This history of Wyoming was prepared by Dr. M. H. Calkins, and delivered by him under the auspices of The Home Lecture Course, in the Methodist Episcopal church in Wyoming, April 1, 1878, and reprinted in History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, Volume 1, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, pages 658-660.

See also:


from History of Jones County, Past and Present.


of the Wyoming Presbyterian Church


of the Presbyterian Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Wyoming Township, 1903-1904


from the Ladies of the Presbyterian Church.


The Presbyterian was the first church edifice in the town, or in the township. The Rev. Geo. E. Delevan, then living at Maquoketa, having occasion to pass through Wyoming, was pleased with its location, and upon his representations, the Rev. James H. Spellman, a home missionary, came here to look up the interests of Zion, in connection with the organization of a Presbyterian church. On the 17th day of May, 1857, a society was organized as preliminary to the organization of a church. A constitution was adopted, and Joseph Bryan, John Morse and Emmons Leonard elected trustees, A. W. Pratt, treasurer and A. M. Loomis, clerk. The Rev. Geo. E. Delevan became the pastor. Articles of incorporation were adopted April 8, 1859. The organization was effected at the house of A. W. Pratt. A. M. Loomis, A. W. Pratt, Jeremiah Gard, Thomas Haines, Sr., and A. B. Stiles, were the members who signed those Articles of Incorporation. The church as thus constituted, consisted of six members. Four of them had passed the meridian of life, and two were young and full of hope. All still alive, only two in our midst. In a few days Jeremiah Gard, the veteran of this band, will leave for a western home, and then Captain Loomis will be the only one left to tell the old story of the organization of that church by these half dozen men. (Mr. Loomis is yet with the church in November, 1909.) Later Mr. Loomis died December 5, 1909. How widely divergent have been their paths. Pratt in Massachusetts, Gard going west, Bryan gone west, Haines gone north, Stiles in Chicago. The longevity of these men is quite remarkable. Their average age is about 65 years, and all are hale and hearty, and I believe Mr. Gard is the only one that has been afflicted with serious sickness. In view of these facts, I have come to the conclusion that it is not a bad thing to be one of the organizers of a Presbyterian church. Perhaps the founders of other churches have been looked upon with equal favor by Him who holds in his hands the destinies and lives of men. My relations with, this church, as an outside member, have enabled me to know more of the inside workings than of the others.

During the summer of 1860 the old church edifice was erected. The Rev. Trowbridge, of Dubuque, laid the corner stone, with proper religious ceremonies. The stone is in the southeast corner. An excavation is made in that stone where the records of the church, a copy of The Eureka and several other articles are deposited in a sealed tin box.

Mr. Delevan, the pastor, was untiring in his efforts to build that church. He wrote, begged, and worked, till his efforts were crowned with success. He witnessed the gradual rising of its walls with pride and pleasure, till the last brick was laid, and the last flourish given by the mason's trowel. With one blast from the breath of omnipotence, those walls were razed to the ground. The faithful gathered around to view the ruins, and with philosophic and pious mien, in solemn chorus said,

It was to be;

It's God's decree

From Time's beginning.

Fondly cherished hopes were blasted. The numerical and financial feebleness of the church almost made the idea of rebuilding hopeless. Standing on one corner of those ruins, Mr. Delevan, with uplifted hand said, "With God's assistance, these walls shall be rebuilt." His untiring energy was again called into activity. He visited remote parts of the county, enlisted the sympathies of men and women abroad, and again had the satisfaction of seeing those walls rising in place. The season was so far advanced before these walls were completed that water was boiled to make the mortar.

Mr. Delevan was the only minister that has died in Wyoming while sustaining pastoral relations to any of the churches, and he deserves very honorable mention in connection with the growth of Wyoming, and its religious and moral development. He was an active worker in the field for the benefit of his fellow men. The first winter after he came here, he organized a library association, and succeeded in gathering together quite a number of volumes of valuable books. He also caused to be read a paper. It was a semi-monthly publication, and was edited and read by a person appointed at each meeting, thus giving the editor two weeks to write his editorials. It was called The Iris. I hold in my hand a copy of that paper. This number was edited by Mr. Delevan and was read before the association March 3, 1858, twenty years ago last month. This paper and these articles remind us of early struggles in the past, and there are very few here tonight who heard them then.

Sometime in the fall of 1860, Mr. Delevan was attacked with bleeding at the lungs, often a precursor of the fatal ravages of insidious disease. He continued his ministrations after he became so weak that he could not stand while he preached; but sitting in his chair and breathing with difficulty, he would proclaim the great truths of the Gospel. I recollect going in to see him one morning just after breakfast. He said to his wife, "Get the Bible, and we will have our usual family worship." She replied, 'that she was fearful he was too much prostrated." Said he, "I can acknowledge God." Then sitting in his chair he devoutly implored the divine blessing upon his family and all mankind. March 18, 1861, he passed serenely from earth to receive the reward of the faithful, and his funeral was the first religious service held in the church he had labored to build. He was a man of marked ability, a thorough scholar, and in his intercourse with men, exhibited very many of those excellencies that should adorn and embellish Christian character.

The ministers who followed Mr. Delevan as pastors were: Geo. R. Carroll, J. L. Janes, A. K. Baird, Mr. Lodge, and Mr. Goodale. Mr. Janes, while tern porarily preaching at Floyd, was attacked with cerebro spinal meningitis, and died suddenly. He was brought here for burial. His connections with the church as pastor had been so recent; his many acts of kindness and generosity; his faithful preaching; his social manners, and all his relations, whether as pastor, friend or neighbor, endeared him to the people both in and out of the church, and he was followed to the grave by a mourning community, who realized the great loss; but were consoled by the thought that it was his gain.