Church History

White Church Christian Church was established in 1832 and is known as the oldest church in the state of Kansas that is still in use. The native stone church includes 21 stained glass windows.

     History of White Church


     The year was 1832. Andrew Jackson, also known as “Old Hickory” was the seventh president of the United States of America, having defeated the Whig party candidate, Henry Clay. The first horse drawn grain harvester had just been invented, the first penny newspaper was about to be published, and Samuel Colt was shortly to invent his famous “six-shooter.” The area of resent day Wyandotte County, Kansas, was still a part of what was then known as the “Louisiana Purchase,” and it would be almost another thirty years before the territory would become a part of the State of Kansas and be admitted to the Union. Present day Kansas was rough and unsettled, and occupied by some of its earliest known inhabitants, the Indian tribes of the Pawnee, the Osage, and the Kansas.

It was during this same period of time, in 1830, that the Missouri Conference of the Methodist Church met in the city of St. Louis to establish the mission society that would soon begin its work among the Kansas Indians. The Methodist Mission Society appointed a southern Methodist, Rev. Thomas Johnson, to serve as superintendent of what was then known as the Kansas Indiana Missionary District. It was located on a government established Indian reservation in what is known as the White Church area of Kansas City, Kansas.

During the year of 1832 Rev. Thomas Johnson, along with his brother, Rev. William Johnson, and Rev. Thomas Markham proceeded west to establish the Delaware Indian Mission. Rev. Thomas Johnson was sent to establish this new mission from an already established mission known as the Shawnee Methodist Indian Mission which was located at Turner, in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The Shawnee Mission was later moved to its present location in Johnson County, Kansas.

It would be the duty of Rev. William Johnson and Rev. Thomas Markham to direct the mission school. The Indian mission and the church, while intimately connected, were separate institutions. Though the Delawares were advancing in agriculture, they had little culture. Many of the elder members of the tribe retained their ancient prejudices against Christianity, and consequently, the membership of the Mission church was never large. But among them were some notable exceptions, such as Moses Grinter and family and the Ketchums, who were as “the salt of the earth.”

The Mission was erected in 1832 near a spring in a beautiful grove of trees. The exact date for the completion of the first church is unknown. However, it is well established that it was a log church, and that it stood where the present church building is located today. The church was about forty by sixty feet and the frame was black walnut. It faced east. The church was painted white, and the Indians referred to it as the “White Church.” It is from that beginning that the entire area became known as White Church, Kansas.

After the Mission was established in 1832 by the Rev. Thomas Johnson, it was turned over to his brother, the Rev. William Johnson and the Rev. Thomas Markham.

Prominent among the Delawares was Charles Ketchum, for many years a preacher in the Methodist Church. He was large and portly and of manly appearance. He was illiterate, but a man of good intellect and a fluent talker.

James Ketchum, a brother of Charles, remained with the southern

branch. He was born in 1819 and early became a Christian. He began preaching in the Indian language at White Church. He also preached at Wyandotte on occasion, to a portion of the Delaware after their removal to the Indian Territory. He was considered one of the most eloquent orators in the tribe. The Rev. James Ketchum is known as the first ordained minister of the Delaware nation. His brother, Rev. Charles Ketchum, Was also an interpreter for sermons as well as a fluent speaker. In 1845, just after the second church was built, a split occurred in the congregation of the Methodist Church over the issue of slavery. The Ketchum brothers did not agree on affiliation. James remained with the southern branch at White Church, and Charles affiliated with the northern branch, which withdrew from White Church.

In the 1834 annual report of the Missionary Society, the following
was reported: “The church has forty members, some serving as exhorters, and they were regular in attendance at preaching and other means of grace.

There are twenty-four native children in the mission school who are learning well.

It was twelve years later, in the year of 1844 that the original church was destroyed by fire and a new church was built. When the Delaware Indians moved to the reservation area from Ohio in 1829, they brought with them a saw mill which the federal government had provided in accordance with a treaty. This saw mill was very useful in building both churches. Black walnut trees were common in the area, and it was from this lumber that the churches were constructed. The walnut frame structure of the second church was about forty feet by sixty feet, located by a spring, facing in an easterly direction. The new church had hand-shaved shingles that came from St. Louis by boat. The exterior was painted white, which again helped to establish its own name, that of the “White Church” community. This frame church would stand for almost forty-two years until it too would be destroyed.

