CELEBRATION of the 93rd YEAR A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH 1852-1945 The Community Methodist Church; Ione, California
A Foreword Dr. Anthony in his Fifty Years of Methodism in California, 1847-1897, says that any church which was organized or a church building erected before the first Annual Conference of February 1853 should be considered a Pioneer Church. Ione can make the claim to be Pioneer on both counts, for the church was organized in 1852 and the building of a place of worship was almost complete at the time the first conference was held. Thomas Rickey and family were largely responsible for this and we are glad to honor their memory on this occasion.
………………………… HISTORIC BACKGROUND …………………….. Thomas Rickey laid out the town in 1852. According to a map of that time it was surveyed for “T. Rickey, Esq., by S. H. Marelette, C. E., County Surveyor, Mokelomne Hill, Calaveras County, September 13, 14, 16, 1853.” With the exception of a small portion of the south-east corner credited to a man named Cline, Rickey owned all the town site. ...................... THE RICKEYS
It is very important that a new town get a good start and there is every reason to believe that Ione was fortunate in this. Into the growing town came a good number of church people who exercised a steadying influence upon the City, the most prominent among them being the Rickey family which came here in 1852. They were one of the seven families found here when the Gregories arrived in August of the next year.
After mining at Fort John, on Dry Creek, in 1850 and at Amador City a year later, Thomas and Mary Rickey settled with their family in Ione. Thomas Rickey and James his son together with Rev. P. Y. Cool had built the first church and a school house in the county at Fort John.
In Ione Mr. Rickey kept the Irene Hotel, a store and had an interest in a flour mill. He built a brick house for a residence on the right side of the old Stockton road, just below the present church. The family was large there being six sons and five daughters: Charles William Thomas Jefferson Josephus Hoffman James Allen Daniel Boone Elbridge Doan Sarah Elizabeth Langhery Mary Francis Cordelia Ann Priscilla Jane Lucinda Carson.
All the sons, except the last named, who died at the age of 17, were official members of the church. The first three were local preachers and held other offices. James was a Steward and his daughter, Mrs. S. R. Greenhalgh teaches school in Plymouth. Daniel B. is the first Sunday School Superintendent on record in the old books. Sarah L. (Mrs. Nims) became a woman of note in the church.
Isaac Owen, our first Presiding Elder, generally known as “Father” Owen says, “Rickey is a very religious man.” Owen often took “Uncle” Rickey, as he was affectionately called, with him, partly for Owen’s protection when visiting these parts of his district. He further adds, “Sister Nims is a close Bible student and a very pious woman.”
Miss Cordelia Rickey and Mr. Grear, school teachers put on a Christmas program in 1859 which was long remembered by those who attended.
The Rickeys were very influential in the promotion of the church in Ione and all things good. Other families credited with having elevated the moral standard of the town were Reeds, Styles, Preators, Gregories, Phillips and McMurrys.
THE MOTHER CHURCH
The Methodist Church paid to Thomas Rickey $1,000 for one-third of a block on Church Street and extending from Main to Jackson Streets and “east to Daniel Stewart’s brick wall.” The mother church of Ione was built here in 1852-53 and opened for public worship on Sunday, March 6, 1853. The building, thirty feet long and twenty feet wide was valued at $1,500. Church services, Sunday School, temperance meetings and other programs were held here for nearly ten years.