Baptist Church, Aurelius Centre. -- From the records of this church is taken the following account of its organization:
" Aurelius, May 1, 1847"" At a regular notified meeting of baptized persons, for the purpose of forming a church, procedded to business:
|"J. Barnes,||William Isham,||M. A. Barnes,|
|"J. H. Hendee,||S. Bond,||D. Howe,|
|"C. J. Rolfe,||Mrs. C. Rolfe,||C Peek,|
|" E. S. Howe,||E. J. Howe.|
Meetings were first held in the school-house. Elders D. Hendee and ------ Freeman preached at different times. A reorganization was effected Jan. 12, 1849, by Elder D. Hendee, with twelve members, and on the 30th of the same month, at a council convened at the Barnes school house for the purpose, the church was regularly recognized. Elder Hendee continues as pastor until early in 1850. Elder B. Hill was secured in April, 1850, and remained until April, 1853. The Baptist Churches of Aurelius and Onondaga united May 20, 1854, under the name of the "Aurelius and Onondaga Church," with a membership, as consolidated, of thirty-two. Rev. S. P. Town was then pastor. He was followed by Elder E. K. Grout, who was in charge from 1855 to early 1859, and in the April of the latter year Elder George Bridge was secured as pastor, his services continuing until February, 1861. Elder H. B. Shepherd because pastor in 1862, and resigned April 18, 1863. In the fall of the seme year Elder Samuel P. Town was engaged, and was dismissed by letter May 14, 1864. Elder J. B. Allyn was pastor from Sept. 15, 1867, until January, 1869, and Elder John Gunderman from Sugust, 1869, to August, 1870. Succeeding the latter was Elder A. McLearn, from October, 1870, to April 14, 1872. Elder H. B. Fuller came in the latter part of 1872, and remained until May, 1874. Elder M. J. Dunbar had charge from Aug. 20, 1874, to Aug. 4, 1877, when he resigned. Elder W. W. Smith was called to the pastorate Nov. 20, 1877, and continued until May, 1879, when he resigned, but remained until November of that year. He is now pastor of the Baptist Church at Kinneyville (Winfield), in Onondaga township, and preaches also to the Congregationalists at Onondaga. The present pastor of the church at Aurelius is Elder J. R. Monroe, who came in December, 1879. The membership of the church, Sept. 14, 1880, was 204, and the Sunday-school has an attendance of about 100, with William Fanson as superintendent. About 1870 the name of the church was changed to the "First Baptist Church of Aurelius." The frame house of worship owned by the society was built in 1866-67, and dedicated Oct. 3, 1867, by Elder Portman.
In the Bullen and Webb neighborhood, in the north part of town, the first meetings were held by Rev. Mr. Finch, who lived at eh Dubois settlement in Alaiedon. Her was accustomed to come in every morning from his home on foot, preach once or twice and return the same day, saying he must "get home to attend to chores." He preached in the log house of William Webb, Sr., soon after 1841, and was a Methodist. The Baptists have also held meetings in the neighborhood for many years, as early as 1850-55, Elders Hendee and Fuller, from Mason, preached in the locality. During the present season (1880) a neat frame Uninon church has been erected on the southeast corner of section 4, by the Methodists and Baptists, at a cost of about $1800, and the two denominations alternate in holding meetings, the pastors coming from Mason.
Meeting-houses have also been erected on the west side of town, one on section 19 and another on section 31, and meetings are now held in them principally by the Methodists. The church on section 31 is maintained by people of various religious beliefs, and meetings have been held in the neighborhood for a considerable number of years by pastors of different denominations. Both buildings are frame, and the societies or classes are small.
"History of Ingham and Eaton Counties Michigan, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Their Prominent Men and Pioneers", by Samuel W. Durant.
Published by D. W. Ensign & Co., 1880.
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