ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC. LIBRARY
3 1833 03147 4247
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History of the First Friends
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First Friends Church
Between Washington and Adams Streets ".
Knightstown, Indiana -
1876 — 1911
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First Friends Church
Between Washington and Adams Streets
Allen County Public Library
900 Webster Street
PO Box 2270
Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270
" Henceforth I call you not servants; for the
servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I
have called you friends; for all things that I have
heard of my Father I have made known unto
you." — St. John, loth chapter, loth verse.
Brown Street, between Washington and Adams Streets
Furnished in modern style with art glass windows,
lighted with electric lights, and heated
''Wherefore I give you to understand, that no
man speaking by the spirit of God calleth Jesus
accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 1st Corinthians,
12th chapter, 3rd verse.
ESTHER COOK, [laughter of Jess.' and Abigail Stafford Cook, was horu
ami reared near Greensboro. Indiana. Sin- conies of a long line of
Quaker ancestry, and had a birthright in Duck Creek Monthly Meeting,
Spiceland Quarterly Meeting of Friends,
Hit education was obtained in the common schools of Henry i 'ounty.
high school of New Castle and Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.
She was recorded a minister by New Castle Monthly Meeting in 1800.
andfor twenty years she has faithfully labored in evangelistic work within
the limits of Indiana, Western and Wilmington Yearly Meetings.
By appointment of Indiana, Yearly Meeting she utti nded the opening
of Puget Sound Quarterly Meeting, opened and held atSeattle, Washing-
ton, September, 10th to 12th. 1M07. A second visit to this held was in re-
sponse to a call from the Evangelistic and Church Extension Boards of
the Five Years Meeting and Indiana Yearly Meeting. This service covered
a period of eleven months in the. states of Washington, Oregon and Cal-
She served many years on the Bible Institute Board of Indiana. West-
em and Wilmington Yearly Meetings, and is a member of the Peace
Committee of Indiana Yearly Meeting.
She accepted a call to the pastorate of Knightstowu Meeting I Ictober
of Knightstown Meeting 1876
The Knightstown Preparative Meeting of Friends was
opener! tth month 20th, l s 7i'>. with tf! charter members, whose
names :ur as follows:
Dr. Wilson Hobbs David VV. Douglas
Zalinda Lynch Hobbs Lydia M. Douglas
Orville W . Hobbs Ithamer VV. Stuart
Mary Z. (Hobbs) Davis Margaret Stuart
Walton ('. Hobbs Lama A. (Stuart) Morrison
Charles M. Hobbs John E. Keys
Fannie B. Hobbs Sophia L. Keys
Robert VV. Hobbs Harry K. Keys
Harry L. Hobbs .fames Beeman
Mary B. Charles William Penn Beeman
Elizabeth Deem Margaret I. (Beeman) Haines
Benajah Parker Km \\ Stratton
Deborah Ann Parker Lemuel Murray
All. 'ii T. Kirk Abignl 1 >. Murray
Lucinda E. Kirk Taey Shoemaker
Anna M. (Kirk) Sample Albert W. Aiken
Catherine Morrison (irace I >. (Tatner) Aiken
William (i. Edwards Caleb M. Pelle
Willn, in Kearns Maria Pelle
Elizabeth Kearns Frank II. Pelle
Rebecca .f. ( Kearns) Mid ki if Walter Pelle
Nathan I" ( 'ofh'n Loui-a Pelle
.lennie I 'orfin Mary Frederick
" One Lord, one faith, one baptism."
"One <n>i] and Father of all. who is above all.
and through all, and in you all." 1 Ephesians, Uh
chapter, 5th and * > 1 1 1 verses.
"Ye are my Friends if ye do the things which I command
"We believe in God the Father: we believe in (iod the Son
11 ii I in God the Holy Spirit: everlasting three in One."
Forgiveness of sins and the impartation of spiritual life
through faith in the atonement on the Cross by our Lord and
Saviour, Jesus Christ. Baptism with the Holy Spirit. Direct
communion of the believer with the Father, through the Sim by
History of Knightstown Meeting of Friends
For the Past Thirty-Five Years
The name of Dr. Wilson Hobbs is closely identified with
the early history of the Friends Church in Knightstown, Ind.
