An Early History of the
by McKinley Crook
(As printed in the 95th Anniversary Celebration Booklet, Sunday August 12, 1984)
     Matilda Wallace, daughter of John and Elizabeth Nessly, was born March 9, 1814 on a farm in Hancock County, W.Va.  This farm was opposite Yellow Creek.  In the year of 1820 her parents moved to a farm in Jefferson County, Ohio, on part of which the village of Empire now stands.  In 1835 she married W. H. Wallace and for over 56 years they traveled the path of life together.

      During her married life she resided at the mouth of Yellow Creek, at Port Homer, which was named after Homer Wallace.  She established a Sunday School there.  She was a pillar in the Church.  The Church was uppermost in her thoughts and plans.  Their house was always the itinerant Methodist preachers home.
     She established a Sunday School and held services in her home until a schoolhouse was built.  This schoolhouse was the two room school built in 1869 which served the people of Hammondsville until the four room grade school was built in 1928.
     She lived to see the desire of her heart, a good church in Hammondsville, which was built during the pastorate of Rev. Huddleston.
     She had been in delicate health during the winter of 1891 and 1892 and was unable to withstand an attack of LaGrippe, and she peacefully passed away on Jan. 7, 1892 without struggle.

     W. G. Crook recalls that his first attendance at Sunday School was in the roller skating rink that stood just west of Township House.  This was the last place the meetings were held before the church was built.

     The ladies of the church often held festivals in the skating rink to raise money to apply on the Church.  The hardwood floor in the skating rink was used for the floor in the basement of the Church.

     About the time he was most needed, Rev. John Huddleston was assigned to the Hammondsville circuit.  He was rather tall and thin, a Civil War veteran, around the age of' 55. Being a carpenter himself he knew how to build a Church.
     Everybody seemed anxious and willing to help, so they started in with picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows.  I have been told there was not a team of horses on the job.
     The older men, such as Jimmy Smith, put in most of their time on the job, while others came after they finished their days work.
     Often the women would serve supper on the hillside for the workers.

     After much hard work the grading was finished, the foundation was laid, and then the carpenter work was started.
     John McLain of Irondale was head carpenter.  Other carpenters, including the preacher, were on the job.  The hammers and saws began to hum and in no time the Church was ready for the furnishings.
     In the meantime people had donated over $3,000.
     The two smaller chairs on the platform were donated by John McLain, the carpenter.  The middle chair (the large one) was donated by Rev. Hudleston in memory of his son William who died at the age of 15.
     Many other articles were donated of which the writer has no record.  Then on the 16th day of Sept. 1889, the handsome Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated.
     A little later a new bell was erected of which the cost was $25.00.  The bell was erected by pulleys and ropes and the men pulling it up into its place.

     About the year of 1890 a parsonage was purchased or given to the Church.  We have no record of this, but it did belong to W. H. Wallace according to the map of Hammondsville, and was built in the years between 1850 and 1890.
     This house on Main Street was the preacher's home, until the circuit of Pine Grove Chestnut Grove, and Hammondsville dissolved.  Chestnut Grove dissolved their Church and turned it over to the Nazarene Church of which it is today.
     The parsonage was sold to Fred and Rena Parsons and the money for the sale was divided between the three churches.

     The handsome new Methodist Episcopal Church at Hammondsville was dedicated to the service of God on Sunday, Sept. 16, 1889.  The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Charles A. Smith, editor of the "Pittsburgh Christian Advocate".  Dr. Smith was an old Hammondsville boy.  An excellent sermon he delivered using the topic, "He saved others, Himself he cannot save".  After the sermon the announcement was made that a debt of $450 was unpaid and in a few minutes over $500 was pledged and the Church was dedicated free from debt.
     The good people of Hammondsville are justly proud of their achievement as it is the first and only Church ever erected in the village.  The first floor is furnished for a Sunday School room.  The audience room is 50 x 30 feet and neatly finished and furnished.  The entire cost of the building finishing and furnishing was about $43,500.

     The Church was remodeled in the years 1957-1959 and dedicated in 1960 when Rev. Dr. Smart was here.  This remodeling cost was $12,000.  With a lot of free labor donated, the front of the Church was remodeled, the Sunday School room remodeled, two new rest rooms, a new oil furnace, new coverings on the floors, new chairs, new tables, new curtains, walls and ceilings refinished, new entrance to the upstairs, new porch, new altar, new electric organ, new choir robes, new hymnals and song books, new flags, candle holders and cross.  The people of the Church, Church organizations, people of the community and some people who have moved away, donated their money and labor to do these wonderful things for the Church to make it more beautiful.

     In the year 1958, Mr. Ed Jarvis, one of the faithful members of our Church, decided we needed a meeting place to hold social gatherings and other meetings such as the Church desired.  The Methodist Men had their monthly meetings and social gathering there.  This building was 25 x 28 and was well equipped with kitchen and lunch room on one side; a large dining room or meeting room on the other side.  He named this building "Fellowship Hall".  He put a lot of his money and time into this building and practically did it all himself.  We sure thank Ed for this great sacrifice as he loved to do it.

