A Van Buren County Church Erected in 1922

Birmingham Methodist Church

            In May, 1837 Titus Moss came into the neighborhood of Birmingham and built a log house of peeled hickory logs.  This cabin served the double purpose of a residence for the Moss family and a place to worship.  In June of that year Robert Hawks came from England and secured a cabin adjoining Mr. Moss’ property.  Hawks held the first services in that vicinity by a Methodist minister, in the Moss residence.

            In the fall of 1837, Daniel G. Cartwright came into the neighborhood as a traveling preacher of the Methodist church.  In the spring of 1838 the first class was formed by I. L. Kirkpatrick, then traveling on the circuit.

            In 1847 the first Methodist church was built in Birmingham on a lot bought of Samuel Work, east of the schoolhouse.  This building was afterward bought by the school district and used for many years as a schoolhouse.  Joseph Brooks and R. Harrison were pastors at the time the church was built.

            In 1865 the second Methodist church was built in Birmingham on the present site.  This building was completed at a cost of seven thousand dollars.  The Methodist worshipped here until April 3, 1893 , when the Short blacksmith shop, located where the parsonage now stands, caught fire and a high wind carried the flames to the church which caught fire and burned to the ground.  The Methodist congregation immediately began preparation for the erection of a new church, with E. H. Skinner, Nelson Glotfelty and W. S. Allen on the building committee.

            Work on the new church was begun in July.  The church which was a frame structure 51 by 37 feet with a seating capacity of 250 persons was completed and dedicated January 21, 1894 at a cost of $3,800.  During the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Lambert $1,800 worth of improvements were added, including a basement and many other conveniences.  About this time a piano was also purchased, the funds for which were raised by a special canvas.

            On the last day of November 1919, this second church caught fire and was burned to the ground.  Everything was lost except a few dishes and silverware belonging to the Ladies Aid Society.

            The congregation planned to build in 1920, but war time prices made it necessary to postpone the building of a new church for a time.  For three years the Methodists held their services in the Opera House which was owned by Orange Calhoun.  On March 28, 1922 , the contract for building a new Methodist church was given to Chris Kofed of Boone , Iowa , and on May 1, 1922 , work on the church building was begun.  The following were on the building committee:  C. H. Graham, Lee Ruggles, J. F. Anderson, W. L. Morrell and G. W. Kerr.

            The corner stone of the new church was laid June 11, 1922 .  A box in this corner stone contains a copy of the Birmingham Enterprise with a history of the church, and a list of members of the church and Sunday School, and a history of Martha’s class and pictures.  The new Methodist church was financed at a cost of $27,000 and dedicated Dec. 1, 1922 .

            Rev. H. C. Druse is the pastor of this church at the present time.

Source: clippings from scrapbook located in the Van Buren Co. Genealogical Society Library, Keosauqua, IA

Contributed by Volunteer Transcriber Kathy Fisher


Van Buren Co. GenWeb Project