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Abbyville, Abbyville UMC

 Collection — Container: Folder
Identifier: KUMA-01-1306

Scope and Contents

Folder 1: Abbyville UMC, 1886-1991 1886 church charter; warranty deeds (1891, 1900, 1904); bill of sale (1933) for church building moved to Abbyville site after original church destroyed by fire; 1940 Amendment to Articles of Incorporation for name change from “Methodist Episcopal Church (Abbyville Chapel)” to “Abbyville Methodist Church;” newspaper clippings, church bulletins/orders of service; brief histories and lists of ministers (1962, 1984, and one undated); conference reports (full and partial) 1966-1972, 1979. Folder 2: Abbyville UMC, 1904, 1998-2001 Order of service for closing services on November 19, 2000; resolution to close; contact list of former ministers to be invited to closing service; newspaper articles related to closing; legal documents (mostly related to 2000 closing, but also parsonage sale (1997) and quit claim deed (1904); correspondence (1999-2001); Articles of Agreement (1999); church conference returns 1998-2000. Correspondence includes eight sheets of faxes on thermal paper with faded print.


  • Existence: 1886-2001
  • Record Keeping: Majority of material found in 1886-1991, 1998-2000


Biographical or Historical Information

Methodism in Abbyville dates back to 1881. Before the existence of a church building, meetings were held in a schoolhouse across from the later church site, but sometimes also at the Eden Prairie School. The first church was built in 1892. Three denominations (Baptists, Methodists, Christians) shared the building for a short time. According to a short history in this collection, “doctrines were strongly preached and clashes were encountered,” and the Baptists and Christians eventually found different places for worship. The church was in the Newton District from 1893-1910; it was then placed jn the Hutchinson District. At least two ministers (J. O. Bridgeman; Rev. Romine) served the Abbyville members before the construction of the first church, but Stephen Brink was first minister appointed to Abbyville; his charges included Bethel, Fairview, and Eden Prairie as well as Abbyville. The church was remodeled and dedicated in 1910; a new parsonage was built in 1926 or 1927. In December 1931 the church suffered a disastrous fire: “[Dick] Ehling said he remembers the community pulling together nearly 70 years ago, when an overzealous pastor stacked too many cottonwood logs in the firebox of the church furnace before a Christmas program. ‘That thing was glowing like a neon tube…. My folks came home and said it was just too much, that he was going to burn it down, and that night, it went up in flames,’ he recalled. But a vacant church in Pretty Prairie was found and moved to the site, and the first worship service was held in it in 1933.” (“Church gathering for a final service,” Wichita Eagle, Nov. 19, 2000.) The new church was “remodeled and enlarged” after its move, according to a 1962 history. In contrast to the account of the replacement church building being moved to Abbyville from Pretty Prairie (Reno County), a bill of sale dated March 22, 1933, indicates that it was the Lebanon M. E. Church building in Kingman County, Kansas, that was donated by the trustees and moved to Abbyville after the fire. In 1939, the Ladies’ Aid and the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society united, forming the Women’s Society of Christian Service. Charges were formed as follows: In 1937, Abbyville and Partridge were placed under one charge; in 1953, Fairview was placed with Abbyville after the Partridge Community Church was reorganized. Later, Plevna was placed with the Abbyville charge. In 1957, Arlington and Abbyville united; Plevna Community Church organized. In 1940, the church changed its name from Methodist Episcopal Church (Abbyville Chappel [sic], Abbyville Kansas, to Abbyville Methodist Church, Abbyville, Kansas. In 1968, it became the Abbyville United Methodist Church. Discussions began in the late 1990s on the future of the church. A merger with the Abbyville Christian Church was considered, but as members of the proposed new church preferred an independent status, rather than being part of the United Methodist Church, the plan changed. Accordingly, the Abbyville UMC held a final service and deconsecration on November 19, 2000. The church building is now owned by the nondenominational Abbyville Community Church.

Note written by Sarah St. John


2.00 folders

Language of Materials



This collection includes documents from the Abbyville United Methodist Church, Abbyville, Reno County, Kansas. During its history the church was also known as "The Methodist Episcopal Church (Abbyville Chapel)" and the "Abbyville Methodist Church."

Arrangement Note

The collection arrived in a rough-sorted arrangement. The current arrangement keeps the origial date divisions (1886-1991 in folder 1; 1998-2001 in folder 2) except for one quit claim deed (1904) that is included with the legal sale documents in folder 2. The correspondence series and church conference returns series in Folder 2 are separate; otherwise, the documents in both folders are in reverse chronological order, with undated items on top.

Bre Wasinger, Sarah St. John
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker University and Kansas United Methodist Archives Repository

518 8th Street
PO Box 65
Baldwin City KS 66006 US