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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 


ike Siev. Asa burner. 


It was in November, 1843, that you welcomed to your home, your people, 
and the West, the brethren since known as THE IOWA BAND. At that time, as 
composing the ordained ministry of our denomination in the then Territory of 
Iowa, there were with you six others; to wit, JULIUS A. REED, REUBEN 
and JOHN C. HOLBROOK. From these, too, came a cordial welcome. 

This was twenty-five years ago ; bringing us, and our mission work here, to 
the Silver-Wedding time. It is usual, on such occasions, in the presence of 
friends whose sympathies make the joys common to all, to revive the history of 
the parties, and reminiscences of the past. 

In this little book, as a Home Missionary offering in honor of that noble 
Society which we all love, there is given, first, a brief history of the BAND, fol- 
lowed by a few facts and scenes from out our common efforts ; with such re- 
flections, in passing, as, by a review of quarter-century labors, are naturally 
suggested : all of which, with due thanks to the Master, you will permit, as one 
of the first Congregational Ministers of Iowa, and one whom we all love to call 
FATHER TURNER, to be to you dedicated 












THEN AND Now 57 









Loss AND GAIN 153 




IF any one ever doubted the utility and success of 
home-missions, let him read this volume. If any 
one ever doubted whether his contributions to this cause 
were wisely made and expended, let him study this 
simple narrative of Christian labors in a new Territory 
and State. 

Prior to 1839, the region covered by this work was 
Wisconsin Territory ; then it became Iowa Territory : 
and, when the Band entered it in 1843, the settled 
portion of it was a belt of land on the west bank of 
the Mississippi, two hundred miles long and forty wide, 
with a population of something over fifty thousand. The 
country was then divided between the hardy pioneer, the 
Indian, and the buffalo. There were fifteen Congrega- 
tional churches. The college, the academy, had not gone 
over the great river ; hardly the common school and the 
Christian Sabbath. It was a noble sight, an act of 
quiet, beautiful heroism rarely witnessed, -T to see these 
twelve men enter in to do their part in building a Chris- 


tian State, and dedicating the latent and developing 
energies there to Christ and the Church. 

It was hard, unseen, unappreciated labor. The very 
word Iowa was yet a strange one to Eastern lips and 
ears, and was slowly taking its place in our text-books 
and schoolrooms. The men were hidden from us in the 
dim, hazy distance, under frontier shadows. Bridle- 
paths, ugly fords, and monthly mails led to their work- 
fields ; but the Master knew each of their cabins, heard 
every prayer and hymn in their creek and prairie homes, 
and owned all their great work. What though "men 
did not see their rough foundations for Church and State : 
we see now what is built on them. In a sublime uncon- 
sciousness of their obscurity, they lost themselves in 
their work. So noble granite blocks disappear in the 
deep waters, that there may be piers and wharves for 
queenly ships and the merchandise of all climes. 

This volume would not be complete without its pic- 
ture of the rude log-cabin church where they were 
ordained, and laid their plans, and whence they moved 
off in their different and chosen paths. It was a solid, 
one-story building, originally twenty-four feet by twenty. 
Built in 1837, when there was no saw-mill in the region, 
its rough logs were dressed down by the axe of the 
pioneer ; split shingles covered the roof, and oaken pun- 
cheons made the floor and the seats the pews ! After- 
ward, but before the ordination in 1843, an addition of 
sixteen feet was made to one end. This was the first 


Congregational meeting-house in Iowa ; and here noble 
and good Father Turner was for so long a time " the 
voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the 
way of the Lord ! " The benediction of his face is the 
fitting prelude and preface to this volume. How often 
his deaf old father spoke to us reverently and affection- 
ately of the work " Asa " was doing in the " Great 
West ! " While, in our college vacations, we were mow- 
ing for the old gentleman where there were two rocks 
to one grass, "Asa" was planting the "handful of 
corn." Now the fruit thereof shakes like Lebanon, 
and the hundreds of cities of Iowa flourish like the grass 
of their native prairies. 

This same log-church, moreover, was the first acad- 
emy-building in Iowa. Here Denmark Academy had 
its humble yet noble beginnings in the February pre- 
ceding the ordination. A view of its present beautiful 
edifice graces this volume. 

Here, too, Iowa College was first talked over, 
prayed over, and then projected. It was one of the 
first joys and fruits for the Band, at one of their first 
meetings in Denmark, to consider plans for founding 
the first college in Iowa. Midway in these sketches, the 
buildings now lift themselves to our view from their 
interior and glorious prairie-home. How much of 
heroic history and august prophecy in that picture ! 

In days to come, Denmark, Iowa, will be as a shrine 
for Congregational pilgrims ; and, five centuries hence, 


how much would be given for one log from that old 
church ! The place was settled originally by immigrants 
from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Of course, 
true to New-England character and habit, they would at 
once start a church and a school. New Englanders 
come honestly by such a tendency. When John Win- 
throp, the first governor of Massachusetts, was seeking 
a new home in England, long prior to his coming to 
America, he wrote to his son, acting as his agent, " I 
would be near church and some good school." May 
that aspiration, so long hereditary, never die out among 
the descendants of the Pilgrims and Puritans ! That 
sentiment of Winthrop is the larger and better part of 
our national history, compressed into a sentence. 

Iowa now has her more than two hundred Congrega- 
tional churches, the common-school system, highly per- 
fected from the Eastern model, with a noble array of high 
schools, academies, and colleges. It is a record of 
honor ; and eminently fitting it is that these labors and 
fruits of twenty-five years should go into written history. 
This is the Congregational chapter. Noble co-workers 
have material they may well rejoice in for other most 
worthy chapters. 

It should be here said that these sketches have been 
modestly held back and reluctantly given by men who 
preferred rather to do work than tell of it. But we 
remember how Iowa looked before the Band saw it, 
when Keokuk was a village of twelve log and two 


frame houses ; when Burlington showed the green stumps 
in its main streets ; when Davenport was barely the 
superior rival of Rockingham ; and buffalo, deer, and 
Indians divided among themselves the waters of the 
Des Moines, Cedar, and Wabessapinecon. We have 
watched the magic change, and studied it in frequent 
revisits ; and it seems but due to God to tell how he has 
made the wilderness a fruitful field. 

A Christian State has been founded. Let sceptics study 
the work, who think we have no longer need for the Chris- 
tian religion. The Church of Christ has lengthened her 
cords and strengthened her stakes. Let the supporters 
of home-missions behold, and thank God ; and so draw 
dividends on their charity investments, and take new stock 
in new States beyond. The Congregational Church has 
gone into a new territory, and became energetic, thrifty, 
and multitudinous. Let those make note of it who think 
Congregationalism will not work well out of New Eng- 
land, is not adapted to a new country and mixed com- 
munities. As if sacred Republicanism cannot go hand 
in hand across the continent with secular Republicanism, 
and men manage their own affairs by popular suffrage 
in a church, as well as in a town, city, or State ! Con- 
gregational funds have had denominational investment 
in Iowa. Let results so eminently satisfactory confirm 
our churches in the wisdom of such investments. Another 
step of divine Providence is taken westward in fulfil- 
ing the prophecy, " He shall have dominion from sea 


to sea," from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Another 
Christian State is added to the frontier, looking towards 
the great sea. The base-line of the army of occupa- 
tion for Christ is moved so much farther towards the 
prophesied boundary. What new Bands will now go 
out to the front, and picket the advancing army? By 
and by they will meet those coming up the Pacific 
slope : then will the watchmen see eye to eye, and re- 
joice together ; then will glory dwell in the land. 

W. B. 

READING, MASS., May, 1870. 




IT was a beautiful evening in the summer of 
1842, when the students of Andover Seminary 
assembled in the chapel, to be led, as usual, by 
one of the venerable professors of those days, in 
their evening devotions. Among them sat one, 
pale and emaciated by continued illness, one of 
whom friends began to whisper, " Unless relieved 
soon, we fear he will never be well, even if he 
lives." They might, perhaps, have spared a por- 
tion of their anxiety, had they known better the 
nature of his disease ; it being what may be called 
the student's enemy, dyspepsia, and that not of a 
chronic form. 

Our friend was in the middle year ; a year when 
theological subjects, the great 'doctrines of salva- 
tion, are studied ; a year that has more influence, 
probably, in shaping the minister, thian any other 
of his seminary course ; a year in which, if ever, 


the student's heart kindles with desire to preach 
the great truths of the Bible to his fellow-men. 
He had entered the chapel that evening under the 
combined influence of his studies and his disease. 
He longed for the time when he should be a 
preacher ; but, then, could he be one ? Even the 
duties of the Seminary were a burden almost too 
heavy to be borne. Could he, then, go forth to 
write two sermons a week, attend funerals, wed- 
dings, prepare lectures, perform pastoral labor, and 
all the et-cetera of a parish minister's life ? Im- 
possible! Sedentary habits had already induced a 
disease, which, if unchecked, would cripple his en- 
ergies, while shortening his days. A minister's 
life was likely to aggravate rather than check it. 
What should he do ? Must he abandon his long- 
cherished plan, or should he press on, and give 
himself an early sacrifice to it ? 

Just then there came to his mind the thought 
that there was a field where the necessary labors 
of a minister would probably counteract, rather 
than foster, his disease ; -and that field the West. 
With this came a rush of other thoughts, of things 
that he had heard and read about the West. It 
would be self-denial to go ; but then, in self-denial 
there would come strength of character, with the 
gain of a more conscious consecration to God. 
Then there was the probable influence of his going 
upon fellow-students, friends, Christians, and the 
Church ; for to go West then was truly a mission- 
ary work. For the moment, he seemed to be there, 


preaching to the destitute, and laying the founda- 
tions of society. Then came the thought, that, 
possibly, he might live, labor, and die with the 
fruits of his toils about him, himself enshrined 
in the hearts of a beloved people, sought out and 
adopted by him in his youth. 

These thoughts, with others, passed before him 
with the swiftness of a vision. They had for a 
time the effects of a vision. All things else were 
shut out. The chapter, the hymn, the singing, 
were all unheard. In the general movement, he 
rose for prayer, but not to join in the petitions 
offered. The spell was upon him, and he seemed 
to stand alone as before God, his feelings, his 
petitions, all embodied in one sentiment, one feel- 
ing, a position of soul in which his one desire 
was, " Lord, prepare me for whatever field thou 
hast before me. Prepare me for it, and make me 
willing to enter it." 

He went out that evening not as he came in. 
Henceforth was the prayer, " May I be found in 
the right place, doing the right work ! " Here 
was the germ, the unfoldings of which, unto the 
fruit thereof, we are to trace. 



WHO that has passed a Seminary life has 
forgotten the Seminary tramp, which 
means a long walk of half a day or so, generally 
taken of a Saturday afternoon, when students, in 
little companies, are wont to extend their rambles 
far away from sight of Seminary walls and sound 
of Seminary bell ? It was in the spring of 1 843, 
that our dyspeptic friend, and two of his classmates 
were on such an excursion amid the hills and bra- 
cing air of the West Parish. 

For two and a half years, these classmates had 
been associated in sacred studies ; and they were 
classmates indeed. Circumstances had conspired 
to bind them together with ties of more than usual 
strength. The time of their preparation for the 
great work in view was rapidly drawing to a close. 
And now, as was natural, the conversation turned 
upon the probable field of their labor. The New- 
England parish, the foreign field, the home field, 
especially at the Far West, each, in turn, was 
discussed. The feeling seemed rather to incline to 
the latter. The more they talked of it, the more 
they felt. And now suggested one : 


" If we and some others of our classmates could 
only go out together, and take possession of some 
field where we could have the ground and work 
together, what a grand thing it would be ! " " So it 
would," was the reply. Then the advantages, the 
difficulties, and the probable influence of such a 
movement, were the theme ; until, ere they were 
aware of it, their feet were again climbing the old 
familiar hill. The declining sun hung low ; and 
the bell, faithful to its duties, was hastening them 
to prayers. " We will think of this," said they. 
Thus the germ, ripening to a suggestion, had 
struck root in other minds, the growth of which 
we are still to follow. 

But right here it should be told how God, as 
afterwards discovered, was leading other minds 
also. In one case, it was on this wise. Notice had 
been given, about this time, that an elder of a 
church in Cincinnati would meet the students, to 
address them on the claims of the West. At the 
hour appointed, there were assembled both students 
and professors ; but the elder came not. Yet a 
Western meeting was held. 

Venerable Dr. Woods read a letter from a good 
deacon of a little church away out on the frontier, 
calling for young men to break to the people the 
bread of life. The saintly Edwards (Bela B.), 
who had just travelled West, and whose mind was 
quick to take in its destined progress, expressed 
his belief in the assertion, bold, startling, uncred- 
ited at the time, that " whoever would go West, in 



ten years would find himself better off than if he 
had staid in New England, and, better than all, 
would have the satisfaction of laboring where he 
was more needed." Prof. Emerson, in his off-hand 
way, declared that he had no sort of doubt that it 
was the duty of more than two-thirds of the stu- 
dents to seek fields of labor outside of New Eng- 
land. It was a stirring meeting. Many were glad 
the elder did not come. 

The meeting was closed, and the students dis- 
persed. To most, to all, perhaps, save one, it came 
and went like many another. There was before 
him a sleepless night. In his mind was at work 
another germ-thought. " Out of New England, 
where more needed ? " And if out of New Eng- 
land, where more needed, why not where most 
needed ? Strange was the power of that question 
as it took possession of him for that night and the 
next day, leading to much thought and prayer ! 
Sometimes there can be no rest till things are 
settled, and settled in the way that seems right. 
So it was in this case ; -and our friend came man- 
fully to the conclusion, " I am for the West, where 
needed, and where most needed." 

Then there was another, a graduate of a Western 
college, whose friends were in the West. It was 
known to be settled in his mind, from the first, 
that he would go West somewhere. Just how, by 
his presence and intercourse, germ-thoughts were 
started or fostered can never be known. Seldom 
can it be told in any movement, in which are the 


united efforts of human wills, just what the first 
influences were, or how they combined to produce 
the result. Here, pre-eminently, God works among 
men to will and to do. The movement here 
recorded we acknowledge as of him. Other germs 
of it doubtless there were in other minds ; but 
each can give only what to him is known. This 
only can the writer do ; and so we will follow on. 



HOW uppermost in our minds are thoughts, 
plans, projects, which we hold in common 
with others ! How, by a new tie, are we bound to 
them, and they to us ! And how natural now, if 
Christians all, and the plan be one of import, to 
carry it to God in united prayer ! Our three 
friends of the former chapter, among whom the 
question of concerted action had been started, 
were more closely allied than ever as they together 
walked, and talked of the Western scheme. By 
mutual consent, each, in a quiet way, suggested it 
to others. 'Whenever it took with especial favor, 
as being by God's preparing of course it would, 
there was one added to their number. 

Soon the enterprise began to wear an important 
aspect, calling for the guidance of heavenly wisdom. 
So a prayer-meeting was proposed. All assented ; 
but where should it be held ? Not in a public 
room ; for the movement was as yet kept secret. If, 
in the end, any thing should come of it, there would 
be time enough yet, it was thought, to make it 
known ; if not, it was better that it should always 
be a secret. Nor, again, could they meet in a pri- 


vate room ; for, as yet, no two of those interested 
happened to be room-mates, in whose room they 
could privately assemble. Where, then, should they 
meet ? One of their number was the Seminary 
librarian ; and the library was proposed. " Agreed,'' 
said they ; and Tuesday evening, in the Seminary 
library, was fixed upon for the meeting. " But it 
will be dark," said one ; " for the rules forbid lights 
in the library." " No matter," said another : " we 
can pray in the dark." So on Tuesday nights, in 
one corner of the library, they used to pray, to 
seek of God whither to go, where to labor. 

In one corner of the Seminary library! and 
what fitter place could have been chosen in which 
to* go to the mercy-seat with such an errand, than 
this, where heralds of the cross in every clime once 
had trod ; where were about them the works 
of the pious dead of every age ; where, as the 
moonbeams played.upon the portraits of men once 
eminent in the Church, the great cloud of witnesses 
seemed to compass them about ? 

There they prayed. Those first entering would 
find their way to the appointed corner, and begin. 
Others, coming in, would join them in turn. Occa- 
sionally, in the darkness, some new step would be 
heard ; but whose it was would be unknown to 
most, till a new voice would be heard in prayer. 
First the prayers, then the conference, consulta- 
tions as to motives, qualifications, encouragements, 
and discouragements of the Western work, mainly 
what field, if any, should be occupied. Should it 


be Ohio, Michigan ? These, indeed, were west, but 
not really western. Illinois, Wisconsin? These 
were farther west, indeed, but men partially, per- 
haps comparatively, well supplied. 

" Well, then, Missouri," says one. 

" But Missouri is a slave State." 

" No matter : they need the gospel there if it 

" Yes ; but, if there are places outside of slavery 
just as needy, why not go where we can labor to 
the best advantage ? " 

" Well, Iowa, then : what say you to the new 
Territory of Iowa ? " 

Not much could be said ; for but little was known, 
only this : it was an open field, and of course there 
was need. 

So there they prayed and consulted in that 
north-west corner of the library. Had it any thing 
to do with the great North-West soon to be? In 
God's nurture were the germs being developed, 
united, directed, whose fruitage was to be borne in 
regions yet to be peopled. But we will not antici- 
pate save in this ; that Tuesday night prayer-meet- 
ing on Andover Hill, transplanted, as it was soon 
to be, to the plains of Iowa, may it long live ! 
may it never cease to be held in sacred observance 
by the Congregational ministry of this fair State ! 



AS yet, nothing was decided. All eyes, indeed, 
after reflection and prayer, were unanimously 
turned to the new Territory of Iowa as the field to 
be occupied if they should go. Some of the more 
ardent had opened a correspondence with the sec- 
retaries of the American Home Missionary Society ; 
and a resident pastor in the Territory. But no 
also with the Rev. Asa Turner, agent of that society, 
one was as yet committed to the enterprise. It 
was not certain yet that any one could go ; and 
the weeks were flying swiftly. It was time, surely, 
for action, and thus it came : 

" I am going to settle this question," said one, 
" so far as I am concerned. We have been think- 
ing about it long enough to conclude one way or 

That day, he retired to his room for fasting and 
prayer. At evening, as he came out at the setting 
of the sun to walk with a friend he was ready to 

" Well, I am going to Iowa : whether any one 
else goes or not, I am going." 

"And I think I will go with you," was the reply. 


So a nucleus was formed, and around it gathered 
others one by one, some at once deciding ; others 
after more thought, or seasons of private fasting 
and prayer, till soon the number stood, as decided 
to go, at twelve. Their names were as follows : 

Daniel Lane, Harvey Adams, Erastus Ripley, 
Horace Hutchinson, Alden B. Robbins, William 
Salter, Edwin B. Turner, Benjamin A. Spaulding, 
William Hammond, James J. Hill, Ebenezer Alden, 
jun., Ephraim Adams. This was the Iowa Band. 

There was no longer need of secrecy. Open 
steps could be taken to mature plans. The Mis- 
sion Rooms were filled with gladness at the pros- 
pect of such a re-enforcement for the home mis- 
sionary work. The senior secretary, the Rev. 
Milton Badger, D.D.,came from New York to hold 
a personal interview with the Band : commissions 
were promised for their chosen field, and all things 
favored the enterprise. But the far-off brethren 
then laboring in the proposed field rejoiced with 
trembling. Oft had they looked for promised help, 
but looked in vain. Those who had started with 
commissions in hand for the distant Territory had 
all lodged by the way hitherto : none had reached 
them ; why should these ? 

" It's no use," said the Western pastor who had 
been written to upon the subject, and who had set 
himself to the formidable task of replying to the 
long list of queries sent him about the climate, the 
ague, the fever, the food, clothing, etc. " it's no 
use to answer any more of your questions ; for I 


never expect to see one of you west of the Missis- 
sippi River as long as I live." 

He was assured, in reply, of earnestness in the 
matter ; but still he was incredulous. Again he was 
told, that, God willing, he would surely be visited 
by a dozen or so, and compelled to believe. 

" Well, then," said he, " come on ; come all of 
you directly to my house ; come here to us, and we 
then can help you to your respective fields of 
labor." This seemed reasonable ; so Denmark, 
Lee County, Io., became a locality in the mind 
of each, as yet to be seen. It seemed best also, 
unless, in individual cases, there should be special 
reasons to the contrary, that the ordination of the 
young men should take place on the field where 
their life-work was to be done. 

Such a home missionary movement in one class 
was thought worthy of some public recognition. 
Accordingly, a meeting was held on Sabbath even- 
ing, Sept. 3, 1843, m the South Church at An- 
dover. A sermon was preached by the Rev. Leon- 
ard Bacon, D.D.; and an appropriate address made 
to the Band by Dr. Badger of the Home Mission- 
ary Society. 

" You go," said he, " where you will find a soil 
of surpassing richness, all covered with beautiful 
flowers. But remember that the soil is yet in its 
natural state, and must be all turned up. Those 
flowers, though beautiful to the eye, are but flowers 
of weeds, wild and useless. They must be rooted 
out, and better seed cast in their place." 


This meeting was large ; and the exercises 
throughout were appropriate, interesting, and 
solemn. It was now near the close of the term. 
The Anniversary Day soon came, and was gone. 
The time had been improved. Already had the 
boxes been made, and the books packed, soon 
to be shipped, labelled " Burlington, Io., vid New 

A few weeks now with home-friends, after which 
must be fixed the time and place of departure. 
Boston will not do as a starting-point, as some 
reside west of this, and so on the way. Some 
place must be chosen west of all. So each has it 
in his memorandum, " Albany, N.Y., at the Dela- 
van House, on Tuesday, 3d of October, the next 
morning to take the cars westward." 



ON Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1843, the journey west- 
ward began. Most of the Band were at the 
appointed place, but not all. One, Mr. E. Ripley, 
had been invited to spend another year at the 
Seminary as resident licentiate. Another, Mr. J. J. 
Hill, since the parting at Andover, had lost a father 
by death, and would be detained until spring. A 
third, Mr. W. H. Hammond, did not come, through 
fear of a Western climate ; and Mr. H. Hutchinson 
was detained a day by the death of a friend, but 
would probably overtake the company by night- 
travel. And yet their number was nearly complete 
by the appearance of two as twain. Mr. D. Lane 
and Mr. A. B. Robbins, with characteristic fore- 
sight, had taken to themselves wives in view of 
losses from our original, that might possibly occur. 
We will not follow the journey in detail. A few 
points only will be noticed in passing, such as, 
after the lapse of years, shine out brightest on 
memory's page. Twenty-five years ago, a journey 
from the Atlantic to the Mississippi was long and 
tedious. A week then would scarcely suffice for 
what can now be accomplished in a day. As prac- 


tically performed by the Band, it was divided into 
three parts, the railroad, the lakes, and the prairies. 
The first was soon over, and soon forgotten, bring- 
ing them on their way to Buffalo, then the termi- 
nus of travel westward by cars. Here their recep- 
tion and stay for a while were most pleasant. There 
was then living in that city, as pastor of one of 
the churches, that most fervent and earnest Chris- 
tian man, Dr. Asa T. Hopkins. He died Nov. 28, 
1847. Though a stranger to all, he gave them a 
brother's welcome, and commended them to the 
hospitalities of his people.. What kind Christian 
families they found ! Surely this cannot be the 
West, thought they ; not far enough yet for mis- 
sionary ground. 

On Saturday, they took a trip to Niagara, to gaze 
upon the Falls, that wondrous work of God ; return- 
ing at night to Buffalo to spend the Sabbath with 
their kind- friends. It was a bright, pleasant day, 
and their hearts were joyous within them. 

On Monday morning, all felt as though they 
had enjoyed the acquaintance of weeks, and were 
almost sad at parting. But the parting came. 
In the evening of that day, Oct. 9, they went on 
board the steamer " Missouri," bound for Chicago. 
The good pastor, and other Christian friends, 
accompanied them. on board to bid them God-speed, 
and say adieu. A hymn was sung, and a prayer 
offered. Beautiful in the bloom of youth, and with 
sweetest voice in that evening's song, was the 
sister of the pastor's wife, who stood among them 


there ; but sadly followed the news, a few months 
afterwards, that the rose was fading upon her cheek, 
and soon again that she was dead. By her side 
stood another, a little older in years, but her com- 
panion in the family, bidding with others a last 
farewell, yet destined of God soon to be a sharer 
in the fortunes of those to whom she was saying 
adieu. The last bell rings, and the planks are 
ready to be drawn in. Already is the hoarse breath 
of the steamer heard as her whole frame quivers 
at the life-beats of her engine ; and she swings 
slowly round from the pier, and takes her course. 

" Adieu, adieu ! " and so is the second portion of 
the journey begun. The wide, wide Lakes were 
entered, all strange, all new, and yet soon how 
dull ! It was, indeed, with some interest that they 
touched at Erie, Cleveland, and Detroit. The 
morning at Mackinaw was bright and calm, and 
the hour pleasant, in which they were permitted, in 
the bracing air, to scale the heights on shore, or 
watch the trout in the clear waters of the upper 
lakes. But, on the whole, head winds and a rough 
sea without, and sea-sickness and monotony on 
board, made it any thing but a pleasant passage. 

Late on Saturday night, in stormy weather, they 
had only reached Milwaukie. There most of them 
left the boat to tarry for the Sabbath. A few, 
either too sick to leave their berths, or for some 
other special reason, remained on board to arrive at 
Chicago in the morning. Those tarrying for the 
Sabbath had a quiet, pleasant day, and on Monday 



found a boat to take them on their way to join 
those who had gone before them. And so the 
Lakes were passed. 

One more experience now, the prairies, the 
great wide prairies of Illinois, and the journey 
will be complete. Almost two weeks had already 
been consumed. Another would bring the end. 

It was in the fall of the year, just after harvest- 
time ; and from all parts of Illinois, even farther 
west than the interior of the State, farmers were 
coming to find a market for their wheat in the then 
great city of Chicago, of eight thousand people. 
On their return home, these farmers were glad 
to find some traveller, some freight, or any thing 
else, to take with them, that might help to bear the 
expense of their long journey to market. In this 
way, it was thought private conveyance could be 
found more comfortable and pleasant than by stage. 
So all were busy. Bargains must be made, and can- 
vas coverings for the wagons ; provisions and gen- 
eral supplies be secured in true emigrant style : for 
hotels were far apart, and the belated traveller was 
often obliged to spend the night on the prairie. 

