The Churches of Harvey County, Kansas
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Burrton - The Baptist Church was organized in the Boss schoolhouse, two and one-half miles west of Burrton, just into Reno County, in September of 1876 with sixteen members. In the fall of 1877 the membership had increased to forty-two members. Old Father Camp, the organizer of the church, remained two years. He was succeeded by Rev. D. Rowe, who remained two years. Rev. A. Post, the next pastor, officiated one year. Rev. J. H. Howgate, pastored next. In 1877 a frame building was erected and in 1880 was moved to Burrton. In 1883 the membership was twenty-three. (C)
Newton - The Newton First Baptist Church was organized in the fall of 1877, by Rev. A. S. Merrifield, with about forty-three members. A frame edifice, 30 X 40 feet was erected during the same year at a cost of about $1,400. Rev. Mr. Merrifield remained as pastor until December 1, 1882, since which time the church has been supplied by Rev. L. T. Bicknell. The church had 160 members in 1883.
Newton - Church of the Immaculate Conception - The first services of this denomination in Newton were held by Rev. F. P. Swembergh in 1870, in tents and cars used by the construction men, in building the railroad to this point. In the latter part of 1872, Father Swembergh organized a church with four families, and commenced the erection of a stone edifice. The first building was 24 X 40 feet, and was completed in 1874. In 1879 an addition was made in the form of a cross, and a Parochial School established with 35 pupils and the church had a membership of 65. During the same year, the parsonage was built. Value of church property $4,000. In 1883 the membership was from eighty to one hundred families. (C)
The Catholic Church of Newton was founded in the fall of 1870, under Father Schwemberg, who, a western missionary, remained here seventeen years, during which time he built the first church and also secured the property very much as it is today. After its founder came Rev. B. Schmeihausen, for four years, then came Rev. M.J. Casey for four years, then Rev. John Maher, also for four years, then Father Wirsma, for two years, and finally Father Maguire who was appointed in 1900. Here is established a parochial school, which is under the care of the Sisters of St. Joseph, with two teachers and forty-five pupils. The parish contained one hundred and fifty families and about seven hundred and fifty communicants in 1902. "Father Maguire has much of the indomitable spirit that filled the lives of the early teachers of his faith, in this country. His successful work speaks for him. For eleven years he has lived a life of duty, asking no vacation. He is energetic, magnetic, scholarly, and thoroughly understands both the financial aspects and the religious needs of his parishioners. In the city of Newton he is universally esteemed. The congregation is a large and wealthy one and much is required of them by their earnest and faithful priest. Under his careful management this parish will doubtless have a church and parsonage in keeping with the enterprising spirit of the worthy people of Newton." (Biographical History of Central Kansas: 1902, pp. 653-654).
Burrton - The Christian Church was organized in 1874 by Rev. J. Ellet, who has remained the pastor, with eighteen members. Service were held in the old schoolhouse until the fall of 1879, when the first church edifice was completed. The building was a fine structure, 36 x 48 feet, and cost $1,200. In 1883, the membership was forty-five. (C)
Newton - Services of the St. Matthews Episcopal Church were, prior to its organization, held by Rev. A. Beattie, D. D. until an organization was effected in 1879. A stone edifice, 30 x 50 feet, was erected during the same year, at a cost of $2,500. The building was used until 1882, when on account of its imperfect construction it was torn down, and the first Methodist Church building was purchased. The first regular pastor, Rev. James Newman, officiated until October, 1880, when he was succeeded by the Rev. R. C. Talbott, who remained four months. The organization was then without a regular pastor until July 1882, when Rev. T. L. Allen assumed the pastorate. The organization is the only one of this denomination in the county. Membership in 1883 was 16 people. (C)
Macon Township - An organization of this denomination was effected in January, 1881, with ten members, six miles west of Newton, in Macon township by Rev. Erffmeyer. Meetings are held in schoolhouse, District 15; Thomas Patterson, class leader. Membership in 1883 was 13 individuals. (C)
Newton - The German Evangelical Association was formed June 18, 1879, with seven members, by Rev. E. C. Erffmeyer. In the spring of 1880 the church was admitted into the conference. A frame edifice, 26 X 52 feet, was erected in the fall of 1879, at a cost of $2,200. September 28, 1882, this building was totally destroyed by a cyclone, while a meeting of the church was in session. all the inmates escaped without serious injury. Rev. Mr. Erffmeyer was succeeded in April, 1882, by Rev. Mr. Kiplinger.. The denomination then used the Baptist Church for services, which had a membership of 40 in 1883. (C)
