Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
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Pages 219 - 236
Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa


The Great Central Valley of Northern Iowa.
1855 — The Cedar Valley Association.
Organized in 1856—1856 to 1886.

ON 1855 a Church was organized at Waterloo, Iowa, and is reported among the unassociated Churches that year, with twenty members, also one at Toledo, Tama county, with fifteen members. These seem to have formed the basis for the organization in 1856 of the Cedar Valley Association.

1856. This Association was constituted with six Churches, as follows: 1st Waterloo, organized in 1855, J. C. Miller, pastor, baptized 74, members 112; St. Charles, organized 1856, G. F. Brayton, pastor, 24 members; Toledo, organized 1855, G. G. Edwards, pastor baptized 18, members 58; Waverly, organized 1856, D. Terry, pastor, members 17; 2d Waterloo, J. C. Miller, pastor, members 17, and Vinton, Rev. A. Chapin, pastor, one baptism and 22 members. Six Churches, 5 pastors, 93 baptisms and 250 members. There is here the anomaly of two Churches in the same place with a membership of only 129, neither of them two years old, and the same person named as pastor of both. Second Waterloo Church is not heard of again after another year. Rev. G. F. Brayton, Freeman, Floyd county, is corresponding secretary of the Association. The First Anniversary was held in 1857, at Waterloo, A. D. Bush, secretary. Three new Churches are added, all organized the present year, viz: Horton, D. Terry, pastor, 11 members; New Hartford, J. R. Dean, pastor, 22 members and two baptisms; Riceville, G. F. Brayton, pastor, 10 members. A. G. Eberhart appears as pastor at Waterloo, with 102 members and A. D. Bush at Waverly. The young Association starts off in the great Cedar Valley with a cluster of names in its ministry that are destined to be historic in Iowa Baptist annals. It is hard to realize that less than thirty years ago there were to be found here only these small beginnings.

1858. The Second Anniversary was held at Waverly. A. D. Bush is still secretary. Already the cords are rapidly lengthening. The year has been one of great prosperity. Seven new Churches are added, six of them organized within the year. These are Cedar Falls, Chickasaw, Clarksville, Independence, Janesville, Rockford and Rock Grove. U. R. Walton is reported pastor at Cedar Falls, D. B. Mead at Rock Grove, and J. H. Parmelee at St. Charles City. Other pastors are Terry, Chapin, Eberhart and A. D. Bush. Brother Eberhart has baptized 23 at Waterloo, and Brother Bush 16 at Waverly Churches 13; pastors 7; members 494; baptisms 78. The Churches in the Association are scattered over Benton, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Butler, Bremer, Chickasaw, Floyd and Mitchell counties, the very heart of northern Iowa. Three meeting houses have been completed during the year. The Toledo Church withdraws to unite in the organization of the Iowa Valley Association just organized this year.

1859. Meets at Independence September 23. Rev. U. R. Walter is Secretary. New Churches have been organized at Floyd, Providence, and Fairbank. These unite with the Association, making, with the Polk Church, also enrolled for the first time, IG Churches, with 9 pastors, who have baptized 60 persons, total membership 517. Rev. H. H. Burrington has succeeded Rev. A.D. Bush at Waverly. Rev. John Fulton has begun pastoral work at Independence. Rev. E.G.O. Groat is preaching at Chickasaw and Providence, and Rev. P. Colgrove at Fairbank. The Vinton Church is transferred to Linn Association. Brother Eberhart has baptized 26 at Waterloo and now reports 140 members. In 1860 the Association met at Charles City. Rev. H. H. Burrington is Secretary. New Churches are admitted from Fredericksburg, Rev. E. G. O. Groat, pastor; Frederica, Rev. J. F. Rairden, pastor; Lester, same pastor, and Osage and Mitchell, A.J. Colby, pastor. Rev. Alva Bush is preaching at Fairbank. The first mentioned in connection with this Association of a name than which none, in its subsequent history, is suggestive of more sacred memories. Rev. A. D, Bush is now located at St. Charles. New Hartford, Rockford, Waterloo and Cedar Falls are pastor less. Churches 19; pastors 10; baptisms within the year 82, and a total membership of 593. Rev. A. G. Eberhart has removed to Cedar Rapids.

1861. The annual meeting is at Cedar Falls. Brother Burrington continues as clerk. Rev. C. E. Bailey is pastor at Cedar Falls, and Brother S. Sherman at Eden, a new Church with 12 members. The largest number of baptisms is by Rev. A. I). Bush at St. Charles, 6. It is a year of spiritual dearth. The Frederica Church received last year does not appear, while the Eden Just received takes its place, making the number the same. The name of the Lester Church is changed to Lester and Barcley. While it is not the purpose of these Sketches to perpetuate the names of unworthy men who have dishonored the ministerial office, yet the truth of history, and the lesson it conveys, warrant the following reminiscence of this period. In 1861 the name of C. E. Bailey appears as pastor of the Baptist Church at Cedar Falls, and they report 64 members. The next year his name appears in the list of ministers as living at Cedar Falls, but "without charge." A.G. Eberhart has succeeded him and they report 37. Bailey's name is no longer found. As we write this sketch in 18SG the same man has just visited the village where we write as one of the principle participants in a Horse Trotting and Racing Association, where gambling is the principle business. "He went to his own company.''

1862. The Seventh annual meeting took place at Waterloo. V.W. Baker, Charles City, clerk. Rev. A.G. Eberhart has returned and become pastor at Cedar Falls; 2. A. Bryant at Chickasaw. Rev. E. G. O. Groat has removed from Fredericksburgh to New Hartford. Rev. C. Billings Smith is pastor at Waterloo, and Rev. H. I. Parker at Osage and Mitchell. The Churches in this large field are very weak. Only three in the Association report more than 50 members. These are Rock Grove 55; Waterloo 105 and Waverly 60. Waterloo reports the smallest number this year, since the organization of the Association. The Clarkesville Church is no longer found. Rev. J. R. Dean, the last pastor, died August 19, 1863, of hemorrhage of the lungs. He had removed, with his family, to Pike's Peak, hoping to regain his health, but God ordered it otherwise. Brother Dean was a graduate of Kalamazoo Theological Seminary. He came to Iowa in 1857 and was ordained pastor of the New Hartford Church at the meeting of the dissociation at Waterloo, September, Another pastor of the Association, Brother Colgrove, of Fairbank, Fayette county, died August 1, 1869. [See obituary notes.]

1863. Met at Waverly. Clerk same as last year. In a report to the Convention in October of this year. Rev. Wm. Wood says this meetings: was characterized by harmony and a commendable devotional spirit. Every Church in the Association was represented, and two new ones added. The letters indicated "increased prosperity." Brother Wood makes his first appearance in this field this year, and labors as a missionary of the Convention in the northern part of this Association. The new Churches organized are Jacksonville, H. Green, pastor, and Grove Hill, J.F. Eairden, pastor. Other new pastors are J. C. H. Miller, at Chickasaw, and Brother Gibbs, at New Hartford. Brother Eberhart has baptized 26 at Cedar Falls, J. Fulton 11 at Independence, and S. Sherman 11 at Fredericksburgh.

1864. Met with the Church at Osage, Rev. Wm. L. Hunter, clerk, Waterloo. A Church has been organized at Hardin City, A. Orcott pastor. Shell Rock has also organized with 21 members. Rev. S. Sill pastor here and at Janesville. The name of the Polk Church is changed to Syracuse. Rev. H.I. Parker has removed from Osage and Mitchell, and W. Ross is pastor. Brother Parker's stay in Iowa was short, but as he labored just over the border in Minnesota for a number of years he was not lost sight of in Iowa, nor did he lose interest in Iowa affairs. A man of marked culture and ability, but not very firm health, he spent his later life in California and died there only a year or two ago. Rev. A. Marsh has begun a long and useful service at Riceville. Another name prominent in later years is that of Rev. T. H. Judson, pastor at West Fork. The column of Benevolent Contributions tins year amounts to $515.43, Rev. Wm. L. Hunter is pastor at Waterloo.

1865. The Annual meeting is at Charles City, J C. Whitney clerk. Four new Churches are received in 1865, Mission Kidge, Wayne, Hampton, and Chapin. The reports bear marks of increased prosperity and spiritual power. Brother Hunter reports 19 baptized, and 34 additions in all at Waterloo, and Brother Judson 18 baptisms, and 26 additions at West Fork. Rev. J. C. H. Miller has baptized 20 at Riceville, Rev. J. Fulton 20 at Independence. Churches, 29, pastors 16, baptisms 110, total membership 1,063, for the first time above 1,000. Rev. J. M. Wedgewood appears as pastor at Eden Church, R. L. Jones at Floyd, Rev. T. F. Thickstun at Waverly. The Iowa Baptist State Convention is taking hold in this large field, and helping forward the growth of this Association. Besides Rev. Wm. Wood, Associational Missionary this year, Rev. T. H. Judson was under appointment at Hampton, Chapin, etc., and Rev. Rev. S. Sherman at Tripoli. In 1864 Revs. J. C. H. Miller, S. Sherman, and Wm. Wood were under appointment in this Association. One effect of this close relation to the Missionary Societies will always be to stimulate the benevolence of the Churches, and that is to stimulate and keep in tone the active Christian spirit.

