Fire Destroys Hancock Community Church
From the Hancock - Coloma News
Hancock, Waushara County, Wisconsin
February 28, 1952, Page 1
Submitted by
Joan Benner


One of Hancock's oldest landmarks, the Hancock Community church, was completely destroyed by fire last Thursday afternoon. The building was consumed by the blaze in about three hours.

Rev. Harlo Ferris, pastor of the church, started a fire in the furnace late in the forenoon to heat the basement for a supper to be held that evening. About 1:30 smoke was discovered coming from the rear wall of the building and the fire department was summoned but by that time the thick black smoke made it impossible to locate the fire or save any of the church furnishings. The loss was partially covered by insurance.

Members of the Plainfield Fire Department and part of their equipment came to the aid of the Hancock firemen.

There has been some discussion on the time required to get water from the fire hydrants to supplement the water carried in the pumper fire truck. It must be remembered that we do not have a "city" water system and in the winter months water is not pumped in the pipe lines feeding the hydrants until after it is determined if the fire might be more than can be extinguished with the water carried by the pumper truck with the aid of the chemical truck. After the fireman at the pumping station has been ordered to put water in the pipeline it takes from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on which hydrants are used, to fill the line and have water available at the hydrants.

Plans are being made to build a new church on the site of the one destroyed. Services are now being held in the community building.

The Hancock and Coloma Congregational church was organized Sept. 13, 1871 at the home of Isaiah Moors and the church building, 32 x 48 feet in size, was completed Dec. 19, 1872 on a lot contributed by J. F. Wiley. The first service was held Dec. 22, 1872. Original members were J. F. Wiley, Isaiah Moors, R. M. Wells, Samuel DeVoe and L. S. Wells. John Hull, who is now 99 years old, hauled all the lime for the new building from a kiln near Coloma, in 1872.

In 1877 the Methodist church group used the building for half the church time and this arrangement was mutually satisfactory.

About 1893 the Hancock church separated from the Coloma church. Later on churches were organized at Coloma Corners, Leola and Forest City, now called Potter Memorial.

The building was used by the Lutherans for their services in 1912. Also, in this year the new organ was purchased.

Building the parsonage was completed in 1917.

For several months during 1920 the church was closed for repairs, during that time services were held in the Methodist church. In 1932 Congregational and Methodist groups were federated into one church organization. This federation was dissolved in 1937, and a Community Congregational church was organized with 17 of the Methodist members joining the new group. The Methodist church building was purchased by Herman Bohn in the fall of 1939 and torn down.

The interior of the Community Congregational church was recovered with wallboard and ceiling tile and new lights installed in 1945. Since then hymn books, murals, choir robes, flags, collection plates and candlesticks have been added.

The first Ladies Aid Society was organized in the spring of 1872.

Pastors who have served the Hancock church are: John W. Donaldson, George Webster, James McChesney, F. Crowder, J. F. Spaulding, Chester Gray, Thomas Barbour, Idrys Jones, Emanuel Breeze, S. K. Emurian, William F. Price, Albert H. Smith, Samuel S. Forest, Z. H. Smith, J. E. June, James Rowe, A. W. Cook, Charles W. Emery, Amos Vance, Russell Meyers, Arthur Frazer, J. Harold Fairless, H. M. Barbour, Arthur Anderson and Harlo H. Ferris.

Members of the church building committee met with chairman George Baum Wednesday evening to discuss plans for a new church. On Thursday afternoon most of the committee members went to look at the Lutheran church in Wild Rose.

Building committee members are: George Baum, chairman, Otto Peters, Frank Hamilton, Sam Howard, Rudy Carlton, Clarence Poad, Charles Svejcar, Charles Kretser, Robert Holcomb, Rev. Ferris and Orson Adams.

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