Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886
S. H. Mitchell
Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa
Peculiarities of the Field - Anecdotes of Early Iowa History -
Elements of Growth - Seed Sowing - Colporteur Work Baptist -
Centres - Disappointments.
BEFORE proceeding to sketch the growth of Iowa Baptists in the second decade, beginning with 1845, it may be well to note some of the peculiarities of the field in which this growth was to take place.
In 1834, when our story began, the territory now comprising the state of Iowa was "placed under the jurisdiction of the territory of Michigan. Two years later the territory of Wisconsin was created, including what is now Iowa. In 1838 Iowa itself was made a territory, and December 28, 1846, it was admitted to the Union as a State. "[See Encyclopedia Britannica; Article, Iowa] In 1836 there were but two counties, Des Moines, with a population of 6,257, and Dubuque, with 4,274; total 10,531.
It would be safe to assume that the elements of society opposed to the gospel would be about the same here as elsewhere. The followers of Cain had preceded, probably, those of him whose blood "speaketh better things than that of Abel." The first execution for murder was in June, 1834, that of Patrick O'Connor, at Dubuque, for the murder of one George O'Keaf. Judge Lynch presided at the trial. Two or three anecdotes will serve to show some of the forms of sin. About 1839 there was a dispute between Iowa and Missouri concerning the boundary line between them. A strip of territory six miles wide was claimed by both. It was likely to come to arms. Angry forces were gathering on either side and moving to the front, when happily better counsels prevailed, and the dispute was settled in favor of Iowa. It is related that before the settlement one Iowa officer started to the Missouri border with thirty men and six provision wagons. Of the six five were freighted with whiskey.
In 1841 an anti-slavery meeting at Washington was being addressed by Samuel Howe, of Mount Pleasant, and a Congregational preacher from Brighton, Iowa. An attempt was made to break up the meeting. Here again the principal disturbing elements were whiskey and the loungers about the saloon. There is evidence that our Baptist fathers were actively engaged for the right from the first.
The following anecdote illustrates the kind of appeal our hardy pioneers were wont to make, and their success, oftentimes, with the roughest characters. It was in Dubuque. A person was soliciting aid of a number of young men to build the first meeting house in the territory-a Methodist. The solicitor is described as a tall, angular, somewhat uncouth frontiersman, with only one eye. One of the group of young men solicited, responded, "he would give a dollar towards the building of a gambling house, but nothing for a church." The old man drew himself up, and directing his one eye upon the group, said in a mild tone of voice: "You are all young men who, I have no doubt, have been raised by Christian parents. Many of you may live to raise families upon 'the Purchase.' If so, I am sure none of you will blush when you tell your children that you helped to build the first meeting house on the 'Blackhawk Purchase.'" After two or three minutes' silence, the young man broke out: "Old Hoss, here's a dollar," and was followed by all the others with from fifty cents to a dollar each.
We turn now more directly to our own history for the second decade. During the first half of this period, from 1845 to 1850, the growth seems to have been rather slow. It was the time of the great movement across the plains to Oregon and California. Prior to 1850 no less than five of the pioneer Baptist ministers of Iowa had removed to Oregon, and were followed soon after by two or three others. In 1845 there were 190 Baptisms, and the total membership was 523. There were yet but the two Associations. The third Association, the Fox River, was not organized till 1849. This was on the southern border, stretching towards the Missouri River. Churches not before mentioned had been organized at Mount Pleasant in 1843, at Agency City in 1844, at Libertyville in 1845, and at Fairfield in the same year. At Blue Grass, in Scott county, there was an organization in the same year (1845); also the Liberty church, near Charleston, in Lee county. At Lamotte, Jackson county, in 1844, and Maquoketa in 1848, and in the same year at Marion, Linn county. In 1849, probably, there were two churches organized in Davis county,-North Union and Chequest Union. There seems to have been an organization at Leon, in Decatur county, as early as 1848. To those at all observant of the geography of Iowa, these figures will be instructive as to the spread of the work in those parts of the state.
From a table furnished by Rev. T. S. Griffith, then of Keokuk, in 1862, for the dates respectively of 1850 and 1861, we have the following facts. The statistics are said to be as nearly correct as could be furnished at the time. There were, in 1850, Baptist churches in 25 of the 100 counties of the state. Whole number of churches 54 ; ministers 32; members, 1,654; baptized previous to that date, 1,095; meeting houses, 13 in 9 counties. According to the Convention Minutes the whole number in 1850 Avas 1,144, The discrepancy would be easily accounted for by allowing for unreported churches and members. The estimated value of church property at this time was $23,700.
In the foregoing statistics I have tried to photograph the elements of growth in our Baptist Zion up to the date named. One of the earliest pioneers, speaking of the conditions of this work, says: "These were not the days of railroad coaches and cushioned carriages, but of immigrant trails, unbridged rivers, creeks and sloughs, old lumber wagons, prairie schooners and worn-out saddles. One missionary and his wife came forty miles to the first meeting of the Davenport Association on a one-horse cart, constructed out of the hind wheels and axle of an old lumber wagon, with a couple of old rails for thills and a bundle of oats for a cushion.'' It is said that the good people of Davenport, even at this early day, evinced a little pride in the nervous haste with which, as soon as the minister and his wife had alighted, they "hustled the cart behind the barn."
Doubtless an important factor in the seed-sowing of these early days, from which a rich harvest has since been reaped, was the dissemination of religious books. In 1844, Lewis Colby, a publisher in New York, consigned to M.W. Rudd six hundred dollars' worth of books, which Bro. Rudd carried from settlement to settlement, on his back, and on foot, striding his way often, he says, for miles, with a pack of books almost as heavy as a bushel of wheat upon his shoulders. One trip he gives an account of, in which he visited Maquoketa, Anamosa, Marion and Cedar Rapids, and thence to the home of L. F. Temple, near Agency City; thus almost encircling the settlements of the entire territory -of that time. Who can estimate the fruits that may be gathered in the Lord's own way and time, from the seed thus laboriously sown?
L. F. Temple and the Baptist settlement at Agency City, evidently, at one time, promised to become an important Baptist center. It was at the very border line of the "New Purchase," and to all appearance an important strategic point for our broad-minded fathers to occupy for the prosecution of the great work which they already discerned in the opening domain, stretching out to the west and north beyond. Although unforeseen changes caused their plans
seemingly to fall to the ground for the time, we cannot but admire the courage and the foresight, as well as the consecration to the Master's cause, that show themselves in the plans proposed by those who first began to occupy this field. L. F. Temple yielded to the force of the gold excitement that swept so many across the plains, went to California, and died of cholera at New Orleans on his return to "the States."
How many disappointments of our work have grown out-not of mistakes in locating churches and enterprises, we can hardly call them mistakes; but-of changes in surroundings and conditions that have rendered it necessary to do our work over again. Many of the churches organized in the first two decades of our history did not survive the third. Camps of drill, they were, and halting stations, and like individual Christian lives, though dead they yet speak. Nothing has been lost that was done for Christ. "Man proposes but God disposes."
In our next chapter we shall seek to unfold the history of movements in connection with missionary and educational work, to be followed by the spread of associational and church organization in the newer parts of the state. There will necessarily be less of detail and more of general survey.
Our Cultured and Broad-Minded Pioneers-
Educational Plans Institutions of Learning Conventions, Etc
Items from Records of 1853.
WE have already referred to the foresight and breadth of view of the Iowa Baptist pioneers. While, as a rule, it is necessarily true that pioneer work is largely done by hardy but illiterate men, it is a notable fact that among the first Baptist ministers of Iowa were a goodly number of educated and thoroughly well-informed men who knew the value of missionary and educational institutions, and who were profoundly impressed with the possibilities and necessities of the opening fields west of the Mississippi. As early as 1844, at the third annual meeting of the convention held at Mount Pleasant, a committee was appointed to report on "the expediency of establishing an institution of learning" in the territory.
There were then 502 members in a population of 75,450, or one Baptist in 150 of population. The report of the committee was in these words: ''' Resolved, That the establishment of an institution of learning at some eligible point in the territory by the Baptist denomination is a subject of vast importance, and that it is the duty of this convention to take immediate and vigorous measures towards the consummation of this object."
A committee was appointed "to confer with citizens in the territory and receive proposals towards procuring a site for and defraying the expenses of erecting suitable buildings for said institution." The Davenport Association in the following September endorsed this action and pledged co-operation. In May 1845 the General Association, though no place had been fixed upon, resolved, "still urging the importance of the subject upon the attention of the brethren," and appointed a committee "to take the preliminary steps for commencing a literary institution adequate to the wants of Iowa Territory." Rev. Luther Stone, then of Burlington, was chairman of this committee, and associated with him were Revs. J. N. Seeley, C. E. Brown, Wm. Elliott, M. J. Post, and several laymen.
At the meeting in 1846, held at Iowa City, the chairman of the committee, Luther Stone, having removed from the territory, the other members of the committee held a meeting and reported that "we deem it highly important to enter into immediate arrangements for establishing said literary institution, and that we present the various proposals received to the Convention in committee of the whole, to discuss and decide upon the respective claims." After a lengthy discussion it was voted by a majority of three to locate at Agency City, Wapello county. This vote, however, was immediately after reconsidered and so the matter rested for a brief space.
Incipient steps had already been taken looking to the formation of an Iowa Baptist Educational Society. This society held its annual meeting in connection with the Convention in 1847, and records this item in the minutes "In consideration of the donations and subscriptions of the citizens of Agency City, "Resolved, That an institution of learning be located at that place."'
Though nothing more seems to have been done for some four years after this, it is plainly seen how much the hearts of those then toiling on this field were enlisted in laying broad foundations for its effective cultivation for Christ. It is a reasonable inference that the removal of Mr. Temple from Agency City, as noticed in the last "Sketch," and the changes attending the "California fever," had much to do with the delay.
In 1851 the Convention held two sessions; one in Muscatine the other in Burlington. At the Burlington meeting, in September, the subject of an educational institution for Iowa was again revived. "It appears that a committee had been previously appointed to correspond with the Baptist ecclesiastical bodies of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, with regard to the establishment of a Baptist theological institution for the Northwest." This committee, in connection with a report of considerable length, submitted a resolution: "That a committee of five be appointed whose duty it shall be to make investigations, solicit proposals, etc., with reference to the immediate establishment of a denominational university in the State."' Thus early did the educational idea in Iowa grow into that of a university This committee were also authorized to call an educational convention at such time and place as they might deem expedient, "when the whole subject might be considered in detail."
The committee consisted of "five representative and prominent brethren." The president of the Convention was afterwards added to the committee and the six, "according to instructions of the State Convention," called an educational convention at Iowa City to meet April 13. 1852. This convention met and was in session two days. The final result is recorded in these words: "On motion, after an extended, free and full interchange of opinion, it was unanimously resolved that the contemplated university be located at Burlington." Articles of incorporation were
adopted, trustees elected, etc.
The names are recorded of eighteen brethren present at this convention, and two visitors from St. Louis. The Iowa delegates represented such places as Davenport, Muscatine, Iowa City, Des Moines, Marion, Knoxville, Brighton, Le Claire, Burlington, Keokuk, Bella, Columbus City and Wapello.
It appears that there were some brethren not present at the Iowa City convention of April, 1852, who were not satisfied with the result of that invention, and who, raising the claim that "the denominational institution for the State ought to be located in some central portion of the State, began an agitation for the calling of another convention. It was said that "conversations on the subject resulted in an agreement on the part of brethren of the north and of the south to call a convention to be held at Oskaloosa in November, 1852. "The weather being unpropitious" at the time appointed " the attendance was small and there was an adjournment to the following June, 1853, at Bella." By this convention, was located the Central University at Bella. We have the names of eleven delegates representing the following places : Brighton, Danville, Bella, Aurora church. Libertyville, Oskaloosa, Bonaparte, Farmington, and Union church.
In the mean time Burlington has begun to build, and soon a building is erected at Bella, and the two schools begin their history. Into the controversies that ensued, and whatever of painful experiences have attended their growth, it is not ihe purpose of these sketches to enter, nor would the subsequent educational movements in the state be in place among these earlier records. The sketch of these earliest days of educational work would, however, not be complete without a brief notice of the State Convention proceedings for 1852 and 1853. In 1852 the Convention was held at Marion. It appears that a resolution was passed and recorded in the minutes in the following words : Resolved, That this Convention cannot sanction the proceedings of the educational meeting held in Iowa City, in locating an institution of learning.
At the Convention at Keokuk in 1852 "a memorial of the trustees of Burlington University, in behalf of that institution" was read and referred to a committee. That committee submitted a report, and, pending its discussion. Rev. H. R Wilbur, of Mt. Pleasant, presented a substitute in the following words: "Resolved. That the resolution in the minutes of last year (and quoted above) be rescinded. The substitute of Bro. Wilbur was adopted. The yeas and nays being called were recorded. There were thirty-three yeas and eleven nays.
At this same meeting was presented an obituary report containing "suitable notice of the death of brother B. F. Brabrook, " whose name had stood first among the delegates of the Iowa City convention of April, 1852. He died at Davenport, June 9th, 1853.
That these schools, thus started, and others later, have all done and are still doing much good, no careful and unprejudiced observer, and certainly none who has been conversant with the work in Iowa for the last twenty-five years, will for a moment question. The facts we have been sketching illustrate what has long been, to the mind of the writer, a settled principle, that in the development of God's plans, especially in a rapidly growing country where large foresight is required, no resolutions of Associations, nor votes of Conventions, nor even the wisest forethought of finite minds, can determine for a great length of time what will be best, nor what the subsequent unfolding's of Providence may require for the efficient carrying out of his purposes for the race. We must ever continue to walk by faith, not by sight, and we shall never pass the time when it will be necessary that "if any man lack wisdom" he "ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not. " Whatever may have been the mistakes and the unhappy rivalries' of the past, let us be thankful that there were among the foundation-builders in this goodly field a spirit of enterprise and a thoughtfulness for the future, leading to so much earnestness in efforts to lay the foundations broad and strong.
We will close the present sketch with one or two items of interest from the records of the last mentioned year, 1853. I find here a record of "life-members resident in Iowa of the different Baptist societies generally supported by" the denomination in the Northern and Western States. There are thirteen of the Missionary Union, and twenty-one of the Home Missionary Society. These represent the names of nearly all of our leading ministers and others, and money paid out of meager earnings, that the work might not be hindered for want of means. There was also about that time a "German Mission Society of the Mississippi Valley," in the interest of which Rev. D. Read, as chairman of a committee, presented an able report. Rev. J. G. Oncken, of Germany, was present and greatly interested the Convention by his remarks.
The Oskaloosa Association-
At First Called the Second Des Moines-
The Third Association On Our Records-1851 to 1886.
UP to 1851 we find record of but two Associations of regular Baptist Churches in Iowa. These were the Des Moines, organized in 1838' and the Davenport, organized in 1842. (But see History of Fox River Association.)
In 1851, 13 Churches were set off from the Des Moines Association and called the Second Des Moines Association. These were Agency City, with 42 members; Aurora, 25 Brighton, 18; Fairfield,16; Fox River, 33; Keosauqua, 32; Blakesburg, 35; Knoxville, 30; Libertyville, 26 ; Mount Moriah, 31 ; Oskaloosa, 31 ; Richland, 44; and Sigourney, 38. Of these Keosauqua had been organized in 1838 ; Fox River, in 1842 ; Agency City, in 1844 Fairfield and Oskaloosa, in 1845 ; Mount Moriah, in 1846; Sigourney, in 1847; Libertyville, in 1849; Aurora, Brighton, Blakesburg and Richland, in 1850; and Knoxville, in 1851.
The next year, 1852, these with the exception of Mount Moriah, which disappears, and with the addition of Steady Run, organized 1852 ; Cedar Creek, 1844 ; and Middle Creek, 1852 ; were constituted the Oskaloosa Association, with 15 Churches, 9 ministers and 455 members, of whom 64 had been baptized within the year. The pastors were Wm. Elliott, J. L. Cole, B. B. Arnold, John Bond, I. C. Curtis, G. W. Bond, G. W. Olney and A. N. Atwood. The Oskaloosa Church named here is not the Church in the city of that name, which was not organized for several years after.
1854. Churches 16, pastors 5, baptized 32, whole number 502. The name of J. Mitchell appears among the ministers as pastor at Sigourney and Richland, and that of J. Parker at Walnut and Brookville. The latter two Churches and that at Pella. appear for the first time, while Aurora and Keosauqua have disappeared. Two or three small Churches are added in 1855, and 120 baptisms are reported. Rev. E. H. Scarff is pastor at Pella and reports 40 baptisms and 150 members. C. Bullock, W. Drummond and J. T. Milner are new pastors. The country Church called Oskaloosa is missed from the record. There are now 627 members.
1856. The number of Churches has increased to 25; pastors 15; baptized 134. Total 934. A Church has been organized at Ottumwa with 16 members, Rev. J. T. Robert, pastor; at Oskaloosa, J. P. ChiIds, pastor, 32; Fremont, J. Ferguson, 36; one at South English with 39 members; and the Little Mount Church near Montezuma, Rev. M. Gregson, pastor, with 30 members. Rev. John Williams has become pastor at Fairfield and Brighton. Rev. A. Saladay is pastor at Fox River, near Troy, Davis county. Rev. N. Hays is pastor at Eddyville. In 1857 we find Churches 29, pastors 14, baptizing 92, whole 185 number of members 1065. The largest Churches are Blakesburg 128, and Pella 193. Rev. Wm. Elliott is pastor at Brighton and Martinsburg, and Rev. J. Frey at South English. 1858 "has been a year of the Right Hand of the Most High." The membership has reached 1150, of whom 264 have been baptized during the year. Rev. E. Gunn is pastor at Pella, and there is a Second Pella Church of 75 members, with Wm. Elliott pastor. Rev. J. M. Wood is ordained this year at Glasgow in the Des Moines Association, but is preaching also in this Association. Rev. E. Ward is also among the preachers.
1859. This year is memorable with the writer of these Sketches as the one in which he was baptized into the membership of the Oskaloosa Church by Rev. J. F. Childs, the pastor, and attended his first meeting of the
Association at Fremont. There were reported 119 baptisms 252 additions from all sources, and a total membership of 1307 in 26 Churches. All of these Churches have been organized within less than ten years. Rev. S. H. Worcester has assumed charge of the Ottumwa Church and Wm. and F. J. McEwen have entered the Association.
1860. The year 1860 is complained of as one of coldness and discouragement, yet there are 183 baptisms reported ; 24 Churches, 14 pastors and 1146 members. Three Churches have been dismissed to unite with the English River Association which was formed this year. Of pastors not before named are H. S. Cloud, Bellefontaine, and E. S. Ayers, Blakesburg.
The annual meeting in 1861 was held with the Bluff Creek Church a few miles west of Eddyville. Many of the letters lament the "wicked rebellion and the war excitement as unfavorable to the cause of religion.' Churches 25, pastors 20, baptisms 177, members 1247. Rev. I. J. Stoddard is preaching at Bellefontaine, T. J. Arnold at Brookville, J. C. Burkholder at Fairfield, and G. W. Gunnison at Pella. Most of the Churches are in the country, meeting in school houses and have preaching only once a month.
1862. The writer was clerk this year. Baptisms 123; members 1,286. Wm. Hildreth is pastor at Blakesburg and has baptized 46. A. Robins, 21, at Lovilla, where a Church is received with 66 members. Place of meeting, Pleasant Grove, five miles south of Chillicothe. We well remember an incident of this anniversary Owing to heavy rains there were but very few delegates present at the time appointed. As it cleared away and we were speculating upon the probabilities of a failure of the meeting, the question went round, "Had any one present ever known a Baptist Association to prove a failure?" Not one had ever heard of a case. This was no exception. The weather cleared and man}' came, though late, and it was a good meeting. The Association met in 1863 at Fremont. The war is telling upon the condition of the Churches. Many of the best brethren have gone into the army. But 27 baptisms are reported and 1,078 members. Rev. I. J. Stoddard, of Pella, is clerk. Only two Churches now have above 100 members. In 1864 the Association met at Pella. Same clerk as last year. Baptisms 57; members 981 in 18 Churches.
1865. Met at Oskaloosa. J. O. Wilson, of Eddyville, clerk. A little increase; 91 baptisms; 1,041 members. Rev. J. O. Wilson, from Muscatine, recently ordained, is preaching at Eddyville. This brother did not remain long in the ministry, but owing to financial burdens deemed it duty to resort to business, for which he seemed to have special qualifications, and never returned to the ministry. Of the 91 baptisms, 60 were reported from Lovilla, where E. B. Hicks, a licentiate, was preaching. The writer baptized 25 for him in one day.
