The Great Central Valley of Northern Iowa

1855 -The Cedar Valley Association

Organized in 1856, 1856 to 1886

S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa

Pages 219 -236 Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa

The Great Central Valley of Northern Iowa.
1855 -The Cedar Valley Association.
Organized in 1856, 1856 to 1886.

In 1855 a Church was organized at Waterloo, Iowa, and is reported among the unassociated Churches that year, with twenty members, also one at Toledo, Tama County, with fifteen members. These seem to have formed the basis for the organization in 1856 of the Cedar Valley Association.

1856. This Association was constituted with six Churches, as follows: 1st Waterloo, organized in 1855, J. C. Miller, pastor, baptized 74, members 112; St. Charles, organized 1856, G. F. Brayton, pastor, 24 members; Toledo, organized 1855, G. G. Edwards, pastor baptized 18, members 58; Waverly, organized 1856, D. Terry, pastor, members 17; 2d Waterloo, J. C. Miller, pastor, members 17, and Vinton, Rev. A. Chapin, pastor, one baptism and 22 members. Six Churches, 5 pastors, 93 baptisms and 250 members. There is here the anomaly of two Churches in the same place with a membership of only 129, neither of them two years old, and the same person named as pastor of both. Second Waterloo Church is not heard of again after another year. Rev. G. F. Brayton, Freeman, Floyd County, is corresponding secretary of the Association. The First Anniversary was held in 1857, at Waterloo, A. D. Bush, secretary. Three new Churches are added, all organized the present year, via: Horton, D. Terry, pastor, 11 members; New Hartford, J. R. Dean, pastor, 22 members and two baptisms; Riceville, G. F. Brayton, pastor, 10 members. A. G. Eberhart appears as pastor at Waterloo, with 102 members and A. D. Bush at Waverly. The young Association starts off in the great Cedar Valley with a cluster of names in its ministry that are destined to be historic in Iowa Baptist annals. It is hard to realize that less than thirty years ago there were to be found here only these small beginnings.

1858. The Second Anniversary was held at Waverly. A. D. Bush is still secretary. Already the cords are rapidly lengthening. The year has been one of great prosperity. Seven new Churches are added, six of them organized within the year. These are Cedar Falls, Chickasaw, Clarksville, Independence, Janesville, Rockford and Rock Grove. U. R. Walton is reported pastor at Cedar Falls, D. B. Mead at Rock Grove, and J. H. Parmelee at St. Charles City. Other pastors are Terry, Chapin, Eberhart and A. D. Bush. Brother Eberhart has baptized 23 at Waterloo, and Brother Bush 16 at Waverly Churches 13; pastors 7; members 494; baptisms 78. The Churches in the Association are scattered over Benton, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Butler, Bremer, Chickasaw, Floyd and Mitchell counties, the very heart of northern Iowa. Three meeting houses have been completed during the year. The Toledo Church withdraws to unite in the organization of the Iowa Valley Association just organized this year.

1859. Meets at Independence September 23. Rev. U. R. Walter is Secretary. New Churches have been organized at Floyd, Providence, and Fairbank. These unite with the Association, making, with the Polk Church, also enrolled for the first time, IG Churches, with 9 pastors, who have baptized 60 persons, total membership 517. Rev. H. H. Burrington has succeeded Rev. A.D. Bush at Waverly. Rev. John Fulton has begun pastoral work at Independence. Rev. E.G.O. Groat is preaching at Chickasaw and Providence, and Rev. P. Colgrove at Fairbank. The Vinton Church is transferred to Linn Association. Brother Eberhart has baptized 26 at Waterloo and now reports 140 members. In 1860 the Association met at Charles City. Rev. H. H. Burrington is Secretary. New Churches are admitted from Fredericksburg, Rev. E. G. O. Groat, pastor; Frederica, Rev. J. F. Rairden, pastor; Lester, same pastor, and Osage and Mitchell, A.J. Colby, pastor. Rev. Alva Bush is preaching at Fairbank. The first mentioned in connection with this Association of a name than which none, in its subsequent history, is suggestive of more sacred memories. Rev. A. D, Bush is now located at St. Charles. New Hartford, Rockford, Waterloo and Cedar Falls are pastor less. Churches 19; pastors 10; baptisms within the year 82, and a total membership of 593. Rev. A. G. Eberhart has removed to Cedar Rapids.

1861. The annual meeting is at Cedar Falls. Brother Burrington continues as clerk. Rev. C. E. Bailey is pastor at Cedar Falls, and Brother S. Sherman at Eden, a new Church with 12 members. The largest number of baptisms is by Rev. A. I). Bush at St. Charles, 6. It is a year of spiritual dearth. The Frederica Church received last year does not appear, while the Eden Just received takes its place, making the number the same. The name of the Lester Church is changed to Lester and Barcley. While it is not the purpose of these Sketches to perpetuate the names of unworthy men who have dishonored the ministerial office, yet the truth of history, and the lesson it conveys, warrant the following reminiscence of this period. In 1861 the name of C. E. Bailey appears as pastor of the Baptist Church at Cedar Falls, and they report 64 members. The next year his name appears in the list of ministers as living at Cedar Falls, but "without charge." A.G. Eberhart has succeeded him and they report 37. Bailey's name is no longer found. As we write this sketch in 18SG the same man has just visited the village where we write as one of the principle participants in a Horse Trotting and Racing Association, where gambling is the principle business. "He went to his own company.''

1862. The Seventh annual meeting took place at Waterloo. V.W. Baker, Charles City, clerk. Rev. A.G. Eberhart has returned and become pastor at Cedar Falls; 2. A. Bryant at Chickasaw. Rev. E. G. O. Groat has removed from Fredericksburgh to New Hartford. Rev. C. Billings Smith is pastor at Waterloo, and Rev. H. I. Parker at Osage and Mitchell. The Churches in this large field are very weak. Only three in the Association report more than 50 members. These are Rock Grove 55; Waterloo 105 and Waverly 60. Waterloo reports the smallest number this year, since the organization of the Association. The Clarkesville Church is no longer found. Rev. J. R. Dean, the last pastor, died August 19, 1863, of hemorrhage of the lungs. He had removed, with his family, to Pike's Peak, hoping to regain his health, but God ordered it otherwise. Brother Dean was a graduate of Kalamazoo Theological Seminary. He came to Iowa in 1857 and was ordained pastor of the New Hartford Church at the meeting of the dissociation at Waterloo, September, Another pastor of the Association, Brother Colgrove, of Fairbank, Fayette County, died August 1, 1869. [See obituary notes.]