1866. The eleventh Anniversary — so called, though it is only the tenth Anniversary — of the Association occurred with the Church at Waterloo, convening September 21, at 10 a. m.. Rev. John Fulton of Independence Moderator, J. Cheston Whitney of Hampton clerk. Brother S. Sill of Shell Rock preached the introductory sermon from Proverbs XI:30. The Church at Jessup was received into the Association. The year has been one of unusual prosperity. There have been received into the Churches by baptism 150, and by letter 194, and the present membership is 1291, a net increase for the year of 222. At Waterloo Rev. W. L. Hunter has baptized 41, at Waverly Rev. T. F. Thickstun 23, Hardin City, Cedar Falls and New Hartford follow with 20, 18, and U respectively. Rev. John Fulton retires from a six or seven years' pastorate at Independence, and is preaching at Jessup and other points. Rev. W. C. Learned is the young pastor at Independence. Rev. C. T. Tucker has entered the work as pastor at Charles. City, Rev. A. W. Hilton at Grove Hill, Rev. C. D. Farnsworth at Syracuse. Rev. A. Bush is preaching at Osage and Mitchell in connection with his work in the Cedar Valley Seminary. This Anniversary at Waterloo was a very inspiring occasion, partaking of the aggressive zeal and quickened activity that so generally marked these years of the sixties in Iowa and the west. Rev. G. J. Johnson was present and preached and took a collection for the Publication Society, amounting in cash and pledges to $100. A resolution was passed heartily approving " the Prohibitory Liquor Law of the state, and that we as heartily condemn the inefficiency of those Judicial officers who, for political or personal considerations neglect to enforce it." The Obituary Committee make sad mention of the loss by death of the wife of our beloved brother. Rev. John Fulton of Independence, and of the serious and lingering sickness of Rev. Hazzard Green of Jacksonville, Chickasaw county, who subsequently died January 6, 1867. The harvest of the stern reaper in Iowa during this year was one of very choice sheaves, of which notice will appear in the proper place.

1867. The Association met at Janesville. W.L. Hunter, clerk, Waterloo. The Church at Mason City was organized in 1866. There are also Churches reported at Nashua, North Washington and at Applington. Some of these, at least, are destined to be of short duration. G.W. Goodrich is reported pastor at Eden Church, and D. P. Maryatt, this year and last, at New Hartford. This Association, now eleven years old, is the largest, as to number of churches and pastors, in the State. There are now, churches 33; pastors 20; baptized within the year 151; received from all sources 356, and a total membership of 1,526. Rev. L. N. Call has become pastor at Hampton and Chapin.

1868. The anniversary in 1868 was at New Hartford. W. L. Hunter, clerk, Waterloo. Rev. A. G. Eberhart has closed a six years pastorate at Cedar Falls, and is succeeded by Rev. D. N. Mason. Rev. W. C. Learned made but a brief sta3^ in our Iowa ministry, though long enough to be much esteemed, and after an interval is succeeded at Independence by Rev. A. D. Bush, who returns to Iowa after several years absence in the east. Rev. A. Carpenter is preaching at Hardin City and Rev. C. Spragg at Jessup. Brother John Fulton has transferred his labors, for a time, to the State of Illinois. One hundred and seventy-nine baptisms were reported, and a total membership of 1,699. Of the 35 Churches in this large field, including a number of central and growing towns, there are only two Churches of over 100 members. Waterloo has 252 and Waverly 135. Rev. T. F. Thickstun, who began his ministry in Waverly in 1865, has resigned to take up the important work awaiting him at Council Bluffs.

1869. Osage is the place of meeting. Moderator, Rev. J. Hall, D. D., clerk, Rev. W- L. Hunter, Independence. Brother Hunter after baptizing 44, at Waterloo in 1868, closed a four or five years' pastorate there, and is pastor at Independence. He is succeeded at Waterloo by Rev. Wm. Tilley. Rev. D. N- Mason has resigned at Cedar Falls, and they are without a pastor though they report 30 baptisms this year. How sad it is that just after a revival of religion, and oftentimes when there has been a large in-gathering, needing the greatest care, then the minister has to leave, and the lambs are left to the wolves! Is it the fault of the minister? or of the Church? Or of both? Is it not true that while in modern times we magnify the first part of the Great Commission, "Go, and make Disciples," we have too much overlooked the second part, "teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you"! Rev. Thomas Ure is now preaching at Mitchell, P. S. Crandall at Mason City, and A. T. Cole at Waverly. The Winthrop Church comes into the Association, Rev. Myron Root, pastor. Churches 36; pastors 21; baptized 121; present membership 1,851. The largest now, as to Churches and members in the State. The contributions for the Convention, in 1869, were $608.50, the largest of any Association except the Linn, which was S670.58.The previous year the amount raised in the Cedar Valley was $932.05, of which, however, $542.35 was raised by, and paid to Rev. Wm. Wood, Associational Missionary.

1870. The Association convened at Waverly September 23, W. L. Hunter, Independence, clerk. Among new pastors we notice D. S. Starr at Cedar Falls, C. T. Roe, Charles City, W. M. Simons, Jessup, A. Plumly, Rockford, G. M. Adams Shell Rock, and E. K. Cressey Waterloo. Zion Church, southwest of Waterloo, has just been formed, L. H. Thompson pastor, where 17 have been baptized. 136 baptisms reported and 1880 members. The value of Church property is placed at $75,000. In 1871 met at Charles City, E. K. Cressey of Charles City clerk. The number of Churches has fallen off to 30, pastors 18, baptized 149. Received from all sources 349, total membership 1879. Rev. E. K. Oressey has removed from Waterloo to Charles City, and the veteran Rev. A. G. Eberhart is again preaching at Waterloo. Rev. H. C. Henry is preaching at a new Church called Geneseo, organized the past year. Rev. M. E. Arkills has been several years pastor at Fredericksburg, Rev. L. Ellingwood a year or two at Otter Creek, and Rev. E. P. Barker at Parkersburg. Rev. S. C. Sale is pastor at Mason City. J. S. Cox at New Hartford, and Rev. J. N. Lukins at Riceville.

1872. The Association met at Mason City Rev. L. N. Call, of Hampton, clerk. Rev. W. H. Stiller is pastor at Cedar Falls. Charles City has Rev. W. W. Whitcomb as pastor, and reports 50 baptisms. Rev. T. H. Judson, at Rock Grove, reports 34. Rev. G. W. Preston is pastor at Independence, Rev. F. A. Marsh at Waverly and J. Hall, D. D., at Shell Rock. Rev. S. Sill is preaching at Plainfield. There are now 31 Churches reporting, 20 pastors, 151 baptisms reported, and a total membership of 2,050. The only Association reporting over 1,800. In 1873 Shell Rock is the place of meeting. Rev. L. N. Call, of Hampton, clerk. Rev. C. T. Tucker, after an absence
from the Association and the State, returns and is pastor at Mason City. Rev. E. L. Benedict is pastor at Mitchell,
N. H. Daily at Plainfield, J. A. Abbott at Rock Grove and Rev. A. A. Russell at Waterloo. Churches 30; pastors 18; baptized 59; total membership 1.969. The Association occupies the great central district of Northern Iowa, comprising the counties of Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Floyd, Chickasaw, Mitchell, Cerro Gordo and Franklin, and at times, parts of other counties.

1874. The anniversary takes place at Jessup. Rev. W. H. Stifier, clerk. Cedar Falls. Rev. Wm. M. Simons has removed from Jessup to Fredericksburgh. Rev. F.A. Marsh has succeeded Brother Hunter at Independence. Rev. H. D. Weaver is at New Hartford. Rev. R. Garton begins his long and successful pastorate at Waterloo. Rev. T. F. Thickstun has returned to his old field at Waverly. Brother Stiller has baptized 68 at Cedar Falls, and Waterloo reports 55 baptisms. It is a year of progress in the Association, and of labor well repaid. Baptisms 266: members 2,070.

1875. In 1875 the Association met at Cedar Falls. W. H. Stiller, clerk. At Shell Rock Rev. B. H. Bras led has baptized 32, and at Waverly Rev. Robert Leslie, pastor, 28. Rev. W. L. Hunter is preaching at Charles City, F. H. Hannah at Clear Lake, G. W. Prescott at Nora Springs and Rock Grove, A. J. Amerman at Plainfield and C. T. Emerson at Riceville and Wayne. The aggregate amount paid for Church expenses is put down at $15,319.70, and the benevolent contributions at $2,125.15. Rev. L. N. Call has closed a pastorate of eight years at Hampton and become Financial Agent of the Cedar Valley Seminary, at Osage. The Church at Hampton is doing without a pastor and making an effort to pay off their debt of $3,200 by July, 1876. An obituary report tells of the death of Rev. Shadrach Sherman, who died at Riceville, Iowa, January 7, 1875. The Church at Nora Springs was organized last February, recognized in July and admitted to the Association at this session. Rev. Alva Bush was Moderator. Rev. Wm. Whitney, of Osage, preached the introductory sermon. Rev, Robert Leslie has succeeded Pastor Thickstun at Waverly.

1876. The Twentieth Anniversary was held with the Church at Fredericksburgh, September 8. Rev. Richard Garton preached the introductory sermon and was elected Moderator, and Rev. Robert Leslie, of Waverly, clerk. Upon the report of the proper committee the names of the Chapin, Geneseo and Otter Creek Churches were stricken from the Minutes. Rev. W. H. Stiller has closed a four years' pastoral term at Cedar Falls, and has removed to Cedar Rapids, in the Linn Association. Appreciative mention is made of the missionary work of Rev. E. L. Benedict among the feeble Churches in the western part of the Association. Rev. S. H. Mitchell became pastor at Shell Rock in February last. Much interest is felt in the affairs of the Cedar Valley Seminary, and in the efforts being made to increase its finances. A good revival spirit has pervaded many of the Churches. There are now in the body 30 Churches, 19 pastors, 167 have been received by baptism, 125 by letter, and the present membership is 2,068.Brother Carton has baptized 60 at Waterloo and they have now 275 members.

1877. Charles City is the place of the anniversary. Rev. R. Leslie, clerk. Another year of glorious reaping. Baptisms 218: total membership 2,267. More than ever before, and more, by 500, than any other Association in Iowa. Rev. L. T. Bush is pastor at Cedar Falls, where his admirable spirit is very helpful in a time of need. The Church have suffered greatly during the last year by the abuse of an unworthy minister. Rev. James Patterson is pastor at Independence. Rev. Wm. M. Simons has returned from Fredericksburgh to Jessup. Rev. C. H. Mitchelmore has succeeded, at Shell Rock, the one Mitchell, who has removed and become pastor at Grundy Center, in the Iowa Valley Association.

1878. In 1878 the Association met at Clear Lake. Rev. Robert Leslie, of Waverly, clerk. Baptized 150; present membership 2,422. Rev. A. Myers is pastor at Charles City, H. C. Nash, at Clear Lake, W. L. Hunter at Floyd, J. A. Abbott, at Fredericksburgh, Rev. Wm. Wilder has become pastor at Hampton, L. D. Lamkin at Nora Springs, A. B. Coates at Mitchell, N. F. Hoyt at Northwood, Thomas lire at Riceville and Wayne and A. E. Spring at Plainfield.

1879. Met at Hampton. J. C. Whitney, of Hampton, is clerk. Cedar Falls is again without a pastor. Rev. C. T. Tucker has returned to Charles City. Rev. G. Sutherland is at Independence. Rev. A. E. Simons has taken up the work at Parkersburg, where a house is to be built for the Lord. Rev. D. B. Mead is preaching at Rock Grove this year and last. A Church has been organized at Rudd where twenty have been baptized and there are 41 members, with M. E. Arkills as pastor. Rev. B. H. Brasted has served the Shell Rock Church for two years. Rev. Robert Leslie has closed a four years' pastorate at Waverly, and Rev. T. J. Keith has succeeded him. There are now in the Association, 34 Churches, 20 pastors, 143 baptisms reported and a total membership of 2,524. The largest by over 700 in the State, and the greatest number of Churches by ten. Of the 20 Churches having pastors, seven have begun their work in 1879, six began in 1878 and are on their second year, while Rev. J. A. Abbott, of Fredericksburgh, Wm. Wilder, of Hampton, Wm. M. Simons, of Jessup, and Thomas Ure, of Riceville, settled in 1877 and are now on their third year, and Rev. Richard Garton, of Waterloo, is on his fourth.

1880. The anniversary this year is at Independence. J. C. Whitney still serving as clerk. Rev. O. T. Conger has become pastor at Osage, A. R. Button at Cold Water, a new organization. Rev. M. H. Perry at Fredericksburgh, succeeding J.A. Abbott who is now preaching at Plainfield, and Thomas Ure is preaching at Wayne. Rev. A. R. Button is preaching also at Rockwell and Sheffield Churches. Waterloo entertained the Assoniation in 1881. J.C. Whitney, clerk. Of 20 Churches having pastors, eleven date their settlement the present year. We are introduced to quite an array of new names, S. M. Davis at Bethel Church, Henry Williams at Cedar Falls, H. B. Waterman at Clear Lake, J. G. Johnson at Fredericksburgh, F. Bower at Jessup, W. H. H. Avery at Mason City, J. W. Daniels at Northwood, E. H. Page at Osage, L. W. Atkins at Rock Grove, and J. J. McIntyre at Shell Rock. Hampton, Waverly and Independence, with ten other churches, are without pastors. Rev. Wm. Wilder, in infirm health, has removed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, there to tarry for a few years and to obtain his honorable discharge and go to his well-earned rest. Rev. T. J. Keith has resigned at Waverly to take charge of the East Side Baptist Church, Des Moines. The only form of activity that seems to have characterized this year among the churches, is activity among the ministers and their families moving from field to field. They at least are not likely to become sluggish for want of exercise. It is noticeable, however, that the spiritual dearth is general. Only 638 baptisms are reported in all the State, against 1,075 the year before. The first year that less than a thousand have been reported since 1863, when the war as distracting the country. It will be a relief to note, as we shall, that the low water mark has been reached, and that the Lord has not forgotten to be gracious to his Zion.

1882. The Association met at Osage. A. R. Button, of Osage, clerk. A general weeding has taken place and the names of 10 churches are missed from the list. churches 23; pastors 18; received by baptisms 106; by letter 59; present membership 2.059. Of the Churches having pastors, ten date their settlement within the year. We note Rev. C. Holroyd at Charles City, J. F. Bryant at Sheffield and Cold Water, James Mitchell at Fredericksburgh, L. B. Plummer at Hampton, W. C. Pratt at New Hartford, F. W. Gardner preaching at Plainfield, G.G. Dougherty at Rock Grove, and G. W. Burnham, of Leroy, Minnesota, at Wayne Church. Rev. W. M. Simons has removed from New Hartford, to which place he had removed from Jessup, in 1880, to Waverly. Rev. C. T. Tucker has removed from Charles City, closing a three years' second pastorate with that Church, to Clarinda in the Southwestern Association, taking up there a very important and arduous work for which he seems to be the one man especially fitted. In 1883 Mason City is to entertain the Association. Rev. A.R. Button, of Osage, clerk. Brother Button has been for a couple of years engaged in a most important and successful work as Financial Secretary of the Cedar Valley Seminar}^, for which he resigned his work at Sheffield and Cold Water, some two years ago. Rev. I. W. Edson is pastor at Charles City, Rev. A. C. Nichols at Plainfield. Rev. Henry Williams has closed a three years' pastorate at Cedar Falls and is preaching at Rock Grove, P. O. Nora Springs.

1884. The Association met at Waverly. Rev. A. R. Button still serves as clerk. Churches 26; pastors 17; received by baptism 57; by letter 68; present membership 2,041. The ratio of baptisms in this, still the largest of the Associations, to those in the State—57 to 1,538, seems to indicate an almost phenomenal barrenness in this part of Iowa. We notice, however, that only three Associations in the State report above 100 baptisms this year; Keokuk 126; Southwestern 142, and Central 292. These bring up the aggregate to the figures stated. There is no general revival. Of the pastors in this Association this year, the following are introduced for the first time: Rev. J.C. Shipp, Charles City; Rev. Robert Smith, Fredericksburgh; Rev. B. G. Boardman, Hampton; Rev. A. J. Colwell, Mason City, and Rev. A. M. Duboc, Osage. Rev. J. B. Edmonson has removed from Parkersburg to Shell Rock. Rev. A. M. Duboc begins a work at Osage, that is to culminate in a new and commodious Church Edifice soon.

