History of Aroma United Methodist Church
In 1832 the Duck Creek Settlement was formed around the present site of Aroma. Some of the first settlers were : William Harvey, Sr., and sons William, Jr., Caleb and John, Harvey Doffin, Walter and William Etchison, John and Henry Divers, Jeremiah MIlls, Nathan Cook, Jacob Griffin, Jehiel Williams and Solomon Edmundson. Many of us may recognize among these an ancestor of whom we can be proud, as they were honest, upright, industrious and God-fearing Quakers. Their first church was built in 1840. It was made of logs and was located on a northwest section of the Eugene Johnson family farm. The Gerald Johnson family has the original document of transfer of land from Jacob Griffin to Asa Baldwin, with 1 1/2 acres which were transferred to the trustees of the Sugar Ridge Monthly Meeting. This church had a three feet high partition down the center with men and boys sitting on one side and women and girls on the other. That custom was so ingrained in this community that even without a partition, families did not sit together for many years, even after becoming a Methodist congregation. In 1845 Jabex Brown built the Ironwood Seminary where he and a son, Fielder Brown, taught a private school for twelve ears. By Quaker records, the Sugar Ridge Monthly Meeting was "laid down" in 1870, and Quakers began using the seminary building as a meeting house. It was here, through the courtesy of the Quakers, that the first Methodist meetings were held in the Aroma Community. More and more people who were not Quakers moved into the community and attended the worship services. Some of the older Quakers could not accept the changes, especially the introduction of music into the worship, and so began to meet in John Harvey's brick house, leaving the Methodists to worship in the seminary building. That brick house is not the family home of the late great grandson Gerald Johnson's widow, Carolyn Johnson. The first member to join the new church was Clementine Harvey. She was the daughter of Charles Harvey, and later married Cassius Haworth. In 1883 Rev. A. S. Rogers began holding Methodist meetings in the seminary building and sometimes in a little frame schoolhouse in Aroma. In 1885 Robert and William Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Harvey and George Morris started a movement for building a church. Robert Allen headed the list with a gift of 1 1/2 acres for church and cemetery and $50.00 in cash. The amount of subscriptions received was $1,196.00. Work started with Robert Allen as overseer and Perry Jones as contractor. Complete cost was $1,187.00. Legend has it that at the moment of voting to determine which denomination they would be, a man arriving late after walking several miles, cast his vote for "Methodist." It was the deciding vote. The first trustees were: Robert Allen, Benjamin Rummel, Charles Harvey, Henry Williams, Martin Wise and Joseph Babbit. The church building was officially dedicated in June of 1886, with T. H. C. Beal in charge. From the Souvenir Directory of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Frankton, Indiana, date 1897 we find Officers of the Aroma Class: Sunday School Superintendent - Charles Harvey; Class Leader - Cassius Haworth. Trustees were Charles Harvey, John Siler, Jr., George Carpenter, Jr., Perry Foust and Joseph Babbit. Stewards were Sarah Harvey, George Carpenter, Jr., and Sophia Ault. Aroma Class had 117 members. The following are family names attending: Aults, Allens, Coopers, Fousts, Haworths, Hesters, Hiatts, Jones, Leonard, Laub, Leemans, Richwines, Sielrs, Smiths, Johnsons, Harverys, and Wise. A cemetery was laid out about 1887,with lots selling for $5.00 each. And now, nearly a hundred years later, it is kept beautifully. Since it is adjacent to the church, we are aware of the resting places of ancestors and loved ones each Sunday morning as we enter for worship. One vital part of the activities of the church down through the years has been the work of our loyal women, who, in many ways have helped to undergird the church both at homes and in missionary outreach. In 1904, the Ladies Aid Society was organized. Fourteen years later, in 1918, a Foreign Missionary Society was organized. Many of the same women made up both societies, but one worked for the local church and community while the other for missions. When the Coon Valley church disbanded, a group led by Fernando Sith came to the Aroma church. We were glad to receive them as they contributed leadership. In early records of the original Ladies Aid Society we found the first president to be Sophia Ault. An early roll call listed the following names. Perhaps you can find an early family member.