History of Religious Organizations in Iowa County, IA
From: History of Iowa County, Iowa And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chiago 1915

CHAPTER X
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

The first denomination represented in Iowa County was the Methodist: the Methodist Episcopal at Marengo first, and at later dates the Methodist Protestants in Sumner Township, the Wesleyan Methodists in Marengo Township, the German Methodists in Hartford Township, and the Welsh Methodists. Next came the Baptists. Later came the Presbyterians, the Roman Catholics, the German Lutherans, the Scandinavian Lutherans, the Swedenborgens of Lenox Township, the Congregationalists, the Dunkards or Brethren, the Disciples or Christians, the Episcopalians, the United Brethren, the German Baptists and the German Reform. To these may be added the True Inspirationists and the Amish or Mennonites.

A Methodist preacher named Twining was among the first to visit the county. He paid regular visits to the settlements as early as the spring of 1846 and was the first minister to officially solemnize marriages in the county. This authority was issued to him on October 8, 1846, by Robert McKee, then clerk of the county.

Allen W. Johnson, Asbury Collins, J. W. Maxon, David Worthington, all Methodists, George Lewis, Congregationalist, and Martin Ballard, presumably a Baptist, preached and organized societies here prior to 1850. Rev. A. W. Johnson was formerly a missionary in Jefferson County and came to Iowa County early in 1847. Rev. Joseph Maxon first came to the county in 1849, coming here from Clayton County. David Worthington was from Scott County and Reverend Lewis lived in Jackson County. Reverend Watson was the first minister to preach to the people in the northwest corner of the county. After three years spent in religious labors he entered politics and was sent to the Legislature. Aaron Steinberger, of the Christian denomination, also worked in the northwest part of the county at an early date. He later removed to Lee County.

David Troup, Samuel Wannemacher and Mr. Casey started the first Sunday School in Iowa County north of the Iowa River. The school was held in a schoolhouse these men had erected and paid for. Each of them also contributed $5 to pay for a Sunday School library.

The first public religious services held in Marengo were conducted in Downard's store. R. B. Groff had the following to say in regard to early religion: "Israel L. Clark was our pioneer preacher. He was a Stoneite, set in motion during the celebrated Kane Ridge revival, and a stringent immersionist. Clark was preaching during a very dry summer day when he remarked that water was too scarce to satisfy the demands of so many subjects, when a member cried out at the top of his voice, 'There is a big hole on Bear Creek.' Clark, it is said, was accustomed to speak of the evil influences of 'larnin',' and was accustomed to preach such lengthy discourses that the only way to hold the audience was to turn the key and lock them in."

Mr. Groff himself was a sort of preacher, although a very eccentric one, as he was in everything. He said, "There is not a schoolhouse within five miles of Marengo, Ia., in which I have not occasionally held meeting or Sunday School, on foot or hired teams at my own expense. I have had some curious experiences among the early settlers. I tried to return to town one Sunday afternoon; there had been heavy rains; streams were swollen beyond their banks. It was still raining, but I started; I climbed a leaning tree, swinging myself completely over; I was then told to take the ridge road and I would have no more creeks to swing over; but I got completely lost in the woods; I found I was traveling around a circle, for I struck a fence three times before that fact was knocked into my mind. I struck for a house, across a wheat field; I went into the soil nearly to the tops of my boots at each step; I got to the house completely soaked; I found it unoccupied; I raised a window and slipped in to get out of the rain. Nice, clean people lived in it, for it looked so fresh and nice. I had not a dry thread on my body, was chilly and cold and no fire. I found some matches, but could get no dry wood; I found some oil, poured that over the wood and soon had a rousing fire. The creek had expanded to a river and I was alone there in the house. The occupants could not get to me nor I to them; I cooked some potatoes, fried meat, made some biscuit, had a good supper, occupied one of the soft, clean beds, saying 'blessed be the man that invented sleep.' Forded the creek to a narrow bridge, passed over safely, and got home without seeing or knowing the occupants of the comfortable house." Mr. Groff contended that the churches of the county were established in the following order: Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Presbyterian, German Reformed, Christin or Baptist, Catholic, United Brethren.

