My Dearest Augusta,
I am pleased with the plan you have adopted, I.E., to answer letters before they come and send the answer back, taking a person all unawares. My necessary delay in answering your last kind letter rendered me unworthy to receive such faithful attention on your part. Yet this plan of yours of rendering good for evil, or rather of being ahead of the time rather than way behind as I have been, I am sure cannot fail to do good. I am glad that in my imagination today, I can see you where you have so long desired to be, where heretofore you have passed so many delightful hours. Methinks I see at times a view of sadness pass o'er your brow as you mingle again amid those former associates and witness the change that even so short a time has effected amid those you were wont to greet. Some have gone to join that beloved company that no man can number. Some are toiling in heathen lands, gathering jewels to deck their future crown. Some are on beds of affliction, far reduced by disease. Some are among strangers. And not a few [are] at home, doing all in their power to cultivate this heavenly feeling in themselves and also to scatter it abroad among others. Just such persons are calculated to live to advantage on this poor weary earth. My soul always expands when I greet such [people].
How is [your sister] Sarah enjoying her visit [to Connecticut]?  Does she meet with anything attractive about the old gray rocks, steep bluffs, and rough hillsides of the native land of her parents? Has she pulled off her sunbonnet and run tripping over the rocks and rills as her mother used too? She can never love the Yankee land until in this way she attached herself to it. Otherwise every old rock will almost seem a ghost, the roaring of the brook mingling with the "music" of the owl will seem to her like sounds unearthly, and before she has been there a month she will be sighing for that spot to her so welcome -- her own fireside. Ie., I think this unless there is "something" there more attractive than the old grey rocks that will tend to dispel these gloomy feelings.
You have now seen Hancie [Abbey], Maria [Wright], and many other of your friends [by now] and I shall open with interest the answer to the letter I wrote you a few days since and directed to Hartford. Without a doubt, you have received it 'ere this.
I have just returned from the graveyard where I have been to consign to its final resting place -- until the dawn of the resurrection morn -- a beloved infant child, the hope of its dear parents. It seemed very hard for them to give it up -- so young and lovely, so bright and so innocent. But its time had come and He who gave was pleased to take away again. There seems something dark and mysterious about the idea of a poor innocent being born merely to spend a few months of deep distressing pain and then forever taken away, never living even long enough to call the name of its parents or to apparently enjoy a single earthly blessing. Yet often as my mind dwells upon such mysteries, I can but think of what our Lord told Peter, "There are many things that I do. Ye shall not know them now, but ye shall know them hereafter." One thing is sure, that if they were not created on earth, they could not become seraphs in Heaven. And no doubt soon as they enter that bright world, their expanding mind soon begins to comprehend the reason why their Creator so early brought them there... We know that one's birth awakens in the soul a new love, arouses dormant affections, gives the mind new attachments and imparts new interest to life. And as it increases in age, these different powers of the mind are increased in intensity until such loveliness may be witnessed in its disposition and actions. [So much so] that there is danger of its becoming an idol, supplanting the love and affection those parents ought to bestow upon the great Giver. Under such circumstances, would it not be right for Him who doeth all things well, (hard as it may seem) to take the little one to Himself for those parent's benefit? [Would it not make] God and Heaven more attractive [to them]? This will only be placing a magnet in that bright world to draw them thither.
You wished me to speak of my books. Our people sent most of them out to me when I sent home for my trunk -- especially my old text books for which now I have scarcely any use. And it would afford me pleasure to know they are doing someone some good. Whatever I may have that [your brother] Ralph wants, he is most freely welcome to. The main thing will be to get them to him when he wants them and at the least expense. If I had thought [of it] or known what he wanted, I might have put them in an old satchel I have and sent them [back to Owego] along with Esq. Davis. I may have other opportunities to do so before I come [home] if he will just mention what he wants.
