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Packwood Methodist Church
Section 11, Northeast corner


Jefferson County Deed Book 8, Page 330

To J. L. Stevenson, et al, Trustees of M.E. Church, fron John F. Reeder and wife, recorded March 2, 1869.

"Know all men by these presents, That we, John F. Reeder and Caroline Reeder, of the County of Jefferson, State of Iowa, in consideration of the sun of Twenty-Five Dollars in hand paid by J. L. Stevenson, William Lock and Iradel Tansey of Jefferson County, State of Iowa, do herby (sic) sell and convey unto the said Stevenson, Lock and Tansey, as Trestees, and to their successors as trustees, for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church Meeting at Pleasant Hill, Polk Township, Jefferson County, Iowa, the following described premises situated in County of Jefferson, State of Iowa, to-wit:

"To commence at the N.E. Corner of Sec. No. 11 in Township 73, N., Range 11 W..... thence to run west 12 rods, thence 12 rods south, thence 12 rods east, thence 12 rods north to place of beginning. The Pleasant Hill above referred to is at the northeast corner of said Section 11....

"Signed the 24th day of February A.D. 1869.
John Reeder
Caroline Reeder."

Note: The above transaction was consummated in Richland, Keokuk County, State of Iowa, before A. H. Smith, Notary Public.

Also noted: The map of Jefferson County in Andreas' 1875 Atlas of Iowa shows a church in NE Corner of Sec. 11, Polk Township. A 'rod' is a linear unit of measurement equal to 16.5 feet.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
December 29, 1880
Page 3, Column 5

The friends of Pleasant Hill M. E. Church had a Christmas tree. A small admission fee was charged, which realized $19.25, to be used for the benefit of the Sunday school. Every child was given a present from the tree, while Kris Kringle got in at a window and distributed a sack of apples. An address was made by Rev. SWANSON, while music was furnished by the children. The house was crowded, and every body appeared well pleased. We are indebted to Wm. Locke for particulars.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
January 4, 1882
Page 3, Column 5

The good people of the Pleasant Hill M.E. church had a fine time at their Christmas Eve celebration. A handsome Christmas tree adorned the church, filled with presents for the members of the Sunday school and church, and the ten cents admission fee put $18.65 into the treasury for the school. An address was delivered by Rev. SWANSTON, who was given a handsome present, and the usual singing and other exercises were given.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
January 3, 1883
Page 2, Column 5

Editors Ledger:-- The Methodists in the vicinity of Pleasant Hill school-house, in Polk township, had a Christmas tree Monday night, which was laden with valuable and good things for the children of the Sabbath-school. The exercises consisted of singing, short address by Rev. PARKINSON, and the distribution of gifts. Nearly all the children got some present, as Santa Claus came in with a basket of apples. A small admittance fee was charged, and the attendance was so large that $22.40 was realized. Every body in this locality looks for a good time about Christmas, and we had it this year. Our old friend, William Locke, one of the teachers in the Sunday school, was the recipient of an excellent overcoat.   E.O.W.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
March 5, 1884
Page 2, Column 5

POLK.

[Note: This is part of a column of various news items for the township.]

.... There will be a singing school at Pleasant Hill church every night this week, and at the end of the term there will be a public concert....

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Jefferson County Deed Book 37, Page 490

F. M. Stephenson and wife to Trustees of the M.E. Church.

"Know all men by these presents: That Marion F. Stevenson (sic) and S. Stevenson, husband and wife, of the County of Jefferson and State of Iowa, for consideration of Twenty-Five Dollars in hand.... unto William LOCK, Iredell TANSEY, Andrew RYMAN and Jane TRACY as Trustees.... for use of the Methodist Episcopal Church Society of Pleasant Hill in Polk Township, Jefferson County, State of Iowa, the following....

"SE Corner of SE of Sec. 11, Township 73 N, Range 11W.... running north 12 rods thence west 12 rods thence south 12 rods thence east 12 rods to beginning....

"The Pleasant Hill above referred to is at the NE Corner of said Section. Signed 12 December 1887.

F. M. Stephenson
S. Stephenson."

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"The Fairfield Tribune"
February 15, 1888
Page 2, Column 2

CENTRAL POLK.

