William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]


Kansas Avenue M. E. Church. - In April, 1857, Rev. James Shaw, of the Detroit Conference, moved into the Territory of Kansas and settled in Doniphan County. After preaching a few times in Geary City and Doniphan, by request, he visited Atchison, and in May delivered the first sermon in Gen. S. C. Pomeroy's office, located where the Otis House now stands. During the same month arrangements were made for holding regular services, the new pastor inducing a Congregational minister, Rev. J. H. Byrd, to preach every alternate Sunday. Services were maintained during the summer and fall, and in October the First M. E. Church of Atchison was regularly organized, with Mr. and Mrs. O. F. Short, Mrs. Butt, Miss Wiley, Mrs. Ann Harrison, Richard Harrison and W. M. Davies and wife, as members. Of these only O. F. Short and Richard Harrison had been members of the Methodist Church, and consequently the remaining members understood that when they had an opportunity and so desired, they could join their own societies. This new religious organization, however, was so welcome that, during the winter, $2,000 was raised in the city to build an edifice. At the third session of the Kansas and Nebraska Conference, held at Topeka, in April, 1858, Rev. James Shaw was transferred from the Detroit Conference, and appointed to the Leavenworth District, which embraced Atchison. Isaac F. Collins was stationed at Atchison, a lot was donated by Col. Abell, on Parallel street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, and the erection of a church building commenced. Mr. Collins was re-appointed to the charge in the spring of 1859, when the church was finished. In March, 1860, Rev. Milton Mahin became pastor, serving until March, 1861; Rev. Mr. Wentz, from 1861 to 1862; Rev. James Shaw, 1862-63; Rev. Warington Marlatt, 1863-64; Rev. R. L. Hartford, 1864-66 (parsonage built); Rev. W. K. Marshall, 1866-68; Rev. H. D. Fisher, 1868-71. In 1869, the old church was sold and the fine new edifice on Kansas Avenue commenced. It was entirely completed in the fall of 1873 at a cost of $25,000. The church is of brick, 55X90 feet, entrance on Kansas Avenue. Rev. T. J. Leak served the church from 1871 to 1874; Rev. G. S. Dearborne, from 1875-76; Rev. William Friend 1876-79; Rev. E. W. Van Deventer, 1879-1882. Rev. Phillip Krohn, D. D. of New York, was called to the pastorate in 1882. He assumed charge of a most flourishing society, its membership numbering nearly two hundred.

First Baptist Church. - The founder of the First Baptist Church of Atchison is, without doubt, Rev. James M. Challiss, father of George T. Challiss, was located on the present site of the city, in September, 1854. During the next three years, Luther, Dr. W. L. and Joseph Challiss, children all of that Christian old clergyman, then living away off in New Jersey, settled in Atchison; and it was the repeated prayer of the father that the community in which they lived should not longer exist without holy influence of religion, which finally induced Luther to donate a fine piece of ground, on the corner of Kansas avenue and Ninth street. Aided by the Cohansey Church, of Cumberland County, New Jersey, of which the Rev. Mr. Challiss was pastor, sufficient funds were raised to complete a substantial brick edifice, by September, 1858. The Methodists had previously erected a small building, so that this was the second one in Atchison, and the first Baptist meeting-house in the State of Kansas.

It was on the 24th of April, 1858, that Rev. L. A. Alderson, who had been for years a laborer in the pastoral, Sunday-school and missionary fields in Virginia, came to reside in Atchison. Rev. James Shaw, the Methodist Minister, had been invited to conduct the services, but being unable to attend, and Mr. Alderson having landed the previous night from the steamboat, arrangements were at once made by which he should preach the pioneer Baptist sermon. The services were conducted in Gen. S. C. Pomeroy's office, a small brick building opposite the old National Hotel, on Atchison street. Regular services were held, a few Sabbaths afterwards, in a room previously occupied as a saloon, on Commercial street, near the wharf. On August 1, 1858, a church was organized, the place of meeting at that time being a room in Allen's building, corner of Commercial and Second streets. Those who then united in church relation were Rev. L. A. Alderson and wife, Mrs. Mary A. Challiss, J. C. Allen and wife, Aaron Stephenson and wife, Deacon Thomas Wise, Wilberforce Dunlevy, and a few days thereafter, Dr. Wm. L. Challiss. The next month the church was completed at a cost of $5,000, and the church was established on a substantial basis. In May, 1861, Rev. Mr. Alderson, who had been pastor of this church since 1858, was succeeded by Rev. A. Perkins, D. D. Rev. Frank Remington commenced his pastorate in May, 1864, serving only a few months, being followed by Rev. J. W. Warder. Rev. H. A. Guild came in May, 1867; Rev. I. Sawyer, D. D., July 1868; Rev. E. Gunn, August, 1870; Rev. J. B. Hardwicke, November, 1873; Rev. W. T. Fleenor, June, 1877; Rev. J. W. Luke, August, 1880. The Church is now among the strongest in the city, having a membership of (about) 200 - a cause for just rejoicing when the contrast is made with that little band of nine who constituted the First Baptist Church of Atchison, a quarter of a century ago.

