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Lee County Churches

Methodist Episcopal - Paw Paw
Both articles contributed by Marilyn Widler

(Methodist - Erected in 1875)

The following article taken from a scrap book was kindly loaned us by Mrs. J. W. Mayor. The fair was held in December, 1874, and the church was dedicated the following year.

"The grandest success in the fair and Festival line in this vicinity for years, took place at West Paw Paw Tuesday and Wednesday before Christmas.

When the Methodists start to do a thing, matters are apt to move right lively. Now the fact is, the Methodists of Paw Paw are without a church of their own, and now that the town is growing, the ladies of the Sewing Society were anxious to add sufficient to the building fund, and have the church built. To this end, they organized a Fair, to include meals, sale tables and auctions of goods made up by the Society and a large quantity of Christmas presents bought in Chicago by the enterprising President, Mrs. Jas. Thompson, nee Nettie Swarthout.

Many members of the M. E. Society showed their hearty good will, by bringing huge baskets full of the best of the season's luxuries, until there was plenty to feed the multitude who were anxious to join in the sociability and do something for the M. E. Church; many baskets full were left over.

Among these who helped to make the Fair the bright success it was, we hear mentioned the families of Jacob Hepperlin, M. B. Kellogg, John Colville, Jas. Fonda, Samuel Abbott, Mr. McCulloh, James Thompson, E. Swarthout, George Featherbee, Jacob Hendershot, John Allen, Josiah Morris, B. J. Wheeler and many others too numerous to mention.

Rem Warriner and Chas. Sutton auctioned off the goods to be sold in that way in cheerful style. The young people of the community never spent their money with a freer hand than on Wednesday night. The older ones, observing this were cheered with the probability of these young men and maidens wanting to attend the church they helped to build and get the worth of their money.

The receipts amounted to $300, and after paying for goods, oysters, etc., there were $227 left to add to the $350 or more the ladies had in the treasury. A subscription paper for funds for building had been circulated among the men, who have been very liberal, and money enough has been paid in to buy the lumber for the church, and placed in Mr. McCulloh's hand. He went to Chicago last Monday to purchase the lumber, and four or five members of the church, who are carpenters, will erect and enclose the church this winter, under direction of Samuel Abbott.

The ladies felt as gay over the Fair as if they had just been married, and in testimony of their joy, sent us the most bouncing cake that has come into this office in many a day."



Handsome New Church was Turned Over to

The Members on Last Sunday, May 12, [1907]

Free of Debt and Ready for Use.--

All ServicesWere Largely Attended.


Rev. John N. Dingle is given Credit for the Great Work He Has Accomplished. Ladies' Aid Society Also Did Very Effective Work.

Sunday, May 12 will long be remembered by the pastor and members of the First M. E. church of Paw Paw, the occasion being the dedication of their new building. Sufficient money was subscribed to clear the entire indebtedness before the dedication service, $4,500 being raised on Sunday. The edifice, complete and ready for use, was erected at a cost of $13,000.

Early last year the building of a new church was contemplated, but active work of soliciting was not begun until some time in June. The building is modern in every particular and is a credit to the town as well as the church society. The main floor contains a large audience room, lecture room, choir room, pastor's study, lavatory, and a vestry, which opens into the pulpit and the other rooms. The basement has a large room and one small one, which will be used for the Sunday school, a furnace room, dining room, pantry, kitchen, back hall and lavatory. The building is of brick veneer and is lighted by gas. The furnishings are elaborate. Memorial windows are as follows: Mrs. S. P. Detamore, Jos. Moffatt and family, J.S. Pulver and wife, Frantz and Taylor, Edwards family, Mrs. Eva Faber, Politsch family, G. A. R., Epworth League, and windows for the various Sunday school classes.

The program as given in another column was carried out in full at the Sunday services. People were in attendance from LaMoille, Mendota, Shabbona, Earlville and Compton.


