RobbHaas Family Pages
(Subordinate to Westfield mm)
Chester Friends Church
Chester Meeting House
|Home||Places Index||Chester Friends Cemetery||Chester Friends School||Sources||Images|
|Chester Records at Ancestry.com 
Chester Records at Earlham College - 
Location - 
Timeline - 
Tomlinson Family at Chester - 
|Sec. 25, Washington Township, Hamilton County, Indiana|
|SW corner of US 31 and 196th St|
|Coordinates: 40° 4' 18.08" N 86° 7' 44.12" W|
- Google Custom Map
- 1866 Plat Map - Sec. 25, Link, -
|Chester Cemetery Entrance Sign - Washington Township, Hamilton County, Indiana - "Chester Friends Cemetery - Site of Chester Friends Meetinghouse 1859-1936 - Site of Chester Public School 1869-1896"|
The Friends Church and school building (School #
17) are shown on the 1880 Washington Township map in their current location, on
the land of Allen Tomlinson who provided the land for them both - They are
located north of Westfield on the Lick Creek Gravel Road, north of Westfield
about 2 miles. [S2,
between pages 134, 135]
On this map the Church is shown in the Northeast corner of the current Cemetery property and the School is to the west
|Bef March 1859||There was no church nearer than Westfield. As there were no
roads the mode of travel was either on foot or horse-back.
This distance was traveled for a few years until they thought they should have a church established in the neighborhood. S7, S12,
|31 March 1859||Petition to Westfield mm - [S1, pages 321-323]
This petition was signed by Robert Tomlinson, Peter Rich, David Stalker, John Stalker, Joseph Moore, William Baldwin,
Lydia Tomlinson, Prudence Jessup, Amy Rich, Annie Stalker, Deborah Moore, Mary Baldwin, Noah Tomlinson, Allen
Tomlinson, Eli Carey, Isom Hiatt, Johnathan Carey, David Fodrea, Abigal Tomlinson, Martha Tomlinson, Mary Carey,
Asenath Hiatt, Tamer Fodrea and Eliza Carey.
|May 1859||Westfield mm approved this action - sent it to the Quarterly Meeting held in Westfield - [S1, pages 321-323] S12,|
|6 Aug 1859||Approval of committee from Quarterly Meeting - [S1, pages 321-323]|
|26 Oct 1859||Chester Preparative Meeting was organized - [S1, pages 321-323] S12,|
|31 Oct 1859||First Chester Meeting held - [S1, pages 321-323]
| - The first marriage in the
church was Henry Roberts and Keziah Lamm - S7,
- The first minister recorded was Zimri Kivett - S7, S12,
|1859 -||Land for the Church was donated by Allen Tomlinson - [S1, pages 321-323] S12,|
|12 Feb 1876||Temperance Meeting held at Chester Friends Church - S9,|
|July 1906||Proposition to Remodel Meeting House - (S4,
PDF pages 4 and 5, Record Pages 3 and 4)
That the floor be raised at the east end near 18 in. with a uniform slope to the
west to a point near 2/3 the length of the room with a rostrum in the west end 6 x 12 ft. near 16 in.
with appropriate finishing. That all the windows
be closed except four on each side of the house
to be finished in modern style and hung with weights
That the East door on the north side
and the one in the west end be closed, and
one put in the South side opposite the West
door in the North Side. That two new
flues be built with a capacity for burning
coal one on each side of the house.
That we give the new work in the outside
two coats of paint and the old work one
coat. The we repaper the room with
paper similar in quality to the paper now
on the walls. That the building at the
southeast corner be moved to the south
west and a veranda over the east door
and such other changes as may be thought
best. And that the money for said improvement
be raised by voluntary donations.
And the committee is continued to solicit funds for said repairs
and report to the next meeting.
