Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Warsaw (defunct)

St. Andrew's was founded in Warsaw, Kosciusko County, in 1861. Serving as its first missionary was the Rev. Louis P. Tschiffely, rector of St. Thomas, Plymouth, who was sent there by Bishop George Upfold to plant a church where none had previously existed. Four years later Upfold dispatched the newly-ordained Rev. Abraham Reeves, a physician, to be its missioner on the first Sunday in Advent, 1864. Reeves was still only a lay reader at the time, being ordained to the diaconate in January 1865 and serving at the same time a mission in Columbia City that failed to take root. The first congregation gathered in a local school. In a report to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Reeves wrote, "Now we have the largest congregation in the town. In this place (Warsaw) we labor under very serious difficulties. Methodism runs away with the minds of the people; they are building the largest house of worship in Northern Indiana, and they use every influence they can to keep us down. Again, the Presbyterians have a good building, also the Baptists while we occupy the school-house. We need a church, and a church we must have. Our town is improving very fast and bids fair to become the largest in Northern Indiana except Fort Wayne."

Reeves succeeded in raising sufficient capital to begin building a church. According to county historian George Nye, the congregation's first building was still under construction and located on the eastern side of Warsaw on Bronson Street when it was destroyed by a tornado on 21 June 1866. Calling Warsaw a "weak" parish, Bishop Upfold attempted to raise money for its repair and noted in his 1867 convention address, "The people are making a noble effort to rebuild it. Both their misfortune and their own earnest effort to retrieve it commend them to the sympathy and pecuniary assistance of their more favored brethren."  Reeves was succeeded by the Rev. Walter Scott and later by the Rev. William S. Spiers, a native of Hamilton, Ontario, who died in office in 1879, with his body being sent back to Canada.

Following the tornado, the congregation moved briefly to a high school room in the Union Schoolhouse until a brick church edifice was finished in 1868, located on the northeast corner of Detroit and Market streets. This was likely the lot that Bishop Talbot purchased for the church in 1873 and later deeded to the trustees of the church ten years later. Charter members included Dr. Quayle (junior warden), Walter Scott (senior warden), Edward Murphy, H. W. Upson, Sam Wright, Judge E. Van Long, Ebenezer Hazzard, Bram Funk, Oliver Musselman, Moses Long, Henry Mortimer, Billy Graves, and Dr. Henry Gilbert. During the 1870s, according to Nye, the church was quite active and had the only pipe organ in town, with elaborate services at Christmas and Easter. The average Sunday attendance at its height was 70. During the 1880s, however, the parish was vacant and served occasionally by the Rev. Thomas Kemp of Plymouth. Bishop Knickerbacker commented in his 1887 convention address that "at Warsaw many discouragements have faced the people, who are gradually paying off their embarrassing debt." After several years being under the care of the diocesan archdeacon, the Rev. Lewis F. Cole, with the Rev. Charles Stout of Goshen occasionally visiting, the parish closed in 1896 and was later made into a private home for Selden Webber. No records of this church are known to survive. George E. Nye, the county historian in the early twentieth century, mentioned that the records were in the possession of Mrs. George Filar, but no evidence since that time has been found.

The building was razed in 1977.

Clergy:

Abraham Reeves, 1864-1868
Walter Scott, 1870-1872
William Francis Dickinson, 1877
William Stuart Spiers, 1878-1879
George Washington Gates, 1880
John Armitage Farrar, 1883
William Gillis Woolford, 1883
(Vacant, under the occasional care of Thomas Kemp and Lewis Cole until 1896).

Bibliography:
George A. Nye, Readings in the History of Warsaw (typescript, Allen County Public Library, 1943), volume 7: 27; 12: 128; 19: 44.


 

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