Writing a column can be interesting, can be fun, and sometimes can be just plain work. I’ve certainly loved it, and maybe one day will write about some of the experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met. The column is kind of iffy today. I have definitely made every effort not to ever write about the same thing more than once. That is, of course, unless there was something discovered that was not in the original column.

Today, however, I am just not sure. I want to write about the African American church that used to be on Lincoln Street in Greensburg. The problem is, it sure seems like something that I would have given a lot to write about. I seem to remember Van Batterton telling me about that church, but did I ever write about it is the question.

What happened was that going by where the church was once located I mentioned it and the young person (in her 50s) I was talking with had never heard of it. That just reminded me that it is a sure thing that readers don’t memorize these columns. Not only that, it might happen like it did with the young woman I was with. That is, she might have been in her teens or 20s if it was in the paper (if I did write about it), or maybe just simply didn’t read it. It’s no secret that young people are much too busy and have so many other interests to read about something that happened years ago.

Now, about the African American church. It was located on the northwest corner of Lincoln and North streets. The entrance was on Lincoln Street. Near as I can tell, it was a one room frame building that was built in 1880 by the African Americans who lived here at the time.

The church had been owned by William Agustus Stewart, who was living in Indianapolis. Stewart had worked in the Julius Brooks barber shop when he lived here, and when the members began to move north where they could make a better living. Julius Brooks was an African American whose barber shop was a successful business. A few years before the church was torn down, it was purchased by Ed Applegate, who, no doubt, saw that it would be a good location for a business. Since the church had not had services for several years because of the decline in membership there was no problem with it being torn down.

Before the church was built, the people met in homes and City Hall, much like the “white community” had done before they built churches. The families that had worshiped there included names that are familiar to some of us today: Julius Brooks, W. S. Meadows, Orlando Hood, Adolphus Frazier, Samuel Evans, the John Thurman family, the Davis family.

Although rumors would have “the Black Americans were run out of town in 1906 or 1907 when there was a riot” that simply isn’t true. It’s true that some Black and white men were run out of town, but they were here working on the railroad and had caused trouble before the incident that happened. There were African American pastors at the church here until after 1914. Years ago, I wrote about the lynching that took place here in 1882 and the riot that took place in 1907.

The building had been used as a home for some families, and at one time was a business that manufactured candy. The State Fire Marshal’s office had condemned the building before it was demolished in 1933.

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