I was thrilled to find this history of the Kimberly ward at the end of my great-grandfather J. Wesley Glenn's autobiography. I have been looking forward to sharing it ever since I read it. Enjoy!
A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
AND OF THE KIMBERLY WARD
FROM 1870 TO 1986
Compiles [sic] by J. Wesley Glenn of the Kimberly Second Ward, February 9, 1986
As more people came into the area, the Cassia Stake was organized on 19 November 1887, the 32nd stake with Horten O. Haight as president.
The first person in the area, Mr. I. B. Perrine, who is known as the father of Twin Falls, found a way down the canyon wall on the north side of the Snake River into the Blue Lakes area. He envisioned irrigating the land and widely advertised through out the United States. He and a few others interested invested some capital in financiering the project. Work commenced on the Milner Dam and the canals early 1903 and was completed by the end of 1904. The construction of this dam is quite unique. Timbers were stood on end and team and wagons to fill both sides to the necessary strength to complete the structure hauled dirt, rocks, and gravel. This dam was inspected just a few years back and though it would be well to replace it there is no evidence of it giving way and is safe to continue to operate it, although it is now more than 80 years old. Four horses and two men operating a scraper dragging the dirt out and placing it on the bank excavated the canals. This scraper was four feet long and would hold ten cubit feet of material. The main canal leading out of Milner Dam is about 100 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and carries about 4,000 cubic feet of water passing a given point per second It could be compared to a fair sized river. This stream waters a little more than 200,000 acres or approximately 300 square miles of land. I have been told that Bishop Doyle Morrill’s great-grandfather, Laban D. Morrill, contracted to build the low line canal just south of Kimberly. Water came into the Kimberly area the spring of 1905. The first train arrived in September of 1905.
The arrival of the water and railroad brought more settlers into the area. A branch of the Church was organized as a branch of the Marion Ward of the Cassia Stake under the direction of William T. Jack, President of the Cassia Stake and Bishop Adam G. Smith of the Marion Ward. Magnas P. Swan was sustained as President, Labon D. Morrill, first counselor, Hyrum Strong second counselor, and Edward F. Cozzons, clerk. There was an enrollment of 33 persons. This is the first Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Sings [sic] organized in the Twin Falls area and covered the area from Murtaugh to Buhl. Meetings were held in the houses of the members until a better place could be obtained.
In the platting of the town of Kimberly each of the churches was given a lot on which to build. The Methodist and Christian churches each were given the property on which their buildings now stand across from the City Park. We, LDS, were given one-half of a city block on the edge of town located just to the south of our present building.
In the year of 1906 a school was built and then all the churches held their meetings in the school building, which was located at the intersection of Birch and Jefferson Streets where the large house now stands.
In the Spring of 1908 a 40-foot by 60 foot building was completed at the cost of 900 dollars, which was a large amount for the small group. The Church did not assist as they do now. This building was a little smaller than our present chapel. To divide into classrooms we drew curtains to make the classes. This was the standard practice in the early days. The building was dedicated and the Kimberly Ward organized the 10 May1908 by Francis M. Lyman of the Counsel of the Twelve, assisted by President Jack and Bishop Smith. Eston Briar Wilkens was sustained as Bishop with Samuel F. Strong, First Counselor, Joseph H. Sudweeks as Second Counselor, and Madison M. Fisher as Clerk. Some of the people who were in attendance which we recognize today are: The Morrills, the great grandfather of Bishop Doyle Morrill and the grandfather of Garth, the Morgans, the grandfather of E. J. Morgan, our Stake Patriarch, the Sudweeks, grandfather to Raymond Sudweeks who is now on a mission to Taiwan, the McEwen’s—Orlo’s father Orlo is not with us now but was a member of this ward for many years, in whose home the Branch was organized.
Traveling to church was not easy in the early days of the Ward. Some lived five, six and even seven miles from church. The James A. Stanger family traveled the seven miles to come to meetings. They would travel two hours to get here, attend Sunday School and Sacrament meetings then it would be two hours back home but, they came. Others traveled the four and five miles. During the period of 1908 to 1917, more families settled in the area. In the year of 1917 the automobile replaced the horse and transportation to church was much easier.
During the year of 1912 wards were organized in Twin Falls and Murtaugh, which reduced the size of Kimberly Ward to the Kimberly and Hansen area.
