Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Indianola Friends Church

    Indianola Friends Church, 109 W. Boston Ave, Indianola, IA, (515) 961-4364, church was purchased in 1892 and rebuilt in 1904.


    INDIANOLA FRIENDS CHURCH By Miss Katie MILLER from History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151

    Indianola Monthly meeting of Friends had its beginning about 1890 when several Friends moved and settled in Indianola and commenced holding prayer meetings at their several homes. Soon after this came a Quaker evangelist, J. L. BEANE, and Aquilla MOON, singer. They secured the Christian church, which stood at the southeast corner of Salem and highway No. 69, for their meetings.

    Ackworth Quarterly meeting, first known as South River Quarterly meeting, held its first meeting in 1860. Indianola Monthly meeting, when organized, became a part of the Ackworth Quarterly meeting.

    At the first monthly meeting of Indianola Friends held January 19, 1893, a committee was appointed to bring forward names of members suitable for the permanent organization. The members of this committee were: John HADLEY, Frederick SMITH, L. L. McQUAID, Cynthia STARBUCK, Lucetta WHITE, Catherine SMITH and Isaiah FRAZIER. Stephen MOSHER and Lucetta WHITE were the first clerks. Catherine SMITH and Isaiah FRAZIER were in charge of the services of the meeting.

    Later the group bought the old United Presbyterian church building which stood at the present site of the Friends church on the southeast corner of North Buxton and West Boston. This building at this time was owned and occupied by a military company. It was a one-room frame building, chapel type, with an "Amen corner." The meeting had a membership of about 100 then.

    Sometime in May or June, 1904, some member suggested that they ought to have a new meeting house. The older members hesitated, but the younger ones had a vision. George W. JAMES, W. G. STANLEY, Will HODGES, Jonathan HADLEY and A. J. COTTINGHAM deserve much credit for the beautiful structure which was built on the site of the old meeting house, the corner south of the public library.

    At the present time the only member of this committee now living is Will HODGES of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has contributed considerably to the present new structure.

    Meetings were held in the courthouse during the summer and fall of 1904 when the new building was in progress. The structure was 56 by 71 feet, veneered with red brick and trimmed with stone. It had two modest towers, roof with many gables and valleys, and more than twenty Gothic stained-glass windows. Three of these windows were memorial art windows imported from Europe. The one on the west in memory of Catherine SMITH was "Christ at the Door;" the one on the north in memory of Rodema NEWLIN was "Christ's Ascension;" and the one on the east in memory of Rachel HAWORTH was "Christ in Gethsemane."

    The building was dedicated January 15, 1905. The Rev. E. R. PURDY of Oskaloosa gave the morning message and W. J. HADLEY of Oskaloosa had the service of dedication. Laura B. TOWNSEND was pastor.

    The greatest increase in membership was from 1909-13 when Eli PERISHO was pastor. Mr. PERISHO held classes in the study of Quakerism as well as study of the Bible, and great interest was shown for he was an able leader. He wrote a book on "Quakers and Water Baptism" which explained the doctrine fully. By 1920 the membership was 190.

    A Quaker Sewing and Knitting club was organized October 1, 1917, under the direction of the American Friends Service committee for the purpose of providing clothing for the war-stricken countries of Europe, especially France. Hundreds of garments and articles of bedding were made from bolts of black sateen, muslin, outing flannel and prints furnished by the service committee at a nominal cost. Patterns were also furnished so that the garments would be made like the ones the peasants were accustomed to wearing. All winter the women of the club met several days a week at the different homes to cut garments and sew. A number took home the cut garments and finished them.

    The parsonage, which was located just west of the present high school building, was sold September 25, 1919, and in January, 1920, the present parsonage, which joins the church grounds on the east, was bought.

    On December 16, 1945, the church building was destroyed by fire. The basement of the public library was used for over two years for church services. During this time the basement of the future church building was built. The walls are made of poured concrete and steel construction, with faced brick from the grade line. The ceiling is made so that it will be the floor of the building when completed.

    The basement rooms were furnished and the first meeting held June 6, 1948. As soon as funds are available, the church building will be finished. Harry K. DILLON is pastor.

    Many young people who have gone out in the religious work of the church have received their early training in fundamentals of Quakerism in this church. Among these was Prof. Forrester C. STANLEY, a widely known scientist, world traveler and lecturer, who was president of William Penn college at the time of his death in 1949. Born on a farm near Ackworth, he attended Indianola public schools and graduated from Simpson College, during which time he took active part in the work of the local Quaker church, serving as Sunday school superintendent and church pianist. After studying in the University of Wisconsin and the University of Berlin, he became head of the chemistry department at Penn college. During the many years he served in this capacity, a number of his students became outstanding chemists to hold positions of prominence in the nation.

    Another Indianola Quaker boy prominent in the religious work of the church is Dr. D. Elton TRUEBLOOD, one of the nation's foremost religious philosophers and author of ten books, the latest one being "The Life We Prize." Dr. TRUEBLOOD is professor of religious philosophy at Earlham college, Richmond, Ind. He was formerly professor of philosophy of religion and chaplain at Stanford university. He has taught at Harvard university, Guilford college, Haverford college, Garrett Bible institute and Wabash college. At the age of 14 he showed signs of becoming a great thinker and lecturer when he gave talks in Sunday school or young people's meetings of the local church. Today he spends much time traveling over the United States as lecturer on religious topics. He has made several trips to Europe representing the Quakers in World Conferences of Christian churches.