Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Star – Clipper Supplement
Traer, Iowa, January 28, 1887
History of North Tama
By Daniel Connell

Chapter XI
Sabbath Schools

A Sabbath school is an adjunct of a church, and often a forerunner. The first organized here was in 1853 at the cabin of Mr. Osborn, a few rods south of the mill site of Traer, with Mr. Story superintendent. It held no sessions during the winter, and was reorganized next spring. In the summer of 1856, at the school house in Buckingham, T. R. Shiner organized a school, raised five dollars and sent for books, receiving to the amount of $15. This was a union school. The next spring it re-organized with J. A. Stewart superintendent, and D. Connell, librarian. This season Gov. Buckingham sent the school a library containing 350 volumes, many of them standard works of value. During this year the house was usurped by some carpenters and every Sabbath morning Mrs. B. A. Connell and Mrs. Jane Smith swept and cleaned the room before it could be used for Sabbath school and meetings, carrying the books to and from the store. The house not being plastered there were no services during the winter.

This organization was continued until 1867, when the building of church edifices called for separate schools. There were other schools in the various school houses throughout the settlement. Before dismissing the subject of religion and religious work mention should be made of the “Great Awakening” on the interest of the soul. In the latter part of November, 1868, Rev. W. H. Marble, a congregational clergyman, then pastor at Waterloo, came to assist Mr. Roberts and continued ten weeks. There was a skeptical shake of the head when for the foundation he asked: “Can these dry bones live?” For several weeks it seemed to be answered in the negative, but the Spirit was at work and the bones began to stir. The week of prayer Rev. J. D. Potter, an evangelist from Connecticut came. Great success had followed his efforts elsewhere. There was to be no failure here. He held meetings four days with marked results. The bones came together living men. 300 men, women and youth confessed their sins, very many uniting with the churches. The writer followed the larger part of those converts who removed, with inquiries and found the seed had fallen upon good ground. The permanent strength of the congregational and Methodist churches is attributed to that revival. The bell of the Congregational church has a history which may be of interest, or rather the manner it was procured. The Advance newspaper, then in its infancy, offered among other articles as a premium, a bell for a certain number of subscribers. It was a large number to secure in teh neighborhood at that time, as sixty names at $2.50 each were needed. Mrs. Jane Smith resolved to make the effort to secure them and the bell. For several days on horseback she canvassed, meeting with rebuffs and witticism. She persevered and accomplished the task. It was the first and only bell in the settlement until the days of Traer. Few know the cost of the first three churches in individual effort.

Chapter XII

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