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Title: Centennial Home Coming Pageant, Armstrong Chapel, June 27, 10:00 A.M. 1926
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Home Coming

Armstrong Chapel
June 27, 10:00 A. M.

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Home Coming Pageant
A Portrayal of the History of
Armstrong Chapel
Written and Directed by Committee
C.L. McKinnis
Edwin Magee
Mrs. Robert Arvidson

Music sounds; then a pause of silence. From afar a call of attention is sounded. The Narrator and Interlocutor wend their way toward leafy bowers. Seating themselves, each reads:

People of Armstrong, friends and neighbors,
Welcome to this historic spot.
I am a Narrator, summoned here
To unveil the past, that you may see
From the stories and traditions of your ancestors
How Armstrong Chapel came to be.

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Come follow with me, folks, when
Nature ruled as a lovely Queen,
And all her fairy subjects frolicked
In a land uninhabited by men.
Animals, Birds, and Wild Flowers,
Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter,
Sunbeams, Winds, and Snow Spirits
With joyous havoc enter.
The Red Man comes from afar,
Then all the Court rejoices.
Nature give them her gift of corn
And all her children blesses.

Queen Nature sits enthroned, around her are grouped the Spirits of Spring and Summer. Characters representing animals, birds and wild flowers enter with the sunbeams. Fall and the Winds enter to drive back the animals and birds and wilt the flowers. Winter and the Snow Spirits enter gaily, but are driven back by the Sunbeams and Spring. An Indian call is heard in the woods, and the Indian and Maiden appear in wonder at the beauty of the Spirits. Nature blesses them, presents them with her gift of corn, and leads them to their wigwam home and campfire, set in place by the animals of the forest.

White Man's Visit

The Indians live in happiness
Many years, but this is not for long,
For the White Man comes to this new found land,
While up to Heaven goes a mighty song.
Onward, ever onward they come,
Led by the voice of conscience clear,
With sturdy strength and hearts aglow,
And a steadfast faith that knows no fear.

The Indians are busy within their village. The squaws are busy about the tepees. Chiefs and braves are seated around a fire, smoking and talking. In the distance men are coming and going with canoes; other are bringing bundles of fur, which they display as the day's hunt. Suddenly an alarm is sounded, all the Indiana flee to places of safety, and they watch with awe the approach of the pale-face strangers. Finally, a chief ventures forth to greet them, and the white folks and Indiana sit around the campfire together. The Indians are much interested in the white man, who offers to trade beads and other trinkets to them, while the Indians offer furs in return.

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Settling the Land, 1825-1827

Late in the year of 1826
Bowyers and Moores from Ohio came
With their families, to seek
A home in this new claimed land.
Others followed these sturdy men,
Bearing all hardships and privations
That their children and children's children
Might pave the way for future generations.

The first land entered in this neighborhood, from the land office established at Crawfordsville in 1820 or 1822, was from the Tippecanoe County line west two miles, and from the Lafayette and Pine Village road south two and one-half miles, the eighty acres at the old James A. Johnston home, and the eighty acres cornering with the northwest corner of that land by William Mace, October 24, 1825. The next entry was made by Thomas Bowyer, November 3, 1825, when he entered the one hundred sixty acres on which Armstrong church stands. On the same day Edward Moore entered the one hundred sixty acres west of the Bowyer land. They returned to Ohio, and came back with their families in 1826. Thomas Bowyer built a temporary home near the northwest corner of the old cemetery, and there Mrs. Mather was born, February 25, 1827. She was the first Hooser-born child of the pioneers of this church.

A log church was afterward built very near the old Bowyer home, and in that church Mrs. Mather and others of her age started the Christian life. Mrs. Mather was born, started the Christian life, and at eighty-eight years of age was buired; all on a space west of Armstrong church of not much, if any, more than one square acre.

