Brethren Church History


Dry Fork Congregation of Jasper, Missouri

The earliest known members known to have located in the area were Nathan C. RICE, a minister, and his wife Nancy, from Blackford County, Indiana. They came to Henry County, Missouri in 1865 with their seven children, and settled in 1866 in Jasper County on a farm two and one-half miles south of the present town of Jasper, Missouri.

In 1867, Daniel and Lydia WINE and two of their sons came from South English, Iowa, and purchased a farm which included what is now known as the Greenlawn Cemetery at the west edge of Jasper. Of course, then Jasper was not in existence, and the nearest railroad was at Sedalia, Missouri, having been built there by 1860, or soon afterward. (Lydia WINE died August 7, 1868.)

Also in 1867, Frank A. HENDRICKS, a minister, came with his family from Hancock County, Illinois, and purchased a 160-acre farm where the present town of Jasper is located. Daniel HENDRICKS (father of Frank) lost his wife in 1867, and it was during the next year, 1868, he and a number of his family and relatives came to this locality. In the history of the first Brethren church in Missouri in Cape Girardeau County, one James HENDRICKS was mentioned as being their faithful elder in the early 1800's. The about Daniel HENDRICKS was a younger brother of James. When the Cape Girardeau church began to disband, most of the HENDRICKS families moved to Adams and Hancock Counties in Illinois near the Iowa-Missouri border, and it was from there that they came to this area.

In the fall of 1869, the late William M. HARVEY and wife, Hannah, came with their family from South English, Iowa, locating on a farm four miles southeast of Jasper. She was a daughter of the Daniel WINE'S, who had located here two years earlier. These two families had been charter members of the English River Church in Keokuk County, Iowa, having migrated there from Lima, Ohio in 1854.

These different Brethren families made a sufficient nucleus for a church, and the first public services were said to have been held in the Possum Creek schoolhouse a mile southwest of Jasper, Missouri (on the present H. TALLMAN farm). It would have been interesting to have known what this promising group could have developed into, but fate did not permit that.

This young church group was made up of two different backgrounds. The HENDRICKS element ancestry had come down to North Carolina, and westward by the Cumberland Gap route to Kentucky, southern Illinois, and to southeast Missouri. Other Brethren church groups had migrated westward across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, and although of the same Pennsylvania origin, the two groups being thus separated for about a half century, had developed different church standards. Few central conferences were held at that time to help adjust and coordinate thinking. The methods of church discipline and carrying out of ordinances had become so different, that this group at Jasper soon divided. It is believed that the division was agreeable as the two groups often attended one another's services.

The HENDRICKS group had Frank HENDRICKS as their minister at first, and later Glasgow MCCLINTOCK. They held revival meetings, and baptized several. When the Progressive Brethren move came in later in 1882-1883, this group affiliated with them. No church house was ever built by them, and the number gradually diminished and became scattered, and eventually the work was discontinued. They are known to have held a love-feast service as late as 1883 in a barn, five miles west of Golden City. Daniel HENDRICKS died November 5, 1882, and is buried in the HENDRICKS Cemetery, three miles southeast of Jasper.

Returning to the other part of this early church group, their minister, Nathan C. RICE, died September 2, 1870, less than 48 years of age, and was buried in the HENDRICKS Cemetery. Fortunately, another minister, Addison W. BAKER of Allen County, Ohio, moved into the area about 1871, and located seven miles southeast of Jasper, living there until his death January 18, 1877. He was a minister, and had been a schoolteacher, and was a capable leader. Under his guidance the church group began to grow, and look forward to a location for a church building and cemetery.

On December 12, 1874, George FORD and his wife, Elizabeth, sold a tract of land to the church trustees for $50.00 and paid for by them as follows: John WAMPLER, $25.00; William M. HARVEY, $15.00; Samuel WINE, $10.00. The location was three miles south of Jasper. A place was left for the location of a church building, and the remainder lotted off for cemetery use, which has since been added to a number of times. This Addison W. BAKER helped to plot off the cemetery, and then was the first one to be buried in it.

By 1870, Samuel WINE (nephew of Daniel WINE), and wife had located at Jasper, having come from Indiana. In 1873 John WAMPLER and family of Trotwood, Ohio settled northwest of Carthage. The Joel GARBER family located north of Oronogo on Spring River.

