Note: Information for this history is based on contributions from various sources and persons.
1887 - History by Reverend L. W. Monson
1950 - "History of the First Methodist Church," by Fletcher Asbury Payne
1987 - "The 150th Celebration of the First United Methodist Church," a
history of Methodism in Wabash, compiled by Robert Elliott,
Gladys Harvey, and Edward Cochley.
The first religious services in Indiana were probably those held for the Indians in the region of what is now South Bend. The first permanent religious organization was the Church of St. Francis Xavier at Vincennes. French-Canadians had settled there in 1732-33, and they were probably ministered to by missionary priests not long after arrival. Records show that a church was organized by 1749.
The first Protestant congregation was the Owen's Creek Baptist Church, organized in 1789 in Clark County. Many of the early settlers who came into Indiana crossed the river from Kentucky or came from other states where Baptist influence was strong.
Prospects for the Methodist movement were not encouraging at the close of the American Revolution. The attachment to the Anglican Church caused many of these individuals to become branded as Tories. However, by 1800, when Indiana Territory was carved from the old Northwest Territory, Methodism had taken root both North and South of the Ohio River.
The first Methodist circuit was organized in 1805. The early circuit rider covered as much as a forty-five mile circuit and brought his religious books in his saddle bags. He also helped pay his salary by the sale of these books.
In 1832, a separate Indiana Conference was organized, which twelve years later, was divided into a northern and a southern conference as they are today.