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 Delaware County, Iowa  

 Church & Religious Directory



Universalist Church, 1878

Burrington  (Manchester)



   The first sermon in Manchester was delivered in the Summer of 1859, in the second story of a brick building, on the corner of Butler and Franklin streets, then known as "Burrington Hall," by the Rev. Mr. Dennis, who was then living in Dubuque. Efforts were made at that time for continued services, but owing to the small number of resident Universalists, the efforts proved unsuccessful, and they had but occasional sermons until the Winter of 1864, when arrangements were made with the Rev. Joy Bishop, known in Delaware County as "Father Bishop," to preach every alternate Sabbath. These services were continued until the summer of 1865, in the Congregational Church, the last meeting of the series being held in the open air, directly in front of the church, because the key to the church could not be found.


   At this meeting, a few of the most zealous friends of the cause first originated the idea of building a Universalist Church in Manchester, but the idea was not carried into execution until several years later.


   The next regular preaching was commenced in the Spring of 1868, in a room known as Belknap's Hall, by the Rev. Henry Jewell. A Constitution, consisting of seven liberal articles for the government of the society, was adopted at a meeting held at Belknap's Hall, June 20, 1868, to which fifty persons subscribed their names as members. The Rev. Henry Jewell continued preaching every Sabbath until September 28, 1869.


   On the 30th day of March, 869, a meeting was held at Burnsides' Hall, for the purpose of deciding the question in regard to building a church edifice. A subscription paper was started, and $3,000.00 pledged for that purpose; but it being the impression that a suitable edifice could not be built for less than $5,000.00, H. M. Congar, E. R. Congar, Rev. Henry Jewell, Thomas Toogood, Gilbert Yeoman, A. M. Sherwood, Hiram Babcock, Jacob Hoag, T. Crosby, E. J. Congar, R. G. Clifford, J. Gilbert and R. W. Tirrill pledged themselves to raise the subscription to $5,000.00. Messrs. N. Denton, A.M. Sherwood, G. Yeoman, T. Crosby and R. W. Tirrill were appointed a Building Committee. The society was incorporated under the laws of the State, May 4, 1869; Clark Bliss, Sr., Thomas Toogood, H. M. Congar, A. M. Sherwood, E. M. Tomlinson, E. R. Congar, L. S. Bemis and E. Hoag being the corporators.


   The first officers under the incorporation were: E. M. Tomlinson, President; Clark Bliss, Sr. and James P. Robertson, Vice Presidents; E. R. Congar, Treasurer; R. W. Tirrill, Secretary.


   The present edifice was commenced May 10, 1869, and completed May 7, 1871, at a cost of $8,030.44. The dedicatory services were conducted by Rev. J. W. Hanson, of Chicago. Rev. E. R. Wood was the first regular Pastor, commencing his ministrations in September, 1871, and continuing until September, 1873.


    The next Pastor was Rev. W. J. Hicks, of Strawberry Point, who preached here every alternate Sunday for six months. For nearly three years following, the society remained inactive, with the exception of the Ladies' Society, through whose exertions the former Pastor, Rev. E. R. Wood, was induced to return and re-organize the church, which was done June 4, 1877. The number received into the church on this and the succeeding Sunday was twenty-three. The church officers elected were: S. W. Green, President; R. W. Tirrill, Clerk; Mary Hoag, Treasurer; E. S. Congar, Adaline Tomlinson and Seth Brown, Trustees; Seth Brown and R. W. Tirrill, Deacons. They were elected for one year, and are the present incumbents. The church and society are out of debt and in good condition.


    The Sunday School was organized 1864, with R. W. Tirill Superintendent. The Ladies Society was organized in 1867, and is somewhat noted for its broad liberality.



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa, Published by Western Historical Company, Successors to H. F. Kett & Co., Chicago., Illinois, 1878.; page 502-503

~ contributed by: Debbie Clough Gerischer for Delaware County IAGenWeb

~ Transcribed by: Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb

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