First Congregational Church. - Although the Congregationalists held services under Rev. J. H. Byrd, as early as June, 1857, no regular church organization was effected until March 20, 1858. Upon that day a society of eight members was formed - Mr. Byrd, Pastor; A. J. Evans, Deacon; B. F. Harrison, Clerk. In the fall of 1859, the foundations of the present church edifice, corner of Kansas avenue and Fourth street, were laid, and during the following season the building was enclosed. The congregation worshiped in the basement for several years. The church was completed and dedicated May 14, 1865. Rev. S. D. Storrs had become pastor in June, 1862. It was during his pastorate that the building was finished. He resigned in 1867 and was succeeded for one year by Rev. J. M. Van Wagner. Rev. L. B. Wilson, D. D., became pastor to 1868, and remained in charge for two years, resigning his position in February, 1872. In September, 1872, Rev. F. T. Ingalls, of Olathe, accepted a call to the church, and was installed in October. With the exception of one year's absence in Europe, from October, 1880, to November, 1881, Mr. Ingalls has had charge of the society since 1872. During the time Rev. William A. Bosworth was stated supply. The church is strong and growing, having a membership of 180. Its property is valued at $15,000. Present officers of the church, (1882): Samuel Hollister, C. Weber, E. A. Markham, J. C. Meacham, A. P. Tenny, Trustees; E. C. Johnson, J. A. Norton, Deacons; J. H. Garside, Clerk; C. M. White, Treasurer; D. T. Bradford, Superintendent of Sunday school.

The First Presbyterian Church was organized October 21, 1858, by a committee of Highland Presbytery appointed for that purpose. The organization took place in a building owned by Mr. Allen, then standing on the corner of Second and Commercial streets. The Rev. Alex. W. Pitzer, of Leavenworth, chairman of the committee, appointed by the Presbytery, was present and conducted the proceedings. The number of persons entering into the organ- ization on that day were eight, five by letter and three on profession of faith, viz: William M. Davies, Mary Davies, George B. Irwin, Rebecca Irwin, Anne Love, Andrew Hamilton, Mampimilla Ireland and Edward Hair. The organ- ization was completed by the election of William M. Davies as Ruling Elder and Edward Hair as Deacon. For several months afterward the church had no settled pastor and held its service in store rooms, halls and private parlors. In April, 1859, Rev. Julius Spencer was engaged as stated supply, and remained with the society for eighteen months. The church was without regular preaching until September, 1863, when Rev. H. H. Dobbins was called and continued to officiate as pastor until March, 1864. Rev. E. P. Lewis' pastorate commenced in April, 1865, and closed in February, 1868. During his incumbency the building near the corner of Fourth and Commercial streets was erected at a cost of $4,500, and in 1865 the congregation commenced worshipping in it. Up to this time the society had had no permanent home of its own, but had worshipped in various places, the last locality being Price's Hall, corner of Fourth and Main streets. Following Mr. Lewis was the Rev. Edward Cooper, in December, 1868. He remained with the church until December, 1875, when he resigned and was followed in March, 1876, by Rev. J. H. Clark, who officiated until June, 1878. In November of the same year, the present pastor, Rev. M. F. Howie, was called. In this year 1880, the society commenced the erection of a beautiful new stone building, corner of Fifth and Santa Fe streets, and on the 15th day of September, the corner stone was laid, with appropriate ceremonies of Washington Lodge No. 5, A. F. & A. M. The building is of blue lime-stone, 75X90 feet, and when entirely completes will be as fine a church edifice as is found in the City of Atchison. The auditorium, which has a seating capacity of 500, is divided from the Sabbath school room by stained glass doors, which can be dropped into the basement when necessary, thus throwing the entire building into one room. The entire cost of the lot and building will be about $23,000. The present membership of the church is 200, and a continuous growth is noted. Officers of the church: Pastor, Rev. M. F. Howie; Elders, A. J. North, A. B. McQueen, A. B. Decker, J. M. Covert; Deacons, Judge J. L. Berry, B. F. Hudson; Board of Trustees, B. F. Hudson, A. W. Simpson, A. F. Martin, S. D. D. Smith, E. K. Blair, R. B. Drury and David Lukens.

