Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book
Nichols - Our Town - 1984


Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, pages 28-31
By Loretta MacKenzie

         Methodism began in Pike township about 1840, six years before Iowa was granted statehood. Families by the names of Olds, Rock, Watkins and Stretch arranged to have preaching occasionally in the different homes. One of the early preachers was James Harlan, who became a United States Senator and father of the wife of Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.
         In 1851 a log school house was built in Pike township. I was known as the Hubbard school. The name was later changed to Lacy school, and it is now the Grange Hall. Preaching services were held every two weeks at Hubbard school.
         It was here that Mrs. Holds and Mr. Hubbard organized the first Sabbath school, including the neighborhood from the Sauer place to Conesville. The members of the church at this school were Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Olds and son, Gamaliel Isaac Olds, the Hollenbeck family, A. T. Elder and family, H. M. Mapes and family, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Shannon and several others.
         It was decided to move the church services to Nichols to the upper story of the two-story brick school house. An outside stairway led to the second story.
         In 1875 the Christian minister, Rev. Powell, and the Methodist minister, Rev. Warington, held a six weeks’ revival meeting with great success. The Christian Church people then established their own service separately, and the Methodist Episcopal people united in services with the Methodist Protestant people. Together they worked and built a two story brick building similar to the one they had known back in Ohio. The building was considered very fine for this time..
         This church was built in 1875 under the direction of William Vantuyl, who was a large contributor. Charter members were William Vantuyl and wife, Miss Jennie Worden, Arnold Bliss and wife and Amos Ames and wife. The first pastor was J. A. Bolton.
         The Methodist Protestant people were not able to hire a preacher of their own denomination, but they were opposed to allowing a Methodist Episcopal minister to occupy the pulpit. Some of the Methodist Episcopal members at this time were john Fulmer and family, John Nicola and family, A. T. Elder and family, John Nash and family and many others whose names cannot be recalled.
         A committee was appointed to secure a place for their services. They arranaged for the use of the Germa Lutheran Church, which they later purchased for $600 on 30 December 1890. The trustees were John Nicola, A. T. Elder and J. W. Rummells. This building was located near the site where Gertie Smith’s house stood in the north end of Nichols.
         In 1907 the pastor, Rev. J. C. Brown, held a great revival meeting and about one hundred members were added to the church. In 1909 the lot where the Methodist Church now stands was purchased from August Dedrick for $600. The house on that lot was purchased by the Chambers family and moved to the north end of town. The barn on the lot was moved and stands on the Dedrick property.
         The church which was purchased from the German Lutherans was then moved to the newly acquired lot. The present sanctuary is the original building. At this time the large room to the south and the bell tower were added, and the building was set on a foundation with a complete basement. These improvements were valued at $5000. A dedication service was held 8 May 1910, with J. R. Hanley, pastor of the M. E. Church in Centerville, Iowa, officiating. Also present were the District Superintendent, Rev. J. A. Boatman; pastors Rev. H. C. Millice, Rev. S. T. Shirley, Rev. J. W. Scott, and Rev. C. E. Fitzsimmons, temporary pastor.
         Officers of the church at that time were Mrs. John Stephens, district steward; Bert Nash, recording steward; C. E. Fitzsimmons, treasurer, and Fred Hummel and Delbert Smith, stewards. Trustees were John Elder, president; B. A. Kirchner, secretary; Rev. W. E. Loeb, Dr. F. F. Carl, Freeman Elder, C. B. Kirchner and Guy Briggs.
         The president of the Epworth League was Delbert Smith, and the president of the Ladies Aid Society was Mrs. C. C. Fitzsimmons. The building committee members were John Elder, chairman; B. A. Kirchner, secretary; Dr. F. F. Carl, Freeman Elder and C. B. Kirchner.
         On 15 September 1912 the parsonage trustees of the Nichols charge drew up Articles of Incorporation for the purpose of building a parsonage. The original trustees were: Nichols, Fred Hummel, Albert J. Nash, secretary and treasurer; William E. Loeb, president, and Delbert Smith; Cedar Valley, Charles G. Brown and Granville E. Flater; Conesville, John Gunderson and Allen McCurdy. Rev. C. H. Montgomery was pastor and Mrs. Flora Stephens, recording secretary.
