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The Mount Ayr Depot Museum recently received two scrapbooks from the James Pollock family tracing the history of Wishard Chapel. These scrapbooks are full of newspaper clippings, photos, programs, records, and other historical information. Thank you to the Pollock family!
Wishard Chapel is located four miles north of Mount Ayr on Highway 169. A few years ago, the congregation left the United Methodist Church and became non-denominational. Now, let’s look at the beginning.
Christians in this area held services and meetings at Side Hill School, located about three miles north of Mount Ayr, in the 1880s. A building committee was formed around 1886 and a Mr. Middlesworth donated land for a site.
Reverend Vollmar, of the Mount Ayr Methodist Episcopal Church, and James Wishard, a retired minister living at the Ringgold County Home, joined forces to raise money and generate interest in constructing the church building. The church was named for Rev. Wishard.
The building was erected in 1887 but had no furnishings. A supper and auction were held to raise money for hymnals, pews, a wood stove, and other necessities. With the success of the fund-raising, dedication services were held November 13, 1887 to an over-flowing crowd.
A full-time minister had not yet been secured so guest preachers filled the pulpit. L. O. Imus, a Ringgold County Pioneer, was Sunday School Superintendent. Rev. James Wishard passed away March 26, 1891.
The church building was greatly improved in 1957-58. A vestibule was added and a full basement was built. The church now had a modern kitchen and up-to-date oil heating furnace. The sanctuary was also improved.
In the last few years, I have seen improvements such as a trailer for Sunday School classes, a wheel chair ramp, and a new sign. My friend Bill Armstrong is the pastor today and the church enjoys a very liberal patronage.
Wishard Chapel will be 132 years old in November!