Seventh Day Adventists
Fountain Street Baptist Church
Second Baptist Church
Wealthy Avenue Baptist Church
Messiah Baptist Church
Cavalry Baptist Church
Bible Christians
Children of Zion Church
First (Park) Congregational Church
Second Congregational Church
South Congregational Church
Smith Memorial Church
Church of Christ - Disciples
St. Mark's Episcopal Church
Grace Church - Episcopal
St. Paul's Memorial Church - Episcopal
Trinity Church - Episcopal
Oakdale Park - Episcopal
Hebrew Congregation - Temple Emanuel
German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Immanuel
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church
Swedish Evangelical Missionary Congregation
Free Methodist Church
Wesleyan Methodist Church
Division Street M.E. Church
Second Street M.E. Church
East Street M.E. Church
Plainfield Avenue M.E. Church
Ames M.E. Church
German M.E. Church
African Methodist Episcopal Church
African M.E. Zion Church
First Presbyterian Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Mission Wood Presbyterian Church
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
First Reformed Church
Second Reformed Church
Third Reformed Church
Fourth Reformed Church
Fifth Reformed Church
Oakdale Park Reformed Church
Christian Reformed Church
Nederduitsche Gereformeerde Gemeente ­ Dutch Reformed Church
Holland Reformed Church
Spring Street Holland Christian Reformed Church
East Street Holland Christian Reformed Church
Coldbrook Holland Christian Reformed Church
Alpine Avenue Holland Christian Reformed Church
Fourth Holland Christian Reformed Church
Fifth Avenue Holland Christian Reformed Church
Crosby Street Holland Christian Reformed Church
True Reformed Church
St. Andrew's ­ Roman Catholic
St. Mary's ­ Roman Catholic
St. James ­ Roman Catholic
St. Adalbert's  ­ Roman Catholic
St. Joseph's ­ Roman Catholic
St. Alphonsus ­ Roman Catholic
The Salvation Army
The Spiritualists
Unitarian Church
Liberal (Unitarian) Holland Church
United Brethren
Universalist Church
German Evangelical Zion's Church

THE religious history of the city of Grand Rapids does not suffer by comparison with the gratifying story of its material developments. Fron1 its earliest settlement the churches have exerted a decided influence in forming the character of this community. The characteristic enterprise and aggressiveness evinced in all other departments have always marked our religious progress. The churches have, therefore, steadily kept pace with the rapid increase of the population, and the extension of the city within and beyond its boundaries. Our church edifices are, with but few exceptions, modest structures of moderate cost, but commodious and tasteful, and in their ample accommodations and fine equipments quite comport with the tastes and needs of the people. In estimating the religious status of our city, comparisons with that of the leading cities of the Union are largely in our favor. The summary appended to this chapter demonstrates that in this regard we are "citizens of no mean city." The exhibit is quite remarkable, and should not escape the attention of those who would recommend this as a place of residence that combines with all other urban advantages exceptional religious privileges and moral influences. All of our mixed population are provided with adequate church privileges, and, with a considerable diversity of denominations represented here, sectarianism is happily at a minimum among us. It is gratifying to note that our leaders of public and commercial affairs have generally been the stanch friends of the churches. The past decade has been conspicuously one of missions, new organizations and material improvements, and to the present houses of worship that adorn our city, the early execution of present projects will add many such noble proofs of the religious spirit so prevalent among all classes.


On the first of May, 1886, a mission was established in this city under the Superintendency of Elder H. W. Miller. The work was begun with six Bible-readers, whose number increased to twenty-five during the first year. A course of scriptural study was pursued in the Training School at the "mission" house, then and for two years at 294 Sheldon Street, and six were educated and sent abroad. Encouraged by this successful commencement, the State Conference held its large annual; Camp Meeting here that year, beginning Sept. 17. In August, 1887, Elders Van Horn and Wales were commissioned to hold a series of meetings here, which assembled in a large tent on the west side of South Division Street, between First and Second Avenue s. These continued for six weeks, with a large attendance, and won a considerable number to this faith, in consequence of which a church was organized with about forty constituent members, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. McPherson, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Long, Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Rose, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Gildersleeve, and others. They held their regular worship and Sabbath School at Ringuette's Hall, southeast corner Fifth Avenue  and South Division Street, until May 5, 1889, when they rented their present capacious and central place of worship, at which service and Sabbath school are held on Sabbath (Saturday), and worship also on Sunday. During the summer of 1888 tent meetings were held for several weeks, on Summer Street, near West Bridge Street under the pastoral direction of Elder F. D. Starr. He was succeeded in the fall by Elder L. G. Moore, at present in charge of the mission. The Mission House, hired for residence of the pastor and three Bible readers, was from the fall of 1888 until May, 1889, at 345 Crescent Avenue . The pastor now resides on Sinclair Street. The strength acquired by this mission is represented by the statistics, which report seventy members, and Sabbath school membership 11O. The church, while not making it obligatory strenuously holds and teaches that the members should contribute one-tenth of their income for the Lord's work, and these local tithes realized for the past year over $600. the total revenue being $753, and expenditures $800. Still being a mission, the State Conference provides for it, but the tithes go into the Conference fund, out of which the pastors are comfortably maintained, not at a fixed salary, but according to their real needs.


As early as 1822 a Baptist mission was located here among the Ottawa tribe of Indians, which bore the name of the Thomas Station, in honor of one of the early English Baptist missionaries to India. Little, however, was done in the way of missionary work until about 1826, when the Rev. Isaac McCoy came and organized a school of twenty-five pupils. Soon after this, the Rev. Leonard Slater, a laborious, devoted and patient Christian worker, took charge of the mission. In 1832 a church was formed among the Indians. Judge E. W. Davis has left the following interesting memorandum of this mission:

The Baptist station consisted of two or three block houses, and a school-house near what is now Bridge Street. At the foot of the rapids were twelve or fifteen Indian board houses and a good-sized meeting house The Indians connected with the mission owned a sawmill at the head of the rapids. The church contained twenty-five members. The head chief of the tribe, Noonday was an eminent Christian, who delighted in religious exercises speaking with great force, concluding, often by saying he was weak and ignorant, knew, but little therefore he should say no more.

In 1836 the mission, together with the Indians, was removed to Gull Prairie. The next year after their removal, 1837, the first Baptist church was organized in Grand Rapids, composed of immigrants to the Territory. It was gathered by the efforts of the Rev. S. D. Wooster, and contained seven members: Henry Stone, Thomas Davis, Ezekiel W. Davis, Abram Randall and wife, Zelotis Bemis and a Mr. Streeter -- all of whom have passed away. Mr. Wooster remained with the church but a short time, and for the next four or five years they were without a pastor. Several of the members moved away and the church virtually became extinct.

In 1842 the Rev. T. Z. R. Jones was sent into this part of the State by the American Baptist Home Missionary Society, and the church was resuscitated. Mr. Jones remained only two or three years, making Grand Rapids his headquarters and preaching in the towns and settlements about; when he left, the church was again without a pastor, struggling along, few in numbers weak in resources. They met for worship sometimes in private houses; for awhile in the old Court-house which stood in the Park; in the school-house on Prospect Hill, and again in an upper room in the National Hotel. In Judge E. W. Davis they found a natural leader, who did much to keep up their meetings and their courage, and whose exhortations supplied the place of preaching. Of those who belonged to the church then, the only surviving members are Lewis C. Davidson and J. C. Buchanan.

About this time a lot was purchased on the West Side as a site for a church edifice; and materials were collected for building it. But the church was not able to procure a title to the property, and the project failed. The church was supplied at different times by the Rev F. L. Batchelder, who organized a church at Indian Creek, now the Alpine and Walker church. This took a number of members from the Grand Rapids church.

In 1848 the church purchased the old Episcopal house of worship at the corner of Bronson and North Division Streets, where now stands the residence of Julius Berkey. About the same time the church called the Rev. C. A. Jenison to be its pastor. He was a young man of promise, and a time of brighter and better things seemed to he opening for the church. But Mr. Jenison's health soon failed, and he was obliged to resign. In 1849 came the Rev. A. J. Bingham as pastor. He was an earnest preacher and faithful pastor. He remained only two years, and in his turn was followed by the Rev. Francis Prescott, a man of unselfish life and missionary zeal, whose stay with the church as its pastor was about the usual two years.

In 1856 the Rev. L. M. Woodruff became pastor. At his suggestion the church was disbanded, for the purpose of a somewhat different organization, and the Tabernacle Church was formed. This led to an unhappy division of interests, to separation, and the reorganization of the First Church. After Mr. Woodruff resigned, the Tabernacle Church called the Rev. S. F. Holt to become its pastor a man energetic in character, and of much force and ability as a preacher. The First Church was statedly supplied by the Rev. Abel Bingham; a man whose fidelity and spirit of sacrifice had been long and well tested in missionary work at the Sault Ste. Marie, and who died and was buried here in November, 1865, honored and full of years. A short time before Mr. Holt's resignation, which took place in 1860, the two churches came together and Mr. Holt w as pastor of the reunited church. But in 1861 the Second Church was formed and the Revs. C. C. Miller, A. Stanwood and others supplied the pulpit until May, 1863, when the Rev. C. B. Smith, D. D., was called to be its pastor, a man of power, still residing here in his old age. The Rev. Mr. Bingham and the Rev. Mr. Fay continued to supply the First Church until 1862, when the Rev. Peter Van Winkle became its pastor. During the pastorates of Dr. Smith and Mr. Van Winkle, the churches built houses of worship; the First Church a brick structure on the site of the present one, and the Second Church on North Division Street between Fountain and Pearl Streets. Both these pastors were very earnest men and did their work with a will that did much to inspire the churches in their undertakings. During the pastorate of Mr. VanWinkle the church in the adjoining town of Paris was formed from members of the First Church, but even after this loss it remained the stronger of the two city churches. In January, 1867, Dr. Smith resigned, and the Rev. Nathan A. Reed was called to the pastorate, who entered upon his duties in the following Mas. He served the church well and ably for two years.

Following Mr. Van Winkle, the First Church called the Rev. Isaac Butterfield, in April, 1867. Messrs. Butterfield and Reed worked heartily together and did much in laying the foundations on which the prosperity of the Baptist cause here has risen. Two churches so near together, both weak, were manifestly not meeting, nor did they seem likely to meet, the prospective demand upon the Baptists of the city and these brethren had the wisdom to see it. Accordingly, on the 11th of January, 1869, a meeting was held by members of the two churches for the purpose of forming an organization which should consolidate them. To bring about this transition, twelve brethren, with the mutual understanding of all parties concerned, organized the present church, to be known as "The Baptist Church of the City of Grand Rapids." Of these twelve brethren six were from the First Church: John Whitmore, J. C. Buchanan, Abram Randall, Orris Bonney, C. A. Wall and B. F. Gouldsbury; and six from the Second Church: James S. Crosby, R. B. Loomis, Geo. W. Hewes. John Calkins, D. McWhorter and J. Frederic Baars. Thereupon the two former churches dismissed their 250 members to the new organization in April, and an era of greater prosperity was entered. Mr. C. A. Wall was chosen Clerk, and has since retained that office.

The united church called the Rev. I. Butterfield, but he declined, whereupon the Rev. Samuel Graves, D. D., was secured as their pastor, and entered upon his long and successful pastorate the first Sunday in January, 1870. The Doctor found 260 members in his new charge. For a short period they had worshiped in the brick edifice of the old First Church, but this proving unsatisfactory, the late Wm. Hovey suggested that they increase the seating capacity by constructing a roomy gallery on three sides of the house belonging to the Second Church on North Division Street, which was done. There the new pastor found them housed. But the place was soon too small, and in the middle of the year 1870 steps were taken for the building of a suitable house. The spot already hallowed in the affections of many who formerly belonged to the First Church was happily agreed upon for the site. In the fall of 1871 the old brick church building was torn down - the material being given to the contractor in addition to $60,000 for which the work was let -- ground was broken and the stone foundations built. In May, 1872, the corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The pastor then obtained leave of absence, and in June began a vacation of seven months, which he enjoyed in the Holy Land and European countries. While he was abroad the Rev. Butler Morley supplied the pulpit, and the new house was enclosed. In the summer of 1873 the society disposed of the old property on North Division Street to the Trustees of the First Reformed Church for the sum of $6, 500, but continued to occupy the building until October. On the 21st of December, 1873, the capacious and finely furnished and decorated basement was dedicated. Meanwhile there was slow progress toward the completion of the Church, for the resources of the people were drained and various measures and devices were adopted to raise the funds required to finish the auditorium. It was, consequently, not until April, 1877, that they could assemble for worship in the magnificent audience room. The financial report then stated that no less than $80,000 had been expended upon the structure with all its equipments and that there remained a debt of $20,000. While Dr. Graves remained, the greatly increased current expenses of the church were met and $7,000 of this debt liquidated. The membership constantly grew and the church acquired great prominence in the community under the labors of this eminently able and earnest pastor, who was universally beloved in this city. But in May, 1885, he severed his connection with the church by resignation, and in June following the Rev. Kerr B. Tupper, D. D., pastor here from that time until March 23, 1890, was elected, who accepted and in July was recognized, and assumed the pastoral charge. Since then three thriving mission Sunday schools have been established: The Calvary, on South Division Street, in Ringuette's Hall; the Immanuel, on Sinclair Street, in the Swedish Lutheran Church (in March,1889, one of the members gave a lot on North College Avenue , near Hastings Street, upon which a chapel was completed in May and then occupied by this mission), and the Berean, on Plainfield Avenue  in New England Hall.

The latter two schools, together with the parent school, enroll about 90 scholars. The second Baptist Church, on Gold Street, and the Wealthy Avenue Baptist Church are also the offspring of this church, which, because of this additional number of organizations, and for sake of distinction, two years ago adopted its present name. The 2d of December, 1888, was a notable Sunday in their history. It was the jubilee most joyously celebrated together with its two ecclesiastical children just named on the occasion of the final payment of that debt which until recently retained the huge and ugly proportions of $13,000, and then the auditorium was at last dedicated.

The pew-renting system is adhered to by the church, from which most of the annual revenue of about $11,500 is derived, out of which, besides generous contributions of individual members, it has liberally aided and fostered the Wealthy Avenue Baptist Church in its infancy. The Baptist Record is a monthly paper published and supported by the church and devoted to her various interests. In February, 1889, the church employed Miss Hattie Mulhern as a missionary, to be an assistant to the pastor. The present membership is 713, and numerous organizations materially assist in the extensive and varied work of the church; such as the Woman's Home Mission Circle, Woman's Foreign Mission Society, Woman's Industrial Society, Young People's League, Pastor's Training Class, Young Helpers and King's Daughters, Tens. The following serve in official capacities: Cornelius A. Wall, Clerk; James S. Hawkins, Treasurer; Deacons - Cornelius A. Wall, Robert Davidson, Nelson W. Smith, Wm. W. Gould, Robert B. Loomis, John C. Buchanan, Orsamus W. Horton, James K. Johnston, Alfred A. Stearns, Wm. N. Rowe. Deaconesses (an office introduced about 1875, and very similar to that of Deacon) - Mrs. Esther Potter, Mrs. Sophia Buchanan, Mrs. Lucy E. Steketee, Mrs. Jane Stearns, Mrs. Amelia Crosby, Mrs. Charlotte Davidson, Mrs. Anna Morley, Mrs. Eliza Daniels, Miss Ella C. Smith. Board of Trustees - Enos Putman, Perrin V. Fox, Wm. D. Talford, Moreau S. Crosby, Roger W. Butterfield, Geo. G. Steketee, J. Frederic Baars, James K. Johnston, Orson A. Ball, D. B. Shedd. Sunday-school Superintendents - Of the Fountain Street school, M. S. Crosby; of Calvary Mission, R. B. Loomis; of Immanuel Mission, W. C. Sheppard. At Berean Mission, a chapel is now building.


The father of this church is Deacon J. W. Converse, of the First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts, who has for many years had large business and real estate interests in this city, and is withal a zealous Baptist. In 1883 the liberality of Deacon Converse toward this church commenced by the donation of a lot 132 feet square and the building and furnishing of a house of worship thereon, which was appropriately ded8cated September 30, 1883. The first Baptist mission school on the west side was then organized to occupy this edifice, and on the 8th of October a church was organized with fifty-six constituent members, who were previously connected with the Fountain Street Baptist Church. The Rev. E. H. Brooks then became its pastor and remained in that relation until January 20, 1889, when he was compelled to resign on account of ill health. The progress made by this church may be gathered from such figures as these: Membership I46, Sunday School scholars 226, and about 100 families belonging to the parish. Besides this, a prosperous mission Sunday School, of which W. N. Rowe is superintendent, is established in the old Sixth ward engine house, recently purchased of the city, and has 200 members. The value of the property is $8,500, and toward the annual expenses of the society Mr. Converse has ever contributed generously. From the first he has also maintained an able choir at his own charge. The receipts of the past year were nearly $1,700. The 350 sittings are free, and there is no debt. The officers are as follows: Deacons, Geo. W. Gay, John Rooks and Alexander Odds; A. Odds, Treasurer, and Wm. A. Hanes, Clerk; Trustees, Wilber A. Study, H. C. Edwards, Geo. W. Gay, John Rooks, John A. Boyar, R. W. Merrill. Sunday School Superintendent, J. E. Cheyenne. Societies: Woman's Home and Foreign Mission, Ladies' Social Society, Young People's Literary, Y. P. S. C. E., and Children's Mission Band. The present pastor, the Rev. R. W. Van Kirk, assumed charge October 13, 1889


This owes its existence to a Mission Sunday School established in the summer of 1875 by the Fountain Street Baptist Church. Soon after a Chapel, worth, with site, $1,200, was built on Charles Street, near Wealthy Avenue, where the school and other Sabbath services were held until after the organization of the church on January 12, 1885. At this time the Rev. E. R. Bennett became its pastor. Prominent among the first members appear the names of Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Fisher, L. C. Remington, Mrs. Ira Remington, Mrs. Stewart, H. K. Stewart, Mrs. O. M. Dunham, Mrs. Frank Maybee, Mrs. and Miss Freeman, Mrs. Emily Ford, Mrs. Cole and her son Harry, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Barr, and Mrs. Miles Barber. The first Trustees were: A. W. Fisher, L. C. Remington, A. E. Barr, A. W. Donaldson, Frank Maybee. First Deacons: A. W. Fisher, S. E. Curdy, John Calkins. Treasurer and Clerk, L. H. Stewart. The energetic pastor soon interested his people in a building project, the fruit of which is the present noble structure, having a seating capacity of 700, erected at a cost, including the site, of $10,000. The corner-stone was laid Oct. 19, 1886, and the chapel, their old home, was incorporated with the parlors of the new building. The dedication occurred Jan. I6, 1887. The growth of the church has been rapid, its present membership being 160, with a Sunday school of 250 scholars. The bonded indebtedness of the church is $4, 000, and the annual income nearly $1,800, the seats being free. Besides Ladies' Home and Foreign Missionary Societies, the church has a Y. P. S. C. E., claiming the largest membership in the city, also a large, useful Literary and Musical Society. The Monitor a small journal in the interest of the local church, was published for a time by the pastor, afterward conducted by Dr. Donnelly as the Wealthy Avenue Baptist. In the spring of 1888 Mr. Bennett was compelled to leave his work for a season in quest of health. He returned from California after a rest of three months able to rescue his labors, but toward the end of the year a settlement in that mild climate appeared necessary, and when a call from Pomona, Cal., was extended, he promptly, though reluctantly accepted and resigned his pastorate here December 31, 1888. The Rev. John Donnelly, D. D., of Owosso, Michigan, then came, and labored here from March 1, 1889, until his death, February 17, 1890. The present officers are: Deacons. John Calkins, A. W. Fisher, William E. Calkins, S. E. Curdy and E. G. Edwards: Clerk, Milton F. Osborn: Treasurer, C. S. Weatherly: Trustees, A. W. Fisher, J. W. Baldie, A. E. Remington, Wm. E. Calkins, Chas. W. Pickell and the Clerk. Sunday School Superintendent, S. E. Curdy.


This was organized at Ringuette's Hall. On South Division street, with twelve charter members, October 28, 1889 when Messrs. W. H. Brown, Thos. Walker and Geo. W. Smith were chosen Deacons; C. J. Minissee, Clerk, and Geo. Boyer, Treasurer. With the financial aid of the Missionary Board and the Fountain Street Baptist Church, they secured as their pastor the Rev. J. W. Johnson, who entered upon his charge December 22, 1889. This new church worships in the hall where it was organized, morning and evening, the congregation reaching the maximum of ninety attendants, and the membership has grown to the number of thirty-one. The Sunday School was organized January 12, 1890. The estimated outlay of the first year is about $400, in addition to about $100 received as aforementioned.


The mission conducted for two years past by the Fountain Street Baptist Church was organized as a church November 8, 1889, with thirty-five constituent members. It is largely under the care of the mother church for the present, in the hope of securing suitable grounds and a chapel in the spring of 1890, and of an increase of strength that shall soon render it independent. Messrs. W. P. Smith, J. S. Henson and C. A. Balcom are the Trustees, and R. B. Loomis the Superintendent of a flourishing Sunday School which enrolls 160 scholars. The Rev. E. H. Brooks assumed the pastoral charge of this enterprise January 1, 1890.


A Mr. Baker began to hold undenominational Sabbath services on the ground floor of the store at 331 West Bridge Street, in September, 1886. Various elements gathered around hill. The Rev. Thomas T. Brown, who was pastor of the African M. E. Zion Church on Fifth Avenue from 1879 to 1881, but who has for some time resided here without charge or ecclesiastical connection, became the preacher of this congregation December, 1886, when there were nineteen Free Methodists and eleven without any church relations or preferences. The former formed their own church at this time. In February 1887, there was a further separation, owing to dissentions, when the remaining eleven were organized by the colored preacher under the name of "The Bible Christians Associated in Christ." On March 1 they began to hold their meetings at the house of Henry Porter, 176 Jackson Street, and remained in their brother's dwelling until November, when they returned to the store, occupying it six months. Then they found a room in Filbert's block, corner Davidson and Fifth Streets, but in November, 1888, they felt unable to pay rent any longer and were once more welcomed by Mr. Porter to his home. The congregation varies from thirty to fifty, of whom only fourteen are members of "the class," representing eight or ten families of steady adherents, with fifteen in the Sunday School. Messrs. Porter, Mason, George Webb and Charles Miller are the officers, and Allen G. Davidson local preacher. They have conceived a dislike to the sects and believing in Christian union, hope to promote it by this organization. They present the remarkable instance of a white congregation with an African minister, who serves gratuitously, laboring with his own hands for his livelihood. The prospect of their permanence and influence is not flattering.


A brief sketch of the body of which this society is the center and most flourishing congregation, seems necessary here. Among those who, early in this century, in considerable numbers, left other denominations on account of their views of the second coming of Christ, were the founders of this sect, which at first bore no name, and by some was called "Trine-Immersionists," by others "Adventists." Until 1870 they were located in different parts of the New England States, and chiefly in Boston. In 1874 a church was organized at Listowel, Ontario, Canada by Elder J. B. Brown, of Laconia, N. H. and in March, 1878. a Conference was held at Preston, Ontario, at which they adopted the name of "The Children of Zion." Shortly afterward a monthly paper called The Day-Star of Zion was published which was enlarged in 1880, and issued under its present name, The Dawn of the Morning, which has ever since been published here, having a circulation of some 3,500, and was until recently edited by Bishop Paterson.

In May, 1881, the Conference assembled in this city and elected Elder D. D. Paterson, then pastor here, Bishop of the entire sect, with full oversight thereof; and Grand Rapids became its headquarters.

The leading peculiarities of their creed are: Belief in the one God, opposed to the doctrine of a trinity; that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son, who had no existence as an entity prior to that begetting; that the one Spirit is an immortal influence or power emanating from the Deity and connecting man with his God, which Spirit is the witness of God that we are His children, which operates in the church in gifts and signs following them that believe, as of old. They believe in the mortality of man, who can live through eternity only by the gift of eternal life through Christ, and hence in the annihilation of the wicked. The earth will be the future home of the redeemed, and we are upon the eve of Christ's return to earth. Congregations adopting these views are found in Ontario, Canada; Spring Lake, Michigan; Cherokee, Iowa, and Glasgow, Scotland; besides small flocks and isolated families scattered over our continent.

The church in this city had its origin in the efforts of Elders James Evans, J. B. Brown and D. D. Paterson, who labored, in the order mentioned, between 1875 and 1878. In the fall of 1878 the work had assumed such proportions that Elder D. D. Paterson moved his family from Canada to settle here as pastor.

The member of its charter members was thirty-four, of whom Charles A. Haines, William Young, Charles E. Revell, George F. Hawley and Andrew Holmes were elected as the first Board of Trustees. The society held its first meeting in Lincoln Hall, on West Bridge Street, and from that time for several years the growth of the church was marked. In 1881 they erected a fine church edifice on Scribner Street, having a seating capacity of about 400 which was dedicated May 7, 1882, and, including the site, is valued at $8,000. The seats are free. In 1886 Bishop Paterson left for Europe and never returned. His death occurred in France in the autumn of 1887, and was followed by shocking disclosures of gross immoralities of which he had been guilty for several years, and his imposition upon his people here, at whose expense largely he lived abroad, was a revelation that profoundly disturbed and threatened the church during the ministry of the Bishop's brother, Elder John Paterson. The latter officiated from August, 1887, until November, 1888 having been preceded by Elders Northrop and Spencer, who acted somewhat alternately during the previous year. There had been a marked falling off in numbers since 1886, on account of certain suspicious conduct of the Bishop; but his fall so unsettled their affairs for a season that the church was constrained to clear itself before the public, and reorganized its society, with Elder H. A. Olmstead as its pastor, from November, 1888, throughout 1889, and now reports 175 members, a few more adherents, 75 Sunday School scholars, and an annual income of $2,000. Elder S. McIlraith superintends the Sunday School. Elders, S. McIlraith and T. H. Truscott; Deacons, C. E. Revell, James Eddy and F. Harmon; Trustees, T. H. Truscott, S. McIlraith, Edward Manly, C. E. Revell and Charles Blakeslee, were the officers of the church in the fall of 1888.


The organization of this church took place September18,1836. The first service was held in the dining-room of Myron Hinsdill, whose house stood on the ground now occupied by the Morton House, the Rev. S. Woodbury, of Kalamazoo, officiating. Twenty-two persons became charter members and adopted the Presbyterian form of government, constituting the Session by the choice of George Sheldon and Samuel Howland as Elders, and Ebenezer Davis and Myron Hinsdill as Deacons. For several months public worship was maintained at Deacon Hinsdill's by the rearing of sermons and the occasional preaching of a minister, and a Sunday school was organized. A marked step of progress was taken when, in 1837, April 10, the infant church hired the Rev. A. D. McCoy for one year. The Presbytery to which they belonged was spread over magnificent distances, and hence the pastor and Elder Howland were about two weeks attending the only meeting of that body at which this church was ever represented. They made this journey to White Pigeon, 100 miles south, on horseback. The Rev. James Ballard came here to reside about the time that Mr. McCoy's year expired, and by request preached for them until he became their stated supply by vote of the society March 29, 1839. The meeting of this date, held at the Court House on the Public Square just opposite the present church, marks an era in their history, since they then and there reorganized as the First Congregational Church of Grand Rapids. Articles of Faith and Covenant were also adopted, and Samuel F Butler and Ebenezer Davis chosen Deacons, and W. G. Henry, Clerk. The new society was composed of sixty members, ten or twelve of whom were dismissed the following year in August to found the First Reformed church.

Until then they had been quite nomadic of necessity. In April, 1837, the church, worshiped in a building belonging to W. G. Henry adjoining the house of Myron Hinsdill. From there they moved to a room over the store of A. H. Smith, on Waterloo Street, where their Sunday school was more formally organized and improved under the superintendency of Mr. Smith's brother. Here they remained until April, 1839, and next we find them in the Court House aforenamed, of which, however, they had no monopoly on Sunday, as other denominations just springing up at this time also occupied it by turns. Sometimes they used the Prospect Hill schoolhouse, which stood on the site now occupied by the Ledyard block, and occasionally found their way back to their starting point in the old dining-room of Mr. Hinsdill, till a room in a house of Amos Roberts, on the site of the present Peninsular Club House, gave them shelter. But in 1841 the Roman Catholic house of worship, built in 1837-38 for St. Andrew's parish by Louis Campau, but never deeded was by him offered for sale. Stephen Hinsdill appears to have been most eager, and to have had the greatest confidence in the ability of the society to get possession of it for his church, and soon after visited Eastern churches and was so successful in his solicitation of aid as to secure the deed of the coveted property December 21, 1841, on making the first payment out of funds he had collected. The price paid was $3,700, and individuals gave their notes for the unpaid balance, annually reported as a debt for fourteen years after. An effort was made to liquidate this debt by once more appealing to churches in the New England States. This time it was done by the Rev. James Ballard, who spent nine months in 1842 in the effort, and raised a considerable sum, but by no means equal to their obligations. During Mr. Ballard's absence a Baptist minister occupied his place. Possession of the house was taken and on the 2d of January, 1842, the church was dedicated, the Rev. J. P. Cleveland D. D., preaching the sermon. On the 10th of January a board of nine Trustees was elected. The building was still incomplete, seats were placed in it during the year, and at once became a source of revenue, the terms being "quarterly payments in grain, shingles, lumber or cash."

Mr. Luther Beebe, on January 3, 1842, circulated a subscription for a church bell, and the largest amount pledged was $25, the smallest $1, and the first funereal tolling done by this bell was for the death of Mr. Beebe. But the bell, too, had but a few years of life, being cracked one frosty morning, and was returned to Troy, N.Y., to be recast. On resuming its place it did good service for this community until the present church was built, when it was exchanged with the Meneely firm for a larger one, the difference in price being given by the Hon. T. D. Gilbert. This church edifice, with the parsonage adjoining, in the rear on Fulton Street, stood on the ground of the present Porter Block, corner of Monroe and South Division Streets. It was used, with various additions and changes, for twenty-seven years. It perished in the flames, on the morning of November 26, 1872, only a photograph of it and the key remaining.

