Wapella M.E.Church

Wapella began when the Illinois Central Railroad was completed. Among the first Methodist 
located there were Thomas Loar, James Stone, Henry Morrison, the elder Mr. Martin, and Williams, 
and Mrs. Gates; afterwards James Willis, H. A. Rucker, and their families. In 1857 the society 
formed part of Randolph Grove circuit, and the writer served them in this pastorate for that and
the following year: In 1859, . R. Howard; 1860-1, W.E. Johnson.  After this Wapella was attached
to DeWitt circuit; and in 1862-3 H.C. Hockenship. In 1863 the church built and was dedicated
by Rev. Hiram Buck. In 1864-5, J.C. Rucker; 1866, H.C. Hockenship. Then the society was 
transferred to Heyworth circuit. In 1867, C.G. Bradshaw became pastor, I think for two years. 
His preaching was a delight to his hearers. He took in some valuable persons into church 
membership. Mr. Bradshaw is not now a minister at all.. Then followed in the pastoral: in the 
charge:  In 1869, S. Middleton; 1870, T.J.N. Simmons; 1871, S.H. Martin. this was Mr. Martin's
first itinerant year. He had  been an uncommon useful local preacher, welcomed in every part of 
the county for thirty years. He was raised in the Roman Catholic church, after his conversion he
was soon licensed to exhort, and his own mother , a catholic, was converted to Christ under his 
labors---the first fruit in his spiritual conquest. His power to interest his hearers pulpit or 
conversation was surpassed by few preachers, however much they might excel him in literary 
culture. Wapella society, after this year, was united with DeWitt circuit.

In 1872 W.F. Lowe; D. Brewer was appointed ; 1873--4--5, N.S. Morris; 1877-8, L. P. Deatheridge;
1879 and 80, W.A. McKinney. In 1881 the present charge was formed, consisting of Wapella, Bells 
S.H. and Long Point societies, with Rev. Mr. Tindale, a young man of fine attainments, is in 
charge. Bell's school house, five miles north-east of Wapella, has been a place for Methodist 
preaching about twenty years. About that time Henry Bell, ---Letzenberger, William Bell, Wm.
Smith, William Letzenberger, with their families, including Mrs. Elizabeth Ewing and her 
mother, removed from Clinton M.E. church, and with some others, formed a Methodist society in 
Wilson Township, where they had located on a beautiful ridge of land, with the usual agencies 
to promote religious life. Of  that colony, Mrs. Ewing and her respected mother, William Bell, 
William Smith and the elder Mrs. Letzengerger have died. In 1865 a revival of unusual interest 
prevailed in this society. The writer began this meeting while school was in session, holding
service at the noon recess.; The lady then the teacher became deeply anxious her pupils should 
become  Christains, and well was she rewarded; for every one of them united with the church, and
all but one made a joyful profession, Several heads of families, and nearly all the young people
in the neighborhood, embraced religion. Two young men, subjects of this revival, have received a
classical education and for several years been members of the annual conference, and are now
filling important appointments.

Few societies have held on in religious life with such uniform regularity; yet strangely this is
the only Methodist Episcolal church preaching for years that has not built a church.  End
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