The Methodist Church at Cora
Dating from the mid 1800’s there was a Welsh Church near here called Siloam. “Siloam” meaning a pool outside of Jerusalem, as mentioned in John 9: 7. In Isaiah 8: 6 the Bible talks about the “Gently Flowing waters of Siloam.” Perhaps that is where the Welshmen got the name for the church because Siloam stood just north of the Waterloo Bridge along Raccoon Creek.
By the early 1900’s some of the Welsh had married into non-Welsh families. In time, fewer people in the community were speaking Welsh and this played a significant role in the decline of the attendance at Siloam and in the building of Cora. There began a desire among the younger families to have a church of their own. They started meeting at the one room Cora Mill School that stood just up the road from where they wanted to build the church. During the time they met at the school, they began to collect money to build their church. Their church was completed in October 1905. Homecomings were therefore held in October.
Trustees for the new church were mostly good Welshmen: Daniel Evans, W. Gomer Joes, J. E. Jones, Evan Davis, Isaac W. Jones and W. W. Brandeberry. Land to build the church was donated by Isaac and Lydia Davis Jones. They lived in a large two-story home in view of the new church. Isaac was a miller at the Davis/Cora Mill and he died in 1928 at the home of his daughter Ruth Jones Wood.
In 1928 at the home of David Jones and Mary Martin Walker three men were appointed concerning the building of a vestibule and belfry, with a wood shingled roof. Dave Walker was the carpenter hired to build the structure. The roof was replaced once, in perhaps the 1960’s, by Paul Burnette.
Ministers were at the five churches every other Sunday. They were sometimes attending Rio Grande College during their appointment by the conference. Ministers were welcomed by the members and became part of their families. Even though the ministers brought a sermon every other Sunday they were always there for weddings, funeral and any time they were needed.
Sunday school was always an important part of the worship at Cora. The ministers came every other Sunday but Sunday school instruction was held each Sunday. The Superintendent of Sunday school was an important person, leading the singing, giving information pertaining to the church and dismissing for Bible learning. Teachers in Sunday school classes before 1908 were: David Reese, W. Gomer Jones and David Jones Walker. Aaron Davis operated the Davis Mill at Cora and it carried his name for many years. Isaac Jones the gentleman who donated the land for Cora Church also operated the Davis Mill at Cora for a time.
Women's Society of Christian Workers
The Cora women were good workers and that showed in their ability to make money with different projects; apple butter making, quilts, rag rugs, ice cream socials and rummage sales that were held in Gallipolis. Records of Cora Aid were started about 1925, and the meetings were held in the homes of the members. Ice cream suppers were the big summer events at Cora and the whole community turned out. In about 1965 the Ladies Aid was changed to Women’s Society of Christian Service. That group was under the Methodist Conference Jurisdiction. In the women’s group today there is one Jones and one Evans plus three Walkers who are direct descendants of the charter members of the church.
Since the closing of Cora Church on May 23, 1971 the women’s group has continued to meet. The building became a community center shortly afterwards. The women chose as their name “Women’s Society of Christian Workers” and thus known as the Cora WSCW.
For many years 4-H was an intricate part of the social life for the youth in the Cora Community. One of the 4-H programs in the late 1950’s was a program called “Share the Fun.” The closest Cora ever came perhaps to have celebraties in the area was when the Perky Perryettes won several contests with their singing and dance act.
In 2005 a centennial celebration was held in July and posters were put up to tell the story of the past 100 years of the building. Past members were invited for the evening. In 2008 at the Thanksgiving Supper we celebrated having the steeple repaired and painted plus the removal of the two trees in front of the Center. (With the closing of the Methodist Church the building was known as the Cora Community Center.) In 2009, again we celebrated having siding put on the Center after a fundraiser that collected over $7,000.
As for now the building is standing in good shape and we are starting on a new project involving having a new fence erected around the Center. May God watch over the building and approve of the work being done as we go forth. May He inspire the trustees and those in the community to keep the building in good repair and keep sacred the building and the grounds.
Prepared by Mary Walker Niday
Transcribed by Marian Schoonover