1828 Gavitt

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 first trips.

Rev. Elnathan GavittFriday 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 entire wilderness.

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.