1863. Met at Waverly. Clerk same as last year. In a report to the Convention in October of this year. Rev. Wm. Wood says this meetings: was characterized by harmony and a commendable devotional spirit. Every Church in the Association was represented, and two new ones added. The letters indicated "increased prosperity." Brother Wood makes his first appearance in this field this year, and labors as a missionary of the Convention in the northern part of this Association. The new Churches organized are Jacksonville, H. Green, pastor, and Grove Hill, J.F. Eairden, pastor. Other new pastors are J. C. H. Miller, at Chickasaw, and Brother Gibbs, at New Hartford. Brother Eberhart has baptized 26 at Cedar Falls, J. Fulton 11 at Independence, and S. Sherman 11 at Fredericksburgh.

1864. Met with the Church at Osage, Rev. Wm. L. Hunter, clerk, Waterloo. A Church has been organized at Hardin City, A. Orcott pastor. Shell Rock has also organized with 21 members. Rev. S. Sill pastor here and at Janesville. The name of the Polk Church is changed to Syracuse. Rev. H.I. Parker has removed from Osage and Mitchell, and W. Ross is pastor. Brother Parker's stay in Iowa was short, but as he labored just over the border in Minnesota for a number of years he was not lost sight of in Iowa, nor did he lose interest in Iowa affairs. A man of marked culture and ability, but not very firm health, he spent his later life in California and died there only a year or two ago. Rev. A. Marsh has begun a long and useful service at Riceville. Another name prominent in later years is that of Rev. T. H. Judson, pastor at West Fork. The column of Benevolent Contributions tins year amounts to $515.43, Rev. Wm. L. Hunter is pastor at Waterloo.

1865. The Annual meeting is at Charles City, J C. Whitney clerk. Four new Churches are received in 1865, Mission Kidge, Wayne, Hampton, and Chapin. The reports bear marks of increased prosperity and spiritual power. Brother Hunter reports 19 baptized, and 34 additions in all at Waterloo, and Brother Judson 18 baptisms, and 26 additions at West Fork. Rev. J. C. H. Miller has baptized 20 at Riceville, Rev. J. Fulton 20 at Independence. Churches, 29, pastors 16, baptisms 110, total membership 1,063, for the first time above 1,000. Rev. J. M. Wedgewood appears as pastor at Eden Church, R. L. Jones at Floyd, Rev. T. F. Thickstun at Waverly. The Iowa Baptist State Convention is taking hold in this large field, and helping forward the growth of this Association. Besides Rev. Wm. Wood, Associational Missionary this year, Rev. T. H. Judson was under appointment at Hampton, Chapin, etc., and Rev. Rev. S. Sherman at Tripoli. In 1864 Revs. J. C. H. Miller, S. Sherman, and Wm. Wood were under appointment in this Association. One effect of this close relation to the Missionary Societies will always be to stimulate the benevolence of the Churches, and that is to stimulate and keep in tone the active Christian spirit.

1866. The eleventh Anniversary so called, though it is only the tenth Anniversary of the Association occurred with the Church at Waterloo, convening September 21, at 10 a. m.. Rev. John Fulton of Independence Moderator, J. Cheston Whitney of Hampton clerk. Brother S. Sill of Shell Rock preached the introductory sermon from Proverbs XI: 30. The Church at Jessup was received into the Association. The year has been one of unusual prosperity. There have been received into the Churches by baptism 150, and by letter 194, and the present membership is 1291, a net increase for the year of 222. At Waterloo Rev. W. L. Hunter has baptized 41, at Waverly Rev. T. F. Thickstun 23, Hardin City, Cedar Falls and New Hartford follow with 20, 18, and U respectively. Rev. John Fulton retires from a six or seven years' pastorate at Independence, and is preaching at Jessup and other points. Rev. W. C. Learned is the young pastor at Independence. Rev. C. T. Tucker has entered the work as pastor at Charles. City, Rev. A. W. Hilton at Grove Hill, Rev. C. D. Farnsworth at Syracuse. Rev. A. Bush is preaching at Osage and Mitchell in connection with his work in the Cedar Valley Seminary. This Anniversary at Waterloo was a very inspiring occasion, partaking of the aggressive zeal and quickened activity that so generally marked these years of the sixties in Iowa and the west. Rev. G. J. Johnson was present and preached and took a collection for the Publication Society, amounting in cash and pledges to $100. A resolution was passed heartily approving the Prohibitory Liquor Law of the state, and that we as heartily condemn the inefficiency of those judicial officers who, for political or personal considerations neglect to enforce it." The Obituary Committee make sad mention of the loss by death of the wife of our beloved brother. Rev. John Fulton of Independence, and of the serious and lingering sickness of Rev. Hazzard Green of Jacksonville, Chickasaw county, who subsequently died January 6, 1867. The harvest of the stern reaper in Iowa during this year was one of very choice sheaves, of which notice will appear in the proper place.

1867. The Association met at Janesville. W.L. Hunter, clerk, Waterloo. The Church at Mason City was organized in 1866. There are also Churches reported at Nashua, North Washington and at Applington. Some of these, at least, are destined to be of short duration. G.W. Goodrich is reported pastor at Eden Church, and D. P. Maryatt, this year and last, at New Hartford. This Association, now eleven years old, is the largest, as to number of churches and pastors, in the State. There are now, churches 33; pastors 20; baptized within the year 151; received from all sources 356, and a total membership of 1,526. Rev. L. N. Call has become pastor at Hampton and Chapin.