On September 26, 1827, Thomas Bowyer entered the eighty acres just north of the eighty on which the church stands, and on the same day Edward Moore entered eighty acres south of the church and on the east side of the road. On October 3, 1827, Thomas Johnston entered five eighty-acre tracts in the area given, one of them being the land across the road east of the church; after this enteries followed rapidly. -- C.L. McKinnis History.

These men are seen at the land office in 1825, and their return to Ohio. Then comes the journey back to Indiana in 1826. A man walks beside the wagon carrying a gun. They select the place for their new home, and pitch their camp until a cabin can be built. They begin the task of unloading the wagons, while the children help build the fires. Another family comes, and passes on to another place, where they stop to locate. Other families come.

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Early Days of Pioneer Life

Let's look upon a pleasant scene
Of early home and community life
Where neighbors come to help each other,
No though of selfish gain or strife.
Log rolling and the quilting bee,
The soap and candle making.
The wives and children come all eager
To help at such a gathering.
Then 'twas always a gala occassion,
For when the homely tasks were done
Music and games changed from work to fun.
The men move their quaint farm implements near a log cabin to make room for the log-rolling. The women at the cabin are busy getting ready for the coming of the neighbors. Near the cabin stands a quilting fram, where some are quilting. Some are making soap, while others are spinning. A neighbor arrives and, after greetings, the log-rolling begins. The soap is finished, as are the candles and quilt. Then come music, games, and songs.

The Old Log Church

There's a chruch in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier place in the dale,
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.


We know that the first settlement by those people of this church was made in the fall of 1826; we know they held a two-day meeting in the fall of 1829, which in all probability was a quarterly meeting; we know that they increased in numbers and in spirituality to the extent that they built the present church in 1851; we know that religious convictions do not spring up so suddenly in a pioneer country -- and just as surely as we know that the Pilgrim Fathers came to America with fixed religious convictions, we know that these pioneers came here with a firmly grounded faith. We know that nearly all of them came from Ohio, and that a very large majority of them came from the Scioto Valley, between Chillicothe and Waverly, a distance of twenty to twenty-five miles, and that the point from which they came centralizes in the old Foster neighborhood, and there stands a little old brick church which, no doubt, is the mother church of Armstrong. It was built at even date with the first settlement here, and all from there except the first three attended the mother church, and they, too, were reared in the same atmosphere and were of the same Christian spirit that built that church. The charter members of that church were Fosters, Moores, Bowyers, Doughertys, Ritenours, and many others. The first preacher was

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John Foster II. To this day they hold a preaching service that is similar to the one held at Armstrong -- preaching every two weeks and Sunday school every Sabbath. Immediately after the Revolutionary War, John Foster I came to that place and founded the Foster family. He was a preacher for thirty-five years and laid the foundation of religious faith there which afterward built the old Foster Chapel, the Mother Church of Armstrong. -- C.L. McKinnis History.

Here we have the picture of the old Foster Chapel in Ohio, the mother church of Armstrong, as it looks today, whose frist preacher was John Foster II, and whose pastor in 1924 was Rev. McCollough.


COncerning the old log church, Emaline Shoaf, of Green Hill, Indiana, born April 25, 1844, though a mere child at the time, remembers it quite well and attended church there many times. She remembers that it fronted to the south, which is quite consistent with the fact that the old roadway was south of it; she remembers the old, box-like, cast-iron stove that was used in connection with the fireplace in cold weather, but does not remember the fireplace. She remembers Hacaliah Vredenberg, and that he lived south of the present church about a quarter of a mile. Serept Johnston Hartman, child of THomas and Nancy Johnston, who lived in Chestertwon, Maryland, until her recent death, remembered the log church and that it was located just west of the old cemetery, and though that all the young people older than herself joined church there. She and those of her age joined at the present church at a great revival held by Frank Taylor during the winter of 1853-54.

