Our Savior Presbyterian Church
OUR SAVIOR PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
On January 8, 1972 Our Savior Presbyterian Church was formed by a merger of the Argo United Presbyterian Church and Summit Presbyterian congregations.
For over a year Pastor R. Ward Holder, had been serving both churches, and after months of planning and consent of Presbytery and both organizations, the new congregations were formed. A 22-member Unicameral Board, composed of all officers of both churches who were willing to continue to serve, was named to direct the work of the merged church.
In April, 1974 a Long Range Planning Committee was appointed to evaluate our facilities, determine our needs, and the course our church should take in the years ahead.
In July, 1974 after lightning struck and the resulting fire destroyed the steeple and a portion of the roof, we began to consider whether to rebuild this portion and remodel the church or to build a new church. After much prayerful consideration we felt led to build a new structure. The new building was dedicated on September 26, 1976. The mortgage of $583,363.11 was burned on September 30, 1984 while under the pastorate of Rev. John Gilmore. Four pastors, R. Ward Holder, John W. Gilmore, David L. Herron, and Patricia Halverson have served since the union of the Summit and Argo Churches.
ARGO UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
More than 160 years ago, in the early 1840's, a little band of Associate Reformed Church people, left their homes in Deer Creek, Pennsylvania, to find new land and a new home. Some left by foot and others left by covered wagon. They journeyed to Berlin, now known as LeClaire, Iowa. Their greatest loss was the lack of church privileges of their choice. They decided to meet in homes for services, thus forming an Associate Reformed Church Society.
The first meeting was held in the log cabin of James McConnell, with twelve present. Mr. James Miller, a man with extraordinary speaking ability was their leader. The meetings were called "The Society" and were held on the Sabbath. Sometimes they had guest speakers. The first mentioned was Jeremiah Dick, an Associate Reformed Missionary, during the summer of 1847. Other speakers were, Rev. Mason, a lame man from Illinois, a Mr. Graham and Rev. John Freetly. Rev. Freetly had been invited to come and take a request to presbytery for an organized Associate Reformed congregation. He returned and met again with these people in the new barn of James McConnell, which was one and three fourths miles east of the present church location. He had with him the presbytery's granted permission and the organization was formed on May 21, 1849. The forming papers were signed by Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Jameson, John Jameson, Martha Jameson, Mr. & Mrs. Jackson Jameson, Mr. & Mrs. James McConnell, Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Cool, and Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Stark. The new barn fulfilled their wish for a new sanctuary, even though their pews were planks resting on blocks. Their pulpit was a stand from the log cabin. One family of the charter members, the McConnell family, is still active with our church. James McConnell was the great grandfather of Harry McConnell.
Rev. Freetly, Rev. Dalzell and Rev. Elkin preached to these worshipful people. They truly felt the Lord provided for them a table in the wilderness, when Rev. John Ekin preached in 1850 and served the Lord's sacrament. The first pastor, Rev. John B. Clark was ordained and installed October 19, 1854. This happy relationship ended abruptly, when his life was taken by lightning on July 28, 1855. He was buried in Jack's Cemetery. During this time, the present church site was secured and a 30 X 40 church building was started. It was changed to the United Presbyterian Church in 1858.
The Civil War was a hard ordeal for the little congregation as 28 young men enlisted. Two of these were killed in battle, two died from disease and three were wounded.
It was during the pastorate of Rev. J.C. Warnock, the 4th pastor, that the first parsonage was purchased in 1885. It was just west of the Argo store. It was sold on March 4,1920 to J.H. Heldt for $5000.00. It was while Rev. C.S. Cleland, the 5th pastor was here that the church was completed at a cost of $5027.30. It was dedicated on April 30, 1893. It included a lot that was added to church property. The 50th Anniversary of this organization was celebrated on May 23, 1899.
Musical instruments weren't used in the church before 1906. Then 96 persons signed a petition and handed it to the session. The petition asked the session to allow an instrument to be used in all services. The request was allowed and an used organ was purchased for $25.00.
During World War I, two young men entered the service. They were James Hamilton, who returned and George Hogaboam, who was killed in action.
A new seven room parsonage was completed and ready for the 12th pastor, Rev. E.J. Clark, who was installed on October 19, 1922. The church celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 20, 1924. In 1927, the basement was dug and the kitchen and dining room were completed.
