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


[TOC] [part 7] [part 5] [Cutler's History]


Methodist Episcopal Church. - The first organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the vicinity of Wyandotte was among the Wyandot Indians, who emigrated from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, in the month of July, 1843, accompanied by their missionary, Rev. James Wheeler, of the North Ohio Conference, who was transferred to the Missouri Conference the succeeding October, and continued Missionary to the Wyandots. There were at that time two hundred members in the church, with five classes who spoke the Wyandot language, and one English-speaking class, nine class-leaders, three local preachers and several exhorters. Though the Missionary Wheeler returned to Ohio for his family, and remained there during the winter of 1843 and 1844, yet the regular services of the church were kept up, public services twice on the Sabbath, at which one of the missionaries from the other missions sometimes preached. The classes all met on the Sabbath, but at various times and places, and the general prayer-meeting was held Wednesday night and one of the local preachers preached Friday night. All these services were held in their camps at first. But through the instrumentality of Rev. Squire Gray-Eyes, a log church was built, each man doing his share of the work. It was completed by the time of the return of Mr. Wheeler in May, 1844, and the first quarterly meeting was held in it the 1st of June, 1844, at which all the children born during his absence were baptized. The church was on or near Mr. Kerr's place (near Jacob Whitecrow's farm), west of the present city, but attended by all in this neighborhood. A schoolhouse was built on the east side of Fourth street, between Kansas and Nebraska avenues, and occupied July 1, 1844. Occasional public services were held here, both in English and Wyandot. The English-speaking class met here, and the first Sabbath school was organized in June 1847 Rev. James Wheeler remained until May, 1846. He was succeeded by the Rev. E. T. Peery, who though sent by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, kept the records of the church In the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1847, a brick church was built about half a mile west of town, and occupied in November of that year. In July, 1848, the official board petitioned the Ohio Conference for a missionary, and the Rev. James Gurley volunteered to come as their missionary. He arrived in November. Previous to his arrival, Rev. Abram Still, M. D., Presiding Elder of the Platte District (which included the Indian missions in this region), came to hold his first quarterly meeting in October, 1848. Dr. Still preached Sabbath morning on the text, "My Peace I give unto you," after which Mr. Peery organized the Methodist Episcopal Church South, with forty-one members. There were in the house one hundred and ten members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and sixty-nine refused to go into the new organization. Many of the old members of the church had died since they came to the West, and, at this time, there were but one hundred and sixty remaining. Renewed efforts were made to induce the members of the old church to unite with the new, but the highest number ever obtained was sixty-five, and soon after Mr. Gurley's arrival some of these returned to the old church. But, notwithstanding there was a large majority in the Methodist Episcopal Church, the building was stoned, so as to endanger the house and disturb the services when Mr. Gurley preached in it, and the official board decided to withdraw from it for a time, to a vacant dwelling house. The last week in February, 1849, the United States Indian Agent at Wyandotte expelled Mr. Gurley, at the instance of some members and adherents of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, though he had committed no offense against the law, nor caused any of the disturbances. They existed before he came, and continued until 1857. The next Saturday after Mr. Gurley's expulsion, the Presiding Elder, Dr. Still, crossed the Missouri River in a skiff, swimming his horse amidst great blocks of ice, to hold his second quarterly meeting in the old dwelling house. Thirty persons united with the church upon this occasion. As soon as the spring rains were over, the services were held in a grove, and before winter another log church was built near the present Quindaro Cemetery. Rev. Squire Gray-Eyes and J. M. Armstrong were sent to the Missouri Conference at St. Louis (August, 1849) to petition for a missionary. Rev. G. B. Markham was appointed and arrived in a few weeks. He remained two years, being followed by Rev. James Witten, in October 1851. His wife was in failing health and died January 1, 1852. She was buried near the log church, the first interment in the Quindaro Cemetery. Rev. George W. Robbins was appointed Presiding Elder in October, 1850, and was continued three years. Following Father Witten as missionary, were Rev. M. G. Klepper, M. D., October, 1852; Rev. J M. Chivington, autumn of 1853; Rev. J. T. Hopkins, P. E.; Rev J. H. Dennis, fall