j unior warden ; William Dougherty, clerk ; Harry Werle, financial secretary ;
Capt. A. H. Hershey, Frank Bowman, J. A. Kilgour, William Martell, A.
M. Clapp, N. Gaulrapp. There are 121 communicants, 64 scholars in the
Sunday school, of which Mr. Weary is superintendent. Mr. Weary came to
Grace church in the spring of 1905.
THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL.
I love thy church, O God!
Her walls before thee stand. Timothy Dwight.
Dr. Dwight has a good many followers who love the old church, and
carry their preference to their homes in the West. A feeble folk in Sterling
in 1857. Ten persons met April 17, at the Boynton House to consult: L.
B. Wetherbee, A. McMoore, M. H. Hinsdale, William McKinney, Francis
Macey, Joel S. Wilcox, David and Abel Holbrook, Joshua McKinney, Nathan
Williams. On June 21, the church was formally organized with thirty mem-
bers. Commercial Hall was used that winter, and in May, 1859, a room on
second floor of Central block was engaged. Various supplies until Rev. U.
W. Small was installed Sept. 22, 1859. His wife was Miss Gillman, a teacher
imbued with the spirit of her alma mater, Mt. Holyoke and Mary Lyon. A
lot was bought on Second avenue, between Third and Fourth streets, and a
frame church was erected in 1864, which was enlarged in 1870. But a mod-
ern structure was found to be necessary, and on April 24, 1898, was dedicated
the present magnificent temple with its stately tower. Organ, furniture, glass,
362 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY
all the equipments in the highest style of art. Prof. Samuel Ives Curti-s,
D. D., preached the sermon in the morning, and in the evening, Rev. Martin
Post, former pastor, spoke the message. The best musicians of the city
rendered selections from the great composers of sacred song.
The special exercises continued really four days, beginning with an
organ and vocal concert on Friday, and closing with a social evening on Tues-
day. At the fellowship service, addresses were made by Rev. Emanuel Brown,
Lutheran, Rev. William Carter, Presbyterian; Rev. J. A. Matlack, Methodist;
Rev. W. B. Morris, Baptist; Rev. Silas Jones, Christian, and Rev. B. R.
The next striking event was the jubilee from June 16 to June 21, 1907,
to commemorate fifty years of development, 1857-1907. On Sunday the ser-
mon was by Rev. Martin Post, the scripture lesson by Dr. Boardman, and the
prayer by Rev. E. W. Clarke, all former pastors. On Sunday evening a
fellowship service with the Rock Falls church, and a paper by C. A. Wetherbee
on the history of the church. On Friday afternoon, there were greetings
by the Sterling pastors, and in the evening talks by early ministers of the
society. Of the twelve members who met in 1857 in the Second ward
school to consider organization, Mr. and Mrs. John Harpham are still in regu-
lar attendance. The oldest and most prominent of the original group was
Joshua McKinney, who died in 1907. Among the later members, no one
has taken a more active part in the affairs of the church, and, indeed, in every
good enterprise, than J. K. Chester. Much of the musical prestige of this
church is due to the skill and perseverance of Miss Ella Richards, who for a
long time has had the direction of the choir. Frequent recitals are a favorite
feature, as well as vesper services.
Of all the former pastors, Martin Post left the deepest impress upon the
congregation from his long residence and earnest spirit. In a letter written
at Atlantic City, January, 1894, he says in giving his resignation: "Next
April will complete 28 years since I first saw Sterling, Deacon McKinney and
a few others, and with the return of June it will be ten years since I began
my second pastorate. Our relations have always been delightful. You re-
ceived me with all my weaknesses and deficiencies, and I have sought to give
you my best. To me and my family, your sympathy has been unfailing,
and now, though the pastoral bond be sundered, the one bond, most precious
of all, our common love of the Savior, will never be sundered."
, Rev. Theodore Growl, D. D., has ministered to the large and intelligent
congregation of five hundred members since 1894. Both he and his excel-
lent family occupy a prominent place in the social life of the community.
