History of the Restoration Movement

William Henry Krutsinger


W.H. Krutsinger

William Henry Krutsinger[1] was born and raised in Orange County, Indiana. He was born on 7 September 1838. His parents were "common" people and his father Jacob Krutsinger had little formal education. Early in life Krutsinger developed a love for learning and books. Krutsinger remembered, "books were his delight."[2] Hard work on the farm was more valued than books and his love for books was often discouraged. In his early teens Krutsinger would rise at 4:00 A. M., study spelling until 5:00 A. M., and then he would see to the cows, sheep, geese, turkeys, ducks, chickens, horses and other farm animals until 6:00 A. M. It was not unusual for the Krutsinger's father to keep his boys out of school to work on the farm.

At age fourteen Krutsinger attended school at Carter's Creek, which was about a mile from the family farm. At this school he, mastered the basics of geography. For next four years Krutsinger described how he spent his time stating that it:

Was taken up in the summertime, in plowing, planting, hoeing, mowing, cradling and gathering in the harvest and studying Pike's arithmetic, English Grammar and Geography every spare moment. In winter he split rails, fed the stock and went to school on bad days where these subjects were explained to him by his teacher.[3]

On 28 October 1857 Krutsinger confessed Christ and was immersed by Elder George H. Han at Carter's Creek in Orange County, Indiana. Seventy-five souls were saved in the same meeting that led Krutsinger to obey the gospel. The speaker in the meeting was Elder John Mavity and George Han was the exhorter.

At age twenty Krutsinger taught his first common school. This job was then obtained by election and Krutsinger defeated his uncle, Spencer Smith for his position. The common school was opened each morning by prayer and Bible reading. It was about this time that he began his first effort to preach.

In October of 1859 Krutsinger preached his first real sermon at Carter's Creek to a large audience of his long time neighbors and his parents. He took Romans 6:23 as his text. Krutsinger described his sermon[4] this way:

 1. Defined "wages," "sin," "death." This was done by reference to Scripture texts.
 2. Examples were brought up from the Bible, as Adam and Eve, the antediluvians, Abiram, Kora, Dathan, the Sodomites and Gomorahites are under the N.T. Ananias and Saphira. All of whom were rewarded with death because of their transgressions.
 3. Showed that these cases were physical death, that they died by the miracles of God. that miracles have ceased, that we will not die a physical death how, if we sin, but there is a second death which all who sin will die.
 4. Urged, that eternal life, the gift of God is in His Son.

In March of 1860 Krutsinger married Sarah Ellen Hays. She died on 24 January 1861, just eight days after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Krutsinger wrote of his wife's death, "Only ten and a half short months rolled by till she, that young, fair, beautiful black-eyed girl was a corpse. Cold in death was she."[5] The same George Han who had performed the wedding ceremony of the Krutsingers preached the funeral. Sarah Ellen was just sixteen. Krutsinger noted, "They dug her grave deep and gently lowered her corpse and that of the babe into the vault in the Trimble Cemetery on a high hill near Lost River, there to rest till Jesus comes. . .The Bible was deep, consoling comfort in those lonely days of sore bereavement."

Following the death of his wife, Krutsinger resolved to educate himself and to "be useful." With this end in mind, he attended the high school at Salem, indiana and studied under James G. May. Under the tutelage of May, Krutsinger studied Natural Philosophy, Algebra, Geometry, Latin, Greek, English Grammar and Composition.

In 1861 Krutsinger baptized his first converts, two sisters, whom he immersed in a deep place in Carter's Creek. From this time on Krutsinger was busied constantly preaching and baptized. For a time Krutsinger traveled with the Elder Aaron Hubbard. Hubbard was a "natural orator" who was "thoroughly posted in the Scriptures. Hubbard was the chief speaker, but Krutsinger did all the immersing.

Krutsinger also traveled with Elder J.L. Martin who later wrote the Voice of the Seven Thunders; an influential commentary on the book of Revelation. Krutsinger heard Martin deliver the lectures that were the foundation of Martin's book. Krutsinger later recalled that Martin "was not an educated man in the common acceptation of that term, but as an expounder of the hieroglyphics of the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel as relating to the book of Revelation, he had few equals and no superior.[6] Martin was a successful evangelist and many accepted the gospel under his preaching. Krutsinger would recall Martin standing on the bank of a river or creek and exhorting "bury them deep, Brother Krutsinger."

