Allamakee co. IAGenWeb Church records
updated 03/09/2016

Presbyterian Church
Postville, Allamakee Co. Iowa

Presbyterian Church, Postville, Iowa c1940


History of the Community Presbyterian Church, 1923-1973

The Community Presbyterian Church of Postville had its inception January 7, 1923, as a result of a union of two congregations, the Congregational and Methodist churches.

The idea of a merger began to germinate in 1917 when some members from each church felt it would be a good plan to unite. When it appeared the majority seemed to favor a union, committees were appointed to make recommendations. Appointed from the Congregational church were G.W. Hunt, Mrs. Irvin Allen, Mrs. Ed Cornell and S.A. Harris. From the Methodist church were J.H. Dannenbrink, Mrs. Flora Franklin, A.L. Meier and F.H. Luhman.

An organizational meeting was held September 20, 1920 and articles of incorporaton were drawn up. It was to be a Federation, called the Postville Community Church and both church facilities were to be used. The Methodist Church was the building now known as the Odd Fellows Hall. The Congregational Church stood on the present site of the Presbyterian Church.

Rev. J.A. Saathoff of Lennox, S. Dak., accepted the first pastorate at a salary of $2,100.

Realizing an independent federation lacked higher authority and counsel, Rev. Saathoff recommended that the church ally itself with a denominaton. At the annual meeting, January 7, 1923, the congregaton voted to become a Presbyterian Church and to turn over all church property to the Presbyterian Board.

The Methodist Church property, however, belonged to the Central Board while the Congregatonal Church owned its own property. Therefore, plans were made to use the Congregational Church for the permanent home.

Extensive remodeling followed. The sanctuary remained the same with the pulpit on the south side but a large addition on the north opened into the sanctuary for extra seating capacity.

Sunday, November 4, 1925, the congregation had just gone home, rejoicing over the announcement in church that the last indebtedness for remodeling had been paid, when the fire siren sounded, the church was ablaze and burned out of control.

Immediately a financial drive was started and 18 days after the fire, $12,365 had been pledged for a new building.

It took a little over a year to complete the new building, the pulpit was changed from the south to the west side of the sanctuary and other facilities were added. The first service in the new building was December 27, 1926 and the dedication was held February 20, 1927. The total indebtedness of $37,566 was paid in full November 8, 1937.

Under its several ministries, the church continued to grow and new programs were initiated. Women were elected elders; a vacation Bible school was started; a Family Church Night was inaugurated; the church nursery was started; a new manse was built; chancel, youth and carol choirs were formed and the diamond Dinner became an annual event. An active Mariners Club contributed much to the church and manse and the Presbyterian Men were organized.

In November, 1950, the church purchased from the Board of Foreign Missions, the other half of a farm left the church by H.E. Roberts. In 1952, a pipe organ was purchased for $7,235.

With a Sunday School enrollment of 236 in 1956, a need devoloped for more room and an expansion program was discussed. October 5, 1957 the property west of the church was purchased for $12,000 and $30,000 was borrowed for an educational unit which was built and dedicated May 24, 1959.

One of the good deeds performed by the men was the installation of a new ceiling in the basement last year. The women's organization has consistently increased its field of action, combining the original Ladies Aid and the Missionary Society into a Women's Association.

The ladies served countless dinners to raise $4,500 towards a new floor for the basement with H.E. Roberts fulfilling his pledge to match the funds raised.

An active social service program holds rummage sales each year and the funds are used for needy individuals in the community.

It is impossible to measure the contributions in time and labor individual men and women have given throughout the years, that "something more" that is not done for reward but for love of doing.

Memorials and personal gifts have resulted in continuous improvements in the church and te service it renders. With the current program of remodeling the entrances to the church, the church looks back with pride on its past 50 years and to the future with optimism.

Ministers serving 1921-1966

Rev. J.A. Saathoff ...........1921-1924
Rev. R.F. Galloway .........1925-1937
Rev. J. Ian Fraser .............1938-1941
Rev. Lehr Newhouse .......1942-1945
Rev. Eldon Seamans ........1946-1949
Rev. Walter T. Martin ......1949-1965
Rev. Dick Harberts ..........1966-

~50th Anniversary program, Sunday, January 7, 1973; Community Presbyterian Church, Postville, Iowa
~transcribed by S. Ferrall


Community Ladies Aid Society Organized, 1921

The members of the Congregational and M.E. ladies aid societies met at the M.E. church on Wednesday afternoon and perfected an organization to be known as the Community Ladies Aid Society. A constitution and set of by-laws was drawn up and the following officers elected:
President - Mrs. F. C. Comstock
Vice Pres. - Mrs. F. H. Welzel
Secretary - Mrs. J. H  Dannenbrink
Treasurer - Mrs. H. Miller
Directors - Mrs. G. W. Hunt, Mrs. S. C. Baily, Mrs. A. C. Marston and Mrs. J. W. Campbell
~Postville Herald, Thur., January 27, 1921
~contributed by Reid R. Johnson


