WYANDOTS, THE FIRST METHODISTS - WHEN THE METHODISTS WERE DIVIDED - EXPELLED THE REV. MR. GURLEY - RETURNING TO THE OLD CHURCH - THE METHODIST CHURCHES BURNED - THE OLD CHURCH REORGANIZED - THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH - OTHER METHODIST CHURCHES - A CHURCH OF WAR TIME DAYS - THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH - SOLDIERS ATTENDED PRAYER MEETING - AS A PASTOR'S WIFE TOLD IT - THE DROUGHT OF 1860 - WHEN THE OLD CHURCH BELL RANG - THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE - THE OLD CHURCH ON FIFTH STREET - EPISCOPAL CHURCHES - THE PRESBYTERIANS - THE BAPTIST CHURCHES - THE METHODISTS PROTESTANT - CHRISTIAN CHURCHES - CHRISTIAN SCIENCE ORGANIZATIONS - OTHER RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS - SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
"In the midst of the drought of 1860 we felt that we had much to be thankful for. In the fall and winter of that year, there were many steamboat loads of provisions landed on the levee, for the hungry people in the interior. Men came with wagons to take the food to their homes. Several times Mr. Parker preached on the levee to as many as three hundred men who were here waiting for the steamboat. Some of these men had not heard a sermon since coming to Kansas. They had harrowing stories to tell of the needs in the new settlements, where they had been thirteen months without a drop of rain, and raised nothing. Often their families were left with only enough cornmeal to last while the trip was made to the river. They came not once, but several times. One man from Emporia told of the scarcity of supplies, when one day a herd of buffalo were seen coming toward the little village. They were in search of food themselves, for the plains were barren. The men turned out and killed a number of the herd, thus furnishing their families with meat for a long time.
"During the war, we were on the border between slave and free states, and in danger of attacks from wandering bands of desperate men. No one was safe in an open boat on the Missouri river. Several were shot at from the woods on the other side.
"Our church bell was used as a warning call, three strokes meaning 'danger.' I remember one night in 1863 we heard the signal, and one of Deacon Winner's boys ran to our house with the news that the rebels had crossed the Kansas river at the bridge, about three miles from its mouth, and were coming toward town. All able bodied men rallied at the church and sent out scouts. Later we found that when they learned we were ready for them, they returned the way they came.
"During that year, while the rebel flag was still floating in Kansas City, Missouri, our Kansas ministers thought it time to begin work over there. Mr. Bodwell and Mr. Parker hired a hall at their own risk and began holding services, beginning with an audience of twelve people. A toll bridge over the Kansas river was owned by rough men, but when they learned that the preachers were trying to do good without cost to the people, they gave them free tickets.
"The other pastors in the state came to help the enterprise, each one taking a hand in it. So we held open house all summer. Mr. Cordley had just returned to Lawrence after a three weeks' stay in this work, while Mr. Bodwell supplied for him, when Quantrell's raid occurred. In this he lost his home and all its contents, the family barely escaping with their lives.
"'When the news reached us, Mr. Parker gathered a wagon load of supplies and taking a boy with him drove across to Lawrence, not knowing whether he should find his friends alive, or not. As he drove into the town he could still smell the burning human flesh where men had been killed and burned in their homes. He found his friends, Cordley and Bodwell, safe at the home of Deacon Savage, a few miles out of town. Not long after a letter was sent from one of Quantrell's men, saying the date was fixed to do to Wyandotte as they had done to Lawrence. The Loyal League sent Mr. Parker and the German minister to the military headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. As a result, a squad of soldiers were sent, who found the boats to be used in crossing concealed at the mouth of a creek. These were chopped to pieces and sent down stream. Thus we escaped the raid.
"Our loyal men were organized into a militia who took turns in standing guard. Sometimes Mr. Parker's turn would come, after having preached twice in Wyandotte and once in Quindaro. I still have the musket he used when on guard.
"But memories of those times come crowding thick and fast. It is not best to write more lest I become wearisome. Wishing you a most delightful Jubilee, I remain, etc."
THE OLD CHURCH ON FIFTH STREET.
During Mr. Parker's pastorate a church building was erected at Nebraska avenue and Fifth street. It was sold in 1892, when the church at Sixth street and Everett avenue was begun, and for a while it was known as the Fifth street opera house. it was destroyed by fire a few years ago.
During the life of the First Congregational church, covering a period of more than fifty years, the ministers who have served as pastors of the church were the Rev. Sylvester D. Storrs, the Rev. Roswell D. Parker, the Rev. Edwin A. Harlow, the Rev. James. G. Dougherty, the Rev. R. M. Tunnell, the Rev. Samuel Shepherd, the Rev. John B. Lawrence, and the Rev. James G. Dougherty (second pastorate), the Rev. Frank Fox, the Rev. J. Addison Seibert and the Rev. Frank G. Beardsly.