1868. The anniversary in 1868 was at New Hartford. W. L. Hunter, clerk, Waterloo. Rev. A. G. Eberhart has closed a six years pastorate at Cedar Falls, and is succeeded by Rev. D. N. Mason. Rev. W. C. Learned made but a brief sta3^ in our Iowa ministry, though long enough to be much esteemed, and after an interval is succeeded at Independence by Rev. A. D. Bush, who returns to Iowa after several years absence in the east. Rev. A. Carpenter is preaching at Hardin City and Rev. C. Spragg at Jessup. Brother John Fulton has transferred his labors, for a time, to the State of Illinois. One hundred and seventy-nine baptisms were reported, and a total membership of 1,699. Of the 35 Churches in this large field, including a number of central and growing towns, there are only two Churches of over 100 members. Waterloo has 252 and Waverly 135. Rev. T. F. Thickstun, who began his ministry in Waverly in 1865, has resigned to take up the important work awaiting him at Council Bluffs.

1869. Osage is the place of meeting. Moderator, Rev. J. Hall, D. D., clerk, Rev. W- L. Hunter, Independence. Brother Hunter after baptizing 44, at Waterloo in 1868, closed a four or five years' pastorate there, and is pastor at Independence. He is succeeded at Waterloo by Rev. Wm. Tilley. Rev. D. N- Mason has resigned at Cedar Falls, and they are without a pastor though they report 30 baptisms this year. How sad it is that just after a revival of religion, and oftentimes when there has been a large in- gathering, needing the greatest care, then the minister has to leave, and the lambs are left to the wolves! Is it the fault of the minister? or of the Church? Or of both? Is it not true that while in modern times we magnify the first part of the Great Commission, "Go, and make Disciples," we have too much overlooked the second part, "teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you"! Rev. Thomas Ure is now preaching at Mitchell, P. S. Crandall at Mason City, and A. T. Cole at Waverly. The Winthrop Church comes into the Association, Rev. Myron Root, pastor. Churches 36; pastors 21; baptized 121; present membership 1,851. The largest now, as to Churches and members in the State. The contributions for the Convention, in 1869, were $608.50, the largest of any Association except the Linn, which was S670.58.The previous year the amount raised in the Cedar Valley was $932.05, of which, however, $542.35 was raised by, and paid to Rev. Wm. Wood, Associational Missionary.

1870. The Association convened at Waverly September 23, W. L. Hunter, Independence, clerk. Among new pastors we notice D. S. Starr at Cedar Falls, C. T. Roe, Charles City, W. M. Simons, Jessup, A. Plumly, Rockford, G. M. Adams Shell Rock, and E. K. Cressey Waterloo. Zion Church, southwest of Waterloo, has just been formed, L. H. Thompson pastor, where 17 have been baptized. 136 baptisms reported and 1880 members. The value of Church property is placed at $75,000. In 1871 met at Charles City, E. K. Cressey of Charles City clerk. The number of Churches has fallen off to 30, pastors 18, baptized 149. Received from all sources 349, total membership 1879. Rev. E. K. Oressey has removed from Waterloo to Charles City, and the veteran Rev. A. G. Eberhart is again preaching at Waterloo. Rev. H. C. Henry is preaching at a new Church called Geneseo, organized the past year. Rev. M. E. Arkills has been several years pastor at Fredericksburg, Rev. L. Ellingwood a year or two at Otter Creek, and Rev. E. P. Barker at Parkersburg. Rev. S. C. Sale is pastor at Mason City. J. S. Cox at New Hartford, and Rev. J. N. Lukins at Riceville.

1872. The Association met at Mason City Rev. L. N. Call, of Hampton, clerk. Rev. W. H. Stiller is pastor at Cedar Falls. Charles City has Rev. W. W. Whitcomb as pastor, and reports 50 baptisms. Rev. T. H. Judson, at Rock Grove, reports 34. Rev. G. W. Preston is pastor at Independence, Rev. F. A. Marsh at Waverly and J. Hall, D. D., at Shell Rock. Rev. S. Sill is preaching at Plainfield. There are now 31 Churches reporting, 20 pastors, 151 baptisms reported, and a total membership of 2,050. The only Association reporting over 1,800. In 1873 Shell Rock is the place of meeting. Rev. L. N. Call, of Hampton, clerk. Rev. C. T. Tucker, after an absence from the Association and the State, returns and is pastor at Mason City. Rev. E. L. Benedict is pastor at Mitchell, N. H. Daily at Plainfield, J. A. Abbott at Rock Grove and Rev. A. A. Russell at Waterloo. Churches 30; pastors 18; baptized 59; total membership 1.969. The Association occupies the great central district of Northern Iowa, comprising the counties of Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Floyd, Chickasaw, Mitchell, Cerro Gordo and Franklin, and at times, parts of other counties.

1874. The anniversary takes place at Jessup. Rev. W. H. Stifier, clerk. Cedar Falls. Rev. Wm. M. Simons has removed from Jessup to Fredericksburgh. Rev. F.A. Marsh has succeeded Brother Hunter at Independence. Rev. H. D. Weaver is at New Hartford. Rev. R. Garton begins his long and successful pastorate at Waterloo. Rev. T. F. Thickstun has returned to his old field at Waverly. Brother Stiller has baptized 68 at Cedar Falls, and Waterloo reports 55 baptisms. It is a year of progress in the Association, and of labor well repaid. Baptisms 266: members 2,070.

1875. In 1875 the Association met at Cedar Falls. W. H. Stiller, clerk. At Shell Rock Rev. B. H. Bras led has baptized 32, and at Waverly Rev. Robert Leslie, pastor, 28. Rev. W. L. Hunter is preaching at Charles City, F. H. Hannah at Clear Lake, G. W. Prescott at Nora Springs and Rock Grove, A. J. Amerman at Plainfield and C. T. Emerson at Riceville and Wayne. The aggregate amount paid for Church expenses is put down at $15,319.70, and the benevolent contributions at $2,125.15. Rev. L. N. Call has closed a pastorate of eight years at Hampton and become Financial Agent of the Cedar Valley Seminary, at Osage. The Church at Hampton is doing without a pastor and making an effort to pay off their debt of $3,200 by July, 1876. An obituary report tells of the death of Rev. Shadrach Sherman, who died at Riceville, Iowa, January 7, 1875. The Church at Nora Springs was organized last February, recognized in July and admitted to the Association at this session. Rev. Alva Bush was Moderator. Rev. Wm. Whitney, of Osage, preached the introductory sermon. Rev, Robert Leslie has succeeded Pastor Thickstun at Waverly.

