Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5 v. (lvi, 2731 p., [228] leaves of plates) : ill., maps (some fold.), ports. ; 27 cm.

1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Churches Part 1




The first activities of the Methodist Church in Kansas were the Shawnee and Kansas missions, established about 1830 by the two Johnson brothers, Thomas and William. Prior to 1844, missions were established among the Delawares, Peorias, Iowas, Sacs, Foxes, and Wyandots. Churches began to be founded in 1854, and among those which were established that year were the organizations at Leavenworth, Tecumseh, and Lawrence. Those at Ft. Scott and Lecompton followed in 1855. Among the early ministers were Rev. W. H. Goode, Rev. A. Still, Rev. James S. Griffing, and Rev. J. B. Stateler, in 1854; Rev. C. I. Rice, Rev. L. B. Dennis, Rev. J. B. Barnabey, in 1855.

The organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church Conference of Kansas took place at Lawrence in 1856. It included a part of Nebraska Territory. In 1860 the rapid growth of the church made a division necessary, and the Nebraska Conference was separated from that of Kansas. At this time there were forty-three churches, with a combined membership of four thousand,

The Kansas Educational Association was formed at the first meeting of the Conference in 1856, and the next year they secured a tract of land from the "Palmyra Association" on which they located Baker University. The college was organized in 1858. The Southwestern, a small college, at Winfield, was founded in 1885, and the Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina in 1886.

The Methodist Church is the largest in the State, having a membership of one hundred and twenty-five thousand.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The Baptist missionaries were as early as those of any church in Kansas. Among the notable, names are those of Dr. Johnston Lykins, who came to the Shawnees in 1831, Robert Simerwell, who went to the Pottawatomies in 1837 and established the famous Baptist Mission in Mission township, Shawnee County, in 1848. Rev. Jotham Meeker, who located among the Ottawas in 1837, established a mission five miles from the present site of Ottawa, translated the books of the new testament into the language of the Ottawas and organized a church of which nine-tenths of the entire tribe became members. Rev. Isaac McCoy was also one of the first Baptist missionaries in Kansas.

In 1854, when the territory was thrown open to settlement, Baptist Churches were established instead of missions. Six years later there were forty congregations and twenty-nine preachers in Kansas. The Baptist Association was organized in June, 1860. Five years later Ottawa University, which is now one of the leading educational institutions of the state, was established. An Academy at Hiawatha and a Theological Seminary at Kansas City, Kansas, were established later.

At the present time the Baptist Church ranks third in membership in Kansas. There are about six hundred congregations and five hundred ministers.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The first Episcopal parish was organized at Leavenworth, in 1856, by Rev. Hiram Stone. The next year a church building was erected at that place and consecrated by Bishop Kemper. The pioneer ministers of 1857 were Revs. Charles M. Calloway, C. Reynolds, and R. S. Nash. Rev. Calloway conducted services at St. Pauls, at Manhattan, where, the next year, a parish was organized by N. O. Preston. Rev. Reynolds founded Trinity Church at Lawrence, and Christ Church, at Prairie City, in his first year, and Rev. Nash founded a church at Wyandotte. Trinity Church at Atchison was founded in October, 1857, by Rev. L. R. Staudenmayer. Rev. J. Ryan founded a church at Elwood in 1858. The state organization of the church took place at Wyandotte in 1859.

Rev. Calloway came to Topeka in 1860 and founded Grace Church. A building was erected having a female seminary in connection. This is now known as the Bethany College of the Sisters of Bethany and is one of the best private educational institutions in the State. The new Grace Cathedral, which is now in process of construction, will be one of the finest church edifices in Kansas.

The present strength of the Episcopal Church in Kansas is about seven thousand members. It is divided into two dioceses, Kansas and Salina, with headquarters respectively at Topeka and Salina.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


In 1822 Rev. Father Charles de La Croix was appointed missionary to the Osages by the Bishop of New Orleans. He reached the Neosho in May of that year. He baptized Antone Chouteau on the 5th of May. This missionary died from the effects of the hardships of the wilderness without accomplishing much.

The first Catholic Mission in Kansas was established among the Osages, in 1827, by Father Van Quickenborn, a Jesuit priest of Missouri. In 1829, the first buildings were erected, one at the Osage mission by Father Odin, and one at Pottawatomie Station by Felix Verreydt.

In 1851, Bishop Miege was appointed over this section of the country, and he established a church at St. Marys, where a building was erected. Father Heiman organized a church at Leavenworth and built the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception about this time. Other early churches were one at Lawrence, organized in 1857 by Father Magee, and one at Doniphan the same year under Father Wirth. In 1858, a church was founded at Wyandotte by Father Heiman, and one at Valley Falls; St. Marys, in Nemaha County, was founded in 1859, the church at Ft. Scott, in 1860, by Fathers Schoenmakers, Ponziglione, and Van Gach, and the Church of the Assumption in Topeka in 1860, by Father James H. Defouri.