1885. The place of meeting is Charles City. Rev. H. H. Burrington, of Waverly, is clerk. Brother Burrington returns thus to the position which he honored in 1860 and 1861, 25 years ago. The brethren honor themselves by thus honoring him. Churches 25; pastors 16; baptized 202; total membership 2,052. The number of baptisms is the largest of any Association in the State, Only three others reach 100 or over, Davenport 138, South-western 142 and Upper Des Moines 100, Mason City reports the largest number of baptisms, 63; Waterloo 38. Rev. W. W. Onderdonk has been ordained pastor at Cedar Falls. Rev. A. Hunt is pastor at Cold Water and Sheffield Robert Smith at Fredericksburgh, J. P. Stephenson at Hampton, P. E. Moore at Waverly, Rev. E. Pierce, of the Wayne Church, and Rev. L. A. Hall at Mason City. Rev. W. L. Hunter is now preaching at New Hartford.

Being, as has been seen, much the largest Association in the State. Occupying one of its greatest and most prosperous valleys, with a large number of thriving towns and cities. Having always a full share of the ablest ministers in the State and early made the field of the missionary activity and beneficence of our State and Home Mission Societies. The Cedar Valley Association may fairly be taken as a representative body in the respects named, and its history may be studied with profit in the light of the bearing of the past upon the future. A brief comparison of the past ten years, with the decade just preceding, presents some figures that may safely be left without comment by the historian. The contributions of the Churches and members of this Association from 1876 to 1885 and inclusive, to the treasury of the Convention, were $2,099.25, or an average of S209.92i per year. From 1866 to 1875, the preceding decade, they were $3,998.95, or an average of $399.89 per year. Two things need to be taken into consideration in giving these statements their proper weight, 1st, that during the earlier half of the earlier decade, when the largest amounts were raised, a larger portion of it was for Associational Missionary work, conducted by Rev. Wm. Wood, who was a very successful collector; and, 2d, that during the last half of the later decade collections have been in the name of the Convention and Home Mission Society, whereas, during the earlier ten years whatever was collected for the Home Mission Society would be additional to the amount given above. During a part of this time not less than eight pastors or missionaries, in the field of this Association, were being aided by the Home Mission Society. It is reasonable to infer that contributions, to that Society, were considerable in addition to amounts reported for the Convention. From whatever cause, the benevolence of the Churches of this Association in the direction of contributions to State and Home Missions during the last decade, shows a remarkable falling off from the decade immediately preceding. A comparison of spiritual results for the same period gives the following results: The number of baptisms for the ten years, from 1866 to 1875, was 1,447, or an average of 144 and 7-10 per year. From 1876 to 1885 the whole number of baptisms was 1,250, or an average of 125 per year. But for the last half of the last decade they were only 480, or an average of 96 per year. If the spirit of giving and the reaping of spiritual results sustain to each other, as is 'generally supposed, the relation of cause and effect in any measure we may begin to look for an increase of prosperity in this association. During the last half of the last decade the contributions for the Convention were an average of $323.70 per year, against an average for the whole decade of only $209.92 per year.

The year 1886 presents a good measure of prosperity One hundred and forty-seven have been baptized, 259 added from all sources, and there are now 2,172 members. Rev. Richard Garton, D. D., has closed his 12 years' pastorate at Waterloo and become leader of the forces at Cedar Rapids. Rev. D. Read, LL. D., has succeeded him without an interval at Waterloo.


Pages 237-242
Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa


The Bedford Association
~ 1856 to 1865 ~

A Thrifty and Vigorous Beginning in Southwestern Iowa
Multiplying and Bearing Fruit
An Inspiring History.

NOT least among the vigorous and aggressive Baptist Associations in Iowa from 1856 to 1865 is to be recorded the Bedford Association. In 1854 Rev. James M. Smith came from Indiana and settled at Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa. In 1855 there was reported an unassociated Church at Bedford, with J. M. Smith pastor, and 48 members.

In 1856 the Bedford Association was constituted with the following Churches and statistics: Bedford, J. M. Smith pastor, 57 members Bethel, A. Vanderpool, 24; Bethesda, E. H. Pearce, 45; Hawleyville, J. M. Smith, 19; New Garden, A. Vanderpool, 44; Platte Branch, V. Night, 27; Decatur City, I. M. Seay, 18 ; Vernal, I. M. Seay, 97; Salem, V. Night, 10; making 9 Churches, 5 pastors, and 341 members. The New Garden, Bethel, Vernal, and Bethesda Churches were found a year earlier in the Eden Association. In 1856 there was an unassociated Church in Adams county and one at Red Oak Grove. Rev. J.W. Nye was pastor of both. Neither of these appear in subsequent reports for several years, yet they doubtless mark the beginning of Baptist work in Adams and Montgomery counties, as early as 1856. Rev. I. M. Seay was the first clerk of the Bedford Association. The first Anniversary was held with the Vernal Church in 1857. This was in Clark county, ten miles southwest of Osceola. Rev. I. M. Seay was continued as secretary. Four new Churches were organized during the year, viz. Freedom, near Decatur City, with 10 members ; Mt. Ayr, 13 ; West Union, (Postoffice Princeton, Mo.) 30; and Winterset, Madison county, 25. Rev. A, W. Russell was pastor at Winterset, D. Ivens at Bedford, Rev. Thomas Miller at Decatur City, and I. M. Seay at Vernal. Sixteen baptisms were reported, and 446 members in 13 Churches. The annual report of the Convention Board for 1857 mentions Brother Seay as its Missionary in the Bedford Association, and says, "The field which he occupies is a large and destitute region in the southwestern portion of the state * * The Association was formed last year, and the Churches are nearly all of them of not more than two or three years' growth.'' Rev. A. W. Russell was also a missionary of the Convention at Winterset, his appointment dating from the first of June. Thus, although the Iowa Baptist State Convention had only been doing independent missionary work about two years, we see it thrusting its beneficent efforts forward into the most destitute fields and the remotest parts of the state.

1858.. In 1858 the Second Anniversary was held with the Bethesda Church, southwest of Winterset, in Madison county. It has been a year of almost unparalleled growth and successful revival work. Seven new Churches have been organized and 304 persons baptized. The new Churches are Camden, Clarinda, Hayden Grove, New Salem, Platte Valley, Mount Olive and Xenia. Rev. J. M. Smith, at Bedford, reports 74 baptisms and 146 members. Sixteen of the 20 Churches report baptisms, 11 of them 10 or more. Brother Seay reports 64 at Vernal. He has labored again this year as Missionary and Financial Agent of the Convention, but owing to infirm health is compelled to rest from labor for a season, and the Association have requested the appointment of another brother to be named by them to fill the vacancy. Rev. A. W. Russell, in a note to the Convention, says, "Many of the Churches that have hitherto received aid from the Convention have become self-sustaining. Among these is the Winterset Church, who, in addition to sustaining their pastor, are building a commodious house of worship. They acknowledge their indebtedness to the Convention and hope soon to be able to repay many fold." The Winterset Church have since, many times, redeemed the pledge. Rev. J. Woodward is pastor of the 1st Leon Church, his post office, Canesville, Missouri. The next year we find the same name at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and conclude therefore that it was Rev. Jonah Woodward who died, at an honored old age in Illinois a very few years ago. Revs. J. A. Todd and D. Ivens are pastors, the former at Camden, and the latter at Platte Branch and Platte Valley.

1859.. Bedford entertained the Association in 1859. Rev. I. M. Seay is still corresponding secretary. The Church at Winterset transfers its associational connection to the Western Iowa Association, just organized. The 1st Church, Adams county, and the West Nodaway Valley Church are received, making now 21 Churches, with 6 pastors, reporting 136 baptisms, 218 additions, and 910 members. Rev. E. W. Hall is pastor at Clarinda and Hayden Grove, P. Andrews at Mount Ayr, and J. Lambert at Platte Valley. Rev. J. M. Smith was appointed missionary of the Convention at a salary of $4OO, to be raised on the field. He reports, in connection with his labors, 52 persons baptized and 69 added by letter and experience, two new Churches organized and two ministers ordained. He has preached in ten counties in southwestern Iowa. Rev. Joshua Currier, a visitor to the Association, writes to the State Convention, in 1859: "The Christian activities of this Association the past year have been peculiarly successful. From a small beginning three years since, it has become a large and efficient body. A missionary was employed through the year, whose labors were abundantly blessed in the conversion of souls, their addition to the Churches, and in constituting new Churches." Remarkable liberality was shown in benevolent contributions, especially in pledges and contributions to sustain a missionary another year.

1860.. Met at Leon. Rev. E. W. Hall, of Bedford, was clerk. "The reports from the Churches exhibited the fact that the revivals of the previous year were not fictitious, and also that the Redeemer's Kingdom was still advancing in our midst." Eight Churches " were visited with special revivals and received tokens of Divine favor." Five new Churches were received at this session. One hundred and seventy-four baptisms were reported, 300 added from all sources, and the membership 1,116.

