CHAPTER XXI, Pages 179-18
EARLY MISSIONARY WORK IN CENTRAL IOWA
REV. J. A. NASH, D.D.
PLENTY OF ROOM
FROM IOWA CITY TO SAN FRANCISO
On November, 1850, the American Baptist Home Missionary Society appointed a missionary to Central Iowa, with special reference to Des Moines, then Fort Des Moines. He left the State of New York, November 19, 1850 and reached Davenport on the 30th of the same month. Here he was directed to stop for more specific instructions. He was detained at Davenport for nearly three weeks by the illness of his companion. Thence he came to Des Moines where he arrived January 3, 1851. The agent of the home Mission Society, then residing at Davenport, told the missionary that in settling at Des Moines, there would be no danger of being crowded. That he would have for the nearest Baptist pastor and church on the east, Iowa City, 120 miles distant, and on the west San Francisco, 2,500,
so he would find ample room. This, however, was not the exact fact. There were probably more to be found scattered over the country. There was then, or soon after, a feeble interest in or near Knoxville, under the care of Rev. G. W. Bond and his father, (there was as early as 1848 a small organization near Oskaloosa, reporting 31 members, Rev. J. Bond, pastor; Ed.), but in the main the statement was correct.
The town of Fort Des Moines, at that time, contained about 500 inhabitants. On the 18th day of January, 1851, a Baptist Church was organized consisting of 14 members. This body at once proceeded to secure a lot and inaugurate plans for building a house of worship, occupying in the meantime, the court house, dividing the ^time with several other denominations; sometimes permitted to have it one-half of the time, sometimes one-fourth and one-fifth of the time, according as the other denominations had or had not preachers. Most commonly the time was divided with the New School Presbyterians, Rev. Thompson Bird, pastor, with Avliom the missionary labored side by side until the death of Mr. Bird, some 15 years in all. He was a friend and brother and counselor, and the highest type of a Christian minister and gentleman.
It was the intention of the Home Mission Society to have the missionary to preach in Des Moines every Lord's Day, but for reasons above mentioned this was
impossible. Hence he established appointments in the surrounding regions, not only on Lord's Days but on week day evenings. The Church next organized after Des Moines (first called Fort Des Moines, but now taking the simpler name), was Corey Grove, some 15 miles to the northeast of the city. There were several families of Baptists and the Church prospered for several years, and a few were baptized, but by removals the Church became essentially merged in the
Church which was subsequently formed at Iowa Center, where a town was laid out, and a housd of worship was erected. It may be remarked here once for all, that the missionary many times organized cliurclies where he had no strong expectation or prospect of the organization becoming permanent or perpetual. For
intance, there were found in a neighborhood several Baptist families and individuals, or, a revival breaks out and the converts too far away to be identified with an existing Church. There is no town near, nor can it be foretold where a town will be located. The obvious duty is to gather them together, organize a Church, start a Sunday School and get the members actively at work, and then look after them, preach to them or provide them with preaching until they are strong enough to care for themselves. In this way families and members are kept under Baptist influence, and in active sympathy with Baptist work. Thus they are ready when they remove to other homes, or the center of population changes, to identify themselves with, perhaps to lead out in establishing Churches which become permanent organizations. From long experience and observation he became more and more convinced of the wisdom and necessity of such procedure, and that the opposite course would be often to throw away the fruits of much of the severest missionary toil, to be harvested by other denominations. This is too obvious to need argument.
In the following summer and autumn preaching was commenced in Hartford, 15 miles south and east from Des Moines, where there was a hopeful outlook for a
revival and for a Church. In the mean time, learning that there were some Baptists about six miles south in a neigliborliood called Keokuk Prairie, near the site of one of Keokuk's villages, and where there then existed an Indian burying ground ; the missionary sought them out, but found that they were anti-mission Baptists and opposed to Sunday Schools. He obtained an invitation to preach there, which he
acc^epted, or left an appointment, and in due time put in an appearance. It was at once very obvious that he was not very welcome to the leaders, for they seemed to be suspicious whereupon this might grow. Without attempting to antagonize their views directly, the gospel was preached, and the people flocked together from all the region round to hear. A glorious work of revival broke out, and spread, like a prairie fire, extendinng to nearly all the families for an area of miles around. About 30 were hopefully converted, most of whom were subsequently baptised. Rather an unusual course was taken by the missionary. In the progress of the meddtings the work of salvation entered powerfully into the families of the old members and their children were converted, and the hearts of the parents were melted and drawn with wonderous earnestness into the work of the revival. Ere long they began to say: "well if this is the way of the Missionary Baptists, we are of their belief and practice, but we did not know it." The ultimate result seemed so certain that the preacher, without any question, baptized the converts into the organization then and there existing, a large and flourishing Sunday School was organized, and thus things went on for a time, when, with but few exceptions, the membership went into a regular Missinary Baptisit organization, and the other became virtually extinct. The Missonary was anxious to avoid the perpetuity of anti-mission and anti-Sunday School Churches in Central Iowa, and the conciliatory measures and attitude adopted worked admirably to this end, and that people have ceased to be a noticeable factor in the religious life in Central Iowa. The Church thus organized was known as the Keokuk Prarie Church, but a new town was laid out on the south side of North River called
Carlisele, and a Church formed. Bordering immediately on the south of the territory of this Prarie Church, it absorbed most of its strength and is now known as the Baptist Church of Carlisle. They now have a good meeting house and parsonage free of debt, and a stated pastor. At Hartford, a station already mentioned, a Church was formed and a good house of worship erected. At another neighborhood some eight miles south of Hartford and south of South River, the pastor at Des Moines, hearing that there were some Baptists, went down, got them together, preached and visited among them and made arragements for the formation of a Church. In process of time a council was called and a church organized, which since has been known as the Baptist Church of
In the latter part of the year 1853, Rev. Wm. J. Sparks, living in Boone county, near the present town of Moingona, had gathered together some Baptists into
a Church and preached to them. He had extended his labors some thirty miles further up the Des Moines River, where his preaching had been blessed in extended
revivals. He called upon the Des Moines pastor and urged him to come to his assistance. A series of meetings was arranged, beginning with his home Church,
and proceeding northward to the other points. During that trip two Churches were organized; one near Carson's Point, and the other fifteen miles north, at a
point west of Homer, called then Boone Forks. There the ordinance was administered to a former member of the Baptist congregation in Des Moines. A Church
was formed about the same time in Vandalia, Jasper county, where since has been erected a commodious house of worship. A preaching station was established
near Monroe, in Jasper county. There was at that point a body of Baptists made up of divergent views on some points. There were a few Old School, or Hard
Shell Baptists; nor especially opposed; and other regular Missionary Baptists. These, all being Baptists, were content to sink their differences in order to
maintain the particular views of the Baptists, and were worshiping happily together. The pastor .from Des Moines visited them, preached to them, and ultimately secured for them a pastor of Missionary Baptist views. In process of time, and with advance sentiments, a Church of our order was duly organized at Monroe, a house of worship built, and the visibility of the old organization disappeared. Preaching was commenced at Newton, the county seat of Jasper county. Here, too, a Church was formed, a house of worship and a parsonage erected, and a pastor
Calls for aid came from Panora, county seat of Guthrie county. The Des Moines pastor visited them and a Church was finally organized; and another at Adel,
county seat of Dallas county. An urgent call came from Winterset, the county seat of Madison county, to the Baptist pastor at Des Moines. He visited them, hunted up the Baptist members, and some months later a Council met and recognized them as a Church. They settled a pastor and built a commodious house of worship In the winter of 1863-4 he visited them again, and a series of meetings continued nearly a month, and near thirty were baptized into the fellowship of the Church. The Church was greatly strengthened, and under successive pastors, and in general revivals so increased in numbers that at one time it was one of the strongest Churches in Iowa.