of 1854; Rev. W. W. Goode, D. D., P. E., and Superintendent of the work in Kansas and Nebraska Territories. He moved his large family from Richmond, Ind., to a small brick house, about two miles from the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. Soon after these preachers came, twelve persons returned from the Church South to the old church. One of them was Matthew Mudeater, a Wyandot chief; and the other, Mrs. Hannah Walker, the wife of William Walker, the Provisional Governor of Kansas. She was a white woman. All the white women in the church and Wyandot nation had united with the Church South, except one, and she was rejoiced when an English-speaking class was re-organized, after a lapse of seven years, at Dr. Goode's house. There were present Dr. Goode and family, Rev. J. H. Dennis, lady and daughter, Mrs. Hannah Walker Lucy B. Armstrong and two of her family who were then members of the church, and the former missionary Father Witten, more than the requisite number for a primitive class. The class was continued until Dr. Goode moved into Iowa, in October, 1855, to take charge of the work in Nebraska. Rev. L. B. Dennis succeeded him as Presiding Elder of all of Kansas north of the Kansas River. In the winter of 1855-56, the health of Rev. J. H. Dennis, who was continued missionary, rapidly failed, and near the 1st of May, 1850, he left Wyandotte for his mother's house in Indiana, where he died the following August. His memory is blessed. Before he left, on the night of April 8, 1856, both churches were burned by incendiaries. Rev. William Butt, who had been appointed to the Leavenworth, Delaware and Wyandotte Mission moved here in November, and preached in a schoolhouse near Quindaro. In April, 1857, he was appointed Presiding Elder and Rev. R. P. Duval succeeded him as missionary. Services were held in Lucy B. Armstrong's house from April to the last of December, 1857, when the old frame church, corner of Washington avenue and Fifth street, was completed. The same year a brick church was built at Quindaro. The first quarterly meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church after Wyandotte City was settled by white people and the church was re-organized, was held on Mrs. Armstrong's premises, September 1, 1857. The public services of the Sabbath were held on her lawn, under the shade of the trees. There was gathered a vast concourse of people from Wyandotte and Quindaro and the country around. Presiding Elder Butt preached the morning sermon, and Rev. J. M. Walden, local preacher, politician and editor of the Quindaro Chindowan, delivered the afternoon sermon. Now he is D. D. and Methodist Book Agent at Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis. After Mr. Duval, came as missionaries, April, 1858, Rev. H. H. Moore, who remained one year; Rev. G. W. Paddock, two years; Rev. Strange Brooks, March, 1861 (Rev. N. Gaylor, Presiding Elder), one year; Rev. M. D. Genney, March, 1862 (Rev. W. R. Davis, Presiding Elder), one year. The annual conference was held at Wyandotte, Bishop Simpson presiding. Mr. Genney was First Lieutenant in the United States volunteer service. He attended conference and resigned his Lieutenancy, but it was not accepted. With the exception of about four months, during which time Rev. C. H. Lovejoy had charge, the Wyandotte and Quindaro Mission was without a pastor this year. At the conference held in Lawrence, in March 1863 Rev Strange Brooks was appointed Presiding Elder of the district, and Rev. M. M. Haun, missionary. In 1864, Rev. A. N. Marlatt was appointed missionary, remaining about ten months, when a man was appointed who had been transferred to another conference, and therefore did not fill the appointment at Wyandotte. Rev. D. G. Griffith, a young local preacher, did not complete the conference year. In March, 1866, Wyandotte was made a station, Rev. D. D. Dickinson was appointed pastor, and Rev. J. E. Bryan to the Wyandotte and Quindaro Mission, Rev. H. D. Fisher, Presiding Elder. In March, 1867, came Rev. H. G. Murch, and in March, 1870, Rev. S. G. Frampton. The latter remained one year, but failed to keep up the Quindaro and Wyandotte Mission appointments, partly because most of the Indians were about moving to the Indian Territory. These appointments were therefore dropped. Rev. S. P. Jacobs remained two years from March, 1871, during which time a neat parsonage was built. Rev. H. K. Muth was appointed in March, 1873, Rev. William Smith, who succeeded him, remaining two years. The corner-stone of the new church, the foundation of which had been laid on the corner of Kansas avenue and Fifth street, was laid by Rev. William K. Marshall, and the basement was dedicated by Bishop Thomas Bowman in January, 1878. In March, 1876, Mr. Smith was succeeded by Rev. J. Cook. Rev. C. L. Shackelford came during the next March, and remained three years. Rev. E. R. Brown assumed charge in March, 1880. During his second year, the church was completed and dedicated in October, 1881. The present incumbent, Dr. William Stepheson became pastor in March, 1882. The society is now, as it always has been, one of the strongest in the county, numbering 150 members.

