IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Church records
updated 06/17/2013

Grace United Methodist Church
New Albin

photo post-card of the M.E. church, New Albin
Undated photo postcard of the New Albin M.E. church, now called Grace United Methodist

Grace M.E. Church, New Albin, undated
M.E. Church, New Albin, undated

The New Albin Society of Methodists was organized in January, 1874, by Rev. H.W. Houghton with W.H. Tuthill being appointed leader. From this time until 1895, Lansing and New Albin were one charge.

Reverend Houghton carried on the pastoral work until 1878 without any salary. He was succeeded by Dr. R.C. Ambler, who supplied for the year ending October, 1879, his salary being $75.

Rev. A.M. Sanford, the next pastor, remained three years at a more respectable salary. Rev. L.N. Green was appointed as his successor, also remaining three years.

The ensuing year, there was no pastor. The Sunday School work was kept up by A.P. Petrehn.

The next year, Rev. E.G. Hearty was appointed. He supplied both New Albin and Lansing from May until conference time, when H.J. Bowder took up the pastoral work and carried it for three years. J.B. Wyatt, the next pastor, remained two years, and his successor, W.A. Allen, one year.

In 1894, it was decided that the work was too heavy for one man and Squire Heath was appointed assistant to the Lansing pastor, E.D. Hall. This arrangement lasted one year, after which Mr. Heath assumed full control and New Albin became an independent charge. Mr. Heath re­mained two years with an annual salary of $600.

Rev. R.L. Finney was appointed his successor and remained for one year, until the 1897 conference, when W.G. Crowder became pastor for only one year. A.A. Hallett succeeded him in 1899. B.C. Barnes followed and stayed two years, ending with the 1901 conference when H.E. Kester was appointed and remained through 1904; W. Lease, 1905-1906, C.C. Casper, 1907-1909; Henry Allshouse, 1910-1911; E.T. Gaugh, 1912-1913.

Quarterly conference roll was: W.O. Bock, C.J. Travis, Ed Bock, R.C. May, H. Riser, Wm. Thompson, R.G. May, C.M. Steele, Mrs. Wm. Thompson, Mrs. J.E. Goble, Cora Thomson, and Mrs. O.C. Tartt.

The church sustained a flourishing Sunday School of which W.O. Bock was superintendent.

In the year 1902, the church built a parsonage at a cost of $2,500 which remained the parsonage until 1971 when it was sold.

The women of the church have two organizations which meet monthly--the Ladies Aid and the Women's Foreign Missionary Society.

In 1913-1914, W.T. Smith was pastor, followed by C.R. Disney. During Rev. Disney's time, 1914-1916, the decision to build a new church was made by the officers who included: C.M. Steele, R.C. May, Wm. Schultz and August Hausman. The stewards of the church were C.M. Steele, C.J. Travis, Ed Bock, Mrs. John Sires, Mrs. James Goble and Wm. Schultz. The President of the Aid Society was Mrs. James Goble and the secretary, Miss Daisy Robinson. The Epworth League, a young people's organization, had Nina Goble as president and Eva Bellows as secretary. This church was dedicated on Sunday, August 27, 1916, and is the present structure.

Following Rev. Disney was Rev. John Gammons who remained two years. After that, Rev. Walter Piper was minister and remained six years. Mrs. Piper passed away in 1973 at the age of 106.

At this time, the congregation was much larger and at the Christmas program, we filled all of the seats and used additional chairs.

Rev. Piper was succeeded by Rev. E.I. Seldon from 1923-1925, then by William H. Smith, 1925-1928.

After that, Rev. Allen Gable came and stayed two years, 1928-1930. He was followed by Rev. J.H. Barr, 1930­1933.

Rev. Elso Sarchett came in 1933. That year, the French Creek Meth­odist Church combined with the New Albin Methodist Church as they had no minister. This combination lasted several years.

Rev. Howard Palmer came in 1934 and stayed for two years until 1936. Later, in the 1960's, Rev. Palmer was District Superintendent for four years.

In 1936, Rev. H.H. Fletcher was minister for one year, then Rev. Merton McKinnley who also stayed only one year.

