The Methodist Episcopal Church
As has already been stated, the church is one
of the trinity of the church, school house, and printing press, which molds
civilization and brings order out of chaos.
The organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Monroe County was about contemporaneous with that of the county itself. It did not wait for social organization to take form, being ever on the alert for new enterprises; but in the month of August, 1843, and within four months after the opening of the county for settlement, the Rock River Conference, then having charge of the work in Iowa, at its session in Dubuque, being the first annual conference ever held in Iowa, mapped out a district including the "New Purchase," and projected a mission west of the Des Moines River, to which it gave the name of Soap Creek Mission, after the name of the stream in Wapello and Monroe counties.
This Mission was designed to cover all of the "New Purchase" south and west of the Des Moines River and above Van Buren County; and Rev. Wm. Hulbert, a young man just admitted into the Conference, was sent to it as the pioneer missionary of the church to this part of Iowa. Mr. Hulbert located at Agency, at that time about on the border of civilization. Some of those points within his charge at which he preached were Alexander May's, near where Attica now is; and another was at the cabin of James R. Boggs, a mile or two northeast of Albia. He preached only once at May's, and on that occasion his horse broke loose and returned to Agency, swimming the Des Moines River. Its owner, on returning, paddled down the river in a canoe from Eddyville to Ottumwa, and from thence walked home, carrying his saddle on his back. Rev. Hulbert is still living, and now resides at San Leandro, California.
The Bloomfield Mission was created in 1844, and Bloomfield, Davis County, was the headquarters of this mission. Jesse L. Bennett and Jas. F. New were sent out as preachers, but Bennett did not remain in the work long in this mission, but chose other fields of labor in the cause of Christianity.
Methodist Episcopal Church, Albia, Iowa
New continued in his charge alone, and his field of labors
embraced all the settlements west of the Des Moines River from the old base
line, where Troy now is, northwest to the White breast Creek, 100 miles. There
was neither ferry nor bridge to accommodate the traveler, and the mission was
about 300 miles in circumference.
As Mr. New's territory was rather too extensive for one minister, Rev. Allan W. Johnson, of the Eddyville Mission, was directed by the presiding elder, Rev. Milton Jameson, to supply the gap made by the retirement of Bennett. Rev. Johnson took the territory west of Eddyville, and filled the field for one quarter, preaching monthly.
In 1844 Johnson formed a class at Boggs', near Albia. The members were John Lower, leader, Prudence Lower, Jas. R. Boggs, Jerusha Boggs, Josiah C. Boggs, William Scott and Abiathar Newton and wife.
The next year another class was formed south of Albia, at the house of David Rowles. Of this class Rebecca Rowles, the wife of David Rowles, Oliver P. Rowles, Miranda Smith, Andrew Elswick and wife, John and Matilda Massey, Nancy Mock, and Hillah Hayes and wife were original members. Of this number, John Massey and Oliver P. Rowles are still living in Monroe County. Nancy Mock lives in Oregon, and Hillah Hayes and wife are residing near Ness City, Kansas.
For his three months' service west of the river Rev. Johnson received 75 cents in money. After this, a minister named M. S. Frame assisted New in his mission work, and that year 263 members were reported to the Conference.
In the fall of 1845 the mission was divided, and the upper part, including Monroe County, was called the Upper White breast Mission. New was continued in this part of the field, and occupied a cabin four or five miles west of Ottumwa, on a farm owned by John Kirkpatrick; later he lived near Albia, and also resided on English Creek, in Marion County, for a short time. New afterwards went to Missouri, and then to Arkansas, where he was shot down by some desperado, who had robbed his postoffice and stolen some horses in the neighborhood, and whom he and others were attempting to capture. He is described as a "sledge hammer" type of clergyman, and was an active and zealous Christian.
In the fall of 1846 the field was called simply the White breast Mission, and Michael H. Hare and W. W. Knight were the preachers. That fall, the county seat having been lo-
cated at Albia, Hare formed the first class in the town by
consolidating the two country classes at Boggs' and Rowles'. This new class
comprised substantially the membership of the two old classes, with the addition
of A. C. Wilson and wife, John Webb, Sr., and wife, S. B. Gossage and wife,
Arvine White and wife, W. L. and Celia Knight, Thos. Myers, A. C. Barnes and
wife, John Phillips and wife, Geo. W. Noble and wife, Jas. Tate, Riley Wescoatt,
Thos. Guinn and A. C. Johnson.
The services in those days were, for the most part, held in the little log court house on the east side of the Square.
Rev. Knight died in 1847, and Hare was left with the entire supervision of the charge. He afterwards became a presiding elder of the Albia District, and in 1862 enlisted in the army and served as chaplain in the Thirty Sixth Iowa Infantry. He died at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, July 27, 1868.
In 1847 Revs. Hugh Gibson and Joseph Ockerman were assigned to the mission. Gibson afterwards went to California, and died there, a member of the Conference.
Ockerman's health having finally failed in 1847, the presiding elder, Rev. O. O. Stewart, for want of a licensed preacher, appointed a private member of the church to take charge of the local work. This young man's name was Strange Brooks. He was licensed to exhort, and began his labors in 1848. Brooks was in time licensed to preach, and later engaged in church work in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, southern Illinois, and Colorado, where he now resides.
In 1848 the Conference records first mention the name of Albia. In that year the upper part of the White breast Mission was set off to the Knoxville Circuit and the remainder was constituted the Albia Mission; and it remained a mission until 1851, receiving more or less support from the Missionary Society. For eight years this aid was expended for the support of the church, and towards maintaining its pastors.
The ministers during this time sent to the mission were: 1848, A. G. Pierce, Joseph Ockerman; 1849, James Q. Hammond; 1850, Robert L. Cock. Of these, Pierce is still living. Cock's name was changed by the Legislature into Cole; and under that name he preached at Chariton until his death.
In 1851 the Albia Mission became the Albia Circuit, by which name is meant, that it assumed its own support, and it continued such down to 1865. During this period it had the
following preachers: 1855, Chas. Woolsey; 1856-7, F. W. Evans;
1858, I. P. Teter; 1859, Thos. Audras; 1860, J. W. Latham; 1861, Jas. Haynes;
1862-3, W. C. Shippen; 1864, Annie H. Schafer. Of these, Johnson, Woolsey,
Latham, and Schafer are dead.
During this period the ministerial work became more and more restricted. In 1851 the appointments throughput the circuit were as follows: Albia - Rev. Knight, three miles northwest of Albia; Rev. Woolsey, still further north; Rev. Davis, northeast of Albia, down in the "Hair Nation," east of the Allen school house, Chillicothe, then on Keokuk Prairie opposite Ottumwa, Milburn's school house, Blakesburg, at a grove southwest of Blakesburg, and at Potts;, eleven miles southwest of Albia.
In 1852 the appointments south of the river in Wapello County were placed in the newly formed Chillicothe Circuit. In 1844 the old quarterly conference shows the preaching places were: Albia, Hinton's, Knight's, Hamilton, Sumner's, Bluff Creek, Noe's, Davis', Shields', Potts', Ingham's, Hayes', and Newcomers' Point.
In 1854 a circuit was formed called the South Grove Circuit, with John Jay as preacher, which took in all the county appointments except Knight's, Hayes', and Ingham's, and in that year a new appointment was added - viz., Sutcliff's. The next year this South Grove Circuit took the name of Hamilton Circuit.
In 1865 Albia was first designated as a station, although it still retained one outside appointment - viz., Reitzel's School house. Since then, the appointments to the station have been as follows: 1865-6, F. W. Evans; 1867, Joshua B. Hardy; 1868, Jesse Craig; 1869, R. B. Allender; 1870, John Harris; 1871, E. H. Winans; 1872-3, Thos. Stephenson; 1874-5, Ira O. Kemball; 1876, John Haynes; 1877, C. L. Stafford; 1878-9, W. G. Wilson, 1880, B. F. Karns; 1881-2, C. B. Clark; 1883, I. P. Teter again; 1884, G. H. Power; 1885, W. F. Cowles; 1886-7, J. A. Boatman; 1888-92, D. C. Smith, 1893-4, W. R. Stryker; 1895-6, E. L. Schreiner.
Of these, Rev. Karns resigned after 18 months of incumbency, and his place was filled by Miss Annie Downy. C. B. Clark, on account of family affliction, filled only six months of the year, and his place was taken by Rev. Groome. Harris, Haynes, and Power are dead.
From authentic sources it appears that at
least 13,000 persons have been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church
since its beginnings in 1846.
In 1843 the Des Moines District was formed, with Rev. Henry Summers, the pioneer presiding elder. in charge of it. The next year Rev. Milton Jameson was sent to it, and since then the districts embracing Albia and vicinity and the presiding elders have been as follows:
Des Moines District - 1844-6, Milton Jameson; 1847-8, I. I. Stewart; 1849-50, James Q. Hammond; 1859-62, M. H. Hare; 1862-65, Jas. Haynes.
Ottumwa District - 1854, Joseph Brooks.
Albia District - 1855-58, James Q. Hammond; 1859-62, M. H. Hare; 1862-65, Jas. Haynes.
Ottumwa District - 1866, W. C. Shippen.
Albia District - 1867-69, John Burgess; 1870-71, R. B. Allender.
Ottumwa District - 1872-73, R. B. Allender; 1874-5, G. N. Power; 1876-9, Banner Mark; 1880-3, W. G. Wilson; 1884-7, I. P. Teter; 1888-93, J. W. McDonald; 1893, D. C. Smith.
Haynes took Hare's place when the latter entered the army, and D. C. Smith was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of McDonald in 1893.
Joseph Brooks served for four years as editor of the Christian Advocate at St. Louis, and afterwards was an officer in the army, and later in the reconstruction troubles in Arkansas, where he acquired national note as one of the principals in the Brooks-Baxter gubernatorial embroglio at Little Rock, some years ago. Each party claimed to have been elected governor under a varying construction of the State constitution, and as neither would yield, the contestants each rallied an armed forced, and the affair assumed a martial aspect. Baxter held the executive office.
