Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

February 6, 2014

Pat Smith: African American church was important

(Continued)

Greensburg —

A church was built on the property that same year. The one room frame building was on the corner of Lincoln and North streets. Members built a parsonage just west of the church.

Pastors in the later history of the church included Jasper Siler who was pastor at the time of the 1907 incident. Trustees included Samuel T. Evans, Adolphus Frazier and W. S. Meadows. Stewards included Irene Hood, W. S. Meadows and Adolphus Frazier. President of the Missionary Society was Mrs. W. S. Meadows. In 1915 the church had 20 active members, a Sunday school of 14 youngsters.

The church was active until the membership started to decline around 1919 and the last service was held Jan. 31, 1921. The church and land were sold in June 1929 but not recorded until December that year. Anna Davis, representing the trustees of the church, signed for the African M.E. Church to the Board of Church Extension, The decision to sell the property was apparently helped along with the declining health of two of the trustees Irene Hood and Nellie Johnson who were both deceased by October 1929.

The church had been given a large bible by the First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg on May 13, 1914. When the church closed the bible was given to Anna Davis, last trustee of the church, by Julius Brooks. The building was used for a home at various times after religious services were no longer held there and was finally fell into disrepair and condemned by the state fire marshal. The church was torn down in December 1939 by Ed Applegate who had purchased the building from William A Stewart of Indianapolis. Anna Davis’ daughter Gertrude Longmyre gave the bible to the local historical society as well as pictures of her family.

Before and after 1907 African Americans in Greensburg did not live in ghetto like conditions. Their homes were scattered over the city from South East Street to North Lincoln Street, McKee Street, East North Street, East Central Ave., West Washington Street and Forsythe Street.

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