Arnold Chapel Methodist Church
Foster township, Marion Co., IL
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408 S. Washington St.; Kinmundy, IL 62854; (618) 547-7731
Arnold Chapel Methodist Church - Foster Twp., Marion Co., IL
March 10, 1960 - "The Kinmundy Express"
Marvin Bassett – “Sandy Branch West” column in “The Kinmundy Express” – March 15, 2001.
(From research by the late Georgia Walker.)
"The Chapel Received a Name"
"In the beginning: the pioneer settlers had a circuit rider preacher with a Manse and a small building for worship at Fosterburg and a shelter at Sandy Branch six miles apart. As years went by and population increased between these meeting places, the members decided to move from Fosterburg a couple miles east to better serve the whole community. Just one problem, they would have to secure a small tract of land to move their building on with an addition for more room to expand. The family connections are shown by the trustees who were in February 1870, Squire Farmer, Ivy A. Arnold, G.C. Shepard, J.A. Arnold, Eli W. Jones, S.T. Lowe, and J.W. Arnold. Samuel T. Lowe was married to Margaret Arnold, sister Esther C. Arnold was married to Henry G. Holt. The key player in the scheme to name the Chapel was Mrs. Holt and will be known as Easter Holt for the rest of the story.
Henry Holt learned of the need for a place to locate the church building. He offered a small tract from the SW corner of his farm for the Chapel, thinking by so doing, the Chapel would be named after his family, thus becoming Holt Chapel. When his wife, Easter, learned of the whole idea, she would have no part of naming the church Holt Chapel. Why? “Well Ole Henry don’t even go to church with me and the kids”. Easter got together with her brothers and sister, Margaret, and somehow finagled around managing to get it named ARNOLD CHAPEL to honor their father, Johnny Arnold and Rev. William Arnold, their Grandfather, both disciples of John Wesley’s Methodist movement. Henry was really annoyed with Easter over this deal.
There had been a variety of stories about the founding of ARNOLD CHAPEL. We believe this version is the most accurate. The church was dedicated and set apart for Divine Worship in the year 1872, serving the community until the building burned in 1960, leaving ARNOLD CHAPEL a joyful memory of days gone by."
"The Arnold Chapel Picnic"
Marvin Bassett – “Sandy Branch West” column – “The Kinmundy Express” – March 2001
"The first picnic I remember attending was held at the grove of trees just west of the home of James W. and Permelia Arnold (better known as Jeems & Meek) and across the road south from the Morgan home about one mile west of the church building on what is now called Vermundy Road. Folks came from Vernon, Patoka, Salem and Kinmundy and from the rural area in between. I believe it was held on the first Saturday in August with a basket dinner at noon, the women served cool well water and if a person was thirsty, it sure hit the spot by just being wet.
After noon with things put away and a whole lot of visiting among neighbors and numerous relatives that arrived in Model T and Model A Fords, several horse and buggy rigs then about two o’clock a program started on a make do platform down a slope so the guest could all see and hear the singers and speakers. The first M.C. I recall was our uncle “Dode Arnold”, a brother to my grandmother, Mary Illinois Bassett and he was good with introductions adding something humorous about each performer. Visiting preachers, important family relatives would take turns giving short talks and the whole assembly would sing favorite well know hymns with emotional prayers which seemed to be enjoyed by all. This amazing event was moved in 1935 due to the passing of Mrs. Arnold in March and they just didn’t have enough parking and hitch racks so the Picnic planners chose to hold this event in the grove in the pasture of Mr. and Mrs. Merle Jones with entry right through the township property and that drew event bigger crowds. I remember Will Hardy Jones was the song leader and introduced several home talent musical performances. The Picnics came to an end with WWII, causing much family turmoil and changes.
“Were You There” maybe, if you were a part of the clan of Arnolds, Jones, Holt, Eagan, Lowe, Foster, Garrett, Morris, Doolen, Green – these were the prime movers and all the rest of us were the fringe occasional support group. The MYF in the early 1950’s tried to revive the picnic at Jones Grove, but after a couple of attempts, there was no public interest as electricity and television had come to rural mid-America changing our lifestyle and Christian fellowship was the ultimate loser."
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