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In Dubuque [a] person was soliciting aid of a number of young men to build the first meeting house in the territory [of Iowa] - a Methodist. The solicitor is described as a tall, angular, somewhat uncouth frontiersman, with only one eye. One of the group of young men solicited, responded, "he would give a dollar towards the building of a gambling house, but nothing for a church."

The old man drew himself up, and directing his one eye upon the group, said in a mild tone of voice: "You are all young men who, I have no doubt, have been raised by Christian parents. Many of you may live to raise families upon 'the Purchase." If so, I am sure none of you will blush when you tell your children that you helped to build the first meeting house on the "Blackhawk Purchase."

After two or three minutes' silence, the young man broke out: "Old Hoss, here's a dollar," and was followed by all the others with from fifty-cents to a dollar each.

During the first half of . . . 1845 to 1850, the growth of [of the Baptist Church in Iowa] seems to have been rather slow. It was the time of the great movement across the plains to Oregon and California. Prior to 1850 no less than five of the pioneer Baptist ministers of Iowa had removed to Oregon, and were followed soon after by two or three others. In 1845 there were 190 Baptisms, and the total membership was 523. There were yet but the two Associations. The third Association, the Fox River, was not organized till 1849. This was on the southern border [of Iowa] stretching towards the Missouri River. Churches . . . had been organized at Mount Pleasant in 1843, at Agency City in 1844, at Libertyville in 1845, and at Fairfield in the same year. At Blue Grass, in Scott county, there was an organization in the same year (1845); also the Liberty church, near Charleston, In Lee County. At Lamotte, Jackson county, in 1844, and Maquoketa in 1848, and in the same year at Marion, Linn county.

In 1849, probably, there were two churches organized in Davis county, - North Union and Chequest Union. There seems to have been an organization at Leon, in Decatur county, as early as 1848. To those at all observant of the geography of Iowa, these figures will be instructive as to the spread of the work in those parts of the state. . . .

One of the earliest pioneers, speaking of the conditions of [the Baptist Zion] work, says: "These were not the days of railroad coaches and cushioned carriages, but of immigrant trails, unbridged rivers, creeks and slought, old lumber wagons, prairie schooners and worn-out saddles. One missionary and his wife came forty miles to the first meeting of the Davenport Assocation on a one-horse cart, constructed out of the hind wheels and axle of an old lumber wagon, with a couple of old rails for thrills and a bundle of oats for a cushion." It is said that the good people of Davenport, even at this early day, evinced a little pride in the nervous haste with which, as soon as the minister and his wife had alighted, the "hustled the cart behind the barn."

[A]s a rule, it is necessarily true that pioneer work [of the Iowa Baptist pioneers] is largely done by hardy but illiterate men, it is a notable fact that among the first Baptist ministers of Iowa were a goodly number of educated and thoroughly well-informed men who knew the value of missionary and educational institutions, and who were profoundly impressed with the possibilities and necessities of the opening fields west of the Mississippi. [By 1846] incipient steps had already been taken looking to the formation of an Iowa Baptist Educational Society.


Not least among the vigorous and aggressive Baptist Associations in Iowa from 1856 to 1865 is to be recorded in the Beford Association. In 1854 Rev. James M. SMITH came from Indiana and settled in Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa. In 1855 there was reported an unassocited Church at Bedford, with J. M. SMITH pastor, and 48 memebers. In 1856 the Bedford Association was constituted witth the following Churches and Statistics:

Bedford: T. M. SMITH pastor, 57 members
Bethel: A[nthony] VANDERPOOL pastor, 24 members
    NOTE: Anthony VANDERPOOL was later a pioneer minister of Richland Twp., Decatur Co.
Bethesda: E. H. PEARCE pastor, 45 members
Hawleyville: J. M. SMITH pastor, 19 members
New Garden: Anthony VANDERPOOL pastor, 44 members
Platte Branch: V. NIGHT pastor, 27 members
Decatur City: I. M. SEAY pastor, 18 members
Vernal: I. M. SEAY pastor, 97 members
Salem: V. NIGHT pastor, 10 members

The New Garden, Bethel, Vernal, and Bethesda Churches were founded in [1855] in the Eden Association. In 1856 there was an unassociated Church in Adams county and one at Red Oak Grove. Rev. J. W. NYE was pastor of both. Neither of these appear in subsequent reports for several years, yet they doubtless mark the beginning of Baptist work in Adams and Montgomery counties, as early as 1856.

