First Presbyterian Church (1867-1999)



First Presbyterian Church in Tipton

Picture taken January 29, 2012 by Alan Sparks


From Goodspeed's 1889 History of Cole, Moniteau, etc Counties, Missouri:


The Presbyterian Church of Tipton was organized March 9, 1867, within the Baptist Church building, with the following members: W. P. Miller and J. B. Calhoun and wives, M. E. Stearns, Mary A. Stearns, J. A. and Mary Maynard, Mariah Maclay, Mrs. Dr. Brown and G. L. Shephard. Rev. Addison Whitaker was organizing pastor, W. P. Miller and M. E. Stearns were elected elders, and the latter, clerk. A. North was pastor in July.


There is no record of meetings in 1868, but in June, 1869, Dr. S. Diefendorf presided over the session, when twelve members were admitted. There is nothing to point out the active existence of this church here in 1870-71, though under date June 9, 1872, a notice of the dedication of the church building by Rev. J.  W. Allen appears.


In October Rev. Alex. Walker, of Otterville, presided, and in November he was installed pastor. On this date A. F. Spayde and wife, of the Evangelical Lutheran Society of Tipton, were admitted members, and on January 26, 1873, a number of members of the same church were admitted.


In May, 1873, other Evangelical Lutherans were admitted, together with members of the United Presbyterian Church of Clarksburg. Jacob Crone was elected elder. In 1877 Thomas Calhoun, Joseph Williams, J. Crone and R. C. Walker were elders, and R. C. Walker succeeded Stearns as clerk, the latter serving as elder in 1882. In 1877 A. E. Hawes, W. H. Cochel, J. S. Stinger and L. M. Culler were elected deacons. In Jan­uary, 1883, Rev. A. Walker resigned, and in June, 1883, Rev. Wilson Asdale presided over the session. In 1884 R. M. Young was chosen elder, and in 1886 J. S. Stinger.


Of the 253 members admitted to fellowship with this church, from its organization to February 19, 1888, ninety-six are named as dismissed or deceased. Thirteen members were reported to have died within that period; forty-eight children were baptized and sixty-one adults.


From Ford's 1936 History of Moniteau County:


The Presbyterian church in Tipton was organized in 1867. It included the Miller, Calhoun, Sterns, Maynard, Maclay, Brown and Shepherd families. For the first several years they used the Baptist building, dedicating a building of their own in 1872. The present church was built in 1878.


From the 1980 History of Moniteau County:


The Presbyterian Church of Tipton was organized March 9, 1867 within the Baptist Church building located where the Masonic Cemetery now exists.


The original members were Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Stearns, Mr. and Mrs. W. P Miller, Mr. and Mrs. J B. Calhoun, Mr. and Mrs. J A. Maynard, Mrs. Anna Maria Maclay, Mrs. John Drift, Mrs. Dr. Brown and G. L. Shepherd with Rev. Addison Wittaker as organizing pastor. W. P. Miller and M. E. Stearns were elected elders and the latter as clerk.


The first few years the church was supplied irregular only part time. Rev. North was Pastor in July the same year. No record of meetings in 1868 but in June 1869 Dr. Diefendorf presided over the session when an additional 12 members were admitted making a total of 24.


No record available of the actual existence of the church in 70-71, but the date on June 9. 1872 a notice of dedication of the church building by the Rev. J. W. Allen appears “The beauty of the building was equaled only by the zealous self sacrifice of the Church in its erections.”


Mabel Claire Larimore being the first baby baptized in the new building on June 23, 1872. In October Rev. Alex Walker of Otterville presided and was installed as pastor in November.


A number of Evangelical Lutheran society members of Tipton were admitted and also members of the United Presbyterian Church of Clarksburg, 253 members were admitted to fellowship with the church from its organization to 1888. Within that period 96 were named as dismissed or deceased.


The building was renovated inside and out painting and other repair m preparation for the 6th anniversary of the building which was on Sunday June 9. 1878 as stated in the May 30, 1878 issue of the Tipton Times, Rev. Walker pastor.


In 1897 a plot of ground joining the church yard was given for the use and benefit of the members of the First Presbyterian Church by the trustees of the Mrs. Ellen Brown estate.