Methodist Episcopal Church South. - Of the one hundred and ten members of the original Methodist Episcopal Church organized by the Wyandot Indians in 1843, forty-one joined the southern branch when it was formally organized in this city by the Rev. E. T. Peery, in October, 1848. In 1873 the present brick edifice, corner of Minnesota avenue and Seventh street, was commenced, and fully completed in 1881, at a cost, with parsonage, of $6500. Since Rev. Mr. Peery's pastorate, the incumbents have been Revs. B. F. Russell, Daniel Dofflemayer, J. T. Peery, Nathan Scarritt, William Barnett, H. H. Craig, D. C. O'Howell, Joseph King, D. S. Heron, E. G. Frazier, G. J. Warren, T. H. Swearingen and J. W. Payne. Mr. Payne has had charge of the church since September, 1880. The average attendance is between sixty and seventy.

St. Paul's Episcopal Parish. - In 1857, Rev. Rodney S. Nash, late of Lexington, Mo. organized the St. Paul's Episcopal Parish, of Wyandotte. This was the pioneer parish of the Territory of Kansas, and was organized under the authority of Rt. Rev. Jackson of the Protestant Church of the United States. Among the original incorporators were Dr. Frederick Speck, Col. W. Y. Roberts, A. C. Davis, W. L. McMath and James Chestnut. On the 9th day of July, 1882, the corner stone for the new church, now building at the intersection of Sixth and Ann streets, was laid, Rt. Rev. Thomas H Vail Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas, officiating. The building is to be elegantly constructed in the Gothic style of architecture, being of stone. Fourteen windows for memorial purposes have been reserved in the first story. When completed, it is estimated that the cost of the structure will be in the neighborhood of $7,000. The original building was erected soon after the organization of the parish. The little band which then assembled has been increased to over 200. Rev. John Bennett present rector, at the ceremonies which occurred upon the laying of the corner stone, spoke as follows in regard to the history of the parish:

"St. Paul's parish was organized by the Rev. Rodney S. Nash in 1857. He came to Wyandotte in May of that year, and shortly afterward organized the parish. During the summer immediately ensuing, he went East and collected money sufficient to build the church and parsonage, the latter of which is still the property of the parish, the old church having been sold in April last. Kansas was in 1857 only a missionary jurisdiction under the care of the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, the first missionary Bishop of the church In America. On July 28, 1859, he issued a call for the purpose of organizing the Territory of Kansas into a diocese, and the primary convention was held in St. Paul's church, Wyandotte, on the 11th and 12th days of August following. Shortly after the organization of the diocese, Bishop Lee, of Iowa, took provisional charge of the same for about four years, until the first Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Hubbard Vail, D. D., LL. D.; who is, by the blessing of God, this day with us, was, in December 1864, consecrated to the sacred office and made his first visit to his new field in January, 1865. He made his second visit in the diocese to this parish. Mr. Nash, retained the rectorship of the parish until November, 1862, when he resigned but again resumed it in May, 1864. Early in April of the following year be again vacated the parish, and the Rev. William H. D. Hatton took charge in June of the same year. Since then, the successive rectors have been the Rev. Messrs. Archibald Beatty, D. D., L. L. Holden, J. G. Jones, Thomas Betts, F. R. Holden and John Bennett, the present incumbent.

