History of JCUMC

A Compiled History
Beginning to 1990
Early histories of Jacobs Chapel vary as to where the church actually started. Some state that worship was held in the homes of the founders. While other show that services were conducted in a log schoolhouse 1/3 to 1/2 of a mile west of the site where the church was first built.
One source goes so far as to pinpoint the schoolhouse as being in the dense woods on the Kannapel property about 1/3 of a mile west of the parsonage. John Kannapel at that time owned fifty acres of section 85 due west of the church. This property is shown on the 1859 plat map of Floyd County with his name misspelled Kenable. The land was later owned by his son-in-Law George Brod.
The histories do generally agree on the date of 1835 for the organization of the church. Perhaps they organized in the founders’ homes and held worship in the schoolhouse. However, the origin of the name Jacobs Chapel has also been disputed.
Most narratives state that it was in honor of one of the founders, Jeremiah Nelson Jacobs, who had just moved to the neighborhood from Clark County where his father had been influential in building New Chapel Methodist Church. In 1835, Jeremiah purchased the land next to John Kannapel. Jacob Bowman Leach and Biblical Jacob are also credited.
At 2:00 pm on May 7, 1847, the use of 67 perches of land in section 86, was granted by Jacob Bowman Leach, and his wife, Martha, to the trustees of Jacobs Chapel Methodist Episcopal church. The trustees were: Jeremiah N. Jacobs, John Smith, James Moore, John Prather and Jacob B. Leach.
They were instructed to “cause to be erected and built thereon a house or place of worship,” and to “permit such ministers and preachers belonging to said church… duly authorized by the General Conference… to preach and expound God’s holy word therein.”
The church was built that same year. It was a one-room frame structure with a low roof. In the center of the room a wooden pillar supported the chimney which extended from the ceiling through the roof. The stove pipe after passing through a hole in the ceiling connected with the chimney in the attic. 
A small high window was in the back of the church. There was no altar rail, but a square platform, topped by a long, high pulpit of solid yellow poplar, and 3 pulpit chairs. There was a side door on the east and a single door in front.
A long sloping drive went up in front of the church yard, parted and went around each side. Large beech trees once surrounded the building, but they were later replaced by maples. 
Since Jacobs Chapel was on various circuits and in different districts, the early records were lost. This was at a time when, if the circuit riders recorded events, they carried the records with them from meeting to meeting. When the preacher died, the notes were either kept by their family or thrown away. 
On April 4, 1868, the 67 perches of land on which the church stood, was deeded by Levi T. Rager, his wife, Mary, and James Devenish, and his wife Hester, to the trustees: Joseph Ashabranner, William E. Bean, John Smith, Thomas Prosser and Francis Dermint, for the sum of $1.
This was a growing and flourishing church for many years. However, around 1882 regular preaching services were discontinued. The Sunday School was still active with more than 60 members. Then, probably in 1888, it to ceased to exist. 
The church was in disrepair. The front and side doors stood open. School children played in the deserted building. The benches were sold to be used in Glen Helen Park at Sellersburg. The library books were carried away.
In the early 1890’s interest in the church was revived. John Miller and Enoch Leach, men of faith and vision moved by the absence of worship services in the community set out to restore the building, this being accomplished they said “By the Grace of God we will open this house of worship and pray it will never be closed again.”
Money was collected by subscription for repairs. The Sunday school was reorganized and held in the schoolhouse across the highway on Sunday afternoons until the church was ready.
The ceiling was raised 2 feet to improve the acoustics. The low roof was changed to a more pointed one. The chimney was removed and built outside on the west side. New pews were made in the nearby furniture ship of Fred Loheide, for $48.00. The front door was replaced with double doors. By 1891, services were again held in the church. Some records exist for 1893 to 1896. In 1893, Jacobs Chapel and Simpsons Chapel were on a 2 point circuit. The church had a membership of 40. Rev. Louis R. Bailey was pastor. His salary was $150. He reported to Conference on Feb. 27, 1894, that the Sunday School average attendance was 62. W. G. Lightner was Sunday School Superintendent. 
