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Jersey County Page     Jerseyville History

Cooper’s History of Jerseyville, pp. 28 – 40

Churches of Jerseyville, Illinois

Rev. Marshall M. Cooper, History of Jerseyville, Illinois 1822 to 1901, Jerseyville Republican Print, 1901, pp. 28-40. Not a complete transcription, there will be errors, typos.

First Presbyterian Church of Jerseyville

     The First Presbyterian Church of Jerseyville was organized in a log cabin, which stood on the spot where now stands the C.P. & St.L.R.R. Depot, in the house of N. L. Adams, near Hickory Grove, February 15, 1834, just 67 years ago. It was organized by two Presbyterian pioneer preachers, the Rev. Thomas Lippincott and Rev. Elisha Jenney, then a state supply of the Presbyterian church at Alton, Ill.
     According to the rules of their church, a sermon was preached by Rev. Lippincott, after which ceremony of organization was conducted. Three ruling elders were ordained and installed, who were the first elders of the church, viz: Alexander H. Burrett, James Lumsden and M. N. Bosworth. There were eighteen original members. No record is given of these eighteen members, but the names of fourteen are given by Dr. Norton in his history of Presbyterianism in Illinois, as follows: James Lumsden, Ruben Page, Mrs. Elizabeth Page, Joseph Gerrish, Mrs. Elizabeth Gerrish, Mrs. Miriam Turner, (Capt. Cooper’s first wife), Dr. Alexander Burritt, Mrs. Nancy Burritt, M. N. Bosworth and wife, John Anderson and wife, Matilda McGill and Miss Sophonia Adams.
     For two years or more the church was without a pastor and house of worship, but worshiped in a school house which stood on the lot now occupied by Capt. John Smith, and for six months in Mr. Keith’s cabinet shop.
     In October 1837, Rev. Amos P. Brown became the first stated supply of this church until 1838. In 1836, the first steps were taken to build a house of worship. In 1838-39, the frame of the building was put up, but $700, the amount necessary to build, could not be raised. The building, which stood where the present house of worship stands, was dedicated October 14, 1841. It was 40 x 48 feet in size, and cost $2,600. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Theron Baldwin.
     In September 1838, Rev. Joseph Fowler began his labors here, and in April 4, 1839, was ordained here by the Presbytery of Alton. Being an aspiring young man, he resigned September 1840, and went to Ohio. He died September 6, 1857.
     Immediately on the retirement of Mr. Fowler, Rev. Luke Lyons was invited to the pastorate. He entered upon his labors November 1840, and was installed pastor December 26, 1843. Mr. Lyons labored here until his death, which occurred January 11, 1845.
     After his death the church was shepherdless for over a year, when Rev. George C. Wood took charge March 1, 1846. On April 20, 1850, he resigned. In October 1850, Rev. Lemuel Grosvenor began his labors as pastor, resigning in July 1855.
     December 1855, Rev. Joseph S. Edwards became pastor. Mr. Edwards resigned his pastorate December 1858. During his ministry the present parsonage was bought at a cost of $2,400. He died in Cleveland, Ohio, October 17, 1876.
     Rev. Charles H. Foote succeeded him in Dec. 1, 1858, and was installed in April 15, 1860. He resigned Feb. 17, 1867. He died in Michigan, June 28, 1880.
     April 7, 1867, Rev. Wm. W. Williams was invited, but resigned September following. He was succeeded by Rev. George L. King, D.D., who, on account of failing health, resigned in 1872, and died March 12, 1873.
     After Dr. King, Rev. James W. Stark entered upon his duties as stated supply, November 1873. He remained here for ten years, resigning in January 1883.
     On the January 18, 1880, the rotary system of eldership was adopted, and W. S. Ross was elected to the eldership, term to expire in January 1881; B. C. Vandervoort, term to expire in January 1882, and Dr. A. A. Barnett, term to expire in January 1883.
     The corner stone of the new house of worship was laid August 12, 1882, and on August 23, 1883, the present beautiful stone structure was dedicated.
     In June 1883, Rev. Ira C. Tyson, D.D., was called to the pastorate, and on September 25, 1883, was installed pastor. Dr. Tyson remained as pastor thirteen years, resigning Nov. 1896.
     Rev. Wm. H. Kearns succeeded him, preaching his first pastoral sermon March 7, 1897, from Isa 4:8. Rev. Kearns was installed pastor in Wednesday evening April 21, 1897, Rev. M. M. Cooper presiding, and propounding the constitutional questions. Mr. Kearns remained as pastor from March 7, 1897, to December 30, 1900, when, on the last named date, he preached in the morning, and conducted a farewell communion service. In the evening the other Protestant churches, with their pastors, united in hearing Rev. Kearn’s farewell sermon. A crowded house and a solemn service. All the other pastors gave short addresses. Rev. Kearn’s test was in Acts 20-27: “I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole council of God.”
     This church extended a unanimous call to Rev. John G. Klene, of St. Louis, who began his labors Sunday, April 7, 1901. His first text was I Peter, 5:2,3. He was installed Wednesday, May 1, 1901. Rev. John A. Gallaher, moderator of Presbytery, presided and propounded the constitutional questions. Rev. F. L. Ferguson, D.D., preached the sermon, Rev, Grafton, of Virden, read the Scriptures, Rev. M. M. Cooper offered prayer; Rev. Wm. Parsons, of Sparta, charged the pastor; Rev. T. B. Greenlee, of Carrollton, charged the people. Benediction by the pastor. A very interesting service. A prosperous Sunday school, well attended prayer meeting, woman’s missionary society, – all in a healthy and prosperous condition. Present membership is 340.

