IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Church records
updated 3/12/2013

First Baptist Church
Waukon, Makee township

1st Baptist Church, Waukon photo postcard ca1909 1st Baptist Church, Waukon, Google photo ca2005

The old church building is located on Allamakee St. in Waukon, just north of the old county courthouse. The church is now a private residence. The current church & congregation are located on the south side of Waukon.

Erected by the Congregational society this brick building was purchased in 1871 by the First Baptist congregation. It was razed in 1904 and a new church was built on the site.

~the photo was contributed by Ann Londres

Mens Barraca Class, 1908
1908 Mens 'Barraca' (Sunday school) Class of the First Baptist church

Close-up of the Mens Barraca Class, 1908
Close-up of the Mens Barraca Class, 1908

Back row L-R: Will Schellsmith, A.E. Entwhisle, Ray Carpenter, Dudley Stull, DeWitt Barry, Earl Markley, Elmer Gunderson, Arthur Briar & Glen Carpenter
2nd row from back L-R: Cresy Bender, Chas Carpenter, Roland Johnson, Damon Kimberly, C.M. Powell & Dr. J.H. Johnson
Middle row L-R: E.M. Hancock, T.T. Ericson, P.A. Anderson, E.W. Goodykoontz, John Ericson
2nd row from front L-R: Will Brown, S.D. Torry, J.D. Sherman and Dr. J.B. Doweling
Seated L-R: E.B. Gibbs and Rev. H.P. Langridge

~photo was contributed by Ann Londres


On the 17th of June 1854 a number of members of this denomination met at the dwelling of Azel Pratt, on Makee Ridge, for the purpose of organizing a church. C. J. White was chosen moderator and Azel Pratt clerk, and it was voted to receive the members present, viz: Azel Pratt and wife, John G. Pratt, Lathrop Abbott and wife, Miles Nichols and wife, C. J. White, and Phoebe Hersey. These nine members received the right hand of fellowship by Elder James Scofield, and the name of Allamakee Baptist Church was adopted, of which John G. Pratt was chosen clerk. On Jan 20, 1855, Azel Pratt and Isaac D. Lamberts were chosen as deacons. The first baptisms were on July 29th, 1855, when the rite was administrated by Elder Schofield to the following candidates: F. G. Pratt and his wife Orillah Pratt, Frances E. Hersey, Harriett E. Hersey, Mary Ann Hersey, Mary M. Pratt, and Phoebe Bearce. In May 1856, Elder Samuel Hill, jr. First performed the baptismal rite according to the record. During these years the church membership rapidly increased by letter and baptism, and public worship was held in the Makee school house. In 1857 Rev. L. M. Newell was secured as pastor, and covenant meetings were held in Waukon and the Makee school house alternately, and in the next spring, 1858, the church assembled in Waukon, holding meetings in the school house. In 1860 services were held in the M. E. church every fourth Sunday. Rev. C. D. Farnsworth was with the church after Rev. Newell. In 1866 Rev. D. S. Starr was employed to preach a part of the time. In 1868 a frame church was built on the north side of Pleasant street, in which services were held for the first time Jan .17, ’69, by Rev. D. S. Starr, who was in April following employed as regular pastor. Since then the several pastors have been L. L. Frick 1870-71; Geo. M. Adams 1872-3; John M. Wedgwood 1873-78; F. N. Eldridge 1878-81; M. H. Perry 1881-2, Robert Smith 1882, present pastor.

In the spring of 1871 the church purchased their present brick edifice, which they dedicated on the 5th of March. In the fall of 1872 it was supplied with a heating furnace in the basement; and in the spring of ’76 a baptistery was put in. The frame church on Pleasant street was purchased by A. H. and Augustine Hersey and remodeled into a place of residence. The present church officers are: Trustees, Sam’l Peck, A. H. Howard, W. L. F. Brayton; Deacon, Sam’l Peck; Clerk, J. W. Pratt; Treasurer, L. W. Hersey. The church membership is fifty-seven. There is a flourishing Sunday School, of which J. L. Pratt is superintendent. The choir, under the leadership of J. W. Pratt for many years, is one of the best in northern Iowa.

~History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties Iowa, by W.E. Alexander, 1882


The First Baptist church of Waukon celebrated its semi-centennial in the year 1904, by the erection of a fine new edifice, which was completed and formally dedicated to the service of the Lord on Sunday, September 17, 1905. Its organization dates from June 17, 1854, on which day Azel Pratt and wife Mary, John G. Pratt, Lathrop Abbott and wife Emily, Miles Nichols and wife Hannah, Phoebe Hersey, and C. J. White, assembled at the dwelling of the first named, in the New England settlement named Makee, on what is now as Makee Ridge, two miles north of Waukon, and organized under the name of the Allamakee Baptist church. Of these nine constituent members none is now living, but their memory is fittingly honored by the beautiful window in the south front of the new building. The first named of the, Deacon Azel Pratt and wife, the strong pillars of the church in the first quarter century of its existence, entered into rest but a few days apart, in 1881.

