The Humboldt Methodist Church

by

Ron Gatheridge

Back in the year 1881 a man of courage and short of staturecame on mission into this area.

There was not a village of Humboldt at that time - - justscattered settlers on the treeless prairie.

This man easily won the admiration of the pioneers andwith the help of God, spoke to the country folk.

The man, Reverend Goldie, rode on horseback from Emerson,Manitoba to gather with the early Christian minded settler.

These fellowships brought forth prayer meetings which isbelieved to have been the first church organization of its kind in thisarea. With no available building to meet, the meetings were held in pioneerhomes, such as the homes of Charles Clow, William Jury, and Ambrose Clow.

In 1882, when Reverend Goldie left, Reverend Hovis came.In 1883, Humboldt became a village of a post office and a depot.

In 1885, Reverend Trewalaney succeeded Reverend Hovis,and made a good step toward more fellowships.

The new schoolhouse, which was built in 1884, was thenused for the meetings, when people would trudge patiently over snow banksin the winter to come and meet.

The Reverend Lomas in 1890, Reverend Hall in 1891, andReverend Baker in 1892 found this task to be a challenging, yet rewardingone.

In the year of 1895, Reverend J. G. Moore, entered thearea confident that the reality of having a church could possibly happen. Many suppers and donations were being used to better the financial standof the church, when finally, it was built in 1897. It was built approximatelyone and one half miles north of its present location.

On Sunday, December l8, 1898, the first dedication servicefor the church was held with a great gathering of the pioneers who had builtit. The first acting stewards and the board of trustees, was made up of Ambrose Clow, Mrs. James Walker, George Matthew, Mrs. Seneca Thomson,William Clow, William Jury, Sam Maxwell, and Richard Sylvester. The dedicationservice con-sisted of three meetings on this day - -at 10:50 A.M., 2:50P.M., and 7:50 P.M. At this time a lecture was given and an admission oftwenty-five cents was charged to help out the financial department.

Prior to this time the church had been a point on the Pembinacharge of the North Dakota Conference. It was felt that the church shouldbelong to the Minnesota Conference. After much effort the church was transferredto the Minnesota Conference by the Reverend Forbes of Duluth.

Reverend A. Mayers carried on the work in this new districtand easily won the respect of his congregation which helped to gain a strongfooting for Methodism here.

In 1899, the Reverend George Swinnerton, a native of England,took over the charge and at this time there was much discussion on the thoughtof moving the church. In cooperation, negotiations in the way of a restrictedlease was drawn up by the church trustees and James J. Hill, then king ofthe railroad. The lease in the hands of the church treasurer, expires inthe year 1998.

In the spring of 1900, a parsonage was built in St. Vincentfor the whole charge. The cost of the building was six hundred dollars.

The new pastor, Reverend Charles Flesher in May 1901, broughtabout the event of the first recorded baptismal and wedding ceremony. Thebaptismal service records Wallace, Florance, Edward, Carrie, John, Sadieand Margaret - - children of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cameron of St. Vincent.Later he performed the wedding of Emma Kechie and E. J. Kruse. The firstchurch wedding was in 1923 when Mer1e Williams of Humboldt married PeterAnderson of North Star Community.

During the course of the next five years the pastors Johnson,Manly, Smith, Harrington and Chappels served respectively.

The coming of Reverend Benjamin Collins in 1908 markeda significance in the milestone of the little Methodist church, for thetwo hundred, twenty-five dollars indebtedness, incurred at the time thechurch was moved into Humboldt, was cleared, making it entirely free ofdebt.

In 1910 and 1911 brought Reverend Mason to this chargeand he later moved to Saskatchewan.

In 1912, Reverend George Fenske came. Although the SundaySchool increased, The year also brought the popularity of the saloons. Sentiment grew with time, and finally, the saloons were voted out of existence.

In 1913, The Reverend George Powell ministered and it wasat this time that two stoves and electric lights were installed in the church.

In 1920, Reverend Robertson, a Presbyterian minister, cameto pastor here. He encouraged the building of a parsonage in Humboldt. Beforeit was completely finished the Nelson Finney family, whose home had beendestroyed by fire, tentatively moved into the newly built structure. Itwas not until the arrival of Reverend Ingram that the parsonage gave hometo a minister and his family.

Conference the next year 1922, made possible the placementof Reverend A. R. Henry of New York. Reverend Henry established an athleticclub and Play Day and made active the Epworth League. The next yearReverend James ministered while Reverend Henry attended college at the Universityof North Dakota. Reverend Hart pastored in the years 1925 and 1926. Hisfondness for carpentry gave rise to the building of the church hall, whichthen stood unfinished for twelve years. He then married and moved to thestate of Oregon.

The Reverend H. H. Gilbert in 1927 and Reverend Bartholomewin 1928 were both of Canadian descent. They commuted by train from Winnipegon Saturday night and returned home sometime in midweek.

Reverend Ingram departed in 1903 and was replaced by ReverendD. Stanley McGuire. During this ministry a bell was placed in the towerof the chapel. The Epworth League purchased an upright piano for the sumof one hundred dollars.

The Reverends Wagner and Engelbretson were appointed tothe charge in 1934. These two devoted women pastored the Humboldt and St.Vincent churches for thirteen years. With their leadership the church andparsonage were beautified, which attracted widespread attention.

The church took on a remodeling job during this time. Floors were sanded, walls were plastered and the old smoking furnace gaveway to a new oil burning furnace - - a gift of the Fred Bockwitz family.In 1940, the hall was finished and it is not to be forgotten that Miss Wagner,laid the floor, sided the walls and built ample cupboards. This gave wayto the first Harvest Festival.

Reverend Everett Hanson replaced the never to be forgottenMiss Wagner and Miss Engelbretson.

There have been other late improvements to the church aswell. A new foundation has been added to strengthen the building. The frontwith a new belfry, new doors and cement steps have increased the appearanceand dignity of this small, little dignified church in Humboldt that wasin 1881 just one lonely little man.

 

Bibliography

Fifty year edition, Humboldt Methodist Church, anniversaryand history

Gatheridge, William I., Humboldt, Minnesota
edition, Humboldt Methodist Church, anniversaryand history

Gatheridge, William I., Humboldt, Minnesota