The First Churches of Colfax Missouri

In this township, as in others, the first religious services were conducted at the cabins of the settlers first at one and then the other. The Rev. Jeremiah Lenhart was the first of those who preached the word of God in Colfax township. He was a hard-working, conscientious disciple of the Lord, who put his whole heart in the cause, and in the humble cabins of the pioneer, taught them of a better and nobler existence and pointed out to them that straight and narrow way that led to life eternal on the distant shore. In his own home, in the year 1844, Mr. Lenhart organized the first church in Colfax township. He lived then on section thirteen, near Marrowbone Creek. There were some twenty in all who joined of which the following names were all that could be remembered: J. Lenhart and wife, George Lisle and wife, Sylvester Kelso and-wife, William Splawn and wife, and Mrs. Edgar Kelso. When the school-house was built it served for a place of worship for the congregation of this church. For something like ten years this church flourished, but bye and bye its members became scattered, and the church is only remembered by the few old settlers who still live in the vicinity. One of its first preachers was the Rev. Mr. Porter, who also held services on Grindstone Creek up in Marion township.

Neither “Jocky Club” nor “Rose Of Sharon.”

The reverend gentleman was not very much acquainted with the animal’s kindness, and besides this he had a sympathetic heart for all or anything in distress and these traits of character were the cause of a rather unfortunate accident to him. He had been up on the Grindstone holding service and was on his way to fill his appointment at the school-house near Marrowbone Creek. On the way and not far from his journey’s end he saw what ‘he supposed to be a lost kitten, too far from habitation for its safety from prowling wild animals, and so in the goodness of his heart he dismounted, and in attempting to pick it up, was profoundly impressed with the idea that he was mistaken. The polecat is no respecter of persons and the poor man was overwhelmed with amazement, and an aromatic and pungent odor, that in penetrating and lasting qualities, has never yet been exceeded or even equaled by man in the line of perfumery. Service was not held as expected, although the Rev. Mr. Porter arrived a little ahead of time, but he was kindly cared for and vigorous efforts made to retrieve his unfortunate mistake. A series of vestments were contributed and carried into the woods and there the good man was invited to go provided with a shovel, and after arraying himself in his new garments, proceeded to bury his clothes and with them all the sympathy he ever afterward possessed for lost kittens.

Old School Baptists

In 1850 another church was organized in the northwest corner of the township on section six, and the organization was effected in the log schoolhouse which was in the neighborhood. It was composed of the Old School Baptists and numbered twelve original members, of whom the following are remembered: Joseph Wood and wife, James Drake and wife, William Roper and wife, James Owens, and William Henry. The Rev. Thomas Wolverton was the first pastor of this church.

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