Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa
The Iowa Valley Association—
Edwards Brothers and Other Pioneers Toledo in 1855.
Organized in 1858.
Unfruitful for a Time but not Abandoned—1858
RECORD was made in a former chapter of a Church organized in Toledo,
Tama county, Iowa, in 1855. The next year it was found in the Cedar
Valley Association. Rev. G.G. Edwards pastor, 18 baptisms and 58
members. In 1857 a Church was organized in Hardin county, called the
Eldora Church, though most likely not in the town of Eldora.
Churches were soon afterwards founded at Cedar Creek, Green
Mountain, Grinnell, Redman, and Richland. For two or three years the
only pastors were Brother G. G. Edwards, his brother E. S. Edwards
and A. Dwight.
1858 ... In September 1858 pursuant to a call
of the Toledo Church, a Convention met in that place to organize the
Iowa Valley Association. Churches represented were Eldora, Green
Mountain, Grinnell, Redman, Richland and Toledo. A sermon was
preached by Rev. G.G. Edwards. Dr. Jarvis was Moderator, and
H. S. Cloud clerk. The territory of the new organization was in
Tama, Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek, and later, Grundy counties with
parts of Benton and Iowa. In 1859 the first anniversary was held at
Green Mountain. Deacon John Higgins was chosen Moderator and F. D.
Rickerson clerk. Brother Rickerson was preaching at Grinnell.
The name Eldora disappears and Cedar Creek is added. It may be but a
change of name of the same church. The membership is now 163
in five churches. Already four Sabbath Schools are reported
with 32 teachers and 135 scholars. Rev. J. C. Miles of Brooklyn was
preacher. Rev. G. G. Edwards read an earnest Circular letter on
"Present efforts and responsibilities."
1860 ... Met in 1860
at Grinnell. Brother Rickerson preached the sermon, Moderator
Higgins, clerk. Rev. Robert Turner. Columbia and Marietta Churches
were received. Grinnell reports 15 baptisms and Toledo 12.
Rev. Dexter P. Smith represented the State Convention, and Thomas M.
Ind of Burlington was present. Brother Rickerson read a
Circular letter on the "The importance of studying and applying the
laws of efficiency and success in religious and Church work."
In 1861 met at Marietta. Deacon Higgins Moderator, C. D. Kelsey
clerk, and in 1862 at Toledo. Same chairman with Joshua Burley
clerk. It seems a little remarkable that in this central part of the
State the growth should, these early years, have been so slow, and
that so little notice should have been taken of this rich valley by
the State Convention. From 1857 to 1860, however, Rev. G. G. Edwards
was under appointment of the Home Mission Society, and in 1859 and
'60 Brother F.D. Rickerson. About this time —1862— Rev. A.A.
Sawin removed from Marion, Iowa, and settled at West Irving, Benton
county, where he began with much zeal the establishment of an
Institution of Learning called "Addison Collegiate Institute."
1863 ... Green Mountain was the place of meeting again in 1863.
R. Turner preacher and Moderator, Spencer Day clerk. The Edwards
Brothers, G.G. and E.S. are both in the Union Army. The Marshalltown
Church had just been organized and reported 16 members. Rev. W.H.
Bibb is preaching at Honey Creek Church which comes in this year,
though said to have been organized in 1860; H. S. Cloud at Green
Mountain, and A. A. Sawin at Toledo, Not a baptism reported. It is,
we believe, the only instance in the history of the State where an
Association came together and held its anniversary and there was not
a single baptism to report for a whole year. Here there was but one
in two years. Five years history have added but one to the number of
churches, and 30 to the number of members.
1864 ... In 1864
met in Marshalltown. Rev. John Cauch (?) preached the sermon. Deacon
Higgins Moderator, Spencer Day clerk. Rev. A. A. Sawin died of small
pox at West Irving during the year. Rev. R. D. Hartshorn at
Grinnell, and W. H. Bibb at Honey Creek, are the only pastor. One
solitary baptism. The outlook was truely discouraging enough, yet
this field was not abandoned nor the existence and future of the
Iowa Valley Association despaired of. In 1875 the
Association met again at Grinnell. Rev. A. D. Lowe preached the
officers the same as last year. This meeting at Grinnell
was a very inspiring one. The West Irving and Helena
were received. Also the Xenia Church, Hardin county. Rev. A.D.
