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A Brief History of the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church of South Bend, IN by Roland Augustus Barto Written on September 1979 Preface
Upon the request of my first cousin, Mrs. Lucille Dunson, I am writing this history of the beginnings of the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is necessary to say something about the “White brethren” since they were the first Adventists in South Bend, In., and my mother and others were active with them before the Berean Church was organized. It is also necessary to give some family and community history to complete the historic picture. I have informed Sister Dunson that two historic manuscripts are behind the cornerstone. One written by Anna Beatrice Barton, my mother, and the other by Sister Della Johnson. Mother's account should be a little more accurate than Sister Johnson's, since Sister Johnson became an Adventist at a later time.
The two accounts along with mine should give the entire story. The ministerial sequence and the early appointment of church officers should be more accurate than mine since I was a small boy during those early years. I am hoping that the records behind the cornerstone will be readable. My account will take you to 1942. It is my hope that you are more careful with your church records. My mother died April 27 (on my father's birthday), 1953. Elder Delette was the pastor at the time and he conducted the funeral. It will be of some satisfaction to me if this effort will assist you in any way.
Roland Augustus Barton
The beginnings of the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church
------ By Roland Augustus Barton
It is imperative to give some family and community history in order to provide a suitable background for the events to follow.
Day parents left Alabama in 1893, and were the fourth colored family to settle on the east side of South Bend. Three of the largest industries had accumulated their fortune by providing wagons for the Union Army. The Studebaker Corporation, J.D. Oliver, and Birdsells were still making wagons for both military and civilian usage, but all had expanded to farm equipment and horse-drawn passenger coaches. Only Studebaker advanced to automobile production later, and the rest began manufacturing motorized farm equipment.
Our people in quest of more freedom and better living conditions migrated to the north. South Bend provided labor opportunities. All factories employed blue-collar workers regardless of ethnic identity. The New York Central, Grand Truck, Pennsylvania, and Marquette railroads all had colored redcaps, and Pullman porters. The hotels, restaurants employed us exclusively as porters, waiters, cooks, and the shoe repair shops had shoe shine boys. There were no professional people among us, nor business positions in the commercial houses open to us in those days.