He moved here in Julv. 1873. lie soon became convinced that
there was enough of that faith to act as a nucleus around which
to fashion a church. Early in the winter of 1873, shortly before
the holidays, hecalleda meeting in his office. There were pres-
ent at this meeting:- Dr. Wilson Hobbs, Mary B. Charles. Itha-
uaer W. Stuart, Margaret Stuart, William G. Edwards, Catherine
Morrison. Allen T. Kirk. Lucinda E. Kirk and John E. Keys,
to talk over the advisability of establishing a Friends meeting in
Knightstown. We feltDr. Hobbs was led by the Spirit. We read-
ily and cheerfully united our forces and for a few times met in his
office for prayer and guidance. We found that other Christian de-
nominations were interested in us and our mission and granted
us the use of their churches for worship a few times.
We were united in asking Haysville Monthly Meeting for
an indulged meeting, which was granted, and a room was im-
mediately rented in the Reeves block early in ls74, now known
as the < r. A. R. Hall. Friends met on the first day of the week at
3:15 p. m.. also on Fourth day evening at 7 p. m. for worship.
William It Edwards was appointed Elder and was recognized as
the head of the meeting. Dr. Wilson Hobbs, ZalindaL. Hobbs,
Catherine Morrison, Ithamer W. Stuart and Margaret Stuart also
sat with him at the head of the meeting. All this number and
also all our Hist elders and overseers. Clerk. Assistant Clerk
and the Treasurer have since been called home to receive their
reward. Their zeal and loyalty to Christ and the church, as
we look back upon their lives, was simply grand. Yet all
was clothed in such simple acts of kindness, their good advice
and words of enc -agment given here and there, and when
duty railed them they seemed (to us) to go without effort. None
but they know of the pleading with God for light and leading.
The burdens laid upon their hearts for others, were quietly and
dutifully perfori 1 and God blessed ihetn. Then' are people
here today, living in the light of God's love and blessings, who
owe much to those faithful Friends for their good advice and
wise counsel and sweet persuasion, whose memory we honor to-
day. Let us take unto ourselves the great lessons from their
lives and characters, and put them into practical use here in our
church and community, and thereby be truer friends and purer
Christians, doing with our might what our hands rind to do in
the uplifting and building of our church, that it may grow
and become a shining light for God, and all that comes within
her doors may find the sweet peace and rest that belongeth to
the | pie of God. Let us be ready as they were when we
hear the Waster say, "It is enough: come up higher."
Only fourteen of the charter members of this meeting are
now living, un far as we know. Eight of this number reside in
Km- a few months we were strengthened by the ministry of
Mar\ 11- Rogers. Later David W. Douglas of Maine came and
remained with us until after the erection of the church building,
proving helpful, both spiritually and temporally. A committee
was appointed consisting of Dr. Wilson Hobbs. John K. Keys
and William G. Edwards, to locate and secure a lot on which to
erect a church building. The lot wtis bought and the present
church was built iluring the summer and fall of l.s7."i. John I.
Morrison and I larvey Burt were added to the building committee.
John E. Keys is now tl il.v living member of the committee
that built this house
An extract was received at the Kaysville Monthly Meeting
Hrd month ".fith, isTi;, from the Spiceland Quarterly Meeting
informing it that they united in granting tl stablishmenl ot a
preparative meeting at Knightstown. as requested by Raysville
Monthly Meeting and directed that the meeting be opened at the
time for holding the meeting for worship and preparative meet-
ing in 4th month 20th, I S76, at 7 p. m.. which was at our regular
prayer meeting on .">th day evening. This is the date of our
organization and according to the monthly meeting record we
are to be known as the "Knightstown Meeting of Friends."'
The quarterly meeting appointed Seth Stafford. Caleb John-
son. .Tabes II. Henly. Jane Ratcliff. Mary Saint. Retina White,
Francis W. Thomas, Rebecca Hiatt. Jason Williams. Re-
becca Thomas and Mary H. Rogers to act in conjunction
with a like committee appointed by Raysville Monthly Meeting
to attend the opening, namely. William Haughton. Isaac Park-
er. Charles S. Hubbard, and Joseph Pritchard. They also
proposed the names of Ithanier W. Stuart. Nathan T. Coffin.
Lucinda E. Kirk and Elizabeth Kearns for overseers, with whom
the monthly meeting united, held 4th month. L'l'nd. 1876. and
they were accordingly appointed to that station, with William
(i. Edwards as clerk. Jennie Coffin, assistant, and Allen T. Kirk
as treasurer of the preparative meeting. At this time we had a
membership of 4ti. twelve of whom were under l'1 years of age.
We all were members of Raysville Monthly Meeting prior to
the establishment of Knightstown Preparative Meeting. 3.") years
ago. At the opening of our preparative meeting the time for
worship was changed for holding our First day meeting from
:j : 1 o p. in. to Li):3u a. m. Our First day evening meeting was
first held llih month. 1 > 7 7 . This is not a recorded meeting.