Rev. I. M. SEAY was the first clerk of the Bedford Association. The first Anniversay was held with the Vernal Church in 1857. This was in Clark (sic) county, ten miles southwest of Osceola. Rev. I. M. SEAY was continuted as Secretary. Four new Churches were organized during the year, viz. Freedom, near Decatur City with 10 members; Mt. Ayr with 13 members; West Union, (postoffice Princeton, Mo.) with 30 members; and Winterset, Madison County with 25 members. Rev. A. W. RUSSELL was paster at Winterset, D. IVENS at Bedford, Rev. Thomas MILLER at Decatur City, and I. M. SEAY at Vernal. Sixteen baptisms were reported, and 446 members in 13 Churches. The annual repoft of the Convention Board for 1857 mentions Brother SEAY as its Missionary inthe Bedford Association, and says, "The field which he occupies is a large and destitute region in the southwestern portion of the state. . . ."

In 1858 the Second Anniversary was held with the Bethesda Church, southwest of Winterset, in Madison county. It has been a year of almost unparalleled growth and successful revival work. Seven new Churches have been organized and 304 persons baptized. The new Churches are Camden, Clarinda, Hayden Grove, New Salem, Platte Valley, Mount Olive and Xenia.

Rev. J. M. SMITH, at Bedford, reports 74 baptisms and 146 members. Sixteen of the 20 Churches report baptisms, 11 of them 10 or more. Brother SEAY reports 64 at Vernal. He has labored again this year as Missionary and Financial Agent of the Convention, but owing to infirm health is compelled to rest from labor for a season, and the Association have requested the appointment of another brother to be named by them to fill the vacancy. Rev. A. W. RUSSELL, in a note to the Convention, says, "Many of the Churches that have hitherto received aid from the Convention have become self-sustaining. Among these is the Winterset Church, who, in addition to sustaining their pastor, are building a commodious house of worship. They acknowledge their indebtedness to the Convention and hope soon to be able to repay many fold." The Winterset Church have since, many times, redeemed the pledge.

Rev. J. WOODWARD is pastor of the 1st Leon Church, his post office, Canesville (sic), Missouri. The next year we find the same name at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and conclude therefore that it was Rev. Jonah WOODWARD who died, at an honored old age in Illinois a very few years ago. Revs. J. A. TODD and D. IVENS are pastors, the former at Camden, and the latter at Platte Branch and Platte Valley.

Rev. E. W. HALL is pastor at Clarinda and Hayden Grove, P[eter]. A. ANDREWS at Mount Ayr, and J. LAMBERT at Platte Valley. Rev. J. M. SMITH was appointed missionary of the Convention at a salary of $400, to be raised on the field. He reports, in connection with his labors, 52 persons baptized and 69 added by letter and experience, two new Churches organized and two ministers ordained. He has preached in ten counties in southwestern Iowa. Rev. Joshua CURRIER, a visitor to the Association, writes to the State Convention, in 1859: "The Christian activities of this Association the past year have been peculiarly successful. From a small beginning three years since, it has become a large and efficient body. A missionary was employed through the year, whose labors were abundantly blessed in the conversion of souls, their addition to the Churches, and in constituting new Churches." Remarkable liberality was shown in benevolent contributions, especially in pledges and contributions to sustain a missionary another year.

Met at Leon. Rev. E. W. HALL, of Bedford, was clerk. "The reports from the Churches exhibited the fact that the revivals of the previous year were not fictitious, and also that the Redeemer's Kingdom was still advancing in our midst." Eight Churches "were visited with special revivals and received tokens of Divine favor." Five new Churches were received at this session. One hundred and seventy-four baptisms were reported, 300 added from all sources, and the membership 1,116.

In 1801 (sic, should be 1861) the meeting was at the Camden Church, E. W. HALL, clerk. Twelve pastors now dispense the Word. Rev. Edward OTIS, C. BULLOCK, P. DOTY, S. HOLLEN, J. L. COLE, G. ELTNORE and J. EVANS have not been named before. Rev. James M. SMITH is still greatly blessed as missionary of the Association and Convention, though the cause is suffering from the unfavorable influences of the rebellion in the south.

Met in 1862 with the West Nodaway Valley Church, in Page county. New pastors are Revs. F[reeland]. Edwards [of Decatur County], J. T. MERCER, A. STANLEY and S. WHITE. There seems to have been but little revival, though the meeting was an occasion of "rich spiritual enjoyment."