The Rev. James Ballard served the church until December 29, 1847, having never, during his nine years here, received a stated salary, owing largely to the fact that the church was far from self-sustaining, receiving annually about $200 from the Home Missionary Society.

Mr. Ballard left his lasting impress on the new settlement and the church, for he was a man of great zeal and energy, and with great devotion fostered the cause of religion and education. The Rev. Thomas Jones succeeded him, serving as pastor for two and a half years with a previously unequaled success, the fruit of which was the accession of 140 members during his brief stay. During his time the rotatory system of electing Deacons was adopted. His successor, the Rev. H. L. Hammond, was installed June 15, 1851, and served until April 4, 1856, when he resigned on account of a bronchial trouble that disqualified him for the pulpit. Several noteworthy events fell within his pastorate here. I first, letters of dismissal were granted to several to form a Second Congregational Church, which, with the Rev. James Ballard as its pastor, worshiped in the edifice belonging to the Swedenborgian Society, and was disbanded about 1856; secondly, letters of dismissal were granted in October, 1855, to Sarell Wood and eleven others to found the First Presbyterian Church on the west side, thirdly, in 1855 the house of worship was enlarged to accommodate the growing congregation; thirdly, an organ was purchased for $1,000, which, with the additions made to it on its removal to the new church, was in use until 1886 when it gave place to the finer one which they now have: and, fifthly, through the exertions of this efficient worker the debt of fourteen years standing was paid in full.

The next pastor, not easily forgotten by those who knew him, was the Rev. S. S. N. Greeley, of Great Barrington, Mass., who commenced his labors here May 10, 1857. In December, 1862, he joined the army as a Chaplain, retaining his relations to the church until July, 1863 the Rev. Wm. L. Page supplying the pulpit during the half year's absence of the pastor. During this pastorate 190 were admitted to the church.

The late Rev. J. Morgan Smith followed, beginning his labors, as stated supply, in September, 1863, which were terminated by his death, at Dansville, N. Y. October 1,1883. Beautiful memorial tablets, suitably inscribed and recording the appreciation of the church of their former pastors, the Revs. James Ballard and J. Morgan Smith, adorn the paneled walls on either side of the pulpit. During Mr. Smith's pastorate of twenty years there was prosperity and growth in all departments of church work. The two missions, which have become independent churches, viz: the Second Congregational Church on Plainfield Avenue, originally located on Canal Street just south of East Leonard, and the South Congregational Church, on the northeast corner of Center and McDowell Streets, were begun and fostered to their present prosperous condition. The society also outgrew its old building as early as 1867, when it was sold, together with the residence upon the same grounds, for the sum of $12,000, which was to be used for a new building, upon which they decided to expend $75,000. The balance was raised by subscription. The present fine structure, having a seating capacity of 1,100 erected, and the last payment upon it was made in 1879, leaving the organization without any debt. Great credit is due to the ladies who for the furnishing of the sanctuary raised nearly $8,000, besides making the carpets and cushions. The baptismal font was given by Mrs. Gregory and her class, and the pulpit Bible was the dying gift of Mrs. Elizabeth T. Gilbert.

This building was dedicated November 28, 1869, the Rev. William De Loss Love preaching the sermon. The whole number of persons admitted to membership up to the close of 1884 was 1,405, and the present actual resident membership is about 575.

For one year after the loss of their greatly lamented pastor, J. Morgan Smith, the church was without a minister of its own, but Prof. James T. Hyde, of the Chicago Congregational Theological Seminary, supplied the pulpit until the present incumbent, the Rev. Alexander R. Merriam, of Easthampton, Mass., was installed on September 30, 1884. At the opening of his pastorate here there was set on foot and carried into execution a movement to rear a monument to the memory of their late pastor, and the ''Smith Memorial Church," northwest corner of Wealthy Avenue  and Finney Street, is the beautiful and worthy result. It was built by the generous mother of three of our city churches, and named in honor of the late Rev. J. Morgan Smith, and a society of fifty members was organized to occupy it. Late in the summer of J887 an extensive renovation of the church took place at an outlay of $7,500. In May, 1889, the commodious residence on North Lafayette Street, occupied by the pastor for two years previous, was purchased for $7,500 as a parsonage. The annual income of about $7,000, derived largely from the rental of the pews, is about double the average additional contributions for benevolence. The number of families connected with the congregation is 470. The Sunday School, under the superintendency of Prof. F. M. Kendall, has 470 scholars.

The following are the officers of the church: Deacons -- S. Judd, Wm. Haldane, E. Hoyt, Jr., James Gallup, H. J. Hollister (also Treasurer), the Rev. I. P. Powell, N. L. Avery, S. Luther. Trustees -- L. W. Wolcott, Chairman; James Gallup, Secretary; N. L. Avery, C. W. Coit, D. D. Cody, J.H. Martin, C. E. Perkins, H. D. Brown, F. B. Wallin, E. Boise. Church Clerk -- McGeorge Bundy.


The mother church, the First Congregational, has, from its founding, affectionately and generously nurtured this, its first child, the story of whose birth and development runs thus: In the spring of 1869 the First Church established a Sunday School Mission in the northern part of the city, and in the fall erected a small frame meeting-house for this purpose, on Canal Street, just north of East Leonard Street, for at that time it was hoped that the mission services would draw a congregation from the west as well as from the east side of the river. The Sunday school work prospered, and though the attendance at the preaching services was small, it was resolved, in July, 1870, to organize a church, with the Rev. John Holloway as pastor, and the following members: Magilvray Norton (the first Deacon) Mrs. M. Norton, Miss Anna Norton, Mrs. Fidelia Quimby, Mrs. J. Holloway and Mrs. Barbara Comstock. Deacon Norton, Chas. Bacon, John D. Boyd, S. French and Scott E. Curdy successively superintended the young Sunday school with great devotion and efficiency. It was the misfortune of the society to be often without the stated services of a pastor, hut the parental care of the First Church supplied not only most of the financial support, but timely assistance during such vacancies. The Rev. J. Morgan Smith was ever interested in their welfare, and often conducted their worship at such times; others also of the gifted members' notably Messrs. James Gallup, James B. Willson and Harvey J. Hollister held lay services, that were very acceptable, and the Rev. C. B. Smith, D. D., a well known retired Baptist minister, resident here, is gratefully mentioned as such a helper. Nor must the statement be omitted that self-help was cultivated when so situated, for Deacon Norton, Chas. Bacon, and John McKay, who joined them in 1872, often conducted a public "reading service."

The second pastor was the Rev. Robert Hovenden, who remained about a year, and the third was the Rev. John R. Savage, for the same length of time. Both were blessed with a measure of success. The Rev. E. C. Olney agreed to accept a call extended to him early in 1874, on condition that the church building be moved to its present location. To this a favorable response was given and the transfer effected that summer. The labors of the new pastor and the wise change of location, made it necessary a year later to enlarge and improve the building, and the present bell was also procured. After two years and a few months, Mr. Olney resigned, but was recalled in 1877, and continued two years longer, as pastor of this and the South Congregational Churches. The interval was filled by the supply labors of the Rev. George Candce for six months and of the Rev. J. G. Freeborn for one year. The Rev. Henry Utterwick succeeded Mr. Olney, and began his pastorate in March, l880, continuing until May 1, 1887. The church bears testimony that under his supervision the Society became well organized; the work was systematized and the church gradually improved. He also performed some missionary work, a mission being formed about June 1, 1886, in the town of Plainfield, four miles north, under the name of "Oak View Congregational Mission." Soon after, services were there conducted by Mr. H. A. Shearer, and next by the Rev. M. S. Angell, who had the pleasure of organizing it into a Church, March 8, 1888, and remains its pastor. The Rev. E. F. Goff labored successfully as pastor from May, 1887, till September 18 of that year, at the same time caring for the "Smith Memorial Church." He was succeeded by the Rev. H. A. McIntyre, who likewise served the two churches, and continued pastor of the Second until June 30, 1888, when the present incumbent, the Rev. J. T. Husted, entered upon his labors, July 1, as stated supply, as all before him had been. The church is now reported as in a prosperous condition and striving hopefully to become self-supporting. Mr. William K. Munson is the superintendent of their flourishing Sunday School of 325 scholars; the membership of the Church is 165; the annual income about $1,000; the sittings are free, 300 in number, and the property, free from debt, consisting of a frame church building and the grounds, is vah1ed at $3,000. The Woman's Missionary Society and a Young People's Missionary Society, entitled "The Opportunity Club," a "Social Society" and a Y. P. S. C. E., all flourishing, are connected with the church. The officers for 1850 besides the pastor, are: Deacons -- N. B. Kromer, S. S. Bacon, C. Adams and J. W. Hull; Clerk -- Seymour W. Wartrous; Trustees -- S. S. Bacon, N. B. Kromer, G. S. Clark, J. W. Berry, W. K. Munson, A. W. Buchanan, C. Adams, H. Leffingwell and J. Weda.


In the winter of 1874, the Ladies' Home Missionary Society of the Bark Congregational Church of this city, were looking for a new field of mission labor. Their attention was called to the southern part of this city; there was then neither church nor Sabbath school -- save the African M. E:. Zion Church -- south of the center of the city. This vicinity was then but sparsely settled. There were many families whose children were by their distance from the central churches deprived of Sabbath school instruction. To meet this want, the African Church, on Fifth Avenue near Jefferson Street, was fixed upon as the place for holding the school. This was rented, and on the first Sunday in March, 1874, the South Mission Sabbath School was organized. Mrs. L. A. Boise was elected Superintendent. Eighty-six children forn1ed the school at its first session. Of teachers Mrs. Edward Hanchett, Mrs. E. P. Pierce, Mrs. M. T. Hess, and Mr. and Mrs. Marcus W. Bates, were with the school from its beginning. Those from the Park Congregational Church present during the first years of the Mission, were: Madams J. Morgan Smith, Immen, McKay, Winchester, Sanford, Mosely, and Boise; Misses Reed, Hanchett, Morrison, Henshaw, Nichols and Field; and Messrs. C. H. Gleason and A. B. Carrier. The school increased until too large for the church. It was then proposed to erect a more capacious building. Suitable ground was offered by Francis B. Gilbert, where the chapel stood for some years a little east of the present church, for $600, half the price at which it was valued. Finally Mr. Gilbert gave, not half, but the whole of the site, and solicitation for funds with which to build a plain frame chapel of 30 by 50 feet was begun. Through the efforts of Mrs. Montague and Mrs. Boise, on behalf of the Park Church, and of Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Hanchett and Mrs. Pierce, on behalf of the South Mission, $1,900 was subscribed. Building was begun in the fall of 1875, and the work was completed in the spring of 1876. Here the Sabbath school flourished and grew to an average attendance of 150. About that time the M.E. Sabbath school was established at the Fair Grounds, and many children of Methodist families withdrew to join that, reducing the average attendance here to I25.

In 1876 the Rev. Mr. Brown commenced preaching in this chapel. After six months he left the field, and until the end of 1877 this people were without stated service. For the most part, the Sabbath school and prayer-meeting, which were always kept up, were the only services held.

In December, 1877, the Rev. E. C. Ohley commenced a pastorate with this Church, in connection with the North Church of this city. For one year he preached each Sunday evening, and attended the prayer meeting each week; doing pastoral work among the families here. So much encouraged were he and the congregation, that a church was organized December 12, 1878, with a membership of forty-three twenty-five of whom came from Park Congregational Church. This took place in the parlors of Park Congregational Church, where the Council was assembled, which recognized this new church. Mr. Olney remained another year, the morning and evening services alternating between this and the Second Church, the pastor residing with this church for six months of the year. In December, 1879, he resigned, and on January 1, 1880, the Rev. Benjamin F. Sargent assumed charge. The congregation grew rapidly, hence an addition of 30 by 18 feet to the chapel was secured for its accommodation; hut in 1886 the present site was purchased, in August the old church was moved to this location and wholly reconstructed, much after the Queen Anne style at a cost of $6,000, and was dedicated December 12, 1886. The building is 60 by 87 feet in size, containing, besides the elegant auditorium with its 300 opera chairs, other convenient rooms that open into the audience room, enlarging the seating capacity, if need be to 600. It is furnished in excellent taste, and the property is now worth $8,000. The annual receipts are $2,000, and the numerical strength as follows: Number of people in any way connected with the congregation, 1,200; members, 210; Sunday school scholars, 198. The seats are practically free. The officers are: Deacons, O. E. Belden, John T. Miller, Albert Smith, Albert Robinson; Deaconesses, Mrs. Helen M. Pollard, Mrs. Mary Smith; Advisory Committee, the foregoing, and Wm. H. Kinsey and M. W. Bates; Trustees, J. K. Failing, Myron Hester. E. E. Hanchet, John T. Miller, Frank P. Smith, W. N. Fuller, H. A. Turner, O. E. Belden, E. J. Carrel; Clerk and Treasurer, Fred. Macey; Collector and Secretary, W. H. Wood; Superintendents of Sunday School, Wm. H. Kinsey and W. N. Fuller. The Rev. B. F. Sargent resigned July 1, 1889, after a successful pastorate of nine and one-half years. The Rev. Franklin Noble, D. D., assumed pastoral charge October 1, 1889.


In February, 1886, the Park Congregational Church rented Stevens' Hall, 15 and 17 Grandville Avenue, and organized a Sabbath School there, under the superintendence of Forrest M. Priestley, assisted by Miss Anna Locher and Millard Palmer. Sunday evening services were also held here by the Rev. Charles El. Shear, who was employed by the ecclesiastical mother of this enterprise, and for a short time cared faithfully for this mission. His labors were followed by those of Mr. Mead, then a theological student at Olivet College. After a few months of acceptable work, he resumed his studies, and the vacancy was filled by James Gallup, to whose zeal, energy and efficiency the church is greatly indebted. After the lapse of several months, the Rev. E. F. Goff was secured, in September, 1886, as pastor, whose services of one year largely promoted the development and prosperity of the mission. The Rev. H. A. McIntyre succeeded him, October 10, 1887, and is the present Stated Supply. For some time previous it was the cherished purpose of the mother church to build a church home for this rapidly growing congregation, and to name it as above, in loving memory of their late pastor the Rev. J. Morgan Smith, who died October 1, 1883. In this they were materially assisted by the relatives. friends and admirers of the late pastor, and on the 27th of September, 1887, the corner-stone of the church was laid, the dedication following on the 27th of May, 1888. This beautiful brick structure, with an auditorium that seats 500, and which, with the lot, also occupied by a $1,500 parsonage, is worth about $10,000, is a fitting monument, and an ornament to the city. The only debt remaining is one of $1,300 on the parsonage.

The formal organization of this mission as a Church took place in September, 1887, with thirty nine members, to which seventeen have since been added, who elected the following officers: Deacons-Daniel Vanderboegh, L. J. Niel and E. W. Miller; Trustees -- H. D. Brown, H. L. Locher, H. T. Kniffin, H. Miller, M. Frost, John Van Dommelen (who is also the Clerk), J. Reelman, and F. B. Wallin. The Sunday School, now superintended by Van A. Wallin, enrolls 180 scholars. A Christian Endeavor Society, J. Van Dommelen, President, and a Ladies' Helping Hand Society. Miss Anna Locher, President, are valuable aids in the work of this young church. The congregation or parish now consists of fifty-six members and 150 more adherents, and the annual income of their treasury is about $1,000. A good share of this revenue is derived from the rent of the pews, which are free, however, to all who are unable to pay for seats.


This society was organized in July, 1874 with nineteen members. The officers then chosen were: I.J. Whitfield, T. D. Haight and William Bellamy, Elders; and L. C. Stow, R. J. Stow, S. G. Milner and Milan Hibbard, Deacons. For several moths the infant congregation met for worship at the homes of members, but early in 1875 the Swedenborgian Church, corner of Lyon and North Division Streets, was rented, and the Rev. S E. Pearre, D. D. secured as their first pastor. With the exception of one year, during which they occupied the old brick house of worship vacated by the Westminister Presbyterian Church, which stood on the northeast corner of the present post office site, the congregation had the use of the Swedenborgian house until September, 1887, when they entered their own. Dr. Pearre had the pleasure of witnessing some growth of his charge during his pastorate of a little over a year. His successor, the Rev. J. S. Hughes, served hut six months, when a vacancy of nearly a year ensued. Early in 1878 the Rev. T. D. Butler, of Detroit, began his year of successful labor, at the close of which the church was again dependent upon visiting pastors or the lay services of its members, chiefly those of Dr. Whitford. However, in May, 1880, they rejoiced in the advent of a pastor, the Rev. J. H. Hammond, whose four years among them accomplished much for the development of the church. The membership numbered160 when he resigned in 1884.

In December following the Rev. W. F. Richardson came as their pastor, and remained until February 1, 1890. Under his zealous ministry the church has been brought to its now flourishing condition. In the summer of 1887 their efforts to have a worthy home of their own were crowned with success, and the dedication of their elegant sanctuary took place September 18, 1887. Built in fine modern style, it has an auditorium with 400 seats, and a lecture room, connected by doors, with 200 seats, making the seating capacity 600. Its cost including the site, was $11,500, and after furnishing, its value is at least $12,000, upon which there is a debt of $4,000; but as the annual income is about $3,000, and the resident membership now 230, this burden is light. The number of parishioners is about 600; the non-resident membership 51. M. H. Sorrick superintends a growing Sunday School of 300 scholars. Besides this the church conducts a mission school of 100 members, in Zion Evangelical Church on West Bridge Street, of which Charles W. Stillwell now has charge, and another on East Leonard Street, with forty scholars, under the care of Mrs. Addie Lewis. An industrial School for Girls, Ladies' Aid, Ladies' Missionary, Young People's Literary, and Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, contribute to the prosperity of the church. Present Elders -- I. J. Whitfield, T. D. Haight and William Bellamy; Deacons -- L. C. Stow, R. J. Stow, N. H. Coleman, S. G. Milner, G. H. Wilmot, D. I. Thomson, J. Hiestand and A. Per Lee. A peculiar feature of this church is its Deaconesses, who are: Mrs. William Bellamy, Mrs. T. D. Haight, and Mrs. L. C. Stow. They care for the sick and the poor, and visit and comfort them in time of need. Trustees -- I. J . Whitfield, L. C. Stow, and G. H. Wilmot; Clerk -- C. H. Winchester; Financial Secretary -- W. H. Muir; Treasurer -- C. M. Camburn. The present pastor, February 1890, is the Rev. W. J. Russell.


The Rt. Rev. Samuel A. McCoskry, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan who was consecrated July 7, 1836, sent David J. Burger to Grand Rapids as a lay reader in August of that year. Mr. Burger prosecuted his work in the village and vicinity for several weeks, and on Thursday, October 6, 1836, pursuant to a call previously circulated, St. Mark's Church of the village and County of Kent, was duly organized. The call referred to bore the signatures of seventeen villagers, as follows: John Almy, S. M. Johnson, George Coggeshall, John P. Calder, Henry P. Bridge, D. A. Lyman, John Thompson, John Beach, James Thompson, John W. Peirce, Samuel L. Fuller, Adams N. Lothrop, William Annis, James Annis, Michael Deemes, C,. C. Nelson and C. I. Walker. Mr. Burger presided as chairman of the meeting, and John Almy was chosen Secretary. George Coggeshall and Jefferson Morrison were elected Wardens; and John Almy, John Thompson, Charles Shepard, Wm. A. Richmond, Simeon M. Johnson, D. A. Lyman, Edward Emerson and Henry P. Bridge were elected Vestrymen. Mr. Coggeshall was elected Treasurer: Mr. Burger was chosen to represent the newly-formed parish in the convention then to be held in Detroit. Mr. Burger was ordained a Deacon while in Detroit, but did not return here, and the parish languished. Yet the records state that the Bishop visited the parish and conferred the rite of confirmation upon a class of two persons on Sunday, June 17, 1838. This was the first service here of the kind.

In July, 1838, a paper was circulated looking to the reorganization of St. Mark's, and fourteen signatures were appended thereby; but no official action was taken in the premises.

Early in November, 1839, the following advertisement appeared in the Grand Rapids Times.

Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the friends of the Protestant Episcopal church, in this town, will be held at the office of Geo. Martin, on Monday, the 18th inst., at two o'clock P.M., for the purpose of the organization of a church, and for the election of Wardens and Vestrymen.

The election resulted in the selection of Geo. Coggeshall and Charles I. Walker for Wardens, and John Almy, H. K. Osborne, Charles Shepard, F. J. Higginson, J. M. Smith, Janles M. Nelson and Henry B. Bridge for Vestrymen. The Rev. M. Hoyt was called by the vestry to assume charge of the parish, as its first rector, at a salary of $600 per annum, which for those times was really extravagant. and he entered at once upon the duties of the position. During the winter of 1839 and 1840, regular services were held in a frame building on the northeast corner of Canal and Bronson Streets, in a room given free of rent.

In the spring of 1840 measures were adopted toward the construction of a suitable church edifice. To this end Charles H. Carroll and Lucius Lyon had given a piece of ground on the northwest corner of Division and Bronson Streets, and the society enlarged the site by the purchase of the lot adjoining on the west, paying therefor $100. The building erected was a frame, twenty-seven by forty-one feet in size, with posts fourteen feet high, at a cost of $800; and it furnished seating capacity for 170 persons. Subscriptions from the congregation for building purposes were sometimes paid in money, but more frequently in material, labor and store orders. The house was consecrated by the Bishop on Sunday, April 25, 1841. The chancel was at the north end of the building; while from a little loft over the entrance at the south end, a vocal quartette, with violin, bass viol and flute accompaniment, furnished music for the services. There were forty pews, of which about three-fourths were rented, producing an annual income, when collected, of $450. The communicants numbered eight. Among the names connected with the parish, in addition to those already mentioned may be found those of John T. Holmes, Henry R. Williams, T. B. Church, A. Hosford Smith, P. R. L. Peirce, James H. Morse, Charles P. Calkins, E. B. Bostwick, Robert S. Parks, S. O. Kingsbury, Wm. A. Blackney, Amos Roberts, Aaron Dikeman, Damon Hatch, Henry Martin. Ezra T. Nelson, Lovell Moore and others.

Mr. Hoyt had resigned the rectorship April 1, much to the regret of his parishioners, for he was beloved and popular among them. He is still living, and now rector at Hurley, Dakota. The financial condition of the church may be inferred from the fact that committees were appointed to solicit subscriptions to pay arrearages of the salaries of pastor and sexton and other obligations. In September Dr. Alonzo Platt was chosen to fill a vacancy as vestryman, and April 17, 1843, he was chosen warden together with William A. Tryon. For a year and a half all efforts to secure a rector were fruitless. The salary now offered was $300. The Rev. M. Schuyler, of Marshall, visited the parish and prepared a class of nine for confirmation at this time, upon whom the Bishop soon after laid hands, which then made the membership thirty in number. A brighter day was dawning, and the Rev. Francis H. Cuming, of St. Andrew's, Ann Arbor, was called May 24, 1843, a salary of $400 promised him, to be paid quarterly in advance, and the expense of transporting his goods from Jackson or Detroit to this place. A house had been rented, with five acres of land, for one dollar a week; and the Doctor was advised to bring with him everything he might need.

On the first of October, 1843, he entered upon this field of labor. Within the first year of the new rectorate it became necessary to increase the seating capacity of the church building. This was accomplished by adding an extension of twenty feet in length, or, more properly speaking, by cutting the building in two and inserting a section, which gave a total of sixty pews, with an aggregate rental value of $791 per annum.

The rapid development of the lower town induced the parish officers to secure a site for church purposes farther south , and two lots on "Prospect Hill" were purchased, which were soon after exchanged for the present site. Early in 1847 the Ladies' Sewing Society loaned to the vestry for this purpose $200 which was to be refunded as soon as there was a surplus in the treasury. Mr. E. B. Bostwick gave a lot on the same terms. The present church building was first occupied in October, 1848. In shape it was a parallelogram, having the same width as now, but in length extending from the front only about twenty feet beyond the transept corners. The corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies in the southwest corner. The forr.1al consecration of the edifice took place September 9, 1849. Erastus Hall was the first sexton in this building. For his services in that capacity, and as collector of pew rents, he was paid an annual stipend of $100, and was expected to furnish, at his own expense, fuel and lights during his incumbency. The towers were erected in 1851, and four years thereafter the building was enlarged by the addition of the choir and transepts, bringing it substantially to its present cruciform plan. The entrances at the front were near the towers. The old structure on Bronson Street was sold, and subsequently removed to the northeast corner of North Division and Park Streets, where, much changed, it is now used as a shop.

In the fall of 1849 the first pipe organ brought here was placed in this church. The organ now in the loft was placed there in the autumn of 1867, at a cost of $4,000. It replaced the earlier one which for seventeen years had occupied the position and was sold to the Reformed Church of Zeeland, which still uses it in services. In the little building on Bronson Street Mrs. T. B. Church was a member of the choir, and since the first occupancy of the present edifice, with few brief intermissions, she has presided at the organ. About the year of the occupancy of the new building Peter R. L. Peirce organized a choir with the following members, in addition to the organist: Soprano, Mrs. P. R. L. Peirce; altos, Misses Thirza Moore and Emma Rathbun tenor, Fred. McConnell. bass, P. R. I. Peirce and A. Hosford Smith. The first bell was purchased in 1850, and weighed 1,020 pounds. The one now in use was substituted for it in 1865. Its weight is 1,327 pounds, and it cost $500 above the value of the metal in the old bell.

Early in 1850 a charter was obtained from the State Legislature, authorizing the establishment of an institution for academic, collegiate, and theological learning, to be located in Grand Rapids, and known as St. Mark's College. The incorporators were the Bishop of the Diocese, who was ex-officio President of the Board of Trustees, and seventeen others, the Rector of the Parish and James M. Nelson, George Kendall and Alonzo Platt representing Kent county, the remaining thirteen being chosen from ten other counties to the eastward and southward. This was immediately put into active operation, so far as pertained to the female branch, under the supervision of two young ladies as teachers, in a house on Lyon Street, east of Division. There were fifty pupils in attendance. In September of the same year the trustees elected the Rev. Charles C. Taylor, who had been Dr. Cuming's assistant for a couple of years, President of the College, and completed arrangements for opening the male department, with D. D. Van Antwerp as principal, and forty pupils enrolled. The vestry and Sunday School rooms adjoining the church were used for this branch of the preparatory school. For a year or more the college seemed to flourish. The catalogue for 1851-52 shows an enrollment of 224 students, of whom 98 were males and 126 females. The faculty were as follows: Charles C. Taylor A. M., President, Professor of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, Francis H. Cuming, A. M. Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy; David D. Van Antwerp, A. B., Professor of Latin, Greek and Hebrew; Daniel B. Lyon, A. B., Professor of Geology, Evidences of Christianity and Political Economy; Aaron R. Van Antwerp, Principal of the Primary Department; Mis. Jeanette A. Hollister, Principal of the Female Department and Teacher of French; Miss Thirza Moore, Assistant. The curriculum embraced a full course of instruction in literature, science and the arts, ancient and modern languages and theology. Other departments, embracing law and medicine, were projected. This institution did excellent work for two and a half years. In the second year the prospect of development and permanence was so fair that suitable college buildings were deemed necessary, and a site was obtained near the corner of Lyon Street and College Avenue, but the patronage fell off, and as there was no endowment to sustain the enterprise, and the income fell short of the required sum, its career was terminated.

In May, 1861, Dr. Cuming was granted leave of absence to accept the chaplaincy of the Third Michigan Infantry, and went with his regiment to the front. He tendered his resignation in October following, and the acceptance closed a pastorate of eighteen years, during which time he had labored assiduously, day and night, summer and winter, in season and out of season, for St. Mark's. His work had been crowned with success, and he had seen the parish, starting from a single score of communicants, increase to a men1bership of nearly three hundred. His death, which occurred in the following year, is recorded on the mural tablet seen in the south transept placed there in loving remembrance by a society known as the Corban Guild. The Doctor was too advanced in years to bear the continued exposure incident to camp life, and would not accept such indulgences as from his position he might have enjoyed, but lived as his men did. This brought on an illness from which he never recovered.

FRANCIS H. CUMING was born at New Haven, Conn., October 28, 1799. When a youth he was adopted into the family of the Rev. J. C. Rudd, D. D.. at Elizabethtown, N. J., and educated for the ministry. He was ordained as Deacon at 19 years of age, and in 1820 advanced to the priesthood at Rochester, N. Y. Afterward he was pastor successively at Binghamton, N. Y., Reading, Pa., and LeRoy, N. Y.; and in 1833, and for several years, in New York City, where he was the first Rector of Calvary Church. In 1839 he removed to Ann Arbor, Mich., and in 1843 came to Grand Rapids. Here he at once won recognition as a devoted and energetic church leader, and also as a sagacious business man: and here he maintained a prominent and influential position, in both religious and secular society while he lived. In 1855 he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by an eastern college. He was an earnest and impressive preacher, an energetic business man, a steadfast friend, and in his family and among neighbors affectionate, warm-hearted and generous; positive and unbending but courteous in manner, yet familiar, frank and social upon acquaintance and intimacy. When the Rebellion broke out he went with the Third Michigan Infantry as Chaplain but shortly was compelled by failing health to retire and come home, where he rapidly sank to his death, which occurred August 26, 1862. Mr. Cuming married Jan. 31, 1822, at Auburn, New York. Caroline A. Hulbert. She died at Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 26, 1827, leaving one son, Thomas B. Cuming, who died at Omaha in March, 1858, being at the time Secretary and acting Governor of Nebraska Territory. He again married, April 6, 1831, Charlotte Hart, who survived him, and died in this city in 1883, leaving five daughters, of whom two, Mary H. and Emily J., occupy the homestead on Bostwick Street, now known as "Crescent Heights," just northeast of Crescent Park.

