Early Records, 1863-1885

Alaska is located in Section 3 of Caledonia Township, 16 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. (1870) The village contains a flouring mill, 2 furniture factories, 2 saw mills, 2 general stores, 1 hardware store, 1 boot & shoe store, 4 physicians, 2 lawyers, 1 wagon shop, 1 hotel, 2 saloons, 1 tin shop, 1 blacksmith shop and 1 furniture store. The village of Alaska has been mentioned as an outgrowth from the enterprise of Mr. Brown. It is located on the Thornapple River. There is a Baptist Church built in 1867.

The church and area were called Brownville originally.

Brownville, September, 1863 - "We the undersigned do hereby agree to walk together as a gospel church after the rules and regulations of the Baptist Faith and order."

Rev. Charles Clutes, Pastor Pheba A. White

Levi White Jane Jamison

Austin Sears Harriet Daniels

Chancy Sears Mary Barras

Daniel Dunham, Deacon(died,1869) Hariet Sears (dead)

Abram Hawkins (expeled) ______ Dunham

_____ Wakeman (died) Fanny Brown

Joana Wood (expeled) Sapronia Hawkins (dead)

Roxana Wakeman(dismissed by letter)

Said Rev. Charles Clutes continued as Pastor of this church until December of 1863 and recommended the church to engage the services of Rev. T. L. Pillsbury who commenced his labours as pastor soon after. The church was admitted as a member of the Grand River Baptist Association, September, 1864. Elder Pillsbury continued to labour with acceptance untill April, 1866 when he resigned and Rev. D. Osborn was employed as pastor.

Names of members of the church-

Wm. H. Brown (dead) Pheba A. White

Robt. McArthur (dismissed by letter) Harriet Daniels(dismissed by letter)

Levi White Jane Jamison (dead)

Rev. T. L. Pillsbury(dism.by letter) Mary Barras

Mr. Whitman (died) _____ Dunham

Daniel Dunham (died) Harriet Sears (died)

Austin Sears Fanny Brown

Chancey Sears Roxana/Joana Wakeman(dism.by letter)

Abram Hawkins (expelled) Jane McArthur (dism.by letter)

_____ Wakeman (died) Elizabeth Robinson

Joana Wood (expelled) Spratt Donaldson(dism.by letter)

Rev. D. Osborn (dism.by letter) Sarah Rosenkrans

John Schiedel & wife(expeled) Philip Diefonbaker & wife

Napoleon Daniels(expelled,Dec.31,1870) Hariet Plater (dism.by letter)

T. R. Harris (expelled) Francis Brannon

Wm. A. Newson (expelled) M. M. Pillsbury (dism.by letter)

Horace Newson (expelled) Ida Osborne (dism.by letter)

Spencer Alden (expelled) Ella Osborne (dism.by letter)

George Hull (expelled) Lillian Osborn (dism.by letter)

Abram Hembling (expelled) Anna Osborn (dism.by letter)

George Plater (dism.by letter) Lucinda Clark (expelled)

Peter Robinson Mercella Potter (expelled)

Almond Smith (expelled) Adelade Jamison

Edwin Dunham Ada Dunham (dism.by letter)

Harvey Fisher (dism.by letter) Emila Newson (expelled)

Levi W. Fisher (dism.by letter) Elva Newson (expelled)pg 47)

Aron W. Fisher (expelled) Ida Newson (expelled)

M. Buell (expelled) Hannah Newson (dead)

A. Calkins Jane M. Coon (dism.by letter)

Hugh Jamison Fanny Plater (dism.by letter)

Thomas Daggett Elizabeth Fisher (died

George Lynn (expelled) Mary J. Buell

Huron? Huff (dism.by letter) Julia Jolis (expelled)pg 48

Ruben huff (expelled)pg 47 Delphana Newhall

John Lovejoy (dism.by letter) Anna Brannon

George L. Buell (expeled) Jane Daggett (expelled)

Chas. Burris (expeled) Carrie Eldridge

N. D Bancroft (Oct 29,1870-letter) Maggie Diefonbaker (expelled)

Daniel Zimmer (expelled) Flora Spooner (dism.by letter)

Maria Jamison (dism.by letter) L. Susan Johnson

Hanner Defenbaker Lany Defenbaker

Carrie Brown

At the Covenant Meeting held April 15, 1866, it was decided to change the meetings to the last Saturday of the month and the Lord's Supper to be held the following Sabbath.

