Early Churches of Knox County, IL
typed and emailed to me by Kathy Mills now in TN... Thanks a million Kathy.....
Early CHURCHES of Knox County, Illinois
According to the last census there were in Knox County seventy-eight
churches, worth $432,026, and eight-three congregations, with 11, 388
Still standing today... click on thumbnails for bigger photos and to see who is preaching.
Swedish Baptist Church—organized in November, 1888. Meetings first held at
314 East Main Street. Sixty-five members, and about the same number of
scholars in three Sunday schools, conducted at the hall, near Lincoln
Street, and in East Galesburg. First pastor, Rev. G. Karlson. In 1898, the
congregation erected a fine new edifice on North Chambers Street, at a
cost of about $4,000. It is a handsome church, though small. Dedicated
December 18, 1898. Present pastor, Rev. Axel Webster.
Zion Lutheran—in 1889 two
hundred families left the first Lutheran Church under the guidance of Rev.
C.A. Nybladh, to form an Episcopal Church, now St. John’s. Some wished to
return to the Lutheran faith, and accordingly formed a church of their
own. They meet in McKnight’s Hall, but have no pastor at present.
Click on thumbnails for a bigger & better view of Foxie's Photos
Swedish Methodist Episcopal—organized
in 1851 by Rev. J.J. Hedstrom. First pastor, Rev. A. J. Anderson, who came
in 1857, just after the first church was built. The present edifice, which
stands on the corner of Waters and Kellogg streets, was erected in 1872,
at a cost of $17,000. Parsonage completed in 1886, on lot just east of
church. Membership, three hundred and ten; Sunday school attendance, two
hundred and sixty-five. Present pastor, Rev. Olof Johnson.
A HISTORY OF CENTRAL CHURCH GALESBURG ILLINOIS
By Hermann R. Muelder, Ph. D. Professor Emeritus of History Knox College Historian
Until the recent construction of a multi-storied motel, the center of the city was dominated by an imposing Romanesque church building, constructed in 1897 and 1898 of dark red sand-stone transported from Marquette, Michigan. This is Central Church. It was erected on what had for more than half a century been the site of "Old First Church", located on the public square of Galesburg, near the northern boundary of the grounds of Knox College. All three of these institutions (the town, the college, the church) were founded by a colony from up-state New York that was led to Illinois in 1836 and 1837 by George Washington Gale and others who had been deeply involved in the Great Revival and in the social reforms stimulated by that religious event. The Reverend Gale and several of his associates in the Galesburg colony had previously established a manual labor institute for the education of the converts of that Revival and had educated many young men who became important missionaries for causes such as temperance and the immediate abolition of slavery. It was their intention to establish a similar institution on the Illinois frontier and to endow it with the rising values of the land they purchased from the Federal government. Their success was manifest in the founding of Knox College and in the prosperity that it had achieved by the time of the civil war.
By 1846 the colony had erected a wooden meeting house that provided the largest auditorium in west-central Illinois, not only for religious services, but also for convocations, ecclesiastical, political and educational. From the first, Knox College Commencements were held in this building, as were the programs of the college literary societies that brought to the frontier town some of the leading lecturers and artists of that time. Here too were convened political meetings consistent with the radical anti-slavery convictions of the members of "Old First", for the original settlers of Galesburg provided much of the leadership for the abolitionism in Illinois when that was an extremely unpopular and even a dangerous activity.
The original colony church was founded under a "Plan of Union" that Congregationalists and Presbyterians had agreed to early in the century. This Plan facilitated cooperation among the two sects in the newly settled communities of the Mississippi Valley and led to the formation of the mutual benevolent societies. It permitted churches of mixed denominational membership in which Congregational or Presbyterian Laymen and ministers might continue their connection with either denomination and in which churches might be represented in the tribunals of either or both denominations. Unfortunately, this cooperation broke down during the 1850's. Locally the Presbyterians withdrew from the colony church to form a church of their own. The remaining members of the colony church became increasingly restive with actions of presbytery, synod and general assembly and by the end of the decade retained a connection only with Congregational associations. This sectarian split led to a very harmful dispute between the two denominations over control of Knox College that was not resolved until a trustee with Episcopalian connections led in working out a compromise by which neither Presbyterians nor Congregationalists would have a controlling majority on the board.
