History of Juniata, Nebraska
From: Past and Present Adams County, Nebraska
Edited by: Judge William R. Burton
Assisted by David J. Lewis
Published By: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago 1916


Juniata, with a population according to the census of 1910 of 471, is located around the center of section 12, township 7, range 11. It lies four miles west of the western extremity of Hastings and the Burlington station at Juniata is seven miles west of the Burlington station in Hastings.

Juniata is the oldest town in Adams County and was the county seat until September, 1878, although the electors had voted for the removal of the county seat to Hastings the year before.

The first settlers around Juniata were a colony from Michigan, at the head of whom were Adna H. Bowen, now residing in Idaho, and Samuel L. Brass. The exact location was determined by two representatives of the Burlington Railroad, D. N. Smith and another man who some of the early settlers recall by the name of Wylsie. The four quarters of section 12 were preempted by Titus Babcock, R. D. Babcock, Isaac Stark and John Stark. The Babcocks were brothers and Isaac Stark was the father of John Stark. These four took their preemptions in February, 1871.

Under each of the four inside corners of the quarters of section 12 the preemptors erected houses which were ready for occupancy about the middle of March, 1871, and these formed the nucleus around which Juniata was built. The houses were built of lumber hauled from Grand Island, and each was 14 by 16 feet and 1 1/2 stories high. These first settlers came to Grand Island over the Union Pacific and then came overland to Juniata bringing their supplies with them. The greatest drawback upon reaching the place was the lack of water, and it was about a month after their arrival before the railroad bored a well for their use at about the present location of the G. A. R. Hall. Until the well was bored, drinking water was hauled from Martin's Ranch on the Platte, a distance of about twenty five miles. Mrs. A. H. Bowen arrived in Juniata February 22, 1871, following her mother, Mrs. Titus Babcock, by only a few days.

The four preemptors of section 12, after receiving their patents from the government, disposed of their holdings to the Burlington Railroad and took up homesteads. The colonists, as stated, were brought from Michigan through the efforts of Mr. Bowen and Mr. Brass, and when the preemptors sold to the railroad every other lot within the town site became the property of Mr. Brass and Mr. Bowen; that is one half of the lots belonged to the railroad, one fourth to Mr. Bowen and one fourth to Mr. Brass.

John and Isaac Stark lived upon their homesteads some four or five years and then returned to Michigan, where John died. Titus Babcock who was the first postmaster of Juniata and also the first judge elected for Adams County, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. A. H. Bowen, in Hastings, February, 1892, and was buried in the Juniata cemetery. His wife had died in Juniata, May 16, 1877. R. D. Babcock is now a resident of San Francisco.


In a letter to the Adams County Old Settlers' Association from Long Beach, Cal., March 6, 1915, contributed from "scraps from a scrapbook and reminiscences of early days in Adams County," that throws light interestingly upon early affairs in the county, writes Mrs. Cole:

"I never shall forget the black prairie as I saw it in 1872, just after a prairie fire had swept over it. To me, coming from Southern Michigan with her clover fields, large houses and larger barns, trees, hills, and running streams, the vast stretches of black prairie, never ending no north, south, east, or west dotted over with tiny unpainted houses and no, I can't say barns but shacks for a cow, and perhaps a yoke of oxen that picture struck such a homesick feeling in my soul it took years to efface. I still see that picture. But it is only in my mind, for time has changed the black prairie into green fields of alfalfa and grain; the tiny dots of houses and outside sheds are gone like the prairie fires, and in their stead stand large comfortable farm houses, and real barns, where not only the spotted cow, called 'Speck,' lives but, in more stately style than oxen or horse, stands the big motor car. Who would have believed it, when in December, 1871, the little town of Juniata was located as the County Seat of Adams County!

"In November, 1871, the Adams County Gazette was first published by R. D. Babcock and C. C. Babcock. The town site contained 360 acres. The first birth in Juniata was John Babcock, 1871. The first sermon preached was in November, 1871, by Rev. J. F. Clarkson, a Congregational minister, in S. L. Brass' home, in April, 1872. The first Sunday school was organized with S. L. Brass as its superintendent. The first school teacher in Juniata was Miss Lizzie Scott. The schoolhouse was built in 1872, by E. M. Allen and Ira G. Dillon. Titus Babcock was the first postmaster, holding the office from 1872 until October, 1881. He was succeeded by William Knickerbocker, who held it one month, when he was succeeded by L. J. Shirley.

