A Combination of Churches
Our Savior Presbyterian Church was formed on January 8, 1972 by a merger of the Argo United Presbyterian Church and Summit Presbyterian congregations. Argo Presbyterian Church dates back to the early 1840’s and Summit Presbyterian Church got its start in the 1850’s.
In July 1974, after lightning struck and the resulting fire destroyed the steeple and a portion of the roof, it was decided to build a new structure and the new building was dedicated on September 26, 1976, and remains in place today.
The mortgage of $583,363 was burned on September 30, 1984 while under the pastorate of Rev. John Gilmore. Five pastors: R. Ward Holder, John W. Gilmore, David L. Herron, Patricia Halverson and Tiffany McClure have served since the union of the Summit and Argo Churches.
Below is a history of the two churches that combined to form Our Savior Presbyterian Church.
The History of Summit Presbyterian Church
In the mid 1850's the nearest Presbyterian Church to the Churchill Settlement was in Davenport. It was a long drive with horse and wagon, but several families who had just arrived from Pennsylvania made the trip often to the First Presbyterian Church located on Third Street. The Rev. J.D. Mason, pastor, was prevailed upon to hold services in the country on Sunday afternoons once or twice a month in the home of Mr. Shaw, John Buchanan, and Wm. Yocum. These meetings continued for nearly two years, when on February 16, 1858 it was resolved to undertake the erection of a house of worship. Five acres of land at the intersection of Utica Ridge Road and Blackhawk Trail were generously donated by Alfred Churchill for the church site and Charles Kinkaid advanced the money for materials.
A neat frame structure, 32' X 40', with temporary seats, was first occupied on July 6, 1958 when "The Presbyterian Church of Summit" was organized.
On February 15, 1859 the complete church was dedicated. The cost was about $1200. We remember with gratitude the love and sacrifice of those early settlers who "builded better than they knew."
From 1858 until 1972, twenty-nine pastors served Summit along with several students from the University of Dubuque.
A significant tradition started by Sally Walker in 1919 is the Memorial Day Service. The Scott County Historical Society now conducts this Annual Service.
When the last church service in "The Presbyterian Church of Summit" was held January 9, 1972, the building became the property of the Scott County Historical Society and the congregation merged with the Argo United Presbyterian Church to become Our Savior Presbyterian Church.
The History of Argo United Presbyterian Church
More than 160 years ago, in the early 1840's, a little band of Associate Reformed Church people, left their homes in Deer Creek, Pennsylvania, to find new land and a new home. Some left by foot and others left by covered wagon. They journeyed to Berlin, now known as LeClaire, Iowa. Their greatest loss was the lack of church privileges of their choice. They decided to meet in homes for services, thus forming an Associate Reformed Church Society.
The first meeting was held in the log cabin of James McConnell, with twelve present. Mr. James Miller, a man with extraordinary speaking ability, was their leader. The meetings were called "The Society" and were held on the Sabbath. Sometimes they had guest speakers. The first mentioned was Jeremiah Dick, an Associate Reformed Missionary, during the summer of 1847. Other speakers were, Rev. Mason, a lame man from Illinois, a Mr. Graham and Rev. John Freetly. Rev. Freetly had been invited to come and take a request to presbytery for an organized Associate Reformed congregation. He returned and met again with these people in the new barn of James McConnell, which was one and three fourths miles east of the present church location. He had with him the presbytery's granted permission and the organization was formed on May 21, 1849.
The first pastor, Rev. John B. Clark was ordained and installed October 19, 1854. This happy relationship ended abruptly, when his life was taken by lightning on July 28, 1855. He was buried in Jack's Cemetery. During this time, the present church site was secured and a 30 X 40 church building was started. It was changed to the United Presbyterian Church in 1858.
The Civil War was a hard ordeal for the little congregation as 28 young men enlisted. Two of these were killed in battle, two died from disease and three were wounded.
It was during the pastorate of Rev. J.C. Warnock, the 4th pastor, that the first parsonage was purchased in 1885. It was just west of the Argo store. It was sold on March 4,1920 to J.H. Heldt for $5000.00. It was while Rev. C.S. Cleland, the 5th pastor was here that the church was completed at a cost of $5027.30. It was dedicated on April 30, 1893. It included a lot that was added to church property. The 50th Anniversary of this organization was celebrated on May 23, 1899.
During World War I, two young men entered the service. They were James Hamilton, who returned and George Hogaboam, who was killed in action.
World War II brought another hard ordeal to our congregation. Four young women and twelve young men answered the call to their country. We gave thanks to God as each of them returned safely.
The Argo United Presbyterian Church and the Summit Presbyterian Church held a combined service on January 17, 1971, at which the Rev. Ward Holder was installed as pastor of both churches. The purpose being to unite the two churches into one congregation. On January 9, 1972, the two churches were formally organized into one congregation, Our Savior United Presbyterian Church.