This article is from History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, Volume 1, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, pages 279-281.

The broad expanse of prairie lying north of the early village of Wyoming, had among its earliest settlers, several Presbyterian families mostly from Scotland and the state of Ohio. Previous to the year 1861, occasional services were held, Rev. George E. Delevan, who was in charge of the Presbyterian church at Wyoming at that time, was the preacher. This beloved pioneer died at Wyoming in the spring of 1861.

By invitation of some of the members of the Presbyterian faith, Rev. James L. Wilson of the Dubuque Presbytery, located at Scotch Grove, commenced preaching at John Paul's schoolhouse, known now as the Valley School, three miles north of Wyoming, in the same township. Rev. Wilson's first sermon there was on Sunday, June 16, 1861. Arrangements were made for the continuation of the services, and the appointments were maintained regularly once in two weeks until the close of the year, 1864.

At the beginning of the year 1865, the meetings were removed to a more central location and to a more commodious schoolhouse in Clay township, two miles further north. The attendance and interest at once increased. A part of the time services were held at the former location where the attendance and interest was well maintained. At the new place now called Defiance Hill, the first sermon was preached January 8, 1865. Besides the regular preaching of the Word, the Lord's Supper was frequently administered here, the session of the Scotch Grove Presbyterian church with the minister from the same place having charge of the sacramental service. On these occasions, as well as at the regular communion services at Scotch Grove, a considerable number of the people from this community were received as members of that church.

Previous to the commencing of the meetings at Defiance Hill schoolhouse, there was farther north, in the eastern part of Clay township, an organization of the United Presbyterian church, called Mt. Hope church, supplied with preaching by Rev. A. J. Allen, beginning in 1856. He having ceased to labor, and there being no regular supplies, the organization became languishing and disbanded in 1865. The records of that noble little church were lost in the fire which burned the house of the elder of the church, Mr. James Kirkpatrick, in the year 1859. This elder and the chief part of the members of the United Presbyterian organization a few years later became identified with the Presbyterian meetings being held at Defiance Hill. These members of this early organization were mostly from the Presbyterian church of Ireland, but some were from Scotland and other places.

In April, 1870, a petition was sent to the Dubuque Presbytery signed by a number of members of the Presbyterian society, and some others, asking for the establishment of a Presbyterian church at this place. Accordingly the Presbytery in session at Jesup, on the 27th of April, 1870, appointed a committee to attend to the matter at some time convenient to themselves and to the people. This committee consisted of Rev. Samuel Hodge of Hopkinton, Rev. James L. Wilson, of Scotch Grove, and Hon. John McKean, a ruling elder of the Anamosa church.

The organization was effected at Defiance Hill, June 14, 1870, under the name of the Bethel Presbyterian church, the following persons entering the new organization by letter, mostly from the Scotch Grove church, viz: James Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Jane Kirkpatrick, William H. Chatterton, Mrs. Hilah S. Chatterton, Stephen R. Streeper, Matilda B. Streeper, Andrew Scroggie, Mrs. Grace Scroggie, Andrew Duncanson, Mrs. Marion 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.

The organization was perfected by the election of Andrew Scroggie and Stephen R. Streeper as ruling elders. John Paul and James Kirkpatrick were elected deacons.

Of the above named charter members, five are still living, namely: James Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Ann Reid, Mrs. Mary J. Hawley, Mrs. Mary Neelans and John Paul.

The new church prospered and in due time the question of building a house of worship arose, and was discussed. A site for the building was chosen, and one thousand, two hundred dollars subscribed toward its erection, but about that time the railroad came to Onslow and the organization of a Presbyterian church at that place had a tendency to check the building plans of the Bethel church. About the same time, the Bethel church was generously offered the use of the Free Will Baptist church building. This offer was accepted, and in this building, the Bethel Congregation has held regular services ever since.

The following ministers have served as pastors since the organization of the church, namely: Revs. J. L. Wilson, John Rice, Henry Cullen, Alexander Scott, J. A. Hahn, Philip Palmer, J. R. McQuown, P. A. Tinkam, and the present pastor, S. B. McClelland.

The ruling elders have been: Andrew Scroggie, Stephen R. Streeper, Andrew Duncanson, Thomas Hamilton. John Neelans. William Fletcher, John Dennison, Isaac N. French.

The deacons have been: James Kirkpatrick, John Paul, A. P. Ormsby, John Dennison, David H. Orr, Ahab DeWitt, Joseph W. Orr. Robert Scroggie. R. W. Chatterton, C. S. Ames. In 1901, the office of deacon was abolished, and the office of trustee established. The trustees have been: James Kennedy, C. S. Ames. R. W. Chatterton, C. L. Butler, Robert A. Scroggie.

The church organization for 1909, is as follows:

Session: Pastor and moderator. Rev. S. B. McClelland; elders, John Neelans. William Fletcher and Isaac N. French.

Sabbath School: Superintendent, R. W. Chatterton; assistant superintendent, William Fletcher; secretary and treasurer, Miss Alice Green; organist, Miss Ina Young; assistant organist, Miss Alice Green.

Ladies Missionary Society: President, Mrs. Adella E. McClelland; vice president, Mrs. Minnie Kennedy; secretary, Mrs. Fannie Hicks; treasurer, Mrs. Hattie Chatterton; secretary of literature, Mrs. Mary H. Neelans.

The church has pursued the even tenor of its way, sometimes making vigorous strides, at other times more lagging in its progress, but still advancing in the work to which it has been called, an uplift in the community and an honor to the Kingdom. A series of revival meetings were closed in the early part of October, 1909. which added much to the enthusiasm and strength of the church, the meetings being conducted by Evangelist Foote, with the assistance of the regular pastor. Rev. S. B. McClelland.

The Bethel church has never had a resident pastor. During the first ten years or more of its organization, the pastor of the Scotch Grove church also served as pastor of this church. About 1883 or 1884, the Bethel church and the Onslow church united in the support of the same pastor, the regular services in the Bethel church being held every Sunday afternoon, the pastor residing at Onslow. This relation has continued down to the present time. The church building is located in the southwest corner of section 17, in Clay township, the location being known locally as Frozen Hill. The church is a central institution in the community, and is the nucleus around which clusters precious memories and the influences for good which predominate in the country on all sides.