Dawson United Methodist Church

Feature Story July 2004
Dawson United Methodist Church
(taken from annual conference records) by H. A. Shwab)
The Walters Class and surrounding country was taken up in 1880 as a mission and called Humboldt Mission. The Rev. S.A. Pettit was appointed to the Humboldt Mission in 1883 and the appropriation was $175.00. At the end of this conference year it was reported that there had been 15 new converts and 40 received into church membership. Total membership not was 57. The Humboldt Mission work must have extended as far east as Verdon, as the history of the Sunday school work states that in 1883 Rev. Pettit started preaching services in the Dawson community and in 1884 the first church was erected on the present building site.

Dawson’s first annual conference was held in the Church, March 11, 1887. It was the 7th annual session of the Platte River Conference. Local pastors salary was $550 for the year. In 1889 it was reported that the Dawson Mission has two appointments, one in town and one 51/2 miles northeast. Dawson had a good church building and parsonage free of debt. They had two Sunday schools, two seminary students…an active Christian Endeavor, and a very active W.M.S. They paid a tidy sum of $451.77 on the parsonage debt that year. In 1899 Dawson stood alone….the Verdon charge was dropped from them, and it was reported that the spiritual condition was improving in the church. During the next few years under the leadership of M.T. Maze the church continued to grow and prosper. In 1912 H.S. Tool became the pastor. In 1917 A.E. Miller was appointed pastor at Dawson and C. F. Heim Maple Grove and the Verdon congregations. In 1918 W. W. Underkoffler was assigned to the Dawson Evangelical Church.

In 1921 annual conference was to meet in the Dawson Church for its 25th session but the destruction of the church by fire on August 1st, 1921 made a change necessary and Hastings was selected. The Dawson Church had been redecorated with paint both within and without. This with some improvements on the parsonage amounted to $600. The burning of the church seemed to be a real calamity and to say the least was a great disappointment to the Dawson Congregation. The fire had hardly died down when the pastor and people said, “We shall arise and build” and within six days over $20,000 was subscribed for a new church. This was increased to $21, 642., and now with the $6000 insurance they will be able to build a $30,000 church. The plans were already in preparation.
At conference in 1922 it was reported that the Dawson Evangelical Congregation had erected a fine new church at a total cost of $32,000 which with the exception of the $6000 insurance received, was pledged by the people and practically all paid by the day of dedication. The new Church was dedicated on June 4th, 1922 by Bishop M. T. Maze. The Rev. W.W.Underkoffler was reappointed to the pastorate at Dawson. The Dawson Church is now the Dawson Bethel United Methodist Church and continues to pay its conference askings, and is pastored by a student pastor attending the UM School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri.