Plymouth Presbyterian Church

Plymouth Presbyterian Church Buildings:

First Church Building
The first church building was constructed in 1880 with mostly volunteer labor for $517 and dedicated in November 1880.

1926 Church Membership Certificate

Membership of Mrs. Merton Gabel (nee Bohlken), 28 Nov 1926

~Certificate submitted by family descendant, Glenna Rice


Second Church Building
The second church building was constructed for a total cost of $14,000 and dedicated July 20, 1930.

Read the newspaper article: LeMars Sentinel July 15 & 21, 1930.

Photos from the 1930s......click the link to view

Photos of the Stone Cross......click the link to view

LeMars Sentinel, Tues. July 16, 1946, Crathorne Men Farm for the Church

Photos from 1956.......click the link to view

Photos from early 1960s.........click the link to view

Third Church Building
The third church building was constructed for a total cost of $99,000 and dedicated June 23, 1968.

Plymouth Presbyterian Dedication Program, June 23, 1968

(click on the above link to read the program information provided)

Ministers Who Have Served First Plymouth Presbyterian

Full names of some of the early ministers are not available.

Dates are included on an Availability Basis.

1876 -- Charles W. L. Ross
1878 -- D. W. James Wood
W. Alex Wood
Reginald Moreton
A. Z. McGogney
E. B. Gramcko
J. P. Linn
A. A. Moore
H. C. Hoover
C. A. Butler
H. V. Comm
R. J. Frolkey
1924 -- A. F. Proett, first resident pastor
1928 -- Walter E. Smith
1939 -- Theodore Seibert
1948 -- Robert Rushing
1954 -- 1971 Charles R. Kruse
1971 -- James Offrink
1976 -- 1979 Earl Underwood Jr.
1980 -- 1981 Robert Hazen
1983 -- 1993 Hattie O. Duncan
1994 -- present - Randall B. Knuth

Supply pastors who served when the church had no pastor:

Dr. Ed Miller
Rev. Cornelius Wilkins
Rev. Ed Tratabus
Dr. Henry Eggink
Rev. James Ransom
Rev. Willard Galloway
Dr. Howard Marty
Rev. Robert Blair

News Items Through the Years--Plymouth Presbyterian Church (click the link to read about this church family)

Sixty-Fifth Anniversary Of County's Oldest Church Corporation Celebrated

(click on the above link to view the articles written about this 65th Anniversary)

AUGUST 1972--Celebrating 100th Anniversary (click on the link to view the article)

AUGUST 1997--Celebrating 125th Anniversary (click on the link for additional info)

History of First Plymouth Presbyterian Church

By Shirley June Rowe Timmins

I would like for you to go back with me 125 years ago in time —the countryside here was prairie land with a tree here and there.  Roads were narrow and dirt—mud when it rained.  Immigrants were coming from Europe—the English, Scottish, Irish, Germans, and Swedes to homestead land.  Times were hard.

These folks felt the need to turn to God and gather together—“to enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise, be thankful unto him and bless his name”—Ps. 104:4.  The Germans banded together to begin the Lutheran churches around while persons with name like McKinnon, McInnis, McKenzie, Morrison, Taylor, Erickson, Robertson and Brodie began to meet in school houses and homes for SS [Sunday School] and worship.  It was on Aug. 11, 1872 “in a small vacant house about 7 miles NW of LeMars” when 15 persons gathered and passed a resolution asking that a Presbyterian church be organized, pledging their loyalty and support to such a church and making application to the Presbytery of Ft. Dodge to be taken under its care.  The Rev. Geo. Carroll was the presiding minister.

They continued meeting in various school houses and homes and in 1879 under the leadership of Rev. D. W. James plans were made to erect a house of worship.  At this time 40 acres of land in the NE corner of Sec. 1 of Johnson Twp Ply. Co. or one miles north of Crathorne was obtained from the RR. Co.

Some material was hauled by ox team from Elk Point and stone from the Missouri River, labor was donated and much of the work was done by lantern light after the days work on the farm was finished.  The little wooden structure, built on the corner, was dedicated on Nov. 1980, free of debt for $517.56.  The first trustees were Angus McInnis, and David Jon.  The first elder was Thomas Bowles.

