Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Indianola Trinity United Presbyterian Church

    Indianola Trinity United Presbyterian Church (First Presbyterian Church), 200 South Howard St., Indianola, IA, (515) 961-6232, http://www.trinityupc.org/ first church built in 1870.


    Note:The Indianola First United Presbyterian Church and the Indianola United Presbyterian Church were united on January 11, 1959 to form the Indianola Trinity United Presbyterian Church.

    Presbyterian Church Of Indianola,” written by the Rev. James W. ANGELL, from History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151

    The First Presbyterian church of Indianola was organized by the Rev. G. M. SWAN and Elder David WILLIS, a committee of the Presbytery of Des Moines, on November 5, 1853. The charter membership included Nathaniel McCLURE, Jacob H. WISEHEART, Mrs. Elizabeth WISEHEART, Miss Lutheria McCLURE, David DEMEREE and Mrs. Kesiah NICHOLS. At the organizational meeting Nathaniel McCLURE and David DEMEREE were elected elders and Jacob WISEHEART was elected deacon.

    The church did not have an established meeting place until 1863, when, during the ministry of the Rev. D. L. HUGHES, the house known as the Old Seminary building located at the intersection of East Salem and Jefferson way was purchased for $600 and remodeled as a church building. This building was used for seven years. On September 11, 1870, a new church was erected on the southeast corner of Howard and First streets at a cost of $8,240. Thomas DYKE, Thomas THOMPSON and John OLIVE formed the building committee with B. F. SWAN as treasurer.

    From its organization until May, 1867, the church was served by stated supply pastors as follows: J. M. LIPPINCOTT, 1853-55; W. L. LYONS, 1858-60; D. L. HUGHES, 1864-65; Wm. McCANDLISH, 1865-67.

    On May 1, 1867, the Rev. Silas JOHNSON came to the church and on October 23, 1868, became the first installed pastor. It was under his leadership that the new church was erected. Other pastors and their tenure were: Thomas M. FINDLEY, June 22, 1880, to June 8, 1883; A. J. BERGER, August 14, 1883, to October 1, 1893; Clarence G. MILLER, December 3, 1893, to April 17, 1898; J. T. HOPKINS, November 10, 1898, to March 8, 1904; A. K. PORTER, May 15, 1904, to July 1, 1908; R. C. MITCHELL, July 31, 1908, to November 8, 1910; W. O. HARLESS, December 1, 1910, to May 16, 1916; John G. GEIFFIN, September 18, 1916, to November 30, 1917; Thomas McGREGOR, February 18, 1918, to November 18, 1923; Sampson COCKS, April 1, 1924, to May 1, 1942; Walter T. MARTIN, November 1, 1942, to March 1, 1949; and James W. ANGELL, June 12, 1949, to the present.

    The first trustees were elected November 12, 1871. They were Dr. C. W. DAVIS, H. McCLURE, W. A. NOBLE, A. H. SWAN and Willet CARPENTER. R. GRANTHAM was elected chairman and John H. JOHNSTON, clerk. The first every-member canvass and system of pledge envelopes was used in 1877. During this same year the term system of eldership was instituted and the number of ruling elders set at six. First ushers were Edd ROSS and James McGRANAHAN appointed December 6, 1891.

    The present church building was erected in 1900 at a cost of $15,786 and was dedicated on December 16 of that year. The finance committee was composed of J. H. McGRANAHAN, chairman, J. H. DYKE, Walter PECK, L. S. NOBLE and James HICKMAN. The building committee was composed of James H. McGRANAHAN, chairman, O. K. BUTLER, G. E. JOHNSON, F. S. BURBERRY and A. SCHIMELFENIG. Architect was the firm of Proudfoot & Bird.

    The basement was excavated and enlarged and the organ installed a few years after the erection of the church building. The church bell was purchased in 1874 by a committee composed of Dr. and Mrs. C. W. DAVIS and W. A. NOBLE, and has been used in both buildings. It was rung throughout the night after the armistice ending World War I. Since the original construction, the following alterations and improvements have been made: the steeple has been removed, new sanctuary light fixtures have been installed, the chancel has been enlarged and renovated, automatic heating has replaced the old boiler, a reception parlor has been furnished, a primary chapel has been built in the west end of the basement, a brick enclosure has been built over the south stairway, and an illuminated brick bulletin board has been erected in front of the church. The maple trees on the church grounds were planted by W. N. GRANT in 1915.

    The manse was built in the fall of 1892 at a cost of $1,500. It was completely remodeled in 1952 at a cost of $13,000. A great amount of volunteer labor was donated. Three rooms in the basement were decorated and equipped for classrooms and connected by an underground passageway with the main church building. The new manse, lovely and modern, was dedicated in October of that year and honor paid to the building committee which included James KENNEDY, Everett OVERTON, John BARKER and Howard RALSTON. Harry WEINMAN and Jesse NEWMAN also provided valuable assistance. The church custodian from 1929 to 1949 was James HIME. Present custodian is Irvin DEY.

    Membership across the years has not shown a very wide variation. Present membership is 404, the exact figure for the year 1929. Between 1888 and 1895 the church showed its largest growth, from 140 communicants to 300. The largest number of members received on any single occasion was sixty persons who united with the church on January 21, 1894. On April 2, 1950, forty-nine persons joined the church.

    The church school has had a similar record — steady accessions but a fairly constant membership. Present enrollment is 160. Superintendent is E. E. GUILFORD. In 1951 with the youth budget plan in operation, church school students contributed over $500 to the general budget. Total church budget for 1951 was $10,300, $1,850 of this amount being specified for benevolence. For many years Harry C. WEINMAN has been the church treasurer.