"The first railroad train pulled into Juniata the eighth day of June, 1872. It was a joyful occasion, and celebrated by a public dinner. Before this the mail was carried by a carrier from Grand Island and Sutton.

"The very first stock of merchandise brought into Juniata was by John Jacobson, who kept the first hotel; also the first livery stable. In 1872 Frank Mitchel, C. R. Jones and W. H. Burr put in large stocks of goods. The first grain buyers were D. H. Freeman and R. S. Langley. The first clerk employed was Ed Jones. Mrs. Forgv kept the first millinery store. The first meat market was kept by William Twidale; the first drug store by Nathan Platte. The first physician was Dr. Morgan. The first death was a young man who died from being badly frozen while out hunting.

"In 1875 we held our first donation party at the residence of Thomas Peatt, Thursday, October 21, for the benefit of Elder Charles Reilley, the Methodist minister. The committee on invitations was D. H. Freeman S. L. Brass and Mrs. A. V. Cole. I find an account of an entertainment given by Geary G. A. R. Post in 1885, and the first thing on the program was a peek a boo song by little Edna Brass, daughter of S. L. Brass. A pan of beans was voted to the largest man present, 175 votes cast at ten cents a vote; R. S. Langley getting ninety votes and D. R. Ball eighty five. The item says three of the finest looking men in town were voted a cake for being the homeliest, and that Mr. Lockwood got the cake; the defeated men being John T. Hill and L. F. Pickerd.

"But the greatest excitement of the evening was in disposing of a large doll to be voted to the prettiest little girl present. The three year old daughter, Lottie, of Rev. and Mrs. Borger, and a three year old daughter, Bessie, of Mr. and Mrs. George T. Brown, were the contestants. J. M. Sewell had charge of the Borger tickets, E. M. Allen the Brown tickets. Excitement ran high until 2,960 votes were cast, the little Borger girl getting a few votes the more and having a doll costing $296. The entertainment netted the Post $400. The proceeds went toward paying for the new G. A. R. Hall.

"I have said a great deal about Juniata, but I know more about her. Those were our days. I chronicle no more of Juniata, for Hastings, the Queen City of the plains, sprang into existence in 1872, when the St. Joseph & Denver Railroad formed a junction with the Burlington. Her rapid growth soon took from Juniata the county seat, and along with it the only building we had that in any way suggested that we were the honest, legitimate county seat of Adams County. It was the Adams County jail. Such an addition to our town! About as large as a good sized dry goods box, but our hopes were built on nothing less than that every man, woman and child in Hastings would find in it an abiding place. So with wrath in our hearts, and tears in our eyes, we watched it disappear toward the east, and poor Juniata was no more the metropolis of Adams County.

"Today, with loyal hearts, we point with pride to Hastings, the Queen City, and her beautiful little suburb, Juniata, where most of us have spent our hard days, along with many happy ones."

The jail which Mrs. Cole writes of as being hauled away to Hastings still stands in that city, though not as a jail. It is located at 1023 North Saunders Avenue and is an outbuilding on the property of Anthony Hollorau. The jail is built of 2 by 6 limbers and is remarkably well spiked.

In 1872 the first lumber yard was established by Henry Van Allstyn and the first livery barn by Ira G. Dillon. By the beginning of November, 1872, Juniata had fifty residents and about fifteen houses. A. V. Cole arrived in Juniata October 24, 1871. Mr. Cole walked from Sutton. Early in 1873 he established a grocery business and in August of that year Ira G. Dillon opened a general merchandise store and in November S. J. Shirley opened a restaurant. In 1878 Ira G. Dillon erected a grain elevator.


Although Juniata had definitely lost the county seat the year before, 1879 was a year of great business and building activity. William B. Thorne erected a business block at a cost of $15,000, and among those erecting residences were P. B. Hungerford, P. W. Warner, Ray L. Pomeroy, R. S. Langley, H. Barth, Samuel Dodge, Rev. J. W. Dobbs, Rev. H. A. Guild, Ira G. Dillon, William Twidale, D. H. Freeman, Edward Moore, James Laird, A. V. Cole and others. It was estimated that the building operations aggregated $75,000.

