The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Sioux County Iowa

Part III Section 2 Page 11

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     James Parden opened the first stock of furniture, being succeeded by J. L. Finch, and he by S. C. Haines. John Maher opened a second stock in the store now occupied by Geria & Roelofs, later purchasing the Haines furniture, selling out to Peter McKellar, and he to M. S. Huie. The Warren hotel and opera house block were erected by Mulhall Bros. In 1892, the former Dunham hotel building being moved to its present location on Kimball avenue, half a block form Mitchell street. A Brass band was organized in the early eighties, but as the members are scattered no definite information can be obtained regarding it.
     As previously stated, Matt Blau opened the first saloon. Soon after Dan Maloney opened a second in a small building about where Woodward Bros. Are now located. He was succeeded in about a year by a man named Fagg.
     About 1884 John Mandercheid came from Sheldon and erected a two story building used for a saloon below and a residence above. Ed Rhodes, soon after the town was started, opened the first meat market. The years from 1884 to 1890 were boom years not only for Rock Township and Rock Valley, but also for the whole of northwestern Sioux County. Township 96, extending across the entire county east and west, mostly owned by non-residents, was rapidly settled, the writer having on one occasion south of Rock Valley, counted no less than twelve teams breaking prairie all in sight at one time. Now as the writer closes this brief and of necessity imperfect sketch let him request that the mantle of charity cover its defects, sins of omission and its unavoidable errors.

"Don't view him with a critic's eye,
  But pass his imperfections by."



     It was in the autumn of the year 1881 that the Rev. John A. O'Reilly, then pastor at Sheldon, and now pastor at Rock Valley, came to Rock Valley and celebrated the adorable sacrifice of the mass. The public school building, small in those days, though large enough to suit the purpose, because of the few pupils to attend school, was used for divine service on that occasion and for some time after.
     Rock Valley had a population then of about twenty-five or thirty, and among the number in town and country were twelve Catholic families, whose hearts were gladdened when they had an opportunity to be present at the adorable sacrifice. After Rev. Father O'Reilly had attended to the spiritual wants of the Catholic families a few times, they concluded that it would be well to build a church; and, accordingly, with scanty means but willing hearts and brawny muscles, they commenced the work, and in a very short time had a building 32 x 40 erected and furnished with the necessaries requisite for divine service. If I well remember, two lots were secured from Mr. A. J. Warren, owner of the town site, one of which was donated by that enterprising and courteous gentleman.

The lots selected were on the wild prairie and the writer then thought and said that a sidewalk would never be laid so far away. Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis. Times change and we change with them. Now, not only do walks surround the location but are laid nearly half a mile farther.
     When the Catholics had their own church building they rejoiced exceedingly, and though the building stood on the wild prairie, a solitary monument to their ambition and energy, they seemed to feel as happy as if the building was within a stone's throw from their doors. And I may add happy days, inasmuch as the few families united and helped each other, so that they seemed to appear not as separate families, but as one large family. The same church building, erected by those early pioneers, still stands, and with additions added, continues to be used for divine services. The public school building, so much used in those day and for various purposes, has since been converted; into a private residence, and is now owned and occupied by Mr. Sebastian Dischler, one of the early Catholic settlers.
Of the early Catholic pioneers some have gone to their rewards; others are still living in Rock Valley, engaged in various occupations and enjoying the blessings and comforts that they reaped for themselves by their energy and thrift through the long years of persevering toil.
     The early Catholic pioneers still living in this locality are Messrs. Henry and Louis Henningfield, P. A. Cummings, Henry Schemmer, J. B. Foppe, John Murphy, Bernard Sandschulte, each one of whom could interest and entertain newcomers for hours, even days, as describers of the early history of Rock Valley and surroundings.
     The number of Catholic families now exceeds one hundred, about sixty of which live in Rock Valley, the others in the country. They are the owners of an entire block on which stand fine church, school and pastoral buildings; all of which, as well as the block, are free from debts.
     Rock Valley today has a population of about eleven or twelve hundred, and judging from present indications, there is every reason to believe that before many years pass, the town will be large enough to bear the proud distinction of a city. 



     The visible existence of this church began on that day in the spring of 1883 when Rev. W. J. Graham arrived and took charge of the work. Previous to this time services had been held, from time to time, by Rev. J. W. Johnston, Rev. D. C. Wilson and others.
     There was no formal organization until August 11, 1883. On that day, by direction of the presbytery of College Springs, of which this section of Iowa was then a part, the congregation was regularly organized. Rev. D. C. Wilson presided. The following officers were elected: Elders, Robert McLean and Levi P. Gilbert; Trustees, Matthew Eernissee, D. C. Galbraith and C. M. McBride, M. D.; Treasurer, William M. Shipman.

