Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 19
Church Denominational History
by Rev. Fayette Hurd

Part 2
Churches in Springfield


First.—The organization of the First Baptist church in Springfield was due to the efforts of the Rev. B. McCord Roberts, at an earlier date, an able and eloquent minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which capacity he was at one time pastor of St. Paul's church. A change of views on the subject of baptism led to his baptism by immersion at Liberty Baptist church. Removing to Springfield, he Met with a few other Baptists in July, 1852, in a small brick house still standing on Olive street on the brow of the hill that overlooks the present Frisco depot. With him were united in forming the First Baptist church of Springfield, Benjamin F. Price, Nathaniel Robinson, Aaron Beckner, P. H. Edwards, John Young, William Phillips, Finella B. Caynor, Frances A. Allen, B. W. and Lucinda Henslee—eleven in all. The first services of the new church were held in this little house.

The next place of meeting was in a school house just east of Benton avenue, in the rear of W. C. Peck's late residence. Later was used the Temperance Hall, at the northeast corner of the Public Square and St. Louis street, and still later the Methodist house of worship. During the year 1860 they met in Rev. McCord Roberts' residence, from which they found what was hoped would bring them permanent release from their long condition of straitened quarters in a new house of worship, finished at the beginning of 1861. [595]

But these fond hopes, like many others indulged at that time, were soon dissipated when, in June, 1861, the building was taken possession of by the Federal authorities for military uses. It was occupied by both parties to the conflict for various purposes until its return to its owners, in 1868. After the battle of Wilson's Creek the Confederates used it as a hospital, and later as a storehouse. When the Federal forces gained possession of the city they used it as a hospital, afterwards as a home for Union refugees. For a time it was the headquarters of General Sanborn's bodyguard. A dramatic club gave occasional entertainments in it to raise funds to aid refugees.

Disorganized and scattered by the Civil war, when, in September, 1866, the work of reorganization was undertaken, but eighteen members could be gathered. Their house of worship had been greatly abused; the seats had been destroyed, the walls defaced, only the pulpit being left standing amid the general desolation. Much labor and expense were needed before the house could be thought fit for purposes of worship.

In 1882 there was some talk of a new building, but after careful study of the situation it was decided to repair the old house. A new front and a tower were added and a vestry and pastor's study built in the rear. The inside was thoroughly renovated, while the ladies of the church, at a total cost of four hundred dollars, carpeted the house and cushioned the pews. The repairs cost in all three thousand dollars.

The present church edifice, on the west side of South street was begun in 1894, completed the next year and dedicated December 15th of that year, Dr. J. P. Greene preaching in the morning and Dr. J. C. Armstrong, editor of the Central Baptist, in the evening.

The name of B. McCord Roberts, founder of the church, is still held by many of the older members in loving memory as a gifted and popular preacher of the gospel and a noble and devoted Christian minister. He was followed in his office by R. Eaton, George White, James Rennon and. Benjamin Walker. Since the reorganization, in 1866, E. Alward, George Kline, Charles Whitney, J. C. Maple, J. F. Howard, J. D. Biggs, M. D. Bevan, J. H. Garnet, W. A. Nelson, J. L. Bent, O. L. Brownson, G. C. Skillman and W. O. Anderson have been pastors. The last named came in 1899 and, with a brief interval, has been pastor ever since. An urgent call to a church in Kansas City having lured him from the Springfield church, the latter made some unsuccessful efforts to find a successor, but were soon ready to recall their late pastor, who was not reluctant to return. That he possesses rare powers as preacher and pastor is shown by the fact that the church, which at his coming reported two hundred and forty-one members, had last fall one thousand sixty-nine, while the different departments of church work show a healthy activity. It has meanwhile contributed members and money to the establishment of four other Baptist churches in the city. The Sunday school reports fifty-one officers and teachers, six hundred and twenty members and ninety-four on the cradle roll, and an average attendance of four hundred and forty. There is a Baptist Young People's Union, but the members are not reported. [596]

The estimated value of the church property, including a parsonage on a lot adjoining the church, is forty thousand dollars. Arrangements are well underway for the erection of a building, at an estimated cost of thirty-thousand dollars, for the special use of the Sunday school.

Robberson Avenue.—It was not until March, 1885, that a second Baptist church was organized in Springfield, Rev. John H., Thompson being the organizer and first pastor. Early in the present century he was called to the pastorate for a second time. From this field of labor he was called to a faithful servant's reward.

In 1887, a frame house of worship was erected on the east side of Robberson avenue, fronting on Court street. This with some additions and inside improvements, is still occupied as the house of worship.

According to latest reports the church has a membership of 520, with 20 officers and 160 pupils in the Sunday school. In common with the other Baptist churches in Springfield, they have an organization of the B. Y. P. U. and the women of the church sustain a Ladies' Aid Society and a missionary organization. The estimated value of the church property is five thousand five hundred dollars. Rev. W. E. Davis is the present pastor. Some previous pastors were Dr. G. C. Skillman, Leavitt, Alpha Ingle, E. H. Robinson.

Grant Street.—This church, organized in 1891, worships in a frame building at the northeast corner of Grant and Poplar streets, the estimated value of the property being seven thousand dollars. The membership, according to last reports is 550 and that of the Sunday school 563, with 26 numbers not reported. Rev. W. F. Braswell is at the present writing pastor of this church, succeeding Rev. T. G. Hendrix.

