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The Christian Church, in Benton Township, was first organized about 1869 or 1870, near Stafford's mill, by Elder H. C. Barron, of Nebraska. The original members were Elders Sperry and W. Bradley, Hiram Mullet and wife, Felix Bradley and wife, M. Bradley and wife, Wilbur May and wife, and others, including in all about thirty-five members. The church continued to meet in a neighboring school house, till about the year 1878, when the elders and many of the leading members having moved away, the organization ceased to exist, and, in August of that year, another was effected, with a remnant of the same. These erected on the northwest quarter of section 17, township 64, range 41, the present edifice known as Nishne Valley Church. The building was dedicated by Elder E. Correy. It is a frame structure, of modern style, 34x50 feet in extent and was completed at a cost of $2,200, besides labor donated. The interior is fitted up in a style corresponding with the elegant exterior of the building. The place where this church assembled to organize, was a brick school house, on the Clay Township side of Nishnebotna River, near the residence of J. Wells. Judge Needels, whose residence is. in the immediate neighborhood, was a prominent member of the organization.

The German Lutheran Church of Saint Peters, in Benton Township, was built in 1869. It is a frame building, on the southwest quarter of section 30, township 64, range 42, two and a half-miles south of Langdon, in Templeton Township. It is fifty by thirty feet in size, and cost about $900. Among the principal organizers of the congregation were Henry Luhers, John Horsefield, Earnest Longhenck, Fritz Shirckock, Henry Golderman, Benjamin Powers, and others. The first minister of this church was Rev. Nolte. He was succeeded by Rev. Pinkhart, who was, in turn, followed by Rev. Miller, the present (1882) minister.

The Second German Lutheran Church established in the township was made up of a portion of the members of Saint Peters Church. They occupy a building erected for a private school house, in 1875, on section 31, township 64, range 42. The first minister of this church was John H. Dericks, who, for five years before, had taught school in this building.


In the year 1857 was erected the first church edifice in the town. This was a primitive looking structure of the Noah's ark order of architecture, and was put up by the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It stood on the north side of Mill Street between Market and Nebraska Streets. A full description of this antique structure will be found under the head of Union City, whither it: was subsequently moved by the founder of that now (1882) defunct town.

The second church edifice erected in the town was also built in 1857, a short time after that of the M. E. Church. This was the original structure of the Christian. Church, a sketch of which will be found under the general head of "Christian Church.


The third church edifice erected in the town of Rock Port was a two-story brick structure which stood on the corner of Rock and Kansas Streets. This was built in the year 1858, and was a joint stock enterprise. The upper floor was leased to North Star Lodge, No. 157, A. F. and A. M., and was occupied by that body of the order for several successive years. The lower floor was the property of the church. The building, which was poorly constructed, has rather an unfortunate history. Its original cost was $2,800, but it seems that the same was never entirely paid. During the period of the civil war, in common with many a better building designed for the same purpose, it was suffered to fall into decay and was used as a stable by the soldiers quartered in the town. At the close of the war it was sold for debt, purchased by a representative of the town and converted into a public school house. It was occupied as such for some time subsequently, but the building being deemed unsafe, it was ultimately condemned by the city authorities and tore down. Its site is now occupied by a private residence. Such is the history of the structure of the M. E. Church South in Rock Port. Of the organization itself, which has long since lost its existence, no record remains. Among the members, however, were Dr. J. Y. Bird and wife, and Oliver Holland and wife. The doctor is a pioneer and representative citizens of this county. Thus, of the three pioneer church edifices of the town of Rock Port, all have disappeared from its site.


