Thirty Years in the Itinerancy
Wesson Gage Miller
Part 4 out of 5
in the spring of 1843, consisting of nine or ten members, with John Wynn
Rev. Lyman Catlin, who came in 1844, was the first resident Pastor. He
was formerly a Professor in Mt. Morris Seminary. During the winter his
wife, who was a lady of fine culture, taught a select school in the
village. Brother Catlin preached in Janesville on the morning of each
Sabbath, and in the afternoon alternated between Union and Johnstown.
The following year, Rev. T.W. Perkins was appointed to the charge, but
in consequence of ill health, he was soon obliged to resign. His place
was supplied by Rev. Stephen Adams, of Beloit. In 1846 Rev. John Luccock
was the Pastor, and was followed the next year by Rev. Wesley Lattin,
who remained two years. Brother Lattin was very popular with all
classes, and his labors were blessed with an extensive revival. During
his Pastorate the Society erected a small frame church, 35 by 25 feet in
size. It was opened for worship in the fall of 1848. The location was on
the opposite side of Centre Street, and a little west of the present
edifice. A Parsonage was also erected the same year. Both of them,
however, were sold when the grounds were purchased for the new Church.
It was during the Pastorate of Brother Lattin that the first donation
party ever held in Janesville, was given. The company assembled at the
residence of Mr. and Mrs. John Wynn, where Brother Lattin boarded. The
ladies furnished the table with all the luxuries the village afforded,
and the affair was considered a grand success.
Brother Lattin was followed successively by Revs. J.M. Snow, O.F.
Comfort, and Daniel Stansbury. During the winter of 1852 Brother
Stansbury held a series of meetings, assisted by Rev. C.C. Mason, which
resulted in a considerable addition to the membership of the Church.
Finding that the little Church was now becoming too small to accommodate
them, the Society decided to build a more commodious house of worship.
It was commenced in the spring following, and was located on the corner
of Jackson and Centre Streets. This is the edifice now occupied by the
first charge, is built of brick, and is 75 by 45 feet in size. The
building was not fully completed until during the Pastorate of Rev.
Henry Requa, in 1855, but it was so far advanced that it was dedicated
in July, 1853, by the pioneer veteran, Rev. John Clark, of the Rock
The severe labors of Brother Stansbury overtaxed his strength, and he
was compelled to seek rest. Brother Mason was employed to fill out the
balance of the year. Brother Mason was a Local Preacher from England,
had lost one limb, and though somewhat eccentric, he held a high rank as
a pulpit orator. He was often not a little surprised with the queer ways
of this country. I remember to have met him at the Janesville Conference
several years later. He was put up to preach, as usual on all great
occasions, and delivered a grand sermon. The following evening the
Missionary Anniversary came, and at the close of the speeches, the
meeting proceeded to constitute Life Memberships. This was a new role to
the old gentleman, but, soon comprehending the movement, he launched
into it with all his soul. The good Bishop was made a Life Member, then
his wife, then the Missionary Secretary, and so on in a spirited manner.
As each proposition was made, the good brother planked his dollar,
little dreaming of the length of the road upon which he had entered. But
as the memberships were multiplied, his purse fell under the law of
subtraction, until it contained but one dollar more. Just at this moment
some zealous brother proposed to be one of ten to make the Presiding
Elder of the Janesville District a Life Member of the Conference
Missionary Society. It was no time for parley about that remaining
dollar, for the Janesville District must not be outdone by the other
Districts in gallantry, so down went the last dollar. But it had hardly
reached the table before the giver was hunting for his crutches. Such
was the generous nature of the man, however, that he would have stood
his ground to the coming of the morning if he had been advised in
advance of the character of the Anniversary exercises.
In 1853 Rev. J.W. Wood was stationed at Janesville, and Rev. Henry Requa
in 1854 and 1855. Brother Requa was very popular, drew large audiences,
and realized an accession of fifty members. At the Conference of 1855 a
new charge was formed on the east side of the river, and Rev. C.C.
Mason, who had been received on trial, was appointed as its
In 1856, Rev. A. Hamilton was appointed to Janesville, and Rev. D.O.
Jones to East Janesville. Brother Hamilton came to the Conference this
year by transfer from the Oneida Conference, where he had done effective
work for several years. At the close of the year in Janesville he was
made Presiding Elder of Watertown District, where he remained two years.
In 1859, by a reconstruction of the Districts, he was assigned to Beaver
Dam District, where he remained the other two years of his term. For a
number of years thereafter he served on circuits and stations. His
health now failed and he took a superannuated relation. Brother Hamilton
was a good and true man, of a metaphysical turn of thought, well versed
in theology, and an instructive Preacher.
Brother Jones entered the Conference in 1851, and had been stationed at
Elk Grove, Richland City, Muscoday, and Green Bay. Since he left
Janesville, he has taken a respectable class of appointments, filling
them creditably to himself and acceptably to the people. He is genial in
spirit and warm in his attachments. He is still in the enjoyment of
good health, and promises years of efficient service.
This brief record brings us to the date of my appointment. At the recent
session of the Conference, the charge on the east side of the river was
left to be supplied, and as it had, up to this time, developed but
little strength, twenty-six members only, it was deemed best to let it
go back to the old charge.
I found the Church edifice in good condition, but without class or
prayer-rooms. The external appearance was decidedly respectable, and the
accommodations within, both in respect to size and furnishing, equal or
superior to any other Church in the village.
The Parsonage, a small and inferior building, had been recently sold to
liquidate in part the indebtedness remaining on the Church, and this
involved the necessity of renting a house for my family.
After becoming settled in our new home, the first special work was to
complete the payment of the Church debt. This was soon arranged, and I
was at liberty to direct my attention more particularly to the spiritual
interests of the charge. My first labor in this direction, as in all my
former charges, was to look well after the people at their homes, and
the second, to see that the social means of grace were well arranged and
properly sustained. And I soon found in Janesville, as I have always
found, that they are the key to successful labor. It is possible by
corresponding adjustment of pulpit labor to excite the attention of the
community, and thereby secure large congregations, but such a result is
not a certain index of true success. In the forum, as on the platform,
it may be otherwise, but in the building up of Christ's kingdom, there
must be a spiritual basis; for his kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. In
these days of special clamor for superior pulpit attractions to draw
the crowd, there is a strong temptation to court popular favor by
adjusting both the themes and style of address to the pulpit in such a
way as to withold from the people the only spiritual food that can give
life to a dead soul. Such a Ministry in the eyes of the world may be
deemed a great success, but to such as judge not after the outward
appearance, it is known to be a dead failure. While it utterly fails to
bring souls to Christ, it is also disastrous to the Church itself. The
mighty adhesive forces, which bind the hearts of Christians to each
other, can only subsist on the marrow of Gospel truth, and if this is
wanting, dissension will soon appear, and the Church suffer
disintegration. Holding these views, strengthened as they had been by my
former experience and observation, I resolved, at whatever cost of
reputation, to adhere to them in Janesville.
The result proved their wisdom. With the revival of the prayer and class
meetings, and the utterance of plain Evangelical truth from the pulpit,
came a speedy manifestation of spiritual interest and growth. And so
marked had this indication of the presence of the Spirit become, that I
felt justified in opening a protracted meeting with the watch-night
services. The meeting grew in interest from night to night, and in a
short time the Altar was filled with penitents. Thus opened a meeting
that continued four months, resulting gloriously to the charge. Nearly
three hundred persons professed to be converted, and near two hundred of
them were received on probation.
During the meeting I preached nearly every night, and sometimes in the
afternoons. But I was greatly assisted in the meeting by Revs. J.B.
Cooper and I.S. Eldridge, of whom mention will be made in another
chapter. Rev. A.B. Bishop, now a valuable member of Minnesota
Conference, was also, though young, a good laborer in the meeting. Among
the laymen who rendered special service was Brother J.L. Kimball, who,
with his daughter Emily, had been for years the principal reliance in
the singing, both in the choir and social meetings. Referring to this
good brother brings up an incident of the meeting. Brother K. had long
been recognized as the financial man and the singer of the Church, but
could never take a part in the social services with any comfort to
himself. In one of the meetings I suggested that in these matters as in
others, practice would relieve the case. He concluded to try it, and for
two weeks spoke a few words as opportunity offered. But he finally told
the congregation that my recipe would not work. Others might be able to
talk their way to Heaven, but he was satisfied that, as for himself, he
would have to pay his way, if he ever got there. The pleasant remark
seemed more in keeping, when it was remembered that he was always a
generous contributor to every good cause.
While many of the converts were from among the young people, not a few
were persons of mature years, and some of them in affluent
circumstances. The large increase of members rendered it necessary to
reconstruct the classes, but the want of class rooms retarded this
branch of our work. Several of the classes were assigned to meet during
the week at private houses, and four of them met in the audience room at
the close of the morning service. By placing a class in each corner,
with the understanding that when one of them commenced to sing, all the
others should join, the plan worked very well. After the singing each
class took up the thread where it had been dropped, and proceeded with
the service. Usually the Pastor sat in the Altar to give the responses
to the exercises of each as they seemed to require them. Sometimes not a
little confusion occurred, but it was taken in good feeling by all, and
the meetings were profitable.
We also organized meetings outside of the village. School houses and
private dwellings were used for this purpose, and these meetings not
only accommodated the people of the several neighborhoods adjacent to
the village, but gave the needed religious employment to the Local
Preachers and other members of the Church. The meetings were held in the
afternoons of the Sabbath, and sometimes, to hold the plan in
countenance, the Pastor himself would go out and deliver a sermon. At
first it was feared by some of the good brethren that these side
meetings would detract from the regular services of the Church, but the
result proved that, on the contrary, they gave an increase of both
interest and attendance. For the people, thus edified and interested,
came into the village and thronged the Church.
But the year was now drawing to a close. By request of the preceding
Conference, the Conference session had been changed to spring. The year
had been one of severe labor, but its compensations were abundant. I was
able to report a membership, including probationers, of three hundred
and six. Two events in my own family clothed the year with special
interest. The one, the conversion of our eldest daughter, then nine
years old, and her reception into the church, the other, the birth of
our son. They were both occasions of devout thanksgiving to God.
During this year I made a visit to Evansville, a charge that seems to
hold a central position in the Conference west of Janesville. The first
settlement was made in this vicinity in the fall of 1839, when six
families came into what was then called the town of Union. These early
settlers were Rev. Boyd Phelps, Rev. Stephen Jones, Erastus Quivey,
Samuel Lewis, Charles McMillin, and John Rhineheart. During the winter
and spring religious meetings were established in private houses, Rev.
Boyd Phelps preaching the first sermon. In the following spring and
summer, the settlement was enlarged by the arrival of Ira Jones, Jacob
West, John T. Baker, Rev. John Griffith, Hiram Griffith, David Johnson,
John Sale and their families. The heads of all these families being
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, they applied to Rev. Samuel
Pillsbury, in charge of the Monroe circuit, for recognition. He visited
them, established an appointment and formed them into a class in August,
1840. The class was organized at the residence of Hiram Griffith,
located about one mile northwest of the present site of Evansville. At
the first organization the members were: Jacob West, Leader, Margaret
West, Boyd Phelps, Local Preacher, Clarissa Phelps, Stephen Jones, Local
Preacher, Isabel Jones, John Griffith, Local Preacher, Belinda Griffith,
John T. Baker, Jemima Baker, Ira Jones, Sarah J. Jones, John Rhineheart,
Deborah Rhineheart, Alma Jones, Samuel Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Charles
McMillan, Miriam McMillan, Jane Brown, Erastus Quivey, Sally Quivey,
Hiram Griffith, Sally Griffith, David Johnson and Kizziah Johnson. Soon
after John Sale and Jane Sale also became members.
Of this number, at least two became Itinerant Preachers. The first, Rev.
