Saturday, March 17, 2018

Eli Weldon Haley (1866-1957), Married By the Bishop, 52 Ancestors # 11

Eli & Cora Haley, 50th Wedding Anniversary photo

The 11th ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project is my paternal great-grandfather, Eli Weldon Haley (1866-1957).  Previously, I'd written about the details of his life in an Exploratory Data post.

I've posted before about finding the original marriage return for his marriage on July 21, 1888 in Jay County, Indiana to Cora Belle Metzner. The minister who performed the ceremony was listed as R. Dubs.

The article in the Portland, Indiana Commercial-Review announcing their 50th anniversary gives more information about the ceremony and the officiant.

Portland, Indiana Commerciak-Review
July 31, 1938

The article states that Eli & Cora were married by Bishop Dubs of the Evangelical Association.  The "R. Dubs" was in fact, Rudolph Dubs, the well-known and later controversial bishop of the society.

"...besides the distinguished Bishop there were present also the Revs. Stovenour and Stoops..."

It's not known why the wedding was performed by such a high official of the Evangelical Association.  In fact, the newspaper article mentions that there were two other ministers present at the ceremony as guests.  The Haley and Metzner families were long time members of the Evangelical Association, and Eli's grandfather, George, was a former minister of the society.  Perhaps it was this family connection that led to Bishop Dubs performing the ceremony.

It wasn't too long after this marriage that Bishop Dubs was part of a schism during 1890-91 in the Evangelical Association that led to the formation of the United Evangelical Church.  I found more details at the General Commission of Archives and History of the United Methodist Church and his Wikipedia entry.  His followers were known as Dubsites, and the acrimonious split in the denomination was played out in the courts as fights over church property and the use of the church name.  More information about Bishop Dubs can be found in Annals of the Evangelical Association of North America and History of the United Evangelical Church.

I do not know how this split affected the Haley family personally or their church at Mt. Zion in Noble Township, Jay County, Indiana.   The Haley family had helped build the church, and according to the History of Mt. Zion Church by Madonna Miller, Eli Haley helped lay the bricks to build the church.

The split in the denomination lasted until 1922 when the two churches merged and formed the Evangelical Church.  In 1946 the Evangelical Church merged with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ to form the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Church. In 1968, the EUB and the Methodist church merged to form the United Methodist Church. Mt. Zion church is still an active church today.

Mt. Zion UMC, 2002

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog.  The premise is to write once a week about a specific ancestor - whether it be a story, a biography, a photograph or a research problem.

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