It cannot be ascertained when the first sermon by a Methodist minister was preached in Monticello. It was occasionally visited by itinerants, but no regular appointment was made until 1861. In that year, Rev. J. Williams preached on the circuit which embraced Monticello. The membership was small and very much scattered. In 1862, Rev. G. Stanley was the preacher in charge, and the society increased its numbers. In 1863, Rev. J. S. Eberhart was the Pastor. During the year, the present church edifice was erected. Previous to this time, the society worshiped in the schoolhouse. At the time, the membership was about fifty. In 1864, Rev. H. C. Brown was Pastor, and, in 1865, he was re-appointed. The society now became a station, with about ninety members, and paid $500 salary. In 1866, Rev. F. W. Vinson was appointed to the charge, and during his administration the membership increased to ninety-five. His salary was $800. In 1867, Rev. H. H. Fairall was Pastor, with a salary of $950. During the year, a large two-story parsonage was built, costing $1,300. In 1868, Mr. Fairall was re-appointed, with a salary of $1,000. During his administration, the membership increased eighty—fifty by conversions and thirty by letter—making a total of 175. During the two years, the Church paid out for improvements, benevolent purposes, ministerial support and contingent expenses, $3,500. In 1869, C. C. Symons was appointed Pastor, and served one year. He was succeeded by Thomas Thomson, who also served one year. In 1871, F. X. Miller was appointed Pastor, and served three years. J. S. Eberhart was also Pastor for three years. The present Pastor is Rev. J. L. Paine, who is on his second year.
There are at present 130 members, and thirteen probationers. The following are the Trustees of the Church for 1879: Dr. I. H. Phillips, A. E. Chesterfield, C. E. Marvin, M. W. Herrick, Robert Young, Elijah Austin, G. H. White and Mrs. A. P. Moore. Class Leaders: J. G. Wood and N. W. Austin. Stewards: J. B. Smith, John Moody, N. W. Austin, William Joslin, George W. Condon, Samuel G. Harris and Henry F. Taylor.
The Sabbath school is in a flourishing condition, and has an average attendance of eighty-five. N. W. Austin is the Superintendent.
The Church is free from debt, and is in a good flourishing condition.
(fromThe History of Jones County, Iowa by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879.)
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Monticello was organized, as near as can now be determined, in the fall of 1861. Previous to this time, occasional preaching services were held by itinerant Methodist preachers, but no regular appointment was made until 1861. In that year, Rev. J. Williams preached on the circuit which embraced Monticello. The membership was small and very much scattered. In 1862, Rev. G. Stanley was appointed to the charge, and the society increased in numbers. In the fall of 1863, Rev. J. S. Eberhart became pastor. During the year the old church edifice was erected. The ground consisting of three lots upon which the church and parsonage now stands, was purchased by the first board of trustees, viz: W. W., Peck, J. B. Tibbits, G. W. Bacon, M. Gavin, J. L. Davenport, A. H. Marvin, F. Burnight, N. W. Austin and S. Slade. The purchase price being sixty dollars. In the spring of 1863. Rev. E. D. Rosa procured a subscription for the erection of the church, which was completed and dedicated December 25, 1863, at a cost of one thousand, seven hundred and fifty dollars. The membership at this time being about fifty. Mr. W. W. Peck, an upright Godly man, was the first class leader, and he served faithfully for a number of years.
In 1864 and 1865, Rev. H. C. Brown served as pastor and reported ninety members and a salary of five hundred dollars. It seems that during the year 1864, J. G. Dimmitt and Dr. Stanley served as pastors on the circuit a part of the year. In the fall of 1866, Rev. F. W. Vinton was appointed to the charge, and reported advancement in church work and a salary of eight hundred dollars. In 1867. Rev. H. H. Fairall became pastor at a salary of nine hundred and fifty dollars for the first year and the second year one thousand dollars with a membership of one hundred and seventy-five at the close of his second year. During his pastorate a large two-story parsonage was built at a cost of one thousand, three hundred dollars. In 1869, Rev. C. C. Symonds was appointed pastor, and served one year. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Thomson, who also served one year. In 1871, Rev. F. X. Miller was appointed pastor and served three years. Rev. J. S. Eberhart was pastor again for three years. He was followed successively by Revs. J. L. Paine. F. M. Robertson, E. Skinner, A. S. Cochran, George Scott, Thomas Oliver, R. Earhart, E. G. Waite.
In the fall of 1898, Rev. D. S. Staebler was appointed to the charge and soon after took steps toward building a new church building which was greatly needed. During the summer of 1899, the building was erected at a cost of about eight thousand, five hundred dollars, and was dedicated February 11, 1900. Rev. J. T. Crippin. officiated at the dedication, assisted by Rev. E. G. Waite, H. H. Green, and the pastor, D. S. Staebler. On dedication day over four thousand dollars was secured, and the church dedicated free from debt. In the fall of 1900. Rev. W. M. Leamon was appointed pastor and served two years. He was followed by Rev. W. E. Van Buren who served the church for four years. Then came Rev. Dr. P. S. Slocum in the fall of 1906. Dr. Slocum proceeded to build a new parsonage which was erected the following summer at a cost of about three thousand dollars. Dr. Slocum resigned in June, 1908. to become principal of Epworth Seminary, and Rev. Roy V. Porter was appointed to fill the vacancy until the conference in October, 1908. when the present pastor Rev. Dr. N. F. Norton was appointed to the charge.
The church membership has been about two hundred for a number of years. The report at last conference showed one hundred and ninty-nine members. The Sunday school enrollment the past year, including the home department, has been about one hundred and fifty.
The church property valued at about fifteen thousand dollars is now in good condition, and nearly all free from debt. Some improvements have been made the past year and several members have been added to the church.
The present church officers are: Local preacher, Rev. Conrad Pfeil; trustees, Dr. W. W. Hunter, H. J. Lang, A. W. Steiner, Lewis Lang, Robert Young, C. S. Barker; stewards, Mrs. W. W. Hunter, Mrs. J. W. Doxsee, E. A. Hubbard, C. S. Barker. A. W. Starks, Dr. William Drinkwater, Lewis H. Lang; Sunday school superintendent, E. A. Hubbard; Epworth League superintendent, Miss Bertha Graves; Junior League superintendent. Miss Minnie Barnts.
(fromHistory of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, Volume 1, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, pages 489-491.)