Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb

Church Histories

United Methodist Church

Charter Oak, Iowa


The Charter Oak United Methodist Church is the only church in the county that did not spring either directly or indirectly from the first Methodist Church in Crawford County at Mason's Grove. The records do not indicate when the church held its first meeting in a schoolhouse.

It was officially organized as the Methodist Episcopal Church on July 11, 1877. This was not recorded as such until June 4, 1887. The reason it was not recorded until then remains a mystery. In the spring of 1887, the church services were held in the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Station.

In 1944 the Willow Methodist Church discontinued services and its members merged with the Charter Oak Methodist Church. The money from the sale of their church building was added to the building fund of the Charter Oak Church.

Church Buildings

The first church building was built late in 1887 on land purchased from the Milwaukee Land Company. This building was used until November 6, 1921, when it was destroyed by fire. Following the burning of the first building a new building was erected in 1927 and became known as the Tabernacle. It was enlarged and rededicated in 1934.

By the year 1943, efforts were started to plan and proceed with the building of a new church. The Board of Trustees met and elected the following officers: President, Paul Larson; Secretary, Arthur Samuelson; and Treasurer of the Methodist Building Fund, Otto H. Hoefer.

The present church building was started on August 29, 1949 and completed August 6, 1950. It was dedicated on April, 11, 1951 by Bishop Charles W. Brashares and the pastor, Glenn M. Squires, as well as the members of the congregation. The old bell that rings from our belfry came from the discontinued Presbyterian Church of Charter Oak.

A church parsonage was built next door to the church during the early years. It was recently torn down and a new home was purchased by the congregation.

United Methodist Women

The Ladies Aid was organized in 1889 with officers: President, Mrs. W. M. Edgar; Vice President, Mr.s O. M. Criswell; and Secretary, Mrs. George Knight.

The first official records date from November 5, 1891, when it was named the Women's Foreign Missionary Society, and was comprised of 17 members.

The organization sponsored a missionary in China, Miss Mamie Glassburner. They raised money by holding bazaars, giving banquets, and having food sales. They sent money to support a girl at a girl's school, and made comforters, quilts and Christmas boxes to send to China,

The name was changed to the Ladies Aid in 1911 and by 1931 there were sufficient members to form 2 circles, the Wesleyans and the Four O'Clocks.

In 1940, it was named the Women's Society of Christian Service and became part of the Methodist North Iowa Conference in 1968. Finally the women's group became the United Methodist Women in 1972.

Youth Groups, Missionaries, and a Pastor from the Membership

Miss Mamie Glassburner went to China in the early 1900's as a member of the Charter Oak church. In 1991 the present time members supported Arlys Bohnker as a missionary to the Phillippines.

Another member of our church, Charles McElwain, became a minister and is now serving in Colorado.

A vital part of our church is its young people. At present Sunday School classes are held every Sunday and there are two groups of Methodist Youth Fellowship, Junior and Senior groups.

Church Pastors

The Charter Oak United Methodist Church has shared a pastor with other churches as follows: Ute, 1908 to 1916, and 1927 to the present; Willow, from 1918 to 1944; and Deloit, from 1961 to the present. In 1968 the entire Methodist Church joined with the Evangelical United Brethran Church to become known as The United Methodist Church world wide.

The pastors who have served the Charter Oak church through the years are:

  • J. M. Dudley, 1883-1885
  • W. H. Montgomery, 1885-1886
  • James E. Day, 1886-1887
  • E. D. Fisher, 1887-1888
  • W. M. Edgar, 1888-1891
  • E. T. Fegtly, 1891-1895
  • W. W. Brown, 1895-1898
  • Thomas Carson, 1898-1901
  • J. L. Gillies. 1901-1902
  • J. J. Bushnell, 1902-1905
  • Ephraim Robbins, 1905-1907
  • S. D. Johnson, 1907-1908
  • A. J. Barkley, 1908-1909
  • E. M. Cathcart, 1909-1911
  • C. N. McMillan, 1911-1914
  • G. J. Poppenheimer, 1914-1916
  • V. A. Lavely, assistant - 1914-1915
  • H. W. L. Mahood, 1916-1918
  • H. C. Travis, 1918-1920;
  • R. E. Willis, 1920-1923
  • No pastor, 1923-1927
  • Church burned November 6, 1921
  • Tabernacle built October, 1927
  • George E. Scheider, 1927-1932
  • W. F. Lane, 1932-1936
  • L. A. Hunsley, 1936-1936
  • G. M. Squires, 1938-1951
  • S. F. Kenderdine, 1951-1954
  • D. T. Cutler, 1954-1958
  • M. W. Reth, 1958-1963
  • W. T. Parmer, 1963-1968
  • W. J. Paige, 1968-1968
  • David Mills,
    Eugene Buccelli, Jr., 1969-1971
  • Howard F. Ball, 1971-1978
  • Dennis L. Bailey, 1978-1983
  • James A.
    Hampton, June 1983-October 1983
  • Rex Piercy, 1983-1984
  • James Gubser, 1984-1988
  • Jeff Dadisman, 1988-

Source: The 1991 Charter Oak centennial book.