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Churches and Religion

Pages 123-132

Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886

S. H. Mitchell

 Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa



FROM 1862 TO 1886

In 1862 the Association met at Lyons. Moderator and clerk the same as last year, and Bro. Edminster preached the sermon. Only 25 baptisms are reported; the total membership being 1315. The absorbing interest is the state of the country, yet there is reported; at the annual meeting "a season of delightful brotherly interchanges" which it is believed" will result in much good to all the Churches." We find this year Rev. J.T. Westover beginning a pastorate at Iowa City. G.W. Dowd is also preaching at Zion. Comanche have given 17 of their members to the army.

1863. Assembled at Iowa City. J.T. Westover Moderator, S.L. Burnham, clerk. Rev. E.M. Miles preached the introductory sermon. Several Churches lament the loss of faithful members who have fallen in the service of their country. Iowa City alone has been visited with a revival. Brother Westover has been permitted to baptize 38.  A new Church at Clear Creek, 8 miles west, report 6 baptisms.  Besides these there are only 6 baptisms reported in the Association. The Clear Creek Church is received in the body.  Rev. S.L. Burnham has become pastor at Muscatine, and the ladies of the Church have secured a lot on which it is hoped to build a new edifice ere long. The present is a time of great trial but faithful holding on.

1864. Met at Muscatine. Rev. D.P. Smith preached the sermon and was elected Moderator, and James T. Lane of Davenport, clerk. The spiritual dearth lamented for the last two or three years seems to have passed and showers of blessing are manifest; 115 baptisms are reported, and 1177 members in 14 churches. Several small churches have evidently become extinct or do not report. The boundaries of the Association have varied but little since the organization of the Dubuque Association ten years ago. The name of the Second Baptist Church at Davenport has been changed to the Calvary Church, and the Main Street Church become extinct and many of its members have been received with open arms into the Calvary Church. Rev. D.S. Watson has succeeded pastor Butterfield; 52 have been baptized in this Church and 44 received by letter. and a debt of $6,000 has been paid. Muscatine have baptized 36, S.L. Burnham still pastor; Lyons, Pastor Starkweather 15, and Bro. Edminster at Comanche 11.  Rev. B.F. Ashley has become pastor at Iowa City.  Muscatine have nearly completed their new brick meeting house. At this meeting the writer of these Sketches for the first time met with the Davenport Association as Agent of the State Convention. His cordial reception is a cheering recollection after the lapse of twenty-two years.

1865.  The place of meeting this year is Comanche.  S.L. Burnham is clerk.  W.G. Moore has become pastor at Clinton, A. Kenyon at Iowa City; Calvary Davenport have baptized 51, Clinton 8, Lyons 10; total Churches 18, baptisms 82, other additions 178, membership 1402. The Church at DeWitt have during the year completed and paid for their house of worship, and are in a healthy condition, and Comanche have built a good parsonage. On the whole there is a good degree of vitality and some of the Churches have made material advancement.

1866.   The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary is held at Davenport, the city whence the Association takes its name.  Introductory sermon by Rev. A. Kenyon of Iowa City,  J. Edminster, Moderator, Rev. Edwin Eaton, clerk. Mr. Eaton is pastor at Muscatine, having succeeded S.L. Burnham, A.D. Freeman at Clinton, and J.M. Lackey at DeWitt.  Another revival season has visited many of our Churches;  40 have been baptized at Comanche, 20 at Iowa City, 25 at Muscatine, 14 at Zion, and 29 at Downey, where a new Church is added to the Association. Total baptisms 146, additions from all sources 258, members 1415.

1867.  Met at Zion, Scott county. Officers same as last year. Rev. A. H. Starkweather, who was to have preached the annual sermon, has been called to his heavenly rest, and his alternate, Rev. Edwin Eaton, has the painful duty of filling his place. A good degree of the "refreshing from the presence of the Lord" continues to be manifest in the reports from the Churches.  Baptisms 148, additions 262, members 1532.  The largest sharers in the revival are Calvary Davenport, D.S. Watson, pastor, baptized 50 ; DeWitt, J. Edminster, 32 ; Iowa City, A.H. Stowell, 35; and Muscatine, E. Eaton, 10. The Iowa City pastor has just come on the field this year.  Brother Edminster has removed from Comanche to DeWitt and Brother Lackey has taken his place at the former Church. Rev. A.D. Freeman has resigned at Clinton;  Bro. Robert Leslie, licensed by this Church, has supplied them very acceptably for a time, and Rev. Wm. Roney has been called to the pastorate.

1868.   The Association held its annual meeting at Clinton. Moderator, E.M. Miles, clerk, Rev. E.C.M. Burnham. Baptisms, 45 ; total membership, 1534.  Rev. T.W. Powell, from Ohio, has succeeded Bro. Watson, at Davenport, and Rev. E.C.M. Burnham is preaching at Lyons. There are now 16 churches in this Association. For a number of years the churches becoming extinct and being dropped from the list have outnumbered the new organizations, and the territory of the Association has remained about the same, comprising the counties of Muscatine, Scott, Clinton and Johnson. The Clinton Church have sold the old meeting house and propose to go forward in the erection of a new one to cost .$1O,000, of which sum only $3,000 are as yet provided. Rev. H. A. Guild has succeeded A.H. Stowell at Iowa City, and the name of M.T. Lamb appears among the delegates from Davenport.

