Harrison County Iowa History
Churches of Harrison County, Iowa
TITLE: CHURCHES OF HARRISON COUNTY, IOWA.
From: the History of Harrison County Iowa, by Hon. Charles W. Hunt, Logan, published 1915, B. F. Bowen
& Company Inc.
Transcribed and Contributed by Mona Sarratt Knight.
Almost every denomination, sect and creed of religionists to be
found anywhere are now, or have been, represented in Harrison county.
At first, the Mormons, who were among the very first to settle the
county, were largely in the majority -- this was before the division in
that church over polygamy had arisen -- and perhaps the next strongest
denomination in the county was the Methodist Episcopal. Upon the
division of the Mormon church, and the church now known as the
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whose
membership separated from the Mormons, the regular orthodox churches
and the Catholic denomination, each had a goodly following in various
parts of the county before many years, this being especially true of
the Protestant people, in their various branches.
The state census compendium issued in 1905 gives the following
concerning the various church interests in Harrison County. Number of
congregations, forty-two; number of church buildings, forty; number of
members, six thousand one hundred eighteen; number of parsonages,
thirteen; value of churches and parsonages in the county, one hundred
seventy-six thousand eight hundred and twenty-five dollars. The number
of Sunday school scholars was placed at three thousand two hundred
thirty four. This includes all denominations. Since the above date, ten
years ago, there have been added several churches and some new
denominations not existing in the county at that time. Several fine
church buildings have also been constructed, which makes the total
valuation much higher now than at that time.
It appears from the above that the Methodist people had just
the same number of churches in the county, at the date of 1905, as all
other denominations combined. The largest membership was that of the
Methodist, with the Catholic people coming next in membership. Aside
from the Mormon meetings, the Methodists were the first to proclaim the
Word. The first to preach was Reverand TARKINGTON, in 1851-52. The
Latter-Day Saint people, being the first in the county to advance
Christianity among the pioneer band, they will naturally find the first
place in a chapter on the various churches of the county.
The first account of preaching services by this denomination
was in 1858, when Elder John CASE preached at the residence of John
DEAL, in old St. Johns. The first Baptist church was formed at Logan in
1867, in the month of July, when an informal meeting was held. The
church organization was perfected on August 11 of that year by the
following members: Stephen Crow, Elizabeth Crow, Marcus Crow, Byron
Crow, L. B. Rudasill, G. Baumworth. Rev. George Scott officiated at the
organization, which was held at Magnolia. In 1890 the membership was
one hundred and twenty seven. Early in 1891, five more were added to
the church. Upon to the last date, covering a period of nearly a
quarter of a century, there had been but eleven deaths in this society.
One hundred and fifty seven had been taken into the church by baptism
and one hundred and twenty four by letter. In 1867, a neat frame
edifice was erected on Sixth Street, costing one thousand two hundred
dollars. In 1878, on the same block with the church, a parsonage was
built at a cost of nine hundred dollars. Among the pastors who have
served this church should ever be remembered: Reverands L. E. Rockwood,
E. G. O. Groat, B. F. Colsby, George Scott, J.E. Sanders, J.E. Carter,
J.F. Bryant, and Arthur Scott. The more recent history is not
The First Baptist Church of Woodbine, Iowa, was founded
January 29, 1870, chiefly by members who had letters from other places,
many having formerly belonged at Logan. Rev. J. E. Rockwood, pastor at
Logan, officiated as moderator and L.E. Eccleston was made clerk. The
charter members were Stephen Crow, Elizabeth Crow, Franklin and Marcus
Crow, Joseph N. Chapman, Elizabeth Chapman, Edmond Benton, Thomas
Butler, John Benton, L. E. Eccleston, Rosanna E. Eccleston and Lucinda
A church edifice was erected in 1882 and dedicated the same
year. It was a frame building, veneered with brick, and stood on the
corner of Broad and Weare Streets, facing the former. Its cost was one
thousand four hundred dollars. Later the society moved the first church
to the southern part of town, and it is now used as a residence. They
then, in 1899, erected their present frame building, on the site of the
old church. The new church cost five thousand five hundred dollars and
seats three hundred persons easily. Among the pastors and supplies have
been Reverends J. E. Rockwood, E. G. O. Groat, B. F. Golsby, Ira E.
