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Information from newspaper articles on Church anniversary celebrations

Photo taken 1910

Date unknown - probably 1920's, see old car on left. If you can identify anyone else please contact me.

Row 1 (in front left to right) Oris Gasper. ? (L.), Margaret Crist, Lorena Bland, Frank Swords, Henry Schnadinger with Harry Grinstead, Herbert Bean, John W. Bland. ?,
Row 2 Calvin Grinstead, Ross Austin, Roy Austin, Elma Gasper Clarkson, Helen Hull, Mrs. Wm. Gasper, Lizzie Grinstead, Waldo Grinstead (on knees), John C. Bland.
Row 3 Rev. Roy Reece, Elden Reece, Ed Grinstead, Walter Pearch, ?, ?, Ethel Bailey, Raymond Bland, Hannah Schnadinger, Nora Bland, Jennie Austin, Agnes Grinstead (Holding Ellen Grinstead), H. J. Schnadinger, John Spaulding, William Gasper, Emma Pearce, Pearl Clark, Edna Bland, Mrs. Swords, Mable Bailey Clark, Flo Crist.
Photo taken 1974

    On the 147th anniversary of the church in 1974 they had a special service with Rev. John Hastings, pastor speaking on "Why Freedom Survives."
    After the service, a basket lunch was held on the lawn. Featured as "Old Time Dinner on the Grounds." During this celebration is is mentioned that the first services were held in a grove of trees then moved to the school house and in 1828 the first log chruch building was built. It also says that the hewed log meeting house was still standing on the same spot where it was built and had been used for many years by H.J. Schnadinger and his father before him. It was a two story building. The upstairs was built to form a gallery so that the speaker could be heard from the pulpit. It was said, and the history reports, that the colored people used the upstairs and the whites downstairs.
    In this building they continued to hold services until 1845 when the present building was purchased (as tradition says) from "the Campbellites." The house was remodeled in 1900. The roof was made much steeper and the ceiling was raised and made self supporting. The old style windows were replaced and new siding was put on.
    In 1921 the belfry was built and the bell installed. After each of these, rededication services were held which many old friends and several former pastors returned to enjoy them.
    The ninetieth anniversary was celebrated on the last Sunday in July, 1917.
    In 1887 the members of the chruch decided to join the Madison Association, and to withdraw from the Tea Creek Association, as they felt it would be much easier to reach from the location where Freedom Church is situated.
    In the history it tells that the elder members of the congregation were rather dissatisfied with the change because many of the churches were far away. However, the youger members found the new Association was quite satisfactory and members of the church in 1974 were pleased to be part of the Madison Association.

