On Tuesday, January 24, 1899, the following Ladies of Grace Lutheran Church met at the study of Rev. Blethen to consider the advisability of organizing a “woman’s Society”: Mrs. Blethen , Mrs W.E. Flower, Miss Flora Flower, Mrs G. H. Rhodes, Mrs. Ella Dutot, Mrs A.L. Rhodes, Mrs W.L. Harvey, and Miss Mame Harvey. The Greastes problem that has ever confronted this society was its name. Each lady present as well as the pastor, began to rack their brains for a name. After much discussion of names to short, to long, to indefinite, to explicit, at last the came to the happy conclusion by calling it The Ladies Union of Grace Lutheran Church.
The First business meeting was held on Tuesday, February 7, 1899, at the home of Mrs. W.E. Flower. Present were Mrs. Blethen, Mrs. A.L. Rhodes, Mrs Harvey, Mrs Ella Dutot, Mrs Morgan , Mrs. G.L Rhodes, Mrs. W.E. Flower, Mrs. G>G> Smith, Mrs. Dierolf, Mrs. G. Scheiterle, Mrs. Bowie, Mrs. Susan Heller, Mrs. May Tritchler, Miss Mame Harvey, Miss Ada Waldorf and Miss Flora Flower. Three of the original fifteen are still active members, Mrs. W.E. Flower, Mrs. W.J. Flowers, and Miss Flora Flowers. At this meeting the Constitution and By-Laws drafted by Miss Harvey and Mrs. Flora Flower, were adopted, and the following officers were elected: President, Mrs. Blethen, Vice President Mrs A.L. Rhodes,
Treasurer, Miss Flora Flower, and Secretary , Miss Mame Harvey. Miss Flora Flower has served as treasurer continuously since the organization began.
The first money earned was use to pay a $23.00 balance on a $100 loan. On October 30, 1900, the first payment on the debt incurred building the Parsonage was made and on October 24, 1905, the final payment was made. During this time the “Union” paid $567.01.
The next task came with the remodeling of the church. This work was begun in 1906 and was completed April 1,1907. The cost of renovating was $2893.91. From Sept. 15,1906 to Nov. 11, 1914 the “Union” paid 2549.66 to the building fund, besides paying many little debts.
In December, 1915, a new steam heating plant was put into the church at a cost of $1,000, an asbestos roof was put on the church in the spring of 1920, and in September of the same year and electric light plant was installed. During the month of June and July 1924 many needed reparis were made to the church and parsonage. These renovations cost approximately $2500. The Union Labored mightily during this time to help pay for these improvements.
From 1899 to 1939, the total receipts were $9736.10. It might be interesting to know how the Union earned all of the money. First and always has been the quilts, both quilted and knotted. The very first money earned was for making a quilt for Mrs. Blethen. The total number of quilts made is 805, of which 371 wre quilted for $697.94, and 474 knotted for $249.00. One order for the Ice company was for 141 quilts @ 50 cents, 138 ticks @ (cant read) , 139 bolsters @ 5 cents, and 305 pillow cases @3 cents. They have dad cake sales , and Apron Sales, chicken suppers and Sour Kraut suppers, and all kins of Socials. They have done all kinds of sewing from making dresses and aprons to trimming hats, sewing carpet rags, making rugs and sewing for the Ice Company. Several times they have cleaned the School House and the Hall. They have solddry goods and groceries, postal cards, powder, and through the efforts of Mrs. C.E. Eilenberger who gave and arranged the recipes, two editions of the Gouldsboro cook book have been printed and sold. Money was also collected by the barrelful. In 1924, $109.21 was taken in this way.
The union Started with 15 Members and reached its peak in membership in 1913, when there were 46 members enrolled , The present membership is 23.
The following is taken verbatim from a history written February, 1905 By Mrs. C.E. Eilenberger for the Sixth anniversary. It would be well for us to act upon the suggestion therein (something) as the same condition exists today.
“There seems to be a feeling in our church, and I am not sure, that this extends through the neighborhood that to be eligible to membership on must be a mother, grandmother , or at least write their name with the prefix Mrs. Unless this erroneous idea is corrected, it will in time be a means to breaking asunder this Society. In some respects the most important class of perons in this world is the young. Not about for what they are now , but for what they are to vecome in the future. Solomon said, “one generation passeth away and another cometh.” Where are the coming generation that must soon take their place in this work? Are we to drift on with no thought for the future? No, we must be awake and doing. Every Girland woman connected with our church by confirmation or letter should be a member , it should be esteemed as a privilege and a honor, as well as a duty, to belong, as the fifth article of our constitution reads, “we are an organic part of the church and not independent of it”….. Let us each take a personal interest in all the work, remain loyal to the course, not for our glory, for the glory of the Lord. One chapter of our work is ended , and we have proved that in Union there is strength. Let us have for our motto, “be not weary in well doing.”
Subsequent chapters have since that time been completed but we may profit by retaining this motto and doing our best to be up to it.
Mrs. Geo. Roth