Livingston County Churches


Note: This document was found in the archives at Livingston County Library in February, 2005. Neither the author nor the date is known. The article is reproduced with corrections to obviously misspelled words found in the original. Personal names have not been changed, although in some cases it is believed they might be incorrect.


The Southern Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized in 1846, by Rev. Daniel Penny and the first church was built in 1855, on Locust St. one half block north of the north east corner of the public square. Rev. William Penn was first pastor. This church burned in 1863, and the church on Elm St. on the site of the present church was built in 1866. Rev. S. W. Cope was pastor and Rev. W. E. Dockery was presiding elder. This church was razed in 1901 and the present church was erected. Rev. Edgar C. McVoy was pastor and Rev. M. L. Gray was presiding elder.


The Christian Church known at that time as "The Camelight Church" so named for Alexander Campbell, founder of the Church. This church was organized in 1853, with sixteen charter members among whom were James Hutchison, Henry Slack, Benjamin Edrington, Stillman Mansure, and Samuel Crawford. On July 23, 1857, a lot at the northwest corner of Washington and Clay Streets, "The site of the present Masonic Temple" was purchased from R. B. Waples and Wife and deeded to Henry Slack, James Hutchison, Benjamine Edrington, trustees of the church and a church was built in 1858. This building was sold in 1888 and a new brick church was erected at the corner of Jackson and Cherry Streets. This church was razed and the present church was erected. Rev. McKeever was pastor in the seventies.


New Providence Cumberland Church was organized in 1855, by the Rev. John E. Neveris by order of the Chillicothe Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. A church was built in 1872 where the Miller Filling station now stands. This church was razed in 1876, and moved to the McCroskey neighborhood where the Union Molo Church was built. In 1906, the Nero Providence congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A. and became the New Providence Cumberland and Presbyterian congregation of the McGee Presbytery of the U.S.A.


The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was deeded the lot 7, block 55 to W. C. Samuel, John Leeper, Henry W. Lansing, W. C. Samuel, trustees of the church by L. A. Love and Wife, July 7, 1857, and a little brick church was built on southeast corner of the lot, and faced the south and stood next to the alley about where the present Sunday School room now stands and came up to within two feet of the sidewalk and in front of the stile over the fence which surrounded the Central School grounds and at the end of the sidewalk that led from the front door of the school building. Here we boys would congregate on the church steps before school took up, and waited for a sweetheart, or to tease some boy with a girl as they passed by. On September 1859, Mr. W. C. Samuel, A. McVay, and L. N. Barker, trustees of the old school Presbyterian sold the church to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A., the church becoming divided and the old school faction through their trustees. On July 20, 1859, Charles Herreman, Luther T. Collier, Wiley Clark, trustees purchased a lot in block 56, corner of Ann and Locust Streets, no known as the Phillips garage, from Morgan Mace and Wife (Elizabeth M. Mace) for $250.00. In trust however for the congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and congregation of Chillicothe Livingston County to permit said Church to erect, use occupy, and enjoy an y building or buildings thereon for the purpose of Divine Worship or for any school or parsonage to be used, occupied and enjoyed by said Church and under its direction or authority also to have receive enjoy any rents issued and profits arising from out of same, as long as said Church shall preserve and maintain its organization and continue its Ecclesiastical connection with the general assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of the United Church states. The building now standing was erected and used by this congregation till May 19, 1864 when it was sold to the First Methodist Episcopal Church. Some of its members went back to the little old Brick Church at Elm and Ann Streets. This church was razed in 1893 and the present church was erected.


The first Catholic Church was built by Rev. J. J. Hogan in 1857, on the east end of the block of ground where St. Joseph Church on Leeper street now stands. And in 1879, this church was abandoned and a new church, The St. Columban Church was built at the corner of Trenton and Ninth Streets and the old church stood idle and burned in 1881, and the graveyard which was on the north side of this black and adjoined the church ground on the north, was also abandoned and some graves were moved to the new cemetery northeast of the city.


The services of the Baptist church was first conducted in the school building at the southwest corner of Polk and Elm streets on December 29, 1857. Elizabeth Holcomb deeded Lot 2, Block 34 at the southeast corner of Webster and Elm streets, where the Grace Hatchery is now located to the trustees of the Baptist church No. 2 to Jacob L. Meyers, James Anderson, Geo. R. Hutchinson for $100.00. This church was a brick building 50x80 feet, one story with a basement which extended about 4 feet above the ground which made the church floor about 4 feet above the sidewalk. It was built along the sidewalk on Webster Street and back some fifteen feet from Elm Street. It had four windows on the North and South sides, with slat window shutters at the windows. The church while yet in its infancy had to meet the vicissitudes of the Civil war. It was shaken from center to circumference and disrupted in that awful crisis when Brother was arrayed against Brother and Father against son. The church was divided into two factions and at a meeting on April 9, 1864, the church instructed the trustees to sell the church at the best advantage and it appeared that Geo. R. Hutchinson having left the county and Jacob L. Meyers refused to carry out the instructions. J. M. Alnutt and Amos Bargdoll were elected trustees to fill their places and the church was sold to Livingston County for the sum of $2700.18, and in April 1866 the church was again sold to the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York City for $2500.00. On November 3, 1869, a committee from the first church, consisting of Dr. E. S. Pondexter, Rev. G. W. Rogers and Deacon J. M. Alnutt, and one from the other faction consisting of Deacon Bernard, J. A. Stewart and Z. N. Goldsby met in the library of the Chillicothe Female Seminary on the block of ground between Webster and Calhoun and Vine and Easton streets, to agree on terms of a union of the two factions by which they could unite but they could not come to terms, but it was agreed to dispose of the old brick church, give letters to all who desired them that they might unite with the new church and a new church was built on the west half of the lot on Clay street between Elm and Vine streets in 1870 by Dr. E. S. Pondester, Rev. G. W. Rogers, J. M. Alnutt, Wolder Bearce, J. A. Trumbo, George Warder, T. J. Spencer, J. N. Norville, and W. Y. Slack; this church was used till June 17, 1903 when it was sold to T. E. Sallee and was moved to the west side of South Locust Street between Clay and Ann streets where this building burned. The parsonage which stood on the east half of the lot was also sold to Dave Smith and was moved to the east side of Walnut street between Second and Third streets. The present church was erected at a cost of $16,525. O. P. Glore was the contractor and the Rev. Ray Palmer was the pastor in charge. The following ministers have been pastors of this church: Rev. Walden, Berry, Maple, Johnston, Calwell, Beeson, Felts, Richardson, Scott, Williamson, Talbott, Williams, Bibbs, Pitts, Palmer, Gee, Smith, Davidson, Brengel.


