This is a photograph of the congregation of Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN in 1909, two years after they organized. This photograph is from the personal collection of my cousin Vivian Vaughn McDonald. My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage is the third person on the top right. My grandfather, Albert Cleage is next to her. They wouldn’t be married for two more years. Next to Albert is his brother Jacob and next to him is their brother Henry. Directly in front of my grandfather Albert is Jacob’s wife, Gertrude. Three people over from Henry is James Cleage, their sister Josephine’s husband. He was from a different Cleage branch. In the second row, second from the right is Henrietta Cleage, oldest daughter of James and Josephine. Although the woman 4th from the left, front row, looks like Josephine to me, I’m told Josephine was not there for the photo but was home pregnant with Hattie Ruth, the youngest of her five children.
In the 1909 Indianapolis City Directory Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church is listed as located in Realty Hall with Rev. David White as Pastor.
Here is another photograph in front of the church. Also from my cousin Vivian’s collection. Josephine Cleage is on the far right, wearing a dark dress. The history below if from the Witherspoon web page, however they seem to have taken the history section down.
On April 30, 1907 the Presbytery of Indiana of the United Presbyterian Church held a called meeting at Realty Hall in response to a petition signed by 31 persons asking to be organized into a United Presbyterian congregation.
Begins With 31 Members
Prof. David Graham of Rushville was moderator and Rev. W. W. McCall of Greensburg was secretary. Other members present were Rev. Fred W. Schmuch of Milroy, Rev. N. B. McClung of Vevay, Rev. Mr. McDill of Madison, and Dr. Cowan of Indianapolis.
The petition was discussed at some length. By unanimous vote an organization was decided upon. The 31 members who signed the petition were as follows: Henry W. Cleage, Mrs. Carrie Perkins, Mrs. Emma Moore, A. T. Roney, Mrs. Cora Donann, Mrs. Cathern Crenshaw, Mrs. Daisy L. Brabham, Albert Cleage, Mrs. Gertrude Cleage, James Myers, Mrs. A. L. McElrath, O. F. Dennis, Mrs. Hattie Mitchell, H. M. Mitchell, Mrs. Theresa Finley, Othello Finley, Miss Edith Finley, Miss Luell E. Hibbett, Mrs. Mary Peterson, Mrs. Anna Bowman, John T. Fox, Miss Pearl Reed, Thomas H. Bransford, Mrs. O. F. Dennis, Miss Alice Mathews, Miss Hilda Reeder, W. J. Perkins, Henry Moore and H. L. Hummons.
For other fine Sepia Saturday photographs dealing with windows or lights or who knows click here. My family seems to have a habit of starting churches. To see a photograph of the congregation of a church started by the maternal branch of the family click Plymouth Congregational Church.
11 thoughts on “Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church 1909”
Great photos. I especially like the hats on the ladies in the first photo and the sign in the second.
Fine photos from over 100 years ago. Hats and bow ties caught my eye in that first photo.
It's so great that you're able to identify faces after all this time. Sadly my family can't put names to many of the photos we still have.
We have our share of unidentified photos but luckily I have some other photos of my grandparents and their siblings young so I can recognize them easily.
Dated photographs are so helpful for seeing fashions of the time. And the internet is a great aid to finding background information about places and organizations, isn't it?! The hats in the first photograph are truly wondrous.
I just love that image. I could happily have it printed large and hung on my office wall so that I could search through those faces and let my mind go exploring whenever I wanted. I don't know about you, but I think the quality of Sepia Saturday posts just gets better and better.
Great Photo Kristin, love all the beautiful hats. So much history in the photos.
Great photos of the congregation all in their Sunday best!
Great church photos and the hats in the first one–all over the world the ladies loved their hats for church! We are currently in Decatur, IN on our way to PA in our RV, so this is kind of in our area. You are fortunate to get so much information on these photos.
What a great group photo, and why is it that the hats always stand out for me…I wish we women wore more hats, not baseball caps, and maybe not as wildly large as some of them were, but hats like you see the women in England wear…here in America not so much…it's sad!
Wonderful picture and I love the name! What a pity they all look so grumpy; we can only speculate on the reason. perhaps they had to stand in the hot sun for a long time whilst the photographer took ‘just one more’.
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