Congregational Nebraska

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as treacherous in its dealings with the indians as have been the indians before their christianization in their relations to the whites.
     The treatment of the Indians by the government is a sad chapter in American history, and Mrs. Platt's experience

among the Pawnees shows how politics enters in to disturb a work which, if protected, would result in great good.

REV. C. S. HARRISON

     All Nebraskans know Rev. C. S. Harrison as a cultivator and propagator of beautiful and rare plants and flowers.


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But the pioneers know him better as a courageous, bold, successful, and devoted pioneer preacher and worker. By request Mr. Harrison has furnished the following

REMINISCENCES

     "In the fall of '71 while pastor of the Congregational church of Earlville, Illinois, I received a request from George S. Harris, land commissioner of the Burlington & Missouri railroad, to take charge of a colony. I came out to look the ground over.
     "Lincoln was but a village with plenty of room to grow. The railroad terminus was Sutton. I rode out on a load of railroad ties. The track was so rough the bell rang of its own accord. Sutton had three shanties; two of these were saloons, and I noticed that towns started that way were tainted for a long time after if not permanently.
     'Finally York was settled upon. The place had six shanties, and one of these was built of sod. I believe I preached the first sermon in York, November, 1871. Service was held in an unfinished store, and it was very cold. There were fourteen persons present and the service was short. The county was new and raw hardly a house to obstruct the vision, and those that were seen were miserably built of sod. The Congregational church was organized with only a few members in an unfinished land office in the spring of 1872. Soon after a little schoolhouse was built.

"THE ACADEMY

     "One of the inducements offered a colony was that an academy should be built. For this purpose forty acres of land were donated, and in those early days, when the locust invasion was the worst, a fine building went up as a glorious hope in the midst of despair.


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     "On account of its proximity to Crete it was thought best not to open the academy. It was used for our church. About this time the Methodists located their college at York, and we freely gave them the use of the building. It was eventually sold at half cost, and the proceeds went into the church building. I think in the year 1873 I organized the church at Arborville with six members, in the parlor of Deacon Twichell, the son of a faithful pioneer missionary, Rev. Royal Twichell, who did heroic work in Minnesota. The old man was a father to me when, sick and discouraged, 1 went to that new state in 1857. I attended his funeral in Arborville. It was like burying a father.
     "Having organized a church I knew it was necessary for them to have a home, and so we erected a building 26 x 40. That was then the largest in the county. I held at different times two series of meetings there which resulted in quite an ingathering. We had to haul the lumber thirty-six miles. I gave much time and a block of land, and preached a year or two without a cent of salary. The people were very poor. But now they have a fine new church, an able and beloved pastor, and the work and sacrifice paid. Six churches were organized in York county, and those I organized and fostered are the only ones alive.

"THE LIQUOR WAR

     "Yes, it was war! I was the means of bringing in about 600 people into the town and county and these were mostly in favor of education and temperance. But 'Satan came also,' and we determined to keep him out, and so there was war.
     "At first, knowing the tremendous malignity of the liquor power, we were afraid to prosecute. Finally I suggested that seven of us should unite. We did so, and with such a backing there was dismay in the ranks. That, however, was


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the timidity under the first fire. When they threatened to kill me and started out to do so, and nearly killed a witness, all fear was banished, and I entered prosecutions thick and fast. I raised $1,500 one night with which to fight it out. We fought to the finish. The thing seems settled. The matter does not come up at all at our elections.
     "Crete and Seward had a far better start, and far better locations, but York went ahead two to one because it kept clean. It has over 6,000 population to-day.
     "It was hard to give up the academy idea. Our educators had not yet realized the importance of having feeders for the college, and it was a long time before the present attitude was reached.
     "In the last of the '70s I was helping Rev. Mr. Strong in a series of meetings in Bloomington, Nebraska, and the idea of an academy came up. We talked till midnight over it. 'Where should it be?' 'At Franklin,' a new town with six houses, no saloon, and the right kind of people. I was so much impressed that I walked down, wading through snowdrifts, got the leading people together, outlined the plan, and the academy was located there. I was called in 1883 from the pastorate of Pueblo, Colorado, to become pastor at Franklin. I put in there eight of the most important years of my life. It was a work of faith, in ways new and strange. The Lord opened unseen gates for us, and money rained down upon us, twice $500; once $1,000.
     "I was called thence to be Field Secretary of the Education Society at Boston. I continued in that work two years, till my health failed.
     "Rising from the borders of the grave from rheumatic fever, I was called to the pastorate of the Weeping Water church. There I had the hardest work in my life. The church was about $10,000 in debt, and discouraged. The times were the hardest. The academy was worse than