The Pleasant Hill people contemplate having an oyster supper in their church at Packwood in the near future.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
March 15, 1889
Page 3, Column 4

COUNTY CORRESPONDENCE.

PACKWOOD.

[Note: This is part of a column of various news items.]

.... Twenty-four persons joined the M. E. church on probation Sunday night, and still there are more to follow.....

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
April 12, 1889
Page 3, Column 6

PACKWOOD.

[Note: This is part of a column of various news items.]

Editors Ledger:-- Thirty-eight persons joined the M. E. church here during the meetings this spring, mostly young people. Prayer meeting is held every Thursday evening and young people's meeting Sunday evenings at 7:30. There will be Easter services in the M. E. church in Packwood Easter Sunday, commencing at 2 o'clock p.m. Everybody is invited to come. The program will be instructive and entertaining. ...

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
November 27, 1889
Page 2, Column 5

PACKWOOD.

[Note: This is part of a column of various news items.]

Editors Ledger:-- ... The Methodists observed November 10th as Good Tidings Day by decorating the church with fruits and flowers, and with appropriate songs and addresses. We would like to give the whole program, but will be content with a very small fraction. After a song by the choir a recitation was given by four little girls; to I. TANSEY, our superintendent, was presented a fine gold headed cane by them in behalf of the school, as a token of love and esteem. Mr. T. responded with a few appropriate remarks, although almost overcome, as the gift was a complete surprise. ...

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
December 18, 1889
Page 2, Column 5

PACKWOOD.

[Note: This is part of a column of various news items.]

... The M. E. Sunday school will give an entertainment Christmas Eve; the programme consists of declamations, recitations and singing; we expect Old Santa Claus and his wife, with lots of candy and presents for all; let every one come who wants to have an evening of profit and enjoyment. ...

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
April 2, 1902
Page 3

PACKWOOD. The M.E. Church folks have about completed arrangements to build a better place of workship, the present one being entirely too small to accommodate the people.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
September 17, 1902
Page 2, Column 3

PACKWOOD. Rock is being hauled for the foundation of the new Methodist church; the old church will be sold Sat. the 30th inst., to the highest bidder.

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
October 1, 1902
Page 3, Column 7

PACKWOOD. Rev. J. C. CAUGHLAN has been returned to the M.E. charge here for another year, and the people are much pleased to have him back; he and his wife are very popular with everyone. ...

... The old M.E. church has been removed and the foundation is being laid for the new building ... The blacksmith shop which stands on the corner (of First and Church Streets) is perhaps the oldest building in town, having been moved from the country more than 20 years ago; not being a thing of beauty at that time, it has gained nothing in the many years it has been used as a shop ...

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
October 8, 1902
Page 3, Column 2

The Methodists at Packwood are asking for bids for the erection of a new church building which they expect to complete this fall. (Bad weather caused some delay.)

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
May 13, 1903
Page 3, Column 2

COUNTY CORRESPONDENCE.

PACKWOOD. ... P. T. Mitchell purchased the old Methodist church, paying $119.50, his bid being the highest; the new church is about finished and will be dedicated the second Sunday in June; the new structure is very handsome; twelve memorial windows adorn it; they were donated by the Ladies' Aid Society, the Epworth League, the Junior League, the old soldiers, the builders, the Baldwin boys, the travelling men and J. C. CAUGHLAN's Sunday School class of young ladies, and in memory of Rev. W. A. JACKSON, Iredell TANSEY, Frederick LYONS and William LOCK, deceased; all of the windows are of very beautiful design and lettering. ...

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
June 24, 1903
Page 3, Column 2

COUNTY CORRESPONDENCE.

