History of Eel River Chapel
In 1841 at the home of Mrs. Jane Callahan small
company met and organized a society for religious services and adopted
the following as their creed:
State of Indiana, County of
The Church of Christ
We the Members of said church
capacity known by other name than the name of Christian, and do agree
to take the Old and New Testaments for our faith, rule and practice and
Jesus Christ for the man of our council and to watch over one another
in the Lord for good.
And this church is known by the
name of the Christian Salem Church at Eel River.
Where of, we have our names set
here unto Originated Feb 21, 1841, by Elders Abraham Sneathen and John
Name of charter members:
Margaret Reed, Fannie Branaman, Nancy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Payne
and Rebecca Stroud.
Meetings were held at the home
of Mrs. Jane Callahan. Her home stood a short distance west of the
present church. Meetings were also held at the home of Elijah Cox, and
also at the home of Thomas Skinner and Margaret Reed, Twelve Mile.
The members of Eel River Chapel
from 1841 to 1870 were:
Elijah and Cravet Cox, Jane Gallahan,
Margaret Reed, Thomas and Millie Skinner, William and Fannie Brannaman,
Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Stewert, Nancy Payne, Rebecca Stroud, Henry and
Sarah Myers, Chandler and Julia Ann Moore, Nicholas and Catherine
Myers, Samuel and Elizabeth Anderson, George Anderson, Eli Hook, Joseph
Reed, William Jenkins, Barbara Repp, John and Mary Bowman, Sarah
Filzjohn, William Bowman, Harriet Skinner, Dolly Jenkins, Frances Reed,
Rachel Bockover, Joseph Jeffrey, Mary Austin, Polly Cottrell, Ella
Bowman, Mary Jackson, Otis and Caroline Osborne, Elizabeth Paul, Ganny
Moore, Nancy Reed, Mary Pierson, John and Sarah Couch, Phoebe Bailiss,
John and James Payne, Richard Skinner, William Pearson, Sarah Moore,
Maria Calhoun, Abraham Huling, Elizabeth Buck, John and Mary Cottrill,
Nancy Bowman, Mary Long, William and Sarah Lova, John and Mrs. Davis,
Thomas and Jane Whitman, Elizabeth and Milly Jones, John and Mary
Johnston, John Bockover, Martha Bennet, Hezekiah and Prescila Davis,
James and Elizabeth Davis, Mary Ann Davis, Elmore Simons, Harvey
Bingham and wife, Smith and Buck, Barbara Cox, Mary Jane and Katherine
Tillet, John, Bill, James and Margaret Reed, Mother Cromer, Morris
Buckk, Sister Barrot, Sarah Pearson, Mary Jane Reed, Sarah Ellen
Hoover, Nancy Jones, Miss Shortridge, Samuel and Celia Anderson,
Barbara Anderson, Mary Jones, Mary Anderson, Mary and Elizabeth Myers,
Jacob Cromer, John and Rachel Hoover, Mary Jane and Martha Moore, Nancy
Cox, Priscilla Anderson, Elisha Buck, Price and Eliza Shortridge,
Frances Anderson, Louis Helvie.
Laura Brubaker, Sarah and
Barbara Brannaman, Joseph Ballom, Joseph Skinner, Rachel Bockover, John
Kraning, Charles and Elizabeth Coil, Wm., Elizabeth and Nancy Olinger,
Thornton Ytson, James Stevens, John Buck and wife.
The Pastors during this time
were: Elders Abraham Sneathen, John Adkins, Joseph Thompson, Joel
Thomas, Nicholas Myers, Peter Banta, Elder Winters, L. Shoemaker,
Joseph Roberts, Thomas Whitman and Mr. Winegarden.
On February 21, 1843, the
members of Eel River Chapel met at Sister Jane Callahan's and on
motion, resolved to build a meeting house.
Elijah Cox, Thomas Skinner and
William Anderson were appointed as a committee to procure a deed first
house. The deed was given by Elijah Cox for a piece of ground where the
cemetery now is. The old church stood at the west side of the present
cemetery. This committee was ordered to draw up subscription papers,
superintend the building of said house, etc., said house to be
twenty-six feet wide, thirty-six feet long and ten feet high and to be
a frame house.
