History

To download a timeline of congregational history from 1960 – present, click here.

January 8, 1858 – The Olney Presbyterian Church was organized and established on January 8, 1858, by a committee from the Palestine Presbytery, through the efforts of two very small churches of Richland and the Union Church (organized 1854) located on the east county line. Both of these small churches were discontinued eventually and most of the membership transferred to the Olney church. Our church was organized with the following members: Mrs. Mary Knight, Mrs. Elizabeth Darling, Mrs. Mary McClure, Mrs. Milla Burrell, Mrs. Rebecca A Wilson, Mrs. Harriett N. Crozier, John Boyd, James Crozier, Mrs. Jane Wilson, John Henderson, Mrs. Jane Henderson and Mrs. Mary Henderson. Some of the men who joined just a little later, and afterwards became elders were: John Henderson, George W. Coone, D. D. Marquis, David Smith, John L. Campbell, James W. Beck, Horace Hayward, William H. Waller, L.. M. Parker, Dr. Eli Bower and Judge J. C. Allen.

1858 – Services were held for a time in the “Old Court House”, which at the time provided temporary quarters for various local religious organizations, as well as for a public school and court purposes.

1860 – The first church building was erected at a cost of $3,000.

1864 – A parsonage was constructed on the west end of the two lots owned by the church, at a cost of $1,365.

1878 – A serious difficulty arose as to whether or not a certain pastor was to be retained. This caused a division in the congregation which was not settled, but in which part of the membership withdrew and organized the Congregational Church, and constructed a new building on the corner just one block west, directly east of the present Methodist Church. One bitterly cold Sunday morning, the Congregational Church building was destroyed by fires, Possible twenty-five years later most of its congregation, especially the older members, found their way back to the old Presbyterian Church, where they were made welcome.

1880 – 1882 – Substantial gifts were made to the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, and toward outreach to freed slaves, signifying a commitment to supporting and engaging in mission that has formed our congregational identity.

1883 – An elaborate program is planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization of the church.

1904 – The Old Church, that stood facing the east, was turned completely around, so that it faced north, and moved further to the west and converted into Sunday School room purposes. This made room for a new sanctuary, costing $8,000, which included a very fine pipe organ for those days. A basement was later added.

1950 – A new parsonage, costing $12,000 was built on Elm Street, one block east of the church.

1957 – During the pastorate of Dr. Herbert L. Main, an organized building campaign was conducted, for the purpose of building a new church.

1958 – The manse on Elm Street was traded for the property just south of the church, known as the Morris property, which was then used as a manse.

1960-1961 – The bell in our present church was constructed at a cost of $187,000. The bell was in our first church and was donated by Mr. Thomas Quigly of Louisville.

February, 1961 – The property west of the church, know as the Young property, was purchased.

March 26, 1961 – After beginning during the pastorate of Rev. Carl H. Bennett, construction of the present church was completed.

1962 –  The house on the Young property was torn down in 1962, and this is our present parking lot.

1965 – A house on Jefferson Street was purchased, serving as the manse for Rev. David McNabb.

January, 1971 – During the Rev. David McNabb’s pastorate the first women elders of our church were installed.

January, 1972 – The church adopted a unicameral system of government, where we had previously been governed by three boards (Session, Trustees, and Deacons).

Pastors

Rev. John Crozier 1858 to 1866
Rev. Henry E. Thomas 1866 to 1871
Rev. A. H. Sloat 1871 to 1872
Rev. Solomon Cook 1872 to 1873
Rev. R. J. L. Matthews (also served as U.S. consul in Naples, Italy) 1873 to 1875
Rev. John Stuart 1876 to 1880
Rev. John Crozier 1881 to 1883
Rev. S. J. McKinney 1884 to 1887
Rev. E.W. Williamson 1887 to 1888
Rev. William McCaughey 1889 to 1893
Rev. John O. Hough 1894 to 1902
Rev. B. F. Guille 1903 to 1906
Rev. Albert Parker 1907 to 1912
Rev. A.R. Brown 1913 to 1918
Rev. H. H. Rhule 1918 to 1923
Rev. F. M. Pope 1923 to 1924
Rev. R. Washington Burton 1925 to 1926
Rev. John B. Farrell 1927 to 1945
Rev. Dr. H. L. Main 1945 to 1958
Rev. Carl H. Bennett 1958 to 1967
Rev. John C. Roberts 1968
Rev. David A. McNabb 1969 to 2001
Rev. Joel Adams  2005 to 2011
Rev. Beau Brown 2012 to