The German Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Church of Iowa Township was organized September 4, 1864, when the following met to unite as a congregation: R. Scheuermann, Ch. Folkmann, H. Bremer, Gerd Trimpe, Harna Maas, H. Lange, Henry Huedepohi, John Ahrens, B. Rens, John Elk, Henry Meyer, Fred Pundt, William Moskan, K. Otte, Gerd Maas. Of these, only Henry Huedepohl, Sr., is still a member. The first minister of this congregation was Rev. E. A. Schuermann, who was installed March 1, 1865, and served fifteen years. His successor was Rev. C. W. Baumhoefener, who served from August 8, 1880, to the time of his death, March 30, 1915. In the same year the congregation sent a call to William Hild as teacher of their parochial school, was installed December 5, 1880, and is still the teacher.

In 1866 the congregation purchased fifteen acres of land on which was laid out a cemetery. In 1873 they erected a new frame church building, fifty by thirty two by twenty feet, with a tower sixty two feet in height, in which was hung a 700 pound bell. Besides this, the congregation owns the schoolhouse. a parsonage and a teacher's residence. The congregation has now with the fifty voting members about five hundred members altogether. There are forty five children in attendance at the parochial school.

In 1895 a pipe organ was purchased at a cost of $900.

The German Reformed Church has two congregations: St. Paul's in Sumner Township and Zion's in Pilot Township. Both were organized on July I, 1888. In September of the same year the St. Paul's congregation built their church one mile south of Sumner Center. The parsonage was constructed in 1889. In 1890 Zion's church was dedicated. Rev. Andrew Hucker served the congregation as pastor from 1887 to May, 1898; the parish then consisted of three congregations, including St. John's Reform of Marengo. There were 204 communicant members. On July 1 the present pastor, S. Elliker, Jr., took up the work. In January, 1907, the parish numbering 318 communicant members, there was a division made. St. John's at Marengo was known as the Marengo charge and Pilot and Sumner again formed the original Genoa Bluffs charge. On May 1, 1915, the charge again numbered 287 communicant members. Both congregations have made very substantial improvements on their church property and have a very promising future. Both have German and English services. The charter members yet living are: Joachim Heitman, George Brehm, John Tromershauser, Mrs. Mary Conrad, Mrs. Katie Gahring, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Rathjen, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Schafbuch, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Schafbuch, Mrs. Henry Rathjen, Sr., Ferdinand Dietrich, Jacob Bauer, Mrs. Sandhoff, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schultz, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Kelteng and Louise Roggenstien.

St. Michael's Church of Holbrook had its beginning in the '50s. The first church, a little frame structure, was built by the Catholics on section 5. In 1867 a larger building, of brick, was built on the same location. This was used until 1909, when improvements costing $20,000 were made, and now it is one of the largest and most attractive of the churches in the county. Father P. J. Sullivan was the first pastor, from 1836 to 1872. Following him came Revs. Dunne, 1872-82; P. A. McManus, 1882-85; James Davis, 1885-89; T. J. King, 1889 to 1909; and the present pastor, E. F. Gaule, who commenced his work in 1909. There are about five hundred souls, or one hundred families, in this congregation.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE AMISH MENNONITE RELIGION
By S. D. Guengerich and Jacob K. Yoder

The religious denomination known as the Amish Mennonites in the United States and Canada is a branch of the Mennonite congregation, and the Mennonite congregation is a religious denomination which descended from the old Wiederteufer (Anabaptists) and Waldenses, followers of Peter Waldo, a church leader, and these can be traced back to apostolic times. From time to time different names have been applied to this class of Christians at different periods of time, according to circumstances connected therewith. As in the course of time corruptions and disunion crept into the churches, it became necessary to have matters adjusted; and in such events there was frequently a different name applied to the reformed congregation or division; either applying the name of the chief person through whose influence the reformation was accomplished, or some other event. And in such circumstances the Mennonite congregation derived its name from their church reformer and leader, Menno Simon, and are therefore called Mennonites.

Now, in order to give the reader a fair understanding of the history of the Amish Mennonites, it will be necessary to give some extracts of the Mennonite history. Menno Simon was born in Witmarsumx, Friesland, probably about the year 1496. He was educated for the priesthood in the Catholic Church and began to serve in that capacity in 1524, as priest in the Village of Pinjum, and later in his native city. In the first year of his ministry his conscience began to smite him when he taught that the bread and wine used in his mass became the literal body and blood of the Lord Jesus. He often wished to discuss the subject with two of his co laborers, but they simply scoffed at him for trying to discuss such subjects, having never read the scriptures. His distress grew, for he feared that his convictions were simply suggestions of Satan. After a struggle for nearly two years he resolved to read the New Testament. Careful reading soon made him a better preacher and he was accused of being too evangelical for the church. His daily search of the scriptures soon convinced him that the view of the church on the. subject of the communion was not the only doctrine that was wrong.