The Baptist Mission pioneer, Rev. James Schofield, extended the right hand of fellowship to the members of the little church, and by the end of the year six more were added to their number by letter and experience. In July, 1855, the rite of baptism was first administered to seven persons, by Elder Scholfield, and the church grew rapidly, seventeen being received by baptism and seven by letter in 1856. John G. Pratt was the first church clerk, and in January, 1855, Azel Pratt and Isaac D. Lambert were chosen as the first deacons. Public worship was held in the Makee schoolhouse; but the growth of the village of Waukon and removal thither of many of the members made it necessary to have service here also, and in March, 1855, Samuel Hill, Jr., was engaged, at a small remuneration, to preach one-half of the time; in the morning at Makee and in the evening at Waukon, the schoolhouse here being built in that year. Elder Schofield continued to labor with the church a part of the time until July 1, 1856. Meanwhile the young preacher Samuel Hill had been, on May 18th, ordained for the ministry, and became the church’s first pastor. In 1857 he returned to his former home in Massachusetts.

The second pastor of the church, according to the records, was Rev. L. M. Newell, who was on May 23, 1857, called by the church at a salary of $500, one-half of which was paid by the Home Mission board, and he remained on the field until June, 1859. In this time the church had assembled in Waukon; and in 1860 we find services were held in the Methodist church every fourth Sunday. Here follows a period of scant records; Rev. C. D. Farnsworth preaching a part of the time and Rev. James Schofield was pastor in 1861.

In 1866 Rev. D. S. Starr was called and it was during his pastorate on July 4, 1868, that the old church society was reorganized and incorporated as the First Baptist church of Waukon, with the following officers: Azel Pratt, A. T. Maltby and A. H. Hersey, trustees; John G. Pratt, clerk; and C. O. Maltby, treasurer. They immediately proceeded to build a house of worship, a frame building, on the north side of Pleasant street, in which the first services were held January 17, 1869. In the spring of 1871 this frame building was sold to A. H. And A. Hersey, and remodeled as a place of residence, for which purpose it is still used, by several tenants, and is known as the “bee-hive.” The church then purchased the brick building erected by the Congregational society on the present site in 1883 (sic), in which they worshiped for thirty-three years, until it was razed, in July of 1904, to be replaced by the present modern structure, at a total cost of about $18,000, including a $2,400 pipe organ built by the Hook-Hastings Co. Of Boston.

The pastors of the church since 1869 have been as follows: Rev. L. L. Frisk, 1870-71; Geo. M. Adams, 1872-73; John M. Wedgwood, 1873-78. Farther Wedgwood was greatly beloved of his flock, but health failing, he took an interval of rest. Later he served the Rossville church two or three years, but increasing ill health caused him to retire to a farm in Fayette county, where he occasionally preached as he was able. In 1887 he returned and built him a home in Waukon, when he continued to reside until his death, in 1891, in his seventy-second year. F. N. Eldridge, 1878-81; M. H. Perry, 1881-82; Robert Smith, 1882-84; F. W. C. Wiggin, 1884-85; Geo. H. Starring, 1886-87; D. N. Mason, 1887-93; E. E. Tyson, 1894-96; Robert Bruce 1896-98; W. C. Stewart, 1899-1902.

Chas. Henry Stull, 1902-05. Under his tireless activity and encouragement the new building enterprise was undertaken and successfully carried out. Having seen the completion of this great work, shortly after the dedication of the new edifice, Mr. Stull tendered his resignation, which was reluctantly accepted, and he has since occupied important fields at Denison and Iowa Falls, this state; St. Paul, Minnesota, Huron, South Dakota; and now in Ohio.

Howard Percy Langridge was then called to this church, in December, 1905, and took up the work with an energy, devotion and tactfulness that brought immediate results; and with so great a sympathy and helpfulness for all in misfortune that he soon endeared himself to the entire community, within the church and without. The circumstances of his tragic death by drowning in the lake of the power company on the Oneota river, May 22, 1909, are too fresh in the hearts of his still sorrowing friends to call for repetition here. A young man of but thirty-five, in athletic vitality, devoted to this family of wife and three young sons, and to the cause which he had espoused; and with so bright a future in prospect, the deplorable event seem impossible. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. A. W. Caul of Vinton (under whose pastorate he was ordained five years previously), assisted by the local pastors of sister denominations, and the remains were taken to Manchester, Delaware county, his former home, for burial.

W. H. Belfrey next became pastor, from October 1, 1909, until June 1, 1912. In September following he was succeeded by the present pastor, W. J. Bell.

