Catesby United Methodist Church
They came from the East, the North, and the South in search of land where they could raise their children.
It was Woodward County, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. The U.S. Land Office was located at Woodward and the U.S. Government was offering as much as 160 acres of land to those who would pay a filing fee of $16.50 and live on the land for five years. After which time, they would receive a patent and the land would be theirs.
The year was 1901, and the land was being used by cattlemen to graze. The ranches were known as: The Kilgore Ranch, the Gigger Ranch, the Springer-Hess Ranch ( belonging to Mrs. Sanderfur) the Moody Ranch, the Taft Ranch, the Dennisor Ranch, the Stuart Ranch, the Andy McKisson Ranch, and others.
When the movement of the Homesteaders failed to secure land at the El Reno drawing during the summer of 1901, they headed for Northwest Oklahoma. The Locators were waiting at Woodward near the U.S. Land Office. For a fee of $15.00 they would take those filing claims on the land to locate their claims. The cattlemen using the land saw the opportunity to make extra money and started locating the settlers on their claims. The cattlemen felt the people arriving in the middle of winter with no buildings to live in would soon become discouraged and would be gone by spring. Not only would the locators get their land back, but they would also make easy money. Unfortunately for the locators, the winter was mild and the homesteaders stayed. The years 1901, 1902, and 1903 saw all the land claimed.
With the coming of the settlers also came the necessity of schools, a place to worship, and a post office. The Eben Rose family had built a large sod house. It was in the back of this house in the kitchen that Mrs. Ella Rose established a Union Sunday School. The records show that soon there were twenty-five or thirty people attending. Mrs. Rose wrote to an old friend in Rochester, New York, who sent her a small portable organ and Sunday School literature to help her in her service. The Reverend Ed Williams, a Baptist preacher from near old Fort Supply, learned of the Sunday School organization and arrived early one Sunday morning to preach. The group began to take up collections for him. After a few trips, he informed them that their collections were not enough to pay him to make the drive.
In January of 1902, Mrs. Ella Rose sent a petition to the U.S. Postal Department to establish a post office in their residence. Along with her petition, Mrs. Rose sent her application for appointment of the position of Postmaster. The office was to be named Cottonwood Springs. There was already a post office in Oklahoma by that name so the state selected the name Catesby in honor of an old General in the Mexican War. Mrs. Roses commission was dated April 1, 190?. On this date, the Catesby United States Post Office was officially opened and remained so until 1969.
When the Sunny Slope School house (3 miles north of Catesby) and the Pleasant View School house (3 miles east of Catesby) were built, they were also used for regular Sunday School and occasional church services. In 1908 these groups joined together and chose the present location to build a church. Reverend D. W. Danewood was the pastor at that time. On March 24, 1908 he named the following Trustees:
J. S. Nixon - President, G. A. Chance Secretary, and L. S. Polin - Treasurer. Mr. Chance resigned August 1, 1908 and Mr. C. E. Klise was elected to fill the vacancy.
The Trustees met at Catesby on April 18, 1908 to organize, incorporate, and name the members of the Building Committee. They were: A. J. Moore, A. Wycoff, C. E. Klise, A. L. Zartman, R. S. Teets, and Claude Woods. The trustees were confirmed by the Quarterly Conference at the Pleasant View School house on May 9, 1908. A Certificate of Incorporation was received from the state of Oklahoma on May 16, 1908, issued to the Catesby United Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. John 0. Brown deeded one acre of land in the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 2, Township 23 north, Range 26 W.I.M. to the trustees of the Catesby United Methodist Episcopal Church and their
successors, May 12, 1908. The deed was recorded on May 20, 1908 in the Ellis County Records Book five page 195.
The Trustees met July 29, 1908 with the building committee to come up with a plan to raise money for the material to build the church. They elected to borrow $700.00 for six months or until subscriptions were paid in order that work might begin on the building of the new church. Mr. J. S. Nixon, A. L. Zartman, F. C. Nehrbrass, G. A. Chance, C. E. Klise, A. J. Moore, A. Wycoff, D. W. Lanewood, and L. S. Polin signed the note dated for August 11, 1908 to The First National Bank (later Guarantee State Bank) Shattuck, Oklahoma. The note was retired for January 3, 1910. Mr. Frank Foster was hired head carpenter for the church. Late in 1912 he built the pews.
On August 25, 1909 the board of trustees consisting of J. S. Nixon, L. S. Polin, and C. Klise issued and amended the Certificate of Incorporation changing of the name of the church from Catesby United Methodist Episcopal Church to Newton Memorial Methodist Church. The records show no reason for the change. They do show that a grant was made September 15, 1909 by the Board of Home Missions and Church of Extension, Philadelphia, PA in the amount of $250.00 mortgage recorded in Book 2 page 589 of the Ellis County Records.