The meeting concludes
|abt 1860-1865||was believed to have been a station on the underground railroad for the transportation of slaves from the southern states to Canada - S7,|
|19 Apr 1911||Granted the right of way to Indianapolis & Delphi Traction Company across the meeting ground - (S4, PDF Page 9, Record Page 22)|
|21 Jan 1914||A Proposition is received at this time that we light the meeting
Electricity. The proposition was united with and the trustees are authorized
to sign a contract with the company. (S4, PDF Page 11, Record Page 33)
|March 1917||"The meetings have closed at the Chester Friends Church." S8,|
|21 June 1933||Petition for authority to sell Chester Property
(S4, PDF Pages 16, 17 - Record Pages 105, 106)
Date: 21 June 1933
At Chester Business Meeting of Friends held 6-21-1933
The following "Petition for Authority to sell Chester Property", was passed
by this meeting and directed to be forwarded to Westfield Monthly Meeting
to he held 6-29-1933.
Petition for Authority to sell Chester Property
To the Westfield Monthly Meeting of Friends Church: --
On account of the consolidation of the public schools and improved
highways some of our young families
have moved their places of worship to larger centers leaving only a
few of the older families about the Chester Meeting house.
Realizing that the time is not far distant when the Chester Meeting
will be discontinued on the account of loss in membership, we, the
undersigned Trustees of the Chester meeting, appointed by the Westfield
Monthly Meeting, hereby request the privilege and authority of selling
the Chester property, including the real estate consisting of one or
two acres of ground, more or less, in the northwest corner of the north=
east quarter of Section 25, Township 19 north, Range 3 east, in Hamilton
County, Indiana, and further request that we be granted authority
to sell and convey by proper deed of conveyance the title of said
property to the purchaser upon the condition and with the understanding
that the amount of money received from the sale of said property be
placed in the endowment fund for the Chester cemetery.
We further request that in the event the Monthly Meeting grants
our request and authorizes the sale of the Chester property that
this petition be forwarded to the Permanent Board of the Western
Yearly Meeting at Plainfield, Indiana, for its approval.
Eli Stalker, Robert Tomlinson, Merrit J. Barker } Trustees Chester Meeting
The meeting concluded
Roxie Stalker Clerk
|Aug 1933||Many of the older people of the county will remember the
schoolhouse as it used to stand beside
the Chester meeting house, which still occupies its old site. S6,
|25 March 1936||Final Business Meeting of Chester Preparative Meeting
(S4, PDF Page 18, 19 - Record Pages 112, 113)
Date: 20 Nov 1935
At the Business meeting of Friends held 11-20-1935
This meeting asks Westfield Monthly Meeting to appoint the following persons
Trustees of Chester Church Property: -
Robert Tomlinson, Merrit J. Barker, Asher K. Tomlinson
The meeting concluded
Roxie Stalker, Clerk
At Chester Business Meeting of Friends held 3-25-1936
The following annual report of the
Treasurer was read and accepted by this
"Treasurer's Annual Report for 1935.
To Chester Business Meeting.
No money on hand at last report
Received Chester's share of the interest on the Tomlinson Memorial Fund $4.87
All bills payable this year have been paid. No debts on the meeting
no money left on hand."
Asher K. Tomlinson, Treas.
The following report of the Trustees of Chester Meeting is read and accepted
at this time: -
"The Trustees of Chester Meeting would make the following report to
the meeting - We have sold the house and ground containing one
acre more or less. The deed is made
and recorded at Noblesville. The title transferred to the purchaser
The house and grounds - $250.00
23 benches @ $1.50 each - 34.50
Total Receipts $289.50
Making Abstract $11.00
Making Deed .50
Total Expenses $11.50
Balance on hands 278.00
This amount $278.00 has been turned over to the Trustees of Chester
Cemetery to be added to the Endowment Fund. On behalf of the Trustees
of Chester Meeting.
Asher K. Tomlinson.
Benevolence Treas. Report for year
. . .
This meeting requests Westfield Monthly Meeting to discontinue
Chester Meeting for worship and business.
The meeting concluded.
Roxie Stalker, Clerk.