PACKWOOD. ... The dedication of the new Methodist church, which took place the 14th inst., was a very pleasant event. Dr. Hancher of Mt. Pleasant had charge of the ceremonies, and was assisted by Rev. Handy of Mt. Pleasant. The amount of indebtedness, $1,394.39, was easily raised. In the evening Dr. Hancher impressed on the minds of those present that a new organ was needed, and soon $106 was raised for that purpose, as well as money enough to screen the doors and windows. The church is very beautiful and convenient. The windows are of artistic design and beautiful colorings. The house is heated by furnace and lighted with gas. The main audience room is 22x46 feet. The lecture room will seat nearly 200. The basement contains kitchen and dining room. Rev. J. C. CAUGHLAN has worked with great zeal in the building of the new church, and in actual hard labor he put in eighty-one days, which is a great deal more than any member did. The members urged him to take a month's rest, which the gentleman, at first reluctant, finally accepted. He certainly deserves and needs it, as it is apparent by his jaded appearance. &nsbp; Peggoty.

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"Batavia News"
August 7, 1919
Page 8, Column 2

PACKWOOD. Rev. Day, pastor of the M.E. Church at Ollie, conducted services at the M.E. church here Sunday night. He spoke from the first and second verses of the 12th chapter of Romans; his thots were instructive, and well received by the few present. It is rather hard on the preacher to speak to empty seats. The seats in the choir were all empty. Perhaps if the church were on wheels and had a big motor attached, there would be a full attendance at church services of the members.

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"Batavia News"
October 2, 1919
Page 6, Column 1

PACKWOOD. Rev. Chas. COCHRAN, the newly appointed pastor of the M.E. Church, has moved in the parsonage, and his sister, Mrs. Jordan of Wayland, is housekeeping for him until his wife and daughter recover from burns they received several weeks ago when their gasoline stove exploded. They are in a hospital in Des Moines.

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"The Fairfield Ledger-Journal"
Saturday, October 21, 1922
Page 1, Column 1

PACOWOOD TO DEDICATE NEW CHURCH SOON
Methodists Will Combine Service With District Conference There Next Week

Packwood's New Nethodist Episcopal church will be ready for dedication, October 29.

President U. S. Smith, D. D., of Iowa Wesleyan College is to have charge of the dedication rpogram and preach both morning and evening. He is to be assistedby (sic) Rev. W. H. Perdew, D. D., and Rev. Thomas Osborn D. D., the latter is shceduled to preach at the afternoon service. There will be an all day service adn the members and friends are planning to bring a basket dinner which will be spread in the fine new dining room in the basement. At 1:00 oclock the congregation will enjoy a radio program made possible by Mr. Andrews who will have his large amplifier and give the whole audience the benefit of the program.

The new church which has been built primarily for the purpose of a thorough modern program of religious education and recreation also provides for additional seating capacity when needed. The outstanding feature, however is, the commodious Sunday school apartment providing a separate room for each class whereby the teacher can expound the truths of the scriptures free from distractions and interruptions which always attends a crowded room with a bedlam of voices.

Then too, there is a fine large basement with a well equipped kitchen, a stage and a small dining room or work room in addition to a large dining room, 42 by 52 feet. This will be the scene of community get-togethers each month whereby the people of the community can mingle socially thereby generating a community feeling of friendliness.

Heretofore Packwood has had no place whereby people could comfortably get together in a social capacity and sit around the table of a community feast. The church has been stuccoed with rock bond stucco have an ebony dash, new art glass windows with emblems have been installed. The old church has been replastered, relighted, reroofed, rearranged and withal is a new building.

The total cost will be in the neighborhood of $15,000, running above the original estimate due to the many necessary repairs which the committee found must be made to preserve the old building, a new roof, new exterior, new chimney, new windows and a new foundation.

One outstanding feature of the dedication program will be the fall session of the Ottumwa District conference which will convene in the new church the two days following the dedication exercises.

The following program has been announced:

Monday, October 30
2:30 Opening Exercises.
2:45 Sermon by Rev. Richard Collier of Oskaloosa.
4:00 Address by Dr. E. Robb Zarring, Editor of Northwestern Christian Advocate, Chicago.
4:30 Evangelism (Speaker to be announced.)
5:00 Business session.
6:00 Fellowsip supper in dining room with address by Dr. L. A. Swisher of Ottumwa.
7:45 Address "The Church Serving the Community," Dr. Earl A. Roadman of Upper Iowa university.

