 1944, over $600.00 was put into the fund. Recently 
the board of trustees was authorized to buy a farm that 
seemed available. This happened to be only prospective, 
and nothing definite has developed as yet. 

The church has always had an energetic B.Y.P.D. One 
particular project of the young people which will benefit 
their church exceedingly was the outdoor fireplace and 
worship center built in the summer of 1944. 

This church has an important function in this area of 
the state, and through the worship services and Christian 
activities the whole community will receive spiritual 


The growth of the Detroit church has surpassed that of 
any other in the district. Its development and progress 
have been the result of the untiring efforts of a few faith- 
ful people willing to adhere to the doctrines of the Church 
of the Brethren in a large city. These few people, who had 
come to this city to seek a livelihood, were not inclined to 
lose their identity with our church and to give their Chris- 

76 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

tian service in some other denomination. Instead they 
sought for others of their own belief, and labored to build 
their own group into a strong and flourishing church. This 
is a good example of what can be done when two or three 
persons have enough faith and are willing to persevere to 
uphold the ideals of the church they love. 

The church began in the fall of 1915. Brother N. B. Wine 
from Dayton, Ohio, called for a meeting of the group of 
members whom he could contact to be held in the Central 
Y.M.C.A. Two members of the district mission board, P. B. 
Messner and J. Edson Ulery, were present to officiate and 
assist in the work. An organization was effected, and in 
May 1916, at the second meeting, it was decided to establish 
a church in the city. The location committee secured a 
store building at 1249 Mack Avenue, and it was used for 


History of Congregations 77 

services. It was known as the Detroit Church of the Breth- 
ren Mission, and the first services were held on June 16, 
1916, with thirteen members present. Brother J. P. Bow- 
man was the preacher. Brother J. F. Dietz was another 
active minister in the church. 

"Through the providence of God . . . the church in De- 
troit was started because of the consecrated homes in Illi- 
nois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vir- 
ginia, West Virginia, and other states," says Brother M. B. 

The church was organized into a recognized body on Feb- 
ruary 2, 1918. There were forty-one charter members. 
The name was then changed to the First Church of the 
Brethren of Detroit. 

As the members prayed and worked, the work took on 
new zeal and grew until their first place of worship was 
no longer adequate for their needs. Then the Cadillac Ave- 
nue Presbyterian church was purchased. The district mis- 
sion board co-operated in the new understaking. 

The time had come when it was felt that the cares and 
responsibilities were becoming such as to require the serv- 
ices of a full-time pastor. The call was given to Reverend 
A. O. Mote and wife of North Manchester, Indiana, who en- 
tered the pastorate in September 1922. The membership 
then was eighty-seven. 

At a council on February 7, 1926, it was decided to pur- 
chase the Presbyterian church, corner of Lafayette and 
Seyburn Avenues, for the sum of $37,500.00. On Sunday 
morning, September 12, 1926, the entire membership met at 
the Cadillac Avenue church for a short service, after which 
they proceeded to the new location. Brother and Sister 
Mote led the procession of about forty cars. On arriving 
at the church, Brother Mote opened the Bible and read 
from Psalm 24. He then turned the key, opened the door, 

78 History of the Brethren in Michigan 


and all entered, singing For Christ and the Church. An 
impressive service of dedication was held the following 
Sunday, with Dr. D. W. Kurtz delivering the dedicatory 

Because of ill-health, Brother Mote resigned as pastor 
on August 3, 1928, and became a Y.M.C.A. secretary. Then 
Brother Merlin C. Shull, pastor of the Douglas Park and 
the Hastings Street missions, Chicago, Illinois, became pas- 
tor on November 4, 1928. The membership had grown to 
three hundred nineteen. Brother Shull resigned, leaving on 
September 1, 1931, to take up the pastorate of the Johnson 
City church, Tennessee. At the time the Shulls left the 
membership had increased to three hundred seventy-five. 
Brother Mote returned as pastor on September 1, 1931. He 
continued faithfully in the service of the church until Sun- 
day morning, August 1, 1937. After preaching about ten 
minutes, he suffered a stroke, which proved fatal, and he 
went to meet his Master on August 2, 1937. His passing 
was a very sudden shock and a loss to the church. 

After much prayer and searching, Brother Harvey R. 

History of Congregations 79 

Hostetler, pastor of the Morrill church, Kansas, was se- 
cured as pastor. He assumed the duties of the pastorate 
in November 1937, by a unanimous vote of the church. He 
served until October 1944, when he accepted the pastorate 
of the Wichita church, Kansas. During the time he la- 
bored there as pastor many things were accomplished. 
The most outstanding was the liquidation of all indebted- 
ness on the church property and the parsonage. Through 
his untiring efforts and faithful service there were one hun- 
dred thirty-three baptized and one hundred twenty-three 
received by letter during his pastoral term. 

Mrs. Hostetler was willing to take her place in the church 
activities. She organized the group of young church women 
into the Fidelis Club and led out in the organization of the 
council of church women. This resulted in uniting the three 
groups of women workers into one efficient body for the 
promotion of a total program. The cabinet of this group 
now constitutes one of the strongest boards of the church. 

During the past three years the church has been fortunate 
in having Sister Nettie Senger, a former missionary to 
China, to work in the community and to help in the work 
of the Chinese Sunday school. This is a very significant 
part of the Detroit church, and a full account of it is given 
separately at the end of the congregational history. 

Brother J. P. Guthrie was elected Sunday-school super- 
intendent on June 17, 1917, and served efficiently until 1942. 
Brother Eugene Butler is the superintendent now. 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the church 
was held from May 16 to 18, 1941. The congregation planned 
this commemoration service in the form of a home-coming. 
They rejoiced in the successful adventure of serving the 
kingdom in a large city for one quarter of a century. 

The burning of the church mortgage on April 19, 1942, 
was a significant event. The church was fortunate in being 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

able to purchase a new electric church organ (Orgatron) 
this same year, and the service of dedication was held on 
December 13. On April 30, 1944, there was a service of 
rejoicing because the church became entirely free of debt. 


The happy occasion celebrated the paying of the parsonage 
debt. "This is the day we have been waiting for, a time 
when the church would be entirely free of debt. The mem- 
bers of the congregation who have labored and contributed 
faithfully and generously through the past quarter of a 
century have great reason to rejoice today" (from the 
church bulletin, Sunday, April 30, 1944). 

The minister succeeding Brother Hostetler was Brother 
J. Perry Prather. Reverend and Mrs. Prather were in- 

History of Congregations 81 

stalled on Sunday morning, October 29, 1944, with Brother 
Harley Townsend of the district ministerial board in charge. 
Dr. T. T. Brumbaugh represented the Detroit Council of 
Churches on the occasion. Brother Prather's acceptance 
of the call to the Detroit pastorate terminated eleven years 
of fruitful service at the First Church of the Brethren, Day- 
ton, Ohio. He is also the presiding elder. 

War conditions have vitally affected the Detroit church. 
Sixty-four of their young men and three girls are in the 
service of their country, three men are in Civilian Public 
Service, and four have made the supreme sacrifice of their 
lives on the battlefield. 

The Brethren in Detroit realize that the noble achieve- 
ments of the past simply tend to create heavier responsibili- 
ties. Larger objectives need to be planned. The spirit to 
accomplish greater things will foster an earnest and loyal 
devotion to the cause of Christ, which will result in making 
advancements in the whole church program. 

The Chinese Sunday School 

The Chinese Sunday school of the First Church of the 
Brethren in Detroit has a unique history. Particular facts 
which led to the establishment of the school in Detroit are 

There are thousands of Chinese people among the many 
millions of other people who came to America during the 
past one hundred years. All these people constitute a real 
challenge to teach the message of Christ and to help them 
in every phase of living. A large portion of Chinese now 
living in America came from the southern part of Kwang- 
tung, of which Canton is the capital. This is the province 
in South China where the Church of the Brethren opened 
its mission in 1918. Several of the first converts came to 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


this country to continue their ministerial training in Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary. Rev. Moy Way, one of these min- 
isters, located in Detroit in February 1917. After a few 
months he began to attend the Church of the Brethren, 
3523 Cadillac Avenue. It was under his influence that the 
church decided to have a Chinese Sunday school. 

The organization was formed on Sunday, August 29, 
1917. Officers elected were: leader, Moy Way; superintend- 
ent, M. B. Williams; secretary- treasurer, Ethel Smith. 
Teachers volunteered their service, and the school grew to 
thirty-six pupils in a very short time. One year the en- 
rollment reached sixty pupils. Proper equipment had to 
be purchased. Such things as chairs, tables, pencils, tab- 
lets, readers for all grades, arithmetics, geographies, his- 
tories, maps, songbooks, and New Testaments with English 
and Chinese translations were all paid for by the school. 

The real purpose of this school is first to teach the pupils 
words and their meaning so that they can understand the 
English language, and then to impart to them the way of 

History of Congregations 


A varied program of fellowship and social activities 
throughout the year keeps the interest alive. Each Thanks- 
giving the school has a program of music, greetings and a 
turkey dinner. The Christmas program consists of music, 
a play, greetings and exchange of gifts. It is customary for 
the Chinese school to conduct an Easter program in the 

Brother M. B. Williams, the superintendent of the Sunday 
school, says: "During the depression the Chinese had such 
a small amount of work it was discouraging, but at present 
the men are working night and day, seven days a week. 
They have no time to rest. For these, and other reasons, 
the school has fluctuated from time to time." 

Obviously there are many problems involved in work of 
this nature. It is characteristic of Chinese people to mi- 
grate a great deal. From Detroit there have been members 
of the church who returned to China; others have gone to 
New York, Buffalo, Chicago, and other cities. Many hun- 
dreds have gone out from the school over the twenty-eight 


84 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

years. It has been a difficult problem to maintain an ade- 
quate teaching force through the years. 

Rev. Moy Way was elected to the ministry in 1925. Since 
the beginning of the school he has spent four years in 
China and four years in Chicago. He is now serving the 
Chinese as their pastor. During the absence of Moy Way, 
Brother Yee Sing took his place in the school. Yee Sing 
and Yee Qwong have been elected to the deacon's office. 
Brother Charlie Yee was the first pupil of M. B. Williams 
and the first convert. He is a banker in Hong Kong. Pon 
Hong Sing was an early convert. Rev. J. F. Dietz was his 
teacher. When he was baptized by Brother Dietz he said, 
"This is a new Chinese." He later returned to China and 
maintained a school in South China for poor girls for a 
number of years. Thirty-seven have been converted in 
the school. 

Here is an extraordinary experience related by Brother 
M. B. Williams: "Mr. Bill Gee took tuberculosis of the 
bone several years ago and was sent by Dr. Breon to the 
Herman Keifer hospital. He spent thirty-seven months 
there. During this time he had two operations which re- 
moved five ribs about eight inches long. Before the seri- 
ous operation, Brother Mote called me and requested that 
I assist him in the anointing service. The doctor said that 
there was a higher power that did the healing, for he was 
miraculously healed and now works long hours every day." 

More than four thousand five hundred dollars has been 
contributed to the church building fund, the Chinese Sun- 
day school, the South China school, district missions, and 
Chinese relief. This spirit of generous giving character- 
izes all Chinese brethren. The pastors, teachers and work- 
ers have all shown a loyalty to this work, and they need to 
be praised highly. Brother M. B. Williams, who has served 
devotedly as superintendent since the school's beginning, 

History of Congregations 85 

has not missed more than seventy-five Sundays out of ap- 
proximately 1,400. Think of the consecration required to 
work in a Chinese school every Sunday afternoon when 
recreation or fellowship with the family might have seemed 
more desirable. 

It has been a real opportunity for the Detroit church to 
serve these Chinese people. The influence of their work is 
far-reaching. From here many of the young men and wom- 
en have gone back to their own country as Christian leaders. 
Their training in this school enables them to contribute 
to the welfare of others. On the other hand, the school 
has been a great help to the church in stimulating the true 
missionary spirit. The Detroit church with its group of 
earnest leaders can be proud of this wonderful missionary 
enterprise. Their reward will be manifested in the joy of 


This mission point was in the territory of the Elsie church. 
It was situated about thirty-five miles to the southeast of 
that church house. It was started largely on the initiative of 
Brother L. H. Prowant and Brother L. W. Shafer. In the 
spring of 1920 both of these families moved from North- 
western Ohio and located about four miles south of Durand. 
It was soon learned that Brother John Proctor and family 
from Brookville, Ohio, lived near by. Later Clarence Pol- 
lington moved into the territory. 

A Sunday school was organized and regular preaching 
services were conducted. The records show that the Sun- 
day-school attendance frequently reached from forty to 

From March 1920 to the spring of 1928 services were held 
in the homes of the members, in the schoolhouse, and in a 
farmhouse owned by Brother Shafer. Brother C. L. Wilkins 

86 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

held two series of meetings in the district tent during this 
period. There were more than twenty baptisms, and the 
work prospered. Brother L. W. Shafer, a deacon, was 
called to the ministry here. 


An active aid society functioned for many years as a 
community organization. Meetings were still being held 
in 1944. The vacation Bible school held in 1926 was a great 
success. It was directed by two workers from Manchester 
College, Sisters Velma Clannin and Helen Forney. 

The ministerial service of Brother L. H. Prowant was 
divided between this preaching point and the Elsie church. 
However, in time there was a shift from this section to the 
industrial center at Flint. Brother Prowant was called upon 
to give all of his time to the Flint people, and services at 
the Durand mission were discontinued. 

History of Congregations 87 


The Elmdale church was first called West Thornapple. It 
was for a number of years a part of the Thornapple con- 
gregation. The church house was built in the year 1878, 
with Elder George Long as head carpenter and L. D. Fry, 
E. S. Kime and George Kepner on the building committee. 
Material for the structure was hauled largely from Lowell, 
a distance of ten miles, with horses and wagons. The 
lumber and shingles from the King and Quick mill were a 
very high grade. This company bought these logs in the 
north, and they were run down the Flat River in large 
quantities by logrollers before being converted into lum- 
ber and shingles. Hardware from John Scott and paint from 
Jud West were purchased at a large discount. 

The church at the beginning had sixteen members. 
George Long of Thornapple served as elder-in-charge, and 
Jacob Kepner was the deacon. Brother David Workman 
of Ohio preached the dedicatory sermon. He continued 
with a series of meetings which resulted in five additions 
to the church. They were: Lyda Long Smith, Cora Kepner 
Shopbell, Mortimer Thomson, John Kepner, and Amos Clem- 
ence. This organization continued till the time of the 
division, when Brother Long went with the Old Order 
Brethren. Then Brother Daniel Chambers was chosen elder- 
in-charge and continued as such for a few years. Then the 
charge of the church was given to Brother I. F. Rairigh. 
He served as elder until impaired health made it necessary 
for him to discontinue his active service. Brother S. M. 
Smith was then chosen elder-in-charge. Through the years 
there were a number of series of meetings held. Some 
of the ministers who did the preaching in these meetings 
were John V. Felthouse, J. C. Murry, S. F. Sanger, J. M. 
Smith, Isaiah Rairigh, C. H. Deardorff, R. H. Nicodemus, 

88 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

D. E. Sower, C. L. Wilkins, Wilbur M. Bantz, Hiram W. 
Peters, and Arthur L. Dodge. 

In the year 1914 it was decided to organize into a separate 
congregation. The present name, Elmdale, was adopted. 
The organization consisted of forty-two charter members, 
two ministers and two deacons, with S. M. Smith as elder- 

Brother C. H. Deardorff was chosen as the first pastor in 
March 1915. He was ordained to the eldership here in 


September 1915, with Elders Peter B. Messner and J. M. 
Smith officiating. 

Brother Martin Scholten served as pastor from Septem- 
ber 1934 to February 1938. During this period Brother Van 
B. Wright was the elder. Brother William H. Rivell became 
the pastor in 1939 and served for more than a year. He was 
succeeded by Brother William E. Tombaugh, who is now 
serving the pastorate on a part-time basis. The elder now 
is Brother Roy McRoberts. 

History of Congregations 89 

In the year 1901 the church organized a Sunday school 
consisting of five classes, with a small enrollment. While 
the growth has not been large in numbers, the school has 
fulfilled its purpose in the promotion of Christian education. 
The enrollment at one time reached one hundred twenty 
with an average attendance of eighty-seven. 

At the present time the church has one individual who 
resided there when the church was built, and who became 
a member in 1890 and a deacon in 1893. There are two 
others that became resident members soon after its first 
organization, namely, H. W. Blough and Minnie Deardorff. 
Brother Ovid Miller has been elected deacon in recent vears. 
Brother Stephen A. Weaver was installed into the ministry 
here in September 1939. The Elmdale church has enter- 
tained two district conferences, cne in 1879 and the other 
in 1925. 

As a rural church it has the definite task of upholding 
the gospel in the community. The people have an opportu- 
nity to exalt the Brethren ideals so that the fatherhood of 
God and the brotherhood of man may become a living re- 
ality in human lives. 


In the early 1870's, Zachariah Albaugh and family, Philip 
Albaugh and family, and Solomon Bigham and wife moved 
here from Indiana. Among the church pioneers here were 
Brother David Baker and family, then residing about five 
miles southwest of Ovid, Brother Heiser and family, Brother 
Godfrey Sprang and family, and Brother Adam Albaugh. 

We have a record of the first meeting that was held in 
this northern part of Michigan, on June 21, 1874, by Elder 
Isaac Miller of Barry County and Elder George Long of 
Ionia County. The members met and organized a church, 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

having their services in the various houses, barns and 
schoolhouses. The first communion was held in Zachariah 
Albaugh's house on October 9, 1874. They also held several 
love feasts in the barns of Brethren Adam and Philip 

Brother Zachariah Albaugh and Brother David Baker 
were the first deacons. Other deacons who served here 


were Adam Albaugh, Noah Sullivan, Levi Baker, J. E. Al- 
baugh, Ezra Richard, Neri Shrider, and Clayton Albaugh. 

Brother David Baker was elected to the ministry on 
March 17, 1879. He made special effort to fill his preaching 
appointments. When the roads were too bad for him to 
make the trip with horse and buggy, he came on horse- 
back. Brother Isaac Miller was the first elder. Brother 
Adam Albaugh, a deacon, and Sister Sarah Baker, were 
married in 1881. Both lived faithful to the church till they 
were called home. Brother Zachariah Albaugh was elected 
to the ministry on September 22, 1877, and ordained an elder 

History oj Congregations 91 

in 1879. He was in charge of the work until he moved to 
Kansas in June 1885. He passed away there in September 
1885, at the age of forty-two years. His family returned to 
Michigan that same year. Sister Albaugh was called to 
her Maker in October 1900. Solomon Bigham was janitor 
of the church. His seat in the church auditorium was sel- 
dom vacant. He never took an active part in the services, 
but he filled his place with a true devotion. He was called 
to his reward in 1915. His wife had preceded him in death 
about twenty-four years. When Brother Zachariah Albaugh 
left, Brother Daniel Chambers of Middleton, Michigan, was 
chosen elder. He served the church for about twenty years. 

In 1889 the entire community donated their time, means, 
and lumber and in various other ways helped to build the 
present church house. It was dedicated the next year. It 
was to be controlled by the German Baptists or Dunker 
Brethren, to be opened free for all funeral occasions. It 
was known as the Saginaw church until 1917 when the name 
was changed to the Elsie Church of the Brethren. The dis- 
trict conference was held here in 1891, 1896, and 1900. 

Several families moved into the territory, stayed a few 
years, then moved away again. Among them were: Brother 
Shrider and wife and daughter, Sarah; Brother Neri Shrider 
and family; Brother Fred Kilpatrick and family. Brother 
William Albaugh and family lived here for a while, then 
moved to Ohio. We must not forget the name of Charlie 
Randall, who lived across the road from the church, and 
who, though not a member, attended the services and helped 
financially. His home was always open to any who* might 
wish to go there. His daughter Mattie was a faithful mem- 
ber of the church. She and Brother Clayton Albaugh have 
been in the church the longest of any of the members now 
residing in the congregation. 

92 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Brother J. E. Albaugh and Fannie Somers were married 
in 1885. He was called to the ministry in October 1885 and 
ordained elder in 1905. He took charge of the work that 
same year in place of Brother Daniel Chambers. He was 
elder-in-charge until the heavenly Father called him home 
in 1916. Sister Albaugh was called home September 28, 
1930. Brother Levi Baker was called to the ministry in 1885: 
he married a Miss Somers in 1887. He was faithful to his 
calling until his death in April 1915. After Brother Baker's 
and Brother Albaugh's deaths, Brother C. L. Wilkins had 
charge of the work for some time. Broth 2r Earl Starbard 
and family of Elmdale served here for a while. Then Broth- 
er and Sister D. P. Schechter and son of Chicago took up the 
work for three years. After an absence of a few y^ars, they 
returned for a while and served until they were called 
to the pastorate of the Shepherd church. About twenty 
years ago Brother L. H. Prowant and family and Brother 
L. W. Shafer and family from Ohio located near Durand. 
Brother Prowant had charge of the work until about 1927. 
when he was put in charge of the Flint church. Brother J. 
F. Sherrick has had charge of the work during recent years. 
The brethren assisting in the preaching were Charles A. 
Spencer, Hiram W. Peters, and Hugh Warstler. In 1943 the 
mission board and the few faithful members co-operated in 
making some improvements on the building. The interior 
was refinished, and electric lights were installed. The roof 
was repaired. Two home-coming services, one in 1943, and 
the other in 1944, brought many people of the Michigan 
churches and the community together in this pioneer church. 

Sister Myrtle French, daughter of Brother and Sister J. E. 
Albaugh, is one of the most influential members. It was her 
leadership that enabled the church to survive many dis- 
couraging years. The success of the work here can b? 
attributed to her faithful service. 

History of Congregations 93 

There are only a few members left. Those who remain 
are desirous that the church doors might be kept open so 
that the work once started by the faithful workers may 
not fail. An interested one writes: "We ask an interest in 
the prayers of the people that we too may prove faithful 
until the Master says, 'Enough, come up higher.' 

> >> 


Some people of the Church of the Brethren located in this 
industrial city about twenty-five or thirty years ago because 
of the employment situation. Reports of the work at Du- 
rand appearing in the columns of the Gospel Messenger be- 
gan to attract the attention of members living in Flint. In 
spite of the distance (twenty-five miles) members began 
to attend the services at Durand occasionally. As time went 
on the leaders received many letters from parents of children 
who were living in Flint. They were anxious for their chil- 
dren's spiritual welfare and requested the ministers to call 
on them. In this way and with the active co-operation of 
Sister Bosthwick, by 1925 it was known that there were as 
many members in Flint as at the other preaching points of 
the Elsie church. 

About this time Brother E. E. Eshelman, fieldworker for 
the district, came to their assistance and helped to get the 
matter before the district meeting. It was planned in the 
fall of 1927 to call what they termed a "get-together meet- 
ing." This was held at the home of Brother Arthur Taylor 
at 1913 Cadillac Street. Brother J. Edson Ulery's services 
were engaged, and he came on the day after Thanksgiving 
of that year. 

The meetings continued over Sunday. They were well 
advertised previously in the Gospel Messenger and the Flint 
Daily Journal. To the surprise of all, sixty-five members 

94 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

attended the meetings, which closed on the following Sun- 
day. The Sunday school was organized with Calvin Leck- 
rone as the first superintendent. A committee of five 
Brethren was appointed to take charge of managing the 
work. A room in the Y.M.C.A. was secured for services, 
and the work started off with enthusiasm. 

The next spring it was felt that to continue in the Y.M.C.A. 
was imposing upon them. Plans to build a house of wor- 
ship were considered. There was keen anticipation of the 
growth that would soon appear. They began to plan for 
a building adequate for their needs. At this point, Brother 
Arthur Taylor came forward with a plan. He had a lot 
on Corunna Road, and he would build on it such a building 
as could be turned into a dwelling later, or made into a 
parsonage. He would finance the proposition and would 
either sell to the church on contract or rent it. It was de- 
cided to buy, and the work was begun at once. The com- 
pleted building cost $4,080, and was paid at the rate of 
$40.00 per month. The finished building was dedicated on 
June 7, 1928. Brother Reuben Boomershine preached the 
dedicatory sermon. Thus, this is the one church in the 
district that dedicated their church building before they 
were organized into a congregation. 

At the district meeting in 1928 permission was granted 
the Flint church to organize into a separate congregation. 
Brethren D. P. Schechter and Samuel Bowser were sent to 
do this in October 1928. There were about fifty charter 

In 1936 the church, feeling that the present building was 
inadequate to meet the needs of the growing congregation, 
purchased four lots on Stocker Avenue. This was just one- 
half block from the little church on Corunna Road. A 
building program was started, and in May 1937 the ground 
was broken for the new church. Through the efforts of 

History of Congregations 


the contractor, and the co-operation of most of the folks 
in giving generously of their means and their time, which 
included sweat and aching muscles, a very nice brick house 
was soon completed. It was ready to be dedicated as the 
Lord's house on the first Sunday in September of the same 
year. This building is forty by sixty feet. It has a balcony 
and a full basement finished with knotty cedar walls and 
a celotex ceiling. This affords a good plage of worship 


for the children, and helps to get them in the right attitude 
to continue their worship in the main auditorium. The 
entire new building is well equipped for the advanced 
methods in church and church school work. 

Now let us note those who served as pastors. Brother 
L. H. Prowant served the church as part-time pastor and 
elder from 1927 to 1938. Much credit should be given to him 
and Sister Prowant for their faithful and untiring efforts 
in helping to build a church program undergirded by 

96 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Christian principles. This stable foundation has enabled 
the congregation to achieve new goals. Brother Arthur 
Taylor was the pastor, giving part-time service since the 
time when Brother Prowant left until they secured a full- 
time pastor in September 1942. It was then that Brother 
Elvert Miller, a graduate of Bethany Biblical Seminary, 
and his wife accepted the call to the pastorate. Brother 
Miller labored with them for two years. He and his family 
then moved to the pastorate of the Beaver Creek church, 
Bridgewater, Virginia. Brother Walter J. Heisey accepted 
the call to the pastorate and moved his family here from 
Midland to begin his duties in September 1944. Those who 
served as summer pastors were: Brother Ralph Rarick, 1940; 
Brother Elmer Dadisman, 1941; and Brother Hugh Warstler. 
1942. Brother Hiram W. Peters was the presiding elder 
from 1939 to 1944. Since December 15, 1944, Brother Heisey 
has been the presiding elder. 

Brother and Sister Wilbur Shepherd and Brother and 
Sister Calvin Leckrone were elected to the office of deacon 
in 1940. An ordination to the eldership was held on Sunday, 
March 11, 1945, for Brother Hugh Warstler. 

The church purchased a parsonage at 1202 Stocker Ave- 
nue in July 1943. A significant service of burning the 
mortgage on the church was held in December 1943. This 
was only six years after the completion of the building. 

The Flint church has accepted its responsibility in Breth- 
ren service, general missions, and district work. It has 
always met its quota or gone over the top each year since 
its organization. It has accepted also its responsibility in 
filling a place in the community and is reaching and help- 
ing many non-Brethren homes. These accomplishments 
have been the result of the faithfulness of Brother and 
Sister Taylor and their coworkers to the church and the 

History of Congregations 97 

cause of Christ. Men's work, women's work, youth and 
children's work have been given wholehearted support. 

Many changes are constantly in evidence in this church. 
Industrial conditions affect the work to a remarkable de- 
gree, but there has prevailed throughout the years a kindly, 
brotherly, and Christian spirit. A number of revival meet- 
ings have been held, and many members have been re- 
ceived into the church. Many have been forced to leave the 
city because of economic conditions. A casual observer, 
who is not a member but who occasionally attends the 
services, some time ago was heard to remark: "I see here 
an honest, earnest, and sincere effort. This is not a work 
of the mushroom-growth type, but rather a steady for- 
ward-looking effort to establish here a church that the 
people of this community can look to with confidence." Co- 
operation is the key to whatever success has come to the 
Flint church. As long as such a spirit is manifested, it will 
continue to grow. 


For many years prior to the opening of any permanent 
mission in Grand Rapids, a few scattered families lived in 
and near the city. Among these were the families of Elder 
J. C. Overholt and Oliver Putt. Brother Overholt lived near 
Dutton, about ten miles southeast of Burton Heights; Oliver 
Putt lived about six or seven miles southwest near Fisher 
Station. Mrs. Ernest Kayser, whose maiden name was 
Anna Marshall, also lived near Fisher Station. At varying 
intervals ministers from the near-by churches — Thornapple, 
Elmdale, Woodland, and others — preached for these scat- 
tered members in the neighborhood schoolhouse. 

Later some of these members moved into the city, locat- 
ing in Burton Heights. Their desire for worship conducted 

98 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

by the Church of the Brethren caused the district mission 
board to send Miss Sarah Long to the city in January 1910 
to open a mission Sunday school. This she did in a small 
store building on Burton Street near Buchanan. This 
building was removed many years ago. A little later, 
on account of growth and success, the school was moved to 
larger quarters on Burton Street near Division. 

During Miss Sarah Long's period of service of one year, 
members of the mission board preached at intervals of two 
weeks. At the district meeting of 1910, held at Crystal, the 
urge for a resident minister was so great that Brother 
George Culler and wife, both of whom have since been 
called home, rented their farm and came to Grand Rapids 
to do what they could until another pastor could be secured. 
Several were baptized during this year and the Sunday- 
school attendance was greatly increased. 

In September 1911 Brother John Mishler of Middlebury, 
Indiana, came to the city at the call of the district mission 
board and remained for one year as pastor. Sister Mishler 
was successful in building a class of boys and girls from 
four or five to about twenty-three. During the year they 
were compelled to move to a larger building because of 
the increased attendance. The same year the lot upon 
which the church now stands was purchased. 

Brother C. Walter Warstler came as pastor in September 
1912, remaining two years. The white house on the south- 
east corner of Quigley Boulevard and Buchanan was oc- 
cupied by the Warstler family. During this time many were 
received into the church. Several moved in from near-by 
towns and churches. The church building was completed in 
1913 and dedicated on July 6 of that year. 

Much might be written about the building of the church, 
but one detail particularly interesting must suffice. Brother 

History of Congregations 


J. C. Overholt learned of this location being for sale and 
was so impressed with the possibilities of the church in 
this part of the city that he went to Elmdale to see S. S. 
Weaver, father of Stephen, and they purchased for $1,000 
the three lots upon which the church and the parsonage 
now stand. Later the mission board, composed of Elders 
C. L. Wilkins, S. M. Smith, J. E. Ulery, Peter B. Messner, 
and Charles Deardorff, went about the state district and 
raised the money necessary to let the contract for the build- 
ing of the church at a cost of four thousand dollars. The 


parsonage was built in 1926. The ceiling and the platform 
of the church building were remodeled in 1927. 

There were others who labored in the pastorate. From 
1914 to 1931 the following brethren served as pastors: E. F. 
Caslow, four years; Roy Miller, six months; C. L. Wilkins, 
two and one-half years; Albert Smith, two years; H. D. 
Michael, one and one-half year; S. B. Wenger, two and 

100 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

one-half years; W. C. Sell, two years; F. D. Anthony, two 

Brother and Sister Van B. Wright had a very successful 
pastorate for five years, 1931 to 1936. He resigned to ac- 
cept the call of the Twin Falls church, Idaho. 

One of their own leaders, Brother Harold S. Chambers, 
was induced to serve on a part-time basis. He began in 
1936 and resigned in 1939. In 1939 the church called Brother 
Kenneth Long, a graduate of Bethany Biblical Seminary, to 
become their pastor. He conducted a full-time pastoral 
program for two years. Again the church voted for Broth- 
er Harold Chambers to assume the pastoral duties. Until 
the close of his pastorate in 1945 he and his wife helped the 
congregation to achieve some outstanding goals. In Sep- 
tember 1945 Brother C. H. Cameron became the pastor of 
this church. 

The church burned its mortgage on September 20, 1942. 
On that day all indebtedness on the property was erased. 
The members and friends rejoiced together because now 
they would be free to make further advancements. There 
was much joy because of the attainment. 

In the year 1942-43 the church engaged itself in raising 
money for a complete improvement project. This included 
redecorating the interior, waterproofing the exterior, and 
painting both the parsonage and the church. In connection 
with the interior redecoration some remodeling was done. 
The pulpit platform was paneled and designed as a chancel. 
Changes were made in the basement which provided more 
space for Sunday-school classes and social functions. One 
very sensible improvement made very recently was the 
addition of a soundproof mothers' room and nursery just 
off the entrance of the church auditorium. Many other 
churches of our district could learn a lesson from this and 

History of Congregations 101 

provide a comfortable room where mothers may take their 
little children during public services. 

There were times when discouragement appeared to be 
prevalent because the efforts put forth seemed not to be 
rewarded. However, we remember that it is only through 
earnest labor that things worth while are accomplished, 
and this little band has pressed forward with courage to 
help in building the kingdom. 


Between 1902 and 1904 several Brethren families, some 
of whom had first come to the Lake View church at 
Brethren, moved on farms near the village of Harlan. 
Among the first were Emory Morphew, a minister, A. W. 
Miller and Chester Gates, deacons, Ellis Studebaker, par- 
ents of Dr. Lloyd Studebaker of the Africa mission, Enoch 
Studebaker and Warren Beckner, with their families. 

In 1904 these folks felt the need of a place of worship 
and with the help of the Lake View church began holding 
services in a schoolhouse two and one-fourth miles south 
of the village of Harlan. Here for nearly four years they 
met each Sunday for their worship and Sunday school. 
During this time there were, of course, some discourage- 
ments, and a couple of the above-mentioned families moved 
to distant homes, but other families moved into this com- 
munity, who, too, were to play an important part in this 
growing church. Among these were Baker Hale, George 
Gance, Charles Deardorff, a minister, H. A. Weller and 
A. W. Taylor, deacon, with their families. 

Feeling the need of a more adequate place of worship, 
they selected a location one-fourth mile south and one- 

♦NOTE: Harlan was the home church of Arthur E. Taylor of Flint, Michigan. 
He is now serving the district as fieldworker. The history of the congre- 
gation is recorded as written by him. — The Author. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

fourth mile west of Harlan. Mr. Gideon Bowman and 
wife donated two acres from their farm for the church lot 
and the adjoining cemetery. In 1907 the members and 
other interested folks in the community found themselves 
busy with the building of the new church, a modest but 
well-built house of the Lord, which would seat about one 
hundred fifty folks. It was dedicated June 27, 1908, with 


Elder George Deardorff giving the dedicatory address. The 
floor was put in the full basement later. 

On April 30, 1908, the members assembled, with Elder 
S. M. Smith as their moderator, to petition the Lake View 
church to allow them to organize into a separate organiza- 
tion. This was granted by the Lake View church on May 
2, and two days later the members met and organized them- 
selves into the Harlan congregation. They were assigned 
the territory which included the present Marilla and Home- 
stead churches, and included in the thirty-eight charter 
members were members in all three places. Services were 

History of Congregations 103 

carried on both at Marilla and at Homestead. The names 
of the pioneer members as well as the activities of these two 
groups have been omitted because the history of their be- 
ginnings will be found under their respective headings in 
this book. 

The Harlan church continued to grow and fill its place in 
the community for a number of years. Over one hundred 
were taken into the church by baptism, most of whom have 
remained faithful, and many of whom are carrying active 
parts in churches throughout the brotherhood. The church 
was host to the district meeting in 1911 and again in 1918. 
H. A. Weller and wife were elected to the deacon's office 
and later to the ministry. Their son, Russell Weller, and his 
wife were also placed in the ministry here. William Patz- 
well, Emory and Arthur Taylor were elected to the deacon's 
office, and many folks have received spiritual food from the 
hand of the Lord through the Harlan church. 

The first ministers serving the church were Brethren 
Emory Morphew, Charles Deardorff, Isaac Deardorff, David 
Neher, H. A. Weller, L. I. Moss, and J. L. Thomas. At one 
time there were five ministers living in the local congre- 
gation, but one by one they moved away until they were 
all gone in 1919, at which time arrangements were made 
with Brother Roy Miller to move to Harlan. After two 
years he moved on and Brother Oscar Stern and family came 
into the community and served the church for a number of 
years. Since that time they have had no resident minister. 
A circuit was worked out with Marilla and Lake View, with 
Brother Charles Forror giving some ministerial aid, but 
the distance was too great and the snow too deep. A com- 
munity project was then set up with a Nazarene minister 
co-operating, but this too did not seem to work out well, 
and the same thing was true of a circuit set up with the 
Marilla church with Brother Galen Barkdoll assisting. 

104 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The lack of ministerial assistance coupled with the mov- 
ing of a number of the families from this community, which 
included many of the younger folks, plus the fact that many 
of the older members have gone on to their reward, has re- 
sulted in the closing of the doors of the Harlan church in 
August 1943 — it is hoped only temporarily. The church has 
not been disorganized. 

After the death of Brother Andrew W. Taylor, who had 
served the church faithfully as trustee and clerk for over 
twenty-five years, forty acres of his farm with a set of 
buildings were turned over to the district as a parsonage 
farm for the Harlan church. 

It might be of interest to some to know that Dr. Lloyd 
Studebaker was born in the house on this farm; also that 
the first communion service and love feast held in this 
community was held in the barn now standing on this farm. 
This was before the church house was built. Considerable 
work was done on this house by a group of boys in a work 
camp in 1940. It is hoped that in the future it will be pos- 
sible to find a minister who will move on this farm and 
work in this community, not only ministering to the five 
or six Brethren families now living in the community, but 
in building a spirit of Christian brotherhood throughout 
the community, so that this church building may again fill 
the place for which it was built and dedicated. 


Elders J. E. Ulery and D. E. Sower met with the mem- 
bers of Hart on August 14, 1915, at the home of Elder Gran- 
ville Nevinger, for the purpose of organizing the group of 
members. It was decided to call it the Church of the Breth- 
ren of Hart. The meeting was called to order, and songs, 
prayers, and Scripture reading were participated in at the 

History of Congregations 105 

opening. Granville Nevinger was elected the first elder 
and J. J. Scrogum secretary. Trustees were elected as fol- 
lows: Molly Nevinger, one year; J. J. Scrogum, two years; 
S. S. Scrogum, three years. The deacon was J. J. Scrogum. 
There were about seven members at that time. 

The boundary line was fixed by the mission board. The 
district meeting at the Sugar Ridge church in 1915 granted 
the Hart church all of Oceana County, the west half of Ne- 
waygo County and west to the lake, and also the north part 
of Muskegon County. 

During the winter and the next spring more families 
moved to the territory, making the total membership about 
fifteen. In the summer four or five were taken in by bap- 
tism. This brought the membership to twenty. 

Another meeting was held to elect some officers. J. J. 
Scrogum was elected to the ministry and S. S. Scrogum to 
the deacon's office. Sometime in the summer a store build- 
ing was bought, moved on a lot and remodeled into a church 
house, in which the congregation worshiped for several 
years. C. P. Rowland of Lanark, Illinois, held the first 
series of meetings. Several were added to the church then. 
In 1917 Elder D. E. Sower held a meeting, and, with several 
new families moving in, the membership increased to about 


J. J. Scrogum was advanced to the second degree of the 
ministry. Then Aaron Swihart was elected as elder, and 
the United Brethren church of Hart was purchased. During 
the next year Brother Swihart's nephew was elected to the 
office of deacon and J. J. Scrogum's son, Arthur, was elected 
to the ministry. Elder Swihart died and J. J. Scrogum was 
alone, for Elder Granville Nevinger had sold his home and 
moved to Onekama. The church remained about the same 
for the next ten years. 

When C. H. Kiser came to the Cedar church the situation 

106 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

looked good for a while, but the Hart church wanted him; 
so the Cedar church was sold in or about 1930, and he came 
to Hart. Brother Scrogum left and went to work in other 
fields. C. H. Kiser worked here for a while and then went 
to the Baptist Church. Then came E. R. Fisher as pastor 
and elder. While he was there the church gained a num- 
ber by baptism, but he also left. Sister Elma Rau came for 
a while. The church held up well while she was with them. 
In the spring of 1931 Brother Roy Engle came to Hart, but 
he stayed a year out in Freesoil where he was teaching 
school; so he could not do much in the church. He left in 
the spring of 1933. No meetings were held until October 
15, 1934, when Charles Forror preached for them. 

Elder J. E. Ulery, the chairman of the mission board, met 
with some of the members in August 1939 and proposed to 
them that since there were so few members left in Hart 
they should call a meeting, disorganize the church and vote 
to transfer the deed from the church officials to the trustees 
of the district mission board. Another meeting was called 
about September 1, 1939, and the church decided to transfer 
the deed to the board. The church business was to be con- 
ducted as usual, however. The interest grew less because of 
the few members living there, and the congregation was dis- 
organized in 1942. The church building has been sold by 
the district mission board. 


The author is happy to give the history of this church 
as it was reported by the present pastor, Brother Earl 
Funderburg. It is his home congregation. 

The Homestead congregation began as a mission point 
in connection with the Harlan church. It operated for some 
time as the Pine Grove mission, located near Bendon. 

History of Congregations 


Eventually there came to be a larger percentage of mem- 
bers surrounding the small village of Homestead and serv- 
ices were held here in preference to the Pine Grove loca- 
tion. Homestead is on the Ann Arbor Railroad directly 
northwest of Harlan about eighteen miles. It was quite sim- 
ple for a minister to get on the Saturday evening train at 
Harlan, arrive at Homestead to stay over night, preach on 


Sunday and go back to Harlan on the Monday morning 
train. This was done for some time. There were then 
either four or five ministers at Harlan and turns were taken 
in order to serve the folks at Homestead. 

The interest finally became so strong that on May 24, 1913, 
a council meeting was called at Brother John Kay's home 
for the purpose of organizing the Homestead congregation 
of the Church of the Brethren. Elder J. Edson Ulery pre- 
sided at this council meeting and Brother Andrew W. Tay- 
lor from Harlan, father of Brother Arthur Taylor, our 
present fieldworker, acted as secretary pro tern. Elder J. W. 

108 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Harshbarger was elected elder until January 1, 1915. Two 
deacons, Frank Sheets and John Kay, were elected at this 

There were twenty-eight charter members including 
Elder J. W. Harshbarger and two other ministers, Brother 
Cleveland Kiser and Brother Charles H. Harshbarger. 
Charles was a son of J. W. Harshbarger. These three moved 
to this community at about this same time. 

The church prospered under this leadership for almost 
two years when some trouble arose. Elders L. T. Holsinger 
and Frank Gilbert from Brethren were called in to settle 
it but the effects were felt for some years following. 

In the spring of 1915 all three ministers moved to other 
places and the church again operated under the supervision 
of Elder J. Edson Ulery of Onekama, with neighboring 
pastors, mostly from Harlan, filling the pulpit. Brother 
Ulery served as elder through 1916, Brother H. A. Weller 
from Harlan in 1917, Brother Ulery again in 1918. During 
this time Brother Andrew Hollinger moved to this com- 
munity and served as pastor. In 1919 Brother Hollinger 
was also elected elder. In 1921 Brother Jacob Slonaker 
came with his family to serve the Homestead church and 
served faithfully for more than five years as elder and 

In 1927 Brother Charles Forror became Homestead's next 
presiding elder and served almost continually through 
1934. Brother George W. Funderburg served from 1929 
through 1934. Through the next three years there was no 
pastor for this congregation but the Sunday school was kept 
going by faithful members. Several Brethren families 
moved away and in 1937 the Sunday school was discon- 
tinued. The congregation was left without a pastor or an 
elder, and was in the hands of the district mission board 
until 1944. 

History of Congregations 109 

In the fall of 1943, some of the members having moved 
back and the population of the community being quite prom- 
ising, it was decided to make plans to reorganize the Home- 
stead church. Brother Earl Funderburg (son of George W. 
Funderburg) , Homestead's most recent pastor, was contact- 
ed, and he and his wife moved from Ozark, Michigan, April 
1, 1944. A council was held to reorganize the church, with 
Elder J. Edson Ulery in charge. A note of interest is that 
Brother Ulery was the presiding elder at the original or- 
ganization in 1913 and again at the reorganization in 1944, 
thirty-one years later. He was elected elder for 1944 and 
1945; Brother Funderburg was chosen as pastor. 

Even though Homestead's story has been one of many 
trials, the church has been a means of bringing many souls 
to Christ. 

The ladies' aid society, originally organized on September 
24, 1913, has been functioning continually since that date. 
Even through the years when there were no church services 
the ladies met regularly and financed some needed repairs 
on the church building. This included a metal roof on the 
south side. They also carried on other projects. It was 
really through the faithfulness and the interest of the ladies' 
aid that the church could again get under way. There have 
been several exceptionally faithful aid workers, including 
both Brethren and non-Brethren members. Brethren mem- 
bers are Sister Adelia Hienze, now gone to her rest, and 
Sister Clara Lung, a charter member, still living, and the 
present aid president. Non-Brethren members especially 
deserving mention are Sister Alice Monroe, formerly of the 
Salvation Army, who has served as secretary for over twen- 
ty years, and Sister Minnie Taylor, Congregational, who is 
the motherly type and can sew more carpet rags patiently, 
meeting after meeting, year after year, than any other lady 
we know. 

110 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Deacons to serve the church have been Brethren John 
Kay, Frank Sheets, Joseph Raichart, and William and Henry 

The present location of the church is four miles east and 
one-quarter mile south of Benzonia, about one-quarter mile 
from the hall where meetings were first held. Remodeling 
is being done on the building, and Homestead is looking 
into the future hoping and expecting to fulfill her place in 
the Lord's vineyard. 


In March 1902 members of the Church of the Brethren 
began locating in the vicinity of Brethren. The migrating 
of these people into this community resulted in the organiza- 
tion of the Lake View church. There were only a few 
families located here before that time. At least part of 
them had found their way here with land excursions in 
1900. Many of those who settled in this part of Michigan at 
the time were not members of the Brethren Church. Some 
of the Keith family moved to the territory in April 1901, 
but there were no church activities at that time. Brother 
Charles Keith preached a few times that summer when he 
was helping his son to build a house. As nearly as we can 
learn, he was the first minister of the Church of the Breth- 
ren to preach in the community. Sister Ella Keith tells 
this in a recent communication: "About one o'clock in the 
morning of March 15, 1902, father, with his car of livestock 
and other belongings, was left on the south siding, at that 
time one-half mile north of Brethren. Brother and Sister 
Hezekiah Grossnickle arrived at Brethren later the same 
day." These, then, were the first families to locate here. 
It was not long until other families moved to this vicinity. 
However, they were scattered. At that time the Sugar 

History of Congregations 


Ridge church was the nearest organized church. In 1901 the 
people held a union Sunday school and also preaching 
services in the little log schoolhouse about a mile from the 
Keith homestead. 

Brother J. M. Lair made a trip there during the summer 
and preached. An interesting story connected with that 
visit is told by Sister Ella Keith, who still resides there. 


It happened after they had gotten home from the services 
on the day that Brother Lair had preached. She describes 
the conversation like this: "Brother Lair said, 'Brother 
Keith, where did all those people come from? I did not ex- 
pect there would be more than a dozen or two there, but 
they came by the wagonloads. They just sprang up like 
mushrooms.' " She continued by saying, "Reverend Crook 
of the Baptist church had been preaching in the schoolhouse, 
but he never came very often after we arrived. He told 
father it was no use for him to drive over here since father 
was living here." 

112 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

It was in December 1902 that the Lake View church was 
organized in the little schoolhouse. By this time there were 
five ministers residing here. There were twenty-six charter 
members. Brother A. W. Hawbaker was the first elder. 
Services continued in the schoolhouse until the church 
house was built in April 1904. The first Sunday school was 
organized with Brother George E. Deardorff superintend- 
ent, and Brother J. E. Ulery the assistant. Soon calls came 
for preaching at other places such as Marilla, Onekama, the 
McKnight schoolhouse, Chief, Browntown, Zion, and Ben- 
don. And at one time services were conducted in the Men- 
nonite church. Later the people across the river at the 
place called the Gillis schoolhouse asked for preaching 
services and help in their Sunday school. In September 
1903 the first communion service at this place was conducted 
in the Deardorff store building, which was then still un- 
finished. A large number of members from Sugar Ridge 
and other places came to enjoy the meeting. They had 
driven a long distance with horse and buggy to enjoy the 
spiritual fellowship. Dr. Sadler of Onekama used to drive 
to this church and arrive on time for the Sunday morning 
services. This is a wonderful record for one who already 
had a very busy life ministering to the sick folk. 

About January 1904 the Deardorff store building burned 
and two of Brother Charles DeardorfFs children perished in 
the flames. Theirs were the first graves made in the ceme- 
tery there, and Sister Ella Keith's baby brother's was the 

In 1903 Brother A. W. Hawbaker was their first delegate 
to district meeting. The second communion was held in 
the church building before it was completed. This was in 
1904. On July 8, 1906, the first Christian Worker's meeting 
was held and an organization was formed. The church was 
dedicated on July 1, 1906. Elder J. E. Ulery delivered the 

History of Congregations 113 

dedicatory address. At that time the Lake View congrega- 
tion embraced a large region, but soon churches were or- 
ganized within the territory. The Lake View church thus 
became the mother church. 

The first district meeting held here was in August 1908. 
It has been there two different times since. The ladies' aid 
was organized in 1910. 

Recently the church has been remodeled with a basement 
and Sunday-school rooms added. The basement has been 
insulated, and a new furnace installed. The basement is 
now rented to the public school as a place in which to serve 
hot lunches to pupils. 

Preaching services, Sunday school, and other church ac- 
tivities have been conducted regularly. In more recent 
years they have been giving part-time support to the min- 
isters who served them. Brother Howard Helman served 
as pastor for a period. In 1942 Ernest Jehnsen was the 
summer pastor. William O. Bosserman was the summer 
pastor in 1943. Clifton Leckrone, a local young man, was 
licensed and installed into the ministry. He is now serving 
as the resident part-time pastor. 


The church work at Lansing, the capital city, was be- 
gun following the coming to the city of Brother Samuel 
Bollinger. He and his wife moved to this community from 
Vestaburg in 1925. They soon discovered a few other mem- 
bers living here. Those interested at that time in getting 
the work started were Brother Clayton Ditsworth and fam- 
ily, Brother Earl Cheal and family, Brother Charles Tom- 
baugh and family and his sister, Laura Tombaugh, Sister 
Emma Veneer, Sister Crystal Bell and family, Sister Nora 
Brillhart and daughter, Bessie. 