100th Anniversary of Freedom Baptist Church
August 4, 1927 - North Vernon Sun

800 People attent Celebration Sunday
    The 100th anniversary of the organization of the Freedom Baptist church, formerly of the Coffee Creek Association but now of the Madison Baptist Association was held Sunday, July 31, 1927, at the church and church yard within one half mile where the first building was arected in 1827. The present building was erected in 1845.
    The day was ideal. The rain of Friday and Saturday had laid the dust and relieved all, especially the farmers and and added to the good cheer of those who had been anticipating the enjoyment of the day, to worship to celebrate and to meet the friends of the church and the neighborhood who had helped in the good work.
    All the people were interested in every phase of the meeting and it was all good. The dinner was eaten in view of the historical "McGannon branch" in view of and beneath the most beautiful trees not found naturally in the well advertised states of Florida and California.
    The church building is in a good state of repair and well painted. It looked its best and seemed to invite all even if it could only shelter a small number of those present.
    Mr. Henry Schnadinger and Mr. John Bland opened up their adjoining fields that parking space could be made for the machines of those present. The highway in all directions was filled with automobiles. There were about four hundred registered six or seven were on the grounds and many were parked in their cars. The total estimate of the number present was probably nearly one thousand.
    Among those present who were called on to speak were Mr. Geo. Crist, whose father, Samuel Crist. amd many of his relatives were early connected with the church.
    Judge John R. Carney, whose grandfather, Henry Carney had been trustee and clerk of the church for a number of years.
    Mrs. Lora Patrick Hole Cooperider whose mother was a grandaughter of Pleasant and Elizabeth Carney, who were charter members.
    Mr. Clark Hill of Hanover, a cousin of the Hon. L.K. Torbet of Chicago both of whom have five generations of their families buried at Freedom.
    Mrs. Mariah Jane Reap Backketer of Coal City the daughter of Mrs. Telitha (Carney) Reap and a granddaughter of Pleasant and Elizabeth Carney.
    Letters were read from Rev. H.R. Wal?, a former pastor now of Detroit, Mrs. Margaret M. Waggoner, a former member of Duluth, daughter of Mrs. Mary Carney McGannon, Mr. Sylvester Rinear of Cobrado, Tex., Mrs. Mattie Grimes Lamy of Arkansas, Rev. Ulysses McGuire of the General Baptist Publication of Chicago. All of these letters were very interesting and much enjoyed.
    The regular program was excellent and consisted of Sunday school classes in the morning at 9:00. At 10:15 after a song and prayer the welcome address was given by the pastor, Rev. Chesley Holmes, and at 10:50 the sermon was delivered by Rev. H.J. Bailey of Fenton Michigan, on the subject Is it worth while to be a Christian?" At 11:15 an address "What has Freedom church Meant to Me", by Hon. L.K. Torbet of Chicago.
    At the dinner hour a large cake which had been baked by Mrs. Welker containing a hundred candles was cut and served.
    In the afternoon after a song by the congregation, prayer and song by the choir at 2:15 the History of Freedom Baptist church was given by E.N. Grinstead of Gary, Ind. This was followed by a duet by Rev. and Mrs. Holmes. At 2:45 were round table talks and at 3:30 a sermon by Rev. Geo. T. King of Columbus. In the evening after a song service and devotional meeting a sermon was preached by Rev. L.C. Overman of Shelbyville, Ind.
    Much praise is due the committee of which Henry J. Schandinger was chairman for the success of this meeting and the other members were Waldo Grinstead, Herbert Grimes, Rev. Chesley Holmes and Mrs. Nora Bland.
    Col. Lewis Torbet of Chicago who was born on what is now known as the Jennings Co. Poor Farm owned by his grandfather John S. Torbet, spoke interesting on "What Freedom Church Means to Me" and at the close of the address made the following written proposition: To the members and friends of the Freedom Baptist church as to the graveyard adjoining the church: in order to put the grounds lots and stones in good condition and to keep same in like condition, he would give one dollar for every other dollar subscribed and paid to the First National Bank of Vernon, the fund to be available not later than April 1st, 1928, and it will be used for the purposes as written in proposition and for no other." Col. Torbett has five generations of the blood buried in the church yard and is most anxious that a fund be raised.

100th Anniversary - Indianapolis Star, July 26, 1927

    Vernon, Ind. - The Freedom Baptist Church, three and a half miles southeast of Vernon, will celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the congregation's founding on Sunday, July 31, with an all day service. The congregation was organized July 28, 1827, with fifteen charter members. They were Chesley Woodward, Elizabeth Woodward, Pleasant Carney, Elizabeth Carney, Elijah Edwards, Hannah Edwards, Jesse Branham, Molly Branham, John Chambers, Jesse Stockton, Margaret Carney, Polly McGannon, Francis Chandler, Bracket Owen and Jemima Owen.     The first pastor was Elder John Vawter, who served for twenty-one years, from 1827 to 1848. He was succeeded by William Y. Stott, who served nine years. J. B. Swincher was pastor thirteen years and J. E. McCoy six years. The present pastor is the Rev. Chesley Holmes of Vernon. The original church was a log structure, which now stands a half mile northwest of the present building.

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