The Tipton Presbyterian Church had the honor of hosting the Sedalia Presbytery in 1907 and again in 1951. In preparation for these events extensive redecorating and repairs


From The Illustrated History of Tipton, Missouri 1858-2008:

The Tipton Presbyterian Church was organized on March 7, 1867 in the Baptist school building. The twelve charter members were: Mr. & Mrs. M. E. Stearns, Mr. & Mrs. W. P. Miller, Mr. & Mrs. J. B. Calhoun, Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Maynard, Mr. & Mrs. Anna Maria Gleim Maclay, Mrs. John Dritt, Mrs. Ellen Brown, and Dr. G. L. Shephard. Prior to the organization of the Tipton church, Presbyterians had attended services at New Hopewell, north of Tipton near Round Hill.


On Saturday afternoon, May 9, 1867, a Rev. J. Addison Whittaker gave one of the first sermons to "a small but interesting congregation ... and organized a church in connection with the St. Louis Presbytery." Prior to this time a Rev. Chapin had presided. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was observed in July 1867 with Rev. A. North officiating. By June 1869, membership had increased to 24.


On October 6, 1871, The Tipton Weekly Advance announced the erection of a new church by the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. The article stated that work on the foundation had already begun on a lot donated by Mrs. Elizabeth McCulloh. That lot was located north of the railroad and opposite the residence of Dr. J. W. Brent. "The funds to build the edifice have all been collected by a few zealous and public spirited ladies, to wit: Mrs. Elizabeth McCulloh, Mrs. Laura B. Maclay, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. McReady." It was stated that they had raised $1,250, but desired to raise a total of $2,500.


On June 9, 1872 Rev. J. W. Allen dedicated the first church building which was located at the extreme west end of Howard Street - "a happier day was never spent by the little church." Mabel Claire Larimore was the first baby baptized there on June 23, 1872.


The church grew rapidly. The Tipton Times dated February 6, 1884 reported that "the magnificent new Church organ placed in the Presbyterian church last week, was furnished by Sharp's music store." There was evidently cooperation between churches. In June of 1884, an article in The Times announced that "Owing to the fact of communion service at the Presbyterian church next Sunday, there will be no preaching at the Methodist church in the morning. Services in the evening at 8 o'clock as usual." Also in that issue was the notice that "Rev. George Miller of Nevada would assist in the preparatory services to be continued every evening next week." leading up to the communion of the Lord's supper on Sunday, June 13.


There was a revival in 1886 and thirty-three members were received at that time. A number of members from the Evangelical Lutheran Society of Tipton were admitted as well as members of the United Presbyterian Church of Clarksburg. It is reported that Presbyterians who had supported the South during the Civil War were also welcomed into the church.


A woman's home missionary society was organized August 15, 1883. It had the purpose of promoting home mission work in the community and supporting missionary efforts in other countries around the world. In 1893 there were 26 members. They held meetings once a month in the church or someone's home.


Revival services held in conjuction with the Methodist church in February 1891 in at least 21 new members. Services alternated weeks between the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. It was reported that an entire household was converted to the Presbyterian church. Dr. and Mrs. Marsh "having been received into the fellowship of the church, brought their four children and presented them to the Lord in Baptism." Others joined the Methodist Church. Services were held each afternoon at 3 p.m. and each evening at 7:30 p.m. Rev. Ross Stevenson of Sedalia, Rev. O. G. Morton of Holden, and a Rev. Foster assited in the revival.


On June 30, 1897, lot 223 on the southwest corner of Howard and Moreau Avenue was purchased for $500. The Presbyterian trustees at that time were J. D. Marsh, L. N. Culler and C. C. Maclay.


The new church building erected on that lot was dedicated in January 1898. It was described as "a handsome edifice, built in modern style, with artistic finishings and furniture." The dedication service featured a vocal solo, "Lead Kindly Light" sung by Mabel Larimore of Wichita, Kansas. She had been the first baby baptized in the old church. The dedicatory sermon was preached by the former pastor, Rev. J. F. Watkins of Osceola. Only fivve charter members living to see the new building dedicated: Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Miller, Mrs. J. B. Calhoun, Mrs. Mary Stearns and Dr. G. L. Shepard.


