Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa
The Western Iowa Association Organized at Adel
Comprising the Entire North-West
Quarter of the State --- And at
one Time Dakota --1859 to 1886.
AGREEABLE to a request of the churches at Adel, Dallas county, and
Panora, Guthrie county, a council convened at Adel on the 23d day of
September, 1859, for the purpose of organizing the Western Iowa
Baptist Association. Elder A.W. Russell was chosen Moderator and
Cole Noel of Adel clerk. The churches represented at this meeting
were Adel, Wintersett, Panora, Sac City, Jefferson and Buffalo
Grove. The membership was 154 in the six churches. These, with a
single exception so far as known, comprised all the Baptist churches
then existing west of Des Moines, and north of a line running
through Winterset, 25 miles south of that city. The first seed sown
by Baptists in all this great region was probably at Denison,
Crawford county, the exception referred to above. Rev. J. W. Denison
"came to Crawford county in the autumn of 1855, and during that and
the next year selected a quantity of land for the 'Providence
Western Land Company,' and in September, 1856, began the settlement
of the town of Denison" which took its name from him. In 1857 there
was here an unassociated church with 16 members. The ministers
present at this first meeting of the Association were A. W. Russell,
Winterset, J. Ellege of Madison county, L. Yarnell of Adel, Charles
Oldfield Sac City, and Barton Robinson of Buffalo Grove or Rippey.
The first anniversary was held August 31, 1860, at Panora.
A. W. Russell preached the introductory sermon and was elected
Moderator, and J.W. Denison clerk. The Denison, Guthrie Center,
Rippey and Montpelier churches were received. The Rippey Church
probably took the place of Buffalo Grove which had disbanded. Rev.
J. W. Denison, R. D. Tisdale and T. C. Townsend are additional
ministers. Among visitors were the Rev. John Warren of the Eden
Association, step-father of Dr. G. J. Johnson, Rev. Wm. Sparks, who
may be called the father of the Upper Des Moines Association, and
Rev. N". J. Rundquist, Colporteur of the American Baptist
Publication Society. This brother was a Swede, and if we are not
mistaken, one of the early converts in Sweden under the Baptist
movement fostered by the Society in that country. The second
anniversary was held in 1861 at Jefferson. Brother Barton Robinson
preached the sermon. Officers the same as the previous year.
Belonging to the Jefferson Church, and taking an active part in
these early days, was Brother Dan. Mills, father of the founders of
the great printing house of Mills & Co. of Des Moines. The Sioux
City Church was received in 1861.
The meeting in 1862 was at
Denison. Barton Robinson preacher again, R. D. Tisdale Moderator, E.
S. Plimpton clerk. Winterset had completed a neat and comfortable
house of worship and was out of debt. The next meeting was held in
Winterset in 1863. Rev. J.W. Denison had been appointed to
preach, but not arriving in time, the writer of these sketches being
present was invited to preach. Text, " Let him that heareth say
come." Rev. W. A. Eggleston was pastor at Winterset and was elected
Moderator, E. J. Ayers clerk. The Clanton Church, Madison county,
was received. This was the home of Elder Ellege, active in the early
days of this body. In 1864 Adel was the place of meeting, J. Ellege
preacher and Moderator, George Scott clerk. Brother Scott has just
entered this field from a considerable term of similar service in
northeastern Iowa. He appears at this time to have been living at
Lake City, Calhoun county, and preaching there and at Denison, to
which place he removed shortly after. Pastor Eggleston of Winterset
was reported dangerously sick, and prayers were offered in his
behalf. Elder Wm. E. Reed, also of northeastern Iowa, is preaching
at Guthrie Center and Panora. The Association is now five years old
and has 12 churches and 253 members.
the anniversary in 1865. Brother Denison preached the sermon, George
Scott Moderator, J. E. Rockwood clerk. Brother Rockwood has become
pastor at Sioux City, and they are building. For the next five years
the Association met respectively at Denison, Lake Creek, Sioux City,
Denison again, and Jefferson. Moderators were Brothers Eggleston,
Russell, Scott, W. M. Simons, and Scott again. Brother Rockwood was
clerk during this period, and the preachers of annual sermons were
Rockwood, Ed Tuffin, Simons twice, and Scott. In 1866 " A letter
from brethren calling themselves the Maple Valley Church " was
received and the Church welcomed with 9 members. This afterward
became the Mapleton Church. Sioux City dedicated its house of
worship and Jefferson has begun to build. In 1867 Kendrick Church in
Green county was added, also Yankton, Dacotah, with 6 members, and,
soon after, a church at Vermillion, Dacotah. The Western Iowa
Association at this time comprised all the Baptist churches in all
northwestern Iowa and Dacotah. In 1868 there was an encouraging
revival. 110 baptisms were reported, of which Denison reported 11,
Guthrie Center 16, Jefferson 21, Maple Valley 11, and Winterset 50.