Many interesting facts concerning Menno Simon's labors could be stated, but the limited space allotted for this article will not permit; so will only mention of his conversion and renunciation of the Roman Church, which took place in 1536. What should he do now? He had renounced Roman Catholicism; his former friends had forsaken him, and his government demanded his capture. J. Newton Brown says of him: "With the yoke of sin he renounced the yoke of human authority in religion; and the liberty which he claimed for himself in the name of Christ, he freely conceded to others."

About one year after his complete surrender he was visited by six or eight persons, who came to discuss the religious conditions of the times. After finding that they agreed with him on the evils of the Munsterites and other worldly sects, and on the necessity of separation from the world and through consecration, they asked him to aid in gathering together the many who were of the same mind with them on the above topics, in order that they might be edified by his preaching. Now came another struggle. Should he expose himself to still greater dangers? Could he do anyone any good with his (as he considered them) limited talents? His ignorance of God's Word seemed to him another barrier. After much prayer and meditation he resolved that with God's help he would do all he could for those who were starving for the bread of life. Soon after this he accepted the bishopric of a body of the same faith with himself at Groningen, Holland. His great aim now was to gather together the scattered believers and organize churches. Luther was a preacher, Zwingli was a political and moral leader, Erasmus was a scholar, but Menno Simon was an organizer. So successful was he in this, that in a few years he had organized churches in Friesland, Holland, Brabant, Westphalia and the German provinces on the Baltic Sea. Whitsitt, in Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia, says: "In course of time, nearly all the brotherhood in any portion of Europe fell under his influence, and most of them were called by his name."

After about thirty years of active service, this noble character passed over to his reward. Possibly no one from his time to the present has done more for the cause of Christ under such trying circumstances, yet how little is known of him! The churches generally that he organized prospered after his death; although at times some discord arose in some of the congregations, even while he yet lived, but matters were again adjusted so that the churches generally worked in union until near the close of the seventeenth century, when again a contention arose which caused much strife and ended in a schism, and from that time on to the present time there have been two bodies of this church, the Mennonites and the Amish Mennonites. Both church bodies have the same church discipline or articles of faith which were adopted at a conference held by fifty one ministers, bishops and deacons from the churches of Holland and Northern Germany, held at Dortrecht, Holland, in the year 1632. This confession of faith consists of eighteen articles, and has remained the authorized confession of faith for most of the churches up to the present time. These eighteen articles comprise about thirty pages of an ordinary sized book.

THE AMISH MENNONITES

The history of this branch of the church begins with 1693. About sixty one years after the adoption of the eighteen articles of faith drawn up at Dortrecht, Holland, there lived a Mennonite bishop in Palatinate, a state in Germany, who was a strict adherent to these articles of faith, and he thought some of the churches were getting too slack in observing some of these articles, especially the article on ban and avoidance; so, after several years of contention, the contending parties separated. Jacob Ammon and his brother, Ulrich Ammon, were strict adherents and observers of the articles of faith and also of plainness and simplicity of attire and manner of living. So in after years the adherents to this leader, Jacob Ammon, were called Amish, or Amish Mennonites.

Soon after this occurrence adherents to this division were found in nearly all the Mennonite churches in Germany, Switzerland, France and Holland. Passing by the European history of these people, we find some of them in the early days of Pennsylvania history enjoying the liberties secured by the beloved William Penn. It is not known who the first members in America were, but in 1718 there were enough of them here to address a petition to William Penn, stating their views with reference to attending courts, taking part in elections and holding office, they having conscientious scruples against these things. Penn was sick at the time, but the council took up the petition and granted their requests. As nearly as can be learned, the first Amish Mennonites who settled in America came from Pfaltz (Palatinate), Switzerland, Alsace, and some other provinces, some time between 1709 and 1720.

In 1749 Bishop Jacob Hertzler, a pious ancester of a now numerous family in America, and minister of some note, came with a company of brethren from France, and settled in Berks County, Pa. As the first settlers landed in Philadelphia they traveled up the Schuylkill Valley, and settled in Berks (then Philadelphia) County. Later on there were settlements made in Lancaster, Union, Mifflin, Somerset and Lawrence counties, Pa. For nearly a century the Amish Mennonite settlements in America were confined to the province, and later the state of Pennsylvania, but by the beginning of the nineteenth century the tide of emigration had crossed the western boundary of the state, and a small settlement was made in Holmes County, O. At present there are large congregations in Holmes, Wayne, Stark, Fulton, Logan and Champaign counties. By 1847 a small congregation had been organized in Lee County, Ia., under the ministry of Joseph Goldsmith and Christian Swartzendruber. In 1846 another colony was begun in Johnson County, Ia., under the leadership of Daniel P. Guengerich, William Wertz, Joseph J. Swartzendruber, and others. In 1851 this congregation was reinforced by Jacob Swartzendruber, the first bishop in the district, and others. The same year the church was permanently organized with twenty five members.