During the vacancy occasioned by the absence of Dr. Cuming,, the pulpit was ably filled by the Rev. David Clarkson until the spring of 1862, when his failing health compelled him to withdraw from active duty.

Dr. Josiah P. Tustin accepted a call to St. Mark's in July, 1863, and remained until 1870, when he resigned in order to enjoy the benefit of foreign travel. During his pastorate St. Paul's Memorial Chapel on Turner Street was established as a mission, for which St. Mark's church erected the present church building in 1869. It was consecrated by the Bishop in 1870, and in 1871 its congregation became an independent parish. This Rector greatly endeared himself to his flock and others by his zeal, culture and Christian character.

For four months the pulpit was supplied by the Rev. Gerrit E. Peters, and in October following, the Rev. Samuel Earp entered upon a rectorate of six and a half years. The Rector felt that immediate, persistent endeavor should he made to secure for the church an abiding place in the outlying portions of the city. Grace Mission was started in 1871, and organized as Grace church in 1875. The chapel of the Good Shepherd was built in 1873, which in 1886 became a distinct and separate parish, organized under the name of Trinity.

The year 1872 was given to enlarging, repairing, and beautifying St. Mark's church edifice, and the erection of the chapel at the southeast comer. These involved an expenditure of about $36,000, one-third of which sum was provided by voluntary contributions, the other two-thirds remaining as an indebtedness, secured by mortgage upon the realty. While the repairs were in progress, services were conducted in the Holland church building on Bostwick Street now VanDriele's warehouse, which had been vacated by the Second Reformed Church in November, 1871. St. Mark's Church occupied it in May, 1872, and until their return to their own renovated sanctuary. St. Mark's was formally reopened on the 16th of February, 1873.

At a special meeting of St. Mark's Vestry, May, 13, 1873, it was unanimously "Resolved, are in favor of a division of the Diocese." The subject was brought to the notice of the Diocesan Convention of that year, by P.R.L. Pierce, a delegate from this parish supported by Dr. L. C. Chapin, of Kalamazoo; discussed, and laid over to the next convention. The Fortiest Annual Convention of the Diocese of Michigan was held in St. Mark's Church and the division was then agreed upon, under a resolution offered by Mr. Peirce, seconded by S. L. Fuller. The constitution and canons relative to such cases being complied with, the Bishop signified his assent, and the new Diocese, called "Western Michigan," was created. Pursuant to a call by the Bishop, a special convention was held in this church, December 2, 187l, to perfect its organization and elect a Bishop. The choice fell upon the Rev. George DeNormandie Gillespie, D. D., rector of St. Andrew's Church, Ann Arbor, who was consecrated in this building, on St. Matthias' Day, February 21, 1875.

The pastorate of the Rev. Samuel Earp was one of remarkable aggressiveness. He was a man of unusual physical and mental vigor and of untiring zeal. But the parish was overtaken by the financial panic of 1873 with a debt of $20,000 on its hands, incurred for church improvements and enterprises. On Easter Day, 1877, Mr. Earp bade his parish farewell, and was immediately succeeded by the Rev. George D. E. Mortimer. The circumstances just mentioned had produced a depressive effect. The indebtedness was somewhat reduced, but the varied and urgent claims upon the church for pecuniary help prevented its removal. The liberality of the parishioners was great, but the load was not a light one; and notwithstanding the fact that in four years, 1877 to 1880, the sum of $48,000 passed through the church treasury, the secured indebtedness, at the end of that period, remained at $22,000 including a mortgage of $4,000 on the rectory at 41 Sheldon Street. Mr. Mortimer retired in November, 1880, having rendered earnest, faithful service to this people for the space of three and a half years. The vestry extended a call to the Rev. Spruille Burford, of Jamestown, N. Y., who accepted and entered upon his duties on the second Sunday of Advent, 1880. He at once declared war against the church debt. The effect was seen at Easter when $16,500 found their way into the offertory. The valuable rectory already mentioned was turned by sale into assets to meet their liabilities. The liquidation of this indebtedness brought great relief and inspired new hope. On All Saints' Day, 1883, the "surpliced choir" made its appearance, being the first of its kind in the Diocese. The present rectory, northeast corner of Lyon and Bostwick Streets, was purchased in the spring of 1884 of D. P. Clay. On the third Sunday in the Epiphany tide of 1886 Mr. Burford ended his rectorship to accept a call to St. Timothy's Church, New York city. He was assisted from November, 1881, till January, 1883, by the Rev. James B. Mead, a young clergyman, and from January, 1883 until October, 1884, the rector's classmate, the Rev. Peter MacFarlane, rendered him valuable assistance, and organized and trained the surpliced choir. During his five years there were added to the church 214 members by confirmation, the voluntary subscriptions for church purposes aggregated nearly $57,000 and the charitable and benevolent associations and societies connected with the parish were augmented and strengthened, while others were set in motion. For sixteen months prior to the resignation of Mr. Burford, the Rev. Frederick A. DeRosset was assistant minister, but after Dr. Fair was installed he accepted a call South, and the new Rector of St. Mark's, who came from the Church of the Ascension, Baltimore, Md., was alone in his care for this flock.

The Rev. Campbell Fair, D. D., assumed charge of the church on the 6th of November, 1886, and Mr. DeRosset remained until January, 1887.

A mission had for several years been founded and nurtured under the auspices of St. Mark's in the village of Newaygo. Several new fields have since been entered. Services are held in Sparta and Rockford, and missions have been established and maintained in Walker township and the town of Paris. Mission work was in 1888 begun in New England Hall on Plainfield Avenue . The suburban mission in Oakdale Park was new ground also occupied in 1888. The Rev. W. Ball Wright was the Rector's assistant from March, 1889, until the end of the year, since which Dr. Fair performs the labors of the parish, with only the aid of lay readers of his own church.

The last census of the parish reports 667 communicants, of whom 235 are male and 432 female: 400 families, and 1,400 adult and 550 young parishioners; a total of 1,950, of whom 1,870 are baptized. The Sunday school enrolls 483 pupils. The receipts for the year for parochial and diocesan purposes were over $18,000 and the stipend for 1889 was met by free will offerings sent to the Rector personally, amounting to $3,600. The property owned by the church is -- the church and grounds, valued at $65,000; the rectory, worth $12,000, upon which there is an indebtedness of $3,000, and the Church Home and Hospital, $50,000. Of the 1,300 sittings, 800 yield an annual revenue of about $6,500, while 500 are reserved as free seats.

The church is officered as follows: Wardens, Wm. R. Shelby and Edwin F. Uhl; Vestrymen, W. F. Bulkley, C. W. Calkins, J. W. Champlin, E. Crofton Fox, P. C. Fuller, F. Letellier, T. J. O'Brien, and C. G. A. Voigt. C. A. Torrey superintends the Sunday school, and his wife is President of the sewing school that meets weekly on Saturday, at 9 A.M. At the head of the North Grand Rapids Sunday school, in "New England Hall," is J. Huntley Russell.

The educational idea of 1850 has so far revived that in 1888 the Rector's wish was carried out, and a scheme set in operation which gave existence to St. Mark's Academy for Girls and Boys. In 1887 a beginning was made with a small class of children, and in the fall of 1888 a school was fully organized, which was attended by 47 pupils, whose tuition fees defrayed the expenses. The school is under the religious care of the Rector, and the present departments and teachers are: English Course, and Latin, Miss M. B. V. Martin (Principal); Kindergarten, Miss Bella Webster; General Assistant, Miss Nellie Campbell; Vocal Music, Mrs. Cora Bliss Wenham.


The Rev. Samuel Earp, then Rector of St. Mark's, in October, 1873, instituted a mission work in the old Public School building, northeast corner of Wealthy Avenue and Prospect Street, which was the origin of Grace Church. It received some aid from, St. Mark's, more from its Rector, and the balance required from interested persons. Thus fostered, the enterprise succeeded, and February 15, 1875, was organized as a Church, with thirteen charter members, and the following vestryman chosen: T. I. Tanner, C. B. Mosher, A. J. Mitchell, William Luther, J. M. Crane, G. W. Hardy and C. Tanner. The present grounds, having a frontage of l l5 feet on South Lafayette Street, were then bought. The founder of the mission was its leader and minister until March, 1874. Since then the following Rectors have labored here: The Revs. Seth S. Chapin, from March, 1874, to September, 1875; W. H. Knowlton, September, 1875, to March, 1879; Charles W. Ward, June, 1879, to September, 1880; F. C. Coolbaugh, December,1880, to September, 1886; G. W. West, February 1887, to September, 1887: T. J. Knapp, D. D., January, 1888 -- now in charge.

The present brick house of worship, that will seat 340, and which its site is estimated at $10,000 built in 1877-78, the corner stone being laid in September, 1877, and in 1884 a pleasant rectory was aided, situated south of the church, at a cost of $2,500, making the total value of the property now about $15,000. The strength of the church is as shown in its statistics here given: Number connected with the paris 415, of whom 225 are communicants, and 155 Sunday school scholars. The annual income is $2,000, the seats are free, and there is a small debt on the rectory. List of officers: Wardens, Jacob Kleinhans and William Raigttel; Treasurer F. C. Stratton; Superintendent of Sunday School, H. C. Johnson. The societies that are performing effective work in their various departments bear of the Ladies' Society, The Young People's Guild, and The Pansy Guild.


The name of the Rev. Josiah P. Tustin, D.D., is connected with this church as its founder when he was Rector of St. Mark's Church. A mission was established there in 1869, and the building of a chapel then begun, which was consecrated February 3, 1870, and received its name from the fact that it contains ten memorial windows, one of which commemorates the devoted life and faithful labors of the Rev. Francis Cuming, D. D.., and another the character of the Rev. Dr. Clarkson, a venerable and beloved retired army chaplain, who resided here during the closing years of his life, and in 1861-62 supplied St. Mark's Church. Its seating capacity is 250, and the present value of the property is about $3,000. On the 17th of May 1871, the church was organized, the following eleven gentlemen signing the articles of association: Nathaniel Fisk, M. Thistle, W. R. Scribner, Geo. M. Stuart, E. Anderson, John B. Folger, A. T. Leggett, N. B. Scribner, Wm. R. Walker, E. Marvin, and R. H. Fowle. The Rev. Sidney Beckwith was their first Rector, and the succession in the pastorate is as follows: The Revs. S. Beckwith, 1871-79; Eugene Babcock, 1879-80; A. Wetherbee, 1880-82; P. MacFarlane, Assistant at St. Mark's, 1883; Norman Jefferson, 1883-84; J. Rice Taylor, 1885-88. After Easter, 1888, until March, 1890, the services were conducted by C. A. Eaton, a lay reader, who also superintended the Sunday school, under the direction of the Rev. T. J. Knapp, D. D., Rector in charge since October, 1888. The seats are all free, and the church is without debt. The membership numbers 98, the congregation 185, and the Sunday school enrollment 94. The receipts for 1889 were $855.44.


This is one of the children of St. Mark's Church. The house of worship was erected in 1873. The corner-stone was laid by the Bishop of the Diocese, May 3, and on September 10 it was consecrated by him as The Chapel of the Good Shepherd, where a Sunday School was maintained and occasional services were given by the Rt. Rev. George D. Gillespie, Bishop of the Diocese, and the various rectors of the city, chiefly by those of St. Mark's Church. The original seating capacity was about 175, but the mission Sunday School grew in importance and numbers, consequently the edifice was so much enlarged in 1883 as to accommodate 275 persons. The title of the property, now valued at $6,000, and held without any debt, is vested in "The Association of the Diocese of Western Michigan." In 1885 the present parochial organization was created, and the Rev. Sidney H. Woodford became its Rector, assisted in the management of the temporal and spiritual affairs of the church by Wardens Andrew W. Johnston and Remey Jares, and Vestrymen Thomas Friant, Zenas G. Winsor and D. O. Sproat. The strength of the church may be gathered from the statistics which follow: Families fifty-six, parishioners 250, communicants fifty-eight, and a Sunday School; enrolling sixty-two scholars, of which Andrew Johnston is the Superintendent. The annual income for all purposes amounts to $1,500, no part of which is derived from pew rentals, as the free seat system is in operation. The entire parish is further organized into a single society called Trinity Church Guild, the details of whose work are managed by committees. The Rev. S. H. Woodford resigned in July, 1889, and was succeeded November 17 by the Rev. H. H. Johnston.


Soon after the platting of this Park, St. Mark's Church, through its pastor, was the pioneer in establishing a mission there. There being no accommodations for a Sunday school, the regular church service was held in the residence of John Nelson, the Post Office of South Grand Rapids. This met with such encouragement that a suitable house of worship became necessary. Accordingly Messrs. Wilson Brothers gave a lot 50 by 125 feet on the corner of Seymour Street and Cottage Grove avenue for a chapel; the residents of that sect on built the stone foundations in March, 1889, and on its completion, furnished the house, leaving the mother church to furnish the materials and defray the expense of building. It was dedicated in May, 1889, and, as a mission, still belongs to St. Mark's parish, whose Rector or assistant has conducted its regular services. The Church edifice is built in cruciform shape, modern style, adorned with a tower 65 feet in height, and has 240 sittings. The congregation numbers 70 worshipers.


This organization dates from October 2, 1871, when a meeting was held for this purpose at the residence of Benjamin Geis, at No. 1, Bronson Street (now Crescent Avenue). The seventeen gentlemen who founded the church were the officers first chosen, to-wit: President, Julius Houseman; Vice-President, Benjamin Geis; Treasurer, Jacob Barth; Secretary, Jacob I. Levi; Trustees, Moses May, Nathan Rodman and Henry S. Pressburg; and besides these, Jacob Wolf, A Leavitt, B. Heart, J. Kuppenheimer, D. M. Amberg, Henry Weil, Isaac C. Levi, A. Rodman, S. A. Hart, and H. Kuppenheimer. Their first place of worship was Peirce's Concert Hall on Canal Street, which was formally dedicated July 19, 1872, by the Rev. E. Epstein of Milwaukee, and which they occupied until Sept. 1, 1875, then removing to Godfrey's Block, second floor, on Ionia Street, one door south of Monroe Street. In this capacious and neatly furnished hall they grew prosperously and remained until August 28, 1882, when they entered their beautiful synagogue, whose dedication, according to the ritual, and with other interesting services, made September 15, 1882, a most memorable day in their history. This edifice has a seating capacity of 300, and a debt of only $2,500. Of the 300 Hebrews in this city, about 250 are attached to this congregation, thirty-six of whom are enrolled as members, and forty as Sunday school scholars. In the Sunday school, of which G. A. Berwin is Superintendent, Hebrew is taught, thus educating the entire congregation for its worship, as conducted in Hebrew,  German and English. The members are obliged to pay a fixed amount annually, which entitles them to a family seat. Their yearly income ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. The following Rabbis have been their pastors: Revs. W. Weinstein, from October 13, 1872, to October 1, 1874; E. Gerechter, from Nov. 1, 1874, to August 1, 1880; N. I. Benson, from August 1, 1880, to August 1, 1881; M. Moses, from August 1, 1881, to August 1, 1882; B. Cohn, from November 1, 1882, to August 1, 1885; N. Rosenau, from March 1, 1886, and still in charge. The present officers are: D. M. Amberg, President; A.S. Davis, Vice-President; Isaac C. Levi, Treasurer; A.M. Amberg, Secretary; Joseph Houseman, B. Allen, Abraham May and J. Wolf, Trustees. Mrs. Joseph Houseman is the President of the only society connected with the church, viz: The Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Association. Between Orthodox and Reformed Judaism, this congregation have made choice of the latter, which aims to modernize the creed, ritual and customs of their worship, and claims to be the progressive wing of the Jewish Church of our day.

Some fifteen gentlemen and their families, residing mostly on the West Side, however, remain attached to the Orthodox party, and hence have no ecclesiastical fellowship with Temple Emanuel, but secure the services of Orthodox Rabbis to conduct the solemnities of their annual holy days, which fall in the months of September and October.


The founding of this church dates from 1856. On the 11th of May their first pastor entered upon his office here, and the church was incorporated June 15, 1856, as St. Immanuel's Church,' by fifty-two members. The first Trustees were Christian G. Blickle, Christoph Kusterer, Henry Bremer, John Schneider, Christian Kusterer and Frederick Oesterle. This church, belonging to the Synod of Missouri, adheres to the unaltered Augsburg Confession and all the symbolical books of original Lutheranism observes monthly communion, the Church Year, and the 31st of October as Reformation or Luther's Day. The terms of admission are very strict, requiring previous instruction in the parochial school, and under the personal care of the pastor, in Bible History, the Confession and Catechisms of the church. In accordance with these views of the necessity of thorough preparation for church membership, are their practices. The pastor instructs the entire congregation every Sunday afternoon, except the first of the month, in the catechism, which takes the place of the Sunday School. The parochial schools of the church provide for a course in German and English, and all the ordinary studies of those languages, and thorough daily drill in Bible History, the Catechism, Scripture recitations and hymns of the church. This system, so popular among the Lutherans, and believed by them to be indispensable to the welfare of the church, aims to furnish a Christian education, such as our public school system renders impossible.

The officers of the church include four Church Wardens, at present Adolph Messerschmidt, Daniel Buehler, Gottlieb Blickle and Albert Schroeder, and five Trustees, now John Sehler, William Herpolsheimer, Henry Fiebig, Charles Stein and Frederick Krekel. These, with the School Board of three members, now Julius Faenger, Julius Friedrich and Robert Bauer, and the pastor, constitute the Church Council, having advisory and executive power, the congregation meeting the first Sunday afternoon of every month for the transaction of business.

The building of a small church edifice was begun in September, 1857, and finished early in I 858. Henry Bremer and Christoph Kusterer were the building committee, the plan was designed by Peter R. L. Peirce anc1 Friedrich Killinger, a member of the church was the builder. A transept was added in 1872, making its seating capacity 450, and in the basement a school room for ninety pupils.

The numerical growth of the school and the prosperity of the congregation have led to the acquisition of valuable property and equipments for their work. The congregation owned until April, 1889, three lots on Fast Bridge Street, corner of North Division, 150 by 180 feet, upon which, besides the church, were a commodious frame building for the residence of the pastor and the principal of the school; also a frame school house on East Bridge Street, having two rooms for 160 pupils, and apartments for the teacher. In May, 1889, plans first formed in December preceding, and now matured, began to be carried out. The house and lot directly south was bought for a parsonage for $5,400; the old church was moved to a temporary site, loaned gratuitously by W. G. Herpolsheimer, on North Ionia Street, in rear of Kusterer's brewery; the old residence of pastor and teacher was moved to the westward of the school house on Bridge Street, and work was commenced in Jun on a new brick house of worship on the old site, to cost about $20,000, and $5,000 is to be expended for bell and organ. The sum of $30,000 was raised to provide for this outlay. This property has a value of about $45,000.

A few years since they purchased three lots, at the comer of Second and Pettibone Streets, to establish a mission on the west side, and erected upon this site a two-story brick veneered school house, 40 by 80 feet, whose first floor will accommodate 100 children, and the second is the residence of the teacher. The value of this property is $5,000, one-half of which is paid. During the winter the pastor holds regular services here on the second Sunday evening of every month.

The following six pastors have ministered to this people: The Revs. F.W. Richmann,1856 to 1858; W. Achenbach, 1859 to 1863; J. L. Daib, 1863 to 1870; A. Crull, 1871 to 1873; H Koch, 1873 to 1884; C. J. T. Frincke, the present able incumbent, since 1884.

The church has been weakened, numerically, twice in its history. First, in 1858, when a number of members, holding views inconsistent with the standards of the Church. seceded and organized the German Methodist Church on the west side, now on Scribner Street. However, several of these returned after a season. Again, in 1880, when the German Church of St. John, on Mt. Vernon Street, was organized out of elements dissatisfied with the discipline of this church. Yet the church is strong, as appears from these figures: Number of male voters, 105; of communicants, 650; and of adherents, 1,200. Since its origin, 1,686 children have been baptized and 572 persons confirmed, and it has sent out members who have founded churches of this order in Grand Haven, Caledonia and Lisbon.


A party dissatisfied with the discipline of the church of Immanuel, German Lutheran, with which they had long been identified, came out of that Church and were organized under the above name, June 20, 1880, by the Rev. F. Mueller, who became their pastor and served until October 1, 1884. This congregation is connected with the German Evangelical Synod of North America. Prominent among the leaders of this new movement were the present officers Frederick Schuster, Emil Rebentisch, Edward Rebentisch, Wilhelm Groggel, Wm. Fritz, Samuel Heruth, Henry Bohne, and also Paul Waltz, John Zinzer, Peter Weber, Wm. Echternach and Frederocl Faulhaber. A house of worship was completed and dedicated in June, 1881. It is a substantial brick edifice surmounted by a spire, seats 400, and cost $10,000, on which there is an indebtedness of $7,000. The seats were made free, and the revenues of the church are about $1,200 per annum. In 1888 a parsonage, costing $2,000, was built on the lot adjoining the house of worship on the north, No. 10 Mt. Vernon Street. After the first pastor, the Rev. Carl Grauer served them until July, 1885, and was followed by the Rev. Louis Bach, from October of that year until October, 1886. The Rev. Adolph Schmidt was appointed Nov. 28, 1886, and in addition to his ministerial work, taught the church school of twenty pupils which is held in the basement of the church, five days of the week. The total number connected with the parish is about 400, of whom sixty-five are communicants, and seventy-five are scholars of the Sunday school, of which Frederick Schuster is Superintendent, while the families more closely attached to the church are about fifty or sixty. The Rev. A. Schmidt resigned in October, 1889, and was succeeded Nov. 6 by the Rev. David Greiner, who has charge of the same classes of work as had his predecessor.


In the autumn of 1871, Carl Nordberg, a sea captain, came from New York or Boston to reside here. He forthwith zealously interested himself in the religious welfare of his Swedish countrymen here. He boarded in a Swedish family by the name of Hempel, and in their dwelling gathered his countrymen for religious services. The fruits of his efforts appeared in the following winter or early spring, when the ladies of the circle thus drawn together organized a sewing society, which still exists, to raise funds for missionary work among the Swedes of this city. Soon after, different ministers of the Evangelical Luther Augustinian Synod of America, residing at Chicago and elsewhere, were induced to visit them for this purpose two or three times a year. During one of these missionary visits by the Rev. P. Erikson, of Chicago, and under his direction, on the 25th of April, 1873, sixteen members organized and were incorporated under above name. J. Newberg was elected Chairman of the society, and C. Hakenson, Secretary, each for one year. The next day they purchased the site of the old church on Sinclair Street for $500, the first payment of $50 being made by the sewing society, and a committee was appointed to solicit for a building fund. A constitution was adopted and signed by five gentlemen, to wit: John Newberg, Chas. Hakenson, Emil Kilstrom, A. J. Anderson, and C. J. Lindberg. In January, 1874, they secured the services of the Rev. N. A. Yongberg, pastor of the churches at Whitehall and Lisbon, for one day every other week, at a salary of $150 per annum, and it was resolved that the meetings, before held in private residences, should be held in the German Lutheran Church at the corner of East Bridge and Division Streets, they paying a rent of $2 for every meeting held therein. This movement proved so satisfactory that the society resolved on September 7th of same year to erect a Church edifice, 36 feet by 60, 20 feet high. Its cost was $3,500. In 1880 the Rev. A. Hult, pastor of the church at Sparta, was secured at a salary of $300, giving to this church half his time. In the fall of 1884 their pastor moved to this city to devote his chief attention to this church. Accordingly the congregation raised his salary to $400, and the Conference for one year granted missionary aid in the sum of $250. Mr. Hult resigned in the autumn of 1885, and was succeeded by the Rev. J. A. Norlin, who commenced labor here in July, 1886, and is still in charge. In 1888 the church had an income of about $900, of which $125 was devoted to benevolence. The 250 sittings of the old church were free. The communicants are ninety in number, and the total number of parishioners one hundred and forty. The Sunday school has forty scholars, of which J. A. Wennerstrom is Superintendent. The officers are: the pastor, Chairman; Emil Kilstrom, Treasurer; John Newberg, Secretary.

In June, 1889, the initiatory step toward a change of location was taken, by the purchase of a new site at the corner of Court and Valley Streets upon which the building of a church was begun in July. The corner-stone was laid according to their ritual, and with appropriate addresses, August 25. This is a brick veneered building, 40 by 70 feet, with a basement, adorned with a spire ninety-five feet in height, which contains a bell. It will seat 600, and cost about $6,000, making the property worth about $8,000. Having worshiped in the old home until the new was completed, the congregation entered the latter December 22, 1889.


This congregation is composed of Danes and Swedes, who for a considerable time held religious meetings in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church of Scribner Street. An organization was founded June 12, 1880, which belongs to the Lutheran body known as The Swedish Evangelical Mission Confederation of America. In the year 1883 their church edifice was erected which is a small, plain, frame structure, but well adapted to their needs. It has seats for 300 worshipers, and cost $2,000. With the grounds attached it is worth $3,000. This sanctuary was dedicated November 2, 1883. The membership is 110, and the number of scholars in the Sunday School of which C. J. Lundgren is superintendent is forty. Its first pastor, the Rev. F. A. Staberg, closed his labors among them May 1, 1889, after which the church was supplied by their own local preacher, J. W. Swansen until October 1, when the Rev. Claus Nyren was engaged as supply until another pastor shall assume charge. J. Rose is President, and John Tournell, Clerk, of the Board of Trustees. The annual contributions of the church for all purposes are about $1,500.


The first class of this Church was organized in the winter of 1886, and in October, I 888, was incorporated, after the election of a Board of Trustees. They remain without property and without a resident pastor having been supplied by some minister of the rural charges with which they have been connected. At first they were so combined with the church at Sparta, in this county, and the Rev. E. W. Chapman held service here in a private residence on the corner of Fremont and Seventh Streets. The following year the Rev. H. D. F. Gaffin, also of Sparta, supplied the congregation, then worshiping in a hall at 331 West Bridge Street. In the fall of 1887 they were connected with the Sand Creek charge, and receiving the ministrations of the Rev. E. Thirkettle, a local deacon. Soon afterward they removed to No. 55 West Bridge Street, and held their meetings in Mack's photograph gallery, and later to their present place of worship, No. 39 West Bridge Street. The Rev. E. Thirkettle continues to supply them, preaching every Sunday morning, and attending the rest of the day to his other appointments. Their former pastor, the Rev. H. D. F. Gaffin, now Presiding Elder, residing at Coopersville, retains a deep interest in this work and aids it by his counsel and frequent visits. He also conducts their quarterly meetings. With all their drawbacks they have made the gratifying progress shown by a membership of about thirty, a congregation of about eighty, and an average attendance at their Sunday School of twenty-five. In addition to Sunday services under the leadership of their pastor, Sunday evening and week-day prayer meetings are held at the residences of members. The church is officered as follows: Mrs. James Frederick, Sunday School Superintendent; T. F. Easton, Ira Thompson, David Carlisle, Talbot Owen, John Sharrets, James Frederick and S. B. Shaw, Trustees.


A Band of Hope, organized in April, 1873, for Sunday School work, under the auspices of the denomination of above name, was the origin and germ of this church. The Rev. Harry R. Stevens, then pastor of the "Walker Circuit of the Michigan Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America," accompanied by Horace Austin, a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, made this beginning. In November following a small building, designed for a Sunday School room, was erected on their present site, but upon its completion the original movers were encouraged to organize a church, which took place November 29, 1873, and it was called the "First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Grand Rapids City." The articles of Association were signed by H. R. Stevens, Otis Smith, Lewis C. Hudson, Van N. Miller, Horace Austin, Daniel Hahnes. On the 15th of the succeeding month the five last named were chosen to constitute a Board of Trustees, when the more formal organization was effected, with the Rev. H. R. Stevens as pastor, who remained until the autumn of 1875. His successors have been: The Revs. J. B. Selleck, from the fall of 1875 until the spring of 1876 "home supply" until the fall of the latter year; Obed Tapley, from 1876 to 1878; H. H. Bement, 1878 to 1880; C. L. Preston, 1880 to 1883 ; William Wing, 1881 to 1883; R. H. Ross, 1883 to 1884, O. S. Grinnell, 1884 to 1885 six months, and S. B. Shaw six months. B. C. Robbins, 1885 to 1887, and the Rev. C. L. Preston since 1887.

At the beginning of 1874 revival meetings were held, which resulted in eighty conversions and so large an accession of members that a Church edifice was built, which was dedicated in the autumn of that year, the Rev. Adam Crooks, of Syracuse, N. Y., officiating. The new house of worship was a building of 30 by 40 feet, to which the original Sunday School room of 18 by 26 feet was attached, and has since served as a parlor and for prayer and class meeting purposes, and can he thrown open so as to increase the seats to the number of 230. This property is now estimated at $2,000. Joined to the rear of the church, but facing Crosby street, is a parsonage worth, with the site, $1,000. The church has enjoyed frequent revivals. Its membership is reported at about 150. The Sunday School, of which J. W. Sherwood has for several years been superintendent, has seventy-five scholars. The amount annually raised, under the free seat system, is $500. For three years past this church has been united with one in the town of Walker, 2 1/2 miles out, forming one charge, and the pastor preaches at each twice a week. A considerable proportion of the members of the city church reside in the country.


