Dubuque and Turkey River Associations
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
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)
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.
|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 this Association!
Rev. T. S.
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, post office 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 Simmon’s 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.
Rev. Charles E. Brown
Rev. James Sunderland
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, Simmon’s
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.
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 Point.
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.
|Sister Elizabeth S.
Aitchison, wife of Rev. J. Y.
Aitchison, died in October 1860. Her maiden name was Frazee.
She was born in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. She was baptized in
Davenport by Rev. E. M. Miles, about 1854. Was married about
1857. “Had lived for six years a highly consistent Christian
life, and for three years and eight months a loving spouse and
helpmeet to her bereaved husband.” Her end was peace.
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, 1863, 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.
Lieut. Samuel Bates,
21st Regiment Iowa Volunteers, son of Rev. John
Bates, “was mortally wounded on the memorable 22nd
of May 1863 at Vicksburg, and died in a few days.
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.
wife of Rev. John Williams, one of the early Missionaries of
the Convention died in 1964
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 (Sand Spring).
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
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 Lord.”
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 “Delaware.”