Since that time the congregation increased in population of its own growth and by emigration from other states and Canada. There are now four congregations in Johnson County, located in Sharon and Washington townships, and some in the northern part of Washington County. The settlement spread still farther west into Greene Township, Iowa County. The first Amish settler in Iowa County was Joseph C. Swartzendruber, in 18-; gradually more families settled in Iowa County, but there was no church organized in this county until in 1882, and in 1890 a church building was erected, known as the Upper Deer Creek Amish Church.

West Union Churchhouse was built in 1898, and the church organized the same year by Bishop Christian Wery and others.

Faith, belief and general characteristics of the Amish Mennonites are briefly summed up under the following heads:

First, we believe and confess in a triune Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and none more and none other.

Second, we believe in the preaching and teaching of the full Gospel as recorded in the New Testament, including the epistles of the apostles.

Habits and Customs - We believe and uphold the leading and living of a consistent, unblamable life in all our dealings with each other and with the world.

THE AMISH IN IOWA COUNTY

In the southeastern part of Iowa County, in Greene Township, there is a large settlement of Amish Mennonites. They are extensions of the large and progressive settlements of the Amish in Sharon and Washington townships in Johnson County and English River Township in Washington County, Ia.

These settlements are divided into eight congregations. Five of these districts meet in commodious school buildings for regular services, while those of the other three districts cling to the old custom of meeting in the homes of different families, each family taking their turn, as their forefathers did of necessity while facing the hardships of pioneer life. The total membership of all these churches at the present time is approximately eleven hundred and about two hundred reside in Iowa County.

There are two of these congregations located in Iowa County, the Upper Deer Creek and the West Union. The former hold regular church services in a house of worship erected in 1890. The membership is about forty five. The latter congregation has a church building which was dedicated in 1898, and it has a good membership of two hundred and fifty.

The Amish people are, generally speaking, a rural people and their principal occupation is farming. None are extremely wealthy, nor exceedingly poor. Nearly all families have homes of their own. They advocate simplicity and modest apparel, and the discussion on the simple life is not a new thought to them; they have been teaching it and living it for centuries. There is no thought of salvation in adopting plain and simple dress, however; it is done as a matter of convenience only. Divorce is strictly prohibited. It has been said that the Amish are many years in advance of the day in many of their doctrines. They are a peace loving people and stoutly maintain the principles of nonresistance, and as they believe that war is not Christianity, they absolutely refuse to make war or defend themselves if war is made on them. As a people the Amish are noted for their hospitality, and a "stranger within their gates" does not long remain a stranger.

WESLEYAN METHODIST
By Rev. George S. Fry

The Wesleyan Methodist Connection (or Church) of America grew out of a separation from the Methodist Episcopal Church, the result of the connection of that body with slavery and the arbitrary character of its government.

O. Scott, J. Horton and L. E. Sunderland withdrew in November, 1842. At the same time the first number of a weekly paper was issued called the True Wesleyan.

In the first issue of the True Wesleyan the persons that had withdrawn from the Methodist Episcopal Church announced their withdrawal, setting forth their reasons. In December following Luther Lee (the author of the noted theology and a standard among all Methodists as "Lee's Theology") also withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also L. C. Matlack. These withdrawals are to be regarded as the commencement of the movement which led to the Wesleyan organization. There were other and previous separations, but the organization of the community, whose polity and system of doctrine is presented in this article, must date its commencement as given above.

The most extensive prior separation took place in Michigan, which resulted in the organization of a conference, but they united in the general organization at Utica, N. Y. (as hereafter mentioned), and formed the basis of what is now the Michigan Conference. The first Wesleyan church that was organized as a part of the present connection was in Providence, R. I. Soon after the withdrawal of Scott, Horton, Sunderland, Lee and Matlack, measures were taken to hold a convention, which was held at Andover, Mass., February, 1843. This resulted in a call for a general convention, which was held at Utica, N. Y., commencing May 31, 1843, at which a general organization was effected.