    Other organizations are: The Women's association formed in 1950 as successor to the Ladies Aid society, the Westminster Missionary society, and the Newkirk society with a membership of 120 presently organized into five groups with Mrs. Harry WEINMAN as association president, the Men's club with a membership of fifty meeting monthly for potluck suppers and inspirational meetings under the leadership of Guy RISINGER, the senior choir directed by Ben VANDERVELDE, the junior choir directed by Mrs. Eldon OGAN, the Westminster Fellowship youth organization with forty-eight young people active in the Supper club for senior high ages, and the Jay-Hi club for junior high folk. Myra SAFLEY is church organist.

    Present church officers are: Mrs. Fred PETERSON, Paul LEAVERTON, Mrs. Carl LANE, E. E. GUILFORD, Ralph GILLILAND, James KENNEDY and James DAVIES, elders; Carl LANE, Bertram BROWN, Dale EWALT, John R. BARKER, Harold GEORGE, John HEGGEN and Curtis SMITH, trustees; R. G. MILLER, James WEINMAN, Howard RALSTON, John LOWENBERG, Ray OLSON, Francis HAMILTON and Loren MINER, deacons.

    Indianola First Presbyterian church records, book 1 (1855-1920) and book 2 (1855-1911), and church records from 1880-1959 are on microfilm at the State Historical Society, Des Moines, Iowa, film #War-56 (LDS film # 1034022)

    United Presbyterian Church Of Indianola, written by Emma SCHOOLEY, Rev M. Todd McDONALD, Mrs. Ethel Lindsay HUNT, and Kenneth E. SMITH, is copied from The History of Warren County, Iowa, compiled by the Warren County Genealogical Society, Curtis Media Corp., Dallas, Texas, 1987, p.408-409

    The United Presbyterian Church of Indianola, Iowa was organized during the fall of 1864 by the Rev. T. P. DYSERT. The following members entered the organization: Robert GRAHAM and L.A GRAHAM, his wife; J. H. MILLEN and Linda, his wife; David MILLIER and Lucinda, his wife; Mrs. Margaret A. HARBISON; R.T. HARBISON and Esther HARBISON; William J. CLARK and Susan, his wife; S.F. PALMER; Mrs. Melvina LYONS and Mrs. Margaret ALEXANDER. Rev. J. I. PRESSLEY preached here about the years 1856 and 1857, and had an organization but trouble and hard times came on. He left and so did most of the members. Our cause was almost dead until Rev. DYSART came and then it revived.

    The congregation was incorporated August 12, 1867; the names signed to the articles of incorporation being J. W. CAMPBELL, William ORR, John ELLIOT and R.S. HARBISON. Our first church building was complete in February 1868. The first trustees were: S. B. LINDSAY, J.W. CAMPBELL, George CAVIT, Andrew HENRY and Robert MARTIN. The Sabbath School was organized. December 4, 1873, T.W. GRAHAM was elected superintendent, Mrs. McGRANAHAN, R. C. PARR and Mrs. Obe HENRY were teachers.

    Pastors for the United Presbyterian Church were: Rev. Andrew McCARTNEY serving until 1873; Rev. Joseph CALHOUN 1873-1895; Rev. W. P. WHITE 1897-1901; Rev D. Everett SMITH 1902-1906; Rev E.E. DOUGLAS 1907-1914; Rev. J.W. WILSON 1914-1920; Rev. R.B. McELREE 1920-1926; Rev. T.H. MELVILLE 1926-1928; Rev J. S. POLLOCK 1929-1936; Rev M. Todd MACDONALD 1936-1940; Dr Ellis Jones HOUGH 1940-1941; Walter J. TEEUWISSEN Jr. 1942-1948; Wallace N. JAMISON 1948-1951; Rev Jack CARR 1951-1952; Arthur EADY 1952-1953; and Rev Loren LEWIS 1953-1957.

    Our first church building was a small frame structure located one block north of the northwest corner of the square. It was heated by two big stoves in the rear corners of the room. The choir filled one corner by the pulpit and the families of Thomas GRAHAM and W. H. SCHOOLEY occupied the other corner at the other side.

    Later, W.B. CARRUTHERS gave one lot and citizens outside our church gave the adjoining lot at the northeast corner of East First and East Salem Streets. So the work began on the new church building. The foundations were laid broad and deep, of the best limestone. The walls are double, two walls each nine inches thick, with one inch air space between. It was roofed with the first slate roof in Warren County. Special attention was given to acoustics with the result that the auditorium had no echo. The seating capacity was about 600. The Women’s Missionary Society bought the chairs at a cost of over one thousand dollars. ` solicited funds from the business men to gild the spire and for many years it shone, a thing of beauty, until in 1912 it was struck by lightning. Then a copper covered dome was substituted for the golden spire. The finished building, outside the cost of the furnishings was $14,000.00. On December 22, 1889, the building was dedicated, Rev. Dr. HANNA of Monmouth, preaching the dedicating sermon. The pulpit bible, antique walnut communion table, and the communion set were the only things transferred from the old building.

    The merger of the United Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church was completed on January 11, 1959 to form the Trinity United Presbyterian Church of Indianola.The new church with a membership of 575, as of February 25, 1986, has developed programs to better serve the Christian needs of the church and to serve the community as a whole.The church is committed to the support of a strong mission program locally, nationally and world wide.

    Indianola United Presbyterian church records 1869-1957 are on microfilm at the State Historical Society, Des Moines, Iowa, film #War-56 (LDS film # 1034022)

    Trinity United Presbyterian Church of Indianola, Iowa 1976 booklet at the Warren County Historical Society Library.