A mission Sunday school maintained in connection with this church at LaFountaine and Scott streets reports a membership of 262 pupils with 12 officers and teachers, with an average attendance of 84. The mission was organized into a church May 16, 1915, with 112 members. Pastor W. F. Braswell was chairman of the council.

East Avenue.—In the latter part of May, 1889, Rev. W. C. Armstrong, having recently completed a course of study at the Southwest Baptist College at Bolivar, took the preliminary steps in the organization of a Baptist church north of the Frisco tracks. A council was duly called for the recognition of the new organization of sixteen members which met July 28th of that year and with appropriate exercises constituted the church. Mr. Armstrong and wife were two of the members and he was the first pastor, continuing fourteen months, during which time a neat and commodious house was erected on the West side of East avenue, north of Adams street. This continued in use for church and Sunday school until its destruction by lightning, August 21, 1912. [597]

After a brief interim Rev. Edward T. Sloan succeeded in the pastorate, serving five years and having a second pastorate of four years. Following him soon after came A. B. Elsey, who had also two pastorates of two and a half and two years respectively. Brief pastorates of other ministers followed, E. H. Barb's two years of ministry being followed, after some months' delay, by that of the present pastor, C. E. Calvert, who began his labors in March, 1913. His ministry has been marked by large accessions to the church.

On July 28, 1914, the church celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of its recognition, using the occasion for the launching of a campaign for the erection of a new house of worship at a cost of about ten thousand dollars, to be built of brick, stone and concrete, to be used not only for a house of worship, but for a graded school. Rev. J. M. Payne was appointed to represent the church among the neighboring Baptist churches, the young women of the church entered enthusiastically on a campaign for dollar subscriptions, and other plans were set on foot for the raising of the needed funds, the church having a wholesome dread of debt.

By latest official report this church had 521 members,, with 332 in Sunday school and 29 officers and teachers. Special services during the winter of 1914-1915 resulted in an addition of 200 to the membership of the church. At the present writing the auditorium is used for worship, but the completion of the building is still some distance ahead.

Pythian Home Avenue.—Formerly known as the Boulevard church, this organization dates back to 1891 And the erection of their house of worship to about the same time. Of late years there appears to have been a period of disintegration followed in 1912 by a reorganization by E. A. Estep, a licensed Baptist preacher. The house of worship, on the north side of Bailey street, fronts eastward on the grounds of the lately erected Pythian home, a frame building, valued at one thousand five hundred dollars.

The membership of this church is reported at 112, with 110 in Sunday school and 10 officers and teachers. There is a B. Y. P. U. in this church and the women are organized in a Ladies Aid and Missionary Society. Rev. W. C. Lowrie is pastor, having been preceded by Rev. J. A., Haycraft.

Hamlin Memorial.—This church was organized in 1909 under the ministry of J. R. Hamlin, whose son, Courtney W. Hamlin, has for several years past represented the seventh district in Congress. The house of worship is located near the corner of High and Main streets. Mr. Hamlin was succeeded in the pastorate by M. W. Morton. Quite recently J. W. Alexander has been called to the pastorate. The church reports 220 members with 163 in Sunday school and 13 officers and teachers. A B. Y. P. U. and Ladies' Aid and Missionary Societies are maintained in connection with this church. [598]

Seventh.—This church was organized in 1911 under the ministry of Rev. E. T. Sloan, who has rendered to the Baptist churches of Greene county long and varied service as pastor, clerk and missionary. A majority of the members came to this organization from the East Avenue church. At first the place of worship was a hall at the corner of National boulevard and Commercial street. Later a concrete building was erected at the southeast corner of National boulevard and Blaine street, which has now been occupied for about two years.

Since their occupancy of the new building Mr. Sloan has resigned the pastorate and W. T. Breshears has lately entered on the duties of that office. Latest published reports give this church 117 members with 93 enrolled in Sunday school and 20 officers and teachers. The church property is valued at two thousand five hundred dollars.

West Side.—The mission school maintained for some time by the Grant street Baptist church at the corner of Scott and LaFontaine streets, having reached a size that made it possible to begin business on its own account, a council of Springfield churches meeting in their house of worship May 16, 1915, formally recognized the West Side church embracing 112 members as a worthy member of the fellowship of seven previously constituted. Situated south of the new Frisco shops, they seem to have a door of opportunity wide open, with no other organization in their immediate vicinity.

Another Baptist enterprise, though not a new organization, has had wide publicity through the somewhat spectacular method of erection adopted by Rev. J. D. Chappelle, Baptist evangelist. One day in April, 1915, he announced that on the coming Friday a Baptist church would be erected on West Atlantic street and calling for volunteers to assist in the work. Materials were carefully prepared in advance, and workmen were on hand in sufficient numbers to complete the building before night, so that services were held in it that evening, and during the next week revival services were conducted in the comfortable new edifice, money being also secured to pay the necessary expenses in the construction. Baptists residing in the vicinity of the new building and converts of the revival united with the Robberson avenue church, but were later organized into another Baptist church. [599]

First Swedish.—This church, organized in 1882, by Augustus Johnson, occupies a frame structure at the corner of Campbell and Webster streets, having an estimated value of two thousand dollars. They report that they have been without a pastor for two years, having sent out calls in several directions, thus far without success. Prayer meetings and Sunday services missionary are held irregularly, the Swedish state missionary, Axel Wester, visiting them frequently. There are 25 members in the church and the average attendance at Sunday school is reported at 20. There is a Ladies' Aid Society in connection with the church.

