Nothing could be more fascinating, if it were possible to give it, than the narrative of the geological and natural [Page 8] history of the region where the College is located. Old Silurian rocks, far antedating the Devonian rocks of the falls at Louisville, and still further antedating the sandstones of the Evansville region, come to the surface and in immense strata rise several hundred feet in thickness above the waters of the Ohio and the valley through which they flow. Upon these rocks, covered with soil and stretching for miles back into the country with comparatively level surface, grew forests of gigantic trees when the region was first explored by the white man. And through these strata, by mighty erosive forces, whose energies figures can not tabulate, the bed of the river and its valley were in those far-away geologic ages scooped out. Opening into the valley of the river are wild and weird fissures and grand canyons running back into the country, making picturesque valleys, wild ravines, enchanting glens, beautiful water falls and great precipices. From College Point, with its extensive and charming view for many miles down the Ohio through the alternations of the seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter, there is an ever-changing panorama of beauty and glory. Through the countless centuries of geologic time these wonder-scenes of creative power and art grew. Through them LaSalle passed in his voyage down the Ohio in 1685, the first white man that upon its current penetrated to the heart of the continent. We can only surmise what his thoughts might have been as he beheld the vast extent and the undeveloped resources of the new world opened to him.
But our narrative, which is of persons and events connected with the origin, growth, struggles and permanent [Page 9] establishment of Hanover College, somewhat like Darwin's survival of the fittest, begins within a very modern period, although it may be early in the history of Indiana. We begin with the appearance of the land-hunter in the region. It was shortly after the extinction of the Indian title to this part of the country by purchase of the United States government and its survey and the opening of a land office at Jeffersonville for its sale. The sound of the steamboat had not yet been heard on the Ohio. The Indian still roamed through the forests, seeking game. "Then occasionally might be seen men on horseback, usually two or three together, winding their way through the deeply shaded forests, turning aside sometimes to avoid impenetrable thickets, keeping together for company and mutual protection. They were armed with old-fashioned flint-locked rifles, for they might have an opportunity to shoot a deer or bear, or possibly they might find their rifles convenient for pacifying lurking, treacherous Indians. They were land-hunters, that is, men from Kentucky or elsewhere, seeking homes in this great wilderness. Such a party of land-hunters," continues General Dunn, "were in this region a little while after a narrow strip of land had been purchased from the Indians, recently surveyed and offered for sale by the United States government. They examined the tract of land upon which afterward Hanover was established, as well as other tracts in the neighborhood. One of them remained and inspected with great care the soil, the timber, the stones, the springs, the brooks, on this particular spot. He found that there was not an acre of it that was not fit for cultivation; [Page 10] that it was well watered on every side. There was not a better tract for farming purposes in all the neighborhood. This land-hunter, a young, vigorous, determined-looking man, made careful examination and note of surveyors' marks on the trees, so as to be sure of his tract, and then rode away. A day or two afterwards he was at Jeffersonville at the land office, and made purchase of the land. This land-hunter was Williamson Dunn, of Mercer county, Kentucky. This land was purchased November 28, 1808 . In the fall of the next year, 1809, he came with his w wife and two little boys to this land, and built a cabin for a home for himself and family. This was the beginning of the settlement of the region. Settlers came in rapidly, and the stroke of the ax and the sound of falling trees, the blazing of logs and the burning of brush-heaps, were sights and sounds that became familiar. These early settlers were mostly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who, or their ancestors, had emigrated from the north of Ireland to Virginia, thence to Kentucky, and thence to these new homes."
After two years of incoming of new settlers, war with the Indians began. The battle of Tippecanoe was fought November 7, 1811. War with England was declared June 18, 1812. The Indians became dangerous neighbors. In the fall of 1812, September 3, the terrible destruction of the Pigeon Roost settlement in Scott county occurred. By an unexpected attack of Indians, three white men, five women and sixteen children were mercilessly massacred. This was only eighteen miles from the settlement of these Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Though militia from Clarke and Jefferson counties and [Page 11] volunteers that came from Kentucky, forming an armed force of three hundred and fifty men, pursued the murderous Indians, they escaped. But the new settlements were filled with alarm. Block-houses were built and stockades constructed, in which families were gathered for protection, and men labored with guns and ammunition at hand and butcher-knives in their girdles. For the protection of the settlers Congress passed an act for raising companies of mounted troops called Rangers. These troops were to scout along the frontier to prevent incursions of marauding murderous bands of Indians. Williamson Dunn raised and was made captain of one of these companies. It was the best means of protecting their families. This company was absent about a year, and was mustered out of service at Vincennes in March, 1814. In the meantime, because of the victories of the American soldiers and the severe defeats suffered by the Indians, all danger from them ceased, and new settlers again began to appear. With the establishment of peace early in 1815, they came in largely increased numbers.
But not simply for land and homes had these Scotch-Irish settlers sought the new country. The men and women had had religious training, and doubtless many of them were Christian men and women. The great revival of 1800 and of subsequent years in Kentucky was widespread and deep and pervasive in its influence. The whole population of the State was more or less stirred and affected by it. Its quickening and uplifting power extended to other and new States, and to other people and generations.
