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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas

"First Church"

The Wyandots carried with them from Ohio their devotion to their church.  They conducted services on the boats during the trip from Cincinnati.  When they camped on the river bottoms, homesick and ill, they held meetings on the higher ground.  There were two hundred church members out of the seven hundred who came here, but many had died before a year was over.  Those who were left met in homes several times a week during the winter under the leadership of Esquire Grey Eyes.  Once in a while a Shawnee or Delaware missionary visited them. 

The winter of 1843-1844 was a pleasant one.  In January Reverend Grey Eyes said, "I want to build a meeting house."

"But you have no house for yourself yet," the people protested.  They were busy helping one another to erect their own homes.

Grey Eyes replied, " I want a house for my soul first."  All the rest of the winter and into the spring, the Wyandots worked on the church.  Years later Mrs. Lucy Armstrong wrote:

Though we heard not the sound of the church bell, our ears were not pained, nor our habits grieved by the sound of the axe or the gun on the Sabbath.  Though our church was rude and the sears uncomfortable, yet they were always filled with worshippers and God was there.

This church was known as the "Church in the Wilderness."  It was in the country at a spot what is now 23rd and Washington in the Westheight District.  It was the first home of the Washington Avenue and the Seventh Street Methodist Churches.  The building was first used in April, 1844, and by the following July a home for the missionary was built near the Walker home on Jersey Creek.

[Annotation:  The first Mission ever founded in the world by the Methodist Episcopal Church was among the Wyandots at Upper Sandusky. This mission was brought bodily to Kansas by the Wyandots. It is now the Washington Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Kansas. The division in the Methodist Episcopal Church caused dissension in the Wyandot nation, and the Church South, in that Nation, organized at that time. This Church also is an active organization in Kansas City, Kansas, at this time. This author has in his collection of historical papers the records of the Sandusky Mission and the documents relating to the separation of the Church in Kansas.    http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/kansas/kansaskansans/page27.htm]

First Days in Wyandot

Return to Index for "The Story of Kansas City, Kansas" by Nellie McGuinn

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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