Other charter members were Mrs. Eliza Wallace and Mrs. James McMillen. From their efforts of ice cream socials, oyster suppers and quiltings the preacher’s salary was aided. Reverend J. B. Ellis, who was pastor of Young’s Chapel, preached once a month.
The minister at this time was receiving $100 per year along with farm produce such as corn, potatoes, butter, eggs, home canned goods, meat, chickens and horse feed. The preacher came with his family in his horse and buggy once a month on his circuit, arriving on Friday for the weekend. He preached Friday night, Saturday night and twice on Sunday. One preacher’s family consisted of nine children, which was a challenge to any member’s home or table.By the 1880’s, Young’s Chapel was on the Westport Circuit with Fairmount, Mizpah (at Hickman Mills), and Mastin Chapel (now Swope Park United Methodist). In 1887, when Mastin Chapel wanted to raise money to build a church, it was decided to have a chicken fry. The families in the churches on the circuit were solicited for cakes, pies, milk, cream, preserves, lard, chickens, and anything else edible (even pure homemade ice cream). It was not uncommon for a farmer to give a dozen chickens or five gallons of lard.
A large ten gallon kettle was hung over an open fire and was half filled with lard. When it was sizzling hot, a wire frame holding a dozen chickens was immersed into the boiling lard until it was the right golden brown. Tables were piled high with all kinds of good country food. Tents were erected for protection and even a rest room provided.
City folk thought they had been on a great lark when they attended one of the Westport Circuit chicken fry dinners. There were no streetcars in those days and people came in wagons, on horseback, by buggy and surrey. The chicken fries became an annual event and lasted past the turn of the century. Similar events, as well as basket dinners, box suppers, socials and picnics took place “on the grounds” of Young’s Chapel.
In the Spring of 1888 the Sunday School was organized in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Hobbs, now designated about 4900 Blue Ridge Boulevard. Mrs. Hobbs organized a class for her own two children, Willie and Bessie, and four children of a German Lutheran family in the neighborhood, Lewis, George, Lottie, and Lena Fehrman, who walked two miles each Sunday to attend. About fifteen cents was collected so very little literature was bought. Mrs. Hobbs taught in her home for four years. As more children attended, they started meeting at the church. For the next five years Sunday School was held in the church only in good weather and on Preaching Sunday — once a month. Twelve was an average attendance with one class for all ages. Mr. George Cassell, father of Mr. Henry Cassell, who was noted for his sweet melodious voice, directed the singing and was accompanied on the old pump organ by his daughter, Dora. Mrs. E. S. Atkinson played this pump organ, also, for many years.
In 1892 the name of the Ladies Aid Society was changed to the Home Missionary Society with Mrs. Josiah G. Hobbs continuing as President. Mrs. Theodore Cassell was Secretary and Mrs. Henry Cassell was Treasurer. Later it was called the Women’s Missionary Society, including the foreign and home fields. For twenty-four years, Mrs. Josiah G. Hobbs continued to serve and President of the women’s group until her death in April of 1907. Mrs. Howard T. Grubb, Mrs. Tom Norfleet, and Mrs. J. B. Sorency served as Presidents. Mrs. Bessie Redford served as President for eighteen years until 1941 when Mrs. A.O. Selover was elected President.
Home Missionary Society Meeting at the home of Mr. & Mrs. James McMillan (Location now 37th Street and Northern)
Christmas programs were always held with a huge cedar tree touching the church ceiling. It was decorated with strings of cranberries and popcorn; apples and oranges with a string through them; and stick candy. Colored ribbons for the girls and mittens or ties for the boys, all items that their mothers could make for them, were some of the gifts under the tree.
By the late 1890’s, the same four churches were on the Raytown Circuit, in the Kansas City District of the Southwest Missouri Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Quarterly meetings were held in alternating churches. These meetings were attended by the Trustees and Stewards of the four churches as well as the P.E. (Presiding Elder) and the P.C. (Preacher in Charge). Reports were made about the Sunday School, the Epworth League (Youth Group), the financial situation of the church, and the spiritual condition of the church. Money that had been raised was brought and the preacher and the Elder were paid. At this time they were attempting to pay the preacher $600 a year, but sometimes fell short. In the report of 1895, he received $88.75 the first quarter, $121.50 the second, $114 for the third quarter, and he was given $269.45 for the fourth quarter. For that year the total was $593.70, so the congregations came close. Obviously, the minister had to plan his spending carefully since he was never sure what he would be paid. The churches also attempted to pay the Elder $56 a year and the Bishop $8. Of course, they would have received monies from other circuits as well. Goals were also set to have $65 for Foreign Missions, $42 for Domestic Missions, $14 for Church Extension, and $10 for Education. Young’s Chapel often led the contributions with amounts ranging from $30 to $50, but they could go as high as $90 or as low as $20. When the weather was severe, crops were bad, or there was sickness in the community, attendance was down and so were contributions.
The Reverends C. T. Wallace, T. B. Harries, and R. L. Pyle led the congregation up to and into the new century. As the country put the Spanish-American War behind them, they looked forward to the 1900’s as a time of great prosperity and expansion. Electric lights were becoming more common, a few folks had telephones, and the word “suburb” was used as people began to think about living out of the city core. However, the area served by Young’s Chapel would stay country for many years to come.
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