June 2010 Phelps Helps Newsletter
Congregational Churches in Phelps County
Darlene Samuelson, a volunteer at our library has just completed an index of Congregational church members in Phelps County, Nebraska. The communities include Holdrege, Loomis and Bertrand. We do not have the records for the Urbana Congregational, a country church that was located in the Rock Falls Township, Phelps County but do have good information about this church. The first Congregational organization in Phelps County was brought about by Samuel Eveland, a theological student from Chicago Seminary, sent into Phelps County by the American Board of Home Missions. He arrived in Phelps Center in June 1883, and with his coat over his shoulder, walked to Whitewater P. O. kept by S. M. Millard, one mile south of what is now Bertrand. In this locality were several families from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois with no church organization. Rev. Eveland stayed in the community for a short time holding meetings in the homes. From the interest thus created, a Congregational organization was formed on September 23, 1883 in the Millard Schoolhouse with the assistance of Rev. W. H. Forbis and State Superintendent C. W. Merrill. Out of these efforts came the organization of the Urbana Church in 1884 with the Pierce, Griffith and Thomas Families as its members. The Whitewater organization was disbanded and the members took part in organizing the Bertrand Congregation in September 1885. Rev. C. H. Huestis, the first pastor, was called and a church building was erected.