January 29, 1883, is the date of the great fire in Juniata when property with an estimated value of $25,000 was destroyed. The fire wiped out the business block south of Tenth Street and facing Juniata Avenue. Among the losers by that fire were A. V. Cole, H. E. Wells, W. D. Sewell, John T. Hill, Adams & Miles, A. T. Showen, William Twidale & Company and Company F, Militia. There was at that time a brickyard in Juniata and the burned area was rebuilt largely from brick of Juniata manufacture. Not long after that the brick business suspended. At present there are nine brick business buildings in the town.

Although the oldest town in the county, Juniata was not incorporated until June 15, 1880, upon the petition of sixty four taxpayers. Ira G. Dillon, S. L. Brass, H. E. Wells, E. M. Allen and L. F. Picard were the first trustees, appointed by the county commissioners. The present trustees. are E. P. Hubbard, J. L. Whitesell, L. F. McFerren, J. W. McHarry and Theodore Trausch.


In common with all of Adams County, and infact all western Nebraska, the settlers around Juniata suffered complete loss of crops by the grasshoppers in 1874. An excellent crop was promising when the grasshoppers descended about 3 o'clock in the afternoon of July 4th. S. P. Howland, who at that time was located on his homestead on the southeast quarter of section 4, township 7, range 11, says that he observed the grasshoppers early in the forenoon but did not realize what they were. They appeared like a peculiar cloud drifting from the northwest and some declared that it was smoke from trains on the Union Pacific.

The grasshoppers alighted about 3 o'clock and by sunset the cornfields were stripped of their blades. The hoppers tarried for three days and left no vestige of a crop. Mr. and Mrs. Howland, made a desperate effort to save an eighth of an acre of onions that they had planted by driving away the hoppers, but off the entire three eighths of an acre they harvested only six bushels of onions. "That fall," narrates Mr. Howland, "all the corn that we gathered from twenty acres was not more than enough to fatten one pig and in addition there would be fodder enough for one cow." All Adams County suffered that year in like degree and it was necessary to distribute relief among the settlers. A. H. Bowen and S. L. Brass were the committee in charge of this work at Juniata.


Many of the settlers around Juniata suffered hardships during the great blizzard of 1873. In this vicinity the storm came driving down from the north about 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the 13th of April. It seemed to be about one hundred yards high and obscured the landscape so that it was practically impossible to get about. On the farms men could not see the outbuildings from the house and had the greatest difficulty in keeping their direction in traveling only a few rods. Indeed, they could not always do so as the instance of George Sanger shows.

Mr. Sanger had paid $150 for a yoke of oxen and they were in his barn eight miles northeast of Juniata. The storm which had begun Sunday afternoon had not abated on Monday morning, and Mr. Sanger resolved to make his way out to the barn to feed the oxen. The barn was about twenty rods east of the house. When he reached the barn he found that one of the oxen was dead, smothered by the snow. When he had cared for the remaining ox Mr. Sanger started to return to the house. After taking a dozen steps, he could see neither house nor barn. There was nothing but the swirling, white snow and the unbroken roar of the wind. In a short time he was bewildered, lost all conception of direction and wandered helplessly in the storm. He went with the wind and by chance came to the school yard of District Fourteen. He did not know where he was but happened to stumble against an outhouse that stood in the school yard. All but exhausted and with nothing to eat Mr. Sanger stumbled into the outbuilding. Here he stood up until Wednesday evening when the storm abated and he was rescued, more dead than alive: This is but one of many cases of endurance resulting from the great storm.


From the earliest days of Adams County's history Juniata has been prominent as a milling town. The first mill was built in 1874 by R. S. Langley and D. H. Freeman & Company. Juniata precinct voted $6,000 in bonds almost as soon as the county was organized to aid in the building of a flour mill. The bonds were not paid, however, and the matter was taken to the district court where it was held that the bonds were illegal because the district had superseded its authority when it issued bonds in aid of a private enterprise. The cost of the mill was about $12,000.

When the mill was completed it was placed under a mortgage of $8,000 which was held by Nordyke, Marmon & Company, of Indianapolis. The mortgage was foreclosed and the property sold at sheriff's sale and bought by S. W. Clarke. Later, in the settlement of William B. Thorne, the mill, as a part of the Thorne estate, was turned over to Adams County and in January, 1890, it was purchased by Oliver E. Palmer for $2,100. In 1892 the mill was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt by George Collins but afterwards was taken over by Mr. Palmer who operated the mill until it was purchased by the present owner, W. H. DeSanno, in 1901. Mr. DeSanno was an experienced miller before coming to Juniata from Beemer, Nebraska.

