Roberts Chapel - Putnam

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Roberts Chapel

Source: Greencastle Banner 15 June 1929 p3
From the Banner, 1869 “The plan of renting pews has proved such a success at Roberts Chapel that the congregation has determined to continue it. They will be offered to the highest bidder on Monday. The Sunday School concert at Roberts Chapel drew a full house, Tucker Taylor recited,     “Oh, Why Should the Spirit of Mortal be Proud.” The street railway company, under the efficient management of Will Daggy the superintendent has for the year just closed, made about $2,500 more than was made the previous year. At the close of 1867, the indebtedness of the company was $3,440.  At the close of 1868, it had been reduced to $500.”  Bainbridge’s Achievements – “There is an old gentleman living near Bainbridge who weighs 380# and there is a young man living in the neighborhood, Andrew Hart, who was attained the altitude of 6’11 ¼”.  Mr. Jeremiah Wampler, now in his 89th year can be found any time of the week days at his shop building wagons.  Putnam County Iron Mine – “Mullinix & Brother of Washington have sold during the last summer and fall, $4,700 worth of iron ore from their farm. There are three veins. Two other mines are worked in the same neighborhood. The vein most extensively worked is 7” thick and yields 28 per cent pure iron.”  (This was south of the Butler School House). -kz

Source: Greencastle Banner, Putnam County Indiana 4 April 1878

Sunday School Anniversary – the 43rd anniversary of Roberts Chapel Sunday School was celebrated at the church on Friday evening the pastor presiding. The following programme, interspersed with music was well rendered.  Prayer, Rev. FC Iglehart; History of the School, Mrs. Dr. Tingley; Song- Think on These Things, Mrs. Husher’s primary class; Son – There will be something in Heaven for Children to Do, “Miss Richard’s class; Faith’s Victory, a recitation, Miss Webb’s class; Sandolphin, a recitation, C. Robinson; Rose of Sharon recitation and song, Mrs. Fanny McClain’s class.  Maud Allison, Mary Richards and Susie Kelly were awarded prizes for selling the most tickets. The proceeds were $39. The following is Mrs. Tingley’s …

History of Roberts Chapel Sunday School
This evening we celebrate the 43rd anniversary of our school. Since the records of only four years can be found, the following brief history has been compiled, chiefly from tradition and personal recollections. The first Methodist Episcopal Sunday School of Greencastle was organized on the 29th of March 1835, in a church that stood on the “burnt district,” immediately south of the engine house. Hon. John Cowgil, a lawyer and noted Bible student had the honor of being elected first Superintendent and served for several years. He was assisted by other early faithful members of the church, prominent among them, Mr. Rees Hardesty, a great lover of children and a sweet singer, who succeeded Judge Cowgill as first officer of the school.  Mr. W.K. Cooper afterward served a year or more, when Judge Cowgill was reelected. During the years from 1843-1848, Profs. John Wheeler and Charles G. Downey were, in turn, in charge of the school and manifested a great amount of Christian zel attended with corresponding success in the cause. Prof. J. Tingley succeeded Prof. C.G. Downey in 1848, and served five years. Previous to his superintendency, he had served the school five years as teacher and chorister. As there was not, at that time, even printed hymns for the children use, he taught them to sing by “lining out” the words and the strains of the tunes and such hymns as By Cool Siloam’s Shady Rill, Little Travelers Zionward, I think When I read that Sweet Story of Old, and others, long used in the school were introduced in this manner.  Many pupils and teachers assert that his influence for good over the children of that period of ten years was very marked. In 1853, Prof. Tingley was transferred to Simpson Chapel School and Mr. Hiram Marshall was elected Superintendent who first became a member of this school in 1841 and was one of its faithful laborers. Prof. CG Downey the energetic Prof. Miles J. Fletcher and the earnest Robert S. Dorsey filled out the time from 1853 to 1861.

