Source: News-Journal, August 16,
1973, Centennial Section
United Methodist Result of
The church building, 306 East Second
Street, now United Methodist Church was first a United
Brethren Church. In 1946 it merged with Evangelical and
was known as Evangelical United Brethren. Then it merged
with Methodist in 1968, becoming the United Methodist
Following the union, services were
continued in each church known as Calvary United
Methodist and Trinity United Methodist. Sunday, Nov. 24,
1968, the two churches merged, forming one congregation,
and name changed to United Methodist Church. The first
part of this service was held in Trinity Church on West
Second and a processional led them to Calvary United
Methodist on East Second.
They sang "Lead on O King Eternal",
an impressive service with tears and mixed emotions.
An auction sale by both churches was
held disposing of unneeded materials. The Methodist
church building was sold, and the front part was torn
down and back part is now used by M & W Inc.
The Methodist Church was built in
1845 (nine years before United Brethren). Rev. Griffith,
Liberty Mills Circuit said, "If you don't build me a
church and a parsonage, I'll go to North Manchester."
They didn't, so he came to North Manchester and the
First Methodist Church was built. There was no bell and
a big triangle of steel was hung by the door and the
janitor would pound it, making a noise that could be
heard all over the town, thus calling the congregation
This church served the Methodist
congregation until 1873, when a new building was built
at a cost of $47,000. Later (in 1912) Fellowship Hall
was built to the north. In 1923 another addition was
made to the East, Sunday School rooms, a kitchen, and a
In 1951, more improvements were made,
sanctuary turned around, and served the congregation
until the merger, Nov. 24, 1968.
The First United Brethren service was
held in a barn owned by Richard Helvey in 1844,
three-quarters of a mile northeast of Manchester
College, known as Harve Cook farm. Later Helvey became a
part owner of a hotel known as "The American House",
located where Maynard's Men's Shop now stands. It was in
this barn that United Brethren services were held. The
United Brethren had no church until 1854, and held
revival services in Lutheran Church. The Lutherans had
built their first church in 1847.
Mahlon Frame, seeing the need of a
church, donated the lot on East Second Street and a
frame church was built west of the present United
Methodist Church, and dedicated in 1854. It served 31
years. The deed cost $20 and total cost and furnishings
of the church cost $468.82. Church was heated by two
stoves and lighted with candles. The bell was purchased
Martha Farmer, age 97, a member 82
years, now living at Timbercrest, is the oldest living
member of United Methodist Church. Her father was the
first Sunday School Superintendent of the United
In 1885, a new brick church was
built, and old one moved back. This church had a
one-register furnace, which didn't heat well until four
years later when four cold air registers were installed.
It was lighted with 30 oil lamps. The 10 art glass
windows are still in the present church.
The old frame church, sold to
Progressive (First Brethren) Church in 1885 for $200,
and moved to corner of Fifth and Sycamore, was used
until 1912. Then George Myers bought it, tore it down,
and lumber was used to build houses on West Fourth
Street, known as B.F. Ober and A. I Mummert houses.
A barn on the church lot, sold to
David Krisher, is the present site of the book bindery.
He bought the parsonage for $20 and moved it to South
Sycamore, and filled it with onions for winter storage.
It was heated by a stove, caught fire and burned to the
ground and filled the town with "onion smell."
In 1914, the church was remodeled, a
heating system, basement, kitchen and toilets. The
original bell cracked, and a new one was purchased. In
early days the bell was tolled at the death of a member,
and always cast a shadow of gloom.
The life of a minister was
interesting. Rev. Fletcher Thomas told an interesting
experience of his 57 years as minister. A revival was
being held, and an irate father came to revival service
to take his daughter from the altar. He rushed up with
his coat off, and struck at the minister. The next
minute he was thrown out of the church. The little
girl's brother added the finishing touch when he said,
"I told you, dad, them preachers would throw you out."
In those days hymn books were scarce
so the preacher would read 2 lines of the hymn then the
congregation would sing. This was called "Living a
The present church building was
remodeled in 1954, and additions made at a cost of
$9200. The auditorium, which faced north was reversed to
face south, an electric organ was installed.