The defection of Presbyterians from the Old First Church did not impair its vitality. By 1855 it had grown so large in membership that an amicable agreement was reached for organizing a daughter church called "First Congregational Church." The latter built a brick meeting house only a half block south from the mother church, on a site immediately adjacent to the Knox Female Seminary that was being constructed at the same time. For its first pastor this new congregation installed the distinguished educator, journalist and theologian, Dr. Edward Beecher, scion of the most famous minister's family in American history. The author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, was his sister; a younger brother was the great pulpit orator, Henry Ward Beecher. Like these and other members of that family, Dr Beecher was an advocate of social reforms, such as equal rights for women, particularly for changes in the constitution of the State of Illinois. When the newly completed church building was badly damaged by a tornado, Henry Ward came to the aid of the congregation of brother Edward by raising money on a lecture tour in Illinois. The church was often referred to as the "Beecher Church" and after it became the property of the college was known for nearly seventy years as the "Beecher Chapel."
One of the divisive irritations between Congregationalists and Presbyterians before the Civil War had been the uncompromising insistence by certain Congregational Leaders on having absolutely no fellowship with slaveholders, even indirectly. For this purpose they supported a new society, the American Missionary Association, which made educational missions among freedmen one of its special concerns. Old First Church and its daughter, The First Congregational Church, generously contributed to the A.M.A. A black youth brought from a mission in West Africa by the A.M.A. was enrolled in Knox College and in 1870, at the Commencement Exercises held in Old First Church was the first black man to be graduated from a college in Illinois. Knox alumni associated with these Galesburg Congregational Churches served as teaching missionaries in the south during the Reconstruction period, one of them becoming the superintendent for the A.M.A of its subsidies to colleges such as Fisk and Talledega. These two churches also became the primary source of support for a city Mission in the southeastern part of Galesburg, among what were presumed to be the less privileged residents of Galesburg. Among those who took advantage of its Sunday School programs was Carl Sandburg, son of Swedish immigrants. He would later recall with gratitude the training he got in performing in English before the Mission audiences.
During the nineties the two neighboring Congregational Churches agreed that they should combine to build, under the name of Central Church, a new church building. The result was the great structure of red stone in Romanesque style, on the exterior, that still stands on the public square. Its auditorium was shaped in the semi-circular style popular during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, reflecting the strong emphasis placed on the pulpit oratory and on musical performances. Behind the minister's rostrum there was originally not an altar but a large choir-loft, facing the audience. The auditorium was quite readily adapted to secular uses such as college assemblies, public meetings, and civic musical presentations. During the early years of the twentieth century it was actually filled on Sundays by the attractions of the great preaching and of fine choral performances. The new Central Church came to have a particularly close connection with the Conservatory of Music that was organized, after the example of Oberlin, during the mid-eighties at Knox. For nearly forty years the choir director and the organist were senior members of the Knox Conservatory. In 1912, when the College, the City, and the Church celebrated their common seventy-fifth anniversary, the great organ was dedicated to the memory of the Knox "triumvirate", -the three professors, all members of this Congregational Church, who loyally served the college during the last half of the nineteenth century, during periods of uncertainty at Knox College and times of much travail for themselves.
By the middle of the twentieth century the connections with the College had become largely ceremonial, for the college itself had become rather thoroughly secular in character; twenty years later most students and faculty would be unaware of the special relationship that once had existed between school and church. At the mid-century the Central Church was still, however, the place most likely to give a hearing to issues avoided elsewhere. It had then not yet suffered the adverse effects of lamentable contention over a proposed inter denominational merger that occurred among Congregational churches during the early fifties.