The Christian Church of Clay Township was originally organize< near Fowler's Mill, as early as 1846, by Elder Richard Buckham, and was known for many years after as Rock Creek Christian Church. This afterwards moved to Rock Port. In 1857 a frame church building was erected on the north side of Boney Branch, on the present site of John Grieve's residence, on Main Street. This was the second church edifia put up in Rock Port. The building was afterwards blown down in wind storm, and was never again raised. This was in 1865. The first ministers of this church, in Rock Port, who preached in the building as soon as it was completed, was Elder Mullis. His immediate successors were Elders John Parker and John Sutton. When the organization first moved from Rock Creek to Rock Port it included a membership of one hundred and thirty. The church afterwards met in the South Methodist Church building, under the Masonic Hall, a brick structure. In 1873 this building, which had at different periods been used for various purposes, was deemed unsafe, and was accordingly taken down. The church was then without a place of worship, and ceased to hold regular meetings,-and though comparatively numerous the congregation was somewhat scattered, and for several years after the war the same was without a building, and virtually without an organization. December 8, 1876, the church was re-organized by Elder James Connoran, with the following members : Jacob Underwood, Matilda Underwood, Lucinda Buckham, O. G. Sparks, A. F. Sherfey, M. E. Davenport, James O. Crossley, and Lydia A., his wife ; Elizabeth Templeton, Mary Cooper, Lena Morris, Sarah Courtright, James A. Taylor, and Mary, his wife ; John G. and Virginia Sutton, James Connoran and Nannie Connoran, W. W. Connoran, W. F. Drake, W. J. Harrington, Flora Prickett, Dr. C. V. Snow and Margaret Snow, his wife ; Betty Foster, Leland Barnes, Nancy Kellogg, Alice Kellogg, Elijah Courtright, John Todd, Susan Brazele, Samuel Huff, and Annie Huff, his wife ; D. S. Burks and Martha Burks, C. O. Snow, and James Burnes and his wife, Emma Burnes. For some time after this re-organization of the church the congregation were without a place of meeting of their own, and held their services either in rented halls or in the houses of worship of other denominations. Elder J. W. Tate succeeded Elder Connoran in the pastoral charge of this church in 1879. 1° ^82 they erected on the southeast corner of Clay and Market Streets, at a cost of $2,500, a frame edifice 34x50 feet in extent. This building is now (1882) temporarily occupied by the courts of the county. This privilege was granted in view of the unsafe condition of the court house. The church now includes a membership of about fifty, and is in a prosperous condition.


This organization was originally instituted in the town of Linden, in the year 1852, with seven members, including W. S. Holloway and wife.

The first minister of this congregation was Elder James Renfrew. His successors, in turn, were Elders Elias Finley, Milt Williams and William H. Wood. During the period of nineteen years that this organization had an existence in Linden, they were without a church building of their own, and used for the purpose of public worship, the school house, or such other accommodations as were from time to time offered.

In 1871, the organization moved to Rock Port, and in 1872, was erected the present neat frame structure in the southern part of the city on the southwest corner of Kansas and Calhoun Streets, fronting on the former and due west of the public school. The building, which is fifty by twenty-seven feet in extent, is a well proportioned gothic, with tower including belfry at the south or front entrance. Its entire cost was about two thousand dollars. The first minister who served in this church was Elder C. L. Butts, whose ministry ended in 1874, when he was succeeded in the pulpit by Elder R. M. Rhodes. In 1876, Elder Thomas Cook became pastor of the congregation, serving till 1877, when Elder William Haw succeeded him. At the close of his term, in 1879, no successor was appointed, and the vacancy remained unsupplied until the fall of 1880, when Elder William Stewart, of Quincy, Illinois, became pastor, and continued to serve for one year.

The church was then without a regular pastor till the spring of 1882, when Elder H. J. Latour, recently of Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, was chosen minister, to enter on his duties in the month of May of that year. The present (1882) membership of this church is about one hundred.

A prosperous Sunday School, with an average attendance of sixty scholars, is attached to this church. It is conducted by George A. Pinnell, aided by five assistant teachers.