Rev. Bernard Kemper was here from 1938-1940. During this time, the Women's Missionary Society and the Ladies' Aid were united into one organization known as the Women's Society of Christian Service. The charter members were Mrs. Ruth Tufts, Daisy Robinson, Mrs. Ruth Wilson, Mrs. Frank Easton, Mrs. Herman Krzbietke, Mrs. Esther Tabatt, Mrs. Carol Kemper, Annabell Fitchen, Mrs. J.H. Reiser, Mrs. Margretta Mendenhall, Mrs. Clara Darling, Mrs. Florence Irons, and Anna Wuennecke. The officers elected were President - Esther Tabatt, General Vice President - Mrs. Eric Jordan, who had been Missionary President, Secretary - Margretta Mendenhall, Treasurer - Florence Irons, Vice President of Missionary Education and Services - Mrs. Tufts, Vice President of Local Work - Myrl Mead, who resigned and Ruth Wilson was elected. After the first meeting, the membership grew to 53 in a short time.

Rev. Kemper was followed by Rev. Park Anderson from September of 1940-1942, and then Rev. Milton Northdurft from 1942-1944.

In 1944, Rev. DeWitt Clinton came, staying one year. Following him was Rev. Emmett M. Goettschuis from 1945­-1950. He was a great gardener. He was followed by Rev. EW. Cass from 1950-1954, then Rev. Roy L. Cawley, 1954-1956.

During this time, due to road conditions caused by construction of a new road from Waukon to Dorchester, French Creek Church combined with Waukon, and Dorchester Methodist Church combined with New Albin until 1971. Mrs. Cawley directed the choir.

Rev. C.E. Isaacson came next and remained four years, 1961-1963.

The next minister was Rev. Ernest Neilson from 1963-1967. They had two adopted boys, Walter and Danny, 8 years and 6 years old. Six-week old twins, Heidi and Andy, were then adopted from the Dubuque Hillcrest Home. The Neilsons had a boy of their own after leaving the church. The summer of 1973, Mrs. Neilson passed away of a heart attack after an attack of the flu.

On August 12, 1965, the Women's Society of Christian Service celebrated its 25th anniversary by having other churches as its guests. A nice program was presented, followed by lunch.

The next minister was a Japanese, Rev. H. Tanaka, from 1967­-1970. He was here a year before his wife and little daughter, Kasume, came from Japan. A year later, they had a baby boy. Mrs. Tanaka and Kasume could not speak English when they came to New Albin but, in time, learned.

Rev. Tanaka was followed by a young man, Rev. Calvin Tiffany, who stayed one year, 1970-1971. It was unknown at that point whether we would then have another minister due to the shortage of ministers and being located in the comer of the state by ourselves as Dorchester was going to again have the Waukon minister.

Rev. C.K. Wever, hearing that Grace Methodist did not have a minister, volunteered to also serve this church along with two other country churches, St. John's United Church of Christ and Mt. Hope Presbyterian Church. This was when the parsonage was sold, as Rev. Wever lived at St. John's parsonage.

Several years ago, the church had a male quartet that consisted of C.J. Travis, Ed Bock, Charles Kumpf and James Sires which was well known and sang for many churches and community affairs in the county and surrounding territory, besides singing for church every Sunday.

C.J. Travis was organist for the church for 68 years. Mrs. John Mendenhall also accompanied him on the piano and after his retirement, she became pianist and organist. Then her daughter, Phyliss, played the organ while Margretta played the piano.

There are many who served the church throughout the years with their prayers and work that has kept the church open when times seemed very gray. Besides the first officers, there are Mrs. Frank Wilson, Cora Thomson, Gladys Dresselhaus, Annabell Fitchen, Nettie Sires, Marjorie Bina, Esther Dee, Margretta Mendenhall, Mattie Lenz, Gladys Danningbring and Mariam Weymiller, who have been officers in the W.S.C.S. for over fifteen years.

In the Sunday School, C.J. Travis, James Sires, Mrs. James Sires, John and Margretta Mendenhall, Mary Lou Welper, Phyliss Mendenhall and Harris Fink have been faithful officers or teachers.

John Mendenhall, who came to New Albin in 1927, and Margretta, a few years later, have been a great help to the church, John being treasurer for forty years.

Grace Methodist has a nice choir with Rev. Wever and Gary Thomas in charge.

The church has had a carpet laid upstairs which was started by a donation of $200 from the Alvin Jordan family of Chicago about fifteen years ago. The ladies held bazaars, food sales, candy sales and suppers to pay the balance. Next, the panelling was done and the downstairs was carpeted. In the fall of 1973, the big colored glass windows were re-paned and the storm windows put on.