Zion Primitive.—The Primitive Baptists, which reported in 1906 over 100,000 members in the United States, have one organization, more than thirty years old, in Greene county. Organized outside of the city this body removed to Springfield some six years ago and occupied a hall in the neighborhood of the Public Square, Elder Evans of Nichols being their minister. Later a building was purchased at the southwest corner of Division and Inwood streets. Their minister is Elder C. C. Agee, residing on Johnson street, near the northern limits of the city. There are about thirty members in the organization, which belongs to the Ozark association of this denomination.

First Freewill.—This,the third church not of the regular Baptist family, dates from August 23, 1914, when, after a season of tent meetings held on Commercial street, east of the National boulevard, twenty-eight persons, under the leadership of Elders Larkin Jones, J. P. Highfill and P. M. Phelps, were duly constituted into a church of this faith and order. Later services were held in Kohler's hall, north of the Frisco tracks. Their present place of meeting is in a hall above a store on the southwest corner of Commercial street and the National boulevard. Services are held every Sunday and a prayer meeting each Wednesday evening. By latest report there are 44 members with 35 in the Sunday school.


Grace.—As already stated, a large majority of the Methodist ministers and churches in Missouri went with the southern branch in 1844. A small, but resolute minority of the ministry, however, considering the general movement schismatic, refused to go with the majority. Ten German ministers were transferred to the Illinois conference, seven others "sought work in other conferences," eight remained for the time without conference connections till 1848 when seventeen ministers and one thousand five hundred and sixty-two members united in reorganizing "The Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States of America." It was inevitable that the work of this branch of the church, branded with the odious title of "Abolitionist," should be carried on under conditions of peculiar hardship, its ministers suffering ostracism, mob violence and in some cases death.

During the Civil war, the two divisions of the church, as was to be expected, stood firmly by their respective governments. The Federal government was naturally favorable to the church that was loyal to it. Near the end of 1863, secretary Stanton gave permission to Bishop Ames to occupy southern Methodist houses of worship wherein "a loyal minister, appointed by a loyal bishop does not now officiate." Bishop Ames decided to exercise this authority and at the general conference in Jefferson City this policy was heartily approved. [600]

The action of Rev. Leroy M. Vernon, appointed to Springfield by this conference, might seem at first sight to have been contrary to this resolution. For when the Federal authorities seized the basement of the unfinished St. Paul church, it was under his direction fitted up and occupied by the church to which he ministered. But we may note that as told by Captain Jones, "a deed was made transferring the property to the Methodist Episcopal church by parties signing themselves as surviving trustees of the Methodist Episcopal church, south." Hence we need not be greatly surprised to learn that he "demanded, received and carried off" the register of the church then seeming to be dead past resurrection. That was not a time of rosewater diplomacy in state or church.

Hence it may be stated that the first class of the Methodist Episcopal, church as now designated was organized in 1864, the organizer being Leroy M. Vernon, later a superintendent of that mission in Rome, Italy, which was the occasion many years after of episodes involving an ex-vice President and later an ex-President of the United States. Later, under the pastorate of Rev. J. J. Bentley, the southern church having been reorganized and regained possession of its house of worship, Bentley chapel was erected on the present site occupied by Grace church. Under Dr. J. W. Bushong the chapel was remodeled and the name was changed to Grace church. During the pastorate of Rev. Curtis V. Criss, now district superintendent of Sedalia district, the fine and commodious edifice now occupied for worship was placed in front of the former building, that being now used in connection with the Sunday school. A parsonage of wood has been erected in the rear of the church building, fronting on Pearl street, brick being used in the church buildings, both the original chapel and the structure as it now stands.

Among pastors of Grace church may be named Dr. Oliver M. Stewart, who died at Kansas City in March, 1915; Dr. G. W. Hughey, who died at Galena, in 1909; Curtis V. Criss, Harvey A. Jones, Dr. J. W. Stewart, and the present pastor, Dr. Stephen B. Campbell.

Enjoying for many years past the ministry of able men supported by a strong and loyal constituency of men and women, Grace church has been and is the leading Methodist Episcopal church not only of the city, but of Springfield district. In its present pastor it has a man of earnest evangelical spirit, clear views of truth and duty, to which in word and in life he is devotedly loyal, saintly in thought and expression, and ability to express his thoughts, with rare facility and definiteness. [601]

Since the organization of St. Louis conference of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1868, Grace church has entertained it five times: in 1970, Bishop Clark presiding; in 1879, Bishop Wiley presiding; in 1891, Bishop Vincent presiding; in 1898, Bishop McCabe presiding, and in 1908, Bishop Warren presiding.

By last report Grace church has 552 members, with 735, in Sunday school, which has 29 officers and teachers: 107 members are reported in the Epworth League. The church edifice, located on the east side of South street at the corner of an alley next south of Walnut street, is valued at $40,000; the parsonage at $6,000.

Dever Benton Avenue.—After meeting for a time in the house of Lawrenrce Kellett, a class of the Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1873 or 1874, under the name of St. Paul's church. In 1878.a brick house of worship was erected at the northeast corner of Benton avenue and Pacific street, which was dedicated December 18, 1881 Dr. George W. Hughey, then of St. Louis, preaching the dedication sermon. S. P. Hatfield and G. W. Burge and. their wives and Mrs. A. D. Starks are named as original members. Among early pastors are named J. Gardner, B. F. Poole, A. E. Day, J. W. Bushong and J. Hervey Dobbs.

