The Wetmore Community Church is celebrating its 100th Year!
The Wetmore Community Church is hosting a community dinner on Friday, December 12 at 6:00 pm in celebration of this important milestone. The dinner will be held at the Wetmore Community Building located at 95 County Rd 393. The community is invited to help celebrate with this traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.
A Brief History of the Wetmore Community Church
The Wetmore Community Church began as the dream of neighborhood women in 1913. At the time, the community did not have a formal meeting place, and the women were concerned that area children were not receiving any religious instruction other than what they were being taught at home. Services and Sunday School had been held at the W.O.W. (Woodman of the World) Hall in Wetmore or at the Wetmore School. Neither location was ideal. Often times the W.O.W. Hall was not in any shape for Sunday School after the previous Saturday night celebrations. The Wetmore School was located at the top of a very steep hill and was difficult for the elderly to access, especially in inclement weather.
Weekly prayer meetings were being held in community homes. At one such meeting in early fall of 1913, the ladies decided that they should build their own church. Soon after that, the Wetmore Ladies Aid Society was formed with the purpose to secure the land and to build a community church. It was decided that they would serve a cafeteria style Thanksgiving dinner as their first fund raiser. Plans for the dinner were put together the Thursday before Thanksgiving in November 1913. The following Monday, members asked for food and money donations from the community. Tuesday the food was collected, and Wednesday it was prepped and cooked. The meal was served in one of the member's residence, and the ladies brought tables, chairs, linens, dishes and silver from their own homes.
The first dinner raised $90.00, and in 1914 construction of the church began. Construction of the Church was completed in 1918. The Ladies Aid continued to hold their annual Thanksgiving dinners until the building was completely paid for. Additions to the building were also funded and paid for by the proceeds of the annual dinners.
Services are still being held at the Wetmore Community Church. Sunday School begins at 9:00 am, followed by church service at 10:00 am.
I'm postponing this Saturday's meeting because I'm obligated to a Veterans' Day program elsewhere. It is rescheduled for Saturday, November 22, 10 a.m., at the History Center in Wetmore (behind the Post Office).
Dave Alexander has suggested an excellent program for us about wildlife rehabilitation by friends in our area for next spring. Once we have discussed the options and date with them, we'll let you know so your calendars can be marked.
The months of December and January the Society does not have meetings.
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who do not attend our meetings. May you have safe travel and many blessings with your families.
The Baptist Church at the New Hope Cemetery has a new roof!
The New Hope Church and Cemetery are located on County Road 295, 1.6 miles north of Hwy 96, just east of the town of Wetmore, Colorado.
According to the history handed down to descendants of the original Hardscrabble Park, New Hope Church was built as a community house of worship by all the people of the community.
An initial meeting took place on May 13, 1871 at the school house near Ira Porter's home in Hardscrabble Park. The purpose of this meeting was to organize the creation of a Baptist Church for the community. Articles of Incorporation, drafted by Stephen J. Tanner, Ira R. Porter and William R. Crouch, were filed on September 11, 1873. This makes the Church 137 (as of 2010) years old and is the second oldest Baptist church in Colorado.
The first church list consisted of 110 members, and Elder S. B. Chastine served as the first Pastor.
Ira Porter donated the land, and the church was built by the congregation. Construction was completed in 1873. The wood frame is assembled by mortised joints and wooden pegs. No nails were used in the construction. The floor joists are hand hewn lodge poles and pine logs with tongue and groove assembly. Square nails were used to attach the roof and siding. The pulpit and pews were handmade by the members. Vinyl siding was put on in the early 1980's to help preserve it.
Services were discontinued when the New Hope congregation started attending services in the new Wetmore Community Church completed in 1917. Currently, the church and cemetery are maintained by the donations and volunteer work of family members and the community of Wetmore.
It wasn't until November 1873 that the members voted to lay out ground for the cemetery. However burials were made there at least three years prior. Burials were free and neighbors and friends hand dug the graves. The earliest known grave is of Jason P. Vaughn, born November 24, 1869 and died February 7, 1870. (2 months and 13 days old).
Records were not kept of those buried in the cemetery. However, a record book was compiled by the late Dorothy Breece who used old newspaper articles and obituaries in her research. Some graves listed as unmarked have had a rock, wooden cross or something identifying the site. Several of these sites have since been identified by relatives and metal markers have been put on these graves. There are many handmade markers, some with just a rock set at the head and nothing more. Some are cement markers, now hard to decipher due to erosion. There are still many graves that may never be identified, but at least the names of those who are known to be buried there are listed in the record book.
Today, there are 582 known buried in the cemetery. Of those, 49 are Veterans who served in the Civil War, Mexican War, WWI, WWII, Korean Conflict and Vietnam War.
Our fall tour, courtesy of Robert and Joan Hamilton, will be Saturday, September 13th. We will meet at the Wetmore Post Office so we can carpool to the sites and then their pavilion for lunch. Please, if you have a high clearance vehicle, could you bring it to help shuttle the carpool attendees? Four wheel drive is not a requirement, just high clearance.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org whether you'll be attending and the number in your party by Thursday, September 11th.**
This is a sack lunch with cold drinks provided.
Reminders: sturdy shoes, long sleeve shirts, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, camera, and a walking stick. Joan will have some water for the hike in the canyon but suggests we also bring our own.
They occasionally see a snake, but we need to remember that the petroglyphs are on stone and rocks do harbor snakes.
We appreciate the generosity of Robert and Joan sharing their home with us once again as we get insight to another area of our marvelous Hardscrabble history and land.
Our August meeting will be Saturday, August 9 at 10 a.m. in the meeting room at the Post Office.
Dr. and Mrs. Hamilton are preparing for the Red Creek tour; we will see Wolverton Cabin, Lawson homestead and hike the Red Creek Canyon. We'll end with lunch in the pavillion at their home. This will be our September 13th meeting. Mark your calendars! More info will follow... Margaret
WHG&HS members Margaret Storm, Peggy Martin, Kathy West and Kathy Uhland traveled to Beulah recently to make a presentation at the July meeting of the Beulah Historical Society.
(Be sure to visit the Facebook page for the Beulah Historical Society for some great photos and information)
Here is Margaret's report:
"Peggy, Kathy, Kathy Uhland and I went to Beulah yesterday (July 17th) to give the presentation "The Beulah - Wetmore Connection" for the Beulah Historical Society. We drove County Road 387 that turns into North Creek Road; through the mountains and my first time on that road. Everything was green and beautiful. Really enjoyed seeing the Billington Ranch (Bill Donley's home) and the Blake School. We ate dinner in Beulah and had some really good food.
Peggy Martin spoke on the Bigelow Family, Wetmore establishment and New Hope Church & Cemetery. Kathy Uhland spoke on her Augustus A. Curtis relatives who homesteaded in Beulah. Kathy West spoke about her Jacob Alexander Betts ancestors and the Wetmore Ladies Aid Society. By the way, these two Kathy's are related! I presented information on the Bill Donley and Skip Donley, who were cousins, and their families down the line of Charles & Lizzie Donley. I also gave the story of the Flag on Mt. Nebo and the summer of homes of the George & Dorothy Watson Broome families, relating them back to Great-grandfather William A. Watson of Wetmore. The cabins are standing and are summer guest quarters now.
We took copies of our text and photos to present to their Society. We had a good time and I think we passed along some new info to them."