Ladies Aid Society, 1924

At its meeting last Friday afternoon the Ladies Aid Society of the Community church elected the following officers for the ensuing year:
President - Mrs. Alice Miller
Vice Pres. - Mrs. Amanda Phillips
Secretary - Mrs. Delia Stone
Treasurer - Mrs. Cleo Dawes
Directors - Mesdames Spaugy, Luhman, Waters and Webster
~Postville Herald, Thur., January 24, 1924
~contributed by Reid R. Johnson


Rev. Fraser Goes to Tulsa, Okla., Pastorate Nov. 1
Returns to Church He Had Part In Establishing As A Student

Rev. J. Ian Fraser

Rev. J. Ian Fraser announced on Sunday his acceptance of a call to become pastor of the Yale Avenue Presbyterian church of Tulsa, Oklahoma, beginning November 1. This acceptance wil bring about the termination of his service as pastor of the Community Presbyterian church of Postville, which he began May 1, 1938. The Yale Avenue church, according to Mr. Fraser's statement, is located in an outlying residential area of Tulsa. Although it is considerably smaller than the Postvill church, it is faced with exceptional opportunities for service and growth since the erection of a new high school of over 1,000 students four blocks from the church, and the building of a huge bomber plant just outside the city not far from the church.

As a student at the University of Tulsa, Mr. Fraser assisted in the organization of the church in 1929, and remained as a volunteer worker until he left for his seminary work a few years later. Rev. and Mrs. Fraser and their three children plan to leave for Tulsa about October 29.

To see that the pulpit is supplied and to lead in the search for a new pastor, the session of the church has appointed a pulpit committee consisting of W.H. Burling, chairman; H.E. Roberts and Mrs. E.C. Marston.

~Postville Herald, Wednesday, October 1, 1941
~transcribed by S. Ferrall from a photocopy of the article contributed by Reid R. Johnson


Diamond Club Members Attend Annual Banquet, 1951

Diamond Club Members, 1951
Photo of the full group


Close-up of the members seated towards the back

Caption: Members of the Diamond Club of the Postville Community Presbyterian Church held their annual dinner at the church on Thursday noon. The dinner was given to club members by Mrs. Leon Chamberlain’s Sunday School class. Mrs. Herman Webb was toastmistress for the occasion.   

In the full group photo, from lower left clockwise around the table they are: 
Miss Josephine Durno, crowned queen to reign for the year
Mrs. Mate Welzel
Mrs. A. A. Schmidt
Mrs. Claudia Meier, president of the Sunday School Class in charge
Mrs. Leon Chamberlain, Sunday School class teacher
Mrs. F. W. Kiesau
Dr. F. W. Kiesau
A. L. Meier
Mrs. Herman Webb
Mrs. W. T. Martin, wife of the pastor
Mrs. William Leui
Mrs. Charles Faye
Charles Faye
Mrs. Julia Bollman
Herman Webb
Mrs. Carrie Cornell
Eugene E. Owen, crowned, king to reign for the year

~Postville Herald newspaper clipping – dated June 20, 1951
~contributed by Connie Ellis

Connie wrote "This clipping was in my grandmother’s materials. It is an article and photo in the church section for the Community Presbyterian Church. The Diamond Club recognized the members of the church who were 75 years of older. Eugene E. Owen was my great-grandfather and would have been 83 years old  at the time of the banquet. He was born December 28, 1867 and died December 17, 1953.  Josephine Sophia Durno was born September 23, 1861 and died May 2, 1957. I do not know how they selected the king and queen.


Rev. Walter T. Martin

The Community Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Rev. and Mrs. W. T. Martin for nearly 17 years moved from membership of 223 in 1949 to a present total of 507. During this period, 223 infants and 93 adults were baptized. He performed 62 weddings and conducted 188 funerals.

~Postville Herald, Wednesday, October 27, 1965
~contributed by Reid R. Johnson

Rev. Martin died Nov. 1, 1980 in/near Rockford, Winnebago co. IL. He & his wife Mariam are buried in the Glenwood cemetery.


Rev. Harberts Is New Pastor Of The Presbyterians

Rev Dick Harberts

The Rev. Mr. Dick F. Harberts began his pastorate at the Community Presbyterian Church in Postville on Sunday, presenting his first service on that date. Rev. Harberts came to Postville from the First Presbyterian Church at Jefferson, where he had served since 1955.

He and his family moved to the church manse on Thursday of last week. The Rev. and Mrs. Harberts are the parents of six boys, namely: Steven who is a sophomore at Tarkio college, Tarkio, Missouri; Stewart who is attending Fort Dodge Community college; Sidney, who is a sophomore in school here; Paul a freshman in school here; Craig in forth grade here; and Clark, 2 1/3 years of age.

Rev. Harberts received his B.A. degree from the University of Dubuque and his B.D. degree from Dubuque Theological Seminary. He was ordained by Waukon Presbytery in 1954. He served as pastor of Steamboat Rock Presbyterian Church in 1954 and 1955 and served the First Presbyterian Church at Jefferson from 1955 to 1966.

~Postville Herald, Wednesday, March 23, 1966
~contributed by Reid R. Johnson

Obituary of Rev. Dick Harberts (1921-2014)


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