Kremlin-Gildford Church of the Brethren

This history of Kremlin-Gildford Church of the Brethren
was written by Sarah Brumbaugh Williams, daughter of its first Paster, John Aaron Brumbaugh. The Church was also known as
Milk River Valley Church of the Brethren.

A group of German Baptists (known as Bunkers) emigrated to Montana about 1910-1911 settling from the Kremlin-Gildford area north to the Milk River. A congregation was organized in 1912 with J. A. (John Aaron) Brumbaugh as Pastor.

They met in homes of members until about 1914 when the meeting place was centralized in the Pastor's home. Then the congregation decided a church edifice was needed, so plans were made to build.

The Parsonage was built first. it was located west of Frank Good's place, and a little north. It was used not only for the pastor and family's home, but was also used for Sunday School and services while the church was being built. The Parsonage burned down before the church was completed.

Emerson Garver donated a plot of ground (part of his homestead) for the church and W. H. Meeks of Gildford, a carpenter, was in charge of the building operations.

Construction on the church began in 1915. Many businesses and neighbors helped both financially and in donated time in the building operations. All of the supplies were from one of the three lumber yards in Gildford.

The building was finished and open for worship in 1918 with John A. Brumbaugh as its first pastor. The Kremlin-Gildford Church of the Brethren was a neighborhood church in the North Gildford-Kremlin community for many years.

Some of the ministers officiating through the years were: J. J. Peters, Charles Wolff, Roy Good, and Richard Molt, with non-resident ministers from the Mother Church located in Elgin, Illinois, coming to officiate during summertime in later years.

Due to the emigration of members, the Kremlin-Gildford Church of the Brethren is now disbanded.

The Cemetery

A cemetery lay just west of the church building. Charles Beecher, husband to Hattie Beecher Osterbauer, was the first to be buried in the Milk River Valley Church Cemetery. Rev. John Brumbaugh performed the burial ceremony.

There are l4 or more graves in the Cemetery. They are: John Brumbaugh, Henry Brumbaugh, Paul Brumbaugh, Thomas Wood, Mrs. A. I. Standifer, Mrs. J. Hoffman, Elza Chronister, Walter Williams, Charles Beecher, LLoyd Meeks (a 6-yr-old child), Robert Wolff (a child of 9 or 10 yrs), the twin babies of Victor Young, and the Vern Smith baby. The grave of Alice Steel has been moved to Havre.

September 2012 addition to the Church Cemetery information, submitted by Darlene Casteel of Shelton, Washington, wife of Elza Chronister's Great-Grandson:

"A few years ago, it took us a long time asking questions, following false leads, and driving back & forth on Highway 2 before we were finally able to find this cemetery."

"Elza Chronister, shown on the list of burials in the Milk River Valley graveyard, was my husband's great-grandfather. Elza Chronister was a soldier who served in the Civil War and has a civil war marker at his grave in the cemetery.

"Also buried in the cemetery is Frances Isabel Smith Chronister, wife of Elza Chronister." There is no marker for Frances. When we visited there was an indentation in the ground next to Elza's grave, and a wooden marker that was no longer legible."

"I established a web page on the Find A Grave website for this cemetery, and have entered these individuals there. Thank you for all the great information found on this Kremlin Montana History web site."
Darlene Casteel, September 24, 2012.

Communion Sunday

As remembered by Dorothy (Mrs. Lyle) Williams,
Sarah Brumbaugh Williams' Daughter-In Law)

"Communion Sunday was very different from what we know today. It started with a Sunday morning service. We then went home and returned at 5:00 p.m.

It was a very holy and a sacred day. You did not talk about the weather, or farming or anything else. You spoke softly to one another, and only about things that were related to Communion.

Tables were set in a long row. One side for men and the other side for women. The tables were covered with white linen table clothes. The women prepared the meal, made up of beef and broth.

Communion bread was usually made by Sarah Williams. It was placed in the middle of the table and you broke bread with the person across from you.

The service started off with singing songs about communion. And then we had the washing of the feet. You started at the end of the row and washed the feet of the one next to you. You knelt in front of that person to wash their feet."

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