Of these sixteen presiding elders, nine are dead - viz.: Jameson, Stewart, Coleman, Hayden, Brooks, Hammond, Hare, Power, and McDonald.
Within the fifty years of the church organization, 53 ministers have served in the vicinity, as pastors and presiding elders.
In the early years of the Church, its financial support was very meager. For instance, in 1846-7 the amount raised for ministerial support, outside the regular missionary fund, was $57.75. In 1852-3 the circuit paid the elder $36.00 and
the pastor $300.00; in 1853-4 the elder received $37.50 and the
pastor $350.50; in 185405 the elder got $72.50, the preacher in charge $408.13,
and the junior preacher an even $100. In 1858-9 Rev. Teter received $346.08.
station started out with an estimate for the pastor for $800, but the record
credit only $647.10 collected that year for all purposes. Since that time, with
the increase of numbers and ability, there has been a marked improvement in this
The Iowa Conference held its twenty-seventh session with this church, commencing September 28, 1870, under the presidency of Bishop E. R. Ames, with Rev. E. H. Waring as secretary. The roll at the opening session contained just 100 names. Since then 38 of this number have died, and 37 are still members of the Conference, but 10 only are in active work.
In 1850 the first church was completed in Albia. It was a frame structure, about 30 x 45 feet in size, with one door facing the east; large windows filled with small sized panes of glass, and seats and pulpit to correspond with the general plain style of architecture. It stood one block north from the northwest corner of the Square, where two lots were purchased for the edifice at a cost of $18.00. The first trustees were Oliver P. Rowles, Michael Lower, John Webb, Jr., D. J. Moore, Jas. Tate, Andrew Elswick, and John Lower. In 1867 this frame building gave way to a one story brick structure, with an addition on the west, which was added by Rev. Ira O. Kemble, at his own expense, during his pastorate.
During the war, several colored parties, then known as "contrabands," made their way across the southern border, and, being Methodists, were assigned to the "amen corner" in the old frame church. The colored brethren were fond of running in and out during services, and to prevent this confusion they were invited to occupy seats in the rear near the door, when the new church was ready for services. One old colored brother refused to occupy the new place in the church, and when invited to do so, he and his followers arose and filed out and never returned to the church.
At length, the old brick church could not accommodate the increasing membership, and the lots and edifice were sold and the present handsome edifice erected one block south of the southwest corner of the Square, at a cost of $13,000. This edifice was formally dedicated by Dr. J. W. Clinton on February 28, 1892.
The Presbyterian Church
On the 23d day of August, 1851, after a
sermon by Rev. L. J. Bell, a missionary of the Assembly Board, the initial steps
were taken in Albia towards the organization of a Presbyterian church. David
Wills and his wife Sarah, Martha Wills and Eveline Wills, Samuel Noble, Margaret
Casey, David Burnside and his wife Emily, John Young and his wife Rachel, David
H. Scott and his wife Mary were the charter members of the church. They
presented certificates and other satisfactory evidence of having been members of
the Presbyterian Church elsewhere. An election was then had, and David Wills and
John Young were unanimously chosen elders. It was resolved that the organization
be called the "First Presbyterian Church of Albia."
December 20, 1851, at a session of the board, David Wills and John Young were "moderated" by Rev. W. J. Frazier. At this session Mrs. Mary Noble, wife of Samuel Noble, was received to the communion. The ordinance of baptism was then administered to her and her infant son, Alvis Emmett. Rev. W. J. Frazier administered the Lord's supper.
At the next session, May 1, 1852, the ordinance of baptism was administered to Margaret Ann, infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Scott.
On January 2, 1854, the first annual report from March, 1853, to March, 1854, was submitted:
|Number communicants received on examination||
|Number communicants received on certificate||
|Number adults baptized||
|Number infants baptized||
|Funds for Commissioner||
|Funds for church and religious purposes||
|Funds for Bible cause||
This report was approved by the Des Moines
Presbytery at Libertyville, March 16, 1864, by D. V. Smock, moderator.
In a session held April 5, 1856, the name of Rev. J. M. Bachelor first appears as moderator. Among those received into the church at this session were Mr. James Collins and his wife Sarah. Mr. Collins died at his residence, a few miles south of Albia, early in the spring of 1896.
At a session of the board of March 13, 1857, Samuel Noble and D. H. Scott, having been previously elected elders, were
duly installed in the office. At this same session Miss Mary
Saunders and Mary A. Bachelor, the latter the infant daughter of Rev. Bachelor
and wife, were taken into the church by baptism. Rev. P. H. Jacob performed the
The annual report from 1856 to 1857 shows 63 members added, and 1 deceased. Total in communion, 87; and also shows the minister's salary to have been $333.33.
On Saturday evening, February 6, 1858, Charles McClain was summoned to appear before the session to answer the charge of being drunk. Samuel Noble and David Wills had previously been sent as a committee to expostulate with the erring brother. The charges and specifications were as follows:
"Whereas, It is commonly reported that you, Charles McClain, have been guilty of unchristian conduct in several instances:
"1st. Of being in the habit of using intoxicating liquors.
"2d. Of quarreling with and using profane language while quarreling with the McMichaels.
"3d. Of a violation of the Sabbath day, as well as of the civil law, in going on the Sabbath and taking and driving off a yoke of oxen that were held under execution.
"4th. Of using scurrilous and vulgar language on the same Sabbath evening towards Carlos Kelsey.
"5th. Of using profane language towards Mr. John Kelly on Saturday, December 30, 1858.
Samuel Noble was appointed prosecutor of the case, and McClain defended himself. All the charges except the 4th specification were sustained, and McClain was suspended.
In 1858 the pastor's salary was raised to $500. There were in communion 95 members that year.
During one or two sessions of July, 1858, Mrs. Esther Boyle prefers charges of falsehood against Brother W. W. Mathias, also against Sister Mathias "for talking in a slanderous and unchristianlike manner about me at different times, once at Mr. Duncan's, and once at Mr. David Rowles'." In the case of Mr. Mathias, the session suspended him until he would repent. Sister Mathias was not suspended, but the moderator was directed to administer to her a mild admonition in the presence of the session.
The next year McClain was permanently suspended, he
manifesting no feelings of repentance. Mr. Mathias, however,
repented his sin, confessed his error, and was reinstated.
At a session of December, 1859, Miss Mary Welsh was hauled up before the session for dancing. She refused to admit that she committed a sin in dancing, but promised to desist from the amusement in future, since the church considered it wrong. The session took no further cognizance of the charge. However, it seems that the sinful Mary danced again in 1860, for the records show that she again received a "citation" to appear before the session of April 3d. She again acknowledged the charge, again professed deep penitence, and again escaped with a reproof and admonition.
At the session of August 22, 1860, Mrs. Eliza Shields submits a paper setting forth that:
"Whereas, Mrs. Eliza Shields feeling aggrieved at certain charges which have been extensively circulated against her in this community by Rev. J. N. Pressley, of the United Presbyterian Church of Albia, which charges are: 1st, that about the first Sabbath of September, 1858, she had applied to him and his session to become a member of his church, and was received on such application, and so was a member of that church at the time of her being received into the Presbyterian Church; 2d, that in support of this charge he had said her name had been read out publicly on communion Sabbath, in company with the names of many others, as having been received; 3d, that Mrs. Shields, in denying the above statements, had accused the Rev. Mr. Pressley of lying; she therefore asks the session to investigate those charges, and requests that the following witnesses be cited to appear, to give testimony in the matter - viz., Mrs. Hannah Robb, Mrs. Jane Robb, Miss Mary Ann Buchanan, and Miss Mary Lyon."
The following persons were also summoned as witnesses: Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Noble, Mr. David Wills, Mr. James Robb, and Mr. David Forcythe. The latter, who was the clerk of the United Presbyterian Church session, did not heed the summons to appear, and was absent, as was also Mrs. Buchanan, another member of the church. After a fair and impartial judicial church trial, the session found that Sister Shields had never applied for membership in the United Presbyterian Church; that her name had never been publicly read out; that her name was not even on the record book of the United
Presbyterian Church. Then the tribunal concluded its session by
professing its high esteem and cordial fellowship towards the United
Presbyterian Church, and declares that nothing in its decision should reflect on
Brother Pressley. It further states that there was no evidence that Sister
Shields ever called Brother Pressley a liar.
In 1878 it appears that John A. Edwards, a member of the church, became in some measure dissatisfied with Rev. Bachelor, the pastor. Edwards withheld a portion of his usually liberal pecuniary support of the church, and even hinted that the pastor ought to resign. A formal conciliation was finally made, and Mr. Edwards signed a written statement to the effect that possibly he might have misapprehended the pastor's utterances and motives, and professed deep repentance and desired the forgiveness of the pastor. Rev. Bachelor also signed a statement exonerating Brother Edwards from any acts of malice, admitting also that the brother's actions were justifiable under the construction he had placed upon the pastor's utterances; he also receives Mr. Edwards back into the fold. A few days later the quarrel broke out afresh, and the pastor signs another statement to the effect that Brother Edwards had already disavowed his good concessions expressed under his signature. He censures him for declaring "that he would make no promise of any pecuniary support; thereby declaring that the small amount he had given during the last year (while in his offense) was all he expected to give."
It seems that at about this time the pastor had tendered his resignation as pastor, for the sessional record contains this entry:
Report of Judicial Committee
"The Judicial Committee to whom was
referred the resignation of Rev. J. M. Bachelor as pastor of the church of
Albia, would report: that after hearing very fully from both the pastor and
elder from that church, they are duly impressed with the importance of
emphasizing their sense of sacred character of the pastoral relation; that the
Lord Jesus Christ himself gave pastors; that is is sinful and dangerous to do
that which tends to part asunder 'that which God hat joined together'; that any
rude conduct is of the nature of an assault on the ordinances of God.
"With double force would we address the members of
session, who at their ordination solemnly vowed to study the
peace, unity, and purity of the church.
"When in any instance it becomes advisable to ask for a dissolution of the pastoral relation, we would remind them that there is a proper method of procedure in our book.