Church is now on the verge of another
Source: The Manchester
Republican, August 20, 1874
The M.E. Church
Some three or four years ago the
ladies of this church foreseeing the necessity of
raising means to build a new church edifice organized a
system of social entertainments, at which the guests
were expected to contribute a small sum of money to a
fund which they were determined to raise to furnish the
new church and aid in its construction. The ladies also
organized other helps to add to this fund, such as
excursions, festivals and picnics, and by persevering
efforts in this direction, they succeeded in raising
about $1,000. About a year ago the male members of the
church decided that the old building would not do much
longer and they took steps to build a new one
immediately. Estimates and a plan of the building were
made and subscriptions enough obtained to warrant the
building committee in commencing the work in the spring
and summer of '73. Michael Hively was appointed general
superintendent and the work commenced in June and was
pushed forward as fast as could be to completion. The
building on the old church lot is of well burnt brick on
a stone foundation 38x70, Gothic style, with a brick
tower or belfry at the southwest (front) corner 44 feet
high capped with a spire 71 more making 115 feet from
the ground to the highest point. Outside the building
presents a very substantial as well as handsome
appearance. Inside it looks equally as well. The
audience room is 26 feet from floor to ceiling. The
building is entered by two doors in the south end, one
near each side. Between the doors is a class room on the
first floor separated from the audience room by folding
doors. Above the class room, and the entrance halls is
the gallery well seated and in full view of the pulpit.
The building is lighted through handsome stained or
colored glass windows that obstruct the direct rays of
the sun and therefore require no blinds. The aisles and
the platform are neatly carpeted. The seats are made of
ash lumber handsomely trimmed with black walnut, the
pulpit is also of ash and black walnut, it was
manufactured and presented to the church by S.A.
Argerbright, a handsome marble top communion table, a
present by J.H. Straw, and three elegant upholstered
chairs complete the picture. Last Sunday the church was
dedicated, by the Rev. Dr. Pearne, of Cincinnati,
assisted by Rev. N. H. Phillips, P.E. Rev's. Johnson,
McElwee, E.P. and Chester Church. The church cost about
$6,000, $2,200 of which sum remained unpaid when the
congregation met last Sunday morning, but by devoting
about one hour and forty minutes judiciously to that
financial problem, the question was satisfactorily
solved by the audience, almost every one of whom
contributed something to the fund $2,540, which was
there subscribed, enough to clear the church of all
debts and fence the lot in a very handsome manner. The
contribution was unprecedented when we consider the
number present and the wealth represented and the
members and Pastor of the M.E. Church in North
Manchester tender their heart felt thanks to their
numerous friends who came so nobly to their aid. The
dedication will long be remembered by all present.
History of Wabash County, 1884
The Methodist Episcopal Church
the conference of 1840, the Rochester Mission was
formed, commencing at a point west of Rochester, in
Fulton County, Ind., and extending east of Columbia
City, embracing a territory of about sixty miles in
length, and from ten to twenty miles wide, with Rev. E.
Doud as preacher. The conference of 1841 sent Rev. Ancil
Beach on this mission, and toward the close of that
conference year, Liberty Mills and North Manchester were
taken in as regular preaching appointments, and a small
class formed at each place. The conference of 1842
returned Rev. Ancil Beach, with Rev. N. Green as
assistant. In that year this circuit extended only a
short distance above Liberty Mills—the Columbia City
Circuit having been formed from the east end of this
mission. During that year, this mission enjoyed
considerable prosperity, and a great many were added to
the conference of 1843, the mission was farther cut
down, and Liberty Mills Circuit was formed, with Rev. C.
Wesley Miller, preacher in charge. In 1844, Rev. Warren
A. Griffith was sent to this (then Liberty Mills)
circuit. There being no parsonage on this circuit at
that time, the minister removed with his family to North
Manchester in the spring of 1845, where he began the
work of building a parsonage and meeting-house. During
that year he succeeded in having a parsonage and five
new churches erected within the limits of this circuit.
the conference of 1845, the name was changed from
Liberty Mills to North Manchester Circuit. George Guild
was sent as preacher in charge. In 1846, the conference
sent Rev. D.F. Stright—the interests of the church
meanwhile advancing steadily. Mr. Stright was returned
to this circuit by the conference of 1847, and during a
portion of this year Rev. John Hill was employed as
assistant. In 1848, Rev. Eventus Doud was sent as pastor
in charge of this circuit, and was returned by the
conference of 1849. Rev. W.S. Birch was assistant during
a portion of this year.
the conference of 1850, North Manchester Circuit was
divided, Akron Circuit being formed from the western
portion of it. “During this year, Methodism took its
first permanent stand in North Manchester,” says the
chronicler [of historical sketch of the M.E. Church
contained in the church record, and furnished by Rev.
J.B. Carns, pastor]. “When Rev. Elrod came to the
circuit, Henry Strickler was, I believe, the only male
member belonging to the North Manchester class. Brother
Strickler united with the church the second year of Rev.