Wednesday, August 30th  -- I did not mail my letter yesterday and am now glad that I did not. After I had gone up to the church to work, Rev. Mr. Goode -- a minister whom Bishop Ames (a Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church residing in this city) had sent out to explore the territories of Nebraska and Kansas to find the most suitable places to establish missionary stations  -- came where I was [working] and was quite anxious that I would give him an answer soon whether I was willing to go into these territories and labor as a gospel minister.  He says that the people are, and for the next two years, will be pouring into this new country from all parts of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and the more Eastern States, and will be dotting it over with villages. He wishes, however, to preoccupy it with the blessed Gospel. And for myself, although there may be some hardships connected with the settling [of] a new country (but you know its different with the prairied West from what it is East), yet I believe it holds out many inducements for young people to go -- not only where they may be able to do great good, but also where they may themselves benefit pecuniarily.
With your cheerful and
entire approbation, I am willing to go. I.E., If my mother does not veto the
project to whom I must write today. I would be glad to have you express yourself
freely. The whole distance can be traveled either on the railroad or steamboat
and the labor will be confined to our own people and not among the Indians.
Consequently, it will be in some of these villages now fast settling on the
Missouri River. Should you approbate the measure, it would be best to defer our
union for awhile yet -- probably until Spring [unless] other arrangements could
be made. [Rev. Goode] wishes to return with some three or four ministers about
the 25th of September. I can then go out, find out about the country, make
arrangements for a good comfortable home, become acquainted with the habits and
manners of the people, and then shall better know whether you would like to live
there [at which time] I will come for you at the very earliest suitable time.
You may think it a great way off, but comparatively, with the facilities we have
for traveling it, is not farther than Lake Erie was [from Owego] before
railroads were built. It is nearly as convenient as Minnesota and I think far
more inviting as the climate is not so cold in winter and the land is quite as
Should you consent,
would it not be well for me to dispose of my land near Woodstock [Illinois], take the
money and invest it there? I.E., after I ascertain what the prospects are.
Should I go, I think it will be far better for your brother James to go there
rather than to Minnesota. I think my friend Brother Cooper here will go [too].
Please write soon. Speak your mind without any hesitancy.
My Beloved Augusta,
Your kind favor from Hartford reached me yesterday and I embrace a few moments leisure this morning to begin an answer. I was glad to have you find your friends, with so few exceptions, enjoying usual health but was of the opinion that they had no notion that you should forget any of the multiplied duties of a housekeeper. I am fearful that this excessive warm weather connected with your indisposition, your long tedious journey, the excitement occasioned by seeing so many friends -- and all the routine necessary to treat them all well -- the housekeeping [duties], and taking care of the sick will be more than you can comfortably endure. I hope it will not make you sick. I am confident that you will complain of complete exhaustion at times. This must diminish the interest of your visit. I hope, however, 'ere this you have found a substitute and that you are free to go around among your friends.
This morning we finished the mason work on our church even to topping out the chimneys. Next week we hope to get it entirely enclosed and I think the people yet will have it ready for worship this fall. But if I go to Nebraska, I shall not probably remain with them over three or four weeks at longest. I do hope that they, as a church, will greatly prosper and that many shall be finally saved. And I can not see how, with judicious management, it can help but prosper. 
I shall feel anxious to know what your opinion is about my going farther west. I do think it will be better for me in many respects. It seems as though I could make myself much more useful. I am confident I shall see more of those I formerly knew than I do here. And then, it has seemed to be something that would just suit me. I.E., to begin and grow up with a new country. I shall then feel just like inviting old friends around me and I do think from the thousands that are flocking there now [that] in a very short time, it will exhibit all the privileges that we have here at present. [Just think ] of a home right in the very centre of our country in the great valley of the Mississippi commanding some fine view along one of its tributaries from which place we...can easily mingle with our friends.
I don't know what kind of a pioneer you would make. Yet you must look upon the settlement of these territories as something that will be done so speedily that the country cannot be considered as new for a long time. There is now such a dense population among ourselves. The richness of the soil and the healthiness of the climate hold out such great inducements that a great many cannot fail to go there. Almost every town and county has its surplus population which it can spare for this express object. But I have been looking on the brighter side. Every picture has its shadow, every rose its thorn, and I have no doubt but I should be called to pass through many and great sacrifices. I might be taken sick or I might be disappointed as to the exceeding laboriousness and magnitude of my toils. But so might I here or wherever I am called upon to labor.
