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Church & Religious Directory



Historical Sketches of Iowa Baptists, 1886

S. H. Mitchell

 Published by Burdette Co., Burlington, Iowa

Chapter XXIV.

Dubuque Association Continued…


     The Anniversary was at Delhi June 10. Sermon by Rev. James Hill of Cascade, Moderator, and Wm. Aitchison Jr. clerk. Baptisms 84, other additions 56, whole number of members 794. A year of some spiritual quickening, in which Cascade, Dubuque, and Maquoketa have shared most fully, reporting 14, 26, and 13 baptisms respectively. Epworth have let contract for building without help. A movement was inaugurated to combine the aid of the Churches in the Association to help one, where most needed, each year in building, and by this unity of effort, in a few years, almost every Church in the Dubuque Association was provided with a house of worship. Rev. A. Whitman has succeeded Brother Chapin as pastor at Dubuque. Rev. Wm. Tilley has followed H. L. Field at Maquoketa, and Rev. Asa Prescott has settled at Delaware Centre and Delhi, succeeding J. Z. Zimmerman after a short pastorate at Delaware Centre, and J. C. Johnson after an interval at Delhi and Delaware Centre. The history of the LaMotte Church is given this year. It was organized first at Andrew, January 4, 1845, “By the assistance of Rev. Horace Eaton of New Hampshire.”  He was called to the pastorate, but declined the call and seems to have remained in the state only about a year.  Horace Eaton seems to have been under appointment of the Home Mission Society in Davis county 20 weeks in 1844 and 26 weeks in 1845. The church was removed from Andrew to LaMotte, and in 1848 Rev. Joshua Currier became pastor. During his pastorate of nine and one-half years the membership increased to 62, and a comfortable house of worship was built. Since that time the Church has declined in membership and influence, and when the history was written in 1870 there were only 17 members.

     1871. Met at Epworth, sermon by Elder John Brown, James Hill Moderator, Wm. Aitchison clerk. Brother C. W. Skemp of Dubuque has been very acceptably supplying the Church at Epworth and Farley for two or three years past. They have completed a house of worship at Epworth, at a cost of $2,125, and are rejoicing. There are now 15 Churches, 8 pastors, and 15 meeting houses, including those under way; members 753. Only 14 baptisms are reported for the year, and a net loss of 41 members. A series of “Regulations” were adopted at this meeting for a “Church Building Fund.” The name and wise councils of Rev. A. Chapin are missed from the deliberations of the body. The stay of his successor at Dubuque has been short, and they are without a pastor. Maquoketa have expended $1,500 in repairs on Church edifice, and have now the best in town.

    1872. Maquoketa enjoys the anniversary. Rev. Asa Prescott preached the sermon and was elected Moderator. Rev. Wm. Aitchison still clerk. Baptisms 63, of which number 46 are at Dubuque, where Rev. L. F. Raymond has become pastor and has been assisted by his father, the veteran Lewis Raymond, of Chicago, in a remarkable revival. Whole number of members in the Association, 775.  Cascade have had some trouble, but the Church is nevertheless prospering. Manchester have no pastor, by building a meeting house, and Monmouth have recently dedicated.

      In 1873 the Association met at Manchester. L. F. Raymond, preacher; Asa Prescott, Moderator; L. M. Newell, clerk. For a number of years there have been no new organization, nor any change of boundary of the Association. This year the Monmouth Church s dismissed to the Davenport Association, and the Forestville Church is received from the Turkey River. Rev. T. F. Thickstun is present as State Superintendent of Missions, and J. E. Rockwood as State Sunday School Missionary.  Of the 14 Churches comprising the body, six are without pastors. Baptisms 55, members 775. Rev. L. M. Newell has become pastor at Manchester. Maquoketa reports 14 baptisms, but Brother Tilley has resigned. Rev. James Hill is pastor at Cascade, and they report 18 baptisms.

     1874. The Twentieth Anniversary was held at Dubuque. Rev. Wm. Aitchison, Jr., preached the introductory sermon, and was Moderator; T. H. Bowen, clerk. The churches all send letters except Spring Brook. Fourteen churches, 57 baptisms, 41 other additions; loss 83. Present membership 776. Of the baptisms, Delaware Centre reports 19, Manchester 11, Maquoketa 10 and Cascade 7. These annual figures are interesting in as much as they indicate, at least in part, the process of spiritual growth. Sympathetic mention is made of the loss by death of the beloved wife of Rev. James Hill, of Cascade, who was called up higher, March 12th, 1874. North Bend Church asked dismission to unite with the Davenport Association. The request was deferred for one year, and the Church seem not to have renewed it, nor to have made any further report to this body. The name stands upon the record for a few years and then disappears. Rev. J. M. Ferris is pastor at Dubuque, N. F. Hoyt at Maquoketa and W. H. Irwin at Manchester. The LaMotte Church are reduced to 10 members, and ask advice of the Association. They are advised to sell their meeting house in order to pay a debt of three hundred dollars, and to retain the balance, if anything remains, in the Association. Rev. M. T. Lamb was present as Sunday School Missionary, having succeeded Brother Rockwood in that office.

