“The First Presbyterian Church of Elk” (located on the northwest corner of Mowerson and Stilson roads) was recognized by a committee from the Presbytery of Saginaw on September 2, 1888. The Elk Presbyterian Church or more commonly known as the Stone Church wasn’t built until 1891 on property purchased from local resident Richard Mellon and still held services until January 2, 19722. The cornerstone was laid on June 23, 1891, by the first president of Alma College, Dr. George F. Hunting. Richard Mellon also donated the stone used in the construction of the church. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur (Elizabeth “Lizzie” Johnson) Parkin were the first couple married in the Stone Church on July 6, 1892, by Minister William Whitfield.
The first members were Mr. Finlay McLeod, Mr. and Mrs. George Murray, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Bruce, Mrs. Lyttell, Mrs. Mary Hillman, Mr. Benjamin Phillips, and Mrs. Ann McLeod. The first elders were Donald Bruce, Finlay McLeod, and George Murray. The first trustees appointed were Finlay McLeod, George Murray, John Douglas, John Inman, Benjamin Phillips, and Donald Bruce.
In June 1911, Mrs. Joe Murray’s (b. Edith R. Clark) young ladies Sunday School class decided that they wanted to form a club. The first project of the newly formed club was to make infant clothes for the Florence Crittenton Home in Detroit. They eventually expanded and began sending boxes of food, clothing, and other necessities to various charity distribution groups.
During these early days of the club, the group presented the then pastor Theron Alexander with a fur coat which was “very acceptable” as it took three hours (one-way) to travel to the church from Sandusky with his old horse.
Soon after this, the club was officially organized and the name was created by Joe Murray (then clerk of the sessions) who suggested Elk Sunday School Hustlers Club (E.S.S.H. Club).
Charter members of the Elk Sunday School Hustlers Club were Barbara McAllister, Mayme and Cassie Crawford, Lessie Phillips, Blanche Pettit, Eliza Pettit, Anna Daws, Nora Alexander, Ethel Hillman, Anna Frank, Winifred Bower, Elsie Bower, Byrd O’Morrow, and Minnie Apsey. Anna Bowen and Mable Lees joined soon after the charter members.
The “City” of Cheyenne
Whether it is true or not, a Sanilac Jeffersonian article referred to Elk Church as the first stone church built in the county. Another article was possibly written around the same time (1890s) and refers to the Elk Church as being built a mile west of the “city” of Cheyenne which was a settlement at best located around the intersection of Melvin and Stilson roads.