Trinity Church (Episcopal). - What is now known as Trinity, was organized in October, 1857, as St. Mary Magdalene's Church. Its original members being Hon. A. G. Otis, Thos. R. Valliant, James L. McClure, Joseph P. Carr and Richard C. McCall. Those who at this early day thus associated them- selves together were under the spiritual guidance of Rev. L. R. Staudenmayer. Trinity Church was incorporated February 27, 1860, the first vestry under this organization consisting of the originators of the St. Mary Magdalene's Church with the additional member, Major R. H. Weightman. The Court House and Price's Hall were used as places of worship for ten years previous to the building of the church. Mr. Staudenmayer, the first rector of Trinity Church, was succeeded by the Rev. Faber Byliesby, in 1861, and he in 1863, by Rev. J. E. Ryan. After Mr. Ryan's resignation in September, 1864, Rev. T. H. Vail, D. D., was offered the rectorship, which he retained for two years, not-with- standing the manifold other duties which pressed upon him as Bishop of the Diocese. Bishop Vail was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rev. John Bakewell. The society had now so increased in numbers and influence that the need of a suit- able church edifice was more than ever felt. In this emergency, the right men and women were found in the right place, and it was due to the personal efforts of Mr. Bakewell, Col. William Osborn, Richard A. Park, Gen. B. F. Stringfellow, and Hon. A. G. Otis, and generous members of the church, especially the ladies, that the elegant and costly structure, corner of Utah avenue and Fifth street, was erected. Its total cost was $20,000. Built of stone in the early English style of Gothic architecture, roof slated, the interior finished in black walnut and pine, spacious and light, the church combines elegance with durability and comfort, and is one of the ornaments of Atchison. In July 1871, Mr. Bakewell resigned, and was succeeded by the Rev. P. N. Meade in January, 1872. Continuing in charge until April, 1874, the latter was followed by Rev. Thos. G. Carver, who resigned in September, 1875. Rev. Frank O. Osborne became rector in February, 1876, and was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. Abiel Leonard, in November, 1881. There are at present about 150 communicants in the parish and 500 souls in the congregation. Besides the beautiful church building, to which reference has been made, the vestrymen of the society purchased in May, 1882, an elegant two-story brick building on T street for a rectory. The corporation at present (1882) consists of the following: D. P. Blish, Senior Warden; W. W. Scouliar, Junior Warden; C. S. Osborn, Clerk; H. A. Coats, Treasurer; Chief Justice, A. H. Horton, Messrs. E. A. Mize, W. S. Cain, E. W. Markham and C. E. Styles.

St. Benedict's Abbey - St. Benedict's Abbey, church and college, are conducted by the Benedictine Fathers. It was in 1846 when Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O. S. B., came from Bavaria to Pennsylvania, and, assisted by some of his brethern, founded the Monastery of St. Vincent's, Westmoreland County. This founder, now seventy-two years of age, is at present Abbot of that Monastery and President of the American-Casinensian congregation.