Lowe is pastor at Toledo, and Rev. A.F. Willey, late of Burlington,
at Marshalltown. Rev. J.C. Miles, Helena, J. C. Corey, Honey
Creek, P. S Whitman, West Irving, and Brother Dunbar and H. H. Half
at Xenia make up the increased ministerial force. Rev, P. S. Whitman
and his accomplished wife are in charge of the school at West
Irving. The rebellion has been suppressed and Rev. G. G. Edwards has
returned from the south with his heart all aglow in the interest of
the Freedmen. He preached and took a collection amounting in money
and pledges to $110.73. At 3 p. m. on Sabbath the congregation
repaired to the water side and Pastor Hartshorn baptized three
persons into the fellowship of the Grinnell Church.
The meeting in 1866 was at West Irving. Rev. L. S. Livermore., who
is preaching at Grinnell, delivers the
annual sermon. Officers
unchanged. Grinnell have improved their meeting house and
Marshalltown are building. The Grinnell meeting house was at first
unfortunately located, and had afterwards to be removed to a more
eligible site. Rev. A.F. Willey has been compelled, by feeble
healthy to resign at Marshalltown. Rev. G.G. Edwards is again
preaching at Toledo, Rev, B. W. Stilson has labored part of the year
as missionary in a new and neglected field in Franklin county. The
anniversary in 1867 was at Xenia. Rev. P. S. Whitman
preached the sermon, O. A. Holmes, Moderator, Spencer Day, clerk.
Brother Holmes, after" nine years of pioneer work at Webster City
and other points, takes up the work laid down by Brother Willey, at
Marshall town. Rev. A. Carpenter is pastor at Xenia. This
meeting was made interesting by the presence of Rev. Dr. Kincaid,
long a missionary in India.
1868 ... Toledo entertained the
Association in 1868, Brother Holmes preached and presided. L. A.
Scott, clerk. The
Friendship Baptist Church, of Timber Creek,
and the Grundy Center Church were received. A. B. Masterson and A.
C. Brockway, delegates. Rev. Thomas Brand has become pastor at
Grinnell. Brother Brand spent a short time with the church in its
earliest years. Marshalltown has been greatly blessed, 74 having
been baptized and they now number 170. A church was reported
at Orford this year and last, E.G O. Groat, pastor. The annual
meeting in 1869 was at Marshalltown. Thomas Brand preacher and
Moderator, H. A. Brown, clerk. A church has appeared at Eldora, E.
P. Barker, pastor. Rev. H. A. Brown is preaching at Toledo. It
has been a prosperous year, especially in the Marshalltown Church.
Brother Holmes has baptized 61 and Brother Brown, at Toledo, 33. One
hundred and twelve baptisms are reported in all and 610 members in
10 churches with 6 pastors. Growth has begun in this region as it
had not been seen before. The largest number of baptisms in one year
previous to 1868 was 31. Rev. A. Carpenter has begun work at Grundy
1870 ... Met in 1870 at Grinnell. Rev. H. Brown preached the
sermon, O.A. Holmes Moderator, Spencer Day clerk. Tama City Church
is received, L.L. Gage, pastor. Rev. Myron Root is
pastor at Eldora. Marshalltown has 238 members, and her church
property is valued at $18,000. Tama City already has a $7,000 house,
Grinnell a $6,500, and Toledo a $2,500. In 1871 Grundy Center was
the entertaining church. Rev. T. Brand preached the
introductory sermon. Officers unchanged. Steamboat Rock has been
organized with 14 members, M. Root pastor. W. L. Cook is
preaching at Eldora and A.V. Bloodgood at Irving. Rev. T.W.
Powell with enfeebled health has resigned at Davenport and takes up
lighter work at Tama City. Seventy baptisms are reported and
691 members. Union Church is received.
