|After 18 years of local ministry the work grew
to the place of such importance that a regular minister was
necessary. For this purpose a parsonage was erected in 1873. This
structure was a four room frame house. There was no indebtedness
on the new home for the preacher. The parsonage received an
addition in 1907 under the leadership of Rev. H. W. Hendricks. The
parsonage was moved to its present location from the top of the
hill to the east in 1951.
The work of the church in this community was
carried in schoolhouses for nearly 40 years before a church
building was erected. Other early minister names after John
Schnellbacher included Holdridge, Busse, Honeysmith, Condo,
McBride, Macaulley, Caldwell, Yerger, Richardson, Wilkins, Hoover,
Gramley, Kale, Wallace, Force, Hummel, Porter, and Hamilton.
During the ministry of James Hamilton, in 1889, the church was
The church was not a large building but
sufficiently large to meet the needs at the time. The dedication
ceremony was delivered by Rev. Hooker from Des Moines. Rev. B. H.
Niebel was presiding elder in charge at that time. The financial
part of the building was all taken care of at the time of the
dedication. The church property location was obtained from Andrew
M. Hart, a friend of the church.
The record of the charter members has not been
located but some of the early family names have been recalled.
They were Adam Krell, Samuel Krell, Jonathan Wissler, John
Schnellbacher, John Welty, Peter Welty, William Elsbury, Andrew M.
Hart, Miles Hart, Alfred Shaw, Mosby Brock, William Brock, Tom
Kirkland, Joshua Cookly, Mrs. George Wight, and Elisha Tumbleson.
Relationships within the church were not always
1894, the church split into two factions and a lawsuit was entered
between the two over church property. Eventually, the matter was
arbitrated by the Des Moines Conference, Job Yaggy presiding. One
faction got the property but after a few months, the two groups
came back together as one.
The Evangelical Association/Oak Grove Church
was more than a religion and a place of worship. More than once in
the literature, members were referred to as having come from
"the Oak Grove Community." Whether this had extended
socio-economic implications is as yet unknown. There are
indications that in the early years, the members stuck to church
doctrine and formed a closed-knit society, fraternizing
principally among themselves.
Services are still being held in
this church and it is now a Community Church. The church is located in Webster Township,
Section 14, just south of the Middle River and about a
quarter-mile from the