the time has not yet come to write the history of Iowa Baptist
Institutions of Learning, nor is the writer of these Sketches the
one to be the historian of that department of effort. It should be
the prerogative of some one connected with each school, perhaps, to
hand down its history to those who are to bear the burdens after
them. This, in some instances, it is highly probable will be done in
due time. Our work however, would be too incomplete without such
mention of those who have toiled and sacrificed in the cause of
Christian learning as our memory, with the aids at hand, will enable
us to make. We have given some account of the founding of the
institutions at Burlington and Pella. Of the men and women who have
labored in the departments of instruction in these institutions we
can only give the names of such as come to mind: Rev. G. W.
Gunnison, Lorenzo B. Allen, D. D., James Henderson, Joseph T,
Robert, LL.D. Prof. L.E. Wortman, Prof. Stearns and wife, Miss
Norwood, Prof. Clement and others doubtless as worthy of mention
have been instructors in this Institution.
Rev. E. C.
Spinney, D. D., president of Burlington College since 1883, was born
in Wilmot, N'. S., March 27, 1845; matriculated at Horton Academy in
1864, graduated at Acadia College in 1868 and at Newton Theological
Seminary in 1876. Entered senior year at Harvard College. Was pastor
of First Baptist Church, Pella Iowa, 1872-84, also Professor of
Greek in Central University. He was pastor of Pleasant Street
Baptist Church at Concord, N. H. 1876-78, and of First Baptist
Church Burlington, Iowa, 1880-84. Also member of Board of Hebrew
School at Chicago, and one of the special editors of the " Western
Pulpit and Pew." He has had associated with him in the Faculty of
Instruction his excellent wife. Prof. Clement, Miss Rudd, Profs.
Loughridge, Forward, Forbey and others.
University Prof. E. H. Scarff, Mrs. B. C. A. Stoddard, Rev. Elihu
Grunn, Prof. A. N. Currier, and others whose names are not recalled,
did long and excellent service in the earlier days. Rev. L. A. Dunn,
D. D., was called to the presidency in 1871, and continued for ten
years. He was succeeded in 1881 by Rev. G. W. Gardner, D.D., who
filled the position for three years, when failing health compelled
his resignation and return to Massachusetts. Dr. Gardner had
associated with him as Chancellor during his administration Deacon
F. E. Balch, who had earned a reputation and valuable experience as
a financier in the east. Rev. D. Read, LL.D., was president during
1885-6, previous to which Prof. R. H. Tripp had been Acting
President since the resignation of Dr. Gardner.
Seminary at Osage, Iowa, was started by Rev. Alva Bush about 1863.
The citizens of Osage made a proposition in September, 1862, to the
Cedar Valley Association, to "furnish appropriate buildings if the
Association would establish and maintain an institution of learning?
suited to the wants of the community." The Association voted to
accept the proposition, and after canvassing the subject Rev. Alva
Bush, "who had just completed an engagement as Professor of
Mathematics in the Upper Iowa University, moved his family to Osage,
and on January 10, 1863, commenced a school in the Court house,
which was given the name of Cedar Valley Seminary. The entire
meeting of the prescribed conditions and the transfer of the fine
property of the institution by the citizens to the Association did
not take place until 1870, though excellent work had been done in
the meantime, the seminary sending out its first graduating class in
1871. Brother Bush continued to serve as president and principal
until his death, July 26, 1881, eighteen years. It is safe to say
that through its entire history this has been the most successful,
in the work undertaken, of all our Iowa Baptist schools. Hon. A.
Abernethy is the present principal.
The University of Des
Moines originated in 1865 in a conviction in the minds of many Iowa
Baptists that providential circumstances favored, and that the
Baptists ought to have an institution located at Des Moines, the
growing capital of the state. A building that had been designed and
partially completed by another denomination for educational purposes
was offered for sale on reasonable terms. Rev. Luther Stone of
Chicago, who from the first had evinced a deep interest in
educational affairs in Iowa, advanced the money to purchase the
property and hold it for the denomination until further steps could
A school was started in 1866. Rev. J. A. Nash, D.
