1889 HISTORY OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA
LINCOLN'S CHURCHES -- THE BROOKLYN OF THE WEST -- HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF ALL THE CHURCHES OF THE CITY -- THE Y. M. C. A. ORGANIZATION
(247) Lincoln is preeminently a city of churches. As an educational center the city is not equaled in the West. And while this is true, it is equally true that no city in the West can equal this in the number of its church organizations and the beauty of its churches. The present chapter is devoted to historical sketches of the various churches, which number about forty. A former chapter has given an account of the very early church work in the town of Lancaster, and the present will deal with the churches now occupying the field.
In harmony with the spirit of Methodism, as soon as the emigrants' wagons had made a permanent halt on the prairies of Lancaster county, the Methodist Episcopal itinerant was on his track, and in 1867 Rev. Robt. Hawks was appointed to what was then called Lancaster Circuit. He formed a Methodist class at Lancaster, and at the close of the conference year, Lancaster class had sixteen members. During the year 1867, the town Lancaster was changed to Lincoln, and the capital of the State located at Lincoln. No sooner was this done than the prophetic eye of Methodism took in the situation, and was laying plans to meet the emergency. In the spring of 1868, Lancaster class was made a station, and the society named the First M. E. Church of Lincoln, and Rev. H. T. Davis was appointed its pastor. When Elder Davis arrived on the ground he found a society of sixteen members, a small shell of a church on Tenth street, just inclosed, with a $400 mortgage on it, and no parsonage. Among the sixteen original members can be mentioned Captain Baird and wife, John Cadman and wife, Wm. Cadman, A. K. White and wife, J. Kimball and wife, Mrs. J. Schoolcraft, with J. Kimball as class leader. At the end of the first year the little church on Tenth street was too small for the people. It was cleared of the $400 mortgage and sold for school purposes, and a larger building, costing (248) $3,000, built on the site the large St. Paul store church now occupies. Elder Davis stayed three years, and closed his pastorate with a membership of 202. Rev. J. J. Roberts was the next pastor. He came in 1871, from the Genesee Conference, N.Y. He came to Nebraska with hopes of improving his health, which was poor; but instead of his health being improved, he continued to grow worse, and at the end of one year he was compelled to give up work. His pastorate, though short, was successful, the membership having grown to 300, and a parsonage having been built -- the present parsonage, less an addition since made. In 1872, Rev. G. S. Alexander was appointed to this church, and his pastorate is remembered because of the prominent part he took in the Woman's Crusade. In 1874, Rev. W. B. Slaughter was sent to the Lincoln M. E. Church. He came from Brownville and remained three years, the full pastoral term. His pastorate was a very successful one, and the increase in membership, and the growing audiences, demanded more room, and another wing was added to the church. Mr. Slaughter was succeeded by the Rev. H. S. Henderson, of Iowa, who came in 1877, and served the church two years. The Young People's Meeting was organized during Mr. Henderson's pastorate, with Dr. Paine as leader. Rev. A. C. Williams was the next pastor. He came in 1879, and remained the full pastoral term, three years. The A street society was formed during Mr. Williams's term, and a church built, but this was done contrary to his judgment and wishes. There was quite an opposition to the movement, though a majority thought the time had come for this church to enlarge its borders and establish another church. Owing to the strong opposition to the movement, or from some other cause, this church made no growth or advancement till, at a later day, it was moved and changed to Trinity, as will hereafter be noticed. Rev. R. N. McKaig succeeded Rev. Williams in 1882. Rev. McKaig was all inveterate worker, and the church tool. a new impetus at once on his arrival. The congregation grew, and the question of a new church, which had been contemplated during Rev. Williams's pastorate, now revived, and the sentiment for a new church was strong. On April 23, 1883, an official meeting of the church was held, and it was decided to proceed at once to the erection of a new house of worship. Committees were then appointed to look after the various departments of the work. On June 11th the plans of a Mr. Wilcox, (249) of Minneapolis, were accepted, the cost of the proposed building to be $25,000. Excavating for the new church was begun on July 1st. It was soon found that the church would cost much more than contemplated, but it was decided to go on with the work as arranged, and a committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions for the excess of cost. The corner-stone of the church was laid by Dr. Marine, since pastor of the church; in the spring of 1884, and the church was dedicated by Bishop Bowman on Sunday, August 23, 1885. The church cost $45,000 instead of $25,000, but this amount was soon paid in, leaving the church free from debt. This church was then called, as it had first been named, the First M. E. Church, which name was changed, in the fall of 1883, to the St. Paul M. E. Church.
Rev. C. F. Creighton, of Circleville, Ohio, succeeded Rev. Mr. Williams by appointment. He came in 1885, and remained two years, being elected Chancellor of the Nebraska Wesleyan University in the fall of 1887. The first year of Rev. Creighton's pastorate was doubtless the most successful in the history of the church. It was during this year that the great Bitler revival took place This large revival swelled the church membership, including the probationers received from the meeting, to about 1,200. This large membership was too much for one pastor, and Rev. J. S. Bitler, the evangelist, was elected as assistant pastor till conference. It was during this year, on March 19th, that the church decided to build a new church, east of the Antelope. A site was selected, and a temporary tabernacle erected for services till a new church could be built. This new church was commenced on the corner of R and Twenty-seventh streets, and work on it was pushed with all possible speed. In less than four months from its commencement it was ready to be turned over to the trustees.
At the annual conference held the following September, J. T. Minehart was appointed pastor of the new church. The society was named Grace M. E. Church, and the new church building, costing $11,000, was dedicated September 19th, 1889, by Bishop Warren, free from debt. The second year of Rev. Creighton's pastorate, 1886, was an eventful one. Grace Church had become well established, and was moving on, but still there were calls from South Lincoln and West Lincoln for help on new churches, and during this year Trinity M. E. Church was established, which absorbed the old (250) A street church, heretofore mentioned. A new site was selected, and a new church built on the corner of A and Sixteenth streets. At the next conference, Rev. H. T. Davis, the present pastor, was appointed to Trinity Church, and since Elder Davis's connection with it, it has steadily grown, and is to-day one of the most prosperous church societies in the city, having a membership of upward of 260.