Denmark, Lee County, Io., was now the terminus 
looked for, but was to be reached by different 
routes. One party, the brethren with wives, in 
company with another missionary and his wife, who 
had joined them, were to strike across for Daven- 
port on the Mississippi, then go by boat to Burling- 
ton, and thence to Denmark. The others were to 
take a more southerly course, direct to Burlington, 
and so to Denmark. 


Now began Western life ; and, for a while, it was 
well enjoyed. Now in a slough in the bottom-lands 
of some sluggish stream, and now high up on the 
rolling prairie : what a vast extent of land meets 
the eye ! land in every direction, with scarce a 
shrub or a tree to be seen. How like a black ribbon 
upon a carpet of green stretches away in the dis- 
tance before them the road they are to travel ! And 
occasionally some far-off cloth-covered wagon like 
their own is descried, like a vessel at sea, rightly 
named a "prairie schooner." In the settled portions, 
what farms ! what fences ! how unlike their Eastern 
homes ! No stones, no barns, children and pigs 
running together. Then what places in which to 
sleep ! and what breakfasts ! If after a morning 
ride, they made a lucky stop, such honey ! such 
milk ! such butter and eggs ! and all so cheap ! 
twelve and a half cents a meal. 

Day by day they travelled on, gazing, wonder- 
ing, remarking and being remarked upon. Some 
thought them " land-sharks," some Mormons. But 
even this became at last wearisome and monoto- 
nous. On Saturday afternoon, the southern party, 
worn with travel, halted at Galesburg for another 
Sabbath's rest. 

Monday morning found them early on their way, 
refreshed, and eager for the end. " To-day," thought 
they, " the setting sun is to look with us upon the 
great Mississippi ; " and so it proved. For an hour 
or so, near the close of the day, they had been 
winding and jolting through timbered bottom-lands 


among huge trees, grand in their silence, gazing 
the while earnestly forward, till at last it was 
seen, the smooth, broad bosom of the great river, 
with the last silvery rays of the setting sun playing 
upon it. 

" Three cheers," cried they, " for the Mississippi ! " 
Their hearty cheers rang out upon the forest ; and, 
in a few moments more, they were on the river's 
bank. But the ferry-boat had just made its last 
trip for the day ; and, though they hallooed for 
help, no one responded to the call. The twilight 
deepens. It is soon dark, save as the stars and the 
moonbeams sparkle and dance upon the waters. 
The hallooing had ceased as useless, and things 
looked desperate ; but the dip of a paddle was 
heard, and a canoe soon came in sight. It was 
a chance to cross the river, twenty-five cents 
apiece, and a bark of limited accommodations. 
Two declared they would rather stay by the stuff all 
night. The others paid the price, and stepped in. 
It was a heavy load for a light canoe, and all must 
remain motionless. So, in stillness and silence, 
with God's stars looking down upon them, they 
were paddled across to Iowa's shore. 

Now in Iowa, at Burlington ! Kind friends, 
even here, were awaiting their arrival ; and, as the 
news spread, they were soon constrained to turn 
from tavern-fare to Christian homes. The watch- 
ers by the stuff came over in the morning; and, 
before another night, they had travelled fifteen 
miles on Iowa soil to Denmark. They had seen 


the Western pastor in his home, and he had 
scattered them for hospitality among the members 
of his flock. The northern party soon came in 
safety. All were to rest a while, and then scatter. 



ON sabbath morning, Nov. 5, 1843, the usually 
quiet town of Denmark was all astir. A 
great event was to occur. Every child had heard 
that nine young ministers, fresh from the East, 
had come to preach in the Territory. In anticipa- 
tion of the event, the Rev. A. Turner and the Rev. 
R. Gaylord had taken a long tour to spy out the 
land, and decide upon the places to be occupied ; 
and on that Sabbath seven of these young minis- 
ters were to be ordained. Denmark then consisted 
of a few' scattered farm-houses of New-England 
like appearance ; and convenient thereto stood a 
low, broken-backed, elongated building, compelled 
as yet to the double service of school and meeting 

This, at the appointed hour, was the centre 
of attraction. The council had previously been 
organized, and the candidates examined. The 
members of the Band then ordained were, E. B. 
Turner, W. Salter, E. Alden, jun., H. Hutchinson, 
E. Adams, D. Lane, and B. A. Spaulding. With 
them were ordained W. A. Thompson, who came 
to the Territory about the same time, and D. 


Granger, who was already here as a licentiate. 
The exercises were: Sermon by the Rev. J. A. 
Reed, from Acts xx. 28 (the subject was, Pre- 
requisites to Success in the Gospel Ministry) ; 
ordaining prayer by the Rev. A. Turner ; charge 
by the Rev. C. Burnham ; right hand of fellow- 
ship by the Rev. R. Gaylord. 

The house, of course, was crowded, and the occa- 
sion one of great interest. To the few brethren 
already in the field, it was a day of rejoicing. Said 
one of them, " Such a day I have never seen before ; 
such a day I had never expected to see in my life- 
time. The most I could do, when alone, was to 
weep tears of joy, and return thanks to God." 

This was an interesting and solemn occasion ; 
but there had been, a day or two previous, in the 
pastor's study, a meeting, to the young ministers 
of greater interest still. It was a meeting in which 
they were to decide among themselves in what 
particular place the scene of the future labors of 
each should be. In former times, and far away, 
they had often met for prayer, often asked God to 
guide them in their way. He had guided them ; 
had turned their hearts to Iowa, and brought them 
thither : and now, with ordination-vows soon to be 
taken, they had met to decide where, in the wide 
field around them, each should labor. It was a 
solemn meeting, a delicate business, a time when 
self must be laid aside, and each must be willing 
to be any thing, to go anywhere. A prayer was 
offered that the Spirit of God might be upon them, 


and with them. Then Fathers Turner and Gay- 
lord, who had explored the field, came in, and, map 
in hand, described their tour, and the places visited, 
and retired. 

Now, by free suggestion and mutual consent, 
the assignment began. Brother Hutchinson, for 
peculiar reasons, as was well known, was inclined 
to Burlington, and H. Adams to Farmington. None 
were disposed to object ; and so their destination 
was fixed. " Those having wives," it was said, 
" ought to be provided for in places as comfortable 
as any in the Territory." A minister-seeking man 
from Keosauqua had claimed Brother Lane as the 
one of his choice. His promises were fair, and he 
was gratified. Bloomington, since called Musca- 
tine, then " a smart town " on the Mississippi, of 
four hundred inhabitants, seemed a good place for 
one with a family ; and so this, by common consent, 
was ceded to Brother Robbins : and thus the wives 
were provided for. 

Away out in the new purchase, in the region of 
the old Indian Agency, new fields were opening, 
calling mostly for itinerant labor for the present, 
and endurance of frontier hardships as a good 
soldier. Brother Spaulding would as soon take 
this position as any other ; and thither was his face 
turned. Some must go up into the northern coun- 
ties of Jackson and Jones. This was far distant, to- 
be sure, and the region not thickly settled : but then 
the more northern the location, the more Eastern 
the people ; and that part of the State would some 


time be filled up. Brothers Salter and Turner, the 
David and Jonathan of the company, rather liked 
the idea of exploring this portion of the field to- 
gether, and deciding for themselves where to locate. 
This they did, eventually finding themselves, 
the former at Maquoketa, and the latter at Cascade. 
The two places yet remaining, which then seemed 
most important, were Solon and Mt. Pleasant : for 
these there were two brethren, E. Alden and E. 
Adams, who said they would settle the matter 
by themselves ; which they did by referring it 
that evening to Father Turner. He assigned Mr. 
Alden for Solon, and Mr. Adams for Mt. Pleasant. 

So the work was done with perfect harmony and 
good will, quickly done, without an unpleasant 
word or a jealous thought ; and every one was 
satisfied. Considering the nature of the meeting 
and the issue thereof, let God be praised ! 

On Sabbath night, Nov. 5, 1843, as eacn retired 
to rest after having been ordained to his work, he 
had his particular field in view. On Monday 
morning, all was bustle, preparatory to their depart- 
ure. Occasionally, as they met in passing to and 
fro, there was the grasp of the hand, the hearty 
" good-by ! " and the " Lord bless you ! " " Let us 
remember Tuesday night," was the parting sugges- 
tion. The meeting alluded to in the pastor's study 
was the last ever held by the Band at which all the 
members were together. Such a meeting on earth 
where all are present, there can now never be. 



INTIMATELY connected, yet widely different, 
are theory and practice. The theory we spin 
out in thought, speech, and books ; the practice we 
find amid the vital forces, the living issues and 
interests, of actual life. Right here it is, that our 
previous instructions sometimes appear almost 
useless, our notions visionary, and our plans futile. 
For success in any calling or profession, more is 
to be learned than can be learned prior to entering 
upon it. , 

Of no profession, perhaps, is this more true than 
of the ministerial. Against the usual preparatory 
course through ten years of study, in academy, 
college, and seminary, not a word is to be said : it 
is by no means useless. In many respects, and in 
most cases, it is essential ; but it alone can never 
qualify one for the ministerial work. This is never 
found to be precisely what it seems in books. It 
includes many an experience and emergency, for 
which the previous training has given no real prep- 
aration ; while much of the so-called preparation 
that has been made, however cherished and 
relied upon, will be found like the armor of Saul 


on the youthful David, and can only be put aside 
as cumbersome and useless. 

Often the young minister finds himself coming 
awkwardly into his calling, because he seeks to 
carry into it the full panoply of the schools, or 
of favorite theological giants, instead of going to 
his work simply in the name of the Lord. The 
process of getting to work so as to work success- 
fully, in which every one has so much to learn that 
has not been taught him by books and teachers, is 
always more or less a process of disappointments 
and failures. A modification of previous views and 
plans becomes necessary. There are frequent calls 
for self-adjustments and adaptations, to meet un- 
thqught of exigencies ; so that the man often, in 
the course of a few years, comes out far different 
in many respects from what he had proposed. So 
it proved in the case of the classmates, who, in a 
few short days, were, twenty-five years ago, taken 
from the quiet scenes of student-life at Andover, 
and set down one here, and another there as 
home missionaries in Iowa. 

One, from the representations then frequent 
respecting the moral wants of the West, had 
pictured to himself a country destitute of preachers, 
and a people, with the recollections of Christian 
homes fresh in their memories, all eager to hear the 
gospel. He had fancied, that, when once among 
them, the simple announcement that he came as a 
minister would be enough immediately to draw 
them about him as those famishing for the bread 


of life. " Oh, what a joy," thought he, " to be a 
home missionary ! " 

Imagine the change in his views as he found, in 
the place to which he was assigned, the great 
majority of the people not only just as indifferent 
as elsewhere, but, by the sharp, worldly features of 
a stirring Western town, even more so. The. few 
that had any interest at all in religious things were 
cut up into cliques and denominations of all sorts, 
some of which he had never heard of before ; and, 
to meet their wants, there was a minister or 
preacher of some kind at every corner of the 
streets, making it, as the Sabbath came, not only 
difficult to find a place or an hour in which to 
preach, but more difficult still, to secure any thing 
like a stated congregation from Sabbath to Sab- 
bath. Here was the theory of home-missionary life 
turning to fact. 

Another, in his mind, had planned on this wise : 

" I am going to Iowa ; and, when I get there, 
I am going to have my study and library. Then I 
am going to write two sermons a week ; and, when 
the Sabbath comes, I am going to preach them, 
and the people, if they want the gospel, must come 
to hear." Well, he came to Iowa to find his home, 
for the time being, in the house of kind Christian 
people ; in which the one room must answer all the 
needs of the family, with those of the new minister 

The familiar quilt of those days partitioned off 
one corner for his bedroom and study ; and his 


study-chair was a saddle. As for written sermons, 
they were, of course, few; and if any one was com- 
pelled to go about in search of the people, instead 
of being sought by them, it was he. 

A third fancied that he would have three or four 
preaching-places far enough apart to enable him to 
preach on the same subjects in each place. So he 
was calculating on time and opportunity to work 
up extempore sermons of great power on important 
subjects. He found himself, and for years has 
stood, where, with some of the same hearers from 
Sabbath to Sabbath, the constant demand was for 
two written sermons to be prepared each week, 
and, at the same time, cut off from the usual relief 
of ministerial exchange and of annual vacations. 

Twenty-five years ago, Nauvoo, the city of the 
Mormons, was in its glory. Dr. Lyman Beecher 
had sounded, through the East, alarms of Catholi- 
cism in the West. These two opposing forces, it 
was supposed, would confront at once any Chris- 
tian laborer going West, and meet him at every 
turn. So McGavin's " Protestantism," a huge work, 
was procured and studied ; the Mormon Bible 
perused ; and in other directions special prepara- 
tions made to meet them : for must not the work- 
man go forth prepared for his work ? 

In fact, however, the most of our young missiona- 
ries for years never saw a Mormon ; and, as for Ca- 
tholicism, this was by no means the only hostile ism 
in the land. They found a people starting homes, 
institutions, usages, laws, customs, in a new Terri- 



tory ; gathered from all parts of the country and the 
world ; coming together with differing tastes, preju- 
dices, ideas, and plans ; and representing all shades 
of belief and disbelief. Every phase of error, that 
any age or country had ever seen, was here crop- 
ping out. They soon found that they were where, 
if their lives were to be of use, if they were not 
to be swallowed up by the forces around them, they 
must be positive and earnest. They must set 
forth the best platform under God they could, and, 
as earnest men, set about building thereon. What 
that platform was to be, and what the work to be 
done upon it, was not so much of a question as 
how to do it ; what to unlearn, and what to learn ; 
how to be adapted to circumstances ; when to take 
on new methods and ways, and when to cling to 
the old ; and how, especially, to mingle among the 
people, not only as among but of them, so as, by 
identity of feeling and interest, to gain their con- 
fidence and affection, and so an open ear, and, by 
God's grace, an open heart. 

After the ordination and dispersion came this 
process of getting to work, each in his own field, 
and coalescing, this process, we will not say, of 
turning from the Eastern to the Western man, 
but rather of growing from the Eastern into the 
Western, in which somewhat of over-niceties, and 
the restraints of etiquette and form, are laid aside. 

" How do you like the new minister ? " was 
asked of a resident in a county where one of the 
Band was thus getting to work. " Oh ! we all be- 


lieve in him," was the reply ; showing how Eastern 
habits and culture were no barrier, as they some- 
times are, to access to the hearts of the hardy pio- 
neers. In this process of getting to work, in the 
course of a year or two things were fully settled. 

First, what, ecclesiastically, the platform of the 
missionaries was to be. This in the case of each 
was Congregational. With a number, when they 
came to the Territory, the matter of church-polity 
was an open question. Decided instructions in the 
Seminary had not been given. There had been no 
conference respecting it, one with the other, by 
which any conclusion or agreement had been 
reached as to whether they should be Congrega- 
tionalists or Presbyterians. The feeling was, that, 
very likely, some would be one, and some the 
other. Nor, after they came, were any pains taken 
by the Congregational brethren on the ground to 
influence them in this matter. But in the provi- 
dence of God, by the fitness of things soon per- 
ceived, with one consent they thought best to build 
upon what, with a single exception, had been the 
foundation of their fathers. In after-years, they 
thanked God that it was so. 

Secondly, they had in affection, feelings, interest, 
and aims, coalesced with the brethren who preced- 
ed them. These were few ; not so many by half as 
those who re-enforced them. Coming in such com- 
parative numbers as classmates in the same semi- 
nary, as did the Iowa Band, and at so early a period 
in the history of the State, it would not have been 


strange, if, in the minds of the brethren already 
here, there had been the suggestion at least, if not 
the fear, that the new-comers would be clannish in 
their feeling, banded together, and standing apart 
from others ; not only disposed to set aside those 
who were here before, but dictatorial and assuming 
over those who should come after them. If any 
such suggestion or fear there was, one year was 
sufficient to dispel it. 

With open hands and warm hearts were they re- 
ceived ; and the common interests and experiences 
of home-missionary life soon bound all together 
as one. As they coalesced with those who had 
preceded them, so have others coming later, till the 
Iowa ministry of the Congregational churches has 
become a band indeed ; and though that part of it 
known as the Iowa Band has thus far been made 
prominent in this home-missionary record, and, in 
the circumstances, may properly, perhaps, occasion- 
ally be so made in what follows, yet be it under- 
stood, that, as to work accomplished and results 
reached, honor is due, under God, not to them 
alone, but to all who have labored with them, 
those who have come in at a later period as those 
who were here before them. 



STILL further to illustrate, and as affording, to 
some extent, a little more of an inside view of 
this process of getting to work, we give in this 
chapter a brief diary. It contains the observa- 
tions of one, who, in that first year, was called to 
visit the most of his brother ministers at their 
homes. Initials only of persons and places will 
be given. Those acquainted will easily recognize 
the most of them ; for those who are not, a parade 
of names is unnecessary. The tour begins upon 
the banks of the Des Moines at K. 

July 1 6, 1844. Here are Brother L. and wife in 
their little home with two rooms. They have a 
chair or two now, and a table ; but they say they 
set up housekeeping without either, using, instead, 
old boxes. They have a church of a few members, 
a village of promise, and the people are kind. On 
the whole, they are in good spirits and hopeful. 
The church is organized as Presbyterian ; but its 
members are not all of that way of thinking. 
Brother L. is coming to be very decided that Con- 
gregationalism is the true Bible way ; really quite 
conscientious about it. A majority are with him 
in opinion. How things will turn out can't tell. 


July 1 8. At M. P. to-night. Found Brother A. 
well. He has a study at a tavern, and " boards 
round," like a schoolmaster. No church organized, 
or next to none. He groans over sects and divis- 
ions, and hopes somehow to get some of them to- 
gether. Says he sometimes thinks there are more 
ministers West than East. One can do nothing in 
this place till he takes his stand, and goes to work. 
It is not so much destitution as it is the indis- 
position, selfishness, and self-seeking of the human 
heart here as everywhere. 

July 19. Came up to B. This is a farming 
settlement, a number of intelligent, pious families. 
Brother B. is the minister here ; used to know him 
in college. He has a house : it is unpainted, no 
carpets in it, a poor fence around it, woodpile near, 
and pigs loose. Don't look much like a New-Eng- 
land parsonage. I wonder if this isn't the way for 
a minister to do, to get a home, and grow up with 
the people. Farmers are the basis of every thing ; 
and he has a good field. 

Monday, July 22. This is the State capital, 
the great city of Iowa, of which everybody has 
heard, of four hundred inhabitants. It has a pleas- 
ant location, however, and plenty of room. Went 
into the State Library ; while looking about, met an 
old gentleman, who proved to be Gov. L., the 
ex-Governor of the Territory. He was affable, and 
interested to show me about the city ; took me 
down half a mile or so to see some mineral-springs. 
I felt a little awkward to have such attention paid me 

A DIARY. 47 

by so old a man. Spent the Sabbath here with the 
Rev. Dr. W. of the New-School Presbyterian church, 
and preached for him. There is an Old-School 
church here also, but no Congregational. Neither 
of the churches having any meeting-house, they hold 
meetings in the State House, one in the Repre- 
sentatives', the other in Senators' Hall. These two 
halls are opposite each other ; so that, as the doors 
were open while the people were collecting, when 
we took our seats in the desk, we could look across 
through the opposite hall, and see the Old-School 
minister in his desk at the other end of the building. 
" Now," whispered the doctor, " now the watch- 
men see eye to eye." Didn't think 'twas just the 
place for such a pun, so sadly false too! Long 
time, I fear, it will be, before the Old-School friends 
will see eye to eye with the New-School brethren, 
or us either ; for they look upon us with suspicion, 
say we are unsound, and won't even exchange with 
us. Oh, what a pity that all these little places should 
be so cut up ! Glad we haven't any church here. 

July 23. This day's ride on my faithful pony, 
for I've forgotten to say that I now own one price 
forty-five dollars, has brought me to T., county- 
seat of C. County. Here found Brother A. He 
has a study, a little ground-room right on the 
street, in a "lean-to" of a store, over which live 
the family. Horses stand around, these hot days, 
kicking the flies ; and, when he is out, the pigs run 
in, unless he is careful to shut the door. Poor place, 
I should think, for writing sermons. Partition so 


thin, that all the store-talk, especially when the 
doors are open, is plainly heard. 

It being Tuesday evening, we of course wished 
to remember the Tuesday-evening prayer-meeting, 
but wanted a more private place for it : so went out 
in search of one. Came to a two-story log-building 
used for a jail, which happened to be empty, with 
the doors open. Went up by an outside stairway 
to the upper room, and there, with the moon sailing 
over the prairies, had our meeting ; prayed for each 
other, for the brethren, for Iowa, for home. Not 
exactly like the old Andover meetings in the libra- 
ry, but something like them. Coming down again 
to the ground, Brother A. looked up in his queer 
way : " There," said he, " I guess that's the first 
time that old building ever had a prayer in it." Just 
as cheerful and funny as ever ; but he is doing a 
good work here, and getting hold of the hearts 
of everybody. Indeed, he is becoming quite a 
bishop of the county. " The first time there was 
ever a prayer in it ! " I wonder in how many 
places and ways we shall do the first things for 
Christ in this new country ! 

July 24. Am here in D. W., a little place, 
with a few buildings, on a big prairie. But how I 
got here, which way I travelled, I can't tell. I only 
know that in the morning I gave myself up to the 
pilotage of the mail-carrier. Soon after starting, 
he turned his horse off the road, into the prairie, 
and I followed. Since then, my head has been in a 
kind of whirl, the points of the compass lost ; and 

A DIARY. 49 

.1 can only think of prairie-grass, bottom-lands, 
sloughs, a river forded, a cabin or two by the way, 
and little groves here and there, all jumbled up 
together. But I am here ! Looking at the map, I 
reason myself into the belief that I have really 
travelled from T. to D. W. Here is where Brother 
E. lives, a man whom I have long wished to see. It 
was his account, in " The Home Missionary," of the 
manner in which a gang of horse-thieves was broken 
up at B., that turned my attention to Iowa. Some- 
how I then felt that there was work to be done in 
such a country, and that I would like to labor near 
such a man ; and here I am at his home. He is 
a whole-souled, earnest brother, and takes you right 
in. No danger, I guess, that we and those who 
were on the ground before us will not feel as one. 

One good thing about this trip is to get ac- 
quainted with the older brethren, to see the dif- 
ferent fields, to know what the land is. Brother E. 
says he located here because so central. If this is 
a centre, no trouble in finding one on any of these 
big prairies. 

Jtily 26. Came up to-day to M., where I ex- 
pected to find Brother S. Learning that he was 
absent, having gone north, came on up through 
A., a little stumpy town in the woods, to this 
place, C., the home of Deacon C. So I am the 
guest, to-night, of one of the direct descendants 
of old John Cotton of Pilgrim memory, in this 
far-off Iowa ; and a nice old man he is. Before 
leaving the East, an old Christian lady, a mother in 


Israel, learning I was going to Iowa, came, saying 
that she had a son-in-law in Iowa for whom she felt 
greatly concerned, and gave me his address, with 
the injunction, if I ever went near him, to go and 
see him, and do him all the good I could. I took the 
address, never expecting really to go near him, but 
find that to-day I have passed right by his door. 
Sorry I had not kept it more in my mind. This 
impresses me more than ever with one feature of 
the mission-work : it is, to do here, among the 
scattered people, what the Eastern fathers and 
mothers, brothers and sisters, are contributing, long- 
ing, and praying to have done. I must be more 

Deacon C. says Brother S. has taken a trip up 
into Wisconsin, about Potosi ; that he is inclined 
to think he will not stay in this field long. Hope 
he won't- leave Iowa. I'll find him if I can. 

July 27. Am up now as far as D. Here is 
where really the first white man crossed thb river 
to dwell. He had a grant from government to trade 
in this mining-region with the Indians. The place 
takes his name ; and the whole region is honey- 
combed with the miner's diggings. Great fortunes 
have been made ; but many a splendid prospect 
fails. So it is in all things else. Some say, that 
if all the labor expended in digging for lead 
had been expended upon the surface of the ground, 
about six inches deep, the people generally would 
be better off. However this may be, a "right 
smart town " is here of a few hundred people. 

A DIARY. 51 

Brother H. preaches here, and has, I am told, 
great influence. He is away now at the East to 
get funds towards repairing the church. It needs it ; 
for it is a stone building with bare unplastered 
walls inside. Yet it is the only house of worship 
built expressly for this object that we have in the 
Territory. By urgent solicitation of the brethren, 
am to spend the Sabbath here. 

July 31. Up, up, still farther north, here at G., 
county-seat of C. County. I have now traversed 
northward, on my horseback-trip, about two hun- 
dred and fifty miles. Since leaving D., I have 
been so tossed about, that I could not use my 
diary : so I must write up a little. 

Started on Monday morning in search of Brother 
S. Came up to P. Landing. There crossing the 
river, soon got on his track, and found him at last, 
after inquiring for him from house to house, doing 
good mission-work among the people. It was truly 
a surprise-meeting. Glad to learn that he was true 
to Iowa, and was to return soon to his field. 
Staid with him that night in a neat log-cabin of 
some young married people, who said they were 
from Maine. Might have known they were from 
Yankee-land, if they hadn't told us, by the morn- 
ing-glories around the door and the general air of 
things in and around the cabin. There will be a 
good house there some time, and a Christian home, 
too, I trust. 

Next day, about noon, crossed back again into 
this best part of the world, on the flat-boat ferry 


at C. Landing, at the mouth of the Turkey River. 
That afternoon had quite a time. I was on the 
south side of the river, and the first ford was ten 
miles up stream ; the track leading for the most 
part through a hilly forest. From recent rains, the 
river was much swollen, making, by back-water, 
every stream putting into it impassable at the 
mouth : so my work that afternoon was principal- 
ly heading those streams. It was in one of these, 
as I urged my horse down a steep bank, into deeper 
water than I supposed, that I was thrown full-length, 
when saddle-bags, sermons, and papers went float- 
ing. Fortunately I gathered them all up, and came 
on. Reached the ferry near night, where the ferry- 
man swam my horse for me, and took me over in a 
canoe. I was then twelve miles from this place, 
and started on with quickened speed. Just as it 
was getting dark, as I was querying whether or no 
I could keep the road, my horse turned into a by- 
path, and shot around a clump of bushes with a will. 
Thinking he must have some intent in this, I gave 
him the rein. In about five minutes, he took me 
up to a fence and a light. There I stopped for the 

It was the cabin of an old sea-captain, Capt. C. 
His wife, for years a praying Christian woman, 
in poor health, and somewhat deaf, was once a 
member of Father K's. church in G., 111., but now 
is living away alone, as a sheep in the wilderness. 
On learning I was a minister, she was greatly re- 
joiced. We talked ; she told me much of her his- 

A DIARY. 53 

tory and experience ; we read the Bible ; we prayed. 
I stopped that night in the house of the Lord. In 
the morning, she thanked me over and over for the 
good she received ; but I felt, and feel now, that she 
did me far more good than I did her. Experience, 
with the chastenings of the Lord, work that which 
seminaries and colleges can never give. We come 
out here to preach ; but there are those who preach 
to us more effectively than we to them. That day, 
I came to this place. Here are Brother H. and 
wife. The settlement is on a beautiful prairie-ridge, 
and there are many fine families here. Brother 
H. and wife are boarding at present, and have be- 
fore them a fine field. He enters it with his usual 
staid, steady tread ; but she throws herself into it 
with the enthusiasm of her whole soul. Long may 
they live to labor here ! The next place north, they 
say, is Sodom, and then the Indians : so I guess 
I'll turn back. 