"The Sabbath set for the dedication of the new Methodist Episcopal church dawned auspiciously. The sun had in it the welcome of a genuine May morning and the church people were correspondingly grateful. Nearly a year had passed since the ground was first broken for the foundation of the new building. Everyone was anxious as to the final outcome of the day's achievement. All hoped that before the last benediction of the day should be spoken every dollar of indebtedness would be provided for. A very few had faith to believe it would be. The services of the presiding elder, Rev. A. D. Traveller, D. D. and of Rev. W. O. Sheppard, D. D., pastor of the First M. E. church of Englewood, Chicago, had been secured to aid in the work of the day. They were present with a spirit of devotion for the work of carrying everything through to a successful issue.

"The initial service in the new building began at 10:30 a.m. The service of worship preceding the hour of consecrated giving was inspiring. The choir struck the note of musical devotion to which the great audience responded. Hymn and solo and anthem were alike inspirations. The people seemed to forget the financial task before them and worshipped the Lord in the spirit of holiness. Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists were one in devotion. The morning sermon was preached by Dr. Sheppard. The theme of the sermon was most fitting for the occasion. Dr. Sheppard sanely magnified the church in its great mission and in its glorification of Christ, the great commissioner, through the redemption of humanity. All who listened were profoundly impressed with the greatness of the church in history, with the tremendous part it has performed in the work of the world's civilization. All felt that this was a poverty stricken world without the church and how bankrupt humanity would be without its enriching influence.

"With the spirit of thoughtfulness on the part of the people came the feeling of obligation. The Christian people felt their responsibility in view of the great mission of the church. While this feeling of obligation was resting upon the hearts of the congregation, Dr. Traveller began the financial work of the day. He stated that $4,500 was the sum needed to free the church from debt. He quickly arranged his staff of secretaries and solicitors and proceeded to the work of getting the money. When the morning service closed it was found that $2,300 had been subscribed.

"At 2:30 p.m. a platform service was held. The speakers were Rev. Walter C. Scott, pastor of the M. E. church at Compton; Rev. H. J. Wheeler of the Baptist church of Paw Paw; Rev. Geo L. Engler of the Presbyterian church of Paw Paw; and Rev. W. J. Abel of the M. E. church of Earlville. The speakers were all felicitous in the expression of their kindly greetings and fraternal congratulations. Rev. Wheeler expressed the desire that as soon as the financial strain is lifted from the Methodist church that a new Baptist church might be built. At the close of the fraternal addresses, Dr. Traveller, with Dr. Sheppard for his amanuensis, again took up his special part of the program. Again, the people caught the spirit of his optimism; good-naturedly the subscription work was taken up and responded to. The financial appeal of the afternoon resulted in the sum of $700 to be added to he subscription list.

"The evening service began with a congregation that crowded every part of the house. Dr. Traveller preached the sermon. His subject was the power of the Gospel. The sermon was most effective in its presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only efficient means for the redemption of the individual, the only adequate salvation for civilization and the human race. Without intermission Dr. Traveller went immediately to the work of raising the $1,500 to complete the $4,500. He went to the work with a spirit of enthusiasm that was contagious. Again, the spirit of benevolence was on the people. They seemed to enjoy the financial part of the program and responded generously. The clouds of financial difficulties were rolling away very fast. The pessimists of the morning were being converted into the optimists of the evening. Subscriptions were being called for in all parts of the house.

"Hearty responses were coming from people of both sexes, of all ages and all conditions in life. Soon it was apparent to all that while the sparrow might find for herself a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, the bug-bear of debt was to have no abiding place in the new Methodist Episcopal church. A spirit of good nature filled the atmosphere. The skeptical ones who said in the morning, "How can these things be?" began to say in the evening we never saw it in this fashion. Verily we know not what a day may bring forth. When all the indebtedness had been cared for the special dedicatory service followed. This was carried through with a spirit of religious joy. When the doxology was sung and the last benediction spoken, the pastor and people were happy in the knowledge that the burden of debt and anxiety had been lifted."

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