     Met May 28th 1875 at Delaware Centre. Rev. N. F. Hoyt, of Maquoketa, preached the annual sermon. Rev. James Hill was again elected Moderator, and J. W. Beatty is clerk. It appears that a committee had been appointed to consider and report upon the propriety of disbanding the Association and uniting with the Linn. This committee reported, and after some discussion, it was resolved that “as a Association we discard all idea of disbanding the body and uniting with any other.” At this meeting a constitution was adopted organizing an “Iowa Baptist Church Building Society.” Resolutions were passed in tender memorial of Rev. John Bates, long a member of this body, who had recently deceased in Canada. Maquoketa mourns the death of the loved wife of their pastor, Rev. N. F. Hoyt. Rev. W.H. Irwin has resigned at Manchester. It is evidently a time of great spiritual dearth. Only six baptisms are reported in the entire Association. Whole number of members 781.

     1876. Cascade is the entertaining Church. Rev. J. Hill was Moderator protem, but at his earnest request to be released from the duties he had discharged so long and well, Rev. N. F. Hoyt was elected permanent Moderator for the year. Rev. J. W. Beatty, of Cascade , clerk. Allen Curr of Dubuque, preached the annual sermon. Rev. James Hill has now been preaching at Cascade since 1873. The letters from the Churches are hopeful but report no great revival. Only 8 churches report this year. Baptisms 17; whole number of members 738. Spring Brook has become extinct, and the name is dropped. Rev. J. M. Ferris, pastor of Dubuque for the last two years, has withdrawn from the denomination and united with the Methodists. He is succeeded by Allen Curr, and they are much encouraged and are engaged in building a house of worship. Rev. L. M. Whiting has become pastor at Manchester and Epworth. Rev. C. W. Skemp, of Dubuque, who has been supplying the Church at Epworth eight years, surrendering, with much honors, the trust, for a time at least, to others.

      1877. Met at Maquoketa. The veteran Moderator, Brother Hill again at his post, and J. W. Beatty again clerk. Brother Hill also preached the sermon. The returned missionary, Rev. T. J. Keith has become pastor at Maquoketa and welcomes the Association handsomely. Brother Hoyt after four years of honorable service here has removed to Minnesota. The hopeful spirit of last year is on the increase and some fruit has appeared. Forty have been baptized, 15 of them at Maquoketa. LaMotte, Delaware and South Fork Churches have not reported for three years, and committees are appointed to inquire into their state. Rev. H. D. Weaver is pastor…

    1878. …assembling at Delhi on the 18th.  The annual sermon was preached by Allen Curr. H. D. Weaver was Moderator and J. G. Johnson, clerk. There 9 Churches, 42 baptisms reported, of which 28 are at Manchester where L. M. Whiting is still pastor. Total membership 682. The Convention Minutes this year report ten Churches and 700 members. Rev. James Hill has closed a five years’ pastorate at Cascade, and Rev. J. Bodenham is his successor. Dubuque has made progress. The value of Church property is now estimated at $21,000. The pastor having been absent about three-fourths of the year, the pulpit has been acceptably supplied by Brethren Millard and Skemp. Pastor Keith has resigned at Maquoketa to accept a call at Waverly. The Church at Maquoketa has paid a debt of $500.

    1879. Met at Epworth September 12. Sermon by Rev. L. M. Whiting, Rev. T. S. Crandall Moderator, Prof C. S. Chapman clerk. Churches 8, baptisms 29, members 680. Of the baptisms 16 were at Dubuque, where Allen Curr has been succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. C. H. Kimball. Rev. T. S. Crandall has settled at Maquoketa. Dubuque is greatly embarrassed by debt and her property endangered. A memorial to the State Convention, to meet at Dubuque in October, pleads earnestly for some method of deliverance to be devised for this Church. It may not be too much to say that, to all human appearance, the interposition of the State Convention and Home Mission Society in the fall of 1879 saved the Dubuque Church from ruin. As we now write, 1886, the Church is out of debt, self-sustaining and prosperous. Probably no Church in Iowa of its relative strength has made a better record, raised more money, nor by greater devotion and personal sacrifice, and at the same time been more blessed in its spiritual work than the Dubuque Church during the last six years.

     In 1880 the Association met at Manchester. Rev. H. D. Weaver was the preacher, Rev. James Hill Moderator, C. S. Chapman clerk. Very little spiritual growth is reported, but there is a hopeful spirit. Some progress has been made in removing debts and financial burdens. Rev. J. B. Thomas has begun the work in Dubuque, and starts the imperrilled interest there upon the noble effort the success of which is anticipated in a previous paragraph. The financial record of the Association is a decided improvement upon the past. There were reported for current expenses $3,053, against $1,941.52 last year. Grand total for all purposes $5,851.94, against $2,967.30 last year. In 1881 Dubuque entertains the Annual gathering. Rev. T. L. Crandall of Maquoketa delivered the annual sermon. Rev. A. D. Abbott Moderator, C. S. Chapman clerk. Churches 8, baptisms 42, members 619. Five of the 8 Churches share in baptisms. Dubuque with 14 and Manchester with 18 are the most fortunate. The financial record is still improving. Pastors Weaver and Bodenham have resigned and leave the Association, the former to take charge at the Church at Ames, Iowa. Rev. A. D. Abbott is pastor at Delhi and Delaware Centre. D. Howard Hall of Dubuque is preaching both this year and last at Epworth.

