Hardin County - The Friends Church

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


 From an early date in the history of this county the Friends society has been a potent factor in religious matters.  This article will undertake to give some of the organization and history of each "meeting" in Hardin county, the same having been compiled by Prof. A. F. Styles, of New Providence, and can be relied upon as substantially correct:

At Iowa Falls the Friends church was organized in 1856.  It was during that year that a meeting was set up at Rockingham by Orthodox Friends and held in a private house located on the bluff not far from where the Des Moines & St. Paul round-house now stands.  This was a log cabin, owned and occupied by Benjamin I. Talbott, one of the original owners of the land on which Rocksylvania was laid out.

The following are some of the names of then resident heads of families who were the founders of the meeting: Lindley M. Hoag (minister), B. I. Talbott, Edwin Ferril, Henry Macy, John Airy, James Adamson, Nathan Townsend, Moses Roberts, and others immediately coming in and settling in the vicinity.  In the absence of a record, but from good memories, the following is given as a list of the ministry at this point: Lindley M. hoag, John Airy, Isaiah Worth, G. Simme, Edward Collins, David Hunt, Isaac Rich, Howard Brown, Henry Pemberton, Solomon Haworth, Metilda W. Atkinson, Rachel Marriage, Edward Young, James Drew, Susie Sisson, G. Griffith, Charles S. White, George C. Pyle and Malinda B. Hunt.  The last two are the only resident members living there now.

The first meeting house was built of stone, erected in 1856-57, on a lot in the northeast of Rockingham.  It cost about six hundred dollars.  In 1875 a frame house was built in Iowa Falls at a cost of about three thousand dollars.  The stone house was sold and the proceeds applied on the construction of the new building.  At present (1911) there are six or seven families and parts of families residents within the limits of Iowa Falls monthly meeting.  No regular meeting is now kept up.

The Friends church at New Providence was organized in 1857.  What was then known as an indulged meeting was first held at New Providence in 1856.  A preparative meeting, subject to the jurisdiction of Honey Creek monthly meeting, was organized in 1857.  Following are the heads of families that were charter members:  Dr. E. C. Jessup and Mary A. Jessup, John and Edna Andrews, William F. and Mary D. Andrews, Eleazer and Catherine Andrews, William E. and Mary E. Andrews, Samuel and Mary Dillon, Nathan and Margaret J. McConnell, Albert and Elizabeth McConnell, Stephen Wilson and wife, David and Sarah Ann Hunt, Stephen and Rachel Southwick, Peter and Miriam C. Bedell, Rachel Bedell (widow), G. C. Bedell and John Baldwin and wife.

Before the pastoral system was adopted by the church in the eighties the following resident ministers served the New Providence church in the order named: David Hunt, Dr. Eli Jessup, Mary E. Andrews, John S. Bond, Dr. Elias Jessup and Seneca Wildman.  Dr. Elias Jessup was the first to serve the church as its minister under the pastoral system in which a minister is employed on a salary.  The following ministers have thus served:  Dr. Elias Jessup, 1884-87; Thomas Armstrong, 1887-90; Perry Haworth, 1890-92; Susie Allen, 1892 (for six months); L. Maria Dean, 1892-97; Joseph Peel, 1897-8 (six months); S. Adelbert Wood, 1898-1901; William Pilot (six months); Albert E. Wright, 1901-03; Richard R. Newby, 1903-07; Zeno H. Doan, 1907 to the present time.

The New Providence Friends first held their services at the residence of Dr. Eli Jessup.  This was the building that for years was used as a harness shop and was burned in the fire of December 30, 1910.  In 1858 a wooden building was erected for church purposes, at a cost of three hundred and fifty dollars.  This was damaged in the cyclone of June 3, 1860, but is still standing, having long since been converted into a residence.  It is now owned by Mrs. Lizzie Kersey.  It was used by the church until 1899, when a new and modern church building was erected.  This building cost about six thousand dollars.  In December, 1906, it caught fire from an overheated furnace and burned to the ground.  There was but two thousand five hundred dollars insurance on it, but with this as a start the membership rallied to the need, and during the next summer the present fine structure was erected, at the cost of eight thousand dollars.  It is a modern building, with bowled floor, art-glass windows, furnace heat and gas lights.  Its seating capacity is five hundred.

The committee that had charge of the construction of this building consisted of the following: A. F. Styles, D. H. Faris, E. F. Morris, N. S. Martin, W. T. Kersey, Rosa E. Lowder.

The present membership of this church is three hundred and fifty.  The pastor is Zeno H. Doan.  The clerks of the business meeting are A. F. Styles and Lizzie Butler.

The Hubbard Friends church was organized in March, 1882, at the close of a series of meetings held by B. G. Nevell in the Salem German church, which had been secured for revival services.  The following persons were among the first members: The families of S. F. Hammer, J. T. Marshall, Z. T. Martin, Irvin Mills, Pliny Fry and wife and Mrs. T. J. Trout.

