Transcribed by Linda Suarez
The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa
ed. by William J. Moir. Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1911.
This denomination has, at present, the following churches within Hardin county: Eldora, Alden, Iowa Falls, Union, Steamboat Rock and Buckeye.
The First Congregational church of Eldora was organized January 21, 1868, by the following membership: Erastus Temple, Mrs. Mary M. Temple, Samuel S. Waldo, Mrs. Martha B. Waldo, Mrs. Melinda Eastman, Mrs. Mary W. Eastman. The membership of this church in January, 1911, was two hundred and forty-eight.
The pastors serving at Eldora have been: Revs. Charles F. Boynton, 1868-73; Alpheus Graves, 1873-74; A. A. Baker, 1874-76; John R. Barnes, 1876-78; James R. Knodell, 1879-83; Ephraim Adams, 1883-89; Rev. Kent, 1889-98; J. W. Cowan, 1898-1901; J. P. Clyde, 1901-03; C. C. Warner, 1903-08; W. G. Ramsay, 1908 and still serving acceptably.
The first church building here was erected of frame, at a cost of two thousand dollars, in 1868; the next was in 1875, of frame, costing seven thousand dollars; the present magnificent edifice was constructed in 1894, at a cost of twenty-one thousand five hundred dollars, without lot and pipe organ.
In 1908 the society held a three days' celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the church at Eldora.
The Congregational church at Buckeye had its beginning in the country outside the present village in Buckeye township. The history of the church, as it appeared in the former county historical work, published in 1882, says, "The first religious services held in the township were held at the house of John Snider, on section 2, in May, 1856, by deacon Fabin Beard, of the Congregational church. There are no church edifices within this township and no organized bodies of Christians, the believers having their membership in some congregation in close proximity to this township. The Congregational society of Alden has quite a large membership in this township, the society being known as the Alden and Buckeye Congregational Society."
The Congregational church at Buckeye was organized July 8, 1893, by twenty-six constituent members. A church edifice was erected in 1903, now valued at eight hundred dollars. The present membership, on account of removals and deaths and other changes, only amounts to nine. The following were the charter members of this church: A. P. Kellogg, L. T. Beard, A. E. Smith, Mrs. E. C. Edwards, Mrs. P. M. Edwards, Mrs. J. D. Bowers, Mrs. Hattie Kellogg, Mrs. Myrtle Barhite, Mrs. Lena Smith, Mrs. Ella Barhite, Marcia Kellogg, Carrie Barhite, Mrs. M. A. Barhite, Mrs. J. H. Snyder, J. B. Bowers, F. L. Lyke, Mrs. F. L. Lyke, Mrs. A. T. Rand, C. Hulbert Lyke, Ethel Kellogg, E. F. Moulton, Mary Smith, L. J. Kinney, Mrs. L. T. Beard, Mrs. Alice Beard, Mrs. Clara Benshoof.
The pastors who have served this society are: Revs. C. N. Lyman, G. R. Fitch, October, 2894, to 1895; C. N. Lyman, summer, 1900; L. B. Bickford, 1902; Vinton P. Eastman, student from Oberlin (Ohio) Seminary, summer, 1905; Rev. Brockert, 1905-07; Rev. Axtell, January, 1910, to June, 1910; Joseph Harris, a student from Iowa Falls College, for a supply during the college term.
The First Congregational church at Union was organized in 1871. The charter members of this church were these: A. F. Wood and wife, E. H. Humeston and wife, W. Langdon and wife, A. A. Can Voorhis and wife, Mrs. O. D. Wood, E. J. Grider and wife, A. English and wife.
A frame church was erected in 1874, which served until 1908, when it was sold and the present fine new edifice constructed of cement blocks, at a cost of ten thousand dollars. It was finished in 1908. The present membership of this church is one hundred and twenty-two.
The Congregational church (First) at Steamboat Rock was organized May 26, 1897, with forty members. The present church membership is thirty-five. The pastors serving this church have been: Revs. E. Kent, W. C. Hicks, Charles Wayatt, A. A. Baker, B. J. Rhodes, Gilbert Holcomb, Joseph Toms, H. H. Pittman, Fred G. Wangelin.
The church edifice occupied and now owned by this society was formerly owned by the Presbyterian people, who disbanded and sold to the Congregationalists and some united with the last named church. This is a frame structure erected about fifty years ago.
The First Congregational church of Iowa Falls was organized in 1856 with Mr. Fabian, Alice Baird, David Beard, Theron Kellogg, Marcia Kellogg, Lucindia Kellogg and Elizabeth Kellogg as charter members. The first communion service was held on Sunday, October 10, 156, with Rev. O. Emmerson, agent for the American Home Missionary Society, officiating. Deacon F. Baird, Theron Kellogg, Robert Wright, Alfred Woods and Joshua Richardson were the first church officers. Rev. John Wilcox was the first settled pastor, remaining one year. The various pastors have been as follows: Revs. John Wilcox; William Kent, 1860-62; R. Graves, 1863; W. W. Terry; J. L. Atkinson; O. Clark, 1873-74; D. J. Baldwin, 1874-78; Asa Countryman, 1878-81; T. G. Reid, 1881-85; W. S. Simonds, 1885-88; H. B. Long, to 1890; J. B. Chase, 1890-92; A. M. Chase, 1892-95; Thomas Price, 1895-06; William Hardcastle, 1907, the present pastor.
The first church was erected in 1866 and added to in 1888. It is built of stone quarried from the quarries of Iowa Falls. Its cost was twelve thousand dollars. A parsonage was built in 1905, worth five thousand dollars.
The present membership of this church is three hundred and thirty-two. In 1882 the membership was only about eighty.
The Alden and Buckeye Congregational Society was organized July 4, 1866, when a large number of persons took letters from the Iowa Falls church. The first regular pastor was Rev. H. A. Thompson, who came from Ohio in the fall of 1864 and moved to eastern Iowa in 1868. The first church edifice was erected in 1866, the corner stone being set July 4th of that year. It was a frame structure, forty by fifty feet, and its cost was three thousand three hundred dollars. From its beginning down to 1880 this society has an average membership of fifty-five. Owing to the fact that no recent historical data was sent to the publisher, the later history cannot here be given. Suffice to say, however, that many of the best men of that neighborhood, in an early day, were of this church. Deacon Jesse Rogers and the Beards and C. E. Wood were among the influential members at one time.