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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  38 - Eau Claire Churches

First Methodist Church

(-as transcribed from pages 518 - 519)

The first known gathering of Methodists in this city was a prayer meeting held in the house of D. S. Hastings, in the Fall of 1857, which was continued weekly until the arrival of Rev. William Darnell, who organized a class of twelve members, viz: Samuel Wells and wife, D. S. Hastings and wife, William Martin and wife, Riley Martin, Mr. Congdon and wife, B. C. Dunn and wife, Mary A. Silvers. The services were held at first in the Presbyterian church, and later in the school house. Rev. Chauncey Hobart was the presiding elder, and in 1860 the charge was divided into East and West Eau Claire, with Rev. E. C. Cobban pastor of the former and Rev. W. A. Chambers pastor of the latter. A lot on South Barstow street was secured by subscription in 1863, and the foundation stone of the church edifice was laid by the Rev. Isaac Springer, then pastor. The building was completed in 1868 and dedicated February 9, the sermon on that occasion being preached by Rev. J. M. Chaffee. During the pastorate of Rev. C. R. Kellerman the building was enlarged to meet the increasing membership. Parsonage lots were secured and the building begun between 1868 and 1870 under the auspices of Rev. G. D. Brown. In the Spring of 1891, the trustees under the leadership of Rev. S. W. Trousdale, began improvements on the church building, making a new front, and providing a parlor, dining room and kitchen, which greatly increased its beauty, convenience and utility.

In 1892 there was but one charter member living, Mrs. M. G. Dunn, who has since passed beyond. At that time the membership numbered 149, eighty-three of whom had joined the church during the three years and a half. In 1908 the church building was destroyed by fire and a new edifice was constructed on the corner of Gray and Farwell streets at a cost of $13,000.00. It is admirably equipped for church work in all lines of service, and is a source of joy to the loyal membership, which now numbers 185. The large progressive Sabbath School, the Epworth League, the Junior League, comprising most promising material for the coming church, and the Ladies' Aid Society are all recognized as strong elements in the strong life of this strong, Christian organization.

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