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bankrupt. The church debt was paid. The academy was placed on the list of the Education Society, and a good deal of money was raised. Buildings were hired and furnished, and to crown all, a blessed revival added over 100 to the church within a month.
     Now the nation on Thanksgiving Day, 1904, celebrates my seventy-second birthday, and I bless the Lord that He has permitted me to live and work for Him.
     "When a boy in 1844 I hunted the dirty little village of Chicago over for a peck of potatoes. I have seen the mighty West grow up from babyhood.
     "In 1857 I began work in Minnesota; was often nearly frozen; once a horse sank with me three times and I was nearly drowned. I have had the bitter with the sweet.
     "To sum up: I helped to found two academies; built and paid for ten churches; have been in above forty precious revivals, and I hope to meet a thousand souls in glory. And I now wait on the hither shore among my flowers, adorning Beulah Land, making it prophetic of the glory beyond.
     "Yours,

"C. S. HARRISON."

REV, A, A. CRESSMAN

     Rev. A. A. Cressman served in the work of the churches for twenty-five years, most of the time as a home missionary. A brief sketch of his work in Nebraska is here given:

     "I came into Nebraska from the Presbyterian church in Monroeville, Ohio, in March, 1879. I took charge of the Congregational church at Camp Creek, where I remained one year. I organized a church at Sheridan which afterward disbanded; was called to Congregational church at Albion. The organization was small, having no church


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building. I served also every alternate Sunday the churches at Boone and Cedar Rapids for several years. Both churches later disbanded. I was at Albion six years; while there a house of worship was erected and the church brought to self-support. During this time I also served as county

superintendent of schools for four years, and preached at a number of schoolhouses,
     "A more devoted and loyal people I never served. In April, 1886, I took charge of the Congregational church at Wahoo, having a membership of some twenty-five. We paid a debt of $300 on building, and built a commodious parsonage. The church contributed $900 for benevolent


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objects other than her own work, and received eighty-six members, of whom sixty-six were received on confession of faith. I resigned, April 1, 1892, after serving the church six years. While at Wahoo I was secretary of the city school board.
     "I commenced my pastorate of four and a half years with the church at Fairmont, April 1, 1892. There we built a parsonage, paid a church debt, raised over $700 for benevolences. The church was self-supporting. I also served during this pastorate the churches at Strang, Shickley, and Bruning, preaching at all three churches once a month, for which I received home missionary aid. I was also a member of the Fairmont school board for two years. While pastor here ninety-six members were received, sixty of whom came into the church on confession of faith.
     "I resigned September 1, 1896, to become state secretary of Doane College, which position I held until September 1, 1901. While secretary the first two years I supplied every Sunday the church at Grafton, and the next two years the church at Waverly, and for a few months the Rokeby church. As secretary I visited and addressed nearly all the high schools in the state, and most of them a number of times, traveling over 65,000 miles. I preached in nearly all the Congregational churches in the state, and lectured over 200 times in the interest of institutes and high schools. I served as chaplain in the state senate of Nebraska during the sessions of 1899 and 1901.
     "I took charge of the church at Grand Island, September 1, 1901 and remained as pastor until March 1, 1904, when 1 left to take charge of my present field, Farragut, Iowa, rounding out just twenty-five years of service in Nebraska. During this time I received into the church by letter 110; on confession of faith 180; total 290. I officiated at 130 funerals and 65 weddings, was Moderator of the General


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Association at Holdrege in 1899, and have been elected delegate to five National Councils.
     "When I went to Albion in 1880 most of the houses outside of town were built of sod, and so were the schoolhouses. It seems to me my happiest days were when visiting in, and preaching to people crowded into these sod houses. The people in those early days were eager to listen to Gospel truths. They did not remain at home on account of poor clothes or distance from place of preaching. They came in all sorts of clothes and vehicles. Many walked three and four miles to the soil schoolhouse where the Sunday school and services were held. A large number of the young people in the Sunday school then are now the foremost leaders in our churches. The seed sown is yielding fruit in many cases a hundred fold."