The meeting was held for some time in a hall over Webb's hardware store (now Clancy's), later in the Methodist Episcopal church, each alternate Sabbath, and then in a small building where the present church now stands.  The present church was built in 1891, at a cost of about three thousand dollars.

The monthly meeting and meeting for ministry and oversight were organized in January, 1884.  The following ministers were recorded: Harlin Carter, Sarah E. Woodard, Philip Slack, Barclay Hampton, Pliny Fry, H. Martin, Z. L. Martin, Samuel Haworth and possibly others, many of whom have been active in pastoral work for years.  Zenas L. Martin was superintendent of mission work in Cuba and Arthur Chilson superintendent of African industrial mission in Africa.

The following have served as pastors: Soon after the organization the meeting chose Pliny Fry as leader and later on as pastor (said to be the first on record in Iowa yearly meeting) and from that time on the pastors were as follows: Pliny Fry, 1883 to 1885; Nelson Hull, 1885; Harlin Carter, 1888-1889; Truman C. Kenworthy, 1889-1892; S. L. Haworth, 1892-1895; Edward L. Requa, 1895-1896; Harlin Parker, 1896-1897; Henry Pemberton, 1897-1899; Laura Townsend, 1899-1902; L. Maria Dean, 1902-1903; Isaac N. Rich, 1903-1905; Bessie F. Collins, 1905-07; C. J. Bowles, 1907-08; A. W. Hammond, 1908-09; Clark Brown, 1909 and still pastor of the church.

Fairview Friends meeting was set up in March, 1883, with the following members: George Williams, Martha Williams, Dan Lundy, Sally Lundy, John Hobson, Susan Hobson, Abe Hutchens, Elzena Hutchens, Alpheas Albertson, Dinah Albertson, Santford Spence, Rebecca Spence, Linn Baldwin, Mrs. Linn Baldwin, Minnie Lundy, E. A. Rhoades, Emeline Rhoades, George Rhoades, John Rash, Santford Reece, America Reece, Will S. Reece, Laura Reece, Mrs. Mary Morris.  There are now fifty members in the church.

The following have served as ministers: George White, Charles Gilford, Alexander Martin, Henry Pemberton, Elwood Knight, Ezra Hindshaw, Mrs. Alvira Hindshaw, Charles Kinley, Isaac Rich, Harlan Parker, Henry Hickman, Mrs. Georgia Reece, Clifford Jones, Abner White, Fred Comfort, John Bowles, and Joseph Sopher, the present minister.

The meeting here started with a prayer meeting held in the Fairview school house.  Soon afterwards George White held a series of meetings in which fifty persons were converted.  This organization has always been supplied with a minister since it first started.

Chester Friends church, located on section 26, of Providence township was organized in 1869.  The following were the original members: I. L. Bond, minister, I. Hadley, James Lundy and a few others.  Several years prior to this a Sabbath school, Sabbath and mid-week meeting had been held at the school house.  The pastors have been inclusive of the following: I. S. Bond, J. S. Hackett, E. W. Hinshaw, Elvira Hinshaw, W. H. Hickman, Georgia Reece, Quincy Stanfield, Jessie Logan, C. W. Kindley, B. R. Newby, Z. H. Doane.

By direction of Honey Creek quarterly meeting, a monthly meeting was organized in 1892, with the following members: C. W. Kindley, E. W. Hinshaw, E. B. Mendenhall, H. M. Hadley, Joseph Spurgin, with their families and others.  In 1898, finding the church inadequate to accommodate the congregation, a new frame building, thirty by forty-six feet, was erected on the same site at a cost of one thousand eight hundred dollars.  Their first meeting house was a frame building, twenty-two by thirty-four feet.  The present membership of this meeting is sixty-eight.

Honey Creek Friends church, near the center of Providence township, was organized in 1852, the first in the county.  It now has a membership of one hundred and sixty-three.  When the church was first organized, the membership consisted of the following:  William Dobbins, Sr., and wife, William Dobbins, Jr., and family, Levi Reece and wife, William Reece and family, William Hobson, a minister, James Tulburt and family, Joseph Dillon and family, Samuel Dillon and wife, James Rawnsley and family.

The ministers who had charge of the meeting in the early days were William Hobson, who was a charter member, and Daniel Martin, who came in 1859.  In the winter of 1874 Jacob Hinshaw held a revival service, the first within the limits of Honey Creek quarterly meeting, which resulted in one hundred and eighty conversions.  The other ministers here were: Dr. Elias Jessup, one year; George B. White, one year; Zenas L. Martin, one year; Charles Hammond, three years; Isaac W. Rich, two years; Thomas Harlan Parker, two years; John Hadley, two years; Henry Hickman, one year; Miles Reece, one year; Henry Hickman, one year (second time); James Pickard, one year; Milo Reece, one year; C. John Bowles, two years; Joseph Sopher, present pastor.

The first meeting house was a double log house, built in 1854, with little cash outlay.  In 1859 a new building, thirty-two by forty-eight, was erected in its place.  This has been remodeled and still serves the congregation.

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