The history of this church is the history of early Methodism in this city. It was the pioneer mission, and has been the fruitful mother of several now full-grown and strong churches. In August, 1835, the Ohio Conference, which then embraced the Ann Arbor District, resolved to enter this field and formed the "Grand River Mission," extending nearly the entire length of the river. The Rev. Osbond Monett was placed in charge, and the Rev. Henry Colclazer was made its presiding Elder. Mr. Monett's preaching stations were Portland, Ionia, Grand Rapids, Grandville and Grand Haven. He rode his circuit around once In four weeks, and held services in the primitive log cabins of the settlers, then "few and far between." Eastern people settled here in great number, and among them were a few devout and stanch Methodists, whose arrival was the signal for organized work in the growing town. Accordingly in the winter of 1835-36 Mr. Monett founded the first M. E. Church here, constituted by the following six members: Mehetable Stone, Wm. C. Davidson, Diantha Davidson, Knowlton S. Pettibone, Mrs. K. S. Pettibone and Mrs. Eliphalet H. Turner. Their meetings were held in the upper part of Henry Stone's house on the west side of Kent Street, between Bridge and Bronson Streets. This is, therefore, the oldest English speaking Protestant organization here.

In 1836 the Michigan Conference was created, and at its first session, in Detroit, the Rev. Frederick A. Seaborne was appointed missionary to this charge, but one year later was expelled. He was succeeded in 1837 by the Rev. Orrin Mitchell, whose Presiding Elder, S.P. Shaw had charge of the "Flint River District," then created, which embraced Grand River Valley as far west as Grandville. To innumerable hardships and privations of his itinerant life was added the loss of his horse, and during the remainder of the year Mr. Mitchell gained an extensive experience as a pedestrian on his large circuit. His successor was the Rev. James H. Freese, appointed in 1838, and during his term, in May following, the first Quarterly Conference was held at Grandville, attended by the Rev. E. H. Pilcher, P. E.. the missionary, and James Ewing, class leader. Knowlton S. Pettibone, Moses H. Russell and Thomas Buxton were then appointed stewards of the Grand Rapids church.

In 1839 two missionaries were sent, Ransom R. Richards and Allen Staples, and during their stay, the first reported revival occurred in this field and added many to the membership, reported as fifty-five in September, 1838. The first trustees recorded in 1839 were Wm. C. Davidson, Jas. Ewing, K. S. Pettibone, Robert I. Shoemaker and Harry Vean. In 1840 we find among the stewards the new names of Joseph Brown, Wesley Fallass, H. I. Judson, Cabel Page, Lewis M. Pike ("exhorter"), Thomas H. Castle, Ira H. Maxfield, and Alex. Deane.

The preachers sent in September, 1840 were Elliott M. Crippen and Daniel Bush. At this time the use of the Court House on the Public Square was secured for services, which made Grand Rapids headquarters for the mission and added the privilege of regular Sunday services, nineteen preachers in all serving within the bounds of the mission. As there were no churches and only three school houses to be had, ordinary meetings were held in private houses, but barns were resorted to for the accommodation of the crowds eager to enjoy the spiritual feast of the quarterly meetings. Mr. Bush' s labors and trying journeys through trackless forests, or along trails indicated commonly by blazed trees, through streams forded or ferried, or carried over by his swimming horse, were in that year sweetened by the receipt of $20, all told, "wild-cat" money, which he was happy to sell for 25 cents on the dollar.

The Methodists, in 1841, bought the present site of the Division Street church, of Thomas Smith of New York, for $200, paying one-half in cash, and giving a mortgage on the lot for the balance. Next, steps were taken to build a suitable "meeting-house," which for want of funds was not completed that year. However, a detailed statement of the finances of the church was made June 25, 1842, at the quarterly meeting, showing a total of $840 subscribed for the building, of which $463 had then been expended, and $310 uncollected was considered good. Certainly they did nobly for one year, for the additional sum of $186.49 was raised that year and divided between Presiding Elder Jas. F. Davidson and the two missionaries, as follows: to the first, $24; to the second, $43.57; and to the third, on account of his larger family, $118.92. The rule at this time w as to allow for the preacher $100, for his wife the same, and for young children $16 each. In August the returned Presiding Elder brought with him as circuit preacher the Rev. Franklin Gage, a muscular as well as spiritual laborer. He gave careful attention to his pastoral duties, and also devoted much time and manual labor to the completion of the house of worship, whose dedication he was privileged to witness in June, 1843, though without the comfort of church seats as yet secured. The ceremonies were conducted by the Rev. James V. Watson, a man of ability then residing here in superannuated relation on account of ill health. From 1840 to this date we find among the officers the new names of Anthony Yerkes, "exhorter" Thomas Stocking and Dudley Newton, stewards; Joseph Escott, class leader, and a little later, Matthew Van Amburg, steward, with Milo White, Horatio Brooks, Samuel B. Ball, Henry G. Stone and P. Mulford, stewards, chosen Nov. 11, 1843, and a corresponding accession of members. The Conference in 1843 sent Mr. Gage again, and also the Rev. D. Whitlock, with Larmon Chatfield as Presiding Elder.

In January, 1844, the quarterly meeting held at Grandville estimated the sum required for the year's support of their ministers at $476, and made an assessment upon the several classes of this place and vicinity, but the receipts were not reported. Two accessions, worthy of special mention, reinforced the organization in 1843 and 1844. In 1843 Gaius S. Deane, and in May, 1844, Luman R. Atwater, came with their families from the village of Lyons, where they had been pioneer Methodists since June, 1837. The former was, on January 11, 1845, made a steward, and ever after until his noble life was closed, March 23, 1883, served as an official member. Mr. Atwater was, soon after his arrival, elected to the superintendency of the Sunday School, in which he was uninterruptedly continued by vote of the people for a quarter of a century. In June of that year, the 15th, Seth Reed, a young member of some class in the circuit, was licensed to preach.

The year 1844 was full of interesting developments, among them the displacement of the wooden benches -- used from the day of dedication until that summer. Only by a strong presentation of the financial needs of the treasury and the prospect of great relief to a few of the brethren, who had borne an excessive share of the burden, did the Board carry the day in favor of the rental system. The experiment of one year was remarkably successful, $676 having been raised for current expenses and a neat sum also to pay in part for the new pews. In September, the salary of the preacher, then the Rev. Andrew M. Fitch, was fixed at $350, and for the first time in the annals of the organization the minister was paid in full. He was also provided with a parsonage, a house rented for the purpose on the east side of Kent Street, between Bridge and Bronson Streets, and the further allowance of $100 for table expenses! Such rapid and great strides had been taken by the mission as to beget the conviction that it ought now to become a "station" and self-supporting, which was effected Nov. 8, 1844, at a quarterly meeting held in the church, and the following Board of Stewards was chosen: Charles P. Babcock, Wm. C. Davidson, James Ewing, Samuel B. Ball, Henry G. Stone, and Horatio Brooks; also trustees; Ball, Babcock, D. D. Van Allen, G. S. Deane, Davidson, Stone and Harry Dean. The name then adopted was "First M. E. Church of Grand Rapids." The strength of the Sunday school was then forty scholars and eight teachers. The painting of the church was attended to in the summer of 1845. Both the Presiding Elder and minister were returned in the fall of 1845, and the district, before Shiawassee, took the name of Grand Rapids. Among the stewards of the board then chosen, we for the first time meet the names of Joel Ranney, A. C. Westlake and L. R. Atwater, who was made recording steward, and then began that accurate work which led the Quarterly Conference of his Church, December 22, 1882, to elect him to the new office of church historian.

The mortgage on the lot remained unpaid, and on March 26, 1846, both church and ground were sold under the hammer of Sheriff C. P. Babcock. But, if Mr. Atwater was to record history, he was there also to make history, and give a delightful turn to a disagreeable affair, for he purchased the property and deeded it to the trustees.

In 1846 Mr. Chatfield returned as Presiding Elder, and the Rev. Jacob E. Parker was placed in charge of the station, remaining but one year. It may have been fortunate for him and his people that he was single, for the treasury was so low that two brethren offered their services as sexton free of charge, each for one year, in which position they afterward often supplied fuel from their own wood piles, carrying it to the church on Saturday evening

The Rev. James Shaw came in the fall of 1847 as Presiding Elder, and Myron B. Camburn as pastor -- a single and unordained man. A "protracted meeting" was held that winter under the Rev. W. F. Cowles as leader, which resulted in seventy professed conversions, forty of whom united with this church. In August, 1848, the ladies made the purchase of a parsonage lot, on the northwest corner of Fountain and Bostwick Streets, for $100. We pass on to the conference appointment of Geo. Bradley, Presiding Elder, and Reuben Reynolds as their minister in 1848.

In September, 1849, James Summerfield, a single and unordained preacher of Irish birth, took charge, under the former Presiding Elder. His successor, in 1850, was the Rev. Francis A. Blades, David Burns Presiding Elder. The pastor's salary was fixed at $364, and a house, rented at $90. Mr. Blades was very popular, and so successful that in the summer of 1851 an addition of sixteen feet was built on the front of the house, making the seating capacity 225. There was also a gallery or choir loft, from which G. S. Deane, chorister Miss Ellen L. Deane with melodeon, John Simonds bass viol, Mrs. G. S. Deane, Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Atwater, Mrs. S. B. Ball and Mrs. S. R. Sanford, discoursed music, in which they were heartily joined by the voices of the congregation. Their pastor's term expired by the limitation then fixed by the General Conference at two years, and he was succeeded by the Rev. Andrew J. Eldred --- former Presiding Elder continuing -- under whose ministry there was a great awakening, ninety-four professing conversion. After the regular probationary period fifty-seven of them were admitted as members.

The necessity of building a parsonage was considered by the trustees in March, 1853, when it was decided to erect one of brick, two stories high, 25 by 32 feet in size, on the lot purchased by the ladies, and Mr. Atwater was appointed as the Building Committee. The work was commenced July 6, 1853, and when the frame was enclosed both autumn and the funds were at an end. The ministers of the year succeeded themselves in September. The report at the close of the fiscal year, September, 1853 mentions $52 expended for a sexton and $7 for fuel, indicating a growing appreciation of such important services. In 1854 there was a change of Presiding Elder and pastor; the Elder now sent was the Rev. Henry Penfield: pastor, the Rev. Resin Sapp. The latter was an able minister highly acceptable to his parishioners, and continued to render faithful service for two years. As the manse was not completed, the parson and his family were boarded until the last of December, when they enjoyed a mid-winter removal to a residence provided. The regular expenditures of that year were $653.50, and there is an item of $23 for "melodeon-music." At the Quarterly Conference of June 30, 1855, L. R. Atwater's resolution was unanimously adopted, reading thus:

Resolved, That a second M. E. church be organized on the "east side of the river, and that the next Conference appoint a preacher to the charge, if in the opinion of the Presiding Elder a suitable man can be had for the place.

There had been Methodists on the West Side several years, and in 1853 pastor Eldred began holding service there, when three classes were formed and a Sunday school was organized. These had grown so that the mother church lost a considerable number of her members, who were dismissed to form the "West Charge."

Mr. Sapp's second year was prosperous, thirty-six persons joining during his term. The Rev. Jeremy Boynton followed him in October, 1856, receiving the average stipend of $445, and at the end of the year gave place to the Rev. Henry Morgan, now superannuated and residing here. The years 1856, 1857 and 1858 were a period of decline. In 1860 the Church was bereft of its Presiding Elder, John K. Gillett, who died of hemorrhage of the lungs, at the parsonage, June 27. He received his appointment Sept. 4, 1859. At that Conference the Rev. Myron A. Daugherty was appointed pastor. He was a preacher of extraordinary talent, courage and force. When he returned for a second year, the appreciation of his congregation was evinced by raising his salary to $800, and the use of the parsonage. In 1861, Oct. 17, Presiding Elder M. B. Camburn, their pastor in 1847, died here after one year of service in his new relation beloved and honored as a devoted Christian minister. The second year of Mr. Daugherty's pastorate was prosperous, and at its close the officers adopted resolutions expressing the esteem in which all the congregation held him. The parish had now grown to such proportion and importance as to invite the Annual Conference to accept their hospitalities in 1862 which was done. In October, 1861, the Rev. Harrison Morgan was sent to the district as Presiding Elder, and the Rev. D. R. Latham to this charge to this pastor.

The Annual Conference convened here in October, 1862, Bishop Levi Scott presiding, and the Rev. Wm. Rork was appointed to this charge. He was succeeded in 1863 by the Rev. J. W. Robinson. He had just served two years in the Second Street church of the city. His salary was $700 per annum during the next two years. This brings us to the Conference season of 1865, when the Rev. Israel Cogshall was commissioned Presiding Elder, and for four years made himself felt throughout his district as a power for good. The pastor then appointed was the Rev. Joseph Jennings, who came to his task in broken health and much suffering, so that he could endure the strain but one year, and in 1867, May 23, departed this life. There followed him in September. 1866, the Rev. Andrew J. Eldred, an old friend of 1852-53, and they voted him $1,200 for the first year. His work told in the increase of membership, for in March fifty Sunday school scholars were reported as converts, and the total gain of the year was 129, and notwithstanding the unprecedented outlay of $2,300, there was a balance of $250 in the treasury at the expiration of the year.

This numerical growth and financial prosperity suggested the building of the present Church edifice. During that winter of 1866-67 Julius Berkey, O. R. Wilmarth and T. Tradewell visited several towns to obtain a suitable plan, and recommended one of an edifice to cost $60,000. This was endorsed, and, subscriptions having warranted it, early in the summer of 1867 the old church was moved to a lot in the rear and used until the new structure was ready to shelter them. Before winter the foundation and floor timbers were in place. Work upon the walls commenced early in the spring of 1868. Presiding Elder Cogshall laid the corner-stone May 16, 1868. On the last day of 1868 the Sunday School held a farewell meeting in their meeting-house, and on New Year's Day, 1869, the congregation went "out of the old house into the new," the basement being then ready for occupancy, and the formal opening occurred June 23, 1869, Bishop F. R. Ames officiating. In September the Annual Conference assembled in these rooms. In order to realize on their parsonage for aid in building, the brick manse was sold in 1860 for $3,300 and a house in the rear of the church was purchased for $2,500 on ten years time at ten per cent. The first occupant of the new pulpit, who came in the fall of 1869, was the Rev. George B. Jocelyn, D. D., who for the five preceding years had been President of Albion College, to which office he returned after a two years' pastorate here, serving in that important position until his death, January 27, 1877. The Doctor was a man of unusual scholarship and culture, a fine orator, and an earnest winner of souls. The congregation, to complete the auditorium, issued bonds bearing 10 per cent interest, July 1, 1869, to the amount of $10,000, which were readily taken, and this work was resumed, so that in 1870, June 20, the dedication took place, with the Rev. Thomas M. Eddy, D. D., as preacher for the occasion, and a very liberal response was made to the usual Methodist appeal at such at time. On the 22d of August a $3,000 organ was placed in position.

In the fall of 1871 the Rev. Henry F. Spencer became their pastor, who served efficiently for two and a half years, when his health failed. The Rev. Resin Sapp was appointed to the office of Presiding Elder in 1872, but died here May 5, 1873. In September, 1874, the Rev. D. F. Barnes being Presiding Elder the Rev. Thompson F. Hildreth was assigned to the work and spent three years with this Church. He was an attractive speaker, an exceedingly busy man, and an ardent temperance champion. The next Conference, which convened in this church in September, 1877, Bishop S. M. Merrill presiding, appointed the Rev. D. F. Barnes to this charge. Mr. Barnes carefully watched the interests of his flock, and by his rare business tact and ability proved a wise helper during his two years. He was succeeded by the Rev. A. A. Knappen, who served one year, when the Rev. Isaac Crook, D. D., was appointed, and W. J. Aldrich was Presiding Elder. A resolution was adopted by the Quarterly Conference held April 12, 1880, declaring it advisable to organize what is now the Ames M. E. Church, on South Division Street.

In September, 1880, the Church secured the Rev. Isaac Crook, D. D., as pastor, and made an attempt to cast off the bondage of debt. Success crowned their efforts, not only the bonded debt being canceled, but an additional sum of $5,000 was raised for improvements, chief of which was the steam heating apparatus. The Rev. Henry M. Joy, D.D.., entered upon the Presiding Eldership of the district in 1881.

No one residing here in October, 1882, could easily forget the excitement and sensation caused by the revival services of "the boy preacher," the Rev. Thomas Harrison. From 1883 to 1885 the Rev. J E. Gilbert was pastor, and in 1885 the Annual Conference was held here for the third time. The Rev. J. I. Buell was made Presiding Elder and the Rev. John Graham pastor of this church.

The removal of the old meeting-house, now an annex of Gill & Greenley's livery stables, took place in 1869, when the late James Kennedy bought it of the society for $350. Several years ago the old frame parsonage was also sold, and was taken to the north side of Fountain Street, between Bostwick and Ransom.

Of the original six members, Mrs. Diantha Davidson, widow of Wm. C. Davidson, who died in 1888, is the only survivor, and lives in her ripe old age on her farm near Grandville, on the north side of the river. Of the later members, who joined from 1838 to 1843, H. G. Stone -- and his wife, who came in by letter from the First Reformed Church in 1846 -- Mrs. G. S. Deane and L. R. Atwater alone remain. The present membership is 526, and the Sunday School reports 360 "scholars of all ages." The parish is large, comprising some 1,200 persons.

The value of the church property is estimated at $55,000, but no parsonage is now owned by the congregation. The expenditures of the last conference year were $1,850 for current expenses, and $2,935 for pastor, Presiding Elder and Bishop, besides which $966 was contributed for various missionary purposes and $534 for sundry benevolent objects, making a total of $6,285 for the year. About $800 are paid annually for music by the choir, of which Prof. G. C. .Shepard was the leader for 1889. A large share of the annual revenues is derived from pew rentals, that system appearing to have remained popular from the first placing of comfortable seats in the old house of worship, and there is no indebtedness to provide for.

The following are the present officers: Board of Trustees -- L. R. Atwater, President; W. G. Robinson, Secretary, Harvey Joslin, Julius Berkey, James Lowe, A. R. Antisdel, A. M. Apted, J. C. More, and O. R. Wilmarth. Stewards -- J. B. Ware, Chairman; C. C. Wilmot. Secretary; E. G. Study, W. G. Beckwith, L. F. Owen, W.F. Parish, F. E. Tuttle, J. W. Adams, E. H. Stafford, J. C. Rickenbaugh, A. E. Yerex, and Elvin Swarthout, who is also the Sunday School superintendent.


Introductory to the history of the First Presbyterian Church mention is made of the services of the Rev. Dr. Penney and of the place where they were rendered. This house had been built by stock subscriptions and was controlled by trustees chosen by stockholders. On Dr. Penney's removal from Grand Rapids, the majority of the stockholders gave him their shares in part payment for his services to the society, which secured to him the controlling interest. Leaving his affairs in the hands of his son, Joseph Penney, it was offered for sale. A Methodist succeeded in buying out Penney's interest for 550, and having unofficially proposed this, as an agent, trustees were appointed who received that amount in subscriptions and accepted the property in trust for a West Side Methodist Church. For this movement everything was mature, many members of the Division Street M. E. Church residing in this vicinity, and a Methodist Episcopal Sunday School and Sunday afternoon preaching services had for some two years been held in that vacant building; three classes had also been formed there in 1853. All former stockholders consented to the transfer and released their claims. The next important measure is recorded in the account given of the action of the Division Street Church which, in 1855, June 30, recommended this new organization.

Mrs. Eliphalet H. Turner is regarded as its first member, but, though the record was burned in 1860, it appears that the following names should be classed with hers, as they occur in the record of the first quarterly meeting held for the "West Charge," November 10, 1855: A. B. Bidwell and Jonathan Cook, class-leaders; John D. Winterburn, local deacon; Baker Borden, Henry G. Stone, Frederick Rice, William Green, Jonathan Blair, Warren H. Congdon and Edward Roberts, then elected stewards. Moses DeLong and Elijah Foote were then also class-leaders, but not at this meeting. William C. Davidson and Joseph Cook were also members at that time. Henry G. Stone, now a member again of the parent church, was chosen Recording Steward. The Rev. Amos Wakefield was appointed late in the fall of 1855 as their first pastor, having also an appointment in Tallmadge and one in Walker, and B. Borden was then superintendent of the Sunday School. The Sunday School scholars of the three appointments aggregated 126 in September, 1856, and there were reported eighty members, ten probationers, three local preachers, and the church building valued at $600. Later pastors were J. R. Savage, 1856-57; Isaac Bennett, 1857-58; R. Pengelly, 1858-60, J. T. Rober, 1860-61; J. W. Robinson, 1861-63; S. Steele, 1863-64; A. J. Van Wyck, part of 1864-65, L. W. Earl remainder of that year and 1865-66; J. H. Ross, 1866-68; W. J. Aldrich, 1868-71; L. H. Pearce, 1871-73; A. P. Moors, 1873-78; J. W. Robinson, 1878-80; Charles S. Fox, 1880-83; J. W. Miller, 1883-86; J.A. Sprauge, 1886-89; J. W. Reid, 1889 and now in charge.

During Mr. Pengelly's pastorate the charge took the name of "Bridge Street," and on April 3, 1862, the Board of Trustees was organized under the corporate title of "Second M. F. Church," etc., with the following members: Sebra Rathbun, Wm. A. Berkey, Baker Borden, Wm. Harrison, George R. Congclon, Hugh McCulloch, George G. Graves. P. F. Covell and Wm. Dunnett. Under the management of the Rev. W. J. Aldrich, in 1871, the present parsonage, corner of Turner and Third Streets, was secured, now valued at $3,000, though grounds for this and the Church had been bought before, and the building of the house of worship was also begun in 187I. The church had for some years owned a small parsonage on the southeast corner of West Bridge and Mt. Vernon Streets. The old house of worship was bought by the Grand Rapids Stave Company for storage and moved to the west side of Front Street, near Butterworth Avenue but was destroyed by fire some ten or more years since. For want of funds, only the basement could be completed for occupancy: accordingly it was dedicated March 10, 1872, with a debt of $5,000. At this time, owing to the location, the present name was assumed. In 1887 the debt was paid and the auditorium completed and dedicated. It has a seating capacity of 700. The Church has an income of about $2,500 per annum, and property valued at $47,000; hence it is in condition to do mission work. Its first undertaking of the kind was in 1887. when the "Joy Memorial" Mission was established in Lawton & Pomeroy's Hall, on the southwest corner of Fulton and Jefferson Streets. This was so named in memory of the late Presiding Elder Joy of this district. It now enrolls 120 scholars. In 1888 the trustees bought a lot on West Broadway, between Jefferson and Watson Streets, as a site for a $2,500 house of worship, which was dedicated September 1, 1889. The following trustees had this project in charge: James E. Furman, M. J. Ulrich, A. M. Apted, B. W. Barnard and Luke Palmer.

On Fremont Street, corner of Fourth, a mission was founded early in 1889, and later transferred to Third Street, near "Lane Avenue," which name it now bears. It enrolls 102 scholars, and a little later in the year, "Myrtle Street" Mission, corner of Webster and Turner, having now ninety-eight scholars. Chapels for the last two missions were built in 1889, and dedicated September 1. The sum of $3,500 was expended in the erection of the three mission chapels. The widow of the Rev. Henry M. Joy. D. D., started the first building project with her offering of $250, and the other two were undertaken on the offer of William Harrison to pay one-half the cost, provided the lots were paid for. John Widdicomb became responsible for one-half of one chapel, and the balance was raised by ordinary methods. The statistical report of the church is: 423 members, 376 Sunday School Scholars of all ages, and adherents of the church and its missions, about 2,600. Both the free seat and rental systems are in operation, about $1,000 being the revenue from pew rents.

The Board of Trustees is composed of William Harrison, Baker Bortlen, Jonathan Best, Albert Coye, John Widdicomb, James V. Robinson, D. C. Du Pee and G. H. Bean. Stewards -- Wm. Harrison, Baker Borden, Wm. R. Fox, A. A. Smith, A. French, Charles Spencer, M. J. Ulrich, Herbert Whitworth, John Campbell, M. B. Armstrong, James E. Furman, George S. Gibson, and Martin Gilbertson. Societies: Ladies' Aid, President, Miss Mary Watson: Woman's Foreign Mission, President, Mrs. Mary Goodwill: Children's Mission Band, President, May Stone; Young Men's Band, President, Ora F. Bullman; Young People's Methodist Alliance, President, Herbert Whitworth, Sunday School Missionary Society, President, Mrs. J. Campbell. Sunday School Superintendent, George S. Gibson, who, with John Whitworth, is a class-leader, Gardner Phillips serving in that office for the  "Joy Memorial" class.


Members of the Division Street Church residing in this neighborhood, held prayer meetings as early as 1872 at the residence of Peter Yokom, on Cherry Street. In 1874 the Quarterly Conference of the parent church appointed Trustees Jan. 19. This new Board met January 22, 1874, at the residence of Charles Barclay, present: Peter Yokom, President; Chas. B. Foster, Secretary; Chas. Barclay, Treasurer; Paul H. Richens and Jas. B. Gulliford (Chas. W. Hurd and Levi S. Boynton, also Trustees, not attending); also the Rev. D. F. Barnes, Presiding Elder. At the next meeting Feb. 24, a Building Committee was appointed to erect a chapel 22 by 30 feet, 16 feet high, upon lots previously bought of Aruna Bradford. Building was begun without delay, and ere great progress was made the advice of the Presiding Elder to enlarge the plan to 30 by 40 feet was adopted, and Peter S. Foote authorized to take charge of this work. With fond anticipation all looked for its completion early in the summer, but on the 12th of May a violent windstorm leveled the structure, lust ready for plastering, to the ground. Two days after, the Trustees planned a building of 30 by 50 feet, to cost $3,500, after recovering everything possible from the ruins. On June I6, however, the debt already incurred and a decline of interest, suggested a return to the first plan of 20 by 30 feet, which was adopted Sept. 5. and the contract was let to C. B. Foster, Sept. 28. On the 15th of October, their first pastor, the Rev. H. J. Van Fossen, arrived, and work on the chapel was begun. The first service was held in a small building known as the Dunham school house, half a mile south of the present Church. There was in March, 1875, a membership of forty-eight. The Sunday school was at once organized, with the pastor for Superintendent. The new house was dedicated December 13, by the Rev. D. F. Barnes, Presiding Elder, who on that occasion raised $550 to pay for the building of the first and the second house. The next day the church held its first Quarterly Conference, and elected Peter Yokom Class Leader; also Stewards: G. W. Dillenback, Treasurer; R. M. Beamer, Recording Steward; P. P. Donavin, J. H. Fry, E. P. Parsons, Wm. Findlater; and assistants, Sarah E. Foster, Eliza A. Richens and Mrs. J. Fry. In its first year it 1eceived $225 from the Missionary Society, upon whose aid it was dependent for a few years. In September, 1875, the Rev. J. H. Sprague took charge, and served two years with success. In his term the building was lengthened 18 feet. From 1877 to 1879, the Rev. A. D. Newton ministered to them, and cleared the debt on the lots. He also founded the Plainfield Avenue church while here. Next followed the Rev. E. Wigle, who was reappointed in September, 18S0, but on account of failing health resigned in April,1881; whereupon the Rev. S. L. Hamilton, resident here, supplied the church until September. From that time until September, 1884, the Rev. R. C. Crawford's wise and energetic labors were richly blessed, as the record and results show. He immediately proposed the building of a church edifice, started a subscription, and on the 4th of December, 1883, work began; on May 8, 1884, the corner-stone was laid, and September 30 the fine building, capable of seating 300, completed and furnished, was dedicated, all indebtedness being provided for. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. W. H. Carlisle, who remained from September, 1884 until September, 1887, and was followed by the Rev. D. Cronk for one year. The Rev. Geo. D. Lee began his labors in September, 1888, and was succeeded in 1889 by the Rev. Wm. Denman. Each of the aforenamed pastors had another reaching station, the first two conducting services on the West Side near Leonard Street, the others statedly filling a Sunday afternoon appointment at the Hurd school house, four miles southeast of the city, where there is an organized class.

The property of the church, consisting of edifice and grounds, is valued at $7,000. The annual income, with free seats, is about $1,250. The total number belonging to the parish is 400, of whom 175 are communicants and 250 Sunday school scholars. The societies of the church are: Ladies' Aid, MFS. M. Hopkins, President; Epworth League, Zoe E. Pelton, President; Woman's Foreign Missionary, Miss Geo. D. Lee, President; Young Ladies, Zoe E. Pelton, President; Hampton Band, H. Sophia Sprague, President. W. T. Neeley, Superintendent of the Sunday school. The following are the official members: Stewards -- Dr. A. J. Pressey, A. J. White, S. A. Holt, C. E. Stone, Mrs. I. Terrell, Miss M. Fisher, C. B. Foster, C. W. Hood and W. T. Neeley. Trustees -- S. T. Kinsey, F. J. Hopkins, L. S. Boynton, P. H. Richens, R. Pickett, A. Gaudern and H. K. Whitmer.


This church dates its birth from October, 1878, in which month the Rev. A. D. Newton, pastor of the East Street M. E. Church, began to preach in New England Hall, 337 Plainfield Avenue , and after a short time this missionary labor resulted in the formation of a class of nine members, auxiliary to the preacher's charge, of which L. Benjamin and H. Bement were the first leaders. L. Benjamin was also the first Steward. During the ensuing winter revival meetings so much increased the membership, that in the early autumn of 1879 a separate church organization was effected, which shortly after received, by appointment of the Conference, the Rev. S. G. Warner as its first pastor, who remained one year.

