The First Ad Council/Trustees Meeting
The first organizational meeting of the Tracy Methodist Church was held in the parlor of the Slack Hotel (now nonexistent - where the Terminal Grill was) on Dec 12, 1890. Here are the minutes of that meeting.
The following members of the Methodist Episcopal Church requested the formation of a church in Tracy, Wm. B. Hay, and Mark H. Whiteaker.
Rev. R. Bentley, Presiding Elder of the Oakland District, presided and opened the meeting with prayer. Mark H. Whiteaker was elected secretary. Wm. B. Hay, Mark H. Whiteaker of Banta and John Parnell of Stockton were elected trustees of church about to be incorporated.
Rev. R. Bentley stated that the Southern Pacific Railroad presented the Society Lots No 1 & 2 fronting on Seventh Street Tracy.
On motion the Quarterly conference ordered the immediate erection of a church on aforesaid lots.
On motion the trustees were made the building committee with power to act.
On motion church plan No 1. B 28x40 was adopted. Rev R. Bentley was requested to act as President for the purpose of incorporation and Mark H. Whiteaker was requested to act as secretary. Both requests were granted. On motion requests were made that we incorporate. Motion was carried and the following is the act of incorporation. On motion the minutes were adopted.
During the meeting on Jan 27th, 1891, William Hay was appointed a committee of one to buy the lumber for the church. They also put out a request for bids to build the church. On Feb 18th, 1891, the three trustees met to review the sealed bids – one was for $488 and the other was for $178. As you can guess the bid for $178 was accepted. The church was completed according to the contract and received by the trustees in April 1891.
Following the organizational meetings, Judge Hay advanced the necessary funds after placing a mortgage on his property to raise the money. Dedication of the new church was held on May 12, 1891, with Dr. Creary, at that time editor of the Christian Advocate, preaching the dedication sermon. The speaker introduced Reverend Robinson, a young minister, who held revival services immediately and served as the first pastor of the Tracy congregation.
On May 22, 1891, the membership of the church is listed as follows:
Wm. B. Hay – Local Preacher, Leader and Trustee
Mark Whiteaker – Sunday School Superintendent, Leader and Trustee
Frank Truit (?) – Assisting in Sunday School
Ellen McNeil Parker – Steward
Isaac Lasswell – Steward
Merinda P. Whiteaker – Steward
Jennie Golden - Steward
Until September 1892, the church had several pastors that were probably sharing duties with several churches – Methodist circuit riders and other local pastors were used to fill in as needed. On June 12, 1891, Watson Thatcher of Chicago, who was spending some time in California, helped until August 19, 1891 (3 months). George Larkin was appointed pastor on September 1, 1891 and lasted until June 1892 (9 months). For the next four months, the Rev. E.B. Winning was the pastor until September 1892. Rev. Schneider, who was then pastor of the German Methodist Church in Tracy, assisted when there was a need.
Rev. James Jeffries of Newman became the pastor on September 12, 1892 and remained until September 11, 1894. It was during his pastorate that a small parsonage was erected on the rear of the church property, financed with borrowed funds. 2 years later 2 lots were purchased from Martin Lammers and the parsonage was moved next door where it is still being lived in.
In the Spring of 1893, Dr. Jewell, then presiding elder (district superintendent nowadays) came to preach to a large audience. He told of the financial needs of the church and asked for help. The audience responded generously, and in a short time enough money was pledged to greatly reduce the church debt.
In December 1896, Judge Hay presented a bell to the church (the bell was later moved to the Parker Avenue church). A belfry was soon erected. The two lots adjoining the church were bought and the parsonage and outbuildings were moved to these lots in Jan 1897. By Sunday, September 5, 1897, the whole amount of the debt (about $700) was subscribed. The following year all subscriptions were collected and on Sunday, September 4, 1898, the church was finally free of debt, the new bell was dedicated, and the mortgage on the church was ceremoniously burned. April 4, 1900, Judge Hay dies at the age of 93 (see separate bio for Judge Hay).
In 1903 while Rev. Frank R. Gillette was pastor, the parsonage was enlarged and the church was papered.