J. K. Chester is superintendent of the Sunday school of 320 scholars. Of the
six deacons, J. K. Chester, Dr. Gordon, W. W. Haskell, Prof. Axistin, C. A.
Wetherbee. S. P. Giddings is the dean.
ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Saints below with heart and voice,
Still in songs of praise rejoice.
HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY 3J3
The Catholics in Sterling at an early day were obliged, like the other
societies, to meet for worship in the courthouse. Sol Seely recalls the wonder
with which the natives gazed at the imposing ceremonies of the ancient
church as conducted by a visiting priest. The first services were by a French
priest from Iowa. About 1853 organization was effected, and services were
held regularly thenceforth. In June, 1883, Rev. John Daly became first
resident pastor, and the first child whose baptism is recorded in the register
was Dominic Eagou. He was followed in May, 1876, by Rev. M. J. Byrne.
May, 1878, came Rev. C. J. O'Callaghan; February, 1889, Rev. Thos. Quig-
ley; March. 1889, Rev. P. McMahon; May, 1892, Rev. R. H. McGuire, and
in October, 1893, Rev. J. J. Bennett, who has remained ever since.
The congregation has had its struggles and changes. The first church
was erected of brick in 18'38 on the corner of Second avenue and Fifth
street, and was transferred in time to the Christian church, which now meets
there for regular worship. The old Presbyterian church on Fourth street,
left vacant by the erection of a new edifice, was purchased in 1879, and
services held there until the completion of the stately new structure in 1900.
The rectory on the south was added in 1901. In some respects the most
imposing ecclesiastical property in the city, with the wide front on B avenue,
the broad concrete steps and platform at the entrance, and the spire with
bells soaring heavenward. The style is Gothic. This handsome church and
earnest people owe much to the judgment and perseverance of Father Ben-
nett, who at sixty-four has given his best years to the parish. He began his
preliminary studies at St. Joseph's college, Bardstown, Ky., and received his
final diploma at St. Mary's College, Emmittsburg, Md. He was ordained at
Chicago in 1874 by Bishop Foley, labored 14 years at Braidwood, and in 1907
celebrated the 33d anniversary of his elevation to the priesthood.
St. Mary's has about 172 families and several societies. The Altar So-
ciety for various beneficent needs of the church. The Junior Society, consist-
ing 6f girls from quite young to sixteen, and the Senior Sodality of young
ladies from sixteen upwards. The Cadets are composed of boys from six to
sixteen, whose motto is 'temperance and purity, with about ninety members.
The regular temperance society of sixty men, who are ready to do battle for
total abstinence and clean living. The altar ladies are a force, numbering
172 members, abundant in good works. The name of the parish was changed
from St. Patrick's to avoid confusion, as several St. Patricks, are already in
the vicinity. ,
CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART.
sacred head, now wounded,
With grief and shame bowed down.
Bernard of Clairvaux.
On the corner of First avenue and Seventh street this handsome church
of the German Catholics rears its stately spire, with a melodious bell that peals
welcome music every Sunday to saint and sinner. The corner stone was laid in
1884 by Archbishop Feehan of Chicago. The building committee was Henry
Flock, Adam Hutten, V. Schiffmacher, N. Gaulrapp, Henry Weber. The
364 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY
church was organized in 1870, and at first the Germans and Irish held services
together. The first services were held in Bressler's hall, 1870, with only thirty
families. In 1875 the frame church was built, now used as a schoolhouse.
Under Pastor Beineke, afterwards, the parochial residence and sisters' house
were erected. The first resident priest was Schamoni, an Italian. Rev. Father
Henry M. Fegers came in February, 1885, and the church has enjoyed a
steady growth. There are eighty families in membership, and various associa-
tions to assist in religious work, the married ladies' altar society, the young
ladies' and the young men's societies, as well as the Knights of Columbus and
the Knights of America. In the school conducted by the Sisters of St. Fran-
cis, one hundred children are enrolled.
