Rev. A J Strain

Rev. A. J. Strain served as many as 10 churches in the area.  His means of transportation was his horse.  During a week of many rains, he became sick. Rev. Strain developed double pneumonia.  He died on February 2, 1873.  It is documented in the Jasper Courier, that over 1500 people attended the funeral.  The people met in Ireland and followed the procession to Shiloh where he was buried.  It is believed Rev. Strain's influence in educational and religious circles was probably greater than that of any other pioneer in Dubois County.

Rev. Strain was ordained as a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, October 10, 1847, and Shiloh, Lemmon, Jasper, Hillsboro, Lebanon, Ireland, Gray's, Hopkin's, and McMahan's were congregations under his charge.

Rev. Strain for a long time lived at Jasper, but about 1868 moved to Ireland. His parents originally came from old Ireland, but came to Indiana direct from Eastern Tennessee. They never resided in Dubois county. The maiden name of Rev. Strain's mother was McMullin. Rev. Strain was school examiner of Dubois county from June 5, 1861, until his death, February 2, 1873. He had served several years before this as one of a board of school examiners, operating under an old law. Rev. Strain was about six feet tall; weight, about two hundred forty, blue eyes, with black and gray hair. His favorite hymn was " There is a land of pure delight where saints immortal reign." His favorite text was the twenty-third Psalm, " The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want, etc." He was very fond of saying " Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may," and "A good name is more honorable than great riches." In politics he was classed as a " war democrat." He was a Mason and an Odd Fellow. He was a school mate and personal friend of the Hon. Oliver P. Morton, the great war governor of Indiana. Rev. Strain was instrumental in raising many troops for the Northern Army and was a great benefactor to the soldiers' widows and orphans.

In Rev. A. J. Strain was seen one of the mightiest pioneers in the educational and religious work in Dubois county. The northwestern part of the county, to this day, reflects his religious work, and his influence for good is still felt throughout the county. He was a collossal figure in his chosen field of labor, striding onward, head and shoulders above his contemporaries. His grand, manly character, his splendid achievements in public life, and his princely qualities as a private citizen, commanded unstinted admiration. In his day he was hardy, enterprising, irresistible; an able expounder of his religious, political and educational views, and a most typical representative citizen. He gloried in the cause of the Union, and was a true friend of the soldier during the Civil War. His teachings had a good effect upon the citizens of the county at large. At the time of his death it was generally remarked that he was, in every sense of the words, a just and good man. He was so lovable in his character and gentle in his disposition, that at his death the children of a county wept. What higher tribute could be paid to any man ? Nature had endowed him with a fine physique and stamped upon his brow, strength, grace, culture and dignity, such as would have marked him as distinguished in any assembly of men. In the soil of old Shiloh cemetery.

Obituary of Reverend Andrew J Strain, Pastor First Presbyterian Church Jasper.

February 7th 1873, Jasper Weekly Courier

The coming of man into the world is hailed with affectionate words and the signs of joy; His departure is mourned and the sad cast is up on the countenance. There seems to be a kind of instinct which teaches us there's something to be feared in death, If we have not lived the life of the faithful. When we lose a dear friend from earth we are sad; again when we are made to think that he or she has arrive safely into the spirit land, we rejoice and thank the Great Spirit on high for so providing a place for the just.

Now among those who have gone to that better land, we record the death of reverend A J Strain. We mourn his loss as a great and good man; he was truly great, for his past life and sentiments of the people tell us such is the fact: he was truly good for his works speak for themselves.

 

He was born near Princeton, Gibson County in 1823. His father died when he was quite small and he received instructions for the kind and Pius mother. She taught him to read the Bible and adhere strictly to the truth and justice. His advantages for an education were limited, only such as common schools furnished at so early a period; and being compelled to devote his attention to the cultivation of the farm for support. After he became of age, believing he could make himself more useful in another field of labor, and having a desire for knowledge, by the help of numerous friends, he was sent to the school at Newburgh under the supervision of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member.

