(Source: "Fifty Years of Progress"; The
Vol. 51, Number 31, Thursday, August 25, 1938)
Small Country Church Had a Long Record of Service
First Meetings Were Held in School Building Years Ago
The Richland Methodist church, four miles northeast of Odebolt, was first organized 67 years ago. (1871) In the beginning, when the church was first organized, meetings were held in a school house. The Rev. E. W. Henke, who was pastor from 1881 till 1884, built the church and planted the trees which constitute the grove that is now on the grounds.
Sebastian Buehler, Jacob Buehler, V. Rudolph and Frederick Petersmeyer, staunch pioneers of that day, were the principal aids in the construction of the church. There is but one person now living who aided in the building of the church, Mrs. Elizabeth Kessler.
From this small country church one preacher has gone out, three deaconesses, four physicians, four nurses and three wives of ministers. This alone is a fine record and is strong evidence of the value received from this church.
The ministers who have served the church are: G. Haefner, 1876-1877; E.C. Draeger, 1877-1878; A.H.. Westphal, 1878-1880; C.F. Framm, 1880-1881; E. W. Henke, 1881-1884; Philip Hummel, 1884-1885; H. Schuldt, 1885-1888; John J. Spicker, 1888-1891; Otto Niederhuth, 1891-1894; N.E. Hilmer, 1894-1897; J.A. Lemke, 1897-1900; H.R. Schmidt, 1900-1906; A.W. Gauger, 1906-1910; J.F. Witter, 1910-1913; Otto Johnson, 1913-1916; H. W. Schneider, 1916-1919; Herman Nedtwig, 1919-1924; W. J. Loeck, 1924-1931; W. N. Baker, part of 1931-1932; and B.I. Hubbard, who was the last minister to fill the pulpit in the church.
For the last few years the church has ceased to hold regular meetings. The missionary society is still active (in 1938) and this last June a large number of old members and friends gathered to attend a thank offering and reunion.
(additions from the Odebolt Centennial book, 1877-1977, "As Time Goes By", p. 138)
"This rural church was known as the German Methodist Church with sermons preached in German. As late as 1925 the Sunday evening services were conducted in German although the Sunday School and morning services were in English."
"By 1938 there was a hard surfaced road into town while the roads leading to this church were still dirt, so it was easier to attend church in Odebolt. The congregation had dwindled to a faithful few and it became increasingly difficult to pay the minister a living wage. So this congregation voted to transfer as a body to the First Methodist Church in Odebolt. Rev. Lloyd Scheerer welcomed the Congregation of the Richland Community Church, as it was known by this time, into full membership as individuals into his fold.
The Woman's Missionary Society continued to meet on a regular basis until the early 1960's. This group helped arrange the 4th of July picnics which drew large crowds. Many church suppers were held in the homes of the members to raise money for the church and for missionary support.
The Richland Cemetery was established east of the church maintained by the membership. It is now managed by a Board of Directors made up of descendants of the pioneers who laid out the cemetery."
- Mrs. Dwight Meyer
(transcribed by B. Horak)
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