Indiana Religious History

The books and articles below are about churches, missionaries and other religious activities in Indiana history. See the right column for more info about this website.

Life of the Rev. F. Cointet, Priest and Missionary of the Congregation of Holy Cross

Cincinnati: Walsh: 1855
Go to Book

An admiring Church biography of a priest at the University of Notre Dame who also headed congregations in northern Indiana. Father Cointet was born in 1817 in France, ordained a priest in 1839, and arrived in the U.S. in 1843. He traveled to his first assignment at Notre Dame du Lac, which had just been established the year before. He was both a professor at the University and a priest in the local Mission until 1849. After a 2-year assignment to New Orleans he was then given responsibility for five congregations in northeast Indiana and southwest Michigan. He died there in 1854.

Catholic Church, Indiana history, clergy, missionary, church history, François Cointet, 19th century, 1800s, history book online

History of the Catholic Church in Indiana

Logansport, IN: A. W. Bowen 1898
Blanchard, Charles., ed., comp.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

After a few chapters on the early history of Catholic missionaries and the church in Vincennes and other French villages, Volume 1 is largely devoted to brief histories of the development of every congregation up to the 1890s , including the names of the priests who served there. There is then a chapter on education, with histories of individual parochial schools and academies. The University of Notre Dame du Lac in South Bend has a chapter-long history, followed by a chapter on monasteries and convents. The volume contains many illustrations of church buildings.

Volume 2 consists entirely of biographies, of clergy and prominent Catholics. It is heavily illustrated with portraits and views of churches.

See also:
– Lamott, John Henry, History of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1921 in Ohio Religious History
Garraghan, Gilbert Joseph, Catholic church in Chicago, 1673-1871 in Illinois Religious History;
Pare, George, The Catholic Church in Detroit, 1701-1888 in Michigan Religious History;
Heming, Harry Hooper, The Catholic Church in Wisconsin in Wisconsin Religious History

Catholic Church, Catholics, 19th century, 1800s, history books, University of Notre Dame du Lac, Vincennes IN, biography, clergy, illustrations

“The Moravian Mission Settlement in Indiana”

Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association Vol X, 1918-1921, 286-98

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Brady, Arthur W.Go to Article

The story of a short-lived mission to a village of Delaware Indians at the present site of Anderson, Indiana, from 1801 to 1806.

“Some Religious Developments in Indiana”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 5, Issue 2, 1909, pp 57-71

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Coleman, Christopher B.Go to Article

Church history, Congregationalist, Methodist, Baptist, Methodist, Rappite, Presbyterian, clergy, circuit-rider, Disciples of Christ, New Light Movement

Indiana Religious History

Contributions to the Early History of the Presbyterian Church in Indiana: Together with Biographical Notices of the Pioneer Ministers

Cincinnati: Winona 1898
Edson, Hanford A.Go to Book

Like many other church histories, this volume seems to be mostly made up of biographical sketches of ministers. However, these are enlivened by extended quotes from journals and letters, and by the author’s determination to describe the communities and frontier environment in which these ministers lived and worked. He wrote in the Preface about them that, “The study took me into an unknown land. I was surprised at every step. Courage, self-sacrifice, piety, were to be expected; but I found besides a beautiful social life, uncommon learning, undoubted genius for affairs, and gifts of utterance in every way memorable.”

Chapter headings are:

-Beginnings and Spread of Presbyterianism in America
-The Settlement of Indiana
-The First Missionaries 1800-1806
-Hindrances and Disorders Incident to War 1807-1814
-The War Over and the Work Advanced 1815
-Aid from New England 1816, 1817
-A Notable Quartet 1818
-Better Ecclesiastical Supervision 1819-1821
-Indianapolis 1821
-Extension toward the North 1822
-The Shadow of Slavery 1823
-The first Presbytery 1823, 1824
-Help from Princeton 1824
-Two Fellow-Travelers 1824
-A Period of Increased Missionary Zeal 1825
-Organization of the Synod of Indiana 1826
-Indiana Presbyterians and Education
— Missionary Agencies at Work in Indiana previous to 1826
— Ecclesiastical Relations of the Indiana Congregations previous to 1826
— Bibliography

For more works on Presbyterians in the region, see:
Rudolph, L. C., Hoosier Zion: The Presbyterians in Early Indiana on this page;
Peet, Stephen (Rev.), History of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches and Ministers in Wisconsin in Wisconsin Religious History