This same year, Asbury M. E. Church, at West Lincoln, was built by the assistance and under the guardianship of St. Paul M. E. Church. This was dedicated in November, 1887, and Rev. Clay Cox was appointed its pastor. This church cost, with furniture, about $2,000. The Nebraska Wesleyan University thrust itself on St. Paul Church this year, and its pastor was the leading spirit in the interests of Lincoln, and every one seemed to look to him for leadership.
When the university was located. Dr. Creighton was elected its president, and resigned the pastorate of St. Paul's. He was succeeded by Dr. Marine, who was transferred from the Indiana conference. His transfer was a very unfortunate one, o» account of his health. The church, especially at the time of leis coming, needed a mail of great physical activity to shepherd the people and gather up the scattered ones. Dr. Marine took sick in the summer of the first year, which developed into brain trouble, and for weeks he laid at death's door. He finally recovered, contrary to the expectations of every one, and was able to attend the annual conference. He thought he was as well as ever, and on the statement of his physician that he was able to take the work, he was returned to St. Paul Church for the second year.
On September 10th, 1888, W. H. Prescott was elected by the official board as associate pastor and financial secretary, and was appointed by the Presiding Elder. On the return of Dr. Marine for the second year, he found himself able to occupy the pulpit only occasionally, and he soon was taken down with another serious attack of brain trouble, which entirely unfitted him for the duties of pastor. The official board granted him a vacation of three months, for him to go East, in hopes of his recovery. On February 4th, 1888, Rev. W. H. Prescott resigned as assistant pastor and financial secretary. The pulpit was supplied by transient ministers for several months. Dr. Marine's health was made worse by his trip East, and he soon returned,
worse (252) than when he left. It now being evident to himself that
he would not be able to assume his duties again, he tendered his resignation as pastor, which was accepted April 1st, 1888. The official board then requested the Presiding Elder, with the aid of the Bishop, to secure a new pastor for St. Paul Church as soon as possible, and at a meeting of the Bishops at Delaware, Ohio, in May,
several united in recommending Rev. F. S. Stein, of Milwaukee, Wis., who was appointed. His transfer to the Nebraska Conference was arranged, and on June 1, 1889, Rev. Stein was on the ground as pastor. The membership of St. Paul's is now nearly 600.
The Rev. Father Emmanuel Hartig, O. S. B., the present German pastor of Nebraska City, is the founder of the Catholic Church of Lincoln. He was born at Inchenhofer, Bavaria, May 1, 1830. In September, 1857, he came to the United States, and went to St. Vincent's monastery, Westmoreland county, Penn. Here he remained until September, 1860, when Rt. Rev. Abbott Wimmer sent him to Atchison, Kansas. At this place he was ordained priest by Rt. Rev. John Miege, first Bishop of Leavenworth, July 10, 1861. His Superior, Rev. Augustine Wirth, sent him on the same day to take charge of Nebraska City mission. From Nebraska City he administered for several years to the spiritual needs of all the Catholics in the South Platte country, including Salt creek. When, in 1867, Lincoln became the capital of the State of Nebraska, he came hither in the interests of his charge. He found but few houses in Lincoln; at one of these, the house of Mr. Daily, he held service until the erection of the first church, in 1868, a frame building, 24 x 50, costing $1,000. On the completion of this church Lincoln had service once a month. Rev. Father Hartig being no longer able to operate successfully over so broad a field, Rt. Rev. Bishop Fink sent him an assistant in the person of Rev. Michael Kaumley. Front August, 1868, to February, 1869, either Rev. Father Hartig or Rev. Father Kaumley held service in Lincoln once a month At the latter date, Rev. Father Kaumley was recalled and his place taken by Rev. Father Michael Hofmeyer, of St. Vincent's Abbey, Westmorland county, Penn. For some time he attended Lincoln from Nebraska City, but finally located at the capital, and thus became the first resident Roman Catholic priest of our city. He added thirty feet to the church and began to keep the (253) parish records of Lincoln. Until his arrival the records had been kept at Nebraska City. The first marriage mentioned in the Lincoln records is that of Silas Huff and Catherine Curtin, in the presence of Thos. G. Murphy and Honora Murphy, Rev. Father Hofmeyer being the minister. The first interment was that of Henry Armon, who died in October, 1869. The first recorded baptism took place September 26, 1869. The last record made by Rev. Father Hofmeyer is that of a marriage on December 26, 1870. During his charge at Lincoln he performed seven matrimonial and sixty-five baptismal services.
Rev. Father Hofmeyer was succeeded by Rev. William Kelly. Rev. Father Kelly's first recorded act is that of the marriage of John J. Butler and Mary J. Kennedy, which took place, May 16, 1871; his last official act was a baptism on April 29, 1874.
From this date the growth of the church has been steady, keeping pace with all the other interests of our city.
Within the past ten years the growth of the Catholic population of Lincoln and of the whole South Platte country became so pronounced that the Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, Bishop of Omaha, petitioned the Bishops of the Third Plenary Council, of Baltimore, to erect the South Platte country into an independent diocese, with the See at Lincoln. The wishes of the learned prelate were acceded to. Rt. Rev. Thomas
Bonacum was appointed to the new See.
