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Religion in Dubuque County



Julien Township, Asbury, Iowa

The Asbury Society was established in 1844, ten years after Methodism had its birth in Dubuque. In Oct., 1844, the first meetings of the Asbury Society were held on a farm owned by Jacob Lundbeck. This farm was one mile west of the present location of Asbury Methodist Church.

The organization was gathered together under the direction of the Rev. J. C. Smith, and much of the financial support of the church came from James W. Taylor, a native of Tennessee, who was converted by the Rev. J. B. Bowman, on early Methodist missionary.

During the winter of 1845-46, logs were cut by Taylor for the construction of Asbury Church, and the building was raised in the spring. The first members were: Mr. & Mrs. James W. Taylor; Mr. & Mrs. John Clark; Mr. & Mrs. Calvin Scripture and 4 children; Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Lundbeck; Mr. & Mrs. John Morgan; Joseph Lundbeck and 2 sisters. These early settlers worked lead mines and farmed to make their living. Tons of lead were hauled by mule team to the Simpson Furnace at the end of Simpson Furnace Road (Hales Mills Road.)

Asbury first fell within the Bellevue Circuit in 1837, but joined the Clarksville Circuit in 1840-41, then in 1841-42, the Turkey River Circuit; the next year it became part of the Little Maquoketa Circuit; but in 1843-44, it was given the more permanent name of Dubuque Circuit. Rev. H. W. Reed was Presiding Elder; Rev. Richard Greenly, Pastor; and Rev. Barney White, Assistant, when the Dubuque Circuit first received its name. From 1844-75, the Dubuque Circuit gradually diminished in size. Only two appointments were left in 1875 -- Asbury and Reed's Chapel. The Society at Asbury built a brick church which was constructed during the pastorate of Rev. E. S. Bargelt (1869-72),at a cost of about $6,000. It comfortably seated 250 people. There was no basement; the classrooms were on the ground level, and the worship area above it on the second floor. Asbury's total Sabbath School enrollment for 1877 was 60 pupils, and its library had 325 volumes.

In the period from 1875-91, Asbury's pastor preached first at Asbury in the morning, then at Reed's Chapel in the afternoon, and finally in the evening at the "Little White Church" on Delhi Road. On the last year of this period, Grandview Avenue Methodist Church was established by the authority of the Upper Iowa Conference on the corner of Delhi and Grandview Avenue. By the turn of the century, Asbury was due to change. Fewer members gave their support. Thus, in 1904, the brick building constructed in 1869-72 was torn down and the smaller present structure built.

In 1944, Asbury celebrated its Centennial with Rev. F. M. Schepple in charge of the special services. Dr. Herbert D. Temple, the Dubuque District Superintendent, preached the Centennial sermon.

In 1951-52, the church building was remodeled and a new furnace was bought.

Today, Asbury is supported by 58 members, about 25 youth and children, the Woman's Society of Christian Service, friends of Asbury, and a student pastor.

(The above history was submitted by Mrs. Delmar Kuntz and to Dubuque Co IAGenWeb by Julia Krapfl)

Source: 1967 Atlas of Dubuque County 
Compiled by the Title Atlas Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota


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