Boyd Phelps, filled several appointments in the Conference, and was
Presiding Elder of Beaver Dam District. He then removed to Minnesota,
where he has also rendered effective service. The second, Rev. Stephen
Jones, was my predecessor at Watertown, but only continued a few years,
when he entered secular pursuits. At one time he was a member of the
Rev. James Ash was sent to the Monroe Circuit in 1840, and his work
embraced Union. He remained two years, and was very successful in his
work. The first Quarterly Meeting was held in the house of Brother Jacob
West, by Rev. H.W. Reed, in the fall of 1840. In 1842 Union was attached
to the Madison circuit, and the Pastor was Rev. S.P. Keyes. During this
year a log school house was erected on the present site of Evansville,
for the double purpose of school and religious meetings. This building
was used for public worship until the summer of 1847. From 1843 to 1845
Union was connected with the Janesville circuit. In 1845 the Union
circuit was formed, with Rev. Asa Wood as Pastor. It was assigned to the
Platteville District, with Rev. Henry Summers as Presiding Elder.
Brother Summers was a veteran representative of the Methodist Preacher
of the olden time. He entered the work when Illinois was yet in her
maidenhood, and from the first was a recognized power in the land.
Genial in spirit, full of anecdote, abundant in labors, an able
Preacher, a faithful administrator, and a devoted servant of the Master,
he enjoyed the esteem of all. But I need not enlarge, as doubtless a
record will be made of his labors in Illinois, where his fields of labor
were principally located.
Under the labors of Brother Wood, a frame church, 45 by 30 feet in size,
was erected, the location being in the block now occupied by J. R. Finch
as a store in the village of Evansville. The building was dedicated by
Brother Summers in June, 1847. But it will be necessary to omit further
details of these early years.
Old Union, the mother of charges west of Janesville, has been well
represented in the Itinerant ranks. In addition to Brothers Phelps and
Jones, to whom reference has been made, she has sent into the field
Revs. James Lawson, J.H. Hazeltine, George Fellows, and A.A. Hoskins.
In 1855, Evansville Station was created, with Rev. E.P. Beecher as
Pastor. The Janesville District was also established this year, with
Rev. J.W. Wood as Presiding Elder.
Under the Pastorate of Rev. George W. De Lamatyr, which begin in 1864,
the new Church was erected, costing some six thousand dollars. It was
dedicated by Rev. Dr. Fallows in the fall of 1867. At the present
writing Evansville is recognized as a charge of excellent standing.
The Conference of 1858 was held May 12th at Beloit, Bishop Morris
presiding. At this Conference the writer was elected Secretary, and
Revs. S. W. Ford and George Fellows Assistants. The session was brief
Beloit is located on the line between the States of Illinois and
Wisconsin, and was at first connected with Roscoe Circuit, a charge
lying on the Illinois side. The class was probably informally organized
by Brother Thomas McElhenny, the first Leader, in 1839. The following
year Rev. Milton Bourne, Pastor of Roscoe Circuit, established an
appointment and recognized the infant Society. The members, besides
Brother McElhenny, were Tyler Blodgett, Mrs. M.M. Moore and Sister
Lusena Cheney. The Pastors of Roscoe Circuit, during its supervision of
Beloit, in addition to Brother Bourne, were Revs. James McKean, O.W.
Munger, John Hodges, Alpha Warren, and Zadoc Hall.
Beloit was made a separate charge in 1846, with Rev. Joseph T. Lewis as
Pastor, to whom reference has been made in a former chapter. During this
year the Society entered upon a Church enterprise. The lot was purchased
by Rev. Stephen Adams and Brother Thomas McElhenny. The Society was
feeble, and the erection of the building, a substantial stone structure,
required a great effort and many sacrifices. To purchase the lime, three
hundred and fifty bushels, Brother Adams sold his only cow. Little can
those who come after realize the sacrifices the early pioneers were
called to make to render the later years happy and prosperous.
The Church thus begun under the Pastorate of Brother Lewis was not fully
completed until 1849, when it was dedicated by Bishop Janes. The death
of Brother Lewis in the midst of his second year, was a severe loss to
the charge. But the good brethren were not discouraged, and pushed
forward the work.
Beloit has been highly favored in her Pastors, among whom may be found
such men as A.P. Allen, I.M. Leihy, J.M. Walker, P.S. Bennett, S.W.
Ford, J.W. Wood, John Nolan, R.M. Beach, C. Scammon, W. Lattin, P.B.
Pease, C.D. Pillsbury, W.P. Stowe, L.L. Knox, W.W. Case, C.R. Pattee,
A.C. Higgins, and G.S. Hubbs.
At the close of the Conference we returned to Janesville for a second
year. There still being no Parsonage I purchased a residence, thereby
securing a pleasant home. The plan of supplying outside appointments was
continued during the summer, and in some instances Sunday Schools were
also opened. The religious interest continued, and the Church was filled
with people. At the expiration of their probation one hundred of the
converts were received into full membership, and, in the following fall
and winter, many others. During the winter a revival again visited the
charge, which greatly strengthened the converts of the previous year,
and added to their number. The two years spent in Janesville to us were
exceedingly pleasant, and gave us a goodly number of life-long friends.
The Sunday School had become very prosperous, the charge was now out of
debt, and the finances self-supporting. And more than all, we left a
united and happy people.
Janesville has since enjoyed her full share of able and successful
Pastors. Several years ago, she divided into two bands, and has now two
good Churches, two good congregations, and two able Ministers.
Conference of 1859.--Presiding Elder.--Milwaukee
District.--Residence.--District Parsonage.-Visits to Charges.--Spring
Street.--Asbury.--Rev. A.C. Manwell.--Brookfield.--West
Granville.--Wauwatosa.--Rev. J.P. Roe.--Waukesha.--Rev. Wesley
Lattin,--Oconomowoc.--Rev. A.C. Pennock.--Rev. Job B. Mills.--Hart
Prairie.--Rev. Delos Hale.--Watertown. Rev. David Brooks.--Rev. A.C.
The next Conference session was held April 20th, 1859, at Sheboygan
Falls. The excellent Bishop Baker presided, and I was again elected
Secretary. It was at this Conference the trial of Rev. J. W. Wood was
had. He had been the Presiding Elder of the Janesville District, but,
having obtained a divorce from his wife on the ground of desertion,
instead of the one cause named in the New Testament, and married
another, he had been suspended during the year. The trial resulted in
his expulsion. The case was carried to the next General Conference on
Appeal, and that body sustained the action taken by the Conference.
The disability thus hanging over the Presiding Elder of the Janesville
District, rendered it necessary that some one should be appointed to
represent the District in the Cabinet. The Bishop appointed me to this
duty, thus imposing severe labor for the session. Since I was appointed
to represent the District at the Conference, it was generally supposed
that I would be continued the following year, my term having expired at
Janesville. But on the contrary, I was assigned to the Milwaukee
This arrangement made Waukesha my place of residence, as the Milwaukee
District had erected at this village a District Parsonage. The
inevitable concomitant of the Itinerancy, the moving season, passed in
the ordinary course of events, and left us comfortably located in
our new home.
The District at this time included nineteen charges. The larger portion
of them could be reached by railroad, but a sufficient number lay off
the line of public conveyance to render it advisable to keep a horse and
buggy, and hence they were obtained.
Soon after reaching my new field of labor, my attention was called to
the financial condition of the District Parsonage. I found that a small
debt had come down from the erection of the building, which had been
increased from year to year by accruing interest and repairs, until at
this time the entire indebtedness amounted to nine hundred and
thirty-one dollars. Meantime there had been, during the preceding year
of financial pressure, such a depreciation of property in the village,
that the building was now worth but little more, if any, than the amount
In looking the matter over, I saw at a glance that it would be much
easier to build a new house in a desirable location than to pay an old
debt of this magnitude. But there were other interests to be considered.
The money for the erection of this Parsonage had been given in good
faith by the people, and if it were now permitted to pass out of the
hands of the Trustees, there would be a shock to the confidence they had
reposed in the administration of the Church. And in the next place, this
money had been borrowed of innocent parties, and it was but right that
it should be returned.
With these views, I undertook to save the property, but I am free to
say it was the most thankless financial task I had ever undertaken. I
gave the first one hundred and fifty dollars, and then divided the
balance among the charges of the District. In passing around to my
Quarterly Meetings, the amounts in most cases were pledged, and the
larger portion finally paid. Yet the collections were not fully
completed before the end of my term.
Milwaukee at this time still retained its three charges, and they were
now in charge respectively of Rev. J. M. Walker, Rev. E. Cooke, D.D.,
and Rev. A.C. Manwell. As stated in a former chapter, Brother Walker had
served his full term on the Beaver Dam District, where he had been very
popular. He entered upon his field with great spirit, but found himself
greatly embarrassed by the unhappy financial condition of the charge.
Besides the indebtedness remaining on the Church, there remained
considerable arrears on the salaries of preceding Pastorates.
This paying a Pastor at the end of his term in notes, that shall come
back to haunt his successor, is not in keeping with the financial genius
of the Church. I once had some sad experience in that line, and since it
was not in Milwaukee, I will take occasion to refer to it in this
connection. It was at a time when the slip rents were not large,
averaging only about two hundred dollars a quarter. In the case referred
to, the two hundred dollars of the first quarter of my year, had been
absorbed to meet the claims of the outgoing Pastor. And then, as he was
still behind two hundred dollars, a note was given him for the balance.
By this arrangement, the first half year of my term had been
anticipated, and had not the people, finding out the state of the case,
come to my aid with a good donation, I must have been greatly
Nor does such mismanagement affect the one man alone. The system
entails disaster upon the successive Pastors of the charge. Each man
feels that his predecessor has done him a great wrong, when the case may
be, the wrong was done by one man several years before, and afterwards
his successors have only been carrying it over from year to year. But,
however long it may be carried, it still remains as the plague of both
the Pastors and the Church.
But in the person of Brother Walker, the system was squelched. Though at
the end of his term, owing largely to this irregularity, he was largely
deficient in his claim, he balanced the year.
Brother Manwell, the Pastor of Asbury, entered the North Indiana
Conference in 1853, was transferred to the Wisconsin Conference in 1857,
and had served Green Bay two years, before coming to this charge. The
Church accommodations were limited, but he made two good years at
Asbury, and was able at their close to report considerable progress.
After leaving the city, Brother Manwell served a good class of
appointments, and among them Racine, Janesville, Whitewater and Ripon,
until 1873, when he was transferred to Upper Iowa Conference. He was a
man of kind spirit, pleasant address, and specially successful in
leading the social meetings in his charges.
Reference is made to Dr. Cooke in a former chapter, and I need only say
in this connection that under his Pastorate Summerfield had a
At Wauwatosa, I found Rev. N.J. Aplin, of whom mention is made in a
former chapter. His assistant was Rev. Edward Bassett, a promising young
man, who had been converted in the revival at Janesville. The two men
worked admirably together, and the year was one of great prosperity to
the Circuit. The Circuit was in a flame of revival. And during the year,
the beautiful brick Church at West Granville was erected.
The Brookfield class, it will be remembered, was formed by Brother Frink
in 1840. The members were: Robert Curren, Leader, Sarah Curren, T.M.
Riddle, Adeline Riddle, Gideon Wales, Polly Wales, Mark Johnson, Ann
Butterfield, Margaret Underwood, Charles Curran, Frank Morgan, Mrs.
Frank Morgan, and Mrs. Fellows. To these were soon added, Mr. and Mrs.
Carlton, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond. This Society had already erected a
comfortable frame Church, and the neighborhood had become famous as the
locality in which the Milwaukee District Camp-Meetings were held.
West Granville Church was located in the neighborhood that was known in
the early times by the name of Menomonee. And it will be recollected
that Brother Frink organized a class at this point also in 1840. The
members of the class were: William Coates, Leader, Sarah Coates, T.J.
Rice, Cynthia Rice, Edward Earl, Hannah Earl, Lyman Wheeler, Bigelow
Case, Alvira Case, Mrs. Martin M. Curtis, Nathan Wheeler, Jr., William
Hudson, Susan Hudson. At the first the class at Menomonee included all
the members in that region, but as the country became settled other
classes were organized, and among them those at the Haylett, Nelson and
Coates neighborhoods. Subsequently these classes concentrated at
Menomonee Falls and erected a Church. A new Church has since been built,
and at this writing the village constitutes a respectable charge.
At Wauwatosa there was no Church, and Brother Aplin held his meetings in
a school house. But in 1869 a fine brick edifice was erected under the
Pastorate of Rev. John P. Roe.