"The parish has passed through many trying vicissitudes and struggles for life. All of its early main-stays have removed from the city, except Dr. Frederick Speck and his family, who are about the only adherents to the interests of the parish now remaining. But a new era has dawned, and during the past year many valuable acquisitions have been made to the twenty families or so of 1880."

The First Congregational Church was organized July 18, 1858, at the Methodist Church North, among the earliest members being the following: W. P. Winner, S. F. Mather, Dr. J. P. Root, Rev. S. D. Storrs, W. F. Downs, D. A. Bartlett, Samuel Crosby, D. G. Collier, J. S. Stockton, Mrs. Mary Walcott, Mrs. Frances E. Root, Mrs. Mary E. Stockton, Mrs. M. Louisa Bartlett, Mrs. Louisa K. Downs, Mrs. M. A. Mather, John Furbish, Mrs. R. B. Taylor, A. D. Downs, E. T. Hovey and wife, Mrs. C. M. Downs, O. S. Bartlett. Jesse Cooper, Mrs. Hester A. Garno (now Mrs. Halford). For six months previous to the organization, Rev. S. D. Storrs, of Quindaro, preached in Wyandotte, doing missionary labor, to an audience of from twenty to thirty persons. He became the first pastor of the church, and was succeeded in 1859 by Rev. R. D. Parker, of Leavenworth, who remained eight years. It was during his administration, in March 1860, that work was commenced on a new church building, corner of Fifth street and Nebraska avenue. The edifice was completed in July, and dedicated August 1, 1860. The national fast, appointed for September 26, 1861, was observed by this church and congregation, and on that day the Third Iowa Regiment landed here from the battle of Blue Mills, and many of them were at the meeting. On the following evening 250 officers and soldiers held a prayer and conference meeting of intense interest. The ladies of the church administered to the wants of the wounded for many weeks. In 1869, Rev. E. A. Harlow succeeded Mr. Parker. Mr. Harlow remained three years. The church was without a pastor one year, after which Rev. James G. Dougherty was called, and continued in charge three years longer. In the fall of 1875, the present pastor, Rev. R. M. Tunnell, commenced his pastorate. Present number of members, 100.

St Mary's Catholic Church. - In 1858, Rev. Father Heiman, of Leavenworth. came to Wyandotte and organized St. Mary's Mission, with about thirty members. They first met at the house of John Warren, but during the next year Father Heiman was succeeded by Father Fish, who remained three years, and built a little brick church 25x50 feet, corner of Ninth and Ann streets. Fathers M'Gee and Muller succeeded him, each remaining about a year. From want of support the mission was then abandoned for nearly three years. In 1864, Rev. Anthony Kuhls, present pastor, was sent to Wyandotte on trial. Then but thirty poor Catholic families belonged to the parish. After the war, however, the affairs of the church assumed a more promising aspect. The old church was sold, and in 1866 the structure, corner of Ann and Fifth streets, was erected for $9,000, the site being purchased of Mathias Splitlogs for $800 in gold. Additions have since been made until now the church possesses a fine building, a schoolhouse to accommodate 400 children, a sisters' house, the best parsonage in the diocese, and a hall for society meetings. The whole property is valued at $35,000, upon which there is a debt of only $1 500. The congregation now numbers 150 families, and it is thought that the building of a larger church will be necessary. It is in contemplation to erect a large hospital. To this end, $20,000 has already been promised by an old religious couple and a young man and ground secured for a site. Connected with St. Mary's Church are sodalities for married men and women, and for young men and young ladies, numbering about 200 members, two insurance unions and two benevolent societies.

In 1872, the settlement ten miles west of Wyandotte, called Delaware, built a church of its own called St. Patrick. In 1880, the eastern portion across the river was taken on; and St. Bridget's Church was built, with a resident pastor in the person of Father Hayden, who has charge, also, of Delaware.

