Freewill Baptist Association Minutes

The Freewill Baptist churches in Southeastern Indiana were significant in that both ministers and lay people were involved directly in the active Underground Railroad. Excerpts from the minutes of the local quarterly association meeting were published in the Morning Star, the national news journal of the northern Freewill Baptists out of Bates, Maine. These minutes include the names of several known UGRR activists. It is believed that association meetings were a natural way of communicating signals and information needed for a secure UGRR network.
Franklin FW Baptist Church, Pilgrim B&W
Franklin FW Baptist, Pilgrim Baptist

Information from Freewill Baptist Quarterly Meetings

22Feb1843 Morning Star

Ripley Quarterly Meeting, Sparta Jan 27-29 1843

Moderator: P. Anthony

Corresponding Messengers to Switzerland QM: Elds R. Kelly, E.F. Stites, Brothers C. Larabee, A. Persinger, N. Hartly, I. Oathoudt, D. Hall, T.S. Grimes

Committee to meet with Switzerland QM to adopt constitution: Eld R. Kelly, P. Anthony, I Oathoudt, T. S. Grimes, D. Hall, E. Fuller, and J. Stevens

Voted to hold next QM with the church at Delaware. Clerk: Jefferson Stevens.

22Feb1843 Morning Star

Indiana Yearly Meeting F.W.B. – Constitution adopted January 1843

Signed by Ripley QM – Richard Kelly, Philip Anthony, Isaac Oathoudt, Thomas S. Grimes, Daniel Hall, Elijah Fuller, Jefferson Stevens

Signed by Switzerland QM – Abram Adkinson, Robert Rickets, Daniel Rickets

28Jun1843 Morning Star

Ripley Quarterly Meeting at Delaware, May 26-28, 1843. Brother Isaac Oathoudt presided, Elders Gould and Adkinson from Switzerland QM met with us;

Preachers: Gould, Adkinson of Switzerland, Kelly and Stites of Ripley

Appointed Corresponding Messengers to next session of Switzerland QM: Elder E.F. Stites, E. Fuller, A. Fuller, T. Gloyd, E. Watson, T.S. Grimes

Appointed Book Agent: Edler E.F. Stites

Next session to be held with the church at Sparta, Jefferson Stevens, Clerk

05Jul1843 Morning Star

Switzerland Quarterly Meeting with the Harmony Church, Switzerland Co, 2-4 June 1843, preachers Elders L. Gould and E.F. Stites, Cheney Munger, Clerk, Posey Township, Switzerland Co, Indiana.

02Aug1843 Morning Star

Dearborn Quarterly Meeting with the Liberty Church, Ripley Co., June 1843. Preaching by Elders N. Meader, Rogers Ide, and Brother Mitchel, a licentiate from Miami QM. Committee to designate next meeting place: C. R. Faulkner, T.N. Burroughs, and Ichabod Sheldon. Have employed Elder I. Sheldon to travel for one quarter. G.S. Walker, Clerk.

27Sept1843 Morning Star

Ripley Quarterly Meeting with church at Sparta on 25-27 August. Brother Samuel Gookins, Moderator. Elders L. Gould and A. Adkinson from Switzerland QM preached with Elders R. Kelly and E.F. Stites. Next session with Mainville church, Warren OH in October. Brother T.S. Grimes publicly set apart to the ministry; ordination sermon and hand of fellowship by Elder R. Kelly, prayer by Eld E.F. Stites and charge by Elder L. Gould. Jefferson Stevens, Clerk at Delaware, Ripley County.

27Sept1843 – Morning Star

Switzerland Quarterly Meeting with York church 1-3 September 1843, protracted 2-3 days by Elder E.F. Stites and others. Next session with church at Mt. Sterling. Cheney Munger, Clerk.

01Nov1843 – Morning Star

Dearborn Quarterly Meeting with Sherburne Church, Ripley Co, 22-24 September. Visiting brethren from Miami QM and Elder S. Hathorn from Maine. Received the Union and Freedom churches which “have been raised since our last QM through instrumentality of Eld. I. Sheldon. G.S. Walker appointed corresponding secretary to Switzerland QM, Elder I. Sheldon to travel until next QM. Preaching by Elders Hathorn, Mitchell and Rogers Ide. Next session to be with Freedom Church, Otter Creek in December. G. W. Walker, Clerk.

31Jan1844 – Morning Star

Dearborn Quarterly Meeting at Freedom Church, Otter Creek Township, Ripley Co 22-24 December. Heavy rains and bad traveling, few delegates present. Received Elder s. Hathorn corresponding messenger from Miami QM. Preaching by Elder S. Hathorn, I. Sheldon and R. Ide. Elders R. Ide and I. Sheldon corresponding messengers to Miami QM. Next session with the Colby Church, Sparta Twp, Dearborn Co in March. G. S. Walker, Clerk at Sparta, Indiana.