I hear they have fastened upon me for one reason -- because I am a single man and disencumbered, can easily shoulder my knapsack and trudge. Also my salary will be less. But as far as that is concerned -- if it be so -- I can easily let them know my exact position. For my own part, I begin to feel as if I had trodden life's wearisome journey already about far enough alone. However, if it is for the best, for the comfort and happiness of all interested, especially for the glory of God and the welfare of my fellows, I am willing to delay [our wedding] for a [short] time only. What say you my dear A? You need not fear of being too frank with me upon this subject which you have as much interest as myself. I am confident it is not a good plan to postpone such matters too long and often. For my own part, it would afford me great pleasure could I have your company and counsel at this hour. But I almost begin to [fear that it will be] many long, long weeks before this will be [possible]. Yet, I can but think that I share your daily prayers.
is your new Aunt and where does she live? Shall you not bring her miniature 
with you upon your return? Has
your Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] built him a new house? If so, where? Does [your cousin]
James Fiddis still
clerk in his store? Will your Aunt Lucy [Fiddis] return with you [to Owego]? Have you
visited the dust of your dear departed Aunt [Mary Beach Goodrich]? How does it appear around [the grave]? Can anything be made
to grow? Has [your sister] Sarah become homesick yet? When shall you probably
return [to Owego]? What news do you get from Owego? Did you receive the last
letter I sent you [in Owego]? It won't matter much if you did not. My letters
lately have been such complete scrawls that I have been ashamed to send them.
Yet I know that if I did not send them, I should get no answer or should be
unworthy of none. Please answer soon. Give all the advice you think of and tell
me what, in your opinion, I had better do. I have written to mother and I think
she will not object as I shall be just [as unreachable] to her and probably see
her just as often from there as here. Good night my dear A. The Lord bless and
keep you. -- James
Click on Image for Enlargement
1 through 4 of James Griffing's Letter
I have had one letter from home. All were pretty well then and I hope will continue so. I had not seen your mother since we were up at [your sister] Permelia’s but heard she was well. [Your sister] Mary had not returned but they some expected her. I will try and answer all questions. And so you know Mr. [Nathaniel] Davis, though I presume you would have done so had you seen him only once. But I know it must be pleasant to see a familiar face. He is living with his second wife, and has been ever since I knew him. I have met her years ago but not lately & should scarcely know her.
I am glad to hear [your brother] Daniel’s wife is getting better and hope she will be well again. I never saw her but have seen a daguerreotype some time ago.
Is Mr. [Gorham] Walton married yet? I am glad you have found out his whereabouts at last. It would be pleasant to have him marry and go west too – perhaps it will be so. Stranger things than that often happen. Who thought when you were with him in College that you would be in Indiana so soon and with the expectation of making that or some other distant state your home. I don’t think that you or he did.
I should like to have just seen your Miss [Rachel] Kinder [when she passed through Owego for the East coast]. I like that name.
And so you have got to tell the Conference whether or not you are to be married? You leave it to me to decide? If it will be as well for you and my own health is better, I should be perfectly willing to go this fall. What I require is rest and then I am better. Uncle [Elizur] has just returned & says the girl is coming tomorrow night. Oh what a relief it will be to me. And if it were not for dressmaking next week, would go down to Glastonbury on Saturday. But I want a dress cut and can have it done next week and not till then. I wish I knew enough to cut my own. I am sure I never would spend my strength running day after day for one who could. But if I go to New York [City] to attend Uncle [Elizur Goodrich’s] wedding, must have a new dress. And if we are married this fall, it is for then too – a plain silk [dress] that will be pretty any time. Oh, I see so many things that money would procure that I sometimes wish I was rich. But I think a contented mind is far better than all riches. But I do wish that my father was better able to give me something to begin with. I am disappointed in his losing that [suit] with Mr. P for I expected he would give me some of that when I should be married. But I should be thankful for what I can have.
