Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


Wilson was pastor when the community at Douds Station built a Baptist Church on the west side in 1869, a block north of the Des Moines River road to Selma, constructed in similar pattern to the Mt. Moriah building (still standing) two miles north of town.

In a rare joint effort between Baptists and Methodists, the structure served people of both denominations after 1870, according to the History of Van Buren County, Chicago: Western Historical Society, 1878. The Methodists eventually took control of the building but could not afford to keep a minister. In 1943, Douds and Leando Methodists merged on a trial basis with alternating services on both sides of the river.

There are Methodists still alive in Douds who recall their happiest moments attending the Douds Church as children, because it had a very active, inspirational Sunday School, and Sunday evening services attended by the entire family.

All services were halted when water stood six feet deep within the sanctuary in 1947. The Methodists, now fully absorbed into the Leando congregation, abandoned the badly damaged building, so that it was vacant for nearly two years following the horrible flood.

After extensive clean up work by a handful of Baptist sympathizers, a couple of successful revivals were held during 1949, the first of which was in Leandoís public park, and Glen Fuller from Ottumwa began to minister this tiny group. Fullers moved to Douds around 1950, fully prepared to evangelize and revitalize the area.

Once open to the public on a full-time basis, church devotionals were held both Sunday morning and evening in typical, old-fashioned Baptist tradition. Several "Dutch Ridge" families from Zion Lutheran, and at least a half dozen Methodists were part of the audience each Sunday evening. People often patronizingly referred to it as "the other church in Douds."

Grandma found comfort in Christian fellowship as she realized itís necessity. Since she believed that each church existed to praise and honor God in its own way, she held onto a curious notion that no church service should be passed by in an effort to attend another. The Methodists in Leando rarely employed Sunday evening fellowship, thus without compromising her beliefs, an excellent opportunity emerged that allowed her to attend night services with this newly formed assembly of Christians, and we attended many.

After fire destroyed the building in 1952, the Baptists moved into a building on the east side of town that had served as a family dwelling for many years. Prior to that, it operated as a school and was known as "the Old Douds School."

After the original school burned in 1912, this building had served as Douds School until the new Douds-Leando Consolidated School building was completed in 1918. It now became a church, and the Baptists continued to worship at this location for more than a decade. I believe that fire eventually destroyed this building sometime in the late 1960s, after which time the Baptist group in Douds dissolved.

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick