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Grant Township, Ringgold County

The Bethel Church was a direct result of a promise Mrs. [Sarah (ALRED)] Adam G. TALLEY made to her pastor , Reverend MEDSEER in the spring of 1856. The TALLEYS were preparing to leave their Indiana home to homestead in a new and unsettled country. They brought their certificates of church membership with them, and settled in Ringgold County.

The Bethel class was organized in December of 1856, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Adam G. [Sarah (ALDRED)] TALLEY and Benjamin F. and Sarah Catherine (KELLER) TALLEY. Reverend Jesse SHERWOOD of Mount Ayr served as the class' leader.

The congregation consisted of thirteen charter members: Mrs. and Mrs. Adam G. TALLEY, Benjamin KELLER Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Michael STAHL, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin KELLER Jr., Mr. and Mrs. I. A. TALLEY, Mr. and Mrs. B. F. TALLEY, Mrs. G. J. KELLER, and Miss Mary KELLER.

The congregation met in the Adam G. TALLEY home until 1864 when they began meeting in the Hannelly school house.

The Bethel Church was built in 1869 at the entrance to Bethel Cemetery. It was constructed of native walnut siding fastened to hand-hewn timbers and roofed with hand-split shingles. The siding boards were all hand-planed with the church members doing most of the labor. Seating was made from slabs of lumber by fitting wooden pegs into holes which had been bored into the slabs.

For fifteen years, the Bethel Church was the only church in the community. It was "the scene of the wonderful manifestation of God's saving power as scores and scores of souls were converted within its walls."

In 1871, Ringgold County was divided into a north half and a south half. The north half was known as the Bethel ciruit; the south half built a church and parsonage in the town of Benton.

With the establishment of the town of Goshen, a larger church was built in 1881 under the pastorate of J. P. EVANS. The Bethel Church was moved on rollers across the road south and used as a schoolhouse. Later the Bethel Church was sold to Elmer TALLEY and used as a barn on his farm located west of the cemetery. Years later the building was torn down.

Diagonal, Iowa: Centennial History p. 168. 1998.

JOHNSON, Mrs. Esther - great-great-granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. Adam G. TALLEY. "Bethel Church"

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2010; updated May of 2010

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