In 4th month 23rd, 1 87*1. our church was dedicated by the
late David B. Updegraff. assisted by John Henry Douglas and
David W. Douglas. At the monthly meeting held 5th month
2<)th, 1*77. a committee was appointed to revise the list of elder-.
They appointed William <i. Edwards and Margaret Stuart as
elders for Knightstown Preparative Meeting. These were our
lii st elder.-.
The curly members of this meeting have passed through
some very dark and trying times. After our meeting house
was dedicated there was a shrinkage on our subscription list
onaecount of the panic of 1876, causing an indebtedness on the
church building. Ithamer VV. Stuart and Lemuel Murray.
members of this iiu'etint;-, borrowed the money from the
bank for the full amount of this indebtedness at 11 per
cent interest. Our meeting, to make them secure, deeded them
the church property. Our membership at that time was poor
and few in number and not able to pay the interest which hail
accumulated until the total amount of interest and principal was
fifteen hundred dollars. Mr. Stuart and Mr. Murray became
uneasy. Then a Catholic priest came to them and offered to buy
our church building. It seemed to them this was the only way
to pay off the note in the bank. This was a gloomy hour for
the Knightstown meeting, when the clouds were so dark ami
heavy that we could scarcely believe they had a silver lining.
Sometimes we think" the present generation would sink under
■inch burdens. Rut (-rod in His infinite love and because of our
faith, turned the clouds into brightest sunshine, and the church
grew in srrace and in knowledge of the Master, and today we
stand a^ it were, shoulder to shoulder with the churches of our
Raysville Monthly Meeting held 1st i th 27th, 1H77, gave
our meeting the first ray of hope, by authorizing Isaac Parker
and Samuel Pritchard. trustees of Raysville Monthly Meeting,
to sell the old "Elm Grove" meeting house and grounds, "as
that meeting had been laid down by the sanction of the quarterly
meeting," and the monthly meetinjr proposed to use the proceeds
toward relieving the indebtedness incurred by Friends of Knights-
town in building their meeting house, which is within the limits
of Raysville Monthly Meeting.
At Kaysville Monthly Meeting, held llthmonth 24th, 1S77.
the trustees reported that they had -old the Elm drove meet-
in" house for two hundred and fifty dollars and appropriated
the funds a- directed.
John E. Keys asked for thirty days time to see if the rest
of the money could be raised. He visited White Water Quart-
erly Meeting held at Richmond. Indiana, ami met with some cu-
couragement. also at Walnut Ridge and Carthage meetings,
thereby cutting down the indebtedness to nearly nine bundled
dollars. He also visited our own quarterly meeting at Spiceland
on Seventh day. where be made astatement of our financial diff-
iculties. Amos M. Kenworthy, then of W'estfield, Ind., arose and
said. "Let the meeting proceed with the business. I will pay
off the indebtedness of Knightstown meeting myself. Xo Cath-
olic priest can buy the Knightstown Friends Church, for there
is a place in Knightstown for a Friends meeting." ( >n the fol-
lowing 2nd day Amos M. Kenworthy came to Knightstown and
arranged with the bank and Lemuel Murray and Ithamer W.
Stuart to pay off the remainder of the indebtedness, which then
amounted to a little over nine hundred dollars. Amos returned
to Hamilton County, sold his home, and came back and paid off
the debt on our church. By unanimious consent of the mem-
bers of our meeting, we deeded Amos all of the ground lying
east of the church building, with the exception of two feet.
This was all our meeting had to give in return for his generous
gift to ii-. We feel on r eh u reh ( iwes a debt of gratitude to Amos
M. Kenworthy that we never can repay, for he made darkness
iighl before us and crooked things straight. The Lord, in a
miraculous way, provided the mean- for Amos to build him a
cottage home on the ground our meeting gave him. He served
for a time as our pa-tor. New hope and life came to the little
Knightstown meeting under hi- ministry, assisted by his Christ-
ian wife. Fhebe II. Kenworthy. During the revival of 1NS1. held
by him. there were .".o person* were added to our membership. A
real spiritual uplift came to us all.
Amy Fulghum. who was much beloved, accepted a call to
serve as our pastor during 1>M. She held a revival early in
the year of 1XNH, assisted by Knima S. fiarritson. This revival
was much noted tor the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I luring
tin- revi\ al f>7 members were added t r church at the month-
ly meeting held 2nd month L'Tth. lJjM>. In all. ill members
were added to Knightstown meeting during that year. Emma
S. ( iarrit-on remained here and assisted Amy Fulghum in the
pastoral work of our meeting until ">th month or' 1887.
