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This version of the church history was made in 1919 for the sixtieth anniversary of the church.
The following brief history of Spring Grove monthly meeting of the Friends, or Quakers, situated 3½ miles east of Lane and seven miles southwest of Osawatomie, was furnished by Charles N. Averill, pastor of the congregation and Electa Davis White, granddaughter of Jesse Beals, first minister in the present church, for the sixtieth anniversary of the church on October 5, 1919. Both are residents of Lane.
In the spring of 1855 some friends began holding meetings for worship in a small room, 14'X16', built of unhewn logs, on the farm of Richard Mendenhall, about 3½ miles southwest of Osawatomie, and during the troublesome times bore testimony to the truth, although suffering many times for their devotion to the Master's cause. At the burning of Osawatomie in 1865 many fled to the home of Richard Mendenhall for shelter.
Among the Friends who resided here during those times we have the names of Richard Mendenhall and family, David Mendenhall and family, Calvin Barnard and family, Eli Coffin and family, Simon Jones and family, as well as the Dunbars, Hamilton, Holidays, Hodsons and some others whose names I have not at hand.
On one occasion they were taken by military powers, but later were all released on account of their testimony against war, except Calvin Barnard, who was found to be a good cook and was held as cook for the company. During the Price raids in Kansas they went in a body to Paola to appeal to Col. George H. Hume to be excused from military service, stating their objections to taking human life. Then he furnished them with tools to build barracks to protect the women and children, thus releasing others to contend with Price.
Sometime between 1855 and 1859 they changed the place of holding their meetings to the home of David Mendenhall, four miles east of Lane and a half of a mile east of where the meeting house now stands. In 1859 those Friends asked for a monthly meeting, which was granted them and was set up by direction of Plainfield quarterly meeting held at Spring Creek, Iowa, August 27, 1859. Of the committee appointed to open this meeting six were present, namely: John Howard, Eli Stafford, Job Briggs, Benjamin Smith, Andrew Williams and Cynthia Pickering. The meeting was organized October 6, 1859, at the David Mendenhall home. Richard Mendenhall was chosen clerk for the day and was the first clerk and correspondent. John M. Coffin, Linley Durham, Millicent Jones, and Sarah Ann Mendenhall was the first overseers, and Richard Mendenhall, Abraham Holiday and Simon Jones were the trustees, while Simon Jones and Elizabeth Holiday were chosen elders. In February 1860, a number of books were received as a donation for a library. Thomas N. Jones and Richard Mendenhall were chosen librarians. This collection has been added to from time to time until now (October 5, 1919) it contains 166 volumes. In October a committee from the quarterly meeting visited this meeting. The object of this visit is not known, but as a committee was appointed at the next meeting for the relief of the suffering, this visit must have been for the assistance of this meeting in relieving the suffering caused by the severe drought of 1860. Thus much suffering was relieved.
Three monthly meetings have been set off from this meeting, Cottonwood in the spring of 1860, Spring River in the winter of 1866-7, and Edgewood, Missouri, in the winter of 1886-7.
While this meeting was set up by Plainfield quarterly meeting, in three months we were notified to report to South River quarterly meeting in Iowa, but in December of 1860, a committee was appointed to confer with Cottonwood and Kansas monthly meetings, with a view to asking a quarterly meeting. This request was granted, and a quarterly meeting known as Kansas quarterly meeting was set up, and we were notified to report to that meeting in February of 1862, and in March of 1870, we were made a part of Hesper quarterly meeting, of which it is still a member.
During all this time the monthly meeting has been held at Spring Grove with a few exceptions at Lane. I haven't the date of the building of the first meeting house, but it was boxed with native lumber and ceiled with good pine. While I also don't know the dimensions, it was about 20'X30', with a partition in it. In 1876 the question of repairing the meeting house came up, and it was found that few were willing to repair the old house, but it was found that money could be had for building a new one, which was built in 1877.
While all hands put forth an effort, the plan of the house and the seats were made by Isaac Arnold, a carpenter who resides in Ottawa, Kansas, at present and who is still a member with us (1919), but most of the work on the building was done by Jesse Beals and N. C. Averill, who have since gone from works to reward. Nathan Morris, a minister of the gospel, came here from Back Creek meeting, Indiana and resided here six years, while it is said Simon Jones was recorded a minister before coming to Kansas. From some unknown cause, our books fail to show he was a minister. Five ministers have been recorded by this meeting, Jesse Beals in September of 1897, and N.C. Averill in June of 1917.