In Grinnell were some Baptists from northern and western New York, some of whom had known the missionary in years gone by, at the former home in'the older
state. They suggested and procured from the others an invitation for him to visit them and assist in gathering together and organize them into a
Church. He went and preached, and baptized several converts from a revival previously enjoyed in the town, and aided them in organizing the Church; nnd although their number was small, and financially they were weak, they resolutely, and as the heart of one man, set to work to erect a house of worship; some going to the woods, cutting logs, hauling them to the mill and getting them converted into lumber, some doing the carpenter work, others the mason work, and some contributing money. The people had a mind to work, "and so the walls were built" and the finishing was completed, and "there were shoutings of grace, grace unto it.'' It should be added that the railroad company gave them the lot, and thus the first house of worship raised in Grinnell was built by the Baptists. The founder of Grinnell, and after whom the town was named, met the aforesaid Des Moines pastor away from their respective homes, during the work of the Church building, and remarked, "I do not see how those
Baptists can build a house of worship, I do not know that any of them have much means, and I am sure the Congregationalists would not dare to attempt building." C Trinnell was settled by a colony of Congregationalists, and it was their aim and boast that the platform of their Church was so broad and liberal and their creed so elastic and accommodating as to embrace all religious creeds and views, and so have but one denomination of Christians in the town, namely, Congregationalists. But the "iron bed-stead" of the Baptists could neither be "stretched" nor "cut off" with facile adjustments, and hence they went on and formed a distinctive Church, and history shows that many have found their home and the inspiration of their religious life and work therein.
But time and space forbid to speak in detail of the Churches gathered at Indianola, Summerset, Adel, Peoria City, Norwalk, Reeve's Settlement, Montpelier, Stuart, Prairie City, Polk City, East Des Moines, etc., etc., some 30 in all, which are now or have been connected with the Central Association.
Among the earlier ministers associated in this field
we name in this reminiscence, Russell, Evans, Guild, Currier, Bond, the Arnolds, Townsend, Sparks and others who hare wrought well in their various spheres. The Central Association was organized at Vandalia and held its first regular meeting in the autumn of 1852 with the Church near Monroe, then called Harmony Church.
Besides the houses of worship now owned by Baptists in Des Moines, there are houses on the field covered by this sketch in Winterset, Boone, Perry, Peoples'
Killduff, Hartford, Carlisle, Indianola, Vandalia, Sandyville, Stuart, Monroe, Norwalk, Summerset, Kinsey Settlement, Grinnell, and
perhaps other points. Some anecdotes connected with the subject of this chapter will appear in another place.
CHAPTER XXII, Pages 187-196
Eden Associations' Organized in 1853
First Appears Upon our Records in 1856
The Pioneer In State Convention Missions 1855 to 1886.
EDEN Association comes next to the Central in date of organization. Said to have been organized in in 1853, its first appearance in our records is in 1855, when the list of churches, pastors, numbers baptized for the year, and total membership in the order named is as follows: New Garden, A. Vanderpool, 1, 51; Peoria, Wm. Barnett, 5, 37; Bethel; 16 members; New Providence, no pastor, 14 baptisms, 44 members; Pleasant Hill, I. M. Seay, 20, 71; Vernal, I. M. Seay, 6, 56 Goshen, no pastor, 12 members; Walnut; Creek, 40 members; Unionville, 1, 13; Bethesda, H. Pearce, 12, 39; Bremen, S. Dewese, 2, 18; Union, A. M. Green, 1, 13; Mount Eden, no pastor, 3, 20; Mount Pleasant, no pastor, 3, 20. The Association therefore starts out with 14 Churches, 6 pastors, reports 66 baptisms and 450 members.
The Bethesda Church was in the southwest part of Madison county some 12 or 14 miles from Winterset. Bremen about the same distance northwest of Albia, Monroe county. Otherwise the territory of the Eden Association was chiefly in Wayne, Ringgold, Lucas, Claris, Union, and possibly Appanoose counties. In 1856, as elsewhere noticed, Rev. I. M. Seay received the first commission issued by the Iowa Baptist State Convention to labor as its Missionary, "It being understood that his labors should be principally expended within the limits of the Eden Association." In 1857 there were Churches 16, pastors 8, baptized 49, total membership 552. Chariton, Moravia and Albia are represented by small Churches. The pastors are T. Davis, Wm. Barnett, A. M. Green, A. Thompson, S. Dewese, J. AV. Bolster, and L. L. Greenlee. L. L. Greenlee is clerk.
