First Presbyterian Church


City of Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Carol

A number of those who joined the First Congregational Church did so with the
understanding that whenever able to maintain a Presbyterian church, they should be free to organize one. Accordingly, March 19, 1849, seventeen men and a boy met at the residence of Benjamin BROWN, southwest corner of State and School streets (now East Grand avenue), organized themselves as the First Presbyterian Society of Beloit and arranged for the forming of a church.
The formal organization of the First Presbyterian Church occurred at the Aunt Jane
MOORE school house (now No. 439 St. Paul avenue), March 21, 1849. Rev. Lewis N. LOSS, of Rockford, Ill., presided, and Rev. J. J. BUSHNELL, of Beloit College, preached the sermon, while Rev. L. BENEDICT, of Rockton, Ill., and Rev. Dexter CLARY, pastor of the First Congregational Church, assisted. The forty-six charter members then received were: Augustine J. and Mrs. Amelia E. BATTIN, T. L. and Mrs. Catherine B. WRIGHT, Robert P. and Mrs. Almira CRANE, John P. and Mrs. Eunice HOUSETON, Horatio and Mrs. Frances BURCHARD, Benjamin and Mrs. Lucy Ann BROWN, Charles and Mrs. Teresssa PECK, Samuel B. and Mrs. Amanda COOPER, A. D. CULBERT, David MERRILL, John M. DANIELS, Miss Frances B. BURCHARD, Mrs. Sarah M. BURCHARD, Mrs. Elizabeth BURR, Benjamin CLARK, Fred LATHROP, Andrew B. BATTIN, Jesse BURCHARD, Asahel CLARK, M.D., and Mrs. Caroline E. CLARK, Chester and Mrs. Lucretia CLARK, Charles and Mrs. Harriet N. MOORE, Beman CLARK (the only one living in 1908), Mrs. Louisa BURCHARD, George H. STOCKING, Lyman JOHNSON, E. N. CLARK, M.D., and Mrs. Sarah A. CLARK, O. A. and Mrs. Emma SMITH, Henry and Mrs. Louisa MEARS, John FISHER, Jr., and Mrs. Jane FISHER.
At the first communion service, held at the same place, April 29, 1849, Mrs. Ann M.
CULVERT, Mrs. Agnes MERRILL, Jacob and Mrs. Lydia BANTA and Zilpah CLARK were received by letter, and Lucy Ann BROWN, Julia S. PECK, Augustus R. PECK and Joseph L. and Mrs. Sarah M. JEWETT on confession of faith.
With Benjamin BROWN, as chairman of the building committee, the first church
edifice, southeast corner of Broad and Pleasant streets, and costing about ten thousand dollars, was dedicated, July 23, 1850, substantially free of debt. The successive pastors have been: Rev. Alfred EDDY, 1849 to 1855; Rev. L. HAWES, 1855 to 1856; Rev. Charles P. BUSH, 1857 to September, 1859; President A. L. CHAPIN and Professor J. J. BLAISDELL, pulpit supplies, one year (a gratuitous service in order to help the church out of debt); Rev. William ADAMS, 1861 to 1863; Rev. David E. BEACH, D.D., 1863 to 1865. Then occurred the union of the Westminster Presbyterian Church (formed on the west side in 1858) with this First church under Dr. William ALEXANDER, 1865 to 1869. Rev. Alexander G. WILSON, D.D., served 1870 to 1871; Professor Henry M. WHITNEY, of Beloit College, supplied the pulpit September 1871 to June 1872. The longest pastorate was that of Rev. John McLEAN, November, 1872 to 1884. Rev. A. W. BILL served 1885 to 1887, and Rev. Thomas E. BARR, 1887 to 1890; Rev. C. D. MERRILL was pastor 1890 to 1896, and Thaddeus T. CRESWELL from 1896 to 1905, when he left for the West on account of ill health, and is now pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Pomona, Cal. Rev. Chauncey T. EDWARDS, D.D., the present pastor, began his labors here with July, 1905.
In the fall of 1904 two lots, the southwest corner of Public avenue and Prospect
street, were purchased at a net cost of $7,500, and June 4, 1905, the corner stone of a new edifice was laid, the building committee being L. Waldo THOMPSON, J. M. FARNSWORTH (clerk of session) and W. F. BROWN, D.D. This modern gothic edifice of Norman gray brick and cut stone, costing about forty-two thousand dollars, was dedicated June 8, 1906. Fifteen of the young men of this church have entered the ministry. The present membership is 355. Besides the usual Sunday school, with three departments at the church and a home department outside, there is a C. E. society, a ladies' aid society, a woman's missionary society and a men's club of about forty members, and a branch school at 1815 St. Lawrence Ave.
[Source: Rock County, Wisconsin: A new history of it's cities, villages, etc., Vol. I, by William Fiske Brown (editor-in-chief); ©1908 C. F. Cooper, Chicago, IL; pp. 270-271]

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