The photo is annotated: "My grandmother Smith Walters played the piano at this church. Tom Barnhart donated the land for the church. Mrs. Marvin "Mae" Smith played by ear. Helen Walters Jennings was her granddaughter."
Little is known about this church and the edifice no longer exists, having been torn down or moved some 30 years ago. It was located in Section 23, on the current Yellowstone Rd. a short distance from the intersection of that road and Skip Level Road. County school No. 6 was located a short distance south of the church in Section 26. This area was locally known as the Emerson neighborhood and the school often referred to as the Emerson school.
The school is marked on the 1886 Warner & Foote Plat map, but not the church. In 1886 the land was owned by J.H. Jones. By 1902, the church is marked on the Geo. A. Ogle Plat map and the land is owned by G.T Barnhart.
The 1904 Huebinger & Company Plat map shows the Emerson church in the SW Quarter of Section 23.
In 1914 the Webb Publishing Co. Plat map marked the church, the land owner being George Barnhart. The church is still shown on the Rockford Map Publishers, Inc. 1970 thru 1974 Plats, but their 1977 publication no longer shows the church.
Clues to the denomination of the church come from the 1895 Iowa State Census. One of the questions asked in this enumeration was religious affiliation. Browsing the images of this census for families living in the Emerson neighborhood shows a fair number of persons indicated either United Brethren or Cumberland Presbyterian. George T. Barnhart gave his religion as United Bretheran (U.B.) so it is very possible that the Emerson church was U.B.
Anyone with further information about the Emerson church is urged to contact the Clayton co. coordinator.
~photo contributed by Helen Jennings
~background info. researched by S. Ferrall from the following sources:
1) Historic Map Works website
2) 1895 Iowa State census images Family Search website.
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