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History of North Madison Baptist Church
Madison, Indiana
By W. Y. Monroe, 1879

      When the time had fully come that Israel must enter upon the promised land, God caused a committee to be appointed that upon their investigation, the people might decide whether they were fully able to possess it. So He proposed to have a church in North Madision. He raised up a committee of four times seven: fourteen males and fourteen females, viz:

Names of Constituent Members

      James Jones, Allen Jones, John Waterman, William C. Vawter, Elias Stapp, John H. Stapp, Jeptha D. Stapp, Benjamin Smith, Johnson S. Vawter, James Vawter, Holman S. Vawter, John W. Vawter, William Millhouse, James Kelly, Jane Jones, Louisa Jones, Susan J. W. Clark, Mary Patton, Cynthia A. Prindle, Deborah Waterman, Ally Stapp, Susan Stapp, Nancy Smith, Sarah B. Vawter, Martha E. Vawter, Mary Hughley, Nancy Merritt and Elizabeth Kelly, to view the promise, and prospect for work and enjoyment, success and rest for His people, and a place to record His name.

      On the seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-nine, the committee paused in their investigation; and in the presence of a council, assembled according to Baptist useage, in that which is now Odd Fellows Hall, and (if the writer of history may put words into the mouths of those who make it,) called upon the name of the Lord, their God; and said: "O! most merciful God, our Father, we have viewed the land and believe that we are fully able to possess it; and now, in thy holy name, in the name of thy Son our Savior; in the name of the Holy Spirit our comforter; one God. We plant here a vine; we dedicate it to the North Madison Baptist Church; and having been brought to believe and fully trust in thy name, and to give ourselves wholly to thee, we now most solemnly covenant with each other to walk together in brotherly love, and to keep house for thee to the praise and glory of our common Lord." "And the council said Amen!"

      Elders [Wm.] Pratt of Kentucky and Owen, of Madison, were mainly instrumental in preparing the material for this church.

      At its first meeting for business - first Saturday in December, 1849 - Eli Stapp was chosen Moderator, J. D. Stapp, Clerk, J. W. Vawter, Treasurer, and James Jones, Deacon. James Vawter, Sen., was appointed chairman of a committee to select a site upon which to erect a house of worship; and in March following reports progress; and Robert Branham and J. W. Vawter are appointed a building committee. From this committee there is no report in any shape or form upon record; but from the fact that in December 1850, trustees are elected and in January succeeding, these trustees are instructed to let any people who worship

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the true God, have our house to worship in at all times when not in use by us." We infer that the present house of worship was then fully completed. In October 1850, ten months after the appointment, the commmittee on pastoral labor report the name of Elder W. T. Stott; and he was chosen pastor, and to preach on the first Saturday and Sabbath following in each month. This call was renewed for four consecutive years; and during the time of this four year pastorate, Elders McDonald, Owen and Hill were called, one at a time, to preach on the Sabbath following the third Saturday in each month. In July 1854, Elder W. T. Stott closed his labors with the church, and his son, Elder John Stott, was called to fill his place; but in November following he is released from the call, and Elder J. P. Barnett was called to fill both appointments of the church. His services were continued until April 1857, (two years and six months). In October 1857, the records say: "A unanimous call was extended to Elder W. Y. Monroe to become our pastor."

      This call has been repeated for twenty-two years in succession, and with the exception of a few months while in the military service of our country - five months of this time the pulpit was supplied by Elder J. W. C. Covey - the call has been heeded until the present time.

      At its first meeting the church ordained that we will hold covenant and business meetings on the first Saturday of every month, and that the first Saturday in November of each year shall be our annual meeting for the election of officrs and for the balancing of accounts; and for the decade, ALL of the officers were permanent, so that the annual elections affect only the pastor, clerk and Sabbath school superintendent.

      With the exception of a few years, the church has maintained preaching two Sabbaths in each month, and always a Sabbath School the year round; and a weekly prayer meeting.

      Ten invitations have been extended by the church to the Madison Association to hold its sessions with it, two of which, to-wit; in 1855 and 1872, were accepted.

      James Jones, James Kelly, Jacob Wildman, T. J. Jenkins, John Cobb, Joseph Roberts, U. B. Stribling, Merwin Prindle, R. H. Patton and N. B. Nichols have rendered service to the church as Deacons. The last three are the present incumbents.

      The church in now upon the close of its thirtieth year. During the career it has enrolled four hundred and seventy-seven names in fellowship, of whom but one hundred and forty-five now remain.

      Sunshine and clouds, joy and sorrow, trial and victory have

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been in our pathway. Peace and harmony, brotherly love and good will to men have been the prevailing elements.

      A few of the names enrolled were deceived or were deceivers, and were soon cut off, and by their wretched after-life are teaching us to listen to the voice of inspiration. "Be not deceived, for God is not mocked."

      A few have run well for a season, but have fallen out by the way; teaching us "take heed lest ye fall." A few are still hanging as cold as icicles upon the eaves of God's house; but their frozen condition calls loudly upon us to pray. "Restore unto us the joys of thy salvation," and "let the beauty of the Lord be up on us."

      More than seven score of the members have through the rich grace of Christ, and the perseverance of saints ripened into the kingdom of glory; "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, great and marvelous are thy works Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints."

      Their happy condition teaches us that it is far better to depart and be with Christ, and to pray "let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like His."

      A handfull are still striving to maintain order and worship in God's house; "pressing toward the mark," holding the "hand upon the plow," not "looking back;" waiting a little longer; "but how little none can know."
     Written September, 1879, by
     W. Y. Monroe.


[From Madison Baptist Association Minutes, 1879, pp. 10-12. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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