Cal-Nev Pastor Publishes New History of Methodism in Nevada

May 26, 2011

Nevada Humanities has published two major articles on the history of Methodism in Nevada authored by The Rev. John Herbert Emerson, pastor emeritus of First United Methodist Church of Reno. This first updated history of the denomination in this state since Leon L. Loofbourow's Steeples Among the Sage (1964) is said to be "arguably the most comprehensive treatment of the subject covering the entire state for the years 1859 through 2010.

The two articles appear on the Nevada Humanities website at To locate them, click on Community and Society (found in the column on left), then Religion, and finally click on Methodism in Nevada Part I and Methodism in Nevada Part II.
Facts and figures come alive with human interest stories set in the context of current events of the times, beginning in 1825 with the arrival of the first white man in the territory: hunter, trapper, and expedition guide, Captain Jedediah Strong Smith, a "Bible totin'" Methodist. Examples of other stories include the colorful converted Irish seaman, Rev. Thomas McGrath; Gov. Henry Blasdel, the "coffee and chocolate governor"; North Las Vegas pastor Marion Bennett, fa ormer Nevada Assemblyman; and notable lay persons such as Martha Gottschalk, Bertha Woodard, Dr. Richard Petty, Las Vegas restaurateur Bob Baskin, and Don Winne, former Nevada deputy attorney general and university professor.
John Emerson has served Nevada UM churches in Carson City, Winnemucca, Ely, McGill, and Reno. Semi-retired, he currently is a chaplain with Circle of Life Hospice, and makes his home in Sparks with his wife, Janice.
Rev. Emerson was helped in his nearly three years of research by local churches around the state which provided local histories; by Dr. Stephen Yale, California-Nevada United Methodist archivist; archive librarians at the University of Nevada, Reno; and by his editor, Dr. John Marschall. Emerson acknowledges The Rev. John Dodson, also, a former UNR campus minister "without whose repeated urgings this project may not have come to fruition." 
For more information contact Karen Wikander, "ONE" Managing Editor, at 775.784.6587 or 1034 N. Sierra St., Reno, NV 89507.