Freewill Baptist Churches of Southeastern Indiana

Union FWB church, Flat Rock horiz adj
Union FWB church, Flat Rock Ripley County Indiana

Freewill Baptist Churches – Southeastern Indiana

Pierceville Lot 11, ME old FWB church
Pierceville Indiana Freewill Baptist Church now Methodist


Appendix A

Freewill Baptist Churches in Southeastern Indiana

Revised with G. K. McCarty July 2007
Year Church Location Township County Founder Preachers/Elders Assigned
1820 Bryants Creek (Randall) Nr. Rising Sun York Switzerland Marcus Kilburn Alexander Sebastian
1823 Jefferson Shelby Jefferson Benjamin Leavitt Lewis Gould
1834 Union (Old Liberty) Cotton Switzerland Abraham Adkinson, Sedam, McHenry
1834 Franklin (split from Reg. Baptist) Old Milan Franklin Ripley Ezekial Stites Richard Kelley, Daniel Palmer, D. Moss
1834 York York Switzerland Cheney Munger
1834 Sparta nr Moore’s Hill Sparta Dearborn N. Richmond
1836 Delaware Old Delaware (Lookout) Delaware Ripley Samuel Gookins, Phillip Anthony, Jefferson Stevens
1836 1st Manchester Manchester Manchester Dearborn Ichabod Sheldon Z.M. Palmer, J. Carlton
1836 Clinton Rt 48 & Spades Rd Franklin Ripley Elisha Ransom
1837 Washington Elrod Washington Ripley Roger Ide, Eber Watson, William Watson, John Peterman, Charles Larabee, Thomas S. Grimes, Thomas N. Burroughs, Abraham Persinger, James Henderson, John Peters, T. Gloyd
1838 Providence Wrights Corner Manchester Dearborn Cyrus Dudley
1839 Pleasant Pleasant Switzerland
1841 Mainville Warren Co OH Marcus Kilburn, Moses Dudley, Benjamin Tufts
1842 Harmony (Ohio Co?) Posey Switzerland Cheney Munger, Robert Ricketts
1842 Mt. Sterling nr Vevay Johnson Switzerland
1842 Cesar’s Creek nr Friendship Brown Switzerland Roger Ide Roger Ide
1843 Union (Flat Rock) Flat Rock Jackson Ripley Ichabod Sheldon
1843 Freedom Otter Creek Ripley Ichabod Sheldon
1843 Sherburne Panther Creek Sand Creek Decatur Ichabod Sheldon
1844 Colby Sparta Dearborn Roger Ide, Isaac Outhoudt Roger Ide
1846 Milan Old Milan (Lot 28 Keene’s Add) Franklin Ripley Ebenezer Redlon,Henry Meader, James Parker, Ezekial F. Stites, Elisha Ransom, Stillman Ransom, Abigail and Lucy Brown
1849 Centre Square Centre Square Cotton Switzerland George S. Walker
1853 Franklin (Anderson Schoolhouse) (Old Pilgrim Site) Franklin Ripley John Dorson, Thomas Cone, William Resinger, Ezekial Stites, Albert Fuller, Elijah Fuller, Socrates Swift
1853 Mt. Pleasant Newpoint Marion Decatur George S. Walker
1854 Turner nr Moorefield Pleasant Switzerland
1855 Prattsburgh Prattsburgh Delaware Ripley Richard Kelley, Ezekial Stites, Ebenezer Redlon, Aaron Richardson
1860 Pierceville Pierceville Delaware Ripley Richard Kelley, Ezekial Stites, Ebenezer Redlon
1871 Pleasant Grove
1872 Zion 6 miles NW of Flat Rock Sand Creek Decatur John Tucker, Matthew Oldham, Rev. D. A. Tucker, Rev. William Tucker, Rev. E.J. Tucker
          ? Negangard’s Corner Rt 48 & Spades Rd Franklin Ripley R. Kelley/E. Stites


Franklin FW Baptist Church, Pilgrim B&W
Franklin FW Baptist Church, Pilgrim B&W

Freewill Baptist Churches Cited in Morning Star, the national publication


Church Name
Location Date Founders Citation
Washington Washington Twp Ripley County Sept 1841 Elder R. Ide and Rev. Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 22Feb1843
Colby Sparta, Dearborn County 2nd Sat Nov 1842 Elder R. Ide and Rev. Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 22Feb1843
Dearborn Q.M. Ripley & Dearborn Cos 1842 Elder R. Ide and Rev. Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 22Feb1843
Harmony Posey Twp, Switzerland Co   Elder R. Gould, Adkinson Morning Star 28Jun1843
Liberty Ripley Co 1843 Elder R. Ide, N. Mender Morning Star 02Aug1843
York Switzerland Co 1843 Elder E.F. Stites, Cheney Munger Morning Star 17Sep1843
Mt. Sterling Switzerland Co 1843 Elder E.F. Stites, Cheney Munger Morning Star 17Sep1843
Sherburne Ripley Co 1843 Eld I Sheldon, R. Ide, Hathorn from Maine, and Mitchell from Miami QM Morning Star 01Nov1843
Union Flat Rock,  Dearborn QM 1843 Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 01Nov1843
Freedom Otter Creek Twp, Dearborn QM 1843 Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 01Nov1843