In 1901 an extensive addition was made to the church edifice, which was placed in front of the previous one, the latter being used as a class and Sunday school room. In the fall of 1914, a basement was excavated under the main building for the religious and social uses of the church; this work is at the present writing not yet completed. A parsonage of wood has been built just north of the church building.

Among pastors in more recent times may be mentioned William V. Hamel, D. D., who after serving this church was appointed district superintendent. While attending the meeting of St. Louis conference at Clinton in March, 1907, he was taken violently ill, dying there March 30, but buried at Springfield where his home was. Other pastors have been Dr. G. W. Hughey, C. V. Criss, Thomas P. Shaffer and Henry A. Mitchell, the present pastor.

Later named Benton Avenue church, a generous donation by the will of Miss Hannah Dever caused her name to be prefixed. Another of the "honorable women" is Mrs. Ellen Burge, by whose generous gift was established the Deaconess hospital that bears her name.

As reported in the latest minutes the church has 240 members, with 275 in the Sunday school and 22 officers and teachers, and 107 in the Epworth League. A Women's Foreign Missionary Society and an Aid Society are connected with the church. The house of worship is valued at $20,000; the parsonage at $4,000. To Mrs. Ellen Burge is the church indebted for the beautiful engraving of the church herein. [602]

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Daily Memorial.—This church was organized in 1889 by John Daily, a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church. The same year, largely by his generosity, a fine brick house of worship was erected at the northwest corner of Evans and Mount Vernon streets, and later a parsonage was erected near it.

The number of members according to latest report is 65, with 246 in Sunday school, 18 officers and teachers, 35 in the senior and 3o in the junior Epworth League. An efficient Ladies' Aid Society is also reported. The church building is valued at $12,000 and the parsonage at $2,500. Rev. W. T. Farley is the present pastor, Rev. L. E. Lurvey, now in secular business, having served this church at one time, as also Rev. W. D. Sidman, now superintendent of Springfield district.

Mount Carmel.—This church was organized by Rev. O. M. Martin and in 1890 a house of worship of wood was erected on the west side of the National boulevard, a little north of Bailey street. A parsonage in connection with this church, valued at one thousand eight hundred dollars, is located on Prospect avenue. This church reports 105 members, with 200 in Sunday school and 35 in the Epworth League. The value of the church building is estimated at one thousand eight hundred dollars. Rev. C. L. Oswald serves this church in connection with that on Vesta avenue.

Vesta Avenue.—On Vesta avenue, a little west of Grant street and at the comer of Chestnut, was maintained for several years a mission Sunday school and in 1902 a building of wood was erected at that place. The organization of a class is credited to Rev. Harvey A. Jones when he was pastor of Grace church, but the exact year is not stated in the report. It is now yoked with Mount Carmel church, having one service a Sunday by the pastor there, Rev. C. L. Oswald, and maintaining a weekly prayer meeting. An enrollment of 40 members is reported with 6o in Sunday school and 32 in the Epworth League. The property is valued at one thousand eight hundred dollars.

In addition to these churches the minutes of St. Louis conference report Hagerty Memorial as the name of a future organization to be formed some time, with a house of worship to be erected on a lot which is now the only visible asset of things to be hereafter realized. Rev. Thomas H. Hagerty, D. D., the Nestor of St. Louis conference, is now enjoying in his home at St. Louis a happy and vigorous old age, having entered the itinerancy in i855. Dr. Hagerty was at one time presiding elder of Springfield district. [603]


As in other states in the near and further south, Congregationalism has always been more or less an exotic in Missouri, not even yet ceasing to be so, either in the state at large, or in Greene county. But estimated by achievement this comparatively small denomination has rendered service of which a body numerically much larger would have no reason to be ashamed.

With the pronounced attitude of opposition to slavery of a large number of its ministers and members, this body had naturally but few representatives south of Mason and Dixon's line in times before the Civil war. The First church of St. Louis was its earliest representative in Missouri, of which the able and eloquent Truman M. Post was for many years pastor. Another ante bellum church was that at Hannibal since reorganized. After the close of the war many churches were organized, some destined to a brief and precarious life, others to a longer struggle before ultimate extinction, still others to live, more or less vigorous. One of these is the First church of Springfield.

This body owes its beginning to the coming to Springfield of the Harwood family, originally from the Greene Mountain state, three brothers, James, Charles and Alfred, with a sister, Mrs. Mary Louise Durham. All these moved later to California.

Having held Sunday school and preaching services from the beginning of the year 1869, a number of persons met on February of that year and voted to organize a Union Evangelical church. There were eleven original members, Dr. E. T. Robberson, Stephen and Charles Burton and eight members of the Harwood family. Rev. James H. Harwood was chosen pastor, continuing in that relation for over three years. None of the original members are now connected with the church, Mrs. Susan Denny, Alanson M. Haswell and wife (nee Loretta Butler) and Mrs. Mary A. Wightman being early members still in the church.

