A Bad Night at the Dance

The following information is taken from the Booklet of the Seventieth Anniversary of Methodism in Minneapolis and Ottawa County, KS
By Rev. Chas. D. Norman

From the best records available it would seem that the first Methodist Class in Ottawa County was organized in the year 1865 by B. W. Hollen. The names of only ten charter members have been preserved, whether there were more or not is uncertain. The names are S. B. and Lavina Chapman, I. E. and Jane Carson, Seymour and Margaret Ayers, Jesse and Amanda Richards, Martin and Jane Jones. The organization was at Lindsay and was known as the Fort Solomon Sunday School and Church

Many services during these early days were held in soddys, dugouts and in the timber along the creeks. The home of the Chapman's was a favorite place to hold services and Methodists were always welcome guests there. Their homestead is now owned by Rev. J. W. Snapp, south of Lindsay. In due time the class became the center of Methodist work in Minneapolis. Mrs. Chapman records the following very interesting experience and incident of the early days.

"The first Presbyterian Church was built at Lindsey, and they received as many contributions from the Methodists as from the Presbyterians. They got the church enclosed and the Methodists were to have every alternate Sabbath. They needed more money to furnish the building so they nailed boards to the windows and decided to raise what was needed by giving a dance and had all in readiness when I told them that I would pray to the Lord to blow the building down rather than to dedicate it with a dance. Oh, the burden that was in me that day, and it was as beautiful a day as I ever saw, but just before night there came up a storm and laid the building down to the ground. So they wanted us to give more money.

Well, they got the building up again and of course would still have their dances now in spite of the elements. Another beautiful day and the cooking and the preparation was all done. Of course a few would not amount to much, but we could talk to God and he had said, 'Whatsoever you ask it shall be done if we ask in faith believing.' And, I asked that the building might be blown to the four winds. Oh, such a beautiful day it had been. All was in readiness, and I said, 'Lord, will you have them dedicate it with a dance?' Just before dark a storm came and some of the church went East, some North, some West and some South. The ground where the church had stood was swept as clean as if it had been swept with a broom, and they never got the pieces together again. Houses were moved off their foundations and the next morning it was a sad little town. The pieces that were found were collected together and sold to the highest bidder.

Brother Cooper who lives on Pipe Creek has some of the boards in his house now. This was the first church built in Ottawa County."

The source for this story is found at the MINNEAPOLIS FIRST UMC web site