MAURICE , IOWA
By George Van Peursem
If must be delightful for the oldest to commemorate the 25 years of existence of our settlement: the dark clouds that have passed over us and the deliverance from many needs. To remember how we came together in the old school building of Orange City on Sundays and were consoled and strengthened by the unforgetable Father Bolks. The under signed will never forget the time that the Rev. on a certain occasion made us sing Ps. 99: 3.
Under Rev. Bolks' leadership soon an expansion of the municipal field came about. Alton and Sioux Center were founded. And under the leadership of the Rev. Buursma the other communities, for which we are always grateful.
What we did not dare to hope at first has been realized: namely that people, who lived 8 and 10 miles from Orange City would have a community in this area.
In this context I remember that I, being a member of the Board of Trustees and having been ordered to estimate section 16, then school land and not to estimate this under $6. per acre, agreed with Mr. Heemstra that it would stay here for our posterity. This is the section bounded by Maurice where acres are being sold now for $50. The laying of a railroad has been a big help for us, just like in the West.
Though Father Bolks had said several times: something must be done in the southwest, under the Rev. Buursma a committee was formed to choose a suitable spot. Members of that committee were: the Rev. Buursma, D. v. d. Meer, and F. Le Cocq. First they considered building the church in G. De Yong vicinity; but when Mr. Hospers congratulated us with the news that a little westward a railway station was to be built. The spot of the future church was decided soon. The new little town was called Maurice.
Nov. 6, 1884 a Reformed Congregation was founded here under leadership of Rev. Buursma, Rev. Dijkstra, Rev. Warnshuis and elder Muilenburg. The 38 members were mainly from Orange City and Alton , altogether 20 families. With the help of the Board and the congregation a church was built; all was very primitive though. The benches were planks on logs. The desk on the pulpit was a store box, and behind that a 50 cent chair for the pastor. And though it became cold and we had no stove and the building was not painted and there were no stables, yet we were thankful for what we had. The elders G. Van Peursem and C. de Boer, and the deacons H. Mensing and G. Brink were selected as members of the Church – council. Except one, who left, the ones that were chosen, are still serving. Of those who became members then, 6 passed away and 16 are left.
Since the establishment of our congregation 165 have been received upon confession of faith, 32 left, 153 children wee baptized.
Father Bolks has served us well at first, until we received the Rev. H. K. Boer as our pastor. He came Nov. 28, 1885 and stayed until April 23, 1890 . Then we received the Rev. P. Wayenberg who was our pastor from July 4, 1890 to Aug. 5, 1893 , when we buried him. Feb. 25, 1894 the Rev. H. Straks became our pastor and he is still serving us. In 1894 our community became independent. There are 170 families now. Much has been done in the material and, we believe in the spiritual field. And if we look at the 200 children in Sunday school, we repeat: what a blessing that our leaders were inspired with the principle of founding congregations.
Maurice is a town of various nationalities: Dutchmen, Americans, Germans, and Irishmen; most are Dutchmen, and all live together in peace, two stores are owned by Dutchmen, the third by a German, the fourth by an American, who also owns a hotel. A German is blacksmith. The physician and owner of the drugstore are Dutchmen. The harness shop, hardware store and photography studio are owned by Dutchmen, Maurice has 4 elevators and 2 railroads for the use of farmers and the public. No wonder that the politicians in Maurice expect that Maurice will once be the capital of Sioux County .
Reformed Church of Maurice
Reformed Church Parsonage
Chemist shop of Gerla and Warnshuis
W. Van Beynum's houe