80TH ANNIVERSARY OF M. E. CHURCH AT BLACK RIVER FALLS
[Source: Eau Claire Leader (20 May 1927) submitted by Diana Heser Morse]
The Banner Journal of Black River Falls carries an interesting story of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the local Methodist Episcopal church. The first minister to hold a service the Reverend Alfred Bronson, of Prairie du Chien, famed circuit rider and Indian agent, in 1943. The first pastor was not appointed, however, until 1847. The invitation to send a minister emanated from a group of men gathered in the barroom of the Shanghai House after a three-day celebration of the opening of that hotel. It was a famous gathering to with people came on horseback from as far as 90 miles away to attend the dancing and feasting. "The banquet tables groaned with roasts of elk, deer, bear and baked fish with such trimmings as the out put afforded, including a plentiful supply of 'Pikes' brand of whisky which served as a substitute for champagne."
It is told how W. T. Price arose and urged "that the spiritual needs of the community be given immediate attention". Among a dozen letters received here are a few:
W. T. Scott
"There is only one Black River Falls. The most inspiring congregations that I ever preached to were in old Black River. What listeners were McGillivray, Perry, Hull, Cumnock, Van Schaick, Krohn, Brown, Reichenbach, Sprester; but time would fail me. A thousand blessings on the folks of Black River Falls."
F. R. Harding
"I would I might personally join in the celebration of your eightieth anniversary. I rejoice that for eight of those four-score years I was privileged to serve with you, and the memory is gladdened when I recall our most pleasant associations. Be well assured that your interests are still in our hearts and you are all precious to the Harding household. May God give you many more years of faithful service until we all attain to "the fellowship of the Church Triumphant, which is without fault before the throne of God."
L. A. Brenner
"I find myself happy in the thought that my name has even a small place in the history of the church. I have been thinking of the men who have served as pastors and of the fine laymen who have such loyal support. Perhaps my memory most often turns to dear Uncle Warren Jones because we were so intimately associated. What a Christian gentleman he was, and how fragrant his memory! There was Gene Greenlee and the fish and horse stories we used to swap. I expect to tell him all about it in heaven."
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