In 1907 the Juniata flour mill was destroyed by lightning and the present plant was at once erected. When the mill was rebuilt during 1908, Mr. DeSanno's son, H. C. DeSanno, installed an electric light and power plant in connection with the mill. The electric light plant has flourished until at present there are about one hundred consumers, and the village streets are well lighted with about twenty five street lights. The Juniata roller mills have a grinding capacity of sixty barrels of flour per day.


The Juniata Grain & Livestock Association is an important farmers' cooperative institution that operates both grain elevators and the stockyards at Juniata. It was originally incorporated January 25, 1897, with the following incorporators: J. A. Cates, W. J. Cotes, O. Rutler, Ephraim Weeks, Albert Meeham, W. H. Stephens. John Parr, George W. Hall and George Pratt. At this time the capital stock authorized was not less than $250 nor more than $2,000. At first the association operated only one elevator, but for a number of years it has handled all the grain and livestock shipped from Juniata.

Some time after the first incorporation the association was reorganized with a capital stock of $10,000. This time the incorporators were R. J. Ashmore, E. J. Hanchett, A. P. Slack, W. H. Waldron, T. G. Whiting, Ephraim Weeks and J. L. Blue. E. P. Hubbard is the present manager of the assoeiation.

Juniata was surveyed by Ansehuo B. Smith and by that survey, made in November, 1871, South Street forms the south line of the town with the streets numbered from First to Tenth running parallel to South Street. South and North Depot streets run on their respective sides of the Burlington Railroad track. Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth streets run east and west north of the Burlington track.

The avenues running north and south, beginning 160 feet east of the west line of survey, are named Platte, Blue, Juniata, Adams, Bowen and Brass.


Titus Babcock was the first postmaster in Juniata, receiving the appointment in April, 1872, at a salary of one dollar per month. In 1881 William Knickerbocker was appointed, but only occupied the office one month before being succeeded by S. J. Shirley. Samuel L. Brass succeeded Mr. Shirley and in December, 1889, D. V. Stephens succeeded Mr. Brass. W. E. Shaver received the next appointment and was succeeded by I. H. Rickel who was postmaster for nearly seventeen years. Mr. Rickel was succeeded by the present postmaster, Henry L. Sergeant, who received his commission October 1, 1914.


The Juniata cemetery, located on section 11, about one mile west of Juniata, is the oldest cemetery in Adams County and a number of the very earliest settlers rest in this ground. The first cemetery association was organized in 1873 and was composed of Titus Babcock, Daniel V. Stephens, J. H. Freeman and B. F. Smith. William B. Thorne, originally donated the ground, but it afterwards passed out of Mr. Thorne's hands and the association was compelled to pay forty dollars per acre for the cemetery to successors of Mr. Thorne, getting a deed for the property in 1884. The cemetery comprises twenty acres and is well kept. Mrs. David Bigelow was the first to be buried in Juniata cemetery; this was early in 1873.


In the early days because the schoolhouses were the social centers of the communities it was common to name them and they were known by these names rather than by the district numbers as at present. District 16 was Pleasant Hill, district 36, Liberty, and district 49 was Hazel Dell. Mrs. S. D. Marsh of Juniata has written a sketch of the Hazel Dell District which reveals much of the circumstances surrounding the formation of the early schools.

"The Hazel Dell School District," writes Mrs. Marsh, "was organized in 1873. It was a part of what was at that time the 'Watkins district.' My father, F. M. Thompson, was elected director; Tole Morehouse, moderator, and a Mr. Bonebrake, treasurer. These officers were elected temporarily, or until the regular annual meeting was held.

"In April, 1874, a special meeting was called to vote bonds to build the schoolhouse and the next summer agents for school furniture were numerous all over the state, saying 'Build good schoolhouses. The railroad company will have them paid for before the homesteaders' land becomes taxable.'

"But my father opposed extravagance. Some districts built before there were any children to send to school and used the school houses for dance halls. Mr. A. A. White deeded a plot of land to the Hazel Dell School District on section 31, town 7, range 11, to be theirs as long as it would be used for school purposes. The first proposal for bonds was for $2,500, and the bonds failed to carry. Next $2,000 were voted only for it to be found later that they were illegal. only fifteen days' notice having been given while the law called for twenty.

