As we continue to celebrate our building’s 175th anniversary, please enjoy one of the more colorful historical reports we have.
Methodism in Peterborough, New Hampshire 1839-1923.
By William N. Spaeth
The October blaze lit the hills around the little village of Peterborough as the Reverends Zenas Adams and Giles Campbell rode slowly down the narrow dirt street toward the Great Bridge. It was 1824, and this was a grand time in which to live.
Perhaps they chatted about the struggle in Europe between monarchy and the new force of democracy. British Redcoats were killing and wounding English citizens again — this time in England — as the spirit of freedom fought for its birth in the home country.
What changes had been wrought in the past nine years since Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in June of 1815! Looking over at the Smith complex of a cotton factory, an oil mill, a fulling mill, and a paper manufactory, the two men perhaps marveled at the new machinery that was rapidly changing industry. Much of it was now run by steam rather than water power.
They may have expressed surprise at the thriving mills north and south of town, despite the fact that the Great Panic of 1819 had been so recent and so disastrous for many banks and businesses. The country was growing, too. President Monroe had just welcomed Alabama into the Union as the twenty-second state.
During their long ride, the Reverends Adams and Campbell may have talked of the new poetry with which Keats, Shelley, and Byron were setting afire Romantic Literature. A lively debate could have occurred as to whether the rewriting of the poetry rulebooks by Wordsworth and Coleridge was proper.
A theoretical discussion could well have centered on the “creation” by Shelley’s wife, Mary Godwin, of a monster out of spare parts and a shot of lightning which she named “Frankenstein’s Monster”. Further, were the tales woven by the brothers Grimm suitable for Methodist children?
Perhaps they may have hummed bits of music by Hayden, Mozart, or even the now stone-deaf Beethoven who was still pouring out magnificent themes. Without doubt, they sang some hymns by that popular classical composer and hymn-writer, Samuel Wesley, who worked with his brother Charles, the lyricist.
The two men undoubtedly spoke of the visit by the Marquis de Lafayette the past summer, as well as the coming presidential election, pitting the two war heroes — John Adams and Henry Clay — against one another.
Gazing about the town, they must have seen what the Reverend Elijah Dunbar had described in his talk for the New York Historical Society in 1822. The general impression of Peterborough was that of “enterprise, industry, and intelligence. Intemperance and the grosser vices are scarcely known, and there is not an individual here who professes to disbelieve the Christian religion.”
The village supported many public buildings, including a Congregational Meeting House, six schoolhouses, and a small Baptist Church. The “social library contained a handsome selection of well-chosen books”.
As the two ministers rode slowly toward Adam Penniman’s house along the dusty roads not bordered by sidewalks, they would have noted many odors familiar to them but, fortunately, not to us in this day — except for the aroma of food. The ladies did their cooking during the daylight hours, since tallow candles or the more expensive whale oil lamps had to be used sparingly. All refuse ended up in the garden to enrich the soil (and the air); there were no sewers. No policemen would inquire as to their business; there were no policemen.
The preachers timed their arrival to coincide with the daylight; there were no streetlights to show the way. People traveled at night only in emergencies.
The first class meeting probably took place at the home of Adam and Phebe Penniman, both 45. Also, there were Phebe’s sister, Jane Gray White, 48; and her husband, John Shearer White, 46; as well as the Gregg sisters — Elizabeth, 50, and Fanny, 42, spinsters.
Only John and Jane had children who survived to adulthood. Elizabeth, who was born in 1817, died at the age of 39 on October 14, 1856, four months after the birth of her third child, Elizabeth. James and Aaron lived only one year and ten years, respectively.
John Kelso White, the son of John and Jane, lived in Peterborough until the death of his parents, then removed to Hanover, Illinois, after marrying Elizabeth’s sister-in-law, Mary H. Swan.
The Pennimans had three children; but as often occurred in “the good old days”, all had died in infancy. Esther, born April 9, 1809, lived but eighteen days; Phebe Jane, born November 1, 1819, lived one year. A third child, a boy, died almost at birth.