Central Congregational Church Dates
1837 - Colony and church founded, George Washington Gale first minister. Met first in Log City, then the Colton store, and then the Academy. The church was first named the Presbyterian Church in Galesburg, but was made up of Congregationalists and the New School Presbyterians from upstate New York. This is the church that came to be known as "Old First Church."
1837-38 - Old and New School Presbyterians split over the issue of cooperation under the Plan of Union 1801 with the Congregationalists withdrawing from the Presbyterian General Assembly.
1843 - Timbers cut for the meeting house.
1845 - Frame of meeting house put up; also, the church began active fellowship with the state Congregational Association.
1846 - First Knox Commencement held in Old First ( as yet incomplete).
1848 - Old First Meeting House completed. J. Blanchard went east to raise funds for materials the colony could not produce.
1851 - The Second Presbyterian Church colonized out of Old First Church. Now known as First Presbyterian.
1855 - The First Congregational Church colonized out of Old First Church and erected the meeting house that came to be known as the Brick Church and later Beecher Chapel. The mother church withdrew from the presbytery over the issue of slavery, and then fellowshipped only with the state Congregational Association.
1856 - Mother church changed its name to the First Church of Christ in Galesburg and came to be called "Old First."
1895 - Large part of plaster ceiling came down in Old First Meeting House and the building was considered unsafe.
1895 - Old First and the First Congregational Church united to form Central Congregational Church. To symbolize the union their bells were melted down and recast (now weighs 3400lb.) so that the united voices of the past might call the present to worship.
1897 - The corner stone was laid for the present meeting house on the site of Old First. The meeting house of the First Congregational Church was sold to Knox College for $10,000; $5,000 of which was a gift from the church to the college.
1898 - The new (present) meeting house was occupied in December. It cost $75,000.
1912 - Triumvirate organ installed in memory of Churchill, Comstock, and Hurd.
1962 - Front of sanctuary remodeled along with basement. Most of the building is as it was built.
Central Congregational Church WindowsSANCTUARY
John T. Avery - 1841 - 1905. Farmer and Christian leader in Rio and Galesburg.
Robert H. Avery - died, 1892. Civil War; while a prisoner at Andersonville busied himself with invention of corn planter; later manufacturer.
Sarah P. Avery - wife of Robert H. died 1898.
A.C. Higgens - Colonist and Farmer, died 1892
Lucy M. Higgens - A.C.'S wife, died, 1898. Both active in Central Church.
Henry Hitchcock - 1816-1884, Burlington RR. Supt.
Martha A. Hitchcock - Henry's wife, died 1899; two children Willie H. and Mattie died in 1858 and 1881.
Mrs. S.L. Charles and Maud A. and Cooley Charles - Wife and children of S.L. Charles, business manager Cooley estate.
Matthew C. Willard - 1842 1894, Merchant, Trustee of Knox, Active and generous in all good work.
I. S. Perkins - 1832-1898. Prominent in business, a church Trustee; first to suggest the name "Central Church" for the united churches.
Emma Everest Moore - Knox 1870, died 1890, Wife of Baptist clergyman and missionary.
Amelia F. Bangs - Principal of Knox Seminary, 1873-1879, died 1891.
Mary Allen West - 1837-1898. Daughter of Nehemiah West. Educator, writer, temperance reformer and County Superintendent of School. She was also a world missionary of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and died while on a mission in Japan.
PARLOR AND DINNING ROOM
Nettie Parry - daughter of builder S.J. Parry; Knox student, died by accident, 1875. Full name Emeline Jeanette.
Caroline Rulf Emrich - died, 1889, wife of Henry Emrich, Civil War veteran and printer.
H. Cordelia Willard - 1820-1886. Wife of Silas Willard, merchant, and mother of Matthew C. among founders.
Jerusha Brewster Farnham - wife of Eli Farnham, died 1872. A direct descendent of Elder William Brewster and Gov. Wm. Bradford, of the Mayflower Pilgrims, Worthy of her ancestors.