"The matter was voted upon again in April; 1874, and $1,000 was voted to build the schoolhouse and pay the teacher who was to get a salary of twenty dollars per month. I believe that my father built the schoolhouse, and I remember the grasshoppers came and ate all the corners off as the paint was green. Don't laugh, for this is true. and they also ate great holes in the workmen's shirts as they worked one day.

"Miss Pine, of Iowa, was hired as teacher to teach the first three months, beginning September, 1874. There were four boys and one girl enrolled, myself being the girl. The other children in the district were without shoes to attend.

"The first regular school meeting elected F. M. Thompson director. Mr. Bonebrake moderator and Sake Gates treasurer. The schoolhouse served as church and Sunday school building and social meeting place for years, and with a little added on stands today as a schoolhouse for the children and the grandchildren of some of its earliest pupils." Hazel Dell is now district 41.


It was near the Liberty schoolhouse, district 36, that a tragedy took place in the winter of 1884 when Harrison Young, a young man of the district, was killed. Irvin Faribee, another young man of the district, was paying court to Young's sister, Belle Young, and bad feeling was aroused between the two young men at a eharivari held in the neighborhood and Young forbade Faribee to keep company with his sister. All the parties concerned were high spirited Kentuckians and young Faribee paid no heed to Young's warning. One evening, a short time after, Faribee escorted Belle home from a social meeting held in the Liberty schoolhouse and upon leaving the schoolhouse encountered Harrison Young.

In the quarrel that followed Young made a movement which Faribee took to be a reaching for a gun or knife, and quickly clenching his fist struck Young upon the jaw. Young fell and did not arise. Others with Faribee then carried him to the nearby homestead of Benjamin Armitage. It was found that Young was dead. Farihee gave himself up and in the ensuing trial was acquitted. Belle Young now lives in Kansas and Faribee in the west.


Juniata Lodge, No. 79, I. O. O. F., was organized by charter from the Grand Lodge of the state February 11, 1880, with the following charter members: George T. Brown, S. L. Brass, Horace Goble, Benjamin F. Smith, Josiah Hodges, Hugh A. Moreland, William Spade, John E. Adams, James F. Kelley and N. H. Manzee. B. F. Smith was the first noble grand and S. L. Brass the first secretary. Officers elect are E. P. Hubbard, noble grand; George W. Long, vice grand; W. H. DeSanno, treasurer, and Charles L. Ziegler, secretary. The present membership is fifty five.

Rebekah Lodge, No. 43, which was chartered January 1, 1889, gave up its charter in 1913.


Corinthian Lodge No. 71, Knights of Pythias, was transferred by charter from Kenesaw to Juniata, November 28, 1898, and reorganized with the following as charter members by installation:

E. C. Rickel, J. M. Parrott, W. A. Morse, D. E. Flowers, A. H. Langjahr, W. J. Coats, C. H. Partridge, E. G. Angell, W. C. Frew, L. A. Spriggle, George T. Brown, Seth D. Marsh, R. A. Wall, R. A. Cullen, F. C. Lancaster, Ed Willett, W. M. Beebe, L. D. Swiss, W. A. Julian, I. H. Rickel. The last four by card. George W. Bivens is the present chancellor commander and I. H. Rickel keeper of records and seals.


The following extract from a manuscript left by Rev. O. A. Buzzell sketches the early history of the Baptist Church in Juniata:

"On July 26, 1872," Mr. Buzzell wrote, "in the office of the Adams County Gazette, a building which stood on the lot now occupied by J. T. Hill's grocery, the building having some years later been removed to Hastings, several persons of Juniata with seven others living southeasterly from Juniata, assembled for the purpose of forming a Baptist Church, there being then no such church in Adams County.

"Dr. J. N. Webb, state missionary of the Baptist Home Mission Society, was present and acted as moderator of the meeting. After due consideration an organization was effected and officers chosen as follows: Titus Babcock, moderator; Dr. Charles M. Morgan, clerk. Articles of religion and church covenant were adopted. But the brethren from the southeast had not brought their letters with them. Their membership, therefore, was to be perfected by depositing their letters with the clerk, which they failed to do, or even to come any more to the meeting of the church. Over a year passed without any additions, and the failure of those from the southeast left the church with only three members, Dr. C. M. Morgan, and Mr. and Mrs. Titus Babcock.

