Forest Chapel church was founded in 1845 in a log school house directly across the road from its present location. Originally it was in a five-church circuit which included Olin, Antioch, White Oak and Center. The first minister, Jacob Miller, walked to the church from his home a few miles west of Olin.
In 1859, Samuel Stover bought the present church site from Moses Bolenbaugh.
Pioneers hauled brick from a brickyard near Anamosa, and walls for the new church were erected. Funds then ran out, but in 1861 enough money had been raised to complete the building. In 1884, it was declared unsafe and was replaced by the frame church which stands today.
After the church was finished in 1861, the walls were plastered. In those days, it is said, the men sat on the west side of the church and the women on the east.
First trustees were Seaman Swayze, president; J. L. Joslin, secretary; and D. G. Sterling, treasurer. These men with Alien Sones, who lived in Anamosa, formed a committee to see about replacing the church, which became unsafe, in 1884. Rev. L. B. Hix was pastor at that time.
After a thorough canvas, they lacked a large amount of the necessary $1,500.00 to finance the work, but they signed a note covering the sum.
The Junior Christian Endeavor bought the bell in 1922, under the leadership of Mrs. Pard Miller, and the Senior Christian Endeavor bought the piano under the direction of Mabel Sones.
The Thimble society was organized in 1909 with Mrs. Emily Joslin president. The present annex was completed under sponsorship of this group, which raised over $700.00. Fred Riggs was pastor then and Dr. Cronk was superintendent.
Some of the ministers who have served at the church throughout the years are Reverends Statton, Stephens, Riggs, Bainbridge, Brunn, Knight, Hulse, Alexander, Huffman, Foster, Buss, Talbot, Dickenson, Windsor, Mitchell, Bennett, Zachefrose, and Hansen. Rev. Lloyd Dutro has served the church faithfully for the last several years. Current officers are: Trustees—Lewis Vernon, president; Glenn Siver, Ronald Moyer, Wayne Vernon, Robert Bainbridge, Edith Johnson, Treasure; Ushers—Randy Moyer, Michael Vernon; Thimble Society—Hazel Meeks, President; Dora Shankland, Treasurer; Florence Vernon, Secretary.
Evan[g]elical United Brethern Church was changed to Forest Chapel United Methodist in 1969.
On an earlier version of this page I asked "What is a Thimble Society?" Don Wherry has supplied an answer along with the playbill from one of their fund-raising activities:
"I have come to think that question might be better phrased as, 'What was THE Thimble Society?' From a 'family book' compiled by Dorothea (Bates) Joslin, I submit the following as partial answer: As is so true with most churches, it was financed by all members. The Thimble Society made comforters and quilts, for sale, and did personal sewing for $1.00 per meeting. They also served lunches and dinners. They also had food stands at the fairs in Anamosa and Morley Booster Days."
OCR scan of an unattributed and undated photocopy of a typescript in the possession of Mary (Siemer) Neiers and submitted by Don Wherry. Photos submitted by J. J. Lash