It can be just as you think best. If it is better for you to live single another year, do not hesitate to say so for I want to do as will be for the best. But if better to be married when you come on, I will be ready to go (that is, health permitting). Tell me freely what you think, and what you wish. Oh, I hope ours may be a happy union. I see so many of my old acquaintance married and some not living pleasantly, and often times the fault was with them. That I fear for myself. I know I have many, many faults, but I love a pleasant, happy home and such an one I hope may be ours.
It is late. All are in bed but myself and I have written you a long letter beside having calls twice. I think I will not send this until I hear from you again. Good night and accept a kiss from your own Augusta.
Sunday – Yours of the 31st of August came last evening, and as I cannot walk to church, thought I would spend the morning writing to one I love. I was taken by surprise at the idea of your going to Nebraska or Kansas, but I think you know me well enough to know that if duty calls you, there I would cheerfully go. I read that part of the letter to Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] and he in return let me read a letter just received from his dearest earthly friend. He thinks it would be a good idea for you to go this winter or fall and see how you like it, &c. and says you can settle on a section of land or pay for it when it comes into market.
It is a long way from home and I do not know how my parents would feel about it, but if you prefer to go there, I can make up my mind to go, I think. Although it would be pleasant to feel that we are near our childhood home, near enough to visit it sometimes. There will be many more privations than in an older settled state, I know, but if I have health, should feel better able to bear these. At any rate, I think it would be better for me to wait awhile & not be married this fall. I have seen Dr. [C. A.] Taft, the family physician [here in Hartford], and he says I must [rest] and thinks I shall get well, but it will take time. When I am well again, I think I shall know how to prize good health. If you like it there, I think [my brother] James had better go too in the spring.
I hope to see Maria [Hollister] and Hancie [Abbey] ere long. When you write, still direct to Hartford as Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] will send them to me.
I shall not hear from you very often, I fear, if you go away from there, but you must write just as often at least.
There have been a few cases of the cholera here. The water pipes are being laid in the streets and it is hoped they will bring in the city in less than a year.
I will write to [my brother] Ralph about the books. [My sister] Sarah enjoys her visit very much indeed. I hope to hear again very soon. Ever your own, -- Augusta
You cannot say I never wrote you a long letter. Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] has just let me read a report of the city mission, which he as secretary made out a year ago and read before a crowded audience. It is well done and others say he read well. The mission is doing much good for it gathers children into the Sabbath schools who but for that would never enter one.
Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] told [his son] Jamie today that he was going to bring home a mother and showed him her daguerreotype. He was very much pleased and soon came into my room to tell me the good news. [His other son] Fred has known it for some time and both are much pleased.
[Rev.] Dr. [Joel] Hawes is not yet able to preach. I do not think I shall be here but one day while the American Board meets as I could only stay at home while others are enjoying it. Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] is to have five come with him – two gentlemen & wives & a single man. I hope you have good eyes. If not, they will not feel very comfortable when you read this.
I forgot to send this by Uncle [Elizur Goodrich] this morning and since then a letter from home has arrived saying all are pretty well. It is very dry there, and the crops have failed and everything eatable is very dear. Dr. William Whitney of Halsey Valley has died with the cholera. Dr. [F.] Nye is very low indeed. [Your sister] Permelia [Brooks] & children had spent a few days at your mothers. [Your brother] Henry’s wife has a [newborn] son [born August 28th]. All are much pleased. I rather think I shall not have any more postscripts in this letter. I should like to look over your shoulder while you are reading such a parcel of news as this. -- Augusta
Well, I am in a right curious
fix this morning. Last Saturday morning I received your good welcome long letter
but as I was obliged to prepare for preaching -- or rather talking -- [the next]
morning, I had no time for writing. And this morning at the Post office I was
greeted with another welcome letter [from you], making in all about 16 pages of
letters on my hands at once. And I don't know when I have been as busy as I
shall be obliged to be this week. Next Monday I start for Conference and all the
closing up work of my pastoral duties together with [writing] the reports
pertaining to my church. I must have all arranged so as to report at the
Quarterly Conference and so that my successor will have no difficulty in
proceeding with the unfinished business of the station.