1866. Met at Lovilla, in the northwest corner of Monroe county. The writer was again clerk. On arriving upon the ground it seemed that no preparation had been made to entertain delegates; the weather was lowering, and the outlook was forbidding enough. But the skies cleared, houses were opened, and before we were through it was agreed that we had had a splendid meeting. There are now but 17 Churches; 9 pastors; 105 baptisms reported; and 1,028 members. Rev. S. L. Burnham has removed from Muscatine, and is pastor at Ottumwa. In 1867 the Association met at Ottumwa; 152 baptisms; 1,142 members. Among the baptisms are 35 at Ottumwa; 25 at Eddyville, J. T. Wilson, pastor; and 37 at Mt. Carmel, where Rev. J. Ferguson is preaching. Of the 16 Churches, 6 have meeting houses, viz.: Blakesburg, Eddyville, Lovilla, Mt. Carmel, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa. R. M. Tracy, a former member of the Oskaloosa Church, is preaching at Brookville, and at points in the English River Association, with marked success.
1868. But few changes. Rev. R. A. Clapp is preaching at Ottumwa, and Rev. J. F. Childs having resigned to give his entire time to convention work, Oskaloosa is without a pastor. Rev. John Williams having returned to the vicinity of his old field has been preaching the last three years at Ashland. There are now 16 churches; i 1 pastors; 82 baptisms during the year; and 1,059 members. In 1869, John Williams, moderator, J. L. Cole, clerk. J. Kingdon is pastor at Oskaloosa. J. Cheetman and Rev. Wm. Stonaker are among the pastors, the latter at Eddyville. Churches 18, baptisms 62. Total 1,067. For 1870 but little change since last year; 64 baptisms. Oskaloosa is again without a pastor, Mr. Kingdon having remained but for a short time. Rev. E. H. Scarff has been for several years supplying the Pella Church acceptably, while teaching in the Central University.
1871. Rev. J. F. Childs has returned to Oskaloosa. Rev. R. A. Clapp has resigned at Ottumwa. Rev. J. R. Shanafelt is preaching at Pella and Nine Mile. Rev. W.N. Whitaker at Batavia. N. Hafs at Ashland, and W. L. Miller at Frederick. Churches 17; baptisms 40; members 1,141. In 1872 there were Churches 18; pastors 9; baptisms 132; members reported 1,069. H. G. Curtis, of Pella, is clerk. Pella the place of meeting. Rev. J. R. Shanafelt is preaching at Brookville and at Fairfield, in the Burlington Association. Rev. E. C. Spinney, at Pella; Rev. C. Darbey, at Ottumwa; J. H. Miller is at Ashland, and W. L. Miller, at Blakesburg, Frederick and Pleasant Grove, R. M. Tracy has baptized 53 at Forest Home, and has the largest church membership in the Association, 178.
1873. Met at Forest Home. J. F. Childs, clerk; 95 baptisms; 1,158 members. About the only notable changes are that Rev. W. L. Brown has succeeded Bro. Darbey as pastor at Ottumwa, and T. L. Crandall is at Richland. Pella, E. C. Spinney still pastor, has baptized 52, and Eddyville reports 21. Rev. Wm. Stonaker has held on here since 1869.
Pleasant Point is the place of meeting. Same clerk as the last two years. Only six pastors for the 18 churches. Nevertheless pastoral work must have been done in several other churches part of the year. Abingdon reports 24 baptisms and no pastor; Brookville 6; Forest Home 9. A part of the above presumably the work of Brother Tracy. Pella also reports 10 baptisms and no pastor, Brother Spinney having returned east to finish his studies. He will be heard of again in Iowa. Brother Brown has baptized 31 at Ottumwa, and Pastor Stonaker, 15 at Eddyville. Baptisms in all, 103. Total membership, 1,149.
1875. Pella is the entertaining Church, Rev. J. Sunderland, clerk. Rev. T. Y. Powell has become pastor at Pella. Rev. H. R. Mitchell at Oskaloosa, Rev. J. F Childs is preaching at Nine Mile, C. Martin at Brookville, John Williams at Bladensburg-a new interest with 11 members and - J. Z. Zimmerman at Abingdon, Blakesburg, and Forest Home. Bro. Sunderland has succeeded Brother Brown at Ottumwa. Baptisms 21 ; total membership 1196 in 19 Churches, with 9 pastors.
1876. Meets at Ottumwa. J. Sunderland Clerk. Baptisms 46, total membership 1203. A new interest has been started at New Sharon and Rev. J. F. Childs is preaching there and at Nine Mile, Leighton, Post office. Rev. G. W. Hertzog is preaching at Ashland, and Batavia, F. J. McEwen at Frederick, Wm. Stonaker at Competine, J. Ferguson at Pleasant Grove, Post office Frederick, and T. Davis at Pleasant Point, Albia Post office. The last two should have been named in the same connection last year.
1877. Ashland has the privilege of greeting the Association this year. Rev. H. R. Mitchell Clerk. Rev. A. J. Furman has become pastor at Oskaloosa, succeeding Bro. H. R. Mitchell, who is now pastor at Pella. Rev. Felix Dickerson is preaching at Frederick. Brother Furman reports 36 baptisms at Oskaloosa, Pastor Sunderland 28 at Ottumwa, Bro. Mitchell 43 at Pella and Dickerson, 13 at Frederick. Whole number of baptisms 189 ; total membership 1231.
1878. In 1878 Competine has the Anniversary. Rev. Wm. Stonaker, clerk. Only 18 baptisms are reported from the 20 churches, and only 7 pastors ; total membership 1151. These figures tell their own" story. But let us not misinterpret them, nor undervalue the faithful work of holding on and seed sowing. The harvest time will surely come again. Rev. Charles Payne has become pastor at Pella, while H. R. Mitchell has returned to the east."We have no abiding city here.
1879. Annual meeting at Frederick. Rev. J. W. McMahill, clerk. Only 8 baptisms; members 1041. Rev. R. M. Tracy has returned to the charge at Abingdon and Competine. J. W. McMahill is preaching at Blakesburg, Cedar Creek, and Washington; this last a new church with 22 members and 6 of the 18 baptisms. Rev. S. West is preaching at Nine Mile, J. Sunderland is still at Ottumwa, and Charles Payne at Pella.
Brookville is the entertaining Church in 1880. A. N. Cain, clerk. Fifty-nine baptisms of which 40 are at Competine. R. M. Tracy still pastor. S. E. Nelson is preaching at Abingdon, and has baptized 7 of the remaining 18. Rev. A. E. Simons has become pastor at Oskaloosa after an interval without a preacher, and Geo. E. Tufts succeeds Bro. Sunderland at Ottumwa. Bro. Sunderland has become General Missionary of the State Convention and Home Mission Society.
1881. Met again at Ottumwa. Rev. T. F. Thickstun of Pella is clerk Brother Charles Payne resigned to return to England, and Brother Thickstun succeeds him as pastor at Pella. Only three baptisms are reported in the entire Association. This is a very unusual barrenness. Total membership 947; 7 pastors, 14 churches. Rev. G. S. Bailey has become pastor at Ottumwa, and they are moving, or soon to do so, to build a more commodious meeting house, in a very desirable location. Oskaloosa has bought the old Presbyterian church and very much improved their condition.
Oskaloosa is the entertaining Church in 1882. T. F. Thickstun clerk. Some improvement this year in fruit-gathering. Competine, R. M. Tracy yet pastor, report 42 baptized, Ottumwa 15, Pellal9; whole number baptized 82; total membership 1005. Rev. H. Shallenberger is preaching at Abingdon, Batavia and Brookville, and Rev. B. P. Mace at Albia. Only six pastors in the Association. Oskaloosa is again vacant. Pella has now the largest membership, 215; Competine comes next with 180, Ottumwa 170 and Oskaloosa 136. These are all that have over 100.
Met at Pella. T. P. Thickstun still clerk. W. H. Dorward is pastor at Oskaloosa, the only material change in the pastoral force. Forty-seven baptisms and 1,018 members in 11 Churches, with 8 pastors. Pella reports 27 of the baptisms. In 1884, Competine was the place of meeting. A.N. Cain, clerk. Baptisms 58, of which number Oskaloosa reports 21; Pella 19 and Ottumwa 7. A new Church is reported at Hedrick. Oskaloosa is again without a pastor, and there are only 5 in the Association. Total membership in 11 Churches 984. In 1885 Hedrick is the place of the gathering tribes. S. A. Swiggett, clerk. Twenty-seven baptisms; present membership 918. Rev. James Prey is preaching at Competine and reports 20 of the 27 baptisms in the Association.
Thus has been traced the history of the Oskaloosa Baptist Association from 1851 to 1885, a period of 30 years.Like every other organization it has had its own peculiarities. One peculiarity of this field has been that most of the Churches, especially in the earlier parts of its history, were organized in the country, often, only a short distance out of the towns. In the older States, and in earlier days, many strong Churches have grown up and made enduring history in the rural districts. But in Iowa we have succeeded in maintaining very few even comparatively strong Churches away from the centres of population. As a consequence of the policy referred to the Churches in the towns have, with few exceptions, remained also weak. Another peculiarity has been that the centres of this district Association, notably Oskaloosa itself, has been for the most part of its history, a sort of drill camp for other fields of work. Being the point where the lines of emigration from the Mississippi River westward converged to a sort of focus, many emigrants would settle here for a time and then move on westward. A portion of these would be absorbed into the Church, and it is hoped be drilled here for work to be taken up further on, so that while the Church has always remained weak, it may have filled a relatively large place in the year's work, of which it is seemingly a small part. The same may be true, in a measure, of the small Churches that have sprung up in country neighborhoods, to exist for awhile and die out. The candle stick-the light bearer-has been removed but the lights have been multiplied many fold.
The growth of the Church at Bella, owing to the interest centering in the Central University there, was almost phenomenal for a time, but with other changes there were afterwards great fluctuations. For instance, in 1857 they reported 193 members and in 1869, 12 years later, only 83. But who can estimate the good that may have been accomplished even through the dispersion of the elements thus gathered and drilled for work. Another 12 years, however, and in 1880 this same Church numbers 182.
The history of this Association would be incomplete without a further mention of Rev. J. F. Childs. the pastor at Oskaloosa from 1856 to 1866, and at intervals thereafter; serving the Church and the State Convention at the same time; often giving-with the consent and approval of the - Church full one quarter of the year to work for the Convention, while acting, through all the years as its Corresponding Secretary, and all the time with a very small salary. It is doubtful if any man in Iowa did more self-sacrificing and arduous toil for the denomination and the Master, during the 15 years from 1855 to 1870, than did Brother Childs. Being a member of his Church during all the time of the writer's service as General Missionary and Financial Agent of the Convention, and being associated with him in the financial details of the work, we can bear witness to the fidelity and sacrifice of those years. Often the hours have been spent in his study till midnight in careful inspection of the finances, and planning for the most effective prosecution of the work. It has been our lot to meet few men who had greater endurance, and who seemed to court hard work more than he. Taking charge of the Church at Oskaloosa in its infancy, in 1856, and almost at his own charges serving them as pastor, not
sparing his own means in order to secure them a house of worship, it was two and one-half years before he sought or accepted aid from the Home Mission Society. He received his first appointment from the Society in 1858, and was aided for six years. During all the time of his pastorate here he was an active agent in whatever effected the interest and growth of the Oskaloosa Association.
