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


[TOC] [part 13] [part 11] [Cutler's History]


Plymouth Congregational Church - In September, 1854, Rev. S. Y. Lum, of New York, was sent out as a missionary to Kansas, by the Home Missionary Society. Arriving in Lawrence, he immediately commenced his work, preaching a first sermon October 1, 1854. The services were held in the 'Pioneer Boarding House' - the only available building at that time. After holding several meetings, an organization was perfected by him, including the following members: S. Y. Lum, Charles Dickson, O. Hanscom, O. Harlow, L. Litchfield, and wife, S. C. Pomeroy, Carrie R. Lum, Anna Tappan. The organization was named the 'Plymouth Church', from the fact that the circumstances and aims of its founders, who were principally from New England, so nearly resembled those of the Plymouth Pilgrims.

Services were held in the 'Pioneer Boarding House' for short time, when the rough board building called 'the church' was completed. During the winter, the building was destroyed by fire. In March, 1855, the church commenced holding meetings in the St. Nicholas Hotel. Services were held here until a room was provided in the upper story of a frame building on Massachusetts street. In the autumn of 1855, they were compelled to relinquish the room for the use of the citizen soldiery. In the summer of 1856, they moved into the 'Emigrant Aid Building' which they occupied through the fall and winter, and later, a few weeks, the Unitarian Church. In the spring of 1856, the erection of a church edifice was commenced and the building partially completed in the spring of the following year and services held in it. The building was finally completed in 1862. The structure is 40 X60 feet and built of limestone.

Rev. S. Y. Lum officiated as pastor till the spring of 1857, when he was succeeded in December of the same year, by Rev. D. Cordley. For eighteen years, Mr. Cordley had charge of the church and was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. G. Hale Scott.

In 1868, the church having progressed so rapidly, it was found necessary to erect a new edifice. This structure, one of the largest and finest buildings of its kind in the State, is constructed of brick and is 60 X 114 feet. The total cost, including a $4,000 pipe organ was $40,000. Present membership, 318.

The Unitarian Church -In the spring of 1855, E. B. Whitman, of Massachusetts, upon coming to Lawrence found Rev. E. Nute, a missionary sent out by the American Unitarian Association, holding religious meetings in the open air, no church edifice having as yet been erected.

Through a personal appeal to Unitarians at the East, and with the aid of the American Unitarian Association, Mr. Whitman and Mr. Nute, by their united efforts, raised the sum of $5,400 to build a church in Kansas. One thousand dollars of the amount was devoted too the purpose of establishing a free school and the basement of the church, when ready, was used for the school called the 'Quincy School' in honor of Josiah Quincy, of Boston.

The church building was commenced in the spring of 1856, but owing to the arduous task of manufacturing the lumber, there being but one saw mill, of pioneer character and capacity, progress was necessarily slow and the church, though occupied during the spring and summer of 1857, was not completed until the fall.

The bell, given by Unitarian friends at the East, being partly of silver, is very sweet toned, though somewhat damaged en route from Boston via New Orleans, by ship wreck. it was at first temporarily suspended on a beam supported by two posts and was used as a dinner bell by the settlement on occasions of merry-making and for tolling the knell of the departed dead upon all occasions until permanently hung in its present place. The clock in the church tower has for many years served the purposes of a city clock.

The church never has had a formulated creed. it prefers the unity of purpose to unity of belief, that purpose being the uplifting of humanity. It takes for its watchword the motto of Western Unitarianism, 'Freedom, Fellowship and Character religion' It has never been a large society, and has had its periods of depression as well as of hope.

Its ministers have been as follows: Revs. Ephraim Nute, Jr., John S. Brown, W. C. Tenney, William Sherman, E. B. Sanborn and C. G. Howland.

The First Baptist Church was organized June 25, 1855, by Rev. William W. Hall, with the following named persons as members: J. S. Emery, M. . M. Hammond, S. Jones, Rebecca W. W. Jones, W. F. Herrick, Lydia A. Herrick, Elizabeth Parks. Services were held for a number of years at the residences of the members and at various public halls until 1870 when a house of worship was completed. Work on the church edifice was commenced in 1865, but, on account of various difficulties, was not dedicated until January 30, 1870. The building was built of brick and is 52x80 feet. The cost of church and lots amounted to $31,300. During a tornado in 1879, the tower was destroyed.

