Cottonwood County MN Churches- Methodist Episcopal


The first religious service in the village of Windom was conducted by the Rev. J. E. Fitch in the summer of 1871, in the unfinished hardware store which stood on the present site of the First National Bank. Rev. Peter Baker, local preacher, living at Jackson, was the first on this circuit and had a preaching appointment at Big Bend before the village of Windom was started. In September, 1871, a union Sunday school was organized and in December the first quarterly meeting of the church was held. A class meeting had been organized and had met at the home of Mr. Laird. Reverend Baker was in charge of the congregation until September, 1872, when J. W. Lewis was sent here. He came to the village on a sled, as the railroad was snowbound, and preached his first sermon at Swan Lake in a private house. On December 8th he preached at Big Bend.

The only place of worship at this time was a small private school house pre-empted by the Presbyterian and Baptist congregations. In order to avoid all conflicts, it was decided not to use the school house, so the minister rented a hall over Button's store. A stove and some fuel were secured, also lumber for seats, and the first quarterly meeting was held on December 15, 1872

In 1873, twenty-seven members and five probationers composed the congregation at Windom; twenty members and eleven probationers at Big Bend and ten members at Swan Lake, a total of sixty-five members and sixteen probationers in the county.

During the summer and fall of 1873, lots were secured and a few subscriptions and donations received through Bishops Ames and Merrill from parties in Baltimore, amounting to two hundred and fifty dollars. Lumber was bought and stacked on the lots and all work suspended for the winter. The frame work was put up in 1874 and in the fall of 1875 the house was enclosed and plastered by the Rev. Lewis.

The oldest class-book of the Methodist people in Cottonwood county contains the following names, and dates from July, 1871: D. W. Working, class-leader, A. J. Gessell, M. R. Gessell, Martha Gessell, R. N. Sackett, J. A. Sackett, L. I. Sackett, S. Chapman, Cyrus Finch, Martha Finch, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Thompson, E. L. Working, William Peterson, William Teed. Later that same year, the following names were added: G. A. Purdy, B. C. Purdy, Mary Purdy, Lavern Purdy Clark, G. A. Chapman, Allen Gardner, Lovina Estaste, D. E. Teed, D. B. Jones and wife. Other very early members were: Mr. and Mrs. James Greenfield, Mr. and Mrs. A. Laird, Mr. and Mrs. A. Holmes, Mrs. Belle Smith (now Mrs. George Le Touraeaux), Eben Morton, Mrs. Lorinda Greenfield and Mrs. Abigail C. Gillam.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Windom was organized in the autumn of 1871, by Rev. Peter Baker. The first quarterly conference was held in December, 1871. The total membership in May, 1916, was about five hundred. The first church building, a frame structure, costing about two thousand and fifty dollars, was dedicated on January 30, 1876. The present edifice and parsonage were erected in 1901, of brick veneer, and cost about seventeen thousand dollars, but it would cost much more to build the same today. It was dedicated on April 27, 1902, Bishop John W. Hamilton delivering the dedicatory sermon. A large and flourishing Sunday school is connected with the other church and society work.

The following have served as faithful pastors of the church at Windom: Revs. Peter Baker, 1871-7; W. Lewis, November, 1872, to March, 1874; J. E. Fitch, March, 1874, to September, 1875; J. W. Lewis, September, 1875, to September, 1876; E. 0. Stoddard, September, 1876, to 1877; T. H. Kinsman, 1877-78; Nelson Sutton, 1878-79; E. J. Foster, 1879 to July, 1880; W. E. King, July, 1880, to September, 1882; Levi Gleason, September, 1882-83; William Copp, 1883-84; B. Y. Coffin, 1884-87; F. A. Arnold, 1887-88; A. J. Williams, 1888-91; G. S. Perry, 1891-92; E. Vaughn, 1892-93; J. H. Buttleman, 1893-96; W. C. Sage, 1896-98; J. A. Sutton, 1898-1900; Charles H. Stevenson, 1900, to January, 1902; supplied by President Cooper and others from January, 1902, to June, 1902; S. Arthur Cook, from June, 1902, to October, 1907; B. C. Gillis, from October, 1907, to the present time.


The First Methodist Episcopal church of Bingham Lake was organized in 1900 by Rev. G. H. Way, a presiding elder, and the first pastor, Rev. H. H. Wallace. The charter members were J. W. Cogley and wife, G. J. Johnson, Bertha Johnson, N. J. Langley, Susann Cogley, Jessie L. McGladray. The first church building—a brick and frame-cost at first fifteen hundred dollars, and later a frame addition cost seven hundred dollars. The pastors who have served here have been as follow: Rev. H. H. Wallace, 1900; William Young, 1901; S. A. Smith, 1903; P. G. Wager, 1904; J. R. Stephen, 1910; L. G. Davis, 1911; Rev. McKibben, 1913; W. E. Thompson, 1914-15; W. W. Smith, the present pastor. The services held here before the organization of this church, by traveling ministers of both the Methodist and Presbyterian faith.


The Methodist Episcopal church at Jeffers was organized by Rev. J. J. Lutz in 1900 and now has a membership of fifty-five. The pastors in order have been as follow: Revs. J. J. Lutz, A. B. Blades, B. T. Russell, J. P. Rawson, F. 0. Krause, W. H. Stone, G. W, Root, Tebo S. Mondale and F. P. Hannaman, the present (1916) pastor. The cornerstone of the church edifice was laid in August, 1900, and dedicated on February 10, 1901.

While this is not a large congregation, it well represents Methodism in the section in which it is located. Those of this belief, though not affiliated with the church as members, attend services here and the faith of this denomination is kept alive in and surrounding the village. Methodists are pioneers in all new countries and it was so in this county. The Sabbath school and other societies of the church are here in active operation.


The Methodist church of Mountain Lake began its existence as an organization in 1883. It was not until 1897, however, that the church building was constructed. Mr. Goss, although not a member of the church, seemed to think that there should be a Methodist church in the community and it was largely his efforts and financial aid that made possible the existence of the church. At the present time there are very few members and in the church and this is under the direction of John P. Rempel, the superintendent. Among the pastors who served the congregation was H. H. Wallace.

Methodist Episcopal Church, Windom