Joseph 0. Binford, beloved by nil mir membership, came
on call to serve as our pastor, 1st month, 181)3. He soon
opened a series of revival meetings, assisted by John Penning-
ton. Thirty-three members were added to thismeeting. During
the same year seventy-five members were added to our church.
These have been the three marked periods of revivals in the his-
tory of our Knigrhtstown meeting of Friends, when ( rod's Spirit
came upon the church with such wonderful power. Many who
have joined our meeting during these three noted revivals are
active members and doing much good for the upbuilding of the
Kingdom of (rod. while many of this number are now on the
other shore, whose memory we still revere for their untiring
efforts to assist in building; up the cause of Christ.
While our el 'h has riot increased so much in numbers
during .my revival or year since the above dates, yet there has
been a steady growth, both spiritually and temporally. <>ur
meeting has been blessed with excellent ministers from its earl-
iest organization to the present tunc. While some have not,
been as successful as others ingathering into the church yet
they have sown g 1 seed and others have done the reaping, yet
all have done the best they could ami none have been failures,
and many of these pastors whose wise counsel and pastoral care
will never be forgotten.
Samuel C. Mills i- the only minister who died while pastor
of this meeting. His work" among us was satisfactory.
The names of al I ministers who have served as pastors of
Ivnightstown meeting areas follows: Mary 11. Rogers. David
\V. Douglas. Henry Merrill, Amos M. Kemvorthy. Seth C. Rees,
Amy ruilghum. Emma S. (iarritson. Alfred Brown. Joseph I ).
Binford. Samuel C. Mills. Minnie Bassett. Morton C. 1'earson.
Elbert Russell. Oscar Moon, S. Adelbert Wood. Levi T. Pen-
nington. Frank B. Rhodes anil Esther Cook, our present pastor,
beloved by us all and who is dome' much g I for the upbuild-
ing of the cause of ( Ihrist.
I )ur Bible School was first organized in the spring of ls74
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uf Knightstown Monthly Meetinsrin 5th month 25th. 1895, which
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and many of I hese
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Samuel C. Mil
of this meet i 1 1 <i' 1
The names of
\V. Douglas. Hem
Amy Fulghum, El •
Binford. Samuel < ' ._. .
Elbert Russell, <>
nington, Frank 11.
beloved I iy us all ;i
ing of the cause of
( inr Bible Sch, Mil was first organized in the spring of 1<ST4
in the G. A. K. Hall, while we were .vet an indulged meeting,
with William G. Edwards as superintendent. There were two
classes organized, with Mary Z. Hobbs Davis and John E. Keys
as teachers. Attendance, 21. The monthly meeting record
shows that in 9th month 23rd. 1876, we had an average of about
one hundred scholars.
Our Young People's Christian Endeavor was organized in
4th month 10th, 188'.). with a membership of 25.
The Junior and Intermediate C. E. Society was organized
11th month 6th, 1892, with 15 members.
Our Home and Foreign Missionary Societies are well organ-
ized and doing excellent work.
Our Ladies Aid Society was organized August, 1907, with
a membership of 38. Since then they have earned more than
8600.00. They have recarpeted and repapered the church and
put in new "art glass" windows, and paid S25 each year to the
pastoral fund, also assisted the church financially otherwise, and
n<iw have nearly $50 in the treasury. Their work is highly ap-
preciated by the entire membership.
Our church has always been blessed with a well organized
and efficient choir. The faithfulness of our young people is
praiseworthy and appreciated by the entire meeting.
During the first twenty-five years of the organization of
Knightstown meeting we have lost by death fifty nine members.
During the past ten years our loss by death is 56 members,
making a total loss of 115 who have died while members of this
meeting, since the organization thirty-rive years ago. Many of
this number's memory will ever be sweet for their beautiful
lives and Christian influence. We now have a membership of
Raysville Monthly Meeting of Friends was opened and held
at Raysville meeting house. Henry County. Indiana, on the 25th
day of 4th month, 1857, agreeably to an extract from Spi. 'eland
Quarterly Meeting of Friends held 3rd month 14th. 1857.
The name of Raysville Monthly Meeting was changed to that
of Knightstown Monthly Meeting in 5th month 25th. 1895, which
is now held at Knights town in.st 'ad of Raysville as formally. It is
held on the lili Seventh day of each month anil consists of five
different particular or local business meetings, namely: — Rays-
ville. Grant, Knightstown, Wilkinson and Shirley. The name
of Knightstown Preparative Meeting (under the new discipline)
was changed to that of Local Business Meeting in t*4r-m<-n+th.
