Presbyterian Church

Leroy, Garden Grove Township, Iowa
 Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
February 16, 1967, Page 2
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum & Bob Bixby

Religious life was fostered in the town of LeRoy from its early settlement. Religious services and the Union Sunday School had been held in the schoolhouse from the first, and in 1882 the Presbyterian Church was organized with 6 members as follows:

A. G. Buffum and wife by transfer from the Presbyterian Church of Garden Grove; E. S. Buffum and wife from [the] Presbyterian Church of Lineville where he had been an elder; and John D. Gaunt and wife from the Presbyterian Church in Washington, Ind.

Church membership and attendance increased rapidly. [At the present time (1977) there are approximately 86 members].

From the time it was organized December 10, 1862, meetings were held in the schoolhouse, until November 30, 1890, when the first Presbyterian Church was formally dedicated to God at a cost of about $2400, of which the Ladies Aid Society paid $300. Perhaps this was the first date of the Ladies Aid Society. A missionary Society was organized in the early 1900's.

This church so loved by young and old burnt on a Sunday afternoon, Dec. 22, 1912 at about 2:30 p.m. The pulpit, the Bible, and a large chair were all that was saved.
December 22, 1913. Presbyterian Church burning.
New church was built in the same place and dedicated November 22, 1914.
Again they built the church, the present one, at about $45,000, this time with a full basement. It was dedicated on Nov. 22, 1914. In the year 1945, the church proper was redecorated on the inside; the basement in 1950. In the year 1945, through a bequest in the will of Mrs. [Julia?] Barger, the church proper was redecorated on the inside and the basement in 1950 by the Ladies Aid. The basement was made some larger by the Ladies Aid and the Men's Aid by rewalling and extending corners, which squared the basement. A back entryway was also made. The Ladies Aid has carpeted the rostrum and aisles two different times and paneled and carpeted the Sunday School room for the children.

E. S. Buffum was Elder and Clerk of the session from the church's establishment in 1882 until his death in 1925. Mr. Buffum had served for several years as Sunday School superintendent but retired from that a few years before his death. At this time, J. L. Heaton became the superintendent of the Sunday School. He retired at the end of 40 years of service in the Sunday School.

The Union Sunday School was maintained for a number of years, but finally the need of a second church was felt, and the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. Within these two churches [Presbyterian and Methodist] the majority of the people in town and throughout the county roundabout have found a church home.

The LeRoy Presbyterian Church has been yoked with Garden Grove and Osceola with Presbyterian ministers. When the Osceola church decided to go by itself, in meetings held frequently, the LeRoy Church decided to yoke with the Humeston Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and they were approached by Howard Baker, July 2, 1963. During the interim we were served temporarily by the Rev. Henry Schragg of the Presbyterian Church and Rev. Slavens of the Christian Church. The two churches agreed to listen to a candidate, John Patterson, a Christian minister, on Aug. 22, 1963, and on Sept. 15, Rev. Patterson started serving the two churches with a very congenial yoke which is still in effect. During this time a bequest from Margaret Nichols and some other memorial money enabled the church to buy an organ. The Rev. Patterson changed to a Presbyterian minister while serving the yoked field. The Rev. Patterson terminated his relationship in the fall of 1972 and went to serve a church in South Dakota, which state is a part of the Lakes and Prairies Synod, of which we are a part.

Lay speaker, LeRoy Perkins of the United Methodist Church, served the LeRoy church until an agreement was make to yoke with the United Methodist and Christian Churches of Humeston (which are attempting to merge). [1976] The Rev. Richard Beving has served the church for the past three and half years. [1977] The Rev. Clifford and Mrs. Jane Haider of the United Methodist Church came to serve the yoked field of the Trinity Parish, starting his pastorship here in June 1972.
Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
February 03, 1977, Page 11
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and Bob Bixby
LeRoy By Virginia Kyner
 Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
September 27, 1980, Page 14
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and Bob Bixby

The Presbyterian and Methodist churches took turns having the Christmas program and tree. At one program they had a manger with straw in it and Nora Calhoun Kyner stood by it and sang a song. Nellie Baker remembers one Christmas at the Presbyterian Church when she asked where "Papa" went as he left before it was over. The Presbyterian Church still has Christmas Eve programs (sometimes it is another night) with the children presenting the program and now that have Fellowship time in the basement with Santa visiting.
Photograph courtesy of Rodger Gatton
Leon Journal-Reporter articles courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and Bob Bixby
Transcriptions and submission by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2013; updated November of 2018
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