IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.
updated 06/27/2014

Methodist Church Waukon

History 1854 - 1944

The church is now known as St. Paul's United Methodist

Waukon Methodist Episcopal Church
By A. M. May

The first Methodist Episcopal minister on the Waukon circuit was Rev. L. S. Ashbaugh, during the last half of the conference year 1852-3. He had as a colleague, Rev. H. S. Brunson. That fall the conference met in Dubuque and Rev. H. S. Brunson was appointed presiding elder. Rev. John Webb was appointed to the Waukon Mission with Joel Davis, a young man of much promise, as colleague. Mr. Davis’ health failed about the middle of the year, and Mr. Webb continued the work alone, with the following appointments:

“First Sabbath, at 10:30 A. M. At Lansing; 3 P. M., at Wakefield’s schoolhouse; 5:30 P.M., at Lansing Ridge, ten miles west of Lansing. Second Sabbath, 10:30 A. M. At Hale’s schoolhouse; 3 P.M., in the courthouse in Waukon; 7:30 P. M., at Burgess’ near Rossville. Third Sabbath, 10:30 A. M., at Decorah; 3 P. M., at Freeport; 7:30 P. M., at Frankville. Fourth Sabbath, 10:30 A. M. At S. Leache’s; 3 P. M., at Burr Oak; 7:30 P. M., at Carter’s mill on the Upper Iowa river. The Saturday evening previous at Canoe. The Monday following at 7:30 P. M., at New Oregon Grove, where Cresco is not situated; thence for home at West Union to pay my family a visit, and then off for Lansing to begin the circuit again.

“The trustees of the Waukon church were W. R. Pottle, E. B. Lyons, Thomas Feeley, John Israel, Father (George C.) Shattuck, Edwin J. Raymond. The stewards were, W. R. Pottle and E. B. Lyons. Class leader, and also local preacher, Thomas Feeley. (In 1890 Mr. Feeley was living near Winterset.) Father Shattuck and myself took an ox team and drew from the timber sills for a Methodist church near the courthouse. I think my successor failed to follow it up and they forfeited the lot. Reverend Ashbaugh was the first regular minister appointed to the Waukon church, and myself the second. The next annual conference was held at Keokuk, and I drove from Decorah to Keokuk, something like three hundred miles, to attend that conference. The next year I was appointed to the Garnavillo circuit, including McGregor.” It is said that a Methodist minister, Wm. Sweet, held services in Makee and Union Prairie in 1853-54, and doubtless was also at the young town of Waukon, but it is not certain. The church was organized while Rev. Webb was pastor in 1854, with the following members: Mr. And Mrs. W. R. Pottle, Mr. And Mrs. H. R. Pierce, Mr. And Mrs. E. B. Lyons, Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Feeley, Mr. And Mrs. E. J. Raymond, Mr. And Mrs. John Israel, Mr. And Mrs. Peter Mills, Mr. And Mrs. A Pinney, Mr. And Mrs. S. Hamler. Reverend Webb was pastor for the years 1854-55. At Keokuk the conference was divided, the northen portion becoming the Upper Iowa Conference, and Rev. C. M. Sessions was pastor of the church for the year 1856. His circuit included Waukon, Lansing, Waterville and Rossville, appointments on sundays, with a week-day appointment at the home of James Shepherd, on Lansing Ridge; and another week-day appointment on Columbus Ridge, this society consisting of John Reed and family, John Stillman and family, Rev. S. H. Greenup and family, and Rev. M. Howard and family. The late Colonel Spooner of Waterville gave material aid, though not a member of the church. The Columbus Ridge interests were transferred later to the Waukon church. All these pioneer members have gone to their final reward. April 30, 1855, the church purchased the corner lot on Allamakee and Worcester streets, now the property of J. H. Hale. In 1859, they purchased lots 1 and 2, block 14, Delafields addition, where E. D. Purdy’s residence is now, and a small frame church was erected at a cost of $800. During the building of the church the services were held a part of the time in the Cumberland Presbyterian church. A Sunday school was organized with Clark Bean as superintendent, and a “Band of Hope” was formed for the children. During this year the trustees were, W. R. Pottle, E. J. Raymond, E. B. Lyons, Thos. Feeley, H. R. Pierce, Moses Wood, C. Bean; the stewards were D. Jaquis, A. Penney, John Reed, S. Hamler, D. Miller and J. W. Flint. A Mason & Hamlin organ was purchased and the late John Eddy was the first organist. Among the early choristers were I. M. Bearce. Herbert Bailey, Elbridge Morrison. The members were Mrs. Crouch, Mrs. Skinner, Mrs. Lowe, Mr. Pottle, “Grandpa” Taylor. Later, Miss Anna Pottle (the late Mrs. A. T. Stillman) became organist, an efficient and faithful one for many years. And there were Miss Emily Huestis, not Mrs. John Eddy; Miss Hattie Morrison, now Mrs. S. R. Thompson; Miss Abbie Bailey (the late Mrs. Drummond of Dubuque), were also among the faithful members. Mr. Bailey was one of the old-time singing school teachers, able, thorough and successful in his work. His rich, powerful bass voice was known through northeastern Iowa. He removed to and died at McGregor some thirty years ago. The ladies of the church organized a sewing circle with Mrs. W. R .Pottle as president, meeting bi-weekly at the different homes, with refreshments served by the hostess, consisting of bread, butter, one kind of meat, cheese or pickles, one kind of cake and tea; the one exceeding this “menu” to be fined fifty cents.

Desiring a better location, as the town grew, April 20, 1867 (Rev. B. D. Alden, pastor), the society purchased a site on the corner of Pitt and Worcester streets, moved the church building thereto, and erected a parsonage on the lots thus vacated. Reverend Alden said of this transaction in the “Inland Christian Advocate,” Des Moines, February 22, 1894: “It was our first attempt as a pastor at improving church property. The neat frame church stood in the outskirts of the village, so that we had not a fair chance with the other churches of the place. Efforts had been made before for a change of location, but invariably the efforts had been headed off by those who were not favorably disposed toward us.

“The matter was canvassed quietly till we found sufficient encouragement to proceed, when a meeting of the official board was called a committee was appointed to purchase the admirable corner lot, one square from the courthouse, upon which the present church now stands.

“The lot, costing $400, was purchased and a portion paid down before the transaction was known to the public. Then there was excitement. One man who owned property next to it, and had been trying to get it but thought the price too high, immediately brought the $400 in cash and offered it to the man from whom we had purchased the property, but the committee had bound the bargain. The lot secured, the church was removed to it and nicely refitted and papered. It was opened for devine service by Rev. Samuel Pancoast of McGregor, and the whole expense, amounting to about $700 was fully provided for. Rev. John Webb preached in the evening, while outside the rain was pouring down in torrents, but the church was filled with rejoicing people. How well we remember the official brethren who stood by us-Clark Bean, Hosea Lowe, H. R. Pierce, W. R. Pottel, S. Hamler, Elihu Morrison, Eli Jones, John Goodykoontz, Daniel Jaquis.”

The congregation increased and needed a larger auditorium. Plans were made, and work begun on the present brick church building in May, 1869, but it was not finished until late in 1871, being first occupied on Christmas evening, December 25. It was formally dedicated, Sunday, February 18, 1872, the sermon being preached by Rev. A. B. Kendig of Cedar Rapids, assisted by the presiding elder, Wm. Smith of Decorah, and the pastor, Rev. J. R. Cameron. The cost was $7,015.55.

The choir of the M. E. Church at the time of the “dedication,” February 18, 1872, was: L. M. Bearce, leader; Miss Anna Pottle, organist; Mrs. John Stillman, Mrs. H. Low, Misses Ruth Bearce (Gardner), Rosanna Rankin (Hancock), Tena Rankin (Manson), Jennie Reed (Bentley), and Messrs. A. T. Stillman, Gene Manson and Charles Osborn.

In May, 1872, the old frame church was sold to C. S. Stilwell, who moved it to the corner of Armstrong and Court streets and remodeled it into his present residence.

The church has been heated by a furnace since 1878. The cupola was completed by Sheffer in 1881 and a bell costing about $700 placed therein.

Rev. T. E. Fleming was the pastor in 1882; the membership was about one hundred and sixty. The Sunday school numbered about one hundred: A. T. Stillman, superintendent. The trustees were: G. H. Bryant, H. J. Bentley, E. D. Purdy, D. W. Reed, Henry Dayton, J. S. Nitterauer; stewards, John Brawford, D. W. Reed, John Stillman, P. C. Huffman, H. O. Dayton, M. W. Nesmith, J. S. Nitterauer, A. T. Stillman, L. Eells

In 1887 the presiding elder was W. F. Paxton; pastor, G. R. Manning. Trustees, G. H. Bryant, H. J. Bentley, Henry Dayton, John Reed, Jackson Smith, E. D. Purdy, C. A. Beeman, Stewards, P. C. Huffman, H. O. Dayton, D. W. Reed, G. W. Haines, John Stillman, A. T. Stillman, Mrs. Jennie Bentley, Mrs. Jackson Smith, W. T. Gilchrist, M. Dowling, E. J. Spaulding, J. J. Jennings. District steward, P. C. Huffman, Recording steward, D. W. Reed. Sexton, R. Wampler.

Ladies’ Mite Society-Mrs. Jennie Burton, president; Mrs. Maria Dayton, vice president; Miss Ruth Bearce, secretary; Mrs. Ellen Reed, treasurer.

The Women’s Foreign Missionary Society-Mrs. Carrie E. Manning, president; Mrs. Helen Clark, vice president; Mrs. Henrietta Hale, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Ellen Reed, recording secretary; Mrs. Laura Row, treasurer.

Home College Class-Rev. G. R. Manning, president; Miss Emily Hale, vice president; Miss Jessie Lewis, secretary; Mrs. Mattie Spaulding, treasurer.

Sunday School-A. T. Stillman, superintendent; W. T. Gilchrist, assistant superintendent; Miss Allie Row, secretary; Miss Ruth Bearce, treasurer; Miss Anna May, librarian.

Choir-A. M. May, leader; Mrs. A. M. May, Miss Anna May, Miss Jessie May, Mr. And Mrs. R. J. Alexander, Mrs. And Mrs. W. T. Gilchrist, Mr. And Mrs. John J. Jennings, Miss Ruth Bearce, Miss Louisa Wimmer, Miss Jessie Robbins, Miss Gertie Goodykoontz. Miss Lura Fellows, organist.

July 4, 1891, the new pastor, Rev. W. C. Macurdy, C. A. Beeman and A. T. Stillman were appointed a building committee for planning and erecting an addition to the church building, which was done one the east side of the church, with folding glass doors between, capable of seating about 100, and is used for prayer meetings, Sunday school classes, and other purposes and including the “kitchen” and entrance recess furnishes room for mite society dinners, etc., and is easily made a part of the auditorium. The cost was about $2,000 ($1,917). The stewards at this time were: H. J. Bentley, W. T. Gilchrist, A. T. Stillman, G. W. Haines, A. M. May, L. J. Nichols, J. Jenkins, David Miller, Levi Armstrong, John Stillman. Trustees, E. D. Purdy, G. H. Bryant, Jackson Smith, C. A. Beeman, H. O. Dayton.

The stewards for 1901-02 were: E. D. Purdy, C. A. Beeman, Jackson Smith, H. B. Miner, G. H. Bryant, Mrs. Hattie Bowen, Mrs. Addie Sanaker, Mrs. Carrie Alexander, Mrs. Mary Dayton. The trustees were: A. T. Stillman, W. T. Gilchrist, H. J. Bentley, g. w. Haines, A. T. Nierling.

The pastor, Rev. W. G. Crowder, had been planning for a pipe organ for the church, and January 16, 1902, a contract was made with the Barckhoff Church Organ Company, of Pomeroy, Ohio, for an oak finish organ harmonizing with fine artistic effect with the surrounding location, and of smooth, pure musical tones at a cost of $1,200. Experienced organists of good judgment have said that it was an unusually fine and valuable instrument for that price. An inaugural concert, dedicating the new pipe organ was given at the church May 15, 1902, the organist being Rev. Hugh D. Atchinson, pastor of St. Luke’s M. E. Church in Dubuque, an organist among the best in the West; contralto, Miss Genevieve Wheat, and basso-cantata, Mr. Marion E. Green, both of Dubuque, assisted by the choir.