Mr. RS Dorsey writes that the happiest years of his life were those of his connection with Roberts Chapel Sunday School.  
Prof. Tingley having returned to this church in 1861 was again placed in charge and kept in command during a second five years’ campaign.  Prof. LL Rogers succeeded him in 1866 and carried forward the work of the school for two years in that faithful manner with which he has so well served its interests in this and other capacities during the past 18 years.
In 1868 Mr. JRM Allen was called to rise up and be our leader. Having been a teacher in the school as early as 1838 he has continued to be for nearly 40 years a pillar and light therein. In a note to the writer, he says “That during his charge over the school the work of the Lord was greatly blessed to God be all the glory.”

In 1870 Prof. Tingley was once more called to the front, this time continuing in office until some time after the consolidation of the two churches in 1871. From September of that year until the January following, Prof. John E. Earp, of Simpson Chapel served with him jointly when Major WH Sherfy accepted the position as first superintendent over the united schools. He was followed by Maj. Jonathan Birch who held the office one years.  Prof. LL Rogers was elected again in 1874 and remained in charge two years. In 18876 Prof. John E. Earp became the earnest, systematic Superintendent of our school and in the fall of that historical year the second reign of our present popular commander began, completing the list of superintendents completing the list of the superintendents up to the present time – 14 in all.
The following named persona and perhaps others have served as assistant superintendents: David M. Teague; Hiram Marshall; Major WD Allen; Mrs. HJ Hilton; JW usher and Prof. JC Ridpath, the last mentioned having formerly been an efficient Supt of Simpson Chapel school.  

From personal acquaintance with all the Superintendents, except Mr. WK Cooper and Mr. Rees Hardesty, the writer feels justified in stating that it would be difficult to find a school anywhere that has ben so well officered by such varied talent and distinguished ability. As much may be said of the many librarians, secretaries and teachers, embracing nearly every member of all the Faculties of Asbury University, a strong representation from the religious portion of the students, especially from the more advanced classes, all the pastor who have presided over this church and many of their wives and a large proportion of the church membership.  Mention might be made of all these by name, but the narrow limits of allotted 10 minutes of this sketch forbid. Among the earlier teachers who yet remain in our church are DL Southard; Mrs. D. Morrow Pitchlynn; CJ Kimble; Dr. S. Fisher; Mrs. Lou Slavens McNutt and the write rof this history.

One yet remains of her class of 1851 – Mrs. Marietta Jones Birch, the wife of our honored Superintendent.  A few of the oldest scholars yet remaining in our church and city are – Milton Cooper; Mrs. Lydia Thornburgh Renick; Mrs. Agnes Lee Daggy; Mr. Edward Allen; Mrs. M. Farly Burley; Mrs. Eliza Cooper Talburt; G.H. Williamson; Mrs. Bettie Hammond Irvin; Jereome Allen; Mrs. Mary Marshall Burnett; Mrs. Mary Cowgill Hammond; Mrs. Anna Webb Southard and the faithful David M. Spurgin who though often solicited to teach, has generally preferred to remain a member of the Bible class and has maintained that relation uninterruptedly for a quarter of a century.

The Roberts Chapel school has had from time to time its share of concerts, festivals, picnics, excursions and public exhibitions. Also, its teacher’s meetings, which were of a high order and very successful. Its library books have numbered in the aggregate, thousands of volumes, which, in addition to many thousands of Sunday School and missionary advocates, have been distributed, circulated and finally scattered somewhere according to the usual fate of Sunday school literary, never to return to the shales from whence they were taken.  The missionary collections amount to thousands of dollars, sent forth with the prayers of the donors to bless the world.

The infant department was first organized in 1854.  Mrs. Prof. CG Downey assisted by Mrs. Lou Cooper Fisher, made an especial and successful effort to induce the little children to regularly attend Sabbath School.  Mrs. Amelia Allen Hasty in a letter to the writer, states that she had charge of the infant class in 1858-59 and about six years of time altogether. Her school sometimes numbered 100 children. One of her pupils was Flora Morrison now Mrs. WF Walker, a missionary to China. One of that number is now with us, a valuable teacher in our school, Mrs. Fannie Donnohue McClain. The instruction has been very materially aided during the past 10 years by the use of the excellent little “Lesson Papers,” prepared by our National Superintendent, Vincent.  

