Heritage
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The date was April 22, 1838, when
Presbyterian services were first held
in Davenport by Rev. Enoch Mead in
a small building above the alley on
Ripley Street between Second and
Front Streets. In 1839 the First
Presbyterian Church was officially
organized by Rev. Michael Hummer.  
It was the first Protestant church in
Davenport. The ten charter members
who bound themselves together
were: Mrs. Anna Rhea Mitchell, Mrs.
Jemima Barkley, Dr. and Mrs.
Alexander C. Donaldson, Mr. and
Mrs. Andrew F. Russell, Mr. and Mrs.
Thomas S. Hoge, and Mr. and Mrs.
Robert Christie. Services were held
at Tippecanoe cabin, located at the
southwest corner of Third and Main
Streets.

By 1843 the members of the
congregation felt the need for a
building of their own.  This led them
to construct a small brick chapel on
the north side of Third Street,
between Harrison and Main Streets.
The membership had grown to 17.

Within the next decade these devoted
pioneers managed to build a larger
structure on the same property.
Known as the Third Street Church,
records claim it was Davenport’s first
church with a steeple. The women of
the congregation held a fair to raise
money for a bell for the steeple.
Communicant members increased to
184.

On April 26, 1864, the former St.
Luke Episcopal Church at the corner
of Seventh and Brady Strets became
the property of First Presbyterian
Church and its home for the next
thirty-five years. (This is the same
building which housed the Davenport
Public Museum from the turn of the
century until 1963.)

Seventh Street Church

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Christian Education Building

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Copyright © 2018 First Presbyterian Church of Davenport, Iowa. All Rights Reserved.

During the Civil War Presbyterian
women joined other Davenport
church women in sewing uniforms
and knitting garments for Union
soldiers. Later their care extend to
soldiers’ orphans. Church member
Patience Newcomb was a Director of
the State Soldiers’ Orphan Society
and was influential in establishing a
home for children in the unused
barracks of Camp Kinsman, later the
site of the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphan
Home.

Newcomb Chapel, in Hamburg (now
Northwest Davenport), and Renwick
Chapel, both memorials to First
Presbyterian members, were
evidences of local outreach. These
chapels grew to be the Newcomb and
Mt. Ida Presbyterian congregations.
By the end of the 1800s the
congregation had grown to nearly
400.

The city was growing. So, again, the
congregation decided to move and
purchased a site at the corner of
Kirkwood Boulevard and Iowa Street.
Three years later, on December 3,
1899, the congregation assembled at
the Seventh Street Church and
marched up the hill to the new
church. This beautiful Romanesque
building of Marquette brownstone is a
register National Historical Moment
and noted for its especially fine
stained glass windows. An
educational wing was added in 1923.

Church life for members and their
children centers around weekly
worship services and Christian
education classes. Among the vital
programs of study, service and
mission are adult Biblical studies,
Deacons’ outreach to the community,
sponsorship of refugee families,
youth and adult fellowship
opportunities.  Participating in the
ministry of music are the seventy-five
voice Sanctuary Choir, fouth youth
and children’s choirs, and an adult
bell choir.

Ministers who have served the
church over the years are: Michael
Hummer, 1839-1842; Samuel
Cleland, 1842-1846; George Rea,
1846-1848; Erastas Ripley, 1848-
1849; James Mason, 1849-1860;
Samuel Anderson, 1860-1870; John
Stewart, 1870-1872; Charles Nott,
1872-1881; Nicholas Clute, 1881-
1886; Joseph Little, 1886-1896; John
Donaldson, 1896-1908; LeRoy
Coffman, 1908-1935; Alfred Nickless,
1935-1951; Lloyd Hindman, 1951-
1960; Donald Blackstone, 1961-1972;
H. Allen Wirtz, 1973-1994; Richard
Wereley,1996-2007; Richard Miller
2008 to 2018.

Witness to the congregation’s commitment to maintaining their church home are additions of a three manual, forty-five rank Casavant Fréres pipe organ in 1980, an elevator in 1981 and additional landscaped grounds and parking facilities in 1990.

To learn more about the Heritage Committee and volunteer in the church’s Heriage Center, please contact
Office/Communications Manager Diane Pumphrey (p
umphrey@fpcdavenport.org).

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