In 1863 the Association met at Lewis, Cass county, where a Church was organized in 1860 and has now 51 members. James W. BROWN, of Lewis, was clerk. In a report to the Convention, Rev. I. M. SEAY says, "Many ef the Churches are in a very low state and without pastors, yet we have occasion to thank God and take courage, for some have been blessed with precious revivals, in which souls have been converted and added to them through the instrumentality of our missionary." Rev. S. E. BALDWIN and C. C. BAIRD are added to the list of pastors. There is a Church at Sidney with 42 members but no pastor. Of the 29 Churches in this Association only three are yet ten years old. Occupying a territory of not less than ten counties, and having had at one time over 1,000 members, Where can ten years of more inspiring history be found? The surviving pioneers of that period must look back upon it with feelings somewhat like those of the inspired Psalmist, when he sung, "I will remember thee from the land of Jordan and the Hermonites, from the Hill Mizar."

The Bedford Association met in 1864 with the Bethesda Church. J. H. MILLER was clerk. In October, 1863, the Southwestern Iowa Association had been formed which, in a year or two, will absorb into itself largely the vital energies of the body we are now sketching. The days of the Bedford Association, as an organization with that name, are fast being numbered, but it has made an undying record, and has much vitality yet to be merged in other organizations. There are yet, in 1864, 22 Churches and 770 members. Rev. S. E. BALDWIN, missionary "of the Convention in this Association, has baptized 52 persons, and reports that 107 have been added to the Churches in connection with his mission.

In 1865 the Bedford Association met with the Grand River Church, in Decatur county, where its name was changed to that of the East Grand River Association. As the Southwestern Association has already absorbed the Churches in five county seats, viz: Bedford, Clarinda. Lewis, Red Oak and Sidney, and as its history seems to be the logical continuation of that of the Bedford Association which formerly occupied the whole southwest part of the State.

1863 To 1886.

On Friday October 23, 1866, a council of delegates from several Churches convened with the Baptist Church at Sidney, Fremont county, Iowa, for the purpose of forming a new Association. . . .A Constitution and By-Laws were adopted, and thus was organized the Southwestern Iowa Baptist Association with 8 Churches, 4 pastors, and 288 members. The pastors were E. W. HALL, Big Grove, I. M. SEAY, Clarinda, A. MARTIN, Glenwood, and C. C. BAIRD, Lewis.

In 1868 the annual meeting was at Glenwood. Rev. T. F. THICKSTUN preached the sermon, Rev. J. C. OTIS Moderator, James W. BROWN clerk. Four new Churches received. Council Bluffs, 19 members; Harlan, 26 members; Buchanan, 26 members; and Bartlett, 14 members. The ordained ministers, most of them, probably pastors, are Revs. J. C. OTIS, Glenwood; C. C. BAIRD, Bedford; Wm. F. ARNOLD and R. R. HANLEY, Tabor; I. M. SEAY and S. E. BALDWIN, Sidney; B. S. F. CAKE and Silas WHITE, Clarinda; T. F. THICKSTUN, Council Bluffs; James LAMBERT and A. BLANKENSHIP, Harlan; P. ANDREWS, Quincy; M. F. WILLIAMS, Hamburg; James MORRIS, Lewis; John EVANS, Bedford; and J. A. MARTIN and C. L. WEST, Glenwood. The beautiful edifice of the Glenwood Church was dedicated on the Sabbath during this Association, Rev. G. J. JOHNSON preaching the sermon. A committee of seven brethren were appointed to work together for the organization and establishment of a Baptist Church in Hamburg.

NOTE: The following churches were received into the Southwestern Iowa Baptist Association:

The Atlantic Church in 1867 with 11 members
The Hamburg Church in 1867 with 46 members
The Shiloh Church in 1867 with 14 members
The Villisca Church in 1870
The Sciola Church in 1870
The Tarkio Church in 1879
Rev. J. W. ROE became the pastor of the Sidney Church, 1870
The Shenandoah Church in 1871
The Pleasant Grove Church in 1870 with 48 baptisms
The Lacy Grove Church in 1871
The Civil Bend church in 1871 with 15 baptisms
Memory Church of Page County in 1872
Riverton Church in Fremont County in 1872
Newlon's Grove Church of Cass County in 1872
Malvern Church in Mills County in 1872

In 1872 the Association assembled at Villisca. . . .with 30 churches, 9 pastors, 160 baptisms, and 1,590 members. Resolutions were adopted favoring a Baptist Academy for the Western Slope and encouraging Rev. A. ROBBINS in his effort to establish the Baptist Beacon for Iowa.

