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The Methodist Church, Beaconsfield, Iowa

The Beaconsfield Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1885 with the assistance of Reverend Samuel SMITH, a retired circuit rider and a farmer, owning 80 acres in Monroe Township.

Reverend Samuel SMITH was born in November of 1816 in Ireland. Rev. SMITH obtained his education by studying hard at night by the light of the fire. He attended school, as was common for male students of the time, only three months out of the year. Rev. SMITH'S theological study was done mainly on horseback.

An article appearing in the June 21st, 1888 edition of the Ringgold Record News announced, "The Methodist Chapel is finished." This chapel was a small wooden structure located on the west side of Main Street on Lot #2, Block 6.

Brother SMITH wrote a letter to the Iowa Conference in January of 1887, stating, "Will you let me say to my dear brethren of the Iowa Conference, through the Wesleyan Methodist, that the note against me on our parsonage house comes due in a few days, and must be settled? Please, dear brethren, do not forget the pledge made to me at Conference, and compel me to bear the whole burden. The property belongs to the Conference. You know that I make this appeal to your because of the failure of our crops for the last two years." It appears that the Wesleyan parsonage was taken care of.

On January 2, 1890, the Ringgold Record News announced "Rev. MITCHELL, pastor of the M.E. Church, has commenced a series of meetings at that place."

The October 10, 1890 Ringgold Record News stated, "Rev. RICHARDSON will be with us another year."

The Ringgold Record News of January 18th, 1900, said, "The revival at the M.E. Church is still in progress with over 40 conversions."

On April 23, 1901, The Ringgold Record announced, "The Rev. RICHARDSON conducted services in the chapel. Rev. SMITH has returned from missionary work in the south."

During February of 1904, the Wesleyan Methodist Church, represented by trustees W. J. PIERSOn and H. T. OGIER, sold their half-interest of lots 2, 3, 4, and 5, along with the building (chapel) and all fixtures, which included the organ, to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal trustees for a sum of $250.00.

The first mention of Beaconsfield's Methodist Church was in the Iowa Annual Conference Journal in 1908. The church was at that time a part of the Chariton Methodist Episcopal district, and one of Reverend Richard R. YELLAND's four charges - Beaconsfield, Grand River, Hopeville and Ansty, a country schoolhouse located southeast of Beaconsfield.

According to early records, the church was called the Methodist Chapel.

In April of 1911, the Methodist Episcopal trustees paid L. L. and Mary NICHOLS $90.00 for the lots where the present Beaconsfield Methodist Church is located. Under the wise direction of Reverend Charles KNOLL, a new brick church was built at the cost of $7,000. The new church was dedicated on Sunday, December 24th of 1911, debt free with approximately $1,000 left over. Reverend Edwin A. SCHELL of Wesleyan University delivered the morning sermon at 10:50 a.m. The afternoon program was presided over by District Superintendent Dr. A. A. THOMPSON. The formal dedication service was in the evening with Dr. SCHELL delivering another sermon.

Officers of the new church were: A. F. HENRY, superintendent; John SCOTT, assistant superintendent; Helen NORTHEY, secretary; C. H. ROBBINS, treasurer; Mrs. B. O. BEADLE, organist; Helen NORTHEY, assistant organist; Gladys GEARLING, librarian.

Methodist Church
Beaconsfield, Iowa

In June of 1913, the trustees purchased lot 10, just north of the church, from J. M. and Mary GLICK for a sum of $40.00 This is where they built a parsonage in 1914 through the energetic labors of Reverend E. DURRANT, the supply minister.

During the summer of 1923, Deaconess Miss Sarah THROCKMORTON filled in for Reverend Theodore KIESS, Jr. so that he could attend summer school in Des Moines.

In the year of 1923, the Beaconsfield and Grand River Methodist Churches shared a minister until the mid-1930's. Then, the Beaconsfield church shared a minister with Ellston for about five years before re-uniting with Grand River again. During the 1952 June Conference, Kellerton was added as a branch church. Reverend Richard T. HOHL was the minister for Beaconsfield, Grand River and Kellerton in 1958. At this time, these churches became affliated with what was known as the South Iowa Conference.