When the present church was
built the old frame house was sold to George Schlott, who moved it to
Mexico and built a cider mill of timbers. It still stands here today.
Loyally the members worked and
had the house ready to dedicate early in 1844. Abraham Snethen was the
pastor at this time. At the regular monthly meeting held Dec. 26, 1946,
it was resolved on motion that the Brethren at Twelve Mile become an
organized church, said church to be organized in 1847. At the regular
monthly meeting on Aug. 21, 1847, it was resolved on motion that we
have a treasury in the church and that we circulate a subscription
paper and get all subscribed that could for the support of the gospel
to be paid into the treasurer and paid our quarterly on the orders of
the church. On motion Henry Myers was appointed treasurer and Chandler
C. Moore, Clerk. All of the records of the church from 1841 to 1859
were recorded by Chandler C. Moore, Clerk.
Among the early settlers of the
neighborhood were Isaac Bond and Jesse Bond. They were always ready to
help with the support of the church and they and their families were
constant attendants. Isaac Bond died in 1890 and was buried in the
cemetery close by. His widow who lives in Peru still owns the home
place. A daughter, Mrs. Lydia Fair resides with her mother and she and
her husband visit the neighborhood quite frequently. She, at one time
was a teacher in the Sunday School at Eel River. Jesse Gond resides in
Mexico, Indiana. His children and grand children live not very far
away. Henry and Sarah Myers were strong and faithful supporter and
never missed a meeting unless they were sick. Of their family Mrs. Jane
Kraning, Mrs. Mary Bowman, Mrs. Kate Hurtt, Mrs. Emma Garland, Miss
Julia Myers and William Myers are still living. William resides on the
farm where his parents lived for a long time.
The Brannaman home was the farm
owned by Milton Myers. The living members of the family are: Mrs. Sarah
Car, Mrs. Nancy Brownlee, and Mrs. Maballa Conger, and a host of grand
and great grandchildren.
Elder Joseph Roberts lived in
the neighborhood and Samuel Anderson married his daughter. Anderson's
lived on the farm known as Old Virginia. There sons, John, James, and
Jackson are still living and a number of grandchildren, one of the sons
still resides in the neighborhood. Nicholas and Katherine Myers, lived
where Isaac Myers now lives and their old latch string always hung out
Sometime during the 50's a
conference was held at Eel River and people came a long distance in
wagons, horseback and on foot.
Quite a good many came to the
house of Nicholas on Saturday. There were two or three preachers among
the number and the neighbors gathered in the evening and held services
there. There were two rooms filled with people and the preacher would
stand in the door way between the two rooms.
Those living close to the
church would gather there on Saturday night for services. On Sunday
morning they would hitch their horses to the wagons load in all the
horses could pull and then to church. The driver would then go back
after the eatables. After the afternoon services they would return to
the Myers home. Services would be held there on Sunday evenings similar
to those held on Saturday evening. Isaac Myers is the only on of the
family still living and he resides at the old homestead. J.F. Myers
widow is still living and his sons, daughters, and grandchildren are
well known. One of Nicholas Myers' daughters married a Sarver and one a
Bowman. I haven't time to tell more about the Myers' and Bowman's but
come to our reunion to be held the first Saturday in September and I
will make you acquainted with them.
Elijah Cox lived where the
brick house now stands. Not any of the family is living now. Two of the
Cox girls married Reed Brothers. They are lying the cemetery close by,
except one, their children and grandchildren are well known.
Charlie and Riley Cox's widows
are still living. They both live in Peru with their daughters. Mrs.
Riley Cox's widow still owns the homestead. William Gallhan was the
first person buried in the Eel River Cemetery. All his family have
passed their reward, but they have left children and grandchildren, one
of them Grant Gallahan, who together with his wife is a staunch,
devoted member of the church.
Kendell E. West became pastor
of the Eel River Church in . It was during his pastorate that the
present church was built. On. Feb 2, 1881. (Just 38 years to the day),
from the other meeting in 1841.
