With all the hardships endured by the pioneers of O'Brien county, as a rule they did not forget the duty they owed to God and church life. Of course, it is not to be supposed that all the old pioneers were of any one Christian faith, hut large numbers of those first settlers were members of the various religious denominations, and upon coining to the wilds of this county they did not leave their religion behind them, but early sought out such churches as were found in their midst or assisted in organizing new ones. The Methodist Episcopal church was immediately on the ground, as in most new countries the first to organize, and were zealous in establishing churches in this faith in various parts of the county. The other churches effected organization as rapidly as a sufficient number of any one faith could get together. It was peculiarly appropriate to the pioneer idea that the first church building was built of prairie sod. The several churches in the county will be reviewed in their several localities.
312 O BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
in the spiritual relations of its every church and charge. This church has searched out the lowly among the by-ways and hedges, and made itself felt in the hearts of men, on the mission fields of Africa and Australia, in the palace of Fifth avenue, engaged the attention of those public men in all walks of life that move the nation, its best spiritual uplifts, and adapted itself even in the homestead shanties of northwest Iowa and kindred situations. John Wesley founded pioneer Methodism in pioneer America by coming to America himself. The circuit rider and minister on the smaller charges have adapted themselves with equal religious heroism with the city and metropolitan minister. It may be truly said of Methodism:
"It waited not for dome or
It moved the heart by living fire."
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 313
building of good size, quite in comparison with the homes of those
constructing it, and almost without cost, save for a few windows.
A Fourth of July celebration was held in this church in 1871 attended by nearly all the first settlers from seven to ten miles around, it being a basket picnic. Daniel Bysom is the only homesteader still residing in the township on his homestead, who aided in building this church. Oliver Evans, another old homesteader in this township, was present at this celebration. He had just been back to New York and got married and was there with his bride, wearing their wedding clothes. That evening they all repaired to Capt. Robert C. Tifft's homestead shanty and wound up the celebration with a jolly pioneer party. This sod church was built in a manner like the old fashioned "raising bee" in a timbered country, substituting the sod for the logs. It was, however, truly a church edifice. Lunch baskets were brought by these pioneers, but the cannon and firecracker were absent. It was indeed a "sane Fourth," now so much written about. The church and state and pioneer were all represented in real simplicity. Rev. C.W. Cliffton, of the Methodist Episcopal church, preached in this sod church during that year, the first sermons with simply the rafters on and the window sash without glass. At this celebration this was the situation, and many old settlers there on that day say it was literally true that Rev. Cliffton had nearly as many holes in his clothes and his shoes as there were in the windows and roof of that sod church. It is needless to say that the hearers did not attend with either top buggies, or automobiles, or in broadcloth.
314 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
first sermon, each Methodist. This church, covering the whole pioneer
period, will, of necessity, have somewhat the larger space in this chapter.
though other churches did a full part as time moved on.
In 1858 a mission was formed known as the Little Sioux mission, extending from Spirit Lake to Cherokee, with Rev. O.S. Wright as pastor and Rev. George Clifford as presiding elder. The appointments were Pilot Rock and Cherokee, in Cherokee county, Long Grove (being Peterson, where the Waterman family first attended), Okoboji and Spirit Lake and other places from time to time. During this year Rev. Wright received forty dollars from the missionary fund and twenty-seven dollars from the brethren on the circuit.
At that time, 1860, there was not even a school house on the entire charge, and services were necessarily held in private houses. Hannibal Waterman attended his services. In 1859-60-61-62 Cherokee and Peterson were left without a supply, but in 1863 were included in the Smithland mission. Rev. Seymour Snyder, during 1863-64 was the regular minister who preached in Old O'Brien. His work extended from up in Minnesota to Peterson. He stated that he preached in two states and seven counties. He carried his Bible, rifle and hymn book as companions and was ready to expound the gospel from each. In 1865 White school house, Beuna Vista,(sic) Old O'Brien, Cherokee and Pilot Rock were each supplied by Rev. R. S. Hawks.
In 1867 Rev. W. W. Mallory filled the Peterson circuit, which included Old O'Brien, with Rev. W. McCain as presiding elder and Hannibal Waterman as recording steward. William R. Pitt and Rouse B. Crego were licensed to preach at the third quarterly meeting of that year and Mr. Waterman at the fourth. In 1868 and 1869 Rev. Thomas Whitely had pastoral charge of the Peterson circuit, with Rev. J. W. Ladd as presiding elder.
In 1869-70. Rev. C. W. Cliffton was the pastor and lived with his family in a loft. A quarterly meeting was held at Old O'Brien October 2, 1869. He then held a protracted meeting. An old record says that there was a "general awakening, but few conversions." A parsonage was undertaken at Old O'Brien, but failed. During this year Rouse B. Crego was compelled to withdraw on account of drunkenness. It was in the record for this year, 1870, that Rev. Cliffton makes this entry: "I traveled three thousand miles and preached one hundred sermons." This year Old O'Brien was included in the Fort Dodge district. During the conference year of 1870-71 Old O'Brien was included in the Sioux City district, Des Moines conference, with Rev. Bennett Mitchell as presiding elder. During this year
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 315
Rev. Cliffton organized a church and class in each of four school houses,
namely: Ward's school house, nine members; Rowland's, six members;
Husted's six members, and Bascom's, fourteen.
