Cherry Grove Brethren Church
Photos contributed by Kim

Early Brethren settling north of Lanark were a part of the Arnold's Grove congregation. The Cherry Grove schoolhouse was a common center. Here they met monthly for public worship, and hard by was a burial ground where the bereaved laid their loved ones to rest. The distance to Arnold's Grove being too great for those days there arose the desire for a separate organization. Though Arnold's Grove had so recently given birth to two new congregations, Hickory Grove and Milledgeville, in council assembled it was voted on December 17, 1859, that teh Cherry Grove members should be set off in a separate organization. Just two weeks later, the last day of the year the fifty members living in the Cherry Grove neighborhood met at the schoolhouse and organized, choosing John Sprogle as elder, and John Rowland Sr., John Butterbaugh and John Bolinger as trustees. If the name "John" possesses any virtue this trustee body was well "Johned". At this council arrangements were made to build a meetinghouse. That was a good way to close the old year and begin the new.

They continued in the good work. In January the trustees purchased from Henry Sword four and eleven one-hundredths acres of land for a church site and cemetery at twenty dollars per acre. That was a busy winter. Material was hauled from Freeport and from Savanna, neither on trucks nor by rail, but on horse drawn wagons. In the meantime one could hear the sound of axes and the crash of trees as men were felling and hewing the timbers that were to become a part of the new church building. During the summer, undere the leadership fo John Bollinger as foreman of construction, the house was built - and used before it was completed.

Death is no respecter of persons or of rank. The wife of Michael Bolinger (Minister) died; her funeral services were held in the unfinished house and her body wsa laid to rest in the new graveyard, wich in March had been consecrated by receiving into its bosom the body of little Sarah Sturtevant. Thus joys and sorrows for this congregation were mingled while it was going through its birth pains.

The meetinghouse was of the typical dunker type; size 40 x 60 feet all in one room, and having a very low ceiling. A stairway led to the basement, which was equipped with long benches and long tables and a kitchen in which were prepared those never to be forgotten meals that made the two day love feats red letter days to the country boys and girls who may well be excused for enjoying them even though they did not fully appreciate their spiritual significance. And there was the stairway leading to the attic with it straw-filled ticks where many spent the night on love feast occasions. Tallow candles furnished their dim light for evening meetings. In more recent years the house has been remodeled so as to meet Sunday-school needs. Could this old Cherry Grove meetinghouse speak, it would have a wonderful story to tell. In 1875 the congregation experienced a large ingathering. Peter R. Keltner, whose parents had settled at Arnold's Grove in 1853, says of this period:

"The large ingathering at Cherry Grove in 1875 was not the result of extra preaching. The atmosphere seemed full of the revival spirit. Many applicants for membership were voluntary, and several baptismal scenes too place. Lemuel Hillery was holding a few meetings. There were several applicants before the meetings began, and on the following Sunday twenty were baptized. I was one of that number."

One evening while Hillery was preaching the report spread that Henry Martin's house was on fire. Fortunately it proved to be a false alarm. A brush heap in line with the house was burning , which gave rise to the alarm. Hillery, who was always ready for any turn in his sermon, said; "Yes. Bro. Martin's house is on fire, on fire of the Holy Ghost, and his children are turning to God," which was the case just then. This was at a time when "revivals" were not yet general in the form of a series of meetings. The records, however, show that baptisms at the regular Sunday meetings were quite common. Folks came and asked for church membership. Say what you will of the preaching of those days, it brought new members into the church.

In 1851 some Brethren families began settling in the neighborhood of Shannon. This placed them within the bounds of the Arnolds Grove congregation. When Cherry Grove became a separate organization the Shannong roup became a part of Cherry Grove. To meet the spiritual needs of the Shannon group, meetings were held in the schoolhouse of district number 9. In May 1874, the Shannon group asked CHerry Grove for the privilege of holding a meeting in the schoolhouse to consider building a meetinghouse. Permission was granted, the meeting was called, and $1,850 was subscribed for the new house. When this action was reported in council meeting at Cherry Grove, June 1, the church voted to build the meetinghouse and appointed Elias Forney, Samuel Lahman and Isaac Lutz as a building committee. That same year the building was completed in November at a cost of nearly $3,500, almost twice the amount subscribed. Some were dissatisfied because the committee had spent more than was on hand. But, after all was explained and understood, the church authorized the trustees to sign a note to the individuals of the building committee. Thus a building problem which might have divided and ruined a congregation was settled in a brotherly fashion. That note settling the building trouble deserves preservation. Here it is:

" Cherry Grove, Illinois April 10, 1874
On or before June 1, 1877, we the trustees of the Church of the Brethren, at Cherry Grove, Illinois, agree to pay the sum of fifteen hundred sixty-nine dollars and ninety-four cents to Elias Forney, Samuel Lahman and Isaac Lutz, with ten percent interest value received.
Signed John Rowland, Samuel Wolf, Trustees
"One Hundred and Twenty-three dollars paid on the above note today".