The Trustee Records of August 21, 1914 show the church still operating under the name Newton Memorial Methodist Church. Later the records mention Catesby Methodist Episcopal Church. On this day the Trustees of the Newton Memorial Methodist Church me t jointly with the Stewards and members of the church to talk over a plan of building a parsonage. A committee was appointed to see if money could be raised by subscription for this purpose. Those on the committee were: Frank Foster, W. P. White, Kate Pickens, Caroline Richards, Libby Root, Alpha Wood, and Mrs. Frank Moore. $185.00 was raised by the committee. On November 2, 1914 a house was purchased from Earl Drolte for $250.00 and moved to the church lot.
Down though the history of the church, the Ladies Aid Society has been very active and responsible in keeping the church going as well as caring for the sick and helping those in need. Many times the pastors salary could not have been paid without the help of this society. The earliest record kept of this organization is dated November 13, 1907 when they met with Mrs. L. S. Polin and elected Mrs. C. E. Klise President and Myrtle Manuel their Secretary/Treasurer. They chose their slogan D. A. Y. C. Do All You Can. The records show the following ladies active during the time November 13, 1907 to October 25, 1910:
Mrs. F. C. Nehrbrass, Mrs. Green, Jennie Alderson, May Terrell, Bertha Rose, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. J. S. Nixon, Mrs. Grafft, Mrs.
Penfold, Flossie Teets, Mrs. Wycoff, Mrs. Roger, Mrs. E. C. Smith, Mrs. Edith Brown, Mrs. E. M. Rose, Mrs. Geo. Deeds,
Mrs. Bert Deeds, Mrs. Asher Root, Mrs. Tom Richard, Mrs. Fox, Mrs. Bill Ayres, Mrs. Myrtle Manuel, Hazel Richard, Mrs. Tatum, Dora Danewood, Lillie B. White, Mrs. L. S. Polin, Rose Zartman, Julia Hayes, Ruth White(Drolte,) Hattie Chance, Grace
Chance, and Hallie Rose. Many other names were added to this list in later years. The Society was active until 1946.
On December 18, 1915 an organ was bought from Williams Pianos & Organs Co., Chicago, Illinois for $63.00. $15.00 of this was paid in cash and a note was made for the remaining $48.00. The note was signed by Mr. F. C. Nehrbrass, Trustee and Reverend R. U. Tatman. It was paid off in installments of $15.00 Until the final payment was made July 24, 1916.
The minutes of the Sunday School show a large attendance throughout the years while the community was thickly populated. Many Sundays show more than 100 present. The records show the average attendance for the 13 Sundays from March 30 to June 30, 1930 was 116. This was during the period when Rev. John Marsh was pastoring the church. Mrs. Marsh was the song leader with Mrs. Clyde Mitchell at the organ.
When the depression and dust bowl days came in the 1930s, people started moving out of the community. Support for the church was so meager they could not hire a preacher or pay conference dues. The church was out of the conference from 1946 until 1952. During this period Mr. Ralph Owens lived on his farm one mile east of the church and gave his services as pastor for a percentage of the free will offering taken each Sunday. When his health caused him to leave the farm Mrs. Emma Jenkins pastored the church under the same plan. Sunday School services were never dropped. The church membership records were all lost. In June 1952 Manion Stanley, Stacy Woods, and Ferman Shepard met with the district superintendent and the church was reorganized. Mrs. Mabel Thacker was the presiding pastor and a new church roll was started with 12 members joining the first Sunday she preached. Many names were added to the church roll during her six years of service.
Many improvements have been made in the church building over the years. From kerosene wall lamps to gasoline hanging Lamps, electricity finally followed when R.E.A. came to the community. The old coal stove gave over to butane and later to natural gas. The high ceiling was lowered and storm windows added to aid in heating. The Bell Tower that stood vacant for 50 years now has a bell hanging in it, thanks to the generosity of Frank Mann from Arnett, Oklahoma. The bell was originally in the Lone Star School house located north of Arnett and purchased by Mr. Mann when the building was sold. When he was approached by Stacy and Anson Woods (who had attended the school and heard the bell so many times) to see if he would sell the bell to the Catesby Church he replied no he would not sell it but if it was to be hung in the Bell Tower he would give it to the church. It is now hanging in the church tower and Carl Hayes has been giving the rope a pull each Sunday for many years to let us know For Whom the Bell Tolls."
In 1943 Mr. & Mrs. L. S. Polin set cedar trees in front of the church. The little trees had quite a struggle with the elements and loose cattle, but they stood the battle and are now a beautiful memorial to the Polins who gave so much of their time, talents, and finances to see the church go forward. They continue to serve their purpose in the community. We might add here that Mrs. Polin was a daughter of Mr. & Mrs. A. L. Zartman, who were active members at the time the church was organized. Some of the family has been active throughout the years and are now into the sixth generation.
