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Marcus Memories

"God's Acre"

by Arlene Hollenbeck

Marcus Historical Society

I was shown some old articles saved by Lowell and Ruth Nelson (Nelson Funeral Home and Furniture Store).  The articles are about a fund raising project of the old Methodist Church in 1939.  It was called “God’s Acre”.

In the Spring of 1939, John Sand, Marcus Seed Corn Dealer, offered free seed to any church in the community whose farmers would plant one acre of corn and donate the crop from that acre to help improve church property.  About 45 Methodist farmers accepted the seed and from that seed produced over 3000 bushels of corn which were sealed at 57 cent‘s a bushel.  This being the first loan on sealed corn in the United States in 1939.  The sealed corn plan was for a farmer to set aside a set amount of corn in storage and receive money for it.  He could either buy back the corn at a later date or reseal it again the following year.  Decisions were made on the price of the corn from year to year or the need of corn by the farmer.  The Methodist’s chose to reseal the corn a second year.
The article tells only of the Methodist’s use of the money from the “God’s Acres” program but it states Maryhill Catholic church also took advantage of the free seed. 

A new foundation under the entire Methodist church was made possible by this corn project along with an enlarged and rearranged basement.  The walls were glazed brick, a tile floor and a reconstructed kitchen equipped in the most modern fashion were the result of this project.  A forced air heating system was also installed, making every inch of the building comfortable.  All these improvements cost $6000.00 and were completed in 1940 with rededication services held January 4, 1941.  $3,200.00 was raised at this service, resulting in the debt being paid in full.  Members residing in town had contributed to the fund by donating money equivalent to one acre of corn.

Committee members in charge of this project were, Fred Mossman, Louis M.Miller and Pastor George A Osborn.   Other names mentioned were, Fred L. Dorr, Stanley Addy, Roger Leavitt, Mrs. Gertrude Loomis, Mrs Charles French, Mrs. Oscar Heline, Carroll Kuehn, Mrs. Lovell Simons, Homer Hush, John Holmes and LeRoy Mossman.

What a wonderful example of Marcus people pulling together for a good cause. 

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