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I believe this is a 95th anniversary version of the history.
HISTORY OF SPRING GROVE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
Richard Mendenhall and his wife, Sarah, who had come to Shawnee Mission in 1847 and had taught there until 1854, wished to settle a home for themselves. They located 3 ½ miles southwest of Osawatomie on Sept. 15, 1855 and were followed by his brother Daniel and family. Due to the fever Ague epidemic and extremely cold winter of bitter 25 degrees below zero and deep snows, they suffered many privations.
In the spring of 1855 meetings were started in a small 14' by 16' building, built of logs on the Richard Mendenhall farm. Although they endured many hardships during the Ruffian Border warfare they bore testimony to the Truth in their devotion to the cause of the Master. Richard Mendenhall's life was threatened when he was arrested as a leader of a group who would not pay their taxes assessed by the bogus laws of the Shawnee Pro-Slavery Legislature in 1885.
Many people fled for refuge and shelter to the Mendenhall home at the burning of Osawatomie in 1856. Orville Brown, a relative of John Brown and 26 other men had settled at the junction of Pottowatomie and Osage Rivers and named their settlement Osawatomie.
On one occasion all of the men of the friends groups were arrested by the military powers but were later released on their testimony against war. Col. George Hume upon hearing their creed of objection to taking human life excused them from service but furnished them with tools for building barracks at Paola and released other men for service against Prise's Raids. Calvin Barnard, who was a good cook, was retained for duty as cook for the military company.
Presidents of the United States of early history respected the religious tenents and views of the Friends and made honorable provision for their exemption from active military duty without discredit.
These families were included in the list of early Friends settlement near Spring Grove. Richard and David Mendenhall, Eli Coffen, Calvin Barnard, Simon Jones, the Dunbars, Hamiltons, Holidays and Hodsons. Many other family names have been lost from the old records.
Richard Mendenhall, one of the greatest leaders of Spring Grove Friends, was an able farmer, but also served as Doctor, Pharmacist, community teacher, politician, and religious leader. In July 1856 the Friends Meeting was held in Richard Mendenhall's yard under the huge trees. Their number had risen to 60 members in the settlement by 1858.
Mendenhall established the first school in 1856 in his own home.
In 1858 the meeting place was changed to the David Mendenhall home, 4 ½ miles east of Lane and ½ mile east of the present meeting house location.
Robert and Sarah Lindsley, Friends ministers from England, visited Spring Grove in March 1858 on their tour of Friends settlements in Kansas with Benajah Hiatt in his luxurious covered wagon, they traveled to the various settlements. They met many friendly Delaware Indians on the way. The Lindsleys stopped at Simon Jones' home which Benajah Hiatt, riding one of his horses to all the settlers' homes, announced the visitors' arrival and the meeting to be held the next day, which was attended by everyone. Sarah Lindsley wrote in her diary "This morning the meeting was held out of doors, an awning was put up for shelter from the wind and planks arranged for seats for the nearly 100 persons attending. The Canopy of Divine Love was felt to spread over us and ability was afforded to preach the Gospel of life and salvation." Another meeting was held in the evening at the Simon Jones home.
The Lindsleys had come from the Springdale settlement near Leavenworth to Spring Grove and traveled on through Greeley and Hyatt to other Friends at LeRoy, Kansas. They were sent by English Friends of London to report on the progress and needs of Kansas Friends as their expansion had been reported in London Quarterly Meeting.
In 1859 the requested monthly meetings were granted and set up under the direction of Plainfield Quarterly Meeting held at Spring Creek, Iowa August 27, 1859. The committee of six appointed to open the Monthly Meeting, John Briggs, Benjamin Smith, Andrew Williams and Cynthia Pickering were present and Richard Mendenhall was chosen Clerk and correspondent. The first Overseers were John Coffen, Lindsley Durham, Millicent Jones and Sarah Ann Mendenhall. The Trustees were Richard Mendenhall, Abraham Holiday and Simon Jones. Elizabeth Holiday and Simon Jones were chosen Elders at the first Kansas Monthly Meeting.