Winterset now dissolves her connection with this body and unites
with the Central Iowa. Rev. Wm. M. Simons is pastor at Jefferson,
and James Patrick at Maple Valley. The Logan Church was
received, George Scott pastor in connection with Denison. In 1869
Modale and Soldier Valley Churches were added. C. G. Smith appears
as pastor at Guthrie Center and Rippey. Hon. A. Abernathy was in
attendance as a worker in the Association. Maple Valley reported 45
baptisms, Panora 28, and there were in all 105.
The year of
1870 witnessed the addition of the Panther Creek, Grant City,
Woodbine and Castana churches. Amos Robinson was pastor at
Jefferson, and E. G.O. Groat was welcomed back from Nebraska.
Bro. Rockwood removed about 1869 to Logan. In 1871 Rev. James
Sunderland has taken up the work at Sioux City. Cherokee and
Union Ridge are added to the list of churches. Robert Dunlap has
become pastor at Denison. The Wolf Creek, Dunlap, and Pioneer Church
in Clay county unite with the Association in 1872. Mention was made
at this time of a number of unassociated churches in the north-west
part of the State, indicating activity in occupying that new field.
A good revival interest has been enjoyed in places. The new Wolf
Creek Church reports 29 baptisms. Rev. A. W. Hilton has become
pastor at Cherokee, haihng from north-eastern Iowa. In 1873 six new
churches were made welcome in the body. These were Storm Lake, New
Testament Church, Newell, Spirit Lake, Sioux Rapids, and South
Plymouth. Elder J. E. Sanders is preaching at Sioux Rapids,
Norman Parks at Storm Lake, B. F. Goldsby at Logan, A.
M. Duboc at Denison, Jacob Hockett at New Testament, J. W. Jones at
Pioneer, and A. J. Delano at Jefferson. In 1874 at the anniversary
at Dunlap, a letter was received from Elder Sunderland stating that
the Sioux Valley Association had been constituted in August of that
year with 11 churches and 349 members, of whom 88 had been baptized
during the year. This left the Western Association with but 8
churches two pastors and 259 members. This is its fifteenth
anniversary. The two pastors were A. M. Duboc and B. P. Goldsby.
For the five years, 1871 to 1875, the successive anniversaries
were at Logan, Mapleton, Cherokee, Dunlap, and Soldier Valley. The
Moderators were George Scott, R. Dunlap, J. Sunderland, B. F.
Goldsby, and John Patrick. The clerks were Rockwood, Sunderland,
Sanders, Duboc, and Sanders again. The annual sermons were preached
by Sunderland, Dunlap, Groat, Goldsby and Sanders. These names for
the respective periods serve to show who were the active burden
bearers. In 1S76 the New Union Church united. While the records
show, as reported above, only two pastors left after the
organization of the Sioux Valley Association, yet the Patricks,
James and John, were undoubtedly preaching in their vicinity and in
1876 the latter is said to have closed a pastorate of eight years at
Soldier Valley. There were some glorious revivals in 1877. Denison
reported 35 baptized, J. B. Hawk pastor; Logan 19, and Maple Valley
14.. J. E. Sanders was preaching at Maple Valley, Rev. J. E.
Rockwood closed about this time an active service of thirteen years
in this Association and removed to Nebraska. The Carroll Church was
received in 1878. Magnolia and Missouri Valley applied for
admission, but, having neglected to call Councils for recognition,
were advised to wait until the neglect was remedied. Rev. J. M. Bay
appears as pastor at Modale. In 1879 the Magnolia and the
Sheridan Township Church, Carroll county, were received. Rev. Ira E.