Pursuing his studies for time, he removed to Centerville, Wayne County; having a burning zeal to enter the ministry, he placed himself under the tutorship of Elder Wood. After having prepared himself as far as circumstances would admit, he was sent by presbyter to his first field of labor, in the spring of 1847, comprising three counties Pike, Crawford and Dubois, - in which he has labored incessantly up to February 2, 1873, a period of nearly twenty-six years. The principal part of his labor has been confined to Dubois county.

He was eloquent in the pulpit, voice pleasant, articulation good. He would carry his hearers far out into the field of imagination and picture to them there the treasures for the true and faithful. His exhortation were grand; sinners would yield to the influence of his pure words, for none could doubt his sincerity. he always commanded a large audience and received the attention of all, even the most base would show him the respect of marked attention; he seem to be more energetic in his labors as he advanced in life.

His business talent was more than ordinary-the most intricate estate matters were put in his hands; none fear to go to him for advice on any business of life. Truth and justice were his motto; he always matured his thoughts before expressing himself. He is missed as a minister and a general advisor, now that his life of useful has ended here on earth. He was called away on Sabbath morning February 2nd at his residence in Ireland, in the 51st year of his age. Surround as he was by host of friends, calculated to make life pleasant, he was resigned to his fate and expressed himself as being happy in the Lord and willing to the depart to the realms of the blest. His illness was of short duration, suffering intense.

The whole county was filled with mourning. The time for the funeral service was fixed at 11 o'clock, Tuesday 4th instant. At an early hour the people began to assemble from all parts, notwithstanding there inclemency of the weather, until the streets of Ireland were crowded in all directions. They waited patiently, with due reverence, for the arrival of the hearse that was to bear his remains to his favorite church (Shiloh) which he had found in an early day. The procession it was formed, more than a mile in length and proceeded to the church.

 

After an appropriate song and prayers by the assembled congregation, the Masonic fraternity, under the supervision of the members of the Ireland lodge, took charge of his remains; and conducted them to the church yard in all the honors of masonry; and there let his body rest as a loving and department brother, midst many who had gone before him, and most all brought up under his influence.

Now all departed-numbering about 1500, feeling that they had lost a great pillar in the church and society.

He has reached the spirit land

Greeted by Angel divine

Singing the pure song of Zion

Where the love of hearts entwine,

He led the van for many a year

Always ruling by kindness and love,

Let us like him meet death without fear

And dwell with him in heaven above

-W Cline

Jack Newton was a Ruling Elder at First Presbyterian Church and the Mayor of Jasper Indiana from 1964-1971. Jack & Rose helped raise funds for the new church on Saint. Charles St.
Bob Parker was the Chief of Police in Jasper from 1946 until 1967. Bob Parker was also a Ruling Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Jasper. Bob eventually ran for Mayor of Jasper and won the election and served from 1972 until 1979. There is a city park named for him at the corner of Mill St. & E 9th St.
The Parker family left their entire estate to First Presbyterian Church of Jasper which paid off the mortgage of the church and leaving the church debt free.
Winfield Scott Hunter, (1849-1947) was a trustee at First Presbyterian Church leading the team of trustees who built the new church in 1940. Winfield was president of the German American Bank and a prominent attorney in Jasper.
Siblings George R Wilson and Margaret A Wilson played a prominent role in the history of First Presbyterian Church of Jasper. Margaret led the Women's Ministries of the church of which she was a member. George attended church regularly but never joined the church as a member. George did play a prominent role in raising funds for the construction of the new church and manse built in 1940. George and his wife Caroline sold the land that the church was built on to the trustees of the church. Both played prominent roles in the history of Dubois County.
 
Margaret was heavily involved in the education of students in the county eventually becoming principal of Jasper High School and serving as superintendent of schools for 15 years. She was a noted historian writing many books and papers about Shiloh and the Reverend AJ Strain.
George was a prominent business man in the county investing in many of the local companies and elected to serve as county surveyor for two terms. George's greatest contribution was in collecting and writing about the history of the county. His works are known in the state of Indiana as some of the most complete of any county in the state.

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