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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