The German Methodist Episcopal Church was organized August 24 1859, with the following members: Frank Weber, Maria Weber, Louisa Feisel, Maria Feisel, Adelhard Holzbeierlein, Catherine Schatz, Margaret Ortmann, Henry Helm, August Gabriel, Carl Gabriel, Henriette Gabriel, Gottlieb Knœpfer and Margaret Knœpfer. In 1866, the present church edifice, corner of Fifth and Ann streets, was erected at a cost of about $4,000, being dedicated in September of that year by Rev. M. Schnierly. The pastors of the church have been Revs. Gottlieb Widmann, 1858-59; George Schatz, 1859-60; Charles Stuckemann, 1860-62; Jacob Feisel 1862-64; A. Holzbeierlein, 1864-65; Phillip May, 1865-67; W. Meyer, 1867-68; M. Schnierly, 1868-70; W. Meyer, 1870-71; Jacob Feisel, 1871-72; William Kleinschmidt, 1872-75; J. A. Reitz, 1875-78; J. G. Leist, 1878-81; G. J. Schultz, 1881-82. In 1879, the comfortable brick parsonage adjoining the church was built. The German Methodist Episcopal Church is now in a flourishing condition and constantly growing. It numbers 147 members. The entire value of the church property, including parsonage, is $6,000. In the summer of 1882, an addition to the church building was made and the structure was completely renovated. The Sunday school, in charge of F. W. Dreyer, has an average attendance of about 105.

First Baptist Church (colored) was organized in 1862, and a frame building on Nebraska avenue erected in 1869. In 1881, the society had grown so large that its trustees purchased the site for a more commodious church structure, corner of Fifth street and Nebraska avenue. The foundation and corner-stone have been laid. The pastors have been Revs. Henry Jennings, William Harris, William Belay, Gabriel Gray, James Lewis and F. D. Ewing. The church has a membership or about 200.

Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized in October, 1877, with seven members - George Hayward Presiding Elder. William Newton has been in charge of the society from the start. The organization in Wyandotte now numbers sixty members, nearly three-quarters of whom are natives of England. The leading idea of their faith is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His agents always has been the same from the beginning. Faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, are the cardinal principles of their belief. This organization takes Joseph Smith as its guide, repudiating Brigham Young and all polygamists as apostates from the true faith. The church here is arranging to erect a building in which to worship.

Presbyterian Church. - In 1867, a society was organized in Wyandotte, and continued until the close of the war, when it was discontinued. In April, 1881, Rev. Alex. Sterrett located in Wyandotte, and by September had fully organized a church again.

The Congregation of the Disciples of Christ was organized on the Christmas of 1881, through the efforts of Dr. Gentry and Messrs. Johnson, Reeves, Edwards and a number of lady members. Chiefly through Dr. Gentry's untiring exertions a church building has been erected on Barnett street, between Sixth and Seventh. The congregation now numbers forty-five members, and the organization is daily growing in strength and usefulness. Dr. W. D. Gentry and E. B. Reeves are Elders of the church.

The Baptist Church was organized in the spring of 1882. The society has a membership of about sixty. Rev. R. P. Evans, pastor. A church building is about to be erected.

The German Evangelical Church was organized in February, 1882, has now sixty members, and a neat brick building is being erected on Sixth street at a cost of $3,000. The church maintains a German and English day school. Rev. Charles Krafft, pastor.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. Felix Landor in May, 1880. Mr. Landor was formerly a slave in Louisiana, and, being owned by a French master, spoke that language. At the close of the war he was converted from the Catholic faith, educated by the Freedmen's Aid Society in New Orleans, and sent to this field in February, 1880. The society has now a comfortable brick church corner of Seventh and Ann streets, the pastor being Rev. B. F. Watson. The church books show a membership of 275, of whom less than half can be called "working" members.

The above are the leading colored church societies in Wyandotte. There is, however, a little society of colored disciples, and two or three minor organizations.