The terrible drought from 1859-1861 caused untold suffering as there was no moisture except one snow in two years.
After a visit from a committee from the Quarterly Meeting in
1860 a Relief Committee was appointed to relieve the Spring Grove
suffering and needs was appointed. Aide had been sent from New
England, Ohio, Indiana, London, England, and the Eastern states
of the United States to Leavenworth to be distributed to the
needy Friends settlements of Kansas. Some were living on only
corn bread and pumpkin. While others were virtually destitute in
Mary Harvey of Miami Monthly Meeting in Ohio made the first ministerial visit in Feb. 1860 to Spring Grove. Gifts of books for a Spring Grove Library were received by Thomas Jones and Richard Mendenhall and to this collection other valuable books have been added to a total of 166 volumes which are now placed for safe keeping in the Wichita Office.
Quarterly Meetings were granted to the Kansas and Cottonwood Monthly Meetings. Spring Grove Feb. 1862 was not requested to report to South River Quarterly Meeting in Iowa, but to the Kansas Meeting Division.
With financial aide from the Eastern Friends Societies, Spring Grove erected a Meeting House 20' by 32' of logs, boxed up with native lumber, partitioned and ceiled with good pine.
Spring Grove was greatly saddened by the loss of their great leader Richard Mendenhall who died suddenly in 1864.
A division in Kansas Quarterly Meeting in 1869 set up the Hesper Quarterly Meeting composed of Hesper and Spring Grove who by 1872 had over 700 members. This active group is still united in the Meetings. Spring Grove Monthly Meetings were held alternately between Lane and Spring Grove from July 1874 to Dec 1875, but at all other times Spring Grove.
By 1876 the old Meeting House was very badly in need of repair and since financial aide could be had for building a new House it was decided to build a new building. In 1877 Isaac Arnold, a Friend who lived at Lane and also a carpenter directed the construction of the new Meeting House and seats, which was located on a bluff ½ mile east of the old House of the David Mendenhall farm and is still in use. Jesse Beals, N. C. Averill, Ruben Davis, David Davis, Joe Bones, Zeph Bones, Alex Burke, the Jones and all their sons and assisted by some of the other settlers constructed the Meeting House. The second generation of these families are still on the membership record at Spring Grove.
After being under the Jurisdiction of Indiana Yearly Meeting for 35 years in 1869 a request was presented and granted to permit a Kansas Yearly Meeting in Kansas at Lawrence in 1872. There were nearly 3,000 members of Friends Society in Kansas by 1869 and after 1872 were no longer connected with Indiana Yearly Meeting.
Nathan Morris, a Minister from Black Creek Meeting of Indiana lived in Spring Grove community for 6 years. Simon Jones was reported to be a minister but is not listed in the Spring Grove records. There were five ministers recorded from Spring Grove Meetings; Jesse Beals (Bales) Sept. 1879; Thomas Williams Feb. 1897; N. C. Averill June 1883; Louisa Updegraff, June 1888; and C. N. Averill June 1917. N. C. Aveill was pastor at Spring Grove several years. All of these ministers have passed on to their Maker.
Hesper Friends held meetings at Spring Grove in 1876. Elkanah Murdock, an evangelist, held the first revival effort in 1877, which resulted in many conversions and 10 accessions to the Church. Spring Grove has the honor of being the oldest continually active Friends Meeting in Wichita district in serving 95 years. There are some Meeting Houses older but they haven't been continually active. The first meetings were held by the settlers about 98 years ago in the Spring Grove settlement.
Mr. Samuel Hiatt, one of the sons of the first early settlers, who lived north of Stanton always attended Yearly Meeting. His daughter-in-law tells of how he started long before daylight in his horse-drawn buggy and returned long after dark filled with the Holy Teachings upon which he meditated for many days afterward. Old age at last stopped these pilgrimages and he been called to his reward many years.
About 9 years ago a dwelling was moved to the present location just west of the Meeting House for the Pastor's residence.
Father draw us close to Thy Throne of grace away from sin and to Thee we give the glory, honor and praise.
Compiled by Mrs. Louise Herron from N. C. Averill's diary, Lane, Kansas.
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