Kenney, A. J. Delano, J.C. Carter, T. F. Thickston, William F. Grey,
Dixon Given, Harry Ferguson, George Houghton, Thomas Ure, J. F. Woods,
R. L. Ludlam, F. D. Kennedy, E. F. Lilly, George Jones, W. E. Wilkins,
Amos Weaver, J. W. Place, E. O. Galpin, Thomosson and F. J. Jorden.
The church now has a membership of thirty-eight. There have
been many deaths and removals, which have weakened the society, but
there are still a few faithful members who hope to continue the work
here. This church was first admitted into the Western Iowa Baptist
Association in 1870.
At Missouri Valley, the First Baptist Church was formed
October 14, 1877, by the following constituent membership: E. J.
Cobleigh, Mrs. E. A. Cann, T. B. Berkley, Mrs. N. D. Berkley, M. H.
Goltry, Charles Berkley, Mrs. Hattie Chapman, Mrs. Laura Blake, Mrs. E.
Augusta Livingston, Mrs. T. C. Berkley, Mrs. S. Z. Hileman, Miss M. L.
Berkley, A. Carlton and Miss Jennie Berkley.
In the spring of 1883, the contract was let for the
construction of a church building, which was erected and dedicated on
Sunday, July 8, 1883. Its cost was one thousand dollars. In 1891 the
membership of this society was thirty-three and its property was valued
at three thousand dollars, including a personage, erected in 1891, for
one thousand one hundred dollars. The church building was situated at
the corner of Huron and Sixth Streets. Among the pastors who served the
first decade were Reverands J. M. Bay, William Sears, Ira E. Kennedy
who donated one hundred dollars towards building the church, William E.
Randall, T. F. Thickston, J.B. Murch, John Bordenham, F.M. Smith and
Reverend Taylor. At present, the society is small, but very active and
spiritual. Every member does his part toward making the work of the
church a potent factor in the city.
In 1905, the reports give an account of only two Baptist
churches in this county. At one time there was a Baptist church at
Dunlap. It was organized July 27, 1872, by the following charter
membership: E. G. O. Groat, Mr. And Mrs. J. A. Ostrom, Mrs. M. J.
Ostrom, Mrs. Pickett, S. J. Kelley and Mrs. G. W. Chamberlain. The
society was never large, and the members had a hard struggle to keep up
the church. However, in 1879, they erected a neat brick church building
on Iowa avenue. On account of deaths and removals the congregation
became weakened and could no longer keep a pastor. Later, the building
was sold to the Lutheran Society, which still owns and occupies it.
In 1905 there were reported two churches of this denomination
in Harrison County. One of these was at Woodbine and one at Missouri
Valley. The first church of this faith was organized at Missouri
Valley, and the first religious services of the town were held by this
denomination in the month of October 1867, in the diningroom of the
American House, later styled the Royer Hotel, by Reverend Little. A
church was formed February 13, 1869, having for its first membership
J.S. Wattles, Jane M. Wattles, Dr. George W. Coit, Anna A. Coit,
Caroline M. Carroll, Mollie A. Ellis, Carrie DuBoies, L.A. Simmons, and
Hattie C. Justice. In the summer of 1870, a neat chapel was built at an
expense of one thousand two hundred dollars. In 1887, a parsonage was
erected, costing one thousand one hundred dollars. In 1891 the society
had a membership of forty-four. At this writing, 1914, the membership
is one hundred twenty five, and the congregation is in a flourishing
condition. In 1898 the present church building was erected at a cost of
fifteen thousand dollars. It is a frame structure, veneered with brick.
The pastors who have served in this church have been Reverends
W.M. Pelan from March 1869 to 1872; H. A. Barclay, November 1872 to
November 1873; R. S. McCune, March 1873 to December 1874; A.N. Darley,
May 1874 to March 1875; J.B. Welty, 1876 to 1878; C.C. Wellen, from the
autumn of 1880 to December 1881; S. N. Vail, May 1882 to April 1885; N.
Chestnut, November 1885 to September 1887; P.S. Davis, April 1888. He
was succeeded in turn by Reverends S. T. Davis, W.H. Snyder, James
McAllister, S.X. Cross, David Miller.
