Transcribed by a generous volunteer
Owing to the imperfect and incomplete records of the early days of the church in Derby and vicinity, its former work and usefulness must be largely estimated by the outcome of the work of pioneers which shows the result of their faith and prayers in the present organizations.

On the 18th day of September 1867, a new circuit was organized out of the Lagrange circuit and consisted of eight appointments, viz: Houston and Union in Benton township, Brick, Murray and Plymate in Warren township, Douglass and Wheeler in Whitebreast township, and Pleasant Hill in English township.

These eight appointments had at that time a membership of 162, an average of over 20 to each class. Rev. R. W. Thornburgh was pastor. In 1871 the Dennis class was organized so named from the fact that Isaac Dennis, a faithful old pioneer from Ohio, was appointed class leader. This seems to have been the introduction of organized Methodism in Union township. At that time Rev. B. B. Kennedy was pastor. In the fall of 1872 a railroad was built through the township and the town of Derby laid out. It was then decided to build a house of worship, and in 1878 a church 30x41 feet, with belfry, was erected at a cost of $1500. For twenty-seven years this was the home of the membership at that place and there many blessed victories of the cross were won, while so often the old doors opened to admit, in robes of white, the silent forms of those who had kept the faith steadfast to the end. But they will meet bye and bye in the better world, those with whom they labored here in the Master's cause. The last service in the old church was Memorial Day, 1900. It was then stripped of the siding and on the outside it presented a forlorn appearance; but the large assembly within its walls, for the last time, were strangely moved by the appeals to them to never forget the patriotism, the hardships, the sacrifices of those old gray haired veterans before them in the place of honor, and whose valiant deeds they were that day commemorating.

The work of taking down the old church continued rapidly, and in a few days the ground was cleared to make ready for the new and handsome structure which now stands in the same place.


On Feb. 26, 1900, the trustees of the church met to consider the subject of building a new house of worship. After a careful and prayerful consideration of the matter it was decided to circulate a subscription paper for this purpose, and the members, aided by the generous offerings of a kind hearted people felt that the time to build had come. On May 8th, following, a meeting was held to select a plan and elect a building committee. The plan selected is in brief as follows: The auditorium is 32x18 feet, with a lecture room on one side 18x30, over which is a gallery 10x30 feet. The walls of the building are 18 feet high. It stands on a solid stone wall is inches thick and three feet above street level, to admit of good drainage. The basement is 18x30 feet, in which is placed a No. 28 Round Oak furnace for heating, bins for a car load of coal and kindling; also the lighting plant, which will be a gasoline "Airlight", and the gas will be piped to all parts of the building.

The vestibule is 12x12 at the south-east corner, over which stands the tower, 82 feet high. The main room is seated with fine pews, with a four foot aisle down the center and smaller aisles on each side. The lecture room and gallery are seated with folding chairs.

On the platform in front are opera chairs for the choir. This platform is 9x30 feet, and together with the altar platform and aisles is covered with handsome ingrain carpet. The interior is furnished in hard oil and the walls and ceiling are tastefully frescoed in floral and geometrical designs, creating a very beautiful effect. The windows are all stained glass and leaded. There are ten memorial windows in the building. "Mothers" window greets you as you enter the vestibule, it being over the gallery stairs. The center panel of the east window was selected by the Grand Army boys, and has the figure of a soldier with musket at order arms. The figure is about 5 feet high, and above in the clouds (of glass) is the union shield in red, white and blue. To the right in the same window, is a plate in memory of the Bell family, and on the left a companion window for William and Sarah Young, the latter having been buried from the new church last Thursday and was the first service in the new building. The center panel on the north is considered one of the finest in the church, and is in memory of Charles and Doris Ochlman. A sheaf of ripened wheat stands between the names and the effect is beautiful. On the right is a memorial to Rezin and Louisa Hedges, a worthy couple who have long ago gone home. On the left is a window in memory of Dorothy Crist, placed there by her daughter Fannie. On the north of the platform is a beautiful window for the Epworth League, with emblems in deepest blue, and on the south end the Ladies' Aid have a handsome memorial window and they appreciate it very much, as it was put in without their knowledge. At the east end is a beautiful circular window, 8 feet in diameter, in which is a light blue plate on which is inscribed: "Lucy F. Throckmorton, June 23, 1893." This window is a gift of her father, John Throckmorton, and is the most expensive in the building. The floor is what is called bowling, inclining from all outer points to a common center at the pulpit. The seating capacity is 450.

The present membership is 114, and the pastor, Rev. Paul H. McBeth, is an active, onergetic young man, who came to this charge last October from the Town Conference and has taken up the important work now in hand with great zeal and discretion, and much is expected from his ministry among us.

