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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Presbytery of Southern Saxman United Presbyterian Church, Stafford United Presbyterian Church, West Side Presbyterian Church (Wichita, Kan.) Records, 1895-1997

Presbytery of Southern Kansas

Manuscript Collection No. 771

 

Introduction

Abstract

Records of the Saxman United Presbyterian Church, 1913-1989 (series 1), the Stafford United Presbyterian Church, 1895-1984 (series 2), and the West Side Presbyterian Church of Wichita, Kan., 1907-1997 (series 3). The contents of the three series is rather incomplete. There are no minutes of meetings of the governing boards of any of these three churches. Sabbath school records abound in the first two series. Stafford church records offer the most diversity. West Side Church records concentrate mainly on property records and the 75th building anniversary.

Quantity

3 feet

Creator:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Presbytery of Southern Kansas, collector.

Title

Saxman United Presbyterian Church ; Stafford United Presbyterian Church ; West Side Presbyterian Church (Wichita, Kan.) records, 1895 - 1987.

Identification

Ms. collection no. 771

Repository

Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka)

Histories

Saxman United Presbyterian Church

Although there are a variety of churches representing a variety of denominations throughout Rice County, it seems that the small community of Saxman has only had one church: the Saxman United Presbyterian Church. This church started out as a Sunday afternoon Sabbath school, with teachers frequently coming in from the nearly college at Sterling. This Sabbath school subsequently organized into the Saxman United Presbyterian Church on May 15, 1904. The church building for this congregation, which attracted congregants from all around the outlying areas, was constructed in 1906. The dedication service, Dr. White officiating, took place on February 18, 1906. Over the years, the demographics of the region shifted in such a way that this church declined in numbers, and it could not sustain itself. The Saxman United Presbyterian Church closed its doors for the last time on March 31, 1995.

Stafford United Presbyterian Church

Little is known about the Stafford United Presbyterian Church. It was organized on July 13, 1891. Dr. Spencer, former president of Cooper College, was the primary moving force in the organization of this church. By 1906, the Stafford Church had dedicated its new church edifice. Like the United Presbyterian Church in Saxman in neighboring Rice County, the demographics shifted in away that the membership eventually declined to the point where it could no longer sustain itself. The Stafford United Presbyterian Church closed on December 31, 1993.

West Side Presbyterian Church, Wichita, Kansas

On October 3, 1888, Presbyterians from the west side of the Arkansas River submitted a petition to the Presbytery, then meeting at the Lincoln Street Presbyterian Church in Emporia. The petitioners requested that the Presbytery investigate the feasibility of organizing a Presbyterian church in the Wichita area, west of the Arkansas River. Rev. E. J. Brown, Rev. S. B. Flemming, and Elder C. Humble served as the commission to investigate the feasibility of the petition. Concurring with the petitioners’ request the newly formed West Side Presbyterian Church met in a school, then in a church on Dodge Avenue. Rev. L. H. Shane served as this congregation’s first pastor for a period of about ten years. During his term, the church acquired 181 new members. They expanded the church building and purchased a manse.

By the end of Reverend Thomas M. Corneilson’s term of ministry in 1903, West Side became completely financially self supporting and terminated its dependence on the Presbyterian Home Mission Board.

Throughout its history. West Side Presbyterian Church had a steady increase in membership. Following a Billy Sunday revival in 1911, membership shot upward by 151 members in one year. With such an influx of new members, the church required more space, and built another annex at a cost of $1,200, completed in 1911.

Not many years later, the church bought a new piece of property, built a completely new building, and sold the old church and manse. Construction of the new building was completed in 1916. Cost of the new building was $40,000. By 1926 this was completely paid off. The following year, the Church purchased the property just to the east to use as an annex.

When the Depression hit, it hit hard. The church staff salaries were drastically reduced, and the trustees found it nearly impossible to pay the mortgage and property taxes on the annex. Even so, the Church continued to offer worship services through the Depression.

Having survived economic hardships, the Church initiated a renovation campaign in the early 1960s. This restoration effort culminated with a new fellowship hall (formerly the old gymnasium).

In 1991, the West Side Church celebrated the 75 th anniversary of its church building. Many of the photographs, records and papers of that celebration are preserved in this collection (series 3).