         Plans were for a lot to be purchased and a house and barn erected, with the total cost not to exceed $2400. Nichols was to pay $1200, Cedar Valley $600 and Conesville, $600. The lot was purchased from B. F. Swickard and others on 16 December 1912 for $425. On 8 April 1913 the trustees approved the plans and recommended that the building committee proceed as soon as enough money was solicited. From records kept, it seems that the total expenses came to $2852.94.
         In 1939 the three great branches of Methodism united throughout the world to become the Methodist Church. Therefore, the name Methodist Episcopal Church in Nichols became, simply, the Nichols Methodist Church.
         On 2 April 1941 the Nichols Methodist Sunday School observed their fiftieth anniversary with an impressive program. The Superintendent, Marion Barnhart, presided at the service. At the worship, the pastor, Rev. E. L. McClure, introduced the district superintendent, Dr. L. L. Weis. The anniversary program was held in the afternoon with Rev. H. C. Druse, a former pastor, presiding.
         In 1948 the church building was much improved when the coal furnace was replaced with an oil furnace and a new hardwood floor was laid in the sanctuary. Carpet for the rostrum and aisles was laid; this was furnished by the young people.
         As Sunday School attendance continued to grow and more classes were formed to give better training, the need for more space became apparent. A temporary committee was named in 1954, Mrs. Marion Barnhart, Robert Elder and Loren Brown, to study the problem. After plans were submitted and preliminary estimates were received, the proposition was presented to the congregation in February of 1955. The proposal was accepted and pledges were made at this time.
         Ata meeting with the district superintendent, Dr. W. F. Overulser, a new building committee was nominated. Mrs. Marion Barnhart was named chairman, with the following people serving throughout the entire period of planning and construction: Francis Coder, Robert Elder, George Kirchner, Floyd Waltman, Mrs. Donald Carter and Mrs. Walter Elder, Jr.
         On the building finance committee were Duane Neff, chairman: Mrs. Walter Elder, Sr., treasurer; Kenneth Smith and Ernest Kirchner. The services of an architect, Henry L. Fisk of Iowa City, were secured and plans were drawn up for a building consisting of five classrooms, rest rooms and full basement to be constructed adjacent to the west side of the church.
         The low bid for contract was that of one of our church members, Jess Newton. Work was started in May of 1955 and completed in March of 1956. Following the completion of the building by the contractors, members of the congregation furnished the paint and labor to decorate the rooms. In charge of this project were Mrs. Marion Barnhart and Mrs. Vernon Carter. The young people gave $100 which was used to purchase paint for the old basement, and the Women’s Society of Christian Service purchased the paint and hired John Tatge and Clint Brown to paint the upstairs.
         Consecration services were held 25 March 1956, with the district superintendent, Dr. Raymond Reed, and the pastor, Rev. William B. Tomlinson, in charge. Open house was held in the afternoon with a program and refreshments.
         Another property addition was made during 1955 when the church purchased the lot across the street from the Quimby estate. The land was cleared of trees and brush, graded and rocked for use as a parking lot.
         The following are pastors who have served on the charge since Nichols was made head of the circuit on 7 September 1892 with Cedar Valley and Conesville, the other two churches on the charge:
         Rev. F. C. Maxwell, 1892-1893; Rev. C. E. Coggshell, 1893-1894; Rev. A. Telfer, 1894-1895; Rev. H. R. Osborne, 1896-1897; Rev. M. L. Sander, 1897-1898; Rev. C. E. Fitzsimmons, 1898-1900; Rev. H. C. Millice, 1900-1902; Rev. John Potter, 1902-1903.
         Rev. W. E. Loeb, 1903-1904; Rev. Wilford Kent (two months); Rev. E. A. Brinton, 1904-1906; Rev. W. J. Scott, 1906-1907; Rev. J. C. Brown, 1907-1908; Rev. S. L. Shirley, 1908-1909; Rev. Benj. E. Parkinson, 1909-1910; Rev. R. T. Richards, 1910-1911; Rev. R. J. Fisher, 1911-1912; Rev. C. H. Montgomery, 1912-1913; Rev H. F. Bohn, 1913-1915.
         Rev. H. E. Butler, 1915-1918; Rev. H. C. Millice, 1918-1919; Rev. James Worrell, 1919-1922; Rev. V. A. Bloomquist, 1922-1924p Rev. W. G. Barr, 1924-1926; Rev. H. H. Fletcher, 1926-1927; Rev. E. S. Hehner, 1927-1930; Rev. H. C. Druse, 1930-1934; Rev. H. M. Strong, 1934-1937; Rev. Forrest D. Kellogg, 1937-1938; Rev. E. L. McClure, 1938-1941; Rev. Horace Ireland, 1941-1946; Rev. Paul Textor, 1946-1947.
         Rev. C. F. Curtis, 1947-1950; Rev. Edward W. Norman, 1950-1954; Rev. Fernando Laxamana (three months); Rev. Gerald McCray, 1954-1955; Rev. William B. Tomlinson, 1955-1957; Rev. John Schortinhuis, 1957-1958; Rev. Nancy Nichols, 1958-1961; Rev. Daniel Goldberg, 1961-1962; Rev. Marvin Ceynar, 1962-1967; Rev. Fred Deifenbacher, 1967-1968; Rev. Russell L. Hart, 1968-1970; Rev. Russell L. Hart (two months); Rev. Alfred Claark, 1971-1975; Rev. Robert D. Foster, 1975-1978; Rev. Herbert H. Foxworthy, 1978-1982; Rev. Lyle Ball, 1978-1982, and Rev. Gerald Allsup, 1982 to the present [1984].