"But that any member of the church and especially any member of the session, who should cease attending the ordinances of God's house administered by the pastor, and withdraw his support in whole or in part, and decline to cooperate with his pastor in order to break up the pastoral relation, presbytery declares to be schismatical, and a breach or ordination vows, and highly censurable.
"While your court are fully alive to the greatness of the sacrifice required in the dissolution of the pastoral relation of well nigh a quarter of a century's duration, which being the only one the pastor ever had, and the object of his first and only love, in whose families are associations dearer than life, yet we are compelled to look the facts in the face and agree with a majority of the session - the fast friends of the pastor - that in view of the sadly divided condition of the church - for the pastor's comfort and usefulness - the resignation of the pastoral charge ought to be accepted, and though exceedingly sorry for this necessity, and expressing our heartfelt sympathy with the pastor, this is the recommendation of your committee.
"J. H. Potter.
"Josiah T. Young."
This expression of excessive kindness did not
kill the pastor, as might be expected. He removed shortly afterwards to Osborn,
Kansas, where he is engaged to this day in ministerial work. He is an able
minister, and was greatly reverenced by his flock; notwithstanding, his church
at Albia, at about the time of his resignation, had settled into a state of
spiritual lethargy, which is often the result of retaining one pastor too long.
In September, 1878, Rev. E. L. Williams succeeded Rev. J. M. Bachelor as "supply" of the First Presbyterian Church at Albia. His labors dated from August 18, 1878, and were to continue one year. At the end of the year he was invited to the pastorate, but stated that he was not prepared to accept the call. However, he agreed to remain as "supply" for six months longer for $400, which proposition was accepted by the session board.
At a session dated September 20, 1880, Rev.
Samuel Ollerinshaw was selected as pastor for six months, to succeed Mr.
Williams. Salary to be not less than $400; $35 was also appropriated to defray
his expenses and two weeks' services at Albia. Brother Dan'l Miller also
received the thanks of the session for his services as bookkeeper and collector,
and was reelected for another year. In later years this gentleman acquired
considerable notoriety as an expert bookkeeper, as cashier of the Monroe County
At a session of December 4, 1882, Jacob Kimball and Geo. Hartzer were suspended from the church on a charge of "walking disorderly," and of neglecting the means of grace; and in July of the next year Brother Daniel M. Miller was suspended for getting away with the funds of the church.
On August 31, 1885, a joint session of the Presbyterian and United Prebyterian churches of Albia was held for the purpose of considering a proposition to unite both congregations into one. Elders A. Bain, J. C. Rhea, W. E. Elder, and Daniel Forcythe represented the United Presbyterian Church and Samuel Noble, D. H. Scott, A. A. Mason, John A. Edwards, and Josiah T. Young represented the Presbyterian Church. Considerable discussion was had on the subject of union, but nothing was accomplished. The United Presbyterian brethren consented to united if the other church would take the organ out of the church, adopt close communion, and sing psalms, none of which propositions were consented to.
On August 9, 1886, Rev. T. F. Boyd, of Marysville, Kansas, was chosen pastor to succeed Rev. Ollerinshaw. He was guaranteed a minimum salary of $800 a year, and as much above that amount as could be raised.
April 1, 1889, the session signed a call to Rev. E. B. Linn to act as pastor, guaranteeing him $800 a year and the use of the parsonage. Mr. Linn is still the pastor of the church in Albia, and is a zealous and efficient worker.
The following is a statistical report of the church made to the presbytery, for the year ending April 1, 1890: Elders, 4; deacons, 2; added on examinations, 8; added on certificate, 7; total communicants, 170; baptisms, adults, 5, infants, 4; Sunday-school membership, 125; contributions to home missions, $40; foreign missions, $46; education, $8; Sabbath-
school work, $18; church erection, $8; freedmen, $9; General
Assembly, $16.20; congregational expenses, $13.90; miscellaneous, $15.
The report for 1894 gives: Number of elders, 16; deacons, 2; added on examination and certificate, 15, total communicants, 200; no baptisms; Sabbath-school membership, 140; home missions, $104; Foreign missions, $48; education, $11; Sunday-school work, $14; church erection, $23; relief fund, $13; freedmen, $7; aid for colleges, $14; General Assembly, $27; congregational, $1,627.71.
For the year 1895 the following is the statistical report of the condition of the church as reported to the presbytery: Elders, 6; deacons, 3; added on both examination and certificate, 15, total communicants, 206, baptisms, 15, Sabbath school membership, 150; home missions, $109; foreign missions, $82; education, $8; Sabbath-school work, $14; church erection, $8; relief fund, $18; freedmen, - ; General Assembly, $21.18; congregational, $1,293.12; American Bible Society, $5; miscellaneous, $50.
At a session of May 3, 1896, Rev. E. B. Linn, the pastor, submitted his resignation, to take effect July 1, 1896, assigning as the cause the ill health of himself and his wife; and at the next session, May 10, after due consultation, the board determined on the following proposition:
"Pastor, Rev. E. B. Linn, to have one month's vacation, commencing July 1, 1896, with leave of absence for August and September if he so desires, and his salary to go on all the time, except that the expense of supplying the pulpit for August and September shall be paid from salary; Brother Linn, if possible, is to secure supply for those two months."
The proposition was accepted by the pastor, and, at the end of the three months he returned to his charge slightly improved in health. Rev. Witte acted as a supply during his absence.
The first church edifice erected by the Presbyterians of Albia was a brick structure, 30 x 40 feet, and one story. It occupied the site of the present church, which was finished
in 1873. The size of the latter is about 38x70 feet, with
basement story, used for prayer meeting and library. The cost of the building
Besides the pastors already enumerated, Revs. S. C. McCune, of Oskaloosa; Rev. H. P. Barnes, of Clyde, Ohio; and Rev. S. W. Pollack, now of Centerville, Iowa, each presided for a short time.
The Presbyterian choir, as at the present composed, includes a high grade of musical talent, and the church stands in the front rank of popularity.
The Associate Presbyterians ("Seceders")
When Monroe County was first settled, many of
the pioneer settlers, wishing to profit by closer fraternal associations,
naturally grouped themselves together in communities or colonies; hence the
Catholic community in the western half of Monroe County, the Dunkers or old
German Baptists near Cuba in Mantua and Pleasant Townships, the Methodists in
the upper half of Bluff Creek Township, and the Presbyterians in Pleasant and a
part of Bluff Creek Townships.
An incident of early times will serve to illustrate the colonizing methods of the "Seceders." Old Billy Piper lived on a claim in the Snodgrass neighborhood. The farm is now owned by Mr. Lathan. Piper was not a "Seceder" by any means, but Jesse Snodgrass and his surrounding neighbors were. It was, of course, desirable on the part of the "Seceders" to locate settlers in their midst who were of the same religious persuasion as themselves. One day Jesse Snodgrass brought into the neighborhood a man from Ohio. The man was a "Seceder," and hence was a very desirable man to locate. Old Billy Piper was grubbing near the roadside when Mr. Snodgrass rode up with his man. After a friendly salutation and introduction of the two strangers, Mr. Snodgrass thus opened negotiations for the purchase of the claim in behalf of his man: "Would ye sell yer claim, Mister Piper? Sure an'ye are a foine mon, an' a gude neighbor, but ye are not the kind of a mon we want wi'us, and' we would loike til git rid of yes." This very frank admission greatly incensed the old unregenerate anti-"Seceder," and seizing a fence stake, he made after the offending neighbor, who beat a hast retreat, leaving his horse behind, hitched to the fence.
They are a sturdy race, those old "Seceders,"
and their names are linked with the birth, growth, and exalted manhood of the
county. Some of their tenets seem a trifle at variance with the popular ideas of
the nineteenth century concerning fraternal union, but it is a fact that there
are remarkably few "goats" in their flock to be finally separated by
the Master of the Sheep fold. While their church does not keep pace with some of
the others in growth and popularity, it is a good church to join, for those who
merely desire to get to heaven, because they are all going to get there. This,
of course, applies as well to the United Presbyterians and other strains.
They are instructed in piety from infancy, and their nursery songs are the lullaby of the Psalms. They speak of the seventh day as the "Sabbath" instead of saying "Sunday." They discountenance the singing of hymns in public worship on the ground that they are of human construction, and not inspired. They do not encourage the attendance of their members at other churches, and advocate non communion. They adhere to old land marks, which, while they may forbid the pilgrim to cut across lots in his Christian pilgrimage, or to depart into shady by paths which even may again emerge into the highway, make the way certain.
In wading the Jordan of Christian experience and earthly stewardship, he treads on no stepping stones save those which have been worn smooth by the foot prints of his ancestors and those mentioned in the "field notes" of the "Westminster Confession." He does not risk his footing on those newly added stepping stones of other denominations, lest they rock or totter on their bases. He even lifts his garments while passing over them. His honesty, too, is as immutable and rock ribbed as his faith, for who ever heard of a "Seceder" in good standing in his church neglecting to pay his debts? His daily acts are under the scrutinizing espionage of the session board, and the least irregularity means suspension.
Membership in the church is measured by the ration of birth and mortality of the members, for no proselytes from other religious bodies ever join the Associate Presbyterian Church, and none of those to whom the doctrine has been transmitted by heredity ever leave it.
Pleasant Township was the cradle of the white
race in Monroe County, and no sooner had the settlers arrived than they framed a
church organization. Among the charter members of this organization at Pleasant
Divide were Geo. Humphrey, Robt. M. Hartness, Wm. H. McBride, John Walker, and
the Snodgrasses, Achesons, Andersons, Buchanans, McDonalds, Vances, and Porters.
At a meeting of the session board of December 4, 1847, convened at the house of John Walker, William McBride was chosen chairman; he was also elected collector and treasurer, and a trustee as well. John Walker and John Acheson were also elected trustees. At this meeting it was ordered that a suitable book be purchased for the use of the treasurer of the congregation, and following is a copy of the treasurer's report:
"there was 50 cents put into my hands for purchasing said book. Said book was purchased at the sum of 37 1/2 cents. Balance due, 12 1/2 cents.