But on that day in October, 1824, it may be said that the Pennimans gave birth to a child that still lives — The Peterborough Methodist Church. Adam and, probably, Phebe seem to have been the driving force in the organizing class. It was Adam whom the elders sought for counsel and advice through the years until his death on April 21, 1860, at the age of 81. On June 10, 1856, for instance, a three-man committee was elected to visit “Father Penniman” and consult him about repairing the parsonage. It was his name that appeared first among the signers of the Constitution of the Methodist Episcopal Society formed on April 10, 1839, Societies were formed by most Protestant churches, whose members felt it was improper for a church to own property.
John Shearer White was the second signer. Others were Erastus Reed, Nathaniel Burnham, John Holt, John Stuart, Merrill Roby, David Miller, and Samuel Prescott. The good, devoted ladies of the church must have felt slighted by Article 11 which clearly stated that “any male member of good moral character and of 21 years” could be a member of the Society. Women’s Suffrage had not yet dared to speak out.
Church and town records during these formative years are sadly lacking. We have no knowledge of the growth of the church from October, 1824, to June 23, 1840. We know that the Pennimans lived on what was then Penniman Road (now Cornish Road). The whites lived on the Major Samuel Gregg place in the north part of town, also the home place of the sisters Gregg.
We have no idea how these folks supported themselves, how they looked or even what their standing was in the village. Perhaps they all worked in the mills. Obituaries in the old Transcript merely listed name, dates of birth and death, and age — no more.
We know that Phebe survived Adam by almost three years; she died on January 21, 1863, at the age of 84. Jane White passed on at age 78 on September 27, 1854. John followed her shortly at age 77 on February 22, 1855. The graves of the Pennimans and the Whites are side by side in the old cemetery on Concord Street, together in death as they were for so many years in life.
In the cemetery, a few rows before the graves of the Pennimans and the Whites and on the south side of the roadway, are the graves of the sisters Gregg, still in tandem.
These, then, were the real founders of the Peterborough Methodist Church.
The written records begin in still treasured books, starting with Baptisms occurring in 1824. Many of those baptized were adults.
The first list of church members was written by the Reverend J. C. Cromack on June 23, 1840, from scraps of information from books that were in “bad condition”. There are eighty-five names. Besides the original founders, there were some still familiar family names including Wilder, Bean, Perry, and Tenny. A few of the 85 are found in the church records years later — David Miller, Erastus Reed, Goodyear Bassett, John Holt, John Stuart. Perhaps the books were in poor condition because until 1833, only circuit preachers served the congregation.
The Reverend Joseph Allen was appointed in 1834 as the first full-time preacher. Still no records survived or had been found until Mr. Cromack’s revision. The Society was formed in 1839, and the Constitution was duly entered. This was followed by a copy of the legal notice of the forming of the Society and then the minutes of the first Society meeting held on May 30, 1839 — an interesting date, prophetic as it were. It was at this meeting that the decision was made to construct the present building. The congregation had been meeting in various buildings, including the Town Hall. The building committee, of course, included Adam Penniman as well as John Stuart and David Miller.
The meetings were held in the parsonage; and on June 22, 1840, officers were elected as required by the Society’s Constitution. Mr. Cromack was voted chairman; John Holt, secretary; Adam Penniman, president; and John Stuart, collector.
It being the centenary year, a special fund had been accumulated through donations. It was voted to take enough from the fund to make up sixteen hundred dollars and “the pews be prized accordingly”. This apparently was a reference to the selling or renting of pew space on a sort of subscription basis. There is a document in the records authorizing the sale for five dollars of pew number thirty-five to Luke Tarbox by John Kelso White and his sister, Elizabeth P. Swan, on December 1, 1855, just prior to John‘s moving to Illinois. Five dollars sounds like a token fee until you learn that the preacher’s yearly remuneration was $300.00 as of August 8, 1840. This also puts a different face on the $1,600.00 for the church building paid to Brother Caleb Beede. Including the parsonage lot, fixtures, the underpinning and the parsonage, the total came to $2,429.00. To put this in perspective, we can assume that a new church might pay its minister today $12,000.00 per year — or 40 times Mr. Cromack’s salary. This would make the church and parsonage outlay $97,160.; so $2,429.00 was a munificent sum for a small congregation made up of parishioners of only modest means.