In 1873 the Association met at Hamburg. . . .Rev. Arthur STOTT is preaching at Atlantic; G. W. ROBEY at Hamburg; J. R. SHANAFELT at Red Oak and Malvern; E. G. O. GROAT at Harlan and Avoca; W. J. GATES at Liberty; C. L. BUTTS at Fremond; L. H. THOMPSON at Percival; W. C. CUNNINGHAM at Pleasant Grove; E. BURCH at Big Grove; D. C. ELLIS at Carbon; and last year, W. A. CAIN at Malvern; J. LAMBERT at Harlan; T. MUXLOW at Riverton and Sidney; and R. R. HANLEY at Milford. There were 193 baptisms reported and 1,654 members. The Nodaway Church has disbanded. Rev. J. C. OTIS of Glenwood is overworked, and is given a three months furlough. Rev. T. F. THICKSTUN of Council Bluffs resigns and becomes Secretary of the [Baptist] State Convention.

In 1874 the eleventh anniversary was held with the Bedford Church. . . .The Atlantic, Big Grove, Harlan, and Newlon's Grove churches have united in forming the Prairie Association, and ceas their connection with [the Southwestern Iowa Baptist Association]. A committe report in favor of "a new Association from the eastern part of the Southwestern [Assn.], and the western part of the East Grand River Associations." There are yet in this Association 24 churches, 14 pastors, 109 baptisms are reported, and 1,602 members. Rev. Wm. TILLEY is pastor at Bedford; E. C. CADY at Glenwood; J. W. ROE at Malvern, Amos PRATT at Shenandoah, W. A. DORWARD at Milford and Sciola; and D. C. ELLIS at Carbon near Quincy. Rev. R. T. HANLEY has been holding the fort at Tabor for several years. Rev. J. C. OTIS is still living at Glenwood but very feeble.

The Thirteenth Anniversary was held in 1876 with the Clarinda Church. . . .To this occasion belonged the sad, and yet not unexpected duty of recording the death of the greatly beloved, Rev. J. C. OTIS, of Glenwood. We copy in full the report of the Obituary Committee: "It is the painful duty of your committee to report an unusual number of deaths during the past year, many of whom were most faithful workers in our Zion. Prominent among those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, is our beloved brother, Rev. J. C. OTIS. To speak that name is to use a household word in all western Iowa, that will ever stir the hearts of the thousands that knew him only to love him. With his name will ever be associated pleasant memories of happy meetings and sad partings. His was a life of unremitting toil in the Master's Kingdom, inspiring us all to noble deeds. His death was a triumph awarded only to those who fall with the armor on." As recommended a new Association the East Nodaway has been formed to the east of this. There are now in this body 23 churches, 7 pastors, 196 persons baptized during the year, and 1,653 members. Malvern has become the largest church, with 210 members, 45 baptized during the year.

In 1877 the Fourteenth Anniversary assembled at Emerson. . . . the Essex, Fairview and Clarinda (Colored) Churches were received. Rev. J. W. ROE, of Malvern, died in October, 1876. He was chairman of the committee that made the excellent report of Rev. J. C. OTIS, given above. So soon has he been called to follow. A full notice of him will be found in "Obituary Notes." The decease is also mentioned of Sister WOODROW, of the Glenwood church. She and her sister, Mrs. J. V. HINCHMAN, are remembered as bearing almost alone, for years, the burden of keeping life in the Glenwood Church, when the present writer first knew them, and the Church; and right nobly did they stand by their colors till the victory came. The Council Bluffs Church, in 1875, united with the new Association called the Prairie Association, afterwards the "Council Bluffs." Rev. O. T. CONGER has taken the place of the lamented ROE, as pastor at Malvern. Rev. S. C. SALE is at Glenwood. Rev. C. TILBURY is preaching at Clarinda and Amity and Rev. John DAVIES at Riverton.

The annual meeting in 1878 was at Riverton. . . .Revs. H. B. FOSKETT has become pastor at Shenandoah and Essex, and A. V. BLOODGOOD at Red Oak. There are 25 churches, 11 pastors, 197 baptisms are reported, and 1687 members.