1876. The Twentieth Anniversary was held with the Church at Fredericksburgh, September 8. Rev. Richard Garton preached the introductory sermon and was elected Moderator, and Rev. Robert Leslie, of Waverly, clerk. Upon the report of the proper committee the names of the Chapin, Geneseo and Otter Creek Churches were stricken from the Minutes. Rev. W. H. Stiller has closed a four years' pastoral term at Cedar Falls, and has removed to Cedar Rapids, in the Linn Association. Appreciative mention is made of the missionary work of Rev. E. L. Benedict among the feeble Churches in the western part of the Association. Rev. S. H. Mitchell became pastor at Shell Rock in February last. Much interest is felt in the affairs of the Cedar Valley Seminary, and in the efforts being made to increase its finances. A good revival spirit has pervaded many of the Churches. There are now in the body 30 Churches, 19 pastors, 167 have been received by baptism, 125 by letter, and the present membership is 2,068.Brother Carton has baptized 60 at Waterloo and they have now 275 members.

1877. Charles City is the place of the anniversary. Rev. R. Leslie, clerk. Another year of glorious reaping. Baptisms 218: total membership 2,267. More than ever before, and more, by 500, than any other Association in Iowa. Rev. L. T. Bush is pastor at Cedar Falls, where his admirable spirit is very helpful in a time of need. The Church have suffered greatly during the last year by the abuse of an unworthy minister. Rev. James Patterson is pastor at Independence. Rev. Wm. M. Simons has returned from Fredericksburgh to Jessup. Rev. C. H. Mitchelmore has succeeded, at Shell Rock, the one Mitchell, who has removed and become pastor at Grundy Center, in the Iowa Valley Association.

1878. In 1878 the Association met at Clear Lake. Rev. Robert Leslie, of Waverly, clerk. Baptized 150; present membership 2,422. Rev. A. Myers is pastor at Charles City, H. C. Nash, at Clear Lake, W. L. Hunter at Floyd, J. A. Abbott, at Fredericksburgh, Rev. Wm. Wilder has become pastor at Hampton, L. D. Lamkin at Nora Springs, A. B. Coates at Mitchell, N. F. Hoyt at Northwood, Thomas lire at Riceville and Wayne and A. E. Spring at Plainfield.

1879. Met at Hampton. J. C. Whitney, of Hampton, is clerk. Cedar Falls is again without a pastor. Rev. C. T. Tucker has returned to Charles City. Rev. G. Sutherland is at Independence. Rev. A. E. Simons has taken up the work at Parkersburg, where a house is to be built for the Lord. Rev. D. B. Mead is preaching at Rock Grove this year and last. A Church has been organized at Rudd where twenty have been baptized and there are 41 members, with M. E. Arkills as pastor. Rev. B. H. Brasted has served the Shell Rock Church for two years. Rev. Robert Leslie has closed a four years' pastorate at Waverly, and Rev. T. J. Keith has succeeded him. There are now in the Association, 34 Churches, 20 pastors, 143 baptisms reported and a total membership of 2,524. The largest by over 700 in the State, and the greatest number of Churches by ten. Of the 20 Churches having pastors, seven have begun their work in 1879, six began in 1878 and are on their second year, while Rev. J. A. Abbott, of Fredericksburgh, Wm. Wilder, of Hampton, Wm. M. Simons, of Jessup, and Thomas Ure, of Riceville, settled in 1877 and are now on their third year, and Rev. Richard Garton, of Waterloo, is on his fourth.

1880. The anniversary this year is at Independence. J. C. Whitney still serving as clerk. Rev. O. T. Conger has become pastor at Osage, A. R. Button at Cold Water, a new organization. Rev. M. H. Perry at Fredericksburgh, succeeding J.A. Abbott who is now preaching at Plainfield, and Thomas Ure is preaching at Wayne. Rev. A. R. Button is preaching also at Rockwell and Sheffield Churches. Waterloo entertained the Association in 1881. J.C. Whitney, clerk. Of 20 Churches having pastors, eleven date their settlement the present year. We are introduced to quite an array of new names, S. M. Davis at Bethel Church, Henry Williams at Cedar Falls, H. B. Waterman at Clear Lake, J. G. Johnson at Fredericksburgh, F. Bower at Jessup, W. H. H. Avery at Mason City, J. W. Daniels at Northwood, E. H. Page at Osage, L. W. Atkins at Rock Grove, and J. J. McIntyre at Shell Rock. Hampton, Waverly and Independence, with ten other churches, are without pastors. Rev. Wm. Wilder, in infirm health, has removed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, there to tarry for a few years and to obtain his honorable discharge and go to his well-earned rest. Rev. T. J. Keith has resigned at Waverly to take charge of the East Side Baptist Church, Des Moines. The only form of activity that seems to have characterized this year among the churches, is activity among the ministers and their families moving from field to field. They at least are not likely to become sluggish for want of exercise. It is noticeable, however, that the spiritual dearth is general. Only 638 baptisms are reported in all the State, against 1,075 the year before. The first year that less than a thousand have been reported since 1863, when the war as distracting the country. It will be a relief to note, as we shall, that the low water mark has been reached, and that the Lord has not forgotten to be gracious to his Zion.

1882. The Association met at Osage. A. R. Button, of Osage, clerk. A general weeding has taken place and the names of 10 churches are missed from the list. Churches 23; pastors 18; received by baptisms 106; by letter 59; present membership 2.059. Of the Churches having pastors, ten date their settlement within the year. We note Rev. C. Holroyd at Charles City, J. F. Bryant at Sheffield and Cold Water, James Mitchell at Fredericksburgh, L. B. Plummer at Hampton, W. C. Pratt at New Hartford, F. W. Gardner preaching at Plainfield, G.G. Dougherty at Rock Grove, and G. W. Burnham, of Leroy, Minnesota, at Wayne Church. Rev. W. M. Simons has removed from New Hartford, to which place he had removed from Jessup, in 1880, to Waverly. Rev. C. T. Tucker has removed from Charles City, closing a three years' second pastorate with that Church, to Clarinda in the Southwestern Association, taking up there a very important and arduous work for which he seems to be the one man especially fitted. In 1883 Mason City is to entertain the Association. Rev. A.R. Button, of Osage, clerk. Brother Button has been for a couple of years engaged in a most important and successful work as Financial Secretary of the Cedar Valley Seminar}^, for which he resigned his work at Sheffield and Cold Water, some two years ago. Rev. I. W. Edson is pastor at Charles City, Rev. A. C. Nichols at Plainfield. Rev. Henry Williams has closed a three years' pastorate at Cedar Falls and is preaching at Rock Grove, P. O. Nora Springs.