The twelve charter members were Don A. Bartlett, Mary Louise Bartlett (later Mrs. Byron Judd), William F. Downs, Louisa Downs, D. C. Collier, Mrs. Amelia Collier, Dr. Crosby, Mehetable Crosby, John Furbish and Mrs. Mary Wolcott. All of these except Mrs. Wolcott have gone to their reward. The names are inscribed in a memorial window above the pulpit. Other memorial windows perpetuate the memory of the following: Mrs. Lois Hefferlin, Mrs. Martha Stout, Mrs. Mary Dennison, Mrs. Fannie L. Cable, Mrs. Lucy R. Perry and daughter, Mrs. Mary Ford, Anna Daugherty, Annie Wooster, Emily Judd, Nellie Daish, Edith Elliott, W. H. Bridgens and Walter Latimer and the family of P. K. Leland.
Pilgrim Congregational church, at Reynolds avenue and Seventh street, and the Grandview Congregational church at Seventeenth street and Riverview avenue, were consolidated recently, making a strong organization. The other churches of that denomination in Kansas City, Kansas, are the Chelsea church at Chestnut street and Spencer avenue, the Bethel Mission at No. 43 North First street, Plymouth church at Twelfth street and Osage avenue, and the old First Argentine church at Twenty-second street and Ruby avenue.
In 1857 the Rev. Rodney S. Nash, late of Lexington, Missouri, organized the St. Paul Episcopal parish, of Wyandotte. This was the pioneer parish of the territory of Kansas, and was organized under the authority of the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, the first missionary bishop of the Protestant Episcopal 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 July 9, 1882, the corner stone for the church at the intersection of Sixth and Ann streets was laid, the Rt. Rev. Thomas H. Vail, bishop of the diocese of Kansas, officiating. 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 26, 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 August 11th and 12th, 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., was, in December, 1864, consecrated to the sacred office and made his first visit to the 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 he again vacated the parish, and the Rev. William H. D. Hatton took charge in June of the same year. Since then there have been several successive rectors.
The church property at Sixth street and Ann avenue, was sold a few years ago and the building was moved to a new site on the north side of State avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets. On the site of the old church was erected the Grund hotel. But the old church, with its guild hall annex, is still the place of worship for the members of St. Paul's parish, of which the Rev. L. G. Moroney is the present rector.
St. Peter's Episcopal church, at No. 319 Stewart avenue, was organized twelve years ago from a part of St. Paul's parish. The Rev. John W. Barker, the present rector, is engaged in the erection of a new church at Twelfth street and Rowland avenue. Grace Episcopal church, at No. 1521 South Eighteenth street in the Argentine district, is the third church of that denomination in Kansas City, Kansas.
A tract of ground one hundred and fifty feet square, at the northeast corner of Huron Place whereon the five story Portsmouth building now stands, was dedicated to the Presbyterians in 1859 by the Wyandotte City Company as a "church lot." Only a few members of the Presbyterian church were among the early residents of Wyandotte. An organization of a few families was formed as early as 1857, but it was not of sufficient strength to then avail itself of the valuable gift. The war scattered the little band and the tract lay unused. In 1868 the county commissioners attempted to take possession of it and erect a court house thereon, claiming the title by virtue of a deed dated April 8, 1868. This claim was resisted on the mere record of the city company which "Resolved that a church lot be appropriated to the Presbyterian church, New School." The district court decreed that the title was sufficient and the supreme court upheld the decision. The Rev. Alexander Sterrett had effected a re-organization in 1881, so instead of the Wyandotte county court house being erected at that corner, the First Presbyterian church, a frame building, was reared thereon about 1882. The frame church was occupied by the congregation until 1889, when with the encroachments of the Elevated railway lines on Sixth street, the Metropolitan cable lines on Minnesota avenue, and of business houses, the ground was sold for $60,000, under sanction of the court and on condition that the money should be re-invested in a new church. The present magnificent church at Seventh street and Nebraska avenue was then built and occupied in 1890.
The Rev. Alexander Sterrett, the first pastor and organizer, died in 1884. His work was taken up by the Rev. Frank P. Berry who was pastor of the church for several years. Under Dr. Berry's pastorate was held the great Major Cole revival meeting in the nineties, which brought to the city a greater religious awakening than ever before or since. Following Doctor Berry were such strong pastors as the Rev. Harlan G. Mendenhall, the Rev. William Foulkes, the Rev. J. B. Worrall and the Rev. Samuel Garvin, the last named closing his pastorate in April, 1911, to accept a new charge at Colorado Springs.