The Reverend Elias Cheney was born in Peterborough in 1832. We are indebted to this venerable man for a speech he gave in Peterborough on August 22, 1915, in which he reminisced about the Methodist Church and its close friend, the Baptist Church. Small groups from both churches met in his father’s kitchen for Bible study, prayers and singing. He particularly remembered the zeal and religiosity of the “Methodist sisters”. Most of those folks either worked in Steele’s factory or as boardinghouse keepers.
He referred to the planning of the new building that took place, at times, in their kitchen. It had to be built modestly. It took all they could raise, and they needed more. He remembered the big discussion as to having a steeple or not; the latter was more in keeping with the tradition of plain clothing, no jewelry, and unpretentious churches. The decision was to have a modest spire.
Oddly enough, the pulpit and railing were reversed from the present arrangement. Originally, the congregation sat in purchased or rented pews on a slightly inclined floor, facing the entrances that flanked the pulpit and railing area. Oh, it must have been painful to be late! The old floor line may be seen at what is now the pulpit area of the church. The church had grown steadily, according to Mr. Cheney, prior to the construction of its house. Following construction, more substantially-fixed folks joined, including Dr. Paine D. (“P.D.”) Badger, a botanical physician who “experienced religion”. He became an active temperance worker who larded his talks with the term “bosom of destruction”.
Exciting things happened through the years after the building was completed. In 1842 William Miller, a national figure, predicted 1843 as the year Christ would return. All through 1842, there were meetings in the sister churches (Methodist and Baptist). The Rev. Nr. Cheney, an impressionable and precocious ten-year-old, remembered the night of December 31, 1842. Elder Preble, leading Adventist, and the Reverend James Adams were within the railing at the altar. The tallow candles and whale oil lamps flickered. There were preaching and exhortation earlier in the evening, with a long period of silent prayer before midnight.
Elder Preble stood, watch in hand. It was solemnly still. At midnight, Elder Preble “calmly, sweetly, and solemnly said, ‘We have now entered the year in which I expect to see my Lord'”. Erich’s Comet appeared in March of 1843, increasing the anticipation.
On September 22, 1846, it was voted to reverse the pulpit and pews; but nothing happened until June 7, 1853, when it was again voted and, apparently, the change was made. Other names now appear as leaders with White, Stuart, Penniman, and Goodyear Bassett, supervisor of the Town Farm. Now we hear from Erastus B. Reed, P. D. Badger, W. E. Baker, and Luke Tarbox. Everybody knows a Luke Tarbox. He is the fellow who fixes the lights, hauls the wood, checks the plumbing, examines the roof and the paint job, and whatever else needs to be done. Luke and Phebe Tarbox were that couple — the “old dependables” — every church must have.
In July, 1854, a milestone was reached. The preacher’s claim (salary) was $350.00, and a committee of eight was chosen to raise the money. Now, for the first time, some new names appear: Lucy Moore and Elizabeth Holt. The ladies have surfaced and have taken their long-overdue place.
Problems arose. There was no preacher in April, 1855. A Reverend Mr. Hawes was appointed by the Conference but rejected, since he was reported to be a believer in the new doctrine of Spiritualism. He wasn’t; but by the time they had apologized, they had lost him. It wasn’t until November that William H. Jones reported.
By February 25, 1860, the Sunday School had nine teachers and eighty scholars. Two startling omissions occurred in the Quarterly Conference records. “Father” Adam Penniman died April 21, 1860. A conference was held on May 28, 1860 — but not a word about the death. Another momentous event never received mention in the record books — the Civil War.
On Sunday, December 27, 1874, it was admitted that the minister could not be paid in full. No services were held from that unhappy day until the first Sunday in July, 1875. In April, 1875, it was reported that there were thirty-one females and nine males as a congregation. A reopening service was held on the first Sunday in July, 1875. Pastor J. W. Coolidge writes that for eight months, they struggled with few members and that “false reports were kept in circulation against us”; but “the clouds that have darkened our sky have glowed as to see some sunlight”. The Sabbath School grew to as many as fifty and the congregation as high as seventy.
