Bethel was organized June 14, 1870 by a committee from the Dubuque Presbytery. It was located in Clay Township north east of Onslow at Defiance Hill School. (Northeast corner of Section 31)
Arrangements were made to erect a church for $1,200 given by donations, but soon the railroad came to Onslow and a Presbyterian Church was formed in Onslow, so an agreement was made with the Free-Will Baptists of Clay to have services in their church. (Southwest corner of Section 17, Clay Township) A charter and by-laws were adopted December 17, 1870. On January 16, 1877 at a congregational meeting Rev. John Rice moderated, it was resolved to adopt the limited term of office for elders for three years. Then later in this year elders were elected and duly installed. They were Andrew Scroggie, Stephen R. Streeper, Andrew Duncanson, and Thomas Hamilton. Deacons selected were A. P. Ormsby, John Dennison, and David H. Orr. Other ruling elders were John Neelans, William Fletcher, and Isaac N. French.
At a yearly meeting January 8, 1879 the church gave strong expression on the subjects of temperance and dancing according to the principles of the Presbyterian Church.
The Scotch Grove Presbyterian church was the "Mother Church" of Bethel, Onslow, Center Junction, and several other churches of the same denomination. The Scotch Grove Church is the oldest church in the county.
Bethel's first or charter members were James Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Jane Kirkpatrick, William H. Chatterton, Mrs. Hilah S. Chatterton, Stephen R. Streeper, Matilda B. Streeper, Andrew Scroggie, Mrs. George Scroggie, Andrew Duncanson, David H. Orr, Henry P. Chatterton, Mrs. Alice P. Chatterton, Mrs. Jane Young, Mrs. Ann Reid, Mrs. Margaret Paul, Mrs. Mary J. Hawley, Mrs. Mary Neelans. John Paul was accepted as a member on profession of faith.
Bethel Church never had a resident pastor. During the first ten years or more, the pastor of the Scotch Grove Church also served as pastor of this church. About 1883 the Bethel and Onslow churches united in the support of the same pastor. Regular services were held every Sunday afternoon. The pastor resided at Onslow. This relationship continued for many years or until services were held about four times each year. It was abandoned in 1939. Then many of its members became affiliated with the Onslow church.