Beach’s administration, and the church here owes Brother
Strickler a debt of gratitude for his zeal and his
untiring labor for the advancement of the church and its
interests. For several years his time, energy and money
were freely given to advance the Redeemer’s kingdom. He
spent nearly an entire summer, and involved himself
financially, in building the meeting-house and parsonage
in Manchester. These were the church’s dark days. The
next year, under Brother Elrod’s administration, his
most sanguine expectations were realized; Methodism took
a new start, and has been steadily advancing ever
1851, Rev. N.E. Manvill was the pastor in charge; in
1852, Rev. Milnor; in 1853, Rev. William Palmer; in
1854, Rev. John Davis; in 1855, Rev. J.H. Payton; in
1856 and 1857, Rev. J.B. Bradshaw; in 1858 and 1859,
Rev. F.A. Sale; in 1860 and 1861, Rev. E.P. Church; in
1862, Rev. Thomas Colclazer; in 1863, Rev. J.H.
Hutchison; in 1864, Rev. Hosea Woolpert; in 1865, Rev.
W.T. Smith; in 1866 and 1867, Rev. A.C. Barnhart; in
1868-69 and ’70, Rev. M. Wayman; in 1871, Rev. Samuel J.
McElwee; in 1872, Rev. J.S. Sellers; in 1873, Rev. Enos
P. Church, who was returned to this charge by the
conference of April, 1874, serving the church until
March, 1876. Rev. W.R. Jordan was appointed pastor March
27, 1876, and continued in charge until April, 1877,
when Rev. B.A. Kemp was appointed his successor. Mr.
Kemp was succeeded, in 1881, by Rev. John B. Carns, the
present pastor .
Church was the pastor in 1860 and 1861, and when
returned to this charge in 1873, wrote: “One of the
objects most familiar to us was the old church, the same
in which the society worshiped in the early settling of
the country. But the trustees had taken preliminary
steps toward building a new house of worship, and on the
21st day of June, 1873, the ground was broken
for the foundation. The stone foundation was put in
before harvest, and the brick work was commenced on the
11th of August, 1873. After putting up the
walls, roofing and inclosing the building, to secure it
against damage, the trustees wisely concluded to suspend
work for the winter.”
in the following spring, work was resumed, and by the 1st
of August, 1874, the church was completed. On Sunday, 1st
of August, 1874, the church was completed. On Sunday,
August 16, 1874, it was dedicated by Rev. Thomas H.
Pearne, D.D., of Cincinnati. At that time there remained
against the church a debt of $2,000, but, upon the day
of dedication, subscriptions were received to the amount
of $2,584.04. The church is a beautiful brick structure,
38x70 feet, and was completed at a cost of $7,000.
the establishment of North Manchester Circuit great
changes have taken place. In the earlier years, it
embraced nine regular appointments, but has since been
cut down to include only two, viz., North Manchester and
church has proved a power for good in the community, and
in the matter of church extension its members have
manifested commendable zeal. In 1881, Mrs. Sarah C.
Carson, of Liberty Mills, contributed $250 to this fund,
which called into existence a frontier church at Green
City, Mo.; and Dr. Ph.D. Paul, a traveling physician,
contributed $250 to church extension, with which was
erected a church at Wessington, Dak.
Liberty Mills, the Methodist society worshiped in the
schoolhouse until 1850. In that year, however, they
erected their present house of worship, being joined in
this undertaking by members of the Odd Fellows and
Masonic fraternities, who added the upper story to the
building for a lodge room. This is a brick building,
40x50 feet. It is attached to North Manchester Circuit,
and is now under the pastoral care of Rev. J.B. Carns
The United Brethren Church
the 1844, a small band of adherents of this
denomination—some ten or twelve in number—met in the
barn of Col. Richard Helvy, and under the leadership of
Rev. Surran organized the United Brethren Church. They
maintained their organization, but without any permanent
place of meeting, the houses of their several members
serving this purpose. About the year 1852, a series of
revival meetings, held in the Lutheran Church by Rev.
John Thomas, resulted in a large accession of
membership, and the church seemed imbued with new life.
In 1854 or 1855, a lot was donated to the society by
Mahlon Frame, on Second street, between Mill and
Sycamore, and the building of the present house of
worship was at once begun. It is a plain, substantial
frame building, 36x48 feet, and was erected at slight
cost—much of the labor and material having been
contributed by members. The church was dedicated by
Bishop Glossbrenner, assisted by Rev. H.M. Hickee, who
was the pastor in charge at the time. In the intervening
years, the church has grown and prospered, and now
 has a membership of between 130 and 140 persons.
The pastors who have served the church since Rev. Hikee
are Revs. J. France, B.S. Clevenger, P. Wells, F.
Thomas, G. Crouse, S.K. Wells, E. Johnson, B. Fannin, S.
Barcus, E. Seithman, J.R. Brown, J. Hippensteel, William
Simons, J. Morrison, Forbes, Prouty, Fast, and Rev.
Prentice, the present pastor .