History Record View

Title: Williamsport United Methodist Church
File Attachment:
Attachment Type:

In the year 1827, with only a small group of log cabins on the west bank of the Wabash River, Williamsport began its existence. Almost immediately, circuit riders of the Methodist Church began to meet, at intervals, with the settlers in their homes. Regular meetings of the church were started in 1833, this being the beginning of the Methodist Church in Williamsport.

The first centrally located meetings were held in the log school house. Williamsport was included in the Pine Creek circuit, in 1836, later to join the Independence Circuit. About 1837, a circuit was established at Williamsport, and the first church was built. In the late 1830s the church school was first organized. In 1840, Benjamin E. Gregory was selected Superintendent and served in this capacity until about 1870 when he was succeeded by his son, John Gregory, who served until his death in 1908.

The first Methodist church stood at the Northwest corner of Monroe and Jackson streets. It was a one story frame with a roof being supported upon four wooden posts which stood equal distances from each other in the middle portion of the room. The pulpit was elevated and to get into it required going up four steps.

This church was lighted by candles, with tin candle holders on four posts as well as along the wall. Also candles were used on the pulpit and several andles were used on the wall back of the pulpit. The ceiling and sides of the room were not plastered but instead were covered with dressed lumber. Instead of pews or chairs, heavy benches were used, which wer emade of one nad one-half inch poplar.

This church remained until July 17, 1864, when a new two story church was dedicated. It was located on the north side of Monroe Street directly across from the Old Stone House, one half block west from High Street. In 1851, the church became a part of the Northwest Indiana Conference. Rev. W.R. Mickles dug all the trenches for the foundations of the new building, the site for the new church being donated by B.F Gregory and wife. It took two years to complete this building.

In 1882, many though a new and larger church should be built. this met with much opposition, as others though "the old brick church is good enough for anyone", but finally in 1894 the foundation was laid for the present church. The stone was purchased from the local stone quarry. This stone was transported by mules and wagons to the building site. The corner stone was laid on May 8, 1895. Dr. Wilcox, assisted by Dr. L.C. Buckles, presiding elder gave the principle address at the cornerstone laying. The dedication of this church took place on February 18, 1896. Dr. D.H. Moore, editor of the Western Christian Advocate, assisted by Dr. Buckles, gave the dedicatory sermon.

In 1920, thinking the parsonage was inadequate, the trustees then purchased a parsonage located at 10 Center Street. It was some time later that the present parsonage, at 12 Boyer Street, was received by bequest from Mrs. Isaac Slauter.

In the year, 1950, due to need for additional classrooms, an auditorium and kitchen, under the direction of Rev. Carlyle L. Mason, the original building committee was formed to formulate plans for an annex. They had plans formulated, but due to insufficient space or ground, it was decided that additional property was needed. The property adjoining the church to the west was purchased in 1955. In late May, 1957, a very successful Building Fund Drive was conducted by the church. In June, 1957, the Building Committee, consisting of the original members and three new members held its first meeting. The members for th committee were Rev. Roy Katayama, Cecil Haupt, Harold Schlosser, Claude Hellwig, Bill Biddle, mary (May) Schlosser, Lucina Masters, and John A. Fix. The house on the property was razed during the week of November 18, 1957, and the Sunday school classes which had been held in the house were then to be held in the basement of the Williamsport Washington Township Library.

After many, many meetings, and much hard work and time being spent, the annex became a reality and was accepted by the church in October, 1958. It has proven a great asset to the church, the community, and especially the children of our church.

Again in 1967, the church felt its need for completing a parking facility for the church. The church purchased the property to the south. This property was rented for a short time and later razed to make way for the parking lot. It is planned that this parking lto will be completed in the very near future.

The church has had a long and very important role in the community and has grown continuously from its beginning and it is hoped that it will continue to grow.

Our church is one of the oldest churches in the community and its development is not the result of the work of any one generation or time, but that of several generations that have passed and we must strive to keep it growing for our future generations.

The future will hold the successful completion of all our plans and with the commiment of our prayers, service, presence and gifts from all the members of our church. We know that we can look forward to a bright future for our Williamsport United Methodist Church.

Date: 8/1/1989
Origin: Good Ol' Days
Author: Maxine Welsh
Record ID: 00000143
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

Information in this record is provided for personal research purposes only and may not be reproduced for publication. If you have questions about copyright issues contact the archive source listed above.