Church Fire Razes Building
45 Years Old
The Rushville Times, March 13, 1952
The Rushville Times used by permission

    Fire, believed to have started in the flue, completely destroyed the Methodist church bilding at Pleasant View Friday afternoon, altho the Rushville firemen were able to prevent any further spread of the blaze. The alarm was sounded about 2 o'clock and within the hour, the blaze had spread thru the entire building.
    Ladies of the church were working in the basement in preparation for this Wednesday's chicken supper when the fire was noticed. Altho it spread rapidly, carpeting and furniture were saved, while the kitchen equipment in the basement, including all the dishes was destroyed.
    The present building, which was constructed in 1907, was insured for $4,000 altho it is estimated that it would take at least $15,000 to replace the structure today. History of the Pleasant View church, however, dates back to 1832. The chicken supper plans were carried out in the Community building, and Sunday worship services were held in the Christian church building.
    Thru information obtained for The Times by Mrs. Harold Haynes from the scrapbooks of Mrs. Roscoe Smedley and Mrs. Hugh Strong, a complete history of the church has been obtained, tracing its many activities from 1832 to 1930 when the history was read at the quarterly conference meeting of the church held in Pleasant View. Records of the late George M. Greer show that the first church meetings were held in log cabins in the year 1832. The complete history as read in 1930 follows.
    On Tuesday at the M. E. church in Pleasant View was held an all day meeting of the Quarterly Conference of the M. E. Circuit churches, and at this time members of the Pleasant View congregation took advantage of the opportunity to observe the 99th anniversary of the founding of the church.
    Representatives of the Moore Chapel, Houston, Ebenezer, Sugar Grove, Browning, and Pleasant View churches were present, and the meeting was presided over by Rev. Bucher, district superintendent, of Jacksonville. These churches are all served by Rev. T. W. Rippy.
    Business sessions were held in the morning and afternoon, and a basket dinner was served in the church at the noon hour. A history of the Pleasant View church, from the day of its founding to the present time was prepared by James Malcomson and read at this meeting. As the story of the growth of this is likewise a chapter in the history of Schuyler county, we are herewith publishing the history word for word as it was read Tuesday.
    A research of events leading up to the present time from the organization of the Methodist church in Pleasant View, was made possible thru letters, records, excerpts and written matter that has been carefully preserved in the family of the late George M. Greer and his descendents.
    Data was not available for the purpose of reviewing the early history of the church but reference to the year 1832 indicates that meetings were held presumably in the log cabins of early settlers. Later, when the village was founded in 1843 by Ebenezer Dimmick, meetings were held in the log "Synagogue" which stood on an outlot where now are the homes of William J. Dodds and J. M. Gragg.
    A word detail kept by Mr. Greer, secretary of the board of trustees, gives the first entry as follows: This is to certify that on the above date on Dec., 1862, of the following members were elected trustees of the Methodist Espiscopal church of Pleasant View for the term of five years from the above date of Dec. 15, 1862: George M. Greer, Abraham Hamilton, John H. Loring, John Utter, Thomas Herron. And a certificate of the above election is duly recorded in the County Clerk's office in Rushville on the 9th day of January, 1863, in Book 31, on page 293."
    The next entry was of the deed recorded in Book 31, P. 363, giving the description of the building lot which also, includes lots 3 and 4, block 4, in Dimmick's third addition to the town of Pleasant View.
    Following the above mentioned entries is the report of the building committee, and here we find that Rev. S. M. Huckstep, George W. Frisby, George W. Strong, and George Lewis performed much of the work at construction. The building cost $870.50, $624.50 of which was raised by public subscription and $246 thru timber and labor donations. Rev. S. M. Huckstep dedicated the church.
    In 1884 the building was remodeled and repaired under the supervision of John H. Loring, chairman, and George M. Greer, secretary of the board of trustees, and was rededicated May 18, 1884, by Rev. J. B. Ward of Rushville.
    The ceaseless changes of time brought before the board of trustees in the year 1906, the matter of building a new house of worship to replace the old one, and the official board was composed of the following named members: Dr. William T. Bellomy, William D. Clemons, John A. Ballou, John Malcomson, and Cornelius Stevens. Raising sufficient funds seemed for a time, to be an almost hopeless task until John Malcomson devised a plan of soliciting from those who held in memory, fond recollections of former church association. One, who had accumulated great wealth, indicated in reply that he was deeply interested in the future welfare of his former home community, and the old building was wrecked and the corner-stone for a new building was laid May 23, 1907, and the new church was dedicated in February 1908. Rev. J. H. Wohlfarth, district superintendent, of Quincy district, officiating. A letter was received by the secretary of the board, dated June 5, 1908, as follows:

