Groups for Youth of the Church
Compiled by Donna Jacobs

      Pleasant Grove had active young people from its early beginnings. Family life in the late 1800's and early 1900's was very much centered around the local community church. In the early days the young people formed what was called the Epworth League. Their meetings were held on Sunday evenings. In the summer most walked to the church. In the winter many of them skated to the meetings on the frozen Skunk River. Ida, Nora and Bertha Jacobs some times came on their fathers's old grey mule named Gyp.

      This was a busy group of young people. They held ice cream socials, special programs for the church and community and had activities such as bob sled rides to entertain themselves. The Epworth League was called on many times to pay the preacher. They had a three act play called "Cranberry Corners" that they especially enjoyed performing. They raised enough money with these performances to purchase the pulpit that we have in the church today. It is believed that this was in 1913.

      On Sunday mornings for Sunday School and also for Epworth meetings on Sunday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sowers used to sing duets. They called it "note singing". They did not sing the words. The children called it Do-Re-Me-Fa. Occasionally a couple named Taylor would play guitar and violin for the services.

      All holidays were special times. Christmas and Easter were especially important to the church and the families of the community. Easter Services always had a program by the children of the church and every girl had a new dress, sometimes homemade. Christmas and Easter were the times the families usually spent money for new clothes for the children, or otherwise they waited until they outgrew what they had before buying something else to wear. If you had brothers and sisters, you were expected to wear the clothes that your older sibling had out grown. These items were called "hand-me-downs".

      One Christmas, Santa got stuck trying to crawl in the northwest window of the church. Santa that year was John Hill. Sam Ballard got behind him and pushed him into the church. The children especially enjoyed this as they would today. This was before the basement was put under the church so the windows were not as high off the ground as they are today. The Christmas tree for the front of the church was cut from the timber area around the church. Usually that was a job assigned to the men, although many times the ladies felt they needed to supervise in order to get a nice tree, otherwise the men might just cut the first cedar they came to. Some times the ladies thought that a bigger tree should have been chosen. One year, three church ladies decided that they could pick a bigger and better tree themselves. Norma Keltner, Wanda Rahto and Donna Jacobs scouted the area for the perfect tree. When they found it, a neighbor named Harry Neilson came by and cut it down for them. They stuffed as much of the tree as possible into their station wagon and proceeded to the church. When they tree finally got the tree through the church doors and set up front it was too tall even for the high ceilings in the church and had to be shortened, but I still think it was the most beautiful Christmas tree we ever had.

      Christmas has always been a special treat for the congregation, even today. Children were the center of this time of year and always a part of the church service. Children usually presented a Christmas pageant. Sometimes the adults took part. Former Sunday School members will still comment on the year that it was their turn to be Mary or Joseph. Readings were usually memorized to be recited at the program by the children.

      Santa usually came with treats for the children and some of the men of the church knew about when he would come ahead of time. As children became older they would guess who Santa was. One year, I remember, a couple of young boys, who were at the age to doubt who Santa was, were absolutely positive that it would be their Uncle Glen Keltner. So when Santa came down the stairs to the basement to hand out treats they said they knew it was just their Uncle. Much to their surprise, their Uncle came down the stairs behind Santa. That year the Santa was Wayne Osborn. What fun it was to see the surprise on their faces.

      During one winter morning, a man and his wife were on their way to church. They came with a team of horses pulling a sled. I am told this was a double sled fastened together in the middle. The box was not on the sled so the husband sat in front and drove the team and his wife sat on the back bolster.

      On the way, the middle section came unhooked and the woman was left behind. Her husband, whose hearing was not good, could not hear her calling him to stop, so he proceeded on to the church without her. He did not realize she was missing until he reached the church! Some neighbors came along and gave her a ride the rest of the way to the church. I wonder if the couple sat together in church that morning?

      In the early 1900's, Indians used to camp in the Skunk River and Bear Creek areas near the church and north in the river valley. In 1904, one lady recalled walking to Sunday School with her sisters and being afraid of the Indians. They were friendly but the children were not sure they were, especially the young girls. The sisters remembered making big pockets of their long skirts and filling them with wild plums. When they would see the Indians they would give them the plums and run for home.

      There is a list of choir members for the years 1910-1915. Their names were: Cleo, Frank, Hattie and Margaret Bond; Veva Kersey; Bertha, Nora and Ida Jacobs; Gertrude Harper; Si Thompson; Howard Davis; Walter and Ethel Halstead and Myrtle Morgan. Organist at this time was Casper Thompson who remained organist at Pleasant Grove for almost 50 years. Choir director was George W. Sowers. During this time the choir was known around the area for their talent in presenting beautiful music.

      In 1914, the Pleasant Grove Orchestra was organized. The members were: Casper Thompson, organ; Ernest Sanders, Cornet; Howard Davis, Cornet; Frank Davis, Bass; Walter Halstead, Cornet; Albie Banks, Drum; Silas Thompson, Trombone; and Olive Teigland. They practiced and played at the church and the country club. The Pleasant Grove Country Club was a group of neighbors from the community who would get together, taking turns meeting at members' homes. They would have entertainment, usually by the children, or readings by members and sometimes they would move the furniture out, take up the rugs and the orchestra would play for dances.

Additional historical documents:
Church History Main Page My Church, a poem by Stella Roberts
Volunteers, a poem by Stella Roberts A Tribute to Our Pioneer Folks, a poem by Dorothy Sowers Bielefeldt
Homecoming Association Church History: Founding Families
Youth Organizations Special Ceremonies
Church History: 1874 to 1933 Church History: 1939 to WWII
Church History: 1950 to 1964 Church History: 1973 to Today
Church History: Baptisms Church History: Early Membership Roll
Pastors and Official Members, 1892 to 1895 Record of Pastors