About Our Church

One of the first congregations of Rugby Chapel (Known then as United Brethren in Christ)

Our History

The original town of Rugby called Hartsville Crossing was laid out with four streets, 40 feet wide. Summit, Cross, Wright, and Hartsville Avenue, now known as 1050 east. In 1834 the Big Four Railroad started and the town thrived.

Hartsville Crossing had a depot, two general stores, a grain company, stock yard, blacksmith shop, library, and a coal yard.

In 1884 the town obtained a post office and wanted a new name established because of being confused with Hartsville. Nathaniel Marlin submitted the name Rugby. He loved reading and especially "Tom Brown's School Days at Rugby" The name Rugby was chosen.

The people expressed a desire for a church . In summer of 1895, eight families at Hartsvillewith permission from the White River confrence sponsored the new church. Our founding trustees were Simmons, Galbraith, Gillilard, Lambert, Marlin, Kemp, Helmich, Howie, and Essex.

Mary Marlin Clouse reported 42 charter members and 65 people met in the Fishel School until the building was completed, July 21, 1896. The Dedication ceremony was planned for July 19, 1896 but had to be postponed because of heavy rains that flooded the creeks and washed out roads. It was held July 26, 1896.

Nathaniel Marlin Clouse who had worked diligently to help build and hang the bell. As he did so he remarked, "I wonder who this bell will toll for first?" His was the first funeral. He became ill, probably due to food poisioning after attending a "Farmer's Fair" in September 1896. The first wediing was Thomas and Lucy Gailbraith, who where Zelma Burneys Father and Mother.

Bishop Milton Wright who was then a Professor of Religion's Philosophy at Hartsville College served as first pastor. Wright was the father of the "first in flight" Orville and Wilbur Wright.

In May, 1982 we began construction on the present classroom and preacher's study. In November, 1982 we bought the Walter Knapp property, lots 13 and 14. In 1989, we acquired 12 and the house next door. The land of both properties became our parking lot.

Many things such as  furnaces, ceiling fans, and air conditioning have been added over the years mainly because of our 4-H fair lemonade stand. In 1958 Harry and Gladys Embry, because he was fair board president, helped to get us started with lemonade at the fair. Before that, we had been at the Hope Firemen Festival as our Sunday School Class project.

During the years, the college closed and burned in February 5, 1898, the local one time schools closed with the depression in the late 20’s and the 30’s , little businesses closed; farmers lost their lands and finally the train was only making one round trip a day from Greensburg to Columbus. Then in January 31, 1973 the last train ran and now you can hardly see where the tracks have been. In 1967 the last store, Bank’s  Grocery, closed after being robbed twice. Now all that remains of thriving town of Rugby is the little whit church on the hill.

Since 1896 we remained United Brethren until 2012. We decided to leave the denomination in 2010.

Our lemonade stand used to operate each summer at the Bartholomew county 4-H fair. Lemonades we’re $3 each. However lemonades in 1958 where 15¢ per glass. Stanley Embry and his daughter Janet Clous built a building down at the 4-H fairgrounds in memory of Gladys Embry. The process we used to make lemonade was more modern and our surroundings were more modern. The changes occurred because our congregation has aged and many have passed away, making it nearly impossible to make lemonade the old way.

Our attendance has been low the past several years but we have stuck together and kept Rugby Chapel open. We currently in the process of deciding Rugby Chapel’s future. Still all that remains of the thriving town of Rugby is the little white church on the hill.

We Invite you to worship with us whenever you choose. We would love to have you any Sunday!