Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

The pattern for the development of church organization was practically the same in all frontier areas. In every locality of our county we find that as soon as a few families located in the region, some itinerant minister would hold a service in one of the homes.

The Methodist "circuit riders" seemed to be the most active; but the Presbyterians and Baptists were not far behind. These preachers were never more than a half-step behind the ever moving American frontier.

After a period of perhaps six years of meeting in homes; or school houses, or public buildings, these local church groups would usually build a little log church. Some years later a frame church would be built, and then still later, a brick structure. This was the usual pattern of church development.

The first Methodist meeting held in the county was held at the Leesburg home of Charles Erwin in 1834. The minister in charge was R. R. Robinson, a circuit preacher from Goshen. This group continued to have meetings, and in 1837 a church was organized by William M. Fraley. In 1838 these people built the first church building in the county.

We have an interesting record of a Methodist minister, S. K. Young, who came to this county in 1841. His circuit included all of Kosciusko county and a few appointments in Elkhart and Whitley counties -- about 30 preaching places in all. At Syracuse he preached at Mr. Crosson's flour mill; at North Webster in Warner's horse stable; at Warsaw in the old wooden court house at the northeast corner of Center and Indiana streets. Three of his stations were in school houses, and many were in the homes of pioneers.

Preacher Young got around his circuit only once every four weeks. This was not considered often enough so the circuit was split and O. V. Leamon, another pioneer minister in this county, took over half of it.

This record also tells of a camp meeting conducted by Young in the early forties near Leesburg. They were a little afraid that the meeting would not be a success, because Leesburg was a place where men and boys would collect on Saturdays to drink and fight. However, the record states that they had a good meeting.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Mar. 20, 1954