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March 2, 1995

Mrs. Jo Vawter was good enough recently to give me Xerox copy of a very old and interesting directory published by the Perry Methodist Episcopal church on the happy occasion of their 28th anniversary, Oct. 15, 1921. The cover lists the pastor as Rev. William H. Beers, and though we share the same unusual last name, I am not aware of any close family relationship. However, we always say we must be relates whenever someone with that name shows up, so since this was a man held in high esteem I will guess that the two of us must have had a common ancestry.

Several things about this 74-year-old directory are interesting. Pastor Beers, whose handsome profile is pictured in a foreword along with his greetings, had this comment: "Your desire, my desire, is a living, working church. This can come only through a close cooperation in all the work. Let us pull together and success will be ours for the Kingdom." His admonition must have been well received. The Methodists are certainly continuing to build a living, working church here.

Some of the local businesses whose advertisements helped make the directory possible were the Exchange Bank, F. G. Moore, president, and H. A. McCandless, cashier; Treeman & Munger, coal, feed, seed and paint, telephone No. 6; Garvey Bros., successors to Morrison Dry Goods; Houston-McCune Lbr. Co., phone 142 or "Ask Ralph;" Crowder & Johnson sanitary grocery on the east side of the square; City Drug Store, Victrolas & Records, the Rexall store; The Model shoe & clothing company; Fred Kretsch variety goods and groceries on the west side; A. C. Lamb optician and jewelry; the Lobsitz Hwde. Co.; C. J. Lindeman grocery, 28 years of reliability; and Doyle & Sons poultry, eggs and cream.

In a history of the church contained in the directory, it is noted that the first regular Methodist church service was held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, 1893, in the Banks and Wade building on the north side of the square, "the same now (in 1921) occupied by the Hemsworth Furniture store." Rev. Thos. Wolcott preached the sermon. Mr. Wolcott was transferred from the Missouri conference to take charge of the mission work in Perry and "P" county, O. T. Mr. Wolcott was on the ground here at noon on Sept. 16, 1893, the day the Cherokee Strip was opened to settlement.

On the following Sunday, Oct. 15, Rev. Wolcott preached again in the same place and organized a class of ten members. That was the beginning of the Perry church, the brochure states.

In 1921, when the 28th anniversary brochure was compiled, some of the church officers were Mrs. H. L Boyes, Sunday school superintendent; Fay Thompson, Epworth League president; Mrs. George W. Sims, president of the Ladies' Aid; trustees were John W. Yoce, president; M. L. Crowder, secretary-treasurer; along with members, P. W. Cress, Guy C. Dayton, H. L. Boyes, Jessie Marsh, E. T. Whitney, Clark Seton and Charles Keil. Stewards were George W. Sims, president; M. B. Shulz, secretary; and members, Henry Henriksen, W. T Faris, A. A. Ballard, Everett Nelson, Ben Wiehe, Rebecca Wilkins, Mrs. Frank Wyatt, Fay Thompson and Paul Harding, centenary.

The schedule of services each Sunday was Sunday school at 9:45 a.m.; morning worship, 11; Junior League, 5:30 p.m.; Epworth League, 6:30; and evening sermon, 7:30. Prayer and Bible study were held each Wednesday night at 7:30.

Although all the membership is not listed in the portion of he directory I have, I can tell you that several saints of the church in that day left an indelible impression not only on their church, but on the community as a whole. Many of the family names are still familiar because they left us a legacy of children and other heirs. Reading such material can only strengthen one's pride and love for this community where we live. Thanks, Mrs. Vawter, for providing this directory.