D., had been interested in the education of the young from the early
days in Des Moines, keeping for years a sort of private school for
such as came to him to receive instruction. He has been closely
identified with the interests of the University from the first, and
was for years its president. Rev. J. F. Childs, Rev. Thomas Brand
and others have borne financial burdens to maintain its existence.
Judge Frederick Mott, Hon. A. Abernethy, Rev. Ira E. Kenney, and the
late Prof. D. F. Call were called to preside over the institution,
and a goodly array of teachers have given instruction in its walls.
The old campus and building were disposed of and the institution
removed to its present site at Prospect Park under the presidency of
Dr. Kenney. Prof. A. B. Price is the present principal. During 1886
the expectations of many Baptists were turned anew towards this
institution and many hopes and resolutions have been expressed for
its prosperity. The one thing now needed is for its friends to arise
and meet the emergency of the times and Iowa Baptists may have an
institution at the state capital that will be a source of good to
the generations to come. Will they do it, Prof. Goldthwaite, Rev. H.
A. Brown, Mrs. Sawin, and a number of others have done good work
teaching in this institution. Many names of ministers and
missionaries who stand high in the roll of the Master's owned and
honored servants, both in the Home and in the Foreign field, have
been students in these several Iowa institutions. Though we Lave not
the data nor the memory to name them, all their names are written
above, and the record is one that we can trust to honor God and the
memory of sacrificing ones who have toiled in the years gone by with
perhaps little reward or recognition here.
Among modern methods for mutual improvement the Ministers' Institute
was doubtless suggested by the success of Teachers' Institutes,
which had, since about 1855 or a little later come into general use
and proven so beneficial to the teaching forces in our public
schools. The writer attended and participated in the first Teachers'
Institute held in Iowa between 1855 and 1860. The Ministers'
Institute was first suggested, if we mistake not, by Dr. G. S.
Bailey, then of Illinois, later of Iowa, now of California. The
first of these in Iowa was at Oskaloosa about 1873, within a year,
at least, of that date. Rev. E. C. Spinney was the secretary and
kept a full minute of the proceedings, but the record has been
mislaid and cannot be found. This is much to be regretted, as the
occasion was one of very great interest. The attendance was large,
and the people of Oskaloosa, many of them, became so deeply engaged
that they listened hour after hour to lectures on theological
subjects without once thinking of their being dry. Rev. G. W.
Northrup, D. D., of Chicago, the late Jeremiah Hall, D. D., J. A.
Nash, D. D., Rev. J. E. Hopper, N. S. Burton, D.D., and perhaps some
others delivered lectures. Dr. Northrup on the Holiness of God as
Fundamental, and the relation of this doctrine to the Atonement, and
other doctrines in theology, in a course of lectures running through
the entire week; Dr. Hall several lectures on Homiletics, Dr. Nash
on Worship, Dr. Burton, The Kingdom of God and the Church of Christ,
and Brother Hopper on the Higher Life. Subsequent Institutes were
held at Des Moines, at Burlington and at Marshalltown, in which,
among other lecturers, we can remember as we write. Rev. Lemuel
Moss, D. D., E. C. Mitchell, D. D., G. W. Gardner, D. D., Rev. Henry
G. Weston, D. D., Dr. J. M. Stifier, Dr. Galusha Anderson, Justin A.
Smith, D. D., Dr. T. J. Morgan, and others, whose words of counsel
and instruction stirred and quickened many an humble Iowa pastor,
and doubtless were felt on many a field of toil in influences, the
results of which only eternity will measure. It is to be regretted
that such means could not be more frequently available to the
toilers in the Master's humbler fields of patient usefulness.