In 1955 the teenagers Sunday School class was having a hamburger fry and Ping Pong party at the home of Anson Woods when one of them suggested we make this a monthly affair. Another suggested we include parents and have the dinner at the church. The matter was discussed further and all agreed that we ask the community to come for this event and set the third Wednesday of each month as the date. The teenagers hosted the first dinner then other classes took their turn. This practice is still being carried on and you are invited to join us in this evening of fellowship.
On June 1, 1961 a building fund and Lords Acre was established for the purpose of raising funds for the redecorating of the church and the possibility of obtaining a larger building for Sunday School classes. The families participating in the Lords Acre were those of : Marion Stanley, Leslie 0. Wilson, Carl Hayes, Stacy Woods, Herbert J. Hiner, Donald Ray Jenkins, Anson Woods, Ermil OHerns, Edd Cook, Dot and Bobbie Piersall, Carl OHair, and Ferman Shepherd. By June 1, 1964 we had bought a new piano, did some repairing of the church, and had a balance of $811.93 on hand to purchase a larger building for our Sunday School classes and a community building. The building was bought from Edith (Baker) Shepherd ( the Frank and Fannie Baker house in which Edith and Ralph grew up in.) The building was moved from the Baker farm to its present location near the church. It was modernized and equipped with central heat. The old parsonage was sold and the proceeds used to drill a well and pipe water to the new building.
The ministers who have served the church since its beginning are:
Reverend Danewood Rev. Horseman
C. E. Smith Tatman
Pickens Mrs. Tatam
S. F. Lancaster Duncan
John Davis Matthews
Canall Dale Heil
Marsh - 7 years Owens
Simmons Thacker - 6 years
Hatchett - 7 years Charles Dozer
So many have done so much to keep the Catesby United Methodist Church a place of worship in this community; we hesitate to name names lest we leave out one who has had a part. We can only say thanks to each one of you and to the Lord for keeping the light shining in our area and for
giving we who remain in the neighborhood the privilege and opportunity to carry on the work you have left for us to do that the light may keep shining for those who come after us that they may also have the privilege of carrying the torch.
NOTE : Data used in this is found in the historical files of the church . A part was taken from XXIX Volume of Chronicles of Oklahoma ( loaned to us by Ralph Baker ) and from information given by Mrs. L. S. Polin to Beulah Woods for the 50th Anniversary of the church July 15, 1958.
We also find in the Chronicles of Oklahoma the names of those who filed claims on the land in this area during the years 1901-1902-1903. They are:
|Alderson, Mrs. Jennie|| ||King, Charlie|
|Alexander, George W.|| ||King, Miss Alpha E.|
|Athens, Ike|| ||Largent, Elmer|
|Ayers, William H.|| ||Largent, W. A.|
|Baker, Frank|| ||Larkey, A. A.|
|Baker, George|| ||Larkey, Alex|
|Baker, Newt|| ||Larkey, Charlie|
|Baker, Perl || ||Larkey, Pearl|
|Bayles, W. l.|| ||Larkey, W. H.|
|Bemis, James|| ||Larkey, Will|
|Bickford, Ernest|| ||Light, Frank|
|Black, John|| ||Light, Harvey|
|Blanche, David|| ||Lightfoot, Guy|
|Brown, Fred|| ||Lightfoot, Hugh|
|Brown, Otto|| ||Linn, Levi|
|Burke, Richard L.|| ||Lloyd, David,|
|Case, Bert|| ||Lloyd, Dick|
|Case, Mona|| ||Lloyd, Gomer|
|Case, Nina|| ||Lloyd, Henry|
|Case, Thomas|| ||Lloyd, Howard|
|Chance, Ed|| ||Lloyd, Jack|
|Chance, Walter|| ||Lovell , John|
|Childers, C. C.|| ||Lovell, Milliard|
|Cochran, Albert|| ||Luck, Henry|
|Cochran, Charlie|| ||Lupton, Miss Cordia|
|Cochran, Rosa|| ||Lydick, Perry|
|Conant, W. T.|| ||Manuel, Neely|
|Cookman, Claget|| ||Manuel, Van A.|
|Cookman, Mel|| ||Mason, John|
|Cox, Clyde|| ||Maysinger, Mel|
|Cox, Don|| ||Miller, Fred|
|Cox, Frank|| ||Miller, Will|
|Cox, Leroy F.|| ||Millsap, B. N.|
|Crandall , Harry|| ||Moody, C. K.|
|Crandall, A. B.|| ||Moore, A. J.|
|Crandall, Roy|| ||Moyer, Frank|
|Dale, August|| ||Nehrbass, Fred C.|
|Dale, Stephen|| ||Nixon, Gilbert|
