Thanks to Candy (Davis) Brown for sharing this.



Hopeville, Iowa


By Mrs. Don Booth
Thayer, Iowa 50254


According to records prepared by my mother, Mrs. May Jackson, the first church to be built in Hopeville was a Methodist Church, built in the early 1860's, and it stood at the northwest edge of town.   She once told me that the men sat in the back of the church and spit tobacco juice on the floor and since the ladies skirts often touched the floors as they walked, they had to hold them up as they stepped over the puddles of tobacco juice in order to get out the door.  Also my first school teacher, Miss Eldora Taylor, remembers of speaking a piece at Christmas time when she was 8 years old and then running into the arms of Frona Morgan.  No musical instrument of any kind was in the old church when it was first built, but later on an organ was bought and it was moved to the new church.  Finally a new building site was decided upon where the United Methodist Church now stands and the men of the congregation and others in the community who were interested took their lumber wagons, taking off the box and using the running gears hauled the lumber from Murray for the new building. 

After much hard labor the new building was finished and the church was dedicated on November 6, 1904.  But before the church was completed, the ladies of the church got together and organized the Ladies Aid Society, March 1, 1904.  This first meeting was held in my mother's home, Mrs. J. M. Jackson.  The first president of the society was Mrs. J. J. White.  The treasurer was Mrs. James Taylor and the secretary, Mrs. JM. M. Jackson.  Most of the work was sewing carpet rags and quilting quilts.  The charge for work was 75 cents a day and was paid by the hostess.  The dues were 1 cent every time they met.  There was much use in the homes for these carpet rags after they were sewn together and rolled into a continuous ball as they were woven together on a loom, then sewn together in strips for a floor covering.  Good clean straw was brought in from the newly threshed grain and the rag carpet stretched tightly over the straw and nailed to the floor all around the edge.

One of the highlights of my childhood memories in the church was the children’s day exercises.  We had them usually in the evening.  This meant that my mother would make me a new dress for the occasion.  One year especially stands out above the rest for we decorated the front of the church with a crepe paper rainbow and so many people came and filled the church and as it was warm a lot of the men looked in through the open windows in order to see the program.

The ladies had chicken pie suppers, homemade ice cream suppers.  These were usually held in the park.  They also lunched many farm sales making their own hamburger buns.  I recall the 100 pound sugar sack filled with tin cups they took along for the coffee they served.  If the sale was in the summertime a trip had to be made to town the day before to buy the hamburger.  No one had hamburger on hand then anyway with no refrigeration.

The piano chairs and pastor’s chairs and other furnishings of the church were all mostly paid for through the efforts of the Ladies Aid. 

The first lights that were in the church were bracket lamps fastened to the side of the window casings with a bright reflector behind to make a brighter light.  Then real brass lights were bought.  There was a brass telescope rod with another bar across the bottom and squatty lamp on each end of the bar.  These slid up and down for filling with kerosene and lighting.

A huge stove stood just inside the door at the back of the church where the present heating system now stands and it burned both coal and wood and many evenings when it was real cold it would be red hot.  The stove pipe went all the way up to the center of the church where the only chimney in the church existed.

The Christmas trees in those days were huge ones reaching clear up to the ceiling and were covered with lighted candles.  Many times the tree caught fire.  Ladies were appointed to take gifts in the afternoons and evenings from people who would bring them for their children.  The church was always filled to overflowing with extra chairs in the aisles, even for many of the regular services.

Memorial Day services were held at first in the park and later on held in the church.  Some of the old timers would get together for a fife and drum martial band and it was an ear splitting session, but real exciting.  Some who played:  C. Fred Morgan, Fred Adkins, Dave Adkins, Oscar Laurence, Walter Case, Mr. Shaftall, and Bill and Ed Wilson.  All of the children would march to the cemetery and place wreaths on the soldier’s graves.

In the early days many protracted meetings were conducted by the ministers with the help of the special singers and evangelists and many times there was clapping and shouting, as some of the members got very happy during these and other services.  My husband, Don Booth’s grandfather, Charlie Booth was touched by the Holy Ghost while he was at home and committed his life to Christ during one of these revival services, and he was a very faithful and strong leader in the church from that time until his death.  A parsonage for the minister was also built which is now owned and lived in by Mrs. Edith Chew.  For several years the church people were able to support a minister on their own.

Andrew Kohnleightner came over here from Germany and spoke very broken English but they hired him for the church janitor and he joined the church and was a faithful member and served the church well until his death.  I think he was the first janitor of the church. He loved to ring the church bell and it could be heard for miles around.

Here are some of the ladies who belonged to the Ladies Aid or had work done by them.  I found these names in my mother’s secretary books:

Jackson                       Wilson                        Thurlow
Taylor                         Armitage                     Lipsett
White                          Colwell                        Smith
Pennock                      Crandall                      Percell
Thomas                       Chew                           Stevenson
Booth                          Bartlett                       Coon
Dedrick                       Hawk                          Katzenbarger
Stark                           Miller                          Adkins
Long                           Rayburn                      Watson
Munson                      German

Here is a sample of work from the Ledger:

            “July 16-1904  Received from ice cream supper $13.13”

We now are served by a lay minister, Rev. Charles White.  With services at 10 o’clock every Sunday morning and Sunday School at 11 o’clock.  Rev. White also has two other places he preaches the same morning.  Pleasant Valley and Lacelle.

My mother wrote down a list of ministers as she though of them.  They are not in the order that they served.

J. L. Johnson             E. E. Hunt       Carlton           Phelps              Milly
Geo. Mitchel              Woolover        Jackson           Wimmer          Weber
Butterfield                  Saunders         Wilkins            Andrae            Gary
William Johnson        Bob Crays       Woolson          Evans              Aten
Miriam Mitchem        Ben Shin         Nichols            James               Kirk
W. B. Dunn                Anderson        Sampson         Wolfe                Bott
McCracken                 Leo Wolf        Danner            Tally                 Cox
Paul Harris                 Tennant          Meeker            Moore              Gray

Members of the church board:

J. M. Jackson (almost every year for as long as he lived)
Lowell E. Jackson                   Randolph McCutcheon
A. L. Chew                             Dalton McCutcheon
Albert Chew                           Calvin Hickman
John Miller                            Charlie Booth
Geo. Shields                           Don Rogers
John Orr

Present members:

Myron Coon                           E. F. Perdue
Alden Ashley                          Present Sunday School Supt.
Garland McCay                           Mrs. Calvin Hickman
C. I. Long

Sunday School Teachers:
Mrs. Vera McCay                   Mrs. Maggie McCutcheon
Myron Coon                           Mrs. Louisa Chew
Mrs. Don Booth                      Mr. Geo. Shields
Mrs. Roy Foland                     Mr. Lowell Jackson
Mrs. Myrtle Ayers                   Mrs. Ruby Jackson
John M. Jackson                     L. E. Adams
Mrs. J. M. Jackson                  Janett Adams
Mrs. Fred Crandall                  Janice Coon.

An addition was built on to the south side of the church in 1959 and was dedicated August 9, 1962.  A Methodist Church located east of Grand River, Iowa, was no longer in use, so the building was torn down and brought to the church at Hopeville, where the extra room is now used for a Sunday School and meeting room.

Alta Strubhar is 88 years old and has been faithful in attendance at the church and still plays for Sunday School and at church when she is needed.           

Mrs. Don Booth has been church organist for 50 years.

Others have served faithfully and the omittance of their names does not mean their services weren’t appreciated as much as anyone else.  There is not room to include everyone.


Last revised May 8, 2011