From this point, our tourist, on his return, re- 
traces pretty much the path by which he came ; so 
that we find in his diary nothing of new interest 
until he comes down to D., on the Mississippi. 
Here we quote as follows : 

Aug. 10. Came down to this place to-day, from 
D. W. Of all the rivers in the Territory, and I be- 
lieve now I have seen them all, I think the W. is the 
worst. Such ugly bottom-lands, and, indeed, such 
sloughs as I have had all day long ! A hard ride : 
but I find here a beautiful place, the most beautiful 


natural location on the Mississippi, some say ; and I 
know of none that excels it. There are here about 
five hundred people. I have heard the place spoken 
of as a good location for a college. I see nothing 
to the contrary. There is certainly beauty of 
scenery. Probably it will not be much of a point 
for business ; and a literary institution with such sur- 
roundings would attract a class of people congenial 
to itself. Here I am, the guest of a new acquaint- 
ance, Brother H., who preaches here. I believe, 
though, he is to leave before long to go to M., 111., 
a new village just starting on the other side of the 
river, three miles above R. I. I am to spend the 
Sabbath here, and shall be glad of the rest. 
I am getting about enough of travel. As to 
clothes, between the excessive rains, hot sun, and 
horseback-wear, they are beginning to look pretty 

Monday Morning, Aug. 12, 1844. Preached 
yesterday in the forenoon for the Congregational- 
ists in a little building put up for a dwelling-house, 
and now used for a school-house, situated on what 
is known as Ditch Street : twelve hearers. They 
are building, however, a neat little church, about 
twenty-eight by thirty-eight, on which I see 
that Brother H. works daily. Wonder if this 
is the way, when it comes to church-building, 
that the minister has to turn in as head-carpenter 
to " boss the job." In the afternoon yesterday, by 
invitation, preached for the Baptists. In the course 
of the sermon was a little vexed as I noticed two 

A DIARY. 55 

ladies smiling at some holes in my coat-sleeve, 
revealed by my gesturing. Drew down my arms, 
and their faces too, by preaching straight at them. 
Perhaps, on this account, I preached with more 
point and earnestness than usual ; for, after meeting, 
an Old-School Presbyterian said he would give 
five dollars if I would stop and preach a year in 
the place. Felt it quite a compliment, considering 
the source. 

Aug. 13. At B. The greatest effort at town- 
building this. From four to six hundred people 
here are pitched into gullies, and tossed about on 
the hills. But here I have a hearty welcome by 
Brother R. and wife. They are getting ahead of 
all the rest by a little new-comer to their house- 
hold. She laughs at the bachelor brethren, and 
pretends to have such a care of them. Materials 
here for a good church ; and, if the place ever is 
any thing, no doubt there will be a good one. 

Aug. 1 6. At B. Have been here before quite 
frequently. Nothing specially new now. Brother 
H. is working away quite hopefully, though his 
health is not very firm. Nothing new, I say ? Yes, 
there is one thing new, in the shape of an utter- 
ance of one Rev. Mr. W., a Cumberland Presbyte- 
rian minister, in a piece published in the paper, to 
which Brother H. called my attention. It is so 
modest, I must put it down as so much history : 

" Observation has taught me that many honest 
persons have heard Iowa misrepresented. So far 
from being a land of heathens, it is becoming dense- 


ly populated by people of intelligence, from not 
only different parts of the United States, but of the 
Eastern and Western Continents. The people are 
able to support their ministers ; and it is an insult 
offered to their intelligence to have men stationed 
in their largest towns and villages, who receive 
from one to four hundred dollars per annum to in- 
struct the brethren. Iowa is an unhealthy climate 
for theological dwarfs. Ministers are needed who 
have clear heads, warm hearts ; whose sentences 
breathe, and whose words burn." 

O Brother W. ! you, then, must be one of the kind 
needed ; for your sentences breathe, and your 
words burn. We have heard of similar utterances 
got off by unbelievers, especially by one of the 
leading judges of the Territory when we came into 
it ; but little did we expect that gospel ministers 
would join in the cry. The judge, however, apolo- 
gized, as he found one of our number coming to be 
his next-door neighbor. Wonder if you ever will ! 

Aug.i?. At D. This is a kind of a home for us 
all ; and I thought I would come over here to rest 
a little before going back to my field. I have cer- 
tainly taken quite a tour, and am glad of it. I have 
seen the brethren, seen their homes, know the 
country, and trust I shall work the more heartily. 



IT is by no means proposed, in what follows, to 
give a connected history either of the Iowa 
Band or Iowa Missions for the last twenty-five 
years. We seek only to review a scene here and 
there, and put on record a few facts, which, while 
of interest to parties concerned, may stand to the 
credit of the great home-missionary work. If 
but a glimpse of home-missionary life can be pre- 
sented, especially of its inner view, with its joys 
yet not without its sorrows, our young men pre- 
paring for or entering the ministry, we are sure, 
will be attracted rather than repelled by it. If we 
can hold up a few clusters gathered as the fruits 
of home-missions in Iowa, it may encourage and 
stimulate all workers in this noble cause to push 
it onward with increasing vigor wherever there 
remaineth land yet to be possessed. 

As preparatory to what is now proposed, nothing 
perhaps, will serve better than to contrast the 
Iowa of twenty-five years ago with the Iowa of 
to-day. By this view of the " then and now," 
unfolding, as it must, the nature of the field 
occupied and the changes wrought, we can better 


appreciate the causes at work. But going back 
twenty-five years brings us so near the beginning 
of all Iowa history, that a word or two of the prior 
period may not be amiss. 

From 1843, we go back but ten years to find 
the first settlement of the State. This was June 
i, 1833. Before that date, no white man had 
resided within its limits, except the Indian traders 
and their dependants, and a few who crossed the 
Mississippi in defiance of all treaties. 

Of those who have labored here in the gospel, 
probably the first Congregational minister whose 
privilege it was to look over into this promised 
land was the Rev. J. A. Reed. He saw it as early 
as May, 1833. His point of observation was a 
town-site in Illinois, called Commerce, consisting 
then of one log-cabin and a cornfield, since known 
as Nauvoo. His eye could just distinguish bluffs 
and prairie, with timber-skirted streams. Gazing 
on the prospect, his reflection was, that the land 
before him, all the way to the Pacific, was the 
abode only of savages. All seemed buried, as for 
ages, in the silence and sleep of savage-life. 

During the first ten years of Iowa history, between 
1833 and 1843, the only portion of the State open 
for settlement was a strip of country about forty 
miles wide, and two hundred miles long, on the 
western bank of the Mississippi. So far out was 
this on the frontier, on the very borders -of the 
Indian country, and so much good land was there 
unoccupied and easier of access between it and the 


older settlements of what was then the West, that 
its population at first increased but slowly. In 
1838, five years after its settlement began, the pop- 
ulation of the Territory numbered but 22,859. 

Prior to July 4, 1839, Iowa was included in the 
territorial government, first of Michigan, and then 
of Wisconsin. At this date, its own government 
was established, embracing in its limits the most 
of what is now Minnesota and Dakota. Its pres- 
ent boundaries were established when it was ad- 
mitted into the Union as a State, in 1846. In 
1840, its population had reached 42,500. In these 
first years, the country was but little developed. 
Pioneer hardships and privations were the com- 
mon experience of the people. These were times 
in which the brethren tell of letters lying in the 
post-office for want of money possessed, or to be 
borrowed, with which to pay postage. 

The religious condition of the people near the 
close of this first ten years, as near as August, 
1 842, is indicated by the statements of a writer in 
" The Home Missionary " of that period. He puts 
down the number of ministers in the Territory, of 
all denominations, as 42, and the number of pro- 
fessing Christians as 2,133. "Suppose," he says, 
"that ten times this number, or 21,330, come 
under the stated or transient influence of the 
preached gospel, you have yet the astounding fact, 
that there are 38,070 souls in the Territory destitute 
of the means of grace, a large portion of whom are 
under the withering blight of all sorts of perni- 
cious error." 


Among the errors alluded to was Mormonism. 
Its headquarters were at Nauvoo, 111. The town- 
site with its one log-cabin of ten years ago had now 
become a city of Latter-day Saints, claiming from 
sixteen to eighteen thousand people. All the 
males were under military drill, the men in one 
division, and the boys in another, to the number, it 
it was said, of three thousand. There was not a 
school in the place. About this time Mormonism 
was sanguine. Its apostles were everywhere, 
traversing the new settlements with a zeal and 
success at once astonishing and alarming. 

Infidelity, too, was presenting a bold front 
under the leadership of Abner Kneeland, first 
known in Vermont as a Universalist minister, 
afterwards in Boston as an atheist. He had set- 
tled with a band of his followers, male and female, 
upon the banks of the Des Moines, to mould, if 
possible, the faith of the new settlers by " substitut- 
ing," as one has said, " Paine's ' Age of Reason,' for 
the family Bible, the dance for the prayer-meet- 
ing, and the holiday for the Sabbath*." Of the 
ministers and Christians spoken of as in the Terri- 
tory near the close of the first ten years, a very 
few only were of the Congregational order. 

The first Congregational ministers that explored 
this field were the Rev. Asa Turner and the Rev. 
William Kirby. This they did in May, 1836. They 
found, as the principal settlements, Fort Madison, 
Burlington, Farmington, Yellow Springs, Daven- 
port, and Pleasant Valley. Had they continued 


their tour northward far enough, they would have 
found Dubuque, with some other little settlements 
scattered here and there. 

The first resident Congregational minister in 
the State was the Rev. W. A. Apthorp, who came 
in the fall of 1836. He preached for a year or 
two, mostly at Fort Madison and Denmark. At 
Denmark, the first Congregational church in Iowa 
was formed, May 5, 1838. The ministers present 
were Messrs. Turner, Reed, and Apthorp. Denmark 
was then about two years old, with a few log-cabins 
and a frame-building, twenty by twenty-four, which 
served as a schoolhouse and meeting-house, partly 
finished. The church was organized with thirty- 
two members. Every New-England State but 
one was represented in it. Immediately on the 
organization of the church, Mr. Turner was in- 
vited to take charge of it ; and the invitation was, 
after a few weeks, accepted. Mr. Apthorp was 
soon called to Illinois, and Mr. Turner was left 
the only Congregational minister in the State. So 
intimately connected with the history of our 
churches in after-years did the. church at Denmark 
and its pastor become, that Denmark is regarded 
as the cradle of Congregationalism in Iowa ; and to 
the revered pastor who so long labored there, the 
Iowa ministry have given, by common consent, 
the appellation of " Father Turner." 

He did not long stand alone. Others came to 
his help, but not enough to supply the wants of 
even the slowly developing country around them. 


In a few years, the population began to increase 
more rapidly. The openings for labor became 
more numerous, but the men to occupy the new 
fields came not. These were weary years, in 
which the few brethren here explored the field, 
reported its wants, and then labored on without 
re-enforcement. This they did till hope deferred 
not only made the heart sick, but made them 
almost despair. But at last, as we have seen, help 

Twenty-five years ago, what is now the State of 
Iowa was a Territory, whose scattered settlements 
were mostly confined to the narrow strip of 
country before mentioned. The northern and 
western portions of it were still in the possession 
of the Indians. It was only a little farther west, 
about to the centre of the State, that the Indian 
title was extinguished in October, 1843. Now the 
State stretches from. the Mississippi to the Mis- 
souri, taking in a belt of land measuring from north 
to south nearly three hundred miles. Traversing the 
eastern portion of it are five noble rivers, nearly 
equidistant from and parallel to each other, run- 
ning in a south-easterly direction to the Mississippi ; 
while on the western slope of the State are other 
rivers, with their tributaries, tending to the Mis- 

With this area of fifty-five thousand square miles, 
situated in the very heart of our country, embracing 
a variety of climate, bounded and intersected by the 
noblest rivers of the continent, Iowa is equal to 


any of her sister States in the richness of her soil, 
and more favored than some of them in the extent 
of her forests. Her water-courses abound with 
facilities for the manufacturer. Her mines of lead 
and coal, and her quarries of marble, are exhaustless 
sources of wealth. It is indeed a goodly land : 
so the thousands who have found a home on its 
soil have esteemed it. 

The growth of its population, though slow at 
first, has in later years been truly wonderful. In 
1843, there were but about seventy thousand people 
in the State ; now there are over a million. In cities 
where then there were but a few hundreds, now 
there are thousands, and in some cases tens of 
thousands. Twenty-five years ago, a father in the 
ministry was calling with one of the Band on a 
family in the field of his labor. Wishing to 
impress both the family and the youthful minister 
with the grandeur of the Christian work in a new 
country, he remarked on this wise : " I have no 
doubt that the day will come, some time, that, 
within a region of ten miles around the place 
where we now stand, there will be as many as ten 
thousand people." The prophecy at the time 
seemed almost startling. But that family is still 
living where they then were ; and, within the region 
alluded to, the people now are numbered by more 
than three times ten thousand, while the two minis- 
ters are still living, the older and the younger 
beholding in wonder the advancing growth. 


Meantime, as might be expected, the develop- 
ment of the State as a whole has been wonderful. 
The Iowa of to-day rivals many an older State in 
agricultural and mechanical productions ; while her 
coal-beds and her quarries are proving sources of 
unexpected wealth, and her mines of lead show no 
signs of exhaustion. Her advance in all the arts 
and achievements of civilized life has been rapid. 
There is no better index, perhaps, of the develop- 
ment of a country than its facilities of travel, and, 
especially in these latter days, the number and 
location of its railroads. A glance shows how 
marked has been the progress in this respect. 

Twenty-five years ago, the nearest approach by 
rail from the East was the city of Buffalo. Travel- 
lers that would see the then Far West, just opening 
on this the farther side of the Mississippi, were 
compelled, for the most part, to cross over in skiffs, 
flat-boats, or horse-boats. At one point only was 
there a steam-ferry. The mode of travel then was 
mostly on foot or horseback, guided often by Indian 
trails or blazed trees. Bridgeless streams and 
sometimes bottomless sloughs were to be crossed. 

Many are the incidents and adventures which 
the members of the Band and the older ministers 
have to recount to their children and to one another 
of the days in one .sense so recent, in another so 
long ago, as they speak of their early explorations 
in looking over their fields and hunting up the 
people. But these things have passed. Railroads 


have come. No less than five railroad-bridges 
across the Mississippi are or are being constructed, 
over which the iron horse comes to find here a fresh 
pasture-ground for his wide roaming. From these 
five points start five main roads, crossing the State 
from east to west. Like her five principal rivers, 
they are about equi-distant from, and in the main 
parallel to, each other. Two of them already 
form the Iowa links in the great Pacific Route, and 
others are pressing on. Meantime, from north to 
south, roads are projected, and parts of them com- 
pleted ; giving promise, at no distant day, of a rail- 
road system at once complete and adequate. In 
the aggregate, about fourteen hundred miles of 
railroad are already in operation, an extent nearly 
if not quite equal to all the railroads in the whole 
country twenty-five years ago. The whistle of the 
engine is fast becoming a familiar sound to the 
children of Iowa. 

The rivers, of course, have been bridged, and car- 
riage-roads have been made, as the necessities of 
the people have required. Twenty-five years ago, 
the only public buildings of Iowa were a rickety 
penitentiary and a very ordinary State House : 
now, all over the State are scattered her public 
institutions of all sorts, homes for the orphan, 
asylums for the blind, the insane, and the deaf and 
dumb. Her present Capitol stands in a city claim- 
ing a population of fifteen thousand, where, at the 
coming of the Band, there was but a fort, seldom 



reached, so far was it in the heart of the Indian 

In addition to her State University, whose 
annual income exceeds twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars, her Agricultural College generously endowed, 
and a system of common schools magnificently 
provided for, there are, among her citizens, schools 
and colleges established by Christian enterprise, 
already standing high among the best institutions 
of the land. 

Thus, as by magic, in a few years has the wilder- 
ness been peopled. That profound sleep in which, 
when the first Congregational minister gazed upon 
it, the whole region seemed wrapped, has been 
broken. Towns, villages, cities, have sprung up, 
where, but a little while ago, no trace of civilization 
was visible. With all this growth, giving life and 
vitality td it, have sprung up churches of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. We will not speak of these now ; but, 
when in the proper place we do, we shall find that 
here the tens have given place to hundreds, and 
hundreds to thousands. 

Twenty-five years ago, Iowa was almost un- 
known, and its character a blank : now its fame is 
at once world-wide and enviable. Then it was 
only a frontier Territory, containing, in the eye of 
the nation, but a few scattered homes of wild 
adventurers : now it is a State ; and a State, too, of 
no mean rank in the centre of States. Welcoming, 
from the first, to her soil the principles of educa- 


tion, liberty, and religion that have travelled west- 
ward from the land of the Pilgrims ; sending them, 
in due time, to the opening plains of Kansas and 
Nebraska ; saying to the dark spirit of the South, 
that was- ever struggling to press its way north- 
ward, " Thus far and no farther; " joining hands, in 
the mean time, with her sister States of the North 
and the North-west in a friendly rivalry to develop 
and protect every noble interest and true, she 
stands forth with the proud inscription already on 
her brow, " The Massachusetts of the West," an 
inscription placed there, not as in self-glorying, by 
her Own sons, but by friends abroad, as they have 
seen the freedom of her people, her schools, and 
her churches, watched the integrity and wisdom of 
her legislators, felt her power in the councils of 
the nation, and especially as they have marked her 
noble record in the hour of the nation's peril. 

She was ever* prompt with her full quota of men 
and means, and ever mindful of her soldiers in the 
field and their families at home. Of all her sister 
States, none were more lavish in these respects than 
she ; and yet she was the only one of them all to 
come out at the close of the war with her liabilities 
cancelled, and free of debt. Nor has she since been 
untrue to the character then earned : she has made 
the path of freedom broad enough to include all 
her citizens ; and, in every case in which these 
United States have been called to pronounce upon 
any of the issues of the times, she has stood 


shoulder to shoulder on the side of progress with 
the noblest of them all. Such is the Iowa of to- 
day. Looking at things as they now are, we can 
hardly believe that they are the outgrowth of the 
things few and feeble of twenty-five years ago. But 
so it is. There have been causes for this. Where 
and what are they ? 



THE growth of a State, free and mighty, as are 
those of the North-west is a grand event. It 
stands forth as the result, not of one cause, but of 
a thousand. Prominent among them, to say the 
least, is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of 
God to man by his Son. It is the preaching of 
this gospel, with the influences and institutions it 
includes, that, entering into the individual, domes- 
tic, social, and civil life, gives character and pros- 
perity to the State. To prove a proposition like 
this is no part of the present object ; nor, with the 
history of our country before us, is it needful. It 
is to the preachers, teachers, and upholders of the 
gospel in Iowa, we are bold to affirm, that she is in 
no small degree indebted for what she is. 

Somewhat prominent among these are the Con- 
gregational ministers and churches of the State. 
With here and there an exception, these churches 
have all felt the fostering care of the American 
Home Missionary Society, a society which is 
more than its president, its executive committee, and 
its secretaries. Be it ours, then, in this chapter, to set 
forth the workers here ; not the home missionaries 


only, but their helpers also, all who have given or 
prayed in aid of this work, or sympathized with 
them in it. If home missions can show a record 
of honor in Iowa, let the honor be shared by all 
who should participate in it, and let the joys of it 
be wide-spread and mutual. 

The grand central figure, however, around which 
the picture must be drawn is the home missionary 
himself. Look at him as he is, or rather as he was, 
twenty-five years ago. We have a young man with- 
out family, and, with possibly here and there an 
exception, without friends, in the new territory to 
which he has come. His property inventories a few 
books, the clothes he wears, his trusty horse, and a 
debt at the seminary. On a beautiful morning, as 
beautiful as the light, which is glorious, and the air, 
which is bracing, can make it, he is riding out from 
his home, over the prairies, into the surrounding 
settlements. He is in the ardor of youth ; yet all 
things just now seem neither very bright, beauti- 
ful, nor hopeful. The prairies, at first so fascinat- 
ing in their novelty, by familiarity have grown 
tame and unattractive. They are now actually 
dreary, with their verdure stiffened by the frosts of 
autumn, or burned to blackness by autumnal fires. 

The poetry of Western life and home mission- 
ary labor is fast changing to fact. The fires of a 
new experience are passing over him. What won- 
der now if his ride be somewhat lonely, and his 
thoughts flow in a serious, almost saddened mood, 
as he queries with himself, 


" What do I here ? I came here to preach ; but 
there are no meeting-houses and no churches. But 
few people care about my coming, going, or staying. 
Among them all, who is there to lean upon ? Noth- 
ing is organized. The materials are heterogeneous 
and discordant. There are no counsellors near, no 
precedents, no established customs. With some 
denominations there are set rules and directions ; 
the way is marked out : this is of some advantage, 
at least. Some denominations, too, are popular : 
mine is not ; is, indeed, but little known, and many 
are prejudiced against it. I am to work here alone. 
In case of sickness, or general failure of health, 
what then ? Foreign missionaries are provided for 
in this respect, but home missionaries are not. 
Who is so little supported from without as a home 
missionary ? Who is put so much upon his self- 
reliance ? And on whom does the whole work in 
which he is engaged so hang ? And now, an inexpe- 
rienced youth, what do I here ? What is my life- 
work to be ? " 

Oh, from the depths of how many hearts have 
these questions come up here in Iowa, and in all 
the newer missionary-fields of the West! How 
often, having left home and friends, church- 
steeples, and the sound of church-going bells, be- 
hind him, and gone towards the setting sun till he 
found himself single-handed and alone on the very 
frontiers of civilization, has the home missionary 
in perplexity asked, " What do I here ? " And 
how often has the question found an answer in 


some moment of loneliness and sadness, when, in 
the absence of all human stays and sympathies, 
the soul has been thrown upon God, and, for the 
time, the whole being, the whole world even, has 
become as the holy of holies, filled with the di- 
vine presence ! 

Then it is seen that there is work enough any- 
where ; and there is faith and courage to do it. It 
is thus that to the lonely missionary-rider there 
springs up a light, and visions brighter than the 
brightness of the morning. God never seemed in 
his fulness to fill all things more than now in the 
surrounding solitudes. In a few years he sees that 
the virgin soil around him, with as yet no trace 
upon it save here and there a bridle-path, is to take 
on the fruits of husbandry and toil ; homes are 
soon to cover it ; the silent forest is to be peopled, 
and the rivers' banks are to be thronged with arti- 
sans. For the people's need, for the glory of God, 
and that the land may be Christ's, he sees that 
spiritual seed must here be sown, and spiritual 
harvests reaped. " Here," he exclaims, " is my 
work ! With God for my counsellor, and taking 
the customs, precedents, and rules of his Word for 
my guide, here will I live and labor, and here will 
I die." 

Yes, noble Iowa, many are the germs of life- 
labor that thus have been set wrthin thee ! Out of 
them, many are the years of patient toil and work 
that have been given thee by those who brought 
salvation on their tongues, whose feet trod the rude 


dwellings of thy pioneers, who, in the ruder school- 
houses, first gathered thy children together to teach 
them the ways of the Lord, and whose very lives 
have flowed out into the Industry, the thrift, the 
virtue, and the integrity, of thy people. When as a 
young man thou rejoicest in thy strength, forget 
not by what powers thy sinews have been knit ; 
from whom, in a measure at least, the currents of 
thy life have been fed. 

Iowa owes ' a debt even to the humble home- 
missionary : but not to him alone ; for with him, 
in him, and through him, she has felt the power 
of thousands besides. That missionary entered 
upon his work with a commission, a business-like 
document, sending him out, perhaps, to find a field, 
or a place in which to make one ; drawing out, some- 
what in detail, the nature of the duties enjoined, 
with the requisition of quarterly reports to be 
made, and the promise of pecuniary aid in a certain 
sum stipulated : all duly signed by accredited 
agents, the Secretaries of the Home Missionary 
Society. Accordingly, laboring through the months 
of the first quarter, hunting up the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel, sowing seed as he may beside 
all waters, with somewhat of trembling at the little 
accomplished, he makes his first report, and labors 

In due time, by the tri-weekly or bi-weekly mail, 
there comes to him a letter with the Society's 
imprint, the first from New York. The twenty- 
five cents of postage are paid, and the seal broken. 


There before him is his first missionary draft, 
good, in the old times, as so much gold. It seems 
to him as almost sacred ; for whence comes it ? Of 
the West he has heard from his youth. He 
knows how the old folks at home, the fathers and 
the mothers, the brothers and the sisters too, are 
praying and giving for the West ; and now he is 
here, an almoner of their bounties. Through him 
is the answer of their prayers to find a channel : a 
new tie is felt between him and them. 

These are allies in the work, recognized now as 
never before. He must be faithful at his post, to 
the duties of which he commits himself with a new 
consecration. This is not all. That first letter is 
no mere off-hand business-note, with the simple 
authority to draw so much money. There is 
appended a message of cheer, of warm Christian 
greeting and encouragement. That message by the 
secretary's own pen is as the hand grasp of a friend. 
By it, henceforth, the youthful laborer feels that 
there are indeed loving human sympathies with 
him, as he stands in this holy brotherhood of the 
mission-work. He as a home-missionary, the sec- 
retaries, the patrons of the Society, those who give 
and pray, all are as one, and in one work. 

Yes, ye donors, ye men of wealth who have 
given your thousands, ye widows in Israel who 
have brought your two mites, all ye who have given 
or prayed, in all the fruits of home-missions at 
the West, you are sharers. 

And you who with noble hearts have stood be- 


tween the givers and the workers, allow us who 
once were young, and now look back upon our 
quarter-century labors, to give expression to the 
debt of gratitude we owe to you, and especially to 
the senior among you, then in the prime of his 
life, and still faithful at his post. Could his brief 
messages of cheer in missionary correspondence, 
scattered all over Iowa in her earlier days, be 
gathered together, what a volume they would 
make ! Could it but be seen what courage and 
energy they inspired, how rich a reward would 
there be in it for him ! 

