Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

History of the First Congregational Church
Newell, Buena Vista County, Iowa

The First Congregational Church of Newell was organized October 21, 1871.  Meetings had been held in stores and homes, there being no other buildings in which to hold a public gathering.  In stores nail kegs and boxes were used as seats.  This manner of holding religious services seemed strange and unusual to persons coming from the east and accustomed to a well equipped church building.  At a meeting held in the home of J. W. Stevens, the organization of the Congregational church was effected.  The following persons were the charter members:  Mrs. Maria Reynolds, Mrs. Hattie R. Nicholson, Mrs. Mary I. Stebbins, Mrs. Lewis H. Gordon, Henry A. Cushman, Mrs. Sarah E. M. Gordon, Wm. A. Reynolds and Albert W. Eno.


In 1872-3 the first church building was erected, a small frame building in the southwest portion of the town.  The first money for this church was raised by Mrs. G. W. Stevens and Mrs. Waterman, who did laundry work in the hotel then run by the Stevens, they having the hotel in their home.  A sociable was held, netting fifty dollars, and this sum was also turned over to the church.


In the fall of 1881 this church building was moved to the site of the present structure, and was used until 1903 when it was torn down and the present brick structure erected in 1903-4.  The church has now a property valued at eleven thousand dollars.  There are one hundred and eighty members in the church.


Mr. Lewis Gordon was the first deacon.


The following men have served as pastors during the church's history:  A. V. House, W. J. Smith, C. M. Schwarzaur, Asa Countryman, Philo Gorton, A. A. Baker, James R. Kaye, Marston S. Freeman, N. F. Gouglas, W. G. Johnston, Wm. B. Pinkerton, E. F. Wheeler and F. H. Anderson.


In 1901 the church celebrated its thirtieth anniversary.


The present officers of the church, aside from the pastor Frank H. Anderson, are:  Mrs. Comina Davie, clerk; and F. G. Redfield, treasurer.


The Sunday school was organized with the church, and has always continued a strong one; the present enrollment numbers one hundred and twenty-five.  H. C. Moeller is the superintendent; Clayton Redfield, secretary; and Edgar Norton, treasurer.


The Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor has an enrollment of thirty-five members with Elizabeth Newton, president; Gladys Harvey, vice president; Frances Redfield, secretary; and George Conley, treasurer.


There is also a Ladies' Aid Society with Mrs. Sophia Anderson, president; Mrs. H. C. Moeller, secretary; and Mrs. J. T. Norton, treasurer.  The ladies of the church also conduct a Bible class, following systematic study of the Bible. Mrs. H. C. Moeller is president; Mrs. E. C. King, secretary; and Mrs. F. H. Anderson the class leader.


Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole.  "Newell."  Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa.  Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 170-71.