submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, Sept. 7, 2007

The M. E. Semi-Centennial Celebration.

The committee on the celebration of the semi-centennial of the organization of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Muscatine, to be held on the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th of this month, met last evening and arranged the following program:


Addresses by the three earliest preachers present – Rev. Barton, H. Cartwright, Rev. J. B. Hardy, Rev. L. B. Dennis.

10:30 a. m.—Addresses by Rev. Dr. W. F. Cowles and Rev. J. B. Blakeney.

Recollections of Bro. Peter Jackson.
Address by Rev. Dr. Geo. N. Power.

10:30 a. m.—A special service for old people.
Preaching by Bro. Cartwright.
Evening addresses by Rev. L. B. Dennis and Rev. J. B. Hardy.

9 a.m.—Love feast, led by Bro. Dennis.
10:30 a.m.—Preaching by Dr. Emory Miller.
2 p.m.—Sunday school, followed by addresses.
7:30 p.m. – Brief addresses by visiting brethren.

Sisters P. M. Musser, Rebecca Miller and A. G. McColm were made a committee on decoration. There may be brethren here from whom we have not yet heard and may make some little change in the program.


Semi-Centennial Celebration at Muscatine, Iowa

The semi-centennial celebration of the organization of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Muscatine, Iowa, was celebrated Oct. 17-20 inclusive. The church was beautifully decorated for the occasion. All the former pastors and presiding elders had been invited, and it was very interesting to see that the three oldest pastors of this church now living were with us throughout the services. These were Rev. Barton H. Cartwright, of the Rock River Conference, who was appointed to this church as junior preacher just fifty years ago this fall; Rev. J. B. Hardy, of the Iowa Conference, appointed to this church as junior preacher just fifty years ago this fall; Rev. J. B. Hardy, of the Iowa Conference, appointed in the fall of 1846; and Rev. L. B. Dennis, of the Illinois Conference, appointed in the fall of 1849. These brethren took part in the services, and their happy faces, words of cheer and wisdom and shouts of triumph were an inspiration to us all.

There were present of the later pastors Rev. Emory Miller, D.D., of the Des Moines Conference, and junior preacher in this church the latter part of 1860; Rev. J. B. Blakeney and Rev. D. Murphy, D.D., of the Iowa Conference, the former pastor of this church from 1870 to 1873, and the latter from 1878 to 1880. Bros. Blakeney and Murphy did excellent service while here, but had to leave before the Sabbath.

The following program of services was carried out: Thursday evening, Oct. 17, brief addresses by the three oldest pastors present, Rev. B. H. Cartwright, Rev. J. B. Hardy and Rev. L. B. Dennis; Friday morning, address by Rev. J. B. Blakeney, followed by brief testimonies; Friday evening, “Recollections of Bro. Peter Jackson,” and an address by Rev. D. Murphy, D.D.; Saturday morning, a sermon specially to old people by Rev. B. H. Cartwright; Saturday evening, “Recollections of a Boy,” by Hon. John Mahin, and an address by Rev. J. B. Hardy; Sabbath, 9 a.m., lovefeast; 10:30 a.m., sermon by Rev. Emory Miller, D.D.; 2 pm., Sabbath school addressed by Rev. Messrs. Cartwright, Hardy, Dennis and Miller; 6:30 p.m., young people’s meeting; 7:30 p.m., sermon by Rev. L. B. Dennis, followed by an exhoriation by Bro. Cartwright.

The meetings throughout were a great success. The congregations were large and the interest, good at the beginning, increased to the end. The Saturday morning service for old people and the lovefeast were very remarkable meetings. At the former there was a large company of old people, and Bro. Cartwright, though in his eightieth year, preached with great power, after which, during the singing of Rock of Ages and prayer by Dr. Miller, heaven came close to earth. The lovefeast was an occasion seldom equaled in hallowed spiritual influence and power. Of Bro. Miller’s sermon Sabbath morning I need only say that none of his many friends here were disappointed.

Bro. Dennis, though very feeble, was full of faith and the Holy Ghost, and preached with something of his old time vigor. Sisters L. B. Dennis, J. B. Blakeney, D. Murphy and Mary Haynes, widow of the late Rev. John Haynes, of this conference, were welcome visitors. The only two surviving charter members, Mrs. J. B. Hawley and Mrs. Eliza Bumgardner, were present and greatly enjoyed the meetings.

This Church began fifty years ago with seven members; it starts upon its second half century with more than five hundred. It began with neither church building nor parsonage; it is now finely provided with both, valued at $35,000. It began without a Sabbath school; it now has one of the best in the State, provided with a faithful corps of officers and teachers and a fine library. It began with one young person as a member; it now has upwards of two hundred, and the attendance of the young people’s weekly meeting for the last eighteen months has averaged over one hundred.

The meetings just held have served, I trust, largely to inspire the membership of the church with the purpose and enthusiasm to be the worthy sons and daughters of those who have wrought so wisely and well in the past. ---W. G. WILSON.

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