Decatur County Journal-Iowa
Thursday, January 25, l9l7
The corner stone of the new Presbyterian Church was laid Sunday with a good sized crowd in attendance in spite of the very unpleasant weather.The first part of the program was rendered in the Baptist Church after which the congregation went to the site of the new building where the corner stone laying was done.A part of the program of the day was a history of the church in Leon.It was to have been read at the corner stone laying but owing to the weather it was not done.We are publishing the history of the church as follows:
Among the early settlers of Decatur County, Iowa, were many Presbyterian families, some belonging to the old school, some to the new school and others to the Cumberland Church.
In the year l854 and l855, Reverend Shields, a member of the new school, was the first Presbyterian Minister.He held services in the southeast part of the county at the home of Mr. Evans, and at Leon, at the home of Mrs. Thompson, where the opera house is now located, and also in Franklin Township, but there was no regular organization.About this time, Reverend McWilliams organized a Sabbath School at the home of Uncle John Patterson on the Hurst lots north of the Biggs block, and also organized a Sabbath School in Eden Township, the Sunday School teachers of Leon making the trip to the country on horseback.
At the end of the year, l855, Father Benjamin O. Springer held services in Leon for about six months.
The first Presbyterian organization was July 9, l856, at the home of Stephen Carrithers.A committee was appointed by the Presbytery, consisting of Rev. Batchelder and Elder Wills, to organize a church.
Our church record commences June 2, l866, the committee appointed to organize the church meeting at the M.E. Church in Leon at ll a.m. June 2, l866, Rev. W.C. Hollyday ministering.The following persons presented themselves and gave satisfactory evidence of their church standing and willingness to unite in an organization to be called the First Presbyterian Church, of Leon, Iowa:W.P. BLAIR, MARY A. BLAIR, FIDELIA F. THOMPSON, MARTHA E. AVERY, ROBERT KINNEAR, KETURAH KINNEAR, MARGARET STONE, THOMAS BALDWIN, W.W. MOORE, REBECCA J. MOORE, FRANCIS VARGA, MARY VARGA and W.H. SMITH.
The first minister under the new organization was D.S. Hughes, who had charge of the church for four months.
>From November l8, l866, to March 2l, l868, Rev. R.J. Burtt, of Osceola, Iowa, filled the pulpit.
In November, l869, this church was connected with the Grand River Church.A.A. Mathes was stated supply until August 25, l872.During his pastorate a church was erected in l87l on the present location where this new edifice is being erected.During his pastorate twenty-six members were received into the church, three members lost by death, four joining the M.E. Church, and four moved away.The membership in November, l872, consisted of thirty-nine members.
In November, l872, F. Rea became our stated supply. Our church was then connected with Garden Grove until September, l874, when he was suspended by the Presbytery.Eight new members were added and two moved away.
In February, l875, Rev. C.M. DesIslets became our stated supply until September l, l877, when he resigned and accepted the principalship of the Leon High School.
Our church was dedicated September l, l875, by the Dr. Wm. J. Gill, of Des Moines Presbytery, under the pastorate of Mr. DesIslets.Sixteen new members were added, nine dismissed and in April, l877, one was expelled.
In November, l879, Rev. Silas Johnson took charge of the church and on March 28, l880, he became the pastor.He was installed May 9, l880.He labored here until the end of April, l884, when he resigned on account of failing health on April 27, l884.The pastorship was dissolved by Rev. Charles Dunlap, of Osceola, Iowa, and the church declared vacant.Forty-seven members were added and eighteen dismissed.
In September, l884, a call was given to Rev. Wm. C. Cort, of State Center.He accepted the call and entered upon his ministerial duties and was installed May 2l, l885.
In April, l886, a revival meeting was held under the leadership of Rev. Dean, and on the eleventh day of April, l886, forty-five members were admitted to church: JOHN ABERNATHY, MISS MILLIE AIKENS, MISS GRACE ALLEN, FRANK M. AVERY, MISS MILLIE AVERY, J.R. BASHAW, C.W. BECK, WILLIAM A. BROWN, MRS. KATE L. BROWN, WILLIAM BROWN, SAM CARMEAN, MR. and MRS. CORONA, MISS MARTHA FRAZIER, MISS MAUDE E. FRY, M.B. FRY, S.A. GATES, MISS CATHERINE MAY GATES, MISS LENA HINKLE, WM. S. JOHNSON, J.M. LAYTON, SAM MILLER, BYRON MOWATT, MARION A. MOWATT, MISS LULU MOWATT, JAMES PARRISH, RICHARD PARRISH, J.P. PETERS, LULU PETERS, HENRY REUTER, JOHN D. ROBERTS, SADIE H. ROBERTS, E.C. SMITH, IDA L. SMITH, JOHN M. SYLVESTER, MAGGIE L. SYLVESTER, DR. WILLIAM VAN WERDEN, MRS. VAN WERDEN, MISS ESTHER VARGA, MISS ROSA VARGA, MISS MARY VARGA, MRS. M.S. WARRING, MISS LOUIE WARNER, MISS LULU YOUNG.