Sold to Merritt Barker, one of the Trustees - (S5, pdf page 2)
|Aug 1949||The Tomlinson homestead still stands, and in good repair, but the Chester church long ago fell into decay and was removed. But the grounds and the Chester cemetery with inscriptions going back for two hundred years of the Tomlinsons, is cared for largely by descendants living in the community. S11,|
|Tomlinson Memorial Fund - Mentioned several times throughout this document (S4)|
|School held in Meeting house - S10, S12,|
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| Tomlinson Family at Chester -|
|The Chester Friends church has a history beginning with the first settlement of the neighborhood. In February, 1837, Robert Tomlinson, with his family, settled two miles north of Westfield. In September, of the same year, Enoch Jessup and family settled near by. In good time other families came to the neighborhood, most of whom belonged to the Friends church. There was no church nearer than Westfield. As there were no roads the mode of traveling was on foot or on horseback. This distance was traveled for a few years until they believed they ought to have a church established in their own neighborhood. To this end, on March 31, 1859, the following petition was presented to the Westfield Monthly Meeting: 'We, the undersigned members of the Westfield Monthly Meeting, request the privilege of holding a meeting for worship and a preparative among ourselves to be known by the name of Chester, two miles north of the town of Westfield, in the county of Hamilton, in the state of Indiana. Said meeting to be held on the first and fourth day of monthly meeting weeks. The preparative meeting to be held on fourth day before the last seventh day in each month.'|
This petition was signed by
Robert Tomlinson, Peter rich, David Stalker, John Stalker, Joseph Moore,
Lydia Tomlinson, Prudence Jessup, Amy Rich, Annie Stalker, Deborah Moore,
Allen Tomlinson, Eli Carey, Isom Hiatt, Jonathan Carey, David Fodrea,
Martha A. Tomlinson, Mary Carey, Asenath Hiatt, Eliza A Carey and Tamer
The Monthly Meeting at Westfield united with this request and the information of this action was forwarded to the Quarterly Meeting held at Westfield in May, 1859. The Quarterly Meeting appointed a committee to visit those Friends making the request and this committee reported to the Quarterly Meeting held in the following August, as follows: "The committee appointed at last Meeting to visit those Friends on account of their request to hold a meeting for worship and a preparative to be known by the name of Chester, have attended to the object of our appointment and are free; said request to be granted, which we submit to the Meeting. Signed, on behalf of the committee -- Andrew F Evans, Anna Baker."
The Quarterly Meeting made the following minute: "At Union Quarterly Meeting of Friends, held at Westfield, Indiana, eighth month, sixth day, 1859, the committee appointed to visit Friends in the north part of the settlement of Westfield on account of their request for a Meeting for worship and a preparative, report that they have attended to the object of their appointment and are united in judgment that it would be right to grant their request, with which the Meeting unites; and appoints the following named Friends to attend the opening Meeting in the tenth month next, namely: Donagan Clark, Jacob Carson, Noah Stafford, Clarkson F Cook, Benjamin Harold, Jesse Horney, Jemima Stanley, Sarah Hiatt, Elizabeth Bray, Edith J Commack, Phebe Cook, Eunice Doan. (Signed) Levi T Pennington, Ellen R Hunt, Clerks"
In accordance with the above action Chester was organized on October 26, 1859, with Robert Tomlinson and Lydia Tomlinson as heads of the Meeting and Joseph Moore and Amy rich as clerks. The first minister having a meeting appointed for proclaiming of the Gospel in Chester house. was Joseph Pickett, with M Sittler as his companion, which Meeting was held October 31, 1859. The first marriage in Chester House was that of Henry Roberts and Keziah Lamm. The first minister recorded was Zimri Kivett. Several other members have been made ministers and one made a missionary to Africa, Florence Stanbrough Roberts.
The ground upon which the meeting house was built was donated to the church by Allen Tomlinson to Joseph Moore, Allen Tomlinson and Noah Tomlinson, as trustees in 1859. In the erection of this edifice the labor was donated by the members. A part of the house was used for a school room for eight years. [S1, pages 321-323
|The Friends Church and school building (School # 17) are shown on the 1880 Washington Township map in their current location, on the land of Allen Tomlinson who provided the land for them both - They are located north of Westfield on the Lick Creek Gravel Road [S2, between pages 134, 135]|
|“Chester's spiritual leadership, moreover, mirrored its base of financial support. Almost 40 percent of those on its apportionment list were Tomlinsons, with many close relatives among the remaining names.” [S3, page 87]|
| Chester Records at Earlham College -|
(See Westfield (FUM)
CHESTER PM MIN 1878-1936,
WOMEN PM MIN 1859-1883,
CHESTER PM S.S. 1892-1896, 1914-1925,
CHESTER PM TREAS 1895-1935.