We do not wonder that our wives have said, in 
passing through the commercial metropolis, that 
" they would rather see Dr. Badger's face than any 
thing else in New York." Nor will we forget his 
noble colleague of the earlier days, now gone to 
his reward. Go on then, brethren at the Home 
Missionary Rooms, in these words of your cheer. 
You little know what power there is in them some- 
times in the hearts and homes of those at the out- 
posts of home-missionary toil. 

Pass on a few years in the young missionary's 
career, and look again. Like others, he finds it not 
good to be alone. He takes a wife, begins a home. 
Children are in the household. The actual neces- 
saries of life draw hard upon a scanty income. 
Sometimes the burdens of sickness or misfortune 
are added. In spite of clerical financiering, and 
there is no better in the world, things are going 


But something is rolled up to the door. It is a 
barrel or box ; nothing more, nothing less. Few 
things just now could be more ; for it is a " mission- 
ary box." Roll it in, and take off the cover. Out 
comes a dress or a cloak ; here a vest, and there a 
coat ; bundles of nice warm flannel ; little dresses, 
little stockings and tiny shoes, and toys even, for 
the youngest of the household ; an old hat and old 
bonnets sometimes, strange that such things 
should be sent ! 

A real relief is that box ; for almost eyery thing 
is in it, many comforts, and often some luxuries 
and adornments, that make the prairie-home 
brighter and more cheerful for months. Winter 
may come now. The lean, lank wallet may swell 
out a little ; for less frequent now will be the drafts 
upon it. Real gala-scenes sometimes attend the 
opening-of these boxes, when the quiet study takes 
on the air of a dry-goods room or a clothing-store, 
when each is seeking to make out a suit for him- 
self, and try it on. 

Willie, with the cap adjusted and jacket on, is 
tugging at the shoes, and Kate at the stockings, 
while the mother is busy with the shawl, gloves, &c. 

Of course, every thing in the box does not fit at 
first, though afterwards generally made to ; and 
somewhat grotesque are the figures arrayed in each 
other's presence, to the merriment of all. 

But hush ! The articles are all taken off, folded 
up, and laid aside ; the little ones are made to 
understand that they are gifts from kind friends far 


away : and then there is a kneeling down around 
that box, God is thanked, and blessings invoked on 
the donors. Nor is a new consecration to the 
mission-work forgotten. 

Yes, ye far-off mothers, sisters, ye, too, are 
workers here. By the busy stitches that bound 
these garments together, not only were your hearts 
bound more closely to the missionary cause, but the 
hearts of the missionaries were bound to it more 
closely as well. By these, in part, have the East and 
the West been bound together in the fellowship of 
workers in a common Christian cause. They 
have also furnished a few threads, at least, in that 
web of national sympathy by which the East and 
the West and the North and the South are indis- 
solubly one. 

At every step of our young home missionary in 
his progressive work, he finds co-workers in it. 
He goes into his little Sabbath schools, presenting 
books and pictures to a group of children with 
bright eyes and happy faces. They are the gift of 
Eastern friends. As the little flock of his gathering 
are at the communion-table, he sees the pitcher and 
tumbler giving place to a communion-set. This 
comes, perhaps, from his own old home church. In 
due time, another point is gained ; and a happy day 
is it when a house of worship is secured, a sanc- 
tuary of God, a home for* the church. Here, too, 
help has come from abroad. How large the circle, 
how numerous the company, engaged in this mis- 
sionary work ! 



But we must not forget the missionary's helpers 
in the field. We refer now not to his brethren in 
the ministry merely, to whom he is daily growing 
more and more attached by the sympathies of a 
common cause and service, but to the faithful few 
he finds among his own little flock, and the choice 
spirits, also, in the flocks of his brethren. Rare 
men and women there were and are in these mis- 
sionary churches. What good days those were of 
old, when the brethren all knew each other, 
and when the churches knew each other too, 
somewhat ; when we could travel over all the 
fields, and find a welcome everywhere from home 
to home ! With such co-workers has our home- 
missionary labored on from youth to age. Laborers 
have increased ; churches have multiplied, and in 
them co-workers not a few. Again we say, in all 
that has been accomplished, " honor to whom 
honor ; " and, with thanks to God for all, let all 



HOW genial and wide-spread, in the spring and 
summer time, are the influences of sun and 
showers ! In autumn we gather in the harvests, 
and reckon up their sum. But have we, in the so 
many bushels of corn or wheat, more or less, a 
measure of what the sun and showers have done ? 
What facts and figures are of use here ? 

Like sun and showers are gospel influences in a 
State, as they flow along the channels of individual, 
domestic, and social life. The effects produced are 
quite as much unseen as seen. They are such as 
no words can compass. Human language cannot 
set them forth. To attempt, therefore, to point out, 
in the form of definite and tangible results, what 
home-missions have done in Iowa may prejudice 
rather than promote our object. It were safer, per- 
haps, to content ourselves with the general im- 
pression given from the view we have taken of the 
workers and their field. 

Nevertheless we will venture, as to a few points, 
upon a closer view ; yet so as by the facts and 
figures to be reminded constantly quite as much of 
the things not told as of those that are. We will 


begin with a novel scene, novel indeed for Iowa, 
and rare even for any State. 

On the 1 8th of November, 1868, in one of the 
busy cities on the bank of the Mississippi, there 
was a great gathering at the house of a pastor, one 
of the Band. Within that modest dwelling, children 
had grown up around him ; about him now were 
his flock, parishioners, friends, and neighbors, 
the largest social gathering the city had ever seen ; 
by his side stood one, not the first to share his joys 
and sorrows as wife and companion, but for many 
years his helpmeet indeed, the fruitage of whose 
exemplary life of prayerful, earnest toil was in the 
scene around her. With him, too, were gathered a 
few here a brother, and there a sister of those 
who, twenty-five years ago, were with him at the 
beginning of things. The silver wedding, they 
called it,. and fitly, of pastor and people. 

It was easy now to speak of incidents and dates, 
to call up facts and figures, to set the present mem- 
bership of the church of two hundred, and the 
total membership from the beginning of three hun- 
dred and fifty-five, over against the little band of 
twenty-six who first composed it ; and to set in 
array the figures showing the twenty-four thousand 
dollars contributed to benevolent purposes during 
the last twenty years. It was easy to contrast the 
present house of worship with the first one built, 
the little brick at the top of the hill, among the 
stumps, in the erection of which, after pockets 
were empty, the brethren brought their bodies to 


the work, with hod in hand, carrying brick and 

It was easy to go back of this to the old court- 
house, where the meetings first were held, and then 
to fill up this space of twenty-five years with 
pleasing incidents of revival scenes recalled, and 
manifold changes wrought. Easy indeed was all 
this ; and rich and rare was the book of chroni- 
cles opened that night by the pastor among his 

But all that was said, all that was thought or 
conceived of, by any or all, what was it in com- 
parison with the true history of the twenty-five 
years there under review ? To give that history, one 
must trace the workings of prayers and prayer- 
meetings, even those little church prayer-meet- 
ings of the olden times there, held in the after- 
noon, because one of the three brethren who 
were to sustain them lived five miles out in the 
country. He must tell the story of the sermons 
from week to week prayed over, studied, and 
preached ; of the good seed sown, in what hearts 
it took root, and how it grew. He must tell how 
children grew up, were trained and moulded by 
church and Sabbath school ; what souls were born 
into the kingdom of Christ in the progress of the 
years. He must relate the history of those souls 
in their Christian development in this world, and 
tell how some who have gone over the river were 
fashioned and ripened for heaven. He must por- 
tray the days of anxiety and solicitude on the part 


of both pastor and people in days of weakness, 
when that church was among the little home-mis- 
sionary churches of Iowa. He must show what 
was the part of each and all the home-mission 
workers, who, by their prayers, labors, gifts, and 
sympathies, sustained it, till, by the blessing of God, 
its liberty and Christ loving principles were trium- 
phant, and it became a tower of strength among 
sister churches in the State. 

But, if such things as these are to be fully and 
truthfully told, who is to be the chronicler ? And 
yet nothing short of this, and more than this, 
would be a complete history. Over and above the 
few facts and figures which we can put down in 
connection with the history of any one church, as 
the results of home-missions in Iowa, there are. in 
the divine mind, and as eternity will reveal them, 
other results just as definite and tangible, greater, 
and more in number, that no human pen can record. 
To that silver-wedding scene of pastor and people, 
with all its hallowed associations and precious 
memories, we point as one of our results. And as 
with this church, so with others scattered over 
the State. Not that each church is as strong as 
this : a few are as strong or stronger ; many are 
weaker. Not that every pastor can look back upon 
his quarter-century labors in the same field ; but 
wherever churches have been planted, and gospel 
ordinances maintained, a like process, as to its 
general features, has been going on. 

We have now reached a point where figures 


begin to be significant. When the pastor of 
whose silver wedding we have spoken began to 
labor with his little home-missionary church twenty- 
five years ago, and looked round for his immediate 
allies and co-workers, there were in the Territory, 
of his denomination, sixteen ministers and six- 
teen churches, with an aggregate membership of 
four hundred and twenty-two. Among them all 
there was but one house of worship, built and used 
expressly as such: now (1870) there are one hun- 
dred and eighty-one ministers, and one hundred 
and eighty-nine churches, with a membership of 
about ten thousand. 

These churches are well supplied, for a new 
country, with houses of worship, some of which 
are among the finest structures in the State. They 
are located mainly in the principal centres of popu- 
lation and trade, places, in this respect, like those 
in which Paul first preached the gospel. . They em- 
brace, to say the least, their proportionate share of 
the commanding forces of society. These churches, 
as a general thing, are alive and vigorous. 

The amount of money raised by them during 
the year ending June, 1869, for home purposes and 
benevolent objects abroad, was one hundred and 
thirty-six thousand four hundred and five dollars ; 
and was equal to an average of sixteen dollars to 
every resident church member. Of these churches 
all but four were planted by, and have been nur- 
tured through, the agency of the American Home 
Missionary Society. 


But let us not dwell too long among mere statis- 
tics. Keeping in mind the one hundred and eighty- 
nine churches now scattered over the State, as the 
fruits of, and the fruit-bearing vines planted by, the 
Home Missionary Society, let us indicate a few 
facts illustrative of their significance and value. 

The local church is the laboring point in the 
kingdom of God. Where the local church is 
vigorous and active, it includes every form of wise 
Christian labor. Were the world to be converted 
by public gatherings in associations and conven- 
tions, by public councils and resolves, the work 
were easily done. But little is accomplished by 
these, useful as they are in their place, save as those 
who share in them go back to the home churches, 
where by prayer and by work the seed of the king- 
dom is to be sown among the people. Here, where 
the gospel is preached and its ordinances are 
maintained, where the light shines and the gos- 
pel leaven is at work in households, Sabbath 
schools, congregations, and society at large, are the 
working centres of Christianity. 

Here, too, are the laborers for Christ who are to 
go forth into other fields, bearing precious seed 
with them. From these Iowa churches such 
laborers have gone forth to the East and the West 
and the South and to the isles of the sea. Some 
of our missionaries abroad to-day were raised up 
in the bosom of these churches, and others are 
preparing to follow. For the promotion of Christ's 
kingdom in the land, we have various organiza- 


tions, Bible societies, tract societies, Sabbath- 
school societies, and the like. But who does not 
know, that, the moment a home-missionary enters a 
field, he is almost compelled by the force of circum- 
stances to be a Bible agent, a tract agent, a Sabbath- 
school agent, and the agent and actor in every form 
of effort by which Christian work is to be done ? 

We hear often and much as to its being the 
province of certain agencies to go in advance of 
the churches ; but we never yet heard of a great 
battle won by skirmishers. All due honor to any 
body and any agency that can do good in any 
measure and anywhere ; but let us not forget to 
recognize the wisdom of the divine plans in accord- 
ance with which every thing effective in the king- 
dom of God must spring^ from and be nourished 
by "the church of the living God, which is the 
pillar and ground of the truth." So shall we honor 
that Society, which, in the planting of churches, 
in a sense absorbs and carries in itself all Christian 

In estimating the influence of these churches 
in Iowa, we must not forget the revivals of reli- 
gion included in their history. When God in vari- 
ous ways' so wonderfully prepared this nation 
for the fearful struggle through which it has 
recently passed, by abundant harvests and general 
financial success, he also scattered over the land 
numerous and powerful revivals of religion, through 
which, in part at least, a moral sentiment was 
created, adequate to cope with the powers of op- 


pression, and to endure in the struggle. In our 
accounts of revivals, we say, So many were con- 
verted, so many have joined the church ; as though 
this were the whole of it : but here, as elsewhere, 
figures fail to tell the story. Follow those truly 
converted through their life-work ; see in the ele- 
vation and development of Christian character, in 
the changes wrought in many homes, in society, in 
trades, professions, and the various callings of life, 
the influence of genuine revivals of religion ; and 
then you may begin to estimate them. So we shall 
see how the Congregational churches of Iowa, and 
those of all denominations, have been blessed, and 
made a blessing to the State, by the outpourings of 
God's reviving spirit. * 

We should do injustice, in speaking of the results 
of home-missions in Iowa, did we fail to mention, 
that to these home-mission churches is the country 
largely indebted for the stand taken and the ser- 
vices rendered by this new and rising State in the 
hour of our common national peril. What these 
were, we need not tell. They are known and read 
of all men. It might have been otherwise. 

Once, when, in the Territorial Legislature, the 
question of the admission or rejection of slavery 
was discussed, liberty barely triumphed. The por- 
tions of the State earliest and most thickly settled 
received a population largely imbued with Southern 
feeling and Southern sentiment. Any open oppo- 
sition to human bondage was decidedly unpopular. 
Our little churches found themselves amid uncon- 


genial elements. They were stigmatized as aboli- 
tion churches. Their ministers were some of them 
threatened with violence ; but they stood faithful, 
espousing from the first, and ever pleading, the cause 
of human rights. 

A change was wrought ; and Iowa is honored the 
country over, as true to the cause of freedom. To 
what extent this fact is due to the churches that 
gathered to their bosoms the descendants of the 
Pilgrims, who had made new homes on her soil, 
and lifted aloft the standard of a liberty-giving gos- 
pel, may never be definitely known ; for here, 
again, facts and figures fail us. But we know, that 
when men were called for, and armies were to be 
raised, one out of every four of their ministers sent 
a son, nearly every fourth of their adult male mem- 
bers enlisted, and, from their congregations, two 
thousand went forth to the conflict. Of those who 
went from their communion-tables, one third never 
returned. In the councils of the nation, too, was 
their influence felt. Of this we are assured, when, 
during the war, there stood among us one holding 
one of the highest positions of trust in the gift of 
the State, one whose voice in both state and na- 
tional councils had always been true and potent for 
liberty, who frankly affirmed, that, in respect to his 
political principles, he owed more to the body of 
men before him than any other, and, at the same 
time, his political godfather to be him who was 
honored with the title of " Father " among us. 

We shall not be charged with undue presumption 


if we say a word here of the modifying influence 
exerted upon other denominations. As Congrega- 
tionalists, we are neither bigoted nor vain enough 
to feel that all excellence or wisdom is with us. We 
set up no claim to perfection. Our Western lives 
have taught us better. As we now see it, each de- 
nomination of true believers has its own peculiar 
excellence, around which it grows, and from which* 
it has whatever is peculiar to its life. The several 
evangelical denominations, working side by side in 
this open field, inevitably affect each other. They 
give to and borrow from each other. No one of 
them in the future is to be just what it would have 
been by itself. That future will not, cannot be 
just what any one of them alone would have made 
it. It is to be better than this, and each denomina- 
tion is to be the better for the others. 

The modifying influence which the denomina- 
tions mutually exert is too marked to escape the 
notice of any. Let it go on. We believe they are 
doing each other good. In this direction should 
the friends of missions look for a portion, at least, of 
the results of this labor ; for there is no danger that 
the influence of the polity and principles of the 
Congregational churches will be too strong amid 
the farming influences of the West. There is a 
need of them, and let the need be supplied. 

If any thing more is needed in this chapter of 
results to inspire the feeling that this work of home- 
missions pays, we have only to remember that those 
churches are young and vigorous, and in a growing 


field. In a few years, other churches than that 
already referred to, other pastors, will be having 
their silver 'weddings ; year by year, additional ones 
will be coming up to the point of self-support, and 
pass on in their growth. New ones, betimes, will be 
planted. In God's husbandry, how soon is it per- 
petual sunshine and shower, seed-time and harvest, 
commingled ! 

The sheaves are in our arms, and the tender 
grain at the same time is springing at our feet. 
Centuries in God's seasons are but days, quarter- 
centuries but hours. For what we have already 
seen, let God be thanked. In following chapters 
we shall meet with still further results, which, with 
those that have been named, are but the seeds of 
the future. 




IT is interesting to see with what boldness and 
independence a few home-missionaries, when 
they get together, will start and lay out plans in the 
West. It is all natural enough ; for a sense of the 
surrounding growth and progress soon takes pos- 
session of the Western man. In all arrangements 
for the future this is anticipated, and room for it 
carefully made. So it comes that some little 
church in an ordinary village bears the name of 
The First Congregational Church of such a place. 
One, indeed, sometimes almost, smiles at the com- 
prehensive and imposing titles with which some 
little organization is at the first burdened. But it 
should be remembered that the actors have an eye 
to things as they are to be, not as they are. If they 
start with large titles and plans, it is because they 
have confidence that things will soon grow up to 

Thus it was, that, in Denmark, as early as Nov. 
6, 1 840, when, as yet, the State had hardly begun to 
be settled, the General Congregational Association 
of Iowa was organized, consisting of three churches, 
three ministers, and one licentiate. It may not be 


amiss to give their names. The churches were 
those of Denmark, Fairfield, and Danville, with an 
aggregate membership of one hundred and fifty- 
four ; the ministers were Asa Turner, J. A. Reed, 
R. Gaylord ; and Charles Burnham, licentiate. The 
first two are still members of the Association, wit- 
nessing from year to year the fulfilment of their 
prophecy in the name they gave it ; the third, 
years ago, pitched his pioneer tent on the western 
bank of the Missouri, to be an actor in like prophe- 
cies and fulfilments in a still more western State. 

The Association thus formed held its meetings 
semi-annually, in spring and autumn, till October, 
1844. At this time, minor associations, by its 
recommendation, were formed, to hold their meet- 
ings semi-annually ; and its own meetings began 
to be held once a year. The minor associations 
now number twelve. To these belong ordained 
ministers, and churches represented by delegates. 
Ministers and churches of the minor bodies are 
acknowledged members of the General Association ; 
making this, to all intents and purposes, an annual 
gathering of the churches, for the exercise of no 
ecclesiastical rule, but, as expressed in the second 
article of its constitution, "to promote intercourse 
and harmony among the ministers and churches in 
its connection, to disseminate information relative 
to the state of religion, and enable its members 
to co-operate with one another, and with other 
ecclesiastical bodies, in advancing the, cause of the 


The spirit and proceedings of the annual meet- 
ings of this body, if faithfully given, would, of course, 
reveal much of the inner workings and progress of 
missionary and ministerial life in Iowa. Among 
the most pleasing recollections of the writer are 
those of a long series of these yearly gatherings ; 
for, since 1844, it has been his privilege to be pres- 
ent, with a single exception, at all of them. This 
exception occurred when the shadow of the death- 
angel was hanging over his dwelling. The printed 
minutes of the Association for the last twenty 
years are before him ; and from these, and the 
storehouse of his memory, let a few things be 

There meets us, in the outset, a little testimony 
touching the soundness in doctrine of these 
churches and ministers, as found in the articles 
of faith .adopted at the beginning, and ever since 
retained. In the early days, this soundness was not 
always conceded to us. Not only were our churches 
stigmatized in certain quarters as " abolition," but 
heretical. They were denounced as unsound and 
irregular : an exchange of pulpits, even such pulpits 
as were found in schoolhouses and court-houses, was 
in some cases refused. 

"Congregationalism tends to Unitarianism" 
was the whisper industriously circulated. When 
this was nailed to the wall by an appeal to the true 
history of Congregationalism in New England, the 
shift was, " Congregationalism at the West is not 
what it is in the East." " It is all right there, but 


out here it is loose and irregular " was the charge ; 
and, to our chagrin, it was partly believed, even at 
the East. When we most needed confidence and 
sympathy, there was, in some quarters, somewhat 
of coldness and distrust. Among some of the 
good Eastern fathers, to whom appertained, as they 
seemed to think, the steadying of the ark, was the 
feeling that hardly any good thing could come from 
the West. 

But these things have passed away. Our prac- 
tice since has confirmed our professions at the 
first. We have long been recognized, fellowshipped 
at the East, as sound in the faith. But for the 
savor of boasting in it, we might have mentioned 
the present standing of Western Congregationalism, 
and the present fellowship between the Eastern 
and the Western, as, in part, at least, among the 
results of Iowa home-missions. 

In view of what has now been said, it can easily 
be seen how correspondence with Eastern bodies 
by delegates was appreciated. It is appreciated 
now ; but in former days it had a more precious sig- 
nificance. At first we were few in number, coming 
from fields new and widely separated. We made 
provision for a seat with us of delegates from foreign 
bodies, which were then mainly in the East. Iso- 
lated as we were, and in our peculiar circumstances, 
it was joyous to see each others' faces ; but for 
years no living man from the far East found us in 
our distant home. 

At length there came one, a godly man from 


Maine. He was acquainted with some of our num- 
ber in their youth, and, of course, had confidence in 
them. As he looked in upon us, and was among 
us in our prayers, our plans, and our labors, his 
heart was moved. He took us to his bosom. He 
poured forth his prayers for us, and gave his coun- 
sels to us. He promised to take us back with him 
in his heart, and commend us to the confidence of 
the old home churches. That was Christian saluta- 
tion and fellowship indeed ! In later years there 
would sometimes be one, sometimes two. Their 
names stand recorded upon our minutes. Some 
of them have gone to the greater gathering above ; 
but their faces and their words are still fresh in our 
memories. Those were the days in which Chris- 
tian greetings were precious. In these later times, 
in our printed lists, the names of delegates, secre- 
ries, etc,, are not a few, and our body sometimes 
puts on quite an imposing aspect ; but those who 
come now are not to us exactly what the first and 
the few in the early days were. 

As would be naturally supposed, the meetings of 
our Association have been characterized by a high 
degree of Christian love and harmony. Many things 
have combined to make them so. In earlier 
years, the majority of our number were old friends 
and classmates. They had happily coalesced 
with those on the field before them. Others 
coming, as happily became one with them all. So 
it came to pass that there was a unity of sentiment, 
purpose, and plan, unusual in a Western body ; 


while the early friendships and affections formed, 
combined with the peculiar circumstances of a new 
country and new fields, gave to the meetings such 
zest and earnest Christian fellowships as would 
hardly be looked for, and would seem almost rude, 
in an Eastern body. " The best of all," said a 
daughter of one of the missionaries, when old 
enough to attend one of these meetings, "the 
best of all was to see them shake hands, the 
first night, after the sermon." If some of the older 
ministers should be called upon to give some of 
their happiest reminiscences, they would not forget 
their journeys of a hundred or two hundred miles, 
to and from the Association, and of the pleasing 
incidents met with while in attendance. One 
could tell you that he went on foot nearly two 
hundred miles, and felt paid for the journey. 
Others can remember long horseback rides, the 
fording of streams, and the rude yet genial enter- 
tainment at night in the log-cabin by the way, 
whose latch-string was always out. When buggies 
were introduced, and bridges began to be built, it 
was an "age of progress." 

In the business of these meetings, seldom has 
there been a jar of angry debate or strife in all 
these twenty-five years. Differences of opinion 
have of course, been expressed, but with Christian 
courtesy ; and, in the decisions that have been 
reached, care has been taken that the views of 
all should, as far as possible, be regarded. If it 
is good for " brethren to dwell together in unity," 


in looking back through the long series of these 
annual meetings, there is little to regret, and much 
to be recalled with pleasure. 

They have been characterized by a spirit of 
prayer and devotion. For years, the first evening 
was spent in prayer for the presence of the Master. 
The need of his presence was peculiarly felt in the 
early days. Experience soon taught that a meeting 
of friendly greetings simply, without the presence 
and spirit of Christ, must be a failure. The prac- 
tice of an opening sermon soon crowded out this 
hour of prayer on the first evening ; but it found, 
perhaps, a better place. It was put, and has stood 
for years, in the middle of the forenoon of each 
day's session. There it takes the freshness of the 
morning. It is the hour, if any, that friends in the 
place can spare to pray with their guests. Though 
interrupting business, it steadies it for the day. It 
gives tone to the exercises of the whole meeting. 
It is the hour of all others in which all wish to be 
present. With no pride, but with joy, we see that 
this practice of putting an hour of prayer into the 
best part of the day has in some cases been copied 
by other religious bodies. It can be recommended 
to all. 

Among the best features of these annual gather- 
ings has been the attendance of the wives. This 
was especially true in the early times. And why 
not ? As the brother got up his horse and buggy to 
start on his journey of a hundred miles or so, along 
which he would find other brethren to start with 


him, why should he go alone ? Why not take 
along his young wife, and their one child ? Will 
not the journey, and the visits by the way, be just as 
refreshing to her as to him ? Is there not a com- 
munion of sisters, as well as of brethren ? The 
hallowed influences of these annual assemblies, 
are they not as needful and useful for the wives as 
the husbands ? At an early day, the general under- 
standing was, that the wives, too, should come. They 
did come, renewing old and forming new friend- 
ships, recounting the goodness of God in the past, 
and gathering new strength, hope, courage, and 
consecration, that made them better helpers in the 
home-mission work. 

If in this, too, other bodies have copied our exam- 
ple, we think no harm has come of it. But times 
have changed. Family cares have increased. 
Modes of travel have changed ; becoming more ex- 
peditious, but more costly too. The field has 
enlarged. Not every mother and wife can go now ; 
but the attendance of the sisters is still a feature 
of the Iowa Association, profitable alike to them, 
their companions, and the churches. They have 
their separate meetings for prayer ; while, in the 
regular hours of devotion, the volume of supplica- 
tion is increased by the silent uplifting of their 
hearts, with those of the brethren, to God. By 
the light of their cheerful faces, homes are opened 
to a more cordial hospitality ; they helping in many 
ways to make the meeting of the Association a 
pleasure and a blessing in any place where it is 


held. Often, in some house or hall, are social 
fellowships added to the religious. Acquaintances 
and friendships are formed, ties of affection are 
strengthened, and Christ's kingdom as well. 