In 1879, met at Glenwood. . . .The Carbon church has united with the East Nodaway Association. Rev. T. F. BORCHERS has succeeded S. C. SALE at Glenwood, after an interval of nearly a year. Rev. J. B. EDMONSON is preaching at Riverton, and Rev. John BARR at Villisca and Sciola. The wife of Rev. L. M. NEWELL, late pastor at Villisca, died during the year. Rev. George WEAVERS is preaching at Civil Bend and Lacy Grove. Four pastors are on their third year on their present fields, two on the second and eight on the first.

1880: Rev. H. B. FOSKETT, Jr. has been preaching at Clarinda three months, but has returned to his studies at Morgan Park. Rev. F. W. PARSONS has settled at Glenwood. Rev. T. F. BORCHERS was not able to continue there on account of ill health. Rev. F. HILL is pastor at Hamburg. Rev. O. T. CONGER has resigned at Malvern and Rev. A. H. RHODES is pastor there, and Rev. E. P. SAVAGE at Red Oak, Brother BLOODGOOD having removed from there. Shenandoah have had to give up their place of worship, leaving them but one alternative, to build or disband. They resolved to build, and have a house nearly completed which will cost $3,000.

Malvern entertained the Association in 1881. Rev. F. W. PARSONS is preacher. . . .Rev. L. L. CLOYD is preaching at Clarinda; A. W. WEBB at Coin; P. M. BEST at Sidney and Lacy Grove; and F. N. ELDRIDGE at Shenandoah. Rev. H. B. FOSKETT is supplying Riverton in connection with Essex. Rev. T. M. COFFEY has been preaching at Silver City since 1880, and Rev. W. K. MILLER at Villisca. The church ar Coin is called Bethel in the digest of letters. It was organized Nov. 29, 1880, as a result of meetings held by Rev. J. W. THOMPSON, was recognized and Pastor WEBB ordained since, and admitted to the Association in 1881. The Ingraham Church organized in 1876 has been changed to Silver City. Rev. J. H. PRATT has resigned at Emerson, after a successful service of four years. He and his family are greatly missed.

In 1882 the Association met at Shenandoah. Rev. J. C. H. REED has settled at Emerson . . . .Rev. C. T. TUCKER has begun work at Clarinda, Rev. J. C. FOSTER is pastor of the Colored Church, where Rev. J. A. BAKER had been since 1878. Rev. H. B. FOSKETT, Jr., was ordained pastor at Red Oak, July 11, 1882. Rev. E. G. TRASK is preaching at Silver City. Sidney report 36 baptized. Brother BEST having resigned Rev. R. R. HANLEY is kindly supplying. Nineteen have been baptized at Malvern, Rev. A. H. RHODES still pastor, and 13 at Hamburg. Rev. F. HILL has resigned, and goes to Grand Junction

In 1883 the Twentieth Anniversary was at Red Oak. The total membership is 1,335; a falling off from last year of 102. This is probably in part owing to a cutting off of dead branches. Rev. J. F. LEEK is preaching at Bethel, Rev. D. F. BEEBE at Hamburg, and O. T. CONGER, D. D., at Shenandoah. Brother CONGER returns to this field after an absence of three years.

The meeting in 1884 was at Emerson. . . .There are more evidences of revival than for several years; 142 have been baptized, and there is a net gain in membership of 130 with no new organizations. Shenandoah have baptized 25, Silver City 23, and Emerson and Malvern each 18. Rev. G. W. ROBEY is pastor at Malvern, A. H. RHODES has removed to Sidney. The meeting in 1885 was at Silver City. Brother ROBEY preached the annual sermon. The 1st Baptist Church at Council Bluffs, and the Scandinavian Church of the same city, were received into the body. Also the Lone Willow Church of Fremont county. Owing to serious and seemingly insurmountable difficulties the old 1st Baptist Church in Council Bluffs disbanded, first transferring their fine property to the Home Mission Society, and the present organization was formed, received the property, and now reports 91 members. Rev. D. H. COOLLEY, D. D., is pastor. Rev. H. A. REICHENBACK is pastor of tbe Scandinavian Church, and they have 57 members. They are building a commodious house of worship, and give evidence of a healthy life. The old missionary, I. M. SEAY is pastor of the new Lone Willow Church with 11 members. Rev. J. L. SHOEMAKER is pastor at Shenandoah, and Oilman PARKER at Emerson, beginning in the fall of 1884. Baptisms 142, members 1,521 in 22 churches with 12 pastors.