From 1855 to 1861, the church was under the care of the Baptist Home Mission Society, and the following pastors were appointed to the pastorate of the church by the society; Rev. R. C. Brant, two years; Rev. W. O. Thomas, one year; Rev. A. Perkins, four months; Rev. W. S. Upham one year nine months. From 1861 to the present time, the following pastors have been appointed by the church; Rev. J. Sawyer, eleven months. Rev. S. D. Bentley, two years, eight months; Rev. F. M. Ellis, three years one month; Rev. D. Reed, one year one month; Rev. J. W. Worder, one year; Rev. A. C. Peck, six years six months. Present membership, 281.

The Methodist Episcopal Church - The first religious services by the Methodist persuasion was held by Rev. W. H. Goode, in December, 1854. In the spring of 1855, a class was organized by Rev. J. . Griffing, but not being strong enough to sustain itself, soon disbanded. In July, 1855, a permanent organization was perfected by Rev. L. B. Dennis, with the following members: S. Green, Mr. Atherton, F. Killan and wife, C. S. Duncan, G. W. Berry, Dr. Barnes.

The church was organized in the open air under an oak tree that stood south of the present Baptist Church. Services were then held for a short time in the 'Union House' on Massachusetts street. In the spring of 1856, a canvas tent on Kentucky street was occupied until the winter of 1856-57, when they held services in the basement of the Unitarian Church. In the fall of 1858, a frame building, 26X42 feet was erected at a cost of $3,000. This building was used for church purposes until the summer of 1865, when the church edifice, now occupied by them was completed. The structure, which is built of brick is 40 X 100 feet, is located on the corner of Massachusetts and Berkley streets and cost, including ground and improvement, $21,000.

The following pastors in order mentioned have had charge of the church since its earliest organization to the present time: Revs. J. S. Griffing, L. B. Dennis, C. H. Lovejoy, L. Blackford, J. Dodge, H. H. Moore, H. D. Fisher, G. W. Paddocks, G. S. Dearborn, W. K. Marshall, R. L. Halford, S. Y. Lloyd, H. Phillips, G. W. Henning and Rev. D. W. Jones. Present membership, 367.

English Lutheran Church -an organization of this body was perfected in March, 1867, by Rev. Morris Officer, with nineteen members. Services were held for a short time in the Presbyterian Church. The church edifice now occupied by them was erected in the fall of 1872. The building, 30X50 feet is built of limestone and cost when completed, $10,000.

The first regular pastor was Rev. H. B. Belner, who remained in charge of the church until the fall of 1872, when he resigned and was succeeded in the spring of 1873 by Rev. A. A. Trimper. Mr. Trimper remained as pastor until April, 1882 and was succeeded in the fall of the same year by Rev. S. B. Snyder. Present membership, 100.

The First Presbyterian Church (Old School) was organized with twenty-five members, in the summer of 1858, by the Rev. William Wilson. Services were held for some time in the Congregational Church, Miller's Hall and other places til 1869, when the present church edifice was erected, at a cost of $10,000. Rev. William Bishop took charge of the church November 18, 1858, and remained its pastor two years. During his connection with the church, the Lawrence University was established under Presbyterian auspices, but afterward was transferred to the State. Mr. Bishop was succeeded by Rev. M. Hummer, 'a very eccentric, possibly a partially insane man,' who remained six months. During that time, the membership decreased over one-half. After the removal of Mr. Hummer, the church appears to have been reorganized under the name of The Union Presbyterian Church After a lapse of several years, the Rev. W. A. Starrett took charge and remained as pastor until 1870.

The First Presbyterian Church of Lawrence*(new School) was organized June 8, 1864 by Rev. Mr. Blakely, in the Unitarian Meeting-house, with twenty-eight members. Five Elders were elected, as follows: J. C. Steele, Robert Irwin, H. Iserman, M. G. Carr and W. P. Montgomery. Rev. Mr. Blakely remained until 1865, after which the pulpit was temporarily supplied by Revs. George F. Chapin and James B. Shelden. Mr. Chapin supplied the church until 1866 when he was succeeded by Rev. D. M. Moore, who remained until the union of the two organizations was effected in 1870-71.

A building known as the Presbyterian Chapel was erected prior to 1863 and used by the new school organization until the consolidation took place, when it was sold to the educational authorities and used for school purposes. The proceeds were applied to the completion of the old school edifice which has since been used by the present organization.

Early in 1872, Rev. T. G. Gardner became pastor. His pastorate terminating in 1874, the church remained without a pastor until the autumn of the same year when Rev. James M. Corkims took charge up to 1878. A call was extended to the Rev. S. M. Osmond, D. D., the present pastor, of Iowa City, Iowa, January 16, 1879 which was accepted. Present number of members, 218.