The local preacher is R. P. Decker who proclaims the gospel with unusual fervor, and exhortors B. S. Morris and Joseph Parkin are always ready for duties in their line. There is but one class leader at present John R. Wilson--who is doing faithful and efficient service. The present board of trustees is, M. T. Grimes, J. J. George, R. E. Morris, F. L. Throckmorton and J. L. Swick. As organized, J. J. George, president; R. E. Morris, secretary; F.L. Throckmorton, treasurer. The building committee upon whom has rested the weight of the burden the past six months is, R. E. Morris, M. T. Grimes, F. L. Throckmorton; J. J. George is secretary of the committee and C. H. Davis treasurer.

The building complete has cost $1,750, and is insured for $2000 for five years in the National Church Mutual of Chicago. The lumber was bought of G. J. Stewart & Co., the furnace of G. W. Ensley, the lighting plant of Walton & Co., and the carpenter work was done by Johnson & Best, all of Chariton; the frescoing by Louis Syberkrop of Creston, the painting by Ed Schermerhorn of Derby; the seating came from Grand Rapids, Mich., and the windows from the Pittsburg Glass Co., Davenport. All work was done by the day and careful supervision was had by the building committee.


The Sunday School was organized in 1873 and C. N. Riggle, now a pastor in Kansas, was the first superintendent.

The officers at present are L. Shreve, superintendent; J. L. Swick, assistant superintendent; secretary, Bertha Tedrick; treasurer, Harry Ogden; assistant treasurer, Naomi Bowdle; librarian, Gertie Westfall. They have a library of about 400 volumes, and a membership of 100. The teachers are R. P. Decker, J. S. Throckmorton, Jane M. Taylor, Rev. P. H. McBeth, Viola Fight, Flora Throckmorton, Elfie Shreve, M. H. Fight.


The Ladies' Aid Society was organized four years ago, with Maggie Grimes, president; Mayme Throckmorton, vice president: Naomi Bowdle, secretary and treasurer. The officers at this time are Diana Penick, president; Gertie Westfall, secretary: Lydia McMains, assistant secretary; Anna B. Swick, treasurer, and the membership is forty.

Since their organization they have painted and papered the parsonage, made considerable improvements on the old church and accumulated a fund of $500 to apply on the new one. They have developed considerable talent for making money the past year or two.


The Epworth League chapter was organized in 1887, and after a few years went to sleep. It was reorganized in 1891 and again awakened into new life and energy in May, 1900, and has continued to be a great moral and intellectual force among the young people since d that time. The present membership is a thirty-five, and the officers are as follows: President, Viola Fight; 1st vice president, Omah Bowdle; 2d vice president, Gertie Westfall; 3d vice president, Bertha George; secretary, Robt. Swick; treasurer, Raymond Shreve.


The choir is composed of the following persons: Leader, W. H. Conner; organist, Cora V. Conner; violinist, S Cora B. Conner; Sopranos: Maggie Grimes, Mable Decker, Alida Smith, Gertie Westfall, Nannie Fight, Nora Snell, Bertha George, Viola Fight, Wilda Bell, Mable Clark, Bertha Tedrick, Elfie Schreve, Ethel Wilson, Emma Henry, Mrs. Stella Fight, Mrs. Dora Slater. Altos: Bessie Decker, Fannie Crist, Naomi Bowdle, Mrs. Mayme Throckmorton. Tenor: W. H. Conner, Oscar Smith, Chas. Finley. Bass: C. E. McCullough, Glen Bell, J. B. Throckmorton, W. B. George, D. E. Fight, C. O. Bowdle, C. H. Davis, Ralph Tedrick.


Sunday, Dec. 2, 1900, was the day appointed to dedicate the building to the worship of God. It was a beautiful day, the air was warm and springlike, and as the hour approached, the church was filled to its full seating capacity. The service opened with a beautiful anthem by the choir, after, which an earnest prayer was offered by Rev. L. B. Wickersham, which was followed by the hymn, "Lead Kindly Light". A scripture lesson was then read by Rev. J. W. Pressly, the Presbyterian minister of that place; an old dedicatory hymn was sung from the Hymnal, when the sermon by Rev. L. B. Wickersham of Simpson College, Indianola, was preached from 1st Cor. 3-9. It was a grand and inspiring sermon. At its close the speaker announced that the sum of fifteen, hundred dollars was needed to meet the needs of the building committee, and dedicate the church free of debt. It was but a short time until more than the amount asked for was secured, and the impressive service of dedication was performed in the presence of the great congregation silently standing, when, with earnest prayer for God's blessing upon His house and all His children everywhere, the service closed with the benediction by Rev. Joseph Parkin.

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