First Christian Church, Palestine
One of the outstanding members, Geo. A. Wright, deceased, came into the church in 1876. For fifty-nine years he helped the church in every way with his means, with his love—as Sunday School worker, serving as Superintendent for many years; as elder, leaving the Board as "Chairman Emeritus" for life, when ill health forced his retirement. Truly, his place will be hard to fill.
Rev. Mr. Sweeney was followed as pastor by Mr. Andrew Jackson, an elder in the church who served as lay pastor. Brethren Wilson and Harry Hamilton followed. During pastorate of last named, the new church in New Town was built in 1884, corner Houston and Crawford streets. That the congregation was happy and proud to go into their new quarters may be imagined when it is added that, the new church was a pattern of comfort and convenience for the day. It had a built-in Baptistry and a baptismal robing room, and Sunday School rooms for the little folks, together with more comfortable furnishings. Col. Swanson and Mr. Geo. A. Wright practically financed it. Rev. D. A. Leak succeeded Rev. Mr. Hamilton and the church had the benefit of some zealous debates—for the new pastor belonged to the class that must debate—even when (as Mr. Kane remarks) "our people were struggling for life and recognition in the religious world." Rev. O. A. Riall succeeded Rev. Mr. Leak in 1886. The brothers, Henry and Newell Kane, came into the church in 1887. Both became pillars of the church; the former "a broad minded, cultured man, of wide experience in religious affairs was a strong supporter of the church in every way as long as he was in the city. He was elected an elder soon after his coming and was chairman of the official board several years." Mr. Newell Kane is still "carrying on" for the church, one signal service rendered being the completion of the church history, quoted frequently in this article. This is so - complete and paints so vivid a picture of the church and its membership, activities, etc. that one can well realize something of its great value to the organization. Other services Mr. Kane has rendered are treasurer and clerk for eighteen years, trustee and elder, which offices he now holds. Other prominent members of this time were: V. H. Swift, John Myers, W. J. Averyt, and W. P. McMeans, all elders. Descendants of all these are active in the church today. "Aunt" Charity Gore, mother of Mmes. Hinzie and Bassett; Mrs. Kate Word, mother of Mrs. Jettie McCain; "Mother Doherty," for many years teacher of the infant class; Mrs. N. H. Durham, mother of the late E. E. Durham, an elder, were a few of the loyal women workers of this time.
Rev. J. J. Lockhart followed Rev. Mr. Riall. A notable incident of his pastorate was a six week's meeting conducted by Dr. W. F. Black, one time president of Butler University of Indianapolis.
Rev. F. D. Roberts succeeded Rev. Mr. Lockhart. The outstanding new additions to the church during Rev. Mr. Roberts' pastorate were: Mrs. Lithrena Moore and her two daughters, Mmes. Lizzie Weeks and Estella Shroyer. All developed into great workers, Mrs. Weeks, in particular, proving a wonderful organizer. For thirty years, she served as President of the Ladies' Aid, and the financial help the Aid rendered in building the present church was great.