History of Methodism at Coatesville, by Dr. Stephen Hunt


“The history of Methodism at Coatesville [Note 1] begins with the history of the town, about the

time the Van R.R. [Vandalia Railroad, Note 2] was laid out. . . . There were Methodists in this

vicinity many years before Coatesville, but meetings were held at the private houses for the most

part. Pleasant Hill [Note 3] on the South had been a church for 20 years or more when the class

was organized here.


Along about 1850 a preacher would occasionally appoint a meeting at Coatesville. . . . Dempsey

Mendenhall, 1851, a Quaker, a brother to Nathan at Reno (and a bachelor) had just built a house

and as it was unoccupied the Meth[odists] asked for it for holding meetings, he consented and the

Quakers were about to church him, but he made his acknowledgment, as was their custom,

and held his place. But when the Meth[odists] asked him the 2nd time for the house they got it. . . .

There were not many houses in this place then and most of them were occupied by Quakers.


It was the year ’51 that the Van R.R. [Vandalia Railroad] [sic] was built and the first train from

T.H. [Terre Haute] to Indianapolis ran in Jan. ’52. Now about this time Lewis Roberts organized

an M.E. [Methodist Episcopal] class for the people here. . . .

[list of names] Francis A. Figg & wife, Wesley T. F. “ “ [& wife], Norman Dixon & wife,

Nathan Meredith & wife, Jacob Mann & wife, I. Pierson & wife, Wm. H. Figg and perhaps others.

Jeremiah Smith & wife not members of the 1st class, they with Hugh Wilson & wife soon became

members of the class, and also Daniel McAninch Sen. & wife [Note 4]. Francis Asbury Figg was

the class leader and Norman Dixon asst. [assistant] till about 1860.


The first M.E. Church was dedicated in ’54 and the history rather uneventful for a time.


Jesse Woodward was pastor when the new church ... was dedicated in ’64. The building of this

church has quite a history. Some of the soldiers helped to get out the timbers before they volunteered.

(Chas. Green framed the building 61-64) and after serving the whole time came back in time for the

dedication. The frame was put up, stood there for 2 or 3 years then was very much damaged by a

storm. Finally completed, then dedicated in ’65. [sic, as written, “64” in first line, and “65” here /fm]


After Asbury Figg, Jacob Millman was class leader for several years. We don’t know just how many

years. Father Grimes was made class leader in 1865 and was leader for 15 years till 1880.” [Note 5,6]


Source: “History of Methodism at Coatesville”, by Dr. Stephen Hunt, 7 pages, copied from original

manuscript [no date given] by Mary R. Hunt, 1971, typed by Mina Emily Seidler, 4/6/71; Plainfield

Public Library, Plainfield, Indiana, H977.253 H943h H2408, “gift of Mary Fisher Hunt, 4/14/71”.

Original manuscript written after 1880, in late 1800’s or very early 1900’s, based on references to

“a few of the first class still live” and “Father Grimes wrote” [my estimate, Frank McAninch]



[1] Methodist Episcopal Church, Coatesville, McAninch F.H.NL, Vol.VI, No.1, Jan.1998, p.8

[2] Vandalia Railroad, later part of the Pennsylvania Railroad; line is now abandoned (1998)

[3] refers to [Old] Pleasant Hill Methodist Episcopal Church and Cemetery, in Franklin Twp.,

      Hendricks County; Cemetery article, McAninch F.H.NL, Vol. V, No. 4, Nov. 1997, pg. 31.

[4] Daniel McAninch, “Senior”, and wife, Phebe (Pike) McA., parents of Daniel A. McAninch

[5] Jacob Millman, class leader, later “joined Radical Methodists” [church records, Note 1];

      Daniel A. and Rhoda (Wilson) McA. also “joined Radical Methodists” (was this in 1865?)

[6] is “Father Grimes” related to Elias Grimes, Trustee of Pleasant Hill M.E. Church? [Note 3]


McAninch Family History NL, VI-4  October, 1998  Copyright Frank McAninch   page 1998-34


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