A number of educational institutions have been founded by the Catholic Church, the most important of which is St. Mary's College, established in 1848. Mt. St. Scholastica's Academy, at Atchison, was established in 1863; St. Benedict's College at Atchison, in 1858; St. Mary's Academy, at Leavenworth, in 1866, and Nazareth Academy, at Concordia, in 1884. Besides these there are several other academies, and hospitals and a large number of parochial schools.

There is a Catholic population in Kansas of one hundred thousand people.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The Congregational Church made its appearance in Kansas with the first white settlements. Rev. Samuel Y. Lum was the pioneer minister, and founded a church in Lawrence October 15, 1854. Rev. Lum also preached at Topeka. Rev. C. E. Blood preached at Manhattan. In 1855, one of the strongest church colonies of any denomination located at Wabaunsee in the county of that name. It was under the Rev. Harvey Jones. Seven churches were founded in 1856: Manhattan, Topeka, Osawatomie, Zeandale, Burlingame, Bloomington, Kanwaka. Wabaunsee and Geneva followed the next year.

The State organization of the church was formed at Topeka, in 1857. The next year ten churches were organized: Albany, Atchison, Emporia, Hiawatha, Leavenworth, Minneola, Quindaro, Grasshopper Falls, Wyandotte and Sumner. Among the pioneer ministers were Rev. Lewis Bodwell, Rev. A. L. Adair, 1856; Rev. Sylvester D. Storrs, Rev. O. L. Woodford, Rev. Richard Cordley, Rev. R. D. Parker, and Rev. G. C. Morse in 1857. Storrs, Cordley, Parker and Morse composed the famous Andover Band.

In 1865, the Congregational Church founded Lincoln College at Topeka. It was later moved to a new site southwest of the town and the name changed to Washburn. This college is now the largest educational institution in Kansas, independent of the State. Fairmount College, at Wichita, was founded in 1895.

The present strength of the Congregational Church in Kansas is over sixteen thousand.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The pioneer Presbyterian ministers in Kansas were Revs. Joseph Kerr and Wells Bushnell, who came to the Wea Indians, near Ottawa, in 1835, where they established the first Presbyterian Church in Kansas. In 1837 Rev. S. M. Irvin located near the present site of Highland. Six months later he was joined by Rev. William Hamilton. These men founded the organization which later became the parent of the Synod.

The first church to be organized after the white settlements were made was at Leavenworth, in 1856, by Rev. C. D. Martin. Rev. James Brownlee, of the "New School," came in 1858 and founded churches at Brownsville, Olathe, Gardner, Black Jack, De Soto. Centropolis, and Spring Hill. The "Old School," organized at Auburn, Atchison, Tecumseh, Lecompton and Lawrence that year. In 1859 churches were founded at Topeka, Leavenworth, Carlyle and Ft. Scott. Pioneer ministers of 1858 were Revs. William Wilson, and C. McCain; of 1859, F. P. Monford, W. Bishop, H. Reed, E. Blachly, J. G. Reaser, and Rev. Mr. Thorne.

Three educational institutions were formed very early, Highland College, Mapleton Academy, and Iola High School. Highland College was founded in 1857, and is still maintained. In 1882, the Presbyterian Church established the College of Emporia at Emporia, Kansas.

The present strength of the Presbyterian Church in Kansas is thirty thousand members, five hundred congregations and two hundred and sixty-one ministers.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The Mennonites came to Kansas direct from Russia. The immigration began in 1873, and in 1875, a large body comprising four hundred families, or about nineteen hundred people, came to Topeka, bringing with them $2,000,000 in gold with which to found homes. They settled in groups, in Reno, Harvey, Marion, and McPherson counties. For ten years the influx continued, until no less than fifteen thousand had settled in Kansas. Later the number reached sixty thousand.

The Mennonites established their own churches and schools. The first school was founded at Halstead in 1882. It offered its course of instruction in both English and German. In 1887, the City of Newton made an offer to the church to have the school moved. Instead of doing this a new one was founded, which finally opened its doors in 1893, as Bethel College. There were about thirty-one Mennonite Church buildings in the state at that time, and a membership of not over five thousand. At the present time the membership is about seven thousand five hundred. The institution at Newton is supported entirely by the church, and by the income from an endowment which has been given by Mennonite people. It has from one hundred to one hundred and fifty annual enrollment.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The pioneer minister of the Lutheran Church in Kansas was Rev. Joseph B. McAfee, who came to Leavenworth in 1855. He established a school, as well as a church, at that place. Two years later he moved to Valley Falls where he established a church and preached all over the country. He succeeded in establishing churches at Monrovia, Pardee and Crooked Creek, in 1858. Rev. David Earhart located at Ozawkie in 1857, and preached over the country for three years. In 1860 he organized a church at Sumner, in Atchison county, and one at Vinland, in Douglas county. In 1861 he organized a church in Doniphan County. He continued his labors until 1873, in Doniphan, Brown, and Atchison counties and established a dozen or more churches. The Lutheran Church, at Leavenworth, was founded in 1861, by Bishop Dubs; at Atchison in 1866, by C. F. Liebe; at Lawrence in 1868, by Rev. Morris. Those at Salina, Lindsboro, and Topeka were founded in 1868.