Rev. Bailey had also, organized an Epworth league in January 1894, with about 50 members. The first officers were: Enoch Leach, Pres., George Wate, 1st V.P., Sallie Baumgartle, 2nd V.P., Rachel Young, 3rd V.P., Alice Smith, 4th V.P., Harvey Miller, Secretary, and Anna Dreyer, Treasurer.
In Rev. T. G. Beharrell’s report to Conference Dec. 27, 1894, he stated that the trustees had made considerable improvements. They had graded off the lot and put up hitching racks and put a new floor in the church. In the years 1984-5, Clear Fork and Bennettsville were added to the circuit. 
In 1910 more alterations were made. An alcove was built and an altar rail was added. The long, high, yellow poplar pulpit was removed and anew one was made and donated by Oliver Emery. On October 1, 1929 the oil lamps were discarded and electric lights were installed.
The Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was organized March 14, 1920, with 17 charter members. Mrs. Fannie Welty, was the first President. A Standard Bearer Society flourished during the late 1920’s and 1930’s. Also, there was a Little Light Bearer Society for the small children.
In 1931, when the state road became Highway 31-W and was widened and paved, it was necessary to move the building. The Sunday School had long needed space, so the Epworth league sold baked goods and cooked dinners to raise money. A basement was dug, 25 feet further back on the lot, by John Linnert and William Landers, using a horse and slip scraper. When completed it contained classrooms and a coal furnace.
The church building was then rolled back and placed on top the basement. The side door was closed up and the church was painted and papered. Concrete steps, pillars and landscaping added much to the appearance of the front of the building.
During the move and remodeling, a cornerstone was laid with the dates 1847-1931. The box inside was filled with a copy of the deed, a partial church history, a New Testament, some pictures and an old newspaper.
Mrs. Carrie Miller once recalled, “we used to walk to church in winter through mud or snow, in summer through dust.” Miss Edna Jacobs and her sisters “would walk from their home on county Line Road to the morning and evening services. Then during the week they would return to clean the lamps and the sanctuary.”
Annual Camp Meetings were held on a campground on the Charles N Leach farm 1/2 to 1 mile from the church for many years with many of the pioneer ministers participating, i.e. local ministers, William Bean and Seth Stone, who were members of Jacobs Chapel.
John Nelson Jerman, a grandson of Jeremiah Nelson Jacobs, became the first member to enter the conference as an active minister in Indiana and Illinois. William Koehler, a member of the Sunday School, became a Methodist pastor in California.
In 1940, the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was reorganized as the Women’s Society of Christian Service. The Epworth league and Standard Bearer Society merged to become the Methodist Youth Fellowship. The Junior Department of the Sunday School was organized in 1945.
Sunday, May 4 1974, at 2:00pm, 80 members, with more than 300 former friends and members gathered to celebrate the centennial of the first deed to the church. 
The growth of the community and the increase of church attendance made it necessary to secure larger facilities. On July 14, 1957, a building committee was appointed to locate a site for a new church. This committee was: Glenn R. Linnert, Harold Walter, Edwin L. Miller, Arthur Fox and Boyd Farnsley. Sam Gill was appointed later as a finance chairman.
After viewing several sites, two acres of land were purchased from Charles F. Linnert, on Feb. 12, 1958, for $6,500. This was in section 85, across the road from the church building. The “premises shall be used, kept and maintained as a place of divine worship of the Methodist ministry and members of the Methodist Church”.
By 1960, $20,000 had been raised by the people of the church toward the $77,000 the building and land was expected to cost. A $3,000 gift from the Christian Builders Club and a $3,000 loan from the Revolving Loan Fund helped to encourage them in their response to the need for expansion.