In 1886 the Association met at Sidney. Another prosperous year; 234 baptisms reported, members 1798. This is a net gain for the year of 277. D. S. DODD is pastor at Bethlehem, A. JACOBS at Greenfield, F. M. WADLEY at Hamburg and Mount Olive, N. M. ALLEN at Pleasant Valley, I. W. EDSON at Red Oak, and John BANAL at Yillisca. Others as before noted. Brother RHODES has resigned at Sidney, and probably A. JACOBS at Greenfield. Elder GRAHAM is pastor at Riverton. Of the 234 baptisms in 1886, Council Bluffs reports 27; Glenwood 55; Greenfield 39; Sheuandoah 39; Percival 16; Pleasant Valley 14; Bethlehem 13: Sidney 9, and Emerson 8. This is a gratifying evidence of a general revival spirit. Probably no part of the State has shared more largely in the displays of saving grace.

1865 To 1886.

The old [Southwestern Association] adjourned in 1864 to meet with the Grand River Church, in Decatur county, on Friday before the fourth Sunday in August, 1865. From that meeting, evidently, it came forth the East Grand River Association, with 16 churches, 10 pastors, 49 baptisms, 102 additions in all and 600 members. The churches were, Afton, Adams county 1st Church, Bethel, Bethesda, Caledonia, Camden, Grand River, Hayden Grove, New Hope, New Salem, Osceola, Platteville. Union, Vernal, West Nodaway Valley and White Breast. The pastors were: A. ROBBINS, E. OTIS, S. HOLLEN, H. PEARCE, P[eter]. ANDREWS, F[reeland]. EDWARDS, J. EVANS, G. ELMORE, J. T. MERCER and J. A. POOL. Rev. A. ROBBINS was the clerk. For the next five years the annual meetings were held at New Salem, Union (1868-9 unknown) and Platteville. The clerks of whom we have any record, were A. ROBBINS and J. T. MERCER.

In 1866 the Isadora and Mount Zion Churches were received. A. STANLEY was pastor at Bethel and J. C. ADAMS at Hayden Grove and Isadora. Brother ROBBINS was preaching at Afton and Bethesda. 1n 1867 Rev. P. ANDREWS labored as itinerating missionary and $238.50 were contributed to the treasury of the Convention, his salary being $250.00. In 1868 Rev. J. MESSENGER appears as pastor at Osceola and Vernal, and in 1869 H. R. HICKS at Afton, Thomas MILLER at Bethesda and J. HOPKINS at Hayden Grove. Brother ROBBINS closed a three or four years' pastorate at Afton and removed to Osceola. M. CASE was reported pastor of New Hope and J. S. DEAVERS at Union City. Seventy-seven baptisms were reported and 857 members. A new church appears at Murray and Brother ROBBINS is supplying. The year 1870 seems to have been a year of considerable growth. Four or five new churches were added, among them Mount Ayr. Rev. C. TILBURY was preaching at Mount Ayr and D. T. SMITH at New Hope. Baptisms, 164; members, 1,109.

Beginning with 1871 we find anniversaries held at Afton, Vernal, Hayden Grove, Bethel and Mt. Ayr, with Daniel PROPST, A. ROBBINS, and R. E. DYE acting as clerks. New pastors appearing on the field are, in 1871, A. J. DELANO preaching at Afton, and A[nthony]. VANDERPOOL at Camden; in 1872 J. B. LINSKEA at Afton and E. H. RIGGS at Terre Haute Church: in 1883, W. C. AKERS at Bethel, S. C. MOORE at Afton and J. G. JOHNSON at a new church called the Adair County First Church. Also in 1873. Rev. II. C. ELLIS appears as pastor of the First Church Adams County. Brother A. ROBBINS closed his connection with the Association about this time, and Rev. J. C. LEWIS became pastor at Leon in 1874. In 1875, Rev. L. M. NEWELL appeared as pastor for a little season at Creston, J. M. SMITH, the veteran Missionary of southwestern Iowa, at Osceola, and Solomon FUNK at Mount Ayr. The Vernal Church reported 53 baptisms, and the New Salem Church Eli STARK, pastor, 59. Whole number of baptisms 160; members 959. From 1876 to 1880 we find the annual gatherings were at Bethesda, Murray, Palestine, Camden, and Providence Churches. The records were kept by Lemon BENNETT of Murray for the whole period.