The church still worshiped where the beginning was made, but in the spring of 1880 the present site was bought, the cornerstone was laid in September, and before winter the frame of the structure, afterward to be brick-veneered, was erected. The legal incorporation took place Aug. 9, 1880, in New England Hall, when the members elected the following Trustees: Lewis Benjamin, Henry P. Bement, W. G. Saunders, Jesse T. Rice, George W. Perry, E. U. Knapp and John Trauger. In the building enterprise, the Rev. J. P. Force, who came in the Fall of 1880 rendered valuable service. He was succeeded after one year by the Rev. A. J. Russell, whose health admitted of only one half-year of pastoral work, hence in March, 1882, the Rev. Henry Bargelt was transferred from the Upper Iowa Conference to fill this vacancy, remaining here in all two and a half years, and doing efficient work. The church was completed and dedicated in the autumn of 1882, and the congregation had a steady growth. In 1884 Mr. L. Dodds was appointed to this charge, but, painful to relate, was at the end of one year suspended from all ministerial functions for reasons deemed sufficient. This was a great shock to the society, from which they recovered, however, under the judicious and able pastorate of the Rev. A. M. Puffer, which extended from 1885 to 1888. During his term much of the debt was paid, the church building repaired and tastefully decorated. and sixty-four members were added. The present number is 124. The income the past year was about $1,600. The Sunday school membership was 263 with A. C. Jackman, Superintendent. The seating capacity of the church is 300, yielding no revenue by way of pew rents, and the estimated value of the property $4,000, upon which there is a debt of $1,200. The Rev. D. Cronk assumed charge in the fall of 1888, and was succeeded in 1889 by the Rev. A. J. Wheeler, whose administration of the society is aided by the following Board of Trustees: E. U. Knapp, Wm. Randolph, I. Currier, R. H. Littell, Lewis Benjamin, A L. Skinner, W. G. Saunders. Class Leader, R. H. Littell. Mrs. C. L. Rogers is President of the Woman's Missionary Society, and Mrs. C. C. Comstock of the Ladies' Aid Society. A prosperous Y. P. S. C. E. of twenty-five members is a recognized power for good. The church has the care of about three hundred and forty souls.


The prayer-meeting, often called "the pulse of the church,'' was the germ, the heart, and the formative power of this organization. In the autumn of 1876, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. C. H. Fox and Mrs. Templeton, called a meeting at the residence of Mrs. Fox, 269 Fourth Avenue , to organize a weekly prayer-meeting to accommodate a goodly number of the members of the Division Street M. E. Church, who were deprived of such privileges on account of the distance. The suggestion originated with Mrs. Evans. The meeting was organized with W. H. Herbert as leader. Two or three weekly meeting were then held at Mrs. Johnson's, on Sixth avenue, after which they continued at Mrs. Fox's all winter. Many conversions took place. Of the twenty-four leading supporters of this work, fourteen were "sisters," and to the ladies this church owes a great debt of gratitude for remarkably efficient service throughout its history. Late in the spring of 1877 a larger room was rented. It was part of a building on South Division street known afterwards at "Dr. Watts' drug store." This was the birth place of the "class" soon organized by the Rev. T. F. Hildreth. The next move was made July 22, 1877, by fifty persons gathered in the room over the gateway of the Fair Grounds, twenty-five of whom were children. The "Fair Ground Union Sunday School" was formed. The eight teachers met Friday evenings at 486 South Division Street. Later the school was taken to that place and named "South Division M.E. Sunday School."  The owner received $2 per month for five months for five months for the use and warming of the warms. A Mite Society, with Mrs. J. Templeton as President, was formed to meet these expenses. On the 7th of April, 1878, the Sunday School met in the African M. E. Zion Church, on Fifth Avenue, which they rented for $3 per month. Up to this date the recent average attendance had been seventy and the collection ninety-eight cents. Besides the school, the prayer-meetings were held in the colored church until June, 1880, when the Presiding Elder sent the Rev. Mr. Archer to nurse this promising work into a church organization, which soon after was accomplished. Mr. Archer preached his first sermon in the "upper room" over the Fair Ground gateway, where the Sunday School had been started, and his second under the shade trees in the yard of Mrs. C. H. Fox, 269 Fourth Avenue, where he continued all summer, to a large congregation. Mr. Archer and others circulated a subscription, and soon bought the lot now occupied by the church. The Rev. Mr. Valentine, appointed to the conference, took up the work October 7, 1880, and found thirty-eight members. On the 10th he preached in the African Church, and on the following evening, at the official meeting, it was resolved to build a small house of worship on the site already purchased. Building was begun and on February 6, 1881, these itinerant Methodists found rest in their own unfinished home. After completion, it was dedicated June 27 of that year, the famous "Chaplain Mccabe" preaching the sermon. The lot had cost $700 and the building $1,075.97, the total present value of which is about $6,000. The following were then members of the Board: Trustees -- A. Gillett, G. W. Dillenback, H. M. Fish, S. H. Holt, Isaac Watts. Stewards -- A. Gillett, J. E. Virgil, G. W. Dillenback, N. J. Doxtater, H. M. Fish, S. A. Holt, Isaac Watts. Class-leaders -- J. R. Duncan and A. Gillett. At the close of Mr. Valentine's year the membership was fifty-six. He was succeeded in September, 1881, by the Rev. Lafayette Dodds, during whose three years the church was lengthened sixteen feet, and a belfry and bell added, at a cost of $600 or $700, after which the church was rededicated under its present name in honor of the late Bishop Ames. The records of Kent county also inform us that on Dec. 7, 1883, the "Ames Charge" was legally incorporated with the following trustees: Janles E. Ames, Seely S. Buck, William Barth, Wilbur W. Smith, and John C. Klyn. The Rev. R. C. Crawford followed with three years of faithful labor, and the Rev. J. G. Crozier entered upon his work here in September, 1887. The Sunday school has since increased from 112 to 340 scholars, the congregation now crowds the house, the membership has grown from 124 to 240, a Y. P. S. C. E. has been organized, the church has recently been internally renovated, the pulpit placed at the side and seats semi-circularly arranged and the floor carpeted. The 350 sittings are all free. The Rev. E. H. King became its pastor in September, 1889. The church flourishes, has about 600 parishioners, and is growing more and more influential. It is now officered as follows: Trustees J. A. DeVore, President; J. R. Duncan, James Dunbar, John C. Klyn, Secretary; R. C. Sessions, Treasurer. Stewards -- James Dunbar, J. C. Klyn, J. E. Ames, E. Bird J. A. DeVore, James Virgil, John Stites, W. B. Tyler, the Rev. T. Clark, O. C. Wing, J. H. Bell, Salem Osborne, Charles Fox. Class Leaders -- J. R. Duncan, J. R. Fish, J. W. Warren. Sunday School Superintendent, W. B. Tyler.


The original members of this organization were connected with the German Lutheran Immanuel Church, corner of Division and East Bridge Streets, until October, 1858. At this time they withdrew, as they held doctrinal views at variance with the Lutheran standards of faith and were thereupon constituted a Methodist Episcopal Church by the Rev. Gustav Laas. The constituent members were O. Blickle, M. Blickle, C. Kusterer, F. R. Oesterle, J. Blickle, L. Blickle and R. Oesterle. G. Blickle and J Blickle were respectively the first class leader and first steward, and these two with C. Kusterer, F. Oesterle and Julius Berkey -- who remained a member of the Division Street, but in this way lent them his influence -- were the first trustees. The list of pastors up to the present time is as follows: The Revs. G. Laas from 1858 to 1859; John Jahrhaus, from 1859 to 1860, Gustav Bertram, frotn 1860 to 186I; A. Boerns, from 1861 to 1863; Henry Krill, from 1863 to 1865; Conrad Wehnes, from 1865 to 1866, Henry Maentz, from 1866 to 1869; Gustav Herzer, from 1869 to 1872, Henry Buddenbaum, from 1872 to 1875; Henry Pullman, from 1875 to 1878; John R. Bodmer, from 1878 to 1881; Henry Jend, from 1881 to 1884, John C. Wurster, from 1881 to 1887; and Henry Pullman from 1887, the present pastor. For a few years this society worshiped in a hall in Hovey's Block, corner of West Bridge and Scribner Streets. This was a frame building, and was destroyed in the conflagration that swept away about sixty buildings in 1875. But in 1862 they built a plain frame edifice of 30 by 40 feet on the northwest corner of West Bridge and Scribner Streets, where they gradually increased in numerical, financial and spiritual strength, and remained until Sept. 9, 1888, when they held an early Sabbath morning service there, and in a body proceeded to the new edifice to begin their regular services in the basement. The old property was sold in the spring of 1888 for $8,300, and, a very desirable location being secured, the building of a two-story brick house of worship was at once commenced and also that of a parsonage, which was occupied by the pastor in the summer of 1888. The fine church building has very attractive rooms on the ground floor for class, prayer and other meetings, and an inviting audience room on the second floor, that Will accommodate 400 persons. This property is worth $18,000, viz: the church $l3,000; the parsonage $1,600, and balance for sites. The present membership is 150 and the number in the Sunday school, 125, while the total number of persons connected with this parish is about 325. The annual income will average $1,150, and the seats are free. The Official Board now consists of G. Kahmbach, J. Blickle, V. Schaake, C. Gentz, J. Barth, L. Hintz, C. Blickle, S. Perschbacher, F. Frueh, H. Kohlepp, F. Hartman, G. Betz and M. Betz. George Kalmbach is Sunday School Superintendent. All the services are conducted in the German tongue, and the church is connected with the Central German Conference, which embraces Michigan and some adjoining States.

The commodious home which this prosperous congregation now occupies, was dedicated on Sunday, Feb. 17, 1889, when contributions to the amount of $1,000 were made, leaving the unsecured indebtedness only $500.


The African population of our city is variously estimated, but is not far from 1,000, about 400 of whom are said to be church-goers, who attend the three African Churches. The difference between their two Methodist organizations is not one of creed, but of government; the African M. E. Church electing its Bishops for life, while the African M. E. Zion Church chooses them for only four years. The above-named society was organized with seven members on the 15th of June, 1874, by the Rev. A. Y. Hall, a Presiding Elder in Northern Michigan, at the house of Mrs. S. Walker, 100 Lagrave Street. George Bentley, C. A. Pinkney and Mrs. Susan Johnson were chosen the first officers. The infant organization was placed under the pastoral care of the Rev. G. B. Pope in August, 1874, for one year. Annual changes of pastors have been the rule, to which only three exceptions appear. The list of its ministers is as follows: The Revs. A. Y. Hall, June to August, 1874; G. B. Pope, 1874-75: J. C. Burton, 1875-76; L. D. Crosby, 1876-77; J. W, Harper, 1877-78; J. H. Alexander 1878 79; J. P Coates, 1879-82; Cyrus Hill, 1882-83; J. Bass, 1883 -84; G. W. Chavons, 1884-85; C. H. Thomas, 1885-87, and J. H. Alexander, from 1887, still in charge.

The society rented an old building on the corner of Spring and Goodrich Streets for purposes of worship, which was partially destroyed by fire September 12, 1882 by which they lost all the church furniture. Then they moved into a blacksmith shop owned by Wm. Smith, corner of Ionia and Cherry Streets, but their pastor, the Rev. J. P. Coates, had already, during his efficient ministry, collected most of the materials for a new building, which was erected under the direction of his successor, the Rev. C. Hill. A burdensome debt, however, remained, which was not removed until the Rev. C. H. Thomas took hold of it during his term, when the amount, $1,600, was paid. With this happy event an era of greater prosperity began. The church is now self-sustaining, raises annually about $300, and owns property worth $4,000. The pastor's residence is an annex to the church, built for such use. The membership numbers fifty-one, and the Sunday school attendance sixty-five. The seats, numbering 300, are free. The present officers are: C. A. Pinkney, Richard Jacobs, John J. Johnson, John Coleman and John Williams.


Methodism first appeared in this country in New York City, about the year 1765 where the famous John Street church was the first built. There were several colored members in that church from its organization. Between 1765 and 1796 the colored membership so largely increased that caste prejudice forbade their taking the sacrament until the white members were all served. Dissatisfied with this treatment, and desiring other church privileges denied them, they organized independently, in 1796, the first African Methodist Episcopal Church and in 1800 built a church, calling it "Zion," out of respect for which oldest organization the denomination adopted its name of "Zion."

The church of that name in this city was organized Feb. 1, 1878, being the first colored organization here. The charter members were twenty-three in number, who enjoyed the labors of their first pastor, the Rev. Luke Miles, and elected the following as their first officers: Trustees ---- Jas. Philips, Henry Pinkney, and David Williams, local preacher; I. J. Logan, Secretary, and Susan Smith, Treasurer. In May, 1881, they bought a lot on Withey Street (now Fifth Avenue), and built a small, plain church edifice dedicated by the pastor, the Rev. D. Butler, Oct. 10, 1881. About six years since it was considerably improved, will seat 200, and, with the site, is worth about $1,500. To this and the other African M. E. church the people of Grand Rapids have at various times contributed generously for building and current expenses. The congregation is feeble, numbering but seventy, of whom forty are communicants with forty-six Sunday school scholars, and they raise annually about $800 for various objects. The Revs. Luke Miles, D. Butler, G. W. Solomon, H. M. Cephas, J. Green and Wm. H. Snowden have served as their pastors, the time of their ministry not ascertained, and the Rev. J. V. Given since 1888, with whom are associated as Trustees, Thomas Corbon, James McConnell, Andrew Sims, George Washington, Alexander Washington, Henry Daley and Henry Brown.


The Rev. Dr. Joseph Penney, father of Col. Joseph Penney, was a Presbyterian clergyman living here in retirement as early as 1847. He established a mission Sunday school on the West Side. Meetings were held in a building which he caused to be erected for a lecture room at the west end of the Bridge Street bridge, upon the site of the present Weirich block. This work was, in some sense, the forerunner of the Presbyterian church, though it had died out before such organization

The church above named was founded Oct. 26, 1855, with the Rev. Courtney Smith as pastor. Sarell Wood and eleven others were dismissed by letter from Park Congregational Church for this purpose. The officers then chosen w ere: Elders -- Sarell Wood, John Terhune, George W. Perkins, Elihu N. Faxon and Henry Seymour. Trustees -- John Terhune, George W. Perkins, E. Morris Ball, Boardman Noble, S. Wood, E. N. Faxon and A. H. Botsford. The other members were, Edward P. Camp, Martha Camp, Henry C. Marvin, Sarah Ferguson, Adelaide Waring, Margaret Nevius, Alson Adams, Amelia D. Farnham, Triphena D. Farnham, Mary A. Henman, Sarah M. Smith, Susan W. McIntire, David Beebe, Sarah Beebe, Lydia Beebe, Harriet Hyde, Mary Ann Reid and Kate Terhune. Of these twenty-five constituent members, Mrs. E. P. Camp and Mrs. Adelaide Waring still reside here. Soon after organizing, a small chapel was built, at a cost of $1,000, and without debt, on Front Street about opposite the present Belknap wagon shops. During the first pastorate, which terminated in April, 1861, the growth was so rapid that 176 members were reported in 1858, and even in its second year the present grounds were purchased, and the building now occupied by them commenced. In 1857 the congregation were full of sanguine expectations, looking for an early occupancy of the edifice, whose walls were completed and the roof begun, when the financial crisis suddenly arrested this enterprise, as it did multitudes of others throughout the country. In 1861 their pastor, whose memory is still lovingly cherished by the surviving members of that date, because of his sterling worth and his beneficent influence here as a loyal patriot at the outbreak of the war, left them to organize the Westminster Presbyterian church of this city, and the Rev. Justin Marsh succeeded him on the West Side, remaining one y ear. In 1862 the Rev. Jasper Ball began his term of one year, and was followed by the Rev. Augustus Marsh, son of a former pastor, who labored there until 1866. Next came the Rev. E. B. Miner, from 1866 to 1868. All these faithful servants contended with the serious disadvantage of an unsuitable house of worship, and a debt of $8,000 incurred by the project of 1857, which by the accumulation of interest had grown to $10,000. The suspension of work upon it had left the structure exposed to the elements, and at last the front wall, made of plaster or gypsum stone, succumbed to these destructive forces. But in March, 1868, the Rev. Henry H. Northrop entered upon the pastorate with a determination to change the situation in which the church was greatly encouraged by the first successful effort, which reduced the indebtedness of $8,000 to E. H. Turner to $1,700, Who at last gave them the lots. Then the congregation repaired the building, and finished and occupied the basement at an outlay of about $2,000. The following April this stirring pastor was succeeded by the Rev. Wm. B. Sutherland, but after one year there was a vacancy again, and in October, 1870, Mr. Northrop was induced to return, and labored among them three years more. During his last year he achieved another noteworthy success, in the completion of the house of worship. The auditorium, with a seating capacity of at least 800. and room for 1,000 in all, was at last ready for use, having cost $4,000. In the liquidation of the debt, and later expenditures, it is proper to acknowledge the receipt of aid from the Synod of Michigan. Mr. Northrop bade them farewell in October, 1873. In January, 1874, the Rev. William A. Fleming took his place, and for four years rendered effective service. It was chiefly through his foresight and self-denying labors, and those of a few faithful helpers that Mission Wood Presbyterian Church was started, as elsewhere described. In his fifth year he was physically disqualified for such work as the church needed; hence he resigned in March, 1879, and the Rev. James Barnett became the stated supply, serving two years, beginning in July, 1879. In October, 1881, the Rev. H. P. Welton was secured, and on the 31st of January, 1889, closed the longest pastorate the church ever enjoyed. His abundant labors were performed with marked ability and devotion, and bore noble and rich fruit that abides. He left the charge in the following condition: Communicants, 260; Sunday school scholars, 300; total number of parishioners, 600. Value of property about $18, 000, and without debt. The seats are free, and the annual income is about $2,400.

In the fall of 1887, the church organized the "Endeavor Presbyterian Mission, " which meets in Madden's Hall, 177 Stocking Street, and enrolls about seventy scholars. It is under the care of a vigorous Y. P. S. C. E., which also conducts a weekly prayer meeting at this point. The last pastor in 1885 commenced the publication of a little monthly, called the Record, which was designed to advertise the local work and further the congregational interests. This was suspended for a time, and then reissued as a diminutive weekly, which the pastor regarded as a valuable aid. The following are the church officers (1889), the first named of whom has served continuously for thirty-one years as a Trustee: Elders -- T. F. Richards, S. H. Ocker, James Dale, W. B. Benneti, A. Thompson, C. M. Alden. Deacons -- F. G. Rosa, D. C. Emery. Trustees -- T. F. Richards, H. Widdicomb, S. H. Ocker, J. R. Stuart, John Risedorph, J. G. Lehman, F. G. Rosa. The Rev. L. H. Davis accepted the unanimous call of the church, and assumed the pastorate Feb. I7, 1889.


The Rev. Courtney Smith, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, became the founder and first pastor of this organization, bringing several of his members with him to this enterprise. A meeting contemplating this was held in the office of W. E. Grove, June 7, 1861, and on the 12th articles of association were adopted, and the following Trustees chosen: C. H. Chase, W. E. Grove, L. L. Riggs, C. J. Deitrich and A. H. Botsford. On the 17th of July the ecclesiastical organization was effected by the Presbytery with twenty-five charter members, and A. H. Botsford and C. J. Dietrich were then chosen Elders. The first Board of Deacons was constituted in 1863 by the election of C. G. Brinsmaid and E. O. Stevens. At its constitutional organization by the Presbytery the church belonged to the New School Presbyterians, but afterward changed its relation to the Old School branch, with which it remained until the reunion of the branches in 1867.

Until 1865 they occupied the Swedenborgian house of worship. Then the opposite corner, southwest corner of Lyon and Division Streets, was bought, and a brick edifice built upon it which they occupied until the fall of 1875. In the spring of that year the United States Government took possession of the entire square, paying for the church property $14,000. The present site was then purchased, and the chapel was finished in 1876 and used for several years for all church purposes, but in 1885 the church proper arose upon the foundation that had been in waiting since 1875, and was occupied October 1, 1885. This property is now valued at $60,000. The seating capacity of the church is 700, and of the chapel 300. A very serious defect in the acoustic properties of the church was remedied in 1887, at an expense of $1,000, by covering the walls and ceiling with canvas stretched a couple of inches removed from these, and this frescoed to appear as the original surface of the walls.

The pastors who have served the church are: The Revs. C. Smith, 1861-65; R. S. Goodman, 1865-72; C. M. Temple, stated supply, 1872-75; F. G. Kendall, 1875-79; D. E. Bierce, S. S., 1880-81; L. M. Schofield, 1882-84; Sanford H. Cobb, 1885, and still in charge. The membership is 320; Sunday school enrollment, 279, and total number of parishioners about 900. The revenues of the Church amount yearly to $5,000. a large proportion of which is derived from pew rents. C. L. Frost superintends the Sunday school, and the officers are: Elders -- W. C. Vorheis, G. E. Shepard, W. H. Pierce, C. B. Hooker, S. H. Sherman, E. A. Munson, W. O. Hughart and C. L. Frost. Deacons -- C. G. Brinsmaid, A. T. Page, M. E. Tomlinson, J. M. Hurst. Trustees -- G. N. Wagner, H. Idema, J. H. P. Hughart, S. P. Bennett, J. E. Botsford, I. M. Lemon and F. R. Luce.


In the summer of 1875 the Rev. Wm. A. Fleming, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, began a mission in the woods, or oak grove, where this church is now located. In the fall of that year Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Boyer, Mr. and Mrs. H. Benjamin, and Mr. and Mrs. J. King, met at the residence of M. J. Ulrich to devise measures to secure a suitable place in which to hold their Sunday school during the winter. The committee then appointed recommended the erection of a temporary building. W. O. Hughart, hearing of this action, offered to give the lumber for a church building, provided a lot was secured and held in trust by the First Presbyterian Church. This proposition was accepted, and the trustees selected the present lot, which cost $600. Quite an undenominational or union interest was manifested by the people of that neighborhood in the success of the enterprise, and the ladies' soliciting committee and socials were so liberally encouraged that the purchase price of the lot was soon raised, also a fund of $800 for the building of a chapel, which was dedicated early in the spring of 1876. In March the Sunday school was organized with Mr. Ulrich as Superintendent, the average attendance for the first year being seventy-five. In addition to this work, Sunday afternoon worship was conducted there, Mr. Fleming preaching once in two weeks, and supplies from the city and about rendered gratuitous service on the alternate Sundays. In this manner church privileges were provided for a goodly congregation and growing neighborhood, and without any decided denominational connection; but it became necessary for the trustees holding the property to fulfill the contract for the lot, when the mission was organized Feb. 18, 1813, as it now exists. The Rev. M. Bocher became its pastor on that day, and the first officers were elected to-wit: Elders -- Charles Van Aernam and Orson Hauser. Trustees -- R. B. Wallin, George McInnes, Wm. E. Knox, Henry Mosher, Isaac Quigley and G. A. Brosseau. There were forty-four charter members. Mr. Bocher closed his pastorate May 1, 1885, and the Rev. Wm. H. Hoffman succeeded him June 3 of that year. The audience room is 28 by 60 feet, having a seating capacity of 250, and in the summer of 1888 generous friends enabled the church to add a lecture room of 22 by 16 feet, at a cost of $300.

The people of this section of the City are called to worship by the sweet tones of a bell weighing 475 pounds, which was largely the gift of the Sabbath school and a generous friend. The present value of all this property is about $4,000. The Sunday school enrolls 250 scholars, and is superintended by Geo. H. Stander. The increase of members has been slow, only seventy communicants being reported. This is not equal to the expectations of the founders, but it must be borne in mind that the Baptists and Methodists have attracted their share of worshipers and supporters by locating places of worship very near them.

In 1888 a Y. P. S. C. E. was organized. The seats are free; the annual receipts from within the congregation are $500, and aid is derived from the Board of Missions and friends. The present officers are: Elders -- Chas. H. Rose, George McInnes and Geo. H. Stander. The pastorate became vacant by the resignation of Mr. Hoffman, March 3, 1889, but on the first of May the Rev. Thomas G. Smith succeed him as state'd supply.


Early in the spring of 1886 a considerable number of suburban residents of Paris township and the southern part of the city, began to agitate the organization of a Sunday school. At a meeting held April 4, in the school house just south of the fair grounds, on Madison Avenue, the forty attendants, chiefly adults, formed a Union Sunday School by the election of the following officers: Superintendent, J. W. Warren, with Thomas Crane as Assistant; Miss Delia Mason, Secretary, and Edward Burd, Librarian. The average attendance during the first year w as seventy-six. In connection with the school, usual church services were conducted by invited ministers of the city. In April, 1888, those who habitually worshiped here addressed a formal invitation to the Westminster church to incorporate this enterprise as its mission, and take charge of it. This plan met with favor, and very soon after said church erected a substantial and commodious chapel, with seating capacity of 400, at a cost of $2,500, upon a choice site of 150 feet square, presented for the purpose by a gentleman of Brooklyn, N. Y. In the fall of 1888 this was occupied by the mission, since which the growth of school and congregation has been rapid and gratifying, the former now enrolling 225 scholars, and the latter being sufficiently strong to render a church organization advisable. Such formal organization was effected by the Presbytery Sept. 11, 1889, with a membership of twenty-four, from whom the following officers were chosen: Elders -- Wm. Lyman, J. W. Warren and Amos S. Musselman. Deacons -- Fred Rowen and A. J. Creelman. Trustees -- A. S. Musselman, S. W. Glover, W. G. Sinclair, F. C. Cox and D. D. Mason. The Rev. George Reynolds, who had been in charge of the mission since July 1, was then elected pastor, and the above church name adopted. The pastor was installed Oct. 23. The new organization continues for a time to receive the fostering aid and care of the mother church.


The Domestic Missionary Board commissioned the Rev. Hart E. Waring of New York as a western missionary, and about May 20, 1840, he came to this field of labor, and was warmly welcomed by Deacon George Young and a few others. Sunday, May 26, 1840, he preached in a private house, and gave notice of the intention to organize a "Reformed Protestant Dutch Church," as it was then legally styled. This event came to pass Monday, Aug. 12, 1840, at the residence of the new pastor, which stood on the northeast corner of Bronson (now Crescent Avenue) and Ionia Streets. The following twelve were the constituent members, mentioned in the order in which their names are entered upon the records of that date: Samuel F. Butler, and Lydia, his wife; Hezekiah R. Osborne, and Emily C., his wife; Adelaide Waring, wife of the pastor; Billius Stocking, and Mary H., his wife; George Young, and Eliza, his wife; James S. Horton, Abraham Horton, Daniel C. Stocking. Of this number only five are living, three of whom still reside here and two are identified with other churches.

The Consistory then chosen was constituted as follows: Elders -- George Young and Samuel F. Butler. Deacons -- H. R. Osborne, and Billius Stocking. The pastor was its President.

A Sunday school was organized, and Elder Young chosen Superintendent. A choir was soon formed, of ten members, Deacon H. R. Osborne being the chorister, Elias Young playing the flute, and Charles Osborne the bass viol.

The church thus organized first held its services for from six months to a year in the village school house, a small frame building on "Prospect Hill," on the south end of the site now occupied by the Ledyard block on Ottawa Street; and next, for greater convenience, hired at fifty cents a week the upper part of Amos Roberts' building on the northeast corner of Fountain and Ottawa Streets, the present site of the Peninsular Club House. There they worshiped nearly a year, next occupying for two or three months the second floor of a frame store nearly opposite Waterloo on Monroe Street. At the end of the first year of Mr. Waring's labors the membership numbered twenty-six, and the congregation from forty to seventy-five. The first infants baptized were Elizabeth F., daughter of the pastor, William H., son of Deacon H. R. Osborne, and Henry S., son of Deacon B. Stocking; and the first adults baptized were Euphemia Davis, now the wife of Rev. Dr. Jewett, Baptist missionary to India, now retired, and her sister Vinett, deceased -- who were among the first converts during a revival in February, 1841. During the second year the church had won such favor, and the congregations were so large, that, in the autumn of 1841, the necessity of securing a suitable and permanent home was felt. Accordingly the Kent Company offered to give a large lot on the southwest corner of Bridge and Ottawa Streets, for a church site, and the Consistory on the 3d of January, 1842, concluded to accept this offer, and to build as soon as possible on the ground thus presented, worth then probably $100.

The plan of the church edifice was at once drawn; its dimensions were to be 38 feet wide, 50 feet long, 10 feet clear in the basement, 20 feet in the main body; Kendall Woodward was appointed chief architect; J. L. Wheeler master mason; Elders George Young and S. F. Butler were chosen as a building committee.

The material for this stone structure was taken from the bed of the river. Ground was broken for the basement the 25th of April, 1842:, and on the 9th of May the corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, in which the entire population were interested, for it was a great event in the little town, and the house was to be an imposing and magnificent one for those times, The Grand Rapids Enquirer of May 20, 1842, gives the following description of the projected building:

The edifice is to be of wrought stone, taken from the bed of the river, and in the Doric order. Its dimensions are fifty feet by thirty-eight feet, and thirty feet in height, including a spacious basement ten feet high, which will be finished immediately for the use of the congregation. The inside of the main building will be completed as soon as practicable. [Which was not done until 1861.-ED]. The walls when elevated will be surmounted with an architrave, frieze and cornice, forming a rich and massive entablature. The belfry will be composed of one section fifteen feet in height, and finished in the Grecian Doric order, and is destined for the introduction of a bell weighing 800 to l,000 pounds, which is to be presented to the church, on its completion, by Messrs. Carroll and Lyon to whose beneficence the society is also indebted for its eligible and commanding building site. The front on Bridge Street will be of hammered stone, with corners of the Grand River granite, laid in fine cement, and will have two large windows, one each side of the door, which is situated in a recess three feet by eleven, formed by the projection of the main walls. A Doric fluted column will be placed on each side of the door, sixteen feet high, and two and a half feet in diameter, which will support an entablature similar to the one on the main building. When completed, it will be an ornament to our village, as the style is chaste and in keeping with the material of which it is to be composed.

