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 667-670.


So far as the records show, the first preaching in Wyoming by a United Presbyterian minister occurred in the year 1859, by Rev. R. S. Campbell. Preaching continued by supplies for the next two years, and among the names of these supplies were Revs. Campbell, Stewart, Allen, Anderson, Miller and Baird. On August 25, 1859, a petition for an organization was sent to Le Claire Presbytery, then in session at Washington, Iowa. The Presbytery granted the petition and appointed Rev. J. Stewart to preach at Wyoming, to preside in the organization of a congregation and dispense the Lord's Supper.

In obedience to the action of the Presbytery, Rev. J. Stewart called a meeting of those desiring the organization of a United Presbyterian congregation in this place, in the old schoolhouse, Friday, November 4, 1859. After the sermon, the organization was effected, and the following members were received into membership by letter from other congregations: Samuel Coburn, and Mary A., his wife; Jesse Barrett and Mary A., his wife; J. W. Wherry and Mary, his wife; David Wherry and Mary A., his wife; William Bratton and Martha, his wife; J. B. Wherry, Nancy J. Moore, Mary A. Bucher, Sarah E. Bohler, Mary E. Wherry, Hannah J. Wherry, John Brady. On profession of faith, Joseph T. Wherry and Hannah his wife. Of these charter members of the congregation, five yet survive, namely: J. B. Wherry, Joseph T. Wherry and Hannah, his wife; Jesse Barrett, Mary Wherry, wife of J. W. Wherry. The latter Mary Wherry is the only resident member surviving.

The election of elders followed which resulted in the following being elected: Samuel Coburn, Jesse Barrett and J. W. Wherry all of whom are now deceased, the latter, J. W. Wherry, having passed away June 11, 1908.

Saturday, November 5, 1859, after the regular services, the elders were ordained and duly installed thus completing the organization.

On Sabbath, November 6th, the following children received the ordinance of baptism: Calvin C. Wherry, Mary M. Bratton, Joseph H. Coburn, Tolbert H. Wherry, Stewart A. Barrett, Harriet A. Bohler. Sarah L. Bohler, Leverton L. Bohler, Mary C. Bohler, Nancy M. Bohler and Tolbert H. Bohler. This was followed by the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, for the first time in the new congregation. It must certainly have been a pleasure to these faithful ones to once more remember and observe the Master's request, "This do in remembrance of me."

Revs. J. Stewart, A. J. Allen and S. M. Kizer, supplied the congregation with preaching until May 15, 1861, when A. J. Allen was appointed as a stated supply.

On October 27, 1861, the following members were added to the church, namely: Henry Dockstader and Elizabeth, his wife; John Bratton, Margaret Bratton, Fredora B. Bucher, Sarah Wherry, Ebenezer Wherry and William W. Wherry.

September 24, 1862, L. I. Crawford a licenciate under the inspection of the Presbytery of Mercer, Pennsylvania, preached to the congregation. On March 14, 1863, a call was moderated for his pastoral services. He took charge of the congregation as its pastor on Nevember 8, 1863, giving one-fourth of his time to the congregation of Clarence. He was ordained and duly installed pastor by Presbytery, January 16, 1864.

In 1865, the present church building was erected at a cost of two thousand, two hundred dollars. The record here is incomplete, so the exact date is hard to determine, but we know that the congregation was worshiping in the new building, April 1, 1866, when a committee of Presbytery assisted in the dispensation of the Lord's Supper and gave the following report to the Presbytery:

"We found the congregation in a prosperous condition and worshiping in their new and commodious house. So far as we are able to judge the pastor, Rev. L. I. Crawford is faithful in the discharge of his duties and in good report in the community. The elders are faithful and efficient in the work. As a congregation, they are attentive to the word preached. They have a prayer-meeting with a good attendance. Two Sabbath-schools are within the bounds of the congregation in which a good degree of interest is taken. Family worship is attended by the families of the congregation with a few exceptions."

December 5, 1867, Joseph Henry and Abraham Bennett were elected to the eldership of the congregation. They were ordained and installed January 4, 1868.

The first break came in the work when on February 25, 1868, the pastor Rev. L. I. Crawford, thought it best that the pastoral relations existing between himself and this congregation should be dissolved. He accordingly offered his resignation. The congregation did not acquiesce in this request, but the Presbytery thought it best to grant the request, so the first pastorate came to a close with the end of the Home Mission year, July 1, 1868.

The congregation was not discouraged, but with a mind to work sought another undershepherd and found him in J. U. McClenahan, a licenciate of the Presbytery of Rock Island. His call was moderated March 8, 1869. He began his work in the field, May 1st, but was not installed by Presbytery, until September 9, 1869.

