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From History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, Springfield, IL: Continental Historical Co., 1885, pp. 168 – 189. Not a complete transcription. There will be typographical errors.
First Presbyterian Church, Jerseyville
The following particulars, relative to the above named church, are taken from a sermon delivered by the present pastor, Rev. Ira C. Tyson, Feb. 24, 1884, commemorative of the fiftieth anniversary of the church. It is most carefully and ably prepared, and no apology is deemed necessary in copying bodily portions which will be interesting and valuable as a historical record of that society.
At an early day religious meetings were held in private houses for a time, with preaching when it could be obtained. At length arrangements were made for organizing a church, and a meeting was appointed for that purpose at the house of N. L. Adams, near Hickory Grove, on Feb. 15, 1834. Two members of the Illinois Presbytery were present, Rev. Thomas Lippincott and Rev. Elisha Jenney, the latter being supply pastor at Alton. A sermon was preached, after which the church was organized. There were eighteen original members. Alexander H. Burritt, James Lumsden and M. N. Bosworth were the original elders. There is no record in existence of the names of the original members, but the names of fourteen are given by Dr. Norton in his history of Presbyterianism in Illinois, as follows: James Lumsden, Reuben Page, Mrs. Elizabeth Page, Joseph Gerrish, Elizabeth Gerrish, Mrs. Miriam Turner, Dr. Alexander Burritt, Mrs. Nancy Burritt, M. N. Bosworth and wife, John Anderson and wife, Matilda McGill and Mrs. Sophronia Adams. It is believed that the original members are all now deceased. At first the church was without a pastor and without a house of worship. Meetings continued to be held in private dwelling and also in a school house west of the present residence of Robert Newton. There being a Congregational element in the society, that portion retained the use of the school house while the Presbyterians worshiped in Mr. Keith’s shop for about six months. For a year and a half after the organization, the church appears to have been without a stated minister, although a Mr. Pierce, or Pierson, a teacher from Carrollton, preached for a time on alternate Sabbaths. At length, in Oct. 1835, Rev. Amos P. Brown commenced his labors as stated supply, where he continued until 1838, preaching and laboring as his feeble health would permit. In 1836 steps were taken to build a meeting house. A subscription paper was circulated, dated Oct. 6, 1836. Forty-seven names were attached with sums ranging from $200 down to $10, the total amount subscribed being $1,782.75. It was a year before the subscriptions reached a sum sufficient to warrant the committee to proceed with its work. In Oct. 1837 another paper was drawn up and signed by 33 names, authorizing the building committee to “proceed and build the house in such size as they may deem expedient, provided they shall not reduce the size below 36 x 40 feet.” During the years of 1838-39 the frame of the building was put up, but still there was not enough raised to finish it, the amount required being about $700. In 1840 another subscription was started and $478 additional were raised to enable the trustees to finish the meeting house. The building was at length completed and dedicated Oct. 14, 1841. It was 48 x 48 feet in size, and according to the preceding subscriptions cost about $2,600.
By a vote of the church in March 1839 the name was changed from South Greene to Jerseyville, as previous to this time this party comprised a part of Greene. In August 1838 Mr. Brown resigned his charge, but continued to reside here for several years afterward. He died in Rushville, Ill., May 16, 1859. Rev. Joseph Fowler began his ministry here in September 1838, and was ordained by the Alton Presbytery, April 4, 1839. He left Jerseyville in September 1840, and after an active ministry in different churches in Ohio and Illinois, died Sept. 6, 1857. Rev. Luke Lyons, who had previously labored here in a revival with Mr. Fowler, was invited to the pastorate on the retirement of the latter. He entered upon his labors in November 1840, and was installed as pastor Dec. 26, 1843. Mr. Lyons continued his labors here until his death, which occurred Jan. 11, 1845. During his pastorate the church enjoyed great prosperity, as he was an earnest preacher, a devoted pastor and possessed unusual executive ability. After his death the church was without a pastor for over a year, when Rev. Geo. C. Wood took charge of the pulpit March 1, 1846. On April 20, 1850 he resigned the charge in Jerseyville. He afterward labored in Michigan and this state, and finally became missionary of the Illinois Presbytery for several years, residing at Jacksonville. His death occurred Jan. 5, 1879. In October 1850 Rev. Samuel Grosvenor commenced his labors as acting pastor. During his pastorate the church building was enlarged, and a bell tower erected and furnished with a bell. He continued until July 1855. After leaving Jerseyville, he was settled at Woodstock, Conn. He afterward visited Europe and died in London, Aug. 8, 1870. In December 1855, Rev. Joseph S. Edwards assumed the duties of the pastorate. He came to Jerseyville at a time of great political excitement, the troubles in Kansas occupying at that time a large part of public attention.
Having, in the pulpit, expressed his views decidedly, twenty of the leading members withdrew an formed a Second Presbyterian church, connecting themselves afterward with the southern general assembly. Mr. Edwards continued as pastor until December 1858. During his ministry here the present parsonage was built at a cost of $2,400. He died at Cleveland, O., Oct. 17, 1876. Rev. Chas. H. Foote was invited to supply the pulpit for one year, beginning Dec. 1, 1858. He was installed pastor April 15, 1860, his pastorate of the church extending over a period of eight years and three months, and was, on the whole, prosperous. He resigned Feb. 17, 1867, and his death occurred June 28, 1880. April 7, 1867, Rev. Wm. W. Williams was invited to preach. He continued to supply the pulpit until the following September, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Rev. Geo. I. King, D.D. The two branches of the Presbyterian church having united during Dr. King’s pastorate, the church raised over $2,000 towards the memorial fund. During 1872 the health of Dr. King failed and he visited New Orleans with the hope of receiving benefit. He sank rapidly, however, and died there March 12, 1873. Rev. James W. Stark entered upon his duties as pastor in November 1873, as a successor of Dr. King, serving the church in that capacity for about 10 years. On Jan. 18, 1880, the rotary system of eldership was adopted, as provided for by the general assembly, in accordance with which W. S. Ross was elected to the eldership in January 1881; B. C. Vandervoort in January 1882; and Dr. A. A. Barnett in January 1883. The initiatory steps for building a new church were taken during the year 1880, the ladies of the congregation taking a leading part in the matter. To secure the cooperation of all, and to make the terms of payment as easy as possible, it was proposed to raise the sum of $12,000, by dividing the whole amount into 480 shares of $25 each, to be paid in three annual payments, namely, Sept. 1, 1881, Sept. 1, 1882, and Sept. 1, 1883, the whole to be collectable when the entire amount was subscribed. A soliciting committee was appointed to collect funds, which part of the work was delegated to the ladies. This committee consisted of the following members: Mrs. Emily B. King, Mrs. A. A. Barnett, Mrs. W. S. Ross, Mrs. Cornelia J. Shephard, Mrs. S. A. Holmes, Mrs. W. H. Pogue, Mrs. Mary E. Jackson, Mrs. B. C. Vandervoort, Mrs. Jane B. Pittman, Mrs. J. A. Cory, Mrs. R. I. Lowe, Mrs. Hugh N. Cross, Mrs. J. C. Darby and Miss C. A. VanLiew. The building committee was composed of the following name gentlemen and ladies: A. W. Cross, Wallace Leigh, T. F. Remer, Dr. A. A. Barnett, J. L. C. Richards, John I. Whyte, Mrs. B. C. Vandervoort and Mrs. Emily B. King.
The church is constructed of Grafton stone, with slate roof and stained glass windows and square tower 90 feet high, located on the site of the old church, at the corner of State and Carpenter streets. The corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies on August 12, 1882, and on August 23, 1883, the building was completed and dedicated. The edifice is what is known as modern Gothic in architecture, considerably ornate, yet not departing from a rigid adherence to the Gothic rules, and is one of the finest churches in this part of the state. In January 1883, Rev. Stark tendered his resignation as acting pastor of the church on account of continued ill health, which was accepted. However, with renewed health, he is now preaching in the Presbyterian church of Santa Fe, N.M. The present pastor, Rev. Ira C. Tyson, entered upon his duties as pastor of the church on the first Sabbath in June 1883, and was installed as pastor on September 25th following. The church today is in a highly flourishing condition with a membership numbering about 250.
Rev. Ira C. Tyson, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, has been a resident of Jerseyville only since June 1883, but in that time he has won a high place in the esteem and affections of his congregation. Jerseyville is his first charge in the West, he having been called here from New Hampshire. He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Montgomery county, on March 3, 1830. His parents were also natives of that county, and members of the society of Friends. His father was a farmer by occupation, but in his later years moved to Philadelphia, where he led a retired life until the time of his death, which occurred after he had attained his 83rd year. His mother, Mary (Hallowell) Tyson, also died in Philadelphia. Our subject was the fifth in a family of eight children, and was the oldest son. Four of the children are yet living, six having reached the age of maturity. Ira C. was reared to the occupation of farming, receiving in the meantime, such education as was afforded by the common schools of the neighborhood. At the age of 17 years, he commenced the acquisition of the printer’s trade, in the office of the Telegraph, at Germantown, Penn. In this office he was employed for 12 years, starting in as an apprentice, and ending as foreman of the establishment. While in Germantown he was united in matrimony with Fannie L. Hunt, of that city, in 1853. She died four years after their marriage. In 1856 he united with the Market Square Presbyterian church of Germantown, and soon after this time he was impressed with the conviction that he must enter the ministry. He commenced the study of the languages with the principal of the Germantown Academy, and afterward under a private tutor in New York city, his practical knowledge as a printer supplying, to a considerable extent, the place of a college course. After two and one-half years spent in preliminary study, he entered the Union Theological Seminary of New York city in 1859, and graduated in May 1862. Feeling the need of a more thorough classical training than could be obtained in a printing office, he has continued with vigor the study of the languages up to the present time. In June following his graduation, he received and accepted a call to the pastorate of the Presbyterian church at Hughsonville, Dutchess county, N.Y., and was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of North River, O.S., on Oct. 7, 1862. In 1869 he was called to the Presbyterian church at Bedford, N.H., and was settled over that congregation by the Presbytery of Londonderry in May 1869. He held the pastorate there until August 1879. In September following, he was invited to take charge of the Presbyterian church, at Londonderry, N.H., and was soon after installed by the Presbytery of Boston, serving as pastor of that church until May 1882, when he came to Jerseyville. In 1882 he attended, as a commissioner, the meeting of the general assembly, held that year at Springfield, this state, and while there met with Rev. James W. Stark, who was at that time the pastor of the First church, Jerseyville. They had been acquainted before, while fellow students at the theological seminary, and Mr. Stark invited Mr. Tyson to accompany him to Jerseyville, which he did. While here, he preached two sermons, soon returning to his charge in New Hampshire. During the winter following, Mr. Stark’s health declined so that he was obliged to resign his pastorate here, and an urgent invitation was at once sent Mr. Tyson, to fill the expected vacancy. He took charge of the church here in June 1883, and was installed as pastor by the Alton Presbytery the following September. By the congregation he is given much of the credit for the rapid progress made in the welfare of this church since that time. During his early life, while in the printing office, he frequently contributed articles to the newspapers, and read such works as those of Shakespeare, Milton, Sir Walter Scott, Gibbon, and other standard authors of English literature, and the knowledge and experience thus gained have been of the greatest value to him in the preparation of his sermons, most of which are delivered from is manuscript. His thorough knowledge of Greek and Hebrew has enabled him to pursue his Biblical researches for himself, in a satisfactory manner. Since entering the ministry he has written only occasionally for the press, contributing at intervals, articles for the New York Observer and other papers. Among his sermons which have been published, may be mentioned one on the teachings of the scriptures on total abstinence, and a historical sermon, delivered at Bedford, N.H. Mr. Tyson married his present wife in New York city immediately after graduation at the seminary, in May 1862. Her name was Henrietta Sperling, a native of New York city. This union has been blessed with five children, four of whom are now living. Their names are: Louis J., Fannie A., Mary L., and Chas. W. Eddie, their first child, died at the age of 11 years. Mrs. Tyson has always occupied a high position in religious circles, and socially, wherever stationed. While in New England, he was stated clerk of the Boston Presbytery, and was chosen its historiographer. He had collected considerable material for a history of Presbyterianism in New England, but feeling that his great life-work was to preach the gospel, he was induced to relinquish this important work on receiving a call to the west. In Oct. 1878 he read a paper before the New York Synod on “The Scotch-Irish in New England,” receiving a vote of thanks for the same. In October he was elected moderator of New York Synod, being the last moderator of that body prior to the reconstruction of the synod. Four times during his ministry he has been chosen commissioner to the general assembly: in 1867, at Cincinnati; in 1871, at Chicago; in 1878, at Pittsburg; and in 1882, at Springfield, Ill. Mr. Tyson has given considerable attention to the science of music, having given private instruction in music, and taught singing-school classes in various places. While prosecuting his studies in the seminary, his musical ability afforded him a partial support, by means of an engagement, on a stated salary, as a singer in the choir of one of the large churches of New York city.
Otterville Presbyterian Church
This society was organized on March 19, 1855, with ten original members. The first elders of the congregation were Isham Finck and Sidney Noble. The services in the early days of the organization were held in the old M. E. church south of Otterville. The first of officiate as minister was Rev. D. R. Bell. The officers of the church for 1885 are: W. I. Mears, Milo Landam and Wm. Noble, elders. The pastor is R. M. Smith. The congregation has a frame structure, which is 30 x 40 feet in ground area. Services are conducted by the pastor two Sundays in each month. Sabbath school is held regularly each week. The membership at present is about 30.
