The Spratt Methodist Church

One Fine Day in 1921

Left to Right

Row I: (Nearest to Front) Emory McGirr, * , Alice McGirr (handwritten), Ellen McGirr-Ferguson, *, *, *, Myrtle Allen, *, Elain Collins-Wegmeyer, standing with white dress; to left of Elaine’s shoulder, four boys -  Ted Spragg, Buzz Spragg, Charlie Brandenburg, Russell Socia, Right of standing girl – Olive Allen, Thelma Black-Baker, Vocalist Sam Young & child, *, Sebert Black, Ethel Black-Dant, *, Nelson Herron, *, *, *, *, *, *, Frances Richmond, *, Cecil Black, *.

Row II

*, Albert McGirr, white tie; Herman Sleeper, Frank Herron, Maud Kingsley-Spragg, (seated) Mrs. Ernie Eagle & child, Mrs Vern Freeman, Lilly Duncan-Sleeper & child, Georgina Black & Francis, Mrs. Sam Bates & child, Mrs. Lloyd English, & child, Bernice Pethrick, Irwin Girl, Minister’s wife Mrs. Soller, Clara Duncan-DIlts, Nellie Duncan & Eileen, Children to right of step between Row I & II *, *, *, *, Winifred Black, *, Alberta Brandenburg, Girl with arm on stwp Margaret Barton-Shuell, Louise Richmond-Black, Guest of Ostranders, Lorraine Richmond, *, Irene Allen, *, *, *.


Man standing holding baby in white – Vern Freeman & child, Albert Shuell & child, Sam Bates & child, Russell Black, Lloyd English & child, Alice Black-Duncan, Manatee Spragg-Eagle, Ruth Spragg Goodrich, Vera Spragg-Goodrich, Mable Brandenburg, Leonard Black – child on railing, Mrs. Dan Kindt, Mrs Issac King, Gertie King, child & Mrs. Archie Curtis, Child & Archie Curtis, Mrs Albert Bates, *, Mrs. Minnie Spragg, Dean Eagle, Jane Spragg, *, Ernie Eagle.


Standing at church Siding

Billie Irwin, Roy King, Charlie Gaasch, Harlow Herron, Meryl Sleeper (Myra Herron says this is Harvey Herron, Harlo’s younger brother. I think I’m inclined to agree), John McGirr – tall man at door, Myrtle Collins, Fred Collins, Mrs. John McGirr – arm’s folded, Mrs. Eph Richmond, Lloyd Richmond, Maud Black, Andrew Menary, Mrs. Fred Herron,  *, Fred Herron, Jennie Smith, Phoebe McGirr & baby, Dan Kindt, Doyle Dant & child, John Black & Alma, *, Earl Richmond.  Phot By Rev. Zoller. 127 in picture.

* Name Unknown

I have a very high resolution scan of this photo that I can provide on CD - it is too large to be e-mailed.  I will probably have to charge $5.00 or something like that to cover costs.  I can give a .jpg photo that is around 50 MB or a PhotoShop Elements file that is around 150 MB, or both.  It is mad from two half photo scans that I made from a print that I borrowed from Mrs. Bill Ryan, one of Cecil Black's daughters.  I spliced them together and did a bit of mild editing to hide the seam.  It will look like this photo but it has tremendous detail - and the print will be rather large, on the order of 15 inches wide.


The first recorded preaching in the Community was during 1894.  Services were held in the school house.  After several funerals, Albert Bate’s in particular, the people made plans for a building rather than using the school house or homes for funerals.  In 1911 John Black donated the timbers which were sawed at Stoddard’s mill.  People of all faiths donated their time.  Some remembered names are Wm. & Andrew Menery, Bert & Geo. Chabot, Alonzo Allen, Malory Davis, Geo. & Frank Herron, and Sam & Silas Bates.  In 1917 more timbers were donated and sawed at Elevere’s (by employee Herman Sleeper).  These were made into shingle bolts for the church roof.  Helping at this large bee were Bill Duncan, Frank English, Alec Richmond, and those of the 1912 crew.  Memories have probably forgotten some names, but it is remembered that during the roofing one man fell.

Many ladies helped with the church.  The first organist was Mrs. Cully.  Maud Black also played and did so until her death.  Other women were Barbara Herron, Emma Duncan, Laura English, Mrs. Morgan, and the Shuell family.  The women quilted and had suppers.  The quilts ($5. a quilt) and other donations bought pulp paper to paper the church walls.