The religious press has been recognized by Iowa Baptists from the
first as a necessary concomitant of a productive religious life. It
appears that at the meeting in 1842 for the organization of the
State Convention, a committee was appointed on the subject of a
periodical. At the first anniversary in 1843 Elder Hezekiah Johnson
from the committee reported, recommending ''that the Baptists of
Iowa patronize the North Western Baptist published at Chicago, at $1
per year," The Macedonian, "published by the Board of Foreign
Missions," was also represented at this meeting. A similar
resolution commending the North Western Baptist was passed in 1844,
and Rev. Charles E. Brown appointed a committee of correspondence
with the paper. A year later we find the Convention "adopting" and
endorsing the Western Star, published at Jacksonville, Ill., and
edited by Rev. A. Bailey. Also in 1846 the Des Moines Association
passed resolutions endorsing the Western Star and the "Mother's
Journal, Missionary Magazine and Macedonian." About the year 1847
Rev. Luther Stone started a paper in Chicago called the Watchman of
the Prairies, and in 1848 the Des Moines Association recommended
this paper to the patronage of the churches. We note these
proceedings as illustrating how thoroughly alive our Baptist fathers
were to the value of this species of religious reading for the
families of their churches. In 1853 the subscription list of the
Watchman of the Prairies was sold by Rev. Luther Stone to Rev. J. C.
Burroughs, and the resultant new paper, the Christian Times, was
published for a few months by Dr. Burroughs, "in association with
Rev. Henry G. Weston, then of Peoria, and Rev. A. J. Joslyn of
Elgin. In November 1853 Rev. Leroy Church and Rev. Justin A. Smith
became joint proprietors of the Christian Times.
|The Religious Newspaper as a
Means of Improvement Among Iowa Baptists.
soon transferred his proprietary interest to Rev, J. F. Childs, who
was in turn succeeded by Edward Goodman, the present senior
proprietor of the Standard, the name finally taken by the paper. So
much preliminary history, as to the origin of the paper itself,
seemed to be necessary in order to properly represent The Standard
in Iowa as one of the efficient forces in the history of the
denomination in the state. The circulation of the paper in Iowa was
quite limited until October, 1854, when Mr. Edward Goodman, the
present senior proprietor, visited the state with a view to
introduce it more generally among the churches. He began at
Davenport, October 20th of that year, the Iowa Baptist State
Convention being in session at that place, and .traveled as far west
as Des Moines, through a large number of counties, visiting every
church, and a great many of the members at their homes. The canvass
continued for seven months; a large number of subscribers was
obtained, and thus began a general circulation of the Standard in
Iowa that has continued and increased as the years rolled by. The
conductors of the paper regard Iowa as one of the most interesting
sections of their large field, and have shown their desire to serve
the cause in the state, not only by allowing a liberal space for
church news in the columns of the paper, but also by the publishing
of large Supplements at various times, devoted especially to Iowa
interests. As regards questions upon which the denomination in Iowa
is divided, such as that of the location of the Baptist State
University, the conductors of the Standard have kept in mind the
fact that such questions are rather to be determined by the wisdom
of Iowa Baptists themselves, than by their brethren elsewhere,
however much interested while, when it seemed duty, they have
frankly expressed their views upon certain phases of the question.
They have borne in mind the fact that the Standard is the organ for
the whole body of Baptists in Iowa, and that brethren holding
opposite views upon special questions are, in the same, entitled to
a hearing in its columns. The endeavor of those engaged on the paper
has been to show their good will toward all denominational interests
in Iowa, and, as in other states, to serve not to rule. The present
conductors of the Standard are Rev. Justin A. Smith, D.D., Edward
Goodman, Mrs. E.R. Dickerson, and J. Spencer Dickerson.
Other Baptist papers have had considerable circulation in Iowa, as
the Examiner of New York, the Watchman of Boston, the National
Baptist Philadelphia, the Journal and Messenger of Cincinnati, the
Central Baptist of St. Louis, and some others. In earlier days the
American Baptist, published by Dr. Nathaniel Brown in the interests
of the American Baptist Free Mission Society, had quite a
circulation in some of our churches where the antislavery sentiment
was the strongest. About 1874-5 Rev. A. Robbins, afterwards
associating with him Rev. J.B. Hawk, and subsequently Rev. J.D.
Morris, started the Baptist Beacon, published first at Pella and
then at Des Moines, Iowa. Brother Robbins made a good paper, but for
want of means it was suspended after a few years. The Western Pulpit
and Pew was a monthly, periodical started and edited by Rev. W.A.
Welsher but only continued for about one year.