Trinity Episcopal Church+ This church occupies a central location being situated on the corner of Vermont and Berkley streets. The lot is 240 X 112 feet and near its southern end is comfortable brick rectory. The larger space between the church and the rectory is open to the street in front, is close on the rear by a picturesque stone chapel with a square tower and roomy transept, used for school purposes. The church, with its beautiful grounds and adjoining buildings presents an attractive view such as is rarely seen in the West.

The first Episcopal services were held in Lawrence in the summer of 1857, by the Rev. C. M. Callaway, then a missionary, residing in Topeka. He was succeeded by the Rev. C. Reynolds, during the same year and who afterward became a Chaplain in the United States Army. He remained until 1858, when a parish was organized with its present appellation. A charter granted to this organization by the Territorial Legislature, February 8, 1859. A small stone building was erected, which still remains as the chapel and on the 29th day of July, in the same year, it was solemnly consecrated to the worship and service of Almighty God, by the Right Rev. J. Kemper, D. D. This was the first Episcopal Church consecrated in the State. Under the rectorship of Dr. Reynolds, a rectory was purchased on Tennessee street, which was occupied until his resignation took place, November 26, 1863. he was succeed by the Rev. R. W. Oliver, D. D. who continued in charge until October, 1867.

Under the administration of Rev. Mr. Oliver, D. D. additional ground was purchased; the chapel was enlarged and repaired; a transept was added to it for school purposes; the old vestry was sold and the one now existing was built. From October, 1867, to June, 1868, when the Rev. J. K. Dunn took charge of the parish, the pulpit was temporarily supplied by the Right Rev. Bishop Vail, D. D. It being found necessary to provide for a larger building, subscriptions were raised for a new edifice. The ground was broken for a new foundation in May, 1870, and the corner stone laid November 10, 1870. The building which is a beautiful gothic edifice, with a tower and spire, was completed in April, 1873. It is built of stone, the interior being handsomely furnished in native woods, the total cost being $26,000.

In March, 1875, the Rev. J. K. Dunn resigned and the church was supplied with occasional services by the Bishop and other clergymen until September of same year when the Rev. Paul Zeigler entered upon his duties. In April, 1879, he resigned and the parish remained without a rector until the following October, when the Rev. A. Beatty, D. D. took charge of it.

In the erection of the church edifice, a debt of several thousand dollars was incurred, but by various efforts was liquidated and being free from all encumbrances was consecrated April 21, 1881, by the Right Rev. Thos. A. Vail, D. D. LLD., Bishop of the Diocese. Under the rectorship of its present pastor, Rev. A. Beatty, D. D. the membership of the parish, which is steadily increasing now numbers over 100.

Society of Friends in 1865, several families of the Quaker persuasion settled in and near Lawrence, and formed the nucleus of what is termed a 'Quaker settlement' In 1866, a church organization was formed with forty members at the residence of W. Hadley. Religious services were held for a short time in Miller's Hall, and in 1867, what is now known as the Park School Building was occupied. In 1872, a two-story stone building 60X80 feet, with wings 20x26 feet on each side, was erected at a cost of $32,000. This building was erected for and is used as the yearly meeting house of the State, and is well adapted for the purpose.

Mrs. M. Cox was the first preacher and occupied the pulpit from 1867 to 1879, during which time she was assisted by Mrs. Mary Cox and William Nickelson. W. Nickelson and Dr. W. F. Harvey are the present occupants of the pulpit. State membership, 5,000. Lawrence membership, 250.

The United Presbyterian Church was organized June 18, 1867, with twenty members by Rev. J. C. Herron, who remained in charge of the church until 1877, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. S. Nelson, who is the present pastor. Prior to the erection of a church edifice, services were held, first at Miller's Hall, second at court room and third in the chapel of the Presbyterian Church. The present church edifice, a stone structure, 35 X 60 feet, was erected in 1870, at a cost of $8,000. Present membership, 87.

* Records of this church were destroyed in the Quantrell raid, 1863
+ Records of this church prior to 1863, were destroyed in Quantrell''s raid

St. John's Catholic Church was organized at the house of B. Donnelly, in October, 1857, by Father Magee, with fifteen members. Services were held in private residences and public halls until 1860, when a small stone church, 25X50 feet, was erected on Kentucky street, at a cost of $1,6000. This building was occupied for church purposes until 1871, when a new brick edifice, 45X80 feet, was completed at a cost of $10,000.

The following-named pastors have had charge of the organization at different times; Fathers Schatt, who remained until 1861, Brunner, Faver, Cunningham, Fitzgerald, Faver and Rev. Father Elias, the present pastor. Present membership, 150.

