Dunlap Prospect United Methodist Church
Friday, March 24, 2017
Prospect United Methodist Church of Dunlap, Illinois, was formed by the merger of the Methodist Church and the Prospect Presbyterian Church. Both churches had long contributed to the life of the Dunlap community, and their histories serve as a solid foundation for Prospect.
Dunlap Methodist Church
The Dunlap Methodist Church dates back to 1884 when the Methodist Minister at Kickapoo, traveling by horseback, began holding services in the Grange Hall. It soon was decided that a church should be built. A committee consisting of the minister, Rev. George A. Weber; John Jackson, Sr.; Malon Brassfield; and John Potter, Sr. was formed. Work on the building progressed quickly, and the Dunlap Episcopal church — located at the NW corner of Third and Elm — was dedicated Sunday, November 2, 1885, under the direction of Rev. Weber.
The Dunlap Methodist Episcopal church was ably served not only by resident ministers but also by student ministers. In 1927, student Frank Davies was assigned to Dunlap and Edwards, which were connected at the time. After Davies had completed his ministerial studies, he married and served as a missionary in Chile and Peru. His successor, a student named Cecil Lockard, served the Dunlap Church until his graduation from seminary in 1931.
In 1936, the Dunlap Methodist Episcopal Church was connected with the Princeville Methodist Episcopal Church. The minister, Rev. Austin A. Rodgers, lived in Princeville. Under Rev. Rodgers' leadership, work on expanding the church's facilities began in January 1938. They added a basement with a kitchen and new space for Sunday School classes and social activities. The renovations also included the installation of a new furnace, refurbishing the auditorium, and painting the building's exterior. All the work was completed by volunteers and culminated with a dedication on May 15, 1938. Church membership was 156 at this time. It was in 1939, during the pastorate of Rev. Rodgers, that the church became The Methodist Church, which was the result of the union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
From 1936 until 1962, the Dunlap Methodist Church continued to be connected with the Princeville Methodist Church. In 1962, resident minister Rev. Roy Doll was appointed to the Dunlap church. As the membership grew and its activities increased, the need for a larger church building became apparent. Members of the Prospect Presbyterian Church and Dunlap Methodist Church discussed the possibility of combining forces to build a new church. Their dream was realized on May 22, 1963, when the two churches merged.
In 1970, the deteriorating church building was torn down with the bell being removed and placed in front of Prospect United Methodist.
Prospect Presbyterian Church
In about 1848, Presbyterians who had mostly settled here from the panhandle of West Virginia would drive by horse and buggy to Princeville for church services. Later, they began holding services conducted by visiting ministers in a rural schoolhouse at a site east of the first corner north of what is now the town of Dunlap. An application was made to the Presbytery to organize a church and was granted. A committee consisting of Rev. Addison Coffee of Peoria, Rev. Robert Breese of Princeville, and Elder Henry Schnebly of Peoria was established. On June 8, 1850, the committee met the congregation in the schoolhouse and the organization was accomplished. Before the church was organized, many names were discussed. Dr. Yates remarked, "We have nothing yet to name, for our church is yet in prospect." Whereupon the name "Prospect" was unanimously chosen for the new church.
As the congregation grew, there was need for a larger building. Adam Yates donated about five acres of ground from the southeast corner of his farm north of Dunlap for the site for Prospect Presbyterian Church and Prospect Cemetery. (After the merger of Prospect Presbyterian Church and Dunlap Methodist Church, Prospect Cemetery ceased to be under the church's jurisdiction). The lumber for the church was sent from Chicago canal boat to Chillicothe, which was hauled to the building site by men of the congregation and their teams of horses. The church — originally 36 x 48-feet — was completed and dedicated in June 1854, four years after the organization of the congregation as Prospect Presbyterian Church; it cost of $1,400. In 1867, thirty acres just east of the church were purchased and a house for the minister built there.
Worship services were held in the church north of Dunlap until 1877, after which they were held in a new church edifice in Dunlap. The lot was partly donated by the town's founder, Alva Dunlap, and the new building at the NE corner of Third and Birch cost of $5,100. The church was dedicated during the pastorate of Rev. John Winn. In 1878, the parsonage, along with its thirty acres, was sold and the proceeds applied to the cost of a replacement erected a block west of the new church in Dunlap. Around 1891, during a Sunday evening service, a cyclone lifted the tall spire from the roof top.
As the congregation grew, more room was needed for church activities. To fulfill this need an annex was built in 1919.
The celebration of the 100th anniversary of Prospect Presbyterian Church was held June 9-11, 1950, during the pastorate of student minister Rev. Marion Floyd. He and his wife lived in Dunlap while he completed his courses at McCormick Seminary.
The last of the many ministers who served Prospect Presbyterian Church before the merger was Rev. Paul Jassimides, who served October 1956 to October 1962. The following year, Prospect Presbyterian Church merged with Dunlap Methodist Church.
In July 1967, the Prospect Presbyterian church was sold to Dunlap High School for $9,500. In June 1973, the high school sold the remaining contents of the church for $588 and had it demolished. One of the 19 stained glass windows was donated to Prospect United Methodist.
Prospect United Methodist Church
Rev. Roy M. Doll
Rev. David Hervey, Stated Supply
Spring 1853–Aug. 1855
Apr. 1856– Apr. 1857
Died Mar. 1858 (buried Prospect Cemetery)
June 1858–June 1863 (buried Prospect Cemetery)
Served short term.
Winter 1864–Spring 1866
Dec. 1866–Spring 1871
Spring 1872–Oct. 1877 (Mrs. buried in Prospect Cemetery)
1896–1898 / 1896–1904
Served short term.
Served short terms.
Jan. 1926–May 1927
June 1927–Aug. 1930
Feb. 1931–Nov. 1933
Aug. 1934–Oct. 1938 (Buried Prospect Cemetery)
Mar. 1939–May 1943
Oct. 1943–Apr. 1947
Student 1948; Ordained 1951; Left May 1952
Student 1952; Pastor 1954–Oct. 1955
Oct. 1956 - Oct. 1962
George W. Weber