Father Fegers entered upon his sacred calling after a long and thorough
study in the seminaries of the church, and is a gentleman of varied culture.
A lover of old books. Among his treasures are the Meditations of St. Ignatius,
Antwerp, 1620. Another and rarer is Coloquia oder Tischreden Doctor Mart.
Luther, Frankfurt am Mayne, 1568. Father Fegers celebrated the 39th anni-
versary of his ordination to the priesthood in 1907, and is the dean of the
clergy in both Rock Falls and Sterling.
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.
Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before! Baring Gould.
The first meeting, conducted by Knowles Shaw, was held June 18, 1875
in a tent in Central Park. The members living in Sterling and Rock Falls
were Mr. and Mrs. E. Brookfield, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Detweiler, Mr. and
Mrs. J. D. Nance, George Nance, W. F. Eastman, and Florence Burgess. The
church was organized June 27, 1875, and the first trustees were W. F. East-
man, R. B. Colcord, and E. Brookfield. The first elders, George Nance, R. B.
Colcord, J. S. Detweiler. The first deacons, E. Brookfield, J. D. Nance, W. H.
Shepperd, David Grubb. The superintendent of the Sunday school was W.
F. Eastman. The pastor was J. N. Smith. The first meeting after that in the
park was held in Wallace Hall, the next Sunday in Boynton Hall, and in
Aug. 15, 1875, in Colcord Hall. The first of the little band to pass away was
Ephraim Brookfield, Jan. 10, 1876. Rev. J. H. Wright became pastor in
October, 1876, and remained three years. The first church was dedicated
Feb. 1, 1880. It stands on Locust street, and is now, after being remodeled,
used as the armory. T. W. Grafton was the next pastor. Desiring a change
of situation and better facilities for their work, the society in 1888 purchased
the brick building formerly occupied by St. Patrick's congregation, on Sixth
street and Second avenue. Smaller rooms were formed from the main audi-
torium, and various changes made to adapt it to the needs of the church.
Besides the pastors mentioned have been F. L. Moffet, Silas Jones, W. E.
Spicer. Silas Jones is now professor in Eureka College. Two promising
young members were nurtured in the society, Stephen Zendt and Louis 0.
HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY 365
Lehman. A missionary in India, Miss Mary Kingsbury. The present pastor
is Ira L. Parvin. The superintendent of the Sunday school is W. J. Moore,
the marble mason. The usual societies. There are 200 members in the
church, and 110 pupils in Sunday school.
THE REFORMED MENNONITE.
This was formed in 1868 with 65 members, and the plain white frame
church stands on the north-western corner of Riverside cemetery. Services
are held every Sunday. Many of the congregation live in the country, and
sheds are provided for shelter of teams in inclement weather. Preaching by
one of their own members, who serves without compensation. The present
pastor is William Miller, who lives on his farm north of Sterling. The so-
ciety maintains the dress, customs, and doctrines of the founders in Ger-
many, three hundred years ago.
THE GERMAN LUTHERAN.
This is one of our later societies. Of the three original movers, all are
gone, the last being Charles Behrens and Albert J. Alberts. Their first
preacher was Rev. C. Sewel, from Lyons, Iowa, for a year. Rev. F. Lussky
came in 1874, and had in his care, this charge and one at Round Grove,
since independent with its own minister. In 1904 a neat brick church was
built on Third avenue, Sterling. Rev. Louis Gressens, pastor for thirteen
years, was educated at Milwaukee, Wis., and Springfield, Illinois. There are 48
members. The church belongs to the Missouri Synod. Above the door is
the name, Ev. Lutherische Kirche.
ST. PAUL'S GERMAN LUTHERAN.