1884. The Association met at Waverly. Rev. A. R. Button still serves as clerk. Churches 26; pastors 17; received by baptism 57; by letter 68; present membership 2,041. The ratio of baptisms in this, still the largest of the Associations, to those in the State to 1,538, seems to indicate an almost phenomenal barrenness in this part of Iowa. We notice, however, that only three Associations in the State report above 100 baptisms this year; Keokuk 126; Southwestern 142, and Central 292. These bring up the aggregate to the figures stated. There is no general revival. Of the pastors in this Association this year, the following are introduced for the first time: Rev. J.C. Shipp, Charles City; Rev. Robert Smith, Fredericksburgh; Rev. B. G. Boardman, Hampton; Rev. A. J. Colwell, Mason City, and Rev. A. M. Duboc, Osage. Rev. J. B. Edmonson has removed from Parkersburg to Shell Rock. Rev. A. M. Duboc begins a work at Osage, that is to culminate in a new and commodious Church Edifice soon.

1885. The place of meeting is Charles City. Rev. H. H. Burrington, of Waverly, is clerk. Brother Burrington returns thus to the position which he honored in 1860 and 1861, 25 years ago. The brethren honor themselves by thus honoring him. Churches 25; pastors 16; baptized 202; total membership 2,052. The number of baptisms is the largest of any Association in the State, Only three others reach 100 or over, Davenport 138, South-western 142 and Upper Des Moines 100, Mason City reports the largest number of baptisms, 63; Waterloo 38. Rev. W. W. Onderdonk has been ordained pastor at Cedar Falls. Rev. A. Hunt is pastor at Cold Water and Sheffield Robert Smith at Fredericksburgh, J. P. Stephenson at Hampton, P. E. Moore at Waverly, Rev. E. Pierce, of the Wayne Church, and Rev. L. A. Hall at Mason City. Rev. W. L. Hunter is now preaching at New Hartford.

Being, as has been seen, much the largest Association in the State. Occupying one of its greatest and most prosperous valleys, with a large number of thriving towns and cities. Having always a full share of the ablest ministers in the State and early made the field of the missionary activity and beneficence of our State and Home Mission Societies. The Cedar Valley Association may fairly be taken as a representative body in the respects named, and its history may be studied with profit in the light of the bearing of the past upon the future. A brief comparison of the past ten years, with the decade just preceding, presents some figures that may safely be left without comment by the historian. The contributions of the Churches and members of this Association from 1876 to 1885 and inclusive, to the treasury of the Convention, were $2,099.25, or an average of S209.92i per year. From 1866 to 1875, the preceding decade, they were $3,998.95, or an average of $399.89 per year. Two things need to be taken into consideration in giving these statements their proper weight, 1st, that during the earlier half of the earlier decade, when the largest amounts were raised, a larger portion of it was for Associational Missionary work, conducted by Rev. Wm. Wood, who was a very successful collector; and, 2d, that during the last half of the later decade collections have been in the name of the Convention and Home Mission Society, whereas, during the earlier ten years whatever was collected for the Home Mission Society would be additional to the amount given above. During a part of this time not less than eight pastors or missionaries, in the field of this Association, were being aided by the Home Mission Society. It is reasonable to infer that contributions, to that Society, were considerable in addition to amounts reported for the Convention. From whatever cause, the benevolence of the Churches of this Association in the direction of contributions to State and Home Missions during the last decade, shows a remarkable falling off from the decade immediately preceding. A comparison of spiritual results for the same period gives the following results: The number of baptisms for the ten years, from 1866 to 1875, was 1,447, or an average of 144 and 7-10 per year. From 1876 to 1885 the whole number of baptisms was 1,250, or an average of 125 per year. But for the last half of the last decade they were only 480, or an average of 96 per year. If the spirit of giving and the reaping of spiritual results sustain to each other, as is 'generally supposed, the relation of cause and effect in any measure we may begin to look for an increase of prosperity in this association. During the last half of the last decade the contributions for the Convention were an average of $323.70 per year, against an average for the whole decade of only $209.92 per year.

The year 1886 presents a good measure of prosperity One hundred and forty-seven have been baptized, 259 added from all sources, and there are now 2,172 members. Rev. Richard Garton, D. D., has closed his 12 years' pastorate at Waterloo and become leader of the forces at Cedar Rapids. Rev. D. Read, LL. D., has succeeded him without an interval at Waterloo.

Pages 255-266
Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa

The Linn Association Beginning in 1857 The
Lower Cedar Valley Linn, Benton, Jones
And Other Counties 1857 to 1886.

Quickly following the formation of the Cedar Valley and Bedford Associations comes the Linn. This Association was organized in 1857, at Marion, Rev. J. V. Dewitt was its first Moderator Rev. R. King, clerk, A. Chapin, preacher, and N. B. Homan, writer of circular letter. The Association was made up of the following churches: Marion, J. V- Dewitt, pastor, 109 members; Linn Grove, N. B. Homan, 21; Simmons Creek, N. B. Homan, 21; Fairview, N. B. Homan, 43; Harrison, R. King, 9; Shellsburg, 49; Jordan's Grove, D. Rowley, 17; Quasqueton, J. Woods, 25, and Kingston (West Cedar Rapids), J. Woodward, 52. Nine churches, six pastors and 346 members. Rev. Richard King was laboring at the time as missionary of the Iowa Baptist State Convention. The annual report of the Board for 1857 says, "Brother King has labored several years on this field amid great difficulty and destitution, and with gratifying success. His field is one of great importance, situated in the heart of the Cedar Valley, and comprising in its borders some of the most fertile soil in the State." It "must soon become densely populated, hence the importance of planting here, early, the seeds of the truth as it is in Jesus."

