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Throughout the years, the churches of Darrtown have demonstrated a unique, cooperative spirit. The Darrtown Union Sunday School, operated by the members of both the Lutheran and Methodist churches, is an example of that spirit.
Darrtown Union Sunday School: Unique and successful for many years!
As previously noted (in the "Early History of Darrtown Churches" section of this website), the Darrtown Lutheran and Methodist churches maintained a practice of conducting a Union Sunday School - from the mid-1800's to the 21st century. This unique arrangement is explained below.
...however, church services alternated, from one church to the other, week after week.
Some adults attended church service every Sunday, alternately attending Lutheran and Methodist services.
Others only attended church on the Sunday when the church of their preference conducted church service.
It was common to see some adults attend Sunday School every Sunday and then depart before church services began - because they were not members of the church that was in session on that particular Sunday.
The combined "Union" Sunday School preceded the arrival/organization of the Darrtown Baptist Church; thus only the Lutheran and Methodist churches were involved.
Sunday School Youth Experiences
For some youngsters in the community, the Darrtown Union Sunday School Youth Choir was a staple of the church experience. Getting together during the week for choir practice in preparation for singing at church on Sunday morning - regardless if it was a "Methodist" or a "Lutheran" Sunday - offered both a religious and a social experience.
Union Sunday School
(circa early 1950s)
RIGHT: Left to right:
First Row: Choir Director, Agusta "Gussie" Geiser, Deanna Lemmons, and Betty Jean Lindley
Second Row: Imogene Schultz, Jackie Matthews, and Rosemary Krauth
Third Row: Ronnie Wiley, Janet Bauman, Beverly Bradbury, and Shirley Michaels
Fourth Row: Melva Jewell, Bob Selby, Freddie Lindley, and Donna Jewell
This photo was taken in front of the Darrtown Lutheran church.
Union Sunday School Youth Choir
(circa early 1950s)
LEFT: Left to right:
Front row: Agusta Gaiser, choir director; Jackie Matthews, Imogene Schultz, Deanna Lemmons, and Betty Jean Lindley
Back row: Ronnie Wiley,
Rosemary Krauth, Freddie Lindley, Janet Baumann, Bob Selby, Beverly Bradbury, Donna Jewell, and Shirley Michael.
This photo, taken in front of the Darrtown Lutheran church, was donated by Deanna (Lemmons) Richardson.
Darrtown Union Sunday School
Basketball Team Presents
"Let's Have Some Excitement"
RIGHT: It appears that the Darrtown Union Sunday School had a basketball team.
The event was sponsored by the "Home and School Circle" - which may have been a precursor of the now familiar Parent-Teacher Association.
The team and/or its supporters apparently presented a play on Friday, March 5.
The year of the production, which is not listed in the printed program, was determined by (a) consulting a perpetual calendar (March 5th fell on a Friday in the years of 1926, 1937, and 1943) and (b) by factoring in the time when the lives of the persons who participated in the play would have intersected.
These two images (right and below) were contributed by Naomi (Witherby) Fea in early August 2009. Naomi is the daughter of Jean (Bradbury) Witherby, who saved these artifacts.
1930s Era Printed Program
Touts Theatrical Comedy
in Support of the
Darrtown Sunday School
Boys' Basket Ball Team
The image at the right and those that appear below were part of a four-page program that was found among several documents that belonged to Darrtown High School graduate, Alvin Alford.
Mrs. Madonna Burke, daughter of Alvin Alford, contributed this and other documents in October 2013.
Although the printed program is undated, it seems likely that this event occurred in the mid-1930s. Judging by waistlines and hairlines, several of the players on the team appear to be grown men, rather than "boys," as the team is advertised on the cover of the program.
Members of the basketball team (pictured at the right) included:
(back row, left to right) Alvin Alford, Raymond Schmidt, Walter Alston, Coach Robert Iwig, John Bradbury, Fred Grothaus, and Wilbur Pierson.
(front row, left to right) Clifford Alexander, LeRoy Brown, George Hansel, and Robert Simpson.
Points of interest gleaned from the printed program:
The coach of the play was Mrs. John Burkhart; her husband, John Burkhart, was the School Superintendent, in 1937. He may have served in that position before 1937.
The play was presented three times (in Darrtown, Camden, and Collinsville - on March 11, 17, and 18. The year is unknown.
The merchants listed in the program present a glimpse into the business world of the 1930s, in the Butler county, Ohio area. For example,
> There were several sources for buying "coal and coke"
> Oxford had at least three automobile dealerships
> Phone numbers consisted of two, three, or four digits
> Radio service was advertised. No mention of "television" or "computer."
> All businesses were locally owned - no national chain stores.
Notably, several businesses that were in operation in the 1930s are still around!
Consistent with the manner in which the Darrtown Union Sunday School functioned, the basketball team consisted of players from both the Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Sunday School was held every Sunday...
For many years, a "Union" Sunday School was conducted each Sunday, in Darrtown.
Every Sunday, area youth could attend Sunday School in Darrtown - even though the two existing churches (Lutheran and Methodist) only conducted church services on alternating Sundays.
On a "Lutheran Sunday," the Union Sunday School activities were conducted in the Lutheran Church - prior to the Lutheran Church services.
On a "Methodist Sunday," the Union Sunday School activities were conducted in the Methodist Church - prior to the Methodist Church services.
For many of the youngsters in the community, the practice of alternating church services was unquestioned. Teenagers, in particular, appreciated the opportunity to socialize with others of their own age, while being exposed to two different religious experiences.
Young Lutherans and young Methodists participated in the Union Sunday School Youth Choir, which sang every Sunday - regardless if it were a "Lutheran" Sunday or a "Methodist" Sunday.
The two churches maintained the Union Sunday School from the mid-1800's into the 21st century.
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