Beginning in 1850, the land in the reservation was deeded by the government to the Indians individually. Some sold their ground and soon the area began to be settled by the white man.

In 1870 a school district was established, and a school located near the church adopted the same name, White Church School. The school building was small and had formerly been an old Indian church. The pupils had no desks and were required to sit on logs. These early schools were called subscription schools because the students had to pay a small fee to enroll.

Disaster struck the church for a second time, when on May 11, 1886, the walnut-framed White Church, and the original White Church school building were both destroyed by a wind storm common to the area, a Kansas cyclone. The next year, in 1887, a two-story school building was erected on the resent site of the White Church Elementary School. For almost twenty years the congregation of White Church would be without a church building, but they continued to meet, holding services in the school building. It was not until the late 1890’s that the congregation began to think about building another church.

On May 5, 1904, over 400 people gathered at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon to witness the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone of the present native stone structure. The ceremony was conducted by M. Stattler, Master of the Delaware Masonic Lodge. Construction was expected to be completed by September 1. The stone structure cost $12000 and was financed with funds secured by contributions and a loan from the building fund of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. After the church had been completed, it was dedicated on July 29, 1906, by Bishop Hendrix of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

One of the outstanding features of the new stone church was the twenty- one beautiful memorial stained glass windows that were installed. At the time of construction, Mrs. Watson Wood traveled by train to St. Joseph, Mo. To select the design, and order the windows. Bishop Hendrix raised the money at the Seventh Street M.E. Church, South, in Kansas City, Kansas, for the large north stained glass memorial window. It was he who chose the names to be honored. The Inscription reads: “In Memory of our Twelve Apostles to the Indians from 1830 to 1856 and their heroic wives.” The names of the twelve honored were then given as follows: Thomas Johnson, William Johnson, Thomas Markham, Edward T. Perry, L. B. Stateler, N. T. Shaler, B. H. Russell, Jason A. Cumming, Nathan Scarritt, D. Dofflemeyer, J. Baker, N. M. Talbàt. The windows to the left of this reads: “To Rev. Charles Boles and his wife Elizabeth Boyle Boles.” They served in 1881. Elizabeth Boles ¡s buried in the church cemetery. The window to the right reads: “M. R. Grinter 1809- 1878 and Anna Grinter 1820-1905.” They were the first white settlers in Wyandotte County. In the east wall to the north “White Church Sunday School.” To the southeast “Dorcas Home Missionary Society.” The remaining windows are memorials to church family members.

The stone for the church came from a nearby quarry. Joe Walker and Jake Heck are given credit for hauling much of the stone by team and wagons. There were Stockhoffs, Wises, Grinters, Stephens, and many others whose names are lost in time, who worked long and hard on the church. The stone was laid by a man whose name was Forsberg.

The church was built facing the east, as had the earlier wood frame church. Entrance to the building was through heavy wooden double doors into the vestibule and then through a second pair of double doors to the sanctuary. The chancel was on the west side of the sanctuary on a raised platform, and an arched bay area was directly behind. There were stained glass windows on both the north and south sides of the chancel. Lighting for the sanctuary was provided by hanging gasoline lamps. Seating was on walnut pews, held together with square nails. These pews were purchased second hand from a building in Muncie, Kansas. The pulpit and the chairs in the chancel were made of walnut. The high cathedral ceilings with exposed beams are a part of the original construction. The architect, W. W. Rose, modeled the entire church after Gothic architecture. The building was heated in the winter by a large stove which stood in the southeast corner. The building was very difficult to heat with its high ceilings. It is recorded that Ambrose Grinter willed the church $125 which was used to purchase embossed tin, and the entire sanctuary received a new drop ceiling which remained for many years.

Not only is White Church recognized by historians as the oldest established church in the state of Kansas that is still in use, but also the church owns and cares for the Delaware Indian Cemetery which is located directly west of the church. The cemetery is the oldest cemetery in this area where burials are still conducted. The earliest recorded burial was in 1831. One of the most prominent markers in the cemetery ¡s a spiral stone with the lettering: “Capt. Ketchum, Chief of the Delaware Nation 28 years. Member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South for 22 years. Born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio 1780, died July11, 1857, age 77 years. “Some believe he was the grandfather of Charles and James Ketchum who both preached in the Indian language at White Church.

