Baptists and the American Civil War: November 27, 1865

Civil War States MapBaptists of the North in the post-war years progress both in terms of establishing new local congregations and developing new educational institutions. Progress takes place unevenly. These narratives of uneven progress are represented in events this day.

In Newark, New Jersey, members of the Baptists’ City Mission Board begin discussions about establishing a Baptist church in the Eighth Ward. “This part of the city represented many attractions as a location,” those assembled agreed. “The population was increasing, and and improvements of the most substantial and attractive character were being constantly projected.” Although other denominations had talked of starting churches in the area, none had yet done so.

As a result of today’s discussions, the Board appoints a committee, granting the committee power to purchase a lot for the establishment of a mission chapel. By the end of January 1866 the lot is purchased, and that November the chapel finished. The mission is only a temporary stop along the way to a permanent Baptist presence in the area.

Meanwhile in Iowa, newly-established Des Moines College, a Baptist institution, begins offering courses in the city’s Baptist church. Courses remain housed in the church until the college completes its own facilities, in the form of a renovated, former Lutheran building, in April 1866. The school remains operational until 1929, at which point it closes, ceasing to exist.

Sources: Edgar Mortimer Levy, History of the Newark Baptist City Mission: From Its Origin in 1851 to Its Seventeenth Anniversary in 1868, New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1869, pp. 57-59 (link); The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Volume 6, 1908, State Historical Society of Iowa, p. 108 (link); Des Moines College (link)