Brother Roe resided, at the time of my appointment to the Milwaukee
District, on the New Berlin Circuit. During the war he went to the army
and served as Chaplain with great acceptability. On his return he
rendered effective service as a Local Preacher until 1869, when he
entered the Conference and was appointed to Wauwatosa. At the end of two
years he was elected Agent of the Lawrence University, and continued two
years, performing prodigies of labor, and achieving a grand success in
raising an Endowment Fund. But his health finally failed, and he was
compelled to retire from the work. At this writing, he is traveling
At Waukesha, the Pastor was Rev, Wesley Lattin, who had been returned
for a second year. This noble and true man was received into the
Conference, as before stated, in the same class with the writer. His
first appointment was Sycamore, Ill., with Rev. Stephen R. Beggs as
Preacher in charge.
Brother Lattin had been stationed in Waukesha in 1852, and had now
returned in 1858 and 1859. The year was a prosperous one. A good revival
crowned his labors, and all the interests of the Church were kept in a
healthy condition. In the department of Pastoral labor Brother Lattin
was not inferior to any man in the Conference. Filled with the spirit of
charity himself, he was always able to diffuse the same kindly feeling
among the people. Nor is it too much to say, he was universally beloved.
Of an easy and graceful delivery, and plain, practical thought, his
Ministry was always agreeable and useful.
After leaving Waukesha, he was stationed successively at Beloit, Fond du
Lac, Waupun, Ripon, Appleton, and then returned again to Waukesha. But
here his health failed and he retired from the work for two years, but
having removed to Kansas where his health rallied again, he was
transferred to the Kansas Conference in 1872. Since going to Kansas, our
dear brother has had the misfortune to lose his wife and son. They were
traveling to a neighboring town with a horse and buggy. In trying to
ford a river the waters proved too strong for the faithful horse, and
they were all swept down the stream together, and were drowned. In this
great sorrow Brother Lattin has the sympathies of all his brethren of
Oconomowoc was at this time under the Pastoral charge of Rev. Thomas
Wilcox. It will be remembered that a class was formed at this place by
Brother Frink, in connection with his labors on the Watertown Circuit.
The members were: George W. Williams, Leader; Mrs. George W. Williams,
Jonathan Dorrity, Mr. and Mrs. Day Dewey. In 1840 it was connected with
Summit, and retained Brother Frink as Pastor. In 1843 it was connected
with Prairieville Circuit, and shared the services of Revs. L.F.
Moulthrop and S. Stover. Before the erection of the Church, the meetings
were held in a hall over a cooper shop. The Church enterprise was
commended under the Pastorate of Rev. S.W. Martin, a lot being donated
for the purpose by John S. Rockwell, Esq. Under the Pastorate of Rev.
A.C. Pennock, the Church was put in condition for use, and on the 3d of
February, 1850, the writer was called to dedicate the basement.
The second Church enterprise was commenced in 1867, tinder the labors of
Rev. George Fellows, and was completed during the Pastorate of Rev. Wm.
R. Jones in 1868. It was dedicated by Bishop Thomson. Oconomowoc has
grown to be one of the strongest and most desirable appointments in the
At the time of my visit in 1850 the charge had been divided, giving to
Rev. A. C. Pennock the Oconomowoc portion, and Rev. Job B. Mills the
Brother Pennock entered the Conference in 1848, and was appointed to
West Bend. The following year, as above stated, he was sent to
Oconomowoc, but here his health failed, and he was compelled to rest a
year. In 1852 he was re-admitted and again appointed to Oconomowoc, with
Rev. T.O. Hollister as Assistant. During this year he was greatly
afflicted in the loss of his wife, and before the expiration of the year
he was sent to Waukesha to supply the place of Brother Lattin, whose
health had failed. In 1853 Brother Pennock was stationed at Asbury,
Milwaukee, but, his health again failing, he decided to go to Minnesota
at the end of the year. He remained in Minnesota, doing effective work
until 1864, when, becoming satisfied his health was unequal to the
Itinerancy, he located. At the present writing he is residing in
Madison. He has a clear head and a warm heart.
Brother Mills came to Wisconsin from Washington, D.C., in the Spring of
1848. After stopping in Milwaukee a few months, and receiving license to
exhort from Spring Street Station, he removed to Oconomowoc, where he
was granted a Local Preacher's license. Being employed, as before
stated, on the north part of Oconomowoc charge, he found ten
appointments and seven classes committed to his care, which gave him
abundance of labor. He was admitted into the Conference at its next
session, and returned to his former field. His subsequent appointments
in Wisconsin were Bark River, Palmyra, and Root River. In 1854 he was
sent to Minneapolis Mission in Minnesota, having Rev. David Brooks as
his Presiding Elder.
In this place, now so flourishing a city, he was compelled to hold his
meetings in a loft over the Post Office. But, notwithstanding these
disadvantages, he formed a class, and his good wife organized a Sabbath
School. In 1856 Brother Mills took a transfer to the Peoria Conference,
now Central Illinois, and in 1864, on account of blindness, was
compelled to take a superannuation. At this writing he is residing at
Oconomowoc, but, on invitation, often goes abroad to assist the brethren
in their work. He is a grand, good man, and his labors are always
The next charge visited was Hart Prairie. This Circuit had once formed a
part of the old Troy charge of the early times, but, after undergoing
various changes, it was now a charge by itself. It had a small Church
and a most interesting congregation. Here I was the guest of Rev.
Richard Fairchilds, a Local Preacher of large intelligence and extensive
The Pastor was Rev. Delos Hale, who entered the Conference in 1854. He
had shirked duty for several years, and had been known as a reliable
business man at Summit. But finally, accepting his responsibilities, he
was appointed first to Oak Creek, and then West Bend. He was now on his
second year, and was in the midst of a revival.
At my visit in the following summer, I attended a Camp-Meeting on
grounds a short distance east of the Church. The meeting was largely
attended, and many souls were brought into the Kingdom.
I was greatly pleased with my visit to Watertown. The Church I had left
in an unfinished condition in 1848, was completed by Rev. David Brooks
two years later, when I returned and performed the dedicatory service.
Brother Brooks entered the Rock River Conference in 1844, and was
stationed at Dixon, Illinois. On coming to Watertown, he entered upon
his work with spirit, and success crowned his efforts. After leaving
Watertown, he rendered effective service in the regular work until 1852,
when he was elected Agent of the Lawrence University. In 1853 he was
appointed Presiding Elder of the Minnesota District, since which time he
has continued to labor on both stations and Districts in that field with
Brother Brooks is a man of sterling qualities. Sound in the Faith,
circumspect in demeanor, faithful in his work, and true to every
interest of the Church, he could not fail to make a good record.
I found Rev. A.C. Huntley the Pastor at Watertown. Brother Huntley
entered the traveling connection in Western New York, and came to the
Wisconsin Conference by transfer in 1858. He had already held a
protracted meeting, and a large number had professed conversion, giving
considerable additional strength to the charge. The Church edifice had
now become too small to meet the demands of the charge, and Brother
Huntley had entered upon the labor of enlargement. In this good work he
had not only planned and superintended, but had also put his own hands
to the actual labor. He succeeded so well in the enterprise, that he
finally decided to make the extension large enough to furnish also a
good Parsonage in the rear of the Church edifice. The dedicatory
services were conducted by the writer on Saturday, July 16th.
The Brookfield Camp-Meeting was held in the latter part of June. The
grove on the farm of Robert Curren, Esq., was secured for a term of
years, and through the assistance of Brothers Aplin and Bassett, and
the brethren on adjacent charges, it was well fitted up for the purposes
of a Camp-Meeting. At this meeting we adopted the plan of making our
Camp-Meetings self supporting. Instead of relying upon the brethren in
the neighborhood to do all the work and keep open doors for the week, we
determined to pay our own bills, and thus permit the good people in the
vicinity to enjoy the meeting, as well as those who came from abroad.
The change was deemed a great improvement. There was a good show of
tents, and the attendance was large. The preaching was excellent, as the
good brethren were more intent upon saving souls than ventilating their
great sermons. The meeting resulted in the conversion of many souls,
while the membership was greatly quickened.
In these latter days the question is sometimes raised, "Of what
advantage are these Camp-Meetings, now that we have good Churches in
which to worship God?" The question might be answered by another, "Of
what advantage is it to have picnics and other excursions in the open
air, and pleasant groves, since we have houses to dwell in and
restaurants to supply the cravings of the appetite?" The fact is,
Camp-Meetings are as thoroughly in harmony with the laws of Philosophy
as they are in keeping with the principles of Religion.
To intensify either the mental or spiritual forces, it is necessary to
break up, at times, their monotonous habits, and send them off into new
channels of thought and feeling. A lesson may be learned in this
direction from the picnic excursion. It is not the little ones alone
who, relieved of the confinement of the parlor, gambol in half frantic
ecstasy, but the sedate matron and the grave sire renew their youth, and
in their exhuberance of spirit, join in the recreations with the zest
of childhood. The same law obtains in Camp-Meetings. Why not go out into
the woods, beneath the spreading branches of the trees, or even under
the uncurtained canopy of Heaven, and enjoy a grand unbending of the
spirit? With the shackles thrown off that have so long fettered the
soul, what a Heaven of felicity there is in its conscious freedom. The
eagle, long confined in a cage, after stretching his wings to satisfy
himself that he is really free, gambols in the air with an indescribable
ecstasy. So there are thousands of Christians shut up in the Churches
who are dying for a little spiritual freedom. Their poor souls need a
holiday. Let them go out to a good thorough-going Camp-Meeting, and
obtain a new lease of life. And in saying this, I am not advocating
undue license. I am only pleading for the inalienable rights of a human
soul. Such freedom of spirit is entirely consonant with the highest
culture and absolute decorum. Communing thus with nature in her purest
and most lovely moods, the soul is dwelling in the vestibule of God's
own sanctuary. No wonder that prayer and song find such grand perfection
in the Camp-Meeting. It is there they find their highest inspiration.
But another advantage of the Camp-Meeting lies in the unbroken chain of
religious thought and feeling which it affords. In the ordinary
experiences of life, the secular and the religious strongly mingle and
intercept each other. But in the tented grove the secular is shut away
from the mind, and the religious holds complete mastery. One service
follows another, and one religious impulse succeeds another so rapidly
that the soul finds no interval for communion with the world. And as the
ore, by long tarrying in the furnace, where no breath of cooling
currents can reach it, flows as a liquid and is ready to take any form,
so the soul, held in hallowed communion with the Divine spirit, is
prepared to receive the perfect image of God.
To the soul who has no knowledge of these delightful experiences, there
hangs a mystery around the Camp-Meeting, but to Christians the whole
subject is as clear as the noon-day. Like the disciples on the mount of
transfiguration, they are prepared to say, "Master, it is good for us to
be here." With them Christ is the central figure, and it is his presence
that hallows the temple in the wilderness.
It is sometimes objected that the exercises at Camp-Meetings are too
boisterous, and lead to extravagances. To this objection there are two
replies. First, it must be conceded that Camp-Meetings are not the only
meetings that may be denominated boisterous. At political meetings, and
on other occasions, I have witnessed the equal, at least, of anything I
have seen at Camp Meetings.
But the other reply is more to the point. No one can well deprecate the
boisterous and extravagant in religion more than I do, and yet I accept
both as a necessity. To move men to right action, they must be swayed by
right influences. If men were susceptible to the good, then gentle
influences might sway them, but as they are steeped in evil, and largely
lost to the better influences, the sterner only can reach them. If this
shall be found to be true in the individual, then certainly it is more
emphatically true of men in the aggregate. To move a multitude, then, to
the acceptance of Christ, the congregation must be put under an intense
moral pressure. And it will be found that the measure of pressure that
will move the great mass, will sometimes move individuals of peculiarly
sensitive temperament over into the extravagant. Now in such cases, one
of two things must be accepted. We must be content to leave the great
aggregate unmoved, or we must endure the irregularities that are
sometimes seen, not only at Camp-Meetings, but in all revivals of
religion. We cannot accept the former, for it involves the ruin of
perishing souls. Then, accepting the latter, we may not condemn what
cannot be avoided, if the great end of Christian effort shall be
realized. Human nature is a very strange combination, and it must be
taken as it is. The religion of Christ proposes to save men, and to do
so it must take us as we are. The wonder is not that it can make so
little out of us, but rather, that it is able to make even a few fair
specimens, while the balance of us are only indifferent ones. Yet I
rejoice to know that even the poorest of us are vastly better than we
would have been had it not been for the revelation of Christ in us.
