NEWKIRK , IOWA
By E. Van Rooyen
In the Spring of 1861? (1869) a movement started in Pella to found a Dutch Settlement in northwest Iowa .
After much discussion Sioux County , Iowa appealed most to them.
In Sioux County a lottery was held about where everyone's homestead would be. W. Van Rooyen, A. Jansma and Mrs. B. Van Zyl, who are still living, were put in charge of the settling northeast of Orange City .
Immediately breaking of the land and building houses was started. The latter brought on big problems because the wood had to come from LeMars and many people were short of money, so that some had to get by with sod houses. However, the people were so joyful when they found out, that wood grew along the Floyd River that was suitable for fire wood. Within a few years few settlers joined our number.
From the beginning on one felt the necessity to gather together on the Lord's Day. The first religious gathering was held in a sod house, in which M. Verheul lived. For a few years this was continued, until a community having been founded in Orange City , this settlement was absorbed into it.
In spite of various adversities the colony developed slowly. Because the distance to Orange City was rather far for many people and because the colony expanded more and more, the necessity of having a religious service in the immediate surroundings grew. Father Bolks also realized this, he therefore came down there regularly to preach the Gospel. It was he, who filled with the prophetic spirit, as it were, pointed out the spot where once the Lord's House would arise. That he saw it right is evident now. Several years passed, though, before one was ready to start organizing a Reformed Congregation. Not until October 2 nd , 1882 , was this place found under the leadership of the minister A. Buursma and J. W. Warnshuis. Upon the proposal of Reverend J. West. D. D. , at that time Secretary of the Board of Domestic Missions, that meeting it was decided to call the congregation “the Reformed Congregation of North Orange.” The community consisted of thirty people.
By the mediation of Rev. A. Buursma and Mr. Van Der Meide, Mr. C. L. Davidson & Co. donated five acres on which a small church of $500 was to be erected. A certain lady from New York donated the $500.
Later on the name North Orange changed into Newkirk.
September 26, 1883 the community obtained its first pastor and teacher, Rev. A. Dykstra who served the congregation in the ministry until December 1886. After a two year vacancy the congregation rejoiced in obtaining a teacher to fulfill the position. Rev. A. Van Den Berg. Under his service the need for a bigger and better Lord's House became so evident that the congregation decided to build a new church. Nov. 19, 1891 , this new building was dedicated. In June 1892 Rev. Van Den Berg left to Overisel , Michigan , and was succeeded by the present pastor Rev. J. M. Lumkes in July, 1893.
Under the ministry of Rev. Dykstra the congregation was helped by the Domestic Mission. The Board helped up the amount to $1087.50. For building the church and parsonage the Board gave the sum of $1465. Since the beginning of the ministry of Rev. Van Den Berg the community has been self-supporting.
The congregation now consists of 80 families with 162 confirmed members.
Whereas at first one got the mail and groceries from Le Mars and Orange City , we now can go to two grocery stores here. We receive the mail daily.
Newkirk is situated 7 miles from Alton , 8 miles from Orange City , 8 miles from Middleburg, 9 miles from Boyden, and only 4 miles from Hospers. We have a large church, a parsonage, two grocery stores, a post office, a blacksmith shop and a dozen houses. Comparing the past with the present, we may utter an “Ebenezer.” (below Newkirk Reformed Church)