The church was also painted twice on the outside with the congregation doing most of the work, and the paint being donated by the Alvin Jordans.

In 1975, Pastor Jones served the church; in 1976, Pastor John Hall, and from 1977 to present, Pastor Tom Mattson.


Grace Methodist Church
Grace Methodist Church, undated

Grace Methodist Church, circa 1916
Grace Methodist Church, circa 1916

M.E. Parsonage, undated
M.E. Parsonage, undated

~source: 'The First 100 Years of New Albin', 1994
~transcribed by Errin Wilker


Mothers and Daughters Banquet

A Mothers and Daughters banquet was held at Grace Methodist Church in New Albin on Monday evening, May 2, with 93 guests attending. Greeters were Mariam Weymiller and Esther Dee. Each guest was presented with a corsage. The theme of the evening was "O You Beautiful Dolls." Mae Crowley was mistress of ceremonies, welcoming mothers, daughters and grandmothers, introducing Mrs. Marg Harris of Fountain City, Wis. at the piano and Tat Sires on trumpet who furnished dinner music for the evening.

"Memories" was played as the guest of honor, Mrs. Ollie Stevens, 91 years young, was introduced and taken on a short trip down Memory Lane. She was presented with a gift and a rose. Also mentioned were Mrs. Ruth Irons of Northgate Manor and Mrs. Mattie Lenz of Good Samaritan Center in Waukon. They were unable to attend.

The reading of the scripture and table prayer were presented t by Margareta Mendenhall. The program consisted of group singing throughout the evening. A reading, "To Each His Own," was given by Sara Thomas. A skit, "What a Woman," was presented by Iris Sires, Dorothy Visger, Susan Sommermeyer, Bernice Fink, Jody Benson, Donna Dee, Lillian Sires, Sharon Breeser, Sandy Breeser and Sara Thomas. The narrator was Linda Sires. A song, "We Have a Secret," was sung by a group of children.

A tribute to Mothers Day, "Say lt With Flowers," was given by readers Norma Benson and Susan Sommermeyer, with children presenting flowers in honor of all mothers. There was a song by a group. The song was "What a Friend We Have in Mother."

Lisa Welper, Sheryl Welper and Gladys Dresselhaus gave a presentation entitled "Tribute to Mothers." Three and four generations were honored: (four generation) Mrs. Benora Solberg, Spring Grove, Minn., Mrs. Lila Smith, Waukon; Mrs. Linda Sires and Sarah Jane Sires, New Albin; (three generation) Mrs. Mariam Weymiller, Mrs. Mary Lou Welper and Miss Jody Welper, New Albin; and Mrs. Gladys Dresselhaus, Mrs. Sheryl Welper and Miss Lisa Welper, all of New Albin.

Prizes were awarded to: mother with most daughters present, Velma Mack; youngest mother, Janet Weymiller; youngest daughter, Candice Dee; grandmother with most granddaughters present, Gladys Dresselhaus; tallest mother, Carol Dee of Lansing; mother with smallest waistline, Bernice Fink; and youngest daughter that kissed mommy last, Carolyn Weymiller of Harpers Ferry.

Highlight of the evening was the "Kitchen Boys" singing "O You Beautiful Dolls." The chorus consisted of Charles Dee, Douglas Sires, Sonny Dresselhaus, John Breeser, Cleon Sires, Pastor Hall, Harry Lenz, Forrest Sires, Merle Welper, Bud Fink, Frank Weymiller, Leonard Dee, Shooky Fink and Les Dresselhaus.

The banquet meal was served by the kitchen boys. Guests were from Lansing, Waukon, Harpers Ferry, Caledonia, La Crosse, Spring Grove and Fountain City. The delightful evening ended by all praying the Lord’s Prayer together.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, May 1977
~contributed by Errin Wilker

Old Fashioned Christmas at New Albin

The United Methodist Women of Grace Methodist Church of New Albin met on Thursday, December 8, at 1 p.m. in the church dining room to observe an "Old Fashioned Christmas." The members and guests were greeted by Sandy Dresselhaus and Mary Lou Welper and each was pinned with a corsage pertaining to the Christmas season.