~ Methodist Church – 1984. – page 28.
~ Methodist Church about 1931. – page 28.
~ Methodist Episcopal Church (Old) about 1899. – page 29.
~ Sunday School class of Nichols Methodist church taken about 1912. – page 29.
First row, front, Miriam Richter. Second row, Ila Nash, Frances Kirchner, Stella Matheny, ---, George Dale, William Dale, Harry Matheny. Third row, Lilly Richter, Ida O. Nash, Mrs. Matheny, ---, Mrs. Shannon, Mrs. Hallock, Laura Nash. Fourth row, ---, Fanny Dale, Melissa Black, Carolyn Brown. Fifth row, top, ---, Mrs. Fitzsimmons, Ann Stafford.
~ Bible School 1957 – 1st and 2nd Grades. – page 30.
First row, left to right, Peggy Fridley, Karla Smith, Roger Swanson, John Kirkpatrick, Dale Hammons, Pat Carter; second row, Bonnie Walker, Kenneth Grable, Debbie Bieri, Cindy Porter, Kris Meyers, Linda Abbott, Alan McLaughlin; back row, teachers, Letha Porter, Evelyn Elder.
~ Methodist Primary Class for Sunday School 1961 – page 30.
First girl, Dee Mills, Sally Mills, Phillip Mills, Dwight Marine, Kenlyn Smith, Scott Buser, Lynne Carter, Tim Wildasin, Beth Marie Fridley, Dennis Brown.
~ Primary Class Nichols Methodist Church, Sunday School 1958 – page 30.
First row, left to right, Cathy Abbott, Dennis Brown, ---; second row, Tom Baxter, Mike Mills, Gordy Bieri.
~ Methodist Sunday School Class 1969 Junior High– page 30.
First row, left to right, Chris Hudson, Debbie Newton, Sally Mills, Kenlyn Smith, Dee Mills; second row, Cathy Abbott, Twyla Campbell, Scott Buser, Tim Wildasin, Gail Roth, Lynne Carter; third row, Phillip Mills, Dennis Brown, ---.
~ The Ceynar Family. – page 31.
~ About 1875, Reverend Warrington and Mrs. Carl at the organ.– page 32.
The table in this picture was used in the original church and is still in use at the Nichols Methodist Church today (1984).
~ An honorary key was presented to the District Superintendent at Consecration Services of the new Church Unit. Pictured are Francis Coder, member of the building committee, Rev. Wm. Tomlinson of the Nichols Methodist Church and Dr. C. Raymond Reed, District Superintendent. – page 33.
~ One of five Sunday School rooms in the new addition.– page 33.
This is the Primary Room which was the object of much attention by the youngsters of the church during the open house. The children are (left to right): Cheryl Carter, Laura Albrecht, Lois Albrecht, Edith Kincaid, Dennis Albrecht, Monty Whitlock, Randy Elder, Jeff Carter.

