Prior to 1855 all the Baptist
Churches in Iowa north of the Iowa River, and of a
line running through Des Moines, with the exception
of two or three churches in Boone county, belonged to
the Davenport Association, excepting also an
unassociated church at Waterloo with 20 members, and
one at Toledo with 15.
August 30, 1855, messengers from the
churches north of the south line of Jackson county
and of counties west, met at LaMotte, Iowa, for the
purpose of forming a new Association. Rev. T. S.
Griffith of Dubuque preached a sermon from Psalm
XC:17. Rev. John Bates of Cascade was chosen
Moderator, and M. A. Clark clerk. The churches
represented at this meeting were Bear Creek with 19
members, Bellevue 33, Cascade 65, Delaware 36, Delhi
61, Dubuque 54, Fairview 44, Kingston (West Cedar
Rapids) 16, LaMotte 60, Linn Grove 17, Makee 38,
Maquoketa 103, Marion 91, Quasqueton 24, Rossville
34, Shellsburg 22, West Union 20, and Yankee
settlement 26; total 769. The venerable Joshua
Currier was at the time pastor at LaMotte. Other
pastors were Luther Holmes, Bear Creek; John Bates,
Cascade; C. D. Farnsworth, Delhi; T. S. Griffith,
Dubuque, O. S. Harding, Fairview; O. A. Holmes,
Maquoketa; J. V. DeWitt, Marion; A. G. Firman,
Quasqueton; James Schofield, Rossville; Richard King,
Shellsburg and George Scott, Yankee Settlement. A. G.
Firman was by request of the Quasqueton Church
ordained at this meeting. Thus was launched up on the
sea of trial and of gracious ministry thirty-one
years ago the Dubuque Baptist Association. Two things
strike us as of special interest in the commencement
of this history: First, The large extent of territory
for the cultivation of which the new Association
became responsible, comprising, substantially, all
that part of the State north of the (now) main line
of the North Western Railroad. Second, The number of
prominent brethren connected with it. How has the
subsequent history of Baptists in Iowa, and in the
country at large been affected by the labors and
influence of Brethren Bates, Griffith, Holmes,
Schofield, Currier, King, Dewitt, Scott, and others
whose names are connected with the early history of
The second meeting of the Association
was held at Dubuque, October 3, 1856. In the absence
of the brother appointed to preach the annual sermon,
Rev. G. J. Johnson of Burlington preached, Rev. John
Bates was Moderator, Benjamin Rupert, clerk.
Strawberry Point was added to the list of churches,
and D. M. Root of Delhi, J. Woodward of Cedar Rapids
(Kingston Church), D. Rowley of Quasqueton and J. H.
Parmelee of West Union, appear among the pastors.
Rev. Samuel Hill, postoffice Waukon, appears also as
pastor of the Makee Church. He came from
Massachusetts and it seems, returned to that state in
1857. N. B. Homan seems to have been ordained about
the this time and is pastor at Simmons Creek,
which is a new Church with 21 members. Among the
delegates from the Strawberry Point Church are the
names of Alva Bush and James Sunderland, familiar
names to Iowa Baptist since. Dubuque mentions having
paid $900 during the year to Burlington University,
and that one of her members has been licensed to
preach and is studying at that institution. Baptisms
reported this year 59, churches 21, members 948.
Correspondence is opened with the Cedar Valley
Association, organized this year on the west. There
appears to be an unassociated church at Hopkinton
with 20 members. There is some evidence of revival.
The Association met at West Union.
Rev. C. E. Brown, Moderator, James Sunderland, clerk.
Brother Baldwin preached the introductory sermon. The
Hopkinton and Oran Churches were received. But in the
meantime the Linn Association has been formed on the
southwestern border, and the Marion, Linn Grove,
Simmons Creek, Fair View, Quesqueton,
Shellsburg and Kingston churches unites therewith,
leaving in this Association 16 churches, 54 have been
added by baptism, 90 by letter and there are 622
members. There is an unassociated Church at Epworth
with 16 members. James Kay is pastor at Hopkinton, L.