The tree was decorated with strings of popcorn and cranberries, paper chains, knitted stockings, and "old fashioned" clip-on candle holders and candles. The lighted Nativity symbols completed the scene. Many of the ladies were attired in dresses appropriate to the occasion. The tables were decorated with greenery, "old fashioned" kerosene lamps and many candles. The room was darkened and the lamps and candles were lighted by Mary Lou Welper, Linda Sires, and Sandy Dresselhaus as a piano duet, "Christmas Echoes," was played by Susan Sommermeyer and Karen Lee.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of a departed member, Pearl Lenz. Mae Crowley gave a reading entitled, "Our Father Has Summoned A Member," with background music played by Susan Sommermeyer.

After a delicious 1:00 o’clock luncheon, a program was presented by the four officers, Mae Crowley, President; SaraThomas, Vice Pres.; Gladys Dresselhaus, Secy.; and Vicki Amble, Treasurer. The program was "The Christmas Story," and the singing of the carols. The spirit of giving was observed by each one present receiving a remembrance of the occasion. Forty ladies enjoyed a delightful afternoon together.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, December 1977
~contributed by Errin Wilker

United Methodist Women of Grace Church

The United Methodist Women of Grace Church, New Albin, met on May 11th at one o’clock in the church dining room. Margareta Mendenhall and Esther Dee welcomed those in attendance, and each member and visitor was presented with a corsage, as the theme for the May meeting was "Honoring Mothers." After the welcome of guests and members by the President, a sing-along of Mother’s Day songs was conducted. Flowers were presented to the oldest and to the youngest members, with honors going to Mrs. Gladys Dee and Mrs. Susan Sommermeyer.

A reading, "Mother," was given by Mary Lou Welper in honor of her mother, Mariam Weymiller; A song, "What a Friend We Have in Mother," by Norma Benson, Susan Sommermeyer, Mary Lou Welper and Mae Crowley concluded the program.

The business meeting included plans for a Father-Son Banquet to be held at Grace Church on Tuesday, June 13, at 7:30 p.m. Sandy Dresselhaus, chairperson of Ruth Circle, will be in charge.

Margareta Mendenhall will be our delegate to the School of Missions to be held July 6 - 9 at Le Mars, Iowa. Bandages were sent to the Nyadiri Mission Methodist Hospital at Salsbury, Rhodesia.

The United Methodist Women of Lansing will be our guests at our June 1 evening meeting at 7:30. Change of date of United Methodist Women meeting is due to the Bible School being held e from June 5 to June 9. The ladies were asked to furnish cookies for the lunch for the boys and girls attending the school and for treats after the Bible School program. Margareta Mendenhall asked the members to help with the cancer drive. Nine ladies responded. Making quilts for Bidinell Riverside Center in Des Moines was discussed.

Our president reminded us we have another day of importance this month. Within a few days we will pay tribute to our dead and our soldiers. A moment of silence was observed.

The lesson, "Melody Notes," Christ, Vision, Giving & Friendliness was given by Norma Benson. Hostesses were Lillian Sires and Sara Thomas. For the June meeting, Lesson and Devotions will be given by Sharon Sires and Dorothy Visger. Hostesses will be Helen Fink, Sharon Breeser, Donna Dee and Mae Crowley.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, May 1978
~contributed by Errin Wilker

The U.M.W. of Grace Church

The U.M.W. of Lansing and guests from Sumner and New Albin were entertained by the U.M.W. of Grace church, June 1 in the church dining room. The theme for the evening was "The Hand of Friendship." Guests of the evening were greeted by Iris Sires and Mariam Weymiller and were presented with miniature "Hands of Friendship." The meeting opened and closed with piano duets. "Onward Christian Soldiers," and "Joybells Ringing in Your Heart," by Karen Lee and Susan Sommermeyer.

Our president extended a welcome, "The Gift of Friendship," to all guests and members. A sing-a-long by the forty-three ladies present included, "He Touched Me," "The Family of a God," and "It Was Love." A friendship prayer was offered by Norma Benson. After the reading of "The Purposes," the lesson and devotions were given by, Sharon Sires and Dorothy Visger. The theme, "Father’s Day," was carried out in three skits by Sharon and Dorothy, Joey Sires and Glenn Thomas. The skits were well presented and enjoyed by all. A short business meeting was conducted. Plans for the Father-Son Banquet on June 20 were reported on by chairperson Sandy Dresselhaus.

A letter was received from Salisbury, Rhodesia thanking us for the bandages sent last month. After the close of the business meeting, the following program was presented: a reading, "A Friendship" by Sheryl Welper; a hymn, "Trust and Obey," by all present; the "Ten Commandments of Friendship," by Mary Lou Welper, Helen Fink, Susan Sommermeyer, Sharon Breeser, Karen Lee, Sandy Dresselhaus, Vickie Amble, Sara Thomas, Norma Benson, Linda Sires and Donna Dee; the closing song, "My Lord and Friend," by the ladies of Grace Church choir.