"The first annual meeting of the North Brownville Baptist and Society was held in the school house on the 27th day of April, 1867 A.D. The object of the meeting was for the purpose of adopting the Articles of Association and to elect 9 trustees and such other business as may be proffered. Trustees elected were:

William H. Brown 3 yrs Levi White 3 yrs

H. Jamison 2 yrs M. Buell 3 yrs

James Brannan 2 yrs Robt. McArther 2 yrs

W. A. Newson 1 yr S. R. Harris 1 yr

Levi W. Fisher 1 yr

"It is resolved that they are hereby authorised to proceed to build a meeting house that shall not cost less than $3,000 - exclusive of furniture and that the seats or pews be free. Resolved that we now select site to build a meeting house 1) on the Plain in the village or 2) on the hill west of the school house. The vote 10 for the plain and 6 on the hill. The particular lot or lots on which to build the meeting house be left to the

Board of Trustees."

The Building Committee was made up of Wm. H. Brown, S. R. Harris and Levi W. Fisher.

At the meeting on May 4, 1867, a verbal report was made by the chairman, Wm. H. Brown. The building's dimensions were to be 56 ft. long by 36 ft. wide and 24 ft. high; 3 windows on each side and 2 in the front; a vestibule of 9 ft. the whole width of the building and a room above the same, 12 ft. wide the entire width of the building- which report was adopted. Sealed bids were to be received until 1 P.M., May 23rd, 1867.

On May 23rd the Trustees and Building Committee met and a proposal was received from John Vanavery to furnish all material and build the meeting house at Brownville according to plans for $3200 which proposition was accepted. A contract was signed on May 25th. A site was chosen west of the residence of Elder Haverland known as the "nursery lot".

May 12th, 1867, at a meeting of the members, it was resolved "that we as a church proceed to organize a Sabbath School and extend a cordial invitation to all to unite with us". The following officers were elected:

M. Buell, Superintendent

Wm. H. Brown, Assistant Superintendent and Treasurer

Spencer Alden, Secretary and Librarian

October 26th, 1867- resolved that we as a church will use our influence in favor of the Law of Prohibition.

On October 27th, 1867, Andrew Calkins and Mrs. Ellen Harris were baptised in the Thornapple River by Rev. D. Osborne.

Rev. D. Osborn asked to be relieved as pastor at the end of the present

quarter which will be Jan. 1st, 1868 (Dec 8, 1867)

Jan 19, 1868- resolved that the church will raise the present year for the support of a pastor among us, at least $500. Resolved to have a donation party for the benefit of Rev. D. Osborn to be held at the house of H. Blogett on Thursday the 30th day of January, 1868. The Committee of Arrangements were: Andrew Calkins Miss Mary Wheeler

Sprat Donaldson Mrs. Jenny Coon

A. D. Hembling Miss Elva Newson

Spencer Alden Miss Josephine Haverland

A. McNeil Miss Della Wood

H. Purlee Lovina McNiel

Mr. & Mrs. N. Daniels Mr. & Mrs. H. Jamison

Mr. & Mrs. A. Beamer Mr. & Mrs. Major Wise

Mr. & Mrs. M. Buell

The meeting house was dedicated on May 27, 1868. The hand of fellowship was extended to Rev. C. C. Miller to conduct the dedicatory services.

Annual Meeting, April 25, 1868- resolved that Elder Spooner be invited to come a few days before dedication and hold meetings and administer Baptism. That the members meet the following Saturday to level the ground around the meeting house and build the remainder of the fence - the boards, posts and nails to be obtained by subscription, the work by a "bee". Resolved that the clerk procure a suitable book for the church records.

Three Trustees were elected to replace those whose terms had expired. Wm. H. Brown was re-elected Chairman, M. Buell, clerk and Peter Robinson was appointed teller. S. R. Harris, Levi Wm. Fisher and N. Daniels were elected for a term of three years.

May 15, 1868- a call was extended to Rev. S. L. Bulis. The call was not accepted due to the ill health of Rev. Bulis but he did preach for 5 or 6 weeks.

May 30, 1868- meeting in the new house of worship- it was resolved to rescind the record relating to "free" seats. It was rescinded 16 to 2. The vote to rent seats to the highest bidder carried 11 to 5.

Pew rental to be quarterly; an organ was acquired and the business year of the church was to start June 1, 1868. It was decided to have Communion once in two months instead of once a month.

Elder Bulis retired and Deacon Brown took the chair. It was resolved to extend a call to Rev. J. G. Spooner to become Pastor- the same was carried unanimously.

June 6, 1868- A meeting was held for the purpose of renting seats. The following rented them for one year.

June 27, 1868- A committee consisting of Wm. H. Brown, Levi W. Fisher, Peter Robinson, Rev. J. G. Spooner and M. Buell(clerk) was formed to find a Sexton(custodian).