1861.. In 1861 the meeting was at the Camden Church, E. W. Hall, clerk. Twelve pastors now dispense the Word. Rev. Edward Otis, C. Bullock, P. Doty, S. Hollen, J. L. Cole, G. Elmore and J. Evans have not been named before. Rev. James M. Smith is still greatly blessed as missionary of the Association and Convention, though the cause is suffering from the unfavorable influences of the rebellion in the south.

1862.. Met in 1862 with the West Nodaway Valley Church, in Page county. New pastors are Revs. F. Edwards, J. T. Mercer, A. Stanley and S. White. There seems to have been but little revival, though the meeting was an occasion of "rich spiritual enjoyment."

1863.. In 1863 the Association met at Lewis, Cass county, where a Church was organized in 1860 and has now 51 members. James W. Brown, of Lewis, was clerk. In a report to the Convention, Rev. I. M. Seay says, "Many of the Churches are in a very low state and without pastors, yet we have occasion to thank God and take courage, for some have been blessed with precious revivals, in which souls have been converted and added to them through the instrumentality" of our missionary." Rev. S. E. Baldwin and C. C. Baird are added to the list of pastors. There is a Church at Sidney with 42 members but no pastor. Of the 29 Churches in this Association only three are yet ten years old. Occupying a territory of not less than ten counties, and having had at one time over 1,000 members. Where can ten years of more inspiring history be found? The surviving pioneers of that period must look back upon it with feelings somewhat like those of the inspired Psalmist, when he sung "I will remember thee from the land of Jordan and the Hermonites, from the Hill Mizar."

1864.. The Bedford Association met in 1864 with the Bethesda Church. J. H. Miller was clerk. In October, 1863, the Southwestern Iowa Association had been formed which, in a year or two, will absorb into itself largely the vital energies of the body we are now sketching. The days of the Bedford Association, as an organization with that name, are fast being numbered, but it has made an undying record, and has much vitality yet to be merged in other organizations. There are yet, in 1864, 22 Churches and770 members. Rev. S. E. Baldwin, missionary of the Convention in this Association, has baptized 52 persons, and reports that 107 have been added to the Churches in connection with his mission.

1865.. In 1865 the Bedford Association met with the Grand River Church, in Decatur county, where its name was changed to that of the East Grand River Association. As the Southwestern Association has already absorbed the Churches in five county seats, viz: Bedford, Clarinda, Lewis, Red Oak and Sidney, and as its history seems to be the logical continuation of that of the Bedford Association which formerly occupied the whole southwest part of the State, we drop here the history of this body and take up, in the next chapter, that of the Southwestern Association; reserving the East Grand River Association for a subsequent sketch.


Pages 243-254
Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa


Southwestern Iowa Baptist Association
The Logical Continuance on its Territory of the
Bedford Association 1863 to 1886.

ON Friday October 23, 1863, a council of delegates from several Churches convened with the Baptist Church at Sidney, Fremont county, Iowa, for the purpose of forming a new Association. An introductory sermon was preached by Elder R. Alexander of West Union Association, Missouri, from 1st John 111:2. Rev. I. M. Seay was chosen Moderator and Rev. C. C. Baird clerk, protem. The same officers were continued in the permanent organization. Letters were presented from the Churches at Sidney, with 40 members; Nodaway, 56; Clarinda, 38; Lewis, 53; and Milford, 23. Also from Glenwood with 30 members, Big Grove 26 and Silver Creek 22. Glenwood and Silver Creek seem to be new organizations. The others are all from the Bedford Association. A Constitution and By-Laws were adopted, and thus was organized the Southwestern Iowa Baptist Association with 8 Churches, 4 pastors, and 288 members. The pastors were E. W. Hall, Big Grove, I. M. Seay, Clarinda, A. Martin, Glenwood, and C. C. Baird, Lewis.

1864.. The Association met for its first anniversary with the Church at Clarinda, Page county, in 1864 on Friday before the second Sabbath in September. The introductory sermon was preached by Elder I. M. Seay from Deut. 1:30. Brother Seay was elected Moderator and James W. Brown clerk. The Bedford church with 79 members, Platte Branch 12, and Red Oak 12, presented letters and were received. There are now 11 churches, 85 baptisms reported, and 497 members. A Missionary Board was appointed and Rev. J. C. Otis elected Missionary of the Association. Though beginning missionary work in its own name and under direction of its own Board, there is hearty sympathy with other missionary organizations. Collections were taken at this first anniversary for the Foreign and Home Mission Societies, and for the State Convention. During the year 27 have been baptized at Lewis, 19 at Milford, and 32 at Sidney. Rev. C. C. Baird is pastor at Lewis and Milford, I. M. Seay at Sidney, Bedford and Clarinda, J. A. Martin at Silver Creek and J. Lambert at Platte Branch.

1865.. In 1865, the Association convened with the Milford Church, Montgomery county. Sermon by Rev J. C. Renfro. I. M. Seay Moderator, James W. Brown, clerk. The Nishnabotana Church was received. The churches in this vicinity are suffering from their proximity to the late Rebellion, and the consequent distraction of the public mind, nevertheless there has been some revival, and 71 baptisms are reported. Rev. J. C. Otis, the Missionary of the Association, who is also commissioned by the State Convention, has been very successful. He has held eleven protracted meetings, baptized 60 persons, and received into the churches 53 by letter and experience. At the meeting in 1865 a "Board of Conference and Solicitors" was appointed for the "South Western Iowa Seminary."

1866.. The anniversary in 1866 was at Sidney. Introductory sermon by Rev. J. C. Otis from Luke XV:10. Officers the same as last year. The Tabor and Providence Churches were received, Tabor 14 members, Providence 6. The Missionary of the Association and Convention this year was Rev. I. M. Seay, who labored nine months and resigned on account of failing health. The annual report of the Convention Board says: "In no part of the State are there more earnest and noble missionary spirits than in that body. In co-operation with the Convention they did not only as we had expected, but went far beyond, and gave most liberal contributions into your treasury. You will be ready to help them when they shall ask again. " In addition to $350 paid to Brother Seay, $130 were paid into the general treasury. Mention is made elsewhere of a missionary meeting at Glenwood during this year under review, in which, in a single collection $74.20 were contributed. It was decided not to assume control of the "South Western Seminary," but Sidney was endorsed as a suitable place for such an institution. These resolutions reveal the deep interest felt in educational matters, though the institution never materialized.

1867.. The meeting in 1867 was at Bedford, sermon by Rev. R. R. Hanley, Moderator and clerk the same as the last two years. The Middle Valley Church was received. There are now 14 Churches, 11 ordained ministers, 81 baptisms reported, and 777 members. Rev, Wm. F. Arnold has been employed as Missionary Colporteur, by the Association in cooperation with the American Baptist Publication Society, and the work is reported as very satisfactory.

1868.. In 1868 the annual meeting was at Glenwood. Rev. T. F. Thickstun preached the sermon. Rev. J. C. Otis Moderator, James W. Brown clerk. Four new Churches received. Council Bluffs, 19 members; Harlan, 26 ; Buchanan, 26 ; and Bartlett, 14. The ordained ministers, most of them, probably pastors, are Revs. J. C. Otis, Glenwood; C. C. Baird, Bedford; Wm. F. Arnold and R. R. Hanley, Tabor; I. M. Seay and S. E. Baldwin, Sidney ; B. S. F. Cake and Silas White, Clarinda ; T. F. Thickstun, Council Bluffs ; James Lambert and A. Blankenship, Harlan ; P. Andrews, Quincy ; M. F. Williams, Hamburg James Morris, Lewis John Evans, ; ; Bedford and J. A. Martin and C. L. West, Glenwood. The beautiful edifice of the Glenwood Church was dedicated on the Sabbath during this Association, Rev. G. J. Johnson preaching the sermon. A committee of seven brethren were appointed to work together for the organization and establishment of a Baptist Church in Hamburg.

1869.. In 1869 the Association met at Sidney Rev. C. C. Baird preached from Gallatians vi: 1. Rev. J. C. Otis, Moderator, C. M. Robins, of Harlan, clerk. The Atlantic church was received with 11 members, Hamburg 46, and Shiloh 14. Rev. James M. Smith, who, about 1864 had removed to Indiana, has returned and settled at Bedford. The Glenwood, Bedford and Sidney Churches now number over 100 each, Lewis 86 and Harlan 66. None others above 50. Council Bluff's has 46 members. Brother Thickstun and his family have begun a heroic effort to establish a Baptist Church in that city. Rev. J. W. Roe is preaching at Sidney.

