Cuzco Christian Church May, 2011
Photo © Charlie Tredway
Cuzco Christian Church
By Ethel Conrad Nicholson
Courtesy of Del Himsel and Edith Hall
It is to the best of my ability to write the following events the nearest I can remember. I'm sure there are names and events that have slipped my mind; but, to those I can't recall, their time, labor and devotion is highly appreciated.The following names are the ones I can remember as having an active partin the construction of the Cuzco Christian Church. - Ethel Conrad Nicholson
Reverend B. F. Nicholson had heard of a church located near Otwell, Indiana whose service had been discontinued for some time. We contacted several of the local men to see if the church could be purchased, for which they were successful.
Where the church is now standing, the land was purchased from George Milburn in 1915.
Plans were made for the church to be disassembled and rebuilt at Cuzco. Several of the men set up camp with Cleo Owen as the cook and the long task of tearing the church down began.
Men with teams and wagon began hauling the church from Otwell to Cuzco. Some of these men were Clyde and W. L. "Curly" Nicholson, Commodore Collins, Nasby and Rich Mills, Perry Owens and Frank Thompson. There may have been more, but I can't recall their names. I can remember that it took weeks before the church was completely moved to the hill in Cuzco.
The construction of the church required a lot of carpenters and anyone who could drive a nail. Some of the workers that I can remember were Jonathan Bledsoe, Tom Mynatt and my father Phillip Conrad. There were many more, but again I cannot recall their names. My father never saw the church completed as he passed away in February, 1918.
Before the church was finished, there was a two week revival. Evangelist Rev. Lamar led the revival by the home of Mr. Dutch Ellis behind the school that had burned.
In the fall of 1921 Rev. Otho Jackson of Marengo, Rev. Collins and Rev. B. F. Nicholson conducted the dedication of the church. A dinner was held in back of the church, which had been cleared mostly by women. Rev. Otho Jackson was the first minister, hired for a two year appointment at the church. I can remember Rev. Jackson was so sick at times that he held onto the Bible stand to deliver his sermons.
It was decided to replace the plain windows with stained glass. Eugene Ellis knew where in Louisville, Kentucky that stained glass windows could be bought. Betty Ellis designed the stained glass windows and it wasn't long until they were installed. With the help of Eugene Ellis and W. L. Nicholson going house to house in the evenings, money was raised to buy the brown songbooks.
I can remember when the new floor was bought and stacked behind the church. During this time dear sister Nina Alexander had gotten very sick, and she told several of us "that if she died before the new floor was finished, she didn't want to be rolled over the old floor". She passed away before the new floor was completed and was rolled over the old one anyway.
A Mr. Buckley from Ireland was hired to raise the church and remove the dirt for the basement. For some reason, Mr. Buckley never finished the job. Several young boys worked nights to finish the basement. I can't remember their names, but as they worked nights digging the dirt and wheeling it out the women and young girls would bring food and refreshments. Two women would feed the boys while the other girls and women dug and wheeled the dirt. One person I remember so well was Sister Francene Thompson. She had so far to walk and carry her food, but was so faithful she would always be there. It took a lot of hard work, but finally it was finished and the floor run. For some reason there was a second floor run in the basement. I can't recall why, but that why the ceiling is so low.
A dear sister Alma Collins donated an electric stove to the church and at that time Delphus Bledsoe was hired to do the wiring for the basement. Then one evening an electric storm came up and struck the church. The southwest corner was knocked out--the church was hanging by a thread. Forest Anderson from Ireland came for the insurance company to check the damage. For some reason there was no insurance paid. The damage still to be repaired, W. L. Nicholson, Ira Andeson and son Donald got busy and dug out the pulverized blocks and rebuilt the southwests corner. During this time the church services were held for several weeks in the school house. Rev. Duncan got a coal furnace and then helped put it in the basement.
The ladies worked hard to make money for the church. They took every public sale to feed the people, cooked at the Purdue Farm and had quilting bees every day at my dear sister's home, Mary Owens. Dutch Ellis let us hold ice cream suppers by his store. From lots of hard work and dedication, purchases were made for seats $210.00, Communion Table, Bible stand and charis $400.00, and carpet $350.00
Dear Janie Conrad expressed her desire for a cistern, so someone was hired to dig it for the church. But once again, trouble. It started raining and more rains came until the cistern caved in. Thanks to W. L. Nicholson and Everett Wineinger who went to work digging the dirt out and finally finished the cistern. Total Cost $400.00
There have been other things that I'm sure someone might remember that I've forgotten, but this church has truly stood solid through the years.
This church means so much to us, as I'm sure you can see. We have been blessed to see our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in this church. God has blessed us in so many ways it's impossible to begin listing them. I just give thanks and praise God for lettine me do what I have been able to do and for giving me health again.
Since the year 1915 when the church was bought until the present 1981, I have seen this church withstand a lot of ups and downs, but it's truly "God's House". There is always work to be done, but I'm sure the Cuzco Christian Church will be standing for generattions to come and worship in for many more years.
May God bless you all.