In the separation troubles, in 1845, the Delawares went with their church to the southern branch. Charles Ketchum adhered to the northern branch, built a church himself and kept the little remnant of the flock together. He accepted appointment regularly from the Kansas conference.

The first white settler to be buried in this historic cemetery was a prominent figure in local Wyandotte County history by the name of Isaac Mundy. Isaac and his wife, Lucy, came from Virginia by wagon train in 1835. They first settled in Westport in Jackson County, Missouri, but later moved to Nebraska territory. When Isaac and his family first carne to this area they found shelter at the Methodist Delaware Indian Mission, but soon thereafter a log cabin was built for them behind the church. Isaac Mundy was the government paymaster and also a blacksmith by trade. Isaac was given charge of a government farm in the Delaware Indian country across the Kaw River and near the military reservation of Fort Leavenworth. It is recorded in Kansas history that Isaac Mundy was a delegate to the meeting at Wyandotte Council House, July 25, 1853, where the provisional government of the Nebraska territory was established, and William Walker was made the first provisional governor. Isaac was elected to the office of councilman in that government. He held other positions in government and was a leader in the early community. In 1858 Isaac Mundy, age 43, was killed by the accidental discharge of his own gun while hunting with his Indian friends. The Indians honored him by burying him beside their beloved Chief Ketchum, His tombstone reads: “A man among a thousand distinguished for his integrity, his piety, and his extensive influence in community.” “But our loss is his gain.” For it is written, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

In January 1995 the Trustees of the church were contacted by Deborah Nichols from Excelsior Springs, Mo. She is a descendant of the Ketchum’s of the Delaware Indian Tribe. Ms. Nichols was working on getting a Heritage Trust Grant from the Kansas Historic Society to clean and repair nine Indian gravestones in the cemetery behind the church. The gravestones being repaired are: Capt. Ketchum, Charles Ketchum, Jacob Ketchum, Isaac Mundy (the tribe blacksmith), William S. Ketchum (son of James Ketchum), three daughters of Lewis Ketchum — Lucinda M., Hatty Ann, and Jane Ketchum O’Donnell, and Jane Ketchum O’Donnell’s infant.

The grant would be an 80/20 Grant (Kansas Historic Society to pay 80%). $800 was received from the Delaware Indians in Bartiesville, Oklahoma, in October 1995 and put in escrow until the repairs are made. The church would pay the remainder of the cost. This expenditure was approved by the church board on January 8, 1995. A “Letter of Support” from the congregation was given to Ms. Nichols to accompany the grant application. The grant application was signed by the Trustees.

The work is still ¡n process for approval of the Grant. Pettijohn Kinney Architect/Interiors are drawing up plans for the repairs. When the plans are completed, bids will be let to contractors for the work. Pettijohn Kinney Architect/Interiors will oversee the repairs and approve the finished work along with the church trustees and Deborah Nichols.

Deborah Nichols advised us that James Ketchum is buried in
Ketchum, Oklahoma.

For about one hundred years, White Church, under the direction and influence of the Methodist Church, served both the Indian and the White Man. Rev. S. Stapp was minister of the Methodist Church in 1931, when at a business meeting of the congregation, held on November 4, the congregation voted in favor of withdrawing their affiliation from the Methodist Church and proceed to organize a “Community Church” at White Church. Under Rev. Stapp’s direction, the newly organized “Community Church” proceeded to celebrate the first 100 years of service by organizing a “Centennial Celebration.” The centennial year was officially observed on Sunday, May 29, 1932. Rev. Stapp remained through the organization of the Community Church, and then resigned as pastor in 1932. The building was sold to the White Church Community Church for the sum of $600.00, and the sale was completed on June10, 1932. The “great depression “that had gripped the country for several years was still underway.

Another sign of the “hard times” in the country is the fact that the church bell still in use today was purchased on April 1, 1933, for the sum of $20.00. The following is a quote from the original bill of sale. “In consideration of $20.00, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, the First Christian Church of Boriner Springs, Kansas, hereby sells and conveys to the White Church Community Church of White Church, Kansas, one large church bell and frame.” Unfortunately the Christian Church at Bonner Springs, Kansas, had been destroyed by fire a ‘short time earlier.

