Franklin Township - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Franklin Township

Center Grove Church -- no picture sorry but here is information on the church and the area from the Beckwith history. -- The Free Will Baptist church was formed in August, 1833, in the cabin home of William Mikles, three miles south of east of where Darlington now stands, at the place known as Center Grove. The families who enlisted in this work were William Mikles and family, Thomas Mikles and family, Joal Mikles and family, Abraham Naylor and wife, William Sutton and family, and others. This society was constituted a church by the ministration of Rev. J. B. Austin and Rev. Swim. These ministers were probably the first of the denomination who preached within the bounds of this township. At the same meeting when the church was organized William Mikles was ordained minister in the church, and served in this capacity for several years. This society never built a house for worship ; they met in private cabins of the members until the Mikles school-house was built, when they removed their services to this place, which soon became known as the Baptist center for this part of Montgomery county. After many years of prosperity the society declined, and on the organization of the Christian society, which was rather an offspring of the same, they disbanded and have never since been known as a Baptist society. The church of United Brethren was organized in this township about 1857, in Sec. 12, and built their house of worship near the line dividing Montgomery and Boone counties, known as the Brier Creek Church. Among the prominent men of this society, in the first years of its history, may be mentioned William A. Endicott and James Vale, who are now dead, and William Booker and James Cooper. The church is at present under the pastoral labors of Rev. Gleze. The presiding elder is Rev. New. This society has been zealous in its efforts for the general good of the community. The same year (1857) in which this house was built, another society was formed, and a house built near the center of the township, at Center Grove. This was connected with the former as one pastoral charge for a number of years. About 1864 or 1865 the Center Grove building was sold to the Unitarian Christian Society, the members removing their membership to the first, or Brier Creek Church, as the distance between the two places of worship did not justify the continuation of both bodies. The members of the United Brethren church, in Franklin township, belong to the Brier Creek Society. The Unitarian Christian church was organized and a house of worship built in 1856, three miles southeast of Darlington. This society had a commanding influence in the community among many of the leading families of early settlers, and dates its origin to the labors of Rev. John Ocane and others, who were the founders of the denomination above mentioned, for their rise was identical and associated with the same causes and influences. The distinctive causes giving rise to the church under consideration were of more recent origin in this vicinity. During the rebellion dissensions arose which resulted in a division of the society. In 1864 the church building, which had become a bone of contention, was burned, and the society left destitute of a place of worship. That division known as the " Union party " made provisions for a new house. It was built in Darlington during the summer of 1870, in which they reorganized and continued their church services. That part of the membership that remained at Center Grove purchased the church building belonging to the United Brethren. This house stands in the neighborhood of the one burned. Here the members still worship.
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