1870.. The Seventh Anniversary was held at Lewis, in 1870. Rev. J. W. Roe preached the sermon. Moderator, Rev. J. M. Smith; clerk, L. Bentley, of Sidney. The Villisca, Sciola, and Tarkio Churches were received. A number of churches were struggling to build houses. Rev. J. W. Roe had labored six months as missionary, and had baptized 108 persons. At the middle of the year the Board released him at the earnest request of the Sidney Church to become their pastor. A great advance has been made. The Bedford Church now numbers 204 and there are in the Association 22 churches, 10 pastors, 183 baptisms reported, and 1,166 members.

1871.. The next meeting was at Red Oak. Brother Currier, who was to preach the sermon, not being able his place was filled by Rev. T. F. Thickstun. J. C. Otis, Moderator, Rev. C. Brooks, Grant post office, clerk. The Shenandoah, Pleasant Grove, Lacy Grove and Civil Bend Churches were received. Another year of almost phenomenal growth. Baptized 226, added in all 447, and members 1,451. Pleasant Grove reports 48 baptisms; Sidney 66; Clarinda 20; Glenwood 16, and Civil Bend and Council Bluffs 15 each. Nineteen of the 26 Churches report baptisms. Rev. B. H. Brasted is preaching at Atlantic and Lewis, Rev. W. P. Pattison at Red Oak, and J. W. Roe at Villisca.

1872.. In 1872 the Association assembled at Villisca. Sermon by Rev. J. C. Otis from 2d. Corinthians X:45. Rev. W. P. Pattison Moderator, G. W. Gunnison of Shenandoah clerk. Memory, Page county, Riverton in Fremont, Newlon's Grove in Cass, and Malvern in Mills counties, were new churches received. Churches 30, pastors 9, baptisms 160, members 1590. Resolutions were adopted favoring a Baptist Academy for the Western Slope and encouraging Rev. A. Robbins in his effort to establish the Baptist Beacon for Iowa. In 1873 the Association met at Hamburg. Annual sermon by Rev. James M. Smith, who was made Moderator and Rev. G. W. Gunnison clerk. Rev. Arthur Stott is preaching at Atlantic. G. W. Robey at Hamburg, J. R. Shanafelt at Red Oak and Malvern, E. G. 0. Groat at Harlan and Avoca, W. J. Gates at Liberty, C. L. Butts at Fremont, L. H. Thompson at Percival, W. C. Cunningham at Pleasant Grove, E. Burch at Big Grove, D. C. Ellis at Carbon; and last year, W. A. Cain at Malvern, J. Lambert at Harlan, T. Muxlow at Riverton and Sidney, and R. R. Hanley at Milford. There were 193 baptisms reported and 1654 members. The Nodaway Church has disbanded. Rev. J. C. Otis of Glenwood is overworked, and is given a three months furlough. Rev. T. F. Thickstun of Council Bluffs resigns and becomes Secretary of the State Convention.

1874.. In 1874 the eleventh anniversary was held with the Bedford Church. Rev. G. W. Robey preached from John 11:17, "The zeal for thy house consumes me. (Bible Union Aversion.) Rev. J. M.. Smith Moderator, G. W. Robey clerk. The Atlantic, Big Grove, Harlan, and Newlon's Grove churches have united in forming the Prairie Association, and cease their connection with this body. A committee report in favor of "a new Association from the eastern part of the Southwestern, and the western part of the East Grand River Associations." There are yet in this Association 94 churches, 14 pastors, 209 baptisms are reported, and 1602 members. Rev. Wm. Tilley is pastor at Bedford, E. C. Cady at Glenwood, J. W. Roe at Malvern, Amos Pratt at Shenandoah, W. A. Dorward at Milford and Sciola, and D. C. Ellis at Carbon near Quincy. Rev. R. R. Hanley has been holding the fort at Tabor for several years. Rev. J. C. Otis is still living at Glenwood but very feeble. In 1875 the Association met with the Percival Church. Sermon by Rev. Amos Pratt, who was elected Moderator and W. S. Goodell of Emerson clerk. 206 baptisms were reported, and 1730 members. Rev. T. J. Arnold of Plattesmouth, Nebraska, has labored successfully a part of the year as Missionary of the Association.

The Thirteenth Anniversary was held in 1876 with the Clarinda church. Rev. D.C. Ellis preached the sermon, Rev. \V. P. Pattison, Moderator, W. S. Goodell, clerk. To this occasion belonged the sad, and yet not unexpected duty of recording the death of the greatly beloved, Rev. J. C. Otis, of Glenwood. We copy in full the report of the Obituary Committee: " It, is the painful duty of your committee to report an unusual number of deaths during the past .year, many of whom were most faithful workers in our Zion. Prominent among those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, is our beloved brother, Rev. J. C. Otis. To speak that name is to use a household word in all western Iowa, that will ever stir the hearts of the thousands that knew him only to love him. With his name will ever be associated pleasant memories of happy meetings and sad partings. His was a life of unremitting toil in the Master's Kingdom, inspiring us all to noble deeds. His death was a triumph awarded only to those who fall with the armor on." As recommended a new Association—the East Nodaway has formed to the east of this. There are now in this body 23 churches, 7 pastors, 196 persons baptized during the year, and 1,653 members. Malvern has become the largest church, with 210 members, 45 baptized during the year.

In 1877 the Fourteenth Anniversary assembled at Emerson. Rev. J. H. Pratt, pastor. Sermon ^by Rev. L. E. Martin, of Hamburg, Rev. W. P. Pattison, Moderator, H. C. French, of Red Oak, clerk. The Essex, Fairview and Clarinda (Colored) Churches were received. Rev. J. W. Roe, of Malvern, died i: October, 1876. He was chairman of the committee that made the excellent report of Rev. J. C. Otis, given above. So soon has he been called to follow. A full notice of him will be found in "Obituary Notes.*' The decease is also mentioned of Sister Woodrow, of the Glenwood church. She and her sister, Mrs. J. V. Hinchman, are remembered as bearing almost alone, for years, the burden of keeping-life in the Glenwood Church, when the present writer first knew them, and the Church; and right nobly did they stand by their colors till the victory came. The Council Bluffs Church, in 1875, united with the new Association called the Prairie Association, afterwards the " Council Bluffs." Rev. O. T. Conger has taken the place of the lamented Roe, as pastor at Malvern. Rev. S. C. Sale is at Glenwood. Rev. C. Tilbury is preaching at Clarinda and Amity and Rev. John Davies at Riverton.

The annual meeting in 1878 was at Riverton, sermon by Rev. S. C. Sale, W. P. Pattison Moderator, H. C. French clerk. Rev. H. B. Foskett has become pastor at Shenandoah and Essex, and A. V. Bloodgood at Red Oak. There are 25 churches, 11 pastors, 197 baptisms are reported, and 1687 members. In 1879, met at Glenwood. Introductory sermon by H. B. Foskett, text, 1st Thessalonians 11:4. Rev. J. H. Pratt Moderator, H. C. French clerk. The Carbon church has united with the East Nodaway Association. Rev. T. F. Borchers has succeeded S. C. Sale at Glenwood, after an interval of nearly a year. Rev. J. B. Edmonson is preaching at Riverton, and Rev. John Barr at Villisca and Sciola. The wife of Rev. L. M. Newell, late pastor at Villisca, died during the year. Rev. George Weavers is preaching at Civil Bend and Lacy Grove. Four pastors are on their third year on their present fields, two on the second and eight on the first.

In 1880 the seventeenth anniversary was held with the church at Hamburg, Rev. J. H. Pratt preached the sermon. Text, 2d. Kings 11:10, "Thou hast asked a hard thing." H. B. Foskett Moderator, H. C. French clerk. Rev. H. B. Foskett, Jr. has been preaching at Clarinda three months, but has returned to his studies at Morgan Park. Rev. F. W. Parsons has settled at Glenwood„ Rev. T. F. Borchers was not able to continue there on account of ill health. Rev. F. Hill is pastor at Hamburg. Rev. O. T. Conger has resigned at Malvern and Rev. A. H. Rhodes is pastor there, and Rev. E. P. Savage at Red Oak, Brother Bloodgood having removed from there. Shenandoah have had to give up their place of worship, leaving them but one alternative, to build or disband. They resolved to build, and have a house nearly completed which will cost $3,000.

1881.. Malvern entertained the Association in 1881. Rev. F. W. Parsons is preacher, F. Hill Moderator, H. C. French clerk. Rev. L. L. Cloyd is preaching at Clarinda, A. W. Webb at Coin, P. M. Best at Sidney and Lacy Grove, and F. N. Eldridge at Shenandoah. Rev. H. B. Foskett is supplying Riverton in connection with Essex. Rev. T. M. Coffey has been preaching at Silver City since 1880, and Rev. W. K. Miller at Villisca. The church at Coin is called Bethel in the digest of letters. It was organized Nov. 29, 1880, as a result of meetings held by Rev. J. W. Thompson, was recognized and pastor Webb ordained since, and admitted to the Association in 1881. The Ingraham Church organized in 1876 has been changed to Silver City. Rev. J. H. Pratt has resigned at Emerson, after a successful service of four years. He and his family are greatly missed.