Jan. 29,1869- John Schiedel was appointed Sexton.

April 24, 1869- Annual meeting, terms of Trustees Hugh Jamison, Robert McArther and James Brannon will expire and S. R. Harris was removed as Trustee. Trustees elected were Hugh Jamison, James Brannon and Peter Robinson for 3 years and Alanson Calkins for 2 years.

The new pastor at the Ada Church is to be ordained - delegates sent from church.

June 5, 1869- Seeking a pastor for the ensuing year. Action taken regarding renting of pews- they are to be free for the coming year. Will try to raise $500 for salary for a pastor. A call was extended to Rev. J. G. Spooner.

July 4, 1869- Rev. T. L. Pillsbury and his wife were dismissed to Hastings Baptist Church. It was resolved to have R. S. Jackson take down the old bell and raise the new one for a cost of $8.00.

April 30, 1870-Trustees elected were- Wm. H. Brown(Chairman), Levi White

and Thomas Daggett for 3 yrs. M. Buell resigned as Clerk and A. D. Hembling was elected Clerk.

Sept. 4, 1870- Association Meeting at Spring Lake. A call was extended to Rev. N. D. Bancroft of St. Clair Co., Mich. Those voting were- L. White, H. Jamison, Levi Fisher, Austin Sears, H. Fisher, W. H. Brown, ___ Sheadle, Philip Defenbacker, Andrew Calkins in affirmative, M. Buell in negative and A. D. Hembling not voting.

Rev. Bancroft commenced his labor the 16th of October 1870.

Members: received by letter 1

received by baptism 6

dismissed by letter 3

expelled 2

Present No. Members 50

November 26, 1870- Prayer meeting changed to Wednesday evening. Men of the church to meet next Thursday to make 2 gates and put in hitching posts and have a "wood bee" one week from next Thursday.

December 31, 1870- John Schiedel resigned as Sextion to take effect August 25, 1869. Phillip Diefenbaker elected Sexton starting September 1,1869. A monthly collection to be taken for the Sexton- for tolling the bell, opening the church for funeral occasions and to furnish oil for lighting the church.

January 2, 1871- The name of the church was changed to FIRST REGULAR


August 26, 1871- Delegates to the Grand Rapids Baptist Association Meeting- Wm. H. Brown, L. W. Fisher. Rev. N. D. Bancroft tendered his resignation to take effect the first Sabbath in November, the resignation was refused.

September 30, 1971- The members voted to keep Rev. Bancroft one more year and he accepted.

April 13, 1872- Trustees elected- Andrew Calkins, L. W. Fisher and A. M. Webster for 2 years and H. Jamison, J. Brannon and Peter Robison for 3 years.

August 3, 1872- Elder Bancroft tendered his letter of resignation affective the first Sabbath in November and it was accepted.

October 26, 1872- Rev. N. D. Bancroft dismissed to the church at Waterford, Michigan.

November 30, 1872- Elder J. H. Abbot commenced as Pastor.

January 18, 1873- Elder J. H. Abbot and wife, Caroline M. Abbot,

received by letter.

April 12, 1873- Elder J. H. Abbot and wife, Caroline M. Abbot, received a letter of dismissal and recommendation. Wm. H. Brown and C. M. Webster were appointed to a Ministerial Committee to seek a pastor.

April 27, 1873- Rev. John Stumpf of Canada West preached.

July 5, 1873- Elder A Marsh, Chairman at Covenant Meeting.

June 6, 1874- Trustees were elected after altering the by-laws so as to

have 4 trustees instead of 9. Those elected were: Wm. H. Brown, H. Jamison,

Austin Sears and Levi White for one year. Elder A. B. Marsh tendered his

resignation as pastor to take effect last Sunday in July next. His

resignation was not acted upon.

"A. B. Marsh continued with the church until about the 16th of August,

1874 when he was arrested for the solumnizing of marriages without authority.

He soon left and has not been seen in these parts since. He left the church

divided and at war among themselves."

The last of August or first of September, 1874, Rev. D. Osborn came

among us preaching every two weeks- trying to settle difficulties in the


July, 1875- Brother and Sister Osborn, Anna, Eddie and Milton were

received by letter. He is still preaching once in two weeks to September

First. Rev. D. Osborn agrees to continue his labours one year- salary to be

$200 plus a donation.

July 22, 1876- Rev. Osborn offered his resignation - no action was


September 1, 1876- Rev. D. Osborn finished his labours among us- without

a pastor.

