Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Carlisle Christian Church

    Carlisle Christian Church, 305 Market St., Carlisle, IA 50047, phone (515) 989-0176, first church erected in 1868.


    History Of Carlisle Christian Church, written by the Rev. Edwin L. NICKLE (copied from the History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151)

    Settlers came to this community in 1849. In 1851 the town was plotted and named Carlisle for the town in Pennsylvania by the same name.

    Very early after it began to be a business center, the few members of the Christian church began to hold services in the schoolhouse. By 1868 the present building was erected at a cost of $2,100, and the church roll numbered 110.

    The earliest records have been lost, but we do know Brother BLY was the pastor when the church was built, and the building committee was composed of James DEATON, Finnias RICE, Phelps REED, Peter KAIL, William MAJORS and Fred SCOVIL.

    A number of our pioneer preachers preached here in the early days. Among them were Brothers BLY, Peter RUSSELL, SWALLOW, J. P. ROACH and Dennis ELLIS.

    Through these eighty-three years of history many improvements have been made on the church building but the original building still stands as straight and fine as it was at the first, showing that the founders built well.

    A Sunday school room was added and dedicated October 26, 1919, and a full basement dedicated May 1, 1940.

    The first pews were homemade of native walnut donated by James DEATON. Later they were replaced by modern pews but the original walnut pulpit is still in service.

    The church gave seven years of service to India in the person of Minnie Johnston PROTTENGER, a trained nurse. It produced one minister, Alex GROSSNICKLE, now pastor at Rising Sun, Iowa.

    History of the Carlisle Christian Church 1860-1975, written in 1975 by Blanche LANNING, granddaughter of Phelps and Sally REED, Charter members, and daughter of John and Emma SEID, long time members of the Carlisle Christian Church (on microfilm at the State Historical Society of Iowa, film # War-57)

    In 1860, Carlisle was a pioneer village nine years old, three blocks long. The white man had only lived here fifteen years. The nearest railroad was one hundred miles away and mail was brought from Des Moines once a week by a man on horseback. The early pioneers were sturdy, God fearing people. Most of them were tillers of the soil.Already two churches had organized and that year our own Christian Church was organized.

    In less than a year the Civil War had started and every able bodied man that could be spared went into the service and served throughout the war. The members of the church continued to meet in the school house and at the homes. The first pastor was Brother BLY.  The main part of our church was built in 1868 at a cost of $2,100.00.The building committee was James DEATON, Ananias RICE, Phelps REED, Peter KAIL, William MAJORS and Fred SCOVIL. Financial troubles developed and to save the church building for the congregation, the building committee personally paid the outstanding bills.

    The pews and pulpit were hand made from walnut lumber given by James DEATON.Two or three of the pews are still in use and the pulpit was used until 1959. The rostrum was at the south end of the room with a single door on each side.Usually the men sat on one side and the women on the other side. About half way on each side was a wood burning stove – the horizontal kind with a hearth in front.

    Among the charter members were Mr. and Mrs. James DEATON, Mr. and Mrs. Phelps REED, Mr. and Mrs. William MAJORS, Mr. and Mrs. James LANG, Mr. and Mrs. John LANG, Mr. and Mrs. Peter KAIL, Jane DEATON and Mrs. Emaline PERSON.


    The early ministers were Brother BLY, Peter RUSSELL, Joshua SWALLOW, J. P. ROACH, Dennis ELLIS and T.J. DOW. In 1890, W. H. COLEMAN came as pastor and served eight years. Again in 1914 he returned and served another year. During the pastorate of Rev. COLEMAN the rostrum was changed to the north end of the church and a front entrance added with a belfry for the church bell.

    Ministers serving around the turn of the century were W. J. LOCKHART, C.G. SOUTH, Clark BATEMAN and Irving WADE.

    The first fifty years of the church were literally, years of the horse and buggy age. A long log chain threaded through large posts was stretched on each side of the church for hitch racks. Sometimes the horses would get tired of standing there and would scratch the ground with their hoofs and whinney.

    The E. L. NICKLE family came to the Carlisle community in 1902. Mr. NICKLE had served as pastor of several churches before his health failed and he took up farming. In 1919 Mr. NICKLE gave most of the lumber to construct the annex on the west side of the original building. It was dedicated October 26, 1919. In 1940 a complete basement with kitchen and dining room was added.

    In 1952 a parsonage was constructed on a lot next to the church at a cost of approximately $16,000.00. The building committee for this project was Thomas MOTT, Ray CUMMINGS, and Bird McCLINTIC. Members of the church assisted in the construction with the help of a contractor. On September 14, 1952 the dedication of the parsonage was held under the direction of Carol CROEL.

    In 1956 the SWEENEY family gave the church a new Baldwin Electric Organ in memory of their husband and father, Richard SWEENEY.; Since then, inside chimes have been added as a memorial to Brother E. L. NICKLE in 1957 and outside chimes as a memorial to Mrs. Jennie NICKLE in 1960 by the NICKLE family. The large cross on the front of the church was donated by Ida VIERS in memory of her husband, Paul VIERS in 1964.

    The church gave seven years of service to India in the person of Minnie Johnston GRAYBILL and produced one minister, Alex GROSSNICKLE