Elizabeth H. Maddox Killin, daughter of Frederick and Maria Haigh Maddox, wrote an autobiography setting forth the principal events of her life. Quoting from her manuscript: "She was born in Highland County, Ohio, September 24, 1818, and came to Indiana with her parents in 1828, and settled two miles northeast of this church. In the fall of 1829 she attended a two-day meeting in the neighborhood, held by Hacaliah Vredenberg and Jabob Turman, James Armstrong having preached on Sunday morning and Turman in the evening. Vredenberg was a man remembered by all the older people as one of the 'Fathers in Israel' and 'a very lovable Christian man.' March 11, 1835, she attened a quarterly meeting at the Bowyer Meeting House, held by Hacaliah Vredenberg. In June, 1850, she attened an Annual Meeting at Armstrong." This was a year before the present church was built, and from this it seems that the Home-Coming spirit was with the member os the old church. It is pleasant to realize that we have inherited that spirit from them. -- C.L. McKinnis History.

The old log church is seen in the distance. People are seen walking to church as in olden times.

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James Armstrong, for whom this church was named, is buried near Laporte, Indiana. As a Presiding Elder his district included most of the state north of Terre Haute. The custom of the Presiding Elder was to preach on Sunday mornings and, since he occasionally preached here, wqe have sufficient reason to believe that this was an organized church at that time. The first parsonage stood on the south side of the Lafayette-Pine Village road, about a quarter of a mile east of the Tippecanoe County line. After the present parsonage was built in Montmorenci, the old parsonage was sold to William Foster, moved farther south and is now occupied by the Christopher Brothers. We have an accounting sheet showing all receipts and expenditures of money for building that parsonage -- the date is 1850 -- the total cost is $645.50 -- and signed J.G. Osborn, Treasurer. -- C.L. McKinnis History.

Rev. James Armstrong is seen as a circuit rider, going from church to church with the latest news, preparing his sermons through Bible study as his horse carries him slowly but surely over the hills, through the forests and into the valleys.

Later Years

Day by day the time flies away,
Measuring your deeds from morn till eve;
Cutting with scythe both flowers and weeds.
Time does not stay, each his work must leave --
Do while you may, day by day.

Among the papers of the late Charles W. Bowyer, we found a Class Book, the title page which reads, "Class Book for the use of the class at Boywer's Chapel in Poolsville Circuit, Lafayette District, North Indiana Conference; Joseph Marsee, Presiding Elder; WIlliams F. Wheeler, Circuit Preacher; Thomas Bowyer, Class Leader, October 26, 1850." Another notation in this book is "Renewed August 25, 1854, Joseph Marsee, Presiding Elder; J.W. Parrott, Circuit Preacher. In 1855, Benjamin Winans, Presiding Elder; J.M. Stallard, Circuit Preacher." This book seems to be complete to the fall of 1856, and shows that Thomas Bowyer was class leader for the entire period of six years covered by the book. -- C.L. McKinnis History.

A group of people are seen in the distance, a representative from each of the old families steps to the front as each name of the family represented is spoken -- Foster, Bowyer, Moore, Dougherty, Ritenour, McKinnis, Mather, Johnston, Blind, Clark, Wagner, Knauer, Woodhams, Chenoweth, Mrs. Shoaf.

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Growth of the Sunday School

At the meeting of the third Quarterly Conference for Poolsville Circuit, Attica District, North West Indiana Conference, held at Little Pine, June 23, 1860, we have the following report: "Four Sunday schools; condition prosperous." In 1862, at the first Quarterly Conference, we have the following: "One school in prosperous condition." The Sunday school report for the frist Quarterly Conference in 1863 reads: "There is one in a prosperous condition; all others suspended for the winter." At the close of the third quarter, ending June 25, 1864, we have: "There are four Sunday schools organized and in operation with an average attendance of one hundred thirty children, with good interest." On September 16, 1865, there was reported seven Sunday schools at the churches in Poolsville Circuit. January 4, 1868, we have: "All Sunday schools have suspened for the winter but two. The religious instruction of the children has not been neglected." The following report is from the fourth Quarterly Conference for Montmorenci Circuit, Battle Ground District, North West Indiana Conference, August 27, 1873: "We have seven Sunday schools in operation; we have good reason to believe all are doing a good work both for the present and the future." The Sunday School Board for the years 1881-1882 at Armstrong was George Johnston, Florence Johnston, William T. Foster, Miss Sarah Moore, Scott Moore, James Johnston, Charles Moore, Lenta Mathers and Daniel Johnston.

