Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1840-1930's)

4 miles east of Jamestown



History of Jamestown, Missouri 1837-1987:


The Bethel Methodist Church, four miles east of Jamestown, said to be the first Methodist Church in the county, dates back to 1840. In 1883, the location was changed to Jamestown and a new church was built on the site between Eugene Wycoff's house and Jon Smith's house. As shown in the picture, it was a very pretty building and served for many years as a center of worship before being torn down in the 1930's.


There are no records remaining as to the membership, the pastors serving the church, or the reasons for disbanding the congregation.


History of Bethel Cemetery:

In 1840 the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, called the Bethel Church, was established 4 miles east of Jamestown in Linn Township. In 1883 this church moved its location from Section 2, Township 46, to about 3 miles northeast of Jamestown in Section 28, Township 47. Land for a cemetery was provided by Martin L and Rosa Jahn and was deeded to the Methodist Church "forever." The area west of the church building was plotted and a carriage-way laid out through the center. Family names of those buried in this cemetery include Jahn, Kenney, Hutchinson, Chiles, Cassil, Herndon, Wycoff, Murrell, Seitz, Martin, Sells, Kontz and Childers.


During the 1930's services were discontinued at Bethel Methodist Church and the building torn down. Care of the cemetery fell to relatives of the deceased and families who lived nearby. Frances Jahn (Mrs. Oscar) Haldiman was in charge of what funds were available for upkeep. After Mrs. Haldiman's death and that of her son, Ted, the cemetery was neglected for several years.


In 1985 Mrs. Haldiman's daughter, Bernice (Mrs. Earl) Schatzer and Mildred Herndon (Mrs. Grover) Snead became concerned that this cemetery be restored and maintained. The contacted those they knew who might be interested, and a group met at the cemetery before Memorial Day. Brush was trimmed back from the edges of the cemetery, stones were reset and straightened, and the lot was raked and mowed with lawn mowers. Later in summer the area was leveled and grass seed was sown. A small trust fund was established to insure the cemetery would not be abandoned in the future. The current committee to see to the cemetery's upkeep are Mrs. Grover Snead of California; Mrs. Larry Wittenberger of Jamestown; and Mrs. Earl Schatzer of Jefferson City.


If anyone has information on this church, please contact Alan Sparks.


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