It is difficult to gather from the records the exact times of each pastor, but during years of 1872-73-74 Rev. Cliffton and Rev. Lothian preached, and probably Lothian was the regular pastor, and still known as the Peterson circuit. At all events, Rev. Lothian makes this general entry in his church record, "that much good work was done in O'Brien. Quite a number of Methodist people settled near center of county and in 1873 the county seat was moved from O'Brien to a new town called Primghar in the geographical center of the county." This difference of dates of the moving of the county seat probably arises from the fact that the records did not all arrive at once, and this entry was rounded up as the result of a year's work.
During the conference year of 1874-75 Rev. J. E. Cohenour was pastor and took in fifteen members in Center township. A parsonage was begun and paid for except a mortgage for one hundred and forty dollars. The parson recites this truism in the record: "It was a good thing to have the parsonage, but a bad thing to have a debt."
Rev. Charles W. Wiley was sent on for the conference year 1875-76 and forty dollars was paid on the parsonage debt and title to the church lots secured. William Clark Green and James Roberts, who laid out Primghar. donated lots for church purposes. For the conference year 1876-77 Rev. James S. Zeigler filled the charge. He found the people in the midst of the grasshopper scourge and much cast down, twelve being received on probation and as many dismissed, being compelled to leave on account of the grasshoppers.
Rev. C. W. Cliffton was appointed by the conference for the year 1877- 78. In 1878 the Milwaukee railroad was built, and the then new town of Sanborn was united with Primghar in one charge with Rev. W. H. Drake as pastor. The first preaching place at Sanborn was at the residence of Hiram Algyer, who had just removed to Sanborn from Primghar. The next spring the waiting room of the depot at Sanborn was tendered and occupied as a place for church service. The first members at Sanborn were Ira Brashears, a supernumerary, Jacob Wolf and wife, Patience Daniels, Mary Neece and Nancy Bunkheart. In early summer of 1879 the service was changed to the then new school house, which later on was William Harker's residence. Rev. W. H. Drake, who had acquired quite a reputation as a church builder, that year erected two church buildings, one at Sanborn and
316 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
one at Primghar. Besides being a preacher, he was a good mechanic, and himself made a full hand at all classes of work, carrying mortar, carpenter and doing all-around work and preached on Sunday. He was followed by Rev. Beebe for the conference year 1880-81. This brings the Methodist church up from Old O'Brien to Primghar, through the several school houses with its connection with Sanborn in 1878 and then separation. The further church history of each town will be found under its own head.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 317
Rev. Hugh Hay followed for the years 1883-85. Rev. Mr. Searles, a
young student, supplied from the conference in 1885 until April, 1886, when
he resigned on account of ill health. Rev. A. King filled out that year and
was reappointed for the year 1886-87. It was during his pastorate that the
second church building was erected at cost of one thousand four hundred
building was sold in 1900 to the Catholic church, which they
removed to the south
part of town and has been since occupied by them.
After the above date from dates of conferences usually held in October and until 1903, the following pastors served the church: Rev. J. W. Lent, 1887-89; Rev. A. A. Marcy, 1889-91; Rev. R. K. Calloway, 1891-94; Rev. H. L. Shoemaker, 1894-95; Rev. E. G. Keith, 1895-97; Rev. C. M. Phoenix, 1897-1903.
The present church was built under the pastorate of Rev. Phoenix. Rev. Dr. Ives, of New York, dedicated it September 10, 1900, at a cost of the building of seven thousand four hundred and thirty-seven dollars.
The following pastors then served: Rev. W. O. Tompkins. 1903-07; Rev. F. F. Case, 1907-10; Rev. Charles S. Burnett, 1910-12; Rev. Thomas Andrew, 1912, and is the present pastor.
Its list of presiding elders (now district superintendents) have been Rev. George Clifford, Rev. W. McCain, Rev. J. W. Ladd, Rev. Bennett Mitchell, Rev. Glass, Rev. Chaplain Jesse Cole, Rev. J.B. Trimble, Rev. Hugh Hay, Rev. T.L. Gilleas and Rev. A.D. McBurney.
Its Sunday school superintendents have been Daniel Bysom, J.H. Wolf, Joseph Metcalf. William Archer, A.F. Hatch, Walter Bonath and Herman Bonath.
Its church officiary for 1914 is as follows: Bishop, Frank M. Bristol; district superintendent, Rev. A. D. McBurney; pastor, Rev. Thomas Andrew; Sunday school superintendent, Herman Bonath; organist, Ruth Little; chorister, Ralph Langley; treasurer, J.L.E. Peck; secretary, J. H. Wolf.
318 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
placed on this today is eighteen thousand dollars. The first parsonage was
on the lot south of the
Evangelical church. In 1888 the present building was
erected at a cost of three thousand dollars. In November, 1913, the membership of this church was one hundred and eighty-five. The pastors who
have served this church are as follows: Revs. E.E. Drake, 1880; S.A.R.
Groom, 1880-82; E.L. Stephens, 1882-84: A.A. Shessler, 1884-86; R.J.
Davenport, 1886-87: J.M. Lothian, 1887-88: W.W. Brown, 1889; C.B.
Winters. 1889-91; Levi Jarvis, 1891-93; W.W. McGuire, 1893-94; F.W.
Ginn, 1894-98; D. A. McBurney, 1898-1901; O. S. Bryan, 1901-03; L, H.
Woodworth, 1903-04; William Whitfield, 1904-05; W. M. Ayers, 1905-06;
Ira Aldrich, 1906-07; C.E. Boyden, 1907-08; J. F. Hunter, 1908-09; G.R.
Gilbert, 1909-13; H. C. Nessen came in the fall of 1913 and is still pastor.
