Zion United Methodist Church
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
ZION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Charles E. Darby
The Methodist Episcopal Church South was established in 1852. The current name is Zion United Methodist Church. When the name was changed is not known. The church has had a long and distinguished record. It never enjoyed a large congregation, but those who have been and are presently members are dedicated and loyal to the church.
Some years ago, one of the pastors decided that the old records were just in the way and of no value to the church or anyone else. This pastor burned the church records. Hence, writing a comprehensive record of the church is impossible. There is still enough information available to create some semblance of a history of the church.
Tracing the land records of the church is interesting and informative.
Document 1: Creation of the Church in 1852
Document 1 (author’s label) is dated September 7, 1852. Levin E. Jones deeded land to John Neely et al., Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. This transaction is recorded in the county Deeds Records, Volume B2, and p. 115, County Clerk of Grimes County. The document was filed on March 26, 1855, and recorded on March 28, 1855. J. G. Chatham was the recording clerk.
The transaction was for three acres of land from the Timothy Jarvis League with the specified purpose of a church at a cost of $10 (and probably “other considerations”). The land was conveyed to these trustees:
David K. Jones
Daniel b. McMahan
Witnessing the transaction were:
F. W. Harms
D. K. Jones
Trinston Harris, County Clerk of Grimes County, and Geraldine Foster, Deputy certified the transaction, on December 9, 1966.
The first church was built of logs on the site of the present Zion Cemetery. The building, according to Eva Barnes, was located about the middle of the cemetery, as the cemetery is in 1999. There is no list of the membership at that time.
The cemetery came into existence when members of the church began to die. Since the church members had no cemetery, they began to bury their dead in the trees around the church.
According to Eva Barnes, there was Methodist operating in the community of Iola before the church was established. Eva says that the pastor of this small flock was a Rev. Robertson. Thus, he would be considered the first pastor of the church. There is no record of where these individuals met for worship or when they started holding regular meetings.
After the church was built, Eva Barnes named Rev. Deason as the first pastor. Thus, it could be said that he was the first pastor of the church. Rev. Deason was not a full-time preacher. He might have been a circuit rider. Eva Barnes claims the early preachers of the church were indeed circuit riders and stayed with one of the members when they were in Iola for worship services. There is no record of how long circuit riders served the church.
Eva says that Rev. A. W. Smith (buried in Zion Cemetery) was pastor of the church. He led the membership to build a new church of pine timber that had to be freighted in by wagons. Eva stated that the new church had louvered blinds that were painted green. Both the inside and outside of the church were painted white. The church had columns down the middle of it and a curved chancel and homemade pews. The church was built on a hill east of the cemetery. The exact location is not known.
A store was established next to the church. No information could be found as to when this store was opened for business. The store was established before the town of Iola (established in 1873).
The church built a parsonage in 1883 and another in 1895, according Eva Barnes. The parsonage erected in 1895 was built in Iola---now referred to as Old Town.
Documents 2 and 3: Establishment of Lake Grove Church, School, and Cemetery
Land to establish a Methodist church south of Iola was purchased on May 6, 1874. H. H. Boone and Ben Goodrich deeded four acres of land from the Nancy Anderson League to the following trustees:
T. J. Darby
R. R. Burns
James A. Duncan
A. M. Darby (father of T. J.; came into Texas in 1837)
The transaction is recorded in the Deed Records, Volume L p. 48, of Grimes County. J. Lawrence Dickson, Clerk, filed the deed May 8, 1874 and recorded December 19, 1874. Trinston Harris, Grimes County Clerk, and Geraldine Foster, Deputy certify it, on July 13, 1963.
It is important to note that the land transaction was completed under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (Iola) for the establishment of the Lake Grove Church, Lake Grove School, and Lake Grove Cemetery. The Lake Grove land remained the property of the Zion United Methodist Church (a new name for Methodist Episcopal Church South) until May 4, 1981, when it was released or deeded to the Lake Grove Cemetery Association.
Edward and Oleta Woods deserve credit for spearheading the transfer of the land belonging to the Iola church to the Lake Grove Cemetery Association. Jewel Stover was responsible for getting the paper work processed for the land transfer. The land transfer had to be approved by the Zion United Methodist Church and the district superintendent of the Methodist organization. The following trustees signed the documents transferring the land to the Lake Grove Cemetery Association on May 4, 1981:
Charles A. Wendt
Mrs. J. P. Lockwood
Richard E. Grissett
Dorothy Wren Darby did the notary work. District Superintendent W. Morris House, Bryan District, also signed the papers. These transactions are recorded in Land Records, Volume 419, pages 941, 942, 943, and 944, Grimes County Clerk’s Office.
In Document 3, another acre of land was added to the Lake Grove Church, School, and Cemetery complex. R. L. Jones and Gary Thomas deeded the acre of land to the Lake Grove Cemetery Association. The land was from the Nancy Anderson League. This action is recorded in Deed Records, Volume 102, and p. 355, Grimes County Clerk’s Office. Trinston Harris and Geraldine Foster certified the action on June 13, 1963.