Interesting features of this note are: The date, April 10, 1874, though the building was not authorized until June 1 of that year. When the congregation wsa organized in 1859 we saw them elect three trustees. Only two names appear on the note. Many congregations made their deacons the church trustees. Cherry Grove seems not to have followed that rule. The church tool three years in which to raise the amount. The interest rate of ten per cent seems high now but was the rule at that time. And "Church of the Brethren" is assumed to be the name of the congregation thirty-fours years before it became the legal name as adopted by the Annual Conference of 1908. "Church of the Brethren" appears in many records much earlier, which shows we really adopted an old name in 1908.

Though the leadership of Cherry Grove was rather conservative in its early days, within the bounds of this congregation there was an awakened, forward-looking group that did things. Note what took place within a very short period;

1. On November 13, 1875, voted to organize Shannonas a separate congregation.

2. On November 15, 1875 at a special district meeting, foreign missions in the Church of the Brethren were born when Christian Hope of this congregation was called to the ministry by the entire district and was selected to go to Denmark, and Enoch Eby, Paul Wetzel and their companions were asked to be ready to go to Denmark when they and Hope thought proper.

3. In September 1876 the Brethren At Work started as a new church paper, at Lanark.

4. In 1876 a meetinghouse was erected in Lanark, financed largely by Cherry Grove members living in Lanark.

5. The big revivals held by S.H. Basher in Lanark and Cherry Grove. Bashor was then the outstanding evagelist in the church.

6. On May 8, 1878, Cherry Grove granted Lanark the privilege of having a Sunday School, but on August 13, following refused to allown one in the CHerry Grove house.

7. On August 13, 1878, Cherry Grove gave Lanark permission to organize as a separate congregation.

No record of Cherry Grove is complete without mentioning and giving proper recognition to the long and influential service of Henry Martin, who was elected to the ministry in Maryland in 1858, settled at Cherry Grove in 1865, and succeeded Michael Bollinger as elder of the church in 1870. For thirty-six years he continued as elder, with the exception of one year near the middle of his term of service. He was conservative and not in sympathy with some of the innovations he saw creeping into the church. He lived to see the congregation grow as two new churches were organized.

Like most of our early congregations Cherry Grove was dilatory in keeping records. In 1874, however, M.M. Eshelman, who had united with the church at Virden Illinois by baptism in June 1873, became clerk of the Cherry Grove Congregation. His first entry reads: "Special Record May 1, 1874 Cherry Grove,

Cherry Grove 1859

Charter Members
Michael Bollinger and Wife
John Bollinger adn Wife
Sarah Boyd
Jacob L. Butterbaugh and wife
Elias Finnefrock
Barbara Hienbaugh
Isaac Lutz adn wife
Samuel Lahman and wife
Jacob Sword and wife
Nicholas Puterbaugh and wife
Catherine Puterbaugh
David Puterbaugh
George Puterbaugh
Sallie Puterbaugh
John & Susan Rowland
Isaac and Mary Ann Rowland
David B. Royer & wife
John Sprogle & wife
Harriet Sword
George Sword & wife
David Sword
Samuel Sword and wife
Samuel Wolf & wife
Zacob Zuck & wife

Minister when Organized
Michael Bollinger and John Sprogle

Ministers Elected
Jonas DeHaven 1863
David B. Puterbaugh 1871
Samuel Peck 1872
Collin P. Rowland 1890
I.R. Young 1893
Harry Gossard 1907

Ministers Moved In
Henry Martin 1854
John Wolf about 1868
Isaac Schmucker about 1870
Benjamin F. Miller 1875
J.H. Moore 1876
Joseph Stitzel 1887

Pastors
Ira Weaver 1918 - 1928
William A. Deardorff 1928 - 1933
I.D. Leatherman 1933 - 1936
M.E. West 1936 - 1939
MerleHawbecker 1930 -

Elders
John Sprogle 1859 - 1872
Michael Bollinger & Enoch Eby 1872 - 1876
Henry Martin 1876 - 1905
Franklin Myers 1905 - 1911
I.R. Young 1911 - 1927
Charles E. Delp 1827 - 1929
William A. Deardorff 1929 - 1933
I.D. Leatherman 1933 - 1937
W.E. West 1937 - 1939
Merle Hawbecker 1939 -

Bethe (Naperville) - 1860

Charter Members
Samuel Cline & Wife
Joshua Erb & Wife
Samuel Grove & Wife
Levi Harranft & Wife
Samuel Lehman & Wife
Christian Martin & Wife
Jacob Netzley & Wife

Resident Minister when Organized - Samuel Lehman
Minister Moved In - John Hollinger 1878

Contribed by Kim

The early Brethren that settled north of Lanark were part of the Arnold's Grove congregation. The Cherry Grove schoolhouse was the common center, meeting monthly for public worship. The burial ground was close by where the bereaved laid their loved ones to rest. The distance to Arnold Grove being too great for those days, there was a desire for separate organization. In council assembled it was voted on December 17, 1859 that Cherry Grove members be set off in separate organization. Two weeks later on the last day of the year, the fifty members living in Cherry Grove neighborhood met at the schoolhouse and organized, choosing John Sprogle, as elder, John Rowland Sr., John Butterbaugh, and John Bollinger as trustees. Arrangements was made at this council to build a meeting house.

In January the trustees purchased from Henry Sword, four and eleven one-hundredths acres of land for a church site and cemetery at twenty dollars per acre. Material was hauled from Freeport and Savanna on horse-drawn wagons. Under the leadership of John Bollinger as foreman of construction, the house was built and used before it was completed during the summer.

The wife of Michael Bolinger (Minister) died, her funeral service was held in the unfinished house and her body laid to rest in the new graveyard, which in March had been consecrated by receiving into its bosom the body of little Sarah Sturtevant.

In 1851 some Brethren families began settling in the neighborhood of Shannon. When Cherry Grove become a separate organization the Shannon group became part of Cherry Grove until May 1874 when the Shannon group built their own meeting house. Cherry Grove subscribed $1850 for the new house. The building was completed in November at a cost of nearly $3500. It took the Cherry Grove church 3 years to raise the amount of the note.

Though the leadership of Cherry Grove was rather conservative, they were a group that did things; one of which was sending one of the first missionaries. It was at a special meeting on November 15, 1875 that foreign missions in the Church of the Brethren was born when Christian Hope of this congregation was called to the ministry by the entire district and selected to go to Denmark along with Enoch Eby, Paul Wetzel and their companions.

One of the longest serving and most influential elders of the congregation was Henry Martin who was elected to the ministry in Maryland in 1858, settled at Cherry Grove in 1865 and succeeded Michael Bolinger as elder of the church in 1870. He served for 36 years. The free ministry prevailed for many years before Cherry Grove entered upon the period of one minister. Some of those giving service to the church were, Solomn Mattis, C. P. Rowland, Joe Stitzel, I. R. Young, Frank Myers, Charles and Ira Weaver. The church then entered part time and full pastorates with the services of William Deardorf, I.D. Leatherman, William West, Merle Hawbecker, Ted Kimmel, and Edwin Rodabaugh with Russell Mclnnis serving the past nine years.

The women did not organize their first aid until February 6, 1919. Lillie Bloyer was first president, Mary Puterbaugh, secretary, Bertha Thompson, treasurer and Addie Sword work superintendent. The average attendance was eleven. Many quilts and garments were made by this group as well as holding food sales and serving meals. The fellowship continues today with tying of comforts for Church World Service and meeting needs within the county.

The building has been remodeled through the years with an educational wing added in 1960. In the sanctuary a hard wood floor has been laid with carpeting in the aisles, the walls have been paneled and different pews were purchased from the Franklin Grove church.

The parsonage was built in 1958 with the Ted Kimmel family as the first occupants.

Source: Unsure - Might be Goodly Heritage

Dick Poffenberger sent the following note:
"I was reviewing some of the family information today and found a note written by my mother, Opal F. Poffenberger, maiden name Butterbaugh. The note indicates that her Dad's grandfather, John Butterbaugh was a trustee for the church and it was agreed in 1859 to build the church. The land was purchased from Henry Sword for $20.00 per acre."

From Amy Anderson
Founding members of the Cherry Grove Church of the Brethren:
George Sword and Catherine Wilt,
David Sword and Harriet Blair,
Nicholas Butterbaugh and Mary Louise Gale.

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