     One must read between the lines in such a rapid survey of work to appreciate fully the busy life of a pioneer pastor.

DR. GEORGE SCOTT

     Rev. Dr. Scott is an Englishman who came into Nebraska in an early day, worked with a sister denomination for a time until he finally "came unto his own." He has also served the government as United States consul in Odessa, Russia, from 1884 to 1886, and is well known in affairs of state. He served as chaplain of the Nebraska house of representatives in a special session in 1882, and in the regular sessions of 1883 and of 1903.
     Dr. Scott writes as follows:

     "While I was engaged in missionary work among the coal miners in the north of England, the call came for men to preach the Gospel in the great West to the large body of immigrants who had gone to the states after the close of the Civil war.
     11


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     "1 felt perfectly sure that a man could be secured to fill my position in England very much easier than for the work across the sea. So although I had been in this particular work for six years, and was much attached to it, I decided to heed the call, and in May, 1871, I, with my wife and infant son, started for Nebraska.
     "We entered Nebraska from Sioux City, Iowa, at Coyington, and thence toward the frontier, fifty miles from railroad, with the mail carrier in his open democrat wagon.
     "The people had not had a minister for a year, and although they were anxious for one, they had not expected one and had made no provision for him. There was no parsonage nor any house that could be rented, so we lived around among the people in their poor narrow quarters. The hearty welcome accorded us: compensated for the roughness of the living.
     "I found that the only place for holding meetings was in a poor log schoolhouse with rough homemade benches. But the old schoolhouse became a Bethel to many.
     "That winter we held a series of meetings lasting for thirty nights, to which many came regularly, even as far as twelve miles, and great numbers were converted. We knew that there could be no permanent success without a church home, so every one put his shoulder to the work, and the next summer a church building and parsonage were built and dedicated, out of debt.
     "When we got into the new clean church the men kept up their old practice of chewing tobacco and making the floor a cuspidor, as they had in the old schoolhouse. I made up my mind that this must be stopped, so before preaching one Sunday morning I said, 'You people used to chew tobacco and spit all about the schoolhouse, but now we are in a beautiful church building and I wish you would not do it. I know it will be hard work for some of you to


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quit for an hour, but if you make an effort I believe you can do it. If you can not succeed we will get a log of wood and place it outside the door, on which you can place your quid when you come in, and it will not be considered an interruption of the service, if you find you can not endure the abstinence, if you retire and take your quid and chew it a few times and then return to the church.' I added, 'I'll guarantee that you will find your tobacco where you placed it, for there is not a hog in town that would touch it.' The cure was perfect.
     "Next summer the grasshoppers came in such numbers that the heavens were darkened. Wherever they alighted, in a few hours the crops were destroyed. The people were helpless; nothing to sell; no money to be had. Many became subjects of charity. For a long time I had not enough money to buy a postage stamp. Friends in England offered to send money to take us back again; our answer was, 'We have made our choice to preach the Gospel to this people, and we will continue to work here.'
     "These were hard times, but it paid. Sixteen years after this I returned to visit one of the settlements. I preached to them two evenings and held a fellowship meeting. In the experiences that were given, numbers testified that they were converted in the old log schoolhouse sixteen years before. Among those giving experiences was the pastor of the church, who said, 'I was converted at the close of a meeting held by Brother Scott in my father-in-law's house.' His wife bore the same testimony. It pays to make sacrifice for the Lord.
     "The harness that I was required to wear for seven and one-half years in Nebraska never did fit me, so I determined to put it aside and chose a system of church government that was more in accord with my views.



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