Eli Farnham - Trustee of Knox, 1845-1882. secretary of the board, Always officially connected with the church.
Jessie Farnham Hinckley - died 1874, eldest daughter of Eli and Jerusha Brewster Farnham.
OLD SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOM
George Holyoke - 1830-1895. Civil war veteran and beloved city missionary.
Emma Dunn Palmer - Knox 1872, died 1892. Teacher in Knox Academy and Galesburg High School.
Edward Beecher, D.D. - Noted theologian and writer, brother of Henry Ward and Harriet Beecher Stoe; pastor of the First Congregational Church (Brick church), 1858-1871. Died 1895.
Marie Louise Cooley - daughter of Edwin A. Earnest in church work; died while a student at Knox.
Flavel Bascom, D.D. - Prominent clergyman, pastor of Old First Church, 1849-1856 and again in 1872.
Mary Bliss Chalmers - Knox 1873, missionary to Turkey where she died in 1881.
Deacon John Leonard - died, 1865, A saintly character - "the children's friend and city missionary"
If you have any information, photos, or anything on the beginnings of the any of the churches listed above feel free to email me so we can share it with others... Thanks and happy happy Hunting.....
In giving a history of the churches of Galesburg, no apology is needed for giving what might at first seem an undue prominence to the old First Church, which truly deserves to be called the mother church. In an historical discourse by Rev. F. Bascom, D. D., on June 22, 1866, commemorative of the settlement of Galesburg he says: “In the infant settlement at ‘Log City’, public worship on the Sabbath was established very soon after the arrival of the first families, with preaching when practicable. Rev. G. W. Gale was their first stated supply. Assisted by Rev. John Avery, he held a series of meetings during the first winter, and the Spirit of God owned and blessed the effort in the conversion of several of the youths in the congregation. They organized their church on the 25th of February 1837, consisting of eighty-two members. Mr. Waters and Mr. Gale officiated on the occasion, assisted by Mr. Noel, of Knoxville, who represented Schuley Presbytery. The church was Presbyterian in its name and ecclesiastical relations, but contained a strong congregational element, out of deference to which the modes of administering its affairs were somewhat modified from the beginning.
During the summer of 1837, some families, having prepared residences in the village, removed thither, and then public worship was held alternately here and at the grove. The first room used for Sabbath worship in Galesburg, was a store room built by Deacon Chambers. In the winter of 1838 and ’39, the first Academy building was used for religious meetings, which were thenceforward constantly held there until the First Church edifice was opened for worship in 1846. The seven years in which the church worshipped in the old Academy were memorable as a period of spiritual prosperity and almost constant progress. Many were the seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord there enjoyed, and of not a few now in heaven, and of many on their way thither it may be said, “this and that man was born there.” The First Church building though opened in 1846 was not completed until 1848, and for the next three years it was the only house for public worship in the village, and Christians of every denomination were accustomed to worship together there.
Of the erection of this building an interesting chapter could be written. As yet there was but one church organized in the village, and the founders hoped that such would be the homogeneity of the settlers that no other should be formed until like bees they should be compelled to swarm from overcrowded quarters, so it was determined to build a large building that that day might be far away. When built, it was the largest church edifice in the State outside of Chicago.
But how to build such a building was a question, for there was no money in the community, but there was what was better—strong faith in the enterprise and willing hearts and hands. Every one was ready to do his share, the farmers cut and hauled logs to the colony mills, thus furnished the lumber needed. They turned out with their teams and drew stone from the neighboring quarries for the foundations which the masons laid up. The carpenters, led by J. M. Holyoke and J. Horn, framed the building, and the entire community, from ‘Dan to Beersheba’ turned out and spent an entire week in raising the heavy and unwieldy frame. Other carpenters gave their time to cover the frame, and C. S. Colton, the only man who had money, furnished paints, which the painters put on for love, and not for pay. And so for four long, weary years the house was in building, when the ladies took it in charge and finished it in so handsome a style as to provoke many criticisms from our neighbors as to Yankee extravagance in churches. The old church for many years was the only large audience room in the village, and was used for concerts, lectures, conventions, college commencements, and other large meetings.
