Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    New Virginia United Methodist Church

    New Virginia United Methodist Church , 301 West Street, New Virginia, IA 50210, phone (641) 449-3779. First church was built in 1865.


    First Methodist Church Of New Virginia, written by A. E. SAYRE, copied from the History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151

    The history of the First Methodist church of New Virginia starts in the spring of 1855, while the first house was being erected in New Virginia by John FELTON, a man was seen approaching on horseback across the trackless prairies. The stranger introduced himself as Jesse SHERWOOD, pastor of the Methodist church at Osceola, and said, "I am out seeking the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

    Arrangements were made and the Rev. Mr. SHERWOOD returned to hold the first service before the floor was laid in the house. The seats were slabs with no backs. A class was organized with seven members — John FELTON and his wife and two daughters Matilda and Julia; Nancy, the wife of Abram FELTON; Absalom SAYRE and his wife, Rachel SAYRE. Before this time these folks worshiped in homes in the Mt. Tabor vicinity. The home of William FOREMAN Sr. is named as one. The FELTON home was used for a place of worship until a brick schoolhouse was completed about one year later. Absalom SAYRE was the first class leader. The schoolhouse was used ten years in which to worship.

    The first quarterly conference on record was held in St. Charles in December, 1858. The Rev. John ANDERSON was the pastor. R. S. ROBINSON was presiding elder. The Rev. Mr. ANDERSON resided in St. Charles. His salary was $307.24 for the year, and he ministered to nine classes. In 1860 record is that the circuit was in the Iowa conference. Enoch WOOD as pastor received a salary of $395 with ten points in the charge. Samuel JONES, pastor in 1861 to the fall of 1863, occupied the first parsonage, purchased in 1863 for $100. He helped remove indebtedness on twenty churches. He died in Perry, Iowa, in 1893.

    Joseph KNOTTS, pastor at New Virginia from 1863 to 1865, was later appointed ambassador to Mexico by President GRANT. In the two years as pastor eleven Sunday schools reported. While he was pastor, the first church was built in 1865 with James McGEE as contractor. Cost when completed was near $3,200. The church was dedicated by the Rev. E. M. H. FLEMING, P.E., pastor of the Indianola Methodist church.

    In the fall of 1868 the Rev. Frances READ was sent as pastor. Here is a note of interest: Clyde F. WRIGHT in his history of "Buckeye Prairie and Three River Folk," page sixty-two, lists the Rev. Mr. READ as coming to New Virginia in 1854 and being the second largest landowner in the township.

    In 1870 New Virginia was in the Lawrenceburg circuit. Again in the same year it changed to Liberty circuit and remained there until 1884, then changed back to the New Virginia circuit.

    In 1872 George CLAMMER was sent as pastor. He was pastor for five years. The Mt. Tabor church was built under his pastorate in 1874. Mt. Tabor was the first outpost of the New Virginia charge to build a church. The Rev. Mr. CLAMMER was a fine minister and quite successful in evangelistic work. He reports seventy-nine probationers received into the church. The Methodist church did not at that time take converts into full membership, but only on trial for a short time. Then on confession of faith they became full-fledged members. In the fall of 1874 the second parsonage was built at a cost of $912, and was first occupied by the CLAMMER family.

    In the summer of 1880 the church building was remodeled, but not extensively. In 1886 H. C. PRESTON became pastor for two years. Six points in his circuit were New Virginia, Mt. Tabor, Liberty, Jamison, Pleasant Point and Washington, with membership of 277. In 1887 he held sixteen weeks of protracted meetings and eighty-seven were added to the membership. In pastoral work he preached three times each Sabbath.

    In 1890-92, B. A. FASSETT was a very forceful speaker. Under his pastorate the Medford church was built, The young folks of the church eagerly accepted him. He organized the Epworth League. The Rev. Mr. FASSETT held a tent meeting near Jamison, then being one of the regular preaching points in the New Virginia charge.

    In 1892 A. E. SLOTHOWER came as pastor and remained until September, 1894. He and Mrs. SLOTHOWER had been recently married and they set up their first housekeeping in the parsonage at New Virginia. A church was built in Jamison under his pastorate. In 1894 all the outposts of New Virginia charge were dropped and Truro and New Virginia were placed under the same pastor, becoming known as the New Virginia-Truro charge under the Rev. J. D. DeTAR.