Series 13: Chester
Item 1: A: Men's Minutes, 1877 - 1889
Item 2: B: Women's Minutes, 1859 - 1883
Item 3: C: Minutes, 1905 - 1936
Item 4: I: Treasurer Records, 1895 - 1935
Item 5: J: First Day School Records, 1892 - 1896
Item 6: J: First Day School Records, 1914 - 1925
"Copyright © 1992-2013 Earlham College. All rights reserved."
(Source: https://archives.earlham.edu/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=569&q=Spicewood&rootcontentid=60563#id60563 ) Accessed May 2014
Westfield Friends Church: http://www.westfieldfriendschurch.org/
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| Resources -|
|Post to QuakerRoots, 30 July 2015 -
Link to original post -
Having collected photographs of hundreds of Friends Churches/Quaker
Meetinghouses in North America, I have been diligently searching for images
of a few Indiana meetinghouses that survived into the twentieth century.
Among those of which I am seeking pictures are these:
*Chester*, located two miles north of Westfield in Washington Township,
Hamilton County, Indiana. Chester was a preparative meeting under
Westfield Monthly Meeting and existed until 1936. We know that the
meetinghouse was remodeled in 1907. The Tomlinson's were the leading family.
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| Chester Records at Ancestry.com -|
|Chester Preparative Meeting Book,
25 Oct 1905-25 March 1935 -
Ancestry.com Link - (120 Images) - Bk3978 - (Doc5178)
- Several family members are mentioned numerous times in this book
- On page 1, for example, the names, A. R. Tomlinson, Robert Tomlinson, Morton Tomlinson, Cyrus Carey, Wesley Bond
- Morton Tomlinson named Clerk
- Page 2: Ruth Tomlinson, Treasurer
- Page 3: Committee appointed to investigate a new building for the meeting or to remodel the present building: Esther Tomlinson, Robert Tomlinson, Martha Kellam
|Women's Minutes 1859-1883 and 1889-1905 - Ancestry.com Link - (150 Images) - Bk3979 - (Doc5179)|
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| Text -|
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| Text -|
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|S1||Book - Haines, John F. History of
Hamilton County, Indiana...... Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F.
Bowen, 1915, Bk2922 -
(Select Pages: Doc0245.pdf)
- History of Chester Friends Church - Pages 321-323: Doc2635.pdf
|S2||Book - Helm, T B. History of Hamilton County, Indiana, Reprint . Chicago, Evansville, IN: Kingman Brothers, Unigraphic, 1880, 1976. Bk1604||Archive.org - Read Online|
|S3||Book - R G Robins, A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), Bk2869|
|S4||Minutes, 1905-1935, Chester pm, Washington Township, Hamilton
County, Indiana, Select Pages. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records,
1681-1935 [database on-line]. Original Data: Indiana Yearly Meeting
Minutes. Earlham College Friends Collection & College Archives,
Richmond, Indiana. www.ancestry.com (Images only), accessed 18 March
- Select Images: Doc5178.pdf
- Transcription: Doc5178-transciption.pdf
- Ancestry.com Images -
|S5||Chester pm Property Sale, Alvin Foulke Estate
Sale Results. Noblesville Daily Ledger, 4 March 1936, page 1, Col 6
and 7. https://www.newspapers.com/image/353559527, accessed 18 March
PDF page 2, page 1, Col. 6, bottom
Meeting House Sold
WESTFIELD, March 14. (Spl.)-
Chester Friends mmeting house has
been sold to Merritt Barker.
|S6||"Out of the Ordinary", (Alice Tomlinson Baber and
Chester School). Noblesville Ledger (Noblesville, Indiana), 4 Aug
1933, Page 1, Col. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/353572816,
accessed 18 March 2019,
OUT OF THE ORDINARY
Mrs. Alice Tomlinson Baber,
wife of Wallace Baber, is enjoying an experience not permitted
to many women. Her beautiful country home is the old Chester
school-house remodeled, and made into a commodious, comfortable
and beautiful residence. Many of the older people of the
county will remember the schoolhouse as it used to stand beside
the Chester meeting house, which still occupies its old site.
