Monroe Methodist Church
FLEENOR, HAMILTON, HAMMOND, JAMES, JOHNSON, PARDO, PIERCE, RANGOR, SHANNON, TOOL, WHITTED, WRATHBURN
Posted By: JCGS Volunteer
Date: 5/7/2017 at 11:28:59
Monroe Methodist Church Oldest in Jasper County
In carving out their hard-won places in American History, the pioneers of Jasper county did not leave their devotion to their Lord behind, when they departed for “The wilds beyond the Mississippi River.” After their claims were entered and their log cabins built, led by the devout Adam Tool, they wasted little time in holding religious services and laying the foundation for the establishment of the oldest church in Jasper county.
In the early spring of 1844, while on his way to a mill in Brighton, Adam Tool met a young Methodist minister who asked him if he thought the people of this neighborhood would like to have someone preach to them. Mr. Tool said that he thought they would. Soon, afterwards, The Rev. A. W. Johnson, a member of the Rock River conference preached the first sermon, and conducted the first religious service in Jasper county, at Tool’s Point, later to be renamed Monroe. This service was held in Adam Tool’s house, and it was made a regular appointment, every four weeks. Johnson traveled the circuit for two years and organized a church of five members in October 1844. The members were: Mrs. Susan Tool, Susan A. Tool, James A. Tool, W. G. Fleenor and Mary S. Fleenor. Rev. Johnson held a two day meeting in June 1845, assisted by Doc. James and Warren Wrathburn, local ministers and R. Hamilton exhorter, in the M.E. Church, and a Mr. Pardo, a Protestant minister, engaged at that time to preach to the soldiers stationed at Fort Des Moines. On the Sabbath, a love feast was held, and it proved a time of strengthening and rejoicing. In 1847 Pierce and Rangor, were appointed to the circuit. A. J. Kirkpatrick having shared the circuit with Pierce in ’46. It was a long and lonely circuit, extending from Libertyville, as far north and west as the preacher found open doors. One house stood between what is now Oskaloosa and Tool’s Point.
Rev. Hammond was appointed in 1848. He tells of his travels across the prairie, tired and discouraged at the thought that he would have few listeners and fewer yet would take interest in his preaching he approached the house of Adam Tool and heard the people singing “the Old Fashioned Bible that lay on the stand.” The zeal of the singers gave him the faith and courage that soon the “wilderness and the solitary places would be made glad and the desert place would blossom like a rose.”
In the fall of 1848, was built the first schoolhouse in the southern part, of the county near Jasper Whitted’s farm, one mile east of Tool’s Point. Church services were held in this building. Here, the revival was held that increased the membership to sixteen.
The first Methodist church building was erected in 1856 and it was quite a church building for those early days. It was a frame building 30x40 feet and cost about $1,700. By this date the membership had increased to 75. The building stands today and is occupied by Mrs. Mary Shannon.
The building that now serves as the church was erected in 1874. Since that time a kitchen, choir loft, and balcony have been added to the structure.
As the Methodist church faces its second century of service to this community, plans are being laid to expand its building, equipment and program, that it might serve well the generations to come as the church served the past.
Source: Monroe Mirror; August 8, 1946
Jasper Documents maintained by Barbara Hug.
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