Photograph of Rebecca Powell
Rebecca Powell


(1824 – 1895)

“They all received the same parental love and care.”

Rebecca Powell and her husband, Farrow Powell, became one of the first families in South Bend when they moved here in 1858. Originally from North Carolina, Rebecca first came to Indiana as part of the Lost Creek Settlement, a settlement for mulattos and the place where she met and married Farrow.

In 1870, Rebecca and Farrow, along with Mr. and Mrs. James Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Bridgeman, James Hurst, J. B. Lott and John Powell, founded the first African American church in South Bend, Olivet African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E). Church members first held meetings in homes, then at the old Lafayette School, and erected a building at 310 W. Monroe in 1917. The church served as a social, political, civic and religious center. Since 1969, Olivet A.M.E. has been located on Notre Dame Avenue.

Rebecca was the mother of nine children with Farrow and stepmother to Farrow’s six children from his previous marriage. She was known and respected for treating all 15 children with the same love and care.

  • One of the first black families to settle in South Bend
  • Founding member, Olivet A.M.E.

Information compiled from various South Bend Tribune articles and the website of Olivet A.M.E. Church