The following is a brief history of the church that was composed
for the dedication of the second building in 1916.
River Church of Christ
Mrs. Chester L. Jones
The congregation, which came to be known as the North River Church
of Christ, was organized at the school house in District No. 1, in
Jackson Township, June 20, 1875, under the leadership of Brother
Gaston of Des Moines.
The first Christian preacher was
Brother Mark Roberts, who preached as early as 1865; and Elder
Dodge of De Soto, was also an early preacher. There had been
occasional preaching for two or three years previous to this date;
Brother Dolbar perhaps being the
first, followed by Brother Cheatham, who was located at De Soto.
After the organization, Brother Boles, Brother Brown and Brother
Wilson preached more or less regularly and held special meetings.
Of the thirty names on the church roll
at the time of the organization, less than one half dozen are now
living, and they are unable to recall the early church history in
detail. The records which had been carefully preserved in the
church library, were burned when the church was destroyed by fire.
Those of the charter members who are
living at this time are: Mrs. Israel Miller (Syntha Anna), Mrs.
Jack Davis, Mrs. Henry Davis (Lucinda Ellen), Mrs. Minerva
Wolverton, and Mrs. Laura Early. One of the members and early
ministers, who will be affectionately remembered, was Brother
Henry Davis, who was ordained by Brother Dolbar.
As the congregation grew in numbers
and strength, it was resolved to build a house of worship,
accordingly a church was erected in 1890, and dedicated in August
of that year; Brother Ellis of Rising Sun, preached the dedicatory
sermon, assisted by Brother D. M. Haggard of De Soto. Among the
men in the church at that time, Otto Bruett, Thomas Hays, Isaiah
Henry, William Babbitt, and Benton Applegate will be remembered as
leaders and officers.
From the above date, 1890, the
preaching was supplied almost entirely by students from Drake
University; among them we recall Edgar Price, C. L. Pickett, W. A.
Brandenburg, Dean Sherman Kirk, Dean J. Mad. Williams, john Booth,
J. David Arnold, Edwin Priest, Charles Blanchard and many others,
which time and space forbid mention.
Our church home was destroyed by
lightning the night of June 9, 1915.
During the two and one half decades
between 1890 and 1915, we have steadily grown in numbers and
strength. We have experienced the same extremes of inspiration and
depression common to rural churches but through all we have
constantly moved forward, and when our church home was destroyed,
the sentiment almost universally expressed was "Let us build
again". Accordingly a committee was named, consisting of
Clarence M. Eppard, John T. Williams, Asa L. Moore, Jesse Leeper,
Alpha W. Callison and Chester L. Jones, and the results of their
labors, together with he entire membership and many friends of the
church who have cheerfully assisted in every possible way, bring
us to the present.
Thanks to the Madison County Historical Society
supplying the Dedication Pamphlet and to Ron Howell, the volunteer
scanned and submitted it.