Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church

Pleasant Valley Church

by D. E. Aukes

The history of the Pleasant Valley church, situated in the southwest corner of Pleasant Valley township, Grundy County, Iowa, is as follows:

Rev. Sweeden, a local preacher of the Evangelical association from Abbott, Hardin County, in the summer of 1870, started first to preach the gospel in the school house No. 9, in said township. As several families, M. Bentz, Kents, Geiter, Hiller and Philips, etc. arrived and settled down in this neighborhood and same time being members of said above named church in Illinois, this and the sound preaching of the gospel soon brought forth good fruit, thirty, sixty and one hundred fold, and a gracious revival, not of a week or two but for years duration, was the blessing to this community. A good Sunday school was started at once and the attendance was great. John Goetting donated three acres of land, situated on the northwest quarter of Section 31, for church and a graveyard. Not a more beautiful or nice location can be found than this one.

The congregation soon was incorporated, as the Pleasant Valley church of the Evangelical association of North America; and soon steps were taken for building of a church, which was erected in the spring of 1873, and stood until April 14th, 1902, when in the noon hour, a fire got started in the road near by, and by a very strong wind, fire was carried over to the church and graveyard and destroyed the whole building and contents. This was a very hard blow for the small congregation, but the same year a new little church was erected, serving the cause fully.

In the beginning, over forty years ago, and later on, only the German language was used, but today it is changing fast to the English language, for the charter members have nearly all crossed over to their reward, and that the Lord may be with our children and grandchildren, as He was with the old pioneers in starting this good cause in this neighborhood, is the wish and prayer of the only left charter members over forty years past.

The following preachers have served the field connected with Abbott all those years past: Wm. Reinke, Geo. Youngblood, J. H. Pippert, H. Althouse, H. Kleinsorge, L. Reep, M. Knoll, J. H. Pippert, J. J. Miller, F. Loelile, P. Held, P. Schott, W. F. Meither, C. F. Hillmann, J. H. Sievert, W. Werfield, C. F. Hillmann, J. H. Engel and C. S. Lang.

--Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 102

P. V. United Methodist Church Centennial

<2 photos> The Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church celebrates its 100th anniversary with centennial services this Sunday, June 24. A fire and a tornado destroyed the two previous church buildings in 1902 and 1918. The church pictured on the left is the third Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church building near Wellsburg before remodeling. The church on the right is the church as it looks now, after remodeling work.

The Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church near Wellsburg is in its 100th year, and centennial observances planned by its 70-member congregation are set for Sunday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Leonard E. Deaver, pastor of the United Methodist Church in Knoxville, will give a special sermon that afternoon.

There will also be a special morning service with Dr. Donald Arthur, district superintendent in the Iowa Conference presiding. Improvements for dedication will be presented by Harm Aukes, chairman of the building committee and board of trustees.

The present minister for the Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church is Dr. John O. Kilmer.

The church was founded by a Sunday School class who met in the district nine schoolhouse in Pleasant Valley township. The class was taught by Rev. Sweeden, pastor of the Abbott United Methodist Church in Hardin county.

When the seven members of the class decided to form their own church, March 13, 1872, it was with the assistance of Rev. J. Youngblood who became their first pastor.

They named the church the Pleasant Valley Evangelical Church.

Rev. H. Pippert was pastor at the time the first church was constructed in 1873.

But this was only the first structure of the Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church.

On April 14, 1902 a roadside fire destroyed the original structure.

On May 21, 1918 a tornado demolished the second structure.

Both times when the church was wiped out members of the congregation constructed another building on the same location.

Since the third structure has been built there has been extensive remodeling done to the building, as it stand today.

During the early years, the Pleasant Valley church was served by a pastor of the Abbott church or the United Brethren Church in Ackley. In 1946, the Pleasant Valley and Ackley churches, and the church became known as the Pleasant Valley Evangelical United Brethren Church.

In 1969, the United Brethren and Methodist denominations were brought together and the Pleasant Valley Church changed the name to what it is today.

Not until 1971 was the Pleasant Valley church assigned its own minister, Dr. John O. Kilmer, who is still presiding.

Family names of early settlers on church records are the M. Benzes, Kints, Hillers, Geiters, Phillips', Aukeses, Eberlines, Fritzels, Trepps, Protexters, Pothasts, Martens, Gettings and Bausmans.

The women of the Pleasant Valley Evangelical Church formed their own Ladies Aid society on September 28, 1929. There were 12 women in the first membership.

Phyllis Grobe, Lucille Kuper and Donna Bausman head the centennial planning committee.

Centennial Observance
Order of Afternoon Worship
2:30 p.m.
Hymn Sing
Glimpses of History
Greetings from Pastors
Special Music-- "My God and I"
--Connie Hook, Beth Sietsema
Sermon--Dr. Leonard E. Deaver,
--Pastor United Methodist Church
--Knoxville, Iowa

We dedicate this centennial observance and centennial booklet to the rich heritage passed to us by our forefathers but most of all to the honor and glory of our Risen Savior, the same yesterday, today and eternally.

May His rich blessings of the past and of the present be continued in the future as we strive to remain ever faithful to Him.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 21 June 1973

List of Ministers

NameYears Served
Dr. John O. Kilmer1971-

*Preachers connected with Abbott served the church in the early years: Wm. Reinke, Geo. Youngblood, J. H. Pippert, H. Althouse, H. Kleinsorge, L. Reep, M. Knoll, J. H. Pippert, J. J. Miller, F. Loelile, P. Held, P. Schott, W. F. Meither, C. F. Hillmann, J. H. Sievert, W. Werfield, C. F. Hillmann, J. H. Engel and C. S. Lang.