In 1875 William M. HARVEY and Joel GARBER were chosen to the ministry, and Samuel WINE in 1877. Services were held at first in the homes, and alternated at schoolhouses in the WAMPLER and HARVEY communities, and occasionally in the GARBER community. As transportation for many was not good, services were held on occasion Sunday afternoons at a half-dozen different schoolhouses by special announcement.

Joel GARBER moved to Stone County where the town of GARBER was named for him, and later to near Grand Junction, Colorado, and died there near the town of Clifton. The active leadership of the group then fell principally to William M. HARVEY for many years, assisted on occasion by others. Also, many were the weddings and funerals at which he officiated.

There was a normal growth until in 1882, when the unusual began to happen. From then until 1886, about ten families of members moved into the area from the vicinity of the "Nettle Creek" Church near Hagerstown, Indiana. The record shows, Abraham REPLOGLE and wife, 1882 or 1883; Daniel HOOVER and wife, 1884; Henry HOOVER and wife, Daniel HARDMAN and wife, Daniel MILLER, Ithamer BOWMAN and wife, Abraham W. TEETER and wife, Daniel W. TEETER and wife, all in 1885; and their father, David U. TEETER and wife in 1886; and possibly a few others. These were aggressive people with means and stability who purchased farms and built homes, and helped build their community and established prestige.

The immigration of the Indiana church families, along with a group that already existed, meant one thing: a church house at once. On January 1, 1886, a petition was circulated for both work and money to be paid by March 1st. Samuel WINE, a skilled carpenter, was chosen to oversee the work. The construction progressed, and was nearly enough complete by Christmas Eve of the same year to permit the holding of the first appointment, a love-feast service.

This 30 x 50 ft. building (with a kitchen built on later) stood until it was sold at auction February 2, 1963 by the owners-"Paradise Cemetery Association", a community organization controlling the cemetery. Herewith is a picture of the church building.

DryForkChurch.jpg (255K)

The congregation grew steadily in numbers and in prestige, which made it the community center in that area for many years. Several evangelistic meetings were conducted by able ministers with favorable results, and additions to the membership list were common at any time. The listed record shows more than 320 names of members, about half of these by baptism and half received by letter of membership, and it is know that numbers of others were never listed.

Some known to have conducted revival services were: Lewis W. TEETER, likely 1887; S. Z. SHARP; Lemuel HILLERY; Solomon MILLER; F. W. DOVE, 1899; Chas. A. MILLER, 1905 and again 1906; C. P. ROWLAND, 1907; Rufus WYATT, 1910; C. S. GARBER, 1911; James HARDY, 1912; D. A. CRIST, 1913; O. H. FEILER, 1914; S. E. THOMPSON, 1915; Earl M. BOWMAN, 1916; John P. BOWMAN; J. Edwin JARBOE, 1918; Ernest L. IKENBERRY, 1920, J. W. DEETER, Bible Institute, 1922; Lester E. FIKE, 1929; O. H. FEILER, 1930; Ralph QUAKENBUSH, 1931 and again 1932; and others not listed.

In the fall of 1888, Henry SUNDERLAND, Amos M. HARVEY, and Daniel W. TEETER were elected to the ministry. Bro. SUNDERLAND often filed appointments, and was later elected to the office of elder. Daniel W. TEETER also became an elder, and later the spiritual director of the church for many years.

The highest number of members at one time is now known, but at the time the decline was beginning there were 94, and after that the number gradually lowered. Many who had immigrated in, later emigrated back out, including part of the group from Indiana. Different factors entered in, one being travel by automobile, which took folks greater distances, and the small rural churches suffered heavily. Another denomination built a church house one-mile distant, thus dividing the territory.

After a number of years, as older ones passed on and others moved away, the few that were left faced a difficult situation. At this point, the untimely death of Daniel W. TEETER by smallpox left the group without a leader. As part of the membership lived in Jasper, it was decided to move to town. The Presbyterian church in Jasper had ceased for some time, and that building was purchased from a private owner, the move made, and the name changed from "Dry Fork" to the "Jasper Church of the Brethren" in the spring of 1922.

