In the early 1860s, E.P. Hart was discouraged at not being met by anyone at a Michigan train station. His wife called out, “While there’s a track, I’ll never go back, but go on at the risk of my all.” With those words and the will to move forward revival spread across southern Michigan, reaching Spring Arbor in winter 1870. Hart established Spring Arbor Seminary (now Spring Arbor University) in 1873 near the site of a former Potawatomi Indian village on property formerly belonging to a Free Will Baptist school. The Marston Center offers Dr. Jon Kulaga’s work, which utilized the Free Methodist archives, on E. P. Hart for purchase through the Light and Life Bookstore…/edward-payson-hart-the-sec… Providing resources for scholarly books is one way we help tell the story of Free Methodism. Partner with us for future work on #GivingTuesday







Homes for needy children and the aged were established by Free Methodists in New York, Illinois, then Kansas (1908). The first of many such facilities across the nation, they showed the hands-on compassion of Free Methodism. In the mid 1930s the FM children’s home in Woodstock, Illinois gained notoriety because of it’s singing mouse. Read more about the story in the Summer newsletter of the Marston Historical Society.…/uploads/summer19_newsletter.pdf Help us mine our treasure trove to pass our stories to the next generation #GivingTuesday





By 1874 0ver the Northern Border Canadian readers of the Earnest Christian expressed interest in Free Methodism. Roberts sent pioneer evangelist and church planter Charles Sage. The Canada church was organized by Roberts at Galt, Ontario, in 1880. By 1920, the growing Canadian church began publishing its own magazine. Read more about the origins of the Canadian Free Methodist Church by downloading “The Battle was The Lord’s: a History of the Free Methodist Church”
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The early Free Methodist Church was rooted in ministry at the edges of respectable society. While he supervised new Free Methodist churches, edited “The Earnest Christian” B.T. and Ellen Roberts also established a mission church above a saloon in Buffalo’s notorious Five Points area. Some of the women converted there moved into the Roberts’ family home as a “safe zone” until they could live independently. To read more about this period of the Robert’s ministry read Dr. Howard Snyder’s “Populist Saints.” As a part of the work of the Marston Historical Center you can download it for free here As we gear up for #GivingTuesday plan to help us and support the work of our archivists to keep making such treasures available!







Founded in 1866, Chili Seminary (NY) began on a 145-acre farm, bought with the Roberts’ home as collateral, to give students farm skills in addition to basic education. Roberts also bought an old tavern to rid the town of its influence, putting it to more constructive use. To honor a generous donor, Chili Seminary was renamed “Chesbrough Seminary”. It is now known as Roberts Wesleyan College and carries on Roberts concern that “The future of the cause of God will be greatly affected by the training of the rising generation. Let us do all we can to have them trained up aright.” Preserving our heritage in order to educate the next generation is a part of our call as well. When it’s time for #GivingTuesday partner with us for the next generation!