|Darr, Frank C.|| ||Nixon, James F.|
|Davies, Wilburn|| ||O'Hern, Mike|
|Davis, Sidney C.|| ||O'Niel, Barney|
|Deeds, Burt|| ||Paine, Alonzo A.|
|Deeds, George|| ||Paine, Burt|
|DeLate, Clarence|| ||Paine, Charlie|
|Dennis, Charlie|| ||Paine, John|
|Dennison, Charlie|| ||Paine, Miss Jennie|
|Dennison, G. P.|| ||Paine, Miss Nellie|
|Drolte, Charlie|| ||Peetoom, Cornelius|
|Drolte, Earl|| ||Peetoom, Richard|
|Drolte, Fred|| ||Peetoom. Peete|
|Ellison, William E.|| ||Polin, Lee S.|
|Filer, Fred|| ||Ricker, Curly|
|Filer, Herbert|| ||Ricker, Wesley|
|Filer, Mrs. Annie|| ||Ritterhouse, Fred|
|Fout, Charley|| ||Ritterhouse, Louis|
|Fout, Harvey|| ||Root, Asher|
|Fritz, Elmer|| ||Rose, Eben ( Miss Ella)|
|Fritz, Hattie|| ||Rose, F. P.|
|Fritz, Mattie|| ||Rose, Ralph|
|Fritz, William|| ||Roth, Alonzo|
|Gaines, Ernest|| ||Roth, Harry|
|Gallamore, W. T.|| ||Shaw, C. M.|
|Getz, Sam|| ||Shaw, J. T.|
|Getz, William|| ||Smith, Ed|
|Gray, Terrel|| ||Smith, J. A.|
|Green, George|| ||Stout, Barney|
|Haight, One|| ||Teats, Richard|
|Harston, W. G.|| ||TerrelI, Roy|
|Hart, Jay|| ||Terrell , George|
|Hart, Ralph|| ||Terrell, Frank|
|Haskins, Ruben|| ||Terrell, J. W.|
|Hays, Art|| ||Terrell, Will|
|Hays, J. W.|| ||Thomas, Burt|
|Henke, August|| ||Trekall , Tom E.|
|Henke, Fritz|| ||Tuttle, James M.|
|Henke, Paul|| ||Vinyard, Ed|
|Herman, Palmer|| ||Vinyard, George W.|
|Hibbs, G. A.|| ||Waldron|
|Hoke, William E.|| ||Wentworth, Frank|
|Homky, Anthony|| ||White, W. P.|
|Hoover, Mrs. Ada W.|| ||Wiley, James|
|Hull, Walter|| ||Wiley, John|
|Hutchinson, H. A.|| ||Wingert, Earl|
|Jenkins, Marion|| ||Wingert, James E.|
|Jenkins, Will|| ||Wingert, Kay|
|Joliff, W. A.|| ||Wood, Claude|
|Jones, James|| ||Zartman, A. L.|
|Kilgore, Charlie|| ||Zartman, Ira|
|Kilgore, Hayden|| ||Zartman, Miss Rosa|
|Klise, Chas. E.|| || |
Compiled by Belah & Anson Woods, Historians of the church.
Thus reads the history of the Catesby United Methodist Church as compiled for the 75th Anniversary in October 1983. Fifteen years have passed and we now celebrate the 90th Anniversary. We give thanks to the Lord for making it possible to arrive at this point and keep the light shining in this community.
Six new ministers have filled the pulpit since the Reverend Charles Dozer served from 1983-1986. They are:
Homer Williams 1986-1989, James Bullock 1989-1990, Dean Cullop 1990-1993, Virgil Payne 1993-1995, James Ogden 1995-1996,and our present pastor-Reverend Greg Coates.
We continue to give thanks to the Lord for those good people who saw the need for a place to worship in this community so many years ago, organizing the church, and erecting the church building. To those responsible for its survival down through the years we of the church are happy that it is our privilege to carry on and keep the doors open and services to the Lord for those who follow.
The loan made to the church by the Board of Home Missions and Extension of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the amount of $250.00 on September 15, 1909 was paid off August 18, 1997 leaving the church property free and clear of all indebtedness. A portion of the church acre was deeded to the Catesby Fire Department on which a building has been erected to house fire engines.
We are happy to report that much needed repairs have been made to the building the past few years; including covering the outside with vinyl, repairing windows, replacing the roof, building a cement ramp to the front door, repairing and painting the ceiling, and purchasing a video and sound system. We also give thanks to the Hank Barth family for painting and redecorating the fellowship hall.
We are still having family night the third Monday night of every other month where the community gathers together for a dinner and an evening of fellowship. The second Monday night of every other month we gather for a community song service followed with refreshments and fellowship.
We invite you to join us in all activities of the church. You will be blessed when Brother Greg looks you in the eye and proclaims the Word.
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