On First avenue is this chaste white frame building, the Swedish Luth-
eran remodeled. The membership of fifty families withdrew from the Rock
Falls church as they lived on the Sterling side of the river, and decided to
have their own house of worship. A few families live in the country. A
small Sunday school of which L. Janssen is superintendent. Rev. Adolph
Kurtz, who accepted the charge in 1908, is a young gentleman of scholarly
attainments and preaches very fluently in both German and English. He
was born in Berlin, Germany, educated in this country, was formerly a pastor
of the German Lutheran church at Geneva, 111., and for the past four years
has been connected with the Lutheran church at Mineola, Iowa. There are
the usual ladies' aid and young people's societies.
THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH.
The first services of this society were held in the old courthouse, then
in the third story of the hearse factory, until a small house was bought and
moved to the site of the present church on Fifth street and Fifth avenue,
about 1870. In 1873-4 the new church was erected, during the pastorate
of Rev. Mr. Keller. An extended list of ministers, none of them remaining
long, Dingle, Eller, Burkhardt, Mohr, Hafele, Thoren, Shultz, Dinen, Knapp,
Kadel. About 1890 a controversy arose between the bishops, which nat-
363 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY
urally was taken up by the friends of the opposing wings, and there was a
secession, like the Free Kirk in Scotland in 1843 led by Thomas Chalmers.
The society remaining in possession of the original building call themselves
the Evangelical Association, and their local church, Zion. Rev. I. H. Haupt-
fuehrer, the pastor, was born in Ohio, studied at Naperville, and after due
theological course, entered the ministry, and before his present charge, la-
bored in Kansas and Missouri. This is his second year. There are 80 mem-
bers. 68 in the Sunday school, twenty in the Christian Endeavor. There
is also a mission band, ladies' aid, and a woman's home and foreign missionary
The seceders were organized into the United Evangelical church, and
in 1891 erected a chaste frame edifice, corner Third street and Fifth avenue,
where they have since maintained regular service. With its two porches,
Trinity church has a pleasant rustic effect, no suggestion of the spire or
pointed arch. The pastor, Rev. Samuel Carson, born in Belfast. Ireland,
studied at Moody Bible Institute and Northwestern University, and was pastor
of Garden City Mission, Chicago. His third year here. In the ministry since
1898. There are 100 members, a Sunday school of seventy, and Endeavor
league, a mission band, and a woman's missionary society. According to Dr.
Carroll's table of the numerical strength of the various denominations for
1907. the Evangelical Association in the United States has 103.525 members.
The Catholics head the list with eleven millions, and the Methodists come
second with over three millions.
In March, 1908, Mr. Carson of Trinity Evangelical church, accepted a
call to South Haven, Mich., and a farewell reception was tendered to Rev.
and Mrs. S. Carson at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Wise and at the same
time a reception was tendered to Rev. Lindenmyer, the new pastor of Trinity
church. The double reception was attended by a very large number of peo-
ple and the evening was delightfully spent.
GERMAN BAPTIST BRETHREN CHURCH.
By H. S. Hoak.
The first successful mission work done in Sterling by the German Baptist
Brethren was in a series of meetings held during the winter of 1888 in an
empty store room on the south side of Third street between First and Sec-
ond avenue, by George Zollers of Mt. Carroll and Daniel M. Miller of Mil-
ledgeville, who came here by the request of H. S. Hoak, who was a firm
believer in the faith of the Brethren church. His son, I. F. Hoak, was the
first convert during that series of meetings, and the first member of the Ster-
ling Brethren church baptized in Rock river at the foot of Sixth avenue by
Elder George Zollers.
Meetings continued for about a week and ended with four convert-.
H. S. Hoak, with the assistance of the elders of Franklin Grove congre-
gation kept up the meetings weekly in different localities in the city until
finally through the kindness of the Lutheran congregation, a lease of their
church was given, to be used every Sunday afternoon by the brethren.
HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY
March 15, 1890, H. S. Hoak began soliciting funds for a Brethren
church in Sterling and it is sufficient to say he met with great success. On
April 29, 1890, he made his report to the mission board, who decided to
furnish all that was lacking to build the church. A lot, known as the Mana-
han lot. located on the west side of Sixth avenue between Fifth and Sixth
streets was secured, and the church built thereon, Samuel Horning of Mal-
vern, 111., was the contractor and builder. June 29, 1889, the church was
finished and occupied. July 28, 1891, Rev. P. R. Keltner of Lena, 111., was
secured to take charge of the mission. July 16, 1892, a committee of elders,
appointed by the Mission Board of Northern Illinois, met in council at
church with the members. Said committee was composed of Edmond For-
ney, Levi Trostle, and George D. Zollers with Edmond Torney as moderator
and' Levi Trostle as secretary. As a final result of said council, the organiza-
tion was completed with Elder Daniel Dierdorff of Franklin Grove as pre-
siding elder; Rev. P. R. Keltner of Lena, 111., as pastor; Ira F. Hoak, Ster-
ling, 111., clerk; and Delia Keltner, treasurer. The new organization was
called the Sterling Brethren church.
The congregation increased until it outgrew its quarters. May 23, 1901,
it was decided to move the house to its present location and build an addition,
which was done. The dedicatory services were held Nov. 10, 1901.
The Sterling church being declared self-supporting. Elder P. R. Keltner
resigned his eldership Aug. 25, 1905, and took charge of a mission in Rack-
ford, 111. Deo. 31, 1908, Rev. Ezra Flory of Southern Ohio was chosen pastor
of the Sterling church with Rev. John Heckman of Polo as presiding elder.
Between March 25, 1907, and July 1, 1907, a fine parsonage was built on
the church property. The present value of the Sterling Brethren church
property is about ten thousand dollars and without any incumbrance. It
is on Sixth avenue.
The enrollment, which at date of organization, was twenty-eight, has
increased to about one hundred and fifty. Officers at present time are as
follows: F. H. Slater, John Baker, George Whisler, trustees; Rev. John
Heckman, presiding elder; Rev. Ezra Flory, pastor; George Whisler, Ira F.
Hoak, Oliver Shumaker, F.H. Slater, Harvey Myers, John Gerdes, Samuel
Myers, deacons; George Whisler, church clerk; F. H. Slater, treasurer.
The present officers of the Sunday school, organized in 1897, are: Ira
F. Hoak, superintendent; Samuel Myers, assistant superintendent; John
Baker, secretary; Oliver Shumaker, treasurer; Jennie Hoak, chorister; Clara
Wolf, assistant chorister ; Katie Shumaker, Sunday school missionary ; enroll-
ment about one hundred and twenty-five. Tributary to the Sunday school
is the Home Department, membership fifty, with Mrs. Geo. Whisler as presi-
dent and Katie Shumaker as assistant.
Jan. 1, 1905, a Christian Workers' society was organized with Jennie
Hoak as president; Bertha Dutchers, secretary; Sadie Buckley, treasurer;
and Clara Wolf, chorister. Present officers are: Mrs. Alice Suter, president;
Jennie Hoak, secretary; Clara Hoak, treasuer; Clara Wolf, chorister. Enroll-
ment at present time, fifty.
368 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY
STERLING CHURCHES IN 1875.
Nothing shows so vividly the changes of time as old newspapers. They
have history just as it happened day by day. A semi-weekly Gazette of 1875
has the following:
Baptist Church. Market-st., north of Central Park. Rev. J. T. Mason,
Pastor. Services Sunday at 10:30 a. m. and 7 p. m. Prayer meeting at 6:30
p. m. Sunday school at 12 m. ; J. T. Mason, Superintendent. Young people's
prayer meeting Monday at 7 p. m. General prayer meeting Thursday at
7 p. m.
Congregational Church. Spruce, between Third and Fourth-sis. Rev.
S. D. Belt, Pastor. Services Sunday at 10:30 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday
school at 12 m. ; R. B. Witmer, Superintendent. Young people's prayer meet-
ing Sunday at 6 p. m. General prayer meeting Thursday at 7 p. m.
