The first Presbyterian Church and society organized in the county of Meeker was at Forest City by Rev. J. C. Whitney, who came to Forest City in the spring of 1858 and organized a Presbyterian society Sept. 25th, 1859 and styled “The trustees of the Westminister Presbyterian Society of Forest City.”
The first trustees were I. C. Deltmater, Richard Pool, A. C. Smith, J. W. Griswold and A. W. Angier.
The only one of these men now remaining in the county is A. C. Smith.
In connection with this organization Rev. J. C. Whitney labored until the fall of 1862. Lots for a church edifice were donated by the Town Company, and timber hauled on to the ground. Subsequently, in the fall of 1862 these timbers were used in building the stockade for defense from the Indians.
The next organization was at Greenleaf in September or October 1866, Rev. J. C. Harding was located there as a missionary, November 1866, and preached his first sermon Nov. 25th, 1866. Society organized Feb. 17th 1866, in connection with the St. Paul Presbytery.
The first Trustees were Henry Hill, Wm. H. Greenleaf, James Gilpatrick, Dana E. King and John Curry — name and style “The first Presbyterian Church of Greenleaf.” Trustees elected Nov. 4th, 1868.
In July 1866, Dana E. King presented the society with lot 12, A. C. Smith with lot 11, and Judson A. Brink with lots 9 and 10 on being paid $25.00.
This gave the society four lots on which a house was erected costing between $ 1,500 and $2,000-of this $300 was furnished by the “church erection board.”
Rev. Mr. Harding labored here till 1870.
In 1868 Rev’nds D. B. Jackson, W. C. Harding and J. H. Hunter were appointed by the St. Paul Presbytery, in session at St. Cloud in April of that year, to organize a church at Kingston. Church organized May 28th, 1868–name and style of, “The first Presbyterian church of Kingston.”
The Society never become a corporate body and did not erect any house of worship. Rev. Mr. Jackson labored here until the spring of 1871.
The next and last Presbyterian church organized in the county to this date (1876) is at Litchfield. This town was located in 1869 by the St. Paul & Pacific Rail Road Company on the line of its road and near the geographical center of the county.
Rev. D. B. Jackson, preached the first sermon August 15th, 1869 in an unfinished 7 x 9 school house without either doors or windows.
The Church at Litchfield was organized Jan. 2nd. 187o, by a committee from St. Paul “Presbytery” consisting of Rev’nds D. C. Lyon, J. W. Farris and D. B. Jackson.
Church and Society organized under the statute Marchloth, 1870-name and style, ” First Presbyterian Church and Society of Litchfield.” The following were the original members of this church, viz: Mr. Achille N. Grenier, Mrs. Eusebia N. Grenier, Miss Rachel Amelia Grenier, Miss Isabella Grenier, Mr. Henry Hill, Mrs. Mary L. Hill, Mr, Henry Wilson, Mrs. Martha Gordon and D. B. Jackson.
Of the above, at this writing (1876) A. N. Grenier, died in St. Paul Mrs. Grenier is now residing in Paris, France, Miss Amelia married to Mr. Mathron, and resides in Marseilles, France. Isabella is the wife of Dr. Geo. W. Weisel and resides at Grand Rapids, Michigan, Henry Hill is residing in the Black Hills (so called) while Mrs. Hill resides at Granite Falls, Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, Henry Wilson died in Missouri, and Rev. D. B. Jackson resides in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
All gone but one! Such are the changes of six years. What may it be during the next century July 25th, 1870 the St. Paul and Pacific Rail Road Company deeded ‘the lots on which the edifice now stands, and the present building was erected during the years 1870-71 — whole cost over $4,000, of this sum one thousand was donated by a lady in the East; five hundred by the church erection board $500 procured through the efforts of D. B. Jackson and two thousand by citizen subscriptions.
The bell for the church was obtained during 1872 — the money being raised by an excursion to St. Paul. The party came near destruction, as the train was partially thrown from the track, and one coach badly demoralized. An instrument of music was on the rear coach and most of the party were in that coach and thus providentially saved from what would other-wise have been a sad disaster. The sofa was furnished as a present from James Campbell Esq. of Hartford, Connecticut. The names of the different clergymen officiating in this church to this time are Rev. D. B. Jackson, W. C. Harding, Prescot Fay, A. J. Buel, and John S. Sherrill. Total present membership of the church 71; something over one-half still reside in the county.
Smith, A. C., A random historical sketch of Meeker County, Minnesota: from its first settlement to July 4th, 1876,;Litchfield, Minn.: Belfoy & Joubert, 1877.