Pastor I. H. Hillman took over in April, 1876, and seems to have continued the work of rebuilding. The society was dissolved March 29, 1877; and all business devolved into the hands of the trustees. By May 19, 1878, the attendance was up to 102; and there were services in the morning at one o’clock in the afternoon, and in the evening.
More new names began appearing as leaders: Charles B. Wallace, Julian C. Dunklee, Amana Annis, and A. I. Annis. Luke Tarbox had to withdraw as agent of the trustees to the Annual Conference, due to ill health, but still served on church committees.
Another name that was to make a mark on the church — the ladies’ Aid Society — was born at 2:00 p.m. on June 13, 1877. The founding members deserve naming: Mary Ramsey, Angeline McGilvery, Eveline Straw, Lillea Dearborn, Martha Stuart, Laura Starkey, Mary Ray, Rose Annis, Mercy Annis, Ida Ramsey, Eliza Mason, and Augusta Baldwin.
The Society’s constitution declared its object to be “to promote the unity of Christian fellowship among us as a people, and to provide a fund which shall be applied to such purposes as the Society may direct”.
The By-laws directed that “all meetings shall be opened with prayer”, and “no member . . . shall originate or retail any slander or gossip relative to any person, member or otherwise . . . and it is hoped this will be binding upon us in all cases. ‘Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not . . . thinketh no evil (1 Cor. 13:4). Above all, have fervent charity among yourselves.’ (1 Peter 4:8).”
The original membership of the Ladies’ Aid Society, following its founding, totaled forty-three; and the group met every second week on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., changed later to 6:00 p.m. Membership fees were ten cents for ladies, fifteen cents for gentlemen. Dues at each meeting were three cents. Supper would be provided at each meeting, each member to carry provision and the party hosting the meeting to provide only tea, bread, and butter.
By July 11, 1877, the Ladies’ Aid was providing money toward the pastor’s salary from their July 4th picnic, and money from the treasury to repair the beds in the parsonage — all in less than a month after its founding. Ah, the power of woman.
The Society flourished. It contributed to the upkeep of the church and the parsonage, buying hymnals, sheets, quilting, bedspreads, and carpeting for the parsonage and church. All seemed very fine with the Society; yet, on May 14, 1890. the regular meeting adjourned to May 28, 1890. Here the record ends until July 12, 1904, at 2:00 p.m., when an organizational meeting was held and the Society resumed its activities.
What is most amusing about the Ladies’ Aid Society and the Church as a whole during the period following the Civil War was that it survived at all. The years following the war were economic disasters. By 1878, bankruptcy and unemployment were horrendous. It wasn’t until the mid-1880s that reason returned to the financial world and prosperity returned.
Goodyear Bassett, received as a member about 1825, passed away on June 8, 1886. Luke Tarbox died on June 17, 1887, at the age of 82 and is described in a ledger book as “for years a pillar”; and that is an under-statement. Phebe Tarbox went on working for the church until her death on December 18, 1906. Both were received as members in 1843.
Amasa Annis moved in 1885 to Goffstown, New Hampshire. A. I. Annis withdrew in February, 1887, to become a Unitarian. He had been a local preacher and very active in the church.
Julian C. Dunklee transferred in 1882 to the Antrim Methodist Episcopal Church, returned in 1884, and remained until his death on February 13, 1888. Mary Ramsey, Ladies’ Aid charter member, died April 14, 1888. So the second generation of soldiers of Christ passed on, and others stepped in to fill the ranks. George E. Quimby, D. F. Emery, James Ray, Eva Straw, Sarah Brackett, Abbie Snow, Addie Beckwith, and Nancy Winn are some of the names found repeatedly in the records beginning around 1887.
The records improve with a Recording Steward’s book which begins on June 26, 1879.
The church was extremely active in 1887. “The pastor rode and walked many hundred miles. Has made from 1300 to 1500 calls in all. Has called upon every family in town (621) and in Sharon (308) in Bible work and upon some families in other adjoining towns.” For this work he received $500.
