Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb

Church Histories

The Methodist Episcopal Church

Vail, Iowa

Founded 1872

Methodism had its beginning in Vail and vicinity in 1872. There was no house of worship. Meetings were held in a school house. The charter members were Mr and Mrs W H Bennett, J E Palmer and H Baker.

In 1881 the Vail Methodist Episcopal Church was built. It was located across the alley west of the residence now occupied by Mrs Angela Henenius. The foundation, 30 x 48 ft in size was made of the best quality stone. The building had an arched ceiling 25 ft high in the center. It was fully equipped with seats, a very handsome set of chandeliers and all other necessary equipment.

This new Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated February 24, 1882. Mainly through the efforts of Bishop Hurst of Des Moines, Ia, the last dollar of the church indebtedness was accounted for. Over $1,080.00 was subscribed by the assembly in addition to a considerable sum raised during the construction of the building, which was highly creditable to the liberty of the people of Vail and vicinity. Bishop Hurst delivered a very able and impressive sermon on the occasion to an incredibly large audience. He was highly pleased by the interest taken by the congregation and liberality of the people of Vail and vicinity.

The names of the ministers from 1872 to 1917 were as follows:

Church Ministers

  • Rev Solomon Terrell
  • Rev H D Barkley
  • Rev R W Thornburg
  • Rev J W Spangler
  • Rev T M Anderson
  • Rev D I Thompson
  • Rev A A Shessler
  • Rev W J Gardner
  • Rev J N Mills
  • Rev G E Stump
  • Rev H W L Mahood
  • Rev O K Maynard
  • Rev S M Davis
  • Rev S L Eddy
  • Rev D P Day
  • Rev Thomas Martindale
  • Rev I A Bartholemew
  • Rev Thomas Maxwell
  • Rev G L Eaton
  • Rev H E Bowman
  • Rev A Albrook
  • Rev J F Zemke

Rev W J Todd was the first pastor of the charge combining Vail and Westside, and their subsequent history was as one charge. Rev Todd was succeeded by Rev Norman McKay and he by Rev E M Cathcart, he was followed by Rev J J Davies, then by Rev J G Waterman and Rev Norfleet.

During World War I the church was closed for a while. It was reopened later and Rev T S Stone served as pastor. In 1918 the building was sold to Ben Stoltenberg and moved to his farm and remodeled for a home. The pulpit furnishings were donated to the Deloit Methodist Church and the bell to the Lake View Methodist Church.

Though this church started with a small beginning, its influence for good in Vail and vicinity (like the leaven mentioned in the Bible) continued to grow. Many consecrated their lives to Christ and a goodly number went forth to serve as Ministers and Missionaries.


The history of the Vail Methodist Episcopal Church was extracted from the book prepared for the Vail centennial, Vail Centennial 1867 to 1967.

We thank Cleone Podey of Vail for providing the centennial book for this purpose.