Rev. Clifford Lindley, first full-time pastor, broke ground for the new church Tuesday, June 16, 1959, at 6:30pm. The original cornerstone was inscribed with the date 1959, and laid August 30, 1959. Added to the contents of its box were: a 1959 penny, an updated church history and a list of past ministers.
The Sector Plan of Stewardship was introduced and accepted by the church members, who pledged to support the church with definite amounts weekly. This method of giving has made the new church a reality.
Edwin l. Miller, a constituent of the congregation, was chosen as architect and builder of the new building. Plans called for the old church to be converted into a parsonage or a new one built.
The new church was to contain 5,000 square feet of space, both on the main and basement floors. The main floor was to have new pews, carpeted aisles and carpeting covering the front area of the Chapel.
The basement was to house the church furnace, a modern kitchen, 2 classrooms, and an assembly room. The latter area to be partitioned by movable panels to provide additional Sunday School rooms at a later date.
The last scheduled service was held in the old building on Sunday, July 31, 1960. The members were to have met there again on August 7, to begin a symbolic journey to the new church, however, on August 2, at 1:40pm, fire destroyed the church.
Wind swept sparks from a pile of burning trash onto the roof, but by 3:00pm firefighters had the blaze under control. Most of the contents had been saved, including the pulpit and pulpit chairs, and several pews. Since new pews had been ordered for the new church, the old pews built by Fred Loheide were sold to a black congregation in Clarksville, Indiana, for $100.
Lee Roseberry accepted the task of clearing the property of the remaining structure so that a new parsonage could be constructed. The Parsonage Building Committee consisted of Boyd Farnsley, Edwin Miller, Arthur Fox and Harold Walters.
While plans were being drawn up for a new parsonage, the congregation gathered for the consecration service of the new church on September 25, 1960, at 2:00pm. It was a glorious day! Dr. J. Kenneth Forbes, the local District Superintendent of the Methodist Church, led the service.
After considerable planning by the parsonage committee, Herb Ward, a member of the congregation was contracted to build the new home. But another setback for the congregation occurred. On April 2, 1963, just two weeks short of completion, the brand new parsonage was totally destroyed by fire. While working with four other men in the parsonage, Mr. Ward went outside to his truck shortly after 11:30am. To his surprise, he found a small fire burning up the side of the wall of the garage. Within seconds, the wind pulled the fire up through the attic and the building was gone before the firefighters arrived. No one was injured in the blaze. 
The new minister, Rev. C.J. Adams, who was scheduled to arrive the following day, was found temporary quarters. Fortunately, the building had been insured. Rev. Adams was added to the building committee and the parsonage was eventually re-built.
The Adams family became occupants of the new structure on June 20, 1963. The dedication service was held on September 15, 1963. The service began at 2:30pm and was led by District Superintendent Merlin Schwein.
Since the time of its dedication, 7 pastoral families lived within its walls. 
The congregation sensed a need to purchase more land for future expansion and so in February of 1976, 2.1 acres of land adjacent to the south side of the church, was purchased from Mr. Elliott Phillips.
On August 30, 1983 ground was broken for construction of a shelter house with storage area on the south side of the parking area. Completion was less than one month later.
Along with these obvious major changes that have happened since 1960, we want also to record in chronological order, the minor changes and events that have come about. They are as follows:
            September: Two worship services per Sunday began.
            June: The name, Jacobos Chapel Methodist Church was changed to Jacobs  Chapel United Methodist Church.
            September 15: The date of the 121st anniversary and homecoming.
            October: Church begins cooking chicken at Harvest Homecoming.
            August: Connection to the Silver Creek water system.
            July:  Central air-conditioning in church and parsonage.
            July 31: Debt against church paid in full.
            January: Sound System installed in sanctuary.
            February: Purchase of 2.1 acres of land for $17,000.
             May: Fence enclosing church air-conditioner installed.
            January: Sound System cabinet installed.
            March: Pew cushions installed.
            November: Revival with Dr. John Oswald of Asbury.
