The First United Methodist Church was started in May, 1870 following a meeting in the W.G. Graham home. Dr. Graham, Fannie T. Graham, and F.M. Graham met with Reverend B.C. Schwartz at that time. Six more persons joined and a church was started in September on a lot donated by the Winfield Town Company. This church, built on Ninth Street east of the present Courier building, was constructed of donated materials from the Graham sawmill and by labor of the little congregation. It is said that Fannie Graham sawed some of the lumber for the church.
The building was later used as a saloon and grocery store. Their first pastor, Rev. J.O. Smith, walked all the way from Paola. This first church building served the organization only six years and in 1876, a new church was started at the corner of Tenth and Millington. A stone building with a spire 100 feet high was dedicated in 1877. Ironically, a windstorm wrecked the new steeple the next month. It was repaired but never was raised to its former height.
Another new church was built in 1907, this time of Winfield limestone. It had three towers with battlement tops and three principal entrances through these towers. Its beautiful stained glass were a feature that was saved and incorporated into the present building. In 1966, the old church was razed and a fourth church was built on the same site. The end of a century found church membership at 1,107. The church has had four parsonages, the present one being acquired in April, 1957.
Submitted by Jerre W. Nolte
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