Rt. Rev. Thomas Bonacum was born near Thurles, Tipperary county, Ireland, January 29, 1847. During his infancy his parents emigrated to the United States and settled at St. Louis. His early education was conducted by the Christian Brothers until his fifteenth year, when he entered the ecclesiastical seminary of St. Francis de Sales, near Milwaukee, Wis. At this renowned institution, during a period of six years, he applied himself to the classics, English literature, and the sciences. He devoted himself to the studies of philosophy and theology under the Lazarist Fathers, at Cape Girardeau, Mo., until the time of his ordination. He was ordained June 18, 1870, at St. Louis. Some time after this he went to Würzburg, Bavaria, and spent a number of years in the profound theological course, the study of canon law, and German literature. At the end of this course he made the tour of Europe. When he returned to the United States, he successively had charge of various missions, all of
(255) which he administered in a manner commendable to himself, beneficial to the interests of religion, and satisfactory to his ecclesiastical superiors. In 1881, as an appreciation of his success in more contracted fields he was appointed rector of the very important parish of the Holy Name of Jesus, in St. Louis. Here he continued to labor success fully until his election to the See of Lincoln.
In 1884, The Most Rt. Rev. Richard Kenrick chose Rev. Father Bonacum as one of the two theologians who always go with a Bishop to a council. This choice, coming from one of so distinguished sagacity, marked the Rev. Father Bonacum as one who would soon receive even still more remarkable favors. The subsequent facts soon verified this anticipation. The fathers of the Third Plenary Council, of Baltimore, decreed to divide the diocese of Alton, locating the See at Belleville, in Southern Illinois. By the unanimous consent of the assembled fathers, Rev. Father Bonacum was chosen to preside over the new diocese. Rome, at that time, did not ratify the erection of the proposed See, and the matter was held in abeyance. Nevertheless Leo XIlI did not overlook the young candidate proposed by the council of Baltimore. When, therefore, the request of Rt. Rev. Bishop O'Connor was granted by Rome, Rev. Father Bonacum, the previous choice of the fathers of the council for BeIleville, was appointed Bishop of the See of Lincoln.
The bulls were issued August 9, 1887, by Leo XIII, and the consecration took place November 30, 1887, at St. Louis, in St. John's pro-cathedral, in the presence of a vast concourse of prelates, clergy, and laity. The Venerable Peter Richard Kenrick, Archbishop of St. Louis, was the consecrator. The general approval of the choice of Rome was evidenced by the largest gathering of prelates and priests that ever took place on a similar occasion in that sacred edifice.
Rt. Rev. Bishop Bonacum's reception, which took place at Funke's opera house, December 20, 1887, will long be remembered by all who were present as one of the most notable events connected with the history of our city. With the coming to Lincoln of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Bonacum a new and powerful energy was infused into all the Catholic enterprises of the South Platte country. Not less than thirty churches have been dedicated in the period of twenty months. But it is in the city of his See, as one would naturally expect, that the most remarkable proofs of his zeal are to be found. The enlargement of the (256) pro-cathedral, the furnishing and decoration of the interior, the procuring of suitable sacred vestments, etc., were the first objects of his solicitude. All these ends were attained at a cost of about $18,000. While this work was in progress, the organization of a German congregation, and the building of St. Francis de Sales Church for this people, was part of his occupation. The erection of St. Francis de Sales Church has effected a complete reunion and revival of German Catholic interests. The Rt. Rev. Bishop soon saw the great need of a hospital in so large a city as ours, and set himself to the task of getting one worth his accustomed energy and firmness of purpose. With this object, he purchased the beautiful home and grounds of J. A. Buckstaff, for $20,000. He gave charge of the sick to the Sisters of St. Francis, trained nurses, who opened the hospital September 1, 1889. The purchase was made June 15, 1889.
On the acquisition of this handsome property, he entered into a contract with the city by which he assumed the care of the sick for a period of seven years. The terms of the contract on the Bishop's part are exceedingly moderate. The getting of the hospital was a gratification to all humane people.
Weighty and various as these cares were, they could not divert the mind of the Bishop from one of the subjects of his deepest anxiety: the establishment and promotion of the cause of Christian education among his people. Reverently obedient to the instructions of the Third Plenary Council, of Baltimore, that the Bishops of the United States should supply all parishes with schools, he commenced the splendid school building which is in course of erection between the pro-cathedral and the pastoral residence, on M street. Whatever skill and experience can devise will be done to make the edifice one of the most complete of its kind in the State. The cost will range between $20,000 and $25,000. The Rt. Rev. Bishop has a very efficient body of clergymen, on whom he was dependent for the accomplishment of the works we have enumerated.
Rt. Rev. Bishop Bonacum is an early riser and late worker; very methodical in all that he does. He is simple in all his tastes and habits. In manner
he is dignified and courteous; in etiquette he is very considerate of the wishes of others. Hospitality is a pronounced trait of the Bishop's. As a prelate
he is very broad and far-seeing, thoroughly equipped with all the spiritual and worldly knowledge
(257) necessary for his exalted position.
He has a mind which, while comprehensive, has a singular facility for grasping details. He is pliant enough when principle is not involved, but where it is a
matter of right or justice, he is inflexible and inexorable.
The First Presbyterian Church is one of the most prominent, prosperous and influential, of the leading churches of Lincoln. It was organized with eight members April 4, 1869, by Rev. J. C. Elliott, of Nebraska City. It was not until January, 1870, that the church secured the regular services of a minister, the Rev. H. P. Peck commencing his labors January 15, 1870, with "only five effective members" on the ground. January 26, 1871, Rev. H. P. Peck was elected the first pastor of this church, and was duly installed on the last Tuesday of April, 1871. The first church edifice was erected near the corner of Eleventh and J streets, on lots donated by the State, and was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God October 9, 1870, the Rev. T. H. Cleland, D. D., (then of Council Bluff's, Iowa,) preaching the sermon. This first sanctuary was built at a cost of $5,000, and with various improvements from time to time, continued to be the house of worship for the First Presbyterian Church until December, 1884. Ground was broken for the erection of the present church edifice at the southwest corner of Thirteenth and M streets, in April, 1884; its vestry room was completed in September, 1885, and was occupied as a place of worship till the middle of January, 1886, when the main auditorium was finished and immediately set apart to its sacred uses. This new and beautiful sanctuary, costing $40,000, was formally dedicated to the worship of God July 18, 1886, the Rev. A. V. V. Raymond, D. D., (now of Albany, N. Y.,) preaching the sermon.