When Mrs. Baber was a little girl she received her introduction to
School life in this house and spent many happy and useful years
there. Later, when she entered the ranks of the teaching
profession, back to this building she came and taught
the children of her former friends and neighbors. Now she
greatly enjoys entertaining her friends in it and telling
them the story. It is always a pleasure to the various clubs
and associations when asked to meet here. Naturally
Mrs. Baber is greatly attached to her home.
|S7||"The Tomlinson Family Will Meet Sunday" Noblesville Daily Ledger
(Noblesville, Indiana), 18 June 1937, page 1, Col. 7 and page 4,
https://www.newspapers.com/image/353579975/ , accessed 19 March
THE TOMLINSON FAMILY WILL MEET SUNDAY
100th Anniversary of Settlement of Chester Community
REUNION AT HOME LUDOVIC HILL
Closely Identified With Early Friends of the County
Ludovic Hill, of Washington Township, in Noblesville, Thursday, on business,
announced that the annual reunion of the Tomlinson family will be held at his
home, a short distance west of the Chester Friends Church Next Sunday. It
will be the on hundredth anniversary of the settlement of the Tomlinson
family in that section of the county. It developed into one of the
staunchest Quaker communities in the county and the neighborhood cluster
with many memories of the activities of the early Friends in the western
part of the county.
Most of the pioneer members of this family are gone but Mr. Hill
said he expected a large number of relatives and supposed a few friends
would call, all of whom will be made welcome. Aside from the usual
reunion dinner there will be no special program. A few years ago
an interesting pageant of the early days was given on the Hill farm.
Some of the oldest members of the Tomlinson family took part
in that event, which attracted the attention of hundreds, but nothing
of this kind will be attempted at the reunion next Sunday. While
there are many descendants of this widely known family still
living in that community it is believed that Asher Tomlinson,
who resides by himself on a farm on the east side of the Range
Line road, is the oldest surviving member. He is close to eighty.
Much of the land in that locality was entered from the government
by the Tomlinsons and it is still in the family.
The Chester church, which was abandoned a few years ago
for religious services and which in civil war days was believed
to have been a station on the underground railroad for the
transportation of slaves from the southern states to
Canada, has a history beginning with the first settlement
of the neighborhood. It was in February 1837 that
Robert Tomlinson, with his family, settled two miles north
of Westfield. In September of the same year Enoch Jessup and
family settled nearby. In the course of time other families
came to the neighborhood, most of whom were members
of the Friends church.
(Continued on page 4)
There was no church nearer than Westfield. As there were
no roads the mode of travel was either on foot or horse-back.
This distance was traveled for a few years until they thought
they should have a church established in the neighborhood.
This to this end on March 31, 1859, the following petition
was presented to the Westfield Monthly Meeting of Friends:
We, the undersigned members of the Westfield Monthly
Meeting of Friends “request the privilege of holding a meeting
for worship and a preparative among ourselves to be known
by the name of Chester, two miles north of the town of Westfield,
in the county of Hamilton, in the state of Indiana. Said
meeting to be held on the first and fourth day of each week except
for first day of the quarterly and fourth day of the monthly
meeting weeks. The preparative meeting to be held on the
fourth day before the last seventh day in each month.”
This petition was signed by Robert Tomlinson, Peter Rich,
David Stalker, John Stalker, Joseph Moore, William Baldwin,
Lydia Tomlinson, Prudence Jessup, Amy Rich, Annie Stalker,
Deborah Moore, Mary Baldwin, Noah Tomlinson, Allen
Tomlinson, Eli Carey, Isom Hiatt, Johnathan Carey, David Fodrea,
Abigal Tomlinson, Martha Tomlinson, Mary Carey,
Asenath Hiatt, Tamer Fodrea and Eliza Carey.