The so-called "civil war" was a trying time for the church and Krutsinger. Krutsinger did not serve in either army but recalled the war as one that "played havoc" with the church in many places. Krutsinger remembered the ware years this way:

Brother threatened brother. Heart cursed heart. Prayer had no influence. Mothers' hearts bled for their sons. Thousands went away and never returned. O, the horrors of civil war! In civil war the spirit of Christianity is suppressed. The church dies.[7]

In spite of the war Krutsinger, "preached all the time through that dreadful crisis. Many blessed him, others cursed him. In God he trusted and kept right on." During the civil war Krutsinger married for the second time in 1862 to Sarah C. Arnold. In 1864 and 1865 Krutsinger studied medicine but ultimately abandoned medicine, convinced that the doctors of the time consistently lied to their patients.

He wrote an article for the Christian Record, edited by the noted J.M. Mathes. The subject of this article was "Remission of Sins." Krutsinger would write a number of articles for the Christian Record and would later write for the Gospel Advocate.

In the later 1860s and early 1870s Krutsinger held meetings all over southern Indiana and preached at Brownstown. Later Krutsinger moved his family to Brownstown by wagon, a distance of forty-five miles. In Brownstown Krutsinger moved to Grassy-Fork and once again taught school and established a local congregation. The Krutsinger family lived six years in Grassy-Fork.

While living at Grassy-Fork, the Krutsinger home burned to the ground. All material things were lost in the fire. Krutsinger wrote, "Penniless, homeless, distressed, were we. Not one cent of insurance was on the property. All lost!"[8] Krutsinger also held one of his first oral debates while living in Grassy-Fork. This discussion took place with William C. Montgomery, a lawyer, on the subject of soul sleeping. The proposition discussed was: "The soul of man is in a conscious state between death of the body and the resurrection." Krutsinger affirmed.[9]

In 1870s Krutsinger continued his work of preaching and teaching. By 1874 he was the Professor of Languages and English Literature at the Bedford Male and Female College in Bedford, Indiana. J.M. Mathes was the president of this school.

Krutsinger's greatest work as a teacher would be done almost alone. By the early 1880s he had established what came to be called "The Preacher Training School," in Ellettsville, Indiana, near Bloomington, Indiana. Horace Hinds, one of Krutsinger's former students described the purpose of the school as "particularly and essentially a preacher training school to fit and qualify [men] for deeply study and better understanding of the Bible. . ."[10]

In 1888 Krutsinger passed his 50th milestone of life. In looking back on his life he wrote:

"On Sept. 7, 1888, I was fifty years of age. I have been preaching thirty-one years beginning when nineteen. I have baptized 5,476. Some persons are often complaining about not having places to preach. I cannot murmur. . .To preach and to do good one must consecrate himself to God and he will protect, preserve, perfectly furnish the man of God unto all good works.[11]

By 1899, Krutsinger could already claim a number of prominent preachers among his former students included A.G. Freed, B.F. Shackelford, W.M. O'Neal, E.S. Dodd and A.E. Freeman.[12] Krutsinger also looked forward to new students attended his "Young Minister's School" and wrote:

Henry Farnim, C.W. Brown and Volney Trimble are intending to attend. . .next spring. Consecrate your lives to God, gentleman and come on, we will do the best we can for you. The ministry is a life of trial and self-sacrifice. The reward is at the end of the race. We need many more men who are willing to devote their all to the cause of Christ and to that alone. We need them worse now than forty years ago. . . . Buckle on God's armor and come along we will do you good.[13]

Among Krutsinger's later students were W.M. Davis who was front page writer for the Firm Foundation for many years; F.L. Rowe, publisher of the Christian Leader; D.S. Ligon, author of many charts and the Portraiture of Gospel Preachers; and Homer H. Adamson, who married one of Krutsinger's daughters.

One of Krutsinger's last students was Ben F. Taylor who attended the Ellettsville school in 1900. Taylor wrote of the school:

Bro. Krutsinger conducted in Ellettsville what he called THE BIBLE TRAINING SCHOOL and signed the diplomas he awarded as W.H. Krutsinger, Preceptor. . .In this school he taught Latin, Greek, Church History, and Bible. However the Bible teaching was more along the line of sermonizing than exegesis. . .He trained his students in prayer, public speaking, and in the presentation of a sermon.