In December, 1870, it was voted to change the name to Congregational. On May 21, 1872, a house of worship, costing five thousand dollars, was dedicated at the northeast corner of Jefferson and Locust streets, Doctor Post of St. Louis preaching the dedication sermon. This church was the first of many churches in what was then North Springfield. It took the lead in the establishment of Drury College and Doctor Harwood gave much time and effort to secure money to meet the pressing needs of that institution in its early days, as well as to the work of evangelism and the establishment of other Congregational churches in Missouri, having served for some time as home missionary superintendent. In the pastorate of the church he was followed by president Morrison, J. C. Plumb, twice pastor, who died in March, 1915, Oliver Brown and other members of the faculty of Drury College. In March, 1875, the church received 50 members at one time, 7 by letter, 43 by confession of faith, with three adult baptisms. [604]

Owing to some differences of opinion, into which the present writer, has never taken the pains to inquire, Central church was organized in 1883, taking several members of the First church, including the pastor, Rev. H. C. Crane and president N. J.Morrison of Drury College. A house of worship was erected at the southeast corner of Walnut and Market streets, where services were maintained for several years, with the aid of appropriations from the home missionary society of the denomination, until the winter of 1898-99, when, by advice of a council duly called, the church was disbanded and letters granted to the First church, which in turn issued letters to others churches to those desiring them. The former house of worship of that organization is now used for secular purposes.

A mission Sunday school, conducted for some time north of the present freight tracks of the Frisco railway was succeeded by the organization of Pilgrim church, for which was erected a large brick house of worship at the northwest corner of Benton avenue and Dale street. Always financially weak, this church maintained a precarious existence until the fall of 1908, when it was disbanded by advice of council duly called and the house came into possession of the Church Building Society, loans from which were long overdue. A Sunday school is still maintained, together with occasional preaching services under direction of the First church. The distinction enjoyed by the First church of being the only church in North Springfield could not be permanently retained. The intimate relations between the church and Drury College made it seem desirable in the opinion of many that the church building be located nearer to that institution. As early as 1889 steps were taken looking to such a change of location. But a strong conservative element opposed the change, and before any decided steps could be taken in that direction came the panic of 1893, making any change inexpedient, if not impossible. After many efforts in that direction, steps were taken in 1901 looking to the acquisition of a new site and the erection of a building thereon. The spacious brick building now occupied, on the northeast corner of Calhoun street and Benton avenue was completed so as to be occupied for worship in 1904. The old church building and parsonage were sold to Mr. F. B. Taber and by him remodeled into dwelling houses. In 1912 a fine and commodious brick parsonage was erected on Calhoun street in the rear of the church building.

The erection of their new house of worship taxed severely the limited resources of a church in which were but few members in more than moderate circumstances. They would have thought it utterly impossible to achieve the work of erection, but for the aid of the denominational building society, partly as a gift, more as a loan for a long time at a specially low rate of interest. By another special effort during the year ending March 1, 1915, the pupils in the Sunday school aiding with generous contributions, it was possible at that time to cancel the debt and also the heavy expense off paving on Calhoun street. This achievement was duly celebrated a little after Easter. [605]

Pastors later than those already named have been, among others, John P. Sanderson, Einion C. Evans, Pearse Pinch, H. Paul Douglass, now a secretary of the American Missionary Association, and Robert B. Blyth, present pastor, who has just completed five years of laborious and faithful service, laboring especially for the spiritual upbuilding of the church and seeking to extend its influence by ministering to the religious needs of points outside the city. Under Doctor Douglass, a man of uncommon intellectual force, the new church building was erected and he has since done work of great value for the colored people of the south.

By latest reports the church had 379 members, 129 male, 250 female, this denomination being, so far as the writer is aware, the only one reporting each sex in different columns. There were 200 members in the Sunday school. Auxiliary societies are Christian Endeavor, senior and junior, a Women's Missionary Society, for both home and foreign gifts, Ladies— Aid and Monday Circle, each aiding efficiently in the financial work of the church and a Men's Brotherhood. The church property is valued at thirty-five thousand dollars. The plan of an every member canvass has lately been tried with encouraging results.

Through this church Drury College came to be, and it has had, as it might rightly claim, valuable service from men and women connected with the college. Especially notable has been the long and faithful work of Dean Arthur P. Hall, as clerk, trustee, precentor and teacher; of William C. Calland, long time treasurer of the college, as deacon, trustee and capable financial adviser and of president Homer T. Fuller, whose widow, a woman of rare graces and helpful spirit in college, church and society, passed into the Great Unseen late in March, 1915. As a builder of institutions, Doctor Fuller will long be remembered in Springfield. Among his services the church should long remember the efficient and valuable services rendered by him in the building of their present house of worship.

German.—Holding special services in German in Stone chapel, Rev. Philip Steinhage, assisted by Rev. George Albrecht, of Chicago, superintendent of German Work for the Home Missionary Society took the first steps in 1884 to organize a German Congregational church. The organization was not, however, fully effected till the following year, when Rev, John Frederick Graf, a devoted and faithful minister, came to the pastorate of the church. Services were still held in Stone chapel and a Sunday school was organized.

While Major Cole was conducting revival services here in 1887, a special effort to raise funds for the erection of a house of worship secured from churches of different denominations funds which made possible the erection of a building located on Robberson avenue, between Chestnut and Pine streets, the Congregational Church Building Society aiding with a loan of seven hundred dollars. This house was dedicated in 1888. [606]

Since the property embraced two lots, the pastor proposed to build on the lot south of the church, giving the rent of his house on North Main street to repay the loan from the building society. The parsonage was built at a cost of $900, of which $500 was contributed by members and friends in other churches in the city. The debt was paid at last in 1898.