The First Presbyterian church, now having a membership of nearly one thousand and one of the most influential in the city, was the pioneer of several churches of that denomination now existing.
The Central Presbyterian church, at No. 619 South Seventh street, was organized in the eighties in the Armourdale district and has since been a potent factor in the religious life of the city.
The Grandview Park Presbyterian church at No. 1613 Reynolds avenue, of which the Rev. William Foulkes, a pioneer minister and educator, is pastor, was started in 1890 by the Rev. Clarence W. Backus who had come out from New England. Doctor Backus foresaw the time when Grandview, at the western edge of the city, then only sparsely settled, would some day be built up with beautiful residences. He is still a citizen of Kansas City, Kansas, and has witnessed a fulfilment of his prophecy. The little church which he started with a small congregation is now a magnificent building, and the congregation is one of the largest in the city.
The Western Highlands Presbyterian church, at Twelfth street and Cleveland avenue; the Second Presbyterian, at Tenth street and Barnett avenue, and the United Presbyterian, at Seventh street and Riverview avenue, are the churches of that demonination[sic] having attractive houses of worship and large memberships.
The First (Argentine) Presbyterian church, at No, 1454 South Thirteenth street, is the house of worship for the Presbyterians south of the Kansas river and one of the oldest churches in that part of the city.
The Second (formerly Cumberland) Presbyterian church, the Rev. J. C. Moore pastor, is erecting a fine stone edifice at Eleventh street and Grandview boulevard.
The early efforts of the Baptists in Wyandotte county were in the direction of missionary work among the Indians, and later among the negroes who were flocking to Kansas. Little was done toward the organization of the churches for white people until after the Civil war. The old Wyandotte church, afterwards known as the Third church and the First church, located at Grandview and Ridge avenues, were organized in 1882 at about the same time, and their membership included many of the substantial citizens who were instrumental in building up the city. The Armourdale Baptist church, organized in the eighties, erected a handsome edifice at No. 621 South Mill street under the pastorate of the Rev. R. W. Arnold. It was given the name of the Second Baptist church. The Edgerton Place Baptist church was organized at the time of the rapid building up of that section of the city, in 1887-90, and is now one of the leading and most influential churches in the city. The Yecker avenue Baptist church was the result of the rapid settlement of the stretch of land between Wyandotte and Quindaro. It was built about twelve years ago at No. 1336 Yecker avenue. The First Baptist church of Argentine (now Kansas City, Kansas), was founded soon after that city was organized and it has been identified with the growth of that section. The neat house of worship is at No. 1445 South Twenty-seventh street. The other Baptist churches and missions in Kansas City, Kansas, are Chelsea Place, at Spencer avenue and Locust street; First Swedish, at No. 646 Ohio avenue; Central Baptist mission, at No. 327 North Valley street; Grandview mission, at Twenty-fourth street and Bunker avenue; Splitlog chapel, at Euclid avenue and Tenth street; West End Chapel, at No. 3717 Powell avenue; West End mission and London Heights chapel.
The recent encroachments of the business section of the city caused the abandonment of the Third Baptist church building at Sixth street and Nebraska avenue, and also of the First church at Grandview and Ridge avenues, and the consolidation of these societies in the great central Baptist organization which is being founded by the Rev. Stephen A. Northrop and which now has under construction a magnificent $50,000 stone temple at Tenth street and Tauromee boulevard. The Temple when finished is to provide an institutional church on broad lines, combining the spiritual work of the church with educational and social features.
The Baptist churches of Kansas City, Kansas, have been fortunate in securing the services of many of the ablest ministers of the denomination in the west. Among these may be mentioned the Rev. B. W. Wiseman, the Rev. Doctor Evans, the organizer of the Third church; the Rev. Frank L. Streeter, the Rev, A. H. Stote, the Rev. James F. Wells, the Rev. P. W. Carnnell, the Rev. W. E. Rafferty, and a long line of able men who have worked steadfastly for the church.
The First Colored Baptist church was organized in 1862 among the refugees who came to Wyandotte, and was the result of the efforts of the missionaries sent among them by that denomination. A frame building was erected on Nebraska avenue in 1869. In 1881 the building at Fifth street and Nebraska avenue was erected. From this pioneer body have sprung nine other colored Baptist churches - Metropolitan, at Ninth street and Washington avenue; King Solomon, at No. 1018 North Third street; Morning Star, at Kimball avenue and Howard street; Mount Pleasant, at No. 1521 North Third street; Mount Zion, at No. 417 Virginia avenue; Pleasant Green, at First street and Splitlog avenue; Rose Hill, at No. 823 New Jersey avenue; and St. Philips, at No, 346 New Jersey avenue.
