NEGenWeb Project
Merrick County website
Central City Friends Meeting
Centennial Celebration, 1899-1999



PictureHerbert and Lillian (Watkins) Mott. 1899-1900. Herbert J. Mott was born at Glenna Falls, New York, on May 31, 1863. He was the first child of Irvin and Martha DeVoll Mott. With his parents, he moved, at an early age, to Virginia. In 1875, the family homesteaded near Red Cloud, Nebraska. He was later educated at Fort Edward Collegiate Institute in New York State.
     He was a birthright Friend, and at nineteen years of age, was recorded a minister, at Glenns Falls, N.Y. On the occasion of his recording, eight of the ministers with him on the facing seats were his close relatives from the Mott and DeVoll families. When he returned to Nebraska, he entered into partnership in a hotel and grist mill business at Bartley, Nebraska. When he decided to devote his life to the ministry, his business associate remarked. "I'm afraid there goes a good business man to become a poor minister." Though this was a mistaken opinion, the decision had not been an easy one for him to make for he was interested and successful in the business world.
     It was in 1889 that he made an eventful trip into Dundy County, Nebraska. He was there on business for his brother-in-law, Phillip Marshall, of Benkelman. Hearing that he was a minister the townspeople asked him to preach. There was no church for ninety miles along the valley, and they had no religious services for several years. This was the beginning of a six-weeks evangelistic services, and was followed by calls to other points near; the establishing of Friends Meetings, Quarterly Meetings, a Friends Academy at Hiawatha, Nebraska, Nebraska Central College at Central City and, in 1908, Nebraska Yearly Meeting of Friends.
     While holding meetings that fall in Perkins County, Nebraska, he met Lillie Watkins, daughter of Richard and Kathryn Watkins. She became his wife in 1890, and for fifty-four years was his co-worker in church and home.
     Herbert Mott began evangelistic work in central Nebraska at Alda in 1894. More meetings were opened but the shortage of trained leadership threatened the permanency of the work being established. All the meetings felt this need, and Friends families wished for a school for their children. In response to this need, Nebraska Central College and Academy was opened by Friends in 1899. The real generosity and dedication of James Stephen of Central City, and of Turner Abel of Clarks, with the leadership and concern of Herbert Mott, brought this dream to reality. A meeting house was built in Central, with Herbert Mott doing most of the carpenter work. When it was dedicated, in 1899, only one Friends family lived in the community. Within a year the meeting membership had grown to nearly one hundred, due in part to the opening of the new college.
     About ninety percent of the early Friends in Nebraska, became Friends by convincement, and needed an organization to help them learn to assume their new responsibilities in the Society of Friends. So Herbert Mott with other leaders, organized The Nebraska Church and Educational Association, A monthly magazine, The Nebraska Friend,

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was started in 1898, by this association, with Herbert Mott as editor and publisher. Membership in the association was on a voluntary basis.
   Herbert Mott served as General Superintendent of the association until a nervous breakdown forced him to leave the work in 1902.
   With the financial help of Joseph Phelps of Central City, he then bought a cattle ranch near Curtis, Nebraska. Here their oldest child, Hazel, died at thirteen years of age. Ranch living improved his health and the farm, cattle business was a financial success.
   In 1908, Herbert and Lillie Mott moved to Scott City, Kansas, where a promising start was made on the establishment of a Bible Training Institute. The work was incorporated as the Friends Home Missionary Association. Grasshoppers and drought, in the early years, indicated the uncertain agricultural conditions in that part of Kansas. In 1925, the assets of the association were liquidated and re-invested in nearby Colorado Springs, Colorado.
   Herbert Mott never lost the vision of the great future before the Society of Friends, in Home Missions and Church Extension. After his death, the family invested in a former Girl Scout Camp at Green Mountain Falls, for a church retreat to further their father's dream. The camp became Rock Cleft and served the Central City youth for several years. It is still serving under the auspices of Friends University of Wichita, Kansas.

Samuel Haworth. 1900-1902.

W. M. Perry. 1902-1904.

H. M. Moore. 1904-1907.

Frank W. Dell. 1908-1910.