Episcopal Church of Jerseyville
As early as April 1868, the Rev. C. S. Abbott, then rector of the St. Paul’s church, Alton, Ill., visited this village and held occasional services. During his charge there were five persons confirmed and seventeen baptized. Rev. D. W. Dresser also visited occasionally. Among the early workers and members of the society were Allen Marshall, Cornelia Cockrell, Francis A. Knapp, Alice L. Titus, Elizabeth F. Van Horne, Mary A. Davenport, Elizabeth Godington, Ann Londen, Cecilia K. Gibson, all of whom were communicants prior to January 1, 1869. In the spring of this year the Rev. George Gibson was appointed missionary for this place and Carrollton, which charge he held for about two years. The Rev. H. G. Perry followed and served about two years. From that time until February 1879, the services were almost entirely discontinued. Rev. P. A. Johnson, of Bunker Hill, did some work here early in 1879, and on February 22, the Rev. G. W. G. Van Winkle came from New York city and assumed charge of the mission work in this place and Carrollton, to which he had been appointed in January 1879, by Right Rev. G. F. Seymour, D.D., L.L.D. On April 22, 1879 the congregation met and a petition was prepared, asking to be organized as a mission. This was sent to the bishop in May, and the bishop approving the action, appointed the following named persons as officers, which names were respectfully proposed by the congregation: E. L. H. Barry, M.D., S.W.; J. G. Blish, J.W.; H. N. Wyckoff, T.; John Fox, S. He sent a certificate signed on May 6, 1879, signifying his consent and approval, and making the appointment of the officers according to the canons. Immediately after this date steps were taken toward the erection of a church building, which resulted in the cash purchase of land enough to build the church edifice upon, and yet leaving room for a rectory, which the congregation hope soon to have erected. The building committee was composed of Dr. E. L. H. Barry, Charles Catt, John Fox, M. E. Bagley and the rector, Rev. G. W. G. Van Winkle, the corner stone of the new edifice being laid on July 22, 1880, with appropriate ceremonies. The edifice, which is neatly constructed of brick, was completed at a cost of $2,900, besides an addition of $600 being expended for a lot.
Much credit is due Dr. E. L. H. Barry for the active interest he manifested during the time the building was under the course of construction, as it was undoubtedly due to his efforts more than any other that the building was ever attempted at that time. On June 2, 1881, being the octave of the Ascension, the new church building was ready for occupancy, and was opened with appropriate service, conducted by the Rev. G. P. Betts, of the Trinity church, St. Louis. The Rev. T. W. Haskins, of Alton, and Rev. William Elmer, of Jacksonville, were also present. The church, at times since its organization, has experienced difficulties to retain life and existence, but at present is in quite a flourishing condition, with a membership of about 30. Rev. William T. Whitmarsh is the present rector. The present officers of the church are: John Fox, senior warden; J. S. Holmes, junior warden; A. A. Shobe, clerk; E. P. Bagley, treasurer.
Delaware Congregational Church, Kemper
On March 13, 1870, a meeting was held of those interested in organizing a Congregational church in this vicinity. This church gathering was held in the Delaware school house. At that meeting a committee was appointed, consisting of Orin Palmer, Elias Palmer and Luther Dodge, to draw up a constitution, articles of faith and a covenant, with instructions to report at a similar meeting to be hled on March 7, 1870. At the meeting held on that date, the committee reported favorably on organization, and brought in the covenant, articles of faith, etc., which were received, and acted upon favorably. On April 12, 1870, a council fo neighboring churches was held, to take under consideration the advisability of organizing the Delaware church. This council passed favorably upon the idea. It was decided to postpone the election of officers for the time. The first members who entered into this organization were: Elias Palmer, Mrs. Phebe Palmer, Lora T. Palmer, Mrs. Martha J. Palmer, Mrs. Anna Twitchell and Mrs. Harriet S. Stowe. On January 4, 1875, officers were elected for the church, as follows: Messrs. Orin Palmer, clerk; Elias Palmer and Dennis Palmer, deacons; W. W. Larue, Orin Palmer and D. G. Twitchell, trustees. At the organization of the church, Rev. H. D. Platt preached for the congregation, but there was no regular pastor until 1875. Services were presided over in that time, however, by Revs. H. D. Platt, R. M. Hall, William Harlan and E. Loomis. Rev. J. Scott Davis, a Presbyterian preacher, was the first regular pastor, commencing in 1875. He was succeeded by Rev. H. D. Park, also a Presbyterian, who preached here until May 1, 1877, when he was followed by Rev. H. D. Platt. After his retirement, the pastorate was again vacant. Rev. I. W. Baker then came, remaining three months. He was succeeded by Rev. J. W. Phillips, who was pastor for two years. In March 1885, the present pastor, Rev. P. B. Vest took charge of this flock. The first church edifice of this congregation was built where the present one stands in 1878, the building committee being J. C. Dannell, Dennis Palmer and Orin Palmer. It cost about $3,500. Part of this sum was left by William Palmer, who set aside in his will $500 for that purpose.
That building was destroyed by fire on the night of Dec. 25, 1879. The building proper was totally consumed, but the foundation was saved, as were also the doors, windows, seats, pulpit, etc. In the spring of 1880 the work of rebuilding was commenced, which was completed in the spring of 1881. The cost of the new building was $2,500, aside from what was saved from the fire. The building committee for the latter structure was composed of John C. Dannell, Dennis Palmer, Milo Stowe, and V. L. Dodge. The seating capacity, including gallery, is about 300. The membership at present is 69, and the church is in fair condition. There have been no changes in the offices of clerk or deacons. Olive S. Palmer is treasurer. G. D. Twitchell, Orin Palmer, and Mrs. Harriet S. Stowe are trustees. This church has a parsonage for its pastor, purchased in April 1884 at a cost of $600.
Bethel Baptist Church, Ruyle Township
The early records of this church have been lost or destroyed, and but few dates are obtainable from which to write its history. It was organized on May 22, 1834 in a school house which then stood close to where the church building now stands. Revs. Moses Leeman and Elijah Dodson guiding the organization. The members of whom it was at first composed had formerly belonged to the Kane church, but for convenience, branched off, in order to hold services near their places of residence. When the present school house of district No. 2 was erected, they commenced to hold meetings there, and so continued until the present house of worship was built. This handsome structure is the free gift of Robert Latham, a benevolent gentleman now deceased. Work was commenced on it in 1880 and finished in 1881. The present officers of the church are: John Fink, R. W. Stroud and Enos Johnson, trustees; Joh Fink and Lewis Gilworth, deacons. The membership is about 73, and the church is in good condition, some 20 additions having been made the past winter. Rev. S. F. Rice, of Medora, is the present pastor.