Lest any one may think the picture is overdrawn 
by one who has for years been in and of them, let 
the testimony of a stranger, whose field of labor is 
at the East, but who came to us once, bearing the 
greetings of his brethren, be given. He says, " A 
few years ago, I had the privilege of attending the 
Annual Meeting of the General Association of 
Iowa. There are no more self-denying and faithful 
missionaries of Christ anywhere than were repre- 
sented there, the patriarchal ' Father Turner ' at 
the head, apparently the youngest of them all. How 
those weather-beaten men and women talked and 
prayed ! How they laid hold of each other, and 
of any casual stranger who might be present, with- 
out waiting for formal introduction, when the mod- 
erator announced that the time had arrived for the 
miscellaneous shaking of the hands all around the 
house ! How enthusiastically they united business 
and enjoyment! How tenderly they sang their 
parting hymn, standing together around the table 
where together they had partaken of the sacrament- 
al emblems of a Saviour's love, breaking forth spon- 
taneously into song during the sacramental feast ! " 
Those hymns, those songs, we may add, are all the 
sweeter because the voices of the wives are mingled 
in them. 

But let no one think that these Associational 


meetings consist only in the rhapsodies of Chris- 
tian fellowship, communion, and prayer. There is 
business too. The printed minutes furnish abun- 
dant evidence that another marked feature of the 
Iowa Association has been its prompt and decided 
action from time to time upon the vital questions 
of the day. On all such subjects as the Sabbath, 
intemperance, slavery, the Mexican war, the Rebel- 
lion, etc., its testimony has been given with no 
uncertain sound. Resolutions upon resolutions on 
these topics might be copied, were it necessary. 

Out of the necessities that have arisen in the 
practical working of things in this new field, this 
Association has initiated policies, and recommended 
measures, afterwards approved and adopted by the 
denomination throughout the land. More than 
one instance could be named ; but the most impor- 
tant is that of " church-building at the West." No 
wonder, that, by those on the ground, the absolute 
necessity of houses of worship should early be felt, 
and that it should be thought aid in building them, 
as well as in sustaining the gospel ministry, was 
wise policy. 

As early as 1845, more than twenty years ago, 
an able report was presented, recommending this 
policy to our Eastern friends. The policy was 
resisted. No place was found for the report by any 
of the leading papers. Our friends were fixed in 
the position, " If we help sustain your ministers, 
you must build your own churches." Six years 


later, another report was made, drawn by the same 
hand, re-affirming the old positions, with additional 
facts. This found a hearing. Other testimony, 
from other quarters, was of course given. Soon 
after came the Albany Convention, and then light 
began to dawn. Before the Albany fund, however, 
we had already our Iowa plan, and an Iowa fund in 
progress. Now the Congregational Union has this 
as its special work. 

No thanks in all this to us, and no cause for 
boasting. We only see in it, that God, by the force 
of circumstances, and the necessities developed by 
his providence, was teaching his people. If we 
do not, in some respects, have better plans and bet- 
ter churches in these Western fields than are found 
elsewhere, then woe be to us ; for in that case we 
must be dull scholars indeed. 

But we will not longer dwell on these pleasing 
recollections of our Associational meetings. The 
plans of those first three ministers were not too 
large, nor were their expectations visionary. They 
believed that there would be a General Congrega- 
tional Association of Iowa. As a realization of 
their faith, we have a body, we may modestly sug- 
gest, highly respectable as to numbers and talent, 
and characterized, we trust, by a goodly measure 
of Christian zeal and devotion, whose opinions and 
recommendations are of weight among its churches, 
and respected in the land. It is already so large 
as to suggest the coming necessity of a division. 


But "not till we are dead," say some of the oldest 
members : " we don't wish to see it." How long 
some of us are to labor, and what the necessities of 
the future are to be, God only knows. To him let 
there be given praise for the past, and in him let 
there be trust for the time to come. 




home-missionary is not only bold in his 
JL plans, but it is curious to see how, as by in- 
stinct, his plans run in certain directions. Given a 
Puritan descent, a Yankee training, and a sanctified 
culture in New-England institutions, and one may 
know beforehand, as to certain things at least, 
what he will be doing when first put into a new 
and Western field. 

" If each one of us can only plant one good per- 
manent church, and all together build a college, 
what a work that would be ! " So said one of the 
Band, as they were contemplating their Western 
work. So, too, had been thinking those already in 
the field ; for, at the close of one of the first meet- 
ings held at Denmark after the arrival of the 


Band, they were invited to tarry a few moments 
to listen to plans for founding a college. A little 
surprised were they, and not a little gratified. 

Here was the beginning of Iowa College. 
Thtfs far back in home-missions in Iowa must we 
go for its- inception. This mere seed, as it germi- 
nates, takes root, springs up, and grows, will develop 
still further, workers, workings, and results. Like 


many another Western college that is now a power 
and glory in the land, it took its start out of prayer 
and toil in the days of pioneer missionary labor. 
It strikes its roots back into the faith and self- 
denial of the early churches, taught by the min- 
isters to water it with their prayers and their gifts ; 
of its early teachers and professors, too, who con- 
sented to nurture it as a part of mission-work, 
and one involving in those days no less of self- 
denial and toil than any other. These are features 
in this institution, which, thank God, have not yet 
died out. To present a true view of this college, 
especially of its earlier history, will help to bind 
it anew to the affections of its friends ; and it may 
recommend it to the confidence of those whom 
God has enabled, and who love, to endow such 
institutions. It may inspire the feeling, that an 
institution so planted and nurtured must have the 
blessing of the Lord within it. 

But to draw the picture with each color and 
shading true to facts and experience is another 
of those things that by no human possibility 
can ever be done. From recollection and records 
a few things only can be given. After the meeting 
alluded to, nothing was done till the following 

March 12, 1844, a meeting of ministers and 
others "interested in founding a college" was 
held at Denmark, of course, for this was at that 
day the centre of all things. The plan proposed 
and approved was to find a tract of land subject 


to entry, in some good location, obtain funds for 
its purchase, and then sell it out in parcels at an 
advanced price to settlers favorable to the object ; 
thus securing an endowment for the institution, 
and a community in which it might prosper. A 
suitable location, therefore, was the first object. 
A committee of exploration was appointed, with 
power, when ready to report, to call another 
meeting. The call was issued for April 16, 1844, 
and embraced the Congregational and N. S. Pres- 
byterian ministers in the Territory, the most of 
whom were in attendance. So favorable was the 
report of the committee, and so unanimously were 
all previous plans approved, that the brethren 
resolved themselves at once into an association, 
under the title of " Iowa College Association," 
with suitable rules and regulations, and appointed 
an agent to go immediately to the East to obtain 
the necessary funds with which to pay for the land, 
agreeing by formal resolution to defray his ex- 
penses from their own scanty resources. 

It would not be of interest to mention in detail 
the precise date and circumstances of each suc- 
cessive meeting in respect to the enterprise thus 
started. It is sufficient to say, that this College 
Association took charge of it, until, in due time, it 
was committed to a board of Trustees empowered 
to fill its own vacancies, and add to its own 
number. The two denominations named were 
represented in due proportion in this board, and 
continued to be so represented, until, in process of 


time, from causes affecting their relations to. each 
other in the country at large, the practical 
interest of the Presbyterian brethren in the institu- 
tion diminished, and they gradually withdrew 
from its councils. Thus the college came to be 
exclusively, as in point of interest and support 
it had mainly been from the first, the foster-child 
of the Congregationalists ; and as such its history 
will be given. 

The agent, of whose appointment we have 
spoken, repaired at once to the East, going directly 
to Boston. But he was not to succeed. The 
College Society, so called for the sake of brevity, 
had just been formed, with a view of systematizing 
and regulating appeals at the Eastin behalf of 
Western colleges. 

Its friends, at a called meeting, disapproved of 
the plans of the agent, and recommended that a 
good location should be first secured, the best for a 
college, irrespective of other considerations ; that 
donations should be called for outright, a begin- 
ning be made, and that the institution trust to the 
patronage of the Society, and of friends whose 
liberal endowments could eventually be secured. 
It seemed like losing a grand opportunity ; but the 
agent returned. The Western brethren, with 
some reluctance, yet cordially, yielded to the judg- 
ment of their Eastern friends, some of whom had 
had experience in the West. 

What the result would have been had their 
plans been carried out, it is impossible, of course, 


to tell ; but, as they look now at one of the most 
flourishing inland towns of the State, upon one of 
our principal railroads, with its water-power, its 
timber, and its prairie, filled and surrounded by an 
enterprising population, right where it was pro- 
posed to purchase the college lands, they are 
wont to say to each other, "That is where we 
talked of starting our college. That is where, with 
a few dollars, we might once have started and 
endowed it. What would have been the outcome 
of a beginning there on the plan proposed, we do 
not know. There might have been success, there 
might have been failure. One thing is certain : the 
plan actually adopted involved beginning at the 
very lowest round of the ladder, whence every step 
upward was of necessity by the hardest." 

The thing was first to get a location, a loca- 
tion for- a college, without a dime besides, a cent 
even, or a promise, save as there was faith in 
prayer and toil. In a year or two, the minds of all 
were agreed upon a point, which, at that day, for 
ease of access and beauty of situation, stood forth 
without a rival. In 1846, it was voted to locate 
at Davenport, " provided the citizens would raise 
fourteen hundred dollars, and provide certain 
specified grounds for a location." Each individual, 
moreover, was to raise, if possible, one hundred 
dollars among his Eastern friends, or elsewhere. 
A board of trustees was at this time elected. 

This was the beginning of work, and much hard 
work, with slow progress. The next year, in 1 847, 


it is found that the citizens of Davenport have 
pledged thirteen hundred and sixty-two dollars and 
thirteen lots : otherwise little has been secured. 
The proposed location is secured, and instructions 
given* " to plan and erect a building, which shall be 
a permanent college-building, in good taste, and 
which, when enclosed, shall not exceed in cost the 
sum of two thousand dollars." 

One may smile at the idea of a permanent 
college-building in good taste, within the cost, when 
enclosed, of two thousand dollars : but that was a 
day of small things ; and where even this amount 
was to come from, none could tell. The trustees 
and members of the College Association pledged 
themselves to make up any deficiency there might 
be, not over six hundred dollars, a resolution to 
this effect having been unanimously adopted, and 
signed by each one present. Such was the care 
taken that all liabilities should be seasonably pro- 
vided for, and no debts incurred. The building 
was erected, and the bills paid. 

In November, 1848, a school was opened, under 
the charge of the Rev. E. Ripley, elected as professor 
of languages, with a salary of five hundred dollars 
a year. There were appropriate opening exercises, 
including an address and dedicatory prayer. It 
was a windy, wintry day. Not many were present ; 
but a few were there, with hearts of gratitude to 
God for all success hitherto in the enterprise 
wherein by faith was seen a college for Iowa. As 
the brethren met together in their homes, as they 


came to their annual association, they began to say 
" our college." They had need to say it ; for 
contingent expenses, salary, etc., far exceeded the 
amounts received for tuition. Besides, improve- 
ments must be made, and more teachers employed. 

Here began the years of anxiety and labor, 
teachers toiling, trustees planning, and the execu- 
tive committee trying to execute, meeting often, 
with much to be done, but never able to do it. 
When they could do nothing else, they could at 
least pray. So they worked and prayed and 
worked. Every year, as the churches came to- 
gether in their annual association, the story of the 
college was told, its wants rehearsed, and their 
prayers and alms besought. This was not without 

In 1849, there were subscribed for it four hundred 
and forty-two dollars and sixty-five cents, all but 
four of the subscribers being ministers ; and the 
minutes of that year show the whole number of 
ministers to have been twenty-one. In 1850, at 
the meeting of the association in Dubuque, there 
were reported, besides the preparatory department, 
twenty-eight students in Latin, eight in Greek. 
There, too, it was told how the baptism of the 
Spirit had been sent down upon the infant college, 
as the seal of God's approval. There,, also, was 
reported the first noonday prayer-meeting of the 
students, a meeting, which, with little interruption, 
has been kept up to this day, while many succeed- 
ing revivals have been enjoyed. As the old tale of 


pecuniary embarrassment was there told, hearts 
were opened for relief, and four hundred and fifty 
dollars were pledged. In the minutes of that 
meeting it stands recorded that " the wives, also, 
of the ministers, anxious to share in the enterprise 
of founding this college, resolved to raise a hun- 
dred dollars out of their own resources ; and 
seventy dollars were subscribed by fourteen persons 
who were present." " It was a great sum then," 
said one of them, years afterwards : " it was a great 
sum then, five dollars, but I. managed to pay it." 

So it went on for years afterwards. In 1852, 
a hundred and fifty-three dollars were raised ; in 
1853, seven hundred and eleven dollars. In this 
year came the first decided help from abroad, the 
donation from Dea. P. W. Carter of Waterbury, 
Conn., of five thousand and eighty dollars. It 
seemed a great sum. The interest of this, and the 
aid which the College Society began to give, to- 
gether with the avails of our own efforts, would 
have given relief, only that increasing wants kept 
pace with increasing means, 

New professorships were established from time 
to time, till, in 1855, there were four professors. 
By this time, the original site had been abandoned, 
a new one of ten acres secured, and an elegant 
stone building, with a boarding-house, erected 
upon it. This change was caused by the per- 
sistence of the city authorities of Davenport in 
thrusting a street through the grounds first occu- 
pied. The second site chosen was divided and 


injured in the same way. About this time the 
Institution was unfortunate in trusts reposed in 
one of its officers. As the State settled up, there 
were prejudices in the interior against a river loca- 
tion for an institution of learning ; and the feeling 
began to prevail, that, among the people of the 
place, it did not have so congenial a home as it 

As the result of these combined circumstances, 
it was decided, in 1858, to sell out, and seek for a 
new site. God, in his providence, had one in prep- 
aration. A few years previous, in the heart of the 
State, a colony had settled with the express pur- 
pose of establishing, and at the outset had made 
provision for, an institution of learning. Here a 
school had already been commenced. After due 
thought and much prayer, it was concluded, with 
the general approval of all parties interested, that 
the fountain opened by the father of waters should 
be united with the rill of the prairies. Accord- 
ingly, from 1859, Grinnell, Io., has been the seat 
of Iowa College. 

We will not follow its history in detail for the 
next ten years ; but, if any one will take the pains 
to look at one of the illustrations in this volume, 
he will find an engraving of two noble college- 
buildings. These stand in an area of twenty-two 
acres, to which the verdure of growing shade-trees 
adds increasing beauty from year to year. The 
location is on the border of a village whose pride 
is the college. The intelligence, morality, and 


affectionate good will of the people make it a fit 
place for the education of the sons and daughters 
of Iowa. The names of two hundred and ninety 
of them are found enrolled as members of the 
Institution during the past year, more than half 
of whom are in the collegiate and preparatory 

There are eight instructors, the president, four 
professors, a principal of the preparatory depart- 
ment, a principal of the ladies' department, and one 
tutor. In the library, there are over four thousand 
volumes, besides the smaller libraries of the liter- 
ary societies of the college. The apparatus, though 
far from what it should be, is yet sufficient to illus- 
trate the principles of natural philosophy, chem- 
istry, and astronomy ; while admirable collections 
have already been made in mineralogy, zoology, 
botany, etc., which are arranged in a cabinet of rare 
attraction and taste. On the walls of the college 
library are the portraits of Carter and Williston, 
as among the chief founders of the college. The 
names of Grimes, Ames, Dodge, Richards, Merrill, 
Butler, and Barstow may be fitly recorded here, as 
of those who have largely contributed to its funds ; 
and perhaps others not known to the writer are 
equally deserving of mention. 

The college property, in the aggregate, now 
amounts to one hundred and sixty thousand 
dollars, more than half of which is productive. 
The list of graduates is not long ; but they are 
already scattered over the land, occupying honora- 


ble positions in the various professions. The 
resources of the institution are as yet by no means 
ample. Its facilities must increase from year to 
year, to meet the growing demands upon it ; but 
beholding it now, and calling to mind how hard it 
was to get together the two thousand dollars for 
the first humble building, remembering how the 
seed was sown, and by the nurture of what prayer 
and toil it has grown, the contrast is indeed 
pleasing. Grateful always is the memory of labors 
past, where results in the form of abounding fruits 
are seen. 

Before closing this pleasing review, another 
reference may not be amiss to him in whose first 
endowment, in part, of the Carter professorship 
there was such courage and cheer. It was the 
pleasing privilege of the writer to receive a portion 
of that gift at his own hands, and in his own home. 
He was a plain man, and his home of the olden 
stamp, somewhat old fashioned in its air, but ample 
in comfort, without extravagance or display. Rid- 
ing about the village one afternoon, in the old 
family-carriage, he reined up his horse where a 
to.vnsman was building a residence of great ele- 
gance and cost. Surveying it for a moment, 
" There," said he, " I might take my money, and 
build me a house just like that ; but then, if I 
should, I should not have it to give to Iowa Col- 
lege." It showed that he had considered the 
question, and made his choice. Who will say, as 
he looks at Iowa College to-day, and thinks of him 


as having passed from earth, that the choice was 
not a good one ? 

O ye whom God has blessed with fortunes that 
are ample, now is the time of your choosing. If 
you wish to turn a portion of your means into 
some permanent, mighty power, that shall work for 
Christ in this and the ages to come, how more 
surely or better can you do it than to help to build 
in this Western land some Christian college ? 
The tongues of missionaries and pastors sooner or 
later shall be silent in death ; teachers change : but 
endowments in these Christian colleges will work 
on, work ever. We in this fair field would not be 
selfish ; but, if you have still further gifts with 
which to meet the growing wants of our beloved 
college, we will hail them as new tokens of God's 
blessing upon what was in weakness begun for him. 




IF, in conventions, speeches, reports, and histo- 
ries, we are wont to speak and write as though 
only men were actors in the world, then is the 
present chapter rightly named ; for we wish here 
expressly to acknowledge the influence and aid of 
the wives and sisters. As woman's work in the 
war forms one of the rarest chapters in the history 
of our late national struggle, so if in this chapter 
the influence alluded to in our Christian work in 
Iowa could be but truthfully and fully unfolded, it 
would indeed be the rarest chapter of all. 

But fully to present the intense labor, the keen 
sympathy, and efficient helpfulness of a home- 
missionary's wife is not attempted. They can at 
most only be suggested. This began to be im- 
pressed on one of our earliest missionaries years 
ago, before, by happy experience, he knew what 
such help was, by a scene well worth describing. 
We will let him give it in his own words : 

" I was a young man, and it was the first year 
of my ministry. Travelling abroad one day, from 
my field of labor, I thought I would make the ac- 
quaintance of a brother minister of whom I had 


heard, but whom I had never seen. I went to his 
house. It was made of logs, with a shingle roof, 
with one room below, and the usual loft. As I 
remember, it was about sixteen feet square, with a 
passage through it by a door on each side. On 
one side of the room was a stove, on the other a 
bed, with the usual display of kettles, dishes, hats, 
clothing, etc., found in such houses. The brother 
was not at home.. His wife, I was told, was above, 
and sick. I was invited to go up and see her. I 
did so, ascending by a ladder in one corner. 

" There, sitting on her bed, having, with an evi- 
dent exertion, arranged her person for the reception 
of a stranger, was the missionary's wife, frail in 
form, pale and sickly in countenance. Her con- 
stitution was evidently fragile, and to her bodily 
suffering was no stranger. I shall never forget 
how she looked, nor with what womanly courtesy 
she received me. Her eye beamed hopefully ; and 
her smile, though languid, was cheerful. Not a 
murmur did she utter, and scarcely an apology even 
for any thing. An air of peace and contentment 
characterized her. I noticed that the whole roof 
was a little askew, as though it had been lifted up, 
and turned around, and let down again, with 
articles of clothing caught in the cracks. 

" ' That," said she, ' was done by a hurricane we 
had a few days ago. The wind blew terribly for a 
*vhile. I was here all alone, and thought once the 
house was going ; but somehow I felt safe.' " 

" Her husband, she said, had gone to the river to 


get a load of lumber. She was sorry he had to 
work so hard. He was lame, and not strong ; but 
ministers had to do many things to which they 
were strangers elsewhere, in a new country. ' The 
worst of it all is,' she said, ' I can't help him, I 
am sick so much. I feel so sorry when I think 
sometimes that I must be only a burden, and of no 
use to him.' 

" Then she went on to speak, with her whole soul 
in it, of the missionary work in which he was 
engaged. I tarried for the night, and, in the morn- 
ing, went on my way with a new insight into the 
realities of the mission-work. Especially did I 
there begin to see how woman in patience could 
endure -self-sacrifice, self-denial, and toil, and how 
keenly, in every fibre of her being, she could sym- 
pathize in all her husband's plans and labors for 
Christ. - In after years it was often my privilege to 
be in that family. Her health afterwards was 
better ; and then I saw how a wife, in the fortitude 
of a trusting spirit, could cheer, encourage, and 
help her husband in his work. In other cases I 
have often seen it, and as often asked, ' What 
could our brethren do without their wives ? ' ' 

The first draft made on the energies of home- 
missionary wives is made through their keen sym- 
pathy with all that pertains to their husband's 
work : the next is in connection with their family 
cares. It has often been remarked, and somewhat 
truthfully, that the hardships of a new country fall 
more heavily on women than men. A Western 


farmer, as a general thing, at the very outset, can 
carry on his out-door operations quite as easily on 
his new Western farm as he could on the old and 
harder lands of the East. But, between the old 
Eastern homes and all the little home conve- 
niences of a long-settled country, and the new log- 
cabin and the nameless discomforts of a new 
country, the difference is wide. Here it is that 
bricks are to be made without straw, and that the 
exigencies of a new country are especially hard 
upon women. The experience of home missiona- 
ries' wives is, in this respect, the same as that of 

As was natural, among the all-sorts of Yankee 
questions alluded to in the first part of this 
book, as having been asked by the " Band " prior 
to their coming West, were inquiries whether a 
missionary should be married or unmarried, and 
whether wives . could be maintained and made 
comfortable. There came back but this one an- 
swer : " Wives are the cheapest things in all Iowa. 
Bring wives ! Bring Yankee wives, that are not 
afraid of a checked apron, and who can pail the 
cow, and churn the butter." 

It would not be safe to say that every one here 
has been able literally to fill this bill ; but it is safe 
to say that the rude and rough experiences of 
Western life have been, and are now being, nobly 
borne by the wives of missionaries. For a newly 
married couple, just from the East, to begin house- 
keeping in two rooms, with only a little stove, and 


some boxes for chairs and tables, is not much. 
There is a touch of romance in it, with hopes of 
better days. To see a missionary pastor's young 
wife, fresh from the delicacies of an Eastern city 
home, at Association time, when ministers and 
delegates, and wives and children, come pouring 
in beyond the preparations of the village to ac- 
commodate them, call for a farm-wagon, take the 
reins herself, and scour the country for straw, till 
straw beds are provided, and placed in bedroom, 
entry, and parlor even ; to see the sister-wives turn 
in for days to help her, and then all go to meeting 
together, this, too, is well enough. There is a 
dash and novelty in it, that makes an occasion long 
and pleasantly to be remembered. 

But let years roll on, children be born, and cares 
increase ; let the days come when there is moving 
from house to house, and perhaps from place to 
place, till the little furniture, new at first, begins to 
be old ; let, from year to year, the limit of the little 
salary be most plainly marked, and the increasing 
study be how to keep within it ; let the necessity 
come for all sorts of contrivances, such as making 
washstands and toilet-tables out of old boxes, turn- 
ing worn garments, making over old ones for a 
new look, transmuting those of the older children 
to the younger, and missionary wives find that 
no small part of the missionary work and the mis- 
sionary sacrifice is theirs. Nobly have they borne 
it, till the bloom of youth has faded from many a 
cheek, yet cheerfully till some, overburdened, have 
fallen by the way. 


But we have alluded only to the less important 
phases of their work. When a little church, with 
a young pastor and his wife, is started in a new 
village hitherto destitute of the means of grace, it 
is interesting to see what a change is soon wrought, 
and how a new and better order of things is in many 
respects speedily established. Children are gath- 
ered from Sabbath roamings to the Sabbath Schools ; 
young people, and sometimes older ones too, let go 
their balls and dancing-parties for sewing-circles 
and church sociables ; Christmas-trees, children's 
gatherings of various kinds are introduced, prayer- 
meetings too, the ladies' prayer-meeting and the 
church prayer-meeting. 

Some among the flock are sick, or are in 
poverty and sorrow, and must be ministered unto ; 
and some are to be buried with a Christian burial. 
Here opens a field for the wife. We may say, 
indeed, that she is under no obligation in these 
matters more than any others ; that, when hus- 
bands agree to be ministers, wives do not ; and that 
they ought not to be compelled to the double 
toil of parochial and domestic duties. All true : 
yet who would keep them from it ? Who would 
be willing to spare this part of mission - work ? 
How great a part it is ! 

. But we ought not here to speak of missionaries' 
wives alone. In all our churches there are two or 
three women to one man. These churches at the 
outset, in the days of their feebleness, were com- 
posed, in many cases, of one or two brethren only, 


surrounded by a band of noble sisters. Where 
then was their strength ? What wonder if there 
were some praying and talking then, and voting 
too, other than that done by the brethren ? If, in 
the days of our Saviour, woman ministered to him, 
and he honored her ministry, if Paul acknowl- 
edged his indebtedness to those women who helped 
him in the gospel, is it not well for us to remem- 
ber how prominent has been woman's influence 
and work in the planting and rearing of the Iowa 
churches ? 

" Who is that ? " was asked of a lady who had 
just admitted a stranger to her door. " It is the 
man I have long been praying for," was the reply. 
" He says he is a missionary sent by the Home 
Missionary Society." To this day that Christian 
woman is laboring with that then newly-arrived 
minister, in the firm belief that he was sent of God. 
So has it been with many another. Ministers 
have not only been obtained and supported, but 
churches have often been gathered, and meeting- 
houses built, more through the prayers and ener- 
gies of the sisters than through those of the 
brethren. As the world goes, when battles are 
won, generals are praised, and private soldiers for- 
gotten. But, in the kingdom of Christ, let it not 
be so. Let not the source of the rarest and best 
influence employed in the Master's service be un- 



MORE completely, if possible, to reveal to 
the reader the inner view of home -mis- 
sionary life, we present in this chapter a few inci- 
dents from the personal reminiscences and expe- 
riences of the brethren. Broken sketches indeed 
they will be, and diverse, some joyous and some 
sad, some serious and some humorous, but all true 
to the life, because real. For some of these the 
writer is indebted to the brethren who have kindly 
furnished them ; others he has culled from old num- 
bers of The Religious News-Letter, the files of 
which are an honor to, as they are a record of, the 
Iowa churches, for the time in which it was pub- 
lished. Many a regret has there been that it ever 
ceased to be. In these sketches the actors are liv- 
ing, as the names of persons are, in the main, 
omitted First, are a few 


" Where'er we seek Him he is found, 
And every place is holy ground." 

