IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Church records

Volney Methodist Church

Franklin twp.


Eastern Iowa Churches - At Volney
Part of Monona Charge, Methodist Church Was Built in 1890
by Irene Entwisle

Methodist church at Volney, 1951
Methodist church at Volney

Volney - It is a question just when the first church was built in Volney, a village on the Yellow River six miles north of Monona, but it was about 1865, on a lot on the east side of the road opposite the present home of Mrs. Mae Henderson. It was also used as a public school.

The front, an enclosed porch, had two entrances, one for men and boys and the other for women and girls. A pulpit 4 feet long and 20 inches wide was built by John Muth, a local carpenter and presented by Thomas Entwisle. Equipped with a lid, it was also used to store Bibles and hymn books. Teachers used it for a desk during school hours.

In about 1877 the present Volney school building was built. Because the church was in disrepair, it was abandoned and services were conducted in the schoolhouse. Under the superintendency of Mrs. F. W. Tangeman of the Sunday School, an organ was purchased. A case, in which to store it, was built in the corner of the schoolroom.

A wave of religious enthusiasm swept over the community in 1890, following a revival campaign by an evangelist named Albright. As a result, plans were started in the spring to build a new church. Leaders in the movement were: J.P. Emerson, H. A. Burnham, William Adams, and Alex Campbell. Among the families contributing were those of George Cassidy, D. J. Dull, William Surring, Joe Wilkins, William Cowell, C. H. Entwisle, Peter Nazett, A. J. Tangeman, John Bratsberg, N. Flesch, Stafford brothers, H. Peglow, C. McShane, David Biggs, William Rose, and George Jenkins. Much of the labor on the church building was donated.

Dora Entwisle and Julia Bratsberg were appointed to raise money among the young folks for a church bell. It has been used ever since to call the members to worship in the little church.

The building was dedicated March 22, 1890. Long a part of the Monona charge, it has been served by the resident pastor there.

Baptism in the nearby river was one of the important occasions of the church program. In pioneer days the members would cut holes in the ice for baptism ceremonies.

Outstanding in his service to the church was a Mr. Stahl, who lived 6 miles up the river. As the Sunday School superintendent, he never missed a Sunday in attendance.

For more than 20 years Eva and Frank Langebacher acted as caretakers for the building, cleaning it and building fires for the service. Peter Hefner followed them for several years.

At the turn of the century the Rev. Fred Wininger, a revivalist, conducted special services and added many new members to the congregation.

First ministers to serve in the new church were the Revs. H. F. Wyatt, O. W. Weeks, and S. S. Smith.

During the ministry of the Rev. Rosco Jerrod, 1944-48, the church bulding was redecorated, a basement was added, and a kitchen was set up to serve suppers. A strong Ladies Aid Society has an important part in running the church. The present pastor of the small but active congregation is Rev. Donald Corrick of Monona.

~Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 7, 1951 - this article & the photo were part of a series titled "Eastern Iowa Churches" that were published in the Gazette from about 1949 into the 1960's.
~contributed by Connie Ellis


by Madonna Storla

Volney Methodist Church, 1990
The Volney Methodist Church after the final closing.
The building will be sold, along with its contents at a later date.

About 50 people of all ages gathered at the Volney Methodist Church Sunday to bid farewell to their parish church on its hundredth anniversary. Due to operational expense and lack of parishioners, it was not feasible to continue as a recognized parish. After the noon lunch, Helen Moore from Strawberry Point, Iowa welcomed the guests. Rev. Gary Dobbins, Methodist minister from Monona, Iowa, conducted the service. A message from Don Mendenhall, Administrative Assistant to Bishop Job praised the congregation for their efforts.

Marcella (Cowell) Wendell read a history of the congregation. Flowers were presented to Mr. and Mrs. David Cowell and Mr. and Mrs. Earl Allert, both of Monona for being married 65 years. David Cowell is the oldest member of the congregation. It was with an air of nostalgia that people were reluctant to leave the church grounds. It was the end of an era.

David Cowell, 1990
David Cowell, oldest member of the Volney Methodist Church, holds a cross Sunday made by Bob and Arlene Hilleshiem, both deceased.
It's a memorial to John and Ellie Melcher, parents of Arlene. The sons of John and Effie Melcher put in the new cement steps in the front of the church.

David Cowell, the oldest and one of the most zealous members of the Volney Church, said the Volney congregation was part of what was known as the Yellow River Circuit. In 1849 that also included Luana, Ion, Hardin and Monona. In 1851 it consisted of Ion, Monona, and McGregor as well as Volney. From David Cowell: In 1972, Volney merged with the Methodist Church in Monona. Synod officers voted August 21, 1973 to merge the Giard, Monona, Volney, and Luana congregations. A month later 4 congregations voted to merge. The last worship service held in the Volney United Methodist Church was Sunday, December 23, 1973. First combined service was held on January 6, 1974 at the brick church in Monona. The congregation is known as the Garden City United Methodist Church. Services conducted by Rev. Raymond W. Pacholke.

~Postville Herald, October 10, 1990 (the photo of the church in 1990 & the photo of David Cowell accompanied this article)
-the history of the congregation that was read by Marcella Wendell is the one by Irene Entwisle from the Cedar Rapids Gazette
David Cowell died September 14, 2001. Obituary
~contributed by Connie Ellis


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