Whitewater Conference.--Report on Slavery.--Election of
Delegates.--Whitewater.--Early History.--Rev. Dr. Bannister.--General
Conference.--Member of Mission Committee.--Conference 1860.--Rev. I.L.
Hauser.--Mrs. I.L. Hauser.--Rev. J.C. Robbins.--The Rebellion.--Its
Causes.--Fall of Sumter.--Extract of Sermon.--Conference 1861.--Rev.
J.H. Jenne.--Rev. S.C. Thomas.--Rev. G.C. Haddock.--Colonelcy.--Close
The thirteenth session of the Wisconsin Conference was held Oct. 13,
1859, in the village of Whitewater, and was presided over by Bishop
Ames. The year had been of less than seven months duration, as by
request of the Conference, the time of holding the sessions had been
changed back to the Fall. When the change was made in the first place,
from Fall to Spring, it was believed by many that such an arrangement
would be a benefit to the Preachers, by giving them, for the winter, the
products of their gardens. But, after a trial, it was found that the
roads were generally much worse in the Spring than in the fall, and if
the Conferences were delayed so as to find good roads for moving, the
Preachers would reach their new fields too late to plant their gardens.
Hence, after trying the experiment, it was thought best to return to
At this Conference the election of delegates to the General Conference
again occurred. The slavery question was now rife, and of course this
election could not be held without making it an issue. During the early
part of the Conference this subject became the general theme of
conversation, and, I might add, the discussions and the prayers. In
short, every man who was in danger of being struck with a vote must
certainly show his colors on the slavery issue. An able Committee was
formed, and a careful report rendered. And when the vote was taken on
the report, all eyes were on the alert to see how each candidate voted.
As the Report on Slavery is not lengthy, I will insert it as taken from
the Conference Minutes:
1. That the assertion that the M.E. Church is constitutionally
pro-slavery, whether that assertion be made by our professed
friends or by our enemies, is a base slander.
2. That we recommend to the next General Conference so
to change the General Rule on Slavery as to prohibit the buying
selling or holding a human being as a slave.
3. That we concur with the Providence Conference in recommending
to the next General Conference so to change the General Rule
on Slavery as to read: 'Slavery, the buying or selling of men,
women or children, with an intention to enslave them.'
4. That we concur with the Erie Conference in recommending
to the next General Conference so to change the General Rule on
Slavery as to read: 'The buying, selling, holding or transferring
of a human being, to be used in slavery.'
It will be observed that the Wisconsin Conference preferred the wording
of her own proposed Rule, yet such was her anxiety to secure action by
the General Conference, that she was willing to adopt any other form of
words, if the same sentiment should be explicitly incorporated. And by
concurring in those sent from the Providence and Erie Conferences, and
at the same time re-affirming her own, which was going the circuit of
the other Conferences, she hoped to see some one of them reach the
approaching General Conference, with the recommendation of a sufficient
number of the Annual Conferences, to make it a law at once on the
action of that body. With this intense interest thrown around the
subject, it is not a matter of surprise that the votes of the
candidates, on the adoption of the report, were carefully watched.
But in some cases even a fair and unequivocal vote was not enough.
Committees were self-constituted, or perhaps caucus-constituted to
interview candidates, much after the modern style, to see whether they
were sound on the main question. And as I had now become sufficiently
advanced in years to be considered a candidate, I was waited on by such
an inquisitorial body. I told the good brethren that I was not a little
surprised to find any one in doubt as to my position. "Oh," said they,
"we are not really in doubt as to your position, but we would like to
understand how strong your convictions are, as you have not attended our
meetings." "Yes," said I, "and perhaps you will say that by neglecting
your meetings, I have shown a want of zeal for the cause. If so, I wish
to state my position. In the first place, I have never felt it to be my
duty to make a great show of valor, as long as the enemy is out of
reach. And in the second place, I am in a different position from many
of our present abolitionists, and should bear myself accordingly. They
are young converts, and having just come into the kingdom, they must get
up a tremendous shout, so as to satisfy their new associates that their
conversion is genuine. But as to myself, I was always an abolitionist. I
have never uttered a word, written a sentence, or cast a vote that did
not look in that direction. Why, then, should I go into a spasm on the
eve of an election?" Whether my little speech had anything to do with
the result of the ballot which placed me at the head of the delegation
or not, it is impossible to divine. But of one thing I felt assured. I
had "freed my mind," as the old lady said, and felt better. The balance
of the delegation were I.M. Leihy, S. C. Thomas, E. Cooke, and P. S.
Bennett. At this Conference, I was also appointed the Chairman of a
Committee "To Collect Historical Facts." Thus early did the Conference
indicate a desire that the record of her devoted and pioneer men should
not be lost.
Whitewater, the seat of the Conference, was a thriving village of two or
three thousand inhabitants, and gave the Conference a most hospitable
entertainment. This place was settled April 1st, 1837, by Mr. William
Barren, who was joined by Mr. Calvin Prince in the middle of the
The first sermon was preached in the fall of the same year by Rev. Jesse
Halstead. Whitewater became a separate charge in 1843, with Rev. Alpha
Warren as Pastor. During this year a class was formed. The members were:
J.K. Wood, Leader; Mrs. J.K. Wood, Henry Johnson, A.R. Eaton, Mrs. A.R.
Eaton, Mrs. Dr. Clark, Mrs. J.J. Stearin, Roxana Hamilton, and Miss
Whitcomb. The meetings were held in private houses until the new brick
school house was built. They were then held in the school house until
the Church was erected. The first Church was commenced under the
Pastorate of Rev. J. Harrington in 1849, and was completed under that of
Rev. J.M. Walker in 1852. It was dedicated by the last named, Feb. 5th,
1852. The Church was enlarged under the Pastorate of Rev. A.C. Huntley.
Whitewater Station erected a new brick Church, one of the finest in the
interior, under the Pastorate of Rev. C.N. Stowers, which was dedicated
by Bishop Merrill Oct. 19th, 1873. At this writing, Whitewater ranks
among the leading stations of the Conference, having a good
congregation and a most enterprising Society.
At the close of this Conference I was returned to the Milwaukee
District. There were only a few changes made in the appointments of the
Preachers. At this Conference the name of Rev. Henry Bannister, D.D.,
Professor in Garrett Biblical Institute, was transferred from the Racine
to the Milwaukee District, and he was made a member of the Summerfield
Dr. Bannister entered the Oneida Conference in 1842, and for two years
served as Professor of Languages in the Oneida Conference Seminary. At
the Conference of 1844, he was appointed Principal, and held that
position with distinguished honor until he was elected to a
Professorship in the Garrett Biblical Institute. At the present writing
he is still at the Institute, doing efficient work. Nearly a third of a
century he has devoted to teaching, dividing his time almost equally
between the Seminary and the Institute.
Dr. Bannister is one of Nature's noblemen, and his membership in any
Conference is an honor to the body. The Wisconsin Conference has
recognized his worth, and has sent him three times as one of her
delegates to the General Conference, and on one occasion was pleased to
put him at the head of the list. But he is not the property of a
Conference; he belongs to the whole Church, and is the peer of his
brethren in any convocation she may assemble.
The General Conference met in Buffalo, N.Y., in May, 1860. The agitation
known as the Nazarite movement was then raging through Western New York,
and it was understood that several cases would come before the General
Conference on appeal from the expelled members of the Genesee
Conference. I was requested to go down to the troubled District and look
the ground over before the opening of the Conference. I did so, but
found the movement too far advanced to avoid a rupture of the Societies
in many of the charges. Several of the men who had taken an appeal had
stultified themselves and vitiated their appeals, by forming Societies
on the basis of the new movement; and though they disclaimed all
intention to establish another Church, the formation of these Societies,
it was held, could be interpreted in no other way. Having thus become
members of another Church their appeals, which contemplated their
restoration to the former Church, could not be entertained.
But the great question before the body was the new Rule on Slavery. At
the beginning, the subject was given to one of the large Committees, of
which the writer was a member. The late Bishop Kingsley was the
Chairman, and the Committee met almost daily for three weeks. The report
to the General Conference was made to cover the whole ground, and
accepted the basis which had been advocated so long by the Wisconsin
Conference. On its presentation a long discussion followed, and it was
believed that the requisite two-thirds vote would be obtained. But judge
of our surprise when, on taking the vote, we found the measure had been
lost by a few votes, and these had been mostly given by the delegation
of the troubled District in Western New York.
But though the majority were thus defeated in their effort to change the
General Rule, they passed a chapter that declared it to be unchristian
to hold slaves, as well as to traffic in them. The war, however, soon
followed, and the "logic of events," disposed of the Slavery question.
At this Conference I was elected a member of the General Mission
Committee at New York, which rendered it necessary for me to visit the
city annually for four years.
The Conference of 1860 was held Sept. 26th, at Janesville, Bishop Scott
presiding. At this session the Conference received Rev. I.L. Hauser, and
he was sent as a Missionary to India.
Brother Hauser is of Austrian, German and French descent. His mother's
family were German, and the Hauser name is over six hundred years old in
Vienna, Austria. His grandmother on his father's side was directly
descended from one of the Huguenot families driven out of France by the
revocation of the edict of Nantes. Coming to America, the family settled
in Pennsylvania, where Brother Hauser was born, in 1834. His family came
to Wisconsin and settled at Delavan in 1850. He graduated from Lawrence
University in 1860. During his senior year he was President of the
College Missionary Society, and when writing to Rev. Dr. Durbin,
requesting him to preach the annual sermon at Commencement, he stated
that he would soon be through College and be ready for duty, but he did
not know just what it was, and wished advice. The reply came for him to
send the name of the Pastor of the Church. The names of Rev. M.
Himebaugh, Pastor, and Rev. Dr. Knox, one of the Professors, were sent.
Three days after his graduation, having reached his home, he received a
letter from Bishop Simpson, asking him to come at once to Evanston. From
there the Bishop sent him to the Erie Conference, then in session at
Erie, Penn., where he was ordained and appointed to the Mission
Returning to Wisconsin, he was united in marriage with Miss Jeannette
Shepherd, of Kenosha, Sept. 13th. Starting for their field of labor,
they sailed from Boston on the vessel Sea King, and after a tedious and
stormy voyage of one hundred and thirty-eight days, they reached
Calcutta. From there, after an eleven days' journey of one thousand and
three miles up the valley of the Ganges, they arrived at Bijnour,
forty-five miles from where the river Ganges flows out of the mountains
into the plains of India. Here they labored six years, their field
comprising a District of nineteen hundred square miles, with a
population of nearly one million, being fifty-four miles from the
nearest Mission Station.
Four schools were organized, in which twenty teachers were employed, and
six languages were used in the various studies. When the schools were
first started not two natives in the District could speak English, but
after six years nearly six hundred had been taught in the schools to
both read and speak it. Regular services in the Chapel, such as
preaching, Sunday School, class and prayer meetings, were held in the
Urdu language for the native Christian Church. Brother Hauser also
conducted the Church of England service each Sabbath morning for five
years, for the few English residents stationed there, as they had
Besides studying the several languages of the country, preaching in the
bazaars and other public places to tens of thousands of people,
instructing the native preachers and teachers, looking after and giving
employment to the native Christians, he was appointed by the Publishing
Committee of the Mission to translate the Discipline into the Urdu
language, having the honor of making the first translation of that book
into any Eastern tongue. But in the midst of his labors, sickness fell
upon himself and family. Diptheria attacked himself, his wife, and two
of his children. One little girl died of that disease, and shortly
after another from fever. Brother Hauser's throat became seriously
affected, and he was compelled to retire from the work. With his family,
he made a tour of several months through the Himalaya Mountains, to
within eight miles of the borders of Thibet. In this tour he was not
unfrequently twenty thousand feet above the sea, but failing to recover
his health, he, in 1868, returned to the United States, after an absence
of eight years.