The church clerks have been: John G. Pratt to 1869; L. W. Hersey 1869-81; John W. Pratt, 1881-94; Mrs. Charlotte Hancock, 1894-1901; E. B. Gibbs, 1901-03; Miss Frances Lathrop, 1903-05; P. A. Anderson, 1905-12; Dr. J. H. Johnson, 1912-13.

Any historical sketch of this church would be obviously incomplete without special reference to Brother John W. Pratt, who was for so many years not only its never-absent clerk and deacon, but also, for over a quarter of a century, the faithful chorister, and who departed his life in 1897. It would also be unjust to omit mention of the faithful organist for many years, Miss Estelle Pratt, still a faithful assistant; and her successor, Miss Lizzie Spaulding. The same might well be said of Mrs. Flora Crawford, Mrs. Ella Howard and Mrs. Evy Howe, the leading members of the choir.

On November 3, 1902, in her eighty-first year, Mrs. Nancy B. Whiting entered into the reward of a long and patiently suffering Christian life; and a few weeks later, January 6, 1903, her brother, Lewis W. Hersey also died, in his seventy-eighth year. His wife, B. A. Hersey, lovingly known by the entire congregation as “Aunt, Ann,” survived him but a few years. She had made the erection of the new church a possibility by her original contribution of $5,000, when the project was undertaken, which she had later increased, and bequeathed $3,000 as an endowment, the interest to be used only for current expenses of the church. Sister Whiting deeded her comfortable home to the church for a parsonage; and Brother Hersey had been a financial stand-by of the church for many years. All three were very helpful to the church while living, and their works do follow them.

In December, 1903, it was decided that a new church edifice be erected, at a cost of not exceed $9,000. In January, 1904, the plans of architect Dohman of Milwaukee were adopted , and a building committee appointed, consisting of F. W. Goodykoontz, P. A. Anderson, E. H. Fourt, Dewight Sherman and Mrs. B. A. Hersey with C. O. Howard and M. S. Howard advisory members thereof. In June following three additional member were appointed, Pastor Stull, E. B. Gibbs and J. H. Johnson. C. O. Howard did not live to see the work completed, having passed away on the 7th of September. With various alterations made in the plans it was found that the original limit would not be sufficient, and the contract as let to Wm. F. Fuelling of Clayton county called for an outlay of about $13,000, and the old material; which amount was eventually considerably exceeded.

In July, 1904, the old structure was razed, and work begun on the foundation. The cornerstone was laid October 9 by the deacons of the church; and the new building was opened for services June 23, 1905, though incomplete, upon the occasion of the meeting here of the annual session of the Turkey River Baptist Association. Meanwhile, since the preceding June the regular meetings of the church had been held in the City Hall. The formal dedication of the new edifice took place September 17, 1905, the dedicatory services being conducted by Rev. H. O. Rowlands, D. D. , of Davenport. On this occasion the trustees reported the total cost and expenses to date to be $16,101.19. The trustees at that time consisted of: E. W. Goodykoontz, E. H. Fourt, R. A. Anderson, E. B. Gibbs, and M. S. Howard. Deacons: E. B. Gibbs, Dewight Sherman and E. M. Hancock. Deaconesses: Mrs. Margaret David, Mrs. S. D. Torrey and Miss Lida Sherman.

June 20, 1908, a terrific hail storm badly damaged the art windows on the north side of the church. The interior decoration of the church had never been completed, and early in 1910 this work was taken up, and the interior remodeled, a capacious gallery constructed, and the choir loft greatly improved. These repairs and improvements caused an additional expense of some $2,400, and made a very beautiful auditorium. The church was reopened April 17, 1910.

The present membership of the church is about ninety, with the following officials: Trustees, E. H. Fourt, P. A. Anderson, A. E. Entwisle, Mrs. Flora Crawford, E. B. Gibbs. Deacons: E. B. Gibbs, Dewight Sherman, E. M. Hancock, Deaconesses: Mrs. Millie Markley, Mrs. Maude Kelley, Mrs. Ida Entwisle; and Mrs. Margaret David, honorary deaconess for life. Clerk, J. H. Johnson. General auditor, E. B. Gibbs. Chairman of finance committee, E. M. Hancock, Choir; Mrs. Flora Crawford, Mrs. Ella Howard, Mrs. Evy Howe, Mrs. Mabel Colsch, Mrs. Beth Allanson, Messrs. Anderson, Fourt, Goodykoontz and T. T. Ericson. Organist, Miss Lizzie Spaulding.