M. E. Church of Jerseyville

     Except by occasional itinerant preachers, there was no regular preaching by this denomination until in 1837, when Rev. J. B. Wollard and Rev. William Gannaway became preachers in charge of the Jerseyville circuit. In the year 1838, Alton District of Illinois Conference sent Rev. George W. Robbins and Rev. William Meldrum to this circuit. In an upper chamber of the home of Josiah Mulkins, on the southeast corner of State and Pearl streets, in July 1839, a class was organized, from which has grown the present Methodist Episcopal church of Jerseyville. The class consisted of the seven following persons: Samuel Pittman, Richard Johnson, Josiah Mulkins, Hanna Hankins, E. VanPelt and Sarah Van Pelt. Samuel Pittman was the first class leader. At this time Jerseyville was included in the Grafton circuit, and Rev. Norman Allya and Rev. N. P. Heath were the first regular preachers this church ever had after organization. At this time the honored Peter Cartwright was presiding elder, this being included in the Jacksonville district.
     Among the circuit riders appointed to this work were Rev. W. S. McMurray, in 1840; James H. Dickens and Joseph Kelly, 1841; Lewis Anderson and S. H. Shaw, 1842; C. D. James and J. P. Sebastin, 1843; C. D. James and Chas. Holliday, 1844. In 1845 this was made Jerseyville circuit, and the following preachers were sent: Revs. James Leaton and L. C. Pitner; Rev. John Mathers and Joseph Lane, in 1846; Revs. Elijah Corrington and T. N. McCorckle, 1847; Revs. T. W. Johnes and J. H. Dodson, 1849; Revs. C. W. Lewis and John Sappington, 1850; Revs. S. H. Culver and Z. R. Piercy, 1851. In 1852 Jerseyville was made a station and included in the Alton district.
     The first church edifice erected was from 1843 to 1847. It was a frame building 34×40 feet, and cost $900. The lot on which it stood was on the corner of Liberty and Exchange streets, 100×110 feet, and was a gift of Maj. Gershom Patterson. The church was dedicated by Rev. Peter Akers, D.D., in 1847. In these days revivals were common and many turned unto the Lord. (Very different these days.)
     On the August 17, 1868, the corner stone of the new building was laid by Rev. B. F. Crary, D.D., assisted by Revs. I. N. Hills, Samuel Walker, E. A. Hoyt and J. W. Coldwell. It was dedicated January 1, 1871. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Bishop Thomas Bowman, D.D., assisted by all the pastors of Jerseyville, with many others.
     The trustees who presented the church to Bishop Bowman were: John F. Smith, Joseph G. Marston, C. M. Hamilton, Francis Osborne, John Christopher, Chas. N. Adams, and Charles Brooks. The edifice is 42×72 feet on ground area and cost $12,000. The building committee consisted of Wm. Embley, J. E. Van Pelt and Francis Osborne. The first two were succeeded by Ezekiel Davison adn Clarence Hamilton.
     During the thirty-two years intervening between the organization into a class, July 1839, to the year of dedication, 1871, the following preachers served this church, vis, Revs: S. H. Culver, 1852-53; A. S. Risley, ’53-54; J. W. Coldwell, ’54-55; O. F. Houts, ’55-57; J. W. Coldwell, ’57-58; H. B. Taylor, ’58-59; Dr. J. B. Corrington, ’59-61; Joseph Earp, ’61-62; Dr. Van Cleve, ’62-64; Wm. Cliff, ’64-66; J. W. Coldwell, ’66-69; W. H. Reed, ’69-71; J. W. Phillips, ’71-73; F. L. Thompson, ’73-76; D. W. Phillips, ’76-79; J. W. Van Cleve, ’79-80; Eugene May, ’80-82′ C. E. Cline, ’82-83; F. M. VanTreese, ’83-85; J. A. Scarritt, ’86-87; John Leeper, ’88-90; J. Earp, ’91-92; N. Crow, ’93-95; C. Nash, ’96-97′ G. W. Shepherd, ’97-98; C. Nash, ’99; C. B. Best, 1900, and remains the present pastor.
     The church has about 300 members. It supports a good Sunday school, with J. W. Becker as its present superintendent; twenty teachers and an enrollment of 275.

