Rev. Hiram Wason became the first minister, coming in 1857 and serving seven years.
The services were held in Abriel Gerrish's unfinished house, then in his new barn until the Lake Prairie school house was finished late in 1857. The first church was built in 1872 and the names of Plummer, Morey, Brannon, Blayney, Baughman, Burhans, Burnham, Fuller, Marvin, and Michael, all had a share in those pioneer days of helping to sustain the first church. Rev. Wilson had charge of the program and delivered a very able sermon. The church choir assisted in the services by singing some of the familiar hymns that were used in the early days.
Mrs. Ellen Wilson gave a very interesting account of the early history of the community. James Little read an account of the first officers of the organization.
The church has sent out from its membership Ministers, Missionaries, and Chancellors, who have all done their bit toward making the world better.
At noon a pot luck dinner was enjoyed by all, as well as a good social time until 2:30, when Mrs. Julia Wason Dahl read a very interesting paper on the Woman's organization of the early times leading up to the present date.
Ed Ames and sister, Mrs. George Compton of Elkhart, Ind., and (illegible) Anna Wason are perhaps the only living sons and daughters of the charter members of the early church.
Mr. Ames gave an interesting account of the conditions as he remembered them at that time when he was only 8 years of age. A most interesting letter was read from Melvin Brannon, a son of the late James Brannon, an elder of the church in 1870. Rev. Thomas Adkins of Crown Point concluded the exercises with one of his inspiring talks.
The Lake Prairie Presbyterian church was organized as an independent church by Capt. and Mrs. Thomas Little, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Peach, Mr. and Mrs. Abiel Gerrish, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ames, Harvey Austin, Sarah Little and Peter Burhans. The Rev. John Sailor of Michigan City presided and Harvey Austin was elected clerk. The articles of Faith and the Covenant were decided upon, and the new organization was named "The Presbyterian Church of Lake Prairie". Abiel Gerrish and Peter Burhans were chosen as elders and Henry Peach as deacon. The following day, Sunday, November 23, 1856, the first regular service was held in the unfinished Gerrish home. The newly elected officers were installed, the Lord's Supper was observed, and a call was extended to the Rev. H. Wason, a native of New Hampshire, who had been pastor of the church at Vevay, Indiana, for 13 years. The salary offered was $200 a year for one-half time. Mr. Wason accepted the call and came to preach for them in January 1857. Thirty-five were present at this service. In April his family came to Lake Prairie. While at Vevay, Rev. and Mrs. Wason conducted the public school and tutored Edward Eggleston to prepare him for college. Later, when Eggleston began to write books, he made Rev. Wason a character in one of his stories.
Sunday School was organized in May 1857, with 40 members and teachers at the first session. In July 1858, the first church society was organized -- Lake Prairie Maternal Association -- "mothers deeply impressed with the importance of rearing their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Two years later the Ladies' Social Circle was organized.
The Little, Ames, Gerrish, and Peach families had settled on the prairie in 1855 and 1856, coming from New Hampshire. Shortly before, these families had been preceded by the Michaels in 1840, the Brannons in 1843, and the Plummers in 1852. The Moreys arrived in 1861. For years, therefore, the community was referred to as the "Yankee Settlement."
In 1858 one and one-half acres of land were purchased from E.N. Morey, for the sum of $5, and set aside as a cemetery. He was the father of Wm. H. Morey, who was at one time principal of Lowell high school and later the postmaster of Lowell. A.G. Plummer, A. Gerrish, Samuel Ames, J.M. Scott and M.L. Barber were first trustees of the cemetery. Henry Peach, who died Sept. 6, 1858, was the first person buried in the cemetery.
Rev. Wason served as pastor for seven years and brought 54 new members into the church. After his resignation, he remained in the community. His family was not only a great asset to the church but he himself was a recognized leader in all the educational, agricultural and civic affairs of the neighborhood. His son, T.A. Wason, and grandson, H. Boyd Wason, also followed in his footsteps.
Rev. Benjamin Wells was the second minister, 1864-68. In 1870 . . . [The rest of the article was missing.]
Go to Churches--Presbyterian Church--Lake Prairie, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
Return to Lowell History.