World War II brought another had ordeal to our congregation. Four young women and twelve young men answered the call to their country. They were Edna Hamilton, Francis Auliff, Hazel Hanson, Marion Hanson, Edgar Holden, Earl McGinnis, Walter Paul, Howard Hamilton, Herbert Schulmp, Elmer Brown, Eugene Lively, Kenneth McFate, Dale Domer, Dayton Domer, Raymond McFate, and Foster Auliff. We gave thanks to God as each of them returned safely.
A permanent choir was established and added to the service during the pastorate of Rev. Cotrell, the 14th pastor. Rev. Clifford Ramsdale was the 17th pastor. During his pastorate, a special emphasis was put on Evangelism and 30 members were added. Rest rooms in the church basements were installed in the spring of 1949. The church celebrated it's 100th anniversary on May 22, 1949.
The Argo United Presbyterian Church and the Summit Presbyterian Church held a combined service on January 17, 1971, at which the Rev. Ward Holder was installed as pastor of both churches. The purpose being to unite the two churches into one congregation. On January 9, 1972, the two churches were formally organized into one congregation, Our Savior United Presbyterian Church.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SUMMIT
In the mid 1850's the nearest Presbyterian Church to the Churchill Settlement was in Davenport. It was a long drive with horse and wagon, but several families who had just arrived from Pennsylvania made the trip often to the First Presbyterian Church located on Third Street. The Rev. J.D. Mason, pastor, was prevailed upon to hold services in the country on Sunday afternoons once or twice a month in the home of Mr. Shaw, John Buchanan, and Wm. Yocum. These meetings continued for nearly two years, when on February 16, 1858 it was resolved to undertake the erection of a house of worship. Five acres of land at the intersection of Utica Ridge Road and Blackhawk Trail were generously donated by Alfred Churchill for the church site and Charles Kinkaid advanced the money for materials.
A neat frame structure, 32' X 40', with temporary seats, was first occupied on July 6, 1958 when "The Presbyterian Church of Summit" was organized. The Rev. J.D. Mason, Rev. J.M. Jones, and Elder James Jack, the committee appointed by Presbytery to organize the church, were present. Dr. John Ekin, pastor of the LeClaire and Princeton churches, preached the sermon. Church letters were received from the following 28 persons making them the charter members: - Mr. & Mrs. David H. Moore, Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Walker and Eliza, Miss Emily Cadwallader, Mrs. Rachel Dopp, Mr & Mrs. Wm. Yocum and Amy Etta, Mr. & Mrs. Victor K. Torrence, Mr. & Mrs. John Walker, Mr. & Mrs. John Port, Levi Reddick, Mrs. Margaret Proudfoot, Misses Caroline and Elizabeth Criswell, Mrs. Mary LeGrange, Mr. & Mrs. Robert English, and Mr. & Mrs. James M. English.
On February 15, 1859 the complete church was dedicated. The cost was about $1200. We remember with gratitude the love and sacrifice of those early settlers who "builded better than they knew."
From 1858 until 1972, twenty-nine pastors served Summit along with several students from the University of Dubuque.
In October, 1886, a series of meeting was conducted by the pastor, Rev. S.W. Pollock, which resulted in more than 60 persons joining the church.
In 1887, the Rev. Simon Benson was ordained in the church and served until 1889. He was the first to install a "telephone" in the manse. It connected the manse with the Yocum home and consisted of a drum head placed on a square box with a pearl button in the middle. It was connected to the other "phone" by a copper wire. Drumsticks at each house were used to pound on the button to summon the other house to converse over the copper wire. The phone could only be disconnected by cutting the wire.
Rev. Benson was also the first man in the community to own one of the high-wheeled bicycles. He learned to ride the ungainly device in the Yocum pasture south of the manse. The congregation considered him quite daring as he came peddling down the road.
In 1913 the vestibule was added and the basement completed. Again in 1964 the basement was remodeled in to the present pleasant fellowship hall.
The first wedding to take place in the church was that of Janet VanEvera and Harold E. Wilson on March 20, 1930 and the last wedding was that of Carol Diedrich and Mark E. Hough on July 19, 1969.
A significant tradition started by Sally Walker in 1919 is the Memorial Day Service. The Scott County Historical Society now conducts this Annual Service.
When the last church service in "The Presbyterian Church of Summit" was held January 9, 1972, the building became the property of the Scott County Historical Society and the congregation merged with the Argo United Presbyterian Church to become Our Savior Presbyterian Church.