The First Anniversary was held in 1858, at Shellsburg, Rev. J. Woodward preached the sermon and was Moderator, J. Hays, clerk. The Bear Creek Church, Wyoming post office, Jones County, transferred its connection from the Dubuque Association. Four newly organized churches were received, via: Anamosa, with 9 members; Center Point 12; Parker's Grove 27, and Palo 19. Rev. R. King was pastor of the last two and of Shellsburg, Rev. A. G. Firman is pastor at Quasqueton. Rev. Jonah Woodward reports 29 baptized at Kingston. Brother King 19 at Shellsburg and Rev. J.V. Dewitt 10 at Marion. Seventy-one have been baptized in all and the membership is 496. One house of worship completed and two others in process of erection. Rev. D. Rowley was missionary of the convention on this field, at a salary of $300 to be raised in the Association. He reports $327.80 raised. Brother King was appointed to labor in Tama and Benton counties but before entering upon his labors the indications of Providence plainly pointed to his continuing with the churches he had served in this Association where his labors were greatly blessed. Rev. H. Holmes also labored under appointment of the Board at Bear Creek and other points. It is of historic interest to notice the convention rendering a helping hand in the Linn Association, where its appeals for aid have always, since, met with a ready and generous response.

1859. In 1859 the annual meeting was held at Fairview, J. Hays Moderator, M. B. Allen clerk, D. Rowley preacher of the introductory sermon. The Church at Rogers' Grove, organized in 1858, was received. Only 5 pastors for the 15 churches. In 1860 met at Cedar Rapids. N. B. Homan preached the sermon, Rev. A. A. Sawin Moderator, J. Crawford clerk. The Kingston Church has given place to anew organization at Cedar Rapids, the 1st Baptist Church of Cedar Rapids, Rev. A. G. Eberhart pastor, with 36 members. The Prairie Hill Church, Rev. James Kay pastor, was received, and the Vinton Church came in from the Cedar Valley Association, A. Chapin pastor. There are now 18 churches, 9 pastors, 27 baptisms reported, and 617 members. Rev. A. A. Sawin has become pastor at Marion, and Rev. J. B. Peat at Rogers' Grove, where he seems to have been ordained about this time. The Jordan's Grove Church entertained the Association in 1861, Rev. A. Chapin Moderator, C. C. Buell clerk. The annual sermon was preached by Brother King, and Rev. J. B. Peat wrote the circular letter.

1862. In 1862 met at Vinton. Rev. J. B. Peat preached the sermon, N. F. Ravlin Moderator, A. A. Sawin clerk. Rev. N. F. Ravlin is pastor at Cedar Rapids and they report 116 members. Two new Churches have been organized, Clinton, IS. B. Homan pastor, and Bell Prairie, a few miles west of Cedar Rapids. Jackson Township Church, organized in 1861, was received. Rev. J. Carrington is preaching at Fairview, and D. S. Starr at Jackson Township. Rev. J. C. Burkholder is preaching at Quasqueton. The meeting in 1863 was at Quasqneton, preacher Rev. James Kay, Moderator N. B. Homan, clerk N. F. Ravlin. Rev. J. Fulton of Cedar Valley Association is the preacher at Quasqueton and J. C. Burkholder now at Rogers' Grove. Cedar Rapids reports 25 baptisms, and Prairie Hill, where Rev. James Kay is serving, 16, while 58 are reported in all, and 760 members. In the annual report of the Convention Board for 1863 Brother Childs, the secretary, said, ''The days in which our lot is cast are eventful. The nation is passing through a fearful struggle, out of which, under the sovereign purposes of God, she is to rise to a higher plain of political and national life."

1864. The Association in 1864 held its eighth anniversary at Rogers Grove. Rev. John Fulton preacher and Moderator, N. B. Homan clerk. "During the session peace and harmony prevailed, and the exercises were marked by humble, earnest devotion." The membership has been much reduced by the war and by removals. To the present writer, this meeting at Rogers Grove in 1864 is a cherished recollection. A few months before we had met, for the first time, at his own home in Strawberry Point, John E. Clough, who, with his accomplished wife, was seeking an appointment as missionary to the foreign field. At the time of this session of the Linn Association the appointment had been made, and Brother Clough was at the meeting, preparing for and looking forward to their departure later in the fall. His presence gave an abiding interest to all that pertained to this session. As we look back to it now, the thought comes to us. ''In that rather spare, unpretending, and in no way, except for his honest earnestness, especially striking young man, who would have seen the prophesy of the most renowned missionary of modern times." Truly ''It is the Lord's doing and marvelous in our eyes." Rev. N. F. Ravlin has been succeeded at Cedar Rapids by J. Y. Aitchison; Rev. G. B. Bills is preaching at Marion, and Rev. A. Bardin to three of the country churches. In 1865 the anniversary was at Marion. Rev. J. Y. Aitchison preached the introductory sermon and was chosen to preside. Rev. A. H. Harris, clerk. Brother Harris had taken charge of the Church at Vinton, but died November 26, of this same year, at only thirty-eight years of age. It is said of this meeting that "the Spirit of the Master was present. The letters did not show any large increase of membership, but were characterized by unswerving fidelity to the truth."

1866. In 1866 Parker's Grove entertained the assembled brethren. Rev. Amos Pratt was preacher and Moderator, and H. R. Wilber clerk. Brother Pratt is pastor at Marion, and Brother Wilber at Cedar Rapids, Rev. H. Samson at Mount Vernon, J. Z. Zimmerman at Jordan's Grove and Roger's Grove. Brother Fulton reports 27 baptized at Quasqueton, Homan 22 at Fairview, Pratt 21 at Marion. Also there were 8 at Cedar Rapids and 11 at Roger's Grove. There are now 18 churches, 8 pastors, 107 baptisms and 902 members. This is the first year that above 100 baptisms have been reported. Rev. Charles Perkins has labored as Missionary of the Convention about ten months. The amount reported from the Association is $416.35. The anniversary in 1867 was at Fairview. Rev. John Fulton Moderator, Rev. H. R. Wilber preached the sermon and served as clerk. Revivals have increased, 128 have been baptized and 230 added in all ways- Rev. J. Sunderland has entered this field as pastor at Vinton. Rev. G. W. Gates has succeeded A. Pratt at Marion, and Rev. M. Hazen is preaching at Shellsburg and Parker's Grove. Brother King, after long and faithful service here has removed to the Burlington Association and is preaching at New London.

