Churches of Grundy County
First Religious Service Held In Grundy Center In 1857August 5 marks the 120th anniversary of the first church service in Grundy county.
Altho the boundary line of the county was established by the Iowa Third General Assembly in 1851, the first white men--migrant trappers and westbound settlers--probably tramped across the county as early as the 1840s.
The first settler, William D. Peck, did not locate in the county until the fall of 1853, building his cabin in what is now Fairfield township.
A few months later John Freal settled in Black Hawk township. Thomas Hoxie and C. F. Clarkson arrived in 1855.
And with these men came religion.
The first recorded sermon by an ordained minister in the county was preached by Rev. Bethuel Holcomb on August 5, 1857, before a congregation of early pioneers gathered in a log cabin in the vicinity of Grundy Center.
The first church organized in Grundy county was the First Methodist Episcopal of Grundy Center, formed in 1862 with seven members, among them Mr. and Mrs. Lucius Clark. The pastor was Rev. Van Anda.
That was 115 years ago.
Soon settlement churches sprang up in all corners of the county.
A Methodist class was established at Beaman in 1863 with Rev. W. Dudley the circuit minister.
East Friesland, the German Presbyterian church in German township, was organized in 1865. The Rev. John Arends was its first minister.
Several other Grundy county churches were established in the late 1860s.
Ivester Church of the Brethren in Melrose township; Alice Church of God in Palermo township; St. Peter's Evangelical Church in German township; and the First Christian Reformed Church in Shiloh township all were organized in 1867.
The Baptist Church of Grundy Center was organized on June 14, 1868, while the Methodist Church of Conrad and the First Presbyterian Church of Grundy Center were formed in 1869.
Three more churches were founded in the 1870s. They are the Colfax Center Presbyterian Church (July 10, 1871), the Westfriesland Presbyterian Church in German township (1873), and the Pleasant Valley Reformed Church (1874).
The Conrad Presbyterian Church dates from Sept. 19, 1880, and St. Mary's Catholic Church in Grant township was built the same year.
Two churches, Salem Evangelical Lutheran of Beaver township and the Lincoln Center Christian Reformed Church, came on the scene in 1884.
The Stout Reformed Church, organized in the 1880s, grew out of the Reformed church in Pleasant Valley Township. Starting was a Sunday School in the Beaver Center schoolhouse, the congregation built its first church in Stout in 1901-02.
Wellsburg Reformed Church (1897), Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Grundy Center, and the Fredsville Danish Lutheran Church of Fairfield Township were founded before the close of the century.
The first resident Catholic priest arrived here in 1896.
Dike Methodist Church (1901), Bethany Presbyterian Church (1901) of Grundy Center, the Holland Christian Reformed Church, and the Wellsburg Second Christian Reformed Church (1919) were organized as the Christian movement expanded.
Comparatively new church are the Conrad Assembly of God Church, built in the 1930s, and the American Lutheran Church of Grundy Center and St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wellsburg, organized in the 1940s.
--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 7 July 1977
History of the German Presbyterian Church of Grundy County
County Sunday School