Apostolic Church/Cem History
APOSTOLIC CHURCH AND CEMETERY
Posted By: Letty Hurlburt (email)
Date: 3/2/2003 at 16:33:43
Apostolic Christian Church
In the years between 1868 and 1890, a number of families of the Apostolic Christian faith came to the community of West Bend, where some of them received Patent Land Grants from the U.S. Government on unbroken prairie land. Some came by covered wagon, drawn by oxen, and horses from Elgin, Iowa. Others come from various places, including Ohio, Illinois and some from Switzerland.
No tree grew except along rivers and streams, but prairie grass was everywhere, some as tall as a boy on horseback! Some of the families lived in log cabins, others in sod houses made by staking squares of sod for walls. The roofs were made of small willow limbs tied together with prairie grass, until they were about a foot in thickness. The floors were dirt, perhaps in very rare instances an animal skin for a rug, and open fireplaces were used for cooking and also provided warmth.
Trips to town were not frequent as “town” was Fort Dodge, 45 miles away. These trips were made by a group of men and took several days. They brought mail, sugar, and flour made from wheat which they had taken with them to be ground at the mills. Indians were numerous, but most of them were friendly if not disturbed when helping themselves to corn from the white men’s supply or when crossing open prairie.
No doctors being available, some of these sturdy pioneers out of love and care for each other took the responsibility of administering first aid, and caring for the sick and dying with the simple medicines which they kept on hand. Another of the many labors of love was preparing bodies of their own dear ones for burial. Some were buried in plots near their homes and some in the cemetery in Garfield Township, Section 8 before 1896, when the present private cemetery was used, the first burial being that of a 13 year old boy, Peter A. Banwart in 1887.
The Apostolic Christian Church Parishioners met in their homes for worship until about 1898, when a small frame church (24x40), was built on the present site, at a cost of about $600. The land was donated by John U. and Maria Banwart, but apparently no legal documents were drawn until June 19, 1900 when the church “purchased” the one square acre for the sum of $1.00.
In 1896, a new auditorium was built, which was 40 x 40, and the old building was used for a dining room and Sunday School.
The congregation was blessed, and continued to grow, so that in 1947, a major remodeling job was done. The church building was raised, and a full basement dug. The new basement accommodated a kitchen, dining room, Sunday School room, nursery, indoor restrooms and a new oil furnace. By 1954, the Sunday School attendance had increased, so a new basement, Sunday School room (28 x 50), was added on the west of the existing basement, with five smaller classrooms adjoining.
In the fall of 1964, it was decided to build a new church; construction was started in the spring of 1965 and completed for services on April 17, 1966.
In the year 1980, there are 130 families in the parish, with 170 church members, and 138 Sunday School children. Ministers serving to this time are Reverends: Earl Banwart, Noah Gerber, Clifford Grimm, Duane Metzger, and Wayne Fehr.
The Apostolic Christian Cemetery is located ½ mile south of the church on 20thAve. On the east side of the NE ¼ of Section 18 in Garfield Township, in Kossuth County, near West Bend, Iowa. (2002)
Kossuth Documents maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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