The East Nodaway Association, organized in 1874, has reduced the membership of this. The number of churches in 1876 was 19, pastors 9, baptisms 69, members 871. Rev. J. M. SMITH was preaching at Afton, Osceola, Science Hill and Vernal; E. BURCH at Greenfield, J. DRAKE at Hickory Grove, and J. MESSENGER at Murray. In 1877 Rev. A. PRATT was found preaching at Osceola and Murray, and Rev. A. C. EDWARDS at Mt. Ayr. where 12 have been baptized, and the membership increased to 60. There appeared a church at Westerville [Decatur County] about this time with 20 members, probably an offshoot from the Vernal Church. Rev. W. H. BARNES appears as pastor at Greenfield, H. CRAWFORD at Camden and Pleasant Valley, and J. RAWLINGS at Union, Afton Postoffice. Rev. J. D. BURR appears as pastor at Afton and Creston in 1878, and A. C. EDWARDS at Bethesda and Greenfield, while 1879 shows Rev. B. F. MACE at Osceola, H. S. CLOUD at Murray and P[eter]. ANDREWS at Mt. Ayr.

In 1880 Rev. Wm. CARPENTER puts in appearance as pastor at Afton and Greenfield, and Rev. F. EDWARDS begins an important work at Leon. Rev. I. M. SEAY is found again in his old field at Vernal Church, and Hiram PEARCE at Bethesda. In the five county seats in this Association, Afton, Greenfield, Mt. Ayr, Osceola and Leon, the aggregate membership in 1880 was only 159. Great courage and devotion are required of the few who, in these places, preserve' the candle sticks from being removed out of their places, but it is true that "To him that hath shall be given, and he (they) shall have more abundance." The anniversaries from 1881 to 1886 were held at Vernal, Pleasant Valley, Palestine, Camden, Caledonia and Camden again. R. E. DYE one year, and J. W. PIERCY were the clerks.

The Murray Association, organized about the beginning of this period, has taken from this body nearly half its strength. The four county seats of Adair, Ringold, Union and Clark (sic) counties all went into the new organization, and probably most of the churches in three of these counties, while Leon, Decatur county, is transferred to the Eden Association. There appears a 2nd Mount Ayr Church still in this body, with 10 members, J. R. DRAKE pastor. There are now, in 1881, 11 churches, 4 pastors, only 3 baptisms reported and 437 members. The four pastors are A. W. COX, J. R. DRAKE, A. STANLEY, and A. VANDERPOOL.

In 1882 W. C. AKERS, W. H. EATON, H. Tabor and H. CRAWFORD appear as pastors. For the period under review,. . . The East Grand River has become the smallest of all the Iowa Associations and has been passing through a season of great spiritual barrenness. It cannot be but there are pious hearts in these churches who are sighing and crying onto God. Oh! Lord revive thy work! Wilt thou not revive us again? and their prayers will be heard. God is not a God afar off that He cannot hear when His children cry unto Him." The above words had been written before we saw the report for 1886. Baptisms in 1886 were 88. Total membership, 462, a gain over last year of 110 and in two years of 163 Were we to seek an explanation, or rather a confirmation of the relation between spiritual life and benevolent contributions, we might find it here. . . . .The baptisms in 1886 were at New Salem, E. E. AUXIER, pastor, 33; Pleasant Valley, A. VANDERPOOL, 28; Palestine, E. E. AUXIER, 18; Camden, same pastor, 8, and Bethel one.