The Beaconsfield congregation was a close knit group, offering support for one another throughout the depression years and droughts of the 1930's and the war years of the 1940's. On November 19th, 1949, tragedy struck when the brick church along with all of the contents was completely destroyed by fire. This occurred only hours before the congregation had planned to prepare for the church's annual dinner and God's Portion Sale. The fire, starting in the furnace room, gained enough headway that it could not be contained.

Undaunted, the congregation held their annual dinner and sale the following day in the schoolhouse. They also began plans to rebuild. Farmers who belonged to the congregation were asked to plant one acre of their land to crops designated for the church building fund. Proceeds from the dinner and sale amounted to $1,200 and was earmarked for the building fund.

Des Moines Tribune
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
December 20, 1950


by Herb OWENS

Along The Way.jpg BEACONSFIELD, IA. – The day after the Methodist church building here burned on Nov. 19, 1949, a “God’s Portion” sale collected more than $1,200 for construction of a new one. Within a week, a committee was canvassing the rural areas getting pledges which were paced by gifts of $1,000 each for the minister, the Rev. William James WEBER, and three other men. A half dozen men, mostly farmers, pledged $500 each.

“We soon had subscriptions totaling $14,000, mostly in cash, and the insurance money, about $3,000, added it up to enough to start building,” said the Rev. Mr. WEBER, 73, who also is superintendent of the Beaconsfield Consolidated school.

Now the new church, an attractive white frame structure on the corner across from the post office, is nearing completion. Within a few weeks – barring further delay in materials – it should be ready for services.


Beaconsfield Church.jpg Following plans sketched by the minister, Mrs. Jack DALBEY of Diagonal drew up final blueprints for the building. That was her contribution to the cause.

There were gifts, too, from residents and merchants of Diagonal, Tingley, Grand River, and other neighboring towns.

Beaconsfield, after all, isn’t a metropolis. The town’s population is estimated at 103. The membership in the church, including rural residents, is 100. The school, with six teachers, including the superintendent, has an enrollment of 60.

Since everything was destroyed in the fire, all new furnishings will be necessary. The Womens Society for Christian Service has gathered in about $800 which will be used to furnish the new kitchen.


A piano has been provided for the Sunday school room – but a good new piano is sought for the main auditorium. Know anybody with a kindly heart and a new piano?

The 1949 “God’s Portion” sale was, actually, an underlying cause of the fire. The church was being heated the night before the sale day. Heads of the sale were undaunted, however. The immediately shifted the sale and banquet to the school building. And a few days ago, on Dec. 9, the 1950 “God’s Portion” sale and banquet was held – again in the schoolhouse – to add funds for church furnishings.


The original plans for the church called for clear glass windows. Investigation revealed that colored, leaded glass panes would cost about $400 more. The Rev. Mr. WEBER, residents say, immediately volunteered half the necessary increased expense. So, the church has fine colored windows.

It’s said here that the living room rug at the parsonage – where services have been conducted – is a bit threadbare. There has been no hesitancy, however, in the generosity of the minister.


The Rev. Mr. WEBER, whose wife at present is visiting a son in California, bears up in health and vigor even though he preaches at three churches each Sunday – after a week of school work.

Besides the Beaconsfield services, the minister preaches at Grand River – services at 9:45 in one church, 11 a.m. in the other. In the evening he conducts a service at Maple Grove rural church.

A native of Pennsylvania, he was graduated from Southwestern College, Kansas, and Kimball School of Theology, Salem, Ore. He has a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. While handling three churches in the Red Oak district, he was pressed into service as a schoolteacher at Stennett.

Later he preached at Gravity while teaching at Ellston. He came to Beaconsfield two years ago.

“I work seven days a week – but my Sunday work is my recreation,” he said.

Church Construction, September 24, 1950

Back Row, Left to Right: Frank REASONER, Mary REASONER, Anna HILL, EThel FITZGERALD, Mildred "Tut" HOLLAND, Dorine JONES, Oris RUBY, Mary MAGGONER, Ruby POORE, Martha OWENS, Don POORE, Gene JOHNSTON, Helen LONG, Ethel PIDCOCK, Fannie ONSTOT, Pearley POORE, Nell BAKER, Norman GUNN, Horace BAKER

Front Row, Left to Right: Garry WION, Dean SHEUMAKER, BIll LANTZ, Dennis CALDWELL, Sue (LANTZ) JONES, unknown, Kay (LANTZ) BEST, Lois (REASONER) SCHULTZ, Rosemary SHEUMAKER, Barbara Ann (LONG) WALTERS


Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 05, 1956

The Rev. M. J. NASH, who has been returned to the Kellerton and Beaconsfield Methodist Church pastorates for a second year, and his family will be honored at a program to be held Sunday evening, July 8, in the church at Beaconsfield.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2012

Beaconsfield Methodist Church, circa 1960

Ministers of Beaconsfield Methodist Church

    1885    Samuel SMITH
    1885-86    H. HULL
    1888    S. A. GULLEY
    1909    W. C. SMITH
    1909-13    Charles KNOLL
    1913-15    P. C. KENTON
    1916    Frank CALDWELL (1854-1917)
    1916    Cloyd H. CONNER
    1917    J. E. WILLIAMS
    1918    B. D. SUTTON
    1919    Cloyd H. CONNER
    1920    Theodore KIES Jr.
    1921    J. D. TURNER
    1922    Theodore KIES Jr.
    1923-25    G. W. HALL
    1925    D. I. HOWER
    1926    E. A. THOMAS
    1927    C. J. SOEBURG
    1929    W. H. DOYLE
    1930     James WILKINS (1887-1974)
    1932    W. H. DOYLE
    1933-34    A. C. LONG
    1935    Ida I. ROBERTS
    1936-37    C. L. THOMAS
    1938-41     Jack FISHER
    1941-43    Wendell MARSHALL
    1943-44    Melvin GOELDNER, Layperson, Osceola
    1944-47    Richard T. RICHARDS
    1947-49    Paul CROUSE
    1949-52    William J. WEBER
    1952-56     William T. MILLER
    1956-58    M. J. NASH
    1958-64     Richard T. HOHL
    1964-65     Carl H. CUMMINGS, Layperson, Bedford
    1965-66    Thomas D. HERSEY
    1966-69    Lyle S. DUNHAM (1903-1991)
    1969    Arthur A. HAMANN
    1969-73    Sheridan MALLOTT
    1973-86     Walter A. ZARR (1931-1986)
    1986-88     Douglas P. HARDING
    1988-92    Joe Linang FLORENDO
    1992-95     Lynn WYATT
    1995-      Wendi GILLAN


Epworth League, April 14, 1940

Back Row, Left to Right: teachers - Marion GOODENOW and Mary Claire PETTIS, Rev. Jack FISHER, Wes POORE, Marjorie POORE, Joyce McCONNELL

Middle Row, Left to Right: teacher - Margaret LOTHE, Alberta POORE, Betty BARBOUR, Irene KEPPLE, Dorine PIDCOCK, Betty POORE

Front Row, Left to Right: Lee NEWMAN, Darlene POORE, Harold POORE, Nora Lee KEPPLE, Eloise McCONNELL, Pyllis McCONNELL, Jean McCONNELL

NOTE: Hugh and Evelyn McCONNELL were the parents of the five McCONNELL children. Darlene was the daughter of Orville and Pauline POORE. Betty was the daugther of Ralph and Goldie POORE. Alberta, Marjorie, Wesley and Harold were the children of Alvin and Katie POORE.

 The Beaconsfield Methodist Church celebrated their 100th Year Anniversary on September 1st of 1985 with a morning service and and an afternoon program under the leadership of Reverend Walter ZARR.

Church Centennial, September 1, 1985
Left to Right: Melvin GOELDNER, Walter ZARR,Pastor,
& District Superintendant Bill COTTON


Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sunday evening the Beaconsfield Methodist Church parishioners met at the rural Mount Ayr home of Rick and Marilyn HAWKINS for a farewell gathering. Those attending were Jim and Mary Ann SMITH, Rex and Ann WALTERS, Duane and Willa POORE, Leann and Terry BOLES, Norma GREENLAND, Bonnie STUCK, Eugene and Esther McALEXANDER and Jack and Phyllis MANNING.

Sunday Duane and Willa POORE celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Duane and Willa were the first couple married in the new Beaconsfield United Methodist Church.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pastor Robin THOMAS preached her first sermon at the Beaconsfield United Methodist Church Sunday.

Mount Ayr Record-News, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa. December 1, 2005.
Beaconsfield Centennial book, Pp. 36-45.
genealogical and historical clippings of Pearle Veva (BRAMON) FOLAND

Transcribed by Sharon R. Becker, 2008; updated May of 2010

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