1869.  Met at Iowa City. T.W. Powell, Moderator, H.A. Guild, Clerk. Baptisms 114, total membership, 1606. Davenport, T.W. Powell pastor, has baptized 57;  Dewitt, J. Edminster, 18 ; Lyons, E.C.M. Burnham, 12; and Muscatine,  E. Eaton, 12. R. Dunlap is preaching at LeClaire and Zion.  Rev. E.N. Elton had been employed by a committee appointed the previous year, to labor as Associational Colporteur. He labored from October 1st to April 1st, when it was deemed by the committee that "further efforts in the same general direction might be dispensed with without detriment to the end had in "view,'' and the engagement with Brother Elton was terminated with his full consent. ' The committee consisted of Revs. H. A. Guild, J. Edminster, Edwin Eaton and E.M. Miles. Rev. C.E. Brown, from a committee appointed last year to prepare and "present to this body a history of itself,'' "presented an exceedingly interesting document, covering the first nine years of said history.  The report was ordered on file with the valuable papers of the Association, and Bro. Brown, having performed the part assigned him in the committee was released from further service, and Rev. E.M. Miles was added to the committee, the other members being Dexter P. Smith and D.O. Montague. How much such valuable labor in gathering and compiling historical facts has been performed and then dropped out of sight never again to see the light!

1870.   Met at DeWitt. Rev. C.H. Remington, of Clinton, Moderator and Rev. F. Adkins, of Iowa City, clerk. These are both new pastors in the Association, though Bro. Remington had spent a number of years in this Association in its earlier history. Rev. S.H.D. Vaughn has also succeeded Bro. Edminster at DeWitt, and Rev. E.P. Savage is preaching at Lyons. These new names yearly are an index to the frequent changes in the pastoral relation, the causes of which cannot be discussed here, but are the subject of much perplexity and the occasion of no little crippling of our Church work.  It has been another year of encouraging growth, in which Davenport has reaped the largest share.   Brother Powell reports 74 baptisms; Clinton, Comanche and Iowa City follow with 14, 12 and 12 respectively.  Whole number of baptisms, 134; members, 1,679.  Downey are now worshiping in their own house and Rev. A.C. Sangster preaching for them.

1871.   Downey is the place of meeting. Rev. N.S. Burton, D.D., of Davenport, Moderator, F. Adkins, clerk. Bro. Powell's health failing under his arduous revival work, he is compelled to resign at Davenport, and at his suggestion his old pastor. Rev. N.S. Burton, of Ohio, succeeds him.  Rev. N.A. Reed has also become pastor at Muscatine.  Fifty-four baptisms are reported distributed in 7 Churches, Iowa City, Clinton and Lyons having the larger numberó16, 11 and 18 respectively. Ten of the 17 Churches report no baptisms. Whole number of members, 1,654.

1872.  Calvary Church, Davenport, is the entertaining Church this year. Moderator, Rev. N.A. Reed; clerk, Rev. M.T. Lamb, of Clinton, where he has become pastor. A. F. Sharpnack is reported pastor at Blue Grass. The baptisms this year are only 38, whole number 1,631. A Missionary Committee for the Association, appointed last year consisting of N.S. Burton, S.H.D. Vaughn, H.H. Smith and F. Adkins, report considerable effort " by occasional meetings and by correspondence to, accomplished the design of their appointment," but have to report that ''so far as the missionary labor contemplated is concerned, their efforts have failed." They recommend the holding of bi-monthly meetings, to consist of devotional services, etc., for the promotion of the missionary idea within the bounds of the Association.

1873.   The Association met with the Zion Church, Le Claire township, Scott county. Moderator, N.A. Reed; clerk, C.E. Bentley, of Clinton. The Monmouth Church, Jackson county, H. Holmes, pastor, with 11 members is received from the Dubuque Association. The Big Rock and Wheatland Church received in 1871 keeps its place with diminishing numbers. Baptisms reported this year 145, whole number of members 1,745. Comanche, Clinton, Davenport and Muscatine report most of the gain. L.L. Lansing is pastor at Comanche and G.W. Lewis at Zion and Le Claire. Two brethren have been ordained in the Association during the year, viz: Jacob Meier, of the German Baptist Church, Muscatine, and A.F. Sharpnack, at Blue Grass. Lone Tree and Solon are mentioned as hopeful places for missionary work.