The first two have passed away, Louisa E. Updegraff resides in Wichita, Kansas, Thomas E. Williams address is unknown, while C. N. Averill is pastor of this church at the present time (1919). About February of 1876, some Friends from Hesper, Kansas, held some meetings here of evenings, and visited families during the day, which resulted in much good. But what was perhaps the first revival effort was in the fall of 1877, held by Elana Murdoc, assisted by some others, which resulted in several conversions and ten accessions to the church. While the church has had its ups and downs, we are still hoping to maintain the heritage those who have gone on before us from work to reward have left to our keeping. May we now consecrate ourselves anew to the Master's work on this the sixtieth anniversary of the organization of our church.
THE OLD QUAKER CHURCH
This Structure Was About 32 Feet
Long and 20 Feet Wide With
NOTE-- This is the second and final installment of the historical events connected with the church of the Friends located near Lane. The author, Charles N. Averill, is pastor of the congregation and has been a member of the church for three score years.
But to return to the church. Friends here were so far from any organized church that in 1859, they decided to ask for a monthly meeting, which was granted them and they were organized by a committee from Pleasant Plain at the quarterly meeting of October 6, 1859. During these early days in a new country, with Kansas City as the nearest market, money was scarce and most Friends were poor, but they decided to build a meeting house as they termed it in those days. So in the fall and winter of 1859-60, Friends procured material for a meeting house which was built in the spring of 1860 and was ready for use by June of that year. This house was about 32 feet long and must have been near 20 feet wide with two doors in the south and one in each end of the house. It was built of native frame and boxed with undressed native lumber. It was sealed with fine first grade lumber. It also contained a partition. This house was used for a school in the fall of 1860 with Kate Stevens as teacher. She is a cousin of F. C. Rowe of Osawatomie.
This house was used for meetings for 17 years when it was torn down and the present house built on the same lot. This was built in the spring of 1877. While there were many donations of logs to be cut into frame material, money and work, yet most of the work was done by Jesse Beals and N. C. Averill. Though few of those who helped with the building are living, yet the church stands as a monument to their memory. It was here that the people came annually to attend the big June meetings. These meetings continued for more than a quarter of a century, being suspended in 1895.
Those who had never attended a Friends meeting for worship always had a desire to be at a Quaker meeting and see them wait "for the Spirit to move them." When the hour of service came, they would take their seats, all would be quiet, men sat with their hats on while the women wore their old fashioned Quaker bonnet. All sat in silence until someone felt it his or her duty to speak or pray. While there was no set rule, the usual way of closing meetings was by shaking hands. Although the form of worship has changed, Friends still believe in the leading of the spirit. The first time we ever attended a Quaker meeting, we were impressed with the meeting and the spirit of friendliness manifest which has always made people feel welcome when meeting with them.
In 1860, A. H. Chambers, now of Lane, being just a boy, never having been to a Quaker meeting, stopped one day as he was passing the meeting house to see what they did when "the Spirit moved them." When Simon Jones, sitting about six feet from Henry, dropped on his knees and began to pray in a very loud voice, it gave Henry such a scare that he never has forgotten it.
On October 5, 1919, we observed the sixtieth anniversary of the organization of the church. There were but few of the old timers present: Edmund Stanley, former state superintendent of public instruction and later president of the Friends University at Wichita, who lived here a short time in 1868; Rachel C. Woodard, and old time friend and a visitor here. But there were a few present who were here fifty years ago. We can only name C. A. Ellis and wife; A. H. Chambers and wife; Z. H. Bones and wife; Horace Barnard, C. N. Averill and we also will name Edward P. Wallace who has been an attendant for about 48 or 49 years.
Thus the old timers are getting fewer each year. Some falling one place and some another; many sleeping in the churchyard whose graves we love to visit and soon, we, too, will be called to join them. The work will be left to others, whom, we hope, will cherish the memory as we cherish the memory of those who have lived and labored and gone before us.
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