The German Lutheran Church, a frame building on the south side of Clay Street, one door below the corner of Bluff, was erected in 1864, at a cost of $1,300. The edifice is a neat structure, twenty-six by forty feet. Though plain in design, its elevated site renders its unpretending steeple a prominent landmark of the town. The church was organized as early as 1858, by the Rev. Charles Staus, with the following members : Frederick Traub, George L. Bischof, Frederick Schmidt, William Hartman, Martin Grebe, Charles Vogler, Peter Walder, G. Vohl and George Traub.

The other ministers after Staus, have been in succession, Rev. Mr. Uber, Rev. Mr. Groenmiller, Rev. Mr. Pinkhart and the Rev. Leonard Boewerlein, the present (1882) minister, who entered on his pastoral duties here in 1875. The organization is in a prosperous condition, and includes a membership of above fifty of both sexes. George L. Bischof is the superintendent of a prosperous Sunday School connected with this church.

Frederick Traub, one of the original organizers of the congregation, presented in 1875, this church with a bell valued at sixty-five dollars.

The parsonage, a neat story and a-half frame building, stands on the corner lot adjoining the town site on the north, and also fronts on Clay Street.

It is claimed that one-third the population of Atchison County, are either Germans or descendants of persons of that nationality.


We have already referred to the fact that this was the first religious organization to erect a building in Rock Port, and one of the earliest established in the county. It appears from the imperfect records of that period, yet extant, that the preacher in charge of the Rock Port circuit from 1860 to 1861, was the Rev. Albert Clemmens.

The next report on record is of a quarterly conference of St. Joseph district, held in the town of Rock Port, April 8, 1864, Rev. S. Huffman, Presiding Elder, in the chair, Thomas Holland, Secretary, Rev. H. G. Breed, preacher in charge, Rev. P. J. W. Ellis, local preacher, E. D. Scammon, Jacob Hughes, and E. Proudfit, Stewards. At this meeting the sum of $45 was voted for ministerial support.

At the second quarterly meeting of the Rock Port Circuit, held at High Creek, July, 1864, Rev. S. Huffman, Presiding Elder, and M. J. Porter, Secretary, the Rock Port Circuit was made up of the following appointments : Rock Port, Hugh's Class, Union City, Yorktown, Van Gundy's, Fancy Bottom, High Creek and Shandy's, in Nishnebotna Township.

On the 10th of September, 1864, the quarterly conference assembled at a camp-meeting held on the farm of Callaway Millsaps. At this assembly Rev. S. Huffman also presided. The receipts, on this occasion, for ministerial support amounted to $175.25, a considerable increase over the same of April preceding.

At the quarterly conference, held in Rock Port, April 15, 1865, Rev. S. Huffman, Presiding Elder, Rev. H. G. Breed was chosen minister in charge, and Rev. W. N. Ballinger, local deacon ; J VanGundy, J. W. Ellis, J. Estrich, J. York and H. Davis, exhorters.

At the second quarterly meeting, held July 8, 1865, at Irish Grove, seven Sunday-Schools were reported, with an average attendance of 270.

March 31, 1866, Rev. W. S. Blackburn became preacher in charge of the Rock Port Circuit.

At the quarterly meeting held at VanGundy's, June 4, 1867, W. S. Blackburn, still preacher in charge ; VanGundy, Spurlock and Ballinger local preachers. At this meeting the Rock Port Circuit was divided by a north and south line, between Rock Port and Union City.

Of the time elapsing between the years 1867 and 1871, no record remains. It was during this period that the brick church on the north side of Rock Street, between Market and Nebraska Streets, was built. It is a plain brick structure, forty by sixty feet in extent, and was completed at a cost of about five thousand dollars, (considerably more than the expense of erecting such a building at the present.) The building committee were composed of Thomas Holland, — Grebe, Valentine Livingston, Jacob Hughes and Robert Hunter.

At the quarterly conference held May 13, 1871, S. W. Thornton was preacher in charge, and J. W. Blackburn, secretary. The appointment of John D. Dopf as Sunday School superintendent, was approved by the conference.