"During that first year we were occasionally favored with preaching by Mr. Weaver, who lived at the Platte river, and others. On September 7, 1873, Rev. D. H. Babcock and wife united with the church, and on November 2d, following, Caroline Clute became a member by letter from Dundee, Michigan. July 5, 1874, Eliza T. Howland, from Hudson, Michigan, and Addie L. Brown, from Vinton, Iowa, united by letter. So we closed the second year with eight members.

"Rev. D. H. Babcock commenced preaching services with the church at this time each alternate week. November 29, 1874, D. M. Griswold and wife, and Clarence, Lettia and Perrnelia Griswold, were received by letter from the church in Gardner, Illinois. January 24, 1875, Jessie Vliet united on letter from St. Louis Church, Michigan. J. R. Van Houten and wife united on letter from Crown Point, Indiana. The third year closed with sixteen members. September 5, 1875, the church joined the Grand Island Association at their session at Hastings. Number of members, fifteen.

"February 27, 1876, A. H. Brown was received into the church by baptism. In the fall of 1875, Rev. D. H. Babcock went to Iowa and the church was without regular preaching until May 1, 1876, when Rev. A. H. Guild came under appointment of the Home Mission Society for one year. On April 12, 1876, Brother Griswold and family, five in number, were dismissed to aid in forming the Mayflower Church. The year closed with fifteen members. September 8, 1876, the church was represented at the Grand Island Association at Gibbon. Number of members, fourteen.

"May 16, 1877, Thankful M. Babcock, one of the constituent members of the church, departed this life. June 10, 1877, Isaac W. Stark, Laura Stark and Mrs. Simeon Johnston were received into the church by baptism. Rev. O. A. Buzzell was called to the pastorate of the church to commence October 1, 1877, to preach one half of the time in Juniata. February 11, 1878, the church decided to build a house of worship with the dimensions 24 by 40 feet, and elected trustees and building committee to carry out the arrangement. This church was dedicated December 15, 1878. October 8, 1878, Rev. O. A. Buzzell was called to the pastorate for another year and November 30, 1878, James C. Van Houten was elected deacon. During February and March, 1879, Rev. Buzzell, assisted by Rev. I. Carson, conducted a revival service.

"Grand Island Association met with the Juniata Church, September 12, 1879, and on December 6th, the Rev. Mr. Rockwood was employed as pastor for six months, to serve each alternate Sunday. September 5, 1880, the church selected delegates to attend the association at Edgar.

"In June, 1881, the Rev. Mr. Bradt of Morgan Park Seminary was engaged as supply during the summer vacation. In November. 1881, the church was represented in a convention at Glenville in which a new association, the South Platte, was formed, and on February 22, 1882, the quarterly meeting of the South Platte Association met with the Juniata Church.

"June 4, 1882, Rev. O. A. Buzzell and wife on their request were granted a letter of dismissal for the purpose of organizing the Baptist Church at Bladen and Rev. E. Carson of Gibbon, preached for the congregation at Juniata during the summer."

The Rev. Mr. Buzzell summarized the growth of membership in the first ten years of the history of the church as follows: First year, three; second, eight; third, sixteen; fourth, fifteen; fifth, twenty one; sixth, twenty eight; seventh, forty two; eighth, thirty eight; ninth, thirty eight; tenth, forty.

In the fall of 1916 the Baptists of Juniata began the erection of a new church house which is one of the best appointed of the smaller churches of the county. In the basement provision is made for cooking and attending to the social needs in other respects. Much of the work was done by the congregation. The church will cost, when completed, about $6,000.

In addition to the ministers mentioned in the account of the Rev. Mr. Buzzell the following have served the church: Revs. Tinkham, Hands, W. H. Brodt, Armstrong, T. Hill, I. D. Newell, Amos Shattuck. Laslette, Hill, O. W. Davis, McCullough, Snyder, S. Miller, J. A. Leonard, Baker, and the present pastor, Rev. T. O. McMinn.


The Methodist Episcopal Church of Juniata was organized April 14, 1872, by the Rev. R. H. Crane who was a pioneer of Methodism throughout the new western country. The first services were held in the temporary school building erected by Ira G. Dillon and E. M. Allen. A movement looking toward the erection of a church building was inaugurated in the latter part of 1873, but progress was not rapid and the church was not completed until 1875. July, 1875, the church was dedicated, the dedicatory sermon was preached by Professor E. Thompson, afterwards the principal of an educational institution at York.

