Hardin County - Christian Church

Transcribed by Linda Suarez
The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa
ed. by William J. Moir.  Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1911.


The Christian church, or Church of Christ, in Hardin county is quite well represented and in places very strong as a religious denomination. It was organized in Eldora May 20, 1855. Peter Mason was elected elder and Jonathan Conger and Reuben King, deacons. In 1857, W. A. Faddis, William Faddis Blair and R. L. Parker were added to the eldership, and L. Clinkenbeard, William Robinson, A. Park, J. H. Majors, deacons. For a short time the church prospered fairly, but it was not long before the interest in church work slackened. A re-organization took place July 2, 1865. After the re-organization, the first pastor was David Miller, followed by Elders N. A. McConnell, W. M. Roe, James Encell, Peter Vogel, A. B. Cornell, D. R. Dungan, Henry Shadel and C. A. Stephens.

For thirteen years after the organization this people had no house of worship of their own, but held meetings in school houses, private dwellings and at the court house. In 1867 a house of worship was provided, at a cost of three thousand dollars, having a seating capacity of about three hundred. Up to 1882 there had been enrolled on the church books four hundred and ninety-four separate members. The present edifice was erected in 1905, at a cost of eight thousand dollars. It is thirty-two by fifty-eight feet, and consists of a stone basement with brick superstructure. It is an historical fact that this church has had a checkered career – up on the mountain and at times depressed down in the valley, having had a membership of from one to two hundred at different times. Its present membership is about one hundred and thirty. It has always been a church of plain people. While it always protests against Romanism, as do the other evangelistic bodies in Eldota, it takes advanced grounds along the line of church union of the various Protestant denominations.

As a record for future reference, the following list of workers from among the pastors and evangelists roll will be appended: J. K. Hansberry, 1855-58; Jonas Hartzell, 1860, pastor and evangelist, irregular; Julius A. Stevens, 1861-1864, pastor regular; A. Cordner, 1864, brief; Jonas Hartzell, 1864, pastor and evangelist, irregular; D. D. Miller, 1864-66, pastor; Father John Martindale, 1866, pastor; N. A. McConnell, 1866-70, pastor and evangelist, irregular; John C. Hay, 1868, evangelist; J. M. Vawter, 1869, evangelist; William M. Rowe, 1869, pastor; John Encell, pastor, 1872; James G. Encell, 1872-73, pastor; Rev. Pinkerton, 1874, pastor; Peter Vogel, 1874, pastor; A. B. Cornell, 1875-77, pastor; D. R. Dungan, 1877-79, pastor; Allen Hickey, 1879; F. M. Bruner, 1879, evangelist; George T. Carpenter, 1880, occasional; Henry Shadle, 1881-82, pastor; Rev. Streator, 1882; Charles A. Stevens, 1881-83, minister; J. W. McClure, 1884-86, minister; J. M. Vawter, 1885, evangelist; H. T. Morrison, 1886-89, minister; Charles Edward Pomeroy, 1889-91, minister; J. A. Calhoun, 1892, minister; A. H. Carter, 1892, evangelist; W. E. Jones, 1892, minister; J. H. Mundy, 1892-94, minister; J. H. Blake, 1894-96, minister; Lee B. Myers, 1896, evangelist; Charles E. Wells, 1896-99, minister; D. L. Dunkelberger, 1899-1901, minister; Holly B. Hale, 1902, minister; A. B. Cornell, 1902, minister; T. R. Hodkinson, 1903-04, minister; J. C. Lemon, 1904, minister; J. M. Hoffman, 1904-05, minister and evangelist; Rev. O’Connor, 1905-06, minister; W. E. Bowers, 1907-08, minister; I. A. Carney, 1909-10, minister.

The Church of Christ at Whitten has had the following history, gleaned from the records and other reliable sources by the present pastor, Rev. S. P. Telford:

In the fall of 1880 the Chicago & Northwestern Railway crossed the Hardin county line at the present site of Whitten and the town was started. The first Sunday school in the town was organized the next spring and was conducted in the new depot. There were a number of Disciples of Christ in the community who desired to hold a series of revival meetings with the view of organizing a Church of Christ. J. B. Vawter, state secretary of that religious body in Iowa, came to Whitten to look over the field and provide for its needs. He promised the Disciples a meeting as soon as they could secure a suitable building in which to hold it. To meet this emergency, J. Q. Irvin, a leader among them, and Doctor Whittaker, a warm friend of the church, but not a member, arranged with the school board to build a house for both church and school purposes with the understanding that the school board should take the building off their hands as soon as the district was able to purchase it.

