Iron Creek Church

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

The Iron Creek Church celebrated its centennial on April 21, 1955. It was organized on April 21,
1855, when the Rev. Leonard P. Tompkins first held a service in the Iron Creek school. The Iron Creek Church was built in April, 1868.

The church is located about five miles southwest of Manchester in Washtenaw County. It was not until 1868 that the white frame church was erected. At that time it was known as the Free Will Baptist and prior to that services were held in the school house.

Charter members were Joseph Noyes, Selah Noyes, John G. English, James Nowlen, Susan Raby and Rebecca Blinn.

John G. English was the first church clerk, and began office May 19, 1855; Warren Noyes and James Nowlen were first deacons, Benjamin G. English the first treasurer.

Mr. Noyes offered to give a church site and one hundred dollars, provided the church was built in Manchester.

On September 28, 1867, members of the church voted to construct a building just as soon as $2,500 could be raised by subscription. The land on which the church stands was given by Francis and Jane Lee Baldwin. The one-half acre site was valued at $500. Orville Curtis, a notary and public surveyor, "drew up the deed." At that time there were but seven families prominently connected with the church. They were the two English families, the Rabys, Dorrs, Rushtons and Johnsons.

In the early years of the church the pastors were usually affiliated with Hillsdale College, and members of the congregation were asked to "entertain the ministers who would come on the train Saturday, stay over night Saturday and Sunday, and leave Monday morning."

One family in the congregation was asked to entertain on such a weekend. The farmers had planned to do butchering on a cold Monday morning and rose very early. After the chores were done and the family was about ready for breakfast they called the visiting minister.

At the breakfast table he was asked to say "Grace." He bowed his head, then glanced toward the window. It was still dark out. As he concluded his prayer he added—"and thank God for seeing us safely through the night—so far."

The largest single amount subscribed to the building fund was $500 given by John G. English. Five contributed $100 each and among the varied gifts were three pork barrels. In the records mention is made that the Bible was given by Ezra Simmons and came from a disbanded Free Will Baptist Church in Lenawee county. Lamps for the church were given by Mrs. Elizabeth Baldwin.

The only social gatherings in the early days were to donation parties, Sunday School picnics and July 4th celebrations. The early affairs were held in English Grove just north of the Iron Creek School. Later, in the early eighties the parishioners met at homes of members and it was at these times that the people became better acquainted. Mostly the entertainment would be visiting, playing games or a literary program. Dancing and card playing was never thought of.

At the quarterly meeting in April 1930, the name was changed to THE IRON CREEK CHURCH and soon after the church withdrew from the Michigan Baptist Convention.

The church had never had a basement until August, 1946, and in May, 1947, a furnace was installed. In September, 1948, Mrs. Mina Trolz gave a new organ and sanctuary painting to the church.

The public road which crossed the church property was closed, the old horse sheds removed, shrubs planted and new entrance and addition have been improvements in recent years. A new room was added at the back and restroom facilities were other improvements during the pastorate of the Rev. Alvin Brazee. He came to the church in 1927 and served longer than any other pastor ... a period of 35 years.