The church continued its struggle for existence through these years but Trustees for 1889 included Sarah A. Brackett. Stewards were Eva Straw Sarah A. Brackett, Theodosia Hayden, Abbie Snow, and Maggie Dunklee. The presiding elder was Brother J. E. Robbins. It appears that the ladies are now in charge of the church.
In 1889, improvements were made in the church. An altar rail was installed, a place on the right was fitted up for the choir, and a new organ was given by Miss Cora Brackett. Twelve chairs were “purchased for the singers”, a new carpet was purchased and placed in the church, and lamps and painting had been furnished by Mr. Parker. Apparently, most of the work was paid for by the Ladies’ Aid Society.
The first reference to the Epworth League was made on August 19, 1893, when Sister Abbie Snow reported its activities.
In 1896, the organ was exchanged for a new one costing $125.00; and $75.00 was allowed on the old organ. The Ladies’ Aid raised the balance, of course. This was done despite the depression that resulted in the closing of the town’s savings bank.
The records now include names familiar to some of our present parishioners. Sister Lucy Nichols attended the November 1, 1896, Quarterly Conference.
A stroke of fortune occurred in October, 1896. Benjamin L. Winn left eight hundred dollars to the church for the support of preaching. This was the equivalent of two years’ salary for the pastor.
Frank A. Abbott united with the church in January, 1899. His name joined the familiar ranks.
The Reverend Henry B. Copp came to the church in May, 1899. He writes a chatty entry in the records for the first time. He made parish calls the day after he arrived and planted a large part of the parsonage garden. Finding no small fruits, he “purchased and set out some pie plant roots and strawberry plants together with a nice lot of choice blackberry and raspberry bushes.” He reports that Sunday attendance was about fifty on mornings, with only about twenty at the League service in the evening.
On July 7, 1899, he reports that the Ladies’ Aid celebrated the 4th of July with a picnic and a public (20 ct.) dinner at Lake Cunningham near the foot of Pack Monadnock, a “lovely place”. The large tent was erected on the front lawn of the summer home of the Brackett family. He speaks lovingly of “our invalid sister, Miss Sarah Brackett, who loves this church so well”. He further thanks her brother and niece for so cheerfully carrying out her plans and wishes.
The Junior Epworth League had its first meeting in July, 1899.
The church’s finances were in good condition, and the pastor’s salary was paid monthly “thanks to the ladies”.
The century ended on a very optimistic note. The finances were in a “prosperous state, the pastor paid timely” through the care of Miss Sarah Brackett, treasurer. Most of the funds were raised by very frequent suppers; but subscriptions rose substantially, and the suppers were reduced. The pastor’s salary was raised to $400 per annum, plus the parsonage.
The pastor’s report of August 4, 1900, records the death of Adaline Bassett and the marriage of “two of our own prized young people, Maurice Nichols and Cora B. Wilkins”, who remained a faithful member well into the memory of many of our present parishioners.
Mr. Joseph Brackett and his sister, Sarah, died within three weeks of each other in May, 1901.
The little congregation struggled along holding suppers, publishing a little religious paper with paid advertising, and with sacrificing on the part of all.
A year later, many new members had been added and the church finances brightened.
Until the Reverend Henry B. Copp came in 1899, the tenure of the pastors was at most three years, more usually only one. Mr. Copp’s major problem was distance. The flock was widely scattered; but in July, 1902, he was able to report that he and Mrs. Copp made about seventy calls during the quarter and held some ninety religious services both at the church and in various homes throughout the area. Several Sabbath afternoon services were held in the “brick schoolhouse in Sharon, the only seryices held in that town”.
Many persons well within the memory of present parishioners were listed as stewards and trustees: Ella Abbott, Ethel Abbott, Frank and Fred Abbott, Abby Snow, Edith Wilkins, John Woods, Hugh and Bertha Murphy, Alonzo and Gentrenello Austin.
