First Indian Presbyterian Church 1870
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
N 44° 02.949 W 096° 34.935
14T E 693682 N 4880173
Quick Description: The First Presbyterian Church was originally called Wakpaepakson or River Bend Church.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 7/19/2006 6:58:38 AM
Waymark Code: WMHPX
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member GPX Navigators
Views: 39

Long Description:
Located on a high spot north of the bend in the Big Sioux River, it served as a marker and a guide to many travelers in the early days. Because of its high location, the church spire could be seen for several miles in any direction.

The congregation was organized in 1869 with 47 members -- 25 Santee Sioux families who had given up tribal rights, annuities, everything in order to become citizens and acquire homesteads along the Sioux River.

Among those making the break from tradition were Old Flute, All Over Red, Iron Dog, and Big Eagle. Iron Old Man, their acting pastor, had died in a blizzard during the trip from Nebraska to Flandreau. It was under the direction of Rev. John P. Williamson that the group organized into a congregation and built a church.

Their first church was the first frame building erected in Flandreau. It was located south of the present Armory in what is now Ann Hardin Park. It soon became too small and was sold to the government and used as a school, then the ration house, and in 1892 moved to its present location a mile north of Flandreau.

The second church building was completed and dedicated in 1873. It is the oldest continuously used church in South Dakota. The first elders of the church were W. O. Rogers, Old Flute and Zach Flute. Most of the members came from Indian families who had homesteaded in this area. The first elders of the church were W. O. Rogers, Old Flute, and Zach Flute. Most of the members came from Indian families who had homesteaded in this area.

Early ministers were Rev. Stephen Spider and Rev. John Eastman.

When the first white settlers came - Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Catholics - they needed a place to worship. Union services and Sunday school classes were held in the First Presbyterian Church until other congregations were able to build their own churches.

The Dakota Presbyter which is still in existence, was organized in 1844. The church was responsible for organizing the Indian school in 1878. The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in Flandreau in 1879.

The churches of the Indian community were rich with ministers.

Pastor Heminger in an Enterprise article told of the eight ministers and eleven missionaries. Licentiate Wicareamza took charge of the church at first. He went out deer hunting southwest of Madison, SD, and was lost in a blizzard and was found frozen to death.

Rev. W. O. Rogers next took charge of this church followed by Rev. John Eastman who was ordained in 1875 and served until 1907. Later he served in four states as a missionary. When he died in 1921, his body was returned to the Flandreau First Indian Church for one night and the congregation stayed up with his body Then he was buried at the Presbyterian Indian Cemetery.

Rev. Joseph Rogers was sent out for missionary work in Pine Ridge in 1883 and he was ordained minister in 1888. Rev. John Flute was sent out for missionary work and in 1888 was ordained a minister. Rev. Samuel Rouillard was sent to Pine Ridge in 1895. Rev. Samuel K. Weston was sent to Pine Ridge, also.

Rev. John Wakeman was sent to Pine Ridge for missionary work, came back to Granite Falls Minn. and was ordained a minister in 1918 at Granite Falls Pejuhutazizi (Yellow Medicine) Church. He became sick, returned home, and died in 1919.

Peter W. Thompson was sent to Brookside, Montana. He was ordained a minister in 1928. William Flute also went to Montana. He was the first missionary sent out from the church. Joseph Blacksmith was sent to Devils Lake ND. After two years, he became sick and died. His body was shipped back to Flandreau.

Edward Weston was sent to Pine Ridge for missionary work and there he took sick and died. His body was brought home for burial. Joseph Day also went to Pine Ridge and later Montana. He died at Oswego, Mont. His son was Soloman Day.

Samuel Z. Hopkins went to Pine Ridge and did missionary work He returned when his wife got sick. She died here and he returned to his homestead southwest of Egan.

Robert Hopkins one of the elders in 1860 when white missionaries went out among the Sioux, did missionary work all his life. Once when his wife got sick and he had to get back home he packed up the tent, utensils and food and his wife on top of that. He carried it and her home on his back. He died at Sisseton.

George Hillers did missionary n the Pine Ridge. He died and was buried in Montana. Owen Lovejoy a Presbyterian elder did work for the Congregational Church because they were short of a worker. Stephen Mireau and T. Harry Jones were sent out to missionary work in the 1920s.

Rev. Albert Heminger became pastor in 1928.
Marker Name: First Indian Presbyterian Church

Marker Type: City

Marker Text: Not listed

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