Acquire New Choir Robes
Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page31

         New choir robes will be worn for the first time by the junior choir robes will be worn for the first time by the junior choir in the Nichols Methodist church during regular services Sunday morning and for the evening Easter program. The junior choir of the church is under the direction of Mrs. Wilma Mills. She has had charge of the choir composed of teen age young people for the past 12 years. In that length of time, four different groups have been members of the choir. At all ties there have been between 16 and 24 young people in the choir.
         Accompanist for the choir is Mrs. Vera Elder, who has worked with Mrs. Mills and the group for six years. She has taken lessons and practiced to become very proficient on the electric organ which was purchased by the church and used for the first time last Easter.
         The special program Sunday evening will be a candlelight story-song form of worship, entitled “Crosses and Fine Linen,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. Narrator will be Mrs. Louise Rummells.
         A picture of the choir, presented above, shows Mrs. Elder and Mrs. Mills at the left. Members of the choir in front row, left to right, Larry Whitlock, Billy Rummells, Gayle Hollenbeck, Jimmy Hadley and Vernon Deahr. Middle row, Norma Jane Deahr, Wiladine Chown, Barbara Jo Hanft, Mary Lou Swanson, Jackie Renshaw, Marilyn Baxter, Joyce Brenneman and Beatrice Deahr. Back row, Carol Braun, Jerry Elder, Ramona Mills, John Swanson, Daryl Swanson, Billy Newton, Ronnie Baxter and Virgil Braun.
         Helen Johnston, Keith Johnston, Mary Lou Mills and Loretta Brenneman were not present when the picture was taken. (Journal Photo).

Observance of Iowa CROP Week to Start Sunday
Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page32

Importance of the Christian Rural Overseas Program will be noted at church services in Muscatine county Sunday, opening the observance of Iowa CROP week November 13-19.[1984]
         CROP week will climax preparations by churches of the county for a concerted food gift appeal. Contributions from this county will be added to those from others in the state and sent overseas through the Church World Service organization. In the church services, pastors are to describe to their congregations the need for foods existing in such overseas nations as Korea, Greece, at Hong Kong, among flood victims in India and refugees in other areas.
         The Rev. William Tomlinson, of Nichols, Muscatine county CROP chairman, reports that a farm-to-farm canvass will be conducted by volunteer workers during the week. Additional volunteers will be welcomed, the Rev. Mr. Tomlinson announces.
         A goal of one carload of corn has been set for the county, it is announced. This is to be processed into corn syrup for shipment to one of the foreign countries in need of food. Harry Braun, operator of a 400 acre farm southwest of Nichols, has already donated 50 bushels of corn to the project.
         Lines beneath photo read: Corn Donated – Pictured here with a 50 bushel load of corn donated for the CROP program by Harry Braun of near Nichols are the Rev. William Tomlinson of Nichols, county CROP chairman, left, Mr. Braun, and Mrs. Ben Nichols, Pike township CROP chairman. (Journal Photo).

Consecration of Nichols Church Unit Arranged
Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page33

         Nichols – Consecration service of the new educational unit in the Nichols Methodist church will be conducted by Dr. C. Raymond Reed of Mt. Pleasant, district superintendent, at the regular 10 a.m. worship service Sunday March 25. Open house will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The program beginning at 2 p.m. will include the invocation by the Rev. L. J. Vogel; solo, “Gentle Carpenter of Bethlehem,” James Haley; remarks by the Rev. William Tomlinson, Marcella Barnhart, Duane Neff, the Rev. Floyd Shepard of Wapello, representing the district location committee, Henry Fish of Iowa City and Jess Newton of Nichols; solo, “Bless This House,” Marilyn Meyers; and the benediction by the Rev. Mr. Bolinger.

School Project Nears Completion
Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page33

         Work on the Sunday school addition to the Methodist church in Nichols is expected to be completed by October 1. Placing of flashing tin on the ends of the roof was completed Tuesday and the main roofing job is expected to start today. The roof will be the flat top gravel type. Other outside work to be completed includes the hanging of the outside door and construction of a sidewalk. Inside masonry work will be finished today. The school addition is 52 feet long and 29 feet wide. It will have five Sunday school rooms on the first floor, and class rooms and a recreation room in the basement. The church has 205 enrolled in Sunday school with 213 in its congregation. The Rev. William Tomlinson is pastor of the church. Cost of the addition will be about $14,000. Jess Newton, Nichols, is the contractor. (Staff photo)

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