Mention should also be made, in order to complete this record, of the active influence of Rev. E. H. Scarff and Rev. Elihu Gunn, and their families, long connected with the Central University of Pella, and of Rev. I. J. Stoddard and family, returned missionary from Assam, India. All these brethren whether active pastors of churches in the Association or not were always living factors in its life, and with others connected with the University, contributed to its efficiency as a Missionary Association. The record of the Pella Church has always been high, especially in contributions to Foreign Missions.
The Fox River Association
Organized in 1849-
Is Found on our Records in 1855-1855 to 1886.
The first appearance of the Fox River Association in our denominational records is in 1855. In a foot note in the Convention minutes for 1854 there Is mention of such a body, "whose churches" it is said "though not formally connected with the Convention, occupy similar ground with their Baptist brethren generally in the State. " It was said to comprise 17 Churches, 7 pastors, 69 persons baptized in 1854, and 628 members. In 1855 there are 15 Churches, 6 pastors, 61 baptisms reported and 578 members. In subsequent tables this
Association is said to have been organized in 1849. As nearly as can be ascertained, when first organized they were not in full sympathy with the missionary ideas of our denomination: were in fact an Association of Old School Baptist Churches. The Churches connected with the body when it became identified with us in 1855 were North Union with 51 members, Chequest Union, 52, Zion, 18, Centerville, 47, Bloomfield 23, Liberty, 44, Salem, 39, North Fabius, 53, Bethlehem, 88. New Hope. 34, Pleasant Grove, 20, Lebanon, 14, Mars Hill, 32, Concord, 23, and Mount Pleasant, 40. Of the above named Churches, the first two were organized in 1849, the third in 1850, Centerville,
Bloomfield, Liberty and North Fabius in 1851, Bethlehem, Pleasant Grove, and Mt. Pleasant in 1852, Mars Hill in 1853, and Concord in 1854. Of these the North Fabius Church, with W. Seamster, pastor, reports in 1855, 18 baptisms, and Bethlehem, Sharon Post office, A. Thompson, 23. The pastors are H. Dooley, Abel Edwards, J. W. Osborne, J. Ferguson, W. Seamster and A. Thompson.
1856 ... The Churches remain the same except that Salem has dropped out and Union is added with 87 members. The Fremont Church in the Oskaloosa Association seems to have taken the place of the Salem Church. Rev. D. H. Paulis preaching at Bloomfield in 1856, I. Newland at Liberty, A.
Smock at Mars Hill, and J. W. Osborne at Concord. Abel Edwards of Drakeville is clerk of the Association, and the place of meeting North Fabius, ten miles south of Bloomfield. Baptisms 55, total membership 630. Of the baptisms Chequest Union reports 13, Liberty 9 and North Fabius 25, In 1857 the annual meeting was at Bloomfield. Rev. Abel Edwards is still clerk. D. H. Paul is laboring at Bloomfield under appointment of the Convention Board. Lebanon Church, Drakeville Post-office, disappears; also Bethlehem, Sharon Post office. There are now 13 Churches, 6 pastors, 114 baptisms, and 584 members. Besides pastors that have been before named we find J. Farquarson at Mars
Hill, and F. J. McEwen at Mt. Pleasant. The chief in gatherings by baptism have been Chequest Union 34, North Fabius 24, Mars Hill 27, Concord 10 and Union 7.
1858 Mars Hill is the place of meeting. D. V. Lewis is clerk. Six new Churches are added, and the year has been one of prosperity. J. L. Cole, G. J. Line, J. T. Milner, B. Ogle, and J. Parker are new pastors. There are now 20 Churches, 10 pastors, 130 and 842 members. In 1859 this Association met at Concord, September 23d, D. V. Lewis clerk. There were 19 Churches, 11 pastors, 55 baptisms and 812 members. Rev. E. Kinman appears as pastor at Bloomfield and Mars Hill, A. J. Hopkins at Pulaski,
C. Daughters at Little Fox River, and W. H. Turton at Indian Prairie, Lebanon Post Office. Of these Brother Kinman especially is long to be an important factor in this Association.
1860 ... Meets with the Liberty Church 13 miles southwest of Bloomfield. Clerk same as for the last two years. A fruitful year; 164 baptisms being reported, of which Chequest Union reports 37, Mount Pleasant 31, North Union 31 and Zion 20, with several others smaller numbers. Mention is made of four ministers ordained, but we have no means of knowing who they were. Rev. J, C. Burkholder is preaching at Centerville. One small Church, Freedom, with 10 members organized this year.
Clerk says in a report to the State Convention; "We had the pleasure of hearing our gifted brother G. J. Johnson of Fort Madison for the first time at our Association, and the presence of several visiting brethren contributed to the interest of our session." The present membership is 935 in 19 Churches with ten pastors.
1861 ... Chequest Union is the place of the annual convocation. D. V. Lewis, clerk. But little change. Baptisms are reported in 12 of the 19 Churches, aggregating 54. Total membership 933. Rev. J. Redburn is pastor at Centerville. In 1862 the Association met with the North Union Church. Lewis still clerk. Rev. R. T. Peak
appears as pastor at Bloomfield. Baptisms 49, total membership 923. A new Church called Hopeville, Blakesburg Post-office, appears with 16 members. Organized 1861.
1863 ... The annual meeting was held with the New Hope Church, 12 miles east of Centerville. Elder John Redburn, Moderator. The clerk, D. V. Lewis, being absent, A. F. Haines was elected clerk this year. Baptisms 32; total membership 891. Nearly at a stand still. The writer of these Sketches met with the Fox River Association for the first* time, as agent of the State Convention and was cordially received, though there had been some doubt as to the reception of Missionary Agents in this quarter.
The Minutes say it was "decided that Brother S. H. Mitchell be permitted to speak." Of course the permission was to speak in behalf of the missionary work, which he was here to represent. The Constitution of the Association then in force had this article, Art. 10th. "Each Church and member of this Association shall be left free to act or not to act on benevolent institutions, and it shall be no bar to fellowship." History would not be true to itself did it not make note of the effects of the prevailing idea in organizations upon the life and perpetuity of the same. At another place we may do this more fully as to the attitude of our Churches and
Associations toward the missionary idea. It need only to be said here, that notwithstanding, anti-mission teaching had prevailed in this Association in its earlier history, and its effects will be manifest yet for a long time to come, as noble spirits are to be found here as elsewhere and the future life of our institutions of benevolent Christianity is always in the keeping of these noble spirits. The records show a response to the appeals of the State Convention in 1863 of $30.80, against $11.36 in 1862 and $20.74 in 1861. The obituary report of this year mentions the departure to his reward of one who, though never known in the flesh by the writer, yet came
to be known by the testimony he had left in all this region, as one of God's noblemen. This was Elder Abraham Smoch. He had been for several years "Moderator of this Association, and was much beloved by all who knew him.'' "He had give* two sons to the service of his country, and although at that age of life when one clings with greater tenacity to home and the retirements of private life, he left his quiet retreat and the peaceful duties of the ministry, and entered the service," where "he died of disease in Camp McClellan, with the words of faith and triumph on his lips, trusting in the Lord Jesus."
1864 ... The Association met at
Centerville. Elder John Redburn, Moderator, D. Lewis again clerk. It is a time of great spiritual barrenness. Only 9 baptisms are reported for the year. Eighteen Churches and 708 members. The distracted condition of the country absorbs everything. Nowhere were there stronger feelings of sympathy and loyalty to the Government than here on the border. But it is sad to relate that those to whom this remark would apply were sometimes in the minority, and there was very strong opposition-in most part from conscientious motives-to any expression of sympathy and devotion to the Government, in religious bodies. This meeting of the Fox River Association at Centerville,
in 1864, is remembered as a critical period. It was a time that "tried" some "men's souls.'' A reminiscence of it may appear in another place. The writer, with a vivid recollection of the discussions of that session, is surprised to turn the Convention Treasurer's report of the year and find a credit of $20.25 as the response to his appeal at the Association.
1865 ... Met at Chequest Union, Davis county. D. V. Lewis, clerk. Churches 17; pastors 13; baptisms 24; members 686. Among the pastors of former years not before mentioned, were A. Saladay and A. P. Berry. The latter does not appear this year. New names in the pastorate are J. W. Bolster,
Centerville, J. A. Clark, East Shoal Creek, T. W. Wisdom, Hopewell and Mount Pleasant, E. Carey, Liberty, F. M. Fenton, New Hope, and E A. Packard and D. Richards, Union and Zion respectively.
1866 ... In 1866 the Association met at North Fabius, 9 miles south of Bloomfield. The veteran clerk still at the helm. Few Associations have ever had a better clerk than D. V. Lewis. There are some more hopeful indications in the Association. One or two new Churches added. Baptisms 50; total membership in 19 Churches 738. Added from all sources 129. New pastors J. T. Gunter, Chariton Kiver, A. Huckaby, W. B. Shoemake and J. H. Pry. The Fox River Association runs up its
contribution to the work of the Convention this year to $79.75.
1867 ... Met with the Concord Church, 9 miles northwest of Centerville. No change of clerk. Nineteen Churches, 12 pastors, 142 baptisms, 915 members: 239 added from all sources. The reports indicate a good degree of prosperity, much better than for several years past. Rev. Arthur Stott is pastor at Centerville, and P. Inskeep at Milton. Ten of the 19 Churches have meeting houses. A number begin to report contributions and Sabbath School statistics. The next year, 1868, the annual meeting was at Milton. The only report found in accessible records this year is that of contributions to the State
Convention, amounting to $84.85. This indicates a good degree of life.
1869 ... In 1869 the place of meeting is not known. Rev. E. Kinman was Moderator, Jesse Reckner, clerk. Churches 20 ; pastors 17 ; baptisms 77 ; members 1,044. The largest number of baptisms is at Bethel, T. W. Wisdom, pastor, 24. The next largest, New Hope, A. P. Berry, 10. The contributions to the State Convention this year reached $116.50. This is probably the high water mark of contributions in the Fox River Association.
