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Pioneer Settlers of Monroe Co - James Sellers (1828 - 1912)


Posted By: DJ Scieszinski
Date: 11/6/2016 at 13:25:45

THE ALBIA UNION, Friday, July 1, 1904


J. C. Sellers Talks of Pioneer Days before the I. C. C. at Albia June 23

It is with satisfaction that I consider the many changes that have been made since the state meeting that was held here in 1868. I came here in 1851, and taught school here that winter in a small frame school house that stood east of here about half way from here to the Central depot. There was a little band of disciples here who then held their meetings in the school house above mentioned, and later on built a small frame church about one block south of this building. In 1886 the state meeting was held in Des Moines in the little brick church down on Cherry street, if my memory serves me correctly. I attended that meeting traveling from here to Des Moines on horse-back as I lived here then.

Near the close of the meeting and after the question of location for the next annual meeting had been settled I got up and made a request that the meeting be held at Albia in two years from that time; and the result was we got the meeting in 1868 and it was a good one. We had our church all finished up, but it was rather small for such a meeting as we had; but we cut some poles and brush and made an arbor in front of the building that we might the better entertain the large crowds that came pouring in from all directions. We had but one railroad here then, the C. B. & Q. but the people came in great crowds as we were not much use to railroads then and did not depend on them, if we wanted to go anywhere we took a team and wagon, or saddled a horse and struck out whether it was ten, twenty five or one hundred miles. It made but little difference we “got there just the same.” At that time our gatherings were mass meetings and not conventions as now, and everybody that could possibly go was in attendance; therefore we had a wonderful gathering here at that time. It was estimated that there were 1,000 visitors in Albia on that occasion. You wonder how we cared for all that crowd. Well, I'll tell you, everybody in Albia opened their houses to accommodate the immense gathering. All denominations said, send us some of your visitors and we will care for them, and they did. I was on the reception committee and with others went with the people as they came and placed them in their homes. We took muslin and made large sacks or ticks and filled them with straw, or more generally with prairie hay, which was more plentiful in those days. We put those on our floors and put the folks down in long rows to sleep and we all had a good time. The meetings were then held over Sunday and usually the pulpits of all the churches of the town where these meetings were held were filled by some one of our preachers on Sunday. There were not many church buildings here at that time; but I remember N. A. McConnell preached in the M.E. church on Sunday during that occasion. It is with much pleasure that I consider the many changes that have taken place since then. Now we have railroads all over Iowa, and it is a source of much satisfaction that religious work has kept pace with other advancement and improvements. We now have a very large number of disciples in Iowa and very many fine church buildings. This one we occupy now is a great improvement over the small frame building occupied at that time, but brethren we must not overlook the fact that there is a great field for work in Iowa, and that on account of the great opportunities for doing work for the Master that the duties and responsibilities are correspondingly great that if we shall fulfill the mission intended for us, we must be up and doing. If we do not occupy as good stewards we will subject ourselves to censure. When the good Master comes and we are called upon to render an account of our stewardship, how will it be with us my brother, my sister, what are we doing? Are we doing all we can, shall we so live that it shall be said of us well done thou good and faithful servant thou hasty been faithful over a few things I will make the ruler over many.

I was highly gratified when it was decided to hold the convention next year at Des Moines and also to hold over Sunday. I think it is the proper thing to do, especially as next year is our jubilee year. We should come up next year with a good report both spiritually and financially. May God help us all.
J. C. Sellers

NOTE: James Crawford Sellers: Born: January 14, 1828, Gerard County, KY; Died: May 10, 1912, Oskaloosa, IA; Burial: Ottumwa Cemetery, Ottumwa, Iowa


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