In 1902, George H. Foote seems to have replaced Luke Tarbox. He helped haul and cut firewood, painted the parsonage floor and all other woodwork, and papered the parsonage. On August 4 and 5, he painted the pew backs and arms, painted and varnished altar and choir rails, and painted twenty-nine chapel chairs. He later put on a second coat and on August 18, he put in a new broad stair in the parsonage cellar. The next day he repaired the cellar drain and put in a cemented pipe. Mr. Foote followed this up by shingling and flooring the walkway from the shed to the barn. He set a new post in the parsonage cellar and cleaned out the water drains in back of the buildings. After about five cords of wood were sawed by James Leslie (bought by Brother Dunklee), Mr. Foote put the wood in the church cellar. He then, apparently, rested.
The Reverend Mr. Copp, in August, 1903, submitted his quarterly report with great satisfaction as to the temperal accomplishments of the church. He was not quite so happy with the degree of spiritual interest.
His report for the quarter ending December 6, 1903, starts with “Some good pastor in the far away future in looking over these then old records may desire to know what were the hours of worship in those olden times of 1903 and also what were the services held both on the Sabbath and on the evenings of the weekdays.” Sabbath morning service opened at 10:45. The sermon closed a little before 12:00 o’clock. An intermission of ten minutes was then spent in friendly greetings before the Sabbath School was opened with singing and prayer. The school usually lasted no more than one hour. In the afternoon at some seasons of the year, the Sabbath School was held in some schoolhouse outside the village.
The Junior Epworth League also had its service at 3:30 p.m., and was led by the pastor’s wife. At 5:45 p.m., the Epworth League held its service. On Thursday evenings, a religious meeting was held in the vestry. In addition, cottage prayer meetings were held in the village and in the east part of the town.
Mr. Copp was praying for a “sweeping revival in this place. But — oh, how greatly it is needed!” He commented, “Most of the people in their wild rush after pleasure seem to care little or nothing for higher interests.”
Interest in mission work was stimulated. All in all, Mr. Copp was pleased with his little church. His chatty and pleasant quarterly reports continued until March, 1905.
The Reverend C. W. Dockrill replaced him and, thankfully, he too continued the informative, newsy reports. He paid tribute to the “grand work” the Reverend Mr. Copp accomplished “considering the small constituency”.
Mr. Dockrill reported that during the quarter ending June 22, 1905, the morning service attendance was from a low of 58 to a high of 73.
The Sunday School now recorded a change. Once composed mostly of older people, it now attracted mostly younger people.
The Epworth League attendance stayed at about 24 for many years.
On July 1, 1905, an interesting and curious document was recorded. Mrs. Luke (Phebe) Tarbox was granted the privilege of tapping into the spring owned by the Methodist Episcopal Society and would hold this privilege until her death. The only clue to its location is a reference to the “main pipe from the southwest corner of the Thayer house”. Mrs. Tarbox enjoyed this privilege until her death at age 91 on December 18, 1905. She bequeathed her church home of 62 years the sum of $300. The annual interest was to be spent in keeping the church property in repair; Luke would have liked that.
The Reverend Mark Tisdale succeeded Mr. Dockrill, although the latter was asked in February, 1906, to remain for the following year.
Modernization reached the parsonage in 1907 when a telephone was installed.
Again, we have an example of the good old days when it was reported on February 25, 1908, that the church had been closed by request of the Board of Health after a few cases of diptheria were reported in the village.
The church moved rather placidly along during the Reverend Mr. Tisdale’s tenure. The stable group previously named remained throughout. George Foote moved over to the Baptist Church in 1909. John and Eva Dawson were added to the leadership rolls.
After four years, Mr. Tisdale requested a change. At his leaving, he reported the church small but healthy and faithful, with a loyal and proficient choir. The Ladies’ Aid had a membership of fifteen with usually four in attendance. The Epworth League had about twenty members who attended rather faithfully.
The Reverend J. E. Robins came in the spring of 1910 at the old salary of $400 and the use of the parsonage. He reported an average Sabbath attendance of 33, with a high of 100 and a low of 20.
The church roof received new metal shingles and the parsonage first quality cedar ones for a total cost of $273.07. The church was frescoed at a cost of $150; and a new altar rail was installed, a gift from the Lebanon Church in the spring of 1911.