On February 5, 1934, Marietta Wise, widow of Robert Wise, deeded a strip of land adjoining the church and cemetery on the south to the White Church Community Church for a park and playground to be known as the “Wise Memorial Park.”

Following the resignation of Rev. Stapp in 1932, he was succeeded by Rev. Oliver Cook. It was under the direction of Rev. Cook that the newly organized church began to develop into a community center for many activities, as well as religious and educational leadership. A weekday church school was held for the children of White Church School. Sunday School reported an enrollment of one hundred. Rev. Cook is given credit for organizing the first Boy Scout Troop, No. 48, with Mr. Henry Strobmeyer the first Scout Master. Rev. Cook was part Indian, and it may have been for this reason that under his direction White Church revived for many years a local Indian celebration and ceremony called the Pow Wow. The Pow Wow was a deeply religious ceremony in which the Indians had participated for many years. This ceremony would start with the building of a large council fire, and the fire and celebration would last continually for a period of twelve days. It is reported that crowds as large as five hundred would attend. Indians from Haskell Indian Institute would dance at the ceremonies and supposedly would encourage the ghost of Chief Ketchum to appear. A dinner was prepared by the Dorcas Home Missionary Society and served in the school house.

In 1942 Rev. Cook retired from the active ministry, and took a position at the Wyandotte County Court House. He retained an interest in White Church, Boy Scouts and the Indians until his death in May, 1943. In the summer of 1942, church attendance had dropped so low it seemed feasible to close White Church. Rev. Lyndon Harper of Independence, Mo., was contacted to come and discuss the future of the church. He was impressed with the determination of the congregation to continue services, and he also saw the potential of the White Church community. Rev. Harper became the Sunday preacher and remained fourteen years. Under his leadership attendance increased and new members were added to the church.

In 1944 plans were made to add a new addition to the west side of the church. It was surveyed January 12, 1945, and some of the Indian graves were moved for the construction of the new addition, It was voted by the congregation to turn the chancel to the north, make a door to the west, through the arch into the new social room that was to be built. The chancel was moved to the north wall and built on a raised platform with two steps about sixteen inches deep, extending the full width of the north wall. A low wooden rail across the front was added. The embossed tin ceiling that had been added earlier to aid in heating was removed, and the exposed beams were finished natural. Wainscoting was removed from the walls and replaced with paneling. The rest of the walls were painted. New ceiling lights and new oak pews were given by members and groups within the congregation. Red carpet was used in the chancel and red tile on the chapel floor.

In the new addition, which we know now as Fellowship Hall, long curtains were hung which served as room dividers, and a kitchen was built in the north end of the new addition. The Dorcas Society equipped the kitchen with a stove, steam table, cabinets, dishes and silverware. Both the Dorcas and the Sunday School classes bought tables, and individuals gave the chairs. A platform was installed which could be raised and lowered for programs. A brick fireplace was constructed in the south end of the new Fellowship Hall. It was about four years later, in 1949 that the church purchased its first organ to be used in the chapel worship services.

Improvements and additions continued for the next several years. In 1952 the old Council House, used by Scout Troop No. 48 for headquarters since 1932, which had been located close to the church for many years, was moved to the rear of the Roseberry home. Excavation was started directly south of Fellowship Hall for a stone basement type structure which was to be used for Sunday School classrooms. Plans at that time were to eventually build another chapel on top of the stone foundation. In the south end of Fellowship Hall, a door and covered stairwell were added which lead to the basement area. Upon completion of this work, the new addition was dedicated on November 20, 1955.

It was in the following year in May of 1956 that the congregation voted to become affiliated with the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. The church was renamed White Church Community Christian Church. Rev. Harper also decided to retire at this time, and the congregation voted to hire a full-time minister. Rev. Clifford McCall was chosen to be the new minister, and he started his ministry as pastor on Septehiber 11, 1956. It was during this time that the church decided to build a parsonage. Mr. H. O. Huff built the parsonage at 8309 Wood. On completion it was purchased by the church. An open house and dedication was held on May 27, 1957. Rev. McCall served as pastor until his resignation in March, 1958.