M. Newell at Makee Church, J. H. Ross at Oran and
Horace Holmes at Bear Creek. Rev. H. R. Wilber
appears as a visitor from the Des Moines Association.
Horace Holmes seems to have been ordained this year.
Rev C.E. Brown
Rev James Sunderland
The Fourth Anniversary was held at
Strawberry Point. Rev. L. M. Newell preached the
sermon, Rev. O. A. Holmes, Moderator and James
Sunderland, clerk. Rev. J. Y. Aitchison is pastor at
Delhi, where he reports 24 baptisms. He is also
pastor at Manchester, and the Manchester, Erie,
Westfield and Hardin churches are received into the
body. Yankee Settlement and Fairfield churches
reported extinct. It has been a year of unusual
revival and prosperity. Churches 18; pastors 10;
baptisms 138; membership 862. Cascade reports 20
baptisms, Delaware 11, Delhi 24, Dubuque 44, and
Strawberry Point 15.
Brother Sunderland writing to the
State Convention, mentions some remarkable
manifestations of Devine power, not only in
conversions, but in leading converts to scriptural
views of his kingdom and ordinances. Churches
were organized where there had been previously
neither Baptist minister nor members, and
converts have sent for a distant pastor, been
baptized and formed into a church, upon which
Salvation has continued to fall, evincing the power
of the Word and Sprit of God to awaken the conscience
and lead men into all truth.
June 10, 1859, the Association met at
Masquoketa. Rev. J. Y. Aitchison preached the annual
sermon, Rev. James Schofield Moderator protem. This,
if we mistake not, is the father of General Schofield
and of Rev. J. V. Schofield of St. Louis. Jesse
Clement of Dubuque was elected Moderator, James
Sunderland clerk. Five new Churches are received,
viz. Monmouth, North Bend, Iron Hill, Plum Creek and
Spring Brook. Three of these are the fruit of
revivals the present year, and the other two of the
previous year. A striking feature of our history is
the number of small Churches organized, never to
attain to anything more than a most precarious
existence, and in a few years to disappear from the
records: while on the other hand, the vitality and
tenacity of life of many of these feeble interests is
a marvel of grace. And even where they do not abide,
who can measure the good that may grow out of the
work of these fleeting years? There are now 23
Churches, 120 baptisms reported, and a total
membership of 1021. The largest part of the baptisms
are among the new churches just received into the
body. Monmouth reports 18, North Bend 12, Spring
Brook 40, and Iron Hill 11. There are but 9 pastors
within the bounds of the Association. These are John
Bates, James Schofield, Luther Holmes, S. Morton, and
Charles E. Brown. Rev. T. S. Griffith has removed to
Keokuk and became pastor, and Rev. C. Billings Smith
has succeeded him at Dubuque, and Rev. O. A. Holmes
left Maquoketa a year or so ago and is pastor of an
unassociated Church at Webster City. Rev. George
Scott is this year without charge at Strawberry
1860. The Association met at Delhi.
Rev. George Scott preached the sermon, John Bates
Moderator, Jesse Clement clerk. Two new Churches are
received, viz. Sand Spring in Delaware county, and
Waterville in Allamakee, the latter with 5 baptisms
and 11 members apparently never reported after this
meeting. There are now 25 churches and 1025 members.
The trial time is coming on, only one church reports
more than 5 baptisms. Vernon Springs with Rev.
Charles E. Brown as pastor reports 22. New pastors
this year are John Cummings at LaMotte and Maquoketa,
H. G. Davenport at North Bend, and Alva Bush at
Westfield (afterward Fayette). Also John Williams at
West Union. In the meantime, during 1860 the Turkey
River Association was organized, taking from the
north part of this field 12 churches with 352
members. The Dubuque Association has reached its
highest point as to numbers up to the time of writing
this sketch, but not necessarily in usefulness. Rev.