The stewards of the church for the year 1912-13 are: E. D. Purdy, Jackson Smith, A. T. Nierling, Mrs. H. E. Bowen, Mrs. P. N. Heiser, Mrs. R. J. Alexander, Miss Cora Miner, G. H. Bryant, T. J. Werhan, Chas. F. Pye, J. C. Lewis. Trustees, A. T. Stillman, W. T. Gilchrist, C. A. Beeman, August Hausman, G. W. Haines. Deaconess, Mrs. F. H. Robbins. Sunday school superintendent, A. T. Stillman. President Epworth League, Otto Ney. The pastor’s salary, including parsonage, $1,200. Value of the church, $12,000; parsonage, $3,000.

The members of the choir are: A. M. May, leader; Miss Ethel Gilchrist, organist; R. J. Alexander, W. T. Gilchrist, Richard Eddy, Ralph Jeglum, Leonard Jeglum, W. H. Niehaus, Misses Lizzie Ney, Gertrude Nye, Dora Eaton, Lucile Eaton, Mabel Dunlevy, Ruth Alexander, Eunice Hartley, Artis Hartley, Lisle Clark, Edith Clark, Elizabeth Lewis, Agnes Kettleson, Hazel Coon, Jennie Coon, Mrs. W. T. Gilchrist.

The ministers who have served the Waukon congregation and church are: Rev. L. S. Ashbaugh, and assistant, Rev. H. S. Brunson, 1852-53; Rev. John Webb and assistant, Rev. Joel David, 1854-55; Rev. C. M. Sessions, 1856; Rev. M. Whitmore, 1857; Rev. John Fawcett, 1858; Rev. W. E. McCormac, 1859-60, Rev. F. C. Mather, 1861-62; Rev. J. F. Hestwood, 1863-64; Rev. A. Faulkner, 1865; Rev. B. D. Alden, 1866-67; Rev. R. Ricker,1868=69; Rev. J. R. Cameron, 1870-72; Rev. Wm. Cobb, 1873-74; Rev. B. C. Hammond, 1875-77; Rev. J. A. Ward, 1878-1880; Rev. D. Sheffer, 1881; Rev. T E. Fleming, 1882-83; Rev. J. C. Magee, 1884-85; Rev. G. R. Manning, 1886-87; Rev. L. U. McKee, 1888-90; Rev. W. C. Macurdy, 1891-93; Rev. W. H. Slingerland, 1894-97; Rev. S. R. Ferguson, 1897-99; Rev. J. W. McCord, 1899-1900; Rev. W. G. Crowder, 1900-03; Rev. K. W. Robbins, 1903-05; Rev. J. R. Caffyn, 1905-08; Rev. T. H. Temple, 1908-10; Rev. W. W. Robinson, 1911; Rev. J. Arthur Young, 1911-13.

~Past & Present of Allamakee County, 1913, pg 361
~transcribed by Diana Henry-Diedrich


Organized in 1854 - The congregation of the Methodist Church, Waukon, Ia., is celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of its organization Sunday, July 16. First services were held in the old court house, later in a small church, and now in this fine building.

90th Anniversary - Waukon Church Founded in 1854
by Mrs. Will Deeny

Waukon, Ia. - the Methodist Church of this city, founded in 1854, Sunday, July 16, is celebrating its 90th anniversary with a special program, morning and afternoon. The Rev. Herbert Temple, superintendent of the Dubuque district and a fomer pastor here is the guest speaker. A feature wil be the recognition of persons who have been affilitated with the church fifty years or more.

The church was organized in 1854 with the Rev. John Webb, an itinerant preacher, in charge. Services were conducted in the old court house, which at that time was on the site now occupied by the Martin Brothers' Furniture store. The Rev. C.M. Sessions became pastor in 1855 after the Upper Iowa Conference was formed. His circuit then included Lansing, Waukon, Waterville and Rossville.

The congregation purchased two lots now occupied by the Otto Ney residence and erected a church in 1859. The congregation grew rapidly in the next ten years, and a larger building was needed. As a result, the land on which the present building is located was purchased and a new brick church erected. Services were held in it for the first time on Christmas Eve, 1871, with the Rev. J.R. Cameron as pastor. The church was formally dedicated Feb. 18, 1872. Improvements have been made at intervals during all these years, several during the past few months. The church has just recently been redecorated. The Rev. W.H. Mitchell is the present pastor.

~Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, Sunday morning edition, July 16, 1944
~transcribed by S. Ferrall

See also:

Record of Baptisms: page 1 * page 2 * Record of Deaths of Members *Record of Marriages 1862-1949


Return to Allamakee Church Records index