23*d^3. JX •£" luir, XX- (9 Of,
Knightstown Monthly Meeting of Friends is tributary to
Spiceland Quarertly Meeting which was organized in 3rd month,
1*40. which was held at Spiceland, Indiana.
Spiceland Quarterly Meeting istributary to Indiana Yearly
Meeting which is held at Richmond. Indiana, and was organized
in 9th month. 1820. This is the largest Yearly Meeting of
Friends in the world.
Let us all lie faithful unto the end of life's journey and
God will give ns a crown of life.
Si >rin \ L Keys.
Recorder of Knightstown Meeting of Friends.
> t f/, month SSnf, 1011.
P. S. — The above history was prepared and read by Sophia
L. Keys at the service of the :!.">th anniversary in commemora-
tion of the organization of Knightstown Meeting of Friends.
Fourth month 23rd, L911.
Seth Stafford was present at this meeting and said he want-
ed to put his seal to the truth fulness of this history. — S. L. K.
1876— RETROSPECT— 1911
By DR. T R. WOODARD
Upon this anniversary date
We gather here to celebrate.
In simple yet appropriate way.
The church's dedication day.
We're all agreed with one consent
That this should be a triad event:
A time with joyous hearts to raise
Our grateful voices in His praise.
Who planted here a fruitful vine
And blesses every fruitful sign.
To all who here their presence lend
The hand of welcome we extend.
And trust that all may truly sip
The nectar of sweet fellowship.
Reviewing now with joy and tears
The lapse of five and thirty years
Of earnest toil, there comes a sense
Of overruling Providence.
His hand that set His people free
And led them through the raging sea.
That rescued them from sore distress
And led them through the wilderness,
Has made His people at this place
The object of His sovereign grace.
Fits Spirit prompted those who toiled
With purpose that could not be foiled,
To found a Friends church here to be
A light in this community.
No pillared cloud marked out the way,
But Faith said, "Trust Him and obey.
Let His wise purpose be fulfilled
By all who will arise and build.
And barriers vanished one by one
Like mists before the rising- sun.
All honor to those faith-tilled Friends
The fragrance of whose influence lends
A sweetness to thexe passing hours
Like air perfumed by unseen flowers.
'Twas their work to originate.
< )ur duty to perpetuate
The lilessings to a future age
Of this our "goodly heritage."
For their work's sake we truly deem
Them worthy of our high esteem.
This huilding represents the price
Of many a willing sacrifice;
Of toil by day and prayers by night.
And rare gifts like the ''widow's mite,"
Which loyalty and /»'•< reveal.
As larger gifts may greed conceal.
Long may it stand an evidence
Of faith's enduring recompense.
It is not strange that times like these
Should call for sacred reveries.
And memory see before it cast
A panorama of the past.
Across the landscape of the years
Like flying clouds each scene appears.
Then vanishes e'en while we muse
As one would shift dissolving views.
How many pastors here have stood.
And sought to do their people good,
As shepherds faithful vigil keep
In caring for each straying sheep.
With living water from the rock
They've watered here the thirsty flock.
And often with the living bread.
The multitudes have here been fed.
As round this altar we have knelt
His Spirit's presence we have felt.
His matchless mercies multiplied
To sinful hearts were not denied.
But here they've found their doubts and fears
Dissolved by penitential tears.
And Christ from guilt has given release
Its token — His abiding peace.
And shown how His unmeasured grace
Clasps the whole world in its embrace.
Like discords in some sweet refrain
Life has its pleasure marred by pain.
While here we mingle and reflect
Upon a pleasing retrospect.
A sadness steals into our hearts
As night comes when the day departs.
How many with us here have met
Whose faces we can ne'er forget.
The thought of friends whom we have known,
Ami dear ones fondly claimed our mrn.
Recalls our pangs of deepest grief.
For which earth has no sure relief,
When on our ears from other shores
We hear the dip of splashing oars.
When loved ones drop their house of clay
And from our grasp just slip away.
Here 'round the caskets flower-bedecked—
Our last sweet tokens of respect —
We've thought of death's great mystery
Anil mingled tears of sympathy.
But hope has looked beyond the tomb
And faith dispelled its deepest gloom.
Like streams that from a fountain run
The church's work is never dune.
Remembrance of the former things
A holy inspiration brings,
To make this church by faith sublime
A light-house on the shores of time.
He. who our purpose understands
Dwells not in temples made with hands.
But seeks to make each heart by grace
Fit temple for His dwelling place.
And asks each one to pay the price
Of new and living sacrifice.
That this may be in a living way
A true church dedication rfny.