Genealogy and History
Part of the Genealogy Trails History Group
Contributed by Karen Fyock
VAN BROCKLIN Methodist Church
In tracing the history of Van Brocklin United Methodist Church, we begin with those individuals who had such an important part in bringing this Methodist Church into existence. The one person who was most influential in the earliest history of this church was Harriet Searle Van Brocklin. To Mrs. Van Brocklin goes the honor of being the founder of our church. Mrs. Van Brocklin and her husband, Conrad, were the first settlers in Florence Township, having settled here in April 1835. The first public religious services were held in this community as early as 1846. These services were conducted by ministers of various denominations in an old log school house that was located east of the present church.
Rev. Underwood was the first Methodist preacher to serve the people in this community. He began his ministry in 1852. The first Sunday School was organized in 1851 by Mr. Russell Scovill. It was conducted as a Union Sunday School until it was divided in 1858 when Mr. M. W. Goodsell was elected to serve as Superintendent of the first Methodist Sunday School.
A most remarkable Sunday School Class was that of Aunt Sarah Clow. This Class was organized and taught by Mrs. Clow for more than thirty years. A Class Reunion was held each year by members of the class for many years.
In 1860 the Van Brocklin Church became one of five churches in a circuit. Two ministers, Rev. H. T. Clendening and Rev. Hibbard, were appointed to serve this circuit. The churches in this circuit included Kent, Andrew's Mill, (now called Pearl City), Willow, Morseville and Van Brocklin. Realizing the imperative need for a church building, construction of the Van Brocklin Church began in 1865. The minister who served during the erection of the church was Rev. Jacobs. Subscriptions were circulated
and the money was raised by the members borrowing at a rate of 10% interest. Construction of the church was completed in 1866. A Dedication Service was held with Rev. Yates preaching the Dedication Sermon. Members of the church who were very influential in the construction of the church were Mr. John Fox, Mr. Noah Peck, Mr. Sheldon Scovill, Mr. Henry Aspinwall, Mr. James Peck, and Mr. John Hart, who served as Treasurer. The land for the church and parsonage was secured from Mr. William Wilcox and Mr. Van Brocklin.
Van Brocklin became a station church in 1879. During a remodeling program that began in 1881, the church was enlarged by adding twenty feet to the east end. This added room became the church parlor and was later used by the Primary Department. A partial basement was also dug out at the time the church was remodeled, and this space was used for a lecture room and a furnace room. The parsonage was also erected at the time of this remodeling program for the church. On February 20, 1883, a special Re-Dedication service was held with Rev. Cleveland, the PResiding Elder, preaching the sermon. Rev. Alonzo Wake,am (1881-1883) was the minister when the church was remodeled and the parsonage erected. More work was done on the basement during the ministry of Rev. J E. Maunders (1904-1906). In 1923 Van Brocklin did not have a resident pastor. When Rev. John Bruce became the pastor he drove a horse and buggy to church. Until about 1915, there were very few cars, and sheds were provided to keep the horses in. Morning and evening services were held each Sunday. During Rev. Corydon Frnik's ministry (1935-1937) the full basement was completed. This was an important time, for electricity came to the community, and the church and parson age were wired. Prior to that time, gas lights were used. The Friendly Circle Class was also organized during Rev. Frink's ministry. In 1936, new hymnals were purchased to replace the old green hymnals so well known to all Methodists. The Woman's Society of Christian Service was organized in 1940. Van Brocklin remained a station church from 1879 until 1943. At that time it was placed on a circuit with Shannon.
The Centennial Anniversary was celebrated in 1952 with a banquet and a special service. Guest speakers were Bishop Charles W. Brashares and District Superintendent Dr. Milton Bayly. Recognition was given to six members of more than fifty years, Etta Best. W. L. Roberts, James Scovill, Addie Kyle, Ella Peck and Ivy Goodsell, the granddaughter of Mrs. Van Brocklin.
In the summer of 1959, Bolton Road was relocated and a new bridge was constructed over Yellow Creek south of the church. The church entrance was changed and a new stairway was built to the dining room. The parking lot was rearranged and the parsonage sold. In 1961 water was piped into the church and rest rooms were installed. In 1965 the present parish consisting of Pearl City, Kent, Willow, and Van Brocklin was formed. The first pastor of this parish was Rev. Louis Michealson. The auditorium was improved in 1966 with the installation of new pews. A sub floor and new carpet was laid and wall paneling was installed. The dining room was also improved in 1966. Gifts of a baptismal fount, altar paraments and a new piano were dedicated in 1975.
At the 125th anniversary service, September 18, 1977, the following members were congratulated for fifty years of membership:
Mrs. Harriet Searle Van Brocklin, founder of Van Brocklin Methodist Church, was born in Lewis County, New York, Dec. 13, 1803. Converted at an early age, she was always affiliated with the Methodist Church. At the age of 32, Mrs. Van Brocklin and her husband Conrad moved to Florence township, Stephenson County and settled here in April 1835. They were the first settlers in Florence Township. The land in front of the church was given by Conrad Van Brocklin in 1872. Mrs. Van Brocklin died on December
24, 1887. She lived a devoted and influential Christian life for over 60 years.
QUARTERLY CONFERENCE MEMBERS
TRUSTEES - 1 year
Mrs. Ivy Goodsell
Mrs. W. Mowery
TRUSTEES - 2 Years
TRUSTEES - 3 Years
Mrs. Em Loebergsell
Mrs. H.J. Best
Mrs. Donald Cain
Mrs. Ella Peck
Mrs. Donald Cain
Mrs. A. Brillhart
Mrs. Paul Davis
Mrs. C. McIlnay
Mrs. Walter Cain
MISS & CH EXTENSION
Mrs. Ivy Goodsell
Mrs. William Mowery
Mrs. Ella Peck
Mrs. J. Scovill
Mrs. Ella Peck
Mrs. Wm. Scovill
Mrs. John Voss
CHURCH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT - Emerson Cain
Y.W.A. PRESIDENT - Velma Scovill
LADIES AIR PRESIDENT - Mrs. Wm. Mowery
W.F.M.S. PRESIDENT - Mabel Liebergesell
RECORDING STEWART - J.B. Cain
DISBURSING STEWARD - Wilbur Goodsell
CONNECTIONAL STEWARD - John Voss
COMMUNION STEWARD - Mrs. C.E. Kyle
ASST. COMMUNION STEWARD - Mrs. Nettie Bonebright
DISTRICT STEWARD - J.B. CAIN
RESERVE DISTRICT STEWARD - W.L. Roberts
TRIER of APPEALS - James Scovill
BACK - HOME
© Genealogy Trails