The First Presbyterian church of Monticello is one of the younger churches of the city and also one of the largest, if not the largest Presbyterian church in this immediate section of the state.
The church was organized April 27, 1882, by a committee from Cedar Rapids Presbytery, of which Rev. Daniel Russell, D. D., was chairman. Dr. Russell also served as the first pastor of the church. There were fourteen charter mem'bers, the names of whom are as follows: John Gibson, Mrs. E. M. Gibson, Miss Luella Gibson, John H. Bacher, Mrs. Margaret Bacher, Mrs. Isabella Bacher, Mrs. Margaret Eberhart, Mrs. Caroline Eberhart, James F. Laude, Mrs. James F. Laude, Miss Flora Perrine, Mrs. E. F. Stevenson, F. W. Yerian, Mrs. Catharine Yerian.
The first elders of the church were: James F. Laude, John Gibson. The first trustees: H. B. Eberhart, F. W. Yerian, H. C. Wills, John Bacher.
The Sabbath school was organized October 15, 1882, and the first officers were: John Gibson, superintendent; John H. Bacher, treasurer; Miss Lulu Gibson, secretary.
For a number of years, the congregation held services in Kinsella hall. Rev. Daniel Russell, D. D., served the church as pastor until the fall of 1884, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. H. Hinkhouse. During this pastorate which continued only a few months of a seminary vacation, the first church building was erected on North Cedar street, and this building was dedicated November 29, 1885. This was a brick building. The next pastor was Rev. George Le Clere who ministered to the congregation during the year 1886. Rev. J. L. Countermine was for a brief time pastor during part of the year following, and then in 1889, the church was served by Rev. J. F. Montman. He was followed during the years 1890-91 by the Rev. A. R. Bickenback. Rev. David Street was installed as pastor in the year 1892, and continued in that relationship for a period of almost eight years. It was during this pastorate that the church advanced from a struggling mission of a few members to a self supporting congregation.
Rev. J. W. Innes, the present pastor, followed Rev. David Street, and began his pastorate in December, 1899. With the coming of Rev. Mr. Innes, a new era had apparently dawned in the progress of the Presbyterian church. The pastor was a man of strong intellect, pleasing in methods and pleasing in manners, tactful and resourceful, affable and friendly, sympathetic and broad minded. The church at once began to feel the influence of his strong personality in all its various branches. The membership increased, and the zeal of the members was aroused.
The old little brick church was too small for the congregation. In the spring of 1902, the matter of a new church building began to be agitated. As the weeks went by, the old building apparently was becoming smaller. A building committee consisting of the following members was appointed: P. C. Smith, chairman; A. E. Himebaugh, secretary; G. W. Eastwood, W. G. Eilers. Frank M. Hicks, Fred Matthiessen. Plans were laid for the new building and funds raised.
The present central location on First street was selected. The lot cost three thousand three hundred dollars. The contract was let for the new building July 4, 1902, to E. M. Loop of Hopkinton, Iowa. The corner stone was laid October 7, 1902. The dedication took place Sabbath August 2, 1903. There was a large attendance at the services. The total cost of the building and the grounds with the improvements since dedication day, approximate an outlay of nearly twenty-five thousand dollars.
C. D. Chase is at present the efficient superintendent of the Sabbath school which reports a membership of about two hundred scholars. The church building is modern in construction, both interior and exterior. Its various rooms make it convenient for Sabbath school, and for the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor of which there is a strong and flourishing society. The church for years, has had very active ladies' societies in connection with its work, and these have been a material aid to the church and its membership.
The present organization of the church is as follows: Rev. J. W. Innes, pastor; elders: Dr. Geo. Inglis, C. D. Chase, I. W. Grover, F. D. Bolton, W. E. LeClere, Arnold Egger, P. C. Smith, M. Sweesy, Morris Bebb; trustees: C. E. Errickson, Ervin E. Reed, H. B. Heisey, C. D. Chase, W. E. Le Clere.