Rev. Tom Parish, Jr. was called in June, 1958, to succeed Rev. McCall. On May 28, 1961 the church celebrated a dual anniversary which was the 129th anniversary of White Church, and the 100th birthday of the State of Kansas. Centennial attire was worn to the Sunday morning “Settlers Homecoming Celebration.” Rev. Parish resigned in September of 1963.

Rev. Clifford McCall was again asked to serve as pastor of White Church Christian. He returned in October, 1963, and formal installation services were held at the church on January 19, 1964. Under the leadership of Rev. McCall church growth made it necessary to hold three worship services and two Sunday School sessions. In February of 1965 the congregation voted in favor of a building project at an estimated cost of $65,000.00 for an educational unit to be built on top of the stone foundation at the south end of Fellowship Hall.

When the new structure was completed, the church then had access to twelve new classrooms, staff offices, a work room, and four restrooms. This project also included new tables and furnishings for the classrooms, and the kitchen and Fellowship Hall area were renovated at the same time. Upon completion of all building activities, a formal dedication was held on May 1, 1966.

In October, 1966, the church board voted to start a Pre-School and Child Care Center to fill a need in the fast-growing community. It was organized by Mrs. Janette Smith, who was named Director of “The Growing Place” from 1966 until September, 1990. Ms. Suzanne Braurer was hired as Director in September, 1990. Mrs. Smith resigned as Director for personal reasons, but continued to work at “The Growing Place” as a teacher and is still there today. Mrs. Braurer was director until she resigned in August, 1993. Norma Kelso, a teacher at “The Growing Place,” was named Director in September, 1993 and remains in that position today.

In June ‘of 1968 the congregation voted to delete the word “Community” from the church’s official name.

Rev. Clifford McCall resigned as pastor on August 31, 1969, and moved to Pittsburg, Kansas. In October. Rev. Russell Bythewood became the interim minister and stayed until his retirement in June, 1970. Rev. Richard Markland was called and he served as pastor from September, 1970, until his resignation in November, 1972. Mr. Joe Shriver served the church as pastor from September, 1973, until July, 1976. Rev. Clifford McCall was again called to serve as pastor for a third time and he returned in July, 1976. Rev. McCall resigned in October 1988.

A year of reorganization and program development followed in 1977. By September 1, due to church growth, a feasibility committee was appointed to study plans for once again remodeling and updating the sanctuary and other parts of the facility. After about a year of research, a plan was recommended and approved by the congregation.

Starting ¡n March, 1979, heating and central air conditioning was installed ¡n the sanctuary, Fellowship Hall and the educational unit. Two parking lots were enlarged and asphalted. In June, 1979, a renovation committee was appointed for further study. Their plan was accepted by the congregation on February 3, 1980, and a major undertaking was set in motion to repair, remodel and refurnish the sanctuary. The final result of this renewal is as it is seen today. Major changes were the opening of the west waif to allow additional seating for worship services in Fellowship Hall. The chancel was moved to the east wall, and a new baptistry was concealed behind the pulpit in what was the original entrance to the church. A portable baptistry was purchased in 1992 and installed in its present location in Fellowship Hall. The original stained glass windows were repaired and covered on the outside with a protective lexan plastic sheet. New carpeting was laid on the entire sanctuary floor and Fellowship Hall. A beautiful new pulpit, pulpit chairs, padded chancel pews, additional lighting, a large wooden cross, a new matching communion table, and many other – decorative furnishings were added to give beauty and dignity to the worship services. Total expense for this renovation amounted to approximately $65,000 and was paid for promptly by the generous giving of the entire congregation. Not only was money given, but many hours of donated time was given by various men and women of the church. On May 18, 1980, a dedication service was held celebrating the completion of the work.

A second renovation committee was appointed in September, 1981. It was the task of this committee to recommend a plan for the most efficient and effective way of remodeling the basement area of the educational unit. On February 15, 1981, a special meeting of the congregation voted to accept the committee’s proposal for remodeling at an expense of $40,000. Work began immediately and lasted for the next several months. Removal of the inner wall opened the area into one large room. An attractive outside entrance from the front parking lot was added, as well as covering all interior walls with wood paneling. The ceiling was lowered and insulated for sound- proofing, and the floor was covered with tile, new wiring, lighting, heating and cooling and other necessary improvements were added. A completely equipped and furnished kitchen was installed in the south end of the addition, and the two existing restrooms were remodeled and modernized. Again, along with the money donated for the project, the renovation could not have been completed as economically as it was if it had not been for the many, many hours of labor donated by some of the men and women of the congregation. At the completion of the project a contest was held to name the new room: Joy Hall was selected.

