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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter XVIII: city churches and parishes,   pp. 146-163

Page 146

Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church.-According to previous histories of
this region, it was the Episcopal Methodists who established the first religious con-
gregation in Menomonie. The Rev. Chauncey Hobart, D. D., was the first man
to represent the denomination in the upper Mississippi Valley, which included the
Menomonie circuit in the Chippewa district, and the first meeting held here for
divine service was in the summer of 1852. It was conducted by the Rev. Mr.
Mayne under the direction of Mr. Hobart. Services were also held in the winters of
1854, 1855 and 1856 in the private schoolhouse of Knapp. Stout & Co., in the mills,
by Rev. Joshua M. Pittmann, who, however, is said to have been a Baptist, so.
these may have been either Baptist or union services, no particular demonination
being mentioned. In 1857 the Rev. Mr. Hobart was presiding elder for the Metho-
dists, having charge of the Trempealeau, Eau Claire, Chippewa, Willow River,
and Apple River circuits. Acting under his instructions, the Rev. S. Boles organ-
ized the Methodist Episcopal Church society at Menomonie in the fall of 1E57.
The Rev. J. L. Dyer had charge of a portion of the Chippewa Valley district in
1858, and in that year and subsequently meetings were held in the mills of Knapp,
Stout & Co., among the pastors who conducted the services being the Revs. W. N.
Darnley, J. Gurley, J. L. Dyer, and E. S. Hanens. In 1861 the Rev. J. B. Rey-
nolds was pastor of the society. He-was followed by the Revs. D. F. Knapp and
W. Woodley. In 1864 the services were held in the schoolhouse in the village, and
late in that year the preliminary steps were taken for the erection of a church
building by the purchase of a lot for its site. The location was on Block 128, on
the Wilson flat, between Broadway and Second Street West, the building when
completed standing on the southwest corner of the block, and facing south. For
some time previous to its occupation, however, the Methodists and Congrega-
tionalists conducted services on alternate Sundays in an old schoolhouse on Main
Street, on the site that is now the north half of the Central schoolhouse grounds.
The two societies conducted a union Sunday school. The Rev. W. Haw was the
Methodist pastor in 1866, and under his direction, in association with W1. Wilson
and A. J. Messenger, the corner-stone of the church edifice was laid by the Rev.
Bishop W. Thompson. The church was dedicated in the spring of 1867. For
some time after its completion the Congregationalists held services in it every
Sunday alternating morning and evening with the Methodists, until finally the
latter desiring to have the full use of the building, the Congregational societv left
and sought another place of worship. At some time in the latter 70's, probably
about 1877-the precise year not now being remembered-the church was moved
to the present site on Wilson Avenue, and a new dedication took place. Under a
succession of active and earnest pastors, the congregation grew, in spite of occa-
sional financial stringency, until more commodious quarters became necessary.
In the year 1900, therefore, the church was rebuilt by Contractor G. W. Pepper
from plans prepared by Architect John Charles, and on Sunday, Jan. 20, 1901,
another dedication took place, with appropriate ceremonies. The dedicatory ser-
mon was preached in the morning by the Rev. Robert Forbes of Duluth, after
which the financial needs of the church were presented (amounting to about S800),
and an appeal made for aid, to which there was a liberal response. In the after-
noon further ceremonies occurred, conducted by Presiding Elder Trimm of Chip-
pewa Falls, assisted by the Rev. A. J. Davis, resident pastor, and other ministers.
A largely attended meeting was held in the evening, conducted by Ir. Forbes, at
which further contributions were made. The seating capacity of the remodeled
building was 350, and in the local newspaper the building was described as "a
beautiful structure, a credit to the society and to the city." As complete records.

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