(Signed) "Wm. H. McBride,
Then follows a statement of
|"Monny paid over to Mr. Scot by the following persons:|
|Wm. H. McBride||
|"Do. to Mr. Scot:|
|Wm. H. McBride||
|"Paid monny to Mr. Linsy by following names, to-wit:|
|Robt. M. Hartness||
|J. C. Acheson||
|Wm. H. McBride||
Another financial report, dated October 9, 1847, reads:
|"Receaved 25 cents from the following persons:|
|J. C. Acheson||
|Wm. H. McBride||
Paid over to Mr. McDoewl
Rev. D. Linsey preached for the congregation
during its earlier organization, and then Rev. John Vance acted as pastor until
1857, when Rev. Samuel Hindman took charge. At this time a proposition was made
to unite with another branch of the Presbyterian Church, called the Union or
Associate Reform. The Associate Reform Church was divided on the proposition,
and a meeting of the session on September 20, 1856, a motion was adopted to
oppose the contemplated union.
In 1858, when the consolidation was effected, the Pleasant Divide Church did not enter into the union, and has retained its original organization to the present day. The congregation held worship at their church, which was
built in 1850. It occupied the site of their present church,
which stands near Henry Elder's.
In 1887 the old church was replaced by the new one, which cost over $3,000. When the church was completed, a motion was introduced and adopted in a church session, February 1, 1854, directing that a rail fence be put around the graveyard, and that each family in the church furnish 20 rails with which to build the fence.
The Associate Presbyterians in those days had a very methodical way of raising church revenues and collecting arrears. Upon each member a tax was levied, and the levy was based on the valuation of his property. The amount had to be forthcoming, but the debtor was often allowed to postpone payment until "money came into his hands." He was required to give his note, however, for the amount. Money was also raised by charging the member a "stipend" for a seat in the church. If he failed to pay the "stipend," the seat was sold to someone else. In 1857 it appears form the records that Messrs. John Castle, Sr., Wm. McBride, and Henry Elder were appointed to assist the trustees in levying a tax for funds to pay the pastor.
This plan of raising church revenues was a good one, and might be adopted at the present day, with happy results. If the notes were not paid, the next step was to enter suit in the courts; but this last resort was seldom or never necessary.
When the two churches united in 1858, a dispute arose over the ownership of the Pleasant Divide church edifice. The case went into the courts, and it was decided that it belonged to the United Presbyterian body. The Associate body then bought it from the former.
Rev. Hindman continued to preach at Pleasant Divide until about the year 1861, when Rev. Jas. Shearer took charge and preached until 1873, when he ceased his clerical labors, and for a year or two the pulpit was "supplied" by the presbytery. Rev. Jas. N. Snodgrass rendered efficient service as one of the "supplies."
In 1877 Rev. H. S. Acheson assumed charge of the society, and is the present pastor. The organization has a membership of about 75.
On October 21, 1880, an auxiliary branch of the church was established at Albia, with John Lathan and John Patton as elders, and Rev. Wm. Porter as pastor. He still
has charge of the congregation. The membership at present
comprises 35 persons, and among the charter members were Rev. Wm. Porter and
wife, John Lathan and wife, C. C. Acheson and wife, Wm. Castle and wife, Ed I.
Ramsay and wife, James Garrett and wife, H. J. Bell and wife, Dr. F. C. Maughlin
and wife, John Castle and wife, Mrs. Spencer, Jas. Hammond and wife, Mrs. Jane
Nichol, and Wm. J. McKissick and wife.
In early times the "Seceders" of Pleasant Township and the fellows of the "Hairy Nation" did not get along very amicably together. Their hostility during the period when the "Club law" was a regulating factor in the community was somewhat similar to the warfare between the early Puritan fathers and the aborigines of Plymouth. Old Henry Elder might be characterized as the terrible fighting deacon of Plymouth, Miles Standish, and old Laurel Tyrrell, on the part of the "Hairy Nation," as the fierce Wattawament; but, as was the fate of the red man, Tyrrell's head was never hung up on the ridge pole of the church as a warning to the braves of the "Hairy Nation."
"And as a trophy of war, the head of the
Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once was a church and a fortress."
At the time of the "Club"
regulations, the homestead law had not yet been enacted. A settler could
from the Government by paying $1.25 per acre for 160 acres of the domain, or
Mexican land warrants ranged from one dollar per acre down as low as fifty cents
Under a preemption law of that day, a settler could hold a quarter section a year before being required to pay out on it. At the end of the year the occupant of the claim was usually poorer than he was at the beginning. He could not get away, and about all he could do was to arrange some plan in concert with his neighbors by which he could hold on to the land by virtue of the rights of "squatter sovereignty." It was to protect him thus that the "Club" was called into existence, as we have stated elsewhere in this volume. As the "squatter's" claims were not based on any legal rights conferred by the statutes, the "Seceder" colonists did not recognize the sanctity of the regulations adopted and enforced by the "Club" organization. If they found a tract of land on the plat at the land office marked by a "V," which designated it as vacant, though in reality a "squatter" occu-
pied it through the support of the "Club," they felt
little hesitancy, in many instances, in preempting it or "jumping"
the claim. As they did not believe in secret societies, they seemed to place the
"Club" organizations in the same category of evils, and for that
reason, doubtless, they did not enter into the organization. The "Hairy
Nation" looked upon them with suspicion anyway, for, as Jas. Coen says in
his interesting "Sketches of Early Times," they had many strange
customs. They were very industrious, cultivated large fields, rode in painted
wagons, used horses instead of oxen, and worked six days in the week. They did
not even fight as a recreation, and would not drink whisky at Harrow's grocery
on Saturday afternoons.
Mr. Coen states further, that when they built a school house at Half way Prairie, and fitted up a stove in it instead of a fireplace, this innovation met the further disapprobation of the "Hairy Nation," and when they began to build a church, it was considered an overt declaration of war. For what purpose could they need a church, unless to be used as a fort? The pulpit was evidently designed as a sally port from which the besieged might emerge in a final encounter, after the stronghold had been invested.
At length these strained relations culminated in an open rupture. A man named Geo. P. Little entered a forty acre "claim" on Miller's Creek. Little was a "Seceder," and a "squatter" claimed the tract. The "Club," of course, protested vigorously, but Little paid no attention to their threats. One day, in midwinter, he borrowed a horse from James Carhart and rode to Albia, armed with an old "pepperbox" pistol. That very day the "Club" had met to take final action in his case. On his return from Albia the "Club" discovered him and gave chase. Little took the Eddyville trail, with about twenty of the mob in hot pursuit. The pursuers gained on him, and finally one of them caught up with him and attempted to seize his horse's bridle. Little held his revolver in his hand, cocked, and ready for any acts of violence, but as the pursuer reached the bridle his horse stumbled, and the fall discharged his pistol. The pursuer then kept his distance, thinking the shot had been aimed purposely at himself. Little gained the house of Carhart, and then took refuge in the house of Henry Elder, hotly pursued by the mob.
The man who had caught up with Little was his friend
Andy Robb. He was endeavoring to assist in Little's escape.
soon arrived at Elder's and, seizing a sled standard, sauntered out into the
road among the mob, charged them right and left, threatening the entire crowd
with destruction if they did not retire. They retired, and a few days later the
"Club" met and resolved to exterminate the "Seceders," wipe
them off the face of the earth, and raze their church to the ground.
Zed Chedister went to Mr. Tucker's to borrow his gun. He stated that he wanted to kill "Seceders" with it. He did not get the gun, and his pleasant anticipations of killing "Seceders" were never realized.
Further commenting on these disturbances, Mr. Coen says in his "Sketches of Early Times":
"A meeting of the "Club" was held a few days later, when war was declared and it was ordered to raise the 'Nation' and wipe out the 'Seceders,' and to begin by burning their church, fixing a time for the bonfire. Runners were dispatched to call out the chiefs and braves of the "Hairy Nation,' 'Bull-frog Nation,' 'Hell string Nation,' and all the friendly tribes, with their arms, ammunition, and plenty of 'snake bite' medicine. The war whoop was sounded throughout the land. The gathering of the invading forces continued until the evening of the appointed day, when they took up their line of march for the 'Seceder' church.
"Meanwhile, news from the war dance had reached the 'Seceders,' who, disdaining to sue for peace, took up the hatchet and prepared for the impending conflict. Messengers were sent from house to house.
" 'And there was
hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings in distress,
And cheeks all pale,'
as the stern visaged 'Seceders' left their homes with their
rifles, ammunition, and bullet moulds. Throughout the day, the wooded valleys
along the frozen waters of Miller's Creek and Bluff Creek and the landscapes of
Half way Prairie and North Prairie resounded with the familiar cry of their
ancestors: 'Dinna ye hear it? Dinna ye hear it? Dinna ye hear the slogan?'
"By the time they had gathered at the church, reenforced by Sheriff Ezra P. Coen, and a squad of friendly 'Hell strings,' they had but settled down to a contemplation of the horrors of war, when away over the prairie towards the 'Bullfrog Nation,'
" 'Like the dread northern hurricane,
That sweeps the broad plateau,
Flushed with the triumph yet to gain,
Came down the serried foe,'
who, finding the building occupied by an unknown quantity,
marched to a grove near by, and went into camp.
"Next day both armies prepared for the approaching conflict. After some time, in which some seemed inclined to open the battle, a commissioner was sent to the church to demand a surrender. They were invited into the building, shown the strength of the besieged, and informed they were ready to fight it out. There was some parley as to the causes of the war, and the commissioners returned to camp.
"Some of the invaders favored moving on the enemy's works, but others favored further attempts at diplomacy, and so some hours were spent in conference of the commissioners. The more warlike the belligerents became impatient at the delay. Each party stood to his arms and glared at each other across the prairie. After considerable negotiations, each party cooled off, and some kind of a truce was fixed up with out the arbitrament of arms."
The Covenanters are yet another variety of
Presbyterians. They organized in Pleasant Township in 1860. In that year Rev.