Of all the early officials of this church, there were only two living in 1913, and one of these was J. S. Webster.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 319
Campbell, Bassett, Wasser and the present pastor. Rev. J. J. Bushnell, D. D.
The present value of the church property is thirty thousand dollars Total membership is three hundred sixty-six; Epworth enrollment, one hundred: average in Sunday school, two hundred fifty.
The presiding" elders and district superintendents have been: Revs. Bennett Mitchell, L.S. Hartsough, James Williams. John H. Lozier, Gleason, Jesse Cole, Trimble, Hastings. Yetter Hay, Gilleas and the present incumbent, Rev. D. A. McBurney.
320 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
records of the church has been
lost, and the following is supplied from
memory by W. W. Delmage, one of the organizers of the church.)
The Methodist Episcopal church of Paullina was organized at a meeting of members of the church who had come from various organizations of the Methodist Episcopal church at the home of Mrs. Mary S. Marvin, in October, 1883, about ten members being present, and the Rev. J. Fancher. pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at Primghar, officiating, and among the first membership were the following named people: Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Delmage, Mr. and Mrs. B.C. Howard, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Bazely, Mr. and Mrs. I.L. Rerick and Mrs. Mary S. Marvin.
Most of that little group have gone over to the Beyond, but the solemn impressions gained that day from the renewed vows of the little band always remained to life's latest day with those who are gone, and with those remaining with us yet.
The church was for a time under the pastorate of Rev. J. Fancher, after which Rev. R. Day filled the pulpit, and he was succeeded by Rev. Levi Jarvis, then came Rev. W. N. Dunham, followed by Rev. Fred Ginn, and he by Rev. Thomas Carson, then by Rev. L. S. Troutman, Rev. G.P. Hathaway, Rev. J. McCaffrey, Rev. George Kidder, Rev. J. Skaggs, Rev. L.H. McKay, Rev. J. R. Magee, Rev. R. L. Stuart, Rev. E. M. Glasgow, Rev. G. Smith and by the present pastor, Rev. B. F. Thomas.
In the year 1889 the present church edifice was erected and, being improved from time to time, is now a commodious house of worship, that would be a credit to any community.
The first board of trustees of the church was made up of the following named members: W. W. Delmage, B.C. Howard, Benjamin Bazely, I.L. Rerick and Mrs. Mary S. Marvin. The value of the church property, including parsonage is twelve thousand dollars. The membership of the church at this writing is one hundred and twenty-five. The present board of stewards are as follows: W. W. Delmage, J. R. Gulp, H. G. Gulp, George W. Smith, George Raw, R. W. Young, W. J. Ullman, John Ginger, M. L. Peterson and Mrs. R. W. Young, and the present board of trustees are H. G. Gulp, George Raw, W.J. Ullman, Jacob Ginger, R.W. Young, George W. Smith, J.R. Culp and George W. Harris.
The ladies of the Methodist Episcopal church, by and through their organization known as the Helping Hand Society, has been a great aid to the church and a great factor for good in the community, always looking after the comfort of the sick and helping the destitute, lending sympathy to the
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 321
discouraged and, in ways that women only know, rendering assistance where
it is most needed.
At Sanborn the Methodist church has a membership of ninety-five; its church property valuation is eleven thousand five hundred dollars; number of Sunday school scholars, one hundred and thirty.
At Sutherland the church has a membership of one hundred and fifty six; value of church property, thirteen thousand five hundred dollars; number attendance in Sunday school, one hundred and seventy-six.
There are several points in this county where churches exist of this denomination not given above, as facts have not been furnished.
An early-day Methodist Episcopal church was built and organized in Waterman township. It is known as the Highland-Waterman Methodist Episcopal church and was incorporated November 9, 1889. It was incorporated by J. Cole, president; A.E. Randall, secretary, and William Gilbert, J. H. Bruner, M.S. Draper, David Patrick and Aaron Bradstreet, trustees.
The name of this church illustrates the early pioneer conditions. The two townships, though only cornering to each other and nearly twenty miles to or from extreme corners, were then all one neighborhood. In those days a five-mile neighbor was a very near neighbor. Thus were the early settlers welded together by church, family and neighborly ties. Though the day of the old circuit rider is past, these country churches rally in memory much that is sacred.
322 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
The Highland Methodist Episcopal church, built on the southwest corner of section 28, Waterman township, was built in the year 1893. Rev. Charles Artman preached here some in 1886. In the autumn of 1886 Rev. J.M. Woolery came and preached and organized a church called the Broad Street appointment on the Peterson charge. Meetings were held in the school house until the church was built. The church was dedicated in the autumn of 1893 by Rev. A.S. Cochran, Rev. G.W. Barnes being pastor in charge. They were transferred to the Sutherland charge in the year 1889, then to the Calumet charge, in the year 1909.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 323
for, said she, "There is a church here now." "Well, where is the church?"
it," she replied. "Well, would it not be better to disband and form
anew?" "I'll never
disband," she said, and so she stood up and took a
dozen members into the old church, and preserved its "historic continuity,"
and the earlier date is
recognized in our minutes. This was one of the five
churches which united to form the Sioux association, one of the largest in
today, only one other having as many churches within its bounds.
Two words, sacrifice and helpfulness, characterized this church from the
beginning. Sacrifice in service and helpfulness where opportunity afforded.
organic identity of this church was lost to the world through
service to others, the principal beneficiary being the Congregational church
of Primghar, a child of this mother church, for the making of which the
Grant church furnished a
splendid quota of men and women, several of
whom are still active in Christian service and constitute a substantial
the membership of the latter named body. Lost in name, it still lives in influence and
spirit, and Congregationalists all over the county honor the name
and bless the
memory of the Grant Congregational church.
