Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

A. M. E. Rollins Chapel  

1912 Feb. 22 - New Church Prospect

    Mr. and Mrs. George Rollins have leased space on one of their lots to the colored citizens of Culver to build a place of worship.

    The lease is for five years with the privilege of moving the building whenever a lot may be secured as a permanent site.

    There are but few colored ciizens in Culver and it was thought best not to undertake too large a task in building and buying a lot at the same time as it might cause the project to fail

    Rev. A. M. Taylor, who is at the head of the movement, has been interested in the welfare of his race here for several years, and is, in a great measure, giving his services free in order to give his people a chance to get a place of worship. It is his desire to build as soon as possible as the colored folks are now holding services in their homes.

    It this is done it will be the first and only piece of colored church or public property in Marshall county.

    For infromation see Rev. Taylor, Menser block, Culver.

    R. A. M. Taylor is a member of the Missouri annual conferences of the African M. E. Zion church and has located his family here.

African Church Services -
The new building of the African M. E. Zion congregation was dedicated Sunday afternoon with a Children's day service by the members of the Sunday school. The audience was composed chiefly of white people - men, women and children-who took a sympathetic interest in the program which was arranged and rehearsed under the direction of Mrs. Taylor, wife of the pastor. The children entered heartily into the rendition of their parts and the audience seemed to enjoy every number from the shy recitation of Jeanette Artis, a 3 year old tot, to the gracef ul elocu­tionary number by Miss Alberta Armstead. At the close of the exercises Pastor Taylor made an effective plea for subscriptions and contributions to liquidate a balance due the carpenter and to pay for the seats and the organ. As a result $22 was added to the available funds of the society.

Alex Joplin is superintendent of the school and Miss Alberta Armstead is assistant superintendent.

The little church is 20 x30, and will cost about $450. It is not yet lathed and plastered, but can be used in its present state until fall. As the indebtedness is not large, it is safe to predict that the new society will find its "title clear" to a permanent and comfortable place of assemblage by the time cold weather sets in. The community should rejoice in this effort to develop the religious and social life of the colored residents of Culver - The Culver Citizen, 1912

The Colored Church. The colored people are doing fine in their church work, They have a Sunday school of 25 members, they owe only $200 on their church debt with the interest paid for the coming year, have plenty of books, new paper on the walls, new lamps, and an organ which has just been presented to them by the M. E. cburch. On Friday evening of this week Rev. Allen of South Bend will preach, and an invitation is extended to the white people to attend. Rousing good singing is promised - March 26, 1914

Easter at Colored Church. - At2:30 o'clock: Opening hymn; prayer, G. Rolllins; reading of lesson in unison; hymn; recitation by Alberta Armstead; Gloria, Choral club; rcitations by Palmer Whitted, Laurrence Rollins, Beatrice Joplin, Thelma Scott, Leooona Wade, Winslow WHitted; selection by men of Choral club; recitation by Walter Smith; Sanctus, Choral Club; closing remarks, G. Rollins. Organist, Mrs. W. Quirk. All churches are cordially invited to attend. Proceeds will be for paying off church debt. - APRIL 9, 1914.
The African M. E. Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Culver was the first a mission, then went into the A.M.E. Conference about 1917.

The first pastor under the Conference was the Rev. Charles Bell, who died recently (in February) during a change in Pennsylvania.

The congregation worships in a chapel located in Harding Court, between Lake Shore Drive and Washington Street, in the village of Culver . This is a rather small frame building, with an open bell tower. The site is only a few steps a distant from the shore of Lake Maxinkuckee.

The chapel is known officially as Rollins Chapel of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a monument to an upright and God-fearing benefactor of his race. The ground for the church edifice was donated by George Rollins, one of the pioneer colored men of Culver , who had property. He came with Colonel Fleet from Mexico, Missouri, when the Colonel joined the elder Mr. Culver in the establishment of Culver Military Academy.

> At intervals during the history of this church, resident pastors were located at Culver . Among these was the Rev, A.T. Williams, who was assigned as pastor in October 1924.

Interest was stimulated when it was then announced that the African M.E. Church would again have a pastor in Culver and the first church services of the year would be held. - One Township Yesterdays

Pictured above is George Rollins who was responsible for the errection of the A. M. E. church

His daughter was Mrs. Roy Watts.

A brief history as was also given in the 1949 issue of the Culver Citizen:
    The Negro population of Culver started in June, 1897, when James Joplin and George Rollins came to Culver with their families to work at the Culver MLilitary Academy.

    The chruches of Culver were quick to open their doors to this small minority group, and for twelve years the two races worshiped together; from this a fellowship and friendship grew that has lasted through the years.

    In 1907 the population had increased to about fifty.

    Mr. Rollins, or "Pap" Rollins, as he was called, decided to do something about a place of worship for his people. Owning alot of ground he decided to donated a protion of this in order to help make it possible.