114 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Brother Bollinger, having a zeal for the Lord's work, in- 
spired the members to try to find a place where they might 
worship. The Knights of Pythias hall was found, and on 
the first Sunday of December 1925 the group met for wor- 
ship with about forty present. With this body of workers 
the work started off nicely. Others were soon added. El- 
mer Stacker's son, Dale, was the first to be baptized. A 
little later the father was baptized. Brother Elmer Stack- 
er's wife and her sister, Mrs. Irene Mosey, were received 
on their former baptism from the Progressive Brethren 

The ministers who assisted in the preaching at the begin- 
ning were E. E. Eshelman, J. M. Smith, and Royal Frantz. 
In August of 1928, Brother Hiram W. Peters and family 
moved to the city. They began at once to help in the 
church activities. He took his place in the preaching pro- 
gram with Brother Bollinger. The church ordained Brother 
and Sister Peters to the eldership on October 3, 1931. Other 
ministers who worked and preached in the church during 
more recent years were J. J. Cook, Claude Leslie, and Ken- 
neth Leckrone. All of these ministers were graduate stu- 
dents who were taking special courses at Michigan State 
College, East Lansing. 

On October 7, 1928, the church, then a part of the Sunfield 
congregation, organized itself into a separate working body. 
There were thirteen charter members. The election of of- 
ficers resulted in Brother John Smith of Woodland being 
chosen as elder for one year. The second year Brother 
Bollinger was elected elder-in-charge. He continued to 
serve as elder and pastor until 1933. Then he and his wife 
returned to their farm home at Vestaburg. The oversight 
of the church then fell to Brother Hiram Peters, and he 
served as elder until 1944, when he moved out of the dis- 
trict. He and Brother Bollinger gave of their leadership, 

History of Congregations 


and their pastoral care and counsel gave stability to the 
work through the difficult years of the depression. 

In 1929 the church purchased from the German Baptist 
people (not the German Baptist Brethren) the building now 


occupied. It was their old church building, and is located 
at 1229 East Prospect Street. The church property now 
includes a lot about eighty-seven by ninety-nine feet. 
The two lots west of the church were purchased in 1939. 

The church advanced rapidly and began to reach many 
people who had had connection with our church before 
moving into the city. Also many people not having our 
church background were contacted and brought into the 
church's fellowship. Through revival services and personal 
work many have been touched and brought into the church 
by baptism until the membership has passed the one hun- 
dred mark. 

116 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Charles Tombaugh and Gerald Munn were called to the 
office of deacon on June 19, 1932. Brethren Earl Cheal, 
George Jehnzen, and Jeremiah N. Holsinger are also dea- 
cons in the congregation. Brother and Sister Wayne Hol- 
singer were installed into the deaconship on March 7, 1943. 
He is the grandson of Elder L. T. Holsinger, who served in 
the district for several years while living at Brethren, 

The church licensed David Geiman Young, son of the 
present pastor, to the ministry on April 21, 1940. He was 
installed one year later, on May 4, 1941. He is a graduate 
of La Verne College, and also served the La Verne church 
as minister of music for a period while in college. 

The part-time pastoral program was begun in Septem- 
ber 1938. Under this plan Bro. Walter M. Young of Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary, Chicago, served as student pastor 
for three years. The church decided then to inaugurate a 
full-time pastoral program on September 1, 1941, and called 
Brother and Sister Young to the pastorate. He is now the 
pastor and presiding elder. 

In the summer of 1943 the church undertook to make 
some needed improvements on the old building. The present 
church building, which is not adequate for the present 
needs, must serve the group for the duration of the war. A 
building fund has been started, and plans for a new build- 
ing are now under consideration. In view of the fact that 
no building program could be initiated immediately, the 
work of making the building more conducive to worship 
was undertaken. We can give only a few details of the 
work accomplished during the summer. The trustee board 
outlined and supervised the work. It was planned to work 
in the evening, and to call for volunteer help. So from 
June to October there was a crew of men on hand from 
three to four nights each week. Many hours of work were 

History of Congregations 117 

donated. The fellowship of laymen working together on 
church projects has much value. As usual, a very hard 
task came at the beginning of the job, for putting a bridge 
construction between the ceiling and the rafters in order 
to straighten the sag in the roof was the hardest and the 
hottest work. After this was done, new shingles were put 
on the roof. Those were the things needed most. Then 
the improvement on the interior began. The chancel was 
plastered and indirect lighting was installed. The floor 
was sanded and reflnished. New carpet was laid in the 
chancel and the aisles, under the sponsorship of the ladies' 
aid. A temporary partition was put across the auditorium, 
which provides for an entrance room. The whole interior 
was redecorated. All of these improvements have aided 
in making the building more attractive and more conducive 
to worship. While there is need for a new building, still the 
people are proud that this has been done. 

A fifteenth anniversary program planned for October 
was an incentive to make the foregoing improvements. It 
gave a goal toward which to strive. Clearing the church 
property of all indebtedness with a formal service of burn- 
ing the papers on Sunday, October 10, 1943, was a definite 
achievement. This, along with the work, caused great 
rejoicing. It was planned as a significant part of the fif- 
teenth anniversary program, which continued for three 
week ends. The visiting speakers who helped to make 
these services a success were: Brother W. W. Slabaugh and 
Brother Jesse Ziegler, both of Bethany Biblical Seminary; 
and Sister Anna Hutchison, missionary on furlough from 
China. Their messages were encouraging and challenging 
to the people. 

The church at the present time is endeavoring to serve 
the group of young men and their wives of the detached 

118 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Civilian Public Service unit at Michigan State College at 
East Lansing. 

The women's work council, organized as the ladies' aid, 
has been functioning regularly from the beginning. The 
church school is co-operating with the Lansing Council of 
Churches in the advancement of Christian education. The 
B.Y.P.D. has been organized for many years, but it is only 
within the past two years that they have contributed liber- 
ally to the Youth Serves program of the district and the 
brotherhood. The men's work council is sponsoring several 
of the national projects — the 1007c Gospel Messenger club 
and others. 

With the help of faithful and earnest workers, and with 
the help of Almighty God, the work of this church will yield 
a far-reaching influence in the capital of this great state. 


This was a very early church in the district, located in 
Emmet County. The congregation was organized about 
1882. From the Gospel Visitor one can read of the work 
and the families who settled there. Brother Martin Cos- 
ner was the elder. John Noss and Isaiah Stutsman were 
the deacons. 

There was no church building in which to hold services 
at this place. The meetings were held in a schoolhouse. 
They had a big tent to set up for communion occasions. 
District meetings were held soon after the work had been 

An interesting story may help to describe the very first 
activities of the Brethren here. Isaac Hufford and his wife 
attended a communion held in Brother Martin Cosner's 
barn as early as August 1886. They lived about ten miles 
north of Harbor Springs, and their land probably touched 

History of Congregations 119 

Lake Michigan. Brother Cosner's family and his son-in-law 
and family came from Virginia. The Samuel Weimer fam- 
ily, an early Brethren family who had moved from West 
Virginia, lost three children because of diphtheria. Since 
the snow was so deep that the people could not get out 
to a cemetery the bodies were buried in the yard until 

Brother and Sister Weimer were active workers during 
the time they were there. He was elected to the ministry 
and served the church well. Of course his was a free 

One time when Lyman Wilcox and Daniel Kniesley were 
sawing wood they were talking about the Scriptures, and 
suddenly one said, "Let's be baptized!" The other one 
said, "Shake hands on it!" The following Sunday they 
were baptized in Lake Michigan near Brother Cosner's farm. 
A large boulder marks the place where they knelt for 
prayer. Lyman Wilcox later served as deacon. Daniel 
Kniesley was elected to the ministry. He was a great Bible 
student. He and Isaac Hufford often talked on the scrip- 
tural truths until two o'clock in the morning. 

There are no members living in this particular section 


It was in the spring of 1909 that Daniel Landis and fam- 
ily moved from Indiana to Manistee, Michigan. The follow- 
ing spring D. E. Sower and family of southern Michigan, 
Z. L. Bussear and family, and William Landis and his wife 
of Ohio moved into the vicinity of Manistee. These people 
had not been previously acquainted, but were soon fast 
friends. They started a Sunday school and preaching serv- 
ice in the Lasell schoolhouse, with the permission of the 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


school board. Brother D. E. Sower was the minister. In 
June the first convert was baptized in Long Lake. 

During the holiday season, Brother J. E. Ulery held a 
ten-day Bible class, which closed January 1, 1911. On the 
same day three young people were baptized in Long Lake. 
On April 8, 1911, the members met in the home of Brother 
Sower to organize a church body; the acting chairman 
and the clerk were Elders John Lair of Sugar Ridge and 
J. E. Ulery of Onekama. They chose Long Lake, which was 
the name of the lake in which the four had been baptized, 
for the church name. The chosen officers were: elder, J. E. 
Ulery; pastor, D. E. Sower; deacons, William Landis and 
Z. L. Bussear; clerk, John Landis; treasurer, Z. L. Bussear. 
There were fifteen charter members, thirteen of whom are 
still living. 

D. E. Sower was advanced to the eldership on August 26, 
1911, at the home of William Landis. Elders John Lair 
and J. E. Ulery were the officiating ministers. In October 
1912 D. E. Sower was chosen to act as elder-in-charge. 

History of Congregations 121 

The first series of meetings was held in August 1913, fol- 
lowing the district meeting. The district tent was used, 
and Brother Charles Deardorff of Harlan, Michigan, was 
the evangelist. About that time there was some objection 
to the group using the schoolhouse for church services. 
Then, too, they were needing more classrooms and more 
comfortable seating facilities. This all led to the consider- 
ation of a church building. After much discussion and 
prayer, they mobilized their strength, both physical and 
financial, to the task. The three who served on the solicit- 
ing committee were D. E. Sower, John Landis and Dollie 
Shepherd. All the work was donated by members and 
friends, except nine dollars paid out for mason work on 
the flue. Under the capable and amiable leadership of 
Brother David Sower the building was completed with a 
debt of only one hundred dollars. This amount was raised 
at the dedication on September 6, 1914. Brother J. E. Ulery 
preached the dedicatory sermon. For about four years 
Brother Sower preached twice each Sunday, morning and 
evening. Services were also held at the Hyde schoolhouse, 
three miles east, and at Pelton's schoolhouse, seven miles 
south of the church. Brother Sower alternated his time 
at these places by making a trip of twenty miles one 
Sunday and thirty miles the next. That was in the horse- 
and-buggy days, but they were good days for the people 
enjoyed the church work. 

In September 1915 another revival was held at Freesoil 
(again using the district tent) , under the leadership of 
D. E. Sower and J. E. Ulery. Brother Ulery was the evan- 
gelist, and Sister Alma Wise was the chorister. These 
meetings were well attended and much appreciated. The 
series of meetings and the Bible classes resulted in bringing 
many into the church in those days. 

Brother Z. L. Bussear was chosen to the ministry; later 

122 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

he went with the Dunkard Brethren. Brother D. E. Sower 
served as pastor and elder from October 1912 to April 1919, 
with the assistance of Z. L. Bussear and M. F. Rozell. The 
Rozell family then moved to Ohio. Brother L. U. Kreider 
was elder from 1919 to 1922; when he moved from the state 
he was succeeded by Brother Granville Nevinger of Onek- 
ama, who served as elder from 1922 to 1924. Brother J. J. 
Hamm of Sugar Ridge was elder from 1924 to 1930. Brother 
J. E. Ulery moved back to Onekama from North Manches- 
ter, Indiana, and has served as elder from 1930 to the 
present time. In March 1923 Harvey Landis and family 
moved to Manistee from Johnsville, Ohio, and served as 
pastor from 1923 to 1929, then moved back to Ohio. Brother 
and Sister J. E. Joseph of Onekama served as summer 
pastors from 1930 to 1932. Brother and Sister F. E. Mallott 
served during the summer of 1933. The church was with- 
out a regular pastor in 1934 and 1935. Brother and Sister 
L. S. Brumbaugh were summer pastors in 1936 and 1937. 
They had no pastor in 1938. Since this time Brother H. H. 
Helman of North Manchester, Indiana, has given a consider- 
able amount of ministerial help to this church. 

During the years from 1911 to 1933 the membership ex- 
ceeded the one-hundred mark. Some of these members 
were received by letter, and more by baptism. Only a few 
families remain to carry on the work, but they are earnest 
workers doing what they can to advance the cause of Christ. 


The earliest members in this area held their membership 
in the Lake View and Harlan churches. For this reason 
the formation of a Brethren group at Marilla was retarded. 

Brother Hezekiah Grossnickle brought his family from 
Indiana in 1901. They located first at Brethren an( j later at 

History of Congregations 123 

Marilla. Brother Simon Eby also lived at Brethren and 
later located here. Both of these brethren served as deacons 
in the Marilla church. 

All the religious activities in this section were carried 
on by the Baptist people prior to the organization of our 
church. The church building was erected in 1897 by mem- 
bers of the First Baptist church of Cleon and Marilla. The 
work was done under the leadership of Rev. George Crook 


of Bear Lake, then the pastor in charge. The membership 
of the Baptist church at that time included the pioneer 
families of Marilla. We shall mention the following: Ed- 
ward Williams, George Patterson, F. P. Winters, Emerson 
Snyder, H. W. Studley, Ira Howes, Irving Clark, L. T. Hall, 
George Brimmer, and Reuben Nicols. Brother George Brim- 
mer was the church clerk for the Baptist organization. He 
is now the oldest living member of our church. The build- 
ing committee was composed of H. W. Studley, Reuben 
Nicols and Irving Clark. Much credit is due the untiring 

124 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

efforts of George Brimmer and Reuben Nicols in the com- 
pletion of the building. It was dedicated to God's work 
and use on May 26, 1899. A. F. Choate and George Crook, 
former pastors, were in charge of the service. 

The church work was carried on by the Baptist people 
until March 1904, when the building was leased to Hezekiah 
Grossnickle and J. Edson Ulery, both trustees of the Lake 
View Brethren church, for a term of five years. Sunday- 
school services were conducted on a union and community 
basis for a number of years with members of both church 
organizations participating. This set-up continued from 
1904 until January 1, 1913. The building was purchased 
from the Baptist organization on February 7, 1919. The 
property was then deeded to the Marilla congregation of 
the Church of the Brethren, which has functioned ever 

The church building has been open at all times for any 
religious activity regardless of faith or creed. Memorial 
services and temperance meetings have been held here 
many times. Funeral rites for a large per cent of the 
burials in the Marilla cemetery have been conducted from 
this church. In view of this fact, a community movement 
was started to make repairs and improvements which were 
much needed. A fine spirit of co-operation and Christian 
service prevailed in accomplishing the work. 

There was no regular pastor when the church was first 
organized. The pulpit was filled regularly by Brother 
J. Edson Ulery and others of the Lake View congregation. 
Brother Ulery then lived about midway between the Lake 
View and the Marilla church. He saw there was opportu- 
nity and need in the Marilla community, and he gave his 
personal assistance to the group of Brethren families there. 
He often encountered many hazards in making the trip to 
preach for them. The forest road to Marilla could easily 

History of Congregations 125 

be blocked by wind-fallen trees. Brother Ulery prepared 
for such circumstances by loading an ax, a saw, a log chain, 
and a cant hook into the buggy before he started on Sunday 
morning to conduct the services at Marilla. By his repeated 
use of these implements this road "through the choppins" 
became plainly marked and frequently used by others. 
Finally, in the early part of 1930, the workmen in the Ci- 
vilian Conservation Corps gave this road sufficient con- 
struction work to bring it on a par with other roads. They 
followed very nearly the course that Brother and Sister 
Ulery cleared and marked in their road-clearing trips to 
the Marilla church. 

After Brother Ulery located at Onekama, Brother Abram 
Hawbaker served as minister until his death. He had 
moved to Brethren in 1902 from North Dakota. A few 
years later he settled in the neighborhood of the Marilla 
church. Brother Hawbaker was an able evangelist and 
received frequent calls to hold meetings for other congre- 
gations. He was called upon to preach in almost all of 
the churches in Michigan. He passed to his reward while 
assisting the Bear Lake church, near Petoskey, in a re- 
vival meeting. He was stricken with appendicitis and died 
within two days. This was in December 1906. Thus the 
Marilla church lost a devoted and able leader. 

Brother Loren Moss (now of the Dunkard Brethren 
Church) served as minister here for a time. Brother For- 
rest Weller, while living at Harlan, devoted some time in 
ministering to the Marilla people. Brother George Funder- 
burg also served the group as leader in the ministry. Breth- 
ren Russell Weller, Charles Forror and Max Hartsough 
have been pastors since 1919. Brother Galen E. Barkdoll 
and family moved to the pastorate in 1938 from Nebraska. 
He and Sister Barkdoll are filling their place of responsi- 
bility very nobly. They have won the favor and goodwill 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


of the people in the community. They live in the farm 
parsonage which was donated to the district by Sister Cora 
Rau, a member of the Marilla church since 1913. 

It was in 1938 that Sister Rau 
and the members of her family 
announced their desire to pro- 
vide a parsonage for the Marilla 
church. Their farm of one hun- 
dred twenty acres was trans- 
ferred to the district mission 
board on condition that it be 
used as a farm for the Maril- 
la pastor. A project of remod- 
eling the house and of making 
improvements to all the build- 
ings demanded the full co-oper- 
ation of the organizations of the 
church. The young people, 
women and men all worked together over two years in 
getting all the work accomplished that was planned. Over 
seventy persons were happily occupied indoors and out- 
doors on the day that the new barn was erected. 

The church entered into another significant project in 
1941. This was in preparation for the district conference 
which convened there in August. The church building was 
placed on a new foundation. Men and boys donated one 
thousand hours of labor during February in making cement 
blocks for the basement wall. Homer Peters, Lowell 
Wright, Lloyd Blickenstaff, Edward Lander and others who 
were in the community putting the Joseph farm in readi- 
ness to serve as the first government-approved Civilian 
Public Service camp added their muscle, wit, and good- 
will to both the parsonage and the church project through- 
out the duration of the camp farm at Marilla. By the time 

History of Congregations 


the conference convened, the church was ready to accom- 
modate the large number of people in attendance. The 
inspiration afforded by the entire conference was sufficient 
reward for the extra effort of remodeling the building. 
Five young people were received into the church on the 
Sunday preceding the district meeting, and the conference 
blessed the Marilla church and community in many ways. 
Brother Hezekiah Grossnickle, a charter member who had 
attended thirty-three consecutive district meetings, did not 
live to enjoy this 1941 conference in his home church. 

About 1925 the Marilla union Sunday school asked Rev- 
erend William Beers, a former pastor of the United Brethren 
church, to lead the school in the office of superintendent. 
He served the school and the community in this office for 
eighteen consecutive years. 
Through his years of experi- 
ence in pastoral work, his zeal 
in the temperance cause, and 
his skill as an energetic organ- 
izer, he has given the local 
school a very excellent type of 
counsel and help. His concern 
about civic affairs has been 
county- and state-wide. The 
contribution of his family to 
church life and community in- 
terests in Marilla has been an 
immeasurable influence for the 
Brethren church there. 

The Marilla aid society has 
become one of the most pro- 
gressive units of the church. It was reorganized on a com- 
munity basis in 1931. This group has taken a very definite 
lead in planning and providing improvements for the church 


128 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

property. Through the aid society a spirit of community 
fellowship and goodwill has been created and cultivated. 

Another illustration of the community goodwill unique 
in the Marilla field comes to light in the gradual growth 
of the community sale. This is sponsored by the men's 
group. The proceeds are for the benefit of the church 
treasury. A summary of the results of their fourth an- 
nual sale will show the type of co-operation and the groups 
contributing to its success. A canvass was made of the 
homes of the neighborhood. The date was November 17, 
1944, and the place was the Marilla two-room school. The 
people pledged poultry, canned goods, grain, vegetables, 
etc., to be placed in the sale. The ladies' aid furnished sup- 
per in the basement of the school and displayed their year's 
achievement of needlework, rugs and comforts. The pro- 
ceeds from the supper went to the ladies' aid society, while 
the amount of the general sale went into the church treas- 
ury. The junior classes did their part in the sale, and what 
they had donated and sold amounted to forty dollars. This 
was designated for the new chimney. 

There are fifteen families on the church list. The fifty- 
one listed members constitute farm wage-earners, teachers, 
and industrial workers. With all the factors that enter into 
such a rural community church, the Marilla members should 
be commended for their accomplishments through the 
years. The nearest adjoining church is seven miles away. 
This church deserves to be the center for which all the talent 
in the community can be utilized for the cause of righteous- 


The history of the Midland church covers less than three 
decades. The first Brethren family to locate in this city 
was Brother Jesse M. Fradenburgh's. They moved from 

History of Congregations 129 

the Beaverton congregation about 1918. Activities in 
church work by our own people got under way about five 
years later. Since the distance to Beaverton was too great 
for them to attend there, because they had no means of 
travel, the Fradenburgh family attended a union Sunday 
school sponsored by the Methodist Church. He served as 
their superintendent. In 1923, during an evangelistic ef- 


fort by the Methodist church, a large number of the con- 
verts gave the Brethren church as their preference. These 
new members together with the seven others who were 
living in Midland got busy and organized a Sunday school 
of the Church of the Brethren. A schoolhouse no longer 
used for school purposes was rented, and the Sunday school 
was organized on January 10, 1924. There was a baptismal 
service held on March 16, 1924, for those who wished to 
unite with the church. The number had grown from nine, 
all old members except Brother Fradenburgh and wife, to 
about twenty-five. 

130 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

After the organization was effected, they secured Brother 
Samuel Burger of Auburn, Indiana, to come and hold a 
series of meetings. 

The old school building was purchased in June 1928. It 
was a crude affair, but it tended to centralize the efforts 
of the little group of members. It was not long until senti- 
ment and dire need caused them to seek a new location. 
The present site was purchased in 1933, and after much 
faith and hard labor, the new building was dedicated on 
June 28, 1936. Brother J. Edson Ulery of Onekama had 
charge of the service. An attendance of more than two 
hundred fifty people, coming from Beaverton, Shepherd, 
and other churches, enjoyed the fellowship. 

In June 1926 Brother Harry Stern and Brother Jesse 
Fradenburgh were called to the office of deacon. Others 
who were elected to the deaconship are Brother and Sister 
Harry Ray, Brother and Sister Henry Fisher, and Brother 
and Sister James Rhinehart. 

Brother John Van Meter moved into the congregation in 
1926, and assumed most of the ministerial duties. The 
preaching was done by other ministers who happened to 
come that way or who were requested to come. Brother 
Jesse M. Fradenburgh was called to the ministry in March 
1931. Brother Galen Ogden served as summer pastor in 
1939, and Brother Olden Mitchell in 1940. Both of these 
ministers were from Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago. 

Brother and Sister Boyd Dickey accepted the call of the 
church and entered the pastorate in September 1941. He 
was a graduate of Bethany. In his coming the church had 
the services of a full-time pastor for the first time. He 
remained with them one year, and left to serve a church 
in Pennsylvania. 

Brother and Sister Walter J. Heisey of North Manchester, 

History of Congregations 131 

Indiana, succeeded Brother Dickey as pastor. At the time 
of their coming the church decided to purchase a property 
at 1115 Mill Street for a parsonage at a cost of three thou- 
sand six hundred dollars. This new venture created ex- 
traordinary interest. Brother Heisey served them two 
years. He resigned his work here to accept the call of the 
Flint church to become their pastor. His services in the 
church and the community gave a new impetus to Brethren 

After the Heiseys left, a call was given to Brother and 
Sister Lyle M. Klotz, who were serving the church at Minne- 
apolis, Minnesota. They accepted and entered the pastorate 
in September 1944. Under their leadership the work is pro- 
gressing with renewed interest. 

The section of the city around the church has been built 
up considerably in the past few years. Church attendance 
and membership have been increasing. The church has been 
active in the work of the brotherhood. The women's work 
organization is very active and has helped in relief sewing, 
canning and other service activities. The men's work 
council is sponsoring the heifers-for-relief project. Four 
heifers have been donated already. 

The church has also assumed more leadership in commu- 
nity church affairs in recent years. This has widened the 
influence of our own church. It has members on the City 
Council of Religious Education. Our last three ministers 
have served as secretary-treasurer of the Midland Minis- 
ters' Association. 

At the present time the Midland church is contributing 
its influence and support in promoting church work in Sagi- 
naw, Michigan. The people are holding meetings with 
members in that city. The members there are hoping to 
establish a permanent organization. Brother and Sister 
Klotz are sharing their time in preaching and ministering 

132 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

to the group there. The Flint church is also participating 
in this church extension work. These churches are render- 
ing a service now that will doubtless result in the establish- 
ment of another church in Michigan. 

What has been written does not convey all the achieve- 
ments of the different organizations of the Midland church. 
This is a field where the Brethren people will have a large 
opportunity to promote the kingdom of God in the years 
that lie ahead. 


The first church activity was begun at this place in July 
1937, by organizing a Sunday school. Two elders, Brother 
Charles Forror and Brother Claude Trombley, were present 
to help effect the organization. (There is a possibility that 
meetings had been held here about twenty years earlier.) 
There were thirteen members living in Muskegon at the 
time the Sunday school started. However, there were other 
people living there whose Brethren background gave them 
the desire for a church home in Muskegon. F. O. Morrell 
was chosen Sunday-school superintendent. 

Church services were soon held in addition to the Sunday 
school. Brother Trombley preached during August and the 
early part of September, and as a result baptized four. In 
October 1937 Brother L. W. Shafer became acquainted with 
the members and responded to the need by preaching for 
them on Wednesday evenings. Brother Elmer Leckrone 
assisted by preaching a few Sundays. On September 10 
Brother Shafer baptized three, and about a week later 
Brother Leckrone baptized one. So the work began to grow. 

About December 1, 1937, Brother L. W. Shafer began 
preaching regularly. He made the trip of one hundred 
forty-five miles nearly every week end. He held the first 

History of Congregations 133 

series of meetings there from January 30 to February 13, 
1938. There were ten received into the church by baptism 
as a result of the meetings. 

On March 19, 1938, the church was organized. The elders 
present were J. F. Sherrick and Charles Spencer. The 
meeting was held in the Muskegon Township hall on Ap- 
ple Avenue, which was the place of future meetings over 
a period of time. There were twenty-eight charter mem- 
bers. All were living in Muskegon at the time except one. 
L. W. Shafer of Durand was chosen as the elder and pastor, 
and continued serving them until 1942. Mrs. Shafer also 
accompanied her husband when she was able. She was in- 
terested in the women's work and helped the women to 
organize in February 1938. The group has been doing ex- 
cellent work ever since. 

The first communion was held in the fall of 1938. Brother 
Fradenburgh of the Midland church was present to officiate. 
Brother E. S. Coff man, acting as brotherhood evangelist, 
held a one-week meeting, also in the fall of 1938. In the 
summer of 1940 Brother David O. Schechter was the sum- 
mer pastor. That same year Brother Cornelius Hagle came 
to help them. He was employed in Grand Haven then, but 
would come each Sunday and help out by playing the piano 
for the services. He was the only deacon in the congrega- 
tion. He would conduct the services in the infrequent ab- 
sence of the pastor, Brother Shafer. 

The membership on May 1, 1940, was forty. Plans were 
soon made to raise money and to purchase a plot of ground 
on which the church could be built. When a Sunday school 
was first organized it was held in the homes. Then after 
a few Sundays a hall was rented. Those were trying years 
and trying times, but under the faithful and unselfish lead- 
ership of Brother Shafer, who came over from Pontiac 
where he was employed, the membership gradually in- 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

creased. He was eager to bring the Word of God to the 
faithful few who worshipped there. 

Business meetings were held semiannually. At the 
spring meeting in April 1941 plans were discussed and 
made for a church basement on the lots previously pur- 
chased on Catherine Avenue, three blocks south and one and 


one-half block west of the township hall. On May 24, 1941, 
a few of the members met on the church lot to begin the 
foundation. Sister L. W. Shafer, the pastor's wife, had the 
honor of throwing the first shovelful of ground. On June 
9, 1941, they began laying the blocks of the wall. The men 
of the church did all the work on the basement and added a 
flat temporary roof. It was in this basement that the first 
church services were held on July 6, 1941. The dedication 
was on Sunday, August 10, 1941. Brother Ben R. Cross of 
La Porte, Indiana, gave the sermon in the morning. It 

History of Congregations 135 

was a day of delightful Christian fellowship for the people. 

Services continued in the basement for almost four 
years. In the meantime, members were active, and they 
began to plan for the completion of the auditorium. The 
need was realized for such a building program. Building 
priorities and building funds held up the plans a great deal. 
A priority application was rejected, but they learned that 
additions to church buildings were possible, providing the 
total amount of material and labor did not exceed a set 
figure for one year. That meant they could purchase ma- 
terial and continue the work on the church. Labor was 
donated by the men. They were soon busy again, spending 
several hours a week on the project. This, of course, was 
in addition to their regular work at their respective places 
of employment. 

In April 1942 Brother Shafer was called to take over 
the pastorate at Pontiac. Brother Cornelius Hagle was 
installed into the ministry on June 6, 1943, and has given 
much time to the church work at Muskegon. He took 
over the work until another pastor was called. 

Brother Elmer Leckrone was the summer pastor in 1942. 
At the next council meeting he was elected as pastor. He 
has carried on devotedly and untiringly with an aggressive 
spirit, always looking forward and upward for guidance. 

On April 11, 1943, Brother R. J. McRoberts was elected 
elder-in-charge, and he is still serving in that capacity. 

The members were looking forward with keen anticipa- 
tion to the dedication of their new house of worship. The 
work on the chapel has now been completed. It is a lovely 
light room that makes one feel the nearness of God. It is 
well equipped with new pews, pulpit and chairs. This new 
house of God has been made possible by the work and 
sharing of the members. It will surely redound to the 
glory of God. 

136 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

On Sundav, Julv 29, 1945, the new sanctuarv was dedi- 
cated to God. The day was filled with many inspiring 
thoughts and messages. The pastor. Brother Elmer F. Leck- 
rone, acted as the general chairman. Brother J. Edson 
Ulery gave a sermon in the morning on The Evolution of 

The dedicatorv service was held in the afternoon. Broth- 
er Ulery preached the sermon, using for his subject. This 
House of Worship. Words of greeting were given by the 
former pastor, Brother L. W. Shafer, and by Brother Arthur 
E. Taylor, the district fieldman. Brother R. J. McRoberts 
had charge of the devotions. Special music was furnished 
by the women's and young people's choirs under the direc- 
tion of Brother Leckrone. Manv of the churches of Michi- 


gan and Indiana were represented. 

So amid the inspired wisdom of the speakers, the beauty 
and newness of the building, and the love and fellowship 
of believers was this new church of the district dedicated. 


The New Haven church was organized over sixty-five 
years ago. Brother Daniel Chambers became the first elder. 
He, with his family, consisting of his wife and three sons, 
John W., Daniel E., and Milton M., moved to the place 
which they developed near the present site of the New 
Haven church. When Brother Chambers moved from Bu- 
cyrus, Crawford County, Ohio, into Gratiot County, Michi- 
gan, there were only a few Brethren families living in what 
afterwards became the bounds of the New Haven church. 
Some of these folks had come into this section about 1855. 
A few of these people had settled near North Star. 

Services were held in schoolhouses until the church 
building was erected. The lot for the church was pur- 
chased in 1887 from Eliezer Bosserman and wife. 

History of Congregations 


i !| 


Through correspondence with the Primitive Christian 
and the Brethren at Work, publications of our brotherhood, 
and through private correspondence with those who were 
anxious to secure homes in a Brethren environment and 
to be of assistance in establishing the Brethren Church, a 
number of families located in the newly developing country. 
Among the families were those of Elder John Brillhart, 
Philip Probst, and James Richard of Crawford County, 
Ohio. The latter were deacons. About this time Brother 
Jesse Sherrick and others with families settled at what was 
known as North Star. Among the families who moved 
into the neighborhood of the New Haven church were those 
of David White, Moses Brillhart, George Stone, Jacob Kep- 
ner, Reuben Yutzey, S. A. Ritter, Jacob Tombaugh, Eman- 
uel Bollinger, Fred Kleinhan, Barnhart Shrider, William 
Smith, Robert McMillan, George Emerick, Frank Huffman, 
William Sower, and H. D. Plott. 

The church was strengthened and built up by the evan- 
gelistic work and the fellowship of the older churches even 

138 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

though they were fifty or sixty miles away. Some other 
churches were started from this congregation. It was 
characteristic in those early days for churches to have sev- 
eral houses in one congregation. From here church activ- 
ity was begun at North Star and at Crystal. In 1901 the 
Crystal church was organized. This made the New Haven 
church much smaller. 

In 1903 Elder C. L. Wilkins and family were received by 
letter, and he was elder-in-charge for several years. Elder 
D. E. Sower and family moved into the church about 1919 
and were residents a short time. Elder J. F. Sherrick and 
family moved from North Star to a farm near the New 
Haven church about 1910. 

In 1919 the church house burned to the ground and some 
papers which contained very valuable records were de- 
stroyed. In the following year a more modern building was 
erected. Elder C. H. Deardorff, elder-in-charge at the time, 
preached the dedicatory sermon. The building is free from 

The church school has been a vital part of this church. 
It has functioned efficiently for many years. The leaders 
there have always increased the standards in Christian edu- 
cation as instituted by our general brotherhood. Sister Lois 
Sherrick, who has served as Sunday-school secretary for the 
district and who is a member of the board of Christian ed- 
ucation, has contributed much to the success of this church 
school. The church is splendidly situated in a rural com- 
munity in which it may come in contact with many families. 

Preaching services have been a spiritual force through 
the years. The free ministry has always been the regular 
plan used here. Brother J. F. Sherrick was elder-in-charge 
for many years. Brother J. J. Cook is now the presiding eld- 
er. He and his family moved to a farm home near Middle- 
ton in 1941. He is the principal of the Middleton high school 

History of Congregations 


and gives his ministry free to the church. Brother Jacob 
Dick of Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago, was the sum- 
mer pastor in 1940. His service and leadership gave much 
inspiration to the people. 

Delbert Cook, son of J. J. Cook, was licensed to the minis- 
try in August 1943. At the same meeting Brother and Sis- 
ter Burton Sherrick and Brother and Sister Robert Cramer 
were elected to the deacon's office. 

This is a thriving rural church. It is located in a com- 
munity where its spiritual influence will be lasting. 


There were a few members located in New Haven Town- 
ship, Gratiot County, about 1856. The church here was a 
branch of the New Haven congregation. A new log church 
building was erected sometime between 1885-1889. The 
members who lived in the area of this church were M. M. 


140 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Sherrick, David E. Sower, Samuel Bollinger, and J. F. Sher- 
rick and their families. All of these men were elected to the 
ministry while they were living here. These became prom- 
inent leaders, and are still ministering. Brother Daniel 
Chambers, elder of the New Haven church, also ministered 

There was a frame building moved onto this site about 
1900. It was located three miles east of Ithaca, the county 
seat of Gratiot County, and was built to accommodate the 
families of members who had settled in that locality. Those 
were horse-and-buggy days, and the distance was too great 
for the people to go to the New Haven church, which was 
thirteen miles south of Ithaca. Services were discontinued 
here around 1910, because the members could then attend 
the New Haven church. The building was sold to the Meth- 
odist people, and it was moved away in 1915. 


Here is a church that has given continuous support to the 
district program. It has maintained high standards of Chris- 
tian living in a tourists' village. The author realizes that 
much history has transpired here that has failed to reach 
the pages of this book. 

In the autumn of 1902 Dr. Garry Sadler of Waddams 
Grove, Illinois, came to Manistee County to look for a loca- 
tion for health as well as a practice. Then in the spring of 
1903 the family located in Onekama. About this time the 
Lake View church was organized, which included all of 
Manistee County. In the spring of 1906 Dr. Sadler made a 
professional call to see J. Edson Ulery, who at that time 
lived near Brethren, Michigan. When pay was offered for 
the call (a drive of forty miles) Dr. Sadler's reply was: "It 
can only be paid in preaching." Accordingly, Brother Ulery 

History of Congregations 


in the month of March held a week's Bible study in the 
Congregational church at Onekama. The doctor paid 
the janitor, light and fuel bill. The next month, April 1906, 
Brother Ulery and his family of five moved to Onekama. 
The Congregational church, not having a pastor, asked him 
to preach, and for three years a splendid union service was 
enjoyed. Meanwhile, because of additions by baptism and 


others moving in, it was thought best that arrangements 
should be made whereby services might be held, as Brother 
Ulery states it, "under our own vine and fig tree." 

The church was organized in 1908. The assigned territory 
included the west end of Manistee County. Brethren 
George Deardorff and John Lair aided in the organization. 
In the fall of 1910 a lot was purchased for a building site. 
Dr. Sadler paid cash in order that the lot might be held 
until the time when the church could be built. It was not 
his privilege to see the new building, because he died that 

142 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

On June 25, 1911, the church house was dedicated. It was 
a building that had a good auditorium and a good basement, 
and it was well equipped for church school purposes. Dr. 
M. M. Sherrick preached the dedicatory sermon. 

Thus was the beginning of the Brethren church in Onek- 
ama. The church record contains the names of many who 
have united with the church by baptism as well as by let- 
ter. The Onekama church was greatly weakened in mem- 
bership by the industrial movement. As many as twenty- 
eight letters were granted at one business meeting. The 
church was never large in membership, but it was always 
active in the work of the Master. 

The deacons that served the church earlier were F. M. 
Buckingham, Roy Whitehouse, J. E. Erickson, George Bow- 
man, Howard Deal and David Joseph. On October 17, 1940, 
John C. Joseph and Daniel E. Deal were elected deacons. 

Brother J. Edson Ulery, the present elder and pastor, has 
been exceedingly faithful in ministering to the whole com- 
munity for many years. You will be interested in the fol- 
lowing account. Mr. Keddie, editor of a Manistee County 
paper, has a popular lecture which he calls A Manistee 
County History Quiz. One of the questions which he asks 
is "What man in our county is credited as being the main 
leader in the organization of five Sunday schools in our 
county?" While the audience is trying to recall the answer, 
Mr. Keddie strokes his face in the manner of a man stroking 
his beard. This becomes the clue that enables somebody 
to answer, "J. Edson tilery." This is the correct answer. 
He led in organizing Sunday schools at Brethren, Harlan, 
Onekama, Long Lake, and Marilla. This is an outstanding 
achievement. It would be impossible to relate all the im- 
portant work of the church and the kingdom that Brother 
Ulery has done both in his district and in churches outside 
this district. 

History of Congregations 143 

The Onekama church is located in the midst of a popular 
resort and retreat region. The summer church services in- 
clude many guests and strangers that enter the house of 
worship on the Lord's Day. The pulpit is often occupied 
by some guest speaker. 

The church is privileged to have many capable leaders 
to give advancement to its various organizations. Espe- 
cially is it blessed with children's leaders. Sister Grace 
Deal Showalter, who is a member of the district historical 
committee, was elected to the ministry here in 1928. She 
is serving on the district children's cabinet. Sister Ulery has 
been faithful in working with the women of the church. 
The church has developed many efficient leaders of youth 
who have served on the district B.Y.P.D. cabinet. 

Brother John E. Joseph was a minister who moved into 
the congregation in 1917. He labored in the ministry here 
and passed away in December 1944. Brother Howard Deal 
was elected to the ministry on September 28, 1939, and has 
given free ministry to the Onekama church. David Joseph 
was also elected to the ministry here. 

Fire destroyed the entire church building on Sunday 
afternoon, February 17, 1946. This disaster puts a great 
hardship upon the congregation. Unquestionably the people 
will unite with a willing spirit to reconstruct a house of 
worship that will be adequate for future needs. A memorial 
fund was started a few years ago in honor of Brother and 
Sister Edson Ulery's forty years of ministerial service in 
Manistee County. This memorial fund will be augmented 
by a financial campaign to begin immediately in order to 
raise the amount needed for the new building. The church 
is also inaugurating plans to commemorate the fiftieth an- 
niversary of Brother Ulery's election to the ministry on 
August 15, 1946, as a closing climax to the fund-raising cam- 
paign. In the meantime the Congregational church there 

144 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

has graciously made available their church building for 
the Brethren to conduct services until they can rebuild. 


In the spring of 1906 Brother S. D. Lovegrove and Brother 
L. F. Lovegrove, both of Jonesboro, Tennessee, came to the 
North to seek a location where they might establish their 
homes. They later moved their families and settled in the 
neighborhood of Ozark, Michigan, in the upper peninsula. 
A few years passed rapidly in the new, unsettled country. 
Then a small group gathered in the Ozark schoolhouse and 
began a Sunday school. Brother S. D. Lovegrove was the 
first superintendent. These were days in which those com- 
mitted to the Christian way of life persevered to carry on 
the work of the Master. 

A Baptist preacher, Rev. T. E. Wells of New York, spent 
a short time with the people there. Later they had with 
them Rev. Stone, a Methodist preacher, to assist in Sunday- 
school work and preaching services. The Brethren people 
were not satisfied until they could be in charge of the 
work themselves. 

In the summer of 1925 Brother E. E. Eshelman, district 
fieldworker, labored with them, and returned the next sum- 
mer to help them in the services that were then held in 
the Ozark schoolhouse. 

Brother John E. Wells came from Saskatchewan, Can- 
ada, in August 1926. He moved there to become the prin- 
cipal of the public school. Being a Brethren minister he 
conducted the first revival in the community. Twelve young 
folks accepted Christ. Brother Wells taught a mission study 
class during the first year. The same summer, Sisters Vel- 
ma Clannin and Helen Forney came and conducted the first 
daily vacation Bible school ever held in that section. 

History of Congregations 145 

Brother E. E. Eshelman and Brother Samuel Bowser came 
on October 13, 1926, for the purpose of organizing the church. 
At that time Rollin Lovegrove was installed into the min- 
istry. Brethren E. A. Ball and Cecil Lovegrove were elected 
as deacons. 

Reuben Boomershine, fieldworker for the district, held a 
meeting in which fourteen were baptized. Then Brother 
J. E. Wells began as pastor and elder. This was in August 


1927. That summer a young people's organization was 
started, and they met for worship and discussion. 

The first communion service was held in the Ozark school- 
house in September 1927. Brother and Sister I. G. Blocher 
of Greenville, Ohio, were there and assisted in the service. 
At that time there were twenty-one members. 

A building program was launched in May 1928. Brother 
J. E. Wells was chosen to solicit for the building fund. Then 
in July 1928 the schoolhouse was bought for $150.00 and 
used for church purposes. On May 12, 1929, Brother Samuel 

146 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Bowser of the Elmdale church came to assist in finding a 
location for the church building. The church voted to 
locate on Brother L. F. Lovegrove's farm. One and one-half 
acre of land in a maple grove was purchased for the church 
site. In the spring of 1932 the schoolhouse was moved to 
the church grounds and placed on a concrete foundation. 
On September 25, 1932, Brother I. G. Blocher preached the 
dedicatory sermon. His text was chosen from Matthew 
16: 18, "Upon this rock I will build my church." It was an 
all-day meeting and a large group enjoyed the fellowship. 

Paul Lovegrove, son of S. D. Lovegrove, was licensed to 
preach in the fall of 1941 and relicensed in 1942. At the 
same meeting Earl Funderburg was licensed to the min- 
istry. Both of these brethren were installed into the min- 
istry on August 1, 1943. Earl Funderburg moved to a farm 
at Homestead, and became pastor of the church there in 
April 1944. He was a good leader in the Sunday school 
and with the youth of the church. The Ozark people were 
reluctant to release him to go to a new field. 

In November 1932 Brother Charles Forror of Brethren 
held an evangelistic meeting in which seven came out for 
Christ. He returned the following year for another meeting. 
In the fall of 1934 Brother I. G. Blocher held a week's meet- 
ing and five were added to the church. Sister Elma Rau 
of Beaverton conducted the song service during those meet- 
ings, and her work was inspiring and helpful to all. 

Leon Telgenhoff was installed into the ministry by mem- 
bers of the district ministerial board and since then has 
gone to labor in other fields in another denomination. Broth- 
er J. E. Wells labored here faithfully as pastor and elder 
until he went to another city of the upper peninsula in 
1941. Brother John L. Van Meter succeeded him. He 
moved here from Midland in June 1942. The church had 

History of Congregations 147 

been without ministerial help for several months until he 
and his family located here. 

This church, being isolated from all of our other churches, 
has done some remarkable service in the community which 
it serves. It is now free of debt. The building is in need of 
some repairs which will make it more adequate for church 
purposes. Many young men of the community have been 
called to serve their country; this fact places more responsi- 
bility upon the few who remain. So this little rural group 
of Brethren are finding Christian fellowship as they pro- 
mote the cause of Christ in a difficult section of our district. 


The first Church of the Brethren in Pontiac, Michigan, 
started as a small Sunday school at the home of Brother 
and Sister Enoch J. Ebey, in July 1920. The following ac- 
count is quoted from the thesis of their son, Robert Ebey, 
who was called to the ministry in this church. 

When the Ebeys moved to their home at 139 North Jessie Street in 
1920, the nearest churches were the large downtown churches. The 
"East Side," as it was called, did not have the best reputation. A 
few years later when some of the church men had picked out the 
desired church lot the real estate man forcefully remarked, "You 
don't want to build a church in that neighborhood. You wouldn't 
get anyone to come." This East Side community could hardly have 
been called religious. But one major characteristic of this part of 
town was a tremendous asset in the growth of the church. This was 
the great community spirit which prevailed. "We all worked to- 
gether" was a common remark. The neighborhood turned out for 
every community activity. Before the coming of the Church of the 
Brethren there was no East Side church to bind the people together 

-NOTE: Permission has been granted bv Robert Ebey. a ministerial student 
at Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago, to quote several paragraphs from his 
thesis. Pioneering of the Brethren in Michigan. The author desires to give 
him due credit, because it is his home church and in giving the account 
many interesting experiences as he remembered them from his youth are 
related which otherwise would have been omitted from this history. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The Ebey home in Pontiac had always been a meeting place for the 
neighborhood children. While the Ebey family was living in North 
Manchester, Indiana, Louise had become enthusiastic over their 
Junior League, and since there were so many children of all ages 
in Pontiac, she started a similar program there. The children en- 
joyed the stories so much that they soon brought their parents. The 
children called it "Ebey's Church," but Mr. Ebey stressed the title, 
"The Brethren Sunday School." 

■ : , " ■■■■-.' 


Prayer meetings were started and were held quite regularly before 
the first Brethren church service was actually held. This first 
preaching service was held one Sunday evening during the summer 
of 1921 and was conducted by Rev. Charles Deardorff. The theme of 
his sermon was, "If you take a group of live coals and spread them 
out they grow dim and die in a short time, but if you rake them to- 
gether they glow and produce warmth." Nearly a hundred persons 
heard this sermon from the front lawn and porch of the Ebey home. 
Brother L. T. Holsinger held the first revival service in the Ebey 
home during January, 1922. As many as sixty-five were in the 
home at one time during these revival meetings. At the close of 
this revival meeting the first baptisms were administered by the 
Church of the Brethren in Pontiac and the first communion service 
was held. 

The writer can remember a few services in which the home actually 
overflowed with people. One service in particular, within his mem- 

History oj Congregations 149 

ory, was attended by so many people that the preaching was done 
from the front doorway with the preacher facing the house. The 
dining room, the living room, the kitchen and the bedroom were all 
full. The writer was with a group of youngsters sitting on the stair- 
steps peering out between the bars of the banister. More people 
were upstairs listening as best they could while still more persons 
were on the front porch and lawn. 

Many of the early prayer meetings were directed by ministers from 
the various Pontiac churches. At one of these the Nazarene min- 
ister who was in charge asked each individual to name the church 
to which he belonged. Mr. Ebey answered, "The Church of the 
Brethren." The minister asked him what creed they followed and 
his reply was, "The only creed we follow is the New Testament, but 
we follow such practices as feet washing and — " At that the min- 
ister threw up his hands and retorted, "Feet washing! Oh, there's 
nothing to that." But a good Mennonite woman effectively replied, 
"Well, if you don't think there's anything to feet washing you'd just 
ought to try it sometime." 

During the summer of 1922, the church lot was bought and an old 
school shack was purchased and torn down for building materials. 
Though only seven years old at the time, the author [Robert Ebey] 
has the pleasant memory of helping to pull nails and of doing other 
simple tasks which delight any boy. -Grandpa Crumrine, a car- 
penter, had started the building on July 3, 1922, but July 4th showed 
the greatest progress. Since it was a holiday from regular jobs, the 
men turned out in a body to build the church. They began at day- 
light and were served breakfast and dinner at the church by the 
women. By night the four walls were up, the floor joists were in, 
and they were ready for the rafters. On July 14, 1922, the first serv- 
ice was held in the church even though the windows and doors were 
not yet in. Several persons, too timid to come in, listened to the 
music and the sermon from the street. 

The church now is situated in one of the most desirable 
parts of the city, at 46 North Rose Lawn Drive, on a beauti- 
ful street, within a few blocks of" the junior high school 
building and within one block of the street accessible to city 

Brother John R. Snyder of Pennsylvania held the first 
services in the church building, beginning before the doors 
and windows were placed. At the time, July 1922, three 
were baptized. In September 1923 Brother George Mishler 

150 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

of South Whitley, Indiana, conducted a two-week revival, 
which resulted in twenty-nine conversions. In the spring 
of 1925 Brother George H. Killian conducted a revival, bap- 
tizing eight. In March 1924 Brother J. Edwin Jarboe held 
a revival which resulted in twenty-two conversions. The 
work of faithful leaders was producing a harvest. 

During May 1926 Brother Homer A. Schrock of Middle- 
bury, Indiana, conducted the dedicatory services for the 
new church. Brother C. L. Wilkins was the first elder. The 
ministers from Detroit served in the preaching program and 
in other ways during the beginning of the church. The 
young people of the Live Wire class have been of great serv- 
ice in building the church. By means of social activities and 
freewill offerings they have furnished money to provide 
comfortable chairs for the church in addition to furnishing 
very enjoyable work for the people of the community. 

The first daily vacation Bible school was directed by Sis- 
ters Helen Forney and Velma Clannin in August 1926. The 
enrollment was sixty-nine with an average attendance of 

The district and general mission boards have continued 
to encourage the Pontiac work by their financial support, 
services, and counsel, which are greatly appreciated by the 
people there. An unusual opportunity came to the congre- 
gation in 1933. Liquidation terms were negotiated with 
creditors of a certain Pontiac bank that held the mortgage. 
Church funds on deposit in this particular bank were re- 
leased in connection with the settlement. There was great 
rejoicing in the church when this opportunity was made 
available and a mortgage-burning service was held. 