Tuesday, October 31
8:30 Evangelism.
9:00 Address "How I Prepare My Sermons," Rev. H. B. Scoles of Albia, Iowa.
9:30 "The Book of the Year for Preachers" viz "The Reconstruction of Religion," 'by Elwood, Rev. A. H. Barker of Ottumwa.
10:00 Discussion--
  Rev. R. G. Nye of Moravia.
  Rev. W. W. Whitman of Milton.
10:30 Sermon, Dr. Milton E. Nethercutt of Bloomfield.
11:30 Business.
12:00 Dinner.
1:30 Evangelism.
2:00 Sermon, Dr. W. W. Bowers of Washington, Iowa.
7:00 Moving pictures "The Stream of Life."

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
Monday, February 22, 1932
Page 1, Column 1

AGED PASTOR PASSES AWAY

Rev. H. C. MILLICE Died Last Evening at Home Near Wellman

... Former Fairfield resident, passed away at his home near Wellman. ... Rev. Millice was one of the older members of the Iowa Conference and was Conference Historian at the time of his death. He retired relationship in 1921 but for the past year has been preaching at the Pleasant Hill church on the Amish circuit. ... (He served in the Packwood Church in 1895.)

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"The Fairfield Ledger"
Thursday, October 15, 1970
Page 1

PACKWOOD METHODIST-- 100th Birthday For Church

PACKWOOD -- Members of the Congregation of the United Methodist Church will observe the 100th birthday of the church during special services planned Sunday, Oct. 25.

A number of former members of the church are expected to return to Packwood Sunday and help celebrate the historic occasion.

The dedication of memorials which have been established in recent years will be held during the morning services beginning at 10:30 a.m. Visiting pastors are expected to take part.

There will be no Sunday school classes Sunday to make way for the special service.

Following a cooperative dinner in the church basement at noon, the special services will begin at 2 p.m. Highlights will include congregational singing, introduction of visiting ministers, reading of the church history, and special music. The event will close with a fellowship hour.

The entire service is open to members, former members and friends of the church.

The Rev. Byron D. NEWLAND came to the Packwood Church Jan. 18, 1970. He is the 53rd minister to serve the church during the 100 year period.

Actually, Methodism dates back more than a 100 years in the Packwood area.

Records show the "Blue Point" charge met as early as 1853 in a school house two miles northeast of what is now Packwood. Many of those Blue Point people were later associated with the Packwood Church and may have possibly been with the group that formed the congregation.

Ground for the first church building was purchased in 1869 from John and Caroline Reeder for $25. The structure, located one mile north of the present town was completed in 1870 and named Pleasant Hill. It became part of the Richland circuit.

In 1882 the Burlington Railroad came through northern Jefferson County, and in the spring of 1883 the new town of Packwood was laid out.

The Pleasant Hill congregation moved to Packwood, and raised a structure south of the present church.

The church grew with the town. It became part of the Brookville circuit in 1893. H. C. MILLICE became the first pastor to live in Packwood, coming to the charge in 1895. Work was started immediately on a parsonage which was occupied in June, 1896.

A new structure was built and dedicated in June, 1903, during the pastorate of J. C. COUGHLIN. The building was remodeled in 1922, becoming essentially the structure it is today. The dedication sermon was given by Dr. U. S. SMITH, then president of Iowa Wesleyan College and who later became minister of the Methodist Church in Fairfield. He is now deceased.

A new organ was added to the church in 1955, and a long range remodeling progran was begun in 1962 with the installation of a modern kitchen and rest room.

The vestibule was remodeled in 1965 with paneling, tiled floor and new exterior doors. A new electric organ was purchased in 1967.

In 1969 the roof was reshingled; and in the sanctuary the ceiling was lowered, walls paneled, new carpet laid, and the chancel was refurbished with new pulpit furniture and velvet drapes. The program was lowered, walls painted and floors refinished.


CHURCH ANNIVERSARY--These three persons are busy making final plans for the 100th Anniversary Cemebration of the Packwood Methodist Church to take place Sunday, Oct. 25. They are, Mrs. Jay Cowguill, planning committee; Carl Conger, chairman of the board; and the Rev. Byron D. Newland, right, pastor of the church. --LEDGER PHOTO.