The following ministers have served the church either as pastor or stated supply:
|Rev. A. P. Peck||January, 1870||June, 1874|
|Rev. J. W. Ellis||April, 1875||March, 1876|
|Rev. S. W. Weller||April, 1870||July, 1878|
|Rev. James KemIo||January, 1879||December, 1879|
|Rev. John O. Gordon||July, 1880||November, 1882|
|Rev. Edward H. Curtis, D. D.||January, 1883||-------------|
It now has a membership of nearly 500, and a large and successful Sunday School, at the First Church, of which Mr.
Milton Scott is (259) Superintendent, Mr. W. G. Maitland First and Miss L. W. Irwin Second Assistant Superintendent. Mr. Charles A. Hanna is Secretary and Treasurer. Its Ladies' Aid Society, Ladies' Missionary Band, Young Ladies' Mission Band, Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, and Children's Bands, are all prosperous and doing good work. The officers of the First Church are as follows:
Edward H. Curtis, Pastor.
Elders -- N. S. Scott, C. S. Clason, Wm. M. Clark, J. J. Turner, C. M. Leighton, C. A. Parker, John R. Clark, H. E. Hitchcock, J. K. Barr.
Trustees -- T. H. McGahey, F. W. Bartruff, M. D. Welch, W. G. Maitland, C. A. Barker, W. H. McCreery, Wm. M. Clark, J. W. Winger, C. W. Lyman.
This denomination has also established a mission in North Lincoln, where a Sunday School is maintained, with Mr. -- Osborn as its Superintendent. A church will probably be organized there in the near future.
The First Presbyterian Church building is one of the six fine structures erected by the leading denominations of the city, costing on an average $45,000, exclusive of grounds, and taken together perhaps are not equaled in a city of twenty-two years of age on the continent. An additional half dozen costly and elegant church buildings exist in the city, although not so fine as the first six referred to. All the church buildings are of modern architecture, and exhibit great liberality on the part of the people of Lincoln.
In October, 1888, a number of persons interested in the work of the Presbyterian Church, met in a vacant store building near the corner of O and Twenty-seventh streets and organized a Sabbath School. At this meeting there were sixty-four persons enrolled as members of the school, and Mr. Thomas Marsland was chosen Superintendent, Mr. George G. Waite Secretary, and Mr. Almon Tower Treasurer, and a full corps of teachers selected, and classes organized. Preaching services were held in this store-room every Sabbath by different ministers until February 14, 1889, when the school moved into the basement of a church being erected on the Corner of Twenty-sixth and P streets, on lots donated in part by William M. Clark. On the evening of March 13, 1889, those interested in the work convened and formally organized a church, to be known as the Second (260) Presbyterian Church of Lincoln, Nebraska. This organization was entered into by forty-six charter members. The officers elected were as follows:
Elders -- Myron Tower, Thomas Marsland, W. C. Cunningham, and William M. Clark.
Trustees -- Walter Hoge, J. H. Mockett, jr., George A. Seybolt, and H. C. Tunis.
On April 1,1889, Rev. Charles E. Bradt, by invitation of the church,
took charge of the work. The society has gone steadily on, until at present the church
has an enrolled membership of eighty-seven, a Sabbath School numbering above 200, and a strong, growing, Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. The Church is still worshiping in the basement of what is to be the lecture-room of the church building. This basement has been put in at a cost of about
$1,200, with the hope that the superstructure may soon be erected to meet the growing demands of the church and congregation.
Prominent among the prosperous and influential religious societies of the city is the Congregational Church. The First Congregational Church, whose elegant building stands at the northwest corner of L and Thirteenth streets, is one of the pioneer religious organizations of the city. The Official Manual of the church for 1889 contains the following historical sketch:
"This church was organized August 19, 1866, with six members. At that time, according to the records of the Council assisting the organization, there were in the town seven buildings, viz., one seminary, four dwellings, one store, and one blacksmith shop.
"Rev. E. C. Taylor was pastor of the church from its organization until October, 1867. The members of the church at its organization were F. A. Bidwell, John S. Gregory, Mrs. Welthy P. Gregory, Mary E. Gregory, Philester Jessup, Mrs. Ann M. Langdon.
"Rev. Charles Little accepted a call to become pastor of the church on November 8, 1867, and continued until April, 1870. During his ministry the first meeting-house was erected. It was built in 1868 and furnished in 1869. An Ecclesiastical Society, to have charge of financial affairs, was organized April 11, 1868, which surrendered its authority to the church and disbanded January 16, 1873. The church was incorporated January 23, 1873. Rev. Lebbeus B. Fifield was called to the pastorate September 12, 1870, and resigned June 4, 1872.
(262) August 1, 1873, Rev. Samuel R. Dimock was asked to preach. He was installed by Council January 3, 1873, and dismissed on advice of Council January 15, 1875. During his pastorate (1873) the meeting-house was considerably enlarged. A call was extended to Rev. Lewis Gregory September 16, 1875. He was installed by Council November 23, 1876. The church building was repaired and refurnished in 1878. Apri1 29, 1883, the church voted to build a new meeting-house. The plan for the present building was adopted September 20, 1883. Work began November 6, 1883. The basement and chapel were occupied for Sunday, services January 17, 1886, and the auditorium on February 7, 1886. The building was formally dedicated January 9, 1887.
