Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick
BLUE POINT (sequel to The Boys Broke Their Little Gas Motor)
Somewhere in the vicinity of the northeast quarter of Section 32 of Village Township can be found traces of the little country church where Bishop Milton Wright addressed Van Buren County worshipers. Ralph Arnold once said that a field owned by Peggy Metcalf, contained pieces of limestone scattered across the surface, which are the remains of the foundation of this building.
On a small, densely-wooded ridge among the hills of Village Township, the Blue Point Church of the United Brethren stood on the south side of a road that angled northeast. When the road was straightened, the rubble existed on the north side of the county road. The road he refers to is probably 150th Street.
George Kunzman, once a postmaster at Douds, recalled his father saying he had heard Bishop Wright speak at the little church. Kunzman and his son, George Jr., did some investigating concerning Wright’s appearance at Blue Point.
Milton Wright was Bishop of the United Brethren denomination for all of the territory west of the Mississippi River from 1877 to 1881, during which time he was headquartered in Cedar Rapids. The publication World Methodism states that the bishop led a revolt and formed a new church called Church of the United Brethren, Old Constitution. He was persuaded to serve as Bishop of the new group from 1889-1905, corresponding to the time he was reported to have preached in Van Buren County.
According to reports, a revival was held at the Blue Point church in the fall of 1902. The Bishop’s team of horses ran away, wrecking his buggy, so Bishop Wright stayed with the Heger family, whose descendent was Fae Schewe. Wright was slightly injured, but this did not prevent him from engaging in oratory. It was at this meeting that he told the assembled body that his two sons were badly neglecting their lucrative bicycle business and were wasting time experimenting with an aeroplane.
Not one person hearing the Bishop could recall his text, but all remembered his comments about the flying machine. As reported in an earlier article, his boys were Orville and Wilbur Wright, who successfully flew the first heavier-than-air plane on Dec. 17, 1903.
Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick