Methodist Church--Merrill, Iowa, Postcard photo taken by DABBS-Photo. The back of this postcard is written on but not mailed. It is dated Nov. 30, 1909.

~Thanks to researcher, Judy B. Forgos for scanning and submitting the above photo

The Annual Conference of 1880 set Merrill aside as a separate charge from the LeMars circuit. They continued to meet in homes and the schoolhouse building. In June 1882, the first church building was dedicated. The was destroyed by a severe wind storm in June of 1885. In June of 1898, the decision was made to build a new church at the present location. It was dedicated September 18, 1899. The present church was started in October 1975 and was ready for worship April 4, 1976 and dedicated February 1, 1981.


H.T. Snyder  1880 Class organized

M.L. Metcalf  (1915-1919)

J. Delay (1873-1874)

J.E. Hill (1919-1924)

C.W. Batdeeler  (1874-1877)

F.S. Loyd (July-Sept 1924)

E. Amburn (1877-1878)

J.L. Dewitt (1924-1926)

M.O. Kester (1878-1879)

Mark Masters (1926-1928)

H.T. Snyder (1879-1880)

A.F. Schuldt (1928-1932)

J.R. Fauss (1880-1881)

M.B. Phillips  (1932-1934)

J.B. Fausett (1881-1882)

J.M. Howdeshell (1934-1936)

F.B. Safford (1882-1883)

J.T. Albertson (1936-1939)

F.W. Allnut (1883-1884)

J.R. Kirby (1939-1943)

Wm. Semple (1884-1886)

Wm. Zabilka  (1943-1946)

J.T. Lee (1886-1887)

A.J. Luiren (1946-1947)

O.A. Lance (1887-1888)

W.C. Smith (1947-1951)

G.D. Griggs (1888-1890)

D.J. Streyffler (1951-1952)

J.B. Smith (1890-1892)

F. Wimp (1952-1953)

Freeman Franklin (1892-1894)

Don L. Harbour  (1953-1958)

W.A. Richards (1894-1895)

Gale Hawhee (1958-1964)

G.W. Klever  (1895-1896)

Marion Bloodworth (1964-1967)

S.L. Chandler (1896-1896 3 months)

Dwight Garrington (1967-1970)

H.G. Campbell (1897—June to Sept)

Larry Hartley  (1970-1971)

Willis Marshall (1897-1898)

J. Larry Vallery (1971-1974)

N.T. Johnson (Feb—Sept 1898)

Eugene J. Barreth (1974-1977)

F.W. Wilson (1898-1899)

J. Milton Kinney (1977-1980)

L.E. Simmons (1899-1900)

Donald Bardole (1980-1987)

T.M. House (1900-1903)

Bob Davis (1987-1988)

W. B. Empey (1903-1904)

Shirley Textor (1988-1995)

J.F. Wood (1904-1905)

Fred C. Malone (1995-1998)

Geo. R. Gilbert (1905-1909)

Andrew Keck (Interim Oct 1998—1999)

C.F. Hartzell (1909-1910)

Thomas Hotle (Interim Feb 1999-June 1999)

G.W. Squires (1910-1911)

Sue Thomas (1999-2001)

W.M. Richards (1911-1912)

Charles Teft (2001-2003)

A.J. Barkley  (1912-1915)

Benjamin Meeks (2003--  )


Rev. J. Delay was appointed Circuit Rider for this district in 1873. He served one year. The Merrill church continued to below to the LeMars circuit for five years. At this time the field was fifty miles long by twenty-five miles wide and contained from eight to sixteen societies.

One minister reports traveling 14,011 miles, making 1.114 pastoral calls and preached 549 sermons in one year.

Rev. Hiram T. Snyder organized the Merrill church in September 1878. The first property owned by the church was lot one in block one, the original plot of Merrill, on the corner of Second and Calhoun Streets.

The first parsonage was built in 1881. This was later moved to the present site, added to, and remodeled several times.

At first, meetings were held in a school house which stood west of Elskamp’s house where Mainard Eberlee’s and Bob Miller’s houses are now.

The first church was built on lot one in 1882. it was destroyed by wind in 1885 and rebuilt, then sold in 1897.  This is the building now called the Nigg Apartment House, where Mr. and Mrs. Donald Donlin and Dee Jay and Mrs. Heisler now live.

The present church was dedicated September 10, 1899. It was raised and remodeled in 1918 by Rev. M.L. Metcalf, father of Dr. Kenneth Metcalf, now our District Superintendent.

The north room of the church was built in 1912. The new furnace and basement remodeling was done in 1957 and 1958.

During these 87 years, Merrill First Methodist has had 49 different ministers serving from 2 months to 5 years.

~This history was found handwritten with no author and date given.

First United Methodist Church, Merrill, IA, (new building)

First worship service: 04-04-1976

Service of Consecration: 05-16-1976

Dedicated the building: 02-03-1981

The bell from the old church was placed in front of the new church building.


The Merrill Church recently celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its congregation in the fourth edifice used by the church since 1882.

Members and friends celebrated the event with day-long activities.

The congregation emerged from a Methodist society served by a Circuit Rider. The church was set off as a separate charge by the 1880 Annual Conference, and for a while members worshipped in a schoolhouse.

A Sunday School was organized a year later, when a parsonage was built for the Rev. J.R. Fauss.

The original edifice and parsonage was destroyed by a wind storm in 1885, but successor structures were built in 1889. The third church building was erected in 1899, and the present structure was completed in 1976.

The Rev. Donald Bardole is pastor.

~Source: The Sioux City Journal, 1980

Service of Dedication – Feb. 1, 1981

First United Methodist Church at Merrill will be dedicated Sunday.

Bishop Wayne Clymer of Iowa area will officiate at 2:30 p.m. His message will be “Radical Worship.”

Participating clergy will be Dr. Arnold Herbst, Sioux City district superintendent, and Rev. Donald Bardole, pastor of the Merrill church.

A reception will follow the service. Everyone is encouraged to attend the fellowship.

Construction began on the building in October 1975 with the first worship service April 4, 1976, and service of consecration May 16, 1976. Cost of construction was $130,000.

Leadership through the construction years includes Bishop Lace Webb and district superintendent, John K. Moore. Pastor was Eugene J. Barreth.

On the building committee were chairman Joe Kissinger, vice chairman Keith Branum, secretary Esther Hamilton, Ellen Lake, Allen Weidauer, Bud Kehrberg, Ray Kindler, Frank Marienau and Dale Luther.

Architect and general contractor was A.C. Dohrman Construction Co., Sioux City.

Sub-contractors were Criswell Electric, LeMars; Criswell Excavating, LeMars; Custom Cut Gutters, LeMars.

Hauff Inc., Merrill; Merrill Plumbing; Saunders Heating, Hinton; Al’s Floor Covering and DeVries Interiors, both of Orange City.

Sioux City Midwest Electronics; Kraai Furniture, Orange City; C.F. and T. Construction, Remsen; Crescent Electric, Sioux City; Gunder Mfg., Humboldt; and Green Thumb Nursery, Sioux City.

~Source: Local newspaper article, January 1981


~Thanks to Vernon & Karen Harrington for allowing this county coordinator to make copies for sharing on this web page.

~Thanks to Judy B. Forgos for her willingness to scan and share the postcard image of the church, circa 1909.

~Thanks to Linda Ziemann for the transcriptions and creation of the web pages.

~Page uploaded, August 2008





Return to Home Page