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Churches: History of German Baptists in Tippecanoe County, IN

Compiled by George E. Howard

Much of the information was given by Elder Jacob Skiles of the Pyrmont German Baptist Brethren Church.

The German Baptist Brethren Church originated in Swartzenau, on the Oder, in Germany in 1708. The founder was Alexander Mack. Its members are opposed to taking oaths, going to war and attempt to settle differences among themselves without going to court.

Due to religious persecution, the Brethren moved to other localities in Germany and Switzerland. The unfriendly feeling of their neighbors brought about emigration to America in 1719. Landing in Germantown, Pennsylvania, they moved westward and southward in Virginia. Their original house of worship in Germantown is still in use.

The followers of this religious faith are plain-living and devout.

Due to influence of other Christian bodies, liberal changes gradually took place among the Brethren. This caused a three-way split in their church in 1881. The Old Order withdrew because of this relaxation and took with them the old name, German Baptist Brethren. They continued the old customs of plain dress and strict discipline. Communion is taken but once a year at night after the communicants have washed one another's feet. The middle and larger group, known as "Conservatives" is named, "Church of the Brethren". The only church of this faith in Perry Township is the Fairview Church of the Brethren located in Section 11. The third group, "The Brethren Church," is not represented in this area.

Before 1827 many German Baptist Brethren families from Ohio and Pennsylvania had settled along the western side of Carroll County. In 1827 David Ulery and John Shively from Montgomery County, Ohio, settled in Section 11 of Perry Township along the North Fork of the Wild Cat Creek. These two families with others from Carroll County organized the first congregation of German Baptist Brethren at Pyrmont in Carroll County. This congregation became so large that plans were made to establish the congregation at Fairview Church in Perry Township in 1872 and Middle Fork in Clinton County.

The Ulery and Shively families united with the Fairview Church. A son of David Ulery, Samuel Ulery, became an Elder and served Fairview Church many years.

As usual, death took David Ulery and John Shively. Members of their families are buried in the Old German Baptist Brethren Burial Ground little more than a mile north of Fairview Church on the farm presently owned by Dick Peters (1961). It is said that there are eighteen graves in this little, neglected and unknown burial ground.

Fairview Church had fifty-seven members in 1872. In 1878 the number had increased to one hundred twenty-three.

During the first half of this century this church was ably served by Rev. John Root whose family were early settlers. This was the period when pastors were chosen from among the congregation. At present (1961) the church employs paid ministers.

Old German Baptist Brethren Burial Ground (sometimes called Ulery Cemetery)

Located in the south half, NE 1/4 section 11, Perry Township, Tippecanoe County on the farm presently (1961) owned by Dick Peters.

Samuel Ulery, d. Oct. 8, 1843; age 81y. 7m. 15 d.
Susan Ulery, d. Sept. 13, 1845
Christian Replogle, d. Dec. 13, 1854
Barbara Replogle, d. April 18, 1843; age 13 y.
Benjamin Ulery, d. 1845
Elizabeth Ulery, d. 1844
Infant Ulery, d. 1844
David Shively, son of J. & E. Shively, d. Jan. 13, 1846
Susannah Dums, wife of Henry Dums, d. Jan. 1846; age 19 y.
Susannah Dums, daughter of H. & S. Dums, d. August 24, 1847; age 1 y. 8m.