     After our Church was dedicated in the year 1889 we were put on a circuit with New Somerset and Pine Grove.  In a few years New Somerset was taken off our circuit and added to Sugar Grove.  Then Chestnut Grove was added to our circuit.  Chestnut Grove decided they could. not support a Church and closed theirs.  Many brought their membership to Irondale Church.  Around the years 1930-31 we were put on a circuit with Irondale.
     This circuit was changed in 1964 when the two churches in Irondale, Methodist and Presbyterian, were joined together, leaving Hammondsville and Pine Grove the only churches on the circuit.
     Today we are on a circuit with the Central United Methodist Church of Wellsville, Ohio.

Following are some of the ministers and missionaries who have gone out of our Church in past years:

                                                Rev. George Crook         District Superintendent, Meadsville, Pa.
                                                Rev. Paul Crook             Massillon, Ohio
                                                Rev. Jay Nightingale       Brownsville United Methodist Church, Brownsville, Pa.
                                                Jane Crook                    Missionary for 8 years in the Belgium Congo in africa.
                                                                                    Gnadenhutten, Ohio
                                                Margaret Jarvis              Did missionary work in Kentucky Mountains.
                                                                                    Killed in an auto accident in 1959.  Taken in the same accident
                                                                                    were Violet Varty, who made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Ed Jarvis,
                                                                                    and Kathryn Crook, first wife of McKinley Crook.

 Statistical Records dated Sept. 1889

     Full Members..........256
     Deaths................  6
     Baptisms.............. 12 children
                       ............. 6 adults

     Value of the Church......$6500.00
     Value of the Parsonage...$1200.00
     Improvements on  Church...0 28.00
     Current  Expenses.........$ 80.00

     Sunday  School  Records     Sept. 1889
     Teachers and Officers......36
     Average Attendance........172
     Conversions in Sunday School....19
 The  ministers salary  in 1889  was $717.00. Bishops $10.00, Presiding Elder $55.00.

 Number  of weddings  performed from  1889 to 1902 were 36.
Included in these were:
Frank and Flora Twaddle in 1893
Charlie and Mary Elliott in 1893
James and Clara Maple in 1894
Albert and Mattie Boyle Felton in 1894
Curt and Lottie Parsons Pease in 1901
Robert and Ella Carroll Plunkett in 1894

 In 1920 Mr. Emery Parsons served as Sunday School Superintendent.

Teachers then were Bessie Call, Mrs. Culp, McKinley Crook and Emery Parsons.
Attendance was 25 and the offering was $1.80.

In 1926 Sunday School teachers were Dorothy Call, Doris Elliott, McKinley Crook,
Clarence Parsons, Curtis Stewart, Emery Parsons and John Call.

Attendance on April 4, 1926 was 52.
Attendance for April 2, 1960 was 112.
                              9 ,   "       "  121.
                             16,    "       "  163.
                              23,    "       "  122.

In the year 1965 we had an average of  125 people spending one hour each Sunday in Church.
In 1965 there were 10 persons to receive the star of light bar and pin for perfect attendance, 10 received a 2 year bar,
5 received and 3 year bar, 5 received a 4 year bar, 2 received a 5 year bar, 2 received a 6 year bar and 1 a 43 year bar.

      Attendance for april 5, 1970 was 108.
                                  12,  "      "    103
                                   19,  "      "    128.
                                    26   "      "    111.

Teachers at this time were Jo Ann Wilson, Rena Ketchum, Joan Crowe, Marie Myers, Jane Lawrence, Clyde Crook, Eva Parsons, Evelyn Stewart, Ester Davidson, Hazel Williamson and Lena Crook.
Rick Householder served as Sunday School secretary.

Attendance on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1970 was 136.

On Mothers Day, May 10, 1970, the attendance was 155.

    Attendance on April 1,     1984 was 50.
                              "  8       "         "  42.
                               "  15     "          "  48.
                                "  22      "         "  62.
                                "  29      "         "  50.

Our present teachers are Rena Ketchum, Eva Parsons, Frank Wilson, Delbert Furbee, Jane Lawrence, Jo Ann Wilson, and Marie Myers.  Sunday School secretary is Helen Bailey.  The Superintendent of the Primary Dept. is Clyde Crook.  Eva Parsons and Cathy Zimmer are in charge of the music in the Primary Dept. Jane Lawrence and Clyde Crook are in charge of the music upstairs.  Jane Lawrence is also organist for our Church services. Special music is provided on the piano by Mrs. Doris Kelley.

 Sunday School Superintendents since the Church was dedicated in 1889 are as follows:
James Smith, Emery Parsons, J. L. Call, Curtis Stewart, McKinley Crook, Ester Davidson,
Clyde Crook and Delbert Furbee.

 The Primary Dept. has had Mary Hogue and Clyde Crook as Superintendents.

 At the present time we have 74 members in our Church.

 There have been 22 weddings performed since 1960.

 There have been 119 baptisms since 1960.

 The seven oldest members of our Church today are:
Mrs. Nina Saltsman, Mrs. Eva Cronin, Mrs. Marie Myers, Mr. Ed Jarvis, Mrs. Loretta Rose,
Mrs. Gussie Parsons, and Mrs. Margaret Brodt (Grandma Gray).