have our church now enclosed. Providence favoring, we hope before I leave to
have the floor laid, the windows and doors in, [the walls] ready for plastering,
and the pews and pulpit [installed]. So you see, my time must be necessarily all
I am now in Brother [Samuel] Cooper's studio whither I have come to secure his assistance in making out a report and, as he was just called away to visit a member of the church known to be dying, I am using the interim in answering briefly your last kind letter. I must wait until a more convenient time before I can think of answering that long one and then I guess I shall be obliged to write twice.
I can hardly realize that so very soon I am to leave this beloved people, deeply endeared to me in so many ways. They have borne so kindly will all my imperfections, been willing to sympathize amidst all my embarrassments, and so ready to assist in every possible way. [They] have received me so kindly into their homes, allowed me to mingle in their prayers around the family alter, and have enjoyed every Friday evening such a pleasant time among the different families in the exercises of a Bible class as we appointed them weekly at different houses.
Just one week from today, we start for Conference. My anxiety was so much relieved by the kind answers you gave in your last letters. It seemed like asking too much -- very much -- of you even to come here [to Indianapolis] and share with me life's sorrows as well as joys. But when you expressed a willingness even to go to Nebraska, I could hardly feel sufficiently grateful. I did not so much think how much I was asking of you until I was thinking the matter over after writing my last two letters. Your kind answer relieved my mind. I am expecting that the Conference will appoint me thither. If so, Providence favoring, with some four or five others I shall probably start in about two weeks. Brother Cooper has returned and I must be busy for awhile.
Afternoon -- Brother [Samuel] Cooper has just left again for a few moments. I went out in the country a week ago last Saturday [September 3, 1854], to attend a camp meeting at Bellville. It was upon ground that had been used for that purpose for about 20 years. The tents (little frame houses sided) are left standing from year to year and there is a large roof constructed of sufficient amplitude to accommodate several thousand so they need not be at all disturbed in case of rain. The meeting was well attended and very orderly for the large number in attendance. I think you would have liked the meetings -- with some few exceptions -- very well. Sometimes they become somewhat noisy which would not suit you very well but I think that much good was done. It so often happens that many persons who can never be persuaded to enter a house of worship are often arrested by the spirit at these meetings and induced to raise up their breasts and Pelican-like exclaim, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Well you have about as much relish for noise as myself. I am far from thinking that all noise is religion and I never like to have it unless it emanates from a soul full of zeal to do the will of God and whose life corresponds with his profession or is in the deepest trouble on account of his sin. I could but notice a general contentment and a desire for everyone to feel himself right at home which added much to the interest of the meeting. Much hospitality was exhibited towards strangers, kindly inviting them to share their frugal meal and finding comfortable quarters for them through the night. Every tent had several dozen [occupants] and [was] well-supplied with curtains. They usually ate at a spread table under the forest trees near their tent. I enjoyed myself quite well for two days and then returned. The country through which I passed was fine, but I could not help noticing the meager corn crops owing to the continuous drouth.
Thursday, [September] 12th -- Last evening, Brother [William H.] Goode -- whom the Bishop sent out to explore Kansas and Nebraska -- came again to see me and I had much more time to enquire about the country. He told me about the vast multitudes of poor harmless Indians,  about the many sacrifices I must necessarily undergo in engaging in the duties of my mission. He said my lot would probably be [cast] in Nebraska City and its vicinity on the Missouri River, a few miles below Council Bluffs. He said that the country was delightful and the scenery was grand. He said he should be obliged to take his family out in two large covered waggons. Said I might do as I choose -- go with him or go out by public conveyance. If I go with him, it would be more pleasant to get my horse, which I would be obliged to have out there, and hitch him behind the waggons so that we might have him to ride when we wished. He said we should have plenty of bedding along so that, if necessary, we might sleep in our waggons, camp out on the prairies, &c. I chose to go with him. He is a fine man with a very pleasant family and I think if my health is good, I shall enjoy [the trip]. It will take about five weeks to go out, so [we should arrive in time] to secure our home before the winter storms set in. If I can dispose of my property here to my advantage, I have concluded to do so as Brother Goode thinks that I can use my money to better advantage there. You can write me once more to this city and you will please excuse me if I should not find time to write much for several weeks. I hope, after arriving at my destination, that I shall be able to repay all my indebtedness to you in this respect.
