Shiloh, First Methodist Church in Center Point Area
The current Center Point United Methodist Church began in a hewn-log building known at that time as Shiloh. On March 25, 1850, a small group of people met in Carrithers Township in Clay County for the purpose of electing trustees to receive a donation of land on which to build a meeting house for the Methodist Episcopal Church. (Carrithers Township was formed in 1848 and disbanded in 1853.) The new church was named “Shiloh,” which was chosen from Biblical times. Shiloh was the name of a town of Ephraim, where the sanctuary of the ark was under the priesthood of the house of Eli.
The trustees obtained a tract of land in what is now Sugar Ridge Township on August 12, 1853, for the new house of worship. The land was located one-half mile east of Center Point on the old Harry Lash place along the old Bowling Green-Brazil Road. The church was built of hewn-logs, as remembered, in the same year as Ebenezer church (1855) in Van Buren Township. The large log meeting house was built from native timber by pioneers. There is no record to prove it; however, without a doubt the wives of these sturdy pioneers prepared food for the workers, as it was customary for women to prepare meals for the workers during house and barn raisings.
The Shiloh church was an offshoot of the old Ashboro congregation. The following families were among the early Shiloh church members: John McGinnis and family, Henry Mitchell and family, John McCracken and family, Thomas Milligan and family, and Henry Lash and family.
During the next few years, the membership of Shiloh grew. At the same time the little village of Center Point was growing from a few houses to a thriving village and was incorporated in 1869. On March 29, 1869, five trustees of Shiloh were elected to purchase property in the village of Center Point to erect a new frame church. Two of the members were Darlington Boyce and William Laughlin.
When the first structure was abandoned to build a new church house, the plat of an acre and a half of ground on which it stood was advertised for sale at auction on the 14th day of June, 1873, by the board of trustees: John Fisher, James N. Laughlin, Lemuel C. Kennedy, John C. Gilfillan, John Williams, and William Jenkins. It was purchased by John C. Gilfillan.
The new location found for the Shiloh church was north of what was to become the Center Point school grounds on the south side of South Street. M. H. Kennedy donated the ground, and Dr. John Williams donated the lumber of a tree for the church, a neat, substantial frame structure, which cost the sum of $1,200 and was a credit to the congregation. By 1884 the membership totaled seventy-five; Rev. J. V. Moore was the pastor.
In 1901 a new structure was begun across the street on the northwest corner of the intersection of Cherry Street and South Street. The building has been added to and improved several times and is now the Center Point United Methodist Church.
Sources: Charles Blanchard’s 1884 History of Clay County, Indiana, and William Travis’ 1909 History of Clay County, Indiana. Submitted by Patricia Crafton Wilkinson
Note: In 2020 the property where Shiloh church was built was located where County Road 275 angles off of County Road 200 North, near the Violi Bickhart Corner, which is now the Ogborn corner.