[Image of Sixth Street Schoolhouse] [Sixth Street Schoolhouse, Wyandotte]

The first public school building was erected in 1867 on the corner of Sixth street and Kansas avenue. It was afterward used for colored pupils. A Central School building was erected the same year. In 1881, the city voted $15,000 to build two new ward schoolhouses, one on the site of the old colored school, and the other on Everett street, between Fifth and Sixth streets. In the spring of 1882, $15,000 additional was voted to complete the two buildings mentioned to build the one in the Fifth Ward and repair the Central School building. In 1872, before what is known as South Wyandotte was annexed to the city, a two-story brick five good brick edifice was erected there at a cost ot $5,000. Wyandotte has, therefore, five good brick school buildings. It costs $12,000 to maintain her educational system, which is under the supervision of Prof. P. Sherman, Superintendent of Schools. Twenty teachers train the young ideas. The school population of Wyandotte is 3,000, of which a little less than one-half are in attendance upon school.
[Central Schoolhouse] [Central Schoolhouse, Wyandotte]

Among the private educational establishments which are liberally patronized is the Wyandotte Academy, founded by Prof. O. C. Palmer, in September, 1878. By the spring of 1879, the attendance had so increased that he found it necessary to abandon temporary for permanent quarters. Accordingly, by the end of the following summer, a large two-story brick structure, corner of Ann and Seventh streets, was erected. There are two courses of study, English and classical, the former including, besides the common branches, book-keeping, the science of government, critical study of authors, geometry, zoology, etc. Both sexes are admitted. As evidence that the Wyandotte Academy is appreciated as an educational institution, It may be stated that the enrollment in September, 1882, was about 180, many of whom came from localities outside the city and county.

Says V. J. Lane, of the Wyandotte Herald, in his history of the city press: "In May, 1857, Judge M. W. Delahay began the publication of the Wyandotte City Register. The first number was issued in a tent on the corner of Nebraska avenue and Third street Judge Delahay sold to Eddy & Patton. It finally passed into the hands of Mr. Abbot, who changed its name to the Citizen, and published it but a few months. It was succeeded by the Western Argus, which was printed on the same material, and published by the Western Argus Company, J. E. Bennett, editor, P. Sidney Post, commercial editor. The first number of the Argus was issued March 25, 1858, and it was continued till March 9, 1861, when the material was sold to R. B. Taylor, on which to print the Wyandotte Gazette."

The oldest paper in Wyandotte is the Gazette, established August 7, 1858, by S. D. McDonald, editor and publisher. During the session of the constitutional convention, a daily was issued. Under Mr. McDonald's management, the Gazette continued but one year. In August, 1860 after a suspension of some months, the publication of the paper was recommenced, Mssrs. McDonald and R. B. Taylor being associated together. The partnership continued but a few weeks, Mr. Taylor hiring the office, and continuing the publication alone.

While he was absent in the East, in January, 1861, the establishment, which was still the property of Mr. McDonald, was destroyed by fire. When Mr. Taylor returned in March, be purchased the outfit of the Western Argus, which paper had been published for three years, and continued to issue the Gazette. After a short interregnum, in the spring of 1867, during which Messrs. Philpott & Brown were only ostensibly proprietors, Mr. Taylor again resumed control of the Gazette, and continued to publish it until October, 1869, when be leased the office to Messrs. Kessler & Tuttle. After two months, Mr. Kessler became sole proprietor and in July, 1870, Mr. Taylor again came into possession of the establishment, remaining editor and sole proprietor until his death, which occurred March 26, 1877. His son, W. B. Taylor, then conducted the paper until October 1, 1879, when R. B. Armstrong and A. N. Moyer assumed charge. They purchased the office, and the Gazette has since been published under their management. The paper is Republican in politics, and is ably and consistently conducted.

The Wyandotte Herald.-- The first number of this widely circulated Democratic journal appeared January 4, 1872, V. J. Lane, its present editor and proprietor, and F. G. Jackson, being its founders. The paper was then, as now, a neatly printed seven-column folio, devoted to the interests, primarily, of Wyandotte and vicinity. The Herald was at first published on the corner of Minnesota avenue and Fifth street. Several changes of location were made until in the fall of 1881 the paper moved into its fine building on the north side of Minnesota avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets. In the meantime, in April, 1880, B. R. Lane, son of V. J. Lane, purchased a one-third interest in the Herald, and is at present one of the proprietors, acting also as foreman of the job department.

[TOC] [part 7] [part 5] [Cutler's History]