“The Hutchinsons,” the “Alleghanians,” and other noted bands of singers of the older time, made sweet music within its walls, and nearly all of the world-renowned speakers and lecturers from 1850 to 1860 and later, have been greeted here with large and enthusiastic audience. Mr. Bascom further says: “Prof. Gale, with the aid of Rev. J. Waters, was acting pastor of the church the first three years. Mr. Foot supplied the pulpit for one year. Mr. Gale then resumed his pastoral labors for a year, and was succeeded by President Kellogg, who was stated supply for two years.”
For the next year, the pulpit was supplied by Revs. Marsh, Waters, and Hollister. From May 1844 till the end of 1845, Rev. L. H. Parker was acting pastor. Mr. Kellogg was then installed as pastor and officiated till the failure of his health in the spring of 1847. President Blanchard succeeded him and gave place to Rev. F. Bascom in Dec. 1849, whose pastorate closed in May, 1856. Rev. C. M. Tyler followed and was pastor three years. Mr. Barnard filled the pulpit for six months and was succeeded by Rev. F. T. Perkins who was pastor some years, followed by Prof. W. J. Beecher, now of Auburn Theological Seminary, and he by Prof. Henry Tyler now of Fitchburg, Massachusetts; and he by the present pastor Rev. H. S. Huntington. Surely the church has no right to complain for want of change and variety in its ministerial labors. At the present, its membership is 390.
The Second Presbyterian Church was organized in May 1854. This church was organized with thirty members dismissed from the First Church for this purpose and in December of the same year, an Old School Presbyterian Church was organized with eighteen members. The pastors of the Old School Church have been Revs. I. N. Candee, Wilson, and Norcross, and of the Second Church Revs. J. W. Bailey, George Duffield, L. Pratt, and M. B. Lowrie, the present pastor. A few years ago, these two churches united forming a strong, efficient and prosperous church. Its membership is now 320.
The following I take from Miss M. A. West’s Centennial History:
“In November, 1855, the old hive swarmed again, this time fifty members going off to form the Congregational Church. This also prospered greatly for fifteen years under the pastorage of Dr. Edward Beecher, since that time under that of Rev. M. L. Williston. He tendered his resignation so now the church is without a pastor. It numbers 214.
“The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1847 and has had a steady, healthy growth ever since. After worshiping many years in a small church, it has just completed and dedicated the finest church edifice in Galesburg. Rev. Selah W. Brown, Pastor.
“In 1848 the Baptist Church was organized. For a time there were two Baptist Churches here, each with a small house of its own. They very wisely united and erected the beautiful house which they now occupy. Rev. W. M. Haigh, Pastor.
“The First Swedish Lutheran Church was organized in 1852. It is a very large body, and has recently erected one of the best houses of worship in this part of the State. Its pastor is S. P. A. Lindahl.
“The Second Lutheran Church, formed under the lead of Rev. Charles Anderson, have a very neat edifice on Simmons Street.
“In 1856, a Swedish Methodist Church was formed, which now has a fine building on the corner of Kellogg and Waters Streets. Rev. A. Anderson, Pastor.
“The African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed the same year. This church has struggled on through great discouragements, having worked hard to build a house of worship, and then seeing it burned just two weeks after its first occupancy. But with courage unabated they have now nearly completed a new building. Rev. C. S. Jacobs, pastor.
“The Universalist Church was organized about the same time. Their house of worship is on the corner of Tompkins and Prairie. Rev. S. A. Gardner, pastor.