Mr. Cort resigned October, l887.During his pastorate forty-two members were added in addition to the above named forty-five and twenty regularly dismissed.On October 2, l887, the Rev. P.F. Boyd, of Albia, declared the church vacant by order of Presbytery.
On December 4, l887, Rev. M. Noerr was chosen pastor.On account of failing health he expressed his desire to be relieved from his duties and labors of the church, but the members of the congregation requested him to take a rest for six months with the hope that he might be restored to his health and continue his labors with them, which he accepted and Rev. M.W. Simpson, of Humeston, filled the pulpit during said vacation.Then Mr. Noerr again resumed his labors until June 2l, l89l, when he tendered his resignation on account of failing health.During his pastorate thirty-five members were added and twenty dismissed.
The congregation gave a call to Rev. Ollerenshaw, who accepted the call and entered upon his ministerial labors.He resigned December ll, l892.During his short time ten members were added and eight dismissed.
On the sixth day of February, l893, the Rev. G.D. Gurley, of Tipton, Iowa, was called to accept the pastorial relationship which he accepted.On November 30, l898, he tendered his resignation for the reason, while blessed with health and vigor, that he did not feel that he could preach at Crown every second Sunday, that the task was too arduous for him and asked the session to accept his resignation.His resignation was accepted.
Rev. H. Jack, of Des Moines, Iowa, supplied the pulpit until May lst, l899, when the Rev. W.H. Ilsley was installed as his successor, the pastor relationship dissolved in l903.
W.A. Montgomery was pastor in l904 and resigned in l907.
L. Hughes from l9l0 to l9ll.
F.N. Bradshaw from l9ll to l9l3.
F.A. Lewis from l9l3 to l9l4.
B. Frank Jacobs from l9l4 to l9l6.
C.S. Marsolf accepted the call as pastor in June, l9l6, and commenced his active duties in September of the same year.
The old Presbyterian Church erected in the year l87l was examined by expert builders and was condemned by them and found unsafe in August, l9l6, and steps were immediately taken to tear down the old church and through the strong efforts of our present pastor a congregational meeting was called to consider the erection of a new church whereupon committees were appointed as follows:
MRS. H.R. LAYTON, MRS. SALLIE VARGA, MRS. V.R. MCGINNIS, MRS. CLELLA SHULAR, DR. F.A. BOWMAN, GEO. T. OGILVIE, as committees on plans and specifications.The report of this committee was received and adopted and the building committee for the execution of the work was appointed, consisting of THOMAS TEALE, STEPHEN VARGA, DR. H.R. LAYTON, T.W. COLBY, F.S. STEWART and C.S. MARSOLF, member exoffico.Arrangements were made with GEORGE PENNIWELLto oversee the erection of the church.
A committee on finance was appointed consisting of the following:V.R. MCGINNIS, chairman; THOMAS TEALE, FRANCIS VARGA, FRANK M. CODER, J.S. PARRISH, JOHN FRAZIER, S.A. GATES, G.B. PRICE, DAVID IRONSIDES, ED SMITH, W.E. AMMONS, GEO. T. OGILVIE, DR. F.A. BOWMAN, JOHN RYAN, ROBERT A. SHULAR, A.C. GEORGE.
While at this time the money is not all subscribed it is safe to say that by dedication day there will not be a dollar indebtedness owing to the enthusiastic interest manifested on the part of the members.It will be impossible to estimate the exact cost of the building at this time as we are building by day's work but a conservative estimate for a contract price would be $2,300.00.
The Presbyterian people met in the Baptist Church on that day at ll o'clock a.m. Voluntary, doxology, invocation, response by the choir, announcements, offering, hymn No. 470, introducing the sacrament, sacramental prayer, meditation song by choir, "Tis Midnight." presenting the sacramental wine and prayer, meditation, hymn by the choir, "Tis Midnight," hymn No. 245, the congregation then repairing to the church site carried out the program as follows:Hymn No. 333, scripture and prayer by C.S. Marsolf.Offering, hymn, address by the pastor, C.S. Marsolf.
The cement for the laying of the corner stone was spread by DR. H.R. LAYTON, who is the oldest male person in the church from point of membership.
MR. STEPHEN VARGA, who is the next oldest male person from point of membership, deposited the metal box donated by Farquhar & Sons, and its contents, a Bible presented by ROBERT A. SHULAR and family, the records of the church and the picture of the old church building, plate of communion bread and wine, the stone was then placed and leveled by GEO. W. PENNIWELL and HARRY JENKINS.The copper box was then sealed by Ed Farquhar and then dedicated by the pastor, C.S. Marsolf.
Hymn No. 27l.Benediction.