Captain Dunn, upon his return home after being [Page 12] mustered out of the United States service, wished to be enrolled as a soldier of Christ, and he went to Charlestown, twenty-four miles from home, to unite with a Presbyterian church that had been organized there two years before, in 1812. One other Presbyterian church there was in the Territory of Indiana at this time. It was the Indiana Church, near Vincennes, and had been organized in 1806. This first Presbuterian church in the Territory had a minister resident at Vincennes, the only Presbyterian minister resident in the Territory at this time. It was the Rev. Samuel Thornton Scott. He had as early as 1802, it is said, been a teacher and Christian worker in and about Vincennes, before his educational course was completed, and before his licensure and ordination as a minister. He had, after his licensure and ordination, labored as a missionary in and about Vincennes for several months, in 1806 and 1807 each, and in the fall of 1808 he came with his family and became the resident minister of the Indiana Church, and so continued until his death, in 1827. Perhaps some intercourse of Captain Dunn with this Presbyterian minister at Vincennes, who, like himself, was from Kentucky, may have had something to do with his going to Charlestown to unite with the Presbyterian church.
A Presbyterian minister, the Rev. William Robinson, came to Madison and took up his abode there, becoming the second resident Presbyterian minister in the State. He taught school in Madison and preached, and in the summer of 1815 organized a Presbyterian church, with fifteen or twenty members. Mr. Robinson preached to this church until the fall of 1817. He then removed to [Page 13] Bethlehem, in Clarke county, where he died in the spring of 1827.
About the time the Presbyterian church at Madison was organized, another Presbyterian minister came into the Territory and settled within three or four miles of Mr. Dunn. It was a minister of the straightest of the sects of the Presbyterians, and Associate or Seceder minister. It was the Rev. Andrew Fulton.
In 1810 George Shannon, Sr., James Anderson and other members of the Associate church settled in Jefferson county. They had been members of the Associate church in Kentucky. Seeking deliverance for themselves and their families from the baleful influence of slavery, some had gone several years before to Ohio, but now came to Indiana, with others direct from Kentucky. Some time in the year 1812 they had been organized into a church, and had occasional preaching and ministration of the sacraments by the ministers of the Associate Presbytery of Kentucky. In October, 1815, a call for the settlement of the Rev. Andrew Fulton as their pastor was made and accepted, and Mr. Fulton soon after, with his family, moved from Kentucky and established his home among them. The members of his church were very much scattered, some living twenty miles away in the north part of the country. A church building thirty by forty feet on the ground, and with a ceiling twelve feet high, was erected in 1816. It was simple and rude in its structure and in its furnishing, but in these respects was of like character with the houses of the people. After three years of labor, this first pastor of this church [Page 14] died, September 10, 1818, leaving precious memories and abundant fruits of his labors. In 1821 another pastor, the Rev. Andrew Isaacs, was settled over the church.
Other Presbyterian and Congregational ministers, on missionary tours through the State, had been visiting and preaching in Jefferson county during the year. In 1817 the Rev. Nathan B. Derrow, from the Western Reserve, Ohio, visited Jefferson county and preached in Judge Dunn's neighborhood. Our land-hunter and captain of Rangers had now become judge. Mr. Derrow had organized a Presbyterian church at Rising Sun in 1816; and in 1817, about the time of his visit at Judge Dunn's, organized the Graham Presbyterian Church in Jennings county, seventeen miles from Judge Dunn's, with seventeen members. In 1818 the Rev. Isaac Reed and the Rev. Orin Fowler met at Judge Dunn's. They were both from New England. They had been acquainted in the East as students of divinity, and had both been licensed by the same Association. Mr. Reed had been preaching for several months in Kentucky, and had now come over into Indiana. He had preached at Madison, and was on his way to New Albany. It was Thursday, August 13, 1818, that Messrs. Reed and Fowler met at Judge Dunn's barn. On the Friday before, the record in Mr. Fowler's diary is "visited the school under the care of Mr. Maxwell, which is large and interesting." The school-house had been built, not as a public school, but as a private school. We have a pen picture of the school-house. ["]It was built of split logs put up edgewise; [Page 15] the floor was of puncheons; the windows were made by cutting out the parts of two logs next to and parallel to each other, and instead of glass, greased paper was used. There was a large chimney at each end of the house, built in stone, sticks and clay. Long inclined boards along the side and end of the school-house were fixed for those who were worrying with pot-hooks and other exercises in writing. All the benches were narrow, hard and without backs."
The school was under the care of Dr. Maxwell, doubtless not taught by him.
Dr. David H. Maxwell was a brother-in-law of Judge Dunn. When his company of Rangers had been raised for active service in the Indiana war, Dr. Maxwell had enlisted as a private. This enlistment was upon the written petition of all the members of the company that he would go with them as their surgeon, they promising him a stipulated compensation for his services as surgeon. Dr. Maxwell was a member from Jefferson county of the Convention of 1816, which framed the Constitution with which Indiana, in 1816, was admitted as a State into the Federal Union. He was the mover in the Convention of the clause in the Constitution which prohibited slavery, for the introduction of which into the new State strong and persistent efforts had been made. In the spring of 1819 Dr. Maxwell moved to Bloomington, and was, with his wife, among the twelve members organized into the Presbyterian Church of Bloomington by the Rev. Isaac Reed, September 26, 1819. After moving to Bloomington, which in 1818 had been made the county-seat of the newly organized [Page 16] county of Monroe, Dr. Maxwell became influential in securing the location of the State Seminary at Bloomington, and was through all his life a very efficient man in the administration of this institution, which, chartered by the Legislature in 1820, was opened for its first class of students, ten in number, in 1823, became Indiana College in 1827, and Indiana University in 1838.
