The Early History of Ashley Wesleyan Church

In the spring of 1938, the late Rev. O.N. Stucky came from Marion to find a place in Ashley suitable for holding a revival meeting. He found a little white church on a corner in town. Though it was badly in need of repairs, he obtained permission from a Rev. Thomas to use the little building, which had been a Baptist church, for the planned meeting.

After the revival, Mr. P.M. Young and a Rev. Wilson sought and received permission from Rev. Thomas to open it up and start a Sunday School. It needed a new roof, plastering, and paint. Once all this work was completed, the Sunday School was opened with services in the afternoon each Sunday. Rev. Stucky then came as pastor.

Following Rev. Stucky’s departure, a board of five trustees was appointed. Mr. Young was the leader and spokesman for this group, who met with Rev. Thomas on January 11, 1939, seeking and obtaining a contract for the use of the building.

A few weeks later, Rev. Klingel came from Mount Gilead to become pastor. Rev. Josie Smith succeeded Rev. Klingel, and the church was organized as The Pilgrim Holiness Church about the time she was leaving. This is believed to have been in the summer of 1942. Rev. C.P. Pridgeon was the District Superintendent leading the service at which the organization was finalized.

For a short period of time, Rev. Marcella Dean served as pastor. Rev. John Dean then became the regular pastor, staying until August of 1944. He was succeeded by Rev. J.R. Walter. Two years later, Rev. Estella Hancock succeeded Rev. Walter; she remained the pastor here at Ashley for nine years.

After Rev. Hancock’s term of service, Rev. John Hershman came from Marion, and served as pastor for a year and a half. During that time, he built a miniature of the church, into which the congregation placed stamps that were to be turned in for a building fund. Then, a little white church was purchased that was passed around during each service, collecting contributions for this fund, which grew quickly. Rev. Hershman’s bad health forced him to resign before his desire to build could be realized.

Following Rev. Hershman’s service, Rev. J.R. Walter returned to serve as pastor here for a second time. Pursuing the plan to build, Rev. Walter over saw a change in plan that led to the purchase of our present ground from the American Legion. The groundbreaking was held here on September 14, 1958, with Mrs. Mary Appleman doing the honors at the age of 86.

During the early years, and all through the years, much credit is due brother and Sister Young. They were faithful no matter the circumstances, giving of their time and means.

God has blest in supplying the need, individuals in Ashley and in other communities have given, and the members have had it on their hearts, and have helped much, but it has been through much sacrifice and hard work on the part of our faithful pastor and wife that the building was ready for opening services on August 16, 1959, and for its dedication on July 3, 1960. Dr. Melvin Snyder, General Superintendent, was the main speaker for the day, and the Christianairs Quartet of Columbus, Ohio, took charge of music for the dedication.