Lebanon Baptist Church
This society erected a church building in 1850. Among its first members were Samuel Erwin and wife, N. P. Johnnessee and wife, Jonas Bradshaw and wife, John Vaughn and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Routh, Joseph Brown and wife. Samuel Erwin was the first deacon and N. P. Johnnessee was clerk. The first minister was Rev. Jacob Rhodes, and preached the first sermon in the church. The church edifice was remodeled in 1872. The present officers of the church are: Samuel Erwin, D. E. Seago and Thomas Miller, deacons; J. G. Erwin, clerk. Isaac D. Crawford is the present pastor. The church has a membership of 54 in good standing.
First Missionary Baptist Church, Mississippi Township
Rev. John Clark organized a Baptist church in 1826 at the house of John McDow, which is known by the above designation. Among the first members were: John Lofton and wife, John McDow and wife, Josiah P. Askew and wife, Joab White and wife, Mrs. Mary McDow, Mrs. Matilda McDow, and Samuel Lofton. They held meetings for a number of years, and finally built a church on the northeast quarter of Sec. 17. It was a frame structure, about 30 x 40 feet in size. It was blown down and completely destroyed by a cyclone, and never rebuilt. The congregation was very large for that day.
Otter Creek Baptist Church
In June 1855 the religious society known as the Otter Creek Baptist church was organized by Revs. B. B. Hamilton, Alvin Bailey, D. P. French, R. C. Ball, Aaron Dodson and Elder John Brown. Twenty persons were associated with the society at its organization. Services were then held in the upper rooms of the old stone school house, which stood on the site of the present Otterville school. The first regular pastor was Rev. R. C. Keele, who officiated here six months. Then came B. B. Hamilton, who remained one year; George P. Guild and Aaron Dodson, who preached alternately one year; A. Dodson, two years; H. T. Chilton, two years; A. Dodson, three years; then J. W. Terry, six months; David Matlock, 11 months; Aaron Dodson, one year and six months; Rev. Lamb, six months; B. B. Hamilton, one year; Geo. W. Robinson, six months, who still retains the pastorate. The church edifice of this congregation is constructed of brick, and is 34 x 56 feet in ground dimensions. It was commenced in 1871, and finished in 1873, the total cost being about $10,000. Services are being held on alternate Sundays and Sabbath school sessions are held each week. The present membership of the society is 41. The church building is located near the center of the village of Otterville.
Antioch Baptist Church, Otter Creek Township
This society has its church building in the village of Otterville. It was erected in 1872 at a cost of $1,200. It is 24 x 36 feet in dimension, of frame construction. The edifice was dedicated by Rev. Butler of Alton. The first pastor was Rev. Aaron Dodson. Rev. Isaac Crawford no administers to the spiritual welfare of the flock. When the church building was erected the membership was 65, but it has since fallen off to some extent, so that it is now 40. However, the congregation is in a prosperous condition at present. The church building is located on the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 36.
Colored Baptist Church of Jerseyville
This church was organized about the year 1858, by Elder James H. Johnson. The first officers were: P. S. Brayden, W. M. Phillips and Samuel Evans, trustees; P. S. Brayden, clerk; and W. M. Phillips, treasurer. Among the first members were: Cynthia Brown, Henrietta Johnson, John Barton, America Barton, P. S. Brayden, W. M. Phillips and Samuel Evans. They held meetings for two or three years at private residences. About the year 1860 the present church building was erected. It is a brick structure 30 x 50 feet in ground area, and cost $1,500. The pastors of this church have been: Revs. J. H. Johnson, Jackson Robinson, G. M. Davis, S. J. Griswell, L. A. Coleman and J. W. Jones, the present pastor or elder. The membership at present is about 65. The officers of the church at the present time are: William Swan, clerk; Andrew Thomas, John Waddle, William Dillon and Joseph Hunter, deacons; P. S. Brayden, William Swan, John Brown, Andrew Thomas, John Waddle and William Dillon, trustees; Andrew Thomas, treasurer. There is a Sunday school in connection with the church, which has an attendance of about 20. William Swan is the superintendent.
Kemper Baptist Church
This church was an offshoot of the Medora Baptist church. It was organized April 1, 1876, with the following original members: Jas. W. Rhodes, Sarah Rhodes, John B. Rhodes, John Davis, Margaret Davis, Lewis Elliott, Serena Elliott, Benjamin Taylor, Mary Taylor, Arthur McDonald, Hezekiah Rhodes, John McCann, Chas. Beaver, Mary Snow, Delia Snow, James T. Elliott, Maria A. Elliott, Thomas B. Ruyle, Mary Ruyle, Alice Ruyle, Elizabeth Ketcham, Susan McCann. The trustees were: John B. Rhodes, John Beaver and Lewis Elliott. The first minister was William M. Rhodes, who occupied the pulpit until 1880. He was followed by Rev. B. Culp, who preached during 1881, being succeeded by Rev. John W. Bush, who is pastor at the present time. The church has its own building, and is in a prosperous condition. B. C. Elliott is church clerk. The membership at present is about 60, a large portion being farmers living in the neighborhood.
Fidelity Baptist Church of Fidelity Township
This congregation was organized on Sept. 4, 1853 by Elders Joel Terry, William Hill, J. Buckley and Ezekiel Dodson, the last named a licentiate. The following members were constituted into a church, to be known as the Fidelity Baptist church of Christ: John H. Reddish, Samuel Rich, David P. Pritchett, Samuel W. Sexton, Catharine L. Sexton, Emily Hauskins, Mary Rich, Mary Reddish and Lydia W. Pritchett. They fist met in the old school house at Fidelity, and continued to hold their meetings there for some time. After giving up the school house as a place of worship, the met in session with the Methodists. In 1869 they commenced holding meetings in Ruyle’s National hall, Fidelity, where services were held until the present church edifice was erected. At a meeting held May 3, 1873, Brethren Tompkins, R. T. Rich and William Hooper were appointed to look up the feasibility of building a house of worship. On July 25, 1873, Messrs. Tompkins, Shannon, S. Rich, J. C. Marshall and T. C. Watson were appointed a building committee, with power to select a site, secure a plan, etc. R. T. Rich and W. Hooper were afterwards added to the committee, and S. Rich, R. T. Rich and W. Hooper were elected trustees. Work was soon begun and the building rapidly proceeded to completion. It was dedicated November 9, 1873 by Rev. Bulkley. Joel Terry was the first pastor of the church, and Samuel Rich was the first clerk. The pastors after the first were B. B. Hamilton, G. Seymore, J. Terry, G. P. Guild, H. T. Chilton, A. J. Deleno, H. D. Weaver, S. Adams, S. M. Whiting, S. Hussey, D. Seckman, T. S. Lowe, J. E. Roberts, J. F. Wells, J. F. Baker, William F. Allen, W. H. Beeby, J. H. Beeven and A. E. Carson. Samuel Rich was the first clerk of the church. He held that position until succeeded by the present incumbent. The officers of the congregation at present are D. P. Pritchett, Samuel Rich and Benjamin Foster, deacons; William Hooper, clerk; Samuel Rich, W. Hooper and T. A. Price, trustees. There are at present about 90 members. The church is in a reasonably flourishing condition.
