M. E. Church Celebrates 105th Birthday
FLEENOR, JOHNSON, TOOL, WORTH
Posted By: JCGS Volunteer
Date: 4/26/2017 at 20:33:18
M. E. Church Celebrates 105th Birthday Sunday
Oldest Church in the County
The Monroe Methodist Church will celebrate its 105th birthday as special services Sunday, June 5. The church has the distinction of being the first church founded in Jasper County.
In carving out their hard-won places in American History, the pioneers of Jasper County did not leave their religion behind, when they departed for the “wilds beyond the Mississippi river.”
After their claims were entered, and log cabins built, the settlers, led by Adam Tool, wasted little time, before they held religious services, laying the foundation for the oldest church society in Jasper County.
In the words of Susan H. Tool, one of the charter members of the church, “A. W. Johnson, Rock River Conference, preached the first sermon at Monroe, known at that time as Tool’s Point, in the spring of 1844. He preached in Adam Tool’s house, and made it a regular appointment, every four weeks. In 1844, he organized a Methodist church of 5 members: Susan H. Tool, Susan A. Tool, James A. Tool, W. G. Fleenor, and Mary S. Fleenor. In the winter of 1845, two more members were added to the church – David Worth and his wife.”
The first services were held in the homes, and the young Methodist preacher was “indeed like the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” for the entire countryside could not have exceeded more than 24, including children. The circuit, of which the Monroe Methodist Church was a part, began at what is now Agency and it’s fartherest western boundary was Ft. Des Moines.
The first church in the county was built by the Monroe Methodists, in 1856. It was a 30x40 feet frame building which costs about $1,700. The building is still standing and is used as a dwelling by Mrs. Mary Shannon. This building was replaced in 1874 by a larger frame structure. The church building attracted attention, because it had a vestibule and a bell tower. With the addition of a choir loft, kitchen, balcony, and basement, is the same building which is used today. In 1947-48 the building underwent extensive improvement. A basement was dug and completed giving the church a large dining room, and social hall, and needed church school rooms. The entire first floor was redecorated in nuwood, a divided chancel and altar was built, and a Hammond Electric Organ installed.
The Birthday of the church will be celebrated June 5, with a special service at 11 a.m. Rev. Pennington will speak on the subject: “The Church’s Debt to the Past.” We will have a basket dinner at noon, with an informal program in the afternoon. Members, friends, both young and old, are invited to spend the day.
(Photo of the church was included in the news article.)
Source: The Monroe Mirror: June 2, 1949
Jasper Documents maintained by Barbara Hug.
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