CHURCH HISTORY and PHOTOS

 

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

WILTON IOWA

 

 

OUR HISTORY



    The Presbyterian element in Wilton was originally a part of the Sugar Creek Church in Cedar County, which was organized in 1856. As early as 1855-1856, Presbyterian services were held in Wilton. On May 14, 1860, the congregation at Wilton formally organized into a church. There were 19 founding members.
    In the fall of 1866, a brick building was built. It was dedicated in February of 1867. Remodeling was begun in 1883. A large vestibule was added and a bell tower with a small spire was erected. The pulpit was in the north end with the seats facing it in two tiers with an aisle between. Some of the stained glass windows may still be found in the vestry. A small vestry or prayer meeting room was added in 1886.
    In the summer of 1900, the church was rebuilt with a new front with two entrances, a choir loft to the west, floor raised, circular seating, stained glass memorial windows, vestry enlarged and connected with the main church by sliding doors, and a small kitchen to the west of the vestry.
    Again, in 1924 the vestry was enlarged and a kitchen was added to the north. The choir loft was enlarged and the entire church was redecorated. The painted picture of "Christ at the Door" still remains on the north wall.
    The earliest musical instruments used in the church were Reed organs, which were used until 1911 when the Ladies' Auxiliary purchased a piano for the sanctuary. In 1947, a Wicks pipe organ was installed. This included chimes and grilles which were special gifts.
    The First Presbyterian Church celebrated its 140th anniversary in the year 2000. On May 14, 2000, the worship service marked our actual anniversary. On June 11, 2000, we united our anniversary with the birthday of the Christian Church on Pentecost Sunday. A special program was held with a catered meal following. Pictures, memorabilia, and historic information were on display.

 

Charles H. Gabriel was a composer and song writer. He was born in the 1852 in the Wilton area and died in 1932. In September 1999, our church had a worship service centered around Charles H. Gabriel's life and ministry of music. There is one folklore story, that Pastor Pollock or McAulay saw Gabriel walking in town early in the week. He asked Gabriel if he knew a good song to go along with his sermon. The pastor shared the sermon topic and by the end of the week Gabriel wrote a song for that Sunday, words and music. He wrote under other pen names also such as Charlotte G. Homer.

Also , recently rediscovered Rev. N.A. McAulay, long time pastor at First Presbyterian Church, was also a song writer. Two songs, "The Old Fashioned Faith" and "How Could it Be" were published in "SONGS FOR SERVICE", edited by Charles H. Gabriel. It is plausible that "How Could it Be" was with music composed by Charles H. Marsh (Gabriel) while the two men were in Wilton.

A newborn baby boy was once found by the custodian Henry Giese lying by the pulpit. The baby was taken to a hospital in Muscatine. A person, in passing, told the pastor in the late 1990's that the baby was adopted, has grown up, and was doing well. The person would not share his name nor how close to Wilton he lived.

The church flag hanging in the sanctuary was set on fire by a person unknown. The fire was soon discovered and the fire was put out. The flag for many years was left in its scarred condition. It has since been rehemmed and is still used in the Sunday School area downstairs. A patched carpet marks the area where some fire dripped to the floor and started to burn the carpet.

The Church has a Wicks Pipe Organ that was installed in 1947 and refurbished in the 1990's.

The church has a number of pieces of art work in various forms around the church. There are a number of stained glass windows, but the large window at the south side of the Sanctuary of the Good Shepherd is the most glorious, and displayed top left of this page. The picture of Christ knocking at the door was painted on the north wall of the sanctuary as part of an expansion project in 1924. A picture at the foot of the basement steps of "Jesus and the Children" was painted by Mrs. Violet Ukena. Three pictures of the Church hang in fellowship hall: the church from 1883-1 900, 1900- 1958, 1958- present.

 


 

PASTORS


Jacob Pentzer 1860 -1866
Harry Vannuys 1866 - Died 1867
Alvan R. Mathes 1869 - 1871..................................................photo

A.G. Martyn 1872-1877...........................................................photo

A. Herron 1877-1878
Joseph Welton Hubbard 1879 - 1883 Helped author "The Presbyterian Church in Iowa 1837-1900"
S.W. Pollock 1884- 1885
N.A. McAulay 1886-Nov. 30, 1907
Dwight D. Fallman June 3, 1908
M.E. Lumbar June 26, 2910 - March 21, 1915;
O.B. Lee 1915-Sept. 1919
H.A. Kossack Nov. 1, 1919-Apr. 4, 1926
S.A. Gilbert Nov. 5, 1926 -Sept 1, 1928
Marshal E. Lumbar 1930 - 1933 Died Spring of33
C.W. Pfeiffer July 2, 1933 - March 13, 1938
R.L. Blaidsdell Sept. 1938 - July 28, 1940
Theodore A. Mansen Feb. 9, 1941- 1943.................................photo

 

 

Jas. E. Robertson April 1946 - April 1948
Hugh Roberts Oct, 1, 1948 - Nov. 25, 1956
Richard McEuen July 14, 1957 - Oct. 31, 1959
J. Paul Boaz June 18, 1961-August, 1962
Philip Brunn Dec. 2, 1962 - Sept. 1965
Robert J. Mac Daniel Sept. 1965 - June 1967
Gerald W. Ukena Sept. 24, 1967 - Feb. 28, 1985
Telford Dindinger June 1986- June 30, 1989
Willis Longer Aug. 15, 1989- May 15, 1990
Bruce M. Giese Sept. 17, 1990 - to June,2008........................photo
Bill Beattie June, 2008 - May 2009

                                                            Jennifer Jennings   present

 

 

 

 

 


BACK to the HOME PAGE

NOTES FROM THE PASTOR

SERMON SCHEDULE

CHURCH NEWS AND EVENTS

REFLECTIONS

{click the button to e-mail} PASTOR

First Presbyterian Church
213 West 5th St.
PO Box 426

Wilton, Iowa 52778

PHONE.......563-732-2258