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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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Succinct History of the Various Religious Sects in St. Louis.

THIS record of the various religious denominations in St. Louis can be depended upon as correct, as the information has been attained from the most authentic sources. The facts thus carefully garnered must be of much interest to a large portion of the community, and will furnish an era from which the various sects date their existence. Beyond giving the time of their organization, and a few other incidental facts, this history does not go, as a fuller description of them belongs to a book treating exclusively of them.

CATHOLIC CHURCHES.

St. Louis was first settled by the Catholics, and the first record there is of a Catholic missionary was in 1766, two years after the founding of St. Louis. Father Meurin, at that time in a tent, performed the rites of baptism. When St. Louis was a little trading post, he used frequently to come from Kaskaskia, where he resided, to look after the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants. He died in 1770. After his death, Father Gibault succeeded him, and performed mass in the little log church which was erected that year. The founder of St. Louis laid off the square where the cathedral now stands, for a Catholic church, and on it was erected the first log church. On this square was buried St. Ange de Bellerive, the French commandant, and Fernando de Leyba, one of the Spanish commandants, and also his wife; and here likewise was interred one of the children of Cruzat, another of the Spanish governors.

The first prayer and first blessing were breathed by Catholic lips. Their hands reared the first altar; and they first sang the Exaudiat and De Profundis with jubilant voices, where now our great Metropolis stands. They first stood upon the heathen ground, and consecrated it to religion. There are seventeen churches.

UNITARIAN CHURCH.

The Unitarians organized in 1834, and service was held in the third story of a house situated on the corner of Locust and Main streets, where the Masons held their meetings. In 1837, the first church was built on the corner of Fourth and Pine streets, which was pulled down in 1850. The Rev. William G. Elliot was the first officiating clergyman. The sect have but one church, which supports the "City Mission," an eleemosynary institution.

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

In 1816, the Rev. Salmon Giddings was employed by the Connecticut Missionary Society to visit the state of Missouri, to effect an organization

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of the members of that sect who were in that state, and he arrived in St. Louis April 6th of that year. It was not until the following year that he attempted any thing like an organization of the sect in St. Louis, having gone first to another part of the then territory. It appears, however, that Mr. Giddings, in the summer of 1816, administered the Eucharist at the house of Mr. Stephen Hempstead, at which there were three or four communicants — Mr. Hempstead, his wife, and Mrs. Manuel Lisa, his daughter; and probably at the same time Mr. Thomas Osborne; concerning the latter there is some confliction of testimony. The church was completely organized November 17th, 1817, and the following persons united in a covenant to that effect: — Thomas Osborne, Susanna Osborne, Stephen Hempstead, Mary Hempstead, Britannia Brown, Chloe Reed, Mary Keeny, and Magdalen Scott.

In the same building where the circuit court was then held Mr. Giddings rented a small room, where he taught school and preached. It was in Market street, between Fourth and Fifth, and on that spot now stands Wyman's Hall. Service was held there until the first Presbyterian church was built in 1825, on Fourth street, between St. Charles and Washington avenues. When Mr. Giddings died, he was buried beneath the pulpit of the church.

At the conference in Philadelphia in 1837, there was some dispute on doctrinal observances, and from that grew the distinct branches of the Old and New School Presbyterians, and subsequently other subdivisions.

REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

Organized April 2d, 1846. Church built in 1852, the Rev. Andrew C. Todd being then installed as minister. Previous to the building of the church, service was held on the corner of Third street and Washington avenue. One church in the city.

UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

Organized in 1840, under the title of the "Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church." The building was commenced in 1841, and service was held in the basement during its erection. The Rev. H. H. Johnson was the first installed minister. One church.

FIRST CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

Organized by the Rev. J. G. White, April 29th, 1849. The church edifice was erected in 1852. There is a German church of the same persuasion about being erected, which was organized December 13th, 1857. Two churches.

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

Organized in March, 1852, which was effected chiefly through the efforts of Rev. T. M. Post. The first sermon after organization was preached in the Third Presbyterian Church, between Washington and Franklin avenues, on Sixth street, and service was performed there until December, 1855, when it was transferred to the chapel which the sect erected near the spot where their beautiful church now stands. The church was commenced in the autumn of 1857.

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EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

It was in September, 1819, that the first Episcopal service was held in an old frame building on Spruce street, between Third and Fourth streets, a portion of the ground being now occupied as the "Sisters' Hospital." The sermon was preached by the Rev. John Ward, and it is probable that an organization was effected in November of that year. He remained in St. Louis until 1821, when he removed to Lexington. Nearly all the time that he remained in St. Louis ho preached in the old Court-house, corner of Second and Walnut streets, and a temporary pulpit was erected in the old house, and it was termed the "Episcopal Church." The first communicants of this church were Mrs. Harrell and Mrs. Jourdan. The former was the wife of the Rev. Thomas Harrell, a zealous and exemplary divine, who came to St. Louis in 1825, and was the successor of Mr. Ward. Mrs. Jourdan is now Mrs. Mason, and resides in the state of Illinois. She is the sister of Henry Von Phul, senior. During Mr. Ward's time in St. Louis, there were no communicants. The first church was commenced in 1826, and completed in 1830. It stood on the corner of Third and Chesnut streets.

The Rev. Thomas Harrel married Mr. Giddings when the Presbyterian missionary took a wife, and preached his funeral oration.

EVANGELICAL CHURCHES.

The first church of this name was organized in 1835, and the first service preached in a Methodist church, corner of Washington avenue and Fourth street, by Rev. William Buettner, D. D. A church was soon after erected on Seventh street, and was called the Church of the Holy Ghost. In some years afterward there was a severance from the mother church, and there came into existence the Union Evangelical Church, being a union of the German Reformed and Lutheran doctrines. There are seven churches of the Evangelical order.

BAPTIST CHURCHES.

On February 18th, 1818, the first organization of the Baptists was effected in St. Louis, principally through the exertions of the Rev. John M. Peck and Rev. James E. Welch. There were then but seven Baptists in the town. They, however, with a praiseworthy zeal commenced erecting a church on the south-west corner of Market and Third streets, which became afterward the site of the National Hotel. In 1835, a fine church edifice was erected on the corner of Third and Chesnut streets. They have eight churches.

METHODIST CHURCHES.

There was no organization effected in St. Louis until 1820, though, previous to that time, the Rev. John Scripps occasionally preached and held prayer-meetings. In 1820, the Rev. Jesse Walker came to St. Louis, and organized the church. The service was held in an old frame building, corner of Third street and Myrtle avenue. Through his exertions, soon afterward a frame church was erected on the corner of Fourth and Myrtle. Eighteen churches.

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There are also two Jewish churches, both in a thriving state, and one "Christian Church," and one Universalist church. There are in all seventy-seven churches.

Some years ago the Mormons had a church in the city, but it is not now in existence.

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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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