Friday, November 28, 2008

Jerome Methodist Church History

  [Editor's Note:  The article, Jerome Methodist Church has proud history; church organized in 1855, dedicated in 1871, by Mildred Cathcart, Catherine Mallett and Helen McElvain was published in the Ad-Express/Iowegian's Annual Progress Edition on February 21, 1997.  It is transcribed below with permission of the Ad-Express/Iowegian.]  
  When families began moving westward into the Iowa territory, they found land in this area to be good for farming and pasture so they decided to settle in Jerome. As soon as they had a home and some shelter for their livestock, they saw the necessity for three things.  One of the necessary things was a cemetery, so land was purchased for $10.  A Methodist church was organized in 1855, ten years after the conference was established in Iowa.  Services were first held in homes until the construction of a log schoolhouse in 1857 west of the cemetery.  Charter members wee Calvin Jackson and wife, Jim Kenney and wife, Grandma Thomas, George Jackson and wife, Delila Jackson mother of Calvin Jackson, eight in all.  The circuit rider's name was RichardBallender.   In the fall of 1870 they commenced to build a church.  The work was mostly donated.  Men took their teams and wagons and went into Missouri to cut the lumber, haul it to the sawmill and from the sawmill home.  They would often be gone a week and sometimes two weeks.  The flooring, siding and shingles were hauled from Albia.  The first church stood on the same site as the present church.  The land for the church was deeded to them by Peter and Susan Sidles.  It was a gift and the deed was recorded June 23, 1871.  Women of the community donated rags and Mrs. Jackson wove carpets for the aisles.  James Hagan and Allan Taylor superintended the carpenter work.  Mrs. Hagan and Mrs. Calvin Jackson boarded the workmen without cost.

  In October 1871 the building was dedicated.  Older people telling of the dedication said it was a "great day and the house was crowded."
  An organ was purchased in 1886.  Mamie Kenney was the first organist serving until her death in 1892.  The organ lasted until a piano was purchased in 1908. Music was furnished by Ova Kinney, his sister Maude, and John Shelton and daughter Ethel, who ran a store in Jerome several years.  Effie Kinney Houx accompanied them and was pianist for many years.  Others who have played are Zelda Workman, Hazel Felkner, Judy Beer Kauzlarich, Catherine Mallett, Larry
Mallett, Beverly Mallett Crosby, Roberta Felkner and Jeremy McElvain.  Catherine Mallett is the present pianist.
  In 1963 a new piano was given from Ellie Kinney Houx's estate.  Another was purchased for the social room, mainly from a donation of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stark.
  The new church had ordinary glass window panes, but four stained glass windows were presented by The Ladies Aid, Epworth League, Sunday School and Class of Careful Gleaners.  When a member died another window was installed and given until there were no more large plain windows.
  Those given are in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Pendergast, Mary Kinney, Arlie R. Stark, Betty R. Glenn, Mary Ann Glenn, Martha C. Pickering (one window), Mable R. Felkner, Ettie M. Condra and Miss Anna Gorman. These windows are beautiful when the sun shines low in the west. 
  With the erection of a belfry people a considerable distance away could hear the pleasant, clear sound of the church bell.  It would be rung early and again to mark time for Sunday morning services.  The bell would also ring to remind people of mid-week services, Epworth League meetings or revivals.  Sometimes, however, the sound was not pleasant to hear when the bell was tolled solemnly to announce the funeral of a relative or friend.

The Jerome Methodist Church in 1997

  During a revival in 1909, under the leadership of Rev. J. H. Krenmyre, the church gained 46 members.  The town had grown because of the mining industry and many people began to want a new church.  The old church was sold May 6, 1911, to Henry Purdy for $200.  It was moved to the corner of Grant St. and North-South St. west of the Big 4 Store.  It was used as a store building many years, then sold to the county for road machinery.

The first Methodist Church (second building on left) after it was moved across the road from the Big 4 store.