" I was once invited to assist a home-missionary 
in a series of religious meetings, under peculiar 


circumstances. Although it was a considerable 
village, yet there was neither meeting-house, 
school-house, hall, nor other room large enough to 
accommodate a congregation such as might be 
expected to gather, with the exception of a spa- 
cious nine-pin alley. To the astonishment of 
everybody, and especially of the minister, the 
owner of that building, which joined the liquor- 
saloon, offered without solicitation the use of it 
for a protracted meeting, as long as it might be 
needed ; and that, too, without any pay, although it 
was bringing him in an income of ten dollars a 

" This offer was gladly accepted ; and immediate 
arrangements were made for its occupancy. On 
my arrival at the place, I was conducted to this 
novel house of worship, which I found fitted up 
with seats made of rough boards arranged across 
the alley nearly the whole length of it. At one 
end, a billiard-table was placed in position for a 
desk ; while in one corner, behind the speaker's 
stand, were piled up the pins and balls. It was 
well lighted and warmed, and, on the whole, consti- 
tuted quite an inviting audience-room ; and when 
as soon came to be the case, it was filled with 
attentive listeners, and pervaded by a spirit of true 
devotion, the original design of it was entirely 
forgotten. Here were held meetings for preaching 
every evening, and for prayer and conference and 
inquiry during the day, for more than two weeks ; 
and the Spirit of God condescended to be present, 


and render them profitable and delightful seasons, 
seasons which will be remembered in eternity by 
some, as probably among the most precious ever 
enjoyed on earth. 

" Frequently we could hear the conversation and 
the noise of the toddy-stick in the saloon adjoin- 
ing, separated from us only by a thin board parti- 
tion ; but so deeply interesting were our services, 
that these incongruous sounds did not disturb us, 
or divert attention from eternal things. Seldom 
have I enjoyed such services more, or seen more 
marked effects from them. 

" During the progress of these meetings, there 
were many hopeful conversions, the exact num- 
ber I do not remember ; and it is an interesting 
and suggestive fact, that, among the converts, was 
the son of the proprietor of the building in which 
we met. At the close of the series of meetings, 
a church was formed ; and the record in the church- 
book states that it was ' organized on day of 

, in Mr. 's ninepin alley.' Subsequently, 

a house of worship was erected for this congrega- 
tion. The minister, now deceased, and ' whose 
sun went down while it was yet day/ was after- 
wards called to a more important field, and was suc- 
ceeded for a time by one who is now one of our 
ablest and most popular preachers. 

" On another occasion, I was called to aid a minis- 
terial brother in a protracted meeting in a consider- 
able farming settlement,- where there was no church 
organization, and no house of worship. The school- 


house being too small, it was decided to hold the 
services in a large barn, the weather being favora- 
ble. There, day after day, we preached, the people 
occupying the barn floor, and, when that became 
too strait, resorting to the hay-mows and bays ad- 
joining. Here, too, we enjoyed the presence of 
God ; and a delightful work of grace was wit- 

" At another time, while exploring the country 
with a brother minister, we came to a place of con- 
siderable importance at that day, in its own imme- 
diate vicinity, but occupied in the main by a most 
godless community. Still there was a little leaven 
there. A small band of Christians, the remnant of 
a church that had once been organized there, were 
praying, and for weeks had been pleading for a re- 
vival of religion in the place. As soon as it was 
known by them that two ministers were in town, 
they at once took it as God's token for good, and 
immediately besought us, with an earnestness that 
would take no denial, to tarry, and begin without 
delay a protracted meeting. 

" Not daring to refuse, we consented. Here, too, 
the only place of gathering to be found was a va- 
cant storeroom in the centre of the village. Here, 
in a dimly lighted room, with drinking and gam- 
bling saloons on all sides of us, like Paul and Bar- 
nabas, we preached the gospel for two weeks ; 
during which the Spirit of the Lord came down 
and filled the place with the glory of his presence. 
More than thirty persons were converted ; and a 


church was afterwards organized, a meeting-house 
built, and the morals of the place improved, as the 
result, we will not say of the preaching, but of the 
earnest prayers, of those few pleading Christians. 
From such cases we are constrained to say, Let 
bands of believers everywhere, even without min- 
isters, be encouraged to pray, and trust the Lord 
for help ; let ministers and churches not wait for 
new houses of worship, or more favorable circum- 
stances, but go to work in faith and hope with such 
facilities as they have, and the Lord shall bless 

Often, in new settlements, it is interesting to 
note the changes wrought by the introduction of 
the gospel ; and sometimes among the hardy but 
rough backwoodsmen there are marked conversions, 
showing the power of God to change the lion to 
the lamb. Illustrative of .this, a brother gives us a 
sketch under the title of 


" In the year 1845, I was preaching in the desti- 
tute neighborhoods of the lead-mining region 
west of Dubuque. On my first introduction to the 
settlement, I found no religious services at all, and 
no observance of the Sabbath. That day was 
usually spent as a holiday, in carousing and sporting. 
During the first year of my labor there, I did not 
know even a single family where the worship of God 
was observed. Many of the miners had dropped 


their proper names, and were known only by titles 
or names which indicated some distinguished trait 
of their character, and which had been given them 
by their companions. In passing through a con- 
siderable tract of timber to reach the schoolhouse 
where I preached, I frequently met parties of hunt- 
ers on a Sabbath morning, and could not fail to hear 
the oaths which mingled in their common conver- 

" After a while, in coming upon them suddenly, I 
could hear the suppressed ' Hush, hush! ' and swear- 
ing would cease while I was within hearing. This 
was the first hopeful indication of an awakened 
conscience ; and it seemed to me to be the dawn of 
a better state of things. Then, when they saw me 
coming, they would ' break and scatter.' Their 
dogs, however, told upon their masters ; and I could 
not restrain a smile, as my eye would detect a man 
here, and another there, trying to place a tree be- 
tween me and himself, acting the squirrel to perfec- 
tion. Here, too, I thought, is hope. 

" It was not long after this when a passing shadow 
in the schoolhouse window or doorway, during 
preaching, would arrest the eye, and lead to the de- 
tection of listeners without. Then, a little bolder, 
and conscience a little more active, they would lean 
their rifles against a tree, and themselves stand out 
in full view, hearing what the preacher had to say, 
or would seat themselves on the doorstep ; and 
finally they would venture into the house, leaving 
their guns outside, but still wearing powder-horn 


and shot-belt across their shoulders, and would sit 
quiet and attentive listeners. 

" In the winter of 1847, we held a series of reli- 
gious meetings. The Rev. J. C. H. came out, and 
preached ten or twelve days. It was a memorable 
time in the history of that community. The word 
preached was attended with divine power ; and 
many of the hardest characters bowed to the mild 
reign of the Saviour, and became new creatures in 
Christ Jesus. 

" Among this number was ' The Pet Bear.' His 

proper name was Thomas B n. He was one 

of the early pioneers, a real backwoodsman, pos- 
sessing a powerful frame ; was just in the pride of 
life, a hard drinker, and one of the most profane 
men I ever knew, and a perfect slave to a passion- 
ate temper, that not unfrequently raged like a tor- 
nado. With him it was a word and a blow, often 
the last first. 

" On several occasions I had attempted to con- 
verse with him on the subject of religion, but was 
answered by a volley of oaths ; and I had learned 
to fear coming in contact with him. During the 
meetings, I turned out of my way one evening, 
and stopped at his cabin door. He was there. I 
said to him, ' Mr. B., we are having some good 
meetings at the schoolhouse, and most of your 
companions attend. I wish you would come : we 
shall be glad to see you.' Without giving him an 
opportunity to reply, I bade him good-evening, and 
walked on. To our astonishment, he entered the 


house with his wife. A solemn and searching ser- 
mon was preached, in which the guilt of the sinner 
was faithfully exposed, and the love of the Saviour 
clearly set forth. He listened attentively, and was 
evidently affected. Nothing was said to him, we 
shook hands, and he left for home. 

" Early the next morning, one of the neighbors 
came to me and said, ' Mr. W., I wish you would 
go and see " The Pet Bear ! " ' ' Why do you wish 
it ? ' I asked. He replied, ' There is something 
the matter with him. He came home from meet- 
ing last night like a fury. He sat down in a chair 
before the fire, and he has been there all night. I 
do not know what it is, but he is weeping like a 
child. As I was passing, his wife came out and 
whispered to me to ask you to come and see him.' 

" With silent prayer that God would teach me how 
to meet him, and what to say, I hastened to his 
cabin, and there found him sitting with his head 
bowed on his hands, between his knees, and the 
tears trickling, down between his fingers, and falling 
on the hearthstone. I drew my chair up to him, 
and asked him kindly to tell me the cause of his 
distress. After a pause, he looked up in my face ; 
and, with a look and emphasis I shall never forget, 
he said, ' O Mr. W. ! I am the most wicked and 
the most wretched sinner in the world, and I don't 
know what to do : can you tell me ? ' 

" I endeavored, in a plain, simple way, to show him 
the love of the Saviour, and his readiness to par- 
don all who came to him sick of sin, and who de- 


sired to break away from it, and give him their love, 
and obey him. He listened, and, with a strange 
expression, said, ' What ! you make me believe that 
he came to seek and to save such a lost sinner as I 
am ? ' ' Yes/ I replied : ' he came to save the chief 
of sinners, who repent and hope in his mercy.' 
' Ah ! but,' he urged, ' you do not know what a 
wicked sinner I have been.' ' No,' I replied ; ' but 
the Saviour does ; and he says to you, " Come unto 
me : I will in no wise cast you out."' 

" I spent nearly the whole day with him. He 
became calm, and listened like a little child. In 
a few days he had intelligently given himself to 
Christ, and felt by joyful experience that the blood 
of Jesus could cleanse even such ' a desperate sin- 
ner as he was.' " 

" He was no longer ' The Pet Bear,' having by 
grace put on the nature of the lamb ; constraining 
all around to exclaim, ' What hath God wrought ! ' 
He said to me, ' My cabin is small, but it is at 
your service. Come and preach in it ; come and 
hold a Sabbath school in it. I don't know much, 
and should make out poorly teaching others ; but I 
can talk about what Jesus Christ has done for me. 
You know,' he said, ' " The Pet Bear " has been 
a faithful servant of the Devil a great many years : 
now it is God's turn. I hope to become as faithful 
a servant to him as ever I was to my old master. 
I want you to tell me what I can do. I never was 
afraid of a man ; and, since God has made me 
strong to work for him, ought I ever to be ashamed 


to tell what a wonderful work he has wrought in 
me ? 

' " You see,' he said, ' I have been thinking it 
over, and I know I shall have a hard row to hoe. 
I know it will be up stream with me all the way. 
But then I have a sure pilot if I only listen to Him ; 
and when I find the stream too rapid, why, I shall 
paddle to shore, and tie up to Jesus ; and I know, 
if I tell him all about it, and ask him to help me 
through, he will do it.' 

" During his absence from the house, his wife told 
me, that, after I left, on the preceding evening, she 
expected an outburst of temper ; but, instead of 
this, he turned to her and said, ' Wife, get your 
things on, and we'll go to meeting.' Then began a 
perfect tornado of oaths against himself, occasion- 
ally speaking to himself; ' Spew it out, Pet ; it is the 
last time: get rid of it ; for I mean to cut a new 
set of houselogs ; ' meaning he intended to begin a 
new course of life. He went to the meeting : she 
was sure, from his manner, the sermon had touched 
him. On his way home, she said, his oaths made 
her tremble: it seemed as though he was possessed 
of seven devils. As he reached his cabin door, he 
turned to her, and said, ' There, wife, it is all out ; ' 
and, with such an expression as she had never heard 
from him before, he cried out, ' O God, help me ! ' 
He took a seat before the fire, and had scarcely 
altered his position during the whole night. The 
Spirit of God was dealing with him, and he wept 
the tears of a repenting and returning prodigal. 


Until I left that field, his was a consistent Christian 

Such scenes as the preceding, though by no 
means uncommon, are not always connected with 
home-mission work in a new country. Some- 
times it is the lot of one to labor on with only 
gradual changes for the better, as in the day of 
small things, but laying foundations for the future. 
This is the trial of our faith and hope. 

The following is the partial experience of one 
whose lot it was for a few years to do pioneer 

work in C r County, and then return to an 

Eastern field. It will be of interest to those ac- 
quainted with the localities, and will show, among 
other things, that the Home Missionary Society is 
not confined in its labors to places where churches 
are organized : 

" I became a resident of the county in the win- 
ter of 1844, and organized the church in the spring 
following, May 5. It consisted of three members. 
It was a rainy day, which prevented some others 
from being present to unite with us. It was formed 
in the bar-room of the public house, or, rather, the 
public room of the house where I boarded. The 
first summer, I preached in the upper room of the 
jail, used during the week as a carpenter-shop. 
The carpenter was an avowed atheist, but helped 
me to clear up the room for the meetings. 

" Subsequently I occupied the Court House as a 
place of worship, alternating with the Methodist 
circuit-rider. There were received into the church 


while I was there, thirty-two. I baptized nineteen 
infants, attended twenty-one funerals, and married 
five couples. The figures do not show much. It 
was a dark day, a long trial of faith and patience. 
But the aspect of things was brightening before I 
left. Among other encouragements, a female 
prayer-meeting gave promise of better days. I 
preached in various neighborhoods, usually at two, 
sometimes at three places on the Sabbath, without 
appointments during the week. I ranged the 
country far and near, having preaching stations in 
every direction. 

" Generally, perhaps, the brethren surpassed me 
in activity ; but one winter, 1845-46, 1 worked hard. 
I had many long and lonely rides. My meetings 
were conducted by myself alone, preaching from a 
plan written out, but retained in my memory. I 
made no show of notes. My sermons were talks 
in cabins, in the court house, in carpenter shops, 
and out of doors. I knew but little of prayer- 
meetings, led my own singing, and rode on horse- 
back the first two years. In the latter part of the 
time, I preached from more fully written notes. 
One fall, I suffered much, and was laid aside by the 
fever and ague. 

" I cannot speak of special outpourings of the 
Spirit ; but God gave me the privilege of laying 
foundations, with a few tokens of prospective 
growth. I have some remembrances of those 
youthful days which are vivid. I had opportunities 
to see nature in its primeval beauty. For the pen 


of an Irving, those years would furnish materials of 
surpassing interest. Those adventures of frontier 
life, though but incidental to the work of the home- 
missionary, will long remain with me, while other 
things, perhaps of more importance, will have 
slipped from the memory." 

In looking over this experience, we can only 
wish that our brother could revisit the scenes of 
his former labors, to see, in part at least, the fruits 
of his toil. " One layeth the foundations, and 
another buildeth thereon." 

As showing still further how the Home Mis- 
sionary Society reaches out beyond the region of 
organized churches, and as reviewing the early 
history of Congregationalism in Western Iowa, 
which was for a long time to Eastern Iowa as a 
foreign field, and allowing here, because it cannot 
well be avoided, the full names of persons and 
places, we give next a paper presented at the Quar- 
terly Centennial of the Iowa Association in 1866, 


" Congregationalism made its first appearance on 
the slope in the organization of the Union Church 
at Civil Bend in 1849, where, without any recog- 
nized minister, about a dozen Christians Bap- 
tists, Congregationalists, and Methodists formed 
themselves into a church, adopted their creed and 
covenant, and agreed to recognize each other in 
church relations, and co-operate in promoting the 


cause of Christ. A flourishing day-school was 
already in existence in the neighborhood. A Sab- 
bath school, Bible class, and regular prayer-meetings 
were established, and attended with a good degree 
of religious interest, before any minister labored 
among them. 

" The name Civil Bend was derisively given to 
this settlement along the Missouri River by the 
roughs who so frequently held high carousal at 
the various whiskey cabins that fringed the ' Big 
Muddy.' These breathing-holes of the infernal 
regions were known by such euphonious titles as 
' Devil's Den,' ' Hell's Kitchen,' etc. ; and, to 
designate the temperance neighborhood, it was 
called ' Civil Bend.' The residents accepted the 
name ; and by this title it is known to this day, 
although the post-office is Gaston. On the ist of 
July, 1850, the Rev. John Todd, with his family, 
joined this settlement for the purpose of preach- 
ing Christ on the frontiers. A dwelling of hewn 
logs had been erected and roofed, out on the prai- 
ries, for his accommodation, which, on his arrival, 
was perforated, and supplied with doors and win- 
dows, and floored with cotton-wood 'puncheons.' 
The window and door casings were all the sawed ma- 
terial used in constructing the house ; and this had 
to be brought a distance of twenty-five miles. The 
minister's study-walls were curtains, and the study 
table a puncheon resting on two wooden pins 
driven into the logs. 

" A few families of Congregationalists from Illi- 


nois, who had started for California, stopped on the 
banks of the Missouri, opposite the Big Platte, 
twenty-five miles north of Civil Bend, in the fall 
of 1849, an d formed the first out-station, which 
resulted in the organization of a small church of ten 
members, reported as the Church of Florence, sub- 
sequently disbanded. Trader's Point, nine or ten 
miles above Florence, about the same distance from 
Council Bluffs, and nearly east of where Belleview 
in Nebraska now is, was then a flourishing village 
of Mormons and traders, of about thirty or thirty- 
five houses, where many crossed the river on their 
way to the Great Salt Lake Valley. That, also, was 
made a monthly preaching place. It has long 
since been all swept away by the Missouri. About 
eighteen miles above Council Bluffs, near the 
Boyer, a few Gentiles were found, who wished to 
hear the gospel, and there was another preaching- 
point. A good Christian Baptist lady, residing at 
Stutnan's Mills, on the West Nishnibotna, twenty- 
five or thirty miles east of Council Bluffs, signified 
a wish to hear Christ preached to her Mormon 
neighbors ; and there another monthly appointment 
was made. 

" Cutler's Camp, on Silver Creek in Mills County, 
now seven miles from Glenwood, formed another 
point in the monthly circuit. Linden, too, then 
county-seat of Atchkinson County, Mo., twenty- 
five miles south-east of Civil Bend, was then favored 
with a monthly visit on the Sabbath. 

" Thus, within a year from the time of begin- 


ning, from Civil Bend to the banks of the Boyer, 
and round about unto Missouri, was the gospel 
preached. There were seven appointments in the 
circuit, but two of them favored with even a log 
schoolhouse. In the autumn of 1850, the Rev. J. A. 
Reed, a sort of archbishop in the discharge of 
the duties of his office, accompanied by the Rev. 
J. B. Hitchcock, made a descent upon the slope at 
Civil Bend. Right glad were we to find that some- 
body cared for us, and that we were not hopelessly 
severed from the Christian world. It then required 
a full month to exchange letters with our friends in 
Eastern Iowa. Our nearest post-office was fifteen 
miles distant. That same autumn, 1850, Brother 
Wm. Simpson, the first regular itinerant of the M. 
E. Church on the slope, entered upon the charge of 
Council Bluffs, and came to Civil Bend, claiming 
all Methodists as his. He proved a devout, genial, 
working Christian. With his co-operation, the first 
revival was enjoyed during the second winter at 
Civil Bend. A single family of Africo-Americans, 
who had earned and paid thousands of dollars for 
their freedom, came into the settlement, and were 
encouraged to attend school ; for which, some who 
' had never attended school with niggers,' nor any- 
body else, for they could neither read nor write, 
determining that their children should not be so 
disgraced, accidentally or by design burnt down the 
log building which constituted our schoolhouse 
and place of worship. This occurred on watch- 
night of 1850 and 1851. 


"In June, 1851, the waters of the rivers, the 
waters of the uplands, and the waters above the 
firmament, combined to drive the people from Civil 
Bend. The river rose threateningly ; the heavens 
gave forth frequent floods ; and the streams from 
the bluffs swept down in torrents, bearing away 
bridges, fences, and all before them. Five miles of 
water spread out between us and the highlands- 
Sloughs were waded to go to meeting, where horses 
would mire down, and abundance of buffalo-fish 
were speared with pitch-forks amid the tall grass. 
Mosquitoes enough to dim the sun and moon 
chimed in to sing the requiem of our hopes in that 
land of promise. 

" That was a trying time to the itinerancy. A 
surplus of water and scarcity of bridges necessi- 
tated a curtailment of the circuit. Florence and 
Trader's Point continued to be visited monthly ; 
but fighting mosquitoes by night, and travelling on 
horseback by day, with regular ague shakes for 
variety, were not very well adapted to make a Boa- 
nerges of our itinerant. But no human lives were 
lost ; and, as already intimated, we had our first 
revival the following winter. 

"In the fall of 1851, Brother G. G. Rice, from 
Union Theological Seminary, I think, arrived at 
Council Bluffs, under the patronage of the A. H. 
M. S., and entered upon the work of preaching the 
gospel. After the experience of 1851, on the Mis- 
souri Bottom, several families resolved to take 
higher ground, believing that it afforded a firmer 


basis for the object, which, from the first, they had 
in view ; viz., the establishment of an institution of 
learning, in connection with the promotion of reli- 
gion. They, after considerable search, located on 
Tabor. Three families moved there', or to that 
vicinity, in 1852, purchased claims, lived in log- 
cabins, at once began a regular prayer-meeting, 
Sunday school, and regular preaching, which have 
continued without intermission up to the present 
time. In October, 1852, the Congregational Church 
of Tabor was formed, with eight members. This 
was the first church on the slope which assumed 
the Congregational name." 

This church at Tabor, it should be remarked, 
is now the largest but one in the State. The In- 
stitution alluded to is now known as Tabor Col- 
lege. It has, according to the latest published 
statement, a President and four other instructors ; 
twenty-one students in the college classes, and 
one hundred and four in the preparatory depart- 
ment ; with property estimated at fifty thousand 
dollars, and a library of twelve hundred volumes. 

In such fields as just described, indeed, in all 
new countries liable to excessive rains, with few 
roads and fewer bridges, the missionary needs the 
pleasant faculty of making the best of things, as 
one prime qualification for his work. Many a one 
has had an experience similar to that related be- 
low, though not always as happily borne. 



" Last fall, at the meeting of this Association at 
S., Brother C. proposed for our spring meeting to 
convene at C. Brother T. knew nothing of C., except 
that it was the home of our esteemed Brother A., 
and that it was situated somewhere ' within the 
bounds ' of F. County. But Brother T. was expect- 
ed to be there ; and he very naturally expected to 
see his brethren there also. The meeting was to 
be held on the third Tuesday in M., at eventide ; 
and of this fact all the brethren were warned in 
due time. 

" On the Monday previous to this said Tuesday, 
Brother T. would needs set forth in the ecclesias- 
tical buggy, propelled by the ancient horse Billy. 
He first made diligent inquiries, however, as to the 
location of the said town of C. ; but all men 
wagged their heads, and could do no more. They 
knew nothing of any such city. The maps were 
equally silent ; and there was no time for corre- 
spondence, seeing that the mail from Brother T.'s 
house to F. County describeth the circle of the 
greater ram's-horn, and never returneth. Brother 
T. was in a great quandary, and knew not whether 
to proceed to the south-west, the west, or the 
north-west. Yet Brother T. was expected to be 
there. So, after much dubitation, he concluded to 
follow the wisdom of the prairie-hawk ; and, as the 
game was not in sight, to beat about for it. Pie 
started southward and westward, driving towards C., 


which lieth upon the S., and is a town fair to see. 
Here he found a certain Gaius, a miller of much 
substance, whose daughter is a miller also. Here 
he tarried ; and in the evening they all sang hymns, 
and rejoiced abundantly. In the morning, mine 
host, and of the whole church, would go with 
Brother T. to question certain men of his town ; 
and, behold, a man was found who had heard of C., 
and knew where it was, but had never been there. 
Also he heard that the river must be forded at this 
place, and that it would be nearer swimming than 

" So, a good while before he came to the river, 
he bade farewell to his host, who bade him good- 
speed, and said, ' See thou art riot drowned in 
the river ! ' And, after a while, he came to the 
river. Now, there was a mighty bridge there, 
and it was like secession : for it was easy to get 
upon it, and it carried one fairly for a time ; but at 
the end of it was a grievous jump, and there was 
nothing but sharp rocks and a quagmire at the 
bottom. Over this bridge Brother T. carried all 
the contents of the ecclesiastical buggy. After 
these were deposited on the other side, he returned 
and said to the ancient steed, ' Billy, there is noth- 
ing for it but we must take to the stream.' 

" So they addressed themselves to enter the river. 
And, at the very first, the wav,es flowed into the 
buggy, which caused Brother T. to raise his feet ; 
and presently the waters reached the seat, which 
caused the rider thereupon to go up higher ; and 


he sat on the topmost rail of the seat. And the 
waters prevailed even to the arm of the seat ; and 
Brother T. saw the coat-tails of 'divinity/ that 
they streamed out behind upon the waters of the 
river ; and he -was a spectacle to certain men 
which stood by : after which the waters abated, and 
presently they came forth again upon the dry land. 

" After this, divers other streams were crossed, 
and much desolate green prairie ; and at evening, 
when the stars shone, behold, th ;y were at the 
place C. 

" Now, because Brother T. was the only minister 
that had arrived, he must needs preach to the peo- 
ple ; and, when the meeting was done, the two dele- 
gates Brother B. of P. and Brother A. of M. 
essayed to have the Association organized ; but, 
when they looked upon the record, they found 
there was not a quorum present. So they went to 
lodge with the people. And the next day, Brother 
T. told them what was known to him of the condi- 
tion of the churches. 

" Now, at the former meeting, the brethren had 
appointed Brother T. to read an essay on the anni- 
hilation of the wicked ; so, in the evening, it was 
read, albeit the wicked did not come to hear it. 

" And after this, the hope of seeing our brethren 
vanished, and we came together no more. And if 
those brethren who came not had but known how 
the people waited for them, and how they climbed 
the steeple, and how the green sea that surrounds 
the place was swept often with a spy-glass in ex- 


pectation of their approach, they would have taken 
care not to have caused such a disappointment 

" And, besides this, it was a shame to Brother T. 
that it was confidently asserted many times that 
the brethren were coming, when, behold, the things 
that were seen were only a green bush, a stray 
sheep, some calves, certain horses, and mayhap a 
few mules ! These things ought not to be ranked 
with delinquent ministers at such times. 

