Hamlet Union Church can trace its history all the way back the early 1900’s as homesteaders moved into the valley forming the village of Hamlet. Unlike today, the village as it existed then was quite active. There was a Post Office, two banks, a Ford garage, two grocery stores, a hardware store, a barber shop, a hotel, two lumber yards, two grain elevators, a stock yard, a blacksmith shop, a restaurant and a school through the tenth grade. But the one thing missing was a church.
The American Sunday School Union assisted in establishing a Sunday School to minister to the needs of the town. The Sunday School was led by the postmistress and met in the schoolhouse on the hill.
Howard Holverson, who came to Hamlet with his parents in 1918, recalls events that directly led to the construction of the church building.
"Since Hamlet was the only town in Hayes County with a railroad handy to the Stinking Water area, cattle were loaded from the stock yards there almost every Saturday afternoon and sometimes into the late night. One Saturday, the loading took most of the night. When the fellows had finished loading, and though it was during prohibition days, they found something that enhanced their usual merrymaking. They decided to have a target shooting contest."
"The school house door seemed a good place to nail up a target. They were not aware of the Sunday School going on inside. When the bullets came, they did not stop at the door. They began to ricochet off the stove in the center of the room. The Sunday School attendants tried to get where they would not get hit. There was only one slight casualty."
"A dear lady we knew as “Grandma” Rosenberry was nicked by a richocheting in her leg. But the event moved “Grandma” Rosenberry’s son-in-law, himself an elderly man we called “Grandfather” Rutherford, to offer to pay half of the cost if the others would pay the other half to build a church building. This is how a church came to Hamlet."
In August 1920 construction began on a church building. That building was completed in June 1921. Evangelist Dan Duncan helped organize the church and held its first services, June 2-5. From a script written by Mrs. Frank Graves, “There was the biggest baptismal service ever held in western Nebraska!” Sixty nine people were baptized with several joining the church that remained affiliated with the American Sunday School Union.
Pastors that ministered from 1920 through 1933 were Dan Duncan, J.S. Beam, Miss Elizabeth Ware, Ben Bobbit, Leo Lapp, Pastors Galloway, Forscyt, Terry, Liston, Ford,Thomas, William Egle and Chris Egle. Evangelist Dan Duncan returned to hold another series of meetings June 6-12, 1931 with 32 people being baptized in the creek behind the church near the railroad bridge and 42 persons joining the church.
Evangelist Dan Duncan Baptismal Service 1931
In the mid 1930’s, HUC reorganized and affiliated with The Christian & Missionary Alliance. The first C&MA pastor was L.V. Michulesky (1936-1939). Others following were W.A. Alfors (1939-1942); Karl Zieman (1942-1945); Palmer Rupp (1945-1950); Dwight Hall (1950-1953); E.N. Masters (1953-1956); Donald Merrill (1956-1960); David Becknell (1961-1963); Paul Wood (1964-1966); Dale D. Howard (1966-1971); William Adams (1971-1975); Dennis Gordon (1975-1992); Matthew Hoffman (1992-2002); Kevin Fink (2001-2004); Marshall Erickson (2004-present); Kevin McGraw (2008-present).
Boys sunday School Class 1922
HUC established a governing constitution and filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Nebraska on May 9, 1968.
Throughout the years, HUC has experienced steady growth, necessitating expansion of its building. In September 1995 construction of a new sanctuary and classrooms addition was begun. Work was completed in April 1996. Over the course of time, two houses adjacent to the hurch were purchased. One became the parsonage in 1945, however both have been converted into classroom space for youth. In the summer of 2009, a purchase of the old Hamlet Coop Weigh Station was made. We are presently converting that building into a ministry center to house, among other things, our youth ministry.
Audit for 1940 showed
Pastor Salary: $687.52
Janitor Salary: $55.00
Electric Bill: $19.92
Phone Bill: $11.31
Phone Bill: $11.31