Pages 401-408


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 year and 437 members. The Burlington 2d church had baptized 42, Keokuk 14 and Bloomfield 9. After 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.

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 31, 1882, and was pastor of a church of 9 members at Clarinda, reported in the Southwestern Association.

In 1883 the Iowa Asssciation 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.

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 be held back hecause 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 witli 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 1886 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.

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, Denison, 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; Denison 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. 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.

Transcribed For Cass County by Cheryl Siebrass, February 3, 2022 from
Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists by S. H. Mitchell, Burlington, Iowa: Burdette Co., 1886, pg. 401-408.

Copyright © 1996 The IAGenWeb Project      
IAGenWeb Terms, Conditions & Disclaimer