Neal was sent as a "supply," and preached until 1865, when he was
succeeded by Rev. Jas. Love, whose ministerial labors extended down into the
Rev. J. A. Thompson then preached until about the year 1892, when Rev. McBurney assumed charge, and held the place until about the beginning of the year 1896, when he resigned and went to Oklahoma. The church does not have any regular minister at present.
The Covenanters erected a church edifice in 1871, on the Hicks place, just east of the "Seceder" church.
Like the "Seceders" an other strains of Presbyterians, the Covenanters are characteristic for their sturdy manhood and thrift. They, too, are of Scotch origin, and their faith is the same as it was in the days of Charles the Pretender - nothing has been added and nothing taken from it.
The distinguishing characteristic of the Covenanters' faith is that Christ suffered and died to purchase not only spiritual blessings and salvation, but that the great sacrifice also covers the temporal welfare of mankind. They hold
God has an ever present existence in all things mundane, and
that therefore human governments and laws framed for the well being of society
should be recognized as deriving their being through the direct interpositon of
God. They insist that God should be recognized in the United States
Constitution, and they refuse to vote as long as it is not so directed. They
hold that it would be sacrilege or impious to vote under a constitution infidel
in character, insomuch as it does not recognize God.
Some years ago, while U. K. Bates was assessing in Mantua Township, he called to assess the property of Rev. J. A. Thompson. Mr. Thompson demurred, when called upon to make oath to his statements, and refused to pronounce the usual clause, "so help me God." He wanted, as a final compromise, to abbreviate the phrase by leaving off the word "God." Finally, however, when he was told that the law required this of him, he acquiesced.
Mr. Bates then called on Rev. Acheson, of the Associate Reform Church. This gentleman thought the word "God" was not sufficiently strong, and added to it by saying, "Almighty God."
Following is a list of some of the original members of the Covenanter Church, their names being all more or less well known in the history of Monroe County: Wm. Pressley, Adam Orr, the Hebrew and Sinclair families, Wm. Chisholm and his wife and mother, Thos. Nichol and wife, Rev. Jas. Love and family, Wm. Huston and family, Jas. Irwin and family, Jas. Dougherty, Joseph Pervis, David Forcythe, Sr., and family, John Bedford and family, Hugh Hawthorn and family, the Dunn family, Arthur G. McKeown, Samuel Kilpatrick and family, and Wm. Allen and family.
The United Presbyterians
The United Presbyterian organization in
Monroe County, while formed by a union of the Associate Reform and Associate
Presbyterian bodies, also contained a few recruits from other Presbyterian
societies throughout the county.
Rev. J. N. Pressley was the first pastor of the new organization, and began in 1858, the year the two churches united.
At present there are two United Presbyterian organizations in Monroe County; one at Albia, and the other four
miles north of Albia, known as the Service United Presbyterian
From the register of this congregation we copy an historical sketch, which , while a part of it may be but a repetition of statements already recorded concerning the Associate Reform Presbyterian Church, is a reliable record:
Historical Sketch of Service United Presbyterian
"The exact date of organization is lost.
With a view to organization, a meting was held at the house of Mr. Simeon Wycoff,
March 10, 1856. There were present at that meeting Messrs. Wm. Robb, Samuel
Elder, John Henderson, Thos. Wilson, Andrew Robb, Samuel Henderson, Samuel
Thompson, Wm. B. Kendall, and Wm. Richard. Thos. Wilson was chairman and Samuel
Conley was secretary of that meeting. The meeting made arrangements to secure
five acres of land from Wm. Robb, as a church site; and also decided that the
church building should be of stone.
"This meeting adjourned to meet at Wm. Robb's March 24, 1856. The same persons were present, and in addition Mr. Thos. Bell. At this meeting, on motion of Wm. Robb, it was decided that the new organization should be called Service. Wm. Robb and Sam'l Conley were appointed to draft a petition to the Associate Presbytery for a new organization.
"This meeting adjourned to meet April 7, 1856, at the house of Samuel Conely. Here the records fail. According to some who took part in these proceedings, Wm. Robb carried the petition for a new organization to the Associate Presbytery, but did not secure a favorable response until a subsequent meeting.
"The congregation was organized at the Half Way Prairie school house by the Rev. Samuel Hindman, probably in the month of June, 1856. The elders in the new organization were Wm. Robb and Samuel Conley.
"At the meeting for organization Simeon Wycoff was elected an elder. Soon after he was ordained and installed and Joseph Robb installed as elders in the congregation.
"There are no records or register showing the growth of the congregation from the time of its organization to the union of the Associate Reform and Associate churches, May, 1858.
"An Associate Reform congregation had
been formed at the Half way Prairie school house in September, 1854, by the Rev.
Fee. In this congregation were John Fullerton, Geo. Griffin, R. K. Nelson, and
David Forcythe, including their families and others, making in all eleven
members. Geo. Griffin and R. K. Nelson were the elders. The congregation was
supplied by Rev. Fee, Rev. Miller, Rev. White, Rev. R. A. McAyeal, and Ref. J.
"Soon after the union of the Associate Reform and Reformed churches, the congregation at Service received considerable accessions from Half Way Prairie Associate Reform congregation. There are no records to show that there was a formal union. There is, however, a record of a united communion meeting held in the Campbellites' church, Albia, September 3, 1858, by the Rev. J. N. Pressley.
"At that time the record states that the session of Albia consisted of Dr. A. A. Ramsay, Dr. Stewart, J. C. Acheson, and David Forsythe; the sesion of Service, of Joseph Robb, Wm. Robb, Samuel Conley, Geo. Griffin, and Simeon Wycoff; the session of Pleasant Divide, of Matthew Elder, Samuel Wallace, R. K. Nelson, and Wm. McBride. These sessions, it is carefully noted, were each represented in the united communion service. In each of these, it will be noticed, there is an elder of the Associate Reform congregation. It would seem then that immediately after the union the Associate Reform congregation was absorbed by the three surounding Associate congregations, Service getting the largest share.
"The joint communion seems to have been a very happy one. Afterwards, if not before, the Associate Reform and Associate people, except those who still hold the Pleasant Divide Associate organization, were completely united.
"Returning now to Service alone, the congregation was without a settled pastor from the time of its organization until November 13, 1858, when a call for half time was made for the Rev. J. N. Pressley; Albia taking the other half. Mr. Pressley was duly installed some time between May 4 and July 13, 1859.
"On August 25, 1859, a paper was handed into the Presbytery of Pleasant Divide - being a part of Service congregation - asking the privilege of calling Rev. J. N. Pressley a part of his time. This privilege was granted. This request probably meant a division of Mr. Pressley's time between Service and Pleasant Divide, as two places of preaching in one congregation, as there is no subsequent account of a call.
"There is no definite information left concerning Mr. Pressley's work in the congregation - its accessions, its membership, all unknown. He was a man of marked ability in the pulpit—a champion defender of the truth. He was called on several occasions to take part in public discussions, in which his great intellectual ability was strikingly exhibited. At a meeting of the Presbytery at Knoxville, June 18, 1862, a mutual request was handed in from the Rev. J. N. Pressley and the Albia and Service congregations for a dissolution of the relation between them - the pastor having been called to what was adjudged a more important field of labor. On motion, it was resolved that said relation be dissolved, but Pressley would not be understood as conniving at or encouraging irregularities in the dissolution of such relations.
"The work in which Mr. Pressley engaged in after leaving this charge was the financial agency of Washington College. He returned, however, to the pastoral work at Grandview and Harrison, in the Presbytery of Keokuk. He has now gone to his reward. He died at Grandview, Iowa, August 22, 1866, aged 56 years.
" The church building was raised and enclosed during Mr. Pressley's pastorate. This was done during the summer of 1860. Temporary seats were secured and the church remained unfinished and unfurnished until after the war. It was a period of hard struggling. The county was new and many were hard pressed for means to make their necessary or much needed improvements. Some who could not contribute money proffered gratuitous labor. This present church, pleasant, though not grand, was the result.
"The congregation was vacant until April 13, 1864, when a call, in connection with Albia, was sent to the presbytery, addressed to Mr. J. P. Black, a licentiate under the Presbytery of Mansfield. At this meeting Mr. Black was present, and was received under the care of the presbyterial certificate from the Presbytery of Mansfield. The call from Albia and Service was presented: Mr. Black asked a day. On the next day, April 14, 1864, he signified his acceptance, and trials were assigned for ordination. At a
meeting of the presbytery June 15, 1864, Mr. Black, having
delivered satisfactory trial discourses, was ordained and installed as pastor.
"There are no records giving special information concerning Mr. Black's work in this congregation. Upon the general testimony of the people, it may be said that Mr. Black was a faithful pastor. As a preacher, though retiring, perhaps to a fault, he was a man of considerable ability. His backward, retiring disposition probably hindered somewhat in his work.
"At a meeting of the presbytery August 31, 1865, he offered his resignation of the pastorate of Service and Albia, assigning as his reasons: 'Lack of interest in the cause and a failure on the part of prominent elders and members to perform their duties.' At a meeting of the presbytery at Service Church October 5, 1865, Dr. A. A. Ramsay, Joseph Robb, and Wm. Rambo appeared as commissioners of the congregations and reported 'that it had been decided to acquiesce in the pastor's request.' On motion, Mr. Black was released. Mr. Black is still engaged in ministerial work, but has not since been pastor of a congregation.
"Again the congregation was vacant, until April 11, 1866, when a united call from Service and Albia, addressed to Mr. John Hadden, a licentiate under the inspection of the Presbytery of Muskingum, was handed in to the presbytery at a meeting at Somerset. Mr. Hadden, being present, was received with the understanding 'that he should procure and hand in a certificate, in due time.' The call, being put into his hands, was by him accepted.
"At a meeting of the presbytery at Service Church, June 19, 1866, Mr. Hadden presented satisfactory trial discourses and was ordained and installed as pastor. During Mr. Hadden's pastorate no church register showing details of his church work was kept.