     On the same day, August 11, 1883, a call was extended to Rev. W. J. Graham to become the pastor of the newly organized congregation. He accepted the call and thus the little congregation, fully organized, was started on its career, which has made it a power for good in the community down to the present time.
     On Nov. 1, 1887, the presbytery of northwestern Iowa was organized, with Rock Valley as one of the congregations under its jurisdiction. It is still subject to the same presbytery.
The congregation has had seven pastors. Their names follow, with the years during which they had charge: Rev. W. J. Graham, 1883-1884; Rev. C. L. McCracken, 18861893; Rev. S. R. McLaughlin, 1894-1898; Rev. 'VV. H. Anderson, 1899-1901; Rev. J. E. Heeter, 1902-1903; Rev. H. C. White, Ph. D., 1903-1905. Rev. R. E. Lackey took charge in November, 1905, and is still the pastor.
     Mr. Robert McLean is the only one of the officers elected on the day of the organization who is now in the congregation. Of the twenty-five charter members, only four remain. They are Robert McLean, Mrs. Robert McLean, Mrs. Susan A. Shipman and James Chisholm.
     The present session consists of the following elders: Robert McLean, W. J. Skewis, Peter McKellar, C. J. Fink, W. J. McLean and J. C. Stuckslager. The following have been elders in the congregation at different times in the past: Levi P. Gilbert, J. H. Blatherwick, George A. Rugg, J. M. Shaw, Joel Gardner and A. McArthur. The present Board of Trustees consists of W. C. Leonard, N. P. McLean and J. C. Stuckslager. Treasurer, C. J. Fink.
     Three hundred and thirty-six members have been received into the congregation since its organization. Of these, only ninety-two remain on the roll today.
     During the first four years of its existence, the congregation had no church building. With commendable courtesy, the Methodist people allowed the United Presbyterians to worship in their church at such times as the building was not needed for their own services. But on July 14, 1887, the present building was dedicated. In it regular services have since been held. The pastor preaches at two services each Sabbath. The Sabbath school meets at the close of the morning service; the Junior Christian Union, under the leadership of Mrs. Gertrude Veldboom, at 4 p. m.; the Senior Christian Union, Lewis Dean, president, at 7:15 p. m., just before the evening service. There is also a flourishing Ladies' Missionary Society, Mrs. R. E. Lackey, president, which meets monthly. The congregation gave for purely mission work last year, an average of $5.08 per member, and for all purposes, an average of $25.43 per member.



     As denomination "the Reformed Church in America" desires to be and is the exponent of Truth in the spirit of the Fathers; and by tenaciously clinging to its "Forms of Unity"-the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the five articles against the Arminians--from the time of its existence, i. e., for about 300 years, it has proved itself in its orthodox belief a bulwark against the immoral influences of religious liberalism of our century.
     As a branch of the old tree, "The Netherlands' Reformed Church," her spires are emblems of the old faith, linked with a full consciousness of her responsibility in keeping pace with the progress of civilization and holding before the world an open Bible, and pointing the world to a Triune God.
     Sioux County may call itself favored of the Lord in that it can pride itself in such a goodly number of local churches of this denomination, spread over its surface like so many testimonies of its solidity and love of religion.
     And, although it is one of the least of them, even Rock Valley, however small the Holland contingent of its population may be, has its Reformed Church.
     The church was organized in November, 1890, by the Classis of Iowa, through its representatives, the Revs. James De Pree, A. Van den Berg and Elder T. Wayenberg with 16 votes; while 6 joined by letter and 12 were accepted on confession of faith. Two elders and two deacons were elected, constituting the first consistory.
     Soon a church edifice was erected and the building dedicated to the service of God. Meanwhile a pastor was called, the Rev. John Huizenga, from Holland, Nebraska. The call was accepted and the brother installed in March, 1892. The following year a suitable residence was procured by purchase from Mrs. E. J. Beyer.
     Gradually the church grew. A Sabbath school was organized, a Woman's Missionary Society and Young People's Societies. In November, 1902, a pipe organ was installed.
     But days of trial approached, when, in November, 1904, its pastor accepted the call of the Board of Domestic Missions to labor in the Lord's vineyard as Classical Missionary of the Classis of Iowa. After many vain attempts to procure another pastor, the Lord at last remembered this little flock and sent them the Rev. John Engelsman from Randolph, Wisconsin. He took charge of this church in August, 1905. In the spring of 1906 an exchange of residences was effected with Mr. A. Schemmer, so that henceforth church building and parsonage were joined. A debt to the Board of Domestic Missions to the amount of $800.00 was paid and the new parsonage, free of encumbrance, was occupied by its present pastor.
     A steady growth characterizes this church. About 90 families worship with her at present. The total number of communicants is 131, and of baptized non-communicants is 318. She certainly has many reasons to thank the Lord for the prosperity granted her.



     The Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley was organized in the year 1891. The church then numbered but seven families. Their small beginning, however, did not prevent their gradual growth. In the year 1897 they purchased the church building of the Norwegian Lutheran Church. In the same year they were gladdened by the coming of the first pastor, the Rev. A. Van der Velde Van der Boh, who labored faithfully among them until 1904.
     In the year of 1901 the church building was enlarged because of the growth of the church. After the departure of Rev. Van der Velde Van der Boh, they secured the Rev. H. J. Heynen, who at present labors among them.
     The church is in a flourishing condition. The membership is steadily increasing, numbering at present about seventy families, together more than four hundred souls.
With the blessing of God, of which the church feels assured, the erection of a more suitable house of worship may be expected in a not far distant future.



     The part of Sioux County now known as Floyd Township was taken from territory at one time included in Holland Township. It is described as Congressional Township 95 North, Range 43 West, being six miles square it contains about 23,040 acres. It was detached and organized through an act of the board of supervisors in 1873.
     Its boundaries are Lynn Township on the North, O'Brien County on the east, East Orange Township on the south, and Holland Township on the west. The Floyd River meanders through the township from northeast to southwest, this stream with its numerous branches provides the township with an ample supply of water for stock and other purposes, and also gives a thorough and natural drainage system, which pre-eminently fits the soil for the bountiful crops so frequently harvested in this part of Sioux County. The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and...


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