McDonough County, Illinois
Church Histories
Adair Methodist Church

The following is a copy of the history of the Adair Methodist Church prepared by Miss Rena Hodgen. It is not dated but one of the sources listed at the end was, "original manuscript of Edna Diehl Ebbert (Mrs. Guy) 1940-1966." This is the property of Kenneth Smith, one of the Trustees, when the church was officially closed in June 1985 (From the McDonough county Historical Newsletter, v. 14-3, Summer 1995]

"The Adair Methodist Episcopal Church Society was organized in 1875 and a building erected with the dedication in October of that same year. The original members were: Washington Williams, Lafayette Williams, Jacob Reedy, Meliesa (sic) Morley Lance (Mrs. William), Josephine Porter, and Martha Epperson. At dedication time the membership was increased to ten.
The trustees were: Washington Williams, Lafayette Williams, Jacob Reedy, Stephen Blackstone, and Thornton Randolph. Jacob Reedy was the first steward.
Rev. J.E. Taylor was the first pastor and Lafayette Williams was class leader.
Joseph E. Porter was the first superintendent of the Sunday School.

Several years later there was a revival under Rev. Joseph Flowers and many heads of families united with the church. Lyman Pontious was superintendent of the Sunday School and he and his wife, Florence Zoll Pontious, taught classes.
Lewis Pickle also served as superintendent of the Sunday School for many years and was succeeded by Samuel Leighty, Beverly Blackstone, Millard Taylor, Eva Seaburn Leighty ("Mrs. Samuel), Frank Sweden, Alvy Leighty, and Edward Wilson, all serving long terms. Others following were: Jesse Leighty, Joshua Nichols, Anna Brinton Pontious (Mrs. B.B.), Clifford Pontious, Russell Good, Hazel Hinman, Dorothy Anstine (Mrs. Harold), Marie Haggerty Lansdown (Mrs. Galen), Rosalie Sauffley, Lucille Gardner Cameron (Mrs. Ted), Betty Calhoun (Mrs. Ghlee), Gordon Rouse, Marjorie Guy Harris (Mrs. Alexander), and Paul Hamm.

With the first spiritual awakening there came an increased interest in church music. John Wilt was the first song leader. Josephine Porter was the first organist. Outstanding among the choir members was a quartette that sang for many special occasions. Three of the members were: J.B. Woods, Louella Seaburn Woods (Mrs. J.B.), and Clara Woods Pontious (Mrs. Austin).

Some of the early organists were: Emma Hall Sperry, Mary Coyner, and Mary Leighty Hall (Mrs. Fred). An orchestra added to the services from time to time. The organist was Clara Wilt Hodgen (Mrs. James) and some of its members were: Guy Welch, Howard Wilt, Bennett Abernathy, and Riley Boyd.

Even though this church building was dedicated as a Methodist Episcopal Church edifice, its use was cheerfully given to other denomnations. The United Brethern used it until they erected their own building in 1889. The Baptists, Free Methodists, and the Salvation Army also had services in the building. In the early 1900's the church building was changed and repaired. A belfry was built and a clear sounding bell was added. The high pulpit was removed and was replaced by a choir loft. An altar rail was added. The exterior was repainted and the interior was redecorated. At this time there was another dedication service.

The next great revival was during the pastorate of the Rev. Franklin P. Rist who stayed from 1895 to 1898. It was long remembered because of the large number of young people uniting with the church. At this time the Epworth League Society was organized with Guy Welch as its first president. In 1941 the name of the young people's society was changed to Methodist Youth Fellowship. When Rev. Thomas F. Pittinger was pastor, 1899-1901, the church circuit was divided making Adair one point in three with Pennington Point and Epworth, a rural church east of Adair. It had been a five-church circuit including Industry, Cross Roads a rural church near Industry, Pennington Point, Adair, and Epworth. Ministers who followed came with more educational background. They were C.T. Oscar Schact, 1902-1903; J.M. Prouty, 1904-1905; G.D. DuBois, 1906. Rev. Milton S. Swisher, a young man educated in Ohio served the congregation from 1907-1910. Hattie Williams Tayjor (Mrs. Millard) became the first superintendent of Sunday School Primary Department. She was succeeded by Stella Oldfield, later Mrs. Ronald Wissler, who gave twenty three years of service in that capacity.
In 1918 the Cradle Roll was organized with Goldie Oldfield, later Mrs. Rudolph Sauers, as the first superintendent having twenty-six children enrolled. Some of these were: Max Carrison, Dorothy Wilson, Venita Harman, Eleanor Herndon, Mildred Leighty, Hazel Coats, Curtis Coats, Eldon Jones, Gretchen Haist, Dorothy Riggins, Leo Snyder, Irence Gresser, Doris Lee Raugh, and Wayne Taylor.