John Dougherty .... 1874
Thomas Moore .... 1875
John Dougherty .... 1883
Wm. Bader .... 1885
Wm. T. Foster .... 1886
Luther White .... 1889-1891
Frank Johnston .... 1891-1895
Luther White .... 1895-1897
Frank Johnston .... 1897-1898


Chas. Collyer .... 1906-1910
T. B. Moore .... 1910-1911
Luther White .... 1911-1912
Robt. B. Arvidson .... 1912-1916
Edwin Magee .... 1916-1917
Abbie Harmon .... 1917-1918
Robt. B. Arvidson .... 1918-1920
Wm. Melvin Clawson .... 1920-1921
Mrs. Charles Sawyer .... 1921-1922
Roy Salman .... 1922-1923
Robt. B. Arvidson .... 1923-

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The Present

Faith of our fathers! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
The characters of the entire pageant assemble in a body in the center of which is a broad passage. As the soung, "On the Banks of the Wabash," is sung, Rev. Armstrong comes forth from the rear to the front. All kneel and sing last stanze of "America," as a large flag is hoisted across the back. "Stars and Stripes Forever" is played as all march off the stage.

James Armstrong, Presiding Elder, 1850
Hacaliah Vredenberg .... 1829-1835
Wm. F. Wheeler .... 1850-1853
Frank Taylor .... 1853-1854
J.M. Stallard .... 1854-1856
Moses Wood .... 1858-1860
H.B. Ball .... 1860-1861
A.F. Hayes .... 1861-1862
J.L. Woodard .... 1862-1864
J.F. McDaniels .... 1864-1866
Luther Taylor .... 1866-1867
Samuel P. Colvin .... 1867-1869
J.W. Hogan .... 1869-1871
J.M. Stallard .... 1871-1872
Lafayette S. Buckles .... 1872-1874
N.A. Chamberlain .... 1874-1877
Wm. A. Smith .... 1877-1878
Chas. Burns McManis .... 1878-1881
Wesley Prettyman .... 1881-1882
David Handley .... 1882-1885
W.R. Mikels .... 1885-1887
John J. Claypool .... 1887-1890
Lewis S. Smith .... 1890-1894
H.H. Dunlavy .... 1894-1897
Clarence D. Royse .... 1897-1898
J.C. Kemp .... 1898-1901
Chas. B. Allen .... 1901-1904
N.A. Chamberlain .... 1904-1906
Allen H. Delong .... 1906-1908
John Paul Stafford .... 1908-1910
Wm. N. Dunn .... 1910-1913
Arthur W. Smith .... 1913-1914
A.A. Dunlavy .... 1914-1917
John B. McNary .... 1917-1921
Thurman A. Griffin and J.V. Patterson .... 1921-1922
H.D. Bollinger .... 1922-1924
R.S. McCutchen .... 1924-1925
G.A. Trodie .... 1925-

Local Preachers in Circuit
Thomas Dougherty .... 1881-1888
John P. Ambler .... 1881-1888
Jedediah Killin .... 1883
Jonathan Hoffman .... 1883
Luther White .... 1895
Frank Dougherty .... 1895
Wm. H. Templin .... 1895
George Darby .... 1895

[booklet published for Amstrong Chapel centennial, 8 pages, approximately 6" wide by 9" tall, grey cover]

Date: 6/1/1926
Origin: Armstrong Chapel
Author: C.L. McKinnis, Edwin Magee, Mrs. Robert Arvidson
Record ID: 00002615
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Churches, Volume I A-C historical binder
Entered By: M. Park Hunter

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.