1874.   For this and the subsequent years of this history, the compiler is not in possession of the records of the Association and can only s:ive such facts as are gleaned from other sources. This year has been one of great spiritual quickening. Eleven of the 13 Churches report baptisms, aggregating 178 in all; present membership 1,686. Lone Tree, favorably mentioned last year as a missionary point, appears in the records with 11 baptisms and 40 members. Rev. J.Y. Aitchison is pastor at Clinton, H.N. Millard at Lyons and G. Parker at Blue Grass. These are the new pastoral arrivals. In 1875 we find Edward Jones, pastor, at Comanche, C.C. Smith at Clinton, T.W. Powell again at Davenport, E.T, Hiscox at Iowa City, G.W. Prescott at Le Claire and W.H. Barnes at Monmouth. Baptisms 102; membership 1,850 in 15 Churches with 12 pastors. 1876: Baptisms, 41 ; total membership, 1,610. Ten Churches out of 16 report baptisms, but none large numbers. Comanche, 13, is the largest. None others over 5. Rev. C. Swift has succeeded L.
L. Lansing at Comanche, J. C. Douglass is pastor at DeWitt, and A. C. Kelley at Downey. Of late the Churches are reporting their financial statistics much more fully than formerly, and the results are increasingly to their credit.

1877.   No notable changes among the pastorates except that Muscatine, which was last year without a pastor, reports A. . Eberhart, who had served this Church in they same capacity in 1854 and 1855. This has been another year of revivals. One hundred and eighty baptisms, 96 other additions and a total membership of 1,750 in 15 Churches with 13 pastors. Muscatine leads with 44 baptisms; Davenport, 43; several others ranging from 10 to 14. Eleven of the 15 Churches report baptisms. Over $10,500 reported for Home expenses, and over $2,600 for Benevolence.

1878:   Fifteen Churches, 12 pastors, 102 baptisms, and 1,850 members; contributions, a little increase over last year.  Rev. D.T. Richards is pastor at Muscatine.  Rev. F.A. Petereit has been for two years pastor of the German Church, Davenport, and now Rev. G. Chambers reports a Colored Church of 19 members in the same city. 1879 : Only 57 baptisms reported this year in 8 of the 16 Churches; whole number of members, 1804. A new Church at Nashville appears with 15 baptisms and 31 members. Rev. W.H. Stiller has succeeded Pastor Powell at Davenport.

1880.   This has been a year of evident Spiritual dearth, only 12 baptisms are reported in the 14 Churches on the list. Doubtless, Eternity may disclose as faithful work in sowing seed and training for future harvesting, as in the more immediate reaping of revival 3^ears. "The wind bloweth where it listeth" and, "Thou canst not tell whether will prosper this or that." Rev. C.C. Smith, of Clinton, and Rev. E.T. Hiscox, of Iowa City, each of whom began the present pastorate in 1876 are the only pastors who date back more than one year or to 1879. The new pastors this year are W.H. Whitelaw, Comanche, Edward Wilson, Davenport (Colored), H.W. Wilson, DeWitt, Jacob Shutz, Lone Tree, T.A. Maxon, Nashville and W.L. Wood, Zion.

Not much increase by conversion for 1881.  Thirty-six baptisms, 1,397 members.  George Houghton has become pastor at Comanche, James Jeffries at Downey and G.F. Linfield, at Muscatine, has succeeded Bro. Richards.  Emigration to the west is beginning to tell upon these older fields, visibly, the membership of this Association having fallen off in two years from 1,804 to 1,397; over 400 loss. 

1883.   Again the Spiritual pulse begins to quicken. Pastor Stiller, at Davenport, has baptized 55 and Linfield, of Muscatine, 13; other baptisms, 20; total, 88; total; membership, 1,368.  Rev. H.M. Thompson has succeeded Pastor Hiscox, at Iowa City. Other pastors are holding. on.  A.H. Lyons appears as pastor at Monmouth and Nashville in 1883. Baptisms this year, 28; total membership, 1,281. Pastors nearly all maintaining their ground. Be faithful, the reaping time will come. Fourteen baptisms and 1,279 members in 1884.  H.D. Weaver is pastor at Comanche, E.P. Savage at Clinton, S.E. Wilcox at Muscatine, and J.C. Johnson at Downey and Lone Tree. Again there is only one pastor in the Association who has been with his Church more than one year. Dr. Stiller, at Davenport since 1879.

1885.   The Spiritual tide is again coming in. There have been in the Association 138 baptisms; membership 1,371, an increase of nearly 100.  Comanche, Clinton, Davenport and Muscatine have been blessed with 28, 53, 40 and 12 baptisms respectively.  Rev. F.L. Wilkins has succeeded Dr. Stiller at Davenport, he having resigned to assume the Presidency of Roger Williams' University, of Tennessee.

As we close this chapter the Minutes for 1886 have not been received. We are able to state, however, that steady work is being pursued.  Few, if any, changes have taken place in the ministerial forces.  Iowa City, after an interval without a pastor, has probably been supplied. Davenport, Muscatine, Comanche and Clinton are ably manned as a year ago.

One very sad record must close this chapter. On the way home from the State Convention, at Cedar Rapids, October 25, the pastor of the Le Claire and Zion Churches, Rev. Lewis Brasted, fell dead in the coach a few miles out of the city.  In a group picture of the ministers present at the Convention, taken a few days before, the brother of the deceased, Rev. B.H. Brasted, appears standing with his arms thrown lovingly around him. That picture will remain as a memorial of a very graceful exhibition of brotherly affection. Brethren let us love one another.

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