To The
Lee County Churches
Introduction to Early Churches Contributed by Joan Achille

In 1837 a Methodist class was formed with the following members: S. M. BOWMAN, E. A. BOWMAN, Maria McCLURE, John RICHARDS, Ann RICHARDS, Caleb TALMADGE, Amanda TALMADGE. Preaching was held at intervals of six weeks, over Bowman's store, northwest corner of Galena and Water Streets. In 1839 the class had besides the above members: T. D. BOARDMAN, MR. and MRS. PERRY and MRS. O. F. AYRES.

Methodist preachers since the organization of the class-- Robert DULAP and Barton CARTWRIGHT came here as circuit preachers in the fall of 1837; they were followed by Isaac POOL and Riley HILL; Luke HITCHCOCK Came In 1839, Richard BLANCHARD in August 1840, Philo JUDSON in fall of 1841.

August 3, 1842, Inlet Grove, Palestine Grove, and Melugin's Grove were added to Dixon circuit, which already embraced Washington Grove, Light House Point, Jefferson Grove, Daysville and Paynes Point; Philo JUDSON and W. H. COOLEY were appointed circuit preachers. W. WILCOX was appointed to Dixon in August 1843, David BROOKS in July 1844, S. P KEYS in August 1845, Milton HANEY and R.W.H. BRENT came to this charge in August 1846, R. P. LAWTON came in 1847, William PALMER in fall of 1848, Thomas NORTH in July 1850, James BAUME came in Sept. 1852, J. W. AGARD in 1854, Wilbur McKAIG in Sept. 1855, N. P. HEATH in 1857, L. A. SANFORD in August 1858, S. G. LATHROP in 1859, O. B. THAYER in Sept. 1862, W. H. SMITH in March 1864, G. L. S. STUFF in Oct 1864, T. C. CLENDENNING in Oct. 1865, Geo. E. STROBRIDGE in Oct 1867, J. H. BROWN in Oct 1869, John WILLIAMSON in 1871, Isaac LINEBARGER in Oct 1874, G. R. VANHORNE in Oct 1876, and A. W. PATTON in Oct 1879.

In the spring of 1836 the first methodist sermon was preached to the people of Dixon's Ferry by Rev. James McKEAN of Elkhorn Grove, pastor in charge of Henderson's Mission.

In the summer of 1838, an Episcopal Church was organized under labors of Reverend James Depuy, but after removal of the rector to other fields, active work was suspended and all records up to 1855 are lost.

May 23, 1838, "The First Regular Baptist Church of Dixon and Buffalo Grove," was organized at Buffalo Grove, Thomas POWELL, moderator, the following named persons were the original members: Houland BICKNELL, Rebecca DIXON, Elizabeth BELLOWS, Jerusha HAMMOND, Sarah KELLOGG, Martha PARKS, and Ann CLARLEY. At the close of four years there were 72 names on the list of membership.

Pastors since the organization--B.B CARPENTER from June 1840 to Oct. 1844, Burton CARPENTER Dec. 1844 to March 1845, William GATES occupied the pulpit occasionally and William WALKER about four months between March 1844 and April 1847, when E. T. Manning became pastor for one year. S. S. MANNING became pastor in 1849 for one year; G. W. BENTON for about six months between Martins's pastorate and Aug. 1851, when John BALL became pastor for about 4 years; Anson TUCKER took charge in May 1853 and served 11 months; W. R. WEBB became pastor in June 1856, served over four years; Wm. G. PRATT in March 1861 for one year; W. S. GOODNO in Sept. 1862, served two years; J. H. PRATT became pastor in Oct. 1864, served over nine years; D. F. CARNAHAM became pastor in August, 1874; O. P. BESTOR, present pastor took charge in August 1877.

The first record of a house of worship for the Baptist congregation is dated May 5, 1849, and reads as follows: "The Baptist Meeting house was this day dedicated to Almighty God; sermon by Rev. Jacob KNAPP, of Rockford, which was delivered to a crowded and attentive congregation." This was the church building on the west side of Ottawa Street, near Main, and used by the congregation until 1870.

On August 20 1848, the "First Evangelical Lutheran congregation of Lee County," was organized in the barn of J. N. BURKET, South Dixon, by Rev. Jacob BURKET, and the following members: John N. BURKET, Mary BURKET, John MOYER, Elizabeth MOYER, Catharine GROW, Nathan HETLER, Catherine HETLER, Philip MOWER, Mary MOWER, Jacob SHOOP, Catherine SHOOP, Nancy SMICE, Lydia COURTRIGHT, Catherine PALMER, Magdeline CLINETOB, and Mary A. M. BURKET.

Jacob Burket continued in charge as pastor until Aug 1850. Ephraim MILLER from May 1851 to April 1852, Chas. YOUNG from May 1852 to Aug. 1853, William UHL from Sept. 1853 to 1855. Nov. 12 1853 the name of the society was changes to St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the certificate of organization recorded in the Recorder's office. D. HARBAUGH was pastor from July 1855 to July 1856; William UHL from Sept. 1856 to July 1858. In Dec. 1856 the German portion of the church withdrew and organized a separate congregation under the pastoral care of REV. CHAS YOUNG. J. L. GUARD became pastor of the English branch in July 1858, continuing until 1861; J.R. KELSER from Sept. 1861 to Oct. 1864; A. a. TRIMPER from spring of 1865 to 1870, during which time the two congregations were again united.

N. W. LILLY served from Oct. 1870 to 1874; S. S. WALTZ, Sept. 1874 to April 1879. L. L. LIPE is the present pastor since Oct. 1879.

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