Before Mr. Fowler left Jefferson county he organized in Shelby township, some ten miles northeast of Madison, October 17, 1818, the Jefferson Church, with seventeen members. October 25, 1818, he organized the Lexington Church in Scott county, with seventeen members, some ten miles south of west from Judge Dunn's.
In July, 1819, the Rev. Thomas C. Searle came to Madison. He was born in Rowley, Massachusetts, January 15, 1787, graduated at Dartmouth College in 1812, was ordained by the Presbytery of Baltimore December 3, 1815, and was pastor of Bladensburg Church, Maryland, until 1817. In 1817 he was elected Professor of Logic in Dartmouth College, but declined the position for missionary work and came to Indiana in 1819, under the auspices of Young Men's Missionary Society of New York City. August 13, 1819, he was assisted at a communion service at Madison by the Rev. Thomas Clelland, of Kentucky, and the Rev. John M. Dickey, who in the month of August, 1819, became the first installed Presbyterian pastor in Indiana, becoming installed by the Presbytery of Louisville as pastor of the Pisgah Church, in Clarke county, and of the Lexington church, in Scott county, but only for three-fourths of the time over the two churches, leaving the other fourth [Page 17] for missionary work in the new fields opening in the new settlements made in the State. At this communion service at Madison thirteen members were added to the church, making the total membership of the church thirthy-three. But a large part of these members were from the Scotch-Irish settlers in the neighborhood of Hanover. They subscribed two hundred dollars, half the salary of Mr. Searle, and were to have preaching half the time in their neighborhood. The 4th of March, 1820, Mr. Searle organized these members and other persons that united with them into a church, which was called Hanover in compliment to Mr. Searle's wife, who came from Hanover, New Hampshire, the seat of Dartmouth College. From this affectionate regard for their minister's wife came the name of the church, the college and the village. The postoffice, which came in 1830, was called South Hanover, because there was a postoffice in Shelby county by the name of Hanover. In time this postoffice in Shelby county became extinct, and the postoffice of South Hanover in Jefferson county became Hanover. August 13, 1820, Mr. Searle was installed by the Presbytery of Louisville pastor of the Madison and Hanover churches. Before the installation of Mr. Searle the erection of a church building at Hanover had been projected. A plot of ground donated for it by Williamson Dunn was accepted. Early in 1821 subscriptions were made for the building. The subscriptions were in produce or material for building, a very small amount of money. Some subscriptions were for fifty bushels of wheat on demand; some were for several hundred pounds of pork in the following [Page 18] December; some were in shingles, to be delivered when needed; others for hauling; others for smith work. But all difficulties were overcome by four members of the church, George Logan, Benjamin Smyth, Robert Symington and Jesse Dickerson, binding themselves to each other for one equal part of what might be lacking on the subscription for erecting a house of worship so far as to have said house enclosed. Benjamin Smyth, Robert Symington and George Logan were authorized to let the contract for the building of said house; the house was to be of stone and forty feet square. The fifteenth day of May, 1821, was fixed for letting the contract.
Within a few months after the beginning of this enterprise the pastor, under a severe attack of the fever prevalent in the summer and fall in the new country, passed away in death. He died October 15, 1821, at the age of thirty-three. His death was a sad bereavement to the Madison and Hanover churches. Mr. Dickey, in his Brief History, says of Mr. Searle: "He was a man of superior talents, of polished manners, and of a most affectionate disposition. And what was perhaps of more importance to the infant church of Indiana, he was a very zealous, popular and successful minister of the New Testament. He was a man greatly beloved." He was also a man of wide public influence. At the time of his death he was on the committee which, under appointment of the State Legislature, framed the first and fundamental law of the common-school system of the State. Nearly two years elapsed before a successor was found for the church of Hanover. The Rev. John M. Dickey, of the Pisgah and New Lexington churches, and [Page 19] the Rev. W. W. Marton, of the Salem and Livonia churches, visited occasionally the church, preached to its congregation, moderated its session, and received members into it.
It was also visited by another missionary from the East, the Rev. David C. Proctor. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Seminary. He came West late in the fall of 1821, passed through the State, and organized the Wabash Church in Edwards county, Illinois, March 5, 1822, with five members. In May, 1822, he was back in Indianapolis. The capital of the State had been located by commissioners appointed for the purpose, and by approval of their report by the Legislature, January 6, 1821, was fixed, and at the suggestion of Hon. Jeremiah Sullivan, of Madison, was named Indianapolis. At the time of Mr. Proctor's coming to Indianapolis there were some earnest Presbyterians there, Dr. Isaac Coe, James M. Ray and James Blake, men that afterwards became eminent and influential in the history of the Presbyterian church in Indiana, as well as in the public affairs of the State. It was not until July 5, 1823, that the Indianapolis church was organized by Mr. Proctor and Rev. Isaac Reed, with fifteen members. It was doubtless during the summer of 1822 that Mr. Proctor visited Hanover. A horseback ride of ninety miles from Indianapolis to Hanover was nothing for the pioneer missionaries of the State. Mr. Proctor, preaching three-fourths of his time at Indianapolis, also supplied the pulpit of the recently organized church of Bloomington one-fourth of his time, making his journey of sixty miles between his two preaching [Page 20] points over a road, if such it could be called, that was only a blazed way for the greater part of the distance through a vast unbroken forest.
