METHODIST CHURCH HISTORY
Taken from an Historical Sketch of the Methodist Church--1966
The Bennington Methodist Church was formed in the year 1871, about June 1, by Rev. S. J. Kahler of Junction City, Kansas in the home of Daniel Struble, one mile North and one mile East of Bennington known at the time as the Benedict place. The house no longer stands.
The first church consisted of the families of Daniel Struble and W. W. Walker, Sr. Mr. Walker was the father of Mrs. Mary Foster. Mrs. Maggie Boyer Dowling was one of the first to become a member. Those early services were held sometimes in the Struble home and sometimes in the Walker home until the Stanton School House was built, after which they were often held there.
Very soon after its organization, this class was connected with the Solomon circuit and Rev. J. R. Madison of Solomon was the Pastor in 1872, 1873 and 1874. Then William Whitney served the charge in 1875, 1876 and 1877, and Rev. J. W. Denning in 1878 and 1879. In 1880 Bennington was made head of a circuit with Rev. Pittenger as appointed pastor. The church under his ministry was very prosperous and the membership was increased to more than 50 and a neat frame church was built at a cost of $2,200 and dedicated in the fall of 1882 by Rev. Antrim of Salina.
A few years before the building of the church, the organization was moved from the country to Bennington and services were held in the school house which was located South of the railroad tracks.
Among those present at the first dedication were: Mary C. Foster, affectionally known as Grandma Foster, Mrs. Frank Srtuble, Mrs. Maggie Dowling, Mr. and Mrs. George Miller, John Constable, Mrs Warren Shepard, Mrs. John Scott, Mrs. Will Nicholas, Robert Constable, J. W. Kephart and Mrs. Dan Startzman who played for the first dedication and whose father was a carpenter on the first church doing the finishing work. Mrs. Startzman related that she would often ride to church with the Wallaces who drove an ox team to church.
John Constable's father made the first pledge of $50 at the dedication of the first church. Mrs K. S. Shepard, a faithful member, was influential in helping build the first church and gave the bell still in use in memory of her son, Marshall Davis, and furnished most of the lumber for the church.
Through the years many pastors have served the church. In 1904, Rev. J. A. Templin came and was the first pastor to serve five years. The church prospered under his ministry and a parsonage was built. Following from 1909 to 1911, Rev. J. J. Mickey was pastor and during this time the primary room on the South was added to the church. These pastors have accomplished many feats and the wives of all the pastors have been equally loved by the congregations throughout the years as they served faithfully beside their husbands.
In 1937, on April 25, a dedication was held with Rev. J. W. Snapp in charge. It was under Rev. Snapp's leadership the church was encouraged to undertake the building enterprise which we know today.
Many people have worshipped and worked in this church throughout the years
and through their efforts this church has become one of the finest churches
in the community of today. Perhaps one of the finest ministers to
have served this congregation is the present minister, Rev. Olin Belt,
whose friendly ways are greatly loved by the people of this community.