1858 ... The Annual meeting is with the Bremen Church in the northwest part of Monroe county. J. D. Morris, Corydon, is clerk. A year of very great prosperity. Rev. A. Thompson has labored as Missionary of the with marked success has Convention for this Association; baptized 82 himself and reports that 214 have been converted. Churches 19, pastors 9, baptisms 205, total membership 774. Chariton reports Rev. Wm. Whitehead as pastor, and Albia Rev; J. W. Bolster. In 1859 Mount Eden is the place of meeting, N. M. Longfellow of Centerville clerk.. Churches 21, pastors 10. baptized 110, total membership 868. Rev. John Warren is pastor at Chariton where he has been ordained during the year. This is the step-father of Dr. G. J. Johnson. Rev. D. Winters is active among the ministers of the Association. Rev. J. Parker is preaching at Walnut Creek and Moravia, and Rev. N. Hays is at Albia.
1860 ... Peoria is the place of the Annual meeting this year, N. M. Longfellow clerk. Another quite successful year is reported. One new Church, the Little Flock, is added this year. Churches 22, pastors 10, baptized 135, members 965. Nearly all the Churches are supplied with preaching a part of the time. Among the pastors not noticed before is Rev. J. L. Cole at Corydon, W. Drummond at Pleasant Hill, and H. S. Cloud at Bremen, Lovilla Post-office. The Association met in 1861 at Unionville. Brother D. T. Case is clerk. Churches 24, pastors 11, baptized 48, total membership 980. Received the New Hope and Wayne Churches, and dismissed the Bremen (Lovilla) Church to unite with the Oskaloosa Association. Rev. J. L. Cole has labored at Corydon as Missionary of the Convention part of the year but finds it a very discouraging field at the present time. The proximity to Missouri and the unhappy state of things there, are mentioned as principle elements of discouragement.
1862 ... The Association met with the Bethlehem Church, Wayne county, D. Given clerk. The statistics this year are very imperfect, and results nearly the same as last year. In 1863 the Mt. Ararat Church, six miles east of Centerville, is the place of meeting, T. Davis Greenville, clerk. Churches 25, pastors 15, baptisms 57, total membership 1029. Met in 1864with the Union Church, A. H. Dunlap, Chariton, clerk. Six Churches not reporting this year are left out of the list, leaving Churches 18, pastors 9, baptized 48, total membership of the reporting Churches 728. Pastors not before noticed in the Association, Wm. Hildreth at Chariton, I. Blakely at Columbia, A. Haines at Little Flock, J. Christie
at New Providence, C. Bullock at Union, and T. W. Jones at Wayne.
1865 ... Met with the Chariton Church, Friday before the third Sabbath in September. A. H. Dunlap, clerk. Eight Churches of this Association were dropped from the list, not having reported for several years. Two of the pastors have died during the year, viz., Rev. labored as itinerating missionary under the appointment of the State Convention, and reports 56 baptized. There are now 18 Churches, 7 pastors, 105 baptized and a total membership of 798. In 1866 the annual meeting was with the Cambria Church. A. H. Dunlap, clerk. Churches 17; pastors 9; baptized 73; total membership 770. Brother Bolster reports 34 baptisms at Franklin and Brother Haines 18 at Little Flock. Brother Bolster has been laboring for a part of the year as missionary pastor at Centerville, in the Fox River Association, but on the 4th of August was laid aside with a stroke of paralysis, from which he has since only partially recovered. Rev. I. A. Blakesley received appointment and labored in this Association as missionary for two or three months, when owing to ill health he was obliged to practically suspend labor. The Association at its annual meeting selected Rev. N. Hays as their missionary again and asked the Convention for aid to sustain him. In 1867 the place of meeting unknown. Clerk, A. H. Dunlap. Statistics same as last year. $73.75 were raised for Convention work, and the itinerating missionary was employed a part of the year.
1868 ... Dixon Given is clerk. There are now 22 Churches, 14 pastors, 200 baptisms reported and a total membership of 1,051. It has been another year of revival, evidently. Albia reports 29 baptized, J. C. Miller, pastor, transient. Chariton 23, L. Casler, pastor. Nothing further is remembered of this name, and it does not again appear�may be a mistake. During a part of this year and last, Rev. P. S. Whitman did valuable work as pastor here at Chariton. The writer remembers a Sabbath spent here and a sort of dedication, or reopening of the meeting house which had been undergoing repairs. There were four or five hundred dollars to raise, and it was a doubtful pull. During the effort a
stranger arose in the congregation and gave 850. No body knew him, and it was a surprise and an inspiration. The name is not remembered, but he had just moved into the neighborhood of Russell, some 9 miles east of town, and hearing of the meeting at Chariton, he "came" and "saw" and "conquered " that debt with his gift, for the effort was a success, assured thereby. Mount Ararat, A. Saladay, pastor, also reports 22 baptisms. Rev. W. H. Turton appears as pastor at Franklin; Livingston P. O. The Association in 1869 met at Goshen Church, west of Chariton. Moderator, Wm. Barnett, clerk, D. Given, Churches 23; pastors 13; baptisms 132; members 1,270. Prosperity again attends. Rev. L. S. Livermore is preaching at Chariton. Albia is pastor-less, but reports 36 baptisms and 100 members. But numbers do not always assure an efficient or a living Church. They must be lively stones or the work of gathering is in vain.
1870 ... Met with the Mount Pleasant Church. Elijah Crawford, of Corydon, clerk. Churches 25; pastors 12; baptized
96; total membership 1,312. Eleven of the Churches report Church property valued at $22,800. The largest number of baptisms is at Livingston. Franklin Church, Rev. L G. Parker, pastor, 25. The largest Churches in the Association are in the country. Mount Ararat leads with 166 members, Goshen 107, Albia makes no report this year but is counted 100 members, from last year's report, Chariton 91 and Corydon 47. In 1871 the Association met at Livingston. Elijah
Crawford, clerk. Churches 25; pastors 15; baptized 95; total membership 1,355. Albia drops to 69. Only one Church reports above 100. Meeting in 1872 at Peoria, September 10. Elijah Crawford still clerk. Churches and pastors without marked charge. Sixty-six baptisms reported and 1,346 members. Chariton and Corydon, county seats, without Isaac Christie and Dr. A. W. Everett. Rev. N. Hays has pastors. The name of the Albia Church disappears, and reappears in the Oskaloosa Association with 14 members. In 1873 Otter Creek was the place of the annual gathering. E. Crawford, Peoria, clerk. The organization of the Centerville Association on the east takes several Churches from this body. We miss Mount Ararat, the largest Church in the Association. Churches 15; pastors j9; baptized 85; present
membership 649. Rev. W. Sturgeon, from Illinois, is pastor at Chariton, Rev. J. M. Nelson at Corydon. Peoria, Rev. Wm. Barnett, pastor, is now the largest Church, having 102 members; 21 baptized the present year. Met in 1874 at Corydon. E. Crawford still clerk. Rev. L. M. Newell appears as pastor at Corydon. Churches 18; pastors 10; baptisms 29; members 762. Chariton, Rev. Wm. Sturgeon, reports 12 baptized. None other more than three.
