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The Gazette
Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa
circa 1933 [77th church anniversary]

News-clipping provided by Kelli Skindzelewski, transcribed by Stephen D. Williams

Williamsburg Church, Iowa County's
Oldest, Observes 77th Anniversary

Congregational Church

--Tru-Art cuts.

Mrs. George Meyer and Mrs. Rex Porter. The pastor, the Rev. George E. Meyer, gave a memorial to the older members of the church. Old Welsh songs were sung. The service closed with communion and singing of the old Welsh hymn of parting.
In 1844 two brothers, Evan and William Evans, their brother-in-law, Richard Pugh, and their wives, settled along Old Man's creek, near an Indian burial ground. One mile east of Williamsburg they built log cabin homes. The remains of one of these three homes is still visible, that of "Middle House." The church had its beginning as an organized body in these three homes, known as log cabin home chapels of the early church.
In 1856 the church was organized, with Evan J. Evans the first pastor, and the services were held at the three log cabins until a school house was built in 1857. The first church, a frame structure, was built in 1859, the lumber being hauled from Iowa City. It was located on the site of the present church on a lot which was given by Richard Williams, one of the thirteen charter members, and for whom the town of Williamsburg was named. Mr. Evans mortgaged his farm to raise $1,000 to build the church. The present building was finished in March, 1917, and dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1917. It cost $20,000.
The Welsh language, with its soft trills and pleasing inflections, was used in the church exclusively until 1896. The Rev. Abram Jones, at that time pastor, was the first pastor who could preach in English.
Special to The Gazette.
  WILLIAMSBURG—The first congregational church of Williamsburg, the oldest church organization in Iowa county, observed its seventy-seventh anniversary Sunday. The program included two services, with Rev. P. Adelstein Johnson of Grinnell, superintendent of the Congregational Christian Conference

Mrs. Mary Gittins
of Iowa, preaching a sermon on "Fellowship." A basket dinner in the church basement followed the morning service.
The birthday cake for the aniversary [sic], made by Mrs. Ezra Swartzendruber, was cut by
Mrs. Mary Gittins, who holds the record of having been a member of the church for the longest period of time, 72 years. The cake was given to the oldest members and taken to the church shut-ins. At the dinner Mrs. Gittins was presented a basket of American Beauty roses, sent by her daughter, Mrs. Harry E. Hull, of Washington, D. C. They were presented by her grandson, Jimmie Gittins.
At the afternoon service the history of the church was read by Miss Luella James, and greetings from absent friends and members were read by Mrs. Ezra Swartzendruber. Greetings from Genoa Bluffs were read by J. D. Misbach. Musical numbers included anthems by the choir, solos by Dorothy James and Ivor James, and numbers by a trio composed of Mrs. M. E. Lewis,

First Congregational Church
  In this $20,000 structure built in 1917, the First Congregational
church at Williamsburg, Ia., Sunday celebrated its seventy-seventh

Early Chruch in Log Cabin Home
The First Congregational church had its beginnings in three
log cabin homes near an Indian Burying ground. The ruins of one of
these cabins are shown above.

Rev. E. J. Evans
After the church was organ-
ized in 1856, the Rev. E. J.
Evans was first pastor.

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