Photo (1909) contributed by Nancy Shaner
It is difficult to establish a specific date for the beginnings of the Methodist Faith in Griggsville. There were known Methodists in or near present Griggsville before the town was laid out in 1834. Before a Methodist Society was established services were held in the home of George Hinman. In 1831 John Shinn came and settled a mile east of town and held services in his home. In 1834 the Shinn Meeting house was built on his land. John Shinn was a local preacher and friend of Peter Cartwright. The Methodist Asbury Church was built in 1833 not far from where the Hinman Chapel would be built in 1842. In 1834 the town of Griggsville was laid out by Nathan W. Jones, Joshua Stanford, and David R. Griggs and named in honor of Mr. Griggs. In 1837 the Shinn Meeting House was torn down, moved into town, and rebuilt. It was the first building in town for religious services. The members of the Shinn group moved their membership to either Griggsville or went south to the Bethel Methodist Church.
The denomination grew and another church was built on Stanford St. north of the present church. This church was dedicated December 27, 1846. It's Pastor was William H. Taylor with trustees, Dr. J.M. Higgins, James Ward, James Parker, B. Pullock, J.G. Crawford, James Hutchinson, Peleg Gardner, James Shinn and William Hinman. This second church was two stories, 34X50 ft., and cost $840.
In 1854 another two story church was erected south of the second church. This third church had a basement and contained 5 rooms, part of which were used for a parsonage for a time. This was the first church in Griggsvile in which a musical instrument was used.
In August of 1873 the edifice of the M.E. Church (3rd building) re-opened after undergoing repairs which cost over $800. A church bell was presented to the Methodists by citizens of the town.
A new church, the fourth, was built in 1883 on the same site and the bell was installed in the new building. The old church was torn down and sold for barn material. This new church was built during the pastorate of T.A. Kumler with Trustees, Franklin Cadwell, E.S. Parker, Richard Wade, W.H. Dean, James Oliver, J.M. Dimmitt, R.M. Love and J.G. Crawford. Cost of this church was $11,000.This building burned January 27, 1904. It was thought the fire started from burning soot in the pipe. Because of lack of water little could be done to save it. None of the contents could be saved except the bell. It was decided to hold services in the Opera House until the church could be rebuilt. Times were hard and most of the members of the congregation were farmers who had gone through a series of crop failures. The Ladies Aid pledged $1500 and made many quilts in the homes of its members. A cookbook was assembled and published with many copies sold. A "Booth Fair" was held selling candy, canned goods, fancy work, dolls, fruits, vegetables and miscellaneous articles.
The corner stone of the new building (5th) was laid on September 2, 1904. On February 26 and 27 of 1905, about one year after the devastating fire, the church was rededicated. The cost was around $13,000 and the last $2,000 was raised at the two day ceremony, enabling the church to be debt free. Rev. W.W. Drake was Pastor and the trustees were, E.S. Parker, R.W.Elliott, Perry Harshman, George F. Cadwell, D.R.Wade, Miss Olive Brakefield, Mrs. W.Y. McMahan, J.J. King, George Evans, and Franklin Cadwell, (honorary).
The original church bell used in the third and fourth churches was placed in the steeple of the fifth and used to this day.
Source: [Contributed by Nancy Shaner
Taken from the Histories of the Griggsville Methodist Church by Mary Myers and Sue Lightle provided by Alice Lightle Cripe.
Photo on right: (1883) is contributed by Delaine Donaldson.
The United Methodist Church is located at 115 S. Stanford St. in Griggsville and is a member of the Bright Star Parish. From the earliest days Griggsville citizens had strong religious interest. The First Regular Baptist Church was organized August 4, 1834 with seven members. The Methodist-Episcopal Church was organized in 1835 and the Congregational Church on February 1, 1837. The Church of Christ was organized July 26, 1874. After meeting in the homes of members and in other churches, St. James Episcopal Church was built in 1882. The Griggsville Church of Nazarene was organized in 1917. All of Griggsville's churches are supported by strong membership and have maintained beautiful and modern places of worship.