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"The Fairfield Tribune"
Thursday, November 2, 1922

Packwood Wanted a Church and Preacher -- Got Them

Over at Packwood there was a new Methodist church dedicated last Sunday that is one of the finest church homes to be found in any rural community in the state. The people of that vicinity are very proud of their new church and of the church organizations as they are functioning now. Dr. U. B. SMITH (sic - Dr. U. S. SMITH), president of Iowa Wesleyan college, preached the dedicatory sermon and Dr. Thomas Osborn, of Centerville, formerly pastor of the First Methodist church here, delivered an address in the afternoon. There was a big basket dinner and a large crowd thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Entertain Conference Also.

Besides dedicating this new church on Sunday, the Packwood Methodists and their friends entertained the district conference for a two days' session on Monday and Tuesday and the various ministers and laymen in attendance went home to spread the news of the modern edifice just completed in the little town of Packwood with its four hundred people.

The new church is in reality the old building remodeled and added to until it is spacious and commodious enough for community gatherings of Packwood and vicinity. The entire building is covered with rock bound stucco with ebony dash. The Sunday school department has separate class rooms for each of its several classes and there is a full basement under the entire building, which, beside housing the furnace room, has a modernly equipped kitched and a dining room 52x62, which will seat two hundred. A stage also is erected in this roomy basement where community entertainments may be put on to the best advantage.

Men Take An Interest.

The building of the new church and the excellent work being done by the members and organizations reads like some pages from fiction. About two years ago the congregation of this Methodist church was like any other ordinary congregation of a rural church and taking the ordinary interest in community events. One evening some of the men in the community were assembled and in some very casual manner, the church subject came up. Then and there those men decided that, contrary to the usual order of things, what the church needed was to have the men take charge of its affairs for a time and that a young minister should be secured; one who had the best religious training possible. The men also decided that they must make it plain they wanted to cast no reflections on any of the older men who had served faithfully as pastor of the church for years. But these men decided on a plan of action.

Organize A Sunday School.

The next Sunday morning eighteen men marched into the Sunday school and announced that they were the "lost wonders." They secured for themselves a teacher and each Sunday thereafter these men have been found in the Sunday school and they have lent bringing in other men until now the class numbers sixty men.

The fact that they wanted a young pastor was communicated to the district elder and then to the presiding elder, and these officials began looking around for a man suitable for the place. The church had been paying its pastor $1400 per year and furnishing him with the parsonage when he resided there. Now these men were willing to pay $2,000 for the man they wanted and give him a parsonage also. The district elder, having known of the work of Rev. E. B. Frye, a graduate of Iowa Wesleyan college, who had taken a year's post-graduate work at Harvard and three years' special training at Boston university, got into communication with him where he was then in charge of a Congregational church of 600 members at Revere, Mass. After some correspondence, Rev. Frye was induced to come to Packwood. His young wife was before her marriage Miss Gladys Hastings, of Birmingham, and it really seemed like coming back home to come to Packwood.

Wanted Pastor for Themselves.

When Rev. and Mrs. Frye came to Packwood the men spent $1800 on the parsonage, making it cozy for the young couple. The district elder and his superior officer said that in addition to his duties as pastor of the Packwood church, Rev. Frye must also assume charge of the church at Brookville. But here again the men who were responsible for the coming of the young minister to Packwood stepped in and said "No, we want a pastor all of our own and we are willing to pay for him." So they raised the salary to $2400, and got Rev. Frye's exclusive services, and then things began to happen in the Packwood church and community.

A men's community club was organized with a membership of fifty-five. A mid-week Bible study class was formed which now has an average attendance of forty. The Woman's Foreign Missionary society, with a membership of thirty-two, was added to the list of active working forces of the church. Then came the Junior League, with thirty eager youngsters on the roll, and lastly, a Boy Scouts organization was formed. These, with the ever-faithful Ladies' Aid, began placing the Methodist church on the map.

Six months after coming to Packwood Rev. Frye re-organized the finances of the church, adopting the budget system, and when early this spring he broached the subject of a new church, it took but thirty minutes to raise $7,000 in the congregational meeting. The finance committee which was appointed had but little trouble in raising the necessary funds to spend $15,000.00 for the new church. Everybody helped and everybody in Packwood is happy and proud of their new church building.


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