REV. GEORGE D. STEWART, D.D.
STEWART, WALKER, HOLLOWELL
Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 4/16/2022 at 11:26:29
Rev. George D. Stewart, D. D., who for fifty-five years devoted his life to the Christian ministry the greater part of this time being spent in promoting the work of the Presbyterian church in Iowa, resigned on the 1st of January, 1904, his pastorate in Fort Madison after twenty-seven years' connection therewith and is now living in the enjoyment of a rest well-merited. However, his life, growing broader spiritually and mentally year by year, still gives out of its rich stores, wisdom and experience, and his counsel is yet sought by many. His influence has long been a potent power for good in Iowa, and will continue after he has passed away for "Our echoes roll from soul to soul, and grow forever and forever."
Rev. Dr. Stewart is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred at Jenkintown, near Philadelphia, in Montgomery county, on the 30th of December, 1824. His boyhood was spent there and his early education was obtained in the Abington Friends' school. Subsequently he entered the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School, of New Jersey, completing his course in that institution in September, 1842, and is now one of the oldest living graduates of that famous institution of learning. He is likewise a graduate of Lafayette College, at Easton, Pennsylvania, of the class of 1845, and his literary training was supplemented by preparation for the ministry as a student in Princeton Theological Seminary, where he completed his studies in April, 1849. The previous year he had been licensed to preach and on leaving the seminary he immediately entered upon the active work of the ministry his first charge being a missionary field at Conquest, Cayuga county, New York, October, 1849, where he remained for two years. While there, in April, 1850, he was ordained by the Presbytery of Steuben, Synod of Western New York, at Port Byron. he then accepted a call from the First Presbyterian church of Bath, New York, where he labored as pastor of that church for eight years.
In the fall of 1859, Rev. Dr. Stewart came to Iowa to seek a drier climate for throat trouble, accepting the charge of the missionary circuit comprising West Point, Sharon, Pilot Grove, Primrose, Dover and Franklin in Lee county, Iowa. He continued that work for four and a half years. The minister, whose pastoral duties are now confined within a small circuit owing to the condensed population of our towns and cities, little realizes the arduous labors that devolve upon the pioneer minister, who braved the storms of winter and the hot summer's sun in order to carry the message of salvation into frontier districts, to proclaim the glad tidings of great joy in pioneer homes or to speak words of consolation and sympathy at the death bed. With marked consecration to his chosen field of labor, putting forth every effort in his power to bring the world into harmony with divine teachings and principles. Dr. Stewart rode for miles on horseback over a country where homes were widely scattered and where the journey was ofttimes fraught with danger as well as discomfort. His visits were eagerly welcomed and to this day his name is lovingly spoken in many a household, which he visited in pioneer times.
His next charge was the First Presbyterian church at Burlington, Iowa, where he remained for six and a half years, meeting with marked success and then accepted a call from the First Presbyterian church at Omaha, Nebraska, where he labored for a similar period, trebling the church membership. In June, 1872, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by Hanover College, Indiana. In 1877 he was called to the pastorate of the Union Presbyterian church at Fort Madison, Iowa, entering on his duties on the 1st of April, of that year, and remained as pastor until January 1, 1904, when after a continuous service of twenty-seven years he resigned and is now leading a retired life. Fifty-five years he has given to the work of the ministry and his labors have not been denied the full harvest nor the aftermath. Every church with which he was connected made a substantial progress, growing in spiritual growth and extending the various church activities. Under his pastorate the present house of worship at West Point was erected and church edifice at Fort Madison was also built. Another material evidence of his labors is shown in the cemetery and church grounds at Sharon. The land was purchased through his instrumentality and the church located there. Upon the cemetery a large sum of money has been expended, amounting probably to about $85,000 the gift of the Seeley family according to the expressed wish of the youngest son and brother, George Seeley, and although this is a country cemetery the cities of the state can display no more beautiful resting place for the dead. The church at Primrose is also the result of the labors of Dr. Steward, the First Presbyterian minister who preached there. Under his careful guidance and consecrated labors his congregations have developed a spiritual strength that has been a most potent element for good in the various communities mentioned. At length after more than a half century's active connection with the ministry, of which forty-five years have been passed in Iowa, and Nebraska. Rev. Dr. Stewart was honorably retired by his presbytery, at his own request. He still officiates occasionally, however, in the pulpit and at funerals and at weddings in response to the demands of those who have come to love him and desire his ministerial services on these sacred occasions.
