The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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for some two years.  During the year 1885 Rev J. McPherin accepted a call to supply the church.  He held his first session meeting in September 1885 and continued to supply the church for three years.  On account of failing health he has been compelled to retire from active ministry.  His home is at present in Omaha, Nebraska.  In the year 1888 Rev. A. T. Aller entered into the engagement with the church to supply the pulpit.  His first session meeting was held April 1, of same year.  Rev. Aller remained in charge of the church for two years.  He is at present pastor of the Presbyterian church of Hays City, Kansas. 

The organization of the Presbyterian church at Calvert, which took place November 7, 1889, drew heavily upon the membership of the Norton church as many members of the Norton church lived near Calvert and very naturally went into that organization.  In 1892 Rev. W. C. Axer entered upon his duties as stated supply of the church and remained in charge for one year.  He is at present in charge of the Presbyterian church at Clinton, Kansas.  Rev A. C. Keeler, of Iowa, became Rev. Axer's successor entering upon his duties as stated supply July 1, 1893 which position he still holds.  Rev. Keeler was born in Burlington, Iowa, December 5, 1848 and has spent more than twenty years of his life in the ministry.  The Presbyterian church of Norton though not as strong financially as some other churches in the city is nevertheless in a prosperous condition. 

It is difficult to get all the data of the early history of Methodism in the city of Norton. 

Old Mr. Vance, father of the Vance brothers so well known to the earlier settlers, undoubtedly preached the first sermon sometime in 1874.  The first class was organized by R. A. Seymour, a local preacher, May 20, 1876.  Seymour preached here until about July, 1878, when he resigned and Brother Enyard, now preaching in Phillips county, filled the remaining part of the year, or until conference convened which was in March 1879; the conference then sent W. A. Saville, well known to some of us as a splendid all around man.  Saville stayed two years and was succeeded by Thomas Crouch, who remained but a short time when the Presiding Elder sent J. W. Graham as a supply.  Graham was an eloquent and enthusiastic preacher and being of Southern blood would as soon fight for a right principle as pray for it.  He was succeeded by W. J. Meredith, who together with his wife will long be remembered as a working and exemplary pair.  H. M. Mayo, a young man from Baker University, came next and preached one year.  In the mean time thinking his work could be made more effective went east and returned with a beautiful bride and the church said Amen. 

The growth of Methodism had been so great and sister denominations were rapidly building up.  The good people of the church thought the time had come when Norton should be made a station; prior to this time it had been a circuit with Norton, Dry Creek, Hillmon, Long Branch and Lyle as appointments.  The brothers also thought we ought to have a preacher sent us that could maintain himself with the preacher of one other church at this place and upon petition the conference sent us E. H. Fleisher, who, we are proud to say, did his work faithfully and well.  At the expiration of two years the pulpit so ably filled by Brother Fleisher was equally well filled for the next two years by L. O Housel of Sigourney, Iowa, and he was succeeded by W. R. Pierce a faithful, energetic worker beyond his physical ability.  Brother Pierce was succeeded by J. L. King the present pastor who is just entering on his fourth year. 

The first place where preaching services were held was in a log house that stood on the west side of State

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