"Since its organization different officers have served the church in order of time as follows:
"Clerks -- S. Gregory, J. P. Hebard.
"Deacons -- F. A. Bidwell, E. J. Cartlidge, L. H. Fuller, G. S. Harris, J. S. Gregory, Geo. McLean, J. C. Leonard, W. C. Hawley, Geo. McMillan, Elisha Doolittle, M. B. Cheney, W. Q. Bell, S. H. Burnham.
"Trustees -- F. A. Bidwell, W. R. Field, A. L. Palmer, Lindus Cody, S. M. Walker, O. W. Merrill J. P. Hebard, S. B. Galey, R. P. Beecher, Geo. S. Harris, S. L. Coffin, J. C. Leonard, H. C. Babcock, T. H. Leavitt, Geo. McMillan, L. E. Brown, W. W. Peet, Charles West, T. F. Harden burg, A. S. Raymond, M. B. Cheney, A. E. Hargreaves, B. F. Bailey.
"Treasurers -- Albert Biles, J. R. Webster, L. A. Groff, Aldus Cody, R. P. Beecher, E. J. Cartlidge, Geo. McLean, T. F. Hardenburg, Elisha Doolittle, Charles West, J. C. Leonard, T. H. Leavitt, J. W. Bell, W. Q. Bell."
The First Congregational church now has between 300 and 400 members, maintains a large and prosperous Sunday School, and successful missionary societies and Society of Christian Endeavor.
During the first week in August, 1887, a low, rough board house was erected, at the instance of Rev. Lewis Gregory and under his direction, near the northwest corner of Seventeenth and A streets. The work of construction required but two days, and with the chairs to seat it, cost only about $200. On the following Sunday, services were held there, under the direction of Rev. E. S. Ralston, and religious (263) exercises continued to be held there regularly until the first Sunday in November, 1887, when the society was organized as the Second Congregational Church of Lincoln, and it was so incorporated. But at the first business meeting in 1888, the name was changed to that of "Plymouth Congregational Church."
This primitive tabernacle first built was used as a meeting house until December, 1888, when the new church building, on the same corner, was so far completed that it could be used in part. On Easter Sunday, 1889, the main auditorium was first used. When fully completed this building will be a commodious complete, and handsome structure, worth $10,000. The lots are valued at $5,000 more.
Rev. E. S. Ralston has had charge of this congregation from its organization, and was regularly installed as its pastor on May 8,1888.
Plymouth Church now has a membership of over 100, and a Sunday School of about 200. The membership of both church and Sunday School is constantly growing. It has an active Society of Christian Endeavor, the second organized in Lincoln, the first having been founded in the First Congregational Church. Its Ladies' Aid and Missionary Society and Young Ladies' Missionary Society are doing good work.
The present officers of the church are: Rev. E. S. Ralston, Pastor; J. A. Wallingford, Clerk; W. A. Hackney, Treasurer. Trustees -- J. A. Lippincott, W. A. Selleck, J. A. Wallingford, J. P. Walton, and W. A. Hackney. Deacons -- J. A. Lippincott and Newton King.
A Congregational church mission is now doing active work on the north side of N street, between Twenty-first and Twenty-second. A Sunday-school is held there, of which Miss Jennie A. Cole is Superintendent. A small building was opened there for the mission on the last Sunday in July, its dimensions being about twenty-five by fifty feet. This mission promises to soon grow into the third organized Congregational society in Lincoln. It has been named the "Pilgrim Congregational Church."
The German Congregational Church was organized in the spring of 1889, by Rev. Adam Frandt, and services have been held at the corner of Eighth and J streets. Though one of the latest societies formed in the city, it appears to be prosperous and growing in membership.
(264) The first service of the Episcopal church was held in Lincoln in May, 1868, by the Rev. R. W. Oliver, D. D. On the 17th day of November in the same year, the Rev. Geo. C. Betts, of Omaha, held the second service, and of those who were present only one was a member of the church. Subsequently the Rt. Rev. R. H. Clarkson, D. D., Bishop of the diocese, visited the city, holding services and preaching. About this time the Rev. William C. Bolmar was appointed missionary in charge. In January, 1869, steps were taken toward the organization of a parish. A meeting was held, at which were present: Michael Rudolph, A. F. Harvey, John Morris, J. J. Jones, H. S. Jennings, E. Godsall, A. C. Rudolph, John G. Morris, R. P. Cady, J. C. Hire, Wm. C. Heddleson, S. L. Culver, and J. S. Moots, who signed a petition which was sent to the Bishop, praying for permission to organize a parish, under the title of "The Church of the Holy Trinity." The Bishop's consent having been granted on the 10th of May the same year another meeting was held, at which a parish organization was effected, by the election of a vestry consisting of Michael Rudolf and A. F. Harvey, warders; and J. J. Jones, A. C. Rudolf, H. J. Walsh, Dr. L. H. Robbins, and J. M. Bradford.
The parish was admitted into union with the council of the diocese in September of the same year. The congregation worshiped at various places in the city until 1870. The Rev. Mr. Bolmar left the parish in February, 1870, and in May of that year the Rev. Samuel Goodale took charge. Measures were at once adopted for the erection of a suitable place of worship, and a sufficient sum was subscribed to proceed immediately with the work.
A church edifice costing $4,000 was erected at the corner of J and Twelfth streets, on lots belonging to the parish. It was consecrated March 5, 1871. At the end of a year the Rev. R. C. Talbott, now at Brownville, succeeded the Rev. S. Goodale, and continued in the rectorship until October, 1875. In April, 1876, the Rev. C. C. Harris became the fourth rector, and served the parish for seven years. During that time many improvements were made. A rectory was built, trees were planted, the church was repainted, a pipe organ was purchased, the church edifice enlarged, and the number of communicants rose to one hundred and four.