The organization of Methodist Protestant churches in Kansas City, Kansas, began at the same time the first efforts were made to establish the Kansas City University in that city as a denominational school for the middle west. These churches, all founded in the latter eighties are the People's Church at No. 712 Nebraska avenue; the London Heights church, at Sixteenth street and Virginia avenue, and the Gordon Place church, at Eighth street and Lafayette avenue. During their life their pulpits have been filled by many of the ablest ministers of the denomination. Notable among these were the Rev. Seymour A. Baker, one of the early founders of Methodist Protestantism; the Rev. C. H. St. John and his wife, the Rev. Eugenia F. St. John, each of whom was a valuable aid to the Rev. D. S. Stephens, chancellor of the Kansas City University.
There are seven Christian churches in Kansas City, Kansas, all of which have been organized in the last twenty-five years. One of the earliest of these was organized in 1871 at Armstrong by Dr. John Arthur, who preached there several years. It was later merged into the Central church.
The Central church erected a frame building on the north side of Tauromee avenue west of Seventh street, in 1889-90, which was later abandoned for the handsome new stone church erected at Seventh street and Armstrong avenue. The Advent Christian church is at Twenty-fourth street and Garfield avenue.
The North Side Christian church, of more recent origin, worshipped at Seventh street and Garfield avenue until its congregation entered the new Tabernacle at Seventh street and Troup avenue. It has a large membership and is growing into one of the strongest churches in the city. The Grandview Christian church, at Eighteenth street and Central avenue, and the Quindaro Boulevard Christian church, at Twelfth street and Georgia avenue, were organized recently.
The South Side church is at No. 835 South Eighth street and the Third church is at Ninth street and Minnesota avenue. The colored churches of this denomination are the First, at No. 1401 North Eighth street, and the Christian mission, at Sixth street and Rowland avenue.
The Christian Science churches in Kansas City, Kansas, are of recent origin, the devotees of that faith having been associated with the organizations in Kansas City, Missouri, until five or six years ago. The First Church of Christ, which has its services in the Portsmouth Building at Sixth street and Minnesota avenue, however, has plans for a splendid edifice soon to be erected in the city. Miss May Harman is the reader.
The Armourdale Christian Science Society, recently organized, has services at No. 903 Osage avenue; Sarah E. Scherzer, reader.
Many other religious organizations have come into existence during the life of the community and are contributing their share of influence to the spiritual welfare of the people. Among these are the following:
Latter Day Saints - Armstrong branch, No. 734 Colorado avenue; Chelsea branch, No. 2101 Maple street; Grandview mission, No. 89 North Tenth street; Argentine, Thirty-seventh and Powell.
Lutheran - Danish, No. 713, Grandview avenue; St. Luke's German Evangelical, Grandview and Reynolds avenue; Trinity, No. 714 Tauromee avenue.
Dunkard - Dunkard Brethren, No. 921 Central avenue; Dunkard mission, No. 710 St. Paul street.
Evangelical - Zion's (German), No. 645 Orville avenue; Immanuel, No. 2609 Metropolitan avenue,
Hebrew-Congregation Gomel Chesed, No. 70 Central avenue.
Seventh Day Adventists - First, No. 438 Nebraska avenue; Second, (colored), No. 713 Freeman avenue.
Believer's chapel, No. 718 Quindaro boulevard.
Christian Church Mission, No. 1720 Central avenue.
Church of God, No. 719 St. Paul street.
Church of God mission, No. 425 Stewart avenue.
Church of the Ascension (colored, No. 935 Everett avenue.
Church of the Living God (colored), No. 337 Oakland avenue.
Deutsche Mission, Tenth street and Euclid avenue.
Holy Rollers, No. 2810 North Eighth avenue.
Holiness Mission (colored), No. 935 Everett avenue.
Life Line Mission, No. 711 Osage avenue.
Mennonite Church, No. 3105 Strong avenue and Mennonite mission, No. 200 South Seventh street.
Salvation Army, No. 1101 North Fifth street.
Union church, No. 1208 Vermont avenue.
The United Brethren church, one of the old organizations, is erecting a $15,000 church building at Nineteenth street and Central avenue.
A recent Sunday School census of Wyandotte county gives the following figures:
|Denomination||No. Schools.||No. Enrolled.|
|Free Methodist Episcopal||4||157|
The census does not include 1,200 Roman Catholic children.
The negro Sunday schools follow:
|Denomination||No. Schools.||No. Enrolled.|
|African Methodist Episcopal||5||542|
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project