In the autumn of that year, the basement, being completed, was occupied, and "Deacon" Young was commissioned to solicit aid in the East to finish the edifice. He spent from October until the spring of 1843 in this work, and reported twenty-four churches visited and $943.93 collected, but, alas, for the poverty of those days, the entire fund was consumed in the payment of old debts and expenses, and the auditorium remained in status quo, the windows being boarded up. Disaffection having arisen between the pastor and Elders Young and Butler; though sustained by the almost unanimous endorsement of the church and the community, in which this was then the leading church, Mr. Waring resigned August 1, 1843. At this date the members numbered thirty-eight, the audiences from 100 to 150, and the Sabbath school fifty scholars. The Rev. Andrew B. Taylor soon after assumed the pastorate, and labored faithfully, but in September, 1848, seeing no signs of promise for the future of the church, he resigned, when by authority of the Board, Dr. Penney was asked to supply the Church, but he declined. No successor being secured, the church, having a membership of thirty-three, gradually disintegrated; but, as appears in the history of the Second church, the property was for six years quite as useful as before. The organization for whom use the house was built was practically defunct, only "Colonel" Butler and Deacon Young remaining as Trustees to claim and care for the property; but toward the close of 1859 good resulted from a threatening evil. The heirs of the donors of the church site claimed that this property should revert to them, since there was really no legal organization extant, and it was given for church purposes only. Apprised of this, Herman H. Van der Stoop and Marinus Harting were at their requests dismissed in December, 1859, from the Second church, to identify themselves with the misfortunes of the First, and on the 7th of that month formed a Consistory, and on the 28th a Board of Trustees to incorporate the church. In July, 1860, the Rev. Philip Berry, just entering the ministry, became their pastor, and the reorganization was completed and work resumed with twelve members. With the aid of churches abroad the auditorium was soon finished at an expense of $1,000, and the church dedicated June 9, 1861. The following pastors succeeded Mr. Berry, who resigned in July, 1861: the Rev. John M. Ferris, June, 1862, to July 1, 1865; the Rev. Henry E. Decker, July, 1865, to September, 1867; the Rev. Christian Van der Veen, March, 1868, to May, 1871; the Rev. Jacob Van der Menlen, May, 1871, to April, 28, 1872; the Rev. Peter Moerdyke, September, 21, 1873, and still in charge.

About June, 1863, the location of the church was deemed so unfavorable that the congregation moved to the old meeting house, northeast corner Division and Park Streets, built in 1840 by St. Mark's church (see its history), and remained there until the end of 1866. The building belonging to the church was, however, never long vacant or useless, for in that summer of 1863 the auditorium and basement were rented to the United States for hospital purposes, and for three months were a scene of suffering and death, several regiments being encamped here, and later it was put to a variety of uses. But at the close of 1866 it was reoccupied by the congregation, after a thorough renovation costing $2,000, and the free seat system experiment proved a failure after one year's trial. In 1867 the church owned its first organ, and the next year had its first installed pastor, previous ones being missionaries of the Board of Home Missions, which paid most of their salaries; the self-sustaining period was not reached until Jan. 1, 1880. In the night of May 3, 1872, a "black Friday" visited the church, the morning of Saturday revealing only the charred debris and begrimed stone walls of their sanctuary left. But the fire proved a blessing in disguise, for, though the people worshiped with the Westminster Presbyterian Church for a year and a half, enjoying their kindly-proffered hospitalities, the Trustees, H. H. Van der Stoop, H. W. Liesveld, M. P. Brown, L. D'Ooge, T. M. Grove and J. A. S. Verdier were on the lookout for a resumption of Church life. They soon found their opportunity for in February, 1873, the old property, containing the ruins of the church, was advantageously disposed of by sale and exchange, which by May following placed them in possession of their present parsonage, I51 Lyon Street, and the present house of worship, then bought of the Baptist church, which was building its edifice on Fountain Street.

In the month of August, the Rev. J. W. Beardslee, of Constantine, Mich., declined a call tendered him, whereupon the present pastor was called in August, 1873. He accepted and entered upon his labors September 21, and for one month occupied the pulpit with the Rev. S. Graves, D. D. -- each preaching once per Sabbath -- which union meetings continued until the Baptist society vacated the building. The present pastor was installed October 28. The statistics of that date are as follows: Members twenty-nine; hearers, all told, forty in the morning and twenty-five in the evening; Sunday school scholars forty-five, including pastor's Bible class of nine. This represents about the average strength of the church for ten years previous. But a new epoch had dawned, for since that new beginning a steady, healthful growth has marked all the years that have elapsed, until to-day the following status has been reached: Members, 325; parishioners, 700 Sunday school scholars, 350, including the pastor's Bible class of ninety, which is the largest in the city, and has an average attendance of seventy-two; and property valued at $20,000 without debt. Various improvements have been made by which the church and parsonage have been enlarged, no less than $6,000 having been expended in that way. During July and August, 1881, the congregation worshiped in the Hebrew Synagogue in Godfrey's block, by the gratuitous hospitality of its society, while the church building was being enlarged and remodeled at a cost of $3,000. The annual income of about $2,500 is raised without pew rentals, as the seats have been free since 1873. For some time the congregation has outgrown the seating capacity -- 420 -- of the present house, and so strongly desired a more commodious and creditable sanctuary, and better facilities for the ever-enlarging demands of the work, that in April, 1888, a site for a new church at the southeast corner of Fountain and Barclay Streets was purchased of Dr. Charles Shepard, for $10,000 partly paid, upon which they hope soon to build a house of worship to cost about $20,000. To accomplish this, all their former property is offered for sale, and the sum of $9,000 is pledged by the members. For the past four years the church has published The Church Record, its own local monthly church paper, edited by the pastor. It is a four-page paper, 9 by 14 inches in size, free from advertisements and devoted to the interests of the local church, by which it is regarded as a great favorite and help. The following societies are well sustained: The Banner of Light Mission Circle, membership 150; the Cheerful Givers' Mission Band, membership 50, Y. P. S. C. E., organized Nov. 27, 1888, Young People's Literary Society, membership 75, and a Chautauqua Circle and a Choral Society.

The church is officered as follows: Consistory and Board of Trustees, the Rev. P. Moerdyke, D. D., President. Elders -- H. H. Van der Stoop, Vice President; John Snitseler, James Van der Sluis, Clerk; Nicholas Baker, James Stoel. Deacons -- John A. S. Verdier, Treasurer; Herman A. Vedders, Frank J. Dyk, Henry Van Dyk, Wm. H. Van Leenwen and Henry Ter Keurst. Sunday School Superintendent, J. A. S. Verdier.

PETER MOERDYKE:, D. D., was born in Biervliet, Province of Zeeland, Kingdom of the Netherlands, January 29, 1845, having among his ancestors both Huguenots and Hollanders. In 1849 the family emigrated to Michigan. Leaving their old home June 22, they sailed from Hellevoetsluis July 8, on the ship Leila, of Baltimore, with a large company of Hollanders, under the Rev. H. G. Klyn as leader. It was thirty-eight days before they landed in New York, having had the usual experience of storm and calm. After a trip up the Hudson, they boarded a canal boat, which brought them to Buffalo in nine days. A steamer then took them around the Lakes, and ascending the Grand River to Grandville, they enjoyed the luxury of an ox-cart and a corduroy road to Zeeland, where they were to settle. The entire journey consumed more than two months, being completed Sept. 4. After remaining in Zeeland fifteen months, the father, who was a carpenter, removed his home to Kalamazoo. There the boy was placed in the District school, being already able to read the Holland language. He continued his attendance there until eleven years old. During these early years, both at home and in the catechetical classes of his church, he received faithful religious instruction. For several years he and his older brother William recited the catechism in the church every Sunday afternoon, as an introduction to the preaching which was to follow. To this fact, and the good results secured by it, as well as to a wider experience of its benefits as learned in his own pastoral work, may no doubt be attributed his earnest and successful efforts in catechising the youth of his own flourishing church. Another fact is worthy of mention, as showing the foundations of his vigorous health and his well-known sympathy with those who toil day by day. In that home were many wants to be provided for; the boys were, therefore, taught to feel that they must help, and for an entire winter, when they were respectively twelve and ten years old, they supported the family, their father being disabled by rheumatism. Surrounded by such influences, his mind and heart were early directed to his own religious condition, and we find him when only thirteen, the youngest of a company of twenty-eight uniting with the church. In October, 1859, he entered the Holland Academy, which, soon after, received its charter as Hope College. He was the youngest member of the first class to graduate from the young college in 1866. Three years later he was one of the first class to graduate from the Theological Seminary at Holland. During these years he was not only a hard student, but, during vacation, a hard worker also; sometimes as a carpenter, gasfitter, or farmer; at other times engaged in religious work such as agent of the Ottawa County Bible Society, selling religious books in the Holland settlements of Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin or organizing Sunday schools, and conducting religious services. The last two years of his course he was employed as Tutor at the college. Graduating from the Theological Seminary in May, 1869, he w as ordained by the Classis of Michigan on the 24th of the following June, and accepted a call from the Reformed churches of Macon and South Macon, in Lenawee couny, where he continued to labor with much zeal and success until Nov. 2, 1871, when he closed his work there to take the position of Assistant Professor of Latin in Hope College. Soon after accepting the call to this charge, he married Fannie J. Guy, who July 20, 1880. He retained his College Professorship two years, during which time he preached in both the Holland and English languages as much as if he had retained his charge. In August, 1873, he accepted a call from the First Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, and began a work which has grown steadily more extensive and blessed for nearly seventeen years. The church organization is among the oldest in the city, having been formed in 1840, but its history upon to that time of his call had been very discouraging. For many years it had no service. Even when he came it had but twenty-nine members, and had been holding occasional services for some time in the rooms of the Y.M.C.A. There was serious thought of disbanding, and the call was sent out by the little band and accepted by him with many anxious fears. But he came, the old Baptist church was secured, and soon the energy and devotion of the new pastor began to bear fruit. Being able to use both the Holland and English, he found an open door into a wide field, which he soon occupied. His church began to attract the young people, and he has been specially successful in wining them. His thorough catechetical instruction, his clear, earnest preaching, and his clear, earnest preaching and his ceaseless pastoral work, under God's blessing, have resulted in one of the largest and most active churches in the city. The membership has grown from twenty-nine to three hundred and twenty-five, while full half as many have been dismissed to other churches, or have died since he began his work here. His theory is that every Christian ought to be a worker, and the many organizations and agencies successfully carried on by his church, show that he is making that theory bear good fruits. Outside of his church he has also been very active. In the Pastoral Association of the city he is the oldest and one of the most faithful in cultivating fraternal relations between the churches, and devising methods for reaching the masses with the Gospel. In the Y. M. C. A. he was for years one of the Official Board, and the teacher of its Union Bible Class. For his Alma Mater he cherishes a worthy love shown by faithful efforts to promote its interests. He has been Tutor in its Grammar School, Professor in its College and Lecturer in its Theological Seminary, being for two years in the latter, in charge of Greek, Exegesis and Biblical Antiquities, at the same time performing the multifarious duties of his pastorate. He is also a frequent contributor to De Hope, and to the various papers issued in this city. In the general work of his denomination he has always thrown his influence in favor of a broad and energetic effort to secure its growth and usefulness. Actuated by this motive, he has, since 1888, been an earnest advocate of the proposed union of the Reformed Church in the United States and his own denomination, pleading for it in the pulpit, through the press and before ecclesiastical assemblies. In Classis; in the Particular Synod of Chicago, of which he is the Stated Clerk; in the General Synod of the entire church, of which he was Vice-President in 1888; in the Council of Hope College of which he is Secretary, as he is also of its Executive Committee, he always pleads for a vigorous prosecution of the work. He spent the summer of 1886 in Europe, giving special attention to his own native land, and making his church as well as himself the richer, as they can testify, by many a lecture given for their benefit. Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in June, 1889. In June, 1883, he married Maria Perry, and has four children, the eldest, a daughter of his first wife, now a young lady. As a man and citizen and pastor, in domestic life and in society, the record of his life speaks for him, and renders further comment needless.


This is the oldest Holland church in the city, and has been a powerful factor in its religious progress. The first Hollanders that came to the village were Hiram H. Van Reede, his wife and daughter, who in 1847 came here directly from the Netherlands and joined the First Reformed Church. They formed no part, however, of that large immigration which in that same year settled in Ottawa and Allegan counties, under the leadership of the Revs. A. C. Van Kaalte, C. Van der Menlen and M. Ypma, and there formed what was generally designated as "the Holland colony." Our respected townsman, Francis Van Driele, immigrated in 1847, and, after a residence of nine months in Ulster county, N. Y., came to the neighboring village of Zeeland, where he tarried but four weeks and then in 1848 settled here. He was the pioneer of that movement which has brought so many thousands of his countrymen and established so large a number of Reformed churches here. The pastor of the First Church, the Rev. A. B. Taylor, very cordially welcomed Mr. Van Driele, and those who followed him soon after, to-wit: the families of Albert Kroes and Louis Lageweg, seven or eight young ladies and two young men besides himself, John Roost, afterward the Hon. John Roost, of Holland, and Joshua Elenbaas. These were shortly afterward reinforced by the arrival of the families of B. Luten, P. Hendrikse, Zwemer, and others. All these people, as were all of that first immigration, who really came to this country to escape the annoyances to which they were subjected in the fatherland on account of their secession from the corrupt State Church, were decidedly religious. Mr. Taylor, aware of this, offered to Mr. Van Driele, their chosen leader, the free use of the basement of his church, elsewhere described, and there for several months this company assembled on Sunday afternoons for lay rearling services and devotional exercises. Mr. Taylor's resignation in September, 1848, providentially left the church vacant for the encouragement of the founders of a church that was to perpetuate the Reformed faith here. At once three services were held there every Sunday, and as the congregation was rapidly growing by accessions from the colony of those who came to stay or find employment for a season, the Holland ministers aforementioned came from Holland, Zeeland and Vriesland to preach for them occasionally. After Mr. Van Driele's marriage, March 25, 1849, he fitted up a part of the basement of the church for his residence, and occupied it for nearly four months with five or six Holland boarders. As early as the summer of 1848 there were 108 young women connected with this congregation, and the influx of the young people and of families was so large, that in July or August, 1849, the Rev. A. C. Van Raalte, by request, organized this church, and installed the officers then chosen, viz Elders F. Van Driele and G. Dalman, who also performed the functions of Deacons for a time, until two such officers were added by the election of A. Esveld and John Bylsma. The free enjoyment of the house in which this infant enterprise had been cradled, was continued until the brick church on Bostwick Street, now Van Driele's warehouse, was occupied by them in 1854. This was a Godsend to a people of very limited means. But they were industrious and thrifty, devoted to their church and steadily increasing in numbers, so that in 1854 they were enabled to support a pastor. The Rev. H. G. Klyn was accordingly secured as such in 1854, and was greatly blessed in his work, until serious trouble sprang up in his congregation in 1856, which is related in connection with the rise of the Holland Christian Reformed Church in this city. On Sunday, Jan. 27, 1857, Mr. Klyn formally declared his secession from the denomination, and was by the Consistory, which had held an early morning session, excluded that day from the pulpit. About one-half of the congregation followed him in the founding of the new church and denomination. Eight months later he was restored to good standing in his former ecclesiastical connection, on confession of his error, but a rival Holland organization had been born, that has grown strong and ever been positively antagonistic to the Reformed Church. This schism in the local church was disastrous. For a long time it was sadly crippled. In 1857 the following statistics were reported: families, fifty-four; communicants, ninety-four; catechumens, forty; but as evidence of their rally from this severe blow, in 1859 the figures were: 130 members and 130 catechumens, and near1y 1,550 raised in one year. Early in 1859 the Rev. W. A. Houbold entered upon a pastorate of about two years, during which the church suffered considerable loss; but in May, 1861, the Rev. Cornelius Van der Meulen began his faithful and eminently successful ministry to this flock. At his coming the membership was seventy; in 1866 it was 152, and 160 families; in 1871 it was 316, families 300; Sunday school scholars 300, and nearly $10,000 raised for local church purposes, and $1,143 for benevolence. For many years the Holland population had increased at a surprising rate, mostly by immigration. This had rendered a larger house of worship a necessity, which was built in 1870, the corner-stone being laid May 31. Though numerically strong and liberal, the congregation was made up of poor people, with but few exceptions. The cost of the building was $34,000, of which at its completion only $11,000 were paid. This burdensome debt has gradually been reduced, only $4,000 now remaining. In 1873, when the number of families was 376, of members 481 and of catechumens zoo, the aged pastor was at his request declared emeritus pastor by the Classis of Grand River, and the Rev. Nicholas H. Dosker was called from the Netherlands. He accepted and entered upon his labors in the summer of that year. The church now supported and provided residences for two ministers, the beloved emeritus pastor preaching once every Sunday until his strength failed a few months before his death in August, 1876, at the age of 76 years. The memory of this genial, efficient and pious man of God is sacredly cherished here, and in the hearts of thousands in various places. Under Mr. Dosker's ministry the immigration continued, his labors bore abundant fruit, and the audience room with a seating capacity of 1,000 was overcrowded. This suggested the plan of building two chapels in 1876, when the membership had reached 612, and the families numbered 417. These plans were executed, and thus the Third and Fourth Churches were started. But the parent church soon filled up as before. In 1883 the pastor accepted a call to Kalamazoo, leaving a parish in which he had for ten years rendered good and faithful service. How he had endeared himself to all appeared in a marked manner when in 1887 his remains were brought here for burial. Both he and his predecessor are honored with memorial tablets in the church they served so long and well. The present incumbent, the Rev. Eghert Winter, was installed April 20, 1884. In 1886 a large number of members of families were dismissed to constitute the Fifth Church, which has greatly reduced the numbers of the mother church, but has really benefited all concerned, leading to greater activity on the part of all, and developing a special aggressiveness among the young people. The day for accessions from immigration is past, the central location being unfavorable to this, and other organizations are drawing this element, hence the Americanizing tendency of the young is now systematically fostered by an English evening service instituted in 1886. This involves the expense of a weekly assistant supply to conduct one of the three regular services of the Sabbath. In 1888 the auditorium was shortened, reducing the seating capacity to 800, and decorated, and a $3,500 pipe organ was added in November to its furniture. About $5,500 was thus expended, and in February, 1889, the basement was renovated. A graceful spire was built upon the tower in September and October, 1889, at a cost of $1,500. The last census of the church reports 225 families, 450 members, 200 catechumens, 350 Sunday school scholars, and an average annual income of about $7,000, twenty per cent. of which is for benevolence. The pews are rented. The number of parishioners is 1,030.

The societies of the church are: Dorcas Society, Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (which supports a native Hindu pastor), Woman's Church Aid Society, and Young People's Society of a literary, religious and social character. The Sunday school also supports a native Hindu pastor.

The present officers are: Elders -- John G. Koke, G. De Groot, J. Van de Velde, Geo. Vrieling, Barend Dosker, F. Oltmans, H. Veldman. Deacons -- F. M. Hulswit, Wm. Moerdyk, Wm. Kotvis, Egbert Wonnink, Cornelius Verschoor, Evert J. Bruss and Gerrit Hondelink.

This church has for over two years sustained a week day mission service in the Eighth Ward, which, in connection with certain elements of the Fifth Church, is likely to result in the building of a chapel and a new organization.


The Second Church, to which all Hollanders of this denomination who worshiped in their mother tongue belonged, had grown beyond the ability of one pastor to attend to the wants of its 500 families and 700 or more members. Besides, the parish was co-extensive with the city and suburbs. The distances to the church were long, pastoral visits necessarily rare, and the church life of multitudes fell below their ideal and their needs. Hence, a large neighborhood, living where the parish now lies around the church as its center, resolved to "swarm," if permitted. The movement was sanctioned by the Consistory of the mother church, and by the Classis of Grand River, which latter body, through a committee, organized the church, Oct. 1, 1875, with sixty-two constituent members, whom forty-six others followed within six months after, making a total of ninety families in April, 1876. The first Consistory chosen were: Elders -- M. Klaassen and A. Esveld, and Deacons, E. Grooters and A. Buys.

At the time of their organization they occupied the sanctuary, which was begun in July and dedicated in August, 1875, a frame building of 30 by 50 feet, which in 1876 was enlarged to 50 by 80 feet, and in 1886 to 50 by 100 feet, and seats about 800 persons. The Rev. A. Kriekard, then of Kalamazoo, accepted their call, commenced his labors here Feb. 1, 1876, and was installed on the 13th. The advance made by the church has been steady and healthful; in 1880 the report showed 149 families, 212 communicants and 188 Sunday school scholars, and the annual income over $2,000; and the tenth annual report was, 185 families, 261 communicants, 245 in Sunday school, and correspondingly increased revenues. The latest statistics report 240 families, 348 members, 355 in Sunday school, 710 baptized non-communicants, and 260 catechumens. Hence the parish contains no less than 963 souls.

The temporalities of the Church have also kept pace with this gratifying progress, in spite of the fact that with scarce any exceptions its people are in very moderate circumstances. In 1878 a pleasant, brick-veneered parsonage was built on the northwest corner of East and Holbrook Streets, at a cost of $2,500, and in 1880 the young people expended $350 in building a Lecture Room on the lot bought for that purpose in 1879, lying immediately east of the church edifice, which is used for various societies and meetings. The present value of all this property is at least $12,000; there is no debt, and the revenues reach the sum of $3,750, about 25 per cent. of which is contributed for benevolence. The pews are rented at moderate prices. About fifty of the members reside in the country, and almost the entire congregation is suburban nominally, but practically part and parcel of the city population. The present officers are: Elders -- Isaac De Pagter, Cornelius De Jong, Adrian Van Doorn, Andrew DeVree, John Kloote. Deacons -- Adrian Buys, who is also Sunday School Superintendent, Peter Kriekard, Rokus Verseput, Albert Klaver, Isaac Warner. The societies connected with the church are: Y. M. C. A., the pastor President; Woman's Benevolent Society, Woman's Missionary Society, Young Ladies' Society of Willing Workers, and two Singing Societies.


This church was organized Sept. 25,1875, by the Classis of Grand River, as the Fourth Reformed Church of Grand Rapids. The late Rev. N. H. Dosker, then pastor of the Second Reformed Church, of whose congregation this enterprise was an outgrowth, presided as Chairman of the Classical Committee to effect the organization, which was consummated by the enrollment of about fifty members and the election of Elders Adrian de Leeuw and Leendert Silvius, and Deacons John Koster and Peter Groeneweg. The latter declined, and William Bommelje was chosen in his stead. These constituted the Consistory and Board of Trustees. A house of worship being completed, on Nov. 26, 1875, the church, with thirty families, extended their first call to its pastorate, and welcomed the Rev. L. J. Hulst, of Danforth, Ill., at his installation, June 23, 1876, to the new parsonage. Accessions by letter from the mother church were numerous, prominent among whom was Francis Van Driele, who joined in April, 1876, and was elected Elder to succeed L. Silvius. The increase from Holland immigrants, who, to this day, settle numerously in that part of the city, was a great factor in the growth of the church, and in the spring of 1880 the church edifice was greatly enlarged, and the report in 1881 showed 177 families and 273 members. The AntiMasonic agitation, originating in the First Reformed Church of Holland, Mich., in the summer of 1880, reached this Consistory June 29, 1880, and profoundly disturbed the peace of the church. At the congregational meeting of Sept. 16, 1880, it was resolved by a large majority to present a memorial to the aforenamed Classis, having jurisdiction over them, setting forth their conscientious protest against further toleration of the church membership of Masons, and members of other secret societies and that, unless the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America should grant a deliverance in accord with their views, they would take steps to be released from present ecclesiastical connections. Accordingly, on Sept. 8, 1881, the congregation assembled, and, by a large majority vote, severed its relation to said denomination, changed its name, and, one year later, joined the denomination known as "'The Holland Christian Reformed Church.'' By decision of the courts, it holds the church and parsonage property, now valued at $5,000. Sixteen male members, however, remained loyal to the denomination by whose aid the Church had grown, and these continued the original organization, which now flourishes on North Ionia Street, opposite the school house. The number who refused to join in this secession was soon found to be thirty seven communicants and twenty-one families, whom the Classis recognized as the lawful organization. They at once formed a new Consistory or Board of Trustees, composed of Elders Francis Van Driele and Wm. Bommelje, and Deacons H. W. Hofs and Justus C. Herstein. Deprived of their house of worship, they met for a time in an old building on Coldbrook Street, between Ottawa and Ionia Streets, which had been used as a grocery store. Here Reformed ministers of this city, and supplies granted by the Classis and occasional lay reading services, maintained their worship until they secured their present pastor, the Rev. Peter De Pree, who was installed Nov. I6, 1882, the number of families being then twenty-three, and of members forty-two. They soon began to recover lost ground, also drew many new immigrants to their communion, and in February, 1883, were obliged to seek a larger audience room. By their own liberal subscriptions, and the generous aid of Reformed churches here and elsewhere, a sufficient fund was raised to erect a temporary meeting house on the present site, in which they were soon sheltered. The church grew so healthfully that in 1887 they resolved, with the aid of the Board of Domestic Missions, to erect a suitable house of worship. In this, also, neighboring churches considerably assisted them. Accordingly they disposed of their temporary abode for $125, and reserved the right to its use for a time. It was then removed to Plainfield avenue, near LeGrand Street and is now known as "Finn's Hall." A substantial and elegant frame edifice succeeded, built in Queen Anne style, at a cost of $7,000. It has an auditorium that will seat 520, and a basement with the best facilities for Sunday school, prayer meeting and other purposes, which latter rooms were opened with appropriate exercises March 11, 1888, and used for public worship until July 1, 1888, when the completed house was dedicated. An organ costing $I,000 was then among its furniture. With the growth of the church the Consistory has been enlarged, being now constituted as follows: Elders -- F. Van Driele, Wm. Bommelje, R. J. Weber, H. W. Hofs, J. C. Herstein and A. J. Walker. Deacons -- G. Van Strein, John Bolier, C. Boertje and J. Koster. The last annual census of the Church reports 161 families, 254 members, three-fourths of whom have joined by letter from the Netherlands. There are 583 baptized parishioners, making a total of 773 souls, and they have an average of over forty infant baptisms per year. The Sunday school enrolls 287 scholars. Their average income for the past four years has exceeded $2,000. The total cost of their real estate, parsonage and church, is estimated at $12,000, which is below present value. Upon this property there is a debt of $6,000.


As early as 1882-83 a considerable proportion of the members of the Second Reformed Church who reside in the vicinity of the above Church began to agitate the question of a new organization, inasmuch as they were inconveniently distant from their place of worship. Their application to the Consistory was for a time discouraged, and practically withdrawn, but in 1885 urgently renewed, and a petition addressed to the Classis of Grand River, which latter was granted. Accordingly this ecclesiastical body, through its committee, organized the Fifth Church with eighty-six members, who presented letters from the parent Church. This occurred in Stevens' Hall, 15 and 17 Grandville, January 28, 1886. For a short season the new congregation worshiped in said Hall, and later in a private dwelling. On the third of February, a large number of male members, all volunteers, took hold of $150 worth of material, and in four days converted them into a temporary meeting house, 30 by 64 feet, on the present site of the parsonage. Here they worshiped until they dedicated their new, capacious and elegant sanctuary on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 1886, which had been built during the summer under the direction of Sidney J. Osgood, architect. The corner-stone was laid July 6, 1886. The auditorium seats 800, and the Lecture Room in the rear on the same floor, is arranged to be opened for 400 more, when necessary. This building cost about $11,000. In 1887 a beautiful parsonage was built on a lot adjoining the church site on the south, at an outlay of $2,000. In 1888 the old temporary house of worship was converted into a barn for the pastor's use. These buildings and three lots now have an estimated value of $I5,000. Upon this there remains an indebtedness of about $10,000. In 1886 there were eighty-six members, forty-two families, and fifty scholars when the Sunday school was formed. Now they report 365 members, 236 families, and 375 Sunday school scholars, and total number in the parish 1,050. The Consistory chosen at the time of the organization were: Elders -- Evert Welmers, Albert Welmers, Jan Wormnest and Gerrit Antflink. Deacons -- Hermamus Hondorp, Gerrit J. Lippink, Marinus A. Sorber and Albert Stryker. The first pastor, the Rev. R. H. Joldersma, was installed May 26, 1886. Hermonus Hondorp is Superintendent of the Sunday school, and the Consistory and Board of Trustees consist of: Elders -- Gerrit Antflink, Albert Welmers, Henry J. Grooters, Wm. Hydeman, Michael Duyser, Henry J. W. Campman. Deacons -- Hermanus Hondorp, Martin A. Sorber, Albert Stryker, Jr., Albert De Haan, Cornelius Stryker, John B. Grooters. The Rev. R. H. Joldersma resigned in March, 1889, and was succeeded in August by the Rev. Ale Buursma. The free-seat system was in use until the end of 1889, when the majority decided to adopt the practice of renting the pews.


During 1888, a considerable number of Holland families settled in this suburban park. M. Veenboer, M. D., being desirous of supplying this section with church privileges, on February 1, 1889, gave three lots, each 45 by 125 feet, to the Rev. A. Kriekard, pastor of the Third Church, in trust, for the founding of this organization. On the 14th of February Mrs. A. C. Brown, an aged lady of New York City, deeply interested in home missionary work, contributed $200 toward the building of the chapel, which was begun in April and dedicated July 2. The Rev. A. Kriekard, whose suburban parishioners were chiefly interested in this movement, enlisted the services of Reformed city pastors as supplies, and, besides, lay reading and catechising were continued, and by authority of the Classis of Grand River the mission was, on August 9, organized as a church, with twenty-eight members and the following Consistory and Board of Trustees then chosen: Elders, B. Barendse and G. Jonkhof; Deacons, T. Nyhoff and H. Zuidema.

The Sunday School enrolls forty scholars twenty-five catechumens attend two weekly classes, and a Woman's Helping Hand Society of eleven members is active in promoting the welfare of the church. In October, 1889, the addition of a graceful belfry, containing a bell, was made to the church edifice. Only a trifling debt now remains and the infant church, having grown slowly under a system of supplies mostly gratuitous, in February, 1890, extended a call to J. M. Lumke, a theological student at Holland, to become their pastor, which he accepted, to assume charge in May.