Since his return, he has devoted his labor to the publication of the
Christian Statesman, the only Protestant religious paper published in
Wisconsin. Being undenominational, the paper, patronized by all the
Protestant Churches, has attained a wide circulation. Brother Hauser is
a man of great energy, and is doing a grand work for the Churches of
Mrs. Hauser is a lady of very superior talent. In their Mission field
she took her full share of the work, and since her return, she has not
only been one of the best contributors to the Statesman, but has largely
identified herself with the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society work in
the State. Both on the platform, and in the general work of the Society,
she holds a high rank. And in addition to this work, she is now
preparing a volume of sketches of Women in Heathen Lands.
At the close of the preceding year, the Summerfield Quarterly Conference
requested my appointment to the Pastorate of that station. The Bishop at
first was inclined to grant the request, but finally came to the
conclusion that I ought to remain on the District. This left the charge
to be supplied, and I secured the services of Rev. J.E. Wilson, then of
Ohio, but who had formerly served Milwaukee, as stated in a
Summerfield was just in the midst of her financial embarrassment. The
indebtedness was about fifteen thousand dollars, and threatened to
overwhelm the charge. But the good brethren were steadfast, and through
great labor and sacrifice, aided by Rev. S.C. Thomas, succeeded in
meeting their obligations. Brother Wilson rendered effective service,
but at the close of the year returned to his home in Ohio.
Rev. J.C. Robbins was appointed this year to the Spring Street Station.
Brother Robbins entered the North Indiana Conference in 1844. His
appointments were Winchester, Plymouth, Clinton, Hagerstown,
Williamsburg, Knightstown, Doublin and Lewisville. He was transferred to
the Wisconsin Conference in 1855, and stationed at North Ward, Fond du
Lac. His subsequent appointments were Waupun, Berlin and Empire. The
year opened finely, and during the winter Brother Robbins held a
protracted meeting, which resulted in the conversion of many souls. But
the Society met with a severe loss this year, in the destruction of
their Church by fire.
Brother Robbins remained a second year at Spring Street, and again
enjoyed a good revival. After leaving the city, he has been stationed at
Racine, Waukesha, Sheboygan Falls, Waupun, Berlin, Green Bay, Hart
Prairie, Sharon and Footville. At the present writing, he is at the last
named place, seeking to gather sheaves for the Master.
This year intense excitement prevailed throughout the country. The
Presidential election, which placed Abraham Lincoln at the head of our
national affairs, occurred in November. And during the following months,
the rebellion was taking form in the Southern States, but did not
culminate in open rupture until the middle of April. But before stating
the position of the Conference and Church in the pending struggle, it
will be proper to refer to the causes which produced the conflict.
In the settlement of the United States, two distinct types of society
planted themselves in the two great centres of the Atlantic Coast. The
one made New England the theater of development, and the other the
Eastern cordon of the Southern States. From the first center, the
population moved westward through New York, Pennsylvania, and the
Prairie States, to the Mississippi. From the other, the settlements
extended through the savannahs of the South to the Gulf.
The emigrants in the North were mainly those who came to the Western
world to find an asylum from the religious persecutions to which they
had been subjected at home. In the South, society was largely
established under the sanctions of royalty. These two facts will account
for the radical differences existing between the people of the two
sections. In the North, society very naturally accepted the political
doctrines of personal equality and universal freedom. In the South, the
people as naturally adhered to their aristocratic ideas, and held to the
doctrine of privileged classes.
The two types of society, thus placed side by side, were now given an
open field, in which the contest for supremacy could not long be
delayed. In geographical position, it would seem that the advantage was
decidedly with the South. And the same may be said of the patronage
bestowed by the home governments. But notwithstanding the high mountain
ranges, the deep forests, and the sterile coasts of New England, her
people cut their way through every obstacle, and soon stood face to face
with their aristocratic neighbors. A collision of ideas was now
inevitable. The South, quick to discover the unheralded force of Yankee
character, took the alarm and declared that "Mason and Dixon's line"
should divide between her and her neighbor. Here was deposited the first
egg in the nest, from which has been hatched the terrible brood of
vipers which, under the name of "State Rights," has involved the country
in a most desolating war. It was on this line that Calhoun planted his
standard when he sought to inflame the South against the North. And it
was on this fatal line that his followers, thirty years after, sought to
overturn the decisions of the ballot-box, and establish a Southern
Confederacy. With what result, the record of the conflict affords
On the 13th of April, 1861, the rebels opened fire on Fort Sumter, and
on the 14th Major Anderson and his brave men were compelled to surrender
their stronghold. As the news of this attack and surrender swept along
the telegraphic wires throughout the North, a most intense patriotism
awoke in the heart of every loyal citizen. The people assembled on the
corners of the streets, in halls, in places of business, and in short,
at every convenient place of resort, to discuss the situation, and feed
the flames of patriotism. Everywhere men and money were offered to
support the government, without stint. The press teemed with burning
words, and the pulpit was outspoken in characterizing the rebellion and
vindicating the government.
The writer was in Milwaukee when the news of the surrender of Fort
Sumter reached the city. On Sabbath, April 21st, I preached a sermon,
from which the following extract is taken. I quote from Rev. Mr. Love's
"History of Wisconsin in the War."
"But, Ladies and Gentlemen, the war is inevitable. Its coming
may be hastened or retarded by the shaping of events during
the next thirty days, but that war is upon us, and a civil
war, of a most frightful character and most alarming
proportions, is to my mind no longer a question. You can no
more prevent it than you can stay the leaping floods of
Niagara, or ¸quench the king of day in the palm of your hand.
It is the legitimate offspring of an 'irrepressible conflict'
of ideas as antagonistic as light and darkness, as
diametrically opposed to each other as right and wrong, truth
and error. The Bible declaration, that God hath made of one
blood all the nations of men to dwell on all the face of the
earth, so beautifully set forth in our Declaration of
Independence, and teaching the great lesson of universal
equality and universal freedom, forms the corner-stone of our
institutions. But a plague spot is found in the opposing
doctrine of caste and privileged classes, which finds
illustration in American slavery. This war of principles has
already culminated in a collision at Fort Sumter, and it
would be contrary to all history to arrest the tide of war at
this stage. The antagonism is too direct, and the conflict
too heated to quench the flame till rivers of blood shall
pass over it. The act of the South in firing on Sumter is
none other than a rebellion, and that of the most inexcusable
and wicked character, against the best government on earth;
and I am free to confess that I am filled with horror when I
contemplate the result of this suicidal act on their part, an
act that must lead to years of war, as far as human ken can
see, and the most fearful desolations in its train. But,
gentlemen, there is no alternative. The glove is thrown to
us, and we must accept it. If our principles are right, and
we believe they are, we would be unworthy of our noble
paternity if we were to shrink from the issue. Let there,
then, be no shrinking from the contest. The battle is for
human liberty, and it were better that every man should go
down, and every dollar be sacrificed, than that we should
transmit to the coming millions of this land other than a
legacy of freedom. Were it not that good men have gone down
into the dust and smoke of the battle, there would not be
to-day a government on the face of the globe under which a
good man could well live. And since God in his Providence has
brought us to this hour, I trust that by his help we shall
not prove unworthy of the trust--the noblest ever given to
man--committed to our keeping. There can be no question as to
the result. We shall triumph, and with the triumph we shall
win a glorious national destiny."
The next Conference session was held in Fond du Lac Sept. 18, 1861,
Bishop Baker presiding. The session was one of unusual excitement. The
war had been begun, the terrible Bull Run defeat had occurred, and
already seven regiments of our brave boys had gone to the front. And
with the seventh, one of our own members, Rev. S.L. Brown, had gone as
Chaplain, while several others were either in the ranks or looking in
the same direction. In the matter of furnishing men, Wisconsin was
already ahead of the call made upon her, but such was the devotion of
her people to the Old Flag, that ten other regiments could have been
sent during the year.
At this session, the Conference adopted a very able Report, written by
Rev. J.H. Jenne, on the state of the country, showing a deep interest in
the issue before the Nation, and pledging her unwavering support to the
Brother Jenne entered the traveling connection in Maine, and came to the
Wisconsin Conference by transfer in 1856. His first appointment was
Agent of the Lawrence University. His next appointment was Presiding
Elder of Appleton District, where he remained four years. His subsequent
appointments have been Janesville, Janesville District, Lake Mills, Hart
Prairie, Allen's Grove, Union Grove, Lyons, and Waupun. At the present
writing he is on his second year at the last named place.
Brother Jenne is an able Minister of the New Testament. He is a man of
large brain and profound research. Well versed in all the questions of
the day, as well as in the writings of the Fathers, he is able to
furnish a high standard of pulpit labor. He is a, true man, has a genial
spirit, and to persons who can strike his plane of thought he is
At this Conference I was returned to the District for a fourth year,
and Rev. S.C. Thomas was appointed to the Summerfield Church.
Brother Thomas entered the Erie Conference in 1842, and, before coming
to Wisconsin by transfer in 1851, had been stationed at Conneautville,
Geneva, Ravenna, Willoughby, and Fredonia, besides serving two years as
Agent of the Alleghany College. After coming to Wisconsin, he had served
Spring Street, Platteville, Jackson Street, and had been Agent of the
Lawrence University for five years. He now remained two years at
Summerfield, when he returned again to the Agency of the University. In
1864 he was made Presiding Elder of the Milwaukee District, where he
remained four years. He next served four years as Presiding Elder of the
Janesville District, when he was appointed to Fort Atkinson. At the
present writing he is at Lyons. This outline completes a record of
nearly a quarter of a century of labor in Wisconsin.
Brother Thomas is a man of good business habits, a careful
administrator, and a good Preacher. He loves the theology and economy of
the Church for which he has so long expended his energies. He is wise in
counsel, closely attentive to all the trusts committed to his keeping,
and has a host of friends.
Rev. George C. Haddock, Pastor at Waukesha, was received into the
Conference the previous year, had been at Port Washington one year,
where he had been a supply a part of the previous year, and was now
appointed to Waukesha. He remained two years, and did a good work.
During the first year, the new stone Church was built in the place of
the old frame building that had been burned during the former year. And
during the winter following, the charge was blessed with a good revival,
and among the fruits gathered into the Church, was our second daughter,
then ten years of age.
After leaving Waukesha, Brother Haddock's appointments have been
Clinton, Oshkosh, Ripon, Appleton, Division Street, Fond du Lac; Fond du
Lac District, and Racine, where he is laboring at this writing.
Brother Haddock is a man of mark. Early in life he acquired the
printer's trade, and subsequently devoted several years to the business
of editing and publishing secular papers. Soon after his conversion he
entered the Ministry, and in less than two years he was received into
the Conference. During the fifteen years of his connection with the
Conference, he has been an earnest and successful laborer, making full
proof of his Ministry. Brother Haddock has a large intellectual
development, a warm heart, an eloquent tongue, and an intense spiritual
activity. What he does must be done at once, and done thoroughly. He has
an ardent hatred of shams, and despises all clap-trap. Both in sermons
and debate, he strikes home, and woe be to the luckless pate that has
the temerity to dash under his well-aimed strokes. And yet under all
this seeming severity, there dwells a spirit as kind and manly as ever
throbbed in a human bosom.
During this, the closing year of my term on the District, my labors were
very extended. Besides the regular duties of a large District, I added
that of aiding in raising regiments for the war. At all suitable times
and places, I held war meetings, as they were called, and addressed the
people, often finding immense crowds congregated in groves and other
It was in connection with these services that I was nominated for the
Colonelcy of a religious regiment, to be raised out of the Churches of
the city. But such were my responsibilities at home, where the
Government needed all the support it could obtain, it was deemed
inadvisable for me to accept. And on further thought it was considered
better for the service to avoid such distinctive organizations.
During my term on the District, the annual Camp Meeting at Brookfield
greatly prospered. Permanent tents were erected, and the Meeting gave
considerable promise of stability. And on these grounds from year to
year many persons, were brought into the liberty of the Gospel.
Conference of 1862.--The War.--Position of the Conference.--Rev. J.M.