Presbyterian, Church history, clergy, Synod of Indiana, history book online, public domain

Biographical Sketches of the Pioneer Preachers of Indiana

Philadelphia: J. Challen 1862
Evans, MadisonGo to Book

Biographies of 23 pioneer preachers, apparently of various protestant denominations. Many of these men were still alive at the time this book was written, and they themselves provided at least part of the details that were included. Chapters are:

-John Longley.
-John Wright.
-Absalom, and John T. Little.
-Joseph Hostetler.
-John B. New.
-Beverly Vawter.
-John P. Thompson.
-Michael Combs.
-Elijah Goodwin.
-Joseph Wilson.
-William Wilson.
-Love H. Jameson.
-James M. Mathes.
-R. T. Brown.
-George Campbell.
-John O’Kane.
-Thomas Lockhart.
-Jacob Wright.
-B. K. Smith.
-Benjamin F. Reeve.
-Joseph W. Wolfe.
-Thomas J. Edmondson.
-Sketch of Northwestern Christian university.

Clergy, missionaries, biography, Church history, 19th century, history book online

The Heroic Women of Early Indiana Methodism

Indianapolis: 1889
Goodwin, Rev. T. A.Go to Book

(title continued) ” … an address delivered before the Indiana Methodist Historical Society at De Pauw University, June 16, 1889″

Indiana Methodism: Being an Account of the Introduction, Progress, and Present Position of Methodism in the State …

Cincinnati: Hitchcock and Walden 1873
Holliday, Rev. F. C. Go to Book

(title continued) “… and also a history of the literary institutions under the care of the church, with sketches of the principle Methodist educators in the state down to 1872”

Although the bulk of this volume is made up of biographical sketches and anecdotes from the lives of dozens of Methodist preachers, the author has aspired to more than that. He explores the evolution of Methodist practice through the 19th century, and describes the institutional growth of the church. He also employs extended quotes from letters and journals to portray life on the Indiana frontier.

For more works on Methodism in the region, see:
– Boase, Paul, “The Fortunes of a Circuit Rider” in Ohio Religious History

King, I. F., “Introduction of Methodism in Ohio” in Ohio Religious History
Cartwright, Peter, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the Backwoods Preacher in Illinois Religious History;
Leaton, James (Rev.), History of Methodism in Illinois from 1793 to 1832 in Illinois Religious History;
Bennett, P. S., History of Methodism in Wisconsin in Wisconsin Religious History;
Finley, James B., Sketches of Western Methodism: Biographical, Historical, and Miscellaneous, Illustrative of Pioneer Life in Great Lakes Region Religious History

Methodist church, Methodists, 1800s, Indiana history, public domain, books online

Indiana Religious History

Congregationalism in Indiana

Indianapolis: Carlon & Hollenbeck 1895
Hyde, Nathaniel A.Go to Book

The author wrote at the beginning of this 70-page booklet that the Congregationalists were active and influential in Indiana since 1816, but for decades they did their work under another name; being in a sort of partnership with the Presbyterian Church. Writing a history of early Congregationalism was complicated by this fact, as much of that history was disguised. At the end of the volume are lists of all Congregational ministers in the state, and all congregations with founding dates.

Congregationalist, Church history, Indiana history, US history book

Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations in Indiana

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Records Survey 1940-41
Indiana Historical Records Survey, Work Projects Administration
Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3 part 1|Go to Vol 3 part 2

Vol 1 – Marion County (Indianapolis)
Vol 2 – Calumet Region (Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties)
Vol 3 part 1. Northern Indiana: Adventist Bodies – Mennonite Bodies)
Vol 3 part 2. Northern Indiana: Methodist Bodies – Young Women’s Christian Association)

Methodism and the Frontier: Indiana Proving Ground

NY: Columbia University 1941
Nottingham, Elizabeth K.Go to Book

“Indiana Methodism 1816-1832”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 11, Issue 3, September 1915, pp 231-247

Bloomington: Indiana University
Price, RuthGo to Article

Methodist church, Methodist history, Indiana religious history

“Universalism in Indiana”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 13, Issue 1, 1917, pp 1-19; Volume 13, Issue 2, 1917, pp 157-188

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Robinson, Elmo ArnoldGo to Part 1|Go to Part 2

The author attempts to trace the establishment of early Universalist churches in Indiana, also discussing early Universalist itinerant preachers in Ohio who influenced the slightly later spread of the doctrine in Indiana. There is a list of Universalist churches in Indiana and the date that each was founded. He describes the opposition, sometimes violent, of other Christian denominations, and also discusses a split of Indiana Universalism into two factions in the 1840s.