Theo Foxworthy. 1910-1913.

L. Maria Dean. 1913-1915.

John D. Mills. 1915-1918.

PictureOra W. and Golda O. (Ruan) Carrell. 1918-1921. Ora W. Carrell was called to be the pastor and Golda O. Ruan Carrell was the assistant. Mr. Carrell graduated from Penn College, Oskaloosa, Iowa in 1908. He spent one year at the University of Iowa.

    After having decided early in life that he wanted to be a minister, he served several churches in the State of Iowa.

   On June 12, 1912, Ora Carrell was united in marriage to his college classmate, Golda O. Ruan, in the Penn College chapel. After three years in Oskaloosa, they entered Hatford, Connecticut Theological seminary and both graduated in 1915. They returned to Oskaloosa where Mr. Carrell served as field

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secretary for the Iowa Yearly Meeting of friends. He also was one of the Quakers who helped raise funds to build Penn Hall on the William Penn college campus. This huge building is still in use.
     In 1918, the Carrells received a call to serve the Friends Meeting and the Nebraska Central College in Central City, Nebraska. In 1921, Mr. Carrell was named president of that school and for 32 years served in that capacity until it was necessary to close the college, During all those years, Ora W. and Golda Carrell dedicated their lives to service for the many students who attended Nebraska Central College.
     During the time spent at NCC, Mr. Carrell served three terms as president of the Nebraska Association of Church Colleges, and was secretary for five years of the board of education of the Five Years Meeting of Friends.
     Upon the closing of Nebraska Central College, the Carrells moved to Crete and later to Oskaloosa, Iowa. After Golda Carrell's death in 1972, Mr. Carrell returned to Central City until his death in 1974.

(No picture)    Homer and Mabel Cary Coppock. 1921-1922. They were both graduates of Earlham College and all five of their children graduated there as well. Homer Coppock is emeritus professor of social science of Chicago Teacher's College. The picture is of their 50th wedding anniversary celebrated June 24, 1957.

PictureThe Raymond Holding family. 1922-1925. Helen, Ruth, Loren, Raymond, Robert, Philip, and Minnie.
     Raymond Holding was minister to the Central City Friends Meeting from August 1921 - 1924. He came with his family from Richmond, Indiana, where he had completed his studies for the ministry at Earlham College. From 1902 through 1919 he had been a missionary in Cuba and Mexico. Helen was the oldest of the five children, followed by twins Robert and Ruth, Philip and Loren. Helen attended Nebraska Central Academy her junior and senior years of high school and Nebraska Central College her freshman year.
     Their first house backed up to the railroad and my mother says they spent most of the first summer counting railroad cars. Later they moved to a house half a block from the meeting house. This was "too close" in her opinion. She had been playing for church services since she was a youngster and, in addition to playing every Sunday, was needed often at the church to practice with soloists. One year she studied piano with Mr. Cockle. Although, she says, he was "a very irreligious man", the church had two good pianos and he was willing to come there and give piano lessons. The three eldest Holdings also performed as a trio, with Ruth on violin, Robert on trumpet and Helen on piano.
     The three older children had to get up early to catch a ride with their father who taught an 8 A.M. Bible Study class at the Academy. He was also Professor of Spanish at the College. One winter he took three months off to "see how the missions in Cuba were getting

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along" and Helen had to walk to school -- a vivid memory. On the other hand, he undertook some major improvements to the meeting house, including excavating the basement to make room for a kitchen and expanded Sunday School.
     The Holding ensemble evolved into a piano trio with Wesley Schutz, a student at NCC, on piano. Helen on cello and Ruth on violin. In August of 1924 the Holdings moved to Newburg, Oregon, where Raymond Holding was a minister and taught at Pacific College. In 1927 Helen went east, to Boston, where she and Wesley Schutz were married.

Submitted by Mary Helen Schutz Shortridge

Ralph Boring. 1925-1928.

Walter H. Wilson (part time). 1928.

Bessie Brown (Temp). 1928-1929.

Cecil E. Haworth. 1929-1930.