The ministers stayed near the Wilson church at the Werth Rd. and Herron Rd. corners.  The minister and his wife usually spent Saturday or Sunday night at The John Black home before the long trip by horse and buggy back to Wilson.  In 1921 a special series of meetings were held by Rev. Zoller.  Folks came from Spratt, Wilson and Beaver Lake Areas.  One picture has 127 in attendance.  The minister, his wife and a special song leader, Sam Young stayed with the John Black family.

At times the church would be without a minister.  To keep the church open, neighbors tried their hand at preaching.  Two of these were Dan Kindt and Adam Cripps.  The original owner, Mr. McCurr, took back the land at one time when the church was closed.  In the 1930’s Rev. Joe & Helen Floreck from the Berea Assembly of God Church came and preached the entire summer.  They were well liked.  Since there was a well at the school house, they had a small trailer and stayed there.  At times, when we had no pastor, the Free Methodist pastor would serve for funerals. 

During the early 1940’s Rev. Howard Slaate filled in our pulpit.  At a time in the 1930’s Rev. Francis was the minister.  The minister at the time our church was built was the very well-liked Rev. Walker.  All of the contributors to this record have seen many pastors come and go, but each person loved to recall this early history of our Spratt United Methodist Church .

************  In the early 1930’s, the minister Rev. Francis being a good samaritan, brought a vagrant and his girlfriend to the area.  Rev. Francis took the two to the home of Mrs. Bates.  Mrs. Bate’s daughter, Myrtle and her husband and family lived with her.  The family was upset at these newcomer’s presence.  The man wanted their only gun and the woman cried and seemed afraid.  The man watched uneasily at the windows.  They wanted a ride to Alpena.  Andrew Menery was going to Alpena, and took these two in his surrey away from this area.  Before they left they had checked the newspaper and the front picture.  When they went with Andrew they took the family’s dog with them.  The mysterious matched the picture of the notorious gangster Dillinger.  He was soon killed in Chicago .  This account is given by Myrtle Collins and her family.  **********

*******  Spratt connected with Wilson until 1925 when we joined with Hillman.  At a later date Wilson left the Circuit.  Since this time we have been part of the Hillman-Spratt Circuit.  ******


Spratt Appointments

Preachers who served:

Gabrie Sanderson                                 1894

P. P. Dunham                                       1895

Wm. E. Birdsall                                    1896

W. H. Haines                                       1901

H. C. Elliott                                          1902


                        No Record


Rev. Walker                                         1912

W. C. Tyrrell                                        1913

S. S. Cross                                           1914

E. E. McMichael                                  1915

F. E. Medcoff                                       1918

F. H. Brown                                         1919

F. A. Round                                         1920

J. H. Crocker                                       1920

Henry Hiles                                          1921

Leo J. Hooper                                      1924

Frank Day                                            1924

John W. Dingle                                     1927


                        No Record


Rev. Francis

James Cobb                                         1937

                        Edgerton                                  1942

John Roach                                          1945

Carl Joy                                               1949

Fred Werth                                          1952

Robert Garrett                                      1953

Carter Preston                                      1957

Donald Brown                                      1961

Paul Jarvis                                            1963

Howard Shaffer                                    1964

Phillip Rice                                           1971

Robert Kersten                                     1975

Harold Blakely                                      1978

James Rupert                                        1981

Wayne Hutson                                      1984


It is remembered the Rev. H. Hiles had been seriously wounded in the armed services.  Folks liked the Rev. & Mrs. Day.  These folks went fishing with the Collins’.  The Rev. E. McMichael is a relative of Annabell (King) Wilder, County Clerk.

Contributors:  Myrtle Collins, Cecil Black, Sebert Black, given to Kay LaCombe.


When I was a kid I always thought the "Little Church in the Wildwood" was pretty appropriate. 


Putting this page together, I really started to think how this little old church tied a number of generations together.  I guess time will tell if the new one does as well.  At least nobody got hurt falling off the roof of the new one.


My rendition of the original text on some of these pages has been spotty.  However, I hope it has been relatively true to the original spirit.

 The pulpit and piano more or less as they appeared throughout the practicing life of the church. I'm not sure if the piano was ever tuned after it was delivered. It pretty much provided suitable accompaniment for my singing.

 I had forgotten completely about the small stove and the stovepipe across the ceiling. When I looked through the window of the museum's restration I was suddenly two or three again for a couple of seconds.

 The Spratt Methodist Church as it currently sits (2005, not exactly now, but certainly newer than 1921) on the grounds of the Besser Museum. When I knew this church the trees in the background of the first photo at the top of the page had grown to surround the church. It had a feeling of a protective haven when I was five or ten.


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