The 16th of January, 1823, at a congregational meeting of time Hanover Church, moderated by the Rev. John M. Dickey, a call was made for the pastoral labors of time Rev. John Finley Crowe, of Shelbyville, Kentucky. The call was accepted, and in the following May Mr. Crowe moved with his family to Hanover. August 13, 1823, he was installed, the Rev. Isaac Reed and the Rev. John M. Dickey officiating for that purpose by appointment of Louisiville Presbytery. In the meantime the stone church, as it was called, had been completed. Mr. Crowe speaks of it as a building that did not shame the times. The walls were not high; the roof had a low pitch, and was finished without cornice or ornament of any kind. There were two large windows on the east, west and north sides each, and two doors on time south side. The appearance of the building as you approached it from the east or north was not satisfactory. But coming from the south or the west, the hill on which it stood gave it a good elevation and favorable aspect. The interior was commodious and well lighted. The walls were plastered up to the square, and then half way up the rafters and across. This vaulted form increased the spacious appearance, and made it an easy auditorium for speaker and hearer. The church was seated with peg benches. On these, unsupported by any back or rest, the congregation sat in their services of public worship until April 15, 1829, when the church was furnished [Page 21] with pews, at which time the practice of families sitting together was adopted.
Mr. Crowe, when he came to Hanover, was about thirty-six years of age. The following sketch of his life until his removal to Hanover was written by his daughter, Mrs. S. C. Garritt: "He was born June 16, 1787, in a frontier settlement of North Carolina, which, in the division of States, fell within the limits of Green county, Tennessee. In 1802 his parents, with a number of families, removed west of the Mississippi, forming a village, which from the beauty of its situation they called Bellevue, now in Washington county, Missouri. Here he taught the neighborhood school, but for years heard no sermon or public prayer. Through the incoming of three ruling elders from the church of Dr. James Hall, of North Carolina, his attention to religion was aroused, and later, through the preaching of a Methodist minister, Rev. Mr. Ward, he was brought under powerful conviction for sin, which resulted in a complete change of life. He soon decided to study for the ministry, and in April, 1809, started for Danville, Kentucky, to enter the classical school of Dr. Priestly. But Dr. Priestly had just gone with his school to Nashville, Tennessee. For a year varied difficulties wrecked his hopes, but through providential leading and the wise advice of the Rev. Samuel Finley, with whom he studied privately his second year, he had excellent literary and social advantages. He then spent two years in Transylvania University, completing his course in 1813. He also began his theological studies under Rev. Dr. Robert Bishop.
[Page 22] "In May, 1814, having been ordained an elder in the Pisgah Church, the pastoral charge of his friend and patron, Dr. James Blythe, he was sent as a delegate from West Lexington Presbytery to the General Assembly, meeting, as it was accustomed to then, at Philadelphia. At the close of the Assembly he went to Princeton, New Jersey, studied through the summer, and entered the second class in the Theological Seminary. He was licensed by the West Lexington Presbytery in 1815, and went to Shelbyville, Kentucky, to take charge of the Academy. He was for a time associated with Rev. Archibald Cameron in a sort of bishopric of the Shelby county Presbyterian churches; later was the happy pastor of two churches, Fox Run and Bull Skin, near Shelbyville.
"But from the time of his conversion he had doubted the righteousness of slavery, and on entering the ministry longed to ameliorate the condition of the slave. To this end he successfully attempted Sunday-school work for slaves, who had permission from their masters to attend, and later afternoon preaching services for them. In numbers and interest these services were successful but in each case the buildings in which to hold them were denied them. An effort to educate public sentiment through the press then seemed the only way open to him. Being deeply interested in the Foreign Missionary Movement then developing, he finally decided to write of these live questions in a monthly paper to be called the Abolition Intelligencer and Missionary Magazine. The first number was issued in May, 1812. The abolitionism was mild. He advocated the enactment of [Page 23] laws that would permit such instruction of slaves as would fit them for self-government under gradual emancipation, a movement which was then expected too be speedily established. But the theme was distasteful. It immediately brought out protests, then warnings, at last threats, should he continue its publication. The prospects of loss of friends and property and congregations caused great distress of mind and commitment of the case to God for direction, which resulted in his becoming satisfied that the deplorable condition of two millions of enslaved Africans called for exertion and sacrifice. Peace and comfort returned to him under the fixed determination in the strength of divine grace to go forward. This he did for twelve months; but, unlike Garrison, who had 'a dauntless spirit and a press,' he had no press. Then the lack of subscriptions to share the expense, together with the call of the church at Hanover, were to him the voice of God calling away. Removing to Hanover, the following entry was made in his diary: 'By the good hand of God upon me, have I been preserved through dangers, and led, as I trust, by a wise and holy Providence to Hanover, Indiana, the land of civil and religious liberty.' His interest in the cause did not cease with removal. Voice and a pen were freely used."