This was organized November 30, 1870, as an independent body, by the Rev. C. Kloppenburg, just from the Netherlands, with forty charter members and the following Consistory and Board of Trustees: Elders Klaas Smit and John Sinke; Deacons, G. DeGraaf and W. Freere. This occurred in the Swedenborgian house of worship, where they worshiped until early in 1872, when their present edifice was ready for occupancy. This, with parsonage on the same lot, cost $6,700. The first pastor died September 6, 1876, and was succeeded January 11, 1877, by the Rev. C. Vorst the present incumbent. The present strength of the church is: a membership of 180, parishioners 400, property valued at $8,000, and an annual income of $1,800. The present officers are: The pastor and Elders C. Lindhout, A. Arnoudse, N. J. Stokkers; Deacons, A. Verhaar, M. De Fouw, C. Schryver, and C. Roselle; with John Oom as Clerk.


Dating from the Centennial year, a considerable number of Hollanders, dissatisfied with existing Reformed Churches, were banded together for religious worship, which for eleven years they maintained in a hall on West Bridge Street, though without pastor and without formal organization. The work was superintended by a committee, who appointed various lay readers for seven years, but from 1883 until October, 1887, M. Donker statedly read the sermon and conducted the two Sabbath services. Having persevered and held their own in this way, their first and present minister came to them October 16, 1887, from the Netherlands, when the congregation was largely increased and the purpose formed to establish a church in a home of their own. Hence in November, the old Turner Street -- No. 6 -- school house, built in 1865 and vacated in 1882, with ample grounds, was bought of the city for $2,600, remodeled and adapted to their use. Sitting accommodations for 600 were thus secured. This was occupied and dedicated February 5, 1888. On the 10th of December, 1887, the church was organized with forty-eight constituent members, whose number has now increased to 102, the present number of parishioners being 270. The first Consistory were: Elders, M. Donker and M. DeWinter; Deacons, J. Janse, M. Blick and J. De Meester. In the summer of 1888 the parsonage, immediately south of the church, was built, costing $1,200. The seats are free, and the voluntary gifts of the people whose Sunday gatherings average 520, have been sufficient for all purposes. The total value of their property is at least $6,000. Several catechetical classes, taught during the week and on Sunday, by the pastor, take the place of the Sunday School. The present Consistory and Board of Trustees are: Elders, M. Donker, M. DeWinter and C. Ouwersluis; Deacons. J. DeMeester, M. Blick and J. Wieland, with the pastor, the Rev. T. Meysters. The legal incorporation was effected in March, 1889, and the church is entirely independent of any denominational connection, though adopting all the standards of the Reformed churches.


The pastor, the Rev. John Van den Broek, founded this church January 2, 1889, and incorporated it legally February 4, as an independent body, with thirty-two charter members. The articles of association were signed by: Elders, Henry J. DeGraaf, Andries Filius; Deacon, Jan DeHaan, and the following members: Cornelius Quinten, Wm. Foppe, Jan S. DeGraaf, Johannes Van't Veer, Jan Nelise, Peter Oudeman, Martin Hogendyk, Cornelius Van den Bosch, Peter Van den Bosch, Cornelius Quist, Cent Faasse, Marinus Van Poortvliet, Wm. Den Braber, James Van Stee, and J. Snoek. After the incorporation they occupied Finn's Hall until they moved to their own church edifice. The church is composed of elements disaffected toward other Holland churches, has a membership of eighty-seven and 196 parishioners. In March the congregation purchased a lot on Clancy Street, near Cedar, upon which a frame house of worship was erected, and dedicated June 23. It is 60 by 30 feet in size, having a seating capacity of 300, and, with lot, cost about $2,700, upon which there remained in January, 1890, a debt of $1,800. The seats are free, yet assigned to families, and the Church is supported by voluntary contributions. Catechisation of several classes by the pastor during the week renders the Sabbath School needless, as is the case with some other Holland congregations. The present Consistory and ex-officio Board of Trustees is constituted as follows: Elders, Henry J. DeGraaf, Andries Filius and John Smit; Deacons, Adrian Kosten, Jacobus J. Snoek and Kommer Van den Bosch.


In the sketch given of the Second Reformed Church the simultaneous origin of this organization and its own denomination is referred to, but needs further explanation. Not long after the Holland immigrants to West Michigan had connected themselves with the reformed Church in America, in 1850, causes of disaffection arose, one of which was the earnest recommendation of "Baxter' s Call to the Unconverted" by leading ministers and officers of that day, in spite of the charges of a few here and elsewhere that it was not in accord with the Reformed faith. Early in 1856, the installation of Elder-elect B. Dalman, in the Second Reformed Church of this place, was objected to on the ground of his alleged unsoundness in the faith. An appeal was taken to the Classis, which declared him qualified for the office, into which he was accordingly inducted; whereupon several, under the leadership of Gysbertus DeHaan, John Gelock, Johannes Gezon, Jacobus De Jonge, H. Rademaker, Gerrit DeGraaf and others, withdrew from the church and worshiped regularly in the second story of Gunn's store on week days and on Sunday in Collins Hall on Canal Street. This continued for about one year, when the party, having gathered considerable strength, prevailed upon the Rev. H. G. Klyn to follow them in the secession, who, in his formal withdrawal on Sunday, January 27, 1857, justified the movement for the following four reasons: First, the use of hymns in the Reformed Church, second, choir singing in said church; third, Union Sunday School books used therein, which are not in harmony with the creed of the Reformed Church; fourth, admission of all evangelical Christians to communion with them and of evangelical ministers of other denominations to their pulpits. His influence drew after him about one-half of his congregation, possibly fifty families and about fifty members, of whom he became pastor in the new denomination immediately organized and known at first only as "Seceders," but later under the name of their own adoption, viz: "The Protestant Dutch Church.''

The Consistory then chosen was constituted of: Elders, John Gelock, Johannes Gezon and Gysbertus DeHaan, and Deacons Berend DeGraaf, Hendrik Moerman and Adrian Pleun. Upon their pastor's repentance of his schism, only eight months later, the congregation remained without pastoral care and labor until 1863, when the Rev. Wm. H. Van Leeuwen, pursuant to their call, came from the Netherlands and assumed charge. Regular reading services and catechising and family visitation had, however, been maintained by the Elders, and a frame house of worship, costing, with grounds, $4,000, had before this been erected on the northwest corner of Ionia and Island Streets, which was used until the building of the present brick edifice in 1867. This is 110 by 50 feet in size, and with its spacious galleries seated 1,300 persons, until the organ, in 1887, diminished this capacity by 100. In 1888 about $3,500 was expended in the completion of tower and spire and other repairs. A large proportion of immigrants have, from the first, joined this body, and, before the "swarming" of its members to form new churches in different parts of the city, as many as 400 families belonged to the parish, and three times every Sabbath filled this large sanctuary. The present statistics report 230 families, 340 communicants, and total number of souls, or parishioners, 1,000.

This church was served by later pastors as follows: The Rev. R. Duiker from 1867 to 1873, the Rev. J. E. Boer from 1873 till 1876; the Rev. John Kremer from 1877 till 188I, and the Rev. J. H. Vos, now in charge, from 1881. All their ministers, excepting the Rev. Klyn, were imported from the fatherland, as the church had no other way of supplying itself with pastors.

In addition to the city churches of the same name, organizations at Jenisonville and at Kelloggsville, both founded in 1875, look to this church as their parent. The present denominational name was adopted in 1881. The old house of worship was sold, and later moved to Goodrich Street and converted into a tenement. The church erected its parochial school on Williams Street, between Ionia and Spring Streets, in 1874. It is a roomy two-story brick building, the lower part only used for the school, which has about 100 pupils throughout the year, and during the summer vacation of the public schools about 200. The instruction is in the Holland language. The Sunday School. superintended by W. Brink enrolls 250 scholars. The following societies meet statedly in rooms on the second floor of the school house: Y. M. C. A., Young Women's Association, Dorcas Society. The receipts of a year are now about $5,000. The aggregate value of the church, and the parsonage ad joining it on the north side, is estimated at $20,000. The present Consistory and Board of Trustees are: the pastor; Elders-Hendrik Drukker (Clerk), Antony Karreman, Darus Hogeboom, Adrian Pleun, Jan Smitter, Watre Spoelstra, Klaas Sytsema; Deacons-Menno DeBoer, Adrian Brink, Cornelis Kryger, Jacob Kuiper, Jacob Lamberts, Jelle Zaagman.


This strong and flourishing organization is a daughter of the Spring Street Church of the same name. As early as 1877 a chapel of 40 by 50 feet was erected on the present church site, and services, catechetical instructions and meetings were there regularly conducted, resulting in the organization of the church Sept. 15, 1879, with eighty-six members, representing seventy-two families. The first Consistory was then elected and constituted as follows: Elders -- A. Bisschop, J. Stelma and J. Bolt. Deacons -- K. Fongers, H. Veltman and J. Zettema. Supplies from the Theological Seminary and the parent Church continued the services until September, 1881, when the Rev. J. Post was installed as first pastor, and took possession of the new parsonage. He served with ability until January, 1887. During his pastorate their parochial church school was organized in 1882, which first met in the basement of the church, but grew so rapidly that to accommodate its 240 pupils, with Principal J. Veltkamp and three assistant teachers, a large two story frame building, with four commodious rooms, was erected in 1887 on Logan Street, two blocks east of the city boundary line. The present pastor, the Rev. S. B. Zevensma, came from the Netherlands as their pastor-elect, and was installed June 24, 1887. The necessity of larger and better church accommodations soon became imperative, and it was decided to tear down the old house and build on the same site, which was done, and the dedication took place October 23 of that year. This structure has a seating capacity of 1,200, and with the pleasant parsonage adjoining it on the north, and the school house already described, is valued at $15,000. Fully one-half of the 1,875 parishioners, of whom 456 are communicants, live east of the city limits. The Sunday school, with K. Fongers, Superintendent, numbers 440 scholars. A Young Men's Christian Association formed in 1879, also a Young Ladies' Christian Association, a Woman's Missionary Society and a Singing Society are prosperous and helpful in the work of the church and parish. In the fall of 1888 their Year Book reported 320 members, but in December, 1888, a quiet and effective revival pervaded the parish of 360 families, resulting in a large accession of converts. In addition to the pastor, the following constitute the present Consistory Elders -- J. Brink, J. Bolt, N. Fongers, A. Bisschop, T. Doetma and H. Veltman. Deacons -- J. Zettema, H. Wiersema, L. Post, J. Dykema, M. Van de Wal, J. Ellens.


The history of the Fourth Reformed Church relates the secession of this body in rS8I from the denomination known as the Reformed Church in America and their retention of their present property held by the original corporation. The minority, which remained loyal to the General Synod and Classis that refused to adopt certain tests of membership demanded by the majority of this congregation, instituted legal proceedings to recover their property, but failed, and the Supreme Court, having considered their appeal, was equally divided upon the question, which virtually affirmed the adverse decision of the lower court. Hence this old congregation, under its new name, and soon after connected with the Holland Christian Reformed denomination, began its career in 1881 with a complete material equipment. It retained the pastor, who was their leader in the transfer described, and he has remained with them until the present time. The church is in a flourishing condition, now numbering 286 families and 355 members, the entire number of baptized adherents being 1,476, Sunday School scholars 250. S. S. Postma is Superintendent. The annual income of the church is fully $3,000. The present Consistory is as follows: The pastor, and Elders A. Ghyssels, J. Keukelaar, L. Silvius, W. Van Vliet; Deacons -- K. Van de Veen, P. Van Eeuwen, N. Silvius, D. Termolen, W. Huttinga. The pastor teaches ten catechetical classes per week. A Young Men's and a Young Ladies' and a Dorcas Association are valuable helps in the work of the church.


This church was organized May 25, 1881, by their Classis, pursuant to the petition of about thirty families residing in that vicinity, yet belonging to the Spring Street Church of the same denomination. The first officers were: Elders -- H. Datema, A. Waterloo, B. Scrhikkema; Deacons -- A. Van Bree and A. Hooghuis. A house of worship 36 by 62 feet was ready for occupancy and dedication when the organization was effected, and regular services were held by neighboring ministers until November 26, 1882, when their first pastor, the Rev. Wm. H. Frieling, of Lamont, Michigan, was installed. This, being the first and only Holland Church on the west side, supplied a great want, as was evident from a growth so rapid that, on the resignation of the pastor, in the spring of 1886 there were with it 200 families. After the Rev. P. Ekster, the present pastor, was installed, September 5, 1886, a transept 40 by 50 feet was added to the edifice, making its seating capacity 750, which was dedicated November 25, 1886.

The Consistory, in the fall of 1888, appointed a committee to take steps toward the building of a new church, corner of West and Crosby Streets, for a new organization to be set off from this flourishing church. This neat edifice, 50 by 60 feet, was built upon a lot 100 by 130 feet, which was presented by B. McReynolds. It has a seating capacity for an audience of 350. It has cost $2,300, and with the site is estimated at $3,000. The seats are free. This house was occupied by an unorganized congregation after the dedication, which occurred January 6, 189. Until separately organized this property and the worshipers belonged to the mother church, but regular Sabbath services were held and the pulpit was supplied by professors of their Theological Seminary in this city, or its students.

The statistics show 265 families, 315 members, total number of adherents 1,300, Sunday School scholars 300. A parochial school is connected with the church, with H. J. Miedema and P. Huizenga as teachers, who give instruction in the Holland language. The school is open the entire year; religious instruction forms part of the course, and tuition is charged, but all deficits are met by the Church. The property consists of church, school and parsonage, on five large lots, two on one side and three on the opposite side of Alpine Avenue, corner of Eleventh Street, the present value being about $12,000. The amount raised annually is nearly $3,000.

The present Trustees are: Elders -- L. S. Rodenhuis, A. Van Bree, A. Waterloo, J. Berkhof, H. Van der Ark and J. Steven. Deacons --- Timmer, S. Ruster, J. Van Luik, J. Kleinhesselink, H. Buter, T. Kraai. Sunday School Superintendent, A. Waterloo. Three associations meet the wants of the young, in addition to their regular weekly catechetical instruction, namely: A Young Men's Association, with G. DeHaan as President; a Young Ladies' Association, with J. Vandermey as President; and a Boys' Association, with G. Berkhof as President.


The denomination to which this organization belongs has clung tenaciously to the Holland language. For many years it had become more and more evident that, unless provision were made for worship and catechetical and Sunday school instruction in the English tongue, the church would inevitably lose a large proportion of its youth. In June, 1886, the Classis of Holland memorialized the General Synod on the subject, and favorable Synodical action was taken. The first step of the Synod was the appointment of Prof. G. Hemkes, the Rev. J. Post and Elder John Gelock, all of this city, a committee with discretionary power, and next it was resolved to elect a third Theological Professor for its Seminary in this city, who should be competent to give instruction in English, and should also preach in English here or elsewhere every Sabbath according to need. A majority of the originators of this movement met Dec. 16, 1886, in the Holland school building on Williams Street, which is the parochial school of the Spring Street church. There it was resolved to invite the Rev. John Y. DeBaun, of Hackensack, N. J., a minister of the True Protestant Dutch Church, to spend a few Sabbaths with them. He came, and after two Sabbaths of worship in Metropolitan Hall, a petition, dated January 7, 1887, was addressed to the Classis requesting separate organization as an English church. At the Classical Meeting of February 8, the request was granted, and the memorable victory won over deep-seated and time-honored antipathies and prejudices. The church was organized on the 25th of February, 1887, in the hall aforesaid, with seventeen communicants and nineteen baptized members. After Mr. De Baun's visit of one month, the Rev. John C. Voorhis, of Englewood, New Jersey, came and preached a few Sundays in the same place. Next they occupied Luce's Hall, on Monroe Street, and enjoyed the help of the Rev. John Westerveld, of New York, who was with them at the formal constitution of the new church. The Consistory and Board of Trustees then elected were: Elders-B. DeGraaf Sr., and A. J. Welmers. Deacons ---- J. C. Van Heulen and L. Drukker. A call was extended to the Rev. J. Y. DeBaun, which was accepted, and after a few weeks of supplies, mostly by the theological student E. Van den Berge, their first pastor was installed in May. They soon after bought two lots on Lagrave Street, one of which contained an old residence that was remodeled into a pleasant parsonage, and upon the other the work of church building was begun, so that the corner stone was laid November 8, 1887, and the sanctuary was dedicated with impressive ceremonies on Sunday, June 17, 1888. This structure is of solid brick, with a tower 80 feet high, built in modern style. Its auditorium, 48 by 64 feet, is tastefully frescoed and furnished, seats 550, and is directly connected with the lecture room that accommodates 200. This house of worship cost $12,000, and the total value of the property is $22,000, upon which the liabilities amount to $10,000. The seats are rented. The parish now includes 97 families, 450 souls, 92 of whom are communicants, and 180 Sunday School scholars, and their annual income is $3,000. John Scheffer is their Sunday School Superintendent, and the church officers, in 1889, in addition to the pastor, were: Elders -- Arend J. Welmers, Berend DeGraaf, Sr., John Gelock, Cornelius Verburg; Deacons -- Jas. C. Verheulen, Lucas Drukker, Cornelius Borrendamme.


In the summer of 1886 the Consistory of the Spring Street Holland Christian Reformed Church built a house of worship at the above mentioned point and held regular Sabbath services and catechetical exercises there. The professors and students of their denominational Theological Seminary, located here, assisted the Rev. J. H. Vos in supplying this part of his parish with preaching. The enterprise and chapel services were so successful that it was deemed wise to organize the seventy families of this congregation as a church, which was done March 8, 1887, under the above name, the Revs. J. H. Vos and L. J. Hulst, of this city, presiding. The following were chosen to constitute the Consistory and Board of Trustees: Elders -- John W. ten Haaf and Wm. Van Houw for the term of two years, and Sietse Bos and Harm Plesscher for one year; Deacons -- Hero Til and Wm. Olthouse for two years, and Roelof Gust and Jacob Groendyk for one year. The congregation now reports 180 families, 185 members, and, including all who belong to the parish, 770 souls. A parsonage adjoining the church at the close of 1887 was occupied by their own pastor, the Rev. W. R. Smidt, who accepted their call while in charge of a church in the Netherlands, and was installed December 23, 1887. Their property is valued at $6,000. The increase of the congregation, chiefly by immigration, has been such that in the winter of 1888-89 a gallery was built on three sides to furnish additional sittings, and in June it was resolved to enlarge the house of worship by an addition of 40 by 36 feet, which was dedicated September 26, and adds $1,000 to the value of their property. The present seating capacity is 600.


The origin of this church was stated in the history of its parent church on Alpine Avenue . On the 26th of May, 1889, the mission became independent through organization with seventy members and 270 parishioners dismissed from the mother church for this purpose. The Consistory and Board of Trustees then chosen, are: Elders -- H. Van der Ark, H. Buter, J. W. Dykstra. Deacons -- J. Loutenbach, J. Mazereuw, D. Bouwman. The present indebtedness is $1,600, but their outlook for growth is hopeful. The Rev. G. Broene entered upon the first pastorate of this church October 15, 1889. The latest statistics are: forty-eight families, sixty-seven members, and 283 parishioners.


In 1867 came to Grand Rapids directly from the Netherlands, Klaas Smit, the founder of this branch of the church. He was at first, and until 1873, identified with the Second Reformed church on Bostwick Street, but, not satisfied with the denomination, he withdrew, and about four years later was followed by a few others, and many from the Holland Christian Reformed Church on Spring Street. As Mr. Smit had been an "exhorter" in the old country, he was capable of leading this congregation, which then and for some years exceeded the number of 200. Regular Sunday services and catechising of the children (now forty), on that day, and of adults on a week-day evening, have been maintained all these years with Mr. Smit as their preacher and acting pastor. But no organization was formed before March, 1887, when the Rev. E. I . Meinders and Elder A. Van Drunen, of South Holland, Ill., came by invitation and constituted a church with fifty-five members. The name above given was adopted, and, though for many years borne and later discarded by the Holland Christian Reformed denomination, is now the legal title of only this and the Rev. Meinder's church at South Holland. The organization was completed by the election of K. Smit and Jacob Gouwe as Elders, and A. Smilde and I. Kol as Deacons. Their aged leader remains their minister in every part of the pastoral office except the administration of the holy sacraments, for which they rely upon the semiannual visits of the Rev. Meinders. The number of parishioners is about 100 at present, about one-half of the flock having recently transferred their relations to the New Holland Church on Turner Street, near Leonard Street. But the remainder are competent to sustain this work, their only expense being $300 per annum for the rent of the hall, and something for the care of their poor, whom they always wholly support. The officiating minister has performed his part as "a labor of love" gratuitously, his livelihood being gained by the toil of six days per week in his blacksmith shop, connected with his residence at 35 North Division Street.


A Roman Catholic Mission was located by the Rev. Frederic Baraga, in June, 1833, on the west bank of the river. Ere this the Rev. Gabriel Richard and other priests from Detroit had visited the Indian villages of this section, but Father Baraga, Bishop of Marquette from 1853 to 1868, was sent by Bishop Fenwick of Cincinnati to establish a permanent mission among the mixed population of that period. It then consisted of the Indian village of the Ottawa tribe, situated about where the L. S. & M. S. round-house now stands, a few trappers, and a score or two of early settlers. The missionary selected a tract of about sixty-five acres on the west bank of Grand River opposite the head of Island No. 4 (in later maps No. 3), and there erected a frame building for a chapel, and just north of it a small dwelling. Soon after, a building for church uses was secured on the east side. It stood a short distance above the present site of the Barnard House, near Waterloo Street. It was a large frame building, with dormer windows, was originally painted with yellow ochre, and figured prominently in the initiatory efforts of religious bodies. This was begun on the west side, moved across on the ice, and transferred to Father Baraga, but remained his only a year, after which services were held in a rude structure which he, with the assistance of some Indians, built on the west side. In the fall of 1834 he was assisted as rector of St. Andrew's parish, established in June, 1833, by the Rev. Andreias Viszoczky -- who succeeded him in 1835 -- a Hungarian, whose eminently useful career was here ended by his death, January 2, 1853, at the age of 55. In 1837 Louis Campau built a church for St. Andrew's parish on the southwest corner of Monroe and Division Streets, which was never deeded to the Bishop; yet the congregation worshiped there for some time. Later the pastor and flock were sheltered by the chapel of the Indian village, or a small, red school house on Division Street, between Bronson and Bridge Streets, or in private dwellings; but in 1847 the Bishop sold for $4,000 the lands years before granted by the Government for the benefit of the mission, and out of this fund Father Viszoczky bought the Richard Godfroy house and grounds on the southeast corner of Monroe and Ottawa Streets, now occupied by the Aldrich-Godfrey-White block. The price was $1,500. There a stone church was built in1849 by Robert Hilton, C. B. White, William C. Davidson and Ebenezer Anderson, the corner-stone being laid June 10. The house upon the lot became the priest's residence, and this was destroyed at 3 A.M., January I4, 1850, by a fire that proved most disastrous, for the records of the parish perished in the flames, the unfinished church building, which was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Peter Paul Lefevre, August 11,1850, was somewhat damaged, and, saddest of all, the aged mother and the sister of Father Kilroy, assistant priest, were consumed with the house, Father Viszoczky and a male servant having saved their lives only by jumping out of the second story. About 1,860 baptisms had been registered in the books thus lost. From that date for several months their worship was conducted in the largest room of Maxime Ringuette's house, later known as the Grand River House, on Waterloo Street, and this hospitality generously offered by the owner included a temporary shelter for the rector:

The succession of pastors from that time has been as follows: The Revs. Edward Van Pammel, rector, April 1853, to June, 1857; F. J. Van Erp, rector, September, 1857, to August, 1859, and associated with him November, 1857 to February, 1858, the Rev. H. Rievers, and January, 1858, to February, 1859, H. Quigley, D. D.; F. X. Pourrot, rector, February, 1859, to July, 1860; Thomas Brady, rector, July, 1860, to January, 1862; Joseph Kindikens, rector, January 17,1862, to December, 1865; B. J. Wermers, rector, December 27, 1865, to October, 1868; James C. Pulcher, rector, October 6, 1868, to spring of 1872, when he built and became pastor of St. James' Church, on the west side; P J. McManus, rector, June, 1872, until April 22, 1883, when St. Andrew's became the Cathedral of the then consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. It appears that the following have also been assistants: Fathers Pierce in 1837; Mills, 1837-38; Boehm, 1838-39; Lang, 1839, --; Kilroy, 1847-50; DeKuninck, 1850-53; Montard, 1857-58. The present Diocese was created May 19, 1882, by brief of Pope Leo XIII, and embraces that part of the Southern Peninsula of Michigan lying north of the south boundaries of Ottawa, Kent, Montcalm, Gratiot and Saginaw counties, and west of the east boundaries of Saginaw and Bay counties.

The first Bishop of this Diocese is the Rt. Rev. Henry Joseph Richter, who was promoted to his present office by Papal brief dated January 30, 1883, and consecrated April 22 of that year. Father McManus remained at the cathedral until his death from an accident, December 29, 1 885. Other assistants at St. Andrew's were the Rev. J. I. Lovett from the fall of 1883 to that of 1884; the Very Rev. C. J. Roclle, October, 1884, to September, 1887; the Rev. John Sanson, March 17, 1886, to February, 1888; the Rev. H. Frencken, appointed September, 1887, who now has charge of St. Joseph's (Holland) Church; at present, the Rev. Joseph Benning, appointed in February 1888; the Rev. Thomas L. Whalen, appointed June 24, 1884; and the Rev. John A. Schmitt, appointed in August, 1889. The fine church bell was purchased during Father Wermer's incumbency. In the winter of 1872-73 the grounds on Monroe Street were sold to the late Moses V. Aldrich for $56,000, and the stone of the old church was used for the foundations of the present edifice. Before this Father McManus had begun the erection of the $15,000 school house opposite the Cathedral, whose chapel on the second floor was blessed by Bishop Borgess, March 27,1874, when the old house was vacated, and here the services were held until the dedication of the new church by the same Bishop

December 19, 1876. This fine house of worship and its furniture cost $50,000. It has a seating capacity of 938 in the body of the church and 200 in the gallery. A few years since the residence was bought just south of the parochial school for the nine teachers -- Sisters of Charity -- who now instruct 446 pupils. More recently two lots were secured just south of the church, upon which the Episcopal residence, costing $15,000, is built. The aggregate value of this church property is about $110,000. From time to time large numbers of its parishioners have been dismissed to organize other congregations, leaving St. Andrew's present parish bounds as follows: All of this city East of Grand River and south of the Fifth ward, or Fairbanks Street, the north end of the city having been set off in August, 1888, to constitute St. Alphonsus parish; and yet the mother church retains from 3,500 to 4,000 "practical Catholic adults and Catholic children."

THE RT. REV. HENRY JOSEPH RICHTER was born on the 9th of April, 1838, at Neuen Kirchen, in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. After studying in the local schools and under a private teacher he came to the United States in 1854, and entered St. Paul's school in Cincinnati in the succeeding year. This was followed by five years of steady application in St. Xavier's, St. Thomas at Bardstown, and Mount St. Mary's College in Cincinnati. He went to Rome in 1860, entering the American College, and, winning his Doctor's cap in 1865, was ordained on the 10th of June by Cardinal Patrizi. Returning to Cincinnati in October, he filled the chair of Dogma, Philosophy and Liturgy, in Mount St. Mary's Seminary, and a year later was made Vice-President of that institution. In 1870 he founded the church of St. Laurence and made it a thriving parish; was Chaplain to the Sisters of Charity at Mount St. Vincent's Academy, and a member of the Archbishop's Council, and one of the Committee of Investigation of the Diocese. When His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII, established the Diocese of Grand Rapids on the 19th of May, 1882, the Rev. Dr. Richter was selected for the new See. He was consecrated and enthroned in St. Andrew's, Grand Rapids, on the 22d of April, 1883, by the Most Rev. William Henry Elder, of Cincinnati. At the beginning of his administration Bishop Richter found thirty-six Priests, thirty-three churches with resident pastors, and seventeen parochial schools with 2,867 pupils, out of a population of 50,000 Catholics. At present there are in his Diocese seventy-five Priests, fifty- six churches with resident pastors, and thirty-eight schools with 7,244 pupils. At his request the Franciscan Fathers, the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and of the Most Holy Redeemer, have established houses in the Diocese. Various new charitable institutions have been established, and substantial churches have been built and are in the course of erection in different parts of the Diocese. Having taken part in the Second Provincial Council of Cincinnati, in 1882, as one of the secretaries, he assisted as Bishop at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, in 1884. In the spring of 1885 he made his first official visit at Rome, and attended the Provincial Council of Cincinnati in 1889. Bishop Richter is of a very modest, quiet and retiring disposition. He has always had the reputation of being a very learned and able theologian. A man of principle and energy in the discharge of his duty, he always seeks the most unostentatious manner of performing it. Combining an unusual activity with such high talents he labors with untiring zeal at the important work entrusted to his care.