At this time the pastor resigned to accept a call to a church in Ansonia, Connecticut, where, after several years of service he returned to make his home in Springfield. A daughter, Johanna, has been a missionary teacher at Mardin, in eastern Turkey, more than twenty years. Rev. P. Burkhardt followed, serving five years and Henry W. Stein for two years. Rev. Gottfried Grob succeeded, remaining eight years, till the spring of 1914. Rev. J. Hirning is the present pastor.

The church property is valued at three thousand three hundred dollars. Sunday school enrollment is reported as 16, with average attendance of 10. The church reports 51 members.

Swedish.—This church was organized in 1886, and the same year a house of worship was erected of wood on the north side of Chestnut street, between Boonville street and Robberson avenue. Beginning soon after its organization, Carl A. Jerberg served as pastor of this church for more than twenty years. After his removal to California the church was for a time pastorless, but was later served for a time by G. S. Hawkinson, a student in Drury College. It has now no regular church services. Latest accessible statistics report a membership of 14 with 16 in Sunday school. The value of the property is estimated at one thousand eight hundred dollars.


Christ.—In the spring of 1859 Rev. T. L. Holcomb, assistant in Christ church, St. Louis, organized here a church consisting of the following members: Mrs. Wade Burden, J. A. Stephens, H. B. Farmer, Laura J. Berry, Royal Greaves, Sue Ware, Mrs. Dixon, Mrs. Sanford Peck, Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Steele. Mr. Holcomb used the Presbyterian church building on his first visit baptizing several persons there. Later services were held in Temperance Hall, on the east side of the Public Square, after that in the Baptist church.

The Civil war came before plans for the erection of a house of worship could be put into practical form, and it was not till 1868, Rev. William Charles being then rector, that the work could be effectively prosecuted. During the war services were held only occasionally, and there was need of a reorganization, which was effected in 1866. The house was of wood located at the northeast corner of Walnut and Kimbrough streets, and was dedicated on New Year's Eve, 1870, by Rev. C. T. Robertson, LL. D., the rector being Rev. J. H. Waterman. A guild room has been added since. There is also a rectory located north of the church building. [607]

A Parish Ladies' Aid Society has rendered very efficient help in the raising of money for uses of the church. The church has always been noted for its excellent choir.

Christ church has had in recent years, as rectors, J. S. Morrill, F. F. Beckerman and Paul R. Talbot, the latter being yet in the first year of his incumbency.

A membership of two hundred is reported, with fifty in Sunday school, and five officers and teachers. The church property is valued at seventeen thousand dollars.

St. John's.—This church was organized in 1886 by Rev. Melville M. Moore, services having been held for a time previously by the Ollis brothers, prominent members of the church. In 1888 a small, but very neat house of worship was erected of stone on a lot at the northeast corner of Benton avenue and Division street at the rear of the lot and facing the latter street. A beautiful and sweet toned organ, well suited to the capacity of the church, was added a few years ago. In 1892 a rectory was built of wood, facing Benton avenue, large and well provided with modern improvements.

Rev. Mr. Moore continued as rector of this church for several years, a zealous and faithful worker for the principles of the Protestant Episcopal church, aiding much in its growth and prosperity. He removed to California, where he died some two years since. After an interval of brief services by other rectors, Rev. W. S. Trowbridge succeeded, remaining for some years. Among his successors may be named Robert Nelson Spencer, now of Kansas City, an able and eloquent preacher, highly esteemed in other denominations, and much sought as a platform speaker on various occasions. Later came G. C. Rafter and the present rector, Frank H. Weichlein.

The present church membership is reported as one hundred and eighty-nine, with eighty-four in the Sunday school. There are various auxiliary organizations for missionary and parish work, reporting an aggregate of eighty-two members. The church property is valued at twenty-eight thousand dollars. At the beginning of the present year the plan of an Every Member Canvass was adopted for the raising of church expenses, with gratifying results. [608]


In addition to the Congregational church already mentioned, there are two other German churches in Springfield.

St. John's Evangelical.—Originally connected with the German Congregational church, this church was organized as a separate body in 1896. A frame building was erected near the northeast corner of Main and Scott streets, to the rear of which a parsonage was attached. Quite recently a new and commodious house of worship of brick veneer has been erected near the corner of the two streets, the former church building being at present used as a school room. Here morning services and Sunday school are held, but no evening service, a large part of the congregation residing in the country. There are seventy-six families connected with this church. The present pastor is Rev. Gustav Hehl, who has previously served the church in the same capacity, Rev. Oskar Luthe having served in the interim.

Evangelical Lutheran Trinity—This body of believers to whom minister Rev. Emil Recknagel, reports a total membership of 82 of whom 55 are communicants, the voting members, men over twenty-one, being 10. There is a Ladies' Aid Society of nine members and a Young Peoples' Society of thirteen. Services are held each Sunday in the house formerly occupied by Westminster church at the northeast corner of Jefferson and Elm streets, the morning services being in German, the evening in English. The Sunday school reports 27 members.


This church was organized in 1904 by Elder W. J. Henry and a frame house of worship was erected the same year at 920 North Campbell street, the property being valued at one thousand five hundred dollars. Services are held twice each Sunday and a prayer meeting weekly. There are about twenty members, no roll being kept, with about thirty in the Sunday school. Elder A. L. Hutton is at present the acting pastor, his address being, at Forbes, Missouri.

It may be added that Elder Henry began preaching in 1899 or 1900, but the organization dates from the election of trustees. This body endeavors to act in a very strict sense on the truths revealed in the Bible.