In September, 1823, the Presbytery of Louisville, in session at Charlestown, petitioned the Synod of Kentucky to erect a new Presbytery north of the Ohio river, to be called the Presbytery of Salem. The Synod in its session in October granted the petition, and formed the Presbytery of Salem. It was bounded on the east by a [Page 24] line running due north from the mouth of the Kentucky river. Its boundary on the west, fixed a year later, was a line running due north from the mouth of Green river, twenty miles, then a line from that point running northwesterly to the mouth of White river. From thence a line running due west indefinitely was its boundary on the south. On the north no boundaries were fixed. Thus the Presbytery embraced the most of both Indiana and Illinois. Its first meeting was at Salem, Indiana, April 1, 1824. There were six ministers present, and one was absent. The number of elders present was thirteen. The organization of the Presbytery was important, as its ministers and elders had oversight of the whole field embraced within their boundaries, and were brought in their discussions and counsels into unity of plan and action for the promotion of the religious interests of the rapidly growing and developing country for which they were laboring. At this first meeting of the Presbytery a committee was appointed to devise ways and means for the education of poor and pious youth for the ministry. The committee were to report at the next spring meeting, having a year for their work. The committee were Rev. John Finley Crowe, Rev. John M. Dickey, Elder Lemuel Ford, of Charlestown, Elder Alexander Walker, of Pisgah Church, and Elder William Reed, of Hanover. The great need of the Presbyterian church and of the country was ministers of the gospel. Of the ministers of Salem Presbytery, John Todd had come from Virginia to Kentucky in 1806, the Rev. Isaac Reed had come from New England to Kentucky in 1817, the other members of the Presbytery had received their [Page 25] classical and theological training principally in the West, and were what would be called Western men. All felt that to supply the great religious necessities of the field, ministers would have to he raised up in the West and from among the churches of the West. The action of the Presbytery in the appointment of this committee to devise ways and means for the education of poor and pious young men for the work of the ministry was doubtless the initial action that led on through the continuity of providential events to the origin and establishment of Hanover College, likewise of Indiana Theological Seminary, and the seminaries that grew out of it, New Albany, and McCormick at Chicago.
At the fall meeting of the Presbytery at Charlestown, further action in educational work was taken. The Presbytery formed itself into an educational society, according to a plan recommended by its Committee on Education. There is no record in the minutes of the Presbytery of this plan, or of the proceedings of the Presbytery as an educational society. From another source we gain a knowledge of their proceedings. But this educational work is connected with the growth of the churches, and we note this growth. The Presbytery, before the fall meeting at Charlestown, had met August 10, 1824, at Madison, for the purpose of receiving and ordaining Mr. Joseph Trimble, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Carlisle. Mr. Trimble was also to be installed as pastor of the church at Madison. But when the Presbytery met he was very sick with fever prevalent in the summer and fall through the country at that early day. The certificate of Mr. Trimble's dismission to the Presbytery [Page 26] was received, and he was taken into the Presbytery as a licentiate. The Presbytery then adjourned. On the following day Mr. Trimble died. He was a graduate of Jefferson College, and had studied theology at Princeton Seminary. He was twenty-eight years of age at the time of his death. October 9, 1824, Tilly H. Brown was licensed by the Presbytery at its stated meeting at Charlestown. At this meeting at Charlestown the church of Indianapolis presented a call for the ministerial labors of Rev. George Bush. Mr. Bush not having received his letter of dismission from the Presbytery of New York, the Presbytery could take no action. March 4, 1825, the Presbytery met in a called meeting at Indianapolis for the purpose of receiving and ordaining Mr. Bush and installing him as pastor of the church at Indianapolis, and also to receive Mr. Baynard R Hall, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. They were received, and the next day, March 5, Mr. Bush was ordained and installed, Mr. Crowe preaching the sermon, Mr. Dickey giving the charge to the pastor, and Rev. Isaac Reed the charge to the people. The spring meeting of the Presbytery was at Washington, Daviess county, April 5. Alexander Williamson, a licentiate of Carlisle Presbytery, was received, and also Mr. Stephen Bliss, a licentiate of Hopkinton Association of New Hampshire. The Presbytery adjourned on the 9th to meet three days after at Bloomington for the ordination of Baynard R. Hall. The ordination was in the State Seminary, of which Mr. Hall was the first teacher. He was also the minister of the Presbyterian church of Bloomington. The Presbytery again met on adjournment [Page 27] the 3[r]d of June and ordained Mr. Williamson. Again the Presbytery met upon its adjournment, June 24, at Bethlehem, for the ordination and installation of Mr. Brown, whom they had licensed eight months before. Again the Presbytery met upon its adjournment at Vincennes and installed Mr. Scott pastor of the Indiana Church, to which he had been ministering for seventeen years. It also ordained at this time Stephen Bliss, who was preaching to the Wabash Church in Illinois. After these numerous meetings, in places remote from each other, with horseback riding the only mode of transit, the Presbytery met in its regular fall meeting at the Pisgah Church, in Clarke county, October 7. At this meeting of the Presbytery the Rev. John T. Hamilton was received from the Muhlenberg Presbytery. The Presbytery also received as a licentiate from Columbia Presbytery, James H. Johnston, and when it adjourned, it adjourned to meet at Madison on the third Wednesday of October for the ordination of Mr. Johnston and his installation as pastor of the Madison Church.