    From 1901 to 1903 J. L. BOYD was the pastor at New Virginia. A new church had been discussed for some time. On April 14, 1902, the Rev. Mr. BOYD called the official board together. A new church was the order of the day. The following persons were present at the meeting: D. BOLYARD, A. J. IRWIN, J. M. MITCHELL, M. M. VAN SCOY, W. R. MITCHELL, A. B. McINTOSH, R. K. McGEE, Ollie STROCK, George C. WOODS and Will E. SAYRE. A motion was passed to build a brick church at an estimated cost of $5,000. The pastor and Will SAYRE were to start soliciting funds at once. In a few days they reported that $4,028 had been subscribed in ninety-one subscriptions from $500 down to $5, which was the smallest at that time. The Ladies Aid society pledged the $500. George C. WOODS, A. E. SAYRE, A. J. IRWIN, David BOLYARD and John H. FULLMER were chosen as members of the building committee. Edd HALL at Osceola was hired as architect. The committee advertised for bids and let contract to Enslow and Hagland of Chariton for $6,025, not including the memorial windows. A small amount of work was done in the fall of 1902 and the church was completed about June 1, 1903.

    On June 7, 1903, the church was dedicated by L. B. WICKERSHAM, assisted by former pastors H. C. PRESTON, A. E. SLOTHOWER and W. C. SMITH. The Rev. Mr. RAMBO of Oakland was also present and helped in raising $2,926 in fifty minutes. The weather was very unfavorable for the occasion, but all could sing heartily "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow." The final report of the building committee, signed September 4, 1903, with George C. Woods as chairman, A. S. IRWIN as secretary, and John H. FULLMER, A. E. SAYRE and D. BOLYARD as members showed the total cost of the church to be $7,811.57.

    September 27, 1904, Bishop McDOWELL, presiding at the annual conference in Atlantic, assigned Levi B. CARPENTER as pastor to our charge here. He preached the word as he believed it. "All have a Hell to shun and a Heaven to gain." We loved him so much that he was with us four years, the longest time of any pastor in the past history of the church.

    In the ninety-six years since the Rev. Mr. SHERWOOD preached the first sermon in the Felton home, there have been fifty-one regular pastors, and a number of student pastors from Simpson college who have assisted.

    One of these student pastors was Dr. E. M. HOLMES. Later he became quite popular in the conference work; he was appointed district superintendent for 19041907. The Rev. Mr. CARPENTER served the longest time as stated elsewhere, 1904-1908. Clarence MOORE holds the record up to the present date, 1951. His time of service was eight years. Dr. W. J. FOWLER became our pastor in 1948 and is still serving.

    Benjamin GLECKLER is superintendent and Charles E. HOWELL Jr., assistant superintendent of the Sunday school. Mrs. Rosa BAUGHMAN is president of the Woman's Society of Christian Service and Mrs. Isabelle HULL is secretary.

    Our ministers of the glad news of the Great Teacher of Galilee have been as a whole a splendid lot of men serving their time and generation well, generally with small salaries. They have pressed forward steadily. We here related how the Rev. Mr. SHERWOOD was on the spot before the first house in New Virginia was finished, to talk of the spiritual needs of the community. They believed in the message which they were to deliver, and its power to lift peoples in every land to a life of sympathetic brotherhood, kindliness and hope. Dr. FOWLER came to us in June, 1948; he is now in his fifth year and has made a very fine record. He came from Madison Avenue church at Burlington. Dr. FOWLER is a graduate of Iowa Wesleyan college, 1909 class. This college also, conferred the D.D. honors in 1930. He is also a graduate at Drew seminary, Madison, N. J. The Iowa-Des Moines conference in Ottumwa June 6-10, 1951, recognized New Virginia as a station and returned Dr. FOWLER as pastor, having served New Virginia and Truro the past three years. Truro federated with the Christian church at that place and called the Rev. Clarence MOORE to be pastor. The Rev Mr. MOORE had previously served New Virginia and Truro eight years, 1929-1937.

    “Construction Begins,” article from an unknown newspaper, dated Monday, June 15, 1987

    The New Virginia United Methodist Church has started construction of a new facility on the site of the old church.Total cost of the project is about $240,000.00. The structure will be enclosed by the end of July, officials said. During the summer months the congregation is meeting in the music room of Interstate 35 Junior High School. The church welcomes contributions which may be sent to Box 301, New Virginia, Iowa 50210

    “New Virginia Church Completed,” is the title of an article found at the Warren County Historical Society Library (no date or name of paper)

    Construction of the new structure at the New Virginia United Methodist Church began June 1987 after the old building was torn down in May. Plans for the new sanctuary began in 1984 when the church’s administrative board appointed a building committee to study addition and remodeling plans. Those who served on committees relating to the new building included Weldon WHITEMACK, the Des Moines district superintendent, Richard HATCHER and Kathleen DOTTS. The new building is complete except for furniture which should arrive in March.

    New Virginia Methodist church records 1865-1955 are on microfilm at the State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, film # War-56 (LDS film # 1034022).