Newton - An organization of the German Lutheran persuasion is located here, but from absence of records or reliable data no information was published. (C)
Halstead - The Halstead Mennonite Church (German) was organized in the spring of 1875, with sixteen members, by Rev. V. Krehbiel, who remained three years. He was succeeded by Rev. D. Goerz. In 1883 the church building was a frame, 38 x 44 feet, erected in 1878, at a cost of $1,5000, with a membership of 75. (C)
Newton - The Mennonite Church (German) was organized in 1879, with about ten members, by Elder L. Sudermann (supply). A frame church edifice, 26 X 52 feet, was completed in the spring of 1881, at a cost of $2,000 with lot. The church had 55 members in 1883. (C)
Burrton - The Burrton Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in June, 1873, with seven members, at the then called Ballenger schoolhouse three miles west of Burrton, just across the line into Reno county, by Rev. John Harris. Six months later the organization moved to Burrton and held services in the schoolhouse. The following pastors have officiated to date: Rev. John Harris, one year; G. W. Kanabel, one year; _____ Presby, six months; M. M. Haun, one year; W. W. Woodsie, two years; S. Ward, one year; C. B. Mitchel, one year; H. G. Hamilton, one year; and G. H. Matthews, the pastor since March, 1882. Membership in 1883 was 70. (C)
Halstead - The Halstead Methodist Episcopal Church was organized during the summer of 1873, by Rev. Jno. Harris. Services were first held in the Sweesy House, after which the schoolhouse was used. In the fall of 1882, a handsome and substantial brick edifice, 35 x 55 feet, was erected at a cost of $4,2000. Rev. B. C. Swarts, pastored a membership of 90 in 1883. (C).
Halstead - The German Methodist Episcopal Church of Halstead was organized in the fall of 1878, with eleven members, by Rev. H. Hoffman. A church building, 26 x 40 feet was erected in 1882. The society was incorporated in 1882, under State laws. Rev. J. G. Vogel, was the pastor in 1883, with a membership of 21 people. (C)
Newton - The Newton Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the spring of 1872, by Rev. M. M. Haun, as a Mission, which embraced all of Harvey county, and included six appointments. In March, 1873, the Newton organization numbered thirty members, under the pastorate of Rev. L. F. Laverty, who remained two years. The first church edifice (later occupied by the Episcopal denomination) was a frame, 26 X 46 feet, and was dedicated August 5, 1873, the total cost being $2,000. Rev. Laverty was succeeded in 1875, by Rev. E. C. Brooks, who remained two years. He was succeeded by the following: Walter Oakley, one year; W. A. Dodson, one year; E. C. Brooks, one year; W. W. Woodside, one year; and Rev. N. Asher, two years. A new stone edifice, 46 X 55 feet, was completed in the spring of 1883, at a cost of $7,5000. The Sabbath school average attendance in 1883 was 150 pupils, with 175 church communicants.
Walton - The Walton United Methodist Church, formerly the Methodist Episcopal Church, is pictured on the masthead of this page.
Burrton - The First Presbyterian Church was organized February 13, 1874, by Rev. R. M. Overstreet, who held service in Burrton early October, 1873, with eight members. The church organized three miles east of Burrton, in the Page schoolhouse. Mr. Overstreet remained as pastor until May, 1877, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. T. Phillips, who ministered unto the church until November, 1878. He was succeeded by Rev. D. Kingery. Regular services were held in the new schoolhouse, at Burrton, in 1883. (C) A historical sketch written by Rev. D. Kingery in September, 1882 follows: Rev. R. M. Overstreet was the pioneer preacher in Burrton. He came at first at the solicitation of a few Presbyterians residing in the vicinity when there was nothing to mark where the town now is except the Rail Road Station and perhaps one or two small houses. This was in October 1873. With his characteristic energy he undertook the work of gathering the people together for the establishing of a Church. During the winter following there was occasional preaching. But a meeting was announced for Feb. 15, 1874 with the view of effecting an organization. This meeting was held in the school house of district No. 8 known as the Page School house, three miles west of Burrton. After sermon by the Rev. Overstreet the following presented certificates from the various Churches from which they came. Archibald Mathews, and Mrs. Jane Mathews, Thomas McFarland, and Mrs. Jane McFarland, John M. Rowland, and Mrs. M. Rowland, Isaac Jones and Mrs. Sophia Jones, these were all received and organized into the Presbyterian Church of Burrton. Thomas McFarland was elected ruling elder, and was ordained and installed. At a meeting of the congregation in April 1875, Archibald Mathews and John M. Rowland were elected Elders and Joseph Moore, A.G. Mathews and Isaac Jones were elected Trustees. At that meeting it was resolved