A little history...(from 1976)
In 1857, the Dell Evangelical United Brethren Church was organized in the home of James Coleman Smith, who, with his famiy, had migrated to Clinton Township in the year of 1856. A class was formed by Rev. R. Powell and Rev. Hambleton, missionaries from Milwaukee and was known as the Weister Creek Class of the Kickapoo Mission of the united Brethren Church in Christ.
The first settlers had come in 1854 and by 1857 the area was well populated by settlers from Ohio and a few other eastern states. They had found a benevolent wilderness that gave them water, fuel, game, fish and rich soil for growing their gardens and crops. One thing was lacking--a church where they could worship God and share their joys and griefs. The missionaries were accepted with love and open hearts.
James Coleman Smith invited them to be his guests when they came to the Prestonburg community now known as Dell. Neighbors were invited in and a class was organized known as the "The Weister Class of the Kickapoo Mission". Members of this class were J.C. Smith and wife Sarah, Loar King and Mary, C.J. Blowers and Martha, Mrs. Phoeve Gift, Mrs. Clarissa Jenness, Robert Campton and wife and perhaps others.
It is believed that at this time several other classes were organized by these United Brethren missionaries. They were the Morning Star Mission, Ontario, Valley, Lower Weister, Ottervale and Sugar Grove. At various times all these churches shared ministers with the Dell church. The Weister class met around in homes until a schoolhouse was built. Now the schoolhouse was used both as a church and a school until 1874 when the class decided to build a church. It was located just across the road from our present church building.
This was a hewed log building with homemade benches all done by local volunteer labor. Beside this spot still stands the large evergreen trees today, living monuments to that early church and the faithful people who worshipped and served God and people there.
By 1894, the congregation had grown so that they felt they needed a new and better church building. A committee was elected of IV Hill, Wm. Dolen, Wm. Marshall, L.B. Glenn and S.S. Smith. This committee contracted Miner Bros. to build the church. The site of the Miner's sawmill and mill finishing works was known as Miner Town, two miles northeast of Bloomingdale and is still remembered and referred to as such by many older residents of Clinton Township. Figures recorded as to the new church were: blueprint $10, cost of building $850, mason work $60, paint and papter $38.50, stove $24.70, seats $125 (made by Andrew Bakken at Bloomingdale), gift from Ladies Aid $90, casual labor $70. Total expenditures $1,238.20.
This new church is our present church which has had many additions and improvements over the years making it a modern and lovely up to date church. It was dedicated on February 9, 1896 with the Lord shining down his benedictions.
Every year the conference sent out evangelists to hold a two week session of revival meetings which resulted in many conversions. These meetings were usually held in the Spring of the year when mud was more than ankle deep to many goers attending the nightly services. Walking in mud might have been miserable had there not been so many spreading out in all directions singing to the top of their voices "Is My Name Written Here" and "When the Rold is Called Up Yonder" and other great hyms. It didn't matter that the weather was, the church was packed every night.
Summer brought the regular baptism services in the creek below the church where the new converts were immersed by our District Superintendent.
It seems no records have been kept as to when the first Sunday School was organized, but it is belieed to have been in existence when the log church was buildt in 1874.
The Ladies Aid is also believed to have been active back in the old log church as records note a $90.00 gift from the LAdies Aid toward the costs of the new church. No doubt this $90 was earned when they pushed back all the church bences and held an oyster supper right in the church in December, 1894.
In 1912 the Dell Missionary Society was formed in the home of Nellie Markee. The charter members were Nellie, Lucy Dolan, Ida Apfel, Mattie Bennett and Sadie Sauberts. Their purpose was to unite all the women of the church in Christian fellowship and to make Christ known throughout the world.
The church women's society has been active sine that day. We were later known as the Woman's Society of Christian Service andat present we are the United Methodist Women.
Through many years we have had a young people's society.
In 1917 a parsonage was built on an acre of land joining the church. This was supervised by Rev. Willie Smith, being dedicated by Bishop Fant of Dayton, OH. Andy Robbins built the parsonage using cement blocks which he designed and made on the creek bank.
In 1946 we were joined with the Evangelical Church--now we were the Evangelical United Brethren hurch. In 1968 we united the Methodist Church and are now the United Methodist Church.
Pastor who have served this church since the beginning were:
R.A. Pegram 1969-1975
Fay Johnson 1975-