1872 ... Met in 1872 at Tama City. Rev. A. Carpenter preached and
presided. Spencer Day clerk. The Point Pleasant Church was received.
Brother Holmes has closed a very successful pastorate of five or six
years at Marshalltown and goes to Tama City. He is succeeded at
Marshalltown by Rev L.J. Fisher. The annual meeting in 1873 was at
West Irving. A. Carpenter Moderator, H.A. Brown clerk. The Brooklyn
Church was received from the English River Association. O.M.
Merrick pastor. There is a new organization called Oakwood Church,
C. Spragg, pastor. The name of the village and church of Orford is
changed to Montour. Rev. A. Orcott is preaching at Xenia. The
Association is now having a healthy growth; 70 baptisms are reported
against 17 last year.
1874 ... In 1874 the meeting was
at Steamboat Rock. Rev. D.N. Mason has succeeded Brother Fisher at
Marshalltown. The Union Church after reporting only a year or
two disappears. Many churches have very brief history.
Officers, O.A. Holmes Moderator, H.A. Brown clerk. Brother Brown
preached the introductory sermon. In 1875 Marshalltown again
entertained the Association. Rev. E.P. Barker preached the sermon,
W.L. Cook Moderator, H.A. Brown still clerk. Rev. J.C. Bywater is
preaching at Brooklyn and Rev. E. Wood at Irving. Grundy Center
dedicated a good and commodious meeting house in December, 1875.
This church has shown a healthy though not rapid growth. Brother
Carpenter has been its only pastor since its organization in 1868.
1876 ... In 1876 the Anniversary was at Grundy Center, Rev.
J.C. Hurd Moderator. E.P. Barker clerk. Rev. W.L. Cook
preached the sermon. Rev. A.H, Post is preaching at Brooklyn and
Gifford. The latter is a new organization with 27 members, 9 of whom
were received by baptism. Rev. J.C. Hurd has become pastor at
Marshalltown, succeeding Brother Mason who removes to Marion and
becomes pastor there and secretary of the State Convention.
Brother Hurd at Marshalltown reports 24 baptisms, Pastor Holmes at
Tama City 53, Carpenter at Grundy Center 11, and Cook at Pt.
Pleasant 10. Whole number of baptisms 130. The largest in the
history of the Association. Rev. J.C. Bywater of Brooklyn died
during the year. In 1877 the Association met at Tama City. Rev. J.C.
Hurd preached the annual sermon, O. A. Holmes Moderator, S. H.
Mitchell clerk. Rev. A. Carpenter has resigned his long and
successful pastorate at Grundy Center, and S.H. Mitchell has
succeeded him. Brother Brand has served nine years as pastor at
Grinnell, H. A. Brown eight at Toledo, and O. A. Holmes five at Tama
City. These with Brother Carpenter's eight years of service just
closed make an encouraging record for pastoral permanency.
1878 ... In 1878 Grinnell was the place of meeting. Sermon by S. H.
Mitchell. Officers the same as in 1877. The Marengo Church transfers
its connection from the English River Association to this body. Rev.
George E. Eldridge is pastor. This is really a restoration of the
Marengo Church which was dropped from the records of its Association
some years ago. Marengo is a hard field for a Baptist church, but
Brother Eldridge is doing a good work for the time being, and be
will have his reward. Rev. J. C. Hurd has resigned at Marshalltown
and become pastor of the 1st Church of Burlington. Marshalltown
reports 23 baptisms but no pastor. Rev. George Houghton is
preaching at Eldora and has led the church in a movement to secure a
church home. In 1879 the Association met at Eldora, in their new
church home. Brother Houghton, who was ordained here last April, has
resigned and Rev. T. F. Babcock is on the ground read}' to enter the
vacant place. Rev. O. A. Holmes preached the sermon and was
Moderator, and S. H. Mitchell still clerk. Rev. Thomas Brand has
resigned after eleven years constant service at Grinnell, and Rev.
H. C. Leland is pastor. Rev. H. A. Brown, in addition to his
pastoral work at Toledo, has for a number of years been county
superintendent of schools in Tama county. He has now resigned at
Toledo and they are without a pastor. Rev. T. W. Powell has become
pastor at Marshalltown, and has set about the arduous task of
freeing the church from a $4,000 debt.