At a meeting of the prebytery at Somerset, April 21, 1869, the union of Albia and Service was dissolved and the whole of Mr. Haddens time given to Albia. He continued his labors in Albia until his death, which occurred August 25, 1872. His age was 34 years. He graduated at Muskingum College in June, 1862, and at Alleghany Theological Seminary in the spring of 1865. He was a successful pastor, both at Service and Albia. His social qualities contributed largely to his success. He maintained the most agreeable
relations with all his brethren in the ministry - was on good
terms with all, and intimate with many. His qualities of heart endured him to
his brethren, not only of his own, but also of other denominations. He had a
happy combination of social and moral powers, which made him a most excellent,
agreeable, and useful man.
"Your present pastor came here as supply in the early part of 1869. Since he came to the congregation, the register shows 111 persons that have been taken into membership, 59 on profession and 52 on certificate, though the membership before was probably about 100. With all these apparently encouraging accessions, the decrease by removal, death and discipline has been so large that the membership of the congregation is only about 113."
The foregoing sketch was written by Rev. S. C. Marshall. The next to succeed him was Rev. John Pattison, who assumed the pastorate in the '70s. Rev. Boyd assumed charge about the year 1883 or 1884, and was succeeded by Rev. McKernon, who had charge of the congregation until 1895, when he resigned his pastorate.
The Service pulpit, at present, is filled by Rev. Knipe.
At the present time, the Albia congregation is without a preacher.
The Cumberland Presbyterians
This variety of the Presbyterian Church is at
present without and organization in Monroe County. In about the year 1870 there
was an organization in Monroe Township of 30 or 40 members. The first minister
in charge was Rev. Wheelis, with whom was associated Rev. Wallace.
In 1872 Rev. Smith McCall preached for a year, and was succeeded in 1874 by Rev. Hewitt.
The organization then died out; the members going into other churches.
Among the members were Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Enix, Mr. and Mrs. Blakely Dinwiddie, and Elias Combs and wife.
The Christian Church
In the year 1847 Isaac Watson and old "Uncle Johnnie" Mock, two of the pioneers of this county, drove up to
Marion County, where Rev. Aaron Chatterton, a Christian or
Campbellite minister, was holding a revival meeting, and on their return,
brought the minister with them. He began a series of meetings in the old
school house in Albia, and also preached occasionally at the home of "Old
Jimmie" Robinson, four miles south of Albia.
A church was soon organized, containing among its charter members: John Mock, Mrs. Margaret Mock, his mother, Mrs. Zerelda Watson, Mrs. Margaret Hollingshead, "Old Jimmie" Robinson and wife, Miss Angeline Robinson, Miss Cornelia Robinson, Miss Zerelda Robinson, Miss Martha Robinson, and Miss Helen Robinson.
Chatterton did not confine his labors to Monroe County exclusively, but the next year Elder Joseph Caldwell assumed the pastorate of the newly organized church. He resided a few miles southeast of Albia, and drove in every Sunday to preach.
In 1851 Elder Mott took charge of the church, and remained about a year; and in 1856 he was succeeded by Elder Reuben Garriott, the father of Mrs. David Ireland, of Albia.
In about the year 1863 Elder Amos Buchanan assumed the pastorate and preached until 1867.
In 1868 a young infidel or Universalist school teacher named Free Waldron, hearing the quite noted theological debate between Elder Chatterton, of the Christian Church, and Rev. Frank Evans, the little oratorical giant of the Methodist persuasion, became converted to the church represented by Mr. Chatterton, and in the same year began to preach. He preached for seven years, and built up the organization into a church of considerable influence and popularity. He was a fine singer, an a gentleman of more than ordinary clerical ability. He had the faculty of infusing spiritual life into his church, and while his popularity was at its zenith the church enjoyed a phenomenal growth.
At this time an episode occurred in which completely crushed the minister in the locality, and for a time disrupted the church. A Miss Fanny Arnold, a young lady of one of the best families in the county, who made her home in the family of Mr. Waldron, made public certain allegations against the minister which gravely impugned his Christian character. A church trial was conducted at the residence
of Isaac Watson, and the charges investigated. The allegations
made by the young lady did not accuse the elder with the commission of acts of
immorality, but with conduct frivolous and unbecoming a minister of the gospel.
Among the charges was one that the minister insisted on her sitting on his lap
while milking the cow, and other festive manifestations. Most of the members of
the flock did not believe the charge, but some of those who did withdrew from
the church, and Mr. Vincent Reed, who had been one of the most active members,
went so far in his denunciation of his pastor as to publish a pamphlet setting
for the alleged sins of the elder. It is said this pamphlet was mailed to every
locality where Mr. Waldron was retained in ministerial work. Mr. Waldron is now
in Missouri, and is still an efficient and zealous minister of the gospel.
In 1875 Elder J. B. Vaughter came to Albia and set to work earnestly to get the organization on its feet again. Two years previous Elder Waldron had entered negotiations with the Baptist brethren for a swap of church buildings, and with the cooperation of Elder Vaughter the trade was completed. The Baptists owned the edifice from which the present Christian Church was remodeled. The Christians owned the building in the Fourth Ward now owned by the United Presbyterians. It was rather small for them. The Baptist organization was meager, and there was an incumbrance of four or five hundred dollars on the church. The two churches traded edifices, and the Christians assumed and paid off the indebtedness. The church then made some extensive improvements in the building; towers were added, and a wing built on, under Brokaw's pastorate.
When the first edifice was erected, in the early '60's, Willis Arnold donated the lot, and also donated the lumber in erecting the building. The carpenter work was mostly donated free, by members of the church.
Vaughter preached a year, and was succeeded by Elder Allan Hickey, in 1876. He preached three years.
Elder E. J. Stanley then had charge for one year, and the next year Elder Orange Higgins filled the Albia pulpit.
In 1881 Elder J. K. Cornell was employed, and in 1883 was succeeded by elder Edward O. Sharp, who preached for one year.
In 1884 Elder J. H. Ragan assumed the pastorate, and held it for three years.
G. L. Brokaw came in in 1889, and remained
Elder R. A. Martin succeeded him in 1891, and preached one year. In 1892 Elder Harold Monser took charge, and preached for one and one half years.
In 1893 Elder W. J. Hastie, the present incumbent, was employed.
Nearly all of the gentlemen named possessed a high standard of pulpit eloquence. Buchanan, it is said, was a remarkably eloquent divine, and was greatly loved by his flock. Edward O. Sharpe was known as "the boy preacher." He was still under age when he occupied the Albia pulpit, yet was a youth of remarkable eloquence. Rev. Monser was also a fine orator and logician, and perhaps outranked all others in elegance of delivery.
Besides the foregoing list of preachers in charge, there were several evangelists, who preached throughout the county from time to time, conducting revival meetings. The first revival meeting was conducted by Chatterton; then in March, 1868, Elder Hobbs of Des Moines, held a meeting of remarkable success in Albia. Elder N. E. Cory and Prof. G. T. Carpenter also preached in Albia at intervals.
There is also an organization near Avery under the pastorate of Elder Aaron Pearson, who holds several other appointments throughout the county in addition.
For many years the Christian Church has maintained an organization both in Monroe and Urbana townships. At Selection some members of the Christian Church contributed towards the erection of the United Brethren church of that place, in 1888 or 1890, hoping to hear an occasional sermon by preachers of their own denomination. It was agreed that the Christian denomination should have access whenever the pulpit was not occupied by the United Brethren minister, a small rental being levied on them by the United Brethren organization for the purpose of keeping up repairs, providing illumination, fuel, and other incidental expenses.
In about the year 1890 the Christian organization in Urbana Township erected a neat frame church building, near the Center school house, at a cost of $1,075. The organization has no preacher at present, but Rev. Pearson preached for them until about the year 1895. Among those who were active in the building of the church at that place, and who are members of the organization, are Mrs. Elizabeth Forster, Mrs. Braden and daughter Alta, Mr. Wheatley Forster and
wife, William Smith, Irvin Smith and wife, Wm. Robinson, Jephtha Robinson, Geo. R. Robinson and wife, Mrs. Hiram Long, David Mahon and
wife, Mrs. Chas. Miller, Nimrod Martin, Geo. Shaw and wife, Warner Shaw and
wife, Dr. C. N. Udell, of Blakesburg, David Jay, Daniel William and wife, H. D.
Carroll and wife, and Mrs. Fannie Carpenter.
There is also a small following of the church on Soap Creek, under the pastoral care of Rev. Moses Lockman.
Besides the regular elders in charge at Albia, there have been several ministers engaged in the outlying appointments. Among these were Rev. Ades, who preached at various places within the county from 1887 to 1890. Also Rev. McCray, a young student of Drake University, who filled the country pulpits a short time after Ades.
In 1889 an organization was made in Bluff Creek Township, east of Lovilia, known as the Osburn appointment. They have a church edifice, and the membership is about 35.
In the early '70s a union chapel was built in Urbana Township, near the Wapello county line and south of Blakesburg, in the Jay neighborhood. Elder Pearson preached three years, beginning in 1891, at which time he organized the church with a membership of about 45. The organization contained the following officers: Herman Snow and Noah Smith, deacons; David Jay and E. E. Thayer, deacons; and Mrs. Candace Jay, clerk. A handsome church has lately been built on the site of the old "Jay Chapel" at a cost of about $1,300. It is 28x40 feet in dimensions.
In 1895 Elder C. L. Walker, of Batavia, preached at the union chapel.
The present membership of the Albia church reaches nearly 500, and they pay their minister a liberal salary. They have lately purchased a lot on Main Street, with a view to erecting a more commodious church edifice
The United Brethren Church
The first organization of this church was made in the Clodfelter neighborhood, about four miles southeast of Albia, in 1854. In 1845, however, Rev. Wm. Bird, an evangelist, preached occasionally near Hayden Smith's, south of Albia a couple of miles, where John Collins now resides. Rev. Kohzad preached in 1855, and the next year Rev. McLaughlin. In 1858 Rev. Byerley took charge of the congregation. He was succeeded by Rev. Jacob Bonebrake.
