Christian in Montgomery County
Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Crawfordsville Montgomery County Indiana 31 January 1896
Some time since the old Christian Church building, standing just west of the handsome edifice now occupied by the congregation, was sold to Henry B. Hulet and Monday a force of men under James Hulet begun to tear the old structure down. The timbers will be used by Mr. Hulet in constructing a house and barn. The old church was built early in the 1830s and in it the denomination grew from a struggling congregation to one of wealth and far influence. The Christian Church in Montgomery County was organized very soon after the settlement of Offield. Elder Michael Coombs, a Kentuckian living near Chambers’ Mills, organized the church and among the first members were James B. McCullough, Samuel McClung, AM French, Henry Liter, Joseph Graham and their wives and children. Elder Coombs was the first preacher and he was succeeded by the father of Judge JF Harney. Elder Harney settled on the Jennison place in this city and upon retiring from the pastorate sold the place to his successor, Elder John O’Kane, an Irishman of great force and intellect. Elder O’Kane was the father of Commander O’Kane, of the US Navy. One of his other sons, Walter, joined the rebel army during the war and was captured and imprisoned at Johnson’s Island. He wrote to his father to intercede in his behalf, but the old Roman wrote back that he had made his bed and must lie in it. Elder O’Kane was succeeded by Ryland T. Brown, the father of Capt. George R. Brown and TD Brown. In the meantime the church had been removed to Crawfordsville and the old edifice now being torn down had been built upon the lot, which was given by Mayor Ambrose Whitlock. In 1848 Elder John B. New became pastor. He was father of John C. New, proprietor of the Indianapolis Journal. He was succeeded by B.T. Russell, who was followed by Elder Jamison, who remained a long time. The early fortunes of the church were not all happy ones. It was a struggle for survival almost, as the congregation was poor and had innumerable obstacles to overcome. But zeal and religious faith can remove mountains, and the beautiful church edifice which stands today is no less a monument to the devotion of the pioneers than to the generosity of their children. The old church building is being removed, but the memories which inherit it and the blessings coming from it will stand forever.