Sister Mary L. Cook was secured as pastor of the Pon- 
tiac church and was duly installed by Elders L. H. Prowant 
and A. O. Mote, members of the district ministerial board, 
early in the summer of 1934. The work of the church moved 

History of Congregations 151 

forward in a very commendable manner under her able 

Brother Claude E. Trombley, who succeeded Sister Cook 
as pastor, left in January 1942 to a new field of service. 
Under his guidance and ministerial leadership the interest 
continued to increase. 


Brother L. W. Shafer, the present pastor and elder, be- 
gan in April 1942. The church is having a far-reaching in- 
fluence in the surrounding area, and he reports very good 
interest and attendance. 

During the last five years the following persons have been 
called into the leadership of the church. Brother Robert 
Ebey was licensed to preach, and on June 19, 1938, was 
installed into the ministry. John E. Miller and Galen 
Joseph were elected to the deacon's office. 

There has been considerable work done on the building 
since 1942. New wood has been placed on the side walls 

152 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

of both the church auditorium and the basement. A hard- 
wood floor in the auditorium, a concrete floor in the base- 
ment, church seats bought and refinished constitute other 
needed improvements. The total cost of the work was one 
thousand one hundred dollars. A special rededication serv- 
ice was held on September 24, 1944, with Brother V. F. 
Schwalm, president of Manchester College, giving the 

Here is a small group of members working in an industrial 
center to uphold the Christian doctrines as believed and 
taught by our beloved church. 


The first members of the Church of the Brethren to locate 
in Missaukee County were Moses Burkett and Margaret, his 
wife. They with their family moved there about 1888. 
At that time there was a Sunday school being held by the 
Methodists and the Presbyterians, and Brother Burkett 
took an active part in it. 

These members were not long in making their request 
to the mission board for preaching services. Accordingly 
such men as Isaiah Rairigh, S. M. Smith, John Smith, Peter 
B. Messner and George Stone were sent to supply their 
wants. Records show that in the fall of 1896 a minister 
(no name given) in the first degree located there and con- 
ducted services in the schoolhouse near by. 

The first love feast was held in Brother Burkett's home, 
and Brother J. M. Lair of Custer, Michigan, officiated. He 
was sent by the mission board. The work at that time was 
in the limits of the Sugar Ridge congregation, of which 
Elder Isaiah Rairigh had the oversight. The first council 
meeting was held on November 27, 1897. Fifteen members 
were present. The first Sunday school was organized in 

History of Congregations 153 

the summer of 1901. The church was organized into a 
congregation on December 30, 1902, near McBain with a 
membership of about twenty-five. Brother J. M. Lair was 
chosen the first elder. The house of worship was thirty by 
forty feet. It was built in 1903. 

Prayer meetings, singing schools and Christian Worker's 
meetings were a few of the activities of the church while 
it served the community. It was disorganized in 1925. 
The building was sold to the Holland Lutheran people, 


The Rodney church is situated three miles north and one 
mile east of the village of Rodney. Sometime late in the 
fall of 1880 Brother Matthew Holsworth, a member of the 
then-called German Baptist Brethren Church, from the 
West Thornapple congregation of Ionia County, moved to 
Rodney with his wife and family. They settled on an 
eighty-acre tract of timberland. The country being new, 
he with his wife, three sons and one daughter, began to 
hew out a home for themselves. 

Brother Holsworth was here about three years without 
contact with any of the Brethren. The loneliness of being 
away from the church made him resolve to visit the home 
church at Elmdale and attend the love feast in the fall of 
1883. Here he made known to the Brethren his desire for 
church privileges at Rodney. His request came to the at- 
tention of Brother David Baker, who soon informed Brother 
Zachariah Albaugh. Both of these brethren lived in the 
congregation then known as Saginaw, now called Elsie. 

Brethren Baker and Albaugh decided to go to Rodney 
for a week of meetings during the week of December 10, 
1883. This meeting resulted in the baptism of Brother Hols- 
worth's wife and Carl and Caroline Jehnzen, parents of 

154 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

William F. Jehnzen. At the close of the meetings, Brother 
Baker announced that he would return in January of 1884 
for another week of meetings. He was able to carry out 
his promise, which resulted in the baptism of Brother Hols- 
worth's daughter Lena and William F. and Emma Jehnzen. 
This was done in a body of water covered with two feet 


of ice. Brother Baker did much personal work and in- 
struction in matters pertaining to the Christian faith and 
the practices of the Brethren. 

In February of the year 1884 Brother Isaiah F. Rairigh 
from the East Thornapple church came and held three meet- 
ings over a Saturday and a Sunday. The church was prom- 
ised monthly meetings, but because of the snow blockade 
no meetings were held. Then again in April 1884 Brother 
George Stone from the New Haven church came and held 
three meetings on Saturday and Sunday. From this time 
on monthly meetings were held over a period of several 
years by ministers sent by the district mission board. 

History of Congregations 155 

In June 1886 the first communion was held in the Rodney 
church in an unfinished home. It was decided at this meet- 
ing to organize the church into a separate congregation. 
The members living in this section of the state did not 
belong to any of the other organized churches. The or- 
ganization was carried out with a charter membership of 
eighteen. A choice of a deacon resulted in the selection of 
Brother William F. Jehnzen. 

Sometime in 1887 or 1888 the congregation decided to 
undertake the building of a church house, with building 
material being at a low cost. The elder of the church took 
the matter up with the district mission board, who in turn 
consulted the General Mission Board, with the result that 
two hundred fifty dollars was given for the new building. 
The district mission board suggested a building twenty- 
six by forty feet in size. In 1889 the church was completed, 
excepting the plastering, and was thus dedicated. The 
church went forward in its new building for a number of 
years with church services and Sunday school. In 1897 
the church, being unable to secure an evangelist, prepared 
a paper for the district meeting asking that the district ap- 
point a state evangelist who would hold meetings in church- 
es requesting them. The petition was granted. Brother 
John M. Smith was appointed as the first evangelist. That 
same year he held a meeting in the Rodney church which 
resulted in the baptism of eleven young people from the 
families of the church. This church, organized almost sixty 
years ago, has baptized a large number of people. 

In March 1941 Brother and Sister L. H. Prowant came 
to the pastorate and rendered faithful service until his 
death in August 1945. The predecessor of Brother Prow- 
ant was Brother Ezra Flory. This was the last place of 
service before his active and helpful ministry came to an 

156 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

end. Brother Arthur Whisler now conducts Sunday services 
and ministers to the congregation since the death of Brother 

The death of Brother William F. Jehnzen, Sr., a charter 
member and a staunch supporter of the church from the 
beginning, occurred February 17, 1944. His passing was a 
great loss to the community. 

The church building was remodeled in 1945 to give better 
accommodations for the district conference which convened 
there in August of that year. 


The Shepherd Church of the Brethren was built four 
miles north of Shepherd by the Baptist denomination in 
1881. The cornerstone of the church was laid on June 29, 
1891, but the church was not ready for dedication until 
May 14, 1895. 

TY\e first load of stone for the church was hauled with a 
team of oxen driven by girls from the church. Logs were 
donated and sawed into lumber for the new building by the 
consecrated men who desired to see the kingdom go for- 
ward. The late Rev. A. P. McDonald supervised the build- 
ing of the church house. 

The Church of the Brethren bought the church building 
from the Baptists in 1915. It should be noted that the 
Brethren, through the district mission board, had had 
preaching once a month from 1910. The Brethren gained 
full possession of the building on July 1, 1915. 

Elder C. L. Wilkins, president of the district mission board 
at that time, was the first minister to respond to the opening 
of this field of work. Other ministers who visited the Shep- 
herd church while it was still a mission were Brethren Levi 

History of Congregations 


Baker and J. E. Albaugh of Elsie and David Sower and 
Joseph Sherrick of New Haven. 

While attending college at Mt. Pleasant, Brother Conway 
Tyson of McBain often came to Shepherd on Sunday and 
brought helpful messages. Brother Tyson held one series 
of meetings during the Christmas week, which resulted 
in two uniting with the church. 


The petition for a church organization was granted by the 
New Haven church. On April 10, 1915, under the direction 
of Brethren C. L. Wilkins and J. A. McKimmy, the Shepherd 
church was organized with sixteen charter members. 

Elder Harvey Stauffer and wife bought a farm near the 
church at the invitation of the mission board and the local 
church, and he became the first resident minister and elder. 
He was the presiding elder for many years. Reuben Boom- 
ershine served the church as pastor for two years — 1928 
to 1930. Rev. F. H. Barr in 1927, and Rev. Chester Baird in 
1934, each served as a summer pastor. Brother Charles A. 

158 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Spencer was called to the ministry here in August 1918 and 
was ordained to the eldership in 1922. He was the elder- 
in-charge for a number of years. Both Brother Stauffer 
and Brother Spencer have given their ministerial services 
without financial compensation. They worked their farms 
and gave their time to the Lord's work. Brother David P. 
Schechter and wife served the pastorate from April 1937 
to March 1942. 

The Shepherd church has grown through the years. 
Brother I. R. Beery of Pleasant Hill, Ohio, was their evan- 
gelist in April 1939; twenty-six united with the church. 

Two were licensed to the ministry at the council meet- 
ing on March 4, 1940: Brother David Oliver Schechter and 
Brother Glen Stauffer. By consent and vote of the church 
Brother Schechter was installed into the ministry at the 
Battle Creek church in April 1941. 

Pastors who have served in recent years are: Fred But- 
terbaugh, June to August, 1942; Ernest Jehnsen, September 
1, 1942, to August 31, 1943; Charles A. Spencer, September 
1, 1943, to June 1, 1944; Kenneth Hollinger, June to August, 
1944. A call was extended to Brother and Sister Ralph L. 
Fry of Northeastern Ohio, who accepted and began a full- 
time pastoral program September 1, 1944, to cover a three- 
year term of service. 

Through the years many improvements were made on 
the building. The basement was put under the church and 
a new furnace was installed in 1919. A little later came the 
electric lights and the division of the basement into class- 
rooms. Preparing for the district meeting, which was held 
in August 1939, caused the church to plan a number of im- 
provements that year. A well was drilled and the water was 
piped to the kitchen. A front stairway to the basement 
was put in. Drapes and a railing were placed around the 
pulpit platform. The furnace was moved from the center 

History of Congregations 


of the basement. A new material was put on the basement 
ceiling. The walls, ceiling and floors were painted. The 
district meeting brought a great blessing to the people. 
To the many of them who had never attended a district 
meeting it was a great inspiration. There was a splendid 
spirit of co-operation manifest among all in the community. 


The program commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary 
in 1940 marked a high light of that year. The celebration 
of one quarter of a century of active Christian service in 
a rural section of the district caused joy in the hearts of 
the members and friends of that church. The leadership of 
Brother and Sister David P. Schechter and their colaborers 
in arranging this program engendered a wonderful spirit 
of fellowship. 

More recently the church purchased new pews, and a 
hardwood floor was laid at the time the pews were installed. 
This was climaxed with a rededication service and a love 

160 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The church operates a farm-parsonage. The men's work 
group is cultivating the land. The proceeds of this project 
are used to give financial support to the pastor. This is the 
first rural church in our district to make this venture. 


The Sugar Ridge Church of the Brethren, situated just a 
short distance from Custer, was built in 1894. Sister Ella 
Williams, who is the only surviving charter member of this 
church, was also the first member of the church to find a 
residence in this community. She and her husband settled 
here about 1880. 

For some time they were without religious services. 
Joined by Brother and Sister Dague and Brother and Sister 
Henry Saunders, they were instrumental in securing the 
services of Brother Berkebile of Wauseon, Ohio, for a series 
of revival meetings, which were held in 1883. During this 
series of meetings nine members met at the home of Brother 
and Sister Dague for the purpose of organizing the church. 
Brethren Dague, Williams, and Jacob Shuelmeyer were 
elected the first deacons. The nine charter members were 
Brother and Sister Dague, Brother and Sister Williams, 
Brother and Sister Saunders, Brother and Sister George 
Meyers, and Brother Shuelmeyer. 

In the following June the Kree and Mahler families moved 
here and Brother Will Kree was elected the first minister 
in this church. Services were held in schools, homes, barns 
and groves, depending upon the weather. Communion 
services were held in the barn on the Dague farm. 

Gradually the membership grew as new members moved 
in. In 1893 Brother and Sister Israel Fisher came. The 
following spring Brethren Fisher and Mahler were elected 
deacons, and at the same council Brethren Fisher, Mahler, 

History of Congregations 161 

and Weirich were appointed a committee to see what could 
be done toward the building of a suitable house in which 
to worship. Five of the members donated two dollars each 
to buy the land on which the church now stands. The work 
of clearing the land of trees was done by the members. 
The church gets its name, Sugar Ridge, from the great num- 
ber of sugar maples which grew on this land. 


The building committee of the mission board donated one 
hundred dollars and the churches from which the members 
formerly came gave enough more to get the building pro- 
gram well started. Many days of hard work by the various 
members followed, and on the evening before the day set 
for the dedication, the shavings were swept out of the 
building and another Brethren church was ready to be put 
into the service of the Lord. 

Brother John Lair arrived soon after the church was 
first used, and from his arrival until several years later he 
served the church as elder. Some of those who came to 

162 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

this community shortly following the building of the church 
were the Teeter, Cable, Harter, Engle, and Saxton families. 
All of these families had much to do with the upbuilding of 
the church, which steadily grew to be a factor in the growth 
of the country round about. 

At one time members from this church traveled to Fern, 
Fountain, East Riverton, Elm Flats, and other places to hold 
church services. With the help and guidance of the min- 
isters of this church the following churches were later or- 
ganized: Hart, Long Lake, Marilla, Lake View, Homestead, 
and Onekama. 

About 1910 a large wing was added to the east side of 
the church, and in a few years a large full basement was 
put under the entire building, which equipment helped the 
church to meet the spiritual needs of the community. 

The membership increased steadily through the years. 
A large daily vacation Bible school is carried on each 
year. The church is well organized with a pastor's cabinet, 
a men's club, a ladies' aid, a B.Y.P.D., nine separate classes 
in the Sunday school, a young people's chorus, and a mothers 
and daughters club. Such a well-balanced organization 
assures them of a working church. Seldom does the super- 
intendent of the Sunday school have to worry about filling 
any teacher's place, but if a teacher is needed there are 
always some willing to teach; it is the same way in every 
branch of the church. A worker asserts: "We feel that 
the Lord has surely been good to us in the building and 
growth of our church, and the least we can do to show our 
gratefulness to him is to do our part in advancing his king- 
dom here in this community." 

Brother and Sister Homer N. Kiracofe were called to the 
pastorate in June 1941. Sister Kiracofe is the daughter of 
the presiding elder, Brother B. A. Miller. Brother Miller 
has been a resident minister for many years and also the 

History of Congregations 163 

presiding elder. Brother Kiracofe is a graduate of Bethany 
Biblical Seminary, Chicago. The district elders' body voted 
to advance him to the eldership, and he was ordained in 
September 1944. 

The church elected the following deacons in April 1943: 
Brother and Sister Alva Kirkman and Brother Halley Wil- 
son. This same spring the church celebrated the fiftieth 
anniversary of the erection of the church building with a 
significant program. The occasion brought much rejoicing 
in the achievement of a half century of Christian work. 

The district conference was held at this church in August 
1944. Prior to this meeting some improvements were made 
to the building which enabled the members to care for the 
large attendance. Many changes in the community could 
be noted by those who had attended the district meeting 
there in 1915. Brother J. Edson Ulery and Brother Samuel 
Bollinger, who served on the elders' body then, were privi- 
leged to be in attendance at this district conference. 


There were thirty-five members at the time of the or- 
ganization of this church in September 1877. The first elder 
was Isaac Miller of the Woodland church. The first com- 
munion was held on October 13, 1877, in Benjamin Fry- 
fogle's barn. Soon after the organization the church be- 
came interested in missionary work and a missionary fund 
was started. 

The first district meeting in the Sunfield church was held 
sometime in the spring of 1881. Since that time the church 
has been host to the district conference in 1889, 1896, 1907, 
1919, and 1940. 

During the summer of 1882 the present church house 
was erected. It was dedicated on December 23. The ma- 

164 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

terial for the house had been prepared and gotten in readi- 
ness in 1881. The dedicatory sermon was preached by 
Elder George Long. Other ministers present on that oc- 
casion were Eliezer Bosserman, Daniel Chambers, J. G. 
Winey, and Jacob Kepner. In the evening the first com- 
munion was held in the new building. 


In August 1882 Brother Peter B. Messner and wife left 
Albion, Michigan, and moved into the Sunfield church ter- 
ritory on a farm which he rented from E. J. Wescott. One 
year later they moved into a new house which they had 
built on twenty acres of land purchased from Brother Ben- 
jamin Fryfogle. Peter Messner, his wife, his sister and 
his brother-in-law were baptized on Sunday, October 16, 
1881, by Benjamin Fryfogle. These were some of the first 
members to unite with the Sunfield church. Peter Messner 
was elected to the ministry by this church on December 22, 

History of Congregations 165 

1882. At this same meeting Brethren John Peiffer and Basil 
Wells were chosen as deacons. 

On June 10, 1899, at the age of forty-six, Brother Henry 
W. Smith was called to the ministry. On December 2, 1905, 
he was ordained as elder. He served the church as minister 
and elder for seventeen years. When the church was re- 
modeled he gave freely of his time and also assumed his 
share of the financial burden. Because of added responsi- 
bilities brought on by an enlarged church program, Brother 
Smith felt that the ministerial responsibilities should be 
taken over by younger hands. 

In 1917 Brother Roy E. Miller of Rocky Ford, Colorado, 
accepted the call of the church to become its first part-time 
pastor. Under the leadership of Brother and Sister Miller 
the church grew rapidly. In 1918 Brother Miller accepted 
the call to serve the Grand Rapids church. 

Brother John Bjorklund and wife, then living in the South 
Woodland congregation, accepted the call to take over the 
pastoral work in the Sunfield church in 1918. 

In 1919 Brother Gilbert George and family of the Wood- 
land Village congregation moved on a farm in the church 
vicinity. Brother George willingly accepted the ministerial 
duties and served the church faithfully for two years. 

Brother Royal Frantz, a resident minister elected in 1919, 
has been faithful in the activities of the church there and in 
the district. He has been active in the preaching program 
and the work of the church school. He and his family have 
made a wonderful contribution in the church by their music 
leadership. When the church was without a pastor, Brother 
Frantz assumed the ministerial responsibilities. 

Brother S. B. Wenger of Grand Rapids served the church 
as part-time pastor in 1921. 

In 1922 Brother Archie L. Patrick was secured as part- 
time pastor. Brother Clarence Shockley served the church 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


The picture was taken August 15, 1915, and was furnished by 
Mrs. William Gow. Front row, left to right: Edith Frantz Cheal, 
Martha Frantz Gierman, Viola Meadow Gow (teacher), Mae Clark 
Wagner, Erba Gorham Merriam; second row: Galen Smith, Ora 
Frantz, Ena Barnum, Eva Cheal Brovont, Cora Ives Prince, Mildred 
Hunt, Vera Flewelling, Sidney Brown; third row: Archie Gorham, 
Ernest Frantz, Homer Harrison, Orvin Smith, Dan Wise, Archie 
Cheal, Earl Harrison (deceased). 

as summer pastor in 1924. Under his leadership the Sun- 
day school enjoyed its first vacation Bible school. 

The remodeling of the church was begun in 1924 and on 
June 26, 1927, it was rededicated. Brother J. Edson Ulery 
had charge of the service and preached the sermon. 

In 1928 Brother Mark Schrock accepted the call to become 
pastor at Sunfield and Woodland Village. The circuit plan 
worked very well and both churches progressed. Brother 
Ervin Weaver was called to serve the Sunfield and Wood- 

History of Congregations 167 

land Village circuit in 1929. He served this circuit for two 
years. Brother and Sister D. H. Keller of Battle Creek 
served the church as pastors from 1934 until Brother Keller's 
death in February 1940. Sister Keller continued in the 
pastoral duties until September 1, 1940. 

Brother Walter G. Fisher served as pastor from 1940 to 

1942. Brother Hiram W. Peters of Lansing was the elder- 
in-charge for several years. Brother and Sister H. V. Town- 
send were called to the pastorate in September 1943. The 
installation service was held on Sunday, September 19, 

1943, with Brother Walter M. Young of Lansing officiating. 
Brother and Sister Townsend accepted the call to the pas- 
torate of the Battle Creek church and terminated their 
pastoral service here on February 1, 1946. The church, 
under their supervision, inaugurated a very active program 
of Christian teaching and nurture. 

Within the past five years the church has called to the 
deacon's office Brother and Sister Delmond Frantz and 
Brother and Sister Donald Collier. 

New carpet for the church aisles was purchased by the 
women's work group. Their women are energetic and al- 
ways working in the interest of others. New hymnals have 
been purchased recently. The church has been painted. 
Four heifers for Europe have been donated by the men's 

Here is a rural church radiating a spiritual influence over 
a large section. 


The members of the Church of the Brethren who first set- 
tled in Eaton, Barry, Ionia, and Kent counties in Michigan 
began to assemble in their homes and sometimes in small 
schoolhouses to worship. Ministers from Indiana came at 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


infrequent intervals to preach the Word. These ministers, 
we are told, never failed to find earnest listeners hungry for 
the "Bread of Life." 

About 1867 or 1868 the Thornapple church was organized. 
In 1870 their first house of worship was built. It was sit- 
uated on the county line between Barry and Ionia counties. 
The Woodland church was a branch of this congregation 
then. All members living in Ionia, Kent or Ottawa County 
and adjacent territory north were reckoned as members of 
the Thornapple congregation. 

The second house of worship, one mile south of Elmdale, 
was erected about 1878. It was named the West Thornapple 
church. The third house was built on the corner of S. M. 
Smith's farm, one-half mile south and one and one-half 
mile east of the center of Campbell Township, in the sum- 
mer of 1888. This is the building that is used at the present 
time by the Thornapple congregation. 

History of Congregations 169 

A house of worship was purchased in Lake Odessa in 1907, 
and a Sunday school was started there. Preaching services 
were conducted by the Thornapple church for a year or 
more. Some time later the work was discontinued and the 
house sold to another denomination. 

In 1913 the Grand Rapids church was organized; to it 
then was assigned the major part of Kent County and all 
of Ottawa County. In 1914 the Elmdale congregation was 
given a separate organization. This further depleted the 
territory left to Thornapple and made a very large reduction 
in her membership. 

Peter B. Messner was advanced to the second degree of 
the ministry at this church on June 13, 1891. He was or- 
dained to the eldership in February 1907. His preaching 
was almost entirely confined to this congregation. Yet he 
gave much of his time to the work of the district. 

Brother R. J. McRoberts served as pastor and elder of 
the church for a while, and he is now the presiding elder. 
Brother Dean Frantz, a student in Bethany Biblical Semi- 
nary, was the summer pastor from June to August of 1943. 
Brother Stephen A. Weaver was the pastor for a time. He 
served on the district board of Christian education and as 
the director of adult education. Brother Carl Welch came 
to the church as pastor in 1945. 

Recently elected to the deaconship were Brother and Sis- 
ter Russell M. Hartzler. Brother Hartzler is serving on the 
district men's work council as director of the heifers-for- 
relief project. Brother and Sister Orville Deardorff are also 
serving in the deacon's office. Sister Deardorff is a member 
of the district music board. 

The church has been remodeled and the interior redeco- 
rated within the past five years. The improvements in- 
cluded the installation of a new pulpit platform and the 
addition of a church kitchen and a young people's room. 

170 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

All of the changes were made possible by the local mem- 
bers and friends donating their time and co-operating in a 
spirit of brotherliness for the benefit of the church. The 
church has purchased the adjoining property, a house and 
three acres, for a parsonage. This fine rural church is now 
well equipped to minister to the needs of this community. 

Due recognition may well be given to all the brethren and 
sisters, including all ministers and deacons called to office 
in this church, who served the Lord in this area of the 
district, who were faithful in attendance, and who shall in 
nowise lose their reward. 

Seven district meetings have been held in this church. 
The first ever held in this state was here on May 1, 1874. 
The last to be held in this congregation was in 1914. 


Emanuel Bollinger and family moved into the bounds of 
the New Haven church in the spring of 1883. In the fall of 
the same year they moved on a farm two miles north of 
Vestaburg. This was close to the Skidmore schoolhouse. 
A short time afterwards there was a meeting of the elders: 
D. E. Chambers, Eliezer Bosserman, George Stone, Jacob 
Tombaugh, and Jacob Kepner — all now gone to their re- 
ward. They met to consider the future work of the church 
in this vicinity. 

The meetings were first monthly and then semimonthly. 
The membership was still a part of the New Haven church. 
Some new members moved in and some were received by 
baptism. In 1901 the Crystal church was organized in 
Ferris Township and the members at Vestaburg became a 
part of that congregation. 

In the meantime Samuel Bollinger, Joseph Sherrick and 
David Sower were called to the ministry. Brother Samuel 

History of Congregations 171 

Bollinger, with some help, continued the work at the same 

In 1905 a church was built at Vestaburg. It was dedi- 
cated on July 8, 1906. Within a year the Vestaburg church 
was organized. Isaiah Rairigh was the first elder. Brother 
Samuel Bollinger was the elder and pastor for a number of 
years. The church was disorganized in 1940. The members 
became affiliated with the Crystal church. The building 
is no longer standing. 


It was in the spring of 1873 that a meeting of the early 
Brethren settlers in the community of Woodland was 
called. The people met at the home of Isaac Smith (now 
Owen Smith's farm). It was here on that date that the 
Woodland congregation of the Church of the Brethren was 
organized. This congregational territory was large — com- 
prising about five counties. These settlers had come from 
Ohio — a number having settled near Woodland as early 
as 1868. 

Preaching services were held alternately in the Old 
Brick schoolhouse, on the Woodland-Castleton township 
line, and the Galloway schoolhouse, one mile east of Wood- 
land village. Love feasts were held in barns of the mem- 
bers of the congregation. The first love feast was held 
on June 14-15, 1874, at Brother Isaac Smith's, six and one- 
half miles northeast of Nashville. 

In 1875 the present church lot was deeded by Henry 
Smith and Mary, his wife, to the board of trustees: I. N. 
Miller, Enos Crowel, and Benjamin Fryfogle. A frame 
building thirty-two by forty feet was erected on this lot 
the same year. In 1887, the building being too small to 
accommodate the congregation, an addition of sixteen feet 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

was made to the house. In 1907 it was remodeled by 
veneering with brick and putting a basement under the 
whole structure. 

For the first nine years after the organization of the 
congregation the public service of the church was limited 
to preaching services. On June 18, 1882, the first Sunday 

Left: the country church; right: the village church. 

school of this denomination in this community was organ- 
ized with Brother John M. Smith as superintendent and 
Edward Fisher as secretary. The fact that one hundred 
seventy-one names appear on the first membership roll 
of this Sunday school shows the interest and trend of thought 
of that time. 

The ministerial service, with but few exceptions, was 
given by those who had their homes in the community and 
had interests which were larger than their own particular 
church and denomination. The services of these ministers 
were rendered without stipulated salary or compensation 
during all the years from the organization until the last 
two years of the service of Brother J. M. Smith, although 

History of Congregations 173 

some voluntary aid was given to them from time to time. 
The longest service was that of Brother Smith, who served 
a little over fifty years and left an impress upon the life 
of the community which only eternity will reveal. 

From its beginning the leadership in this church has 
been interested in the cause of missions, evangelism, and 
religious education and from time to time the official di- 
rectory has been changed to meet the changing needs in 
these fields. 

When the need for more religious instruction for the 
children was being partially met by introducing the daily 
vacation Bible school among the Christian churches, this 
church was the first in the community to hold such a school 
for instruction in religious education along nonsectarian 

Because of the long distance some had to go to attend 
church, services were held for a time on Sunday afternoons 
in the Woodland town hall, and as older members left their 
farms and went to live in the village a need was felt for a 
church of their own there. The German Methodist Epis- 
copal church building not being used at that time, it was 
purchased and rededicated soon afterward. In the fall 
of 1913 this church was organized as a separate congrega- 
tion. Brother G. F. Culler was its first pastor. He and 
his wife had much to do with the progress made at Wood- 
land village during the period when services were held 
there. After the death of Brother Culler the church called 
Brother Mark Schrock, Brother Ervin Weaver, and Brother 
H. V. Townsend to its pastorate. In the fall of 1936, because 
of the nearness to the original church and because the need 
which called out its organization no longer existed, the 
church in the village was closed and its members again 
united with the south church in worship services. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Brother H. V. Townsend, aided by Sister Townsend, faith- 
fully served the congregation as pastor and elder for many 
years. He terminated his service as pastor on September 
1, 1941. He is the present elder-in-charge. 

Brother and Sister Arthur L. Dodge of the Black River 
church, Northeastern Ohio, were called to the pastorate in 
1941 to succeed Brother Townsend. The pastoral program 

~ y --. / 

■3 jKi^sBBB 

I * I 'await g g | 



of the church was under their leadership until 1945. Broth- 
er Dodge was a member of the district ministerial board. 
Brother Robert Ebey became the pastor in 1945. 

Several important and significant projects have been un- 
dertaken in recent years. Oh September 16, 1942, at a 
special called council, the church voted to purchase the 
J. Harve Townsend property to be used as a parsonage. 
The house was remodeled and modernized during the years 
1943-44. The pastor and his wife moved into the parsonage 
in August 1943. A campaign to raise the balance due on 

History of Congregations 175 

the property was carried on through the summer of 1944. It 
was dedicated free of debt on July 30, 1944. The parsonage 
is situated one and one-quarter mile west of the Woodland 
church on State Route 43. 

It can be said that this is an influential rural congrega- 
tion. It is situated in a thriving section of the county. The 
ministry and the activities of Christian teaching will be a 
source of spiritual blessings to the entire community. The 
membership is the second largest in the district. 

(Refer to the Woodland history and the Appendix.) 


In 1908 Brother W. E. Mason and family moved from 
Northwestern Ohio and located in the vicinity of the present 
church building. After residing here for some time he 
decided it was a good neighborhood in which to live and that 
farms could be purchased very reasonably; so he had a 
notice published in the Gospel Messenger. The district 
mission board was informed of this new field and Brother 
S. M. Smith was sent to investigate. In 1910 Brother Smith 
conducted services in a school building one mile west of 
where the present house of worship is situated. He was 
the first minister of the Church of the Brethren to preach 
in this county. He sent to the Gospel Messenger a very 
favorable report of the possibility of effecting a church or- 
ganization in this community. Then in the fall of 1910 
six families including three deacons were located here. 
Elder John P. Bowman and family of Tennessee and Brother 
I. G. Blocher and family of Southern Ohio came in 1911. 

On June 24, 1911, Elders S. M. Smith and C. L. Wilkins 
of the mission board, assisted by Elder Lemuel Hillery of 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Indiana, organized the Zion church with a charter member- 
ship of fifty. Elder John P. Bowman was elected elder-in- 
charge of the church with Elder I. G. Blocher as assistant. 

Brother and Sister Blocher gave free ministerial service to 
this church from 1911 to 1914. Sister Blocher contributed 
very much to the work at Zion in those early days. Brother 


Blocher relates an inspiring experience that occurred on 
the last Sunday in June 1913. There was a double service 
held that Sunday morning. He says: "We were ordained 
to the eldership and immediately following, a public anoint- 
ing service was held for Sister Blocher. She left the fol- 
lowing Tuesday for the hospital and major surgery. The 
elders, William B. Neff and John McKimmy, asked that the 
service be at that time — the first anointing service in that 
new community and the first very many of our people had 
ever witnessed. I know a very wholesome impression was 
made in that crowded assemblage." The anointing rite is 
a distinctive doctrine of the Brethren. 

History of Congregations 111 

The membership and friends were looking forward at 
this time with much zeal and high hopes that a new house 
of worship of their own would be erected in the near future. 
A committee was chosen and the present site was select- 
ed; on this the church was built. On November 14, 1915, 
Elder C. L. Wilkins preached the dedicatory sermon and 
remained two weeks in evangelistic meetings which resulted 
in twenty-one baptisms. This was a great inspiration to 
all the members. 

The building is a fine structure, thirty-six by sixty feet, 
with a full basement which includes four classrooms and 
two cloakrooms besides the main auditorium, making it 
very convenient for Sunday-school purposes. On May 21, 
1916, there was a membership of one hundred ten. Sixty- 
nine of these had been received by letter and forty-one by 

Elder Samuel Bowser and family came in 1916 and he, 
with the other ministers, contributed much in time, means 
and talent, causing the work to prosper. Elder J. P. Bow- 
man left in 1919, and Elder Bowser in 1922. Others moved 
away until the membership was reduced to almost one half. 
Brother William H. Good located there in 1918. He has 
labored with the church as pastor and elder during these 
many years. Brother Good has been a good leader in the 
district. He has been a member of the district mission 
board for many years. He has been an inspiration to the 
young people of that area, and he doubtless has inspired 
worthy motives in the lives of many people. 

In July 1939 Brother Willard Atherton was licensed to 
the ministry, and was installed about a year later. He had 
been a faithful leader among the young folks, and the 
church made a wise choice in calling him to the ministry. 
He was encouraged to continue his training and to go to 
the Bethany Training School, Chicago. Brother Atherton 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


sets of the State - 
Admitted to Union - January 26, 1857 
Shore Line - 1,600- miles 
Are* - 57t980 square miles 
Population - 5,256,106 (1940 census) 








Battle Creek 

Bear Lake 


Black River 

Cedar House 







Grand Rapids 



H one stead 

Lake View 


Little Traverae 

Long Lake 

Mar ilia 



New Haven 

North Star 

One k a ma 






Sugar Ridge 



Veataburg £ 

Woodland Village ^> iv 

Woodland > ' 


caning of Marks - 
** - Organized active ohurches 
• Discontinued churches 

History of Congregations 179 

has given much assistance to the preaching program of the 
church during the past five years when he has not been 
away in school. 

In 1943 Brother I. G. Blocher returned to the community 
and assisted in the preaching and other church work. He 
was there only a short time — from October to December. 
It was a joy to have him and Sister Blocher back even for 
a little while. 

Brother John Meiser and Brother Wilbur Good have been 
elected as deacons. 

A new furnace was installed a few years ago. The in- 
terior of the building was redecorated in 1944. In October 
1944 five heifers were dedicated for the Brethren Service 
Committee to use for relief work. Four of these were over 
one year old. Such Christian service is invaluable. It 
cannot be measured in dollars and cents. 

A faithful leader in this church says: "We have dis- 
couragements, of course. However, it is a joy and satisfac- 
tion to have those who can be depended upon and who 
do what they can to help the cause of Christ." 

Chapter V 



Looking at the district as a whole, one might conclude 
that all the churches are doing more than average work in 
advancing the cause of Christ locally and in the brother- 
hood. Yet in making a closer observation of each local 
church, it is evident that a few are far in advance of others 
in that respect. Of course the factors which enter into such 
a condition cannot always be determined. The evaluation 
of one particular church is difficult, for some of the churches 
are likely to have a greater number of able and aggressive 
leaders than others do. And we know that many of the 
churches in Michigan are suffering because the greater part 
of the responsibility rests upon one or two individuals who 
soon become discouraged when accomplishments are slow. 
Consequently the work drags. It is a fact that many of the 
churches in Michigan are not strong because they are in 
need of more leaders. 

For a church to be small in numbers does not always in- 
dicate that it is weak in activity. The strength of a 
church lies in the hands of a few who are sound in the 
principles of the church. Such a little group will soon 
give impetus and direction to the whole body. If a church 
that is small would have enough insight to pick out and 
produce leaders it would soon become strong and influen- 
tial. The histories of the congregations as recorded in 
this book reveal only in part the conditions as they actually 

Again, the strength of a church exists in the body of mem- 
bers that make it up, whether many or few, in proportion 
to the spirit of love that unites them in one common pur- 

Strength and Weaknesses of Existing Churches 181 

pose. Weakness is usually the result of disunion. Disrup- 
tion is mostly caused because the spirit of love is absent. 
So, when a church, smaller or larger, keeps united in fel- 
lowship and love that church will manifest sufficient 
strength to overcome any problems. The forward look or 
the spirit of making any advance does not seem to be preva- 
lent in over one half of the churches in Michigan. It does 
appear that these are unconcerned about taking a forward 
step in church work. So unity is essential, but along 
with it must be exercised wisdom and vision in planning 
the program. Unity with vision will inevitably produce a 
strong church. 

There seem to be a great many of our churches that fail 
to outline a definite program. They fail to plan for the 
future. This doubtless is the reason for their retrogression. 
It usually is true that in those churches with pastors giving 
full or part time to the planning and promoting of the 
work there is found a keener interest. More people are 
contacted and the spiritual side of life is satisfied. Hence 
the church with a planned and definite program of work is 
stronger. It naturally follows that the church with an 
active program is drawing people. When the souls of people 
in a church are fed, that church is alive and growing. This 
requires the wholehearted co-operation of elder, pastor and 
people. It requires the spirit of giving and taking. And 
where the church people are eager to share and labor for 
Christ's sake and his cause, there you will find a strong and 
active church. 

A few of the churches are eager to improve their meth- 
ods in every phase of their work. They recognize their 
problems and work for more efficiency in both church and 
church school. Such churches fall into disintegration when 
methods go unheeded.. They are satisfied to carry on as 
they did several decades ago. These are at a standstill or 

182 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

going backward. The needs of the community in which 
such a church is located suffer tremendously. It is because 
of these needs that every organization and department of 
the local church should work toward the one objective of 
making it better. Proper methods are essential if much 
achievement is going to be realized. 

So the churches that are working to this end possess ele- 
ments of strength. Those that are emphasizing the whole 
church program — evangelism at home and abroad, steward- 
ship and the social interests — are the ones that successfully 
meet the needs of the people and become stronger. It is 
my opinion that perhaps two thirds of the churches in the 
district of Michigan are measuring up to such a program. 
The goals of the brotherhood are met by them. The needs 
of the community and the church's constituency are getting 
their consideration. It may be that these are the churches 
that are privileged to have pastors living there. Of course 
it is not always true that only churches with pastors are 
the strong ones. It should be that those receiving pastoral 
service ought to be much stronger. Then let all the 
churches of the district of Michigan press on with greater 
earnestness in the work of the kingdom. 

Chapter VI 



The district has always organized to keep within the de- 
mands and program of the whole brotherhood. It has ex- 
panded along every line of activity which the General 
Conference has deemed important. The leaders have sought 
to uphold the ideals of the Church of the Brethren in order 
that people may have a knowledge of the doctrine based on 
the New Testament. 

It was not long after the organization of churches that 
the need for co-operation arose. They soon felt the im- 
portance of grouping together in the promotion of the 
gospel. As we study the minutes of the district we see the 
various measures taken to expand the work. These were 
mostly forward moves. 

The earliest churches in Michigan were a part of the 
District of Northern Indiana. It was in 1874 that the 
churches in Michigan were organized into a separate dis- 
trict, embracing all the southern peninsula then. Later 
both peninsulas were included in the district. This meet- 
ing was held in the Thornapple church on May 1. It was 
held in what is now known as the meetinghouse of the Old 
Order Brethren. This is located on the south line of Camp- 
bell Township, Ionia County. It was at this meeting that 
churches began to assume the responsibility of sharing in 
the building of the kingdom. We have no record of the 
list of congregations or how many delegates were repre- 
sented. The officers for this meeting were: Elder F. P. 
Loehr, moderator; J. G. Winey and M. T. Baer, clerks. The 
following year the minutes list eight churches: Almena, 
Berrien, Black River, Bloomingdale, Christian, Pokagon, 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 



Reading from left to right, first row: Mrs. L. H. Pro want, H. V. 
Townsend, Mrs. H. V. Townsend, M. M. Chambers (chairman), 
Delmond Frantz, Galen E. Barkdoll; second row: Walter M. 
Young, Mrs. Orville DeardorfT, Miss Elma Rau, Mrs. Fred Mills, 
M„ B. Williams, Russell Hartzler, Mrs. J. J. Cook, Mrs. Mary Guy; 
third row: Homer Kiracofe, Ray Hoyle, Arthur L. Dodge, Stephen 
A. Weaver, E. S. Hollinger, Charles A. Spencer, L. H. Prowant, W. 
H. Good, Arthur E. Taylor, Miss Lois Sherrick. Absent: Harley 
Arnett, Nettie' Senger, Elmer Leckrone. 

Thornapple and Woodland. The officers of the previous 
year again served, and there were fourteen delegates. 1 It 
was difficult to maintain a close spiritual fellowship in dis- 
trict affairs because of the distance between these and the 
other churches. 

Therefore, at the district meeting held at the Sunfield 
church, February 16, 1889, a decision was made to give the 
churches in the southern tier of counties to Northern Indi- 
ana. This action resulted in the following churches becoming 

1 The Missionary Visitor, May, 1907. Page 276. 

District Boards and Committees 185 

a part of that district: Berrien, Christian, Bloomingdale (or 
Chippewa), and Pokagon. The decision was agreeable to 
both districts.- 

The following is a typical district meeting announcement: 

The District Meeting for the State of Michigan will be held, the Lord 
willing, with the Brethren in the Woodland district, on Thursday, 
three weeks before Whitsuntide." 
A list of the district meetings together with the officers 

may be found in Appendix II. 

The District Mission Board 

(Refer to Appendix II) 

Missionary efforts were the outcome of calls from needy 
parts of the state. There were so many demands that the 
churches were called upon to give some special attention 
to the work. Someone must head it. The organization of 
a district missionary board resulted. It was composed of 
one minister, one deacon and one lay member. The duty 
of this board was "to see that the gospel was preached where 
there were favorable openings." Each local church was 
requested to support the new venture by sending an offering 
twice each year to the treasury. 

At the district meeting held in 1904 at the Sugar Ridge 
church a new plan was adopted. The board was increased 
to five members. They were authorized to enlarge the 
missionary program by employing one or more evangelists 
as the means would allow. These were to be reimbursed 
for their expenses and compensated for their services at 
the rate of $1.00 to $1.25 per day for time spent in the work, 
exclusive of Sundays. The board was also given the privi- 
lege of appropriating some of the money raised for renting, 
buying, or building meetinghouses. 

2 At the present time there are three Michigan congregations which are 
parts of other church districts: Buchanan and Florence of Northern 
Indiana, and Adrian of Northwestern Ohio. 

3 Brethren Almanac. 1876. Page 21. 

186 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

A first trace of a district budget came at the meeting of 
1906, which voted that $500 be raised during the current 
year by the fifteen churches for the support of the district 

We learn something of how this board functioned during 
the early years through an article by Elder Peter B. Messner. 

The work of the Missionary Board in the past has been principally 
in the rural districts, keeping up preaching appointments at new 
points where a few members were located, and assisting weak 
Churches by holding series of meetings. City work has been at- 
tempted on a small scale a few times but nothing permanent has yet 
been done, and last District Meeting decided in view of the heavy 
expense which would have to be met to carry on city work and 
seemingly much more favorable openings in the rural districts and 
small towns, that we do not think best to open a city mission at this 
time. 4 

A state requirement made it necessary for the district to 

take action to incorporate the mission board under the laws 

of Michigan. It was presented to the district meeting at 

Onekama, August 29, 1913, and the following resolution was 


Whereas, it is the wish and desire of the delegates and representa- 
tives of the congregation or association of congregations constituting 
the annual district conference of the Church of the Brethren to pos- 
sess corporate powers in order to effectuate the purpose of such or- 
ganization, and 

Whereas, it is the wish and desire of said conference to elect trustees 
for such purpose and to delegate the corporate name thereof, be it 

Resolved, that a Board of five Trustees be elected at said Annual 
District Conference, and be it further 

Resolved, that such trustees and their successors in office be and 
shall hereafter be known by the name of "The Trustees of the Mis- 
sion Board of the Church of the Brethren of the State of Michigan." 5 

A certificate of incorporation of the trustees of the mission 
board of the Church of the Brethren of the state of Michigan 

4 Missionary Visitor, May 1907. Page 277. 
3 District Meeting Minutes, August 29, 1913. 

District Boards and Committees 187 

was then executed. This was dated on August 29, 1913, and 
signed by. the state official and members of the district 
mission board — C. L. Wilkins, chairman and moderator, 
J. Edson Ulery, D. E. Sower, S. M. Smith, Peter B. Messner. 

District Ministerial Board 

(Refer to Appendix II) 
One of the very important and vital boards of the district 
is the ministerial board. The work of this board touches 
many aspects of the church life. Of course their task is 
chiefly concerned with the work of the ministry. They 
have the responsibility of installing pastors, conducting the 
licensing and installation of ministers, and officiating at the 
ordination of elders. One important phase of their work 
is to seek and encourage young men to enter the ministry. 

The first organization of the district ministerial board was 
effected about 1920. Records show that there was a minis- 
terial association before this, but its purpose was not the 
same. It was for inspiration and fellowship. 

A few churches in the district have availed themselves 
of the opportunity of securing students from Bethany Bib- 
lical Seminary, Chicago, and other places, for summer pas- 
toral work. This is beneficial to both the student ministers 
and the churches in need of such service. Names of sum- 
mer pastors who served churches in the district may be 
found in Appendix II. 

District Board of Christian Education 

(Refer to Appendix II) 
A rising interest in the training of the children of the 
church occurred about the beginning of the century. It 
first showed forth in the appointment of Sunday-school 
secretaries. These were responsible for the promotion of 
more and better Sunday schools. Schools were encouraged 

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District Boards and Committees 189 

to strive for certain goals. In the days prior to 1900, the 
Sunday schools were often the means of founding churches 
in the communities in which they were held. 

J. W. Chambers of the New Haven church writes: 

I think Sabbath schools are a great benefit to the Church and to so- 
ciety in general if they are carried on in the proper manner. . . . 
Sabbath-schools will Christianize or at least moralize a community, 
if conducted according to the gospel. Let us then, brethren and sis- 
ters, and all Sabbath-school workers, do our utmost for the con- 
version of our kind neighbors and friends and their children. ,; 

Brother Chambers was vitally interested in the teaching 
program of the church. He said that a Sunday school had 
been organized in the New Haven congregation on Decem- 
ber 5, 1880. Several other significant things were mentioned 
in this news item. Their lessons were studied from St. John, 
he said. Their songbook was the Gospel Hymns and Songs. 
Thirty copies of Children at Work were distributed every 

The problems of organization and the securing of efficient 
teachers have not altogether been solved. However, a great 
deal has been done to promote teacher training and other 
leadership courses during the past twenty-five years. 
Churches have profited much by experience, and today the 
methods in our church school work are quite comparable 
to the public school methods. 

The board of Christian education in the district is the 
channel through which the directors of the general staff 
reach the local church. It is responsible for the total edu- 
cational program of the church. Peace and moral welfare, 
children's work, women's work, men's work, young people's 
and adult activities, daily vacation Bible schools, camps, 
church music, and social activities are all sponsored by this 
board. It has the task of carefully guiding the interests 
of the whole church so that every age group will get proper 

6 Primitive Christian, 1881. 

190 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

attention. There may be local organizations in the church 
for various age groups, but these should be so directed as 
to work toward the one objective set by the church in 
order to meet the needs of the community and the brother- 
hood. This direction comes through the district board. 

We have always been a church to uphold the principle 
of peace. And although there was not always a director 
working through a board to head that phase of the church's 
program, there were always those who stood for peace 
principles. The district meeting on February 21, 1891, at 
the Saginaw church, considered a petition upholding the 
doctrine of peace. 

We, the members of the Saginaw Church (Elsie), Michigan, ask 
District Meeting to petition Annual Meeting to send a petition from 
that body to the King of Sweden, in behalf of those Brethren who 
are now in prison because of their faith in Christ and His Word; 
that he might be influenced to release them from their present 

Answer: This District Meeting grants the request. 

While many changes have taken place and much has 
been consolidated under one head, we believe that such a 
correlated effort tends to stabilize the work. 

Of course we realize that our churches would move for- 
ward more rapidly if the leadership would earnestly fol- 
low the plans and suggestions of the board. There is often 
a lack of aggressiveness because some obstacle causes the 
leaders to become discouraged. Then they lose hope and 
give up. The early leaders were possessed with a good 
deal of courage and did not quit when problems confronted 
them. They tried various ways and usually were successful 
in accomplishing the tasks they set out to do. Let us, with 
our knowledge of better methods, push into the work of 
teaching and training our future leaders who will be called 
upon to fill various offices of the church. 

District Boards and Committees 191 

District Music Committee 

(Refer to Appendix II) 

The members of this committee have been instrumental 
in creating a keener interest in the church hymnal. They 
are desirous of arousing a deeper appreciation for the hymns 
of Christendom that have lived and that are expressive of 
great truth. Their work is to encourage those who possess 
musical talent to develop it and make their contribution to 
enrich the worship of the church. Congregational singing 
has always been a part of our church heritage, and the 
ministry of music should be given greater emphasis in the 
church program. This committee stands ready to serve 
churches by conducting music institutes. 

An article written in German on Our New German Hymn 
Book as long ago as September 1869 shows the church's 
interest in church music. This was a report of the com- 
mittee composed of F. P. Loehr, Henry Kurtz, D. M. Hol- 
singer and Paul Wetzel. One month later the Gospel Vis- 
itor gave the principal items in English. 

The selections of the different members of the committee, not count- 
ing all that were proposed by other members, amounted to near 
about 500 hymns. The committee found it difficult to make a good 
selection and reduce themselves to such narrow limits, but by short- 
ening long hymns and leaving out those of meters that are not fa- 
miliar they expect to furnish a book containing nearly double the 
number of hymns in the old book of about 200-225 pages and at a 
price near that of the old book. If the brethren generally are satis- 
fied, and it is not objected to by Annual Meeting or the Standing 
Committee inside of two months they propose to put the book to 
press. 7 

Again we find an interesting and significant article on 

singing, by M. T. Baer. It simply points out the desire to 

improve the congregational singing. 