Disclaiming affiliation with the body of a similar name in Utah, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints trace their origin to the same founder, Joseph Smith. An organization was effected in Springfield in 1896, erecting a house of worship in 1901 on the north side of East Dale street, near Kellett avenue. Improvements were made on this building in 1908 by the Ladies' Aid Society, members of the church also giving labor for the same purpose. [609]

A system of tithing is adopted in this church, the sums contributed going to the presiding bishop for the relief of poor and sick of the church, as also for the support of the families of missionaries, the local ministers giving their service without a salary.

J. W. Quinicy has been local pastor of this church for some fourteen or fifteen years past, while Henry Sparling, also residing in Springfield, is a missionary-at-large for the denomination.

The present membership is reported as two hundred and twenty-eight, with a Sunday school enrollment of about seventy-five. Auxiliary to the church is a religio-literary society. The estimated value of the church property is two thousand dollars.


The first meetings of this church were held in July, 1897, but the real organization of the body dates from December, 1899, the time when the charter was granted.

The regular church services are held, like those of other churches, at 11a. m. and 8 p. m. every Sunday, with a Sunday school of forty to fifty attendants. On Wednesday evening of each week are held testimonial meetings, the meeting place being Martin's Music Hall, in the Masonic building. A reading room is also open each day in the Woodruff building, on the seventh floor.

This church has ninety members and reports property valued at two thousand five hundred dollars. Having neither church building nor pastor, there is no parsonage nor need of one.

Instead of a pastor the church has first and second readers, chosen at least every three years from the membership. These offices are at present held by Mr. A. N. Torbitt and Miss Mabel Reed.

A lot has been secured on Center street opposite the Public Library, on which a house of worship is being erected.


A congregation of this denomination, whose headquarters are at Battle Creek, Michigan, worshiped for many years in a small building at the northwest corner of Florence and Locust streets. Later a neat and substantial frame building was erected at the southwest corner of Lynn and Main streets, having in the rear end a room for school uses and behind it a parish house and office, occupied until the fall of 1914 by Elder R. L. Carson, an officer of the State Conference, as well as leader and minister of the local congregation, but since his removal to another field occupied as a family residence.

There is another congregation of the same faith at Turner station. [610]

Other organizations that may be named are the Church of Christ, meeting at the northwest corner of Dale and Johnson streets and the Holiness Christian church at 701 Dale street, corner of Union. The Pentecostal Tabernacle is located at 1153 Boonville street. The Spiritualists have a concrete house at the southeast corner of Main and Webster streets.


Washington Avenue.—This church is said to be the mother church of the different organizations included in the Southwest Baptist Association. It was organized in 1867, but few facts are found to be accessible concerning its early history.

For several years this church worshiped in a building at the southeast corner of the Public Square. In 1872, in connection with the Cumberland Presbyterians, they erected a frame structure at the corner of Benton avenue and Water streets, where they worshiped for several years. Later a lot was purchased on the west side of Washington avenue, south of Sycamore street, on which a brick house of worship was erected in 1884, the Presbyterians buying their interest in the first building.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1913, the church building caught fire and the interior was so damaged as to be unfit for occupancy. But, aided by insurance money and in other ways, it was repaired and reoccupied, at a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars. The present value of house, parsonage and grounds is estimated at fifteen thousand dollars.

Rev. J. S. Dorsey was pastor of this church for a number of years. He was succeeded by Rev. D. A. Holmes in 1913, who remained but a year, accepting a call to a church in Kansas City. Early in the present year Rev. W. H. Young came to the pastorate.

This church reported last year a membership of two hundred and forty, with a Sunday school of one hundred and twenty members and a B. Y. P. U. of forty members. A Woman's Missionary Society of thirty members and an Art Club of thirty-five, are auxiliary to the church. There has been a Teachers' Training Class, from which six persons have been graduated. A Men's Club of twenty-two members has recently been organized.

Mount Eagle.—This church was organized in 1886 by Dr. Border A. Franklin. In 1891 a house of worship was erected on Minor street, a little to the east of Dollison, in which they worshiped for the next fifteen years. In 1906 the building of concrete now occupied was erected, the one previously occupied being moved back and used as a parsonage. The Southwest Missouri Association was entertained here in their thirtieth annual meeting in August of last year.

This church reports a membership of forty-five, with a Sunday school of thirty. There is also a Woman's Missionary Society. Rev. A. McBride is pastor.

The church property is valued at two thousand three hundred dollars. [611]

Metropolitan.—This church was organized with nine members in November, 1905, by Rev. A. McBride, who continued to be pastor till 1908. The first house of worship was located at the north end of Vernon avenue, close to the northern limits of the city. A new house of concrete, erected at the northwest corner of Vernon and High streets, was so nearly completed that the Southwest Missouri Association convened in it in August, 1910. Elder McBride was followed by Elders Anderson, Pendegrast, Howard and the present pastor, P. C. -Campbell, who ministers to this church alternately with a church in Clinton.

The present membership of this church is reported at thirty-two, with an average attendance of fifteen at Sunday school and of twelve at B. Y. P. U. A literary society, held in the church building, has an attendance of twenty-five to thirty. The Woman's Missionary Society reports thirteen members.

