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Churches and Religion

Pages 187-196

Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886

S. H. Mitchell

 Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa



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 1864 with 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 19; 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.

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