Mina Young on the beginnings of the Newcastle Wyoming Assembly of God Church

My memories of the start of Newcastle Assembly of God Church

by Mina Young, edited by Charles Young

The church really started with a series of evangelistic meetings in perhaps 1928 or 1929. The story spans several years, and is part 2 of my life story. Afterwards I will pick up with the rest of my life's story after high school (part 3).

MEETINGS IN CITY HALL: I think it was before I graduated from high school, a couple of young men came to Newcastle, Wyoming and rented the city hall for evangelistic meetings with the idea of starting an Assemblies of God church. Merril Johnson was 15 and did the preaching. He played the piano and tenor Mandola -- a string instrument that might be called a cross between mandolin and guitar. He also played some other instruments. The other older man, Nygaard, a 30 something Norwegian from Minnesota, played the banjo and guitar and some other things. It was new and exciting, but it finally gelled down to a few people who got saved and started a church. That summer I just knelt down by my bed one day and said, "Lord if I'm not saved I want to be," and that was it.

It seems like the church rented a building on the south side of Main street where it ended at Dow's Garage. I think it was an old firehouse that we were in. It was near the library and courthouse which were on the north side of Main Street.

PASTORS: The next pastor was Brother Hanson. Melvin Hodges held a revival during that time. Things weren't picking up, and Brother Hanson left to get married. We didn't have a church for a while, but a few people kept hanging on. One of the main supporters was Ariel MacIntosh.

Ariel tried to get Melvin Hodges to pastor the church. They were holding a revival at Lance Creek or down by Lusk, Wyoming. They had finished the meeting and were going to go back to Loveland, Colorado. On the way out they stopped at the mail box and found a letter from Ariel asking them to come pastor the church. They stopped right there and prayed about which way they should go, and they came back to Newcastle. They were young with 2 little girls, Mariam was about 3 and Phyllis was 1. Someone found them a room to rent and they got the church going again. At some point a church building was built maybe 3 or 4 blocks south of Main Street. Brother Hodges later said that there were only three Assembly of God churches in Wyoming at the time.

This photo of the Hodges family was taken from a missionary prayer card. Sometime after the Hodges' left Newcastle, they became missionaries. His book, "On the Mission Field: The Indigenous Church" defines the Assemblies of God philosophy of starting churches, training leaders, and getting out of the way to allow churches to be self supporting and self governing.

Melvin Hodges family
Melvin Hodges family
  Mr. and Mrs. Melvin L. Hodges
Lois Miriam, and Phyllis Ann

Foreign address:
Mision Evangelica, Apartado 4
Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Central America

Home address;
Fort Collins, Colorado.

SUNDAY SCHOOL: We started having Sunday School during that time. There were 2 classes, adult and children. I was the children's teacher. Meetings moved from City Hall to a store front facing the railroad depot.

CAMP MEETINGS: The Summer of 1933 I was at the Fort Collins, Colorado camp meeting, and the man I was going with, Floyd Hicks, was there too. One day we skipped camp meeting and my cousin Clarence Stenberg and his wife Polly took us up to the mountains to Fall River Pass.

I attended the 1934 Rocky Mountain District (Colorado, Wyoming and Utah) camp meeting in Fort Morgan, Colorado. I received the Holy Spirit baptism along with 119 other people during those meetings which lasted for 10 days.

This is a photo of Sunday School -- about 1935. That is me on the far right.

Vacation Bible School 1935

Just before time for District Council in Denver, the Hodges decided it was time for them to leave Newcastle. They made arrangements for Sis. Hodges sister, Ester Crews, and her co-worker, Helen Byrum (Bynum?), to take over the church. The Hodges left in 1933 the day after my mother died, so Uncle Fred made arrangements with a 7th Day Adventist preacher for the funeral.

Helen Byrum left to get married, and Martha Kummerfeld came to take her place.

Leonard Lanphere was the next pastor. They had 4 sons. Leonard Jr. became a missionary. During the Lanphere's pastorate a church building was built. Unfortunately after a few years, he left the church and left his wife. The district sent an older man named Mabry to pastor the church for a while.

The next pastors were Jake and Alice "Jane" Schaffer. The summer of 1938 (or close to that year), Sister Schaffer and I wrote the lesson plans for 3 or 4 classes for Vacation Bible School. That was a last minute thing, because we thought that someone else was organizing the VBS.

Jake and Alice Schaffer
Jane and Jake Schaffer
Jacklyn and Joyce
Alice Blythe, Mina Young 1998
Alice and Mina 1998
Jake is now deceased. Jane married Earl Blythe. I have kept in touch with Jane (now goes by Alice) and have visited her a few times. Alice Blythe's testimony and brief life story.
Elmer & Bernice Burry were the next pastors. They left for a while and pastored there again later. They had 2 sons. The Burry's were there when my Dad died.

Elmer Burry and family
Elmer Burry and family
Mabel Brown and Helen Cox held revival meetings and may have also pastored for a while.

Mabel Brown and Helen Cox
Mabel Brown, Helen Cox
After I went to Springfield, Howard Cummings pastored a while. Taylor was another pastor.
My memories of some of the people of the church and Newcastle

Roy and Goldie Stevens were part of the church. They had a girl named Lois May. When she was about 4, someone gave her a dollar. She looked at it in disgust and said "you can buy candy with a penny, but what can you do with an old dollar?"

I visited the church a few times years later. My roommate from Springfield, Flora Sprinkle, and I visited the church in the late 1940's.