1982 was a special year for the congregation at White Church Christian Church. A committee was named to plan events to celebrate our Sesquicentennial (150 years). Those serving on this committee were Shirley Gobie and Barbara Brown as Co-Chairman, Perry Rainey, Larry Bates, Eldon Gobie, Conley Smith and Jack Mosley. Many celebrations in honor of our Sesquicentennial were held:

May I Homecoming Day
This included visiting and viewing pictures, articles and displays depicting church history.

May2 Service of Celebration
8:20 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. services were held to celebrate in worship with may visitors. Rev. McCall’s message was ‘What Mean These Stones?”

June 13 Methodist Heritage Dedication
Honoring the first 100 years of the church. Following the worship service Rev. Neil Hendrick conducted a service of dedication for Methodist Circuit Rider markers at the graves of the Ketchum brothers in the church cemetery.

August 14 Indian Pow Wow
Over 700 people were served outdoors at a chuck wagon dinner. At 7:30 p.m. the program began with the lighting of the council fires as was the tradition of the Delaware Indians. A proclamation by Mayor John E. Reardon was read honoring the celebration by proclaiming the day as WHITE CHURCH CHRISTIAN CHURCH DAY. The Kansas City Indian Club furnished the entertainment with
colorful traditional dances.

October 23 Prairie Day Bazaar
A noon lunch and chuck wagon’ supper were served. Booths in Joy Hall carried out the theme of the era. Anniversary plates and cookbooks were popular items.

November 7 Dedication and Burial of Time Capsule
The stainless steel capsule is buried in the cemetery at the rear of the church to be opened in the year 2082 by those who worship God in this place, Buried in the capsule were copies of the church records, catalogs, telephone books, magazines, messages from the Sunday School children, many pictures and other articles depicting life as we live it today–hoping that when it is opened a small bit of our history can be seen.

The church purchased property at 2201 North 85th in 1984 at a total cost of $24,000. Closing documents of the purchase of this property were dated September 27, 1984. Painting and other necessary repairs were made to the house. Rev. Clifford McCall moved into the house in October, 1985. The property at 8436 Greeley was purchased on December 4, 1985 at a cost of $41,000. Rev. McCall moved from 2201 North 85th to the house at 8436 Greeley and lived there until his resignation in October of 1988. The house at 8436 Greeley was then used as rental property and is still rented at this time. Permanent siding was installed on the house at 8436 Greeley. This was approved at a board meeting on March 25, 1990. The house at 2201 North 85t was used as a church annex and a meeting location for the Youth Group and Sunday School classroom for the youth after Rev. McCall move to 8436 Greeley.

After Rev. McCall’s resignation the property at 2201 North 85th was also used as rental property. It remained rented for a few years and was later used again as a meeting place for a youth Sunday School class as it is today. The property at 2217 North 85th Street was purchased on August 5, 1993 for a cost of $25,000. There was a house on the property, but it was not in condition to be used as a church annex or to be rented. The house was torn down. The purchase of this property was for land use only and squared up the property owned by the church on the east side of 85th Street.

This brief history is only a quick glance at the thousands of Christian men and women who have served Christ in this place over the past one hundred and sixty-four years. Their names and their deeds of service in God’s work have been lost in the unrecorded pages of White Church history. What’s important is that Christ was served, and is still being served in this place, and we live the belief that God knows the names and the deeds of each of His creations.

It is the prayer of the present generation of God’s servants that there always be a Church at this place and that the generations which follow will continue to serve the Lord to the End of Time.


      The Indian Artifacts shown are a prized and valuable collection belonging to White Church Christian Church. They have been on display for many years. The collection was assembled by Mr. George U. S. Hovey during his lifetime and presented to the church upon the death of his son, John P. Hovey, by the family. The church later shared the collection with Kansas University at Lawrence and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Hovey was born and educated in New York City. He and his wife, Ella Jane, came to live at White Church, Kansas, in 1870. Mr. Hovey was prominent in the development of Wyandotte County and held many positions of trust. He was postmaster of White Church 35 years (except for an interim of four years), Justice of the Peace twelve years, and County Commissioner six years. He also owned a general store on the northwest corner of Eighty-fifth and Parallel.