The Rev. J. T. Wright came in November, 1883, and after one year gave way to the Rev. Alex. Allen. During the rectorship of (265) Mr. Allen steps were taken for the erection of a new and larger church. With this in view, Mr. Guy A. Brown, a most zealous and generous churchman issued a small parish paper, the purpose of which was to awaken interest in the enterprise. On June 14, 1888, the cornerstone of the new church was laid by the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Nebraska, Bishop Worthington also taking a prominent part in the ceremonies. The building is ,just about completed at this writing It is built of Colorado red sandstone, Gothic, cruciform; will cost about $35,000, and will accommodate about :500 people. Holy Trinity Church is the mother of two other organizations in the city. In the spring of 1888 the old church was removed to a lot on Twelfth street, between U and V, and a congregation was organized under the ministry of the Rev. R. L. Stevens, and took the name of "The Church of the Holy Comforter. In 1889 the Holy Trinity Chapter of St. Andrew's Brotherhood came into possession of the house of worship which had been used by the Baptists, and moved it to a lot on the corner of Washington and Eighth streets. Regular services arc held here by the rector of Holy Trinity and a lay reader.
The working agencies of the church of the Holy Trinity at this time are: 1. The Holy Trinity Chapter of St. Andrew's Brotherhood, thirty-six members. 2. The Woman's Aid Society, forty members. 3. The Woman's Auxiliary to the Board of Missions, 110 contributors. 4. The Altar Guild, twenty-eight members.
There are about 120 children in the Sunday School, of which Mr. W. L. Murphy is Superintendent; about 150 communicants, and about 600 individuals connected with the parish.
At this time, July, 1889, the vestry consists of the following named gentlemen:
H. J. Walsh, Sen. Warden; J. C. Kier, Jun. Warden; D. R. Lillibridge, Secretary; W. L. Murphy,
Treasurer; R. H. Oakley, J. F. Barnard, E. P. Holmes, James Hearn, and C. H. Rudge. The Rev. John Hewith became rector March 1, 1889, before the completion of the new church.
Prominent among the religious denominations of the city is the First Baptist Church. The Baptist Society is one of the most prosperous and progressive in the city, and its new edifice at the northwest corner of K and Fourteenth streets is a beautiful structure costing about
(267) $40,000. The new and handsome parsonage is situated on a lot immediately west of the church. A brief historical sketch of this society in Lincoln is here given.
The First Baptist Church of Lincoln, Neb., was organized August 22, 1869, with fourteen members. The first pastor was Rev. O. T. Conger, who began his labors here in June, 1870, and remained four and one-half years, until January, 1875. During his pastorate the church edifice on the corner of Eleventh and L streets was erected, and 169 persons were received as members of the church:
In October, 1875, Rev. S. M. Cramblet became the pastor, and remained two years, during which time fifty-six members were received.
1n May, 1875, Rev. W. Sanford Gee began a pastorate of three and one-third years, during which the parsonage on L street was built, and 110 members were received.
In January, 1882, Rev. Dr. Chaffee began his pastorate, which continued one and three-fourths years, during which 115 members were received.
May 4, 1884, Rev. C. C. Pierce began his labors with this church. During the latter part of his pastorate, a large subscription for the purpose of erecting a new church edifice was secured, and three lots at the corner of K and 14th streets were purchased. Rev. Mr. Pierce resigned September 5, 1886, having received 120 members into the church during leis pastorate.
The church immediately extended a call to Rev. O. A. Williams, who accepted it, and began his labors in November, 1886. Under his ministry the church has been very prosperous. About 200 members have been added since he commenced his pastorate here; the large church building has been erected, and branches of the denomination lave been organized in other parts of the city, of which he has general charge. A prosperous Sunday School is maintained, besides the usual subordinate organizations that are associated with all leading church societies. The membership is large and numbers many of our best and most influential people.
The officers of the First church are as follows:
Rev. O. A. Williams, Pastor; S. P. Bingham, Treasurer; P. S. Chapman, Clerk; L. C. Humphrey, Treasurer of Building Fund. Board of Trustees: C. W. Sholes, chairman; Geo. H. Clarke, L. G. M. Baldwin, L. C. Humphrey, E. E. Bennett.
(268) Three Baptist Missions have been organized in the city, where Sunday Schools are maintained, and of which Rev. O. A. Williams is the mission pastor. One of these missions is at the corner of J and Twentieth streets, Mr. L. G. M. Baldwin being Superintendent of its Sunday School. The North Lincoln Mission is quite prosperous, and will soon build a church to cost $3,000. Mr. H. J. Humphrey is Superintendent of its Sunday School, which is held at the corner of Twelfth and Butler avenue.
The East Lincoln Mission is located at the corner of Twenty-seventh and W streets, and Mr. S. S. McKinney is Superintendent of its Sunday School.
The Central Church of Christ in the City of Lincoln was organized with twenty-eight charter members, on January 24th, 1869. Their first place of meeting was in the house of J. M. Yearnshaw, who was also their first regular minister. Miss Julia McCoy, now Mrs. Marshall, and still a member of this congregation, was the first person immersed by them in Lincoln. The private house becoming too small, their place of meeting was changed to the old capitol building, and here they spent the fall and winter of '69. Joseph Robinson was the first elder of the church, and Bros. Hawk and Akin its first deacons. On July 3d, 1869, out at Crabb's mill, on Salt creek, the initial steps were taken toward the erection of a house of worship. G. W. French, J. M. Yearnshaw, and J. H. Hawk, were appointed a building committee. Slowly, and yet with patient persistence, the work went on, until on July 3d, 1870, the church house now standing on the northwest corner of K and Tenth streets was dedicated. Here, with varying success and failure, with mingling lights and shadows, the church has worshiped until this writing.