    1882. Met at Delaware Centre. Rev. F. Bower, of Jessup, was the annual preacher. Rev. Wm. Aitchison was elected Moderator, and Mrs. S. E. Harger, of Delhi clerk. The Independence and Jessup Churches, from the Cedar Valley Association, and the Winterset Church, from the Linn, were received into this body, with an agment of strength that must greatly encourage the members of the Association. There are now 11 churches with, 829 members, of whom 38 have been baptized within the year. The pastors of the three added churches are, Rev. C. F. Hahn, Independence, Rev. F. Bower, Jessup and Rev. John Couch, Winthrop. Rev. L. M. Whiting has closed at Manchester, seven years of devoted and self-sacrificing toil in this Association, that will not be easily replaced. Rev. W. E. Walker is his successor. Brother Wm. Aitchison has again been called to the pastorate at Cascade. Pastor Thomas, at Dubuque, reports encouragement. They are grappling manfully with almost insurmountable difficulties.

     1883. Independence entertains her newly adopted sister churches in Association this year. Rev. Wm. Aitchison preached the annual sermon, and was again called to preside. Rev. C. E. Higgins, the new pastor at Independence, is clerk. The Dubuque Baptist Association, after a long and heroic struggle to hold  the fort, and to lay permanent foundations, seems now to see the day of prosperity set over against the day of adversity. Over 100 additions are reported, 64 of them by baptism. The financial record is far in advance; $12,078.26 are reported for all purposes. Cascade are building a new meeting house, and have expended over $4000.00. They are also building the spiritual house; 18 have been added by baptism. Dubuque reports 39 baptism. Epworth and Maquoketa are without pastors. Brother Hall having ceased his labors at Epworth the 1st of July, and Brother Crandall having closed a four years’ useful pastorate at Maquoketa. Brother Hahn has given place to C. E. Higgins, at Independence, and J. W. Allen has succeeded Brother Couch at Winthrup.

    1884. Met at Cascade. Sermon by J. W. Allen, J. B. Thomas Moderator and C. E. Higgins, clerk. Churches 11; pastors 8; baptisms 79; membership890. The largest membership since the organization of the Turkey River Association, 25 years ago. The Churches all, or nearly all, seem to be in a healthy condition, and give promise of continued usefulness and prosperity. In 1885 the Association met for it’s Thirty-first Anniversary at Maquoketa. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. C. E. Higgins; Moderator and clerk the same as last year. Eleven Churches, 24 baptisms and 889 members. Rev. George Houghton has become pastor at Delaware Centre and Epworth. Rev. J. W. Hough, at Maquoketa, and Rev. J. Y. Aitchison, D. D., at Manchester.

      In 1886 – baptisms 74; members 910. Foreign missions $288.39; state missions $240.13; total local expenses $8,090.16; denominational benevolence $810.38; grand total for all purposes $8.900.64. On July 4th the Dubuque Church celebrated their own independence from debt with the National Independence, by publicly burning the notes, mortgages, etc. which had constituted the evidences of indebtedness against them. Rev. R. J. Langridge has become pastor at Maquoketa. Rev. James Hill, of Cascade, who has been preaching at the Little Church at Worthington nearly or quite ever since its organization in 1861, has baptized five there this year, and they report ten members. This is a remarkable instance of fidelity and vitality.

     Rev. J. W. Beatty is pastor at Cascade, O. W. Catlin at Jessup, Wm. Swinden at Manchester, succeeding Rev. J. Y. Aithchison, D. D., who resigned on account of poor health. Rev. C. E. Higgins resigned at Independence to accept the appointment of General Missionary. At this writing, Rev. D. N. Mason is supplying the pulpit with great acceptance and hope of his returning to the work to which he is so well adapted in the pulpit. He has been for a few years engaged in teaching, for which work he has also special adaptation.

     There is perhaps, no part of Iowa that has required greater fortitude and courageous faith to maintain the cause of the Master during the whole 30 years of it’s history, than that occupied by the Dubuque Association, and in none have these qualities been more fully evinced. The largest number of churches reported any one year has been 25, and the smallest number 8. There were 25 churches in 1860, before the Organization of the Turkey River Association, and in 1878 and 1879 only 8, which number has been increased to 11. The number of members since 1860 has ranged from 550, in 1864, to 910 in 1886. Only twice has the membership reached 1,000, and that in 1859 and 1860, and only two years the number of baptisms has reached 100, and that was in 1858 and 1850.     


~ source: Historical sketches of Iowa Baptists,  Mitchell, S. H., Burlington, Iowa: Burdette Co., 1886, 537 pgs.  Page 209– 218

~ transcribed by Constance Diamond for Dubuque County IAGenWeb


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