A meeting was called for the
purpose. R.G. Cox was appointed chairman and the following paper was
drawn up. We the undersigned,
do agree to pay the sum annexed our name for the purpose of building a
brick church for Eel River, the building to be built to the committee's
orders. The church is to be opened to any religious denomination when
not occupied by the Christian's. The church is to be controlled by the
Christian denomination. The amount is to be paid in three installments.
The first when the building is commenced, the second when the roof is
on and the third when the building is finished.
On motion the secretary was
ordered to get suitable books in which to keep the subscription list
and other business of the church. On motion Of Henry Myers, Nathan
Gallahan, and Thornton Tyson Ware appointed finance committee, with C.
G. Cox assistant. On motion of Jesse Bond, R.E. Dean and J.F. Myers
were appointed, building committee. Of these seven men only two are
living, Jesse Bond and R.E. Dean and we owe a debt of gratitude to
Jesse Bond for the deed he gave of the ground on which the present
Rev. West assist ably in the
building of the church. He was well liked and his preaching drew large
crowds. The Christian Church suffered a great loss when he was called
away. The church was dedicated early in Dec, 1881. The Dedicationary
sermon by Rev. Fowler and Rev. West was the preacher.
I joined the church in 1883,
Rev. S. McNeeley, of Tiosa assisted by Rev. West in his revival
meetings that winter.
Today's meetings brings to mind
old friends, among Benjamin Gable and family. How I love to recall the
many visits at their home. No matter where you went you were cordially
welcome. Eel River will never have more willing nor loyal workers than
Another family I recall is
Jacob Erb and family who lived by the old mill. We always enjoyed a
visit there and their time and money were willingly given to the church
when we needed it. Another fact I recall is when Jordan Swindler, Benj.
Gable, William Myers, Frank Alspaugh, William Bowman, Wilson Garland
would drive up to the church door each with a carriage load. Ah, those
were the happy days, but they are gone and past and we can't readily
recall the faces of dear departed ones. Prominent among those was Mrs.
Kate Newman. She was admired not only her kind loving disposition, but
for her lovely voice. Her singing was a pleasure to herself as well as
to her friends. She loved to sing and she was always ready to help in
any good work with both hands and voice.
Another one to be remembered
was Nellie Myers Gallahan. She always had a kind word and a pleasant
smile for everyone. She was the organist for the church and Sunday
School and she loved to play and do all she could in the cause of
What tender loving memories the
names Rev. and Mrs. Stricklan bring to our minds. How we did love them
at Eel River, not only for preaching, but for their singing also and we
always think of them as the sweet singers. They always came with kind
words and pleasant smiles for everyone. They preached for us for
sixteen years. Other preachers we have listened to were Rev. W.D.
Daniel, J.C. Rupe, David Hyda, Mr. Vance, and O. McGreely, all
Our present pastor Rev. C.E.
McCoy needs no words of praise, his excellence is plainly visible, and
appreciated by all who know him.
Conference was held at Eel
River Chapel ____ and 1904. The first Sunday School was organized in
1889 with Grant Gallahan as superintendent and Hattie Reed (now Mrs. F.
Myers), organist which she filled until 1896. Other superintendents
were: Mr. Reese, Oliver King, Frank Myers, Wilson Garland, Sadie Myers
and Mrs. Milton Myers.