The church, which has been remodeled and enlarged, is still in use. The original building was one story high and its dimensions were 30 by 60 feet. The cost was $3,000. The auditorium was furnished with comfortable chairs and these with the altar and well designed platform and stained glass windows made a very encouraging beginning for Methodism in the new country. An addition was built to the church in 1907, and the church is being remodeled at the present time, 1916. An addition was built to the parsonage in 1913 and it has been again greatly improved since the conference in September, 1916.

Among the charter members were John Grove, M. D. Hammond, William Ring, Francis Chapman, George M. McIntyre, Alice Sluyter, Ida Garlick, Orrin Balcom, Phoebe Balcom, A. C. Wright, Maria Wright, Owen Adams, Samuel Saulsbury, Ellen Saulsbury, Frank Hall. with John Musser as exhorter.

Mr. C. Balcom was appointed the first class leader in July, 1873. At the time of organization the membership was about fifty and has grown until it now numbers 148. The Ladies Aid Society has thirty five members. The Sunday School was instituted in 1877 with fifty members. T. J. Adams was the first superintendent. The present trustees of the church property are George Long, Henry Sergeant, C. Newell, H. C. Hoover, C. G. Craven and Fred Lancaster. The stewards are Mrs. C. G. Craven, Mrs. E. Bolton, Mrs. Ida Lancaster. George Long, Charles Craven.

The following pastors have served the church: R. H. Crane, A. H. Summers, J. W. Dobbs, W. J. Barger, George M. Jones, George S. Burbank, 1894 to 1895; E. J. Bird, 1895 to 1897; E. F. Wolff, 1897 to 1900; A. W. Coffman, 1900 to 1901; G. M. Andrews, 1901 to 1903; J. E. Rippetoe, 1903 to 1905; T. M. C. Birmingham, 1905 to 1906; B. L. Story, 1906 to 1907; K. P. Kilbourn, 1907 to 1908; O. C. Carson, 1908 to 1909; J. E. Gains, 1911; J. S. Mercer, 1911 to 1912; John T. Rowen, 1912 to 1913; M. S. Foutch, 1914 to 1916. The present pastor, H. A. Laeger, has served since September, 1916.


The Church Of The Brethren of Juniata was organized under the general name of The German Baptist Brethren. But the name was changed to the present designation a few years ago at one of the international conferences. A church house of the denomination was built at a cost of $1,200 early in the summer of 1893 and dedicated that season.

The Juniata church was organized December 17, 1892, with David Bechtelheimer as first elder, and William A. Gish, J. D. Lemon and Robert Ashmore as trustees. William A. Gish was the first treasurer and Belle Lemon the first clerk.

The charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. David Bechtelheimer, Polly Bechtelheimer, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Kind. Mary Kind, Michael Liveringhouse, Lydia Liveringhouse, Susan Smith, Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Lemon, S. Belle Lemon, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ashmore, Dora Ashmore, Sarah McFerrin, Emma Liveringhouse, Thomas Liveringhouse, Cora Liveringhouse, Jacob Dague, Ella Dague, William A. Gish, Sarah Gish, Lillie Panzer, Ida N. Gish, Francis Gish, Bertie Gish, John Gish and Charles Statler.

The following have been the elders in charge of the church: David Bechtelheimer, 1892-93; G. W. Stambaugh, 1893-97; J. J. Kind, 1897-98; Charles Smith, 1898-1900; J. B. Moore, 1900-08; George Mishler, 1908-09; C. Hargleroad, 1909-12; P. F. Grabill, 1913-14: C Hargleroad, 1913-14; J. J. Panzer, 1914-16.

During these years the ministerial work has fallen to others as pastors a part of the time, even while some of the foregoing have been elder or bishop of the church. The ministers who have been pastors in such instances have been: J. D. Lemon, A. S. Nickey, C. E. Lemon, Noah Fisher, C. Faber. H. D. Michael is the present pastor and has served the church since June, 1915.

The present trustees are Louie McFerrin, J. D. Lemon and George Blankenbiller; Louie McFerrin, treasurer; Belle Lemon, clerk. The present membership is thirty.

During the latter part of 1916, the church was moved to a more convenient location, and was repaired and remodeled at an approximate cost of $500.

Return to [ Adams County ] [ NE History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [Adams County Biographies ]

All pages copyright 2009. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy