History of the Osceola

Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church was organized in June 1858, with eight members--James Rice and wife; Silas Burt and wife; Isaac Burt and wife; Mrs. Jane Thompson and Mrs. Robinson. Judge Rice was the prime mover in the organization. He and Silas Burt were chosen elders. Services were held but once a month for the first three or four years, Rev. James Bringle, of Corydon, conducting the first. Afterward they were held every two weeks.

The first settler pastor was Rev. R.G. Burt, who commenced his labors in 1866. Rev. J. Ormond came in 1868, Rev. James Harrison in 1875, and Rev. Charles Dunlap in 1881. Services were held in the courthouse and in the Methodist Protestant church for the first twenty years. In 1877 the foundation of a church was laid, a block north of the northeast corner of the square, on Main street, and in 1878 it was completed. It cost $6,500 and was entirely paid for as soon as finished, although the members were not numberous, and most of them were of limited means. J.V. Banta was an early superintendent and James Rice and W.B.H. Hutsinpiller were elders.

According to a newspaper article in the Centennial edition of the Sentinel (sec. Six, p. 3) the following tells of the program for the church dedication on April 25, 1869.

The sermon was by Rev. P. H. Jacob. After the sermon, Judge Rice, in behalf of the trustees and building committee made a statement with reference to the beginning and progress of the enterprize, in which he stated that the church lot was donated to the congregation by Mrs. Martha Howe. The names of the subscribers and the amount given was then read. After a few remarks by Rev. Sheldon Jackson of Minnesota, additional subscriptions were sought. Enough was raised to finish paying the total cost of the building, furniture, bell and fencing. Plan of the church was a donation from John McArthur, a Philadelphia architect, and the superstructure was erected under the superivison of Squire Freeman. Thanks was given to Judge Rice, W. G. Kennedy, and Mr. Hutsinpillar for their zeal in carrying out the building plan.

Sources: Centennial Edition, Osceola Sentinel, July 30, 1959; History of Clarke County

Graphics courtesy of: Christian Media

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