Universalist, Church history, history books, public domain, online books

A Circuit Rider in Early Indiana

Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Library 1954
Robinson, Reuben D.Go to Book

Reprint of newspaper article interview of 1880 with a former Methodist circuit rider.

Hoosier Zion: The Presbyterians in Early Indiana

New Haven: Yale University 1963
Rudolph, L. C.Go to Book

Presbyterians, Church history, 19th century, American history book online, public domain

Indiana Religious History

Indiana Methodism; a series of sketches and incidents, grave and humorous …

Valparaiso, IN: 1892
Smith, John L. Go to Book

(title continued) “…concerning preachers and people of the West, with an appendix containing personal recollections, public addresses and other miscellany”

Methodist, Church history, clergy, 19th century, American history book online, public domain

Indiana Miscellany, Consisting of Sketches of Indian Life, the Early Settlement and Hardships of the People …

Cincinnati: Poe & Hitchcock 1867
Smith, Rev. William C. Go to Book

(title continued) “… and the Introduction of the Gospel and of Schools, together with Biographical Notices of the Pioneer Methodist Preachers of the State”

The author wrote in the Preface that he has “not presumed to write a history, but simply sketches and incidents of the early settlement of Indiana, of some of the noble men and women who first emigrated to her territory. Much of what I have written has been from memory and personal knowledge.” He also said that he did not include any sketches of people yet living.

Methodist Episcopal Church, Church history, 19th century, 1800s, online books free, history books

Indiana Baptist History, 1798-1908

Franklin, IN: 1908
Stott, William T. Go to Book

Chapter headings are:

-General Conditions in that Part of Northwest Territory, Now called Indiana, at the Close of the 17th Century, and the beginning of the 18th Century.
-History of Two of the Early Churches
-A History of the Several Associations – and some Biographies in Each (this section is about 250 pages, and contains many chapters on District Associations, each of which cover several counties)
-Indiana Baptist Convention: The General Association
— Organization
— Missions
— Education
-Concluding Reflections

For more works on Baptists in the region, see:
McCoy, Isaac, History of Baptist Indian Missions, embracing remarks on the former and present condition of the aboriginal tribes … in Great Lakes Region Religious History;
Brand, Edward P., Illinois Baptists; a History in Illinois Religious History;
Trowbridge, Mary Elizabeth Day, History of Baptists in Michigan in Michigan Religious History

Baptists, Church history, 19th century, 1800s, biographies, US history book, public domain, online books, Indiana history

Indiana Religious History

Circuit-rider Days in Indiana

Indianapolis: Stewart 1916
Sweet, William WarrenGo to Book

Journal of the Life, Travels, and Gospel Labours of William Williams, dec., a Minister of the Society of Friends, Late of White-Water, Indiana

Cincinnati: Lodge, L’Hommedieu and Hammond 1828
Williams, WilliamGo to Book

This journal of Quaker minister William Williams (1763-1824) was an early Cincinnati publication. Williams was born in North Carolina and settled in Tennessee about 1790. He went on a preaching tour in 1804 in George, South Carolina and North Carolina and settled in Blount County, Ohio in 1808. Finally he settled in White Water Valley, IN in 1814. This volume is valuable as an early record of his spiritual quest, and for its description of the American frontier at the beginning of the 19th century.

For more works on Quakers in the region, see:
Burke, James L. and Bensch,Donald E., “Mount Pleasant and the Early Quakers of Ohio” in Ohio Religious History
Smith, H. E., “The Quakers, Their Migration to the Upper Ohio, Their Customs and Discipline” in Ohio Religious History

Society of Friends, Quakers, clergy, biography, William Williams, online books, Indiana history

To receive links to free history articles and resources every day in your Twitter or Facebook feeds, follow:

Century Past History (Twitter)

History of the Great Lakes States (Facebook)

Your comments and feedback are welcome!