The charter members of this organization were: Wm. Clodfelter
and family, Hudson Martin and wife, Richard Martin and wife, Jas. Martin, and
Samuel Miller and wife. Since about the year 1860 the church went down, and no
reorganization was made until 1880, when, through the efforts of W. H. Trussel,
who lives in Monroe Township, Rev. Wm. Kelsey was induced to preach at the Hayes
school house and elsewhere throughout the county. An organization was formed,
and then Rev. Myer succeeded Kelsey as pastor. Myer conducted a successful
series of meetings at Selection, during which the church received many
accessions. He was enthusiastic in his work, and was the most successful
minister that has ever led the United Brethren flock in the county. After
preaching several years, both in Monroe and Appanoose counties, in which latter
an organization has existed for many years at Salem Chapel, he located in Kansas
and became a presiding elder in the church. He was succeeded by Rev. Schaffer,
who also preached several years in both appointments.
Rev. Smith came next, and then Rev. Heitegman assumed charge. He did not preach out his full term, and was succeeded by Rev. Rebok. Rev. Benson came next, and filled the pulpit for one or more years, and was succeeded by Rev. Woodson. Woodson died before his term ended, and Rev. Wm. Whitlock filled out the term. Rev. Brooke next took charge and is at present the pastor.
Of late years, a part of the United Brethren Church have taken up the doctrine of "holiness," or entire sanctification. Rev. Whitlock was one of the most zealous promoters of this society, and did considerable evangelical work throughout the State, taking a tent with him. For some time the "holiness" folks remained in the United Brethren Church, but later have organized some sort of society of their own, a sketch of which will follow in this chapter.
The United Brethren Church in Monroe County contains about 50 members. The church is thrifty and progressive. It formerly opposed secret societies, but of late their constitution has been so amended as to take in members of the secret and benevolent organizations. This change will doubtless add to the growth and popularity of the church, as hitherto the anti secret sentiment excluded many influential and worthy members.
In 1884 a handsome church edifice was erected, near Selection, in Monroe Township, where services are held semi monthly. The old pioneer organization held its services in the Clodfelter school house in Urbana Township, not far from where Samuel Miller lived for many years.
The Dunkers, or German Baptists, have an
organization near Cuba, a few miles east of Avery. At present there are about 80
members. The church is of German origin, but many of the membership of Monroe
County are native born, and of English nationality.
In 1888 a faction of the church withdrew from the main body and styled themselves "The Old Order." Some of the younger members began to manifest a liking for buttons, instead of hooks and eyes, and the church in general, they thought, had begun to relax its rigidity in its long adopted custom of plainness of dress. They therefore withdrew, and Elder John Stama had charge of the faction for four years. This faction is now about extinct in Monroe County, there being but one or two members left, since the recent death of David Kingery and wife, who were prominent members.
There is still another offshoot from the church, known as the Progressive Dunkers. The question of dress does not enter into their religion at all, and every member is free to dress as he or she wishes. There is no organization of this faction in Monroe County.
The church proper contains at present the following officers: Hiram Berkman, John Follis, elders; Willis Rhodebaugh, minister in first degree; Abram Morgan, Aaron Moss, "Ren" Morgan, John Miller, Wm. Adkinson, deacons.
In the summer of 1885 a church edifice was erected about two miles east of the town of Avery. It is a substantial structure, 36x70 in dimensions, and is of the plainest architecture.
Among the list of present membership are: Hiram Berkman, wife, and two daughters, John Follis and family, Lewis Miller and wife, "Aunt" Ruth Miller, Mrs. Isabel Miller, Geo. Thornton, Mrs. Dora Snow, Miss Ann Ronk, Mrs. Mary Henderson, Mrs. Ellen Moss, Mrs. Abigail Dreskill, Miss Flora Beebe, Miss Martha Beebe, Jasper Beebe, Mrs. Emma Henny, Peter Miller and wife, Lewis Miller and
wife, Warder Miller and wife, Elisha Leech and wife, Miss Rhoda
Hunt, Mrs. Matilda Bailey, Mrs. Olive Morgan, Mrs. Eliza Morgan, Wm. Warner and
wife, Mrs. Martha Warner, Mrs. Mary Roberts, Joseph Miller, Mrs. Jane Roberts,
Mrs. Ann Whetson, Mrs. De Moss, Mrs. Martha Coffman, Mrs. Lucinda Miller, Mrs.
Nancy Millard, Mrs. Drucilla Woodruff, Mrs. Margaret Rogers, Mrs. Rosanna Hansel,
Mrs. Ida Pearon, Mrs. Malinda Hardsock, Mrs. Ella Beebe, Mrs. Amanda Miller,
Marshall Bonnett and wife, Mrs. Sarah Ferrall, Mrs. Hannah Ferrall, Mrs. Dell
Ferrall, Mrs. Emma Bonnett, Mrs. Sophia McMullen, Mrs. Mary Adkison, Frank
Roberts and wife, Sam'l Roberts and wife, Miss Emma Funk, Miss Maimie Follis,
Miss Annie Follis, Miss Amy Beebe, Victor Pearson, Henry Butler, John Miller and
wife, Martin Snow, John Brewer and wife, John Dreskill, and Miss Nettie Dreskill.
Among the old charter members were John Hansel and wife, Daniel Miller and wife, Peter Miller and wife, David Kingery and wife, Wm. Warner and wife, Mrs. Abigail Miller, Mrs. Sarah Moss, and Frank Myers.
Elder Frank Myers was the first minister. He was succeeded by Elder Daniel Miller, who died in 1883. Since then, Elder Hiram Berkman and Elder John Follis have had charge of the congregation. Elder Berkman was ordained in 1881, and was associated with Elder Miller in the pastorate up to the death of the latter.
The Baptist Church
The Baptists organized in 1855, with a small
membership. They ceased to hold meetings in Albia in 1863, but two years later
they held meetings in the Christian Church, and in 1867 they built a church
edifice, which in later years passed into the hands of the Christian
denomination, and forms a part of the latter's present structure.
Rev. J. C. Miller had charge of the Albia congregation, and in later years Rev. Mace acted as pastor for a time, but at the present there is no organization in Albia.
There is also an organization in the western portion of Monroe Township, in the Woodcock-Thomas neighborhood, but they do not hold regular services there. In this congregation were the Woodcocks, Thomases, Youngs, and the Varnum family. The church building was erected in about the year 1860.
There is also another organization at Lovilia, and another at Hiteman. At the latter place they have a commodious church building and a large membership.
An organization was made at Lovilia early in the '60s, but it died out, and no reorganization was made until 1893. They used the other church edifices as places of worship, and have at present a membership of 49. The present deacons are Jas. Stewart, A. F. Cobb, and H. H. Cormany. Their present pastor is Rev. Lanningham, who divides his time with the Hiteman class. Elder Dewees organized the first class, and the next preacher was Rev. Todd. Rev. Hicks took charge in the later '60s, but, becoming entangled in a scandal in which one of the sisters of the flock was co related, the preacher withdrew, and the church went to pieces.
For many years the Missionary Baptists have had a kind of loose organization in the southern portion of the county. The term "Hardshell" has been applied to the less progressive element of the church, probably owing to their incorrigible opposition to modern church usages and doctrines. This crustaceous appellation may also be in part owing to the rude or unsophisticated appearance of many of the members, together with their close communion ideas. They seldom had church edifices, but congregated in school houses, in which they became noted for the fervency and vigor of their revival meetings. The ministers were uneducated, but usually possessed a combination of backwoods eloquence and shrewdness which crowned their efforts with success.
In about the year 1890 Rev. Geo. Raney, of Appanoose County, built up a large and prosperous membership of Baptists in the vicinity of Foster, and, chiefly through his efforts, a handsome church edifice was erected at Foster. A couple of years later it burned down and was rebuilt in 1894 and 1895. The church at Foster is in a prosperous condition, and the pulpit is now filled by Rev. Smith. The congregation have also erected a parsonage for their pastor.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
The colored Methodists were organized in February, 1873, in the old Baptist church in Albia, by Rev. Benson. The following is a list of some of the prominent members: Mr. Jones, Mrs. Henry Gones, Mr. Alf. Grayson, Mrs. Sarah Grayson, Rev. Cornelius Thomas, Mrs. Mary Furgason, Mrs. Rilda
Hedge, Monroe Davis, Mrs. Indiana Thomas, and Elijah Morris.
Rev. Benson served in the pulpit two years, Rev. Hutchison, two years; Elder Holmes, one year; Rev. Johnson, two years; Rev. Rhinehart, two years; Rev. Malone, one year; Rev. Hammond, one year; Rev. Rhinehart, again one year; Rev. Williams, two years; Elder Peterson, one year; Rev Addison, one year; Rev. Taylor, two years; Rev. Johnson, one year; Rev. F. W. Lewis, one year; Rev. Ford, one year; Rev. James, one year; Rev. Rhinehart, one year.
The present church structure was built in 1884, and the parsonage in 1895.
Grace Episcopal Church
In 1867 Bishop Lee organized an Episcopal
church in Albia with H. K. Steele, Geo. Hickenlooper, and a Mr. White as
vestrymen. Mr. Hickenlooper did not belong to any church, but his wife was a
member, and it was probably through her membership that he enjoyed the
emoluments of the office. Rev. J. E. Ryan, of Ottumwa, assisted the bishop in
Rev. Labaugh was their first regular preacher or rector. He continued his services until 1872 or 1873, when the organization succumbed to financial embarrassment. At about this period they erected a church building, largely by means of funds advanced by Mr. Labaugh.
The church building was that now owned by the Catholic society on Benton street. It passed out of the hands of the Episcopal society through the foreclosure of the mortgage.
The society still continues to hold services in Albia. They congregate in a hall over the Albia State Bank, and Rev. Whittam is the rector.
The Roman Catholics
The Catholics numbered among the pioneer settlers of Monroe County, and were in the county before Iowa became a State. They early displayed that spirit of enterprise and devotion to their religion which has marked their course in every land and in every epoch of Christian history. Since then, four churches have been built in Monroe County and the society is flourishing.