Twin  City Rapid Transit Co.
Thomas Lowry, Pres.
Minneapolis, Minn.

John Malcomson, Esq.
Pleasant View, Illinois

My Dear Mr. Malcomson:
    Thanks for your letter of the third instant. I wrote the cashier of the bank of Rushville, asking him if all the bills had been paid, but did not receive a reply from him. Are you entirely out of debt now after using the money I sent you? Please write and tell me the exact condition of your church. With best regards to old friends, I am,
        Very Truly yours,
            Thomas Lowry.

    On being informed in reply to the above letter that the building had been paid for but that funds were not available for new seats and the heating plant, Mr. Lowry immediately forwarded to the local bank sufficient funds to cover the cost. In an old Sunday school book of attendance the name of Thomas Lowry appears as a regular attendent.
    Incomplete as this record of events may seem, it brings up the history of the church from year 1832 to the present date. We have knowledge of the existence of the church from the year 1832, when Rev. H. Summers was the first pioneer Circuit rider, and it is known that in the year 1843, Mr. and Mrs. George M. Greer transfered their membership from the church in Rushville to this church. This period of time from 1832 to 1930 covers nearly a century of progress and if we pause, and reflect on the name of these Christian workers, we find those of the third and fourth generations, decendants of sturdy pioneer stock, zealously upholding the banner of Christianity before a changeful world, but the visualized inscription on that banner is changeless and reads "the same yesterday, today and forever."
    The auxiliaries of the church are the Sunday school of which no date is on record for its beginning; the Epworth League, organized in the fall of 1893; the Missionary Society, 1918, and the Ladies Aid Society, organized in October 1908, the year the present bilding was completed. All have served a useful purpose in promoting religious thought and action. From the days of John H. Loring as superintendent, to the present superintendent's term (that of Lawrence Dodds, who has served many terms faithfully), there have been many able men whose names we recall but of whose service we have no record. Leadership to be effective must have support, and memory recalls the names of men and women who were faithful in attendance and efficient as teachers during this period of time. The wife of Rev. William Tipton, Mary Barnes-Milby, Lavina Benton, Lucy Bellomy, Carrie Rotes, Electa Clemons-Baxter among the women, and D. M. Bellomy, James Allen, John Clemons, among the men, are names of persons whose good works are manifest in a flourishing Sunday school today.
    In conclusion we wish to review the work of the Ladies' Aid, organized in October 1907, at the home of Julia Malcomson, with Elsie Parks as first president. There were twelve members present, four of whom have passed to their reward, namely, Mrs. D. M. Bellomy, Mrs. Thomas Parks, Mrs. J. A. Ballow and Mrs. George Rebman. This society has been to the church what the mainspring is to the watch and its motto seems to be, "Do all the good you can to all the people you can, in all ways you can," and are now doing the work that was once shared more equally by the men. In many instances the needy have been taken care of, and financially they have not only given generously to the benevolence of the church, but have built and furnished their basement almost unaided. Undaunted when funds were not available, they built and borrowed and today the society is free from all indebtedness. A few years ago an old lady told us that she saw George M. Greer, John H. Loring, James Dunlap and others, whose names she had forgotten, planting the trees you now see around the border of the grounds, some time late in the sixties. As these trees assist in beautifying the environment of the little chapel, so will the work of the Ladies Aid Society environ beautiful Christian character building by faithful service for the Master.

Copyright 1999, 2000 Robin L. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.


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