Other Congregational churches were organized at Sheldon, Primghar and Gaza, each in the order recorded. And thus, from this modest beginning, we have the Congregationalism of today as it obtains in O'Brien county. A brief historical sketch of each organization and its work follows this article.
324 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
as others of the state, was a child of the nursing mother, the Iowa Congregational Home Missionary Society. One thousand four hundred and ninety five dollars of home
missionary aid was received during the first seven years
history. The investment, however, proved a wise and remunerative
one, for at the end of that
seven-year period, in the year 1895, month of
December, the good people of this church said, "It is enough. No longer
will we ask aid from the Home
Missionary Society." Then and there the
church became self
supporting and has remained such to the present date.
More than this. The church has not
only been self supporting, but also a
helper of others in times of need, very much more than that having been contributed for benevolent work in various
parts of the earth.
The first church building was erected in the fall of 1899, formal dedication being held on July 27, 1890. Five years later the building was enlarged, two thousand four hundred dollars being expended in addition to the original investment. The continued smile and favor of God rested upon this people, and growing interest increased numbers until the building again became inadequate, and in the year 1910 approximately six thousand dollars was expended on a church building, and the present beautiful, adequate, well equipped church was provided. In the spring of 1894 a parsonage was erected, representing an investment of approximately one thousand dollars, which enterprise was due largely to the active efforts of Rev. J.C. Stoddard, the pastor of the church at that time. Thus the original property investment of two hundred and seventy-five dollars for lots now occupied by church buildings has increased to sixteen thousand seven hundred dollars, present property valuation.
"And what shall we say more?" Space forbids even brief mention of many worthy names and splendid achievements. Only summaries can be made. The fifteen souls constituting the charter members have increased to one hundred and forty-four, the present membership of the church. Approximately four hundred have been admitted to the membership during the years, about two hundred and fifty on confession of their faith.
But these bare financial and statistical statements are no indication of the work done during the years of this society's existence. The church has been a power for good in every direction. Its financial affairs have added to the business life of the community. Far more important is the influence it has cast around the children and young people and the citizens in general. Interested in all good things, this church has stood for the best. As a moral, an educational, an inspirational center, this church has been a power. We
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 325
face the future with confidence, believing that we have only begun to realize
what God intends to do with us, and through us, if we are faithful to Him
More appropriate words for closing this sketch could scarcely be found than Paul's addressed to the Christians at Philippi:
"Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ, Jesus."
326 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
being united. If any one feels a serious objection, the matter is postponed
until all feel free it should
pass, or at least, no objection be made.
Trustees are about the only officials who are appointed for an unlimited time. The first ones were Archibald Crosbie, Ole P. Tjossem and Hubert Rockwell. Others have been appointed as became necessary on account of death or removal. The present trustees are Oman K. Tow, Archibald Henderson and Lewis L. Rockwell.
The appointment of overseers is considered each year, to have general oversight of the good order and unity among the members. Committees are appointed for other purposes as needed.
A meeting for ministers and elders is held once in three months and consists of well concerned Friends appointed by the monthly meeting.
In the winter of 1887-8 a school was started and held in the meeting house, with a length of term of three and one-half months, afterwards lengthened to four months. In 1899 a school house was built at a cost of about five hundred dollars; size of building, twenty by twenty-eight feet. About this time a spring term of two months was added to the length of the school year, and later a fall term was added, which made it eight months.
In 1909 the school house was moved a short distance, and twelve feet added to its length. This, with a basement and furnace, cost about seven hundred dollars. The number of students having increased, two teachers were engaged. In 1912 the school house was again enlarged to double its size, which made it forty feet square, with primary and advanced rooms, class room and hall, costing one thousand five hundred dollars. Three teachers were then employed. The number of pupils at the present time is about forty, and the maximum, in 1912-3, was fifty-three.
The course of instruction is made according to the state manual, up to the end of the eighth grade, except music, which is not taught. There is also two years of high school work. No special religious instruction is required, except that a portion of Scripture is read in the morning, and the pupils are required to commit to memory a few verses of Scriptures once a week and to attend the meeting on the fourth days, our object being to have a special care over the children, in order to eliminate, as much as possible, evil habits and cultivate good ones.
A committee is appointed each year to have an oversight and care in the management of the school, hire teachers, etc. This and other like schools in the yearly meeting, are under the supervision of a superintendent, who is employed by the yearly meeting.
0'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 327
There is a library in connection with and for the use of the school. Also a library in the meeting house, owned by the monthly meeting, containing religious books, which will be loaned free to any one who wishes to read them, and a collection of Friends' tracts for free distribution.
328 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
the mission board, to call a pastor of their own. And thus, on September
11, 1904, the Rev. August F. Bernthal was installed as the first resident
pastor in Paullina. Under his faithful service the congregation
continued in substantial growth, and after mature deliberation decided to
build and own a house of
On October 28, 1906, the present church edifice was dedicated to the service of the Lord. In 1908 Rev. Bernthal accepted a call to the congregation at Edwardsville, Illinois. After a vacancy of about nine months, during which time the congregation was in charge of Rev. Oscar H. Horn, the present pastor. Rev. A. H. Semmon, then pastor of the Lutheran congregation at Alton, Illinois, accepted the call and was installed into the office of pastor on May 9, 1909.
