Elwood Meeting

Pictures of Elwood:

Elwood Meeting 

Elwood and Cemetery 

Giant Tree Between Meeting and Cemetery





(taken from PATHS FROM THE PAST 1827-1977

by Mary E. Stark and Donald L. Brown)


This article appeared in a bulletin printed for the following story.  The article was made available by Marilyn Haworth Cummings, a member of the Meeting.


The Friends were among the first settlers in Elwood Township, and from the very beginning religious, moral, educational, and political matters were largely in their hands.

The Friends, or Quakers, were driven from their homes in East Tennessee and the Carolinas by the firm position the Society had taken against slavery. These newcomers to Vermilion County brought their beliefs with them and their strong traits of character became a lasting legacy to this portion of the county.

John Haworth and Henry Canaday and their children and George Haworth, soon after they came to the new country at Vermilion Grove in 1823, began meeting together in what they called "'indulged meetings." George Haworth was looked up to as the principal speaker or preacher.

The meetings were held two days a week. In 1824 a meeting-house was built where the Vermilion Grove meeting-house now stands. It was built of logs but was larger and finer than any of the homes in the neighborhood.

One principle practiced by the Friends was the separation from all form and ceremony. No form of ordination for the ministry was recognized, but provisions were made for an oversight of him who preached. Elders, selected by the monthly meeting, inquired into his doctrinal soundness and if all, including his ability to preach the word and instruct, was found right, a certificate was given to the one who felt called upon to preach. No salary was permitted, although paying of traveling expenses was encouraged.

Eight groups, Vermilion, Elwood, Georgetown, Hopewell, Ridgefarm, Fairfield and Champaign, also belonged to the quarterly meeting at Vermilion Grove.

The first log meeting house at Elwood was built about 1830. It had a fireplace built of logs so arranged as to burn charcoal. The first church, as was the custom at that time, had a partition so there were separate meeting rooms for the men and for the women. There were folding doors between the two.

A second meeting place was built in 1846 and the third in 1850.



October 13, 1974


The first church at Elwood, an off-shoot of Vermilion Grove Friends, was a cabin church. The present church was built by four carpenters: Henry Carrigan, Will Stevens, Lou Thornton and Willis Jenkins. Much help in building was donated by members and others.

A large pot-bellied stove heated the building. Light for evening services was from large kerosene lamps, with big brass shades, which hung from the ceiling.

Asa and Martha Cook, who lived across the road, south of the school-house were old-time Quakers, and still dressed in the plain costumes. Asa was the church custodian. He used a long pole with a hook on the end to fasten and unfasten locks on the windows.

The older Quakers came to church dressed in the old-time way - plain black dress and bonnet for the women and plain black suiit and broad-brimmed black hat for the men.

Martha Cook was a weaver of rag carpet and rugs. Will Hopkins was talented in music, and 'ran the scale, do re, mi, so do' and using the tuning fork to obtain the right pitch. His favorite song was "The Old Rugged Cross', when he could sing out with the other voices.

There were nine women ministers at Elwood Church over the years: Leanna Hobsin, Alice Hiberly, Melissa Haworth, Olive Guyer, Matilda Cox, Sybil Haworth, Estella Morrow, and Gurney Dicks. Estella Morrow had bright red hair, and possessed a talent for music. Nearly every Sunday she sang a solo to the accompaniment of her zither harp.

Gurney Dicks and mother lived with William Smith for some time after the death of his wife, Louisa. Later ministers were Duncan Newlin, (James) Whitlock, Allen Reynolds, Bruce Lewis.

Gurney Dicks' mother taught a group of children in Sunday School, giving a Bible to each as the Lord's Prayer was learned. She gave red, white and blue ribbons as the Beatitudes were learned, or when the children could recite the books of the Bible, or when they could find certain quotations in the Bible.

The first wedding in the Elwood Church was that of Miss Almeda Newlin and Roy Smith on Feb 9, 1910. Miss Ruth Cook was to have played the wedding march, but her father, Hermas Cook, died the evening before, so Mrs. Georgia Newlin played the wedding music.

Four members still living from that date are: David Gannon, 93; Amy Cook Haworth, 91; Octavia Sanders, 92; Georgia Newlin, 92.

Elwood Lewis was quite a Bible student, and knew much of it from memory. Often, after the minister had finished his sermon, Mr. Lewis arose and quoted a favorite: Chapter 15, St. John: "I am the true vine and my father is the husbandman. I am the Vine and ye are the branches." When he recited the entire chapter, quite often, it was 1:00 P.M. when church was dismissed. J.K Richards was another person who liked to quote Bible verses.

There were three mail carriers at that time: Golden White, Clayton Newlin (who served 50 years) and Bennett Newlin; also three substitute carriers, especially during the war years: Walter Newlin, Nellie Newlin and Lloyd Hawkins.

The oldest house in the area was the two-story red brick, east of Elwood Crossing, where Dow and Carroll Crawford lived, known as the Henry Mills place. The old Smith house (Faye Hayward's home), the Willison home place and portions of three or four other houses are still in the neighborhood.

Note: My mother, Bess HARRIS Haworth, my sister, Winnie HAWORTH Johnson, and myself, Marilyn HAWORTH Cummings, attended the 150th celebration. This had been our church all our lives until we moved into the city of Georgetown nearby. There we attended Georgetown Friends.

Marilyn HAWORTH Cummings

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