This parish, set off from St. Andrew's in 1856, and formally organized in August, 1857, with thirty-three members, and now including about 1,000 confirmed members, embraces the entire Roman Catholic German population of the city, and about fifteen families living outside. In 1857 a number of lots were bought on First Street, between Turner and Broadway, upon which they erected a frame house of worship on the site of the present parsonage. Their first Rector was the Rev. Maurice Marco who came in October, 1857, and remained until July, 1861. His successors until the present time have been: The Revs. Ferdinand Allgayer, from September, 1861, till February, 1864; Laurentis Schreiner, from February, 1864, till April 1864; Henry Berhorst, from December, 1864, till May, 1870; John George Ehrenstrasser, from June 1870, to December, 1886, and the present pastor, the Rev. Joseph Schwick, since March, 1887. The original thirty-three members were J. Tinkeler, T. Berles, L. Martin, T. Wurzburg, F. Keiser, Wm. Hake, F. Vogt, S. Kleiber, F. Eikhof, A. Theile, Wm. Koch, John Hake, K. Wurzburg, F. Wurzburg, T. Rusche, N. Arlet, Wm. Tennes, N. Alt, Joseph Clemens, Joseph Berles, B. Orth, T. Scheiren, H. Hauser, M. Stange, John Grune, Conrad Kleiber, M. Backer, C. Schenkelberg, G. Kunnen, K. Bruer, John Schmidt, F. Milenbring, John Bock. The immigration of Germans to our city was quite large at an early day, and this church became very strong in numbers. In 1863 it opened its parochial school with eighteen scholars, and in 1873 laid the corner-stone of its large brick edifice, which was consecrated in October, 1874, by the Rt. Rev. Caspar W. Borgess, then Bishop of this Diocese. This house of worship has a seating capacity of 600. In August, 1884, the building of the spire was begun, which was completed during the following winter, and the edifice, furnished, is now valued at $50,000. The old church building was moved to the corner of Broadway and converted into a church school, which has grown into a strong institution, being now taught by three Sisters de Notre Dame, who came August 6, 1866, from Milwaukee, Wis., and occupied the Sisters' House bought for them in May of that year for $1,125. It is situated on Broadway, north of the school. The church also owns a house and lot on Turner Street, next north of its house of worship.

The Rev. Father Ehrenstrasser, who built the present church, in 1882 bought seventeen acres of ground situated on West Leonard Street, opposite Greenwood Cemetery, and gave the same to his parish for a cemetery. It was consecrated according to the ritual in April, 1882, under the name of Mt. Calvary, and is now, with its many improvements, and by reason of its natural advantages, a beautiful "God's acre.'' Here amidst the graves of hundreds of those who loved him, lie the remains of Father Ehrenstrasser, whose death on Dec. 6, 1886, was deeply lamented by his flock who esteemed and loved him as a good and faithful Priest. He was born at Innsbruck, Austria, July 14, 1835, ordained July 25, 1859, became assistant Priest in Anyath, Tyrol, till 1864, and after spending six months in the American College in Louvain, Belgium, he came to this country. Here he was Rector of St. Mary's and St. Joseph's churches of Adrian, Mich., and from there came to St. Mary's in Grand Rapids to serve the remaining years of his life.

The church is now in a flourishing condition, having a membership of about 1,000. Its property is worth no less than $60,000, and its annual income is about $3,700, which exceeds its expenditures and leaves the parish without debt. The present officers are: Fr. Egon Pulte, Charles Schmidt, Anthony Brogger and Andrew Batt. The names of its societies are: St. Joseph's Sodality, Huber Weiden, President; Men's Sodality, Clemens Schenkelberg, President; Ladies' Society, Mrs. Elizabeth Theile President; Young Ladies' Society, Miss Alice Hickey, President.


This parish, including all who are of the Roman Catholic faith on the west side of the river, excepting its German and Polish adherents, and the English speaking people of Walker, Tallmadge and Alpine townships, was organized in 1872, with about 150 families that had belonged to the mother church, St. Andrew's. In 1867 a number of lots were purchased, which have gradually been covered with the elegant buildings erected by this flourishing church. Their first pastor, an energetic and popular rector, enjoyed the privilege of building their house of worship, whose corner-stone was laid July 20, 1870, the dedication with imposing ceremonies following in July, 1872. This fine edifice seats about 750 persons, and has cost, completely furnished, some $45,000 A pastoral residence was added in 1885, situated on a lot adjoining the church on the east side, at a cost of $3,200. The following year the parochial school, a solid brick building, capable of accommodating 300 pupils, was erected just west of the church, at an expense of $3,500. This institution is under the direct supervision of the pastor, and is taught by four religious Sisters de Notre Dame, of Milwaukee, Wis., for whom a home was built in 1888, west of the school, at a cost of $3,000. It is a solid brick building, 28 by 54 feet, and two stories high. The average attendance of scholars is 225. Father Pulcher had the satisfaction of successful leadership in all these improvements, whose property value is estimated at $69,200, upon which there is a debt of $11,900. Though absent from this charge from 1876 until January, 1881, during which time the Rev. G. Limpens was its rector, it will be observed that all the aforementioned steps of progress w ere taken during the ministry and administration of the Rev. James C. Pulcher, now in charge, and without ministerial assistant. In justice to Father Limpens, it must be stated that his poor health was a serious hindrance to his work during the years he ministered to this parish. The ordinary income for the year is $3,000, which is raised by its 300 families, 800 persons of whom are communicants, the number of adherents being about 1,600, including the membership. About one-third of them reside in the rural part of the parish.


This parish includes all the Polish population of this faith, which is practically all of this nationality now in our city, to which there is an average annual accession of some thirty families. In 1880 a meeting was held by this people in the school house of St. Mary's, at which Albert S. Damskey, Anton Stiller and Thomas Kolozinski were commissioned to visit the Rt. Rev. Bishop Borgess, of Detroit, and obtain authority to organize and build a Polish church, its name to he the St. Adelbertus Church. The Episcopal approval granted, the organization was effected with fifty charter members, and A. Stiller, Albert Andrezejewski and Frank Czerwinski were elected as officers. They worshiped in St. Mary's Church until the spring of 1882; meanwhile an efficient building committee urged forward the erection of their own edifice, whose corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies in June, 1881, by Father J. G. Ehrenstrasser, of St. Mary's, and Father Gutski, of Milwaukee, and it was dedicated in the spring of 1882, by the Rev. O. Vincents Barzyuski, of Chicago. This house of worship was 45 by go feet, and capable of seating about 400. The membership has now grown to the number of 1,000, the parish includes 1,500 souls, and the addition of property and facilities for church work has kept pace with this numerical increase. Their entire property, valued at $25,000, consists of four lots upon which are grouped the church, parsonage, two school houses and Sisters' house. The school was opened in 1884, and has now as teachers four Sisters of the St. Franciscan Order, with 250 scholars. The annual revenues of the church are about $4,000, and it has no debt, not even after the expenditure of $5,000 upon the enlargement of the edifice, which doubles the seating capacity and gives it rank with some of the finest church buildings of the city. This addition of 35 by 60 feet, and remodeling of the church, were completed in December, 1887, and its formal consecration took place January 1, 1888, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Richter of Grand Rapids conducting the ceremonies, assisted by Father O. V. Barzyoski, of Chicago. The list of pastors who have served this charge is short, to-wit: The Revs. T. Casimir Jablonowski from April, 1883, to February, 1884; Marion Matkowski, February, 1884 to March, 1886, and Simon Ponganis, the present incumbent, since March, 1886. The Board of Trustees are: Philipp Banaszewiez, Leon Centilli, Peter Swiontek, Anton Ciesleweiz and John Kuzniak. The church has two Ladies' Societies and the following benevolent associations: St. Adelbert's, organized in 1873, President, Thomas Kolozinski; St. Hyacinth, organized in 1886, President, Michael Kowalski and the St. Casimir Young Men's Society' organized in 1885, President, Valentine Szkuta. It owns no cemetery, but buries its dead in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. the consecrated ground belonging to St. Mary's parish.


This has a Belgian and Holland constituency, and was organized in the summer of 1887, with some eighty families as parishioners. The corner-stone of the church was laid Sept. 14, 1887. It has a temporary house of worship, designed for a church school. It is a two-story building, 42 by 74 feet, the lower story containing two school rooms, and apartments for teachers. The formal consecration took place Feb. 10, 1889. The Rev. H. Frencken is its pastor.


At the request of Bishop Richter, made of the Superior General of Rome, the order of the Holy Redeemer was introduced in his Diocese, and its representatives placed in charge of this new parish, created in August, 1888. The Rev. Theodore Lamy was appointed by his Superior August 21, 1888, came to his new field on the 23d, and was joined one week later by the Rev. Terence Clarke. Their parish includes all of the East side north of Fairbanks Street, whose Catholic families now number 160, to which sixty residing in the country must be added. Of these 600 are adult communicants, and 175 Sunday school scholars. The present grounds were forthwith bought, and preparations made to build. Sept. 2, the first service was held in one of the large rooms of the unfinished Orphan Asylum on adjoining grounds. Subscription cards then issued have already secured nearly $3,000. Patrick Finn's offer of the use of his hall on Plainfield Avenue was gratefully accepted, and from Sept. 16, 1888, until the occupancy of the present chapel, the congregation worshiped there. In October the corner-stone was laid of this parochial school house. It is 100 by 54 feet, the upper story of which is a chapel, blessed and occupied Jan. 6, 1889. The cost of this building, unfinished, is $9,400.


The Salvation Army came to this city in November, 1883, and rented a room on Pearl Street until the spring of 1887 when they removed to a building in Waterloo Street, which had for many years been used for a Variety Theatre, and which they now occupy. The first party that came to Grand Rapids consisted of one male and three female officers, and in their hands the beneficial results of their work among the lower classes of citizens was very apparent. When, in the early history of their work here, they created a great sensation and were obnoxious to multitudes and greatly annoyed by them, many of the leading evangelical ministers of the city publicly defended them, and appealed effectively to the city authorities in their behalf. James Lowe, our townsman. has from the day of their coming, and even before, been to them a firm, brave and most generous friend and counselor often wielding his pen in their defense through the city press. The following statistics were compiled by him, with his inferences therefrom:

An examination of the records of the Police Court showed that the number of persons arrested for being drunk on our Streets was, in 1880, 701; in 1881, 728; in 1882, 1,104, and in 1883, 1,259 --  increasing at an average rate of 20 per cent. per annum. In 1884, the first year of the Army's work here, the number of such arrests fell to 894, a decrease of 30 per cent. and in 1885 to 805, a further decrease of 10 per cent., though the population increased at the rate of 20 per cent per annum.

Their noisy and demonstrative Street processions were objectionable to some of our citizens, and parties of them were several times arrested and imprisoned for persisting in them. But a case was appealed to the Supreme Court in 1886, and a decision was given at Lansing that they had a perfect right under our National Constitution to make these parades, since which they have been allowed to hold them without let or hindrance. The aim of the Army is to reach and reform the classes that are outside and beyond the influence of the churches, and their modes of operation are devised to this end. In the early part of 1888 the Army opened a home on the corner of Pine and Second Streets, for the rescue and reclamation of fallen women which is under the management of two female officers. This work has not been without success, but it has not been in operation long enough, or its object sufficiently known among the class for whose benefit it is intended, to show a great result.


Soon after the occurrences at Hydesville, near Rochester, N. Y., in 1849, popularly known as the "Rochester rappings," from which Modern Spiritualism took its rise, a few people in Grand Rapids began to hold meetings for investigating the then novel phenomena. "Circles," or "seances," became frequent, and occasionally a teacher of the new faith came along, and there would he a series of lectures -- at first in Concert Hall, then in Luce's, Mills & Clancy's, or Collins Hall, or later in Squier's Opera House. Ahout 1862 an association of Spiritualists and "liberal thinkers" was formed, under the name of Religio-Philosophical Societv. Of this, in 1865, Wright L. Coffinberry was President, and during several years Harry H. Ives was prominent in the management. Under various names and organizations, advocates of this faith have since kept up meetings, with some degree of regularity, but not without intermissions from occasional apathy and lack of funds for active work. Henry W. Boozer, for thirty-five years an earnest student of Spiritualism, from the beginning has taken steady interest in their efforts. Among visiting lecturers in the earlier steps of the movement are remembered S. B. Brittan, Mrs. M. J. Kutz, Selden E. Finney, Moses Hull, A. B. Whiting. Belle Scougal and Mrs. T. W. Parry; and among local "mediums,'' or clairvoiants, Mrs. Sarah Graves, Mrs. Mary K. Boozer, Mrs. M. J. Squiers, and others. The "First Society of Spiritualists of Grand Rapids" was organized March 30, 1868, with Ira Jones presiding, Ira G. Tompkins, Secretary, and John Ball, H. H. Ives, John Butler, E. W. Barns, Mrs. E. Morey and others, as Directors. A second society was afterward formed, and then, June 29,1879, the two were united under the name of 'The Spiritual and Liberal Association of Grand Rapids" of this Mrs. Sarah Graves vas one of the Trustees. They held meetings at Good Templars' Hall, on Pearl Street, in 188l-83: Dr. W. O. Knowles, President. The Science Hall Lecture Association was organized in October, 1884, for "promoting and diffusing a knowledge of the philosophy and phenomena of Spiritualism.'' Its lectures were held in Science Hall, at 59-61 Canal Street, under the management of Joseph H. Tompkins, H. H. Ives, W. K. Wheeler, and a few others: speakers generally being secured from abroad. Another association called "The Conversational," since better known as the "Conference Meeting," was formed at No. 60 Monroe Street, February 25, 1886, Where its stated meetings are still held, by Mrs. Julia A. Stowe, in Indepenclence Hall. A second Religio-Philosophical Society was organized May 4, 1888 J. B. Josselyn, President; meeting first at 74 Waterloo Street and later at Good Templars' Hall on South Division Street. "The Spiritual Union of Grand Rapids" is the latest society in this field, organized April 26, 1889, for "scientific, spiritual and intellectual culture," and numbering forty or more active members. Its meetings are held in Kennedy's Block, corner of Waterloo and Ionia Streets. Prominent among active workers in this faith are L. V. Moulton, C. C. Howell, Charles A. Andrus, W. E. Reid, L. H. Austin, Mrs. C. Winch, Mrs. John Lindsey, with many others, besides those herein before mentioned. The Spiritualists estimate some 400 adherents and in all 3,000 believers of their faith among the city residents. The Michigan State Association of Spiritualists was organized in Grand Rapids, by articles filed June 6, 1884: Samuel Marvin and Sarah Graves, of this city, being among its officers. Its annual meetings are held here.


In 1847 the Hon. Lucius Lyon, a man of rare ability and of much prominence in the early history of Michigan, awakened such an interest here in the writings of Emanuel Swedenhorg and the doctrines of the New Church as to lead to the formation of a New Church association, at a meeting in the Court House, Jan. 18, 1849. The articles adopted were signed by about seventy-five persons, and eight days later Chas. Shepard was chosen President, Welcome Yale, Vice President, and A. C. Westlake, Secretary and Treasurer. At a meeting April 4, 1849, George Coggeshall, W. L. Coffinberry and Robert Hilton were appointed a soliciting committee; and Robert Hilton, Robert I. Shoemaker and David Elurnett a building committee. June 11, 1849, the first Trustees were elected as follows: Chas. Shepard, Robert Hilton, Robert I. Shoemaker, George Coggeshall. Harry Dean. August 27, 1849, a constitution was adopted, and in 1850 the Hon. Lucius Lyon, then of Detroit, gave them the present church site, 169 by 50 feet. Then 106 persons subscribed $1,616.50. Building was commenced Oct. 7. 1850. and the church completed and opened for service April 4, 1852.

Henry Weller, an Englishman of brief residence here, an able and interesting speaker, who had been employed as minister since April 30, 1850, was the means of building up the church until his last year of service, when he was the means of nearly breaking up the society, through an assertion of claims as a teacher, which alarmed and dispersed the congregation. A few remained and suspended Mr. Weller, and reported his conduct to the next Annual Convocation of New Church Societies, by which he was unanimously deposed, Feb. 22, 1853. The effect was such as to suspend activity until 1858-59, during which the late James Miller a layman in the church, conducted services, and in 1861-62 the Rev. George Smith was pastor, but the society was too weak to support a minister, and after this enjoyed only occasional services, a legal existence being maintained to hold the property.  The present Trustees are Charles Shepard, Lyman D. Norris, Jacob Quintus, Robert I. Shoemaker and George W. Thayer.  Officers -- Chas. Shepard, President; Mark Norris, Vice-President; George W. Thayer, Secretary and Treasurer.

The present membership is twenty, owning a property valued at $15,000 or more. They have expended about $1,200 in refitting the building for the resumption of worship and active church life, which was begun Feb. 17, 1889, the Rev. George H. Dole having then entered upon his pastorate of the society. The sittings number 125, are free, and there is room for seventy-five additional seats. The parish includes about thirty persons, and the Sunday school enrolls fifteen scholars.

Of the original seventy-five members, the following still live in the city, and adhere to the society: Mrs. E. W. Sligh, Dr. Chas. Shepard, Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Cook, Miss Lucretia Lyon, Robert I. Shoemaker, C. P. Calkins, Billius Stocking. George M. Barker, and Mrs. James Miller.

This house of worship, so little occupied by the owners, was leased for many years to different churches. The Second Congregational Church, under the Rev. James Ballard, its founder and pastor, made it their home from 1852 to 1856, when it disbanded. Here the Westminster Presbyterian Church was organized in 1861, and housed until 1865. Next the Christian Reformed was there formed Nov. 30, 1870, and sheltered till early in 1872. February 26, 1872, a Free Will Baptist Church was here organized, but fared like the first mentioned, hence we relate in brief its short history. Its articles of association were signed by Asa Horton, Wm. H. Jones, John Coy, James Markham, and C. Dexter Cilley. They called a minister from the East, who was at first disposed to accept, but soon disappointed the congregation consisting of twenty-five or thirty members, and an audience of 150 to 200. A chosen chorus, of which Mrs. Herman A. Toren, then Miss Julia Kridler, was a member and also a member of the church, served very acceptably. Neighboring clergymen of their persuasion supplied the pulpit for about a year, but the enterprise languished, and the Church finally disbanded, several of the members joining the Alpine church of same views. Early in 1875, and until Sept. 18, 1887, we find the Disciples there, after which the house was vacant until used by the society owning it. For about twenty-three years it was, therefore, a source of income to an inactive society, and witnessed the birth of five churches and the death of two of them within its walls.


In the spring of 1883 there came to this city from St. Louis, Mo., Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Udell, who in their former place of residence had been most zealous and active members of one of the leading Unitarian Churches in the land. They found a few of congenial views here, notably Mrs. L. D. Putnam, who longed for the enjoyment of religious services in harmony with their liberal views. An inquiry resulted in hiring the Ladies' Literary Club Rooms on Pearl Street, where their first meeting was held in October of that year, the Rev. Mr. Forbush, of Detroit, having come to preach for them. On the Sunday following the Rev. Mr. Conner, of Saginaw, conducted the service, and the Rev. J. T. Sunderland of Ann Arbor, supplied the third Sunday. The audiences were so encouraging as to suggest an effort to secure a stated supply; accordingly the Rev. Henry Powers, of Manchester, N. H., was engaged for one month, for the sum of $100. The leading supporters of the enterprise, at this time, in addition to the aforementioned, were Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Blodgett, Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Clay, Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Gunn, Mrs. D. M. Benjamin, Mr. George C. Kimhall and L. D. Putnam, and later also Mr. and Mrs. James Blair. The new minister advised that Powers' Opera House he rented and a choir and full orchestra engaged as a special attraction to the services. The consent of the infant society was granted, and with music costing $1,400 per annum, they occupied the Opera House for two years, their pastor or stated supply meanwhile preaching what purported to be Unitarian doctrines. He also prevailed on D. M. Benjamin, D. P. Clay, A. B. Watson, George C. Kimball, W. S. Gunn, D. A. Blodgett, William T. Powers, G. N. Brigham and C. S. Udell in the spring of 1884, to purchase a site on Fulton Street, near the corner of Lagrave, for a church edifice. These gentlemen of ample means unofficially undertook to push this matter. Plans and specifications were drawn funds were solicited, and a considerable sum was spent in laying the foundation walls, which remain there until this day. The project soon fell through, owing mainly to dissatisfaction with their minister, which necessitated his removal. The society thereupon rented the W.C.T.U. rooms on Pearl Street, near the river, and kept up the Sunday School, Mr. C. S. Udell acting as Superintendent. For a season they had no regular services, but in November, 1885, engaged the Rev. John E. Roberts for one year and held their meetings in the Hebrew Synagogue. The audiences that had flocked to the Opera House did not return; the congregation remained small in numbers In August 1886, Mr. Roberts accepted a call to Kansas City, since which their congregation has met in the Ladies' Literary Club Rooms, on Sheldon Street, where the Rev. Mr. Cook supplied them for three Sundays; but the dwindling interest and attendance reduced them to such feebleness that they held only a morning lay reading service, and no Sunday School, with an occasional missionary supply from the American-Unitarian Association. The number of those still attached to the society as reliable supporters does not exceed twenty-five.


Beginning in 1847, and for many years afterward, the Holland immigration to this part of our land and to our city was almost without exception from the Christian Reformed Church in the Netherlands. Later on there was a gradual accession of those who came from the State or Established Church, most of whom were anti-Calvinistic and "liberal." Yet, for want of any congenial organization and of a sufficient number of rationalistic people, nearly all residing here identified themselves with the orthodox Reformed churches of the city. In 1875 a combination of the liberal element was agitated, for the time being, hut in vain. This movement, however, bore fruit in the formation of a Social Circle, that held weekly religious meetings in the Universalist church. The next step of significance was taken April 12, 1885, when seven earnest advocates of their views invited all persons of kindred convictions to meet with them in the same church on the 19th of April. Thus twenty joined them, and it was decided to found a Church. A Board of Directors was at once elected, and the Rev. Dr. Kuenen, of Leiden, Holland, was, by correspondence, requested to select a minister for them. Meanwhile lay preaching by some of the members kept up the regular services, and the attendance increased throughout the summer, the audiences being from 200 to 300 during August. Solicitation for the support of a pastor was rewarded, with the result at once communicated to Prof. Kuenen, that they could promise a salary of at least $1,000. The Sunday school, organized in the spring, grew to an attendance of fifty. On the 1st of September they were cheered by Dr. Kuenen's cablegram informing them that the Rev. F.W.N. Hugenholtz, of Santpoort, a pastor and editor of a religious weekly, had accepted their call and would soon embark for America. He was introduced to his congregation by the Rev. Charles Fluhrer, Dec. 6, and preached his first sermon in the church where all their meetings had been held. During the first week of January, 1886, a constitution and creed were adopted, which are of a pronounced Unitarian type. Their first year was eventful and prosperous, the membership increased to 253, and their commodious and pleasant edifice was built at a cost of $7,500, and dedicated Dec. 22, 1886. Aid was received from friends in the old country, but notably from the General Unitarian Conference held in the summer of that year at Saratoga, N. Y., to which their pastor personally appealed, with such success that the sum of $1,000 was immediately collected and placed in his hands. In 1887 Mr. Hugenholtz was formally acknowledged as a Unitarian minister. and his church enrolled as "The First Unitarian Holland Church in the United States." Not long after occupying their own house, a Hamilton Vocalion organ completed the furnishing of the Church. January 13, 1887, their first society, entitled "Kennis and Kunst" (Science and Art), was formed, whose aim is the literary and scientific education and general culture of its members, now numbering 107, the gratuitous instruction of an evening school during the winter, and other laudable work in 1888 the society of Willing Workers began its useful career, having the following four departments: social, educational, missionary and charitable. Some of its first work was the opening of a sewing school, a summer school for Holland instructions, an English school for recent immigrants, and a gymnasium for boys. The present strength of the congregation appears from the statistics: The Sunday school enrolls 150 scholars the church 350 members, and the parish includes 147 families; the annual revenues amount to $2,500, and there is no debt. The 500 seats are free, but it is made obligatory upon all members to contribute for the support of the congregation, unless excused. The first official Board was composed of P. VanWaurooy, President; P. H. Eleveld, Secretary; H. M. Buhrmann, Treasurer; Wm. Brummeler, S. Van der Menlen, J. Gruber, T. Venema. The officers are (1889): H. M. Buhrmann, President; E. DeVries, Secretary; M. B. Kimm Treasurer; S. Van der Meulen, J. Gruber, A. J. Ten Kaa, Wm. Brummeler. The church publishes a Holland monthly, Stemmen uit de Vrije Hollandsche Gemeente of which the pastor is the editor. It is devoted to the defense and diffusion of liberal ideas, has a good subscription list, and a considerable number of copies are, distributed gratuitously as a part of its missionary work. In order to interest and hold their young people, the evening service has been conducted in English since the 17th of November, 1889


The Missionary Board of this denomination, with headquarters at Dayton, O., sent out the Rev. H. S. Shaeffer in December, 1889, to locate a mission in the southern suburb of Grand Rapids.  His labors commenced December 15, in the South Grand Rapids school house, near South Division street.  On Sunday, January 19, an organization was effected with twenty-three charter members, among whom are the following: George Kirtland, George W. Dillenback and wife, George Wykes and family, George Lohman and wife, E. C. Poole and wife, and Mr. I. J. Bear.  The Sunday School was also started with an enrollment of 100, George W. Dillenback, Superintendent.  The infant organization is at present aided by the Missionary Board, its first year's estimated current expenses being about $1,000; but they expect soon to erect a house of worship to cost from $6,000 to $10,000.

Pearl Street, Between Ionia and Ottawa

The founder of this society was the Rev. H. L. Hayward, who came to this city in April, 1858, and preached in Luce's Hall one year. A society was then organized, but after his departure it was without a pastor until the spring of 1862. At this time the Rev. A. W. Mason began his pastorate of two years here, during which the Sunday School was organized. From 1864 to 1868 no stated services were held, there being only occasional preaching; but the society, resolved to provide better equipment, built the present edifice in 1868, and then secured Rev. L. J. Fletcher as their pastor, who remained until June, 1870. His ministry successful, and rendered the enlargement of the new building necessary. A formal church organization was effected with 125 members, and the following "Confession of Faith" adopted:

I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destiny of mankind.
II. We believe that there is one God, whose nature is love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.
III. We believe holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that believers ought to be careful to maintain order and practice good works, for these things are good and profitable unto men.

The Rev. W. C. Brooks succeeded Mr. Fletcher in June, 1870, and was in turn succeeded by Rev. Richmond Fisk, D.D., in 1872, who was exceedingly popular as an eloquent orator, but fled the city in November, 1874, confessing himself guilty of unlawful amours. The present incumbent, the Rev. Charles Fluhrer, D.D., entered upon his pastorate in October, 1875, and is highly esteemed by his people. The society has gradually attained considerable strength, embracing 125 families, 125 members, and 273 Sunday School scholars, and raises annually the sum of $3,000. The central location of its property has enhanced its value as estimated to the handsome figure of $20,000, upon which there is no encumbrance. The seating capacity is 700. Charles W. Garfield has for some years been the Superintendent of the Sunday School. A large Young People's Club, call the "Fortnightly," Walter R. Meech, President, and a Ladies' Industrial Band, Mrs. H. M. Reynolds, President, are connected with the parish; the latter having a "South Branch," of which Mrs. William I. Blakely is President. The church is officered as follows: E. A. Treadway, President; James A. Hunt, Clerk, William H. Anderson, Treasurer Henry R. Naysmith, Henry Spring, William Alden Smith, Christian D. Bertsch, S. F. Aspinwall, and J. K. V. Agnew, Trustees.


This congregation is connected with the "Evangelical Association of North America," a denomination sometimes designated as the German Methodist Church, because it is Arminian in creed, very similar to the Methodist Episcopal Church in government, and its membership chiefly German or of German descent. In some parts of the land it is popularly known as the "Albright Methodists," the Rev. Jacob Albright, of Pennsylvania, having founded this denomination in 1800. Its membership has grown to 142,000. The branch in this city owes its origin to the labors of several ministers of this faith living near, especially to the influence of the Rev. H. Schuknecht, of Leighton, Allegan county, Michigan, who organized the church, May 1, 1883, with nineteen members. From this number there were chosen at the time of incorporation: Trustees -- Nicholaus Acher, Jacob L. Holtzman and Josiah Thoman. The congregation worshiped regularly in Koch's Hall on West Bridge Street, and enjoyed the ministrations of neighboring clergy of their Association until the Rev. L. V. Soldan was settled as their pastor in April, 1884. The building of a house of worship was at once begun, the corner-stone being laid Augllst 3, 1884, by the Revs. H. Schneider, of Ionia, and L. Brown, of Caledonia, and on the 19th of October, 1884, the people rejoiced in the dedication of an edifice of brick, capable of seating 350 worshipers, when their Bishop, Th. Bowman, of Allentown, Pa., conducted the services. When the Rev. N. Wunderlich assumed the pastorate in April, 1885, he found the encumbrance of $2,000 a very serious drawback. His successor, now in charge, the Rev. H. Schneider, who began his labors among them in April, T887, appealed to the Michigan Conference, and in the spring of 1888 that body paid one-half of the debt of $2,000, and loaned the church $500. With such relief, the society has nearly paid its indebtedness and steadily grows in numbers. The present membership is sixty, with the same member of Sunday School scholars, of whom N. Acher is Superintendent. The following gentlemen constitute the present Board of Trustees: F. Monike, J. Schatz, N. Acher, N. Greb, Louis Becker. The only property is the church and site, valued at $4,000, and their annual expenditures are about $800.

As far as practicable, the foregoing histories were brought up to the close of 1889, and even later in some instances.

Besides the organizations described in this chapter, there are, in this city, a few small religious circles, independent an unorganized, "without a local habitation and a name."

Installed pastors should in every instance be included in the list of their church officers, and are generally presiding officers.

The Roman Catholics usually include in their membership "all practical Catholic adults and Catholic children."

The seventeen Reformed churches, with 12,790 adherents, hold the same standards, and, with two exceptions, worship in the Holland language, and, according to their views of church government and the Act providing therefor, their Elders and Deacons constitute the Boards of Trustees.

All churches that report no Sunday school scholars, instruct their children in parochial schools or catechetical classes.

Besides the church edifices proper enumerated in the accompanying statistical table, there are four mission chapels, which have been described in connection with their respective churches.

The Young People's Societies of Christian Endeavor designated by the initials Y. P. S. C. E. -- nine in number, are connected with various churches, have an aggregate membership of 600, and jointly constitute a Christian Endeavor Union, of which the Rev. Thomas G. Smith is President.

Document Source: Baxter, Albert, History of the City of Grand Rapids, New York and Grand Rapids: Munsell & Company, Publishers, 1891. (Name Index)
Location of Original: Various.
Transcriber: Jennifer Godwin
Created: 6 August 2000