In the fall of 1909 the congregation purchased the excellent property just south of the church for a parsonage. The congregation at the present time has fifty voting members and three hundred souls. The value of church property is now twelve thousand dollars.
At Hartley the German Evangelical Lutheran church was formed in 1899 by Rev. C. Bondigkeit, of Peterson, Iowa. In the spring of 1900 the society bought the old Methodist Episcopal church and moved the same to a lot in the northeast part of town. In May, that year, the congregation appointed Rev. Karl Dexheimer as pastor, and by the year's end some forty or fifty families counted themselves as members of this congregation. The following vear they erected a fine frame parsonage and purchased a handsome organ. Changes were made in the church building in 1903, when it was completely overhauled. Following Rev. Dexheimer came Rev. William Vehe, who after two years and nine months, was succeeded by Rev. Schiemichen, and he, in August, 1907, was followed by Rev. J. Fischer, who is still doing a great work among his people.
St. Paul's Evangelical congregation, at Hartley, was organized September 26, 1909. Prior to this time Rev. Albrecht, of Sanborn, cared for the people of this religious faith who resided near Hartley. August 29, 1909, Rev. Schrien was installed pastor by Rev. Albrecht. The young society struggled on and soon saw the need of a house of worship, and finally, on July 24, 1910, the corner stone was laid to start the superstructure of a new church, which was dedicated in December, that year. This is a small, but well-planned building, having good basement, light and ventilation.
Evangelical Lutheran St. John's church, which now enjoys a membership of about ninety, at the quiet little hamlet of Germantown, in Caledonia
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 329
township, was organized in 1883, by the faithful few who banded together and built a church on ten acres of land donated by Henry Richter, for church and cemetery purposes. Here they erected a building costing about seven thousand dollars. The first church was erected, however, on section 14, and with it a parsonage. It was in 1888 that the present good church building was erected on section 15, while the cemetery is located on section 14. The three acres upon which the church stands was bought by the church members. The church building is thirty-six by seventy-two feet, one story in height, having twenty-two foot posts. A year after the church was built the congregation was provided with a good sounding organ. The first minister in this congregation was Rev. E. Zeurrer, who served for eleven years, from 1879 to 1892. Then came Rev. J. Horn, who died after a forceful sermon, only about a half hour elapsing after he left the pulpit till he was cold in death. Heart failure was the attributed cause of his death. Next came his son, Rev. Oscar Horn, who remained a long number of years, and was succeeded by Rev. Henry Grefe, who served a year and ten months, When he met a horrible and accidental death by the burning of an overturned automobile in which he was riding with others from near Meriden, where he had been instructing a choir of his denomination. The auto ran off the side of a twelve foot bridge, and while he and a boy were pinned beneath the machine, at eleven o'clock at night, he begged the bystanders to extricate the youth before trying to help him out. In trying to do this a lantern was caught in a nearby tree and thrown over and into the upturned automobile. The gasoline escaping from the machine was by the lantern ignited, causing a great explosion, in which the faithful minister was burned to death. He left a family of six children, his wife having died a few months prior to this terrible accident, September 6, 1912. The driver was so badly injured that he died the next day. His name was August Pauling, aged thirty-eight years, and he left a wife and four children. Following Rev. Grefe came Rev. F.W. Potratz, of Willow City. North Dakota; he came November 17, 1912, and is still serving.
330 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
building is forty-eight by ninety-six feet, one story high. The
seating capacity is one hundred and fifty pupils. At first stoves were had
for heating both school and church, but now it has furnace heat. This
school teaches the common and higher branches. The first instructor here
was Prof. Wilde Clement Kampe; then came Prof. H. G. Nuoffer, who left
1911 and was succeeded by Prof. W. A. Leiner (lower class) and Rev.
R. B. Knuth (higher class).
At Germantown there is a fine brass band of nineteen pieces, organized in 1889 by Professor Kampe. All this church and school life in the township shows that the Germans of this county—especially in the little "kingdom of Caledonia" set a good example for others to follow, in many particulars.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 331
fine, the pastor finding a fine field for his labors and a liberal response from
The church now has forty voting members and about one hundred fifty members in good standing. In the twenty-five years of its existence one hundred and thirty-eight persons have been baptized and sixty-four have been confirmed. The church has property valued at not less than five thousand dollars, and is managed by a board of trustees, consisting of F. Stangeland, Goodman Goodmanson and K. Fjeld, and the following named members are the deacons of the church at the present time: E. Fkor, Thor Naig and Peter Naig.
332 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Jacob Widman, Mrs. Widman, Anna Widman, William Widman, W. Filk,
W. Filk, Sr., Rose Filk.
The present membership of this society is twenty-eight, although in 1901 it had reached ninety-eight. The present building was erected in 1890, at a cost of two thousand three hundred dollars. The first parsonage, still standing, cost one thousand five hundred dollars. The church property is now valued at four thousand five hundred dollars. The various pastors have been: Revs. M. Trumbauer, G. Borghardt, John J. DeWahl, William Grobe, G. Youngblood, J. W. Wienands, L. Reep, Henry Raecker, E.C. Graenner, John D. Schaibie, Peter Schott, Charles S. Lang, William F. Mather, these having served from 1889 to 1914.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 333
334 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
continued until the
place of meeting was changed to the building in which
was held Paullina's first school.
The first church building of the Presbyterian church was completed in September, 1883, and was dedicated by Rev. Gramby, of Sioux City, without pulpit or pew, or furnishings of any description; the people ranged themselves as best they could on benches and a motley collection of chairs borrowed for the occasion, and, in spite of all drawbacks, it was with grateful, happy hearts, those present listened to the beautiful words with which the little edifice was set apart to its sacred use as a house of worship.
