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A Brief History of the Brookville United Methodist Church

The building where our congregation meets each Sunday is the third used by the Brookville Methodist Church. It was built 1883–1884. The first church was built in 1821 and is still standing in the Old Town Cemetery on Tenth Street. The second church was on the west side of Mill Street near Seventh. The parsonage was nearby at the northeast corner of Seventh and Mill Streets. It is still standing, but the Methodist’s second building is gone.

Methodism started in Brookville in 1816 when Samuel and Eleanor Goodwin came to our town and built a log home by the East Fork. Later they build a larger frame house; it is still standing at the east end of Fifth Street. Samuel Goodwin is considered the “Father of Methodism” in Brookville history. He and his wife opened their home as a “class room” where the small congregation of Methodists met on Sunday. In those early days, the Methodists did not have a resident minister. Young men who were authorized to preach rode a circuit where they visited several early churches more or less on a monthly basis. One of the early circuit riders who came to Brookville was Allen Wiley. He was instrumental along with Samuel Goodwin in the building of the brick church in 1821. The Methodists of that time called it the “meeting house.” It was used by the Methodists until 1840 when they sold it to the Presbyterians. The brick meeting house was outside of the town limits and with the condition of an unpaved road to it and no sidewalk to the church it was difficult for the ladies who had to walk through mud during the rainy season. The Presbyterians sold half interest in the building to the Lutherans in 1848 and both congregations occupied it until 1852 when the Presbyterians moved to their new church on Sixth Street. The Lutheran occupied the old brick church until 1924 when their St. Thomas Lutheran Church was completed on Franklin Avenue. The Old Brick Church is now owned and maintained by the Franklin County Historical Society. Samuel and Eleanor Goodwin and several of their children are buried in the Old Town Cemetery.

The Methodists second church was built in 1840 and used by them until the present building was completed in 1884. It has been our church home since that time. The present parsonage was built in 1907-1908; before that there was an old brick house on the property used by our resident minister. Our first resident minister was sent in 1848. The church annex was built in 1924. It allowed space for Sunday School classrooms, a dining hall and kitchen on the upper floor and a coal fired furnace in the basement instead of stoves in the sanctuary.

We did not become the Brookville United Methodist Church until 1968 when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church joined to form one church. 

Brookville was not the first meeting place for the Methodists in Franklin County. There were circuit riders coming to the county in 1806 in a circuit that stretched from Dayton, Ohio to Lawrenceburg. One of the stops was in New Trenton at the home of Benjamin McCarty, Franklin County’s first settler. He purchased his property from the Cincinnati Land Office in 1803 when Indiana was still a federal territory.

The Baptists came to Franklin County in 1805, a year before the Methodists. The built a brick church in 1812 and it is still standing by US 52. The Little Cedar Grove Baptist Church was the first church built in Franklin County  It is owned and maintained by the Franklin County Historical Society.

A history of the Brookville United Methodist Church was published in 2016, the Bicentennial year of the church. That year was also the Bicentennial of the admission of Indiana as the nineteenth state on December 11, 1816.   

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