How should you like a trip of this kind? Would it be too frontier? -- too pioneer-like? -- too romantic? Would it be too much attended with sacrifice or could you from a full heart exclaim, "For want of these things, move me!" ...Could I have known of these [traveling] arrangements sooner, Oh how pleasant would it have been to have you with me. One of Brother Goode's daughters, a graduate of Worthington Seminary, Ohio, expects to commence teaching as soon after her arrival as possible and hopes to make herself useful in this way. And I do believe there would be many ways in which you might be useful should your life and health be spared. Every countenance will be strange where I shall be obliged to live and labor. Brother Goode will reside many miles away. And oh! How much would a companion do in driving away life's lonely hours and cheer me in my toils. But if we can not enjoy each other's society for the present, pray my dearest Augusta, oh pray that the Lord will make me greatly useful, will sustain me amidst all my trials, and keep me very humble.
After your next letter, I shall not probably hear from you again in six weeks as I shall be all the time traveling and I cannot give you a certain P.O. address. But oh, I shall often -- very often -- think of you and if I can get the time, I will try and write you. Shall I direct [my letters] to Hartford or Owego? My mother has sent me an answer to the letter I wrote to her and I can only infer that silence gives consent [to my going farther West]. I would like much to see her before I go and have a good visit but must defer it for a time. May heaven long spare her life. And I would like also to see you, dear A, and have a long, long talk. It would seem to be such a privilege, but this I cannot have for awhile.
me to Hancie [Abbey], Maria [Hollister], and any enquirers, forgetting not your own
Uncle [Elizur Goodrich]. I begin to like him much although in spite of myself he
always seemed very distant -- except at the last interview with him. Perhaps I
noticed it more as he was so different in this respect from your dear departed
Aunt [Mary]. And I was so foolish as to allow myself to think it might be
because I was poor and the son of poor parents. But I think differently now and
I hope the Lord will forgive my wicked thoughts and enable me to put a more
charitable construction upon the conduct of those who have exhibited towards me
so much kindness as has your Uncle. How are you pleased with your new Aunt? Is
she anything like your Aunt Mary? Do the children love her? Do Freddy and Jamie
[Goodrich] agree among themselves?
Please write direct upon the reception of this and believe that I shall remain forever your own, -- James
 Augusta Goodrich, age 25, and her sister Sarah, age 23, were visiting their Uncle Elizur in Hartford, Connecticut at the time of this letter. Perhaps the reason for the visit was to attend the wedding of their Uncle on September 21, 1854, to Mary E. Johnston, his second wife. The children of his first marriage, Frederic and James, were 11 and 9 years old, respectively.
 Within a matter of days after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Reverend William H. Goode received a letter from Bishop Ames asking him to explore the new territories. The brief appointment letter read:
Wm. H. Goode
Following a tour of the territories, Rev. Goode recommended to the Bishops "that four mission circuits be formed -- two in Kansas and two in Nebraska -- to each of which a particular preacher should be sent with a missionary appropriation to sustain him for one year; and that the two Territories be included in one district with a Presiding Elder, or superintendent of missions, who should travel at large..." Outposts of Zion, p. 276.