The first Benedictine Father that came to Kansas was Henry Lemke, who in the year 1855 arrived at Doniphan, where he laid the foundation of a monastery. His labors for the people have left a grateful remembrance in the hearts of the Catholics living in the vicinity of Doniphan. He was soon assisted by some fellow-brethern who were sent by Father Wimmer. They immediately opened a Latin school with a few pupils. But Augustine Wirth, O. S. B., soon found out that, in a few years, Atchison would surpass Doniphan in every regard, and on this account they transferred their home to Atchison (1859), bought a few lots northeast of the city, and laid the foundation of the present monastery and college. They also started the college, as soon as the building was ready. At the beginning only a few pupils. Rev. P. Augustine was appointed Prior. In 1866 the corner-stone of the Church of St. Benedict was laid. Previous to this a small frame building served as church for the few Catholics. The present church is built in the Roman style, and is 162 feet long and fifty-six feet wide. The steeples and the interior of the church are not yet finished. In June 1868, Rev. P. Louis M. Fink, O. S. B., was appointed Prior, filling the office until December, 1870, at which time he was called to the Episcopal See of Leavenworth. During his priorship the roof of the church was finished so that divine services could be held there. During the erection of the church the college was discontinued, the dormitory of the students serving as a house of worship. After the church had been brought under roof, the college was opened again with ten students. In July, 1871, Rev. P. Hegidius Christoph was appointed Prior. He built the steeples in their present height (July, 1882), laid the floor, finished the ceiling, etc. In January, 1875, Rev. P. Oswald Moosmuller became Prior. Under his direction the monastery as well as the college flourished. Especially his exertions in founding and augumenting a good library are highly to be praised. As the number of members of the community was now sufficient, the Priory was promoted to an Abbey April 7, 1877, and on September 29 Rev. Innocent Wolf elected Abbot. He occupies this dignitary office at present. The status of the house is : Rt. Rev. Innocent Wolf, O. S. B., Abbot; Very Rev. Boniface Verheyen, O. S. B., Prior; Very Rev. Pirmin Koumly, O. S. B., Prior at St. Benedict's Severance; Rev. Augustine Worth, O. S. B., Emmanuel Hartig, O. S. B.; Timothy Luber, O. S. B.; Peter Kassens, O. S. B.; Eugene Bode, O. S. B.; Adolph Wesselling, O. S. B.; Ferdinand Wolf, O. S. B.; Winifred Schmidt, O. S. B.; Joseph Straeder, O. S. B.; Matthew Bradley, O. S. B. Besides these there are four priests from St. Vincent's Pennsylvania, who act as assistants, viz: Rev. Ambrose Huebner, O. S. B.; Rev. Casimir Elsesser, O. S. B.; Theodore Schmitz and Anselm Soehnler; seven clerics, ten lay brothers, five candidates and ten scholastics. The library of the monastery, in which also the students of the college have access, consists of about 5,000 volumes, mostly theological, philological and historical works. There is one incunabulum in this library which was printed in 1486, shortly after the art of printing had been invented. The library is in charge of Venerable Fr. Herman, O. S. B. The cabinet contains many instruments for physical purposes, and a considerable collection of specimens in natural sciences, principally botany, ornithology, geology, palaeontology, entomology, numismatics, archaeology, ethnology. The cabinet is in charge of Very Rev. P. Boniface Verheyen, O. S. B.; botany and entomology are in charge of Rev. P. Winfried Schmidtz, O. S. B. The college library contains at present 800 volumes, which pertain to English and German literature. This library is constantly increasing. It is in charge of Rev. P. Matthew Bradley, O. S. B.

The parish-school near the church is directed by Rev. Peter Kassens, O. S. B., pastor of the church, and taught by four sisters of the order of St. Benidict. The attendance is this year the most numerous, namely, about 300.

M. E. Church, South. - The church is situated on the northeast corner of Sixth and Park streets. The society was organized in 1856 by Rev. Thomas Wallace, and continued to increase until 1862, when, because of the war excitement, the death and removal of members, etc., the organization was broken up. It was reorganized in 1869, by Rev. H. W. Currin. The following pastors have served the church: Rev. Thomas Wallace, Rev. D. C. O'Howell, Rev. Wm. Barnett, Rev. H. W. Currin, Rev. A. V. Bailey, Rev. W. A. Hanna, Rev. H. D. Hogan, Rev. Joseph King, Rev. G. J. Warren, Rev. J. W. Faubion, Rev. J. W. Payne, Rev. T. H. Swearingham and Rev. C. A. Shearman, the present incumbent. The society has at present (1882), forty-six members. It has suffered an unusually large number of deaths and removals, and once or twice has been nearly disbanded. It is now, however, stronger than it has been for some time.

First German Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Atchison, was organized in 1866, by Rev. C. F. Liebe, who was at that time a home missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States, for the States of Missouri and Kansas. The first regular minister was Rev. Mr. Menge, who was installed in April, 1867. Ill health caused his resignation during the same year. Rev. G. Landgraf succeeded Mr. Menge in December. He was installed on the first day of that month, the church building, corner of Tenth and Commercial streets, being dedicated at the same time. In 1869 a parsonage, adjoining the church, was erected and during the next year Mr. Landgraf accepted a call to Missouri. Rev. C. Janzow, of Weston, Mo., succeeded him, who was followed in turn by Rev. C. Hartman of the St. Louis Theological Seminary. He died in the fall of 1872, and a call was then extended to Rev. W. Zschoche, of Miami County, Kan., the present pastor. He was installed January 15, by Rev. M. Meyer, of Leavenworth, who had been in charge of the society for a few months. Both the church building and parsonage were subsequently rebuilt and enlarged. Under the parsonage of Rev. W. Zschoche the congregation has increased to a membership of 130. Connected with the church is a day school, which, until 1881, was conducted by the pastor. It is now taught by F. C. H. Hoeck, and numbers some sixty pupils.