Dr. Stewart was married in Fort Madison, Iowa, October 4, 1864, to Miss Emily Stewart Walker, the eldest daughter of Dr. J. C. Walker, one of the pioneers of this city who came to Lee county in 1836. Their union was blessed with one son and three daughters: George B., who is a practicing attorney of Fort Madison; Helen Walker, who died at Omaha, Nebraska, at the age of five years, her remains being interred in the city cemetery at Fort Madison; Anna residing with her parents in this city; and Miriam, now the wife of T. P. Hollowell, Jr., of Fort Madison. Mrs. Stewart's parents, grandmother and great-grandfather were pioneers of Lee county, coming to Lee county, May, 1834. The maternal grandmother of Mrs. Stewart was Mrs. Emily Stewart, widow of Dr. Abram Stewart, who was assistant surgeon in the United States army, and was stationed at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, as early as 1809. He resigned his position in the army to enter upon the private practice of medicine in and near St. Louis, making his home at Florissant, a suburb of that city. There upon the 20th of January, 1820, Martha Maria Stewart, the mother of Mrs. George D. Stewart, was born. Dr. Joel Calvin Walker, the father of Mrs. George D. Stewart, was born in Springfield, Ohio, February 7, 1812, his parents having removed to that city from Rockbridge county, Virginia. He studied medicine in Circleville, Ohio, and afterward attended lectures in Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia. For a number of years he practiced his chosen profession and then retired. He held a number of leading local offices in Lee county, Iowa, and was a prominent and influential citizen here, making his home in Fort Madison until 1888, when he passed away at the age of seventy-six years. His widow still resides in Fort Madison. The Union Presbyterian church of Fort Madison was organized in 1838 with a charter membership of seventeen and seven of this number were members of the Walker and Stewart families. Mrs. George D. Stewart was born in Fort Madison, Iowa, and acquired her early education in the private schools and public schools of Fort Madison, and in Denmark Academy, in Lee county, the oldest incorporated educational institution of the state. She afterward attended for three years, the Female Seminary at Steubenville, Ohio, where she was graduated with the class of 1860. She has been a most able, helpful and sympathetic assistant to her husband in all of his work and throughout Lee county the names of Dr. and Mrs. George D. Stewart are revered. Nature bestowed upon them many of her rare gifts. They possess minds of broad compass and industry that have brought forth and developed the talents which they received. Their humanitarian spirit and kindly sympathy have been continually manifest in their relations to their fellowmen and have made them honored and respected wherever they have gone.
Dr. and Mrs. Stewart spent three of the early months of 1904 at San Diego and Los Angeles, California, with great pleasure and profit to health. While this volume is passing through the press, they are arranging for a trip to the Southern Mediterranean in "the Bible Student's Cruize," on the White Star steamer, "Arabic." If permitted to carry out their purpose, they will visit Southern Spain, Gibralter, Algiers, Walta, Athens, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Palestine, Egypt, Italy, England and Scotland. This trip which Dr. Stewart has long desired to make will be a suitable and very pleasant conclusion to his many years of labor, and will show that as he enters his eighty-first year sufficient health, energy and courage remain to enable him to undertake, with Mrs. Stewart's companionship, a journey over the Atlantic ocean of 15,000 miles and which will take them from the center of this continent to visit the shores of Europe, Asia and Africa.
BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW OF LEE COUNTY
CHICAGO, HOBART PUBLISHING COMPANY – 1905
Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1905
REV. GEORGE D. STEWART, D.D. Image
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