" So, when all was done, Brother T. wrote it upon 
the book, that 

" ' I. Nobody but Brother T. and two delegates 
can testify to having been at C. on the twentieth 
day of M., in the year of our Lord 186-. 

" ' II. That, in consequence, nothing was done, 
except that Brother T. had a good visit. 

" ' III. That the Association is expected to meet 
next fall at D. 

" ' IV. That Brother T. is expected to be there.' " 

Allusion has once or twice been made to 
Abner Kneeland and his followers, who settled 
upon the Des Moines River, near Farmington, at a 
place called Salubria. The writer remembers well 
a visit paid to the old infidel, nearly twenty-five 
years ago. He was of noble form, venerable in 
appearance, and treated his visitor courteously. 
On frankly telling him that I had come to see him 
simply out of curiosity, " Yes," he replied pleasantly : 
" I suppose I am about as much of a show as an 
elephant ;" and then expressed his readiness to con- 


verse on any topic or answer any questions I might 
choose. In private 'intercourse, his infidelity and 
atheism were of the boldest kind, and his public 
lectures gross. In derision of the marriage insti- 
tution, he used to say, "Tie the tails of two dogs 
together, and they will fight. Allow them to go 
free, and they will be good friends." He and his 
followers were quite zealous and successful at first, 
in sowing the seeds of their infidelity among the 
new settlers by pamphlets, periodicals, public lec- 
tures, etc. Ridicule of "priests," making sport, 
sometimes mock of sacred things, entered largely 
into all their efforts. But a view of the positions 
they assumed, and the manner in which they tried 
to defend them, can best be seen in the following 
account given by one whose first ministry was in 
the midst of them, the Rev. Harvey Adams : 


" Early one afternoon in the month of August, 
1847, a colporter of the American Tract Society 
called at our house, and told me there was to be a 
great celebration in the Kneeland neighborhood ; 
and, as he desired to see what they would say and do, 
he said he should attend, and wished me to accom- 
pany him. As the distance was short, it being 
only a mile to the place, with staff in hand we 
were soon there. The gathering was in a charming 
grove on the east bank of the beautiful Des Moines. 
The object of the gathering was to celebrate the 


anniversary of Mr. Kneeland's liberation from prison 
in Boston, to which place he had been sentenced 
for blasphemy. There were present, of both sexes 
and .of all ages, about a hundred and fifty. So 
they claimed. Yet probably not more than half of 
these were very sceptical in their views : they 
came simply as spectators. A platform was erected 
for the speakers, and seats were prepared for the- 
ladies. The men stood round about in a circle. 
When we arrived, the speaking had commenced. 
On our joining the company, the snap of the eye, 
the sly glances, and the jogging of one another, 
seemed to say, ' There's a priest among us : he'll 
have a good time ! ' 

" The speeches were spiced with such condiments 
as these : 

" ' We are not indebted to Christianity for the first 
practical good. What has it done ? Look at Spain ! 
Look at Mexico ! In early days, Mexico was a par- 
adise. Her people were among the most virtuous 
and happy. But ever since Columbus, the Chris- 
tian missionary, came over and converted them to 
Christianity, they have been miserably degraded 
and wretched. We glory in infidelity. We wear 
it as the cloak for our virtues, just as the Christians 
wear Christianity as the cloak for their vices.' 
Cries of, ' Yes, yes ! that's so ! ' came from the 
crowd ; and one, who evidently spoke for my special 
benefit, said, ' There was St, Gregory, who was 
covered with sin six feet deep.' 

" At the close of the speeches, a pressing invita- 


tion was given the writer to 'take the stand.' 
This was declined, with the remark that I came 
merely as a spectator ; and that, if I spoke, I could 
not expect to change their views. 'He dare not 
speak without a pulpit before him. 'Twon't do, 
where there can be a reply,' said an old man. 

" As advantage would be taken of my silence, the 
instant resolve was formed to say something if 
there should be a favorable opportunity. Nor was 
there need of waiting long. 

"The ladies withdrew to prepare the dinner, while 
the men all closed up thick around ' the priest,' 
this being the term by which they always designate 
'a Christian minister. 

" The two champions of the day were large, gray- 
headed men, who literally ' stooped for age.' One 
of them was an apostate from a Baptist church in 
Vermont, and the other from a Presbyterian church 
in Pennsylvania. They placed themselves directly 
before me, and stood leaning forward on their 
staves. I was seated. Compared with myself, they 
were almost giants. 

" In giving the sequel, for convenience I will call 
one of them Dr., as he was a physician ; call the 
other McB. ; and ' the priest ' H. M., for Home Mis- 
sionary. The doctor was sour in look, and crabbed 
and bitter in speech. McB. was more courteous, 
but oily and sarcastic. No sooner had they placed 
themselves thus before me, than they commenced 
catechising, thus : 

" McB. As I take you to be a philosopher and 



a theologian, I should like to ask a few questions, 
if you have no objection. 

" H. M. Certainly. Perhaps I shall not be able 
to give you satisfactory answers ; but, if you ask 
civil questions, I am bound to give civil replies, as 
far as I am able. 

" McB. (very smoothly). Well, just for the 
purpose of information, will you please to tell us 
how large the Holy Ghost is ? 

" The point of this was, that they were material- 
ists, and did not believe in any such thing as spirit ; 
and, therefore, if I, 'a philosopher and theologian,' 
could not tell how large the Holy Ghost was, of 
course I must be the next passenger bound for Salt 

" H. M. That is rather a tough question, Mr. 
McB. : but when you are attacked with something 
like the bilious colic, and distressed almost to death, 
and feel as though another gripe or two would take 
your life, how large is the pain ? 

" At this there was a general laugh, and the ques- 
tion was dropped as quickly as though it had gone 
to oblivion. 

" McB. Man does what he does under the in- 
fluence of circumstances over which he has no con- 
trol. He is not responsible for his actions, because 
he cannot help them. 

" H. M. And so you came all the way to this 
celebration by means of circumstances which you 
could not control ? And all the rest have done the 
same thing ? 


" McB. Certainly. Show me a thing that is 
not the fruit of circumstances. 

" H. M. Then the priests do what they do to 
destroy infidelity and atheism through circum- 
stances they cannot control. But how comes it to 
pass that you consider them so criminal for what 
they do ? Why do you speak of them as the ene- 
mies of the race, as you have done to-day ? Why 
not rather commend their efforts ? More especially, 
why do you not celebrate the day of Mr. Kneeland's 
sentence and imprisonment ? The Bostonians did 
what they did under circumstances they could not 
control. [A good deal of laughing.] 

" McB. But it is the circumstances. Men can- 
not control the circumstances of one of their 

" H. M. Then if I take my cane, and give you 
a sound drubbing over the head, I may sing all the 
way home to-night ? And you will charge it all to 
the circumstances ? You will not consider me at 
fault ? 

" McB. Yes. I'll punish the circumstances : I 
won't punish you. [A loud laugh.] 

" H. M. That's very generous ; but do you act 
on that principle ? Suppose some one against 
whom you hold a note should come to you and say, 
' I know, that, as men use language, I owe you ; but 
I never intend to pay. I would not, if I could as 
well as not. Circumstances do not compel me to 
pay, and I shall not do it.' Would you not treat 
him to a constable ? [Cries of ' Good ! good ! '] 


" McB. All this hair-splitting about would 
and would not, right and wrong, good and evil, 
guilt and innocence, is a humbug. These terms 
all amount to the same thing. There is no such 
thing as right and wrong. 

" H. M. I knew that would follow from your 
doctrine, though I did not know that you would so 
openly avow it. But will you tell us why you em- 
ploy these terms so freely yourselves ? and more 
especially when you speak of the priests ? [Cries 
of ' Good ! ' with laughter.] And then, too, most 
certainly, if I give you a real drubbing with my 
cane, you cannot say that I do any harm or wrong ; 
for there is no such thing. Not one of the priests 
has ever done any. Now, to try your principle, 
suppose I take my cane, and make a serious experi- 
ment on your head ? 

" McB. (very emphatically). I don't like that 
illustration about the cane. [A roar of laughter.] 
The amount of it is, when we speak of doing, or 
when we speak of right and wrong, or of the mind, 
soul, spirit, and the like, we use words without 
meaning. There is no such thing. That which 
is not material is nothing. 

" //. M. Doctor, you and I have had a little 
conversation on this point before ; but as we did 
not get through, and it is now up again, I should 

" Dr. (very sourly). None of your gospel 
pettifogging. I know you have your visions and 
dreams, and soul and spirit, and Holy Ghost and 


all that, in your Bible ; but [Cries from the 
crowd,' ' Doctor, let him go on ; let him go on ! '] 

" H. M. You may call it pettifogging, or what 
you please, doctor : I will try to talk common sense, 
but am ready to leave it to the company whether 
I do or not. If I understand you, Mr. McB., you 
say that that which is not material is nothing. 

" McB. Yes. That's it. Immateriality is an 

" H. M, You will admit this general law of 
nature, that ' like produces like,' I suppose. 

" McB. Oh, yes ! No one can dispute that. 

" H. M. So that all thoughts, all the products 
of the mind, whatever we call them, are really 

" McB. Most Certainly. 

" H. M. And have the attributes of matter ; 
that is to say, the mind, the soul, and all thoughts, 
have length, breadth, thickness, weight, and the 

" McB. Certainly. It is absurd to talk of a 
thing which is not material. 

" H. M. Very well. When we communicate 
thoughts, we communicate matter, we communicate 
shape, size, and weight. That is understood. Now 
then, if you two old men continue to talk to me, and 
I receive your thoughts without making any reply, 
you will reduce yourselves to skeletons ; and I, 
though small, bid fair to become a pretty corpulent 
man. [The woods rang with laughter.] 

" The call to dinner now came, and my two infi- 



del friends seemed to be very glad of it. But they 
had become very good-natured. I was invited to 
partake with them, and was conducted to the head 
of the table. When seated, and while the waiters 
were serving, the doctor asked me if I could par- 
take without ' grace.' The reply was, that, if they 
did not desire that I should publicly invoke a bless- 
ing, I was not limited to that method of doing it. 
Soon after this, the doctor said to those near him, 
but for my benefit, ' He eats with publicans and 
sinners.' To this I could not help replying, 
' Thank you, doctor. Happy to see you recog- 
nize the distinction.' 

" Dinner being over, and the furniture removed, 
the tables were arranged in a row, and seats placed 
upon and in front of them for* the ladies ; while 
the gentlemen were formed into a semi-circle, 
facing the ladies. The toast-master conducted the 
'priest' to the centre of the half-circle, and a little 
in advance of it, where every one could see him. 
And now for the toasts and sentiments. One was 
read, and cheers called for. But the crowd were 
silent, as if at a funeral. Another, and a third ; 
but with no response. After what had passed, the 
company did not feel like giving cheers to such 
sentiments. Volunteers were called for. One 
man gave out a sentiment, and lifted up his arms, 
and exclaimed, ' Hoo ra!' but his was the only 
voice. Among the volunteer sentiments, this was 
one : ' Eighteen hundred and fourteen years ago, 
Jesus Christ was imprisoned for blasphemy ; and 


years ago, Abner Kneeland was imprisoned 

in Boston for the same crime : the latter a philoso- 
pher, the former a juggler.' 

" The design of their toasts and sentiments, as 
well as of all the previous speeches, seemed to be, 
to deliver themselves of the gall and spleen they 
had treasured up against priests, priestcraft, and 
Christianity in general. They probably also in- 
tended to confirm such as might be doubtful. But 
the celebration had a very different result. The 
crowd evidently left with the conviction, that, what- 
ever might be said against Christianity, certainly 
infidelity had not many attractions. 

" I am not aware that any of that gathering have 
since been active in propagating it. From that 
time to this, there has not been another celebra- 
tion of the kind, that I have heard of. They have 
not met, as before, to hear infidel lectures on the 
Sabbath. The one whom I have called McB. 
renounced his infidelity subsequently ; and it is re- 
ported that he died with the hope of the Christian. 
Since that time, also, I have attended many fune- 
rals among those families ; and, in one case, when 
three young persons, belonging to three different 
families, were buried at the same time. They had 
been drowned. Many have been the acts of cour- 
tesy and kindness shown to the writer by individ- 
uals who were previously of that belief. 

" In the retrospect, I am satisfied that all the lec- 
tures I ever gave on the evidences of Christianity 
accomplished little for the purpose, compared with 



the conversation here detailed. This was not 
sought or coveted. There was clearly a providence 
in it all. It was one of a number of occurrences 
which have been overruled to destroy infidelity in 
that region. To God be all the honor." 

But these sketches have been sufficiently ex- 
tended. They illustrate a few of the varied phases 
of missionary life. We might add more, which 
would bring out scenes in the home-circle some- 
times partaking of the sad, in hours of affliction, 
in remote settlements, away from friends, where 
husbands have preached the funeral sermons of 
wives, a father of children ; but we forbear. As to 
that infidel colony, its hopes are blasted. The 
leaders being bold, but blasphemous, their efforts 
for political ascendancy in the country, and to set 
at nought sacred things by mock funerals, and in 
other ways, soon overreached themselves. The 
people became disgusted as they saw the tendency 
and the aim. A strange series of deaths, too, 
among them, had its effect. Better things came 
in ; and Kneelandism, as an organization, is a thing 
of the past. 



HOW often, when for duty's sake, for the sake 
of Christian service to be rendered, we enter 
upon some path, expecting and consenting to the loss 
of many things, we find, that, of all others, that was 
the very path to be chosen for real gain ! " He that - 
loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Solomon 
chose wisdom, and God gave him both wisdom and 
riches. Twenty-five years ago, every one thought it 
a great sacrifice for a minister to go West : no one 
would go except at the stern call of duty. As be- 
tween an Eastern and a Western settlement, the ad- 
vantages then seemed to be entirely with the former. 
Well is it remembered, how then a rhetorical pro- 
duction by one whose face was turned westward, 
under the title of " Inducements to go West," was 
received by us at the Seminary. It was with a sort 
of smile, as much as to say, " Well, it is a happy 
faculty to look at the bright side of things ; and, if 
one is going, he may as well make the best of it." 
Little was it then thought, that what appeared 
fancy was but half the sober truth ! Let it not be 
supposed that a Western life has been, or is, all 
gain and no loss ; but, looking over the past, let us 


strike a balance in this regard, and see where it 

Twenty-five years ago, one of the first things 
thought of by one contemplating the Western work 
was health. It was supposed he must have the 
fever and ague, probably a bilious fever ; and, at 
any rate, must go through a process of acclimation, 
the issue of which must determine whether he 
could stay in the country or not. We smile now 
at the way we used to think of this. Some of us, 
indeed, have had the fever and ague, and some have 
not. There have been some deaths ; and from some 
families children have been taken, one after the 
other, till the record has become a sad, sad one. 
But so, doubtless, it would have been elsewhere. 
Taking the Band for a sample, it surely cannot be 
said, that, in the matter of health, there has been 
loss : we should say, probably gain. It is doubt- 
ful whether the same number of their classmates 
who chose an Eastern settlement have been more 
highly favored than they. In the case of no one is 
it certain that his health was injured by coming 
West ; while in others it has been improved, and 
life, doubtless, has been prolonged. One of them at 
least, perhaps more, can say, that, for more than a 
quarter of a century, he has never lost a single 
appointment from ill health, nor more than a dozen 
from any cause. 

Next to the matter of health, it is natural to 
consider that of support and home-comforts. This, 
perhaps, does not at first enter much into the cal- 


dilations of those proposing to labor in the minis- 
try at the East or West ; but it comes up sooner or 
later, and may be properly considered. Four hun- 
dred dollars a year, twenty-five years ago, was 
about the highest limit of missionary salary. That 
sum now seems small indeed. It did then. But 
with beef and pork at two or three cents a pound, 
corn twelve and a half cents a bushel, and other 
products of a fertile soil in proportion, it is easy to 
see that a little money would go a great way. True, 
clothing, furniture, books, etc., were higher than at 
the East, and expenses in this direction had to be 
curtailed. Missionary families, like' all other fami- 
lies in a new country, had to dispense with a great 
many things considered indispensable in an Eastern 
home. But they managed to get along somehow. 
Gifts came in sometimes from the people. Mis- 
sionary boxes met many an exigency. Occasionally 
some books or other remembrances came from 
Eastern friends. 

As living expenses have increased, missionary 
grants have grown larger. Sometimes the home- 
missionary, driven to buy a little place, because too 
poor to rent one, or wishing to get a little foothold 
for a home, has found himself, by the rise of prices 
in a thrifty village, actually gaining in property. 
Meantime, the churches have, many of them, be- 
come able to give more ample support. Taking it 
all in all, as a matter of fact, it is presumed that 
those longest in the field have no cause of com- 
plaint. Perhaps, in the end, they are just as well 


off, and, on the whole, have been as comfortably 
provided for, so far as the real necessaries of life 
are concerned, as if they had been in Eastern set- 
tlements. They have had to dispense with many 
things, at times, that they might have had else- 
where : and, perhaps, were their wives called upon 
to testify at this point, they might say at once that 
the advantage was with the Eastern settlement ; not 
because they are quicker to complain than their 
husbands, but because, as before stated, the priva- 
tions of a new country fall most heavily within 
their peculiar province. Still, claiming a little ad- 
vantage for the West on the score of health, we are 
willing to let that and this balance. 

Next, let us look at mental development. A 
man's surroundings will, of course, have an influ- 
ence upon his mental habits and intellectual cul- 
ture. The time was, when the advantages in this 
respect seemed nearly all with the Eastern field. 
As to many things they were. " Early introduc- 
tion," says a distinguished writer, " to active labor 
in an extended field, partaking of a missionary and 
itinerant character, may, amidst much usefulness, 
spoil a man for life in all that regards progress of 
erudition, and productiveness of the reasoning 
powers." True, in the old and narrow field there 
may be the more quiet study, more help from books 
and literary intercourse, more time to elaborate 
and polish. There may be, moreover, among the 
hearers a more rigid demand for this sort of excel- 
lence in sermonizing, creating in the preacher an 


ambition to produce it. But, possibly, right here 
in the strong point of many a preacher is his very 
weakness. His hearers demand, and his life is 
worn out in supplying, what, while admired, fails 
to bless. But we are to compare, not criticise. 

The Western man, on the frontier work, as was 
that of all Iowa once, suffers right here some loss. 
Here are felt some of his greatest privations, and 
some of his greatest self-denials are practised. His 
trial is not that he has to wear a seedy coat, as good 
perhaps as his brother Christians about him wear ; 
nor that, in his travels of a wet season, he occa- 
sionally gets "sloughed," or has to swim the stream. 
This is just what his neighbors do, and is nothing 
in a new country. But, if he takes a paper, he 
reads of books which he can never see. He thinks 
of ministers' meetings, and the culture of literary 
fellowships among his brother-ministers, which he 
can never enjoy. Exchanges, even, are out of the 
question. His duties call him much abroad out of 
his study, if he has one ; and, when in it, he groans 
in spirit sometimes, that it is so poorly furnished 
with the needful helps. But this Western field has 
its advantages, too, even in the matter of intellect- 
ual development. The impression twenty years ago 
is not quite right, that, if a man goes to a West- 
ern missionary field, he must once for all abandon 
all thoughts of mental culture and growth. Men 
are to be studied, as well as books ; and the contrast 
of mind with mind is a vigorous mental stimulus. 
Place now a young minister in some new Western 



settlement, where, in his line, nothing yet is estab- 
lished, nothing started even ; where everybody and 
every thing about him is on the quick, earnest move ; 
where are commingled from all quarters every shade 
of prejudice, opinion, and belief; and where all, with 
the trammels off, are free to speak out just what 
they think, and he must have some earnest mental 
work. Every inch he gains here he must get by 
a sort of conquest. Aside from the constant readi- 
ness which he must have for hand-to-hand conflicts 
in his neighborly calls, the right arm of power 
in his public preaching must be the plain Bible 
truth, aimed straight at the mark, with an earnest- 
ness that means something. His hearers, if he 
gets hearers at all, must be drawn together and 
held together, not by the force of family or social 
relations, not by the beauty of the sanctuary where 
they meet, nor by the excellence of the singing ; 
but, in the absence of all these, it may be, by the 
presence of one among them, positive and strong, 
whose preaching and whose life are calculated to 
produce the blessed fruits of the gospel. In all the 
demands of a growing country, he must be a prac- 
tical man. If he makes for himself a place, holds 
it, and builds upon it, he will and must be an in- 
tellectually growing man. We do not say that 
Western men are more completely developed intel- 
lectually than Eastern, but that their position is not, 
on the whole, unfavorable in this respect. Thrown 
upon their own resources, and standing at the head 
of growing influences, which they are called upon 


to gather, to hold, and to guide, they themselves 
are compelled to grow in mental strength, energy, 
breadth of views, and high Christian aims. There 
are advantages here, which, for all the purposes of 
earnest Christian work in the world, we must claim 
as items of especial gain. 

The absence in a new country of established 
customs, usages, and precedents, has been alluded 
to as one of the disadvantages of a Western field. 
The young man who takes an Eastern church has 
the way prepared before him. In many respects, 
he has only to keep things as they are, with tried 
men as advisers, and staid Christians to help. To 
start anew in a new country is to start without any 
such aids. But even this has its advantages. Be- 
sides helping to draw out of the minister all there is 
in him, it is often of use, both to him and his little 
church, to be free from the trammels of previous 
customs and habits. Churches get into bad ways, 
as well as into good ones. Much as we revere the 
memory of our Puritan Fathers, all wisdom was 
doubtless not with them. We do not suppose that 
New-England churches and institutions are such 
perfect models, that there can be no improvement 
upon them ; neither do we think that every change, 
proposed or actual, is an advance. But on this 
Western field if anywhere, with the word of God 
for our guide, and freedom to adapt ourselves to 
actual wants and circumstances, we should improve 
even upon the excellences of the past. There 
ought, as already indicated, to be among us, in some 


respects, better churches, better colleges, and bet- 
ter methods of doing things, than in older regions. 
In our peculiar freedom to adopt new expedients 
and plans, therefore, we claim one advantage. If 
we do not use it for improvement, it is because we 
lack wisdom or grace, or both,. to make the most of 
our opportunity. 

" But there is, of course, a loss," it will be said, 
"as to the privileges of refined society, in going 
West." To this we say, " In your refined society, so 
called, there is much that is artificial, formal, and 
sometimes hollow. We have learned that there is 
such a thing as being civilized and refined almost 
to death. Experience has proved it to be a real 
luxury at times to get out of the conventionalities 
of artificial life, into the frank atmosphere of true 
" log-cabin hospitality." The free-and-easy ways 
of new-country socialities we heartily put down as 
on the side of gain, rather than of loss. Indeed, 
those of us who have been here longest almost 
sigh for things as they used to be twenty years 
ago ; when all were more 'upon a level, when every 
house was open and every latch-string out. No 
one need fear loss in this direction. 

Some ministers, even, may like to be in the neigh- 
borhood of newspapers, where names somehow 
creep out in public print ; and near anniversaries, 
and platforms, and speeches to be heard, and 
made. There is in this a pleasure, and a kind of 
privilege. The only gain we have to suggest here 
is that involved in laboring away from all such in- 


fluences in the main, away from all appeals to- pride 
and ambition, in a kind of obscurity and isolation, 
where the true motives of the ministerial work have 
a better chance to operate, and where, as they are 
felt, and they alone, purer and richer rewards of 
ministerial labor are realized. 

There is one more point to be considered, in 
respect to which all will doubtless concede that the 
Western field has the decided advantage. It is the 
privilege of helping to make things ; of growing 
up with them, and seeing the fruit of one's labors. 
" I would rather," said an old settler, "I would 
rather help build a log schoolhouse, and see things 
grow, than live in a country that is all made. "Not- 
withstanding the hardships of a new country, there 
is little doubt that the generation that makes a 
country enjoys it better than one that takes it after 
it is made. The pioneer minister shares in all this 
work of construction. It may be in many respects 
a hard work. He begins low down, but at every 
upward step he has a peculiar joy. He sees a little 
flock gathered almost as " a flock in the wilderness." 
He joyfully shares their first communion-season. 
The earthen plate and glass tumbler are in due 
time exchanged for a real communion-service. He 
sees, in different directions, gospel institutions and 
influences beginning to take shape around him. 
At length a meeting-house is built. This is for 
him a great day. He sees how that new house of 
worship helps to make for him nearly a new con 
gregation, a new Sabbath school, and of himself 



almost a new minister. Most of all does he rejoice, 
when, in connection with this new sanctuary, as is 
often the case, the Spirit of the Lord comes down, 
and the spiritual keeps progress, with the material. 
Men who gave of their money for the material 
temple are often the first to be brought as lively 
stones into the spiritual building. 

So he goes on, with fresh joy at every step. 
Home-missionary churches become self-sustaining, 
and their pastors find themselves in a developed 
country, with the fruits of their labors about them. 
The frontier fields of a quarter of a century ago 
are now in the heart of the country ; and those who 
entered them with the feeling that they were going 
so far away as scarcely ever to be heard from, find 
that they were striking for the very centres of 
position and power. This, however, was by the 
direction of God's wisdom, not theirs. In all this 
there is great gain. He who labors from year to 
year with an Eastern church, that, by dint of hard 
work, simply holds its own, is doing a good work. 
He who in faithfulness stands by a waning church, 
whose young people are all leaving, renders a noble 
and self-sacrificing service. In each case there is 
faith and heroism ; but, if God will, it is pleasanter 
to see results accomplished, to feel the throb of 
enterprise and progress around us, and to see new 
forces fast accumulating, through which the little 
we do shall tell for good in the ages to come. In 
this is our especial gain. 

Some may dislike, possibly, the first relations in 


which, so far as our denomination is concerned, the 
process just alluded to in this Western country is 
generally begun, the relations of a home-mission- 
ary in connection with a little home-missionary 
church, or some new place yet churchless. But is 
there not something good, yea, noble, even in this ? 
When one thinks of the prayers offered for home- 
missionaries, is it not good to be one of them ? 
When one thinks of the Christian donors who give 
so freely for home-missions at the West, is it not 
good to be an almoner of their bounties ? When 
one thinks of what it is to plant and foster a Chris- 
tian church in a new country, he may well rejoice 
in the work, and gladly accept the relations in 
which so many are co-workers with him. Bring- 
ing his little church, by the blessing of God, up to 
self-support, he may well feel that his work, though 
humble, is yet a great and good one. He who, on 
mission-ground, has done it once, twice, or thrice, is 
an honored servant in the kingdom of Christ. Sur- 
veying thus the past, we claim no honor, no great- 
ness, but bless God for opening before us a field 
in relation to which, as we balance the loss and the 
gain as compared with fields that might have been 
found nearer our Eastern homes, we are constrained 
to say, No loss : especially gain ! 