to adopt the limited term service in the eldership. Rev. D. M. Moore of Hutchinson presided at this meeting. At subsequent meetings Joseph Blanchard, R. G. Jones, Edwin Gorvin, and J. H. Morrison were elected Elders. In October 1878 it was resolved to abandon the limited term service of the Eldership. The session is now composed of the following members: Thomas McFarland, Edwin Gorvan, J.H. Morrison, R.G. Jones, and H. Emerson. The following persons have served as trustees in this Church at different times: Joseph Moore, A.G. Mathews, Isaac Jones, J.H. Morrison, Lyman Cone, R.G. Jones, E. Johns, and Edwin Gorvin. At present they are R.G. Jones, E. Johns, and Edwin Gorvin. Rev. Overstreet preached for the congregation as often as his labors elsewhere would permit from the time of the organization of the Church until May 1877. At that time, Rev. J.T. Phillips was called to be Pastor, and on the first Sabbath of June following he was installed Pastor of this Church in connection with the Valley Township Church. Half the time was to be given to each Church. Rev. D. M. Moore and Rev. A.E. Garrison conducted the installation service. This pastorate continued until Nov. 1878 when Rev. Phillips was called to DuQuoin, Illinois. In the meantime the Presbytery of Larned had been organized and the Burrton Church is within the bounds of that Presbytery. In Nov. 1878 Rev. D. Kingery came from Ohio, and took charge of the two Churches of which Rev. Phillips had been Pastor. The work was thus continued without interruption. The Burrton Church has at no time had a very rapid growth. But it has made gradual and steady progress through the greater part of its history thus far. And its influence in the community is at least not inferior to that of any other religious organization. The congregation has never had a house of worship of its own. And this has no doubt been some disadvantage in carrying on the work of the Church. For they have frequently had to change their place of meeting. In Sept. 1877 a building committee was appointed to take into consideration the advisability and practicality of erecting a house of worship. But hitherto it has been found impracticable to accomplish the very desirable object. In the summer of 1878 a Sabbath School was organized, but as other denominational schools had been organized it was decided to have one in connection with this Church. From this little beginning this school has grown to be the largest and most flourishing one in this community. One chief cause of this prosperity is owing no doubt to the prompt and faithful attendance and work of the officers and teachers of the school. For about two years Edwin Gorvin was superintendent, and since that W. H. Wilson has occupied that place. In November 1879 a Woman's Missionary Society was organized in connection with this Church. This is the first society of the kind organized within the bounds of the Presbytery of Larned. In this organization the women have worked faithfully, and with good results. One evidence of this is the increased contribution which the Church has reported to the Presbytery for both home and foreign Missions. In April 1881 this Church reported larger contributions than any other Church in the Presbytery. And though for 1882 the aggregate amount reported is smaller than some others it is larger than any other in proportion to the number of members. Other worthy objects have not suffered, but have rather been helped by this intcreased interest in the cause of home and foreign Mission. The Burrton Monitor, Burrton, Kansas. Friday, September 22, 1882. Page 2.
Newton - The First Presbyterian Church was organized July 7, 1872, by Rev. J. P. Harsen, with seven members, namely F. L. Faatz, W. R. Johnson, J. C. Johnson, James M. Johnson, Mrs. Mary Johnson, D. L. Payne and Mr. Calderhead. During the first two or three years the church had no regular pastor. Rev. A. E. Garrison became pastor in March, 1875, and remained until the close of 1878. In April, 1879, Rev. James H. Clark became pastor and remained until the spring of 1882. In November of 1882 Rev. E. J. Brown assumed charge. The membership has increased as follows: 1872, 7 members; 1874, 12 members; 1875, 21 members; 1876, 37 members; 1877, 56 members; 1878, 66 members; 1879, 64 members; 1880, 104 members; 1881, 108 members; 1882, 102 members. During the pastorate of Rev. Garrison, the church edifice, a frame structure, 35 X 50 feet, was completed at a cost of $5,000. The church has always maintained a Sabbath school. the membership of which was 137 in 1883. (C)
"Rev. Paul Mustard who has been Pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Newton for the past year and a half, presented his resignation as Pastor to the congregation at the Sunday morning service. The family will not leave Newton until the first of the year." (The Newton Kansan, Monday December 6, 1915. Page 1 Column 3.)
The Universalists had an organization in Burrton but owing to absence of records, no sketch was ever published. Rev. T. W. Woodrow, of Hutchinson, was pastor in 1883. (C)
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