Elnathan C. Gavitt [1808-1896] was an itinerant minister for the
Methodist Epsicopal church in Ohio, Michigan, and the Northwest
Territory for many years. He started his work for the church in 1828
when he was about 20 years old and this is an account of one of his
was a pleasant day, and our horses were in good trim for traveling.
Soon after we started my traveling companion fell into a deep study,
preparing his sermon for the night, as this appointment had been sent in
advance. But little attention had been paid to our route; coming to
what was called the Bay settlement, the main road disappeared and lead
off in a half dozen different directions. Having traveled for a few
miles along one of these paths, we fell in with a funeral procession,
and learned that the road we were on terminated at the Catholic
Cemetery. We now returned, and watching more carefully the blazed trees,
were soon on the straight route for Monroe, and landed safely before
night. We stopped at Esq. Harvey's, a short distance in the country,
where the public services were to be held. Monroe was but a small
Catholic village, and destitute of a Protestant Church. About all the
membership of the settlement were on hand to hear the strange ministers.
After the sermon a short exhortation from myself, we had a speaking
meeting, which was both interesting and profitable.
On Saturday we reached the place of our destination, and
enjoyed the hospitality of Father Abbott and his excellent family.
Detroit had assumed some considerable importance as a lake city, but
owing to the unsettled condition of society, and the constant emigration
to other parts of the Territory, Methodism had made but little
progress. There were but sixty-five members in the place and some less
than three hundred in the entire Territory. However, I am pleased to say
there were a few noble hearted and enterprising ones, who had with
their limited means erected a small Church, in which I had the honor of
preaching Sabbath morning, standing on a store box, before this house
was plastered or seated. It is with pleasure I refer to the names of
some of these early pioneers of the Methodist Episcopal Church in
Detroit: The Deans, Nobles, Owens, Edwards - the relatives of Rev.
Arthur Edwards, D.D., editor of the Northwestern Christian Advocate,
of Chicago, Illinois, the parents of whom I united in marriage. I would
also refer to Father Abbott and his family, with whom I made my home
for a short time before entering upon my new field of labor, and the
commencement of my early itineracy in Michigan.
In 1828 the Detroit district was supplied as follows: Zarah
Caston, presiding elder; Detroit station, Arza Brown; Oakland, William
T. Snow and Elnathan C. Gavitt; Huron, Benjamin Cooper; Monroe, George
W. Walker; St. Clair Mission, Elias Patter. All of these excellent
brethren, with whom I was associated at that early day, and all the
regular itinerant ministers there were in the Michigan Territory, have
long since entered their reward on high, and I am the only one left of
this little band to record their names and the early planting of
Methodism in the Michigan Territory, which was at this time almost an
From: CRUMBS FROM MY SADDLE BAGS OR, REMINISCENCES OF PIONEER LIFE AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. By Rev. Elnathan Corrington Gavitt. Toledo, OH: Blade Printing and Paper Co., 1884: 84 - 86.