1870 ... Met at Monterey. Jesse Reckner is again clerk. Churches 21, pastors 10, baptisms 150, members 1109. But little change of the working forces. Many
of the pastors change Churches within the Association almost yearly. These changes the historian does not attempt to note. But the pastoral forces in the Association remain nearly the same. A few have remained with some permanence in one place, notably Rev. R. T. Peak at Bloomfield. The number of baptisms and their distribution among 14 of the 21 Churches, indicate more than usual fruitfulness in the year's work. Also the number in individual Churches shows quite extended revivals in some parts of the field. Bethel, Rev. T. W. Wisdom pastor, reports 36 Hope Church, Rev. J. H. Miller, 23; Bethlehem, F. M. Fenton, 17; and several others range from 7 to 15.
... Chariton River Church has the privilege of entertaining this year, Jesse Reckner still clerk. 21 Churches, 14 pastors, 74 baptisms and 1106 members, 140 added in all ways. Only three of the 21 Churches have been organized since 1865. Most of the Churches in this Association are found in Davis and Appanoose counties with perhaps the south part of Monroe. The annual meeting in 1872 was at East Shoal Creek. No account of this meeting comes down to us by the only sources at hand; neither of the work of the year. It is suggestive of a breaking up somewhat of relations that were cultivated with marked benefit to the cause a few years ago, that only 15.00 went from this
entire Association to the work of the State Convention in 1872.
1873 ... By the organization of the Centerville Association on the west part of its field the territory of this Association is reduced to about one half its former extent and the number of its Churches to 18 with 6 pastors, and 628 members, of whom 83 were baptized during the year. The pastors are E. Kinman, J. Ripley, B. F. Ford, S. E. Nelson, J. W. Seamster, and A. Saladay, serving respectively the Floris and North Union, the Hopewell, the Liberty and New Hope, the Milton, the North Fabius, and West Grove Churches in the order named. The Bloomfield, Bethlehem, Chequest Union, Providence and
Zion Churches are without pastors. Brother Reckner still serves the Association as clerk. We have missed from the roll of pastors now for two or three years the name of our esteemed brother R. T. Peak. Few ministers have a more honored record, none a purer. Of the anniversary of 1874 which was to take place at Bethlehem we have no account.
1875 ... Churches 12, pastors 6, baptisms 26, membership 571. It is something like a bereavement to find so meager a record and no representation at all in our State Missionary work. 1876 is not reported. For 1877 the clerk, Jesse Reckner, reports September 28, 1877, the following statistics: Churches 11, Baptisms 65, total
membership 590, pastors 7 The pastor at Bloomfield is Rev. J. B. Edmonson. He is the step-son of Rev. R. T. Peak. He will honor the exemplary family in which he was raised. The Association falls into line again with a contribution to the State Convention of $8.65.
Place of meeting Bloomfield, September 21, 1878. A measure of prosperity seems dawning again. Churches 11, pastors 7, baptisms 123, members 692. J. B. Edmonson reports at Bloomfield 86 baptized Wm. Beard 10 a Beulah, a new Church, and 17 at Hopewell Rev. J. Seamster 39 at Providence. In 1879 the meeting was at Hopewell Church, September 27, Jesse Reckner clerk still. 10 Churches, 4 pastors, 36
baptisms, and 621 members. Rev. D. S. Starr has been preaching in this Association last year and this. Rev. Wm. Beard is supplying 3 Churches and reports 24 baptized at Chequest Union. The Association has again increased its contribution to State and Home Missions to $23.96.
1880 ... Meets at Floris. Churches 10, pastors 5, baptisms 10, members 673. A. C. Edwards has become pastor at Bloomfield. If but little is contributed in this field for state Mission Work, it ought to be remembered also that but little missionary work has been done on this field. Nothing for years, unless it be a very rare visit by the General Missionary. There were in 1881 still 10
Churches but only 3 pastors, supplying 8 of the Churches; baptisms 7, total membership reported 688. The pastors are A. C. Edwards, J. W. Seamster and E. Kinman. Bro. Kinman has become the veteran of the Fox River Association, and a right noble record has he made in this trying field. For the year 1882 but two ministers are reported on this field and only three baptized during the year. F. M. Coffey and J. W. Seamster are the pastors. Brother Coffey is settled at Bloomfield. I. F. Jenkins is clerk. We have for 1883 and 1884 no account of the work of this Association further than [that $36.50 were contributed to the Convention in 1883, and in 1884 $16.45.
... I. F. Jenkins of Bloomfield is clerk. Some little signs of life again. Nine Churches, 5 pastors, 58 baptisms, and 616 members. Rev. H. Shallenberger is preaching at Chequest Union and Floris, J. W. Seamster at Hopewell and Hickory Grove, C. Daughters at Milton, H. H. Modisett at North Union and W. C. Shoemaker at Liberty where there are 30 baptisms reported. No contributions reported. Bloomfield is without a pastor and reports 42 members. Since the organization of the Centerville Association in 1873, the Fox River Association has been limited to Davis county and its immediate borders. There is little, if any, more Baptist strength on its present field now than there
was twenty-five years ago. Then, and for years after, there was not a mile of railroad in its borders. Now it is well provided with railroad facilities, and there is evidence of material progress. The ministers of this Association have with few exceptions mainly supported themselves by working or superintending their farms etc. Many most excellent and worthy men have nobly served their generation in that way. But the history we have been sketching will readily suggest that, in the times on which we have fallen, enduring growth is not secured in that method. The early practice of multiplying organizations without the probable conditions of permanency, and in many instances
near, but away from the centers of population, together with the want of sympathy upon the part of many with the Missionary idea of the New Testament Church, will account for the want of growth and permanency. A careful observation will discover that these causes have produced like effects almost invariably wherever they are found to exist. The Centerville Association, absorbing the western half of this has shown more of the elements of life. As its history is essentially a continuation of that of the Fox River, we give it in the next chapter.
Centerville Association Organized in 1873
Reminiscences AND Incidents-1873 to 1886.
ON Friday, October 10, 1873, "delegates for the purpose of forming an Association of regular Baptist Churches met at 10 o'clock a. m., with the Centerville Baptist Church in Appanoose county, Iowa." An introductory sermon was preached by Rev. W. H. Turton and Elder A. P. Berry was chosen Moderator and G. C. Goodenough, Secretary of the meeting. The organization thus formed was called the Centerville Baptist Association, and was permanently organized by the election of A. P. Berry, Moderator and A. F. Haines, clerk. The Churches composing the body, mostly situated in Appanoose county, were the following: Centerville, no pastor, 47 members Concord, F. Edwards, pastor, 102 members; Chariton River, A. Jackson, pastor, 41 members; East Shoal Creek, J. T. Milner, pastor, 26 members; Franklin, W. H. Turton, pastor, 45 members; Little Flock, Wm. Barnett, pastor, 60 members; Mount Ararat, D. Winters, members New Salem, A. Huckaby, pastor, 122; pastor, 46 Members; Pleasant Grove 52, and Union, A. Saladay, pastor, 26 members; total Churches 10; pastors 8; members 567. Five of the above named Churches were from the Fox River Association and five from the Eden Association on the west. But one person is reported baptized during the year.
1874 ... The Association held its Second Annual Meeting with the New Salem Church, at Seymour, Wayne county. A. P. Berry, Moderator, N. Rogers, Clerk. Introductory sermon by Elder W. H. Turton. Invitation to visiting brethren was accepted by Rev. J. M. Wood, agent of Central University at Pella, Rev. M. T. Lamb, State Sunday School Missionary and Rev. T. M. Colwell, Assistant Secretary of the Baptist Publication Society. The Unionville Church was added to the list of Churches with 41 members. Rev. Z. Thomas is pastor at Chariton River. Other pastors the same as named last year, except that the names of A. Jackson, J. T. Milner, and D. Winters do not this year appear. Churches 11, pastors 6, baptized 22, members 653.
1875 ... Met at Mt. Ararat, J. Redburn Moderator, L. G. Parker clerk and treasurer. Rev. F. Edwards preached the introductory sermon from Galatians IV:24. Mount Pleasant Church, Monroe county, was received with 30 members. Churches 12, pastors 5, baptized 26, total membership 701. The Mt. Ararat Church reports 12 baptized and Pleasant Grove 13. The name of the New Salem Church has been changed to Seymour. The year has been one of some advance. In 1876 the Association met with the Concord Church, Moderator and clerk same as last year. Rev. L. G. Parker preached the introductory sermon from 1st Samuel VII: 12. The name of the Union Church, which last year reported 29 members disappears from the minutes. There are now 11 Churches, 6 pastors, 70 baptisms reported and 760 members. Centerville, F. Edwards pastor, has baptized 40, Mt. Ararat, J. Redburn, 17, and Seymour, F. M. Archer, 9. J. Kincade and F. M. Archer are recognized among the pastors for the first time. Rev. F. Edwards has been for over 3 years pastor at Centerville and they have completed and dedicated a new house of worship. The veteran J. M. Smith of southwestern Iowa was with them at the dedication and remained some 8 or 9 days preaching the word with great acceptance. At this meeting of the Association it was voted that ''A. F. Haines and Elder Parker be requested to write out and forward to the Historical Committee of the State a history of this Association, and such other historical sketches concerning the early Baptists in this vicinity and contiguous territory, as they may think proper. " The present "Sketcher" does not know whether this was ever done or not.
1877 ... The Association met at Franklin Church, Livingstone Appanoose county. Moderator F. Edwards, clerk Rev. L. Gr. Parker still. Introductory sermon from Amos VII:2 by Rev. F. Edwards. The Moulton Church was received with 22 members, J. Redburn pastor. Churches 12, pastors 8, baptized 61, total membership 820. Centerville has again shared most largely in the blessing and baptized 31, Franklin 11, F. M. Archer pastor. The evidences of vigorous life are refreshing. The Moulton Church, received this year gathers up the fragments of the Union Church which had dissolved.
1878 ... Unionville is the place of assembly in 1878. Elder A. P. Berry preached the introductory sermon from Hebrews XIII: 1. Moderator F. Edwards, clerk L. G. Parker. The number of Churches remains unchanged though Mt. Ararat has not reported for two years; baptisms 29, present membership 646. This is a large falling off from last year; 25 have been dismissed by letter and 36 excluded, 28 of these from the Little Flock Church. Rev. L. S. Livermore is preaching at Concord and Mt. Pleasant Churches.
1879 ... The Association met with the Little Flock Church in Appanoose county. Rev. A. P. Berry preached the sermon from John Y: 8. Officers unchanged. We recognize Rev. A. W. Sutton as pastor of the Franklin, Little Flock and Seymour Churches. Rev. T. Davis is preaching at Chariton River. Rev. F. M. Archer has removed to the Eden Association. Churches 12, pastors 6, baptisms 9, total membership 706. Seymour had been for a time without the ministrations of the word. They say "After we had secured a man of God to go in and out before us a meeting place was denied us, and in this emergency we resolved to arise and build, and by the grace of Him who said 'I am with you always' they have a house enclosed, of goodly size and fair proportions.