The Second Colored Baptist Church was organized in August, 1862, by Rev. Robert Colwell, of Leavenworth, with nine members, as follows: A. Gregg, G. Grey, V. B. Drisdom, J. Maddox, Delia Bradley, Hester Grey, Thomas Parker and wife, Delia Cogar.

Their first pastor, Rev. G. Simpson, remained three months, and was succeeded in the order mentioned by revs. Barker, D. D. Jones, C. Bateman. These pastors occupied the pulpit from 1862 to 1866, at which time Rev. D. Lee was ordained and took charge of the church as its first regular pastor. Mr. Lee remained until 1874, and was succeeded by Rev. L. Thompson, who remained three months; Revs. R. T. W. James, R. Martin and W. Mercer who is the present incumbent.

In consequence of some difficulty with Rev. D. Lee, the church building located on the corner of Warren and Ohio streets, by virtue of a legal process, came into the hands of the aforesaid Lee, who had previously resigned. Under the administration of Rev. R. T. W. James, the erection of a frame edifice, 30X50 feet, on the corner of Connecticut and Berkley streets was commenced and completed at a cost of $1,200, actual value $1,800. Clerk's estimate of present membership, 350.

The Second Missionary Baptist Colored Church was organized in 1862, by Rev. Barker of the Caucasian Baptist Church, with nine members. Their present place of worship if in the building formerly the property of the second Colored Baptist Church, located on the corner of Warren and Ohio streets. Present pastor, Rev. D. Lee, who exercises pastoral care over 100 members.

The Colored Congregational Church was organized in 1862 by Rev. D. Alecks, with ten members. Mr. Alecks remained in charge of the church for four years, and was succeeded by Father Paine, who remained six years. After Mr. Paine's labors had ceased, the church was without a pastor for several years, when Mr. Fulbright occupied the pulpit for one year and was succeeded by Mr. Corporal, who remained two years. After which Revs. S. H. Barker, S. Fristo and H. R. Pinkham, the present pastor had charge. Present place of worship is located on Kentucky street. Present membership, 30.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1862, by Rev. J. M. Wilkenson, with thirty-seven members. Services were held in various public halls until 1866, when a stone building, 20 X 40 feet, was erected and used until 1872. In 1872-73, a brick edifice, 40 X 70 feet, was erected at a cost of 44,000, on the corner of Warren and New York streets. Pastors up to date (1882), Rev. John M. Wilkenson, two years; H. Greene, two years; R. Doan, one year; I. N. Triplett, two years; T. W. Henderson, three years; R. Ricketts, two years; J. C. Emery, six months; J. W. Wilson, eighteen months; W. L. Herod, two years; J. W. Brackston, one year; R. Ricketts, two years; B. F. Bates, present incumbent. present membership, 207.

St. Paul's Church (Colored), a new organization of the Methodist persuasion, was organized August 6, 1882, by Rev. Benjamin F. Talbert, with twenty-sex members. House of worship is located on Rhode Island, between Henry and Warren streets. Present pastor, Rev. B. F. Talbert.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of North Lawrence was organized in 1865, by Rev. W. E. McKey. Among the first members were Rev. Mr. McKee and wife, Mrs. Farner, Rev. Mr. Mitchell and wife, Sarah Caton and others. Services were held in an old frame building, used for school purposes, until 1866, when the present stone edifice was commenced and was completed under the pastorate of Revs. J. Brookway and G. H. Murch. the following pastors have officiated in the order mentioned: Revs. F. Walden, P. M. Buck, J. Brookway, G. H. Murch, Mr. Trowbridge; I. T. Hull, Mr. Parker, J. R. Madison, J. C. Reedisill, Mr. Conway, C. H. Frank, W. T. Mitchell, J. S. Embree and G. W. Havermale, the present incumbent. Present membership, eighty-seven.

In North Lawrence are several colored church organizations, two of which, the Baptist and Methodist, have houses of worship.


The resting places for the dead are unsurpassed for their location, natural surroundings and artificial improvements. The first cemetery was established soon after the first settlement of Lawrence, on the high lands west of the city. In this cemetery were first buried the victims of the Quantrell massacre. In 1865, the city authorities purchased a tract of forty acres southeast of the city, and named it Oak Hill Cemetery. Early in 1872, the unfortunate victims of the 'raid' were re-interred in this cemetery, and a monument erected in their memory. One of the actions of the city government of North Lawrence was to purchase a tract of twenty acres, to be used for burial purposes, under the name of Maple Grove Cemetery. Improvements have been made from time to time by the city, on Oak Hill cemetery, to the extent of several thousand dollars.

[TOC] [part 13] [part 11] [Cutler's History]