Later additions to the church
are Sarah , Nellie, and Jennie Myers. Julia Myers, John & Sadie
Myers, William and Cora Myers, George and Eva Myers, Lavina, Frank, and
Iva Myers, Jordan and Amanda Swindler, Nathan, Mary, Grant and Albert
Gallahan, George, Arthur and Rosa King, Wilson and Emma Garland,
William Wolf, Caroline Cox, Riley and Elizabeth Cox, Addie, Laura and
Ottie Gable, Clark and Martha Edward, Richard, Elizabeth, and Mary
Gallahan, Kate Anderson, Harry Anderson, John and Emma Rush, Eva Hooks,
Tudi Grimes, Jacob, Kate, Florence and William, Erb, John and Sarah
Julian, Minta and Frank Reed, Mahala, Ida and Hattie Reed, Ora and
Jennie Tyson, Emma Hoover, Wallace Brown, Hattie Jones, Hattie Tillett,
Montgomery and Mona Branaman, Jane and Amanda Sarver, John Kraning,
Will and Lou Moore, William and Lucinda Alpach, Emma and Sadie Alspach,
Frank and Phoebe Weaver, Pearl Britton, Lottie Sager, Riley and Lydia
Bowman, Daniel and Emma Bowman, Amanda Anderson, David Wallace, Oliver,
Martha and Marion Reese, Cora Personette, Laura Reed, Belle Hunter,
Willard and Kate Ault, Isaac Ault, Harvey and Rebecca Sofer, George
Yoder, Elmer Leffell, Etta Newman, Sylvia Cox, Frank, Allie, Carl and
Lillie Alspach, Edward and Amanda Bowman, Maggie Roberts, Millissa
Myers, Milton and Della Myers, Ray and Alice Myers, Bessie Ward, Oliver
and Cora King, Milton, Carter and Bertha Garland, Grace Myers, Blanch
and Hattie Myers, May Anderson and Edna Angle, Clarence Bowman, Austin
Bowman and Majorie King. These include all that have every been members
of Eel River. The present membership numbers fifty. How many of the
list are sleeping in the cemetery close by and do we appreciate what
they have done for us in erecting this beautiful house of Worship. I
We can show them reverence by
constant attendance to church duties and by making the cemetery a
beautiful spot instead of a home for weeds and ugliness.
Let us strive to keep up the
church and cemetery and make them a lasting monument to those loyal,
brave hearts who founded them.
Letters from the former members
of the church read by Mrs. Milton Myers as follows:
From W.H. Deniston of
Rochester, IN, who enclosed $5.00 for aid society, from Hattie and
Roxie Myers of Colorado Springs, CO, from Mrs. Pat Grabill of Roanoke,
VA, and from Jesse Bond of Mexico, IN and from Emma L. Isenberg of
Taken from Peru Republican Peru,
Indiana July 15, 1910
Written by Mrs. John Myers
& Rose King Gallahan
Willard & Ella
W. Milton & Della
John & Sarah (Rayburn)
George & Eva (Gallahan)
Frank & Hattie (Reed)
J. Fred & Lavina
Oliver & Cord
Jordan & Amanda (Myers)
William & Arabella
Frank & Allie (Bowman)
Wilson & Emiline
Hester Balsbaugh reminisces
concerning the Eel River chapel as follows: The
church membership was made-up of Myers, Bowman, and others living in
the community near the church. The above drawing with names of families
show where they lived from the church building in the early 1900's. The
conference written about in the history of the Eel River Chapel was
well attended. Those who lived too far away came by train or
inter-urban and then taken by wagon to the church. Hester recalls
Jordan Swindler driving a three seated hack to provide transportation
to those who needed it.
As the families grew up they
drifted away. Willard Bowman's family left in 1906 and went back for
awhile before going to New Waverly church. Frank Alspaugh went to Nead.
Later when Cora and Oliver King and Will Myers moved to Peru. Others
stayed in their homes as long as they could.
The funeral services for the
William Boone family in 1919 and the funeral of Mrs. John (Sarah) Myers
in 1920 were the last services held in the church.
This rural church was west of
U.S. 31 on Road 300 N near the Cass County Line across the road from
the cemetery. After regular services were discontinued in the early
1900's the building was damaged by vandals and razed.
Miami County History - Brant
and Fuller (1887) page 663 - Eel River Christian Church - meeting house
built in 1843 - neat frame house of worship costing $600.00 - on the
land of Elijah Cox. Used 39 years - replaced by a brick building
erected in 1881 costing $2800.00. In 1867 the membership was about 90.
Page 669 - The Eel River graveyard at Eel River Chapel was laid aside
for burial purposes as long ago as 1838 or 1839.
Henry Myers, his wife Sarah
(Thornburg) and all nine of their children are buried in Eel River
Cemetery beside other Myers and Bowman relatives. Therefore this
history of Eel River Chapel is very much a part of Myers and Bowman
of Eel River Chapel
Transcribed and Submitted by Kim Edgerton Updated 17 January 1998