1880 ... Centerville has the privilege of entertaining the "angels'' again. Introductory sermon by Rev. A. W. Sutton from Acts XVII: 6. Officers the same as for several years past. Churches 12, pastors 8, baptisms 8, total membership 668. Besides the pastors before mentioned Rev. A. C. Edwards is preaching at Little Flock and J. R. Chance at Mt. Pleasant. Great barrenness of spiritual results is manifest in the small number of baptisms.
1881 ... Meet with the Mt. Pleasant Church. Annual sermon by Elder A. P. Berry from John III: 14-15. A. P. Berry Moderator, D. Given clerk and treasurer. Rev. F. Edwards who has been connected with this Association for eight years, much of the time as its Moderator, and since 1874 pastor at Centerville, is missed from its councils, having removed soon after the last Annual meeting and taken up work at Leon in the Eden Association, where we shall hear from him again. Rev. A. Robbins has succeeded pastor Edwards at Centerville. The name of G. W. Bagwell appears as pastor at Chariton River. The state of religion runs low, which is deplored and felt to be "an alarming condition, and one that will finally lead to an utter disregard of the responsibilities resting upon us as a denomination, " yet there is "a balm in Gilead" and the churches are recommended in order to "raise the standard of our religious life" to "get nearer to Jesus." Churches 12, pastors 7, baptized 17, whole number 631. A difficulty having arisen between the Seymour and Little Flock Churches, growing out of the reception by the latter Church of a member excluded from the former; a committee had been appointed last year to report on the case. The committee brought in a report at this meeting covering four full pages of the printed minutes. The report was evidently drawn up by Rev. A. Robbins, chairman of the committee, than whom Iowa has had few pastors able to set out in clearer light the principles involved in such a case. The case is one often repeated, with perhaps some variations in detail. A member of the Church is at variance with its pastor, absents himself from its meetings, violates his covenant vows, is disciplined by the Church, and, perhaps, somewhat hastily, excluded, without any charge against his moral character. He calls an ex-parte council, without any effort to secure redress by a mutual council. The ex-parte council meets in the M. E. Church of the village, with open doors, decides that the member had not been fairly dealt with, and under these circumstances he seeks and obtains membership in another Church in the same Association with the usual result of disturbing the relations of the two Churches. The committee have viewed and treated the whole case with very great skill and wisdom, pointing out, in a kind and Christian spirit, the errors in every step on both sides of the controversy, and especially that an ex-parte council in such a case should never be called except as a last resort. For "However honest and well-meant their efforts may be, they seldom succeed in settling difficulties, and often complicate and intensify them."
1882 ... Met with the Concord Baptist Church in Appanoose county. A. P. Berry, Moderator, A. Robbins. clerk and preacher of annual sermon. Text, Amos YII:2. "By whom shall Jacob arise. " Twelve churches, 5 pastors, baptized 14, present membership 592. The pastors are A Robbins, Centerville ; C. Lippitt, Franklin ; D. Given, Little Flock ; W. H. Eaton, Mt. Ararat, and Wm. Barnett, Unionville. Seven churches are without pastoral care. In 1883 the Association met for its eleventh anniversary with the Franklin Church, Livingston, Appanoose county, on Wednesday, September 12. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. D. Given, of Promise City, from Isaiah XL:31 ; who then called the Association to order. Rev- D. Given Moderator, A. F. Haines clerk and treasurer. Churches 12, pastors 8, baptized 22, total membership 552. Of the 22 baptisms, 21 were in the Pleasant Grove Church, W. H. Eaton, pastor. Brother Robbins is still pastor at Centerville, D. Winters at Chariton River, Rev. S. H. Gunn of St. Johns, Mo., at Franklin, D. Given at Little Flock, Joseph Baker at Mt. Ararat and Unionville, B. F. Mace at Mount Pleasant and W^. H. Eaton at Pleasant Grove.
1884 ... Place of meeting Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, near Dennis, Appanoose county. Rev. A. P. Berry, Moderator, and S. T. Shepherd, clerk and treasurer. Rev. D. D. Proper, of Des Moines, General Missionary of the State Convention, preached the annual sermon from Isaiah LIV:2 Rev. George E. Eldridge has succeeded pastor Robbins at Centerville. The other pastors of the Association are about the same as last year with perhaps some
changes of fields. It is a year of better spiritual results than for several years past. Fifty baptisms and 659 members reported. Six of the 12 Churches report baptisms ranging from 2 to 15. The time of meeting of the Association had been changed two or three years ago to the middle of the week. This year it is changed back again to Friday, so as to hold over Sunday.
1885 ... Met with the Unionville Church, Rev. L. G. Parker Moderator, S. T. Shepherd clerk and treasurer. Rev. Geo. E. Eldridge preached the annual sermon from 1885. Psalm 85:6. A little falling off in results from last year. Churches 19, pastors 8, baptisms 34; 25 of them in the Unionville Church total membership 638. While the work seems to have remained, in one sense, almost stationary on this field since the organization of this Association, the number of Churches varying only two and the membership only one or two hundred, yet there has been evidence all along of a good degree of vigorous religious life, and the Association has made, for its surroundings, a very creditable record. The representatives of Missionary interests have been cordially received and contributions have been cheerfully made and encouraged. We have the means of verifying this statement only in the case of State Missions. Taking the 11 years from 1875 to 1885 inclusive, we find contributions reported every year ranging from $8.15 in 1876, the smallest, to §69.12, the largest in 1881,
and aggregating in the 11 years $379.86. It is also a remarkable fact that in that time not a dollar has been expended in Missionary appointments within the territory of this Association, nor so far as appears ever asked for Resolutions and words of cheer for the various objects of benevolence seem never to have been wanting.
Before closing this sketch a reminiscence of this field not easily forgotten may properly find place here. In the earlier years of the Centerville Association the name of C. H. Richardson appears regularly among the delegates of the Centerville Church, bearing evidence of an abiding interest and active usefulness in the cause. The incident about to be related is of the first appearance of Brother Richardson in this field. It was in the exciting period of 1864, the most critical time in the government's gigantic work of suppressing the rebellion. The Pox River Association was in session with the Centerville Church. As was usual in that critical time, resolutions had been presented expressing strong condemnation of the rebellion, and sympathy with the Government. The Moderator of the Association had declared the resolutions out of order, and as the only way of getting the matter before the body an appeal was taken from the decision of the chair. There was no expectation that the appeal would be sustained by a vote of the Association, but so strong was the feeling that something ought to be said then and there in behalf of what was deemed a matter of so much importance that, regardless of parliamentary restrictions a three- hours discussion of the resolutions followed on the motion to appeal. All was said that needed to be said, and the yeas and nays were called and the appeal was voted down, and the chair sustained. Brother D. V. Lewis was clerk of the body and strongly in favor of the resolutions. He suggested that as the yeas and nays were to be recorded it would be necessary to print in the minutes the matter voted upon, and this was permitted to be done, and the resolutions went before the people with their sentiments of loyalty to work as leaven wherever the minutes were read. Brother Richardson owned some land in Appanoose county, which he had never seen. Deciding- in the summer of 1864 to emigrate from Vermont to the west, he had brought his family into Southern Iowa to hunt up his land and settle upon it. Arriving late in the week in the neighborhood of Centerville he heard of the Association then in session, and being a loyal Baptist he came into the meeting and entered during the discussion referred to above. Being just from the intensely loyal state of Vermont he had never heard such sentiments as he was compelled to listen to here among entire strangers. He had not imagined that such sentiments could be heard among Baptists north of the precincts of slavery itself. His homesickness and disappointment can be better imagined than described. As he told the writer afterwards, his mind was made up during that afternoon that he could never settle in such a community. Said he: "On Monday following I went out to look at the land, " and though the was years afterward, he said "this land never looked so beautiful as it did that Monday morning.'' Then he says: "I said to myself, Calvin Richardson, you never have backed out yet and you are not going to do it now. " And he did not. A home was made on the farm and in the Church, and the record of his name in connection with the Association shows that he was made of the stuff that does not "back out' from the duty of the Christian and the citizen.
In 1885 we find Thomas Wharton, post-office, Exline, pastor of the East Short Creek Church. Other pastors are Geo. E. Eldridge, W. H. Eaton, Wm. Barnett, Joseph Baker, B. F. Mace, preaching to the Mount Pleasant Church, and L. G. Parker. Rev. Wm. Barnett and Rev. L. G. Parker have done long and faithful service in this part of Iowa; the former since 1855, and the latter since along in the sixties. Brother Barnett was a member, in all its early years, of the Eden Association. The Franklin Church, Livingston post-office, has a history peculiar to itself. This is the home of Rev. L. G. Parker. The Church in all its earlier days was far in advance of all the surrounding country in its ideas of benevolence. It was a pleasure for the representatives of missionary organizations to visit
them, and a manifest pleasure to them to receive such visits. A kind of oasis in the desert it seemed. Doubtless the reports of treasurers would verify the assertion that though a small body, and much scattered, they were a peculiar people, and zealous of good works. As this chapter goes to press the report for 1886 has not been received.
Central Iowa Association - Organized in 1852. A Large Field - 1852 to 1886.
The fourth to appear on the list of Associations was the Central Iowa, organized on 1852. A meeting of delegates from the Baptist Churches of Des Moines, West Union (Vandalia), Harmony (Monroe), and Coal Ridge was held with the West Union Church (Vandalia), July 3, 1852, "for the purpose of organizing an Association." "Rev. I. C. Curtis was called to the chair and Rev. J. A. Nash appointed clerk." A constitution was adopted and the Central Iowa Baptist Association began its career. Churches 6, members 114.
The first meeting of the Association was held with the Harmony (Monroe) Church, October 15, 1852. Rev. J. Bond preached the introductory sermon, W. D. Everett, Moderator, J. A. Nash, clerk. The next year, 1853, there appeared the following Churches in the list: Monroe (formerly Harmony), E. Evans, pastor, 30 members; Fort Des Moines, J. A. Nash, 24; Corey Grove, 10; Union, I. C. Curtis, 12; Coal ridge, W. D. Everett, 23; Pleasant Grove, 33; West Union, E. Evans, 23; Newton, E. Evans, 12; Hartford, B. B. Arnold, 16; total, 9 Churches; 5 pastors; 12 baptisms reported and 183 members. Of the 9 Churches, the first was organized in 1850, the following three in 1851, the next four in the order named in 1852 and the last in 1853. These Churches were located in Polk, Jasper, Marion and Warren counties, and comprised all the Baptist Churches then known in the west two thirds of the State. The anniversary in 1853 was with the West Union Church. Rev. J. A. Nash preached the sermon. B. B. Arnold, Moderator, J. A. Nash, clerk.