1882.. In 1882 the Association met at Shenandoah. Rev. J. C. H. Reed has settled at Emerson, and preached the introductory sermon. H. B. Foskett, Moderator, J. S. Frazee, of Glenwood, clerk. Rev. C. T. Tucker has begun work at Clarinda, Rev. J. C. Foster is pastor of the Colored Church, where Rev. J. A. Baker had been since 1878. Rev. H. B. Foskett, Jr., was ordained pastor at Red Oak, July 11, 1882. Rev. E. G. Trask is preaching at Silver City. Sidney report 36 baptized. Brother Best having resigned Rev. R. R. Hanley is kindly supplying. Nineteen have been baptized at Malvern, Rev. A. H. Rhodes still pastor, and 13 at Hamburg. Rev. F. Hill has resigned, and goes to Grand Junction.

1883.. In 1883 the Twentieth Anniversary was at Red Oak. Sermon by Rev. A. H. Rhodes, Rev. C. T. Tucker, Moderator, W. S. Goodell, clerk. The total membership is 1,335; a falling off from last year of 102. This is probably in part owing to a cutting off of dead branches. Rev. J. F. Leek is preaching at Bethel, Rev. D. F. Beebe at Hamburg, and O. T. Conger, D. D., at Shenandoah. Brother Conger returns to this field after an absence of three years.

1884.. The meeting in 1884 was at Emerson. Brother C. T. Tucker preached the sermon, F. W. Parsons Moderator, W. S. Goodell clerk. There are more evidences of revival than for several years; 142 have been baptized, and there is a net gain in membership of 130 with no new organizations. Shenandoah have baptized 25, Silver City 23, and Emerson and Malvern each 18. Rev. G. W. Robey is pastor at Malvern, A. H. Rhodes has removed to Sidney. The meeting in 1885 was at Silver City. Brother Robey preached the annual sermon. The 1st Baptist Church at Council Bluff's, and the Scandinavian Church of the same city, were received into the body. Also the Lone Willow Church of Fremont county. Owing to serious and seemingly insurmountable difficulties the old 1st Baptist Church in Council Bluffs disbanded, first transferring their fine property to the Home Mission Society, and the present organization was formed, received the property, and now reports 91 members. Rev. D. H. Cooley, D. D, is pastor. Rev. H. A. Reichenback is pastor of the Scandinavian Church, and they have 57 members. They are building a commodious house of worship, and give evidence of a healthy life. The old missionary, I. M. Seay is pastor of the new Lone Willow Church with 11 members. Rev. J. L. Shoemaker is pastor at Shenandoah, and Gilman Parker at Emerson, beginning in the fall of 1884. Baptisms 142, members 1521, in 22 churches with 12 pastors.

1886.. In 1886 the Association met at Sidney. Another prosperous year ; 234 baptisms reported, members 1798. This is a net gain for the year of 277. D. S. Dodd is pastor at Bethlehem, A. Jacobs at Greenfield, P. M. Wadley at Hamburg and Mount Olive, N. M. Allen at Pleasant Valley, I. W. Edson at Red Oak, and John Barr at Villisca. Others as before noted. Brother Rhodes has resigned at Sidney, and probably A. Jacobs at Greenfield. Elder Graham is pastor at Riverton. Of the 234 baptisms in 1886, Council Bluffs reports 27; Glenwood 55; Greenfield 39; Shenandoah 39; Percival 16; Pleasant Valley 14; Bethlehem 13; Sidney 9, and Emerson 8. This is a gratifying evidence of a general revival spirit. Probably no part of the State has shared more largely in the displays of saving grace.

The Southwestern Association is, at the time this history closes, a very healthy and vigorous body, well manned in its ministry and possessed of a spirited and aggressive membership. These same qualities have indeed marked its history through the 22 years of its existence, and were projected into its earliest life by the elements of the Bedford Association, which occupied the ground before it. Probably few Associations in the west have had a more prosperous career during the last quarter of a century. The Association has always given a hearty welcome to the representatives of our Denominational Societies and this welcome has attracted to its anniversaries to an unusual degree, talent and inspiration from abroad. Its records also show a home talent consecrated to these great enterprises, equaled by few similar bodies. Comment upon the facts just mentioned, in their connection with what was said of the growth and prosperity of the body, is unnecessary.


Pages 401-408
Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa


Other Associations and Churches
Iowa Association.
Danish and Norwegian Churches.

BESIDES the Associations and churches whose history we have sketched in the foregoing pages, we have, recently organized, those named in the heading of this chapter. The oldest of these is "The Iowa Baptist Association" of Colored Baptists. In the early years of the Rebellion, colored Baptists began to gather in some of our southeastern cities, and, rejoicing that they had found freedom for body and soul, sought fellowship in Church organizations where they could enjoy the means of grace. For a number of years these scattered churches were connected with our Associations of white churches, and their history is found in that of the Burlington, Keokuk, and perhaps other Associations. Iowa Baptists, in common with Baptists of the north generally, were much in sympathy with, and extended a helping hand readily to every effort of the Freedmen to elevate themselves. The first record we find of an Association of their own among colored Baptists of Iowa, is in 1878. The Iowa Association in that year was composed of the following roll of churches: Bloomfield, 18 members; Burlington 2d, F. Gray, pastor, 71; Ft. Madison 2d, George Anderson, 25; Keokuk 2d, G.M. Davis, 184; Keosauqua, J.H. Bandy, 28; Mt. Pleasant 2d, W. Washington, 74; Ottumwa 2d, 21; Waterloo 2d, S. Shininghouse, 16. Eight churches, 6 pastors, 85 baptisms during the during the year and 437 members. The Burlington 2d church had baptized 42, Keokuk 14 and Bloomfield 9. After the the close of the war and the beginning of the Kansas "Exodus" the colored population did not increase so rapidly as before, if indeed it did not decrease, but there is nevertheless work for the "Iowa Association." Rev. G. M. Davis of Keokuk was the first clerk.

1879 ... In 1879 the meeting was at Mt. Pleasant. Davis still clerk. Rev. J. H. Bandy was preaching at Bloomfield in connection with Keosauqua, and Peter Johnson at Ottumwa. In 1880 the anniversary was held at Ottumwa. Waterloo is not reported while Des Moines has a church of 13 members, Wm. Washington pastor. Baptisms 49, members 577, a gain of 140; average attendance of Sabbath Schools, 293. Keokuk entertained the Association in 1881. The statistics of a church at Keokuk called the "Pilgrim's Rest," are inserted in the Minutes, though it is said that it belongs to an Association in Missouri. There was reported from the statistics of 1880, a 3d Burlington church with 30 members; Davenport 3d 28, and Cedar Mines 35; also an unassociated church at Muchakinock with 75 members. J. Carter is reported pastor at Bloomfield, O. McClellan at Fort Madison, and John Smith at Mount Pleasant. The place of meeting in 1882 is not known. H. Applewhite of Davenport was clerk. Muchakinock has become connected with the body. Rev. G. W. Shelton was pastor at Burlington, Wm. Washington at Davenport, and Peter Johnson at Muchakinock. A church also appears to have been organized at Bedford. Rev. J. C. Foster was ordained at Bedford, March 3I, 1882, and was pastor of a church of 9 members at Clarinda, reported in the Southwestern Association.

1883 ... In 1883 the Iowa Association met at Burlington. Rev. C. R. Brookins, clerk. A church is enrolled called Cleveland, Isaac Johnson, pastor, and Centerville, J. H. Bundy (probably Bandy.) Rev. C.R. Brookins is pastor at Burlington, C. Martin at Keosauqua, A. W. Newsome at Ottumwa and M. South at Waterloo. Rev. G. M. Davis, pastor at Keokuk since 1878, has removed to Des Moines. Brother Brookins was still clerk in 1884. H. H. Williams, Moderator. Five new churches were added, viz.: Bedford, Carver, Clarinda, Excelsior and Marshalltown. Rev. R. Anthony was pastor at Carver and Excelsior, and reports 20 baptisms at each. Rev. O. McClellan has been at Fort Madison feeding the flock for five years. The name has been spelled in different ways but we use the last, which is probably the correct spelling. A. Johnson is pastor at Keokuk, and H. H. Williams at Muchakinock.