            March 5: United Methodist Men organization begins.
            November: Creekstone bulletin board built
            February: Handbells purchased.
            February: Small metal church identification signs are erected along Charlestown Road.
            October: Both the parsonage and church furnaces were converted from oil to natural gas.
            December: Final payment made toward the 2.1 acres of land.
            August: Overhang in the gable of the church was covered with aluminum.
            August: Ground broken for the shelter house.
            September: Concrete entrance ramp leading from parking lot into basement was built.
            May 20: New landscaping and plexi-glass storm windows dedicated at 2:30pm.
            August: Church Pictorial Directory Created.
            August: Offset press equipment purchased.
            September 8: Challenge Bible Study Begins.
            December: Secretarial Crew program begins.
            January: Church parking lot repaved and expanded 15 feet.
            January: New roof put on rear of the church.
            April: “Grapevine” notification program begins.
            May: Men’s softball team organized.
            July: New front concrete sidewalk, backyard grading and rear patio was installed at parsonage.
            August: $5,000 raised in Miracle Sunday Offering.
            January: Video equipment purchased in order to tape Sunday services.
            January: Church begins involvement in Walk to Emmaus.
            February: “Where We Live” board and “Mission Outreach” board built and placed on wall in church basement.
            March: Video Storage closet built.
            April: Carpeting installed on rear stairs.
            June: New Sound System purchased.
            July: Parsonage window shutters installed.
            August: Long Range Planning committee established.
            September: Sound lecturn built for basement
            November: Prayer scheduled before each Sunday Worship.
            December: Church begins involvement in Chrysalis.
            January: Fishers of Men Scholarship Fund established.
            April: Tony Alstott decides to enter ordained ministry.
            May: Parking lot expanded 30 feet.
            June: Microwaves purchased for church kitchen.
            July: Minolta copier purchased of office
            July: Used lawn tractor purchased.
            August: Playground built alongside shelter house.
            September: 20 loads of fill dirt expand parking area.
            November 15: Consecration Sunday takes place raising the estimates of giving 23%.
            January: Discovery Kids Klub begins.
            March: Sanctuary painted by Tony Lovan.
            April 20: Lay Witness Mission takes place.
            June: Youth Bible Study begins
            August: New carpeting installed in sanctuary.
            November: Church pictorial directories received.
Stained Glass Windows
The beautiful windows were donated, and have plaques inscribed as follows:
Leroy Roseberry Family
In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. H. O. McCaffrey
Harvey Miller Family
In Loving Memory of Ida Smith Wate
Mr. & Mrs. John Linnert
In Memory of Hazel Gill
Boyd Farnsley Family
Fox and DePierre Family
In Meomory of Everett Schleicher
David Lucas Family
Harold Walter Family
Our Ministers
William McKendree  
Peter Cartwright
John Crowe
William Washington Snyder 1845? –  1847
Thomas B Bratton                              
1850 – 1851
William McKendree Hester                        1851 – 1852
James Preston                                 1852 – 1853
Zelotes S. Clifford                            1853 – 1855
Thomas J. Ryan                               1855 – 1856
Marmaduke Mendenhall Coffin Hobbs 1856 – 1857
William Wyatt Rundell                   
1857 – 1858
Lewis Evans Carson                      
1858 – 1859
John Tansy                                      
1859 – 1860
William P. Armstrong                   
1860 – 1861
Benjamin Franklin Torr                 
1861 – 1863
John Laverty                                    
1863 – 1864
William Edward Bean                    
1864 – 1866
Peter H Bottorff                                
