Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lawrence County Presbyterian History

Lawrence County Presbyterian History  (Taken from an undated 3 page separate publication found in the Centennial Celebration booklet for the First Presbyterian Church at Bridgeport written in 1964.)

The first Presbyterian congregation in Lawrence County was organized in 1833 with 30 members. Feeling that traveling to the old Wabash (Oreo) church for worship was too long a trip and that the wilderness presented too dangerous an endeavor ‘for good wives and daughters’ the Pisgah congregation was formed. 

They built their first log structure in 1835 with glass windows. Pisgah church still stands, 5 miles south of Bridgeport, though the congregation now worships in the third structure to house their activities at the same location.

The Shiloh church located 10 miles Northwest of Lawrenceville was organized in 1841 with 13 members. It was dissolved by the Presbytery in 1851 after the Lawrenceville church was organized.  Its members united with the Lawrenceville congregation.

The Lawrenceville Presbyterian church was organized in 1848 with 20 members. Meeting first in the Methodist Episcopal Church, it soon built a substantial sanctuary in 1856 on the corner of Walnut and 11th streets in what is now the present Masonic Lodge building. The first church choir in this area was organized in this church. The church dissolved in 1880 and the Bell was turned over to the Sumner church for safekeeping and the remaining members transferred to the Methodist Church. Reorganized in 1889, the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church is still active at 809 12th St. the present church was remodeled in 1953 at a cost of $130,000. 

The Union church was organized in 1854 with 12 members located north and west of Sumner.  It is no longer an active congregation.

The Hopewell church organized in 1858 with 16 members and is another congregation that is no longer active. The church was located 1 mile northwest of Bridgeport. Upon the dissolution in 1870, the memberships were transferred to the Bridgeport First Presbyterian church.

The Bridgeport Presbyterian church was organized in 1864. Having held a number of meetings at the Methodist Church the people in attendance along with the ‘members of a log church on the hill’ known as Hopewell established a congregation in the village of Bridgeport  with 24 members. The Bridgeport congregation now worships in their second structure at 643 N. Main St and is still active.

The Gilead church, located 6 miles southwest of Sumner on the County line was organized in 1870 with 17 members who came from the Pisgah and Friendsville churches and from Eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. It is still active.


The Sumner Presbyterian church was organized in 1870 with 38 charter members and the church building erected on W Cedar St in 1881.  In 1929 the congregation disbanded and the church building has been destroyed.
Sumner Presbyterian on W Cedar St 1870-1929


Note:    We really need someone to be our church historian......and organize and catalog our collections.....any volunteers?   

****Our Monthly program at the museum on Sept 22 at 7:00 pm will feature Anne Marie Marx, owner of Jewel Craft Jewelers in Vincennes, speaking about the Wabash pearls, and also about the button industry.  She will bring exhibits to enhance her lecture.  Members and guests are welcome.