Important action was taken at this meeting looking to the enlargement of the church and the erection of a new Synod. A number of new members had been received into the Presbytery, and a number of new churches had been organized. There were now about fifty in the Presbytery. It was determined to ask the Synod of Kentucky, soon to meet, to divide Salem Presbytery into three, the Presbyteries of Madison, Salem and Wabash. The petition was granted, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in its sessions the next May, formed these Presbyteries, together with the Presbytery [Page 28] of Missouri, into a new Synod, to be called the Synod of Indiana, and authorized the meeting and organization of the Synod at Vincennes, Wednesday, the 18th day of October, 1826. But at this fall meeting of the Presbytery at Pisgah other matters of interest claimed the attention of the Presbytery. A committee was appointed to co÷perate with the General Assembly in locating the Western Theological Seminary, which it had deemed necessary to supplement the work of Princeton Seminary in providing ministers for the rapidly growing West. The Presbytery hoped to induce the Assembly to locate the Seminary as far west as Charlestown. The committee consisted of Messrs. Crowe, Dickey, Hamilton and Brown. The appointment of the committee made evident the deep interest of the Presbytery in the work of securing ministers of the gospel for the widening field of the West. Another record of the Presbytery, manifesting deep interest in this work and anxious solicitude for it, was a tender tribute paid to Rev. John Young, who had spent a year in missionary labors within the widely extended bounds of the Presbytery. He had been at the meeting of the Presbytery at Vincennes in August. He was taken sick with the prevalent fever of the new country before the Presbytery adjourned, and shortly afterwards died. He had been very useful in his ministry, and his loss was deeply felt. He was a graduate of Union College, and had studied theology at Princeton. He was a licentiate of New Brunswick Presbytery. He and Mr. Johnston were classmates in the Seminary at Princeton, and they came to the West together in the [Page 29] fall of 1824, reaching Madison the 9th of December. Mr. Johnston was to take charge of the Madison Church, but before doing so he spent three months in missionary labor all over the southern part of the State, traveling about five hundred miles and preaching about fifty times before his return to Madison. Mr. Young preached for him at Madison during eight weeks of his absence. After a few weeks' labor along the White river in the vicinity of Indianapolis, he went to the Wabash, and most of his labors were given to Paris, in Edgar county, Illinois, and to New Hope, whose members were partly in Clark county, lllinois, and Sullivan county, Indiana.
The death of Mr. Searle had been followed by the death of Ezra H. Day, a minister beloved, who came to the church of New Albany in November, 1822. The prevalent bilious fever of the new country for newcomers terminated his life September 22, 1823. Then followed the death of Trimble at Madison in August, 1824. And now the death of Young, in August, 1825, deeply moved the Presbytery, and they appointed a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, that these afflictive dispensations of Divine Providence might be sanctified to them and their churches.
Recalling the facts of the constitution of the Presbytery into an educational society, and of the appointment of a committee to form a plan and devise ways and means to aid poor and pious young men into the ministry; remembering the appointment of the committee to co÷perate with the General Assembly in its establishment of a Western Theological Seminary, and recalling [Page 30] this tender and solemn feeling pervading the Presbytery because of the frequent deaths of young and prominent ministers, we understand what Mr. Crowe reports in after years as transacted at this Presbytery in connection with work for securing an educated ministry. In a manuscript history, written by Dr. Crowe towards the end of his life, he wrote: "The fewness of the laborers and the immensity of the harvest, together with the loud and importunate Macedonian cry which came from every part of the land, urged upon the Presbytery the question, What can be done to increase the number of the laborers? Again and again," he says, "had the General Assembly been applied to for aid; but that venerable body had not been able to do anything more than to send out occasionally such young men as had intimated their willingness to labor a few months as missionaries in the West. Very few of their missionaries, however, seemed disposed to encounter the trials and privations of a settlement in the wilderness. And of those who consented to remain, four, within two or three years, fell victims to the acclimating fever. Though discouraged by these facts, the Presbytery had still to meet the question, What can be done for the multitudes ready to perish, with eyes directed to us for aid? We had long been praying the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers, but now felt we were called upon to act. The only plan which seemed to promise, with God's blessing, a competent supply for the extended and constantly extending harvest was to raise them up upon the ground.'' At this fall meeting of the Presbytery in 1825 it was determined to establish a Presbyterian Academy, and a [Page 31] committee was appointed to devise a plan and select a place. This committee, for various reasons, fixed upon Hanover as the place of the Academy, and the manual labor system as the plan.
The first meeting of Madison Presbytery was at Hanover, April 6, 1826. There were four ministers. All were present--William Robinson, John M. Dickey, John Finley Crowe, James H. Johnston. Seven elders were present. The Presbytery adopted the following order on education: "Presbytery shall use vigorous efforts to educate poor and pious youth of promising talent for the gospel ministry; and they shall earnestly request the members of the churches under their care, if they are acquainted with any such youth, to encourage and assist them, and make them known to Presbytery."
Mr. Crowe, in his manuscript history, writes: "As the contemplated academy was to be located within the bounds of Madison Presbytery, that body at their first meeting took action on the subject, adopted the report of the committee which had been appointed by the Salem Presbytery, and appointed a committee to secure a teacher. This was doubtless done, as the action of the Salem Presbytery had been, by the Presbytery as an educational society. At the fall meeting of the Presbytery at the Jefferson Church a committee was appointed to draft a constitution for the Presbytery as an education society. At this fall meeting of the Presbytery, as the committee had been unable to procure a teacher for the projected academy, Mr. Crowe was urged to organize the school and take charge of it until it might grow into sufficient importance to justify the employment of a [Page 32] competent teacher. Convinced that the interests of the church demanded a school, and that the interests involved would justify any reasonable sacrifices in meeting that demand, he consented to make the experiment. Accordingly on the first day of January, 1827, he opened in a log cabin, which had been built for a different purpose on his own premises, a little grammar school, consisting of six boys, not one of whom was pious, although all the sons of the covenant.
