Methodist Episcopal Church

Methodist Episcopal Church of Conrad, Iowa

by S. E. Daggett

Not least among the influences for the upbuilding of the community and the establishment of righteousness in Conrad, Grundy County, Iowa, has been the establishment and maintenance of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In May, 1869, a Sabbath school, which had been organized and maintained by S. E. Daggett for several years, attracted the attention of the pioneer Methodist. In 1872, O. H. Sproul, having been appointed pastor of the M. E. Church at Liscomb, Iowa, came to Conrad Grove and established a preaching point in connection with the Liscomb charge. Revival meetings held during the winter of 1872-73 resulted in the organization of a Methodist class of thirteen members Regular services were held and maintained every alternate Sabbath. A few months later the United Brethren Church established preaching services every alternate Sabbath resulting also in a Union Sunday School, thus giving Christian services every Sabbath.

Reverend Sproul remained one year. In September, 1873, Reverend Elliott was appointed to the Liscomb charge, who continued preaching at Conrad, remaining two years, after which time, church work was discontinued at Liscomb and the class record of Conrad was lost.

After the lapse of a few months, Conrad was again supplied by the preacher from the Beaman charge. Then again preaching ceased for a time. In the interval, Rev. L. U. McKee had been appointed to the Beaman charge. During the second year of his pastorate there, the work was again taken up at Conrad by authority of the Quarterly Conference of Beaman. Revival meetings were held by Rev. L. U. McKee, pastor, resulting in the re-organization of a class of twenty-seven members.

Reverend McKee was followed by Rev. Geo. B. Crinklaw who remained two years. The next appointment by the annual conference was Rev. J. Littler, who remained two years. During his pastorate, the town of Conrad was established and the United Brethren Church building was erected in 1880 by the united contributions of the people, with the understanding that the house should be free to any Christian denomination, the Methodists to have the choice of time of occupancy after the United Brethren, whose house it should be.

By agreement, the church building was to be occupied by the Methodists every alternate Sabbath and a union Sunday School maintained.

Following Reverend Littler, Reverend J. H. Hoskins was appointed pastor September, 1882, and served acceptabley for two years, largely increasing the membership. The next appointment was the Rev. J. H. Hayward, who remained one year. During his administration, some friction arose in regard to the privileges enjoyed and the management of the Union Sunday School, and the class was unfortunately persuaded to leave the church building. They rented a hall, organized a Methodist Sunday School and continued preaching services as usual. Rev. J. H. Hayward remained one year.

The next pastor sent by the annual conference was Rev. J. Hayman, who served one year. In a few months he persuaded the class to rent the Presbyterian Church and hold services in the afternoon which did not prove satisfactory and at the end of the year decided to abandon a class of over forty members, a large number of which were lost to the Methodist Church.

During the spring of 1891, Presiding Elder J. E. Magee sent Rev. W. H. Clement, pastor at Whitten, to make appointment at Conrad and establish preaching services. Ere long a little band of worshippers was gathered in the upper room of the old school house and Rev. Clint J. W. Triem of Marshalltown was sent July 18, 1891, to preach as supply until conference should meet. Presiding Elder Magee came and re-organized a class of a few of the old members.

Under the management of Rev. Clint Triem, the little class without church building or parsonage, but full of faith in God and the first, secured Evangelist Garlock, and a camp-meeting was held in Conrad's Gove. The meeting was successful, a large number being brought to Christ. Learning at this time through Presiding Elder Magee that the United Brethren Church building was to be sold, and was being held awaiting action of the class, it was thought best to raise money for its purchase. S. E. Daggett and J. H. Benham were commissioned to confer with the authorities of the U. S. Church and if possible effect the purchase of the church building, which they did for the sum of one thousand dollars, paying one hundred dollars down to bind the bargain. During the meeting, Evangelist Garlock presented the matter and a contribution of eleven hundred dollars was raised, given as a free will offering by the people for the purchase of building and the following Sabbath the little class, struggling for life, and placed in the world, hitherto without a church home, met in a house of their own, with their numbers greatly augmented and these bowed down and gave thanks to God who gave the victory.

When conference met in October, Rev. H. E. Wilcox was sent to the charge as pastor and remained two years. During his pastorate the membership was increased and substantial parsonage was erected at a cost of eleven hundred dollars.

Following Reverend Wilcox, Rev. A. D. Stevens was sent as pastor in charge October, 1893, and served one year, advancing the interests of the church. Rev. T. A. Trimbel succeeded as pastor October, 1894, serving for two years, also advancing the interests of the church.

Following, Rev. C. W. Cleveland was appointed pastor October, 1896, and remained three years, increasing the membership to one hundred and twenty and a Sabbath School of one hundred and sixty scholars and teachers, with the society free of debt.

Rev. W. H. Clement succeeded as pastor in October, 1899, and served three years. During 1901, the present church edifice was erected. The church building was dedicated January 2, 1902, by Rev. Thomas Nicholson, D. D., of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, now secretary of the Board of Education, New York City, assisted by Rev. A. G. Bailey of the Presbyterian Church of Conrad; Reverend Perry of Whitten; Reverend Wilkinson of Beaman; and the pastor, Rev. W. H. Clement. The official board of the church were J. H. Benham, S. E. Daggett, E. L. Guld, J. R. Gier, H. E. Frederick, James Lister, C. R. Stubbs, James Scovel, Olive Gould and Mrs. J. K. Bowman. Building committee was composed of J. H. Benham, chairman; John R. Gier, contractor; John Morrow, James Scoval, secretary. Primary cost of church was $6,893.69. Reverend Lemon was appointed pastor in October, 1902, and served two years. Rev. Chas. Parkin was appointed pastor in October, 1904, and remained one year; Rev. J. B. Jones appointed in October, 1905, remaining three years; Rev. W. H. Doner appointed in October, 1908, resigned before the close of one year on account of ill health; Rev. F. C. Witzigman, appointed in October, 1909, is actively engaged in the second year's work. There recently has been completed an elegant modern parsonage, costing about $5,000. The present membership of the church is about two hundred and seventy and Sabbath School of two hundred scholars and teachers, a flourishing Epworth League, and a strong Methodist Brotherhood.

--Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 95-96

List of Ministers

NameYears Served
O. H. Sproul1872-1873
Rev. Elliott1873-1875
Rev. L. U. McKee
Rev. Geo. B. Crinklaw
Rev. J. Littler
Rev. J. H. Hoskins1882-1884
Rev. J. H. Hayward
Rev. J. Hayman
Rev. W. H. Clement
Rev. Clint J. W. Triem
Rev. H. E. Wilcox
Rev. A. D. Stevens1893-1894
Rev. T. A. Trimbel1894-1896
Rev. C. W. Cleveland1896-1899
Rev. W. H. Clement1899-1902
Rev. Lemon1902-1904
Rev. Chas. Parkin1904-1905
Rev. J. B. Jones1905-1908
Rev. W. H. Doner1908-1909
Rev. F. C. Witzigman1909-1911
Rev. J. Paul Stevens