HISTORY OF CASCO (SALEM) UNITED METHODIST CHURCH By: Mrs. Kenneth (Joan) Roehrs, church historian for the 100th anniversary celebration - 1971
At the third quarterly conference held at Zion Methodist Church, Leslie, Missouri, on June 17, 1871, it was decided that the members in the Port Hudson community would organize a new church and, later that year, the Salem Methodist Church was built. Members appointed for the building committee were: Henry Hockemeier (Hockmeyer), Fredrick Bohmer, and Franz Stolte; the land was given by Anton Ludwig Krueger.
The new church originally belonged to the Union circuit, later called Beaufort, and at a later date was changed to Leslie circuit. Trustees appointed for this new church were: Franz Stolte, Johann H. Krueger, Fredrick Bohmer, Wilhelm Hannemann and Henry Hockemeier (Hockemeyer). Among the first members of this new church were the families of Johann Girhring, Johann H. Krueger. Fredrick Bermann, Philllp Bohnenkamp, Fredrick Bohmer, August Bohmer, Wilhelm Hannemann, Franz Stolte, Henry Schmeideskamp, Christopher Twelker, Henry and Fredrick Hockemeier, August Rethmeyer, Fredrick and Bernhard Struewe, Herman Wiemeier, Herman Sickman and Fredrick Dingerson.
A school building was built at the church site in which German was taught for many years. This building has been used in the past years for storage, and in the last few years as a dining place when various events are held at the church.
In 1935 the church was redecorated; the walls and benches were painted, the roof and outside trim was also repainted. Several years later the spire was struck by lightning and badly damaged. Repairs were made by Emil Klingsick of Union, Missouri. New books were purchased by members and friends of the church.
February, 1959, the congregation was asked to attend services at Leslie so the pastor, D. E. Finley, could go to Union to help start a new church; members agreed to attend church at Leslie so a new church could be organized. At this time the pastor thought it advisable to join Leslie church and close Salem's doors. At quarterly conference the district superintendent, Dr. M. G. Joyce, was very much opposed to this move and advised the members to keep the church open if it was not a burden to the members.
In February, 1961, remodeling was started, the old wooden floor and rotted joists were torn out and a gravel fill was put in, over which a concrete floor was poured; the walls were repaired by filling in cracks and patching where plaster had fallen out; the walls, window frames and sills were repainted; a new ceiling was installed; the old altar rail was removed, refinished and replaced across the front of the church. Electricity was installed and electric lights were made from the old coal oil lamps that had been mounted on the walls. The wood used to mount the lights was cut from native timber, turned out on a lathe by a member of the congregation, Kenneth Roehrs. Many useful and necessary items were donated by members of the church: a pulpit and altar was built by Edgar Wiekhorst of New Haven, and donated by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs and family; picture and frame, donated by Mr. and Mrs. William J. Biermann, frame made by Mr. Wiekhorst; candleholders and offering plates, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Biermann and family; communion tray, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Sullentrup and family; hymn and collection register, pulpit light, and altar cross were made and given to the church by Mr. Wiekhorst.
Some of the carpenter work was hired, but most of it was donated by members and friends of the church.
On December 22, 1961, a gas furnace was installed and a 500 gallon gas tank purchased. On June 30, 1962, a rug was laid on the chancel at a cost of $325.00 of which $300. 00 was paid from the Ladies' Aid and $25.00 by William J. Biermann.
December 5, 1966, a Kinsmen electric organ was purchased for the sum of $526.10. The Ladies' Aid gave $375. 00. The rest was given in memorials for Mrs. Gustave (Amelia) Rethmeyer and Mrs. William (Sophia) Rethmeyer; also Mr. and Mrs. William J. Biermann and Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs. The organ previously used in the worship services was sold to Mr. Robert Miller of St. Louis for the sum of $100. Mr. Miller's grandmother had been organist for the congregation in the 1880's and 1890's (nee Anna E. Hockemeyer). His great grandfather Hockemeyer had hauled the organ, when it was new, on a sled from the railroad station at New Haven. Other members who have played this manual organ for church services are: Miss Alma Stolte, Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs, Misses Anna and Suzanne Sullentrup.
In December of 1970, benches were given to the church by the Port Hudson Lutheran Church. A disasterous thunderstorm on December 30, 1969, forced them to remodel; this was a gift very much appreciated from fellow Christians.
In October. 1970, a foundation was poured to begin erection of a new addition to the church, consisting of a kitchen, dining area, and rest-rooms. In January, 1971, the outside walls were built. As time and weather permitted, the roof was put on and inside work began. The sounds of hammers and saws could be heard sometimes late into the night, as men, women, and children of the congregation, friends and neighbors of the church put in many hours of labor. Approximately forty hours of labor was hired; the rest was all donated, mostly by the members.
On Saturday. March 20, 1971, the brick on the front entrance was laid up by Lawrence Sullentrup, Wilbert Biermann, and Kenneth Roehrs. Mortar was mixed by Larry Sullentrup, William J. Biermann and Kevin Paul Roehrs.
May 27, 1971, tile was laid on the kitchen floor. Following this, the stove. refrigerator, and sink were put in working order. On June 7, 1971, tile was laid on the floor in the dining area. Working on this project was Lawrence Sullentrup. Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs, and Kevin Roehrs. Mrs. William J. Biermann, Mrs. Ella Roehrs, Sharon and Lisa Roehrs were on kitchen duty cleaning and putting away dishes and preparing the noon meal.
Concrete was poured for the outside steps on May 29, 1971. Men working on this job were William J. Biermann, Wilbert Biermann, Keith Biermann, Kenneth Roehrs, and Kevin Roehrs.
