Brushwood United Methodist Church was established in 1918 under the name United Brethren Church.
On March 31, 1876, one and a half acres were deeded by Herman Prater and his wife to the Trustees of the Burns Brethren Church. This land was close to where Prater Cemetery is today.
As the country became more settled, the United Brethren people began to look for a location that would be more centrally located. A building site one mile west of the church was offered and the ground where the church now stands.
The land on which the church stands was granted by U.S. President Zachery Taylor to Travis and Lucinda Stowers in the 1850’s. It eventually had 3 other owners in the 44 years before it became Church property, A John Ryan, Steven Hoge, and Stephen C. Comer. Mr. Comer gave an acre to the church with the stipulation it was church property as long as it remained a church.
Before the Brushwood Church was built, meetings were held in other schools in the community. The first three trustees were J.L. Swaim, George Adair, and John Humes. At a quarterly meeting held on October 17, 1891, they increased the number of trustees to seven, adding the names of Steven Comer, James Swaim, Joseph Williams, and Samuel Williams. They organized and made plans to build and in one year they had their church finished at the cost of $1,072.6. Samuel Linton of Medaryville was the carpenter who made the original pews. The original bell now stands mounted outside of the church's main entrance.
On September 24, 1892, the Brushwood Church was dedicated to the Lord’s work. Again the abstract states that in January 1899, one acre of land was purchased for $25.00 for land to be held for a parsonage. Again, Stephen C. Comer stipulated the land/parsonage would be returned to the Comer Family if no longer intended for a parsonage. We do not know the exact date of the parsonage's inception, but there is a picture from 1909 showing that a Rev. and Mrs. Walter Schaefer lived in the parsonage that year.
In 1948 the church fell into disrepair and the people of the Brushwood Church found themselves confronted with the fact there had to be something done about the building. There were different meetings called, the final decision was to remodel. At this time Carl Bowman, Charles Torbet, and James Britt, also the minister, Rev. Hebert LaPage formed a committee which was appointed to take charge of the project. By the co-operation of the people’s gifts of prayer, money, donations, time, and labor the committee accomplished the remodeling project, at an estimated cost of $12,000. The main carpenters were Fred and Richard Dykema. The most challenging part of the remodel included moving and putting the present church over a basement. The dedication date was December 11, 1949.
When Brushwood Church was built, it was one of three churches on the United Brethren Circuit. Dew Drop and Independence were the other two. Several other United Brethren groups were organized in the surrounding country side over the years, but Brushwood is the only one that has remained a permanent work.
The Church's Influence
History tells us that the United Brethren Church was the first church in the United States to grant a woman a license to preach. This license was granted to Byda Saxton; who preached at the old Burns School Church, founded in Barkley Township some 50-60 years ago. This, no doubt, was the first United Brethren preacher to hold service in Barkley Township.
Over the years, three young men have been licensed to preach the gospel by the Brushwood quarterly conference. On July 27, 1898, Marion K. Richardson was granted a license. On June 24, 1898 W. N. Sherrill was licensed and has been actively engaged in the United Brethern Ministry until recently when ill health made it advisable to discontinue the pastorate. He is still engaged in evangelistic work in the St. Joseph Conference. Amos A. Williams was granted a license to preach in 1924 and is now a pastor in the state of Missouri.
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