In many ways, the church life is vastly different in Missouri
Valley from that cold day in the spring of 1869 when a handful of
believers in the Presbyterian faith assembled for the formation of a
society. They met in a store building, on the second floor, and while
it was a sacred day to those people, they were annoyed by the sound of
hammer and saw, though it was the Lord's Day. The workmen were busy as
at any other time during the week. Building was going on right near the
place in which they assembled. Added to these noises there was also a
worse sound, that of clinking beer glasses, underneath them. These
things have all changed and Missouri Valley, as well as all towns
within Harrison County, have been added to the Dry list and saloons are
no more an annoyance to the good citizens of the place.
FIRST CHURCH AT LOGAN. The Presbyterian Church at Logan was
formed by seven members, in August 1869. The faithful few of this
denomination in the place were Mr. And Mrs. J. D. Rogers, Mr. And Mrs.
E.L. Rugg, Mr. And Mrs. C.N. Cadwell, and George Barr. Rev. George R.
Carroll organized this church, and the pastors have been Reverends
Henry Gate, T. K. Hedges, J. B. Welty, George R. Carroll, H.C.
Gillingham, O.A. Elliott, J.A. Riale, from 1891 to 1895; supplied until
1896; J.E. Groendyke, 1896 to 1898; J.N. Currens, 1898 to 1904; H.
Kremers, 1904 to 1910; J.T. Baker, 1910 to 1912; C.S. Marsolf, 1912 to
1913; William J. Creswell, May 1914 and still pastor.
In 1877 a neat church edifice was erected at a cost of three
thousand five hundred dollars. It stood on the corner of Seventh and
Second avenues. In size it was two hundred twenty eight by sixty feet
and built of wood. It was dedicated by Rev. F.H. Cleland. The present
membership of the society is one hundred and fifty.
The First Presbyterian Church of Woodbine was formed April 24,
1880, with eighteen charter members. The original officers were C.M.
Gilkey and L.D. Willett, elders; William H. DeCou, C.E. Baldwin, John
Mann Sr., C.M. Gilkey and L.D. Willett, trustees. In 1891 there was a
membership of sixty three, and at summer 1914, there was a membership
of two hundred and sixty-five.
A frame church building was erected on the corner of Crocker
and Clay streets in the fall of 1881, at a cost of two thousand five
hundred dollars. It was dedicated by J.B. Welty. Before this, services
were held at the Methodist Episcopal Church. The first church, a small
framed chapel, served until the present beautiful edifice was provided.
It stands on the same lots as the former church, and a good parsonage
has also been built on the same lots. The pastors serving here have
been Reverends J.B. Welty, George R. Carroll, R.M. Coulter, D.W.
Cassatt, and O. Brown up to 1891. Since that date, they have been
Reverends Swank, Fred Lyman, J.E. Snook, Graham, Henry Nicklen, Triem,
Elmer Aukerman, S.X. Cross. It should be stated that Reverends Swank,
Lyman and Graham were not regular installed pastors, but served as
supplies and were students from the seminary at Omaha.
What was formerly styled the Campbellites, but now usually
known and incorporated as the Christian Church, was first formed in
Harrison County 54 years ago, in 1860, in Clay Township, at the house
of Josiah Tuffley on section 24. During the Civil War days, this
society went down. Among the original membership are now recalled Mr.
And Mrs. Tuffley and Mr. And Mrs. Jesse Willis. In 1863, the society
was reorganized by Rev. John Snyder. The members forming this
reorganized church were Mr. And Mrs. Aaron Thompson, Mr. And Mrs. Jacob
Frederick, and Mr. And Mrs. George Murphy. Meetings were for a time
held in the Ross school house, and later in the old Bush school house.
Then the society was removed to the village of Modale, where it
occupied a school building until 1875, when the Union Church was
erected. Early pastors were John Snyder and Joel Palmer.
The church at Modale was organized April 17, 1877, by thirteen
charter members under Rev. Coryell. The constituent members were,
originally, Jacob Hammer, Cynthia Hammer, Josiah Tuffley, Mary S.
Tuffley, Lewis G. Bailey, Jane E. Bailey, Thomas and Laura Boswell,
Ellen Spracklin, Mary Robertson, William Boyd, John Rice, and E.
Pastors or preachers stationed at Modale were Reverends Joel Palmer,
Jacob Hammer, S. Wright, G.B. Molter, Joel Woods, James Cameron, J.H.