Mrs. W.G. Burnett, Mrs. George Marshall, Miss Sopy Richards, Miss Josie Donnohue, Mrs. jB Johnson and Mrs. JW Husher have faithfully carried forward this the most laborious class of teaching, Mrs. Husher, having for seven years altogether had command. The choirsters of the school have been Profs. Wheeler and Tingley, Jason Lee Rippetoe, HC Walts, WB Rippetoe, Thomas B. Wood, Alfred and John Kummer Major WH Sherfy, Lafayette Cole and Profs. Ridpath and Baker. The “Sabbath School Bell” was the first music book introduced into the school, furnishing us with some of the sweetest songs we have ever used. In 1862, Prof. Rippetoe, who was very successful as a leader, and also quite progressive, created some excitement by bringing the “organ into the church.” A melodeon was borrowed from the parsonage and Miss Mary Webb, the Pastor’s daughter, was chosen organist. Bradbury’s Golden Chain had just been received and as the choir of the school was then blessed with the presence of such singers as Rev. HG Jackson; WO Wyant, Thomas B Wood and Miss Narcie Lockwood, together with the Superintendent Chorister and Organist, all good musicians some of them possessing superior voices – inspired by the Heavenlyt music, such as only a Bradbury ever composed, there resounded within these walls such a grand service of song that might well stir the souls of men and angels and please the Almight One – whose name was the theme of our songs. We sang with the spirit and the understanding, “There’s a friend that’s ever near, never fear, Cheerfully, cheerfully onward we move, One by one we cross the river, and others equally inspiring. The borrowed melodeon soon gave place to a larger one, purchased by the school and that in turn was exchanged for a $600 Smith’s American Organ. The second organist was the writer, who presided at the instrument during school and church service also and taught for many months. Mrs. Lizzie Kimble Cully, Prof. WC Watersman, Miss Aggie Fisher, Miss Anna Downey another of preious memory and Prof.  Phillip Baker have sustained the instrumental accompanists to the present time. Our latest musicians have drawn inspiration from the glorious hymns and songs of PP Bliss, who was translated to join the sainted Bradbury. The memory of his noble farm and soul-stirring voice – the thought of his sudden transition to Heaven, lend a peculiar charm to the song we now so love to hear, We’re going home tomorrow.  The inspiring song, Hold the Fort, founded on the historic words sent to ur brave, lamented WH Sherfy who was also suddenly caught up into Heaven we shall never tire of singing.

Looking down the years, and reading off the roll of this chool there is a long list who are no more visibly with us. We call and they answer not again. Brothers John and Tarvin    Cowgill Cooper, Hardesty, Newton Allen, Major Allen D. M. Teague, Father Morrow, David Hoagland, George York Melborn, sisters WeheelerWheeler Downy, Elira Southard, Eliza Allen, Maor Sherfy, Revs. HC Waltz DO Daily. WO Wyant, and the pastor, Rev. Thos. Webb who during his 31 years of internerant labor was twice sen to preside over this school and church. Superintendents, teacher and scholar s- “We call adnthey answer not again.” Are they not hovering just above – mayhap, lovingly and tenderly sympathizing with us in our labors, our joys and our sorrows? They are happy now and we “Soon their happiness shall see.” The glorious results of this campaign of 43 years cannot be depicted on paper; but they are written in the hearts and speak out in the lives of thousands of those who participated in the glorious work.  Scores of people now filling high places of usefulness int eh world, in this school, sought and found a Savior’s love and became endued with His power. Ere long, these walls so sacred to precious memories and good deeds will crumble down and from this hallowed spot other spires point Heavenward and, since God has no necessary agents, one by one these soldiers of the cross will be promoted by a higher sphere and their places filled by a coming army a hundred thousand strong, drawn from the ranks of thesel. Little Travelers Zionward. The triumphs to come in the next two score of years who can estimate or what prophet foretell?  

With firm and abiding confidence in our Divine Leader we commend our cause unto Him and on this first volume of our history let there be inscribed the sacred battle cry, “Glory Hallelujjah our God is marching on.” - kbz

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