Newbern Cumberland Presbyterian Church
This society was organized on March 14, 1857. The following were the original members: Nelson M. Lurton, Daniel Cornelius, Joshua Manning, Robert Dymond, Selina E. McDow, Daniel King, Bartholomew Milford, William Sego, Mary Dymond, Ellen Haines, Hannah Snyder, Joshua Lurton, Mary C. McDow, Melissa Waid, Martha McDow, Maria Bell, Elea Cornelius, William C. Bell, Nancy E. McDow, Eliza J. McDow, John R. Cornelius, J. W. Russett, Jonathan Manning, Mary J. Wadman, Nancy E. Bell, Martha Bell, Leonard P. Bell, Ellen Burley, John M. Piggott, Jonathan Ward, William C. Milford, Leonard Briggs, Martha Burley, Anna Slowman, John Manning, James Bell, Joel Burley, Emma Lurton, Mary J. Lurton, Sarah Manning. Nelson M. Lurton and Robert Dymond were chosen elders; William C. Bell and Daniel Cornelius, deacons; and Nelson M. Lurton, clerk. Rev. Daniel R. Bell was the first pastor, who also organized the church. The present officers are as follows: Nelson M. Lurton, Robert Dymond and John Buckles, elders; Nelson M. Lurton, clerk. Robert M. Smith is the present pastor, who preaches regularly every four weeks, although services are held more frequently by William Logan of Alton, and John H. Belt, of English township. The church building, which stands on the southeast quarter of section 32, was completed in the summer of 1859. It is a frame structure, 32 x 50 feet in size, with 16 foot ceiling, and cost about $2,500. The church lot, which contains about half an acre, was deeded to the society by Jacob Lurton. At one time the society had a membership of about 125, and was very prosperous, but at present the membership numbers only about 30, many having moved away, withdrawn, etc.
Fieldon Cumberland Presbyterian
This church was organized in this township by Rev. Joshua Lowrance, in 1841, in the pioneer school house of that village, with James Magee, Henry Warren and George Crosby as elders. Services were held in the old school house at Fieldon until 1877. In that year the society erected a substantial church edifice in Fieldon. It is a frame structure 26 feet wide by 44 feet in depth, and was built at a cost of $2,500. It is well supplied with comfortable seats, has a good organ and a bell. Rev. John H. Belt has been the regular pastor ever since the building of the present church. Rev. Daniel Bell was pastor of the church in 1861 and 1862, and Rev. T. R. Shull was pastor for a long time. The present elders are: George W. Shaffer, James H. Belt, George A. Harmon and Wm. H. H. West. There is a membership of about 40, and the society is in a flourishing condition.
Methodist Episcopal Church, Jerseyville
The now powerful society of christian people of the above denomination had but a feeble beginning. Very early in the history of the town, sermons were doubtless preached by itinerant preachers of this sect, but nothing like any sustained effort occurred until about 1837, when services were held here by Revs. J. B. Wollard and William Gannaway, preachers in charge of the circuit. In the following year the Alton district of the Illinois conference was formed and Revs. George W. Robbins and William Meldrum were appointed to the circuit. Under the ministrations of the former a society was formed in July 1839, from which this church has grown. This class was formed in an upper chamber of the house of Josiah Mulkins, on the southeast corner of State and Pearl streets, and consisted of the following seven members: Samuel Pitman, Richard Johnson, Josiah Milkins, Mary Ann A. Mulkins, Hannah Hankins, E. VanPelt and Sarah VanPelt. Samuel Pitman was chosed class leader. Revs. Norman Allya and N. P. Heath were appointed to what was then known as the Grafton circuit, which included Jerseyville, and were the first regular preachers to this little church. In 1840 this territory was included in the Jacksonville district, of which the honored Peter Cartwright was presiding elder. For more than ten years, this circuit was supplied with the regular circuit riders of those days. There were: Rev. W. S. McMurray, 1840; James H. Dickens and Joseph Kelly, 1841; Lewis Anderson and H. S. Shaw, 1842; C. D. James and J. P. Sebastian, 1843; C. D. James and Charles Holliday, 1844. In 1845 this was made Jerseyville circuit and was served that year by Revs. James Leaton and L. C. Pitner. The others were: John Mathers and Joseph Lane, in 1846; Elijah Corrington and T. N. McCorkle, 1847; T. W. Jones and J. Goodrick, 1848; B. C. Wood and J. H. Dodson, 1849; C. W. Lewis and John Sappington, 1850; S. H. Culver and Z. R. Piercy, 1851. In 1852 the little church in Jerseyville was made a station and was again included in the Alton district.
The first church edifice of this infant church was erected during the years from 1843 to 1847. It was a plain but neat frame building 34 x 40 feet in ground area, and cost about $900. The lot on which it stood, on the corner of Liberty and Exchange streets, was 100 x 110 feet in size, and was presented to the society by Major Gershom Patterson. The subscription paper, toward building the church, was written on New Year’s day 1843 at the residence of E. Van Pelt. The society being but few in number and those of limited means, it was only after a struggle of several years that the edifice was completed. It was dedicated in 1847 by Rev. Peter Akers, D.D. Many were now added to the church and it prospered with the years of its growth. In 1868 the society under the ministration of Rev. John W. Caldwell, determined to build a larger and more stately edifice, and on August 17, 1868, the corner stone of the new building, which was planned by William Embley, the well known architect of Jerseyville, was laid by Rev. B. F. Crary, D.D., assisted by Revs. Isaac N. Hill, Samuel Walker, E. A. Hoyt and J. W. Caldwell. The first mentioned of these assistants was the Baptist minister. This edifice was so far completed during the pastorate of Rev. W. H. Reed, that it was impressively dedicated to the service of the Divine King on Jan. 1, 1871. The services were conducted by Rev. Thomas Bowman, D.D., since bishop of the church, assisted by the following gentlemen: Rev. J. S. Morrison, presiding elder; Rev. Winfield S. Sly, of Kane; Rev. J. W. Van Cleve, of Otterville; Rev. J. F. Baker, pastor of the Secons Presbyterian church; Rev. A. F. Hutchinson, pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian church; Rev. Isaac N. Hill, pastor of the Baptist church; Rev. George I. King, D.D., pastor of the First Presbyterian church, and Rev. W. H. Reed, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church. Dr. Bowman preached a powerful sermon in the morning, and as there was a debt of $4,000 to be provided for, he asked for subscriptions to that amount, and received pledges for $4,047.50, of which amount $3,767.50 was afterwards paid. The trustees who presented the edifice to Dr. Bowman for dedication were: John F. Smith, Joseph G. Marston, C. M. Hamilton, Francis Osborn, John Christopher, Charles N. Adams and Charles Brooks. The church furniture was beautiful and appropriate. Dr. Caleb DuHadway presented the Bible and hymn book for the pulpit; David T. Bonnell, the chandeliers; Mrs. Sarah Holdridge and other ladies, and elegant communion set; the young ladies of the church, the cushioned chairs for the pulpit; and the carpets and pulpit by the ladies of the society.
