Red Oak Grove Presbyterian Church History
The Red Oak Grove Presbyterian Church
125 Years June 19, 1966
The history of the Red Oak Church begins 125 years ago. Many interesting facts have been revealed in the search for material. However, only a brief history can be related here pertaining to facts and events considered most important.
The Red Oak Grove Church was the first Presbyterian Church in Cedar County, and the twelfth Presbyterian Church in the state of Iowa. It was organized by a number of loyal Scotch Presbyterian pioneers on March 1, 1841.
There were ten charter members. They were: Robert Dallas, Miss Sarah Dallas, John and Isabella Ferguson, John Safley, John Chappell, Samuel Yule, Robert and Elizabeth Pirie and Elizabeth Dallas. Their organization meeting was conducted by the Rev. Michael Hummer, an itinerant Presbyterian missionary. Three more members were received in May, and by November 1847 there were twenty-two members. During the first ten years the church had no regular pastor. It was served by the Rev. Hummer and other traveling missionaries.
In 1851 the Red Oak Church requested Presbytery for permission to change its location to Tipton. Permission was given and the church was known as The First Presbyterian Church of Tipton. Meanwhile, the people of Red Oak Grove had built a church and asked Presbytery for a separate organization. Their request was granted and in October 1859, a new church called “The Presbyterian Church of Red Oak Grove” was organized.
Presbytery dissolved the relationship between the churches at Tipton and Red Oak Grove in 1860 because of a disagreement over the time of the services on Sunday mornings. Next, Presbytery suggested that Red Oak Grove and the Presbyterian Church of Mechanicsville work together. The Rev. R. Boag, pastor at Mechanicsville, became Red Oak’s pastor also in 1860.
The young people’s society, the Christian Endeavor, was organized about 1894. The present manse was erected about 1899 just north of the church on ground given by Mr. Henry Britcher. Rev. J. C. Fawcett, in 1901, was the first to occupy the manse.
In August of 1913, Rev. W. A. Dillon left and for a period of about nine months Red Oak was without a pastor.
Good times were enjoyed by the members, friends, and children at “Family Night” gatherings for several years. A potluck supper usually preceded an evening of fun with games or slide pictures.
On November 16, 1963, the U.P.W. (United Presbyterian Women) was organized with fourteen charter members. Each year since, the members of the U.P.W. have held an annual supper and program. The free will offering is used for missions.
Many faithful members have passed on and gifts have been given in their memory to the church. The hand painted picture on the west wall was given in memory of Mr. Archibald L. Safley Sr., Mr. & Mrs. James Laing Sr., Mrs. Etta Gritton, Miss Anna Moore, Mrs. Daisy Laing Waterman, Mr. & Mrs. Allen Laing, Mrs. George Findley, and Mrs. Emma Wieck in 1956. In 1958 the organ was given in memory of Mr. & Mrs. C. A. Little. A large Bible used at the pulpit was in memory of Mr. William Penningroth, and the light on the pulpit and one on the piano in memory of his wife, Mrs. William Penningroth. The United States flag and the Christian flag and stands were gifts in memory of Mr. George Fowlie. The most recent memorial gift was the new door to the east in memory of Mrs. William Tittle and Mr. Gerald Crispin.
The hand rails to the church parlor and two basement entrances have been provided by Mr. Ray Challis, Mrs. Ed Gardner, and Mr. Ora Mayes. The registration cabinet was constructed by Mr. Merl Carroll and donated by Mrs. Ed Gardner. Folding chairs and tables have been purchased for use in the basement in recent years.
Pastors and student supply pastors that have remained for a period of time in the last twenty-five years are as follows: Rev. C. LaVern Justis, Mr. Marvin Jannssen, Rev. Ray P. Edwards, Mr. Robert Boelkhe, Mr. John Catalin, Rev. Robert Bailey, Mr. John Hall, Rev. Ralph Edie, Rev. Ernest Meyers, Rev. James Elvig, and the present pastor, Rev. Ralph Scheuck.
Those who have been officers in the church since 1941 are as follows: Gerald Crispin (deceased), William Tittle, Herman Hass, William Penningroth (deceased), Kermit Spencer, Mrs. Harold Hass, E. W. Bolton, August Eilers, Archibald Safley, David Henderson, C. A. Little (deceased), Mrs. William Koering (deceased), Ray Challis, Sam Thumma (deceased), Vernon Kimberling, George Fowlie (deceased), Max Phelps, Harold Hass, Carl Crispin, D. B. Hegarty, Robert Meinholdt, Roland Thomson, Donald Challis, Cecil Mathias, Herschel MeCully, Gene Phelps, Harold Laing, Ronald Anderson,
Erwin Hartig, Wilbur Barkhurst, Vernon Beckmann, John Hipple, Mrs. Carl Crispin, Donald Hegarty Jr., and James Fulwider.