Odebolt, Iowa - Epworth Chapel

The Epworth Chapel

(Source:  the booklet "United Methodist Church, Odebolt, Iowa, 1877-1977)

The Epworth Chapel stood near the former Albert Prestin farm and was on land given for that purpose by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hanson.  Dates concerning the organization of the church and the building of the Chapel and its closing are uncertain.  The memories of the few in our community who have any recollections of the church and attended services there are the memories of young children and sketchy in detail.

It is recalled that the Mitts school house was used before there was a church building.  Probably the organization came in the early 1880's but it could have been much earlier than that.  Perhaps it was later.  As to its closing, memories differ, but it was probably in 1905.  It is recalled that when Mrs. John Sykes, Bill's mother, passed away that the church had been closed prior to that and the windows boarded up.  Again a probably guess puts that in 1905.  Mrs. Sykes' funeral was in January of 1906 and the funeral was held in the church opened for that event.

The number of members in not known.  Mrs. Nellie Erickson remembers that her parents' family attended church until there was a church in Boyer.  They then transferred to Boyer for it was closer.  She also recalls that Epworth had one luxury item.  It was a furnace in the basement.

In 1909 or thereabout the building was torn down, and the lumber and pews were brought to Odebolt.  In the church (United Methodist Church) remodeling and enlarging project, that lumber was used to construct an addition to the east side of the church particularly to enlarge the Sunday School area.  The pews added necessary seating capacity.

As was common in those days ministers from town churches cared for the needs of the rural churches.  Ministers from Odebolt were in the (rural) churches for afternoon services.

Family names associated with the Chapel were Paul, Chandler, Mitts, Boerner, Prestin, Powell, Waggoner and Hill.

Mr. Floyd Hill, who as a child attended the church, when asked recently if he recalled anything special about it, replied that he recalled not liking to go in the summer time because he was required by his parents to wear his shoes and stockings.

(Note:  Looking at a 1906 map of Wheeler Township for the above-mentioned names, the church must have been located in southeast Wheeler township.  There is a church depicted on the Henry Hanson land, but unnamed.  C. Powell land is across the road, and A.V. Mitts, W. H. Mitts, John H. Wagner (Waggoner?), C. Prestin, and Wm. C. Paul land is in the general area.  

In addition, the following appears in the January 20, 1898 issue of The Chroincle:  "The new Epworth M.E. church near Col. Powell's, in Wheeler Township, will be dedicated Sunday, January 30.  The church is nearing completion.)


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