Grace Episcopal Church was organized September 25, 1859, and James Love and Lucy A. Love of Liberty, Clay County deeded to W. Y. Slack, Askew C. Waples, & Levi Lingo the lot for and the Church was built in 1860. Rev. Francis P. Moor, Rev. Sheetz, and Rev. Watterman were the first rectors. Some of the early vestrymen were W. L. Harding, Dr. Churchman, William Sattee, W. H. Norville O. M. Towner, E. H. Lingo, A. McVey. In September 1879 a pipe organ the first in the City was installed at a cost of $600. And Dr. M. H. Wilcox was the organist for a number of years and was followed by Mrs. Green B. Sherman April 21, 1885 the lot adjoining the church on the north was purchased from George Ziefle and wife Elizabeth Zieple and a parsonage was built this house burned and a new one was built. This building was sold and moved off the lot and Mrs. Andrew Leeper erected and gave to the church the Andrew Leeper Memorial Parish House to the church. Some of the early members of this church were the following families: Henry Hatch, J. T. Johson, George Van Every, D. W. C. Edgerton, D. W. Reynolds, Charles Asper, Mort Barney, Menefee, Bullens, John R. Swain, Platter Ruben Barney, Sr., Hulderman, Beaty, Taft, Vandusen, Bostric McDowell, Harker Blythe, Norris & Hawley.


Bedford Church was organized in 1852 with the following families as charter members: Wolfseale Alexander, Ballew Hix, Singleton Duncan, Baily Monroe, Huffman and Sanders. The church was built in 1857 and burned in January 8, 1928 and was rebuilt in fall of 1928.


Pleasant Grove M. E. Church South was organized in fall of 1860. Rev. Samuel L. Alexander was in charge. Rev. William Goff Caples was presiding elder. It was organized at the Wolfseale school house a quarter of a mile south of the church (now the Butler school). Charter members were David Mumpower & Wife, Joseph Wolfseale & Wife, John A. Mumpower & Wife and others; the church was built in 1870. This church has been greatly blessed with faithful families who served well their generation. G. B. Mumpower was Sunday school superintendent for fifty years. Out of this family came the Rev. John A. Mumpower long a preacher in the Missouri Conference. Prof. T. G. Mumpower a Professor in Central College, Fayette, Missouri and Daniel Leeper Mumpower was first medical missionary sent to Africa by the M. E. Church South.

First Methodist Episcopal Church of Chillicothe was organized in the fall of 1862. Rev. John Moorhead pastor and Rev. T. B. Brotton presiding elder. The first building owned by the church was purchased May 19, 1864 from the Cumberland Presbyterians. The building at the corner of Locust and Ann Street now the Phillips Garage for $650.00. The first official meeting of the church was held May 28, 1864 and was used till November 13, 1866 when it was sold and the lot at corner of Webster & Cherry Streets was purchased and a two story brick church was erected in 1867. Rev. J. W. Martindal was pastor, this church was razed in 1903 and the present church was erected at a cost of $22,000. Rev. I. S. Ware was the pastor.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Colored Baptist) organized in 1865 by the Rev. George Hudson assisted by Rev. Barton Hillman and George Wright with others. The church was remodeled in 1894 by the Rev. McMillan the following ministers have served the Church since then: Rev. D. A. Sawyer, Rev. M. Clay, Rev. O. T. Reed, Rev. G. W. Wright, Rev. J. Saunders, Rev. J. S. Swancy and others. The Mt. Zion Baptist Church has contributed to the ministry. Rev. A. Jones, Rev. Joe Patrick, Rev. James Henderson, and Buford Hillman.


Mt. Olive Church organized in 1861 in a log school house two miles north east of Sampsell. A church was built in 1876 and burned in 1901 and was rebuilt in 1904.


Avalon Presbyterian Church was founded Saturday April 8, 1869 at the Fairview school house tow miles north and one mile west of Avalon in the fall of 1875. Avalon church was built in Avalon and it was sold to the First Methodist Episcopal Church in 1891


Central Chapel Southern Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1888.


St. Paul Church was organized in 1868, northwest of Chillicothe.


The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. Sylvester Dines in 1869.


Centenary M. E. Church South was organized at the McCormick School house September 4, 1872 by Rev. W. E. Dockery and the church was built in 1883. Rev. Maggard was in charge.


Bethel was organized in 1872.


The Grace Church M. E. South in Grand River Township was built in 1876 under the supervision of Rev. J. P. Nolan, Presiding elder of Chillicothe District.