1875 ... The Association met with the Goshen Church. Brother Crawford still serving as clerk. Churches 17; pastors 6;
baptized, only 3; total membership 690, against 700 last year. The figures need no comment to show fearful decline in spiritual power. Doubtless, could we have attended this anniversary we should have found faithful hearts bowed low in humiliation and anxious supplication for a return of the Spirit's quickening presence. Shall we see evidences of it in the next or subsequent reports? Assembled in 1876 at Bethlehem Church Elijah Crawford, clerk, is now located at Allerton. An improvement upon last year is shown in the reports, though no very marked revivals. Churches 16; pastors 5; baptized 39; total membership 522. Rev. Wm. Sturgeon has closed his labors at Chariton and is preaching at Corydon. Ten were baptized at Chariton and they are now without a pastor.
1877 ... The anniversary is at Confidence; clerk, Rev. D. Given. A Church at Allerton is reported with nine members. Churches 14, pastors 4, baptized 43, members 611. Cambria, J. M. Nelson pastor, report 18 baptisms; Peoria, Wm. Bartlett, 15, and Highland, L. L. Greenlee, 5. Ten churches report no preaching, among them Corydon and Chariton, although the latter reports three baptized and twenty added by letter. Evidently they have had preaching a part of the year. Cambria has the Association again in 1878. D. Given clerk; churches 13, pastors 4, preaching to 9 churches; baptized 49, membership 565. Rev. F. M. Archer is preaching at Cambria and Corydon, the other pastors are D. Winters, Wm. Barnett, and G. W. Smith who reports 22 baptisms at Otter Creek, Brother Barnett ]? at Goshen. Met in 1879 at Highland Church, M. Nelson, Cambria, clerk. Rev. B. F. Mace is pastor at Chariton and reports 8 baptized. F. M. Archer 13 at Cambria and G. W. Smith 18 at Otter Creek. Rev. A. C. Edwards appears at Allerton. A church at Russell has appeared in the minutes this year and last with 22 members and no other statistics. There are good elements here and this Church will be heard from ere long. Churches 14, pastors 5, baptized 48, total membership 616.
1880 ... Chariton welcomes the Association. M. Nelson, clerk. Churches 12, pastors 6, baptized 27, total membership 590. Rev. C. E. Higgins joins the roll as pastor at Allerton. Corydon has no pastor. Little other change to note. In 1881 the Association was at Sharon Church, C. E. Higgins clerk. Churches 13, pastors 6, baptized 31, members 632. Rev. F. M. Archer succeeds Pastor Mace at Chariton and E. A. Spring appears at Corydon. But one pastor has been with his present charge since 1879, two years. This is Rev. Wm. Barnett, Highland Church. In 1882 Allerton entertains the Association. J. F. Moody, Allerton, clerk. A year of great revivals in some of our churches, and great religious activity, Churches 13, pastors 7, baptisms 231, total membership 859�A larger number than any other Association in the State. Brother Archer at Chariton has baptized 100, considerably more than doubling the membership of the Church; Spring of Corydon 69, six other churches from 2 to 15. The appearance of the Leon Church in this Association in 1881 should have been noticed. Rev, F. Edwards began a good work here in 1880. He has baptized 15 in 1882. Rev. C. E. Higgins resigned his work at Allerton to take charge of the Walnut Street Church Burlington, and Rev. J. F. Moody succeeds him.
1883 ... The Association met at Corydon, R. E. Dye clerk. Churches 16, pastors 9, baptized 17, total membership 866. Rev. M. W. Akers is pastor at Allerton. Rev. N. H. Dailey has succeeded F. M. Archer at Chariton, he having removed to Ida Grove in the Western Iowa Association. Rev. T. K. Tyson has become pastor at Russell, where he reports 7 of the 17 baptisms in the Association. A very neat house of worship is about or quite completed. They report a grand total of expenditures for the year of $3,239.47, a good showing for a Church of 46 members. Rev. F. Edwards has been leading a like work at Leon. They have raised this year $2,394.75. Russell with their new house is permitted to welcome the Association in 1884, R. E. Dye clerk. Churches 17, pastors 9, baptized 94, total membership 929. There is something that looks a little more like permanency in the pastoral relation. Most of the pastors date their present settlement back to 1883 and one to 1880. Rev. R. H. Shafto is settled at Corydon, but Allerton is without a pastor, and as we write this in 1886 it is with the knowledge that Brother Tyson has been away from Russell almost a year, that Brother Shafto has gone from Corydon, and that Brother Daily has removed to Northwood in the Cedar Valley Association, and Brother Archer has been recalled from Minnesota to Chariton. Rev. F. Edwards is becoming quite a
veteran in Leon and Cambria.
1885 ... Leon welcomes the Association into her new house of worship. R. E. Dye is still clerk. Churches 16, pastors 7, baptized 9, total membership 889. Newly settled pastors are Wm. Carpenter at Corydon, and T. M. Rickman at Russell with F. M. Archer recalled to Chariton. It is an off year truly as to baptisms. But one Church in the Association numbers over 100 members.
While the history of this Association shows the great frequency of changes as to pastoral service, yet there are honored names of ministers who have held up the standard of truth through a long period within the bounds of the Association, some of them through very nearly its entire history of over 30 years. Revs. D. Winters, Wm. Barnett, J. M. Nelson, L. L. Greenlee, and F. Edwards come now to mind. Others might be named who have made an honorable record, laboring much of the time at their own charges. An encouraging feature is the increased contributions to Missionary objects. Without taking time or space to verify the statement, the writer can state from a careful examination of the figures that the times of greatest spiritual prosperity in this Association are the times when most liberal contributions have been made to the Missionary work of the denomination.
In 1886 the Eden Association furnishes a creditable report, evincing considerable vigor of life. Baptisms 91, total membership 873; contributions for home expenses, $3,360.43; Foreign Missions, $85.72, eleven churches contributing; State Missions, $105.33 from seven churches; total Denominational Benevolences $208.39; grand total for all purposes, $2,568.82. Pastors generally holding on. A good sign.
