The history of the Presbyterian Church in Wyoming is a series of dramatic, tragic episodes brightened only by the determination of its members to build and rebuild their edifice for worship.
The Presbyterian Church was the first church built in Wyoming or in the township. At the recommendation of Rev. G. E. Delevan of Maquoketa, who had come to the West for reason of his health, passed through Wyoming and thought it an excellent place to establish a church. He called upon Rev. James H. Spellman, a home missionary, to come here in connection with the organization of a Presbyterian Church. Prior to this, the early settlers had been meeting in various homes with a circuit rider for their leader. In 1855 they met in the newly erected schoolhouse. On May 17, 1857, a society was organized preliminary to formation of the church. The meeting was held in a little schoolhouse on the hill. The names of the first members were: Joseph Bryan and his wife; A. M. Loomis and his wife: Jerry Gard, E. G. Fairchild and A. W. Pratt and his wife. The first trustees were John Morse, Joseph Bryan, Emmons Leonard. A. W. Pratt was elected treasurer, A. M. Loomis clerk and Rev. Delevan was selected as pastor. May 25 the articles of incorporation were adopted at the Pratt home.
During the summer of 1860 a building was erected on the present site. Rev. Trowbridge of Dubuque laid the cornerstone: Records of the church, a copy of the Anamosa Eureka and several other articles were placed in a sealed box in the cornerstone. The church had just reached completion and plans were being made for the first service when a tornado struck and leveled it to the ground. Standing amid the ruins with his congregation, Rev. Delevan lifted his hands and said, "With God's assistance, these walls shall be rebuilt." And it was, with God's assistance and diligent labor of the small congregation, that the walls were rebuilt. The new structure was of brick with a tall spire, a beautiful landmark picturesquely located on the town's high hill.
Ironically, the first religious service held in this new building was the funeral of Rev. Delevan, who had worked so very strenuously for its completion.
In the year 1875, a bell was shipped from Cincinnati, Ohio. The bell weighs 1310 pounds and has been in use since the date it was purchased, with the exception of the years a new building was being built.
Mrs. A.W. Pratt gave the manse to the congregation in 1865, and later seats for the church, which has been in constant use since that time. It was under the pastorate of Rev. Goodale the wings were added and the church enlarged .
In June of 1907, the Presbyterian Church celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary with the Rev. W. H. Ilsley as its minister. The Seventy-fifth Anniversary was an event of June in 1932 with Rev. Worden P. Nicholas as pastor.
Another tragic incident occurred in the church's history on July 18, 1947. As contractors were excavating to enlarge the basement, the walls of the building collapsed. An echo of the pioneer minister must have been heard. "With God's assistance these walls shall be rebuilt."
Mr. John Blakemore, student supply preacher, delivered his sermon following the disaster to a disheartened congregation. However, his sermon lifted spirits and gave the congregation a new zeal to again rebuild.
After months of cleaning the debris, making plans and facing difficulties, a basement was excavated and finished. Prior to this building project, the services were held in Memorial Hall. After the basement was completed, the services were held there for over a year.
Actual construction of the present church began in August, 1949. The dedication service was held on Dec. 18 of that year with Mr. John Blakemore as the supply preacher. The dedicatory speaker was Rev. Alfred S. Nickless, a supply preacher of the earlier days of the church.
In the years since the dedication, the building has been covered with brick, a bell tower has been added and beautiful altar furnishings have been acquired to add to the beauty and dignity of the services. In May 1957 The First Presbyterian Church of Wyoming celebrated its 100th Anniversary under the leadership of George K. Tjaden.
The history was written and submitted by Sharon Brodersen Lindbloom. John Kahl submitted the church photo.