Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Palmyra Methodist Church

    Palmyra Methodist Episcopal Church (aka Palmyra Township Church), built in 1870, see an article and photo of this historic church on Iowa Backroads at http://iowabackroads.com/palmyra-church-warren-county-iowa/


    Palmyra Methodist Church, written by the Rev. Ray E. MILLS, 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

    One century ago (1852) a Methodist class meeting was organized in the Palmyra area. The class consisted of John KITCHEL as leader, Hester and Lucy Ann KITCHEL, Sylvester, Elizabeth and Jane FARLEY, Lucinda PAUL, Eri, Filethe and Phebe FONTS, Smith and Mary PARKER, and Lucinda LUNDY. Prior to the organization of the church the following people joined the class meeting: Isaac and Harriet HALTERMAN, John and Eliza MORRIS, Harvey FARLEY, Amos GRIFFITY, Archibald PAYNE, Michael LAVERTY, Elizabeth WOODWARD, Sarah LYON, Hannah NOBLE, James and Mary LAVERTY, Wesley and Sarah DUNAGAN, A. W. JORDAN and Adam BECK.

    The Methodist church was organized from the class meeting October 29, 1853, by the appointment of a board of trustees by the minister in charge of the Indianola circuit, Fort Des Moines district, of the Iowa conference. The Palmyra Methodist church was organized according to the provisions of the Discipline of the Methodist church. The following persons were appointed as trustees: Eri FONTS, John KITCHEL, Sylvester FARLEY, John MORRIS and Michael LAVERTY. The Rev. Elias L. BRIGGS of Indianola was the circuit minister in charge. John HAYDON was the presiding elder and Michael LAVERTY was class leader.

    On April 16, 1854, the following joined the church on probation: August, Oscar, Amanda and Evaline LUNDY. The early class meetings and church services were held in the schoolhouse in Palmyra. In 1855 the first church building was erected. It was finished in 1856 at the cost of $1,800. Due to a revival in the winter of 1869-70 the church was not large enough to accommodate the people. In 1870 the present church building, 40 by 60 feet, was erected with the seating capacity of 500 at a cost of $3,600. There were 156 members of the church in 1870.

    Throughout the years many God-fearing Christians have served the church and have received God's salvation for themselves and have brought it to many others. Among the leaders of the church were John BAINBRIDGE, Enos JURY and John MILLER. Many saints of the church go unknown to their reward in heaven for their faith and work on earth. George EPPS early history of the church has preserved important data for this article.

    The glory and power of the church decreased with the shift of population, the lack of interest in spiritual values and the strife within the community when the love of Christ does not prevail in the hearts of men.

    The need of the church was felt by many God-loving Christians within the Palmyra community in recent years. After several years of discontinued services, the church was reopened by the Warren County Group Ministry of the Methodist church in the conference year of 1949. The schoolhouse is the meeting place for church services while the church building is being rebuilt. The members and friends of the church are giving their time, talent and tithes to rebuild the church. The Rev. Milo MORRIS served the church in 1950. The Rev. Don WOOGE was the minister in 1951. The Rev. Ray E. MILLS is serving the church at the present time.

    There was a membership of two in 1949, thirteen in 1951 and twenty-eight in 1952. The church is growing spiritually, numerically and materially. It is influencing the community for the cause of Christ. Members of various denominations living within the community are working in the church. The reconstruction of the church building will create a new sanctuary, seven class rooms, a community room, and a kitchen to meet the needs of the church, which will be finished in 1953.

    The following persons are members of the official board. Mr. and Mrs. Lester LANGDON, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth CHAMBERS, Ray McCANN, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin SMART, Gene McINNICH, Mrs. Charles CRAIG, Miss Bertha CAMPBELL, Carl CAMPBELL, Mrs. Don FUTRELLE, William FUTRELLE and Mrs. Myrtle JONES.

    Lester LANGDON is chairman. Marvin SMART is church school superintendent. Great events are taking place in the Palmyra Methodist church today as of a century ago, due to devoted men and women seeking to serve their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

    October 31, 1952, a Woman's Society of Christian Service was organized with the following officers: Mrs. Mrytle JONES, president; Mrs. Don FUTRELLE, vice-president and spiritual life secretary; Mrs. Carl CHAMBERS, secretary; Mrs. Lawrence CLARK, treasurer; Mrs. Lester LANGDON, missionary secretary; Mrs. Charles CRAIG, Christian social relations and local church activities.

    A rehabilitation of the church is in progress as the history goes to press.

    “Churches Play Large Role in Warren County,” newspaper article from the Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune, June 19, 1996 (article found at the Warren County Historical Society Library).

    Churches have played an important part in the formation of many Warren County communities. The Palmyra, with room to seat 500, was built in 1870 to handle a growing Methodist congregation sparked by a successful revival meeting held during the previous winter. The church was closed in 1955, but reopened by 1949. The church was remodeled and rededicated in 1950. In 1976, the Methodist church sold the building to the Palmyra Township trustees for $100.00. By 1983, the trustees were planning on having the deteriorating church demolished. That’s when the Friends of the Palmyra Church stepped in, offering to take over upkeep of the building to keep it from being torn down.

    For more information, visit the Friends of Palmyra Church Facebook Page.