1854. Met at Hartford. Rev. J. A. Nash preached the sermon, E. Evans, Moderator. The following additional Churches are found on the list: Boone Forks, W. J. Sparks, pastor, 22 members; Knoxville, 52; North River, 18; South River, S. G. Hunt, 13; North Union, W. J. Sparks, 17. Knoxville came from the Oskaloosa Association and had been organized in 1851. There are now 14 Churches, 6 pastors; 98 baptisms are reported, 118 received by letter and experience, and a total membership of 384. It has been a year of remarkable revivals. Eleven of the 14 Churches reported baptisms. Rev. W. D. Everett, pastor at Coal Ridge, reports 17; Rev. B. B. Arnold, at Hartford, 27, and Rev. W. J. Sparks, at North Union, 29. The annual meeting in 1855 was at Fort Des Moines. Rev. J. A. Nash still Corresponding Secretary. Iowa Centre and Newbern Churches are added, and Ira H. Rees, A. W. Russell and H. Haley to the list of ministers. Sixteen Churches, 8 pastors, 47 baptisms and 489 members.
1856. The place of meeting is Knoxville. Otter Creek, Handsome View, Winterset, and Mount Pleasant Churches are added. H. Haley is pastor at Otter Creek and J. Ellege at Winterset. New names in the list of ministers are A. Dana, Coal Ridge; D. Taylor, Hartford; J. Ellis Guild, Newton; and H. C. Warson, Pleasant Grove and South River. There are now 20 Churches, 10 pastors, 40 baptisms reported, and 671 members. In 1857 the meeting was at Monroe. Rev. B. B. Arnold preached the sermon, and J. Currier was Moderator. Rev. A. W. Russell removed from Monroe in June of 1857, and began work at Winterset, under appointment of the State Convention. The annual report says: "The Church was rent by divisions and difficulties, and was in other respects feeble and inefficient. In removing these difficulties; however, encouraging progress has been made, and the prospect for the future seems much more encouraging.
1858. The Association is now composed of 24 Churches, 5 of which were added the present year. These were Buffalo Grove, Bethel, Boonsboro, Green Bush, and Good Hope. There are 15 ordained ministers within the bounds of the Association; but as but few of them are devoting their whole time to the ministry there is much destitution. Considerable success has, however, attended the labors of the year, and this region, so lately the abode of the red man and the Buffalo, is rapidly being pre-empted for the Lord and for Christian civilization. The number baptized during the year is 120, and the Association now numbers 911 members. Rev. Ira. H. Rees is occupying Boone and Story counties, under commission of the Convention, at a salary of $300.00, one-half of which is to be raised on the field. For a number of years Brother Rees continued a heroic and self-sacrificing struggle on this frontier, and then removed farther west, doubtless to repeat the struggle. A correspondent of the Standard, in 1886, visited this same dear brother in southern Kansas, and found him desirous of disposing of sundry lands he possessed, in order to devote himself again to the active work of the ministry.
1859. The Association met at Vandalia and received reports of several revivals of special interest, while other fields, not blessed with abundant showers, have been refreshed with heavenly dews. Rev Joshua Currier, formerly of the Dubuque Association, has been sustained by the Association and the Home Missionary Society to supply destitute Churches a part of this and the last year, the beginning of a number of years of faithful labor by Brother Currier in the Central Association. Rev. T. J. Arnold and Rev. T. C. Townsend also begun work here in 1859. Rev. J. A. Todd, E. Whitaker, and L. L. Frisk are noted in the list. Churches 24, pastors 11, baptisms 111, added from other sources 188, total membership 921. E. O. Whitaker preached the annual sermon and is clerk of the body. Rev. J. Currier, Moderator.
1860. Met at Sandyville, Warren county. Rev. T. C. Townsend preached the sermon. J. Currier, Moderator, J. A. Todd, clerk. Five Churches have been dismissed to form the Upper Des Moines Association and it has been a year of spiritual dearth. There are now 18 churches, 7 pastors, 33 baptisms reported and 739 members. There is not yet a Church in the Association having 100 members. Des Moines is the nearest with 92. Rev. R. D. Hartshorn has become pastor at Knoxville and is clerk of the Association. Rev. J. Currier is Moderator.* One small Church with 11 members, called Prairie Church, near Des Moines is the only addition to the list. Baptisms 44, members 755. Rev. Wm. Parker is preaching at Iowa Center, being ordained there this year.
1862. This year the Anniversary is at Knoxville. Rev. J. A. Nash preached the introductory sermon. Rev. J. Currier was elected Moderator and R. D. Hartshorn clerk. At this meeting the present writer was present as a visitor. It is hard to realize that at that time our Baptist cause in all this great Central District of Iowa was only ten years old, yet there are only two Churches in the Central Association that were organized prior to 1852. Des Moines and Knoxville each dates back to 1851. The meeting at Knoxville this year is remembered as a pleasant and harmonious occasion. The Church at Des Moines have had a revival of great power and have baptized 60, giving them a membership of 165. Baptisms in the Association 118, total membership 864.
1863. The Association met at Des Moines. Moderator and clerk the same as last year. The Churches of this Association, as elsewhere, are suffering depletion as a consequence of the Civil War, but "exhibit an almost united devotion to the Government in its struggle to subdue the Rebellion." But little evidence of revival in the Churches this year, though the Vandalia Church, Rev. J. Parker pastor, has baptized 37, showing a good work. Total baptisms 45, membership 833. In 1864 the Association met at Vandalia. There were only 4 pastors reported, Rev. Demas Robinson at Iowa Centre and Vandalia, Wm. Hildreth at Knoxville, J. Currier at Monroe, and J. A. Nash at Des Moines. The Church at Avon reports 33 baptized, Carlisle 34, and Hartford 12, and these Churches are all now without pastors. Rev. J. Parker, an active worker, and pastor of several Churches, has died during the year. Whole number of baptisms 82, members 817 in 18 churches.
1865. The Association meets at Monroe, September 6, E. W. Hartman clerk. There are now 13 Churches, 9 pastors, 61 baptisms reported and 762 members. A Church has been organized at Indianola with 32 members and J. A. Pool pastor. T. J. Arnold is pastor at Knoxville where 25 are baptized; Brother Nash reports 10 at Des Moines and 13 are reported at Pleasant Hill, but no pastor. In 1866 Carlisle is the entertaining Church, T. J. Arnold preacher, J. A. Nash Moderator, E. W. Hartman clerk. Two notable accessions to the ministry are mentioned, viz. Rev. J. Y. Aitchison at Newton and Rev. L. W. Hayhurst at Des Moines. The Churches report the addition of 182 by baptism, and 161 by letter, and a clear gain of 200 members. The Churches most favored with revivals and additions are Des Moines, 62 baptisms and 100 additions from all sources, Indianola, 58 baptisms and 99 additions, Hartford 33 and 51 respectively, and Newton 13 baptisms and 32 additions. Des Moines and Indianola and perhaps Newton have done, it is said, "and are doing a noble work in the erection of meeting houses. Indianola, only two years old, is the second Church to number over 100, having already 130; Des Moines 260, and Knoxville has reached 100.
1867. The Association meets at Indianola. Hartman continued as clerk. Twelve Churches, 7 pastors, 85 baptisms, 148 added in all ways, and 1,060 members. Rev. T. J. Arnold has changed from Knoxville to Carlisle, where 25 have been baptized. Monroe, Rev. J. Currier still pastor, has baptized 28. Eight of the 12 Churches have meeting houses; that at Indianola being dedicated on the occasion of this Associational gathering. In 1868 the Association net at Hartford. A Church has been organized at Polk City; also the Sherman Church, Jasper county. Another year of revival; 134 persons have been baptized, and the present membership is 1,293. The Winterset Church transfers her connection from the Western Association to this body, reporting 50 baptisms and 200 members, Rev. O. T. Conger, pastor. Rev. T. R. Cressey, the senior preacher and father of the Cressey family of preachers, has settled at Indianola, succeeding Pastor J. A. Pool. Rev. J. D. Cassady, from the Upper Des Moines Association, is preaching at Iowa Center. Rev. A. Pratt is at Knoxville.
1869. The annual meeting is at Knoxville. Rev. T. R. Cressey is Moderator. E. W. Hartman, clerk. This is one of the high water marks of the Central Association, in its thirty-four years of history. There are 13 Churches, with 11 pastors reporting 232 baptisms and 1.487 members. Winterset, where O. T. Conger is still pastor, reports 140 baptisms and 397 members. Churches were organized this year at Altoona, Peoria City and Woodland. Rev. J. G. Craven is preaching at Elm Grove, and T. M. Bailey at Newton. The amount contributed for missions is another evidence of prosperity. The Treasurer's report of the Convention for 1869 credits this Association with $505.05. The Association met in 1870 at Winterset. E. W. Hartman, still clerk. Rev. J. V. Schofield is pastor at Des Moines; Rev. D. N. Mason, at Indianola; Rev. J. Frey, Jr., at Knoxville, and Rev. G. W. Hertzog, at Monroe. Churches 17, pastors 11, baptisms 89, members 1,536; given to the Convention, $394.43. Earlham, New Virginia, and North River Churches were organized this year.
1871. Meeting at Des Moines; Rev. J. Frey, Moderator; Rev. D. N. Mason, clerk. A year of spiritual fruit gathering Churches 11, pastors13, baptisms 155, added in all ways, 249. Total membership 1,773. Rev. R. Garton has succeeded Rev. O. T. Conger at Winterset. There are now six Churches having over 100 members each, viz: Carlisle, Des Moines, Indianola, Knoxville, Monroe and Winterset. Rev. Amos Robinson becomes pastor at Newton late this year. In 1872 the Association met at Otley; D. N. Mason, clerk. A year of somewhat limited results. There are 22 Churches, 13 pastors, 57 baptisms reported, and 1,599 members; a decrease from last year of 172. The Church at Otley, midway between Pella and Monroe, organized in 1871, is called Mount Moriah Church, and has 69 members. Elm Grove Church, seven miles south of Des Moines, also organized in 1871, Rev. Uriah McKay, pastor, has 40 members, 11 of whom were baptized during the year. The Enon Church, Rev. J. L. Wyly, pastor, is a new organization with but 9 members. Rev. Amos Robinson, of Newton, is preaching to the Sherman Church. Rev. A. Wells seems to have been pastor at New Virginia this year and last. Of the 22 Churches in this Association, 11 are less than five years old, and six of them without pastors. Rev. J. R. Murphy, D.D., recently from Salem, New Jersey, has become pastor at Des Moines, succeeding Rev. J. V. Schofield after a two years' pastorate.
