Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Carlisle Scotch Ridge United Presbyterian Church

    Carlisle Scotch Ridge United Presbyterian Church “Half-way church”, 13013 Scotch Ridge Road, Carlisle, IA 50047, (515) 287-2162, built in 1885.


    Scotch Ridge Church, written by Mable F. McKEE (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

    One of the familiar landmarks of Warren County is Scotch Ridge church, often called by Indianola residents the "half-way church" because of its location mid-distance between the county seat and the state capital.

    The Scotch Ridge United Presbyterian church was organized August 13, 1853, and is at present making plans for appropriate observance of its centennial anniversary in 1953. Earliest records of the church carry the names of many pioneer families, most of whom came directly from Scotland: viz. BLACK, DYER, HANBY, HAMILTON, HASTIE, LEDLIE, McELROY, PILMER, RUNCIMAN, SCHOOLER, SHERRIFF, UTTERSON, VANCE, WELCH and WOOD. In addition to the HASTIE, LEDLIE, SCHOOLER, and SHERRIFF names, other second generation families include BOYD, McKEE, MILLER, PIFFER and WILSON. All these names are found on the stones in the adjoining church yard, which is one of the oldest in the county.

    Since the organization of the church the following have served as ruling elders: William VANCE, John McELROY, Andrew HASTIE, Wm. RUNCIMAN, Sam B. LINDSAY, John WOOD, Peter SCHOOLER, Matthew and Robert McELROY, John HAMILTON, I. C. WRIGHT, J. F. McKEE, Thos. MILLER, J. D. LEDLIE, W. C. HASTIE, W. H. BOYD, J. A. SCHOOLER, George PIFFER, Bonar McKEE, Ryle McKEE, Austin SCHOOLER, W. T. HASTIE and Ralph LEDLIE.

    During the century of its existence sixteen different ministers have served this country congregation and two church buildings have been the home of its members. The sanctuary of the present church was built in 1885. The parsonage built five years later has been modernized, and the church annex and community room was added in 1947. Scotch Ridge church has always been a self-supporting congregation and through the years has had a full-time pastor. It has a vital connection with the denomination of which it is a part, and at the same time serves the community where it has been the center of activity for four generations.

    Two institutions which these Scotch pioneers brought with them — their church and their school — have colored the life of the community. Though the people are still proudly rural, from this little church have gone teachers, missionaries, ministers, religious leaders, bankers, librarians — citizens who have contributed not only to the business and professional world but who have given leadership and culture to other churches and organizations both rural and urban. It has long been a truism that Scotch Ridge summer audiences are "inter-state and cosmopolitan," made so by the vacation visits of former Scotch Ridge sons and daughters, now leaders in other fields and locations.

    With the passing of the years have come changes in the services. In early days no musical instrument was allowed. Psalms and psalms only were sung. They were "lined off" by one of the elders, the congregation singing each line after it had been read aloud. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was attended by a three-day service. When receiving the communion, the communicants took their places at a long linen-covered table across the front of the church, where they were served the bread, and then the wine from a common cup. This cup has long since been replaced by the regulation communion service and the piano or organ is an accepted "must" for the music. Though the form of the service has changed somewhat, Scotch Ridge church still stands a monument to its founders, a community testimony to the fine Christian standards of sturdy Scotch ancestors.

    Note: Currently, the closest town to the Scotch Ridge church is Carlisle, and is therefore listed with the Carlisle address, however; the town of Summerset used to be closer near the church, and the church was therefore known as the Scotch Ridge Summerset Congregation. Church minutes from 1853-1941 from the Scotch Ridge Summerset Congregation are on microfilm at the State Historical Library of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, film # War-57 (LDS film # 1034023)