JasperChurchoftheBrethren.jpg (290K)

Some attempts by pastoral and evangelistic efforts did not seem to permanently revive the small group, and finally their membership of twenty-three (twelve of these active) was transferred to the Carthage Church August 18, 1954. The Jasper church building, pictured here, was then sold to the Nazarene group, and the money given to the Carthage Church of the Brethren toward the purchase of a parsonage.

The upkeep of the cemetery at the location of the former Dry Fork church, three miles south of Jasper, was always a problem. After the church group had changed to the Jasper location, it was decided to start an interest-bearing cemetery upkeep fund, sell the original Dry Fork church building at auction, and place half of that income in the fund. The public was so strongly opposed to the building being removed, that after the group had gathered for the auction, the sale was called off and a compromise arrived at, whereby the community could purchase the entire church and cemetery property at a price.

This required organizing and incorporating into an association. Two Paradise trees that had once stood near the property inspired the suggested name-"Paradise Cemetery Association". The transaction was completed in the early part of 1923. For a time the building was used often for funerals, but in recent years was seldom used at all. Deterioration was such that it would soon require expensive repair, so it was decided to sell the old Dry Fork church building at auction, February 2, 1963, and it was soon cleared away. The "Paradise Cemetery" is neatly cared for, and is one of the more desirable burial places in the area.

During the active years, the Dry Fork-Jasper church influenced many lives of both members and non-members. Many interesting facts and incidents could be related, but in concluding, only a few will be mentioned.

One who must not be overlooked, is Samuel WINE, who came with his wife from Wayne County, Indiana to this area in 1870. He was chosen to the office of deacon in 1875, to the ministry in 1877, advanced to 2nd degree ministry in 1885, and ordained to the eldership later. Being of a reserved nature, he seldom spoke in public except to give church announcements, or open or close church services. He was a farmer and a skilled carpenter, and built many farm buildings in this locality. Also, he was the head carpenter in the erection of the Dry Fork church. He lived an exemplary life, a credit to any church group. One of his close neighbors said of him-"if ever there was a Christian, he was one of them". He was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, April 19, 1837, and died December 26, 1904 at Jasper, Missouri. He was a brother to the late David D. WINE, who was the spiritual director of the large congregation at Covington, Ohio for many years.

The withdrawal of the HENDRICKS group and others, in the early beginning of the Dry Fork Church, removed the more progressively inclined and left a fairly conservative and stabilized group. When the "old order" withdrawal occurred in 1881, the group was little disturbed by it. Joel HECK and John WAMPLER, who lived northwest of Carthage on adjoining farms, decided to join the move and solicited for a following among the members, particularly the more isolated of the group, but met with failure. Likewise the "progressive" withdrawal of 1882-1883 had no effect, although one, GIBSON, worked persuasively among the group. The "Dunkard Brethren" move of 1926 influenced one individual, who later was reinstated.

Although conservative, the group were also aggressive. Next year, after the church house was built, the records show that a Sunday school was organized on April 3, 1887, and continued thereafter, except during the winter months. A Womens "Aid Society" was organized about 1904, or soon afterward.

The number of Deacons chosen locally, and those included who were received by church letters, total too many to list here, approximately twenty-five. However, we shall mention on of the older ones, Jonathan KESSLER, who, with his wife, Elizabeth, were received by letter in 1879 when they located here. Whether the love feasts were held at a large barn, a residence, or tent, or later on at the church premises, it was "Uncle Jonathan" who cooked the meat. With tow large iron kettles set up on some large stones, one kettle filled with hot water and the other with boiling beef, and he with his gray whiskers, and eyes squinted to avoid the smoke as he gave it constant care, was an unforgettable impression. Also, the finished quality and flavor of that meat still lingers.

These services usually began on Friday or Saturday afternoon and continued over Sunday. At one of these, held in a large bar, an incident was related concerning two of the most highly educated ministers in the brotherhood who were present for the occasion. There was some unscheduled time left during one of the sessions. Expecting to be called upon, these two distinguished guests were overheard discussing just how they would divide the time. As the session opened, as custom was the, an invitation was extended along the row of minister for anyone disposed to speak to be free to do so. Each one along the line of ministers refused, hoping to hear the two distinguished visitors, but not so with the older Bro. EDGECOMB, there from Kansas. He not only accepted the invitation to speak, but used the entire time, leaving the two guests out entirely.