The English Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in Atchison in 1870, with Rev. M. S. Boyer as pastor, and a membership of twenty-three. Regular meetings were held in Price's Hall and the Congregational Church for several months, but Mr. Boyer becoming discouraged, he resigned, and the church soon ceased holding meetings. Some moths since, however, a reorganization was effected, and the services of Rev. W. I. Cutter, of Effingham, secured. Meetings were held regularly every Sunday afternoon, and the church has a membership of forty-two. The Methodist Episcopal Church South has been secured for the meetings of the organization.

Although the society has no building of its own, it has land in what is known as the Lutheran Church addition - about thirty lots. The elders of the church are: J. H. Berlin, who is also secretary and treasurer, and Nathan Kitier; deacons, W. H. Kuhns, A. B. Zimmerman, Israel Heisy and H. N. Waterbury; trustees, S. K. Clarke and W. H. Smith. The organization has also a Sunday school of forty-five members, of which J. H. Berlin is superintendent.

Church of Christ. - The members of this religious body effected an organization in Atchison in 1869, with James F. Butcher and T. B. McCleery as elders, and J. A. Ham, James A. Patton and J. J. Locker as deacons, and the last named as clerk and treasurer. Elder W. J. Rogers officiated for one year, succeeded by Elder James E. Gaston, who remained in charge eighteen months. The meetings then became irregular for several years, and in 1875 the church as an organization ceased to exist. After the lapse of seven years, by the active exertions of C. F. Saunders and lady and other zealous persons, the church was reorganized December 4, 1881, with a membership of twenty-two. Social meetings were held for a season and Elder J. R. Spencer, of Topeka, secured to preach to the congregation. The following were elected as the advisory board: C. F. Saunders, J. G. Sample, T. R. McCleery, J. T. Allensworth and J. J. Locker. The board finally secured the services of Elder M. P. Hayden, of Columbiana, Ohio, who took charge of the church, April 7, 1882. Under his auspices, and by the co-operation of the advisory board, a permanent organ- ization was effected May 29, 1882, with a membership of twenty-five. Meetings are regularly held in the hall, corner of Fourth street and Kansas avenue, and the "Church of Christ" is growing rapidly. Within one year its membership will undoubtedly reach one hundred.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church of Atchison was organized in the summer of 1868. The first sermon was preached by Rev. John M. Wilkinson, who was sent there by the conference of the African Methodist Church. He labored zealously organizing classes and soon succeeded in building a comfortable frame meeting house, capable of seating 125 persons. Rev. Mr. Wilkinson's successors were: Revs. J. F. Jordan, W. H. Sexton, Thomas Strother, John A. Fourshee, W. L. Herod, V. F. Bates, J. W. Wilson, James H. Hubbard and J. P. Howard, present preacher in charge, who came to Atchison, October, 1881. Four years since the frame church building, located on Atchison between Seventh and Eighth streets was destroyed by fire, but the congregation immediately set to work and erected on the ruins a brick building, 36X60 feet; the last indebtedness on the church, $500, was paid by subscription in a single day, in May, 1882. The church has a membership of 300. The present officers are: Thomas Reed, B. F. Bonner, Jerry Rucker, Harvey Potter, Washington Smith, stewards: Thomas Reed, Harvey Potter, Phillip Porter, James Eads, Robert Heister, class leaders: James Eads, B. F. Barnard, Jesse Miller, Jerry Rucker, Thomas Reed, trustees; Horace Johnson, superintendent Sabbath school. One hundred and seventy-five scholars in school. Regular services every Sabbath morning and evening; prayer meetings Wednesday evenings.

Ebenezer Baptist Church (Colored). - This religious body was organized in March, 1867. A frame house of worship 35x40 feet, was erected the same year. The church books show a membership of forty at the end of 1867. Elder W. M. Twine was the first preacher. Since the beginning. the following named Elders have ministered to the church: Messrs. Twine, Sims, Marshall, Morton, Paris, and the present minister, Elder Smothers. In 1876, another church was organized, but after a short time it was consolidated with Ebenezer. Early in 1877, the members were unfortunate in losing their church edifice, and for several years worshipped in private houses, and occasionally in public; but last September they erected their present substantial brick structure, 42X72 feet on the site of the burned building, and great prosperity now attends them. Since the advent of Elder Smothers, August 9, 1881, 200 persons have been immersed and received into the church. There are at present a little over 500 members. Services are regularly held, Sunday mornings and evenings, and prayer meetings Wednesday evenings.

[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]