Though it had a vibrant and active congregation for most of its years, an unfortunate shift took place in the 1990s. West Side had difficulty attracting new members during that decade, and as the neighborhood had passed its prime, too many members were moving away from that part of town. West Side Presbyterian Church folded in 1998. The local chapter of the Masonic Lodge purchased the property after most of the furnishings, stained glass and organ had been removed from the building. The Masons demolished the remaining structure and built a retirement home in its place.

Scope and Content

Unfortunately, this collection of papers from these three churches of the Presbytery of Southern Kansas is lacking some of the most important records normally found in a church archives. This collection is heavy with Sabbath school records, and in some cases, financial records, but there are no minutes of meetings of the churches’ governing boards of any of the three churches represented in this collection. Of the three churches whose records are herein contained only one, the West Side Presbyterian Church, has any historical notes or essays. As far as definitive historical analysis is concerned, the curious researcher must carefully glean the Sabbath school records, financial records, Stafford United Presbyterian Church’s Congregational Statistics, or Westside Presbyterian Church's 75th anniversary memorabilia and make extrapolated inferences as to the historical development of these three churches.

Series 1: Saxman United Presbyterian Church records, 1913-1989.

Saxman United Presbyterian Church’s records consist almost exclusively in the form of Sabbath school attendance and financial records and also a few small bound volumes for the “cradle roll.” The cradle roll lists the names of new born infants and their birthdays.

Most of the bound volumes entitled “Sabbath School Attendance Record Books” record little more than the names of the classes, the attendance on each Sunday, and the amount of the offering for each week in each class. The first Sabbath School Attendance Record Book, 1913 - 1916, offers a bit more information. The typical Sunday entry will say something like: “Saxman Sabbath School, March 15, 1914. Opened by singing No. 8 & No. 42. Prayer was offered by Supt. Lesson was read by school,” followed by a list of the names of each Sabbath school class, the number attending and the monetary collection.

The treasurer’s ledgers, two volumes spanning from 1943 through 1989, offer the most detailed record of the Saxman Church. Income and expenses were charted each week with as much detail as possible. Offerings that could be attributed to an individual were so recorded. Expenses were equally well documented. Most accounts payable were dispensed to one or more minister. Other expenses were paid out to the Presbytery or Synod, flowers, building materials or hardware. More occasional expenditures were made to Sterling College, located just a few miles away. Other bound volumes in this series are records of attendance and offerings for other Sunday school classes, such as the Lamplighters, the Triple L Class, the True Blue Class, Vacation Bible School, and the Women’s Progressive Class.

Series 2: Stafford United Presbyterian Church records, 1895-1984

The Stafford United Presbyterian Church records offer a broader and fuller cross - section of recorded documentation. While there are no minutes of the church governing board, there are extensive financial records, dating from 1895 to 1962, and Congregational Statistics, 1924 - 1943, which offer a unique and detailed profile of this congregation. Though this series lacks the board’s minutes, the remaining subseries are detailed enough to reveal the nature and essence of this congregation. For example, the Commitment to Abstinence Cards, reveal that at least a few of the members viewed alcoholic beverages as something to be avoided. These cards, dated 1956, bear a chronological relationship to the statewide issue of prohibition repeal. Prohibition, which had been on the books in Kansas since the 1880s, was repealed in Kansas in 1949, seven years prior to the use of these Commitment Cards.

Among the records most revealing in this series are the Treasurer’s Ledgers, 1895 - 1962. Not only do these ledgers indicate in detail exactly what money was received and spent (for what purpose and by whom) but also they offer the closest thing to a membership register in this series. These ledgers serve almost as an activity log, recording everything that happened that involved money.

Other revealing records are the file entitled “Construction Receipts, 1950 - 1960.” Even without a church history, the researcher will surmise that Stafford United Presbyterian Church either built a new church, added onto, or substantially remodeled the existing structure.

Series 3: West Side Presbyterian Church (Wichita) records, 1907-1997

Unlike the first two series, this one is arranged chronologically, which is the most workable format in this series considering the nature of the material. Also, of the three series in this collection, the West Side Presbyterian Church record series is the only one containing historical essays. Copies of these essays are located in box 8, folders 5 and 6.