The building was erected during the summer of 1881, and in the early spring of 1882 J. H. Painter was sent to hold a series of evangelistic meetings. At the close he organized the present Church of Christ, usually spoken of as the Christian church. The charter members were John Q. Irvin and wife, J. E. Herr and wife, Miss Catherine Herr, Calvin Headly and wife, L. W. Price and wife, Eva and Mary Price, Mrs. Hiram Strauss, Mrs. Beardsley, Mrs. Foster, J. Asher and wife, Mrs. Mason and Mrs. Hobaugh. The first officers were: Rev. S. B. Ross, pastor; L. W. Price, elder; deacons, J. Asher and Calvin Headly; trustees, J. Q. Irvin, J. E. Herr and Calvin Headly.

During the summer of 1882 the first church building, a frame structure, was erected at a cost of one thousand two hundred dollars, and was dedicated October 22, 1882, by J. A. Walters. In 1906 this house was sold and moved away and a splendid modern frame house of worship was erected to meet the needs of the growing congregation, at a cost of eight thousand dollars.

S. B. Ross was the first pastor, and since then the following ministers have served the church in the same capacity and in the order given: T. F. Odenweller, H. T. Morrison, A. Calhoun, G. W. Burch, P. S. Olson, D. F. Snider, T. F. Odenweller (second pastorate), Eugene Curless, J. W. Ellis, F. V. Kearns, J. E. Stebbins, and the present pastor, S. P. Telford.

The following ministers have served the church in evangelistic meetings: J. H. Painter, J. A. Walters, J. B. Vawter, G. T. Johnson, J. E. Denton, J. P. Martindale, A. Martin, Lawrence Wright, James Small, M. F. Redlein, J. F. Ghormley, C. G. Stout, Charles Cunningham and C. L. Organ.

At the present the church has a membership of one hundred and seventy, and a very active Bible school with an enrollment of one hundred and fifty.

The present officers are: Elders, S. P. Telford (pastor), Eugene Curless, J. H. Moore, J. E. Thackery; deacons, L. S. Ingham, C. V. Hauser, N. O. Hauser, E. B. Arney, A. J. Mabie, E. J. Hauser, C. E. Ibach, L. L. Hauser and Lewis Miller.

The Grant Center Church of Christ was organized in January, 1894, by Charles D. Hougham, pastor of the church at Zearing, and he served them as their pastor. The present membership is ninety-two, of whom forty-one were charter members of the society.

The ministers who have so far had charge at this point are: Revs. Charles Hougham, James R. McIntire, Leslie Wolf, B. F. Salmon, Mr. Ainsworth and Tomer Lewis. At present the minister who serves at Zearing, Marshall county, preaches for the Grant Center church every Lord’s day in the afternoon.

The Christian church in Union was organized in 1876 by Elder P. G. Russell, of Des Moines. It was in the month of March of that year and the able man just named held a series of meetings, commencing in February of that year, and on the 26th of that month sixteen persons united with the church, the first who had been baptized in the town. The first membership consisted of the following: John Q. Irvin, Mrs. Eliza Irvin, H. L. Burns, A. I. Nelson, C. Hartinger, George Dunnels, J. A. Adams, O. R. Adams, David Mohersell, Mrs. M. J. Rodwell, Miss Cora Burns, A. H. Harris, B. F. Phelps, A. Mauk, C. Shaffner and E. Shaffner. Among the pastors are the following named: Rev. Russell, W. R. Slater, C. E. Foote, Mathew Wing and J. E. Denton, all before 1882. The record has not been handed us of the more recent preachers.

The church now has a membership of one hundred and fifty. The church building was erected in 1877, a frame structure, costing about two thousand eight hundred dollars.

The Church of Christ at Iowa Falls was organized September 3, 1899. It now has a membership of eighty. A church edifice was erected in 1902. The charter members were these: James A. Harp, Mary C. Harp, Miss Helen Harp, L. W. Swem, Mrs. L. W. Swem, Miss Gay Swem, Isaiah Biggs, W. F. McCormick, Mrs. W. F. McCormick, Grace McCormick, Mary McCormisk, O. J. Wadley, Mrs. O. J. Wadley, Mrs. Karst, Mrs. S. Cassady, T. F. Justice, Mrs. T. F. Justice, Clarence Lane, Mrs. H. B. Slayton, Ransford Replogle, Ella Van Guilder. The pastors who have served this church are: Revs. W. F. McCormick, F. Fillmore, Rev. Arthur, C. C. Davis, O. P. Burris, A. J. Carrick.


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