1869 – 1870
William Henry Wydman                
1870 – 1871
John B Green                                  
1871 – 1873
Freeman Daily Bovard                   
1873 – 1874
William H. Burton                           
1874 – 1875
Melville Young Bovard                  
1875 – 1876
John H. Machlan                            
1876 – 1877
Robert L. Kinnear                           
1877 – 1879
Albert B. Cluckner                           
1879 – 1880
Alexander Campbell                      
1880 – 1881
Frank S. Tincher                             
1881 – 1882
Albert E. Walker                              
1882 – 1885
Reuben H. Moore                           
1885 – 1886
Closed Doors                                   
1888 – 1891
William McKendree Hester                     1890 – 1891
Hiram Lafyette Niles                       
1891 – 1893
Louis R. Bailey                                
1893 – 1894
Thomas Greenhill Beharrell         
1894 – 1899
Alfred L. Bear                                   
1899 – 1902
Charles H. Hickman                             1902 – 1904
John W. Robinson                         
1904 – 1905
James Maupin                                
1905 – 1908
Ralph Winfred Rogers                   
1908 – 1909
Albert Jennings Spaulding                    
1909 – 1912
John H. Anderson                          
1912 – 1915
Thomas Earl Adams                      
1915 – 1916
Willfred John Goreham                 
1916 – 1917
Bryan Kennedy Johnson              
1917 – 1918
Walter Proctor                                  
1918 – 1919
Eugene Arnold Clegg                    
1919 – 1922
Merrit Machlan                                
1922 – 1923
Samuel Duggins                            
1923 – 1925
Francis Theodore Johnson                   
1925 – 1927
James Robert Hamm                     
1927 – 1928
Norris Elva Spurgeon                    
1928 – 1931
Maurice Temple Eicholz                
1931 – 1932
Owen Russell Bostock                  
1932 – 1934
Henry Arthur Meyer                        
1934 – 1935
Harry Upchurch                              
1935 – 1935
Henry Arthur Meyer                        
1935 – 1937
William Henry Minter                     
1937 – 1938
Eugene Clarence Montgomery    
1937 - 1943
Orman Neville                                 
1943 – 1944
Vernon Crandall Miller                  
1944 – 1947
Thoburn Enge                                 
1947 – 1948
Carnet Clyde Lewis                        
1948 – 1949
Mack Henry Meadors                     
1949 – 1951
William Mayo                                      
1951 – 1952
Rudolph Ernst Bart                         
1952 – 1952
Joseph Kemp Tunis                            
1952 – 1953
Lloyd Vernon Peverill                    
1953 – 1954
James Timmons                             
1954 – 1955
Clifford Henry Lindley                    
1955 – 1963
Charles Jackson Adams               
1963 – 1966
Robert Earl Hull                              
1966 – 1969
John Courty Eaton                        
1969 – 1974
Richard Wayne Thomas               
1974 – 1975
David Vernon Wilcox Owen         
1975 – 1979
Raymond F. Rhoda                        
1982 – 1986
Aaron E. Wheaton                        1986 – 1993
Morris Hannah 1993 - 
John Beaty  
Charlie Voit  
Ed & Lynn Scherer-Berry  
John R. Mantle 2004-2008
Wilma Bone Interim
Dirk Caldwell 2009-2012
Jim Lawson 2012-2014
Wilma Bone 2014-
Sources and Acknowledgements
Deed – May 7, 1847
Floyd County, Indiana, Plat Map – 1859
Deed – April 4, 1868
Floyd County, Indiana, Plat Map – 1882
Jacobs Chapel church Register 1893 – 1896
Jacobs Chapel Scrapbook
Jacobs Chapel Church History – May 4, 1947 by Mayme L. Miller
Centennial Program – May 4, 1947
Survey of Sec. 85, Illinois Grant – January 30, 1958
Continuation of church History 1932 – 1959 by Elsie Linnert, Mayme Miller and Thelma Linnert Miller
Consecration Service Program – September 25, 1960
120th anniversary Service Program – September 17, 1967
Jacobs Chapel church history file – New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
Jacobs Chapel Memorial Book
Pictorial Directory – 1985
Doris Wolf Elliot, Edna McCaffrey Lasher, Thelma Linnert Miller and Pastor Aaron E. Wheaton
Shirley Wolf, Editor.