Rev. F. Edwards settled at Leon in 1880. He reports 26 baptized in 1886, and there is every evidence of a healthy activity. This, prior to his settlement, had been for many years seemingly an unfruitful field. Rev. Gr. W. Smith has been at Highland church since 1882, and they report 58 members. Chariton reports 27 baptized. At this writing Rev. F. M. Archer has again resigned and been succeeded by Rev, A. H. Post, recently of Harlan, Iowa. As compared with last year the figures are very encouraging. Baptized in 1885, 9; in 1886, 91.
CHAPTER XXX, Pages 276-284
The Western Iowa Association Organized at Adel
IN 1859 Comprising the Entire North-West
Quarter of the State --- And at one Time Dakota --1859 to 1886.
AGREEABLE to a request of the churches at Adel, Dallas county, and Panora, Guthrie county, a council convened at Adel on the 23d day of� September, 1859, for the purpose of organizing the Western Iowa Baptist Association. Elder A.W. Russell was chosen Moderator and Cole Noel of Adel clerk. The churches represented at this meeting were Adel, Wintersett, Panora, Sac City, Jefferson and Buffalo Grove. The membership was 154 in the six churches. These, with a single exception so far as known, comprised all the Baptist churches then existing west of Des Moines, and north of a line running through Winterset, 25 miles south of that city. The first seed sown by Baptists in all this great region was probably at Denison, Crawford county, the exception referred to above. Rev. J. W. Denison "came to Crawford county in the autumn of 1855, and during that and the next year selected a quantity of land for the 'Providence Western Land Company,' and in September, 1856, began the settlement of the town of Denison" which took its name from him. In 1857 there was here an unassociated church with 16 members. The ministers present at this first meeting of the Association were A. W. Russell, Winterset, J. Ellege of Madison county, L. Yarnell of Adel, Charles Oldfield Sac City, and Barton Robinson of Buffalo Grove or Rippey.
The first anniversary was held August 31, 1860, at Panora. A. W. Russell preached the introductory sermon and was elected Moderator, and J.W. Denison clerk. The Denison, Guthrie Center, Rippey and Montpelier churches were received. The Rippey Church probably took the place of Buffalo Grove which had disbanded. Rev. J. W. Denison, R. D. Tisdale and T. C. Townsend are additional ministers. Among visitors were the Rev. John Warren of the Eden
Association, step-father of Dr. G. J. Johnson, Rev. Wm. Sparks, who may be called the father of the Upper Des Moines Association, and Rev. N". J. Rundquist, Colporteur of the American Baptist Publication Society. This brother was a Swede, and if we are not mistaken, one of the early converts in Sweden under the Baptist movement fostered by the Society in that country. The second anniversary was held in 1861 at Jefferson. Brother Barton Robinson preached the sermon. Officers the same as the previous year. Belonging to the Jefferson Church, and taking an active part in these early days, was Brother Dan. Mills, father of the founders of the great printing house of Mills & Co. of Des Moines. The Sioux City Church was received in 1861.
The meeting in 1862 was at Denison. Barton Robinson preacher again, R. D. Tisdale Moderator, E. S. Plimpton clerk. Winterset had completed a neat and comfortable house of worship and was out of debt. The next meeting was held in Winterset in 1863.�
Rev. J.W. Denison had been appointed to preach, but not arriving in time, the writer of these sketches being present was invited to preach. Text, " Let him that heareth say come." Rev. W. A. Eggleston was pastor at Winterset and was elected Moderator, E. J. Ayers clerk. The Clanton Church, Madison county, was received. This was the home of Elder Ellege, active in the early days of this body. In 1864 Adel was the place of meeting, J. Ellege preacher and Moderator, George Scott clerk. Brother Scott has just entered this field from a considerable term of similar service in northeastern Iowa. He appears at this time to have been living at Lake City, Calhoun county, and preaching there and at Denison, to which place he removed shortly after. Pastor Eggleston of Winterset was reported dangerously sick, and prayers were offered in his behalf. Elder Wm. E. Reed, also of northeastern Iowa, is preaching at Guthrie Center and Panora. The Association is now five years old and has 12 churches and 253 members.
Jefferson entertained the anniversary in 1865. Brother Denison preached the sermon, George Scott Moderator, J. E. Rockwood clerk. Brother Rockwood has become pastor at Sioux City, and they are building. For the next five years the Association met respectively at Denison, Lake Creek, Sioux City, Denison again, and Jefferson. Moderators were Brothers Eggleston, Russell, Scott, W. M. Simons, and Scott again. Brother Rockwood was clerk during this period, and the preachers of annual sermons were Rockwood, Ed Tuffin, Simons twice, and Scott. In 1866 " A letter from brethren calling themselves the Maple Valley Church " was received and the Church welcomed with 9 members. This afterward became the Mapleton Church. Sioux City dedicated its house of worship and Jefferson has begun to build. In 1867 Kendrick Church in Green county was added, also Yankton, Dacotah, with 6 members, and, soon after, a church at Vermillion, Dacotah. The Western Iowa Association at this time comprised all the Baptist churches in all northwestern Iowa and Dacotah. In 1868 there was an encouraging revival. 110 baptisms were reported, of which Denison reported 11, Guthrie Center 16, Jefferson 21, Maple Valley 11, and Winterset 50. Winterset now dissolves her connection with this body and unites with the Central Iowa. Rev. Wm. M. Simons is pastor at Jefferson, and James Patrick at Maple Valley.�
The Logan Church was received, George Scott pastor in connection with Denison. In 1869 Modale and Soldier Valley Churches were added. C. G. Smith appears as pastor at Guthrie Center and Rippey. Hon. A. Abernathy was in attendance as a worker in the Association. Maple Valley reported 45 baptisms, Panora 28, and there were in all 105.