Kenney was a delegate from Dunlap. Hon. Alonzo Abernathy was elected
Moderator in expectation of his arrival, but not appearing in time
Brother Sanders was substituted. At the session at Dunlap in 1879
their meeting house was dedicated, Rev. J. A. Nash, D.D., of Des
Moines preaching the sermon. The Ida Grove and West Side Churches
were added in 1880. Rev. J. W. Daniels was pastor at Ida Grove, and
Demas Robinson at the Sheridan Church. For the five years, 1876 to
1880, the anniversaries were at Denison, Logan, Soldier Valley,
Dunlap and Carroll. Moderators, George Scott three years in
succession, J. E. Sanders and Ira E. Kenney, D. D. The introductory
sermons were by J. E. Rockwood, John Patrick, J. B. Hawk, J. E.
Sanders, and Ira E. Kenney. From 1881 to 1885 the meetings were at
Denison, Ida Grove, Dow City, Logan and Mapleton. Moderators,
Ira E. Kenney, Amos Robinson, Thomas Reese, S. H. Mitchell, and W.
H. H. Avery. Clerks, J. E. Sanders, W. H. Dorward, F. M.
Archer, and H. S. Fisher the last two years. The introductory
sermons were by F. W. Foster, A. Robinson, Thomas Reese, Wm. E.
Randall, and Brother Avery.
Brother Amos Robinson succeeded
pastor Hawk at Denison in 1881. W.H. Dorward was pastor the
same year at Mapleton, J. E. Sandersat Carroll, C. A. McManis at Ida
Grove, F. W. Foster at Dow City and E.G.O. Groat at Logan. Ida Grove
completed, led by Brother Daniels, a beautiful house of worship. The
meeting at Ida Grove in 1862 was pronounced on adjournment "the best
Associational gathering in our history.'' The frequent change of
pastors is the subject of anxious regret. Not a pastor had been with
his church three years. The Denison Church reported the decease of
the honored Rev. J. W. Denison. A. J. Delano was preaching at
Dunlap. During 1883 four churches completed houses of worship, viz.
Missouri Valley, Woodbine, Dow City, and Mapleton. Dr. I. E. Kenney
has been a liberal fosterer of these church building enterprises
along the Boyer Valley. He preached dedicator}^ sermons for three of
these churches within the year, and had contributed liberally
towards their erection. Rev. T. S. Bovell was preaching at Carroll,
F. M. Archer at Ida Grove, and J. C. Carter at Logan in 1883. In
1884 Rev. Wm. E. Randall is found at Missouri Valley, J. F. Heilner
at Ida Grove, W. H. H. Avery at Denison and S. H. Mitchell Just
settling at Mapleton. Not a pastor in the Association had been two
years on his field.
The year 1885 exhibits some religions
improvement. There were 71 baptisms reported. The largest number in
any one year since 1869. Rev. W, N. McKendrick has been preaching at
Grant City. Brother McKendrick was pastor at Mapleton a year or two
at an earlier date which was not noticed in its proper place in this
sketch. Rev. Wm. E. Randall removed late in 1884 from Missouri
Valley to Dow City where he is being greatly blessed. Elder Reese is
preaching at Dunlap. Of the baptisms reported in 1885, 36 were at
Denison and 28 at Dow City. The Grant City Church, for several years
connected with the Upper Des Moines Association, has returned to
this body, and the Riverside Church in Sac county was received. The
meeting in 1886 was at Woodbine. Elder Thomas Reese of Dunlap
preached the annual sermon. H. S. Fisher Moderator, S. H. Mitchell
clerk. It has been a year of increased spiritual blessing.
Ninety-seven baptisms were reported; Dow City 28, Mapleton 21,
Woodbine 12, Schaller 10, Ida Grove 9, Carroll 7, and Denison one.
Mapleton has considerably more than doubled its effective
membership. The meeting of the Association in 1886 was to have been
at Denison, but during the previous winter their house of worship
was entirely destroyed by fire, together with the pastor's library
and many valuable papers. They are doing what they can to repair the
damage, and ere another year will have a new and better home
completed. At the annual meeting at Woodbine, Brother W. F. Gray of
the new church at Schaller, organized during the year, and C. M.
Wilcox of Grant City were, by request of their churches, publicly
ordained as their pastors. Brother J. S. Norvell has been supplying
for six months at Carroll with marked acceptance and success. It was
gratefully mentioned as a source of encouragement that "most of our
churches have pastors, and that permanency in the pastoral office is
coming to be the rule and not a rare occurrence," but alas I alas,
before the year expires, Carroll, Dow City, Ida Grove, Mapleton, and
Woodbine are all actually or prospectively vacant, or have changed
back to History Index