Snow.--Appointed again to Spring Street.--Dr. Bowman.--Changes.--Rev.
P.S. Bennett.--Rev. C.S. Macreading.--Official Board.-The New Church
Enterprise.--Juvenile Missionary Society.--Conference of 1863.--Rev.
P.B. Pease.--Rev. George Fellows.--Rev. Samuel Fallows.--Rev. R.B.
Curtis.--Rev. D.H. Muller.--Third Year.--Pastoral Work.--Revival. Visit
to the Army.--Illness.--Close of Term.
The Conference of 1862 was held Oct. 1st at Kenosha, Bishop Janes
presiding. The country was now in the full tide of war. During the year
several members of the Conference had gone out as Chaplains, Rev. H.C.
Tilton with the Thirteenth Regiment, Rev. C.D. Pillsbury with the
Twenty-Second, and Rev. Samuel Fallows with the Thirty-Second.
This was the hour for brave words, and the Wisconsin Conference had them
to give. Nor was it in words alone that she was prepared to sustain the
Government. Such was the patriotism of the body that her ranks might
have been seriously depleted at any time, if it could have been done
with safety to the interests of the country. But it was conceded that
the Government must now have a vigorous support at home. Partisan
feeling in the late canvass had greatly demoralized the people, and a
strong moral influence was needed to rightly shape the tone of public
sentiment. In fact, it was necessary throughout the struggle that the
Churches, under the lead of the clergy, should act the part of Aaron and
Hur, in sustaining the Government.
The Report adopted by the Conference on the state of the country gave
no uncertain expression of sentiment. Assuming the position dictated by
the most lofty patriotism, she pledged the country an unwavering support
until the flag of the Commonwealth should again wave in peaceful triumph
over the entire land. Recognizing human freedom as the issue in the
conflict, she deemed it alike the duty of the citizen and the Christian
to prosecute the war.
At this Conference the death of Rev. Jonathan M. Snow was announced, and
his obituary placed upon the Minutes. Brother Snow, after spending a
short time in Racine, entered the Illinois Conference in 1838. His
appointments were Elgin, Princeton, Mount Morris, Geneva, Washington,
Sylvania, Troy, Janesville, Mineral Point and Madison. At the close of
his labors at Madison, in 1852, he retired from the active work, but in
1859, he was re-admitted and granted a superannuated relation. Brother
Snow was a decisive man, earnest, energetic and persevering. He
performed his full share of pioneer work, and deserves an honorable
mention among the Fathers of the Conference,
In compliance with the request of the Spring Street Station, Milwaukee,
I was this year appointed to its Pastorate, my term on the District
having expired. At the earliest possible moment, I entered upon the work
of my new field. But at the opening of the year we were called to pass
under a cloud. I refer to the death of Dr. Bowman, the father of Mrs.
Miller. The Doctor had been compelled, through illness, to surrender his
practice in Iowa, and had now been with us three years. His death was
peaceful, and his assurance triumphant.
Dr. Bowman came to Wisconsin in 1840, residing, as we have seen, first
at Troy, and subsequently at Waupun. In early life he was a skeptic, and
continued in unbelief, until after his elevation to a Judgeship in
Michigan. He was converted through the influence of his wife, and united
with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Distinguished in his profession,
reliable in his religious convictions, and devoted to the Church, he was
an arm of strength to the cause in its early struggles in the West.
During the interval since my former Pastorate in 1851 and the present,
various changes had occurred at Spring Street. The Society had lost two
Churches by fire, and Summerfield charge had been formed. The successive
Pastors had been Revs. S.C. Thomas, Chauncey Hobart, P.S. Bennett,
Milton Rowley, C.S. Macreading, E. Robinson, J.M. Walker, and J.C.
Robbins. To several of them reference has been made in former chapters.
We will now refer to others.
Rev. P.S. Bennett entered the Black River Conference in 1838, and
remained a member of that body until 1849, when he was transferred to
the Wisconsin Conference. Among the several charges he filled in his old
Conference, were Norfolk, Bangor, Brownville, Salina, Cleveland, Van
Buren and Red Creek. In Wisconsin he had been stationed at Platteville,
Beloit, and Waukesha.
After leaving Spring Street, he was made Presiding Elder of the
Milwaukee District, where he remained four years. His subsequent
appointments were Racine, Appleton, Agent of Lawrence University, Green
Bay, and Appleton District. At the close of his term on this District,
he retired from active labor, having given to the Church a long,
devoted, and efficient service.
Brother Bennett is well read in the literature of the Church, and loves
her doctrines with a "true heart, fervently." During his active labor he
was faithful to every trust confided to his keeping, was a good Pastor
and a successful Presiding Elder. And at the present time, it needs only
an attack upon the doctrines or usages of the Church to bring him to the
front in their defence. He is emphatically a true man.
Rev. C.S. Macreading came from New England, where he had held leading
appointments in the Providence and New England Conferences for many
years. He had located, and had come West, seeking a field of labor.
Coming to Milwaukee, he found the charge vacant, by the removal of the
former Pastor on account of affliction in his family, and was employed
by the Elder. He served his full term, and at its close the people were
reluctant to part with him.
Brother Macreading was a man of superior preaching talent; had an
earnest spirit, and a warm heart. At Spring Street, the Lord greatly
blessed his labors in the conversion of souls, several of whom remain to
this day to bless the Church with their wise counsel and
In entering upon the labor of the year, it was my first concern to
retrieve, if possible, the disaster which had befallen the Society in
the loss of the Church. But to do this, it was deemed important to put
every branch of the work in the best possible condition. In this
endeavor I had the earnest co-operation of the Official Board, composed
at this time of Rev. T.T. Greenwood, Rev. Edwin Hyde, and Messrs. John
H. Van Dyke, J.B. Judson, A.J.W. Pierce, Walter Lacy, Cornelius Morse,
Daniel Petrie, Jonathan Crouch, James Seville, H.W. Goodall, Thomas
Greenwood, O.H. Earl, J.R. Cocup, James Cherry, and Lawrence Harrison.
The spiritual condition of the Society was excellent, and the class and
prayer meetings were in a flourishing condition. The next thing to be
done was to organize the financial department. In doing this I submitted
a new plan, called the "Card System," for raising the current expenses.
The plan provided for monthly payments, and was operated through the use
of cards. These were so prepared as to contain a subscription on one
side, and rulings for entering the payments monthly on the other. The
subscriptions were to be made at the beginning of the year, and each
subscriber was expected to hand to the collector the several amounts
promptly. The plan worked admirably, and placed the finances in a
During the winter we held a series of meetings, which resulted in a
considerable accession to the membership. But this success was only
preparatory to the Church enterprise before us. The hall that had been
used as a chapel was small and inconveniently located. Better
accommodations must be had. By the middle of the year the necessity
became so urgent that the Pastor could hardly preach, pray or visit
without making this subject his principal theme. Finding that the
financial basis was quite limited, it was decided to erect a business
block, thereby providing for a subsequent income, should the enterprise
entail an indebtedness upon the Society. The precaution, however, was
unnecessary, as the unparalleled liberality of the people not only met
the demands of the enterprise, but provided for a former indebtedness.
Ground was broken for the new edifice on the fifteenth day of July, and
the Church was dedicated by Rev. Dr. Eddy on the twenty-third of January
The Juvenile Missionary Society was formed this year, and thereby the
Sunday School became an efficient agency in raising Missionary money.
In our plan, each class in the School constituted a Missionary Society,
taking a distinctive name. The gatherings of the class for a month went
into a common fund, and was reported at the monthly meeting. This
meeting was held on the last Sabbath of each month, and was usually made
an occasion of special interest.
The year now closing had been full of work. Besides my regular labor,
and the responsibilities of the Church enterprise, I had rendered
considerable service in raising regiments for the war, by delivering
addresses in various portions of the State.
From the beginning of the conflict, I greatly desired to go forward with
the brave boys and share with them the burdens and perils of the camp
and field. But it was the view of many of my friends, and especially of
the Central War Committee of the State, that I was doing a better
service for my country at home, in seeking to shape public sentiment,
than I could render by leading a regiment in the field. Accepting their
judgment, I endeavored to fulfil my mission to the best of my ability in
the field to which I seemed to be specially called.
The Conference of 1863 was held Oct. 1st, at Waukesha, and was presided
over by Bishop Scott. The body again adopted a strong report in support
of the Government. At this Conference Delegates to the General
Conference were again elected. They were H. Bannister, S.C. Thomas, C.D.
Pillsbury and M. Himebaugh. At the close of the session I was returned
to Spring Street. My fellow Pastors in the city were Revs. P.B. Pease
and George Fellows.
Brother Pease entered the Wisconsin Conference at its session in Fond du
Lac, Sept. 1st, 1852. His appointments had been Aztalan, Wauwatosa,
Palmyra, Appleton, Kenosha, and Beloit. He remained two years at
Summerfield. His subsequent appointments have been Spring Street,
Appleton District, and Janesville District, where at the present writing
he is doing a good-work.
Brother Pease has a clear head, a sound understanding, and positive
convictions. His pulpit ministrations are impressive and practical, his
administration wise and reliable, and his intercourse with the people
agreeable and spiritual. Wherever he has labored he has left a record of
ability and fidelity.
Brother Fellows entered the Wisconsin Conference in 1852, in the same
class with Brother Pease. He was stationed at Wauwatosa, Grafton,
Hartford, Oconomowoc, Beaver Dam, and Kenosha. He located in 1859, was
re-admitted in 1862, and appointed to Asbury the same year. Here he had
been engaged in the erection of a new Church. During this year the
building was completed, and the old Church changed into a Parsonage. The
Church was dedicated by Rev. Dr. Eddy, assisted by Rev. Dr. Tiffany.
In 1864 Brother Fellows located, and for two years served Madison
Station. He returned to the Conference in 1866, and was appointed to
Oconomowoc. His subsequent fields of labor were Waukesha, Neenah,
Menasha, and Cotton Street, Fond du Lac. In 1872 he accepted a Bible
Agency, and in 1874 was appointed Presiding Elder of Waupaca District.
Brother Fellows is a man of energy, and will doubtless make an efficient
On the Spring Street charge the new year opened auspiciously. The
accessions of the former year, in connection, with the better Church
accommodations, had given to the work a broader basis, and afforded the
promise of wider usefulness. From month to month throughout the year,
the stakes were strengthened and the cords lengthened. And at its close
there was a general feeling of grateful satisfaction.
In 1864 the Conference was held Oct. 5th at Oshkosh, Bishop Scott
presiding. At this session Rev. Samuel Fallows was elected Secretary.
Brother Fallows, after his graduation from the State University, devoted
several years to the profession of teaching, in connection with the
Galesville University, in the Northwestern part of the State. He came to
the Wisconsin Conference in 1861, and was stationed at Oshkosh. Before
the expiration of the year, however, he went out as a Chaplain in the
army, in the service of the Thirty-Second Regiment, and at the
Conference of 1862, he received his appointment to that post. Having
returned from the army his next appointment, in 1863, was Appleton
Station. He was reappointed to the same charge in 1864, but before the
expiration of the year he became interested in raising a regiment of one
hundred days' men, and went out as Lieutenant Colonel. He graduated to
the Colonelcy while in the service, and was brevetted as Brigadier
General on his return home. The war having closed before the expiration
of the Conference year, he returned to the regular work, and received
his appointment in 1865 to the Summerfield Station. After serving three
years at Summerfield, he was appointed in 1868 to Spring Street. Here he
drew to his ministry a large congregation, and had an extensive revival,
thereby hastening the erection of a new Church. The building during the
second year was enclosed, but was not completed until the close of the
Brother Fallows enjoyed a successful Pastorate at Spring Street, but
before the expiration of his second year, he was appointed by the
Executive of the State to the position of Superintendent of Public
Instruction. He remained in this position until his second term expired,
Jan. 1, 1874, when having been elected President of the Illinois
Wesleyan University, he was transferred to the Illinois Conference.