Dexter P. Smith is the agent of the State Convention.
Dexter P. Smith, D.D.
Friday, June 17th, 1861, the
Association met at Cascade. Rev. C. B. Smith preached
the sermon and was elected Moderator and Samuel
Skemp, of Dubuque, clerk. By the organization of the
new Association, on the north, cutting down the
territory of this about one-half, the number of
Churches is reduced to 16; reporting 62 baptisms and
595 members; though in the Convention records, for
the year 1861, the number of members is 683. There is
frequently a discrepancy between the numbers reported
in the Association and in the Convention Minutes.
This may be accounted for by the changes that have
taken place after the Association, and is more likely
to occur when the meeting of the Association is early
in the season as is the case with this. Rev. T. W.
Clark, who has lived at DeWitt, in the Davenport
Association since 1857, is preaching at Spring Brook
and reports 20 baptisms. The Waterford Church, in
Jackson county, and Worthington, Dubuque county are
received this year. Elder Cummings requested, for
Maquoketa, the privilege of withdrawing to unite with
the Davenport Association. The matter was referred to
a committee who reported, that as the
Association had been divided, the Maquoketa brethren
be requested to remain with us and strengthen our
hands. The report was adopted and the Maquoketa
Church has remained for a quarter of a century, one
of the strong supports of the Dubuque Association.
The Civil War having broken out, and become the
all-absorbing topic of consideration, Rev. J. Y.
Aitchison read a circular letter urging especially
that our patriotism be supplemented by prayer. Rev.
James Hill of Cascade is pastor of the Worthington
Church and reports 3 baptisms and 10 members.
1862. Met at Spring Brook. Rev. John
Bates preached the sermon, George Scott Moderator,
John Bates clerk, D. O. Montague treasure. Churches
15, pastors 7, baptisms 66, total memberships 580.
Rev. Elam D. Phillips is pastor at Spring Brook, and
they report 29 of the 66 baptisms; also at Maquoketa
where 12 have been baptized. Rev. John Bates writing
of this meeting, voiced the Missionary and the
Christian that he was when he said, Brethren,
we need more of the spirit of God, more of a
Missionary spirit, individual zeal, and enlarged
benevolence in sustaining Sabbath Schools, and a
better support could and ought to be given by the
Churches to those ministers who labor in word and
doctrine. Let us take heed that we are not absorbed
too much in war. We are Christians as well as
patriots. The first honor is to be self-denying and
ready to die as martyrs in the cause of Christ; the
next honor is to be self-denying and ready to die as
patriots in the cause of our county.
Met at LaMotte Friday, June 12, 1862,
sermon by rev. James Kay, John Bates Moderator, Jesse
Clement clerk. Churches 15, pastors 8, baptized 41,
total membership 648. At this meeting the writer of
these sketches first met with the Dubuque Association
as agent of the Iowa Baptist State Convention. On his
way to LaMotte he stopped over night with the family
of Elder John Bates at Cascade. Brother Bates had
gone on to LaMotte a day in advance. On entering the
home we found it wrapped in a cloud of sadness never
to be forgotten. Intelligence had just been received
of the first great assault on the fortifications at
Vicksburg. A breach had been made in the walls and
the company to which Brother Bates eldest son,
Samuel, belonged had fallen within the fortifications
upon the repulse of the Union forces. Whether the
noble young man had met immediate death or awaited
the tortures of a rebel prison was wholly uncertain.
We have never witnessed a deeper sorrow nor borne
with more noble Christian courage. In the
grief-stricken home were two beautiful young ladies
who afterward became the wives of two of our Foreign
Missionaries, Mr. Tympany and Mr. McLaurin of Canada.
At this meeting the 2d Dubuque Church appears upon
the records with 44 members, and Rev. A. Chapin soon
after becomes pastor. The name of the 1st Dubuque
Church continues upon the records for two or three
years without any report and then disappears. H. G.
Davenport is preaching at North Bend, J. Z. Zimmerman
at Spring Brook, and E. D. Phillips at Maquoketa.