Dear brethren and sisters, will you bear with me while I reason 
with you a few words on the mode of singing, as practiced by the 

7 Gospel Visitor, 1868-69. Volume XIX, page 318. 

192 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Brethren. I am well aware that many of the brethren and sisters 
whom I love in truth, will think that I want to bring about a new 
order among the brethren, and therefore will feel to oppose me. 
But now let me say to those, that this is not my intention to bring 
a new order, but I wish only to reason with you as to whether it 
would not be better to change a custom — that is only a custom — 
that is in and of itself disagreeable and repugnant to all lovers of 
music. I think that the custom of lining a few lines at a time, and 
then singing them has grown out of necessity. When the Church 
was small and hymn books were scarce, and in fact when there 
were no hymn books among the brethren, then it was necessary to 
do so, but now hymn books are plenty, and cheap, and I think that 
singing alternately, might be dispensed with as a general thing. 
Now I think that almost all will agree with me that singing done 
in this way is not so agreeable and edifying, as when the music is 
not interspersed with reading. And now since we all want to hear 
good praying and good preaching, when we attend meeting, why 
not also have good singing? Now brethren and sisters, do not mis- 
take me, and think that I want to introduce a choir of singers, and 
musical instruments into the Church. . . . And again: singing is 
one of those exercises which is most calculated to soften the hearts 
of sinners, and prepare them for to receive the Word of God as sown 
by his servants, and also to draw in the wanderings of our own 
mind, and bring our thoughts more into one channel, than any other 
exercise that we engage in in the holy sanctuary. Therefore the 
more perfect it is done, the better will be the effect. 

Now what would suit me better, as to the mode of singing, would 
be something like this: let one get up and read the hymn through 
carefully, and then the congregation would know what was going 
to be sung, and this would give the singers ample time to turn to 
the hymn and select in their mind some suitable tune, so that when 
the reading is got through with, that all would be ready to proceed 
to singing without any confusion; while as it is, we sometimes get 
confused, because the singers have not ample time to turn to the 
hymn, and select a suitable tune, while the first two lines are being 
read. And sometimes in haste we get hold of a wrong tune and so 
break down and have to stop and start again which makes confusion 
and is disagreeable. . . . 8 

The music board ever since it was instituted in the dis- 
trict has endeavored to promote and uphold the rich quality 
of church music so inherent in our Brethren heritage. 
Churches should be eager to maintain inspiring worship 

s Gospel Visitor, 1866-67. Volume XVII, page 180. 

District Boards and Committees 193 

through congregational singing, choral numbers by junior 
and senior choirs, and by special vocal or instrumental 
numbers. This has always been a distinctive part of our 
church history. Records reveal decided advancement 
through the years. 

May the churches become genuinely interested in pro- 
moting the best sacred music. Good singing produces in- 
spiring worship that naturally results in spiritual enrich- 
ment of the people. May all music workers rededicate them- 
selves to bring the spiritualizing force of sacred music to 
the inner life of our people. 

District Women's Work, 1933 to 1945 

The women of the church have always banded together to 
carry on their activities with very little thought of praise 
or reward. The following report given at the district meet- 
ing, 1933, indicates the scope of their work: 

Twenty-one of our twenty-five organizations sent a fine report with 
their $1.00 for State dues. These reports show a membership of 358. 
Number of Aid meetings held, 275; mother and daughter meetings, 
20; temperance, 11; $1,206.98 was given to the support of local 
Churches; $197.98 for home missions; $132 for other foreign mis- 
sions, besides the $188.42 for our Women's Foreign Boarding School 

District Men's Work, 1933 to 1945 

The leaders of the men's work organization see the tre- 
mendous possibilities within their field. They are striving 
to effect an organization in each local church. They are 
encouraging the men of the church to become more effective 
in personal evangelism, and other points adopted by the 
National Council of Men's Work. It is within their range 
to build up church attendance, and sponsor an active stew- 
ardship program. 

The report to the district meeting of 1939 shows some en- 
couraging advancements. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The past year's work has been beyond our expectation. We hope 
the same spirit of enthusiasm will continue next year. About two 
thirds of the churches of the district have active Men's Work or- 
ganizations. According to reports our men did a fine job on all five 
points which the National Council requested to be carried out for 
the year. 

Results show in many churches where evangelistic meetings were 
held that men did home visitation, promoted the subscription to the 
Gospel Messenger, Bible readings, Men's Bible class and personal 
evangelism. We hope all men's groups will emphasize all five points 
to a greater degree next year. We now have five group organiza- 
tions throughout the district. 


The men's work council of Michigan pledged support to 
two great projects of the brotherhood. These are the heif- 
ers-for-relief project and the ministers' pension plan. The 
executive committee set a goal of one hundred heifers for 
Europe. This Christian service of the men, of both the rural 
and the city churches, will have a lasting value. Brother 
Russell M. Hartzler, director of this particular part of 
men's work, says, "The purpose of the project, of course, is 
to help feed hungry people as soon as the way opens. We 

District Boards and Committees 195 

may not understand the language of the people whom 
these heifers as cows will serve, but the cry of a starving 
child is a universal language." This is Jesus' way, for did 
he not say, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these least 
ye did it unto me"? So far about fifty heifers have been 
reported from the different churches. City churches are 
supporting the project financially. The farmers are feed- 
ing and caring for the cattle until they are ready for ship- 
ment abroad. 

The ministers' pension supplemental fund is receiving the 
earnest backing of the laymen of the district. They have 
assumed the responsibility of raising $3,000.00 for this 
worthy cause. 

The churches must consider that the men are needed to 
give the kingdom work stability. Let the men of this dis- 
trict undertake larger tasks and then each church will ad- 
vance spiritually and numerically. 

Foreign Mission Secretary-Treasurer 

The foreign mission secretary-treasurer functioned for 
almost twenty years. During this period his was a very 
important office in the district. A careful record was kept 
of all funds sent in for the support of foreign missionaries. 
One of the ardent workers of the church who gave time and 
effort to promote the work was Sister Grace Messner. 
Another faithful worker, who filled this office until it was 
discontinued, was Sister Arlie Spindler. She always mani- 
fested a deep interest in the cause of missions. These 
workers kept in communication through correspondence 
with the missionaries in their fields of labor who were sup- 
ported by the district. The intimate friendship established 
between missionaries and these district workers became 
valuable in promoting mission work among the churches. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The District Council of Boards 

(Information furnished by M. M. Chambers) 

The council of boards was organized at the district meet- 
ing held at the Crystal church in August 1932. 


Left to right: Stephen A. Weaver, Lois Sherrick, Elma Rau, A. O. 
Mote, Ruth Mishler, L. H. Prowant, M. M. Chambers (chairman), 
Harley V. Townsend (secretary), A. R. Teeter, J. E. Ulery, Emma 
Deardorff, M. B. Williams, Olive Schechter, Charles O. Forror, Clara 
Smith, Charles A. Spencer. 

A report presented by M. M. Chambers (chairman) , David 
P. Schechter (secretary) and Elder C. L. Wilkins was 
adopted. It provided for the organization very nearly as it 
is today. 

The board meets regularly as soon as convenient after 
the district conference and again in March or about that 
time. And sometimes it has met at the call of the executive 
board to consider matters of great importance. 

The executive board (refer to Appendix II) is composed 
of one member of each committee and a chairman-at-large 

District Boards and Committees 197 

who presides at the council of boards' meeting and at the 
executive board meeting. 

The executive board acts as a program committee for 
arranging district conference programs. The board tends 
to correlate the work of the various boards and committees. 
It also discusses all phases of district work and gives direc- 
tion to the work. 

The B.Y.P.D. Organization, 1928 to 1944 

(Refer to Appendix II) 
The rise in youth activities came several decades ago. 
Michigan young people began to share in the district work 
before an organization was formed in 1928. Since its or- 
ganization the cabinet has promoted the Youth Serves pro- 
gram. This gives the local groups an opportunity to help 
in mission work and Brethren Service at home and abroad. 
The youth are learning in their own way to bear greater 
responsibility in the church's program. They are respond- 
ing to the needs by filling many riesponsible positions in the 
church and church school. Those who are active in the 
local community become the influential and dependable 
leaders in the district and the brotherhood. Indeed, some 
of the most devoted adult church leaders received their ex- 
perience while working in the B.Y.P.D. organization. The 
influence of Brethren youth of this district has encompassed 
youth work in other denominations. This will unite Chris- 
tian youth in building Christian brotherhood for the days 
ahead. The principles of brotherly love must be demon- 
strated by the youth of this generation if the church is ever 
to make advancement in our world. 

The Camps in the District 

Camp Little Eden (information by A. E. Taylor) 
Camp Little Eden was built up as an Episcopal summer 

198 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

school under private ownership. Through certain degrad- 
ing influences connected with the ownership, it ceased oper- 
ation. The District of Michigan considered the purchase 
of the camp but decided that the cost was prohibitive. 

The fact remained that Brother J. Edson Ulery of Onek- 
ama had a real vision of the possibilities of the camp, and 
he was influential in inducing Brother and Sister A. E. 
Taylor of Flint to make an investment of their means and 
secure the camp. This resulted in the ownership falling 
into the hands of the Taylors. 

Consequently the camp, which could comfortably house 
and accommodate over one hundred people, was open to the 
district for any and all group meetings. In the three years 
there were intermediate, young peoples' and family camps 
held. At other times the camp was used for Christian groups, 
and as a Christian tourist camp. It is a beautiful spot with 
many trees, birds, and flowers. Also creeks, a pool and cot- 
tages with ample room in the main building for places for 
group meetings and a dining hall. It furnished a fine place 
for study, play and living together as a real camp family. 
It was unfortunate for our district that this camp was sold 
in 1944 to the Mennonite people. However, we will have 
the privilege of using it at any time that the need arises. 

The Civilian Public Service Camps for Conscientious 

During the second world war six different Civilian Public 
Service camps and units on detached service were located 
in Michigan. All these were established and supervised by 
the Brethren Service Committee. The work camp held 
near Marilla during the summer of 1940 was a forerunner 
of these brotherhood projects. The churches of the dis- 
trict co-operated in every possible way with these camps 
and units. A statistical summary follows: 

District Boards and Committees 


Camp Type of Period of 

No. Location Capacity Service Service 

1 Copemish 16 Forestry 6-41—8-41 

17 Stronach 150 Forestry 8-41—6-42 

30 Walhalla 150 Forestry 5-42—11-43 


L. C. Blickenstaff 
L. C. Blickenstaff 
Omer B. Maphis 
Milo J. Yoder 
42 Wellston 150 Forestry 7-42—. . . . L. C. Blickenstaff 

Graham Hodges 
Earl S. Garver 

112 E. Lansing 20 Agricul. 

Experim't 7-43—. . . 
115 Ann Arbor Nutrition 

Univ. Hosp. 4 Experm't 10-43 — . . . 

Victor Stine 

Glen Johnson 

Byron Taber 

De Loss Baker 



Chapter VII 


The following biographical sketches have been written 
from the data received on the questionnaire that was sent 
to each one. They are brief sketches of ministers and 
prominent church leaders who are now living or deceased. 
Some are living and serving in the district at the present 
time. It also includes those who have lived here and who 
are now serving in churches at other places in the brother- 
hood. There has been an earnest effort to obtain data con- 
cerning all the ministers and elders whose memory we 
cherish because of their faithful and consecrated service in 
the work of the Master. May this chapter inspire us to 
higher loyalty and nobler devotion to him who gave his 
life for us. 

J. E. ALBAUGH was born on October 25, 1864, near 
Mexico, Indiana, the son of Zachariah and Anna Albaugh. 
When about eight years old he moved with his parents to 
Saginaw, Michigan. He became a member of the Church 
of the Brethren in 1880, and was united in marriage to 
Fannie Somers on July 18, 1885. A few months later, Oc- 
tober 4, 1885, he was elected to the office of deacon. His 
election to the ministry came just five years later, and he 
was advanced to the eldership on December 19, 1905. Broth- 
er Albaugh died, after having suffered from cancer of the 
liver, on February 17, 1916. He had served the district as 
a member of the ministerial distribution board for several 
years and was a member of the board at the time of his 
death. He was concerned about the ministerial problem of 
the churches in Michigan; during his lingering illness he 
wrote: "Here is a field for some minister. May the Lord 
send someone to this field, to care for this little flock !" He 

204 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

evidently was loved by his fellow ministers, for six min- 
isters, representing as many denominations, acted as pall- 
bearers, and two of them assisted Elder C. L. Wilkins in the 
funeral service. In the death of Brother Albaugh the church 
in Michigan lost one of her faithful elders and the Saginaw 
(Elsie) church her only resident minister. His daughter, 
Mrs. Myrtle Albaugh French, is still an active member of 
the Elsie church, where she has labored faithfully as one of 
the prominent leaders for many years. 

ZACHARIAH ALBAUGH was not a minister when he 
with his wife, Anna, moved to Elsie, Michigan, from Indi- 
ana about 1872. They began immediately to work there 
in the interest of the church to which they had dedicated 
their lives in service. These were pioneer days and in 
spite of the hardships the Albaughs soon had a little group 
meeting together. The first meeting was held at their house 
on June 21, 1874. At a communion held in their house on 
October 9, 1874, two elders from Indiana were present and 
organized the members into a working body. Brother Al- 
baugh was chosen deacon at this meeting. He was elected 
to the ministry on September 22, 1877, and was advanced 
to the eldership on March 17, 1879. Elders George Long and 
Isaac Miller of Michigan conducted the ordination service. 
The church correspondence of the day shows that Brother 
Albaugh was called upon to minister to the people in many 
needy places over the state. "The country was a wilder- 
ness and many were the hardships and discouragements of 
the early Church there" (Missionary Visitor, May 1907, page 
284) . At his own expense he went from place to place vis- 
iting and preaching the Word without pay. He served the 
church as its elder until June 1885 when he moved to Kan- 
sas, where in a few months he became sick and died. He is 
deserving of much recognition and it is unfortunate that the 
records do not give us more of his activities. His son, J. E. 

Biographical Sketches 205 

Albaugh, followed him in pursuing the work of the min- 

town, Maryland, on March 27, 1873, the son of David and 
Nancy Anthony. He took his high school training at the 
Western high school, Hagerstown, and received the degree 
of bachelor of English at Juniata College. He united with 
the church in November, 1890, at the Long Meadow church, 
Maryland. Concerning his conversion he gives this state- 
ment: "Brother Wilbur B. Stover, our pioneer missionary 
to India, was the evangelist." He was elected to the min- 
istry in October 1893 and ordained to the eldership on Oc- 
tober 10, 1915, at Baltimore, Maryland. On November 12, 
1902, he married Susie Clay Shriner. He was pastor of the 
Grand Rapids, Michigan, church for about two years, and 
much of the time since has been engaged in evangelistic 
work among the churches in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vir- 
ginia and West Virginia. 

HARLEY ARNETT, son of Joseph and Anna Arnett, was 
born on March 17, 1888, at South Whitley, Indiana. He 
received his elementary education in the public schools of 
Indiana and later spent one term at Bethany Bible School, 
Chicago. He united with the church by baptism on Decem- 
ber 25, 1900, in the Sugar Creek church in Indiana. The 
elder of the church, Henry Neff, administered the rite. He 
married Blanche Rau on October 9, 1909. They moved to 
Manistee County, Michigan, in 1912. He and his wife were 
devoted church workers and in 1913 they were called to the 
deacon's office. The installation service was conducted by 
Elders John Harshbarger and J. Edson Ulery. Then in 
1918 they moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. This church 
was happy to receive them because both of them were cap- 
able leaders in Christian service. He served that church as 
Sunday-school superintendent, and as chairman of the 

206 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

trustee board. He has been a member of the district mission 
board since 1938. He was president of the district men's 
work council for a term of two years. He possesses a hum- 
ble Christian spirit, and is willing to labor diligently for 
the church. 

PERRY A. ARNOLD was born in Preston County, West 
Virginia. The date of his birth was not furnished. He 
was the son of John S. and Susan M. Arnold. On August 
5, 1888, he was married to Mariah Fike. Two children were 
born in West Virginia and three in Michigan. He received 
public school training in his home state. He was baptized 
by Elder James Fike in the Eglon congregation, West Vir- 
ginia, in 1889. His call to the ministry came in 1895 when he 
was living in Lenawee County, Michigan. Then in 1911 he 
was ordained to the eldership by Elders George Stone and 
Perry McKimmy in the Beaverton church, the church which 
he faithfully served as elder for a period of twenty-five 

WILLARD I. ATHERTON is one of the younger ministers 
of the district. The son of Jesse F. and Lina G. Atherton, 
he was born at Prescott, Ogemaw County, Michigan, on 
June 12, 1917. Besides his elementary school training in 
his home county, he has continued his training for the 
ministry at Bethany Bible Training School, Chicago, where 
he has been a student for the past year or more. He united 
with the Zion church in August 1933. Since his call to 
the ministry on July 2, 1939, he has assisted in the preaching 
program and other church work at the Zion congregation. 
Willard gave this interesting note about his ancestry: "My 
mother's father, Lynn R. Myers, was born in Pennsylvania 
and moved to Kentucky when a youth. He then moved to 
Michigan where he still resides. Thus I am linked in a way 
with the early Brethren forefathers." As Willard conse- 

Biographical Sketches 


crates his life to the Lord's work, may he be blessed with a 
fruitful ministry. 

CHESTER NELSON BAIRD was born at Altoona, Penn- 
sylvania, on February 11, 1908. His parents are Edgar E. 
and Minnie Loudon Baird. He completed his high school 
training in 1925. He graduated from Juniata College, Hunt- 
ingdon, Pennsylvania, in 1931, and from Bethany Biblical 
Seminary, Chicago, in 1934, receiving the bachelor of divin- 
ity degree. He was baptized at the Juniata Park church, 
Juniata, Pennsylvania, in 1926, by Ira Holsopple. This 
church elected him to the ministry in 1930. He was married 
to Merva Detwiler on September 10, 1933. Their work in 
Michigan was in the Shepherd and Sugar Ridge churches. 
Since leaving Michigan they have served in the pastorates 
at Cart Creek, Indiana, and Saxton, Pennsylvania. 

DAVID BAKER was born in 
Pennsylvania. The author was 
unable to obtain detailed infor- 
mation regarding his birth, 
childhood and parentage. It is 
reported by one of his daugh- 
ters that he came to Michigan 
on foot from Pennsylvania when 
a young man. He located first 
south of Shepherdsville. After 
the death of his first wife he 
married again. He was brought 
up in the Free Methodist 
Church. He lived near Carson 
City for a while, and later moved into the territory of the 
Elsie church. He was elected to the deacon's office, and 
later, on March 17, 1879, to the first degree of the ministry. 
He was willing to endure many hardships in order to fill 



History of the Brethren in Michigan 

his preaching appointments. He died at the age of eighty- 
eight years. 

LEVI BAKER was born in Ashland County, Ohio, on 
December 13, 1861. He received a public school educa- 
tion. He gave his heart to the Lord in his youth. He 
married Maggie Somers on October 12, 1887. His life came 
to an untimely end at the age of fifty-three years. He 
preceded his aged father, David Baker, in death. He al- 
ways lived in the bounds of the Elsie church. His church 
elected him deacon on October 13, 1883. On October 4, 1885, 
at twenty-four years of age he was called to the ministry. 
His ordination to the eldership took place on May 18, 1889. 
During his short ministry he solemnized a number of mar- 
riages, preached a great many funerals, and held a number 

of successful revival meetings. 
His labor was not in vain for 
he had the joy of seeing a num- 
ber give their hearts to God. 

WIN, the son of Oscar and 
Catherine Baldwin, was born 
at North Manchester, Indiana, 
on September 17, 1893. He 
united with the church at 
Roann, Indiana, in 1907, and 
was elected to the ministry in 
1924 at Wenatchee, Washing- 
ton. His ordination to the 
eldership came on September 
6, 1931, at the district meeting 
at Lena, Illinois. He has held pastorates at Sterling, Illinois, 
Modesto, California, and Morrill, Kansas; at present he is 
serving the Lincoln, Nebraska, church as pastor and elder. 


Biographical Sketches 209 

He graduated from Bethany Biblical Seminary with the 
bachelor of divinity degree. His connection with the church 
work in Michigan came while he was a student at Bethany 
from 1925 to 1930. During the years 1927-28 he served the 
Elmdale church for fifteen months as summer and student 

GALEN ERB BARKDOLL was born June 2, 1898, at 
Naperville, Illinois. He is the son of William S. and Ida 
Barkdoll. On August 5, 1926, he was married to Bernice 
Snavely, and now has six children living and two dead. 
He is a graduate of Manchester College and has spent sev- 
eral years at Bethany Bible School. He united with the 
church at Naperville, Illinois, in November 1907, and was 
called to the ministry by that church in 1917. In Ne- 
braska, in 1934, he was ordained to the eldership. Brother 
Barkdoll has served pastorates in Nebraska and Missouri. 
He is now pastor of the Marilla and Harlan churches. He 
said, "Now after two years of associations in Michigan I 
would rank Michigan fruit second and Michigan folks first 
in the list of her characteristics. I am eager for the time 
to come when some Michigan youth will put into story the 
virtues of the people who make Michigan and her fruits 
possible, as Bess Streeter Aldrich has written about the 
pioneers of Nebraska in A Lantern in Her Hand and A 
White Bird Flying." Brother Barkdoll is filling his place of 
responsibility very nobly, and is winning the goodwill and 
favor of the people in the churches and the community. He 
is now a member of the district ministerial board. 

1893, in Clinton County, Indiana. On August 31, 1919, he 
married Hazel Butterbaugh. He completed his work for 
the bachelor of arts degree at Manchester College and re- 
ceived his master of science degree in education at Indiana 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

University. He was baptized in 1910 at Pyrmont, Indiana, 
and was elected to the ministry at North Manchester, In- 
diana, in 1920. He was the director of the Civilian Public 
Service camp near Manistee, Michigan, for a period at its 
beginning. This was under the Brethren Service Commit- 
tee of our denomination. While he was here he served the 
Lake View church at Brethren as part-time pastor. 

IRA G. BLOCHER is the son of Samuel Wyland and Mo- 
linda Catherine Blocher. He was born on July 22, 1873, in 



Darke County, Ohio. His immediate ancestors were all 
members of our church. His grandfather was a deacon, 
and his father was a minister and elder. An interesting 

Biographical Sketches 211 

fact worth noting is that "Ancestor Blocher escaped from 
Germany, pursued by soldiers with dogs on account of 
conscientious objection to military training." This was 
about 1750. This ancestor settled in Pennsylvania. Brother 
Blocher's great-grandfather came to Darke County, Ohio, 
from Hanover, Pennsylvania, in 1826, and when he died he 
was laid to rest in the cemetery by the Cedar Grove church 
of Southern Ohio, which was on the original homestead. 

After public school days, Brother Blocher's training was 
continued by taking academic courses at Mt. Morris College, 
1894-95; later he attended the Bible Institute at Canton, 
Ohio, and also Bethany Bible School, Chicago, 1918-1922. 
He was baptized in February 1890 by Elder Isaac Frantz at 
the Poplar Grove church, Southern Ohio. It was here that 
he was called to the ministry in March 1904. He and his 
wife were installed by Elder D. M. Garver. His marriage to 
Laura Anna Wagner was on August 24, 1895. Four children 
were born to the home. The oldest daughter, Ruth, became 
the wife of Floyd E. Mallott. 

In 1911 they moved from the Poplar Grove church, Ohio, 
and located in the Zion congregation, Michigan. He served 
there as a free minister until 1914. His ordination to the 
eldership occurred at this church in June 1913. He speaks 
thus of his experience in Michigan: "I am happy to have 
had a small part in Zion's beginning. Also we have helped 
to start the church work at Ozark, our only congregation 
in the upper peninsula. We assisted in the first love feast 
there, and conducted the dedication service of the present 

They returned to Southern Ohio and gave part-time pas- 
toral service to the Prices Creek church, 1922-1928, and to 
the Eaton church, 1928-1932. He has assisted in the min- 
isterial activities at the Greenville church, Southern Ohio, 
since 1932. He was Sunday-school secretary of Southern 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Ohio from 1914 to 1925, and also a member of the district 
mission board from 1917 to 1923. In addition to his church 
work, he has assumed many responsibilities in community 
organizations. His ministry has been filled with rich ex- 
periences. He has contributed his time and effort to ad- 
vance the church program. 

FLOYD S. BOLLINGER was born on November 16, 1889, 
at Carson City, Michigan. He is the son of John P. and 
Sarah E. Bollinger. On May 30, 1921, he was married to 
Helen E. Myers. He finished high school at Ithaca, Michi- 
gan, and took schoolwork at Manchester College and at 
Ferris Institute in Big Rapids. His parents were members 
of our church, and it was their Christian teaching that in- 
fluenced him to have faith in Christ. 

SAMUEL BOLLINGER is doubtless the oldest active 
minister in Michigan at the present time. He was born near 

Akron, Ohio. He is the son of 
Emanuel and Margaret Bolling- 
er. He came to Michigan in 
1883 and located in New Haven 
Township, Gratiot County, but 
after one year moved to Vesta- 
burg. He worked as a farm 
hand before his marriage to 
Alice Palmer in 1889. To this 
marriage were born two sons 
and one daughter. After the 
death of his first wife, he mar- 
ried Lila Webster in 1902; two 
sons and one daughter were 
born to them. He has only a 
common school education, but possesses a keen intellect. He 
united with the church at Vestaburg in 1885. He says that 
conversion came through reading and careful observation. 


Biographical Sketches 213 

He was elected to the ministry at the New Haven church in 
1887 and ordained to the eldership in 1906. It was through 
his untiring efforts that the Lansing church was started in 
1925. He served that church as pastor and elder for ten 
years on the free-time basis. Before moving to Lansing he 
had served for twenty-five years in the Rodney and Vesta- 
burg churches. He looks back upon his work at Lansing 
with great joy because the work has grown into one of 
the strong churches in Michigan. He moved back to Vesta- 
burg in 1935, and was the active pastor at Crystal until re- 
tirement in 1942. His second wife passed to her reward in 
1939. She was a source of strength to him in his ministry. 
He will be remembered as one of the faithful and loyal 
elders of the state. 

REUBEN BOOMERSHINE, son of W. H. and Orilla Boom- 
ershine, was born February 7, 1892, at Brookville, Ohio. He 
graduated from the Brookville 
high school in 1911, and re- 


ceived the bachelor of arts de- 
gree at Manchester College in 
1915. He took three terms of 
training at Bethany Bible 
School, Chicago, and in 1923 he 
received the master's degree 
from Ohio State University. In 
December 1910 he was baptized 
at Brookville, Ohio. That church 
elected him to the ministry on 
August 28, 1912, and ordained 
him to the eldership in the sum- REUBE N BOOMERSHINE 
mer of 1922. He was married to 

Viola Emma Albaugh on June 3, 1925. His work in the 
District of Michigan was from 1928 to 1930. During this 
time he was pastor of the Shepherd church, and also served 


214 History of 'the Brethren in Michigan 

as the district fieldworker. He has also served the follow- 
ing pastorates: North Winona, Indiana, 1925-26; Muncie, 
Indiana, 1931-34; Dupont, Ohio, 1936-37; Fostoria, Ohio, 1937- 
44. He was called to the pastorate of the Nappanee church, 
Indiana, in 1944. 

GARLAND BAUMAN BORDEN was born near Wood- 
stock, Virginia, on January 26, 1916. He is the son of Albert 
and Lenna Ritenour Borden. He is a graduate of the South- 
eastern high school, Detroit. In 1940 he was graduated 
from Manchester College with the bachelor of arts degree. 
He married Marian Fox on September 4, 1942. He united 
with the First Church of the Brethren, Detroit, in 1933, be- 
ing baptized by the pastor, Arthur O. Mote, and was licensed 
to preach by that church. He was called to the ministry at 

the South Whitley church, Indi- 
ana, in 1942. He served this 
church as part-time pastor and 
is now full-time pastor of the 
Sugar Creek church. He attrib- 
utes his aspiration to the min- 
istry to the Christian influence 
of the late Arthur O. Mote and 
of Brother Otho Winger. 

one of the pioneer ministers of 
the Church of the Brethren in 
ELIEZER BOSSERMAN Michigan. He was the son of 

Samuel Bosserman and wife, 
who then lived in Stark County, Ohio. He was born Janu- 
ary 30, 1834. His first wife's name was Mary Magdalene 
Thoma. Later he was united in marriage to Alice Donalson. 
They were blessed with a large family who have been faith- 
ful members of the Church of the Brethren. Both his first 

Biographical Sketches 215 

and his second wife passed to their eternal reward and were 
buried in Michigan. His third wife died in 1940 at Eagle 
Creek, Ohio, aged over ninety-six years. Brother Bosserman 
was received into the church by baptism in the Eagle Creek 
church, Ohio. He was also called to the ministry and or- 
dained to the eldership there. The family moved to Gratiot 
County, Michigan, in April 1882 and located near the New 
Haven church. He preached mostly at this church. He was 
a faithful Christian worker. He stood well in the district, 
and his name is found on the list of loyal elders who have 
served the churches. He moved back to Hancock County, 
Ohio, and passed to his eternal rest in 1915. 

WILLIAM OTTO BOSSERMAN is the son of William P. 
and Nettie Bosserman. He was born on October 4, 1915, in 
Woodward County, Oklahoma. This was the same year that 
his grandfather, Eliezer Bosserman, died. As we look back 
now, it appears that the Lord had brought forth a grandson 
to follow in his steps, for he, too, was destined to be a min- 
ister. In addition to a high school training, William has 
taken a number of courses at Bethany Bible Training School, 
Chicago, and is now attending Elizabethtown College at 
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He was baptized at the Peace 
Valley church, Missouri, in November 1925. He was elected 
to the ministry at this church in 1938, and was installed at 
the Greenwood congregation in 1942. The churches in 
which he has served during the past few years are the 
Peace Valley and Greenwood churches in Missouri, and the 
Lake View church at Brethren, Michigan. He gave pas- 
toral service for ten months in 1943 in the latter church. 
Both of his grandparents — Eliezer Bosserman and Samuel 
Weimer — were elders who labored many years in the Mich- 
igan District in the first part of the present century. His 
father and his uncle are also ministers in the Church of 
the Brethren. 

216 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

WILLIAM PHILIP BOSSERMAN has a place between a 
father preacher and a son preacher. He was born at New 
Stark, Hancock County, Ohio, on October 20, 1867. His 
parents, Eliezer and Mary Bosserman, moved to Michigan 
when he was a youth. He lived in the state until he was 
about thirty years of age and then moved to Oklahoma. He 
went to elementary school in Ohio and Michigan, and after 
his high school training in Michigan he went to McPherson 
College, McPherson, Kansas. He has taught school in Mich- 
igan, Iowa, and Oklahoma. He united with the church by 
baptism in June 1882 at New Haven, Michigan. He was 
living in Oklahoma when elected to the ministry in 1895 
and ordained as elder in 1909. His first wife, Sarah Neuen- 
schwander, passed away in 1911. He then married Nettie 
Weimer, daughter of Elder Samuel Weimer. He had a par- 
ticular connection with Elder Samuel Weimer in organizing 
the Sunshine church in New Mexico. He learned then that 
his father, Eliezer Bosserman, officiated at the ordination to 

the eldership of Samuel Weimer 
at the Little Traverse church. 
He has served churches in Okla- 
home and Missouri with very 
little remuneration. He has also 
^ '■; j^^, preached in the churches of 

Ikk Michigan. He served on Stand- 

ing Committee in 1909. 

one time lived in the Detroit 

-^ congregation. It was then that 

J. P. BOWMAN , u j • + u u u 

he preached in the churches 

of the district. The son of Joseph and Susannah Bowman, 
he was born at Jonesboro, Tennessee, on July 4, 1871. He 
received a public school education, and took academic train- 
ing at Johnson City, Tennessee. He was married to Jennie 

Biographical Sketches 217 

E. Garst. He was baptized at the Knob Creek church, Ten- 
nessee, in August 1887. This church elected him to the min- 
istry in May 1895, and he was ordained to the eldership here 
in 1907. The churches which he has served as a free minis- 
ter are Knob Creek, Tennessee; Beaver Creek, Tennessee; 
Rocky Ridge and Thurmont, Maryland. In 1900 he gave 
pastoral service to the Irvin Creek church in Wisconsin, 
with support from the General Mission Board. His ministe- 
rial work in the District of Michigan was mostly done in the 
Zion and Pontiac congregations. He states that all of his 
ancestors were Brethren people as far back as he has any 

SAMUEL BOWSER was born in Carroll County, Mary- 
land, on June 17, 1861. He got his training in the public 
school, Bible terms, and about eight weeks at Bethany Bible 
School in 1909 or 1910. In 1880 he was baptized at the 
Black Rock church, Carroll County, Maryland, by Aaron 
Baugher, grandfather of A. C. Baugher. He went to Kansas 
and was elected to the ministry in 1887. He served in 
Kansas, Minnesota, and Iowa, all on a free-time basis. 
During his ministry in the West he was ordained to the 
eldership in 1892. From Iowa he moved to Michigan and 
gave free-time service to the Zion church and part-time 
service to the Elmdale church. Brother Bowser was a 
good leader in this district. He performed many ministerial 
duties in the churches and gave much time to mission work 
as a member of the district mission board. He left the 
district about 1931 and went to Ronan, Montana, in order 
to be nearer his children. He feels that older ministers 
should be glad always to place the work in younger 
hands. "I still regard the ministry as a noble and virtuous 
calling for younger and better prepared minds," he declared. 

CHARLES HOMER CAMERON began his pastoral work 
at the Grand Rapids church in Michigan, September 1, 1945. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

The family came to the district from the Waterford church, 
California. His parents are John B. R. and Florence Vir- 
ginia Cameron. He was born on January 23, 1892, at Salem, 
Roanoke County, Virginia. His 
marriage to Orda I. Hanson was 
on September 13, 1924, at Gran- 
ite Falls, Minnesota. He attend- 
ed Daleville College, Daleville, 
Virginia, and Sorbonne Univer- 
sity, a part of 1'Universite de 
Paris, Paris, France. He was 
baptized in the Peters Creek 
congregation, Salem, Virginia, 
July 9, 1909. While attending 
Daleville College in 1916 he was 
elected to the ministry. Ordi- 
nation to the eldership was on 
January 20, 1940, at Long Beach, 
California. He served as pas- 
tor at the Waterford church, 

California, from September 1, 1940, to August 31, 1945. 
He has filled responsible positions of leadership in the 
District of Southern California and Arizona, and served as 
secretary of the district board of directors of Northern Cal- 
ifornia. This particular work gave him close association 
with such Brethren church leaders as the late Edgar Roth- 
rock, C. Ernest Davis, D. W. Kurtz, Lorell Weiss, and J. W. 


ELLIS F. CASLOW was born on November 27, 1875, in 
Guthrie County, Iowa. He was married to Anna L. Hess on 
December 29, 1897. He went to high school at Panora, 
Iowa, and to Bethany Bible School one year. On January 
30, 1898, he united with the church at Panora, Iowa. He 
immediately began to serve in the Sunday school and was 

Biographical Sketches 


elected to the ministry in 1902. 
His ordination to the eldership 
took place in 1908. His impor- 
tant work in Michigan was that 
of district fieldworker. He also 
did a great deal of evangelistic 
work in the churches of Michi- 
gan. He says, "I have had many 
rich experiences, along with 
some difficult days, but all in all, 
my ministry has been blessed 
with much joy to myself, and I 
trust that many of God's chil- 
dren may have been helped as 
much as I have been helped by 


DANIEL CHAMBERS was born on July 14, 1836, at 
Bucyrus, Ohio. He married Rosannah Brillhart about 1860. 
A son and a daughter died in childhood, and three sons 

are still living. He received pub- 
lic school training. In 1861 he was 
elected to the ministry in Ohio. . He 
served as elder of the New Haven 
church for twenty years and of the 
Elsie church for thirty years. He 
also had oversight of the Beaver- 
ton church for a while. He gave 
unstintingly of his ministry to the 
district and to the churches in 
^ t. M yL those days when wisdom and per- 

severance were very much needed. 
The following was written by his 
son, Milton M. Chambers of Grand 
DANIEL CHAMBERS Rapids, in response to a request for 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

information: "My father was not as fluent as some, but was 
a good counselor and was often called upon to assist in 
settling church difficulties in other congregations. He was 
noted for his generosity and his sympathetic nature, and 
was honored and loved best by those who knew him best. 
His side companion was a wonderful help to him in his 
church work, often accompanying him on those long tedious 
horse-and-buggy trips over bad, rough and muddy roads to 
fill appointments. He solemnized a great many marriage 
ceremonies and conducted many funeral services." 

HAROLD S. CHAMBERS was born at Carson City, Mich- 
igan, October 21, 1898. He is the son of Milton M. and 

Bertha Mae Chambers. His pub- 
lic school education was re- 
ceived at Grand Rapids, Mich- 
igan; he is a graduate of Man- 
chester College and a graduate 
of the University of Michigan, 
having received the master of 
arts degree from the latter in- 
stitution in 1940. He united 
with the church at Carson City 
in 1908. He was elected to the 
ministry at Grand Rapids and 
first served that church as part- 
time pastor from 1936 to 1939. 
In 1922 he was married to 
Blanche Pauline Driver. They 
have one son. Harold is the 
grandson of Elder Daniel Chambers, who labored in the 
early churches of the district. His profession is teaching, 
but he gives much time and thought to the local and district 
work. He has been a member of the district board of Chris- 
tian education as the director of adult work. For several 


Biographical Sketches 


years he served as adult adviser to the district B.Y.P.D. cab- 
inet. In 1941 he was again called to assume the pastoral du- 
ties of the Grand Rapids church and served there until 1945. 
He has now ministered seven years in his home church, 
which is a longer period than any other minister has 
served in that pastorate. Under his capable and aggressive 
leadership the Grand Rapids church has achieved new goals. 

JOHN W. CHAMBERS was born at Bucyrus, Ohio, Au- 
gust 1, 1862. He is the son of Daniel and Rosannah Cham- 
bers. He married Elizabeth Royer on September 27, 1902. 
He received his high school training at Valparaiso, Indi- 
ana, and had one year of college at Mt. Morris, Illinois. 
He united with the New Haven church and was called 
to the ministry at Fostoria, Ohio, in 1889. He served as 

writing clerk of the district in 1898 
and 1899. He is now residing in 
Florida, where he has been for a 
number of years. 

never elected to the ministry, but 
he has been a very faithful lay 
worker in the church and the dis- 
trict. He was born on March 9, 
1876, at Bucyrus, Ohio. He is the 
son of Daniel and Rosannah Cham- 
bers. He was not very old when 
his parents moved to Michigan 
from Ohio. In addition to his pub- 
lic school training, he has been a 
student at Mt. Morris College, at 
Michigan State College two years, and at Central Michigan 
Normal two terms. His first wife was taken by death; he 
married Mildred F. Isham on July 5, 1911. He united with 


222 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

the New Haven church in 1889 at the age of thirteen. He 
writes of his conversion as follows: "I did not experience a 
great change as I had lived at home under the splendid in- 
fluence of my father and mother and my two brothers, 
who were fifteen and thirteen years my senior. So the 
joining of the church by baptism was just a natural thing 
for me to do." He has always taken an active part in the 
teaching program of the church, and since 1914 has served 
as superintendent of the Sunday school at Grand Rapids 
almost continuously. He was a member of the district 
mission board for a period of twelve years at various in- 
tervals, and he has served as chairman of the district coun- 
cil of boards since its formation in 1932. He possesses un- 
usual executive ability which qualifies him for the positions 
of leadership both in the local church and in the district. 

DELBERT J. COOK, son of Jesse J. and Edith Bowman 
Cook, was born at Wabash, Indiana, in 1925. The family 
moved to Michigan, and he finished elementary school at 
Buckley, Michigan. Three years of his high school were 
taken at Buckley. The senior year was spent at Carson 
City, Michigan. He continued his school career at Man- 
chester College, North Manchester, Indiana, and was able to 
finish the freshman year of college work before he was 
drafted. It is unfortunate that because of war the govern- 
ment under the selective service law thwarted his plans 
of attaining the goals in education toward which he was 
striving at that time. It was necessary for him to relinquish 
his college work to enter Civilian Public Service. He was 
baptized at the Sugar Ridge church, Michigan, in July 1936. 
He was licensed to the ministry in 1943 at the New Haven 
church. He has a musical talent which will be an asset in 
his ministry to the church. His life manifests those fine 
Christian qualities that will enable him to achieve success 
in the work of the church. 

Biographical Sketches 223 

JESSE J. COOK was born at Portland, Indiana, on Febru- 
ary 21, 1896. He is the son of Josiah and Susie Bash Cook. 
After finishing his elementary school training, he entered 
Manchester Academy and completed the high school 
course there. He graduated from Manchester College, 
North Manchester, Indiana, with the bachelor of arts de- 
gree, and spent two summers and one winter at Bethany 
Biblical Seminary, Chicago. Later he received the bachelor 
of science degree in agriculture at Michigan State College, 
East Lansing, Michigan. He has been successful in the 
work of teaching. His wife's maiden name was Edith Bow- 
man. Their home has been blessed with three children. 
He was baptized and united with the church at Markle, 
Indiana, when Brother William Lampin held services. The 
Markle church called him to the ministry in October 1919. 
He was ordained to the eldership in 1931 in the Sugar Ridge 
church, Michigan. He has served as part-time pastor at 
Lowpoint, Illinois, in the Oak Grove church; at Champaign, 
Illinois; the Wabash City church in Indiana; and the Sugar 
Ridge church in Michigan. The family moved to a farm 
home near Middleton, Michigan, in 1941, and he is teaching 
in the township high school. In addition to his schoolwork 
he is serving the New Haven church as a free minister. He 
is also the presiding elder there and at the Crystal church. 
He and his wife have contributed much time to the work 
of the district. Sister Cook at the present time is the secre- 
tary of the district women's work council. He has served 
a number of years on the district board of Christian edu- 
cation. He was the moderator of the district conference for 

MARY L. COOK is the daughter of John W. and Cath- 
erine Cook. She was born on August 11, 1881, at Nevada, 
Ohio. She received the bachelor of arts degree at Man- 
chester College, May 30, 1930. She was a student at Beth- 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


any Bible School during the winter term, 1930-31. In 1905- 
06 she was a student at E. S. Young's Bible Institute, Canton, 
Ohio. She was baptized at Greensburg, Ohio, August 25, 
1901. Her decision to dedicate 
her life to Christ was made at 
the close of a harvest meeting. 
Her experience at the time is 
related by herself as follows: "I 
spent much time in Bible study 
and prayer for guidance of the 
Holy Spirit during the summer 
of 1901. I had a definite experi- 
ence of the baptism of the Holy 
Spirit at the time of water bap- 
tism." She was called to the 
ministry at the Nevada church, 
Ohio, on September 2, 1922. She 
served three and one-half years 

as full-time pastor in the Pontiac church, Michigan. She 
has held over thirty revival meetings during her ministry. 
She is now residing at Elyria, Ohio. 

MARTIN COSNER was one of the pioneer ministers of 
the Church of the Brethren in Michigan. He was born 
January 15, 1825, in West Virginia, where he lived on the 
old homestead until the fall of 1880. Then he and his family 
moved to Emmet County, Michigan, near Harbor Springs. 
He was first elected to the deacon's office, then to the min- 
istry, and was ordained to the eldership about 1865. He 
labored a great deal among the churches in West Virginia. 
Much of his traveling was done on horseback over the 
mountains and through the valleys. He was much con- 
cerned for the welfare of the church. It was his privilege 
to attend a number of Annual Meetings and to serve several 
times as a member of the Standing Committee. He was 

Biographical Sketches 225 

liberally inclined and always gave wherever needed. All 
of his service for the church was without pay. Brother 
John Kline was one of his intimate associates, and he often 
related many happy experiences they had together. He 
practiced medicine for a few years, but he had to give up 
that career on account of his health. During his residence 
in Michigan he gained the goodwill of all the people. At the 
time of his death, September 16, 1885, the people all realized 
that it would be a long time before his place could be 
filled in that community. He was unable to do any preach- 
ing during the last year of his life. A short time before 
his death, he received an encouraging letter from Brother 
D. Hays which was a great comfort to him in his last hours. 
Before his death he wished to be anointed. The family sent 
for Elder Peter Long of Indiana, but he did not get to their 
place until after the funeral. Brother J. R. Stutsman con- 
ducted the services, and the congregation was the largest 
ever assembled on a like occasion in that county. His influ- 
ence is still felt in the community. 

DONALD EMERSON CROUCH, son of William J. and 
Emma Crouch, was born in Manistee County, Michigan, on 
February 2, 1891. He married Lula V. Gilbert on April 
22, 1913. He is a graduate of the Onekama high school and 
received his bachelor of arts degree at Central State Teach- 
ers College, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in 1938. He united with 
the Church of the Brethren in the Lake View congregation 
at Brethren, Michigan. His foreparents came to Michigan 
from New England. Donald says that he knew nothing of 
the Church of the Brethren until Brother Ulery came to 
Onekama and organized a church. He with many other 
young people took an active part in the building of the 
church house there. He has spent most of his time teach- 
ing and is now superintendent of the Rose City, Michigan, 
public schools. 

226 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

G. F. CULLER was born near Milford, Indiana, and later 
lived in Ohio. He attended Manchester College and was 
graduated in 1902. While at college he met Lelia Miller of 
Woodland, Michigan, and was married to her in 1902. After 
their marriage they located at Woodland. There he was 
elected to the ministry in 1904. Two years later he was 
advanced to the eldership. Both he and his wife were active 
in church and Sunday-school work and spent some time 
at Bethany Bible School. At the district meeting held at 
Woodland in August 1910 they were appealed to and they 
consented to take the pastorate of the Grand Rapids city 
mission. They began their work September 1, 1910, and 
continued one year. They returned to Woodland and be- 
came charter members of the Woodland Village church in 
January 1914. Sister Culler was gifted with a good voice 
and a deeply spiritual nature which qualified her for an 
inspirational song leader. She willingly served in this 
capacity not only in the home church but also at the district 
meetings. Brother Culler served the Woodland Village 
church as pastor and as elder-in-charge. He also served 
on the trustee board of Manchester College for a number 
of years as a representative of Michigan. He was suddenly 
stricken and died on April 15, 1928. 

ELMER LEE DADISMAN, the son of Lee and Minnie 
Miller Dadisman, was born on March 18, 1915, in Bee Coun- 
ty, Texas. He married Avis Emma Smith. After attending 
elementary school in Bourbon County, Kansas, he went to 
the high school at Uniontown, Kansas, and to the Fernald 
high school, Fernald, Iowa. He completed his college train- 
ing at McPherson, Kansas, and is a graduate of Bethany 
Biblical Seminary. He was baptized about 1925 when liv- 
ing in the Paint Creek church, Southeastern Kansas. The 
Fernald church in Iowa licensed him to preach in July 
1938; he was installed into the ministry at this church in 

Biographical Sketches 227 

December 1940. His work in the District of Michigan oc- 
curred in 1941 when he was summer pastor at the Flint 
church. Three other summer pastorates during his school 
career were: Guthrie, Minnesota, in 1940; English River, 
Southern Iowa, in 1942; and Panther Creek, Southern Illi- 
nois, in 1943. At the present time he is the full-time pastor 
of the Lone Star church of Northeastern Kansas. 

HOWARD WALTER DEAL was born on May 6, 1907, at 
New Enterprise, Pennsylvania. He is the son of Noah and 
Hannah Deal. He was married to Mary Pauline Sellers on 
July 19, 1931. He is a graduate of the Onekama high school, 
and has been a student at Manchester College. He united 
with the church at New Enterprise at eleven years of age 
and was baptized by H. Stover Kulp (missionary to Africa) . 
Brother Charles Bonsack was there and held the revival 
meeting. He accepted the call to the ministry on September 
28, 1939, at the Onekama church. Howard tells this: "My 
father's oldest brother, John Deal, served in the ministry of 
the Church of the Brethren in Indiana, North Dakota and 
Washington for over sixty years." This was a great influ- 
ence upon him. 

CHARLES H. DEARDORFF spent a great many years 
in the District of Michigan in the early part of his ministry. 
He is the son of Isaac and Mary Deardorff. He was born 
at Roann, Indiana, on March 4, 1880. He was married to 
Emma May Byer on August 27, 1898. He united with the 
church at his home in 1894. His testimony is a significant 
one: "I have found Christ sufficient for all conditions of 
life. I have failed him, but he has never failed me." His call 
to the ministry came in 1905 in North Dakota. He came to 
Michigan in 1908, and first served the Harlan church from 
1908 to 1915. Then he had charge of the church at Elm- 
dale from 1915 to 1921. His pastorates after leaving Michi- 
gan were at White Cottage, Hartville, and Ashland, all 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


Northeastern Ohio churches. He was ordained to the elder- 
ship at Elmdale, Michigan. Elders S. M. Smith and Peter 

B. Messner had charge. He is at 
the present time a member of the 
Elgin staff in change of the build- 
ing of new and the remodeling of 
old churches. He acts in the ca- 
pacity of supervisor and counselor 
when called upon by any church. 

DORFF was born on November 
21, 1875, at Roann, Indiana, and 
died in October 1919 at Marion, 
Ohio. He was the son of Isaac and 
Mary Tombaugh Deardorff. His 
wife was Ida Grossnickle of North 
Manchester, who died in 1942. He 
received his elementary and high school training at Roann, 
Indiana. He united with the church at this place. He was 
elected to the ministry at Rock Lake, North Dakota, in 1898 
and was ordained to the eldership at the Zion church, North 
Dakota, in 1901. He has given part-time service to the Rock 
Lake and Zion churches in North Dakota, and at Brethren, 
Michigan, in the Lake View church. Churches where he 
served full-time were Buffalo and Marion, Indiana, and 
Marion, Ohio. He held many revival meetings. 

ISAAC DEARDORFF was the father of George and 
Charles Deardorff, already recorded in this history. He 
was born September 6, 1846, at Roann, Indiana. His father's 
name was Paul Deardorff; but his mother's name is un- 
known. He married Mary Tombaugh; to them were born 
six children, of whom Charles H. is the only one now liv- 
ing. He had a public school education. He was baptized 
at Roann, Indiana, but the date is not known. The Roann 

Biographical Sketches 


church elected him to the ministry about 1869. He was 
ordained to the eldership at Zion, North Dakota. His was 
a free ministry. The churches where he preached were 
Roann, Indiana, Zion and Cando, North Dakota, Lake View 
at Brethren, Michigan, and Marion, Ohio. He held a few 
revivals. Perhaps this seems somewhat brief for all that he 
did for the church in which he labored. 

