Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Allen Ives and the Church of the Brethren, Centralia, WA

      My grandmother was born in 1904, and had vivid memories of her grandfather, Allen Ives, who was born in 1828.  She conveyed the impression that some wished that he'd paid as much attention to his own family as he did to his church flock, but I have no way of knowing if that was true.  I do know for certain that he eventually went blind, which began when a cinder from a pile of burning debris blew into his eye.  It was her job as a little girl to lead him by the hand  to the outhouse, and wait outside for him, which she detested.  
      The journey of Allen Ives took him from Indiana to Ohio, then Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, and ended in rural Washington state with his death in 1911.  Embracing the Church of the Brethren as a young man,  he worked tirelessly throughout his life for the benefit of his fellow church members.  Books on early history of the various communities in which he lived indicate that the founding of a new church was the first order of business when he arrived.  Many of the names of people known to be church members appear to have traveled in the same general pattern, some being family connections.  Perhaps he was directed by church authorities to spread the growth of membership.
     A document in my collection relates the founding of one of the western outposts of the Church of the Brethren, in Centralia, Lewis County, Washington in 1897.  I've left the  punctuation (or lack) intact:

     "Centralia, Wash. - Jan. 2 1897     The Brethren of Centralia, Wash. assembled at the home of Elder Allen Ives for to organize a Church.  the meeting was opened by singing hymn No. 253.  Prayer by G.C. Carl, closed by Bro. Ives.  Allen Ives was chosen Moderator Stated the object of the meeting and the meeting was ordered open for business.  The meeting proceeded by reading all the Church letters that was presented, Namely Elder Allen Ives and Wife.  Sister Christlieb, Sister Benbow, Sister Miller, Sister Hildreth, and Bro. Holcomb.  The following five were received by Christian Baptism at this place, Bro. Weaver and wife, Bro. Armstrong and Wife, and Bro. Roundtree,  Elder Allen Ives."