Painter, C. Blanchard, Henry Coggswell, Henry Caryell, Mathew Wing,
A.B. Hammer, J.D. Howe, W.B. Crudson, O. Girt, John Plumer, Lockhard,
O.M. Johnson, U.G. Miller, T.J. Begnar, W.L. Millinger, O.M. Tarince.
The church now has a membership of seventy five.
The Christian church was organized at Mondamin March 23, 1883,
by S. Wright, Mr. And Mrs. J.W. Beaman, Mr. And Mrs. W.B. Crewdson, Mr.
And Mrs. T.S. Crewdson, Mary Beaman, Matilda Watts, Linnia Stines, and
Mr. And Mrs. C. Jenkins. The first services were held in the village
school house, but in 1884 a frame church edifice was erected at a cost
of eight hundred dollars. It was twenty-four by thirty-eight feet.
Among the earlier preachers at this point are now remembered Reverends
Wright, Blanchard, Crewdson, Howe, Conoran, Hurd, Gist and Plummer. In
1891 the church had a membership of forty-six. Its present membership
has not been reported to this historian.
At Woodbine the church of this denomination is styled the
Church of Christ, and it dates its organization from August 31, 1883,
when it was organized by Reverend James Cormoran, with twenty-one
charter members. In 1891 the membership had grown to one hundred and
seventy five. In the spring of 1885, a church was erected on Weare and
Scranton Streets. It was thirty-six by sixty feet and built of brick,
and was dedicated by Rev. D. R. Dungan, of Des Moines. Before this, the
services were usually held in the Baptist Church. The brick church was
used until they erected their present beautiful frame structure in
1905, at a cost of twenty thousand dollars, with the parsonage - both
being frame structures and modern. It is the largest church of Woodbine
and in all particulars is up to date. The present membership is about
two hundred and fifty, and all departments are in excellent working
order. Among the pastors recalled are Reverends E. L. Poston, W. H.
Hardman, C. Blanchard, J.A. Walters, J.W. McClure, H.T. Morrison, A.B.
Cornell, C.L. Picket, G.W. Thompson, J.H. Wright, B.F. Hall, L.D.
Norris, A.T. Ainsworth, G.H. Nicol, and I.H. Fuller, the present
In Cass township in 1888, a society was organized by the
Christian sect and services were held at Six Mile Grove in the school
house. At Missouri Valley, the Christian people formed a society in
1883. They erected a neat church building in 1887, forty by forty-five
feet, on the corner of Fourth and Superior Streets. The lot cost the
society six hundred dollars, and the building cost one thousand one
hundred dollars. In 1891 the membership of this church was one hundred
and forty-two. The various pastors who have served at this point have
been Reverends C.P. Evans, D.R. Dungan, J. Denton, Israel Swihart, J.W.
Snyder, D.D. Miller, Elder Wagner, L.J. Correll, James Conoran, J.H.
Painter, E.L. Preston, D.J. Howe, J.K. Reid, John Hurd, J.B. Vawter,
A.B. Cornell, T.L. Reed, J.L. Johnson, Dr. Carter, Mellenger, Adair,
John Williams, J.H. Carter, Higbey, M.C. Hutchinson, B.H. Whiston, and
W.D. Crewdson. In 1914 the membership of this, one of the strongest
churches in the county, had reached two hundred and thirty, and during
the month of December 1913, they dedicated their present magnificent
brick edifice, which was erected at a cost of ten thousand dollars. It
is among the fine church structures of western Iowa. It was erected
under the management of Rev. W.D. Crewdson, pastor.
The charter members of this church should not be lost sight of
with the flight of years, for it was they who laid well the foundations
for what has come to be a strong church in Zion. Their names are Mr.
And Mrs. J. H. Darting, Mr. And Mrs. George W. Frazier, Mr. And Mrs.
George Darting, Mr. And Mrs. A. Edgecomb, Mr. And Mrs. James Owens, Mr.
And Mrs. D. M. Harris, Mrs. M. Holbrook, Mr. And Mrs. A. E. Bessire,
Mr. And Mrs. William Wade, Mr. And Mrs. C. F. Johnson.
At Logan, the Christian Church was formed many years ago. A
building was erected in 1901 and dedicated June 2 of that year. Its
cost was eight thousand dollars. February 8, 1904, it was burned,
having only two thousand dollars of insurance. But with heroic efforts
the society went to work and rebuilt, bigger and better than ever, the
work being accomplished the same year of the disastrous fire. It is
among the best in Harrison County.