1868. In 1868 the meeting was at Shellsburg, J. Sunderland preacher and Moderator, N. B. Homan, clerk. The growth of the Linn Association had for the first 8 or 10 years seemed relatively slow. Now it is quite marked, not so much for increase in the number of its churches, but in the development of existing resources. 165 baptisms are reported and there are 1,284 members, a gain of 213 over last year. The amount reported for Convention work was $741.44. Rev. D. H. Cooley has become pastor at Cedar Rapids, and reports 80 baptisms and 251 members. The wife of our beloved brother, H. R. Wilber, has been removed by death and he has returned with his stricken family to his friends in Massachusetts. We shall miss him sadly in our Iowa counsels. A brother of rare excellence was Rev. H. R. Wilber. He was the son of Deacon Wilber, of Boston. Rev. M. C. Kempsey is pastor at Anamosa and Rev. J. V. Dewitt is occupying, for a time again, his old place at Marion. The Mechanicsville, Monticello, Springville, Viola, and Missionary Union Churches were received.

1869. Annual meeting in 1869 at Anamosa. Rev. I). H. Cooley preached the annual sermon and was Moderator, Milton Remley, Esq., clerk. In all the seven years' work of the writer as General Agent of the Convention, the culmination of interest and success in taking a collection was at Anamosa in 1869. Rev. Br. Cleghorn, then of Illinois, but since of Northwestern Iowa, preached the Sabbath morning sermon. In its general effect it is remembered as the best preparation for a benevolent appeal to the congregation that we ever witnessed, though the preacher had probably no thought of the kind in its delivery. The agent followed the sermon as had been arranged with a brief presentation of the cause. Rev. M. C. Kempsey was acting pastor of the Anamosa Church. As the enthusiasm in responses rose, Brother Kempsey went into the congregation and announced the names with their pledges. In some instances, in his enthusiasm, it was said he did not get the consent of the owner of the name. But the agent being informed of this took the necessary precaution that no attempt should be made to collect any pledge that was not voluntary, and no trouble was known by him to grow out of it. The pledges were mostly in life memberships, to be paid in $5.00 and $10.00 installments, and we probably hazard nothing in the opinion that more money was pledged and afterwards paid at that meeting than at any single district associational meeting in the history of Iowa Baptists for this one object. Linn's report of money paid to the convention in 1869 is $670.58, and the church at Anamosa, of less than 100 members, is credited in this and the next three years (the time required to pay the installments on a life membership), with $312. Rev. S. West was preaching at Jordan's Grove, J.B. Portlock at Center Point; E. S. Edwards at Mechanicsville P. P. Shirley at Parker's Grove and Shellsburg, and F. Kidder at Quasqueton.

1870. In 1870 Jordan's Grove entertained the brethren. Rev. N.B. Homan preached the sermon and presided, J. Sunderland clerk. Rev. Robert Leslie has settled at Anamosa, J.L. Coppoc is preaching at Center Point, J. S. Ward at Jackson Township, J. A. Abbott at Prairieburg, J. Cauch at Quasqueton, and J. W. Thompson at Shellsburg. Brother Cooley is still preaching at Cedar Rapids. He has baptized 48 this year, and 147 in three years on this field; 155 have been baptized this year in the Association, and the membership in 20 churches is 1407. The meeting in 1871 was at Cedar Rapids, P. P. Shirley Moderator, A. St. Clair Smith clerk. Rev. J.W. Thompson preached the annual sermon. Four new Churches were received, viz.: Urbana, Troy, Florence, and Winthrop. The last was organized in 1859 and comes from the Cedar Valley Association. Rev. G.W. Lewis is pastor at Mechanicsville, J. T. Long at Mt. Vernon, and A. V. Bloodgood at Florence. Rev. D. H. Cooley has resigned at Cedar Rapids, and Brother Sunderland has removed from Vinton to Sioux City after a four years' pastorate.

1872. Vinton was the place of assembling in 1872. Rev. G. W. Lewis preached the sermon, N. B. Homan Moderator, P. P. Shirley clerk. Brother Shirley is pastor at Marion, A. Chapin again at Vinton, J. W. Daniels at Cedar Rapids, and C. J. B. Jackson at Anamosa, Brother Robert Leslie having closed a two years' pastorate there. In 1873 met at Marion, preacher Rev. C. J. B. Jackson, Moderator N. B. Homan, clerk Milton Remley, Esq. Rev. Wm. Wilder has succeeded Brother Daniels at Cedar Rapids, and N. B. Homan has taken charge at Vinton. It is a time of spiritual decline, only 17 baptisms in the Association. In the following year there is more light. The meeting was at Anamosa, preacher Wm. Wilder, who was also Moderator, A. St. Clair Smith clerk. 127 baptisms were reported and 1,298 members. Brother Wilder has baptized 69 at Cedar Rapids, and Brother Cauch 27 at Winthrop.

1875. In 1875 the Association met at Winthrop for its 19th anniversary". Rev. J. W. Daniels Moderator, Smith still clerk. Brother Homan the preacher. Rev. L. H. Thompson is preaching at Castle Grove and Parker s Grove, G. D. Simmons at Marion, H. N. Millard at Mechanicsville, J. McCulley at Troy Church, F. W. Alnut at Fairview, and J. W. Daniels at Palo and Rogers' Grove. In a previous chapter is mentioned a meeting held by the present writer at Mechanicsville during the previous winter. It is mentioned in the letter of the Mechanicsville Church at this session.

1876. The twentieth anniversary took place in 1876 at Marion. Rev. Wm. H. Stiller Moderator, clerk without change. J.W. Daniels preached the sermon. Rev. Wm. Wilder has resigned and accepted the appointment of Superintendent of State Missions, and Rev. Wm. H. Stiller has removed from Cedar Falls and is pastor at Cedar Rapids. Rev. C. Brooks is preaching at Center Point, L. S. Livermore at Fairview, and Rev. D. N. Mason is pastor at Marion, Rev. Amos Weaver at Vinton, and H.W. Theile at Anamosa. A church has been organized at Martelle with ten members, J. V. Dewitt pastor. In 1877 Shellsburg was the entertaining church. Rev. John Cauch preached the sermon and was Moderator. A year of changes and of increased activity. One hundred and twenty-five baptisms reported and 1392 members. Rev. C.T. Tucker has become pastor at Anamosa, J. C. Johnson at Belle Prairie, James Mitchell at Fairview; J. G. Craven is preaching at Benton Center, G. D. Simmons at Florence, and J. W. Daniels at Shellsburg. Marion reports 44 baptized, Cedar Rapids 24, Anamosa 15 and Vinton 10.