The membership in Monroe County is largely
made up of our Irish population. They are quiet and industrious, and very
greatly reverence their priest. The priests who have had charge of the
organizations in the county have all been highly educated men, and an
embellishment to any community. They are not only capable of rendering wise
spiritual counsel to their parishioners, but also give temporal advice in
matters of worldly nature.
In order to illustrate the obedience with which the parishioners conform to the wishes of the priest, an incident is related as an actual occurrence, but the writer cannot vouch for its truth, though the episode probably occurred.
Some years ago, when they were raising funds with which to erect a church, the times were rather hard for an enterprise of this kind, and the story goes that the priest, from his position in the pulpit, would assign certain donations to certain members of the parish; for instance, the Carrs would be directed to donate so many dollars, the Malones so many, etc. The priest, pointing to one old gentleman, said: "And you must give ten dollars." Whereupon the faithful parishioner arose, and in a meek though mildly remonstrative tone began: "May it plaze yer riverince, toims are verra hard an' the price of hogs is" - but at this stage of the remonstrance the priest, pointing his finger at him, shouted: "You sit down, sir!" The old gentleman sat down, and a few day later somebody in Albia remarked to him that the priest was a little hard on him. "Yis, he wor," was his reply; "but the money will have to coom." "What will be the result if you fail?" was next asked, "His reverince would sind me to the divil if I refused."
In 1854 or 1855 the Catholics built a log church in the northeast corner of Hugh Fitz Patrick's field. It stood by the side of the little grave yard, which faced the Albia and Chariton highway. The spot where this little church stood is now growing in grass, but the place will long be remembered by the friends and descendants of those pioneer settlers who attended mass in this humble cabin of long ago.
The society was organized by Rev. Father Krakel, a German, who conducted mass in the early '50s, and who is now the venerable pastor of the principal parish in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Among this band of zealous pioneer Christians were the Carrs, Coadys, Conners, Cullenanes, Stacks, McDonalds,
Moloys, McDonoughs, Sinnots, and Sculleys. Through their efforts
the handsome St. Patrick's Church at Stacyville was begun in 1860. This edifice
was designed by Father Clifford, a young clergyman of rare talent and amiable
social traits. The structure is built of stone. It is 100 feet in length, 60
feet wide, and 50 feet in height. It was an arduous undertaking to build it, at
the time, and it was several years before it was completed. The parishioners
were mostly poor a that time, and it was a great sacrifice on the part of many
to contribute of their means. At one time this church interior, with the altar,
statuary, and paintings, was classed as one of the handsomest in southern Iowa.
Among later settlers who were most active and liberal in their endeavors to complete the church were Edward O'Bryan, the Kelliher families, John Welsh, the Malones, the Colemans, and several others equally generous.
St. Patrick's Parish has had the following pastors since its organization: Fathers Krakel, McMenomy, Gleason, Malone, Cannon, Harrison, Ryan, Monyhan, Hayes, and Gaule. The latter is the present pastor.
The church edifice at Stacyville was built in 1864, and the ceremony of laying the corner stone was observed May 19, 1864. Bishop Smyth, of Dubuque, was present, and conducted the services. He placed the corner stone, and beneath it was deposited a bottle, hermetically sealed, containing the following: "Idibus Maii jumpe in feste pentecoste, anno domini 1864. Pio Nono, Papa Feliciter Ecclesiam Regente. Abraham Lincoln, Praside Statuum Faderotorum America Septenrionalis. Wm. M. Stone, Gubernaculum Status Iowa tenente. Illius Reomo Clemens Smyth, Biscopus Dubuquensis, hunce Primarium Lapidum. Inagno Coneorsu populi circumstante et equituum exoronte rite et solemniter posnit." There were also deposited with this record a silver five cent piece, a fine cent bill of fractional currency, and a twenty cent bill of currency; also a copy of the Albia Union of July 8, 1863 - all of which are doubtless quietly resting to this day in their sealed receptacle.
In 1870 the Catholic community of Melrose organized. They erected a humble church edifice, but the society increased so rapidly that more room was soon required. The old building was sold, and is now John Foutch's barn; and the present handsome and commodious building succeeded
it. Father O'Reilly is the priest who presides over these
Out at Weller stands a neat little church, built by the Catholics. As it is too small, it will soon be replaced by a larger structure.
The organists at these churches are: at Stacyville, Mrs. W. W. O'Bryan; at Melrose, Miss T. McGrath; and at Weller, Miss Wallace. Their respective choirs, especially at Stacyville, attract the attention of all musical ears. The music is said to be quite exquisite.
In 1874 Father Harrison organized a congregation in Albia. They bought the Episcopal church when it was sold by foreclosure, and at present they hold service twice a week.
Father Ryan preached two years after Harrison's two years' service; then Father King took charge, and led the society for eight months during 1877-8. Father Daily then preached eight years, and was succeeded by Father Quinn, who preached three years. Father Fitz Simmons next assumed charge, and preached a year, and was succeeded by Father McCarville, who took charge in May, 1895, and who is now at the head of the society.
The Albia church has about 125 members living within the city.
The Catholic population of Monroe County reaches beyond 2,000. There are at present, 224 in Wayne Township, 542 in Jackson Township, 312 in Guilford Township, 398 in Cedar Township, about 200 in Union Township, and about 200 distributed throughout the other townships, with 125 in Albia.
The Society of Friends
The Friends Church came into existence
in Albia in the year 1895, through the policy of the Methodist Episcopal Church
in expelling certain of its members for alleged insubordination to the doctrine
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A part of the latter church imbibed the
doctrine of "holiness," or entire sanctification, insisting that this
was the basic principle of original Methodism as enunciated by John Wesley.
being expelled, they affiliated with the Monroe County Holiness Association, and
participated with the latter in their camp meetings and cottage prayer meetings.
As the Holiness Association is inter denominational in character, embracing a membership from all churches, yet
not being denominational itself, the Monroe County exiles from
the Methodist Church decided not to join the Holiness Society as a body, but to
investigate the tenets of the Friends organization at Oskaloosa. Accordingly
they sent a delegate to Oskaloosa to request membership with the Friends of
Rev. G. M. Lemon, of Oskaloosa, superintendent of the Oskaloosa Quarterly Meeting, came to Albia, and, after fully investigating the matter, returned and sent a committee to Albia to examine applicants for membership. A favorable report was submitted by the committee, and an organization was made at Albia, which is known as the Albia Monthly Meeting of Friends. They congregated in Perry's opera house for a time, but later changed their place of meeting to Love's hall, where they meet at present.
The society, beginning with 40 members, has increased to nearly 250. They hold meetings at Cedar Mines, where they gained about 100 proselytes. They also held services at the Morris school house, about five miles west of Albia, where they gained about 50 accessions. Their pastor is Miss Lorena Tyrrell, a lady of remarkable energy and ability. She is universally beloved by her flock, and has been eminently successful in her pastoral duties.
The Albia Friends Church is officered by four deacons - namely, A. H. Humeston, Eli McAllister, Mrs. D. W. Nevins, and Mrs. Sarah Ireland. Mr. Harry Van Schoiak is clerk, and Dr. E. G. Powers corresponding secretary.
Early this fall (1896) they intend to erect a church edifice in Albia, which will have as large seating capacity as any in Albia. It will be erected two blocks north of the northwest corner of the Square and one block north of the Cramer Hotel. It will be a frame building, and it is expected that it will be completed during the present year.
The church creed of these Friends is the same as that of the original Friends, or Quakers, except that in the former faction the regulations of dress are eliminated. There is another striking contrast in their manner of worship. The original Friends, or Quakers, are silent and undemonstrative, while the latter are quite the opposite, often being carried beyond the point of dignity in their religious fervor.
The Monroe County Holiness Association
In 1892 the doctrine of "holiness," or sanctification, became a conspicuous theme with a certain element of
the Methodist, United Brethren, and a few of the Baptist
societies in Monroe County. They are very zealous in their convictions, and
while participating in public worship some of them become so wrought up by their
emotions that their feelings approach something like a spiritual frenzy. When
seized by this feeling, it is not uncommon for the subject to sink into a sort
of trance, and remain in this condition sometimes for hours. This phenomenon
usually transpires while the subject is experiencing the expulsion of inbred sin
by the influence of the Holy Spirit. The change, they assert, which their
spiritual state undergoes in its transition from a sinful state to one of
absolute sinlessness is instantaneous, irresistible, and overwhelming. Their
souls are then isolated from all worldly temptations, and all inbred sin is
Some of the more emotional of the members adhere to the doctrine of Christian science, and profess to heal diseases through divine interposition.
Among the charter members of this society were Chas. Bay, Jas. Neil, D. C. Crowell, G. H. Clemmons, T. H. Parker, L. H. Parker, Joseph Parker, and Mrs. Parker, his mother and the latter's daughter, Mrs. Maring, D. W. Nevins, Dr. Powers and wife, W. R. Kelsey, the Patersons, Mrs. L. A. McCreary, Mrs. Sarah Ireland, Rev. Wm. Whitlock and wife, J. A. Bigelow and wife, Dallas Winecup and wife, Isaac Trimble, D. C. Currier and wife, Mrs. Hurford, A. H. Humeston and family, and Sol Hickman.
S. H. Humeston, of Albia, is president of this society, and Mrs. Sarah Ireland, is vice president, Miss Bertha Humeston secretary, and Isaac Trimble treasurer. The society is inter denominational in character, and is governed by a Committee of Council. The membership within the county is about 200.
Their doctrine is very simple, and is about the same as that of the Salvation Army. It teaches simplicity of dress and the Golden Rule, without any accompanying "isms." Each member is expected to follow his own conscience in discerning the right. They disregard the usual outward ceremonials observed the the orthodox churches, and devote their attention to simple piety.
They have no church edifices, and employ no pastors for their local organization. They worship usually in a tent at certain intervals, and employ some noted evangelist of their persuasion to conduct a camp meeting.