Baptist Church

     The Jerseyville Baptist church was organized in an old school house which stood in the western end of the lot now owned by Capt. John Smith, corner of Spruce and Jefferson streets, September 5, 1841. It held meetings there for but a short time, after which they were held in the old court house which stood where the present court house now stands, until in 1850, when, the then new Baptist church was completed. This house of worship stood then, and now, at the southeast corner from the court house, at the corner of Washington and Pearl streets. It was dedicated July 23, 1850. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Wm. F. Boyakin. Rev. Jestus Buckley was pastor. The second house of worship was dedicated in June 1864, fourteen years after the first house was dedicated. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Jestus Buckley, D.D., L.L.D.
     The second house was remodeled and rededicated April 26, 1882; sermon by Rev. W. W. Boyd, D.D. The first cost of the second house was $14,188.93. The remodeling cost $13,063.44. The present youse of worship as it now stands cost, at both dedications, $27,252.37.
     The following were its charter members: Richard Graham, Martha M. Graham, Jonathan E. Cooper, Myriam F. Cooper, George Wharton, Jane Wharton, Mary Riggs, Maria Hill, Lucy A. Tunstill, Elizabeth Sunderland, Mary C. Hill, Maria E. Hill, Juliet A. Hill, Martin L. Hill, Mary Sunderland, Charles N. Adams, Jacob K. Stelle, James Giverson, James C. Graham, John M. Hutchinson, Rebecca Hutchinson, Harriette Hansell, Emily H. Johnson, Rachael Hutchinson, Richard Olmstead, Adam Utt, Priscilla Utt, Henry Johnson, Richard I. Ely, William Reaves – 30 in all. Two of the above named are still living; one remains in our midst.
     During the past 60 years, almost, this church has had 16 pastors, four years being the average pastorate, including the present pastor. The following were its pastors: Elijah Dodson from Sept. 5, 1841 to Dec. 20, 1845; Elihu J. Palmer, from 1845 to 1846; Joel Terry, from July 25, 1846 to Aug. 1847; Wm. F. Boyakin, from Sept. 4, 1847 to Nov. 1848; Jestus Buckley, from April 4, 1849 to October 1853; David P. French, from Dec. 18, 1853 to July 31, 1861; L. C. Carr, from Aug 1861 to November 1864; J. N. Hill, from May 1865 to October 1871; P. P. Perry, from March 1872 to May 1874; C. R. Lathrop, from May 1875 to August 1876; C. E. Taylor, from October 1876 to November 1881; D. Heagle, from April 1882 to May 1884; C. H. Moscript, from July 1884 to October 1886; W. H. H. Avery, from February 1887 to September 1891; J. J. Porter, from January 1892 to Sept. 1899; J. A. Ford, from Jan. 1900 (the present pastor.)
     Its first Sunday School superintendent was Orrin Chaffee, elected September 1851. Its present superintendent is John Christy. The school is in a prosperous condition, with about 200 members, and 20 teachers.
     Its first deacons were Richard Graham and Jonathan E. Cooper, who remained in office 54 years, to his death, which occurred October 25, 1895. Its present deacons are George Head, Robert Newton, Alex. Pitt, Joseph W. Sunderland, Benjamin Foster, John Christy, and George H. Woodruf, Jr. Its present membership is 683.