In January, 1912, Mr. Robins was able to report all bills paid and the church warm every Sabbath, thanks to Brother John F. Dunklee who furnished the wood and Frank Abbott who kept it burning. The choir, under the leadership of organist Ethel Abbott, had harmony in both tone and spirit.
A somber note was struck on January 14, 1912, when it was reported that church attendance averaged 33, with 15 for Sunday School, partly due to members moving out of town due to a decrease in the manufacturing business.
Mr. Robins resigned on September 12, 1912; and the church members voted him thanks for his services and extended sympathy for himself and his family for unstated reasons. H0wever, the records revealed that he died on October 15, 1912.
The Reverend Gaius J. Slosser succeeded Pastor Robins. New names were added in January, 1913, to the list of stewards and trustees, Mrs. Edison Moore, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Mackenzie, and Marjorie Mackenzie.
Electric lights were installed in the church by Brother Dunklee, who continued to furnish wood for the church and parsonage. He seems to have replaced George Foote.
Mr. Slosser held some revival meetings and was able to report a rather remarkable growth in membership in every church department.
On April 16, 1913, Mr. Slosser was replaced by the Reverend C. L. Buehler whose wife transferred membership from a Delaware, Ohio, church
As did Mr. Slosser, Mr. Buehler greatly praised the kindness and the heartfelt warmth with which he and his wife were received and aided by the small church.
Sometime, old faithful George Foote returned to the fold and resumed his place as a steward.
In June, 1915, Mrs. Florence Moore became president of the Ladies Aid, and Mr. Walter Abbott superintendent of the Sunday School.
Although Mr. Buehler was extended the call for another year on March 22, 1916, Pastor C. P. Broadfoot became pastor in April.
Albert Brighton was added to the stewards; he was elected treasurer in March, 1917.
We are now in the midst of World War I; and it is not mentioned, although alluded to in that when Pastor Broadfoot left for a better position in Kansas, the shortage of ministers resulted in a few missed services.
On June 24, 1918, a momentous milestone was reached of even greater magnitude than the ladies first appearing in July 1854 – Pastor E. S. Barker assumed the pulpit. Pastor Barker became affectionately known as “Mother” Barker.
The influenza epidemic hit hard during her pastorate, closing all churches for four weeks. Slowly, she built up the momentum the church had lost. She was very grateful to have her salary raised to $500 year and fuel supplied for the parsonage. She was also proud to report all bills paid, as well as her salary.
Indicative of Bastor Barber’s sense of humor is her report that “our good Brother Frank Abbott with his consecrated auto has made the heart of our Sister Mary Holt and others happy by bringing them to the Sunday morning service”. She did not perceive any friction amongst the members even though “I can’t hear”, but she could see.
Sadly, at Conference on July 10, 1921, “Mother” Barker, who now had lost some of her eyesight, had to withdraw. She was replaced by the Reverend Earl Y. Fellows in the latter part of the year.
The congregation increased from 18 to an average of 30 to 35, and evening service attendance from 8 to 18 or 20.
In September, 1922, Ernest Burbank became Sunday School Superintendent Mrs. E. E. Flint president of the Ladies’ Aid. Mr. Nathan Methby and Mrs. Margarette Gilchrist joined the list of stewards.
Mary Holt, a faithful member for 30 years, died in June, 1923.
Again, Mr. Fellows was requested to continue for the following year on March 18, 1923; and by May, the Reverend Mae V. Granger ascended the pulpit.
Ironically, it was reported to the small but struggling church “that the Methodist Church has made a very great gain in new members throughout world and probably was at this time the largest Protestant Church in world”. Small solace to our little church. Also, this year had seen joining of the Northern and Southern churches into a united church.
Karl Musser’s name first appears in the Conference minutes of February 9, 1925.
The records in my possession end at this point, except for pastoral records indicating that Miss Granger left in April, 1933, after a tenure of ten years — a record here.
The Reverend Roger Thompson succeeded Miss Granger and left in 1937. Other pastors who followed were: Raymond S. Proudfoot, 1938-1944; Arthur L. Mansure, 1944-1947; Claude E. Adams, 1947-1949; Charles M. Tibbetts, 1949-1952; and William A. Hudson, 1952-1954.