Upon filing his report with the Bishops, the Rev. William H. Goode was asked
to return to the Territories as the Presiding Elder of the recommended
district, and to recruit other ministers for the circuit work. In his book, written nine years later, Rev. Goode wrote:
It was contemplated that several preachers from my own or contiguous Conferences should be transferred with me, and a full supply at once furnished for the new field. With a view to this, several of the Annual Conferences were visited. A deep interest in the work was manifested; many words of cheer were given; funds were freely contributed to aid in erecting churches in the Territories; several esteemed brethren expressed a desire to accompany me; but when they came to the point of immediate transfer and removal, none were ready. The supposed demands of their own Conferences, domestic considerations, or other reasons prevailed, and it became apparent that I must enter the field alone and single-handed.
Providence, however, sent me one assistant. Having heard of a young man, a graduate of the Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut, recently licensed, and employed in the North Street Mission, Indianapolis, I determined to try his courage. I found him employed, laboring with his hands in the erection of the new church edifice of his charge. The employment, the air, the whole contour of the young man told me that he would make a missionary. A proposition was made. A brief space was taken for consideration. An answer was received, "I will go." This decision gave to myself and family a much-valued friend, and to the work in Kansas the efficient labors of Rev. James S. Griffing, one of the first and most indefatigable explorers, still laboring faithfully in the ranks of his conference. -- Outposts of Zion, pp. 279-280.
In the book entitled, "History of Greater Indianapolis" by Jacob P. Dunn
(1910), it is reported that:
May 17, 1854, one of the Robert's Chapel classes led by J. W. Dorsey, a
school teacher, organized as the Seventh Church. They met in Dorsey's
Schoolhouse, near the corner of New Jersey and Walnut till the end of the
year. Meanwhile, they purchased a lot at the northwest corner of North and
Alabama, and erected a small church on the west side of it. They moved into
this, with Rev. Griffin as pastor, and adopted the name of North Street
Methodist Episcopal Church. It was more commonly called the North Street
Mission, however, as it did not become self-supporting till 1867.
The church survives
today as the Central Avenue United Methodist Church at Twelfth and Central Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The church's history, recorded in a church brochure, says:
The history of the congregation of the...church dates back to May 17, 1854. It was first a mission Sunday School which was begun by a group from Robert's Park Church. In September of the same year, it was officially recognized as the Seventh Methodist Church. The congregation built a plain brick building 25 by 30 feet in size at the northwest corner of North and Alabama Streets, and it became known as the North Street Church. This was in 1856. Ten years later an addition was made to this building and the name was changed to the Trinity Methodist Church. In the year 1877, the Massachusetts Avenue or "Pine Knot" Church, which was a congregation made up largely of former United Brethren people, merged with the Trinity Methodist Church. The Pine Knot Tabernacle building was moved to the corner of Central Avenue and East 12th Street and the new church was named the Central Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church.
From James' account of the origination of the church and the construction of their house of worship, we now know that the church's history is actually earlier than those dates noted in the surviving church records.
Mollie Dorsey was the grand-daughter of Father Dorsey. Her diary, "Mollie," was published by the Nebraska State Historical Society and contains a brief description of the small school house in Indianapolis and the church that was started by Rev. James Griffing. In 1857, her family took a claim near the Nemaha River in southeast Nebraska Territory. Her Uncle, Rev. Milton Mahan, would eventually also move to Nebraska and become a member of the Kansas-Nebraska Methodist Conference. He served in Atchison in 1859-1860 during the period of the drought.
Milton Fletcher Mahin, grandson of "Father Dorsey" wrote about him in his memoirs, which are deposited in the Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri. "Grandfather John Wesley Dorsey," he wrote, "was an educated man, a school teacher by profession, and a local preacher of the Methodist Church. He belonged to the 'old school' of conscientious rectitude, wearing a sober expression uniformly, seldom smiling -- given much to singing religious songs, and evident silent meditation and prayer, discountenancing any and all frivolity and worldliness. He was opposed to church choir music, and the installation of such a thing as a musical instrument in the church. He regarded the violin as an instrument belonging to Satan and his satellites. Playing card and card games of any kind he abhorred... He lived his religion daily, and when he passed away he triumphantly entered the home of the blessed."
 Miniature is another word for picture.
 Primarily the Wyandotte, Delaware, Shawnee, Kickapoo, and the Kaw Indians.