In 1886 Mr. Caldwell was regularly called and installed as pastor. In 1889 Mr. Caldwell resigned and as a brother minister said of him: "For all time, this church will remain a monument of Mr. Caldwell's work among you." Rev. Allen, of Sioux City, filled the pulpit with great acceptance until Rev. J.A. McAlmon was called and installed in October, 1889, and during his pastorate the parsonage was built. In the summer of 1891, Rev. McAlmon resigned, and Rev. Andrew Herron was called to succeed him and was installed September 1, 1891. In 1893 the first church building was sold to the Norwegian Lutheran church of Paullina, and the present church building was erected and dedicated in 1895, remodeled and made very convenient for Sunday school purposes, etc., in the year 1913. The value of the property of the Presbyterian church of Paullina at this time is not less than fifteen thousand dollars. Rev. Andrew Herron was succeeded by Dr. O.S. Thompson, who resigned in 1910 and was succeeded by the Rev. W.S. Harries, the present pastor. The temporal affairs of the church are governed by the following board of trustees: Charles Ihle, William F. Scott, W.J. McCauley, F.V.D. Bogert and Nelson Loucks. The spiritual concerns of the church are conducted by the following board of elders: Alexander Scott, John Cowan, Sr., J.S. McComb, John V. Adkins and Louis Wollenberg and the church has at present a membership of one hundred ninety-six.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 335
The First Presbyterian church at Hartley was partly organized February 1, 1889, when friends of this denomination made efforts to establish the church here. The Rev. Andrew Herron, of Sanborn, had the matter in charge, he having been requested to address the people of Hartley on this subject. The services were held in the Methodist Episcopal church building, February 8, 1889. at three P.M. hence this was really the first service of the denomination in the town of Hartley. Rev. Herron preached each other Sunday until April, that year, when a petition was sent to the presbytery at Fort Dodge, asking to effect an organization at Hartley. At the meeting of the presbytery at Grand Junction, April 23d, that year, the petition was found to be in good form and a committee appointed to organize the Hartley church. This committee consisted of Rev. T.S. Bailey, of Cedar Rapids, Rev. Andrew Herron and Elders T.S. Talmage and T. Crossan of the Sanborn Presbyterian church. Services were then held in Gross Hall, May 19, 1889, at three o'clock in the afternoon, at which time the First Presbyterian church of Hartley was really organized. The charter members were George Clyde, Mrs. Mary Clyde, James Wilson, Mrs. Agnes Wilson, J. W. Wardrup, Mrs. E. A. Wardrup, H.H. Brown, I.C. Gregg, Mrs. Rebekah Silverthorn; the first elders were James Wilson, John W. Wardrup; first set of trustees, J.M. Wilson, J.W. Wardrup, George Clyde, W.J. Lorshbough, Allen Crossan. The present membership of the Hartley church is thirty-nine. The present pastor is Rev. Frank Schweder.
336 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
parsonage, at No. 953 East Seventh street in 1911, at a cost of
fifteen thousand dollars. The
present membership is one hundred families;
members in full communion, one hundred and fifty; Sunday school attendance, one hundred and sixty. The consistory members in the autumn of
1913 were: Elders, A. Haze, H. Nienwendorp, D. Creulen, E. DenHerder;
deacons, L. Rozeboom, H. Mastbergen. B. Wilkins, J. Den Hartog.
At Archer this denomination is represented by a society formed about 1900 and in 1910 a church edifice was erected. The membership is now thirty families, with a membership of twenty-four in full communion. The pastors here have been: James Vander Heide, Rev. Yanhunelen, who came in July, 1911, and is doing an excellent work among the German and Holland people of the community.
This denomination also is represented at Sheldon, where Rev. Vander Naald is pastor.
At Sanborn is what is styled the Christian Reformed church, who also have a society at Sheldon.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 337
22, 1900, by John Isley, Christopher B. Olhaussen, John H. Bordewick,
Fred Gierke and Jacob Warner, trustees.
The Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's congregation at Sheldon was incorporated July 6, 1904, by William Schmidt, Peter Kruse and O. Heitritter, trustees.
The First Reformed church of Archer was incorporated June 29, 1910, by Gerrit Maouw, H. Vollink, John Hoffmeier and J. Zorgdrager.
The Christian Reform church of Sheldon was incorporated February 29, 1912, by Jan Snip, Dick Van Dassear and Henry Bait as elders and R. Hoekstra, D. La Fleur, George de Vries and A. Shellhaas, deacons.
The Evangelical Lutheran St. Emanuel's congregation was organized in Center township in 1881 and built a fine, commodious church and school building, by Henry D. Year, Michael Steuck and many others. They have maintained a German school much of the time in connection with this church.
The German Evangelical Saint John's church of Primghar was organized and incorporated in 1903 by Dick Horstman, Johan Wittrock, William Klink and Simon Brandt as trustees; Simon Brandt, treasurer; and C.F. Greve, secretary. They erected a very neat commodious church building.
The Episcopal church had at one time a large following in Sheldon and erected a church building, in which to worship, but for some years have not supported a rector and now have no regular services.
338 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 339
were others whose names we failed to learn. This then
may he said to be the
nucleus in the formation of St. Patrick's
parish, of Sheldon, Iowa.
