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Churches by Denomination

Cole County Presbyterian Churches

The First Presbyterian Church –  Jefferson City

In June 1834, Rev. Robert L. McAfee organized an Old School Presbyterian Church in Jefferson City with the following charter members: William Bolton, Samuel L. Hart, Thomas G. Hart and Mesdames Mary Rutherford, Ann T. Hart, Catharine L. Hart, Ann E. Hart and the following slaves of Samuel L. Hart: William Putnam, Dick, Polly and Maria. This small group was augmented by others who cast their spiritual fortunes with them and a church building was erected on East Capitol Avenue, opposite the Executive Mansion, and just in the rear of the Madison Hotel. It was of native limestone, in a modified Gothic style.

Mr. McAfee remained the spiritual advisor of this small band of earnest Christians until 1843, when he was succeeded by Rev. H. O. Goodrich, D.D., who remained one year, his successors being Rev. David Coulter, Richard H. Allen and John G. Fackler. Rev. L.D. Longhead was the next pastor and was followed by Rev. John J. Cook, who continued in charge until 1860. During the tragic period of the war of the Rebellion, if any service, there was no record preserved.

With the coming of the Civil War, the church was disrupted, and in 1865 was sold to the M.E. Church North. About six months later, however, the scattered remnants of the membership of the old church were gathered together, interest was revived, Rev. J. A. Whitaker was employed as pastor and after a time another building project was begun, this time on the corner of Madison and McCarty Streets.

For a number of years the congregation faced many difficulties. The contractor embezzled funds which should have been paid for material and labor, suits followed, and for nearly ten years the church only partially functioned.


The Second Building

The second building was at the corner of Madison and McCarty Streets, the site of the present church building. Because of financial difficulties it was not entirely finished until 1883. Rev. J. A. Whitaker was the pastor at the time of the beginning of the project and Rev. Thomas Marshall reorganized the congretgation at the time of its completion and secured the necessary funds.

In 1883, Rev. Thomas Marshall, Synodical Missionary, gathered the membership together, raised sufficient funds to liquidate the indebtedness and put the building in repair, and acted for a time as the minister. Rev. O. W. Gauss was called as pastor in 1885. He served for five years, being succeeded by Rev. J. F. Watkins, who in turn gave way in 1894 for Rev. George H. Williamson. The need now became apparent for a new church auditorium, and this was built the following year.

With its completion there began a new epoch in the history of the church. Dr. John F. Hendy became the pastor at the beginning of the following year, and served the church for more than a decade. During this period, and following it, the church continued a steady upward climb, and the years of sacrifice and service of its founders and supporters began to bear fruit.

Other pastors following Dr. Hendy were: Rev. William Kircher, George Fulcher, R.C. McAdie, Rev. George Beatty, Rev. E.W. Behner, Rev. W. Hooper Adams and A. B. Jackson.

The Third Building – Under the leadership of Rev. George H. Williamson extensive additions were undertaken including a new auditorium which was built in 1895. The cost of the building and equipment was $6,500, at that time an adequate sum to give the church a property valued at about $14,000. While minor improvements were made during the succeeding years, no material change was made and this church served until wrecked to make way for the building which was dedicated on February 12, 1928 and remains in service today.

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