Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Indianola African Methodist Church

    Indianola African Methodist Church, copied from boxes filed with Warren County church histories at the Warren County Historical Society Library

    The Advocate newspaper, from Oct 8, 1890 - The African Methodist Church have at last succeeded in raising money for their church and property, and now it is free of debt. They desire to express their sincere thanks to the many friends who have kindly contributed to the cause. They will have special services next Sabbath to commemorate the occasion, the regular pastor will preach at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. along with a Sabbath School and praise service at 2:30 p.m.

    Court House records show, The African Methodist trustees purchased from James M. KETTLEMAN and wife, Elizabeth, and James L. BROWN, lots 9, 10, 11, and 12 of College addition, April 13, 1896 for the some of $ 850.00. At time of purchase, the trustees were: William CARTER, Allen BOLIN, and Jeff IRWIN. Book 49, page 408 states the trustees sold lots 9 and 10 to William GORDON on September 7, 1901 for $215.00. Trustees at that time were: Jeff IRWIN, William SCOTT, William CARTER, John MONTGOMERY, and Franklin LOWREY.

    From the Indianola Record newspaper, October 1901…New African Methodist church being built on lot eat of College Campus (at Intersection of Euclid and Buxton, facing south on Euclid).

    The Advocate newspaper, Indianola, Iowa, from October 8, 1901 states that the cornerstone for the new African church will be laid August 22, 1901.

    Indianola Herald newspaper, November 14, 1901, states that the African church is nearing completion, will be dedicated soon. Dedication of the African Methodist Church will be December 12, 1901.

    Emerson CUMMINGS states that there were only eleven families represented in this congregation. No one seems to remember how long it was active. Emerson CUMMINGS said that the church was built in what was called “the pit”, a small building with a board walk. All that could be seen from the street was the upper window sashes and roof.

    Mrs. Jana ROBERTSON of Des Moines tells me her father, Reverend Preston Simon ERWIN, preached there, but wasn’t sure of the date. She believed it was 1888 when she was probably 8 to 10 years old. She said they came by train from Chariton to Indianola on Friday.He also preached at Albia and other places. He helped organize the First Negro church in Des Moines. She also told me they always stayed at a Doctors on Buxton St, in a big brick house.

    Don L. BERRY, editor of the Record and Herald newspaper for Indianola, a few years back, ran a column called “Rowen.” Several columns were on the negro families of Indianola. There was one negro lady called Aunt Mahala, who was a charter member of the African Methodist Church. Her last name was BATTLES and she did a good deal of soliciting for the church among business men and other citizens of the town. It is reported that she took a commission from what she collected, but no one objected because they wanted Aunt Mahala to have a living too. Perhaps Aunt Mahala was a forerunner of the modern fund raising organizations.