Mount Zion.—This church, whose members reside at Westport, on the west side of the city, was organized in 1912 by Elder J. M. Givehand, and was duly recognized in August of that year by the Southwest Association, meeting at Joplin. W. S. Price, Jr., is pastor, and this little organization, reporting six members, meets in a private house at the corner of Broad and Center streets.

Pitts Church.—There is in Springfield one organization of colored people in organic relations with the Methodist Episcopal church north. This church is a member of the Sedalia District of Central Missouri Conference of colored churches. This church has a long and interesting history of nearly three-quarters of a century.

It is related that on October 3, 1847, Mayor Ounce, of this city, granted to Torn Armstrong, a slave, permission to organize a class of colored people holding the faith and order of the Methodist Episcopal church. This little company, slaves like their leader, held divine service in such places as could be secured until 1863, when, under the ministry of Rev. Edgar Pitts, a frame building was erected on Water street, a little east of Benton avenue. Occupied for the next ten years, this was replaced by a brick structure, erected in 1873, at the northeast corner of Jefferson and Water streets, bearing the name of Pitts chapel, as the church itself was called Pitts church, after the beloved pastor ten years before.

This house of worship, being located beside a side-track of the Frisco railway, the encroachments of business made the site exceedingly unfavorable for the use to which it was consecrated. When, at length, a favorable opportunity was found, the church building was sold and demolished and a new location was secured at the northeast corner of Benton avenue and Pine street, where was erected a new and commodious brick structure, which was set apart to the worship of God, being dedicated September 20. 1912. [612]

During the pastorate of Rev. J. M. Harris, D. D., who served the church about four years, the change of location was effected and a healthy growth has been maintained. The Sunday school reports a total enrollment of ninety-eight, the Epworth League twenty-five active senior and thirty to forty junior members. A mission is maintained on Water street.

At the twenty-ninth annual session of the Central Missouri Conference, held April 7-12, 1915, at Louisiana, this church reported three hundred and twenty-six members, having had during its existence, of about sixty-eight years, twenty different pastors. Edgar Pitts died here April 5, 1889. Some of the later pastors were B. F. Abbott, W. J. Deboe and W. H. Wheeler.

At the meeting above Doctor Harris was appointed district superintendent of Sedalia district, and Rev. J. M. McAlister was appointed his, successor. Doctor Harris is also statistical secretary of the conference.

The Central Missouri Conference met in Pitts chapel March 26, 1890, and March 25, 1896.

Benton Avenue African.—This church (African Methodist Episcopal) was organized in 1874 by Sparks Alexander in the house of worship then occupied by the Baptist church. A frame building was erected in 1876 on the southeast corner of Benton avenue and Center street, directly opposite Stone chapel of Drury College. Since its erection it has been enlarged by an addition on the east side, and a parsonage has been built adjoining it on the east, the size of the lot being one hundred by one hundred and fifty-four feet.

According to last reports, the church had one hundred and fifty-two members. Services are held each evening in the week, with regular prayer meeting Wednesday evening and class meeting Friday evening. There are seven different auxiliary organizations of nine members each. There are both junior and senior Christian Endeavor Leagues.

The value of the church property is estimated at fifteen thousand dollars. Rev. T. Allen Harvey is the present pastor.

Gibson Chapel.—This organization of colored Presbyterians dates back to 1865, or thereabouts, and has been until quite recently united with the Kansouri Presbytery of the Cumberland body.

On the rolls of the Kickapoo—now Mount Comfort-Cumberland Presbyterian church appear the names of six colored people, and one among the charter members of the First Cumberland church of Springfield. In 1872 the Ozark Synod granted a request from colored churches within their bounds that they be permitted to form a presbytery to be an integral part of the Green River Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (colored). In accordance with this request the Missouri Presbytery—later united into the Kansouri Presbytery was formed. The first and only colored Cumberland church in Springfield was a member of this body. [613]

Simon Headley is named as the organizer of this church, in which were united some twenty-five or thirty members. Early in their history they occupied, in connection with the first colored Baptist church, a frame building in this hollow just south of Phelps avenue, between Benton avenue and Jefferson street. Turned later to secular uses, this old structure was demolished not many years ago.

Later a large and commodious house of worship was built of brick at the southwest corner of Washington avenue and Pine street, with a basement under the whole building and a residence for the pastor in the rear end. The house was named for the pastor under whose ministry it was erected, Gibson chapel. Its cost was in the neighborhood of fifteen thousand dollars, a sum far beyond the ability of the members, some of whom mortgaged their homes to secure its erection, and are understood to have lost them. The house itself passed for a time out of the hands of the church, but was eventually recovered and again used as a place of worship.

Among the pastors of this church may be named A. L. Wilbern, Minty Lair, Lewis Johnson, Henry Gibson, W. I., Turner, I. C. Nicholson. In the pastorate of Lair the church is said to have had about two hundred and fifty members, and under Gibson and Nicholson some two hundred. Recent reports state the number at one hundred and fifteen, with a Sunday school of forty-five, but growing. A Christian Endeavor society is maintained in the church, and there are also a Ladies' Aid and a Missionary Society. The building is very much out of repair, and the members have found it impossible to support the work of the church without aid from outside their own numbers. Following the example set them some years before by many of their white brethren of the Cumberland church, in the fall of 1914 they were received into the fellowship of the Presbyterian church of the U. S. A. Later they secured the services of Rev. D. W. Boatner, from Little Rock, Arkansas, who has lately retired and was succeeded on the first Sunday in May, 1915, by Arthur Rankin, coming from Arkansas. [614]

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