In accord with the granting of this petition the Chester church
was organized in October, 1859, with Robert and Lydia Tomlinson
as heads of the meeting and Joseph Moore and Amy Rich as clerks.
The First meeting was held October 31, 1859. The first marriage
in the church was Henry Roberts and Keziah Lamm and the first
minister recorded was Zimri Kivett.
|S8||Noblesville Daily Ledger (Noblesville, Indiana), Wednesday,
March 11, 1942, page 4, Col. 4. "25 years ago" (March 1917).
"The meetings have closed at the Chester Friends Church."
|S9||Noblesville Daily Ledger (Noblesville, Indiana), Thursday, 7 Feb
1946, page 4, col. 1. "70 years ago" (Feb 1876)
"The Friends of temperance in Hamilton county will convene at the Chester Friends church, two miles north of Westfield, on 12 Feb 1876."
|S10||Noblesville Daily Ledger (Noblesville, Indiana), Wednesday, 10
Nov 1915 - Page 1, Col. 5.
, accessed 2 Apr 2019.
Miss Esther Tomlinson entertained in honor of her sister, Mrs. Jane Doan, of Plainfield, Sunday [7 Nov], the guests being: Dr. Z. H. Fodrea, Mary M. Moore, Wesley Hiatt and wife, of Sheridan, and Robert Tomlinson and wife. The guests had all gone to school together at Chester when school was held in the meeting house with Jane Tomlinson as their teacher. They all attended the morning services at Chester, Sunday, and then partook of the bounteous dinner and related many experiences of their school days.
|S11||"Plans Service on The Site of Chester Church" Noblesville Daily
Ledger (Noblesville, Indiana), 31 Aug 1949, Page 1, Col. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/353670448,
accessed 11 Apr 2019.
PLANS SERVICE ON THE SITE OF CHESTER CHURCH
Bishop Homer A. Tomlinson, General Overseer of the Church of God, of World Headquarters, Queens Village, N. Y., is planning a visit Sunday [4 Sept 1949] to the birthplace of his late father, Bishop A. J. Tomlinson, founder of the Church of God Near Westfield.
At 11 o'clock Sunday morning Bishop Tomlinson will hold an open air service on the grounds of the Chester Quaker Meeting House in remembrance of his father who entered Christian life in the Chester Church in 1892, and in the same year preached his first sermon there.
The Tomlinson homestead still stands, and in good repair, but the Chester church long ago fell into decay and was removed. But the grounds and the Chester cemetery with inscriptions going back for two hundred years of the Tomlinsons,
[Photo of Homer Tomlinson]
is cared for largely by descendants living in the community.
On the ancestral farm near the church grounds which still is owned by the Tomlinson family, ceremonies have been held occasionally attracting wide attention recalling pre-Civil War days when, in the "peaceful' Quaker tradition, the great-great grandfather of Bishop Tomlinson maintained one of the most active stations on the "underground railway" for escaped Negro slaves fleeing to Canada.
Living in New York since 1916, Bishop Tomlinson has led in the establishment of the Church of God in that area, and in sending thousands of native missionaries to the islands of their births.
Upon becoming General Overseer of the Church of God in 1943 he made a 200,000 mile journey in two years to all states and on four continents visiting the churches. He has preached in seventeen European languages and now is preparing in the languages of India, planning a so-journ there.
Bishop Tomlinson will lodge at the Severin Hotel in Indianapolis, arriving Friday noon. On Sunday morning he will be accompanied by several of his church officials to the Chester church grounds north of Westfield for the public service.
While all friends and residents of Westfield and Chester communities are invited to attend, Bishop Tomlinson is especially desirous that all families who knew his father might be present. Among members of the Tomlinson family who will be present is Finley Tomlinson, a cousin of the late A. J. Tomlinson and his lifelong bosom companion.
