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The following is a transcription of a letter from a missionary of the American Home Missionary Society – we are not sure which Protestant denomination that was – to his home base in New York City. It is of interest because of its age – 1834- and of its contents. It first reports on the annual diseases of the Wabash and of their effect on the community. It then goes into problems with the small Catholic Community which leads to his discussion of there being only one meeting house in town for everyone.
A copy of the letter was sent to Barbara Schull Wolfe, a Logansport, Indiana genealogist, from David W. Smith, a genealogist from Rochester, Indiana.
Logansport 1st Oct. 1834
Revr Absalom Peters / Cor Sec A.H.M.S. (Corresponding Secretary American Home Missionary Society)
Another quarter of my missionary year has expired. I left few materials for a report. This is the season of the year when the bilious diseases of the West are rife on the Wabash & seriously impede the progress of good institutions of Christian efforts. The preachers audience is smaller. Sabbath schools & other like operations suffer. I have been too unwell to preach on two Sabbaths. I am yet ill, but hope to be able to resume my usual duties.
The Lords supper was administered here on the last Sabbath. Three men added to the church by letter. We were seriously interrupted in the morning by the Roman Catholics. They took possession of the house of worship at an early hour & retained it until some time in the afternoon in the celebration of mass---interspersed with declamations against Protestants & in glorification of the “Holy Mother”. They have not yet much influence here – a few French & a few Irish families constituting their number. But they are making efforts & will perhaps succeed, for the building of a chapel, nunnery etc. in this town.
The incident I have just related presents another fact of great importance to the success of the gospel here. I allude to the necessity of a place of worship which shall not be common property. The building we now use is a school house, court house, the place where all elections are held & the place of meeting for any public purpose, & all societies, and religious denominations. And it is an inconvenient building too with poor seats & very cold in the winter. A good house for public worship we need exceedingly, but cannot, I fear now erect one. And yet I fear also, that our ability will not increase much till we have one. What shall we do?
Submitted by Thelma Conrad, Cass County Historical Society
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