JACOB TROSTLE DICK had his connection in the Dis- 
trict of Michigan only when he served as summer pastor in 
the New Haven and Crystal churches in 1940. He was born 
at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, 
on May 18, 1917. He is the son 
of Trostle P. and Annie Hol- 
linger Dick. His wife was Le- 
ona Stauffer, whom he married 
during the years of his seminary 
training in Chicago. In addition 
to his elementary and high 
school training, he is a graduate 
of Juniata College and of Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary, Chicago, 
where he received the bachelor 
of divinity degree in 1942. He 
was baptized at the Coventry 
church, Pottstown, Pennsylva- 
nia, in 1929. This church first licensed him to the ministry 
in 1936, and he was installed later. He was ordained to the 
eldership on October 26, 1944, at the district meeting held at 
the Meyersdale church in Pennsylvania. After serving in 
the pastorate of the Shade Creek congregation in Western 
Pennsylvania, he has become the pastor of the Lititz, Penn- 
sylvania, church. 

S. BOYD DICKEY spent one year in the pastorate of the 
Midland church in Michigan. He is the son of B. D. and 



History of the Brethren in Michigan 


Emma Boyd Dickey. He was born on March 18, 1907, at 
Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. He was married to Francine 
Berg. He is a graduate of the high school 
in Berlin Township, Somerset County, 
Pennsylvania, of Juniata College, and of 
Bethany Biblical Seminary. He received 
the bachelor of divinity degree in the sem- 
inary class of 1941. He was baptized in 
the Brothersvalley congregation near Ber- 
lin, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1919. 
He was licensed in 1937 and ordained 
to the ministry on September 2, 1938, by 
the same congregation. When he left 
Midland, Michigan, in June 1942 he en- 
tered the pastorate of the Westmont (Johnstown) church, 
Pennsylvania, and served there until June 1944. He ac- 
cepted the call of the Colver Presbyterian church, Colver, 

Pa., in June 1944, and is serving 
there at the present time. 

JOHN F. DIETZ moved from 
Pennsylvania in 1914 to Detroit, 
Michigan, where he labored in 
the ministry and other church 
work until his death. He was 
born in Somerset County, Penn- 
sylvania, on September 26, 1863, 
the son of Jacob and Sarah 
Dietz. On December 26, 1886, 
he married Jemima E. Blough. 
He united with the church early 
in life and at once began to 
work in it. He was elected 
to the ministry in September 1893. In his early life he was 
instrumental in organizing several churches at Johnstown, 


Biographical Sketches 231 

Pennsylvania. He was one of the founders of the First 
Church of the Brethren of Detroit, and served in that church 
as a minister and teacher with great earnestness. The work 
of the church was always first and uppermost in his heart. 
His enthusiasm and courage were contagious and he became 
an influential leader in all phases of the church's program. 
He was anointed by the pastor on August 25, 1939, and 
passed to his reward on August 30 of that year. 

ARTHUR L. DODGE is the son of Leonard and Elmina 
Binkley Dodge. He was born on December 3, 1892, at Co- 
lumbus Grove, Ohio. He completed his elementary school 
training near Lima, Ohio, and attended Manchester Col- 
lege, taking academic courses, from 1911 to 1915. His wife 
was formely Gertrude Netzley. He was baptized on Febru- 
ary 14, 1909, at the Lima church, Northwestern Ohio, by 
Brother G. A. Snider. The Union City church, Indiana, 
elected him to the ministry in September 1919. The installa- 
tion service was in charge of Brethren B. F. Sharp and 
Sylvan Bookwalter. He was ordained to the eldership in 
September 1925 by Brethren L. A. Bookwalter and Ivan 
Erbaugh at the Pleasant Valley church, Ohio. Brother 
Dodge has served the following pastorates: Pleasant Valley, 
Southern Ohio, 1923-25; Oak Grove, Northwestern Ohio, 
1925-27; Plumcreek, Western Pennsylvania, 1927-31; Black 
River, Northeastern Ohio, 1931-41. From 1941-1945 he was 
pastor of the Woodland church in Michigan. A part of this 
time he was a member of the district ministerial board. He 
is now the pastor of the Defiance, Ohio, church. 

ROBERT DANIEL EBEY is a native of Michigan. He was 
born on October 4, 1914, at Pontiac, Michigan. He is the son 
cf Enoch J. and Phebe Ann Ebey. His parents were largely 
responsible for the beginning of the Pontiac church. It was 
in their home that the first meetings were held. In his youth 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


impressions of the influence that the church could have in 

any community were made upon him. He united with the 

church at Pontiac on October 6, 1923. He 

was willing to develop his talent by 

teaching in the church school and by fill- 
ing places of leadership in the church. His 

home church saw the Christian qualities 

which he possessed and called him to the 

ministry in June 1938. He was married on 

August 18, 1940, to Elsie Ruth Gardner of 

Battle Creek. He graduated with the class 

of 1945 from Bethany Biblical Seminary, 

Chicago, with the bachelor of divinity 

degree. His interest in the churches of 

Michigan induced him to write a thesis entitled Pioneering 

of the Brethren in Michigan. The treatise deals with the 

transition from the rural to the city churches, with many 

phases of the problem discussed. 
He has given this problem care- 
ful study, and it is worthy of rec- 
ognition. Brother and Sister 
Ebey were called to the Wood- 
land church in 1945. 

born in Howard County, Indi- 
ana, on November 15, 1860. He* 
is the son of Baltzer and Cassan- 
dra Eikenberry. At the time 
that the questionnaire was sent 
to him, May 9, 1940, he was a pa- 
tient at the hospital in Scotts- 
bluffs, Nebraska, suffering be- 
cause of cancer. His sister, Mary, wrote that he was greatly 
pleased to receive the questionnaire, and at first he thought 


Biographical Sketches 233 

he could fill it out, but discovered that he was too weak to 
do it. He was a member of the Onekama church and took 
part in the preaching there while he was in Michigan. 

DAVID ENSIGN was born at Battle Creek, Michigan. He 
is the son of David W. and Maude Ensign. He is a graduate 
of the Battle Creek high school and received a bachelor of 
arts degree at Manchester College. He was graduated from 
Bethany Biblical Seminary with the bachelor of divinity 
degree in 1942. He was baptized at Battle Creek, Michigan, 
in October 1934 by the pastor, Floyd E. Mallott. He says, 
"While all the pastors I remember have doubtless had some 
influence on me, Dr. F. E. Mallott was largely instrumental, 
under God, in leading me to desire church membership and 
the calling of the ministry. ,, His election to the ministry 
occurred in the same church on December 12, 1936. He has 
been in pastoral work, serving several churches for one year 
in the District of Washington, and at Navarre, Kansas. He 
is at present continuing his training at the Union Theological 
Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, and is also serving as pastor 
of the Richmond church. 

EVERETT R. FISHER is connected with Michigan through 
his service at the Hart church from June 1929 to May 1930. 
He was born in Miami County, Indiana, January 18, 1896. He 
is the son of Harry B. and Carrie B. Fisher. He married Cora 
Luella Heestand on September 12, 1920. He graduated from 
Manchester College in 1920 and from Bethany Biblical Semi- 
nary in 1922. He united with the church at Mexico, Indiana, 
in June 1908. He was elected to the ministry in the Mexico 
congregation, Indiana, on September 15, 1919, and was or- 
dained to the eldership at La Porte, Indiana, in November 
1922. At present he is pastor of the Trotwood church of 
Southern Ohio. 

HERBERT ALLEN FISHER is one of the young men just 
entering the ministry. He was licensed by the Battle Creek 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

church in July 1943, and relicensed in July 1944. He is the 
son of Walter G. and Laura Johnson Fisher. He was born on 
June 28, 1922, at Ithaca, New York, and later moved to Flor- 
ida with his parents. He completed his elementary training 
and took several years of high school work in Florida, but 
graduated from the Marshall high school at Marshall, Mich- 
igan, in June 1941. He was married to Helen Hissong of 
Dayton, Ohio, on August 26, 1944. He graduated from Man- 
chester College in 1945. He was baptized in 1928 at Glen St. 
Mary, Florida. 

WALTER G. FISHER with his wife and three sons moved 
to Michigan from Florida about 1939. He was born at Mex- 
ico, Indiana, January 6, 1890. 
He is the son of George A. and 
Jennie May Fisher. He married 
Laura Saloma Johnson on De- 
cember 30, 1913. His public 
school training was received at 
Perth, North Dakota, and there 
he united with the church in 
1902. He has served the church 
in several different states since 
being elected to the ministry at 
Glen St. Mary, Florida, on Oc- 
tober 16, 1930. He preached at 
that church until he moved to 
Michigan. He served as pastor 
of the Sunfield church from 1940 to 1942, and was- called to 
the pastorate of the Battle Creek church in 1943 to succeed 
Brother F. E. Mallott; he served there until 1945. He was 
ordained to the eldership at this church on November 19, 
1944, by Arthur L. Dodge and Walter M. Young. The 
Marion church, Indiana, called him to give pastoral service 
there, and he began on September 1, 1945. In his grand- 


Biographical Sketches 


father's family there were seven children, two girls and five 
boys. The boys are all ministers. His association with 
leading elders of the brotherhood has been an inspiration 
to Brother Fisher. 

EZRA FLORY is placed in this chapter because of his pas- 
toral work at the Rodney church, Michigan, the last place 
of service before his active and helpful ministry came to a 
close. He was born in Ohio on January 5, 1870, and died at 
Goshen, Indiana, February 15, 1940. Brother Flory was a 
member of the faculty of Bethany Bible School from 1912 to 
1920. He looked upon the experiences of life as being the 
best means of education. He possessed a keen intellect and 
was qualified in the fields of teaching and preaching. By 
many boys and girls he will be remembered for his art in 

storytelling. He was baptized 
""•I in 1889, became a deacon in 1890, 
was installed into the ministry 
in 1891, and was ordained elder 
in 1911. He was blessed with an 
influential ministry. (Refer to 
Gospel Messenger, May 1940.) 

wife come to Michigan in 1925 
and located at Brethren. He 
served as pastor of the Lake 
View church, and from here he 
served as fieldworker of the dis- 
trict. Information was not fur- 
nished regarding the place and 
time of his birth, his parents, 
where he united with the 
church and when he was called to the ministry. His leader- 
ship in the churches of Michigan enabled the work to ad- 


236 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

vance effectively. There was a circuit established in that 
part of the district which included the Lake View, Marilla 
and Harlan churches. For five years during this period he 
acted as district evangelist. As he went about he helped to 
organize new churches. He was also the presiding elder of 
several churches, chairman of the district mission board, and 
young people's adult adviser. He was ordained to the elder- 
ship in 1927 at Brethren. He says that Mrs. Forror would 
help by taking his place in the circuit of churches and filling 
the pulpit while he was engaged in other work in the district. 

JESSE M. FRADENBURGH discharged the duties of 
the ministry at the Midland church, Michigan, along with his 
daily work. His parents were John E. and Sarah Fraden- 
burgh. He was born on April 26, 1891, at Winamac, Indiana. 
On March 12, 1912, he was married to Bertha Elnora Metcalf. 
He has a public school and some normal school training, and 
has taught school in Marion County, Illinois. On September 
5, 1908, he united with the church in Illinois. He has a Breth- 
ren family background for three generations. Elected to 
the ministry at Midland in 1931, he has spent the years in 
ministerial service on the free-time basis. It was through 
his insight and efforts that the Midland church was organ- 
ized in 1924. His life came to an untimely end in 1945. 

ROYAL HOOVER FRANTZ is living and serving in the 
Sunfield congregation. His parents were Moses and Sarah 
Frantz. His mother was a very devoted Christian who was 
faithful and active until the time of her death about two 
years ago. He was born at Clarksville, Michigan, in 1900. 
He married Rose Mae Smalley in June 1926, and they have a 
family of five children. Their entire family is talented in 
music, and in this way they have contributed in no small 
measure to the program of the church. He received his high 
school training at Sunfield. Later he took training at Man- 
chester Academy, Barry County Normal School, and West- 

Biographical Sketches 


ern State Teachers College at Kalamazoo. He united with 
the church at Sunfield in 1909. He writes as follows: "I have 
never exercised very much in the pulpit. I have served al- 
most continuously as young people's leader and teacher, and 

also as music director." 

was born at Harmony, Mary- 
land, October 5, 1844. He lived 
to be eighty-two years of age. 
He joined the. Church of the 
Brethren when he was twenty- 
two years old. In 1866 he was 
united in marriage to Mary Car- 
oline Harshman at Walkersville, 
Maryland. He moved to Ohio 
about 1873, and then moved 
back to Brownsville, Maryland, 
about 1878. In 1881 he came to 
Indiana and lived at different 
places in that state during the next decade, and finally 
moved back to Williamsport, Maryland. About 1893 he 
moved to Salem, Illinois, and in 1902 he came to Michigan 
and settled near the village of Rodney. He was called to the 
ministry either by the church near Winamac or the church 
at Monticello, Indiana. His preaching in Michigan was con- 
fined mostly to the Rodney church. 

RALPH L. FRY came into the District of Michigan from 
the Olivet church of Northeastern Ohio. He and his wife 
entered the pastorate of the Shepherd church on September 
1, 1944. He was born at Polo, Illinois, on March 8, 1918. His 
parents were Lee A. and Mary N. Fry. He was married to 
Pauline DeLauter on September 23, 1939. His wife's father, 
Ora DeLauter, an elder in the Church of the Brethren, is now 
the director of the Civilian Public Service camp near Wil- 


238 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

liamsport, Maryland, which is operated by the Brethren 
Service Committee. Ralph completed his elementary school 
training in 1931 and graduated from the Mt. Morris, Illinois, 
high school in 1935. He received the bachelor of arts degree 
from Manchester College in 1939. In 1943 he received his 

bachelor of divinity de- 
UBi^^^HMH I § ree f rom Bethany Bib- 

lical Seminary, Chicago. 
He was baptized by S. S. 
Plum at the West Branch 
church of Northern Illi- 
nois o n November 7, 
1926. This church called 
him to the ministry in 
January 1939, and he was 
RALPH AND PAULINE FRY installed by Elder John 

Heckman on Easter, 
April 9, 1939. He served the Rockford church in Illinois from 
September 1939 to September 1940. While in the seminary 
he was the summer pastor at Lamotte Prairie, Illinois, in 
1942. Then after his graduation from the seminary he was 
called to the pastorate of the Olivet church in Northeastern 
Ohio. From there he and his wife came to the Shepherd 

BENJAMIN FRYFOGLE settled in the vicinity of the 
Sunfield church. Very little data could be obtained regard- 
ing his life. He was born in Knox Township, Columbiana, 
Ohio, on October 16, 1830. His father was born in Holland in 
1805. His mother was born in Switzerland. Before the Sun- 
field church house was built, services were held in his barn. 
He was ordained to the full ministry of the church in 1878. 
These were the days of the free ministry, and Brother Fry- 
fogle's name may be seen on the records of many of the early 
churches of Michigan. 

Biographical Sketches 239 

EARL OREN FUNDERBURG, one of Michigan's younger 
ministers, is now serving his home congregation in a wonder- 
ful way. He was born in Marilla Township, Manistee Coun- 
ty, Michigan, on July 30, 1913. His parents were George W. 
and Effie Shideler Funderburg. He married Thelma Blanche 
Ball on September 5, 1935, at Ozark, Michigan. He began his 
elementary schoolwork at Huntington, Indiana, and finished 
at the Clarkes school in Marilla Township, Manistee County, 
Michigan. It was here that he finished his high school train- 
ing. He was baptized in the Harlan church in 1924, at the 
age of eleven, during a series of evangelistic meetings con- 
ducted by George Killian. He was licensed to preach in Sep- 
tember 1942 and ordained to the ministry in August 1943. 
This was done while he was living in the Ozark congregation. 
He began his first pastorate at the Homestead church on 
April 1, 1944, on a part-time basis. This is a rural com- 
munity, and Brother and Sister Funderburg are rendering a 
noble service to a church in great need of ministerial help. 

TED ELWYN GANDY is one of Michigan's young minis- 
ters. He was born on March 29, 1917, at South Bend, Indiana. 
His parents are Allen C. and Gertrude Gandy. On July 23, 
1939, he was married to Olivia Turner. He was baptized in 
the Battle Creek church by D. P. Schechter. He graduated 
from the Battle Creek high school and has taken training at 
Bethany Bible Training School. In December 1939 he was 
called to the ministry at his home church. His installation 
was in 1942. He is preparing for ministerial duties and will 
probably find his field of service very soon. 

WILLIAM HARVEY GOOD has spent all of his life, since 
becoming a minister, in the District of Michigan. He was 
born in Fulton County, Ohio, on April 27, 1878, the son of 
Jacob and Susannah Good. On May 28, 1899, he was married 
to Malinda Angeline Rowe. He attended public school in 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, and attended high school 
at Wauseon, Ohio. He united with the church in the Swan 

Creek congregation in Ohio in 
February 1897. He was elected 
to the ministry in the Riverside 
church, Missaukee County, Mich- 
igan, in July 1908. He was or- 
dained to the eldership in the 
same church in October 1912. 
He was a minister in the River- 
side church from 1908 to 1918; 
the church was then disorgan- 
ized and the members were 
counted a part of the Zion con- 
gregation. He has lived and 
served in this church since 1918, 
and at present is the presiding 
elder. His ministry has been a great help to this church 
and to the district. He has been a member of the district 
mission board since 1937. He is willing to labor earnestly 
to further the cause of Christ in the world. 

CORNELIUS HAGLE has been able to achieve success in 
spite of a great handicap. The son of Alonzo and Eliza 
Bickel Hagle, he was born in Knox County, Indiana, October 
15, 1890. His wife's maiden name was Zora Ethel Trader. 
He was born blind and received home training only. He was 
baptized in and became a member of the Salem congrega- 
tion, Starke County, Indiana, April 22, 1906. It was at this 
church that he was called to the ministry in the autumn of 
1920. Here he assisted Brother Clyde M. Joseph; later he 
served with Brother E. R. Fisher at the La Porte church, In- 
diana. Because, after leaving home, it was difficult to find 
someone to do his reading, he retired from the ministry and 
was later called to the deacon's office. While working in 

Biographical Sketches 


Grand Haven he connected himself with the Muskegon con- 
gregation, in which he was the only deacon. Brother L. W. 
Shafer was the pastor then and called upon him to conduct 
the services a few times in his absence. During the time of 

his retirement he learned the 
Braille system of reading and 
writing. In 1942 when Brother 
Shafer resigned, the church 
asked him to fill the vacancy 
and granted him a license to 
preach. He did the preaching 
until they secured Brother El- 
mer Leckrone as pastor. He was 
finally installed into the minis- 
try on June 6, 1943, and has as- 
sisted in the work whenever his 
services were needed since then. 


i MBni 





was born at Dresden, Ohio, on 
March 9, 1877. He is the son of 
George and Caroline Hartsough. He has a public school 
training. He united with the church in Ohio in October 
1886. He was installed into the ministry in June 1925 at 
Wooster, Ohio. He served the Lake View, Marilla, and 
Harlan churches while in Michigan. 

ABRAM W. HAWBAKER was born in Pennsylvania April 
6, 1857. At an early age he moved with his parents to Dallas 
County, Iowa. On February 10, 1881, he married Mary Hoff, 
who, as his widow, now resides in South Bend, Indiana. A. 
W. Hawbaker was elected to the ministry at Dallas Center, 
Iowa, about 1885. He lived near Hope, Kansas, for two years, 
1886 and 1887. He then moved to Dallas Center, Iowa, and 
preached some there and for a while at a mission point in 

242 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Des Moines, Iowa. For a few years, about 1890 to 1892, he 
had a furniture store in Grundy Center, Iowa, and also 
preached at the church. His next location was in Polk Coun- 
ty, Iowa, 1893 and 1894, where he preached at two or three 
churches near Elkhart. In 1895 he moved to Dallas County, 
Iowa, near Waukee, where he farmed the farm formerly 
operated by his father. He preached at churches in that 
vicinity while living on that farm. In 1898 Brother Haw- 
baker moved to near Kenmare, North Dakota, on a home- 
stead and preached at various schoolhouses. In 1899 he was 
ordained as an elder. He was active in mission points 
throughout that part of North Dakota. In 1902 he moved to 
Brethren, Michigan, and later to a farm four miles east of 
Brethren. He preached at the church in Brethren and was 
its elder. In 1903 or 1904 he moved near the Marilla church, 
which was a part of the Brethren congregation; there he 
lived until his death. He was in charge of the services in the 
Marilla church and also preached at many places. For some 
time he was the evangelist for the Michigan District and 
preached at nearly all of the Brethren churches in Michigan. 
He loved the pioneer work in mission churches and was not 
satisfied to remain in an old, well-organized church. He was 
interested in growing, expanding churches, and delighted in 
trying to create unity among people who had migrated to lo- 
cations from various other places. He was sympathetic with 
people who had conflicting ideas, and was interested in prob- 
lems that beset young people. He was more interested in the 
work of the church than in his own material welfare. He 
would leave his farm work at the busiest times if there was 
a call for church work. While preaching near Petoskey, 
Michigan, he was stricken with appendicitis, and passed 
away December 3, 1906. He was buried in the cemetery one 
mile west and one-half mile north of the Marilla church. 
We cherish his memory. 

Biographical Sketches 


WALTER J. HEISEY, son of Albert and Susanna Kreider 
Heisey, was born September 17, 1890, at Union, Montgomery 
County, Ohio. After completing his high school training in 
Ohio he studied extensively in preparation for missionary 
service. He has been a student at Lewis Institute in Chicago, 
Manchester College, Bethany Biblical Seminary, and North- 
western University. He is a graduate of Yen Ching School 

of Chinese Studies. He was 
baptized in March 1902 in the 
Georgetown congregation i n 
Southern Ohio. The West Mil- 
ton congregation of Southern 
Ohio elected him to the ministry 
on September 17, 1911. He was 
ordained to the eldership at 
Shou Yang Hsien, Shansi, China, 
in September 1919, by J. H. B. 
Williams, J. J. Yoder, and F. H. 
Crumpacker. Brother Heisey 
served in China fourteen years. 
Since returning from the mis- 
sion field in China he has held 
pastorates in Indiana. He served as fieldman for Manchester 
College for five years prior to his acceptance of the call to 
the Midland church, Michigan, in 1942. He and his wife were 
called to the pastorate of the Flint church in September 
1944. He is also the presiding elder of that church. He has 
done a considerable amount of deputation work among the 
churches under the General Mission Board in the interest of 
missions, and he has done summer conference and camp 
work. As a former missionary he is called upon to lecture 
before service clubs, P. T. A.'s and other interdenominational 
groups. Sister Heisey is serving on the district children's 
work cabinet. 

« nuns 


244 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

HOWARD HOLMES HELMAN once lived in the Long 
Lake congregation. He is the son of David F. and Susan 
Helman. He was born on December 12, 1880, in Stark 
County, Ohio. He was married first in 1906 to Ora Alice Ren- 
neckar, who died April 24, 1924. His second wife was Cora 
Viola Wise. He received his public school training in Stark 
County, Ohio, and also attended high school at Scio and Can- 
ton, Ohio. He was a student at Manchester College for two 
years. He united with the church in the Tuscarawas congre- 
gation, Ohio, in 1897. He was elected to the ministry in the 
same congregation in 1901, and advanced to the eldership at 
Wooster, Ohio. The following significant note was included 
in his report: "Paternal grandfather came from Germany in 
the Catholic Faith in 1840. He came in contact with mem- 
bers of the (then) German Baptist Brethren Church, man- 
ned into a family of members of the latter and united about 
1848. My parents were not converted until past the age of 
forty, a year or two before my conversion. I served on the 
district mission board of Northeastern Ohio for several 
years, and on the ministerial board of Middle Indiana one 
term. Was compelled to give up regular ministerial work 
in 1928 because of failure of my voice to hold up under the 
strain of regular preaching. I am now farming." He re- 
linquished his farming in 1945 and returned to North Man- 
chester, Indiana. 

KENNETH HOLLINGER, son of E. Sylvester and Eliza- 
beth Wandle Hollinger, was summer pastor at the Shepherd 
church in 1944. He was born August 11, 1912, near Hollans- 
burg, Ohio. He married Helen Louise Darley of North Man- 
chester, Indiana, on June 1, 1938. He graduated from the 
high school at Hollansburg, Ohio, on May 16, 1930, and from 
Manchester College with the bachelor of arts degree on May 
31, 1935. He is now pursuing his seminary training at Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary, Chicago. He united with the Cedar 

Biographical Sketches 


Grove church of Southern Ohio by baptism in 1925. This 
church licensed him to the ministry on November 28, 1931, 
and about a year later, November 26, 1932, he was installed. 
He was ordained to the eldership on June 5, 1942, at the 
Prices Creek church, Ohio, where he was serving as part- 
time pastor. He had taken his turn in the preaching sched- 
ule of his home church (Beech Grove) prior to 1938. He was 
a principal and teacher in the Preble County schools, Ohio, 
for a period of eight years after his graduation from Man- 
chester College. 

E. SYLVESTER HOLLINGER is the son of Daniel and 
Elizabeth Hollinger. He was born on September 6, 1887, in 

Darke County, Ohio. He mar- 
ried Elizabeth Wandle on 
March 23, 1910. She passed to 
her eternal rest on November 
4, 1934. His second wife was 
Vicie Cassell. In addition to 
his public school training in 
Darke County, Ohio, he has 
taken courses at Manchester 
College and Bethany Biblical 
Seminary. He was baptized in 
March 1901 at the Beech Grove 
church of Southern Ohio. This 
church elected him to the 
deacon's office in November 
1911, and to the ministry in 
November 1912. He served in the ministry at the Beech 
Grove church for twenty-five years, on both a free-time and 
a part-time basis. He was part-time pastor of the Cedar 
Grove church, Southern Ohio, for seven years. He was or- 
dained to the eldership in the Prices Creek church, Southern 
Ohio, in 1919. In January 1944 he was called to the pastorate 



History of the Brethren in Michigan 

of the Beaverton church, Michigan. He is now vice-chair- 
man of the district board of Christian education and as such 
is the director of peace and temperance work. 

LEVI T. HOLSINGER was born in Henry County, Indiana, 
on March 21, 1850. He was the son of John and Sarah Hol- 
singer. He attended the high school at Pleasant Hill, Ohio, 

and took a business course at a 
commercial school in Chicago. At 
the age of twenty he joined the 
Methodist Church and preached in 
that denomination for two years. 
He united with the Church of the 
Brethren on April 28, 1878, and 
was called to the ministry in the 
same year, September 21, in the 
Bethel church, Nebraska. After 
his return to Indiana he was ad- 
vanced to the second degree of the 
ministry in the fall of 1884 and 
ordained to the eldership in 1885. 
He was united in marriage to 
Mary A. Kern in 1871. He moved 
to Brethren, Michigan, about 1912, 
and served in the district approx- 
imately nine years. He went among the churches of Michi- 
gan as the district evangelist, conducting revival meetings. 
He was widely known as an evangelist previous to his resi- 
dence in Michigan. He served a number of times on Stand- 
ing Committee and twice as moderator of Annual Meeting. 
For a number of years he was a member of the General Ed- 
ucation Board. He was a trustee of Manchester College and 
the presiding elder of the Manchester church for two years. 
He was a good preacher, and many have been led into the 
kingdom under his preaching. He was especially qualified to 


Biographical Sketches 


give instruction in doctrinal subjects. He was able to keep 
church members united in Christian love. He was very in- 
sistent on members living harmoniously as fellow Christians. 
He died at Mexico, Indiana, on February 16, 1937, and was 
buried in the Pleasant View cemetery, Rossville, Indiana. 

BURYL E. HOOVER was born at Nashville, Michigan, on 
March 5, 1893. He is the son of Frank and Josephine Hoover. 
In 1917 he was united in marriage to Pearl Smith, whom he 
lost by death in 1918. His second wife was Candace R. 
Hoover. He took his public school and high school work in 
Michigan and graduated from Manchester College in 1926; 
he received his master of arts degree at the University of 
Michigan in 1936. He was baptized in the Thornapple church 
in 1913 by Brother C. H. Deardorff. He was elected to the 
ministry at Onekama, Michigan, in 1918. He has served the 
Wawaka church in Indiana from 1922 to the present, and 
was ordained to the eldership 
there about 1928. He spent three 
hundred sixty-four days in Camp 
Custer during the first world 
war. He has been a teacher of 
English in the Rome City and 
Wawaka high schools since 

PERRY R. HOOVER was born 
on July 30, 1890, at Hagerstown, 
Indiana. He is the son of John 
D. and Elizabeth Hoover. He 
married Jessie May Teeter on 
June 22, 1912. To them have 
been born two sons and two 

daughters. Brother Hoover is a graduate of the Hagerstown 
high school, of Manchester College, and of Bethany Biblical 


248 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Seminary. He has taken graduate work at the Central State 
Teachers College. In 1905 he united with the church at 
Hagerstown, was called to the ministry in 1913 and was or- 
dained to the eldership in 1915 at that church. After gradu- 
ating from Bethany Biblical Seminary in 1925 he was pas- 
tor of the church at Liberty, Illinois, for two years. In 1927 
he and his family moved to Michigan, where he became the 
first full-time pastor of the Beaverton church, continuing 
until 1931. He served on the district ministerial board for 
three years. He then taught one year and served two years 
as superintendent in the Beaverton Rural Agricultural High 
School. After an absence of six years from the state he 
again returned to Beaverton March 1, 1940, as part-time pas- 
tor, giving half of his time to the district as fieldworker. He 
was moderator of the district meeting at Marilla in 1941 and 
was elder of the Beaverton church from 1941 to 1943. He 
closed his work in Michigan in 1943 to accept the pastorate 
of the Pine Creek church in Northern Indiana. Because 
of ill-health he resigned this pastorate in 1944, and he and 
his wife lived on the Camp Mack farm during the summer 
and fall of 1945. At present they are living in Elgin, Illi- 
nois, where he is employed in the Brethren Publishing 

HARVEY ROY HOSTETLER was born at Accident, Marv- 
land, on August 12, 1894, the son of Jonas and Rebecca 
Hostetler. He married Wilma Mae Bollinger on July 31, 
1921, and three sons have been born to them. He is a grad- 
uate of the high school at Fruitland, Idaho, and also of Man- 
chester College, and was a student at Bethany Biblical Semi- 
nary from 1915 to 1919. In 1906 he united with the church at 
Williston, North Dakota. He was elected to the ministry in 
1917 and ordained to the eldership in 1919 by the church at 
Fruitland, Idaho. In November 1937 he came from Morrill, 
Kansas, to the Detroit church, which he served as pastor and 

Biographical Sketches 


elder until October 1944. 
He was a member of the 
district ministerial board 
and served as moderator 
of the district meeting at 
the Sunfield church in 
1940 and again at the 
Beaverton church in 1942. 
He terminated his work 
at the Detroit church to 
accept the pastorate at 
Wichita, Kansas. The dis- 
trict lost a capable pastor 
and one who had a keen 
interest in the whole 

church program. 

bored in the Bear Lake church at Clarion, Michigan. He 
was born on May 26, 1841, in Hocking County, Ohio. His 
parents, Samuel and Mahala Hufford, migrated from Penn- 
sylvania to Ohio about 1850. His grandfather, Solomon 
Hufford, came from Virginia and settled in the Ohio Ter- 
ritory in 1801. The deed to the land was signed by Presi- 
dent James Madison. "The bears would group around 
the log house at night, often carrying off the young pigs. 
Wild hogs and wolves roamed the forest." These facts 
were related by Isaac Hufford's daughter, Mrs. Mahala 
Salah, who now resides at Petoskey, Michigan. Isaac Huf- 
ford was married to Elizabeth Latshaw of Lancaster County, 
Pennsylvania, on August 4, 1867, in Clinton County, Indiana. 
In 1871 he was chosen to the ministry at the Middle Fork 
church near Rossville, Indiana. He was ordained as an elder 
in 1917 at Clarion, Michigan. His hearing began to fail at the 
age of thirty; this proved to be a handicap because he could 

250 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

never hear a word of a sermon. In spite of this, his place 
was never vacant. His parents on both sides were members 
of the Church of the Brethren. He would never accept 
money for his church services, funerals and marriages. He 
died on July 24, 1925, at Petoskey, Michigan. 

STEPHEN HUFFORD was born August 28, 1869, near 
Rossville, Indiana. He is the son of Isaac and Elizabeth Huf- 
ford. He moved to Michigan with his parents. His wife, 
Julia Otterbein, was a native of Canada. He was baptized at 
the Bear Lake, Michigan, church in 1902, and was elected 
deacon soon afterward. He was called to the ministry at this 
church, in which he continued to serve. 

ERNEST RICHARD JEHNSEN was born on January 14, 
1920, at Big Rapids, Michigan. He is one of the young min- 
isters who is becoming vitally interested in the advancement 
of the kingdom. He is the son of William F. and Emma Jehn- 
sen. He has taken training at Bethany Bible Training 
School, Chicago. He united with his home church at Rodney 
on October 3, 1937, and was called to the ministry there on 
June 24, 1939. What preaching he did in the early part of his 
ministry was done largely in his home church. He served a 
term as a member of the district B.Y.P.D. cabinet. He savs, 
"In my association with leaders in the early days of Christian 
experience, I never failed to receive inspiration and encour- 
agement." He gives Elder Samuel Bollinger credit for giv- 
ing him much encouragement as he began the work of the 
ministry. He and his wife served in the pastorate of the 
Marion church, Indiana, in 1944-45. He is now attending 
Manchester College. 

CHARLES G. JEHNZEN was born at Detroit, Michigan, 
on September 24, 1920. He is the son of Edward B. and Helen 
Jehnzen. He is a graduate of the Mecosta high school, and 
was a student at Ferris Institute at Big Rapids, Michigan. 

Biographical Sketches 


He united with the church at Rodney and was baptized by 
Brother J. E. Ulery at Jehnzen Lake. In December 1940 he 
was called to the ministry by the Rodney congregation. 

JOHN ELISHA JOSEPH was born February 15, 1868, at 
Culver, Indiana. He was the son of David and Julia Green 
Joseph. He married Amanda Yoder, daughter of Solomon 
and Mary Yoder, September 16, 1888. He took schoolwork at 


Valparaiso Normal School and also the Bible School at North 
Manchester in 1896-97. He became a member of the Salem 
church, Indiana, by baptism when eighteen years of age. In 
1891 he was called to the ministry in the Union church, In- 
diana, and advanced to the second degree in 1894. He was 
ordained as elder in the White Rock church, North Dakota, in 
October 1905, and served this church as minister and elder 
until 1911; then he moved to Surrey, North Dakota, where he 
assisted with the church work. It was in North Dakota that 
Brother Joseph was at his prime in the ministry, while Sister 

252 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Joseph gave her best to the needs of the family. Here they 
formed friendships with many brethren which were always 
cherished. One elderly minister, eighty years of age and 
blind, gave him much encouragement and inspiration. In 
this brother's home the White Rock church was started in 
1900. It was in this church, while Brother Joseph was serv- 
ing, that W. W. Slabaugh was elected to the ministry. After 
spending some time in Minnesota, the family moved to 
Onekama, Michigan, in 1917. He was pastor of the Long 
Lake church for three years and received partial support. 
Brother Joseph developed a keen interest in fruit, especially 
apples. In 1938 the Josephs celebrated their golden wedding 
anniversary. In 1940 he was stricken with palsy, from which 
he never recovered. He was helpless the last two years of 
his life. He passed to his reward on December 29, 1944, in 
Onekama, and his body was laid to rest at the Mt. Pleasant 
church at Bourbon, Indiana. 

ANDREW J. KAUFFMAN was born in Shelby County, 
Ohio, on December 17, 1874. He is the son of Henry and 
Lydia Kauffman. He married Catherine Abrilla Hollinger 
on June 19, 1901. He united with the church at South Whit- 
ley, Indiana, in 1900. He was elected to the ministry at the 
Beaverton church, Michigan, on May 25, 1913. He took part 
in the preaching at Beaverton until he moved to Canada. 
He has served on a free and a part-time basis at Froid and 
Kalispell, Montana, and in the Bow Valley church in Can- 
ada. He was ordained to the eldership at Bow Valley in 1930. 

CHARLES KEITH was born on February 14, 1857, in Allen 
County, Ohio, the son of John H. and Eleanor Keith. He 
united with the County Line church in Ohio in November 
1885. On January 7, 1877, he was united in marriage to Mary 
A. Bowghan. Sister Ella Keith, who is the oldest child, is 
still a faithful member at the Lake View church. Brother 

Biographical Sketches 253 

Keith received a common school education in Ohio. He was 
elected to the office of deacon in July 1886, and to the min- 
istry at the Pleasant Hill church, Shelby, Ohio, on November 
13, 1897. In March 1902, he located at Brethren, Michigan, 
and was living there when he passed away in November 
1938. He was a faithful minister and as such served the 
church for forty-one years. 

DAVID HENRY KELLER, son of Jacob and Katie E. Kel- 
ler, was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Febru- 
ary 6, 1873, and died at Battle Creek, Michigan, February 3, 
1940. He graduated from the Hope high school, Hope, Kan- 
sas, and was a student at McPherson College when he united 
with the church. At the age of twenty-four he was elected 
to the ministry. He received a bachelor of arts degree at 
Battle Creek College in 1932. He was active in educational, 
social, and church work. He was a lover of children and 
served as president of the Child Rescue Society of the 
Church of the Brethren for about eight years. With his wife, 
who is licensed to preach, he served churches in Iowa, Min- 
nesota, and Ohio, and at the time of his death was pastor and 
elder of the Sunfield, Michigan, church. This church, in 
its statement of appreciation, says: "We thank God for 
his life and for the privilege we have had of working with 
him. May the influence of his unselfish service here continue 
to be a challenge to each one of this church." 

MARTHA HILARY KELLER was born on August 23, 1873, 
in Jasper County, Iowa. She is the daughter of Charles and 
Elizabeth Hilary. She became the wife of David H. Keller, 
now deceased, on February 24, 1897. After high school she 
attended McPherson College for two years, and then taught 
school for six years. While at McPherson, in 1891, she united 
with the church. She says, "After a three months' struggle 
with the devil, I had a wonderful conversion experience. 

254 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Like Paul, the course of my life was just reversed." On De- 
cember 12, 1924, at the Ivester church, Iowa, she was licensed 
to preach, being probably the first permanently licensed sis- 
ter. "Preaching and teaching the Word of God has always 
been the passion of my soul," she declares. She assisted her 
husband before his death in the pastorates which they 
served, and after Brother Keller's death she continued as 
pastor of the Sunfield church until the fall of 1940. She is 
now residing in Minnesota. 

JACOB KEPNER was born in Burks County, Pennsyl- 
vania, on October 31, 1840. He married Susanna White on 
October 19, 1862, in Medina County, Ohio. They came to 
Michigan sometime in 1868 and settled near Potterville, 
Eaton County. Two sons, John and Amos, were born to this 
union. The mother died on July 6, 1872. Brother Kepner re- 
married, but his second wife lived only till September 15, 
1874. He moved to Campbell Township, Ionia County, near 
Elmdale, about 1873. He probably was the first minister of 
the Elmdale church. He married his third wife, Angeline 
F. Williams, of Woodland, on August 18, 1875. In March 1890 
they moved to Gratiot County, Michigan, which was in the 
New Haven congregation. He served there until the Crystal 
church was organized from that congregation; then he 
preached at Crystal, where he carried on a faithful ministry 
up to the time of his death on August 4, 1904. 

HOMER NEWTON KIRACOFE first came into Michigan 
to find a companion for life. He married Rachel Mohler Mil- 
ler, daughter of Bruce and Mary Mohler Miller, on June 5, 
1940, at Scottville, Michigan. Homer is the son of Minor 
Newton and Gertis Bavers Kiracofe. He was born on July 
23, 1916, at Mt. Solon, Virginia. He united with the Pleasant 
View church, near Lima, Ohio, and was baptized in October 
1927. He was elected to the ministry at the Sugar Creek 

Biographical Sketches 



church, Northwestern Ohio, on May 29, 1936. He graduated 
from the Central high school in Lima, Ohio, in 1934. In 1940 
he received his bachelor 
of arts degree from Man- 
chester College. He com- 
pleted his seminary train- 
ing in 1943 and graduated 
with the bachelor of di- 
vinity degree from Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary, 
Chicago. He preached oc- 
casionally in his home 
church in Ohio and went 
into many churches in 
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois while doing deputation work with 
Student Volunteers during his first three years in college. He 
served the Pampa church, Texas, as summer pastor in 1939. 
The next summer he went to the Waka church in Texas. In 
1941 and 1942 he served the Sugar Ridge church in Michigan 
as summer pastor. Then on September 1, 1942, he took 
charge of the work there and served as student pastor while 
finishing his seminary training in Chicago. This was his 
wife's home church. He and his wife began their resident 
pastoral program in June 1943 and are now devoting full 
time to the work of this church. On October 15, 1944, he was 
ordained to the eldership. He is now the adult adviser to 
the district youth council and as such he works with the dis- 
trict board of Christian education. Under his leadership the 
Sugar Ridge church is making progress as a rural church. 

LYLE MILNE KLOTZ and wife have come into the dis- 
trict to serve the church at Midland. The son of William H. 
and Hattie Milne Klotz; he was born on January 15, 1917, at 
Fredericksburg, Iowa. He was married to Gladys Beeghly 
of Somerset, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the Fredericks- 

256 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

burg high school, he was a student for three years at Upper 
Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa, and then he went to Mc- 
Pherson College, Kansas, to complete his college training 
and receive his bachelor of arts degree. He 
graduated in 1942 from Bethany Biblical 
Seminary, Chicago, with the bachelor of 
divinity degree. He became a member of 
the Church of the Brethren at Fredericks- 
burg, having been baptized in October 
1934. His home church licensed him to 
J'^Sl^^jfi tne ministry in March 1939 and he was 

^^L H^ installed in August 1940. He served the 

^^^ /Mi^^" Fredericksburg church as summer pastor 
LYLE KLOTZ in 1939 and 1940. In 1941 he had a summer 
pastorate in the Sheldon church, Iowa. 
After his graduation from the seminary he accepted the 
call to the pastorate of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, church, 
where he began a full-time pastoral program in Septem- 
ber 1942. In 1944 he was called to the pastorate of the 
Midland church in Michigan. He and his wife, who is also 
a minister, are promoting an active program, both in the 
church and in the community. The people are well pleased 
with their efficient leadership. 

GLADYS BEEGHLY KLOTZ, the daughter of Ananias J. 
and Cora Gnagy Beeghly, was born at Friedens, Somerset 
County, Pennsylvania, on February 17, 1915. She graduated 
from the high school at Westernport, Maryland, and attend- 
ed Bethany Bible Training School, Chicago, one year. She 
was married to Lyle M. Klotz on June 25, 1942. She is a min- 
ister and in that capacity she will be able to give assistance 
in the various activities of the church wherever they may be 
called to serve. 

DANIEL KNIESLEY, whose name is found on the rec- 
ords of the Little Traverse church, came into the state before 

Biographical Sketches 


there were many churches established. He was born in Bed- 
ford County, Pennsylvania, on May 4, 1844. He was the son 
of Philip Kniesley. His wife was Eleanor Feters of Elkhart, 
Indiana. She taught him to read and write. By his own 
studying he was able to educate himself. His baptism oc- 
curred in 1887, and it is very likely that he united with the 
Little Traverse church at that time. This church was lo- 
cated in Emmet County, near Harbor Springs, Michigan. He 
was chosen as minister in this church in 1899, advanced to 
the second degree of the ministry in 1900, and then ordained 
as elder in 1917. 

JOHN M. LAIR was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee, 
December 24, 1855. He united with the church early in life. 
He served as a deacon before he was elected to the ministry. 
His ordination to the eldership took place in 1892. In 1895 
he moved to Custer, Michigan, and labored earnestly in the 
ministry. He gave much assistance in the building up of the 
Sugar Ridge church, which has 
become one of the strong rural 
churches of the district. A man 
of strong physical powers, im- 
pelled by strong spiritual con- 
victions, he was diligent in pro- 
claiming the gospel. His health 
gradually failed because of a 
serious accident which disabled 
him. Death came suddenly fol- 
lowing a paralytic stroke. 


was born at Brethren, Michigan, 
on August 28, 1914. He is the 
son of Daniel and Lowerta Leckrone. He married Joyce Lor- 
raine Griffiths on September 1, 1940. He is a graduate of the 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Dickson Rural Agricultural School. He attended the Manis- 
tee County Normal School and also Manchester College one 
year. In May 1923 he united with the church at Brethren, 
Michigan, became a good Christian worker, and was elected 
to the ministry on December 30, 1939, at the same church. 
He is now serving the congregation as their part-time pastor. 

ELMER FRANKLIN LECKRONE is giving an effective 
ministry to the Muskegon church. He was born on October 

1, 1906, at Brethren, Michigan. 
He is the son of Daniel and Lo- 
werta Leckrone. He is a gradu- 
ate of the Dickson consolidated 
school and of Manchester Col- 
lege, and has taken graduate 
courses at Ferris Institute and 
Western State Teachers College. 
He united with the Lake View 
church, Brethren, Michigan, in 
1919, having been baptized by 
L. T. Holsinger. In speaking of 
his conversion experience and 
the beginning of the Christian 
life, he says, "My brother Calvin 
He was elected to the ministry in 
He has served as part-time pastor 
of the Onekama, Brethren, Flint, Battle Creek, and Muske- 
gon churches in Michigan; and he served the South Whitley 
and Cart Creek churches in Indiana. He has given free min- 
istry to the Rodney, Harlan and Marilla churches in Mich- 
igan. "The Saturday afternoon communion services, and 
the revival meetings gave one a series of experiences seared 
into one's being," he says. He gives recognition to Brother 
Charles Forror, Brother F. E. Mallott, Brother Otho Winger, 
Brother W. W. Slabaugh, and other prominent church lead- 


taught and helped me." 
his home church in 1925. 

Biographical Sketches 259 

ers as having been exceedingly helpful in giving guidance in 
the early part of his ministry. But he adds: "In the back- 
ground of it all and running through it all is a father (de- 
ceased) and mother's dream that I'd make good." He says 
that one outstanding thing which will linger in his memory 
is the time that his father waited for the train after a hard 
day's driving to take him to Brother Forror's residence. It 
was here that he was to learn of his election to the ministry 
in the presence of neighbors and relatives of the home 
church. Brother Leckrone is a member of the district board 
of Christian education, and is also a representative on the 
district children's cabinet as the pastor counselor. 

KENNETH MERL LECKRONE is the son of George E. 
and Cora Leckrone. He was born on May 20, 1904, at Breth- 
ren, Michigan. He was united in marriage to Lillie Irene 
Hunt on March 15, 1929. He was a minister before his 
marriage. He graduated from the high school at Brethren. 
After being a student at Central State College, Western 
State Teachers College, Michigan State College and Man- 
chester College, he returned to Michigan State College, 
East Lansing, Michigan, and graduated with the degree of 
bachelor of science. In 1927 he was called to the ministry 
at the Lake View church at Brethren. He has helped with 
the preaching at Lake View, Harlan, Marilla, Onekama, 
and Lansing. He has followed the teaching profession and 
wherever he has preached it has been on the part-time 
basis. He and his family are now living at Boyne City, 

WILMER MOHLER LEHMAN is now serving the pas- 
torate of the Crystal church. Born on October 13, 1903, in 
Morgan County, Missouri, he is the son of John D. and 
Lizzie Mohler Lehman. He attended the public schools 
of Guthrie, Oklahoma, and graduated from the high school 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

there. He spent one and one-half year at McPherson 
College, Kansas, and one year at Bethany Bible Training 
School, 1943-44. His wife was formerly Florence Ellen 

Brammel. In 1919, at the age of 
sixteen he was baptized at Guth- 
rie, Oklahoma. The Guthrie 
church elected him to the minis- 
try in May 1938. He was or- 
dained to the eldership in Janu- 
ary 1943 at the Verdigris church 
in Southeastern Kansas, where 
he was then serving as pastor. 
He and his wife began pastoral 
service at the Crystal church, 
Michigan, in the summer of 1944. 
His wife's maternal grandfather, 
Brother H. F. Crist, influenced 
him greatly as a young man to 
pursue the work of the ministry. 
Both of his grandparents, as 
well as his oldest brother and 
others in the family relationship, made the ministry their 
lifework. Brother Lehman says: "Since our election to the 
ministry, Mrs. Lehman has been a constant source of help 
and encouragement." 

CLAUDE HECKMAN LESLIE was born in Kosciusko 
County, Indiana, in 1898, the son of Frank and Catherine 
Leslie. He is a graduate of Manchester College, and re- 
ceived the master's degree in history at the Ohio State Uni- 
versity in 1940. In December 1908 he united with the 
church at Spring Creek, Middle Indiana. He was elected 
to the ministry at the Center church, Indiana, in 1926. He 
assisted in the preaching and other church work at Lansing 
in 1936-37. "I live by teaching school," he says, "and give 


Biographical Sketches 261 

as asked of my services to the church: sing, teach, or 

FREDERICK P. LOEHR was one of the pioneer preachers 
of Michigan and deserves much recognition in this chapter. 
The following biography was taken from one written by the 
late Elder A. H. Cassell. 

