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HISTORY OF THE OLD ANTIOCH CHURCH

by Mrs. Albert Benadom,
June 22, 1952

HISTORY OF THE NEW ANTIOCH CHURCH

Written and presented by Mrs. Albert Benadom at the Centennial and

Re-Dedication Service of Antioch Church, Anamosa, Iowa,

August 2, 1964

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Elizabeth Byerly submitted the histories and program information, [an error occurred while processing this directive] supplied the church photo.

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According to The History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, by R. M. Corbitt (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910):

"The Antioch church, located northwest of the central part of the township, is the oldest church in the neighborhood. It is a neat brick edifice, and has had its influence in establishing and maintaining the high standard of morality in the township. The church was erected by the Christian denomination in the winter of 1864-5. Rev. J. H. Johnson was the minister in charge when the building was started. Rev. Nathan Potter was the officiating minister at the completion and dedication of the building. Rev. W. C. Smith was later the minister who looked after the spiritual wants of the church. The Christian denomination has held no regular services in the church for several years. Rev. Beaver of the Congregational church at Anamosa now preaches every second Sunday. Lem Streeter and Mrs. Mary Waggoner are the present trustees of the Christian denomination."

But, according to church minutes from August 8, 1888 and provided by [an error occurred while processing this directive], The Antioch Christian Church was founded in 1858:

"Antioch Christian Chapel, Church met according to previous notice at two o'clock p.m. Meeting was opened by song, reading scriptures and prayer by Elder W. C. Smith of Albion. Prayer and social meeting followed. The presence of the Lord was truly among us. This meeting and on the morrow we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the organization of this church. Organized and known first at the residence of Brother Anthony Waggoner as the Bear Creek Valley Christian Church. All present spoke of their faith in the Savior. Present Elder W. C. Smith, Elder Nathan Potter, Deacons Anthony Waggoner, Michael Byerly, Eliza Waggoner, Clementine Potter, M. C. Porter, Almira Porter, Charles and Rhoda Brown and Maggie and Cora Beam.

"Sunday and Sunday evening preaching by Brother Smith. Anniversary service at 11 o'clock at which time Charles and Rhoda Brown, J. L. Streeter and S. S. Streeter united with the church and Charles and Rhoda Brown were baptized by Elder Smith."

Elder Joseph Harrison Johnson preached his first sermon and was ordained at the same time in Moscow, Iowa. He came to Jones county about 1860 and the oldest gravestone in the adjacent cemetery is from that year. There is a memorial to him in the cemetery. Michael Byerly was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, July 10, 1818, and came to Jones county in 1846. He was a trustee of the church and held various township offices.

Nathan Potter was also associated with the church in its early days. Potter was converted to the Christian faith, taking up ministerial work shortly after his conversion, and in 1863, in Clayton county, Iowa, he was regularly ordained to preach the gospel in the Christian Church. When he assumed charge of the congregation in Jackson township, Antioch church was in an unfinished condition and he was instrumental seeing to the building's completion.

In 1882, Michael Byerly's son, Milton, married Elder Johnson's daughter, Marie, and they were very active in the United Brethren church at Antioch. Charles Stivers says, "I found this in an obit that may lead me to believe that the Antioch Church may have been Methodist at one time. 'In December 1894, Rev. Lee received Mrs. and Mrs. Glenn into fellowship of the Methodist church at Pleasant Valley.'"

[an error occurred while processing this directive] "I note in the Eureka obit of Anthony Waggoner of 11 Oct 1894: 'At the organization of the Christian church in Jackson township about the year 1855, he [Anthony Waggoner] went into said organization under the labors of J. Linscott, and was deacon of the church for over 40 years.' Growing up in the 1940s and 50s in Jackson Twp., I remember it used for community purposes, not religious services. It was the place for voters of Jackson Twp. to cast their ballots, and 4-H meetings were held there. The church burned January 3, 1950 and was rebuilt. My brother, three years old at the time, says this is his earliest memory."

According to his obituary the Rev. Albert McMurrin preached his first sermon at Antioch in 1925. He graduated from the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, and went on to pastor Church of the Nazarene and United Methodist congregations. He is buried at the Antioch cemetery.