The Twin Falls Stake was organized 26 July 1919, the 76th stake with Lawrence G. Kirkman as President, Edward M. Guest as First Counselor and Raymond McClelland as Second Counselor. The Twin Falls Stake covered the area of the original Kimberly Ward from Murtaugh to Buhl.
Twin Falls Idaho Tabernacle/Stake House
The block north of the Kimberly Ward building had no houses on it. I always wondered why. There were houses on the blocks surrounding this block. The Lord must have been saving it for us (Kimberly Ward) as a building site. In the spring of 1941 James A. Henry, a produce dealer in Kimberly, told us that he thought he could purchase this block of ground for the new building. This he was able to do the summer of 1947 and the title of this land was passed to the Church by that fall. In the spring of 1948 the land was planted to beans and the money was placed in the building fund. Sugar beets were grown on this land the summer of 1949 and again the money went into the building fund. By the spring of 1950 we (Kimberly Ward) had enough to commence building and with the help of many of the ward members we were able to commence the building the spring of 1951 at a cost of $112,000. The chapel (building) was dedicated by Joseph L. Wirthlin, Presiding Bishop of the Church, the 8th of March 1951. He said in his remarks that we should prepare ourselves to stand in holy places. That our temples were holy places and that we could not all be in them so then our chapels would be holy places. But still, we could not all be in them all the time then we should make our homes holy places. We could be in our homes at all times so this should be our goal.
As the stake continued to grow, the Twin Falls Stake was divided creating the Twin Falls West Stake on the 17 August 1969, the 490th stake.
As the years went by the Kimberly Ward continued to grow so that by the end of 1972 we had outgrown this building. Kimberly Ward was divided in April 1972 creating the First and Second Wards. The northern part of Kimberly became the First Ward, the southern part of Kimberly and Hansen area became the Second Ward, with William O. Lyda as our Bishop. This created a problem of scheduling all the meetings to be held, but with the cooperation of all the Brethren, it was solved. The next seven years were continued growth for the two wards, so we were again too large for our building. On the 4th of February 1979, the First and Second Ward boundaries were realigned and the Hansen Ward was created with the Hansen school district being the Hansen Ward. The north half of Kimberly became the First Ward and the south half became the Second Ward with Richard F. Hunt as our Bishop.
The Twin Falls Stake also had grown so large that conference sessions were held one half of the Stake would meet in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The Twin Falls Stake was divided creating the Kimberly Idaho Stake the 11th of February 1979 with David L. Carter as the President. In the Stake are the wards Kimberly First and Second, Hansen, Murtaugh and TwinFalls 11th. The Twin Falls West Stake was divided in 1981 creating the Filer Idaho Stake. Thus has the Church grown in the eighty years of existence.
Now let us look back to the time when the Branch was organized in 1905 and the Ward in 1908 and try to visualize what would be eighty years hence. This, those few Saints, could not do. As I live my life again in my youth, 1985 seems so far in the future I could not realize what the growth would be. Now that we are living in 1986, the same area of the original Kimberly Ward has 24 wards and four Stakes with an enrollment of about 8,000 Saints.
As we project our thoughts into the future, do we realize what will be for us the next eighty years? As I think of the future, I can see the growth of the Church as more wards and states [sic] are organized in this area. Again, let us project our thoughts into the distant future beyond the time when we will beat our spears into pruning hooks and our swords into plowshares when we have overcome our selfishness then more wards and stakes will cover the earth. Then will be the great work of the Saints the redemption of the living and the dead. Ways will be opened whereby we will identify all of those who have lived on this earth and the necessary ordinances will be performed for them. Then will the Father’s work be completed. This is the great mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Let us put our shoulder to the wheel and do our bit to push the work along.
Jerald Wesley Glenn
9 February 1986
Kimberly, Twin Falls, Idaho
I am filled with awe as I read that last paragraph. My great-grandfather had already passed away when it was announced that a temple would be built in Twin Falls, but I suspect that he and all of those early saints who worked so hard to establish the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Kimberly were watching when that announcement was made. I'm sure they were filled with joy to see that the time has come when there are not only many wards but also a temple in the area. The work of redeeming the dead is now taking place in a temple just fifteen minutes away from Kimberly.