VERDE HERITAGE 1927-1928: COTTONWOOD; Methodist - Baptist Church, Part 1.
The Methodist Church South conducted a series of meetings at Prescott during 1876. During "the Conference of the Methodist Church South, at Los Angeles: ... Rev. Alexander Groves was assigned to Williamson Valley and Verde." (Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott; November 3, 1876; page 2.)
"Upper Verde: ... We have erected a neat and comfortable adobe school house, 20 x 22 feet, in which there is now a school in progress, being taught by Mrs. Rubottom. ... We have divine services the second Sunday in each month, by the respectable Elder Groves." (Arizona Weekly Miner; February 16, 1877; page 2.)
The adobe school at the north end of what became the Cottonwood Cemetery became the center of rural community life. After school on every other Friday, there was a spelling bee followed by a dance. Political and community meetings were on Saturday, and religious services were on Sunday.
During a Methodist conference at Phoenix in 1896, James Healy was assigned to Jerome and Verde. (Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; November 4, 1896; page 3.)
Rev. Will C. Chew, pastor of the Methodist Church at Clarkdale, preached at Cottonwood on Sunday afternoons for 6 weeks during April and May of 1917. People became enthusiastic about having a church building. (Jerome Sun; May 14, 1917.) Perhaps the Methodists met in a new church building at Cottonwood until it burned a couple of years later. They continued to meet in various school buildings.
1923: Organizing the Church: "On next Sunday, at the Cottonwood School House, Rev. Arthur L. Thomas will organize a Community Methodist church. ... Already a Sunday school with 65 members and a senior Epworth League with 50 members have been organized. An effort is being made to raise $100 per month for the pastor's salary. As soon as the church is organized, application will be made to the board of the church extension at Louisville, Kentucky, for $3,500 to $4,000 with which to build at least the first unit of a modern church plant. For the present the Sunday school and morning preaching services are being held in the school building, while the league services and evening preaching services are being held in the old Willard House, where the pastor lives with his family." (Verde Copper News; January 30, 1923, page 2.)
"The Methodist Church meeting held in the school house Monday was well attended and more gratifying than the pastor had looked for. It is planned in the very near future to take final steps toward building an edifice for the Methodists in Cottonwood and it should have all kinds of support. ... The revival meeting is planned for March 16 to April 8. Rev. Jerre Jeter and wife, of San Francisco, are expected to lead the campaign. ... The pastor would like to get in touch with 80 people who would like to sing in the choir. Those who can qualify ... should report to Miss Ida Mae Thomas at the old Willard House. ... Those who can qualify for the orchestra should see Mrs. Benner at the tailor shop." (Verde Copper News; February 9, 1923; page 4.)
"Rev. S. M. Cheek, Sunday school field secretary for Southern California and Arizona, spent Saturday evening and Sunday in Cottonwood helping to perfect the organization for the new Methodist Sunday school. ... The school's enrollment has now reached above the 90 mark. Dr. J. E. Harrison, presiding elder of the Phoenix district will be in Cottonwood. ... All Methodists and any others are most cordially invited to meet him at the home of the preacher at the old Willard House; A. L. Thomas, pastor." (Verde Copper News; February 13, 1923; page 2.)
"Cottonwood Methodist (The Church of the Open Door): Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. and Preaching service at 10:30 a.m. On the second and fourth Sundays of each month the pastor will preach at the Willard School at 2:30 p.m. and at the new Oak Creek School at 8 p.m. Rev. Arthur L. Thomas, pastor." (Verde Copper News; December 28, 1923; page 5.)
"Cottonwood Methodist Church (The Church with a Heart)" is led by "Rev. L. W. Holland, pastor in charge." (Verde Copper News; October 10, 1925; page 2.)
PROPERTY DEED: "This indenture, made the 14th day of November, 1927, between United Verde Extension Mining Company ... first party, and D. L. Robinson, W. F. Edens, and Mrs. Maud Wiggins, as Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Cottonwood Church, Camp Verde Charge, of Cottonwood, a religious corporation ... and their successors in trust, second parties. ... First Party, for and in consideration of the sum of One Dollar to it in hand paid by Second Parties ... has remised, released, and quit-claimed ... unto the said Second Parties, and their successors in trust, for Church and religious purposes ... all its right, title, and interest in ... that certain piece or parcel of land ... in the Verde Mining District, Yavapai County. ... The land being a part of Subdivision Number Two, on Hopkins Ranch, an Addition to Cottonwood. ...Said premises shall be used, kept, maintained, and disposed of, as a place of divine worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South." ... (Yavapai County Book 145 of Deeds, page 114.)
CORNERSTONE CEREMONY: The "new Methodist Church in Cottonwood is located on Main Street at the corner of the U.V.X. ball park. The new edifice is expected to be completed early next year. The corner stone ceremonies will take place at 6 o'clock with Rev. W. J. Sims, presiding elder in charge. Following the dedication a new Methodist Church will be organized at the residence of Judge D. L. Robinson, of Clemenceau, according to an announcement made today by Rev. C. A. Clark, pastor." On Wednesday afternoon, October 5, 1927, "Rev. W. J. Sims, presiding elder, delivered a brief address commemorating the religious progress of the town and a plaque was placed in the stone corner of the district's latest edifice. ... A large delegation was present." ... (Verde Copper News; October 4, 7, 1927.)
"The concrete floor was poured in the new Methodist Church of Cottonwood on Friday and Saturday," May 4 and 5, 1928. (Verde Copper News; May 8, 1928; page 4.)
"The Cottonwood Methodist Church will hold revival meetings for 10 days commencing May 25. Dr. L. J. Power, presiding elder of the Phoenix district will preach." (Verde Copper News; May 25, 1928.)
The revival meetings may have been in the new church building. "The missionary society of the Cottonwood Methodist Church will meet at the church Thursday afternoon, June 21, at 2:30. (Verde Copper News; June 19, 1928; page 4.) Apparently, the church was nearly finished, or completely finished by this time.
The Methodist Church used this building from 1928 until about 1938. The original property deed indicated that the land was to be used only by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The United Verde Extension Mining Company provided a new deed on May 11, 1939, permitting the property to be sold and used for "church and religious, civic and residential purposes."
The Town of Cottonwood obtained ownership of the Methodist - Baptist Church on April 13, 1982.