Father Lennihan attended the Catholics of Sheldon during the years 1873 to 1876. He was one of our pioneer priests—a man of refined tastes, a fine orator, and a man who endeared himself to all classes. He was familiarly known to his people by the name of Father Bart. Monseignenr Lennihan's second visit to the Catholics in and around Sheldon was in the fall of 1874. This time services were conducted in what was then known as the Husted hall. This hall was located where Mr. Hollander's drug store now stands. Father Lennihan, on other visits to Sheldon, said mass in the home of Joseph Shinski Father Lennihan had in those days, as assistant, Rt. Rev. Father Garland, now of Independence, Iowa. He said mass in Mr. Shinski's home also. Mr. and Mrs. Shinski still live in Sheldon and are hale and hearty. They are highly respected by the citizens of Sheldon. Mr. Shinski has been a painstaking and successful business man. He and his devoted wife now take life easy, enjoying the fruits from long years of industry and success. Afterwards Father Lennihan and his assistant, Very Rev. J.J. Smith, pastor of the Catholic church, Emmettsburg. Iowa, at various times, attended the Catholics of Sheldon during the years 1887 and 1888. Father Smith was a man of great perseverance and wonderful endurance. He was a lover of fine horses and kept the finest horses in Palo Alto county. He took a prominent part in assisting to build up the church in those early days. He was pastor of the Emmettsburg church for over thirty years. He died a few years ago. Dominick O'Donnell, Peter Guenthier, Tom Downs, Pat Murray and brother, James Parden, John Dougherty and family, James Griffin and Patrick Kelly were also among the number of the early settlers who formed a part of the first congregation of the Sheldon parish. Hon. Timothy Donohue came to O'Brien county from the state of Michigan in 1878. Patrick Sullivan and family came to O'Brien county from the state of Minnesota in 1878, and James Beacom and family came from Jones county, Iowa, to O'Brien county in 1878. These families may also be said to form a part of the first congregation of Sheldon parish.
Each succeeding year brought in additional newcomers, who settled down on the prairie, and from the rapid increase the necessity of forming a parish forced itself upon the Catholics of Sheldon, and Rev. Patrick Lynch was officially appointed the first resident pastor of Sheldon parish by Rt. Rev. John Hennessy, then bishop of the state of Iowa. The appointment
340 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
was made in the fall of 1879. Father Lynch held services on his coming to Sheldon, in the city hall, which was then located where the former home of Dr. W. H. Myers now stands. The hall was afterwards moved and located on the property now occupied by what is known as the McKeever block. After a short time the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad Company deeded a quarter block of land for church purposes. The deed was made out to Joseph Shinski, Dominick O'Donnell and Peter Guenthier, as trustees for the newly organized parish, and in the spring of 1880 they commenced the erection of the first Catholic church in Sheldon. The dimensions of the church was thirty-seven feet in width, and sixty feet in length. The erection of this building was accomplished at an outlay of two thousand five hundred dollars, which, with necessary furnishings, brought the total expenditure for this purpose up to three thousand five hundred dollars. Rev. John A. O'Reilly, now of Rock Valley, succeeded Father Lynch, April 1, 1881, and remained as pastor until October 1, 1884, when Rev. Timothy Sullivan, now of Cedar Rapids, was appointed pastor of the Sheldon parish. Father Sullivan held the position of pastor of the Sheldon parish until November 13, 1889, when he was succeeded by Rev. James McCormack, who was appointed in 1890. He was succeeded by Very Rev. P. F. Farrelly, who acted as pastor until November 4, 1902. At that time Father Farrelly was succeeded by Very Rev. T. Tracy, who continued as pastor until December 1, 1905, when Rev. J.P. Barron was appointed pastor of Sheldon parish. Father Barron was succeeded by Father McCormack, the present pastor of the Sheldon congregation, he being appointed thereto in May, 1910, and for the second time sent back to fill such position. In the spring of 1911 Father McCormack, assisted by his faithful people, commenced the erection of their new church. The church was completed in 1912, and stands today, and for all time, a lasting monument to the priest and devoted Catholics of Sheldon. The total cost of the church was forty thousand dollars.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 341
subscription list to build a church in Sanborn. The committee in charge was Mart Shea, M. Collins, Cornelius McCann and Dennis Crowley. In 1882 the framework of the church was completed. In 1884 Father Sullivan succeeded Father O'Reilly at Sheldon. Father Sullivan paid off the debt on the church at Sanborn and improved the property. In 1889 Father McCormack had charge of Sheldon and outside missions and attended Sanborn. In November, 1893. the Sanborn parish secured its first resident pastor, Father Corbett. He was a delicate man and remained there only a short time. Father McNamara was appointed to Sanborn parish in December, 1895. The next pastor appointed to Sanborn was Rev. J.P. Martin. He erected the first parochial residence in that parish. Father McCormack succeeded Father Martin at Sanborn, August 18, 1898. He paid off some of the debt on the place and improved the church at a cost of three thousand three hundred eighty-two dollars and ninety-six cents. The present pastor at Sanborn is Rev. L. Cooper, a whole-souled and genial character, beloved by his people. Thomas Burns, deceased, was the first Catholic family to settle in Franklin township. He settled there June 8, 1874. Mrs. Farrell and family, Mrs. McKeever, T. Ryan and family, Charles Hart, Hugh Fahey and John Kelly were among the first parishoners.
342 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Sutherland was first attended from Sheldon
by Father Sullivan, during
years 1885 to 1888. The little church was not built in Sutherland until
the summer of 1888. The church was erected at a cost of one thousand
five hundred dollars, and the lot on which it stands was purchased for three
fifty dollars. It was during Father Sullivan's administration
that this church was erected. It was destroyed by a cyclone, June 24, 1891.