The Rev. W. M. Cheever, a graduate of Hanover College, writes: "My father, who was teaching school in Paris, Jennings county, was prevailed upon by Rev. John Finley Crowe to remove in 1825 to Hanover and open a school in the old stone meeting-house, which was to become in part a sort of feeder to the classical academy which Mr. Crowe intended to open at no distant day. Though a mere lad, I attended my father's school, studying under him the Latin grammar. Two years after, in 1827, when between eight and nine years of age, I started to Mr. Crowe's Classical Academy, which was opened in his old loom house. I remember vividly that first day. It was quite an epoch in my life. Besides my father, who was deeply interested in this young school of the prophets, as he termed it, often afterwards alluded to the events of that day, and they became fixed in my memory. He used to tell me I had this preeminence, if no other: I was the first student on the ground the day when Dr. Crowe opened his Academy. On the first day there were but two students present, James Logan and I. He and I had the distinguished honor of being the pioneer students. There were but [Page 33] two at the first recitation, three at the second, and several others dropped in that week, and more the week following. Perhaps one reason why my memory of those days ought to be better than that of others is that my father was Dr. Crowe's nearest neighbor and intimate friend. These matters were themes of constant conversation between Dr. Crowe and my father in my presence. I call up with more ease the recollections of those days than I do the transactions of 1832, when I re-entered and graduated."
Of the first six entering the Academy, four became ministers of the gospel and two pious physicians.
At the meeting of the Madison Presbytery with the Sand Creek Church, now Kingston, in Decatur county, April 11, 1828, the following resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved, That we deem it important to the interests of the church that a school should be established within our bounds, at which young men of promising talent and good moral character may receive such education as, with the blessing of God, may qualify them for usefulness in the church; and whereas a school of this description has been established at Hanover, Jefferson county, under the care of Rev. John Finley Crowe, with assurance of liberal patronage from those in its vicinity, provided it be taken under the superintendence of this Presbytery, therefore,
"Resolved, further, That we take said school under our patronage, and that Messrs. Crowe and Duncan be a committee to report a plan for its organization and government."
The school was so received, a board of trustees elected, [Page 34] a visiting committee appointed, and Rev. Mr. Crowe appointed principal under direction of the trustees.
At the fall meeting of the Presbytery, which was at Hanover, October 3, 1828, the visiting committee made a very favorable report concerning the literary progress of the students. They stated that the condition and prospects of the school were of a very encouraging character; that the number of students was sixteen, and a considerable addition was expected at the next session. They also stated that ground had been given by Williamson Dunn for the erection of a building, and also a donation by him of several lots in the village of Hanover, which had been platted, the proceeds of the sale of which were for the benefit of the Academy, and that a brick building two stories high, twenty-five by forty feet on the ground, would be built in the coming year, subscriptions for the same having been made.
The committee recommended, with some changes in the board of trustees, the appointment of a committee to seek from the Legislature of the State a charter for the Academy. The recommendations of the committee were adopted. Additions were made to the board of trustees, and Jeremiah Sullivan, Williamson Dunn, Rev. John Finley Crowe and Rev. James H. Johnston were appointed to secure the charter from the next Legislature.
A special blessing followed the meeting of the Presbytery at Hanover. Religious services were continued after the adjournment of the Presbytery. There was a gracious revival, in which forty persons were added to the church. The revival gave a spiritual blessing to the Academy, added to its reputation among the churches, [Page 35] and increased its numbers so that to accommodate them it was necessary to remove the school from its close quarters to the stone church.
The committee appointed to secure a charter were successful, and February 26, 1829, the trustees met and organized under their charter. Rev. J. M. Dickey was elected President of the board, Col. Samuel Smock, Treasurer, and Rev. James H. Johnston, Secretary; Rev. J. F. Crowe, Principal of the Academy. It was also determined that another teacher possessing the necessary qualifications for giving instruction in theology should be employed as soon as it was practicable. Messrs. Crowe and Johnston were appointed a committee of correspondence with reference to the subject with such persons as they deemed suitable. October 1, 1829, this committee reported a letter from the Rev. John Matthews, D. D., Shephardstown, Virginia. The committee was continued, and was authorized to bring the subject before the Synod of Indiana. In the meantime the Academy building had been transferred by deed to the board of trustees, and also a farm for carrying forward the plan for a manual labor school. Fifty acres of this farm had been given by Mr. Crowe and fifty by Williamson Dunn.
The Synod of Indiana, which at that time embraced the three States of Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, and had united in it the Presbyteries of Madison, Salem and Wabash in Indiana, the Center Presbytery of Illinois, and the Presbytery of Missouri, met on the 15th day of October, 1829, at Shoals Creek, Bond county, Illinois, forty or forty-five miles east of St. Louis. The distance [Page 36] which the members of Madison Presbytery were to travel was more than three hundred miles, and the traveling was to be done on horseback.