Following th service Sunday, Bishop Tomlinson will go to Red Bay, Ala., to preside over the 44th annual General Assembly of the Church of God Which Opens Sept. 7. An attendance of some thirty thousand people is expected during the seven day assembly. This will be Bishop Tomlinson's sixth year presiding over the meeting.
|S12||"Comment" Chester Church, Noblesville Daily Ledger (Noblesville,
Indiana), Thursday 6 Aug 1937, page 1, Col. 1, Page 4, Col. 1.
https://www.newspapers.com/image/353638968, accessed 16 Apr 2019.
News Article -
Page 1, Col. 1
More Colors of the Rainbow
The old church at Chester, in Washington Township, north of Westfield, two miles and more, is closed for religious services and this is a matter of sincere regret for many folks who hold the old times in a reverent regard. Chester was largely a Quaker community and was included in the fine tribute paid Washington Township by Prof. John F. Haines, who wrote a fine history of the county, and has always given old Hamilton county folks kindly words. And, he knew the history of the people and there antecedents. Mr. Haines is not very well and it is fine to call attention, once more, to his tributes to the people of his beloved county. In speaking of the Quakers, he said Washington township was settled largely by the Quakers. “As these people stand for uprightness of character and the thoughtful education of their children and are hard-working, thrifty and persevering, the township soon became notable for its churches, schools and the scholarly attainments of its citizens. The homes and the farms are among the best in the county.”
The old church at Chester goes back to 1837, when Robert Tomlinson settled two miles north of Westfield. Enoch Jessup followed Mr. Tomlinson and soon the neighborhood was a happy community. The nearest church was at Westfield and by foot and horseback Westfield was quite a distance away. But, it was not until 1859 that the Chester church was established, after a number of people of the community requested the Westfield Monthly Meeting to permit them to hold a meeting at Chester. Said meeting to be held on the first and fourth fay of each week, except first day of quarterly and fourth day of monthly meeting weeks. The Westfield meeting agreed to the request and the next body to pass on it was the Quarterly meeting at Westfield, in May, 1859. A committee was appointed to visit the Friends in the Chester neighborhood and reported that the request be granted. The Quarterly meeting granted the request and sent a committee composed of Dougan Clark, Jacob Carson, Noah Stafford, Clarkson F. Cook, Benjamin Harold, Jesse Horney, Jemima Stanley, Sarah Hiatt, Elizabeth Bray, Edith J. Cammack, Phoebe Cook and Eunice Doan, with Levi Pennington and Ellen R. Hunt, as clerks.
The original petition for the establishment of the Chester Church was signed by Robert Tomlinson, Peter Rich, David Stalker, Joseph Moore, William Baldwin, Lydia Tomlinson, Prudence Jessup, Amy Rich, Annie Stalker, Deborah Moore, Mary Baldwin, Noah Tomlinson, Allen Tomlinson, Eli Carey, Isom Hiatt, Jonathan Carey, David Fodrea, Abigail Tomlinson, Martha A. Tomlinson, Mary Carey, Asenath Hiatt, Eliza A. Carey and Tamer Fodrea. So Chester was organized on October 26, 1859., with Robert Tomlinson and Lydia Tomlinson as heads of the meeting and Joseph Moore and Amy Rich as clerks. The first minister to proclaim the Gospel was Joseph Pickett and the first recorded minister was Zimri Kivett. Other members became ministers and Florence Stanborough Roberts was a missionary to Africa. Allen Tomlinson donated
(Continued on page 4)
the land for the church property and the labor for building the church was donated. For a time part of the church was used for a school room.
Those names given as connected with the establishment and the building of the church are among the best-known and most-highly-regarded names in the older days of the county. In that early day the Lindley family, north of the church, were Friends and, before that time as few years, Joseph G. Cannon, as a boy, lived in the community, where his father practiced medicine, coming from Carolina to Indiana and then on to Illinois. The community is always spoken of in te highest respect for those Friend Quakers, opposed to war, yet favored the rights of liberty, for all men. So the community was known as one of the foremost stations on the Underground Railway from the South on the way to Canada, and whatever force was necessary to accomplish the safety of the hunted Negroes was used by those peaceful Quakers. No community has a higher reputation for good citizenship that has the old Chester Community. The names stand for all that is best in American history and the younger generations take great pride in the record of the folks who made it possible to inherit great and good names.