Church of the Holy Ghost

     On June 11, 1883, the Very Rev. Father Janssen, Vicar General of the Diocese of Alton, called a meeting of the German Catholics of Jerseyville and vicinity, for the purpose of organizing a congregation of that denomination and nationality. After consultation it was decided to raise a subscription for the purpose of building a house of worship. About that time the Second Presbyterian church building was offered for sale, situated on the corner of Spruce and Washington streets. At a second meeting held a few weeks later it was decided to buy that building, rather than erect a new one.
     In the fall of 1883, the bought of the trustees of the Second Presbyterian church, their house of worship for $2,150. After obtaining possession, and decorating, and altering the inside, upon Thanksgiving day, the same year, by the Right Rev. P. J. Baltes, bishop of Alton, it was dedicated to the worship of God, and celebrated first mass in it. The same day the congregation was organized with Rev. F. A. Marks, as pastor, Henry Scheffer and Charles Schmeider, trustees. On the night of Sept. 19, 1884, this house of worship was destroyed by fire, the loss of which was not less than $5,000 to the congregation.
     A subscription for a new church was at once put into circulation, which found liberal response from the church and community.
     In the spring of 1885 the erection of a new building began, and in due time a new edifice of Gothic style, at the cost of $6,500 was dedicated.
     In 1896, this church bought the church building formerly occupied by the German Evangelical Lutheran Church, and moved it just north of where now stands the church of the Holy Ghost, and fitted it, and seated it for a parochial school.
     The school opened Monday, Sept. 1, 1896, with 40 scholars, and Mr. Edward Hoheiset of St. Louis, teacher. He taught here for three years. After him the sisters of St. Francis, Milwaukee, Wis., took charge, and have continued since. Pupils number at present about 45.
     In January 1899, the church bought the residence just North of the church, called the Hays property, for a parsonage. The church at present numbers about 60 families.

Church of St. Francis Xavier

     The first Catholic service ever held in Jerseyville, and perhaps the county, was at the home of Mr. William Shephard in the fall of 1841, Rev. Father Hamilton officiating. Previous to 1839, Thomas Carroll, Mrs. Mary Cummings, and the Carroll family who resided at Otter Creek were the only Catholic families in this county. The number was increased that year by the arrival of Wm. Shephard, James Flannigan and Wm. Kelly, the latter being the first man ever married by a priest in Jersey county, which occurred in 1839, Father Hamilton officiating.
     After Father Hamilton, Father Carroll, of Alton, occasionally visited Jerseyville and held services in private houses and in the court house.
     In 1848-49, Wm. Shephard, Fred Bertman and William Kelly purchased from J. A. & J. C. Barr a lot of ground upon 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, was dedicated by Right Rev. H. D. Juncker, Bishop of Alton. Father Mangan was the first priest permanently located in Jerseyville, which was in Aug. 1858, and remained here until April 1860. He was succeeded by Father Morrill, who remained until February 1, 1861.
     His successor was Father Laurent. During his ministry of five years he had the comfortable and commodious parsonage built, and purchased ground for the cemetery. Father Laurent remained until February 1865, when he was succeeded by Father Hovin, who was succeeded by Father Sullivan. During his ministry the foundation of the new church was commenced, and the old frame church, which had been used for the past ten years, was found too small, and removed to another part of the city, where it is used by the society for church purposes and a day school.
     The corner stone of the present splendid edifice was laid in May 1868, with appropriate ceremonies by Bishop Juncker of the Alton diocese. This building was dedicated July 4, 1871. The main body of the church is 55×110 feet, and is built in the early English style. The height of the town from the pavement is 140 feet. It has the most imposing location of any building in the city. It seems to be standing in the middle of the four principal thoroughfares coming into the city from the four points of the compass. The church has a seating capacity of 800 on the main floor, and 250 in the gallery, making a seating capacity of 1,050 persons. The structure was planned by Wm. Embly, of this city, and erected in the best workmanship manner, at the cost of $25,000.
     Rev. Father Harty succeeded Father Sullivan in Dec. 1868, and remained here about thirty-two years, until his death, which occurred July 19, 1899. Rev. Father Fallon succeeded Father Harty, taking charge August 1, 1899, and remains with us to this day.