A delicious lunch was served. Tables were decorated with gold candles and red peonies. Hostesses were Helen Fink, Sharon Breeser, Donna Dee and Mae Crowley.

Father-Son Banquet

Father-Son Banquet held at Grace Methodist Church on June 20 at 6:30 p.m. was well attended and much enjoyed by all.

The dining room decorations were done by Linda Sires. A huge silhouette of father and son graced the bulletin boards and the tables were very attractive with miniature cars, tepees and Indians. Before dinner was served a very entertaining M.C., Doug Sires, greeted the crowd with his clever wit and adlibbing. The welcome to dads and lads was given by Mayor Tat Sires. Special guests at the occasion were Mr. Simon Weber and two sons. The Weber family are the new owners of Dresselhaus Hardware. They were welcomed to the community.

All fathers introduced their sons and three-year generations were recognized. They were: Frank Weymiller, Sr., son, Allison, and grandson, Steve; Cleon Sires, sons, Doug and Lance, and grandsons, Andy, Chad and Jason; Tat Sires, son, Joel, and grandson, Joey. Scripture and table grace were given by Allison Weymiller. A sing-a-long also preceded the serving of a delicious ham dinner.

After dinner the following program was presented: The waitresses and kitchen help sang two numbers, "You Light Up Our Lives," and "When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver." Merle Welper read "My Steps," and Marty Welper responded with "Just Like Him." A tribute to grandfathers was read by Steve Weymiller. Songs and readings were done by seven sons as follows: "Welcome to Dads" by Andy Sires, "My Dad" by Glen Thomas, "Dad Knows the Score" by John Thomas, "That’s What U are Dad" by Brant Amble, "l’m Thankful" by Joey Sires, "God Wants" by Ty Thomas, and "Saying Thank You" by Chad Sires.

The quartet consisting of Karen Lee, Frosty, Joel and Tat Sires rendered two selections which were greatly enjoyed by all. There were also readings by Sara Thomas, and "If I Had a Boy" was read by Bob Dresselhaus.

Prizes were awarded to several, they are as follows: Oldest father - Leonard Dee; largest waistline - Earl Reiser; father with most sons - Gary Thomas; smallest waistline - Frosty Sires; youngest son - Timmy Sires; grandfather with most grandsons - Frank Weymiller; youngest father and coming longest distance - Lance Sires; guest prize was awarded to Karen Lee.

The event closed with a song, "Faith of Our Fathers." Special thanks to Sandy Dresselhaus, chairperson of Ruth Circle, and her group, Mary Lou Welper; Bernice Fink; Gladys Dannenbring; Lillian Sires; and Mae Crowley for organizing and promoting this delightful affair. Thanks also to all volunteer waitresses and kitchen help and to those who prepared the food and helped in any way.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, June 1978
~contributed by Errin Wilker

New Albin United Methodist Women Enjoy Brunch

Saturday morning, June 9th at 9 a.m. the U.M.W. met and enjoyed a brunch. Sharon Breeser and Dorothy Visger were hostesses. Phyllis Hyde presided at the business meeting. Mae Crowley read a "Thank You" note from Mrs. Becker for the cookbook given her and for the courtesies shown her when she visited us.

The large wall mirrors and altar cloths were given to the church by Helen Fink. We thank her for these items.

A most interesting lesson was given by Sharon Sires and Dorothy Visger on the busy month of June, after which they served a brunch. July hostesses will be Mae Crowley and Sara Thomas.

Thornton Manor volunteers for July are Sharon Sires, Dorothy Visger, Esther Breeser and Jeanne Waters.

Thursday afternoon, June 7th, the Jr. Choir of Grace Church brought a bit of sunshine into the lives of the Thornton Manor residents. Six little girls, Errin, Heather and Stephanie Lee, Sarah Sires, Jill Amble, and Candice Dee and 2 little boys, Eric and Jon Sommermeyer, sang several selections. They were accompanied by directors Mae Crowley, Ruby Middendorf, and Margaretta Mendenhall. Gina Sires, Esther Dee and Mae Crowley provided transportation. Everyone enjoyed a treat at the restaurant afterwards.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, June 1983
~contributed by Errin Wilker


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