In 1967 Charles and I took a trip west and spent a few days in Newcastle. We visited with Muriel Whitney and daughters. (Muriel and I had been the only young people in the church for a time.) Charles played violin duets with Bro. Copley. That was when Charles started playing harmony on the violin. Bro. Copley took us to Perino's where we spent a night. We also stayed with Thelma McCullough.

Other church friends and stories are found in the next part.

Marvin N. McDaniel writes about 1st Assembly of God in Newcastle, Wyoming - via email August 2017

My dad William Neil McDaniel pastored the church from the late 40's until we moved to Springfield, Missouri in 1956.

I remember the original church building was moved to the next town, I think it was Osage, Wy.  Then Dad built what is now the present building. We lived next door in what I think is still the original parsonage. I remember carrying blocks to Dad during the construction.

In addition to pastoring the church, Dad was a hunting guide and took many of the executives of AG from Springfield hunting. Dad moved from Ohio to Newcastle I think around 1945 and attended a Bible School north of town.

You mentioned John and Mary Ann Perino.  I stayed with them one time with a friend Gary Wilson.  (That was an experience). His family was members of the church too. There were 2 sisters in the church that were close to our family.  Beda and Antonette  Jacobson. In late 60's when Antonette died, Dad moved Beda and her niece to Springfield where they later died.

Betty McCullah, Marvin McDaniel's sister - via email August 2017, bettymccullah at gmail.com

Dad moved to Wyoming to be Dean at the Bible School. H J Smith (Harold James) was married to dad's cousin, Sarah Wiseman. I think H J was the head of the school, located at what is known now as the Flying V. It was July 1947 that they were elected pastors of the church and we moved into Newcastle May 1949.  They were pastors there for 10 years and we moved to Springfield in 1956. By the way, J D Smith is still living at the Smith Ranch across from the Flying V. I stay in touch with Carolyn. 

After we moved to Springfield, the hunters formed a hunting club "The Wilderness Rangers." J Phillip Hogan, Gene Hogan, C C Burnett, Bartlett Peterson, D V Hurst, (DV died last December) Wesley Hurst, Fred Leston, and dad. They had a great time in their hunting trips to Wyoming and trail rides in Colorado. Dad told me many times that on the trail rides with Phil Hogan they would take their Bibles and sit under a tree, read and talk for several hours in the evenings. We had some great examples in our lives growing up. These guys had so much fun getting together.

We had the hide of a black bear dad had shot. He bragged to Bartlett Peterson about it and the first time we went to their house, Bartlett had his bear hide on the floor or the wall and it was probably twice the size of dad's or more. He didn't brag anymore about it. I think Bartlett got his in Alaska? A big sucker!

Antonette died in 1976 and Beda and Frances moved to Springfield in 1978. Beda died in 1995 and Frances in 2000. Beda took Frances to live with them when Frances' mother died in 1946. They lived at the Bible School (now the Flying V). Antonette moved to Newcastle in 1952 from Minneapolis. Antonette and her sister Hilda were servants (Antonette cook and Hilda housekeeper) for a wealthy couple.  We drove to Minneapolis as a family to move Antonette to Newcastle. It was about that time Beda bought the Delmar Hotel. I remember when they moved into the Delmar but I was young.

John and Marianna Perino lived at Moon, SD. We had a lot of church functions (picnics, winter fun, calf branding) at their farm. John helped dad move to Springfield with his truck. He died in 1969 in a tractor accident at his farm. (I think he was plowing snow and the tractor fell on him). Mariann moved to Iowa to live with her sister Mary Sick and Mary Ann died in 1994. I remember that Howard Copley was a carpenter and did a lot of work for Beda over the years. I remember Earl and Thelma McCullough too.

When the Newcastle church had an anniversary celebration, I think 1991--my dad and his wife took Lois Hodges with them from Springfield to Newcastle. She really enjoyed being there. Melvin died in 1988 and Lois in 2011. I remember him well from the missions department at AG headquarters. I worked in the travel agency and we did all of the missions department travel at that time.

The Shaffer's also pastored at Glad Tidings in Springfield and were good friends with my first in-laws. I remember Bro Burry, or at least his name from dad talking about him. Taylor Davis took a couple of Holy Land trips through the travel agency so I remember that name. His daughter Joy (born mid 50's) was working at headquarters fut her husband (Mark Wootton) was just appointed President of Bethel College in Hampton, VA.

The Esther Crews this story mentions---could she be related to Lois Hodges? Her maiden name was Crews? I still stay in touch with Howard and Margie Cummings. They live in Aurora CO. Dear friends of the family and of Beda's. Beda was living with me when she died. She was like a second mother to us kids. Frances was mentally challenged-about like an 8-10 year old. I was her guardian after Beda died. Frances lived in a group home about 25 year in Springfield. I still stay in touch with Gary Wilson and Carolyn (Rich) Shields in Newcastle. I think the Wilson's came to the church in the early 50's. Maybe Rich's about the same time too. Gary was my first boyfriend and Marvin's playmate. Jim Shields (Carolyn's husband) was from a large family for the Osage area. Both the Rich's and Shields's had LARGE families. Also stay in touch with Cora Ferguson Miller. She now lives in Washington state. More church history can be found in the book "Weston County The First 100 Years" published in 1988.

Oh this brings back so many memories. Nice to think about. Thanks for caring about Newcastle. I still consider Newcastle as where I am from. Love that town and the people.

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