Transcribed by Linda Suarez
The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa
ed. by William J. Moir. Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1911.
The First Baptist church of Eldora was organized April 18, 1868, with eight constituent members, G. W. Sturgis, Emily H. Sturgis, Augustus Stowe, Sarah Stowe, Henry Tolman, Harriett M. Tolman, Lavina Robb and Julia Graves, of whom Sarah Sarah Stowe is living at an advanced age.
The organization was recognized by a church council as a regular Baptist church July 12, 1868, the certificate being signed by Revs. John Y. Aitchison and J. F. Childs. The church as incorporated in 1879. The first services were held in the old school house and for a time in the old court house. The first church edifice was erected on the corner of Putnam and Jefferson streets, at a cost of one thousand four hundred dollars.
A parsonage was erected some years later, in 1878. In 1889, the present church site, corner of Washington and Jasper streets, was purchased, at a cost of one thousand dollars. The new edifice was erected in 1899 at a cost of ten thousand dollars. The old property was sold at the same time. In 1904 a new parsonage was erected in the rear of the church edifice facing on jasper street, at a cost of three thousand five hundred dollars. The estimated valuation of the church property at the present time is sixteen thousand dollars. A fine grand piano was presented to the church in 1907 by Mrs. Annie Frey as a memorial to her son, James Taylor Frey.
The following pastors have served since the organization of the church: Rev. E. P. Barker, 1869 (six months); Rev. D. M. Root, 1870 (six months); Rev. Washington L. Cook, 1871; Rev. A. M. Allyn, 1872; Rev. Austin Carpenter, 1876-8; Rev. George Houghton, 1878; Rev. T. F. Babcock, 1879; Rev. Austin Carpenter, 1881-3; Rev. Harry Woodson, 1883; Rev. Demas L. Clouse, 1885; Rev. H. A. Brown, 1886-8; Rev. H. L. Steele, 1889 (two months); Rev. Austin Carpenter, 1889-90; Rev. Robert Smith, 1890-93; Rev. -- Dillard, 1893 (three months); Rev. Fred A. Harter, 1894-7; Rev. A. H. Ballard, 1897; Rev. O. P. Sonner, 1898-1900; Rev. W. E. Stanley, 1900 to the present time.
The present membership is one hundred and fifty; admissions since the organization of the church, four hundred and seventy-one. The Baptist Young People's Union was organized in 1891 and has a membership of fifty. The Sunday school enrollment is one hundred. There is an effective Ladies' Aid and various missionary organizations.
The Baptist church at Iowa Falls was organized in 1862 by Rev. O. A. Holmes, with eight members: Mr. and Mrs. Raymond, Mr. and Mrs. Coppock, Mr. and Miss Conklin, and Mrs. Lydia Holly. After meeting in various places as opportunity afforded them a chance, a church edifice was erected at a cost of six thousand dollars, its size being forty by sixty feet. In 1882 the church had a membership of one hundred and seventeen and at this writing (1911) it has two hundred and seventy-six members.
The corner stone of the present beautiful edifice was laid May 8, 1898, and the building was completed the year following. It is one of the fine church structures in Hardin county. It was erected under the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Crooks.
The pastors include these: Revs. O. A. Holmes, A. L. Farr, D. A. Robinson, F. B. Witter, Rev. Hayburst, D. D. Propper, G. J. Travis, who came in 1879; then came Rev. Thompson, Rev. W. L. Randall, Rev. C. J. Greenwood, who continued until November 30, 1895; then came Rev. J. W. Crooks, who built the new church building and closed his labors December 25, 1898; then came Rev. A. H. Beaver, from January, 1899, to November, 1903; Rev. J. R. Hargreaves, from January, Rev. C. H. Stull, came into the field, and was instrumental in installing the new pipe organ, dedicated September 27, 1908.
The present pastor has charge of Oakland church, in the nearby neighborhood, and no facts have been obtained as to the history of that church.
The First Baptist church of Steamboat Rock was formed in 1869 and in 1872 the church at Hardin City united with this organization. Later a goodly number of these withdrew and organized in Jackson township. The first pastor at Steamboat Rock was Rev. Root, who came in 1871. Following him came Revs. Allen and Cook. Seventy members were added to the church rolls, but by April, 1882; only thirty-two were left. The service were held in other churches of the town. The society is not in existence today.
The Baptist effected an organization in Jackson township in 1873, at a school house on section 10. Rev. C. Sprague organized the church and became its first pastor. In 1882 this society had a membership of twenty. No church was ever erected.