J. Lindley Jones. 1930-1936.


Dan Neifert & Mildred Neifert. 1936-1938. Dan and Mildred were part of the Nebraska Central Academy class of 1923. They were pastors at Kemma and Central City and spent quite a few years working on the Indian Reservations. Dan is now living with his granddaughter in Grand Junction, Colorado. He and sojourning member, Lenore Haines, who is now living with her granddaughter, also, feel fortunate to be part of a Quaker worship group there.

PictureThe Reece family. Front row: Esther, Glen, Velma, Norval. Back row: LeRoy, Jerald, and Lavona.
     Part of the information we received on Glenn Reece is from "My Call to the Ministry", a short description he wrote in the 1970's. It is copied as he wrote it.
     "As early as nine or ten years of age, I began to feel deeply that, if ever I became a Christian, I would be a minister. I resisted this feeling very strongly, for two reasons: (1) I was afraid of people. I found it very difficult to participate in school programs in a small country school where I knew everyone. I did not see how I could ever become a minister. (2) I had decided on my own, as a young boy, what I wanted to be and do with my life. I wanted to be a farmer and

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a rancher. I loved the soil, the stock, and my string of 'cow ponies'. To me, it was a special thrill to select a horse from the range, break it to ride, and train it for its role in roping, branding and cutting. Cutting was picking one particular cow from the herd and separating it from the others. If you had trained a horse well, all you had to do was indicate the animal, turn your horse loose and try to stay in the saddle. The horse would do the rest.
     "I made my decision for Christian life and faith preceding my fifteenth birthday in the field alone as I was driving a four horse team through the field hitched to a Lister. During the next three years, I had the privilege of speaking in numerous meetings of worship but my first pastoral work began, as a student pastor, on September 1, 1921. In the spring of 1922, I was recorded as a Friends Minister.
     "Friends churches served as Minister include: Emporia, Kansas; Alva, Oklahoma (1932-1934); Glen Elder, Kansas (1934-1938); Central City, Nebraska (1938-1944); Sabina and Dover Meetings, Ohio (two sermons given each Sunday, one at each church - 1967 - 1979). Glenn Reece also spent 27 years in administrative positions, all with the Friends Church organizations. These included: Superintendent, Nebraska Yearly Meeting (1940-1944 in conjunction with his responsibilities with Central City Friends); Superintendent, Western Yearly Meeting (Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois -1944- 1958); General Secretary, Friends United Meeting (based in Richmond, Indiana and the largest group of Quakers in the world (1958-1967). Glenn wrote that "In my entire ministry I have sought a place to serve. Most opportunities have come as a total surprise to me".
     In addition to regular appointments for service, a special kind of service opened to me, most of which came during my years of administrative work. This was as guest leader for pastors' short courses and conferences within seven Yearly Meetings. Also Lemua East Africa Yearly Meeting (the largest Yearly Meeting of Friends in the World) and as a guest speaker in the annual sessions of six Yearly Meetings. This kind of service made the years of administrative work far more acceptable to me than otherwise they would have been."
     Glenn also served as a teacher of a course or two at Nebraska Central College, and served on the Board for NCC for a time. While in Richmond, Indiana, Glenn helped start the Earlham School of Religion to train Friends for the ministry and leadership positions in the Society of Friends. He became a Life Member of the Board of Directors for the Earlham School of Religion. Two scholarships are awarded to the outstanding male and female students of the second year class in honor of Glenn and Velma Reece.
     Glenn made a profound impact on people as he traveled. Two instances are striking. Norval was hitch-hiking in Kenya during the 1960's and met a Kenyan. After Norval introduced himself to the young man, the young man asked, "Are you Glenn Reece's son?" During the summer of 1996, Jerry was on a five-week consultancy in Lesotho, Southern Africa. One evening while he was a guest at dinner, the host suddenly asked "Are you Glenn Reece's son?"
     Velma Reece died at the age of 67 in March, 1970 and Glenn Reece died at the age of 77 in November, 1979. Glenn gave his last sermon just 2 1/2 weeks prior to his death.

Howard J. Harris. 1944

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