Sunday School: Superintendent, Mrs. Ida Entwisle, assistant, Miss Lida Sherman; secretary, Wm. N. Brown; librarian, Miss Estelle Pratt.
In 1875 the old church was supplied with a bell, through the labors of the young ladies society called “The Merry Workers,” and it was hung in February. Two months later it was decided to be unsatisfactory in tone and power, and with renewed, effort it was soon after replaced with a much finer and heavier one, the bell that is still in use.

~Past and Present of Allamakee County, Iowa, by Ellery M. Hancock, 1913

Baptist Church 1854-1955
by Mabel Medary, Gazette correspondent

Waukon Baptist church was organized June 17, 1854, by a group of couples meeting at a farm home on what is now known as Makee Ridge, two miles north of Waukon. The home was that of Mr. and Mrs. Azel Pratt. The group organized under the name of the Allamakee Baptist church. John G. Pratt was chosen clerk.

Elder James Schofield, a missionary, and father of Gen. Schofield gave these original members the hand of fellowship. Memory of the group is honored by a window in the present church.

In 1855 services were conducted in the Makee school-house, as membership increased by both letter and baptism. In 1857 the Rev. L.M. Newell became pastor of the church. He served until 1859 at a salary of $500, half being paid by the home missions board. As the village of Waukon grew and many of the church members moved there, it became necessary to conduct services in the first Waukon school, built in 1855. In 1860 services were conducted in the Methodist church every fourth Sunday.

The old church society was reorganized July 4, 1868, and incorporated as First Baptist Church of Waukon. Officers were Azel Pratt, A.T. Maltby and A.H. Hersey, trustees; John G. Pratt, clerk and Maltby, treasurer. The reorganized congregation proceeded to build a church - a frame building on Pleasant street, in which services were conducted for three years. In 1871 this building was sold to A.H. and A. Hersey and remodeled as a residence. It still is used for that purpose.

In 1883 (sic) the group purchased the brick edifice the Congregational members had erected on the site of the present church. This building was used for 33 years, then razed in July, 1904, to be replaced by the present structure. Cost of the present bulding was $18,000, including a $2,000 pipe organ bult by the Hook-Hastings Company of Boston. This organ still furnishes music for all church services.

Hook-Hastings Pipe Organ - click the picture for more about this organ

Pastors of the church have included Mr. Schofield, Samuel Hill, Mr. Newell, C.D. Farnsworth, Mr. Schofield (a second time), D.S. Starr, L.L. Frick, George M. Adams, John M. Wedgwood, F.N. Eldridge, M.H. Perry, F.W.C. Wiggin, George H. Starring, D.N. Mason, E.E. Tyson, Robert Bruce, W.C. Stewart, C.H. Stull, H.P. Langridge, W.H. Belfry, W.J. Bell, G.W. Kinsman, F.E. Pelton, N.O. Roten, A.R. Turnbull, M.C. Powers, Willard O. Johnson, Gordon C. Smith, L.D. Eaton, Lawrence W. Bong, B.G. Hall and Calvin Anderstrom, present pastor, who came to the church in 1952.

~Cedar Rapids Gazette, August 27, 1955
~Photo of the Hook-Hastings pipe organ contributed by Ann Londres. More photos & original historical documents for this organ.

Rev. H.P. Longridge

Waukon, Ia., May 24 - Rev. H.P. Longridge, pastor of the First Baptist church of Waukon, was drowned while swimming in the pond above the electric power dam, twelve miles from the city, Saturday afternoon at 4 o'clock. The terrible tragedy was witnessed by his wife, Maude Longridge, and dozens of other members of the church who were picnicking near the pond during the day. The tragic death of Rev. Longridge has cast a deep gloom over the entire city, where he was well and popularly known.

Saturday morning Rev. and Mrs. Longridge and members of the congregation and Sunday school of the Baptist church went out to the electric power dam for a picnic. After dinner games were indulged in until shortly before 4 o'clock when Rev. Longridge, who is an athletic man and an excellent swimmer, decided to take a plunge in the pool. The water is 20 feet deep and the pond is 150 feet in diameter.
The water was cold and several advised him not to make the plunge. But he declared he was going to take a swim and in he went, while several memers of the picnic party stood on the bank and watched him.

He had been in the water a short time when it was noticed that he seemed to be in great distress and in another minute he threw up his arms and called for help. He was some distance from the shore and at first he was not distinctly heard, though Mrs. Longridge and others realized that he was in grave danger. The party was awe stricken and before any effort could be made to save the drowning man, he disappeared beneath the cold water. He came up and went down again, while the now thoroughly stricken wife wrung her hands in terrible anguish and begged those in the party to save the life of her husband.

~Oelwein Register, Monday, May 24, 1909


December 1931, Dallas, Texas - The will of Adella M. Britain, filed for probate here Wednesday, contained a bequest of $1,500 to the First Baptist church of Waukon, Iowa, "in memory of my father, George W. Britain."


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