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did reside west of Postville on the Military Trail, prior to establishing a lumber yard in that town, Rev. Sandbach may have been correct. John Mott would have been very young at the time--perhaps too tender an age for the Ossian church to claim much credit in formulating the career of this brilliant layman.)
The membership of the Methodist Church gradually dwindled during the first half of the twentieth century. Regular services were discontinued by 1952. The church building was sold to the local Masonic Lodge on Nov. 23, 1953. It became a meeting place for the Masons and the affiliated order of the Eastern Star. When these local Chapters dissolved, it was purchased by Arthur Linderbaum, the present owner.
We utilize the account written by Mrs. Elsie Dessel for Ossian's 125th anniversary. We have made some changes and added further details unearthed in our research .
In September of 1892, some of the citizens of Ossian gathered on the northwest corner lot of Mechanic and Mary Streets and watched the cornerstone being laid for the Universalist Church building, to be known as "All Souls Chapel." Rev. Amos Crumm of Dubuque, and Rev. Matt Wing of Minneapolis, were present and delivered eloquent addresses. Several newspapers published in the vicinity, along with church documents and other small articles, were deposited in the cavity of the cornerstone.
Dedication ceremonies were held in June, 1893f with the Rev. Crumm officiating. A Sunday School was organized with Mrs. Jack as superintendent, Mrs. Mead, sec'y, and Miss Grace Carter, treasurer. The new church was a comfortable, cottage-like building. The first funeral service was conducted for pioneer grain buyer, P. H. Mills.
All Souls Chapel served the congregation for about nine years. From 1901 until 1908, it stood unused; the membership had gradually declined as ministration became difficult from lack of available clergy. The Iowa Universalist Convention sold the building to John Rosa in 1909. When remodeling the structure into a residence, Rosa discovered that the cornerstone had been vandalized and its contents destroyed.
Prior to the building of this church, the members had to travel four miles to attend the Universalist church located about a mile west of Castalia within the Bloomfield cemetery. This church, dating back to 1875, was founded by a splinter group from the Castalia Baptist Congregation. There is evidence that Universalist services were held as early as I856 in the cabin of Thomas and Sally Rathbun east of Castalia. Among the residents of Ossian who adhered to this faith were: D. D. Rosa, H. Anderson, Fausts, Mills, McWilliams, Bakers, Burgesses and Sawyers.
The Universalist Church appealed to the pioneers who had no other regular religious affiliation, and the Universalist movement followed the settlers westward. The ministers seemed to travel too, attending to various churches, instead of being a resident at any special congregation. They preached a doctrine of universal salvation for all, and rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, making their beliefs easy to accept.
The summer before the Chapel was erected, the Universalists of Ossian and vicinity held a basket meeting on the "platform" at the intersection of Main and Lydia streets. All liberal Christians and other believers in the Gospel of liberality and progress were cordially invited to join in the pleasures and benefits which : this social afforded. All who came were asked to bring their own baskets and be prepared to remain through the afternoon service. Those who drove from the country were furnished suitable shelter for their steeds. Rev. Amos Crumm preached at morning and afternoon services. The Ladies' Aid Society helped raise money for the building of All Souls Chapel by giving various social events at a lawn social and harvest dance at Frank Limbeck's residence; an oyster supper and dance at Axen's Hall; and a sociable at the Dr. Pegg residence.
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this page was last updated on Thursday, 01 April 2021