A newspaper article described the new church as "a frame building and faces east with 65 feet front and is 45 feet deep. The main entrance leads into the auditorium. The choir and pulpit are in the rear of the auditorium and to the right is the Sunday school and junior class rooms. By rolling doors the three rooms can be made into one large room. The auditorium proper will seat about 300 people, and by using the lecture and classrooms, over 400 people can be comfortably seated. The church is heated by furnace and is thoroughly ventilated. The lighting is by aycetline gas."


The stained glass window on the south side of the sanctuary was donated by Mrs. Emma Glaim Adams with contributions from other members of the Gleim and Maclay families. The window "represents the Savior as a shephard tnederly carrying in his arms a lamb that has strayed from the flock." The oak pulpit was donated by Mary Stearns, a "valuable" Bible by Annie Gore, and the flower stand by the Junior Endeavor Soceity.


Once the new church was occupied, the old church was converted into a manse for the pastor. It became a private residence once there was no longer a full-time minister. It was torn down in the latter part of the 1900s.


The church building was re-painted in 1906 and electric lights were installed a few years later. In 1949 a gas heating system replaced the coal-burning furnace. The roof was replaced in 1950 and again in 1975. Aluminum windows were installed in 1986 and the church was painted in 1988.


In the late 1800s and early 1900s membership increased to 360, then to 450. During that time, though,. 96 members were either dismissed for improprieties or transferred to other congregations. In the aftermath of World War I, it was noted that "the fires burn low on many family altars - dawn of a new and brighter day is now opening before us and gloom of the past will lift and pass away."


During World War II, with so many involved in military service, the church was closed from time to time. An article in the July 13, 1945 Times reported the church had held the first service in several months and intended to continue the Sunday School through the summer with Charles Messerly as superintendent. Present at the service were two overseas veterans, Capt. Ben Finley and William H. Maclay. Finley was one of five generations of family members associated with the church and Maclay's great grandfather had been a charter member. It was reported that the "Sunday School service flag had thirteen stars, two of which are gold."


By 1950 things looked better. In the 1960s the congregation remained small but stable, perhaps 25 to 30 members attending. In 1962, church doors and two pulpit chairs were donated by Fred Crone in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Crone. About that same time, a communion table was donated as a memorial to the Harry Williams family.


By the 1980s, the congregation dwindled and services were held one Sunday a month. Upkeep of the building became a burden to the few remaining members, so on August 13, 1992, ownership of the church and property was transferred to Historic Tipton, who pledged to use the building only in those ways that church buildings have traditionally been used. Finally, with the membership down to four people, the Presbytery officially dissolved the church in July 1999.


Among the ministers who have served the church are Rev. Addison Walker, who was the first minister, followed by Rev. A. North, Rev. J. W. Allen presented the dedicatory sermon for the 1872 building and remained as pastor until November 1872 when he was replaced by Rev. Alexander Walker, a native of Scotland. Under his leadership, "133 members were added, 66 on profession of faith and 67 by letter." His successor, Rev. Wilson Asdale, was described as an "angel to the church." He served two terms as minister from 1883-1892 and 1905-1913. He is buried in the Tipton Odd Fellows Cemetery. Members of the Presbytery filled in until Rev. J. F. Watkins came as pastor. In 1898, Rev. E. W. McClusky was called as pastor, followed by Rev. Asdale again. Other ministers who served have been Rev. Louis Drake and Rev. R. W. Furkin. Many years when there was no permanent minister, the church was served by members of the Presbytery.


With the help of the community, Historic Tipton had the sides of the bell tower restored and a new roof was put on the steeple. Inmates from the Tipton Correctional Center assisted with the repainting of the church in 1994.


Over the years, the Presbyterian Church building has been used by other denominations as they sought to establish themselves. The Tipton Community Baptist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Cornerstone Christian Church all met there while building their own churches.


The attribution at the end of this story says: Based on the history prepared in 1992 for the church's 125th anniversary by Alex Cacioppo, the history prepared by Mrs. Will Clark and articles from The Tipton Times.


If anyone has further information on this church, please contact Alan Sparks.



Note: The date of disbandment comes from the Presbyterian Church USA History website. According to the website, the records for this church are held at the Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard St., Philadelphia, PA.



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