“St. Raphael Roman Catholic Church has a large membership and a fine house on Academy Street. Rev. M. Howard, pastor.
“Grace Episcopal Church has a very tasty edifice, corner of Tompkins and Prairie Street. Rev. S. T. Allen, pastor. They number about 65 communicants, and have a flourishing Sunday school.
“The German Lutheran Church is also on Tompkins Street. Rev. G. Rausch, pastor.
“The African Baptist Church purchased the house of the Cherry Street Baptists, at the union, where they now worship.
“The Christian Church building has been moved from Ferris Street to Tompkins Street, fronting the Park and very tastefully fitted up. At present, it is without a pastor.”
The following article, a brief history of the Abingdon United Methodist--- Church recently appeared in the online edition of the ABINGDON ARGUS. (http://www.eaglepublications.com/abingdon.html)
The editor of the ABINGDON ARGUS has given permission to post the; article in its entirety.
Newspaper: Abingdon Argus---Knox County, IL---United Methodist Church to Celebrate 100 years---September 17 1998
On Sunday, September 20, the congregation of the ABINGDON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the church building. Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher will be bringing the message in the 10:30 a.m. worship service. All former pastors and their wives along with the District Superintendent, Rev. Terry Clark of Galesburg, have been invited as special guests.
A potluck dinner will be served at noon. Following the dinner, former pastors will be sharing memories as will be those of the congregation.
Methodist began meeting in 1832, when a local preacher named HIRAM PALMER began visiting the log cabins of families in the Abingdon area. By 1833 an organized society of seven members were meeting at the log cabin of A.D. SWARTS. The first quarterly meeting was held in 1834 with PETER CARTWRIGHT the presiding elder. The meeting was held in the log cabin of JACOB and BETHSHEBA WEST. In 1839 the congregation moved to the newly built frame schoolhouse on the northwest corner of Jefferson and Pearl Streets, worshiping there until about 1847-48.
At that time a comfortable church was built on the northeast corner of Washington and Jackson street. But by 1869, the congregation had outgrown its building and began worshiping in the chapel of Hedding College where it worshipped for seven years.
During the pastorate of D.H. GRAY in 1867-68, the congregation built a two story frame building which was considered a handsome edifice. The building stood on the northeast corner of Latimer and Washington Streets and was built at a cost of $6,000.
S.T. MOSSER, the church's choir director, raised funds in 1898 for the purchase of a Lyon and Healy pipe organ. Because of the architecture of the building, members decided to build a new building instead of remodeling the old one. Had they put the pipe organ in the old building there would be no room for the pulpit. Had they moved the pulpit, there would be no room for the worshipers.
A contract was left to HOOKER and HUGHEY, local contractors, on March 7,1898, for a new building at a cost of $8,170 plus the old building. Much of the old building was used in the new structure. The new pink granite building and equipment were valued at $20,000. Members paid $492 for art glass windows; $600 for pews; $873 for steam heat and radiators; $200 for decorating; $910 for 26,300 Sioux Falls pink granite stones, sills, caps, and corner stone’s. The pulpit and pulpit chairs were donated by W.C. HALL and the pulpit Bible by F. O. CHESNEY. The new building was dedicated December 25, 1898.
The bell in the steeple was hung in 1899. Tie rods were added for support on the belfry in 1917. The great weight of the bell became a problem for the structure of the church and the bell was placed on the flooring of the bell tower. A set of electronic carillons were installed to play from the tower in December 1986.
To accommodate all worshipers, a ramp was constructed outside the northwest entrance to the sanctuary in 1985. A handicap accessible restroom was installed in 1994.
Over the years repairs and enhancements have been required to maintain the church that we know today. At present the church is valued at approximately $2,000,000. The congregation has become stewards of the beautiful edifice now and they must remain as examples for the generations that will worship in the building in the future.
Rev. Gene Ramsey, pastor, and the members of the church invite the public to join them in the celebration of this centennial anniversary of the church.
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