Father McCormack came in
1890. He said mass two or three times in the
church before it was
destroyed. He said mass also in Mr. O'Brien's home,
and in the
opera house. After Father McCormack, Rev. P.A.R. Tierney
Spencer to attend Sutherland. Then Father McCauly and Father
Logue, respectively, took charge. In 1903, Father Joseph Murtagh took
charge of the Sutherland parish. He bought the first parochial residence
by the parish, from Mr. Woodbury, for two thousand dollars. He
did excellent work in this field, and was succeeded by Father Bradley in
March. 1905, who, in turn, was succeeded by Father LeCair in February,
1907. Father LeCair remained at Sutherland until May 4, 1913, when the
present pastor, Father Schemmel, was appointed to the mission of Sutherland and outside stations. Since his appointment he has made improvements
on the church
by putting a large basement hall under the same, and putting
in a furnace
capable of heating the entire building. These were needed improvements, and Father Schemmel and his good people are to be congratulated on what
they have accomplished.
Among the settlers who belong to the Sutherland parish we mention Michael Sweeney and Dennis O'Brien. Mr. Sweeney came to O'Brien county in 1873. The only Catholic family at Sutherland at the time Mr. Sweeney came was that of Thomas Merrick. John and Michael O'Donnell, Frank and Martin Klema, William and Frank Mathern, Joseph Lynch, George New, the Kopp Brothers (John Kopp and August Kopp), and Mr. Betz came later on.
Rev. Timothy Sullivan, who was pastor at Sheldon from 1884 to 1889, was the first priest to hold services in Paullina in 1885 or 1886. At that time there were but few Catholics in Paullina. After Father Sullivan's day, Rev. Father Murtagh, who was pastor at Sutherland in 1903, attended the church at Paullina and said mass in the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Braig. It is said that the congregation consisted of nine members. After Father Murtagh came Father Bradley. He was succeeded by Father LeCair, and he was followed by the present pastor of Sutherland, Father Schnel, who finds the little congregation growing at Paullina so much so that the congre-
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 343
gation is looking for larger quarters to hold service in. It is to be hoped in
the near future the faithful and persevering Catholics of Paullina will build
a church to the honor and
glory of God and their own spiritual and temporal
Let us now close our historical narrative by saying that nowhere under the blue sky of heaven today has the Catholic church a grander field than right here in O'Brien county. We are living here today in the midst of the broadest and fairest minded men to be found anywhere in the country. If the Catholics of O'Brien county do not push forward the interests of their church to the best of their ability, in these days of golden opportunities, let them attribute no blame to any of their neighbors, but, on the contrary, blame themselves. Work now while the sun of God's glory shines bright to illumine your pathway through life, so that at the setting thereof we may be recompensed for work well done. Differ as we may in matters of faith, we stand united upon the common ground of charity and benevolence. In the words of Cardinal Gibbons,
"We cannot, like our Divine Master, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and strength to the paralyzed limb, but we can work miracles of grace and mercy by relieving the distress of our suffering brethren." "Religion," says the Apostle, "pure and undefied before God is this: to visit the fatherless and the widow in their tribulation, and to keep one's self unspotted from the world." Or shall we exclaim with the pagan Cicero of old and say: "Homines ad Deos nunquam proprius accedunt quam salutem hominibus dando."—there is no way by which men can approach nearer to the gods than by contributing to the welfare of their fellow creatures.
|Baptist (Regular)||1||100||$ 6,500|
|German Baptist Brethren.||1||35||1.300|
344 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 345
John McCandless, F.E. Frisbee and W.E. Clagg, of Sheldon; D.M. Norton,
J.S. Webster and J.C. Joslin, of Hartley; O.H. Montzheimer
and W.S. Armstrong, of Primghar; C P. Jordan and Charles Youde, of
Sutherland, and George Raw, George W. Smith and C. C. Cannon, of Paullina. It was also voted to employ two secretaries and raise a budget of three
thousand rive hundred dollars to carry on this work.
At the first meeting of the county committee, which was on the evening of the convention, O.H. Montzheimer was elected chairman; C.C. Cannon, vice-chairman; George Raw, clerk, and C.P. Jordan, treasurer.
A large part of the budget was raised within the following month and on November 11, 1913, the county committee met and chose Donald G. Cathcart, who had helped organize the county, as the county secretary and Chester C. Welch as assistant county secretary. The regular county work was started immediately following this meeting and at the present time (April 1, 1914) seventeen groups are in active operation. These groups average about fifteen members each and meet once a week for Bible study, work and play. Besides this an Ames gospel team was at Sutherland for a week during the holidays and eight boys were converted; thirteen boys attended the Inter-County Older Boys' Conference and four were converted, a three-day Ames short course was held at Sutherland and reached one hundred and twenty-five farmers, and one at Primghar that reached two hundred and twenty-five farmers; five lectures concerning hog cholera were heard by over one thousand hog raisers and other cooperative events were held or supplemented in the different communities.
The ultimate aim of the county committee is to have a group within easy walking distance of every boy in the county and have programs for these groups that appeal to the class of boys that compose the group. Also to co-operate with all movements for the best interest of the people of O'Brien county as a whole and each community in particular, and, by cooperating with the Iowa State College of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture, make O'Brien county the best county of the best state in the Union, and this can be done bv making better boys.
"Give the boys a chance."—Abraham Lincoln.