The year of 1870 witnessed the addition of the Panther Creek, Grant City, Woodbine and Castana churches. Amos Robinson was pastor at Jefferson, and E. G.O. Groat was welcomed back from Nebraska.� Bro. Rockwood removed about 1869 to Logan. In 1871 Rev. James Sunderland has taken up the work at Sioux City.� Cherokee and Union Ridge are added to the list of churches. Robert Dunlap has become pastor at Denison. The Wolf Creek, Dunlap, and Pioneer Church in Clay county unite with the Association in 1872. Mention was made at this time of a number of unassociated churches in the north-west part of the State, indicating activity in occupying that new field. A good revival interest has been enjoyed in places. The new Wolf Creek Church reports 29 baptisms. Rev. A. W. Hilton has become pastor at Cherokee, haihng from north-eastern Iowa. In 1873 six new churches were made welcome in the body. These were Storm Lake, New Testament Church, Newell, Spirit Lake, Sioux Rapids, and South Plymouth.�
Elder J. E. Sanders is preaching at Sioux Rapids, Norman Parks at� Storm Lake, B. F. Goldsby at Logan,� A. M. Duboc at Denison, Jacob Hockett at New Testament, J. W. Jones at Pioneer, and A. J. Delano at Jefferson. In 1874 at the anniversary at Dunlap, a letter was received from Elder Sunderland stating that the Sioux Valley Association had been constituted in August of that year with 11 churches and 349 members, of whom 88 had been baptized during the year. This left the Western Association with but 8 churches two pastors and 259 members. This is its fifteenth anniversary. The two pastors were A. M. Duboc and B. P. Goldsby.
For the five years, 1871 to 1875, the successive anniversaries were at Logan, Mapleton, Cherokee, Dunlap, and Soldier Valley. The Moderators were George Scott, R. Dunlap, J. Sunderland, B. F. Goldsby, and John Patrick. The clerks were Rockwood, Sunderland, Sanders, Duboc, and Sanders again. The annual sermons were preached by Sunderland, Dunlap, Groat, Goldsby and Sanders. These names for the respective periods serve to show who were the active burden bearers. In 1S76 the New Union Church united. While the records show, as reported above, only two pastors left after the organization of the Sioux Valley Association, yet the Patricks, James and John, were undoubtedly preaching in their vicinity and in 1876 the latter is said to have closed a pastorate of eight years at Soldier Valley. There were some glorious revivals in 1877. Denison reported 35 baptized, J. B. Hawk pastor; Logan 19, and Maple Valley 14.. J. E. Sanders was preaching at Maple Valley, Rev. J. E. Rockwood closed about this time an active service of thirteen years in this Association and removed to Nebraska. The Carroll Church was received in 1878. Magnolia and Missouri Valley applied for admission, but, having neglected to call Councils for recognition, were advised to wait until the neglect was remedied. Rev. J. M. Bay appears as pastor at Modale.�
In 1879 the Magnolia and the Sheridan Township Church, Carroll county, were received. Rev. Ira E. Kenney was a delegate from Dunlap. Hon. Alonzo Abernathy was elected Moderator in expectation of his arrival, but not appearing in time Brother Sanders was substituted. At the session at Dunlap in 1879 their meeting house was dedicated, Rev. J. A. Nash, D.D., of Des Moines preaching the sermon. The Ida Grove and West Side Churches were added in 1880. Rev. J. W. Daniels was pastor at Ida Grove, and Demas Robinson at the Sheridan Church. For the five years, 1876 to 1880, the anniversaries were at Denison, Logan, Soldier Valley, Dunlap and Carroll. Moderators, George Scott three years in succession, J. E. Sanders and Ira E. Kenney, D. D. The introductory sermons were by J. E. Rockwood, John Patrick, J. B. Hawk, J. E. Sanders, and Ira E. Kenney. From 1881 to 1885 the meetings were at Denison, Ida Grove, Dow City, Logan and Mapleton.�
Moderators, Ira E. Kenney, Amos Robinson, Thomas Reese, S. H. Mitchell, and W. H. H. Avery.� Clerks, J. E. Sanders, W. H. Dorward, F. M. Archer, and H. S. Fisher the last two years. The introductory sermons were by F. W. Foster, A. Robinson, Thomas Reese, Wm. E. Randall, and Brother Avery.
Brother Amos Robinson succeeded pastor Hawk at Denison in 1881.� W.H. Dorward was pastor the same year at Mapleton, J. E. Sandersat Carroll, C. A. McManis at Ida Grove, F. W. Foster at Dow City and E.G.O. Groat at Logan. Ida Grove completed, led by Brother Daniels, a beautiful house of worship. The meeting at Ida Grove in 1862 was pronounced on adjournment "the best Associational gathering in our history.'' The frequent change of pastors is the subject of anxious regret. Not a pastor had been with his church three years. The Denison Church reported the decease of the honored Rev. J. W. Denison. A. J. Delano was preaching at Dunlap. During 1883 four churches completed houses of worship, viz. Missouri Valley, Woodbine, Dow City, and Mapleton. Dr. I. E. Kenney has been a liberal fosterer of these church building enterprises along the Boyer Valley. He preached dedicator}^ sermons for three of these churches within the year, and had contributed liberally towards their erection. Rev. T. S. Bovell was preaching at Carroll, F. M. Archer at Ida Grove, and J. C. Carter at Logan in 1883. In 1884 Rev. Wm. E. Randall is found at Missouri Valley, J. F. Heilner at Ida Grove, W. H. H. Avery at Denison and S. H. Mitchell Just settling at Mapleton. Not a pastor in the Association had been two years on his field.
The year 1885 exhibits some religions improvement. There were 71 baptisms reported. The largest number in any one year since 1869. Rev. W, N. McKendrick has been preaching at Grant City. Brother McKendrick was pastor at Mapleton a year or two at an earlier date which was not noticed in its proper place in this sketch. Rev. Wm. E. Randall removed late in 1884 from Missouri Valley to Dow City where he is being greatly blessed. Elder Reese is preaching at Dunlap. Of the baptisms reported in 1885, 36 were at Denison and 28 at Dow City. The Grant City Church, for several years connected with the Upper Des Moines Association, has returned to this body, and the Riverside Church in Sac county was received. The meeting in 1886 was at Woodbine. Elder Thomas Reese of Dunlap preached the annual sermon. H. S. Fisher Moderator, S. H. Mitchell clerk. It has been a year of increased spiritual blessing. Ninety-seven baptisms were reported; Dow City 28, Mapleton 21, Woodbine 12, Schaller 10, Ida Grove 9, Carroll 7, and Denison one. Mapleton has considerably more than doubled its effective membership. The meeting of the Association in 1886 was to have been at Denison, but during the previous winter their house of worship was entirely destroyed by fire, together with the pastor's library and many valuable papers. They are doing what they can to repair the damage, and ere another year will have a new and better home completed. At the annual meeting at Woodbine, Brother W. F. Gray of the new church at Schaller, organized during the year, and C. M. Wilcox of Grant City were, by request of their churches, publicly ordained as their pastors. Brother J. S. Norvell has been supplying for six months at Carroll with marked acceptance and success. It was gratefully mentioned as a source of encouragement that "most of our churches have pastors, and that permanency in the pastoral office is coming to be the rule and not a rare occurrence," but alas I alas, before the year expires, Carroll, Dow City, Ida Grove, Mapleton, and Woodbine are all actually or prospectively vacant, or have changed pastors.