Episcopal Church of Jerseyville

     In April 1868, the Rev. C. S. Abbott, then rector of St. Paul’s church, Alton, Ill., occasionally held services in Jerseyville, during which services, there were seventeen persons baptized, and five confirmed. Rev. D. W. Dresser also made occasional visits.
     The membership of this church was composed of Mary A. Davenport, Ann Landon, Cecilia K. Gibson, Elizabeth F. VanHorne, Alice L. Titus, Francis A. Knapp, Allen Marchall, Cornelia Cockrell and Elizabeth Coddington, all of whom were communicants before Jan. 1, 1869.
     In May 1869, the Rev. George Gibson was commissioned missionary for Jerseyville and Carrollton, and there labored for two years. The Rev. H. G. Perry shortly followed and served for about two years. From this time, for about 10 years to 1879 services were almost entirely discontinued.
     In Feb. 22, 1879, Right Rev. G. F. Seymour, D.D., L.L.D., appointed Rev. G. W. G. Vanwinkle from New York City, to take charge of this work in Jerseyville and Carrollton, which he did. 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 officer, 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.
     On May 6, 1879, the Bishop signed a certificate signifying his consent and approval and making the appointments of the officers according to the laws of the church.
     Immediately after this action, steps were taken towards the erection of a house of worship, which soon resulted in the cash purchase of land enough on which to build a church edifice and rectory, which the congregation hoped soon to erect.
     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. VanWinkle. On July 22, 1880, with appropriate ceremonies the corned stone of the new edifice was laid. There now stands a neatly constructed brick edifice, beautifully located on East Pearl St., at the cost of $4,500.
     For the erection of this church building, much credit is due to Dr. E. L. H. Barry, for the skill, and devotion he had in the cause of its erection. June 2, 1881 this new church building was dedicated with appropriate services conducted by Rev. G. P. Betts, of the Trinity church, St. Louis, the Rev. T. W. Haskins, Alton, Ill. and Rev. Wm. Elener, of Jacksonville, assisting. Among the Rectors Rev. Wm. T. Witmarsh, Rev. Mr. Harrison. Rev. F. W. Cornell gave services through 1896; Rev. E. D. Irvine came in March 1897; Rev. H. A. Stowell came in March 1901.

German Evangelical Church of Peace

     This church was organized in 1870, with the following officers: Charles Jacobs, president; William Dopper, vice-president; Henry Brandt, secretary; John Boon, treasurer.
     Its charter members were: Adolph Bayer, Chas. Ruetter, Henry Bayer, Henry F. Bayer, Wm. Egelhoff, Conrad Bayer, V. Vellinger, Henry A. Brandt, Chas. Jacobs, Jacob Gammindinger, Paul Glohr, John Boon, Jacob Fryger, Louis Grosseau and Wm. Dopper.
     The following have been pastors: Revs. Anton Michael, Weissinger, Fred Eshenfeld, Rieder, Fred Schmale, Edward Wurst, Nathaniel Lehman, E. Durand, O. Breuhaus, A. B. Ballhorn, and A. Hils, who was the last pastor. Rev. A. Hils began his labors with this church October 1, 1898, and was installed Nov. 13, 1898, by Pastor Wm. Hackman of Alton, Illinois. The corner stone of the present house of worship was laid Sept. 27, 1896. The resident pastors of the evangelical churches of Jerseyville were present and assisted in the ceremonies, vis: Rev. I. C. Tyson, of the Presbyterian church; Rev. J. J. Porter, of the Baptist church; and C. Nash of the M. E. church.
     The present house of worship was dedicated March 14, 1897. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. A. Ballhorn, assisted by Rev. Reusch of Brighton, Ill.; Rev. Fred Schmale of Nashville, Ill.; and Rev. W. Hackman of Alton, Ill. Cost of the present house of worship was $3,500.
     The present officers are: C. C. Borger, president; John Schneider, vice-president; Wm. Brockman, secretary; and Fred Schmidt, treasurer. At present the church is without a pastor.

Colored Baptist Church

     The church was organized in 1858, by Elder James H. Johnson. The first officers were: P. S. Brayden, W. M. Phillips, and Samuel Evans, trustees; with P. S. Braden, clerk, and W. M. Phillips, treasurer.
     Among the charter members were: Cynthia Brown, Henrietta Johnson, John Barton, America Barton, W. M. Phillips and Samuel Evans. They held their meetings for some three years in private residences, but about the year 1860, the present church building was erected. It is a brick structure, 30×50 feet, and cost $1,500.
     The pastors of this church have been: Revs. J. H. Johnson, Jackson Robinson, G. M. Davis, L. A. Coleman, J. W. Jones, S. P. Griswell, Banjamin Williams, J. E. Jackson, and A. W. Collins. Have no pastor at this writing, 1901.
     The present deacons are William Swann and John Matthew, and Miss Celia Evans, clerk. Membership is 30.

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