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Pioneer days of Evansville and vicinity

Chapter VII: From the pen of Mrs. Flora J.R. West,   pp. 29-32

Page 31

memories in the hearts of some who are here today; nearly all have passed
away. Those early pioneers, the forefathers and foremothers  of Methodism
builded more and better than they knew when they erected that little plain
church and organized a society. The great last day only will reveal how many
at the altar gave their hearts to God, and their hands to the chi-rch. Their
influenct still lives in our community, not only in the lives and characters
 of  their descendants, but also in the moral tone of the village. To that
they imparted a sturdiness for the right and a determination to  exclude
wrong, especially the evil of infemperance, which has been a marked feature
of our place. 
The old church well served the times, with its stiff lead colored seats,
its bare walls and floor, its four interior posts, its two story pulpit,
its one big stove, its many paned windows with the plain white curtains.
It is no more. The lights of other days, the tallow candles, have gone out;
the  memorizing  of scripture verses, often whole chapters for Sunday school
lessons have gone out; the old time singing led by Father West, for years
the superintendent of the Sunday school, has gone out; the attendance of
the brethren at  the weekly prayer meetings has mostly gone out. The Sunday
class meeting of young, old and middle-aged people, except for the old people,
has mostly gone out; the amens in the southeast corner of the old church
and Brother John Rhinehart's shout of salvation have gone  out. Much of the
demonstration of the spirit's power has gone out, yet not in all things spiritual
or temporal are the old days better than the new. Many a gray-haired father
and mother, besides some old bachelors and maids, gray too in our midst,
can recall the 
time when the first church, the old Methodist meeting-house was first erected.
How proud they were of it and it seemed to them quite a pretentious building
compared to the log cabins and the log schoolhouse near by. For the church
was a    frame building and painted white on the outside. T h e greater number
of those who were accustomed to assemble in the plain  old  meetinghouse
are here no more; some are gone to other lands and some to the land from
which no traveler returns. The children of those days are the men and   women
   descending  the down-grade of their life journey towards the   sunset
tide. The  old church has been merged and swallowed up in a business block
  on Main street where   the  Economy store now stands; while it was yet
a church, however, it was used as the beginning of our seminary school, while
the seminary building was being erected. We remember the old high backed
seats painted lead color, the four enormous posts through the center, the
one big stove. The girls used to occupy the seats in the northwest corner,
while the boys were sure to get into the opposite corner, the northeast.
 Many   were   the  sly glances and smiles exchanged, even during services,
causing sad breaks in the memories of the text or sermon. Many a donation
  party was given here, causing heart flutterings and other flutterings 
among  the young   beaux  and  girls. Married pairs now old and staid were
here joined in marriage when they were young and   hopeful. Funeral rites
fer others; at the same altar have been spoken, baptismal vows, and the life
beyond only will reveal how many have here started in a new life of service
for the Master. We had no carpeted floors in that old church and not many
cushioned seats. The 

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