1864. Manchester is the place of
meeting. Brother Phillips preached the sermon, Rev.
A. Chapin Moderator, and J. Z. Zimmerman clerk. Rev.
H. Samson has succeeded E. D. Phillips at Maquoketa,
and H. H. Half is preaching at Delhi, and Rev. T. W.
Clark at North Bend. Rev. J. Y. Aitchison has closed
a very successful pastorate of six years or more at
Delhi and Manchester, where he has baptized over 50
into the two Churches, which number now (1864) 43 and
38 respectively. It has been a year of very limited
spiritual fruitage, and great destitution. Only 11
baptisms are reported, 14 churches, and 550 members.
1865. This year the Annual meeting
was a Cascade, Elam D. Phillips Moderator, Jesse
Clement clerk, T. H. Bowen treasure. Rev. H. Samson
preached the annual sermon from Job 19:25. There are
now 13 Churches, 9 pastors, 28 baptisms reported, and
588 members. The Cascade and Manchester Churches show
the only signs of revival. Cascade reports 12
baptisms, Manchester 13. The decease is reported of
Rev. Luther Holmes of Monmouth. Born in Vermont, he
had removed first to New York, where he was
converted, under the ministry of Father John
Peck, and united with the Baptist Church at New
Woodstock, Madison county. He afterwards removed to
Ohio, and in or about 1853 to Jackson county, Iowa.
He had been in the ministry about 16 years. Rev. John
Bates, after 14 years labor at Cascade, has removed
with his excellent family to Canada. At this meeting
it was voted that one Church, each year, beginning
with the oldest in the Association, present a brief
history, to be, if practicable, printed in the
minutes. Brother Carlos Wilcot, a Licentiate from
Fulton, Illinois, is preaching at Spring Brook. Rev.
E. D. Phillips has removed to and is pastor at
Manchester, and Rev. James Kay has succeeded Brother
Bates at Cascade.
1866. Maquoketa entertains the
Association. Rev. A. Chapin preached the sermon,
Moderator James Kay, clerk Jesse Clement. The
Delaware Center, Masonville, and Epworth Churches are
received. The history of the Cascade Church appears
in the minutes. About 1845, Ira Blanchard of Delaware
county began to preach once a month. A Campbellite
minister coming about the same time, a Church was
formed called the Baptist Christian Church, evidently
intended to absorb the elements, Baptist and
Disciples, or Campbellites as they were known. As
might have been expected, this organization did not
survive, and on the 16th of May, 1846, the Baptist
Church of Cascade was organized with 9 members.
Brother Blanchard continued to serve the Church as
pastor until 1850, when he removed to California,
where he died in 1852. He was assisted at various
times at Cascade by Elders Morey of Iowa City, T. H.
Archibald of Dubuque, and Charles E. Brown of
Maquoketa. In July 1850 Rev. John Bates, just from
Ireland, became pastor and continued in faithful
labor for 14 years. In the year now under review,
1866, there have been in the Association 69 baptisms,
of which number Cascade reports 28, Delaware Centre
12, Masonville 16, and Manchester 8, the whole number
of members is 643. Among the pastors appear Rev.
James Hill at Epworth and Worthington, J. Carrington
at Delaware Centre, and Isaac C. Jones at South Fork
1867. Dubuque is the place of
meeting. Rev. James Kay preached the sermon, Rev. E.
D. Phillips, Moderator, Jesse Clement is still clerk.
Brother Phillips is about to go to Home Mission work
in Nebraska, where in 1870 or 1871 he appears under
commission of the Home Mission Society at Tecumseh.
He soon after removed to Eastern New York, where he
is still serving in the Kingdom and
Patience of our Devine Lord. Revs J. Carrington
and Isaac C. Jones also soon removed to Nebraska.
