DID YA KNOW…                From their founding in 1830, the church membership had been able to rely on Rev. Dods’ leadership and fundraising capacity.  He had left an organized group of lay-leaders installed for his recommended successor. John Budd Pitkin stepped into his ministerial position with confidence, leading the congregation for two years prior to his ordination and the dedication of the First Independent Christian Church of Richmond, in January 1833.

Under normal economic conditions, many religious institutions were plagued with financial issues, often resulting from delinquent cash pledges.  However, their routine local shortages evolved into a national crisis when President Jackson accused U.S. Bank executives of major abuses and withdrew all of the public funds from the national bank.  Citizens, with deposits in the Richmond branch of the national bank, believed that it was on the verge of failure and they joined the rush to withdraw their money, adding to a serious finical panic that began near the end of 1833 and continued through 1834.

By May of 1834, the very survival of the church was under threat for lack of resources to pay their bills.  Lay-leaders formed a committee and scheduled a meeting to explore their options. Dr. Robert Briggs was appointed Chairman and Capt. Blair Bolling served as Secretary.  The committee agreed upon a resolution to sell the church to its members; shares in the church property were to be offered for sale for the explicate purpose of resolving their financial deficit.   Their attorney, Joseph Mayo, was provided with the necessary details to draw up a Deed of Conveyance of the Property to the Subscribers for shares of stock ownership of church property. This venture resulted in enough capital to pay their current bills and avoid closure of the church.

By Pat Vaughn; Jan2020