Lavaca Methodist Church

Submitted by Lynn Risener

Organized October 1870

Anna Bo West on the right and Mrs Ollie Berkley on the left after church during WWII.
They had lunch for the soldiers after Sunday morning services.

A Brief History of Lavaca Methodist Church
Information taken from a church centennial celebration booklet from 1970

According to records left by Mr. P.B. Coker, father of the late J.E. Coker, deceased: The first Methodist Society was organized at Oak Bower (former name of Lavaca) in October 1870 with six members. Rev. W.M. Granada, pastor of the Ft. Smith circuit was in charge. M.L. Ahault was appointed leader and later was elected steward.

A short time later Rev. S.S. Key became the first appointed pastor. On December 9, 1871 the Methodist Chruch of Oak Bower was organized as a church conference of the Ft. Smith District. Again Rev. H.M. Granade was presiding with Rev. S.S. Key, the pastor and P.B. Coker was elected secetary. Some of the members pressent were M.L. Ahault, W.W. Woodruff, James Yarbrough and several others. The first quarterly conference was October 25, 1873.

The first church house was a small box house built in 1871 and used by both Methodist and Baptist. Some present members remember hearing their partents say the land this building was built on and the first cemetery grounds were donated by W.W. Woodruff. We were told that he was the grandfather of Emmitt Ray's mother, Mrs. J.B. Ray, whose husband, J.B. Ray was the pastor of this Church in 1919.

In 1890 a frame building was erected and was used until destroyed by a wind storm in 1915. In 1916 the present brick building was built to house the congregation.

The W.S.C.S. was organized in 1921. The Epworth League was organized in 1915 with Dayton Brewer as president.

Early Pastors of Lavaca Methodist:
Organizer: Rev. H.M. Granade, 1870
First Pastor: Rev. S.S. Key 1871
P.B. Burke 1873
G.W. Damon 1876
C.W. Wyatt 1878
J.Loving 1884
W.M. Baldwin 1889
J.A. Peoples 1890
S.F. Goddard 1891
J.W. Weaver 1899
J.A. Russell 1901