One family living near Lamar, Missouri, within the bounds of the church, was that of Wm. H. SLABAUGH and wife Mary (parents of Bro. Warren W. SLABAUGH, so well known in Bethany Seminary work). He related his favorable remembrances of some of the church leaders here, and the wholesome impressions that remained with him as he united with the church at a later time, and which bore fruit in his life. Some of our ministers preached for them once per month at their country schoolhouse.

The Eldership supervision of the congregation was usually under the home elders, assisted occasionally by those of neighboring churches. Occasional preaching appointments were arranged for by some neighboring minister. Elder James M. MOHLER OF the Middle Missouri District served as Elder of the Jasper Church from November 8, 1919 to February 13, 1926. When he could not be present, he served in an advisory capacity. His knowledge, ability, and experience were of much value to us at that time, as so much transpired in the life of our church-the passing of our leader, Bro. D. W. TEETER, the change of our

church location to town, the transfer of the country church house and cemetery to the community, etc.

It was during this time that Sister Grace GREENWOOD was licensed to the ministry, August 12, 1922, and was relicensed one year later. The General Brotherhood had come out with a new system, whereby lady minister could be permanently licensed. Accordingly, Sister Grace GREENWOOD was permanently licensed to the ministry October 25, 1924. It is believed that she may been the first lady minister in the Brotherhood to have been permanently installed under this new system.

A former Nazarene minister, J. W. RENFRO of Lamar, Missouri, came into our church, as he believed in Brethren doctrine. On October 10, 1925, he was licensed to the ministry, installed into the ministry November 28, 1926, and ordained to the eldership October 2, 1931. He served the church until resigning February 10, 1934. He and his wife moved soon afterward to Nevada, Missouri near some of their family.

From August 15, 1934 forward, the supervision of the congregation was subject to the District Mission Board, with Elder A. W. ADKINS presiding over most business sessions. A few pastors served the church on a party time basis: -Earl M. BOWMAN, 1916; D. D. HARNER, February 12, 1923, for one year; Lester E. FIKE, March 1, 1929 to August 8, 1931; Floyd L JARBOE, September 1, 1932 to September 1, 1933; Galen BARKDOLL, late May to September 1, 1935. During most of the next six years the work was directed by S. J. NEHER, a local minister and elder, who had previously been away to attend McPherson College, and in high school teaching.

William M HARVEY (a great-grandson of the late Elder William M. HARVEY), was licensed to the ministry January 30, 1943, and was relicensed from year to year, but with one year at McPherson College and over three years under government call, he had only a brief time for service in the local church. He is now in Indiana.

Some earlier ministers who were either chosen or received by letter for a brief time were: William BRADT, 1891-1895; Hiram J. WOLF, 1893-1894; Thomas A. ROBINSON, 1897-1898; A. J. PEEBLER, 1897-1900; Alonzo LESLIE, 1900; David C. GLICK, 1899-1900, returned 1903-1904; Christian HOLDEMAN, 1910-1912 (death).

The last ministerial product of the church at Jasper was George W. HARVEY, who was licensed January 24, 1945. As he graduated from high school, the government call awaited him. After serving the allotted time for that in Civilian Public Service, he spent one year educational service in Ethiopia, Africa. His ministerial license was renewed from year to year, until he was permanently ordained to the ministry March 13, 1949, and ordained to the Eldership October 18, 1953. While pastor at the Warrensburg, Missouri church he obtained some college work in the state school there. Then, after serving as pastor at the Carthage, Missouri church, he became pastor at Newton, Kansas, which gave opportunity to finish his college work. Then, by accepting the pastorate of the church at Dallas Center, Iowa the past few years, he has succeeded in completing the four-year seminary course at Bethany, in Chicago.

Although now disorganized, we hope the "Dry Fork-Jasper" church still lives through the work and influence of those whose lives it helped to mold and inspire.

Source: History of The Church of the Brethren, District of Southern Missouri and Arkansas, complied by Earl Harvey, published 1964, Page 91-96.


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