Brother Fallows was a man whom his brethren delighted to honor. Though
still a young man comparatively, he had served his Conference as
Secretary nine years, and had been sent once as a Delegate to the
General Conference. He is a man of superior culture, pleasant voice, and
entertaining address. His genial spirit is a perpetual sunshine, and his
conversational interviews, the fragrance of summer. In his addresses and
sermons, the beautiful predominates. He was born an orator, and he has
never been able to shake off the enchantment. It is not his fault that
he is generally popular.
At this session the Conference adopted another report of the state of
the country. It was full of patriotism, pledging an unwavering support
to the Government. The chairman of the committee was Rev. R.B. Curtis.
Brother Curtis entered the Maine Conference in 1845, and in that
Conference and the East Maine he filled the following appointments:
Bingham, Corinth, Onoro, Frankfort, Searsport, Brick Chapel, Bangor,
Bangor District, and again Brick Chapel. He was transferred to the
Wisconsin Conference in 1862, and was appointed to Janesville. His next
appointment was Delavan, where he remained three years. While here his
health failed, and at the ensuing Conference he was compelled to take a
superannuated relation. He passed from the earthly to the heavenly home,
in Appleton, May 21st, 1872.
Brother Curtis was a man of rare endowments and sublime piety. In his
mental development, there was an almost absolute equipoise between the
imagination and the logical powers. In his logical dissections of error
and defence of truth, a keener blade has seldom, if ever, leaped from
its scabbard. Under his masterly imagery his audiences were sometimes
chained to their seats, as if held by the toils of an enchantment. With
such extraordinary elements of popular address, it is not surprising
that he held a high rank in the pulpit. Nor was he deficient in his
other qualifications as a Minister of Christ. When Brother Curtis fell
from the walls of Zion, it might have been truly said, "A Prince in
Israel has this day exchanged the earthly for the Heavenly Crown."
During this year Rev. D.H. Muller was Pastor of Asbury Church. Brother
Muller entered the Conference in 1861, coming from the Biblical School
at Evanston. His first appointment was Menasha, and his second Oshkosh.
And from the last named he came to Asbury. He remained two years, was
successful and highly esteemed; but at the close of his term he took a
transfer to the Genesee Conference. He has held leading appointments in
that Conference up to the present, and has also graduated to the dignity
of a Presiding Elder.
Brother Muller is a man of superior talent, genial spirit and fine
conversational powers. His name is fragrant in all the charges he served
in Wisconsin and the Conference regretted his transfer from the State.
I was again returned to Spring Street, and the salary was now placed at
thirteen hundred dollars. With the new Church full of people, with every
department of Church work thoroughly organized and in successful
operation, I was now permitted to devote my labor to the regular
pastoral work. As far as possible, the forenoons were given to my study
and the afternoons to pastoral visiting.
In a city like Milwaukee, this last department of labor is absolutely
indispensable. It is not intended in this form of expression to intimate
that it can be dispensed with in any other field, for it cannot, but
simply to indicate the impossibility of caring rightly for the souls of
men in a great city, if this form of labor shall be neglected.
In a large city, the population is constantly changing, and unless the
Pastor shall be on the alert in looking up the people, members of his
own flock, to say nothing of others, will drop out of sight. Soon they
will feel that the band of union between them and the Church has been
severed, and they have become outcasts. The result of such a state of
things, will be either recklessness of life, or a seeking of other
Church alliances. In either case, the charge itself suffers loss. In
addition to this class of cases that need the eagle eye of the Pastor,
there is a constant influx of population. These coming people, in large
numbers, will fail to find churchly affiliations unless there is some
one who shall seek them out at their new homes, and invite them to
attend the means of grace.
I know it will be said, "Let the members of the Churches do this." I
grant that the open field for this kind of labor is inviting to the
Church members, but suppose they do not enter it, what then? Shall the
work be left undone? Besides, the work can be done effectively only,
through systematic arrangement, and this feature can only be given to it
through the supervision of the Pastor. He only can know the entire
ground, and become the nucleus around which the membership will be
able to rally.
It would greatly aid the Pastor in his work, if all new-comers would
immediately report themselves at the Parsonage or the Church. But as all
such are usually burdened with many cares and perplexities during the
first weeks or months in making a new home, the only way to reach the
desired result seems to be through the vigilant maintenance of
During the winter I held a protracted meeting, which gave an addition of
forty-seven probationers. I felt the fatigue very much, and at the close
of the meeting found it necessary for a time to abridge my labors.
In March following, the Official Board granted me leave of absence to
engage for six weeks in the service of the Christian Commission. I was
assigned to service at City Point, and along the lines of Gen. Grant's
army, before Richmond and Petersburgh. Leaving Milwaukee March 14th, and
passing through Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, I entered the
James River at Fortress Monroe, and reached City Point on the 21st.
After calling at the headquarters of Gen. Grant, and preaching once in
the Chapel at the headquarters of the Christian Commission, I went along
the line of the army, first to the north of Point of Rocks, twenty
miles, and then to the south, twenty miles, as far as Hatch's Run,
making forty miles in all. In these excursions I preached in the several
Chapels as opportunity offered, and rendered such assistance as I was
able, in making the necessary preparations for the forward movement of
the army, which was expected to occur in a few days. But I soon found
that the exposures along the front were too great for my system, in its
enfeebled condition. I contracted a severe cold, which rendered it
necessary to leave the lines. I returned to City Point, and was advised
to leave at once for Washington, where I could obtain the desired
medical treatment. I took the steamboat the very afternoon the army was
put in motion. By the time Gen. Grant had taken Gen. Lee, I had taken
The physicians here believed that my lungs were seriously compromised,
and advised me to go to the seashore. I went immediately down to
Brooklyn, and became the guest of my cousin, Col. J.T. Hildreth. My
family and friends at Milwaukee at once became alarmed, and Mrs. Miller
came down. But through skillful treatment, good nursing, and a kind
Providence, the indications soon changed for the better, and at the end
of two months I was able to return to my people. On reaching the city
the friends gave us a reception, and left us over two hundred dollars. I
was able to resume my labors soon after, and the balance of the year
passed pleasantly. I had now completed my full term of three years.
During this time I had received into the Church about two hundred
members, and after allowing for removals and other changes, the net
increase had been about half that number.
Though the people had been greatly taxed in building their new Church,
it was found that the benevolent collections had considerably increased.
The Missionary, collection advanced during the first year from
seventy-five dollars to two hundred and twenty. The second year it was
two hundred and sixty-two, and the third, three hundred and forty.
The Sunday School had now reached an aggregate of four hundred scholars,
and the Library six hundred volumes. Among the accessions of the term,
there were several who gave considerable financial strength to
Conference of 1805.--The War Closed.--Lay Delegation the Next Question.
Rev. George Chester.--Rev. Romulus O. Kellogg.--Missionary to
China.--Rev. L.N. Wheeler.--Appointed to Fond du Lac District.--Marriage
of our Eldest Daughter.--Removal to Fond du Lac.--Rev. T.O.
Hollister.--State of the District.--Rev. J.T. Woodhead.--Waupun.--Rev.
D.W. Couch.--Lamartine.--Rev. I.S. Eldridge.--Horicon.--Rev. Walter
The Conference of 1865 was held Oct. 4th in Summerfield Church,
Milwaukee, Bishop Baker presiding, and assisted by Bishop Ames. Rev.
Samuel Fallows was elected Secretary, and Revs. Wm. P. Stowe, E.D.
Farnham and R.W. Bosworth Assistants.
The relentless war that had raged for four years had now closed. The
clouds had lifted from the fields of conflict, and the Conference was
now able to take note of the past and anticipate the future of the
country. The report adopted at this session, presented by the Committee
on the state of the country, was a masterly document. It recognized the
fact that the Wisconsin Conference, since its organization, had
exhibited a bold and manly opposition to American Slavery. That the
recent rebellion, aiming its blows at the Government, bought by the
blood of Revolutionary patriots, was the outgrowth of the institution of
Slavery. And that the Conference, in common with the Laity, and loyal
citizens of the North generally, had acquitted herself nobly, in
standing by the Government in its hour of trial, and, having rendered
this service as a Christian duty, she had nothing to take back. Looking
out upon the future, she also anticipated the coming day when equal
rights should be accorded to all, irrespective of color or nationality.
The question of Slavery and the frightful war it had entailed upon the
country having passed away, the Conference now took up the subject of
Lay Delegation. And since the subject is new to many, it may not be
improper to devote to it a brief examination.
The question has been raised, "How came it to pass that in the
organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Laity were not
associated with the Ministry in the Conferences?" The question is a
legitimate one, and deserves a considerate answer.
It should be remembered that the establishment of the Church was rather
a growth than an organization. This one fact accounts, doubtless, for
the peculiar feature referred to. Had there existed at the outset a
large body of Christians, including Ministers and Laymen, awaiting an
organization, at the time Mr. Wesley began his labors, it is possible
that he might have so combined them in appropriate relations as to
secure a united responsibility. But such was not the state of the case.
In the strict sense of the word, Mr. Wesley had no Church, and no people
out of which to organize one. And it is possible that he began his
labors without an expectation of organizing a Church. His great concern,
overleaping every other consideration, was to save souls. In this work
he was ready to call to his aid such instrumentalities as gave the best
promise of the desired result. It was but natural that, whenever he met
a congenial spirit, there should be an affiliation. In such case a unity
of effort would necessarily follow.
In this manner there grew up around Mr. Wesley a company of men, who
were recognized as his helpers. With the multiplication of these
assistant laborers, it became advisable to reduce the co-operative
effort to a systematic plan. To adopt a plan of labor and give it
efficiency, the organization of Conferences became a necessity. The
first Conferences were composed of Mr. Wesley and his helpers, and could
not embody Laymen, as no Church had been organized. This state of things
continued during the life time of Mr. Wesley in England, and as he gave
the Church in the United States its first organization, the same system
was introduced here.
Subsequently, as the work extended and the Conferences multiplied, it
was but natural that they should all take the same character. Nor would
there have been any special need for a change, perhaps, if there had
been no changes in the character of the work to be done. But with the
erection of Churches, the founding of schools, and the creation of the
Book Concern and Church literature, the Conferences, having these
interests in charge, need the presence and aid of Laymen.
At the General Conference of 1864, action had been taken inviting the
membership to vote on the subject, and also to elect provisional
Delegates to the General Conference of 1868. The action of the Wisconsin
Conference fully endorsed the movement and the body faithfully complied
with its provisions.
At this session the Conference made a record of the death, of three of
its members, Revs. Henry Requa, George Chester and Romulus O. Kellogg.
To the first named, reference has been made in former chapters.
Brother Chester came to this country in 1849, from England, where he had
been converted under the labors of Rev. James Caughey. He was received
into the Wisconsin Conference in 1851, and was appointed to Prairie La
Crosse. His subsequent appointments were Willow River, Madison Circuit,
Waterloo, Columbus, Burnett, Fox Lake, Footville, Evansville, and
Shopiere. At the last named place he was attacked with typhoid fever,
and, after an illness of three weeks, passed away in holy triumph, with
the words, "Glory! Glory! Glory!" upon his lips. Brother Chester was a
true man, and a successful Minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Kellogg came with his parents to Milwaukee in 1836. He prepared
for College at Rock River Seminary, Mount Morris, graduated at the
Wesleyan University, Conn., in 1849, and served as Professor of
Languages in the Lawrence University for five years thereafter. He was
received into the Wisconsin Conference in 1862, and was appointed to
Fort Atkinson. He was reappointed the second and third years, but,
during the latter, his nervous system gave way under his devoted and
trying labors, and he passed to the bright beyond. Brother Kellogg was a
man of fine culture, genial spirit, faithful to every trust, and
universally beloved by all who knew him.
The Conference at this session was again called upon to send one of its
members abroad as a Missionary. Rev. L.N. Wheeler was sent to China. He
was presented at the Conference with an album containing the photographs
of the donors as a token of remembrance. The writer was selected to make
the presentation speech, as he had known him from his childhood.
Brother Wheeler, before he engaged in the Ministerial work, devoted
several years to editing and publishing secular papers. He entered the
Conference in 1858, and had been stationed at Two Rivers, Byron, Empire,
Manitowoc, and Sheboygan.