Frederick Peter Loehr, son of Frederick Loehr, Sr., was born on the 
17th of April, 1803, in the Rhine Circle of Bavaria, of very poor but 
virtuous parents, in the Lutheran faith. His mother was a pious 
woman, but so narrow-minded and exclusive that she thought there 
was no salvation outside of their Church. She spared no pains in 
imbuing his young mind with the same principles of faith, and suc- 
ceeded so well that she almost made a juvenile enthusiast of her 
boy. "My delight," he says, "was in reading and writing. The eve- 
nings in our latitude being very long in the winter, I would sit, in 
the center of the spinning room, reading the historical part of the 
Bible through every winter." The letters of an uncle who died in 
Fredericktown, Maryland, caused him to have a desire for America. 
"My Father," he says, "was a shoemaker, and as soon as I was 
old enough I assisted him in his trade." He was the oldest of four 
children. The parents and the children came to America in 1820. 
The next morning after arriving in Philadelphia his father sent him 
to find some relatives in Northampton County. He found his grand- 
father's brother, Frederick Loehr (Brother Henry Kurtz's father-in- 
law) who sent a team to get them. He lived with his grand Uncle 
for a year. While there he met Henry Kurtz who was a Lutheran 
minister. They tried to persuade him then to become a Lutheran 
minister against his wish or will. Henry Kurtz then married his 
cousin, Ann Catherine Loehr. He taught school in the German for 
three years. While teaching he learned to weave by trade. His 
parents were poor and he served them by paying for their home. 
Henry Kurtz went to Pittsburgh, and withdrew from the Lutheran 
Church. This caused F. P. Loehr to leave home in an effort to re- 
convert Kurtz. The result was that both found our own Church. He 
was baptized by Elder George Hoke, under whose oversight Brother 
Kurtz then lived. His mother believed for many years that they 
had sinned against the Holy Ghost, by making this change in their 
faith. But in time her scruples all vanished. He married Judith 
Bair in 1830, and was elected to the ministry about 1840. Sixteen 
children were born unto them and thirteen were raised. He was 
fearful of not being able to support his family, so he sold his little 
farm of wild land. Sickness and reverses came which caused him 
to sell the first farm. He bought the second time and was obliged to 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

sell. He then moved to Van Buren County, Michigan, where land 
was very cheap. He says, "We have a good dwelling here and a 
little reserved land on which I still work some, when I lack the 
means to fill my calls. Many Brethren blamed me, and said I acted 
unwisely in going to Michigan, and indeed if the Lord had not 
pointed out my way, I would think so too. There were but thirteen 
members here in Van Buren County, when I came, now there are 
seventy; and in Ionia County only seventeen, now nearly a hundred, 

and other places are having the pure 
gospel preached, the seed of which may 
come up when men sleep. But it cost 
me a great deal of self-denial and la- 
bor. Had I stayed in Indiana I could 
have enjoyed the labor that has been 
done since I came there twenty-six 
years ago." He was afflicted with 
blindness when he lived in Indiana. 
His wife was required to drive the 
horse in going to meeting. Then she 
became blind, but he could see again. 
On one occasion he said: "My afflic- 
tions indeed have been many and 
grievous, but they were the means to 
make me better acquainted with our 
common Father." Brother Loehr was, 
in the fullness of the word, a self-made 
man. Having a bright mind and great 
natural ability, he became quite in- 
telligent. He was a successful minister in English and German. He 
was in many respects far in advance of the general brotherhood at 
that time. He took a very active part in promoting higher educa- 
tion, when it met with bitter opposition. He was also a great friend 
and advocate of Sunday Schools even when they were yet unpopu- 
lar among the Brethren. He was also fond of music, both vocal and 
instrumental. He sometimes taught singing schools gratis, and 
spared no pains to improve the singing in the Churches wherever 
he labored. He was a good husband, and a kind father and a wise 
counselor. Concerning his ministry it may be said of him that he 
preached the Word without respect to human creed or additions. 
Elder Loehr died at his home, at Bloomingdale, Michigan, October 
11, 1880, after an illness of several weeks, at the age of 77 years, 
after having been a member of the Church over fifty-one years, and 
in the ministry about forty years. His funeral services were con- 
ducted by Elder Daniel Shively, who used as his text, 2 Cor. 5: 12. 


Biographical Sketches 263 

Brother H. R. Holsinger, Editor of the Brethren's Annual, 

We are pleased to be able to lay before our readers so full a bi- 
ography of our beloved Brother Loehr. He was a man whom we 
loved at our first acquaintance. He was a friend to the young peo- 
ple, and we made his acquaintance when we belonged to that class. 
He also agreed in sentiment upon the subject of music, education 
and progressive work generally. In fact he held correct and liberal 
view upon all the live questions of the day. 1 

GEORGE LONG was born September 6, 1823, in South- 
ampton, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. He was one of 
a family of twelve children. He was married to Lucinda 
Row on August 15, 1850, in Coshocton County, Ohio. They 
moved to Indiana in 1851 and to the neighborhood of 
Clarksville, Ionia County, Michigan, in 1871. There were 
eleven children. He was baptized in 1845. In 1852 he was 
elected to the ministry, advanced to the second degree in 
1856, and ordained as elder in 1867 in Lagrange County, 
Indiana. He served in the ministry fifty years. Since the 
division in about 1883 he was identified with the Old Order 
Brethren. In early years he traveled much throughout the 
state in the interest of the church. 

KENNETH GUY LONG, son of Ira and Delia May Long, 
was born on May 26, 1913, in Richland County, Ohio. He 
was united in marriage to Grace Elizabeth Gans on August 
10, 1940. He received his public school education in Indiana 
and graduated from the high school at Akron, Ohio, in 1931. 
He is a graduate of Manchester College and in 1939 received 
his bachelor of divinity degree at Bethany Biblical Semi- 
nary. In 1924 he united with the church at White Cottage, 
Ohio, and was baptized by his father. The Akron church, 
Ohio, called him to the ministry in 1934. He has held 
part-time pastorates in Ohio and Indiana. He was the pastor 
of the Grand Rapids church, having taken over the pastoral 

1 Brethren's Annual, 1884. Page 15, 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

duties there on October 1, 1939, until he resigned to become 
pastor of the Cedar Lake church in Indiana. 

FLOYD ELWOOD MALLOTT was born on February 13, 
1897, near Deshler, Ohio. He is the son of George E. and 
Nettie Mallott. He was united in marriage to Hazel Ruth 

Blocher on September 24, 
1921. After graduating 
from the high school at 
Deshler he began his col- 
lege training at Defiance 
College, and received an 
A. B. degree at Manchester 
College in 1917. Follow- 
ing his college training he 
became a teacher at Blue 
Ridge College. He received 
the bachelor of divinity de- 
gree at Bethany Biblical 
Seminary in 1922, and his 
master's degree at the Uni- 
versity of Chicago in 1928. 
He united with the church 
at Deshler on January 29, 
1911. This comment is sig- 
nificant: "Deep conviction 
came upon me in my thir- 
teenth year. I found peace 
in baptism." He was elected to the ministry at the Deshler 
church in August 1914. His ordination to the eldership oc- 
curred in Chicago in 1922. He was pastor of the First church 
in Chicago from June 1923 to September 1924. From 1924 
to 1927 he was on the mission field in Nigeria, Africa. Since 
1928 he has been professor of Old Testament and Church 
History at Bethany Biblical Seminary. He served the 


Biographical Sketches 265 

Battle Creek church as pastor in addition to his full teach- 
ing program from 1933 to December 1942. He resigned from 
the pastorate at Battle Creek to give more time to his 
teaching career. He was a helpful teacher and friend dur- 
ing the author's seminary days. 

JOHN A. McKIMMY, oldest son of Perry and Caroline 
McKimmy, was born in Preston County, West Virginia, 
April 30, 1863. At the age of eleven he, with his parents, 
moved to Lenawee County, Michigan. He was married to 
Ida Berkebile on April 4, 1886. To this union were born 
three sons and four daughters. Two of the daughters died 
in infancy. In April 1902 the family moved to a farm 
south of Beaverton, Michigan. At about sixteen years of 
age he united with the Church of the Brethren. The church 
soon saw his honesty of purpose and called him first to the 
deacon's office, then to the ministry, and in 1914 to the 
eldership. He endeavored to uphold the good life before 
his family and the people of the community. He passed 
away on January 17, 1917, and burial was made at the 
Dale cemetery at Beaverton. 

ROY JENNINGS McROBERTS was born in Odessa Town- 
ship, Ionia County, Michigan, on October 14, 1897. He is 
the son of Alexander and Altha McRoberts. He married 
Ruth Winey, granddaughter of Elder Josiah G. Winey, a 
pioneer in Michigan, on March 5, 1919. They are blessed 
with six children. He is a graduate of the high school at 
Lake Odessa, Michigan. He united with the church at 
Thornapple in May 1919 and was called to the ministry by 
his home church in December 1919. Most of the fifteen 
years' service at the Thornapple church has been with- 
out remuneration. He was part-time pastor of the Elm- 
dale church for about one and one-half year. He is the pre- 
siding elder of the Elmdale and Muskegon churches at 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

the present time. He counts the association with Elders 
P. B. Messner and Samuel Smith as being helpful in the 
early days of his ministry. 


PETER B. MESSNER, son of Peter and Elizabeth Beam 
Messner, was born in Summit County, Ohio, September 
10, 1857. In April 1866 his parents with their family of 
four girls and two boys moved to Sheridan Township, Cal- 
houn County, Michigan, where the younger children at- 
tended the common district schools a four-month term each 
winter and assisted in work on the farm the remaining part 
of the year. In May 1875 the mother died; from this time 
on Peter had his home with his oldest sister and her hus- 
band, Lewis and Anna King of Devereaux, Jackson County, 
Michigan, until December 22, 1878, when he was united in 
marriage to Sarah Maria Hill at Perry, Shiawassee County, 
Michigan. On October 16, 1881, both were baptized by Elder 

Biographical Sketches 267 

B. F. Fryfogle and received into the fellowship of the Sun- 
field congregation of the Church of the Brethren. On De- 
cember 22, 1882, he was elected to the first degree of the 
ministry and in February 1907 was ordained to the elder- 
ship. His preaching was almost entirely confined to filling 
appointments in the home congregation. He was a member 
of the district missionary board for about twenty-six years, 
serving as secretary for over twenty years and twelve years 
of that time serving as both secretary and treasurer. He 

enjoyed the privilege of repre- 
senting his local church as dele- 
gate to district meetings and 
several times as delegate to An- 
nual Conference; twice he was 
chosen to represent the District 
of Michigan as a member of 
Standing Committee. His faith- 
ful wife and loving companion 
was taken by death on February 
15, 1922. The only child and 
daughter, Grace, spent her en- 
tire life in the home and after 
PETER B. MESSNER her mother's death continued to 

be her father's housekeeper, do- 
ing all in her power to minister to his needs and comfort. In 
his memoirs, written only two years before his death, he 
recounted many interesting experiences. His memory of 
the love feasts brought forth the following statement: "The 
all-day love feasts followed by the evening communion 
services and next morning farewell meetings were seasons 
of refreshing never to be forgotten." In October 1929 they 
moved from the Thornapple congregation into Woodland, 
first becoming members of the Woodland Village congre- 
gation, and in 1937 of the united congregation. By reason 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


of failing health and advanced age he did not take much 
part in active church work but attended the regular church 
services as much as possible. He passed away at the Town- 
send home, which is now the 
Woodland parsonage, on Octo- 
ber 17, 1939. 

born in Maryland on Novem- 
ber 17, 1877. He is the son 
of A. F. and Katherine Miller. 
In his boyhood his parents 
moved to Kansas, and it was 
here that he received his edu- 
cation in the public schools. 
He attended McPherson Col- 
lege. He united with the 
Pleasant View church at Dar- 

low, Kansas, about 1893, and was elected to the ministry in 
1902 by that church. The family later moved to Michigan, 
locating in the Sugar Ridge congregation. He was or- 
dained to the eldership here in 1919 and is now the presid- 
ing elder. His wife's name was Mary Mohler. 

ELVERT FRANKLIN MILLER was born in Virginia in 
1916, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Oscar Miller of Washing- 
ton, D. C. On June 27, 1937, he married Evelyn Roop. He 
is a graduate of the Eastern high school, Washington, D. C, 
attended Bridgewater College and George Washington Uni- 
versity, graduating from the latter institution, and is also 
a graduate of Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago, with 
the bachelor of divinity degree. He was baptized in 1925 in 
the Beaver Creek congregation. He was licensed to the 
ministry at the Washington City church in 1938 and in- 
stalled in 1940. He served as summer pastor at Bartlesville, 

Biographical Sketches 269 

Oklahoma, Crab Run, West Virginia, and Damascus, Vir- 
ginia. The Flint church, Michigan, called the Millers to 
the pastorate after his graduation in 1942. He resigned to 
accept the call to the Beaver Creek church, Second District 

of Virginia, in 1944. He was a member 

rg^^^ of the district board of education during 

■d^^^ the last year of the Flint pastorate. He 

W m ^ as keen ac tive in young people's work 

Jllfc ^6^ \ anc * P eace activities, and was director of 

mT3 Brethren work camps at Scranton, Penn- 

B^gf - ? sylvania, and at Shepherd, Michigan. 

■Pljrj^. FRANKLIN ELROY MILLER was born 

^^ * ■■ on March 14, 1883, near North English, 

E. F. MILLER Iowa, in the bounds of the English River 

church. His parents, Michael and Cather- 
ine Stoner Miller, were from Virginia. He married Bessie 
Viola Miller on March 20, 1904. His public school training 
was received in Iowa. He has been a student at Mt. Morris 
College and at Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago. He and 
his wife moved to Brethren, Michigan, from Iowa in the 
spring of 1906, and located a short distance from the home 
of J. Edson Ulery. They lived there nearly four years 
before moving to the Rodney congregation. He was bap- 
tized by Elder C. M. Brower in 1899. He was elected to 
the ministry in the Rodney church on March 13, 1909, and 
installed the next day on his twenty-sixth birthday. In 
1917 he was ordained an elder in the Black River church, 
Michigan. He served the Rodney church on a free-time basis 
and the Black River church as part-time pastor for three 
years, 1915-18. He has ministered to a number of churches 
in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and California. He has served 
on the board of directors of the Northern District of Cali- 
fornia. He has held many revival meetings. He recalls 
the happy Christian fellowship of many church leaders, 

270 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

both in Michigan and elsewhere, and especially does he 
remember the good fellowship at the district meeting held 
at the Sugar Ridge church, Michigan, in 1915. He remem- 
bers an exciting experience that he had in Michigan on 
one occasion. While he was with Brother and Sister Ulery 
and a young driver of mules returning home from a district 
meeting, they got stuck in Tobacco Creek near the Beaver- 
ton church. The leaders in former days had many hardships 
to overcome. 

ISAAC MILLER was one of the influential elders during 
the years when our church was starting in this state. He 
was a native of Rockingham County, Virginia. He and his 
wife moved from Ohio into Barry County, Michigan, in 
1872. They were the parents of one son, Isaac N., and 
three daughters. One daughter married David Flory, who 
came to Michigan as a minister. Another married Moses 
Warner, and the other married Daniel Williams. Some of 
the descendants of Elder Miller are members of and are 
living in the Woodland church at this time. Brother Miller 
served as minister and elder from the organization of that 
congregation in 1873 until his death on January 25, 1895. 

ROY E. MILLER was born in Miami County, Indiana, on 
August 31, 1886. He was married to Ruth G. Fisher of 
the same county. He had a high school training and took 
courses at Bethany Biblical Seminary. He was baptized 
at Mexico, Indiana, in 1895. The Rocky Ford church, Colo- 
rado, elected him to the ministry in 1907. The churches 
which he served in Michigan were Sunfield, Grand Rapids, 
and Harlan. He is now located at Pueblo, Colorado. His 
service has been both part-time and full-time. He cherishes 
in his memory the late Peter B. Messner and Brother J. Ed- 
son Ulery of Onekama. 

WILLIAM R. MILLER was one of a family of thirteen. 
The son of Abram and Catherine Miller, he was born near 

Biographical Sketches 271 

Hagerstown, Maryland, on October 25, 1849. He migrated 
to Polo, Illinois, when he was about twenty. Here he mar- 
ried Harriet Josephine Hills. There were three children 
born to them: Fred, Elwyn and Ralph. In 1889 he moved 
to Chicago, Illinois, and entered business. He was called 
to the ministry at the First church, Chicago, and relin- 
quished his business career to serve the church there as 
pastor for fifteen years. Following his wife's death in 
1903 he accompanied his brother, D. L. Miller, on a tour 
of the world. He returned and lectured in this country. 
He made three other European trips and collected material 
for his illustrated lectures on Bible Lands. In November 
1910 he was married to Mrs. Olive Ringler, whom he met 
in the party on one of his tours abroad. She was a devoted 
companion through the remainder of his life. For some 
fifteen years they lived on a little farm at Onekama, Mich- 
igan. He was stricken with heart failure at his wife's 
sister's home at Nappanee, Indiana, and passed suddenly 
to his reward at the age of seventy-eight years. His body 
was laid to rest in the cemetery at Polo, Illinois. He was 
an earnest Christian. "May his devotion to his God, his 
passion for the truth of God's word and its power in the 
lives of men, his buoyant and childlike faith 'testify of his 
gifts' and through them 'he being dead yet speaketh.' " 

JOHN MISHLER, the son of Joseph and Rachael Living- 
ston Mishler, was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 
on August 13, 1867. He was eleven years old when his 
parents moved to Indiana. On December 9, 1888, he was 
married to Orpha Ulery. He united with the Pleasant 
Valley church in Indiana by baptism in 1897. This church 
called him to the ministry in 1899, and he was ordained 
as an elder in 1901. He served the Pleasant Valley church 
for a period of twenty years. He lived in the Grand Rapids, 
Michigan, church in 1912 and 1913, where he and his wife 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

served in the pastorate and had charge of the City Rescue 
Mission. They returned to Indiana and were residing at 
Middlebury at the time of his death. His health failed, and 
he passed to his heavenly rest following a long period of 

ARTHUR O. MOTE was born on a farm near Lake Odessa, 
Michigan, on June 28, 1888. His public school training was 
received in his home community. He was a student at Mt. 

Morris College, and there 
met Ora Etta Gibson, to 
whom he was united in 
marriage on August 11, 
1910. He was called to the 
ministry at the Woodland 
church in 1916. He received 
a bachelor of arts and a 
master of arts degree at 
Manchester College. He 
accepted the pastoral call 
to the Detroit church and 
began on September 1, 1922. 
He served from 1922 to 
1928. He then resigned 
and became a Y.M.C.A. 
secretary. In 1931 he again 
resumed his pastoral duties 
and remained until his death. It was on Sunday morning, 
August 1, 1937, while delivering his sermon to an attentive 
audience, that Brother Mote was stricken with paralysis. 
He did not gain consciousness and passed to his eternal 
rest the next day. The Detroit church grew under his 
leadership and today is the largest church in the district. 
He was concerned and qualified to lead in the children's 
program of the church, and served as adviser to the national 


Biographical Sketches 273 

children's work organization of our brotherhood. Indeed, 
he was a consecrated and earnest worker for the cause of 

WILLIAM B. NEFF lived and served in the Beaverton 
church, Michigan. The author was unable to obtain many 
facts about his life. In The History of the Church of the 
Brethren in Indiana, by Otho Winger, it is stated that he 
was called to the ministry and ordained in the Bethel con- 
gregation of Northern Indiana. He was the presiding elder 
there for a while. 

DAVID NEHER, the son of Samuel and Rebecca Nevel 
Neher, was born on January 12, 1863, near Lima, Ohio. 
He received a public school education. He was married to 
Alice Lucinda Warner. In March 1884 he was baptized at 
Leeton, Missouri, by Brother Fred Culp. After he was 
elected to the ministry in 1907 at the Greenwood church, 
Missouri, he always preached as a free minister. The 
churches in Michigan in which he preached were Harlan and 
Sugar Ridge. He is now eighty-two years of age and has 
retired from preaching. 

GRANVILLE NEVINGER was born in Preble County, 
Ohio, September 27, 1855. He was not of Brethren parent- 
age, his father being a faithful adherent of the Methodist 
Episcopal faith and his mother a devout member of the Unit- 
ed Brethren Church. In 1868 he moved with his parents to 
Bond County, Illinois. On December 26, 1875, he was united 
in marriage to Elizabeth Jane Van Dyke; eight children 
were born to this union. In 1877 both Brother Nevinger 
and his wife were received into the Church of the Brethren. 
He was soon elected to the deacon's office and then to the 
ministry; later he was ordained to the eldership. His work 
was among churches in Southern Illinois until 1900, when 
he moved to Pueblo, Colorado. For the next eleven years 

274 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

he and his wife worked faithfully in the vicinity of Rocky 
Ford and also in district work. After his wife's death in 
1911 Brother Nevinger returned to Illinois and entered 
evangelistic work. In 1912 he was married to Sister Mary 
M. Sadler of Onekama, Michigan. In his later years he 
served several of the Michigan churches. The end came to 
his earthly career on March 31, 1925. Had he lived, Brother 
Nevinger would have represented the District of Michigan 
on the Standing Committee at the Winona Lake Annual 
Conference that year. Zeal for the church and fidelity to 
its principles were outstanding characteristics of his life. 

LEWIS C. OAKS was born near Dayton, Ohio, on Novem- 
ber 7, 1848. He married Susanna Blocher. Their children 
now living are: Kathryn Townsend and Phoebe Oaks of 
Woodland, and Daniel Oaks of Grand Rapids. They are 
all faithful church workers. He was baptized at the Okaw 
church, Illinois, in 1869. He was called to the deacon's office 
by the Portland church in Indiana and to the ministry by 
this church in 1885. In a few years he was advanced to 
the second degree of the ministry. He lived and served in 
the Woodland congregation. 

PHOEBE OAKS was born on July 23, 1885, at Portland, 
Indiana. She is the daughter of Lewis C. and Susanna 
Oaks. She completed the nurse's training at the Blodgett 
memorial hospital at Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1916. 
Then from 1919-21 she was a student at Bethany Bible 
School. She was baptized in January 1906. It was her 
privilege to participate in mission work at Fairchance, 
Pennsylvania, under D. F. Lepley. She filled a responsible 
position in the district during the years when the foreign 
missionary secretary-treasurer was functioning by serving 
in that office from 1929-1939. She kept in constant touch 
with the missionaries who received support from the 
churches of Michigan. 

Biographical Sketches 275 

JONAS C. OVERHOLT was the son of William and 
Elizabeth Overholt. He was born near Akron, Ohio, August 
12, 1850, and on December 15, 1928, passed away in Orlando, 
Florida, where he had gone to spend the winter. He united 
with the Little Traverse Church of the Brethren at Harbor 
Springs, Michigan, when he was thirty-one years of age. 
He was called to the ministry at this church about 1883. 
Sixteen years later he was ordained to the eldership in the 
Thornapple church. His wife passed to her eternal rest six 
years before he did. Their home had been blessed with 
eight children: one daughter and seven sons. He was a 
devout minister of the gospel and preached in different 
churches in Michigan as the need arose. He gave most of 
his time to the Grand Rapids church, of which he was a 
charter member. He was very earnest about organizing a 
church in this city, and made plans to buy the lots upon 
which the building now stands. His last sermon was at 
this church on October 16, 1928, on the subject, A Bleeding 
Heart. He attended many Annual Conferences and district 
meetings. It was his great joy to see the church progress. 
Many sought his wise counsel and help. Those whom he 
contacted were always uplifted by his Christian influence. 

HIRAM W. PETERS was born at Lapaz, Indiana, on 
March 23, 1892, the son of Amos B. and Barbara Peters. 
On December 27, 1915, he was united in marriage to Mary 
Ellen Hoover; they are the parents of one son, Homer. He 
received a public school training and has attended high 
school. He united with the church at Wenatchee, Wash- 
ington, in 1905. That church called him to the ministry 
in October 1926, after which time he took part in the 
preaching and other church work at Wenatchee. Brother 
Peters with his family moved to Michigan in 1927. He 
freely gave his service and leadership to the Lansing church 
for a period of fourteen years. He was ordained to the 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

eldership at Lansing in October 1931. He served for five 
years on the district ministerial board. He was the pre- 
siding elder of the Lansing church until 1944, and had the 
oversight of three other churches in the district. He was 
also the district promotional secretary of the Brethren 
service program on peace and relief and Civilian Public 
Service camps. Brother and Sister Peters have recently 
lived at Niles, Michigan, and served in the Buchanan, Mich- 
igan, church (Northern Indiana District). 

J. PERRY PRATHER came into the district in response 
to the call of the Detroit church. He is the son of Thomas 
and Cora Prather. He was born near Oologah, Oklahoma, 

on November 2, 1893. He is the 
oldest of eleven living children. 
He married Hope Lulah Dear- 
dorff. He finished high school 
and junior college at Mound 
City, Missouri, and is a gradu- 
ate of McPherson College. He 
continued his training by taking 
postgraduate work at Bethany 
Bible School, 1915 to 1918, and 
at Yale University, New Haven, 
Connecticut, 1922 to 1925; he 
was graduated with the bache- 
lor of divinity degree. He united 
with the North Bethel Church 
of the Brethren at Mound City, being baptized August 
14, 1905. His home church called him to the ministry 
October 24, 1914. His ordination to the eldership took 
place on January 27, 1928, at Ashland, Ohio. Since 1916 
he has served pastorates in Missouri, Kansas, Connecti- 
cut, Ohio, and now in Michigan. He served from August 
1925 to November 1933 at the First Church of the Breth- 


Biographical Sketches 277 

ren, Ashland, Ohio, and from November 1933 to October 
1944 at the First Church of the Brethren, Dayton, 
Ohio. He and his wife were installed in the pastorate of 
the First Church of the Brethren, Detroit, Michigan, on 
October 29, 1944. Perry first made contact with the church 
in Michigan in the year 1925. He spent three months 
working in Henry Ford's factory as an experiment in in- 
dustrial welfare and research work conducted by the gradu- 
ate department of sociology of Yale University. It was 
then that he visited the Detroit church. He was in turn 
secretary, vice-chairman and chairman of the pastors' ad- 
visory section of the International Council of Religious 
Education during a period of fifteen years. He was vice- 
president of the Ohio Council of Religious Education for 
ten years, and president for three years of the Dayton 
Council of Religious Education. He served on the Dayton 
board of education, being vice-president for three years. He 
was associate editor of Walking With God Today for two 
years prior to his coming to Michigan. He was a member 
of the district board of Christian education for seven years 
in Northeastern Ohio and for ten years in Southern Ohio. 
He has been active in evangelistic work and has spoken in 
thirteen different colleges and seminaries. He was an of- 
ficial observer at the World Conference of Christian Youth 
at Amsterdam, Holland, in 1939, and from there he visited 
the birthplace of our beloved church at Schwarzenau, 
Germany, and also places in Switzerland, France and Eng- 
land. He has been honored by having a record of his life 
published in Who's Who in the Clergy for 1935 and in 
Who's Who in the Religious Leaders of America in 1944. 
He remembers the helpful and fatherly advice of many of 
the faithful and influential church leaders of the past — D. L. 
Miller, S. Z. Sharp, H. C. Early, Wilbur Stover, and many 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

LAWRENCE HENRY PROWANT was born on August 
10, 1880, in Paulding County, Ohio. He is the son of David 
and Hannah Prowant. He married Mary Elizabeth Senger 

on November 10, 1901. 
He received a common 
school education. In 
June 1903 he united with 
the church at Dupont, 
Ohio, and was elected to 
the ministry there in 
1904. His ordination to 
the eldership occurred at 
Latty, Ohio, on March 
9, 1912. He served in 
the ministerial work of 
the Dupont church be- 
L. H. PROWANT AND WIFE fore moving to Michi- 

gan. About 1920 the 
Prowant family located at Durand, Michigan. He began 
working in the interest of the church and served as elder 
and pastor of the Elsie church during those years. He 
was instrumental in starting the mission work at Flint, 
but left that part of the state in September 1937 to take 
up the pastorate of the Sugar Ridge church. He was pastor 
here from 1937 to 1940, and from 1940 to 1945 at Rodney. He 
was a member of the district mission board. This faithful 
servant of the Lord died in 1945. 

ISAAC RAIRIGH spent the greater part of his active 
church life in the Thornapple congregation, but moved to 
Woodland Center some time before the organization of the 
village church. He was ordained to the eldership on June 
13, 1891, at the Elmdale house, which was then known as 
the west house of the Thornapple congregation. When the 
Woodland Village church was organized he became one of 

Biographical Sketches 279 

the charter members. He was their first elder and continued 
to assist in the church work until age and failing health 
compelled him to retire. He died on February 28, 1926, 
a little past eighty-two years of age. District records re- 
veal that he was one of the important leaders of that day. 

ISAIAH RAIRIGH was born in Indiana County, Penn- 
sylvania, on May 23, 1844. When a young man he went to 
Ohio and in 1866 was united in marriage to Sarah Hard- 
man. To this union were born two sons and two daughters, 
who are John Ezra, Mary Amanda Roberts, Eva Jane Rai- 
righ and Daniel Calvin. Eva departed this life February 
1, 1897. The remaining children reside on farms near 
Woodland. In 1880 he moved with his family to Michigan 
and settled on a farm near Freeport. In the year 1884 he 
moved onto a farm, now owned by A. J. Roberts, two miles 
north of Woodland. In June 1892 his wife died. In May 
1893 he was united in marriage to Margaret Mohler of Cov- 
ington, Ohio, with whom he lived devotedly until the 
Master said, "It is enough." He died on August 3, 1909, 
aged sixty-five years, two months and eleven days. His 
was a noble life, one of usefulness and toil; his was a great 
service to the church, of which he was an earnest and sin- 
cere member for about forty years. In serving the church 
he was first called to the deacon's office in September 1872. 
In November 1873 he accepted the ministry and in August 
1888 was ordained to the full ministry. The many who 
have listened to his preaching and noted his most earnest 
manner, both in praying and preaching, know how divinely 
earnest he was in his work. He preached the gospel of 
Christ for more than thirty years. Brother Rairigh was 
possessed with a sociable disposition and had a welcome 
greeting for all he met. The high esteem in which he was 
held in this vicinity was shown by the large attendance at 
his funeral in the Woodland church. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

ELMA RAU was born on September 13, 1896, in Putnam 
County, Ohio. She is the daughter of Henry A. and Alice 
Rau. Feeling the need of more preparation for Christian 

