Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

The History of the
Methodist Episcopal Church
Sioux Rapids, Buena Vista County, Iowa

The Methodist Episcopal church at Sioux Rapids really dates back to 1859 when Rev. O. S. Wight of Cherokee preached a sermon at the home of Luther H. Barnes, near the present site of the town.  Mr. Wight was looking for promising places in which to hold meetings but was evidently not favorably impressed as it is not shown that he returned.  In 1864 Rev. Seymour Snyder made trips to the settlement on the Little Sioux river in this county and preached at intervals at the home of G. W. Struble and W. S. Lee.  From then until 1872 there is no record of meetings held, but that they were is undoubted.  In 1872, Rufus Fancher, who had a homestead east of Sioux Rapids, was appointed by the northwest Iowa conference to supply the Sioux Rapids charge, which he did.  In 1873, J. S. Zeigler was sent, followed in 1874 by C. W. Wiley.  The Sioux Rapids circuit was divided in 1875, the west half being called the Peterson circuit and the east half retained the name it had borne before.


Included in the Sioux Rapids circuit were the following appointments:  Douglass, Liberty, Herdland, Gillett's Grove, Pickerel Lake and Menoti.  Of these the first four were in Clay county and the others in Buena Vista.  Services were held at Sioux Rapids every Sunday morning, and in the other charges from two to four weeks apart.


Rev. L. B. Keeling came after Mr. Wiley and Seymour Snyder was returned in 1876, the grasshopper year.  Mr. Snyder also served in 1882.  Although times were very hard in 1876 Mr. Snyder had the satisfaction of seeing the original church of the society erected, a frame building thirty by forty in size, at a cost of seventeen hundred dollars.


William McCready came in 1877, and Rufus Fancher in 1870-80; O. H. P. Fans in 1881, at which time the circuit was again divided and Sioux Rapids was made a separate charge, with but two circuit charges.  Since then A. J. Beebe, W. J. Suckow, J. C. Bascom, F. L. Moore, Z. C. Bradshaw. C. H. Hawn, F. S. Joray, Jos. Jeffrey, S. P. Marsh, J. E. Edwards. H. D. Trimble and H. W. L. Mahood have served as pastors.


The Sunday school, missionary societies and Epworth League, as well as the church, are all in flourishing condition.  The church has weathered some hard storms and stress, but now, with a commodious house of worship and a devoted people, the days of trial are over.


Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole.  "Sioux Rapids."  Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa.  Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 183-84.