Purchase of Lots in Iola
After the two railroads came through the area in 1906 and 1907, the town of Iola was moved from Old Town to its present location. The move was made so the town would be near the railroads.
Upon movement of the town of Iola, the Methodist Episcopal Church South sold the church east of the Zion Cemetery. The membership of the church met on the ground floor of Masonic Lodge #313 until a new church could be built on the present site. According to Eva, the new church was completed in 1909. The pastor was Rev. B. C. Anderson.
Lots for the new church were purchased on February 25, 1909. Iola had been surveyed and platted. The church purchased Lots 1 and 2 in Block 44 of Iola for $40 from The Valley Route Townsite and Loan Company, W. E. Richards, President. The papers were filed February 25, 1909, and were signed by these trustees:
J. H. Sollock
W. R. Darby (This is William Ringgold Darby, son of A. M. Darby.)
G. C. Reding
The papers were recorded in Deed Records, Volume 66, and p. 411. R. C. Wood, Clerk, and A. G. Lyles, Deputy signed the papers.
According to Eva, the church was dedicated in 1913 by Dr. G. C. Rankin, editor of the Texas Christian Advocate, leader of the prohibition movement, and one of the most widely known Methodist preachers.
Eva goes on to state that the Iola church hosted the Huntsville District Conference in 1921, with a lot of help from the Baptist. Rev. John Henry Sollock apparently demonstrated some of the earlier loud preaching techniques, while Rev. T. J. Darby cupped his ear and expressed an “Amen!” at appropriate times.
Rev. B. C. Anderson preached the first sermon in the present building, according to Eva. He returned to preach at the one hundred year celebration.
Purchase of Additional Lots: 7, 8, 9, and 10
On April 19, 1911, B. C. Anderson and his wife, Cora L. Anderson, conveyed Lots 7, 8, 9, and 10 of Block 44 to the following trustees:
D. B. McMillan
J. J. Barnes
The transaction was recorded in Deed Records, Volume 61, pp. 424 and 425, Grimes County Clerk’s Office. The document was filed on May 16, 1911, and recorded on May 16, 1911, by R. C. Wood, County Clerk, and Grimes County. Trinston Harris, County Clerk, and Geraldine Foster, Deputy certified the transaction, on April 18, 1966. The land was purchased as a residence for the preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. This purchase gave the church ownership of Lots 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
Purchase of Lots 3, 4, 5, and 6
A map of Iola is supposed to be recorded in Volume C2 (?) (12?) located in the County Clerk’s Office of Grimes County. This has not been verified.
A warranty deed was issued to S. L. Reese for Lots 3, 4, 5, and 6 at a cost of $7.50, plus three payments of $7.50 to be made on April 14, 1911; April 14, 1912; April 14, 1913. The deed was issued by The Valley Route Townsite and Loan Company and signed by W. E. Richards, President. J. W. Yeagley, Notary Public, Harris County, and May 6, 1910 notarized the document. The deed was filed April 7, 1911, recorded April 8, 1911, in Deed Records, Volume 71, pp. 332 and 333. R. C. Wood, County Clerk, and A. G. Lyle, Deputy County Clerk signed this recording.
The release was delivered to S. L. Reese on the three lots after delivering payment on the three notes due at eight percent interest. W. E. Richards signed the papers after delivering the payments. The signature was notorized by Charles C. McRae of Harris County on April 5, 1912. The document was filed with A. G. Lyles of Grimes County Clerk’s Office on March 14, 1913. It was recorded on March 14, 1913, in Release Records, Volume 6, pp. 401 and 402.
If the records have been interpreted correctly, S. L. Reese conveyed the four lots to D. B. McMillan et al. on October 29, 1913. The deed was filed on November 9, 1914, and recorded on November 11, 1914, Volume 78, pp. 445 and 446.
After this transaction, the church owned Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
Zion United Methodist Church
Early in the 1900s, the church changed its name from the Methodist Episcopal Church South to Zion United Methodist Church. The exact date of this action is not known.
Lots 9 and 10 Sold
Lots 9 and 10, Block 44, of the plat in Volume 61, pp. 424 and 425 were sold to E. J. Hopkins and Mabel A. Hopkins, Grantees, for $10 and other considerations. There is no record of what the considerations were. It is known that the church had fewer than 10 active members during this period and none of the members were considered wealthy. The church was in dire need of funds. The trustees for this transaction were:
J. J. Darby
J. J. Darby, Jr.
The church owned Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 after this transaction.
James T. and Ruby Stuckey’s Gift of Lots 11 and 12
James T. Stuckey and Ruby Lavendar Stuckey of Route 1 Box 575, Anderson, Texas 77830 purchased Lots 11 and 12 of Block 44 from Velma Bryant and Barbara Bryant Sharp, P.O. Box 243, Iola 77861 for $10,000. Garrett Real Estate handled the transaction. Gail Brown was the Settlement Agent.