service, she took some training 

[5 - ^^>--— _^_- -— ~ a t Bethany Biblical Seminary. 
~~~~f*\. ^ e a ^ so nas taken many, home 

study courses, and has com- 
J"*A*k pleted the Standard Leadership 

Training Course. In 1907 she 
united with the Pleasant View 
church, Indiana. She was called 
to the ministry at the Beaverton 
church, Michigan, and is now 
serving the church there as well 
as the district. She has been 
district director of children's 
work since August 1930. She 
has rendered service as an evan- 
gelistic singer in more than fifty 
evangelistic meetings, as a director of thirty-seven vacation 
church schools, and as a camp leader. She has given much 
time to the work of the Beaverton church. She has served as 
the general superintendent of their church school and is a 
wise counselor to their children's division leaders. She is am- 
bitious, and, in addition to her busy life as a schoolteacher, 
she maintains a home for her invalid mother. Her qualities 
of life enable her to fulfill the duties of home, church, and 
school. Her one great purpose is to labor for the Master and 
to advance his cause in the community and the world. 

JOSEPH STEWART ROBISON was born August 26, 
1853, in Crawford County, Ohio, and died April 19, 1925. 
On September 4, 1873, he was united in marriage to Sarah 
Amrive; she died on March 8, 1922. To this union were 
born two daughters, Anna B. Plott and Lucy E. Wells; 


Biographical Sketches 


Anna preceded him in death. He joined the Church of the 
Brethren in 1886. He was elected to the ministry in 1898 
in Ohio and lived a faithful, consistent life. When they first 
came to Michigan they lived in the New Haven congrega- 
tion. Later they moved to Vestaburg, Michigan, where 
they resided at the time of their deaths. 

JEFF D. ROSE was born at Stillwater, Kentucky, on May 
27, 1869. He is the son of Robert J. and Dulcina Rose. He 
was married to Mary Victoria Gevedon on August 8, 1890. 
He received his education in the public schools. He united 
with the church at Stillwater in 1889. He was elected to 
the ministry at Dayton, Ohio, in 1910. He served in the 
Church of the Brethren in Michigan at Brethren, Marilla, 
and Harlan, as part-time pastor for three years. 

JOSEPH SALA is briefly recorded. His name occurs in 
the records of the Bear Lake church. Considerable effort 
has been made to trace his family relationship, but it has 
been without success. The facts that are recorded reveal 
that he was baptized at the Bear Lake church, near Petos- 
key, Michigan, and was 
elected to the ministry 
in 1908. He moved away .^dl^. 

soon after being elected 
to the ministry. 

SCHECHTER was born 
on September 5, 1918, at 
North Manchester, Indi- 
ana, the son of David P. 
and Olive M. Schechter. 
On April 4, 1941, he was 

united in marriage to Ruby M. Yordy. A graduate of the 
high school at Battle Creek, Michigan, and also of Man- 


282 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Chester College, he completed his training in Bethany Bib- 
lical Seminary, Chicago, in 1944, and received the bachelor of 
divinity degree. He united with the church at Wenatchee, 
Washington, in April 1924. He was licensed by the Shep- 
herd church on March 4, 1940, and installed into the min- 
istry at Battle Creek on April 4, 1941. He was summer 
pastor at Muskegon and Sugar Ridge in Michigan in 1940, 
and at the Battle Creek church in 1941. The Schechters are 
serving in the pastorate of the Michigan City church of 
Northern Indiana. 


DAVID PEARL SCHECHTER was born at Maxwell, Iowa, 
on June 18, 1883. He is the son of Joshua J. and Sarah 
Schechter. On December 5, 1912, he was united in marriage 
to Olive May Filbrun; they are the parents of two sons, 
David O. and Joseph J. He has been a student at Mt. Mor- 
ris College, Manchester College, Bethany Bible Training 
School, and the Battle Creek Sanitarium Hospital Training 

Biographical Sketches 283 

School. On June 17, 1897, he united with the church at 
Worthington, Minnesota; the same church called him to the 
ministry in June 1907. He has served as part-time pastor 
of the Elsie church and the Battle Creek church, and as 
full-time pastor of the Shepherd church from April 1937 to 
March 1942. He served the pastorate of the Crystal church 
from April 1942 to September 1943. He was ordained to 
the eldership at the Elsie church in 1919. For fourteen years 
he was writing clerk for the district meeting. He and his 
wife left the district in 1943 to accept a position in Bethany 
Hospital in Chicago. He shares these interesting facts: 
his grandfather was born about 1800 and baptized when past 
eighty, his father was born in 1842 and baptized at thirty, 
he himself was born in 1883 and baptized at fourteen, David 
O. (son) was born in 1918 and baptized at six, and Joseph J. 
(son) was born in 1926 and baptized at seven. Back of his 
mother was Mennonite stock. 

MARTIN SCHOLTEN, the son of B. H. and K. Scholten, 
was born on December 1, 1900, at Holland, Michigan. He 
was united in marriage to Marian Rinehart on March 20, 
1935. He united with the church at Grand Rapids, Michi- 
gan, in 1933 and was called to the ministry in 1934. He 
served as pastor of the Elmdale church from September 
1934 to February 28, 1938. From here he went to the Middle 
District of Pennsylvania to take up pastoral work in the 
Aughwick congregation. In preparation for pastoral work 
he spent one year at Western Theological Seminary and 
two years at Bethany Seminary. Previous work had been 
taken in high school and college. His wife was also called 
to the ministry and shares in his pastoral work. She served 
as supply pastor for the Grand Rapids church for several 
months following the termination of Pastor Van B. Wright's 
services. She received a bachelor of divinity degree from 
Bethany Seminary and an R. N. from Bethany Hospital. 

284 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

ARTHUR SCROGUM entered the ministry while living 
at the Hart church in Michigan. The son of J. J. and Re- 
becca Scrogum, he was born August 7, 1897, near Fairchild, 
Illinois. His wife was Marie Coblentz of Peru, Indiana. He 
received an elementary school training in Wayne County, 
Illinois, and is a graduate of the Hart, Michigan, high school; 
Manchester College, North Manchester, Indiana; and Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary, Chicago, with the B. D. degree. He 
has taken summer courses at Northwestern University, 
Juniata College, and the University of West Virginia. He 
was baptized and united with the Martins Creek church of 
Southern Illinois in 1909. The Hart church elected him to 
the ministry in 1920. His ordination to the eldership took 
place at the Bear Creek church of Western Maryland in 
1922. From July 1, 1921, to July 1, 1944, he served as part- 
time pastor of the Bear Creek church at Accident, Mary- 
land, and taught in the high school there. Since July 1, 
1944, he has served as the full-time pastor of the Cumber- 
land Church of the Brethren in Cumberland, Maryland. 
This church is affiliated with the Western District of Penn- 
sylvania. His home was at Hart, Michigan, from 1913 until 
he graduated from Manchester College in 1921. He was one 
of the charter members of the Hart congregation, which was 
organized shortly after the Scrogums located there. Here 
is where he had his first experience in teaching a Sunday- 
school class, in taking a part on the program of the Christian 
Worker's meeting, and in leading singing. Here he preached 
his first sermons. 

J. J. SCROGUM was born in Augusta County, Virginia, 
in 1867. He is the son of George H. and Rebecca Scrogum. 
He married Rebecca C. Miller in 1895. He has enjoyed some 
interesting experiences through the years as he pursued 
his training and education in various places. He says, "My 
schooling was by piece-meal, as we were poor and I was 

Biographical Sketches 


determined to win; so I would work and go to school." In 
1895 he united with the church in Virginia. He was called 
to the ministry at Hart, Michigan, in 1914, and ordained 
to the eldership at Shamokin, Pennsylvania, in 1929. While 
in Michigan he served the Hart church as free- and then as 
part-time pastor. At the present he is elder of the Church 
of the Brethren at Elkins, West Virginia. 

OLIVER SEASE, son of Abraham and Marguret Sease, 
was born in Darke County, Ohio, on May 8, 1849. He was 

married on April 21, 1872, to 
Lucy Ann Wooner. He came 
to the vicinity of Lake Odessa, 
Michigan, from Ohio about the 
year 1878. In May 1881 he was 
baptized and became a member 
of the Church of the Brethren 
at Woodland. He lived to be 
eighty-two years of age and 
passed away rather suddenly on 
June 7, 1931. He was quite rug- 
ged physically, and never need- 
ed a physician until the last 
year of his life. He was elected 
to the ministry by the Wood- 
land church, but he exercised very little in that position be- 
cause of his inhibited nature. He lived a consistent and de- 
voted Christian life, and was unassuming and quiet in 
manner. He trusted Christ and had a glorious hope ever 
before him. 

NETTIE SENGER, a former missionary to China, once 
served as missionary and community worker and leader 
in the Chinese Sunday school of the Detroit church, Michi- 
gan. She was born at Casey, Adair County, Iowa, May 10, 
1885. She finished high school at Panora, Iowa, received 



History of the Brethren in Michigan 

her bachelor of arts degree in 1915 at Manchester College 
and her bachelor of divinity degree in 1923 at Bethany Bib- 
lical Seminary. She has a diploma from the Kennedy 
School of Missions at Hartford, Connecticut, and received 
her master of arts degree in Chinese philosophy in 1933 at 
the College of Chinese Studies, Peking, China. Her thesis 
for the doctor of philosophy degree was not entirely finished 
because the war interfered with its completion. It was A 
Social Study on the History of Chinese Womanhood. It 
was entirely original and was to 
have been published in China. In 
January 1900 she was baptized in 
the Coon River church, Iowa. She 
served on the China mission field 
from 1916 to 1939. She has given 
many lectures on China in the 
churches of America when on fur- 
lough, 1922-23, 1933-35, and 1940-43. 
She served in the Detroit church, 
Michigan, a little more than two 
years, beginning in February 1943. 
It is noted that the Senger family 
has a staunch background of Brethren heritage. Her work 
in China was a preparation period for a number of years, 
acquainting her with Oriental culture, the peoples and 
customs, through friendship. She says, "If they would 
not accept me as a person, they would not accept my 
religion." Her work finally shaped itself into creating a 
school to help village mothers to be better mothers. Ba- 
bies were enrolled as students along with mothers and 
were given help from the teachers — herself and Miss 
Chang, who was later martyred in Liao Chow. She tells 
this interesting fact: "We had vocational training which 
developed out of our wool weaving experimental station 


Biographical Sketches 


for home handicraft which was fostered by two national 
organizations and has been carried to West China and 
become the underneath foundation for the wool textile 
Indusco." In order to carry on the curriculum, they had 
to write textbooks in two courses, for there were no books 
on the market. 

born in Putnam County, Ohio, 
May 21, 1889. He is the son of 
William H. and Mary Shafer. 
He married Susan Prowant on 
April 7, 1909. He has a public 
school training. On September 
25, 1914, he united with the 
church near Dupont, Ohio. 
Elected to the ministry at the 
Elsie church in 1923 and or- 
dained to the eldership by the 
same church in 1934, he has la- 
bored for the church in the dis- 
trict whenever called upon. 
From 1937 to 1942 he ministered to the people at the Muske- 
gon church as elder and pastor. At the present time he 
is the pastor and elder of the Pontiac church. 

JOSEPH FRANCIS SHERRICK was born on May 26, 
1879, at Three Rivers, Michigan. He is the son of Jesse and 
Rebekah Sherrick. He was two years old when his mother 
died. He was united in marriage to Grace Laura Shoyer on 
June 18, 1902; a son and a daughter were born to them. He 
received his early training in a rural school, and later was 
a student at Manchester College. He united with the 
church at New Haven, Michigan, in 1887. This church called 
him to the ministry in 1897 and ordained him to the elder- 
ship in 1921. His ministerial service in this church has been 



History of the Brethren in Michigan 


given free for forty-three years. 
He was the elder-in-charge for 
many years. He was also a 
member of the district minis- 
terial board. He has labored 
faithfully in the work of the 

LOIS SHERRICK serves the 
District of Michigan as a lay 
worker. She is the daughter of 
Joseph F. and Grace Sherrick. 
She was born on her Grandfa- 
ther Sherrick's farm about forty 
rods from the North Star church, which was located on 
that farm. She attended a one-room rural school through 
the grades and is a graduate of the high school at Ithaca, 
Michigan. She decided to be a public school teacher and 

in 1930 was graduated from 
Manchester College with a bach- 
elor of arts degree. In 1923 she 
was baptized by S. Z. Smith, 
who was conducting a revival in 
the New Haven church. She 
had been Sunday-school secre- 
tary for a number of years be- 
fore this. Since uniting with the 
church she has been the teacher 
of some class almost every year. 
Even during the four years of 
college days she participated in 
church work at the West End 
Mission Chapel. She has served 
her home church as church 
LOIS SHERRICK school superintendent, and has 

Biographical Sketches 


had much experience in vacation Bible school work; 
in 1927 she helped to conduct five such schools, and has 
been the director many years following this. She was in 
district young people's work from 1928 to 1931 and served 
on the welfare board from 1929 to 1932. In 1931 she was 
elected to the office of district Sunday-school secretary and 
has worked efficiently and continuously to the present time. 
This work is in addition to her work on the district board 
of Christian education, of which she has been a member 
since 1933. She collected the material for the District News 
Letter and edited it from its beginning in 1933 until Sep- 
tember 1944. Her leadership in the district will bear fruit 
to the honor and glory of God. 

MARVIN MANAM SHERRICK was born July 31, 1868, 
at Three Rivers, Michigan. He is the son of Jesse and Re- 
bekah Sherrick. He was united in marriage to Minnie M. 
Bock on October 2, 1892. A 
graduate of the high school at 
Ithaca, Michigan, he later re- 
ceived a bachelor of arts degree 
at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, 
Iowa, and a master's degree at 
the University of Michigan in 
1902. He was baptized at the 
Saginaw church in 1882. The 
New Haven church called him 
to the ministry in 1886. As a 
teacher he was most successful 
in modern languages. He was 
the registrar at Mt. Morris Col- 
lege, Mt. Morris, Illinois, for a 

few years. In 1910, while at Mt. Morris, he was ordained to 
the eldership. After a successful teaching career of forty 
years, part of which was spent at Manchester College, he 


290 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

returned to his home state, Michigan, where he is now 
residing. He was a very able preacher as well as a good 
teacher. As a result of his literary ability and writing, 
he has left two volumes: Wintergreen, which is good po- 
etry, and a book of sermon outlines. 

GRACE DEAL SHOW ALTER was born on September 25, 
1902, at Perth, North Dakota, the daughter of Noah and 
Hannah Deal. She was married on June 10, 1934. She re- 
ceived part of her schoolwork at New Enterprise, Penn- 
sylvania, and graduated from the high 
school at Onekama, Michigan. She was 
a student at Manchester College, 1923-24. 
She has taken graduate work at Big Rap- 
ids and at Mt. Pleasant Normal, and holds 
an early elementary life certificate. She 
united with the church at New Enterprise 
in 1913, and was impressed by the spiritual 
messages of Brother Stover Kulp when he 
was the pastor of the New Enterprise 
SHOWALTER church before he left for the Africa mis- 
sion field. The Onekama church called 
her to the ministry in 1928. When called upon by the pastor 
or the ministerial committee she assists in the Onekama 
church or in surrounding congregations. She is a good chil- 
dren's leader, and is a member of the district children's work 
cabinet. She is also a member of the district historical 
committee. In the local church she devotes much time to 
church school work, and uses her musical talent in con- 
tributing to the worship services. 

MERLIN C. SHULL was born on August 29, 1897, at Vir- 
den, Illinois, the son of W. H. and Clara Shull. In May 
1921 he was united in marriage to Pearl Marie Grosh. He 
is a graduate of the Girard Township high school, Girard, 

Biographical Sketches 


Illinois. He received the bachelor of arts degree from Man- 
chester College in 1921 and the bachelor of divinity degree 
from Bethany Biblical Seminary in 1927, and has taken some 
graduate work at the University of 
Chicago. He united with the church 
in 1907 at the West Otter Creek 
church, Illinois. The First church, 
Chicago, called him to the ministry 
in 1919, and he was ordained at the 
seminary in 1923. He served the 
Hastings Street mission, Chicago, 
from 1921 to 1928. He was called to 
the pastorate of the Detroit church, 
Michigan, in September 1928 and 
served there for three years. We 
recognize Brother Shull now as the 
pastor of nonresident members of 
our whole brotherhood. He says, "I 
always enjoyed camp work in Michi- 
gan. ... I love pastoral work and, in fact, all the work of 
the ministry." 

JOHN M. SMITH was born in Darke County, Ohio, April 
11, 1853. He married Ellen Gibbons in January 1873. After 
her death he was married to Sarah Wooner. In 1878 he 
was elected to the deacon's office by the church at Wood- 
land, Michigan, where he had previously been located. He 
was elected to the ministry there in September 1884 and 
ordained in February 1907. Brother Smith served here in 
the ministry until 1925; however, he had colaborers in 
preaching during this period. When he could no longer 
serve because of his age he was succeeded by Brother H. V. 
Townsend. He preached several funerals near the close of 
his life. He served the church in the ministry for a little 
over fifty years, living all this time in one congregation 



History of the Brethren in Michigan 

except for a few months spent in the Southeast on account 
of his wife's health. On December 13, 1934, at the age of 
eighty-one, he was called to his eternal reward. He was 
held in high esteem not only by his own denomination, but 
by the entire community. 

HENRY W. SMITH was born on September 16, 1860, in 
Darke County, Ohio, the son of Isaac and Mary Smith. He 
received a common school training. On October 12, 1869, 
he married Ida M. Botorff. He 
united with the church at Wood- 
land, and was baptized by Isaiah 
Rairigh. On June 10, 1899, at 
the age of forty-six, Brother 
Smith was called to the ministry 
at the Woodland church. He 
was ordained to the eldership 
on December 2, 1905. He served 
the Sunfield church as elder and 
minister for seventeen years. 
When this church was remod- 
eled, he was willing to give free- 
ly of his time and money. Add- 
ed responsibilities in the en- 
larged church program made him feel that the ministerial 
duties should be taken over by younger leaders. 

SAMUEL SMITH, during his life's career, was very active 
in the local church and in the district work. He is the 
son of Henry and Mary Mohler Smith. He was born near 
Bradford, Darke County, Ohio, August 21, 1848. His first 
marriage was to Katherine Flory in 1872. After her death 
in 1883 he married Lydia Long. Mrs. Earl D. Hoover, a 
prominent worker in the Detroit church, is a daughter. He 
completed the elementary school and took some high school 


Biographical Sketches 293 

work in Ohio. He taught school for a while, and was always 
glad that his children had better educational advantages 
than he had had. At the age of twenty-one he was received 
by baptism into the Harris Creek congregation, Ohio. The 
Woodland church, Michigan, called him to the deacon's of- 
fice at the time of its organization in 1873. After moving 
to the Thornapple congregation, Michigan, he was called to 
the ministry on November 8, 1883. Fourteen years later, 
in 1897, he was ordained to the eldership in the same church. 
Brother Smith served the church in the ministry about 
thirty-six years. He was a liberal contributor to the finan- 
cial needs of the local church and the brotherhood. His 
labors were not confined to his home congregation, but he 
figured prominently throughout the district for a number 
of years. In 1885, when the first district missionary board 
was organized, he became one of its members, serving in 
that capacity for seventeen years in all. He served as elder 
of his home congregation several years and as nonresident 
elder for six other congregations at different times. It was 
his habit to keep a daily diary. Family worship was al- 
ways observed. While Brother Smith was a man of strong 
convictions he was broad enough to be charitable toward 
those who conscientiously differed with him. 

HARPER M. SNAVELY was born on January 15, 1892, 
at Heilmandale, Pennsylvania, the son of Reuben H. and 
Harriet Snavely. On January 8, 1914, he was united in mar- 
riage to Blanche M. Westhafer. He received a public school 
education in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, and took a 
home study course from New York. He was a student 
at Bethany Bible Training School in 1924, and in the sum- 
mer school of 1940. In January 1922 he united with the 
church at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and was elected to the 
ministry by that church in December 1923. His ordination 
to the eldership took place at Myersville, Maryland, in 1931. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

His connection with the District of Michigan was during his 
pastorate in the Battle Creek church from January 1, 1929, 
to September 1, 1929. He was pastor of the Carlisle church, 

Southern Pennsylvania, 
from December 1, 1931, 
to the fall of 1945, and is 
now in the pastorate of 
the Quakertown church, 
Pennsylvania. He is a 
successful pastor. 

SNAVELY, the son of 
Moses Y. and Sally For- 
ney Snavely, was born 
August 11, 1875, at Hud- 
son, Illinois. He was 
married to Virginia M. 
Wine of Octavia, Ne- 
braska. There were six 
children in their family. 
Their daughter Bernice 
married Galen E. Bark- 
doll; the Barkdolls are 
now serving the pastorate of the Marilla church, Michi- 
gan. Another daughter, Gladys, is the wife of Carl H. 
Welch. They are serving the pastorate of the Thornapple 
church, Michigan. After country school days, Brother 
Snavely attended Moody Bible School, McPherson College, 
and Bethany Biblical Seminary. He was baptized in August 
1889 at the Wood River church, Kearney, Nebraska. He was 
elected to the ministry on June 28, 1896, and advanced to the 
second degree at McPherson, Kansas, in 1897. His ordination 
to the eldership occurred in the Black River church, Michi- 


Biographical Sketches 295 

gan, in 1907. He was part-time pastor of the Black River 
church from 1905-1908. He has served a number of churches 
in Nebraska, Colorado and Indiana. He says that "the com- 
pensation was adequate under the careful management of 
Sister Snavely." But, he added: "At other times it took 
the combined efforts of the family to keep above the water 
line." He cherishes the happy experiences of fellowship 
with fellow ministers and brethren and sisters of the laity 
who helped to carry on the church in Michigan through 
difficult years. They were strangers when the family 
moved into the Black River congregation in 1905, having 
come from the prairies of Nebraska. The church flourished 
under their ministry there for three years. They left to at- 
tend Bethany Bible School, Chicago, in 1909. He recalls 
with much inspiration all the district meetings of Michigan. 
He relates an incident which took place while he was en 
route to a district meeting held at Beaverton in 1906. "It 
being one of the northern churches we all went by train to 
Gladwin, where we were hauled by wagon to the church, 
arriving there by two o'clock in the morning. I think I can 
still count the stumps we hit with our wagon. . . . Personal 
work was one of the subjects discussed. One strong speech 
cautioned against overdoing such things and driving people 
rway." He was always willing to sacrifice for the cause of 
righteousness. In recent years they have lived near Nash- 
ville, Michigan. 

DAVID ELIAS SOWER was born on March 14, 1879, near 
Ithaca, Gratiot County, Michigan, the son of William H. 
and Sarah Sower. On May 27, 1908, he was united in mar- 
riage to Dorothy S. Shafford. He received training at Man- 
chester College. In January 1898 he united with the church 
at North Manchester, Indiana. He was called to the min- 
istry at the New Haven church, Michigan, on September 3, 
1898. He was ordained at the Long Lake church, Michigan, 

296 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

in August 1911. Most of his ministerial service in Michigan 
was on the free-time basis. He served the New Haven 
church from 1898 to 1903 and the Elmdale church from 1903 
to 1906. When he left the district he moved to Northeastern 
Ohio, where he has served in a number of pastorates. He 
says, "When we moved to Long Lake there were only three 
members living there that we 
know about." He served the 
district two years as Sunday- 
school secretary and as a mem- 
ber of the mission board nine 

the son of Frederick and Emma 
Spencer, was born on July 14, 
1883, at Sterling, Illinois. On 
December 8, 1907, he was united 
in marriage to Myrtle Virginia 
Kindig. He received a public c. A. SPENCER AND WIFE 
school education, and took one 

year's training at Bethany Bible Training School, 1921- 
22. He united with the church at Dixon, Illinois, on 
July 15, 1906. The church at Shepherd, Michigan, called 
him to the ministry on June 29, 1918, and ordained him 
on September 20, 1922. He has been presiding elder of 
the Shepherd church at various intervals, and also of sev- 
eral other churches in the district. For twenty-one years 
continuously he has been a member of the district mission 
board. Most of the time he has been responsible for all the 
district funds. As the efficient treasurer, he works in the 
interest of promoting the kingdom's program. 

ARLIE ALETHA SPINDLER was born at Woodland, 
Michigan, on November 22, 1884. She is the daughter of 

Biographical Sketches 


Elias and Martha BeVier. Her father was a direct descend- 
ant of Marie Antoinette. His ancestors came to America 
during the French Revolution. 
Her husband, Jesse Spindler, 
died March 5, 1925. Although 
she is not in the ministry, 
she is a devoted church worker. 
She attended Western State 
Teacher's College, Manchester 
College, and Northwestern Uni- 
versity. She has been a school- 
teacher for twenty-seven years, 
and has taught at Woodland for 
the last seventeen years. On Oc- 
tober 19, 1908, she was baptized 

into the Church of the Brethren at Woodland, Michigan. 
She had previously been a member of the Church of Christ, 

having been baptized when 
twelve years old. For a num- 
ber of years previous to 1914 
she acted as Sunday-school su- 
perintendent and taught a class 
of young people. As an impor- 
tant leader in district work she 
served in the position of foreign 
mission secretary-treasurer for 
about twelve years. 



born in Ohio on January 15, 
1870, the son of Elias and Anna 
Stauffer. He was married on February 15, 1906, to Alice 
Denlinger, who passed away in 1934. In 1893 he united with 
the church at Arcanum, Ohio. He was elected to the min- 
istry in Canada in 1904 and ordained there in 1909. From 

298 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Canada he moved to the Shepherd church in Michigan in 
1914; here he served as elder and minister from 1915 to 
1929, giving all his time free. 

OSCAR EVERT STERN, son of Daniel M. and Sarah 
Furry Stern, was born February 2, 1888, near Exeter, Ne- 
braska. He married Mary Ellen Barkley of Somerset Coun- 
ty, Pennsylvania, on October 15, 1914. After finishing his 
public school work he attended Mt. Morris Academy three 
years and was a student at Bethany Bible School from 1917 
to 1919. He was baptized in 1901 at Arcadia, Nebraska. 
This church elected him to the ministry on December 4, 
1915. He served in the free ministry at the Arcadia church 
until he left for training at Bethany. His ministry in 
Michigan was at the Harlan and Marilla churches, which he 
served as part-time pastor from 1921 to 1924. He was or- 
dained as elder about 1923 by Brethren Nevinger and 
Joseph of Onekama. He drove the school bus most of one 
year to help earn a livelihood. They lived on the Andrew 
Taylor farm and the rent was free. These were days when 
church work required much perseverance. 

GEORGE E. STONE was born in Northwestern Ohio 
about 1855. He moved into the New Haven congregation in 
Michigan about 1880, and was received into the church soon 
afterward. About 1882 he was called to the ministry. He 
lived in the New Haven church about twenty years, then 
moved to Crystal and started the church work there. He 
gave faithful service to the cause of Christ. It is unfortunate 
that a more complete account of his life's work could not 
be obtained, because he was called upon often to give min- 
isterial care and counsel and his achievements were many. 

FRED E. STROHM did not give any facts of his life, but 
related a few facts about his work in Michigan. While 
attending Bethany Bible School, Chicago, 1912 to 1914, he 

Biographical Sketches 299 

and his wife heard of the planning for Bethany Hospital. 
In April 1914 they went to the Battle Creek Sanitarium, 
Battle Creek, Michigan, where they spent three years in 
training. Both of them graduated as registered nurses. 
During their last year in Battle Creek they labored with 
a few members, including Brother and Sister David P. 
Schechter, who were in training at the sanitarium also; 
their efforts resulted in establishing a strong Sunday school 
in the city. This eventually led to the organization of the 
Battle Creek church. After serving at Bethany' Hospital 
in Chicago from 1920 to September 1941 the Strohms moved 
to Modesto, California. 

JOHN R. STUTSMAN is the son of David C. and Barbara 
Stutsman. He was born in Elkhart County, Indiana, in 
1835. He was unable to attend a public school. He made 
use of his native faculties and acquired the ability to do 
the work that he undertook. He has no record of his 
baptism. He was elected to the ministry at the Little Tra- 
verse church in 1884. He served this church until 1912 
as a free minister. He was an elder but the date of his 
ordination could not be found. 

JOSEPH STUTSMAN was born May 5, 1859, in Elkhart 
County, Indiana, the son of John R. and Nancy Stutsman. 
What education he has he acquired by himself. He was bap- 
tized in the Little Traverse church near Harbor Springs, 
Michigan, in 1883. He was elected to the office of deacon 
in 1884 and to the ministry in 1907. He served the Little 
Traverse church for a while and then returned to Indiana. 
In 1913 he was advanced to the second degree of the min- 
istry by the Elkhart Valley church of Northern Indiana, 
where he served in the free ministry. He is living near 
Goshen, Indiana. At the request for information by cor- 
respondence, he was able to write a brief note saying, "I 
hope you may get some good out of what I have given." 

300 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

AARON SWIHART was the grandson of Jonathan and 
Elizabeth Swihart. He was born in Wabash County, In- 
diana. His father, who was also named Aaron, was a pio- 
neer preacher in the Walnut Creek church, Indiana. Aaron 
lived at Brethren, Michigan. He was living here when his 
father's life came to an untimely end during a visit with 
them on November 5, 1903. We have no record of when or 
where he was elected to the ministry. He preached at the 
Lake View church in Brethren and also at the church in 

ARTHUR E. TAYLOR was born on February 6, 1899, at 
Huntington, Indiana. He is the son of Andrew W. and Ellen 
Taylor. He was a small boy when his parents moved to 
Harlan, Michigan. He was united in marriage on Novem- 
ber 4, 1920, to Anna L. Williams. He is a graduate of the 
high school at Benzonia, and has taken training at the 
Mt. Pleasant Central Normal and for one year at Bethany 
Biblical Seminary. In 1911 he united with the church at 
Harlan. He, with his wife and two daughters, Joyce and 
Grace, moved from their home at Harlan to Flint, Michi- 
gan, where he has been established in business. He was 
elected to the ministry at Flint in 1933 and ordained to the 
eldership in 1940. He served part-time for one and one- 
half year at the Crystal church by going every two weeks. 
In addition to the time spent at his business, he was faithful 
in serving the Flint church as part-time pastor. Brother 
Taylor also served on the district board of Christian educa- 
tion as the director of intermediate work for a term of seven 
years. He was at one time the owner of Camp Little Eden, 
and it was here that he and Sister Taylor supervised youth 
camps during several summers. He withdrew as a member 
of the board of Christian education when he was appointed 
district fieldworker by the district council of boards in the 
fall of 1943. He is energetic in his work and willing to share 

Biographical Sketches 301 


his time in helping and counseling church leaders of all the 
churches in the district. It is his desire that the churches 
should advance in missionary activities, in Brethren service 
work, and in a sound program of Christian education. 

JACOB TOMBAUGH was born in Hancock County, Ohio, 
September 3, 1854, the son of George and Margaret Tom- 
baugh. He attended public school in Ohio. On June 5, 
1879, he married Clementine Bosserman. He united with 
the church in the Eagle Creek congregation, Ohio. In the 
fall of 1882 he moved from Ohio to Gratiot County, Michi- 
gan, and into the Rodney congregation about 1889. He 
was a minister in that church at the time of his death, July 
30, 1922. He was often called upon to preach at other 
churches in the district. 

WILLIAM E. TOMBAUGH, the son of Jacob and Clemen- 
tine Tombaugh, was born in Ohio on April 11, 1882. He re- 
ceived a public school education. He married Ida C. Jehn- 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

zen on November 17, 1907, and married his second wife, 
Grace M. Breidenbaugh, on December 31, 1941. He united 
with the church at Rodney, Michigan, in December 1897. 
That church called him to the ministry on November 26, 
1927. Here he has served as a free- and as a part-time min- 
ister. He also served the Thornapple church on a part-time 
basis for twelve months, and is now the pastor of the Elm- 
dale church with partial support. 

HARLEY V. TOWNSEND was born at Woodland, Mich- 
igan, on December 25, 1886, to John H. and Mary C. Town- 
send. He was united in marriage to Nellie Naomi Teeter on 

May 28, 1913. His early train- 
ing was received in the grade 
schools and in two years of 
high school. For two- years he 
was a student at Bethany Bible 
Training School. He united 
with the Woodland church on 
August 20, 1907. Here he was 
called to the ministry on March 
11, 1916, and ordained to the 
eldership in October 1918. With 
the exception of about two 
years while they served in the 
pastorate of the Loon Creek 
church, Indiana, Brother and 
Sister Townsend have served in 
the pastorate of the Woodland 
church; between 1925 and September 1941 he served con- 
tinuously as pastor and elder. He is still the presiding 
elder. He filled the pastorate of the Sunfield church on 
part-time support from September 1943 to February 1946. 
At that time he entered the pastorate of the Battle Creek 
church to conduct a full-time pastoral program. His lead- 


Biographical Sketches 


ership in the district has been thorough and aggressive. 
He has been moderator of the district conference six times, 
and is now a member of the district historical committee 
and the chairman of the district ministerial board, of which 
he has been a member for a number of years. He has 
served six times on Standing Committee and has been elder 
of eight different churches. 

J. EDSON ULERY was born 
on June 22, 1873, at Middlebury, 
Indiana, the son of Solomon and 
Mary R. Ulery. He was united 
in marriage to Sylvia Kindy on 
August 26, 1897. He graduated 
from the high school at Middle- 
bury, Indiana, in 1890. He was 
a student at Tri-State Normal 
and at Manchester College. He 
taught in Canton College two 
years. He united with the Pleas- 
ant Valley church, Northern In- 
diana, on February 22, 1889, and 
was baptized by his grandfather, 
Elder Joseph Hoover. The Pleas- 
ant Valley church, Indiana, called him to the ministry on 
August 15, 1896. His ordination to the eldership occurred at 
Onekama, Michigan, in 1906. He served three years — 1899 to 
1902 — at the Brooklyn mission in New York. He was elder of 
the North Manchester church, Indiana, for four years. The 
remainder of his ministry has been in the Onekama church, 
Michigan, a part-time pastoral program for thirty-eight 
years and also service as the elder-in-charge. He has been a 
trustee of Manchester College since 1917. Brother Ulery has 
given graciously of his service to the district. He is now one 
of the oldest active ministers in the district and one of the 


304 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

most beloved. From the time he located in Manistee County 
in 1903 until 1940 he served almost continuously on the dis- 
trict mission board. He then felt that younger men ought 
to assume this responsibility. He has been an influence 
to many young people and his advice and counsel always 
foster encouragement. 

JOSEPH E. VAN DYKE was born at Beaverton, Michi- 
gan, on September 17, 1903, the son of Archibald and Mina 
Van Dyke. A graduate of the Beaverton high school, and 
also of Manchester College, he has taken postgraduate work 
at the University of Michigan. He united with the church 
at Beaverton about 1915 and was called to the ministry 
there in 1922. He is following the teaching profession and 
does a great deal of writing. Many of his articles appear 
in the Gospel Messenger from time to time. He says, "My 
grandfather, Enos Crowel, helped to organize the Beaverton 
congregation about the time I was born.' , He is a good 
church leader. 

JOHN L. VAN METER is now serving one of the isolated 
churches of the district. The son of William and Maggie 
Van Meter, he was born December 2, 1887, at McBain, Mich- 
igan. His public school training was received in Missaukee 
County, Michigan. He was married to Mary Schanty. He 
was baptized at McBain, Michigan, October 5, 1909, elected 
to the ministry on May 5, 1923, at the Vestaburg church, 
and ordained to the eldership at Midland sometime in the 
fall of 1929. He served the Vestaburg church for four and 
one-half years, all free-time, and the Midland church thir- 
teen and one-half years part- and free-time. In May 1942 
he with his family moved to the Ozark community. This 
church is located in the upper peninsula. His service there 
is on a part-time basis. He is eager to see the church fill 
its mission. 

Biographical Sketches 



DAVID F. WARNER is the son of Lorenzo and Celestie 
Warner. He was born August 8, 1875, at Greenville, Ohio. 

He attended the Woodland pub- 
lic schools, and then pursued 
further training at Ferris Insti- 
tute in Michigan, Mt. Morris Col- 
lege in Illinois, and Bethany 
Biblical Seminary, Chicago. He 
married Grace Gnagy. On June 
4, 1899, he was baptized at Mex- 
ico, Indiana. The Sugar Ridge 
church in Michigan elected him 
to the ministry on February 20, 
1909. His ordination to the 
full ministry took place on No- 
vember 16, 1915, at Virden, Illi- 
nois. When he was sixteen years old he began teaching at 
Woodland, Michigan. He spent ten years as a teacher in 
the Michigan public schools, and one year teaching in the 
academy at Mt. Morris, Illinois. In the year following he 
pursued pastoral work, mostly in Brethren churches. How- 
ever, when he retired because of a nervous disorder, he 
had been pastor of a community church in Indiana for 
seven years. He has edited a religious column for three 
different rural magazines for ten years. 

C. WALTER WARSTLER was born at New Paris, Elk- 
hart County, Indiana, January 30, 1882. He was married 
to Edith Gouker of Goshen, Indiana, on February 2, 1902. 
He was baptized May 28, 1907, at the Goshen City church, 
Indiana. This church elected him to the ministry on Sep- 
tember 15, 1909, and advanced him to the second degree on 
November 4, 1910. He was called to serve this church as 
their first pastor. On October 1, 1912, he and his wife were 
called to the pastorate of the Grand Rapids church, Michi- 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

gan. During the two years that they were here the present 
church house was built. He has also served these pastor- 
ates: Auburn, Indiana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hunt- 
ington, Indiana; Los An- 
geles (Calvary) , Califor- 
nia; Degraff, Ohio; he and 
his wife are in their seventh 
year of service in the church 
at Middletown, Ohio. He 
received his Bible training 
at Bethany Bible School 
and Pittsburgh University. 
On December 1, 1917, he 
was ordained to the elder- 
ship and has been presiding 
elder of a number of con- 
gregations. He has served 
on a number of district 
boards. He served on 
Standing Committee at 
Ames, Iowa, and he was 
elected to serve on that 

committee at Winona Lake Conference, but illness prevent- 
ed him from serving. 

HUGH T. WARSTLER was born at Goshen, Indiana, on 
April 16, 1896. He graduated from high school at Syca- 
more, Indiana, and has taken further training at Goshen 
College, Goshen, Indiana; International Business College at 
Fort Wayne, Indiana; Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago; 
and the New York Central School of Engineering. While 
young he accepted Christ and was called to the deacon's 
office at the age of seventeen. A few years later he was 
elected to the ministry. He has been a schoolteacher, and 
has served as a pastor in Indiana and Michigan. He has 


Biographical Sketches 


been active in evangelistic work. On March 11, 1945, he was 
ordained to the eldership at the Flint church, Michigan. 

He has a farm home near Du- 
rand, Michigan, which is in the 
Flint congregation. 

MOY WAY was born at Can- 
ton, China, on December 17, 
1882. He is the son of Moy Fun 
and Leong She. He married 
Leong Bow Jon. There are three 
children in the family. In addi- 
tion to his schooling in China, 
he has spent three years at 
Bethany Biblical Seminary. In 
1908 he was baptized at Bethany. 
Sister Anna Hutchison was his 
teacher at Bethany when he was converted. He also pays 
tribute to Brethren Hoff, Keller and Moyer. The Detroit 
church, Michigan, elected him 
to the ministry in 1921. He has 
been an outstanding leader at 
this church, and is now the pas- 
tor of the Chinese church and 
Sunday school there. 


ERVIN WEAVER was born 
on March 26, 1888, near Bremen, 
Indiana, to Benjamin and Sarah 
Weaver. He has attended Man- 
chester College and Bethany Bi- 
ble Training School. He mar- MOY WAY 
ried Hattie Carbiener, October 

3, 1911. In June 1899, he united with the church at Bremen, 
Indiana, and was called to the ministry there in October 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

1908. His service in Michigan was at Woodland Village and 
Sunfield, 1929-31. He has served as pastor of churches in 
Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. He speaks of Broth- 
er Peter Messner as being a great inspiration to him. 

STEPHEN A. WEAVER was born in Ionia County, Mich- 
igan. He is the son of Christian and Semiah S. Weaver. 

He is a graduate of the Freeport 
high school. He married Doro- 
thy Lena Lape on November 28, 
1917. He united with the Elm- 
dale church on August 26, 1910, 
and was installed into the min- 
istry there in September 1939. 
He has served on the district 
board of Christian education as 
director of peace, and is now the 
chairman of this board. He also 
gave part-time pastoral service 
to the Thornapple church in 
STEPHEN A. WEAVER recent years. 

SAMUEL WEIMER was born on March 24, 1849, in Som- 
erset County, Pennsylvania, the son of Jacob and Cristena 
Fike Weimer. His education was meager or fair for his 
day. On May 11, 1871, he married Mary Cosner. He was 
baptized in 1868 at Accident, Maryland. In the fall of 1880 
he moved to Harbor Springs, Michigan. He was elected to 
the ministry in 1881 and ordained to the eldership in 1887. 
He served as elder and minister at the Little Traverse 
church, located near Harbor Springs, Michigan, and did 
evangelistic work. In 1889 he moved to Arkansas, and 
labored in many churches in the West. His mother was a 
daughter of Peter and Magdalena Arnold Fike, from whose 
generations have come more than forty ministers of the 

Biographical Sketches 309 

Church of the Brethren. He passed to rest on July 31, 
1935, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Nettie 
and William P. Bosserman. The last year was one of suffer- 
ing but he was very patient. 

CARL HENRY WELCH with his wife and family moved 
to Michigan in 1945 to serve the Thornapple church. His 
parents were David and Edith Welch. He was born at War- 
rensville, North Carolina, on April 12, 1906. His wife's 
maiden name was Gladys Snavely; she is the daughter of 
Brother and Sister I. C. Snavely. They were married on 
June 9, 1934. He graduated from Bridgewater College, Vir- 
ginia, in 1933. Then for several years he was a high school 
teacher in North Carolina. In the summer of 1940 he took 
postgraduate training at the University of Virginia. This 
was followed by a year of training at Bethany Biblical 
Seminary. In 1940 he returned to West Virginia, where 
he taught in high school for two years. He was baptized 
at the Walnut Grove church in Virginia on September 6, 
1920. The Flat Rock church, North Carolina, which was 
his home church, elected him to the ministry in August 
1927. His ordination to the eldership was at the Bailey 
church, North Carolina, in September 1937. He did mission 
work in North Carolina for one year — 1936-37 — serving 
three churches: Bailey, Upper Brummetts Creek, and Pleas- 
ant Grove. For two years after this he served as pastor 
of the Petersburg and Greenland churches in West Vir- 
ginia. He was living in Virginia when the Thornapple 
church called him to become their pastor in June 1945. 
This rural pastorate affords opportunity for a church-cen- 
tered community program. 

HENRY ALBERT WELLER was born in Putnam County, 
Ohio, on April 26, 1869. Rosa E. Deardorff became his wife 
on August 22, 1891. He was a Bible student at Manchester 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

College for two winters and took three months' work at 
Bethany. He united with the church at Roann, Indiana, in 
1891. The Harlan church, 
Michigan, elected him to 
the ministry in 1909, and 
also ordained him to the 
eldership. He served the 
Harlan, Marilla, and Battle 
Creek churches as part- 
time pastor. He passed to 
his reward while serving 
the church at Battle Creek. 

born at North Manchester, 
Indiana, on May 21, 1893, 
the son of H. A. and Rosa 
Weller. He received the 
bachelor of divinity degree 
at Bethany Biblical Semi- 
nary in 1931. On August 
15, 1908, he united with the 
church at Harlan, Michi- 
gan. He was elected to the 
ministry on June 4, 1917, and ordained to the eldership on 
September 1, 1923. He was part-time pastor at Marilla for 
one year and full-time pastor at Battle Creek for four years. 
Since taking his training at Bethany he has been teaching 
school and preaching in Indiana. 

JOHN EDWARD WELLS was born on January 26, 1901, 
at Camden, Indiana, to Edward L. and Lydia Wells. On 
August 13, 1930, he was united in marriage to Mildred Ger- 
trude Bell. He is a graduate of the Camden high school. 
On June 19, 1928, he received a Michigan life certificate for 


Biographical Sketches 


secondary schools from Northern Michigan College of Edu- 
cation. He received the bachelor of science degree from 
Manchester College on May 27, 1932, and has taken graduate 
work at Ferris Institute, Michigan State College, and the 
University of Michigan, from which he received the master 

of arts degree in educational 
administration on September 
11, 1943. In September 1912 
he united with the Deer Creek 
church near Camden and was 
called to the ministry at that 
church in 1919. He served the 
Fairview church at Alpha, 
Saskatchewan, Canada, while 
teaching in the public school 
from 1924-27. It was at this 
church that he was ordained 
to the eldership in 1924. From 
here he moved to Trout Lake, 
Michigan (upper peninsula) , 
in 1927 and began teaching in 
the Dick school in September 
1928. In 1929 he was pro- 
moted to the principleship 
of the Roosevelt high school 
there, and then eight years later became superintendent of 
the Trout Lake Township unit of schools. During the fif- 
teen years that he was located here, he served the Ozark 
church as pastor and elder. This leadership was given 
freely to the church in addition to his schoolwork. He was 
also called upon to do evangelistic work in North Dakota, 
Indiana, and Michigan churches. His faithful ministry was 
very valuable in a needy community in the upper peninsula 
of the state. In 1941 Mr. and Mrs. Wells with their two 


312 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

daughters, Ruth Ann and Joyce Carol, moved to Grand 
Marais, Michigan, where he is serving as superintendent of 

SAMUEL B. WENGER was born on July 9, 1897, in Miami 
County, Ohio. He is the son of John V. and Sarah Wenger. 
He was united in marriage to Mildred Evelyn Landis on 
August 10, 1918. He is a graduate of Manchester College 
and received his master's degree at the University of Ne- 
braska in 1931. From 1924 to 1926 he was a student at Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary. In 1911 he united with the 
church at West Milton, Ohio, and the same church called 
him to the ministry in 1919. He was ordained to the elder- 
ship in 1924 at Hutchinson, Kansas. He has served a num- 
ber of churches in other states, but served the Grand Rap- 
ids church, Michigan, as pastor for two years. Later he 
became the chaplain of the state prison of southern Michi- 
gan, in Jackson County. In Sep- 
tember 1945 he went to Olivet 
College, Michigan, as a member 
of the faculty. 

was born on February 15, 1913, 
at Udell, Iowa, the son of Mer- 
ton A. and Sadie Whisler. On 
August 2, 1935, he married Ber- 
thy Miriana Long. He is a grad- 
uate of the Washburn high 
school, Iowa, and received a 
HARRY A. WHISLER bachelor of arts degree from 

Manchester College in 1935. He 
united with the church at Udell, Iowa, in 1922. The Oak 
Grove church at Lowpoint, Illinois, called him to the min- 
istry in 1931; the Beaverton church, Michigan, ordained him 

Biographical Sketches 313 

to the eldership in 1939. He served the Midland church on 
a part-time basis from October 1940 to June 1941. He has 
also assisted in preaching at the Beaverton church and is 
now their presiding elder. He points out that he is the 
seventh in a succession of ministers on his mother's side. 
He was elected the writing clerk of the district in 1941 and 
has served in this position ever since. 

CHARLES L. WILKINS, the son of Theodore and Malinda 
Wilkins, was born on July 6, 1860, in Ohio. His marriage to 
Nettie Baker occurred on December 15, 1883. He received 
a public school training. He united with the church in Ohio 
on April 15, 1885, was called to the ministry in Allen County, 
Ohio, in April 1890, and was ordained to the eldership in 
June 1896. After locating in Michigan about 1903 he was 
active in ministerial service both in the churches and in the 
district. Some of his active service was given as follows: 
six years on the district ministerial board, sixteen years on 
the mission board, fifteen years as moderator of district 
meeting, and ten times on Standing Committee. He 
preached six dedicatory sermons and held over one hun- 
dred revival meetings. He died a few years ago. 

WALTER EGBERT WILKINS was born on June 23, 
1891, and died on June 17, 1914, at the age of twenty-two. 
The son of C. L. and Nettie Wilkins, he was born in Ohio. 
His high school training was received at Middleton, Mich- 
igan. He was a student at Bethany Bible Training School 
in 1912. He united with the church at Poplar Ridge, Ohio, at 
the age of eleven, and was elected to the ministry at the 
New Haven church, Michigan, on May 24, 1912. He always 
lived a consecrated life, and when he was called to the min- 
istry in 1912 he was ready to dedicate his life to the work 
of the Lord. He died of tuberculosis after a struggle of 
fifteen months. He was patient through it all and never 
was heard to complain. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

MERVIN B. WILLIAMS, the son of Paschal B. and Hen- 
rietta Williams, was born at Bridgewater, Virginia, on April 
4, 1886. He was married to Mabel Vayne Beelman, whose 
father was an elder in our church. He is a graduate of the 
Centerville high school, Bridgewater, Virginia, attended 
Bridgewater College two years, and later received the mas- 
ter of arts degree from Dunsmore Business College, Staun- 
ton, Virginia. He was convert- 
ed in the old Glade church, 
Virginia, on December 18, 1898, 
and was baptized in Middle 
River on December 20, 1898. 
He is one of the faithful offi- 
cials of the Detroit church, 
serving as chairman of the 
deacon board, member of the 
education board, and chairman 
of the service committee. It 
was under his leadership that 
the Chinese Sunday school was 
organized more than twenty- 
seven years ago. He has served 
as the superintendent since it 
began, and has been a devoted teacher. He was a repre- 
sentative on the National Council of Men's Work for sev- 
eral terms. The District of Michigan has had his loyal in- 
terest in all of its activities. He is the chairman of the his- 
torical committee and as such he has been concerned about 
the historical data of the churches. He has given invaluable 
assistance in the preparation of this history. He has been a 
member of the district mission board since 1924, at the pres- 
ent time acting as the chairman, and is the vice-chairman of 
the district council of boards. The first Brethren preacher 
that he remembers hearing preach was Daniel Flory, foun- 


Biographical Sketches 315 

der of Bridgewater College. He cherishes in his memory 
prominent leaders of the district who have labored in past 
years: Samuel Bowser, Samuel Smith, John Smith, Charles 
L. Wilkins, A. O. Mote, George Culler, and Peter B. Messner, 
all deceased, excepting Brother Bowser. 

JOSIAH G. WINEY was born in Lancaster County, Penn- 
sylvania, on December 4, 1839. He died on June 26; 1916, 
after serving the church for twenty-six years. About 1869 
he moved to Michigan and located in the Thornapple con- 
gregation. At the time of the division in the eighties he 
went over to the Campbell Progressive Brethren church. 

LEWIS VAN BUREN WRIGHT was born on January 20, 
1892, at Berryville, Ohio, the son of Lewis A. and Nancy I. 
Wright. He was united in marriage to Nora Mildred Shively 
on June 29, 1919. He is a graduate of the high school at 
Lynchburg, Ohio, and took some correspondence work from 
the American School and the Moody Bible Institute. He 
united with the church in the Lexington congregation, South- 
ern Ohio, in February 1904. He was elected to the ministry 
there on October 8, 1908, and was ordained in January 1919 
at the Marble Furnace church, Ohio. His pastoral work in 
Michigan was at the Grand Rapids church for five years. 
He is now serving the pastorate of the Fort Wayne church, 

SAMUEL YOUNCE was born January 11, 1841. He mar- 
ried Lula Belle Teegarden. Before moving into the Bear 
Lake congregation near Clarion, Michigan, in 1900 he lived 
in Indiana. The Mississinewa congregation in Indiana called 
him to the ministry in 1878, and he was ordained in 1882. He 
preached in this church for many years and in many other 
places in Southern Indiana. His labors in the ministry must 
have covered a period of forty years. His death occurred on 
January 14, 1921. 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

A. C. YOUNG was born in March 29, 1874, in Tipton 
County, Indiana, the son of Ellis E. and Barbara A. Young. 
