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 North Manchester, Indiana

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Source: Helm, History of Wabash County, 1884

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

In 1846, Rev. J.B. Oliver, of Dayton, Ohio, came to North Manchester and organized the Lutheran church at this point. Rudolph Bickel and family, Reuben Smith and wife, John Shaubert, Sr., and wife, John Shaubert, Jr., Mr. Wagoner, Mr. Frederick and Daniel Shaubert were the constituent members. The organization took place on the 28th of May, and almost immediately active measures were taken for the erection of a house of worship. The site chosen was on Main street, west of Market, and before the close of 1846, the building was begun, but was not completed that year. Work was resumed, however, with the spring of 1847, and the church completed in the summer of that year. In the fall, it was dedicated by Rev. A.H. Myers, of Indianapolis, assisted by Rev. Hugh Wells, of the same city. Mr. Oliver was the pastor in charge at the time, but resigned about two years later. The church was a frame building, 34x44 feet, and was used for a period of nearly thirty-five years. In 1882, the congregation began the erection of their present church edifice, a beautiful two-story brick structure, and the old church was removed to the north side of the street, and is now [1884} used as a business house. Work on the new building was suspended for the winter, but has been resumed this spring, and the church will cost when completed about $10,000. Pending the completion of the new church, the congregation hold their meetings in Hamilton’s Opera House. This church is one of the largest and most influential in the town, having a membership of 120.

Rev. Oliver, its first pastor, was succeeded by Rev. F. Templin, who resigned and was succeeded in 1852 by Rev. Hugh Wells. Mr. Wells continued in the pastoral charge until 1860, when he resigned. His successor, Rev. S.P. Nellis, served the church two years, and was in turn followed by Rev. G.W. Wilson. In 1871, Rev. Hugh Wells entered a second time upon the discharge of the pastoral duties, continuing for a period of ten years. He resigned at the end of that time, and was succeeded by Rev. E.D. Smith, the present pastor [1884].

Source: North Manchester Journal, May 28, 1896

Zion Lutheran Church, of this City, Celebrates the first Half-Century of its Existence

In the spring of 1846, Rev. J.B. Oliver, of Dayton, Ohio, then a young man just beginning in the Lutheran ministry, came west and located at North Manchester. The same spring he organized the Lutheran church here. Rudolph Bickel and wife, Ruben Smith and wife, John Shaupert (or Shaupwood) and wife, John Wagner and wife, John Frederick, John Shaupert, Jr., Daniel Shaupert and a few others whose names we have not now at command constituted the members of the organization which took place May 28, 1846. In the early part of 1847 the house was begun and finished in the summer. The building was a one-story structure, 34x44 feet, located where this church now stands. It cost about $1000, besides volunteer labor.

In November 1847 it was dedicated for divine worship, by the pastor, Rev. J.B. Oliver, assisted by Rev. Hugh Wells and A.H. Myers. These brethren came here on horse back from Indianapolis, riding a distance of 110 miles. Rev. Oliver continued as pastor for two and one-half years, during which time the membership increased greatly. Rev. Oliver was succeeded in 1850, by Rev. F. Templin, as pastor. Rev. Templin carried on well the work so thoroughly organized and gave additional impetus to the little band. Rev. Templin continued as pastor two years, during which time he secured a bell for the church at a cost of $125 to call the people together, which bell is doing service now in the present building. Rev. Hugh Wells became the next pastor in spring of 1852 in connection with the Columbia City church, which he served acceptably and to the strengthening of the churches, 'till the spring of 1859, when he tendered his resignation.

In May, 1859, Rev. P.S. Nellis, a young scholarly, though inexperienced man in pastoral work, was called to be pastor and he remained but one year. In June 1860 Rev. G.W. Wilson took charge of the work here and continued as pastor for nearly eleven years. During this time he spent nearly a year at college, taking up some advanced studies. Rev. Levi Rice supplied his place during this time. Failing health necessitated Rev. Wilson's resignation, and the high estimation in which he was held, caused the people to regret the separation. Rev. H. Wells, became pastor of this charge the second time in July, 1871. He served the Silver Lake charge in connection with this. Rev. Wells remained as pastor this time for nearly ten years, during which time the gospel was faithfully preached, many persons gathered into the church and the walls of Zion greatly strengthened. Rev. E.D. Smith succeed Re. Wells, Sept. 11, 1881. Soon after Rev. Smith took up the work here, pastor and people commenced to agitate the matter of a new and more commodious church building. The old church which had served a good purpose for thirty-five years and dear to many, was deemed inadequate to the needs and times, so a new building seemed to be demanded.
In the spring of 1882, a building committee was appointed, consisting of Bros. J.F./ and G.W. Eichholtz, Lewis Petry, J.J. Valdemaire, Michael Henney, and a few others, as advisory members, and soon the erection of a new house of worship was commenced. The work progressed rapidly and in the fall of 1882 the cornerstone of the same was laid by Rev. Hugh Wells and E.D. Smith officiating. During the building of the church religious services were held in the Opera house. Work continued unceasingly on the new building and in the fall of 1883 the house was finished and dedicated. Rev. Dr. S.A. Ort, of Springfield, Ohio, preaching the dedicatory sermon. The cost of the building, exclusive of grounds, was something over $10,000. This is the second church in size in this synod.

After serving this charge until the fall of 1886, three years after the completion of the new church, making in all about 4 years, Rev. Smith resigned and accepted a call to Ohio. His ministry here was marked also by some valuable spiritual material to the church, and well remembered by some of the membership at present. In June 1887 Rev. C.W. Maggart, a young man from the Seminary at Springfield, Ohio, was called as pastor, and served the church for one year and three months. His successor was Rev. W.J. Funkey, who began his work here Nov. 1, 1888. During Rev. Funkey's ministration, he succeeded in adding a large number to the membership of the church and raised several hundred dollars toward liquidating the indebtedness on the church building. Rev. Funkey resigned the charge Oct. 17, 1890, after serving the same about two years. In February, 1891, the present pastor, Rev. D.A. Kuhn, received a call to this church and accepted the call soon thereafter. He visited and preached a few times for the people, in the winter and on April 1, 1891, moved here with his family and assumed the duties of pastor, his time of service beginning March 1. Five years and three months he has been serving among this people. During these years, many valuable accessions have been made to the membership of this charge and not a few lost to the church by death and removal. An old indebtedness of about $700.00 through him has been paid off; the whole auditorium neatly carpeted, a much needed cement walk in front and around the church made, all of which have been paid for. A Young People's Lutheran Alliance was organized several years ago and is doing good work for the church. But one person is a member of the church at this time, who was in the organization 50 years ago, viz: Mrs. Louise Wagner.