History of church Building and location
Point of interest; we purchased the building from the Methodist Church and here is a
little history and site of present building.
Here are some notes from “Souvenir of Rededication June 10, 1951.” Growth of
Methodism at Trinity Methodist Church
“The history of Trinity Church dates back to the original settlement of the wilderness
country by our forefathers. Many direct descendants of these pioneer families tell
us of these first Methodist people who built a log church.
Some say it was called “Thorn’s Chapel,” others say it was just called the “Meetin’
House.” Mrs. Ann Smith, eighty-seven years old, Mrs. Mary Westfall, 83, and Mrs.
Cora Mail, ninety years old tell of attending this church in the late 1860’s when they
were little girls. They say that on into the 1870’s the Methodists held their services
in this log church built in a grove in front of what is now the home of Mr. And Mrs.
Alvin Kirk. The seats were made of slabs of log with wooden pegs fitted in for legs.
This made the seats on the men’s side of the church but on the other side a board
was added as a back rest for the ladies.
Some eight years ago during the 1870’s Rev. Willis was a regular preacher at Thorn’
s Chapel. The parsonage in which he lived was a two-story farmhouse, located
where our trinity Church now stands. Rev. Willis, like a good many Methodist
preachers, was too poor to have a means of conveyance to his other charges, so a
good friend by the name of James Rodarmel gave him a horse to ride. Both Mrs.
Mail and Mrs. Smith remember that under his ministry successful revival meetings
were held, and that their Sunday school teacher was a young woman by the name of
Hannah Leach. Mr. Al Leach, who is 92, is also known to have attended this same
Sunday school. In the grove around the church, Sunday house of worship and a
place for holding public gatherings, hence the name, “Meetin’ House.”
When the log church was abandoned, the services were held in what was then
called Thorn’s school, afterwards known as No. 6 of Johnson Twp. At this time
preaching services were held Saturday night and Sunday morning. Later the
minister came once a month and then they were left without a minister for a time.
The faithful Methodists continued in their religious efforts by holding Sunday school
at the No. 9 school of Johnson Twp.
It was about 1885 when a preacher came this way again and once more the
Methodist congregation worshiped in the Thorn School House. Following this there
came a young man by the name of C. S. Racey. God through him revived his people
and as a result of that awakening, plans were made for the building of Barekman
It is said that the success of the revival was not so much in the number of members
gained, but rather in the vision brought to the people that they saw the need of a
church. Both members and friends of the community donated to raise money for
the new building. Suppers and plays were given and autographed quilts were sold.
One of these quilts were brought by Ed McCormick when he was twenty-one and is
still in existence. On this quilt are the names of a goodly number of those who
donated to the building fund for the new church.
Barekman Chapel was the name given the church because Mr. Isaac Barekman
donated the land on which to build. This was located a few hundred feet west and
across the road from where Trinity Church now stands. The new frame building
was erected and furnished with nice seats and pulpit by the members and friends of
the church. The trustees, James Williams, Ed Gardner, M. A. Bosworth, Sam
Barekman and Isaac Barekman were the building committee.
Leading to the dedication of Barekman Chapel in 1893 a week’s tent meeting was
held in the grove by Evangelist Tascar and Rev. Roller. During this week of services
several new members were taken into the church, most of which were young
people. Many of these people grew to be active members of the church and
remained faithful through life.
At the dedication of the new church Rev. W. B. Collins, District Superintendent,
preached the sermon; his text was “Thanks be unto God for the unspeakable gift.”
This was the day of the Circuit Rider, and at one time Rev. A. W. Shields traveled by
horse and buggy to these six charges, Barekman Chapel, Decker, Decker Chapel,
New Bethel, Carnahan School and Red Cloud. Many people walked to church, others
came in wagons, on horse back, and a few in buggies and carriages.
One night the church burned, many living today tell of being awakened during the
night by the lighted sky, and how they rushed to the scene of the fire. Some believe
it may have been set afire by a dissatisfied member. It really proved a catastrophe
for the Methodist congregation for they were faced with building again, after only a
decade of service.
The Methodist congregation took for its temporary quarters the Thorn’s School
house again. Plans were made during the pastorate of Rev. Shields for the building
of Trinity Church.
Judge Thorn once owned the ground were Trinity now stands and he was burned to
death when his log home burned. A two-story frame building replaced the log house
of the judge and it was in this building that the previously mentioned Rev. Willis lived
at one time. This frame house later burned down too and the land was bought by
Frank Cardinal. In order to get the ground on which to build, a good member J. B.
Frauman gave Mr. Gaiter one acre of ground, who in turn gave Mr. Cardinal an acre
of ground in another place. So in reality it was J. B. Franuman who donated the land
on which the church were we now worship was built.
Trinity church was built under the pastorate of A. W. Shields. The trustees at the
time were J. B. Frauman, James Williams, August Bobe, John Bobe and Ed Price.
Ed Price suggested the name “Trinity” for the new church. We are proud to have
such a meaningful name chosen by our elders. The cost of the church was around
$3,000. Contractor Shears built it and members and friends donated much of the
work. Cash donations were received throughout the community even from those in
other churches. After the church was built the maple trees were set. They were
dug and brought from near by farms to be planted in the church yard.
Trinity Church was dedicated in September of 1902. It was celebrated with a basket
dinner under the great oaks in the near by grove. People came ten and fifteen miles
with horse and buggy to be present at this service. Rev. Willis, former pastor, from
the log church, Thorn’s Chapel, and Rev. Halstead helped with the dedication of our
Trinity Church that fall day.
As time passed the need was seen by Rev. L. A. Peck, who was pastor in 1916, for a
better heating system to replace the two old stoves. So a basement was put under
the church and a coal-burning furnace installed.
About the same time a gasoline lighting system replaced the hanging kerosene
lamps. In a few years electric lights were installed, power being furnished by a
generator driven by a gasoline engine.
Then came depression in the 1930’s and the church did well to keep going and pay
In 1940 Rural Electrification brought electric power to the country and Trinity
switched to it.
In 1946, The Young Adult class decided to take as a project the purchasing of a new
electric organ. Funds were raised by presenting plays and by direct donations of
members and friends. The organ was bought in April 1947 and dedicated the
In 1950 the trustees and members of the church decided some major changes were
needed. The board of trustees at this time were Charles Kirk, Clarence McCormick,
Alvin Kirk, Walter Bobe, Riley Osborne, Clifford Dreiman and Lawrence Williams.
Before the building was completed the terms of Walter Bobe and Clifford Dreiman
expired and Roy Gasser and Earl Farris replaced them.
Because of the dangerous state of the tower it was decided best to remove it and
build the front of the church by a different plan. The church was lengthened about
12 feet to include two new Sunday School rooms. A new tower was placed to the
right front and housed the same bell.
In the interior a beautiful new ceiling replaced the older high one. A circular art
glass window was bought with money left by the Frauman estate. New light fixtures
were presented by the J. E. McCormick heirs. The Young Adult Class gave the new
oil burning furnace and the Methodist Youth Fellowship gave the New Worship
Church records show many of the same family names for three and four
generations. We have written this, that through the heroic faith of our forefathers,
we too shall receive inspiration.
Midah C. Neal, Chairman”
Written with Permission