Churches of Miller County
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
CONGREGAIONAL CHURCH OF IBERIA
The Congregational Church of Iberia was chartered September 25, 1875. The charter members were William Irwin, Sarah Irwin, James S. Martin, Ruth Martin, Elizabeth Hedge, John Hume, A. Hume, M. Jones, Margaret Jones, Nancy Reed, Isiah T. Murphy, Rebecca Murphy, Artinesia Clark, Mary F. Latchem, Joseph Jacobs, Mary Jacobs, Mary Miller, Jennie Condra, Malinda Case, James Carson, George Johnson, Laura Johnson, Sarah Gardner, Isabelle Ferguson, Sallie Irwin, Nancy Jones, Mariah Tallman, Ella Newhart, and Mary Newhart.
Since they had no building they held services in the I.O.O.F. Hall and other church buildings. A building committee consisting of the following persons was chosen: John Ferguson, Joseph Humes, Manasseh Jones, William S. Irwin, and George Johnson. The lot for the church building was presented to the congregation by F.E. Lombar. The new church was opened for worship on Sunday, July 6, 1879. The first pastors were W.W. Hicks and R.T. Marlow. Later pastors have been A.K. Wray, W.A. Roberts and P.J. Eckhoff, the present pastor.
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF ELDON
By Henry Phillips and his daughter Julia
Soon after the close of the Civil War, Reverend A. Misselding moved to Mt. Pleasant. In a short time, a Congregational Church was organized there. Among the charter members was a group that had moved from New England and settled in the northern part of Miller County. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Joslyn, Mr. and Mrs. Luke Joslyn, and Luke Joslyn, Jr., R.O. Joslyn, Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Weeks, Mr. and Mrs. D.H. Austin, Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Ordway, Mary Austin, Emma Austin, and Ellen Austin.
Reverend Misselding moved from Mt. Pleasant in 1877 or 1878. Soon after the building of the Jefferson City-Bagnell Railroad in 1881-82, Reverend Loba moved to Eldon and the former members of the Mt. Pleasant congregation became the nucleus of the Eldon Congregational Church, which was organized in April, 1883. Rev. Loba became the first pastor.
Plans were soon laid for a church building, with the friendly help of citizens and a grant from the Congregational Church Building Society. The church building was erected on Fourth Street and Grand Avenue and was the first church building to be erected in Eldon. A union Sunday school was organized, and for a time the pulpit was occupied jointly by the Christian denomination, the Methodist, and the Congregational. Rev. Loba instructed a class in his home and later in the church in subjects in advance of those taught in the district schools, and laid the foundation of what later under the leadership of Rev. Vetter was to become the Eldon Academy.
Rev. Loba resigned as pastor of the church in 1885. Rev. John Vetter was called as pastor in the same year and served the church and community faithfully until 1904. Rev. Vetter was a good pastor and citizen. He was active in community work, especially in educational development. He provided buildings and teachers for the Eldon Academy which for a number of years gave the young people of this and adjoining communities an opportunity for instruction not provided by the district schools. During Rev. Vetter's pastorate the church building was destroyed by a cyclone in 1896 and rebuilt in 1897 across the street from the Christian Church on First and Aurora..
Rev. Jacob E. Meeker was called to the church in 1904. It was during his pastorate that the parsonage was built. Rev. Meeker resigned in 1906. He was succeeded by Dr. M. C. Garvin, who was pastor, with the exception of a few months, from June 1906 until his death in July, 1918. This long and faithful service of Dr. and Mrs. Garvin made a lasting impression on the lives of many in Eldon church and community.
Rev. W.D. Amock followed Dr. Garvin, and was succeeded by Rev. R.W. Merrifield. It was during his ministry that the church building was repaired and the basement class rooms were added.
Rev. I.A. Smith followed Rev. Merrifield. One of the outstanding achievements of Rev. Smith's ministry was his excellent leadership and inspirational work among the young people of the church. His quiet influence characterized by sincerity and practical ideals of Christian living is still felt in the Eldon Congregational Church. Rev. Noyes O. Bartholomew was called as pastor in 1930 and resigned in 1933.
The church was abandoned in 1935; the building sold and was made into an apartment house. The membership went to other congregations-Christian, Methodist and Baptist.