  The building committee for the new church was Joe Barton, chairman; David Loofbourrow, treasurer; and L. J. Norris.  The local minister was James Priestnal. Since there was no fund to start with, these men worked very hard and spend many hours collecting the money.  D. D. Wilson was the carpenter and was known as a perfect workman.
  It was dedicated Dec. 17, 1911.  The house was filled.  Rev. E. J. Shook, district superintendent, preached using as his text I Chronicles 17:12, "He shall build me a house and I shall establish his throne forever."  The local minister at that time was Rev. J. H. Krenmyre.
  Anna Gorman came on the orphan train to live with the Pendergasts.  At Anna's death in 1937 her will continued from the will of Mrs. Maria Pendergast which left half of their possessions to the Jerome Methodist Church.  Their home was sold and some cash collected which made it possible to add a small kitchen and a social room.  There were not sufficient funds at the time the church was built.
  The contract was let Aug. 7, 1939 to Claude Lepper and Roy Packard of Numa. Additional money was raised by small subscriptions from many people, the largest being from Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stark.  Much labor was donated.  In memory of Anna Gorman and Mrs. Pendergast, the dedication was Nov. 19, 1939 with District Supt. Dr. Levi P. Goodman preaching from Ezekial 47:9.
  The Epworth League was organized in 1889.  Three years later, Aug. 14, 1892, an Epworth League was organized at Jerome.  W. D. Williams of Centerville came out and it was organized with 18 members.  Later it was known as Methodist Youth Fellowship and UMYF with only a few short periods of disbanding through the years.  Leaders have been Mrs. A. F. Hawkins, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Felkner, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mincks, Helen Loofbourrow and Catheri
ne Mallett.  These leaders worked diligently to provide enough activities.
  As population diminished, so did membership.  Pastor Paul Smith brought new life into the organization.  The members participated in a variety of activities including preparing and presenting Christmas programs.  One of the successful activities they carried out for adult enjoyment was serving a Potato Bake with various toppings.  The ladies naturally would see that there were salads and desserts.  Dining was by candlelight at the decorated tables while soft music was heard in the background.
  The early Ladies Aid leaders are remembered as Mrs. Addison Pendergast, Mrs. George Sidles, Mrs. George Frogge, Mrs. James Hunter, Mrs. G. D. Mincks, Mrs. A. F. Hawkins and many more.  The first president of the WSCS was Kathryn Hawkins, followed by Mrs. James Felkner, Susie Sidles, Mrs. Richard Mincks, Mrs. Charley McGavran, Mrs. Gail Felkner, Mrs. Paul Felkner, Mrs. Joe Beer, Mrs. Merle Loofbourrow and presently Mrs. L. H. Mallett.  The ladies now clean the church and sponsor the smorgasbord.
  The first smorgabord was tried Nov. 7, 1982.  Now the food and fellowship is enjoyed three or four times in spring and again the fall of the year.
  One of the early ways of raising funds and most often associated with Ladies Aid in the early 1900s was quilting.  It was not uncommon sight to walk into some member's front room and see quilting frames set and several ladies quilting.  It was said quietly that some of the ladies did quilting not quite so neat so later a few of the more accompl
ished quilters would rip out those stitches and do them over.
  Ladies were often asked to serve farm auction sales which proved to be quite profitable.  There were also election day dinners consisting of sandwiches, soup and pie.  Then there were Thanksgiving dinners before people traveled so much.
  The ladies began meeting inspirational, business and social times and a variety of ways were devised to raise money.  As people moved from the area and times changed, new financial means had to be planned.  One way that was different was a quilt the ladies made and set together with white blocks. For a donation or a nominal fee, the donor's name would be embroidered on the quilt.  That proved to be a tedious task and it is said Chloe Hawkins did that job.
  Louise Hunt purchased the quilt and has been very generous with it.  She brought it to our Jerome reunion and it proved to be a most popular exhibit.  As relatives found the name of family members, many of who had been dead for some time.
  Another time an apron was just handed from one household to another with instructions to sew on a patch with a donation enclosed.  Bake sales and Harvest Dinners went well.
  For a number of years the UMW served Mother-Daughter and Father-Son banquets with a program following.  Harriet Hefner suggested smorgasbords and many were skeptical.  They have been very successful and many enjoy the food and fellowship.
  In the fall of 1953 the official board met and chose J. W. Workman as chairman of a building committee with Eugene Glenn and Mrs. Gail Felkner.  Various committees were chosen and Mrs. Joe Beer had a large part in planning the kitchen.  Since there was much need for more Sunday School room, the old kitchen was extended into the social room and a new kitchen added.
  The church was completely renovated and blocks put on the ceiling, walls redecorated, floors sanded, and a roof and banisters built on the front porch. Miss. Ida McGavran, Susie Sidles and Harriet Hefner were in charge of the work. Carl Barbaglia of Mystic was the carpenter and Paul Felkner assisted him much of the time.
  Many hours of labor were donated by men of the church and community.  Some donated as much as two weeks labor.  Everything was completed in early January, 1954.  The church and all additions were dedicated free of debt.
  The year 1955 was the centennial year for the Jerome Methodist Church.  It was observed at an all day meeting Sept. 18, 1955.  
  The parsonage west of the church was rented to janitors much of the time due to Jerome being joined to Plano, Brazil, Promise City, Cincinnati or Mystic to share ministers.  In 1953 Rev. Sam Cox was the last minister to live there and it was torn down in the 60s for a parking lot. 
  The church did not have a regular minister, but circuit riders came regularly. When the visiting minister was here he had Sunday morning and evening services as well as a Wednesday meeting and a number of revival meetings.  The ministers boarded in homes until the parsonage was built. 
  Later the church had its own minister and one of the most popular was Rev. Krenmyre.  He was well liked by the young teenage boys who had quit school after graduating from junior high to work in the mine with their fathers.  In summer when work was less steady in the mines, they worked for farmers who would need extra help.  The reverend donned overalls and went to the fields with the boys.  He invited them to come to the revival meetings and just wear overalls.  The preacher did, too.  A number of young men clad in overalls made their way forward and accepted the call of the Lord.
  The church became a member of Faith United Parish in 1972.  Administrator of the parish is Kim Crummer, preaching at Mystic and Cincinnati.  Jim Matheney of Drakesville is now preaching at Jerome and Unionville, Iowa.


The Jerome Methodist Church in 2008

The original Methodist Church in 2008 ... after serving as a store for many years, it is now a county road maintainance facility.

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