Bethany College, which has the best Conservatory of Music in Kansas, was founded by the Swedish Lutherans in 1881. Midland College, at Atchison, was founded by the German Lutherans in 1887, and St. John's Lutheran College at Winfield, in 1893.

There is an aggregate membership of thirty thousand in the Lutheran Church in Kansas at the present time.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


The Church of the Brethren (formerly the German Baptist Brethren) is a Christian communion of about 100,000 members. It was organized in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708, by a group of eight persons who were all more or less affected by Pietistic teaching. The church has been variously denominated as that of the Taufers, Tunkers (German "taufen"), Dunkers, Dunkards, German Baptist Brethren, and the Brethren. in 1908, at the General Conference at Des Moines, Ia., the name "Church of the Brethren" was definitely adopted.

Persecuted in Germany because of non-conformity the membership emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719, settling first in Germantown, where the mother church is still in a prosperous condition. The Brethren were early associated with Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians and also with other minor sects such as the Quakers and Mennonites. The first German Bible printed in America was published by Christopher Sower, a leading member of the new sect. His printing press was destroyed by the British during the Revolution, a misfortune from which the church with difficulty recovered.

The Brethren came to Kansas shortly before the Civil war. As far as known the first member in the state was David Kinzie, who lived near Clinton in Douglas County. In 1854 Jacob Ulrich of Wayne County, Indiana, came with an immigrant train of eleven wagons of Brethren. These Hoosiers settled south of Emporia. Within a year, however, Ulrich and his family moved ten miles south of Lawrence. He wrote frequently for the church paper, the Gospel Visitor, and exercised a wide influence in inducing his church people to come to Kansas. In the Quantrell raid he was a heavy loser, the raiders stopping at his home and firing his house as they left. Ulrich was a warm friend of Senator Lane and of Jacob Branson. The retreating guerrillas inflicted permanent injuries upon Abraham Rothrock, a neighbor of Ulrich's and the first bishop of the Brethren in Kansas.

The first church of the Brethren in Kansas was built on Washington Creek, southwest of Lawrence, in 1858, although services had been held earlier near the present Town of Dunlap. The congregation at Washington Creek is still in existence. Before 1878 congregations were organized at Ozawkie, Emporia, Morrill, Fort Scott, Abilene, Peabody, and Nickerson. The year 1878 witnessed a large immigration. More and more the tide turned to central and western Kansas. By 1886 many of the extreme western counties had been reached.

In 1881 there occurred in the Miami Valley in Ohio a church division which split the denomination into the three divisions all of which continue separate even today. Higher education and a salaried ministry were the questions at issue. The Ultra-Conservatives called themselves the Old Order German Baptist Brethren, accepting also the designation Dunkard; the Conservatives likewise retained the name German Baptist Brethren, but became the Church of the Brethren in 1908; the Radicals, often called Progressive Brethren, are legally known as the Brethren. The Old Orders are rapidly waning in membership.

The Church of the Brethren in 1916 had 4,824 members in Kansas, the northeastern and southwestern parts of the state showing the largest membership. Three times in her history the church has held her Annual Conference in Kansas, - at Bismarck Grove (Lawrence) in 1883, in Ottawa in 1887 and 1896. In June, 1917, the conference comes to Wichita. These gatherings are always unusually well attended.

The Brethren own McPherson College, a Christian college established in 1887 at McPherson. The Kansas membership sustains at Darlow a home for the aged. The Child Rescue Society has its headquarters at McPherson. The church also has a mutual insurance company which does a large amount of business among the members of the central section of the United States.

The plea of the Brethren is for a return to the faith and practice of primitive Christianity. Therefore they are a church of earnest Bible students. They have no creed aside from the Bible. In brief their doctrines include baptism (trine immersion), the Lord's Supper (a full meal), the Eucharist, feetwashing, and the anointing. They take no oath, abstain from military service, and go to law only as a last resort. From the first they have been on record as temperate advocates. They have always opposed slavery. Since 1817 they have actively opposed the use of tobacco.

Their form of church government is democratic and representative. All officers are elected by the voice of the local congregation. There are three degrees in the ministry, the elders being vested with all the powers of the ministerial office by means of ordination. The local church council meeting decides on matters of strictly local importance, the more weighty matters being sent to district conference. Any question of general interest is decided at the general annual conference. All conference bodies are made up of delegates elected by local congregations. A free and open discussion followed by a majority vote is decisive in the adoption of methods of work. The greatest problems now confronting the denomination are conceded to be missionary activity, the Sunday School, and the education of the young.

                                 E. L. CRAIK, Lawrence, Kansas.

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A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans , written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 1998.