At the period of this meeting, Mount Vernon, McKissick's Grove, High Creek and Watson, composed the Rock Port Circuit. The local preachers were J. W. Ellis and Cyrus Spurlock.

In a storm which occurred April 8, 1871, the church in Rock Port was unroofed. Its repair involved an expenditure of five hundred dollars.

In 1872, J. W. Blackburn was elected lay delegate to the annual conference, and Jacob Hughes, alternate.

At the quarterly conference held April 27, 1872, Rev. Z. S. Weller, Presiding Elder, Rev. F. H. Graham was appointed preacher in charge of the Rock Port Circuit, with the same local preachers as before reported. John D. Dopf was approved Sunday School superintendent.

In this year a frame building was erected on the church lot, at a cost of $500. This was for the purpose of a parsonage.

At the session of the conference held May 5, 1873, Rev. Z. S. Weller, Presiding Elder, A. H. Powell was appointed preacher in charge of the circuit, and J. W. Blackburn approved Sunday School superintendent. The same local preachers as before.

April 2, 1874, Rev. Z. S. Weller, Presiding Elder, W. P. Bishop was appointed preacher in charge ; T. C. Gifford was appointed Sundayday School superintendent. At this session James Low, Jacob Hughes, John Tuck, Valentine Livingston and T. C. Gifford were approved as trustees of church property.

The report of May 5, 1875, shows the same presiding elder, preacher and Sunday School superintendent as the previous year. July, 1876, Rev. Eri Edmunds was appointed preacher in charge and John D. Dopf approved Sunday School superintendent.

In 1877, Rock Port and Union City Circuits were united, and Rev. D. B. Lake and Rev. Eri Edmunds were appointed pastors in charge, and John D. Dopf was approved as Sunday School superintendent.

Rev. Joseph Hopkins was at that period presiding elder of the Saint Joseph district.

In October, 1877, Rev. D. B. Lake was transferred to Maryville, and Rev. S. Taylor was sent by Rev. Joseph Hopkins, the presiding elder, to fill out his unexpired term in Rock Port.

In 1878, Rock Port was made a station, and Rev. M. B. Hyde was appointed pastor, and A. E. Wyatt was approved Sunday School superintendent.

March 31, 1879, Rev. John Wayman was presiding elder of St. Joseph district, and Rev. Charles Balson was appointed pastor in charge of Rock Port station. March, 1880, Rev. D. B. Lake was appointed pastor in charge, and A. E. Wyatt, approved Sunday School superintendent. John W. Smith, E. Spurlock, John D. Dopf, and Jacob Hughes were appointed trustees of the church.

March, 1881, the same appointments were retained.

The present (1882) membership of this church is ninety-two. Number in Sunday School, 107. One principal and eight assistant teachers. Amount expended yearly for school literature, $60.


On the 24th of March, 1877, the Old School Presbyterian Church of Rock Port was transferred to the Southern Presbytery. At that period Robert Lynn being the only elder, John H. Laird was also chosen to that position. L. C. Christian, Dr. J. L.Tracy and William A. Thomson were chosen deacons, and Rev. H. P. Willis pastor of the congregation. The entire membership of the church, at that time, included the following fourteen members : Robert Lynn and wife, William A. Thomson and wife, Doctor J. L. Tracy, J. H. Laird and wife, Mrs. Daniel Snyder, Mrs. L. M. Hawthorn, P. R. Wagor, L. C. Christian and wife, Miss Alice Squire and Miss Hattie Squire.

The present (1882) membership of the church is about thirty, and the pastor in charge, Rev. F. J. Reichert.

The present church edifice on the southwest corner of Clay and Nebraska Streets, was erected in 1877, at a cost of three thousand dollars. It is a neat frame structure, thirty-two by fifty feet in extent. On the re-organization of the church, Robert Lynn was appointed superintendent of the Sunday School. His successor, P. R. Wagor, is the present official, aided by several assistants. The school includes an average attendance of forty scholars.

  The History of Holt and Atchison Counties 1882

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