Easements on the lots were reserved. Oil, gas, and minerals were also reserved. Gail Brown notarized the transaction on May 16, 1996. Rita H. McCorquodale, Attorney at Law, and Madisonville, Texas prepared papers.
The Zion United Methodist Church now owns Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12. If the church ceases to exist, Lots 11 and 12 will revert to the James T. Stuckeys. The other lots would be owned by the United Methodist Church organization of Texas.
Early Pastors of Methodist Episcopal Church South and Zion United Methodist Church
From the Church Register, the following individuals have been identified as pastors of the Methodist church:
Rev. J. W. Thompson---5 Feb 1898---Dec 1899
Rev. George R. Roy---10 Dec 1899---1 Sep 1901
Rev. A. S. T. Haygood---1 Sep 1901---Mar 1902
Rev. H. D. Huddleston---19 Apr 1902---16 Dec 1902
Rev. John M. Neal---17 Dec 1902---1 Sep 1903
Rev. A. J. Frick---5 Dec 1904---1906
Rev. W. F. Ayers---1907
Rev. B. C. Anderson---1908---1909
Rev. J. W. Treadwell---1910---1911
Rev. R. H. Lewelling---11912
Rev. Robert O. Weir---1913
Rev. D. W. Gardner---1914---1916
Rev. J. E. Buttrill---1917
Rev. P. W. Wood---1917
Rev. R. A. Gates---1918---1919
Rev. J. L. Webb---1919---1921
Rev. F. O. Favre---1921---1922
Rev. E. C. Escoes---1922---1924
Rev. W. A. McKee---1924---1926
Rev. R. F. Stewart---1926---1927
Rev. W. A. Winkles---1927---1928
Rev. John B. Davis---16 Nov 1928---1929
Rev. J. I. Weatherby---1929---1930
Rev. R. O. Parten---1930---1931
Rev. L. C. Lilly---1931---1933
Rev. Willard B. Smith---1938---1940
Rev. R. A. Gates---1940---1941
Rev. G. M. Horne---1941---1943
Rev. A. W. Copeland---1943---1945
Rev. Hunt Robertson---?---1948
Rev. Robert Edwards---1948
Rev. L. F. Maedgen---1948---1950
Rev. J. B. Rozell---1950---1952
Rev. Bill Cunningham---1952
Rev. A. W. Smith
Rev. John Henry Sollock
Rev. T. J. Darby
Rev. J. J. Barnes (a preacher for 55 years)
Rev. D. C. Crawford
Rev. Glynn Ferguson
Rev. John Bias\
Rev. Ben F. Jones
Rev. Timple Payne
Rev. Ron Loyd
Rev. Bruce Wood
Rev. Jack White
Rev. James White
Rev. Bill Pittman
Rev. Don Cook
Rev. Margaret Black
Rev. Paul Maulsen
Rev. Jim Bass
Rev. Mike Stull
Rev. Lorne Smith
Rev. Kenneth Byrd
Rev. Beverly Tune
A lot of work and money have been put into the church over the past several years. For example, lots were purchased for the church by Mr. & Mrs. James T. Stuckey as mentioned earlier. Mr. & Mrs. Gene Sollock placed patted seating in the pews. Mr. Gilmore Williams wired the Fellowship hall and furnished the materials. Mr. & Mrs. James T. Stuckey and Mr. & Mrs. Robert Earl Darby purchased a home to be used as the church parsonage. They also completely refurbished this home.
One of the special projects completed at the church was the building of the Fellowship Hall. This was done after Mr. & Mrs. James T. Stuckey contacted members and former members and friends of the church for donations to build the hall. The following individuals contributed to that cause:
Mrs. Grace Archer
Teresa & David Beabey
Kenneth & Janna Byrd
Wayne & Fern Byrne
Bobbie & Margaret Cole
Harry & Martha Collins
Geraldine Darby Cubstead
Harold B. Darby
Mr. & Mrs. John A. Darby
Robert Earl Darby
Jim & George Ann Dirks
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Gregg
Alf & Genne Grissett
Mr. & Mrs. D. J. Grissett
Robert & Virginia Hack
Gus & Ivene Heinrich
Earl & Becky Humphrey
Edna E. Lloyd
Nita L. McNalley
Lawrence & Mary Smith
D. T. & Melba Sollock
Gene & Ruth Sollock
James E. Sollock
Doyle & Edloe Stuckey
Jim & Ruby Stuckey
Kerry T. Stuckey
Howard & Ellen Walker
Jack & Nina Walker
Charlie & Kathie Wendt
Gilmore & Imogene Williams
Conrad & Laura Winborn
Mrs. J. K. Wingate
Mr. & Mrs. Claude C. Wren
Grimes County, TXGenWeb Project