Even then the people of Plymouth didn't forget about missions—On Nov. 8, 1896 the morning collection amounted to $1.23 all was given for Bible Cause.  On Feb. 14, 1897 the total collection of $4 was given to Buena Vista College, Storm Lake.  In Feb. 1889 the total collection of $2.66 was given to B.V.

Times were hard and for a time the church did not function as such.  SC [Sioux City] Presbytery appointed a special committee to visit the field to come and disband the church.  However, there were some people, such as Anna Gabel, who had very different ideas and they led the fight for the life of Plymouth church.  Aid was received from the Presbyterian Bd [Board] of Home Missions, ministers from LeMars and surrounding areas, and students from Western Union College helped out and the church took on new life.

The ruling body of the Presb[terian] church is called the Session and is made up of elders from the congregation.  The meetings of the session deal with the recording of observance of the Lord's Supper, record of new members and spiritual concerns and all other church business.  These meetings always begin and end with prayer.

The first record of Session minutes that can be found were written in July 1905.  Rev. J P Linn was the minister and two of the elders present were Andrew Anderson and Hans Erickson.  At this meeting Mrs. Alexander Morrison presented her letter of dismissal from the Presby[terian] Church of Canada.  It was found all in order and her name was added to our church roll.

There are no recorded minutes form April 1909 - 1924.  However in 1914 the funeral of Colin Brodie and Arthur Erickson was held at Plymouth.  These two young men, brothers-in-law, drowned in the Mink Creek near Brunsville.  From the LeMars paper it was stated that between 1800 and 2,000 friends and relatives attended.  Two funeral corteges met at the intersection known as Crathorne Corner and proceeded together to the church.  The church was filled by family and close friends.  The rest found seats on the church lawn.  It was estimated that nearly  400 vehicles formed the procession to the graveyard where burial took place.  The cemetery lots of the two families, by a strange coincidence adjoin, and the two caskets were placed on the carriers and lowered simultaneously, while the minister prayed.  The Erickson family had lived on their place for 40 years and the Brodies for 34, so the two lads, while quite separated in age, grew up together, and by a sad ruling of fate, died at the same time, so it was fitting that they were buried in this way.

In 1921 or thereabouts the people decided if they were to succeed they must have a resident minister.  Without benefit of pastoral leadership, they went to work to build a parsonage which was done at a cost of $4,500 and was all paid for as soon as the building was completed. Rev. A F Proett and his family were its first occupants.

The next recorded Session minutes were Dec. 1924.  It was recorded that 29 new members were taken in—12 had letters of dismissal from other churches and 17 by confession of faith.  Some of these included Mr. and Mrs. George Gabel, James Gabel and his mother Mrs. J. A. Gabel.  The next session members were Victor Taylor, Neil Robertson, and George Gabel.

In April 1925 Rev. Proett resigned.  Oscar Baldwin was a newly elected elder and trustees were A J Thomas, and Harlen Rowe.

Rev. Albright was voted to be called in Nov. 1925.

In August, 1926 Session minutes recorded the transfer of membership of Ann Burgard, from first Church, LeMars, and Ethel Rowe, Verna Fagan, and Vera Atkinson from Adaville.

Vera is the oldest member of our congregation and has been a member of Plymouth the longest in number of years.  She is still very active in SS [Sunday School], PW [Presbyterian Women], serves on the present session and is faithful in attending worship services and all functions of the church.

As late as 1926 the Session still did not have very regular meetings.  Because of the large number of people wanting to join the church, the Session often met just prior to worship services to approve of persons wanting to become members {we should have that problem today}.  Many persons seeking membership were baptized and entered on confession of faith and many joined by transfer from other churches.

Rev. Albright left in Jan. 1928 and Rev. W. E. Smith was called in Nov. 1928 at a salary of $1500 plus use of the manse.

During Rev. Smith's tenure it was felt a new church bldg was needed.  In December 1929 a bldg committee was appointed which consisted of R J Stephens, Harlen Rowe, George Gabel, and Alex McInnis.  M E Atkinson, Victor Taylor and A J Thomas were on the finance committee.