Bro. Krutsinger was, in his zenith, perhaps the most accomplished Greek scholar in Indiana. I do not know where he obtained his education but he was an outstanding scholar. He prided himself upon that fact. He was very distinguished gentleman and like to dress in his Prince Albert coat and Top hat better known among the common people as a stovepipe hat.[14]

In 1906 and 1907 Krutsinger was part of a committee who helped prepare the first lists of "The Preachers of the Churches of Christ." Other committee members included J.W. Shepherd, James A. Harding, R.R. Manning and J.M. Barnes. With the completion of this work his school ceased and Krutsinger faded from public memory. Krutsinger died on 21 August 1916[15] largely forgotten by the public.


[1] Krutsinger was named in honor of President William Henry Harrison
[2] Typescript copy of the unfinished Autobiography of William Henry Krutsinger. Copy in the library of Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis
[3] Ibid, 2.
[4] Ibid, 3.
[5] Ibid, 4.
[6] Ibid, 6.
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid, 13.
[9] Ibid
[10] Personal letter from Horace Hinds to Lloyd A. Boyle dated 3 March 1953. Copy at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana.
[11] Indiana Items, Gospel Advocate, Vol XXX, No. 42 (October 17, 1888), 12.
[12] Ibid
[13] Ibid
[14] Personal letter from Ben F. Taylor to Lloyd A. Boyll dated 13 January, 1953. Copy at the Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana.
[15] Krutsinger’s date of death comes from genealogy records, which may not be accurate.

-Terry J. Gardner, Faith and Facts, Vol. 29, No. 3, July, 2001, page 14-18

Focus On Our Heritage:
Ellettsville Bible Training School

Part 1 Krutsinger's Early Years

Krutsinger Academy

This building housed the dormitory and recitation room. It is currently a dwelling, but maintains the shape as 120 years ago.

Many Hoosiers have contributed to the growth of the Restoration Movement, but few have had greater impact that Ellettsville resident William H. Krutsinger who conducted a Bible Training School in his home and a nearby building.

Krutsinger's father, Jacob, a Dunkard of German descent, settled in Orange County, Indiana from North Carolina.

Will's family did not highly prize "schoolin," but Brother Krutsinger developed a love for books and learning very early in life. School opportunities being limited, between ages 10 and 14 Will went to school in the winter when there was a schoolmaster available. Quite a successful student, he seized the opportunity to go to High School in Bedford where he studied under Professor Thomas F. Conley, a graduate of Indiana University. Will soon passed exams for a teachers license and began to teach at Gammon School House near his family home. That same year he was baptized by Elder George W. Han at Carter's Creek in Orange County. Elder John Mavity was the chief speaker at this meeting and Han was the "exhorter." Hand had also been one of Will's grammar school teachers.

In 1861, Will began a serious pursuit of higher learning. He enrolled in a widely known school conducted by James Mayes in Salem, Indiana where he studied Natural Philosophy (Physics), Algebra, Geometry, Latin, Greek, English Grammar and composition. About this time he began to preach in Salem and nearby places. In July of the same year Elders T.P. Conley and George H. Han of the Carter's Creek church ordained Krutsinger an evangelist with prayer, fasting and the laying on of hands.

In October, 1862, Will married Sarah C. Arnold of Cambellsburg. About this time he began a long association with James M. Mathes, Editor of the Christian Record. Krutsinger wrote his first article for Brother Mathes entitled "Remission of Sins."

Krutsinger's educational career continued when he studied medicine under Dr. Silas Reed. He learned German under Franklin C. Nalde. This proved to be practical since he later taught in a school where there were German speaking students. He served as Superintendent of Schools at Brownstown, teaching in the common and Normal School there as well. From there he moved to the Grassy Fork Graded Schools where he served as Superintendent for six years. In 1874 he joined the faculty of the Bedford Male and Female College. J.M. Mathes was listed as President and Professor of Biblical Literature and Moral Philosophy; W.B. Chrisler was Vice President and Professor of Mathematics; and Krutsinger was professor of languages and English Literature. Krutsinger was considered highly educated in Bible, Greek, and Latin, and some thought him the most accomplished Greek scholar in Indiana. Krutsinger and Chrisler published a periodical for a time; it was called The Common School Teacher, and it was devoted to the best interests of primary education.

