Merrick County's 100th Year: 1858-1958


In Palmer

In the late 1870's, before Palmer was a town, a small group of pioneers joined together to worship. Included in this group were Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Wells, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis, Mrs. Hannah Davis, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Templin, PhotographMrs. Copeland and others. They met at the schoolhouse in District No. 36, located two miles north of the present town of Palmer. The first pastor of this group was Rev. William Espelin, 1881-1882. Part time services were held in the Church of Christ and later in the old Palmer Opera House.

In 1889 this group of Methodist people was formally organized into "The Methodist Episcopal Church or Class of Palmer" under the leadership of Rev. J. B. Leedom.

The Charter Members were:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Wells, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Curtis, Mrs. M. C. Cole, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Templin, Mr. and Mrs. Z. E. Peck, Mrs. Pierce, Mr. and Mrs. Ramoth Sears, Miss Carrie B. Hull, Mrs. Hannah Davis and A. Wadsworth.

The first church building was erected in 1893 and remodeled in 1929.

The present pastor is Rev. Warthen T. Israel.

Palmer, Nebraska
In 1874 a group of ten disciples living southeast of Palmer laid the foundation for the organization of a church with J. H. Applegate and Henry M. Cox as Elders. Later, meetings were held in the old McGonagle house for about two years until the church was built in 1888. The McGonagle house Photographstill stands in Palmer.

The Charter Members were Henry M. Cox, E. J. Cox, N. C. Arrents, Mary Arrents, J. H. Applegate, M. E. Applegate, Chetser Green, John A. Liese, Margaret Liese, Michael Blade, Angeline Blade, A. M. Templin and B. S. Templin.

Rev. Humphries of Aurora, Nebraska conducted the first services in the church on July 13, 1888. A downpour of rain kept eleven of the congregation in the church building all night. The dedication service, conducted by Rev. John T. Smith of Nebraska City, was held on July 15, 1888. Student pastors and nonresident ministers served the church for many years.

The first resident pastor was Rev. Harmon H. Utterback, called in 1902 at a salary of $8.00 per week. Rev. Utterback served faithfully for many years and is now retired and resides near the church which he pastored.

The present pastor is Rev. Edward Maertens.


This organization dates back to about 1894. In this year a church building was erected and services were conducted by nonresident missionary pastors.

No complete list of members is available but the following names appear:

David Foster, Paul Haux, W. H. McKenney, Ruth McKenney and Blanche Widaman.

Services were discontinued and the church building was sold in 1931 to the Assembly of God. This organization continued for about ten years.


Compliments of JENSEN HATCHERY Central City



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