The brick church was built on the same corner as the original wooden church at an approximate cost of $14,000 with cash and pledges to cover the cost.

Dr. Rippey spoke at the dedication services.  His message was entitled "The Completed Church."  He pointed out the fact that the meeting house was now completed but the church was yet to be built.  The bldg is not as important as the people.

Plymouth church's roll continued to grow.  Approximately 33 members were added in the next 10 years, as well as 59 persons being baptized.

In 1934 newly elected elder Harvey Taylor was ordained and was elected Clerk of Session.  He served in this capacity for 38 years.

Rev. Smith was here approx. 10 years and Rev. Theo Siebert came in April 1939. James Gabel was a newly elected elder that year.

During Rev. Siebert's time with us 51 persons were baptized.  In addition to his ministry Rev. Siebert can be remembered for his help in the fields and could pitch bundles with the best of them.

Rev. Rushing was pastor form 1948 to 1952.  During his stay there were 25 baptisms.  Rev. Charles Kruse was next in line and was our pastor for 17 years.  He loved to preach and during his stay 60 persons were baptized.

In 1965 the congregation felt a more modern building was needed.  A building committee was appointed consisting of Lyle Stephens, Fred Lucken, Dean Rowe, Milton Atkinson, Colin Collman, and Harvey Taylor.  The finance committee consisted of James Gabel, Ralph Taylor, Henry Lucken, William Timmins, Abe Miller, and Elroy DeBoer.  The church Treasurer was Darwin Brink.  On June 23, 1968 this present building was dedicated.

You can find the list of ministers in the church history that was handed to you and much of the more recent history you can remember.

Anna Taylor was the first woman elder ordained in out church in 1974.  To date 14 women elders [have been ordained].

I would like to report about the marriages held at Plymouth.  There were a total of 66 marriages.  Lambert Jeffers and Myrna Douglas were the last couple to be married in the 1880 church.  Fred and Hope Lucken were the first to be married in the 1930 church.  In later 1940's was the time when formal weddings became popular.  The last wedding held in the 1930 church was Paul Tone and Mary Jo Barger.  The first wedding held in our present building was Dan Prauner and Roxie Kruse in Dec. 1972 and the latest one held here was Susan Lucken and Bill Jordan, Aug. 1989.

There have been 272 person baptized.  First recorded were Lois and Harvey Locer in 1915.  Many before them but no dates.  The latest person baptized was Rose Marie Pelelo-Ray in 1997.

Minister's children: Proett—large family, Albright—?, W. E. smith—Bessi Eyers and Lola Haskins a granddaughter; Rev. Siebert—June and Ruth who were in late teens, Rev. Rushing—Douglas, just a young boy, Rev. Kruse—Linda, Roxie and Julie; Ref. Offrink—Laura who was born here, the only child Born of resident pastor.  She is now studying for the ministry; Rev. Underwood—Ray who was 3 or 4 when they came and he is now studying for the ministry; Rev. Hazen—Mxxse & Robbie; Hattie—none; Rev. Knuth —Christopher, Elizabeth, Thomas and Amelia Suzanne is the last baby born to a Plymouth minister.

I have left out so much history, time just [will] not let me say more and so many names I would like to mention.

There are so many happenings that I have not touched on—chicken suppers, SS picnics, Halloween parties, youth groups, Sunrise services, Brotherhood picnics, choir practice, farming the church ground, Bible study groups, Renewal weekend, confirmation and youth presiding at the Easter Service, Bible School, just to name a few that I hope will bring others back that you can recount.

Many of the youth who have been confirmed here at Ply. have gone on to become productive members of other churches and are dedicated Christians in their service to others.

We as present members, continue to strive to witness in the world to the saving grace of our resurrected Lord through preaching, teaching and serving those near and far.

Unpublished (LeMars, Plymouth County, Iowa) of 07/05/1997.
AUGUST 2002 -- Celebrating 130 Year Anniversary (click on the link to view the article)

~Contributed Photos & Information courtesy Bruce Atkinson



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