It is quite probable that death entered the congregation first in 1868, when Maggie I. Lindsay was summoned into the other world. The first death to occur in the session, was that of Abraham Bennett, September 17, 1870. The first funeral in the church was that of Mr. Irving Green.

Rev. J. U. McClenahan closed his work here, October 16, 1872. The congregation carried on the work some four years through supplies. January 27, 1877, Rev. William Donaldson, a member of Caledonia Presbytery (New York), preached and held communion. March 27, 1877, a call was presented to the Presbytery for the pastoral services of Rev. William Donaldson for one-half time, the other half of his time being desired by the congregation of Cascade. He began his work June 1st. and was installed as pastor by the commission of Presbytery, September 4. 1877.

July 7, 1877, James B. Mitchell was elected a ruling elder in this congregation, having been ordained ere he came to this congregation.

June 31. 1880. William Atherton and J. T. Paul were elected to the eldership. The ordination and installation, taking place February 14th.

At the meeting of Presbytery, February 9, 1886, Rev. Wm. Donaldson presented his resignation of the charges of Wyoming and Cascade, giving as his reason for this action "that the hardships connected with the work of the present field, are telling on my health and strength." Wyoming through the delegate, J. W. Wherry, reported that a movement had been instituted looking toward calling Rev. Donaldson for full time. The matter was laid on the table until a special meeting to be held March 2, also pending action of the home board regarding aid for full time preaching at Wyoming. The clerk failing to hear from the home mission board, by that time, the request was granted much to the reluctance of the Wyoming congregation, so the Wyoming pulpit became vacant. Here began the life and death struggle. The little band of faithful workers for nine years survived on supplies. In the summer of 1894, S. M. McConnell, a student of the second year in the Xenia Seminary, supplied the congregation as stated supply. This resulted in a call for his pastoral services which was presented to Presbytery, May 7, 1895.

In 1896, new pews, new carpet, a furnace and some other repairs to the church, to the amount of eight hundred dollars, were made.

March 17, 1897, J. L. Richardson and Julian A. Day, were elected elders. The date of ordination and installation, June 20th.

The year 1898 sees the congregation coming into possession of the property which constitutes the present parsonage. As many of you will remember it had to be entirely refitted to make it the comfortable building it is today.

S. M. McConnell closed his work, May 31, 1903. He is now pastor of the church at Garner, Iowa.

The present pastor preached his sermon in this place December 20, 1903, taking charge of the congregation on January 24, 1904. In the fifty years, the congregation has called but one, Rev. Wm. Donaldson, who had been a settled pastor previous to coming to this field.

The Sabbath-school has been in continual operation since and before the date of organization.

The mission spirit has always burned brightly in this congregation. The first record of definite work is that of the "Mite" society, which flourished prior to 1885, at which time we find that Mrs. E. B. Wherry was the efficient president.

The present Missionary Society was organized in July, 1886, with five charter members: Mrs. Mary Wherry, Mrs. J. B. Wherry, Mrs. E. M. Brush, Mrs. J. T. Paul and Miss Lyda Wherry, all but Mrs. J. B. Wherry are still active members. Mrs. E. M. Brush was the first president and succeeded herself until 1907, when at her urgent request, because of failing health, and thus her inability to do justice to the great work, she was permitted to allow her mantle to fall upon another. The last Thank offering was the largest in the history of the congregation.

In looking over the roll of the congregation, we discover that some two hundred and seventy-five different names have appeared. We pause a moment, and we find that these are scattered far and near. Only eternity will reveal the work that has been wrought in the cause of Jesus Christ. Christ Himself, declared that one soul was of more value than all the world; "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

The fiftieth anniversary of the organization of this church was observed Sunday evening, November 7, 1909, by an appropriate sermon by the pastor, Rev. C. F. Hoffman, the above historical sketch being read in connection with the service.

The present organization of the church is as follows:

Pastor, Rev. C. F. Hoffman; elders: J. L. Richardson, John T. Paul, Julian A. Day; trustees: W. J. Beckwith, W. G. Wherry, L. F. Pealer; chairman, Julian A. Day; secretary, Mrs. W. G. Wherry; treasurer, Mrs. J. R. Stevenson; organist, Mrs. C. F. Hoffman.

Women's Missionary Society: President, Mrs. W. G. Wherry; vice-president, Mrs. J. L. Richardson; secretary, Mrs. E. N. Wilcox; treasurer, Mrs. W. J. Beckwith.

Sabbath School: Superintendent, Rev. C. F. Hoffman; assistant superintendent, L. F. Pealer; secretary, Miss Elsie Bender; treasurer, E. N. Wilcox. The membership of the church at the present time, numbers fifty-three.