On April 23, 1871, the first Sunday School of any moment was organized, with J. Z. Briscoe as Superintendent and C. C. Munson as assistant.
Since the time of J. M. Yearnshaw the church has enjoyed the pastoral labors of D. R. Dungan, J. Z. Briscoe, J. B. Johnson, J. Mad. Williams, J. M. Streator, B. F. Bush, Chas. Crowther, R. E. Swartz, R. H. Ingram, and Chas. B. Newman, the last named occupying its pulpit now.
The history of the Church of Christ in Lincoln would be sadly (270) incomplete without special mention
of Bro. Barrow's counsel and patient, helpful care ever since its organization.
The history of the years from '71 until '87 is about such as comes to the average church. The church now numbers some 460. It has a house and lot in West Lincoln, and also a good lot in East Lincoln .Regular preaching and Sunday school services are held at all of these places, and are well attended.
The church has an "Auxiliary to the Christian Woman's Board of Missions," and an efficient "Aid Society." It has a large "Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor," and a " Young Ladies' Mission Band." Its present official board comprises the following:
Elders. -- J. Z. Briscoe, Geo. Leavitt, G. E. Barbar, E. D. Harris.
Deacons. -- Porter Hedge, J. M. Webber, J. A. Reynolds, C. R. Van Duyn, W. S. Mills, S. S. Young, S. M. Dotson, L. G. Leavitt.
Deaconesses. -- Mrs. Martha Hallett, Mrs. Martha Hedge.
Evangelists -- Chas. B. Newman, R. W. Abberly.
Of its Sunday School Chas. C. Munson is the efficient Superintendent.
In the fall of 1886, realizing that it would soon be necessary to provide larger and more commodious quarters, the church purchased two lots on the northeast corner of
K and Fourteenth streets, and early in 1887 steps were taken looking toward the erection of a new house of worship. Finally, after much consultation and delay, on October 25, 1887, plans were chosen and a building committee, consisting of J. G. Briscoe, G. E. Barber, O. C. Bell, Porter Hedge, and C. C. Munson, was chosen. The corner-stone was laid July 3, 1888, President A. R. Benton, of Indianapolis, making the address. The church was dedicated on Sunday, August 25, 1889, with impressive services. It is a most beautiful structure, one of which the church may well be proud.
The First Free Baptist Church of Lincoln was organized May 2, 1886, with eighteen members, electing Rev. A. F. Bryant pastor, A. D. Baker deacon, and G. W. Sisson secretary.
Land was purchased on the corner of F and Fourteenth streets, and a church house erected in the same year of the organization, and was occupied, though not wholly completed. Meanwhile Rev. Bryant removed, and Rev. B. F. McKenney succeeded to the pastorate, (271) remaining one year. Rev. O. E. Baker, of Providence, R. I., was elected, and commenced his labors with the church April 1st, 1888.
By the liberality of friends, and the aid of the Home Mission Board, the church house was completed and dedicated in June, 1888, the pastor preaching the sermon, and Rev. E. H. Curtis, D. D., of the First Presbyterian Church, and Rev.
O. W. Williams, D. D., of the First Baptist Church, assisting.
The First Universalist Society of Lincoln was organized at the residence of J. D. Monell, September 1, 1870, with W. W. Holmes, S. J. Tuttle, J. N. Parker, Mrs. Sarah Parker, Mrs. Julia Brown, Mrs. Laura B. Pound, and Mrs. Mary Monell, as charter members. About this time the property now in the possession of the society, on the corner of Twelfth and H streets, was secured by grant from the legislature of the State. A subscription was also begun, looking toward the erection of a chapel. In the meantime the society held occasional services for worship in the Senate Chamber, in the old Capitol building. During the month of December of this same year Rev. Asa Saxe, D. D., General Secretary of the Universalist denomination, visited Lincoln for the purpose of ascertaining whether it would be advisable to make this a missionary point. His decision was favorable to such a movement. Consequently, with the financial aid of the denomination, the society was able to call Rev. James Gerton, then of Illinois, to be its first pastor. He accepted the invitation, and began work in September, 1871. The following October the corner-stone of the chapel was laid, and on Sunday, June 23, 1872, it was dedicated.
All this was brought about largely through the efforts of one devoted woman, Mrs. Mary Monell. It was she who first gathered the few scattered Universalists in the place together. Unaided she raised the subscription to build the chapel; she collected the funds, saw that the work was done, and paid the bills. The early records of the society reveal the zeal and fidelity with which she did her work, the many difficulties with which she had to contend, and her final triumph. Mrs. Monell must always be looked upon as the patron saint of the First Universalist Society of Lincoln.
ln 1873 the denomination was so badly crippled by the panic of the year before that it was unable to continue its financial aid to the society; and as the society
was not strong enough to support a pastor (272) of its own accord, Rev. Mr. Gerton, after remaining two years, was forced to resign his charge. For nearly ten years after this the society had no settled pastor. Preaching services
were held only occasionally and as Universalist clergyman were passing through the city, or stopping in it for a short time. During a portion of this time the chapel was rented to other religious organizations. The society continued in existence, however, and in the spring of
1883 the trustees of the Universalist General Convention made arrangements with Rev. E. H. Chapin, the present pastor, to come to Lincoln and take charge of the work. Rev. Mr.
Chapin has now been with the society something over six years, and during that time has quite thoroughly identified himself with the intellectual, moral, and benevolent, interests of the city. Year by year the society has continued to gather to itself numbers and strength. The parsonage, now standing
on one of the church lots, was completed in 1886. Connected with the church as auxiliary organizations are the Unity Club, the Ladies' Aid Society, and the Young People's Missionary Association.
Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized November 24,1881, with five members, Rev. F. Koenig, now of Seward, Neb., presiding. The present pastor, H. Frincke, took charge of the congregation in April, 1882. During the first year services were held in a small church building corner N and Thirteenth, the present site of the new Y. M. C. A. rooms. The following three years the congregation assembled in the Universalist church, on Twelfth, between H and J streets. In the spring of 1880 the new church was occupied, located on H, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets. In the rear of this church building a school-room accommodating ninety pupils was built. This department of the church work is under the direction of teacher F. Hellmann, whose school now numbers seventy pupils, who attend the school daily, except Saturday and Sunday. This gentleman, together with the pastor, is sustained solely by the congregation.
The unaltered Augsburg Confession, and its Apology, the Formula of Concord, the two catechisms of Luther, the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, form the confessions of this church. It belongs to that great Lutheran organization, the Missouri Synod. The present officers are: Messrs. H. Herpolsheimer, H. Witte, Peter Grafelmann,
(273) trustees and elders. The status of the congregation is as
follows: Souls, 400 ; voting members -- i.e., male members of and above the age of twenty-one
years -- 60; communicants -- i.e., all such as are allowed to partake of the Lord's
Supper -- 287. The current expenses amount to about $1,500 annually. The valuable property
is free from all incumbrances. Services every Sunday at 10 A. M. and 3 P. M. Evening services every other Sunday at 8 P. M.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1872, by Rev. G. W. Gaines, Presiding Elder of the Nebraska district. The pioneer organization was composed of but eleven members. Its place of worship was located upon the north side of E street, between Tenth and Eleventh, in 1873, on lots donated by the State, where the home of the society still remains, including the parsonage. A large and handsome building is now being erected there, which will cost, when completed, $6,000.
The society is now in a prosperous condition, and has a growing membership, numbering 110. The Rev. J. W. Braxton is the pastor in charge. He is a popular and successful man with his people.
A prosperous Sunday School is now maintained by this society, comprising 100 scholars, with a library in connection therewith numbering four hundred volumes.
There are two other colored church societies in the city, but they are in a weak and disorganized condition.
Besides the churches already mentioned, there are a number not so well established, but which deserve a place in a descriptive sketch of Lincoln. Among these is the Mount Zion Baptist Church, located at the corner of F and Twelfth streets. This church maintains regular services and a pastor, Rev. J. L. Cohron.
Besides the German Evangelical Lutheran, there are other societies belonging to the Lutheran denomination. One is Our Savior's Danish, located at 216 South Twenty-third street, of which Rev. P. L. C. Hanson is pastor, and H. J. Nellson clerk. Another is the Swedish church, located on K, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth, Rev. F. N. Swanberg pastor. A third is St. Paul's German, at F and Thirteenth, Rev. H. Heiner pastor.
All these churches enjoy regular service, and support Sunday Schools.
(274) The Swedish Methodist Society is just becoming well organized.
A prosperous church has been started at Wesleyan University, which maintains the usual services, and of which Dr. C. F. Creighton is pastor.
The Reformed Hebrew Congregation is the society of the leading Hebrew people of the city. S. Seligsohn is President, I. Oppenheimer Vice President, W. Meyer Secretary, and I. Oppenheimer Treasurer.
During the present year the Salvation Army disbanded.
The Seventh-day Adventists hold services at the corner of Fifteenth and E streets. Rev. L. A. Hooper is pastor.
The Swedish Mission is located at 233 South Ninth street, with Rev. C. G. F. Johnson as pastor.
The United Brethren Society holds its meetings at Eleventh and B streets, Rev. J. Olive pastor.
The Young Men's Christian Association of Lincoln was organized. in January, 1880, with thirteen members. The following officers were elected: President, A. O. Geisinger; Vice President, Richard George; Secretary, W. W. Peet; Treasurer, M. L. Easterday.
Robert Weidensall, the veteran Secretary of the International Committee, was present at the organization, and has ever since had a deep interest in the progress of the association. After four years' experience the association decided that the only way to keep abreast with like associations in other cities was to employ a competent General Secretary. After considerable correspondence, and through the help of the International Committee, the present General Secretary, Jas. A. Dummett, was recommended as a suitable young man to carry forward the work. Mr. Dummett is a graduate of Adrain College, Michigan, and had been an active worker in the Pittsburgh, Penn., Y. M. C. A. for five years. On the sixth day of August, 1984, Mr. Dummett arrived. in Lincoln, and during his five years of faithful and efficient service, has succeeded in building up one of the strongest associations west of Chicago. The association during the past five years has kept pace with the rapid growth of the city. When the present Secretary arrived the association was occupying rooms for which they were paying the sum of $12.50 per month, with a membership of one hundred. To-day the association is pleasantly situated in a handsome suite of six rooms in the McConnell block, 141 South Tenth street, with a (275) present membership of five hundred. The association has entirely outgrown its present surroundings, and on the 24th day of July the contract was let for a $60,000 association building, to be erected on the southwest corner of N and Thirteenth streets, to be completed by September 1, 1890.
The building will be a very handsome structure, and when completed it will not only be an ornament to the city, but a great blessing to the multitudes of young men who need just such privileges as the association can offer them in a building specially adapted to its work.
The following well-known business men constitute the present (276) officers and directors: J. H. Mockett sr., President; John R. Clark, First Vice President; S. H. Burnham, Second Vice President; John L. Doty, Third Vice President; Capt. J. W. Winger, Recording Secretary; M. L. Easterday, Treasurer. Dr. Benj. F. Bailey, A. R. Talbott, E. E. Bennett, Chas. West, J. J. Imhoff, A. S. Raymond, J. Z. Briscoe, A. H. Weir, C. C. Munson, Directors.
The following members of the board constitute the Building Committee: John R. Clark, Chairman; C. C. Munson, Secretary; A. H. Weir, Treasurer; Chas. West and A. R. Talbott. Ferdinand C. Fiske is the architect, and Louis Jensen the contractor.
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