The edifice is 42 x 72 in ground area, one story high, built of brick, with a slate roof, and is a fine specimen of the Gothic order of architecture. The ceiling inside is 20 feet high at the sides, and 28 feet at the apex. The brick work was done by Joseph Langliss and Lewis R. Myers; the carpenter work principally by N. F. Smith, Jr., the plastering by William J. Pittinger, and the painting and glazing by Wm. Hall and George Parent. The original cost of the building was about $12,000, but several additions, improvements, etc. make the property of considerable more value than that at the present time. The building committee consisted of William Embley, John E. VanPelt and Francis Osborn, but the first two were succeeded by Ezekiel Davison and Clarence M. Hamilton.
During the 32 years that have intervened between the time when this was made a station the following gentlemen have had spiritual charge of this congregation: Revs. S. H. Culver, 1852-53; A. L. Risley, 1853-54; J. W. Cladwell, 1854-55; C. J. Houts, 1855-57; J. W. Caldwell, 1857-58; H. B. Taylor, 1858-59; Dr. J. B. Corrington, 1859-61; Joseph Earp, 1861-62; Dr. John VanCleve, 1862-64; William Cliffe, 1864-66; J. W. Cladwell, 1866-69; W. H. Reed, 1869-71; John W. Phillips, 1871-73; F. L. Thompson, 1873-76; Daniel W. Phillips, 1876-79; J. W. VanCleve, 1879-80; Eugene May, 1880-82; C. E. Cline, 1882-83; and T. M. Van Treese, the present efficient pastor who was appointed to this charge at the conference at Belleville, Sept. 19, 1883, and who has served ever since. On Nov. 17, 1883 Mr. Van Freese commenced revival services, which many of his predecessors had done with excellent results, and this was the means of the conversion of over 200, and an addition of 110 to full membership of the church.
The present board of trustees consists of Francis Osborn, Francis M. Cowen, Charles N. Adams, William Hall, Thos. McReynolds, A. M. Slaten, and Clarence M. Hamilton. The board of stewards embraces J. N. English, Jr., Morris R. Locke, Henry Maxwell, Philip Paul, Thomas C. Kellar, and Thomas J. McReynolds. There is a fine Sabbath school in connection with the church, J. W. Phillips is now presiding elder.
M. E. Church, Fidelity Township
The class was formed in the fall of 1856 by Rev. G. W. Waggoner. There were original members as follows: Daniel Osborne and wife, Frank Beaty and wife, Henry Arnspiger and wife, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong and two others. They met in the old school house just east of the main north and south street. In the fall of 1858 the present church building was commenced, and finished and dedicated in the summer of 1859. Dr. John Van Cleve officiated at the dedication. Fidelity was on the Jerseyville circuit when the first organization was effected. The next year the Kane circuit was formed, to which it was attached. The following is a list of the preachers down to the present time: 1856-57, G. W. Waggoner; 1857-58, W. G. Moore; 1858-59, J. D. Gillham; 1859-60, L. Casey and J. W. Caldwell; 1860-61, D. H. Stubblefield; 1861-62, D. H. Stubblefield; 1862-64, I. W. Thombs; 1864-65, James Johnson; 1865-67, Samuel Walker; 1867-68, E. A. Hoyt; 1868-69, James P. Dew. In the fall of 1869 the work was divided and Fidelity was attached to Piasa, under the name of Fidelity and Piasa circuit. Since then the preachers here have been as follows: 1869-70, A. Bliss; 1870-72, R. S. Moore; 1872-73, D. B. Van Winkle; 1873-75, L. C. English; 1875-76, Wm. Wallace; 1876-78, N. E. Harmon; 1878-79, J. W. Caldwell; 1880-84, Lemuel Cramp; 1884-85, R. Z. Fahs. He is the present pastor. The church building is valued at $2,500. There are at present about 60 members, and the congregation is in a flourishing condition.
Shiloh M. E. Church, Otter Creek Township
This church was built in 1859, a man named Grubb being the contractor. It is 24 x 30 feet in dimensions, and was erected at an expense of $1,200. There is a membership of 30, and the interest manifested is fair. Rev. J. T. Hoffman is the pastor.
Meadow Branch Methodist Episcopal Church, Rosedale Township
This was at first a Protestant Methodist church, and services were held at the residences of various members. The first preacher was William Tipton. Among the first members of this church was J. L. Beirne, and it generally devolved upon him to secure a preacher for these meetings. The church was afterward changed to make it Methodist Episcopal, and the first preacher after the change was Rev. Leander Leggate. There were about 12 members, who finally met to devise a means for the erection of a house of worship. These efforts culminated in the erection of a church building, 26 x 30 feet in size, built of logs, the work being done by the people of the neighborhood, and everything requiring the expenditure of money being accompanied by raising donations. The work was superintended by Mr. Stubblefield. The building was erected in 1867. About 20 members are connected with the church.
Fieldon Methodist Episcopal Church
This body was organized in December 1884 by Rev. Huffman of Grafton. Among the first members were Mrs. Darby, Henry Rice and wife, Mrs. Frank Brown, Mrs. James Brown, Della Harmon, Lucy Briggs, Mrs. Lucy Depper, Mrs. Luella Cutler and Mrs. Allie Reddish. The officers of the congregation are Henry Rice, class leader; Mrs. Luella Cutler, collector. The preachers at present are Revs. Huffman and Cole. The former is from Grafton and the latter from Elsah. The present membership is about 15. The congregation has as yet no house of worship of its own, but services are held every two weeks in the Cumberland Presbyterian church.