Brother Jones served the Home Mission Society at
various places from 1866 to 1871, and Brother
Carrington was under commission of the Society at
Peru in 1871. It is interesting to follow our Iowa
brethren thus and trace their activities into other
states. In the year now sketched, Rev. N. Whitmore
has been preaching at LaMotte, J. C. Johnson at
Epworth and Wm. E. Reed at North Bend. Maquoketa is
without a pastor. Rev. H. Samson having resigned more
than a year ago. This meeting is noted for the number
of representatives of our Denominational Societies
present. Revs. G. J. Johnson, S. M. Osgood and Thomas
Powell are of the number. A period of great activity
and large planning has followed upon the close of the
war, and claims of the different Societies are being
warmly and successfully pressed.
1868. The Association gathering is at
Delaware Centre. Rev. A. Chapin, Moderator, Caleb
Saddler, clerk. Rev. J. F. Childs, being present in
the interest of the State Convention, preached the
opening sermon, both appointees being absent. The
Association mourn the decease on the previous
4th of July of Rev. James Kay, pastor of the
Church at Cascade. Brother Kay was born in
Lancashire, England; was for a time on the city
mission staff of the City of Manchester. Coming to
this country in 1858, he became pastor of the Little
Church of Delaware, in Delaware county, Iowa,
preaching also at Hopkinton, and at Sand Spring. In
1864 he succeeded Elder John Bates as pastor at
Cascade, where he labored with great acceptance until
laid by his last sickness. He is much lamented and
greatly honored. His life was holy, his
ministry a great success, his death triumphant, his
memory blessed. There were this year 15
Churches in the Association, 25 baptisms reported and
673 members. The history of the Maquoketa Church was
given. Organized in 1848, the first pastor was
Charles E. Brown. He was succeeded in 1851 by Rev.
George Scott, and he by Rev. O. A. Holmes in 1853 or
1854. Brother Holmes continues 5 or 6 years, and 1859
removed to Webster City to begin many years of most
useful service in the newer fields of the upper Des
Moines and Iowa Valley Associations.
In May, 1859, the house of worship of
the Maquoketa Church was entirely destroyed by fire.
The lot had to be sold to pay a debt, and dark days
set in. The day of adversity was set over against the
day of prosperity. But the Church, though cast down,
was not destroyed. The last year of Brother Holmes
pastorate the Church had reported 115 members. In
1861 they were reduced to 74. Subsequently they
prospered again and were able, in 1867 or 1868, to
purchase of the Presbyterians a comfortable brick
building, in which again to keep house for the
1869. The Association met again at
Cascade. Rev. William Aitchison, Jr. preached the
annual sermon, and was elected Moderator, and Carlos
Wilcox, of LaMotte, clerk. Fifteen Churches, 9
pastors, 44 baptisms reported and 623 members.
Maquoketa with Henry L. Field ordained as pastor and
17 baptisms to report, and North Bend with 20
baptisms indicate the only revivals. Worthington has
completed a house of worship. Delhi is building, and
Monmouth is gathering material. Manchester has given
up the hall which they have occupied for four years,
but which is used through the week for a dancing
hall. They are discouraged, but have secured another
room and are struggling on.
Brother Carlos Wilcox has been
ordained at Spring Brook, and is preaching also at
LaMotte, and Rev. J. A. Abbott has been ordained at
South Fork Church (Sand Spring). Rev. John Brown has
become pastor at Cascade, beginning some time in
1868. The history of the Delaware Church was given
this year. Organized June 30, 1844, by Rev. Ira
Blanchard. Its subsequent pastors were John Bates
(supplying the Cascade), Luther Holmes, Hiram Barden,
C. D. Farnsworth, and James Kay. This was always a
small country Church, never becoming strong; it
nevertheless occupied a prominent place in the
pioneer religious work in this region. It is located
on the line between Delaware and Jones Counties at
Delaware Centre, now bearing the simple name
~Historical sketches of Iowa Baptists;
by S.H. Mitchell; Burlington, Iowa: Burdette
537 pgs.; Page 197 208
- transcribed for Clayton co. IAGenWeb by Constance