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Churches: The Fairview Church of the Brethren

Records and History of the Fairview Church of the Brethren*

As the Brethren moved west from Pennsylvania, one church was located at the village of Pyrmont. By 1872, the church grew in such numbers it was considered a part of wisdom to organize another church and build a house of worship. This being done, the name of the new church was voted on between two names - "Fairview" and "Tippecanoe". The vote was in favor of Fairview.

According to the records of Jacob J. Shively, then clerk of the church, the work on the Fairview building was begun in September, 1872. Most or nearly all of the material used in the building was of native timber and constructed by no particular skilled labor or profession, but many of the members of the church as well as some who were not members were proficient enough to make possible such a substantial building.

The bricks for this building were hauled from Rossville and Lafayette by the following persons: Samuel Wagoner, Isaac Swartz, Jacob Martz, Isaac Billheimer, W. Perry Murphy, Edward Overly, Samuel Ulrey, Henry Elsey, William Lepsley, William Yost, Gabriel Myers, Joseph Zahn, David Simmons, John Shively, Jacob Shively, Henry Cripe, John Weaver, Isaac Felix and a few others who did not haul so extensively. The man accredited for hauling the largest load was Edward Overly hauling 1150 bricks.

Others mentioned who lent a helping hand in the construction of this building were as follows: Jacob Sensenbaugh, Adam Sensenbaugh, John Bennet, Charles Billheimer, Isaac Blickenstaff, Clark Peters, Aaron Root, Joseph Gripe, John Hull, John Mohler, D. W. Miller, Thomas Welch, Eli Cottrell.

The names of Clark Peters and Frank Archer are given for digging the 40 foot well from which hundreds have drawn water to quench their thirst.

The timber for this church stood on the land owned by Peter Saltzman. Samuel Wagoner hauled the logs to the Jacob Felix saw mill and to the church site by oxen. Most of the labor and building material was donated. Before and while the church was being erected, meetings were held in the west barn now owned by Roy and Margie Welch.

Records show Elder R. H. Miller preached the dedicatory sermon.

On January 12, 1873, services were conducted by ministers Daniel Neher, Allen Mohler, John Metzger and others.

The new organization had 66 members with Elder John Shively, the first presiding officer. Brother George Cripe from Warsaw, Indiana and Isaac Billheimer, from Tennessee moved into the congregation. In order that Brother Cripe have a home, the church purchased four acres one mile southeast of the church for him as long as he lived there and gave his service to the church free. After several years Brother Billheimer moved to Middle Fork and Brother Cripe moved to Illinois.

Brother Isaih Quinn from Kansas and Brother Samuel Ulery from Pyrmont moved into the church and served as leaders. Brother Solomon Blickenstaff was elder three years, Brother John Diehl one year, Brother David Dilling six years. Brother Levi T. Holsinger and son, Morton, ably filled the pulpit. Elder Benjamin Wray served seven years.

On November 11, 1906, Brethren Jeremiah Barnhart and John W. Root were called to the ministry. They served together until 1909 when Brother Barnhart moved to Pyrmont. In January, 1924, Elder John W. Root was given charge of the Fairview Church. In 1934 Brother Albert Harshbarger was ordained. Brother Ellis Wagoner was elected to the ministry at Fairview and Brother John Robert Wagoner was chosen August 14, 1938. Other elders who have served are as follows: Robert Zink, Albert Harshbarger, Ralph Petry and John LaPrad.

At the organization of the church, Adam Sensenbaugh, Daniel Wagoner, Philip Drall, Isaac Wagoner and Thomas Welch were deacons. Other deacons have been Noah Ulery, Eli Miller, David Wagoner, William Stewart, Roy Brant, Arthur Kirkwood, Thomas LaPrad, Joseph Fisher, Clarence Idle, Lowell Brooks, Clyde Dick, Russel Miller, John E. Wagoner, Edgar Oaks, Glen Dunk, Donald Butler, Lewis Barrick, Everett Dunk and Roy Patrick.

Others who served in the ministry at Fairview are Delmar Moyer, 1948, Charles Bieber, 1949, Waldo Kinsol, 1949-50, Dale Gibboney 1950-57, Floyd Bowman, 1957-61, Thomas Deal, 1961-63, Garold Ringeisen, 1963-64, John Seippel 1964-65, Charles Boyer 1965-68.

On May 1, 1933, a wind storm damaged the building so that it required a great deal of labor as well as cost to make it as it is today. This was the only time in the history of this church that major misfortune came to the building.

In 1940, a new floor was layed and new doors were hung by Cecil and Morey Troxel with the help of the members of the church and others. In 1943 the Sunday School rooms were built in the basement. In 1944 new church pews were bought for the church. Reverend John Root and his wife donated these pews.

In 1946 the Lafayette Church was organized and eleven members were transferred.

A parsonage was purchased in 1949 about one fourth mile east of the church.

Through the years, Men's and Women's Fellowships have been active at Fairview aiding those less fortunate with material aid through relief work, heifer project and other mission projects.

In 1954 the Everett Dunk family participated in the Foreign Student Exchange Program and Juergen Klusman from Germany lived with them for one year while attending Buck Creek High School.

In 1955 Margie Mae Dunk gave a year of her life to the church through Brethren Volunteer Service.

The congregation was faced with a momentous decision as they considered the future outlook of the church, the chances of growth, the feasibility of continuing to operate present facilities for the present number of members and the effect of the proposed Wildcat Creek reservoir to be built by the federal government.

After much soul-searching and study the spring council meeting of March 20, 1968, voted to terminate the Fairview Church as of September 1, 1968. Each member was given the personal responsibility of finding a new church home.


*Reprinted from a pamphlet written by former members of the Fairview Church of the Brethren, Pyrmont, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, USA