Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 19, 2018

Libertyville: A look back in time

Sep 28, 2017

NOTE: Libertyville will be celebrating its 175th anniversary on Oct. 7. To lead up to the event, the town, its businesses and residents will be sharing highlights from the community’s history.


On Jan. 3, 1846, the same year that Iowa became a state, the Methodist church purchased four acres of land from John and Sophrana Jewitt for the sum of $8.75 to build a place of worship and burial grounds for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1846, Libertyville’s first church was dedicated by “Uncle Billy” Clarridge, a circuit preacher. Some say the church was brick, others say it was log. All clippings agree that it cost $500. It was located four-tenths of a mile from the Libertyville crossroads on the east side of the Douds road.

In 1901, the church was built on East Maple Street, and in 2005, it was torn down an the present church built at 304 E. Maple St. The bell installed in the first church in 1851 still is in use today.

In 1968, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Methodist churches merged and became known as the United Methodist Church.

For many years, Libertyville and Mt. Zion were a two-point charge. Bethesda was added, and it became a three-point charge. For a few years, Pleasant Grove, Fairfield, Bethesda, Mt. Zion and Libertyville were together and were known as the Jefferson County Parish with two ministers and an education coordinator.

On Dec., 17, 1978, both Libertyville and Mt. Zion churches closed and opened again that day as Faith United Methodist Church. The Rev. John Wilken was the minister along with serving as director of Camp Golden Valley.

Later the conference ran Camp Golden Valley and Libertyville and Batavia became a two-point charge. In 2006, the Methodist Conference realigned the district and it became a three-point charge with Birmingham and Stockport. In 2013, Faith Methodist became a single charge with a part-time pastor. Larry Allen is the current pastor serving Faith and New Sweden.

There has been an active women’s group for many years. On Nov. 30, 1896, the Ladies Aid Constitution was signed. In 1968, the Ladies Aid group was changed to the United Methodist Women and still is very active.

The present church has 104 members. Although this is a small church, it is an important part of the community serving local- and worldwide missions.

Small Town — Great Place

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