. Were youth renewed with our past experience, 
we are quite sure, if allowed of God, we would 
strike for some new field, only careful that it were 
small enough for us at the first, and then to grow. 



HITHERTO my life has been preparatory. 
I want to live : yes, when I think what 
God will do for Iowa in the next twenty years 
I want to live, and be an actor in it." Thus ex- 
claimed one who came here to labor in the ardor 
of youth, but was early called to die. 

Looking back through our quarter of a century, 
we recall others who have also fallen by the way. 
It is due to them, and meet for us, that they should 
.have a place in these reminiscences. The names 
of all, of course, cannot appear ; only such as stand 
freshest in -mind as we take our backward look. 

The words quoted at the opening of this chapter 
were those of the one first taken, and he from the 
Band. This was Horace Hutchinson. He died 
at Burlington, March 7, 1 846. He was a native of 
Sutton, Mass., a graduate of Amherst College in 
1839, an d of Andover Seminary in 1843. His 
disease was hereditary consumption, against which, 
for years, he had been struggling. Not quite thirty 
years of age, having been permitted but little over 
two years to prosecute his Master's work, to which 
he had become ardently attached, and for which, 


by his natural enthusiasm and richness of intel- 
lectual culture, no less than his culture of heart, 
he was eminently fitted, and just settled most hap- 
pily in his domestic relations, it was no wonder 
that he felt that he was just ready to live, and 
wanted to live ; that it was hard to die. Yet he was 
cheerful, resigned, and ready. His end was peace. 
What a breach was made in our ranks, not only 
as we missed the light of his cheerful face, and the 
warmth of his genial nature, but felt, that, in all 
plans for Iowa, the benefit of his sound judgment 
and hearty aid, on which we had begun to rely, 
were so soon removed ! How, by this early death 
among us, was our work more seriously and de- 
voutly apprehended ! How keen was our sym- 
pathy with her who was thus early called to 
exchange bridal robes for weeds of mourning ! 
Though removing soon after from the Territory, 
and entering into new relations in a neighboring 
State, she was still reckoned as one of us. Mrs. 
H., for a time Principal of Abbott Female Semi- 
nary at Andover, Mass., was subsequently married 
to the Rev. S. J. Humphrey, April 18, 1854, and died 
at Newark, O., Aug. 18, 1860. She was born at 
Grafton, Mass., Feb. 20, 1823. . Thus, by that first 
death, did God teach that there were paths of 
sorrow for us to tread, as well as of hope, success, 
and joy. The lesson has been again and again 
repeated. It will be pardoned, perhaps, if we 
follow these providences, first in reference to the 


Four years passed away before the second came. 
Eliza C. Robbins died at Muscatine, July 16, 1850. 
She -was a native of Canterbury, Conn. ; born June 7, 
1819 ; was married Sept. 27, 1843, and started in a 
few days as one of the only two wives in that first 
journey westward. Her lot, as has been told, was 
cast in what was then called Bloomington, now 
a Muscatine. She accepted it heartily. With 
natural overflow of good feeling, and a happy turn 
in all circumstances, she easily accommodated 
herself to the numberless annoyances and discom- 
forts of a new country. In no home were the 
bachelor brethren more welcome than in hers. 
Putting everybody at ease in her presence, she won 
rapidly upon the hearts of the people. For seven 
swift years did she act her part, singing as she 
went, with a joyous heart ; and then her work was 
suddenly ended. The cholera, that for a summer 
or two raged on the river, seized her as a victim, 
and in a few hours she was dead. Behind her 
were left a stricken husband, three little children, 
a bereaved people, and many mourning friends, 
mourning, yet comforted ; for a cheerful light plays 
about the sadness of that hour, as they remember 
how she passed away in the strength of that beau- 
tiful psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd," which 
was read to her by a kind Christian friend in the 
moments while she was still conscious, but unable 
to speak. 

Two years later, a third bereavement came. In 
this case, too, a wife was taken. Sarah E. Hill 


died May 21, 1852. She was born in Bath, Me., 
Aug. 8, 1 823, and was, therefore, twenty-nine years 
of age. As a worker, she was confined to a 'few 
short years ; but they were years filled with the 
glowing enthusiasm of an ardent soul. Entering 
with zeal on the mission-work, she attached herself 
at once to every thing in Iowa. All the brethren, 
all the sisters, all the churches, every thing in and 
about her adopted State, was hers. Into every plan 
and method of mission-labor she threw her whole 
soul. The college, now in its prosperity, is the 
result, in part, of her faith and her gifts. It is not 
strange, that, to-day, her two sons, as Christian 
young men, are on the lists of its students ; for,, in 
their infancy, she gave them heartily and believ- 
ingly to the Lord. After the labors of eight 
years, some of them at frontier points, where 
mission-work meant hardship and privation, she 
has found her grave on the banks of the Missis- 
sippi. Summer by summer there are those passing 
up and down the river who are wont to think, 
" There on those beautiful bluffs was our sister 
buried." How soon all such travellers shall cease ! 
A few more years, and God spake again : this 
time, also, by the removal of a wife and sister. As 
her name is written, all who knew her will remem- 
ber her quiet, gentle ways, the sweetness of her 
disposition, the steady, humble traits of her Chris- 
tian character. Naturally retiring, she found her 
province and her sway chiefly in the realms of 
domestic life, and yet won esteem and influence in 


wider circles. It was with apprehension that we 
saw the paleness of her cheek, amid the devotion 
of a wife and the cares of a mother ; but we feel 
now that it was meet that a spirit like hers should 
be taken to a better world. Harriet R. Ripley 
was born at Drakesville, N.J., Sept. 13, 1820, and 
died at Davenport, April 4, 1857, at the age of 

It remains for one more lesson to be noted. 
This time it is the death of a brother ; bringing us 
down to March 31, 1867. Then died, in Ottumwa, 
B. A. Spaulding, the second of the Band now 
deceased. He was truly a man of God. Pos- 
sessed of more intellectual worth than it was his 
ambition to show, his aim was, in a frontier field, in 
the true home-missionary spirit, to lay foundations 
for Christ. This he did in many a heart and in 
many a place. At the first, his was pre-eminently 
the work of an evangelist. Travelling on horseback 
over the New Purchase, he had twenty-five or 
thirty different places of meeting, some of them a 
hundred miles apart ; preaching in groves and 
cabins, and organizing churches, where, ten years 
before, had been the Indian dance. For years he 
toiled thus, till, in due time, it was his privilege to 
see the heaven-pointing spires, to hear church- 
going bells, and to welcome new laborers in that 
at first wild and uncultivated region. 

It was in these years that he subsequently 
declared he had more joys, amid greater hardships, 
than at any other period of his life. Gradually his 


labors were contracted within narrower limits, till 
he became the pastor of the church in the place 
he at first selected as his home, and where he died. 
It was his privilege to be an actor in the twenty 
years for which Brother Hutchinson longed ; and 
yet he was not satisfied. His disease, too, was con- 
sumption ; and, as it began to be apparent that he 
must yield to it, his words were, " Oh to do more 
for Jesus ! Oh for ten years to live, and do some- 
thing for Christ ! " But his work was done ; and 
he was resigned, as, on a Saturday night, the death- 
shades gathered thick about him. " Is this the 
dark valley ? " he inquired. Being told that it was, 
" It will not be long/' he said. " Will it last till 
morning ? " It did last till morning. At the 
Sabbath dawn he passed up to the day of rest. 
He was born in Billerica, Mass., July 20, 1815 ; 
was a graduate of Harvard College and Andover 
Seminary. Dying March 31, 1867, he was fifty- 
two years of age. He left a wife and one child. 

We have now noticed where a husband or a wife 
has, in repeated instances, been taken. Meanwhile, 
children have been born, and children, too, have 
died ; but of them we cannot speak in detail. We 
must be content with this bare recognition of God's 
chastening hand in their removal. Changes have 
been going on outside the Band. A few names 
will be given, such as are freshest in the mind of 
the writer. In other minds, doubtless, there are 
other names not given, just as fresh and just as 
worthy of mention as those that will appear. 



First, as intimately associated with, because near 
as to time and place to, that of Mrs. Hill, was the 
death of Brother Thompson. William A. Thomp- 
son died May 3, 1852. All who were in the State 
at that time remember the mystery that shrouded 
this calamity. Judging from his intentions when 
he left home, and the position of his horse and 
buggy when found, it was thought he must have 
been drowned in attempting to row a frail skiff 
across an arm of the Mississippi, in high water 
and a boisterous wind. There were suspicions of 
foul play, but they were not regarded as well 
founded. For weeks, search was made for his body 
in vain. Standing by the newly-made grave of our 
sister, upon the bluffs overlooking the waters of the 
Mississippi, the thought was, " There, somewhere, is 
the grave of our brother." The following June, as 
the brethren were holding their annual Association 
at Muscatine, a few were walking, at a leisure hour, 
by the river's side, when a human body was seen 
floating towards the bank. Was it, could it be, that 
of their brother ? This was the question that 
flashed on their minds. It soon appeared almost 
to a certainty that it was even so : yet to identify 
the body was difficult. Of the signs, they were not 
absolutely sure. A garment sent to the anxious, 
weary wife established the fact. Thus, sixty miles 
below where the sad accident occurred, God brought 
to us the consolation, that at least the body of our 
brother had been found. We buried it in the same 
ground where was buried the first sister taken. 


Brother Thompson was a good man, humble, 
earnest, and prayerful. Entering the State at the 
same time with the brethren of the Band, he was 
reckoned as one of them. His loss was deeply 
felt by all. 

Those here in the autumn of 1853 remember the 
joy occasioned by the arrival of two young men, 
apparently in the vigor of life, directly from their 
seminary studies. Mysterious has always seemed 
their fate. One of them, as he entered his field, 
seemed to labor as with the blessing of God on 
him, a young man of rare mental and social quali- 
ties, and ardent piety. How astounding was the 
news of his sudden illness and death ! Strong were 
the sympathies that his young wife carried back 
with her to her Eastern home. The brother here 
referred to was E. C. A. Woods, who died at Wa- 
pello, Nov. 4, 1854. Born in Newport, N.H., Sep- 
tember, 1824, he was thirty years of age. 

The other was Oliver Dimon, who went to Keo- 
sauqua. By his excellences he gathered about 
him the affections of his people. But disease was 
on him ; and he soon became prostrated, and was 
carried back to his Eastern home to die. 

Similar to these cases was that of another, who 
had been trained among us. Joseph Bloomer was 
converted in one of our churches, a member once 
of our college, though he graduated at Amherst 
in 1856. From the first, so eager was he to be in 
the field, that he could not wait the usual course of 
study. It was well, perhaps, in his case, as one des- 


tined to early death, that he did not. He went to 
McGregor late in 1857. His labors were limited 
to a few brief months ; but they were months of 
much zeal and great promise. The people felt 
the power of an earnest preacher among them. 
" Sharper sermons," said one, " I never heard, than 
fell from his lips. I do not know, but, under God, 
he would have converted the whole town had he 
lived." He died suddenly, Feb. 21, 1858. 

Another called from his work on earth was L. R. 
White. He, too, was a young man ; though he was 
permitted to labor several years among us, first at 
Le Claire, then at Summit, and then at Brighton. 
At Le Claire, with great labor, he secured the erec- 
tion of a house of worship. Many a one knows 
the toil recorded in that brief sentence. At Brigh- 
ton he did the same thing. The sad fact in our 
memories is, that the first gathering held in the 
new meeting-house was that convened at his 
funeral. 'His death was occasioned by a cold, to- 
gether with over-exertion in his efforts to secure 
the completion of the house at a given time. He 
wrought, as many another missionary has done, 
with his own hands. He died at Brighton, May 
30, 1858. 

Later down, a father in the ministry is taken. 
Alfred Wright died at Durango, Nov. 8, 1865. 
Few who ever knew him will soon forget the 
inward grace that shone out on his cheerful face. 
So, also, we think of French, Waters, Mather, 
Brown, Leonard, and others. 


Meanwhile, sisters were also passing away. 
There was one under whose roof, in the earlier 
years, we used always to find a hearty welcome, and 
whose calm trust and cheerful endurance preached 
us many a sermon ; who, after years of suffering, 
died in the triumphant hope of joys to come. This 
was Mrs. Emerson. She closed her life at Sabula, 
January, 1856. 

A few months earlier, one who had recently come 
among us, and was just entering joyously into our 
Iowa work, was called to the higher service of 
heaven, Mrs. Sarah W. Guernsey died at Du- 
buque, May 10, 1855. Her remains rest in the old 
burial-ground at New Haven, Conn. Pleasant 
memories of her and her Christian activities will 
long linger with those who then composed her hus- 
band's flock. 

Another was Mrs. Abby A. Magoun, a sister of 
Mrs. Hill. Of gentle nature, she was firm in the 
service of Christ. As a Christian woman, a mother, 
and a pastor's wife, she adorned her calling and 
station. She, too, sleeps on the banks of our beau- 
tiful river. Her death was at Lyons, Feb. 10, 1864. 

We must speak of another, who, a little later, died 
at Durant,Dec. 7, 1866, Mrs. Mary F. Bullen. We 
could not, if we would, efface from our minds the 
sweetness of the expression she wore. Not even 
by death's cold touch shall it be marred. We well 
remember it, as turned to a heavenly smile. 

There are memories, too, of dear brethren of the 
churches, of the hospitable Edwards ; the venera- 



ble Cotton, a lineal descendant of old John Cotton of 
Boston ; of Father Vincent, who, at one of our meet- 
ings, said, the brethren were all daguerreotyped on 
his mind ; of brethren, too, at the East, who in heart 
have been with us and of us, such as Mackintire, 
Carter, and others. How many come to mind, who 
to-day are with the multitude around the throne ; 
who rest from their labors, and their works do 
follow them ! 

In the summer of 1863, during the Associational 
Meeting at Burlington, a few of the brethren, with 
their wives, went out to the grave of their Brother 
Hutchinson. Gathering around it, with uncovered 
heads, they bowed in prayer to God that the man- 
tle of all that was excellent in him might fall 
upon them. 

As we linger thus among the memories of the 
departed, may all that was noble in their lives and 
excellent in their characters be with us that re- 
main, to 'stimulate and to cheer, till our race, too, 
shall be run, and we shall be reckoned with them ! 

Since the foregoing was written, and while this 
work is going through the press, another name is 
to be added to those of the Band who have gone. 
Erastus Ripley died Feb. 21, 1870, in Somers, 
Conn., aged 55. He was born in Coventry, Conn., 
March 15, A.D. 1815 ; was a graduate of Union 
College ; also of Andover Seminary, in tl\e class of 
1843. Elected as resident licentiate, he remained at 
Andover till the spring of 1844, when he joined his 


classmates in Iowa, taking charge of the church in 
Bentonsport. He remained at this place till the 
summer of 1848, when he was chosen the first pro- 
fessor of Iowa College at Davenport. From this 
time he was identified with the interests of the col- 
lege ; at first the only, afterwards associate, teacher, 
as Carter Professor of Ancient Languages, until the 
time of its removal to Grinnell in 1859. Shortly after 
this he returned to his native State, where, until his 
death, he was engaged in the profession of teach- 
ing, in which he took a high rank. Mr. Ripley's 
leading powers were those of a linguist. He was 
a good preacher, an enthusiastic teacher, and 
sought to lay all on the altar for Christ. His 
work is done, and he, too, has passed away. 



THUS have we cast our thoughts backward. 
For a moment we have held this fair land in 
view, as, but a few years ago, its forests, its prairies, 
its rivers, were vast solitudes of Nature's richness 
and beauty, which for centuries had waited the 
magic touch of civilized life. Here, with the 
thronging thousands, have the lives of those of us 
that have been in Iowa for the last three, five, ten, 
twenty, or thirty years, entered in. 

By these reminiscences, in the changes wrought, 
have we been led to think of our individual work 
and associated labors. We have thought, too, and 
perhaps,' in passing, have shed the tear of affection 
as we have thought, of thos.e who entered with us, 
and have fallen by the way. In the midst of the 
serious and the sad, there has been much to encour- 
age and rejoice. We have not labored in vain ; but 
th end is not yet. To the most of us that have 
been here even the longest, life, with somewhat of 
health and vigor, is still spared ; and work yet 

We take not our review as in evening's shade, 
with the armor off, awaiting repose ; but as at 
noontide heat, with the outlook of demands, oppor- 


tunities, and labors before us of the declining day. 
And what see we here ? A mighty State, which as 
yet even is but in the dawn of its development. 
Of her area of fifty-five thousand square miles, 
there are two-thirds, or twenty-five millions, of its 
rich acres that as yet bear upon them the native 
prairie sod. Already the fourth State in the Union 
in the production of some of the cereals, what is it 
yet to be ? It is only here and there that her water- 
courses, abundant in their privileges, have been 
made to turn the busy wheels of art ; while her 
extensive fields of minerals and coal have but just 
begun to be worked. Her system of railroads 
with near two thousand miles already in operation, 
with the converging lines meeting on its western 
border, there to unite with the great Pacific is yet 
to be completed. Then will she lie, as favored of 
God, on the great highway of the nations, and as 
central therein. Then by her roads and rivers she 
will send out from and draw to herself, as she lists, 
from the North and the South, the East and the 

It only remains for a growing population to carry 
out and develop all these resources garnered in 
her bosom. A guarantee for this we have in the 
record of the past. In 1836, the population was 
ten thousand ; in 1846, ninety-seven thousand ; in 
1856, five hundred and nineteen thousand. Now, 
in 1870, it is estimated at one million and a 
quarter. How it will stand when he who re- 
views the next quarter - century shall announce 


the figures, a conjecture will not be hazarded. 
Nor as to the scenes of development and pro- 
gress which it will be his privilege to unfold, will 
any prophecy be made. Only this : if by the ap- 
pliances of education, virtue, piety, religion, the 
tone and vigor of the people can be kept up and 
improved ; if her schools, colleges, institutions, and 
churches can be made to act well their part, the 
results in this State for the country, the world, and 
for God, will be glorious. Here, then, with all 
others of the good and the true, is our work and 
our labor. If, to any, the sun of his day seems to 
be hanging low, let him do with his might what his 
hand findeth to do. Surely, in Iowa even, the 
mission-field is but just entered. 

But let us extend our view. West of us there is 
already a region containing four millions of people, 
where, twenty-five years ago, there were none. 
Here is opening the West of to-day. Here are 
almost two-thirds of our national domain, all organ- 
ized into States or* Territories, rapidly filling up, 
but as yet, in the main, almost destitute of the 
institutions of the gospel. In Washington Terri- 
tory, with its seventy thousand square miles ; Idaho, 
with its one hundred thousand ; Montana, a third 
larger still ; Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, 
none of them smaller than the others, some larger, 
in all these, the number of the laborers of our 
order can to-day be counted upon one's fingers, 
while that of all other denominations is small. 
This is not from want of people, but because the 


laborers are few. The tide of population from all 
parts of the world stays not, and the work grows. 
Here, truly, our home-mission field is almost bound- 
less. Nor is this all. The work is far from being 
complete in the States east of us, as well as in our 
own ; while all over the South, the cry, no doubt, 
will yet be heard, " Come and help us also." The 
spectacle before us is almost appalling : it is really 
so if we gaze long enough to see in the character 
of our people, and the genius of our government, 
the necessity, the absolute necessity, of the gospel of 
Jesus Christ to fuse us as one, to purify and preserve. 
Failing to supply this, our nation fails, becoming as 
effete and worthless without the preserving salt. 
There are certain notorious facts that may well 
alarm us. Not only are there alarming destitutions 
in the newer portions of the country, but there is 
equally alarming indifference in the older. A fourth 
part of our thirty-seven millions of people are habit- 
ual neglecters of public worship. Organized efforts 
are made in many quarters to break down the sanc- 
tity of the Sabbath. Infidelity is rife. The press is in 
a great measure corrupted and corrupting. Profan- 
ity, intemperance, corruption, political and financial, 
are sadly prevalent. These influences must be 
withstood, if our country is to be safe. The only 
efficient counteracting influence is the gospel, the 
gospel for the people. The work of giving it must 
ever be largely a home-mission work. Even now, 
with such an outlook before us, we seem to stand 
only at the threshold of the home-missionary enter- 


After looking at the past in what now seems to 
be this little field of Iowa, with this glance around 
and before us, reflections of various sorts crowd 
thick upon us. In the utterance of a few will be 
found our conclusion. 

For the Executive Committee and the Secretaries 
of the Society prosecuting this great home-work : 
It is yours to stand as upon the watch-tower, sur- 
veying the wants of this vast, outspreading field, 
and to make report of the same to the people. It 
is yours to direct the money and the men volunteered 
for their supply, and to report of progress made. 
You stand as at the very centre of the whole. Of 
the responsibilities of your position, the great trust 
reposed in you by the churches, we have not a 
word to say. These you have well considered, and 
no one else can feel them as you can. Nor is it an 
exhortation to be faithful that we presume to offer, 
but simply an All Hail ! in your great and glorious 
work ; to join with you in thanks to God for his 
blessing upon it in the past, with a hearty God- 
speed for you in the future. May enlarged wisdom 
and grace be given you for the enlarged and grow- 
ing wants of the field ! 

For the donors : If you have wasted money 
anywhere, it is not in this work. Here, bread cast 
upon the waters returns again after not many days. 
Here is a great and growing want, which, so far as 
you are concerned, money alone, with prayer, can 
supply. For your money, then, we appeal in the 
name of all that is near, dear, and precious, in the 


name of home, country, Christ, and souls. Fill up 
the treasury at New York, that, for the want of 
money, this great work stay not. In money are 
the sinews of war. We found it so in the great 
struggle just passed ; and how like water was it 
poured out ! How selfish, how mean, and how sor- 
did, he who would hoard it then ! But a greater 
conflict is now raging between the good and the evil, 
all over the land. It is the old warfare of the two 
kingdoms ; and never, in any country, was the 
conflict sharper than in ours now. Never before 
was such a prize to be lost and won. On the one side 
are the standards of the arch-enemy, and many are 
flocking thereto : on the other is the banner of 
the cross. That victory may perch upon it, the 
great thing needed is, that churches, mission- 
churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, be planted 
everywhere, out upon the frontiers, up and down 
the land, as outposts, forts, and citadels of the fight. 
Will you furnish the means ? 

For the young men : Men are needed as well as 
means. You in colleges and seminaries, with the 
ministry in view, and you in the churches, that 
have hearts that can feel and tongues to express 
the things of Jesus, let us speak to you. A few 
young men there are out in these Western fields, 
who never saw a seminary or college, who are suc- 
cessfully feeding the Lord's flocks in the wilderness. 
Would that we had hundreds, yea, thousands, of 
them ! Christian young men in our churches, are 
you, if God will, just as ready to be ministers as 



you are to be engineers, merchants, or farmers ? 
You that are in colleges and seminaries, are you 
willing to go anywhere to preach Jesus ? " Send 
me," said one at the home-missionary rooms, more 
than thirty years ago, " send me to the hardest 
spot you have." They sent him ; sent him where 
it was indeed desolate and drear. But now, if all 
is not as the garden of the Lord, he can at least 
look around him, and behold the mighty things that 
God has wrought. Young men, be not afraid to 
launch out. There are no waters without the steps 
of Jesus upon them ; and his promise, " Lo I am 
with you always," reaches unto the ends of the 

For our churches, the churches of our beloved 
Iowa : The Lord hath blessed you ; but how much, 
under God, do you owe to the Home Missionary 
Society ! Recognize the debt. Look around you, 
and see others in want. Feel the obligation by 
every means in your power to attain the point of 
self-support at the earliest possible period, and then 
join in with your helpers, to be the helpers of 
others. The time is coming, yea, now is, when the 
churches of the West, in the matter of the great 
benevolent objects of the day, must come up to the 
help of the Lord as they have never yet done. 
Let not those of Iowa be in the rear. Freely 
have ye received, freely give. Not of your money 
only : of your prayers and labors also, the prayers 
and labors of your individual members, in the wise 
work of winning souls around you, that each church 


may indeed be a mission-church for the field within 
its reach. By Sabbath schools, teachers sent here 
and there, by neighborhood prayer-meetings, by 
lay preaching, if you choose to call it so, upon the 
Sabbath, by every method within the church and 
around it, work for Jesus. In no other way can 
our surrounding wants be reached. We cannot 
call for ministers to do all the work. They are not 
to be had ; and, if they were, it is better to be work- 
ers ourselves. We cannot call upon the Home 
Missionary Society for all the needed help. It 
would be asking -for what it has not to give ; and, 
were all the money and men at its command in- 
creased a hundred fold, there are central and prom- 
ising fields in waiting for them all, in the regions 
around and beyond. With a limited supply, the 
great work of the Home Missionary Society must 
ever be to gather up and establish churches. Let 
but these be true to their work, let them be mission- 
churches in deed, as well as in name, and the sys- 
tem will be more complete. Let the churches of 
Iowa learn the lesson, and fill up the work remain- 
ing to be done. 

For the ministry of Iowa : To you who were on 
the field prior to 1843, we cede the honor of being 
the pioneers in this blessed work. By you, in 
many respects, were the foundations laid, the key- 
note of the true principles of our Christian work 
and church-growth struck. If, after your years of 
watching, waiting, almost despairing, you recognize 
it as of God that youthful helpers were sent to 


you, they also recognize it as of him that you 
were here, to be in many respects their light and 
their guide ; and, among you, none more than he, 
who, after his forty years of service in the gospel 
ministry, has just laid off his pastoral harness. 
May the Lord long spare him to be to us what 
hitherto he has been ! 

Those who have joined us since 1843 will not 
feel that they are excluded in this quarter-century 
review ; for they, too, have been sharers in the work 
accomplished. Let each be joyous in view of it, 
according to the time and faithfulness given to it. 
May you, dear brethren, as faithful workers for 
Christ, be true lovers of Iowa, even as those who 
have been longest here ! 

Finally, THE BAND : God hath been gracious to 
us. Two only has he taken by death ; three have 
been called to other fields of labor ; seven yet 
remain. How much longer we are to labor here, 
we know not. This we know : it is past the noon- 
tide, and soon, very soon, the evening shades will 
come. When the setting sun hangs low, God 
grant that we may look back on a day well spent ! 




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