Mills and Fremont County line, Iowa

Waubonsie Church
(Tabor, Iowa)

The Waubonsie Church was the first religious organization recorded in the new Mills County, in 1852. It appears on the courthouse records as Wahayhbonsy Methodist Episcopalian Church. The first church was built in 1854, but for some reason was never dedicated. Lumber for the building was sawed at the Wolf sawmill. The first Pastor was Rev. Isaac Kelly.

Source: Mindy Kratzer

The World-Herald's News Service, 1938
"Old Waubonsie Church is Saved for Community"
Tabor, Iowa - Historic Old Waubonsie church, five miles northwest of here, will be saved for the descendants of the Pioneers who built it. Assurance that these traditions will not die came recently when A. J. Buckingham acquired the old building from the Methodist conference. Mrs. Buckingham and Mrs. Estes are daughters of "Uncle Billy" Wolf, who gave the land, and lumber, for the first church. Mr. Buckingham acted for residents of the community. The church is on the site of one of the first camp meetings in southwest Iowa.

The original congregation was the first religious group in Mills county. At the time, the town of Glenwood was known as Coonsville. In 1849, religious meetings were held in a log cabin on the Abe Thomas farm. In 1850, William Simpson, cousin of Bishop Matthew Simpson, conducted services every two weeks in a log house on the farm now owned by the Manford Linville family.

Waubonsie People
Site for the church was given by W. M. Wolf, known as "Uncle Billy". The first church was erected in 1854, but for some reason was never dedicated. Lumber for the building was sawed at the Wolf sawmill. The first pastor was Rev. Isaac Kelly. The first funeral held in the church was that of "Uncle Billy".

Waubonsie Church
The present church was erected in 1886, near where the old church stood. The architect and builder was Amos Dean. The church closed for several years in the early 1970's. It was re-stored and re-opened in 1975 through donations. When it re-opened it was named Waubonsie Bible Church.

Notes from Mills County Cemetery book, 1982
Waubonsie Cemetery is located about seven miles south of Glenwood on county road L45 or about six miles northwest of Tabor, in Lyons Township, NE 1/4 of Section 24. William Wolfe gave an acre of land for Waubonsie Church site some of which may be the cemetery. The church and cemetery were named for Chief Waubonsie who lived and was given a tree burial in the hills south of the church. Many burial sites are unmarked. The oldest stone is for Arthur, son of S & N Boyd who died 21 April 1857 at the age of ten years and ten months.

Some time ago a newspaper had interesting articles about Matilda (Hanks) Utterback Anthony who passed away in 1863. She was a distant relative of Abraham Lincoln's mother. There is a small stone which marks her burial site.

The original church built in 1852 was destroyed in 1864 after it had been used as a hospital during a smallpox epidemic in the county during the Civil War. It is believed there are a number of unmarked burials of victims of this epidemic. (Submitted by Deb Smith)

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Page updated on May 17, 2017 by Karyn Techau