Methodist Episcopal Church, Richwoods Township
A class was organized at the house of James Turner about the year 1839. Rev. McMurry was present at the meeting and effected the organization. This was the pioneer Methodist Episcopal organization in Richwoods township. The second class of this church in Richwoods township was organized at Fieldon in 1842 by Revs. Allen, C. D. James, Pinkard Heath and William Jerome. All of these early ministers of the gospel were identified with the progress of the church in Richwoods township and Jersey county. William Jerome, one of those mentioned, was quite a prominent man in his day. In the early days of the county he kept a store west of Kane, but in 1841 moved to Sec. 2, T6, R11, in what is now Elsah township. He had acquired considerable property before he left the county and moved to Madison county. He was married, the second time, to Mrs. Ezekiel Gillham.
Hopewell Methodist Church, Fidelity Township
The church building of this society was the first one erected in Fidelity township. Some of the first members were: James Cummings, Sabie Cummings, Maria Cummings, Jeremiah Bell, Mary Bell, Ann Chapman, Samuel C. Simmons, Richard J. Simmons, Sarah E. Simmons, Jeremiah Tyndall and wife. The first class leader was James Cummings. The old church was occupied solely by the Methodists until 1873, when they united with the Baptists, and erected a union church, of which a Mr. Gifford was the architect. Of the Baptist members, the older ones are Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett, Jefferson Carzine and wife, Revs. Watterman and Aaron Trabue.
Methodist Episcopal Church, Elsah
The Methodists have the only religious organization at Elsah. The society consists of 55 members, with the following officers: Richard Hansel and Mary Hansel, stewards; W. T. Onetto, William Rhodes, Sr., T. F. Hansel, J. Kisler and C. Beslerfeldt, trustees; T. F. Hansel, superintendent of Sabbath school. The parsonage was erected in 1859, during the labors of Rev. C. J. T. Tulle, at a cost of $1,304.96. It is constructed of brick, two stories high, and is 24 x 28 feet in size, occupying two lots fronting on Valley street. The church edifice was built during the pastorate of Rev. N. E. Harmon. It is 26 x 42 feet in size and was completed at a cost of about $2,000. The lots on which it stands were donated to the society by the Elsah Building and Manufacturing Company. The building, which was dedicated by Rev. George W. Hughey, Dec. 13, 1874, is entirely free from any indebtedness, as is also all the property of the church. Since the erection of the church the following have served as pastors: N. E. Harmon, H. Delicate, A. C. Greenlaw, G. W. Farmer, S. J. Harrington, L. Cramp, J. VanCleve, R. Z. Fahs, and L. E. Cole. Of these ministers H. Delicate died at Wanda in 1882; A. L. Greenlaw withdrew; Rev. Farmer died at the hospital for the insane at Anna, Ill., Aug. 24, 1884; Rev. Harrington died at Elsah in 1880; and the remainder are still preaching the gospel.
Bethel M. E. Church, Mississippi Township
This class was organized at the house of John D. Gillham in 1823 by Rev. Jacob Lurton, Sr., the pioneer preacher. Among the original members were: John D. Gillham and wife, Ezekiel Gillham and wife, Mrs. Jane Gillham, her two daughters, Sarah and Margaret, Thomas G. Lofton and William G. Waddle. Rev. Jacob Lurton, Sr. was pastor of the church at that time, and continued to serve in that capacity until his death. Services were held in private houses, and such other places as were convenient, until about the year 1835, when a frame structure, 20 x 36 feet in size, was erected on the southwest quarter of section 27. It outlived its usefulness as a house of worship and was afterward used as a barn by George Briggs. The present church edifice was built near the site of the old one in 1873. It is a frame structure, 30 x 40 feet in ground area. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. Joseph Earp. The first pastor in this church was Rev. Washington Waggoner. The class then contained, among others, the following members: John Buckles, Marcus Gillham, Geo. Briggs, Samuel Darlington, Messrs. Blyler and McAdams, and Fletcher Gillham. The pastor at the present time is Rev. L. E. Cole. The trustees are: Wm. Onetto, John Buckles, and J. K. Cadwalader. Previous to the war this was one of the largest and most prosperous church organizations in the county, but at present the congregation is quite small. Services are held in the church on every second Sunday.
German Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jerseyville
This church was organized in 1870, and in that year the society purchased for $300 the house of worship of the German Methodist congregation. The edifice was erected in 1856. It is 24 x 36 feet in ground area, and has a 14 foot ceiling. It is of frame construction. Among the first members were: Adolph Bayer, Charles Rutter, Henry Bayer, Henry F. Bayer, William Egelhoff, Conrad Borger, V. Vellinger, Henry A. Brandt, Charles Jacobs, Jacob Gummerdinger, Paul Glohr, John Boon, Jacob Fryer, Louisa Grosseau and Wm. Dopper. The pastors up to the present time have been: Anton Michael, ___ Weissinger, Fred Eshenfeld, Fred Schmale, and Edward Wurst. The present officers are: Conrad Borger, president; Charles Rutter, treasurer; Charles Neumeyer, clerk; Christian Harms, vice-president; Henry Brandt, clerk; John Boon, treasurer. The membership at present numbers about 20. Rev. Carl Lengtat is the present pastor.
German Lutheran Church, Fieldon
This church assumed organization in Dec. 1867. The first officers were: August Berger, president; George Arkebauer, secretary; Henry Brockmeyer, treasurer. The first minister was Rev. Charles Muentor. The society has as yet no house of worship of its own construction, though a movement has been under way which will probably result in the erection of a church building in the near future. They purchased the Wyne property, and have held services there up to the present time. There are now 53 members. The present officers are: H. Groppel, president; George Arkebauer, secretary; Henry Brockmeyer, treasurer. Rev. Herman Taeger is at present administering to the spiritual welfare of the congregation.