Despite his busy schedule, Krutsinger was an active evangelist. While in Grassy Fork he assisted in establishing a congregation of the church of Christ. As time allowed he preached in Jackson, Washington, Orange, Scott, Jennings, Jefferson and other counties. He engaged in a few public debates on such subjects a soul sleeping, church government, and others. In the summer of 1868, while living and teaching in Tampico, he preached, "49 discourses, immersed 56 and received 24 into the fellowship of the saints." In July 1870 he reported 156 discourses with more than 50 added to the fellowship, and another 41 additions in September. He assisted in establishing another congregation in Tampico, where members constructed a house of worship. In October 1875 his report read that he had 42 additions, mostly by immersion, during the summer vacation. Krutsinger moved to Ellettsville in the late 1870's whee he and others published a religious periodical entitled, The Ancient Landmarks. It was devoted to scriptural doctrine, apostolic practice, and the primitive form of church government.

About 1880 Krutsinger started a Bible Training School in Ellettsville which blessed the church so much that its influence is felt to this day. This school will be discussed in the next issue.

-This is an abridged version of an article by Loyd Boyll, a retired school teacher and preacher now residing with his wife Stella in Lafayette, Indiana.

-Fellow Servants, Vol. VIII, No. 1, Winter, 1994, pages 4,5.

Death of Eld. W.H. Krutsinger

After a life of service in the ministry, Elder W.H. Krutsinger, one of the most prominent preachers in the Church of Christ, died at 5:30 Monday night at his home in Bloomington. He had been ill several months, due to the infirmities of old age. He was 78 years old.

Elder Krutsinger was born near Campbellsburg, Indiana, September 7, 1838. For more than fifty years he was an active minister, filling pulpits in many churches in southern Indiana.

He had baptized more than 6,000 persons.

For several years, Elder Krutsinger was a professor int he Male and Female College at Bedford. He was a resident of Ellettsville for thirty-six years and for about twenty years he conducted a young minister's training school form which scores of young men went forth to preach the gospel. He had been failing for about five or six years. Two years ago he moved to Bloomington.

Besides the widow the following children survive: Plato Krutsinger, Ellettsville; Mrs. Homer Adamson, Mrs. L.H. Robertson and Herbert Krutsinger, of Bloomington.

Funeral services were held at the Church of Christ at Ellettsville tester morning at 10 o'clock in charge of Rev. ______ _______ of Bloomington. Burial at the Methodist cemetery.

-The Farm, Ellettsville, Indiana, Old Series Vol. 44

Directions To The Grave of W.H. Krutsinger.

W. H. Krutsinger is buried in the Methodist Cemetery about two miles north of Ellettsville, Indiana.  From Bloomington, head NE on Hwy. 46. When you get into downtown Ellettsville, turn left on Sale Street. Stay on this road as it becomes W. Reeves Road. The Cemetery is located at the corner of Louden and Reeves. To find the Krutsinger plot, when you see the cemetery, count to the third telephone/power pole from the corner of the cemtery. The Krutsingers are buried just next to the third pole at the edge of the cemetery at the road.

GPS Location

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Grave Pictures

Welcome To
Builders of American History

Methodist Cemetery

Site Of Wesley Chapel
First Building Of Ellettsville Methodist Church

The Lord's Will Be Done
Willie Otto
Son of
W.H. & S.C. Krutsinger
Born November 15, 1883
Died April 16, 1905
Aged 21Yr. 5Mo. 1Da.
Herbert Krutsinger
1890 - 1958

Sarah C.
1846 - 1924

William H.
1838 - 1916

Photos Taken May 22, 2012
Courtesy of Scott Harp

Web Editor's Note: On May 22, 2012 I visited the grave of W.H. Krutsinger. It was the second day of a week's Restoration Research trip with my dear friend Tom L. Childers. Krutsinger was buried in a small cemetery in Ellettsville, Indiana called Methodist Cemetery. Tom and I both were very excited to visit this grave as both of us are alumni of Freed-Hardeman University, co-started by A.G. Freed, a student of W.H. Krutsinger. It was a very busy day as we were making our way to Indianapolis to spend the evening with our dear friend Terry J. Gardner. Special thanks to Tom for doing the driving on this trip, and taking photos along the way. Also, a special thanks goes to Terry J. Garder for helping me put this site together, providing the articles you see on this site.

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