Music continued to be an asset. Guy Welch, a local young man in the University School of Music, Valparaiso, Indiana, became director of the church orchestra in 1905 and acted in that capacity until his death in 1934. Grace Leighty was church soloist and sang for most of the funerals within a wide surrounding area. She also played the organ for some of the services. Later a piano was purchased. Some of the pianists were: Verdie Hinman (Mrs. Wm.), Ruth Hodgen, Rema Hodgen, Elsie Coyner, Lucialle Gardner, and Annabelle Mullen.

Under the ministry of Rev. John H. Clarke, 1925-1928, the church choir was active, giving two oratorios a year. Some of its members were Lotta McLaren, Stella Oldfield Wissler (Mrs. Ronald), Emma Sauers Crafton (Mrs. Edward), Lillie Baker Haist (Mrs. V.L.), Myrtle McLaren, Jessie Sauers Stauffer (Mrs. Pius), Bessie McDonald Herndon (Mrs. Charles), Hazel Hinman, Mary Hinman, Margaret Clarke (Mrs. J.H.), Wilma Sweden Hammond (Mrs. Kenneth), Iva Moore, Verdie Faler Hinman (Mrs. Wm.), May Carlin Hammond (Mrs. Roy), Alta Jones Coyner (Mrs. Roy), Clara Carrison, V.L. Haist, Rudolph Sauers, Clifford Pontious, Allen Leighty, and George Chadderdon. Rev. Clarke was director and Rena Hodgen, accompanist. In 1926 it was decided to remodel the church building extensively, changing it from a wooden frame structure to a stately brick one. It was rededicated in August 1927. At that time members of the Board of Trustees were: Frank Sweden, W.I. Swedell, H.A. Oldfield, Roy Coyner, Millard Taylor, Fred Carrison, William Hinman, and Jesse Leighty. For this dedication an unusually good grand piano was purchased. During the pastorate of Rev. A.C.A. Lee, 1946-1948, the Bardolph-Adair circuit was formed with the minister taking residence in the Bardolph parsonage. Allie Wilson Pickle (Mrs. Lewis) was president of the Ladies Aid for many years.

In 1944 the Ladies Aid was replaced by The Womans Society of Christian Service. Lillie Baker Haist (Mrs. V.L.) was the first president.

Some of the later active musicians were: Marjorie Shreeve Walters (Mrs. Elza), Joyce Gray Kinne (Mrs. James), Fern Ebbert, Fern Ehrhart, Norma Stuart, Patricia Hammond Rutledge (Mrs. Robert), Linda Blansfield, William Heitman. Louise Greer (Mrs. Donald), and Eleanor Long (Mrs. Donald). In 1966 an organ was purchased with a dedicatory organ recital by Kent Haist Sweden. From time to time the church has been the recipient of financial contributions from families of deceased members. Some of these memorials were for Roy and May Hammond, Bessie Wade Hinman (Mrs. Frank), Clifford Pontious, Blanche Wilson Carrison (Mrs. Fred), and sons Clarence and Max, and Edna Diehl Ebbert (Mrs. Guy), and Fred Carrison."

A photocopy of the Dedicatory Program for August 21 to 28, 1927, was clipped to this article. There were three services on Sunday the 21st, a Monday evening homecoming and fellowship supper with program, a sacred concert by Harold F. Schory of Western Teachers College in Macomb on Tuesday evening, prayer meeting service on Wednesday, a "full evening's entertainment" by the orchestra on Thursday evening, and two services on Sunday August 28. A cantata was advertised for Sunday evening, September 11, to be given by the choir.

"Macomb Journal", Thursday 23 October 1873
Salem Church, five miles south west of this city, erected by the Methodist and Lutherans, was consecrated to the sacred purpose of religion last Sabbath morning. The building is 28x38 feet, plainly but nearly finished, at a cost of $1,000, about $300 of which remained to be paid on this occassion. At first our effort met with no response but finally we secured $861 on subscription and by collection; with this we anticipate no special difficulty to balance accounts. Rev. Kent, of Macomb, preached the dedication sermon, based upon the very appropriate words, "Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord," and Rev. G. H. Schnur of Bushnell, conducted the other exercises. But we would here note a special act of true christian benevolence. The congregation who erected this House of worship are but few in numbers and consequently the burden rested on a very few. We, therefore, appealed to others to come to our assistance when several responded nobly considering their circumstances and relations elsewhere. That strong pillar of the Presbyterian church, Bro. Wm. Hunter, arose and with some earnest words proposed to aid in with the sum of $20. Now when we remember that he had already donated that amount to this church, and Mrs. Hunter added five dollars more, in all $45, it is certainly a very generous act of benevolence. With all our heart we exclaim, "God bless Bro. Hunter and family, and reward them many fold in time and eternity." "May his noble example induce others to go and do likewise.

¦ Signed "G. H. S." Bushnell, Oct 21, 1873 |

This building in Chalmers Township was used for many years by both the Methodist and Lutheran congregations on alternating Sundays. The ministers also served congregations in Macomb. 
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