Mr. Hovey was an archaeological explorer of considerable prominence and had collected from this region one of the most extensive collections of prehistoric Indian relics in Kansas. He was considered an authority on ethnology and early western history, and he was a member of many scientific and historical societies. He died January 7, 1906, and is buried in the Delaware Indian Cemetery. In 1980 the church had a special cabinet made to display the collection. At that time the artifacts were identified and cataloged by Mr. Charles L. Middlesworth, Professor of Anthropology at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Mrs. June Gentry, an artist, and a member of White Church drew the illustrations.


In 1903 the ladies of the community got together at the home of Mrs. D. E. Bundy, for the purpose of organizing a society to help the church and the poor. With Mrs. Bundy, as chairman, the following officers were elected: Miss G.U.S. Holcey, president, Mrs. A. Reenes, vice-president; Miss Grace Wise, secretary: and Mrs. D. E. Bundy, treasurer.

After considering many names for the group, “The Dorcas Home Missionary Society” was selected. The dues were to be $0.25 each quarter, to buy material. They were to meet on Thursday every two weeks. The following ladies were the first members: Mrs. G. U.S. Hokey, Mrs. A. Reenes, Mrs. D. Bundy, Mrs. Albert Gregory, Mrs. E. Arnold, Mrs. Robert Gregory, Mr. John Gilliland, Mrs. W. F. Wood, Mrs. Jalke Heck, Mrs. J. H. Wise and Miss Grace Wise. Mrs. Janice Bellamy and Mrs. Ralph Bellamy joined at the second meeting. By March 26, there were nineteen women attending.

Immediately the group began making quilts, comforters and rag rugs. This is how money was earned for their projects. Quilts at that time sold for $2.50, bonnets for $0.25 and rugs were very cheap. For 93 years the Dorcas ladies have worked to help the church and community. They cared for the needy and for many years paid $10.00 a month toward the minister’s salary and furnished the church with many needed items. Money was also raised serving meals at farm sales, church dinners, bazaars and other functions. No history of White Church would be complete without honoring these dedicated Christian women. They continue to be an inspiration to their daughters, granddaughters and all the women of the church who carry on the work they started.


Charles Ketchum 1832    W. H. Young 1898
James Ketchum                 W. S. Beagle 1899
William Johnson   D. E Bundy 1903
Thomas Johnson            C. W. Litcht laid 1904
Thomas Markham            J. T. Loyal 1906
Edward Peeiy 1833      J W. Payne 1907
L. B. Stateler 1837    George Ellis 1912
N. T. Shafer 1841      N. M. Sooter 1915
James A. Cummings      F. R. Chapman 1916
Nathan Scarritt        A. C. Gayle 1917
D. L.. Defelmeyer      Earl Dillan 1918
J. Baker               F. F. Fine 1921
E. M. Taibott          Garner Nolan 1923
Joab Spencer 1868 F. File wood 1925
T. C. Downs 1869 Rev. Pryor 1926
Charles Boles 1871      Rev. Kirckoff 1927
J. 0. Foreman 1873      Charles Oboe 1929
George Warren 1875      J. A. Morgan 1931
Joseph King 1876 S. L. Sta pp 1932
C. W. Thorpe 1878 Oliver Cook 1933

0. P. ¡noble 1879 L. W Harder 1942
A. A. Lewis 1882 Clifford N. McCall 1956
J. W. Huff 1884   Tom Parish, Jr 1958
F. A. White 1886 Clifford N. McCall 1963
Heniy C. Kirby 1887     Russell M. Bythewood 1969
J. Parcell 1889   Richard K. Markland 1970
R. A. Parker 1890 J. N. Nalley 1972
J. E. Owens 1892 Joe Shriver 1973
J. T. Smith 1893 Clifford N. McCall 1976
Rev. Noffitt . 1894     Gary R. Bondurant (Interim) 1988
W. E. Tull 1895   Richard Weaver 1989
Rev. Tillery 1896 Gary R. Bondurant (Interim) 1991
W. H. Torbeit 1897      Larry E. Jones 1991