The most important file in this series, from a legal standpoint, is the first one. File one contains a variety of vital, legal documents, chronologically arranged from 1907 to 1962, such as deeds, charters, mortgage indentures and abstracts of title.

The file on the Board of the Church Erection contains records on such matters as insurance, the property documents in the previous file, the church manse, and other related items of church business.

The binder notebook entitled “In Remembrance” is a chronological listing, from 1959 to 1994, of all of the members who died each year.

Aside from the first folder containing assorted property records, the next most substantial and significant subseries is that commemorating the seventy - fifth building anniversary. This consists of two folders. The first is a list of contents in the time capsule which was placed in the church building cornerstone in 1916, as well as the contents themselves. The cornerstone, installed in 1916, contained a sampling of items and materials which the church members deemed important at the time, just as it does now, with its new cache, installed in 1991. The 1991 folder on the 75th Building Anniversary also contained a variety of photographs of the event. These photographs have been separated and removed to the Photo Section of the Kansas State Historical Society’s Library and Archives Division. A VHS videotape of the event has been separated out and transferred to the A/V Section, as it is more fitting that these materials be stored in a more appropriate place. Separation sheets denoting their original and new locations are found in this file.

Contents List

Shelf location

006-08-06-05 thru 006-08-07-05

Series Descriptions

Series 1   Saxman United Presbyterian Church records, 1913-1989

Box 1

f.1 Cradle Roll Manual, undated
  f.2 Cradle Roll, Birthday and Record Book, 1914
  f.3 Cradle Roll, Birthday, and Record Book, 1937
  f.4 Lamplighters Minute Book, 1959-1967
  f.5 Roll Book, 1961
  f.6 Sabbath School Attendance Record Book,1913-1917
  f.7 Sabbath School Attendance Record Book,1918-1922*
  f.8 Sabbath School Attendance Record Book,1935-1938
  f.9 Sabbath School Attendance Record Book,1966-1972
  f.10 Sabbath School Treasurer’s Record Book,1918-1958
Box 2 f.1 Treasurer’s Ledger, 1943-1961
  f.2 Treasurer’s Ledger, 1963-1989
  f.3 Triple L Class Minute Book, 1936-1950
  f.4 Triple L Class Treasurer’s Ledger, 1938-1952
  f.5 True Blue Class, 1910-1918, and Sabbath School Record, 1921*
  f.6 Vacation Bible School, 1958-1960
  f.7 Women’s Progressive Class Attendance Record Book, 1925-1947
Box 3 f.1 Women’s Progressive Class Attendance Record Book,1914-1924
  f.2 Worship and Service Hymnal
    * The True Blue Class, 1910-1918, also includes Sabbath School records for 1921
     