1885 ... In 1885 the meeting was with the Olivet Church, Des Moines. Rev. W. J. Carter preached the annual sermon, "and," the clerk says, "it was a good one." Rev. Amos Johnson was elected Moderator, C. R. Brookins, Recording Secretary, J. C. Gordon, Corresponding Secretary, John Smith, Treasurer and W. Washington, W. J. Carter and Jacob Dulin members of the Executive Board. We give a somewhat extended account of this meeting at Des Moines in 1885, as it will illustrate some of the methods of these people and afford, it may be, some profitable lessons for us all. Two new churches were enrolled, Cedar Rapids and Oskaloosa, Edward Wilson, of Rock Island, Illinois, was reported pastor of the first and J. W. Washington at Oskaloosa. The total membership of the body is 880. G. W. Clark, Burlington, Jacob Dulin, Des Moines, and J. Walker, Clarinda, seem to be new pastors. It was recommended that each church pay quarterly, a sum equal to 5 cents a member or $5.00 for each hundred members into the Missionary Treasury. The Corresponding Secretary was to "notify" each church of the amount due each quarter, and request that the same be sent to the Treasurer who shall forward a receipt to all churches so complying.

The minutes for 1885 indicate an earnest and intelligent working body, accustomed to expect its members to comply with its rules, and having a straight out way of bringing delinquents to time, witness the following minute: "Brothers W. M. Wood, C. R. Brookins and John Smith, absent at Roll Call, were ordered to pay fines, but after some statements by the brethren they were released from said fines." The meeting was enlivened by the presence of Dr. T. E. S. Scholes, appointed missionary to Africa, who made an able report on education which is printed in the minutes. He defines education as a drawing out or development, and in this sense views it in two forms, viz.: "Physical and mental education. The Scripture enjoins upon us as Christians to 'present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God. God requires the best that we are capable of producing. The production of a healthy, well developed body is regulated by laws, some of which we have been noticing, as temperance and exercise. It is incumbent upon us Christians to give heed to them if we expect to receive God's blessing now, and the 'well done' hereafter." But passing to the education of the mind, we give one or two brief extracts from this part of the report also. ''In the study of this branch we emerge from a lower to a higher plane, in as much as the mind is of more importance than the body. ** The mind scans the heavens, reads the stars, measures their distances, describes their movements: it dissects the earth into its componant parts, discovers its laws, presses them into the service of humanity; thus we have the mariner's compass, telegraphy, and thousands of other inventions. Since the mind, therefore, is of so much more importance than the body, how much more anxious we should be for its education and development. We know of no more pitiable spectacle than seeing a well dressed lady or gentleman, robed in the costliest apparel, decked with richest ornaments, possessing the most fascinating presence, but who in behavior and conversation exhibits a mind wrapped in the gloom of ignorance. ** But in turning our attention more particularly to the sources by which knowledge is imparted, we are impelled by a sense of right to place the pulpit in the first rank. No other educator is capable of exercising greater power for good or ill than it. The more competent it is, therefore, the more successfully will it discharge! its mission. ** A mind drawn out by knowledge and used by the Holy Ghost is what our pulpits need."

A very lively interest in missions seems to have marked this anniversary. In a report on missions, special mention is made of ''the teeming millions of Africa who hold out their helpless hands to us asking for the bread of life." The report says, "To these people, we are designated of God as the chief actors in their evangelization and must show ourselves equal to the high calling. ** We have opened our mouths unto the Lord in a way that draws upon us the expectant and hopeful attention of the world as it never was before. We must arise to the mark and meet this expectation. We must not disappoint this hope. If we fail now, we fail for all time. God will not permit his army to he held back because of us, He will lead us on with it, accomplishing the great work through and by us, or will lead over us and on to victory without us, leaving us behind, monuments to after-ages, of a stupid and disobedient people who came not up to the help of the Lord against the mighty." We record these words here as worthy of application, not only to our colored brethren, but that all of us may study with profit to our own souls, and perchance to the furthering of our work. In 1886 we find 20 churches, 12 pastors, 46 baptisms reported and 789 members. Fort Dodge and Knoxville Junction are new churches; and J. F. Caston, Henry Beacon and G. Perry are new pastors. Next after the Colored Baptists comes the German Baptist Association of Iowa.

As early as 1856 there was a German Baptist church at Muscatine with 54 members. Rev. C. Schoemaker pastor. German Baptist churches were organized from time to time at Davenport and other places, and became, some of them, connected with our Associations. But in 1880 we find the record of a German Association, comprising eight churches, with 7 pastors and 69 members. These churches were located at Burlington, Davenport, Elgin, Ellington, Fulton, Muscatine, Pleasant Valley and Rock Falls. The largest were Burlington with 125 members and an average Sunday School attendance of 208, and Muscatine with 133 members and a Sunday School average of 118.

In 1881 the value of church property was reported at $7,300; contributions for church expenses $2,965, and denominational beneficence $990.98. The average per resident member, $2.14, was greater by more than one dollar per member, than any of our American Associations. In 1882 eight German churches report 532 members and 81 baptisms. Burlington reports 49 baptisms and has increased to 187 members. Muscatine 17 baptisms and 144 members. The pastors are F. Hoelzen. Burlington, C. H. Keller, Davenport, Wm. Schunke, Elgin, H. Schroeder, Fulton, J. E. Engleman, Pleasant Valley, and Wm. Fashing, Rock Falls.

In 1883 there was the addition of a church at Steamboat Rock with 85 members; 58 baptisms were reported and 649 members. Rev. T. J. Denui is pastor at Steamboat Rock Church since 1879, and F. Hoelzen at Burlington since 1877. The number of baptisms in 1884 was 72, members 745.

In 1885 a church appears at Remsen with 10 members, F. Mueller, pastor. Fewer changes take place with the pastors of these, German churches than among those of our own nationality. We might profitably emulate their example in this respect. Rex. H. Hilzinger has been pastor at Muscatine since 1883. In 1885 we find 8 churches. 54 baptisms, and 796 members. Rev. G. Koopman is pastor at Fulton. Other pastors as in former years. Scandinavian Baptist Churches in Iowa.

Scandinavian Baptist Churches in Iowa

In 1877 Brother Sunderland, secretary of the State Convention, made this note of Scandinavian Churches. There was a church at Altamont, Shelby county, with 135 members. There were churches also at Atlantic, Council Bluffs, Benison, Kiron, Crawford county, one in Boone county and one in Allamakee. In 1878 the record is more complete. Altamont 135 members; Allamakee 40; Atlantic 15; Council Bluffs 40; Benison 20; one in Harrison county, 18; Hazzard, Cherokee county, 27; Kiron 130; New Sweden 15; Sioux City 15; and Swede Bend 38. Total, 11 churches and 439 members. In 1879, with about the same record, 5 of the churches belong to the Nebraska and Western Iowa Scandinavian Association. 1, the Village Creek, to the Illinois and Eastern Iowa, and 5, viz: Atlantic, Harrison county. New Sweden, Sioux City and Swede Bend, seem to be unassociated. The secretary acknowledged indebtedness to Prof. J. A. Edgren for the above statistics. The pastors in 1879 were P. H. Dam, Atlantic, C. Jensen, Council Bluffs, O. Malmsburg, Hazzard, J. Sjogren, Village Creek, and A. Jacobs Atlantic. For the next two years but little is reported.

In 1881 there were new churches reported at Burlington, Chariton and Swea. Rev, L. Johnson was pastor at Burlington, 30 members; Chariton, C. R. Abrahamson, 15; and Swea, Rev. Persson. S.A. Sandvall was pastor at Swede Bend, C. G. Roos at Denison, and J. Ahlstrom at Kiron.

In 1882 there were new churches at Alta, 7 members; Cedar Falls, 16; Des Moines 17; Forest City 60; and Meriden 23. Sixteen baptisms are reported and 648 members. Rev. L. Jacobson was pastor at Altamont, C.M. Nelson at Burlington, A. Lovegren at Council Bluffs, S. Morein at Des Moines and Swede Bend, E. Olson at Forest City, and J. M. Flodin at Village Creek. In 1884 most of the churches heretofore placed under the head of Scandinavian Churches appear in the

Swedish Baptist Association

In this Association 50 baptisms are reported and 648 members. Rev. H. A. Reichenbach is pastor at Council Bluffs, P. Stranberg at Swea, and C. Broms at Swede Bend. In 1885 the Swedish Association has grown to 17 churches, 11 pastors, 58 baptisms during the year, and 574 members.

Danish and Norwegian Association

In 1886 the Danish and Norwegian Association Appears with 7 churches, 46. baptisms, 3 pastors and 369 members. The churches are Alta, Atlantic, Altamont, Cedar Falls, Gilmore, Newell, and Pine Creek. Pastors C. Carlson, P. Jentoft, and Thomas Christiansen. For several years the State Convention and Home Mission Society have given special attention and liberal aid to this class of our citizens in the work of evangelization.