September 17, 1876- Delegates to Association Meeting in Rockford-

Brothers White and Brown. A committee elected to meet with Bowne and Paris

brethren to consider the subject of getting a pastor. The committee

consisting of Levi White and Wm. H. Brown.

March 3, 1877- Rev. Alpheus Bray commenced his labors on March 25, 1877-

his salary is $200.

May 26, 1877- Rev. Bray was received by letter from the Flushing Church.

Pastors were invited from Grand Rapids, Ada, Lowell, Middleville and Flushing

to ordain Brother Bray. Rev. D. Osborn was also invited.

June 13, 1877- An Ecclesiastical Council convened at the church in

Alaska. S. Graves, D.D. of Grand Rapids was chosen as Moderator and Rev.

Charles E. Conley of Middleville as Clerk. Prayer was offered by Rev. C. C.

Miller of Grand Rapids. It was moved that the church authorize the clerk to

send letters of invitation to neighboring churches to send their pastors and

other delegates for the purpose of ordaining Alpheus Bray to the gospel


The credentials of delegates were called for, from which it appeared

that the following brethren were entitled to vote in the council.

Churches Pastors Delegates

Ada N. Stilwell Deacon B. Bartley

Deacon H. Holt

Alaska Deacon Wm. H. Brown

Deacon Levi White

Bowne Deacon Jared Miller

Brother Joseph Timpson

Grand Rapids S. Graves, D.D. Deacon J. C. Buchanan

Rev. C. C. Miller

Rev. D. Osborne

Lowell Deacon Aaron Runce?

Deacon William Eddy

Brother E. W. Dodge

Brother William Cheetham

Middleville Charles E. Conley Deacon R. Harper

Brother S. N. Keeler

Brother H. Calvin

Paris Brother L. Straight

Brother H. B. Haynes

Rev. Charles Oldfield and Rev. D. S. Haviland were invited to sit with

the council. The council then heard the Christian experience, call to the

ministry and views of doctrine of the candidate. After which the council

passed the following resolution viz: That the council accede to the wishes of

the church sending the letters and proceed to assist it in ordaining the

brother to the gospel ministry. The following brethren participated in the

exercises of ordination:

Sermon by S. Graves, D.D.

Laying on of hands- Rev. N. Stillwell, Rev. D. Osborne, Rev. Charles


Ordaining Prayer by Rev. N. Stillwell

Hand of Fellowship by Rev. Charles Oldfield

Charge to the Candidate by Rev. Charles E. Conley

Charge to the Church by Rev. C. C. Miller

Benediction by Rev. Alpheus Bray

Charles E. Conley

Clerk of Council

September 8, 1877- Association Delegates- Rev. A. Bray, Brothers

Robinson, Diefenbaker and Brown at Ada on October 2, 1877.

On October 14, 1877, Brother William H. Brown died.

November 3, 1877- Levi White elected clerk replacing Brother Brown.

Sister Susanny Brown invited to remain as Deaconess.

December 29, 1877- Some members expressed dissatisfaction on account of

the Christmas tree in the church.

March 10, 1878- Rev. Alpheus Bray tendered his resignation and was

granted a letter of dismissal.

May 18, 1878- Rev. C. P. Fessenden came as pastor.

September 7, 1878- Rev. and his wife, Elizabeth Fessenden were received

into church. Delegates to the Association meeting were: Elder and Mrs.

Fessenden, Susanna Brown, Stephen & Mrs. Drake, Phillip Defenbaker. Levi

White resigned as clerk and was replaced by Stephen A. Drake

December 7, 1878- It was resolved to charge $1.00 for outsiders to use

the church for funerals and etc.

January 5, 1879- It was voted to have the Covenant Meeting on the first

Saturday of the month.

May 3, 1879- ISt was voted to give Rev. C. P. Fessenden & wife a letter

of dismissal.

May 11, 1879- Rev. D. Gostelow commenced his labours as pastor.

May 1, 1880- Voted S. A. Drake to be Deacon, but he declined (was

already church clerk).

June, 1880- Gostelow left by June 5th.

August 7, 1880- Rev. O. Killgore was to labour with us as pastor.

October 2, 1880- Stephen A. Drake, association delegate to the meeting

at Reed City.

October 1, 1981- S. A. Drake and Brother Hall were delegates to the


February 3, 1883- Rev. Killgore last mentioned in the minutes on this


February 28, 1885- Brother V. L. Garrett is to labor with us.

April 25, 1885- Received V. L. Garrett, his wife, and Miss Lena Garrett

into church.

September 26, 1885- The last entry in the book, "Church Met in Covenant

Capacity". Signed by V. L. Garrett, Chairman; S. A. Drake, Clerk

Created: 13 July 2005
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