1873. The meeting this year is at Norwalk. Rev. A. Robinson of Newton, is clerk. Brother Robinson, of Newton is clerk. Brother Robinson is still pastor, and patiently laboring on at Newton. Refreshing showers of Divine Grace are again evident this year. The 21 Churches with 13 pastors report 227 baptisms, and 1740 members. This is within five of the high tides in the history of the Association. The Churches sharing most largely are Des Moines, Rev. J. R. Murphy, pastor, 56; Monroe, Rev. G. W. Hertzog, 31; and Winterset, Rev. R. Garton, 83. A Church has been organized at East Des Moines, Rev. Granger W. Smith, pastor; 9 baptisms and 63 members. The contributions for the Convention this year are $380.90. Keeping pace pretty well with the spiritual prosperity. Rev. T. R. Stitt is preaching at Hartford. Rev. Wm. Tilly has become pastor at Indianola; S. Funk at Norwalk and Sand Hill; Rev. Thomas Miller at Woodland. Knoxville is without a pastor, Brother Frey having returned to the English River Association, after a three years' service there.
1874. Monroe entertains the Association this year. Amos Robinson is still clerk. The names of several new Churches not represented are dropped out of the table this year. Some of them will certainly reappear. Churches 17, pastors 12, baptisms 63, members 1487. Rev. John Bodenham appears as pastor at Carlisle, A. Robbins at Knoxville, D. Simons at Hartford and Vandalia, H. S. Fish at Otley, H. C. Warson at Spring Hill, Samuel W. Lee at New Virginia, and J. Messenger at Clanton Church. This church was 10 miles south of Winterset was dismissed from the Western Iowa Association in 1858, and first appears in these minutes in 1870 but seems to have very little prosperity. Reports 26 members. In 1875 the meeting was Vandalia. The same clerk continued. Churches 21, pastors 12, baptisms 30, total membership 1463. Rev. A. J. Delano has succeeded pastor Garton at Winterset, after an interval of one year. Brother Garton, after a pastorate of three years here, removes to Waterloo, Iowa, to begin one of the notably long and successful terms of pastoral work in Iowa. Rev. J. A. Abbott appears as pastor at Monroe. Brother Messenger at Clayton reports 8 baptized and an increase of membership to 33. The Patterson Church, S. W. Lee pastor, is enrolled with 61 members and 6 baptisms.
1876. Patterson is the place of convocation, H. S. Townsend of Norwalk clerk. Churches 21, pastors 10, baptized 54, total membership 1614. Brother Wm. Tilly is pastor at Carlisle and reports 23 baptized. Rev. Granger W. Smith has closed his pastorate at East Des Moines and Rev. Wm. Hildreth is preaching there. Brother Smith is the youngest son of the excellent Iowa pioneer, Dr. Dexter P. Smith, and after his pastorate of three years at East Des Moines returns to the east to the regret of his Iowa brethren. Rev. John Fulton has become pastor at Winterset after an absence from Iowa of 8 or 9 years. Indianola and Knoxville, with 6 others of the smaller Churches are without pastors. The Association in 1877 met at Newton. Clerk, Rev. Charles Payne, Knoxville. Churches 23, pastors 14, baptisms 94, members 1588. Of baptisms Dr. Murphy of 1st Des Moines reports 29, Brother Fulton of Winterset 23, Indianola, E. E. Bayliss pastor, 10. Rev. W. A. Cain is pastor at East Des Moines; S. West is preaching at Otley, H. W. Wilson at Polk City, Rev. Charles Payne has become pastor at Knoxville. In 1878 the Annual meeting was a Spring Hill, E. F. Sperry of Knoxville clerk. There is evidence of a good degree of activity in that the contributions to State Missions this year have been $396.60. Rev. W. C. Pratt becomes pastor at Monroe.
Indianola again entertains the Anniversary. Brother Sperry is still clerk. Churches 24, pastors 7, baptisms 48, total membership 1648. Both the Des Moines Churches are without pastors. Dr. Murphy retires from the active work of the ministry for a time for the restoration of health, and goes onto a farm near Winterset. Few pastors have entrenched themselves in the confidence and high esteem of Iowa Baptists in the same length of time as has Dr. Murphy, both as a faithful and successful pastor and as an efficient and laborious worker in every denominational interest. There are but two pastors in the Association that date their settlement with their present church earlier than the present year. These are Rev. John Fulton of Winterset, 1876, and W. C. Pratt, Monroe, 1878. The others this year are D. C. Ellis , Carlisle and Norwalk; J. F. Childs, Elm Grove; N. H. Dailey, Knoxville; D. Heagle, Indianola; T. R. Stitt, Spring Hill; and L. W. Atkins, Polk City.
1880. Meet at Winterset. Churches 22, pastors 12, baptized 161, present membership 1698. Rev. L. M. Woodruff is pastor at 1st Des Moines, L. H. Thompson at Carlisle, E. T. Cressey of the Douglass Church, F. M. Archer at Fairmount and Otley. Others as last year. Rev. G. W. Hertzog resides near Monroe, and has served many years as pastor of the Church with intervals in which others have served them. He is again at the helm, Brother Pratt having resigned. The number of baptisms indicates a good interest in many of the fields. Knoxville reported the largest number, 64. Newton 24, but is now without a pastor. Rev. Amos Robinson resigned a year or two ago after serving this Church faithfully for 6 or 7 years. Rev. Gilman Parker was pastor for an interval and presumably baptized the converts reported this year. The Anniversary in 1881 was at Knoxville. Churches 23, pastors 14, baptized 48, total membership 1595. Rev. T. J. Keith has become pastor at East Des Moines after an interval of a year or so during which Rev. D. D. Proper, had served the Church a part of one year. Rev. W. A. Welsher, D. D., is pastor at Winterset, Rev. John Fulton having resigned a three years' pastorate there to take charge of the 2d Church at Cedar Rapids. Rev. N. H. Daily has removed from Knoxville to Newton and is pastor there and at Rushville and Sherman Churches.
1882. The Association meets with the East Des Moines Church. Churches 25, pastors 10, baptized 19, present membership 1412. A year of great barrenness of spiritual results. Of most of the larger Church there is a large decline in membership compared with 10 years ago. Des Moines 1st is without a pastor. High Street Church, recently organized, has 46 members, S. A. Beaman pastor. Rev. W. A. Cain is pastor at Indianola, C. J. Pendleton at Knoxville and Rev. J. H. Miller is preaching at Geer Creek, Hartford and Patterson. No pastor's settlement earlier than last year except G. W. Hertzog whose present settlement at Monroe dates from 1880. In 1883 the Annual meeting was at Knoxville. Churches 24, pastors 13, baptized 109, total membership 1477. Rev. C. M. Brink has become pastor of the 1st Church Des Moines, Rev. F. D. Rickerson, D. D. of the High Street Church; Rev. Wm. Tilly at Knoxville, and Rev. Amos Weaver at Winterset. Most of the baptisms are in the three Des Moines Churches, 1st 17; East Des Moines 25, High Street 11. In Patterson, J. H. Miller pastor, 24, and in Winterset 16. Rev. W. A. Cain is doing a good work at Summerset. Indianola is pastorless.
1884. Meet at Vandalia. Churches 28, pastors 12, baptized 292, total membership 1802. Additions from all sources 490. East Des Moines reports 60 baptized and Indianola 129, Monroe 34 and Ohio Church in Madison county, J. H. Miller pastor; 23. These are the principal larger numbers. The numbers of baptisms and additions exceed those of 1869 but considering all the Churches that remains the most prosperous year. Several new Churches have been organized. Among them Kilduff, Rev. Z. A. Bryant pastor with 11 members, Milo, T. R. Stitt pastor with 20 members, and Ohio and Olivet, J. H. Miller pastor with 46 and 26 respectively. Indianola entertains again in 1885. Churches 28, pastors 12, baptisms 95, members 1834. Rev. T. S. Bovell has become pastor at Indianola, L. F. Compton at Newton, and Harry Woodson at Carlisle and Hartford.
1886. The central Association held its thirty-fifth annual meeting at Carlisle. Brother E. F. Sperry has been clerk since 1878. The number of Churches is now 25, pastors 13, baptisms reported 79, total membership 1785. Rev. F. D. Rickerson, D. D. closed his work at High street Des Moines in the fall of 1885, and became pastor at Sioux City. He is succeeded at High street by E. F. Strickland, D. D. Rev. L. F. Compton is pastor at Newton and at Killduff, and Rev. G. C. Peck at Winterset. Other new names in the pastors' list are W. H. Sayre at Deer Creek, R. R. Albin at Knoxville, and C. A. Price at Sherman. The post office address of the last named is at Colfax.
The great revival at Indianola in 1884, wherein 129 were baptized was under the powerful ministrations of the spirit through Rev. W. A. Welsher, D. D. who remained with the Church through several months and was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. T. S. Bovell. The Moderators of the Central Association have been: 1852, W. D. Everett; 1853-4, B. B. Arnold; 1856, D. Taylor; 1857 to 1865 inclusive, Joshua Currier; 1866-7, J. A. Nash; 1868-9, T. R. Cressey; 1870-72, J. Frey; 1873, J. R. Murphy; 1874, G. W. Herzog; 1875, F. Mott; 1876, J. A. Abbott; and for the successive years since, J. Fulton, Amos Robinson; W. A. Cain; D. D. Proper; W. A. Welsher, D. D.; J. A. Nash, D. D.; J. H. Miller, C. M. Brink; W. A. Cain and T. S. Bovell. The clerks from the organization in their order have been; J. A. Nash, three years; S. G. Hunt, three years; E. O. Whitaker, one year; J. A. Todd, one year; R. D. Hartshorn, three years; D. Robinson, one year; E. W. Hartman, six years; D. N. Mason, two years; Amos Robinson, three years; H. S. Townsend, one year; C. Payne, one year, and E. F. Sperry nine years. The first treasurer of this Association was Dea. B. Luce, two years; then Charles McKay one year and J. L. Smith, Esq. of Des Moines nine years, from 1856 to 1876 inclusive, except 1864, when J. M. Reicheneker was treasurer. J. Rickman served in 1856; Wm. Long six years to 1872; H. C. Deakin three years to 1875; W. F. Townsend in 1876; A. J. Duncan in 1877; U. McKay three years to 1889, and A. J. Duncan the six years since.
These chapters of the book, Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886, encompassed Henry County.
Transcribed by Constance Diamond, 2013.