On May 24, 1971, remodeling of the church was started. The chimney was torn out from the front of the church. On May 26, 1971, the paneling was placed on the lower part of the walls and across the front. This work was done by William J. Biermann, Lawrence Sullentrup, Kenneth Roehrs, and Raymond Harris. The walls were painted, window trim and doors were painted. Doing the painting was Mrs. Lawrence Sullentrup, Miss Suzanne Sullentrup, Mrs. Wilbert Blermann, Mrs. Ella Roehrs, and Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs. The cross at the front of the church was made by Keith Biermann. The outside painting of windows and shutters was done also; this task was completed by Mrs. Wllbert Biermann, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Biermann. and Mrs. Ella Roehrs. Plumbing and electrical wiring was done by Kenneth Roehrs. Others helping on the improvements at various times were: Clarence Brockmann, David Brockrmann, Daniel Scheer, Armin Gerdes, Harold Deppermann, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Harris, Elmer Stephens, Harold Morhaus, Donald Biermann, Aaron Scheer, William Meise, Mrs. Edgar Evert, Willard Hoemann, and Walter Stephens.
Sunday school has been held throughout the years for the adults and children. The first Sunday school superintendent was Fred Struewe; following him was Miss Alma Stolte. In 1953 the present superintendent, Wilbert Biermann, was elected. In 1953 a Sunday school was again started with Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs as the teacher with three students, Anna Sullentrup, Suzanne Sullentrup, and Keith Biermann. In 1959 Mrs. Wilbert Biermann started to teach, followed by Miss Anna Sullentrup and then again by Mrs. Kenneth Roehre. In 1971 three classes were started with Mrs. Lawrence Sullentrup teaching junior class; Mrs. Wilbert Biermann, primary-junior; and Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs, kindergarten and primary. Miss Alma Stolte was teacher of the adult class from 1953 to 1968. From 1958 to 1960 pastors and class members alternated teaching duties. The class is now taught by Wilbert Biermann.
On December 25, 1960, during the regular church services, a Christmas program was presented by the Sunday school class. This was the first program presented for many years; since 1960, at Christmas time, a large tree has graced the front of the church and a Christmas program has been presented on December 22, by the young people and adults, and for a few years with the help of Kathy Evert, Allen and David Brockmann, and Debbie and Gary Meyer.
In 1935 a ladies' aid was organized. The first meeting was held on June 26, 1936, with nine members present, and Rev. J. H. Wubben as pastor. Officers elected were: Mrs. Allen Roehrs, president; Mrs. Gustave Rethmeyer, vice president; Miss Wilma Blermann, secretary-treasurer. Charter members were: Mrs. W. J. Biermann, Miss Wilma Biermann, Mrs. Allen Roehrs, Mrs. Gustave Rethmeyer, Mrs. William Rethmeyer, Mrs. William Stolte, Mrs. Louis Kaase, Mrs. Frank Kormeier. and Mrs. J. H. Wubben. The first meeting was held in the home of Mrs. Allen Roehrs and her mother, Mrs. William Rethmeyer. This Aid has twelve members at the present time, namely Mrs. Wilbert Blermann, Mrs. William J. Biermann, Mrs. William H. Biermann, Mrs. Clarence Brookmann, Mrs. Gilbert Brune, Mrs. Willard Hoemann. Mrs. Louis Kaase, Mrs. Frank Kormeier, Mrs. Wirron McGee, Mrs. Ella Roehrs, Mrs. Kenneth Roehrs, and Mrs. Lawrence Sullentrup. Officers at the present time are: President, Mrs. Kenneth Roebrs; vice president, Mrs. Lawrence Sullentrup; secretary, Mrs. William J. Biermann; and Mrs. Wllbert Biermann, treasurer. Over the years many money making projects have been held such as: serving at farm sales, bake sales, apple butter cookings, selling of fancy work and quilting. Meetings, were held in the homes once a month until June 8, 1971, which meeting was held in the new addition to the church. Monies made by the ladies have been used for various church projects. Some of the improvements that have been made over the years are a new rug on the chancel and electric organ. Donations have been given to Leslie W. S. C. S. for repairs and improvements on the parsonage, and to other organizations, and to needy persons. The latest project was the new addition to the church.
We have prepared and planned for this day, the church was redecorated, repaired, and a new building was added for the enjoyment of today and hopefully for many days and years to come.
In the past one hundred years, many have passed through the doors of Casco. Some glad and joyous occasions were held here; other times were times of mourning; but whatever the occasion, God was always present, and may it be so in the years to come.
Many thanks go to friends, neighbors, members, and especially to the Ladies' Aid in providing money, time, and physical labor, and to the news media--local radio station, and newspapers. Special thanks to Rev, and Mrs. Wirron McGee for their encouragement and spiritual guidance; to our guest speakers, District Superintendent Dr. Berlyn V. Farris, Dr. Herman H. Luetzow, and Dr. John L. Wood; also Miss Lorretta Smith for the sketches of the church; Mr. Allen Brockmann and Keith Biermann for the use of the sound equipment; the Casco United Church of Christ for the use of folding chairs and tableware; Leslie United Methodist Church for the use of song books; and to the ladles who helped prepare and serve the noon meal, To many others we say thank you for making this centennial a happy and blessed occasion.
"Feeling their religious freedom outraged by the pastor of the Evangelical Church, those who had attended the prayer meetings of Reverend Benjamin Link came together and organized the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church" (Casco Methodist Church). -- George Hockmeyer. More church history
"It seemed as though we were entering another age, isolated and forgotten by time." -- Robert Miller describing his boyhood first encounter with an antique pump organ still in the small country church where it had been for nearly a century. His grandmother had been the church's first organist. Mr. Miller's story
[an error occurred while processing this directive] since 2003