The time occupied in the journey was over a week. The members that went from Madison Presbytery were John M. Dickey, John F. Crowe, Samuel G. Lowry, Samuel Gregg, James N. Johnston and Samuel Smock. The only elder was Samuel Smock, of the Hanover church. They started early enough in the week preceding Synod to reach Vincennes and spend the Sabbath with the Indiana Church. On Monday their cavalcade, increased by members of other Presbyteries, numbered fifteen. They crossed the Wabash early in the morning and set forward cheerily into the grand prairies of Illinois. These were then uninhabitated, with the exception of a few establishments along the principal thoroughfares for the accommodation of travelers. The following is a matter-of-fact statement from the pen of Mr. Crowe of the accommodation of this company of ministers and elders for a night not far from Vandalia, then the capital of the Territory:
"We had traveled until the shades of evening were gathering thick around, when we came to a human habitation, a little cabin by the roadside. As it seemed out of the question for so large a company to be accommodated there, we inquired how far to the next house? Six miles was the response. As the road was new and unbroken, we saw at once that we must make the best of our condition. The family consisted of the man and his wife, their domicile of a single room some fifteen feet square, and without furniture except a small table and [Page 37] three or four stools. But they were willing to do all they could for our comfort. They would supply our horses with corn and plenty of pumpkins, and ourselves with fried venison and corn bread, and when it came to sleeping, they would resign the house to us. The supper passed off satisfactorily, and when bed-time came we covered the entire floor with our saddle blankets, using our saddles for pillows and our cloaks for covering, the good people of the house occupying a little shanty in the yard as a bed-chamber for the night."
After a journey of eight days the place appointed for the meeting of the Synod was reached. At this meeting of the Synod, the fourth in its history, twenty-two ministers were present and seven elders. Nineteen ministers were absent. Mr. Crowe, as retiring Moderator, preached the opening sermon. At every preceding meeting of the Synod from the beginning the subject of education, and especially theological education, had been under consideration. At the first Synod, at Vincennes, in 1826, a committee was appointed to prepare an overture to the General Assembly on the location of the Western Theological Seminary. Salmon Iddings, of Missouri Presbytery, Baynard R. Hall and George Bush, of Wabash Presbytery, John F. Crowe and James H. Johnston, of Madison Presbytery, were the committee. They prepared an overture for the location of the Seminary at Charlestown, Indiana. Messrs. Dickey, Hamilton and Bush were appointed a special committee of correspondence to look after the interests involved in the overture. This action of the Synod was ineffective, the Assembly locating the Seminary at Alleghany, which [Page 38] the Synod thought too far East to secure the needed benefits for the West. The action taken by the Synod, though ineffective, showed that interest in the establishment of an institution of learning for raising up ministers on the field for the great Central West was not local or confined to a few individuals, but pervaded the entire ministry and all the churches of the widely extended Synod. At the second meeting of the Synod, at Salem, a committee was appointed to consider the expediency of taking preparatory steps for the establishment of a Literary and Theological Seminary under the care of the Synod, and should such be thought by them expedient, they were authorized to draw up a plan of such Seminary and report at the next meeting of the Synod. Messrs. Dickey, Crowe and Johnston were appointed said committee. At the meeting of the Synod the next year, 1828, at Vincennes, the minutes of the Synod say: "The committee appointed at the last meeting to report on the propriety of Synod taking preparatory steps for the establishment of a Literary and Theological Seminary reported on the same, which was received and is on file. After some discussion on the subject of the report, the further consideration of it was indefinitely postponed, except the item concerning a Theological Seminary, the consideration of which was postponed until the next meeting of Synod." This next meeting of the Synod, the fourth, was the meeting at Shoals Creek, Bond county, Illinois.
It was not an unprepared soil upon which the good seed from Hanover was to be cast, but the ground that had been gone over very carefully for several years in [Page 39] succession, and that had been thoroughly prepared. The consideration of the report concerning a Theological Seminary, laid over from the Synod of the preceding year, was taken up, and the following resolution was passed:
"WHEREAS, Hanover Academy has been incorporated by an act of the Legislature of the State of Indiana, according to which act the board of trustees of said Academy are permitted by special provision to place it under the care of any body of learned men that they may select; and
"WHEREAS, The board at a late meeting appointed a committee of that body to make a tender of the institution to the Synod of Indiana, that said Synod might avail themselves of the corporate privileges granted in founding a Theological Seminary in connection with the Academy; therefore,
"Resolved, That a committee be appointed on the part of the Synod to confer with the committee of the trustees of the Academy, and to report on the subject as soon as practicable."
The committee consisted of John M. Dickey, of Madison Presbytery, Ashbel S. Wells, of Salem, and James Thomson, of Wabash. The committee reported that the interests of the churches within the bounds of the Synod would be promoted by taking the Academy under the care of the Synod. They recommended the Synod to adopt the Academy; to take measures to establish a permanent fund for the support of Theological Professors, and that the Synod appoint a board of directors to superintend the Theological Department in Hanover [Page 40] Academy. The recommendations of the committee were adopted. The time was fixed later in the day for the election of the Theological Professor. It was ordered to be by ballot. When the time of election came, John Matthews, of Shephardstown, Virginia, was unanimously elected. Thus were the prayers and labors, faith and hope of the pioneer ministers of Indiana crowned with success in the establishment of an institution of learning which was to begin the work of supplying ministers for the needy and widening fields of the great Central West.