He was married to Alice Neff on August 12, 1900. His pub- 
lic school education was received in Indiana. He united 
with the church at Ladoga, Indiana, in 1900 and was bap- 
tized by Elder George Stone of Michigan. He moved to 
Michigan in 1908 and was elected to the ministry in the 
Crystal church about 1909; in this church he lived and 
served, until he returned to Indiana in May 1920. His home 
is now at North Manchester. 

DAVID GEIMAN YOUNG was born on April 23, 1919, at 
Westminster, Maryland. He is the son of Walter M. and 
Elizabeth Geiman Young. He was baptized by his father at 
Westminster on August 30, 1929. On May 4, 1941, he was 

installed into the ministry by 
the church at Lansing, Michi- 
gan. Velda Laureen Metcalf be- 
came his wife May 29, 1941. He 
graduated from the McKinley 
high school, Canton, Ohio, and 
in May 1941 received a diploma 
in sacred music from Bethany 
Biblical Seminary. He pursued 
his training at La Verne College, 
La Verne, California, and grad- 
uated with a bachelor of arts de- 
gree in May 1944. He served as 
assistant instructor in the mu- 
sic department. During those 
years he has directed the chapel choir and taught courses in 
theory and hymnology. The college chapel choir under his 
leadership has won recognition in the churches of California. 
Each year, since its organization in 1941, the choir has gone 
on a concert tour among the churches, in the interest of bet- 


Biographical Sketches 


ter church music. For two years he was minister of music 
at the La Verne Church of the Brethren. He is a student at 
the University of Southern California, taking courses in 
preparation for his master's degree in music. The combined 
choirs of the La Verne and Pomona churches with the col- 
lege chapel choir have presented Handel's "Messiah" on 
several occasions under his direction. His one purpose is 
to bring inspiration through the best choral and church 
music. He is enthusiastic and earnest in his work. 

WALTER MILTON YOUNG was born in Carroll County, 
Maryland, August 9, 1895, the son of David M. and S. Alice 
Young. He was united in marriage to Mary Elizabeth Gei- 
man on October 12, 1915. 
He graduated from Blue 
Ridge College in 1925 and 
received the bachelor of 
divinity degree from Beth- 
any Biblical Seminary in 
May 1941. He united with 
the Pipe Creek church, 
Eastern Maryland, on Au- 
gust 24, 1907. A. P. Snader 
was the evangelist. The 
Meadow Branch congrega- 
tion, near Westminster, Maryland, called him to the min- 
istry and installed him in December 1920. He was or- 
dained to the eldership on November 1, 1931, at New Phila- 
delphia, Ohio. His pastorates have been: Martinsburg, 
West Virginia; New Philadelphia, Ohio; Canton, Ohio; and 
at the present time Lansing, Michigan. He began as a 
student pastor in September 1938, continued as such dur- 
ing the three years at Bethany, then began full-time pas- 
toral work at that church on September 1, 1941. Along 
with ministerial activities, church music has held a special 


318 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

interest in his life. He has taught church music courses in 
young people's camp in Northeastern Ohio and in Michi- 
gan during five summers. He is a member of the district 
music board of Michigan, and has conducted music insti- 
tutes in a number of churches. For three years he has 
served on the public affairs committee of the Lansing 
council of churches. In May 1945 he was elected president 
of the Lansing Ministerial Association. 

WILLIAM E. YOUNG was born on March 16, 1864. On 
November 18, 1883, he married Mary E. Flory at Painter 
Creek, Ohio. He was baptized very early in life: He had 
no public school training. With his wife and their four 
children he moved from Ohio to Eaton, Indiana. They 
attended the Mississinewa church. Three children were 
born to them in Indiana. His first wife died in April 1896. 
In 1899 he was married to Minerva Fine. In 1900 they 
moved to Michigan and located in the Bear Lake church. 
It is not certain when he began to preach. These few facts 
were obtained from his daughter, Orpha Young Miller. His 
trust in the Lord never wavered. 

Chapter VIII 


There is still a strong adherence to the doctrines of the 
New Testament as adopted and practiced by the Church 
of the Brethren down through the years. The churches 
are inclined to be true to the ideals and the peculiar doc- 
trines of the denomination. The conservative element is 
prevalent in the majority of the churches, especially in the 
matter of New Testament teaching. 

The earnestness of the leaders who were prominent in 
establishing churches is unexcelled today. There just does 
not appear to be that same zeal that was manifest in the 
lives of the early organizers. This particular characteristic 
distinguishes them quite clearly from the leaders today. 
There is not quite the same passion in the hearts of min- 
isters, deacons, and the other workers in our day. The 
early Brethren in Michigan had an inward passion that 
caused them to give means and effort in spreading the 
gospel to the unsaved in out-of-the-way sections of the 
state and to bring encouragement to members hungry for 
spiritual help. This passion and fire took them from home 
to places where people were eager for the preached Word. 
It appears that other interests are crowding out the de- 
sire to see the church advance in the same proportion 
as it did in the first congregations. Those who labored 
then had, of course, been inspired by the earnestness of 
their forefathers. There were mistakes, to be sure, but 
the leaders were very much in earnest to see the church 
go forward. May the church now catch a portion of their 
zeal and be willing to go out in our district to places where 
a few members are struggling and where there is no or- 
ganized church as yet, 

320 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Churches are too eager to keep themselves together. 
Thus, the spirit of wishing to reach others and build new 
churches is lost. If the same desire to organize a few souls 
into a working body would be shown in our district now, 
the number of churches could be increased within a few 
years. The tendency to think that such an advancement 
is impossible holds sway in most of the churches. Oh, to 
be controlled by the spirit and zeal of the apostolic church! 

It is an advancement in the right direction for churches 
to work for more adequate equipment for the teaching and 
training of our boys and girls in Christian character. The 
stability of the future Church of the Brethren is going to 
depend on what we do toward the improvement of our 
church plants within the next decade. The Church of 
the Brethren need not wait ten years to plan for better 
church equipment that will fully meet the improved meth- 
ods of Christian education. We need not trail other de- 
nominations in this respect. Why should we be dormant 
in providing ways and means for a more effective program 
of holding the youth of the church? Is it because we feel 
that old ways are sufficient? There should be steps taken 
now in most of our churches in the district to provide for 
attractive buildings that will be an inducement for people 
to be drawn closer to God through purposeful worship. 
The churches should organize to carry out the objectives 
of the brotherhood. If churches recognize the program they 
will organize for action. A more dynamic teaching pro- 
gram will be one of the goals. Simply to be satisfied to 
get along with things as they are does not speak well for 
us in a day of advancement in every other field of progress. 
So could not the churches of the district prepare for a 
more united church program by organizing and equipping 
to build Christian character and to inspire a deeper loyalty 
to the church and the cause of Christ. 

Observations and Trends 321 

There are more churches adventuring on a definite pas- 
toral program. Such a trend is a step forward. It is en- 
couraging to see the move in that direction. It should pro- 
duce a stronger church. It should produce a church eager 
to see the whole church program advance. It ought to lead 
to a well-planned program of stewardship which will 
naturally increase loyalty to Christ and the church. And 
a body of sincere and loyal Christians will not be satisfied 
until more of the unsaved are won to Christ and brought 
into the church for Christian fellowship. Just as soon as 
the church people will unite on a spiritual adventure, their 
own lives as well as the lives of others will find spiritual 
enrichment. This one move to supply more churches with 
pastoral supervision ought to be supported by every mem- 
ber. Every church should be getting the best pastoral care 
in this age of world confusion and unrest. Let the Church 
of the Brethren measure up to its opportunity and make 
great advancements in the kingdom's work. 


Bass, Arthur B., Protestantism in the United States, New 
York, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1929. 

Beasley, Norman, Michigan the Wolverine State, Garden 
City, Doubleday, Doran Company, Inc., 1936. 

Campbell, James, Outline of the Political History of Mich- 
igan, Detroit, Shaler & Co., 1876. 

Cooley, Thomas Mclntyre, Michigan, A History of Govern- 
ment, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1885. 

Ebey, Robert, Pioneering of the Brethren in Michigan, the- 
sis presented to Bethany Biblical Seminary, Chicago, in 
candidacy for the bachelor of divinity degree, unpub- 
lished, 1945. 

Flory, John S., Builders of the Church of the Brethren, Elgin, 
Brethren Publishing House, 1925. 

Flory, John S., Flashlights From History, Elgin, Brethren 
Publishing House, 1932. 

Goodrich, Calvin, The First Michigan Frontier, Ann Arbor, 
University of Michigan Press, 1940. 

Grant, Madison, The Conquest of a Continent, New York, 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934. 

Hemans, Lawton Thomas, History of Michigan, Lansing, The 
Michigan Education Co., 1927. 

Henry, Jerry Maurice, History of the Church of the Brethren 
in Maryland, Elgin, Brethren Publishing House, 1936. 

Holsinger, H. R., History of the Tunkers and the Brethren 
Church, Oakland, Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1901. 

Lewis, Ferris E., My State and Its Story, Hillsdale, Hillsdale 
School Supply Co., 1937. 

Miller and Royer, Some Who Led, Elgin, Brethren Publish- 
ing House, 1912. 

324 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Moherman, T. S., A History oj the Church of the Brethren- 
Northeastern Ohio, Elgin, Brethren Publishing House, 

Riddell, William Renwick, Michigan Under the British Rule 

— 1760-1796, Lansing, Michigan Historical Commission, 1926. 

Sweet, William Warren, Religion on the American Frontier, 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1939. 

Sweet, William Warren, The Story of Religion in America, 
New York, Harper & Bros., Publishers, 1939. 

Turner, Frederick Jackson, The Frontier in American His- 
tory, New York, Henry Holt & Co., 1937. 

Utley, Henry M., Michigan as a Province, Territory and 
State, New York, The Publishing Society of Michigan, 

Winger, Otho, History of the Church of the Brethren in Indi- 
ana, Elgin, Brethren Publishing House, 1917. 

Winger, Otho, History of the Church of the Brethren, Elgin, 
Brethren Publishing House, 1919. 

Zigler, D. H., History of the Brethren in Virginia, Elgin, 
Brethren Publishing House, 1914. 

Zryd, Dorothy, Prize Essays — Local History Contest, Lans- 
ing, Michigan Historical Commission, 1920-21, Bulletin N. 


Brethren Almanac and Year Book, 1875-1941. 

Brethren's Annual, The. 

Christian Family Companion. 

Primitive Christian and Pilgrim. 

District Meeting Minutes, District of Michigan. 

Gospel Visitor, The, Volumes I-XV, 1851-1880. 

Gospel Messenger, The, Volumes 1-89. 

Missionary Visitor, The, Michigan Number, May 1907. 

Record of Congregations 


Location — seven miles northeast of Paw Paw, Michigan 

Started— about 1865 

Organized— 1870 

Church dedicated — (no record) 

Congregation went Progressive Brethren about 1884 

Charter members — 30 

Membership in 1882 — 44 

Walter Clark 
John Stretch 

Walter Clark John Stretch 

John Shank 

Battle Creek 

Location — corner Van Buren and Lemont Sts., Battle Creek, Michigan 

Started— 1916 

Organized — 1918, under the mission board 

Church dedicated— 1920 

New basement dedicated in March 1927 
Charter members — 26 
Membership in 1945—181 

H. V. Townsend 
H. W. Peters 
Charles A. Spencer 
J. E. Ulery 


J. S. Burger 
David Ensign 
Herbert Fisher 
Walter Fisher 
Ted Gandy 
D. H. Keller 
Martha Keller 
Elmer Leckrone 
Floyd E. Mallott 
John Miller 

David O. Schechter 
David P. Schechter 
John Smith 
Harper Snavely 
Fred Strohm 
H. V. Townsend 
Morris Weisel 
H. A. Weller 
Russell Weller 

Bear Lake 

Location — eight miles south of Petoskey at Clarion, Michigan 
Started— about 1880 
Organized — 
Church dedicated — 

Bought schoolhouse in 1894 

(Picture in Missionary Visitor, May 1907) 
Charter members — 
Disorganized — about 1924 

Samuel Younce 


Isaac Hufford Samuel Younce 

Daniel E. Kniesley Wm. C. Young 
Joseph Sala 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


Location — three miles east of Beaverton, Michigan 

Started— 1898 

Organized — August 17, 1901 

Church dedicated — June 4, 1905 

Charter members — 17 

Membership in 1945 — 207 

Perry Arnold 
Samuel Bowser 
Daniel Chambers 
Perry R. Hoover 
John McKimmy 
Perry McKimmy 
Wm. Neff 
Arthur Whisler 

Perry Arnold 
Samuel Bowser 
Daniel Chambers 
E. S. Hollinger 
J. W. Hoover 
Perry R. Hoover 
A. J. Kaufman 
George Killian 

Black River 

John Killian 
John Mark 
Nathan McKimmy 
Wm. McKimmy 
Elma Rau 
Joseph Van Dyke 
Arthur L. Warner 
Arthur Whisler 

Location — Van Buren County, near Bangor, Michigan 

Started— 1855 

Organized— 1865 

Church dedicated— 1898 

Charter members — 16 

Membership in 1882 — 52 

Disorganized— 1923 

F. P. Loehr 
George Long 
Isaac Rairigh 
J. M. Smith 


M. T. Baer 
Samuel H. Baker 
Enos Fisher 
William Gephart 
F. P. Loehr 
George Long 
F. E. Miller 

Isaac Rairigh 
J. M. Smith 
I. C. Snavely 
Devolt Spillers 
David Thomas 
Jacob Thomas 

Cedar House 

Location — five miles east of Hart, Michigan 
Started — (date unknown) part of Hart congregation 
Church dedicated — (date unknown) store building 
Building sold — 1930, district mission board 


Location — fifteen miles south and three miles west of Beaverton, Michigan 

Started — (date unknown) part of Beaverton congregation 

Discontinued — about 1915 

Elder George E. Stone ministered here 


Location — two miles south of Crystal, Michigan 

Started— 1880 

Organized — August 15, 1901 

Church dedicated— October 6, 1901 

(First house destroyed by fire, October 4, 1902, and new house dedicated on 

January 18, 1903) 
Charter members — 19 
Membership in 1945 — 85 

Appendix I 


Floyd Bollinger 
J. J. Cook 
E. E. Eshelman 
John Rairigh 
Isaiah Rairigh 
J. F. Sherrick 
C. L. Wilkins 


Floyd Bollinger 
Samuel Bollinger 
J. J. Cook 
Walter S. Coffman 
E. E. Eshelman 
Ernest Jehnsen 
Jacob Kepner 

Wilmer M. Lehman 
David P. Schechter 
George E. Stone 
Arthur E. Taylor 


Location — East Lafayette at Seyburn, Detroit, Michigan 
Started— May 1916 
Organized — February 2, 1918 
Church dedicated — February 3, 1918 

Second church building on September 19, 1926 
Charter members — 41 
Membership in 1945 — 600 

C. H. Deardorff 
Charles O. Forror 
H. R. Hostetler 
A. O. Mote 
J. Perry Prather 
Merlin Shull 
H. V. Townsend 
C. L. Wilkins 

Garland Borden 
Earl Bowman 
J. P. Bowman 
J. E. Boyd (licensed) 
C. H. Deardorff 
J. F. Dietz 
Charles O. Forror 
H. R. Hostetler 
Pearl Jackson 

L. O. McCartneysmith 
John Miller 
A. O. Mote 
J. Perry Prather 
E. C. Reiley 
Merlin Shull 
H. V. Townsend 
Moy Way 
C. L. Wilkins 


Location — at Durand, Michigan 
Started — part of Elsie congregation 
No church building 


Location — three-fourths mile south of Elmdale, Michigan 
Started— 1876 (first called West Thornapple) 
Organized — June 19, 1914 
Church dedicated— 1878 
Charter members — 
Membership in 1945 — 92 

Daniel Chambers 
George Long 
Roy J. McRoberts 
I. F. Rairigh 
S. M. Smith 
Van B. Wright 


J. F. Baldwin 
Samuel Bowser 
Daniel Chambers 
C. H. Deardorff 
Jacob Kepner 
Roy J. McRoberts 

Wm. H. Rivell 
Martin Scholten 
David E. Sower 
E. M. Starbard 
Wm. E. Tombaugh 
Stephen A. Weaver 


(First called Saginaw) 
Location — two miles north, two miles east o£ Elsie, Michigan 
Started— 1870 
Organized — October 1874 
Church dedicated— 1900 
Charter members — 15 
Membership in 1945 — 17 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

J. E. Albaugh 
Zachariah Albaugh 
Daniel Chambers 
Perry R. Hoover 
George Long 
Isaac Miller 
L. H. Prowant 
L. W. Shafer 
J. F. Sherrick 


J. E. Albaugh 
Zachariah Albaugh 
David Baker 
Levi Baker 
Daniel Chambers 
George Long 
Isaac Miller 
Hiram W. Peters 
L. H. Prowant 

D. P. Schechter 
L. W. Shafer 
J. F. Sherrick 
Charles A. Spencer 
Earl M. Starbard 
Hugh Warstler 


Location — 1200 Stocker Avenue, off 3200 Corunna Road, Flint, Michigan 
Started — 1920 (from Elsie congregation) 
Organized — October 1928 
Church dedicated — June 7, 1928 

New church house — 1939 
Charter members — 50 
Membership in 1945 — 107 

Hiram W. Peters 
L. H. Prowant 
Walter J. Heisey 


Elmer Dadisman 
Elmer Leckrone 
H. W. Peters 
L. H. Prowant 
Walter J. Heisey 

Elvert Miller 
Ralph Rarick 
Arthur E. Taylor 
Hugh Warstler 

Grand Rapids 

Location — 301 Burton Street S. W., Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Started — January 1910 (from Thornapple congregation) 

Organized — 

Church dedicated— July 6, 1913 

Charter members — 22 

Membership in 1945 — 154 

Jonas C. Overholt 
H. V. Townsend 


F. D. Anthony 
C. H. Cameron 
E. F. Caslow 
Harold Chambers 
George Culler 
Kenneth G. Long 
Sarah Long 
H. D. Michael 

John Mishler 

W. C. Sell 

Mrs. Martin Scholten 

Albert Smith 

C. Walter Warstler 

S. B. Wenger 

C. L. Wilkins 

Van B. Wright 


Location — three -fourths mile morthwest of Harlan, Michigan 

Started— 1904 

Organized— May 2, 1908 

Church dedicated— June 27, 1908 

Charter members — 38 

Membership in 1945 — 39 

Appendix I 


Galen Barkdoll 
J. Edson Ulery 


Galen Barkdoll 
C. H. Deardorff 
George Deardorff 
J. W. Harshbarger 
Max Hartsough 
L. T. Holsinger 
John Lair 
Kenneth Leckrone 

Roy Miller 
Loren Moss 
David Neher 
Jeff D. Rose 
O. E. Stern 
J. L. Thomas 
H. A. Weller 


Location — at Hart 
Started — 

Organized — August 14, 1915 
Church dedicated — 

(U. B. church purchased, 1917) 
Property transferred to district mission board Sept. 1, 1939 
Charter members — 7 
Disorganized — in 1939 

E. R. Fisher 
Charles O. Forror 
J. J. Hamm 
J. M. Lair 
Granville Nevinger 
Aaron Swihart 
C. L. Wilkins 


E. Roy Engle 
E. R. Fisher 
Charles O. Forror 
J. J. Hamm 
C. H. Kiser 
J. M. Lair 
Granville Nevinger 

Elma Rau 
Arthur Scrogum 
J. J. Scrogum 
Aaron Swihart 
C. L. Wilkins 


Location — four miles east, and one-fourth mile south, of Benzonia, Michigan 

Started — as a mission point of Harlan congregation 

Organized — May 24, 1913 

Church dedicated — 

Charter members — 28 

Membership in 1945 — 24 

Charles Forror 
J. W. Harshbarger 
Andrew Hollinger 
J. Edson Ulery 
H. A. Weller 

Charles Forror Andrew Hollinger 

Earl Funderburg Cleveland Kiser 

George Funderburg O. Slonaker 

Charles H. Harshbarger J. Edson Ulery 
J. W. Harshbarger 

Lake View 

Location — in Brethren, Michigan 
Started— 1901 

Organized — December 1902 
Church dedicated— July 1. 1906 
Charter members — 26 
Membership in 1945 — 112 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Galen Barkdoll 
A. W. Hawbaker 
J. Edson Ulery 

Galen Barkdoll 
Wm. O. Bosserman 
Lloyd Blickenstaff 
Donald E. Crouch 
George Deardorff 
Isaac Deardorff 
Charles O. Forror 
Levi Freighter 
D. B. Garber 
Frank Gilbert 
Max Hartsough 

L. T. Holsinger 
Charles Keith 
Elmer F. Leckrone 
Kenneth Leckrone 
Clifton Leckrone 
John McCormick 
F. E. Miller 
John Miller 
Emory Morphew 
Jeff D. Rose 
Aaron Swihart 


Location — 1229 Prospect Street, Lansing, Michigan 
Started— December 1925 
Organized— October 7, 1928 
Church dedicated— 1929 

(Church building purchased from German Baptists) 
Charter members — 13 
Membership in 1945 — 109 


Samuel Bollinger Samuel Bollinger Kenneth Leckrone 

Hiram W. Peters J. J. Cook Hiram W. Peters 

John Smith E. E. Eshelman J. M. Smith 

Walter M. Young Royal Frantz D. Geiman Young 

Claude Leslie Walter M. Young 

Little Traverse 

Location — about ten miles north of Harbor Springs, Michigan 

Started— 1880 

Organized— about 1882 

No building (meetings held in schoolhouse; big tent for communion) 

Charter members — 

Disorganized — 

Martin Cosner 

Martin Cosner Joseph Stutsman 

Daniel Kniesley Samuel Weimer 

John Stutsman 

Long Lake 

Location — seven miles south of Manistee, Michigan, on Highway 31 

Started— 1909 

Organized — April 8, 1911 

Church dedicated — September 6, 1914 

Charter members — 15 

Membership in 1945 — 33 

J. J. Hamm 
L. U. Kreider 
Granville Nevinger 
D. E. Sower 
J. Edson Ulery 


L. S. Brumbaugh F. E. Mallott 

Z. L. Bussear Granville Nevinger 

J. J. Hamm M. F. Rozell 

H. H. Helman D. E. Sower 

J. E. Joseph J. Edson Ulery 
Harvey Landis 

Appendix I 



Location — one and three-fourths mile north of Marilla, Michigan 

Started— 1901 

Organized — March 1904 

Church dedicated— February 7, 1919 

(Church building purchased from Baptists) 
Charter members — 
Membership in 1945 — 57 

A. F. Choate (Baptist) 
George Crook (Baptist) 
A. W. Hawbaker 
J. Edson Ulery 


Galen E. Barkdoll 
A. F. Choate 
George Crook 
Charles O. Forror 
George Funderburg 
Max Hartsough 
A. W. Hawbaker 

Kenneth Leckrone 

Loren Moss 

Jeff D. Rose 

O. E. Stern 

J. Edson Ulery 

Albert Weller 

Russell Weller 


Location— corner Jefferson and Haley Sts., Midland, Michigan 

Started— 1923 

Organized— September 28, 1924 

Church dedicated— June 28, 1936 

Charter members — 25 

Membership in 1945 — 106 

J. J. Cook 
Walter J. Heisey 
Perry R. Hoover 
Charles A. Spencer 
Arthur Whisler 


Charles Brendlinger 

J. J. Cook 

Boyd Dickey 

Jesse M. Fradenburgh 

Walter J. Heisey 

Lyle M. Klotz 

Mrs. Lyle M. Klotz 

Olden Mitchell 
Galen Ogden 
John Rairigh 
Charles A. Spencer 
John Van Meter 
Arthur Whisler 


Location— 1840 Catherine Avenue, Muskegon, Michigan 

Started— July 1937 

Organized— March 19, 1938 

Church dedicated— August 10, 1941 

Charter members — 28 

Membership in 1945 — 55 

Roy J. McRoberts 
L. W. Shafer 

Charles H. Deardorff D. O. Schechter 

Cornelius Hagle L. W. Shafer 

Elmer Leckrone Claude Trombley 

Roy J. McRoberts 

New Haven 

Location— one and one-half mile north and two and one-half miles west of 

Middleton, Michigan 
Started— 1856 
Organized— 1878 
Church dedicated— 1888 

(First building burned, 1919. and second built) 
Charter members — 12 
Membership in 1945—71 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Daniel Chambers 
J. J. Cook 
C. H. Deardorff 
J. F. Sherrick 
C. L. Wilkins 


Samuel Bollinger 
Eliezer Bosserman 
John Brillhart 
Daniel Chambers 
J. W. Chambers 
Delbert Cook 
J. J. Cook 
C. H. Deardorff 

Jacob Dick 
Jacob Kepner 
Joseph Robison 
J. F. Sherrick 
M. M. Sherrick 
George E. Stone 
C. L. Wilkins 
Walter E. Wilkins 

North Star 

Location — three miles east of Ithaca, Michigan 
Started— 1856 

Branch of New Haven congregation 
Church dedicated— about 1885-1889 

(First building was log structure) 
Discontinued the services — about 1910 


Location — one-half block north of Main on Mill St., Onekama, Michigan 

Started— April 1906 

Organized— 1908 

Church dedicated— June 25, 1911 

Charter members — 18 

Membership in 1945 — 75 

J. E. Ulery 


Howard Deal 
I. M. Eikenberry 
Buryl Hoover 
Elmer F. Leckrone 
Kenneth Leckrone 
W. R. Miller 
David Joseph 
J. E. Joseph 

Granville Nevinger 
E. C. Reiley 
E. G. Sellers 
David E. Sower 
Grace Deal Showalter 
Harvey Stauffer 


Location — one and one-half mile east and three-fourths mile north of the 

Ozark post office, Michigan 
Started— 1906 

Organized — October 13, 1926 
Church dedicated— July 1928 

Bought schoolhouse 

Moved to new location, September 1932 
Charter members — 21 
Membership in 1945 — 85 

John L. Van Meter 
J. E. Wells 

E. E. Eshelman Rollin Lovegrove 

Earl Funderburg Leon Telgenhoff 

Paul Lovegrove John L. Van Meter 

J. E. Wells 

Appendix I 



Location — 46 North Roselawn Drive, Pontiac, Michigan 

Started— 1920 

Organized — about 1922 

Church dedicated — May 1926 

Charter members — 25 

Membership in 1945—77 

J. P. Bowman 
Samuel Bowser 
A. O. Mote 
L. H. Pro want 
L. W. Shafer 
C. L. Wilkins 


J. P. Bowman 

Samuel Bowser 

J. E. Boyd (licensed) 

C. D. Brendlinger 

Mary L. Cook 

Robert Ebey 

L. T. Holsinger 

Oliver Jones 
L. H. Prowant 
Homer Schrock 
L. W. Shafer 
L. W. Smith 
Claude E. Trombley 
C. L. Wilkins 


Location — near McBain, Michigan 

Started— 1896 (from Sugar Ridge congregation) 

Organized — December 30, 1902 

Church dedicated — 

(building began in 1903) 
Charter members — 25 
Di sor gan ized — 1 925 

A. W. Hawbaker 
J. M. Lair 
Isaiah Rairigh 
C. L. Wilkins 


J. L. Butler 
W. H. Good 
A. W. Hawbaker 
J. M. Lair 

Wm. McKimmy 
Isaiah Rairigh 
Conway Tyson 
C. L. Wilkins 


Location— four miles northeast of Rodney, Michigan 

Started— about 1885 

Organized— 1886 

Church dedicated— 1889 

Charter members — 18 

Membership in 1945 — 75 

Samuel Bollinger 
Eliezer Bosserman 
Daniel Chambers 
D. P. Schechter 
J. F. Sherrick 
S. M. Smith 
Charles A. Spencer 

Zachariah Albaugh 
David Baker 
Samuel Bollinger 
Eliezer Bosserman 
Daniel Chambers 
Ezra Flory 
Jacob Frederick 
Ernest Jehnsen 
Charles Jehnzen 
J. M. Lair 
Peter B. Messner 
F. E. Miller 

Loman C. Patrick 
L. H. Prowant 
Isaac Rairigh 
Isaiah Rairigh 
D. P. Schechter 
J. F. Sherrick 
John Smith 
S. M. Smith 
Charles A. Spencer 
Jacob Tombaugh 
Wm. E. Tombaugh 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


Location — four miles north of Shepherd, Michigan 

Started— 1910 

Organized— April 10, 1915 

Church dedicated — 1915 

Charter members — 16 

Membership in 1945—94 

Charles A. Spencer 
Harvey Stauffer 


Chester Baird 
F. H. Barr 
Reuben Boomershine 
Fred Butterbaugh 
Ralph L. Fry- 
Kenneth Hollinger 
Ernest Jehnsen 

David O. Schechter 
David P. Schechter 
Charles A. Spencer 
Glen Stauffer 
Harvey Stauffer 
C. C. Tyson 

Sugar Ridge 

Location— two and one-half miles south and one-half mile west of Custer, 

Started — about 1880 
Organized — 1883 
Church dedicated — 1894 
Charter members — 9 
Membership in 1945 — 134 

J. J. Cook 
George Deardorff 
J. S. DeJean 
Charles O. Forror 
J. J. Hamm 
J. W. Harshbarger 
L. U. Kreider 
J. M. Lair 
B. A. Miller 
J. Edson Ulery 

Chester Baird 
J. J. Cook 
Levi Dague 
Lewis Dague 
George Deardorff 
J. S. DeJean 
Charles O. Forror 
J. J. Hamm 
J. W. Harshbarger 

Homer Kiracofe 
L. U. Kreider 
Wm. Kree 
Galen Lehman 
Bruce A. Miller 
David Neher 
L. H. Prowant 
J. Edson Ulery 
David Warner 


Location— two miles south of Sunfield, Michigan 

Started — about 1870 (from Thornapple) 

Organized— 1877 

Church dedicated — December 1882 

Charter members — 35 

Membership in 1945 — 74 

Benjamin Fryfogle 
Isaac Miller 
Hiram W. Peters 
Isaiah Rairigh 
Henry W. Smith 
S. M. Smith 
H. V. Townsend 
Ervin Weaver 


John Bjorklund 
Walter G. Fisher 
Benjamin Fryfogle 
Royal Frantz 
Gilbert George 
J. C. Harrison 
D. H. Keller 
Martha Keller 
Peter B. Messner 
Roy Miller 
Archie L. Patrick 

Hiram W. Peters 
Isaiah Rairigh 
Samuel Ross 
Lawrence Royer 
Clarence Shockley 
Henry W. Smith 
S. M. Smith 
Harmon Towns 
H. V. Townsend 
Ervin Weaver 
S. B. Wenger 
David West 

Appendix 1 



Location — four and one-half miles west and one and one-half mile north 

of Lake Odessa, Michigan 
Started— about 1867 
Organized — about 1868 
Charter members — 16 
Membership in 1945 — 45 
Church dedicated — 1870 (now Old Order meetinghouse); 1888 (the present 

church building) 

Samuel Bowser 
Daniel Chambers 
G. F. Culler 
George Long 
R. J. McRoberts 
P. B. Messner 
I. F. Rairigh 
Samuel Smith 
H. V. Townsend 

Samuel Bowser 
Daniel Chambers 
G. F. Culler 
Dean Frantz 
Samuel Groff 
Jacob Kepner 
George Long 
Roy J. McRoberts 
P. B. Messner 
J. C. Overholt 
I. F. Rairigh 

Henry Smith 
Isaac Smith 
Samuel Smith 
D. E. Sower 
Charles Stutsman 
William Tombaugh 
H. V. Townsend 
Stephen Weaver 
J. G. Winey 
Darwin Wood 
W. P. Workman 


Location — in Vestaburg, Michigan 

Started— 1883 

Organized — 1901 

Charter members — 

Church dedicated— July 8, 1906 

Disorganized in 1940 

John Albaugh 
Floyd Bollinger 
Samuel Bollinger 
John Rairigh 
Isaac Rairigh 
Isaiah Rairigh 
Joseph Robison 
J. F Sherrick 
Samuel Smith 
C. L. Wilkins 

John Albaugh 
Floyd Bollinger 
Samuel Bollinger 
Milton Bollinger 
E. E. Eshelman 
John Rairigh 
Isaac Rairigh 
Isaiah Rairigh 
Joseph Robison 
Samuel M. Smith 

J. F. Sherrick 
C. L. Wilkins 

Woodland Village 

Location — in Woodland, Michigan 
Started— 1913 
Organized— 1913 
Charter members — 
Church dedicated— 1913 
Disorganized — 1936 

H. V. Townsend 

G. F. Culler A. O. Mote 

Peter B. Messner Ervin Weaver 

Mark Schrock H. V. Townsend 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 


three miles south and one-half mile east of Woodland, Michigan 

Started— 1868 
Organized — June 1873 
Church dedicated— 1875 
Charter members — 
Membership in 1945 — 210 

Isaac Miller 
Isaiah Rairigh 
John M. Smith 
Samuel Smith 
H. V. Townsend 


John Bjorklund 
Phillip Cool 
G. F. Culler 
Arthur L. Dodge 
Robert Daniel Ebey 
David Flory 
Benjamin Fryfogle 
Loren Hershberger 
David Landis 
Peter B. Messner 

Isaac Miller 
L. C. Oaks 
Isaac Rairigh 
Isaiah Rairigh 
Oliver Sease 
John M. Smith 
Mary Teeter 
Harmon Towns 
H. V. Townsend 

(Ralph Townsend — not a minister, but a teacher in India for a while.) 


Location — thirteen miles east of the court house in West Branch, Michigan, 

on M 55 
Started— 1910 
Organized — June 1911 
Church dedicated — November 14, 1915 
Charter members — 50 
Membership in 1945 — 66 

J. P. Bowman 
Samuel Bowser 
W. H. Good 
Perry R. Hoover 
Charles A. Spencer 

Willard E. Atherton S. M. Smith 

I. G. Blocher 
J. P. Bowman 
Samuel Bowser 
W. H. Good 





















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340 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Number of Ministers in the District — 1896 to 1906 

(From Brethren Family Almanac, 1907) 

1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 

26 28 27 26 31 35 39 46 50 49 52 

Membership and Number of Churches in the District 

Eight churches were represented at the first district meeting, held at the 
Thornapple church in May 1874. 


1911 976 17 

1912 891 17 

1913 1,047 20 
1917 1,343 25 
1922 1,678 27 
1926 1,913 27 

1928 1,940 28 

1929 1,979 29 

1930 2,039 30 
1932 2,187 29 
1937 2,550 29 

1940 2,824 28 

1941 2,759 27 

1942 2,793 27 

1943 2,736 27 

1944 2,813 27 

1945 2,984 27 

1946 3,050 27 

District Field workers — 1925 to 1945 

1924-1925 E. F. Caslow 

1928-1930 Reuben Boomershine 

1930-1933 M. B. Williams (as secretary-treasurer of mission board) 

1934-1936 Charles A. Spencer (as secretary-treasurer of mission board) 

1937- Charles O. Forror (summer of 1937 only) 

1938-1939 (no report) 

1940-1943 Perry R. Hoover 

1943- Arthur E. Taylor 

District Mission Board Members — 1899 to 1945 

(Note: Prior to this date it was known as the district missionary board.) 

1899 Henry M. Smith, P. B. Messner, David B. Mote 

1900 Joseph H. Smith, P. B. Messner, David B. Mote 
1901-1904 Daniel Shopbell, Joseph W. Smith, P. B. Messner 

(1903- Isaiah Rairigh, district evangelist) 
(1904- A. W. Hawbaker, district evangelist) 
1905-1906 I. F. Rairigh, P. B. Messner, J. W. Smith, A. W. Hawbaker, David 
B. Mote (district decided to enlarge the board to five members) 

1907 I. F. Rairigh, I. C. Snavely, A. W. Hawbaker, J. W. Smith, David 
B. Mote 

1908 C. L. Wilkins, I. C. Snavely, P. B. Messner, J. E. Ulery, David B. 

1909 C. L. Wilkins, I. C. Snavely, P. B. Messner, J. E. Ulery, J. W. Smith 
1910-1912 C. L. Wilkins, P. B. Messner, J. E. Ulery, J. W. Smith, D. E. Sower 
1913-1917 C. L. Wilkins, P. B. Messner, J. E. Ulery, D. E. Sower, S. M. Smith 
1918 C. L. Wilkins, P. B. Messner, J. E. Ulery, D. E. Sower, C. H. 


Appendix II 341 

1919 C. L. Wilkins, P. B. Messner, J. E. Ulery, C. H. Deardorff, 

1920-1921 C. L. Wilkins, H. V. Townsend, P. B. Messner, C. H. Deardorff, 
J. E. Ulery 

1922 J. E. Ulery, H. V. Townsend, P. B. Messner, C. L. Wilkins, D. E. 

1923 C. L. Wilkins, H. V. Townsend, G. F. Culler, D. E. Sower, J. J. 

1924-1927 Samuel Bowser, G. F. Culler, C. A. Spencer, M. M. Chambers, 

M. B. Williams 
1928-1931 Samuel Bowser, Charles Forror, M. B. Williams, Charles Spencer, 

M. M. Chambers 
1932 M. M. Chambers, Charles Forror, M. B. Williams, Charles Spencer, 

J. E. Ulery 
1933-1937 Charles Forror, M. B. Williams, Charles Spencer, J. E. Ulery, A. R. 

1937-1938 M. B. Williams, J. E. Ulery, Charles Spencer, A. R. Teeter, W. H. 

1938-1939 M. B. Williams, J. E. Ulery, Charles Spencer, W. H. Good, H. A. 

1939-1940 M. B. Williams, W. H. Good, Charles Spencer, H. A. Arnett, L. H. 

1940-1945 M. B. Williams, W. H. Good, Charles Spencer, L. H. Prowant, H. A. 

1945-1946 M. B. Williams, H. Arthur Whisler, Charles A. Spencer, J. J. Cook, 

H. A. Arnett 

District Ministerial Board Members — 1920 to 1945 

1920-1921 Samuel Bowser, C. H. Deardorff, J. M. Smith 
1921-1922 Samuel Bowser, Samuel Bollinger, J. M. Smith 
1922-1923 Samuel Bowser, Samuel Bollinger, J. M. Smith 
1923-1926 Samuel Bowser*, Harvey Stauffer, J. M. Smith 
1927-1928 J. M. Smith, Harvey Stauffer, H. V. Townsend 
1929-1930 J. M. Smith, H. V. Townsend, D. P. Schechter 
1931-1932 D. P. Schechter, H. V. Townsend, Perry R. Hoover 
1932-1933 H. V. Townsend, Perry R. Hoover, L. H. Prowant 
1934-1937 H. V. Townsend, L. H. Prowant, A. O. Mote 
1938-1940 H. V. Townsend, J. F. Sherrick, H. W. Peters 
1941-1942 H. V. Townsend, J. F. Sherrick, H. R. Hostetler 
1942-1943 H. R. Hostetler, Hiram W. Peters, David P. Schechter 
1943-1944 H. R. Hostetler, H. V. Townsend, Hiram W. Peters 
1944-1945 H. V. Townsend, Galen Barkdoll, Arthur Dodge 
1945-1946 H. V. Townsend, Galen Barkdoll, J. Edson Ulery 

The Sunday-school Secretary — 1900 to 1930 

1900-1901 J. W. Chambers 

1902-1906 Jerome J. England 

1907-1908 G. F. Culler 

1908-1909 David Warner 

1910-1916 Sarah Long (a period of rising interest) 

1917-1918 D. E. Sower 

1919-1921 Ethel Whitmer 

1922-1924 C. L. Wilkins 

1925-1926 E. F. Caslow (as fieldworker) 

1927-1928 E. E. Eshelman (as fieldworker) 

1928-1929 (no record found; transition to district Sunday-school board) 

1930-1931 Reuben Boomershine (as fieldworker) 

1932-1945 (consolidated with board of religious education) 

342 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

District Board of Religious Education 
(Formerly the Sunday-school Board) 

From 1925 to 1930 other state districts reported in the Yearbook, but Mich- 
igan had evidently not felt the need of such a board as yet. Then in 1931 
the minutes record that the district Sunday-school secretary and the director 
of children's work constituted the Sunday-school board. 

1931 Ruth Danner, district Sunday-school secretary 
Elma Rau, director of children's work 

1932 J. J. Cook, director of religious education; Lois Sherrick, Sunday-school 
secretary; Elma Rau, children's director; Charles Forror, director of 
young people 

1933 Board of Christian Education (note change of name) 

J. J. Cook, chairman; Lois Sherrick, secretary; Elma Rau, children's 
director; Charles Forror, young people's director 

1934 (Same as 1933) 

Consolidated Board of Christian Education and Welfare Board 

1935 J. J. Cook, Lois Sherrick, Elma Rau, S. A. Weaver, Ruth Mishler 

1936 Mary L. Cook, S. A. Weaver, Lois Sherrick, Elma Rau, Ruth Mishler 

1937 Mary L. Cook, S. A. Weaver, Lois Sherrick, Elma Rau, A. E. Taylor 

1938 A. E. Taylor, S. A. Weaver, Lois Sherrick, Elma Rau, Bessie Frantz 

1939 Elma Rau, Harold Chambers, Lois Sherrick, A. E. Taylor, Bessie Frantz 

1940 Elma Rau, Harold Chambers, Lois Sherrick, A. E. Taylor, S. A. Weaver 

1941 Elma Rau, A. E. Taylor, Lois Sherrick, Harold Chambers, Homer Peters 

1942 Elma Rau, Harold Chambers, Lois Sherrick, S. A. Weaver, A. E. Taylor 

1943 Elma Rau, Harold Chambers, Lois Sherrick, & A. Weaver, A. E. Taylor 

1944 Elma Rau, Elvert Miller, Lois Sherrick, A. E. Taylor, S. A. Weaver 

1945 S. A. Weaver, E. S. Hollinger, Elma Rau, Homer Kiracofe, Elmer Leck- 

1946 S. A. Weaver, E. S. Hollinger, Elma Rau, Homer Kiracofe, Elmer Leck- 

District Temperance Committee 
(Later Called Welfare Board) 

1914-1916 George E. Stone, C. H. Deardorff, Jerome England 
1917-1919 C. H. Deardorff, D. E. Sower, George E. Stone 
1920-1921 C. H. Deardorff, Roy E. Miller, George E. Stone 
1921-1922 C. H. Deardorff, D. P. Schechter, J. E. Ulery 
1922-1925 Perry A. Arnold, M. M. Chambers, C. A. Spencer 

1926 H. V. Townsend, Ethel Whitmer, M. M. Chambers, M. B. Williams, 
S. B. Wenger 

1927 H. V. Townsend, Ethel Whitmer, M. M. Chambers, M. B. Williams, 
Charles Forror 

1928-1930 (no report) 

1931 Charles Forror, Ruth Mishler, J. E. Wells, Lois Sherrick, Mrs. 
Bruce Miller 

1932 (no report) 

1933 S. A. Weaver, Mary Miller, Ruth Mishler 

1934 Ruth Mishler, S. A. Weaver, Arlie Spindler 

1935 (merged with Board of Christian Education) 

Appendix II 343 

District Music Committee Members — 1935 to 1945 

1935 Mrs. Orville Deardorff, Mrs. Van B. Wright, Mrs. David P. Schech- 

1936 Mrs. Van B. Wright, Mrs. Orville Deardorff, Mrs. David P. Schech- 

1937-1940 Mrs. David P. Schechter, Mrs. Orville Deardorff, Mrs. Harold 

1941- Mrs. David P. Schechter, Mrs. Harold Chambers, Mrs. Claude 

1942- Mrs. David P. Schechter, Mrs. Harold Chambers, Mrs. Orville 

1943-1946 Mrs. Orville Deardorff, Mrs. Fred Mills, Walter M. Young 

The B.Y.P.D. Cabinet Organization — 1928 to 1945 

1928-1930 President, Joseph Van Dyke 

Vice-president, Burton Sherrick 

Secretary, Mabel Bowman 

Treasurer, Ivan Frantz 

Chorister, Martha Whitmer, Elmer Leckrone 

Adult Adviser, A. O. Mote 
1931-1932 Joseph Van Dyke, Charles Teeter, Lois Sherrick, Mary Aneff, Bessie 

Spencer, Merlin Shull, adult adviser 
1932-1933 Josephine Wise, Charles Teeter, Elmer Leckrone, Bessie Spencer, 

Joseph Van Dyke, editor of Challenger 
1933-1934 Josephine Wise, Joseph Van Dyke, Louise Ebey, Bessie Spencer, 

Gladys Danner, John Joseph, Charles Forror, adult adviser 
1934-1935 John Joseph, Josephine Wise, Bessie Cosner, Jeannette Bush, 

Wendell Long, Margaret Forror, David Royer, Mrs. Van B. Wright, 

adult adviser 
1935-1936 Josephine Wise, Paul Spencer, David Royer, Bessie Cosner, Wendell 

Long, Mary Deal, Holly Wilson, Mrs. Van B. Wright, adult adviser 
1936-1937 John Stauffer, Margaret Forror, Harry Taylor, Paul Spencer, Virgil 

Haynes, Charles Forror, adult adviser 
1937-1938 John Stauffer, Vera Van Meter, Harry Taylor, Paul Spencer, Virgil 

Haynes, Josephine Wise, adult adviser 
1938-1939 John Stauffer, Vera Van Meter, Verna Prowant, Violet Cheal, Virgil 

Haynes, Audrey David, Genevieve Hoover, Harry Taylor, Josephine 

Wise, adult adviser 
1939-1940 Vera Van Meter, Homer Peters, Charles Voorheis, Violet Cheal, 

John Stauffer, Daniel Deal, Clifton Leckrone, Ruth Wilsey, Ernest 

Jehnsen, Josephine Wise, adult adviser 
1940-1941 President, Daniel Deal 

Vice-president, Robert Kinzel 

Vice-president, Martha Erwin 

Secretary, Ella Mae Stern 

Treasurer, Russell Gorham 

Honorary Member, Homer Peters 

Violet Cheal, Howard McRoberts, Charles Jehnzen, Russell Howes 

Adult Adviser, Harold Chambers 
1941-1942 President, Harold Noll 

Vice-president, Donald Hostetler 

Vice-president, Howard McRoberts 

Secretary, Marjorie Young 

Treasurer, Robert B. Miller 

Honorary Member, Daniel A. Deal 

Leroy Wheeler, Lois Fradenburgh, Dorothy Sellers 

Adult Adviser, Harold Chambers 

344 History of the Brethren in Michigan 

1943-1944 President, Donald Hostetler 

Vice-president, Robert B. Miller 

Vice-president, Verna Prowant 

Secretary, Shirley Goodrich 

Treasurer, Marjorie Young 

Harold Noll, Leroy Wheeler, Barbara Hershberger, Dorothy Sellers 

Adult Adviser, Homer Kiracofe 
1944-1945 President, Shirley Goodrich 

Vice-president, Barbara Hershberger, 

Secretary, Dorothy Sellers 

Treasurer, Donald Durnbaugh 

Leroy Wheeler, Roy Spencer, Lloyd Evans, Evelyn Barkdoll 

Adult Adviser, Homer Kiracofe 
1945-1946 President, Shirley Goodrich 

Vice-president, Dorothy Sellers 

Secretary, Evelyn Barkdoll 

Treasurer, Donald Durnbaugh 

Lloyd Evans, Roy Spencer, Ted Chambers, Roland Young 

Adult Adviser, Homer Kiracofe 

District Children's Work Cabinet 

1942-1943 General Director, Elma Rau, Mrs. Viola Gow, Joe Van Dyke, 
Mrs. Ernest Showalter, Mrs. David P. Schechter, Mrs. J. Ray 
McKimmy, Elmer Leckrone 

1943-1944 General Director, Elma Rau, Mrs. Ernest Showalter, Mrs. Viola Gow, 
Mrs. Walter J. Heisey, Mrs. J. Roy McKimmy, Elmer Leckrone 

1944-1945 General Director, Elma Rau, Mrs. Ernest Showalter, Mrs. Viola Gow, 
Mrs. Walter J. Heisey, Mrs. J. Roy McKimmy, Elmer Leckrone 

1945-1946 General Director, Elma Rau, Mrs. Ernest Showalter, Mrs. Walter J. 
Heisey, Mrs. Russell Hartzler, Mrs. J. Ray McKimmy, Elmer Leck- 

District Women's Work Council 

1933-1935 President, Mrs. J. E. Ulery 

Secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Anna Taylor 
1935-1936 Mrs. Lawrence Plank, Mrs. Arthur Taylor 
1936-1937 Susie Fisher, Mrs. Arthur Taylor 
1937-1938 Susie Fisher, Vera Van Meter 
1938-1941 Mrs. Earl Hoover, Vera Van Meter 
1941-1943 President, Mrs. Mary Guy 

Secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Orville L. Adams 
1943-1946 President, Mrs. Mary Guy 

Secretary-treasurer, Mrs. J. J. Cook 

District Men's Work Council 

1933-1934 Director, Harold Chambers 
1935-1937 Director, M. M. Chambers 
1938-1941 President, M. B. Williams 

Secretary-treasurer, Earl Hoover 
1941-1943 President, H. A. Arnett 

Secretary-treasurer, Archie J. Gorham 
1943-1946 President, Ray Hoyle 

Secretary-treasurer, Delmond Frantz 

Director of Heifer Project, Russell M. Hartzler 

Appendix II 345 

Summer Pastors and Churches Served 

1927 Francis Barr, Shepherd 

1934 Chester N. Baird, Shepherd 

1935 Walter S. Coffman, Crystal, New Haven, Vestaburg 

1936 L. S. Brumbaugh, Long Lake 

1937 L. S. Brumbaugh, Long Lake 

1939 Galen B. Ogden, Midland 

1940 Jacob Dick, New Haven and Crystal 
Olden Mitchell, Midland 

David O. Schechter, Sugar Ridge and Muskegon 
John McCormick, Lake View 
Ralph G. Rarick, Flint 

1941 David O. Schechter, Battle Creek 
R. H. Miller, Woodland 

Elmer Dadisman, Flint 
Ernest Jehnsen, Crystal 

1942 Dean Frantz, Thornapple 
Fred Butterbaugh, Shepherd 
Homer Kiracofe, Sugar Ridge 
Hugh Warstler, Flint 

Elmer Leckrone, Muskegon 

1943 William O. Bosserman, Lake View 

1944 Kenneth Hollinger, Shepherd 
Wilmer M. Lehman, Crystal 

Historical Committee 

Chairman, M. B. Williams 

Mrs. Ernest Showalter 
Vice-chairman, H. V. Townsend 
Secretary, Walter M. Young 

District Executive Board 

1943-1944 Chairman, M. M. Chambers 

Secretary, Harvey R. Hostetler 

M. B. Williams, Ray Hoyle, Mrs. Mary Guy, Mrs. Orville Deardorff, 

Elma Rau, Charles Spencer 
1944-1945 Chairman, M. M. Chambers 

Vice-chairman, M. B. Williams 

Secretary, H. V. Townsend 

Assistant secretary, Lois Sherrick 

Charles Spencer, Mrs. Mary Guy, Ray Hoyle, Walter M. Young 
1945-1946 Chairman, M. M. Chambers 

Vice-chairman, Harold S. Chambers 

Secretary, H. V. Townsend 

M. B. Williams, Stephen A. Weaver, Charles A. Spencer, Mrs. Mary 

Guy, Ray Hoyle, Mrs. Fred Mills 


History of the Brethren in Michigan 

Ministers for Whom No Biography Appears 

This is a list of ministers whose names appear in the records of the 
churches of Michigan. Data could not be obtained from which to write a 
brief biography of each one. 

Baer, M. T Black River 

Baker, Samuel Black River 

Barnhart, O Sugar Ridge 

Barr, Francis H Shepherd 

Bjorklund, John Woodland 

Bowman, Earl M Detroit 

Brillhart, John New Haven 

Brumbaugh, L. S Long Lake 

Burger, J. S Battle Creek 

Bussear, Z. L Long Lake 

Butler, J. L Riverside 

Butterbaugh, Fred Shepherd 

Choate, A. F Marilla (Baptist) 

Chumney, C. E 

Clark, Walter Almena 

Coffman, Walter 

Crystal & New Haven 

Cool, Phillip 

Cripe, Israel Hart 

Crook, George .... Marilla (Baptist) 

Dague, Levi Sugar Ridge 

Dague, Lewis Sugar Ridge 

DeJean, J. S Sugar Ridge 

Early, Demarest Battle Creek 

Engle, E. R Hart 

Flory, David Woodland 

Frantz, Dean L Thornapple 

Freighter, Levi Lake View 

Funderburg, George W. . Homestead 

Garber, D. B Lake View 

George, Gilbert Sunfield 

Gephart, William Black River 

Gilbert, Frank Lake View 

Groff , Samuel Thornapple 

Hamm, J. J Hart 

Harrison, J. C Sunfield 

Harshbarger, Charles Homestead 

Harshbarger, J. W Sugar Ridge 

Hershberger, Loren Woodland 

Hollinger, Andrew Homestead 

Hollinger, G Lake View 

Hoover, J. W Beaverton 

Jackson, Pearl (Sister) Detroit 

Jehnzen, J. C Rodney 

Jones, O. F Pontiac 

Joseph, David Onekama 

Kern, George 

Killian, George Beaverton 

Killian, John Beaverton 

Kiser, C. H Hart 

Kree, William H. 

Sugar Ridge & Rodney 
Kreider, L. TJ Sugar Ridge 

Landis. David Woodland 

Landis, Harvey Long Lake 

Lehman, Galen A Sugar Ridge 

Lovegrove, Paul Ozark 

Mark, John Beaverton 

Masterson, J. M Sugar Ridge 

McCartneysmith, L. O Detroit 

McCormick, John Lake View 

McKimmy, J. William Beaverton 

McKimmy Nathan Beaverton 

McKimmy, Perry Beaverton 

Michael, H. D Grand Rapids 

Miller, John Battle Creek 

Mitchell, Olden Midland 

Morphew, J. Emory Lake View 

Moss, L. I Harlan 

Nicodemus, R. H Beaverton 

Ogden, Galen Midland 

Patrick, Loman C Rodney 

Price, C. A Woodland 

Rairigh, John Woodland 

Rarick, Ralph Flint 

Reiley, E. C Beaverton 

Rivell, William H Elmdale 

Ross, Samuel Sunfield 

Rowland, Harold Thornapple 

Royer, Lawrence Sunfield 

Rozell, M. F Long Lake 

Schrock, Mark Woodland Village 

Sell, W. C Grand Rapids 

Sellers, E. G Onekama 

Shank, John Almena 

Shockley, Clarence Sunfield 

Slonaker, Jacob Homestead 

Smith, Albert Grand Rapids 

Spillers, D. C Black River 

Starbard, Earl M Elmdale 

Stauffer, Glen Shepherd 

Stephenson, Jossie Midland 

Stephenson, Mrs. R. E Midland 

Stretch, John Almena 

Stutsman, Charles Thornapple 

Teeter, Mary (Sister) Woodland 

Thomas, David 

Black River & Harlan 

Towns, Harmon Woodland 

Trombley, Claude E Pontiac 

Tyson, A. S Riverside 

Tyson, C. C Shepherd 

Warner, Arthur L Beaverton 

White, David New Haven 

Wood, Darwin Thornapple 


Albaugh, J. E 92, 203 

Albaugh, Zachariah 46, 89, 204 

Almena 57, 325 

Anthony, Frederick 100, 205 

Appendix I 325 

Appendix II 337 

Arnett, Harley 59, 205 

Arnold, Perry A 67, 206 

Atherton, Willard 1 177, 206 

Baer, M. T 44, 191, 346 

Baird, Chester N 157, 207 

Baker, David 89, 207 

Baker, Levi 90, 208 

Baker, Samuel 346 

Baldwin, Jacob F 208 

Barkdoll, Galen E 103, 125, 209 

Barnhart, 346 

Barr, F. H 157, 346 

Battle Creek 57, 325 

Bear Lake 63, 325 

Beaverton 65, 326 

Beers, William 127 

Bibliography 323 

Bjorklund, John 165, 346 

Black River 69, 326 

Blickenstaff, Lloyd C 209 

Blocher, Ira G 146, 176, 179, 210 

Bollinger, Floyd S 74, 212 

Bollinger, Samuel . . 40, 72, 73, 113, 

171, 212 

Boomershine, Reuben 157, 213 

Borden, Garland B 214 

Bosserman, Eliezer 136, 214 

Bosserman, William 113, 215 

Bosserman, William P 216 

Bowman, Earl M 346 

Bowman, John P 77, 175, 216 

Bowser, Samuel 67, 177, 217 

Brillhart, John 40, 137, 346 

Brumbaugh, Lewis S 122, 346 

Burger, J. S 61, 346 

Bussear, Z. L 119, 121, 346 

Butler, J. L 346 

Butterbaugh, Fred 158, 346 

B. Y. P. D. Cabinet 197, 343 

Cameron, Charles H 100, 217 

Camps 197 

Caslow, Ellis F 99, 218 

Cedar House 71, 326 

Chambers, Daniel 39, 87, 136, 219 

Chambers, Harold S 100, 220 

Chambers, John W 136, 189, 221 

Chambers, Milton M. . . . 136, 196, 221 
Children's Work Cabinet 344 

Chinese Sunday School ... 81, 82, 83 

Choate, A. F 124, 346 

Christian Education, Board of 187, 342 

Chumney, C. E 346 

Church Buildings, Need for . . 43, 49 
Churches, Strength and 

Weaknesses of 180 

Civilian Public Service Camp 

(No. 1) 118, 126, 198 

Clark, Walter 346 

Coffman, Walter S 346 

Coleman 71, 326 

Congregations, Record of 57 

Cook, Delbert J 139, 222 

Cook, Jesse J 75, 138, 223 

Cook, Mary L 150, 223 

Cool, Phillip 346 

Cosner, Martin 41, 118, 224 

Council of Boards, District 184, 196 

Cripe, Israel 346 

Crook, George 123, 346 

Crouch, Donald E. 225 

Crystal 72, 326 

Culler, G. F 98, 173, 226 

Dadisman, Elmer L 96, 226 

Dague, Levi 160, 346 

Dague, Lewis 346 

Deal, Howard W 143, 227 

Deardorff, Charles H. 88, 112, 138, 227 

Deardorff, George E 141, 228 

Deardorff, Isaac 103, 228 

DeJean, J. S 346 

Denominational Work 29 

Detroit 75, 327 

Detroit Parsonage 80 

Development and Resources 24 

Dick, Jacob T 75, 139, 229 

Dickey. S. Boyd '. . . 130, 229 

Dietz, John F 77, 230 

District Boards, Survey of 183 

District Meetings 337 

Dodge, Arthur L 174, 231 

Durand 85, 327 

Early, Demarest 57, 346 

Ebey, Robert D 147, 151, 174, 231 

Eikenberry, I. M 232 

Elders' Body 43 

Elmdale 87, 327 

Elsie (Saginaw) 36, 46, 89, 327 

Engle, E. R 106, 346 

Ensign, David 233 

Eshelman, E. E 74 

Executive Board 345 

Families, Early Movements of ... 35 

Fieldworkers 340 

First Church House 50 

Fisher, Everett R 106, 233 

Fisher, Herbert A 62, 233 

Fisher, Walter G 62, 167, 234 

Flint 93, 328 

Flory, David 346 

Flory, Ezra 155, 235 

Foreign Mission Secretary 195 

Forror, Charles 108, 125, 235 

Fradenburgh, Jesse M 129, 236 

Frantz, Dean L 169, 346 

Frantz, Royal H 165, 236 

Frederick, Jacob E 237 

Freighter, Levi 346 

Fry, Ralph L 158, 237 

Fryfogle, Benjamin 164,238 

Funderburg, Earl O. 106, 109, 146, 239 
Funderburg, George W 108, 346 

Gandy, Ted E 62, 239 

Garber, D. B 346 

George, Gilbert 165, 346 

Gephart, William .*. 346 

Germantown Church 14 

Gilbert, Frank 346 

Good, William H 177, 239 

Grand Rapids 97, 328 

Groff , Samuel 346 

Grossnickle, Hezekiah . . 110, 122, 127 

Hagle, Cornelius 135, 240 

Hamm, J. J 122, 346 

Harlan 101, 328 

Harrison, J. C 346 

Harshbarger, Charles 108, 346 

Harshbarger, J. W 108, 346 

Hart 104, 329 

Hartsough, Daniel M 125, 241 

Hartzler, Russell M 169 

Hawbaker, Abram W. .. 112, 125, 241 

Heisey, Walter J 96, 131, 243 

Helman, Howard H 113, 122, 244 

Hershberger, Loren 346 

Historical Committee 2, 345 

Hollinger, Andrew 108 

Hollinger, E. Sylvester 69, 245 

Hollinger, G 346 

Hollinger, Kenneth 158, 244 

Holsinger, Levi T 246 

Holsworth, Matthew 40, 153 

Homestead 106, 329 

Hoover, Buryl E 247 

Hoover, J. W 346 

Hoover, Perry R 68, 69, 247 

Hostetler, Harvey R 79, 248 

Hufford, Isaac 63, 118, 249 

Hufford, Stephen 250 

Jackson, Pearl (Sister) 346 

Jehnsen, Ernest R 75, 158, 250 

Jehnzen, Charles G 250 

Jehnzen, J. C 346 

Jehnzen, William 154, 156 

Jones, O. F 346 

Joseph, David 143, 346 

Joseph, John E 122, 143, 251 

Kauffman, Andrew J 67, 252 

Keith, Charles 110, 252 

Keller, David H 62, 167, 253 

Keller, Martha H 62, 167, 253 

Kepner, Jacob 38, 72, 254 

Kern, George 346 

Killian, George 67, 346 

Killian, John 67, 346 

Kiracofe, Homer N 162, 254 

Kiser, C. H 71, 346 

Klotz, Lyle M 131. 255 

Klotz, Gladys B 131, 255 

Kniesley, Daniel E 119, 256 

Kree, William H 160, 346 

Kreider, L. U 122, 346 

Lair, John M Ill, 153, 161, 257 

Lake Odessa Sunday School .... 169 

Lake View 110, 329 

Landis, David 346 

Landis, Harvey 122, 346 

Lansing 113, 330 

Leckrone, Clifton L 113, 257 

Leckrone, Elmer F 132, 135, 255 

Leckrone, Kenneth M 259 

Lehman, Galen A 346 

Lehman, Wilmer M 75, 259 

Leslie, Claude H. 114, 260 

Little Traverse Church . 45, 118, 330 
Loehr, Frederick P. . . . 44, 45, 70, 261 

Long, George 38, 87, 164, 263 

Long, Kenneth G 100, 263 

Long Lake 119, 330 

Long, Sarah 98 

Lovegrove, Paul 146, 346 

Lovegrove, S. D. 144 

Mallott, Floyd E 9, 62, 264 

Map, Church Locations 178 

Marilla 122, 331 

Mark, John 346 

Masterson, J. M 346 

McCartneysmith, L. 346 

McCormick, John 346 

McKimmy, John A 66, 265 

McKimmy, J. William 66, 67, 346 

McKimmy, Nathan 67, 346 

McKimmy, Perry 67, 346 

McRoberts, Roy J. . . 88, 135, 169, 265 
Membership 340 

Men's Work 193, 344 

Messner, Peter B 152, 164, 169, 

186, 266 

Michael, H. D 99, 346 

Michigan, History of 17 

Midland 128, 331 

Miller, Bruce A 162, 268 

Miller, Elvert F 96, 268 

Miller, Franklin E 269 

Miller, Isaac 38, 163, 270 

Miller, John 61,346 

Miller, Roy E 99, 103, 165, 270 

Miller, William R 270 

Ministerial Board 187, 341 

Ministers, Lack of 45, 104 

Mishler, John 98, 271 

Mission Board 48, 185, 188, 340 

Mitchell, Olden 130, 346 

Mohler, S. S 46 

Morphew, J. Emory 101, 103, 346 

Moss, L. 1 103, 125, 346 

Mote, Arthur 77, 272 

Movements of Early Brethren 

Settlers 35 

Music Board 191,343 

Muskegon 132, 331 

Neff, William B 67, 273 

Neher, David 103, 273 

Nevinger, Granville 105, 122, 273 

New Haven 136, 331 

Nicodemus, R. H 346 

North Star 139, 332 

Oaks, Lewis C 274 

Oaks, Phoebe 274 

Observations 319 

Ogden, Galen 130, 346 

Old Order Brethren 50 

Onekama 140, 332 

Overholt, Jonas C 97, 99, 275 

Ozark 144, 332 

Patrick, Archie L 165 

Patrick, Loman C 346 

Peters, Hiram W. . . 96, 114, 167, 275 

Pine Stump Fence, Picture of 36 

Pioneer Churches, Problems of ... 42 

Pontiac 147, 333 

Prather, J. Perry 80, 276 

Price, C. A 346 

Prowant, L. H. .. 85, 92, 95, 155, 278 

Rairigh, Isaac 279 

Rairigh, Isaiah . . 38, 73, 152, 171, 278 

Rairigh, John 346 

Rarick, Ralph 96, 346 

Rau, Cora 126 

Rau, Elma 67, 106, 280 

Reiley, E. C 346 

Religious Movements 29 

Rivell, William H 88, 346 

Riverside 152, 333 

Robison, Joseph S 280 

Rodney 153, 333 

Rose, Jeff D 281 

Ross, Samuel 346 

Rowland, Harold 346 

Royer, Lawrence 346 

Rozell, M. F 122, 346 

Saginaw (Elsie) 36, 46, 89, 327 

Sala, Joseph 281 

Schechter, David 133, 158, 281 

Schechter, David P. 58, 74, 92, 158, 282 

Scholten, Martin 88, 283 

Schrock, Mark 166, 173, 346 

Schwarzenau 14 

Scrogum, Arthur 105, 284 

Scrogum, J. J 105, 284 

Sease, Oliver 285 

Sell, W. C 99, 346 

Sellers, E. G 346 

Senger, Nettie 79, 285 

Settlements 18 

Dutch 25 

English 23 

French 21 

Indian 20 

Shafer, Leroy W 85, 132, 151, 287 

Shank, John 346 

Shepherd 156, 334 

Sherrick, Joseph F. 133, 138, 157, 287 

Sherrick, Lois 138, 288 

Sherrick, Marvin M 139, 142, 289 

Shockley, Clarence 165, 346 

Showalter, Grace Deal ... 2, 143, 290 

Shull, Merlin C 78, 290 

Slonaker, Jacob 108, 346 

Smith, Albert 99, 346 

Smith, Henry W 165, 292 

Smith, John M 172, 291 

Smith, Samuel . . 38, 87, 168, 175, 292 

Snavely, Harper M 61, 293 

Snavely, Ira C 70, 294 

Sower, David E 119, 138, 295 

Spencer, Charles A. . 92, 133, 158, 296 

Spillers, D. C 346 

Spindler, Arlie A 296 

Starbard, Earl M 92, 346 

Stauffer, Glen 158, 346 

Stauffer, Harvey 157, 297 

Stephenson, Jossie 346 

Stephenson, Mrs. R. E 346 

Stern, Oscar E 103, 298 

Stone, George E. .. 52, 71, 72, 74, 298 

Strength of Churches 180 

Stretch, John 346 

Strohm, Fred E 58, 298 

Stutsman, Charles 346 

Stutsman, John R 299 

Stutsman, Joseph 299 

Sugar Ridge 51, 160, 334 

Summer Pastors 345 

Sunday-school Secretaries 341 

Sunfield 51, 163, 334 

Sunfield Sunday-school Class .... 166 
Swihart, Aaron 105, 300 

Taylor, Andrew W 104, 107 

Taylor, Arthur E 96, 101, 300 

Teeter, Mary (Sister) 346 

Thomas, David 346 

Thomas, J. L 103 

Thornapple 43, 47, 167, 335 

Tombaugh, Jacob 40, 301 

Tombaugh, William E 88, 301 

Towns, Harmon 346 

Townsend, Harley V 2, 62, 167, 

174, 302 

Trends 319 

Trombley, Claude E 132, 151, 346 

Tyson, A. S 346 

Tyson, C. C 157, 346 

Ulery, J. Edson .. 42, 76, 93, 108, 112, 

120, 124, 130, 136, 140, 142, 303 

University of Michigan 26 

Vacation Bible School 86, 144, 151, 

162, 166 

Van Dyke, Joseph E 67, 304 

Van Meter, John L 130, 146, 304 

Vestaburg 170, 335 

Warner, Arthur L 69, 346 

Warner, David F 305 

Warstler, C. Walter 98, 305 

Warstler, Hugh 96, 306 

Way, Moy 82, 84, 307 

Weaknesses of Churches 180 

Weaver, Ervin 166, 173, 307 

Weaver, Stephen A 89, 169, 308 

Weimer, Samuel 119, 308 

Welch, Carl H 169, 309 

Weller, Henry A 59. 103, 309 

Weller, Russell 60, 103, 125, 310 

Wells, John E 144, 310 

Wenger, Samuel B 99, 165, 312 

Wheat Bee 159 

Whisler, Harry Arthur 67, 312 

White, David 40, 51, 346 

Wilkins, Charles L 99, 138, 150, 

156, 177, 313 

Wilkins, Walter E 313 

Williams, Ella 44, 160 

Williams, Mervin B 2, 82, 314 

Winey, Josiah G 39, 51, 315 

Women's Work 193, 344 

Wood, Darwin 39, 346 

Woodland 38, 171, 336 

Woodland Parsonage 174 

Woodland Village 172, 175, 335 

Wright, Van B 100, 315 

Younce, Samuel 315 

Young, A. C 74, 316 

Young, David G 116, 316 

Young, Walter M 2, 116, 317 

Young, William E 318 

Zion 175, 336 



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