A Brief History of Fawcett's Chapel M. E. Church

This article probably came from the Progress Examiner, and was found in a scrapbook owned by Tom McCart.

"The following history of Fawcett's Chapel and its membership was prepared and read by N.F. DENNY, at their home-coming, which was held July 25th, 1926. This history covers a period of over 100 years.

Previous to the organizations of Faucett's Chapel class, camp meetings were held in various parts of the country. Lorenza DOW, who claimed the world for his parish, was one of the early pioneer preachers of Orange county. Mary WILSON BRUNER, mother of William A. BRUNER, of Paoli, was one of Lorenza DOW's converts. The seed sown by early pioneer preachers fell on good ground. In many homes family alters were established. The home was a log cabin usually the inhabitants were poor. But it was a poverty that belonged to the wilderness, and in no sense due to idolness or shiftlessness. In these homes the foundation was laid for the development of an honest conscientious high typed citizenship. And the best asset that can be left to any country is a conscientious Christian manhood. Among the early settlers of this community was John BROWN, father of Jonathan L. BROWN and grandfather of L.B. BROWN, who is the oldest living member of Fawcett's Class. John BROWN first settled on what was afterward known as the old DENNY mill tract. Here he set out an orchard that bore fruit for more than a half a century. Many a boy who came to mill can testify to the fine flavor and richness of these apples. I doubt if Grimes Golden or even the delicious surpasses the old Hoop Apple in tis richness and none equals the old Romanite in size. John BROWN moved from the old home 2 1/2 miles west and settled near what was known as the Waldrip ford on Lost river. Adam MILLER, father of Richard MILLER, one of the pioneer Methodists, settled in the Lost River Valley. The HAMILTON family were also among the early settlers, who settled near Fawcett's Chapel. James FAWCETT, Sr., came to this country in an early day and settled near this church, and gave the church land on which the church now stands. He died with small pox in 1854, aged 64 years. Long before the church was built his home was a regular preaching point. In the early part of the 1900 century the pioneer missionary preacher came from the east on horse back with saddle bags, hymn books and bible and in the log cabin preached a gospel of power, organized societies, built churches, sacrificed all, even life itself, and left a rich heritage to the world. They did not live in vain. The Rev. William McGINNIS organized the Fawcett Chapel class in the home of James Fawcett, Sr., in 1887.

The first and charter members were James and Elizabeth FAWCETT, William FAWCETT, Hannah FAWCETT, John and Rachel BROWN, William HAMILTON, James PERINE, Elizabeth PERINE, Joseph HAMILTON, and Susan HAMER. Eleven in all.

In 1847 Jonathan L. BROWN, William HAMILTON, James PERINE, Eli H. FAWCETT and William FAWCETT were elected trustees. The log church was erected in 1847. Samuel HICKS, being the minister in charge. In the early fifties it was used as a school house as well as a place of worship. Ruth HOBBS MILLER, sister of Rev. W.P. HOBBS, taught school in the old log church. She afterward became the wife of L.D. MILLER and mother of Harry MILLER, Otto MILLER, Dow MILLER and Flora MILLER. John CHANEY, who was a member of this church for many years, taught the first subscription school ever taught in Northwest township, in a little log school house on the land now owned by Elbert PRUETT, formerly known as the John McPHEETERS home. The KIRKS, WILLIAMS, TALBERTS, BRUNERS, CHANEYS and DAVIS' were the pupils that attended this school. I have no date as to the length of the school. But tuition for the term was 37 1/2 cents, then called 3 bits. The total received for the term was $9.65.

The church now standing on this lot was built in 1878 and dedicated in 1879. Some of you are present who contributed liberally to the erection of this house. Sister Ruth MILLER took up the best carpet she had in her home and gave it to the church. This report would not be complete if I failed to mention the families, who have sacrificed, labored and toiled for four score years to build up the kingdom of God, when the apostle Paul was in prison and his enemies sought to take his life, some of this freinds let him down over the wall, out of prison. Somebody held the rope. The rope holders helped to send the Gospel over into Maredona, and on the western hemisphere and on to the Heaven kissed hills of Orange County. All who have helped in the creation of public sentiment in favor of righteousness in this little church and community have been rope holders. The MILLERS, BROWNS, HAMILTONS, FAWCETTS, COLINS, SOUTHERNS, DICKEYS, PRUETTS, HATFIELDS, GIRKENS, KEYNONS, RUNCANS, PINNICKS, RITTERS, ROBBINS, HOBBS, and many others have been rope holders. We do not claim all the honor and credit for the noble men and women who have gone out from this little church and succeded in the various activities of life. But within a radius of 2 miles we have furnished scores. Some of these I recall, T.L. BROWN, teacher and sheriff of Orange County; L.P. BROWN, teacher and president of West Baden Bank; William BROWN, treasurer of Lawrence County and president of Bedford Bank; T.K. DOUGHERTY, for many years a teacher; C.H. PINNICK, teacher and surveyor of Orange County; Rufus E. PINNICK, surveyor of Orange County and many years a teacher; Sallie RITTER, teacher and well known educator of the South; Jane and Mary BROWN teachers; Henry FAWCETT, teacher; Dora DUNCAN, teacher; Missouri HATFIELD, teacher; Emma HATFIELD and Josie HATFIELD teachers; Anderson McCRACKEN, teacher; Samuel MILLER, many years a teacher now a successful business man in Terre Haute; Harry MILLER, a leading business man in Seymour, Indiana; Etta, Cloe and Ida PINNICK, all successful teachers; A.B. DICKEY, many years a teacher; Harrison FAWCETT, teacher; George PRUETT, teacher; Ella PRUETT, teacher; Anna GIRKEN, teacher; Alice DICKEY and Mary DICKEY teachers; Grant DUNCAN and William DUNCAN, teachers; John B. SOUTHERN, J.H. SOUTHERN, Clay SUTHERN, Nancy SOUTHERN, Lottie HATFIELD, D.T. ROBBINS, John CHANEY and others, teachers.

No church in this county has furnished more Methodist preachers for Indiana Conference. N.F. DENNY, C.H. PINNICK, E.T. GIRKEN, George GODWIN, Stafford GODWIN and Angie GODWIN, the founder of our Methodist Orphanage now located at Lebanon, in this state. This little church on the hill side in the wildwood has furnished its full share of preachers wives. Lydia L. SOUTHERN, wife of N.F. DENNY; Anna HENSON, wife of E.T. GIRKEN; Dora DUNCAN, wife of Rev. REYNOLDS; Josie HATFIELD, wife of Rev. Lem GRISBY; Maude GODWIN, wife of Rev. STREET; May ROBBINS, wife of E.A. CHASTAIN, and Anna GIRKEN, of a Methodist preacher in Iowa.

In the past 80 years, 48 preachers have served this charge. Most all of which have joined the church triumphant. Brother Eli FAWCETT was class leader for 50 years.

Sacred memories crown in upon this day of sainted fathers and mothers who have made the wilderness bloom and blossom as roses. They have gone to their crowning. They rest from their labors and their works do follow them.

God bless their memories. May their mantle fall upon their children's children throughout the widening years.