As the Murray Association was, almost wholly, carved out of the East Grand River Association, in 1881, we give it place to complete the present chapter. The churches constituting it were Afton, Wm. CARPENTER, pastor, 33 members; Bethesda, Hiram PEARCE, pastor, 65 members; Greenfield, 42 members; Mt. Ayr, P. ANDREWS, pastor, 35 members; Murray, H. S. CLOUD, pastor, 61 members; Osceola, 54 members; South Creek, E. E. AUXIER, pastor, 12 members; Union, J. D. BURR, pastor, 23 members; and Vernal, I. M. SEAY, pastor, 73 members. All but the South Creek Church came out of the East Grand River Association. To wonder that body suffered. Murray starts off with 9 churches, 9 pastors and 398 members. Though young, it contains the oldest churches in this part of Iowa dating back, some of them, more than a quarter of a century. The anniversaries of the Association hare been held at Mt. Ayr, Bethesda, Greenfield, Afton and Tingley. Its clerks have been Lemon BENNETT, J. D. BURR and M. J. SIGLER. The pastors in 1882 were J. D. BURR, Wm. CARPENTER, H. PEARCE, P. ANDREWS, H. S. CLOUD, E. E. AUXIER and R. H. SHAFTO at Osceola for a short time. In 1883 the Clanton Church near the south line of Madison county, was added with 27 members, J. R. STITT, pastor. The history of this church has been followed through the Western Iowa and Central Associations. In 1884 Rev. M. J. SIGLER appears as pastor at Murray, A. WATSON at Osceola and W. E. GRAHAM at Tingley. The Emmanuel Church was added in 1883, and the Tingley and Zion churches in 1884. J. H. MILLER, pastor, of the last named; The Fairview Church appears in 1885, G. W. SMITH, pastor, with 13 members. In 1886, A. H. LYONS at Afton and Emmanuel, and W. H. SAYRE at Clanton and Fairview are added to the pastoral roll. Baptisms in the Murray Association have been reported in the consecutive years as follows: 5, 9, 15, 59, 56 and 19: an aggregate of 163, or an average of 27 per year, Contributions to State Missions for the six years, $502.63; or an average of $83.67. These are hopeful signs of a healthy body.


Rev. S. B. BAKER died near Winterset, April 25. 1859. He had removed from Indiana to Iowa some four or five years before. Was regularly ordained to the work of the ministry only about a year before his death, though he had preached more or less for many years.

Rev. Wm. C. CUNNINGHAM of the Southwestern Association, died about 1875. "A young man of more than ordinary promise," and had not been long in the ministry.

Rev. J. C. OTIS died at Glenwood in 1876. He had lived an unusually active and pious life, and died as he had lived glorifying God.

Rev. J. W. ROE died at his home in Malvern in October, 1876, while the State Convention was in session at Des Moines. He was recognized in the Southwestern Association as one "whose work in the Association for a number of years had been a succession of victories for the Master, culminating in the founding of Malvern Academy." Brother ROE begun his ministry in the Burlington Association about 1864 as pastor, for a short time, of the Jefferson Church, and also at Charleston in the Keokuk Association. From 1865 to '67 he labored as Missionary of the Home Missionary Society in Missouri, in Gentry, Worth, Harrison and perhaps other counties. In 1868 he returned to Iowa and became pastor at Sidney. "His life was eminent for usefulness in the upbuilding of churches, the promotion of all worthy benevolent enterprises, the advancement of our educational work, and especially was he blessed of God in leading precious souls to Jesus."

Rev. C. G. SMITH died at Creston, Iowa, in September, 1881. He was born at Homer, N. Y., November 27, 1813, and was baptized at the age of 18 by Elder A. BENNETT. He attended school at a Methodist institution at Cazenovia, N. Y., and while there became a Methodist, but in 1837 returned to the Baptist faith and was licensed to preach. He went to Ohio and preached with success, then to Michigan, where he formed a Baptist church and was ordained as pastor. After a very active ministerial life and much affliction he came to Iowa and went on a farm, and afterwards passed on to his reward above.

Rev. James H. PRATT died February 6, 1883 at Atlantic, Iowa. He had been but a few years in Iowa, but had attached himself to those who knew him, especially at Emerson and Atlantic where he served as pastor. "As a pastor he was kind, full of sympathy, like the Master, ready to do the Master's bidding. As a preacher, clear in statements of truth, sympathetic in its utterance, and earnest in its vindication. He ranked among our best men in all departments of ministerial life."

For the facts given in the foregoing notes, of the long list of soldiers of the cross who have done duty in Iowa in some part of their service, and have received promotion, we have not been dependent upon any one source of information; but have drawn upon a variety of different sources, and have been aided in many instances by a long and intimate personal knowledge of the individuals. For convenience of reference we mention here the names of those who have been called up higher during the last two years, referring to the respective Annuals for the facts of their lives.

  • Rev. M. TERWILLIGER at Murray, September 16, 1885. in the 71st year of his age.

  • Rev. Thomas MILLER, thirty-five years a pioneer minister in Southern Iowa, the father of our missionary sister, L. Ella MILLER, died in Kansas in 1885.

    MITCHELL, S. H., Historian of the Convention Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists Pp. 36-40, 236-255, 370-377, 489-504. Iowa Baptist State Convention. Iowa. 1912.

    Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009

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