Fourth-st. M. E. Church. Corner of Fourth and A-sts. Rev. J. H. More,
Pastor. Services Sunday at 10 :45 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday school at 12 m. ;
M. S. Bowman, Superintendent. Prayer meeting Thursday evening at 7
o'clock. Young people's meeting Monday at 7 p. m.
Broadway M. E. Church. Corner Broadway and Fourth-sts. Rev. J.
Bush, Pastor. Services Sunday at 10 :30 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday school at
12 :20 p. m. ; J. H. Lamb, Superintendent. Prayer meeting Thursday evening
Presbyterian Church. Corner Fourth and Pine-sts. Rev. N. H. G. Fife,
Pastor. Services Sunday at 10:45 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday school at 9:30
a. m. ; T. A. Slaymaker, Superintendent. Prayer meeting Thursday at 7 p. m.
Church of the Sacred Heart (German Catholic). Corner Seventh and
Mulberry-sts. Rev. A. Urban, Pastor. Sendees Sunday at 8 and 10:30 a. m.
and 7 p. m. Sunday instruction at 2 :30 p. m. Mass each day at 8 a. m.
Lutheran Church. Seventh-st., between Spruce and Market-sts. Rev.
E. Brown, Pastor. Services Sunday at 10:30 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday
school at 12 m. Prayer meeting Thursday evening at 7 o'clock.
Evangelical Association (German). Rev. M. Eller, Pastor. Services
Sunday at 10:30 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday school at 12 m. ; C. Eisele, Super-
intendent. Prayer meeting Wednesday at 7 p. m.
Grace Church (Episcopal). Corner Mulberry and Fourth-sts. Rev. Her-
bert Root, Pastor. Services Sunday at 10:30 a. m. and 7 p. m. Sunday school
at 12 m., superintended by the pastor.
St. Patrick's Church (Irish Catholic). Corner Spruce and Sixth-sts. J.
Daly, Pastor. Services Sunday at 8:30 and 10:30 a. m. Vespers at 7 p. m.
Mass every morning at 8 o'clock.
All of these pastors and superintendents are dead or gone, not one left
in the city but C. Eisele.
This is the newest of the societies in the city, dating only from June,
1904. They have no building, but meet in a hall. Different from other
HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY . 369
societies in having no pastor. The services consist of scripture reading, prayer,
hymns, and selections from the accepted religious books. The principal figures
in the services are the readers, a man reading certain passages from the bible,
and a woman reading corresponding selections from Science and Health. A
quarterly is issued by the publishing house in Boston, containing the bible
passages and secular selections for the general use of the church, so that all
the societies throughout the world use the same order on the same Sunday.
There is a general subject about which the scripture lessons are grouped.
For instance, the subject for April 12, 1908, is "Are Sin, Disease, and Death
Real?" Under this comes for responsive reading Isaiah 56 and 57, and the
citations from the bible are 2 Samuel 22, Isaiah 25, Psalm 94, Proverbs 28.
In the manual before us for April, May, June, 1908, are given the topics for
each Sunday's consideration in the quarter. While some are apparently
simple, like "Soul and Body," others suggest a field of profound inquiry,
like "Is the Universe, including man, evolved by atomic force?"
The hymnal also issued by the Boston publishing society contains 193
hymns with music. Among them are some of the favorites of the universal
church, as "Abide with Me," "Joy to the World," "Nearer, My God, to
Thee," "Onward, Christian Soldiers," "Watchman, Tell Us of the Night,"
"Guide Me, Thou Great Jehovah." A solo is given at every service.
The membership of the society varies. Not so large as usual just now
on account of the removal of several families from the city. Mr. and Mrs.
Henry Bencus and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Haskell are prominent members of
The readers are chosen by the society and cannot hold office longer than
three years. The present persons in that position are Walter Haskell and