CHAPTER XXXIX, Pages 374-382
The Coon Valley Association Organized in 1871.
Dallas, Guthrie, and parts of Boone, Greene, and Carroll Counties 1871 to 1886.
THE COON VALLEY BAPTIST Association was constituted in 1871, with eight churches, having four pastors and 330 members. The churches with the number of members reported the following year, were. Coon Valley, 41; Calamus Creek, 20; Perry, 44; Panora, 26; Panther Creek, 28; Pleasant Valley, 16; North Union, 61 and Guthrie Center, 59. The Guthrie Center, Panora, and Panther Creek churches were from the Western Iowa Association; the old North Union Church from the Upper Des Moines, and the other four were new organizations. The pastors were E. J. Wood, J. Hill, J. Carson and A. E. Simons. Brother Simons was the first clerk.
The second meeting was at Perry. Rev. J. Hill, Moderator, A. E. Simons, clerk, Deacon A. Parker treasurer. Father Hill preached the introductory sermon. 1872. The Mt. Zion Church was received. Among the pastors in 1872 in addition to those named before, are Rev. E. R. Swain at Coon Valley, Ed. Tuffin at
Panora, and the venerable W. J. Sparks at North Union. A timely circular letter written by A. E. Simons, on "The duty of rendering to pastors a just compensation for their labors," was adopted and printed in the Minutes, Baptisms reported in 1872, 82, members 309. The anniversary in 1873 was at Guthrie Center. The opening sermon was by Rev. George Scott. A. E. Simons Moderator, Deacon C. F. Reed clerk. The Dexter Church was received with 13 members, but no pastor. The state of religion was reported very low. Only two baptisms in the Association. The Perry and North Union churches have completed meeting houses. The Perry and Guthrie Center churches report Baptist Sabbath Schools; two others report union schools.
In 1874 met at North Union. Introductory sermon by J. Hill, Moderator George Scott, clerk
A.E. Simons. Mount Zion Church has become extinct, but the Stuart and Freedom churches were received. Rev. George Scott is preaching at Dexter and Stuart. There is some increase of spiritual interest, 48 baptisms reported, and 389 members, A gain of 90. A missionary committee, appointed the year before, had employed Rev. Wm. Wood of Cedar Falls for three months, at a salary of $50 per month. He had labored in protracted meetings at Perry, Guthrie Center, Calamus Creek and North Union. The work had been self sustaining, enough being received on the field to pay all expenses. Brother Wood had been entirely laid aside by sickness for some time. The fifth anniversary was held in 1875 at Perry. Introductory sermon by Rev. Wm. J. Sparks, Rev. H. S. Cloud Moderator, A. E. Simons clerk. The church at Perry had had a great revival and baptized 53. They have enlarged their parsonage and made it a commodious dwelling place for their pastor's family. They have a prosperous mission station at Peoples Settlement, 8 miles east, which will ere long become a self-sustaining church. Baptisms reported in the Association 75, other additions 43, members 475. The amount reported for church expenses, $2,450; grand total for all purposes $2571.20.
In 1870 the Association met with the Freedom Church. Rev. H. S. Cloud preached the annual sermon and was elected Moderator, Brother Simons still clerk. The churches were all represented except
Panora, and four new churches were received. These were Richland Center, North Branch, South Coon and Dallas Center. Rev. J. Carson is preaching at Richland Center and South Coon, H.S. Fish at North Branch, where there are 53 members, and at Guthrie Center, and Rev. Demas Robinson at Stuart. Brother Robert McCoy, of the Calamus Creek Church, wrote a circular letter on "The faithful performance of work by the Lay Members of the church," which was read and adopted and ordered printed in the minutes. It was the writer's privilege to witness the baptism of Brother McCoy in 1868, he having been previously a member of the Church of England. The circular letter written by him shows a very intelligent and just view of the duties of a Christian and a member of the church.
In 1877 the Association met with the Coon Valley church. Brother Simons preached the sermon and was Moderator, C. F. Reed clerk. The Dexter church had disbanded. Rev. E. G. O. Groat was preaching at Guthrie Center and Dallas Center, Brother Wm. Hooks at Panther Creek, C. F. Reed at Coon Valley and North Branch, J. F. McCluen at Richland Center, J. M. Gilbert at Calamus Creek, H. S. Cloud at Freedom and Pleasant Valley, J. Carson at South Coon, A. E. Simons at Perry, W. J. Sparks at North Union, and J. A. Nash at Stuart.
The Association met in 1878 for its Eighth Anniversary with the Peoples Mission, of the Perry Church. Rev. J. Z. Zimmerman was, by a vote of the body, invited to preach the opening sermon. Rev. J. F. Childs, of Des Moines, was elected Moderator, C. F. Reed, clerk. The Casey Church was received with 7 members, C. F. Reed, pastor. Brother Childs is preaching at Stuart and A. J. Delano at Guthrie Center. Rev. Wm. J. Sparks died June 30, 1878. The church at Stuart have bought a house of worship and fitted it up at a cost of $464.50. Met in 1879 at Guthrie Center. Rev. J. F. Childs preached the annual sermon and was elected Moderator, C. F. Reed, clerk. Rev. A. E. Simons, who has been pastor of the Perry Church from its organization, and one of the most efficient members of this body through the ten 3^ears of its history, has removed and taken up work at Parkersburg, in the Cedar Valley Association. Rev. J. M. Gilbert, of Calamus Creek, is also missed from the councils of this Association, but Rev. A. Hunt appears as pastor at Coon Valley and H. W. Wilson at Perry. The North Union Church has returned to the Upper Des Moines Association, and the Peoples Mission has become a separate organization and united with that body also. Rev. H. S. Cloud has removed to Corning, Adams county, Iowa. The departure of Rev. J. Carson from this Association seems to have been a year or two earlier.
The anniversary in 1880 was held at Perry. Introductory sermon by W. F. Hooks. Moderator, A. Hunt, clerk and treasurer, A. D. Phelps of Perry. This anniversary was saddened and chastened by the death, December 4, 1879, of the beloved father, Rev. Joshua Hill of Guthrie Center, who had "by reason of strength reached four score years." The Casey, Richland Center and Dallas Center churches disappear from the records. Bro. E. Hatfield appears as pastor at Calamus Creek, A. Mackey at Guthrie Center, and L. W. Atkins at Stuart. Other pastors are W. F. Hooks and A. Hunt. There are now 10 churches, 5 pastors, 39 baptisms reported and 408 members. Of the baptisms 22 were at Guthrie Center. From 1881 to 1885 the anniversaries were held respectively at South Coon, Panther Creek, Fredonia, Pleasant Valley, and Peoples church. The Moderators in the order named were A. Hunt 4 years, and A. E. Simons ;clerks A. D. Phelps two years, A. E. Simons two years, and F. M. Gaines.
In 1881 Rev. A. Mackey preached the annual sermon, "A thrilling sermon from James 1:22, 'Be 3^e doers of the word, and not hearers only.' Rev. L. D. Lamkin was preaching; at Perry and Rev. J. M. Gilbert removed to Creighton, Nebraska. The Guthrie Center church spent $500 in permanent improvements. A Women's Missionary Society for the Association was organized. Sister R. E. Bailey president, Naomi Mackey secretary, and Sister R. B. Reed treasurer. In 1882 Rev, C. F. Reed preached the annual sermon. The new Bethel church of Audubon county was received, Charles Berry pastor. Rev. A. E. Simons, late in 1882, returned to his old field at Perry. In 1883 Rev. Charles Berry preached the introductory sermon. The Peoples Baptist church was received from the Upper Des Moines dissociation. Rev. Harmon Hunt pastor, with 35 members. Rev. W. A. Welsher of Des Moines was preaching at Stuart. During the Sabbath session of the Association at Freedom in 1883 the exercises were suspended to hear the experience of a sister who wished to unite with the Panther Creek church. This sister, who lived several miles from the place of meeting of any Baptist church, had been converted while at home alone, but desired to follow her Lord in baptism and find fellowship with his people. Her experience was clear and satisfactory, and she was unanimously received by the delegates of the church with which she wished to unite. Two others, a man and his wife, who had been immersed and were formerly members of the United Brethren church were also received into the fellowship of the Freedom church at the close of the morning service. It was voted to hold quarterly meetings of the Association, the object being "to pray and talk and preach the gospel, and plan for more and better work in the broad field the Lord has given us.''
In 1880 the Coon Rapids and Mount Zion Churches were received. Rev. A. Mackey was pastor at Coon Rapids, and A. Hunt at Mount Zion. Rev. R. R. Albin was preaching at Stuart. Baptisms were reported by the Peoples Church, 27; Perry, 11; Mt. Zion, 11; Stuart, 7; South Coon, 5; Coon Rapids, 3; Freedom, 2, and Panther Creek, one; making 67 in all; other additions, 52; total membership, 533. Rev. A. Mackey, besides Coon Rapids, is supplying New Bethel and North Branch. In 1885 the Dallas Center Church reappears with 45 members reported, but no statistics. A church called Union also appears with 41 members, A. Mackey pastor. Rev. F. M. Gaines is preaching at Freedom. In 1886 we find Rev. D. L. Clouse settled at Perry, F. M. Gaines preaching at Freedom, Pleasant Valley and Peoples, A. Mackey at Union and W. F. Hooks at Panther Creek. Baptisms 36; membership 548. Rev. A. E. Simons has yielded to the necessity of taking rest for a season from the full work of the pastorate, and is in business at Emerson, Iowa, but still preaching the Word as occasion offers. It is much to the credit of Rev. Wm. F. Hooks and the Panther Creek Church that, raised up and called into the ministry among that people, he has been enabled, regularly, to break unto them the Bread of life without interruption for ten year; first as licensed by them, and afterwards, January 29, 188U, Ordained. The important question of continuing in one place in the ministry has not been without consideration in the Coon Valley Association. At the meeting in 1885 the Circular Letter, written by Mrs. Naomi Mackey, treated with apathy the subject of the pastoral relation, and especially the advantages of long pastorates and how to secure them. We append one or two extracts. "A strangers first sermon may please the people immensely because it enunciates and explains some truth already thoroughly understood by them. The sermon may not lead them one step higher in Christian knowledge, but their self love has been tickled to find the stranger agreeing with them and stating their views eloquently. The pastor who has been long on the field learns where his people are weakest and on what points they most need instruction, and can govern himself accordingly. An old friend whose love has been proved so as to be beyond a doubt can do this much more efficiently than a recent acquaintance." That is, can reprove, rebuke, and give the needed instruction to strengthen the weak places. "A magnetic orator, without a clean heart, can rouse and fire and sway an audience by his presence and oratory and the result be little permanent good and much permanent evil.
*** But when personal magnetism and the grace and charm of oratory are backed by a known character of Christian consistency, then the oratory is a power for good. The pastor is to be a care-taker�one to lake care of the church. The preacher who stops with the church only a few months or a year hardly gets acquainted with the people, certainly not so acquainted as to love them and care for them as a pastor should. *** Even a farm that changes tenants every year is soon overgrown with weeds and in a dilapidated condition."
This Association has some elements of history peculiar to itself. Bordering closely upon the capitol of the State on one side, centrally located, and cultivating a district comprising in whole and in part, six counties, it has but one county seat church, and that not strong. It has few churches located in the towns. It has had less missionary aid, perhaps, relatively, than any other Association in the State. It has fewer meeting houses, or has had until recently, than other parts of the State. The churches are weak, and yet there has been a noble holding on and a faithful cultivating of the field with the means at hand.
By the advent of railroads and mining interests, changes are being wrought that betoken more rapid growth, and emphasize the importance of a more vigorous cultivation of this field and increased cooperation between the Association and our General Missionary Societies, State and Home.
These chapters of the book, Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886, encompassed Dallas County.
Transcribed by Constance Diamond, August - December, 2013.