Having been advised with by the Mission Board at New York during the
year, as to his qualifications, I was prepared to expect the
appointment, fully persuaded that it would prove both creditable to the
Conference and profitable to the Mission field. While abroad Brother
Wheeler had charge for some time of the Mission press. He rendered
efficient service in the China Mission during the seven years of his
absence. But, on account of failing health, he was compelled to return
in 1872. He is now stationed again at Manitowoc. He is a man of superior
talent, and is greatly esteemed.
I had now completed my term of three years on the Spring Street Station,
and my next appointment was very much in doubt. I had been solicited to
accept invitations to several stations, and also the Fond du Lac
District, but in each case I assured the good brethren that I deemed it
best to let the Bishop and his Cabinet decide without prejudice, and
assign me work where they believed I could serve the general cause to
the best advantage. Had I allowed myself a preference, it would have
been some quiet station of moderate responsibility, where I could have
rallied my enfeebled health. Besides, I had a doubt whether I ought to
be put on a District so soon again, after having completed two full
terms before I reached my fortieth year. But it is vain to speculate in
advance. At the close of the Conference, I found myself appointed
Presiding Elder of Fond du Lac District.
The appointment was a surprise to both myself and family. But accepting
the situation as a legitimate feature of the Itinerancy, we entered at
once upon the needed preparations for a removal to Fond du Lac. The
removal, however, was to be preceded by an event that, by separating the
family, would render the change exceedingly trying. I refer to the
marriage of our eldest daughter to Capt. Frank P. Lawrence, of Racine,
thereby breaking a link out of the chain that had so long and pleasantly
bound us together in the family circle. But, having previously learned
that life's difficulties are best overcome by turning towards them a
brave bearing, we prepared for the nuptials.
On the morning of the 17th of October a few friends came in at the
breakfast hour, and our daughter passed into the keeping of another.
Though fully satisfied with the arrangement, the occasion imposed upon
me the most difficult duty of my life. The ceremony was performed in
connection with the family devotions, and quite unmanned me. Assembled
in the parlor, I took my usual place to lead the devotions. The
Scriptures were read, and my daughter presided as usual at the piano.
Thus far everything maintained its accustomed order. But when we knelt
in prayer, and I closed my eyes to all visible things, the invisible
came trooping in throngs to my already burdened thought. Then came the
vivid recollection of the many happy years we had spent together as a
family, the many sweet hours we had spent together in that parlor, with
music and song, in which our dear daughter had ever been the central
figure, and the now sad fact of an immediate separation. The chain must
now be broken, and its then brightest link snatched away to gladden
another home, while our own circle must be broken forever.
With these thoughts rushing upon me, it is not a matter of surprise that
I was quite overwhelmed with feeling, and found utterance almost
impossible. How I passed through the prayer and the ceremony that
followed, has never been quite clear to me, but I was told that nothing
was omitted that could be deemed essential to the occasion. The wedding
party was soon after dismissed with our blessing, and we at once began
the preparations for our own trip to the cars, to occur in the afternoon
of the same day.
We reached Fond du Lac at nightfall, and were kindly entertained by Rev.
J.T. Woodhead and his family. The following day we were invited to the
pleasant home of our old friend, C.O. Hurd, who, with his most excellent
family, gave us a kindly greeting and cared for us until the arrival of
My predecessor on the District was Rev. Theron O. Hollister, a man "full
of faith and the Holy Ghost." Brother Hollister was received into the
Conference at its session in Baraboo in 1853, and his first charge was
Summit. His subsequent fields of labor were Fort Atkinson, Lake Mills,
Greenbush, Sheboygan Falls, and Fond du Lac, where he succeeded to the
District. At the close of his term on the District he was appointed to
Oconomowoc, next to Waukesha, and the year following to Hart Prairie.
Here his health utterly broke down, and at the following session of the
Conference in 1868, he was compelled to take a superannuated relation.
He now removed to Salem, in Kenosha County, where he died March 13,
1869, aged forty-seven.
Brother Hollister was a man of robust frame, and, generally, good
health. He was an earnest man, and whatever he did was done with all his
strength, of both mind and body. With limited early opportunities, and
too intensely occupied in after years with the practical labor of the
Ministry, to retrieve the loss he had sustained, he did not aspire to a
knowledge of books. But in all the active labor of leading souls to
Christ, he was a workman who needed not to be ashamed.
He swept over the District like a storm, "instant in season and out of
season," laying his strong hand on every part of the work, and pushing
it forward. And no doubt it was the work that he did on the District
that laid the foundation of the disease which terminated his useful
life. An overtaxed brain fell a prey to mental disability, and our good
brother went to his reward.
Fond du Lac was under the pastoral care of Rev. J.T. Woodhead. This
excellent brother entered the Conference in 1858, and before coming to
Fond du Lac, had been stationed at Greenbush, Berlin and Ripon. He was
now on his third year in his present field.
Brother Woodhead's early opportunities were limited, but with great
devotion to his calling, he had carefully improved his time after
entering the Ministry. He was accepted by his people as a man of rare
excellences, happily blending in beautiful harmony both Faith and Works.
In the pulpit, his manner is not always graceful, but it is never
disagreeable. His discourses abound with Evangelical truth, set off
usually in fine delineations of Scriptural scenes and characters. He has
extraordinary dramatic talent, and only needs the culture of the
schools, in addition to his present gifts and graces, to place him in
the front rank as a speaker. Brother Woodhead is one of the best Pastors
I have ever known.
The Fond du Lac District at this time numbered twenty charges. To visit
each quarterly on the Sabbath was impossible, unless I chose to hold two
on adjacent charges, the same day. And this plan I did not deem
advisable, believing that it tends to break down Quarterly Meetings
altogether, by dividing the interest. I chose rather to visit each
charge regularly semi-annually, and the feebler ones more frequently, if
possible. The intervening Quarterly Meetings were held by the Pastors,
except they chose to procure supplies.
My first Quarterly Meeting, held at Fond du Lac, was an occasion of rare
interest. Having been granted license to preach, and sent into the
Itinerancy by these brethren, they were disposed to assert a special
interest in the Presiding Elder. Besides, the Society, under the
ministrations of Brother Woodhead, was in a happy spiritual condition, a
satisfactory pledge of a good meeting.
As it is my purpose to write up more particularly, as far as space will
permit, the charges and Ministers of the Conference, than my own labors,
I shall not undertake to follow in order my visits to the several
charges. During the present year, as well as the three following, I
shall simply refer to such items as will further this object, well
knowing that the adoption of any other plan would involve the issue of
several volumes instead of one.
Waupun came early on the list. Many changes had occurred at Waupun
during the twenty years which had intervened since my Pastorate in 1845.
I found a small frame Church and one of the best Parsonages in the
Conference. The Society had become strong both financially and in
numbers. I was happy indeed to meet old friends with whom I had labored
in other years, and especially the converts of the early times, now
grown to be pillars in the Church. But with our rejoicing there also
came the shadows of sadness. Many had gone over the river. And since my
visit, others still have gone, and among them, Brother and Sister
William McElroy. But they were ready.
Rev. D.W. Couch was the Pastor at Waupun. He entered the Conference in
1857, and before coming to Waupun had been stationed at Bristol,
Pleasant Prairie, Geneva, and had also served as Agent of the
Northwestern Seaman's Friend Society. After leaving Waupun his
appointments have been Janesville in the Wisconsin Conference, and
Mineral Point in the West Wisconsin. At the last Conference he was
appointed Presiding Elder of the Madison District, where he is rendering
Brother Couch is a very useful man, having unusual ability to adjust
himself to such work as requires special adaptations. He has a great
fund of anecdote, and is able to make a draft on this reserve whenever
needed. He has special control of the purses of the people, and hence is
in great requisition wherever there is a call for funds, and especially
at Church dedications. He is a pronounced success.
At Lamartine my Quarterly Meeting also revived old recollections. The
charge now embraced Rock River, where I formed a class in 1845, and also
the Society that held their services, at an early day, in Brother
Stowe's Chapel. A Church had now been built at Lamartine, the centre of
the charge, and also a Parsonage. The charge was now in a flame of
revival. With the praying band at Rock River at one end of the Circuit,
and Brother Humiston and his devoted laborers at the other, an almost
continuous revival was but the normal condition. But in addition, I now
found the circuit under the charge of Rev. I.S. Eldridge, one of my old
co-laborers at Janesville.
Brother Eldridge entered the Conference in April, 1859, and before
coming to Lamartine had been stationed at Utter's Corners, Palmyra,
Wauwatosa, and Byron. He was now on his second year, the charge having
enjoyed during the former one great prosperity. After leaving Lamartine,
Brother Eldridge's appointments have been Horicon and Juneau, Fox Lake,
Brandon, Sheboygan Falls, Burnett, and Eagle.
Brother Eldridge is yet in the vigor of his strength, and gives promise
of many years of usefulness. While his great forte is revival work, he
has mental and spiritual force enough to amply sustain every other
department of a Minister's obligation. During the earlier portion of his
work, his incessant labor in protracted meetings greatly abridged his
opportunities for study, but I presume in later years he has endeavored
to retrieve the loss sustained. At this writing he is again at Eagle,
where his accessions are already climbing the second hundred.
At Horicon I found Rev. Walter McFarlane, Pastor of the Horicon and
Juneau charge. This dear brother and his most estimable lady gave me a
hearty welcome, and made me feel at home in a few moments. I found the
charge in a prosperous condition, and the Pastor in high esteem among
Brother McFarlane is a Scotchman by birth. He entered the Conference in
1856, and was stationed at Cascade. His following appointments were
Oconto, Vinland, Two Rivers, and Empire. He was now on his second year
in his present charge. After leaving Horicon, he was stationed at Byron.
While on this charge he and his good lady took great interest in fitting
up the Camp-Meeting grounds of the Fond du Lac District. A fine
Preacher's stand was erected, comfortable seats were provided, and many
permanent tents were built. The meetings during this period became
far-famed and highly profitable. The great burden of looking after all
local matters was sustained by this good Brother, as the Pastor of the
charge, and the administration was always highly acceptable. After
leaving Byron, his appointments were Winneconne, Bristol, Sylvania, and
Granville. In this last named charge, he is at this writing doing
Brother McFarlane is well versed in Theology and Biblical criticism. He
has a large fund of information on all subjects of general interest, and
is able to make himself an interesting companion among the people. He
has an intense dislike to the superficial, and is never satisfied with
the examination of any subject until he can feel the firm foundation
beneath him. In his sermons he seeks to give reliable information on
specific subjects rather than spin glittering generalities. Firm as the
Highlands of his native home, and balmy as her valleys, he is none other
than a highly esteemed brother.
Conference of 1866.--Centenary Year.--Lay
Delegation.--Reconstruction.--Returned to Fond du Lac District.--Seven
Sermons a Week--Rev. O.J. Cowles.--Beaver Dam.--A Good Record.--Fall
River.--Early History.--Columbus.--Rev. Henry Sewell.--Conference of
1867.--Election of Delegates.--Cotton Street.--Rev. R.S. Hayward.--Rev.
A.A. Reed.--General Conference.--Conference of 1868.--Rev. T.C.
Wilson.--Rev. H.C. Tilton. Rev. John Hill.--Rev. Isaac Searles.--Rev.
J.B. Cooper.--An Incident.--Close of the Term.--Progress Made.
The Conference of 1866 was held at Ripon, Bishop Clark presiding. The
Secretaries were the same as the preceding year.
The Centenary of American Methodism occurred this year, and the month of
October had been set apart for the purposes of a celebration. The writer
had been designated to preach a Centenary sermon during the session of
the Conference, but as I was called to Waupun to attend the funeral of
my brothers's wife, on the day the services were to have been held, the
good Bishop kindly consented to occupy the pulpit for me.
The collections during the Centenary year were mostly given to
Educational purposes, the Lawrence University, the Garrett Biblical
Institute, and the Evansville Seminary being the beneficiaries. The
first named received perhaps fifteen thousand dollars.
The subject of Lay Delegation again engaged the attention of the body.
While fully sympathizing with the general movement, the Conference
anticipated the contemplated change by inviting the several District
Steward's meetings to elect three Delegates from each District to visit
the ensuing session of the Annual Conference, and co-operate with that
body in its deliberations, as far as the polity of the Church would
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