1878. Met in 1878 at Mechanicsville, Rev. Amos Weaver Moderator; Rev. C. T. Tucker preached the sermon. A. St. Clair Smith, Esq., has now been the clerk five years. No important changes to note. In 1879 Fairview was the meeting place. Rev. D.N. Mason preacher and Moderator, H. M. Remley, Esq., clerk. Rev. Wm. H. Stiller has resigned at Cedar Rapids and goes to Davenport. Rev. H. N. Millard has also resigned at Mechanicsville, and is succeeded by Rev. M. W. Akers. R. King returns from Danville to his old field at Parker's Grove for a season. Rev. J. C. Douglas has been called to Shellsburg. During Brother Daniels' pastorate here, a debt of nearly $3,000 has been paid and their large and commodious house of worship Las been finished at a cost of nearly $1,000 more.

1880. Met at Belle Plaine, officers same as last year, and Rev. J. C. Johnson preached the sermon. Rev. J. C. Burkholder has become pastor as Anamosa, Brother Tucker having returned to a former field at Charles City. Rev. D. C. Ellis is at Belle Plaine, H. C. Bristol, at Cedar Rapids, W. C. Pratt at Mechanicsville, and Rev. E. English has succeeded Amos Weaver, at Vinton. A second interest called the Olivet Church at Cedar Rapids has Rev. John Fulton as pastor.

1881. In 1881 the Association met with the First Cedar Rapids Church. Rev. J. C. Burkholder was preacher and Moderator, H. M. Remley, clerk. Rev. J. L. Coppoc has been preaching at Jordan's Grove since 1879, and has now removed to Benton Center. Other pastoral changes are: J. Bodenham to Castle Grove and Prairieburg, J. C. Johnson to Fairview, Wm. L. Hunter to Winthrop and Rev. A. M. Duboc succeeds D. N. Mason at Marion.

1882. In 1882 Vinton is the place, D. C. Ellis the preacher, Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, and A. J. Malahan, clerk. The church at Benton Center has changed its name to Van Horn and is making progress. Rev. G. L. Morrill succeeds J.C. Burkholder at Anamosa, and Rev. L. B. Hibbard is pastor at Cedar Rapids, Rev. H. C. Bristol having gone to California in pursuit of health. Brother Fulton also accompanies a son to the Pacific in the same pursuit. Rev. A. Whitman, of Minnesota, has settled at Mechanicsville.

1883. In 1883 the association met at Anamosa. Rev. E. English preached the sermon and was elected to preside, A. J. Malahan, clerk. During the year Rev. C. H. DeWolf has succeeded L. B. Hibbard at Cedar Rapids, and A. H. Lyons has settled at Fairview. The meeting in 1884 was at Marion, G. L. Morrill preached and presided, F. N. Eldridge, clerk. Rev. A. F. Howell, of Toledo, is preaching at Belle Plaine, H. E. Fuller at Marion, J. W. Allen at Quasqueton, H. L. Clouse at Van Home and F. N. Eldridge at Vinton. Other pastors same as last year.

1885. In 1885 met at Fairview. Rev. C. H. DeWolf preached the sermon, H.E. Fuller Moderator, C. Smith clerk. Rev. C. C. Smith, late of Clinton, Iowa, has succeeded Brother Morrill at Anamosa. Rev. F. IN". Eldridge has resigned at Vinton to become State Sunday School Missionary, and Rev. A.W. Fuller of Burlington has taken the Vinton field. E.E. Packer preaches at Jordan's Grove. The Olivet Church, Cedar Rapids, has disappeared from the records. It is understood that most of the membership have united again with the First Church. This Church has paid of a troublesome debt of $2,300.00 during the last year, have improved their property at a cost of nearly $1,000, and have bought property for their Mission School on the west side costing $1,300.00.

1886. In 1886 the outlook has brightened somewhat. 118 baptisms are reported, and 1127 members. A gain of 111 over last year, and a larger number of baptisms than in any year since 1877. Rev. D. Given is preaching at Fairview where 20 of the baptisms are reported. Anamosa reports 29, Marion 26, and Vinton 17. J. R. North is pastor at Shellsburg and Parker's Grove.

Some comparisons of the condition of this Association, and of its chief city now, and ten years earlier, will give a correct idea of the struggle that it has required to maintain the institutions of religion in these older parts of the State. In 1876, the total membership in the Association was 1333, and in Cedar Rapids 259; and in 1886 the Association 1127 and Cedar Rapids 208. Taking the two periods named, and we have a loss within the ten years of 206 in the Association, and of 51 in Cedar Rapids. The explanation is not difficult. The emigration to the west, the peopling of the vast domain opened up by railroad enterprise, has drawn off the young blood from our churches and societies and made it a continuous struggle for existence in many of these older fields. But we must not be too much discouraged at this. The seed of the kingdom, matured in these fields, has been cast into a larger; the leaven into a larger "three measures of meal." These older churches and Associations have much vitality yet, and when the reaction comes, as it will come, a rich harvest may yet be gathered here. It is probable that Linn Association is entitled to the proud distinction of having contributed more money to the State Convention, in proportion to the amount appropriated within its borders, than any of the larger and older Associations. Without attempting to verify this remark, the following comparison of contributions within the Association for the last two decades respectively we make a very creditable record, of the 20 years, while suggesting perhaps the need of looking well to the present tendency and the future record. From 1866 to 1875 inclusive, the contributions in this Association for State Missions amounted to $4464.12, or an average of $446.41 a year. From 1876 to 1885 they were $2595.37, or an average of only $259.53| a year. A falling off for ten years of nearly one half. For the last five years of the last decade, when, be it remembered, the collections have been made in the name of the Home Mission Society and Convention both, the amount has been $1434.32 or an average of $286.86 a year.

Added to Blackhawk site April 31, 2014 by Connie Bouhaik
Sourced from: IAGenWeb History Special Project