Vinton Eagle, Vinton, Iowa
July 13, 1909
CELEBRATES THEIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Parker's Grove Baptist church
Fittingly Observed Their 50th Anniversary Saturday and Sunday
Following is a brief history of one of the pioneer churches of Benton county, the
anniversary of which was celebrated last Saturday and Sunday:
In August in the year 1858 the Baptist people of Parker's Grove under the leadership of
Elder Chapin and Elder King called a meeting to consider a plan of organizing a Baptist
church at the Grove.
On the 26th day of the month they met pursuant to call. The meeting was called to order
by Rev. R. King and the matter was discussed by the brethren and sisters who adopted
the following resolution:
Whereas, We, the undersigned, members of the Baptist denomination deem it to be our
duty to do all in our power for promoting the cause of Christ in the world, and
especially in this county, and believing that by uniting together in a church capacity
we can best promote that object.
Therefore, Resolved, 1st - That we organize into a church to be called Parker's Grove
Regular Baptist Church.
2d. - We elect Brother L. W. Pangborn deacon and Bro. Geo. King, clerk of the church,
and Elder Richard King as pastor.
The undersigned names are as follows:
Levi W. Pangborn,
Mary A. King,
Mary A. Neal,
W. L. Brockman,
C. W. Conner,
The first pastor, Elder R. King, was a man of old English type, one with iron
constitution and strong convictions; quick to resent a wrong, but ready for
reconciliation. He was a staunch republican, abolitionist and probitionist (sic). He
was one that was not afraid to preach Christ and him crucified, and he was one who took
his political beliefs into the pulpit. He was quite an organizer, and in that perhaps
did more to build up the cause of Christ in this county than any other man of his day.
He lived at Parker's Grove and preached at different points. A man who would walk
through mud and rain to preach to two people. He preached for this church from the time
of its organization until he received a commission as chaplain for the 20th Iowa
volunteer regiment then in the field near Vicksburg. He then severed his connection
with the church and left it without a leader.
The church in 1865 called Elder Zimmerman to be its pastor. He labored with them one
year after which Elder Kennedy supplied once a month, until in August 1867, M. Hayden
accepted a call to the pastorate. The church felt him to be a man of God. His service
with the church was brief, the Master having called him to a better home. He was buried
in Parker's Grove cemetery.
Elder Shirley next came the church and served from 1869 to 1871. During the period that
the church was without a regular pastor Elder J. W. Thompson acted as supply dividing
his time between Shellsburg, Palo and Parker's Grove churches. In 1873 Elder Chapin
became pastor. He served one year and was followed Elder Daniels who also served one
year. Elder Allmont served the church as pastor from March 1876 to 1877.
At a meeting of the church held Sept. 17, 1876, it was moved and carried to raise money
to repair the church building. The sum of $31.50 was raised; later other money was
raised and the church put in good condition. Bro. John Neal and Bro. William Marchant
was the committee to oversee the work. We were blessed and the work was completed and
the church cleaned and made ready for service. The fire for heating the water was built
out of doors under an old kettle. One of those doing work, before dinner, dipped the
burning wood into the kettle of water and threw it up against the corner of the
building. But the fire not being altogether out the church took fire and burned to the
On June 2d a meeting was called to consider the question of rebuilding and it was
decided in the affirmative. After ascertaining the cost of the new building Bros. Simon
Neal, William Marchant and O. B. Barion? were chosen as the building committee. The
stove now in use was donated by Rathbone & Co., of New York through Mr. Churchill, of
During the fall and winter the spirit of rival broke upon the people and many found the
Savior and later became fruit bearers in his service.
Later the meeting house in which we are now worshipping was completed and words are
inadequate to tell the good things that have taken place here. We only desire that we
may continue to be a soul-saving institution.
From January, 1877, to January 1879, we were without a regular pastor. At this time
Elder R. King came again to the church and served it until June, 1884. then came Elder
Bowers and Bro. John G. Wirth who each acted as supply for about six months. D. L.
Clouse served as pastor for two years. During the summer of 1889 Elder R. King served
as supply and in December of the same year Rev. A. T. Shortess began his work for the
Lord. He served most earnestly until May, 1895. D. Bancroft served as pastor for two
years. He was followed by Elder Byram, who labored with us from April, 1898 to August,
1900. In January, 1901, Rev. William Morrison began his pastorate and served for three
years. Rev. Fred Beyl then served as pastor for six months. Frank Pelton worked with us
for two years. W. H. Stickle began his work in July 1907, and labored for a year. Our
present pastor, Rev. F. Ward, came to us in November, 1908.
Thus in brief is a history of one of the pioneer churches of Benton county. Many
changes in its membership have occurred during this half century period. It has had
many victories and much vicissitude and the membership today are faithfully following
in the footsteps of the pioneers of fifty years ago.
Excerpts from the Cedar Valley Times, Vinton, Iowa
August 22, 1958, page 6
Parker's Grove Centennial
SHELLSBURG - The Parker's Grove Baptist church of Shellsburg will observe its
centennial Saturday and Sunday Aug. 23 and 24...
On August 26, 1858, 23 members of the Parker's Grove community voted to organize the
Parker's Grove Regular Baptist church.
Milo Pratt, who was neither a Baptist nor a member of the church, gave two acres of
land to be used as a building site and cemetery.
During the winter if 1859 and 1860 the group erected a church and held its first
service on March 31, 1860, with Elder R. King as pastor. Rev. King served until called
to service in the Civil War.
On May 31, 1877, a spark from a clean-up fire ignited the building and the church was
destroyed while the men were home for lunch.
The congregation rebuilt on the same location with many major improvements since added-
a basement in 1934; stained glass windows in 1946 and an electronic organ in 1958.
August 22, 1974
Parker's Grove Baptist Church will observe 116th birthday.
Parker's Grove Baptist church was organized in 1858, with 27 charter members. Services
were held in homes while members panned and built the "meeting house" first used March
31, 1860. The first pastor was Elder Richard King, staunch Republican, abolitionist and
prohibitionist, who later served a chaplain of the 20th Iowa Volunteers in the War
Between the States.
The church building burned May 31, 1877 and was rebuilt immediately at a cost of $500
to the parishioners. A women's society was organized in the early 1890's to "aid the
pastor, each other and the needy." The first Vacation Bible School was held in June,
Over 300 have joined the original 27 members in the years since the church's beginning
and at least seven have gone into full time Christian service.
Feb. 29, 2000
Parker's Grove church completes new addition
by Steve Meyer
Shellsburg - Congregation members of the Parker's Grove Church in Shellsburg broke
ground for a 40 by 28 two story addition to their church in August, 1999.
The new addition features a walk-in basement and a ramp to the sanctuary that is ADA
compliant. An enlarged sanctuary and fellowship area, and handicap restrooms are part
of the addition. The cost of the addition will be $110,000 according to the church
spokesman. Church members themselves are doing the interior work. The church has a
congregation of 45 members
A gift from John and Arlene Meek, who were members of the church and are now deceased,
paid for most of the addition.
Parker's Grove is one of the original settlements in Benton county. It was named after
Samuel K. Parker who was the first settler in the area in 1840.