Series 2   Stafford United Presbyterian Church records, 1895-1984
Box 4 f.1 Church News-Letter, May 1944
  f.2 Commitment to Abstinence Cards, 1956
  f.3 Congregational Statistics, 1924-1943
  f.4 Constitution (fragment), undated
  f.5 Correspondence, 1937-1956
    Financial Records, 1895-1962
    Bank Records – Farmers National Bank, Stafford, Kansas
  f.6 Checkbook, ca 1958-1962
  f.7 Check stubs, 1953-1956
  f.8 Passbook, 1960-1961    
  f.9 Receipts, 1954-1962    
  f.10 Statements, 1946    
  f.11 Statements, 1954    
  f.12 Statements, 1955    
  f.13 Statements, 1956    
  f.14 Statements, 1959    
  f.15 Statements, 1960    
Box 5 f.1 Construction Receipts, 1950-1960    
  f.2 Ledger, 1895-1904    
  f.3 Ledger, 1908-1919    
  f.4 Ledger, 1924-1951    
  f.5 (located at 17-01-05-02), Ledger, 1952-1962    
  f.6 Pledge Register, 1958-1961    
  f.7 Property Bill of Sale, 1955    
  f.8 Receipts, 1946-1984    
  f.9 Stafford County Tax Receipts, 1950-1956
  f.10 Sterling College, Records of donations to, 1954
  f.11 Treasurer’s Reports, 1927-1956
    Utility Bill Receipts
  f.12 Kansas Power and Light, 1950-1956
  f.13 Stafford Municipal Water and Light Plant, 1950-1956
Box 6 f.1 Guest Register, 1955-1964
  f.2 Membership, Certificates of, 1924-1942
  f.3 Miscellaneous
  f.4 Missionary records, 1939-1961
  f.5 Presbytery Meetings – Minutes, 1943-1944
  f.6 Sabbath School Record Book, 1895-1898
  f.7 Sabbath School Record Book, 1901-1906
  f.8 Sabbath School Record Book, 1906-1915
  f.9 Sabbath School Record Book, 1915-1919
Box 7 f.1 Sabbath School Record Book, 1919-1933
  f.2 Sabbath School Record Book, 1933-1952    
  f.3 Sabbath School Record Book, 1953-1968    
  f.4 Sabbath School Record Book, 1957-1960    
  f.5 Sabbath School Certificates of Attendance at other schools    
  f.6 Women’s Missionary Society Treasury Book, 1958-1983    
Series 3   Westside Presbyterian Church (Wichita) records, 1907-1997    
Box 8 f.1 1907-1962 Charters, Deeds, Mortgage Indentures, Abstracts of Title    
    Mortgage Indenture,1907 May 20    
    Charter, 1915 June 21    
    Charter, 1915 June 25    
    Abstract of Title, 1915 July 7    
    Mortgage Indenture, 1919 March 28    
    Abstract of Title, 1924 April 11    
    Satisfaction of Mortgage, 1926 June 4    
    Abstract of Title, 1961 July 28    
    Mortgage Indenture, 1961 August 23    
    Abstract of Title, 1962 February 16    
    Charter Amendment, 1962 Mar 23    
    Mortgage, 1962 April 11    
    First Mortgage Note, 1962 April 11    
  f.2 1919-1926 The Board of the Church Erection    
  f.3 1954 Kilgen Organ Company – Organ Special Service Agreement    
  f.4 1959-1994 In Remembrance book    
    1991 75th Building Anniversary    
  f.5 1916 Time Capsule: Inventory and Contents    
    [Historical Sketch of the West Side Presbyterian Church]    
    The Order for Laying the Cornerstone    
    Manual of the West Side Presbyterian Church    
    Manual and Directory of the West Side Presbyterian Ch    
    The Presbyterian Advance    
    Herald and Presbyter    
    The Continent    
  f.6 1991 Time Capsule: Inventory and Copies of Contents    
    West Side Presbyterian: 75th Anniversary of Church Building.    
    75th Building Anniversary, August 18, 1991, 10:45 a.m.    
    Annual Congregational Meeting, Jan. 20, 1991.    
    The News of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)    
    Photographs (originals transferred to the Photo Section)    
    Videotape (transferred to the A/V Section).    
  f.7 1997 Photographs of Stained Glass Windows    
  f.8 Miscellaneous    

Index Terms

Access Points

Added entries

Saxman United Presbyterian Church (Saxman, Kan.)

Stafford United Presbyterian Church (Stafford, Kan.)

West Side Presbyterian Church (Wichita, Kan.)

Subject added entries

Saxman (Kan.) - Churches - Presbyterian.

Stafford (Kan.) - Churches - Presbyterian.

Wichita (Kan) - Churches - Presbyterian.

Church records and registers - Kansas - Saxman.

Church records and registers - Kansas - Stafford.

Church records and registers - Kansas - Wichita.

Presbyterian Churches - Kansas - Saxman.

Presbyterian Churches - Kansas - Stafford.

Presbyterian Churches - Kansas - Wichita.

Sterling College (Sterling, Kan.)

Other Correspondents

Sterling College (Sterling, Kan.)

Additional Information for Researchers

Provenance

The Presbytery of Southern Kansas sent these documentary materials to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1999 after the closure of the three churches. The most important administrative records (minutes of meetings of the churches’ governing boards and official membership registers) were sent to the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Access

Unrestricted

Usage restrictions

None.

Publication rights

The Kansas State Historical Society does not own literary property rights to these records.

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this microfilm may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

Preferred citation

[identification of individual item and/or series], Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Presbytery of Southern Kansas, Records, 1895-1997, ms. collection 771, Kansas State Historical Society.

Acquisition information

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Presbytery of Southern Kansas, donation, 1999; accession no. 2000-029.01.

Processing history

Processed by Robert A. McInnes in 1999.