    Calling his people together, he found them very eager. It was decided to build the small church thats stands on Coolidge Court today. As a token of gratidue the members decided to call the church "Rollins Chapel".

    It was to be non-denominational so that all would feel free to worship.

    The first pastor was Rev. A. J. Taylor who came from Indianapolis and worked part time. The trustees were Ed Johnson, James Joplin, and Brooks Armstead. Today the membership stands at about 35 with 15 active members. Charles Dickerson, Roy Watts (Mr. Rollins son-in-law), and Robert Hill are trustees.

    Harold Scott, Alex Joplin, and Chauncy Simmons are stewards. Rev. Culpepper is pastor at the present time. - 2 March 1949

Above is the Rollins Church around 1916 in front is Coolidge Court note that it was no more than a rutted pathway! - in the background is the wooden frame structure that was the Hayes Livery which was on the corner of Lake Shore Dr. & Coolidge which became Mc Kesson's, Wicker's, VanHorns, ?, A & R Motors, and was temporary home for the Culver Union Township Public Library in 2000 while undergoing renovation. The building now houses a resturant and a variety of stores.

1919 - Mar 26 - George Rollins is building a neat and fairly commodious cottage on the rear of his lot and adjoining the colored peoples's chapel

1924 - Oct 8 - A.M.E.Church Opened
    Rev. A. T. Williams is addigned Here By Michigan Conference

    The African Methodust Episcopal church will again have a pastor in Culver and the first chrch services of the years will be held next Sunday morning.

    Rev.A.T. Williams has been assigned to the local pastorate. He waspasto of the A.M.E, church in Sarnia,Ontario, Canada.Hi is a native of South Sarolina,a graduate of Morris Brown University and a theological graduate of Allen University.

    The local A.M.E. Church has not been able to have regular services for some time on account of the fac that it was not able to support a regular pastor.

    But Rev. Williams comeshere with the hope or arousing interest in the church and doing much goodinthe community.

    Rev. Williams has written an article which appears elsewhere in this edition in which he tells what his church can do in this community. It can be foun under the head of Public Opinion. It is worth while, read it. Part1 and part 2

1925 - Aug 25 - Folk Lore Recital
    A. M. E. Church Members Give Progrooam in Methodist Church Tonight

    Members of the African Methodist Episcopal CHurch and other talent will appear in concert at the Methodist church toonight at 8:30 p.m.

    The program will consist of musical numbersand readings.

    A small admission fee will be charged, the prceeds of which will got to pay some of the expenses of the A.M.E. church of this city.

    Considering that A. M. E. church has some exceptionally good talent among its membership, the program below should prove very interesting and intertaining.

    People of this community should avail themselves of the opertunity to hear them.

    The program:
      Song: "Down by the River Side - Chorus
      Song: "Steal Away to Jesus" - Chorus
      Oration - Mr. Irwin
      Duet - Mr. Hughes and Miss Jackson
      Dunbar reading - Miss Baird
      Song: "Go'n To Shout All Over God's Heaven - Chorus
      Reading - Mrs. Williams
      Song "Everytin I Feel the Spirit" - Chorus
      Dunbar reading - Miss Baird
      Solo: Miss Peoples
      Quartett - "My Lord What aMourning" Messers Hughes and Williams; Misses Peoples and Jackson
      Dunbar reading - Miss Baird
      Remarks: Rev. V B Servies
      Song:"Fling Wide The Gates" - Chorus

    1926 - Dec 15- The members and friends of Rollins Chapel, A.M.E. church, express their thanks to the electrric light col for the donation ogastove which wasmuch neededat the church

    1927 - Sanborn Map African M. A. Churcn

    1929 - It was noted in the 27 Nov issue of the Culver Citizen that Roy Watts remodeled ' and enlarged the building adjoining the chapel and changed in into a two story- dwelling.

    I remember the Church sitting empty in the late 1960's it had asphalt gritted siding on it. In 1972 it housed the Methodist Women Thrift Store for several years before it moved to the corner of Plymouth St. and West Washington Street into a cement block house which was tore down to provided the annex to the VFW.

    1937 Sanborn Map - African M.E. Church

    1936 - L. L.Lawrence,Pastor

    1945 - S.F. Boston, Pastor
      1946 - Sep 4 - Rev. Boston Transferred - Rev. S. F. Boston Pastor of Rollins Chapel, has been assigned to the Wabash charge and the local pastorate is to be appointed. The appointments were made at the annual conference of th A. M. E. church in Detriot.

    1948 - Rev.Emory G. Davis, Pastor

    1950 - Jan 11 - A. M. E. ROLLINS CHAPEL Rev. M. Culpepper 3:00 p. m. Worship service. Church school 11 a. m. Mrs. Roy Watts, Supt.

    1956 - Rev.Robert H. Steward, Pastor in charge

    Today is