In 1880 the
Association met at Marshalltown. The time of meeting has been
changed to the middle of the week. . Rev. I. W. Reed, who seems to
have been a visitor, preached the sermon. Hon. Delos Arnold was
Moderator. Clerk the same as for the three years previous.
Baptisms 125, members 927. This is the third time in the history of
the organization that the number of baptisms has exceeded 100.
Grinnell reports 69; but Bro. Leland, after this great ingathering,
has resigned and removed to Chicago. Rev. C. E. Taylor, late of
Illinois is his successor. Brother Powell, having accomplished the
work at Marshalltown for which his faith and tact so well fitted
him, the entire removal of their troublesome church debt, has
removed and become pastor of the Grand Avenue Church, Milwaukee.
Rev. J. C. Johnson is preaching at Toledo. Rev. A. Carpenter has
been preaching at Oakwood and Point Pleasant since 1878. The church
at Grundy Center, twelve years old, is receiving missionary aid for
the first time in its history; the occasion now being a debt of
'S500, caused by the failure to collect pledges made at the
dedication of its meeting house in December, 1875. The 'debt when
the pastor Mitchell first took charge of the church in 1877 was
The Anniversary in 1881 was at Toledo.
Rev. T. F. Babcock preached the sermon, S. H. Mitchell Moderator,
Spencer Day, after an interval of eight years, is again clerk. Rev.
A. C. Wilkins has settled as pastor at Marshalltown. The Gifford
Church, virtually extinct for a number of years, has been
reorganized, and recognized by a Council, but with limited prospect
of durability as a church. Brother Taylor has resigned at Grinnell
and gone to Bedford, Iowa. Rev. A. J. Delano labored a part of the
year at Marengo, but the field does not give promise of success. In
1882 Grundy Center again entertains the Association. Rev. J. L.
Coppoc is the preacher A. Carpenter Moderator, Spencer Day clerk.
Brother Coppoc is preaching at Toledo. S. H. Mitchell closes a
pastorate of five and-a-fourth years at Grundy Center and goes to
take charge of the church at Danville, Iowa. The Grundy Center
Church have been regularly paying the interest and $100 a year on
the principal of their debt.
1883 ... Tama City has the Association
in 1883. Rev. H. B. Foskett, who has become pastor at Marshalltown,
preached the sermon. Rev. T. Brand Moderator, S. Day clerk.
Rev. Thomas Anderson is ordained pastor at Grundy Center. Harry
Woodson is preaching at Eldora, Rev. C. H. DeWolf at Grinnell, and
Rev. D. T. Richards succeeds pastor Holmes after eleven years of
labor at Tama City. Brother Holmes goes to Nebraska. Few men in Iowa
could be more reluctantly spared. Rev. H. L. Steele is preaching at
Marengo. A church has been organized at Ferguson. In 1884 Grinnell
entertained the Association for the 5th time. H. B. Foskett
Moderator, Spencer Day clerk. In the 27 years' history of the body
up to 1884 Brother Day has been its clerk 12 years. Rev. C. H.
DeWolf, after a brief stay at Grinnell, becomes pastor of the First
Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids, and Rev. E. English has removed from
Vinton to Grinnell. Rev. A. F. Howell is preaching at Toledo in
connection with Belle Plain. Rev. H. H. Clouse of Van Home is
supplying Ferguson. Brother Harry Woodson was ordained at
Eldora in April.
1885 ... The Association in 1885 convened at
Marshalltown. Elder Brand again serving as Moderator, Thomas
Anderson clerk. Brother Anderson was the preacher of the 1885.
annual sermon. Baptisms reported 71, members 759. This Association
has changed but little in territory. It has never had a thousand
members, and for several years the number has been diminishing. But
it has an honorable record. In one respect it seems to have
excelled. That is in its long pastorates. 1886 exhibits increased
diminution. Only 11 baptisms and 673 members. Brother Anderson has
resigned at Grundy Center.