The first general conference was held in October. 1844, at which time the discipline underwent some changes, and as the years have passed other changes have been made to correspond with the ever changing relations in every community and the needs of a live church in meeting its obligations to the people and the community which the church aims to bring to salvation.

With confidence that the doctrine and church polity will be approved as scriptural, we present them to the Christian public, whose inspection it invites.

All that study our doctrine and polity, and especially those that adopt them as their rule and standard of life, should never forget for one moment that to secure the end of religion they must add to their creed, however truthful it may be, sincerity of heart and purity of life. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven." "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES

1. A Christian church is a society of believers in Jesus Christ assembled in any one place for religious worship, and is of divine institution.
2. Christ is the only head of the church, and the word of God the only rule of faith and conduct.
3. No person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and obeys the gospel of God our Saviour, ought to be deprived of church membership.
4. Every man has an inalienable right to private judgment in matters of religion, and an equal right to express his opinion in any way which will not violate the laws of God or the rights of his fellowmen.
5. The pastoral or ministerial office and duties are of divine appointment; and all elders in the church of God are equal.
6. Whatever powers may be necessary to the formation of rules and regulations is inherent in the ministers and members of the church; but so much of that power may be delegated from time to time upon a plan of representation as they may judge necessary and proper.
7. It is the duty of all ministers and members of the church to maintain godliness and to oppose all moral evil.

On the above "Elementary Principles" the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America stands, and through the preaching of its ministry and the lives of all members who "walk in righteousness and true holiness," urge all men everywhere to come to repentance and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation.

CHURCH POLITY

In doctrine and usage the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America is strictly Methodistic.

In the matter of church government it is largely congregational, though not exclusively so. It has also the connectional element, and while each local church is, in matters entirely local, an independent, self governing body, the General Conference of the connection is the law making body.

The General Conference meets every four years. The place is selected from time to time by a majority vote of the conference. It is "composed of an equal number of elders and laymen, to be selected by, the several yearly conferences," on the basis of one elder and one layman for every 500 church members, or fraction thereof, within the bounds of each conference, but no conference, however small its numbers, is to be deprived of one ministerial and one lay delegate.

The ministers and laymen deliberate together in the General Conference as one body, but, if one fourth of the members demand it, then, upon the final vote on any question, the ministers and laymen vote separately, and it requires a majority of both branches to constitute a vote of the conference.

The yearly conference is composed of all the elders on the stationed and superannuated list, together with an equal number of laymen, to be elected by the pastoral charges within the bounds of the conference. All the members of a local church have a right to vote on all questions that may arise to be settled by a vote of the church, and in both the Yearly and Quarterly Conference, the ministers and the lay members may vote separately as in the way stated above in connection with the manner of voting in the General Conference.

Each local church is an independent, self governing body in all matters pertaining exclusively to itself. In the practical teaching of the Wesleyan Methodist Church some of the requirements of Methodism in the years passed are especially emphasized, such as separation from all sinful self indulgence, the wearing of gold and all needless outward adorning, the use of tobacco, and membership in any secret society, making these things a test of membership in all the local churches.

The First Wesleyan Methodist Church (Fair View), Marengo, Iowa County, Ia., was organized in 1857, and incorporated in due form of law January 19, 1877. On January II, 1891, by the burning of the home of James C. Wilson, church clerk, the records of the church, the class book, journal of quarterly conference and all the papers belonging to the society were destroyed, hence the names of the charter members cannot be given in this history sketch.

The following is gathered from the journal of the Iowa Annual Conference and elsewhere. The first pastor was Rev. William Roach, 1837-58; then William Fry, 1838-39; the third pastor was Rev. J. A. Preston. During the years since the organization of the church regular pastors have been secured, and among the fifty or more who have been employed a number of men of more than ordinary ability. Among them are the Rev. J. A. Preston, Rev. E. R. Gould, Rev. L. J. Harington, Rev. T. F. Mlair and Rev. S. A. Gilley. The pastor at this time is Rev. C. S. Weigle.

Quite a number of persons members of the Fair View Church have been called of God to fill places of great responsibility and importance, and under the blessing of God they are making a record that might well be coveted by anyone desirous of securing for themselves treasures in heaven. Among others that might be mentioned are Miss Ella Willis, now the wife of Reverend Hancock, president of the Wesleyan College at Central, S. C.; Rev. F. A. Buterfield and wife, now editors of the Wesleyan Methodist and the Sunday School Supplies in Syracuse, N. Y.; also the missionaries in Africa, Miss Delia Howlette and Drs. Miss Ruby Paine and Miss Alice Thomas.

The writer of this sketch is indebted to Rev. Joel Martin for some of the dates and facts as found in his Wesleyan Manual.

ST. JOHN'S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN LINCOLN TOWNSHIP
By Rev. Otto Kitzmann

About the middle of the former century three sturdy Bavarians came over from the old fatherland and settled in Lincoln Township, Iowa County. Each one took up a timber claim in the heart of the township, the trio being Michael Merck, Adam Hahn and Micael Weiss. They soon began to clear their land of timber and brush, using the most suitable tree trunks to build themselves log cabins on their respective farms. They had not come to speculate, but to make themselves permanent homes. They improved their farms as well as circumstances allowed. They built shelters for their oxen; they made zigzag rail fences; broke the land they had cleared, using the old time breaking plow, and, after they had planted their grain, continued grubbing and clearing, adding one acre after another to their cultivated land until they had made splendid farms. These three farms are old landmarks in Lincoln Township. The three men were friends from youth to old age. They remained good neighbors, helping one another and sharing in the sorrows and pleasures of life. Remaining so closely connected in their work, they were designated as "the three leafed clover." All of them lived over eighty six years; all three raised nice families, saw their children married and established in homes of their own.

In the course of years more Germans of the Lutheran faith settled in the township, and in 1868 St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized with the following persons, with their respective families, as charter members: Michael Merck, Gottlieb Eckert, Micael Weiss, Peter Ruth, Jacob Ruth, Heinrich Schlesselmann, Peter Meyer, Christian Heinrichs, Heinrich Schultz, Joachim Roesch, Leonhard Duerr, Andreas Haag, Dietrich Ehlen and Adam Hahn. Mr. Hahn presented the congregation with an acre of land for a church and parsonage, and Mr. Merck gave a piece of his land for a cemetery. They called Rev. J. J. Oetjen to serve them as their pastor. He accepted the call and stayed for about five years. He was succeeded by Rev. John Loeschen. First, in 1876, the members of the congregation found themselves able to build a house of worship of their own. God having blessed them with children, they also made provision to give them the necessary instructions in things necessary for this life and for the life to come, and asked their pastor to take charge of the school until they would be able to engage a regular teacher. Before a minister was called the mothers took charge of instructing their children in reading and writing, also in the Christian religion.

In 1879 Rev. Carl Weber succeeded Mr. Loeschen, who had moved to Illinois. In 1884 the congregation called Rev. A. Grafelmann. He accepted the call and stayed with the congregation for nearly ten years. In the first twenty five years of existence the members of the congregation increased from fifteen to fifty voting members, numbering about three hundred baptized members at the time of the jubilee, August 27, 1893. In 1894 the present pastor, Rev. Otto Kitzmann, was called to the pastorate of St. John's.

The old church proving very much too small for the number of people attending, the congregation concluded to construct a church large enough to accommodate about six hundred people. A committee was appointed, consisting of the following members: C. H. Behrens, C. Heinrichs, J. H. Schultz, D. Ehlen, J. W. Schmidt, John Kochn and the pastor. Bright & Burfeind, of Chicago, furnished plans and specifications, and Albert Drews, of Iowa City, constructed the building. It was completed and dedicated October 27, 1895. It is one of the largest churches in the county.

The congregation has at present a communicant membership of about three hundred. It is a well equipped church property, including a fine pipe organ, a commodious schoolhouse, a parsonage and a dwelling for the professor of St. John's Parochial School. The Lutherans hold that the public school is good, but as the state cannot give religious instructions and work after the spiritual welfare of the children, they are persuaded that the church is duty bound to train their children in the word of God. As citizens they therefore gladly pay their school taxes to keep up the public schools, but as Lutherans they burden themselves with another tax to support their own religious school, not asking, nor expecting aid from the state. For the principles of our country is to keep the church and state forever apart. These principles they respect, and therefore take pains to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The first parochial teacher St. John's called was Prof. George Galmjenski, of Detroit, Mich. He was succeeded by Theodore Mattfeldt, of Newell, Ia., who did splendid work for five years. Professor Nimmer, of Norfolk, Neb., took charge of the school work for several years, and at present the school is in charge of Prof. J. L. Koch, of Sherwood, Ore. The term is ten months each year, and the enrollment is about fifty pupils. Both German and English languages are used, the German mostly for religious instruction, and the English for the branches taught in the public schools.


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