The Amherst Methodist Church
July 11 and 12, 1953
In the summer of 1853, "Old Father" Miller, Methodist minister,
formed a class of 9 at Amherst. The following constituted this original
class which marks the beginning of the Amherst Methodist church: Thomas
and Rachel Fleming, William V. and Caroline Fleming, Harriet Fleming,
Phoebe Fleming, Maria Fleming, E. T. Ryerson, and Parmelia Fleming
Ryerson. At the time of the next annual conference, the Amherst Circuit
was formed. It was in the Waupaca District. (We are now in the Appleton
District.) The first Quarterly Conference held for the Amherst Circuit
was held in the Fleming schoolhouse on November 26th and 27th, 1856.
The Sunday school report of July 10th and 11th, 1857, reads:
"Teachers and Officers 8, Scholars 30, Volumes in Library 100; Scholars
in infant class 3; Advocates 12."
The first parsonage was built in 1858. The church was built in 1863.
The building was erected on "the land deeded to the Methodist Society by
Robert Wilson, the father of . . . A. C. Wilson." During the year
1871-72, when T. M. Ross was minister, "some improvements were made upon
the church, such as painting the interior of the building, finishing the
windows and reseating it." During the pastorate of W. Rowbotham,
1886-90, the following improvements were made: "The young people . . .
built a new platform in front of the church at a cost of fifteen
dollars, shingled the roof at a cost of over seventy dollars, put new
blinds to the windows at thirty dollars, built a wood house at the cost
of twenty dollars, bought a new organ at fifty dollars insured the
parsonage at a cost of three dollars . . .. The trustees have paid one
hundred dollars indebtedness on the parsonage and built a new barn at
cost of one hundred and thirty dollars . . . The church building was
remodeled during the pastorate of C. E. Coon, 1918-1922. The church
became quite strong at this time, both numerically and otherwise.
Clarence Hanscom, Centennial guest speaker, served during the year
1927-1928. His emphasis, according to the record, was work among the
young people. The first lady minister to serve the church was Margaret
Osterhuis (now Margaret Wilkinson, Centennial guest speaker), who left a
good record. During the pastorate of William P. Leek in 1939, many
united with the church. The longest pastorate was that of George H.
Willett, who served 7 years, beginning in 1942. John Kendall was the
last pastor before the present one, Arnold H. Nielsen. Mr. Kendall and
those who preceded him laid well the foundation for the work that
followed, for during the succeeding two years the membership of the
church has doubled, and the present building enterprise has been
initiated and carried on.