Archiver > BRETHREN > 2007-02 > 1171500366

From: Merle C Rummel <>
Subject: [BRE] Early Indiana Chuches
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 19:46:06 -0500

Here is a present summation of what I have found on the Brethren
Churches in far Southern Indiana - in the years immediately following
1800. Much of this information has been forwarded to me from various
sources: I would like to spend some time back down here - to see if I
can find more information. I am especially interested in the Lost
River/Old Liberty Church and the White Water/Old Union Church.

The Lost Churches of southern Indiana began with several churches near
Louisville (The Falls). The Brethren Fellowship seems to be an effort by
these Frontier Brethren to hold a common fellowship [1820] on this far
frontier. This resulted in their being disfranchised by the Elders of
Annual Meeting back East, mostly due to their involvement in the Great
Revival of 1811-1812. The 16 Churches seem to be Brethren Communities –
with frequently several meeting houses. Most of the churches were in
Kentucky and Indiana. In 1828, the “Boy Preacher” led the Fellowship
into the Great Revival faith, as Disciples of Christ (Christian). Elders
Adam Hostetler and Peter Hon were directly involved in these actions and
were put on the Ban. All the southern Indiana Brethren Churches
followed, leaving the Baptist Brethren denomination. Most or all changed
their names to Revival names, and the Brethren Churches were “lost”.

The church of the Squire Boone family, the Bethel Baptist Church,
founded by his son Noah Boone, may have originally have been Brethren.
Squire Boone himself is identified as a Brethren Preacher (Baptist
Brethren was our name until 1830), having been put into the ministry by
Elder John Hendricks, at the Forks of the Yadkin, in North Carolina. He
followed his brothers, Daniel and George, into Kentucky, then moved
across the Ohio River to Harrison Co IN (south of Corydon, west of
Louisville, at the Squire Boone Cave –where he was first buried). The
names of members of the Bethel Baptist Church do not match known
Brethren family names from Kentucky.

The Brethren church in Clark Co IN were Brethren mostly from the Beech
Creek Church in northern Spencer County KY (Mt Eden) and southern Shelby
Co (Boston). Families there were Hochstetler, Hardman, Leatherman,
Snider, Richey, Ruble (Ribelin), Sears, Stutsman, Bowman, Christ,
Martin, Price, Shively. The Hardman and Stutzman families were leaders
at a church on Duck Creek, near 10 Mile River (either could have been
its original name) later called the Olive Branch Church after it went
with the Revival. Other families known to be there were Kerns, Rible and
Sears. The Olive Branch Church cemetery is on the Oscar Long road, west
of IN63 about ½ mile, about 4 miles south of New Washington.

Several churches followed the Louisville-Ft Vincennes Road (now US 150).
Close to Louisville was the Bethel Church at Bradford IN (the original
Louisville-Ft Vincennes Road goes through the town, now called the
Bradford Road). An early paper for the Bethel Church speaks of it as
being on Indian Creek, I suspect this was the name for the Indian Creek
Baptist Brethren Church. In the Great Revival these families went New
Light, and the church became the Bethel Christian Church. The church
building was built on the land of John Huffstutter
(Hochstetler-Hostetler) at the south-east corner of Bradford (the
Huffstutter Cemetery has been removed and plowed under). The original
cemetery, Reep Cemetery, was a couple miles east of Bradford on the old
road. George Sears and wife Catherine Hon (dau of Jonas Hon and Mary
Keithley – and sister of Elder Peter Hon) were from the Hinkston Creek
Baptist Brethren Church (later Old Union Church, home church of Elder
Peter Hon) in Nicholas Co KY, as was Michael Sappenfield (wife Mary
Sears – daughter of immigrant Johannes Zaher and 2/w Barbara Miller Hon
of the East Union Church, Bourbon Co KY – another Brethren community
near or part of the Hinkston Creek Church – Johannes Zaher is identified
as John Zear of York Co PA and Pipe Creek Church, Frederick Co MD.
Barbara Miller Hon was grandmother to the banned Dunker Elder, Peter
Hon). Another cemetery (the Sappenfield Cemetery) is north of Bradford
(south of US 150) and contains Brethren names, including an original
preacher, David Fouts. These Sappenfields included married children of
George and Catherine Sears. There were a number of Martin names in this
cemetery, but they are a little later, and I don’t have them identified.
The Bradford (town) Cemetery is sometimes called the Hon Cemetery –since
Bradford was laid out by Ulrich Hon, and he is buried here. Ulrich Hon
is son of Ulrich Hon of the Reep Cemetery, and grandson of John Hon and
Barbara Miller Hon (Sears). (Don’t we Brethren get our families all
mixed together?)

Following the Ft Vincennes road into Orange Co IN, is the Lost River
Baptist Brethren Church.
Paoli is on US 150, IN37 goes north about 8 miles to Orleans. The Lost
River is crossed about half way between the two. (Lost River waters
slowly disappear in the river bottom, then about 8-10 miles later,
suddenly appear as a spring.) As usual among the Brethren, this is good
farmland. The Brethren formed a church here about 1814, the Liberty
Christian Church (name now) is a little east of the highway. Elder Adam
Kern, of this church, writes about 1820, that there were 16 Churches in
the “Brethren Fellowship”. Joseph Hostetler (1797-1870), of Lost River
(nephew of the Elder Adam Hostetler of Clark Co IN, who was later placed
on the “ban” by Annual Meeting) is the “boy preacher” who went to Annual
Meeting in NE Ohio in 1821 and convinced the Brethren that a person
baptized by single immersion would go to heaven just as surely as one
with trine immersion. (This lasted for 5 years, till the Elders refused
it in 1826.) Among the Brethren families at Lost River were those of
John Ribble, Christian Hostetler and Adam Hostetler, David Lewis,
Christian and John Leatherman, Adam and David Sears, and William Keedy.
With the Great Revival and the Brethren Association, in 1819 the church
renamed itself as Old Liberty. About 1824 a log building was
constructed. Several of these families moved west: Joseph Hostetler to
Illnois, others to Missouri.

The White River Baptist Brethren church was near Fayetteville, Lawrence
Co IN. It was also called the Kerns’ Church and went with the Great
Revival and Brethren Association, it changed its name to the Old Union
Church. Other Brethren names include: Keithley, Leatherman, Martin and

Abraham Kerns, father of Elder Adam Kerns, went from the Hinkston Creek
Church in Kentucky, to the Clark Co Church, then to the White River
Church and north to the New Hope Church near Stanford, Monroe Co IN. He
is named as a Bishop of the Disciples of Christ denomination at the New
Hope Church. He is the son of Conrad Kerns, Brethren minister at
Salisbury NC, Crane Creek Church (during the American Revolution). He
was one of several siblings who moved to the Hinkston Creek Church in
Nicholas Co KY. Brethren names at the New Hope Church area include:
Sheets, Sears, Ritter.

This thread: