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Delaware County, Iowa  



History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People

History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I.

Captain John F. Merry Supervising Editor. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914 page 311-314



Chapter XXVI





In the month of August, 1854, a Methodist Episcopal class was formed at this place, by George Clifford, of the Iowa Conference, the meeting taking place at the home of Samuel Sandercock, who then lived at Plum Creek, on the farm now occupied by James Hunt. The pioneer class of Godly men and women was indeed a small one, but in this regard it made up in enthusiasm and sincerity of purpose all that was lacking in number. They were: Samuel Sandercock and wife, Walter Sandercock and wife, Thomas Rogers and wife and M. A. Dieley. Preaching was held on occasions by the year 1855, in the schoolhouse at the east end of town, and it was Reverend Hyde, who first came and ministered to this small flock of worshipers.


When the railroad began operations in and through Earlville, in 1857, a box car was set aside on the switch and utilized for church purposes, or preaching at least, and here a small body of men and women gathered for some time. Prior to this, however, in 1856, the conference was divided and Earlville was attached to the Delhi circuit: at this period Rev. A. M. Smith was pastor. He was succeeded in 1859 by Rec. Samuel Lamont, and he in turn stepped aside for Rev. J. F. Hestwood, who came in 1860, Rev. E. W. Jeffries was here from 1861 to 1862 and in 1865 Earlville became an independent charge, with Reverend Julius as pastor. He remained until 1866 and was followed by Rev. T. Thompson.


For several years and up to 1867, services were held in Bates' Hall, the schoolhouse (then new), Thorpe's Hall and in the basement of the Congregation Church. In 1866 lots were purchased and on September 11, 1867, the church was incorporated by Josiah Dieley, J. B. Taylor, T. R. Long, J. A. G. Cattron and F. W. Sanderock, trustees. That year the church was built on the lots previously secured. It is a frame structure, still standing, but not in its original form. A parsonage was purchased about this time and in 1868 Rev. J. L. Garrison was called to the charge. His successors ion the pulpit were T. Thompson, 1870-71; J. N. Platt, 1871-73; J. B. Allbrook, 1873-74; J. E. Cowgill, 1874-75; S. Knickerbocker, 1875-76;   S. Ketcham, 1876-79; William Cobb, 1879-82; J. K. Schiffer, 1882-84; L. M. Pratt, 1884-86; L. L. Lockwood, 1886-88.




The first public improvement toward the formation of a Congregational Church in Earlville, then called Nottingham, was made May 9, 1858, when service was held, with preaching by Rev. H. N. Gates, then pastor of the Congregational Church at Almoral, in a railroad car.


A Sunday school was organized at this service by Horace Pitkin, who served as the first superintendent. Services were held here for some time and afterward removed to a hall over the store of Mr. Bates. In this hall, on February 6, 1859, a church was organized with the following charter members: Mrs. Stowe, Mrs. J. S. Harris, Mrs. Dawes, Mr. Bates, James G. Verplank and Rev. and Mrs. H. N. Gates. Reverend Gates remained as pastor until September, 1861. Meetings were continued in the hall for about a year, when they were removed to the upper room of the new schoolhouse and afterwards to the room over Mr. Thorpe's store.


The first house of worship was completed in December, 1867, and dedicated early in the new year. A parsonage was built beside the church in 1882. On the night if May 11-12, 1887, both church and parsonage were burned, together with nearly all of the business part of the town.  In this fire all the records of the church were destroyed.


After the loss of the church the Methodist Episcopal people kindly offered to share the use of their church. The offer was thankfully accepted, the pastors of the two churches alternating in preaching to the united congregations. In the meantime the Sunday school met in the Odd Fellows Hall, which was kindly offered to the church for services.


The second church edifice was erected during the summer after the fire and was dedicated December 4, 1887, the dedicatory sermon being preached by Rev. J. W. Ferner, of Postville. A new building was purchased for the parsonage, at a cost of $2,800.


This sketch would be incomplete if it dealt only with beginnings. Following the foundation layers came the builders--the names and services of the Herseys, the Sanborns, Nicholsons, Morriseys and all the host, who in season and out, in labors abundant have toiled for the establishment of the church, leaving an organization of 180 members, a good building well equiped for the work and commodions parsonage. The attendance at Sunday school is 120 and in the adult Bible class, eighty-six.


The following named have served as pastors of this congregation: Revs. H. N. Gates, A. M. Loring, Boardman, Charles Gibbs, J. L. Atkinson, Jordon Hudson, J. Brooks, J. M. Bowers, J. R. Barnes, Thomas Kent, L. W. Winslow, D. M. Ogilvie, D. L. Hilliard, D. W. Blakely, R. F. Paxton, J. C. Stoddard, A. B. Keeler, W. A. Alcorn, T. B. Couchman and A. Winfield Wiggins, the latter having had charge since October, 1913.




St. Joseph's Church was founded January 12, 1887.  Before this, however Father Lynch, located at Cascade, came here in the primitive days of the community and said mass at the homes of his people.  The church building, a neat frame structure, was built in 1887, chiefly through the efforts of Father Farley, and at the time there were but a few families in the parish. On the day mentioned above the edifice was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Hennessey, of Dubuque. High mass was celebrated by Rev. J. M. Farrell, assisted by Revs. T. Rowe, P. F. Farrelly and W. F. Pape. At the time were noticed in the sanctuary Revs. P.H. Ryan,  D. Heelan, G. Heer, W. Oberbreckling and H. Brickman. The visiting pastor was Reverend Dunkel.


In January, 1912, the church was reorganized, at which time the families in the parish numbered about twenty-five, most of whom lived on the surrounding farms. St. Joseph's never has had a resident priest, but up to 1912 priests attended the church from Manchester and Dyersville, holding services about once each month. Since then Father Theodore Warning, of the Dyersville parish has sent his assistant. Father Dunkel, regularly every Sunday, and it is now anticipated that St. Joseph's will have its own pastor within a short period of time.




The German Lutheran Church was organized in June, 1873, by Rev. J. Christ, in Exchange Hall. The membership was about twelve families and Daniel Raforth, Henry Young, C. Klaus were elected trustees. In the spring of 1875 a neat frame building, 22x40 feet, was erected for church purposes, under the direction of Rev. S. De Young, John Young and F. Werkmeister. The dedicatory services were presided over by Rev. John Buska, who long remained as the pastor.




Square Lodge, No. 286, A/F/& A/ M. was organized June 7, 1871, by C.F. Stevenson, J. Dilley and N. Clark, who were also the first principal officials. The lodge now has fifty members and is in a prosperous condition. Its permanent headquarters, after two or three removals, were set up in what is known as the Masonic building.


In the year 1883 the Masonic Town Hall Company was organized by citizens of Earlville and vicinity, for the purpose of building a structure to be used by the town and for lodge purposes. The required amount of money, $5,000, was subscribed. Square Lodge of Masons taking $500. The building, a three-story brick, was at once erected, on the north side of the railroad and nearly opposite the depot. The temple was dedicated January 19, 1884. Grand Lodge was opened at Oneida Hall (I.O.O.F.) at 2 P. M. of that day, from which a procession was formed, headed by Nazareth Commandery of Manchester, and marched for the new home of the lodge, which now owns $2,700 of the original $5,000 of stock issued for its erection.


Acacria Chapter, No. 140, Order Eastern Star, was organized October 29, 1896, by twenty-eight men and women. This is a strong and faithful auxiliary of the Masonic bodies and numbers eighty members.




Oneida Lodge, No. 132, I.O.O.F., was organized October 16, 1861, and now has about fifty members. The lodge owns a two-story frame building, the upper floor of which is arranged for lodge purposes and the lower is devoted to banquets, entertainment, etc. In its original form, a one-story structure, this building was created by Jacob Moreland in 1866. Here he kept a general store for some time  In 1873 the Odd Fellows bought the property and added another story and an addition wide enough for a stairway.


Christina Lodge, No.290, Daughters of Rebekah, kindred to and an auxiliary of Oneida Lodge, was organized October 16, 1895, with thirty-seven members, which at the present time have been increased to fifty-five members.


Earlville Encampment, No. 99, was organized October 16, 1878, with eighteen members. The present number is forty-five.




Mistletoe Camp, No. 88, Modern Woodmen of America, came into being and was authorized to open a lodge December 21, 1899. There were twelve charter members. The lodge membership is now forty-five.




Charles Schubert Post, No.  462, G.A.R., was organized July 19, 1889, with the following charter members: E. A. Allen, S. Hoskins, C. L. Rundell, L. W. Winston, B.L. Delano, William Everton, G. H. Bush, E. H. Hall, D. W. Wordand, R. Aubrey, D. Stallard, E. A. Colyon, S. S. Spearing, W. G. Foster, William Hockaday, H. Wische, J. S. Reed.


Through disease and wounds, concomitants of camp life, battles with the enemy and other strennous duties of warfare, the ranks of this post have not only been decimated, but almost obliterated by the mighty and inexorable hand of Death. A corporal's guard of the old veterans now cannot be mustered or even a quorum, consequently no regular meetings are held and the post may truly be said to have practically gone out of existence.



~ The History of Delaware County, Iowa, Pages 311-314. Published by Chicago: Western Historical Co., 1878.

~ Contributed by Debbie Clough Gerischer

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