Catholic Church of Jerseyville
The first service ever held by the Catholics in Jerseyville, and probably in Jersey county, was at the house of Mr. William Shephard, in the fall of 1841, Rev. Father Hamilton, of the Upper Alton parish officiating. After that time Father Carroll of Alton occasionally visited here and held services in various private houses, and in the court house. In 1848 or 1849, Wm. Shephard, F. Bertman, William Kelley, and a few others, purchased from J. A. and J. C. Barr, a lot of ground on which to erect a church, but it was not until 1857 that the building of a small frame church was commenced, and in the latter part of July 1858, although it was not completed, it was dedicated by Right Rev. H. D. Juncker, bishop of Alton. Father Margum was the first priest stationed permanently here. He began his labors in August 1858, and remained until April 1860, during which time he had the church plastered and seated. He was succeeded by Father Morrill, who remained until Feb. 1, 1861. His successor was Father Laurent, who, during his ministry, had the comfortable and convenient parsonage built, and secured ground for the Catholic cemetery. Father Laurent remained until Feb. 1865, when Father Hovin was appointed in his stead, and was succeeded by Father Sullivan in Dec. 1860, who remained pastor until 1868. During Father Sullivan’s ministry the foundation of the new church was commenced, as the old frame church, which had been used for the past ten years, was found too small, and was moved to another part of the city, where it was used by the society for church purposes and a day school. The corner stone of the stately and commodious edifice was laid in May 1868, with appropriate ceremonies, by Bishop Juncker of Alton diocese. The building was pushed very rapidly forward, and was dedicated on July 4, 1871. The structure was planned by William Embley, of Jerseyville, who is one of the most successful architects in this region, and will stand as a monument to his skill and ability for many years. The main body of the church is 55 x 110 feet in dimensions, and is built in the early English style. The body of the edifice is built of brick, 800,000 being required inits construction. The stone trimmings are from the celebrated Grafton quarries. The extreme height of the tower from the pavement is 140 feet, and it occupies the center of the main front, and in the lower are stairs leading to the gallery and choir. In the rear of the main audience room stands the high altar, in a semi-circular chancel, on either side of which, and facing each of the side aisles, are the small altars. Between the high altar and the small ones, and in the chancel, are the doors leading to the sacristy where the confessionals are placed. The church was sittings on the main floor for 800 persons, and 250 in the gallery. The roof is constructed of wood, and is self-supporting, vaulted in the center and level ceilings on each side, and is divided into bays by ornamental arches springing from elaborate brackets. The vault is groined with moulded ribs from each bracket and the intersections covered with ornamental bosses. The height of the ceiling in the center of the nave is 43 feet, and over the aisles, 25 feet high. The interior of the doors and windows have moulded labels over them, terminated by ornamental drops.
Masons from Alton did the brick work, Nichol T. Smith, Jr., the carpenter work, and Coddington & Erwin the plastering, all of which is done in the best workmanlike manner, and when entirely completed cost about $25,000. The edifice is situated on South State street, on as commanding and elevated a position as St. Paul’s church on Broadway in New York, and can be seen for miles around. Rev. Father Harty succeeded Father Sullivan in December 1868. Since he has had charge of the society, the German Catholics withdrew and formed a separate church, but the congregation has not decreased any from the original number, owing to the new members received into the church. The church is entirely out of debt.
Previous to 1839, Thomas Carroll, Mrs. Mary A. Cummings, and the Carrolls who resided at Otter Creek, were the only Catholics in this county. The number was increased that year by Wm. Shephard, James Flannigan, and William Kelley, the latter being the first person ever married in the county by a priest, which occurred in 1839, Father Hamilton officiating. Up to 1840 there was neither a church nor a priest between Alton and Terre Haute, Ind., and a Catholic was not heard of at Carlinville, Hillsboro, Bunker Hill, Vandalia, Paris, Charleston, and other points where they now have large churches and flourishing societies. Before many years another diocese will have to be formed.
The Rev. James Harty was born in Waterford county, Ireland, in December 1836. He received his classical education at Mount Mellery, and went through his theological course at All Hallows’ College in the city of Dublin. He emigrated to this country in October 1862, and was ordained in the city of Alton, Ill., Dec. 4, 1863. His first pastoral labors were in the Alton cathedral, where he remained until Aug. 15, 1868, when he came to Jerseyville, where he still remains. His labors as pastor of St. Francis’ church have been arduous, and valuable to his charge. The erection of their fine church edifice is the result of the pastor’s energy and the munificent donations of its membership. Father Harty is a gentleman of literary culture, and is among the well-read theologians of the church to which he is attached.
St. Michael Catholic Church, Elsah Township
The edifice of this denomination is situated on a high nob, on the southeast quarter of section 14. It is a frame structure 30 x 60 feet in dimensions, and was erected in 1877, at a cost of $2,000, being furnished at an additional cost of about $300. In addition to one acre of ground used as a church lot, there is a cemetery of two acres located near the church. The dedicatory services of the church occurred in March 1878, and were conducted by Father Peters of Alton. Rev. Father A. Marks is the present pastor of the church.
Catholic Church at Grafton
The first services of the Catholic church were held at the house of Sarah Dempsey, by Father Manyan in 1857. The next priest was Father Carroll, who held services in the school house. Following Father Carroll was Bishop Juncker, who held meetings in the Methodist church building. Then came Father Sullivan and Father Laurant, successively, who secured a room over the store of John Slaten, in which to hold services. The next priest was Rev. Father Harty of Jerseyville, who held meetings in the school house and private residences of the place. The first priest to be stationed here was Father Burke, who conducted services in the Quarry hall until the present church building was erected in 1871, and continued here about 14 months. He was succeeded by Father McGonin, who remained but four months, giving way to Father Chinsick, who was succeeded eight months later by Fathers Rhine, Dateman and Rosenmiller, the latter remaining some five or six years, and was the last regular priest of the church. Services are now held once a month by Father Marks of Jerseyville. The church building is constructed of stone, 45 x 65 feet in ground area, and is well furnished throughout.
German Catholic Church, Jerseyville
On June 11, 1883, the Very Rev. Father Janssen, vicar-general of the diocese of Alton, Ill., called a meeting of the German Catholics of Jerseyville and vicinity, in that city, for the purpose of organizing a congregation of that denomination and nationality. Many attended and a subscription list was initiated for the express purpose of raising funds to erect a church edifice. In the meantime the Second Presbyterian church building, on the corner of Spruce and Washington streets, was offered for sale, and at a second meeting, held a few weeks later, it was decided that it was more advisable to buy the building instead of erecting a new one. In the autumn of 1883 this was carried into execution, and the purchase made of the trustees of the Presbyterian church for $2,150. On obtaining possession, the building underwent a large amount of alteration, and was decorated within in excellent taste, under the personal direction and supervision of the Very Rev. Father Janssen, and on Thanksgiving day of that same year, the church was dedicated by the Right Rev. P. J. Baltes, bishop of Alton, and the first mass celebrated. The same day the congregation was organized with Rev. F. A. Marks as pastor, Henry Scheffer and Charles Schmeider, trustees. In this building they continued to worship until the destruction of the structure by fire on the night of Sept. 19, 1884. The loss by this was not less than $5,000, including decorations, furniture, etc. Scarcely were the ashes cold before a new subscription list opened, which was liberally responded to by the whole community. In the spring of 1885, the debris of the burnt building was cleared away and work commenced on the erection of the new building. This is of brick, 65 x 39 feet in ground area, built in the Gothic style, and is an ornament to the city. The cost of the edifice is not far from $6,500. The congregation consists of about 150 people, all under the ministration of Rev. Father Marks.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, English Township
The first services of this congregation were held at the residence of Mr. Heitzig. The first priest remembered to have presided over the spiritual welfare of the flock was Father Temmel. The earliest baptism was that of a child named William Sauer. The present trustees are Stephen Funke and Joseph Kallal. There are about 30 families connected with the church. The church edifice is a neat, substantial building, which is located near the west line of the northeast quarter of Sec. 30. Father Frank J. Reinhart is the present pastor. He resides near the church.