An Early Article About The Church
By The Reverend E. S. Miller
The Presbyterian Church of lola-county seat of Allen County was organized on the 24th of June, 1864, by a committee of Highland Presbytery, appointed for that purpose, and consisting of Rev's. E. K. Lynn, Austin Warner and Elder J. M. Evans. The following named persons, sixteen in number, entered the church at the time of organization: Messers. John McClure, Rufus Perkins, and John N. Covert; Mesdames J. E. Covert, H. Bostwick, J. Perkins, E. Longstreet, E. Twiss, S. A. Terrill, Susan Post, E. Parsons, E. Thrasher, S. Rogers and Misses M. Terrill, L. Case and N. Terrill.
The first sermon by a Presbyterian minister in the town of Iola was preached by Rev. E. K. Lynn, sometime in the fall of 1860. The service was held in the upper part of the old frame building, now commonly known as "the Colborn store building." Father Lynn, now feeble with age, but loved for his good qualities, and honored for the good work he has done, still lives near here and watches with interest the growth of his planting. He continued to preach regularly every two to four weeks until the congregation was effected in 1864, when he became the first pastor of the new church.
The town was yet in its infancy, being scarcely a year old when Father Lynn first came to the place and began his work. For the first two years or more of his labor here, his congregation met in the room referred to; after that, for a time, they met in the old courthouse which then stood in the west part of town; there they remained until the new church was completed, which was in the fall of 1868. Very soon after the organization was effected, the church began to feel the urgent need of a house of worship of their own; though it was not until early in the year of 1868 that the actual work of this building was undertaken. Up to this time there was no church building in town. The congregation now undertook the work of building a brick structure, in size 35 x 55 ft. This undertaking, at the time when lumber and other building material had to be brought in wagons from Lawrence or Kansas City, was quite formidable. But the house was completed, and dedicated during a meeting of the presbytery held here in September 1868. In the accomplishment of the work of building, much is due to the energy and liberality of Messers L. L. Northrup and Rufus Perkins.
In the latter part of 1869, the pastor, Rev. E. K. Lynn, removed to another field of labor, and he was succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. H. W. Stratton, who served the church for about three years when he removed and was succeeded by Rev. J. W. Pinkerton. After serving the church for about two years, he was taken sick and died at his home in Iola on the 12 of February, 1875. The next pastor was the Rev. S. G. Clark, who began his labors soon after the death of the former pastor, and continued with the church for about three years. The next and present pastorate, that of Rev. E. S. Miller, began in June, 1878. There were 16 members at the organization of the church; two of these, Sarah Jones and Susan Post, are still in connection with it. Since that time there have been added, by letter 140; and by profession 83; 87 having been dismissed by letter; 13 have died while in connection with the church; 4 have been expelled; 19 moved from the bounds of the congregation without taking letters, and have been lost sight of by the church. The present membership is 115.