From: Donald G. Hooper <>

To: Ann Hay <>; George Fox <fox@UH.EDU>; J. Stafford <>; Karl Kramer <>; Richard Grayson <>

Subject: Fredonia Church

Date: Monday, October 04, 1999 6:06 PM

While looking for a xerox of a photo of a Cline Civil War veteran, I ran

across the answer to my question about Fredonia Church property.

I have about a dozen xeroxed pages from a booklet (origin & title

unknown) which is a history of Westport, Indiana . This booklet was

published sometime after 1972. The following are excerpts from those


The Fredonia Church

The Fredonia Church grew out of a congregation which met during the

1820ís in the homes of the members. The Wren Grayson family settled in

1827 on the land now owned by William C. and Mabel Mattix Robbins. The

Felix Boicourt family settled one-half mile west of the Graysons in

April 1830. Members of these and other families formed the small

congregation which met in private homes.

Fexix Boicourt became a United Brethren Minister. He was received into

the United Brethren Conference in 1832 and became an ordained minister

in 1838. He is believed to have served the congregation for several

years before it was formally organized.

The Fredonia Church, which is located two and one-half miles south of

Westport, was formally organized in 1842 by Rev. F. Denoyer, and was

known as the Boicourt appointment. Felix Boicourt served as the first

minister, but died in 1842.

The first church did not stand where the present building stands.

The first church building stood somewhere on the forty-acre tract which

corners at the southwest corner of the intersection of the Range Line

Road and the third county road south of Westport. The property is now

owned by Arthur and Mary Catherine Hull McCullough.

In June 1846, David Boicourt made a deed for church ground to the church

trustees who were E. Boicourt, Joe Stonecypher, W. Grayson, James Clark

and Elihu Galloway.

The Masonic Lodge

The Westport Lodge No 52 F. & A. M. was organized in 1853. The charter

was issued by the Grand Lodge of Indiana on May 25, 1853. The first

Lodge Hall was on the north side of Main Street, over the Drug Store of

William Stott and Milton McWhinney, situated across the alley just east

of the Westport Hardware Store on the west half of Lot #9. The Lodge

Hall and all records were destroyed late Monday night and early Tuesday

morning on August 12th and 13th, 1872 when a disastrous fire swept a

large portion of the downtown business district..

A building committee was appointed: Daniel Patterson, William Bowen,

Perry Owens, J. W. Glasscock, and Wren Grayson..

On May 6, 1876 , William M. McCullough, Wren Grayson, and Lewis Dudley

Owens were appointed to a committee and instructed to purchase spittoons

for the Lodge.

Masters of the Westport Lodge No. 52 from the beginning up to 1900 are

given below:

1853-54 Wilson Pottinger 1873 John Shaw

1855 Lewis C. Stott 1874-79 Sandford Grayson

1856 W. H. Van Horn 1880 William Y. Talkington

1857 John W. Reynolds 1881-82 Sandford Grayson

1858 Lewis C. Stott 1883-90 William Hause

1859 John W. Reynolds 1891 Sandford Grayson

I have "skipped" the rest since no Grayson is listed after 1891.


The Old Christian Church

Rev. H. B. Sherman, father-in-law of Gertrude Sherman of Westport, was a

well-known minister of the Christian Church for a period during the


On Sunday, November 15, 1885, Rev. Gard baptized forty-two persons at

Westport, including Minnie Grayson and John C. Cann (then eight years



William Richardson, a United Brethren circuit rider wanting a place to

preach the gospel, and his young wife Jane, left Pennsylvania and

traveled down the Ohio River to whit is now Hamilton, Ohio, where their

three sons were born.

William and Jane Richardson, along with their sons, Joseph, William

John, and James , migrated from Hamilton, Ohio to Madison, Indiana.

From Madison, they moved northward and finally located in Brewersville

in Jennings County.

William Richardson rode a circuit of United Brethren Churches which

include Fredonia, New Bethel, Fish Creek, and the church in his hometown

of Brewersville.

William Richardson was also a good basket-maker, and this art was

developed by two of his sons, Joseph and William John. Both located on

farms in the New Bethel area where they farmed and made baskets which

they huckstered by horse and wagon to farmers and nearby storekeepers.

William John Richardson married Eliza Ellen Grayson, The daughter of

Wren Grayson, Jr., , a well-known farmer, and one of the early Decatur

County Commissioners.

At this time, the Graysons were living on the farm which Wren Grayson

Sr. had entered from the government in 1827. The farm is located south

of Westport, just northwest of the iron bridge over Sandcreek, and is

now owned by William and Mabel Robbins.

The Richardsons began their married life of a farm which was located

near Bear Creek. It was here that their seven children were born.

These are the children who were born to the Richardsons: Salethiel

Jesse, William Selden, Harry, Leonard Forest, Gertrude, Dean and Leafy.

On July 4, 1891 William Richardson bought property on Main Street, and

moved his family to Westport.

S. Jesse Richardson published "The Westport Independent," the first

newspaper published in Westport, and at different periods, owned and

operated the "Westport Courier-Independent."

Harry became a baker, and worked for the Thomas Bakery in the brick

building north of the Standard Service Station. He also operated a

shingle factory on the banks of Millstone Creek on East Mail Street.

Dean owned and successfully operated a restaurant on Main Street. He

also built and operated a filling station (now the Standard Station)

until his death in 1930.

Leonard Forrest became a newspaper editor and, in the early days of the

Westport Independent, worked in the print shop located in the Richardson

building, which was situated on the corner now occupied by the Standard

Service Station.

He went to Sheffield, Illinois, where he edited a newspaper - The Times

- until his death.

Gertrude (Sherman) and Leafy (Burns) are still living in the family home

on Main Street in Westport.


Donald G. Hooper

VoiceLine (734) 464-6975